Author's requisite warning/admission: Neon Genesis Evangelion is the property of Gainax Studios and the brainchild of Hideki Anno. All rights reserved. NGE: Nobody Dies is a collaboration between myself, Jim Eperson, and many other people with me as the primary writer. No profit is gained from this, as this is for fun, amusement, and hobby.
When we last left off with Rei and the Shinji and Asuka she rescued from End of Evangelion, they were heading out into the Multiverse. Let's see what they're up to...
This has been the best week ever. I've made two new friends, traveled, and I'm learning so much about the world and my place in it. Sure, it's scary, and I'm sure Mom is worried, but everything will be okay.
In fact, I've been having so much fun this week, I'm not sure I want it to stop. Aunt Lilly, though, insists that I have to get back to my Mom and my brother and everyone. They'll be so happy to see me! Especially all the souvenirs I've gotten during the trip!
Hm...which one do I want to show them first? Oo! I know. It's my bestest favorite one, the one that I got during the big fight on that one Earth...
The yellow ring slides onto her finger as the two armies clash overhead. The scratchy, deep voice booms in her ears as the smile crosses her face in a manic, rictus grin.
"Rei Ayanami of Earth, you have the potential to inspire Great Fear. Welcome to the Sinestro Corps."
Buuuuut maybe I should start at the beginning.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Nobody Dies
Rei Ayanami Does the Multiverse
Rest Stop 1: Epsilon Eriadani System, 2259 AD.
The hard part was hiding the giant robot. Neither are sure exactly how Rei pulled that one off, but she did, and while they let their excitable companion explore the Zoccolo, or market, of the 5-mile long space station they're currently on, the two youths sit down at one of the tables and enjoy the first real meal they've had in a very long time.
"Swedish meatballs," Asuka says.
"Weird. The vendor had tentacles."
"I know," she responds, staring at Shinji's plate, "Weird. At least it's not moving."
"Well, that's only if you hit it with a spoon. If you stab it with the fork, it definitely doesn't move."
They both look up. Standing in front of their table, and they were certain no one actually approached them from any angle, is a man with a hastily trimmed beard, long dark hair, and dressed like he just came out of a forest.
"Yes?" Asuka demands.
"You remind me of someone," the man says, "Especially in how you look like you want to commit violence on me. We'll talk about that later. My name's Marcus. Pleasure to meet you, and you're not from around here."
Shinji mutters a swear, looking about around, trying to find an escape route. In retrospect, he should have considered that something like this could happen. Something, someplace, this advanced had to have a way to keep track of people. If NERV could do it, they certainly can.
Smiling, Marcus claps. Every light on the Zoccolo goes out, people screaming in the darkness. With a flicker, the lights turn back on.
And the table is empty.
The man is impeccably dressed, with slicked black hair, in a black suit and an air of unearthly confidence about him. If one listens carefully, they can hear the inhuman, insectivorous chittering around him. Like cicadas or crickets, following him everywhere. With a smile and a polite nod, he regards the guest at the end of the table, and as always leads with a question.
"What do you want?"
On the other end of the table, the girl with alabaster skin, red eyes and blue hair, in a purloined heavy jacket to wear over her white plugsuit smiles back with too many teeth.
"I want a pony!"
The lift doors open on the main stretch of hallway leading towards the main hangar where the ambassadors keep their ships, revealing two members of a species with an appearance and attitude resembling peacocks. Ambassador Londo Mollari, representative of the Centauri on the cigar-shaped station, stares ahead with his aide as the scene plays before them. Silently, ever-faithful Vir sticks his head out, raising an eyebrow as Londo pinches the bridge of his nose.
"Odd," Vir says, "I've never known Ambassador Kosh could run in his encounter suit."
"Yes," Londo responds, crumpling his brow as his brain continues to process, "Usually he just glides and appears places. I wonder what lit the fire under his ass."
"A...pony," William Morden asks.
Rei nods, hands clasped together on the table.
"Yep!" she says, "Seven. Each for one of my sisters. Although not Kei, 'cause Kei said she outgrew ponies and stuff, because you know she wanted to concentrate on 'important stuff'," she adds, with air quotes, "And oh! Oh! They have to be unicorns! And not goats with a horn chopped off. And they need rainbows."
Morden blinks. Eyes dart from side to side, looking for a distraction and finding none.
"That can be...arranged. If that's all-"
She vaults the table, landing on his lap.
"Uh uh!" she exclaims, "That's only the first thing on my list, Santy Claus!"
As Lennier walks by, the young Minbari's normal train of thought is derailed slightly by the scene he sees in the Zoccolo. Morden, Agent of the Shadows, is being molested by a pale skinned human girl. If one knows to listen for, one would hear the laughter around him. Spine creeping, mind locking, awful and wrong in its pitch, duration, and nature, but laughter nonetheless.
Well, that can wait for a bit. The Ambassador is entertaining guests, after all. Hefting up the grocery bag, he speeds off to the lift. She will want to hear about this, still.
"Oh, oh," Rei continues, Morden's eyes darting from side to side, as she continues lifting off her desires, up to and including a massive drill that is to be used to replace her left arm should she lose it again, "Aaaaand for my sister Kei, I want you to conquer a world for her."
"My associates can do that," Morden says, once more attempting to steer the conversation, "Which one?"
The smile fades, just a bit.
"Um...that may have a...complication."
"You see," Morden whispers, "We have a...um...non-competition clause."
"Okay," Rei mutters, "Buuu~ut why do you always 'associates'? Oh, right. I see."
Morden's legs have since fallen asleep.
"...see what?" he asks.
"You're their bitch," Rei says with a shrug, "Only saying messages and running errands. You're like that fat guy with the side mohawk for the guy who looks like Napoleon with peacock hair. Right?"
Laughter. Definitely laughter coming from around Morden, and Rei's eyes glow as she splits her face in an ear to ear grin. Nothing scares William Morden anymore. He has faced the Pale and Silent King on Zha'ha'duum and walked the corridors of the mind with the Shadows.
At least, that's what he tells himself when he stares at Rei's face as she looks past him and-
She kicks off, launching off Morden via foot to the crotch that makes the implacable man double over with a curse and a scream, landing on...something...as the nothing between her legs bucks and jumps around the table, Rei waving her fist in the air and whooping.
He isn't sure why he went down to the hangars. Maybe to remind himself that he used to have a vessel here. Maybe to see if the bag of sugar in his hand would do anything to Mollari's fuel tank. Perhaps he just needed a walk to clear his head. Either way, once-ambassador G'kar mutters under his breath as he passes by the berth kept for the ship of the Vorlon ambassador.
Well, that and there's the new ship next to it. Its armored green, like the Vorlon ship but not as organic. The nosecone of the ship is grooved, like a giant drill, and its thrusters resemble one of the x-winged Starfuries, but folded in, ending in turbines combined with wheels. It is an ungainly, ugly ship, and he can't help but wonder who had the sense to design something like it.
"So...what are you doing this weekend?"
The voice is booming, but he is the only person in the hangar. The lizard man looks around, narrowing red eyes and dropping the bag of sugar. He stares for a moment at the Vorlon ambassadorial ship. Did its pigment just shift to a darker color?
Is it blushing?
Adjusting the leather collar of his normal suit, G'kar shakes his head. He must have been imagining that. Well, it has been a while.
"Really? Well, that's a fascinating viewpoint. Maybe we could talk about that over drinks?
The Vorlon ship shifts in its berth.
G'kar utters a Narn profanity, turning back to the new ship.
The center spine of the new ship shifts, the ship bending upwards as the four nacelles turn, twist, and plant on the ground. The nosecone disengages, shifting into the right arm as the oversized left arm props it up off the ground, and the visored face rises to meet G'kar's gaze.
Asuka pokes him in the side, making him wince, but he gets the message. He averts his eyes from the bone crest of the woman in front of them, instead staring at the place where her eyebrows should be. In truth, he's more fascinated by the fact that she resembles Misato, except that she is in every way they can see the exact opposite of temperament.
Except that she's nice. Very nice.
Not that these last couple of weeks haven't been very, very strange. Between the destruction of their world, the near destruction of the second world, and now this they have it pretty well. Although, the robes that he and Asuka are wearing are the single most comfortable thing he's ever worn, to be honest, but the lady did say for them to be made comfortable. He wishes his father negotiated like this.
"More tea?" Delenn, Ambassador to the Minbari, asks.
"I'm fine," Asuka responds.
"Yes, please," Shinji says, offering up his cup.
The door opens to the sitting room, where for the past half hour he and Asuka have been sharing tea with what he assumes is a very important woman. Alien. Half alien? Well, after a week with the creepy Rei-like girl, he doesn't find this weird anymore.
The room itself is nice. It reminds him a bit of the living room of their old apartment. Sure, there's no television or video game system, but it is nice and decorative and comfortable. It feels like a home. The entire situation feels like a home, and they're sitting on the floor and having tea. Asuka doesn't look comfortable, though, staring at the cup with her red and blue eye.
She's making it a point to keep the sleeves of her robe all the way past her wrists, but he knows why. He doesn't blame her, and also knows better than to bring up the subject.
The door closes, Marcus entering with a respectful bow towards them.
"Well, I'd say the bait's been successfully laid," he says with a smile, hands folded behind him, "CIC is wondering how exactly the entire light system in the markets went down."
The door chimes, as if on cue.
"Marcus," Delenn says.
He bows again, walking to the door and opening it. On the other side of the door, the woman in the blue and brown military uniform, with the tied back chestnut hair and expression that looks like it could kill from thirty yards away stares back.
"Did you rig the light system in the Zoccolo to respond to the Clapper?"
"No," Marcus responds.
"Did someone do it for you?"
Marcus shifts slightly, looking from side to side.
Commander Susan Ivanova, executive officer of Babylon 5, narrows her eyes at the Ranger. It is no secret that the relationship between the two is somewhat one sided. Given, Marcus has made known to select parties he feels an attraction to her. She, on the other hand, wants to see how many volts the taser needs to remove that ever present smirk from his face.
"Susan," Delenn says, "Come. Sit. I have guests for you to meet while we discuss the possible behavior of one of my subordinates."
Delenn smiles. It is a warm, inviting smile, and one that Susan has never been able to say no to.
"Would you like some tea?" Marcus asks.
The glare from her says 'no.'
"You wish to liberate your people. You with to free them from their oppressors and grant them their freedom once more, no matter the cost."
G'kar nods, looking up towards Go-kun's towering visage.
"Yes!" he shouts, "Yes, exactly! A weapon like you could destroy the Centauri fleets! A weapon like you could free my people!"
Go-kun leans in, the visor locking eyes with the fallen ambassador. The face, the mask of the Evangelion, is as always motionless and impassive, but behind the eyes he can tell it is thinking.
"A worthy cause," the Eva says, "I have accessed your data networks. Your plight moves me to sympathy for you and anger against the Centauri. I would be honored to aid you, Ambassador G'kar. Any being who values liberty and freedom for all sentients would be."
"Excellent," G'kar says, an ear to ear grin splitting his features, "Fantastic! When can you leave?"
The Eva shakes his head.
"If it were to be so simple, Ambassador. First, I must explain the price. I can destroy your enemy. But it would require accessing my full power. And that has a price."
A pause. A beat.
"The sacrifice of my pilot."
"So, you're telling me that these kids are the owners of the mystery ship that Kosh docked next to his," Ivanova says, sitting next to Marcus, across from Shinji and Asuka as Delenn refills her tea, "They're human...but not?"
"Yes," Delenn says with a smile, "Are you familiar with alternate universes?"
The second in command of the station and lifelong Earthforce officer stares at Delenn for a long moment. Finally, with a groan she rests her face in her hands as Asuka raises an eyebrow and Shinji looks from side to side.
"Oye vey. You did not just tell me they're from a parallel universe."
"I'm afraid we did," Marcus says, reaching out and patting her on the shoulder, "There, there. Eventually things will seem normal around here-AAAAAH!"
None of them see Ivanova move her hand, much less grab Marcus' and put him in a wrist lock. Delenn sips her tea. Asuka tilts her head as Ivanova releases and grabs her own cup, muttering something in Russian as Marcus massages his wrist.
"So, tell me your story," Susan says, staring at the two children, and sighs, "Okay, first off, I believe you. I've seen way too much weird crap during my time here to rule out two kids from another universe ending up here. I also don't rule out that Ambassador Kosh knows this in advance. He just does. That's what he does. So, I am Commander Susan Ivanova, second in command of this space station. What can I do for you?"
The two children stare at her. Shinji glances at Asuka, then at Susan, glancing back and forth as Asuka narrows her red eye and smirks.
"You're sleeping with him," Asuka says, inclining her head towards Marcus, "Aren't you?"
Rei was fascinated in the most inappropriate fashion by the guns on the station. What Morden found interesting was not the destructive potential or the nature of the gun, but the fact that the PPGs made a Pew Pew sound when fired. No, wait. Scratch interesting.
He found it terrifying. It wasn't just the fact that she followed him around while still riding on one of his masters. Somehow, she managed to break one of them in. Like a pony.
And she followed him everywhere, calling him...
What is a Special Friend? What does that mean? At least, he has some sanity in the restroom. Staring at the mirror, Morden takes deep breaths, calming himself, centering himself. He is safe here. That insane little girl won't follow him.
"Wait," he says, "She thinks nothing of these things. Why wouldn't she jump me in the bathroom?"
The hand darts out of the ventilation shaft overhead, dragging the screaming Morden into the air ducts.
Ask a silly question...
Delenn showed no disapproval to the statement. In fact, she smiles a little, but most anyone who knows her knows that she probably has a little bit of mench in her. That, and she does find it amusing how a fifteen year old human girl has somehow managed to make the executive officer of the station and one of the Rangers both sputter like two teenagers caught feeling each other up at the Prom.
"I see what you mean," Shinji says, "They do remind me of Misato and Kaji."
"I know," Asuka adds, "He doesn't shave, she's tightly wound."
"Does that mean you're going to start flirting with Mr. Cole?"
"Watch it, Third."
Susan turns to Delenn, pleading with her eyes but failing to elicit any reaction to the situation. At least, until the door chimes once more and Lennier, who at that point no one knew was in the room, walks across the sitting room and answers the door.
"Thank you, Lennier," the new arrival says, sounding much older than he should.
"Oh, thank God," Susan mutters, standing up and turning to the new arrival, "Captain, permission to shoot a child?"
Captain John Sheridan sighs, stopped in mid greeting as she runs a hand through brown hair that is going gray way too fast for his liking.
"Why do I get the feeling I'm going to wish I was back at the Dock worker's meeting?"
Delenn introduces them, steering the conversation with the skill and grace of someone who knows not just how to get someone eating out of her hand, but keeping them there. Through it, though, Shinji notices Asuka's gaze centered squarely on the Captain, and that she has gone silent. For the life of him, he can't figure out why.
"So, you need a sacrifice," G'kar says, "Someone must give up their life to unlock your full powers. Is that it?"
"Yes," Go-kun responds.
G'kar grips the railing, narrowing his blood red eyes.
"Fine," he says, "Let it be me."
"You would sacrifice your life for your people?"
"Yes," G'kar says, voice barely above a whisper, "My life is all I have left to give them."
The Eva is silent, staring at him. Watching him. Silently, the massive machine lowers its head, shaking it from side to side.
"You are a noble soul, Ambassador. I have no doubt that you would sacrifice yourself for them. But you cannot. Only one soul can pilot me. Only one child can give her life to unlock my power."
"Only Rei can pilot me," the Eva continues, "Only she can unlock my power. And she will, gladly, give her life for the cause of your people. You only need to ask."
G'kar nods. A slow, steady growl grinds out from his lips. Silently, he turns from the machine, pacing the catwalk.
"Ambassador," Go-kun says, "I have sent a message to Rei. She will meet you outside these doors. Spend some time with her, Ambassador. Make your decision."
Without another word, he exits. Silently, the Evangelion watches, until finally he turns back to his berth, lowering himself as he resumes his disguise.
"Captain, there's an urgent message from a Mr. Morden for you. He said it's something about getting sanctuary from some sort of 'Crawling Chaos.'"
"Thank you, Lieutenant Corwin," Sheridan says, and taps the back of his hand, the communicator going silent.
"Crawling Chaos?" Lennier asks, "Is that not a creature from human folklore?"
"That explains where Rei went," Shinji sighs, elbowing Asuka in the ribs to get her gaze off of the Captain.
Standing at the head of the table, Sheridan sighs.
"Well if anyone else complains we...right. We'll have to save his ass so the Shadows don't over react and destroy the station, won't we?"
"Well, in a few minutes," Sheridan says with a shrug, turning to Delenn, "Okay, so let me get this straight. You had the lights in the Zoccolo rigged so we would panic when Marcus turned them off and kidnapped these two, so we would come down here for an explanation, and not to officially talk with these kids. Right?"
"That wasn't overly elaborate at all," Marcus chimes in, earning an elbow from Ivanova.
"Well, they did have a stolen wallet on them."
"That was Rei," Shinji says, "We had to pay for the swedish meatballs somehow."
All the adults turn their glare towards Shinji, who shrinks slightly in his seat. Sighing, pinching the bridge of his nose, Sheridan walks over and sits across from Shinji.
"Okay," he says, "So, tell us your story."