AUTHOR: Marisa 'Mayonnaise' Jane G.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own any EVA's... but I do own Felicity.
SPOILERS: Episode 17 "Fourth CHILDREN," and if you haven't seen it... you'll be confused and very lost.
ARCHIVE: Contact me please.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story was written in February 2004, and published on my private archive where it remained until 2007, when I closed the archive. It was illustrated there, but that doesn't seem possible here.

With a sigh Felicity rolled out of her bed, and looked out her window. For a moment, just a moment, she wondered why instead of the maple tree she had grown up with, she saw nothing but sky. That's when she remembered that she wasn't in her own bed in the home she shared with her Father on the Naval base; she was in her bunk room in the Second Branch headquarters for the organization known as NERV, far from the oceanic paradise of California, in the Nevada Desert.

When they had first approached her that day at the base school and taken her from her class, she had thought perhaps she had been selected for some sort of brain study. She had heard NERV as Nerve, and it seemed almost to be that, with all the electrodes they stuck to her head that first day, but it wasn't long until she discovered what was really going on. Her father met her at the airport, with a bag of her belongings packed from her room, to see her off. He would not be going with her to Nevada.

It was just the same to Felicity. She was used to being alone. He was often out on the sea, patrolling the waters in the Aircraft Carrier to which he and many other men at the base were assigned. As long as she could still paint, Felicity would be fine.

The CHILDREN in Japan, the true EVA pilots, didn't have to live on the base. They got to live in real homes, in the city. Granted, two lived under the care of NERV Personnel… but it was still outside the Complex, and without uniforms, and they got to go to school. But that was because they were REAL pilots, and not just testing subjects. Testing subjects had to be kept an eye on to ensure that no mental contamination occurred. But as long as she could paint, Felicity didn't really mind.

And the REAL pilots got to have normal foods, well, normal Japanese foods. They didn't have to eat military rations, handed to them through a mail slot, and drink warm TANG from a pouch. But the food didn't matter… as long as she could still paint.

Then they took away her paints.

She sighed and padded across the floor, pulling on one of her olive drab dresses, and pulling up a seat at her computer terminal. He most recent self-occupation had been reading the reports she was allowed to read, from the First Branch of NERV, where all the real battling took place. That's where the true EVA Pilots were: the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd CHILDREN. Felicity was never expected to sync well with the EVA. She wasn't selected by Marduk, but by the technicians at the second branch.

Her only purpose was to sit in the plug for the activation tests, just to see if they had got it right, if it would turn on, so that the EVA would be ready when Marduk finally discovered the next child… or more specifically, a western American pilot. There was already another EVA waiting in the Eastern US for a pilot, EVA 03, and in Europe, construction had already begun on EVAs 05 and 06. Any pilots discovered in those regions would be assigned to those EVAs, and any more in the Asian region, would be designated as backups for the three in that region, not sent to the EVAs waiting in other countries.

It was almost as if those at the First Branch, wanted to make certain that they alone would have fully functioning EVAs. Perhaps that was what was attracting all the Angels to that area? Felicity didn't know and she didn't really care.

After checking up on the meager information fed to her computer terminal, Felicity occupied herself pacing in circles. Then, just for a change of pace, she paced in rectangles… she made her bed with military precision… she stared out the window at birds… she stared out the window at the ground below.

How easy it would be to jump.

'Why don't you jump?' A soft voice chided at the back of her mind. 'Why do you keep doing this? Why do you stay here?'

"Because…" she said out loud, "If I don't do this, then someone else will have too… and maybe they won't be as strong… maybe they would jump too… then I would be responsible for their death… I can't be responsible for their deaths… I can't do that to them… I have to do this… I can't jump… I can never jump."

Staring still out the window, she wondered if her father knew what she was going through, and how he could have let this happen to her. She wished every night, though she chastised herself for it, that in the morning she would wake at home and this burden would be lifted from her shoulders. She prayed that Marduk would find a REAL pilot for the EVA… and some nights, she even prayed it would be her. Then… maybe… this all would have been worth something. It was that hope, that small glimmer that truly kept her going, whether or not she would admit it to herself.

The mail slot squeaked and her plug suit slipped through; another olive drab garment. The designation on her suit was 04-T. EVA 04's test pilot. Felicity rose from her seat at the computer terminal, and stripped off her olive drab dress, she hadn't bothered to put on any undergarments, no one ever came to see her anyway, and besides, she had known this was coming. Today they would test with the S2 engine. She slipped into the suit and pressed the vacuum button on her left wrist, fitting the suit to herself snugly. The rear of it always rode up in the back, but she was used to it now. It was just one of the many indignities she daily faced.

The door slid open, and two tall men in white lab coats came in. Felicity sighed, and followed them. She knew if she didn't, she'd be frog marched there anyway. She didn't have a choice. Felicity wasn't a real pilot… she wasn't even a real person anymore. Felicity was a blank slate, a sterile catalyst meant to activate the EVA, and not to contaminate it with any thoughts she shouldn't have.

She barely thought about what she was doing, as she sullenly walked to the pier, and took her seat in the Entry Plug. She held her breath for a moment as the plug lurched into the EVA and filled with LCL… and the S2 engine powered up…

And then she was free.