EVA Sessions: The Eaters of Sin

Everything Evangelion Fanfiction related.

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Postby xanderkh » Sat Nov 22, 2014 6:25 pm

Hopefully Yui is on the side of Misato at this point, and hopefully Fuyutsuki becomes an ally of Misato. Man, there are just so many sides here trying to claim domination, it's hard to keep track. :P

One thing I loved about about this chapter though is the internal struggle that Misato has when dealing with Shinji, like how at first she was angry at him for being like he was since she claimed she herself was suffering, but then mentally slapped herself back into sensibility at their situation. It's a huge 3-dimensional dynamic that shows that even characters who claim to love each other, as a mother and son would, can still get pretty angry and hateful towards each other, but that's okay cause it shows that Misato is human and still struggling with her flaws.

A lot of fics, especially Evangelion "fix-fic" seem to have this "Kaworism" problem that I'll call, which the characters adopt only one mentality when dealing with the others, such as Shinji, Asuka, or anybody else never getting frustrated, mad, or even hateful towards each other when they call each other out on their bullshit, even if they love each other still. It's a dynamic that a lot of people don't want to explore in relationships with anyone, trying to make their interpretation of their relationship perfect with no internal problems. But that's what makes a relationship work in the long run, where they still continue to care, even when things are sucky and bull-shitty.

MASSIVE KUDOS Gob, you've got my attention. (As if THAT was ever a problem. :lol: )
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Sephiroth: "Too close to the brightness, and you may get scorched."
Golbz:.............
Golbez: Your loss can strengthen you.

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Postby Gob Hobblin » Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:53 pm

Chapter 5

Change of Command

SPOILER: Show


Misato marched sharply towards the command bridge, one ear cocked to her hand-held radio. Occasionally, officers and other leaders in the mutiny would chime in with status updates or cross-checks, before turning back to their other radios, keyed to sub-nets and sub-frequencies. She hummed to herself as she absorbed and filed away the incoming information, wondering when the next phase of the whole ordeal would come.

A crucial phase. Probably the most crucial phase in the short term.

She glanced to her right, as Shinji stumbled along next to her, trying to match her pace. Misato just couldn’t figure the right place for him at the moment: she didn’t want to leave him in the Med Bay, because she already had one Pilot under heavy sedation. She didn’t want to leave him unattended in her office…or anywhere she couldn’t get to him at a moment’s notice. So once again, she adjusted, and decided it would just be better all around to have him tag along with her.

It wasn’t ideal, but it was what it was.Besides, she had very little time to sort that situation out. One of the last pieces of the puzzle had fallen into place.

The Vice-Commander had been found.

“So, Shinji,” Misato said. Shinji’s head jerked towards her, caught off guard. “What do you know about running a mutiny?”

“Um…I…don’t really….”

“Exactly how I feel. You’d think someone would have written a book on this sort of thing by now. I mean, there are books on coups and stuff, but I wasn’t able to find any of those in time. And this is slightly different.”

“…is it?”

“Well…substantially different.” She passed the bridge’s security cordon, and stepped into the command space. “Maybe I should write a book about this. What do you think?”

“Sure. I guess.”

“We’ll co-write it, when things settle down. Hyuga!”

“Ma’am!”

“Where is Vice-Commander Fuyutsuki?”

“We have him cooling his heels in Bridge Conference 2.”

“Did you really just say ‘cooling his heels?’” Misato asked, squinting.

“It was literally the first phrase that popped into my mind,” Hyuga said.

“Any movement on the perimeter?”

“So far, no,” Aoba said. “Our above-ground sensors are all showing no movement, nothing. Our uniformed friends have also reported all quiet on their ends. They have requested permission to launch their drones.”

“Tell them to go ahead,” Misato said. She checked her watch. She scoffed: it was only 0349. This had been a long night already, and it was still far from over. “And the news?”

“Well, we’re up there, now,” Aoba said. He pointed to the main screen, which was running news feeds from seven different channels. Mingled in the madness were repeat images of the New Kantei being stormed, the current security perimeter that had been set up around that building with JGSDF troops, and the current cordon around the GeoFront. There was speculation about the two events being linked. Speculate away, boys, Misato thought sourly. Leave the media a scrap of chaos, and they’d spend days filling in the gaps.

“Let’s see…if that gives us some wiggle room,” Misato mumbled. “Keep me posted. Shinji?” She turned to the boy. “I need to go talk to the Vice-Commander. Can you stay here?” He shrugged, uncertain. He looked around the room, seemingly lost. “Just…stay here for a bit.” She sighed, and glanced back up at the screen. Soldiers with rifles, that was the news of the day. Soldiers here, soldiers there…soldiers in all the places that mattered.

So how long before this really gets out of hand? Misato wondered. Truth be told, she had to admit…how did she know it wasn’t already out of hand right now?

-----

Misato wrinkled her nose as she stepped into the conference room. It was a familiar smell, but it wasn’t one she was expecting in this enclosed space. Why did it stink of LCL in here?

The source was the Vice-Commander himself: sitting in his briefs at the back of the room, much as the Commander himself had been stripped for security reasons, Fuyutsuki reeked of LCL. She could see greasy, orange-colored patches on his exposed skin where the substance was coagulating in the cool air of the room.

“Vice-Commander,” she said.

“Major,” he replied.

“So…we had a hell of a time finding you.”

“I imagine,” he said. He was strangely relaxed, and not resonating the same wave of intensity and irritation that had come from the Commander.

“I was told you were discovered exiting the Evangelion hangers. Specifically, Unit One’s.”

“I was not ‘discovered,’ I surrendered myself. There is a substantial difference,” he said.

“Forgive me. You were detained,” she replied, testy.

“That will work as well,” the older man admitted.

“…Did you sabotage our Evas?”

“What I did was of no concern of yours, Major. I suppose you could call it sabotage, but that’s entirely up to forces beyond either of us,” he replied. Misato shook her head.

“We don’t really have time for word games. What was it you did?” Fuyutsuki looked down at his hands, smiled, and said nothing. Misato felt a dull sense of panic. If he had been tampering with the Evas…did that mean there was something coming…which might require an Evangelion to stop?
She crossed the room, slid a chair in front of the Vice-Commander, and sat down. She leaned forward. “You bastards will stop at nothing to achieve your goals. It wasn’t enough that you had to…unleash that thing in the South Pole.” As she spoke, Fuyutsuki’s brow furrowed. She continued on. “And now, after you’ve broken…all of us. Me, the…kids. The Children…after we’re all just ground to bits, you want to take what we gave and throw it out the window.”

“You seem to be holding together, for being ‘ground to bits,’” Fuyutsuki noted. “But I think I’m…missing something here.”

“What’s to miss? You’re trying to destroy our primary trump card.”

“…Major, who are you taking orders from?”

“What?” Misato sat back, confused by the question. Fuyutsuki’s expression went from concerned and confused to slightly bewildered.

“Do you mean to say…at least, I’m interpreting it this way…are you not…taking orders from anyone in these situation?”

“I’m…no! Why would I? Who would you think I’m taking orders from? The government?” Misato squinted at him. “Who could we take orders from here? Our superiors are trying to end the world! But you knew that already, didn’t you!”

“…Oh! Good! That’s a relief!” Fuyutsuki said, leaning back in his chair. “I’m glad my suspicions were confirmed.”

“…Eh?”

“I will admit, for a few minutes there, I felt a little nervous. I was afraid I had miscalculated.” He crossed his arms. “So I would be correct in assuming that you are, in fact…rebelling against Seele?”

“…Who did you…what did…yes, yes we are.”

“Then you might be surprised to find we’re on the same side.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“We are both attempting to stop Third Impact.” Fuyutsuki beamed at her as if she were a student that had solved an exceptionally difficult theorem. “Isn’t that refreshing?” Misato stared at the Vice-Commander.

“…Run that by me again.”

“Oh, for God’s sake, Major, you’re supposed to be one of the bright ones,” Fuyutsuki said. “It’s quite simple: we had two concurrent plans to try and prevent Seele from enacting their final scenario. We are opposed to the Human Instrumentality Project, only I was more discrete in my rebellion than you were.”

“Which, apparently, included sabotaging our Evas?” Misato snapped.

“Against Seele. Not against us,” Fuyutsuki said.

“That…makes no sense. At all,” Misato complained.

“I will explain it…in confidential company.” He glanced at the guards. Misato took his meaning, and waved her hand, dismissing the two of them.

“Are you sure, ma’am?” the senior guard asked.

“Just wait in the hallway,” she said, drawing her handgun. She waited for the door to slide shut behind her, and she stared at the Vice-Commander. “Okay,” she said. “Tell me your reasons, and make sure they’re good. Because, frankly…I’m really having trouble buying this ‘struggling together’ crap you’re selling.”

Fuyutsuki nodded. “Understandable. Well…it begins with a remarkable young lady, you see….”

-----

“…and that is the long and short of it.” Fuyutsuki rested his hands on his stomach as he leaned back in the chair. He was relaxed, relieved even: it was remarkably uplifting to vent so many secrets.

Misato was slumped in her chair, leaning heavily on her hand. Her pistol was forgotten for the moment, gripped casually and loosely in her freehand. Her eyes were wide and stunned, and her mouth hung open. “That’s…that’s it?”

“That’s it.”

“So…the long and short of it, as you say…is that Shinji’s mom is…Unit One. Because she wanted to become a god….”

“…well, not a god, exactly….”

“…it’s a lot less of a mouthful than ‘immortal memorial to the human race,’” Misato said testily.

“…that is true.”

“And while this was happening,” Misato said, moving on, “The Commander…cloned his wife…and that clone is, in fact…Rei….”

“One of them, at least.”

“Oh, don’t worry, I know about the rest!” The woman shifted in her chair, worked up now. “And that the whole thing in Antarctica wasn’t an accident on my idiot dad’s part, but that he may have been deliberately mislead…and that….” She began rubbing at her forehead with both hands. Worryingly, she still held her handgun. Fuyutsuki made a small noise in his throat and gently extended his hand, alarmed.

“I am not going to shoot myself!” she grunted. “I just…I am having a very difficult time…understanding this.” She closed her eyes. “So…Shinji’s mother…willingly allowed herself to be absorbed into Unit One.”

“Yes.”

“And she wanted Shinji to watch it?”

“She wanted him to see the bright world she was helping to create,” Fuytusuki said, sadly. “I never really knew what she meant by that.”

“And then,” Misato grunted, ignoring the man. “His dad…packs up his kid, sends him off for ten years…ten…Jesus, no wonder he’s messed up.”

“You say that so casually,” Fuyutsuki scolded.

“I don’t think of it in any ‘casual’ way,” Misato snapped. “I have…made a decision to stop running from the things that are hard for me, and caring for that boy is hard. I am doing this…for him.” She relaxed, and holstered her pistol. “And for Asuka. I would even say I’m doing it for Rei, but is that really Rei down there? Or just the latest model? Or is it, in fact, Mrs. Ikari? Wait…better question: why does she exist at all? What was Gendo Ikari planning on doing with a clone of his wife?”

“I have theories, but you have to understand that Gendo Ikari was a very guarded man. He does not share himself with others, and he did not share his plans with me. We were…allies of convenience. In all fairness, I somewhat detest the man.”

“I would have never have guessed that.”

“I respect him, you understand. And I had to assume that there was something to him, or else…Yui would not have married him. Still…that’s beside the point. In the end, I was…making an appeal.”

“To…Unit One…I mean….”

“Yes, to the soul of Unit One. I was…hoping she would…listen. For once.” He crossed his arms, and closed his eyes. “Do you know why Unit One was so…savage when it fought? It wasn’t just the soul and the will of the boy, you know.”

“…Maternal instinct. It was his mother choosing to defend him.”

“Yes. That boy…has had an unfair life.” Fuyutsuki smiled. “You may not figure me to be sentimental, but I am. I don’t know that boy very well, but…he is Yui’s son. That…well.” He shrugged. “Well,” he repeated.

“Nnh,” Misato murmured. “So…where does that leave us, then?”

“What do you mean?”

“I can’t assume you’re telling the truth, but it doesn’t sound…like a lie.” She tugged at an ear. “It’s too far-fetched. A lie is generally simple. That is…absurd enough to be true.”

“I take it, then, that you’re decided what to do with me.”

“Yes.”

“I know you have no reason to trust me, but I would advise you to let me sit in on your mutiny.”

“Sit in?”

“Yes.” He leaned forward. “How long do you think it will be before Seele responds?”

“That’s what’s worried me,” she admitted. “So far, there hasn’t been a response…to this, or to what’s happening outside.”

“Outside?” Misato explained to Fuyutsuki about the mysterious benefactor who Kaji had put her in touch with. The CRF commandos, the raid on the New Kantei…all of it. When she finished, he looked concerned but thoughtful.

“I see…so…hmm….” He rubbed his chin. “This situation may be more complicated than you think.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m not comfortable telling you, because I think you’ve done pretty good so far. Too much information might make you hesitate, which would be worse than acting. Just answer me this: do you trust this contact? Or these commandos?”

“No,” Misato said without hesitation, “but I know they aren’t Seele.”

“I would advise you to keep that stance,” Fuyutsuki said. “All I feel I should say right now is that this situation may be more complicated than it appears on the surface.”

Misato closed her eyes, considering the current state of Japanese politics. It was, safe to say, not entirely democratic. The ravages of post-Impact society, combined with a hefty military budget and the constant threat of Angelic attacks…the assertive role the country was playing in East Asia, despite that….

The factions. The factions within factions. She opened her eyes, studying Fuyutsuki. “You’re thinking that we’re unintentional participants in an actual coup for the country of Japan.”

“It’s possible,” he agreed. “Which, I have to say, should not stop you from this course, or using what assets come your way: Seele’s goals are real. They are no confined to the petty politics of one nation. Whatever happens in Tokyo-2 might confuse them, but it will not dissuade them from their ultimate goal.”

“Third Impact,” she mumbled.

“Yes,” the Vice-Commander said.

“…do you think, then, that whoever this is…carrying out this coup…doubts the validity of the threat?”

“…I hesitate to—”

“I’m asking you to,” Misato said. “I can act without restraint, when needed. I need information, though. And advice.” She slumped forward. “I…really need advice.” Fuyutsuki nodded, and scratched his bare chest.

“Well…I am certain that whoever is assisting you believes the threat of Seele to be real, and to be opposed. In knowing that, I further ask you…what kind of person or persons would know that, and still use it as an opportunity to grab for power?”

“The Prime Minister, though…if he’s in Seele’s pocket….”

“Is he?” Fuyutsuki smiled. “He is a democratically elected leader. I don’t doubt Seele would try to manipulate one of their own into a position of power, but that brings exposure, and risk. Wouldn’t it be easier to simply…feed disinformation to a pre-seated leader?”

“Ah. Aaaahh.” Misato nodded in understanding. “The good man led astray.”

“I wouldn’t call the PM a good man, but the principle is the same. The best of intentions…on the worst of advice.”

“On lies….” She sniffed. “Then that’s where were at. And nothing to be done about it for the moment.”

“No.”

“…It is possible that there is a unit in the Japanese military that is planning an attack on us,” Misato said, abruptly changing the subject.

“Hence the ‘honor guard’ of CRF troops.”

“Yes.”

“…Would you accept my offer as an adviser to your mutiny?”

“…yes, I would, Vice-Commander.”

“…Professor,” Fuyutsuki said, bluntly.

“I’m sorry?” Misato asked, confused.

“Just…Professor. Or Doctor, whichever you prefer. I think I’m done with being Vice-Commander for a bit.” He smiled. “You’re the one in the hot-seat, now, Major.”

“When have I not been?”

“A valid point.” Fuyutsuki sighed. “Now…while I would be happy to assist…it is very cold, and I reek of LCL.”

“Um…yes. Sorry, we’ll square that away.” Misato called the guards back into the room. “Take the…Professor to the nearest locker-room. Get him a spare set of clothes, and allow him to wash up and change. He will be joining the command staff on the bridge.”

“Ma’am.” The guard beckoned Fuyutsuki, and the man stood. The three walked towards the door, and just before they passed through, Misato called over her shoulder.

“Professor.”

“Yes, Major?”

“…Do you think, when it comes down to it…Unit…Yui…can be relied upon?”

“Major,” he said, “You can always rely upon a storm to rage…but can you tell me when it will come?” With that, he left the room. Misato furrowed her brow at that, and for a time, remained in the conference room with dark thoughts.

Though, Gob still might look good in a cocktail dress.
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Postby IronEvangelion » Mon Nov 24, 2014 1:41 am

Ah Fuyutsuki, forever stuck playing second fiddle to somebody else in the chain of command. :lol:
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Postby pwhodges » Mon Nov 24, 2014 3:21 am

Ah, why did Yui want Shinji to watch... Why indeed? A question I've never seen a good answer to, really.

I enjoyed that; quite a twist, but also a lower-key interlude.
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Postby ElMariachi » Mon Nov 24, 2014 7:22 am

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:Ah, why did Yui want Shinji to watch... Why indeed? A question I've never seen a good answer to, really.

Very simple: since the very beginning she intended to have Shinji as her pilot and the center of Third Impact, bringing him to see the Contact Experiment so unconsciously he would make the connection between EVA-01 and his mother (notably through the scent inside the entry plug when he's synchronized), augmenting his synchronization with EVA-01.
Shinji really got the most fucked-up parents of mankind's history.

Now for the chapter, Misato gains a new ally, which is good, and the potential implications of her actions are starting to show, which can be potentially very bad.
The wild card is, as always, Yui, who no one knows if she'll help Misato and her coup and renounce her insane plan (frankly, becoming an "eternal monument to mankind"...) or if she'll screw everyone over and still carry out her plan, in which case Shinji will be involved, which will make him the wild card.
So many possibilities!
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Postby Literary Eagle » Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:39 am

Glad to see that Misato and Fuyutsuki are working together now. However, the lack of word from Seele is making me nervous! Damn it, you're doing this on purpose, aren't you? :lol:

Seriously though, good job! I look forward to the next part!
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Postby ElMariachi » Tue Nov 25, 2014 8:45 am

Hey I just realized while rereading the chapter: Fuyutsuki doesn't know about Rei having Lilith's soul (which seems odd but whatever), so I guess we can count her in as one of the wild cards, because if she get bored or impatient and decided to act, there's little the guards can do to stop her!
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Postby Gob Hobblin » Sun Nov 30, 2014 10:21 pm

Chapter 6: On the Wall

SPOILER: Show


“It’s kind of…disconcerting.”

“What?” Hyuga turned to Maya. “The…Vice-Commander?”

“Professor.”

“Professor?” Hyuga asked, accepting the correction without protest.

“I’m used to seeing him so cool and professional. And…well….” The young woman turned and gazed up at him, next to Misato and Shinji on the overwatch. He was wearing a Nerv cotton windbreaker over a white undershirt, and sweatpants...the quickest items of clothing on hand for him to change into. She would expect that he could make even those appear like a uniform, but he was…lounging. Leaning against the overwatch’s low railing, with his hands stuffed in his pockets. She didn’t think he was capable of relaxing like that.

It was weird.

“I don’t like it,” she decided.

“We are…fifteen minutes to sunrise, in the middle of all…this,” Aoba grunted, waving an encompassing arm over his head, “And that’s what you’re focused on?”

“Don’t tell me it doesn’t unnerve you just a bit.”

“I will admit to nothing, and god damn it the painkillers aren’t working anymore.”

“You really should not be up here,” Hyuga pleaded.

“Not leaving,” Aoba grumbled, hugging his head as he leaned heavily over his station. He hummed in misery for a bit.

“I wish you would; you need recovery time,” Maya pointed.

“Muh,” was all Aoba could manage at that moment. He waved them off, closing his eyes and massaging the back of his scalp. Fuyutsuki noticed it from above, and turned to Misato.

“I have to admit, I never thought Aoba would be the one to stay at his station when injured like that,” the academic noted.

“He’s stubborn,” Misato agreed. “Which isn’t good if he passes out from the pain. And we may need to save all our painkillers.”

“I hope not,” Fuyutsuki murmured. Misato closed her eyes, and sat up. She glanced at Shinji, who was slowly and deliberately drinking from a bottle of chocolate milk through a straw. He was refusing to eat anything, but she had coaxed him to at least drink the milk. He seemed vacant, and not in the moment. She didn’t know how much she should discuss with him present…and thought the hell with it, and asked anyway.

“What…would Seele do? Knowing they no longer control the Center?”

“Lie,” Fuyutsuki said. “Tell terrifying lies to the Prime Minister, to take this facility back by force. Probably engineer kill-on-sight ROE for all personnel here in the base. The only person they would probably leave alive is the Commander, simply to ensure that he didn’t leave them any boobytraps.”

“Could they…initiate an Impact event without access to the Center?”

“That’s hard to say. I won’t say yes…but I won’t deny it, either. That would require them putting outside resources into Japan, without a request from the government. They might do so with a UN mandate, and they might do so if the situation was confused enough to allow them the opportunity. Then again, if they were certain of success…it really wouldn’t matter.”

“Why not make the attempt, then? If they’re going for the End of the World scenario, why not just bully in? Why be so…cautious?”

“Because Seele is, by it’s nature, a cautious organization.” Fuyutsuki smiled. “More appropriately…it’s an organization of old men. Old men who are exceedingly patient, and willing to suffer any length of time necessary to ensure only the most optimum chance of success. They aren’t gamblers, Major. If they think they will succeed, they will make the effort. If they see even the slimmest chance of failure…they’ll blink. Every time.”

“Doesn’t exactly sound like they have…resolve.”

“They have terrible resolve, and are ruthless beyond anything you could understand. Don’t mistake their caution and cowardice for an unwillingness to act: if they are desperate, they may make the attempt regardless of the consequences. You should know that cowards tend to be the most dangerous when they feel they have no options left.”

“So…even with their end goal, they still assume they’d have to spin it for the press if they fail?”

“Precisely.”

“But if they think they can still get away with it…they make attempt something regardless?”

“Yes.

“…Minds like a box of cats,” Misato grumbled. “Open the box, and no telling which way they’d go.”

“Not too far off the mark,” Fuyutsuki agreed. Below, Hyuga whirled in his chair.

“Ma’am, our forward arrays are picking up movement. Vehicular, along all the main routes and some of the maintenance roads.”

“On screen.” The main screen was lit up with dozens of video feeds, detailing convoys of five-ton trucks and infantry fighting vehicles trundling towards the GeoFront.

On cue, Misato’s encrypted phone buzzed. She flipped it open. “Something you forgot to mention?” she hissed.

“Simply neglected to bring up: a minor detail in the long run,” the voice said soothingly.

“A minor detail?”

“The Prime Minister had a plan in place for months to take the GeoFront, just in case. This unit was sitting on its haunches for a few weeks just waiting for the go-order.”

“…When was the go-order issued?”

“Last night, just before the SBU entered the New Kantei.” Misato felt as though the chair was dropping away beneath her.

“What…what unit is this?”

“It’s a JSSDF unit…I believe it’s the Fourth Division.”

“Which Regiment?”

“I’m not certain, I’m afraid. But you’re worrying! You shouldn’t, for you have your CRF troops there to keep them back. After all, you should consider the Fourth Division's mission profile: you are seeing them approach, correct?”

“Yes.”

“Which means they haven’t hit your forward sensor arrays or observation posts…correct?”

“…yes.” Misato closed her eyes and leaned forward, willing herself to calm.

“So you have nothing to worry about! Clearly they are as in the dark as you are, and are simply trying to develop the situation. I swear, you are far too tense. You need to relax, and let things proceed.

“We’ll talk again in a bit. Enjoy the show.” And the line went dead. Misato closed the phone, and leaned back. Fuyutsuki looked at her with curious eyes.

“Your patron?”

“I think. The one who seems to be calling…some of the shots.”

“I thought that was you.”

“Is it?”

“Who has the demigod in the basement?” Fuyutsuki chided. Misato sensed Shinji flinching next to her, and declined to respond.

-----

The Major hunched forward, her hands folded in front of her face. Her knees bounced in nervousness, and she stared intently at the screen. The four main entrances and multiple maintenance entrances each showed the same thing: black vehicles approaching the cordon. The CRF troops on screen could be seen waving the vehicles to a halt, many of them brandishing their weapons to indicate that they would shoot if necessary. All the vehicles slowed, and individuals got out. The majority of them were in single-piece black bodysuits, the kind designed to mask thermal patterns. A few, most notably the impressive looking individual in a great coat at the North Gate, were in dress uniforms of the JSSDF.

Even here, Misato could feel the tension building at those checkpoints. There was no love lost between the JSSDF and the JGSDF. The former was the primary expeditionary arm of the Japanese government, and had participated in some of the most violent conflicts East Asia had seen since the end of World War II. They had a largely disdainful opinion of the home-stuck Self-Defense Forces, who they saw as little better than glorified policemen.

That was not the case with the Central Readiness Force. Rather than home-guard troops with rusty armor, the CRF had been involved in multiple missions abroad. They were commandos in the truest since, Japan’s elite light infantry, and all of them were Two Tabs: they had earned not only a Ranger tab from the American Ranger School, but also a tab from the Japanese equivalent. No one could be a member of the CRF without both.

If the Fourth thought they could intimidate these troops, they were in for a rude surprise.

The question was, what would the nature of that surprise be? Misato swallowed. She glanced at Fuyutsuki, who was completely at ease. She grimaced, and turned to Shinji.

He was staring at her intently, noting her nervous movements. She smiled at him, but it was a broken thing: it felt out of place on her mouth. “This is a…big moment,” she explained.

“Are you afraid?” Shinji asked.

“…yes.”

“You shouldn’t be,” Fuyutsuki interjected. Slowly, all of the cordons were approached by the JSSDF troops. In some of the images, there seemed to be some tense arguments. In others, the mood seemed decidedly calmer. To her encouragement, the North Gate was one of those relaxed scenes. She assumed the impressive looking officer on the screen was the leader of the task force, and he didn’t look tense. The leader of the checkpoint there was standing next to him, making small gestures with his hands while spoke. The JSSDF officer stood with his hands on his hips and his head craned towards the JGSDF soldier, nodding every now and then. From time to time, he would stop and say something. Finally, he removed his beret with something like exasperation, and resignation. He turned, and walked back to his vehicle while waving his arm in the air.

“Oh…they’re pulling back,” Misato sighed. One by one, the scene repeated itself across the monitors as JSSDF troops cautiously returned to their vehicles and CRF troops stepped back into their cordons.
All except one spot. Misato stared at a forlorn scene down in the lower left corner of the screen, one of the maintenance entrances. It appeared to be one of the more cordial scenes, with the soldiers standing relaxed and apparently at ease. They were taking longer than the others to end their engagement, however.

“Put Access Gate 3-A on the main screen,” she ordered. The small image grew in size and detail, and Misato felt a rising sense of alarm. At the center of the screen were six soldiers: three from the CRF, and and three from the Fourth. Beyond them, trucks idled as the group talked. The focal point was a CRF soldier whose back was to the camera, and a Fourth Division trooper who was largely obscured by the commando. She couldn’t make out expressions, but she could read body language.

The shoulders of the commando were tense, and his arms were at his sides, but not relaxed. It was not the posture of a person who was in a pleasant mood. She began to say something to Fuyutsuki when, to her bewilderment, the commando hunched forward and rammed the top of his helmet into the chest of the Fourth Division trooper, knocking him to the ground. As soon as he did, the other two CRF troops fired their rifles up and over the heads of the Fourth Division troops, who still held their weapons at the low-ready.

Misato felt Shinji flinch next to her at the sound of the gunshots, which were not loud but quite sudden. “God, God, God…” she mumbled, reaching for the cellular phone on the armrest. As she grabbed it, Fuyutsuki placed a hand on hers.

“Wait,” he said, studying the screen.

She swallowed, watching the screen intently as the JSSDF troops helped their comrade to his feet, making violent gestures at the CRF commando. The soldier was backing up, looking very much like he still wanted to fight while his fellows covered him with their rifles. From the lead vehicle in the background, another Fourth Division soldier appeared, screaming something. One of the first three looked at him, yelling back. The newcomer was emphatic in his motions and his volume, and with some reluctance, the JSSDF troopers retreated to their vehicles.

Misato let out a shuddering sigh of relief. Fuyutsuki nodded. “It was to be expected: there was going to be some clashing at the gates, and some bruises to go with bruised egos. It’ll glossed over in the long run.”

“Quite the time to start a pissing match,” Misato grumbled. She turned to Shinji. He was tense, staring at the screen. “You okay, kid?”

“Yes,” he murmured. She nodded, glancing back up at the monitor. It had been replaced with a map projecting the positions of the Fourth Division troops. They had formed a ring around the GeoFront, and were slowly pulling back to the two highways that encircled the massive facility. They did not go further.

“They’re waiting,” she said.

“I imagine we saw their commander at the North Gate,” Fuyutski mused. “A general does not simply back down: I imagine he’s pulling back to wait for clarification on his orders.”

“Which is odd. The Fourth has a…reputation.”

“I don’t think they would have had any problem cutting through Japanese troops to get to us so long as the press wasn’t involved. The CRF presence has already been so widely covered, an information blackout would serve no purpose at this time. This has become a politically sensitive situation.”

“What if they’ve been told something time sensitive?” She turned to Fuyutsuki. “What if they think that we’re trying to initiate Impact? Would Seele tell them something like that?”

“It’s possible. If that’s the case, them I have to wonder why they didn’t simply push forward: that’s the sort of thing the Fourth wouldn’t care about. They’d accept the bad imagery for the ultimate goal.

“That’s not encouraging.”

“It’s just an observation. What are they up to? Or…what is the nature of their orders?” Fuyutsuki had unconsciously assumed his old pose, standing erect and rigid with his hands behind his back. Thinking. “Could the orders have come from before the New Kantei fell…or are they still receiving orders?”

It said something about the situation if, of all the things Misato had witnessed in the day, that one thing was what unnerved her the most. She stood up from the chair, pondering the implications.
Where was Seele in this? Surely they had to be doing something. Moving somewhere, to some when. They would have to know they no longer had positive control of the GeoFront. What would their counter-move be? Would they actually try and entice the Fourth Division to move against Japanese troops? Surely they had to know no human force could stand against an Evangelion, should Nerv choose to deploy them.

She clenched her hands, leaning against the railing and looking ahead with determination. That couldn’t be their move…could it?

“Professor, does Seele have any other Evangelion units in production or storage?”

“Four that I can think of, but they are in no shape to move against us,” he said. “There is one in Russia, but it’s only the brain stem and spinal column. A second in Germany, one more in France, barely further along. The last one is in Great Britain, but it’s only a torso: the legs have slowed in development, and it isn’t expected to be physically complete for another six months. That’s not factoring in the…software requirements.”

Misato grimaced at that, and resisted the urge to glance back at Shinji. She shook her head slowly, thinking…thinking….

If she headed an all-powerful apocalyptic conspiracy of pseudo-religious fanatics…she would certainly have a masterstroke of her own. She rubbed her face and considered the angles. They had to have a way…to initiate Third Impact if they didn’t control the facility. And they couldn’t possibly assume they would always have access to the GeoFront: humans were humans. It was entirely possible for a rebellion to occur. You couldn’t leave something like that to fate.

Sabotage the Evangelions? It was possible, but that was no guarantee: the Evangelion were so alien and powerful in their abilities that it would have to be something monumental to take them out. Like another Evangelion.

…how would you initiate Impact?

“There has to be another Evangelion out there,” Misato declared. “That’s what they’re waiting for. There is another Evangelion out there, and they’re going to try and use it against us.” She laughed bitterly. “Humans truly are the last Angel.”

“No.” Misato turned around. Shinji stared at her with hollow, broken eyes. “No, no…don’t…I know what you’re going to ask.” Misato cocked her head, inviting him to explain. Shinji swallowed, and said, “There’ll be…another Child…in that Eva. If…Seele, this other group…if they send an Eva, it will be a human I have to fight.” He shook his head. “Don’t make me do that, please.”

Misato swallowed, considering her options. Shinji had to be ready to Pilot, and if her hunch was correct…if they were sending an Evangelion…he needed to be ready to fight it. She really needed Asuka, as well, but they girl was still in the Med Center under heavy sedatives. She was simply not reliable enough to trust in her Evangelion, and they needed sure solutions. Misato shrugged.

“I’m not asking you to kill anyone, Shinji: if you stay away from the Plug, it should be fine.” She smiled. “Unit One is far and away the most powerful Evangelion in existence at the moment. Who could stand against you?”

“I’d hurt them, though!” Shinji said, alarmed. “It hurts so much! I can’t…why would I want to do that to someone else?”

“It’s not about wanting to,” Fuyutsuki broke in, “The choice is simple, Shinji: there is no choice. If the Major is correct, and the Seele sends an Evangelion to retake this facility…if you choose not to face it, we will die. We will…all of us die. You, the Major…the girls.” Shinji looked away, his face exhausted and filled with shame. He shook his head. “Don’t decide now, Shinji,” the professor said. “Worry about that decision when you have to make it. Right now…enjoy that chocolate milk.”

Shinji looked at the plastic bottle in his hand. “It’s empty,” he mumbled, and dropped it on the floor.
Though, Gob still might look good in a cocktail dress.
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Postby Sicarius VI » Sun Nov 30, 2014 10:50 pm

The Situation is escalating... can't wait to see what happens next.
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Postby MisterHalt » Sun Nov 30, 2014 11:09 pm

most notably the impressive looking individual in a great coat at the North Gate


Did he also have a nice hat?
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Postby xanderkh » Sun Nov 30, 2014 11:20 pm

It's the calm before the storm. I can actually FEEL the sheer tension that Misato is having in this chapter.

I just hope Misato has an escape plan for all this.
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Postby ElMariachi » Mon Dec 01, 2014 5:33 am

There's no escape plan here: it's the Glory or Death.

And indeed the tension is very palpable, we still don't have any idea what SEELE is up to, we know that they have the Harpies, but so far the top of the Geofront wasn't dtroyed by a N² missile to open them the way, so a direct assault would be very hazardous... so what are they up to? What will be Shinji's decision if he has to pilot the Eva again? (although if SEELE's Eva use a Dummy System it'll far easier) Who is this mysterious person giving all these resources to Misato? What will Yui do after Fuyutsuki's talk with her? And what about Rei?

Do many questions, so many possibilities, so many ways in which it can go horribly wrong! ^_^
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Postby MisterHalt » Mon Dec 01, 2014 7:12 am

SEELE has (probably) one Harpy, and NERV has one destroyed young boy. It'll be hard to tell the winner there. Shinji doesn't have Asuka's ability, all he really has is luck and Berserker. Which would probably be exactly the wrong thing to use at this point in the scenario.

Hmm. Now I'm wondering what will happen if Shinji asks to visit Asuka.
Strength is being able to crush a tomato. Dexterity is being able to dodge a tomato. Constitution is being able to eat a bad tomato. Intelligence is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put a tomato in a fruit salad. Charisma is being able to sell a tomato based fruit salad.

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Postby Bagheera » Mon Dec 01, 2014 11:49 am

I really like the way you're handling Fuyu here. Shinji's pretty good, too; he's appropriately broken, but not quite useless yet.

I do have one question, though: Misato and Hyuga found out about the MPEs during the descent arc of the series, so she should know quite well that they have a number of Evas available to them. Hell, even Asuka knew about them, and that was before she went AWOL for a week (she knew about them as soon as they appeared, which was after she woke up, which means the had to know about them before she went down, which was a while back). And, honestly, I'd be surprised if Fuyu didn't know they could be used to artificially trigger 3I. Seele is still stuck, of course, since they need either Lilith or Unit 01 to do their thing (they could maybe skate by with the Black Moon as well, but same difference), but even so Fuyu and the Major should know more than they seem to here.

Unless you've scrapped the MPEs for some reason, but that's a pretty major setting change.
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Postby Atropos » Mon Dec 01, 2014 8:10 pm

I can buy the MP Eva series not existing—this version of SEELE already seems much less omnipotent than they were in the TV series. No way would TV-SEELE have tolerated any organized conspiracy against itself—everyone who defies them does so as a lone agent.

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Postby Gob Hobblin » Mon Dec 01, 2014 9:04 pm

Chalk that up to an oversight: I have to write these things based on memories of the television series, what I glean from the wiki, and the fact that I tend to write them pretty freaking quick without a beta reader (at least, for this story).

The MP Evas are planned for arrival, but the reason they are not known about is because Seele has been constructing them in secret and as far as Fuyutsuki knows, they are still in the planning stages (and have not yet entered the earliest fabrication stage). I'm basing that on a pet theory of mine that the number of MP Evas correspond to the number of individuals on the HIP committee (the monoliths: I'm sure they don't, but I like this idea...), which is why they are being constructed in much greater secrecy with clouds of misinformation about them.

This is also why Fuyutsuki doesn't mention them: he doesn't think they even exist in a manner that makes them threatening.

Also, I never liked the idea of Seele being an omnipotent conspiracy: even the most powerful real-world conspiracies collapse in the end, or suffer strings of incompetency due to the fact that they are composed of fallible humans (often blindingly untalented ones: when the core need of a conspirator is loyalty, skills sometimes end up getting overblown or overlooked).

And bear in mind that Seele isn't tolerating this conspiracy: the coup itself was conducted with only marginal organization and haste (and would not have succeeded at all if it weren't for The Voice having a well-planned coup of his own on the books, and just happened to carry it out in conjunction with this one). If The Voice was not present, Misato's coup would have completely opened the GeoFront to a counterattack.

The primary reason that Seele is so slow to move is because they are trying to assess what's going on: two completely shocking events have happened in Japan (unprecedented to them), and because they are headed by a committee, they are still determining the best course of action.
Though, Gob still might look good in a cocktail dress.
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We have to remember what's important in life: friends, waffles, and work. Or waffles, friends, and work. But work has to come in third.
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Come read EVA Sessions! This place has it, too! There'll be pizza! Not really! There are other things, too! Not EVA Sessions! Did I mention the pizza!?

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Postby Literary Eagle » Tue Dec 02, 2014 12:44 am

Uh-oh, Shinji just ran out of chocolate milk. This is the cruelest cliffhanger yet!

Seriously though, as others have already mentioned, you're doing a really good job with building the tension here. I can't wait to see what happens next!
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Postby gorgeousshutin » Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:11 am

View Original PostGob Hobblin wrote:EXPOSITION.

It all makes so much sense now. Still, it is less cruel - if more dangerous - to have Shinji face MPs than one with pilot in it . . . I think.
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Postby Gob Hobblin » Tue Dec 09, 2014 1:12 am

Chapter 7: Vicarious

SPOILER: Show


There were no dreams for Asuka. No nightmares, no fancies, or memories. Simply void, black and empty. Somehow, that seemed worse to her. She seemed to float in that vast emptiness with no direction, no gravity. There was no up or down, just the black. The suffocating, blanketing, snug dark all around her.

She wondered if she was dead. She decided that she probably was. That little tiff in the bath must have done it. The men in the suits…an illusion. Dying delusions. The trip to the Med Center…the talk and the Talk…the Medicine to Make It Quiet….

All made up. None of it was real. That was that, and this was this. No more Eva. No more Angels. No more stupid Misato, or stupid penguin, or godawful Wondergirl. No more stupid, idiot, not-here-to-save-her Shinji.

…No Kaji. No Mama.

Just her and eternity. A black space in front of her, behind her, above and below and inside and out and now she was afraid. She felt that fear, the fear that this was it. Eternity in the black, alone and ignored. Alone. Alone, and forgotten, and there never was an Asuka Langley Soryu, because she can’t Pilot, and Shinji can, so forget about her, she’s worm food now, and feeding worms. Something about that made her feel so…upset. And hurting, and fearful, and she wanted a do-over. She wanted to redo that decision in the ruins of that apartment, next to that tub. She wanted to go back, so she didn’t have to be here.

She wanted Shinji to make her donburi.

“She’s coming around,” a Fake Voice murmured in the Vast Empty, and she knew it wasn’t real. It meant she was starting to hear things, so clearly she was going insane. You could go crazy in death, especially if you were crazy to begin with, and Asuka knew she was crazy. She was not right in the head. She was a messed up thing, she was broken and warped and definitely not a good little girl, because if she was than she would be able to Pilot the Eva, Pilot like she was supposed to. So she was crazy. It was right for her to be getting crazier. To go fruit-loop loopy in death.

“Second Child? Can you open your eyes?”

Sure, why not? She obeyed the Fake Voice, and felt a shudder as bright white brightness flooded her skull. She whimpered, and felt her heart racing. Slowly, shapes seemed to appear in the haze, stereo focused and not clear. Two by two, they floated around her. She tried to raise a hand to ward them off, but the arm barely left her side. She focused on that arm, feeling cotton beneath it, something hard and scratchy on her wrist. Both wrists. Cotton everywhere. Bedsheets. Chemical smell.

Heart beating. Beating faster. Sounds and noise and light. She wasn’t dead.

She didn’t know if she was relieved or disappointed, but she wasn’t dead, and that was for certain.

“There she is…dilation seems good.” A bright light in one eye…and then the other.

“Stop,” she mumbled. The lights were too bright, and there was too much motion. Too much fury in her eyes. It overwhelmed her. The shapes, however, did not hear her, and so they did not stop.

“She’s still groggy…a little more adrenaline,” a voice said, and her heart raced. Gasping, her vision focused abruptly, and she knew where she was. The Med Center was real. The men in the suits were real. She was here, and she had not killed herself.

“Welcome back, Second Child,” a female nurse said, “How are you feeling?”

Asuka made a sound halfway between a croak and a whimper.

“That’ll wear off,” the nurse said. “Let’s try and get you up.” Something felt off. Something felt confusing, and not right, and Asuka didn’t know what it was. She thought it might be with the nurse waking her up and trying to get her to walk. She should stay in bed, right? That’s what you did in a hospital, you stayed in the bed. Maybe they were trying to get her active for some reason? Part of the treatment?

She glanced around, and saw Wondergirl staring at her with her stupid, vacant expression. Asuka grimaced, and tried to cover her face with her hands. She didn’t want to be seen like this. She didn’t want Rei to see her like this.

“Come on, a few more steps,” the nurse coaxed, and Asuka wobbled onto her bare soles like a newborn foal, all knobby knees and shuddering limbs. She found the equilibrium of the world to be fluid and inconsistent, and she tilted wildly into the arms of her handlers. They assisted her in circling the space near her bed, little awkward half-steps and stumbles. As they circled, Asuka became aware that Rei was not the only person in the room. There were other people, and they had guns. There were…a lot of guns. A lot of people with guns.

And Rei.

Where was Baka? Where was Shinji? That seemed so important to her, and she didn't know why.

“What? What?” Asuka mumbled in confusion, her words sticking in her throat like toffee. They didn’t sound like words, and so the nurse and her assistant ignored them. The entire time, Asuka felt the heat of those red eyes boring into her, and she shivered in humiliation and shame. The armed people, some ignoring her and some watching her, bore down on her. She felt like crying, but she wasn’t clear on how to do that.

Loud noises came from the entrance to the room, and she slowly turned her head in that direction. New people. New people with weapons. The one in front pointed at her. “Is she ready?”

“She can barely stand!” the nurse snapped.

“Then get a wheelchair; she’s going now,” the man said.

“She needs to stay in bed! She was under heavy sedation until only a few minutes ago!” the nurse protested. “And besides, she’s—”

“That’s not a request, and it’s not up for debate: get the wheelchair right frigging now,” he said. Asuka’s wide eyes darted between the two, and she felt very afraid. She didn’t know why, but she was wanting the comfort of that deep, dreamless sleep, knowing now that it was just that: a sleep. A temporary break from the world.

She wanted a break. Just a break.

A wheelchair was brought over to her, and she tried to plant her feet. To resist. Something about that chair spoke volumes of dread to her. “Noooo,” she moaned, as she was carried boneless to the chair and placed carefully in it. She turned and looked at the nurse. She had no idea who this woman was, but for a few minutes she had spoken up for her. Asuka’s words were coming back to her, and fixated on that nurse, with her brief kindness. “I need…I need to stay. Let me stay. I can’t go, I don’t want to,” she babbled.

“You’ll be fine, these people are here to help,” the nurse said, unconvincingly. Asuka felt such betrayal in that moment, and that’s when she remembered how to cry. She deflated like a balloon, feeling utterly abandoned, and rubbed at her face with limp hands. They wheeled her past Rei, and she heard them talk some more.

“Where does she go?”

“To the cell-blocks. The Major wants her under lock and key.”

“Not Piloting?”

“Nope.” Asuka was wheeled into the hall before she heard anymore. She was trundled at a rapid pace down the hallways, onto lifts, through corridors, and she wanted to go to sleep again, to forget that she was in this place. She wanted out, very badly. She wanted to be in that dreamless sleep again. It was then that she recognized these corridors, had memory of where she was. They wheeled her up to the locker rooms.

“No, no, please, I don’t…I can’t do this,” she mumbled.

“Get her ready, take her to the Ready Room,” the lead guard said, and two female guards lifted her by her arms.

“Please don’t!” she begged, as they not-too-gently guided her into the locker room, partly dragging and partly pushing. Her legs were working fine now, and her stumbling steps seemed automatic, as though her legs were betraying her. Had thrown in with these people against her. She tried to make them stop, but one step after another drove her forward…on and on.

When they rounded the corner, and she saw her red Plug Suit hanging on an open locker, Asuka began to sob.

-----

The two Security women were brisk and practical in their actions. They pulled off Asuka’s flimsy hospital gown, leaving her nude in the cold room. She didn’t fight back as they forced her into the Suit, but she didn’t help them either, and her undignified weeping seemed to be pushing buttons. One of them took that as resistance, and was clearly irritated with it. She was more rough in pulling the Suit on Asuka, and she was the one that fumbled with the compression switch on the girl's wrist when the Suit was finally sealed. The guard pulled at Asuka’s arm, bending it painfully as she tried to figure out the mechanism. The girl whimpered as the guard’s fingers pressed down on the cuts in her wrist, but she did not pull back.

The guard finally found the right button and pressed, and the Suit briefly ballooned and tightened skin slick. She released the arm, and Asuka hugged herself and cried, and cried, and cried. She felt exposed, and without walls. The Plug Suit may as well have not been there at all, and the rough dressing left her feeling pawed and violated.

“Why the hell is she bawling?” the Irritated Guard grunted. Her partner shrugged, seemingly torn between exhaustion, pity, and impatience. The Irritated Guard sighed. “All right, Princess, let’s go.”

“Lay off, she’s had a rough couple of days,” the other guard sighed.

“Who the hell hasn’t?” the Irritated Guard snapped. “Come on, Second Child, on your feet.” Asuka closed her eyes, and shook her head. She hugged herself and slumped forward, refusing to stand. Her sobbing had devolved into sniffles, and she shivered as the crying fit passed.

“No time to be nice,” the Irritated Guard hissed, and hooked an arm under Asuka’s arm pit. The other one sighed and did the same with the other arm as Asuka slumped between them.

“Please don’t,” the girl mumbled as the guards propelled her towards the locker room door. They pushed into the hallway, where the rest of the Security group was waiting. Asuka tried to pull back, not wanting to be seen. A strange, detached part of her mind seemed to be laughing at her.

Everybody’s looking at you! Isn’t this what you always wanted?” it seemed to cackle at her. She didn’t want it right now; she wanted to hide. She wanted to be alone, and be left alone, and here in the midst of the group she felt naked and on display. Her heart was racing, and she felt her knees shivering as though she were cold.

“Here, she needs these,” another guard said, handing the Interface Headset to the Irritated Guard. “They clip into the hair.”

“Yeah, I know,” she grunted, accepting them and beginning to pull at Asuka’s hair. Asuka meekly put up a hand to resist, but the guard batted it away indifferently. The motion struck the girl’s wrist, and she winced as burning pain lanced from it down past her elbow. She closed her eyes and accepted the unpleasant tugging as the guard clipped the set into place.

“There,” she said.

“It’s uneven,” one of the other guards noted. And indeed, they were: they were off-centered and in places that Asuka did not like.

“So what?” the Irritated Guard said. “They just need to connect to the nerves in the scalp. They’re touching the scalp.”

“Fix them later,” the leader said. “We need to get her to the Ready Room.” Once again, rough arms grabbed Asuka, and forced her down the hall. Her traitorous feet helped them along, stumbling and sliding along the floor with a surreal eagerness that terrified Asuka. What would betray her next? Her hands? Her eyes? Which part of her would turn against her when she needed it the most?

As they turned a corner towards the Pilot Ready Room, Asuka noted with a vague sense of Otherness that there was brown smudges up and down the walls, and the floor. It looked as though someone had tried to scrub at them, and given up halfway. She thought how messy Nerv had become, and knew then and there it was an absurd thought, because that was blood.

She knew what blood looked like. She stumbled to a halt, staring at the stains and gasping as she was pulled forward. “Stop,” she said, and tried to pull back, but the action hurt her wrists, and it made the guards pull harder. “I don’t want to. I don’t want to anymore!” Her legs quit, and she slumped to her knees.

There was blood on the walls.

With grunts of irritation, the two guards dragging her hauled her off her feet as a third one wrapped his arms around her ankles and lifted them off the floor. Shrieking, Asuka begged them. Pleaded. “Please stop!” she sobbed. She didn’t want any of it anymore. She was done.

She didn’t want the Eva. She didn’t want the Angels. She wanted to go back to that oblivion, that safe, warm, dreamless place. She thought that was hell, but it seemed so much safer now.

The guards, of course, ignored her. The lights of the corridor passed above her, blurred through tears. With a jarring suddenness, the lights vanished, and she somehow knew she was in the darkened Ready Room. Roughly, they plopped her on a couch, and quickly exited the room. Part of her wanted to get up and run towards the door. Make a break for it. Run, run, run.

She curled up and covered her face. She stopped crying, because she felt she had drained the whole of her out. She was empty, tired, and terrified. She felt hands on her body, pulled and grabbing and pushing. She felt eyes on her, judging. Dismissing. Irritated. Dissecting.

She felt her Headset out of place and uneven. It seemed to throw all of her out of balance.

“…Asuka?” She peered through her fingers, and made out a slim shape in the gloom. Shinji was slumped on a stool, looking starved in his blue Plug Suit. His arms were crossed protectively over his chest, one hand gripping the opposite wrist. His eyes were full of concern.

She didn’t want to see that. She didn’t want concern. She didn’t want him to see her. She moaned, and covered her face. She tried to roll away from him, but she couldn’t. She settled for burrowing her face into the couch cushion, and hugged her head.

“Asuka?” he asked again, quietly. “Are…you okay?”

Go awaaay,” she whimpered.

“I…can’t,” he mumbled. “I might have to Pilot. And Misato wants me here.”

“I don’t care,” she hissed. “I don’t want to anymore.” She heard shuffling in the room.

“I don’t, either,” he mumbled. “I don’t want to kill anyone.” There was a long silence that followed, and Asuka thought that maybe he had left. She heard him snuffle. “We might have to fight another Eva.”

Slowly, deliberately, Asuka turned her face towards him. From his perspective, he would only be able to see one crystal blue eye peering at him from beneath a mound of red hair. He swallowed.

“Nerv was going to try to end the world,” he said. “Well…not Nerv. Seele…those are people who funded Nerv. I don’t know all the details, but…my dad was one of them. My dad was trying to end the world.” He lowered his head. “Misato’s trying to stop them. But they may try to stop her. I…don’t want to kill another person.”

“Another…person?”

“I killed my best friend.” Shinji’s face did not change, but his eyes became watery. Tears began to form and drizzle down his cheeks. He snuffled. “He was an Angel. He was going to kill us, but he asked me to kill him first. I didn’t want to, but I did. I…was told I did the right thing. It didn’t feel right.”

“…what are you talking about?”

“You were…asleep,” Shinji mumbled, rubbing his eyes with his fists. Asuka’s arms drifted from her head and curled up in front of her. Her wrists ached. “His name was Kaworu. He was very kind.”

“…he was an Angel?”

“Yes.” Shinji turned away from her, staring at the screen that dominated the far wall. “He was very kind.” She considered that, her gaze drifting away from Shinji to some place beyond the room. Somewhere far away and unseen. “Everybody is gone,” Shinji mumbled. “Toji is gone. Kensuke is gone. I don’t think…Ayanami is Ayanami. Not anymore.” Shinji stared at his hands. “I don’t know who she is. I don’t know who I am. Not anymore.” He turned and looked at her. “Your Headset is all messed up.”

She said nothing. “Do you want me to fix it?”

“…yes.” Shinji stood up and crossed to the couch. He sat down next to her as she forced herself up on one arm. With careful but nerveless fingers, Shinji disentangled the Headsets and moved them to where they were supposed to be. He was very careful with her hair, and very gentle. She resented the gentleness. She craved it. She hated him for it, she was grateful to him for it, she was content, she was furious, she was sad, she was satisfied. He wasn’t Kaji, but he was Shinji.

“Why are you doing this?” she mumbled.

“They aren’t set right,” he said.

“No. Why are you being nice? Why are you always nice?” she murmured. The fingers stopped working for a second. Slowly, they started working again, careful and cautious. “Why?” she asked again, but Shinji didn’t answer.

In a strange way, Asuka was glad that he didn’t. She closed her eyes, and focused on the fingers. The careful, delicate, cautious fingers. She was hoping they wouldn’t stop.

Eventually, they did.

Though, Gob still might look good in a cocktail dress.
-Sorrow

Rei wanted to know what waffles tasted like.
-Literary Eagle

We have to remember what's important in life: friends, waffles, and work. Or waffles, friends, and work. But work has to come in third.
-Leslie Knope

Come read EVA Sessions! This place has it, too! There'll be pizza! Not really! There are other things, too! Not EVA Sessions! Did I mention the pizza!?

Literary Eagle
Sahaquiel
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Postby Literary Eagle » Tue Dec 09, 2014 1:31 am

Oh my goodness... Poor Asuka. ;_; I felt queasy reading that. In other words, you did a fantastic job! That was a powerful chapter. I hope those poor kids will be okay.
The Happy Red Planet (my Evangelion fan fic)


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