Chapter 1

Arrival of the Thirds

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It was to be his greatest achievement, his greatest accomplishment; and it would return his beloved Yui to him.

And ... it had failed.

Gendo Ikari threw the test results across the room, the papers flying in all directions.

He had been giving his son injections of the samples of Adam that he had, hoping to create a new life form that would be able to influence Third Impact. If nothing else, the boy would be able to force Unit 01 to release Yui back into the world, perhaps even seeing the boy as a better soul to merge with than a normal and plain human woman.

But the results were all the same: no change in the subjects DNA profile to indicate assimilation of the Angel DNA.

After a month, if anything, he should have seen at least one new gene sequence, but nothing ever came of it, and he had no more samples of Adam to use.

The boy had cost him precious time, even more precious resources. All the boy did was whine about how the tests hurt, how he missed his mother, how he felt fine and didn't need any more shots.

He had kept the man from seeing his beloved wife returned to him.

And now, the man realized that at the moment, his son was useless to him.

He picked up the phone, disgusted that his son could not prove useful to his goals. If Shinji could not help return Yui, then the boy needed to be sent away, so he could not cause anymore distractions.

It wasn't like Shinji would ever have any use to him.

The two guardians of Shinji Ikari stood in amazement. Moments earlier, they had to break the news to the small boy that his father wasn't coming to get him, which then led to him being told that he was left in their care ... permanently.

Shinji just started to get mad. The man had made him suffer, put him through hell, treated him like a leper.

And now ... he tossed him aside as if he was garbage, as if his mere presence was offensive.

Finally, the small child could stand no more; no more attachment to the man who was once called Dad, no more pain of the remaining family he had left since...

Shinji began to glow a golden color, the wind seeming to whip his hair around, before his shirt ripped in his back where two white wings sprouted; growls emanating from the young boy's tiny throat.

The two guardians stood back, almost fearful that their newest charge might attack them in his father's place; a fear all messengers had when they were asked to deliver bad news.

But Shinji didn't. He just sank to his knees, his face falling from extreme rage to fear, and finally depression, as tears began to cascade off his face.

Their earlier fears forgotten, they ran to the boy, embracing him.

"Why?" cried out Shinji. "Why doesn't he love me? Why did Mommy have to go? Why is this all happening?"

Sadly, they could produce no answers, just try and comfort the now abandoned child and hope that for the moment, it could be enough.

They knew better than to tell Shinji's father about this: his wings and the golden glow, not the cries of pain and abandonment.

The child had already told them the stories of his last month with his father: the injections, the samples, the constant tests. They would never subject the boy to that ever again. It was only due to the man's position that they didn't report the flagrant child abuse the young Ikari had been subjected to.

If he ever found out about what had just occurred to Shinji, the boy would be back in that same lab in all likelihood, undergoing more tests.

If luck wasn't with him, one of those would be a test that Shinji would never come back from.

As time went on, they learned more about Shinji's gift. The wings at first only came out when Shinji expressed or withheld extreme levels of emotion, anger being the emotion that first triggered them. Even if he remained calm, the wings would occasionally force themselves out.

But like every muscle, practice allowed him to keep them in longer.

He was home schooled for two years as he learned a cool demeanor and the necessary "muscle" control to keep the wings hidden, eventually gaining enough control over them so he could use them consciously. After he could summon them or put them away with a thought, he entered the public school system, but found himself unable to make many friends with his cold emotional state. It seemed he preferred the calm mood even when he didn't need to worry about a severe emotion revealing his secret.

Nobody seemed to like the quiet kid.

Which suited Shinji just fine; quiet kids were often left alone.

Those that teased him ... learned that they also kept to themselves for a reason, and didn't take kindly to others attacking them.

But of course, his guardians knew better. They knew Shinji would need to learn how to deal with people. Staying inside a shell would lead him only to more pain and suffering.

They felt he had had enough of that.

So they kept him busy, constantly challenging his mind with facts and math, and challenging his body with whatever dojos were in the area. They even purchased a sword for the child, which he began to always carry at his side... when allowed by the people he needed to visit. His shirts were always altered to have slits in the back, so he could always walk around the house with his wings out—he said they hurt after being inside for too long. Working that muscle had enabled him to keep them in for hours, but even a muscle like that needed to relax once in a while.

But Shinji never failed to surprise them. Even when Mrs. Tombuki—his female guardian—said Shinji resembled an angel with his wings out, he denied he was an angel. "I can't be an angel, I'm atheist."

Imagine, you were the proof that the Judeo-Christian beliefs had some validity; you were living, breathing, often flying proof that those views held truth, and you didn't believe in them.

His reason: all he saw himself as was a guy with wings, nothing more, and never less.

Besides, in Shinji's mind, there was no God.

How could any caring God allow all that had happened not only to him, but to the world at large?

No, for Shinji, God didn't exist, and he'd only trust himself and those that had earned his trust to support him.

It warmed their hearts that Shinji always seemed to keep his ego and self grounded, never becoming a bully with his skills and abilities. You never met a kinder soul, but you also never met someone who would defend themselves and others with such ruthlessness.

The child always called them Mother and Father; always respected them. If he disagreed with them, he argued with a clear logic and relented when their points were validated beyond what he could reject. He was the perfect son, which any family—any normal family—would love to have him in.

But all good things…

In the Year 2015 A.D...

A lone goliath swam through the water, military aircraft following it. It passed constructs of man: buildings, cities, all washed in the sea.

It had no cares for such things. All it knew was that it had a purpose, a calling.

And the calling demanded that it go forward.

And nothing would stop it from completing its design.

Misato turned off the radio, tired of hearing the alert about the State of Emergency. She knew why it was occurring, which placed her leagues ahead of many of those scared people who were currently filling the shelters of Tokyo-3, Tokyo-2, and much of the area between them and the UN Blockade.

The enemy had arrived.

Of course, normally and by most standard operating procedures, she should be back at HQ, at her post, and preparing to engage the enemy when it got past the UN.

She knew it would, it wasn't a question of if. Only the old guard inside the UN still believed that their weapons would work the best against the enemy.

In truth, their weapons would be about as effective as fleabites against an elephant.

But she had other problems.

She was late.

"Why did I have to lose him now? Christ, why at a time like this?" she asked, as she studied the navigation map on a LCD display to the left of her steering wheel.

It was supposed to be a simple job: fetch the Third Child when he arrived at Tokyo-2 via the mass transit rail system.

Of course, everything that could have gone wrong did, making her question why God hated her so.

First she had overslept—though she could hardly be blamed for sleeping off so much alcohol. PenPen had challenged her to a drinking contest—at least that was what she believed—and she could not back down.

Then the enemy had picked today to arrive.

Of course, if she had just mailed out the letter for him to arrive earlier, then she might not be in this situation.

But she decided to worry about that later.

In Tokyo-2, a boy was left confused, and with growing anger.

"Due to the special emergency, all lines are currently unavailable."

Shinji hung up the phone, tired of listening to the operator talk about the emergency. "If you would tell me something useful, like where to go, that might be a good idea."

Sighing Shinji turned away from the phone. "Once again, bureaucracy proves that common sense is always the first thing lost in government."

Not that he needed to be told that the emergency was very real, he could sense the dark force moving towards him, slowly. Pushing his hearing, he could make out the sounds of a battle in the distance. "Great, what'd the old man send for me for; to use me as bait?"

"I shouldn't have come at all," he mused. In his opinion, the only reason he had come was to beat the living hell out of his genetic father. After being ignored for so long, seeing him only at his Mother's grave marker once a year on the anniversary of her death, Shinji had no love for the man.

Hate? Burning, all consuming rage? A wish to see him placed in a room where Shinji could beat the hell out of him at any moment of his choosing at any time he wished as often as he liked?

Those were his current feelings for the man who dared request his presence.

"The bastard better be dying; that's all I got to say."

Taking out the picture that he had been sent, he reread the message, checking his watch to make certain—for the eleventh time—that he was not early or severely late. "Nope, she's late. I guess I won't be meeting her." He put the picture away, not bothering to stare too much at it. Sure, he would admit the girl was nice looking. But that meant little to him. Unless she had the completing parts to that package: a brain, he wasn't going to go after her.

He laughed a little at that. As if I would go after any girl. All of his friends had been ruled by their hormones, thinking him weird that he didn't drool after every girl who showed some degree of cleavage. The point was he wasn't ruled by his hormones, he preferred someone who would complete him, like his Father and Mother completed each other.

Besides, if she acted like that to someone his age; what type of morals did this woman live by?

Bet she's a drunken woman with a bad relationship in her past, and seeks the affection of total strangers.

Misato sneezed, and felt a burning desire to hit something.

"I better go find a shelter," he said, hoping that there were some signs of where to go still about. While those routes were usually marked, one never knew how many morons would see such signs and think, "Hey, this'll look good in my room."

Sensing something to his right, he turned to see a girl with a school uniform standing in the street, staring at him. She didn't look like your normal Japanese girl, in the fact her skin was pale, almost as if it was pure white as snow; her hair a light blue that looked like the sky, but lighter.

But what got him the most were her eyes; blood red. Albino?

No, the hair is wrong. That is just weird? Wonder what her story is?

By far, Shinji was used to being an outsider, despite the friends he had made later on in his short life.

But, he suspected that this girl's story was a doozy... if she wasn't a ghost or something.

She didn't…feel…normal to him, disappearing after he blinked his eyes. Ignoring the squawking birds, he extended his senses to try and locate her again, but to no avail. Her presence was just... gone.

Shinji quickly slapped his hands to his ears, trying to block out the sound of a large explosion, his mind refocusing on the earlier energy he had felt and ignoring the blue haired girl and where she had disappeared to. As the ground shook violently, he turned around, spotting several military VTOLs flying backwards, followed by a lumbering giant with a long, mosquito-like nose. "Well, I guess I know what the dark energy was," Shinji muttered, straightening his stance.

His hand went for his sword, drawing it. He had a few distance attacks he might be able to use against it, but he had never faced…well, anything like whatever that was.

But he was surprised when the thing turned towards him, staring at him.


"The unidentified target is still coming towards us," came the female voice over the intercom.

A male voice responded. "We've got it on visual; I'm putting it on the main screen."

Gendo stared at it. "It's been fifteen years, hasn't it?"

"Yes," said Sub Commander Fuyutsuki. "Now we know for certain. The Angels have returned."

"Sir, the Angel has stopped!" came the cry from on of the so-called bridge bunnies: Second Lieutenant Shigeru Aoba.

"See, I told you, Ikari. The military could handle these things, just watch and be amazed." The three generals sat at their table, smoking heavily at the thrill of a new battle, and with utmost confidence in their forces.

Gendo Ikari sat at his desk, hands folded in front of him. "We've waited for them for fifteen years. What is fifteen more minutes, General?" I would like to know though ... why did it stop.

Shinji held his ground as two missiles screamed over his head, curving to strike the colossus. The other helicopters began releasing their own payloads at it, all connecting with it.

Not that such a feat was hard or difficult in any way. The sheer size of the giant made missing it next to impossible.

But it stood there, undamaged as the wind blew the smoke away. Raising its arm, a beam shot out; smashing through a VTOL and sending it crashing next to Shinji, the blast as some of it exploded sending a near scorching wave of heat towards the boy, who merely ignored it as if it was a light summer breeze.

Shinji didn't bother heading to it to see if the pilot was alive, he could already feel that no life force was left inside; the man killed by the attack.

But Shinji had little time to make any comments about the man's death. Soon, the creature leapt into the air, causing the ground where it had once stood to blow outwards; his foot landing on the shattered VTOL and causing it to finish exploding whatever chemicals had failed to become unstable after the impact. Shinji erected a small field of his energy to protect himself, closing his eyes to protect them from the light of the blast.

So, you came to me. Makes my job of killing you much easier.

It was then he felt a small life force—well, small compared to the thing standing in front of him. He opened his eyes to see a blue car, the woman from the picture inside it.

"I'm sorry," said the woman inside the car. She wore a black short dress without sleeves, dark sunglasses hiding her eyes. "Were you waiting long?"

He had to smile at that, quickly sheathing his sword and getting in, deciding discretion was better than facing the monster before him. He had no idea what it was; only that it seemed to have a weird field that resembled his in some manners.

Until he learned more about it, attacking head-on might be a stupid move for him to make. If this Katsuragi had some information on it, all the better he learn it before striking it.

Shinji heard the VTOLs begin to release another salvo as the woman began to try to drive away, trying to strike down the monster who had struck down their friend.

He extended his barrier again to protect her and the car as the missile debris fell around them. "Damn," he said, "gotta love the big city."

Misato looked at him as if he had gone mad.

"Sir, the Air Defense Force doesn't have the firepower to stop it. It is still on approach to Tokyo-3."

"The target is still operational. It is still headed for Tokyo-3."

The female voice responded after the male voice had finished, both being piped in from JSSDF HQ. "The Air Defense Force doesn't have the firepower to stop it!"

"Hit it with everything we've got!" yelled out General Kudo. "Mobilize all the units from Atsugi and scramble the squadrons from Iruma!"

"Forget about the budget!" cried out General Tanaka. "Destroy that thing at all costs!" he yelled out, snapping his pencil.

Gendo snorted slightly, but not loud enough for anyone to hear except for his Sub Commander. "I doubt they will be that free with funding when we are placed in charge."

"Commander Ikari, the MAGI have detected an unknown energy signature at the base of the Angel, currently moving away at high speed, signature unknown," said Lieutenant Maya Ibuki, her image popping up on his personal screen.

Gendo looked towards the screen with the tech on it, informing him of the new finding, listening half heartedly to the military personnel as they bitched about how strong the Angel was. "Catalog the signature and prepare to have it scanned for in the future, track it if possible."

"Aye, sir," she said, as the image disappeared.

His second in command spoke up. "Should we be worried about this, Ikari?"

"No," Gendo said, turning back to the military commanders. "We should prepare for them to play their final card."

He didn't have to wait long.

"That was a direct hit!" yelled out General Tanaka, slamming his fist on the table and spilling what little coffee he had remaining in his cup, as well as causing the cigarette ashes to leap out of the ashtray and onto the table.

"The tank battalion has been annihilated," said General Kudo, leaning back in his chair, his voice calm. "Guided missiles and artillery have no effect on it either."

General Tanaka lost his temper again, standing slightly and pounding the table. "Damn it! We gave it everything we've got, and we're not even touching it!"

Gendo shook his head from behind them, as Fuyutsuki looked on, asking him a question. "Is it protected by an AT Field?"

"Yes," said Gendo. "Conventional weapons have no effect on the Angels."

Back on the table used by the generals, a phone began to beep. Swiping his card, General Kudo picked it up.

"Yes sir, I understand. We'll execute the plan at once."

Gendo smiled, witnessing the military play its final trump card.

Misato was stretched across the seat of her car, watching the battle from afar, as she witnessed the small dots of military craft streak away from the Angel. Fear lanced through her as she could only think of one reason for the forces to break off like that, the VTOLs and aircraft flying off like the devil himself was after them. "Hey, wait a second. They're going to use an N2 mine!"

Pulling herself into the car quickly, she grabbed Shinji. "GET DOWN!" she screamed, as she threw her weight on top of Shinji to protect Shinji from the blast, but nearly slicing him with his own sword and stabbing herself as well, had Shinji not placed it between the door and his seat before her weight hit him.

He sighed as he felt her chest on his head. In other circumstances, he would have simply shaken his head at yet another situation with a woman he always seemed to end up in—which seemed to happen all too often for his taste, as it gave his female friends more ammunition to tease him with—before extending his field once again. He had never tested it against anything nearly as powerful as an N2 mine.

Well, he was about to learn something new, besides the fact that the woman's shirt smelled like beer and yes, they were real.

Soon, the wave of force and energy washed over them, reminding Shinji of a very important fact he had forgotten.

He forgot to anchor his field to the ground, thus allowing the car to be blown back as well.

But as he and Misato popped their heads out of the car, the wind whipping their hair back, he had to smile. "Cool."

In NERV HQ, the generals screamed out success as the monster was enveloped in the blast, gloating.

"We did it!" screamed General Tanaka.

Smirking, General Kudo turned to face the Commanders of NERV. "Sorry, but it looks like you won't be getting a shot at it.

The two said nothing, as the female voice once again spoke up over the intercom. "Shockwave approaching."

Gendo was more interested in the signal of the unknown entity that popped up as the shockwave began to approach it, much stronger than before. It seems as if the new player is protecting itself.

This is an unforeseen matter. We must learn about it soon, if we are to accurately adjust the scenario.

"Are you okay, Shinji?" asked Misato, after they extracted themselves from the car, the ground now bare dirt littered with holes and pits.

But the boy just stood beside her car, which was knocked on its side. "Sorry, ma'am, but I think your passenger side mirror is a total loss." His smile calmed her a little.

Shinji, however, was mentally cussing himself out. While his field had protected the car, he had forgotten to anchor it to the ground. The resulting shockwave from the N2 mine had tossed the car like a toy. Damn, now I'll have to fix the car for her. I can't believe I made such a stupid mistake! He turned towards the origin of the blast, still unnerved that the dark energy creature had survived.

"Hey, Shinji, let's get the car back on all four tires and get out of here!" Misato braced her back against the roof of the car, but stood back up as Shinji went around to the other side. She was about to scream at him for risking his life like that, when the car began to slowly lower to the ground. Her eyes grew large as she watched Shinji, holding the frame of the car, and lowering it with no effort.

He just turned towards her, smiling. "Should I drive, or do you wish to, Ms. Katsuragi?"

Misato shook her head, clearing out the surprise from her mind that this fourteen year old boy had lowered her sports car to the ground. "Just Misato is fine. "Thanks for... um... lowering my car for me. It's nice to finally have a bit of time to greet you, Shinji Ikari," she said, taking off her sunglasses.

"Well, if I get to call you your first name, you can call me mine." He made his way to the passenger side, sliding in through the open window as Misato finally got in her side.

"What is the target's status?" asked General Kudo.

"We're unable to confirm due to all the EMP interference."

General Tanaka snorted. "It must have been finished. You saw the size of the explosion."

"Sensors restored," said the male voice.

As the image returned to the screen, the image now showing proved how truly strong the enemy was.

"We've got an energy reading at the explosion's epicenter!" cried out the female voice.

Gendo almost smiled as he watched the military commanders react to the fact that the Angel was still alive. He would have, had that energy signature not disappeared again. Are you gone as well?

"It can't be!" screamed Tanaka, as he stood up, slapping his hands on the table.

"Visual display restored."

And as the screen refocused, there it stood; still alive, if only slightly damaged. The remaining two generals stood as well, seeing the massive figure of the enemy still standing tall, the explosion's light and effects still around, making it look as if the monster had the sun to its back.

"That was our last resort," said Kudo, falling back into his seat, disbelief still on his face.

"No effect at all," muttered General Naga, who had been silent till this point.

"God damned demon!" spat out Tanaka, as he slammed his fist on the table again, sending the ashtray off the side and onto the floor. "It's a God damned demon!"

Gendo smiled. At least my entertainment is good.

On the highway between Tokyo-2 and Tokyo-3, and kilometers away from the now recovering Third Angel, Misato drove quickly in her slightly damaged car, trying to get Shinji to the base in time to be of any use.

"Yes, don't worry about it," said Misato now on her car phone with NERV HQ. "His safety is my top priority, so could you get us a car train ready for us? The express one.


"Well, I did volunteer to pick him up."

"And was an hour late," mumbled Shinji.

"And it is my duty to get him there," said Misato, acting as if she hadn't heard him. "See ya!"

Shinji stared out the window as Misato hung up the phone. He could sense that the dark being was weaker now, having taken some damage from the blast. They leveled that much area just to cause so little damage to it! Idiots, my attacks at close range could have done that, and you wouldn't need to rebuild the area when I was finished!

He turned towards the driver, Misato. He could feel the worry coming off her, but also some joy at the fact her car was still drivable, only the mirror on his side being damaged and that was only because he had to drop his field. He could feel that thing reaching out to him, trying to find him again. It must be homing in on me somehow.

Misato, who had been worrying more about her damaged dress than the car or the enemy, turned towards him, seeing him stare out into the landscape, the glow from the N2 explosion still shining into the sky. "Quit worrying, Shinji. You're not as cute as I thought you were when you scowl like that."

He turned back towards her, seeing the warm smile on her face. Well, at least she has a kind soul. "I'm just a little concerned."

"Don't worry; I'm sure that thing will get stomped if that blast didn't finish it off."

"Oh, it's not that. I'm just worried that EMP from the N2 mine may have erased my saved games on my laptop." He laughed a little, trying to appear as if he was either unconcerned for the creature's current status, or just trying to appear as such. Quite frankly, he knew he couldn't tell her he was about one more surge of dark energy away from flying over to it and cutting it down to size.

"Sorry, I forgot; you're just a kid after all."

"I prefer to think I am merely young at heart," said Shinji. I'd hate to see what she'd do if I asked why she wasn't as mature as she should be.

"As we predicted," said Fuyutsuki, "it is regenerating itself."

"If it couldn't, it wouldn't be a practical autonomous invasion weapon," said Gendo, staring at the real time image of the Angel, the image focused on the new head of it, as the one and damaged one seemed to be melting into its chest.

Everyone gasped as a beam shot from the Angel, cutting the video feed.

Gendo smiled.

"Impressive, it appears it can even update its own operational functions," said Fuyutsuki.

"And ... it's also getting smarter. It will renew its assault any moment now."

The visual was soon restored, now being fed from a ground camera.

"And the unknown energy?" asked Fuyutsuki.

"We will have to wait and see on that measure."

"The gates are now closing; please stand clear."

"Welcome to NERV, Shinji; a secret organization under the control of the UN."

Shinji kept quiet that half his class in sixth grade had heard about NERV before midterms.

By the time he ended seventh grade, most of the students knew where it was, and another few said they had snuck into it; but those could have been rumors spread by boys trying to look cool, or had family members who gave them a quick tour.

Shinji, however, didn't really care what they did. "So, my old man works here."

"Yep, do you know what he does?"

Shinji leaned back into the seat, fingering the hilt of his sword. "Probably pretends he's God, acts like he is in control of everything, and is generally a pompous jerk with no emotions whatsoever." He didn't tell about whatever propaganda had been fed to his guardians or himself; claiming that Gendo Ikari's work was for the safety of the human race.

Shinji found such ideals false, since they came from people who would throw away the very tenets that defined the best in humanity to do so.

Misato could only blink. First, the boy had ignored her flirtations, which she wasn't sure if that confused her or upset her that she couldn't get the attention of a fourteen year old boy who should drool over the body she had. Then, he as much as said he hated his father while playing with his sword.

Normally, she could use such an opportunity to make a sexual joke at his expense. But ... now didn't seem like the time to do so.

Shinji appeared to only have hate for his Father, no emotional attachment whatsoever to the man. Truthfully, she was a little envious that he could do such. She just shook her head again. She would work on this later.

Assuming that the kid didn't go crazy and kill everyone first.

General Naga placed his phone back on its cradle, staring down at Gendo Ikari. It burned him to no end that he was being forced to release command of the operation and the battle to this man, a man the General could tell was of ill-repute, of questionable character.

But the people in charge above him had made the decision, and as a soldier, no matter how stupid he thought the decision was, he would follow through. "From this point forward, command of this operation will be entrusted to you. Show us that you are capable!"

"Yes, sir," said Gendo, nearly emotionless.

"Mr. Ikari, we must admit that our weapons have no effect on the target.

"But, are you certain you can beat these things?"

Gendo adjusted his glasses, knowing it would further irritate the generals before him. "It's what NERV was created for."

Naga sighed. "We're all praying that you're correct," he said, hitting a button that lowered the men into another chamber, where they would be escorted to a car that would take them to an extraction point from Tokyo-3.

"The target is still stationary," said Maya.

"Our current ability to intercept is only seven-point-five percent," said Makoto.

"And the unknown energy source?" asked Gendo, not even turning to face them.

"It hasn't returned, sir," said Shigeru. "It was last projected to be heading in this direction."

Fuyutsuki sighed. "Even the UN forces are exhausted, Ikari. What are you going to do?"

Gendo turned around, his face with confidence barely registering in his eyes. "I intend to activate Unit 01."

Fuyutsuki blinked. "Unit 01? But we have no pilot. Even if we did, they need time to train, and I doubt the Angel will give us that."

Gendo turned back around. "That's not a problem. Another spare will be delivered soon."

"Are you taking me to my old man?"

She shook out of her stupor. "Yeah, I think so. You plan on killing him?"

Shinji kept staring forward, still fingering his sword hilt. "Maybe, I haven't quite decided. It depends on why he asked for me. Don't worry, if I do kill him, he'll be the only one I even injure."

Misato smiled, hoping he was merely joking. "Oh, did your dad send you an ID?"

Shinji reached into his pocket, pulling out a paper and handing it to her. Afterwards, he had a folder handed to him.

"Here, read this." Misato watched as he quietly took it and began leafing through the pages.

Shinji tried to contain his anger at what this meant. He had been sent for because his father needed him to do something, nothing more. The old man loses a limb, just for that.

A light flooded the car, bringing Shinji from his dark thoughts towards the light. "A Geo-front, they actually built a Geo-front!"

Misato smiled, seeing Shinji finally get excited about something lifted her spirits a bit. "This is our secret base: NERV Headquarters. This place is the key to rebuilding our world. A fortress for all mankind."

Shinji's smile turned a little psychotic when he was turned so Misato couldn't see it. And if I can do it; this place will be Gendo's grave.

Misato was depressed. She had been working here for many years, and yet while she would never admit that she got lost, she was even more upset that Shinji was leading her to where they needed to go. After half an hour, Shinji pointed out they had been by this way before. When she asked how he knew, he pointed to his sword, which was ten meters in front of them.

"Told you we were going around in circles."

Misato sulked, before glaring at him. "I take it back; you're not so cute anymore."

Shinji just shrugged. "I'll get you a compass for your birthday." He reached over, grabbing the map from her, and began to look it over, trying to figure out where they were. "Would it be that damned hard to put one of those little mall maps around here with a dot saying 'You Are Here'?"

Taking a guess, he pointed towards a hallway they hadn't taken before. "I think this way to the elevators."

Misato just sighed. "Where is Ritsuko when you need her?"

Shinji just sighed. "Maybe we should have had a guide waiting for us when we got off the train."

"I'm sorry that I'm just not that used to this place." Misato pasted a smile on her face. "And anyway, they make these systems to be used, you know."

"I know," said Shinji as he made yet another turn, finally knowing where they were on the map. "But I don't believe I have time for the tour at the moment."

"Would the chairperson of Project E, Technical Department Division 1, Dr. Ritsuko Akagi, Dr. Ritsuko Akagi, please contact Captain Misato Katsuragi of Operations Division 1, immediately."

Ritsuko sighed as she removed the swimsuit from her check of the systems based in the LCL tank beside her. "I don't believe it. She's gotten lost ... again."

"See," said Shinji," here's the elevator."

Misato grumbled a bit, muttering about how she could have done that as well, but the elevator opened, revealing a very angry Dr. Akagi, still in her swimsuit, and covered with her lab coat. "Um ... hiya, Ritsuko."

Ritsuko took a step forward, forcing the girl backwards, before speaking. "What are you doing, Captain Katsuragi? We don't have time for this. Aren't you aware that we're short on both time and manpower?"

Misato tried to look innocent, but the little kid act failed to work for someone nearing their thirties. "Sorry."

Ritsuko sighed again. She really is immature. "Is this the boy?"

"Yep," Misato rang out. "According to the Marduk report, he's the Third Child."

Ritsuko smiled. "I'm glad to meet you."

Shinji looked up from the map, finally committing it to memory and having spotted several areas that looked promising for secret passages and hidden rooms, when he spotted Ritsuko. "Sorry, but I might not be able to work here if swimwear is the standard dress code."

Misato cheered up as she looked at her friend. "Ritsuko, now why are you trying to seduce the Third Child by wearing something like that? Hmm?"

"Handle the rest of this," said Gendo, as the elevator platform he stood on descended into the floor.

Fuyutsuki sighed. "Their first meeting in three years." He remembered seeing the security footage of their last meeting; Shinji all but ignored Gendo's presence, as if the man wasn't even worthy of acknowledging anymore.

Kozo could understand that. They may have started out as family, but now ... they were nothing but strangers.

"Sub Commander," called out Makoto, interrupting Kozo's thoughts, "the target has begun moving again."

"Right, assume Battle Stations, Level One." I just hope that Ikari can convince his son to at least try and activate Unit 01.

It was a while later—after Ritsuko had finished yelling at Misato for her comment—that they were on some elevator. Shinji just stood against the rails of the elevator they were on now while the two women talked about something called Unit 01. Whatever it was, it wasn't his major concern right now.

He was so focused on his own thoughts and the feeling of the dark source of energy moving towards him, that he missed seeing a giant hand outstretched in the red liquid behind him.

He could sense it was moving again. Its energy output was higher, but different. It must evolve through battle. If you fail to kill it, it adapts and comes at you again. Hmm, it seems to have an energy center for its power source. Fairly close to the surface. Well, I have a target now.

But that field it puts up worries me. It feels like my own, so I might be able to use mine to negate it and pass through. If I can, I'll need to hit that spot on the first try. A fully powered Spirit Cut should do it. Now, how do I get to the surface to battle it?

He was cut off his analyzing when the room went dark. His mind snapped to as he realized he had been walking on automatic, his memory telling him they had even moved him in a speed raft. Damn, I need to pay more attention. Sensei would have had my ass for that.

As the lights came on, Shinji came face to face with a giant purple robot. "Um, I think I missed a page, this wasn't in the book."

Ritsuko looked at him. "You won't find this in the manual. This is mankind's ultimate humanoid robot, the first battle unit named Evangelion Unit 01. Built here in secret, it's mankind's last hope."

Shinji stared at the giant purple head in front of him, trying to both suppress the urge to giggle at the imagery his mind was making, and the several dozen jokes he could start telling at this moment. "So this is what my old man's been doing."


Damn it, something's hiding people's presence around here! Shinji normally prided himself on never being surprised. But as he was concentrating so much on the dark energy, analyzing what he had learned, he failed to notice the gradual dimming his senses seemed to be experiencing, at least the ones that allowed him to sense others. He looked up to see his father standing in a tunnel above the huge machine.

"It's been a while." Gendo stared down at Shinji, using the same glare he always tried to use on the boy, hating the fact that the boy seemed to have no care whatsoever about how the man viewed him.

Shinji just smiled, his hands readying themselves to launch an attack at him, calculating how much of a jump he would need to pull off the robot's head to reach him. "Yeah, not long enough. So, what do you need me for now? More needles? More tests?"

"We're moving out." If Gendo had any reaction to what Shinji said, he offered no response.

Misato was almost livid. "But Unit 00 is still in cryo-stasis!"

Then it hit her. "Wait s second. You're planning on using Unit 01!"

Ritsuko turned to her. "There's no other way."

"But Rei can't even pilot it, can she?" Misato's eyes grew. "We've got no pilot!"

"One's just been delivered."

"Are you serious?"

Shinji turned towards Ritsuko, guessing exactly what Gendo had summoned him for: to be a pilot of the living embodiment of every penis joke in the world. "The owner's manual isn't included either. So exactly how do you expect me to pilot it? What, am I supposed to stay inside it and hope that thing gets scared?"

Misato was almost pleading now. "He's had no training. Even Rei took several months to synchronize with her EVA!"

"He just needs to sit in the seat, nothing more."

Shinji by now was rubbing his temples. "I assume someone here will first ask if I will do it first." He looked up towards his father, ignoring the bickering of the two women. "Old man, why'd you send for me?"

Gendo continued to stare at him, matching his son's impassive face. "You know exactly why."

Shinji forced a smile. "Because you're finally coming out of the closet?"

He ignored the insult. "No, because I have a use for you."

The smile disappeared from Shinji's face. "I'm not some damn automaton, old man. If you want a faithful little soldier, build one. I ain't your puppet, now or ever. Do I make myself clear?" His hand fell to the handle of his sword, the fingers clasping it, as if to prepare a strike against his foe.

The girls stopped their argument when he said this. But Gendo pressed on, his voice rising. "If you are going to pilot it, do it now, else leave."

Shinji just drew his sword. "Fine, you old bastard, tell me where the door is. And if you ask nicely, maybe I'll kill that demon for you."

The complex began to shake as Shinji felt the creature begin attacking, knowing only from the shockwave of its assault rather than the energy it released. He was shocked to hear his father saying that it must have sensed them here.

But Shinji held his ground, sword still poised, waiting for either directions to get out and kill it, or a chance to slay Gendo.

"Shinji," Ritsuko said, "we don't have time."

"Get into it," said Misato.

"I didn't come for this," Shinji spat out. "I came to gain answers, perhaps a pound of your worthless flesh, asshole." Shinji pointed his sword at Unit 01. "This is nothing to me, your plans mean nothing to me; you mean nothing to me, other than a target to test my blade's sharpness against."

But he ignored both women beside him, never moving his sight off his father. Something would die here tonight; he just wasn't certain who his first victim would be. He did notice when they walked off, Ritsuko saying something about reconfiguring Unit 01 for Rei.

It was then he felt it, someone was in a huge amount of pain. It had to be in such pain; otherwise he wouldn't be able to get a sense with whatever was interfering with his ability. Even now, he could feel it slowly dimming to his senses as well.

And then he saw her being wheeled in. She looked almost dead on the gurney, her eyes not looking anywhere but the ceiling, her body showing obvious signs of injury, her right eye bandaged. How or why she was in a small white suit that had 00 stenciled on it; he had no clue.

Slowly, she sat up, her breath coming faster, telling Shinji her ribs were injured as well, the wrapping he could see from under her arms where the suit failed to cover made him cringe, wondering how many were broken.

To him, she was inches away from Death claiming her life.

He felt his free hand forming a fist, his nails beginning to dig into his hand. Damn him! Damn you, Gendo!

But his thoughts were interrupted as the girl fell to the floor, too weak to even stand, but more from the severe blast that shook the complex. He ran to her, hoping to help her when another explosion shook the complex. He cast his eyes upward to see a beam wrenched lose falling towards them.

The next few seconds happened in a blur. Forgetting all thoughts, he released his wings as he dove for her, wrapping her protectively in his embrace, diverting power to create a field to defect the beam, only to have his sight obscured by a large purple hand. Only Ritsuko and Rei had missed his wings coming out from his back, and a few seconds later after she began wondering if the EVA was protecting Shinji, Ritsuko saw the wings.

Might as well go for broke. He placed one hand on Rei's forehead and the other gently on her stomach; soon both began glowing with a golden light. "Don't be scared, Rei. First I will heal you, and then I will kill that demon." No one made a move towards him, but he could hear someone telling his father that the pattern had been detected again in the base.

As the pain lessened, Rei opened her uncovered eye, looking at a boy with white wings on his back. "They are called Angels."

Shinji kept his eyes closed, concentrating on healing her. "That is an incorrect name. They seek to hurt people. Angels are believed to help humanity. Since these things are attacking to destroy and kill, the correct religious term would be demons or fallen angels."

"What are you?"

The light faded from his hands and he opened his eyes, staring deeply into her own exposed red eye. "I'm not quite certain, but I like to think I'm a good guy and a friend."

Shinji stood slowly, just now realizing how much energy he had just expended healing her, helping her to her feet as well. He was weakened and knew he didn't have the energy to kill the demon. That meant…

"Ritsuko, you have less then three minutes to tell me how to pilot Unit 01."

Shinji could hear the command staff still asking if he was an Angel or not, probably thinking he was one of those…things. He shook his head. Anger wouldn't help him now. That and this damn chair wasn't made to handle someone with wings, forcing him to lean forward.

He stayed silent, fuming, even as the LCL filled the plug, his mind not even realizing that he was now breathing it, as his rage was solely focused on killing the demon that dared to be called an Angel, and perhaps if he was lucky, his old man as well for daring to force his hand by hauling Rei out to force him into saving her from dying inside this machine.

"Don't worry, Shinji. Just relax and just try and feel the EVA out."

"Ritsuko, I'll need a little more info than that." Shinji had already closed his eyes, trying to sense a spirit in the robot. Not that he knew why, but he sensed that there was something more to Unit 01 than he had been told.

He wasn't shocked that he did, he was shocked when he could hear it speak to him.

"Have faith in me, young one. Together, we shall take down the threat."

"Passing the third layer, no problems." A tech in the control room was monitoring the pilot's linking with the EVA.

Gendo was back at his desk. "What is his sync rate?"

Ritsuko's eyes grew large. "Currently at 78 and rising."

Misato soon joined half the command staff in dropping their jaws to the floor. "WHAT! That's impossible."

Ritsuko's voice became almost a whisper. "Sync rate holding steady at 96.4. Unit 01 ready to launch." She turned back to face Misato. "We ... we can do this."

Gendo looked at the screen, his mind livid with the thoughts that his first project had succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. He wanted to see what his first attempt was capable of. Already it was surpassing what Rei or even the Second Child had been able to do with their EVAs. Now, all that was left was this battle. Let's see what use you have, Shinji. "Launch!"

Omake #1:

As Rei came to, she saw the face of the man who had healed her, thinking instantly of one way to show how much she appreciated it. "PERVERT!" She summoned her mallet and drove the boy into the air, causing him to impact the side of the concrete bunker.

As Shinji fell into the liquid after the impact, he could only think of one thing: Damn, uncute tomboy!

Omake #2:

Shinji kept his eyes closed, concentrating on healing her. "That is an incorrect name. They seek to hurt people. Angels are believed to help humanity. Since these things are attacking to destroy and kill, the correct religious term would be demons or fallen angels."

"What are you?"

Shinji leaned down towards her, his eyes less than a foot from hers, his voice now dark and mysterious. "I'm Batman."

Omake #3:

"Don't worry, Shinji. Just relax and just try and feel the EVA out."

"I would, but the armors in the way. Hell, I can't even see if it has breasts."

"Shinji, I said feel it out, not feel it up. Damn pervert, just like his father." Ritsuko just shook her head. Damn Ikaris, perverts, all of them.

What happened to the original Rei (Rei I):

Gendo: How was it?
Rei: You were just like Superman.
Gendo: Thank you. (smiling)
Rei: Yes, faster than a speeding bullet.
Gendo: (Snaps Rei's neck) Better make the next one the quiet type.

New Omake by Innortal:

A male voice responded. "We've got it on visual; I'm putting it on the main screen."

Gendo stared at it. "It's been fifteen years, hasn't it?"

"Yes," said Sub Commander Fuyutsuki. "Now we know for certain," he said, seeing the white Ford Bronco driving down the main highway. "OJ has returned."

If I messed anything up, then let me know including typos.

Any suggestions on how I should continue the story or improve it would also be accepted.

Also, if you have any suggestions for how this should go, let me know. My own imagination, while vast, always enjoys a new thought. Also, catch me if you don't think I am making the characters true to form, or a way to make them better.