Neon Genesis Evangelion: Legacy
Episode VII: Awakenings


Chapter 3 – Spectre
March 21, 2020 – NERV HQ

Misato was leading Yuki Iwasawa around the base, showing her what she needed to see. Maya was with her to act as a buffer against the woman that was severely grating Misato's nerves less than an hour after meeting her. The situation was beyond uncomfortable, as Misato felt no trust from the Security Council in her ability to command NERV in the best interests of mankind. As they made it to the Evangelion Cage, Yuki stared up in amazement as she saw the Evangelions for the first time.

"Absolutely amazing." Yuki muttered. "They don't look this massive in the files."

"Without anything to judge their scale, you don't really see it until you're in front of them." Maya said. "Even then, it's still hard to imagine."

"And have you determined the cause of their awakening yet?" Yuki asked.

"No." Misato replied curtly. "All we know is that the Second Branch appeared, and they woke up. Anything beyond that is still a mystery."

"That you've had several days to work on." Yuki retorted. "Why have you not found the problem yet?"

"You said you read the files, correct?" Misato asked.

"Yes, all the mission logs I was able to get my hands on." Yuki said.

"Then you should know that any problem we encounter with the Evangelions is not an easy one to fix." Misato said matter–of–factly. "Actually, its damn near impossible to figure what caused the problem without trying to recreate it, which is dangerous to say the least."

"Yes, the Berserk incidents are of great concern." Yuki replied. "As is the dimensional shifting…"

"That was one time." Misato said. "And under a very extreme set of circumstances."

"A teenaged boy losing control of his emotions." Yuki said sarcastically. "Yes, that is very unique… in fact, it seems almost entirely impossible for that to occur again."

"Look, what's in those reports pales in comparison to what actually happened." Misato said. "Words can never fully do justice to what goes on here. Just pray you don't actually have to experience it for yourself."

"That may be, but I still need to assess the emotional state of the pilots." Yuki asked again. "We cannot allow them to run with unchecked emotions any longer. It somehow effects their ability to sync with those beasts."

"They're Evangelions, not beasts." Maya said reproachfully. "The beasts are the Angels that attack us."

"Fine, the Evangelions." Yuki corrected herself. "I still don't fully understand how they are able to sync with the EVAs."

"Concentration." Maya said, giving her usual cover story. "The LCL acts as a nerve impulse medium and allows their brainwaves to connect to the EVA's central nervous system. This in turn gives them control over the EVA and its movements."

"And I already told you, the answer to meeting them is no." Misato said. "They have a clean bill of health, and you're foolish to think that anything can reign in the emotions of a teenager, let alone these four strong willed ones."

"Medication will level their temperament." Yuki replied nonchalantly.

"Absolutely not! I forbid it!" Maya said loudly. "They will not be given medication unless deemed medically necessary, which won't ever happen."

"You don't have the authority to override that decision." Yuki said.

"Want to make a bet she does?" Misato asked.

"Just one word to the base physician and that will all change." Yuki replied.

"The base physician doesn't like unneeded medications." Maya retorted. "That and it will affect their ability to sync properly, which would affect us all in the long run." Maya pointed at the Evangelions. "And if they can't sync properly and something happens, I'd put the blame squarely on you."

"Fine, bring me to your Command Center." Yuki said. "I think I've seen all I need to see here."

"Right this way." Misato said as she and Maya lead her towards the Command Center.

"So, what have you done with the Evangelions exactly?" Yuki asked as they walked towards the elevators.

"We've updated and replaced any components that needed so after Third Impact." Maya replied as they began their assent to Command Center. "But save for that, it's just been basic maintenance and diagnostics for the past three years."

"And Unit–03's status?" Yuki asked.

"It's 70% complete." Maya said. "We're waiting on some severely damaged section to grow back. It's slow going, but we're lucky it was salvageable at all."

"And have you been able to test the city's combat configuration?" Yuki asked. "In case the need arises, we need to be certain the city can properly defend itself."

"How could we possibly do that without starting a public panic?" Misato asked as the elevator arrived on the proper floor. "We tested the emergency alert system, and it worked just fine, other than that, all we can do is visually inspect the system and hope for the best."

"And the AIS?" Yuki asked as they exited the elevator. "Did you test that?"

"The MAGI are running a Level–5 Diagnostic on all the weapon sites." Maya said. "There's still three days left before we get any results… then we have to go around and inspect the magazines for any signs of munitions decay."

"It may very well be more cost efficient to scrap the old munitions and procure new stock." Yuki said.

"That is abundantly wasteful." Misato said. "We'll inspect the munitions and then fill our reserves accordingly."

"Besides, we can make the shells, powder bags, and warheads ourselves, it's the missiles that require ordering." Maya added.

"I will put it in my budget recommendation for approval." Yuki said as Misato gave her a puzzled look.

"They want to give us more money?" Misato asked.

"Yes, the funds you were receiving, while substantial, were for a peacetime NERV, set to maintain and repair itself while waiting for the inevitability that this would all begin again." Yuki explained. "Now that there is a state of near war, we have to be ready to appropriately fund this agency to the fullest extent we are allowed."

"Well, I'll be damned…" Misato muttered as they got to the Command Center, and Maya pulled her aside.

"Colonel, I have a pressing engagement." Maya said. "It's a meeting I can't miss. Permission to be excused?"

"Permission granted." Misato said as she winked.

"Thank you, ma'am." Maya said.

"Tell them I'll be late getting home tonight." Misato whispered. "You don't want to be late, do you Captain?" Misato said in her regular voice.

"No, ma'am, I don't." Maya replied as she went off.

"Where is she off to, Colonel?" Yuki asked.

"She has a pressing meeting she can't be late for." Misato said. "Now if you'll follow me inside, the Command Center is through here."

–––

The kids were waiting in Maya's office. They had been waiting for her for over an hour, and Asuka was getting impatient. Shinji was doing his best to keep her calm, but after waiting so long, Asuka's patience was all but gone. Rei was looking around the office, surprised at how much it had changed under its new occupant while Mari was lounging on quietly on the couch, dead to the world.

"What the fuck is taking her so long?" Asuka asked. "She's never late."

"Perhaps something happened." Rei said as she continued looking around the office.

"Like what?" Asuka asked. "An Angel?"

"There would be alarms for that, Asuka." Shinji said. "She's probably in a meeting."

"Well, she's supposed to be meeting with us!" Asuka said angrily.

"Asuka, I know you don't want to be here, but a lot's happened the last few days." Shinji said. "And I know you hate waiting, but you just have to be patient."

"I hate it when you say that, baka." Asuka grumbled.

"Well, it's true." Shinji said. "You just have to do wait till she gets here. I'm sure she'll apologize for being late."

"That's not gonna be enough."

"Asuka, please relax." Rei said calmly. "Maya does not deserve your ire. She must have a lot to deal with, and I'm sure she won't let it happen again."

"Thank you, Rei…" Maya said, slightly out of breath. "I promise… it won't happen again."

"It better not." Asuka said rudely.

"Asuka, be nice." Shinji said scoldingly. "But Maya, why were you late?"

"The new U.N. overseer is here." Maya said. "Yuki Iwasawa… she's a pain in the ass, but I think she means well. But she's getting on Misato's nerves. I was there to make sure Misato doesn't get canned."

"Cause she'd totally hit her if she got pissed off enough." Asuka joked.

"Yeah, but I think they'll be ok." Maya said. "With Hyuga and Aoba in the Command Center, they should be able to keep them separated." Maya noticed Mari on the couch. "Am I that late?"

"It's only been an hour…" Shinji said quietly.

"An hour and twenty–two minutes." Asuka said. "But who's keeping track."

"Apparently you are." Maya said. "Can someone wake her up please?"

"With pleasure." Asuka said devilishly.

"Asuka, no!" Shinji said as Asuka got up.

"Don't worry, baka." Asuka said quietly. "I'll be gentle with your best friend." Asuka walked behind the couch and leaned over Mari's ear. "WAKE UP!" Asuka shouted.

Mari jumped at the sound of Asuka's bellowing voice in her ear and rolled onto the floor, landing in a misshapen lump on the floor.

"Every fucking time…" Mari muttered. "Can't you just poke my ear or face like Shinji does?"

"Where's the fun in that?" Asuka asked.

"Yeah, whatever…" Mari muttered as she picked herself up. "Big meanie…"

"You have a very nice office, Maya." Rei said.

"Thank you, Rei." Maya said. "So… you're here for some sync tests."

"I guess…" Shinji said.

"It has been a long time." Rei said.

"Let's get this over with." Asuka muttered.

"Yeah, I wanna smell some LCL." Mari said.

"God, you're so weird." Asuka said.

"What, it's been so long!" Mari said.

"Well, before you even start with the sync tests we have to make sure these fit first." Maya said. "I uh… had Misato send me some measurements of you guys to make new plugsuits."

"What do you mean?" Asuka asked.

"Well, your old ones are too small." Maya said. "Shinji's grown quite a bit, and Mari, you're than Shinji, and you've… filled out some."

"And what's that's supposed to mean?" Mari asked.

"Your hips have gotten bigger, and your breasts…" Maya stammered.

"Your tits are huge four eyes." Asuka said. "It's ridiculous."

"What about me?" Rei asked.

"Well Rei, you've Asuka's height, you're so much taller than you were." Maya said.

"And I am no longer… flat." Rei said.

"Rei you were never flat." Asuka said. "I was though."

"Jesus, how self–conscious are you, princess?" Mari asked. "You weren't flat then, and you certainly aren't now."

"Baka, why are you so quiet?" Asuka asked.

"Asuka, you already know how beautiful I think you are." Shinji said. "What else is there for me to say?"

"Well… thank you baka." Asuka said.

"So, how did Misato measure us exactly?" Asuka asked.

"Well, I guess she did it while you were asleep…" Maya replied. "Otherwise you'd have remembered, right?"

"I would hope so…" Asuka muttered.

"So, are you still making them?" Asuka asked.

"No, they're done, but we need to make sure they fit properly before we rush you to sync testing." Maya explained as she walked over to a closet and pulled out four plugsuits. Unbeknownst to Asuka and Rei, Shinji had already received a new plugsuit, but they assumed it was new like the rest of theirs.

"So here you go." Maya said as she handed them over. "Fresh from the fabricators."

Asuka held her up and it looked exactly as her old one did. The design had not changed one bit. "How are these upgraded?" Asuka asked. "I'm only seeing the exact same thing I used to wear. The colors and everything are the same."

"There weren't any cosmetic changes, Asuka." Maya said. "It's all the tech inside the plugsuits. There's a new layer of composite material between the outer skin and the inner membrane to better control body temperature, improved life–science sensors, a new, lighter and longer–lasting Life Support System, , better soles on the feet for walking in rough terrain, and a few other improvements for comfort."

"So it's basically the same thing, but nicer." Asuka said. "Cool…"

"Well, yes, but I am working on a newer design… one that's more streamlined and hopefully easier to manufacture." Maya said. "But it's still in development."

"For how much longer?" Rei asked.

"Oh, probably not for the next year or so." Maya said. "There's a lot of other research and development going on here that requires my attention."

"Like what?" Rei asked.

"Weapons and armor upgrades for the Evangelions mostly." Maya replied. "Nothing that complicated… just time consuming."

"So after we try these on, we can go?" Asuka asked.

"Yep." Maya replied. "So, wherever you want to change, go ahead."

"Just turn around and close the blinds." Asuka said. "We'll get this over with right here."

"What about Shinji?" Maya asked.

"I just close my eyes and wait for them to change." Shinji said. "Right?"

"Well… just ignore them changing and look at me." Asuka joked. "You're allowed to, baka, I like it when you look."

"Shinji, why don't you go to my bathroom and change?" Maya said. "The girls can change out here."

"Ok, Maya." Shinji said as he took his plugsuit and disappeared into the bathroom.

"That's no fun…" Asuka muttered as Shinji disappeared behind closed doors and Maya turned her back to them.

"Oh, get over it." Mari said as she began stripping. "It's not like you don't see him naked all the time."

"It is nice that he get some privacy." Rei said as she changed quickly into her plugsuit, leaving her clothes strewn around her.

"Oh, whatever." Asuka said. "It's not like we all haven't seen each other naked before…"

"Well, that may be the case, but you guys really shouldn't change together like that outside of the apartment." Maya said. "People might get the wrong idea."

"The idea that we're in love?" Asuka asked as she pulled on her plugsuit.

"I… I guess." Maya said.

"Yeah, because anyone who can't see you're in love with him is blind." Mari said as she pulled on her own plugsuit.

"Are you being sarcastic four eyes?" Asuka asked as she activated her plugsuit.

"No, I mean it." Mari replied as her own plugsuit hissed as the air was pulled from it and it formed to her body. "You guys always look so happy when you're together."

"Well, we are happy." Asuka replied. "Ok, Maya, you can turn around." Asuka then raised her voice. "Baka, you can come out now!"

Shinji reappeared in his plugsuit, acting as though it was the first time he'd worn one in a long time.

"So, how do they feel?" Maya asked.

"They feel good." Mari said. "The fit feels even better than before!"

"I would have to agree." Rei added. "They feel much less restrictive."

"And my feet don't hurt so much now." Asuka said happily. "I mean, I wouldn't want to test my luck walking on rocks or something, but I probably could."

"I like it too, Maya." Shinji replied. "It feels a lot lighter than before."

"That'd be the LS Pack." Maya said. "It's the same size, but its internal components are less than half the weight of the original."

"How is that even possible?" Asuka asked.

"Newer, lighter, and more efficient chemical compositions." Maya explained.

"So, now that we've tried them on, can we go?" Asuka asked.

"Once you change out of them, Asuka." Maya replied sarcastically.

"Oh, whatever." Asuka replied.

"Wait, we don't even get to smell some LCL?" Mari asked.

"Not today, no." Maya said. "Probably next time."

"This blows… I wanted to smell the sweet scent of LCL again…" Mari mumbled sullenly as Maya's phone began to ring.

Maya moved to pick up the phone, and saw who it was on the caller ID. "Hello Colonel." Maya said. "What can I do for you?"

"Captain, are you still in your meeting?" Misato asked.

"Yes, I'm still with the kids." Maya replied. "Do you need me for something?"

"No, I just wanted to let you know the live feed is coming in from the Second Branch." Misato said.

"I'd like to come up and see it, but I'm afraid I'm a bit tied up." Maya said. "Unless you need me to rescue you from the pencil pusher…"

"No, no, I just wanted to check." Misato said.

"Is she listening to you talk to me?" Maya asked.

"Most likely." Misato said. "Do you want to watch the feed from your office? I can have it directed down."

"That would be wonderful." Maya said. "I'll have them watch it with me, if that's alright."

"Perfectly acceptable, Captain Ibuki." Misato said. "Hyuga will have it simulcast on secure channel 5."

"Thank you, Colonel." Maya said as she hung up the phone.

"What was that about?" Rei asked.

"The teams in Nevada are about to start their live feed from the Second Branch." Maya said. "Do you guys want to watch it?"

"I don't mind." Rei said. "I am curious to see what happened."

"Why not?" Mari said.

"I'm kinda curious too…" Shinji said. "I want to know what happened."

"I thought we were leaving…" Asuka moaned.

"Asuka, it won't take that long." Shinji said. "Just another hour."

"Fine, I'll stay." Asuka said grumpily.

"So, what are they going to tell us?" Mari asked.

"Just what they've found, if anything." Maya said. "They should start any second now…"

–––

Misato was pacing about the Command Center. As Yuki gazed at the main holographic screen in amazement and continued her discussions with Hyuga and Aoba about the readiness of Tokyo–3's defensive systems, Misato kept waiting for the feed from Nevada to connect.

"What's taking so long?" Misato asked. "The feed was supposed to be up fifteen minutes ago."

"Ma'am, we're experiencing some weather interference." Aoba said. "Two weak typhoons north west of Mariana Islands are effecting communications."

"Of the undersea cables?" Misato asked.

"Yes, Colonel." Aoba replied. "The storms are highly charged, more than usual."

"Switch it to a satellite feed." Misato ordered. "We don't have time to wait for Mother Nature."

"Colonel, satellite feeds are noticeably less secure." Yuki said. "Perhaps it would be best if we directed the communications through a different undersea channel."

"Ma'am that would take a lot of doing." Hyuga said. "It would be a lot easier if we just…"

"Captain, I would prefer it if we could keep the possibility of this information being leaked to the general public at an absolute minimum." Yuki replied. "Undersea cables are the best way to ensure that doesn't happen."

"Ever heard of Operation Ivy Bells, Chief Inspector?" Misato asked.

"No, should I have?" Yuki asked.

"Well if you had, you would know undersea cables can still have their transmissions intercepted." Misato retorted. "Aoba, carry out my original order, and ensure the highest encryption rate possible."

"512–bit AES, coming right up." Aoba replied. "Should only be a minute."

"Thank you, Aoba." Misato said as Yuki turned to her.

"Colonel, I gave you a very specific order." Yuki said. "Why are you countermanding it?"

"Because it wasn't an order, it was a suggestion." Misato said. "Look, you're clearly competent, but this is the real world. The cut and dry nature of reports doesn't work out here. Give it some time, you'll come to understand that."

"I don't see what you're getting at Colonel, I have plenty of training in field operations…" Yuki began.

"Training does not equate to real world experience." Misato said bluntly. "Technical qualifications aside, you seem quite naïve about the real world."

"I am not naïve!" Yuki said angrily.

"Could have fooled me…" Misato uttered.

"Uh, Colonel?" Hyuga said. "The feed is up."

"We have audio…" Aoba muttered. "And video coming online now."

"Thank you." Misato said as she turned her back to a still fuming Yuki. Misato looked directly ahead of her as Kotomi and Takao came into view, standing in what looked like the Command Center of the Second Branch. "Ok guys, what have you got?"

The two of them looked at each other and didn't seem to know what to say, or who should go first. Misato sighed deeply as she waited impatiently for them to respond.

"Ok Koji, give me a status report in the search and rescue." Misato ordered. "Have you found anything?"

"Well… it's worse than we thought." Takao replied. "It's… it's a mess here, Colonel. I mean… it's just too much."

"Are there any survivors?" Misato asked.

"No, Colonel, there is no life here, there hasn't been for some time." Takao replied. "Everyone is long dead…very long dead."

"Are there any indications as to what happened?" Misato asked.

"It looks as though they all went insane in here, or they were all subjected to excruciating pain… I don't think we'll ever know…" Takao reported shakily. "Everything is in disarray… you have to see it to believe it."

"Show us." Misato ordered.

"Are you sure you want me to turn the camera and show you Colonel?" Takao asked.

"Quite sure." Misato replied.

"Then be warned." Takao said. "This isn't for the faint of heart."

The camera moved shakily as it was panned around to show the scene behind them. All around them were mutilated bodies, contorted and ripped apart, faces frozen in agony, with dried blood pooled all around them. Their flesh looked like it had been cut and burned. Every single body they could see looked just as grotesque as the next. Some still sitting at their posts, while others had made attempt to run or otherwise try to escape.

"Oh my god…" Aoba uttered.

"What the fuck happened there…" Hyuga muttered.

"That's worse than anything I've ever seen…" Sumire murmured.

As everyone in the Command Center looked on with as much stoicism as they could muster, tempered by many of their own experiences from the JSSDF on their own base several years before. Yuki however, was unprepared, and completely unaware for the horrors of such death, and doubled over before vomiting and continually heaving all over the floor.

"I think we get the idea." Misato said coldly.

"I apologize Colonel, I did warn you." Takao replied as the camera panned away from the death and devastation.

"It's fine, Koji." Misato said as she looked at the still heaving Yuki. "Most of us held it together…"

"Is there anything else Colonel?" Takao asked. "Regarding the staff."

"Are they all like… that?" Misato asked.

"Yes, unfortunately they are." Takao said. "But it gets progressively worse the closer to they were to the Evangelion."

"So it was worse as they got closer…?" Misato repeated.

"Much." Takao said. "It's as though they were mutated by some force."

"I don't want to say this, but the bodies will need to be recovered for disposal and… testing…" Misato ordered.

"Understood ma'am." Takao said. "It would be good to understand how this happened."

"Has everyone been accounted for at least?" Misato asked.

"Yes Colonel, the body count matches the staff listed as present at the time of the test." Takao replied. "Do you want them all sent?"

"Yes, with indications on where the bodies were located in relation to the Evangelion." Misato replied. "It will help Maya in organizing the data."

"Understood ma'am." Takao replied.

"Speaking of Evangelions…" Misato segued. "Kotomi, has Unit–04 been found."

"Yes, ma'am." Kotomi replied as Takao left the camera's field of view. "It's mostly intact."

"Define mostly intact." Misato asked.

"The armor around the chest has been vaporized or melted, leaving the S2 Engine exposed." Kotomi explained. "But the S2 Engine itself seems completely intact. The micro fractures present before the test seem to have healed themselves entirely."

"So it's useable?" Misato asked.

"Absolutely. Whether it's safe or not still needs to be investigated." Kotomi replied. "Overall, it just needs to be upgraded to the current standard for the Mark I's, and have a pilot assigned to it."

"What of the Core itself? Are we sure something like this won't happen again if its activated?" Misato asked. "Are there any signs of sabotage?"

"Difficult to tell at this time, Colonel. But upon a simple inspection, it seems fine." Kotomi replied. "However, after an inspection of the base's MAGI System, it looks as though they've been recording data continuously since the incident occurred. It should help with understanding if anything was tampered with."

"Have them connected to a VPN so that they can be analyzed remotely." Misato ordered.

"Yes, ma'am." Kotomi replied.

"And what of the base itself?" Misato asked. "Is it in usable condition?"

"Yes, it is." Kotomi replied. "Once the bodies are removed and the stench is… eliminated, the base can return to normal operations after some minor upgrades."

"Alright, we'll figure out what teams will be deployed to the site to begin its reintegration." Misato said. "Do you need more people?"

"Not at the moment." Kotomi said. "I have everyone I need to recover the Evangelion, anything beyond that wouldn't really be my department. "

"Ok, inspect Unit–04 thoroughly, and then get it ready for transport to the First Branch in Massachusetts." Misato ordered.

"No, Colonel, it won't be going to the First Branch." Yuki said as she straightened up and wiped her face. "Unit–04 is to be transferred here to NERV HQ once it has been determined that it no longer poses a threat."

"And who might you be, ma'am?" Kotomi asked.

"I am Chief Inspector Yuki Iwasawa of the Asia Pacific Region, the U.N. Observer assigned to oversee and advise this post." Yuki replied. "Please have Unit–04 readied for transport at the earliest possible time."

"Belay that, Kotomi." Misato said. "Chief Inspector, you do realize that we're already refurbishing and upgrading an Evangelion, plus we have two to maintain as it stands. The First Branch built it, they can refurb it. The less movement a damaged Evangelion with an exposed Core has the better."

"That's not the most logical choice if it to be deployed here, Colonel!" Yuki said.

"No, but it's the most practical choice considering the distance is safer, and Unit–04 can be recovered if it only falls to the ground and not the bottom of the Pacific." Misato retorted.

"So, Colonel, have Unit–04 shipped to MIT?" Kotomi asked.

"Yes." Misato said. "That's my final decision."

"It's not yours to make, Colonel." Yuki said.

"Ok, Kotomi, I have to go." Misato said sharply. "I have to take care of something."

"Understood, Colonel." Kotomi replied. "Tell Maya I said hi."

"We will, Kotomi." Hyuga said as he shut off the video feed.

Misato turned on Yuki and walked right up to her. "Where do you get off telling me where that Evangelion is going?" Misato asked angrily.

"As the U.N.'s representative, it is my duty to assign where the Evangelion is going." Yuki replied sternly. "It was to come here so that it could be immediately deployed upon its completion, not moved farther away from its final destination."

"Well, the decision's been made." Misato said.

"No, it hasn't." Yuki replied. "I'm going to go report to my superiors about these findings, and then give them the options, they will make the final decision, which I will pass to you, Colonel."

"Then I'll come with you to explain my side of…" Misato began.

"There's no need." Yuki said coldly. "My reports are to be given directly without supervision. Your presence is no longer needed."

"Excuse me?!" Misato asked angrily.

"Going forward, I am your single point of contact for the Security Council, any decisions or reports will go solely though me." Yuki explained. "No if you'll excuse me, I have a report to deliver about my first day here."

As Yuki walked out, Misato was fuming.

"Motherfucker!" Misato shouted. "This is fucking ridiculous! How am I supposed to get anything done without being able to report to those assholes on the Security Council directly?!"

"I'm not sure Colonel." Hyuga said. "Maybe you should follow her though, the kids are still on base, and I thought you said you didn't want her talking to them."

"Shit, that's right." Misato said angrily as she began to leave. "Hyuga, you're in charge till I get back."

"Understood, Colonel." Hyuga replied as Misato ran off.

–––

The kids had finally left Maya's office after the shock of seeing what had happened in Nevada. They were all still a bit stunned at the sheer gravity of what had happened.

"That was beyond fucked up." Asuka said. "Thanks for making me stay to watch that shit guys, really made my fucking day."

"We didn't know, Asuka." Rei said. "We're all equally disturbed by what we saw, don't act like you're the only one who is upset."

"I… oh whatever." Asuka muttered.

"I am glad we did not have to have a sync test though." Rei said.

"Yeah, we just had to try on those damn plugsuits." Asuka said. "Better than having to sit in LCL for half the afternoon."

"Hey, I don't mind sitting in the LCL!" Mari exclaimed.

"Yeah, but you're weird." Asuka said. "The rest of us don't."

"Mari's not weird, she's just different." Shinji said.

"Hey, you're my boyfriend, don't defend her!" Asuka said.

"But she's my best friend." Shinji retorted. "It's a hard choice to make."

"So, you like sleeping on the couch then." Asuka joked.

"Why would I be sleeping on the couch?" Shinji asked.

"For taking her side, baka." Asuka replied.

"Asuka, you're not going to put onii–chan on the couch." Rei said. "You don't like sleeping alone, you hate it."

"Don't tell him that!" Asuka said angrily as they got to the lobby. "Now what leverage do I have when I'm mad at him?!"

"Why do you need leverage?" Rei asked. "You guys don't really fight all that much."

"Cause we don't really need to argue…" Asuka said quietly.

"Excuse me!" Someone called to the kids from across the room. They looked up and saw a smartly dressed woman, Yuki, rushing towards them.

"Who the fuck is that?" Asuka asked as they paused to see who shouted at them.

"No idea, but she looks kinda out of place here. Almost like she doesn't belong." Mari said as they started moving again. "Let's just get home."

"Excuse me, could I speak to you a moment?!" Yuki called again.

"HEY!" Misato shouted. "Not another step, Chief Inspector!"

Yuki and the kids froze to see a red faced Misato standing in the doorway behind Yuki, out of breath from apparently running from the Command Center to catch up to her. Yuki began slowly moving again but Misato moved faster.

"I said not another step, Chief Inspector! I already told you you couldn't speak with them!" Misato called out as she pointed at the kids. "Kids, get the hell out of here. I'll see you at home."

"But Misato…" Shinji began.

"Home, now!" Misato called out.

"Right, we're going." Mari said.

"Don't have to tell me twice." Asuka said as the four of them went towards the parking garage and disappeared from sight.

"Colonel, that was unnecessary." Yuki said.

"No, it was entirely necessary." Misato retorted. "I specifically told you not to talk to them."

"I happened to see them and wanted to speak with them." Yuki said matter–of–factly. "What's the harm in that?"

"The harm is they don't need to be exposed to new people for no fucking reason." Misato said. "Especially people from the U.N. that SEELE was in control of at one time!"

"How do they know about that?" Yuki asked. "That's classified."

"They have the clearance." Misato said. "And they needed to know why they were put through what they were put through."

"That's beside the point, they are Evangelion pilots…" Yuki began.

"No, they're children." Misato said. "Children who should have never been exposed to the responsibilities they were exposed to the first time, and are now forced to be exposed to for a second time!"

"I still need to meet them Colonel, whether you like it or not." Yuki said. "I need to interview them for my report."

"Why?" Misato asked. "They haven't been active for three years, and everything you need from them is in their debriefings."

"I want to get to know them and understand them." Yuki said.

"No." Misato said flatly. "You're here to observe what goes on and report everything to your masters. Meeting the kids and talking to them goes beyond observation."

"Fine." Yuki said. "I'll be sure to mention it in my report. If you'll excuse me."

"Yeah, you're excused…" Misato muttered. "You fucking pain in the ass…"

–––

The kids had just gotten home, and were tired from their long day. They were discussing Misato's outburst in the lobby when they got in the door.

"I still don't get it." Rei said. "Why did she yell at that woman?"

"Who the hell cares?" Asuka replied. "Does it really matter? She yelled at her and we got to leave, I honestly don't care about anything else right now."

"Still, I wonder who it was." Shinji said.

"Again, who cares?" Asuka asked. "Unless it has to do with Angels or Evangelions, it's not a "me" problem, it's a "Misato" problem."

"Asuka, that's a bit insensitive." Shinji said.

"Don't care." Asuka said. "I said I'd do this, I didn't say I'd be happy about it. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take a nap." Asuka smiled. "You're welcome to join me if you want."

"I'd love to, but I have to cook." Shinji said.

"Your loss." Asuka said as she went to their room.

"I think I'm gonna nap too." Mari said. "Seeing as Asuka interrupted my last one."

"I'll be watching TV if you need me, onii–chan." Rei said as she followed Asuka and Mari out. "What are we having?"

"No idea." Shinji said absentmindedly. "Maybe something different like beef stroganoff…"

"Oh…" rei said.

"Don't worry, Rei, I'll make yours with no meat and extra mushrooms." Shinji said kindly.

"Thank you, onii–chan." Rei said as she walked out.

Shinji began pulling pots and pans out for dinner, his eyes fell on the mail still on the table from that morning. She walked over and picked up was the Gramophone Magazine addressed to him.

"So weird…" Shinji said. "I wonder if Asuka subscribed for me…" Shinji chuckled. "No, she'd get me a cooking magazine… still can't scoff at something free."

Shinji opened the magazine and looked through it, flipping through the pages past the various articles on classical music till he saw something fall out. He picked up the small card which only had the words "The 22nd, you know the where and the when" written on it. Shinji glanced at the calendar seeing it was the 21st of March.

"Looks like I have to be up early tomorrow…" Shinji muttered as he threw the note down the sink and turned on the garbage disposal. "Better get started before they all get worried."


March 22, 2020 – City Center, Tokyo–3

Shinji was in a rush to get somewhere. He'd gotten up very early while everyone was still asleep, leaving without making anyone breakfast, let alone telling them where he was going, taking only a few things with him, including the gun he kept in his desk. As he got to the city center, he slowed down and looked where his meeting was to take place. He passed it and then stopped as close to the meeting spot as he felt comfortable getting and parked the Ferrari a few blocks away. Shinji got out of the car and looked around. The streets were deserted because it was still so early, and yet, Shinji felt uneasy, as though everyone was watching him as he walked.

"I've got a bad feeling about this…" Shinji wondered.

As Shinji rounded the corner to where his meeting was to take place, he saw the alley was much darker up close. Shinji stepped nervously inside, gripping his waistband tightly.

"On time as always, eh Shinji?" A voice from the darkness said. "Things never seem to change, do they?"

Shinji pulled the gun he'd brought from his waistband and pointed it towards the voice. "Show yourself." Shinji commanded.

"Easy, kid." The voice said a figure stepped out of the shadows. "You know it's me."

"I know who the note was supposed to be from." Shinji replied. "But I don't know who actually sent it, do I?"

"Well, it's nice that you're being cautious." Kaji replied as he emerged from the shadows and Shinji lowered the gun. "Could come in handy if things start going sideways from here on out."

–––

Asuka was just waking up. As she rolled over, she noticed a familiar warmth was not there next to her. She opened her eyes to verify what she thought, and was upset that that she was alone.

"What the fuck…" Asuka muttered as she got out of bed. "I don't even smell bacon…he better be sick or something to have gone off like this and not said anything!"

Asuka walked out of her room to find Rei in the living room reading quietly.

"Hey, have you seen Shinji?" Asuka asked.

"No, I have not." Rei said. "I assumed you and he were… otherwise occupied."

"Why would you think that?" Asuka asked.

"It's the only thing that keeps Shinji from being up making us all breakfast." Mari said as she left her own room. "I'd have assumed the same thing."

"But where is onii–chan if he's not with you or cooking breakfast?" Rei asked.

"That's a good question…" Asuka muttered as she wandered to the kitchen and began looking for Shinji's keys. "He's not here…" Asuka muttered. "He took the Ferrari."

"Maybe he went to the store?" Mari suggested.

"You know as well as I do he never takes that car to go shopping!" Asuka said. "He must have to go somewhere in a hurry…"

"But where?" Rei asked.

"I don't know, and that's why I'm trying not to freak out!" Asuka snapped.

"Look, why don't we call him and see where he is." Mari suggested as she dialed her phone. "See, it's… straight to voice mail…"

"It what?!" Asuka shouted. "He never turns it off! He's in trouble!"

"Ok, Asuka, stop. Maybe his phone died or something… you don't need to start freaking out right away." Mari said sternly. "Look, we'll tell Misato when she wakes up, and she'll help us look for him, ok?"

"Fine…" Asuka said as she started pacing. "But if she's not up soon, I'm going to go wake her lazy ass up…"

–––

Shinji stared in disbelief at Kaji standing in front of him. He was older, and he'd grown a shaggy beard and wore his hair longer, but he still had the same old cocky grin he'd had the first time Shinji had met him.

"Boy, it's nice to see you again." Kaji said. "How have you been?"

"Surprised." Shinji muttered. "I honestly thought that first note was a joke, that you were alive."

"Wonders never cease." Kaji joked. "Yet you still came to meet me in Atsugi like nothing had happened. I still remember your face when you saw me…"

"I almost passed out from shock." Shinji replied. "But I thought you said then that you were never coming back… that you were staying dead…"

"Well, times change, kiddo." Kaji said. "That was when we were naïve enough to think that the EVAs would stay asleep for the rest of time, and that things would go back to normal. Can't stay away now."

"Why?" Shinji asked.

"I have information I need to give to Misato." Kaji said. "Something she can only hear from me."

"But you're dead to them." Shinji said. "They still cry about you… Asuka and Misato. They can't… they can't know I've been lying."

"Well, for Asuka, that would be two lies." Kaji said. "Or am I wrong?"

"What…?" Shinji muttered.

"Do you really think I wouldn't surveil you from time to time?" Kaji asked. "I don't get why you'd be going to NERV for anything other than training."

"You were watching us?" Shinji asked.

"Only to make sure you were safe." Kaji said. "You have no idea what was lurking out there that first year and a half…" Kaji looked around nervously. "But we can talk about this alter… someone safer and less public."

"But you wanted to meet here." Shinji retorted.

"Yes, meet." Kaji said. "Not converse." Kaji sighed. "Where did you park?"

"Two blocks that way." Shinji said, pointing west.

"Ok, lead the way kid." Kaji said.

"Where are we going?" Shinji asked.

"The apartment, where else?" Kaji asked.

"Why?" Shinji asked.

"I can't tell you yet." Kaji said. "It's something you all need to hear at once." Kaji said. "And keep that gun handy."

"Seriously?" Shinji asked as Kaji pulled out his own gun.

"Can never be too careful." Kaji replied.

Kaji followed Shinji to the car, and was amazed to see his old car again, its bright red paint glistening in the early morning light.

"Still as gorgeous as ever…" Kaji said. "You did a good job keeping the car up."

"Well, I didn't want to ruin it or anything." Shinji said. "Asuka would kill me if I did. It's yours though, if you want it back. I have the SUV…"

"No, no." Kaji replied. "It was a gift, I can't take it back." Kaji smiled. "Besides, I can get another car."

"How?" Shinji asked.

"Shinji, I wasn't exactly broke working for the government, NERV, and SEELE." Kaji joked. "I moved enough money to make a very comfortable life for myself."

"So, are you sure about going to the apartment so soon?" Shinji asked seriously as he turned the car on.

"Look, you could either try and break it to them slowly or pull off the Band–Aid all at once." Kaji said. "Which is the better option here."

Shinji thought for a moment while the car warmed back up. "Yeah… good point." Shinji replied as he shifted into gear. "Are you sure about this?"

"As sure as I can be, kid." Kaji said. "There isn't any easy way to do the whole "I'm not dead" is there?"

"Yeah… just be prepared for this to badly." Shinji replied as they drove off.

"Don't worry, I'm ready." Kaji replied.

–––

Misato was sleeping soundly in bed, huddled beneath her sheets in an awkward position, her arms and legs outstretched at odd angles. She was asleep that is, until Asuka came in to get her attention in an almost frantic tone. Rei and Mari followed behind her, but could do nothing more than watch as Asuka began to try and rouse the unsuspecting Misato.

"Misato, wake the fuck up!" Asuka shouted worriedly.

"Not unless… you have the breakfast …" Misato muttered.

"It's important!" Asuka shouted. "Shinji's missing!"

"Not now… go away…" Misato mumbled back. "Oh yeah… hands so strong… body so muscular…"

"Asuka, no!" Rei cried as Asuka raised her hand, and Rei reached out and grab her arm, but she was too late.

SLAP

"Wake the fuck up you moron!" Asuka shouted as Misato recoiled from the slap.

"What the hell was that for?" Misato asked as she rubbed her cheek.

"Shinji's missing!" Asuka said angrily. "Weren't you listening to me?!"

"No, I was asleep." Misato retorted. "But you didn't need to slap me."

"Nothing else was getting through to you." Asuka replied bluntly. "So did you hear me this time?!"

"Something about Shinji…" Misato said.

"Yeah, he's fucking missing!" Asuka shouted.

"Asuka, calm down, he not missing." Misato said.

"His phone is off, and he left without telling us something was going on." Asuka explained frantically. "He never goes out without telling us where he's going! He always answers his phone! There's something wrong, gottverdammt!"

"Is she overreacting?" Misato asked.

"Well, onii–chan did leave without saying anything…" Rei said.

"And his phone is going straight to voicemail…" Mari added.

"Alright, alright…" Misato muttered. "Let me get dressed and we'll go look for him."

–––

Shinji parked the car and turned it off. He looked nervously over at Kaji, having second thoughts about what they were about to do.

"Are you sure about this?" Shinji asked.

"Not entirely." Kaji replied. "But… I mean… there isn't any other way. You can't tell Misato about anything I know without telling them where you get the information from. Then you have to explain all that alone, and m not letting you take the brunt of whatever they're going to do alone."

"So we're doing this." Shinji said nervously.

"Yeah, we are Shinji." Kaji replied confidently. "And whatever happens, happens."

"Ok, but I go in first." Shinji said. "Just wait behind me in the hallway, ok?"

"Sure." Kaji said. "And don't be nervous… ok?"

"Sure, tell me to be exactly what I am right now…" Shinji muttered. "It's impossible to not be nervous right now."

"Well, do your best." Kaji said encouragingly as the pair walked towards the elevator.

"I always try to." Shinji replied as the pair stepped inside and Shinji hit the "14" button.

"Hey, I thought you guys were on the twelfth floor?" Kaji asked as the elevator began to ascend.

"We were, but Misato moved us up to the penthouse because we needed the space." Shinji replied as the elevator moved up.

"Well, that's a surprise." Kaji said. "It must be nice in that big old apartment."

"Yeah, we have lots of room." Shinji replied as the elevator stopped. "We have almost too much though at times."

"Too much room?" Kaji asked. "You can never have too much room, Shinji. Only wasted space."

"Wasted space?" Shinji asked.

"You can have lots of room, you just need to use it all effectively." Kaji said as they left the elevator. "But enough about design aesthetic now… we have some other stuff to focus on."

"I know, Kaji." Shinji said. "You're the one talking about wasted space."

"Fine, so I'm a little nervous." Kaji said as they approached the door. "I haven't seen Misato or Asuka in over three years… I don't know what they're going to say."

"I'm guessing they're going to be angry." Shinji said as he unlocked the door. "So wait till here till I say to come in."

"I heard ya the first time." Kaji said as Shinji stepped inside.

Shinji walked nervously inside, with Kaji following slightly behind, staying in the shadows. As Shinji got the kitchen, he surprised the four girls who were frantically getting ready to leave, with Asuka's back turned to Shinji.

"You've got to be kidding me…" Misato muttered.

"See, he's ok." Mari said. "I told you not to get worried princess."

"What are you going on about?" Asuka asked.

"Onii–chan is back." Rei said.

"Shinji!" Asuka cried as she turned around. "You're in so much fucking trouble!"

"Why?" Shinji asked nervously. "I just went out for a drive to meet someone…"

"You left without telling us anything!" Asuka said angrily. "You had us worried sick about where you were! Your phone was off… I thought you got kidnapped!"

"Way to overreact, princess…" Mari quipped.

"Shove it, four eyes!" Asuka snapped. "Now answer the question, baka!"

Shinji pulled out his phone and looked at it. "Well… I didn't want to be disturbed." Shinji replied. "I can't answer the phone while I was driving."

"Yes you can!" Asuka retorted. "What the hell were you doing out so early in the morning without telling us where you went?! And what friend would you be meeting before sunrise!?"

"I… I had to go do something important." Shinji said.

"Like what exactly?" Misato asked.

"And why are you armed, onii–chan?" Rei added.

"WHAT?!" Asuka and Misato shouted in unison.

"He has his gun on his belt." Rei said, pointing to Shinji's waistband. "It's quite obvious."

"Son of a bitch, she's right." Mari quipped. "Shinji, what was so important you snuck out of the apartment, armed and dangerous for?"

"I needed to help a friend out." Shinji replied. "He was in danger."

"Friend? What friend?" Asuka asked. "Who could be so important that you leave us here without any idea where you were!?"

"I… uh… well…" Shinji stammered.

"I got it from here, Shinji." Kaji said as he walked out of the darkened hallway. "He was coming to get me… I uh… needed to speak with you, Misato."

"K… Kaji…?" Misato stammered.

"No… you're… dead…" Asuka mumbled, completely dumbstruck at seeing the scraggier looking Kaji. "I'm… I'm seeing things!"

"No, you're not, Asuka." Kaji said. "I'm very much alive."

"Fuck this." Misato muttered. "This isn't real…"

"Misato…" Rei said quietly. "It does look like Mr. Kaji."

"It's a joke, Rei…" Misato said to Rei uncertainly. "Shinji what is this?" Misato asked. "You found someone that looks like Kaji as a joke? It's not a very funny joke…"

"No… it's not a joke Misato…" Shinji replied uneasily. "This is really him."

"Bullshit." Misato said. "He's dead… he's been gone for over three years…"

"I don't know, miso… it kinda looks like him." Mari said. "Sounds like him too…"

"Onii–chan… why is he here?" Rei asked.

"He needed my help, so I went to get him." Shinji replied.

"If… if this is really Kaji, how… how in the hell did he contact you?" Misato asked. "He supposed to be dead!"

"That's the wrong question to ask, Misato…" Asuka said coldly as she walked up to Shinji. "How long have you known he's alive, Shinji?" Asuka grabbed him by the shirt and started shaking him violently. "HOW LONG HAVE YOU FUCKING KNOWN, BAKA!"

"Asuka, stop it!" Kaji shouted as he pushed Asuka off of Shinji, knocking Asuka to the floor. "Don't get mad at him, get mad at me!"

"HOW LONG HAS HE KNOWN, KAJI?!" Asuka screamed. "HOW LONG HAS HE KNOWN YOU WERE ALIVE?!"

"A little less than three years." Kaji said.

"How is that even possible?" Misato asked. "You were shot by Yamada! Fuyutsuki admitted as much during his trial!"

"He winged me, but he didn't kill me, obviously." Kaji said calmly. "And Shinji knows because I approached him while you were all visiting Tokyo–2. He was away from NERV security, and out of earshot of you girls."

"Why did you meet up with him in the first place?" Misato asked angrily. "Why did he get to know and not me?!"

"He knows because he can keep a secret better than you or Asuka!" Kaji replied.

"How dare you…" Misato mumbled. "I know how to keep a secret just fine, and so does Asuka."

"Not this kind of secret." Kaji said sternly. "Not the kind of secret involving someone you love deeply, when they're gone, a bit of you is lost with them, but if they're alive… its subtle, but noticeable that they still breathe. I bet since I've died, you've cried about me more than once, something from your day reminded you about me… or maybe you still have that message I left you saved somewhere to listen to… hoping that I was somewhere out there, not entirely gone…" Kaji sighed. "And I'm sure even mentioning my name puts Asuka in a bad mood."

"That's not true." Misato said defiantly.

"Yes it is, Misato." Rei replied. "I have heard the message before, and it always makes you cry for hours and hours…"

"Princess does get upset if we let your name slip too…" Mari added.

"So what?!" Asuka asked. "I could have faked it!"

"No, you can't fake a natural reaction like loss." Kaji said. "You can imitate it, but there are people in the world that exist who can pick up on the difference between the real thing and the acting."

"So why Shinji?!" Misato asked tearfully. "Why choose him out of anybody?!"

"Yeah, why choose him?!" Asuka asked.

"Because, he knew me as a friend, but… he wasn't in love with me." Kaji said. "My name wouldn't send him into a total emotional tailspin, unlike the two of you."

"So what did you tell onii–chan?" Rei asked.

"Well, that I was alive, and that I was proud of you guys for stopping Third Impact." Kaji said. "And I told him that this would be the last time we'd ever speak, unless something happened."

"So, why come back now?" Misato asked. "I was finally coming to terms with you being dead, you son of a bitch! And now you come strutting back into my life, ripping down everything that I'd done to get over you!"

"Because the Evangelions are awake." Kaji said succinctly.

"How do you even know that?!" Misato asked angrily. "That hasn't been released to anyone!"

"Well, it's all over the intelligence grid." Kaji said. "Massive seismic readings coming from Nevada, Tokyo–3, with secondary shocks coming from the construction sites for Unit–05, Unit–06 and Unit–07."

"How is it possible you know that?" Misato asked. "All that information is Top Secret."

"I'm a spy, Misato." Kaji replied. "It's what I do. Finding information out no one is supposed to know… It's my specialty if I ever had one."

"So what, you find out the EVAs are awake, and you come running?" Misato asked. "You don't have a care in the world about us, you only care about the fucking Evangelions."

"My coming back may be about the Evangelions, but the only reason I was gone was so I could protect you all!" Kaji replied angrily.

"Yeah, sure." Misato retorted. "You were glad to be gone."

"No I wasn't!" Kaji shouted. "I hated being away from you guys, not knowing if you were safe or not!" Kaji slammed his fist on the table. "But you were better off with me dead!" Kaji said emphatically. "You were in danger from SEELE and the government because of what I knew, if I wasn't dead, you'd have all been targeted! They would have hurt you to get to me, and I couldn't let that happen, NOT AGAIN!" Kaji shouted angrily. "Not after what happened to Taichi, I didn't want to be responsible for the deaths of anyone else that I loved! I refuse to see anyone else get hurt BECAUSE OF ME!"

"So what you stayed away! Big fucking deal!" Misato shouted back. "You could have found some way to tell me! You're no different than my father running off to go deal with his work!"

"I had to go off to deal with my work, because I needed to be dead to do what needed to be done!" Kaji shouted back.

"What are you talking about?" Shinji asked.

"SEELE." Kaji said. "SEELE had to be taken care of."

"Taken care of how?" Mari asked.

"Eliminated." Kaji said.

"You… you did that?" Misato asked. "You're the one that's been taking them out?"

"Yeah, that's been my only job besides keeping tabs on you guys." Kaji said. "Being dead gave me an element of surprise that you just can't make up with a cover story. I was able to get close enough and execute eleven of them."

"You took out eleven of them?" Rei asked.

"Yeah… had to do it carefully and quietly so they couldn't tell the others." Kaji said. "Up close and personal, two shots to the head, three to the heart… and just to be safe, I silt their throats…"

"You did all that?" Misato asked.

"I had to." Kaji said. "They were consolidating power, planning to overthrow the U.N., there wasn't any other choice."

"But there are twelve." Misato said. "SEELE had twelve members."

"One's gone completely off the grid." Kaji said. "Six continents and nothing… almost like he's disappeared."

"Which one got away?" Misato asked. "I mean, there've been rumors about former SEELE members getting their due… but it's all unconfirmed."

"Keel Lorenz… the leader." Kaji replied. "Slippery son of a bitch, always one step ahead of me… once he figured out his comrades were dead, he vanished entirely."

"So you failed." Misato said. "You missed the important one."

"I didn't fail, Misato." Kaji replied. "His entire support network is gone and he's isolated somewhere, deep in hiding, avoiding the bullet I have waiting for the bastard."

"So what, he can still work on his little plan." Misato mumbled.

"Doubt it." Kaji replied. "The man doesn't do things himself, he gets other people to do his dirty work for him."

"So, that's all you came to tell us?" Misato asked.

"No, not just that." Kaji said. "Besides SEELE's rumblings, there's talk of other factions coming after NERV… nothing specific, just vague references to finishing what the JSSDF started. And a few rumblings of a splinter group in the U.N. who want to use the Evangelions to conquer the planet."

"Fuck…" Misato said. "How did you come by all this?"

"Contacts in the underworld." Kaji said. "The same contacts who've been keeping an eye on all of you."

"So… you force Shinji to keep your dirty secret, you spy on us, and you come and tell us all this shit… for what?" Misato asked. "What is it going to change?"

"It's so you know Misato." Kaji replied tersely. "Knowledge is power."

"So what." Misato said. "Now that we know you can go back into hiding."

"I can't exactly do that now, Misato." Kaji said. "By now, someone would have seen me come in here… they'll know that I'm alive and in contact with you."

"So you risked our lives for this shitty information?!" Misato asked. "What was the fucking point?!"

"The danger to you not knowing and being caught unawares would be far greater than coming out of hiding." Kaji said. "And if I didn't tell you and you got hurt, I couldn't forgive myself."

"But you're so good at keeping secrets, Kaji." Misato said snidely. "It would have been easy for you."

"You're one to talk about making Shinji keep secrets." Kaji said angrily. "Considering you've had Shinji lying about doing EVA training under Asuka's nose."

"How the fuck do you know that?!" Misato asked angrily.

"I said I was keeping tabs on you guys." Kaji said. "It's really unfair of you to put Shinji in that position, considering that you've been having him train in secret."

"YOU'VE BEEN DOING WHAT?!" Asuka shouted. "WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE?!"

"I…" Shinji muttered. "Sorry… I…"

"What the fuck, Kaji." Misato said. "We were keeping that a secret for a reason."

"I thought you didn't like keeping secrets." Kaji retorted. "Or are you only pissed at me?"

"Shut up!" Misato said. "You lost the right to talk to me like that the minute you decided to go into hiding like a fucking coward!"

"I'm the coward?" Kaji asked. "You made Shinji train when he should have had a break the last three years like he was supposed to!"

"We needed someone, and he was the best choice, with the best score!" Misato shouted back. "He was the only choice!"

"What about Asuka?!" Kaji shouted. "If I recall all the news footage I saw, Asuka did pretty well against those white monstrosities on her own, she should have been given the option! She's a fucking great pilot!"

"I couldn't risk her letting the secret out!" Misato said. "Shinji can… fuck…"

"Keep a secret?" Kaji asked sarcastically.

"Fuck off." Asuka said as she grabbed her keys off the counter. "You didn't trust me to keep a secret!"

"Asuka, I just thought…" Misato began.

"Well, that's the fucking problem, you were thinking." Asuka said coldly. "And you." Asuka shoved Shinji out of the way. "How could you not tell me he was alive… you heard me cry… and you didn't say a fucking thing to me…"

"Asuka, Kaji made me promise…" Shinji said. "I'm sorry…"

"Save it." Asuka said as she stormed out. "If anyone cares, I'm going for a fucking drive. You know, in case anyone thinks I'm in trouble or anything, my phone's just off so I'm not disturbed by anything…"

"Asuka, wait!" Shinji called out.

"Onii–chan, let her go." Rei said. "She needs time."

"Yeah, we all do." Misato said. "So get lost, Kaji."

"To where?" Kaji asked.

"Anywhere but here." Misato replied.

"Misato, you can't just throw him out." Shinji said. "He doesn't have anywhere to go."

"Yes I can, this is my apartment building." Misato replied angrily. "And you know what, you need to leave too, Shinji. I can't even look at you right now."

"Miso!" Mari said angrily. "You can't throw Shinji out, he didn't do anything different than keeping your secret from princess."

"Yes I can!" Misato shouted. "Now get out of my sight!"

"Misato can I…" Shinji began.

"GO!" Misato shouted.

"Ok…" Shinji muttered as he turned to leave.

"Hold on Shinji, I'm right behind you." Mari said.

"You can't go with them." Misato said.

"No, I'm just making sure they're somewhere safe. Someone has to care about their well–being." Mari said. "Come on scruffy, come with us."

"To where?" Kaji asked as he followed Mari down two flights of stairs to the door of their old apartment.

"Here." Mari said. "It's still furnished… and I'll get you guys whatever you need."

"Are you sure?" Kaji asked.

"Yeah, miso's just overreacting." Mari said. "Maya said that new U.N. lady is pissing her off to no end…"

"Still, I didn't exactly help." Kaji said.

"Oh, who cares?" Mari said. "I'm glad you're alive, though. Maybe you can loosen miso up a bit. She kinda needs it…"

"Really, Mari?" Shinji asked. "Is that appropriate?"

"Hush, puppy." Mari quipped.

"I don't think I'll be doing anything like that again." Kaji replied.

"Don't be so sure." Mari says. "She cries about you a lot more than she lets on. She's probably really happy you're back, but she's too stubborn to admit it, same with the princess, she's mad she was kept out of the loop… but I saw it in her eyes, she's really glad you're alive."

"I didn't quite see that." Kaji said.

"Cause you and miso were too busy having a lover's quarrel." Mari quipped. "So get comfy, and I'll try and calm her down, ok?"

"Good luck with that…" Shinji muttered.

"Wow, some things just don't change." Kaji muttered. "Misato and Asuka both still have those damn tempers…"

"And I'm sure Rei will make Asuka see sense when she comes back." Mari added. "And she'll get lonely soon enough and want you back."

"What does she mean by that?" Kaji asked.

"Asuka doesn't like sleeping alone anymore." Shinji said. "She gets lonely."

"Huh, you two really are in love…" Kaji said. "I'm glad some things have changed around here in the last few years." Kaji smiled. "I was worried you guys wouldn't grow up at all."

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!
Shinji – 150.0% (New)
Asuka – Pending
Mari – Pending
Rei – Pending

So, Unit–04 is intact and usable and Kaji is alive. How's that for a chapter? So first, the short bit about Unit–04. It's time in the Sea of Dirac was a defense mechanism to allow itself time to heal. However, the people exposed to it were horrifically killed by the effects of the pocket dimension. Shinji was unaffected in his time in a Sea of Dirac because he had the protection of Unit–01 at the time, which the poor workers of NERV's Second Branch did not have.

As to the "highly charged" typhoons in the Pacific, an effect of the weather changes due to Second Impact, major storms such as hurricanes (or typhoons depending on where you live) now create an abundance of static electricity, which can cause all kinds of interference for communication. And Misato's rebuttal of undersea cables being inherently more secure by referencing "Operation Ivy Bells" which was a joint United States Navy, CIA, and National Security Agency mission with the objective to place wire taps on Soviet underwater communication lines during the Cold War, which was able to intercept Soviet communications as intended.

Now, onto Kaji, yes, I didn't kill him, and for good reason. Kaji was a spy playing a deadly game with three masters. Working for the government, SEELE, and NERV had him in a tight position where one wrong move could kill him. However, being thought of as dead, as he said, gave him a certain skill of being invisible that merely hiding won't do. The element of surprise. So, with that, Kaji killed eleven of the hiding members of SEELE, leaving only one he could not find, who after hearing many of his former comrades had died mysteriously, went into deeper hiding. Also, I needed a fun surprise for the beginning of this story, and Kaji not being dead also fit the bill. But in the long run, Kaji's intelligence will have some effect on the story, but with the forewarning, Misato will undoubtedly be prepared, even if she is too stubborn to admit Kaji helped her.

So, as I describe in the chapter, the kids have grown some since they were originally pilots three years before. At the beginning of Episode IV, their heights were the presumed heights we've all garnered from promotional materials and supposition. By the time of Third Impact, the kids had all grown a bit, but after three years and reaching some level of maturity, the kids are close to their full heights. The list below shows their heights from the beginning of Episode IV, the End of Episode VI, and their current height as of Episode VII.
Shinji – 157cm/162cm/171cm
Asuka – 157cm/163cm/169cm
Rei – 154cm/162cm/168cm
Mari – 165cm/169cm/173cm

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