Two organizations, both alike in dignity,
In fair Tokyo-3, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where cabal blood makes cabal hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers risk'd their life;
Whose adventur'd courage overthrows
Do with their togetherness end their masters' strife.
The fearful passage of their defy-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their rulers' rage,
Which, but their Children's end, naught could remove,
Is now several chapters' traffick of our tale;
The which if you with patient eyes attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
About two billion years ago…
Somewhere in a very remote region of the universe, billions of stony spheres were being readied to launch. They were clustered into a giant mass about one astronomical unit in radius, equivalent to Earth's orbital distance away from the Sun.
Each hollow sphere was about 13 kilometers in diameter, built out of the strongest and durable materials possible, and within this shell contained a humanoid lifeform, entombed in a block of ice, pierced by a dense metallic spear thrust into its heart.
The mysterious, humanoid beings responsible for constructing those immense structures, and then gathering them into this cluster of mammoth proportions, stood in the control center at the very nexus of this mass, were glad to see that their life's work was done, a product of many minds and disciplines.
Yet they were very aware that sooner or later, their race would become a memory, to be forgotten amongst the stars, for they were at the apex of their civilization, but fast approaching the end of their lives after millions of years of existence. At the same time, however, the spheres they have created carried little information, save for a large stone tablet and a very long scroll that was placed below the life-form's icy prison, both objects intended to be the overall documentation that explained how and why they were created; its makers hoped that someone in a very distant future, would read them and understand, to remind their creations of their past history.
The beings stood tall before the holographic displays, watched as the last few concentrated amounts of energy were being charged into the spheres, while one of those beings sat in a chair, his finger poised over a button. Another display depicted the probable trajectories of each and every sphere, designating them to a sector of the universe, having preselected the stellar systems, and hence, planets to which the spheres would be implanted into.
Once the spheres were fully charged, the leader of the beings nodded to the chair-bound subordinate to launch all of the spheres, and he, in turn pressed the button.
In a second, the orbs flew away at astonishing speeds and in multiple directions, to destinations unknown, but their purpose was to propagate life to as many worlds as possible.
This process was called transpermia.
After the spheres disappeared into space, the leader hoped that their creations, leaping through millions of light years for every second of their flight, would become successful upon landing on a remote, habitable planet, and someday thank them for their existence and for the gift of life.
What these mysterious beings have not foreseen, however, was the possibility that in the distant future their creations may not be as thankful as they wished, may surpass them in knowledge, and instead abuse their sacred gifts for their own selfish ends.
I am here, for a reason, a quirk of fate that brought me into this place.
I was made as a perfect weapon, a sentient, genetically-engineered instrument of a man's will, possessing the body of a man but with the organs of an Angel, I was trained to use the powers I have since birth, and then later given orders on my fifteenth year, and sent as a creditor to make another man pay for his mistakes.
They intend me to die, to fulfill their prophecy, a signal that humanity will be subjugated and integrated into a single organism where God, man and everything will be one.
But when I came here… well, suffice to say my life was not the same anymore, for I have become friends with some of the most imperfect people I have ever seen.
They were called the Children.
The First Children.
Beautiful. Mysterious. Soft-spoken.
Yet on the first day we met she wore an expressionless mask on her face, and so I could only think she was a girl who never dreamed, cold, almost spectral, mechanical in action and also unfeeling.
But she was then the property of then-Commander Ikari, the puppeteer, the Svengali whom my former master wanted him to be punished for his transgressions. Therefore her purpose in this world was to follow Ikari's orders to the letter, even if asked to die on his behalf.
And last week her second iteration, no, I mean, her second clone died along with one of my brethren, sacrificing herself so that she thought will deny the Angel from tormenting Shinji any further.
Afterwards, the Rei that was presented to him wasn't her at all, but again a puppet.
That, and the clones of her, broke Shinji's faith in her almost completely, for through their interaction since he first arrived, without the manipulation of his father, Shinji shaped her second iteration into almost an authentic person, a girl with a heart, soul and mind.
The Third, which the present iteration of Rei then called herself, was a blank slate, devoid of the things that made the second Rei a little more human.
Once again she became a puppet, and Ikari confidently thought she would stay that way till the end.
That is, until I came into her life and saw that inside, just beneath her seemingly unfeeling exterior, she was asking for help.
The Second Children.
Asuka Langley Soryu.
Fiery and determined, reckless and haughty, and full of arrogance, she was the extrovert of the team. Smart, talented and beautiful, she had those blazing blue eyes... and a sharp tongue.
That was her back then, back before the Fifteenth Angel decided it best to punish her completely by throwing back into her mind all of the things she hated and feared, with a brutal psychic assault that she almost lost her mind, as though she was raped and violated on contact.
Especially her worst nightmare: the suicide of her mother, right before her very eyes, as a child.
That really wrecked her will to live, that a few days later she almost died by her hand, naked and her wrists bleeding in a tub half-full of water, inside a half-wrecked abandoned house.
You wonder why Asuka's such a stubborn girl back then: she's extroverted because it's her way to forget the trauma she suffered from, and she sought to have the world revolve around her.
How that Angel made her face the music, and almost turned her into a statistic.
So by the time I first saw her at the Infirmary, after my initial checkup, that's when I found her lying in bed, in her chemical sleep and due to be shipped back to where she came from, but not back home.
A few nights later I paid her a visit in her dreams, and told her to wake up, to think over about herself.
And she came back, but as a better person.
Finally, the star of the show; my brother of the heart, so as to speak…
The first time I came upon him, just as I was humming to myself, on a late afternoon, he was melancholic, as if he'd lost almost everything he held dear.
Yes, indeed, he was almost a broken man.
Now, how can this person, purportedly the one to save humanity, couldn't be happy?
I was aware of the grave weight thrown upon his shoulders, the pressure right on him to fulfill his role as a hero to most, the celebrated Third Children.
But he had nothing: his mother was long dead (save for her soul residing in Unit-01); his father was an obsessed man who ruled with an iron fist, single-minded in getting his long-gone wife back from the beyond. As if that wasn't enough, Shinji's upbringing by his distant relatives resulted in a personality quite introverted, preferring the contentment of a quiet life, wishing to be normal, not wanting any trouble.
Yet at present, his severe circumstances as the pilot of Eva Unit-01 prevent him from attaining that ideal life. So he had no choice, and seeing that I have presented myself as a friend, someone who could understand him, on that first day he became my younger brother.
From there, I had to teach him whatever it takes to become a genuine person, to open his heart, to persuade him to deal with personal issues on his own. Little by little, he regained some of his former courage whilst he forged new relationships with Rei and Asuka, before he fell in love with the latter, and then above all, he improved himself in even a short time.
He was now a far cry from the runaway boy he once used to be.
And I'm very proud of him, especially after he'd just passed the final test that I gave to him.
As for me, well, I've changed my mind and purpose.
I'm no longer the subjugator whose mission was to strike fear in the hearts of men. Nor I'm destined to die according to prophecy. I have defied those roles, having been awakened to the plight of my fellow Children, and the people closest to them.
Instead, my role would become the Angelic ambassador to humanity, to teach them the error of their ways and realize their mistakes, and to guide them to a new renaissance.
But not before we have to confront the coming Armageddon that could decide the fate of humanity, and maybe the universe.
So we'll have to deal with it, to bring about the end, not by Lorenz's method of false salvation, nor through Gendo Ikari's demented vision, but on our own terms.
Because humanity, even if its population has been cut in half, still in suffering and divided over what should be best for the rest, still has the possibility of a second chance, and that's what I've came to believe in. Hence, we'll be fighting for all we value in humanity as unlikely bodhisattva.
I am Kaworu Nagisa, otherwise known as Tabris, the Seventeenth Angel, and we know that, for the final act on the stage of the world, our audience is waiting for us to perform under the spotlight.
END OF EVANGELION : BLOOD AND WATER
THE FINAL SEASON
CHAPTER 41: RECOVERY
An alternate path fanfiction by soulassassin547
Written on 10/19/2011 1:43 am
Being weakened almost by the loss of blood following his earlier self-amputation, Kaworu could barely hear the clanging of the gurney that borne him, as the paramedics pushed it hard and fast on the tiled floor, on their way to the Infirmary.
He would sometimes open his eyes, to see the overhead lights flash by, before his ears could hear the urgent voices surrounding him, and then heard the gurney slam through the double doors, into the emergency room.
Half-dazed, he felt the oxygen mask being strapped to his mouth and nose, and this time, even with the overriding sound of his own breathing, he thought he heard familiar, feminine voices; it was them, all right; he was now surely in good hands.
Opening his eyes again, almost barely, he could see Ritsuko's face swim into view, and there was the bright head of the penlight dancing round each of his eyes, as though making sure he was still alive.
There was a second voice… Yes, it was Doctor Odani, whom he dined and drank with last night, and now he heard them talking about getting a packet of blood or two, with the correct blood type, and then she mentioned about his arm.
More precisely, his missing left arm, the one he intentionally cut off in the few milliseconds just before Unit-01 almost crushed him to pulp, just like the way a lizard auto-severed its tail when experiencing great danger, and he felt a few sharp jabs to his right shoulder, probably a syringe or the needle for the intravenous line; must be the anti-tetanus shot or dextrose or a blood transfusion.
And then there was something else with the oxygen he was breathing in; it was making him sleepy that within twenty seconds Kaworu sank into unconsciousness.
With Kaworu completely sedated, his vital signs almost all right, and the severed arteries and veins clamped down and sealed temporarily, Ritsuko Akagi, dressed again in surgical greens, now turned her attention to the left arm lying deep in the insulated cooler, still preserved with the help of dry ice.
The operating room was filled with the sounds of the life-support systems, and with the rhythmic beeping of the ECG monitor. Surrounding and flanking her were Maya, Natsumi, and two more nurses, also dressed in greens.
On close examination of the severed arm, Ritsuko figured that even with some damage it still might be possible to reattach the muscles and set the bone back in, before welding them together with a low-power surgical laser, and then stitching the skin together the traditional way.
It might take her three hours or so, she decided, but maybe more time.
"Okay, Maya," she said to the younger woman standing a feet away from her, also in surgical greens. "Hand me over the arm."
Without saying a word, strongly braving the sight and the touch of holding a severed human limb with her gloved hands, Maya gently lifted the arm out of the cooler, went over to Ritsuko and passed it to her, before the scientist laid the arm directly aligned to the bloody stump.
She then carefully removed the clamps that kept the major blood vessels from leaking, and pushed the arm, no more than a couple of millimeters, when without warning, arm and stump welded and kneaded themselves back in one in a blink of an eye, and what was once a near-hopeless case of amputation was whole again.
In their quick astonishment, they all almost dropped everything they held.
"Hey, did you see that?" Natsumi remarked, her eyes blinking.
"A… Amazing!" Maya stammered.
Ritsuko nodded. "Yes, it's instantaneous regeneration. After all, he's partly an Angel, but let's wait for a moment or two."
For a few minutes they observed Kaworu until Ritsuko made a few final checks and she figured that the Fifth Children's body had normalized enough that they can now set their equipment aside and send him to the first available ward.
Once they watched the boy being carted away by the orderlies, the trio threw away their surgical gloves into a medical waste bin, took some time to wash their hands for five minutes, before Ritsuko went over to the speakerphone and dialed Fuyutsuki's number.
"Yes, Doctor?" the old man said after a moment.
"Kaworu's all right, sir," Ritsuko replied confidently. "He's now in stable condition. We got his arm back in no time, but no surgery needed."
Ritsuko smiled. "I mean, his arm immediately reattached to his body, sir, so this one's gonna be for the books, as far as regenerative medicine is concerned."
"Excellent," the old man approved. "For the time being, Doctor, let him have his rest, but as for you, I need your presence for the emergency meeting at seven o'clock sharp, in Conference Room Five."
Ritsuko glanced at the clock affixed to the wall; it was almost six in the morning. "Okay, sir. I'll be there in a moment."
"Thank you, Doctor."
Once he put down the phone's receiver, Fuyutsuki, the former professor of Metabiology and now the new NERV Commander, sighed and swiveled his seat with a hundred-eighty turn to peer outside the windows, which afforded him the view of the Geofront grounds. Right at this moment, the surviving light-receiving blocks swiveled to face the morning sun, reflecting and diverting the light to reach this way down below, illuminating the dome-like interior.
But even now, the hundreds of tall buildings that crashed on the grounds after Unit-00 detonated herself, still remained standing over the conifers, the ferroconcrete derelicts reminded him of the city's short-lived glory as a model for urban development and disaster management.
Now he thought of his newly-elevated status, which he personally did not craved for the power it brought him, but he obtained it without ceremony or fanfare for a far more important purpose.
With his new rank came the supreme amount of responsibility needed to manage some 9,745 people under his direct command, a veritable melting pot of nationalities, almost more than half of them were combatants, some with actual military experience apart from their college degrees, but the remainder consisted of civilian contractors whom he may have to issue an evacuation order for their safety later on.
As he still was on edge and thus unable to sleep, Fuyutsuki picked up a fresh bottle of Lipovitan, a popular energy tonic good for extending his stamina, on the desk and twisted the cap open, and he wondered how things would look like after twenty-four hours.
Given Keel's clout, it could be hell on earth, brimstone, fire and all.
Discomfited by the thought, Fuyutsuki took the bottle to his lips and drank. Even at this point, as he felt the liquid tonic go down his gullet, he'll have to face a very long day ahead.
Now he imagined how Winston Churchill once experienced, his country almost on the brink of being overwhelmed and defeated by the Nazis, what it took to command a small band of defenders with whatever scant war materiel available, whilst hoping for any help from a friendly neighbor, no matter how distant, no matter how forlorn their situation.
Thinking about that defiant Briton somehow reinvigorated Fuyutsuki; figuratively he was now in that great leader's shoes, except for this time his task was to lead the defense of humanity from total annihilation, even with no other external help at all.
So the first thing he did was to turn on his computer, went online and on a website found Churchill's famous wartime speeches for himself to read and be inspired, including Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat.
With Kaworu inside the room, lying in rest, Ritsuko was talking to Misato in the hallway, reporting to her the details of the operation, including the unexpected rejoining of Kaworu's nearly-lost arm.
"Although he bled a great deal, I'd say his biological makeup did the rest of the work," the scientist said. "Suffice to say that it would've taken much longer, along with the recovery thereafter, which could've taken a month without complications caused by infections, which often happens with reattachment surgery."
"How long before he can be released?" Misato asked.
"Given his rate of regeneration, I'd say five to six hours, but maybe even less as the effects of anesthesia will wear off over time and could wake up at any moment."
"Now, except for Rei inside, where's the other Children?" Ritsuko questioned. Misato accompanied the First Children to let her keep watch on Kaworu, and from time to time, through the window she glanced at Rei sitting right besides Kaworu's bed.
"They're sleeping right now in my quarters. They haven't got any decent rest since around two o'clock."
"Oh, I see… and another thing," Ritsuko said. "By seven there will be an emergency meeting."
"Yeah, I know," Misato replied matter-of-factly. "I overheard him earlier. Every department head, including you and me, and then by nine the Commander will have everyone gathered at the auditorium."
Ritsuko made a face on the mere mention of the word Commander.
"What's wrong?" Misato asked, taking note of her friend's disgusted expression.
"Sorry, I think I'll have to get used to Fuyutsuki being our new Commander," Ritsuko said. "In any case, I'm sure he'll be on a lookout for any ideas on how to defend this place, should things come to worse, and I think you still have the moxie for this kind of thing. Remember when you guys were on that aircraft carrier, paying Asuka a visit back then? When you had Shinji and the boys brought over for the front-seat action?"
"Yeah, marlin fishing," Misato said, before they laughed for a brief while, until her facial expression turned serious. "You know, I've read TheArt of War many times."
"And what parts of that book you'll use for this contingency?"
"Because we're more on the defensive, we might as well to dig in deeper, as that old tactician says... and I have a lot of ideas."
In the staging base at Siberia, they were loading the Mass Production Evas onto the flying-wing Neo Point carriers, nine of them with more wingspan than Howard Hughes' H-4 Spruce Goose, but built out of aerospace alloys and carbon fiber, and fitted with powerful jet engines twice as large as those used on the Airbus A380 airliners. But those carriers were unmanned, to be commanded by direct link with an orbiting SEELE-controlled satellite.
Carefully each of the Evas were secured in frames as they were being attached under the carriers' fuselage, until the interlocks snapped into place, allowing the frames to be removed.
Because of their wingspan and weight, the runways had to be widened, lengthened and made thick enough to accommodate those carriers, and in this case the two main runways ran to six kilometers in length, just enough for the craft to claw their way to the sky, even with the use of mounted booster rockets to increase takeoff thrust.
The rest of the airbase was occupied by huge Antonov An-124 military cargo planes, Ilyushin Il-78 tankers, smaller Scorpion and huge Dragon gunships, the latter with their bellies soon to be filled with manned infantry support AMP suits, to be dropped on a hot landing zone. The AMP suits were a potent part of the overall assault inventory, essentially powered armor that can carry countless configurations of heavy machine guns, cannons, missiles, mortars and grenades.
From atop the operations building, and enjoying his morning tea while watching the heavy activity on the tarmac, Keel Lorenz, wearing his favorite overcoat, felt he was in better spirits than at any time of his life, and why not? Everything, he told himself, was in his favor: they had the most number of Evas, the better amount of firepower and manpower, the total control they had, and therefore he was confident that NERV will have little chance of success.
Only twenty-four hours from now, and then the final victory: total utopia.
"May I join you, sir?" a voice said from his back.
Keel turned around to see Colonel Quaritch, wearing a black parka over his BDU blouse and fatigue pants; the utility belt held his personal sidearm in its holster, a parkerized Colt 1911.
"Sure, you're welcome, Colonel," Keel said, smiling. "What brings you here?"
"Just to have some fresh air," the military man reasoned.
Quaritch walked over to stand beside his boss. "Seems that you're quite pleased, sir."
"And why I should be disappointed? What we're seeing out there is money well-spent."
"I count only nine of them, so where's the other three?" the officer asked, noting that only the white MP Evas and their carriers were present out in the open.
Keel pointed his finger towards the trio of huge hangars a mile away from where they were standing. "They're still being retrofitted with extra weapons and armor."
Quaritch nodded. "I see."
"That's right, Colonel, those three will come out should in case they feel lucky. You see, in a science-fiction movie that I watched not long ago... ah, I forgot the title, I think one of the characters once said this: 'why build one when you can have two at twice the price?' It's a brilliant decision on his part. Therefore it is necessary for us to have backup, to cover unusual contingencies that we may have not foreseen while planning, and to catch them off-guard. This is our strategy: a multi-pronged strike on all levels and all types of enemies."
Keel then turned to face Quaritch, and from the old man's pocket he gave the military officer a Cuban Cohiba cigar in its aluminum tube. Gratefully Quaritch took it, brought out his Zippo lighter and a cutter, and began the mechanics of lighting up the precious stogie.
"Thank you, sir," Quaritch approved before puffing away.
"Well," Keel said, watching the military man enjoying himself, in spite of his cancer. "Whether they're ready or not, after twenty-four hours we will be coming on their doorstep, and there will be no hesitation this time."
Unaware of Keel's preparations being conducted thousands of kilometers away, the Jietai depots pre-positioned around Hakone were also engaged in full activity as they built up their forces.
Acting on direct orders from the Prime Minister, the soldiers, airmen and sailors were stockpiling munitions for their armored divisions, missiles for the destroyers, bombs for the fighters, and of course, bullets and grenades for infantry.
At the same time their reconnaissance satellites in Earth orbit had all sensors trained upon the center of what was once Tokyo-3, gathering as much data – electronic, infrared, thermal, visible, synthetic aperture radar – and then transmitting everything back to Jietai HQ on the foothills in the outskirts of Tokyo-2.
Beneath the Ministry of Defense building, protected by three meters of thick ferroconcrete and entombed further in fifty meters of earth, the Tactical Operations Center of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces was alive on war footing, with uniformed staffers going back and forth, exchanging and processing information, receiving phone calls and faxes, issuing orders, producing printouts, and constantly updating the map of Hakone and the order of battle on the huge main display.
Right above the buzz of activity, in a closed conference room overseeing the TOC, the entire cabinet was deep in their emergency meeting, plus two generals, an admiral, and the Prime Minister himself, all engaged in a conversation about what to do with NERV and the perils they posed to the country.
"The Instrumentality Project that NERV was secretly researching for years has come almost close to completion," the Prime Minister said. "They're about to begin Third Impact to annihilate mankind, and the mere thought of it sends shivers down my spine."
He made the assertion after reading the last piece of intelligence that was presented to him by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, all the details obtained by the only spy who worked within NERV but now dead. For years he did not like this secretive agency and its questionable activities within his country, fearing whatever it was producing within its bowels could trigger a calamity on a global scale, but now, having heard of the near-disaster in the Geofront an hour ago, his fears were well-founded.
"Which is why, your Excellency, we're gearing up for the possibility of Commander Ikari betraying us," the Jietai general in a green uniform said. "The staging areas are being readied as we speak, and our availability numbers for all of our divisions and squadrons are excellent, with up to 97 percent."
The Prime Minister nodded. "Superb. Go on," he said.
"For their safety, we are going to issue evacuation orders for people living within the 80 kilometer radius of our theater of operations," the general added. "We intend that there should be no civilian casualties by the time the operation commences."
"And of course, we'll want to have limited or no media coverage should we proceed," the politician said. "What about our N2 missiles?"
"The Tateyama launch facility now has N2 warheads loaded onto the ICBMs since yesterday, and is right now standing by, awaiting your orders," said the air force general, dressed in a dark blue uniform.
The launch site on the peninsula near what used to be old Tokyo, was originally used for the country's space program under the agency called JAXA; in the past, the agency's rockets were lifted off from that site, sending satellites into orbit, but now with the facility under strict military control, it saw recent combat action in which a weapon of mass destruction was used in anger for the first time in decades since FatMan leveled Nagasaki: an N2-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile bathed the Third Angel with temperature hotter than the surface of the sun, but without much success as that Angel walked out of the firestorm minutes later with not much of a scratch.
But this time they would soon be using the weapon on a real target, one that can be easily destroyed.
"With the detonation delay mechanism," the general said, "the warhead should be sufficiently powerful enough to penetrate through a hundred meters of earth and then rip out the Geofront's shell, just right to make a hole two kilometers wide. The blast would also generate a sizable amount of devastating shrapnel and a strong shockwave to kill any exposed personnel within the dome."
"Since our guided missile destroyers were built along their original American counterparts, sharing design characteristics," the admiral in white uniform said. "We will load them with conventionally-tipped Tomahawks in the VLS launchers, and after the N2 destroys the outer shell, they are programmed to hit the HQ building, plus any vital installations they have as secondary targets."
"Only then, along with full artillery and rocket strikes, and saturation bombing to soften enemy positions, we will throw everything we have into that snake pit," the GSDF general said. "We will use our Chinook choppers to land in the troops and equipment, gunships to provide air support, and bulk lifters will follow them up by dropping in armor with their tanks and APCs right there," the army general added.
The Zeppelin bulk lifters were recently included to the AJSDF inventory; manufactured by a new German aerospace company using the same name as its original creator, they were essentially double-bodied dirigibles thrice the size of the ill-fated Hindenburg, built out of advanced aerospace materials, filled with helium, and used very powerful engines to move as much tonnage as a C-5 Galaxy military cargo plane with the accuracy of a heavy-lift helicopter. Furthermore these bulk lifters were designed and then tested to withstand even typhoon-intensity winds while in the air.
"Is anyone monitoring their communications?" The Prime Minister asked.
"Yes, and even up to now," the minister of telecommunications said. "With NERV's lines tapped and being listened to, we're passing all the data to Internal Affairs, to keep us one step ahead."
"But before we commit all that," the general said, "do we have to negotiate with them first?"
"Yes, and what we should say once the world finds out what's going on?" the foreign minister chimed in.
The Prime Minister thought for a moment. He'd been thinking about this scheme – the largest heavy assault ever soon to be conducted by the Japanese military since Pearl Harbor – for two weeks, about the implications this scheme might bring to him and the rest of the world.
In any case, it was Ikari and his little project that worried him much, after he read the intelligence summary and reports, all of the evidence indelibly linking that man to the Antarctica incident. He remembered the last few times he talked with this enigmatic Ikari, sometimes on the phone, and sometimes through streaming video.
The Prime Minister didn't have to be in the same room as Gendo to feel his cold spirit; even his voice exuded a disturbing coolness, as if he had no qualms with his job. Any lower than Ikari's double doctorate, the politician decided, he would've been a fastidious killer... or someone like Adolf Hitler.
And the last thing the world needed was a doomsday prophet, one who would destroy all mankind, and if he needed to preserve his legacy, he must have Ikari stopped… even if the PM was under Keel Lorenz's authority through means of wholesale bribery.
"Here is our ultimatum: twenty-four hours from now, presenting NERV with our demands, I want them to bring out Commander Ikari and his co-conspirators, have them arrested for treason, disclose their secrets, and then have that whole place shut down completely," the Prime Minister finally said. "That's what we'll ask from them first. But should they do not agree, or they attack preemptively with their Evas, or they begin powering up their doomsday project, whatever the hell it is… Kill them all without hesitation, destroy everything inside, and then seal it up completely. Understand?"
The Jietai generals nodded. "Yes, sir," they replied in unison.
The Prime Minister stood up and added, "We will not allow America, Germany or China to interfere with this internal matter, nor allow them to take advantage of us. Furthermore, if the Diet starts asking questions afterwards, should we and our country ever survive in one piece, we'll present them with our own facts; considering the gravity of the situation we're facing, they'll believe in everything."
He then took a breath and picked up a red phone. "For this time being," he said while dialing, "with the emergency powers granted to me, and for the sake of preserving public order, this country shall be put in a state of martial law… and that will begin now."
His secretary, a slender thirty-year old woman, was silently observing them as she stood behind her boss, talking about making war on NERV and then martial law, before he made a call.
She then silently remarked to herself: Humans must be the only creatures able to despise their own kind.
As she presented a folder to her boss, containing a document confirming his order to impose martial law, called Operation Plan Sagittarius (Executive Order A801), the woman then wondered where she would be when the shooting time comes, and what about her family?
As he signed the executive order, both in paper and digital forms, making it effective from now on to suspend civil liberties and hand over civilian government control to the military in all levels, the secretary closed her eyes for a moment, and prayed that at this moment they should be far away from Hakone.
In his dream, his sleep induced by the anesthesia administered to him during the operation, Kaworu was standing amongst a sea of crimson-soaked cadavers.
His white sneakers were now drenched in blood, as he walked over the bodies, mostly dressed in NERV uniforms, all of them unarmed, their faces contorted in pain and disbelief, their sightless glassy eyes having witnessed the final moments of their lives before being cut down by bullets. The rest of his surroundings were burning, with buildings reduced to rubble, some of them pock-marked with the impacts of munitions.
He then looked up to the sky, the Geofront opened up completely, and saw nine white Evas, descending from above, their elastic wings unfurled in flight.
They encircled Unit One just as she came out of the Pyramid's ruins, and then a spear, as though hurled by an unseen God, flew in very fast and stopped short of striking that Eva's throat with its twin tines.
He could then hear Shinji screaming, having lost all control of Unit One, the white Evas instantly imprisoning both pilot and Eva in their glowing AT-Fields.
As if he sensed his presence, Kaworu then turned to find Keel standing several meters away from him, the old man's face glowing in triumph. Keel also had a small pistol in his hand, its barrel still smoking, before Kaworu slowly lowered his gaze to find Gendo Ikari's lifeless body lying right at the old man's feet.
Suddenly Keel laughed, the loudest Kaworu could ever hear from him, and then as though he was very close, the old man spoke.
"Do you think you and these dead blasphemers can win?" Keel questioned, staring back at Kaworu through his visor. "If he said that death gives birth to nothing, then death is what they shall have. You will have no hope but defeat, only we hope for victory over your worthless friends. They shall be subsumed into Instrumentality, whether they want it or not."
Keel then outstretched his right hand, the pistol still in his grip, to point out Unit One being lifted out into the sky, accompanied with the grinning white Evas, brandishing their imitations of the original Spear.
"She shall have purpose in this end," Keel said. "She, being the true clone of Lilith, will be the key for our final salvation."
Suddenly Kaworu woke up with a start, his eyes flicking open to find the white glare of the morning sun almost blinding him as it shone through the windows. He blinked, and turned his head to find Rei staring back at him with her alert, cerise eyes.
Kaworu sighed in relief. "Oh, it's you… Sorry."
"Good morning," Rei said. "What is wrong?"
The Fifth Children swiveled a bit to check on his left arm; it was whole once again, the site of the amputation now heavily wrapped in bandages. He could also hear the faint beeping of the ECG monitor, its sensors taped to his chest. Almost above his head was the usual plastic bottle of dextrose, slowly providing his bloodstream a little sugar.
"No… Nothing, I'm just fine," he said.
"You woke up as if you came from a dream," Rei said.
The young man's now looked serious. "Yes, but it's a nightmare."
He then recounted to Rei about the nightmare he had, in every detail, down to the very wisp of smoke coming out of the barrel of Keel's weapon.
"He will leave this place nothing but a barren wilderness, should he wins," Kaworu concluded, and without warning he tried to get up.
Alarmed, Rei took his wrist. "You cannot leave yet," she warned. "Doctor Akagi told me."
Rei shook her head. "You need to rest first."
"But this is urgent, and I need to talk to Misato. Where's she?"
As if by the mere mention of her name, Misato and Ritsuko entered the room, and they saw Kaworu sitting on the bed.
"So you're now up… and what the heck are you supposed to do off the bed?" Misato demanded.
"I want to talk to you," Kaworu replied. "I'm trying to get up, but I'm sorry I woke up pretty hard."
"No big deal," the woman officer said as she found an extra chair and sat down on it. "Tell me, what's wrong?"
"He had a dream," Rei said. "He dreamed that they attacked us."
Kaworu nodded. "That's correct. They could make the first strike at any moment, and I fear that we could suffer too much," he said, before retelling them a shortened version of his experience.
"Which is why, in a few minutes," Misato said afterwards, "Ritsuko and I are going to attend an emergency meeting."
Without hesitation Ritsuko took out her stethoscope and for a moment, with Misato and Rei observing, went about giving Kaworu a impromptu physical examination.
Afterwards, Ritsuko turned to Misato and said, "On second thought… I'd say he's ready."
The other woman was surprised. "What? I thought you want him to rest?"
"Because we're in a really critical situation, I've changed my mind," the blonde doctor replied, and then she turned to Kaworu. "I want you to join us in that meeting, which would start within thirty minutes."
"Okay," Kaworu agreed. "I think you really want my input."
"That's right," Misato said. "You have first-hand, class-A intel, direct from the source, and as such I want you and Rei to help me with the planning of our defense, because for this time we don't wish to be caught with our pants down."
"I will come," Rei said.
Kaworu smiled. "Thank you," he said before Ritsuko went to the intercom to ask for the nurse to assist in freeing the Fifth Children from the IV tube and the ECG electrodes.
Misato then faced Rei and, pointing at a duffel bag containing his clothes, she ordered, "Go get his clothes… and oh, by the way, Kaworu—"
They all heard the young man's stomach growling, cutting Misato off.
"Pardon me, but yes?" Kaworu responded, but he looked a little embarrassed.
Misato laughed and then she said, "I'm sure there will be some breakfast served, so no problem if you feel hungry, okay?"
As Rei placed his clothes on his blanket-covered legs, Kaworu nodded. "Once again, thanks."
"You're welcome," Misato said. "Now get dressed, 'cause we don't want to get late."
Now Kaworu was in the bathroom, the shower head at full blast as the room slowly filled up with steam. Before stepping into the stall, he paused for a moment to check on his left forearm, intact once again, with not even a scar left.
He then remembered the final moment he was within the huge grip of Unit-01, her fingers almost crushing him, making breathing and movement difficult.
But even at that point, and while giving Shinji his spiel, his mind was already at work until he figured out a way to escape.
And he remembered Leriel, one of his brethren, capable of producing an unusual form in which his real body was a powerful multidimensional black hole, a Sea of Dirac, and his "shadow" a zebra-striped sphere.
Before being sent to Tokyo-3 and as part of his training, which included the review and study of every piece of footage, raw and uncut, of the Evas in action, Kaworu witnessed how Leriel conceived of that strange property, as he took Unit-01 unawares, expecting the sphere to be her target, only to make a misstep into the blackness spreading under her feet, before sinking in like a mastodon trapped in a tar pit. Then hours later, in what could be construed as a ghastly depiction of a magic trick gone awry, Unit-01 emerged from the sphere, tearing Leriel's fleshy "shadow" apart as she burst out with an unearthly roar.
That became his Houdini trick, and in a fraction of a second Kaworu concentrated all of his energy to open up a portal, tens of meters directly below him, just beneath the orange surface of LCL.
Once done, he then unleashed a blinding glow emanating from his body, to distract everyone, and willed himself to change into a liquidstate, to drip out of the death grip and land directly into that Sea of Dirac, thus he disappeared from out of physical existence, to a different world beyond the reckoning of existing physics and scientific explanation, where time and space became immaterial.
When Kaworu opened his eyes in this elseworld, the verses of William Blake flashed through his mind:
To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
He then saw ghostly figures at first coming out of the darkness, almost unrecognizable due to their glowing forms, but as it came closer the apparitions became well-defined until fourteen of them stood before him, dressed in white, flowing robes, all formed in the image of the Lilin.
They were the Angels who previously failed to wrestle destiny from the hands of Lilin, and having defeated by the Evas, they were banished to this elseworld, where they were to wait in limbo until some far-off time be summoned to relive in a different existence.
The tallest of the Angels approached Kaworu, staring into his cerise eyes, with intent to question his unexplained appearance in this realm.
"Brother, what has brought you here?" he asked. "Have you died now, as predicted?"
"It's not my time," Kaworu replied. "I'm sorry… I have to do this for a friend."
"Is it the one Child who defeated us before you?"
Kaworu nodded. "Right, but this is a very different situation," he said. "You see, there's a difference between the time before I came to his presence, and afterwards. Before, I was made as a servant, created from his body and of our first Brethren; I was ordered to subjugate, to emasculate this Child, sow doubt and fear in his soul.
"But after I have met the child of Lilith, I have thought otherwise; I suddenly had a change of heart."
"After even a short time," Kaworu answered, "I have finally understood why humanity, or beings we call as Lilin, have a reason to exist instead of us: it's hope that impels them to do what it takes to make their world livable even if some of them are engaged in strife."
"Yet they are supposed to be destroyed in the first place, for the world they exist in is not theirs to take," the tall Angel argued. "They have doomed themselves, and we are ready to take back what should be ours... and you are supposed to be our final hope!"
"Think again," Kaworu said. "Have you ever felt their suffering hearts, as they fought against you? Have you understood their deepest desires and fears? Not all of them are deserving of condemnation, and this includes the Children; they do not warrant this for they have grievously lost what makes them whole; they took up fighting us, thinking it would give them purpose, a reason to exist, under the noble pretense that they're bred to save their world... But no, they were being manipulated without realizing it, merely tools for other scheming men seeking to harvest the fruit that is not yet ripe before its time."
The Angel was ashen-faced. "What do you mean?"
"What is happening in the world of the Lilin," Kaworu said. "These men are seeking to force Instrumentality prematurely without realizing its true meaning, and they want nothing but escape from the morass they have created in their greed and avarice, to destroy and subsume all others in a single day, without quarter given or taken."
There were no words between them for a moment before the other Angel spoke again.
"So, you are willing to return to that world?"
Kaworu nodded. "Yes, it is now my duty to be involved, to save their existence from that impending doom."
The tall Angel shook his head. "You are a romantic fool, Tabris."
"I have no problems calling me that," Kaworu responded defiantly. "It's my decision now, and should I and the Lilin survive, I am prepared to become a mortal for my beloved, to sacrifice my immortality and all the powers granted to me. Now, do you agree with what I am about to do?"
At first, the other Angels looked at each other with askance, unsure what to say, before they started to debate among themselves, like Greek academics in Plato's time. This took Kaworu some twenty-or-so-Lilin minutes until they finally reached a consensus, confronting with their eyes staring right at him.
"Tabris," the tall Angel said.
Kaworu blinked. "Yes?"
"You shall be our only ambassador; you shall be sent back into their world as a Bodhisattva, to save them all, and to teach the Lilin the error of their ways should you and your allies win the day. However… In case Instrumentality happens beyond your power to stop it, then we all know who are deserving of redemption, those who are fools shall be condemned to be reborn without any knowledge of evil or malice, to be reeducated... and those who are evil incarnate, there shall be no reward for them."
"So you mean…" Kaworu trailed.
"For them, there can be only one final chance. No more, no less, no second chances, and no reversal."
Kaworu nodded. "I agree, Bardiel."
"Go forth, Brother," Bardiel said. "They are waiting for you… and yes, we will remember your sacrifice for eternity... Shalom."
Without a word, Kaworu smiled and then bowed in thanks, before he slowly faded out.
His eyes flying open once more, Kaworu found himself back to reality, with the steamy water now splashing on the top of his head, making his tufts of gray hair completely and dripping wet.
With Rei and the others waiting for him, he decided not to hesitate any further, so Kaworu took the bar of soap from the tray set into the tiled wall, and began to lather himself.
At that same moment, as the sun slowly rose from the depths of the Pacific Ocean, the same sun that the Japanese respected for thousands of years, the very life-giving and warm symbol of Amaterasu, the Jietai units have begun to move in quietly to enforce martial law, from rural hamlets to major cities within a 80-kilometer radius of Hakone.
Operation Sagittarius was now underway.
Disrupting the breakfasts of countless civilians thinking about the day ahead as they ate, scores of helicopters and planes roared over rooftops, along with tanks and APCs rumbling through the streets, all of the martial activity almost a modern-day reenactment of the American invasion more than half a century ago.
The Jietai officers came up to the doorsteps of every town and city hall in that radius, presenting the faxed copy of their orders from the Prime Minister himself, and some of the mayors complied without question.
Some, however, asked why, and the soldiers replied that they were merely following orders to enforce public safety and to forestall any possibility of chaos arising from an impending disaster.
What disaster? the local officials asked in doubt.
The military officers brought out another lengthy document, purportedly a report produced by government scientists, who said that they feared that at any moment the NERV installation within Hakone may face a catastrophic disaster resulting from a flawed experiment, including the possibility of a powerful mass explosion, with biological or radioactive contamination.
Without much ado, and considering the amount of fear and chaos generated by the Evas whenever they were deep in combat with the Angels, thus making NERV highly unpopular outside Hakone, the local officials declared a state of emergency, exhorting citizens to evacuate and empty their homes, helped along with the Jietai providing generous assistance to the near-panicked people to direct them to evacuation areas beyond the potential danger zone.
Next thing after hearing the declaration from their officials, the locals, especially the younger generations, started posting messages on every social network (Twitter, Facebook, Mixi) or video streaming site (Nico Video or Youtube), or on their cellular phones (almost overloading NTT's exchanges and cell sites), telling about their current status, eyewitness news, and exchanges with alarmed relatives and friends.
Soon the highways and trains were filled with fleeing refugees, in all forms of transportation, from tiny kei cars to tour buses and trailer trucks, hauling almost all of their personal possessions even on the roofs of their vehicles.
In thirty minutes the unusual activity around Hakone, with news filtering out of Japan got the world's attention, and the news channels went on air, shouting Breaking Story in digitized captions on screen, anchors in studios talking about the widespread evacuation with the correspondents in Tokyo and elsewhere.
After an hour, with the evacuation order in effect, the Prime Minister appeared on television, to explain his reasons for declaring martial law.
Only then the rest of the world was stunned with the annoucement.
Author's Notes: Hi, readers… I'm back after weeks of having to grapple with some personal issues; can't say much about them but they almost stopped me from writing and thinking about the plot for this final season.
Over the years, there have been different fanfic interpretations of End of Eva, and thus in preparing for this work I personally read some of these revisions, with either hewing close to the original story with a sordid open end, or providing a clichéd, sugary 'happy ending'.
For ideas, I have also reviewed many fictional and real-life stories and historical accounts, especially those with epic final battles, harrowing sieges, with protagonists that seemed to be outnumbered and outgunned by a strong antagonist, surely to be crushed like a fly.
I decided to make this Final Season more different and very sweeping, though, synthesizing much characters, stories and things that I have admired, and then putting them all together in one place, a spot between the hammer and the anvil, where their mettle will be put to the test.
Until then, thank you all as I'm gearing up for the next chapter.