Disclaimer: Neon Genesis Evangelion is own by Gainax Studios and Production I.G. All Marvel characters and their likenesses are the property of Marvel Entertainment and the many geniuses who brought these worlds to life.
Author's Notes: Pestilence is going to meet the Super Women, and he's not alone; plus, Soul Taker explains some things.
Ritsuko Akagi and Maya Ibuki had come over to Misato's apartment after they both received urgent calls on their cell phones to come over to her apartment. What disturbed them both was the fact that Misato had emphatically added, "Bring your gear". They had done just that, but when they stepped through the front door, Ritsuko quickly wished she had worn her uniform when she and Maya came over. They had just both walked through the door like regular people, though Ritsuko had warped over and Maya had flown over using first her 'human torch' powers to get so far, then she rendered herself invisible and levitated over. Fortunately for Maya, she had worn her uniform on the trip over, since it was designed to resist damage from her flame powers, not to mention her other metamorphic abilities.
Maya became visible again, with Ritsuko right behind her. Before, Ritsuko would have been frightened right out of her skin by Maya's vanishing act, but with her spider-senses, not to mention prior experience with Maya's invisibility powers when Maya first came forward with her secrets. Now, she and Maya had walked right in to Misato's living room without any warning, and when they did, the very thing that caught their attention was a skull-faced, black-winged giant sitting on the sofa. Ritsuko jumped in fright, never even having sensed the intruder, and activated her costume.
As the nano-machines began to weaver into and alter her clothing into her Spider-Woman costume, Maya had become a living fireball. They both were giving the huge ghoul the evil eye, especially Ritsuko who had transformed herself even as her costume formed. Her spidery limbs snapped and thrust as she continued to glare at the intruder, but all he did was smile at her and Maya, like they weren't a threat at all. Before Ritsuko could rip that smug grin off his face, Misato jumped between her, Maya, and the 'Thriller' reject sitting on the couch.
"Stop, the both of you! He's not here to fight!"
Ritsuko and Maya both froze where they stood and looked at Misato like she had a couple of extra heads, which wouldn't have exactly have been out of place, considering what they all went through over the last few months, and especially now. Ritsuko took a step forward and tried to pull Misato off to one side so she have a nice, quiet conversation with her old college friend.
"Are you out of your Goddamn mind?!" She screeched at her old college friend. Misato jumped back in surprise while Soul Taker was rubbing his long ears. He looked particularly annoyed at the sharp noise, and piped up, "Now that's bloody rude, yelling at Misato like that! Didn't Naoko teach you any manners, or did she skimp on that when Gendo was taking her up the ass?"
Everybody froze at that one. Soul Taker couldn't believe he had said something like that, Maya and Misato were shocked that ANYONE could just blurt out something like that, and Ritsuko looked like she wanted to introduce her boot to Soul Taker's colon. She stalked toward the giant ghoul and pulled her lips back in a blatant snarl. She just started to tense her muscles to move, when she felt a strong hand clamp down rather hard on her shoulder. She whipped her head around to look into Misato's glowing green eyes. Ritsuko calmed down rather fast.
Misato was just about to say something, when the bizarre house guest stood up straight to his full height. He caught Ritsuko's eye and walked right up to her. She had to crane her neck to look him in the eye. He knelt down on one knee and took one of her hands in his. He placed his other hand on top of hers and softly spoke, "I'm sorry about that cheap shot, my dear, but being Gendo Ikari's second-in-command, you learn things that you never want to know and things that you'd rather soon forget. What I've learned today, I so badly want to forget, not to mention has put me in a really foul mood".
"Wait a minute, what do you mean 'Gendo Ikari's second-in-command'?" Maya blurted as she took a step back from the enormous super human. Soul Taker nodded as he stepped away from Ritsuko and folded his wings behind his back. He nodded toward Maya, as to answer her unspoken question. Maya's eyes almost popped out of her pretty face as it dawned on her that this creepy super human used to be someone she respected, and even someone who had been her superior.
"Oh, come one Maya!" Ritsuko exclaimed, "Do you REALLY think that this over-blown grim reaper wanna-be is Kozo Fuyutsuki?!" She looked to both Maya and then Misato with an incredulous look on her face, but she soon realized that said grim-reaper wanna-be was now right smack in front of her. Again, she almost dropped dead from fright, but not before she listened as Soul Taker whispered things in her ear that only Nerv's former second-in-command could possibly have known, and things she once thought only Gendo Ikari himself had only known. She now realized that Misato's faith in the ghoulish super-human was not foolishly misplaced.
"Now that trust has been affirmed, its time to gather those whom are going to be affected by what I have to say", Soul taker spoke up as he moved back from the good doctor, leaving her stunned and somewhat shaken. He carefully sat back down on the couch and sighed, noticing Maya inching her way over to him. He gestured with his huge clawed hand, and Maya slowly sat down next to him.
"So", she began nervously, "how did all this happen?" She gestured to the former sub-commander, questioning about his current appearance. Kozo Fuyutsuki, now Soul Taker, began his explanation slowly.
"While I sat in my cell at The Hague, I was quite content to know that good people had prevailed against those who saw fit to take away the future from everyone on this planet, but that contentment was not to last as a powerful entity who calls itself Apocalypse came calling. I never saw a face, not even a shadow on the wall. The only thing of Apocalypse I encountered was his psychic voice roaring in my head. I had never felt anything like that in my entire life and I certainly do not ever want to experience that again. A novel sensation to be sure, but the sheer power I felt coming from the owner of that voice was so perfectly encompassing, It felt like it was coming from everywhere, to be quite direct.
"Not only power made that voice strong, but overwhelming, masterful experience and knowledge. Take for instance my transformation; Apocalypse had just to think about the biological changes he wanted to make to me and here you are a genuine super human".
Soul Taker described as he gestured to himself, beating his wings and straightening his posture. Soul Taker noticed Ritsuko giving his armor a visual examination, and was genuinely amused by her insatiable curiosity. He decided to answer some unspoken questions of hers.
"By the by, the armour I'm wearing was built by this odd contraption that came out of what looked like a snack-sized Dirac Sea portal. The suit has an on-board quantum computer system even more powerful than the Magi, defensive and offensive systems that could fight off an entire army, something called ability augmentation drivers, flight boots, the whole shot. Basically, a powered armor suit not so dissimilar from Iron Maiden's suit, but far more advanced. The ability augmentation drivers, by the way, that I mentioned, can amplify super-human ability almost one hundred times, if you can believe that".
Ritsuko was just about to blurt something out when they all heard Misato's front door slide open and some loud complaining fly their way.
"Damn it, Misato!" Asuka began to rant, "What the hell is so important that you dragged me and Shinji from Hikari's house for?! You even had us drag poor Hikari along for the ride?! Ran into a bad guy you couldn't handle on your………Gott in Himmel!!"
The teenage super hero was so shocked by the demonic looking house guest, she transformed right then and there. She was quite the sight, a genuinely supernatural creature of fire and bone standing in a defensive crouch wearing a sun dress; the silver haired, red-eyed angel standing behind the demonic girl looked equally ready for a fight. Her wings nervously beat as the much larger skull faced super human walked up to them and smiled, a smile full of long, sharp teeth that gleamed like polished steel.
"It's nice to see you again, too, Asuka, and you as well Hikari. Glad to know I can still inspire people", Soul Taker quipped. He was smiling for a very special reason. He knew that Asuka's super natural sight would allow her to instantly know it was him, no matter how extreme the physical transformation. He knew he had hit pay dirt when Asuka, after she quite literally looked into his soul, cocked her head in confusion and walked right up to Soul Taker. She looked him right in the eye, and asked, "Sub-Commander? Is that YOU? What the fuck happened to you?!"
Soul Taker, or Kozo Fuyutsuki at this particular moment, smiled warmly at Asuka and spread his arms and wings out wide.
"Quite simply, I made a deal with the Devil, and he's not done with me yet".
After Mana had shown up, she had and Asuka had exchanged apprehensive and reluctant greetings. Everybody remembered what had happened between the two and hoped it wouldn't lead to any harsh out-burst or rehashing bad memories.
Simply put, Asuka had betrayed Mana's good faith and discreetly swiped her arc reactor technology, only for Asuka herself to be betrayed by Zarathos, the spirit of vengeance that had taken up residence inside of her. He had helped Asuka reverse engineer the arc reactor technology Mana's father developed, improve it even, and apply it to her Evangelion. The betrayal from Zarathos came when Asuka had completed the three rituals of power that Zarathos had convinced her to perform; after ritual number three, Zarathos had the power to quite literally take over Hell, but he needed a body of his own to act as a conduit for all of his newly acquired might. That's where the upgraded Unit-02 came in.
It was transformed into a hellish, twisted version of itself, and acted as his new body. The only reason that they were all still breathing was the fact that they used some serious teamwork, along with help from the most unexpected source, being Zarathos' former master, Mephistopheles himself, who showed them how to seal the treacherous vengeance spirit back into Asuka so that while Asuka would get the Ghost Rider powers back, Zarathos would technically be 'asleep'. Mana had destroyed the upgrades and took what was left, but what surprised everyone involved, even Asuka herself, was that Mana was actually not angry with Asuka in the slightest.
She had said, "You helped me avenge my Father, as well as helped me personally. You got screwed over by a monster that took your dreams and twisted each and every one of them into nightmares; that's what devils do after all. The damn thing even helped you make improvements to my Dad's work, which in turn helped me out. Your whole life, people you got close to or opened up to either ditched you or betrayed you. You simply don't know how to trust, or how to ask for it, so you through yourself into being an Eva pilot, which personally, made things even worse. In My opinion, you've been punished enough".
After that tragic escapade had been rehashed, Shinji Ikari, Touji Suzahara and Kensuke Aida had arrived, Shinji being late in coming because Hikari's elder sister had asked him to help her move some things for moving into an apartment of her own. Shinji blinked rapidly at the goings on, Touji said a cheery hello to Mana, kissed his super human girl friend hello, and gave Asuka a genuinely friendly 'Hi', and Kensuke almost had an orgasm with being around so many beautiful super women. He was subdued a tiny portion by the absence of Rei Ayanami, the Silver Surfer. He looked like someone had stuffed his puppy into a blender, when the mercurial heroine flew in through the balcony window, doing a double-take when she saw Soul Taker. She noticed the others and spoke, "Major Katsuragi, it seems I have intruded. I had no idea you were entertaining guests".
Misato smiled nervously, scratching the back of her head. 'At least I've got plenty of drinks for every body; lots of BEER anyway', she thought to herself.
The former Sub-Commander recounted his tale of how he and Gendo Ikari had been 'interviewed' by Apocalypse, and their respective deals. Asuka and Misato both looked rather upset after hearing that the 'honorable' Kozo Fuyutsuki had decided to play 'watch dog' to a monster, now literal as well as figurative. What got everybody's attention, however, was the news that the former Nerv Commander, turned super villain, had transformed Shigeru Aoba and Makoto Hyoga into evil, super powered version of Spirit and She-Hulk.
"Are you SERIOUS?!"
That particular vocalization came from the irate Asuka Langley Soryu after hearing that small detail. The others were reacting in different ways to the news, everything from outright skepticism to being just plain nervous. Hikari's reaction in particular wasn't very cheerful when Fuyutsuki told her that not only had Rei III been revived, but had also undergone an enhancement process herself.
"Great, just great", Hikari whined, "I just barely managed to drop Rei's creepy super twin the first time, and now she's back for round two! And she's even stronger than the first time!"
Hikari clammed up, as though she had said something untoward, and looked over at the genetically engineered albino with a shamed look on her face and said, "Sorry about the 'creepy' comment, Rei".
"Do not worry, Hikari. I take no offence. My sisters do have a habit of being………unsettling, at the best of times", the soft spoken bluenette answered.
"If you think your sisters are scary, wait until you meet Red Hulk and Morbius. Both of them are not only dark, twisted version of Misato's and Hikari's alter-egos, they've been strengthened using DNA from both Adam and Lillith so they………"
"But………but that's………how'd they do it?" Doctor Akagi whispered, stammering at the sheer insanity of such a union. Mixing Adam and Lillith, even if it was only DNA samples, meant instant doomsday, so how'd they manage to combine them safely? She turned her questioning eyes to her former superior, and he answered only with a shrug.
"Adam and Lillith can be safely combined. For this process to work, there are several rather deceptively easy steps:
1) DNA from a female must be spliced into Lillith's genome, and DNA from a male spliced into Adam's genome. Tailored retro viruses are your best bet for success. The human DNA must be first treated with special mutagens designed to strengthen and, quite literally, evolve it, before you try splicing it, though.
2) After the DNA is altered through the mutagens, and spliced into the respective genomes, you irradiate them with gamma radiation to provoke even further mutation (this provoked a surprised and somewhat worried expression to pop onto Misato's face)
3) Adam and Lillith's DNA will actually combine on their own, so simply pour the two transformed angelic genome samples into an LCL/nutrient supplement mix, run some high-voltage through it, and you have instant 'super angel' DNA
"Super angel DNA will automatically integrate into any higher order life forms all on its own; after that happens, instant super being".
Soul Taker pointed at himself, and all the super women quickly got the idea, and it was quite a frightening one. Adam laid waste to an entire continent and knocked the entire planet off its axis. Lillith created life after Second Impact, and even gave rise to the human race. Someone with the power of both those beings combined was simply a terrifying concept.
As they all chewed over that shocking piece of information, Soul Taker got to his feet and strode toward the door. All the super women and the boys followed after him with their eyes, and then looked at each other, wondering just what the hell was going on, and so they got up and followed after him. They found him outside with his arms raised above his head, his ebony wings spread to their full width.
Mana slowly walked up behind the huge super being, wishing she hadn't taken off her armor for the sake of being polite. She asked in a rather small voice, "Um………Sir? What are you doing?"
Soul Taker didn't respond with words, but with actions. He floated up into the air, even as he began to glow with otherworldly energy. It began to swirl and writhe about him like a living thing, growing and expanding, swelling into a bizarre purple-red glowing cloud that was now swirling and wafting through the entire apartment complex; it even began to flow into the streets and engulf whole buildings, eventually even the whole of Tokyo-3, the entire time electricity from the city's power grid leaping from active electronics and power lines into the cloud. All of a sudden, the strange formation suddenly imploded and whipped and lashed as it went as quickly as it came, and the entire otherworldly cloud was condensed and focus into a baseball sized globe of power floating between the former Nerv Sub-Commanders hands.
The strange globe shoot into the air with such force, it created a sonic boom, the shock wave slamming into the apartment building. If not for the AT-Fields of several of the heroines, plus Soul Taker's own expansive field, the entire complex – and every living thing in it – would have been summarily pulped.
As everyone collected themselves, they looked to Soul Taker with different feelings, including foremost confusion and anger, all of which disappeared when they noticed that the entire sky was rippling and undulating like the Aurora Borealis, but with bright reds and vibrant violet in addition to the eerie blues and greens. As they each caught sight of the strange phenomenon, they noticed something else.
The stars were moving!
Even as they all watched, the stars seemed to shift and change position, but the scientists and teenage prodigy among them knew that wasn't what was happening; it wasn't the stars that were moving, but it was planet earth itself. The entire frighteningly wondrous event lasted for exactly twenty minutes, and ended with the strange rippling energy flowing down out of the sky like water, right into the transformed Fuyutsuki's bone-white hands.
It flowed and thrashed and ran like wild rapids, and even frothed like it too, and continued to do so for almost as much time as the shocking planetary movement they had experienced, though without even a single, simple tremor or even the minutest of vibration. As the last waves and streams of energy snapped and lashed as they were absorbed, Soul Taker made a show of snapping his fingers and whipping his arms out to the sides. He spun around to face his stunned audience and floated back down to the balcony.
He was greeted with slack-jawed silence and disbelieving wide eyes. He smirked and answered Mana's long forgotten question:
"I'm showing you what REAL power looks like".
The entire assembled group was staring dumbfounded at the god-like power that Soul Taker had just casually displayed with the same kind of graceful ease that a professional ballerina displays when performing a relatively simple routine. If you had asked any of them if such a thing were even remotely possible, they all would have shaken their heads 'no'.
Even now, they still could not accept that any one person, no matter how powerful they were, could actually MOVE an entire planet! With no apparent effort, at that! Soul Taker had given them a simple, single warning after he had come back inside:
"If you thought I was impressive, wait until you meet the Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse".
They had all tried to get him elaborate on who these 'Four Horsemen' were, but Soul Taker remained tight-lipped about it. Nerv's former Sub-Commander was not sitting on the floor, calmly reading what looked like a dime novel, snickering to himself every so often. He knew that Pestilence and the three super-villains that Apocalypse had created would arrive soon, but at least he'd given the girls fair warning.
Out of the corner of his left eye, Soul Taker noticed Hikari Horaki cautiously walk up to him. He turned to the pig-tailed heroine and smiled warmly; well, as warmly as one with a skull-like face could smile. Hikari looked even more apprehensive after seeing those razor sharp teeth, but she realized that there were questions that needed asking, and there were several that stuck out in her mind. She knelt down right beside the much larger super man and offered him a friendly smile.
"What can I do for you, my dear?"
Soul Taker's sudden question made Hikari jump slightly, but she composed herself quickly and looked the powerful super-human right in his ruby red eyes. She asked, "Why did you agree to be changed? I mean, I know you said so you could keep Gendo, Sinister, whatever his name is, in line, but there's got to be more to it than that".
Soul Taker nodded in agreement, and lifted his left arm up to Hikari's eye level and tapped some controls on his gauntlet. A holographic display appeared right in front of Hikari's eyes, causing her to blink in surprise, not to mention the display itself was rather bright. The display showed what were obviously the three super human soldiers, which this 'Apocalypse' character, was sending after them. One she recognized as being the third incarnation of Rei Ayanami, but now she looked older, not to mention taller, and she was wearing an outfit that made her look like a cross between a high priced stripper and a princess.
Hikari looked at Soul Taker with a confused look, but then nodded as she quickly realized that that was the name that Rei's third incarnation had been given. The next super human displayed looked like a nightmarish cross between a vampire bat and the mythical creature those nocturnal animals were named after, and a face that matched. He was as pale as a ghost, wore lots of leather, and had a midnight blue S2 organ sticking out of his chest, and a billowy mane of hair the same color as his S2 organ. What Hikari found the oddest were the scarlet metal spikes that stuck out of the inside of his huge bat wings.
"This fellow is called Morbius".
Soul Taker had noticed that the others were gathered around him now, looking at the images displayed and reading the data that scrolled down beside their pictures. The data was in a language that was wholly alien, not to mention being quite substantial in amount.
The final picture was of the biggest, most imposing physical specimen that any of them had ever seen, and from the looks of the image, seemed even bigger than Misato's jade-skinned alter ego. He wore all black, except for a tanned flack jacket. His blood red skin made his heavy corded muscles made him seem ever bigger than the picture portrayed. He had fiery yellow eyes that glowed like tiny suns, and with just as much ferocity. Where the other two super humans were picture with bland expressions, this monstrous super being had an evil grin splitting his huge face that reached from ear to ear, and a twisted look in his burning eyes that sent shivers up everybody's spines.
"This last fellow is the aptly named Red Hulk. Believe me, he earns the name. He has all of the She-Hulk's abilities and powers, but I have no clue as to what kind of energy empowers him".
"Man, I've had the pleasure of seeing some awesome stuff in my short life, most incredibly your moving the whole planet, sir, but these guys are in a whole new class of creepy", Kensuke Aida spoke up from just over Soul Taker right shoulder. He had climbed up to get a better look, and in fact looked like was about to pitch forward and roll right off. Kensuke had kept quite, along with Shinji and Touji who looked liked equally swept away by it all.
Soul Taker cleared his throat and finally answered Hikari's question.
"I became Soul Taker originally so I could keep Sinister from going on a killing spree. Unfortunately, that's exactly what Apocalypse wants him to do. Since that idea fell through the floor, I decided to warn you about these three, as well as the first of Apocalypses Horsemen, Pestilence".
"You see, that's why I like you, old man. You're so considerate of others!"
This new voice seemingly came out of thin air, but the look on the faces of Soul Taker, the now transformed Spirit, Silver Surfer, Spider Woman and Ms. Fantastic said other wise. Everyone else with super powers or other unique attributes rushed out the door to the apartment, some changing mid-dash, like Mana was re-donning her armor, and Misato was putting on a gift from Ritsuko, a 'control suit', a plug-suit like outfit that gave her near perfect control of her other self, and Asuka had literally burst into flames as the Ghost Rider and then whistled shrilly to summon her Ghost Cycle. She had changed into her Ghost Rider apparel after Soul Taker had showed off, wanting to be ready for anything ELSE that happened.
The boys ran out after the girls, but no simply to cheer them on. They had themselves come prepared in case of trouble, but each in their own way. Kensuke had his duffel bag with him, and what he took out was rather startling. It was the helmet of the Gladiator. He pulled open his shirt to reveal a silvery cross-shaped pendant with a tiny emerald at its center; Lillith had created the pendant to give the wearer of the helmet full control over its power as a payback-by-proxy for all the times she had been abused and deceived by the first angel.
It worked exactly as it was supposed to, but that didn't make using the helmet any bit pleasant. Kensuke could always hear the Gladiator persona screaming to be let out it its metaphysical prison deep within Kensuke's mind. He also remembered how perfectly angry he became when he first took control of the Gladiator body, as well as how brutally he smacked Storm around for her part in his subjugation into a perfect assassin.
He looked over to Touji, who had taken with him a vile of the extremis virus that Mana's dad had come up with as an alternative to the powered armor had developed initially. Actually, what he had was a serum containing bacteria, onto which was organically encoded the start-up software to the extremis virus. Touji had almost died saving Mana's life when he armor had been damaged. The extremis virus not only saved his life, but gave him remarkable combat abilities. The virus had also nearly driven him insane due to it lacking special control software. Mana was able stop him by uploading said software into his brain. His combat abilities had shut down, but had not been removed, rendering him normal again; at least until the activation software was applied. Mana didn't even know He had it.
Shinji had also come armed as well, but instead of super powers, he came armed with a rather sophisticated rifle. Mana had originally built it for Asuka while the two had had a 'working relationship', but Asuka gave it to Shinji 'because she had plenty', or so she had rationalized. As Touji downed the activation serum and Kensuke quickly put the helmet on, the entire group had arrived outside and was greeted by not only Twisted Sister, Morbius and Red Hulk floating on a huge disk of light, but a menacing, dull gray color metal nightmare that had six arms, the primary arms resembling huge robotic pincers with thumbs, a robotic scorpions tail, and a long flowing tattered tan cloak wrapped around its spiky shoulders.
"Hello everyone! My name is Pestilence; I am the first Horseman of Apocalypse, and these fine folks are your new playmates! Play nice now! Sick 'um, gang!"
The entire group braced themselves for the worst. They had not even the slightest inkling of just how bad it was going to get. They soon would, though.
Author's Notes: I am so sorry this took so long to get out, but I hope everyone enjoys it, and again, Read and review, and thanks to all my peers for their suggestions!