A/N: Honestly, I don't know what to say about this one. Just a lighthearted oneshot diversion while I plan out the next chapter of NGE: Mitigation. This has nothing to do with Mitigation, it's just something that I found too funny to not write.
Disclaimer: You know what, screw it. I own Neon Genesis Evangelion. Oh, wow, that lawsuit got here fast. Fine, fine, I don't own it. I'm sorry
Gendo Ikari, Supreme Commander of NERV, stormed through the corridors of his domain. The few people he encountered hastily pressed themselves against the walls to stay clear of him and snapped to attention. He ignored every last one of them.
The events of the day hadn't been catastrophic, not by a long shot. In fact, while not everything had gone in their favor, he felt that, overall, it had come out in his favor. The fifteenth angel was dead and the Lance of Longinus was safely out of the old men's reach. The mental devastation of the Second Child, while admittedly a speed bump, posed no great threat to his plans.
No, none of that accounted for his foul mood. That was attributed entirely to the fact that the old bastards had summoned him mere moments after the angel was dead. Summoned him! Him! Gendo Ikari! Like he was some sort of lackey that would blindly come running at their every beck and call. He laughed. As far as they knew, he was.
He would play along with their games for the time being, but on his terms. To that end, he had decided to walk the considerable distance from the Command Bridge to the Secure Holographic Conference Room. His personal elevator could have taken him there from the bridge in a matter of moments, but he wanted to make the fuckers wait for a few minutes
To his left, Vice Commander Kozo Fuyutsuki looked at him out of the corner of his eye. "How do you think Seele will react to the loss of the Lance?"
Had Ikari been a more expressive man, he would have laughed at the question, loud and long. "I imagine most of them will be calling for my head on a pike. Lorenz will keep them in line, however."
The older man seemed unconvinced, "You're certain of that?"
Ikari nodded, "He may dislike me as much as the rest of them, but he is fully aware of my value to their plans. They can't afford to dispose of me until the final angel has been destroyed."
"Still, this may force their hand. They may feel compelled to move against us. If not now, then soon. You know how far their reach extends."
"I am unconcerned." Ikari clasped his hands behind his back as he climbed a flight of stairs. "It will not be difficult to convince them that I view the loss of the Lance as an unfortunate accident."
Fuyutsuki's back stiffened as they came to a stop at a heavily secured door, situated alone at the dead end of an out of the way corridor. "I will, of course, trust your judgment, Ikari."
Ikari almost smiled at his words. Almost. "I know you will, Fuyutsuki." He swiped his NERV ID card, entered a twelve digit passcode, and scanned his thumbprint, prompting the door to quietly hiss open. He offered a terse nod to the former professor and stepped inside. The door quickly slid shut behind him.
The cavernous room was dark, illuminated only by a handful of dim lights recessed into the floor. Ikari stepped onto a metal plate in the center of the room. I line of light passed over his body, scanning him as a deep hum alerted him to the warming up of the room's many holographic projectors.
Fifteen great black monoliths materialized in a circle around him. Each one was numbered SEELE 01 through SEELE 15 and emblazoned with the words "Audio Only." Ikari was mildly impressed. Apparently, his actions warranted the presence of the entire topmost echelon of Seele. This was only the second such occasion that Ikari could remember, and he prided himself on his very good memory.
He kept his attention focused on the monolith directly in front of him. SEELE 01. Keel Lorenz. He stayed silent and waited for one of them to say something. His hands were clasped behind his back and his back was perfectly straight.
Finally, one of them spoke, "You were summoned nearly forty minutes ago, Ikari. Why have you kept us waiting?"
"There was a great deal of work which required my attention in the wake up the battle. I came here as quickly as I was able." It was a good thing he was such a practiced liar.
"Which brings us," another voice began somewhere to his left, "to the reason you were summoned: your decisions in the fight against the fifteenth angel."
"Your 'strategy' resulted in the loss of the Lance of Longinus," someone behind him boomed.
Ikari maintained his laser focus on SEELE 01 as he answered, "I did not make the decision to utilize the Lance lightly." The one directly behind him snorted derisively. He ignored the noise. "I made the decision only when it was apparent that no other options were available."
"And yet we cannot help but to think that you were all too happy when the decision became necessary," one of the monoliths to his right wheezed.
"Even though it presents quite a blow to our plans for Instrumentality," the one directly to his left chimed in.
"I am as dedicated as any of you to the cause of Instrumentality." Ikari couldn't help but feel a small sense of glee as he lied straight to these bastards' holographically concealed faces. "I feel the loss of the Lance as keenly as any of you."
A sharp laugh from behind him, slightly to the left. "Please, Ikari. I know you don't respect us, but please don't treat us as morons. It is quite clear that you have more plans than just ours in the works."
"I have many plans and contingencies in place. All of them designed to further the goals of Seele."
"Enough." The monolith in front of him finally said something. "Ikari, your use of the Lance was a costly one. It is fortunate that we have other paths to Instrumentality open to us."
"I agree completely, Mister Chairman." Ikari felt a wave of nausea pass over him as he spared respectful words for the man. He showed no outward signs of this, obviously.
"That said," SEELE 01 continued, "We will be keeping a much closer eye on you from this point forward. To ensure that you are indeed keeping the best interests of Human Instrumentality in your mind."
"I would expect nothing less." He opened his mouth to say something unheard of happened. Gendo Ikari's focus was broken. The hum of another holographic projector started up and all of the monoliths shifted slightly so that there was a gap in front of him. SEELE 01 was not just right of center.
A new monolith appeared, bearing the label SEELE 00. The ever present "Audio Only" tag glowed underneath the label. What was this? A sixteenth member of Seele? Surely not. He would have known if such a thing existed. Ikari stood stock still, mouth still open to speak a long forgotten sentence.
"I see you are surprised by our late arrival, Ikari." God, he could hear the smug smirk on the chairman's disgusting face. "Allow me to introduce Seele Zero, the president of this council."
Lorenz wasn't in charge of Seele. This was very bad. No part of Ikari's scenario had planned for this. This was completely unknown territory, entirely unanticipated. Unanticipated was dangerous. Through sheer force of will, he recollected his composure. "A pleasure, Mister President."
SEELE 00 remained silent.
"We will leave you to speak privately with the president, Ikari," SEELE 01 said.
Monoliths 01 through 15 faded out. Ikari stared at the nondescript SEELE 00, uncertain of how to react in this situation. "Is there something I can do for you, Mister President?"
SEELE 00 remained silent.
Ikari stood awkwardly, waiting for some kind of response.
Thirty seconds later, the monolith began to shrink and shift, color appearing in spots on its surface. SEELE 00 had activated video mode. The monolith slowly resolved itself into the form of the president of Seele.
Ikari's glasses actually slipped from his face and clattered to the floor. His jaw dropped as he took an involuntary step back, away from the hologram. "You?" This was impossible, beyond impossible. "How can you be in charge of the most influential organization in the history of the world?"
SEELE 00 regarded him coldly. Finally, he opened his mouth to speak, "Wark."
Gendo Ikari stared at Misato Katsuragi's pet penguin, unable to process what he was seeing. "What? How can a penguin be capable of assembling the world's most powerful men like this."
"I see." Ikari cast his gaze at the ground. That…actually made perfect sense. "But why would you do it? What possible benefit do you gain from Instrumentality? From instigating Second Impact, for that matter?"
Pen Pen, President of Seele, actually crossed his flippers behind his back. "Wark," he said, as though it were the most obvious thing in the world.
This had to be a bizarre dream. Ikari subtly pinched himself. It hurt. This was actually happening. "Ma-mackerel? You did this all for mackerel?"
Ikari ran a hand through his hair and stared at the aquatic bird in dismay. "Why reveal yourself? I had no clue there was even a sixteenth member of Seele. I thought Lorenz was running the show."
"Wark." Was it possible for a penguin to laugh? Because Ikari was fairly certain that it did just that as it answered him.
"You need me to get you mackerel? This is a joke, right?"
Ikari flinched. "No, you don't look like you're joking. But why me? What about Katsuragi? Surely she would provide mackerel."
"She only gives you tuna? Well what about the Third Child? Or the Second? "
Of course. The pilots weren't paid. How could they provide the most powerful being in the world with the fish he requires? "I see. In that case…I shall see what I can do about obtaining mackerel for you."
The penguin look pleased, "Wark."
"Of course, Mister President."
"Thank you, sir." Ikari turned and exited the room, feeling lightheaded and vaguely uncertain about his sanity.
Fuyutsuki was waiting for him in the corridor. "How did it go?"
He received no answer. Gendo Ikari was on his phone calling, based on what he could overhear, a fish market in downtown Tokyo-3. What possible use could the commander have for a daily shipment of fifty mackerel? He shrugged. Gendo Ikari was a brilliant man. It probably furthered their plans in a way he could not imagine.
A/N: So, yeah…that just happened. I credit the idea for this story to Donderkind, who jokingly mentioned it in a review to my story Mitigation. Your simple joke kept bouncing around in my head. With nothing better to do today, I got writing. Anyway, I hope this provided at least a little bit of humor and entertainment. Drop a review if you feel like it, I always love getting them. Thanks for stopping by.