April 11th 2015

Tokyo-3 Suburbs – 2100 hours

Three seconds, an incredibly small amount of time, yet within the space of just three seconds it's amazing just what can happen. Of course many people would never take such a thing into consideration in a small suburb, just what can happen in three seconds? It wasn't a question that Haruka Itou had ever asked herself as she put her young daughter to bed that night. She tucked the young girl in and kissed her on the forehead.

"Night night, darling."

"Good night, mommy."

Haruka stood up and went over and turned off the light, smiling as she looked at her daughter sleeping peacefully, just as she had done for many years now. She silently closed the door, and that was when the screaming started.

1…

Haruka desperately tried to reopen the door only to find that somehow it had been locked from the inside, just as the screaming started a white glow seemed to fill the inside of the room.

2…

The glow kept on intensifying as she kept on trying to enter the room, only to find the handle was too hot to touch. The screaming subsided, along with the glow.

3…

Haruka was able to move back into her daughter's room, only to find it was empty. Shaking violently, she turned on the light and called out her daughter's name. She screamed as she was greeted with the sight of a trail of blood leading up to the closed window. Three seconds, that's all it takes for someone's life to fall apart.

April 12th 2015

Nerv Headquarters - 0915 hours

Asuka sighed heavily as she waited for the elevator to arrive to take her to the basement level of NERV headquarters. She had once been excited about the prospect of being transferred to the main NERV HQ and also being assigned to a special division, after all for a twenty seven year old agent to be sent to the main headquarters in Tokyo-3 after only being a few months out of the academy was a big achievement. Then she had heard just who she was working with, a man by the name of Shinji Ikari. When she first heard the name she had thought nothing of it, he'll just be your partner, we'll work together on cases and that'll be it, this was until she had heard the rumours.

Shinji was not an ordinary NERV Agent, he had been in NERV for a few years longer than she had, but was around the same age. After a bit of scouting around from fellow agents, Asuka had heard quite a few stories and nicknames for Shinji, none of them were putting him in a very good light. It wasn't that he was a bad agent, in fact he was very skilled and talented, it's just the way he acted. Shinji was one of those who believed in the paranormal and the extraterrestrial, he was also the one who had resurrected a long forgotten area of NERV.

It wasn't hard for her to understand why Shinji was the way he was, his mother disappeared when he was a young boy and he was subsequently abandoned by his father. Asuka could sympathize with that, she too had lost her mother at a young age but that didn't mean she went around blaming green men in the sky or uncovering god knows what in an abandoned area of NERV.

Asuka had read about the cases this area stored, unexplained phenomena, reports of abduction, reports of monsters and anything else that couldn't be explained through conventional means was just dumped there and forgotten about until one Shinji Ikari decided to reopen it. This bothered Asuka a lot, she wasn't what you would call open minded towards this sort of thing she preferred to stick with what could be proven and take a more scientific approach to solving cases. Of course she enjoyed a challenge but she wasn't intending to be in this section for long. She was beginning to question just why she of all people was assigned to this when the elevator finally arrived. Sighing heavily the young red head stepped inside towards her new assignment.

Why do I have to be stuck with some idiot with his head up in space when I could be doing something useful for NERV?

Basement Offices – 0920 hours

Shinji happily tapped his fingers on his desk to the beat of some song playing on the radio. He glanced at his watch and took another look at the case file in front of him, another disappearance in the Tokyo 3 suburbs. The fifth this month, this time it was a young girl. Her mother a Haruka Itou had contacted the police to report it, who, when they found nothing to discover how the child has gone missing, had called in NERV. Of course the case had attracted Shinji's attention and now he and his new partner, who would be arriving soon, were to be working on it.

At first glance the case seemed like a typical child abduction case, a simple matter of the intruder breaking into the house and abducting the child. However, when looked into in more detail there was much more to it. For a start there were no signs of an intruder entering or exiting the house, secondly there was a trail of blood leading from the bed to the window, yet nothing in the area outside the window and third the entire ordeal only took a matter of three seconds.

A few theories had already been passed around by other people, one of the most popular was that it was the mother who done it, but if that was the case then how come the other four cases were identical? Shinji himself had a theory after digging through case files relating to similar incidents fifteen years ago, and again fifteen years before that.

He neatly folded the files back into the case folder and awaited the arrival of his new partner who was at this moment just about to open the door to his office. As she walked in Shinji stood up ready to greet her.

Asuka walked into the room and looked around, she was surprised at how neat and tidy it was. When she worked in her previous assignment her desk was always full of case files, mugs of coffee and god knows what else, yet Shinji's desk was neat and tidy, not only that but the entire office was tidy and well organized.

"So you're the person they sent to check up on me?"

She stared up at him wondering just what he was talking about.

Check up on him? Hold on does he think I'm here investigating him or something?

"Eh?"

"Nothing, it doesn't matter."

Idiot

He looked a lot different than she had imagined from what she had been told. She had expected him to look like those whacked out conspiracy theorists she had read about in papers, the ones who got high on marijuana all day and talked about how second impact was a government conspiracy to mass abduct thousands of people. Instead she was greeted with a young man around her age, with brown hair and brown eyes and was fairly well built to go with it.

Shinji too found himself surprised by Asuka's appearance. In his case he had expected someone in their mid forties and to look a lot older and miserable. Instead he got this red headed blue eyed young agent. Naturally this didn't stop Shinji's theory that she had been unwittingly sent here by the higher ups with the intention of closing this department down.

"Anyway, I'm Agent Ikari, welcome. I'm sure you've heard about me."

He's not ignorant of his own fame at least.

"I have heard something, but that doesn't really matter. I'm Agent Sohryu."

He eyed her up and down once more and then spoke again.

"Well I'm sure you're wondering what we will be doing in this department."

Asuka nodded slightly, she had heard a brief explanation but wanted to see if Shinji could make it sound any less stupid.

"We investigate the cases that no one else really wants to, the ones that have no logical explanation or conclusion. We also look into cases which involve unexplained phenomena reports, like UFO Abductions, that sort of thing."

Shinji's explanation made it sound a little more sane but she still thought the guy was deluded if he thought they could somehow solve cases that others could. Still she enjoyed a challenge and would show just how good an agent she was and then be out of this department as soon as possible.

"I can tell by the look on your face you're not really too happy about being here, but I'm sure the higher ups will recognize your work after a few cases and then you'll be out of here. Then it'll most likely be shut down and everyone will be happy."

Except me of course but what does that matter to other people?

Asuka frowned at Shinji's last comment.

Wow this guy doesn't really have much confidence in himself.

"Don't be an idiot, my intention isn't to see you get shut down or anything I'm just here to work. So what's our first case then?"

For the first time that morning Asuka noticed Shinji smiling genuinely. She wasn't sure if it was because of what she had just said or because of what he was about to show her, but either way it made her feel a bit better about being there. She watched him as he opened up a folder on his desk and lay out several photo's. Each one showing a child's room, a puddle of blood on the bed and also leading up towards the window.

"I'm guessing you already know what these photo's are?"

She studied the photo's for a few moments before replying in a very matter of fact way.

"Of course these are the disappearances of the children in the suburbs to the east of Tokyo-3, the media has been all over these incidents."

"Close, but look again at the photos."

She studied the photo's again not quite sure what Shinji was talking about. She looked at each one closely counting each one as she went through them.

One… Two… Three…Four... Five… Six… Seven

As she hit the seventh photo that was when it hit her, there had only been five disappearances covered in the media.

"There are seven of them, so that means there have been two more victims?"

"Close again, except these photo's are from a series of disappearances in 1985, in what we know as Tokyo-1."

"1985? So why are you showing me case files from 1985?"

"Same reason I'm about to show you these."

Asuka glared at Shinji as he put all the photos into a pile and then took seven more images out of the folder and laid them out across the table. She counted them all in order then compared them to the pile of photos on the desk.

"These ones are different."

"Of course, these ones were taken in 2000 a few months before second impact in the city of Osaka."

He piled up the seven photos again and then took five more photos out of the folder.

"These are the disappearances that have been in the media lately, the five disappearances of the children in the suburbs of Tokyo-3. In each case the parent has said that they put their child to bed then they heard screaming, a bright light and then three seconds later it was all over and this is what was found."

He put the photos back into the folder before continuing to speak.

"When I looked through the files for the cases fifteen and thirty years ago each one had the same pattern. Child is put to bed, and then three seconds later they're gone, leaving behind only a trail of blood. In each one the police have never found any traces of entry to the room and the children have never turned up again."

Asuka let all the information soak in and then turned her mind to coming up with a solution to what was happening. In murder cases or abduction cases it was common to see the killer or abductor sticking to some form of pattern, it was how they worked, but for something to date back almost thirty years was a bit farfetched for her. The big question was that if it was the same person then why wait fifteen years between each series of abductions, which led to the most logical explanation.

"Ok, so clearly it's either the same people or group or people working on some form of pattern, or it's a copycat."

"Makes sense but if it's a person or group it stills leaves several things unexplained, for example the bright light or the fact that there are no signs of entry."

"Ok, so what do you suggest?"

"Reports of alien abduction are in a similar manner, a bright light envelops the victim and takes them away. There is also the possibility that it's some sort of cult, in each case it's been single mothers losing their son's or daughters which points to the fact that all these ladies are involved in some sort of cult there at a certain time. Seven of them are selected to sacrifice their children to appease some sort of god or demon."

"But this is Tokyo-3 and it's not exactly known for its cult activity, and I seriously hope you're not about to tell me this is some sort of abduction case."

"That's what we're going to find out, we've been assigned this case and we're going to the site of the last abduction."

"What do you hope to find?"

"I don't know yet, that's why we're going."

Asuka watched as Shinji put on his suit jacket and walked over towards the door, she was intrigued by the way he acted, he certainly seemed dedicated to the job even though he was, as she saw him to be, a bit strange. Maybe this new assignment would work out for her anyway, the case certainly didn't seem weird enough, the police in Tokyo-3 were well known for being a bit slow and overlooking things.

Tokyo-3 Suburbs – 1000 hours

When Shinji and Asuka pulled up outside the Itou residence they found the house itself cordoned off with police tape and representatives from the media swarming around, trying to get interviews with the residents, police officers and anyone else passing by. Shinji sighed in disgust as he spotted one person trying to get a word with the clearly distressed mother.

"Disgusting, is there anyone they won't try to talk to?"

"Probably not, we'd better get inside the house before they start trying to talk to us."

Shinji nodded as he shut the car door. The two of them made their way over to the police officer guarding the entranceway to the house.

"Sorry no ent… oh you're from NERV?"

Shinji held up his NERV ID Card.

"Agent's Shinji Ikari and Asuka Sohryu, we're here to investigate this case."

"In that case, go on in, we've already been through the house and found nothing though."

Shinji nodded and the two of them entered the house. As they entered, Shinji took a quick look around the entrance area, not really looking for anything in particular.

"What are you looking for?"

"Nothing really, just scratches on the doorway or something like that."

"What, so now we're looking for an animal?"

"I didn't say that, it's just we have to consider every option."

Asuka sighed heavily as Shinji turned away and went into the living room.

Ok I take it back, this guy is definitely a weirdo.

She then moved into the living room and saw Shinji talking to Mrs. Itou.

"Mrs. Itou, we're from NERV, we've been assigned the case of finding out exactly what happened to your daughter. We'd just like to ask you a few questions, if that's okay?"

"Y-Yes, go ahead."

Asuka just watched on in silence.

"Okay, on the night of her disappearance did you notice anything strange happening."

"Strange?"

"Yes, a rustling in the bushes, TV's turning to static or any strange visions regarding your daughter."

"W-What are you talking about?"

"I..."

Asuka slapped her hand on her forehead and interrupted Shinji.

"Mrs. Itou, its fine, you don't have to answer anything yet, could you please excuse me and Agent Ikari."

"Uhh, sure"

Haruka moved out of the room, leaving a furious Asuka glaring at Shinji, who was just looking down at the ground.

"Are you completely stupid? What are you doing asking if she's seen any visions or anything, this is real life not some silly Sci-Fi TV show. Next thing you'll be asking if she's seen a giant of light in the neighborhood."

"Sorry I was just as..."

"Don't bother apologizing, let's just get on with the case. We should take a look at the kid's room."

Shinji nodded and got up, slightly reeling a bit from Asuka being angry with him.

Doesn't matter anyway it's not like it makes a difference if we solve this case or not, it's just going to come to the same conclusion for me.

Shinji was fully aware of how he was seen in NERV and how many people thought he had thrown what could have been a brilliant career away by delving into something like this, but he preferred it that way. He'd rather be someone working on his own than in a group of people, and besides, with his beliefs were shunned by most people anyway. He had been the same way since he was younger, shunning contact with others, he had only ever had one girlfriend and that was an awkward experience when he was about eighteen. It had really started when he lost his mother in a tragic accident many years ago and then his father simply abandoned him and left him under the care of his uncle. This had led to Shinji having a severe lack of confidence in himself and what he did, the only thing he had ever been truly determined about was what he was currently working on and even then as soon as he started he was sure the higher ups in NERV wanted to shut him down.

What's wrong with doing something I want to do?

He made his way up to the girl's bedroom and saw Asuka kneeling down over the puddle of blood and examining the trail leading up to the window. Shinji watched as she got up and moved over towards the window.

She doesn't like being around me, after this case I'll write a report to the director saying how good her work is and recommend she's transferred to somewhere better. It'll be best for both of us.

Looking back over towards the blood he noticed Asuka suddenly turn around to look at him.

"Are you even listening to me?"

"Eh? What?"

She sighed and repeated what she had just said.

"Come and take a look at this trail, I think we might have found something that everyone else missed."

He walked over and knelt beside her.

"It's blood?"

"That's what it looks like at first glance but take a look a bit closer. If it was blood it would have dried up by now and wouldn't have pooled like it has in these sections."

She pointed out the sections to him.

"Also take a look at it a bit closer, it's hard to notice but its lighter then blood. It's got more of an orange tint to it."

He looked at her, unsure of what she was implying.

"So, what are you suggesting?"

"I'm not sure yet, but whatever left this trail behind, it wasn't from the daughter. I need to take a sample of this back to the NERV Labs, then we can take a closer look at what it is."

She reached into her jacket pockets and pulled out a small tube used to collect liquids. Asuka then moved over towards the bed and took a small sample of the blood before holding it up to the light.

"This is definitely not blood."

"If it's not blood then how come no ones spotted it until now?"

"No one has probably looked, you hear about a girl going missing, you see a red liquid on the floor and you assume its blood. There's not need to look any closer or test it because it seems so obvious."

Shinji was surprised at how easily Asuka was able to recognize it, he had studied the case files repeatedly and even he was unable to spot that fact. Maybe there was hope for them solving this case yet.

"Ok we'll check out the back garden see if we can find anything there, then we'll get this back to the labs."

Itou Residence Back Garden – 1015 hours

Shinji stepped out into the garden and immediately turned and looked up at the house. He kept his eyes on the window at the top left of the house and then looked down at the floor. He did this a few more times until he caught Asuka looking at him in a funny way.

"What are you doing? Looking at where the mother ship could have landed?"

"Very funny, no I'm just wondering, that's the girls bedroom right?"

"Yes…"

"Ok so how does something open that window, take the kid, get back out the window, close the window and escape with the kid in the space of three seconds when said window is all the way up there?"

"Well like you said, isn't that what we're here to investigate?"

"Ok, so let's look around, I'll take a look in the forest area."

Asuka nodded as Shinji made his way over towards the back of the garden and through the gate into a small woodland area. The forest made the house an ideal location for the abduction to take place, it made perfect sense. The person would get into the house, take the kid and flee through the forest. Yet it made no sense that the person got into the kids bedroom and was able to flee making it look like no one had entered aside from the obvious liquid trail.

He walked a bit further into the forest when he came to a clearing, it was a perfect circular clearing, almost as if it could be used for a campsite. Shinji was about to turn and head in the opposite direction when he spotted the figure of a man standing within the trees. He put his hand on his gun and shouted out towards the man.

"Hey you, what are you doing in this area?"

No reply came from the person, instead the figure began to run away from the clearing and from Shinji. Immediately, Shinji started running after the person.

"Stop right there, I'm a NERV Agent."

Shinji chased the man for what seemed like ten minutes until he came to another clearing, not dissimilar to the one he was in before, except now there was no sign of the man. He was about to continue running after him when Asuka came out of the trees directly in front of him.

"Agent Ikari, what are you doing?"

"There's someone out here, he just ran in the direction you came from."

"But how? I never saw anyone and I've just came directly from the Itou backyard."

Shinji looked up at her confused, he had just ran in a straight line directly from the Itou backyard, so how could he have emerged from the opposite side if he had ran in a straight line?

"Is everything alright, Agent Ikari?"

"I… I just chased him directly from a clearing into this one, in a straight line directly from the Itou backyard."

"That's impossible, I told you I've just came from there."

"I'm telling you, that's what happened."

"He must have led you in a circle or something it's not a big forest if you had ran in a straight line you'd be on a main road by now."

"I suppose you're right, let's go."

Shinji moved over towards Asuka when just as he got to the center of the clearing he noticed something on the floor near him.

"Agent Langley, take a look at this."

"What is it?"

Shinji moved some of the leaves out of the way revealing what appeared to be a piece of paper with a child's handwriting on it, on the corner of the page was a dried orange liquid. On the center of the page was the word…

Sachiel…