It is said that if Redemption weren't possible for everyone, it wouldn't be worth anything.

This is the unlikely start of Gendo's long journey.

Redeeming the Demon, Chapter one: "Points of contrast"

Gendo Ikari stood in an elevator, on his way to the main medical wing of NERV. A sharp stabbing sensation shot through his hand as he impulsively flexed it. Ikari's face remained unchanged, though he was certain that the creature that was now embedded in his hand squirmed under the pain. Putting the pain out if his mind, Gendo began to mentally assess the day's events to get a better grasp on the situation.

The implantation operation was a complete success, despite Dr. Akagi's warnings. Awakening to see that look on the doctor's face, for a moment I was concerned that rejection with Adam had moved faster then anticipated. If nothing else, our time together has taught Ritsuko Akagi the importance of a stoic attitude. The degree of distress in her face was unlike her, and her speaking in that tone of Rei being injured was not at all stoic.

Details are nonexistent, Section Two is abnormally silent, but one thing was certain : Rei is hurt badly. An accident would not alarm Dr. Akagi in that manner or make her unwilling to mention sketchy details. The fact her great dislike for Rei is hardly a secret made the pity in her face very unexpected.

Something has more than likely happened to Rei that is the result of some great blunder. Section Two, fearing my wrath, are either gathering evidence for an accusation, because they dare not approach me if they lack solid proof; or they are covering for themselves.

Between the anesthetic and the length of the operation, I was out of contact with central dogma for 120 minutes. For the entire duration Fuyutsuki was present on the command station. This, coupled with the time of day involved, makes lack of competent response unlikely. What information my brief report from Section Two gave no signs of anything abnormal until the alarm was raised. I must look into the security protocols regarding the pilots to establish fault in the matter.

Normal circumstance would have this matter be handled by Section Two alone, but given the lapse in information, and the possibility of a security foul-up, this requires my direct intervention. I will personally see to it the one responsible for this is made to pay greatly.

Glancing briefly at his watch, Ikari noted that thirty-three minutes had passed since he'd awakened and that he still lacked a complete accounting of what had transpired in the first child's apartment.

Crowded halls soon gave way to patient rooms as the NERV Commander's presence compelled the others in the hallway to part like the Red Sea before Moses.

Reaching his destination, the first thing to catch his eye was the form of Unit-One's pilot sitting on the floor, outside the room set aside for Rei. For a moment Gendo looked at his son sitting there with his knees pulled into his chest, face stained by tears, and sobbing softly.

The commander spoke in his trademark emotionless tone.

"Report, pilot."

Shinji looked up weakly, barely noticing his father, and remained too distressed to speak.

"You were the first to discover the incident, weren't you? I require your report."

The degree of annoyance in his father's voice brought a look from Shinji, but no words followed. The contempt on Gendo's face echoed in his thoughts.

Just another sheep, weak and full of fear, Instrumentality will be a blessing to his kind, far too weak to be my son or Yui's.

Taking yet another disapproving glance at his only son, Gendo spoke again.

"I require information!"

"Commander Ikari, sir! I didn't know you had arrived."

He turned to face the new arrival, and saw his Director of Operations in what passed for her uniform.

At last, a pawn that can be made useful, thought Gendo as he replied:" Report Captain"

If the young woman knew her Commander's true opinion of her, her voice betrayed nothing of it as she spoke.

"Yes sir! Of course, sir! Last night, I took the children out to dinner as a reward for beating the last Angel. When we got home after dropping off Rei, Shinji found her NERV ID in the front seat. There was a synch test scheduled for this morning, and he didn't want her to be late.

"Shinji got up early this morning, and took the train over to give it to her. I got a call around 45 minutes ago sir. Shinji was frantic. I called Section Two, and rushed over. I was the first officer on the scene, sir."

"Doctor Akagi is in Surgery Room Four with Rei now. I'm afraid it's still too soon to tell if she'll survive, sir."

At the sound of the last bit of information the commander's normally emotionless face took on an angry scowl.

Ikari took little time to absorb the information before coming to a decision.

Failure could not be ignored, and this lapse in security put the entire timetable at risk.

It appears I've directed matters from a distance too long, an oversight that allowed for a lapse in Section Two's discipline. That mistake needs to be corrected at once. Yui always did say that mistakes were to be learned from.

Most likely Section Two made a tremendous blunder, and are unwilling to face my wrath. Considering the nature of the timetable at this stage, this matter must be settled at once, and personally. I've come too far and done too much to have my grand plans undone by the errors of lesser men.

Having heard enough, the Commander turned to leave, his mind already formulating plans to repair the damages. As he walked past his son, a brief moment of déjà vu over came him – leaving his son crying alone in the halls of NERV after a tragedy, while he attended to greater matters. Ikari paused only briefly, before he buried the feeling and continued on his way down the hall toward the elevator.

Misato stood there watching Shinji for a few long minutes, wondering what to say, what to do. It had been months now since she'd taken Shinji home with her, and nearly a month since Asuka had joined them. Two children now in her care, and even though she'd grown closer to them – Shinji in particular – moments like this still mystified her mind.

What do you say to a kid at a time like this? He's so upset over Rei, that he should be seeing her like that. How do you help someone after seeing something so terrible?

She spoke in a soft voice as she sat down next to him, hoping to comfort him with her presence.

"Shinji, it's going to be all right. Ritsuko's one of the best doctors in the world. Rei will be OK, and I promise you that we will find the person that did this."

The Third Child's head rose slightly, and turned just enough to see his guardian. His words came out as a hushed whisper.

"She thought I was him, when I found her. Her eyes... she could barely open them from the swelling so she though I was my father. Rei thought he'd come to help her, but he doesn't even care."

Somehow, without her noticing, Misato's hand had drifted across to Shinji's and he was grasping it for all he was worth, like it was it all that kept him together, while his guardian absorbed what he just said

Every thing we put these children through, you think we'd at least owe them that, a little compassion. Is that the real reason I took you in Shinji? You deserve so much better then this, your father, this war, me. I'm supposed to be your guardian and half the time you're taking care of me. You clean up after me, cook, and pick me up off the floor at 2:00 AM after Ritsuko and I go drinking...

I'll do better Shinji, for all of you, I swear.

Time just seemed to slip by as the two sat there quietly, each lost to their own thoughts, until a sharp electronic ringing began to sound from Misato's jacket pocket. Using her free hand, she retrieved the phone, brought it to her ear and began to speak.

"Hello?... Yes, Hyuga he's with me... I know that, but considering the situation, and Rei's condition we should put it off. "

Shinji looked up at his guardian and watched her face take on a look of regret. The young pilot squeezed her hand a little tighter, knowing that they'd have to let go shortly, and exactly why they would have to.

"You've got to be kidding me!.. He didn't want to put off the test?.. I'll be down in a bit. Call Maya and tell her for me... Thanks Hyuga."

Replacing the phone in her pocket, her face softened as she turned to Shinji and spoke in soft words.

"Shinji, we have to go down to the lab. There's still the sync test for you and Asuka."

The pair stood, hands still together, and Misato led Shinji over to the elevator and began their trip to the lab.

Commander Ikari seated behind his desk, glaring silently at the Head of Section Two. A man known in intelligence circles for having ice water in his veins was sweating like he was on Death Row. Which by the sound of his report to the NERV commander he might well be.

"It seems, Sir, that due to a clerical error involving the allotment of man power, there was a gap of fifteen minutes at the beginning and end of the third shift protecting the pilot's home."

The man swallowed hard after speaking the last word, knowing it may be his last. Watching Gendo Ikari sit, hands folded, watching him explain away the brutal attack on one of his pilots as a paperwork screw-up, he knew his odds of leaving this office alive were good, but the odds of him living another 24 hours were in doubt, as Ikari replied.


As the Commander began to speak in his trademark flat tone of voice, betraying no emotion, the Head of Section Two wondered if he'd fed his pet cat before leaving for work that morning.

"I dislike repeating myself, Major. Explain the paperwork error that caused this."

After so many years I find it hard to recall why I placed this man as Head of Section Two.

Was it his record, or background?

No. Seeing him cower like this reminds me I needed a loyal flunky. He mainly managed the day-to-day grind of Section Two while keeping the élite under my direct command.

This clod is far from a rare talent like Dr. Akagi, or, as much as I hate to admit it, Captain Katsuragi. They have abilities of use in the grand design, that allow me to cater slightly to their eccentricities, like the need for sexual companionship, or the much more distasteful need to dress like a whore while on duty.

The coward's words brought Ikari back to reality.

"Sir, when the first child was the only pilot on the roster, a limit was placed on the number of man hours to be spent watching an Eva pilot. At the time this was more then enough to secure her safety. When the Third joined NERV, we divided the resources and were still able to watch both of them equally. The problem happened when the Second Child join us from Germany, Sir. The increased need to track her much more active movements required us to place more man power on the team watching the Katsuragi apartment. This left a very small window at shift change at the First's apartment, Sir."

The man's eardrums focused on his own heartbeat, wondering if he'd be shot to death anytime now by his own commander. There had been a joke floating around NERV for the last few years, that Commander Ikari liked his women young, hence explaining why the First Child only seemed to spend time with him, when not on duty. At that moment the Head of Section Two didn't know whether to pray it was true or false. In truth, he reflected as he waited for Gendo's monotone reply, he'd settle for either one, as long as it was a factor on him living to see Friday.

"Is there a reason why you did not just assign more men to the unit guarding the children, Major?"

The Head of Section Two swallowed hard, as he was about to deliver what he felt would be the last sentence of his life.

"I submitted a request for more manpower to your office, Sir. Twice. Last month, when the problem started."

Ikari sat silent for nearly a full minute, contemplating his response.

Placing this fool in command of Section Two was allowable during the construction of the city. Then things were more simple, and intrusions far easier to manage. Enemies circle the board now and Selee is far less trusting then it once was, I must correct my oversight.

Many options were open to the NERV Commander, and many of them were unpleasant. Fortunately, there was nothing to be gained by removing this fool from the mortal coil

"Major, you are removed from command. Go now and do not return."

The man bowed slightly, and placed his report, tucked in an old fashioned manila folder, on the edge of Ikari's desk. Putting the fool and the incomplete report out of his mind, Ikari retrieved the phone from his desk. After he dialed from memory the wanted number and spoke a single word.


Replying promptly as always, the voice on line spoke.

"Brimelow box."

Things must have gone well in surgery, or she'd have her assistant monitoring the test.

With a hint of concern in his voice, Gendo spoke a second time.

"The First?"

As before the reply was prompt, and without details.

"Room 402."

Mentally Ikari sighed, knowing full well the man on the other end of the line knew his real reasons for asking about Rei.

Akagi, in all likelihood, didn't have time to file a verbal report before going to the test. Is this fool unable to look at a camera feed from Rei's room? Too many fools operating without the direction from those with true vision. I will need to take a more direct hand in things from this point on.

Realizing that Section Two would not be able to report accurately on the nature of Rei's injuries, Gendo replaced the phone on his desk and headed for the Brimelow box, dismissing the report that sat on his desk.