The cool water was soothing. It had never experienced this sensation before. It's life had been spent in the cold, dark deep, scavenging what it could, but now hunger had forced it up to this new, beautiful world.

It's head breached the water, and it felt the cold wind for the first time, but it didn't notice. It's eyes were transfixed on the green mass that rose up before it. Overtaken by curiosity, it continued on.

"What is this?" Rei thought, staring up at the ceiling as she lay in her bed. "What am I feeling?" Her stomach felt compressed, her body temperature was rising, and small amounts of moisture had formed in her eyes. It was an unpleasant sensation.

"Is this a result of my absence from the mission?" She thought of Shinji and Asuka at the volcano. What was happening? Had everything succeeded? Or had there been a complication?

It had been a complication that had bought her and Shinji closer. She thought of the same thing happening between him and Asuka, and the sensation grew more unpleasant.

"This is pointless," she thought. "I should go to HQ in case I'm needed."

It ground to a halt as it reached the sand. It wriggled and thrashed, but it couldn't move any further. It was frustrated that the green was so close, yet inaccessible, and it continued thrashing in rage.

A shudder ran through it's body, and it stopped. It felt a horrific pain throughout it's body as bone warped, muscle shifted, and skin expanded, and it thrashed again, this time in agony. Blood poured out of it's mouth and gills, and the water around it began to boil, adding to it's confusion and panic.

After what seemed like an eternity, the torture stopped. It felt uncomfortable in the water now, it's body yearning to go on land. It tried to conquer the sand again, and this time, it's powerful new legs easily stepped onto dry land.

It saw a mass of gray shapes in the distance. Curiosity again drove it forwards, as it marvelled at the new sensations that it was experiencing. Air entering it's lungs, sand beneath it's legs, and the many new smells wafting through the air.

Misato sighed in relief as 01 and 02 finally came out of Mount Asama, their armour melted almost beyond recognition. "Armour's damaged, but little damage to the internals," Maya reported, grinning. Misato grinned back, and activated visual comms with the two pilots. "Good work, you two! Now hurry up and get changed, we have some hot springs to get to!" Asuka rolled her eyes. "Really? I go into a volcano, and I still can't go to Okinawa?" Misato chuckled. "When all this is done, I'll buy you a house down there, how does -"

"Ma'am!" Aoba yelled, panic in his voice. "Tokyo-3 is under attack!" "What?!" Misato stared at him. "Another Angel?! Now?!" "No, it's... it's not an Angel, it's AT field is too weak to detect! We had no warning!" Misato's heart stopped. "So that means..." "Casualty reports haven't come in yet, but several blocks have been severely damaged!" "Defence systems!?" "Online, but they've had no effect!"

Misato swore. "Deploy 00, and get 01 and 02 back to the cage so we can get them repaired enough to send out there. Have all staff here return to Nerv HQ ASAP, now move!"

Fuyutsuki stared at the screen in disbelief. The strange creature, resembling a giant eel on legs, had torn through Tokyo-3, destroying everything in it's path smaller than a skyscraper. He looked down at Gendo. He was in his normal, calculating pose, but he was breathing a bit heavier, his eyes somewhat wider.

"This might be a substantial spanner in the works," Fuyutsuki said, trying to maintain his composure. "Neither we nor the council ever even considered a non-Angel threat on this scale." "It doesn't matter," Gendo replied. "EVA-00 will defeat the creature, and the plan will proceed." "And if Rei can't defeat it?"

Gendo was silent.