At roughly the same time Kyubey told Madoka that Shinji was the best Candidate he'd seen in years, somewhere in the darkest corners of the city, there was another conversation between two men at a table.

"I can feel it," the Banker said. "Gertrude's dead."

"Yeah, except that this time there was no weapon involved," the Rocker sourly replied as he pinched the bridge of his nose. There was nothing more frustrating than to end the day with yet another disaster, with their Witch killed before a harvest could be performed. "None of the Children killed Gertrude; it was a damned newcomer!"

They met again after half-a-day's worth of work on the streets, hustling, dealing, conniving, enforcing. Apart from performing their enigmatic duties, hidden from the public, they worked the underworld, with far more efficiency than the traditional Yakuza families; compared to narcotics, in their opinion it was far safer selling pornography, pirated media, counterfeit goods, and gambling, the last ensuring a tidy profit as long as debts were paid in full (and they made sure of it with strong-armed enforcers).

"Want another beer?" the Banker offered.

"Sure," Rocker agreed as he watched his comrade go over to the fridge and took out a pair of canned Kirin lager. He handed one to Rocker before pulling the tabs and taking a sip.

"By the way, any progress on your investigations?"

"Yeah, our sister's working over the entire network, trying to pull out anything about the Children." He was speaking of their in-house female hacker who'd been part of the "family" as long as they could remember. "Besides, she's carefully studying the firewalls that Doctor Akagi has just set up; she admitted it looked impenetrable but as with any system, she claims that sooner or later the Akagi firewall could be brought down."

"I see, but how long?"

"Give her a least a couple of weeks."

"Now, we want to know about who is that newcomer you speak of."

For the most part of the afternoon, the Rocker took station at a parking garage opposite Sakura Mall, watching and waiting for Gertrude to do her work, only to be defeated by an unlikely hero of the day, and already Katsuragi's men were swarming all over the place, disguised as HAZMAT specialists but armed to the teeth.

"It's a boy," the Rocker said. "Kid's about fourteen, just like the Children. Black hair, nice face, lanky as hell. I saw him just as they were coming out of the mall."

The Banker nodded. "We'll know his name soon enough... or the last thing we need is the Man wanting a pound of our ass from each of us."


ANGELS AND WITCHES: CAMPUS APOCALYPSE
An Evangelion: Gakuen Datenroku X Puella Magi Madoka Magica AU Fanfiction
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Chapter 5: The Looking Glass
Written by soulassassin547 on 8/31/2011 18:26 a8/p8


An hour ago…

Unaware of what was happening in the real world, Shinji was in a state of unconsciousness, but was having a rather vivid dream, sitting in a folding chair.

He then heard what seems to be a drop of water hitting the floor.

"What is this?" he asked. "The sound of… water?"

"I told you," a disembodied voice said. Shinji then turned his head around to find a young boy standing nearby, dressed in what appeared to be a hospital gown. He blinked twice, and this time he found himself seated in a train. He could also hear the clakety-clack of the wheels and felt the train car sway as it traveled. Peering outside, the late-afternoon scenery whizzed by, wondering where he came from or heading to.

"Thought all you may see over there are individual parts, each of them has their own place and their own meanings," the boy said.

I feel like… I know this child… this boy, Shinji thought.

The boy continued to speak. "Lilith draws ever closer… But the possibility also exists that man may continue to change fastet than ever. Yet the burden of things to come may prove their efforts meaningless…"

He's covered in red. Like he had a bucket of blood poured over him.

"What are you talking about?" the boy suddenly asked. "You're the one covered in red."

What?

"Look. It's on your hands… your head… your entire body."

Shinji looked at his hands, and then arms, and even his chest, all spattered with blood. Instead of being shocked, he was having a double-take, unable to comprehend as to why he looked like this.

I wonder whose blood is this…

FLASH!

The next thing Shinji saw a rapid succession of images, past, present, and what could be the future; his life rushing by like a train passing him at the station; he saw faces, that of people he saw today, then of people he couldn't place a name, before he saw the silhouette of a man standing before him.

"Father?"

FLASH!


Shinji woke up with a start, startling most of his companions gathered around him.

"What the…?" he mumbled, as they looked down on him. "What happened?"

"You've passed out just after you killed that Witch," Kaworu said.

The young man tried to get himself sit upright on the stretcher. "How?" he asked.

"Basically, we were just about to receive from the Witch some three tons of concrete right on top of us when you yelled out loud and unleashed a force blast of sorts. Somehow your power – whatever it could be– fed on the Witch's attack, which then threw it back into its face and... got erased."

Shinji looked at Kaworu and Mami again; they looked glad, but as for Rei and Asuka, the former had a non-committal expression on her face, the latter sported a mild case of non-approval along with arms crossed over her chest. Their reactions left him feeling mixed.

But then the young man saw Kyubey as the cat-like creature leaped off Kaworu's shoulder and walked towards him.

"Can you really talk?" Shinji asked.

"Yes," Kyubey answered. "In fact, anyone who's Candidate material or whoever is my acquaintance can see and hear me."

That really surprised him. "Really?"

"To most ordinary people, I'm invisible."

Shinji took in his surroundings and then saw that there were rescue teams coming inside, some of them assisting the hapless patrons trying to leave the ruined interior of the mall, which was completely covered in flecks of white cotton. He also noted that the rescuers were clad in bulky suits, as if to protect them from possible contamination.

But none of them noticed Kyubey at all, even with the strange elongated ears and the oversized tail.

Protecting themselves from what? Shinji asked himself as he took hold of his coat and dusted it off. He was about to wear it when he turned around to see Madoka sitting besides him.

"Hi," the girl said, smiling rather nervously.

"First day here, and you did good," Sayaka said. Standing behind her was Homura, who looked completely indifferent. "What kind of boy are you, anyway?"

Shinji shrugged. "I have no idea. What's a Candidate?"

"Do you know?" Kyubey asked.

"No, really."

"A Candidate is someone who has the hidden potential that would make him or her suitable to become one of the Children," the feline creature said. "But that's possible only after lengthy scrutiny and testing, and there's only a handful in this world."

Kaworu and Rei nodded in unison.

"You're a Candidate," Kyubey said. "You're coming with us."

Shinji blinked. "Me?"

Kyubey nodded. "Of course, but however—"

"Hey!" Toji yelled as he carried the bulk of the teenagers' schoolbags along with Kensuke, who still had the airsoft assault rifles strapped to his back. "You damn saved the day, man," the jock added, clapping Shinji in the back.

"You nuked whatever the hell that thing was," Kensuke chimed in, unloading the other school bags on the floor. "But, oh, we got these back from the food court." He then distributed the bags to each of his companions, thanking the two boys in return, except for Rei, who merely nodded.

"The excuse that a Witch ate our homework isn't going to sit with either Miss Saotome or Colonel Katsuragi the next morning," Kaworu said jokingly.

"Colonel?" Kensuke questioned, his eyes blinking. "Did you say that our teacher is really a colonel? Is she in the military?"

"Perhaps it would be more appropriate that you should ask that question to me," Misato said, showing up with Agent Kanzaki in tow; they were no longer wearing their HAZMAT suits.

With the exception of the Children, the other teens exclaimed, "Miss Katsuragi!"

"What the heck are you doing here?' Toji asked.

"You're working for them, ma'am?" Sayaka eagerly chimed. "Who are those guys?"

"I've volunteered for the HAZMAT unit as a team leader," Misato lied. "Ministry of the Environment and Sanitation, HAZMAT Division Six."

Kensuke blinked. "What's Division Six?"

"Um, Mister Suzuhara, Aida… Excuse me," Misato replied, "but could you come with Mister Kanzaki?"

Toji and Kensuke had a double-take. "For what?" they asked in unison.

"He'll talk to you two; it's very important."

The two boys walked up to Tsutomo, who then led them away from their classmates.

"Hey, Shinji," Toji said. "Thanks for the action."

"See you tomorrow," Kensuke budged before both boys laughed.

Shinji nodded as he watched them walk away, waving his hand. He then turned to Misato, who said, "As for the rest, better come with me."

"Miss Katsuragi… Where we're going?" Madoka asked.

Misato grinned mischievously. "Sorry, I can't tell you until we get there."

They followed Misato out of the mall, through the crowded parking lot, intermixed with rescue teams and hapless shoppers, and boarded a Toyota Grandia van in yellow HAZMAT colors. The woman then started up the engine and motored away, heading to parts unknown.


What they didn't know was that, once they left the mall premises, a helicopter – a UH-60 Blackhawk painted in matte black – appeared right over the parking lot, with an odd dish-shaped attachment on the bottom of the fuselange. Misato's men on the ground wordlessly donned their sunglasses, twenty seconds before the helicopter's dish emitted a massive, blinding flash of light on the entire area.

Next thing the throng forgot what happened in the last four hours, their memories modified, and the rescue teams told the crowds that there was a gas explosion and fire in the mall.

At around the same time, Agent Tsutomo Kanzaki tucked his glasses and pen-sized Neuralizer back into his pocket, and told the disbelieving Toji and Kensuke the same cover story.


Now the van drove straight on the main boulevard which cut right through the city. Fire trucks, police cars and ambulances whizzed past by, their sirens shrieking as they rushed to the mall.

For Madoka and Sayaka, they were experiencing mixed feelings, of both doubt and curiosity, and the excitement of being placed in an unlikely adventure, wondering what laid ahead of them.

As for Homura, stoic as she was, inwardly she wondered if there was more to Misato's offer to join the organization she was talking about. She then looked at Mami, who lounged against the cushioned headrest and her eyes closed; Rei had a small booklet in her hands, flipping pages as she read; Asuka had her arms crossed over her chest, looking out at the scenery below; as for Kaworu, he had Kyubey napping on his lap while his foot tapped on the floor.

Meanwhile, wearing a headset while driving, Misato was busy talking with Tsutomo over the radio, receiving updates and issuing orders.

"…and Kanzaki," Misato said, "Has anyone found the Core?"

"We got it, ma'am," Tsutomo said. "We have the whole area cordoned off completely. SOP as usual. By the way, we've also collected some samples for Doctor Akagi, who might be interested in checking them out."

Misato nodded. "Thanks, I'll tell her," she said. "I'm sure she's waiting for them."

"Okay, over and out," the agent said before signing off.

Misato then spoke to the teens, "Should your parents ask about you coming late for home, tell them that you have extracurricular activities, but not about this."

"Miss Katsuragi… Is this a secret?" Madoka asked.

"Yes," Misato answered.

"But… What about Aida and Suzuhara?" Madoka questioned. "Why leave them?"

"I'm afraid they're not ready," Misato said. "What we're involved in is too sensitive to be made public. Go text your parents."

"Okay," Madoka agreed, before she and Sayaka took out their mobile phones and began composing their SMS excuses, before sending them off. The next minute the girls received their parents' acknowledgements, saying it was all right to spend some more time at school.

"Miss Katsuragi," Homura said, finally breaking her silence.

"Yes?"

"At first I thought what you were offering me to do was silly that I could never believe you," the black-haired girl said.

Misato was taken aback. "So, you're convinced now?" she asked.

"Sorry, but not yet, ma'am; I shall have to think over about your offer, but only after you explain to me, in clearer terms, as to why I need to be involved in this scheme of yours."

Sayaka blinked. "Hey… What does Akemi has something to do with this, ma'am?"

Misato shook her head. "Again, I will explain everything as soon as we arrive at our destination," she said. "And by the way, between you and me, I'd be happier if you guys call me Misato."

No one spoke thereafter, and much to Sayaka's uncomfortable chagrin, there was no other choice for her except to shut up and sit tight.

Why the heck Miss Katsuragi… er, Misato's keeping us in the dark? Sayaka wondered inwardly, and then noticed that the van has turned to the left, entering a car park. The vehicle went straight in until it reached what appeared to be an elevator for cars. On Misato's side, there was a video camera and a keypad encased in a steel shell, similar to one used in drive-in fast food services.

As the woman stared into the camera, she entered her code number for the day, and then spoke into the hidden microphone: "Katsuragi, five-five-six-four-zero-niner-three," she said, before adding another word: "Heineken".

Instantly the elevator doors parted open, and Misato drove the van in, before they all felt the clamps taking hold of the tires, followed by the elevator cab lurching downward.

"Sorry," Misato said. "Our trip could take a bit longer."


There was a minute while the elevator descended until it halted. Again, Misato started up the van, and then drove out of the elevator and into the car park, which was half-full of cars, including patrol cars, military armored cars, armored personnel carriers, and HAZMAT trucks. She found an empty slot and parked there, and the rest got off.

"Now, where we're going this time?" Shinji asked as they followed Misato through a short corridor, and onto a subway platform, seemingly long abandoned. The woman checked her watch for a moment as a train slowly rolled in, except the train was a inspection car used by subway engineers and maintenance crew after operating hours, painted in yellow and had the emergency blinker lights on.

The train door opened, and they boarded in, sitting down on the long seats bolted to the sides of the car, before the train departed.

As the train made its five-minute journey through the Mitakihara underground, the driver swung his seat around and cheerfully said, "Hi, Colonel, how's it going?"

The man, was in his mid-twenties, with swept-back black hair, a pair of horn-rimmed glasses, wearing a khaki-colored uniform, and polished patent leather shoes; his name plate and dangling ID card told the teens:

Special Agency NERV - United Nations Emergency Forces
CAPT. MAKOTO HYUGA
Assistant Director of Operations

The ID card also had a faint watermark of the organization's emblem, half a fig leaf and a phrase arching on the bottom half: God's in his Heaven, All's Right with the World.

"M… Mister Hyuga, what are you doing here?" Madoka asked in incredulity, as Sayaka's left eye twitched, whilst Shinji and Homura wondered who he was.

"Sorry," Makoto apologized, and noticed the new faces. "I should've introduced myself to the newcomers; my name's Makoto Hyuga, and my other job at school, well, I'm your history teacher. Yeah, here's where I do my part-time job, to be honest."

"What's your work here?" Shinji questioned.

"I advise Misato on tactical or strategic matters," Makoto answered. "Usually I'm present during mission planning or briefings, but otherwise I find myself working on the lesson plan for the next day. But don't tell anyone about my job here, okay?"

The teens nodded compliantly.

"Has Kanzaki got the Core?" Misato asked.

Makoto nodded. "Yep, it's on its way here."

"Typical day at the office," she joked. "Another Witch bit the dust."

Just then Makoto saw that they were close to their destination, and accordingly he cut down the throttle until the inspection car stopped at yet another out-of-the-way platform. There they filed out of the train, and were ushered into a passageway, leading to a chamber about the size of a typical house, guarded by a pair of security agents.

Misato, Makoto, Kyubey and the Children presented their identification, before submitting fingerprints and corneal scans for further verification, before one of the agents deemed them ready to enter Headquarters, hidden behind the half-meter thick steel alloy blast doors.

"Who are these kids?" the guard asked Misato, taking note of Shinji and the three girls.

"They're potential Candidates," the woman replied.

The guard nodded. "Oh… Okay, ma'am," he said, bringing out a bunch of visitor access cards from within the counter, which the Candidate teens then wore by hanging them from their necks. At the same time another guard opened the doors, which parted in the middle, each half sliding up or down into recessed slots.

Never in their wildest dreams did such a place existed right under the city, for it presumably contained secrets so arcane that they cannot be revealed to ordinary people.

"Stick with me, guys," Misato said before teenagers followed her.

They passed through the corridor, the officers being greeted by other personnel on their way to their duties. The labyrinthine extent of this unknown facility was revealed as they had to make several turns until confronting yet another elevator door.

"On this level is the Command Center, but instead we're going further down," Misato said while entering her code on a keypad right besides the elevator.

"Oh, Colonel," Makoto said. "I'll have to go now. Some stuff for me to do at my desk… I mean, those reports."

"No problem," Misato replied, before letting off a salute. "I can handle them."

"Thanks," the bespectacled officer said before saluted in return and he walked away.

"And what's down there?" Homura asked Misato.

"You'll find out, and by the way, for convenience the school's right on top of us."

Madoka and Sayaka were amazed. "You mean our school?"

"That's right," Misato confirmed as the elevator doors opened, and then they boarded in. Once the elevator lurched downward, she thought, When there's the uninitiated, they ask a lot of questions.


Upon stepping off the elevator, all they could see beyond was pure darkness, and the only light came from the elevator cab shortly before the doors closed. But then tiny lights lit up on the floor, creating parallel lines that seemingly extended to dark infinity.

With Misato being the guide, the rest of the group followed her, not speaking another word, wondering what lay ahead of them.

For several minutes they walked for what felt to be kilometers until they came upon a closed door.

"Behind these doors is the best-kept secret in the world," Misato said as she used her ID card to swipe through the reader affixed to the right side of the door, and then the portal opened. What the Candidates saw was beyond disbelief.

"What is this place?" Shinji asked.

Right before them was a platform, encircled by columns that extended upwards to an unseen ceiling, where the columns disappear into the branches and leaves of an immense tree; below this platform was what looked to be thick roots that supported this enigmatic structure. All this was bathed in white light, rays coming from the tree above them.

Waiting in the middle of this platform was Ritsuko Akagi, clad in her lab coat and hands in her pockets. She was standing besides a small table with a laptop computer.

"Good evening," Ritsuko said as they walked into the light.

"Doctor Akagi," Madoka said. "What are you doing in here?"

"Officially, I'm your school doctor," the blonde-dyed woman said. "But I'm also the chief scientist of this facility. My business here today is to observe, and the reason why you have been summoned here is that they ask for your presence."

"Who's they?" Shinji questioned.

"Good of you to come here, Candidates," a disembodied voice said.

Shinji and his fellow Candidates blinked, before they all looked up to the tree. "Eh… Where did that voice come from?" he asked.

"Starting today, you will be joining your fellow Children, and will be sent to missions of utmost importance."

"Missions?" Homura inquired. What in the world I've got myself into?

"Is this a joke?" Sayaka demanded, skepticism in her voice.

"You will fight the Angels and their Witches."

Madoka and Sayaka looked at each other with askance, Homura frowned, and Shinji could only utter a "Huh?"

"Yggdrasil, the World Tree, has existed for time immemorial; it is the giver of life, and as such it also maintains the balance of this world. Yet to survive, the 'balance' must be maintained at all costs, for this tree continues to wither."

"May I ask a question?" Homura said.

"Yes," Kyubey answered.

"Do we have the right to decide whether to accept or to refuse your request?"

"Yeah, what if we don't want to?" Sayaka added.

"You are not being forced to become one of the Children, Homura Akemi," Kyubey said. "Being a sentient individual, you are free to decide your destiny. Should you refuse, your memory shall be modified so that you will never remember this place, the conversations you hear today have not taken place, and the personages before you will be normal as you want to believe; you'll be returned to where you were are as before, as if this meeting has never happened. There will be others, however few, who will take your place, but at this moment you Candidates have the greatest potential."

Homura said nothing, but listening intently.

"Wait a second," Shinji said. "What do you mean by 'modifying memory'?"

"We have the technology to alter your memories in the brain," Kyubey answered, "to forget the existence of this place and its people. We call it the Neuralizer."

Shinji can only blink, and had no more to say.

"The choice is yours," Kyubey continued, "yet at this moment the number of Children necessary is insufficient to battle our opponents, who are gaining greater strength than ever before. However, if the lost Cores could not be gathered to maintain the 'balance', humanity shall be doomed, to become a memory. Think about it for a moment, but first I would like to explain why you were selected."

The feline alien slowly walked around the Candidates.

"You, Homura Akemi, have been determined that your genetic composition allows you to see events taking place several minutes into the future, and only a few in this planet have this ability."

"Is that the reason why I was selected?" the girl asked.

"Yes, of course," Kyubey answered. "We have a database of DNA patterns that determine certain traits that differentiate one human from another. You are a unique case, and so are your fellow Candidates. Now, Sayaka Miki—"

"Yes?" Sayaka spoke.

"What are your best traits that describes your personality?"

"W… Well," the verdigris-haired girl said, "I'm not afraid of something. I fight for something what I feel is right. I see someone weak and helpless, I help that person, and above all, I work hard for something in return."

The creature looked into her eyes. "I see. You were selected because your innate aggression within your genes can be put to better use, like helping society in return."

"You mean… Hey, aggression is something like being hot-headed, right?"

"Of course, but here you'll have to keep your feelings in check, should you be accepted into the ranks."

"Like a superhero?"

"Yes."

Sayaka's eyes went wide. "Wow, and do I get to fly?" she joked.

Kyubey shook his head. "No, not like that; that would be too much. Instead, I suppose that your kendo skills that you're still studying at school can be improved on."

Sayaka grinned this time. "Nice!" she exclaimed, but Homura shook her head.

Now Kyubey walked towards Madoka. "I have a good reason to have you here," he said. "You're very special, just like your new friend Shinji Ikari."

Madoka blinked. "W… Why?"

"Your DNA coding is peculiar," Kyubey said.

"But I don't understand."

"Let me put it this way: each person on this planet is very unique, that no two persons share the exact same DNA unless he or she is a clone of another. Somewhere in your bloodline, there's a special sequence that tells us your body contains a hidden gift that you are not aware of."

The pink-haired girl was mystified. "And what is this gift?"

"You will then find out only if you join," Kyubey cheerfully answered.


To begin with, Madoka was never a violent person, no stomach to harm anyone or anything, never known any malice or immorality. An embodiment of pure innocence, she was happy and contented with her own lot; she had everything, even good friends and a loving family.

Why aspire for more?

She, however, could not accept the sight of people being hurt, of witnessing discord and chaos, and worse, of standing there and unable to help, hence Madoka sometimes questioned her purpose in this world.

Could I be able to lessen, if not end, fear?

Could I help people to feel better?

Could I become strong so that I could help the weak?

Madoka sighed.

They're waiting for me to decide.

Then she remembered the dream she had last night, this Kyubey offering her a chance to become a Magical Girl… or in the language of these unusual people, one of the Children.

Her eyes were slowly drawn to Shinji, standing there, pondering on the offer. In that vivid dream of hers, no, a nightmare, she saw him hurt greatly, screaming in pain, having tried to defeat the terror that was presented to him to combat.

And Homura, helpless and paralyzed as she was thrown back into the branches of that tree, unable to do anything to stop Shinji from being tormented by the jewel-box monstrosity.

Strangers as they were, she wanted to help them.

Then Madoka had the memory of coming across a kitten that was wandering on the sidewalk, on her way home. The kitten had gray-colored fur, wet and miserable, as if seeking for her mother.

Her sense of pity took over and Madoka brought the kitten home, gave her a bath, dried, and then with the help of her mother, built a decent home out of a box, old shirts for bedding and a dish full of milk.

Once she discovered that the kitten was a female, Madoka gave that kitten a name, christened her as Amy, after a character in Little Women, one of her favorite books.

But now, if she must help Shinji and Homura, to prevent the fateful vision from ever happening, surely she had to face the prospects of violence and treachery inherent in the role that NERV was offering to her right at this moment.

If she accepted, how much she could withstand brutality or pain or fear?

Madoka now felt torn up; on one hand she wanted to save Shinji and Homura from the possibility of their fates, but on another, her non-violent nature and the comfortable life she enjoyed right up to now, was tugging her conscience from accepting the role.

She imagined fictional heroines, more precisely in the guise of magical girls on TV; students by day, fighters by night, combating whatever monsters they faced until they defeated them, bringing back peace and harmony for ordinary people to enjoy.

Madoka loved their courage, their sense of justice despite their eccentricities, which was why she sometimes doodled on her notebooks, page after page of magical girls posed in their beautiful costumes, wielding staffs or weaponry.

If they could stand up bravely to fight those monsters, Madoka pondered, then why I can't be one?

To accept to become one of the Children would be surely a personal sacrifice; she would have to exchange her peaceful and comfortable existence for a world of pain and discomfort, of possible terror and fear… and considering today's events, witnessing people running helter-skelter, trying to get away from the Witch, or whatever it was…

"May I ask a question?" Madoka said, her eyes now on Kyubey.

The cat-like creature preened for a while. "What is it?"

"If I accept, would I be trained to learn how to use… whatever powers granted to me, so that I could be okay if I fight?"

"Good question, Madoka Kaname," Kyubey said. "Anyone who becomes one of the Children shall be trained to make the best use of their fighting skills. Whatever weapon you may obtain, you will be tutored on how to use it to the fullest."

"Would the training alone could get me hurt?"

"There is no known form of training that involves no pain; even video games that some of you humans play have a form of inner pain, that is, of being defeated. In fact, any forms of conflict in every level have varying degrees of pain. We cannot guarantee that you can win all the time, but we will make sure you can at least survive as much as possible. So hence, to fight is to be hurt, to be hurt is to feel, but to fight is also to do something right for what you believe in… or to sum it up, no pain, no gain."

Now Madoka doubted once more.

Am I ready for this?


And Homura heard those words, no pain, no gain, repeating them in her head.

How she could accept their offer to become one? She thought that Misato Katsuragi was making a fool out of her.

She learned long and hard, and early on that she was determined be no fool to anyone. Homura remembered the day she was in elementary school, back before the tsunami, before she became an orphan.

An exploitative classmate, seeing Homura (then wearing horn-rimmed glasses and in pigtails) being weak, unsure of herself, and wishing to be accepted by her peers, she asked her to pull a prank on their teacher by planting thumbtacks on the woman's chair by the desk. So she did, stealing a box of thumbtacks, waited for the opportunity until their teacher was summoned to meet with the principal outside the classroom. The girl laid several of the tacks on their heads, making sure they would hurt. Homura retreated back to her desk, waited for the inevitable as the teacher hastily came back in and without thinking sat down.

The classroom was instantly filled with the teacher's scream, and the bully who commanded Homura threw an accusing finger at her. Homura tried to deny, blamed the other girl for planning the prank… Yet because the girl was rich, and thus naturally made herself a pet for which the teachers asked her parents for a lot of favors, as the teacher picked off every tack from her buttocks, she decided on corporal punishment for Homura.

Pulling the weak girl from her desk, the enraged teacher forced Homura to lay down prone on the desk, before bringing out a wooden ruler and spanked the girl ten times until it hurt, and it made Homura shriek in pain.

Seeing through her tears, and grinding her teeth, Homura stared at the bully, who looked back with haughty eyes; she promised not to be a fool anymore, she avowed to become strong someday, once rid of the heart condition that made her wheeze until she passed out on the floor.

The punishment was too much; the teacher was fired, Homura was rushed to the hospital, and doctors fought to save her from dying by operating on her heart's problematic valve. Recovery afterwards took two months before she was allowed to return, with the scars of stitching over her heart, hidden behind gauze pads.

Homura came back to school, and now sitting once more at her desk. Unhappy with the girl's return, the bully resolved to ruin Homura's day.

At lunch break, the bully and her posse found Homura in the toilets, challenged her to a duel, and before the bully could beat her up, Homura turned the tables around by ducking and dodging every blow and kick directed against her, and instead slapped her opponents down.

Once Homura was left standing, the whole gang sprawled all over the tiled floor, she was astonished with the ability of visualizing events two minutes into the future; she could foresee which fist or foot would land in what part of the body.

It was almost like… magic.

She couldn't believe it, and what to make out of this newly-found gift? Why, she decided to test it later by answering a mathematical question on the blackboard, a division of a very large number.

Before she could write the answer, Homura let her mind delve deep, her mind's eyes seeing which was the right answer, hundreds of possibilities branching out, seeing herself chalking in the solutions, until she found what she was looking for.

Upon opening her eyes, Homura wrote down the proper solution, and all that in the space of twenty seconds. The new teacher verified and pronounced the answer mathematically correct, and her classmates cheered.

But even then, apart from keeping her new gift a secret, Homura resolved that as she had paid the terrible price, she would not be a fool to anyone, and thus became careful with the way she conducted her life.

And now… after witnessing today's near-disastrous events, Homura wondered what was her purpose for being here; was it to continue her education? To make her life more meaningful? To be happy?

She had a reason bigger than any of them.

For Homura had a nightmare she went through a month ago, a strange one, which explained why she accepted the scholarship from an organization called the Shannon Trust, and journeyed on her own to study here, to forewarn Madoka, and to avert the possibility of that nightmare coming terribly true.

But… What was going on right now, except for a few similarities, was a situation very much different from what she dreamed; it wasn't Kyubey or Misato making the sales pitch, but rather this time the unseen personage offering an unusual proposition.


Meanwhile, Sayaka's mind was spinning wildly; they were offering her a chance to become somebody else.

A hero!

To be like those… Children! To fight those Witches, Angels… or whatever the heck those creeps are! But, hey… If this is a job, then if I sign the dotted line, what do I get for killing those Witches? Do I get to be paid?

Anyone who wished to inquire about Sayaka Miki's personality, especially answers from people close to her, would say that she was a girl with a highly idealistic view of the world, the definition of right and wrong as comparable to white and black, rather than a gray area.

What influenced her thinking? Because she was raised in more comfortable digs compared to some of her friends, and hence, living a sheltered life, much of her judgment was shaped and based on whatever she saw on television (mostly romance dramas), in movies (she had a Twilight fixation for a while, and before that, Harry Potter), or in the light novels and manga she read.

Being idealistic, Sayaka wanted the world to be made in the way she envisioned it, and this included her own views on justice, peace and love; regarding justice, those who have suffered should deserve any form of compensation for injuries, while the villains should be punished, never to see the light of day.

As for love… well, her ideal romance stemmed from her childhood, watching Kyosuke Kamijo perform right on stage, and he was so magnificent playing the violin that Sayaka's heart melted right there; he looked sweet, she wanted to be near to him, he was everything she wanted: his kindness, his looks, and more.

So Sayaka insisted to her parents that she be enrolled in the schools where Kyosuke studied, without telling them her true reasons. She befriended him, and since then they were so close, helping him in any way she could.

But one day, just as Sayaka was heading to school, she overheard several Mitakihara Academy students talking about Kyosuke involved in a four-lane, rainy-day smashup on the expressway.

She skipped school, went to the hospital instead, and discovered that Kyosuke's arms and hands were badly fractured after he pitched forward right into the dashboard; he survived, but not his violin instructor, who was driving the car and therefore died in the seat. The doctors told Sayaka it would take months before he could use his limbs again, but as a consequence barred from playing the violin once more.

This left Sayaka shattered, wishing it was her, not Kyosuke, who should suffer, yet she was not devoid of any hope, however remote the chances of Kyosuke's odds of recovering. She was waiting for a miracle, that somehow and perhaps someday Kyosuke could come back and become the virtuoso he wanted to be.

"Do you wish for something, Sayaka Miki?" Kyubey asked.

Sayaka's reverie was snapped at that instant. "Uh… Yes?"

"Do you desire something to be done? Even if you think it's impossible?"

"Yeah," Sayaka said, nodding.

"Then what is it?"

"If… If I join, is it possible if you could help Kyosuke bring back his arm? He broke his several months ago, and he's still in the hospital."

"You mean Kyosuke Kamijo, am I correct?" Kyubey questioned.

"Yeah, that's him, all right… But, hey, how did you know?"

"We have looked into his medical records, Miss Miki," Ritsuko said.

Sayaka blinked. "What?"

"Every potential Candidate we come across over the years, has his or her own personal requests, if any, to be fulfilled in exchange for their special services upon becoming one of the Children," the woman said. "In your case, it's your long association with Mister Kamijo that you have become very concerned about his plight, and we've understood that his genius should not be left to waste."

"Uh… So, you do like the way he plays the violin?"

"We greatly appreciate and support the arts as much as you do," Ritsuko answered. "Hence, we have very advanced medical technology that could help your friend have his hands and arms regenerated completely."

Sayaka went wide-eyed. "Really? Does it work?"

"Of course," Ritsuko answered. "But that will be possible—"

"—Only if I join," Sayaka completed the woman's reply, and she then swallowed hard, unsure of what would come next. "I've seen how they fight," the girl added, referring to the Children.

"And have you decided?"

Here it was, they were offering Sayaka a chance for her Kyosuke to become whole once more; had she tried without their means, she would've been left penniless due to the prohibitive costs of restoring his limbs.

But only after she decides to become one of the Children.

Now she made up her mind. It's done... I'm set.

Sayaka took a deep breath and said, "I'm not afraid anymore… I'm ready."

"What?' Shinji and Madoka said aloud in unison. Even Homura expressed her surprise by blinking.

The verdigris-haired girl turned to her best friend. "I want to do this for Kyosuke's sake. That's it, there's no turning back for me."

"But…" Madoka trailed. "You could get hurt."

"Fear nothing, Madoka," Sayaka reassured her with a smile. "I'll try to be my best if they wanted to, and whatever missions they ask me to accomplish. I'll train hard as much as I can, and that's a promise."

Ritsuko, Misato, Makoto and the Children nodded and whispered in approval, before Kyubey walked up to Sayaka and said, "Will you please step forward, right in the middle?"

Sayaka sighed before she advanced one step, in the very center of the platform, and stood there.

But then Homura stepped out of line and voiced out her decision: "I'm also ready."

Shinji was surprised. "Huh?"

"What?" Madoka exclaimed, but the other girl's violet eyes stared into hers.

"I can see it in your eyes," Homura said. "You're not ready for this."

A flash of anger crossed Sayaka's face.

"What do you mean?" Madoka countered.

"You are too good to be part of this," the dark-haired girl said. "You cannot afford to let your life to become complicated."

"But…"

"You have everything too precious to you, especially your family."

"Why? How did you know?"

"Because I don't want you to get hurt, as what they're asking from you is do something dangerous, and I cannot explain it to you much. I'll take your place instead."

Madoka wondered how much this girl knew about her, despite that they met only for the first time today, and only in a very small verbal exchange, with Homura asking her to remain as she should be.

"As for you, Sayaka," Homura said. "Are you taking the risk?"

"Of course I have to!" the girl shot back. "I will move heaven and earth just to see Kyosuke come out of the hospital, and so I'm taking the offer without me having to pay a single yen for his cure! Do you think I'm that dense? We've seen it all today how they do it, and if they need a hand, I'm ready to help to save this city."

"Calm down, you two," Misato chided both girls. "This isn't the right time for a catfight."

Sayaka turned away from Homura, distancing herself from that newcomer. "Okay, okay, Miss Katsuragi… We'll see about that, Akemi, and no thanks for scaring off my friend!"

Asuka rolled up her eyes and muttered a curse; Rei and Kaworu shook their heads, and Mami frowned.

"That's enough!" Misato ordered. "I will not tolerate any dissent between any of you. As your commanding officer, I insist for cohesion among anyone involved, and that includes you Candidates. What would be for us if there's infighting? We would lose more than we could win. Remember that."

The verdigris-haired girl nodded. "Okay."

The dark-haired girl said nothing; it was now futile to prod Sayaka to change her mind.

"Good," Misato said, satisfied by their agreement. "Keep it that way, girls. Cool down."

There was a half-minute of silence as heads cooled off, until Sayaka broke her silence. "Madoka," she whispered. "Do you want to?"

"N… I'm not sure," Madoka answered, sounding doubtful. "Homura could be right; I might not be ready… I could get hurt, and besides, my parents could get angry if they ever find out… and please, don't try to fight right in front of me."

"All right," Sayaka said, conceding to Madoka's concerns. "I'm not going to bother Homura from now on, I'm not going to let my folks in on my secret, as long as I'll be one of the Children to make Kyosuke happy."

Kyubey shook his head. Humans, he thought. But then the creature wondered what was taking Shinji too long to decide, despite being the most important of all the Candidates…


His heart pounding, Shinji was thinking hard, wondering what would happen if he took their offer.

For a very long time his father abandoned him to his relatives, there to spend almost a decade after his mother's demise. He didn't know why his father left him behind on the platform, crying there, standing besides the pair of duffel bags packed with his belongings.

Perhaps the reason why he left him on his own, Shinji thought himself to be useless, without purpose or a reason to exist, which was why he developed an inferiority complex within that decade of abandonment.

Bullies picked on him, they gave him a bloody nose, they kicked him around, they stuck his head into the toilet, and he came home crying. Sometimes they challenged him to fight, but he backed out and ran away. He then felt he was hated by the world he lived in, an undesirable, a boy shunned by a society who respected strength, fame or fortune.

Eventually Shinji thought he was the reason for his mother's death, a loss that was branded into his mind, and every night he thought of the classmates who had happy families, and thus led happy lives.

Somehow he survived those years, eventually happy and contented to be with his relatives, as his earlier trauma slowly receded into the darkest corner of his mind, and then forgotten.

At the same time he persevered by playing the cello, a preoccupation that afforded him a degree of personal serenity, but even then he was lonely, walking all by himself to school, refusing offers from classmates for him to hitch a ride.

The loneliness soon gave way to his desire to be praised, admired, to be given due notice, and to be treated well like a normal person.

Perhaps, Shinji thought, this was the reason why his father summoned him to come to Mitakihara City, and the reason why he was here and now, standing before people he barely met and known, as he was being asked to join, waiting for him to make his final choice… and hopefully his father might see him and approve of his decision.

That was it.

He could make his father happy in that way… but only if he must be able to face the dangers of being one of the Children.

Now Shinji doubted, wondering if he could withstand the pain. But… Considering today's events, and having tried to fight off the Minions, and even more significantly, he repelled and defeated a Witch without the benefit of any offensive weapon available in the Children's hands.

"I'll do it," Shinji finally said, breaking his silence as he walked forward, putting himself in between Homura and Sayaka.

"What?" Madoka said.

"I'll not run away, Kaname," Shinji answered. "Even if I haven't seen him yet, my father wanted me to be here, to do this… even if I'm afraid of what lies ahead."

"You have made a very responsible decision, Shinji Ikari," Kyubey said. "I admit that, prior to your arrival, I have conversed with your father, who expressed his desire that you should be involved in the Eva Program."

"This is a… program?" Shinji mumbled.

The feline creature nodded. "That's right. You have the potential, the ability, possessing untapped powers that have been lain dormant within you. Now, if you must, Misses Akemi and Miki… and Mister Ikari, extend your right hands."

"What for?"

Without Kyubey supplying an answer, they saw three points of light descending from the tree branches. As they dropped slowly and closer, the points of light became cylindrical in shape until they floated over their teens' heads. Made of glass, the cylinders had metal caps on both ends, and like atomic orbits, runes of an unknown tongue scrolled around them.

"Reach out your hands, Candidates," the invisible voice intoned. "These are your Evas."

"Eva…?" Shinji mumbled, but before he could say another word…

Without warning, the capsules exploded and the Candidates were engulfed in a conflagration of bright lights, the runes snaking around their bodies and limbs, causing them to look left and right, wondering what was happening to themselves.

"What…" Shinji mumbled. "What's going on?"

"What's happening to me?" Sayaka cried.

But Homura could only express her disbelief, open-mouthed as the runes twirled around her arms, before she felt something strange happening to her body, a fleeting sensation of pain.

And then the runes vanished; even the bits and pieces of the cylinders were gone.

Shinji and Sayaka blinked twice.

"Huh? Nothing happened," the young man said.

"It's okay," Kaworu said. "The data has just been written into your body."

"Data? What?" Sayaka said, disbelief written on her face.

Kaworu nodded. "Let's see if you can activate it… Focus your consciousness into your right hand."

As ordered, the trio took a deep breath and closed their eyes to concentrate.

Focus your mind… Focus on the weapon you can use to fight. Focus on that which dwells deep within you…

The Eva.

Suddenly the Candidates – now initiated Children – wielded weapons in their hands, and they glanced downward to see their gifts. Even their seasoned comrades were momentarily awed or surprised by the newcomers' tools of the trade.

Sayaka held aloft a single, curved daikatana in her hand, its matchless chromed-steel blade glowing with a sea-green sheen, and an aquamarine gem on the hilt. She also swore that the blade seem to hum deeply.

Mystified, Homura now had a pair of submachine guns – both strongly resembling the compact KRISS Vector – but finished in polished silver, affixed with a sapphire gemstone on each grip panel. Heavy they appeared to be, she found the weapons to be extremely lightweight as she hefted them.

And Shinji… his Eva came in the form of a chrome-finished automatic pistol with wings etched into its long slides, and the grip was made of ebony, decorated with a circular amethyst chip in the middle.

"I…" the young man mumbled. He couldn't believe this was possible.

"So, these are the forms your will have manifested," Kaworu remarked. "Interesting."

My will, Shinji thought for a moment, but just then the conjured weapons disappeared quickly as they had summoned.

"What?" Sayaka muttered, her daikatana gone in a flash.

"It's gone!" the young man cried. "No… they're gone! Where did they go?"

"Well," Kaworu said. "You managed to pull off a very good one right from the start. The Evas is your 'will'; you, Shinji, have already shown us that."

Shinji blinked.

"And with this," the gray-haired boy said. "You'll be able to fight."

"Huh? W… Wait a minute, you keep telling me I'm going to 'fight', but… How the hell can you expect me to just sit here—"

The ethereal voice cut him off: "You Children have the ability to do so, but in your case, Shinji Ikari… You are the only one who can."

Only then they saw leaves falling down by the dozen, fluttering, a warning to all of them what would happen if they could not accomplish their tasks; the leaves were brown, brittle to the touch as Kaworu caught one in his hand.

"It's happening again," Kyubey said, the creature looking up.

What are these… leaves? Homura asked inwardly.

"Yggdrasil is withering away," Kaworu said.

Sayaka blinked. "What?"

Madoka and Shinji gasped.

"This tree is the pillar that supports this 'world'. Should it die, this 'world' will be absorbed with the others that exist along with it, resulting in chaos."

The new Children said nothing but watched the leaves fluttering down.

"To prevent that from happening," Kaworu continued, "we need the Cores in order to support the Yggdrasil."

With his fingers, Kaworu twirled around the browned, withered leaf by the stem.

"Even though you're here right now, let's say, for example, that you'd gone straight home yesterday, as you usually do – in that case, you probably wouldn't be here right now. But if you'd chosen to do something, shall we say, 'different', yesterday you would've faced a different future."

Shinji frowned, somewhat confused. Is he trying to say something?

Kaworu noted the expression on the other boy's face. "Come on, don't give me that face," he said. "I'm only saying what could've happened. I'm not just trying to rub this in your face, as if saying 'you got what you deserved'."

A flash of annoyance crossed Shinji's face. What the—

Asuka clucked her tongue. Hooboy, he's got a bad personality.

"The moment man realizes he has a multitude of options to choose from," Kaworu continued, "the world begins to construct different paths for that man to travel, so that eventually, as large amounts of time passes, those branches may mature and grow to adulthood.

"To prevent the branches from never meeting, here lies that convergent point, and the ones that protect that equilibrium are the Cores.

"That is why it's imperative that we must find and defeat the Angels and their Witches," Kaworu concluded, "and to obtain their Cores."

"That's how you do?" Shinji asked. "But… I'm not like you guys, I still have much to learn, I can't simply jump into a trouble spot and—"

"Hey, dummy! That's enough!" Asuka Langley Soryu exclaimed.

"What?" the young man twirled to face Asuka, who glared back at him.

Misato shook her head. "Knock it off, Asuka," she chided. "I want you to wait for us at the debriefing room, but get yourself cleaned up first."

"Okay," Asuka agreed rather sourly, as she looked down on her uniform and there were some dust spots here and there. "No problem," she added, walking away until she exited through the door.

Kaworu clapped Shinji on the shoulder.

"Don't let her get into your skin," he said. "It's just that your timing's bad, and besides, she's also probably baiting you."

Rei could only sigh as she watched the others.

"Timing, huh," Shinji said. I'll be damned if I'm going to stick along with that girl, he glumly thought.

"Ikari," Rei said, calling him by surname.

"Yeah?"

"Have you decided what path you will take from now on? Your future?"

Shinji had nothing else to say, blinking.

"It can change," Rei warned. "I must go first now to the debriefing room, so I shall see you later." She then pivoted and walked off, leaving the rest of them standing.

"Some girl," Madoka whispered to Mami, observing Rei leave the group without saying good night.

"Yeah," Mami replied almost quietly. "She's always like that… almost like Akemi."

Standing a couple of meters away, Homura glanced at her watch, and then looked around, waiting for a chance to leave.

"So?" Sayaka said. "You guys must be very entertaining, huh?"

"It's always like that, pretty typical," the honey-haired girl answered. "Usually I chose not to budge in unless there's something important."

The girl sniggered. "I see. Guess I'll have to get used to it."

Mami smiled. "Now if there are any issues, just come to me, okay?"

"Thanks," Sayaka said.


Just beyond the group, Misato was engaged in conversation with Ritsuko and Makoto while feeding in information on the scientist's laptop. But Homura kept her distance, preferring to brood on her own.

As he observed, Kaworu was thinking: This is going to be rough. The next time I'll have to be the peacekeeper between those two, and should push comes to shove, then I may have to step in and get their acts together.

As long as I'm around, I'm not going to tolerate any conflict within the team.

"Okay," Misato announced. "All of you will have to come with me at the debriefing room, just to tell what happened and then a little introduction. The Sub-Commander will be present and listening, so you best be getting to the point when you're talking, okay?"

The teenagers – Children, seasoned and new – nodded.

"I forgot to ask this," Shinji said, "but where's Father?"

Misato sighed. "He's preoccupied in his work. I'm sorry," she said. "But he might have time soon to see you."

"Really?"

"I hope so, Shinji," Misato said. "Afterwards, we'll have dinner before going home… and oh, that includes you, Homura. I see you want to leave."

Homura blinked. "How… Why?"

"Since you seem to be very unsociable, from now one I want you to be a little more involved, and another thing: are you looking for a place to crash in? I mean, a place to sleep?"

"Yes, Miss Katsuragi," Homura answered. "I'm trying to find a place to rent a room, but it's too late."

Misato grinned. "Then you've come to the right place," she said. "I have an extra bed in my apartment, so don't be afraid to bunk there."

Homura bowed. "Thank you... and I apologize for—"

The woman put her finger to the lips. "Don't say anything. I'm fine with it," Misato said, before she faced Shinji. "What about you?"

"Uh…" Shinji said. "I'm going to stay with Kaji."

Misato nodded. "Ah," she said.

"He says he knows you, but for how long?"

"It's been a very long time, but I don't think now's the right time to talk about it." She then turned to Ritsuko, and asked, "Is everything done?"

Ritsuko tapped a few keys on the laptop, before shutting it down. "Yeah, update's complete. They're in the records now," she said. "I'll be checking out the samples later; they've arrived right now in the lab."

"Great," Misato said. "All right, it's time to go, guys. We have to get your first day wrapped up early before nine; I don't want anyone to wake up late for school tomorrow."

Four Children seem to be easy to handle compared to now. But sparks can fly even on a newcomers' first day, so it's still my duty to get these kids read off from the same sheet of music and fight.

Anyway, tonight I'll be having enough time to know Homura a little more, and try to understand how she ticks.


As they followed Misato through the corridor, Kyubey walked up to Madoka. "This doesn't mean it's the end," he said.

Madoka blinked. "Why?"

"The offer's always open," the feline alien said. "You can come here at anytime if you wish to join, though this happens only once in a lifetime."

Madoka nodded. "I'll think over about it... But for now, I don't think I'm ready for this."

"That's okay, we're not forcing you, but even if you're still a Candidate, the catch is that you should never tell anyone about this place. Remember that."

"I will," the girl promised, along with the gesture of crossing her heart with a finger. But then her eyes were drawn to Homura, who looked sullen, before Sayaka wrapped her arm around Madoka.

"Hey," Sayaka said cheerfully. "If I do very good, and if I hack this right, I hope Kyosuke would get the very best. Sure this might beat working part-time at some third-rate restaurant. Now, if you're not sure being part of this, that's not a problem."

"By the way, Madoka," Misato said. She had an idea in mind.

"Pardon me?"

"Tomorrow, meet us after school at the Detective Club room. Five o'clock sharp."

"Okay," Madoka agreed. "But why?"

"You'll be going on a patrol. With us. I want you to personally see how we perform."


Somewhere in the complex, Kozo Fuyutsuki was engaged in a conversation with his long-time partner, Commander Gendo Ikari; the former stood before the latter's desk, the bearded man with his hands forming a tent. Displayed on his monitor was the report that Ritsuko furnished, consisting of personal records belonging to the new Children. Both men were in the Commander's office, heavily decorated with the reproduction of the Athanasius Kirchner Sephirotic System diagram on the ceiling, and a bubble chamber etching on the floor.

"It's done," Gendo said as he was reading, "but three, not four as I was expecting."

"And one of them is your son," Fuyutsuki replied. "I suppose you should be glad."

Gendo adjusted his glasses. "Very well then; he must prove himself to be useful. His years away from me should not have made him too soft, but now is the right time that his eyes must be opened to the reality of the situation we're facing."

Fuyutsuki nodded. "I have talked to another," he said. "Besides your son, this morning I also had Homura Akemi in my office."

"Ah… And what have you discussed with her?"

"Some questions about her background, personal problems if any, and of course I noticed her behavior; she seems to be somewhat less emotional than any of the Candidates we have encountered, plus she had a heart operation in the past. What do you think?"

Gendo was now looking at Homura's personal records in the database, which included official files from the government, even those supposedly kept confidential. Something about Homura caught his eye, but then he dismissed it, preferring not to discuss it with Fuyutsuki.

"I find her very acceptable," Gendo said instead.

A perfect counterpart for Rei, he thought, before he remembered yesterday's online meeting with the mysterious old men; they sounded anxious at first, as if they were expecting every piece of their money put to use, but Gendo reassured them that the Program was being implemented smoothly.

"As you know, I talked to the old men and they said it's happening now; the Angels are making their treacherous presence known by creating more Witches. Of course I see it as a good opportunity for the Yggdrasil Tree to be replenished."

"To maintain the balance," Fuyutsuki said. "Yes, very important in these trying times. The old men must be very pleased right now, what with Kyubey's choices and Akagi's DNA analyses."

In addition to Kyubey's natural ability to sense the 'potential' of every teenager, for years since the first DNA analysis tools became available, it was standard practice to obtain blood samples of every Mitakihara Academy student, to identify potential Candidates for the Eva Program.

So far in the program, after only one mission as Children, most of them quit out of fear, and had to have their bodies surgically "deprogrammed" from using the Eva, and memories modified before being released back into society.

"Except in the case of Madoka Kaname," Gendo said. "She does not know it, but I have studied the analyses on that young woman; she has potential equal to Shinji's capacity. It is, however, unfortunate that she declined, but for the time being." He then made the all-too-familiar monosyllable "Hmmm…"

"The doors are always open for her, though," the gray-haired man said. "Of course, we're not forcing those youngsters to join."

"I know," Gendo said. "But it's a matter of time before she could change her mind; I'm also aware that, somewhere ahead and along the line, something will bring her to think once more about joining."

"Are you referring to the Scrolls?"

"Yes, and between those prophetic lines lies her destiny, and whether she refuses or not, her fate will not change."

"And she is—"

"According to Kyubey, and corroborated by the MAGI further analysis, her meridian points," Gendo said, "are matched to that of Shinji, hence they are mutually compatible."

"How that happened?"

"This morning, Akagi made the scans on the boy while in class, long enough before the MAGI processed the data, thereby creating a personalized meridian point diagram for his benefit, which I have then overlaid with that of Madoka Kaname."

Fuyutsuki blinked.

"Should they be partnered," Gendo spoke. "It's only then they would be able to bring out the mash-mak* to destroy our enemies, and possibly the Beast of Walpurga; if left undefeated, that Beast will bring itself to attack and destroy the Tree that we are trying to save from dying."

"I see… and regarding the 'outcast' you're seeking for, our men are still trying to find that young woman, but we have now identified her, based from electronic records in the national police database."

Gendo murmured, before he inquired, "Who is she?"

"Her name is Kyoko Sakura."


Special Note:

*Mash-mak - Said to be used by the Atlanteans, the fourth root-race (of Atlantis), for the great potent sidereal force, which Edward George Bulwer-Lytton called in one of its earthly manifestations Vril (in his book Vril: The Power of the Coming Race).

"It is this vibratory Force, which, when aimed at an army from an Agni Rath fixed on a flying vessel, a balloon, according to the instructions found in Ashtar Vidya, reduced to ashes 100,000 men and elephants, as easily as it would a dead rat. It is allegorized in the Vishnu Purana, "in the fable about the sage Kapila whose glance made a mountain of ashes of King Sagara's 60,000 sons, and which is explained in the esoteric works, and referred to as the Kapilaksha - 'Kapila's Eye' " (SD 1:563).

Author's Notes:

Damn, and this really took me long, to think and write.

Writing this required a wholesale review of what I knew about these two shows, and then it takes a lot of imagination to create an entirely different universe along with some other influences outside of Eva and Madoka (and I do have several in mind).

For example, in order to fit into the world of Campus Apocalypse, NERV had to be restructured entirely along the lines of Men in Black interms of organization, equipment and functions, which explains why there's a Neuralizer (an alien gadget designed to modify memories), and why Kyubey is working for NERV (you'll find out in later chapters, where I'll provide new depth to his character).

Yeah, it's very hard, but once the foundation is laid on, from there everything's wide-open.

As this crossover fic is entirely on a different category, in further chapters I might add some esoteric and strange bits and pieces, influenced largely by my teenage reading of W. Raymond Drake's notorious Gods and Spacemen in the Ancient West.

Finally, I think I have found this fic's official OP theme: Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari by Supercell, from the Bakemonogatari soundtrack, and it's so much of an earworm!

By the way, since this is still a work-in-progress, errors will be inevitable, so well-written comments and criticism will be fine.

Thank you.