The Sage of Toads: This is a Disclaimer, brought to you in part by Shinji Ikari. (Shinji: Tell them the views…) The views and events written here are totally fucked, (Shinji: Tell them…) and not necessarily the views of anyone. (Shinji: Tell them not to take it…) However, the events and suggestions that appear in this story are not to be taken lightly. (Shinji: Tell them not to…) Children should not be reading this story, with firearms in the house. (Shinji: Tell them…) The Sage of Toads and Andrew Joshua Talon are NOT responsible for your actions. (Shinji: Tell them they agreed…) Upon reading past this disclaimer, you have agreed NOT to try this at home.

Shinji: Yeah.

The Sage of Toads: A-anything else?

Shinji: Yeah, guns don't kill people, people kill people.

Reload of ARSENAL
Click-Click, Boom

"After all of that, that's all you can say? 'I'm sorry'?"

"…"

"No, you can go to Hell, Father."

[1.]

From the moment he got the long and thoughtful letter from his Father that politely requested his presence, Shinji Ikari had been experiencing an odd sense of déjà vu that he had been expecting as much as hoping was nothing more than another symptom of mental illness. So far, he was disappointed to find he wasn't going insane, as he stood in front of a payphone, repeatedly trying to raise his Father on the line. A large metal briefcase in hand attached to his wrist with a shackle would've drawn stares to him were he not the only person in the empty street on the outskirts of Tokyo-3.

"Come on pick up, I'm on my last coin," he pleaded into the receiver.

"We're sorry, all lines are currently down," replied a spitefully monotone automated voice.

Not that he heard it. "Just connect me to Gendo Ikari's cell phone, please!"

"We're sorry, all lines are currently down," it replied, and he imagined zeroes and ones pulling into a wicked snarl.

Smashing the phone with his case suddenly felt like a great idea, and he was halfway through that very act and screaming "WELL FUCK YOUR LINES!" at the top of his lungs before he realized it and stopped himself. On the bright side, he got his money back and a sliver of catharsis. He was on his hands and knees, happily scooping up yen coins and bills into his backpack when the explosion interrupted him.

As the obnoxious roar of humankind's feeble attempt at destroying the Third Angel flooded his ears, he remained crouched on the floor, unable to bring himself to look up. His expression was stoic, serenity that from afar would be perceived as poetic, almost beautiful in observance. He was, as Rage of the Machine tended to scream, calm like a bomb.

He stood, turned, and looked up at the Third Angel, its mask-like face regarding the weapons of man with curiosity as they failed against its indomitable might. He felt no fear, even as heat and force washed over him, only anger, growing, burning anger that was going to become an ulcer tomorrow. His health wasn't a pressing concern, making sure others were concerned for their own was a much higher priority.

"I'm going to kill him to death," he said before Misato pulled up in her Alpine, shouting for him to get in as the Angel began to thrash around.

Calmly he complied and walked over to the car, slipping inside and even buckling himself in without worry as Misato rounded the corner to avoid her car becoming a low-rider in the worst way.

"Sorry I'm late." Misato glanced at Shinji, her ebbing adrenaline rush giving her a moment to note the aloof air coming off him. Odd, he didn't seem at all bothered that he had almost been killed by, or that they were driving away from, a horrible alien monster.

"Are you okay?" She asked.

"I'm alright, please keep driving," Shinji replied, as he tightened his grip on the heavy case.

Odd was becoming weird as she glanced down at the case briefly. "So, what's that?"

"It's a suitcase nuclear bomb, six kiloton yield," Shinji replied.

Misato nearly swerved the car as she looked at him, but somehow managed to stay on the mountain road. She looked down at his suitcase, and then let out a small laugh. "Hah, you have an interesting sense of humor."

She returned her attention to the road. Shinji looked at her and began to stare. The picture really didn't do justice, but it was a good first impression, in person Misato appeared a lovely woman, but he had only these few heart-pounding moments to go with. What sort of person was she really? Well, judging by those melons that she sported and had no problem displaying, she was one of those lewd women types. He didn't know what to think of that, other than the usual thoughts a teenager would have.

"My tits are great, aren't they?"

Shinji's face went red as her jacket.

Well, there he had it. Turning to look out the passenger window to let his blush fade, he noticed that they had entered a tunnel. His eyes widened and he screamed. "STOP THE CAR, NOW!"

The Alpine's tires screamed as Misato slammed on the brakes, the car fishtailing from side to side as it went from a hundred thirty kilometers per hour to zero. Misato looked at him, startled. "What? What is it?"

Shinji's free hand had been on the dashboard to brace from the sudden stop. He leaned back and let out a sigh of relief, before looking out at the distant exit of the tunnel. "The JSSDF is going to use an N2 mine any second now."

Misato recoiled just slightly. "What? You mean against that monster?" She looked towards the end of the tunnel. "They'd be crazy to just fling one at the Angel; it's a weapon of last resort."

The light at both ends of the tunnel then became intolerably bright for an instant, before a massive concussive shockwave shook the tunnel and the car inside. With it came the deafening roar of the detonation of the N2 mine.

The shaking was over soon as it began, and Misato held up her head over the undisturbed car's steering wheel. "Well… shit." She looked at Shinji. "Good call."

Shinji began to drum his fingers on the suitcase. "I knew it was going to happen."

Misato looked back towards the end of the tunnel. "I guess they would use it against a monster like that, huh?"


The Renault left behind in the parking lot, Shinji and Misato wandered their way towards the elevator. Since their descent into the Geo-Front, Shinji had grown more distant, a coldness wafting off him as he stared at all that his Father had spent the last decade or so building into a comprehensive fortress against the threat above. Misato had been keen to note that with their entry, he held tighter onto the case, reluctant to remove it from his sight.

"What is in that thing?" She asked.

"So this is what my Father has been working on…" He murmured as they meandered through one identical corridor after another.

"Ignoring the question I see." Misato gave the case another wary look. "Can you at least stop being so tense?"

Shinji took a deep breath, before steadily replying. "I've been called to a city being attacked by a giant monster they just blew up with an N2 mine, by my Father who just wrote a letter stating for me to 'Come'."

Under his breath, just within her hearing, he added, "I've been unable to masturbate since."

Some mental imagery was just too disgustingly powerful. His joke actually pulled a chuckle from Misato, as they approached the elevator. Before her finger could even touch the button, the doors opened to reveal an impatiently waiting Ritsuko clad in her one piece and lab coat. Shinji's aloofness immediately turned into tension, the leather handle of the metal case crinkling slightly as his grip became vice-like. Just staring at her, he suddenly desired causing her extensive physical harm.

A tense instant passed, as Misato's eyes widened in realization, but just as quickly, it passed. "Hey Ritsu-chan, sorry we got a little lost on our way here."

"It's alright, as long as you made it here. Is this him?" Ritsuko looked down at Shinji, wearing a mirthless smile.

Shinji looks back up at her. "Oh hello, you are…?"

He looked for a nametag, but only found glorious, grapefruit-sized breasts that seemed to strain against the fabric of her swimsuit. His eyes became stuck there, damn hormones, but imagining that his Father's probably been glomming all over them for years helped release him of their potent spell. Misato looked over at him, and then rolled her eyes.

"Doctor Ritsuko Akagi, Director of Project-E," she introduced herself; she had caught the little pervert's gaze sticking to her tits too. It could explain why he seemed so tense all of a sudden. "Did Captain Katsuragi give you your documents?"

Shinji held it up in confirmation and began to leaf through it as they boarded the elevator and it began its descent. "So, what exactly does Nerv do here? Why did my Father ask me to ejaculate?"

Ritsuko's brows went up, as Misato bit her lower lip to stifle another laugh. "Excuse me, Shinji?"

Misato held up Gendo's letter to Ritsuko's nose. At the Doctor's silence, Shinji let out a feeble sigh. "I'm allowed to be funny, aren't I?"

"Yes, you are," Ritsuko answered after a delay.

"Anyway, why am I here? Does it involve masturbation, because I could've done that back home."

"I hope that's not your only material, a mature sense of humor is preferred in the workplace." Ritsuko noticed the case. "Interesting suitcase, what's in it?"

"It's a suitcase nuclear bomb, six kiloton yield." Shinji didn't even look up from his booklet.

Ritsuko looked at the handcuffs connecting his wrist to the case, and raised an eyebrow. Letting out an amused snort, she dismissed his answer. "So you do have different material."

Shinji kept his nose in the booklet, as they left the elevator and walked onto another lift that took them upward at an angle, past a large tank of bakelite that glowed ominously and purple-y. As they ascended slowly towards its top, a voice called out from overhead speakers.

"All hands to battle stations. Prepare to intercept the enemy on the ground."

"That's serious." Misato looked towards the tank of bakelite, as they passed the sight of a giant hand frozen in the bakelite. "How's Unit-01?"

"It's configured with B-Type Equipment. It's being cooled," Dr. Akagi replied.

"What's the chance it'll work? It hasn't moved since we finished building it, right?"

Shinji flipped a page, as Ritsuko answered that. "The possibility of it working is zero point zero-zero-zero-zero-zero-zero-zero-zero-one percent."

"So it's a demon," Shinji quipped.

That threw Dr. Akagi off her game. "Wait, huh?"

"Nine zeros, oh-nine, oh-ni, oni, demon, right?"

Misato blinked, as Ritsuko remained off her center from that. "Ah… yes… that's exactly what we call the thing."

"Huh, I wonder what this demon called Evangelion is." Shinji's tone was just an edge sarcastic.

Ritsuko barely missed the cut, and something else. "Don't bother looking through the manual for it."

The elevator ride ceased, and the three left it in lieu for a boat ride across another purple lake, and from there they entered a dark cavernous room, plunging them into pitch darkness. Misato looked to Shinji, just as the lights came on, presenting the monolithic face of Evangelion Unit-01. She waited for his reaction, and when Shinji's brows merely rose, a red flag went up.

"So, you have a robot?"

Suddenly it was May Day in Red Square, as Misato took a step back from the boy and the coldness radiating from his tone made the cold liquid beneath them seem so warm by comparison.

"This is Evangelion Unit-01, the last great hope for humanity against the Angels, and you are its pilot," Ritsuko announced to the room, dramatic music playing in her head to go with it.

"Neat."

The record scratched, and it was Ritsuko's turn to plant a red flag on the top of Mount Consternation, as she slowly turned to face Shinji. This kid was downright weird.

Taking her silence as a no, while Misato continued to gape like a bass, Shinji set his case down, freed his hand from the shackle and crossed his arms. "So this really is all that I was brought here for?"

"That is correct!"

Shinji turned to face his Father, his eyes blotted by his bangs as he stared up at the man he had not seen in years. He looked so smug upon his perch, gazing down upon the Eva Cage floor like a king overlooking his perverse kingdom. The gleam of light off the rose-tinted glasses hurt his eyes as Gendo adjusted them before addressing his son.

"It's been a while, Shinji." There was a tone of indifference in his voice.

"Hello Father." Shinji's tone was laced with contempt.

Misato looked between Father and Son, and suddenly her shooting hand was feeling itchy.

Gendo smirked at his contempt. "Prepare to deploy in the Eva."

Misato looked back up at him. "Deploy, you mean Shinji, in the Unit-01?"

"We have no choice," Dr. Akagi said plainly. "Rei is injured and Unit-00's state makes it unavailable."

She then looked to Shinji. "Shinji Ikari, you will pilot it."

"Do I get a watch?"

Once again, Dr. Akagi was thrown off her game. "Excuse me, what?"

Ignoring her, Shinji turned and looked back at the Eva staring blankly at him like he was a next potential meal. "I really didn't want to believe it. I actually hoped things would be different."

He looked back up at his Father. "You only called me here, because you need me for something."

"That is correct."

A suffocating silence set in, only briefly, before Shinji's soft chuckle broke it. Gendo's eyes narrowed as the chuckle turned into a shuddering chortle that grew in volume before it became a hysterical laugh that would've made both Light and Iori Yagami cringe in horror like both Misato and Ritsuko were doing that very instant. His laughter tapering off, back into weak chuckles, Shinji slumped forward, his head bowed towards the floor.

Gendo did not expect this, and naturally he did not like it. Shinji looked up at him through his bangs, a deranged smile splitting his lips wide. "It's been almost a decade, wondering why you left me all alone and why you didn't want me. Now you come back into my life because you need me to pilot your piece of shit robot…"

"Shinji…" Misato raised her hands and took a step towards him.

Ritsuko was also concerned about the boy's mental state, what in the world happened to this kid?

"If you will not pilot, then I have no use for you," Gendo spoke, his composure still intact.

"Oh, I'll pilot, but on one condition," Shinji said his grin growing as he spoke.

Like his conditions mattered, however he would entertain the boy nonetheless. "And that condition is?"

Shinji reached to the back of his neck, near the collar, and began to scratch just underneath it. "I become the new commander of Nerv."

If he hadn't suppressed it with years of effort, Gendo would've laughed like his son had a moment ago, and likely then shot him in the face. The impudence of that boy, it was clear he was insane. "Doctor Akagi, prepare Unit-01 for Rei's use. Our spare is useless."

No one noticed the gleam in Shinji's eyes as Ritsuko and Misato turned to the Commander. "But Rei is still injured, you can't expect us to sortie her now!"

"She's still alive, all Unit-01 needs is a body inside of it to move," Gendo said before the gunshot rang out.

Stopping, the Supreme Commander of Nerv felt a burning pain in his gut, and looked down to see a single bullet hole in his torso that was beginning to leak blood everywhere. He looked towards his shooter, and grew wide-eyed when he saw Shinji aiming a compact pistol at him drawn from the back of his shirt.

Misato whirled around on Shinji, her own sidearm drawn in a flash as her shock was suppressed by her training. "SHINJI!"

She froze when he suddenly pointed the gun at himself and calmly asked. "Do you know what a Dead Man's Switch is?"

He was almost joyful as he kicked the case at his feet, unlatching it, his finger threading the trigger of his pistol as Nerv Section 2 likewise took aim at him, pistols trained on his heart and head. "They're triggers that expressly go off when the heart stops beating."

Misato looked from Shinji, and to the case, and dread washed over her. She lowered the pistol slightly. "No… no way…"

"Do you know what they're used for primarily?" He asked her, everyone in the room before using the toe of his shoe to flip open the case, revealing a most unpleasant device that made everyone lower their weapons.

"They're for bombs, in this case, suitcase nuclear weapons…"

He grinned.

"…Six kiloton yield."

Ritsuko leaped back, horrified. "Oh my God, oh my God."

Shinji looked up at his now trembling Father, who managed to remain standing despite his gunshot wound. "Oh, stop gawking Father! I'm pretty sure I missed your vitals with that shot, you'll probably bleed to death, but this is the last line of defense for humanity! It must have a modern medical facility, right?"

Gendo's jaw could not fall any lower. Somehow, his son had managed to sneak a nuclear device into Nerv, firearms as well! Why hadn't anyone checked him, or his belongings? Oh, yes, he never once thought Shinji would be capable of that. The scenario should've brought him a broken shell of a child, not an armed psychotic!

"What… what is your intention?" He demanded.

Tapping the pistol against the side of his head, Shinji laughed again. "Well, you see Father; after Mom died and you abandoned me I began having dreams, bad ones. They were about you, about Mom, a girl with blue hair, and a redhead that I just loved to choke. In all of these dreams, I learned things, things people aren't supposed to know and they made me a little crazy."

He scratched the side of his head with the muzzle. "Well, not crazy in the 'I'm going to start singing American Show Tunes while masturbating to kittens', sense. No, I've gone completely insane with rage, and you and Mom over there are both the most responsible for it!"

A nod to Unit-01 behind him caused Gendo's heart to clench in his chest. No, that was the pain from his gunshot wound.

Shinji continued, "So then, here's how it's going to go, Father. I'm in charge of Nerv from now on. Not you, not anyone else, me. And, if you don't like it then we can all go to Hell together."

He cocked back the hammer, terror filling the entire room. Gendo remained composed despite it. "You're bluffing."

Shinji stopped, and lowered his gun, it was pretty clear to him now that he didn't get his iron-balls from his Mother, that's for sure. He had to admit, that was damn impressive of his Father. Misato edged closer, ready to take Shinji down now that the gun was away from his head. She couldn't kill him, but restraining him painfully was a perfectly viable option.

"You're right," Shinji said. "It was a pretty good bluff, too. Thing is, if I wanted you dead, I would've aimed for your heart, or your head, or nicked an artery, or any of those things. I'm a dead good shot, you see, or at least my teacher always said so. Though I'm pretty sure if you did die, the only person who would really mourn you is the bottle blonde here that wants in your pants just like her Mom was."

Ritsuko felt the spotlight suddenly shine on her and she began to sputter. "W-what did you say?"

"Her mother, though, would be more than happy to see you drop into Hell. She's probably got a nice spot laid out in the lake of fire for you, too," Shinji added as he edged back from Misato, her movement noted from the corner of his eye.

A flash of light behind Shinji, Unit-01's eyes, made him smile. "It seems that someone is in agreement with me, eh Mom?"

Misato crept closer, the nearest person to him, and her entire body prepped for the lunge, she only had one clear shot at him. She cursed under her breath and froze, however, when he suddenly turned his attention to her, the ceiling overhead rumbling. "Damn it…"

"Your Angel is coming, Misato. Do you want me to kill it, or not?" He asked her.

"You didn't have to do this," She said back to him, her voice low and trembling with anger.

Shinji shook his head. "I had to, it's the only surefire way I'll get what I want."

"What do you want? What do you expect to accomplish with complete control over Nerv?" Misato asked with a frown.

Shinji gave her a dangerous look. "What do I want? You couldn't give me what I want. So I have to shake loose the people who have what I want and take it from them. What you can give me is what I need, right now."

He twirled the gun, and turned on the safety. "I need your help, and your trust."

There was another rumbling overhead, and Shinji looked up. "Time's running out for all of us either way."

Still unmoving, Misato was stunned as he had spelled it all out so plainly for her. This was exactly what he had planned for, putting himself in a position where they'd have no choice but to give him what he wanted. In a word, brilliant, and in another, terrifying, if she let him go, he'd be in control of the most powerful weapon Man has ever created, but it was exactly as he said.

"Prepare the Eva for launch, now!" she called out.

Gendo, his hand covering the bleeding wound as medical personnel reached him, grimaced in anger as the Captain gave in to his demands. The scenario was turned on its head.

As he watched Shinji stand down to board the Eva, a hilariously small part of him felt pride for his bold course of action. It was a brilliant, coercive maneuver that was so outlandish that no one, not even the MAGI, could've considered a possibility.

Pride that, ultimately, was snuffed out by insurmountable rage, his son would pay for this, the moment the bomb was disarmed, Shinji Ikari would rue the day he dared tried to challenge his Father's place. The boy was far too young to be walking so tall.

As Shinji walked past her, his head up and a perversely smug smile on his face, Ritsuko brought a hand to her chest and took a deep breath. She looked back after him, up to where his Father was being readied for movement to Nerv's hospital ward, and then down at herself. What the Hell just happened, and why could she not stop shaking?

"That was… incredible…" She uttered under her breath before looking back at Shinji in complete awe. "That was fucking incredible."

Quickly, she berated herself for loosening her façade and rushed to prepare Unit-01 for launch.


A/N: Now with better writing, more jokes, and complete and total coherence. Reload of ARSENAL will hunt down and murder its faults with the same glee as a black bunny rabbit!