Chapter 2: Father Knows Best
(GEHRIN, Geofront, Hakone)
The large room was filled with scurrying people. It normally was a bright room, but the light had been halved in a preemptive strike against the surety of the overloaded generators that were to come. Five people sat to the rear and above issuing orders
"MAGI's radar stations place target at Mark… three, three, two, seven point… six, one, eight," a radar tech with glasses said, viewing the ticker tape that rolled out of his station.
Several women with headphones covering their ears and T-shaped sticks in their hand moved a peg on a large, table-top map that represented an angel whenever they attacked.
Gendo Ikari, the supreme commander of GEHRIN, nodded, "Scramble fighter squadrons three through twenty to slow the angel down, also ready bomber squadron eight for a run."
The women placed new pegs on the huge, back-lit map that represented the squadrons; there were perhaps fifty fighters in all.
"So Ikari," one of the three Japanese generals, or Taishos, that sat next to him –at the moment- mockingly deplored, "You finally decided to show a little sense and use the best that Humanity has to offer."
Gendo glared at them, he already didn't like them when they had scoffed at radio waves being used in such a way- the fools thought it best to try(and fail) to build a death ray with the waves, "It is not the best. We can only slow down the angel with conventional weapons."
"That is correct," said a borderline elderly man with more salt than pepper in his hair sitting on the other side of the Commander, "It has an AT-field."
"But the Second Manifestation of fifteen years ago…"
A phone rang on the counter in front of Gendo, interrupting the General's rant before it could start, he picked it up and listened a moment, "Understood… Alright, I'll be there shortly." Then he turned to the man who had taken up in his defense, "Fuyutsuki, take care of this please."
"Yes sir. Might I ask why you are leaving at this time?"
"The American ships are here. The Italian is here as well, they're firing at the angel."
Vice-Commander Fuyutsuki's eyebrow rose slightly as Gendo left through an elevator, "Oh? Let's hope for the best then. And your first meeting with him in seven years, I wonder what Yui would have said…"
"Damn, we're in a tight spot," Kurt swore.
Shinji had to agree with him, the green behemoth stood between them and a stolid looking harbor.
Japanese Zeros buzzed and strafed around the being of green like bothersome mosquitoes; their bullets' damage was about the same as a mosquito bite… most likely less… against the field of orange hexagons that flashed as each bullet and shell slammed into it.
The monster stepped out of the water and onto the beach; revealing shoe-like feet. The things legs and waist seemed freakishly skinny and fragile to be holding up such massive amounts of weight that was held in the bulky torso. White shoulder armor made of what appeared to be bone made the creature look like a sort of knight. Red gills fluttered on the legs and on the upper arms; opening and closing, opening and closing, like a fish gasping for a breath of cold, clear water.
The same ossified material that made the shoulders made the face as well. An owl face that stared out with two black holes that was placed directly onto the shoulders, no neck whatsoever. A red orb jutted from the stomach while several rib like structures flanked it like fangs.
The Boston accelerated suddenly, throwing Shinji and Kurt off-balance for a moment. The cruiser bounded over the waves as it sped to the harbor, firing as it went.
As the Boston ran across the waves, the Tiamat followed. And the Italian ship covered them.
A sailor poked his head out of a hatch and told them that they were insane for staying topside; but, insane or not, the Captain had ordered them inside because they had to make a quick disembark and they needed to have done it yester… The sailor was cut off as the shrieking, flaming wreck of a Zero crashed into the water next to them, destroyed by a rod of vibrating light that projected out of the three-fingered hand. Anyways they needed to have done it yesterday since the Tiamat was coming in right behind them to unload their cargo.
"What are you waiting for! Get in here quickly!"
Kurt glanced back at the angel, "You know," he remarked, "I think that I'll be getting inside quickly."
"Ringo! Wait for me! Mamá will be mad at me if you get lost!" a boy of about six, Jaíme was his name, yelled ahead to his mostly tan mutt.
Ringo looked back, wagged his tail, and barked once as if to say hurry up then! I'm really old compared to you, so you should be leaving ME in the dust! And the floppy-eared mongrel was old, 81, in dog-years to be exact, and didn't have many more left. One could see that in its, surprisingly agile, arthritic gait and the milky cataracts in its eyes that it might have been more merciful to take Ringo in a nice, quiet field and euthanize him. But, to Jaíme, Ringo was immortal since the dog had been around when he was born.
However, the dog's youth, or lack of it, is not of our concern. What we ARE here to see is the fact that Ringo strayed from the path and Jaíme followed.
That is what led to the most influential discovery in the history of Earth…
"Ringo, come on!"
Again, the dog barked, this time without even turning around. And then he disappeared over a grass-covered hill.
Sighing in exasperation, Jaíme trudged along after the prodigal hound.
And tripped over something that was the size of an aluminum can… above ground.
"Oof!" the boy cried as he face-planted into the ground. He picked himself off the painful earth and brushed himself off (ignoring the grass-stains, but all boys instinctively ignore grass-stains until their mother's scolding). Looking around in a mild state of confusion as to what tripped him, the boy found a protrusion of brushed metal that jutted out like a flattened tooth amongst a clump of weeds. He briefly wondered what it was.
Inquisitive, Jaíme reached out and touched it.
Something that felt like a lightning bold flooded, unseen, out of the piece and coursed up the boy's arm, filling his mind with greenness.
Jaíme quickly snapped away from the piece of metal and staggered backwards, tripping over his own feet.
After picking himself back up the second time, Jaíme again wondered what it was; a secret Allied bunker perhaps, or maybe a treasure chest, or maybe some enemy of a mob boss' grave.
Yes, the grave idea had to be it. It would explain (to his wildly imaginative mind) the nearly psychic shock; it had to be bones, crying out for justice. (Aren't little children the most easily susceptible to the wild fancies?)
Jaíme almost made the decision to run away then, but something made him stay. Again he reached out and caressed the brushed metal.
No tingle. No shock.
The boy then tried to pry the hunk out of the ground, but it was as solid as mother-rock and wouldn't budge. Jaíme started to trench around it to see if he could dig it out.
Ringo rustled through the grass next to the boy and did something that scared his companion.
The dog growled at the hunk of metal like it was a thief in the night.
"Ringo? What's wrong?"
The dog shied away from the object; if Ringo had been a younger dog, he may have gone past growling and into the barking and biting stage… but he did not, so the boy stayed.
Jaíme started to seriously dig around the thing with his hands, getting to about elbow-depth before he had to stop for the evening, and whatever it was hadn't been fully uncovered yet.
After he ran home and washed for supper (and his mother's cries of what on EARTH did you do to get like this!), he excitedly told his parents that he had found something large and valuable in the hills.
The boy was wrong; it wasn't just merely large, it was GARGANTUAN.
And beneath the façade of brushed metal, it was dangerous…
The hook of the port's crane descended into the belly of the Tiamat. After a moment taken for the dock-men to set the hook, the crane hauled out a large object covered in olive-drab canvas. "Get that to the launch tube!" ordered a bearded man with shaded glasses to the GEHRIN dockers.
Shinji's heart and face fell, what was this man doing here?
Kurt, misreading Shinji's expression, said, "Don't worry, I'm sure we'll win."
Stunned, Shinji asked, "What do you mean?"
The albino boy pointed at the covered load, it was, at most, half the size of the green behemoth, "You mean, you weren't worried about that?"
"No," was all he said… all he could say before the bearded man walked up to them. He didn't want to be around this man.
"Kurt, Shinji," the man greeted with a certain dourness that seemed to be more of an aura than an actual expression.
Kurt used the little Japanese he knew to stammer some response back.
Shinji waited until Kurt finished speaking then he said two words and two words only; then he looked down at his feet, unable to raise his eyes to the man's. Why did he always feel this way around him? Ashamed, broken, and used; those feelings were always strong around this man.
The two words were "Hello Father" of course.
Gendo Ikari stared at him with stone eyes, "If you two would follow me please," he finally ordered.
Shinji's father led them to a car with bulletproof windows, (it was easy to tell that because the glass was flat instead of curved, and a good inch or so thick) and bade them to enter.
The bearded man crawled into the front passenger seat; leaving the driver's side, at the moment, unoccupied.
"I wonder who's driving?" Kurt whispered to Shinji in English.
Gendo glared daggers back at the albino boy, making Kurt shrivel against the leather seat, "Tell your… companion," he nearly spat at Shinji, "that it is mandatory for him to learn Japanese."
Shinji nodded, but his heart and stomach clenched, partly because of the proximity to his father and partly because of dread for the ride ahead.
He translated what his father said to the albino boy.
"Hai," responded Kurt, holding up the English-Japanese dictionary- probably more for the benefit of Gendo then for Shinji, "I am trying though."
At that moment a woman entered the driver's seat, a woman whose color-scheme was predominantly red with let-down hair that shined purple in the right light. She appeared uneasy, almost afraid.
"Hello you two!" she greeted in Japanese with a false smile and exuberance, "I see that you have already met Commander Ikari, so let me introduce myself as Captain Katsuragi, or Misato if you prefer, and…"
"Sit down Captain, we don't have much time," the bespectacled man interrupted.
"Yes sir," then she leaned down and whispered into Gendo's ear, "Are you sure we can trust them?"
"We have to," was the answer that came back.
Shinji, who had heard nothing of the short exchange except his father's line, saw Misato's suspicious eyes graze across him and Kurt. Why doesn't she like us? He thought, he then answered himself, we're Americans, that's why.
Then why is she looking at me more than him?
That was when he realized that whatever happened after this, he would be either be clamored for by the representatives of both sides of the war or hated by everyone.
Either way, his life was about to get worse.
"Right well, let's get out of here!" Misato yelled before speeding off the dock and past the angel like a rum runner running from the law.
But even as she made a wild turn that would make an adrenaline junkie scream in total sheer terror, Shinji found himself asking a question, how the hell did his father get his seatbelt on so quickly?
Ranchoth: You do bring up a point, with Asuka I mean since Shinji is a Japanese-American, the reason why she has a Japanese name? I goofed. Forgot about that little bit… But maybe I can work it in as a plot point… Thanks for pointing it out though; I wouldn't have caught it otherwise.
DarklightZERO: Don't worry, the OC's won't be stereotypes, and they will be picked apart in true Eva fashion. The next time I'm in England (in two weeks); I'll be looking at the people and studying them for examples to draw from now. Thanks for being concerned though. That tells me you like this lil' tale.
The-Xenocide: Long days and pleasant nights to you, O' fellow Constant Reader! I won't give out answers too soon as that would kill the suspense, drive away the mystery, make this not as interesting, etc… But, there ARE answers out there… somewhere… I think.
Rose1948: Thank you!
Crystalline Virtues: I will delve deep soon enough, I'm just following the Evangelion Rule: Action First To Get Them Hooked, Then Psychology To Bamboozle Them. Thank you too!