This is Tokyo 3 Part Two

-o-

-o-

Makoto Hyuga considered himself a normal person. He grew up in a normal way, tried to excel in school in a normal way, got hired into a secretive paramilitary organization in a distressingly normal way (he looked up wanted ads and submitted his resume to a hiring agent). He had normal hobbies, and normal dreams.

Getting between Misato Katsuragi's legs is also a perfectly normal desire. Major Katsuragi liked to walk around in that little miniskirt, and nearly every male and not just a few female employees were easily distracted by her lithe figure walking by. Makoto's main difference is that his rational mind is saying 'she's waaay out of your league, man' while his heart wants to damn the torpedoes and try to charm his superior officer anyway.

It should be noted by now that the reason why Makoto Hyuga and Maya Ibuki had imprinted on their respective superior officers and not each other was that they were simply too similar. And also why Shigeru Aoba still dreams of making it big as a rock star. In the end they all moved in fantasies and not in the daily tide of their seemingly useless lives. Souls forever lost in the terrifying freedom of their existence.

Until the Angel attack, of course, in which case it suddenly became too exciting.

A building beside the EVa opened up to reveal a weapons cache. The Evangelion took out the Assault Rifle analogue and moved sideways along the row of buildings. Misato at some point convinced the others it might not be a good idea for an Eva to keep emerging in full view of the Angel it's going to attack. Whose idea was it anyway to have the Eva emerge right behind Sachiel?

"Remember, Shinji!" Misato spoke over the link. "Spread your AT-field!"

"Yes, Misato-san!" It has an AT-field. I have an AT-field. Just like practice. Neutralize. Neutralize.

He searched around in his mind, but other than the Eva's continuing pain and impatience, there was no one. He would for the first time fight alone.

Unit 01 stepped out of cover and burst at the Angel. Shinji burned the clip through, gritting his teeth all the while. Die. Die. Die, here. Die quickly.

"Shinji! What are you doing? You're just clouding up the target!"

The pilot blinked. "Wha-"

Lashes of energy emerged whiplike from the dust cloud, only narrowly avoided. The Eva's weapon broke apart in the Evangelion's hands, razor-edged energy whips slicing through the thick metal stock with contemptous ease. Unit-01 backpedaled quickly. "Misato-san!"

"We're giving you a reserve rifle. Take it!"

The Unit 01 began to run, and raged at itself. It longed to leap at the enemy and tear it to shreds. Those energy feelers, however, could counter that even before Evangelion could get near. This was [SHAMSEL]. Where the previous Angel was a force, its odd appearance leveraged finesse.

'It's like... purpose-built to defeat us.' Shinji thought. 'They learn. They want to kill us.'

Unit 01 stopped suddenly at reaching a particular building of no apparent note. It pivoted on its heel and reached out with its left hand towards the Angel. Shinji extended his AT-field. To someone who had made, maintained and still conversed with secondary entities in his mind, the feel of the AT field was also familiar. It was like filling a hollow. It was like reaching the top of a mountain. It was like living in light.

The whiplike appendages of Shamsel passed through his invisible AT field and very nearly sliced him from shoulder to hip.

The Eva leapt side and rolled. Behind it, the building was torn apart. The Angel continued to lash away at the Evangelion, slicing away entire blocks of buildings in its frenzied chase.

'It knows our AT field!' Shinji screamed to the Evangelion. 'It erodes it, it gets through! This thing is made like nothing else in the world to destroy me!' Fear gripped him. 'Anyone? Anyone! How can I possibly defeat this?'

"Keep your head, Shinji! The rifle! The rifle!"

Shinji could only run on. Anyone? HELP! I can't... I have no power alone! What should I do?

A strange thought entered him. Is this the day?

-o-

-o-

"At this noon, a state of special emergency has been declared all over Kanto and Chubu districts around Tokai district. More detailed information will be reported as soon as it is received." the announcement was repeated over and over.

Inside the shelter, Toji groaned. "It's nothing but a blank screen again."

Kensuke was fiddling around with his camera. On the small replay screen, he saw the confused shaky images of Tokyo 3's current journalistic hero and his past borderline suicidal tendencies. This bootleg video was not subject to NERV's media blackout.

'My god! My god! What is that thing? Holy shit! It just took out all of Mizuhara Street!'

There was running. The video stopped and resumed at some point on an unknown rooftop. In the distance grappled sticklike figures.

'That's... what's it doing? It's useless!'

Bright flashes and the cameraman scurrying back inside. Cut to black, then switch on.

'It... it's arms are gone and it's - that's a headbutt! It headbutted it again! What the fu-"

Kensuke closed his eyes. He mouthed the words of the man, having the entire video already memorized in his mind. 'It's dead. Now, we're done for. Masako. Dear, if you somehow get this, I'm sorry for being so stupid. I pray you keep little Akane safe, and that she never marries a stupid fool like me. May the gods in heaven have mercy on all our souls.'

Then 'It's not dead? It's not dead! It's a miracle! It's...'

Roar! Crash. Boom. Wham. Stomp. Stomp. Stomp. Stomp. Shronk! whapoom! A long silence. Roar! Shronk! Spow! Shronk! Shronk! Shronk! Spow! Spow! splinkt! Roar! Ker-phom!

The camera-carrying man cowered under cover, exposing only his head to the action that is shattering buildings and causing sluicing shockwaves through the city streets.

'That was a -monster- headbutt. Whoever's in that thing is -insane-! This has to be the most insanely awesome thing I've ever seen! It's - aah god! I'm blind!"

The man still had his head all covered in bandages. They said he might never recover full use of his left eyeball. "It was worth it." the man said later.

Kensuke sighed.

It was hard to imagine their thin, somewhat shadowy classmate as the one responsible for such brutal carnage. The circumstances fit. He just desperately wanted it to be so, for Shinji seemed to him as like him; another reject, another weak-handed shiftless dreamer. He certainly looked it, always staring off into the distance. Like Rei.

And it turns out they're both pilots.

Was this some cruel joke of fate? If they could be pilots, what prevented him from being one? He might secretly be one savage monster inside, given the right circumstances to express it.

He prodded his friend with his foot. Toji, trying to sleep there on the floor, opened one eye and looked up. "Whaaa...?"

"I gotta talk to you." said Kensuke. "Alone."

"Now?"

"Yeah..."

Toji sighed and raised his hand. "Hey, class rep! Hey!"

"What?" Hikari looks up, exasperated, from her conversation with a few female friends.

"Me and Kensuke are going to the toilet, is that all right?" They were already at the door.

"Suzuhara! Why didn't you do it before you left? So troublesome..."

-o-

The teens did use the bathroom, though. Part of that was true. They really should have gone before they left.

While facing the urinal, Kensuke said in an odd tone "Toji, we... we're friends, right?" he asked. "Well, just before we die, I'd like... if we could..."

Toji zipped his pants up in a hurry. "Um. Yeah, 'suke, we're friends. Maybe even close friends, but... no. Just no! I'm not into that!"

Kensuke turned his head, with a confused look on his face. Then, stricken. Then, he began to bang his head against the bathroom wall. He zipped up his pants then pointed at Toji without looking. "It is because we're friends that I'm not revealing my previously unknown and unprecedented berserker personality and KILLING you. I am ignoring that part of the conversation."

He pushed away from the urinal and glared ineffectually. "Did you really thi- no. No thoughts. Such
thoughts will involve me putting a sniper round into your brain in the near future. My GOOD friend Toji."

Toji scratched at the side of his chin, embarrassed. "So... what did you want to talk about?"

"I want to see it even only once before my death." said Kensuke in all seriousness. "I want to behold such power and awesomeness before I die.

Toji felt the ground shake. "The battle above? "

The bespectacled teen nodded. "I want to bear as witness to such the terrible glory of humanity."

"Kensuke... what a guy."

"If I miss this chance, I might not ever..." He bowed. "So, please help me unlock the gate."

"If you go out, you'll be killed."

"Since we're here in the shelter, I wonder if we'll survive. Since I may be killed anyway, I want to see it before then." He was disturbingly cheerful about it.

Toji resisted the urge to punch him the face. "Don't be a fool! What do you think NERV is for?"

"Well, what do you think that fighting machine of NERV is for? You didn't seem to have much confidence in it. That robot the transferee pilots. He didn't have to, but without him we could all have died! And you would have hit him." Kensuke paused there. "If we weren't afraid Ayanami would just beat the crap out of us."

"I'm not afraid of no girl..." Toji huffed, shoving his hands into his jacket pockets.

"Toji, she's a girl. She could spend all day kicking your ass and you can't do anything about it without being the bad guy. We could ask for help from class rep, I suppose, but then she'd likely just call you an idiot and join in."

Toji looked like a jock, but was after all the son of NERV scientists. He nodded under the terrifying logic of it.

"So, in the interests of keeping our posteriors unbruised, don't you think it's our duty to go out there and see for ourselves, before judging others?"

Toji groaned and turned to the window slit of the bathroom. Outside, the sky was just starting to change color. "I suppose there's no other choice. You are really faithful to your desires, aren't you?"

"Aheheh... life is too short to waste."

"You do know that doesn't make sense with what we're going to do, right?"

"Toji! We must reach for our dreams! That is the essence of youth! Our blood must be hot!" He lifted a fist to the air. "This is the power of youth! Toji! Toji? Hey! Don't leave me here!"

-o-

-o-

The two teens ran up the steps to the top of a hill. There, they saw Unit 01 already fighting, and ineffectually, the Angel. Kensuke wanted power, and here it was, all bright and terrible as the painstaking constructs of man collapsed with but a touch. The Evangelion drove its hands into a building, not even waiting for it to open and took out an oversized rifle. It fled again, and grabbed another rifle from another cache; this one having opened just in time. Unit 01 surrendered even more space, then turned suddenly to burst at it with dual-wielded guns. The shots merely sparked off direct hits to the red Angel core.

The Angel lashed out, and tore a chunk of Unit 01's arm armor as it tried to defend itself. Purplish blood stained nearby whitewashed buildings.

"It's no good!" Shinji screamed at the control center. "These guns are useless! We both have our AT-fields down, but either it's just armored too well or it's healing too fast for me to tell. I need something bigger!"

Misato turned to Ritsuko. "We have a missile launcher, don't we?"

"It's at location 46-B-4." Makoto helpfully put in. "But we only have two shots."

"Then we must make them count." It's not like we have a giant cannon the size of a mountain down here in Geofront that could help. "No AT fields? And still this? How is that possible, Ritsuko?"

"I don't know. As... Shinji... has said, either its armor is just that good, or it's ability to heal far surpasses that of an Eva. Or a second layer of an AT-field. We just don't know."

He had to fight three battles at once. First and most immediate, was of course the Angel. The second was the rising urge to panic, to run away and hide curled over somewhere. The third was to supress the tactically deficient bloodlust of the Evangelion, so eager to just charge in and claw, kill, devour the enemy.

The Evangelion began to resort to leaping upon the tops of buildings to get away, like a Spider-man, and unfortunately leaving an even greater trail of destruction at its wake. "I... I can't do this... being such a coward... where are you?" Shinjis words were barely picked up at the control center. "Father...!"

Her heart went out to him. "Oh, Shinji-kun..." cooed both Misato and Maya. We must be the monsters, to force him into doing this.

Actually, Shinji's thoughts were more like:

"I can't do this... not with such limited equipment! To sacrifice the safety of the human race just to advance your own agenda... how, how could that be? What being would do that than... such a coward. Right now when we're fighting for our lives and those we care for... where are you? Father! How dare you do this?! Stop disappointing me, Gendo Ikari!"

-o-

"What... what's he doing?" Toji watched as Unit 01 slammed facefirst into another building as the Angel cut down the skyscraper it was trying to jump off out from under the Eva's feet. "He's already beaten... he's no good."

The Angel stabbed with a glowing feeler at the back of the Evangelion's shoulder. It roared as the tentacle pushed through to the other side. Unit 01 actually dove right through the building and made its escape out the other side of the rubble.

Kensuke winced. "I wonder if getting hit is actually as bad as I think it is." He looked to Toji. "It's destroy some of the city or die..."

"S-sh-sh-shut up!" said the other teen. He was staring out, his teeth bared and gnashing with tension. Fight! he shouted silently. Fight! Why won't you fight? Beat this one like you did with the other before!

It reached a clearing, and out from a marked area on the ground another building shot up suddenly. Its shell collapsed to reveal a vastly oversized Evangelion reached for it in a homerun-like slide, grabbing it off its pylons just moments before the Angel's feelers could have torn it to shreds. Its power line was ripped off its back in its desperate tumble and the timer started.

Five minutes. Shinji licked his lips.

The Evangelion rolled to a stop, protecting the Eva-bazooka in its arms like it would a baby. Then, it lifted its head and roared off a challenge to the Angel.

It barely avoided several more whips, and let the angel come. It ducked once more under a series of attacks and moved as well. It shoved the bazooka right at the Angels face, roared, and pulled the trigger. Buildings around the two were starting to crack from the force of two meshing AT-fields.

Explosion.

The dust cloud covered everything. Then, the Evangelion was seen stumbling out of the cloud; followed by glowing feelers that wrapped around its fleeing ankles. The Eva was yanked right off its feet and was swung around and around, and into buildings. Two more round passes and it was sent flying into the sky!

The two teens up on the hill watched its descent. "It's... coming right at us!" yelled Kensuke, and the two ran for it. The Evangelion slammed into the hill with such force it knocked off trees out of their roots at the other side. Its arms slapped hard right where the two were about to run. Had they been a bit faster, they would be smears of blood on the ground.

Shinji was breathing heavily, only the hyperoxygenated state of the LCL keeping him conscious despite the massive trauma of the impact. Nothing. No Space Marine. Why? The Eva's rage; he could feel it directed solely at him. The sheer frustration there. I'm sorry, machine spirit. I'm not as strong as you.

"Shinji, are you alright? Shinji?"

"I'm... I'm fine, Misato-san."

"Damage levels, it's going back! It can still fight..." Makoto said. He furrowed his brows at the screen. 'Shinji... do you know the Evangelion's trying to heal its wounds almost as fast as it's being inflicted? This mechanical monster of ours, it's not satisfied with this. I'm not satisfied with this.'

Evangelion Unit 01 opened his eyes. It saw the Angel still at the distance, watching it. The Eva
dug its head out of the soil and looked around. Shinji saw his classmates looking back up at him with clear fear.

"Are... aren't those Shinji's classmates?" said Misato, back at NERV. A smaller window pulled up the names of the two boys. "Why are there there?"

The Angel flew at the Evangelion. Again, the Eva put out both hands as if in surrender. Yes... the feelers were actually slowing, but still - so fast! Unit 01 grabbed at one feeler letting the other whip it in its abdomen, cracking the armor there. Its hand began to smoke.

Toji stood up. "Why- why isn't he fighting?"

"Because we're here..." Kensuke remained there, his hands over his head. "He can't move as he likes!"

Maya watched the battle from her battery of monitors. The Angel continued to attack the Evangelion; which remained there unmoving. It withstood the whips like punishment from a master; chained by its need to protect the hapless civilians. "Unit One!" she screamed out frantically. 'Shinji-kun. You're living up to my expectations of you...' "Active time remaining is 3 minutes and 28 seconds!"

Misato stepped up and shouted at his suffering face on the screen. "Shinji-kun, let them into the cockpit. After they are picked up, retreat for the present. And come back later!"

Ritsuko frowned at her. "Why do you think it is possible that civilians can be taken in the entry plug without permission?"

Misato looked back, her expression set. "Because I permit it."

"You are exceeding your authority, Captain Katsuragi..."

"Unit One, Active time remaining is 3 minutes!" Maya's voice brought in the urgency.

"Shinji! Hold the Eva for just a little longer." Misato looked aside, fire in her eyes. "Eject the entry plug! Hurry!"

The two teens watched the Evangelion shudder under the continued attack; then its back opened up. A white tube emerged, and opened up dripping orange liquid. The Eva leaned back to touch it to the ground. Within, they saw Shinji vomiting and sneezing out the orange liquid.

Misato's voice came from the external speakers. "You two! Get in!" At the boys' hesitation. "Do it now! Don't let Shinji take any more for your sake...!"

They hurriedly went in, and grimaced at seeing it was full of something like water. Kensuke bewailed his camera. The entry plug slid back in and shut; darkness then through the rapid patterns resolving into an outside view.

"There's trouble in the nervous system...!" Maya noticed.

Ritsuko responded idly. "It is because foreign bodies have been inserted. Noises are detected in the nervous pulses."

"Now, Shinji! Retreat!"

"Yes, Misato-san!"

The Angel cared little for its main objective. Destroying Unit 01 was essential. It was humanity's only defender, an abomination of the highest order. Misato relayed the exit route.

"Back into the city?"

"Do it, Shinji! There's another power line in the Geofront. We'll try fighting it down there, where you won't lose power so easily; we purposely put in many recharge spots."

"But... people are hiding under the Geofront, aren't they?" That's why the buildings retract down. No way. Misato-san. I can see it. You plan on collapsing the roof of the Geofront on it if... when... I fail, don't you? I didn't think you could be so cold-blooded. All those people. You -are- a soldier, Misato-san.

A slot on Unit 01's shoulder fin opened up.

"Progressive knife equipped!" Makoto yelled out.

"RAAAAAAAAAAGH!"

Darkness.

-o-

-o-

A door swung open, and light flooded into part of a room. It was enough to reveal the particularly cheeky logo of NERV splashed onto the wall. Shinji was sitting there on a bench, doubling as a bunk. Misato stood by the door.

"Do you know why you're in here?" she asked him.

"My father wanted me here."

"You disobeyed my orders, Shinji. You put NERV and the city and the entire world at risk. Why did you do that?"

"... it seemed the right thing to do at the time."

"... and now?"

"You were right, Misato-san. I should have trusted you. I thought wrongly of you. I'm sorry."

"Are you really? Do you understand? As the person directly responsible for your operations, you must obey me."

Misato-san. Such like a soldier. Shinji looked up at the completely dark ceiling.

"I won't let you throw your life away like that..." she added. "If you go out there going along with what people say and thinking you don't matter, you're just going to get killed. You need to live. Your life doesn't belong to you now."

"Misato-san..."

"Yes?"

"Do you know the story of the three bears?"

The NERV officer changed her stance to rest on her other foot. She still had her arms crossed over her chest and looking disapproving. "With goldilocks? The little bear, the medium-sized bear and the big bear?"

"This isn't that story. May I tell you this story, Misato-san?"

The woman sighed and walked over. She sat beside him and put her hands on her laps. "Sure, Shinji..."

-o-

Once upon a time, there was a big bear and a little bear. The big bear was the older
brother of the little bear, the girl bear. The mother bear had died the winter before,
and the big bear had to care for his sister bear, even if he had no idea how to. He
caught fish for her. He played for her. He drove off anything that scared her. The
big bear didn't know how to live, except through the joy of his sister bear.

One day, while walking through a valley, a boulder fell tumbling down from the
cliffs to crush the sister bear. She gave out such a scream and stopped moving.

The big bear pushed at her with her nose, and she didn't move. He roared. He
mumbled. He whined. She didn't hear him. She didn't move.

He looked up and saw up on the cliff another bear, staring down at him. There was
another boulder beside that bear, ready to be pushed off.

Filled with rage, the big bear began to climb the sheer cliff, digging into it with his
claws. He didn't care that after while his paws were bleeding and his claws were
cracked raw. He reached the top after a while, tired, but so angry and so ready to
fight to the death.

What did he see there? An old bear lying down, himself also bloody and weary.
Near him closer to the cliff higher on were seven other boulders. He had shielded
it from falling further down with his own body, when he saw the two younger bears
walking below.

He was wheezing and dying, and such sadness in his eyes. He begged the big bear
to kill him. He was so sorry that he failed after all.

-o-

"Do you know what the big bear said, Misato-san?"

"No, Shinji. What did the big bear say?"

"If we had stood together, we could have stopped all the boulders." Shinji finished softly. "And so while the old bear died, he asked the big bear to find other bears, so that if ever they had to save others from rocks, they would all stand together and no one who mattered to them would be hurt by their failure."

"... so, who are you, Shinji? Are you the old bear? The big bear?"

"Of course not, Misato-san. I can't do this alone. I've never fought alone. All this time... Rei would have gone out to die for me. You wanted me to live. The others... without them, I can't fight at all. I've been selfish. It's not just my fight. It's all of humanity's."

"Is that why you fight? For humanity?"

"Yes...?"

"Don't lie to me Shinji."

The young teen laughed, but bitterly. "Until this time I didn't really realize what humanity was. I fought because it made me feel good to be needed. No one should have to suffer anymore... and I only gave them more reasons to instead."

"Shinji..." Misato placed a hand on the young teen's shoulder.

"Humanity is in here, Misato-san. It's our hope. It's the others who are ready to fight alongside me. In the end I'm nothing more but the expression of their trust in the future." He looked up at her. "Until today humanity didn't really have a face.

Now it wears yours. And Rei's. And Ritsuko-sensei's. And Maya-san. And Touji. And Kensuke. Others to... I'm sorry, Misato-san. I'm sorry. I won't disobey you again. I don't... I don't want you to die! I don't want any more to die." Suffering was bad enough, but that day he saw just how fragile the human existence was.

She hugged him. "Shin-chan." she said to the top of his head. "I don't want you to die either. If all us bears stand together maybe none of us will be crushed under the weight of our duties..."

"Thank you, Misato-san."

"I'd let you out here if I could, but Gendo really seems to think you're a flight risk. You did say you hated the Eva. And that chant you did... that really creeped us out."

"I'm sorry..."

She let him go, away from the lock of her breasts. "Well... don't take it too hard. None of us blame you for anything. You're a hero, Shin-chan. I'll try and get you out of this place as soon as possible. It's just politics. The politicians can't just let by you destroyed so much of the city... I bet the people will boo them out of office if they learn they had you locked up after saving... um... what's left of the city."

Shinji actually smiled a bit. "Not to worry, Misato-san. It might actually be relaxing. I need to stop and think a bit."

"Are you sure you're all right, Shinji...?"

"Yes, Misato-san. Thank you..."

And when she was gone, the door clicked shut and locked; and all was darkness; Shinji lay down on his bunk and closed his eyes. Softly he whispered...

"Scenario. Gendo saying 'I was wrong' in full hearing of most of NERV.'

'...timeframe...?' he felt a different female voice at the edge of his mind.

"Six to seven weeks."

'...excellent...'

-o-

-o-

"You don't have to this, you know." Toji said to Shinji as they approached the hospital. "After what happened, I don't blame you for anything any more."

"I have to." as his reply. "Your sister was injured. That's inescapable."

"No! Really! You don't!" The taller teen began to wave his arms about. "You don't have to! You shouldn't!"

Shinji was resolute. No more suffering.

Toji's sister was named Mari, a primary school student. She squealed and giggled when Toji introduced Shinji to her. She stared up at her brother with filial awe. Then, Shinji knelt before her. He pressed his forehead to the floor and asked for her forgiveness, unworthy as he was, for her injuries. She stared up at her brother with female rage.

"TTTTTTTTTOOOOOOJJIIIIIIIIII NO BAAAAAAAAKKKAAAA!"

You are an evil, evil person... Toji mouthed to Shinji.

She yelled at him for almost five minutes straight. Kensuke actually timed it on his watch. He supposed she took fast shallow breaths between every other syllable or that girl was actually sixty percent lung. Shinji could only smile numbly and nod on occasion.

"and that's why my brother is sooo stupid. You're my hero and I don't blame you at all!" She stopped and for the first time took a deep breath. She smiled up at him with all the cuteness she could muster. She lifted up her arms. Shinji looked first to Toji; who nodded, and let her hug him. "My name's Mari and somedays I'm going to marry you!" she exclaimed in the hug. She didn't let go.

Shinji gave Toji a look that clearly said 'She's your sister! Help me!'

He gave look back that clearly said 'Screw you! You're the crazy one, not me!'

-o-

Toji's parents were such that if they weren't wearing white lab coats, one could have mistaken them for soldiers or basketball players or something. They had their heads shaved in a crewcut for the younger and utterly shiny bald for the elder.

Shinji started to make his bow, but was prevented from completing it. "It's not your fault." said Toji's father. "It was the Angel that destroyed the house, right at the beginning of the attack. We were at Nerv, roving police put Toji in the shelter, and Mari was stuck at the hospital for leukemia. None of that was your fault..."

"So, really, it is we who must apologize..." said the elder Suzuhara. "Sorry for my grandchild causing you so much trouble." He dropped his brows slightly, and Toji began bowing and apologizing profusely.

Shinji laughed weakly and said it was no matter.

He began to laugh strongly when he learned about what the other Suzuharas did for a living. Dr. Suzuhara the younger began to frown at thinking Shinji was mocking them, but his father shook his head; no.

The pilot pointed at Toji. "You." Then he pointed at Kensuke. "You." He laughed some more. "Haha. Now I finally understand why you're friends...!"

Toji smirked. "Yeah, pissed off 'suke here mightily when he learned I didn't care at all about guns. I guess I just grew used to tolerating him."

"Hey! I'll have you know I have OTHER interests other than guns. Must I speak to them about your worship of my awesomely complete collection of pre-Impact hen-"

Toji began to strangle him.

The elder Suzuharas laughed to. "That was our impression at well. Though the boys do seem to get along well." Then, they noticed the calculating look on Shinji's face. "Yes? Is there something you wanted?"

"You design the weapons of the Evangelion, correct?"

"Yes, that's right."

"Sorry, but... the Evangelion's weapons have been almost useless. The only thing that works is the prog knife, and the Angel attack was designed to keep me at a distance. I barely got in close enough to use it."

Both Suzuharas bowed. "We apologize. In our defense, we really have no idea of what the Angel's capabilities may be. You were shooting off tank rounds in burst mode. We thought that would be enough for anything, really."

"I wonder... if you could design a specific weapon for me?"

Suzuhara the younger nodded. "Anything, mister Ikari."

As Shinji described what he wanted, the elder Suzuhara's expression grew more and more excited. "This!" he said at last. "I know this! I've seen something like it before!" He ran to the other room and began yelling at the people there. There was much noise, and he ran back in with a sheet of paper. "This is one of rejected ideas for an Eva-sized custom bullet. See, there's the solid penetrator at the tip and behind it the explosive filling. It was rejected because... well, who would be crazy enough to design a single shell that was BOTH armor-piercing and high explosive?"

"I call it a Bolt round."

"Awesome." said the younger Suzuhara. "If it doesn't penetrate, it will send shrapnel all over... dangerous, true, but might take out some of the softer parts of an Angel... like its eyes and the backs of its joints. If it gets in; will rip it apart from the inside." He looked up and took off his sunglasses. He cleaned it on the edge of his coat. "Now we just need a delivery system... a gun."

"Ah... I might actually have a wooden model that might help? It's functional, just that the shell won't actually explode. I can show you what a Bolter is supposed to look like, soon." He had a hell of a time rigging up that many springs and string. The Suzuharas stared at him. "What? I was bored and itchy after three days in basically solitary confinement."

Build some trukks or make some dakka. the warboss murmured. Anyfin less is just muckin' about.

-o-

"Sorry about that..." Toji said after a while.

"Hm?" Shinji turned aside, while walking. "What?"

The taller boy gestured weakly. "That... thing with my sister. We know you like Ayanami. Sorry if that embarrassed you."

Shinji stopped. "I don't like Ayanami."

"No way! Don't you dare, man!" Kensuke jabbed a finger at Shinji's nose. "We were there. She was like, hurt him and I'll kick your ass. And you were like, make fun of her and I'll SMASH you FLAT! We're not stupid. If that doesn't make you a couple, I don't know what will."

"Unless you're going to say that you actually... hate her." Toji added with a deeply sarcastic leer.

Shinji frowned. "You're mistaken. Look, I'll admit I pilot the Evangelion for Ayanami's sake..."

"Ha!" Kensuke crowed.

"... but you were there. You know what's like. Rei... something about her feels familiar to me. It's not love. It's not family. But I have to protect her. I feel her future is dark and I feel like standing in front of it and holding it back with my hands and saying YOU WON'T HAVE HER! I feel like holding her to me and protecting her from the evils of humanity and the word."

Shinji kept walking. He stopped again and turned to them. "I don't understand it really. It's like there's something deep and old and powerful inside her and I've got something deep and old and powerful in myself and they're calling out to each other and together they have the power to shape something new and powerful and endless in its scope. What is that? That can't be love..."

Kensuke nodded. "Shinji. I think you pretty much defined lust."

"Rargh!" The pilot pulled at his hair. "It's not it! I can't... I can't explain it. Rei's just connected to me somehow. I don't actually get a stiffy from looking at her. She has bled, and upon her blood and her pain I shall write a new covenant. She has fought with me, my sister of battle, and upon her sacrifice I will likewise give my all to see to it she doesn't suffer any more .She wears the face of humanity itself, to me."

Shinji turned to the two. "Likewise you two have fought with me, my battle-brothers, and to you I give the same respect. I will fight to protect you the same as I would to protect Rei."

Toji and Kensuke merely stood there, silent.

"... though sometimes I do have this strange urge to lick all over her body. Does that make sense?"

Toji opened his mouth to say something. He closed it. He put his finger up to make a point and opened his mouth to speak. Then, he shut it again. The most he could get out was "You... bawoo? Gah? Bleh?"

Kensuke sniffed and went to over to slap Shinji's back. "You know, I think this might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship." His glasses reflected the sunlight oddly. "Shinji, if you're not gonna use up all your fangirls, could you throw a few our way?"

"Um... sure." What are you talking about?

"Well then!" Toji took a deep breath and thumped his chest. "I can see where this going! We've got to protect Shinji from all the other vultures in our school. Rei too! We're in this together! We're a company of heroes, a company of men! A knight and his guards!" He grinned at Shinji. "Don't worry, Shinji! We're going to be your Guardsmen! I keep them back and 'suke here can flail at them uselessly from the sidelines."

"Hey!"

Shinji smiled, his eyes suddenly sad. "Actually, I might have another use for Kensuke... um, you know stuff, right, Kensuke?"

The glasses wearing boy smirked. "Yes, Shinji. You could say I know... stuff."

"Then could you find something out for me? I think you're the only one who can help me about this. It's about a game... a pre-Impact game, it was made in the UK, I think... "

Stand by my side, battle-brothers...

-o-

-o-

"Shinji!" Misato yelled. "What are you doing?"

"Sorry, Misato-san. But this thing... it's -fast-. It's going to keep on following and following me until only one of us survives. It's going to follow me right down the the very chute I enter. I need to end this now."

"Transferee!" Toji went over behind the cockpit seat. "She says 'Run away', transferee!"

"No." Shinji said, snarling. "No more suffering. No more suffering."

"Damn it, Ikari! You're not the only life at risk here!"

"Exactly." Shinji said aside. "Fight for your sister, Suzuhara. Fight for her like you've never fought before!"

That struck the jock numb. Shinji seemed so small there in the seat, yet at the same time... "You're the one at the controls. What I can I do?"

The Evangelion growled and rolled aside as the Angel drove its body into the side of the hill. It had more mass. "No... no way." muttered Kensuke. "Did it just try to headbutt you?"

"That! Is the enemy of humanity! Believe it will fall and it will!"

Both other boys looked at the Angel, standing there, its deadly feelers wriggling. They felt the hate, the urge to destroy. "That thing... wants to kill my sister." said Toji.

"That thing... wants to make useless all the wondrous things humanity has made..." added Kensuke.

The Angel surged forward; the Evangelion led with its knee. The Angel didn't actually have any groin for him to kick. It pushed the Angel back with its own weight, and slid away from what would have been a deadly embrace. "Believe it will and it shall! We fight!" screamed Shinji! "I can't fight it alone! We must fight! The enemies of humanity will die!"

"It will fall!" shouted Kensuke.

"It will die!" yelled Toji.

The Evangelion roared. Its AT field broke the air around it, expanding suddenly. A sonic boom spread over the surrounding area. "BLEED AND DIE!" yelled three youthful burning voices in the entry plug.

One must remember all in Shinji's class were potential pilot candidates.

The Angel actually stood still for a moment, confused, as the AT-field shifted. The Evangelion headbutted it back down the hill. It tumbled over, its feelers leaving long scorched lines in the grass.

"No way... they can't be...?" said Makoto, over at the console. He put his palms together as if in prayer. "Please... Shinji-kun."

KILL!

Shamsel shot out with feelers. The Evangelion punched out at it, using its AT-field offensively - a pressure wave pushed it back, even if its feelers were unaffected. The lethal whips fell short of the mark.

CRUSH!

Makoto prayed without knowing why; it was not enough just to win, but to break the enemy. To make it regret trying to stamp down on mankind's feeble mortal hopes. The Evangelion landed on the Angel with both feet. It gave out a tormented screech as half of it caved inwards. It lashed out at the Eva, and Unit 01 caught one of the feelers on its palm; its bare smoking palm. The other pierced its abdomen armor.

BURN!

"My hand is burning!" Kensuke cried out suddenly. "Its shine is calling out for me to defeat you!" The Evangelion pulled, and ripped that feeler right out Shamsel's strange growths. In its hands, the crackling particle whips became nothing more than ropelike twists of biological material. Strangely enough the Eva's hands did glow, and as it grabbed both sides of the Angel where it grasped there rose acrid smoke.

MAIM!

Can it be done? KILL. YES. KILL. The Evangelion roared, and incredibly, spat at its face. The Angel screeched again as it felt its eye melting; that spit reacting much like its feelers had... corrosive AT-field wrapped around conductive matter.

KILL!

The Angel blew aside the Evangelion in a burst of its normal AT-field, and began to float away. Unit 01 grabbed at the single remaining feeler and yanked it back. Three voices screamed, as the bulk of the Angel shot back, and met with a left-handed stab of the progressive knife at the core. They yelled some more. Sparks began to fly as red solid object met red glowing object.

Then... silence.

It was sunset.

-o-

-o-

It was night.

Shinji looked out at the stars. He picked up his pen, opened up his notebook and began to write:

TOJI SUZUHARA (X) Related to Evangelion weapons designers. Simple. Loyal.
Dedicated. If he follows orders well, may be the core around which I can build my
aboveground more activist plans on. I can...

Shinji put his pen down and looked at what he'd just written. Toji was a good
person. He looked out the window. Tokyo 3 was full of good people. It was they
that made the city. Buildings can be rebuilt. Tokyo 3 was a good city.

He looked again at the list he'd made, and snarled. He ripped the page right off and crumpled it. "I won't be my father." he said softly. "I'll beat him my own way."

He closed his eyes and sighed, let his mind run clear and free.

-o-

In this relaxing meditative state, he didn't notice he was unconsciously flipping over the notebook and opening it up. In one of the back pages where he wouldn't look;
he wrote:

TOKYO 3. (X). All of it. Mine.

-o-

He yawned and put away the notebook. He went to sleep.

Thus ended the Second Day Against The Angels.

-o-

-o-

end chapter three

-o-

-o-

-o-


AdEva campaign notes:

Contamination should prevent high synch ratings, specially with untrained civilians in the plug. Contrariwise, high synchro also means more feedback. Having more than one person inside an Eva should naturally lead to sluggish movement and lowered AT-field strength, unless as shown in canon with Asuka, the pilots also synch with each other.

In a world where Evangelion technology is much more common, perhaps it is possible to have a commander experiment in multi-pilot setups, only for it to fail disastrously and taint the whole procedure.

Technically however, isn't this basically what the Dummy Plug System is? Self-aware human pilots have all this noise and emotional baggage. Is it possible to over-synch with what's basically a mysterious assembly of organs and whatnot? The fully-realized soul of a pilot is what provides the adaptive AT-field, the Berserker is just brute force incapable of making tactical decisions - the dumb Dummy Plug just allows the Eva to act freely according to its own instincts.

There is a complication here, with that if Dummy Plugs can be programmed, that is a vector for contamination into the pilot too.

But really, any success or even attempt at a multi-pilot setup is basically just an excuse to get yer Gattai! on. There is also the chance for even more trauma for the pilot in needing to continue the fight with his or her best friend's corpse. Even worse with high-synch damage, because of the stigmata effect, meaning decapitated heads or ripped limbs knocking around inside the Plug.


Previous comments of a younger and more foolish author preserved here for posterity.

notes:

One of the reviewers pointed out that Shinji might become like a Gary Stue. That's true. It's a great risk, considering I'm making this as a shot at all other wildly supercompetent OCs and attempts at fixing the timeline by making a character superpowered above others. Shinji to be awesome doesn't need to be an asshole. Or be replaced utterly. One simple, simple thing. Just change his childhood. Make him happy. Everything pulls its own weight after that. Shinji learns he needs more than voices in the head to fight Angels. He needs the power of his humanity. Only that can save him.

Although technically, yes, this not a simple change. Canon Shinji has a lot of self-doubt and self-esteem issues. Warham! Shinji is self-medicated through outright monomania. He loses the pitiful self through subsuming himself in a greater purpose.

Anyways, thanks for that. I apologize. It was actually intentional in the first part that Shinji seems to be going the Mary Sue way... then this. It's a reversal of sorts, a common way to screw with the reader. Evangelion itself uses it wholeheartedly. It's dirty trick, I know. Shinji was for a time as useless again as he was in canon.

Shinji can be awesome even when he doesn't stand alone. In fact, he should be even more awesome for sharing it.

Feel free to tell me when my writing of Shinji starts to cross from Awesome to Wanking. I want to keep this as enjoyable for you, the readers, as much as possible.

A teacher once said my writing's like water. Most of the time it's just streams of thought. One of her best advice was to let it flow. Too much comedy can dry out your wellspring of ideas quickly. Pull back, take it slow. Then hit them with the wtf again. Same with drama; flooding the reader with it dilutes the poignancy of the message. Let it slide. Let it tide. Give them a chance to feel with the characters. Let them stand there as the emotions roll over them again.

As I've had one of the characters say over at the prologue; perfection doesn't come instantly but is built on lesser things. So, sorry if there won't be any updates for a day or three. I've got some traveling to do, and boring as it is to spend hours on a bus; I can use that time to think up more insanity to inflict upon Tokyo 3.

That's how I write. After a surge, let it fall back and simmer for a while. Later; all at once again.

Natch. Worry not. I've got it planned. It's actually easier to write now that I can refer to the script and choose what to change. I'll introduce Asuka to a whole lot of What The Hell is Going on Here. This is why I've taken such trouble at the prologue; it may be ungodly long, but necessary. Tragic past doest not equal mad skillz. Reason means win. Plot isn't one grand overreaching thing. Let it fall, one drop of plot. Then another. Let it all mix together. It exists there all at once; that thing you wrote all those pages ago? It still matters here. The best way to create surprise is not to pull it out of nowhere but to keep hinting and hinting away at it so that the reader can go; 'aah...' when it arrives. 'So that's what it means!' So; whatever you think I'm leading to, please rest easy in the promise that it's probably not what you think will happen.

Laters!

-Bpen

In the meantime to tide over:

-o-

-o-

Omake:

Pen-pen turned off the TV and set aside the newspaper. As always the humans do
as humans must. And as always, it is everyone else around them that must suffer.
He was an experiment brought forth from NERV labs, and adopted by Misato
rather than be euthanized.

He moved to the door and looked up at the door handle. He then looked around
the apartment. Seeing no one, Pen-pen began to flap. He began to flap faster and
faster, and wind began to form under his flippers. He stopped. Then, the penguin
leapt impossibly high up, higher than the door handle. Retractable claws, not
present on other normal birds, emerged from his wingtips. He caught the door
handle and with his weight pushed it down.

The door opened. Pen-pen pushed it further open with his beak.

A suitably dramatic wind flew through the doorway, ruffling his crowning feathers.
He stepped out and an alleycat hissed at him. He squinted at it, and it fled.
Looking right and left and seeing no one, he pulled the door shut again with his
claws. He had etched a small line along the lower edge with his beak; almost
unnoticeable by tall humans but served him well enough as a surface for grabbing.
The door clicked shut. It was unlocked, but only an idiot would try to rob a NERV
apartment block.

Pen-pen clung to the walls as he moved down the hall. He gave out a soft 'wark!'
as he heard someone approaching. Quickly, he dived behind a garbage bin. A drunk
party girl and her boyfriend walked by. Once they were out of sight, the penguin
continued on his way.

The elevator was easier. He just leapt again and pushed at the button with his
beak. He waited out of direct sight as it arrived and opening with a ding! At
seeing no one inside, he stepped in and pressed 'G'.

Ding! Pen-pen watched furtively. Seeing the place dark and deserted, he went on
out into the courtyard, and then to behind the apartment. There, around natural
soil, he began to dig. Anyone observing would have seen a rudimentary pattern to
it, like a V with little slashes along the side. Pen-pen finished and began to
let out a strange warbling sound, pitching high and low. Anyone observing would
have seen the lines glowing a faint yellow.

A minute or so later, Pen-pen stopped. He carefully covered up the signs of his
digging. He piddled on it to mark his territory and stamped down the ground. Once
more back upstairs. He used the stairs, jumping with impossible lightness from
one stairway block to another. This formed his daily exercise, not just of body
but of faith. Each day he could feel himself closer to flying.

Look left. Look right. He waddled quickly towards Misato's apartment, opened
the door and shut it again. Pen-pen exhaled. Humans must not know.

He walked out to the veranda and stared at the stars. He repeated his warbling
song. For those of us who have gone, for those of us who remain and keep the
Faith. Soon we shall all return to the stars! Glory to the Great Wing that sweeps
the Stars!