An Insider's Look

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Gryphon117
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An Insider's Look

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Postby Gryphon117 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:30 am

Hello, Evageeks. New user here. One that has lurked around here from time to time for years now, mostly to check on any relevant news or topics about the series, but that's never really felt the need to register and participate due to not being much of a forumite. Until now.

I come bearing a story that I've been working on for some time, now, one that I'd like to get some feedback for. And I'd be more than happy if some of the more knowledgeable folks around here could offer their thoughts on it, and about how it could be improved as we move further down the line. ^_^

I've posted the entirety of the first chapter (a little more than 4k words) as a start, but the idea from now on is to update the thread in a scene-by-scene basis, a practice that I've been using in the SV forums and that has worked out pretty well, so far. I'll try to keep a consistent update schedule of an update every three or four days, although I might struggle to stick to those limits at times due to the chaoticness of my current timetable. We'll see how it goes.

In any case, I hope you enjoy. Do drop me a line with your thoughts if you've got the time for it.

SPOILER: Show
Chapter 1:

“No! Don’t make me remember that! I wanted to forget those things, don’t uncover them! I don’t want those terrible memories anymore! Stop this! Please stop this now!”

Misato Katsuragi felt a coldness swirl within her as she was an impotent witness to the Fifteenth Angel’s invasion of Asuka Langley-Sohryu’s mind, an experience that she’d been forced to cope with ever since the Second Child’s screams and wails had begun to fill the communication line a minute ago.

Ritsuko had called the scene ‘an attempt by the Angel to understand people’s minds’. A very elegant name for what was for all intents and purposes a literal mind-rape; and while Misato was sure that such a bizarre development was making all the gears within her friend’s mind work in a frenzy, the only thing the Major was seeing was a monster that she had to kill, a monster that was forcing an innocent girl to relive her most hellish of days in very vivid detail.

But with Rei out of weapons range and the Angel content to stay in orbit over the battlefield, the number of options the Major had at her disposal to bring this thing down were few in number, and even fewer in viability.

“My mind is being eaten away…” Asuka continued to sob over the comm-link, all traces of her usual persona completely gone, “Kaji, it’s unravelling my mind… What will I do? It’s defiling my mind!”

And the girl’s words were followed by a trio of reports that would make the battle ahead all that much trickier:

“Unit-02 has ceased activation!”

“Life support system crashed!”

“Pilot’s mind entering danger zone!”

‘Dammit, we’re running out of time! What can I do to turn this around? An air-lifted shot? But what if the Angel switches targets and hits Rei, then?’ the Major theorized, shooting down plan after plan almost as soon as she came up with them. ’There must be a way out of this one! Think Katsuragi, think!’

“Misato-san! Let me go out in Unit-01!”

“Denied; we cannot risk it.” Sub-Commander Fuyutsuki promptly dismissed Shinji’s request, using the Angel as an excuse to prevent the deployment of Unit-01. “This Angel’s ability to attack the Pilot’s mind is too dangerous.”

A fact that didn’t sit well with Shinji at all, not that Misato could blame him. ‘Danger’ had never been a part of the planning equation in any of the previous sorties, after all.

Misato tuned out the Third Child’s angry response, dismissing the ensuing argument in favour of trying to find a way to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Something that was far easier said than done, because without access to Unit-01’s S2 organ for the possibility of an overcharged shot of the Positron Rifle, the fact remained that NERV simply lacked the means to put a dent in this Angel, which made the continued freeze on Unit-01 all the more baffling.

Regardless, Rei alone couldn’t hope to turn this situation around. The First Child would only be subjected to the same treatment Asuka was getting once the Angel was done with her.

‘Yes, the best course of action is to force Asuka back underground and regroup,’ Misato decided, suppressing the chill that ran down her spine at the image of a brain-fried Second Child. ‘Try to find a different way to approach this-‘

“That is true.” Gendo Ikari’s voice suddenly boomed over the Command Centre, snapping Misato out of her thoughts. “Rei, go to Dogma and get the Lance.”

‘Dogma!? But that’s-!’

“What?!” Misato whirled towards the Commander, her mind idly registering the subdued agreement of the First- Child somewhere behind her. “Commander, if Adam and Eva were to come into contact it would cause the Third Impact! We can’t take that chance, it’s too dangerous!”

Gendo Ikari, for his part, took the Major’s words without flinching or taking his eyes off the battlefield, although the latter was always hard to tell with those tinted glasses of his. Regardless, such blatant disregard towards the possibility of a third apocalyptic event upon the Planet Earth did leave one fact clear within Misato’s mind:

‘So that story was a lie. But if contact with an Angel didn’t cause Second Impact, then what did?’

Another loud cry brought Misato’s attention back to the battle at hand, where the feed from Unit-02’s Entry Plug showed Asuka scratching at her scalp hard enough that Misato could clearly see the beginning of self-inflicted wounds on the girl’s head.

‘That doesn’t matter right now, we need to get Asuka out of there quick! Rei’s trip to and from Dogma will take way too long.’ Misato checked on Rei’s progress, Unit-00 having just attached itself to one of the Eva catapults. ‘But with Rei going for the Lance, the only Eva we have available is...’

Misato’s eyes flickered towards Shinji, towards the anguished face of a young boy watching helplessly as a friend was forced to go through unimaginable torture. The major’s eyes then shifted towards Asuka’s feed, showing the usually brash girl screaming in agony for very different reasons. Finally, a quick look behind her revealed the Commander and Sub-Commander both to be fully focused on their own private conversation.

The latter would give Misato all the opportunity she required to carry out the plan that was gestating in her mind. The only thing she needed at that point was the will to make it so.

‘...What would you do in my position, Kaji? This could spell the end of the mission you gave me but... would you abandon Asuka for the Truth?'

'Perhaps you would. You did abandon me because of it, after all. But can I do the same, knowing how much I hated you for it?'

'...No, I can't. This mess isn't Asuka's fault, and she shouldn't pay for it. Besides...'

Misato felt her hands clench into tight fists at her side, a blend of determination and revenge flaring inside her chest.

'...I’m done losing people.’

Her mind set on acting in spite of the consequences, Major Katsuragi strode purposefully towards her confidant and collaborator, Makoto Hyuga. The young man was working feverishly, streams of data regarding the workings of the Evas quickly scrolling through his terminal, but his pace ground to a sudden halt when he felt Misato’s hand on his shoulder.

“M-Major?”

“Can you get Unit-01 topside?”

“Huh?!”

“Keep it down.” Misato hissed, clamping down on her subordinate’s shoulder to remind him of the sort of conversation that they were holding. “Can you unfreeze Unit-01 from here?”

“Y-Yes. But Major! That would be going against orders!”

“I know. I’ll be taking the fall for both of us, though, so don’t worry.”

“That doesn’t make it any better!” Makoto hissed back, an undertone of worry running through his words. An undertone that, despite the seriousness of the situation, Misato couldn’t help but smile softly at.

“...You’re a good guy, Hyuga.” The Major commented, not missing the hint of a blush that appeared on the young man’s face at the praise. She quickly directed his attention at the main screens of the Command Centre, however. “But stop staring at your data for a moment and look at Asuka; she’s in horrible pain, going through something that we can barely even imagine. Are you telling me that I should just hang her out to dry until Rei can help her? Who knows what kind of permanent damage she could suffer by then? Hell, who knows what kind of permanent damage she’s already suffered?”

“I… No... But, Major-!”

“Makoto!”

Misato felt the young man stiffen at both her tone and the use of his first name, and while the Major knew taking advantage of the man’s poorly disguised infatuation to be an underhanded move, the ends justified the means for this one, as far as she was concerned.

“I… I’ll see what I can do.”

Means that brought her one step closer to her objective, and that had Misato breathing a sigh of relief at Hyuga’s consent. She then softly squeezed the bridge bunny’s shoulder in gratitude before motioning with the same hand towards one of the headsets lying on top of the main terminal.

“Thank you. Pass me that headset and give me a secure line to Unit-01.”

The young man nodded, managing to make a great impression of a board, and handed the requested object to Misato without a word. And while it was quite obvious that Hyuga wasn’t as convinced about their course of action as she was (this was much more overt than their espionage stints over the last few weeks, after all), Misato still felt a bit flattered at the young man’s loyalty considering that he had nothing to gain out of this in the immediate future.

...

Maybe she’d change that. She’d offer to grab some drinks with him, sometime when she felt like she could provide decent company, just as an extra thank you for sticking with her.

...

Surely Kaji wouldn’t mind.

...

But that wasn’t the moment to think about hypothetical scenarios, it was the time to make sure that all the remaining people she cared about were kept safe until that day and beyond. Starting with Asuka.

Knowing full well that they were committed, Misato put on the headset and performed one last covert sweep of her surroundings in order to make sure that they were still in the clear, quickly determining that, much to her satisfaction, most of the eyes present seemed none the wiser as to her planning.

‘Most’, but not ‘all’, for a pair of eyes did follow her every movement:

The Head of Project-E and on-and-off best friend of hers was looking at Misato with a fair bit of interest, more than likely having already figured out what it was that she was going to do. The Major, for her part, returned the gesture with a sharp look, almost daring the woman before her to choose between their (admittedly rocky) friendship and her role within NERV’s amoral chain of command.

But, much to Misato’s surprise, the Head of Project-E merely smiled to herself and looked away, busying her mind with other matters. A gesture that was baffling to the Major, but definitely not one that she was going to question.

“Misato-san!” Shinji’s anxious voice suddenly erupted from the headset, bringing Misato back to the matter at hand. “W-What’s going on?! Why won’t Father-?!”

“I don’t know, Shinji, but I need you to calm down.” Misato cut the young boy off, speaking into the headset so that only the Third Child could hear her words. “I’m going to bring you up there soon enough, but this needs to be our little secret, okay?”

“Secret...?” Shinji echoed, his initial relief at being deployed quickly being overshadowed by the Major’s choice of words. “Misato-san! Are you-?”

“I’ll be fine. You just worry about Asuka, okay?” The Major tried to placate the young boy’s fears, focusing him back on the task at hand. “Get her out of the way of that beam and back to safety. Drag her kicking and screaming if you have to.”

“O-Okay. I’ll do my best.”

“I know, Shin-chan. You’ll be fine.” Misato nodded at her ward’s conviction with a soft smile. She then turned towards her co-conspirator, awaiting the arrangement of the last part in their scheme. “How’s that override going, Hyuga?”

The young man didn’t respond for a few moments, his hands flying over the keyboard at a pace that Misato had only seen Ritsuko surpass, and making the code on the screen scroll away without offering any chance for Misato to read it. Ultimately, though, Hyuga entered one last command and turned towards her, his prior apprehension all but discarded and awaiting her order.

“...It’s ready.”

An order that Misato had no intention of delaying.

“Good. Unit-01, launch!”

>-O]|[O-<

Shinji launched Unit-01 into a full sprint forward as soon as the Evangelion broke the surface, not even waiting for the shoulder pylons to fully disengage and causing the catapult to break down into pieces behind him as a result. Driven by panic, worry and anger in equal measures, the young boy at the helm of Unit-01 ordered the robot to rush past armoury buildings and defensive emplacements, scraping through or even vaulting over the different constructions until its crimson counterpart was in sight. Then, without stopping and with barely a second allotted to coming up with a plan, Shinji unleashed the full might of the Evangelion’s AT-Field with a battle cry and dashed to tackle Unit-02 out of the beam’s way.

An instant later both Evangelions came into contact, and the split-second that they shared under the Angel’s accursed radiance seemed to stretch for a minute to the Pilot of Unit-01. Quickly and one after another, without relief, sounds, cries and feelings not his own assaulted his senses in a dissonant cacophony, while a kaleidoscope of blurry images served as a backdrop for all the chaos suddenly filling his mind.

Finally, and as a final human-like shadow that stretched vertically in an unnatural manner flashed through Shinji’s head, both Evangelion units crashed against the asphalt together. Unnerved beyond measure, Shinji struggled to bring Unit-01 back to its feet, a feat that took the young boy several seconds to accomplish. All the while, errant bits of the experience Asuka had spent minutes being subjected to replayed in his mind.

‘W-What was that? I-I think I heard sobbing...?’

The Third Child wondered to himself, as his eyes automatically shifted towards the prone form of Unit-02, Shinji’s mind trying to make heads or tails of the information it had been forcefully fed. At least until the boy’s senses picked up on the music winding down to a stop and the light projected by the orbiting Angel disappearing from sight.

With a shake of his head, Shinji decided that it was probably time to move.

‘Later!’

“Misato-san, I’ve got Asuka!” Shinji screamed into the line towards HQ, disregarding the chatter from the line and turning his EVA so that the HUD would lay square centre on the Angel’s position beyond the clouds. “Get us a catapult!”

“Use Access 174-A to return to the Geofront, Third Child.”

Shinji found himself blinking in surprise, just before a feeling of dread took a hold of his gut. The cold, analytical voice of Doctor Ritsuko Akagi wasn’t the one he had been expecting to hear.

“Akagi-san! Where is Misato-san?!”

“Major Katsuragi has been detained for insubordination,” Ritsuko explained, her face set in a neutral mask. “I’ll be taking command of this operation for the moment. Return to the Geofront and await further orders, Third Child.”

“Misato-san... arrested?” Shinji echoed, before a gloved hand angrily smacked the butterfly controls of the Entry Plug. “Dammit!”

The boy’s previous worries had been proven correct, his guardian having decided that saving Asuka was more important than her own well-being. Unlike everyone else in the Command Centre, the place that housed the people, the so-called adults, who were more than willing to sacrifice a kid to the wolves in exchange for their own safety, using ‘orders’ as an excuse.

Orders that were being issued and enforced by one person. The same person that had been in charge during Toji’s-

“Father...”

“Shinji...?” a weak voice brought the boy’s attention to a different feed on the other side of the Plug. “You came...?”

“Y-Yeah...” the Third Child quickly replied, his anger instantly vanishing to make way for concern. “Sorry it took so long.”

“...You idiot...”

The words that eventually answered him were weaker, barely audible enough to be called a proper statement, but they managed to root Shinji in place anyway. Rendered speechless, the young boy could do nothing but stare with wide eyes at the miserable form of Asuka Langley-Sohryu.

After all, the last time he had heard the Second Child speak in that tone of voice had been during the operation at Mount Asama.

“Energy build-up detected within the target! The Angel’s going to attack again!” the report Shinji had been dreading finally came in, snapping him out of his trance, but it was the declaration that followed that made the boy truly stiffen in terror. “Wait, the build-up-! It’s increasing to higher levels than before!? The energy output is doubling- no, tripling the original readings and climbing!”

Recognizing the dispatch for what it was and knowing that time was running short, Shinji grabbed hold of the prone Evangelion’s forearm and tugged hard on it, spinning around for a running start towards Access 174-A. The sudden loss of forward momentum and a feeling of tautness on his arm quickly told him that such a strategy wouldn’t work, though.

“Asuka, come on! We need to go!”

Shinji punctuated his words by frantically pulling on the appendage he held, the increasingly horrifying reports of the Angel’s preparation sounding off in his ear, but no matter how hard he tried the crimson form of Evangelion Unit-02 wouldn’t budge from its place.

“I’m trying, but it won’t move!” the Second Child screamed back into the feed, desperately pulling on the controls to disastrous results. The redhead gave up after a few more moments of useless struggle, her head dropping further forward and her legs receding into herself. “It won’t move... It won’t move...”

Asuka kept repeating the words like a mantra, curled into a ball and with hands covering her ears, incapable or unwilling to hear Shinji’s encouraging (and panicking) words. Feeling like he was running out of options, the Third Child looked all around for something, anything, that could help him move his comrade to safety before it was too late.

But only armoury buildings and other such defensive emplacements were to be found, nothing that could replace the massive cranes and other machinery used to move dormant EVAs within the bowels NERV.

“Shinji! Retreat now!”

“F-Father?!” Shinji felt his eyes widen at the sudden appearance of a third window, or rather at the undertone of worry that was coming from it. Soon enough, however, the Third Child’s surprise and fear turned to anger as memories of the Pilot of a black Eva being almost crushed to death came rushing back. “No! I’m not leaving Asuka behind!”

“The First Child has almost arrived!” Gendo Ikari insisted. “Unit-01 mustn’t-!”

“Then I’ll cover Asuka until Ayanami can kill it!”

“What?! Shinji!”

The Third Child quickly killed communications with Central Command without listening to any further arguments and stepped Unit-01 forward and in front of the prone Evangelion, fully intending to do good on his claims. With a simple command on behalf of its Pilot the purple behemoth extended its AT-Field, the hexagonal pattern appearing clearly visible to the naked eye even without any attacks threatening to strike it. Within the Entry Plug, Shinji Ikari gritted his teeth in preparation, every thought and every single fibre of his being focused on making the barrier as strong and impenetrable as it could possibly be.

Soon enough, a pinprick of radiance broke through the distant clouds and the choral music suddenly returned, enveloping everything with a resounding and unprecedented power.

And then there was light.

>-O]|[O-<

“Mental contamination has restarted, and it’s spreading faster than before! No, wait! We’re getting some different readings, too! T-The MAGI can’t make sense of them?!”

The panicked words of Lieutenant Maya Ibuki made Rei Ayanami wish that the Eva catapults could somehow make the trip to the surface even faster, never mind the fact that not even the cushioning effect of the LCL would manage to keep her from bodily harm were that to be the case. Pain and the possibility of replacement would still be preferable to hearing the anguished cries of the Third Child.

“Ikari-kun...”

The bluenette tightened her grasp upon the crimson lance, her gaze never leaving the countdown ticking on the corner of her HUD. The First Child had never felt fifteen seconds pass more slowly but, after what seemed like an eternity, the eye of Unit-00 finally managed to catch sight of the exit hatch to the surface, the added sound of many drops of water suddenly splashing against the Evangelion’s armour letting Rei know that she would soon be on the battlefield once more.

She only hoped that it wasn’t too late.

Hopes that were put to the test when the first thing the bluenette saw upon breaching the surface was a wave of light shining all over the southern part of Tokyo-3. At the same time, the audio receivers of Unit-00 began to fill the Entry Plug with deafening choral music, a problem that was barely abated with the First Child’s instinctive reaction of turning down the volume, but not before Rei almost dropped the Lance down onto the ground just as instinctively.
A moment later, the First Child managed to push through the glare and blare just enough to identify the hunched over form of Evangelion Unit-01, arms still held horizontally away from its body, its current appearance a disturbingly good match for the screams that still filled the comm-link.

“Ikari-kun!”

Rei shouted at the top of her lungs into the comm-line for Unit-01 for reasons she’d been hard pressed to explain, a feeling of trepidation running all throughout her body when the young boy failed to reply to her call, or even appear to register her calling out to him, a development that made a sizable part of Rei Ayanami want to jump into the Angel’s attack and drag Unit-01 to safety, much like Shinji himself had done moments before. The better part of her knew of the futility of such a plan, however, fully aware that there was precious little she could do to help the Third Child directly.

The only thing she could do at this point...

“Is the Lance ready for deployment?”

“Yes,” the First Child decidedly answered Doctor Akagi’s question. “I’m ready.”

“Very well, the MAGI has calculated the attack vector and sent it to Unit-00. Ready for launch.” Rei did as commanded, her eyes narrowing as she walked Unit-00 through the necessary preparations. “Starting countdown for-“

“There’s no time for that!” the commanding voice of Gendo Ikari suddenly interrupted. “Rei! Use the Lance and destroy the Angel! Hurry!”

Rei tuned out Doctor Akagi’s protest and focused on making the best out of the incomplete data at her disposal, her actions silently acknowledging her full agreement with the Commander’s directive. The First Child hefted the crimson spear like a javelin, carefully controlling her breathing and manually hurrying the targeting reticule through the target acquisition process until her efforts were rewarded with the words ‘Target Locked’.

Wasting no time, Rei took two wide steps forward and let the weapon fly.

The Lance soared through the air, creating a perfect circumference of blue between the clouds as it forced them to part in its wake. It continued to fly ever higher, even managing to somehow accelerate itself further as the friction in the environment diminished, up until it arrived at its destination thousands of metres up above the city of Tokyo-3 and clashed with the golden hexagon of the Fifteenth Angel’s AT-Field. Its dual prongs spiralled together into a single tip and it pierced through the Angel’s defences as if they were paper, penetrating the alien being beyond just as easily and effortlessly banishing it from existence.

...

In the seconds that followed, the singing ceased, the artificial radiance withdrew from the southern half of Tokyo-3 and the last errant droplets of rain fell onto the buildings and tarmac, giving the chance for natural light to shine down on the last defenders of humanity.

Warriors astonished at the power that they had just unleashed.

“The target... has been destroyed.”

The Fifteenth Angel, codename ‘Arael’, was dead.

But Rei Ayanami felt no sense of satisfaction at the sight. None of the usual relief at knowing that she was one step closer to finally achieving her purpose.
“What’s the status of Unit-01?!”

Perhaps the void in her feelings was due to the same reason why Commander Ikari sounded so uncharacteristically distressed...

“All readings are nominal, no contamination to the Evangelion detected. But...”

“But what?!”

“The- The feed from the Entry Plug...” the tech struggled with the words, not knowing how to explain herself. “...Unit-01 is completely silent, sir.”

...or perhaps it was because the light of the Third Child had all but vanished from his Evangelion.

>-O]|[O-<

Shinji Ikari awoke to the feeling of rain against his face, grass between his fingers and the uncomfortable sensation of lying on his back against something that was very, very wet. Wanting to rid himself of the latter the young boy struggled to his feet, when a plethora of sharp sounds and blurry images suddenly assaulted his mind, almost making him lose his balance.

The moment passed, small scraps of memories of his deployment against the Angel slowly coming back to Shinji, chief among them his rush towards Unit-02 and the glint of light that had preceded the Angel’s attack. Due to that, the Third Child opened his eyes and looked around him, expecting to see the inside of the Entry Plug and the flashing of a warning notice or two.

But, to his shock, it was no steely, smooth surface that he found. In fact, the only thing Shinji Ikari found was absolute nothingness, nothing but a deep fog stretching all around him.

“...W-Where am I?”


By the way, is there some way to copy the contents of the Word document into the board in a manner that respects the formatting and general spacing of things? I fixed it manually for this one, and it's kind of a major pain, so I'm really hoping that there's a better way of doing things.
Author of a few decent Eva stories, which can be found here.

Currently working on a new project: An Insider's Look

pwhodges
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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby pwhodges » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:38 am

Welcome.

There is no direct conversion facility in this or any other forum that uses BBCode. Your best bet (to try, at least) would be to output the Word document as HTML and try one of these converters (select the phpBB version if there's a choice). No guarantees, though.

http://www.seabreezecomputers.com/html2bbcode/
https://www.garyshood.com/htmltobb/
http://skeena.net/htmltobb/
http://www.odditysoftware.com/page-webtools15.htm
https://html2bbcode.ru/converter/

Some of these may use different versions of the same engine...
Last edited by pwhodges on Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby Gryphon117 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:50 am

Those will have to do, then, I'll see how the next update goes. Thanks for the help. ^_^
Author of a few decent Eva stories, which can be found here.

Currently working on a new project: An Insider's Look

Asuka'sBigBrother
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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby Asuka'sBigBrother » Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:45 am

Interesting premise, and it's emotionally compeling.

For advice, there's moments when you spend time explaining something that you've already shown us which ends up disrupting the story's flow.

For example:
Her mind set on acting in spite of the consequences

You don't really need that, Misato's thoughts make it clear.

Another example:
Misato felt her hands clench into tight fists at her side, a blend of determination and revenge flaring inside her chest.

If you just make it
Misato felt her hands clench into tight fists at her side

You make the scene feel like an experience rather than a summary giving it more power.
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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby Gryphon117 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:05 am

Thanks for the feedback, I'll try to keep your counsel in mind. ^_^

That's a problem that I've been having for a long time, now, especially on anything that's not first person PoV. And while I've been trying to cut down on the wordiness the more stories that I write (even succeeding, at times), walking the fine line between too much detail and not enough of it is something that I still have trouble with, and not a problem that I expect to be rid of anytime soon; In any case, do feel free to offer any other improvements, or to voice any concerns you may have with the writing. They're more than welcome. :wink:

In other news, today we deal with the first part in the aftermath of Arael's battle. Someone's not happy.

SPOILER: Show
Chapter 2-1

“What is the status of Unit-01?”

Ritsuko Akagi was not surprised to be assaulted by the question that had become something of a mantra for Commander Ikari almost as soon as she made it into the massive office. The man was outwardly composed, attempting to radiate the same aura of intimidation and control that was feared all throughout HQ, but Doctor Akagi could clearly see it for what it was: a mask attempting to hide the man’s true feelings.

A result of her less savoury compulsions. Through those, Ritsuko had become intimately familiar with Gendo Ikari’s tics and tells, for no single person on Earth was free of those, not even those styling themselves chessmasters of the most dangerous game of all.

And the ones that she could spot on the Commander told her that he was nervous behind the facade. Afraid, even. Being completely aware of the reason behind that response made Ritsuko want to tear her hair out. So much so that she could not stop herself from a little barb.

“Should I begin with the Evangelion or its Pilot?”

“I asked you a very specific question, Doctor.”

But Gendo Ikari was not up for games, it would seem.

‘So you did, you cold hearted bastard.’

Refraining from voicing her thoughts, Ritsuko did her best to detach herself from the conversation, falling back onto her cold and clinical professional persona to report her findings.

“Unit-01 appears to be perfectly intact. No contamination from the Angel’s attack remains and all systems are completely functional, from what we can tell. It would still be recommended that a battery of field tests meant to test the full functionality of the Unit be carried out, however, regardless of the added difficulty due to the-”

“What about the core?”

Ritsuko succeeded at showing no more that a twitch of her eye at the Commander’s impatient interruption.

“There’s no superficial damage to it, but we don’t know anything in regards to its inner workings yet. Analysing the deepest parts of Unit-01 will take more than the two hours we’ve had so far, I’m afraid.”

‘Much longer, if I had a say in it.’


“Finish your investigation as soon as possible, then,” Gendo spoke without any room for argument. “That’s to be your first priority above all else, Doctor. Dismissed.”

The Commander then promptly turned towards Fuyutsuki, his eternally present aide, with the clear intention of resuming their prior scheming and eliminating any thoughts involving the Head of Project-E from his mind at the earliest opportunity. It was clear where Gendo’s priorities lay.

So clear that Ritsuko felt a wave of loathing pass through her at the sight, at the blatant disregard she was being subjected to and, despite her best efforts, she felt her maw clench and a fist form at her side.

Did she mean anything at all to this man? Was she nothing but a simple way to rid himself of his biological needs? The mere thought of the possibility made the blonde feel sick to her stomach.

‘And even while knowing that, you’d still swiftly crawl on his bed at the smallest hint of an opportunity. You pathetic excuse for a woman.’

Yet with a deep breath, Ritsuko forced herself to ignore and push aside the ever present and ever accurate voice of her subconscious as she often did, turning to her seasoned professionalism to sate her curiosity on a second matter:

“One more thing, if I may, Commander.”

“Yes?” Gendo interrupted his muttering to regard her with a sideways glance. “What is it, Doctor?”

“If I may be so bold, what’s to become of Major Katsuragi?”

The Doctor posed her question without feeling that she owed anything to the Major. After all, Misato had made her choice of her own free will, fully aware of the consequences it would bring. Nevertheless, a lost friend was still worthy of a measure of worry.

Ritsuko had enough with a single fool running headlong to his death, as far as she was concerned. She’d prefer it if Misato didn’t share his fate.

“She’ll remain in the brig at half rations until I have the opportunity to question her myself.”

“Is she to be reinstated?”

With a small shake of his head, the Commander turned to regard his second with his full attention once again. His tone made it clear that his patience was at an end.

“You have your orders, Doctor. Dismissed.

“...Understood.”

Deciding not to push her luck any further, Ritsuko turned around and promptly began her trek out of the room, the heels of her shoes echoing into the distance as she replayed the first part of the conversation in her mind over and over again until, at the fifth repetition, an unforeseen query made its way to the forefront of her mind, causing the blonde to linger at the entrance of the spacious office. Then, feeling as if a will not her own had taken hold of her body, the woman turned halfway through to stare at the two males behind her, and heard more than saw their quiet conversation come to a stop.

“What is it now, Doctor?”

“Are you really not going to ask?”

The question burst forth before she had any chance of stopping it and, at the same time, Ritsuko wondered to herself about her own reasons for questioning the Commander. The physical or mental well-being of the Third Child had never been one of her priorities, after all, past the minimum requirements for him to be a useful asset to NERV. Where did this sudden... need to know stem from, then?

Was it a test to find out whether there was room for a scrap of empathy on Gendo Ikari´s single-minded obsession? Space for anything other than longing for the ghost of a long dead woman?

“There’s no point. So long as Unit-01 remains intact, the Third Child’s condition changes nothing.”

If it was, the Commander’s cold words were very clear as to the answer.
Last edited by Gryphon117 on Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby Asuka'sBigBrother » Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:44 pm

View Original PostGryphon117 wrote:Thanks for the feedback, I'll try to keep your counsel in mind. ^_^

That's a problem that I've been having for a long time, now, especially on anything that's not first person PoV. And while I've been trying to cut down on the wordiness the more stories that I write (even succeeding, at times), walking the fine line between too much detail and not enough of it is something that I still have trouble with

It's not that there's too much detail, it's that you're not letting the detail speak for itself. By all means, go into depth describing the scene, but let the reader take the meaning from the scene rather than telling the reader what the detail you're using is supposed to mean. There's nothing wrong with adding detail, but there's a difference between adding detail, and explaining detail.

Don't say "His face is red, colored by rage"
Say "His face is red, colored by the blood beneath it"
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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby Gryphon117 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:56 am

Update time, in which we keep finding out about the aftermath of Arael's attack. A bit of a short scene again, I'm afraid, but we're hitting a streak of slightly longer scenes in the future, so hopefully they will make up for that.

By the way, do let me know if you feel that enough information/feeling is being conveyed by the scenes as they are, or if I should try to strike a better balance between length and expression in the future, one way or another. I also gave this scene a once-over before posting to try and find any instances in which I could put the feedback @Asuka'sBigBrother provided to good use, but whether I managed to properly do so or not remains to be seen.

Any other type of feedback is also appreciated, of course. ^_^

SPOILER: Show
Chapter 2-2

“What do you mean there’s no brain activity?!”

Doctor Tezuka took an involuntary step backwards and felt his back hit the wall, right before his hands reached for the smooth surface and tried their best to provide an impossible grip that would allow a slight retreat from the irate redhead that stood before him.

“P-Please calm down, I’m trying to-”

“That doesn’t make any sense!” Asuka interrupted him for the umpteenth time in less than a minute, stepping further forward until the Doctor’s efforts proved for naught. “Even most coma cases have a small measure of brain activity! Are you telling me that he’s a three in the Glasgow scale?!”

“L-Like I said, we don’t know yet!” Doctor Tezuka quickly elaborated, realising that his attempts to do as a spider would do little to save him from the infamous Second Child. “His brain didn’t receive any sort of damage known to result in a coma, a-at most he could have been in a state of shock from the nature of the attack! But there should be brain activity in such a case and-”

“...and he’s not having any of that.”

The Doctor found his explanation finished by the Second Child, his body instinctively tensing at the girl’s voice. Quickly enough, however, Doctor Tezuka realised that the interruption had carried a dejected undertone, rather than an angry one.

The shift was further reflected by the Second Child’s suddenly apprehensive body language. A change that served to remind Doctor Tezuka that, ultimately, and despite intimidating fronts, he was dealing with a child that was probably very worried about a close friend.

A measure of tact would be very important for his next words.

“...No, he’s not. And like I said, we don’t even know if we should be treating this as a comatose state or... something else entirely. We’ll need to make certain, but I’m afraid that we’re entering uncharted territory for medicine as far as this patient is concerned.”

“But he will wake up, right?”

“...I wish I could give a more definitive answer but... we don’t know. I’m sorry.”

If there was one thing Doctor Tezuka didn’t like about his job, it was the necessary delivery of bad news. And while this development was probably not as disastrous as it could have been considering the odds the EVA Pilots faced every time they sortied, that knowledge did very little in the way of bolstering his spirits.

He only had to look at the way the Second Child’s expression fell even further, after all.

Doctor Tezuka didn’t have anything in the way of encouraging words for the girl, though. Furthermore, he suspected that trying to say anything at that point, no matter how well intentioned, would only serve to make matters worse.

No, only an improvement of his patient’s condition would do, and that, he hoped, he would be able to accomplish. With that in mind, the doctor beat a hasty retreat once his piece was said, quietly offering something about having other patients to check on before making for the door.

But Asuka wasn’t listening to him anymore.

Instead, her eyes were inevitably drawn to the form that lay on the room’s single bed. The rise and fall of the boy’s chest and the sound of peaceful breathing that filled every corner of NERV’s Cranial Ward room 303 could have been mistaken for those of someone in a well-deserved sleep, but the reality of the situation was much different...

“Goddammit, Third...”

...and far more tragic.

‘...You moron. Why did you have to go and do something stupid again? Did you need to show off that much?’

Asuka felt her nails begin to bite into the skin of her hands, but she paid that no heed. Her mind went back to the battle against the Angel, to the awful and still fresh experience that it’d made her go through, that it had made her relive. The memories were muddled, her own forced recollections intermingling into a confusing mess with the events of the actual fight but, even then, one major fact was clear in the redhead’s mind:

‘...No. He needed to save your sorry ass again, that’s what. If you weren’t so useless, Invincible Shinji wouldn’t be stuck to an IV drip right now.’

Asuka wasn’t sure if the sensation running through her body was due to a sense of responsibility or because the Third Child had demonstrated once again for the entire world to see that she could do nothing without him. Maybe it was a mix of both, but whatever it was it made her seethe and overflow with conflicting emotions she had no way of distinguishing.

It made her insides feel like a raging tornado that she couldn’t hope to keep within, a wave of emotion that she had to let out. Thankfully, Asuka had a convenient outlet just for that:

“And you! Aren’t you going to say anything?!”

On the other side of the room, Rei Ayanami continued with her quiet examination of the Third Child, a slight shift of her head showing as the only sign that she had even registered Asuka’s brazen words.

“What should I say?”

“I don’t know! Something! Anything!” The redhead shot back, stomping her way towards her teammate. “He could be dead! Don’t you get it?! Can that concept even make it through your thick skull?!”

“I am perfectly familiar with the concept of death.”

“Then say something! Do something, you-! You stupid doll!” Asuka spat, the appellative coming to her mind with unnerving ease. “Aren’t you sad that your boyfriend is gone?! Or do you need orders for that, too?!”

Much to her satisfaction, her outburst finally got a flinch out of the First Child, but then Ayanami's features hardened and Asuka prepared herself for a confrontation. Shortly after, tranquil red clashed with livid blue...

...and Rei visibly cut herself off from whatever it was that she was going to say, an expression that Asuka couldn’t place flying over the bluenette’s face for all of an instant.

“...I should leave.”

With those words, Rei Ayanami threw one last glance towards the sleeping boy and slowly stood up, beginning to make for the door. Asuka, for her part, thought for a second about barring the bluenette’s path but ultimately decided against it, a sizable part of her instincts telling her that doing so wouldn’t be a good idea.

Instead, the redhead settled for taunting her counterpart as she calmly strode past her.

“What’s that? Running away, First?!”

A provocation that, much to Asuka’s surprise, seemed to actually have an effect on Rei Ayanami, for a change. Having already opened the door to room 303 the bluenette paused at the threshold, without concerning herself with turning around before she next spoke:

“No. But I believe that you’d prefer to be alone at this time, Second Child.”

“...W-What?” Asuka recoiled, caught off-guard by Rei’s remark. “Why would I-?!”

“Because you’re crying.”

Rei’s quiet words shocked the redhead into silence, hard enough that the soft click of the door locking into place seemed to her as a massive boom sounding throughout the room.

In time with the tip-tap of the First Child’s retreating steps, Asuka shakily and tentatively raised a hand to her face, feeling, for the first time, wetness on her cheeks. The sensation was further amplified when a single, tiny drop of liquid brushed past her finger, promptly freefalling to the floor below.

“When did I...?” Asuka felt her eyes widen, a single sob escaping without her control. “W-Why am I...?”

And then, as if conscious acknowledgment was all that was needed for their free passing, a waterfall of tears quickly joined the vanguard. At the same time, one sob after another began to escape the redhead in spite of her best efforts, forcing her to sit down on a chair by the Third Child’s bedside if she wanted to maintain her balance.

And on that night, for the first time in almost a decade and for reasons she couldn’t explain, Asuka Langley-Sohryu
wept until exhaustion claimed her.
Last edited by Gryphon117 on Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Asuka'sBigBrother » Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:04 am

It sounds better, but there's still instances where you're explaining rather than showing. You don't have to tell the ready why a character does something. If you show what the character does, the reader can infer why he/she does it.

There were parts of your story where you focused on the what and left the why to the reader. Those parts, imo, were the best parts. For example:
In time with the tip-tap of the First Child’s retreating steps, Asuka shakily and tentatively raised a hand to her face, feeling, for the first time, wetness on her cheeks. The sensation was further amplified when a single, tiny drop of liquid brushed past her finger, promptly freefalling to the floor below.

“When did I...?” Asuka felt her eyes widen, a single sob escaping without her control. “W-Why am I...?”

And then, as if conscious acknowledgment was all that was needed for their free passing, a waterfall of tears quickly joined the vanguard. At the same time, one sob after another began to escape the redhead in spite of her best efforts, forcing her to sit down on a chair by the Third Child’s bedside if she wanted to maintain her balance.

You didn't mention her sadness once in this excerpt, you just showed it to us. Not only can the reader infer that she's sad, but now that we can experience her sadness for ourselves, the scene is much more powerful than it otherwise would have been.

The more you do that, the better your story will be. As it is, you already have description and detail down to a science.

Sidenote: In exchange for all this feedback, I'd appreciate if you'd give my own story a read:
thread/19228/Evangelion-2-A-Legacy-of-Angels/

Apologize for the self promotion, but my story's comment count is making me consider instrumentality
SPOILER: Show
That was a joke, I'm not actually suicidal.
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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby Gryphon117 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:21 am

Asuka'sBigBrother wrote:It sounds better, but there's still instances where you're explaining rather than showing. You don't have to tell the ready why a character does something. If you show what the character does, the reader can infer why he/she does it.


Yeah, I expected as much. May I ask you to note down one or two instances in which this happens in the scene, just so that I can grow my file on these mistakes and better avoid the pitfall when I get to reviewing the next snippets?

Asuka'sBigBrother wrote:Sidenote: In exchange for all this feedback, I'd appreciate if you'd give my own story a read:
thread/19228/Evangelion-2-A-Legacy-of-Angels/


No problem, that's perfectly fair. I'll give it a read whenever time allows. ^_^

And don't worry about the shameless plug, I'm perfectly aware of what it is like to receive views without comments and/or reviews.
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Postby Asuka'sBigBrother » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:35 am

Examples of where you explained why.
Asuka wasn’t sure if the sensation running through her body was due to a sense of responsibility or because the Third Child had demonstrated once again for the entire world to see that she could do nothing without him. Maybe it was a mix of both, but whatever it was it made her seethe and overflow with conflicting emotions she had no way of distinguishing.

The Doctor found his explanation finished by the Second Child, his body instinctively tensing at the girl’s voice. Quickly enough, however, Doctor Tezuka realised that the interruption had carried a dejected undertone, rather than an angry one.

Doctor Tezuka didn’t have anything in the way of encouraging words for the girl, though. Furthermore, he suspected that trying to say anything at that point, no matter how well intentioned, would only serve to make matters worse.


I'll repeat though, the passage I quoted in my previous post, was very very well written. If you can write more passages like that, you'll have a very good story.
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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby Gryphon117 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:16 pm

Asuka'sBigBrother wrote:I'll repeat though, the passage I quoted in my previous post, was very very well written. If you can write more passages like that, you'll have a very good story.


Good to know, although coming up with those is not something I can pull off with great ease, I'm afraid, even if my grasp on English is decent to good. I'll try my damn best, though.

I'll be posting another scene sometime tomorrow, after I've dedicated a while to trying to purge any instances of the above from it. But for now, I'll take a look at what I can of your story in the half an hour I currently have.
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Postby Asuka'sBigBrother » Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:12 pm

View Original PostGryphon117 wrote:Good to know, although coming up with those is not something I can pull off with great ease, I'm afraid, even if my grasp on English is decent to good. I'll try my damn best, though.

I'll be posting another scene sometime tomorrow, after I've dedicated a while to trying to purge any instances of the above from it. But for now, I'll take a look at what I can of your story in the half an hour I currently have.

sweet. I'd love feedback.
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Postby Gryphon117 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:59 pm

Update time, in which we delve further into whatever place Shinji has landed in. Some of you might notice a fairly big change in the narration style of this scene, which is something that I intend to continue doing during the Shinji bits of the story, as a way to further differentiate it from the more gloomy outlook the other scenes are offering. Do let me know if you find the shift doesn't work all that well, though, or if, on the other hand, you think it does.

Enjoy! ^_^

SPOILER: Show
Chapter 2-3

Shinji Ikari was no stranger to awakening under unfamiliar ceilings, but this; this was something else entirely. On the one hand, because there was no actual ceiling somewhere above his head when he came to; and on the other, because there wasn't anything around him, period.

Excluding the fog, of course. And the more than annoying rain. Rain that had begun to pick up even further during the short while that Shinji had been conscious, causing his shirt to stick to his body and his pants to amass a fairly thick layer of mud, to speak nothing of his shoes.

'Wait a minute... Shirt? Trousers?' the young man paused, looking down at himself. 'But I remember having my plugsuit on...?'

Yet no matter how Shinji looked at it, he was clearly in his school uniform. One more item to add to the growing pile of things that didn’t make much sense, a pile that had been getting disturbingly big in the last two months alone.

"This must be some sort of weird dream," he assumed wryly, his mind going back to other instances he distantly recalled from previous experience. "Like the freaky train ride... and the ones with Asuka and Ayanami..."

Shinji broke his musings off with a blink, the images of his two female teammates showing up in his mind’s eye almost as soon as the names were conjured. Smooth skin glistened under some hidden light as red and blue both posed the question that had appeared many a time in Shinji’s dreams since.

‘No! Focus!’ the young man shook his head fiercely. 'This is not the time for that!’

Hard enough that he ended up tripping over his own feet. Clearly, the feeling of drowsiness wasn’t just limited to his head, and that sudden insight would have also allowed Shinji to experience the sensation of mud all over his face had it not been for the convenient appearance of a surface he could grab a hold of.

A surface that hadn't been there a second ago. Of that, Shinji was completely sure.

"Wha...?"

The Third Child stared at the table that had broken his fall, quickly noting its considerable size and metallic sheen, but what really caught his attention was how cold the surface felt on his fingers. After all, and for how strange he remembered the errant bits of his dreams being, none had been nearly as vivid on his senses as the last few minutes alone had been.

"What... What's going on?" the Third Child frowned, his mind working hard to try and come up with something that would explain the situation. "Is this one of those... lucid dreams?"

But was lucid dreaming supposed to work like that? Shinji didn’t know, but wondering about the cold sensation against his hands suddenly made the Third Child realise that he couldn't feel the rain on his body anymore, nor did he hear the constant drumming of the raindrops crashing against the grass.

Something wasn't adding up. And when Shinji next turned his head to find what that 'something' was, he found himself in a dark room that clearly had very little to do with wherever he had been last.

“W-Wha...?”

The boy's mouth dangled open before his eyes jumped left and right throughout the darkened chamber in search of anything that would explain the abrupt change, efforts that quickly proved fruitless. The only new information Shinji eventually gleaned came in the form of many different crystal containers of different shapes and forms, some of which he recognized as test tubes and Erlenmeyers, the type of tools scientists used to do... science-y stuff. A few boxes he managed to find after flicking on the lights further reinforced that theory.

"...So is this a laboratory, or something like that? Why am I dreaming of this...?" the young man pondered. After all, and unlike the previous... instance with his two teammates, Shinji had never had much of an interest in the sciences before outside of schoolwork. Certainly not enough for them to pop up in his dreams. "...Unless this isn't a dream?"

Shinji’s last theory sounded somewhat silly to him, because what else could this possibly be if it wasn’t a product of his sleep? But nevertheless, and weird as it might have appeared, it actually made sense in a bizarre way considering everything that he had learnt so far. Felt like his instincts were telling him that he was on the right track towards something big.

"But then, where am I? What am I doing here...?

Shinji wracked his brain trying to explain his situation for the third time, amounting to as much success as he’d had the previous two and resulting in a growing sense of frustration.

At least, before an idea struck him: if he couldn’t explain the ‘now’, he’d try to figure out the ‘before’.

And so, Shinji tried to remember. About what he had been doing and where he had been before waking up here. Maybe even find out where ‘here’ was or why he thought the idea of not wearing his plugsuit weird, at the time of his awakening; things that were much easier said than done, considering that Shinji’s head still felt like mush and that trying to recall the past was making him dizzy.

But suddenly, it clicked. Memories of light and song and pain flooding his mind as if they’d been just waiting for the command to do so.

"The Angel! We were fighting!” Shinji exclaimed, before the joy of remembering left way for a sudden realisation. “I-Is this something the Angel did?!"

The voice of a friend screaming her lungs out suddenly filled Shinji’s awareness, and the Third Child quickly remembered where the hurting redhead had been at the end point of his recollections: right behind him, which meant that she could very well be ‘here’ as well...

...and that if she was, the Angel could still be tormenting her even now.

"Asuka!"

No sooner had Shinji’s panicked scream left his mouth that he felt a revolting sensation grab a hold of his body, potent enough to make him double over and grab hold of the nearby table to keep his balance. He saw the edge of his vision blur, the scenery mixing together into a mess of jumbled colours and shapes, and spinning around fast enough that the Third Child was forced to shut his eyes in order to keep the nausea to a far too high minimum.

But then Shinji was forced to plug his ears in a vain attempt at holding off the screeching sounds that followed, a mix between grinding gears and sharp nails scratching at a blackboard that set his teeth on edge and made him scream in pain, although he could barely hear his own voice.

Thankfully for the Third Child’s continued sanity, however, both experiences proved as brief as they were jarring, and the nauseating stimuli to both sight and hearing vanished in but a few short seconds.

"W-What just happened...?"

The Third Child moaned, inwardly wondering whether he actually wanted to find out or not. Much to his chagrin, however, the young boy knew that he couldn’t keep his eyes and ears forever closed. For that reason, and after taking a second to steel himself, Shinji carefully peeked through one eye...

...only for both of them to snap wide open without instruction.

To his shock, Shinji was no longer in the storage room, but rather found himself in a long, long hallway, with plain wooden doors extending along each side and a pungent, clinical smell assaulting his senses. Shinji’s current location appeared to be a hospital wing, although the sporadically blinking fluorescent lights turned the antiseptic white of what should have been a comforting sight into something completely opposite. The silence, deep enough to hear a current of air swoosh by, didn’t help matters, either.

The Third Child felt a chill go down his spine, and not at all due to the cool wind.

"M-Misato-san!” he shouted into the distance, hoping for something. “Asuka! A-Ayanami!"

And while his anxious calls did eerily echo down the hallway, the sound of his own voice repeating time and time again was the only answer Shinji received.

The chill down his backbone promptly turned into a cylinder of ice.

“O-Okay, let’s go, Shinji.” The boy eventually spoke to himself, trying to summon as much will to move forward as he could. “There- There must be an exit to this place somewhere...”

And so, Shinji walked over to the nearest door, silently opening it in the hopes that he could find an open window or something similarly useful within, but Lady Luck was regrettably not at his side. The room was empty and the windows tightly shut, the beds and medical apparatus that had once been used in it lying in a very clear state of long-term disuse. The chamber was also quite dirty (and Shinji could swear to there being mould in some places), which was interesting to the Third Child because, while creepy in its own right, the main hallway didn’t appear to be in nearly as terrible a condition as the room did.

The young man briefly wondered why that could be although, to be completely honest, most of his attention was stuck on the fact that he had just found confirmation about being in some sort of crumbling and abandoned hospital, which did very little to soothe his nerves.

‘Why did you have to listen to Kensuke’s ghost stories, you idiot!?’

Swallowing the lump that had formed in his throat and banishing the words of his Otaku friend to the farthest reaches of his mind, Shinji quickly turned around and exited back to the hallway before continuing on his way. The young man quickly found out that each door had a room number next to it, as well as a name plate for what Shinji supposed would have been the patients inside, had there been any. Or maybe the plaques were meant to have the name of a doctor in them, instead? In any case, the whole thing had no parallels with any hospitals that Shinji had been to before, and the existence of the plates was pretty pointless to begin with; whatever names had been written there in the past were much too worn to be recognizable, at this point.

The young man persisted with his investigation, an inspection that he carried out for what felt like hours without any tangible results or change in his surroundings. The hospital floor was massive and clearly unnatural, for Shinji had walked several kilometres by that point and there was simply no way that any hospital in the world could be that big. He found no stairs going up or down, either, the monotony of the different hallways making Shinji believe at one point that he must have been going in circles.

But if there was one blessing to be found in the repetitive task, it was that the Third Child eventually found his apprehension leaving him and making way for the same mechanical repetition:

...Open, Check, Close...

...Open, Check, Close...

...Open, Check, Close...

...Open, Greet, Close...

...

...Greet?

The Third Child paused all of a second to review his actions before he jumped back to the door he had just passed, throwing it wide open with a joyous exclamation. Further words died in his mouth promptly after, however, for where he could have sworn to have seen someone before there was only yet another empty room, now.

“Huh? Where...?” the boy checked the room side to side and up and down, wondering if his mind was playing tricks on him. “Where did they go...?”

But then an abrupt sound of hurried steps sounding to his left caught Shinji’s attention at once, and the young man turned just in time to catch a glimpse of a figure turning the next corner. It wasn’t much, barely enough to make out that someone had truly been there, but the Third Child felt his spirits suddenly soar sky high, nonetheless.

After all, he would have recognized the mane of red hair anywhere.

“Asuka!” he called out, breaking out into a run. “Asuka! Wait up!”

But the continued staccato of speedy footsteps quickly told Shinji that his teammate had not listened to his request. What’s more, by the time the Third Child reached the corner Asuka had disappeared around, he was barely able to catch another glimpse of red entering a distant room.

Without stopping, Shinji rushed towards the open door, willing his legs to carry him as quickly as they possibly could, fast enough that the young man covered the distance to the halfway point in record time.

And it was then he heard a girl’s scream.

“Asuka!”

With renewed vigour, the Third Child pushed himself even harder for the second half, a moment later finding himself a scant few metres from his destination...

...only to be nearly blown off his feet when the door exploded off its hinges with a deafening bang.

Shinji slid to a stop, his instincts taking hold of his actions as his mind tried to scramble for a proper response to the latest development. At the same time, the dust settled and slowly allowed line of sight of whatever it was that had come out of the room.

Soon enough, Shinji felt his jaw drop.

The... thing that had broken through the door looked like a twisted suit of medieval armour that menaced with spikes of hardened metal on several places, but it appeared to be old and rusty, the joints creaking and screeching with the smallest of movements, a detail that did nothing if not increase its intimidation factor.

But in spite of the darkened armour’s aggressive appearance, what really caught Shinji’s undivided attention was further behind it: an oversized blade, every bit as ancient and corroded as the armour was, but looking like it belonged in the grip of a body thrice its size.

Shinji also suspected that anything struck by it wouldn’t find the likely lack of an edge to be of much comfort.

“W-What... the... hell...?” the boy breathed out, wide eyes fixated on the terrifying visage of the sudden arrival.

And it was then that the armour’s helm turned towards Shinji.
Last edited by Gryphon117 on Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby Asuka'sBigBrother » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:20 pm

Best passage yet, curious how this connects back to NGE though.
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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby Gryphon117 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:01 pm

Sorry for disappearing like that. I'm afraid that I've got no excuse for failing to update the thread in nearly two weeks other than that I... sort of forgot about this place. -o-;

In any case and to make up for that, I'll be uploading the thread daily until we arrive at the point where I currently am in SV. Hope you'll not mind my little blunder. Enjoy! ^_^

SPOILER: Show
Chapter 3:

Shinji Ikari watched the sentient suit of armour before him with the same kind of terrified consideration that a wounded gazelle would give a wandering lioness. He watched the shifting of its legs, the readiness of its body and the surges of blackish mist from its joints that accompanied the armour's heavyweight shuffling of the decaying slab of steel behind it. His eyes followed the slow but intent motions that took the sudden arrival out of the shattered remains of the door it had just broken through, and straight across from Shinji's position.

All the while the Third Child felt his breath hitch in his throat and his knees threaten to buckle. Especially when the metal clad insult to all things reasonable hunched slightly forward in what looked like a preparation to strike.

Interestingly enough, and if he hadn't been a lot more concerned with the rest of its movements (particularly those of its sword arm), Shinji might have recognized the slight inclination of the armour's head as the sign of someone trying to take a better look at something before them, almost as if it were squinting.

But he wasn't, and he didn't. And in response to what was for all intents and purposes a giant threat, the Third Child's fight or flight instinct kicked into full overdrive, offering him its eponymous two choices:

Of which, as far as Shinji was concerned, only one could ever be correct.

And so, the young man turned tail and ran, setting a new record for the distance he'd just covered a minute ago and not caring in the slightest about his considerable achievement. His attention was better spent elsewhere, after all, for following far too close behind him Shinji heard the sound of what could have easily been mistaken for a freight train. That is, if freight trains made a point out of letting out terrifying roars and smashing everything in their way that wasn't nailed down to the floor. And even some things that were, too.

And while it might be a true fact that the thing following him didn't look nearly as scary as some of the Angels he'd fought in the past had been... once again, Shinji didn't care. For one, it was painfully obvious to anyone with a measure of awareness that here, wherever 'here' was, Shinji didn't have an EVA at his disposal. He didn't have an impenetrable barrier that he could summon at will to keep himself safe from attacks, either, and the young man was fully aware that, judging from the vividness of everything else he'd felt in this place, any damage he sustained wouldn't be limited to the painful nerve feedback that Unit-01 usually repaid his mistakes with. And since the sentient suit of armour seemed intent on causing as much damage as possible to anything in its path...

'I mustn't run away' didn't feel like a mantra to follow in this situation, so the young man continued to focus on fleeing as fast as his legs would allow for what felt like forever, feeling on more than one occasion like he had whatever it was that passed for the breath of the thing almost brushing against the back of his neck. So complete was his single-mindedness that when Shinji heard a massive crash somewhere behind him after taking a tight corner, he didn't look back. He dared not look back.

He did use the opportunity to enter the first abandoned room he passed by, though, hoping that breaking line of sight would somehow convince his pursuer that he wasn't worth going after anymore, or that he had managed to leave it in the dust, or something. A very optimistic hope, Shinji realised, but one that was equally as hopeless as trying to outrun an indefatigable suit of armour; besides, it actually seemed to be working.

At least, until the rusted piece of murderous metal broke straight through the room's wall...

...and then kept going. Through one wall, and the next, and the next...

Shinji blinked, his eyes gluing themselves to the monster's exit hole as his body struggled to regain his breath against the door he had just entered. He tried to make sense of what he'd just witnessed, to fairly lacking results, as seemed to be the constant, lately. After all, the armour that had spend the last episode of his life trying to maim, smash and generally hurt the young man had just... all but ignored him.

And as he heard the sound of destruction and demolition continue further down the path, Shinji Ikari felt the call of curiosity well up inside him, now that the attempt on his life seemed to have passed.

Now, Shinji was fully aware that going after the thing that had just tried to murder him felt like the absolute worst thing to do, but the Third Child still felt compelled to do so anyway, for some reason. Perhaps it was a case of 'Know Thine Enemy'? The idea that if he could figure out what made his rusty assailant tick he could better avoid it in the future?

Because Shinji knew that he was bound to run into the thing again even if he managed to run away this time. Worst-case-scenario was an apt description for how his luck usually turned out, after all.

'...If I keep quiet and out of sight it should be fine... Right?'

Shinji wondered, eventually working up the courage to move from his position and carefully follow the trail of destruction up to the source, which he found a dozen or so rooms down the line, still fixated on its only apparent purpose in existence. The armour flailed around, howling madly and using its oversized blade to strike at the wall it faced time and time again, until what remained of it were but a pair of thin pillars standing upright by little more than a whim of gravity. Through all of its wide strikes, though, and much to Shinji's relief, not even one came close to hitting anywhere near his hidden position.

More relevant to the boy's interest, however, was the fact that, even though its head snapped in his direction far enough that it should have been able to see him a few times, or at least suspect something, the berserk hunk of metal made no indication whatsoever that it had actually done so.

'It can't... It can't see me?'

The Third Child waited for a few more instances before deeming his theory plausible and launching an experiment to prove it. Quietly, the young man looked around his position for something he could throw into the room, eventually settling on an Erlenmeyer that had somehow survived the tearing up of the formerly intact alcove. Picking it up and preparing it like he would a baseball, Shinji aimed towards the corner of the room that the armour wasn't shredding and let the container fly.

After a beautiful arc, the Erlenmeyer met the ground and shattered into a million pieces. Soon after, the dark knight snapped towards it and, following a heavyweight arc of its own, began to tear up the opposite end of the room.

Much to the Third Child's satisfaction.

'It can't see me!' the young man thought. 'It guides itself by sound! God, that's such a relief!'

For the first time in what felt like an eternity since he had landed in that strange place, Shinji Ikari had control over some part of his surroundings. And for the first time in just as much time, Shinji Ikari felt a bout of confidence swell within him.

Unfortunately, it was a known fact that Shinji Ikari and overconfidence never mix to offer positive results. The Third Child should have learned his lesson after the Twelfth Angel; this time, the consequences of his boldness came about when the young man accidentally knocked loose a precariously balanced piece of plaster as he openly rose from his hiding place, which crashed against the ground with a very audible smash.

Noise that, just like before, Shinji's nemesis didn't fail to pick up on.

"Oh, crap."

Knowing what was coming next, the Third Child wasted no time in breaking into a run, and the game of cat and mouse resumed in earnest; hallway after hallway rushed past Shinji's vision, the young man feeling like his neck was a hair's breadth away from meeting the cold embrace of rusted metal on one too many occasions. Such instances multiplied the more that Shinji felt his legs and lungs burn, the curse of exhaustion steadily taking its toll on his body.

Eventually, it became clear to the young man that, unless his pursuer somehow messed up once again, he was probably done for. But as irony would have it, it was Shinji who stumbled to the ground that time, tripping over his feet after a desperate attempt at avoiding being run over.

A fall that, despite having awarded him the opening he had hoped for, Shinji simply couldn't exploit to any potential.

"Not... like this..." the young man grunted, pushing against the floor and trying to will his body into standing back up. "Gotta find... Asuka..."

But Shinji's tired frame wouldn't listen to his commands. Or rather, having been brought to and back from its limits many times over, it just plain wasn't capable of doing so anymore. Hurting all over, the Third Child was forced to turn around onto his back and just stare as the demon that had viciously pursued him up to that point disentangled itself from the mess of bricks and plaster it had skidded into, and resumed its furious charge towards the prone and defenceless Third Child.

It was all Shinji Ikari could do to tightly shut his eyes with a muttered apology and brace himself for the incoming blow...

...

...that never came.

Instead, Shinji felt a sudden wetness strike his arms and head, hundreds upon hundreds of ice-cold pinpricks falling all around him and a sound akin to sizzling taking the place of the metallic creaking he'd been dreading.

Curious and hopeful, the young man opened his eyes and risked a peek through the fleshy fort of his arms. What greeted him was fog and rain as far as the eye could see.

Cold, encroaching, blessed, fog and rain.

And all alone, with the sound of heavy rain as its only accompaniment, Shinji Ikari's hysterical laughter echoed far down the fog-ridden grasslands.

>-O]|[O-<

"...This place looks dreary. Whatever happened to it?"

A figure looked around at its immediate surroundings, its eyes exploring the area where they had unceremoniously landed and trying to get as much information as possible. Said information was sadly limited to the feeling of grass beneath its butt, and of coldish winds blowing across the field, though, for the access to any further insight was blocked by a very deep and encroaching fog that barely allowed uninterrupted vision around a radius of ten metres.

A fog that was a fairly recent addition to the place, the figure quickly realised with a sigh.

"Oh, right. I happened to it. Pretty shocking what a mistake or two can do around here." The figure sighed, rising to its feet. It then huffed and crossed its arms. "But they didn't need to go so far as to kick me out for those teensy, little blunders, either! It's not like they have a perfect track record!"

The latter half was spoken sharply, loud and with a chiding tone to the distance behind, and quickly swallowed by the deep fog. The figure had little doubt that its words had been heard by the intended recipients, however.

For all the good it was going to make in the near future.

"Oh, well. Enough of that!" the figure marked her shift into enthusiasm with a psyching slap on its face. "If this is what I've been handed, this is what I'll work with! Besides, this place might look grey and drab and desolate right now, but it's not like I can't do my part to make it a bit more... vibrant and colourful! Yeah, gotta stay positive!

"Now, what could be vibrant and colourful and work around here..." the figure mused, pondering the options that were available. "Maybe a little garden with flowers over here? And a few houses with flashy fronts over there...?

"Oh, I know! A farm! A farm with many animals, and a cute, red roof and... and... and sunflowers!" The figure snapped its fingers, before spinning around in a flurry of activity, excitedly planning how to turn its vision into a reality. "Oh, yeah! That's perfect! The best way to liven this place up! I should get to work on that as soon as-!"

The figure cut itself off as swiftly as its twirling came to a stop, confused eyes promptly falling on a specific point in the distance hidden behind the layers of impenetrable fog. Its body tensing up in anticipation, the figure devoted all of its attention to trying to figure out the sudden puzzle that had just sprung up somewhere behind the endless wall of white.

“...What was that?”

What the figure had felt was a faint, tiny and almost imperceptible sensation. A small and insignificant enough presence in the far distance that it wouldn’t have thought anything of it had it not felt utterly... foreign.

And yet, familiar at the same time.

The fact that it had sounded like someone being tickled to death was also sort of perplexing. Nothing that fit such a description should have been around, after all, unless it was another bizarre result of its actions?

Whatever it was, the figure resolved, it demanded further investigation. The farm and the sunflowers could wait a little bit.
Last edited by Gryphon117 on Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby Asuka'sBigBrother » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:04 pm

Damn, this is easily my favorite story on gthe fan fiction stories. There were couple of times where you explicitly outlined emotions the audience could have inferred, but those would be nitpicks. This is great.

Also props for taking an NGE style vision/dream esque detour.

SPOILER: Show
Ps: I've finished the 5th chapter of my story...
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Postby Gryphon117 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:15 pm

Thanks, glad you liked it. I'm cooking dinner right now and heading to bed soon after I eat, but I'll take a look at your updates tomorrow after work. ^_^
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Postby Gryphon117 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:51 pm

Chapter 3-2  SPOILER: Show
Chapter 3-2

The Second Child awoke to the glare of the morning sun shining on her face, and as consciousness returned to her she slowly took notice of her surroundings, an intermittent beep and the sterile white around her reminding her that she was in a hospital room. Room 303, to be precise.

Asuka quickly noticed that her neck and back also ached something fierce, stressing how much of an idiot she was for falling asleep on an uncomfortable plastic chair like she had. Not that Asuka’s attention was focused on her body’s more than well justified admonishing.

“Not that dream again...”

The Second Child moaned softly and pinched the bridge of her nose, the unwanted memories clinging to her awareness in spite of her best attempts at banishing them. It had been the same way it always was in the same nightmare that had plagued her dreams for years now, with the same hospital, the same hallway and the same door...

...Followed by the same sight of her mother’s lifeless corpse dangling from the ceiling.

Asuka had seen the scenes so many times before that not recalling the vivid details and events of that day was the hard thing to do. She was fairly certain of the fact that she could put to paper her memories of what happened, and that they would be an almost perfect retelling of the day her mother, Kyoko Sohryu, killed herself.

Many times Asuka dreaded the idea of going to sleep, knowing what it was that would almost certainly be waiting for her, just like her latest try had attested to. Funnily enough, however, she felt like there had been something slightly different about her usual demons this time. Some small, fleeting detail that had felt... off.

Asuka couldn’t figure out where the feeling was coming from, though, but maybe if she tried to remember...

“Oh, you’re awake.”

A female voice suddenly intruded into Asuka’s thoughts, and the redhead’s hands flew away from her aching head and towards her sides. A quick look forward revealed the stranger to be Doctor Akagi, who was checking the monitors connected to the still sleeping Shinji, no doubt confirming if there had been any changes.

The serious look on the woman’s face didn’t imply anything positive, however.

Completely focused on her work, the Doctor’s expression didn’t change in the slightest when she extended her left hand towards Asuka while she continued writing with her right, the pace of her work barely hindered by the handicap.

“If you don’t mind, might I have my coat back?”

It was then that the redhead noticed Ritsuko’s curious lack of her ever-present white coat, which allowed unimpeded sight of the sleeveless top and miniskirt combination that the woman usually wore beneath.

At the same time, Asuka felt a sort of fabric foreign to the plugsuit she’d been wearing since the day before brush her finger. She then looked at her shoulders, finding with some surprise that a laboratory coat had been draped over them. Akagi’s, she surmised.

That answered one question. Blinking the drowsiness away, the Second Child grabbed hold of the coat and passed it over to its rightful owner.

“Sure.”

Which the Doctor took and put on without slowing down, once again, using the hand that wasn’t busy to write while its pair was trapped in the sleeve.

‘That’s one ridiculous sight.’ Asuka thought with a grimace. ‘Guess I know whose face appears under ‘workaholic’.’

The girl’s gaze then fell to the young man that still slumbered peacefully, her grimace growing for very different reasons.

“Have there been...”

“Any changes? No, I’m afraid not,” Ritsuko finished, not taking her eyes off the screen. “The Third Child remains in his perplexing state of prolonged mental inactivity, and we continue to have very little idea as to why that is.”

“...Right.”

Silence followed Asuka’s barely heard reply and both women focused back on their previous activities: while the Doctor tirelessly typed away, Asuka’s mind went back to the previous day and continued to stew on ‘ifs’ and ‘coulds’ for what could have been hours.

Ultimately, though, the final keystroke that denoted the end of Akagi’s assignment caught Asuka’s attention, and she saw the woman push the keyboard into the machine with an irritated huff. The Doctor then turned to regard the redhead, her expression covering both exhaustion and exasperation.

“I didn’t think you as the sort who would linger at someone’s bedside, Second Child, much less for an entire night. Are you concerned?” Ritsuko questioned with a tone that bordered on sarcastic, before it crossed the frontier into the critical. “Or perhaps you feel responsible for his condition? Your performance in the last battle was quite frankly appalling, after all.”

The Second Child blinked and looked in the Doctor’s direction, her tired and overtaxed brain needing a second to process what it was that she had heard. The answer was explosive when she did, though.

“What?!” Asuka shot to her feet, the chair crashing against the floor behind her. “What do you know-?!”

If Akagi was in the least intimidated by her outburst, however, her effortless silencing of the redhead before her hid it magnificently.

“I don’t need to know. My role is to use my talents to give the Evangelions the best chance at destroying the Angels, which I have been doing in the form of weapons and battle analysis for you to use,” Ritsuko shot back, sharp and professional. “Your role, Second, is to use the greatest weapon mankind has ever devised and all the tools at your disposal to slay the Angels, which for a supposedly Elite Pilot with a decade of training you’ve been failing miserably at.”

The woman then motioned to the sleeping Third Child, Asuka’s wide eyes slowly following the gesture.

“Quite honestly, your lack of any meaningful contributions to the war effort since the Tenth boggles the mind. Judging from your recent effectiveness, we might as well throw the Third into an Evangelion and hope for the best when the next Angel comes.” Ritsuko pulled back her arm and crossed it with its twin. She then fixed the Second Child with a warning stare. “I can’t say I understand what it is that Misato was playing at in regards to her responsibilities, but results such as yours should have been unacceptable from the very start. Just as they will be from now on.”

Asuka’s eyes widened and she felt an icy coldness grab a hold of her chest, finding a multitude of meanings to the Doctor’s last words. None of them were pleasant.

“W-What do you mean...?”

“You’ll be notified if and when it’s required for you to know, Second Child.” Akagi coldly replied, breaking Asuka’s hollow words and starting to make for the door. “We’ll be holding a battery of synch-tests in two days’ time. Make sure to be on time.

“Oh, and before I forget,” the Doctor spoke once more, pausing briefly at the threshold to glance over her shoulder. “If you’re planning on continuing your nightly vigil over the Third Child, I’ll ask that you make sure to keep your own health in mind, as well. We can’t have fifty percent of our combat capabilities out of action in case of a sudden Angel attack, no matter their efficiency or... service expectancy.”

Her piece said, Ritsuko turned back around and left the room without another word, the soft click of the door’s closing sounding like a slam to Asuka’s ears. The Second Child remained in place, unmoving and staring at the closed door as if it held the answer to the secrets of the Universe. In truth, however, the girl’s mind was a flurry of activity.

Asuka hadn’t failed to understand the subtext behind Akagi’s words, after all: ‘I have your replacement ready. This is your last chance.’

“I-I’m not...” the girl breathed after minutes of silence, ignorant to the shaking of her hands. “I’m not useless...”

Life without EVA... Asuka couldn’t even begin to imagine such a thing. What could she do if being an Evangelion Pilot, the only thing that could give her life meaning, was to be out of her reach?

The Second Child shrank into herself, the shaking that had taken over her upper limbs spreading to the rest of her body.

“N-No, she won’t...” Asuka continued, her arms rising to grab hold of the back of her head. “She won’t take EVA from me. I’m Elite! I’m important! That bitch doesn’t know the first thing of what she’s talking about!”

The Second Child fell into frenzied muttering, rebuttal after justification after excuse coming out of her mouth at irregular intervals. The shaking of her frame worsened in spite of her efforts and, for the longest time, it looked like she would fall into a panic attack.

At least, until she had an epiphany.

Clearly, Akagi’s threats were just her trying to shift the blame of her own incompetence: battle analysis? The fraud hadn’t had a clue about what any Angel did since the Twelfth, barely offering anything combat useful even in the times that she did! Weapons development? The Positron Rifle she’d been given couldn’t handle the one thing it was supposed to do!

Was it supposed to be her fault that NERV Japan couldn’t get its shit in order? Was it her fault that she had to work with faulty equipment and useless support?

No, that was impossible. Ridiculous. Getting rid of the best Pilot on their roster would be the fastest way for Humanity to kick the bucket! Her performance was fine. If she’d been given all the advantages Ikari and the Doll had, Asuka would have handled most of the Angels by herself, easy. She was sure of it!

Eventually settling on how her removal from the active roster couldn’t happen, how it wouldn’t happen, the redhead uncurled from her semi-foetal position and stood upright once more. Asuka then turned around and narrowed her eyes at the slumbering Third Child before she began to make her way towards his bedside, her fears gradually making way for boiling anger.

“It’s all your fault that they’re doubting me, you know?! You and your goddamn hero complex!” The Second Child seethed, leaning forward to grab Shinji’s shoulders and shaking the unconscious boy like a ragdoll. “I didn’t need your help! I could have handled that Angel on my own, somehow!”

But no response came from Shinji, other than the light slapping against the mattress of the myriad cables connected to him. The Third Child remained unmoving, for all intents and purposes looking like he was blissfully dreaming.

A fact that did little to temper Asuka’s ire.

“Not going to defend yourself?” the redhead hissed, her head dropping until it was mostly hidden by her bangs. “...Tch, it’s better that way. You’d only say you’re sorry, anyway, like always. You spineless wimp.”

A small part of her did wish to hear those two words spoken by the sleeping boy, but it was easily swallowed by the wave of anger and frustration washing over the redhead.

“...Fine, you just keep sleeping and let us do all the work. I’ll show you, Ikari.” Asuka vowed, clasping her hands into tight fists before pushing herself off the bed. “Just you watch. I’ll show all of them how a real Pilot does it!”

Allowing herself barely more than a final glance at the sleeping Pilot, the Second Child briskly turned away and made her way towards the door but, for a moment, and before leaving the room, Asuka lingered at the threshold. She felt like she was forgetting something, like there was something important she’d been doing before Akagi had interrupted her. However, and despite the redhead’s best efforts, she couldn’t recall what it was that she was overlooking.

In the end, and with an angry shake of her head, the Second Child resolved to ignore it. Whatever it was, it couldn’t be that important if she’d forgotten about it and, for right now, Asuka desperately needed a shower and a clean set of clothes.

The Second Child had a top position to reclaim.
Last edited by Gryphon117 on Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:54 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby Asuka'sBigBrother » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:23 pm

Again, top bins. Great work, fantastic characterization, and you're getting the exposition down which is making your story very easy to read.

Couple of things though: You should probably italicize thoughts. You might want to spend more time describing the location of thse scenes and using it to convey a mood. Something like
"White walls enclosed them."

Also, you should consider putting the story under [spoiler] so it's easier to read chapters
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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby Gryphon117 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:54 pm

Asuka'sBigBrother wrote:You should probably italicize thoughts.


Weird, I normally do that and the thoughts in this scene appear in italics for me. I've checked it again and cannot find the unmarked thoughts that you're talking about, so do you mind telling me which part you're mentioning just in case I'm being blind?

Chapter 3-3  SPOILER: Show
"It is impossible to retrieve the Lance of Longinus now."

"Why did you use it?!"

"That was unacceptably reckless! The EVA Series isn't even complete yet! Why do you risk the fulfilment of the Project in such a manner?!"

"Destroying the Angels is our top priority," Gendo Ikari spoke into the circle of pitch-black monoliths, feeling irritated at needing to listen to their foolish prattle for minutes on end. "There was no other way."

"No other way?!" SEELE-05 exploded, like he'd been doing since the start of the meeting. "You'd better come up with a more believable excuse!"

"Indeed," the ill-humoured voice of Keel Lorenz came from within the monolith of SEELE-01, breaking the silence he had maintained until that point. "Your latest actions belie a lack of respect for the will of this Committee, Ikari."

"Everything I've done, I've done with the completion of the Project in mind," Gendo replied, keeping his speech tempered and smooth. "Your doubt is misplaced."

"...Is that so?" the Head of SEELE countered, disbelief all but dripping from his question. "Hmph, we shall see."

"Incidentally, the reports speak of one of your Pilots resulting incapacitated in the last battle, Ikari," SEELE-06 interjected, sounding as displeased as the rest of his peers. "They also mention that Unit-01 is now without an active Pilot. Does that factor into your so-called plans, as well? Or should it be seen as a blemish in your management?"

"I'd put my weight on the latter," SEELE-09 spat. "As such, and without meaning to wander excessively from our current discussion... perhaps we should send another Pilot to NERV? There's clearly not enough depth in the active Pilot pool as it is, and we can ill afford any more mistakes."

"The situation is under control, and we expect to return to usual operations within the week," the Commander quickly cut in, knowing, just as the members of SEELE did, that he was lying through his teeth. "Should the unlikely need arise, we'll procure any necessary replacements through the usual channels."

"Your channels, you mean?" SEELE-06 shot back. "In case it hasn't been made clear, Ikari, this council is deeply distrustful of anything you might have had a hand in."

"And yet, I've laboured restlessly to bring the Committee's will into completion. Standing where we are, at the gates of our greatest triumph, I see not the reason why doubt is laid at my feet."

"You dare claim as much after knowingly putting the Lance in orbit of the Moon?!" SEELE-05 exploded once more. "Do you take us for fools, Ikari?!"

Like a signal shot, and as if they had been waiting for the opportunity to pounce, the entirety of the Human Instrumentality Committee launched into a combined mix of accusations and expletives, all semblance of order and professionalism quickly thrown by the wayside. They turned into rabid dogs sensing a threat to their safety, just as they had when Gendo Ikari had first entered the meeting.

All but one of them.

"Enough." The voice of Keel Lorenz boomed through the chamber, and the monoliths of SEELE fell silent simultaneously. "This derailing will get us nowhere, and I'll have no more of it. The Committee will now discuss how to best adapt to these unforeseen circumstances. Your presence is no longer needed, Commander. Dismissed."

With nothing but a crisp nod, Gendo Ikari did as told and terminated his connection to the conference. Shortly after, he was sitting in his gargantuan office, behind his immense table...

...and sporting a huge smirk.

"It was too much to hope for that they would believe our excuses."

Gendo stared through the corner of his eye at his Sub-Commander, who was finally allowing himself a tired sigh and to rest from the tense position he always kept during the meetings with the Committee. The Commander had wondered for a long time as to the reason why his Sensei felt the need to be present for each and every one of the Council's abundant gatherings, considering that none of the members of SEELE ever had any questions to ask of him; he might as well have been a decorative plant for all the impact Fuyutsuki had during the conferences, and it wasn't like Gendo had ever planned on hiding any information from his Sensei.

Even if in the form of an alliance of convenience, the two men were fully committed to their plans, after all. And both parts knew it.

"It doesn't matter what the old men believe. Let them play their game all that they want, and trust that they have control over anything for just as long."

"...Bold words for one in your position."

"You were always the cautious sort, Sensei."

"I style myself as sensible," Fuyutsuki grunted with a shake of his head. "Do you think they will send a Pilot of their own?"

"A spy, you mean?" Gendo scoffed. "No, they shouldn't have any on hand. Even if they did, I don't know what it would change. Our victory is all but assured."

The Commander couldn't help a smirk at the sudden tensing of his Sensei's body.

"Then...?"

"Yes, the report came in this morning." Ikari elaborated, producing a manila folder from one of the desk's drawers and placing it in the other man's awaiting hands. "Akagi found nothing within Unit-01 that would hinder our plans."

Fuyutsuki sighed once again as he opened and began to inspect the document, although exhaustion had nothing to do with his actions at that point.

"...Assuming that we can trust her words. Or her actions."

"She won't betray us, Akagi's too invested in the Plan to back off now," Gendo reassured him, his words taking on the warmth of ice. "And even if she weren't, she can be replaced."

At his words, Fuyutsuki shifted his eyes from the contents of the folder and towards Ikari's back. For a long second the Professor stared at his former student, seeing not for the first time someone other than the man he'd grown to tolerate sitting on the Commander's chair: an unrepentant manipulator willing to use anyone and anything around him until they were nothing but dust. One that had been seemingly blind to the dangerous glint in Doctor Akagi's eye.

The elderly scholar made no mention of his thoughts, however, for he was more than aware of how deep his own sins ran. Heaven had no place for men of their ilk, which is why they planned on foregoing their seats.

'Would Yui approve of this, I wonder? Of us both?'

"Do as you will, Ikari." Fuyutsuki allowed, clicking the folder shut and making a point of settling back into his usual position. "Just remember that Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."
Author of a few decent Eva stories, which can be found here.

Currently working on a new project: An Insider's Look


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