That word has become a part of everyday life ever since that fateful day in 1954, when we were humbled by the wrath of a monstrosity created by our own destructive arrogance. Though it was slain by the sacrifice of one of our century's greatest minds, it proved to be far from the last to reveal itself to the world. Some kaiju, primarily the ones that evolved naturally in highly specialized ecosystems, are little more than animals that act on pure instinct, and thus can be deterred or even detained with the right resources. Others, however, are genuinely malicious, and will not be so easily stopped. Only a handful of kaiju are natural creatures, and even less are terrestrial; most are either altered in some shape in form, whether by the influences of Man, or something that may as well be mystical. I find it to be a reminder of how small our world actually is, or what we call our infantile civilization.
If there is one kaiju, however, that stands above all others, it must be the one that emerged from the waters off of Chichi-jima in 1954. He has gone by many names throughout our history. Jormungandr, Leviathan, Gojira. But the world at large knows him as Godzilla, King of the Monsters.
His title is a well-deserved one. In the past forty-five years, he has bested no less than twenty-eight kaiju in battle, many of whom had rendered the might of our armies to ash. Though he has not engaged military forces in over thirty of those years, it is quite clear that to fight him is to embrace death itself. He is a monster amongst monsters, the thing that even boogeymen fear. Even to this day, many live in fear of him, terrified of his raw power. Or, rather, the power of the monster that had preceded him, whose wrath had left a quarter million corpses in Tokyo.
And yet, despite his immense strength and ferocity, he had never deliberately turned it upon our fragile civilization or the idiosyncratic "family" of kaiju he is often observed with. Yes, he destroyed any humans that dared attack him, as we have seen with the destruction of the Red Bamboo all those years back, but the only time he was ever in a city was when another kaiju was ravaging it.
In fact, one could argue he is almost a defender of sorts, a benevolent guardian of our world. We can all agree that his appearance was what resulted in the scaling back of nuclear weapons production, and if it weren't for him and the kaiju by his side, would we have defeated the invasions from beyond our atmosphere, or survived the arrival of King Ghidorah? Indeed, if the Infant Island Fragments discovered in the Kihl Expedition bear any merit, we may have never survived long enough as a species to debate this matter if it weren't for him.
Some argue that his actions are merely those of an animal protecting his territory, but that does not seem to explain the full extent of what we have seen. And if what the late Miki Saegusa stated is accurate, he is far more intelligent than many realize.
Of course, many feel that this topic is no longer relevant after the Second Impact. There has not been a single kaiju sighting in over five years, and it is the popular opinion that the lot of them were wiped out in the same cataclysm that halved our population and set us back a great many years. Alas, some even feel that the end of the Age of Monsters is one we should rejoice, now that we are free from monsters like Godzilla.
As for me? I will never forget that fateful day in 1957 when I stood on a hill in the distance and watched him rise from the water to fight off the Mysterians invading my homeland; there was something in his fiery eyes that seemed to bore into my very soul. Something old, and yet inviolable against the unceasing tide of time. It is the memory of those unyielding eyes that press me to ask this question:
If we managed to survive the Second Impact, why couldn't he?
Dr. Kyohei Yamane
Monsters and Man: A History of Kaiju in the 20th Century (2004)
Outskirts of Tokyo-3
The weather was ill-fitting for the end of the world.
The skies were exceptionally clear that day, showing nothing but an endless expanse of blue, tinged by the slightest shade of red. It made for a stark contrast with the blood-red seas that met with it at the horizon, seas that had no smell to them, save for the faint scent of blood. A warm sea-breeze rolled in with the tide and gently rustled the leaves of young trees sprouting from broken shores. The buzzing of cicadas dominated the cacophony of nature, adding to the tranquility of the land.
It was a shame it had to end.
A plume of pinkish sea spray rose from the sea, followed a few seconds later by the low rumble of an explosion as the first of the mines detonated. Several more detonations followed in short order, each one closer to the shore than the last. The explosions had not gone unnoticed; scores of artillery cannon and missile launchers turned on their axes, pointing towards the slight bulge in the water that steadily drew near. A battalion of tanks swiveled their turrets, occasionally accompanied by a self-propelled maser cannon. Patiently, the mighty weapons of war waited for their target to reveal itself.
They didn't have to wait long.
The bulge expanded, revealing an inhuman form silhouetted behind the crimson waters before exploding outwards in a spray of foam. A bizarre creature strode towards the shore, a mockery of the human shape. It moved in a manner not unlike an upright ape, lanky arms moving in concert with legs that supported an impossibly thin waist. It had no neck or head, instead possessing a bony plate eerily similar to a plague doctor's mask. Bone protruded from pitch-black flesh, armoring its joints and securing a bright red orb in its solar plexus.
The tanks opened fire first, a staccato of cracks filling the air as armor-piercing rounds were shot at supersonic speeds. The rounds stopped short of the monster, however, coming into contact with orange lights flickering about the creature's body. It continued towards the shore unimpeded, its dead gaze focused on a distant point behind them. The artillery and missiles went next, unloading an impressive amount of firepower against the monster, obscuring its unnatural form in a massive cloud of smoke. A few seconds of tense silence passed, then the creature emerged from the smoke unharmed, having not even slowed its stride.
That left the masers. Advanced relics of a bygone age hummed softly as immense energy built up in their emitters, shining brilliantly as violet arcs of light shot forth from their barrels and struck the monster dead-on. The orange light flickering around the creature coalesced into a visible field of concentric octagons, growing in intensity as the masers increased their power and focused their beams on a single point. Finally, one of the beams managed to pass through the barrier and burned into its hide, striking just above the red orb. Blood the same color of the sea trickled from the wound, almost indiscernible against its dark flesh.
The creature finally acted, raising a gangly arm towards the nearest maser tank. A bony spur on its elbow glowed a bright violet, then sprang out of the monster's palm with alarming speed, impaling the tank and pinning it to the ground. The tank blossomed into a fiery explosion, and the monster withdrew its spur. It repeated the process with mechanical efficiency, only stopping when all of the maser tanks were molten lumps of metal. Seemingly satisfied with its work, it marched towards the shore again, paying no heed to the continued bombardment.
"Initial defense line breached," Makoto Hyuuga announced, his gaze fixated on the towering form of the Angel. "Target is advancing unimpeded."
"Of course it is," General Tanaka muttered, rubbing his face wearily. "Tell the VTOLS to continue with the bombardment; we need to gauge this thing's defensive capabilities."
"Contact the garrisons in Matushiro and Sendai," General Honda added, his face grim as he watched the viewscreen. "We need as many masers on the ground as we can manage if we want a snowball's chance in hell of hurting the bastard."
"Sir, Matushiro says ETA for the maser tanks is forty-five minutes," Maya Ibuki replied. "Sendai will take longer due to infrastructure damage from last week's storm."
"Have they attempted to draw its attention away with heavy fire?" General Tsuburaya inquired. "If we can't hurt it at the moment, we might be able to distract it long enough for reinforcements to arrive."
"VTOL Squadron Victor-Sigma has already attempted that with the refurbished ICBMs," Shigeru Aoba replied. "The target is simply ignoring them, like it did with everything else."
In the back of the command room, a man watched the chaos impassively, his hands tented before his face. Orange glasses hid his eyes, adding to the air of enigma surrounding him.
"After fifteen years, the moment has finally arrived," he said calmly.
"Indeed," an older man said, standing by his side. "The Third Angel has come to test the worthiness of Man."
He fell silent for a few moments, watching the battle erupting on the viewscreen before continuing. "Do you think he'll arrive?"
"The Scrolls make only cursory mentions of the Leviathan and the role he will play in what comes next, Fuyutsuki" the man replied. "It is possible that he may not wake for this fight."
"Your little songbird hasn't said anything?" Fuyutsuki allowed himself a small chuckle. "I forget that you grew up in the calmer times. I remember what he was like, Rokobungi. The sheer power he held, and the iron will that pushed that power forward. Something tells me that we will see him soon enough; he always appears when the world needs him the most. What will you do then, when the old King awakens to protect his kingdom?"
Gendo did not reply. He continued to watch the viewscreen, but there was no point in focusing on it, not yet.
His cellphone rang, and he quickly answered the call. After all, there was only one reason why someone would be contacting him on his private number.
"Commander speaking," he said, watching as the VTOLs dropped another thermobaric weapon.
"He is awake," came the soft reply.
The call ended, and Gendo put the phone back in his pocket, then resumed his pose. Hidden behind his gloved hands, a smirk appeared on his face.
Somewhere in the depths of the Pacific
A titan stirred.
Slowly, he cracked open an eye, then another. Shudders rolled across his massive body as life returned to his long-dormant limbs, and he rose to his feet groggily, shaking off a thousand tons' worth of sand and rubble. The beast did not know for how long he had slumbered, nor did he care. Time had lost its meaning to him.
As he returned to wakefulness, memories came flooding back. A tower of light, where the ocean currents turned freezing, then a massive wave... after that, there was nothing.
Eyes that burned like hot coals surveyed the lifeless seafloor, and a fiery rage boiled within his scaled breast as he purveyed the magnitude of the disaster. He could not sense the movement of fish, or hear the calls of whales, or smell all the familiar scents of the ocean.
The beast roared, a howl of animalistic fury that seemed to shake the very earth he stood on, the sea itself trembling before his awesome power. The balance of nature he had sworn to protect aeons ago had been thrown into chaos and all but destroyed, the waters he called home left barren. An atrocity of such magnitude could not go unpunished; the very wrath of the world itself seemed to pour through the beast's veins, baying for blood.
He would oblige. Already the beast detected a terrible presence, one that threatened to destroy what little of the world remained. With a growl he pushed off the ocean floor, leaving massive clouds of silt behind him as he darted through the waters with a speed that belied his gargantuan frame. He had already failed the world once, and he nearly payed the ultimate price for it. As long as the great flame sparked in his breast, he would not do so again.
The King was on the hunt.
Outskirts of Tokyo-3
"Due to the state of emergency, all lines are currently unavailable..."
Shinji Ikari sighed and wearily plopped the phone back on its receiver.
"No good," he muttered softly to himself. "Can't get anything on the cell either..."
For the umpteenth time that morning, he looked back down at the photograph he had received in the mail. It was, to say at the very least, very inappropriate to send to a fourteen-year old boy, and he wondered how someone like Misato Katsuragi could have become a major. Not that he minded terribly, but it was still rather concerning. What caught his eye the most, however, was the strange cross she wore about her neck. It was extraordinarily elaborate, and there was something vaguely familiar about it...
He looked around, trying to see if there was a car coming to pick him up, but the streets were still silent, devoid of any human activity. Despite the summer heat, he felt a chill run up his spine.
A glint in the corner of his eye drew his attention towards a silvery object on the ground. He looked about the empty street, then stooped down and picked it up, weighing it in his palm. It was strangely nondescript, possessing no markings whatsoever, save for a bright red button in the middle, and it was warm. He twirled it deftly about in his slender fingers, weighing it in his hand.
"Odd," he said to himself. "Why is this so heavy?"
He looked about again, as if expecting for the strange object's owner to suddenly appear, then warily slid it into his breast pocket. The warmth was a soothing one, and he began to feel more at ease.
That was when the explosions reached his ears.
Near the coast
"Captain, we're picking up a massive sonar signature," an ensign declared.
The captain of the patrol boat Nakajima put down his binoculars and looked away from the battle that was raging a few kilometers away. "What do you mean?"
"Displacement's at least sixty kilotons," the ensign continued, voice a little shaky. "It's approaching our position."
The captain looked over at the sonar screen, as if to confirm it himself. His eyes widened slightly as he realized that there was a massive signature approaching their position. In that moment, he was also aware of a faint sound, like the beating of a massive drum. It was distorted by the sonar reading, but steadily growing louder.
"Oh, god," the ensign said. "Big heartbeats..."
The captain looked up from the screen, peering at where the signature was coming from. Sure enough, he could see a bulge in the water, rapidly approaching their position.
"Brace!" he barked, grabbing a safety rail.
Thankfully, the boat only rocked a little as the shape passed underneath. The captain turned around, watching the bulge approach the shoreline. Before his eyes, he saw a row of spines breaching the surface, kicking up a sea spray as they cut through the blood-red waters.
His heart skipped a beat. I've seen those before.
"Alert the JSSDF immediately!" he shouted. "Tell them that Kaiju Alpha's alive and approaching!"
Outskirts of Tokyo-3
Shinji clamped his hands over his ears and crouched down, bracing against the wind that rattled nearby windows. Once the howling ceased, he spun about to face the source of the sound, and his stomach sank as he did so.
Some bizarre thing was emerging from a point beyond the hills, walking towards his position. VTOLs flew about it like a swarm of angry bees, pelting it with a flurry of missiles and bullets, but their efforts seemed to have no effect. Raising a gangly arm, it suddenly impaled one of the airships with a spear of violet light, sending it crashing nearby. The VTOL exploded, sending shrapnel and debris flying into the air. A small piece of concrete clipped Shinji in the temple, and he fell sprawling to the ground. Something warm trickled down his neck, and he became dimly aware of the fact that he was bleeding.
Through the ringing in his ears, he managed to discern the sound of tires screeching to a halt, followed by hurried footsteps. A pair of hands took hold of his shoulders and began to slowly drag him away from the chaos erupting just a few streets over.
"Come on," a feminine voice urged, strained with effort. A few strands of purplish hair entered his vision, and he dazedly realized that the speaker was Misato Katsuragi. "Come on!"
Not that it mattered, he hazily thought; they were going to die anyway. Another VTOL was careening towards them, smoke billowing from a massive gash in its flank. Misato cursed and began to redouble her efforts to pull him along, but he knew that there was no way that they could both get out of the way in time. It was so dreamlike, so surreal, that he found himself far more at ease than he should have been. He simply closed his eyes, waiting for the inevitability of death.
A few seconds passed, and he realized that it still hadn't come. His eyes creaked open slightly, then widened with shock.
The VTOL was held aloft in the air by a pair of massive clawed hands. Tainted saltwater dripped from its scaly skin, drizzling onto him and Misato. Their unexpected rescuer deposited the VTOL on the street beside them with surprising care, then stepped between them and the bizarre creature. It was tall, standing heads and shoulders over the tallest buildings around, and clad in charcoal-grey scales that seemed to smolder like a dying fire. Three rows of bone-white spines the shape of maple leaves ran down its back, going from the base of its neck to the tip of its crocodilian tail. For the briefest of seconds, he managed to catch a glimpse of its eyes, burning like the heart of a furnace and contorted with an expression that crossed the barriers between man and beast.
"Oh God," Misato whispered at Shinji's side, her eyes as wide as saucers. "He's back."
Godzilla, King of the Monsters, had returned.
The Kaiju King raised his head high, inhaling deep enough to ruffle Shinji's hair with a breeze, then roared. It was an old sound, a sound of fury and vengeance that was ancient when mankind first began to walk upright. The windows around them bulged outwards, then shattered into thousands of pieces before his rage. Misato winced, pressing her hands to her ears, and Shinji gritted his teeth in pain as the sound assailed his eardrums.
It was finally too much. His vision was fading now, growing dimmer and dimmer with each passing second. The last thing he remembered seeing was Godzilla, massive craters in the pavement trailing behind him as he marched towards the bizarre monster in the distance.
After that, there was only blackness.
Silence reigned in the command center. Gendo glanced down at the people down below, gauging their reactions with more than a little amusement. Some were gasping, murmuring curses or prayers amongst themselves, and others were silent, eyes wide.
"We need to N2 mine the area!" Tsuburaya exclaimed, finally breaking the silence. "Have the VTOLs pull out!"
He reached towards the red telephone on the desk, only for Honda to grab his arm with surprising strength.
"We are not going to vaporize a city just because he's shown up," the older man warned in a low tone. He turned back towards the viewscreen and narrowed his eyes. "Focus all available firepower on the Angel."
"Yes, sir," Hyuuga replied.
"She was right, Fuyutsuki," Gendo commented at the back of the room. "The Leviathan rises from the dead seas to prove that there are beasts only gods can tame."
"What shall we do, then?" Fuyutsuki inquired.
"Create a god, of course."
Outskirts of Tokyo-3
Godzilla snarled contemptuously as he glared at the creature before him. It stared back with lifeless eyes, hidden behind its bony mask. It was certainly one of the stranger-looking monsters he had encountered in his long life, but such things mattered little to him. Flexing his claws, he roared once more and charged, nearby buildings trembling with each ponderous footfall.
The creature responded in kind. A heavenly light glowed from the ground beneath its feet as it took to the air in a massive leap, clearing the ground between them in seconds. It smashed into him, a field of concentric orange octagons forming at the point of impact. Godzilla skidded back a few meters, then lashed out with a clawed fist. There was a flash of light, followed by a tremendous cracking sound as he shattered the field with one blow. The creature staggered back, allowing him to catch it in its bony mask with another punch, sending it flying back until it hit a building in the distance. The building crumbled like a house of cards, burying it under thousands of tons of rubble in the process. Pressing his advantage, Godzilla charged forward again, refusing to let it recover.
The rubble exploded outwards, revealing the creature. Its bony mask was cracked in two, and thick blood gushed from countless gashes torn into its skin. VTOLs continued to hover overhead, bombarding it with missiles and cannon fire, but it ignored them as it raised a gangly arm in Godzilla's direction. Before he could react, a spur of violet light blasted forth from its palm, spearing into his shoulder and using his own momentum against him as it pierced through his thick hide. The King of the Monsters roared furiously, then took hold of the spur in a clawed hand and twisted. The bony protrusion shattered, spraying the streets with even more blood and prompting a cry of pain from the creature.
Godzilla growled as he pulled the spur out of his shoulder, letting the wound seal up before he turned his attention back to the reeling creature before him. Before he could advance, the thing's eyes flashed, and a blast struck him in the chest, detonating like a massive bomb. Nearby buildings were reduced to rubble by the explosion of light, smoke rising from the ruins.
He snorted contemptuously, his hide unmarked by the attack. Two could play at that game.
He inhaled deeply, letting the familiar burn flood his chest as immense atomic energies blossomed within. His spines crackled as a fearsome blue glow began to emanate from them, traveling from the tip of his tail to the base of his neck. Wisps of plasma rose from his maw, and a blinding beam blasted forth, striking his enemy in the shoulder and burning through its dark flesh before emerging from the other side. The creature's severed arm fell to the ground, greasy smoke rising from its burnt stump.
A sickly cry of pain filled the air as the monster stumbled back, blood pouring freely from the slowly regenerating hole in its shoulder that used to hold an arm, only to be silenced when Godzilla slammed into it with enough force to send it flying into a nearby hillside. Godzilla charged again, moving faster than something that large should have been able to, and brought a clawed foot down on its left leg, snapping it like a dry twig.
The kaiju king glared down at the creature, eyes burning with hate. The monster flailed about wildly in an attempt to get free, but it proved to an exercise in futility as he increased the weight on its leg. It raised its remaining arm, preparing another attack, and he took hold of it, the fragile bones shattering from the sheer strength of his grip. There was a horrid sound of tearing flesh as he casually tore the limb free of its socket, tossing it aside like garbage, then he turned his attention towards the glittering red core in the creature's chest. Raising a clawed fist, he slammed it into the core, a spiderweb of cracks forming where he struck. Snorting in satisfaction, he struck it again, the blow raining down like a cannon shot, and the cracks widened.
The monster's form shifted, limbs flowing like water as it tried to wrap around him, but he refused to fall into its grip. Pulling it off of him, he threw it back down to the ground, then struck one last time. The core shattered into countless pieces, and the flesh bulged outwards, like a corpse left in water. Before Godzilla could react, it exploded into a spray of blood, painting the countryside red.
He rose from the remains of his enemy, his claws slick with blood that faded to steam, and roared in triumph, howling at the sky. The world had been avenged, however slightly; it would see another tomorrow.
Godzilla glanced over at the small form of a human vehicle, rapidly receding in the distance. Faintly, he could sense something familiar, something that had been at his side before.
He let out a satisfied chuff at that. It seemed he wasn't the only defender to have returned. Briefly, he eyed the VTOLs hovering about him, then began the long trek back to the sea.
"He did it," Tsuburaya breathed.
Honda allowed himself a small smile. "Of course he did. I've seen him walk away from worse fights than this."
"Sir, we're receiving requests for new orders regarding Godzilla," Maya said shakily, her face paler than usual. "Reinforcements from Matushiro and Sendai are approaching his position. Shall we engage?"
"He's returning to the ocean. Send out a 'Do Not Provoke' order," Honda replied. He leaned back into his chair and allowed himself a sigh of relief. "Lord knows how that would turn out."
In the back of the room, Gendo smiled lightly. He watched the titanic form of Godzilla draw nearer to the lifeless seas, his eyes narrowing imperceptibly.
"Seems so, Rokobungi. It appears that we will have to wait our turn," Fuyutsuki noted dryly.
Gendo straightened in his seat and adjusted his glasses. "It is of no matter; we will have our time soon enough. The Scenario still proceeds, even taking him into consideration."
The intercom on his desk beeped, halting any further conversation. Allowing himself a small sigh, he activated it.
"Commander, this is Major Katsuragi reporting in. I've retrieved Sh- er, the Third Child, and am currently bringing him to HQ. He needs immediate medical attention; a piece of concrete hit him in the head during the Third Angel's attack. He's hurt really bad, Commander."
"Understood. I'll have Dr. Akagi meet you at Entrance B-3 with medics on standby." With that, he turned the intercom off and turned to Fuyutsuki. "Contact Dr. Akagi and alert her of the situation."
Fuyutsuki nodded and turned to leave. Suddenly, he paused. "If we do lose the Third Child, what would that entail for the Scenario?"
Gendo fell silent for a few moments.
"Everyone in the Scenario is replaceable," he finally replied. "Including him."
"Shit," Misato muttered, shoving the phone in her pocket. "C'mon, c'mon..."
She spared a glance over at the unconscious boy in her seat. She'd wrapped his head in a makeshift bandage, but she could see that it was already staining with blood.
"Just a little longer, kid," she said. "Just hold on a little longer."
Shinji found himself in water.
At least, it felt like water. It was cool to the touch and as clear as glass, reaching up to his waist and lapping gently against him. Turning about, he saw that it extended in all directions for as far as the eye can see, and a glance upward revealed a cloudless sky devoid of any sun. It was tranquil, something he found himself appreciating greatly.
He touched a hand to his temple, feeling where the concrete had clipped him. There was no blood, no soreness; it was like the wound had never appeared at all.
"Am I dead?" he asked himself softly.
"Not quite," a strangely familiar voice replied to his right.
Spinning about, Shinji found himself facing... himself. Well, at least it looked like him. The posture was off; it was more upright and seemed to exude confidence. The boy was smiling warmly at him, like some long-lost friend.
"Where am I?" Shinji inquired.
"We are inside your head," the boy replied.
Shinji shuddered slightly at the voice; it was like listening to someone wearing his skin. "W-who are you? Why do you look like me?"
"I am a protector with no name. One who came to Earth a long time ago to protect it. It appears that I am needed again. As I have no form, I decided to take yours in the hopes that it'd make you feel more comfortable."
"It really isn't," Shinji replied, softly.
The boy frowned and furrowed his brow, then relaxed. "Perhaps something more... paternal."
He grew hazy, as though he were surrounded by clouds that contoured to his shape. The haze grew thicker, then disappeared. The boy was taller now, his features more mature.
"Better?" he asked in a deeper voice.
"Yeah, I guess," Shinji replied sheepishly. "You kinda look like the older brother I never had."
"I look like nothing," came the gentle retort. "I have no real form."
"Are... are you an alien or something?"
"Yes," the man replied bluntly.
Shinji gulped, then realized that he didn't actually have a throat to gulp with. "What... what are you doing in my head?"
"I have no physical body. In order to protect the worlds I have visited, I would bond with a native there."
"So you chose me," Shinji said, still trying to digest the realization. Perhaps it was all a dream, and he'd wake any second.
"Not quite. You were the first to find me, actually. However, it appears that bonding would be necessary now. I am not very well versed in your anatomy, but even I could tell that you'll die with that head injury of yours. If we bond, you'll be healed of your wounds. You will be bestowed with great power, Shinji. Together, we can save the world."
"Save the world?" Shinji asked, a slight tremble to his voice.
"Is there something wrong?"
Shinji glanced down at the water, watching his own reflection.
"You need not be afraid to speak your mind."
"I... I don't really think I'm qualified to be a hero." Shinji replied. "I'm nobody. There has to be somebody else, can't there? Why me?"
"Because you found me."
"So, just because of that... because of some random accident... I'm being forced to be something?"
"I am not one to force anything," the man replied, voice soft. "Yes, you did chance upon me, but sometimes we cannot control what destinies are forced upon us. You may fear failure, but I have found that strength can come from the most unexpected of places. It is a truth I have seen on countless worlds."
There was something about how he'd said it. Perhaps it was the raw sincerity Shinji could feel, in this realm of the mind. Whatever it was, he looked up, taking a deep breath.
"All right, I'll do it." he said silently. "I'll bond with you."
"Good," replied the man.
With that, Shinji woke.
Leviathan, Chapter One: The Return of the King