I was kind of hoping 404 would slide into merited oblivion on its own, but I've already gotten one nastygram from some outraged 4Chan denizen (O MaggotMaster, where are thou now?) and I don't need any more. So, here's what will hopefully be my final word on The Tenant of Room 404.
THIS STORY SUCKS.
It's old. It's huge. It's rife with pure shit on so many levels and will probably never stop haunting me. It was hammered out by an over-eager Aspie who had very little experience in writing, publishing or making use of criticism. Its only virtues are that it provided a place to make the mistakes that needed to be made, and that some bits of it were salvaged to create a much better story.
If you're coming here from /u/, don't waste your time on this story because it has almost no actual yuri and pretty much nothing else that is likely to appeal to you. Read The Pilot of Flight 403 or One Day in Paradise instead. If you want wham-bang excitement, read Tiger's Spring or The Historian of Brescia. Don't read this one, because nobody in their right mind should have to suffer though nearly four hundred thousand words of me trying to figure out what does and doesn't make a passable story.
Thank you for reading, and have a nice day.
(Older intro blurbs follow.)
The story posted in this topic has undergone considerable feature drift in the years since it began. Originally envisioned - on a random impulse and in a time of severe sleep deprivation - as a deconstruction of one of the most hated subgenres of fanfiction, it started on a whim, meandered for several chapters and then picked up something resembling a coherent plot. Along the way, it changed from the intended parody of the self-insertion trope into a serious attempt at building an entertaining story on said trope.
The final product, which now comprises more than a thousand pages of material, is rife with typographical errors and failed literary experiments. While the quality of writing probably improved with time, the early chapters are still an unedited mess. I leave them here mainly to spoil the nostalgic memories of the loyal readers of old.
If you're a previous reader just wandering by, you already know all this. If you're viewing this topic for the first time, the story does get better as it progresses - so don't be put off by the premise or the weak opening.
*EDIT 10/24* I'm going to start reposting the chapters in order to fix errors introduced during the last forum move. Please excuse our dust.
*EDIT AGAIN* Reposting is done. New readers, please report any remaining errors - quotation marks being rendered as Euro symbols and such - on the newest page of the topic.
*EDIT 7/6* Replaced the intro blurb, since the old one was pretty much useless. Old one below for posterity.
*EDIT 7/24/2010* Updated the header.
Old and busted intro wrote:Following up on a discussion with Reichu here, I have decided to take some time off from my usual creative writing in order to put together this charming mess.
It is, as should quickly become apparent, an NGE self-insert, though hopefully one that's a little different and won't end up all Gary Stu(?), because I hate those as much as most fans. It's been a very long time since I've done anything like this and my narrative writing is probably a bit rusty after years of hammering out screenplays. Try to bear with it; it'll probably get better as I go along.
Criticism is fine as long as it's constructive. If there's something you don't like, say how you think it could be done better. Simply posting "this sucks lol" will earn you a withering look of disapproval from me, and possibly worse.
And remember: feedback makes me want to write more. If I don't get feedback, I loose my writing energy.
(Stock disclaimer about NGE belonging to Gainax and not to yours truly.)
The Tenant of Room 404
Part 1: Einstein-Winowski Strong-Field Interaction Between Buckets of Blood in a Non-Pythonian Quasi-Linear Environment | HELLO WORLD
It began—rather, my part in it began—with a thunderstorm.
The storm was a large one and arrived with little warning, much to the collective irritation of myself, my brother, who couldn't go out and take photos as was his custom, and my fellow members of the university anime club. It was the last week of May 2008, and we were celebrating the end of spring finals by crashing at a student's house for the weekend. I was personally going along to celebrate my attaining a decent grade in second-level Japanese.
Two days and three nights of drinking—strictly non-alcoholic in my case—playing assorted card and board games and watching whatever anime could be found around the house or in the bags of we visitors... what fun.
At least, that was the plan... The plan which, for me, ended as I dashed towards the already crowded Toyota.
I was about halfway across the parking lot, the rainfall light but looking to get worse and the straps on my backpack painfully digging into my shoulders with each stride, when it happened. To this day, I'm not entirely sure what 'it' was or how 'it' occurred then and there.
What I do know is that there was a massive lightning strike nearby, close enough to momentarily blind me and leave a ringing in my ears. When the shock passed, I discovered that I was somehow standing in what I initially mistook for a circular pool of crude oil. Worse yet, I was rapidly sinking into said pool and my erstwhile compatriots were all looking in the wrong direction.
“Hoi! Somebody give me a hand here!”
No luck; they'd all started bouncing to the rhythm of some soundtrack or other. I had a nasty feeling it was that awful Sailor Moon theme song several of them had been karaoke'ing at the previous Saturday's club meeting.
To make a rather boring sequence short, I sank. The black slick wasn't oil; in fact, it didn't seem to be a fluid at all. Below the surface, I lost all sensation. It wasn't an absence of feeling so much as a realization that there simply wasn't anything there for me to feel. I still had some sense of motion, however: my inner ears insisted that I was still moving downwards.
A couple of seconds later by my estimate—my wristwatch, which never fit properly, was at the bottom of my pocket—the gentle sinking feeling abruptly morphed into a hard shove, up and sideways. I broke clear of the blackness before I quite had time to adjust and promptly found myself flying through air.
The landing could have been worse. I don't really remember it, because at the time I was more concerned by the view before me.
The number of things wrong with what I saw stacked up in my mind rather quickly: I was in the middle of a good-sized city that bore no resemblance to either Sackville, where I had just been standing, or Moncton, my intended destination. There was no sign of the thunderstorm; in fact, there was hardly a cloud in the sky.
In the storm's place, there was a massive sphere hovering a little ways off. Below it, a circular black pool extended in every direction. As I realized that said pool was identical to that into which I had sunk, it began to ripple, undulating like the Bay of Fundy on a windy day. The floating sphere contracted; its surface, a curious pattern of black and white bands, turned a solid black color.
The utter familiarity of the scene was completely lost on me until the surface of the pool shattered like frozen neoprene, geysers of red spurting into the air. I hadn't recognized it at first because I expected it to be cel-shaded, as it was in my memory.
A phrase popped into my head: Shin Seiki Evangelion.
I vaguely recalled that ADV had finally gotten their capital together and—for better or worse—starting filming for the live-action Evangelion movie. For a few moments, I wondered if I'd somehow ended up on one of their sets, but the absurdity of that notion occurred to me quickly. Why would ADV be shooting a movie in northern New Brunswick?
As I watched, the floating sphere bulged, quivered and finally tore apart in another spray of red. A massive hand pushed out through the torn flank of the thing, followed by a very sinister head. From my vantage point, its bellowing sounded like a locomotive horn being played back at three-quarters speed. It wasn't a pretty thing to hear.
Evangelion Unit 01. The information came back to me automatically. Huge bio-mecha. Test type, constant engineering headache and potential keystone of the Human Instrumentality Project. Also really ugly and not in the least bit plausible.
A dull gray VTOL attack aircraft flew overhead, circling as the Eva pulled itself free and assumed a menacing posture. In the distance, I noticed two more mecha, one blue and one red, watching the scene from a safe distance. After a moment, Unit 00 moved. At first I thought it was looking at me, but then the head turned away and I realized that it was probably following the reconnaissance flight.
It occurred to me that—regardless of the actual situation—I would have problems explaining myself... particularly if what I could see was, somehow or other, exactly what it looked like and not just a projection or incredibly vivid hallucination.
The empty car a few feet away was real enough; a quick poke confirmed that. So was the building behind it. How very odd.
Another VTOL flyer passed over my head, reminding me that I should be making myself scarce. I stuck my hands in my pockets, turned around and walked away with my eyes fixed firmly on the ground.
Fifteen minutes of brisk walking brought me to a less developed though equally deserted part of town. It looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn't immediately place it. I did, however, manage to find an intact bench and promptly sat down.
Time to put two and two together and hope I could still get four. The contents of my bag had survived: a spare set of clothes, a toothbrush, a comb and a few things of that sort, a scientific calculator, a towel and several books. That was reassuring.
A battered street sign in mixed kanji and hiragana identified my surroundings as being part of Hakone. Thus having a rough idea of where I was, I pulled out my copy of National Geographic Traveler: Japan, second edition, and, turning to page 121, attempted to get my bearings.
The guidebook wasn't terribly helpful; it extolled at length the virtues of a number of historical and geographic sites of interest in and around Hakone, but didn't cover much else... Of course, if this was really the fortress city of Tokyo-3, as it appeared, a travel guide from a world in which this city didn't exist was unlikely to be of great use in the first place.
I shoved the book back into my bag, verified that my towel and copy of The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy were unharmed and set off towards the nearest abandoned building. It was early and none of the evacuated residents had returned.
Mount Fuji loomed in the distance, dimly visible in the dawn light. The city was placed in the center of a large depression, so I didn't have enough line-of-sight to locate Lake Ashi. Making a mental note to get out and see the sights once time permitted, I found myself a relatively clean patch of concrete at the bottom of a stairwell and stretched out with the goal of snoozing for a few hours, long enough for people to come back to the city. It wasn't comfortable, but I've made do with worse.
I did a lot of thinking before I fell asleep. If this was really the world of Evangelion, I had a power I'd never possessed before. I knew what was in store for the mecha I'd seen earlier and the people who piloted them, and I didn't like it.
Not that it was any of my business. This was a work of fiction brought to life, and if it ended a certain way, well, that was because it was written to end that way, wasn't it? I spent the next half hour trying to decide whether the existence of a universe in which fantasy had become reality qualified as proof of the validity of Witten's M-theory.
Somehow, I found myself again wondering whether to get my hands dirty or just sit things out and hope I could find a way home before everything ended. After all, if things were screwed up, it wasn't my fault. This wasn't my world and these weren't my problems. I neither wanted nor needed to be a hero.
Then I remembered something I'd said after a classical mythology lecture two years before: a real hero isn't some good-looking guy who beats all the baddies and gets all the girls. A real hero is somebody who gets up and does what needs to be done when nobody else will do it.
The hell these weren't my problems. Why did I become interested in Evangelion in the first place, if not because I identified with the characters?
As I finally drifted off, a plan began to form. Like most of my plans, it was kludgey and roundabout in the extreme, but it was worth a shot.
I desperately hoped it was, anyway.