Chapter 1

The fortress city of Tokyo 3 stands as a testament of man's power of science and will to survive. It has been months since the 17th, and last, Angel was destroyed. Reconstruction of the war-torn city began almost immediately after. Bit by bit, people began to return to the healing city and take up their lives once again.

The secret organization NERV, whose headquarters lay below the city in the massive geofront, took a great part in the reconstruction of the city. With the help of the MAGI supercomputers, construction progressed much faster and better than originally expected. Even the battle-ridden Evangelions assisted in the work. Their massive sizes and super-human strength allowed them to move heavy pieces of machinery and the debris scattered around the massive city.

For the Third Children Shinji Ikari, designated pilot of Evangelion Unit 01, it was a much accepted change of pace. Compared to battling against the unpredictable Angels, helping in the reconstruction was a piece of cake. His partner, and roommate, Asuka Langley Souryu thought much differently about using her precious Unit 02 as a 'work horse.' Shortly after the defeat of the last Angel, she had awoken from her coma. A week later, she had returned home and began acting like her old self. Shinji was happy that she was back, though he hid it most of the time.

It is now summer in the city of Tokyo 3. Construction is nearing completion and the residences of the city go on with their normal lives. In one specific apartment building, life was going on as normal as it ever could be.

"Will you hurry it up in there, baka-Shinji?!" shouts one annoyed Asuka as she sits at the table.

From the kitchen a muffled reply is barely heard to the demand. Sitting at the head of the table, Misato Katsuragi smiles inwardly as she chugs down her fifth can of beer for that evening.

"Oh, come now Asuka. You can't rush a good meal," she retorts.

"Hmph, well he should have started sooner then! I'm hungry."

As if on cue, the resident cook enters with a freshly cooked meal. Shinji sets the hot food down and sits down at the table. No sooner than he had set the food down, his two roommates attacked it. The young Ikari sighs and starts to eat his own meal.

Later that evening, the residences of the apartment were all fast asleep except for one troubled young man. Shinji lay looking up at the familiar ceiling of his room while listening to his SDAT. The digital display showed a full battery charge and that track 26 was playing. He was not paying much attention to the music because he was deep in thought. Memories of his life, from his earliest memory up to the events of that day, played over in his head. All of the thoughts brought about one question to him.

"What's the purpose of me being here?" he asks out loud.

After about an hour, he was fast asleep. Dreams came to him, both good and bad.

Elsewhere, in the outskirts of the city, the crackle of static electricity breaks the evening air. Out of no where, a brilliant blue sphere of energy appears. It disappears mere seconds later, leaving no traces that it was ever there. The sensors connected to the MAGI don't pick up the event due to its nature. In the center of where the sphere had appeared is a figure in a trench coat kneeling on the green grass. The cloaked figure stands and surveys the surrounding area.

"So this is the place," it says out loud.

The figure raises its left arm and pulls back the sleeve of the coat, revealing an arm covered in a purple armor. A panel flips open just above the wrist, exposing a screen on the panel's underside and a keypad below it. The figure inputs a series of keys and static fills the screen. After it clears, a shadowy figure fills the screen.

"I've arrived at the designated location. Send the rest."

The screen goes black and closes shut. Almost immediately after, several other spheres materialize behind the figure, each one leaving behind a kneeling figure. Each of these were of different builds, some even beast- like. The cloaked figure turns and faces the newcomers.

"You all know what to do. Keep me updated on your progress."

Numerous red eyes pierce the darkness as the new beings nod in reply and sprint off in different directions. The cloaked figure watches them leave and then turns his sights on the lit city in the distance.

"Enjoy these last hours while you can, for they shall be your last," it says out to the city before releasing an evil laughter into the night sky.

The following day, the residences of Tokyo 3 go on with their lives. No one noticed the strange lights in the outskirts the previous evening. At dusk of the same day, three young men were walking together along the sidewalk of the almost empty streets. Two of them had a duffel bag draped over their shoulders. The third and tallest member of the group had the strap of his bag resting atop his head with the bag resting on the back of his neck.

"Man, that was some practice today!" vocally exclaims Touji.

Next to him, Kensuke pushes his glasses up his sweat-covered nose.

"Yeah, the sensei must have been in a very 'playful' mood today."

Shinji walks next to the military-otaku, wiping the sweat from his brow. As he walks with his friends, he ponders again of how they had managed to con him into joining the martial arts class with them. It did give him something to do three days a week, but his body ached after every class. He had to admit that at times it was fun, especially with his friends to support him and he did start to feel stronger ever since they started.

Their conversation continued on until they reached the intersection where they all headed their separate ways. After saying their goodbyes, each headed towards their respective homes. The sun had almost completed its journey across the sky for that day. The light posts lit up the darkening sidewalk as Shinji made his way home.

Along the way home, Shinji passes by the local park. It covers a little more than a city block and was a popular place for relaxing and taking strolls. Several concrete paths wound through the grass and around the numerous trees. The park was silent except for the sounds of the nocturnal insects arising. Shinji continues walking past the park, but stops suddenly. A new noise had joined the chorus of insects.

"Sounds like electricity," muses Shinji.

The noise becomes increasing louder and closer. Without warning, the light of the light post behind him explodes in a crackle of electricity and falling glass. Shinji instinctively dives forward and shields his head with his hands. After a short moment, he slowly lifts his head up to investigate but quickly ducks back down as the light in front of him explodes. From his position, he can hear several more lights explode around him. The evening air is once again silent except for the sound of the insects. Cautiously, the pilot of Unit 01 lifts his head up and looks around. All of the lights in the general area were out, shrouding it in darkness.

Shinji slowly stands up and dusts himself off. A sound behind him causes him to spin around. He gasps and instinctively takes a step back. In the darkness in front of him, several rows of multicolored lights shine brightly. Two vertical rows opposite of each other, just above his eye level, seemed to be wrapped around a circular object. A pair of lights shine brightly between the two rows of lights. Below the first pair of lights is a horizontal row. Several other lights are below it in no particular pattern. Suddenly, a pair of bright, red eyes appear above the pair of lights. At this point, Shinji is terrified. When the eyes appeared, he took off running into the park, in hopes of losing whatever it was. As he took off, the unknown thing watched. It smirks and takes off after the frightened pilot.

Just outside the city, a similar energy sphere materializes in the forest. After it vanishes, it leaves behind a person. It stands up from its kneeling position and surveys the surrounding area.

"I hope I'm not too late," it says out loud.

A few seconds pass before its head darts in the direction of the city.

"Damn! He's already found one of them!"

The figure runs off towards the Tokyo 3 park. As it runs, the pale moonlight reflects off of its blue armor.

In the park, Shinji leans up against a tree, his breathing labored from all the running. Hoping he had lost the attacker, he closes his eyes and tries to catch his breath. The top of the tree he is behind explodes. Pieces of the tree fly everywhere and rain down on him.

"I see you," mockingly announces the attacker.

Wasting no time, Shinji darts from his hiding spot just as the rest of the tree explodes in a shower of wood parts. He continues to run in a random direction, adrenalin pumping through his body. The sound of crackling electricity behind him catches his attention. He dives to his left just as a pair of pinkish energy spheres linked together in the center flies by where has was standing and smashes into another tree, completely destroying it. Shinji groans and rolls over onto his back, slightly dazed from the hard fall.

"I gotcha now, boy."

Shinji's eyes bolt open and stare at the direction of the voice. Standing right beyond his feet was something he had never seen before in his life. A large humanoid thing stood before him. It has a large, circular disk- shaped object for shoulders, each with a row of lights on them. Connected to each of them is a jet black arm. Where the lower arm would be is instead a heavily armored gauntlet of some kind. Its hand is white and curled into a fist. The body is large and also armored. The lower legs have armor that completely covers them, ending at the point just above the knees. Finally, its head is animal-like in appearance, like that of a large cat, except without the whiskers.

"You die now!"

It raises its hands above its head and positions them to look as if he was holding a sphere. The white hands start to glow bright pink as a pink sphere of energy forms between them. Realizing that he can't do anything, Shinji closes his eyes and waits for his end. After what seems like an eternity, he hears his attacker cry out in pain. Opening his eyes, he sees his would be assassin sprawled on his side with a large burn mark on its right arm. Turning his eyes to the left, he stares in surprise at the sight before him.

A few feet away, another figure stands, holding up its right arm and pointing it where his attacker was. As Shinji looked more, he could see that there was no hand on the arm, only an opening, making it look like a small cannon or gun. The new comer is build different, looking almost human. Smooth, blue armor covers his body. Its shoulders have smooth, curved armor pieces. The lower arms have oval-like armor covering them. Its chest and waist are covered by a similar blue armor. A smooth helmet covers its head, leaving the face exposed. On the forehead of the helmet is a red, pentagram-shaped gem. Its face looks human, with green eyes looking sternly at his attacker.

"I don't think so," it says.

The attacker stands up and glares at the blue-armored person.

"You! How did doesn't matter! You won't stop me!"

It charges at the other person, firing two energy spheres from its hands. The armored person rolls out of the way, dodging the attack and fires two yellow energy charges. Both of them hit their mark, sending the attacker into a tree.

"You're still as bad as the first time I defeated you, Spark Mandrill."

Spark Mandrill stands up and growls in anger before firing three more energy spheres.

"That was then, this is now! I will destroy you, X!"

X dodges the first two, but gets hit in the chest by the third, sending him sprawling along the grass. He stands up and smiles at his attacker.

"Not bad, but it's time to end this."

Energy begins to build around his arm cannon as he dashes towards his target. Spark Mandrill also charges forward, preparing to fire a more powerful attack. He releases a large energy sphere right at X. X, having anticipated the attack, rolls to the side, easily evading it. He points his arm cannon at Spark Mandrill and fires. A large burst of energy explodes from his cannon and impacts Spark Mandrill's chest at almost point- blank range. The hulking attacker is thrown back by the force of the blast and lands on his back a few feet from where he was standing.

X stands and walks over to the fallen Spark Mandrill. Suddenly, the heavily damaged and enraged Spark Mandrill sits up and prepares to fire another attack. X quickly fires two semi-charged shots, blowing two holes in its weakened chest. With one last gasp, he falls over. After a tense moment, X walks over to the now dead attacker. A hand emerges from where the hole of his arm cannon was and he places it on Spark Mandrill's arm. The gem on his helmet glows brightly for a few seconds before returning to its dull state. He sighs and steps back, turning to face Shinji.

Shinji had been watching the entire confrontation, not moving an inch. As the thing called X started to walk towards him, his brain couldn't handle anymore and the 'Invincible' Shinji Ikari fainted.

X looks down at the unconscious boy and sighs. He walks back to the body of Spark Mandrill and places a small device in it. After stepping back, an energy sphere appears around the body and vanishes, taking Spark Mandrill with it. He then turns his attention back to the passed-out Shinji.

"So you're Shinji Ikari."

With great care, he picks up the young man and his bag. Looking around for a moment, he heads off in the direction of the Katsuragi apartment.

Asuka lies down on the couch, flipping through the channels on the television.

"Gott, there's nothing on!"

She turns off the television and glances up at the clock on the wall.

"Where is that baka? It doesn't take THAT long to walk back."

"Oh, come now Asuka. Maybe he decided to hang out with his friends after or something?"

The pilot of Unit 02 turns towards the speaker. Misato Katsuragi stands in the doorway to the kitchen dressed in her usual casual attire of short, cut- off jean shorts and a yellow T-Shirt. A half-empty can of Yebisu beer is in her right hand as she sits down on the couch next to her young charge. Just as Asuka was about to complain, the doorbell hang.

"Hmph. He probably forgot his key. What a baka," complains Asuka as she stands to get the door.

The door opens with a hiss of air as she stands in front of it.

"What took you so long, baka?" she asks sternly with her eyes closed.

As she opens her eyes, she freezes in place, staring at the person at the door.

"Asuka, is it Shinji?" asks Misato from the couch.

Receiving no response, she stands up and heads for the door.

"Is that you, Shin."

She stops in mid sentence as she stares at the person at the door holding Shinji in his arms.

"Misato Katsuragi?" asks X.

Misato slowly nods, unsure as of what to do.

"May I come in?"

She snaps out of her trance and steps aside, allowing X entrance.

"Thank you."

X enters the apartment and carefully lays Shinji down on the couch. Behind him, both Misato and Asuka watch him skeptically. After making sure Shinji is ok, he turns to face the other two occupants of the apartment.

"Who are you?" questions Misato.

"A friend. I came here to protect the Children and other NERV personal."

Misato and Asuka look at each other before turning their attention back to X.

"Protect us from who? From what?" asks Misato.

"From Sigma," X sternly replies.