Requiem
From: akaroth <akaroth@geocities.com>
To: yu217708@yorku.ca <yu217708@yorku.ca>
Subject: Requiem - Part One (normal fanfic)
Date: 10/9/98 5:36:00 PM

REQUIEM


Author's Note:  This is another re-interpretation of NGE.
It will, admittedly, begin in pretty much the exact same
way as the actual series; expect that to change quite a
bit as time goes on.  That's about it..


ONE / THE THIRD


        "The first impact occured millions of years before mankind
had ever set foot upon the earth.  A meteor collided with our  
world, seperating a part of the planet that we would come to know
as the moon.  In addition, the impact initiated an Ice Age that wiped
out virtually all life on the earth, including the gargantuan
Dinosaurs that had ruled the planet unchallenged for so many years.
The remaining life forms adapted to survive, and from this forced and
unexpected evolution humanity would arise.

        The second impact took place fifteen years ago, in 2000 CE,
and is widely considered the greatest tragedy in the history of
mankind.  A previously unobserved meteorite inexplicably collided with
the polar ice caps, causing far more damage than its size might have
suggested by melting them and burying half the world beneath a new
series of oceans.  An estimated 2.8 billion perished in this terrible
cataclysm, and since then many governments worldwide have pooled
their technology to prevent such an event from ever occurring again."

                                     - Standard history text book
                                      definition of "Second Impact"

        "I have made the preliminary reports to all the proper
authorities. The forms were all forged, placing the blame for the
second impact on a small meteorite that avoided our detection
systems.  The lifeform that survived the explosion has been recovered,
as has the remaining genetic material of the lifeform that caused it.
We have already began to refer to them as 'Angels', as termed by the
Dead Sea Scrolls.  Yet it does not follow that the first two have come
together - or should be so destroyed.  What we will do with the
remains of the first angel is yet uncertain.  The second, however,
must be protected at all costs.  Humankind will not survive a third
impact."

                                    - Excerpt from the personal diary
                                        of SEELE chairman Keel Lorenz


        Operative Kaio sat alone in the dark, quietly sipping his
coffee.  The only source of light in the room was the hazy glow
floating off of the stacked consoles in front of him.  The speakers of
the massive computer gave off a muffled buzz, monotone and soothing.
At the moment, the coffee was the only thing keeping Kaio awake.
        The only object being tracked by the computer was a regulation
aircraft, probably transporting cargo.  There was nothing else in the
sky, nothing else within miles and miles that might cause problems.
Kaio had no reason to contact the aircraft, but he was tempted
nonetheless, simply to hear the sound of another's voice.  Much of the
time, observing the airways was dreadfully lonely, and sometimes Kaio
even forgot there was a world outside of the cramped room.  Sighting,
he drained his mug and gazed blankly at the screen.
        He was rather surprised, therefore, when the aircraft
contacted _him_.  "This is regulation aircraft 316-A, attempting to
communicate with Delta station monitor.  Are you there, monitor
operative?"
        Kaio nearly jumped at the sound of the voice.  Wiping his eyes
in an attempt to clear his head, he set down his coffee mug and
staggered over to the communications console.
        "Delta station operative here," he replied with as much effort
as he could muster.  "How can I help you, 316-A?"
        "Do you detect anything unusual in your airspace, operative?"
        Kaio frowned.  "Anything unusual?"  He stared into the large
display in the center of the computer system, struggling to see
details with sleep-rimmed eyes.  But he could see nothing unordinary,
nothing threatening - nothing even in the air but the solitary 316-A.
        "There appears to be no unusual activity in Delta airspace,"
Kaio replied.  "Why do you ask?"
        There was an uncomfortable pause before the pilot began to
speak again.  "At the edge of your airspace, we detected what appeared
to be a UFO entering the atmosphere."
        Kaio was silent.  The pilot drew a long, shuddering breath
that revurburated throughout the the room.  "I didn't want to mention
it to you - but I had been so sure-
        "Sorry to bother you, operative."  The pilot concluded,
resolute.  The communication channel closed, the console dimmed and
Kaio was alone once more.
        A UFO? Kaio wondered.  His interest aroused, he bent down to
peer again at the large display, looking for something out of the
ordinary.
        He did not search in vain.  An object roughly the size of a
tall building had just entered Delta airspace.  The unusual thing was,
it wasn't travelling through the air at all, but rather along the
ground, like a vehicle of some type.
        What is that?  Kaio wondered to himself as he simeltaniously
punched into the computer the same query.  The computer started to
track the object, to analyze it, and the soft hum of the inactive
speakers became a series of harsh beeps.  Kaio could feel an emotion
lurking deep within him - an emotion that his position rarely required
him to recognize.  He was afraid, and he could not explain why.
        Finally, after what could not have been more than a few
seconds but seemed an eternity to Kaio, the computer had determined
just what it was he was staring at.
        "Pattern Blue?"  Kaio questioned aloud.  He had never seen the
computer use this classification before.  He didn't even know it had
existed.  What the hell was a pattern blue?
        Confused, worried, and finally awake, Kaio leaned towards his
seat and grabbed the reciever of the jet-black phone stationed there.
He had the commander on auto-dial, so there was no need for him to
remember the number - something Kaio had never been good at.  After a
few rings, the other end picked up.
     "Hello?" came the commander's gruff voice.
        "Commander, this is Operative Kaio."  Kaio sat down as he
said this, his eyes fixated on the small monitor that displayed
classification.  "I've just recieved report of a UFO entering the
atmosphere - a report I wouldn't neccessarily believe under most
circumstances, but the computer located it and identified it as
'Pattern Blue'.  Now, I don't-"
     "Did you say Pattern Blue?" the commander harshly
interrupted, a faint note of panic in his voice.  "Are you absolutely
certain?"
     "Yep, I'm certain," Kaio replied.  "Look, I'll send you the
report on this thing." Deftly acessing the terminal across from him,
he ordered the data sent to the commander.
     The commander drew a sharp breath.
     "Commander," Kaio asked, "Just what _is_ Pattern Blue?  And
why haven't I ever heard of it before?"
     "Get out of there, Kaio," the commander said, his voice thick
with fear.  "Get out of there _now_."
     Kaio's blood froze.  He turned back to the location monitor,
expecting the Pattern Blue object to have remained in position.  A
mere second later his eyes had found it - right outside of the
monotoring station.
     Suddenly the computer in front of him exploded.  Kaio
shrieked, dropping the phone and falling to the floor.  A huge hand,
wet and sleek and glistening, reached through the hole where the
monitoring equipment used to be.  Whipping rapidly around, the giant,
muscular arm tore apart the west wall of the building, raining debris
on Kaio and allowing him his first look at the bone-white, malformed,
expressionless head set into the creature's chest.
     "Please don't kill me," Kaio whispered.
     The huge beast opened its palm, and from the center came a
blazing light and a blazing heat.  The building collapsed, and
everything within it was utterly disentegrated by the hellish weapon
- there was not even enough time for Operative Kaio to scream.

     Commander Gendo Ikari's room at NERV headquarters was
immensely large, but completely barren apart from a solitary desk at
one end.  Ikari sat at that desk, his short, dark hair framing an
expressionless face, his eyes concealed by glasses that seemed to
constantly reflect light.  His hands were pressed together in front of
him, his elbows resting upon the oaken surface of the desk, his eyes
focusing cleanly into the distance. He was like this, unmoving, as
Subcommander Fuyutsuki entered.  Fuyutsuki, a tall  man with a sharp
face and greying hair, came to stand behind Ikari, staring into the
same distance, perhaps seeing the same apparitions.
     "Fifteen years," Fuyutsuki said softly.  "Has it really been
fifteen years?"
     "We have dreaded this day for that long," Gendo intoned in his
dark voice, a voice bereft of emotion.  "And we have prepared for it.
Our preperations have not been in vain."
     "The UN is requesting your advice pertaining to an initial
military conflict," Fuyutsuki murmured.  "What will you tell them?"
     "Tell them to launch an all-out assault."
     Fuyutsuki was momentarily taken aback.  "That will never work.  
Normal weaponry can't penetrate an AT field."
     "This assault will demonstrate that more clearly than any
words I might give them.  We need their dependance more than their
support, and I am hoping this encounter will assure exactly that."
     "I would think our first priority would be defeating the
enemy," Fuyutsuki replied.  "How do you intend to do that without
a pilot?"
     "Contact Captain Katsuragi.  I will speak to her presently."
He paused.  "I will ask her to deliver me the Third Child."
     Fuyutsuki's expression was grim.  "I see," he said.  "He might
not wish to pilot the Eva."
     "He will have no choice."
     For a few seconds they were both silent.
     "Fifteen years," Fuyutsuki said, staring blankly into the
darkness. "Fifteen years.. and the Third Angel has arrived."

     The military headquarters that the UN had established in
Tokyo-3 was far too small and far too hot for the liking of the
Commanders and Subcommanders stationed there.  The entire south wall
was occupied by a bank of monitors that, currently, depicted the
Third Angel striding towards Tokyo, ripping through streets and
buildings, occasionally pausing as if to examine its surroundings.
     "It appears to be searching for something," one of the
Subcommanders mused.  "Perhaps it's searching for us."
     "Do we have Kanto and Chubu districts evacuated yet?"
another stationed at a control panel at the back of the room
questioned.
        "Mostly," a technichian at the front of the room replied.
"We've had reports of a few stragglers, but the majority of the
populace has taken refuge in the emergency shelters."
     "We don't have time to wait for the stragglers," the first
Subcommander said.
     "Agreed," the Commander-in-Chief said, rising from his seat
and demanding the entire room's attention with his presence.  "If
there are any people left in those districts, they're going to die
regardless of whether we act now or not.  Commence the missile
launch."
     The technician swallowed, nervously adjusting the targeting
systems. "Launching missiles.. now."
     On the giant viewscreen, the defense force could clearly
witness the simeltanious launch of eight missiles, the dark forms
rising to the sound of a siren that might just as easily have been
a banshee's wail.  They soared across the clear, blue sky with
frightening speed, approaching the demonic form shillouetted against
that sky in a matter of seconds. But these were just fleeting images,
caught only for a moment and then lost.  The screen image blurred, the
horizon filled with fire.
     "All missles hit the target," the technician reported.
     The image cleared sharply a second later, revealing the
ominous giant still standing.  There was no sign of the Angel having
recieved any damage at all.
     "My God," the technician murmured.
     "Target is still intact," the Subcommander in front of the
console reported.  "It's continuing towards Tokyo-3."
     "Shit!" the second Subcommander swore.
     "Commit all divisions at Atsugi and Iruma bases to the
battle," the Commander-in-Chief hissed.  "Do we have a second missile
launch prepared?"
     "We do, sir." the technician reported.
     "Launch," the Commander ordered.
     Once more, a series of projectiles hurtled through the air,
propelled by the hope and fear of those bearing witness.  The first
missile slammed into the Angel's body, but its step did not even
falter.  The second and the third attracted its attention.  It placed
its hand in front of the next missile heading for it, catching it and
rending the metal casing apart before the weapon exploded.  For
another terrifying second the monitor's picture was distorted by
multiple explosions, and the overall result became unclear.
     "All missiles hit the target," a Subcommander reported.
     The monitor cleared.
     "Target is undamaged."
     "Damn!" the Commander-in-Chief screamed, slamming his fist
down onto his desk.  "Is the tank battallion responding?"
     The technician turned to face the Commander, her face deathly
pale.  "Tank batallion has been wiped out, sir."
        "Already?" the Commander-in-Chief murmured, amazed. "Then we
are swiftly being backed into a corner.  Prepare for plan B."

     Captain Misato Katsuragi drummed her fingers against the
dashboard of her car in frustration as she sped through the abandoned
streets of Tokyo-3.  Large speakers placed throughout the city
mechanically repeated the evacuation warning, cautioning citizens to
retreat to the designated shelters.
     "Today, at twelve-thirty, a state of emergency has been
declared within Kanto and Chubu districts, around Tokai district.
Please take refuge in the designated shelters.  Repeat: Today, at
twelve-thirty-"
     Misato drove the car to a screeching halt, beating her fists
against the steering wheel and screaming angrily.  In the distance,
she could hear the monstrous, lumbering footsteps of the Third Angel,
and the deafining explosions of the multiple weapons being borne full
force at it.
     Misato, her face pressed against the wheel, slowly turned her
head to stare in the direction of the noises.  The Angel was not yet
visible.  And the street was empty.
     "I told him to meet me here!" Misato growled.  Suddenly she
thrust open the dashboard compartment and removed a small sheaf of
papers.  The topmost document was a picture of a fourteen-year-old boy
with short black hair.  The document just below that was a personal
profile of the pictured child, listing his name, age, blood type,
traits, preferences, and about anything else one could concievably
want to know regarding Shinji Ikari.
     "Shinji Ikari," Misato murmured, staring at the picture.  "I
can't believe I missed you.. now of all times."  In the far distance,
she could imagine seeing the shadowy form of the Third Angel between
the buidings, creeping ever closer to the center of Tokyo-3.  "What am
I going to do now?  What am I going to do?"

     "All public phone lines are out of service because of the
state of emergency.  Please proceed to your designated shelter.  All
public-"
     Shinji sighed, placing the phone reciever back on the hook.
In his hand he held a small photo of an attractive woman with purple
hair and brown eyes.  It had been delivered by a messenger a short
while ago, along with a letter listing an address for him to wait at
for her.  The letter also said she was from NERV, his father's
organization, and that it was his father who had requested she go to
bring him.
        Fear and hope intermingled within Shinji.  He hadn't seen his
father for three years now, before he was sent to live with another
foster parent, a man who was also a teacher at his school.  He hadn't
lived with his father since shortly after his mother's death.  Shinji
had never forgiven his father for abandoning him, and hoped the reason
his father wanted him at NERV during this disaster was to ensure his
safety, because he still cared about his son after all these years.
     But a part of him feared that his father would be no different
than he had always seemed, that he only wanted him at NERV because he
had another purpose in mind.  If his father did have a use for him,
Shinji couldn't imagine what it was, but the fear was present
nonetheless.
     Shinji was then taken from his reverie by the ferocious sound
of the artillery assault on the Third Angel.  Suddenly frightened for
his life, Shinji realized that he had better get to an emergency
shelter before the conflict came any closer to him.  He felt bad about
not meeting Misato, but also partially relieved that he wouldn't have
to face his father after all.
     Just as Shinji turned in the direction he believed the shelter
to be in, he heard the manic roar of a car's engine.  It was faint at
first, but became more audible quickly.  Very quickly.  By the time
he had turned around again, he could clearly see the blue car
barelling towards him at a speed he didn't think cars could even
reach.  It roared by him, braked sharply, and spun around, moving up
beside him.
     Misato Katsuragi, seated at the steering wheel, threw open the
passenger door.  "Why the hell weren't you waiting for me?" she
screamed.
     Shinji jumped, stunned.  "Miss.. miss.. Katuragi?  It's - it's
just that you took so long in getting here, I thought I'd try and call
someone to find out what was happening-"
     Another large explosion caused the earth to vibrate as Misato
screamed "Get in!"  Shinji wasted no time and Misato tore sharply away
from the area of danger and towards NERV headquarters.
     "Sorry for yelling at you back there," Misato said,
indescribably relieved that she had found Commander Ikari's son
unhurt.  "I can't say I blame you, what with that Angel out there and
all.  And I guess I was a _little_ late."
     Shinji frowned.  A _little_ late?  He had been waiting there
for nearly half an hour!  That wasn't what had attracted his
attention, however.  
     "Angel?" he repeated, confusedly.
     Misato looked at him.  "Ah, right, you wouldn't know about
that, would you?  Well, really, it's just what we call creatures like
that - we're not actually sure what they are.  Come to think of it,
I'm not precisely sure why we call them that, either."
     The conversation was interrupted by the harsh ringing of a
phone.  Unhesitating, Misato's hand leapt for the cellphone between
her and Shinji, only faltering at the wheel momentary (but a moment
utterly terrifying to Shinji!).
     What a terrible driver! Shinji thought, and sighed.
     "Hello?" Misato said cheerfully, manipulating the reciever as
best she could with one arm.
     "Captain Katsuragi?" came a voice Misato did not recognize.  
"This is NERV.  Do you have the Commander's son?"
     "I sure do!" Misato replied brightly.  "He's sitting next to
me right now."
     "How far are you from the Angel?"
     Misato frowned.  "Not _terribly_ far.  Why, is there something
I should know?"
     "The SSDF is switching to plan B."
     Plan B? Misato thought.  Something tugged at the back of her
mind.  I should know this..
     "I've heard of it, but can't recall the specifics right now.  
What's plan B?"
     "They're going to drop an N2 mine."
     "They're going to WHAT?" Misato screamed.  "Call them!  Get
them to call it off!  There are still people out here!"
     "It's already underway.  Get as far as you can, as fast as you
can."
     "What's going on?"  Shinji asked, frightened.
        Misato slammed the reciever shut.
     Grimacing, she stepped on the gas.

     "Plan B?" the first Subcommander repeated, incredulously.
"Are you absolutely certain, sir?"
     The Commander nodded, darkly.  "The damage done to the city
will be considerable, but the damage this monster will cause if
allowed to continue unhindered will be far greater.  If we halt it
here, we can still save Tokyo-3."
     The second Subcommander stood nervously.  "What about NERV,
sir?"
     The Commander-in-Chief scowled.  "As far as I am concerned,
Gendo Ikari is a madman.  I will entrust the city to him only if it is
absolutely neccessary."  He turned to the technician.  "Make the
preperations for an N2 launch."
     For a second, there was complete and utter silence in the
room, save only for the hum of machinery.  In that second, the
military command became aware of the consequences of the action they
were about to sanction.  This would be the first time an N2 mine had
ever been used in tactical combat; to a large degree, the weapon was
still experimental.  Using it would not only sacrifice a large part of
Tokyo-3, but would also signify that the military had run out of
options.  This was supposed to be the last resort.  If it didn't work,
then what?  NERV?  No one really believed NERV could do anything.
No one even remotely believed they could.
     "Yes, sir," the technician said quietly.
     While the preperations were underway, the only thing left for
the command staff to do was wait.  Obtaining the mine and moving it
into a launchable position would take approximately ten minutes, but
no one complained about the delay.   It was a period of solace in the
chaotic maelstrom, a period that, if the Angel survived, might not
come again.
        Finally, the silence was broken.
     "N2 standing by, sir," the technician reported, emotionless.  
     The Commander did not hesitate.  "Launch."
     One moment, the large display monitor portrayed the giant,
sickening vision of the Angel, its bone-white face inhuman,
expressionless.  The next moment, the visage was obliterated, the
all-encompassing explosion completely consuming the Angel.
     "We've done it," murmured a Subcommander.
     "Fools," murmured Gendo Ikari from his vantage point in NERV
headquarters, viewing the explosion with both contempt and
satisfaction.
     Minutes passed and there was no sign of movement, no sign of
activity.  Unconciously, people began to applaud, to cheer, so
terrified of the possibility of the Angel's survival that they
ignored it.
     But the Commander-in-Chief did not stop them.  He, too,
shared that hope. He too was terrified of the the consequences of
failure.  And he was comforted by the applause, the celebration.
     Suddenly, the technician stopped dead in the middle of her
cheering, staring with mute tension at a small readout by her station.
      As more and more people began to realize this, the cheering
stopped, the hope draining from the room like blood drains from a
wound.
     "It's not dead, is it?" the Commander asked softly.
     "We have a visual," a Subcommander replied, his voice shaking.
     The explosion had cleared.  To the command staff now staring
at the screen, the creature stading there was a thing born of
nightmares.  It bore one noticeable wound - its protruding, bony head
had been split into two, one piece of it set several feet below the
other.  It just stood there for minutes, staring into the
survellience device.  No one spoke.
     Then, the Angel moved.  It strode easily forth from its
standing position, resuming its movement through Tokyo-3.
     The Commander-in-Chief, pale as death, gestured to one of his
Subcommanders.  "Contact NERV headquarters," he murmured.  "Place
command of this operation in the hands of Gendo Ikari."

     Misato Katsuragi opened her eyes slowly.  There was a thin
trickle of blood coming from her nose, but it stopped when she dabbed
at it with her finger.  Aside from that, she didn't appear to be hurt
in any way, which she considered a miracle.  An N2 mine?  What were
those idiots thinking?!
     She turned over and found herself face to face with Shinji,
who didn't appear to be concious.  However, he didn't appear to be
seriously hurt, either - he wasn't bleeding anywhere, and had only
sustained a blow to the head.  She grabbed him and dragged him out of
the wrecked car, upended onto its side by the incredible explosion.
     Shinji began to stir as she set him down on the rough terrain.  
His eyes flickered, he sat up and he put a hand to his head.  He
looked at Misato with the clear, frightened eyes of a child.
     "What happened?" he asked, looking around in bewilderment.
"Did the mine go off?"
     "Yep," Misato sighed.  Shinji noticed that despite the
seemingly dire state of their situation she smiled at him
reassuringly. "But don't worry!  All we have to do is get the car
back on its wheels and it should be in good enough condition to
continue."
     Shinji put his hand to his head again, and noticed that it
hurt horribly.  Shinji resolutely ignored the pain, and followed
Misato around to the back of the car.  She set her back against the
roof and attempted to push it into its original position.  Shinji
stood beside her and started pushing as well, using all the might in
his small body.
     After what had seemed to Shinji an eternity of pushing, the
car fell back into place with a resounding crash.  Shinji winced, but
Misato just smiled and dusted off her hands.
     "That wasn't so bad!" she said brightly.  "Thanks very much
for your help."
     "Oh," Shinji said, flushing momentarily.  "You're welcome,
Miss Katuragi."
     "That's Kat_sur_agi," she said, her eyes flashing.  And then
she smiled again.  "But, please, call me Misato."
     Shinji smiled, though it was a little weak because his head
still hurt.  "Pleased to meet you, Miss Misato."
     "Pleased to meet you as well, Shinji Ikari." She gestured
flamboyantly to the car.  "Shall we be off?"
     As Misato watched Shinji open the door and step inside she
could not repress a shudder.  My beautiful car, she thought,
horrified.  It was ruined.. and it was only a month old.. Where the
hell do they get off using an N2 mine without even _consulting_ NERV?!

     "I assume you authorized the usage of the N2 mine?" Fuyutsuki
dryly asked Commander Ikari.
     "We required their total dependance.  I knew as soon as that
measure failed they would have to choice but to fall back on NERV."
     "I still don't see how you intend to defeat the Angel.  Where
is Captain Katsuragi?  Impededed by the N2 blast?"
     "Katsuragi is notorious for being late," Ikari sneered.

     As the day continued, they got the car started again, but
Misato's mood worsened.  Not only had her brand new car been totalled,
but her dress had been effectively ruined by dirt, oil, and a small
bloodstain.  The worst part of it all was, there were thiry-three loan
payments still left on the car!  Thirty-three!  And it's already a
wreck!  God knows how much it's going to cost just to get it in
servicable condition, but I also have a further thirty-three payments
left!
     "Miss Misato?"
     And I was in such a good mood...
     "Miss Misato?"
     Misato was startled out of her train of thought, nearly losing
control of the steering wheel.  "What is it?" she sighed.
     "Are you sure it was okay to steal those batteries?"
     "Ah," Misato paused for thought.  "Of course it was okay!
We're in an emergency situation.  I mean, we can't do anything if the
car doesn't run!"
     Shinji frowned.  "That doesn't make it sound any more legal."
     "Mmm.." Misato mused, searching for an excuse.  "I _am_ a
government official, or an official of an organization linked closely
to the government. I may not always seem like it, but it's true.  So,
really, I didn't steal them - I requisitioned them!"
     That still didn't quite make sense to Shinji, but something
else she had said caught his attention.  "You work for NERV, right?"
     Misato nodded emphatically.  "It's actually attached directly
to the United Nations."
     "So you work for my father," Shinji said quietly.
     "Yeah, well." Misato shrugged.  "Did he ever tell you about
his job?"
     Shinji looked out the car window.  They were approaching a
car train, an elevator that took veichles below the surface.
Presumably they were drawing closer to NERV.
     "No," Shinji admitted, "but my teacher did.  He said it was
an important job protecting the human race."  He turned and looked
directly at Misato.  "Are we going to meet my father?"
     An announcement blared, and the car train began to depart,
drawing Shinji and Misato deep underground.  
     "I'd certainly imagine so," Misato replied.  "Ah, that reminds
me."  She leaned over Shinji and deftly opened the glovebox,
withdrawing a thick sheaf of papers.
     "What are those, Miss Misato?"
     "This," she said, taking a small plastic card from within the
stack of documents and holding it up to him, "is your ID Card.  You'll
need it to get around NERV.  As you may imagine, security's a little
tight."
     Shinji accepted the card cautiously.  It had his name, his
most recent school photo, and the NERV symbol emblazoned upon it.  He
felt very strange holding it.
     "How long am I going to be here?" he asked.
     Misato shrugged.  "Until the immediate threat's over, I
suppose."
     "Is that it?" he asked hopefully.  "He just wants me to be
safe?  Does he expect there to be more monsters after this one?"
     "Ah," Misato said, leafing through the information she had
been given, "I'm also supposed to give this to you.  I nearly forgot."
She smiled apologetically.
     Shinji took the parcel Misato handed him.  Inside was a
spiral-bound book with the words "Welcome to NERV" on the front in
clear, sharp lettering.  Just below that was the NERV logo and motto:
"God's in His Heaven / All's right with the world."
     Shinji flipped through it.  "It's about my father's work.
Does he need me to do something for him?"
     Misato looked at him helplessly.  "I'm not sure.  I was only
told to bring you."
     Shinji sighed, putting the book back in the envelope.  "He
never writes to me, or talks to me.. unless he wants something."
      "He's a very cold man," Misato added.  "It must come with the
responsibility he has.  At least, I'd suppose it would.  Oh, don't
look so glum," she chided in response to Shinji's crestfallen face,
"I'm sure he'll explain it to you when you see him."
     Shinji felt himself growing more agitated now that the
inevitable confrontation with his father was drawing near.  The car
lift stopped abruptly, but Shinji hardly noticed it.
     "Hmm.." Misato mused.  "We must be entering the Geo-Front."
        "Geo-Front?" Shinji repeated, intrigued.  The lift began to
head downwards again, only one previously metallic side of it had been
replaced with crystal-clear glass.
     Misato smiled.  Shinji gasped in astonishment.
     In Japan, there had always been a general shortage of land
before the Second Impact.  Back then, there had been some research
into developing Geo-Fronts - excavating enormous underground caves
for the placement of cities.  But it had always been determined both
ridiculously costly and dangerous, and the government had never
actually attempted the construction of one.
     At least, so Shinji had been lead to believe.
     Now, Shinji was staring into a real, live Geo-Front, an
enormous underground cavern excavated and terraformed so as to be a
feasable environment for human construction and habitation.  But
Shinji had never imagined one being so beautiful!  A huge lake had
been created at one end, and the huge artificial lights glinted upon
it like the deepening sunset might have done, had it existed below the
earth.  In the center of the cavern, several tall buildings had been
erected, the most prominent being a huge pyramid that appeared golden
in the somber light.
     "A real Geo-Front," Shinji sighed.  "It's wonderful."
     "This is NERV headquarters," Misato said, smiling, her voice
suddenly filled with pride.  "It is the foundation for the rebuilding
of this world - and a fortress for all mankind.  This is our hope."

     An hour later, they were lost.
     They stood at a four-way junction somwhere inside NERV
headquarters. All four of the passageways were conveyer-like in
function and appearance, meaning the hour of wandering had not really
been tiring, just frustrating.
     Inside, many of the headquarters' passageways were more
reminiscent of a factory than a military organization.  Shinji
occasionally caught glimpses of immense rooms that looked as if they
might be for storage or testing.  The storage or testing of what,
though?
     And Misato.. Shinji sighed.  For someone who worked there (and
as a Captain!), she didn't seem to know the place very well.  Right
now she bore an expression of bafflement, quizically searching the map
she held in her hands.
     "I'm kind of new here," she explained apologetically.
     "I think that we've been here before," Shinji said upon
further examination of their surroundings.
     "Wait!" Misato said, something having caught her eye.  "A
communications terminal!"  She ran over to the small
computer/telephone combination embedded into the south wall and slid
her ID through its access slot.  "I can contact Ritsuko with this!"
     "Ritsuko?" Shinji asked.
     "A friend of mine.  She works in the technical department.  
We'd probably have to speak to her before seeing the Commander
anyway."  Misato smiled knowingly.  "She's helped me around here
before."
     Ten minutes later, after Shinji and Misato had been directed
to the technical department, a door in front of them opened and a
slim, attractive woman with a white coat and short blonde hair stepped
out.  She wore a half-smile, but her eyes flashed.
     "Captain Katsuragi?" She sounded shocked.  "Did you get lost
_again_?"
     Misato grinned sheepishly.  "Ah.. sorry, Ritsuko."
     "We are short on both hands and time," Ritsuko continued
sternly.  Then she looked at Shinji.  "At least you brought the Third
Child.  Nice to meet you.. Shinji?"
     "You as well, Miss Ritsuko," Shinji replied.  But he was
confused by something she had said.  "What did you mean, though, when
you said-"
     "I'll answer your questions on the lift," Ritsuko said.
"Right now, we're a little pressed for time.  There is an Angel
running loose in Tokyo-3 right now!"  She headed off in a seemingly
random direction, and Shinji and Misato ran after her.
     "Then we're going.. where?  Into the cages?" Misato asked.
     "Well, of course," Ritsuko responded.  "Where else would
Commander Ikari be at a time like this?"
        The three stepped through a doorway into a lift with dark grey
walls.  Ritsuko slid her ID through a slot and the lift began to move
downwards.
     "Does this mean you're preparing for.. launch?"  Misato
queried uncertainly.  "I heard Unit-00 wasn't operational yet."
     "Well, there actually is a chance it will work.  Granted, the
chance is point zero, zero, zero, zero, zero, zero, zero, zero one."
     "So it's not operational?"
     "Dont be insulting.  The chance isn't zero.  But, it doesn't
really matter because Unit-00's being frozen."
     Misato's eyes widened.  "He's going to use Unit-01, then?  Is
it safe?  And who's going to pilot it?  Not-" Misato stopped for a
second, horrified.  "Not Rei?"
     Ritsuko pressed her lips together  "We might not have a
choice."
     Misato's eyes flashed.  "Rei's in no condition to board that
thing! If that madm-"
        "Watch it," Ritsuko interrupted cooly, indicating Shinji -
who, for his part, stared at both of them with awe and terror.
     "I don't understand," Shinji said.  "Who's Rei?  And what's
Unit-00?  What's it have to do with my father?"
     Both women fell silent.  Shinji looked from one to the other,
desperately seeking an answer to his questions.
     "I don't know where to begin," Misato finally said.  "I think
your father will explain it to you."
        As Misato finished speaking, the lift slowed to a stop and the
doors slid open to reveal pitch blackness.  Shinji could make out
nothing in that bleak void, and it terrified him.
        "It's all right," Ritsuko said, stepping out of the lift and
onto a solid floor in the midst of the darkness.  Shinji followed
reluctantly, slightly pushed on by Misato.  Suddenly, Shinji wanted
to run.  He wanted to turn around, re-enter the lift, and get out of
here.
     If only I could run, Shinji thought.
     The lift doors closed behind them, cutting off even that dim
source of light.  Now Shinji could make out nothing at all.
     Shinji desperately wanted to run.
     "Lights," Ritsuko called out clearly.
     The room was flooded with light.  The darkness was banished,
the gargantuan monstrosity being held there now visible.  Only its
head and shoulders were apparent - the rest of it was submerged in
some kind of liquid.
     At first, it appeared to be some sort of demon.  Its face was
certainly demonic; a ghastly horn protruded from its forehead, and its
firey, yellow eyes were narrowed in anger.  Closer examination
revealed that its skin was a dark purple metal, that its visible
joints were constructed.
     "It's a face!" Shinji cried, terrified.  "It - it's a giant
robot!"
     "This," Ritsuko said, a note of pride in her voice, "is the
multi- purpose humanoid fighting machine Evangelion - a weapon
humankind has developed to fight the Angels."
     "This is my father's work?" Shinji asked.
     "Correct," a voice from the top of the room answered him.
     Shinji instantly turned in the direction of the voice.
Despite having hardly ever seen his father, and having not seen him at
all for three years, somehow he could recognize the voice perfectly.
     Commander Gendo Ikari stood on a large platform above the
Evangelion's head, his hands at his side, his eyes obscured by the
bright lights reflecting on his glasses.
     "It's been a long time," he said.
     "Father.." Shinji murmured.
     Gendo turned to Ritsuko, gazing down upon her from his lofty
position.  "Prepare Unit-01 for launch."
     "What?" Misato cried.
     "We don't have a choice," Ritsuko said sharply.  "Unit-00 is
still too unstable for a real combat situation."
     "But we don't have a pilot!" Misato protested.  "You can't-
you can't let Rei board that thing!"
     "That is why you were told to bring him here," Ritsuko
replied, indicating Shinji.  "The Third Child."
     "You can't be serious," Misato gasped. "Rei couldn't sync with
Unit-00 for a full seven months!"
     "He doesn't have to sync with it," Ritsuko said quietly.  "All
he has to do is try."
     "But-"
     "Captain Katsuragi, this city is currently being ripped apart
by an Angel.  The first Angel that has appeared on Earth in fifteen
years.  The military has just thrown everything they have at it - to
absolutely no effect.  We have to try something, Misato.  If we don't,
we're all going to die.  And you're right - we _can't_ use the Second
Child.  So the Third is our only hope."
     Misato choked on her reply.  As much as she hated to admit it,
Ritsuko was right.  Shinji was their last resort.  Their only hope.
     Shinji heard all this and was terrified.  He never should have
come.  He never should have trusted his father.  He would never, ever
trust his father again.  He caught himself on the verge of tears.
        "Father!" he cried out, hoarsely.  "Why did you bring me
here?"
     "You know why I brought you here," Gendo replied, cold and
distant.
     "Then you actually want me to pilot that - that thing?  You
want me to fight the Angel?"
     "Correct."
     "Why?" Shinji screamed. "Why can't Misato do it?  Why can't
you?  Why do I have to do it?"
     "Not everyone has the ability to pilot Eva.  A branch of our
organization is dedicated to finding those who can.  You were the
Third one we found.  You are the only one in this room with the
ability to syncronize and control an Evangelion.  Does that answer
your question?"
     Shinji felt as if he had been punched in the stomach.  The
only thing that kept him standing was his anger - his anger at his
father for destroying his world in a matter of hours.  Anger at
himself, for ever having trusted him.
     "What do you mean by that?" Shinji gasped. "You left me!  You
didn't want me!"
     "I called you now because I have a use for you."
     "I've never even seen this thing before!  You can't possibly
expect me to pilot it!"
     "We only want you to try, Shinji," Ritsuko said softly.  "No
more than that."
     "Get into it or not," Gendo said, "but do it quickly.  We're
running out of time."
        Shinji did not respond.  Shuddering, he stared blankly at the
floor, tears coursing down his face.  Nobody else spoke or moved; they
were frozen, waiting for this young boy's decision that their lives
might very well hinge upon.
     The silence was broken not by words, but by a huge explosion.  
The room shook, impacted by something powerful enough to even affect
the buildings in the Geo-Front.
     "It's close," Gendo said.
     "Shinji, we have no time," Ritsuko murmured urgently.
     Shinji turned away, towards Misato, his eyes wide, pleading.
     "Get in, Shinji," she said.
     Shinji was horrified.  He turned back to the floor.  "Why did
I trust you?" he moaned, and it was not clear who he was talking
about.  "Why did I come here?  Why did I come?"
     "Why _did_ you come here, Shinji?" Misato asked.  "Shinji,
please don't run away.  Not from your father, and not from yourself."
        "I understand what you want, Misato.  But it doesn't make
a difference.  I can't pilot that thing!  I can't do it!"  He covered
his face with his hands, sobbing pitifully.  Shuddering violently, he
dropped to his knees, weeping.
     An aura of despair filled the room.  Misato turned away in
disgust.  Ritsuko sighed.  Gendo turned away, recognizing that Shinji
was beyond convincing.  But he had prepared for this as best he could.  
Using one of the communications terminals nearby, he contacted his
second-in-command.
     The tall, grey-haired man's visage was instantly visible on
screen.
     "Fuyutsuki," Gendo said.  "Wake Rei."
     "Rei?" Fuyutsuki repeated, surprised.  "Is she in any
condition to pilot?"
     "She's not dead yet," Gendo said coldly.
     A minute later a soft, whispered voice came over the speakers.  
"Yes?"
     "The replacement turned out to be useless."
     "I understand."
     "Reconfigure Unit-01 for Rei!" Ritsuko shouted.  Immediately
there was a buzz around the room.  The tech teams, not having
anything else to do, launched immediately into action.  Shinji,
however, did not move.  He remained where he was, kneeling, his head
down in front of the monsterous Evangelion.
     In the midst of the chaos, a small team of staff wheeled in a
fourteen-year-old girl in a stretcher, half her face and her right arm
covered in bandages.
        Shinji looked up at the misplaced sound.  The girl was the
most unusual looking person he had ever seen - her skin was pale
white, her hair was light blue.  Strangest of all, her eyes - now
focused into space, as if she was suffering pain - were red.. like
rubies.. or blood.
     This is Rei, Shinji thought, and they're going to make her
pilot that thing instead of me.
     How could they do that?
     Suddenly the room shook again, as it had previously done when
the Angel located the Geo-front.  This time, however, the room did not
stop shaking.  Indeed, the vibrations became more and more fierce as
time went on.
     "It's found us!" Ritsuko screamed.
     The girders and pipes running along the ceiling began to break
free of their fastenings.  Shinji screamed and covered his head as he
saw the rain of material decend upon him.  Chaos took hold of the room
as every technician and officer present moved to get out of the way.
Shinji did not.
     "Shinji!"  Misato screamed.
     With a thunderous crash, the fragments of the ceiling hit the
floor below.  Rei was knocked from her stretcher, gasping, coughing.
     Shinji looked up, terrified.
        Directly above him a huge hand acted as a shelter from the
shower of debris.  The Evangelion had, of its own accord, placed its
hand over him, protecting him.
     "Impossible," Ritsuko murmured.
     The Angel's assault had stopped.  Shinji did not even think -
his purpose was clear in his mind.  He rose to his feet and ran across
the hard floor of the containment area and over to Rei.  He knelt
beside her, and for a moment held her in his arms, unsure of how to
help, of what to do.
     Rei's eyes were closed in pain.  She gasped repeatedly, as if
short of breath.  Finally she started to cry out, her screams filling
the room.
     Shinji held up his hand to his face.  It was covered with
blood.  Her blood.
     Would they still make her pilot the Eva?  They couldn't, he
told himself.  But he knew deep within himself they would still
attempt it.  They had no choice - if the Angel was not defeated, they
would surely all die.
     Shinji lowered his head.  He could not let Rei into that
thing.  For some reason, he had also been given the potential to pilot
it, to combat the Angel.  But he still wanted to run.  He wanted to
pull the darkness over  him and take refuge in the silent peace of
death.  He didn't want to face this.
     But he had no choice.  He couldn't let Rei do it.
     I mustn't run away, he told himself, closing his eyes.
     I mustn't run away.
     Rei was sobbing, collapsed against him.
     I musn't run away.  I musn't run away.  I musn't run away.  I
musn't run away.  I musn't run away
     I musn't run away.
     I musn't run away!
     "Father!" Shinji screamed, raising his head.  "I'll do it!
I'll pilot it!"  Tears were running down his face once more.
     From his vantage point above his son and the gargantuan
Evangelion, Gendo smiled.

     The Evangelion was swiftly readied for battle by the
experienced team of NERV technicians, who had long practiced the
launch routine but who had never launched an Eva into a combat
situation, nor imagined they would ever have to.
     Shinji was placed into a large, white, cylindrical object he
was told was called an "entry plug".  Once he was inside, the plug
would be inserted into the giant robot and from there Shinji would be
able to control it mentally.  At least, they hoped he would be able to
control it.
     Shinji sat in the entry plug uncomfortably.  He was positioned
in a strange seat that felt neither comfortable nor the opposite and a
strange handgrip with a trigger protruded from the wall in front of
him.  That wall also appeared it could function as a monitor of some
type.
        They had also fixed a strange pair of objects to Shinji's
head.  They were about the size of hairclips, but they were intended
to increase the potency of his mental link with the Evangelion.
     When the plug finally began to move, and Shinji knew they were
inserting it, an odd kind of fear came over him.  What would it be
like to be inside that thing?  To be part of its thought process - to
control it with your thoughts?  Would Shinji still be aware of
himself?  Or, once inside, would he _become_ the Eva?
     The entry plug shuddered to a halt.
     High above the Evangelion, the operators in the control booth
monitored the process rigorously.
        "The plug has been secured," Maya Ibuki, a high-ranking
technical officer, reported.
     "Commence LCL injection," Ritsuko ordered.
     Suddenly Shinji found a strange, transparent liquid seeping in
the entry plug, submerging his feet and proceeding to rise above his
knees.
     "Ah!" Shinji cried. "What is this?"
     Ritsuko's voice came over a set of speakers installed in the
plug. "It's all right.  It's Link Connction Liquid, designed to enable
direct contact with Eva.  Once your lungs fill with LCL, it will
supply you with oxygen directly."
     Shinji held his head above the liquid as long as he could, but
finally he was submerged.
     Ritsuko smiled.  "Don't worry - you'll get used to it soon."
        "I think I'm going to be sick," Shinji replied.

     "Transmitting power to curcuits."
     "The connection to the A10 nerve is operational," Maya
reported.
     "Can we get a sync rate yet?" Ritsuko asked.
     "Got it.  Sync rate is.. 41.3 percent."
     "Incredible!" Ritsuko said.
     "All harmonics values are normal."  Maya nodded, satisfied.  
"Everything is under control."

     Below the control center, Misato Katsuragi stood staring up at
the giant robot now positioned on the launch pad.  The pad would shoot
the Eva up through a huge, metallic chute, ultimately ending within a
large building designed to recieve and release the Eva into Tokyo-3.  
>From there...
     Misato could hear orders shouted all around her, but she could
not take her eyes off the demonic visage of the Evangelion.  Shinji's
inside that thing, she thought.  Does Commander Ikari really believe
he can beat the Angel?  Or is this simply a delay, a sacrifice, until
better methods can be arranged?
     Finally, the last of the Eva's lock bolts were released.  One
by one, the layers of armor that prevented entry through the launch
chute slid to the side, unblocking the path to Tokyo-3.  The Eva was
ready to launch.
     "Shinji," Misato whispered, although neither he nor anyone
else could hear her, "Come back alive."
     Then the Eva was gone.  The launch elevator, gleaming with its
safety lights, hurtled the weapon towards its purpose without mercy.  
Misato watched its departure unblinking, the lights on the elevator
gleaming like starlight, growing fainter and fainter with distance,
until finally becoming one with the darkness above.




End of Part 1