Cloud Strider Presents:
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Empathy
"Asuka... you okay?"
My question went unanswered, which only magnified my worry.
Why? I asked myself, why in the hell should I be worried about her? All she ever did was treat me like shit. I eyed the gun in my right hand apprehensively. Not only did she not need me, but that was the icing on top of the cake of my father's manipulation and my apparent uselessness.
I didn't need them at all.
I gritted my teeth.
Just one more day. Please, all I need is one more.
The gun clattered to the ground, and my thoughts of hostility left me. Uselessness, huh? I kicked sand over the offending weapon, 'I don't need the damn thing anyways; not for what I'm about to do.'
I reminded myself of all that Asuka and I had just been through, and my hatred died. We were both...
She and I.
I chastised myself for even thinking of such a thing. I punched myself in the arm just for good measure and let my gaze fall on the blood red water that lay in front of me. Rei was floating above it a good way out... staring at me.
The whole thing sent a chill down my already frozen spine.
I walked to Asuka, a slight limp in my step.
I fell to my knees by her.
"Sorry," I said. She probably couldn't hear me, nor would she know that I was apologizing for my earlier thought, but I didn't care at that moment. I let my body fall the rest of the way, and I was lying on my side... looking at her. "I don't even know you all that well."
Ha, what a laugh.
What kind of God would allow something like this to happen anyways?
Episode 1: Alpha
"We're sorry, due to the state of emergency no lines are currently available, this is a recording."
I cursed under my breath, slamming the pay phone back onto the cradle and letting out a sigh. If she asked me to wait here for her then why was she so late anyways? Was it because the emergency declare? I looked up at the sky, completely blue, not a natural disaster in sight. To my left and right it looked like I had wandered into some abandoned city. Cars lay scattered in random places, as if people just braked really hard, got out and ran somewhere, and left them on the side of the road.
I was appalled at my own stupidity.
I should have noticed that all the railway lines were stopped the minute I set foot on station.
Paranoia slowly began to creep into me, and I felt a horrible sense of dread, like my life was about to end.
I heard the faint sound of jet engines.
I turned to my left again where it had come from.
A short girl with light blue hair and red eyes stood in the middle of the opposite street, staring at me in a school uniform.
I blinked and she was gone.
The jet engines only got louder, and I looked up at the sky.
So much for a normal school year I guess.
The Earth shook and a piercing wind reached my ears.
A line of small mountains was in the distance. When I regained my footing I saw the large group of VTOLs first, backing out of the cover of the hillside. The Earth shook several more times, and only when I saw it did I understand why...
It was a black skeletal thing with what looked like white shoulder pads and bones running through its body like ribs, but there were too few. It had no neck, and its face was what looked like a small skull with an extremely thin jaw. It was at least twenty times the size of the VTOLs it seemed to be backing into a corner. In the center of its chest was a large red sphere.
My mind screamed and I felt an unbelievable pain shoot through my spine. I grasped at my head. It felt like something wrapped its claws around me. I stumbled away from the phone booth and onto the sidewalk, tripping over my own feet. The pain wouldn't stop.
Just one more day, please.
I felt my own fingers digging into my skull, my hands became sore and I felt the pressure, but the real pain was coming from the inside. I heard what sounded like a whisper, but I didn't understand it. I collapsed onto the street, trying not to scream bloody murder.
I heard the wind and saw the missiles fly over me from the VTOL.
They hit that... thing head on.
My head became clear and the pain subsided, maybe it was coming from whatever the hell that giant was. Part of me was hopeful that the several missiles had annihilated it, but that hope faded when the smoke receded and the pain came back. This time I was ready for it. It felt like someone was digging around inside my skull, trying to find something... it was crawling around in my mind.
I rubbed my temples, trying to get a grasp on the situation and ease the killer migraine.
I bolted in the opposite direction...
I heard something shatter and explode, and a VTOL came crashing down in the street not twenty yards away from me.
I let out an embarrassing yelp of fear, stumbling back and straight onto my ass.
I gritted my teeth, standing back up and running to the right just as a concrete slab came tumbling right where I had fallen. I swear I could hear the screams of fear and pain coming from the pilot, but my survival instinct was in high gear, and I didn't exactly have time to rush over and see if he was okay. If he forgot to eject he was probably crushed by the pressure from the impact... already dead.
I rushed into a vacant building and heard something shatter, the ground below my feet vibrated.
It looked like some sort of office building judging by the pristine lobby and check in counter, but by the time my mind had processed the information I was already on the opposite end, barraling out from an emergency exit and resetting my dead sprint.
I heard several more explosions, but my mind was elsewhere at the moment. I moved with purpose, I had to get as far away from that monstrosity as possible.
I came out in an alleyway, immediately turning left onto another street. I looked around to gain my bearings and eyed whatever the hell that thing was once more. It was tearing the VTOLs apart. It held its hand up suddenly, and I saw a large projectile from a bomber impale itself on the things arm.
It clenched its 'fingers' and the bomb exploded, but it was nothing compared to the destruction it could have caused had it hit its target.
I once again set myself into a sprint down the street, carrying myself as far from that 'battle' as possible.
'I should never have come here...'
I heard a high pitched whistle.
My eyes widened when the VTOLs and the bombers started flying in the direction I was going above me...
An N2 mine.
I ran as fast as my legs would carry me.
The last thing I heard was a sound that pierced my eardrums.
I was sent flying.
I didn't know how far up in the air I was...
I blacked out...
"Impressive, it can upgrade itself; its getting more intelligent."
His eyes narrowed.
"Mr. Ikari, this is your chance you know." The General leaned forward on the large steel desk, flanked by two more highly ranking individuals, "Nothing we used on that damn thing worked. Don't let us down."
He smirked, pushing the amber glasses up on his nose, "This is what NERV exists for."
The General nodded.
"He's alright, wheel him out."
My eyes snapped open...
I saw a steel roof.
I felt like I was moving but not really.
"We don't have much time."
"I can't believe you actually want him to do this."
"We have no choice, Rei is hurt and Unit Zero is still undergoing repairs."
"Misato. This has to be done."
I grunted in pain, trying to sit up.
From what I could see I was in what looked like a small hospital room. There were two people towering over me by the bed I was in, both were women. One had shoulder cropped blond hair and seemed like she had just got done with a real bad day, the other had long purple hair that ran down to her mid back... she looked deathly worried. I brought a hand to my head, "What happened to me?"
The woman with the longer hair turned on me, "You idiot!" she screamed, slapping me across the face, "You were supposed to wait for me, I was coming to get you!"
I brought a hand to my cheek, I felt anger rise in my chest, but calmed it, convincing myself that she was worried about me. "I did what any normal person would do..."
She seemed to calm down, "Oh jeez, you're right. I'm sorry. My name is Misato, Misato Katsuragi. This is Ritsuko Akagi, a lead scientist for NERV."
"Shinji Ikari. NERV huh? My father's agency?"
I used the word father loosely, but I didn't know these two very well so blood was probably the only association between us that they knew of, what bugged me was that was even the only one that I knew about.
Misato nodded, "Just call me Misato, I hate formalities."
I nodded right back, "Misato, Akagi-san. Where am I?"
"You're at the Geofront," said Akagi, "We had you wheeled in after Misato found you."
I could tell already that her personality was strict in comparison to Misato, who seemed extremely laid back and easy to get along with. I decided it was better getting to know Misato instead, "A Geofront huh? Why not just a regular hospital?"
Misato looked downcast for a second, "You're being brought in on staff as a pilot for a prototype."
Honest as well, that was a good trait to have. I said the first thing that came to mind, "I'm fourteen."
Misato laughed nervously, scratching her cheek a little and looking off to the side.
Akagi nodded, "And that is precisely why, I believe your father sent you an ID?"
I reached into my pocket and pulled out a lazily scrawled note with a NERV ID attached. "I see," I mumbled. At first I thought it was strange, just randomly bringing me to NERV and the Geofront and giving me an ID. If he were anyone else's father it would make sense, considering as he would want to show me what exactly he did for a living. Last time I saw him there were few words uttered, and now I understood. I stood from the bed, there was a slight pain in my right shoulder but that was it. "I can't guarantee that I could pilot something. I've never had any training and I'll probably just end up dead."
The two remained silent after that, so I continued, "What was that thing that was attacking outside?"
"An angel," said Akagi.
She didn't say anything after that, so I was inclined to think that everything else in that brain of hers was on a need-to-know basis.
I looked up at the small door to the room, standing there was my father...
He wore a pair of glasses, amber, and was dressed in the primary color of black. I knew instantly that he hadn't changed a single bit, "Father..." I said curtly, barely bowing my head.
It was more out of fear than respect when I bowed to him, more out of contempt than greeting.
"Follow me," he said simply, turning on his heel and walking out.
The three of us remaining eyed each other apprehensively for a moment before following his instructions. He led us down corridor after corridor. It was all steel and the doors were labeled in random numbers and names that I had trouble deciphering on their own. "Why'd you call me?"
I could almost hear Akagi and Misato shift uncomfortably behind me, obviously my father and I were weighing down the atmosphere with our clear antagonistic tendencies. "Because you have a use."
He said nothing else.
The last corridor was followed by a long and painfully silent elevator ride up what seemed to be the entire geofront itself on a diagonally inclined lift. It was simply a platform with railing, which left me slightly nervous. I looked down into what seemed to be a purple abyss of mist and saw a giant hand reaching out as if to grasp me.
I let the shiver roll down my spine.
It wasn't until we entered the room itself that I understood exactly what I was getting myself into. There was a light scent of copper in the air, and I sniffed my nose to compensate for the run it gave me, "This is Unit One," said my father.
The catwalk reached across the entire room and onto the shoulders of what seemed to be a giant robot. 'You must be kidding me.' Its head looked menacing and powerful, with narrow eyes completely black. A horn protruded from its skull, and a pair of green fins from its shoulders. The overall color was a mute purple.
"You want me to pilot that?"
"That's what I said," grumbled Misato, but she shut up when my father turned his gaze towards her.
I felt something...
It was like when I looked at the angel, but instead of stumbling around in my head like a blind idiot...
It was almost like a gentle touch.
I walked to the center of the catwalk slowly and stopped, turning towards the monstrosity. It was submerged almost up to its neck in some strange red liquid, which is what I assumed the strange copper smell was coming from. I reached out to its face as if to touch it, but it was too far away.
"What's he doing?" I heard Misato ask.
My father chuckled.
"What does that thing out there want?" I asked, letting my arm drop and turning back to them.
"To destroy us all," said my father, pushing his glasses up and smirking as if he had just told a joke.
I glared at him, "So you ditch me and call me back when you want me to pilot this thing?"
My father was never one to mince words.
"Fine, but on one condition."
He raised an eyebrow, "Yes?"
"After I'm done with whatever I'm supposed to be doing here... you never contact me again."
He nodded once more.
Just one more day.
'I won't run away.'
The 'cockpit' lurched, and I gained the sensation that I was floating for a moment. I felt something click and whir, and the motion was stilled. One by one the small lights turned on and I was able to see. My hands reached out and grasped the handles on my side. A large steel plate was over my waist; it felt like I was being carried by a kangaroo almost.
"Systems check in progress. Converting interface to Japanese."
The strange liquid from before began to fill the cockpit. On instinct I started to hold my breath.
"Relax..." I heard Misato's voice, "The LCL will supply your body with oxygen, you can even talk. Your lungs will feel weird but you'll get used to it."
I heard something large whir slowly and then start.
My grip tightened.
What the hell was I doing here?
"To destroy us all."
That was all he said.
Was it some twisted obligation? Couldn't they get someone else to pilot this monstrosity?
I lurched again.
It felt like I was sent flying upwards.
The sudden stop did little to calm my nerves.
"Good luck Shinji, don't die."
Well that was helpful Misato.