Shinji Steel 76

Disclaimer; I do not own Neon Genesis Evangelion or Max Steel. Wish I did, though.

(Tokyo-2; Interpol; Blunt's office; same time)

As he eyes the post-2nd Impact global map on his wall, Ray Blunt alternates between looking at the notes in his hands and putting a colored pushpin at a corresponding location. With the colors being black, green, blue and red. So far, black is covering the majority, if not overlapping. Not for the first time since he became Acting Director, Blunt's glad he could find pushpins in varying lengths. Yet, he can't help but be troubled for the black pins are for the Ensardo Cartel.

Not much is known about the Ensardo Cartel's leadership. Aside, of course, for a penchant toward bloodshed against LEOs, rival Cartels and, on occasion, the Ensardo Cartel's own personnel. At first, the Ensardo Cartel moved slowly in the midst of the Ansari, Mendoza and Deranso Cartels. Their own colors being red, green and blue, respectively.

But within a month and a half, Ensardo had quickly overtaken control of the territory controlled by the Ansari and Mendoza Cartels. Yet for some reason, the Deranso Cartel was slowly losing ground against the Ensardo Cartel. Almost as if the Ensardo wasn't even fighting like it did the Ansari and Mendoza Cartels.

"At least Ensardo hasn't gotten to Japan yet. At least that we know of, anyway. Otherwise we'd have a real problem." Looking over his notes again, he grimaces. "Ensardo's not even European, yet it has its main base in Europe. So why isn't it in South America? It's still there, after all." His grimace becomes more defined when he adds, "Oddly enough, the Deranso Cartel is pretty much in the same neck of the woods as Ensardo. Really odd." Next thing he knows, a knock is heard on his door.

"It's open." When the door opens, Blunt turns and gives a slight nod to the visitor. "Ms Barkowski." The woman grimaces at that before smirking.

"You can just call me Annabelle or 'Electrix', you know, Acting Director Blunt."

"Much like you can just call me Ray, Ms Barkowski." Annabelle 'Electrix' Barkowski rolls her eyes, yet retains her smirk, before speaking again.

"Not any time soon, Acting Director Blunt."

"Then I guess we're at a standoff, Ms Barkowski." 'Electrix' lightly snorts in agreement before Blunt asks, "What's on your mind?"

"I'm still trying to reconcile the fact you hadn't arrested me for villainous activities in the past once I walked in here two days ago." Blunt gives her a minute shrug before responding.

"Your offenses were minor, based on survival needs and the statute of limitations came into play for them. Plus, your insight into criminal minds may well come in handy. Especially in this case right here." Blunt indicates the map before going on. "What do you see, other than a map overly covered with black pushpins, Ms Barkowski?" She peers intently at the map before grimacing.

"A sign that dark times are ahead, Acting Director." Snapping her fingers, she adds, "Martin found you some info on the Ensardo and Deranso Cartels. A little more than what you've gotten hold of, and I mean a little."

"Okay. Let's go talk to your future husband, shall we." 'Electrix's cheeks can't help but go a cute red before Blunt adds, "Then I gotta call UNLEC. Gonna need some help for the bust tonight. Big help at that." 'Electrix' nods in agreement as they exit the office. Next thing they know, a man in a tattered grey suit staggers into the building. Blunt can't help but blink.

"Ansari? Hugo Ansari?" The man looks up at Blunt before weakly smiling and falls to the floor.

"Shit. Medic!" Bolting toward the fallen man, Blunt quickly gets to his side and checks the man's pulse. Finding it to be weak, but steady, he says, "Hang in there, Hugo. Hang in there."

"Ray, I've been blown." Hugo's voice is weak as it goes on. "Even more, I found out about Deranso and Ensardo both. They're the same guy, Ray." Blunt shakes his head at the man.

"Save your strength, Hugo. You'll need it for debriefing." Hugo nods and relaxes just as the Medic gets to the scene. Within minutes, a gurney comes out of the building's Infirmary and Hugo's gently lifted onto it. As he's wheeled away, Blunt rises and turns toward Martin.

"While we wait for word, what did you find, Martin?"

"I found that up until five years ago, the Ensardo and Deranso names didn't even exist. No records or anything. Like they were just dreamed up. First was the Deranso Cartel. It took great care in not colliding with the Ansari and the Mendoza Cartels at any time. It stayed that way for four and a half years. Then the Ensardo came along."

"And the ensuing bloodshed resulting from arrival." Blunt thinks about what Ansari had said about it being the same guy under two names. "Martin, do a name search."

"You got it, sir. What criteria am I using?"

"Using the seven letters in the names as search criteria. If there's any criminal activity attached to them, I want to know about it." Martin nods at that while 'Electrix' gives Blunt an assessing look.

'He's angry, hurt and focused. I almost pity the poor SOB that made him mad. Almost.' Martin's voice suddenly breaks the introspection.

"Sir, there's already a search underway. It's got a UNLEC coding, but, from what I can see, it's not really connected to UNLEC in any way." 'Electrix' and Blunt suddenly blink before turning to each other.

"Ms Barkowski, your opinion?"

"I think we may be looking at someone that's working under the auspices of the UN. But, there's… aw crap."

"Ms Barkowski?" Blunt's query gets the woman to shake her head before chuckling.

"I think you've a call to make, Acting Director. But not just to UNLEC."

"Who am I calling as well?" Indicating the closet, 'Electrix' leads Blunt into the closet and closes the door. "Who am I to call, along with UNLEC?"

"Have you ever heard of 'N-Tek Sporting Goods', Acting Director?"

"I have. I even have one of their hockey sticks. Why do you ask?"

"Years before 2nd Impact, there was a unit that specialized in stopping global plots by people with ill intent. That unit operated right out of N-Tek."

"You sound like you brushed up against them a few times yourself."

"I did. Mainly two of its operatives." Blinking, she then asks, "So what's the deal with Hugo Ansari? Is he…"

"Related to the Ansari Cartel? Yes. He is. He wanted a clean break from the family and I told him I'd help him on it if he was to be an informant. But I can't help but wonder how his cover had been blown."

"Someone might have been watching him." Blunt nods in agreement before smirking.

"How'd he get to be so brave and keep moving through the pain?" 'Electrix' smirks right back at him.

"He must've gotten it from you." Curious, she then asks, "So what Cartel are we busting anyway?"

"The Deranso Cartel. They might be intent on setting up shop here as a fall-back position of sorts. In fact, that drug mule I had busted some time back?" When 'Electrix' nods eagerly, he goes on. "He was a Deranso mule. With any good fortune, he'll be there. And not alone."

"Some of Deranso's top men?"

"Yep. Want in? Could be handy to have a living taser with us." 'Electrix' can't help but smirk wickedly at that.

"Sure. I've been wanting to express my opinion on the Cartels' activities for so long. Their poison kills innocent children worldwide. They deserve nothing but pain and contempt through electricity." As electrical current arcs in her eyes, Blunt can't help but smirk himself.

"You wouldn't happen to have a sister, would you?" 'Electrix' can't help but chuckle while shaking her head 'no'.

"I'm afraid not. I've a twin brother, but he's under Medical care right now. Has been ever since before 2nd Impact." Shaking it off, she adds, "In the meantime, you may want to have Martin submit those two additional names to UNLEC, citing the possibility the suspect they're looking for is using them as aliases as well."

"Yeah." Exiting the closet, they go to Martin's side, with 'Electrix' sitting beside him. "Martin, I want you to submit those two names to that UNLEC coding, let them know the names may well be part of what they're looking into." Martin nods at that before replying.

"You got it, sir. What about you, sir?"

"I'm going to call UNLEC, see if we can get some backup for the bust tonight."

"I can easily include the request for backup with the message, sir." Blunt mulls it over before shrugging.

"Okay. Go for it. But just to be on the safe side, I'm going to make the call."

"Yes sir." Tentatively, he asks, "Are you going to tell them about the transmitted info from us regarding the Deranso and Ensardo Cartels and the supposition about them?"

"Only if they ask me about them." Martin blinks twice at that before shrugging as Blunt goes to his office. Once Blunt's closed the door, he looks up the number he wants, picks up the phone and punches in the number. A minute later, he hears a female voice.

"UNLEC, how can I direct your call?"

"Joint Ops Director."

"Just a moment, sir." A minute later, a male voice comes over the line.

"Henry Sanchez, JOD. Go ahead."

"This is Acting Director for Interpol, Ray Blunt, in Tokyo-2. I've gotten word of a Cartel shipment coming in tonight at Old Yokosuka. I'm requesting UNLEC assistance for the bust."

"What is expected to be in the shipment?"

"Narcotics, weapons, maybe some explosives and people being trafficked. Perhaps even artifacts from around the world. All belonging to the Deranso Cartel."

"I'm afraid I've got no assets to assist you, Acting Director Blunt, as I've got no available manpower in that region of the world."

"That's too bad. Don't you have a panic button you can press?"

"I'm afraid not, AD Blunt. Even more, it's hard to say if I can get anyone there even if I press the 'panic button' for assistance." Blunt gives a sneer himself.

"Hard to say, huh? Is it as hard to say as 'Oh my God, help me! There's a man in my office with a flamethrower!'? Huh?" The next thing he hears is the phone beeping as if the call had ended during his response. Disgusted, he hangs up the phone, only to hear it ring. Recomposing himself, Blunt picks up. "Tokyo-2 Interpol, Acting Director Blunt speaking."

"Acting Director Blunt, I believe I can help you on your upcoming bust." The voice is male and young. "Tell me what you need and you'll have it."

"Are you connected with UNLEC?"

"Only partly. But we have worldwide coverage." Blunt scrunches his face in thought before he clears his throat.

"If you are who I think you are, then you're more than welcome."

"What do you need, sir?"

"Anything you can spare. I've got narcotics, weapons, maybe even smuggled humans, explosives and artifacts coming in at Old Yokosuka. Expected to arrive at 1900 Japanese time."

"Okay. I'll get the ball rolling on contacting our assets in place in Japan. UNDEA, UNATF and UNICE. How much trouble do you expect?"

"A lot of trouble. The Deranso Cartel's not as bloodthirsty as the Ensardo Cartel, but they're still violent."

"Ah yes. I saw the embedded message in the transmission from your office and I'm currently lumping those names in as well. Just to see if there's… oh crap."

"What is it?"

"AD Blunt, those two names are anagram-based aliases being used by a criminal mastermind that's given the world problems before and after 2nd Impact."

"Oh crap." Yet Blunt can't help but lick his chops in eager anticipation. "How soon can you get the assets you have to Old Yokosuka?"

"We can get them there by 1600, Japanese time." Blunt checks the time and sees that it's 1300 Japanese time now.

"Alright. I'll get my guys armored and armed up. Will any of your guys come up to meet up before the bust goes down?"

"You bet, AD Blunt." Curious, Blunt then clears his throat.

"I suppose it'll be too much to hope that the Deranso Head will be there as well."

"I'd say that's a safe expectation. Much like his other aliases, this guy likes to work from the shadows."

"I don't doubt that. Oh, what do I call you in future communications?"

"You can just call me Berto, AD Blunt."

"Okay, Berto. You can just call me Ray."

(Anonymous Cemetery; same time)

The sound of silence can never be any louder in this cemetery. For this cemetery is where those that Gendo had wanted buried quietly would be buried. While there are only five unmarked graves so far, each grave is a telling story. As the graves are all without markers, the only ones that know where a particular body is buried are the ones that had buried the soul unfortunate enough to come across the former Commander of UN Agency NERV.

Such is the case of Section-2 Agent Brian Dyson and Section-2 Captain Peter Sychola. Both men felt Joseph 'Birdman' Jones had gotten a raw deal as it was, but his being buried in a pauper's grave was rubbing salt in a wound in their books. So, they gave him a quiet and dignified service as best they can and offered prayers. That gave them, and hopefully Joseph, some measure of peace. Yet both men had agreed that should either man make it out of Tokyo-3, for any reason, the one that made it out would notify Joseph's next of kin. To them, it was the right and proper thing to do.

"Okay, guys. This is the place. Remember this man had alterations done to his body before death, so keep the random stabbing in the soil down to a minimum." The other five Agents with him nod before commencing the dig. Within ten minutes, one of the shovels uncovers a brown shroud after a scoop of earth. Brian noticing it.

"Okay, guys. Nice and easy now." As the shovel heads clear the earth away from the form, Brian nods silently until it comes fully into view. The five Agents with him can't help but blink at the body's width. With one of them speaking up.

"Holy crap, Dyson. Was this guy a football player or something?" Dyson can only smirk softly.

"I wouldn't bet on it, Mulroney. This guy was once a well-noted ornithologist until a freak accident took it all away from him. Some time after it happened, he had wings surgically grafted onto his body, his fingernails sharpened into talons and made a bird-face mask. He then gave himself an apt alias. 'Birdman'. Both from his physical appearance and devotion to the avian class."

"How do you know so much about this guy?"

"I sat through one of his lectures in high school. His eyes would be alit in glee as he spoke fondly of the birds he'd researched. The others thought he was nuts. Me? I thought he was actually pretty cool. Shall we?"

At their nods, he leans down, with them following suit. Each taking two handfuls of burlap before lifting. The corpse within being heavy notwithstanding, the six Section-2 Agents are able to lift the form out of the grave before moving toward the van they'd signed out for the detail. As they approach, a seventh Agent opens the rear doors and slides out a floor tray before moving to the side. Once the six Agents reach the tray, they gently lay the load onto the tray before Brian pushes it back into the van. Once the tray's back in place, Brian closes the doors and sighs.

"Now to get him back to NERV so Ms Brantley can start processing his release into her care for the service."

(NERV Brig; Cochrane's cell; same time)

Gritting his teeth angrily, Cochrane gives into his temptation to yell out.


"It will do you no good, Mr Cochrane!" The voice is high-pitched, yet male, getting Cochrane to arch his eyebrows.

"Who's there?!"

"I am Gendo Ikari, former Commander of this facility! Although there's a 'Court Order' that severed me from that name!"

"I heard about you! The pathetic sod that abandoned his child after the death of his wife!"

"I am, indeed! Am I to understand that you're the one that killed homeless children in the wake of 2nd Impact?!"

"That I can confirm! But how'd you hear about me?!"

"I heard the Section 2 Agents escorting you to your current accommodations sneer about how they'd like to give a child killer a lead enema! With a .50 BMG round!" Cochrane can't help but wince at the thought before muttering to himself.

"Figures." Snorting, he asks, "Does what I did bother you?!"

"Not in the slightest! Seeing as those children would've been ineligible to Pilot for NERV anyway, they would've been a mere waste of time for me to be bothered!"

"I see! When I get out, shall I kill the ones you have Piloting for you?!"

"Their ends will come soon enough even without the advent of 3rd Impact! With one Pilot projected to be already dead by now, with another one that should now be a terrible mess that can't Pilot, NERV is sure to be down to one functional Pilot! One that has yet to break, even with what he's endured!"

"He?! A boy?!"

"Oh yes! My biological son, even though he's rejected me as his Father ever since he came back to Tokyo-3!"

"It sounds like he's been a massive handful then!"

"Like you wouldn't believe, Chief Inspector! Much like his intended is, even with child! If my goal is to be denied me, then measures will be taken when the time comes!" Gendo then pauses before speaking again. "Just out of curiosity, how did you come to NERV's attention?!"

"One of your Section-2 Agents was working to solve a case where his old man, a Fed no less, was gunned down! Of course, he had no way of knowing I was involved at the time!"

"Until he started digging deeper and found out what you did!"

"That's right! Even more, I even hindered an investigation into the abduction of a US Marine masked as a homicide!"

"I see! Did this Marine have a name?!"

"GS Peter Sychola! AKA the terrorist…"

"Psycho! I'm well aware of him and his past! Though seemingly not enough!"

(Section-2 Office; Sychola's office; same time)

Sychola's in stitches as Ellie relates to him an amusing anecdote that'd happened when Brian was only five. Janice giggling in the background.

"He then said 'You can't talk to my Aunts like that!' before reaching up and socking the jerk right in the nuts!" Sychola can't help but wince his mask's eyepieces before guffawing.

"I wish I could've seen that!" Ellie nods while cackling. "How'd Tom take it?!"

"He said 'That's my "Little Nutcracker"!'." Sychola can't help but howl out in laughter again. "Even more, some of the girls on the beach gave Brian a kiss on his forehead as the guy had apparently given them a hard time. I think one of them, a seventeen year old, even gave him her phone number to call her for when he gets to be a little bit older." As Sychola bursts out into laughter again, he shakes his head.

"Stop, please! I need to catch my breath before I die laughing!" Ellie nods her head in agreement as Sychola gets his laughter under control. Which takes him five minutes. Yet with a smile of amusement on his face.

"What happened to the girl, anyway?" Ellie frowns, as does Janice, as the two think about her before Janice speaks.

"I think she survived 2nd Impact, and became a model. I'll have to check. Not quite sure how she'll take to Nikita though." Curious, she then asks, "How'd Brian and Nikita meet anyway?"

"I brought them together." Ellie and Janice both burst into giggles on that, with Sychola snickering. "Nothing pleases me more than to see two young souls being brought together. Much like Pilot Ikari and his fair lady, or former Pilot Ayanami and her beau." Ellie and Janice both blink at that, with Janice taking it.

"So children are actually being used as combatants? No bullshit?" At Sychola's nod, Janice scowls while remarking, "That's all kinds of wrong."

"I agree, Agent Zuckerman. Unfortunately, however, only those born after 2nd Impact or were shielded during that time can Pilot Evangelions. As we found out fairly recently." Ellie springs in with that opening herself.

"Shielded? How? And who?"

"Pilot Ikari's intended. She was in a life-pod her birth parents put her into before 2nd Impact happened. It's because of that shielding, and the former Commander that's currently in the brig, that she got an Angel kill. Along with the Dummy Plug that Dr Akagi had developed."

"I see. What are the Pilots like? Particularly their outlooks on life."

"As stable as possible, especially for those being immersed in warfare much too early in my book, Agent Zuckerman. Despite his being abandoned by Rokubungi, Pilot Ikari thrived quite well in the care of his surrogate family. Considering she'd been sheltered into a barely-functional shell, former Pilot Ayanami broke out of that shell she was in and became a little more sociable. Even though she got off to a rocky start with the others, Pilot Sohryu eventually came to embrace her comrades in arms."

"What of their personal lives?"

"They have relationships, Agent DeWitt. In fact, Rits, Pilot Ikari's intended, is currently expecting their first child. And it'd be a safe bet that former Pilot Ayanami won't be far behind on that front herself. I still have yet to determine the relationship between Pilot Sohryu and the young man she's sparking a relationship with. And don't get me started on Commander Katsuragi with Mr Kaji."

"What's Commander Katsuragi like?"

"Tough, but fair, Agent DeWitt. She's not the kind to view people as expendable. Well, aside from Former Commander Rokubungi, anyway. Now that guy is a real sicko."

"I don't doubt that, Gunny." Smiling, Ellie adds, "But we can discuss them later. For now, is there any way we can talk with Ms Takamiya as to where Dr Roilson is?"

"Yeah sure. In fact, knowing her, she's spending time with Rits before going back to Kyoto-2 and enrolling in night school."

"Oh? What's her intended major?"

"She wants to become a teacher, Agent Zuckerman." Standing up from behind his desk, he asks, "Shall we?" Ellie and Janice both grin and stand as well before Ellie gives their shared reply.


(Medical Wing; same time)

As he groggily opens his eyes, Vladimir sees the brunette Doctor of NERV making notes on her note-board. Ritsu stops her notations and looks toward Vladimir before smiling softly.

"How're you feeling, Mr Karpovskiva?"

"A little weak, Doctor Akagi."

"That's to be expected. It'll take you about a month and a half to get your strength back provided you eat right during your recovery." Looking back toward her note-board, she nods and adds, "In any case, I managed to salvage 38% of your pancreas. Considering it was at 30% when treatment was initiated, I'm quite surprised I was able to help you at all. You now have 68% in terms of your pancreas."

"What of the other 32%?" Ritsu can't help but shake her head negatively.

"It's gone. The cancer had done some serious damage to you. As it was, you got to me barely in time. But, I'm pleased to report that you can look forward to six more years at most as what you just underwent is by no means a cure. You're just merely on borrowed time."

"So I need to eat right and take good care of myself." At her nod, he looks at a tube behind her and winces upon seeing a snoozing Jenk floating in the tube. "How's Officer Jenkins faring?" The brunette flips through the notes on her board before giving her reply.

"His thigh repair is currently at 75%. Barring complications, he should be out of the tube by the end of the day." Vladimir nods at that before chuckling. Getting her attention. "What is it?"

"I'm just remembering I still have to watch his 'Macarena' performance video that Nikita has. I heard him singing and that… bug yelping in pain. Repeatedly." Ritsu can't help but blink at that before Vladimir adds, "He did a performance on the flight from NY to LA before we made our way to over here."

"Why stop in LA?"

"To pick up the two UNBI Agents that are seemingly like Aunts to Agent Dyson." Ritsu gives a nod as the door to the Med-wing slides open, prompting Vladimir to smile softly. "Hello, young one."

"Hi, Mr Karpovskiva." Ritsu turns around and sees a softly-smiling Lisa. "How're you feeling?"

"A bit weak, but I'll be alright. You?"

"I'm doing okay. I'm just here to check on Jenk." Looking around, she adds, "But I don't see the future Mrs Jenk here."

"If you mean Ms Ugatinoga, she has administrative duties to carry out for the Captain of Section 2." Ritsu makes a notation on her board before adding, "She can't very well do that while maintaining a vigil at Officer Jenkins' side." Lisa mulls it over before shrugging and looking toward Vladimir, a curious expression on her face. With Vladimir noticing the scrutiny.

"Is something wrong, young one?"

"Some time ago, one of my fellow Officers was about to be gunned down in cold blood by Cochrane. The shooter used a rifle version of the weapon you'd used when…" Lisa's voice trails off, prompting Vladimir to nod before she goes on. "You were the one that took the shot that saved him, aren't you?"

"I am." Giving her a smirk, he adds, "I admit, wounding that bug gave me no end of satisfaction."

"I have no doubt about that. But, how'd you know what Cochrane was going to do?"

"I didn't, actually. I'd just gotten into place when I saw the car run the red light and your colleague pull after the car. I watched the whole thing through my scope and saw Cochrane's face. I then saw his accomplice knock the Officer down and give Cochrane the weapon."

"So, basically, it was only a coincidence that you were there to take the shot." At Vladimir's nod, Lisa lets a giggle escape. "I wonder how Cochrane would react to you being the one that took the shot."

"I imagine not very well. Thinking of, how is your fellow Officer faring?"

"I'll put it to you like this. Nearly dying didn't improve his personality one bit. He's still an annoyingly arrogant ass. But if he'd died, Danny would've lost his favorite test subject for the Ultrasound weapon he's been working on."

Vladimir can't help but chortle at that as Lisa goes to the tube that Jenk's in. Upon seeing his eyes are closed, Lisa notes that he's breathing. Without any kind of breathing apparatus present.

"Um, Doc…" Ritsu picks up on Lisa's concern and slightly smirks.

"It's not water, Officer Kinsey. It's nutrient-rich LCL. Heavily-oxygenated. It also has nanites that are presently repairing the damage to his right thigh." Hearing her sigh in relief, Ritsu asks, "How long have you known Officer Jenkins now?"

"Ever since I was ten, Doc. Same with Danny and Scott. We all met at elementary school in NYC."


"Scott Walker. He's with the UN Marshals." Smiling fondly, Lisa adds, "I never thought that all four of us would be going into LE. Danny's sister, Julie, she's thinking of going into LE as well."

"But you don't think it's for her?"

"It's not that. More like… I'm worried."

"About the possibility of that 'call' in the dead of night. Right?"

"Yeah. When we're not on shift together, Danny tends to worry about getting it about me, I worry about getting it about him or my friends. I don't want to worry about getting it about Julie as well."

"Every job has risks." Jenk's voice gets their attention as he goes on. "Our risks are a little more intense. Much like the Evangelion Pilots' risks. Only their risks are on a much bigger scale. If you can't face the risks, don't put on the shield or be with someone wearing the shield." Lisa gives him a teary-eyed nod, getting him to ask, "You okay?"

"Yeah, I'm okay. It's just…" Putting her left hand to her belly before gently rubbing it, she murmurs, "My emotions are all out of whack. Getting me to think about the future. That kind of thing."

"Quite frankly, Kinsey, you and Mal will both make great parents." Lisa gives him a wide smirk, getting him to moan. "Oh no. No."

"Oh yes. Much like you and Machiko will make such a lovely couple. Which is why I'm naming you both Godparents." Her eyes shine merrily before she adds, "I can just imagine your kids and they'll be beautiful, Jenk." Rolling his eyes, getting a giggle from Lisa in the process, Jenk can't help but shake his head.

"We just met for crying out loud! And you've practically married us off when we're nowhere near that point!"

"Don't tell me you never heard of a whirlwind romance, Jenk."

"I have, actually. But the thought that Miss Ugatinoga and I are compatible with each other right off the bat is ludicrous." Jenk then sighs before going on. "I get that you want me to find happiness, Kinsey. Really, I do and I appreciate it. It's just…"

"It's just what?"

"What if I'm not good enough for her?" The morose tone in his voice gets her to frown sternly at him.

"Oh, you are good enough for her. You're good enough for any woman. It's the women that rejected you that weren't good enough for anyone. Let alone you, Jenk."

"You sound so sure of that."

"It's because I am. Any woman would be lucky to have you in her life. You're charming, funny, sweet, handsome, kind… need I go on?" At his headshake of 'no', she then asks, "Then why are you so hard on yourself?"

"I guess my experience with Andrea left me quite sour on the idea of romance." Lisa's eyes can't help but blaze in anger.

"You mean Andrea Anderson?! One of Pamela St Clair's friends?!" At his nod, Lisa asks, "Did she say why, by any chance?"

"No, she didn't." Jenk lightly winces before adding, "I don't want to talk about it anymore. Please." Lisa gives him a soft nod before exiting the Med-bay. Anger in her steps.

(Ikari apartment; fifteen minutes later)

"Shinji, I'm wondering if… you can tell me…"

"Where Dr Roilson is, Deidre?" At her nod, Shinji nods right back and says, "He's in Atsugi City, working in the Medical Center there. Under the name of George Robinson."

Before Deidre can say anything in reply, a knock is heard on the door. As Rits opens the door, Shinji can see Sychola standing with two Caucasian women. One blond, one brunette. Both wearing pant-suits.

"Hey, Rits."

"Hi, Peter. Who're your friends?"

"UNBI Agents Dewitt and Zuckerman. They're here to speak with your Mom about someone she knows." Rits looks the two Agents over before shrugging.

"Come on in, Agents." As the two step in, Rits notices that Peter's standing still. "Peter?"

"Sorry, kiddo, but I gotta get back to the office."

"It couldn't hurt you to socialize some, Captain." Misato's voice as she steps into view gets him to blink before noticing her short cut hair. Misato noticing it. "What do you think, Captain Sychola?"

"It looks nice, Ma'am." Looking back at Rits, he blinks at seeing her hair the same way as well. "Who cut your hair, Rits?"

"Shinji. With a pair of gardening shears. Mom, mine, Misato and Asuka's."

"I see." Meanwhile…

"Deidre Takamiya?" When Deidre nods at the blond UNBI Agent, the latter goes on. "I'm Agent DeWitt. This is my partner, Agent Zuckerman. We'd like you to help us get into contact with a person of interest that may well be instrumental in a case we're investigating. An underground Doctor named Greg Roilson."

"What kind of case?" At Deidre's query, Agents DeWitt and Zuckerman both silently look back toward Sychola. With Deidre quickly picking up on it. "What does Peter have to do with it?"

"How much do you know about him before his time as Psycho?"

"Not very much, I'm afraid, Agent Zuckerman. I do know that he's been having flashes of memory of time as a US Marine. One that'd been reported as deceased."

"That's the core of the investigation, I'm afraid." At Agent DeWitt's reply, Deidre blinks before she goes on. "An FBI Agent we'd worked with before it became the UNBI was murdered to hinder an investigation in which Gunny Sychola was abducted, guised as a homicide of a Good Samaritan."

"And since I took Peter to him when Peter had…" Deidre trembles in anger before regaining control, smiling softly at Agent Zuckerman's reply. Getting Agent DeWitt's attention.

"Ms Takamiya?"

"It'll be my extreme pleasure to take you to him, Agents. In fact, I've been meaning to check on him of late. But, just so you know, he's now under a protective alias due to a recent murder attempt."

"What brought it about?"

"It seems he'd been mining for information about the procedure that changed Peter into a psychopath before he came back to his senses, Agent DeWitt."

"And someone didn't like that at all. Who arranged for his protection?"

"UN Marshal Max Steel Jr, Agent Zuckerman." Both Agents are quite befuddled before DeWitt notices Deidre and Rits heading for the apartment's doorway. "If you want to speak with Dr Roilson, Agents, we need to get a move on." Both Agents look to each other before shrugging and following suit. Both then notice Rits give Shinji a steamy lip-lock before stroking his face. A soft grin on hers.

"I take it that's your daughter, Ms Takamiya?"

"It is, Agent Zuckerman. That's my Ritsy and he's…"

"Shinji." DeWitt's voice has a hitch to it before she shakes it off. "I don't care how desperate the situation is due to certain limitations. Children shouldn't be used in combat."

"Unfortunately, however, the Evangelions won't actually work for adults. Only those born after 2nd Impact. And, in Rits' case, a shielded newborn." Misato's reply gets Ellie and Janice both to nod in understanding before she goes on. "Believe me, I know because when I first joined NERV, I thought I was going to be a Pilot for one of the Evangelions."

"But then you found out and ultimately became who you are now?"

"It took a while, but yes, Agent Zuckerman." Smiling fondly at her two charges, Misato adds, "And my life's only gotten better ever since they came to be in my life. Much like theirs have gotten better. Although Shinji's life was already pretty good when he came into my life." DeWitt can't help but smirk softly at that.

"I can easily see that from the way he and Ritsuko are lip-locking." Checking her watch, she grimaces, with Deidre noticing the grimace.

"Right. Ritsy?" At Rits' turning toward her, Deidre asks, "Do you want to meet my friend?"

"Sure." With that, she gives Shinji one more kiss before sighing. "I'll see you when we get back, Shinji."

"Unless something comes up, I'll be waiting." Rits nods softly before hugging him.

"I hope nothing will."

"As do I." With that, the hug ends and Deidre, Rits, the UNBI Agents and Sychola exit the apartment. Once the door closes, Shinji turns to Misato and Asuka. "So, what do you guys want to do?" Before either can reply, Berto's voice chimes in.

"Shinji, Red Devil, Misato, get ready to do a bust." Misato gets a gleam in her eyes before she smirks.

"What kind of bust is it?"

"A shipping freighter, belonging to the Deranso Cartel. I'll give you three guesses who's behind the show, but you'll really only need one."

"Dread." Their united reply gets them to blink before chuckling softly at each other. As the chuckles dissipate, Asuka chimes in.

"What LEO are we with today, Berto?"

"You'll be with different LEOs today as it's a joint op with Interpol in Tokyo-2. It was at the request of Acting Director Ray Blunt." Misato's ears can't help but perk up at that.

"Ray Blunt? Son of late construction attorney Peter Blunt?"

"The very same, Misato. Why do you ask?"

"I'll put it to you like this. If you heard of his Father, then you'll realize that Ray inherited his Father's temper and laid-back manner." Shuddering, she adds, "There are times when he's funny, but only if you're not on the receiving end. If you are, he becomes very scary."

"How often were you on the receiving end?"

"Never, thankfully enough, Asuka. When he joined Interpol out of college instead of going into being a construction attorney, his Father was… dismayed. But he also understood that while being an attorney suited him, Ray was a different story. So, he supported Ray. When Ray closed 65 cold cases in Interpol's files within a year, his Father knew that Ray had found his calling." Both teens give Misato a grin as she and Asuka exit the apartment, with Asuka snickering softly before Shinji chimes in.

"Can't wait to meet him, Misato. Hopefully he'll be more personable than Cochrane."