Deep within the bowels of Wisconsin, during the hours of the morning/night that even the Almighty doesn't know about yet, a young man sits before a computer screen. The man watches the screen intently, and after some time passes, a twisted smile/smirk touches his lips.

"At long last, it shall no longer be a world according to Anno," he says in quiet voice, "From now on, it shall be a world according to ME."

The young man cackles madly for several seconds, but soon begins choking on some dust that had flown into his mouth. Coughing, he fights to regain the drama of situation, but finds it has completely fled.

"Right then. Time to go to work..."he sighs, and begins typing away at the keyboard in front of him, eyes transfixed on the window to the world he is recreating.


Part First

Thunder rolled through the empty streets of Tokyo-3, while bursts lightning shortly illuminated the otherwise dark skies. A savage storm raged over the fortress city, the worst one to hit it since its construction. The wrath of the storm, however, was meek compared to the wrath of the now very angry Asuka Langley Sorhyu.

"What do you mean we have to walk home?!?!!" the redheaded pilot of Unit 02 exploded over the now cowering form of Shinji Ikari.

"Misato... working... at Nerv..." Shinji stammered helplessly.

"And now we have to walk all the way home... IN THIS?" the fireball of a fourteen year-old girl shouted and pointed at the window, causing Shinji to flinch.

"Sorry..." Shinji stammered, which promptly caused what had become a rather familiar reaction from Asuka.

"What are you APOLOGIZING FOR?!?!?" Asuka shouted ferociously changing the topic to one of the things she found most annoying about poor Shinji.

Shinji eeped as he realized his memory lapse. "Dumkopf! You're impossible!" Asuka growled as she turned her back to him and started walking towards the classroom door.

Shinji sighed, but any relief was short-lived as Asuka spun around to face him again "Well?" she asked with her hands on her hips.

"W-What?" Shinji asked.

"Aren't you coming?" Asuka asked.. Shinji muttered something unintelligible under his breath as he grabbed his stuff from his desk. "What was that, Third Child? I didn't quite hear you."

Shinji met her gaze evenly, strangely unwavering. "I was merely asking myself why you suddenly want me to walk home with you."

Shinji noticed something change in Asuka's eyes, but he couldn't tell what it was though. "What's that supposed to mean?" she asked, sounding indignant.

His eyes remained locked with hers. "Well, you've never really seemed to want me to walk home with you all that much lately...that's all" Asuka's eyes changed again, and this time Shinji recognized the emotion which flashed behind them: anger. Reacting quickly, hoping to escape both her anger and physical harm, he struggled to find something else to say.

Too late. "Don't go getting any funny ideas, idiot." Asuka said, her eyes still flashing dangerously, but for some reason Shinji still refused to look away. Instead he gave her a weak smile.

"I'd never dream of it, Asuka." he said. Asuka blinked as her eyes lost their angry glare, and took on a more uncertain hue. Shinji began walking for the door, having won the staring match.

Not to be outdone by him, Asuka spun on her heel and began walking too.

Shinji stopped at the door and gestured, "Ladies first..."

Asuka looked at him a moment, deciding if he was mocking her or not. She took the third option and chose to ignore Shinji's odd behavior, brushing past him and out the door, Shinji following not far behind.

Rain slashed unmercifully through the air as the two EVA pilots made ready to depart for their apartment. Asuka sighed somewhat unhappily as she looked at the buckets of water falling from the skies. "I guess it would have to rain like this the one day Misato works the afternoon shift." She muttered.

"Here," Shinji said, proffering his school bag/suitcase. "You might be able to use it to keep you dry."

Asuka looked at him incredulously, but took the bag anyway. 'Why is he always so nice to me?' Asuka briefly wondered in the privacy of her mind, and not for the first time.

Without saying a word or sharing a glance of acknowledgment, the two teens sprinted into the rain and wind, running towards the apartment which they called home.

'It's time once again to show my vast superiority.' Asuka thought to herself as they ran. She lengthened her strides and attempted to quicken her pace. 'Eat my dust, third child... Wha?!?' Out of the corner of her eye, Asuka could see that Shinji was still running right along side her. Once again she attempted to increase her speed, but found no matter how fast she tried to go, she could not escape him.

Asuka was paying so much attention to the boy running beside her and not enough to where she herself was going that she slipped on a puddle and lost her footing. She felt the world give way beneath her as she hurtled towards the pavement. It had happened so fast that there was no time to do anything but shut her eyes from what was bound to come.

What came was not the meeting of flesh and concrete that the red headed German had expected. She became aware of something holding her up, which promptly caused her to open her eyes. What she saw was the navy blue pants of the school uniform of Shinji Ikari as his two hands held her underneath her arms to prevent gravity from introducing her to the pavement below.

"What the hell do you think you're doing, you pervert?!?" Asuka asked, referring to proximity of his hands to her female anatomy.

"Mmf mffm mmffa?" came Shinji's muffled reply. Asuka looked up and noticed that she still had the book bag Shinji had offered her in her hands, and it now was fully covering Shinji's face.

Asuka quickly regained her footing and shoved Shinji away from her.

"You okay, Asuka?" Shinji repeated, figuring she hadn't understood him with his book bag on his face.

"I'm fine." Asuka snapped back at him, sounding irritated. She looked at him again, sure that she'd see a mocking look saying: You're lucky I caught you, Sorhyu. The expression she did find on Shinji's face held not even a remote trace of sarcasm or cruelty. His face was a bit red around the nose and forehead, but that was likely the result of her smacking him with the book bag as she fell. The look in his eyes bothered her though. Something about it sent alarm bells off in her head. No one else had ever looked that way at her... besides Shinji. It wouldn't have bothered her so much if she'd only been able to decide what exactly that look meant.

Shinji merely nodded and turned to resume the their trek home.

"When's this stupid storm gonna let up, anyway?" Asuka muttered as she began walking to catch up with him.

Apparently, Fate had decided to answer her question, as they reached edge of the storefront awning they had stopped under, a waterspout released a large blast of water that hit Shinji, thoroughly soaking him. It was mother nature's way of telling her "not anytime soon".

Asuka attempted to stifle her urge to laugh, but a small chuckle managed to slip through her resolve. Shinji apparently heard this, as he stopped spluttering from the impromptu soaking he'd just received and turned to face her. He sighed as a weak smile crossed his face.

Asuka never thought a smile could be disturbing, but the one Shinji gave her was truly vexing.

'He's smiling? Why?' Asuka asked herself as they stood in the pouring rain. 'He just got laughed at after being soaked on accident, and he's smiling?'

"Come on. Let's get home and out of this storm." Shinji said after they stood like that a while. Wordlessly the two Eva pilots continued their hasty journey home through the storm.

* M * I * N * D *

"Emotional confusion processes initiated, development of spinal strength in subject 'Shinji' from prior cranial trauma confirmed, further enhancement to commence according to schedule." The young man sighed as he leaned back from the monitor and keyboard. A twisted smile crept across his countenance once again. "Proceed with planned scenario."

After taking a swallow from a bottle of Mountain Dew, the young man's face becomes a mask of complete concentration, as he leans back over his keyboard and once again begins to reshape the world on his computer screen.

+ G + A + M + E + S +

The two teens burst through the apartment door, glad to at last be away from the rage of mother nature. They simultaneously collapsed in the living room, each panting from their long run home from school. Eventually their breathing returned to normal, but it remained the only sound to be heard in the apartment.

Until Shinji sneezed, that is. The noise shattered the quiet that had settled over the room and prompted Asuka to look over at Shinji for the first time since they had gotten back to apartment. His school shirt clung to him like a transparent plugsuit, and his slacks were several paradoxical shades darker than normal. As Shinji used his index finger to rub at his complaining nose, Asuka noticed that the movement caused rivulets of water to fall from his hair and streak down his face.

"Gesundheit..." Asuka said, on reflex.

"Huh? oh... thanks..." Shinji replied.

"Hey Shinji..." Asuka started after a few seconds of silent contemplation.

Shinji felt his mouth go dry. Oh no... THAT voice... The same one she used that day when she suggested kissing...

"Yes Asuka?" he asked, hoping that his voice wasn't faltering too much.

"Why'd you lend me your bag instead of using it yourself?"

So immense was his relief, Shinji didn't think about what he was going to say for an answer, and thus, he told the truth.

"I didn't want to see you in wet clothes."

To be honest, Asuka wasn't sure of the response she was going to get from Shinji, but she would have never dreamed he'd say that. At first she was shocked, which begot rage, which begot blinding, white-hot fury. 'How... How... How DARE he!?!'

As if on cue, lightning flashed outside as thunder gently jostled the apartment... as if nature herself was reflecting the mood of the German girl.

"What did you say?" Asuka asked in a dangerous voice.

"I said that I didn't want you in wet clothes..." Shinji replied, getting very nervous after he noticed the way Asuka was looking at him and realized what he had said moments earlier.

"And WHAT exactly did you mean by that?" Asuka asked, her voice filled with venom and her eyes with daggers.

"Well... uh..." Shinji started, but then felt something strange stirring in his chest. It felt... odd. It was like something hard pressing against his sternum trying to get out. He was distracted by this new sensation, and again did not pay attention to what his mouth decided he say next."...You see Asuka, I'd rather not see what a drowned rat looks like with a cheap red wig and a girl's school uniform on."

Silence. Asuka's mouth hung open in shock.

'Why the heck did I just say that?' Shinji asked his subconscious desperately. 'Am I that tired of breathing? Forget that 'I mustn't run away' crud... Run like hell!!!'

'How... how could he?... Did he just say?...' Asuka's mind was in state of chaos. So great was her fury that the red head couldn't even form a coherent thought. Her instincts soon took over, urging her to grab the nearest pillow and prepare to give Shinji the bashing he so rightly deserved. Unfortunately, her quarry had noticed her failure to act and decided to make a break for his room. Asuka flung the pillow after him, but was kept from its mark by Shinji's hastily shut door, prompting her to snarl in frustration and anger.

Not wanting to give Shinji the satisfaction of knowing he'd gotten to her, Asuka flipped on the television and grumbled beneath the volume. Finding this to be unsatisfactory after some indeterminate period of time had passed, Asuka decided to slip into to her own room in order to fume properly.

'Idiot-Shinji... where does he get off... How dare he... he...' Asuka growled in frustration as she threw herself onto the futon that was her bed. She grabbed her pillow and began to throttle it as if it were Shinji's neck. It wasn't quite as good as the real deal, but was a satisfying feeling nonetheless. It proved quite therapeutic, in fact.

After choking the life out of the pillow (and then some, considering it was inanimate to begin with), Asuka calmed down some and began to think about just what had made her angry. 'Since when do I care what Idiot-Shinji thinks?' she finds herself asking.

'I don't care what that animated turnip thinks of me...' Asuka responded to herself. 'I'm the Great Asuka Langley Sorhyu! I don't need anybody else! The only opinions that matter at all are my own!'

'But why do I still feel so angry... and... and...' She didn't let herself finish the rest of that thought. Instead, she threw her pillow as hard as she could at her door.

'When did jellyfish-boy grow a spine all of a sudden?' she wondered trying to follow a line of thought that wasn't so introspective. 'He's never stood up for himself like that before now... What changed in him to make him say those things?' Pondering that, Asuka continued to calm down and soon lost interest in fuming and moved on to reading one of her newer magazines.

Shinji, meanwhile, was still pondering what under the heavens could have possibly made him say that. He'd been somewhat depressed lately, but he didn't think that he was suicidal, though his recent behavior would offer a strong argument to the contrary. What else could possibly have explained the insult he'd just dealt the "red haired devil" of 2-A? He then remembered the way he'd felt right before the words had come out of his mouth. Could that have been responsible for his near brush with death?

He glanced at his alarm clock, and saw that it was about time he get around to cooking dinner. He opened his door cautiously, ready for an attack at any second, but none came. Emboldened, Shinji took a step outside his room and glanced around. The TV was on, but Asuka was nowhere to be seen. Letting out a sigh of relief, Shinji set about preparing the day's evening meal.

Trying to avoid sneezing in the food, Shinji cursed himself for remaining in his wet clothes. In all the excitement, he hadn't changed, and thus was very aware of the apartment's every draft. He had later justified his giving Asuka his schoolbag as being an act of gentlemanly conduct, and besides, he didn't want her getting sick if he could prevent it. Good reasons both, though they were attempts at self delusion. Honestly he wasn't really sure as to what had created the urge to act that way towards her. He'd done it on impulse, not even thinking about it, something rather rare for him. That fact bothered him much more than the cold, soggy state he was in, and he felt that he couldn't let it drop until he had it puzzled out.

Shinji was so busy pondering, that he had failed to notice that Asuka had come out of her room and was now standing not very far behind him. Smelling her chance to get some revenge, Asuka crept up silently until she was only two from Shinji's ear. "Let's get one thing straight, third child..." She said in a honeyed voice.

"Gah!!" Shinji half shouted , startled. He spun to face the source of the sound, and was met by the face of his red haired roommate. 'There's something very....evil... about that smirk she's wearing' Shinji decided at that very moment. "Wh-what's that Asuka?" he managed to stammer in response to her earlier statement.

Asuka took another step closer, without breaking the eye contact she'd established, managing to make Shinji even more nervous. "I'm a NATURAL redhead." Asuka stated in a way that she hoped left no room for argument.

'What...What did she mean by that?...' Shinji wondered wildly as his eyes refused to break away from hers.

Asuka noticed the (expected) look of confusion in his eyes and prepared to move in for the kill. "What's the problem, Shinji?" She asked, her voice full of honeyed tones once again.

While Shinji continued to try and puzzle out what the heck was exactly going on here, Asuka gleefully delivered the deathblow. Her eyes slanted seductively and her lips turned up their corners in a lazy smile as she leaned even closer to him. "Do you need... proof, perhaps?" she asked, making her voice as "suggestive" as she could, but unable to restrain the mischief that was twinkling in her eyes.

Suddenly, a buried memory of a conversation he'd heard between Kensuke and Touji about the ways to "distinguish" a female's "natural" hair color surfaced in Shinji's memory. And Asuka had just... and looking at him like... suggesting...

Shinji fought desperately against the furious blush rising to his cheeks and looked away from her in embarrassment and shock. Satisfied, Asuka smirked once again and returned to her earlier abandoned spot in front of the television, leaving poor Shinji still blushing and the ramen overcooking.

'No matter how much of a spine he might grow,' Asuka thought to herself smugly, 'he'll never be invulnerable to that particular attack.'

Shinji looked on as Asuka turned away. 'That was... odd.' he thought to himself as he watched her. Her behavior mystified him. Was she merely toying with him, or was she... nah, couldn't be. There was no way she had any such inclination.

'She can be real nice at times, though... but at others, she's a real pain. What goes on in that mind of hers?' He sighed as he turned back to his cooking. 'I'll probably never know...'

+ M + I + N + D +

Sighing the young man leans back from his computer screen and rubs his eyes to exorcize the weariness that plagues them. "That's enough of that." he says as he fights back a yawn. After taking another dose of carbohydrate and caffeine saturated soft drink, he shakes his head to clear the cobwebs, then returns once more to his all-business attitude.

"All right." he says with renewed vigor in his voice, "Let's get some action going on here, shall we?"

The sound of fingertips tapping away at a keyboard fills the otherwise silent bedroom, as the young man continues to play god over the unfortunate EVA pilots.

* G * A * M * E * S *

In the skies above Tokyo-3, amongst the dark forest of clouds, lurked a threat even more dangerous than the severe weather conditions. It had remained undetected, watching as the storm beat down upon the fortress-city of humanity. But recently, it had grown... well, for lack of a better term... bored with its present situation. Its mission was not scheduled for this particular time... but what was the harm in causing a bit of mayhem to help pass the time while it waited?

Perhaps it should have asked the HQ's on-duty staff about that question...

Alarms and Klaxons suddenly filled the air adding to the panicked, desperate atmosphere of NERV's headquarters. Only moments before, Makoto Hyuga had been relaxing at his post, reading his magazine, not a worry in the world. The MAGI were running smoothly, the EVA's were tucked in their cages, God was in his Heaven and all was right in the world. The sudden commotion startled him, causing him to drop his magazine and knock over his still-hot coffee, which promptly fell into his lap (Yeowch!!!). Before he could do anything about it though, the object of his private romantic fantasies, the infamous Major Katsuragi, came running into the Command Center. 'God, you must really hate me...' he thought to himself and the aforementioned divinity as he struggled to stifle his yelp of pain and surprise.

"Situation!" Misato demanded immediately.

Shigeru was the one to respond. "Target appeared out of the clouds. Sensors aren't giving much of anything else other than the fact that some strange body of energy/matter is there... the storm seems to be causing too much interference."

"Is it an angel?" Misato queried, turning in Maya's direction.

"Unconfirmed." Maya responded looking up from her station, "The MAGI are all withholding judgement without further data."

"Damn!" Misato swore. 'This situation seems to be too eerily familiar. . .'

"Have the EVAs prepped for launch immediately." Misato ordered. "How soon can we get the pilots here?"

"Section two operatives have already picked them up and are en route." Shigeru reported. "ETA is fifteen seconds."

"What's the status of the civilian evacuation?" she asked

"Sector five's evac should be complete in about forty-five seconds," replied Maya, "Surrounding sectors should be finished evacuating in about three minutes."

Misato could only nod. "Here we go again..." she muttered under her breath.

Not much later, all three EVA pilots were suited up and in their entryplugs, hurriedly reviewing what little data on the target was available on their HUD. Misato soon appeared over the command center's com channel.

"You'll be deployed around the target in order to use your EVA's sensors to triangulate the target's exact position using the MAGI. You'll be armed, but you ARE NOT to engage the target unless given orders to do so. Understood?"

All three pilot's confirmed. Misato gave them a weak smile, letting some the real her self out past her serious military persona. "Be careful out there, you three."

"Don't worry about us, Misato," Asuka said, with sarcasm obvious in her voice, "After all, we have the Invincible Shinji here to save us, right?"

Misato was about to reprimand Asuka, but the unthinkable happened.

"And don't you ever forget it, Asuka." Shinji said, his voice uncharacteristically confident as smug smile faintly touched his facial features. 'Where the hell did that come from?' Asuka, Misato, and Shinji asked themselves at the exact same time.

Hoping she'd be able to avoid NERV's further embarrassment by its pilots Misato gave the order that was sure to shut them up for a bit. "LAUNCH EVAS!!"

Arriving on the now-barren streets of Tokyo-3, Shinji surveyed the skies, noticing how much the pelting rain on the bio-mechanoid's optical sensors were interfering with visibility. 'State of the art technology... yet it hasn't any windshield wipers...' he thought to himself with an inward smile.

"Shinji..." Misato's voice came over the com channel, "Proceed northeast by a bearing of forty-five degrees. We're going to try to close on the target's position to better pinpoint its location, as the EVAs' sensor readings still aren't enough to get an accurate position due to the storm. Asuka is approaching the same relative position from east of yours, and Rei will do likewise from the northeast."

"Confirmed." Shinji responded. Taking the rifle issued from the nearby armament building, Shinji proceeded to do as he had been told.

Back in the command center, Dr. Ritsuko Akagi frowned perplexedly at the data being fed to her by the console's view screen. "This can't be right... No storm could wreak this much havoc with the sensor network, no matter how bad. Something else has got to causing this interference."

Misato looked over at her friend, rather disturbed by this new information. "Could something be interfering with the MAGI's sensory link?" Misato asked, keeping her voice steady and serious, not betraying the slightest hint of the worry that she truly felt from this situation.

Ritsuko shook her head in reply. "Not unless its something completely unknown to modern physics." she informed her dark haired friend. "Mother was very thorough about shielding both the MAGI and its linkage networks against any and all known direct and indirect interference."

"Oh..." Misato said, a bit at a loss as to what Ritsuko had meant by all that.

"Though..." Ritsuko continued, "That very well could possibly be the case. We are nowhere near to being fully aware of what the Angel's are capable of doing."

"So you think it's the Angels, then?"

The corner Ritsuko's mouth curled up into sarcastic smirk as if to say 'What else could it be?'

Misato merely shrugged, then returned her attention to the operation. "Shinji, change your heading by fifteen degrees to your right." she said over the com channel.

"O-Okay, Misato." he replied, his voice betraying the slight nervousness he felt.

'I really hate the silence... It reminds me too much of father...' Shinji thought to himself as he had Unit One peek around the building it was using as cover. Shrugging off that thought and berating himself for a moment for letting his mind wander, Shinji adjusted Unit-01's heading and continued towards the expected position of the target.

Unit-01 wove through the streets moving as fast it could while remaining relatively quiet(for a huge bio-mechanical war machine, anyway). The EVA soon ducked behind another building for cover from detection. While waiting a few seconds before moving again, Shinji's thoughts took the opportunity to stray from piloting. 'Are we going to fight another angel? They've never behaved so subversively before... Could it possibly be something besides an angel? But what?'

"Ayanami?" Shinji asked , opening the com channel between the EVAs. "Have you seen or detected anything yet?"

"No." the enigmatic pilot of Unit-00 responded, her voice as monotone as usual.

Shinji frowned slightly... They should have been getting close enough to get some sort of indication on what sort of opponent they were facing. Closing the com channel with, he immediately set about opening another to Unit-02 and Asuka.

"What do you want?" the red haired pilot asked, using a rather unfriendly tone of voice.

Shinji ignored it. "Have you detected anything more from the target?" he asked.

"No. Why?"

Shinji sighed... He didn't have any idea as to why he was asking. "Something about this just... bothers me, I guess." he replied.

"I think you're just thinking too much..." Asuka said, " usual."

Shinji had Unit-01 repeat the process of dodging from its position to behind another building before replying to her. "Maybe... but doesn't something feel rather odd about this?"

"No." Asuka lied. Actually, she did have a nagging feeling that something didn't feel right, but she sure as hell wasn't going admit that to him at the moment. Knowing that Shinji had probably seen right through her, she tried to cover it up. "Well, at least not any odder than all the other Angel attacks that have happened."

"When you put it that way, I guess you've got a pretty good point..." Shinji said, still sounding not totally convinced.

'Then again, since when is Shinji ever completely sure about anything?' Asuka asked herself

"You should be getting within range to get a visual." Misato's voice came over the com channel, snapping the red-haired girl back to reality. Her senses immediately went on full-alert, expecting a possible opponent from any direction. But nothing came.

Calling up the mapping data being produced by the MAGI on her HUD, Asuka tried to get an idea as to where she should be expecting the target from. A street level map came into existence before her, showing her position and those of the other EVAs, as well as a highlighted portion, a circular shape about two scale square miles in area, identified simply as "target area A." The blinking red dot that was her was on the very edge of this area. 'If its somewhere in there, why can't I see it yet?' Asuka wondered, beginning to feel a little more than just worried.

Back in NERV's nerve-center, Misato was mercilessly chewing on her lip in frustration and worry. "What the hell is going on here?!" she muttered looking at the situation map. "The EVAs should be right on top of the thing right now! We still can't even get a direct reading on the target."

For the second time in a half-hour, alarms, bells, whistles, and seventy-six trombones went off throughout the underground headquarters of NERV.

"We've got a confirmation on a pattern : blue." Hyuga shouted over the noisy racket that now filled the command station.

Fate definitely had a perverted sense of humor today.

"Shinji! Asuka! Rei! It's been confirmed as an Angel!" Misato said over the com channel, sounding much more calm than she really was, "Prepare to engage!"

"Um...uh... M-Misato??" Shinji stuttered inquiringly.


"What exactly are we supposed to engage?!?" Asuka growled before Shinji could say anything more.

Misato had not expected an outburst from Asuka, and was both shocked and confused by it. "Wha..?"

"There's not a hide nor hair of anything even remotely resembling an angel out here!" Asuka grumbled.

"How's this possible?" Misato asked looking over to Ritsuko. The blond scientist only shrugged in response. 'Fat lot of help you are today, Ritsuko...' Misato mentally grumbled as she quickly threw together a battle plan.

"Units -01 and -02 are to proceed as a pair into the target zone as Unit-00 continues its own approach from the north." Misato ordered over the com channel. "Whatever happens, do not engage the angel alone. I repeat, no solo attack is to be executed."

"Just great. Not only do I have to play hide' n' seek with an angel, I have to do it with Shinji-Idiot!" Asuka complained, thumbing the rifle's safeties off.

"Sorry," she heard Shinji's voice say right before the purple form of Unit-01 appeared beside her, seemingly out of nothing. Asuka was so surprised she nearly dropped her rifle on her EVA's foot. 'How the hell did he DO that?!?' Asuka wondered as she tried to regain her composure.

"Never mind!" Asuka snapped at him. " Let's just get going, alright?"

"Okay, but would you like point?"

Asuka thought about for a second, and concluded that there was no good reason that she shouldn't take it. She confidently took the lead, leaving Shinji to watch her rear.

'He'd like that, wouldn't he?' Asuka smirked as they began their advance into enemy territory. 'Stupid pervert... Well, at least he was smart enough to leave the point position to those best suited for it.'

Shinji could not shake the feeling of uneasiness that he'd had ever since being deployed on the surface. 'Something... unpleasant is going to happen... and I think it's going to be soon.' To make things worse, the rain had picked up, and it was making it hard for even the EVA's to see more than a couple of hundred yards in front of them.

Shinji would never be sure as to what had made him look up at that exact moment, but he had. A glowing shape had descended from the dark clouds and was bearing down on their position. "Asuka!" was all he managed to shout before his reflexes opened fire on the approaching enemy. Though his EVA's aim was unerring, the projectiles merely exploded harmlessly upon contacting what could only have been an AT field.

'How did it get so close to us without being detected?' Asuka wondered as she spun and brought her firearm to bear on the approaching menace. Expanding her Unit's own AT field to maximum she too opened fire. Again the explosive rounds used as projectiles detonated harmlessly against the barrier the target projected around itself.

Back in the control room, Misato could only watch as the two pilots empty their ammo clips on the target without having any effect. "Units -01 and -02, withdraw to the nearest armament building immediately!" she ordered.

"Major!" Maya exclaimed, sounding alarmed "We're receiving some strange energy fluctuations emanating from the target! It looks as if it might be preparing to launch some sort of attack!"

"Shinji! Asuka! Get out of their NOW!" Misato yelled into the com channel.

Asuka had noticed the glow of the Angel growing brighter, and knew what was bound to follow. She dove behind a nearby building, catching out of the corner of her eye Unit-01 doing the same. A brilliant flash of light seared her retinas, temporarily blinding her for a few seconds. When she regained her eyesight the angel was now floating the sky in front of her, its glow slowly growing stronger as it glowered down at her.

Asuka moved to evade once more, but was brought up short. Her power cable was stuck! She engaged the emergency cable ejection system, but precious time had already been lost. The Angel was about to open fire once more.

Shinji saw Unit-02's cable become stuck and knew Asuka wouldn't be able to get away in time. Without thinking for a moment on what he was going to do, Shinji leapt into action.

It was as if time had slowed to crawl. The Angel flared with an amazing brilliance as it sent a lance of light towards her at a snail's pace. She tried to dodge, but it was if she were trying to move underwater... her EVA just wouldn't get out of the way in time. The light was just about to hit her when she saw the form of Unit-01 appear in front of her.

Suddenly time snapped back to its normal rate of progression, at which point Unit-01 impacted with Unit-02, knocking it backwards, leaving Unit-01 to take the brunt of the blow. Asuka heard a scream that made her blood run cold as Unit-01 fell to its knees clutching its head in pain.

Asuka gaped in horror. "Shinji!" she shouted, his screams sounding as if he were being slowly ripped apart. She wanted to run, look away, to close her eyes. She could do nothing though, and thus stood helplessly as the light engulfed Unit-01's prostrate form and struck her as well. As it hit Asuka felt as if every nerve in her body had become afire with exquisite pain. She saw everything go white as the LCL became filled with the sounds of exultant singing.

And then the world faded to black...

* Non-Story content beyond this point *
For goddess's sake man, click the Back button!
Click the Back button while you still can!!

: A few Quick Notes from the Author :

For those that might be wondering, this begins not long after the defeat of the twelfth Angel, shortly before the Loss of EVA Unit-04. If you intend to sue over using these characters I'll simply plead insanity, so really, what's the use? Besides, Gainax and Anno should be happy their production inspired me enough to put the time, effort, and energy into writing this piece of fiction.

I'll try to release a chapter every week or so, but realistically it'll be every two weeks or so. I hope. Since I'm working two jobs right now, I don't have all that much time to myself. I seem to remember a thing called 'sleep'... It was supposed to be done at night I think. But that can't be right, can it? Night is the time I'm at my computer ... I'm so confused....

Sorry about that. I'll warn you now that this story might play with your heads a bit more than your used to seeing. Sorry, but didn't you see the title? It's all in good fun and you shouldn't suffer any permanent or irreparable damage from reading. Just in case though, I'm claiming non-liability for any traumas that reading might incur, so send your therapy bills to your health insurance company and leave me alone. I've got enough of my own to pay.

With that out of the way, I'd like to thank in advance any of those of you who review this piece. Not only does your criticism improve my writing, but it provides the necessary encouragement to keep on going. I even enjoy getting flames (the more combustible the better), as they let me know that at least someone took the time to at least look at it and react to it. So, if you're so inclined, leave me a review, or email me, send messenger pigeons, use smoke signals, call me at home in the middle of dinner, because any sort of feed back is appreciated more than you could possibly know.