Disclaimer: Neon Genesis Evangelion is the creation of Anno and Gainax. I don't own it, make no claims to it, and am making no profit from the fan fiction. No infringement of copyright is intended. In other words, please don't sue.
Disclaimer: I do not own DC Comics or anything associated with it, and I am making no profit from this fan fiction. No infringement of copyright is intended. In other words, please don't sue.
Prologue: Divine Intervention
The woman who hobbled into the immense council chambers looked tiny and frail under normal circumstances; she was utterly ancient, to the point that age had shrunken her to child-like proportions, and her face seemed like little more than a great mass of wrinkles. In the awesome presence of the beings who had summonsed her to this place, however, she looked particularly insignificant.
Of course, walking into the grand meeting room of the Twelve Olympians, any mortal would have looked insignificant, especially when the gods were present, as they now were. But none would look quite as tiny and unimportant as the wizened old woman who entered with the aid of a cane.
Which was ironic, because while she was tiny, she was anything but unimportant. She never would have been summonsed to Mount Olympus if she were.
"Speak," ordered Zeus, king of the gods. "Tell us what you have Seen."
"As you command," she rasped. "I have seen that the mortal world stands on a precipice, with the end drawing near. The greed and foolishness of one man shall return the false god Adam to power, and the mortal world shall be swept away in a crimson tide."
The silence in the chamber was deafening. The deities who had gathered there often had radically different ends and desires, but the end of the world would benefit none of them.
"Cannot something be done to stop it?" one of them asked.
"There is only one who can prevent the coming cataclysm," the crone answered. "A mortal woman not conceived by the seed of man."
The beings of power traded confused looks.
"How can there be a mortal woman not conceived by the seed of man?" asked Aphrodite.
"And who is this woman?" Ares demanded.
The ancient woman could only shrug helplessly. "My lords and ladies, I do not know that. I have not Seen it."
"How you seen anything besides what you've already told us?" asked Demeter.
"No, my lady," the old woman answered.
"Then you may go," Zeus said..
The ancient woman nodded and turned to go, but before she actually started to leave, she turned to Apollo. "My lord," she said softly, "may I ask that you finally lift the curse of immortality from me? It has been so very long…"
"We will see, Sibyl," Apollo replied, not sounding particularly merciful.
She sighed softly. "Yes, my lord," she said, then went hobbling out.
The Olympians waited until the prophetess had departed their grand council chambers before breaking out into a flurry of worried conversation, sounding for all the world like a group of school children whose teacher had stepped out for a moment.
At least until a deafening crack of thunder echoed through the room, instantly silencing all conversation.
"Enough," Zeus growled. "We will have order. Now, is it safe to assume that we are all united, for once, in our desire not to see the mortal world end?"
The other deities all quickly gave assent. Much as they would be loathed to admit it, they needed the mortal realm. Even though very few mortals worshipped them any longer, they still drew strength from those who still did. Also, the complete elimination of all the things the gods served as patrons of—from poetry to war—would be a grievous blow to them, perhaps one powerful enough to end even their immortal lives.
"Good," Zeus said after no one dared to speak for several seconds. "Then it seems that our first task is to identify the woman of this prophecy."
"If I may, Lord Zeus," Athena spoke up, "I know who the seer spoke of."
All eyes immediately turned to the goddess of wisdom.
"Well, then? Tell us who she is!" demanded Ares, as hot under the collar as ever.
"We have to find her and help her stop this disaster," Poseidon agreed emphatically.
"Hold a moment," Athena said, looking quite unruffled by the intense stares that were being directed her way. She looked slowly and deliberately at each of the male deities present. "When was the last time one of you served as the patron of a female champion?"
The gods, usually shameless chauvinists, squirmed uncomfortably and didn't answer.
"What difference does that make?!" Ares snarled at last.
"Molding a woman into a heroine is quite a different thing from molding a man to be a hero. None of you know how to go about it," Athena answered simply. "Therefore, I propose that I be allowed to take charge of preparing the girl in the prophecy for her destiny."
"No!" Ares bellowed. "I won't leave the fate of the world in—"
"Enough, Ares," Zeus snapped. "Athena makes a fair point. I will allow her to take the lead on this, and we will all aid her as requested."
The other gods gave their assent, with varying degrees of reluctance. Athena nodded and stood from her throne, allowing only a small smile of satisfaction to appear on her face.
"Thank you," she said. "I shall take my leave and begin at once."
With that, the goddess' form shifted and changed, becoming that of a great, tawny owl. The owl flapped its wings and flew out of the enormous chamber, quickly leaving the realm of the gods.
In the battle against the Fifth Angel, Rei Ayanami had sustained new injuries and had been forced to take another leave of absence from school. However, the First Child was a fast healer, and had returned to Tokyo-3 Municipal Junior High School after spending less than a week in NERV Medical.
So far, the school day had been utterly normal and unremarkable in every way, and as it was ending now, Rei fully expected it to remain this way.
She had probably never been more wrong in her entire life.
"Ayanami-san," she heard someone call as she was just about to leave the schoolyard.
Rei turned and saw the person who sought her attention was Ms. Nagasawa, one of the school's teachers. She was a woman in her late forties who wore a pair of black framed glasses. Her dark hair, streaked with gray, was pulled back into a no-nonsense bun, and everything about her demeanor suggested sternness.
The First Child had no idea why the teacher had called to her; she was not in Nagasawa's class and had not ever exchanged so much as a single word with her. However, Rei soon judged that this question was ultimately irrelevant. She had been summonsed by an authority figure; that was all that mattered.
"Yes, Nagasawa-san?" Rei asked, approaching the woman.
"I want a word with you in private, Ayanami-san," Nagasawa said.
Rei quirked an eyebrow but quickly acquiesced. Nagasawa led Rei back into the school, and the First Child followed without a word. However, something nagged at Rei. Nagasawa seemed off somehow; it was like the air around her was crackling with power in a way it certainly never had in the past.
Most people would have caulked this up to their imagination running away with them. Of course Rei wasn't most people, but as the First Child decided that Nagasawa's strange aura was also irrelevant, she might as well have been.
The teacher led Rei to an empty classroom and shut the door behind them. Rei turned to face Nagasawa and waited patiently for the teacher to speak.
Except she never did. Instead, Nagasawa grabbed Rei firmly by the shoulders. The First Child gasped as reality seemed to break around her, the classroom dissolving before her eyes. Powerful wind gusted all around her, and her surroundings became an incomprehensible blur. Only she herself and the older woman remained constant in the bizarre maelstrom she'd suddenly found herself trapped within.
Light and sound buffeted her, threatening to overload her senses. For a few terrifying seconds, the First Child found herself unable to draw a breath. She tried to scream but found doing so was impossible.
Then, just as abruptly as it had begun, it stopped, and the world solidified again. The hands on her shoulders suddenly disappeared, and Rei instantly fell, landing hard on her rear.
Rei ignored the pain and barely panted, despite the way her heart was hammering in her chest. The blue haired girl immediately realized that she had not landed on the tiled floor of the school. Instead, the ground beneath her was sandy, as though she were on a beach.
Rei quickly looked around. She was indeed no longer in the school, nor was she anyplace that she recognized. Instead, she was at the edge of what appeared to be an island. There was no sign of human habitation where she was, save for a dirt road which led off into the deep vegetation away from the narrow strip of beach she was on. Several of the plants didn't look as though they belonged in Japan, and the air was more humid than she'd ever felt it in Tokyo-3. The breeze carried the smell of salt to her nose, allowing her to deduce that the body of water nearby was an ocean.
Rei abruptly realized that there was someone right next to her, though she had no idea how anyone could have evaded her notice while getting so close.
The First Child looked up to see an exceptionally tall woman, nearly eight feet in height, standing beside her. She wore a blue tunic, which would have looked very out of place in Tokyo-3 but by itself wasn't so strange. Over this, however, she had a bronze breast plate, and on her head was a large, bronze helmet, which was tipped up, allowing her face to be seen. On one arm was a round shield, also made of bronze, and her free hand held a long spear.
Nagasawa, Rei noted, was nowhere to be seen.
"Who are you?" Rei asked as she got to her feet, her voice far too calm for her current situation.
The corners of the huge woman's lips quirked upwards in the ghost of a smile. "I am Pallas Athena," she replied, "the goddess of wisdom and war."
Rei quirked an eyebrow. "I see."
If the goddess found this less than emotional response surprising, she didn't show it. "You, Rei Ayanami, are a child of prophecy."
Rei frowned. She knew that the Dead Sea Scrolls mentioned her, albeit not by name. Or, more accurately, she had been created to fit in with certain parts of those ancient texts. However, she had no idea how this woman claiming to be a goddess could know that.
Unless, of course, her claims held at least some truth, but Rei wasn't at all ready to accept that just yet.
"Yes, it is true," Athena said, apparently misinterpreting Rei's expression. "It has been ordained that at some point in the future, only you, a woman not conceived by the seed of man, will be able to prevent the destruction of the world. My…family and I have decided to aid you in saving the world as best we can."
Rei's frown deepened slightly as she realized that the prophecy Athena spoke of had nothing to do with the Dead Sea Scrolls. It was true that she was a woman "not conceived by the seed of man" as she had been created in a laboratory from the DNA of Lilith and Yui Ikari. However, the ancient prophecies SEELE and Commander Ikari used to guide them never referenced her as such.
Yet whatever prophecy Athena had heard was correct so far as the First Child could tell. Rei knew only too well that, unless something went catastrophically wrong with the Commander's scenario, she or one of her "sisters" would briefly hold power over the entire world.
Indeed, she existed to take that power from the forbidden union of Adam and Lilith, and then bequeath it to the Commander, who would remake the world with it. She fully intended to fulfill her purpose when the time came, and she decided it would be best to inform Athena of this.
"I realize that this task seems daunting," Athena cut her off, "but rest assured, you will be endowed with powers that will make you more than a match for any challenge you might face."
"Nor will you be alone," Athena continued. "Though ancient rules forbid me from certain actions and interferences, I shall watch over you and aid you as best I can for the whole of your journey."
Before Rei could again attempt to protest, she heard the sound of approaching hoof beats. Both she and the goddess turned to see another woman approaching on the back of a brown mare. The new woman had raven black hair and a proud face with high cheek bones. She wore a white dress and had a staff that looked it might be made of solid gold sitting on her lap.
Bringing her steed to a halt, the new woman grabbed her staff and dismounted. She quickly went down on one knee, bowed to Athena, and then said something in another language. Athena responded in kind, and the new woman rose to her feet.
Rei wasn't positive, but she thought the language they were speaking might be Greek.
Athena and the new woman conversed briefly in this possibly Greek language, and Rei heard the goddess speak her name. A moment later, the raven haired woman turned to the First Child.
"Greetings, Rei Ayanami," she said in accented but perfect Japanese. "I am Queen Hippolyta, the ruler of this island. Welcome to Themyscria."
Author's Notes: Those of you who know anything about DC comics will know who Rei's going to be. Those of you who don't (and I know at least a couple of you are reading these things), feel free spend two minutes on Google finding out (trust me, it shouldn't take longer than that) or wait until the next chapter of this when it'll become obvious.
By the way, for anyone who's wondering why I chose the Roman Sibyl instead of the more famous Delphic Oracle, it's simply because I'm slightly sketchy on the myths surrounding the latter, and I know that the former was cursed with immortality by Apollo, so she would still be alive even in 2015. It probably doesn't gel as well with DC continuity, but the exact identity of who spit out the prophecy that gets the plot moving isn't a hugely important detail.
So, anyway, all three of Eva's main females have now had their second Superwomen of Eva story started. Now I get to the task of updating them while adding in the stories of the more peripheral female characters. Speaking of which, I've decided to write stories for the game-only girls as well—because I'm insane!
Okay, while I might well be insane, that's not the reason for my plans. I realized that there were certain…gaps in the SOE2-verse that I had planned, and then I realized that the game girls, particularly Mayumi, could help me fill them. Then I started writing down ideas and getting excited about them, and then I realized I was going to write these stories whether it was a good idea to take on two more or not. My fellow writers will understand, I'm sure.
Plus, Archdruid-Sephiroth has stated that he's not interested in writing an SOE2 fic, and The Rei-Fan hasn't updated "The Truth Is" since the end of January, so I kind of feel like the field is open.
Whee, another absurdly huge author's note. Let me just say thanks to all my readers and reviewers. Oh, and sorry, but I couldn't come up with an omake for this prologue. I'll try and make it up to you next chapter.