Neon Genesis Evangelion: Legacy
Episode IV: The Last Hope


Chapter 2 – Berserk Fury
June 6, 2015 – NERV HQ

The technical crew were sitting in Central Dogma, the three technicians sitting at their stations were preparing a sync test of the First Child. All three were wearing identical uniforms of white with orange detailing on the shoulders. Sitting on the left side, a young man straight, shoulder length, dark brown hair, and beady brown eyes. Second Lieutenant Shigeru Aoba of NERV's Tactical Division was reading a magazine as he was waiting for the order to begin the test. Sitting in the center of the console was another young man with glasses, slicked back, black hair, and dark brown eyes. Second Lieutenant Makoto Hyuga was tapping his console impatiently waiting for Ritsuko to arrive to begin the test. Finally, sitting on the right side of the consoles was a young, kind looking woman with neck length, medium brown hair, and kind brown eyes. Second Lieutenant Maya Ibuki was the only technician sitting patiently and awaiting the beginning of the test.

"Hey, Hyuga, do you think Rei will be able to sync today?" Maya said.

"Who knows Maya, maybe? It's been almost seven months, and she hasn't registered on the sync scale at all, right?" Hyuga said. "Hopefully today is her day."

"I hope so too." Maya said. "She always looks so disappointed when she can't sync."

"Yeah, I noticed that too." Hyuga replied. "I wonder what would make her smile?"

"Probably syncing." Maya said. "I think she just wants to make the Commander proud."

"I don't think anything could make the Commander proud." Aoba piped in.

"That's not a very nice thing to say, Aoba." Maya said admonishingly. "The Commander is just a… different kind of person."

"Yeah, he and Rei are a lot alike, they never smile, and they rarely speak in front of people." Aoba replied. "Like two peas in a pod."

"Well, there are remarkable similarities in their personality, maybe Rei is his niece or something…" Hyuga said.

"You guys are so odd sometimes." Maya said.

"We're not all as optimistic as you Maya." Aoba said. "Some of us lost a lot in Second Impact, or simply too much."

"It is difficult to be happy in a time and place where machines like Evangelions are needed to defend humanity from death." Hyuga said. "Machines like this are terrible."

"But hope is what we need after Second Impact!" Maya said passionately. "Without it the human race is lost, and NERV is that hope! That's why I joined!"

"I joined for the money." Aoba said.

"I joined because it was a decent job with something interesting to do." Hyuga said. "I guess our reasons are all different, but we did see a lot of bad things happen after Second Impact. I know I certainly want to make a difference in this world, and I think being here is the way to do that."

"So it wasn't just for the job then." Maya said. "It was for something larger."

"I guess…" Hyuga said. "So, when do you think our new Tactical Division Director will get here?"

"I heard a rumor from Dr. Akagi." Maya said happily. "She should be here in a few weeks, I think around the beginning of July."

"Hmm, that soon, huh?" Hyuga said. "Wait, did you say she?"

"Yeah, Dr. Akagi said it was her friend that was coming from NERV's 1st Branch, Captain Katsuragi I think she said." Maya Replied. "Yeah, Katsuragi was the name."

"Katsuragi, huh?" Hyuga said. "I wonder if she's related to Kenji Katsuragi."

"You mean the guy that died in Antarctica during Second Impact?" Aoba said. "That Katsuragi?"

"I didn't think to ask her name." Maya sad innocently. "I didn't really recognize the name when I heard it. It would be interesting if she is though, wouldn't it?"

"If you say so, Maya." Hyuga said. "Do you know when Akagi is getting here? I mean, we're ready to go, and Rei is just sitting quietly in there. She said noon, and its quarter past now, it's not right to keep Rei in there all day waiting."

"Well, she probably got tied up with the MAGI again, they have been acting up lately." Maya said. "I'm sure she'll be here shortly."

High above the chatting technicians, up on the Command Deck were the Commander and Sub–Commander of NERV. Commander Gendo Ikari was sitting with his hands folded across his face as always. Standing behind him on the right, with his hands behind his back was Sub–Commander Fuyutsuki., looking perpetually calm as always.

"Ikari, do you think today's test will be successful?" Fuyutsuki said.

"I'm sure it will be." Gendo said confidently. "Rei has been quite dismayed about not being able to sync. I have talked to her to assure her it is not her fault."

"You… talked to her?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"Yes, at one of our weekly frequent dinners in my office." Gendo replied. "I told her that there was a problem with the Core we are working to fix."

"That's not entirely true, Ikari." Fuyutsuki said. "It's more like the soul within the Core is having a problem."

"That's why I talked to Rei, and reassured her." Gendo said. "We know the problem is with the soul of the other Rei. If she hears my reassuring words, it should allow some amount of synchronization between them. Why I didn't think of this solution sooner, I'm not sure."

"Ikari…" Fuyutsuki said.

"I know I have been distant from Rei since she died and was reborn. IT is my fault the two Rei's cannot connect as I have not treated her the same as I did the other one, something I have come to regret." Gendo said sullenly. "Maybe me being kind to her will alleviate the problem and bring her confidence back."

"Ikari, that's… unexpected." Fuyutsuki said.

"Fuyutsuki, we live in uncertain times." Gendo said staring out in front of him. "The unexpected is about to become the norm."

In front of all of these people was a large display screen showing a large pool of LCL showing a single Entry Plug immersed in it. Inside this Entry Plug was Rei Ayanami, seated demurely in her Test Plug, and dressed in her plugsuit, was also waiting anxiously for the sync test to begin. The test plug had yet to be filled with LCL, so Rei was simply sitting there and thinking over something that had been weighing heavily on her mind.

She was dressed in her marble white plugsuit, with orange highlights matching the color of her Evangelion on the shoulders, green colored monitoring devices situated awkwardly under her breasts, a small, blood red orb in the center of her chest, and red highlights on her neck. There were also black lowlights on the underside of her arms and several black stripes wrapped around her thighs that accentuated her curves quite nicely. Rei was also wearing a set of A10 connectors in her pail blue hair. The connectors were the same color as the plugsuit, marble white.

'Why can I not connect with my Evangelion?' Rei thought. 'Am I not worthy of synchronizing with it? I have failed countless times in the several months, perhaps maybe I am simply not good enough. I am not sure if I am worthy of being a pilot, even if it is my sole purpose in life, perhaps my predecessor would have been the better choice.' Rei unconsciously rubbed her neck while she thought of her previous self. 'The Commander was so kind to tell me it is not my fault, even if I think it is, he would not have told me so unless it was true.' Rei settled herself more comfortably in the pilot's seat as she thought it out. 'I guess I should listen to him, as he has never steered me wrong before, he told me that my synchronization issue is not my fault, and if he's never lied to me before, logically, Commander Ikari is correct.' Rei postulated. 'It is not my fault… I am… not to blame.' The corner of Rei's mouth twitched as though it wanted to form a smile. 'Then today, I will prove the Commander's assumption correct, that it is not my fault.'

Out in Central Dogma, Ritsuko had finally arrived, rushing in, and completely oblivious she had kept people waiting for over a half hour. "Let's begin the test." Ritsuko said, without an explanation of her whereabouts. "Maya, reset the sync computer, and begin the test sequence for the First Child."

"Beginning the sequence now ma'am." Maya replied. "Plug has already been sealed… establishing mock primary connections… primary connections established."

"Power online… flooding Entry Plug with LCL now." Hyuga said, tapping the control console in front of him.

"LCL fill process complete… establishing secondary contacts… electrolyzing LCL… secondary connections established… A10 nerve connections online and normal." Maya said, punching up a diagram of Rei's brain pattern.

The Entry Plug lit up in a dazzling array of colors, but displayed nothing afterward, returning to its semi–transparent orange glow.

"Configuring language logic interface for Japanese… all preliminary contacts have been established… the First Child's Sync test is now active… pilot life signs normal… brain wave activity is nominal." The sergeant said. "Synchronization ratio for the First Child is… 11.7%… 3.3% below the minimum activation threshold."

"How disappointing." Ritsuko said. "Our pilot can't even synchronize with her Evangelion, and Germany's pilot has already activated hers successfully three times without incident!" Ritsuko exclaimed angrily. "How will be ready to fight the angels if the First Child can't get herself together and sync with her EVA!"

"But, ma'am." Maya said sheepishly. "Ms. Ayanami has registered for the first time on the synchronization scale, isn't this good news?"

"I believe it is." Gendo said, sneaking down to the level the technicians were on. "Inform Rei the test is over and that she is done for the day." Gendo commanded. "I would call this a success, however small it is." Gendo turned to Ritsuko. "Wouldn't you, Dr. Akagi?"

Ritsuko stared daggers at Gendo, but he looked completely unfazed, and gave her a very subtle, and deadly stare.

"Yes, Commander, it is a vast improvement over the last 100 or so tests." Ritsuko said venomously. "It should be considered a mild success."

"Lieutenant Ibuki, please conclude the test." Gendo commanded.

"Yes, sir!" Maya said as she tapped several keys in front of her, as did Aoba and Hyuga.

Gendo reached for the intercom and switched it on. "Rei, can you hear me?"

"Yes, Commander Ikari?" Rei asked. "Did I do well?"

"Yes, Rei, you did excellently." Gendo said. "Your Synchronization Ratio was 11.7%, very good for your first successful test."

"Thank you very much, Commander Ikari." Rei said. 'I am very pleased to hear you are so proud of my accomplishment.' Rei thought to herself.

–––

Ritsuko was walking to Gendo's office. She was quite happy with herself and had stopped in the ladies room before hand to make a quick, unnoticeable change to her outfit. 'Hmm, he only asks to see me in the middle of the day for one thing, I may as well make it easier on both of us.' Ritsuko thought as she walked towards his office.

Ritsuko entered without knocking. "Hello…" Ritsuko said in a flirtatious tone. But she stopped talking as she saw that Gendo was not alone as she assumed he would be, with Sub–Commander Fuyutsuki sitting there in front of his desk. 'Shit, I guess that idea's out for now with the old man here.' Ritsuko thought. "Commander, you wanted to see me?" Ritsuko said in a serious tone, finishing her earlier statement.

"Yes, please have a seat, Dr. Akagi." Gendo said as Fuyutsuki rolled his eyes so only Gendo could see.

"What did you want to discuss, Commander?" Ritsuko asked.

"Well, Dr. Akagi." Fuyutsuki said. "Now that Rei has an actual Sync score, we'd like to set up an activation test for Unit–00. With Unit–02 being active, and the continued search for a pilot for Unit–01 by the Marduk Institute, we need to get this last Evangelion operational."

"Yes, we need to test the viability of Unit–00, and Rei's actual ability to sync with it. Unit–00, The Committee's plans won't come to fruition." Gendo added. 'Or my own machinations.' Gendo thought. "So it is the top priority of Project E to bring Unit–00 online, ahead of Unit–01." Gendo finished.

"But, Commander, with a few more weeks, I could get Unit–01 operational and have Rei pilot it instead, and then simply scrap Unit–00 and build a better Evangelion, one meant for combat." Ritsuko implored. 'Because my mother built it Unit–00, and I simply can't trust it…' Ritsuko finished in her head.

"No." Gendo said simply. "You have your orders, Dr. Akagi, now go and execute them. Dismissed."

"How long do I have to prepare Unit–00 for its activation test?" Ritsuko asked in a quiet fury.

"You have less than 72 hours to complete the work up on Unit–00 and have the test scheduled down in the test cage."

"Yes, sir." Ritsuko said harshly as she left the room and closed the door behind her. 'Three fucking days, he must be out of his mind. I'll have to talk to him later to see if he'll change his mind.' Ritsuko fumed as she went down to the cage to prepare Unit–00.

"So, you're not going to have sex with her then?" Fuyutsuki asked point blank. "Because that's what she assumed she was called in for."

"Ah, you noticed the hot pink panties in her lab coat pocket too." Gendo said.

"Did she really think we wouldn't notice? Pink can be seen through white quite easily." Fuyutsuki said with a chuckle. "You know, Ikari, it's almost sad how she throws herself at you." Fuyutsuki said in a more serious tone. "You'd better be careful, if she's anything like her mother, she may do something drastic if you cross her, hell she might even try to shoot you or something."

"Obviously she can never grow tired of being with me, but I am getting quite tired of her." Gendo said coolly. "Always wanting my love and affection, even though she doesn't deserve it. One can only fake love so much before it becomes noticeable. It's not sad, Professor, it's just downright pathetic."

"I said almost sad." Fuyutsuki replied coolly. "She still took over her mother's job without any qualms about what she was being asked to do. It makes her no better than her mother. Just remember to be careful around her, I bet if she becomes unhinged, there'll be no telling what she's capable of."

"Well, enough about the sow I'm forced to be indie of on a regular basis." Gendo said harshly. "I have a dinner with Rei to attend, so if you'll see yourself out, Fuyutsuki."

"Right away, Commander." Fuyutsuki said as he got up. "Just remember to keep up that encouraging attitude with Rei, the better off she is when she gets inside of Unit–00, the better." Fuyutsuki said as he left the room.

"I am more than aware that Rei will need to be happy to sync with her own soul, Fuyutsuki." Gendo said to Fuyutsuki's retreating figure. "A piece of the soul of Lilith broken off from herself, it should prove interesting to say the least." Gendo sat back in his chair. "Just the concept of Rei syncing with herself may be dangerous, but it's all for getting Yui back, so, whatever the damage, whatever the risk, it is acceptable."

–––

Gendo was sitting at a large table waiting patiently for someone. At exactly 7:00p, there was light knock on the door, followed by Rei entering the dining room.

"Good evening Rei." Gendo said as Rei came in for dinner.

"Good evening, Commandeer Ikari." Rei replied as she sat down.

"Did you have a good day, Rei?" Gendo asked.

"Yes, Commander." Rei replied. "I had an adequate day."

"Are you happy with today's sync results?" Gendo asked as he took a bite of his curry.

"Yes, Commander." Rei said as she dug into her tofu stir fry. "I am very pleased to have registered a synchronization score."

"I'm glad to hear you are pleased, Rei." Gendo said.

"Thank you, Commander." Rei replied quietly.

"Rei, there is something I want to tell you."

"What is it commander Ikari?" Rei asked.

"In three days' time, there will be an activation test from Unit–00." Gendo said. "Then we will test if your Evangelion functions properly."

"Very well, Commander." Rei replied quietly.

"Rei, is everything alright?" Gendo asked, in a concerned tone. "You seem less talkative than usual."

"It is just that…" Rei said as she trailed off. 'It is just that I feel I have failed you papa.' Rei thought. 'How can I tell you I have failed you when I cannot admit to myself?' Rei sighed. "Commander, I feel as though my failure to synchronize sooner has put your plans for preparing the Angels in jeopardy. I feel responsible for that."

"Rei, I told you before, this is not your fault. You are trying, and that trying paid off very well today. If you close yourself off from the world, you will never be able to sync with an Evangelion, you have to be receptive of the world for that to happen." Gendo said kindly. "But the issue was with the Evangelion, so as long as you are calm you will do well in all future tests, and eventually combat."

"Thank you for your kind words, Commander." Rei said politely. "I just don't feel I am the right choice to pilot…" Rei started, but was cut off by Gendo.

"Rei, no matter what Dr. Akagi may say to you or about you, doesn't mean you are not a capable pilot." Gendo said reassuringly. "We are all new to this business with Evangelions, it will take some time to improve, especially for the one sitting in the hot seat."

"But, Commander…" Rei said.

"No, buts Rei." Gendo said. "I know you can do this, so there is no need to be worried."

"Thank you Commander." Rei replied, smiling a bit. "I promise I will do my best."

"That's all I ever asked of you, Rei." Gendo said kindly. "I just want you to try your best and succeed."

With those words, Rei's face broke into a rare smile, something Gendo had not seen since Rei I had been alive, and he too smiled in response. And the two ate the rest of their dinner silently, both quite happier than they had been when they sat down.


June 10, 2015 – NERV HQ

The three bridge technicians, Ritsuko, Gendo and Fuyutsuki were all sitting or standing in the control room for the Test Cage. They were awaiting the final physical checks of the restraints on Unit–00 before staring the test.

Out in the Cage in front of them was a massive Evangelion, designated Unit–00. It was colored mostly orange, with only a few white highlights. On its forearms it was labeled as a "Prototype." Its head contained a single, red eye, with a greenish transparent lens on the top of its helmet, and no visible jaw, as was the case with Unit–02. Unit–00 was strapped to the wall by two very hefty looking braces attached it its bare shoulders, meant to hold the Evangelion if anything went wrong. The last few technicians were vacating the area ahead of the activation test, after giving all the restraint systems one last check.

"The maintenance team says all the lock bolts check out." Aoba said. "Unit–00 is completely secure."

"Good." Ritsuko said. "What's the status of the internal battery?" Ritsuko asked.

"Charged to just over 10%, ma'am." Hyuga relied. "If anything does go wrong, it should only have about 30 seconds of operational time, I will have the cable auto–eject set to live during the test in case anything does go wrong, we can cut power immediately."

"Roger." Ritsuko said. "Is Rei ready?"

"Yes, ma'am!" Maya replied. "Ms. Ayanami is ready to begin."

"Start the activation test." Ritsuko ordered. "With the Commander's permission."

"Begin." Gendo said simply, staring out at Unit–00 with his hands clasped behind his back.

"Yes sir." Maya replied. "Unit–00 initial activation test… ready to commence." Maya and Hyuga tapped a few keys on their consoles and brought up operational diagrams of Unit–00. "Unit–00 is secure in the cage… all lock bolts are engaged."

"Activate the Entry Plug." Ritsuko ordered.

"Connecting Entry Plug to Unit–00… primary connections have been established… connection complete." Hyuga reported.

"Battery power online… systems booting… flooding Entry Plug with LCL now." Maya said. "Connecting main power cable… waiting for power transmission… all circuits now transmitting at optimal power… main power now online… LCL fill process is now complete… establishing secondary connections… electrolyzing LCL… secondary connections established… A10 nerve connections online and nominal."

The Entry Plug lit up in a dazzling array of colors, then it was lit up further by a brilliant flash of light, followed by a rainbow of swirling color, Rei's eyes closed slightly at the drastic change in brightness. Finally more colors flashed on the walls of the Entry Plug around Rei until she could see the inside of the Test Cage displayed all around her.

"Configuring language logic interface for Japanese… all preliminary contacts have been established and are holding… performance is nominal… opening bi–directional circuits now…" Maya said. "Bi–directional circuits are now open… brain wave pattern and harmonics are normal… pilot life signs are optimal and steady… pilot synchronization ratio is at 15.1%… Evangelion Unit–00 is… online." Maya said with a note of surprise. "It's just over the 15% activation threshold ma'am. Can we continue the test?" Maya asked.

"I'll leave that up to the Commander." Ritsuko said, hiding her disappointment. "But I will leave the final decision up to the Commander." Ritsuko scratched her head. 'How did she improve her score that much in only a few days?'

"Go ahead, Lieutenant Ibuki." Gendo said.

"Yes, Commander… proceeding with safe–mode activation to check functionality… establishing nerve connections with the pilot now." Maya said. "Nerve connections are established through 1840… 1950… 2120… preparing for third stage connection… clear to 2580… 2670… 2880… counting down to absolute borderline in 120… 90… 70… 20… The pulses are flowing backwards!" Maya exclaimed in shock.

Unit–00 started tom move and sounded as though it were roaring as it struggled against its bonds holding it to the wall. Rei began to feel a presence around her as the EVA was not under her control.

"Something went wrong in the third stage!" Aoba shouted.

"There are no inputs from the pilot!" Hyuga shouted. "It's… acting independently of the pilot!"

Unit–00 continued to struggle against the braces holding it in place. Rei also became increasingly worried. 'What is happening? I cannot control the EVA… why can I not stop it from trying to move?' Rei thought. 'I have tried everything, yet it will not listen to my thoughts to stop… I have done all that Dr. Akagi has told me to do…'

Unit–00 kept trying to move and Rei heard a voice around her. "That bitch, I see her now, it is her, and it's time for some payback!"

"Deactivate Unit–00!" Ritsuko ordered. "Sever nerve connections and close all the bi –directional circuits!"

Maya frantically tapped her control console. "It's not working, ma'am." Maya replied in a worried tone. "Unit–00 is rejecting the signals!"

Ritsuko looked directly out at the Evangelion struggling in front of her and it stared right back at her and the rest of them.

Unit–00's struggle against the wall restraints was slowly having an effect. The restraints were whining as though they may simply snap before they were pulled from the wall. The metal finally began to give way as the Evangelion struggled to reach out and accomplish a goal it had thought of for some time.

"Akagi!" The voice around Rei shouted. "I won't let you keep living for what you did to me! You don't deserve life after snuffing it out! After snapping my little neck!"

"Stop, whoever you are…" Rei said quietly. "Just stop, you will just end up getting us injured for no reason."

"There is a reason Rei!" The voice shouted to Rei. "She killed me and then looks at you with the same contempt she did to me, she must pay!"

Unit –00 in a fit of unbridled rage ripped the restraints holding it's shoulders right out of the wall with a proud roar, followed by the restraints holding its forearms in place.

"You fucking whore, I'll kill you like you killed me!" The voice in Rei's head shouted. "Hag! YOU FUCKING HAG! I'LL SHOW YOU WHO'S THE FUCKING LITTLE BITCH!"

"Unit–00 is free from its restraints!" Maya shouted. "It's out of control."

"Abort the experiment, cut off the power supply." Gendo ordered.

"Ejecting power supply!" Hyuga shouted in response as he hit the button next to him. The large power cord attached to Unit–00 fired its ejection rockets, and clattered loudly to the floor of the Test Cage. "45 seconds of battery power remaining!"

Unit–00 struggled forward, holding its head as though it were in pain. Inside the Entry Plug, a similar struggle was going on between the pilot and the voice.

"Stop it… you will injure Commander Ikari!" Rei said loudly as she fastened her safety restraints securely.

"But that bitch has to pay!" The voice yelled. "She will pay with her life!"

Unit–00 threw a punch at the observation window where Gendo was standing. It cracked the glass and dented the armor plating surrounding the window frame.

"AKAGI!" The voice screamed, heard only by an increasingly frightened Rei.

"Watch out!" Ritsuko shouted as the window in front of them buckled from the repeated punches from Unit–00. "It's gone… berserk!"

Unit–00 kept throwing punches at the observation window, where it continued to buckle under the massive power behind the fists. The thick glass began to shatter off with each punch, until it shattered sending thick shards of glass as shrapnel around at everyone in the room.

"Stop it now! That is an order Unit–00!" Rei said angrily.

"SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU!" The voice shouted at Rei. "This will shut you up!"

The armor plate covering the where the Entry Plug was situated was released with explosive bolts.

May was looking at her monitor. "Auto ejection system has been activated!" Maya said.

"Damn it!" Gendo shouted. "Abort the sequence!"

"No response, Unit–00 is activating the sequence itself!" Maya said.

"All signals to Unit–00 have been severed, it's not listening to us anymore!" Hyuga exclaimed.

The Entry Plug was unscrewed, then its escape rockets fired, sending it careening into the ceiling of the Test Cage. It then skidded along the ceiling to the back wall where it was violently sent into the furthest corner of the room, sending sparks up along the way as it grinded against the metal surface of the walls. The ejection rockets kept the Entry Plug in place, slowly rotating in place on the wall.

"AHHHHH!" Rei screamed from inside the Entry Plug, but no one could hear her as she was flung around against the safety restraints in the pilot's seat as it slammed into the wall and spun around, leaving Rei feeling ill and in a lot of pain.

Unit–00 after forcing Rei out, was now struggling to stay upright, and was also running out of power. "I just want to kill Akagi! She doesn't deserve to live!" The voice shouted to no one, as the struggling Evangelion gave another audible roar as it clutched its head in pain.

"Ten seconds of power remaining!" Hyuga said.

"Start the Bakelite suppression system, now!" Ritsuko ordered.

"Yes, ma'am!" Maya replied.

The Entry Plug's ejection rockets ran out of fuel, and it stopped spinning ad then began a fast decent to floor below. Gendo was watching the whole scene unfold in horror.

"REI!" Gendo shouted.

As the Entry Plug clattered roughly to the ground, the Bakelite suppression system activated and sprayed burgundy liquid at Unit–00 to attempt to restrain the berserk Evangelion. Unit–00 began to wildly punch the wall in response to the threat against it as its power ran out.

"Power offline in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… ZERO!" Hyuga said. "Unit –00 is offline!"

Unit–00 now stood still and silent, slumped slightly against its outstretched right arm, which had embedded its fist into the wall just as its power ran out. The Bakelite had formed around its legs and lower thighs, and was forming a solid burgundy mountain around it, holding it in place. The destroyed restraints lay scattered on the floor, with the Entry Plug off in the corner.

As the power down was called out, Gendo rushed down to the Entry Plug sitting on the edge of the Bakelite used to restrain the berserk Evangelion. Gendo ran up to the side of the Entry Plug where an emergency hatch was and reached for the butterfly handles, splashing though ejected LCL as he did so.

Gendo grasped the handles and pulled. "ARRGGHH!" he screamed as he instinctively let go of the handles as he felt the skin on his palms sear like bacon in a frying pan. Gendo reached back for the handles and pulled again, working through the pain and his skin continued to burn under the heat. His glasses fell of his face with the great effort he was exerting and fell in the boiling hot LCL, warping and cracking under the heat. Gendo finally forced the latch counter–clockwise to open it, and with great effort was able to spin the handles the 180° to do so. Once they reached the open position, the hatch hissed releasing a cloud of steam and finally allowed Gendo inside.

Rei was slumped over, unconscious in her seat. Gendo could see Rei was injured quite severely. There was blood in her hair, streaking the pale blue with crimson red. Her restraints had torn free, which had torn her plugsuit in a few places, and left her bleeding from those wounds as well. What worried Gendo the most was that Rei was not moving.

"REI?!" Gendo shouted, to no response. "Rei, are you alright?!"

Rei slowly and weakly lifted her head, her face covered in blood, with some getting in her right eye. She spoke in an almost inaudible whisper. "Yes… sir…"

"I see…" Gendo said happily, with a single tear running down his face. "I'm glad to hear that, Rei…"

Rei's head drooped again as he spoke and her breathing became labored. 'Why is the Commander crying?' Rei thought. 'Is he crying over… me?'

Gendo poked his back out of the Entry Plug and shouted towards the control room. "GET A MEDICAL TEAM DOWN HERE IMMEDIATELY!"

Gendo then clambered awkwardly back inside, and tried to help Rei out of the Entry Plug. "Let's get you out of here, Rei." Gendo said as he gently put his arm around her back to help her up. "Can you move Rei?" Gendo asked as Rei cried out in immense pain. She shook her head slightly. "Alright, just hold on a moment Rei, I'll carry you out." Gendo wrapped his right arm behind her back, and his left arm under her legs. He gingerly picked her up and moved her to the hatch. He turned sideways and crouched down to get the two of them through safely.

Gendo was able to safely exit the Entry Plug, but his slipped in the LCL and he lost his balance and fell hard on the ground, with Rei falling on top of him with a shriek cry of pain. Gendo passed out from the pain of the landing and the concussion he received.

Rei however lay conscious facing her Entry Plug, looking at a warped pair of glasses. 'The Commander's glasses…' Rei thought as she reached out her less injured arm to retrieve them. They still felt warm in her hands. 'I will make sure the Commander gets these back… he must have lost them… saving me…' Rei held the warm glasses tightly in her injured hand. 'But why would he Commander save me? I am… replaceable…' Rei thought as she slumped over into unconsciousness as the emergency medical team rushed into the Test Cage to attend the two people lying unconscious on the floor.


June 30, 2015 – NERV HQ, Medical Wing

It had been 20 days since the activation test with Unit–00, and Rei was still in a coma. After falling unconscious, she simply could not be woken up. Her brain and body acted as though they were in stasis, her pulse was so low, they could barely detect it, and her blood pressure was almost zero, but medically it was the safest thing or her, that way her body could rest and heal, and all it would take is time.

They hadn't even been able to remove her plugsuit without the risk of injuring her fragile body even more. The doctors described her condition still as critical, because of the severe whiplash she suffered, her internal organs were bruised, almost half her bones were either fractured or broken, and to top it off, her brain was swollen from the severe concussion she received from the hydrostatic shock caused by the LCL and the Entry Plug slamming into the ceiling.

Rei was on life support, as without her brain functioning properly, she could not breathe on her own. She had several IVs for pain medication, and for nutrients so that she wouldn't starve.

Unbeknownst to anyone else, when visiting hours in the Medical Ward were over for the day, Gendo came to sit with Rei, for the guilt he felt over putting her inside such a dangerous machine, and his sorrow for almost losing her a third time. Tonight was no different, as Gendo would be at her bedside instead of sleeping, like he should be, and once again, he was trying to tell her he was sorry, but simply could not say the word.

"Rei, I wish you hadn't have been injured." Gendo said sorrowfully to Rei's unconscious form. "I should never have put you in that position, but I had no other choice, it was either someone I trusted in there, or… an unknown quantity. Please understand Rei, I… regret that you got hurt, and I feel as though it's my fault. It is my fault… Rei, please wake up…"

Rei lay still, her breathing machine humming in the background as her chest rose and fell with the hum. Her heart monitor beeping almost too slowly. Gendo looked over and saw his old glasses sitting on her side table, still wondering how they had ended up in her hand. He felt his own hands through the white gloves he was wearing, as he did, he felt the mottled and bumpy skin that had been burned away while opening the Entry Plug's hatch. He looked back over at Rei. "Why won't you wake up?" Gendo asked. "You can't leave me Yui, not again, I couldn't take it if you left me again…"

Inside her head, however, Rei was not unconscious. She was sitting on a train car, alone as an endless landscape kept going past outside.

'The last thing I remember is holding the Commander's glasses, and then I found myself here…' Rei thought as she looked at the scenery pass by outside. 'Why am I here? Am I dead? Is this what they call… heaven?'

"You're not dead." A voice said to Rei, and one she was familiar with.

"How do you know that?" Rei asked the voice.

"Because, if you were dead, there would be nothing…" The voice replied.

"How do you know that?" Rei asked. "Have you… died?"

"Yes, I died at the hands of some jealous bitch." The voice said. "All I did was tell the truth like my papa told me to, and I ended up dead on the floor, with a fate worse than death… trapped forever, inside some dammed machine, unable to get away…"

'The voice… died?' Rei thought as she put her head down. 'And now it's trapped inside something? How very… unfortunate.' Rei kept sitting there in silence, trying to think. 'This voice does sound familiar… like the one I heard during the test… inside of Unit–00… does that mean the EVA has a soul?' Rei thought, slowly thinking everything through. 'If I was not to blame for being unable to sync with the EVA… than it must have been the soul's fault. But what soul would I be compatible with? I am replace…' Rei's thinking paused as she came to a sudden realization. 'I am syncing with myself… the first "Rei Ayanami" her soul is the one I heard… the one who wanted to kill Dr. Akagi…' Rei looked up and addressed the voice. "Are you… me?" Rei asked. "Are you the me who is inside the Evangelion?"

"No you are me." The voice said. "I came before you, so you are copying me! I am the first Rei Ayanami!" The voice laughed. "But you're right, I am trapped in that Evangelion."

A young girl suddenly appeared I front of Rei with crimson eyes and pale blue hair. She looked exactly like Rei but several years younger. She had an angry scowl on her face and she walked up to Rei and slapped across the face.

"What is wrong?" Rei asked. "I see no reason for such violence at this moment."

"You interfered with me trying to kill that bitch!" Rei I shouted. "I just wanted to pay her back for breaking my neck!"

"You were attacking the wrong Dr. Akagi." Rei said quietly.

"There is only one Dr. Naoko Akagi, Rei!" Rei I shouted. "And she deserves to die!"

"But you were attempting to harm Dr. Ritsuko Akagi." Rei replied. "The Dr. Akagi you are searching for to avenge our death killed herself." Rei explained. "Commander Ikari had the photos on his desk, and the audio from Central Dogma as well. I happened to see them one day while I was in there waiting for him…"

Flashback

'What… what have I done?' Naoko thought, looking at the disgusted look on Ritsuko's face and Rei's limp body at her feet. "WHAT HAVE I DONE?!" Naoko shouted.

Naoko looked over to the MAGI and realized what she had to do. She took a few steps back and then started running towards MAGI Casper as Ritsuko shouted something. She leaped from the command tower and fell head first towards MAGI Casper. Her skull impacted and her neck snapped as she caught the edge of the Casper's casing. As she fell to the floor, she left a streak of crimson blood and pieces of grey matter and skull behind marking her body's final path to the floor. As the blood pooled around her, Gendo and Fuyutsuki ran into the room from one side and Ritsuko entered the room from the other. They looked from Rei's body and then saw her blood trail on the MAGI.

End Flashback

"So, the stupid bitch offered herself instead of facing pap, did she. What a coward…" Rei I sneered, then she looked at Rei and shoved her. Rei lost her balance from the sudden unexpected shock of being pushed and fell over on the bench. "And it was not "our" death Rei! I died, you were born afterwards." Rei I shouted again. "Rei Ayanami the First died that day, and soon after Rei Ayanami the Second was born into the world! I don't exist anymore. I don't get to live the life I wanted to live. I don't get to see papa anymore, and I don't get to hold my Mew!"

'She is right.' Rei thought as she righted herself. 'She died that day and her existence ceased. She has every right to be angry… but I remember that day so clearly, my death… her death… our death… the lines have been quite blurred…' Rei looked at Rei I. "I remember the day you died though. I used to have nightmares until Dr. Akagi gave me some medicine to suppress my dreams. I'd wake up screaming thinking my neck had been broken, clutching it and grasping for air. I was so… afraid…"

"You should have been." Rei I said. "It wasn't exactly a picnic feeling it, and I still remember it every now and again too…"

"But repeating that memory seemed worse every time it happened." Rei said quietly.

"That is true." Rei I said. "But I guess it's something we both have to live with…"

Rei gave Rei I a puzzled look as she kept thinking over what Rei I had said. "What is… a Mew?" Rei asked.

"What?" Rei I asked.

"What is a Mew." Rei asked again. "You said you don't get to hold your Mew. What did you mean? What is a Mew?"

"It's a plushie of a Pokémon that papa bought for me!" Rei I exclaimed. "Don't you still have it?" Rei I asked angrily.

"Is it a pinkish color… and it looks like a… cat?" Rei asked hopefully, thinking of the doll that sat above her head in her room.

"Yes, you still have it?" Rei I asked. "It didn't get thrown out did it?"

"Now, it is above my bed…" Rei said. "I can show it to you if you'd like."

"No, just keep it in your room, and hold it for me." Rei I asked, finally calming down.

"May I ask you a favor in return?" Rei asked.

"Anything if you keep my Mew safe…" Rei I replied.

"Can you please let me pilot the Evangelion without any further incident?" Rei asked.

"I guess that shouldn't be a problem." Rei I said happily. "But just remember, if things start to go downhill, try to keep us both from dying again?"

"I should be able to accomplish that task without much… difficulty." Rei replied. "I want to make the Commander proud…"

"Good, because I think it's time for you to wake up, Rei." Rei I said as Rei heard a loud passing train whistle and her eyes opened to reveal the ceiling in the Medical Wing of NERV above her.

Rei felt the intubation tube going down her throat and she weakly lifted her arms and removed the tape from around her lips. Rei took a deep breath through her nose and pulled the tube out as quickly as she could, crying out in pain after moving her arms too fast.

"I'm… alive." Rei said softly. She looked over to see the sleeping form of Gendo sitting beside her. "He does care… even if I'm not the Rei he loved as a child… he views me as someone to be concerned about… even though I'm replaceable."

Gendo was half asleep in the chair next to Rei's bed. He heard a faint sound come from Rei's bed, and heard he monitors pick up on the beeping they made and woke with a start. He looked over to see her crimson eyes looking back at him. "Rei!" Gendo exclaimed. "You're awake!"

"Yes, Commander… I am felling… much better." Rei said quietly as she tried to move, but Gendo jumped up and stopped her.

"No, Rei, it's best for you to lie still." Gendo said caringly. "You're still very hurt from the accident. I don't want you to injure yourself more."

"Commander…" Rei said in hushed tone, as it still hurt to talk. "When can I pilot Unit–00 again?" Rei coughed a bit. 'It's my sole purpose in life, and I'd like to pilot again, papa.' Rei thought to herself.

"You still want to pilot, Rei? You don't have to if you don't want to." Gendo asked. 'I'm surprised she still wants to pilot. She has no fear…' Gendo cleared his throat. "As soon as you're healed up, and we fix the issues with Unit–00, you can pilot again if you want." Gendo said, smiling slightly.

"I don't think it will be a problem in the future, sir." Rei replied quietly.

"Why is that?" Gendo asked.

"I won't let it take control again…" Rei replied seriously. "I am the pilot… it will listen to what I tell it to do."


July 2, 2015 – NERV HQ

Gendo was standing in the observation room of Cage #7 staring out on the workers outside hurrying around to complete the Evangelion situated out there. The purple colored Evangelion Unit–01. It had its neon green highlights on the unique shoulder pylons, and forearms, its unique pectoral armor, and neon orange detailing on its neck, along with the massive horn on its head, which no other Evangelion would have. It was simply staring back at the two men watching it.

Gendo looked out to Unit–01 and was talking quietly to it through the glass. "Yui, I had painted purple for you. I know it's your favorite color." Gendo said in a hushed tone. "I know it doesn't really make up for what's happened, but I do hope it makes things better. I just want things to get back on track. I just want to get you back, Yui."

Unbeknownst to Gendo, Fuyutsuki had just walked in. He closed the door quietly behind him, and took his usual spot on Gendo's right side. Gendo continued talking to Unit–01 without realizing he was no longer alone.

"Yui, it's almost time." Gendo said quietly. "He'll be here soon."

"Ikari?" Fuyutsuki asked. "Who are you talking to? And who are you taking about?"

"To Yui, Fuyutsuki." Gendo said. "She's in there. I know she is, so I talk to her that way when she comes back after my plan is compete, she won't have missed anything."

"Except 11 years of her life, Ikari." Fuyutsuki said.

"At least she will be back." Gendo replied tersely. "That is all that matters."

Fuyutsuki sighed. "It doesn't matter that you talk to Unit–01. Yui is in there, so you're not wrong, I'm just not sure how much she can process from inside the Core." Fuyutsuki said.

"She's a smart woman, I'm sure she can listen in if she wants to." Gendo said hopefully. "That way she knows I've tried to get her back, and that I haven't given up…"

"Ikari, the self–pity really isn't you." Fuyutsuki said sternly.

"You are correct, Fuyutsuki." Gendo said. "Sometimes the façade must fall in order for the man to be his true self, even for a few moments."

"Alright Ikari, who were talking about being here soon?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"Fuyutsuki, Unit–01 is almost ready for combat." Gendo said. "I was simply stating it's time we get its pilot to be discovered by the Marduk Institute. That way my plans can move ahead on schedule."

"The Third Child?" Fuyutsuki asked. "Are you sure it's time?"

"Yes, Fuyutsuki, its time." Gendo said. "According to Keel, in two weeks' time the Third Angel will be attacking, I want him here for that day. The day where he will pilot and kill the Angel. The day he will be triumphant."

"He's had no training, Ikari!" Fuyutsuki said. "He would be in grave danger! He could die!"

"Fuyutsuki, we could all die." Gendo said. "Shinji is no different. He will be fine. He is a survivor."

"So you think." Fuyutsuki said. "Didn't he run away from the cemetery three years ago?"

"He did, but he came with a simple note expecting me to take him in again." Gendo said. "He will come back again."

"What if he doesn't want to pilot, Ikari, have you thought of that?" Fuyutsuki said. "Even if he could pilot Unit–01 without any training, he's not as obedient as Rei from what I'm told by Jushiro, passive yes, but not obedient, and he hasn't been training for this since he was little like Asuka, who was told years ago she would pilot Unit–02. He could refuse you."

"He won't refuse, Fuyutsuki." Gendo said calmly. "I will leave Shinji no choice but to get in the fucking Evangelion."

"Ikari, if you're sure, I'll set up the report to be released in five days." Fuyutsuki said. "That will allow me plenty of time to send a letter to Jushiro explaining that Shinji needs to come back now, and then he can prep Shinji to come here."

"No letter Fuyutsuki, just deal with the Marduk Report on the Third Child and deliver it to Ritsuko. I will send a letter to Shinji directly." Gendo said proudly. "Something else I want you to do is let our agent in Berlin know his plan is a go on the night of August 10th, and that the cargo leaves on the August 11th. They will be due into New Yokosuka on the 30th."

"I'll let the Chief Inspector know of his promotion as well." Fuyutsuki said.

"Good, now go and take care of those things for me, Fuyutsuki." Gendo said.

"Yes, Commander." Fuyutsuki said as he left the room.

"It's time to bring my son back home to Tokyo–3." Gendo said while staring out at Unit–01's blank eyes. "And to his waiting mother."

To Be Continued


A/N: I do not own Evangelion or any of the characters, GAINAX and the other distributors of NGE related material do. I am simply using them as a backdrop for my fanfic.

Sync Score Rankings!
Asuka – 34.1% (+0.4%)
Rei – 15.1% (New)
Shinji – N/A
Mari – N/A

I hope you have all noticed the sync score segment of the A/N. I will be updating that with the top scores from each chapter, whether done on or off the page (or screen, or whatever) and keep track of who is doing how well.

Now, why did Rei wait till after Asuka to sync to her EVA? Simply because it took her seven months (Mentioned in the Episode 1 of the anime) to even register on the sync chart, so the test shown in the first part of the chapter is the first successful sync test she has, and even at the low score she started at, she'll have lots of improvement as the story goes on. Even her sync score when Unit–00 was tested improved, which is why it went berserk, her score was high enough to trigger an activation (and berserk state) of the finicky Unit–00.

Now, the personal hell train car and berserk scene were essential. As after the berserk incident, Rei was able to control Unit–00 without further berserk episodes. So, I figure, Rei II and Rei I had a talk in the Personal Hell Traincar and came to an understanding so they wouldn't end up dying in a fight if the EVA is deployed into battle (which does happen), so this gives Rei the ability to sync with herself and control the EVA better just like Shinji and Asuka can with their respective mothers.

As for Gendo and Fuyutsuki planning to bring a certain person to Tokyo–3, the next chapter will detail what leads him to come home. That and I couldn't resist adding in Gendo's line about how to get Shinji inside the EVA, or how long Asuka and Unit–02's journey from Hamburg to New Yokosuka will take (19 days–ish, used an online calculator putting them through the Suez Canal, quickest and shortest route possible). Shinji of course will meet her (again) the day before they arrive, in typical fashion.

Also to note, Gendo will not be the only one talking to an Evangelion, that will be a minor running theme in the story, especially for those who actually know who is inside the cores of these things.

As I said before, and will always say at the end of chapter, please leave comments, as I would like to try to improve the story going forward any way I can. And, hell, constructive criticism is a good thing.


つづく