Disclaimer: I do not own Evangelion, or anything associated with it. I have written this story solely because I enjoy writing.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything belonging to Marvel Comics or anything associated with it. I have written this story solely because I enjoy writing.
Chapter 1: Fangs and Claws
As Dr. Ritsuko Akagi of NERV looked out from the pribnow box, she felt no satisfaction, no happiness. She did her best not to feel anything. It was much less painful for her that way.
"So, Rei, how's it feel, piloting Unit 01 for the first time?" Ritsuko asked as she looked down at the purple behemoth before her. Carefully restrained and its power levels at a minimum, the notorious berserker was at least dangerous, and yet she still felt the fear and respect she kept of humanity's greatest weapon.
"It…smells like Ikari," was Rei's response.
Narrowing her eyes at this response, Ritsuko focused her attention on the synchronization patterns displayed before her. "Rei's synch ratio with Unit 01 is almost the same as with Unit 00," she noted, her tone almost as emotionless as the albino girl's own.
"There personal data patterns for Unit's 01 and 00 are almost identical," Maya Ibuki noted as she continued her own work, Ritsuko hovering over her shoulder.
"That's why this synch experiment possible," Ritsuko responded, even as her best friend, Major Misato Katsuragi, kept a careful eye on everything around her.
"We have an error margin of 0.03, and all harmonics are normal," Maya reported with growing confidence.
"No detectable compatibility problems with Rei and Unit 01," Ritsuko stated. "Alright, Rei, the test is over. You can get out."
"Yes," Rei replied immediately as Unit 01 was slowly deactivated.
Sighing as the experiments continued, Ritsuko sighed tiredly as they moved on. Soon, Shinji Ikari was secure in the Entry Plug of Unit 00, for the continuation of the experiment. "Subject status?" Ritsuko inquired.
"A little jittery, but no problems in his nerve patterns," Makoto Hyuga reported from his position.
"This is his first time piloting an Eva other than Unit 01," Misato pointed out. "I guess it's only natural."
"Initiating entry," Maya stated as Unit 00 was slowly activated. "Electrolyzing LCL. Commence first connection."
"Shinji, how are you feeling in Unit 00?" Ritsuko asked, the experiment coming to the crucial point.
"Um…it feels a kinda weird," he replied slowly.
"Is it incompatibility?" Ritsuko wondered.
"No, it's not that," Shinji responded. "This thing…it smells like Rei."
"It smells like what?!" came the voice of Asuka Langley-Sohryu, who was being tested in her Unit 02. "Mein Gott! He's such a pervert!"
As Ritsuko listened to the technicians giving various confirmations, she gave a quick nod. "Alright, let's shift the mutual compatibility tests to the second stage."
"How's it look?" Misato demanded as they proceeded.
"Well, his synch ratio is lower than in Unit 01, but we were expecting that," Ritsuko commented. "However, these are still good readings. This means we can implement our current plan."
"You mean…the Dummy System?" Maya asked worriedly. "Ma'am, I'm not sure we should proceed with that."
"Believe me, I understand your feelings on this," Ritsuko replied, her words more true than she dared admit. "However, we have to be prepared, and have as many options available as possible. It's our best chance of survival."
"You know how much I believe in you and our work," Maya replied, her dismay as clear as could be. "But…I'm really not convinced."
"People with too many scruples will always have trouble working with others," Ritsuko replied. "You'll learn…once you've dirtied your hands." However, as Maya growled slightly, her only display of unhappiness, Ritsuko struggled to once again to make herself believe her own words. Struggled with the knowledge she had about the truth behind NERV…and just how much of her own soul she pieced away in her life.
Pieced away to her commander. Her sometimes lover.
"I see," Gendo commented as he looked over Ritsuko's data, Sub Commander Kozo Fuyutsuki standing at his side. "So, is everything in readiness to begin work on the Dummy Plug System?"
"Yes, sir," Ritsuko replied, trying to keep her tone even. Shortly into Shinji's test in Unit 00, it had malfunctioned, going completely berserk as it broke free of its restraints, where it then tried to break into the observation room before its batteries ran out of power. Ritsuko knew that Eva had been trying to kill her specifically. Her…or Rei.
Not that I blame it, Ritsuko thought ruefully, thinking of the things she had done over the course of her life. Of the reasons she had given herself for doing those things. That there was nothing she could do to stop the inevitable, that she would be killed if she ever tried to defy him…and most of all, because she needed to do it. Gendo had been a part of her life she had been a young girl. He had supported her, encouraged her, believed in her, helped her get on with her life after her mother, Naoko Akagi, had taken her own life…and over the course of time, had exposed her to so much filth and so many lies that she felt buried by them.
As much as she needed for Gendo to love her…the things she did in order to keep the attention that he gave her…she felt like she was killing herself one piece at a time in order to keep those things.
"Very good," Gendo mused. "Begin production of the raw materials for the DPS. I want it ready as soon as soon as possible."
Nodding, Ritsuko kept her control over her emotions. Something she had been doing for a very long time. "Yes, sir."
Time passed, and the disaster with Unit 00 slowly faded from memory. Ritsuko continued to go about her duties, well aware that Lilith was now securely impaled with the Lance of Longinus, another important part of SEELE's plans for Human Instrumentality. The Red Earth Purification Ceremony. The final evolution of mankind…into an endless ocean of LCL, with the souls of all that lived trapped for all eternity within Lilith. With Dr. Ritsuko Akagi knowingly, willingly helping it along, all out of her various fears, her need to exceed her mother…and a desperate need for someone to love her.
In the depths of Central Dogma, in the cloning lab where Rei Ayanami had been created, Ritsuko once again shut down her own emotions, something that she had long since become accustomed to, as she worked on the creation of more 'raw materials' for the Dummy Plug System. More clones of Rei, the 1st Child of NERV…just like the first version of the albino girl, the one her mother had strangled to death, just before leaping to her own demise. All in front of Ritsuko's own eyes.
Stop thinking about it! Ritsuko ordered herself as she prepared the five cylindrical maturation chambers, each of which held a small, soulless baby inside of it. One that would soon be a child identical in age and appearance to Rei herself. She had already created several clones of her, but she needed more. Many more for the Dummy Plug System to be functional. Grimacing at the sight of the baby, thinking of the memories she attached to Rei, of the attention Gendo lavished on her, on the things that Rei represented… Stop it! she once again shrieked at herself, wincing at the very thought. Let's just get this done and get it over with!
Taking a deep breath, Ritsuko looked at the control board before her, and began the procedure. "Suffusion enacting. Nutrient synthesis…cell replication…" Ritsuko went on, checking every item on the list. It was one of the biggest hitches to cloning technology; the ability to accelerate the growth of the subjects to a physical age where the clone would be useful. It was also the part where things were most likely to go wrong. There were just so many things that could happen; cellular instability, DNA breakdown, metabolic overload. All of them and more could happen, and most of them had with past clones.
Still, Ritsuko was more-or-less an old hat with this. She had done this many times before, and she knew that she would have to this many times in the future. As was her way, she had gone over everything. Every possible detail of the process had checked, double-checked, and checked again. All the systems, all the equipment, the clone itself, everything…
Except for the crack.
It was tiny, at the top of one of the maturation chambers. In the seam where one of the pipes connected to the tank, through which the nutrients and growth accelerants were pumped into the tank, feeding the clone's development. It was small enough to escape detection by the people who maintained it, hidden amongst the various tubes and pipes as it was. Small enough to avoid being seen by humans.
But it had been found nonetheless. Something tiny had wound its way to the crack, having detected organic scents. Blood was the strongest scent of all, a scent that suggested that food was nearby. And the tiny creature was hungry.
Driven by hunger and lured by the scent, the tiny creature moved towards the crack, slowly, carefully made its way even closer to the source of the scent, and eventually found itself in one of the pipes that was used to deliver nutrients and growth accelerants into the chamber. It wasn't in use at the moment; its part in the development of the clone had yet to come. But the creature now sensed the blood even more strongly, and was overwhelmed by primal need.
"Metabolic enhancers…cellular stabilizers…" Ritsuko continued to check off from where she was, activating more of the chamber feeds. Completely unaware of the tiny creature that was in the works, of the flood she was sending down towards it. The creature was startled, tried to flee the onrushing torrent, but it was already too late. Washed away in the flood of biochemical agents and accelerants, the tiny animal was sent tumbling down into the maturation chamber…where it latched onto the clone.
"There. That should do it," Ritsuko commented to herself, looking tiredly at the five chambers. Taking one last look at the displays, the faux-blonde knew that it would take over twenty hours for the maturation process to be completed. Time to go home and get some sleep, she decided, eager to leave this terrible place behind, if only for a while.
Exiting the cloning lab, Ritsuko never once looked back. If she had, she might have seen the vital signs of one of the clones fluctuating ever-so slightly, as the tiny creature played out its final act of life…
"Good morning, Ritsuko," Misato called out, looking exhausted as she stopped by the doctor's office the next morning.
"Good morning," the doctor replied, looking up from her coffee and smiling at the sight of her best friend, who had never been a morning person, even back in college. "How's everything going?"
"Oh, the usual," Misato shrugged, putting on her false-cheerful look, which Ritsuko had long since learned to see past. "I still haven't managed to convince Asuka that Shinji isn't her personal punching bag. Or that she doesn't have the right to bully him into doing her chores for her."
"Ugh," Ritsuko frowned, knowing just how well the redhead worked and played with other people. To say that that German's psychological report was very interesting reading was an understatement. "You know, I could take him off your hands, if you want. At least he would get some time away from her. It would probably be a lot safer."
"Oh, so you can kill him with second-hand smoke?" Misato jabbed in good humor.
"You're not in any position to talk, considering the way you drink," Ritsuko smiled, her expression holding genuine pleasure. "And don't even get me started on your driving!"
"At least I don't do them at the same time," Misato countered easily. As the two of them shared a laugh, the purple-haired woman became somewhat more serious. "So, anything happen that I should know about?"
"Not that I know of," Ritsuko lied, something that she was well-versed with. "We're still doing experiments with the new Dummy System, and that's about all."
"Yeah, well, I don't how it could be very hard. We certainly have plenty of dummies around here to experiment with!" Misato quipped, laughing at her own joke. As Ritsuko joined in, the laughter feeling fresh and good to her, the Major sighed and shrugged. "Anyway, I'll see you later. I have to get the rest of my paperwork done, or else I won't be able to find my own desk."
"Right. See you later," Ritsuko replied, sadness welling up in her heart again as she watched her friend depart. Just another of the people she was betraying…
There's nothing I can do about it, Ritsuko reminded herself again. Too many powerful people wanted Instrumentality to happen, and Ritsuko Akagi, for all her achievements in science, was just one woman. A woman who was powerless to do anything. A helpless, pathetic creature who did what she was told, just to stay alive, to stay loved, for just a little while longer.
You'd do something about it, wouldn't you? You wouldn't just sit around and take it, would you, Misato? Ritsuko thought, looking at the door her friend had just left through. Then, with a look at her watch, Ritsuko thought grimly, It's almost time. With that, Ritsuko sat up and left her office, and slowly made her way back down to Central Dogma.
"Let's see…twenty hours have passed, maturation process is now…ninety-nine percent complete," Ritsuko said to herself as she looked at the displays for the five cloning tanks. "So far, everything looks – what the…?" Looking up from the displays, Ritsuko examined the five replicas of Rei floating completely nude before her, her eyes focusing on the fourth of the cloning tanks...and saw that the clone floating suspended in the LCL was spasming. It was just the slightest movement, but it was still movement that wasn't natural. Movement the clone shouldn't have been capable of, without specific data implants from Rei.
Her jaw opening of its own accord, Ritsuko looked from the tank to the display. Stunned by what she saw, the doctor's fingers rained down on the controls as she tried to make sense of the readings she was getting. "Metabolic rates…off the scale?! Biochemistry…this can't be right!!" Furrowing her brow in frustration, Ritsuko worked frantically, even as the clone's movements became even more erratic.
"Genetic contamination?!" Ritsuko finally cried out in shock. "Impossible!!" And yet, the data in front of her was impossible to refute. A completely foreign genetic code had been amalgamated with the human/Angel hybrid of Rei's native DNA, causing massive physiological anomalies.
"Dammit!" Ritsuko scowled, pounding on the display board. The clone was completely unsalvageable, and would have to be disposed of. Making matters worse was that she had no idea as how the clone's DNA had been so thoroughly tainted. The only way this could have happened if there had actually been something inside the tank with it! Something that was actually alive!
Ritsuko knew that the source of the contamination couldn't have been a virus or bacteria; only a living animal being in the tank with the clone could have caused this kind of genetic corruption, something far more complex than a single-celled life form. There must be a crack in the tank somewhere! Dammit! Ritsuko thought hatefully, casting another look at the clone, whose actions were becoming more and more erratic. Taking a moment to think about how much time it would take to track down the source of the contamination and repair it, not to mention how much it would set back the production of clones, Ritsuko shot a hateful look at the clone that had ruined her day. Then, with a certain sadistic pleasure, she brought her finger down on the button that would purge the clone in its entirety, breaking it down into nothingness.
Watching carefully as the LCL around the mutated clone foamed and seethes, Ritsuko heaved a sigh of relief as its flesh began to bubble as well…just before the clone opened its eyes, and screamed. The clone screamed in predatory hate, its eyes filled with vengeful lust, all of it aimed at her creator.
Her eyes wide in horror, Ritsuko stared at the freakish abomination, at the monstrous fangs in its mouth, even as it met her gaze. Even as the chamber did its work, reversing the growth process that was causing the clone to break down, it raised its arms and slammed its fists into the transparent wall of the chamber. Gasping in astonishment, the scientist who had created this monstrosity could only watch as the dying clone shattered the cylinder that held it in one blow!
"Impossible…" Ritsuko gasped out, watching in horrified awe as the clone spilled out of the chamber, along with a wash of LCL. Outside of the chamber and exposed to the air, the clone's degeneration accelerated, its skin bubbling away even as it fell to its hands and knees. And yet, it never once lost sight of the woman who had created it, and Ritsuko almost fainted at the sight of the creature's burning red eyes. Eyes that seemed to carry with them all the hatred and vindictiveness the world had ever seen. As if this clone had been born just to show Ritsuko how much pain and suffering she had been responsible for.
When the clone leapt at Ritsuko, she was too stunned to even move. All she could do was stand awestruck as the mutated freak flew through the air towards her, bowling the scientist over as it landed on top of her. Landing flat on her back, Ritsuko screamed as the freak's inhumanly strong fingers dug into her shoulders, even as it reared back its head, screaming one last time. Then, with wide, disbelieving eyes, Ritsuko watched as the creature snapped its head back down…and brought its powerful fangs down upon her throat!
Unable to even scream, Ritsuko thrashed about on the cloning lab floor, held within the clone's pitiless grasp. Oh, God, not like this! she thought helplessly, even as her strength faded from her, even as the clone's body continued to dissolve. Not like this, not like this, not like this…
Groaning in pain as she tried to clear the fog from her mind, Dr. Ritsuko Akagi rolled her head from one side to the other as she clawed her way back to consciousness. Not…like this… she found herself thinking, even as she opened her eyes. "W-what the…?" she moaned weakly, staring at the ceiling. "W-where…?"
More of her strength returning, Ritsuko struggled to sit up, bracing herself with her hands as her mind slowly cleared. "What the…?" she tried again, only to smile in relief when she saw that she was in one of the women's bathrooms. Taking a closer look at her surroundings, Ritsuko saw a large patch of liquid on the floor.
"Must've slipped and fell," she said mostly to herself as she struggled to her feet, relief flooding her as she slowly got her bearings. "Oh, damn, what a nightmare."
Still somewhat groggy, Ritsuko made her way to the sink and started the water running. Taking a moment to splash some of it in her face, she then stretched her neck somewhat. Ah, that's better, she decided as she became more awake and alert. Actually managing a smile, she massaged her left shoulder…and grimaced as she heard cloth tearing.
"What the -?" she started as she brought her hand away, only to gasp in horror at the sight of her fingers. Sharp, deadly claws hooked down from the tips of her fingers, extending almost an inch in length. Bringing up her left hand, the doctor's jaw fell, for claws had sprouted from this hand as well. Then, with her gaze torn between both hands, Ritsuko looked at herself in the mirror…and her eyes shot wide open at the sight of the deadly fangs that now graced her mouth. At the two massive marks upon her throat where the clone had sunken her own fangs into her.
Once again, Ritsuko screamed, waving her mutated hands helplessly at the thing in the mirror, knowing now that the nightmare hadn't ended. It had only just begun.
Author's Notes: Now its Ritsuko's turn to become a Superwoman of Eva! I just hope this first chapter turned out alright! Please, read and review! And please, check out my other stories while you're at it!