An Insider's Look

Everything Evangelion Fanfiction related.

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xanderkh
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Postby xanderkh » Wed May 09, 2018 6:34 pm

Considering how varied Asuka is, and how varied her aspects thus far are, that's a pretty impossible question to answer. XD I don't think I could narrow it down to something akin to the Emotions from Inside Out. This is something I think I'll more than likely will be surprised. XD
"You're na�ve, Cecil. Even knowing betrayal and despair, you would depend on the whims of others?" - Golbez
---------------------------------------
Sephiroth: "Do you miss the Light?"
Golbez: "Hmph...I merely have duties to fulfill."
Sephiroth: "Too close to the brightness, and you may get scorched."
Golbz:.............
Golbez: Your loss can strengthen you.

"NGE Shinji is broken, Manga Shinji is an asshole, Rebuild Shinji is an idiot. Which is best? Uh, can I get some other options? All of these really suck." -Bagheera

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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby Gryphon117 » Sun May 13, 2018 11:41 am

Shorter update this week, I'm afraid. This was one scene I had initially wanted to throw in together with the previous one as a way of finishing the chapter, but it just wasn't ready in time. Probably for the best, since I wouldn't have had anything to update with today, otherwise. The next update will be meatier to make up for it, I promise. ^_^

Chapter 6-4  SPOILER: Show
Asuka walked briskly through the hospital wing of NERV HQ, the only thing keeping her from outright running through it being the succession of miffed nurses that always seemed to appear out of nowhere and get in her way the moment she started to jog. Despite the irritating nuisances, however, getting to room 303 as quickly as possible remained her clear objective, a goal that she had even stood up Doctor Akagi for.

‘Your best sync score ever and you decide to come here instead of going to the debriefing, all while fully knowing that Doctor McBitchFace won’t be happy about any of the above,’ the Second Child mentally chastised herself. She kept on moving forward, nonetheless. ‘Watch yourself be kicked out of the program because you just had to come see for yourself, Asuka. You really live up to your genius, sometimes.’

Only a few moments after the last of her self-criticism Asuka rounded a corner into a familiar hallway, identifying her destination just a few doors down the way. Taking a deep breath to prepare herself, the redhead stomped until she stood before room 303 and, perhaps with a fair amount more force than was entirely necessary, threw the room’s door open and charged inside.

Only to freeze in place an instant later.

“Pilot Sohryu.” The much taller man inside stated rather than asked, not turning around from his vigil over the sleeping Third Child.

And it was then that Asuka found herself in one of those rare situations she couldn’t figure out how to deal with. After all, the sight before her topped quite a few of the weirdness records that Ayanami had managed to set up just the day before.

“C-Commander… Ikari? What are you-?” Asuka stuttered, the moment she finally found her voice. She then quickly kept herself from putting her foot in her mouth and scrambled to get into something barely resembling proper military respect. “I-I mean…”

“At ease, Second Child,” the Commander gravely cut her off, turning his head to regard her over his left shoulder. “What are you doing here? I received the initial report on the testing results not that long ago. I expected you to be present at the debriefing at this time.”

“Well, y-yes, but… ” the redhead trailed off and swallowed tightly, wondering just how big a mess she had managed to land herself in.

‘But what? But I skipped it and rushed to see Shinji because I heard his voice inside my head?’ the young girl inwardly groaned, kicking herself one more time for not waiting an hour or two before coming. ‘Sure, Asuka. Tell the Commander you’re going freaking schizo! That will be good for you!’

“I-I... forgot something!” Asuka quickly made up. “I forgot something... important! Yeah, that’s it!”

“Important enough to forego your obligations?”

“Y-Yeah...?”

Asuka looked away, hiding a slight cringe. The Second Child then scrambled for ways of improving on her lie, preferably ones that didn’t dig a deeper hole for herself, but the ideas were not forthcoming.

Not a situation you wanted to be in when you had the Supreme Commander of NERV right in front of you.

“...I see.” The taller man eventually responded when it became obvious no further explanation would reach his ears, even though his narrowed eyes left it clear that he didn’t believe a word Asuka had said. Gendo then turned and walked past the redhead and towards the door, pausing just as he was about to open it. “No matter, good work on today’s test. Keep the effort up.”

“Y-Yes, sir!” and the redhead followed him with her eyes, more than a bit shocked at the development. “Th-Thank you, sir!”

The door slid closed with no further words, and the girl’s entire body sagged forward the moment that it did, letting out a deep, drawn out sigh. That exchange had been much too close for comfort, as far as she was concerned.

“Was he… visiting Shinji?” Asuka wondered to herself when she regained some presence of mind. She then blinked and turned towards the door again when yet another impossibility crossed her mind. “...And did he just encourage me?”

‘Of all the people to validate your efforts, huh? Not Misato, not that fake doctor, not... Kaji. It had to be freaking Commander Ikari,’ Asuka shook her head, feeling torn between amusement and disappointment before she shifted her gaze towards Shinji. ‘...And that’s without going into why he was here in the first place.’

“Wow, never thought he gave a damn,” the redhead scoffed, moving to the edge of the bed. “Looks like you’ve got me beat at shitty fathers, too, Third.

“And speaking of, you’re still sleeping, huh?” Asuka glanced at the different instruments strapped to the slumbering young man, quickly confirming that that was indeed the case. A disappointed sigh soon escaped her. “...Of course you are. What? Did you really expect him to be up and about, Asuka?”

With a frustrated groan, the Second Child grabbed a nearby chair and sat on it, idly going through the events that had ended up bringing her back to room 303. There was the conversation with Akagi and the synch-test, of course, and how she had decided to trust Ayanami’s word and try to ‘reach out’ to the EVA, no matter how stupid it had made her feel for the next hour or so.

And then, for a moment, she could have sworn to have heard Shinji’s voice, shortly after the brief stab of pain in her forehead that had startled Ibuki.

But that couldn’t be... right?

“...It must have been my imagination. Probably lack of proper sleep or something like that,” Asuka concluded, leaning a bit closer. “...But it seriously felt as if-”

“Hmm… He’s kinda cute,” a second voice suddenly cut in from behind her. “Is he your boyfriend?”

Asuka quickly turned around in response, uncomfortable hospital plastic chair clattering to the floor...

...only to find another face a hair’s breadth away from hers.

“W-W-Who the hell are you?!” Asuka exclaimed, shoving the invader of her personal space away and successfully driving them back with a satisfying yelp.

The Second Child then narrowed her eyes and took a good look at them: the one that had managed to sneak up on her was another girl around her age, with long, maroon-coloured hair styled into twin-tails and wearing red glasses, as well as a... garish bubblegum pink plugsuit.

The latter alone gave Asuka all the information her genius needed to know.

“Hm?” the intruding girl blinked in surprise at the rough treatment, before a carefree smile spread across her face. A stark contrast to the scowl she was now receiving. “Oh, sorry, sorry! Did I scare you?”

She then threw her plugsuited hand forward, offering it for a handshake.

“I’m the Fifth Child, Mari Makinami! Nice to meetcha!”
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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Postby Gryphon117 » Sun May 20, 2018 4:39 am

Update time, and it is an extra large one, as promised!

By the way, remember that time I mentioned the possibility of an update not happening one of these weeks? Well, that time might very well be next week. Several RL issues have kept me from getting much writing done this weekend, and I've gotta get my reports done for the end of year evaluation meetings sometime next week, so no large-scale writing is gonna happen in the next few days, either.

So, yeah. Best case scenario I can whip up something short for an update next week, but I wouldn't hold my breath for it unless you like going blue in the face. :tongue:

Chapter 7-1  SPOILER: Show
To the credit of Mari Makinami, the Fifth Child, she stood her ground stoically for the tense seconds that followed her greeting. Even under the sweltering look that the redhead was throwing at her, her arm stayed outstretched and her face remained inviting, although, to be completely honest, the newcomer felt like her smile was starting to strain just a little bit.

She tried her hardest to keep it from showing, though. After all, first impressions were important.

“You’re the one that was sent to replace me, aren’t you?”

At least until she heard the almost palpable accusation in Asuka’s first words. Mari withdrew her hand with a small sigh. Despite her best efforts, no handshakes were going to be had that day, apparently.

“I guess I am. Although it looks like I won’t be replacing anyone after that last showing,” the Fifth Child shrugged casually, her smile weakening but not leaving her face. “Works for me. I didn’t like the idea of taking anyone’s place, anyway.”

“Why don’t you go ahead and pack your things, then?” the redhead pressed on, drawing closer until her scowl was right in front of Mari’s face. “I’m not going to be dropping back down and letting you into my Unit-02, now or in the future.”

“…Oookay? Why so mad?” The other girl blinked, slightly taken aback. Although she showed no signs of discomfort other than the disappearance of her smile. “I’m just here to help, you know? What with you guys taking a few bad hits lately and all that. I guess someone up there thought it would be a good idea to make sure there’s someone ready to step up in case that… you know.”

The maroon-haired girl elaborated on her last point by doing some explosion motions with her hands, complete with sound effects. Efforts that only yielded her another annoyed look from Asuka.

“That’s not going to happen.”

“Well, I sure hope not,” Mari agreed, growing a carefree grin. “I mean, hearing that I was going to stay a backup was a huge relief, to be honest. I’ve never been in an actual EVA-sized combat situation before, you know? Not outside the sims, anyway.”

“Oh, great.” The Fifth Child watched as Asuka’s face wrinkled even more at her admission, and her more scientifically curious side wondered whether the Second Child’s animosity had an actual limit it could hit. “Another greenhorn.”

“And what did you expect? Have you heard of any other kaiju attacks anywhere in the world? You know that stuff only happens in Japan,” Mari shot back, sidestepping the fuming redhead and moving closer to the bed. “In any case, chances are I’ll just end up being a backup for the Pilot of Unit-01, so your precious EVA is safe from my nefarious presence.

“And speaking of, this is the renowned Third Child, huh?”

“You know him?” Asuka questioned, her eyes hardening at the word ‘renowned’.

“And who in NERV doesn’t?” the twin-tailed girl replied cheekily, hovering over the sleeping young man. “It’s not like he’s the rookie that’s leading the scoreboard in terms of Angel kills, right? A real outlier?”

‘A real pain in the ass is what he is,’ the Second Child scoffed, looking away with a small scowl. ‘…Figures he’d be the famous one. Damn showoff.’

“I thought he’d be more imposing, though. And more awake,” Mari eventually spoke, the slight hint of disappointment that seeped into her words bringing Asuka’s attention back to her. “What happened to him?”

“No one knows, some sort of weird coma,” the redhead briefly grumped, looking away once more for a different reason. “He’s been like that for a while now.”

“Hmm… So he’s kinda like the guy version of Sleeping Beauty, then?” Mari proposed, and Asuka had to admit that it was indeed an apt comparison. The redhead’s attention was then brought back to the bed when she heard the tell-tale rustling of bedsheets, her blue eyes widening like plates when she spotted the other girl drawing closer to Shinji’s face with a wide grin on her own. “…Hey, think he’ll wake up if I give him a kiss?”

“W-What the hell are you doing?!”

Asuka’s voice boomed across the small room, loud enough that she could have sworn it echoed. She also found herself hovering above Shinji’s bed and about to push the invading girl off of it, despite having no recollection of having willed her body forward.

Mari Makinami, for her part, stared at her in perplexed silence for a second or two before she broke out into loud laughter. That didn’t help matters much either, as far as the redhead was concerned.

“Come on, I’m just kidding! You really took that seriously?” the maroon-haired girl pushed herself back, her laughing slowly dying out into chuckles. She then raised her eyebrow at the other girl, her look turning curious. “Why are you getting so worked up about it, anyway?”

Asuka jumped off the bed and felt her face heat up at the loaded question. She then snarled and opened her mouth to tell the twin-tailed girl to mind her own damn business, but her best efforts ended up as little more than incoherent babbling because of a sudden lack of cooperation on the part of her tongue.

The Second Child’s face heated up even further.

“…Oh, I see. I guess I wasn’t so off the mark before~” Mari rested her head on her hands and admired the reactions, sing-song words filling the room as a Cheshire smile spread all over her face. “So the mean and serious Second Child does have a heart somewhere in there. That’s good to know!”


>-O]|[O-<​


Shinji Ikari stepped out of the farm and into the fresh outside to enjoy the lack of constant rain a little bit more than he had been able to, before. The young man figured that he couldn’t really do much other than thinking about his future plans until Asuka showed up, anyway, and doing so with the feeling of grass between his fingers and a nice breeze hitting his face sounded like a better idea than doing so inside.

At least, until something struck the top of his head.

“...Again, Ace?” the Third Child grumbled, rubbing the affected part. “Can you please stop throwing things at my... head?”

Shinji fixated his gaze on the object of his afflictions, quickly noting that it wasn’t one of the wooden chips the Pilot had attacked him with before, but rather a very small stone. Also, there seemed to be no actual sign of Ace being around (mainly due to the lack of immediate taunting comeback that Shinji would have expected out of her), so it truly seemed as if the redhead was completely innocent this time. Curious, the Third child picked the pebble up to examine it a little bit closer...

...and then let go of it almost instantly.

“Uwah! Hot!”

The little rock felt as if it had spent half an hour inside a full-power oven, and Shinji couldn’t help but be a little surprised at that. Just when he thought he had grown accustomed to most of the things Asuka’s brain could throw his way, there always seemed to be something new to see.

Another pebble landing a few steps away from him interrupted the young man’s musings, followed by a second and then a third. All the while, Shinji’s brain went through the causes that could have created such a blazing hot stone, not really liking the one that had made it to the forefront.

The Third Child liked it even less when he heard a loud rumbling in the distance.

“Is that... smoke?”

The young man quickly identified a gray plume raising toward the sky, a very bad feeling forming in the pit of his stomach. And then, as if to confirm it, a mountain erupted from the distant ground, bellowing smoke, fire and ashes all around it.

Come on!” Shinji screamed, breaking into a run in the opposite direction when he saw a few stray and bigger rocks strike the earth uncomfortably close. “You’ve gotta be kidding me!”


>-O]|[O-<​

"WHAT THE HELL DID YOU JUST SAY?!”

Faster than she could blink, Mari found herself pinned to the wall by an irate redhead, barely managing to catch her hands with her own. In between doing her best to keep her face from being struck, though, the Fifth Child couldn’t help but wonder that Asuka was pretty strong for someone that thin.

“T-That the Second Child has a very big heart and is not at all prone to violence?” Mari tried to defuse the situation, succeeding about as well as she had expected. “Don’t you think you’re overreacting just a little bit?”

“I DON’T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT THE THIRD, ALRIGHT?!” the redhead roared, failing to register any part of what she’d been told. “WHY DON’T YOU MIND YOUR OWN DAMN BUSINESS, YOU FOUR-EYED BI-?!”

“What are you two doing?!” at least, until another voice suddenly cut in, freezing Asuka into a halt. “Can’t you see that this is a hospital?! If you have a problem with each other, take it outside!”

Slowly, Mari turned to regard the newcomer, just as the Second Child did the same: it was a hospital nurse. One of many, she supposed. And a woman that had met the redhead in front of her already, if the way her eyes narrowed was any indication.

“Sohryu-san again? For the love of-” The nurse let out a deep sigh, bringing a hand to grab the bridge of her nose. She then fixed Asuka with a frustrated look. “How many times do we have to tell you to keep your voice down? The patients need their rest!”

“But-... But I didn’t-” Asuka let go of the Fifth Child as if she had been on fire, before frantically gesturing at her with a hand. “It’s all her fault! She-”

“I don’t care about any excuses, Sohryu-san, rules are rules,” the nurse interrupted, further indicating that she was dangerously approaching the end of her patience. “We might have to forbid you from visiting if these constant altercations of yours keep up.”

And at the older woman’s words, Mari saw the Second Child’s expression go from shock, to dread, to grief and finally to anger all in the span of three seconds That was all before she balled her fists and stormed past the nurse, almost leaving a fiery trail in her wake.

“Fine, whatever! See what I care!”

The Fifth Child barely had enough time to brace herself before the door slammed shut.


>-O]|[O-<​


“Hey, wait! I said wait a minute!” Mari’s voice called out from behind her, hurried steps letting Asuka know that the annoying girl was in close pursuit. “Sorry that I made you angry!”

“Screw you.”

“No thanks. And I didn’t mean anything bad by what I said, honest! I just thought it would be a nice icebreaker, you know?” the twin-tailed girl fell into step beside Asuka, easily keeping up with the redhead’s blazing pace. “Buuut I guess I stumbled into a sensitive subject, instead. Sorry again.

“But hey! I talked to the nurse lady, okay? Told her it was all my fault. Which it was. She’ll overlook it this time.”

“I don’t care,” the Second Child gruffly stated, although Mari didn’t fail to catch a very slight relaxing of her shoulders. “Stop. Following me.”

“Sorry, no can do. The Doc told me to ‘go and ingratiate yourself with the other Pilots’, you see?” the Fifth Child explained, smoothly transitioning into her carefree ways. “But since Bluebird disappeared on me and the Third’s on sleep mode you’re sort of the only one that’s left right now.”

“Well in that case, don’t feel the need to stick to your orders. Go away and I’ll just say that you and I had a great time if anyone asks.”

“That’s so nice of you! But I was looking forward to actually spending some time with the Wünderkid of NERV-Germany too, you know?” Mari replied, putting on a winning smile. “Thought I could learn a thing or two from you, Senpai!”

The redhead felt her hands clench and her teeth grind against each other at every single one of the Fifth Child’s quirks, both verbal and physical. The new arrival truly had a talent for pissing her off that Asuka had always thought exclusive to Shinji and Misato.

“Okay, first of all, don’t call me that,” the Second Child growled, moving to bar the other girl’s way. “And to follow up on that why on Earth would I want to be your friend?”

“Why not? Aren’t you friends with the First Child?” the twin-tailed girl argued with a shrug, casually deflecting Asuka’s hostility. “Besides, isn’t it important to have people you can trust watching your back in combat?”

“You’re in the bench. You’re not going to see combat.”

“Eh, I don’t mean to jinx it but you never know when that might chan-” Mari suddenly gasped, her eyes catching sight of something down the hallway. She then grew a wide smile, the maroon-haired girl waving at whatever it was that she had seen. “Oh, hey! Bluebird, over here!”

Rolling her eyes at both the twin-tailed girl’s non-existent attention span and at how blatantly she was now being ignored, Asuka turned around to look at what it was that had grabbed Mari’s eye: the redhead quickly found it to be Rei Ayanami, probably on her way to visit the slumbering Third Child. The bluenette regarded the newcomer with a curious look.

“Are you talking to me, Fifth Child?”

“No, I’m talking to the giant blue bird that’s right behind you,” Mari snarked with a deadpan look, only to feel the urge to palm her face when Rei shifted to look behind her. “Don’t turn around! Of course I’m talking to you!”

“But ‘Bluebird’ is not my name,” Rei argued, walking closer to the pair. “Why do you insist on calling me that?”

“I don’t know. ‘Cause Bluebirds are pretty flowers that are blue and your hair is also blue and kinda pretty?” the Fifth Child shrugged nonchalantly, waving off Rei’s question. “Don’t sweat the details.

“But forget about that! Listen, how about coming with the two of us? Sohryu-san here was going to tour me around the town, but we can always make this a group experience!”

“But I’m already familiar with the layout of the city,” the bluenette tilted her head to the side curiously. “What would the purpose of that activity be?”

“And since when did I agree to any of that?” the redhead offered as well, her mood still on a steady sour.

“Wow, you two are a merry bunch, aren’t you?” Mari mumbled to herself with a roll of her eyes. She then threw a fist up in the air. “Come on, it’s an excuse for fun! We can get to know each other better before the Doc inevitably throws us into the sims, and then we’ll grab some dinner together! Bonding time!”

“Hellish time, more like,” Asuka scoffed and propped herself against the wall. “Besides, we’re cooped inside the Geofront for the time being, four-eyes, so it’s not like we could leave even if we wanted to. Such a shame, really.”

“Huh? The Doc didn’t tell me anything about that. You sure it wasn’t just a temporary measure?”

“I don’t know, and I don’t care. But it’s not like there’s any way to know for sure, is there? Unless you want to go ahead and bother Akagi again, that is. I’m sure she’ll love that.” The Second Child rolled her eyes, spitting the name out as if it was a bad tasting appetizer. She then sent a mocking look at the twin-tailed girl. “So I think I’ll just stay and do something else for the day, instead. Have fun getting lost by yourself.”

Grinning from ear to ear, Asuka Langley-Sohryu relaxed against the wall and set her body up in a very specific fashion. A set of angles and unspoken messages of her own development that had always managed to bring the maximum amount of irritation out of the Third Child in the past, and that she figured would succeed equally as well at bothering the stupid greenhorn. With a few alterations, of course.

But then Asuka’s carefully constructed posture hit an unexpected disturbance when a phone began to ring: hers, to be exact. Her expression promptly shifting into an annoyed scowl and muttering something that Doctor Akagi wouldn’t have approved of, the Second Child fished for the device and raised it to her ear.

What now?” Asuka sharply spoke into it.

“A-Asuka? Is that you?”

The redhead’s eyes widened. She knew that voice, and it wasn’t the one she had been expecting to hear.

“Hikari?!”

“It is you!” The class representative of 2-A cheered happily, as if a heavy weight had just been lifted from her shoulders. The calm lasted for but a fleeting second, however. “Where have you been?! Do you have any idea how worried I was?!”

Asuka cringed as she pulled the phone away from her ear. As relieved as she was at not having to do yet another unscheduled test, placating an angry Hikari hadn’t been on her list of preferred pastimes, either.

“Ack! Sorry, sorry, don’t yell! It’s just...” the redhead spoke, quickly figuring how she could explain herself without giving away any confidential information. “Some… stuff happened in the last battle. I’m sort of living in the Geofront now because of it.”

“…I guess that’s why no one would answer at Katsuragi-san’s…” Hikari reasoned after a short pause, before going back on the offensive. “And couldn’t you have given someone a call?! I was starting to think that you were seriously hurt or… or worse until Toji told me that you were fine!”

“It just didn’t cross my mind, alright? I’ve been busy lately and-” Asuka started to defend herself before she cut herself off, grabbing onto a small detail. “…Wait, ‘Toji’? Didn’t you Japanese only do the first name thing when-”

Don’t change the subject!” Hikari demanded, forcing the redhead’s phone away from her ear again.

It was at this time that Asuka decided that a change in strategy was required and, after a long and hard fought battle in which she focused on nothing else, the Second Child’s wile eventually succeeded in calming down her best friend for the time being. There would still be hell to pay if and when she managed to get back to school and needed to do the same thing again both on Hikari’s home turf and in person, but she could confidently say that her ears were safe for the time being.

“Asuka, listen: I need to talk to you, okay? Can you meet this afternoon?”

…Or not. It looked as if Hikari wanted to address the latter sooner than the Second Child was expecting. Not something that she was looking to deal with after the ups and downs that the day had already offered her.

Then again, Asuka did have one very good excuse available to her. Not even a bad kind of excuse, really.

“Look, I’d love to but I wasn’t allowed outside the last time I tried, Hikari. And I really don’t know when that’s going to-”

“They say it’s fine!”

“…Huh?”

Asuka turned towards the one that had spoken and found the Fifth Child walking towards her, Mister Casual and Mister Monotone in tow. The redhead narrowed her eyes at her Section-2 security detail, her mind quickly trying to piece all the facts together and figuring out how it impacted her chances of getting an earful today.

But the twin-tailed girl was faster on the uptake than she was.

“These two gentlemen say that they’ll escort us wherever we want to go. That should be the last snag out of the way, right?” Mari grinned and motioned at the two men, before she stepped forward and effortlessly swiped the phone from the stunned redhead’s hand. “Let’s ask your friend if she wants to come with us!”

“H-Hey!” Asuka promptly protested, but her efforts to take back the phone were stonewalled by the Fifth Child twisting and turning out of her reach. “Give that back!”

“Hiya! I’m Mari!” the Fifth Child cheerily greeted into the receiver, even managing to find the time to grab onto Ayanami’s arm so that she wouldn’t walk away on her own. “Where do you want to meet?”
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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Postby PenPen4life » Fri Jun 01, 2018 3:15 am

This remains the best fan fic I've ever read here.

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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby sonichu » Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:59 pm

Yeah that's Gryphon for you. The guy knows how to write a great fic. Can't wait for the next update.

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Postby Gryphon117 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 3:45 pm

Thanks, you two! The compliments are very much appreciated. ^_^

I'll be posting another, sadly somewhat short update this Sunday, and hopefully we'll continue with the usual regular updates from here on out. And I say hopefully because the end of May / entirety of June is a busy time for us teachers, so I might yet have to skip another week some time from now depending on the workload I end up having to deal with. I'll try to keep it from coming to that, though.
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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Postby Gryphon117 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:29 am

Short update this week, I'm afraid. And I'm going to keep the prefacing blurb short as well, because I'm currently swimming in exams I've gotta grade. :sniffle:

Enjoy!

Chapter 7-2  SPOILER: Show
“I expect that you are fully aware as to the nature of this meeting, Doctor Akagi.”

“Indeed. The Second Child’s sudden recovery took us all by surprise, myself, most of all,” Ritsuko agreed, punctuating the latter part of her speech with a grunt. “But it is of no concern. I’ll have the EVAs refitted to adapt to the newly arrived UN demands before the end of this work-shift.”

The Commander’s gaze rested briefly on the folder that had been delivered to his office mere minutes ago, a document containing a myriad direct orders and directives for NERV to follow in the aftermath of the Fifteenth Angel, most of which, in true bureaucratic fashion, were either unimportant or completely disregardable.

Except for one: the immediate unfreezing of Evangelion Unit-01 and the assignment of the Fifth Child as its interim Pilot, citing a worrying lack of proper asset usage during the last battle.

Commander Ikari had to keep himself from scowling. After all, the thinly disguised UN demands could as well have been referred to as SEELE demands. The old men had obviously smelled blood in the water, and promptly moved to improve their position.

Not that Gendo Ikari was going to let them into his kingdom easily.

“Belay that, the Fifth Child will remain a backup for Unit-02,” the Commander ordered, his eyes moving to a different, worryingly thin folder, that had accompanied the Fifth Child’s entrance into HQ. “We will not endanger Unit-01 on SEELE’s whims.”

“Impossible. I’m afraid that synch and simulation tests are already scheduled for the Fifth Child, Commander.”

The elder Ikari paused, eyes narrowing as he turned to regard Ritsuko. Was that spitefulness he had heard in the woman’s voice?

“Then cancel them. What possessed you to even consider going ahead with these orders, Doctor?”

“I don’t know. Perhaps it was Yui’s ghost that took over me, telling me that she would enjoy some different company.”

The Commander’s second, longer pause was accompanied by a blink of his eyes, a gesture that hid behind his eternally opaque glasses. What the lenses couldn’t conceal was the sudden frown that marred the man’s forehead, however.

“...What did you say?”

And then, a smirk found its way to Ritsuko’s face, the Head of Project-E discarding any further attempt at subterfuge and properly squaring off against the Supreme Commander of NERV. A man that found himself further taken aback by his subordinate’s suddenly fearless attitude.

“The tests will continue as scheduled, and the Fifth Child will become Unit-01’s designated Pilot,” Ritsuko loudly repeated, completely uncowed. “That is what I said.”

The fall of a pin could have been clearly heard in the silence that followed and, slowly, Gendo Ikari unfurled his hands and gently set them against the table. His frown deepened and his lips pressed into a tight line...

...but it was not the Commander who spoke next.

“...You overstep your boundaries, Doctor.”

Ritsuko glanced at Ikari’s aging second in command, answering his cold words with a frigid wind of her own.

“I’m glad you can at least see the obvious. But the real question is what you will do about it, if anything at all?” the woman spoke, her words almost taunting. “You’re welcome to try, of course, but I’m afraid young Ibuki is still too inexperienced to take proper care of the MAGI and the EVAs, as I do. Then again, a rookie mistake at a critical juncture would be a hilarious way of finding all of your best laid plans upturned, wouldn’t it?”

Sub-Commander Fuyutsuki grunted, but offered no actual retort. He merely shifted his eyes to look at Gendo, trying to anticipate how the younger man would handle the current situation.

And what he saw was a very minute shake of the Commander’s fingers, although it was hard to tell whether it was born out of anger or concern.

“…Am I to take this as your official withdrawal from our scenario, Doctor?” Ikari finally spoke through almost gritted teeth.

“From your scenario,” Ritsuko replied, her prior ice ousted by barely bridled indignant heat. “And I’m honestly surprised that you yet feel the need to ask.”

“Perhaps I simply believe that this situation may still be mended. Should you share your thoughts, we could-”

‘Mended’?! I will hear none of that!” the Doctor furiously interrupted Gendo’s attempt at diplomacy. “I am done following in Mother’s footsteps! I will not be your toy anymore, to be discarded at a moment’s notice, and I won’t allow myself to stay within a phantom’s shadow, either! Not when I have another choice.”

Ritsuko’s accusations boomed throughout the gargantuan office, and out of the corner of his eye the Sub-Commander thought he saw Ikari flinch slightly, as if he had been struck. The unexpected mirage was further reinforced when the Supreme Commander of NERV took an extra second to respond.

“...You speak of choices, but you’re a fool if you truly believe SEELE to be deserving of your trust.”

“In that you’re both akin, but that is no longer any of your concern.” Ritsuko spat out with enough venom to rival a cobra, and this time Fuyutsuki certainly saw the younger man wince. Unlike the old Professor, however, the Doctor seemed to think nothing of it, turning to leave with a snarl. “And if that will be all, I have other, more pressing business to attend to. I’m sure you do as well, Commander.”

Akagi’s heels began to clack away into the distance, and Fuyutsuki saw Gendo’s right hand twitch and make to reach into his pocket before going still. The man’s frame had also gone stiff, and it seemed for a fleeting moment as if a battle of wills was being fought within him.

Until, ultimately, the Commander slammed his hands on the table and stood up.

Ritsuko!” he called out, a tinge of hurt and betrayal making it into his words.

But the Head of Project-E didn’t stop until she reached the door, never even glancing back in his direction. Then, with a final slam, the door shut behind Ritsuko Akagi.

And Gendo Ikari collapsed into his seat, a deep breath escaping him. He then slowly brought his hands to his face, massaging his temple as if he was trying to rub a painful migraine away while, all throughout, his Sub-Commander watched him intently.

“...I told you so.”

“Not... now. Sensei.” The elder Ikari breathed out, making it quite clear that the short exchange had taken a sizeable emotional toll on him.

For all of their joint plotting, however, Kozo Fuyutsuki found that he had very little pity to spare for the man. He could afford him the time to settle back into a semblance of normalcy, though.

“So Akagi has turned,” the Professor eventually stated, bringing the conversation back to the most recent and critical development. “Not entirely unexpected, although I honestly can’t imagine what SEELE could have offered to entice-”

“...It’s not the old men.”

“...Hmm?”

“For all of her talents, Akagi is still a terrible liar,” Gendo elaborated, folding his hands back into his usual stance. “Whoever’s backing her little mutiny is not in SEELE’s payroll.”

“I see. Is finding out who her benefactors are why you refrained from joining her fate with agent Kaji’s, then? Or did you simply not have the heart to pull the trigger?”

“...”

“...Be that as it may, a third army entering the battlefield is a worrying development,” Fuyutsuki continued when the lack of a forthcoming answer became obvious. “It would certainly appear that the latest events have begun to veer out of control,” the Sub-Commander sighed deeply, pinching the bridge of his nose. “I wonder... is the house of cards about to collapse, Ikari?”

“...Not yet, Sensei,” Gendo reassured him, now fully back into his Commander’s persona. “We are not defeated yet.”


>-O]|[O-<​


Ritsuko Akagi collapsed against the wall of the elevator the very second its protective doors closed before her. Her heart was beating wildly and her need for oxygen was satisfied in ragged breaths, shaky legs barely managing to hold up a profusely sweating body.

The Head of Project-E remained as such for a fair while until, in her ear, a somewhat distorted voice was quick to praise her.

“Good work, Doctor. You played your part magnificently,” the voice spoke, sounding satisfied. “Now, if you could see to the proper delivery of the containers we spoke about?”

“Can you just give me a second?” Ritsuko shot back, annoyed at the urgency. “I think I just saw my life flash before my eyes.”

“Come now, we assured you that you would be safe, didn’t we?” a hearty chuckle answered the woman’s complaint, causing her to narrow her eyes. “Your concern was misplaced from the very beginning.”

“Well, excuse me if I don’t find myself fully trusting disembodied voices.”

“Fair enough,” the voice conceded, ever good-humoured. “But there’s no rest for the wicked, Doctor. You would do well to grow accustomed to this amount of physical and... emotional exertion.”

The blonde woman grunted, but refrained from offering a witty comeback. She focused her attention on herself, instead, noticing how her legs now seemed capable of supporting her weight once again, and how the rest of her body didn’t feel like jelly anymore.

Furthermore, Ritsuko Akagi felt a feeling of pride and accomplishment swell within her, now that the better part of her brain wasn’t fearing for her life. After all, she had spoken her mind to Gendo Ikari and lifted the yoke that had for the longest time been around her neck, taking the first major step in her own path.

And regardless of where that path ended up taking her, this act of rebellion alone was already more than she would have dared dream of six months ago.

“...Right. This is nothing.” Doctor Akagi agreed and pushed herself onto her feet, feeling how the invigorating sensation reached the entirety of her frame. By the time the elevator’s ding notified its arrival at her destination floor, the Head of Project-E was already busy at work with her trusty PDA. “I’ll have your deliveries sorted before the day is out.”

“Marvellous.”
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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Postby sonichu » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:22 pm

Well that was unexpected. I wasn't expecting Akagi to actually let Gendo know she's working against him. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more of this group she's working for as well. Keep up the good work man.

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Postby PenPen4life » Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:00 pm

Have my eyes deicieved me? Has Gryphon wrote a chapter without expositing emotions?

Damn, lebron james of evageeks, no doubt. (also, three new nge 2 chapters are out ^_^ )

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Postby Gryphon117 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:56 am

View Original PostPenPen4life wrote:Have my eyes deicieved me? Has Gryphon wrote a chapter without expositing emotions?

Damn, lebron james of evageeks, no doubt. (also, three new nge 2 chapters are out ^_^ )


Not to imply said affairs are going to staly like that, mind you. :tongue:

I'm aware about the chapters, and I'll check them out when I can. As it stands, I've barely got enough time to handle my obligations and work on my own story for a little bit.
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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Postby Gryphon117 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:49 am

Bit of a fairly large and light-hearted update this time, as we follow the girls on their afternoon out. This update is long enough that I probably could have uploaded half of it last week, but I didn't want to break the progression of it into two updates, so here you go.

In any case, this is one of those scenes that could probably do with some improvements, so don't be afraid to speak up. Enjoy! ^_^

Chapter 7-3  SPOILER: Show
Rei Ayanami analysed the aluminium instrument she had been handed with curiosity: it had a cylindrical shape, thinner at the bottom and wider towards the top, and possessed a type of grip that hinted towards sweeping or slashing motions as its intended means of use. The lack of a blade or wedge of any kind in its surface went against such a possibility, however.

Rei then theorised that the instrument could have been meant as a bludgeoning weapon, instead, but the light mass and poor density of the manufacturing material made that an unlikely assumption. So did the name that had been inscribed and decorated on the tool’s side, as well, for it would have been senseless and pointless to so skilfully embellish a surface that would quickly degenerate under the stress of combat.



Unless the instrument wasn’t meant for battle, as she had initially speculated. But what other purpose could such an inefficiently large and inertia-driven device have, then? What could it do that a simple and far more transportable hammer couldn’t?

The name engraved upon the instrument itself, ‘Home Run Hall’, also failed to elicit any further insights into the purpose of the tool she was now in possession of, other than its coincidence in both content and design to the front of the store the group had recently entered. The rows of fenced in compartments within the building itself provided no hints as to the purpose of the facility, either, and neither did the numbered plaques that were set up at the other end of the large room.

Realising then that she was working with incomplete or faulty information, and that it was wasteful and pointless for her to continue trying to decipher the intended purpose of the instrument she had been given in such a manner, the First Child decided to ask the person who had handed it to her, instead.

“What am I to do with this?”

Something that caused the twin-tailed girl before her to pause and look at Rei as if she’d just grown a second head.

“What? You’ve never seen a baseball bat before, Bluebird?”

“’Baseball’?” the bluenette echoed, eyeing the so-called ‘bat’. “I’m not familiar with that term.”

“Really? Hard to believe that, considering which country you live in,” Mari chuckled, picking up a bat of her own and doing a few demonstration swings. “In any case, I’ll explain it to you: as far as we care, this is a sport about hitting a flying ball with your bat and sending it back the way it came,” she explained, before signalling towards the other end of the course with her bat. “For added difficulty, you need to aim for those markers over there and try to rack up as many points as possible.”

“Points? For what purpose?”

“Purpose? I don’t know. Having fun?” the Fifth Child shrugged. “That’s what people practice sports for, right?”

“I engage in swimming to maintain a satisfactory state of health,” the bluenette argued. “I also find the activity remarkably soothing.”

“I… guess you could roll like that, too. Different strokes for different folks, eh?” Mari smiled awkwardly, turning slightly to look at the other two girls that were sitting at the back of the batting cages. “...Is she always like this?”

“Just you wait until she brings out the toilet philosophy,” Asuka grumbled, scoffing angrily. “By the way, I’m not talking to you, remember?”

The twin-tailed girl rolled her eyes at the predictable answer. The Second Child had been crabby before, but the redhead’s mood had reached an all-time low after whatever it was that the Hikari girl had told her. Something that Mari found quite surprising, considering that the new addition to the group had been anything if not pleasant up until now.

With a tired sigh, Mari turned to regard the novice batter.

“...Is she always like that?”

“No,” Rei’s reply was clipped and laced with a hint of irritation. “Pilot Sohryu is usually much louder.”

“What did you say?!”

“Huh, go figure,” Mari smirked, getting another rise out of the redhead. “And here I thought that she had the volume cranked up to eleven, already.”

“Do you want to see how much louder I can get?!”

“Oh? So this isn’t even your final form?” the Fifth Child continued with her teasing, before thinking better about her efforts. “Actually, don’t answer that. I’d rather see if you can walk the walk,” she then picked up another bat and threw it towards Asuka, the redhead easily catching it. “How about it, Asuka? Care for a match?”

The redhead looked down at the bat and then back at the smiling Pilot, a hint of doubt crossing her features for an instant before it vanished and was replaced by incensed determination, the Second Child’s lips pressing into a thin line.

“…You’re on,” Asuka picked up the verbal glove, striding heavily towards an empty cage. “I’ve wanted to shut your mouth for a while now.”

“That’s the spirit!” Mari cheered, turning towards Hikari next. “Your turn now Piggy-chan, let’s make this a two versus two! You team up with Asuka and I’ll pair up with Bluebird here! May the best team win!”

‘P-Piggy-chan’…?” Hikari blinked at the strange nickname for a second, before she stood up from her seat with a resigned sigh. “…And how come I don’t get a say in this?”

“Don’t worry, Hikari,” her redheaded friend reassured her, glaring daggers at the back of her fellow Pilot. “I’m not going to lose against that stupid four-eyes.”

Words that only prompted the Class Representative of 2-A to sigh deeper and mutter under her breath.

“…That’s actually the part I’m worried about.”


>-O]|[O-<​


Ten innings and many swings later, the impromptu baseball match came to an end with a solid victory for Team Asuka, a match in which the Second and Fifth Children gave their all, butting heads and fighting evenly all the way to the last second. The two of them were so well matched, indeed, that the outcome of the game was arguably decided by the efforts of their teammates rather than their own.

Efforts in which the First Child had far more trouble competing than her direct opponent did: many a time did the baseballs swoosh by Rei Ayanami’s bat without direct contact, or strike it indirectly enough that the small spheres would arc backwards rather than launch towards the targets she was aiming for. It got to the point, despite some marked improvements by the last steps of the game, that the usually inexpressive girl was narrowing her eyes and letting out short huffs of annoyance every time the baseball wouldn’t comply with her wishes.

The Second Child’s gloating had not helped in the slightest, either.

“I’m sorry. My lacking performance was the main cause of our defeat,” Rei told her teammate as the group retreated to the building’s cafeteria, eyebrows knitted closer than normal. “This… ‘baseball’ is difficult.”

“It’s fine, it’s fine! Nobody’s born knowing, Bluebird,” the Fifth Child reassured her with a smile, clearing an errant droplet of sweat from her forehead at the same time. “What’s important is that we had fun!”

“And that I put you in your place!”

Mari chuckled at the haughty voice that responded, turning towards the now confident looking Second Child. The girl’s competitive streak was truly something to behold.

“Yeah, yeah… that, too. You’ve got some good arms there, Asuka,” Mari praised, offering her hand for a belated post-game handshake. “I look forward to the next match.”

The redhead then paused for a second, staring at the outstretched limb as if it was completely out of place, or an unthinkable answer to what she had just said. As if the Fifth Child’s actions didn’t conform to whatever probable scenarios Asuka had envisioned.

It was a fleeting picture, however, the girl’s expression morphing into a bold grin soon after.

“…And I look forward to kicking your ass again!” the Second Child exclaimed, firmly grabbing onto Mari’s offered hand.

“You sure nailed those balls out there,” an outsider voice suddenly cut in, breaking the moment. “How about a drink to recover?”

“...What the- ?” Asuka paused for an instant, recognizing the voice, before she jerked around. “Geek-stooge?! The hell are you doing here?!”

“Nice to see you, too,” Kensuke Aida snarked, narrowing his eyes at the redhead. He then gestured at his work uniform. “And what does it look like I’m doing? Some of us have to work for our spending money, Red.”

“Maybe you wouldn’t need so much of it if you didn’t always waste it on your useless-”

“Knock it off, Asuka,” Hikari tiredly chided her friend, before she smiled at her classmate. “Good afternoon, Aida-kun.”

“Hey, Class Rep, and Ayanami. Good effort out there! And…” Kensuke’s eyes then landed on Mari, travelling downwards a little bit before he willed them back up. “…Friend of yours?”

The Fifth Child nodded her head before anyone could answer and strode towards the sandy-haired young man, stopping right in front of him.

“Hiya, I’m Mari!” she said, giving the now dumbfounded boy a kiss on each cheek. “Nice to meet you!”

And it was then that Mari Makinami heard a weird, strangled gasp behind her. Stepping away from Kensuke, who had suddenly gone stiff as a board, the twin-tailed girl turned around to see Hikari do a fairly good impression of a shell-shocked goldfish and hold a shaky finger towards her.

“…What?”

“W-W-What are you doing, Makinami-san...?”

“Greeting the guy…?” the Fifth Child elaborated, expression clouding in confusion for a second. “…Oh, right. Japanese. Sorry, I guess I forgot about the culture shock thing for a moment, there,” she shrugged, before turning to smile at the frozen Kensuke. “Old habits die hard. I hope I didn’t make you uncomfortable, Aida-san?”

“N-No, i-it’s fine!” The flustered boy quickly denied, jolting out of his shock. He then coughed into his hand to try and regain a modicum of composure, sending a dirty look towards Asuka in the process. “I mean… it’s a lot better than how the other foreigner here greeted me.”

Said foreigner answered the challenging stare with one of her own, crossing her arms in defiance.

“It was your own fault for staring at what you shouldn’t have,” the Second Child scoffed. “You stupid pervert.”

Our fault?!” Kensuke protested. “Who was the genius who wore a sundress at sea?!”

Pre-emptively sighing in exasperation at the louder comeback that she knew was about to happen, the Class Representative of 2-A grabbed Rei and Mari by their wrists and strode towards one of the tables, leaving the other two to their devices. Sitting down, the brunette then proceeded to completely ignore the rapidly escalating argument just a few steps away.

She was tired, she was more than a bit miffed at her best friend, and she was in absolutely no mood to lay down the law for a while. As far as she was concerned, even Class Representatives deserved their breaks and it was time for Hikari to enjoy hers.


>-O]|[O-<​


“Where are you from anyway, Makinami-san?” Hikari asked quite some time later, once everyone had seated and ordered their drinks. “I mean, I know you mentioned that you were from overseas, but some of your mannerisms seem very… well, foreign.”

The twin-tailed girl smiled at that, appearing to take Hikari’s words as a compliment.

“Well, I’m from England, technically. Although with how much time I’ve spent in Beijing you could call me Chinese by now, I guess.”

“Beijing?” Kensuke echoed, his ears perking up. “Wait, you mean to say that you’re with NERV, too?!”

“Yup!”

And, just like that, the sandy-haired boy’s look went from one of interest all the way up to one of adoration.

‘...Someone’s got herself a fanboy,’ Asuka thought at the sight, groaning at how the military nut’s eyes had suddenly started to sparkle. Sparkles that, in true geek-stooge fashion, were soon followed by an inquisitive tirade as to the capabilities of the EVAs and the MO of NERV tactical operations. A sudden interrogation that Mari showed a remarkable amount of patience for, too.

Although, funnily enough, the boy didn’t use the opportunity to beg for a chance at being made a Pilot in the way that Shinji had mentioned a couple of times before.

‘He must have finally figured that they’d never let an idiot like him into the program.’ Asuka promptly tuned Aida out, bringing her soda to her lips. ‘Guess he can learn after all.’

“So you’re another EVA Pilot, Makinami-san? Thank you for your hard work.” Hikari bowed gratefully to the Fifth Child as soon as Kensuke gave her a chance, before she was suddenly reminded of something. The brunette then turned towards her friend. “And speaking of that, where is Ikari-kun? I had expected him to show up with you.”

The Second Child froze, the soda she’d been drinking slowly going back down the drink’s straw. Before long, her eyebrows drew together in irritation.

“So that moron didn’t tell you?”

“He’s not a moron, Asuka!” Hikari shot back, narrowing her eyes at the redhead. “And no, he didn’t tell me anything about Ikari-kun. Why?”

Asuka sighed and placed the soda back on the table, rubbing her temple for a few seconds while she searched for a way of explaining Shinji’s status that didn’t break any confidentiality boundaries. Something that was further complicated by the need for it to also leave her in a good light as far as the battle was concerned, and that using the usual ‘Shinji screwed up’ explanation that Asuka had employed for the longest time didn’t exactly sit well with her at this point.

It was then that help arrived from an unlikely source.

“Ikari-kun is indisposed at the moment,” the First Child explained, bringing Hikari’s attention to her.

“Indisposed? As in he’s sick?”

The red and blue opposites shared a knowing look but remained silent, neither of them knowing how to further elaborate on the aftermath of the Fifteenth Angel.

“…No. You wouldn’t have made such a big deal out of Toji not telling me if it was something that simple,” Hikari reasoned, thinking things over for a second or two. And then, a look of realisation dawned on her face, the brunette’s eyes quickly moving to Mari. “…Oh, no… Did something happen to Ikari-kun?!”

“Not to worry,” the twin-tailed girl quickly explained before Rei or Asuka could jump in. “Sleeping Beauty is just doing as his namesake implies. I was brought here to be his backup until he wakes up.”

“What?! He’s-“

“Out of danger, yeah. He’s just both mentally and physically exhausted, and he’ll be up on his feet in the near future. Nothing to worry about,” Mari gently interrupted, before smirking and sending a meaningful look Asuka’s way. “Surely, Ikari-kun’s personal nurse agrees with me?”

“...Who exactly are you calling that idiot’s personal nurse?” said redhead countered, glaring back.

“Oh, there’s no need to be shy, Asuka-chan! I could feel the absolute depths of your worry when we first met in his room!” Mari smiled dreamily, bringing her hands together. “It was so cute! The devotion, the promises of undying love!”

Something that sounded very much like a young woman squeeing in delight sounded off from the Second Child’s side, but the redhead ignored it in favour of setting the record straight as quickly as humanly possible.

“Okay, now I’m sure that you’re just making stuff up,” Asuka scoffed, her tone going dangerously low. “And that you’re a masochist, too. You’re asking for a real beating, you know?”

“Of course I’m making stuff up, but you could cut it with the threats of violence, too.” The Fifth Child rolled her eyes with a groan, turning to face Asuka with a serious face. “Lighten up, girl! Learn to take a joke or two. It’s not a personal attack and nobody likes a stick in the mud.”

“I do have a sense of humour, your stupid jokes just don’t fall inside of it,” the redhead countered, indignantly crossing her arms. “But even if I didn’t, so what? I’m an EVA Pilot, and I’m here to pilot my EVA, not to make friends.”

“So now we are an aloof professional? Strictly business? Give me a break,” Mari sighed, throwing her hands up in the air. She then leant forward on the table, staring intently at the Second Child. “In any case, I do want to make some friends while I’m here. And I guess that means that I’ll be starting with you, whether you like it or not.”

“I’d love to see you try,” Asuka replied with a barely concealed snarl.

To which the twin-tailed girl merely smiled widely.

“Challenge accepted.”


>-O]|[O-<​


“Well, that was a short-lived bet. Don’t you think so, Ayanami-san?”

Rei Ayanami stared at the girl by her side, offering little in the way of response. After all, the bluenette was unsure as to what bet it was that Hikari was referring to, and also failed to understand why her opinion on the length of said wager could have possibly been of any importance.

Whatever the reason was, the First Child suspected it to be tied in some manner to the way in which Class Representative Horaki had been silently inspecting the Second and Fifth Children for some time now, who had taken to walking a few metres ahead of them and were immersed in a discussion about the events of the afternoon. Both of them were exceedingly loud in their speech, easily catching the attention of passing pedestrians and keeping it for several seconds, to the point that Rei had believed Hikari’s previous observation to have been a part of her preparation for her well-known disciplinary measures.

Up until that point, anyway.

“Just look at her. They haven’t known each other for even one day and they’re already bickering as if they’d met years ago. It took me weeks before Asuka opened up to me like that,” Hikari continued, shaking her head in amusement. “She’s a bit strange, but that girl is good. It actually makes me a little jealous.”

“I disagree,” the bluenette replied. “They appear to be constantly at odds with each other.”

“It looks like that to you, Ayanami-san?” Hikari questioned, clearly surprised. “I guess it would to anyone who doesn’t fully understand how Asuka works.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m not too sure about how to explain it. Asuka is… explosive, but she is also very socially lazy outside of keeping up appearances, I guess,” Hikari elaborated with a shrug. “Like, if she really despised Makinami-san, she would just limit herself to not giving her the time of day unless provoked, like she does with countless other people. But instead, there you have them, butting heads over this and that in the competing manner that Asuka loves so much. They’re fighting, but not really fighting. They’re arguing like friends sometimes do,” the brunette then sighed softly, her gaze going distant for a moment. “…Just like she tried to do with Ikari-kun.”

“Is that why you argued with Pilot Sohryu earlier today?”

“…You could say that. Even if that one was a bit more serious,” Hikari replied, unable to hide a small wince. “I thought I had disguised it a little bit better than that, though.”

“You didn’t.”

The brunette blinked for a moment, not having expected such a brusque answer. It wasn’t long before she broke into chuckles, though.

“You’re blunt, Ayanami-san,” Hikari replied. “Yeah, I had a small fight with Asuka when she didn’t agree with a decision I’ve recently made. But that’s fine, that’s just people being people, and she’ll get over it before long. It’s the underlying bonds that are important and, if there’s something I’ve learned from my sisters, it’s that those sorts of hiccups tend to make relationships between individuals stronger.”

Rei’s expression turned pensive, the First Child turning the explanations that the Class Representative had shared inside her head. Admittedly, a lot of the wording Hikari had used sounded somewhat out of place to her, but the bluenette caught enough to understand the basic logic behind the other girl’s words.

“…I see.” Rei nodded her head, staring at the two girls in front of them. “Does your previous question mean to imply that you believe the Second and Fifth to share such a social bond between them?”

“And the First Child, too. If not now, then soon enough,” Hikari replied with a smile, before bringing her attention to the front, as well. “Maybe when Ikari-kun wakes up he’ll have room to join in, too.”

The pair fell into a comfortable silence after that, the Class Representative intently examining the Second and Fifth Children as they continued to argue with one another. Then, and little by little, a small smile began to blossom on her face.

“Yeah, I definitely like her,” Hikari eventually whispered under her breath, believing herself unheard. “She seems like a dependable person. Exactly the kind of person Asuka needs right now.”

The bluenette wasn’t certain about whether ‘dependable’ was a label that could have been applied to the Fifth Child, but the newcomer’s physical prowess did indeed appear to be indicative of an adequate potential to Pilot EVA. It still remained to be seen whether that potential would translate into an actual proficiency towards piloting, but Rei did agree with Hikari’s outlook on how necessary Makinami-san’s presence would be for the upcoming battles.

“Still,” the Class Representative continued, this time in a proper and audible tone. “Even after everything that’s happened Asuka can’t bring herself to say it yet, huh?”

“Say what?”

“That she likes Ikari-kun. She’s so obvious about it that it’s actually a bit painful to watch,” the brunette sighed, making a face. “The same goes in the opposite direction, too, though. Well, not right now, but you know what I mean.”

Rei Ayanami blinked in confusion, the last part of Hikari’s statement proving not to be true at all. After all, what was it about being fond of something or someone that it required a public admission, as if it was some sort of mistake? As a matter of fact, Rei herself enjoyed many things, like the feeling of water against her skin or the simple pleasure of reading. Obviously, Ikari-kun’s company also qualified for that, but the First Child didn’t understand the reasoning behind needing to announce such a thing.

Nevertheless, the Second’s habitual insistence not on hiding her enjoyment of Ikari-kun’s company, but on outright denying it, was the one thing that had always struck Rei as odd about her.

“Then again,” Hikari continued, breaking the bluenette’s train of thought. “I also believed that Ikari-kun was into you for the longest time, Ayanami-san, so it’s not like I’m infallible.”

Rei frowned, trying to wrap her head around the impossibility that the other girl’s latest words suggested. It was a proven fact that two physical bodies couldn’t co-exist in the same exact space, after all.

“I... don’t understand.”

Her reply earned the First Child a strange look from her companion for a few moments, but it wasn’t long before it shifted into one of amusement.

“That’s fine,” Hikari responded, smiling in a way that suggested an intention to let the topic rest. “I guess I have my reason for why that ship didn’t sail, after all.”

…And now navigation came into the picture? To say that Rei Ayanami felt utterly perplexed at Class Representative Horaki’s bizarre conversational skills would have been to sell it short. Then again, and since the conversation didn’t seem to be at all relevant towards either her purpose or Ikari-kun’s wishes, it wasn’t like the First Child felt a special need to inform Hikari of her personal shortcomings.

Instead, the bluenette was simply content to silently follow her lead all the way back to NERV.
Author of a few decent Eva stories, which can be found here.

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

Gryphon117
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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby Gryphon117 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 4:49 am

Here is the final scene for this chapter, people. Next week we will be going back to Shinji and how he's been dealing with the fun times in Asuka's day, as well as some development of his own. Although I might put in a brief interlude in between chapters, depending on whether I can finish figuring out the scene I've got in my head. We'll see how that goes.

In the meantime, enjoy! ^_^

Chapter 7-4  SPOILER: Show
“How did your day go?” Ritsuko Akagi questioned when she heard the door to her NERV apartment open, never lifting her gaze from the documents she was analysing. “I was told that you managed to meet up with the First and Second Children?”

Her visitor grunted in response, shutting the door and unceremoniously plopping herself on Ritsuko’s couch. She then let out a tired sigh, looking for all intents and purposes as if she’d just run a marathon.

“Sure did,” the Fifth Child mumbled. “Never knew that being an actual teenager could be this damn exhausting, though.”

The Doctor paused in her reading for an instant, lifting her eyes to look at her visitor with whimsical interest.

“I take it that the Second was her usual abrasive self?”

“You could say that,” Mari groaned, rolling her eyes. “Still, for someone that prickly she sure gets attached to people pretty darn quick.”

“The Second Child suffers from severe self-esteem and abandonment issues,” Ritsuko explained, going back to her reading. “That’s hardly surprising.”

The blonde’s words were followed by a bout of quiet, thoughtful humming coming out of the girl. Mari relaxed herself even more on Ritsuko’s couch, closing her eyes and giving the illusion that she was about to doze off.

“...Hmm, is that so?” the Fifth Child eventually muttered. “Well, I kinda already figured that her deal was something along those lines. Whose bright idea was it to give her a giant robot, anyway?”

“Things just worked out that way, as far as I’m aware.”

“Can you elaborate a bit on that?”

Ritsuko’s gaze separated from the report for a second time, now turning to look curiously (and with a bit of concern) at the unwinding young woman.

“…That’s strange. I expected you to be in the know about these sorts of things, already.”

“My insertion was a rush-job, so they only briefed me on the top of the line need-to-know stuff, with later reports or on-site intel gathering covering everything else,” Mari shrugged nonchalantly. “The Pilots and their idiosyncrasies didn’t fall into that initial lump, I guess.”

“Fair enough,” Ritsuko replied, mostly satisfied with the explanation. She then put the report aside and swivelled her chair around to address the agent directly. “Did your initial briefing cover the manner in which the EVAs function?”

“Something about souls and filio-maternal instincts and stuff like that?” Mari provided, eyes still closed but proving that she was giving the conversation her full attention, despite appearances.

Even if her explanation wasn’t as in-depth as Ritsuko would have liked.

“…More or less.” Ritsuko acknowledged, pinching the bridge of her nose with a sigh as a show of her own exhaustion. “I’ll give you the short of it: synchronisation is achieved by a link between the soul in the EVA and that of its Pilot, hence, the name. For this synchronisation to be effective, however, the basis of the bond must be one of strong cooperation, or protective in nature. There are other ways for the synchronisation link to be formed, of course, but their potential efficiency is hypothesised to be lower.”

The Doctor then paused for a second, making sure that she still had the girl’s attention. It seemed to be the case.

“In that sense, being that Kyoko Sohryu Zeppelin’s soul inhabits Unit-02’s current core, it stands to reason that her daughter would be the best Pilot candidate, referring to the strength of the filio-maternal instincts, as you put it, before. The same stands true for Unit-01, but not for 00.”

“Hm-mm. Being the Pilot of a giant robot doesn’t explain that girl’s issues, though.”

“Kyoko Sohryu Zeppelin committed suicide some time after her failed contact experiment, following a period of severe dementia in which she mistook a doll for her daughter, amongst other symptoms,” Ritsuko elaborated, before exhaling somberly and falling silent.

The Head of Project-E then stood from her seat, pacing a few steps around the room before she continued.

“...Asuka was the one who found the body. What remained of her mother had also tried to kill ‘her’ at the time of her suicide, too, and that wasn’t a detail that escaped the Second Child’s young mind. Add a complete lack of psychiatric or medical care of any sort following Asuka’s incident and some other drastic changes over the years within her immediate social and family circle, as well as the pressure and responsibility from her personal achievements and her role as an EVA Pilot... and you end up with our very own Second Child.”

A heavy silence settled on the apartment following the Doctor’s explanation, with the rustling of the couch as the Fifth Child manoeuvred into a sitting position and Ritsuko’s lethargic walking being the only sounds that managed to break through for a few moments.

“…Ouch,” Mari eventually provided with a wince, now fully ‘awake’. “Girl needs a hug, I guess.”

“A valiant hypothesis, although proving it would require extensive bodily harm. I’ll leave that to your discretion,” Ritsuko replied, prior to walking over and tapping her hand on top of the discarded report. “But that explanation brings us up to the issues the Second Child’s sudden recovery has caused us.”

“Namely?”

“That we can’t put you in Unit-02, as we had originally envisioned.”

“I’m aware. Which means that I’m going with Unit-01, instead,” Mari agreed, bringing a finger to softly pat at her right ear. “I was told about that while I was with the girls.”

“If only it were that simple, I wouldn’t be wracking my mind finding a way to transplant the method I’d been planning to use with Unit-02, onto Unit-01.” The Doctor grumbled bitterly, shaking her head.

“...Talk to me, Doc. Maybe I can help.”

“...I seriously doubt that, but it won’t do you any harm to know about it, anyway,” Ritsuko agreed with another exhausted sigh, resuming her pacing and taking another moment to think of the best way to proceed with her next explanation.

“I had planned on using a modified version of our existing Dummy Plugs to aid in your synchronisation, one that would have formed a ‘screen’ between you and the soul in the EVA and fooled it into believing that the intended Pilot was there, as per the Dummy’s original purpose, but without taking full control of the Evangelion.”

The Doctor then stopped in place and turned towards the agent, snapping her fingers as she struggled to find her next words.

“It would have served as a... phantasm of the Second Child, if you may, one that would have allowed you to command Unit-02 as if you were Asuka herself. It would have likely resulted in a small hit to the potential synchronisation ratio, but that was a small price to pay for the ability to switch Pilots on a whim.”

“Okay, I think I get that,” Mari replied with a nod of her head. “But why can’t you do that with Unit-01?”

“We should have been able to, in theory. But Unit-01’s soul has shown herself to be far more adverse to the use of Dummy Plugs after their one and only successful activation and combat use. I doubt she would allow for the wool to be pulled over her eyes, so to speak,” Ritsuko elaborated, her words taking on a hint of bitterness at some points. “Due to the fragmented nature of Unit-02’s soul, such a strategy would have probably been far easier to implement on it.”

“...Right. That sure sounds like it makes things more complicated.”

“That’s quite the understatement,” the head of Project-E grunted in response. “Should the modified Dummy Plugs fail to function as intended, this predicament could have the potential to completely upturn our plans. Worse come to worst, I hope your diplomatic skills are up to par.”

“Parleying with a ghost, huh?” Mari chuckled, quickly catching on to the woman’s meaning. “That’s gotta be up there in the list of weird things I’ve had to do. Anything you can tell me about this Ikari woman?”

“Nothing that’s not in the reports you might have been handed, I’m afraid,” Ritsuko sighed, sending a meaningful look the agent’s way. The twin-tailed girl nodded her head, indicating that she had indeed been briefed on it. “I never knew her. She was dead by the time I came here, and the Commander never was forthcoming on the topic.”

“Well, that’s great,” the Fifth Child replied, her body language indicating that it was anything but. “Any Plan Bs in mind for a worst case scenario?”

“Only one at this point, I’m afraid,” the blonde nodded her head and crossed her arms. “We can always fabricate a report that would allow us to rid ourselves of the Second Child, but I’d prefer to leave that as a last resort. Tactical benefits of an extra EVA aside, such a course of action has quite the potential to backfire on us.”

“As well as to destroy what little self-esteem the Second has managed to scrounge up together?” Mari wittingly completed with a raised eyebrow. “I’m impressed, Doctor. I didn’t peg you for the compassionate type.”

“And I’m not. But I’m not a completely amoral monster, either, if that’s what you’re implying. Not at this time, anyway,” Ritsuko waved the girl’s half-hearted praise away, choosing instead to go into the kitchen and fetch a glass of wine for herself. “I’m of course more than willing to do whatever needs to be done if the situation calls for it, but I’d rather destroy as few lives as possible if I can help it.”

“That takes a load off my mind, then, Doctor, I approve. And don’t worry, I’m sure things will work out just fine,” the Fifth Child sprawled back against her seat, going back into her faux-sleep mode. “In any case, though, and since you’ve known them for far longer than I have, what do you think are our chances of subverting the active Pilots to our cause?”

“Exceedingly unlikely, I would say. One is a psychological wreck holding herself from plunging into the abyss by a thread, and the other is a construct tailor-made to serve a unique purpose. I’d be more than shocked if you managed to succeed with such a plan.”

“…That bad, huh? Well, it’s a good thing I like my challenges, then,” Mari shot back with a grin. “But seriously, does NERV have a grudge against healthy mindsets, or something?”

“I’ve wondered about that myself more often than I would like, believe me.” Ritsuko agreed with a deep sigh. She then walked back to the living room and sat across from Mari, sipping her wine as she contemplated the Fifth Child’s words.

“Still, there is no harm in subtly probing the Pilots, I suppose, considering that you’ll be spending a sizable amount of time in their company should your synchronisation test prove successful,” the Doctor concurred after some time. “For that purpose, I’ll work towards offering you chances to further influence the Second Child starting with tomorrow’s simulation training. Since she already despises me, I have no issue with further playing to her expectations.”

“Thanks a lot, Doc.”

“Think nothing of it,” Ritsuko waved the gratitude away in favour of sticking to the topic, and it wasn’t long before her expression clouded substantially. “The First will be a more complicated matter, however.”

“Not necessarily,” Mari disagreed, eliciting a raised eyebrow from the blonde. “Ayanami’s thought process seems fairly simplistic and overly naïve. That’s something we can exploit.”

“I’m not nearly as optimistic but, again, I have no issue with your trying,” the Head of Project-E acquiesced, but not before sending the young woman a warning look over her glass. “Just remember to be careful when you’re playing with the Commander’s toy.”

Advice that only made the Fifth Child smile, her relaxed posture continuing to belie even the slightest hint of trepidation.

“Noted. I’ll watch my back while I’m hanging around the old man’s pet,” Mari easily acknowledged, humming in thought. “Hmm… I wonder what I should teach Bluebird about next time?”

“‘Bluebird’?” Ritsuko echoed, not amused. “Is that your moniker for the First?”

“Sure! I mean, it’s kinda obvious, isn’t it?” the agent chuckled, causing the Doctor’s frown to become more pronounced. “I’d come up with ‘Kitten’ too, since she’s so standoffish and seems to know so little about the world, but thought better of changing her nickname since I’d already taken to calling her Bluebird before that. Wouldn’t want to overload her untrained brain with too many new things now, would we?”

“I’d rather you didn’t do that at all. Such inane name-calling hardly sounds befitting of a professional of your supposed calibre,” Ritsuko chastised the twin-tailed girl with words made of ice. “It certainly doesn’t fill me with confidence.”

“…And I’d say my personal quirks and potential capabilities are completely separate from one another, but at least it’s fairly clear why you have so few friends, now.”

“I’ll have you know that my personal priorities at this time lie in preventing a worldwide conspiracy threatening to end mankind as we know it, as should yours,” the Doctor shot back. “I am not here to make friends.”

Response that had Mari raise an amused eyebrow.

“...Now where have I heard that before?” she muttered to herself, thinking back to the afternoon’s events.

“What was that?”

“Nothing important,” the Fifth Child deflected with a sigh, returning to her usual persona. “But come now, don’t be so stuffy, Doc. Nobody ever said saving the world couldn’t be fun!”

“And I wasn’t told that the infiltrator I’d be provided with wouldn’t be capable of taking her duty seriously, either,” Ritsuko bemoaned, throwing her hands in the air. “Then again, I was the one that agreed to your proposal of using the ‘Power of Friendship’ as a way of achieving our objectives, wasn’t I? I should have seen this coming.”

“You do you, and I’ll do me, Doc. Besides, why do you think it so far-fetched? Camaraderie has been a thing since the times of the ancient empires, and been known to contribute towards toppling overwhelming odds, before,” the agent argued, before her voice turned mocking. “Who knows, maybe if the non-corrupt upper echelons of NERV had embraced such a concept, we wouldn’t be dealing with the mess that is the Pilot Corps, right now~.”

“Perhaps. Although I’m afraid you’ll have to bring that criticism to Major Katsuragi, difficult as it may be at the moment,” the head of Project-E replied, indicating with a turn and a beckoning hand that her inclination towards discussing the topic was over. “Now, follow me. I’ve got a whiteboard with a diagram set up in the next room to walk you through the main differences of the modified Dummy Plug you should know about, on the off-chance that it will actually work.”

Ritsuko soon disappeared through one of the adjoining doors, flicking the lights in the living room off as she did so and expecting the Fifth Child to quickly follow her. Mari didn’t immediately do as had been foreseen of her, though, instead deciding to linger in the couch for a few moments, gaze turned skywards.

“...With Major Katsuragi, huh?” the Fifth Child eventually mouthed with apparent distaste, eyes narrowing at a nondescript spot of the ceiling. “Oh, you better believe that I will.”
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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