I Was a Teenage Dummy Plug
Part One: Like an Angel Without a Sense of Fashion
A Neon Genesis Evangelion fanfic by Logan J. Goodhue
Neon Genesis Evangelionis © and " GAINAX, et al.
This story is for nonprofit entertainment only.
First Version, 03NOV2002 : Minor revision, 15NOV2002
Like an Angel Without a Sense of Fashion
I woke to the smell of blood.
Slowly, I opened my eyes and realized I was living almost every adolescent boy's dream. I was surrounded by dozens of naked, beautiful girls. They were all identical. Then, I got a better look and almost screamed.
Each girl was pale and well formed, with short, unruly blue hair and empty, red eyes. Except for their vapid, glassy smiles, they were dead ringers for Rei Ayanami.
Taking a couple of deep breaths, and trying not to freak out, I realized I was in LCL. In my rattled state of mind I almost didn't notice that I was floating in warm liquid and breathing it. I looked all around me, trying to figure out how I wound up in the room of Gauf. Or in the world of Neon Genesis Evangelion, for that matter. About that time, several sensations were beginning to register. First, I was naked. Second, my arms were now slender and hairless. Next, my wandering field of vision finally fixed on my reflection in a nearby window. Then, I screamed.
I was a dead ringer for Rei Ayanami, too.
I watched the bubbles floating from my mouth and tried not to hyperventilate. I prayed that this was all a dream, or maybe some god-awful fanfic that was so well written that . . . No, I had to deal with this as though it were real. My first order of business was to get out of the damned tank and get some clothes on. Praying there was an exit that way, I swam upwards. I was never so glad as when I found the ladder out of the tank. Looking around, I noticed a lot of things that were never shown in Evangelion. The top of this tank, for starters. I bent over the rim and began coughing out LCL. Recycled institutional air never tasted so good.
Getting unsteadily to my feet and clutching at a handrail, I began walking towards a staircase. My balance was all hosed over, and my feet were incredibly sensitive. It was understandable, really. This body had never walked before. I distantly noticed shapes in the darkness that could have been the "EVA Graveyard" as I struggled. By the time I reached the bottom, I had managed to get somewhat used to my new center of balance, so I wasn't lurching about like a drunk con-goer heading to his fifth room party. My feet still hurt, though. Those steel mesh floors were murder. With a sinking feeling in my stomach, I realized the pain meant this wasn't a dream.
I paused and looked through the doorway beside me at the tank full of Rei clones and shuddered. The scene in episode twenty-three where Ritsuko destroyed them all had always given me the creeps. Thinking on that as I sought out some clothes, I realized that I was smack in the middle of the series. It was obviously before the twenty-third episode, but when? I reached the "hospital" room near the elevator and began searching cabinets.
My search had barely lasted five minutes before I hit pay dirt. I found a veritable cornucopia of clothing. Unfortunately, it was all plug suits, school uniforms, and underwear. While I was hesitant to wear a skirt, there was no way in Hell I was going to wear the fetish gear, er, plug suit right now. At least I was sure everything was going to fit. Shame and embarrassment were raging through me as I put on the undergarments, struggling with the brassiere. I was almost certain someone would point and laugh at me. After all, my self image was still of an overweight, hairy, male otaku. Sure, I had read plenty of Ranma ½ fan fiction, so I was dealing with my gender change a little better than I might have otherwise, but it was still playing havoc with my sanity. Why not? If I was stuck in this world, I might as well fit in. Angst, pathos, and a therapist bill in six digits were par for the course around here.
I grabbed a blouse and put it on. The buttons threw me for a second, being on the wrong side of the closure, but I dealt with it. The jumper followed, then the socks and shoes. I had some trouble with the red tie, but after a little work, I had a presentable bow. I thought. I looked for a mirror, and found one in a corner. I gazed into it and gasped in shock. I was beautiful. I peered closer and examined my face. It was almost perfectly symmetrical, with azure locks framing it. My now alizarin eyes had a depth to them that had been missing in the other clones in the tank. The eyes are the windows to the soul, after all.
"Well, kid," I said to myself, testing my voice, "this is my body for the foreseeable future. I may as well get used to it." I sounded a little off, not quite what I was expecting. I thought a bit and tried something else. I lowered my voice and spoke gruffly, "Nani sore? Kawaiikunee otemba!" That was familiar, so I tried to be giddily cheerful. "Shogun? Shogun! Shogun! Shooo-gun! . . . Nani?" That was what was wrong. I had spoken in English and I hadn't sounded like Amanda Winn Lee. I sounded like Megumi Hayashibara. Well, that was good to know. I had a goofy grin plastered to my face. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and froze. 'Okay,' I thought. 'Note to self: goofy grin looks weird on Rei Ayanami. Not bad, just weird.'
Schooling my features into a more "Mona Lisa" look, I checked my reflection again. Assured that I didn't look stupid, I began the trek through Terminal Dogma to the rest of the geofront.
Have I mentioned yet how much the elevator rides suck? They're incredibly long and boring, especially here in the high-security parts . . . of . . . NERV.
I had probably tripped dozens of security sensors just waking up, and here I was, being a good little boy, er, girl, and going to meet the nice security patrol. I probably only had the three minutes remaining in this trip for my life. Unless, of course, their security was so bollixed up that it only prevented access to Terminal Dogma and not access from it.
'Thank God for small miracles,' I thought. The elevator door opened and I was both relieved and disappointed by the distinct lack of gun-toting, faceless lackeys. Hoping my new lucky streak would continue, I began wandering the hallways.
While having seen all twenty-six episodes and the three movies of Evangelion had helped me navigate Terminal Dogma, the rest of this place was a maze. Ten minute of aimless wandering later, I found a main line elevator, and stood in shock. While most of the signs were bilingual, Japanese and English, I had just read the kanji and understood it. This was far too convenient. It also probably meant that if I ran into any of the base personnel I'd understand their spoken Japanese. Would I be able to speak it? I wouldn't know until I had to do it. If I tried now, I'd only use phrases I already knew. Somehow, I didn't think emphatically telling someone that I was a cheese head from Osaka was going to increase my chances of survival. Sighing softly, I pushed the "up" button and waited.
Maybe it was just the "costume effect" at work, but I found myself standing still, head downcast, with my hands clasped in front of me. From the "Shucks, Howdy, ya varmint" attitude I had in a cowboy hat, to the time I had stared down a bully dressed as Batman, whenever I had worn a costume, my role had always seeped in a little. This was the first time it was affecting me this much, though. It could have been that this was the first time the costume was more than just cloth and plastic approximating a fictional character. I mean, I was wearing exactly what my "character" would, from the skin out. Not only was I wearing her skirt, but I was wearing her genes, too.
Any worries I may have had of being subsumed by an emotionless "Rei persona" were quashed by that horrid pun. I stifled a chuckle as the elevator doors opened. Gladly noting the empty car, I stepped in. Looking at the control panel, I realized I wasn't going to exit the geofront directly. It made sense. A sensitive military installation like this wasn't going to allow John Q. Public to walk in the lobby, then to an elevator bank direct to the goodies. Most likely, I was going to pull a Misato and get completely lost. Making my decision, I pushed the button for the uppermost level the elevator would reach. I leaned back and let the strains of a Muzakä version of "Fly Me to the Moon" wash over me as the car rose.
I tensed as I saw floor buttons light up. I wasn't going to have this car to myself for much longer. I calmed myself and tried to look off into space as the car slowed. The doors opened and two technicians climbed aboard. They spared me a glance, then continued their conversation.
"So, Kanzaki, how much did you lose on the Swallows?" one asked.
"Only five thousand yen, Oeda," Kanzaki said, waving it off. "I never expected the Hanshin Tigers to pull off a ten-run, come from behind victory in the bottom of the ninth like that." I followed their conversation easily, even though it was in Japanese. I was even able to discern their regional accents. Oeda seemed to be from Okinawa, and Kanzaki seemed to be from Hokkaido. They continued chatting for about twenty floors, and then got off.
I was beginning to worry. Why was I able to understand Japanese? Before all this happened, I only knew enough to find someone who spoke English, and order in a restaurant. I could only discern a Kansai accent if someone said, "Thank y'all." I blinked as I realized that I was thinking in Japanese. I was sure my expression of surprise would have seemed comical if anyone had been there to see it. I checked the button panel and the floor display again and noticed I'd have some more company soon. The car slowed to a stop, and I could hear voices outside the doors as they opened.
"--Nji, you idiot!" said a feminine voice with a trace of a German accent. "Why couldn't you have told me you expected we couldn't go on the trip?" I looked up and watched Asuka pull Shinji into the car. She was glaring intently at him, so she hadn't yet noticed me.
"B-But, Asuka," Shinji stammered. "It only makes sense that . . ." His shoulders slumped in defeat. "Misato already explained . . ." He looked around the car, unable to look Asuka in the eye. Of course, he spotted me. "Oh! Ayanami! Good morning."
"Good morning," I said softly, "Pilot Ikari, Pilot Sohryu." I decided to keep in character to prevent any suspicion.
"Oh, great!" Asuka muttered as she whirled around and faced me. "It's Wonder Girl." She fidgeted with a shopping bag in one hand. I gazed briefly at each of them, and then stared at the door. I heard her mutter darkly in German. I was appalled to realize my newfound proficiency with Japanese extended to German as well. I never knew how colorfully she could swear.
"Ich spreche nur wenig Deutsch," I said, "aber Ich versteht es." I knew I had made a few mistakes in verb conjugation and pronunciation, but it was worth it to see her face when I told her that I had understood her little stream of invective. Shinji was surprised as well, but he recovered nicely.
"Are you going to the pool as well, Ayanami?" he asked.
"Yes," I said. "I have been ordered to maintain my physical fitness through a regimen of swimming. I shall do as I have been ordered." I still maintained an eye lock on the floor indicator.
"Well," Asuka said in exasperation, "Aren't you the good little soldier? Don't you ever have any fun in your spare time?"
"If I am ordered to," I said, struggling to keep my face serene, "I will." She was flabbergasted, and I noticed out the corner of my eye that Shinji had a concerned look on his face.
"Ayanami . . ." he said sadly. It was becoming more and more difficult to stay in character. I wanted to get in an argument with Asuka and prove I wasn't an emotionless doll. I wanted to laugh out loud at the monumental prank I was pulling on them. I wanted to warn them about the upcoming Angel attacks. I wanted to find out why the Hell I was here in the first place.
The elevator stopped, and we got out. We walked down the hall, and I surreptitiously checked the signs and floor maps, so I would know how to get around. Arriving at the pool, Shinji left us and sat down at a poolside table. I could see him opening his book bag and beginning to do his homework. With slight hesitation, I followed Asuka into the girls' locker room. She headed for her locker, and I began looking for Rei's. I scanned each locker's nametag as I walked rapidly along. I was so intent on the lockers, I couldn't avoid bumping into someone.
"I'm terribly sorry," I began and gasped in shock as I realized whom I had bumped into. I raised my view from her white, one-piece swimsuit to look her in the eyes. Red eyes met red.
"Who are you?" Rei asked.