Shinji's Angels

Chapter 9

Rei watched in silence while Misao and Aeko sat on Evangelion Unit-00's core, eyes closed in concentration. Iku had gone to investigate the 'memory recording machine'. Emiko leaned against the wall to her side, seemingly lost in thoughts. Ami didn't come along this time and stayed at their home.

After her discovery of the connection between the Eva core and the memory recording machine Rei had tried to contact the soul inside. To her surprise and horror it had turned out to be Dr. Naoko Akagi, the woman who had killed the previous version of her in a deliberately triggered psychotic breakdown before committing suicide. The pictures Rei's sisters had found in the Magi showed her head to be completely smashed from the fall, but a destroyed brain didn't prevent the extraction of the soul in the slightest.

The worst part had been the discovery that Naoko was no longer an intact soul. Two years had passed since her death. Somehow she was spiritually being mutilated. Her representation in Rei's mind looked like a chimera of her earlier appearance and Rei's own, a patchwork of mismatched parts. Rei had tried talking to her, but she had been completely incoherent. After releasing the connection Rei had immediately contacted her sisters by way of the Magi.

Finally Misao and Aeko woke from their trance.

"That is nasty." the green-haired Nephilim who had once been Arael remarked. "Near-complete destruction of the self by inches. Even when completely overwritten the poor soul will be an insane wreck. You can't properly copy a soul that way, although it will produce something Rei will be able to synchronize with fairly easily." She turned towards Rei. "Well, it's not that you need it with how you are now, but Nerv doesn't know that."

Misao shook her head. "At least that explains where the Rei in Unit-00 came from in the original timeline. Fragmenting Rei I's soul deliberately to put part of her into an Evangelion seemed unlikely. That process is far too unpredictable."

"Yes, a repeat of what happened with Kyoko Soryu would in all likelihood produce a non-functional Rei. It isn't as if they can get another soul from Lilith. Otherwise they would have animated more than one clone at the same time." Aeko sighed. "The thing I'm really wondering about is how they do this. Directed morphic field resonance is not something the humans should be able to contemplate at their level of understanding of metaphysical biology."

"That's because there is a non-human piece of equipment at the core of the machine. All the rest is only for show and doesn't actually do anything." Iku said when she entered the hall. "It's a still working artifact from the Black Moon that wasn't there when I investigated the machine a few years ago. More importantly, it has been configured in exactly the right way. There is no way for humans to have figured that out on their own. Without an AT-field the controls are physically inaccessible."

"Are you sure it wasn't there before?" Rei asked.

Iku shrugged uncomfortably. "I might have overlooked the artifact when I looked around in the past. In my defense, it was probably inactive then and there was no connection to Unit-00. I just didn't realize the importance of the memory transfer machine. I thought it was simply a prop to cover things up."

"Somehow the humans are receiving technological support from the Moons." Misao concluded. "Not only do they get information from the Secret Dead Sea Scrolls about the Angel attacks and how to achieve Instrumentality, they are given the tools for the job. This is pretty much another proof of our suspicions regarding the Moons influencing humanity for a long time."

It made sense, Rei supposed. Human mythology was rife with distorted references to the Angels. Relatively current developments were another indicator. While there had been great advances in many sciences over the last decades there was something peculiar about it. Normally science advanced in a certain manner. Observations about the world led to theories explaining them. Theories led to testable predictions. One thing built on another. There was chance involved, of course. Sometimes nobody got the right idea or a possible discovery was overlooked. Further complications could arise in the academic process or implementing it in actual technology. Promising ideas could lead to dead ends. The problem was that an enormous number of people seemed to just get the right idea about something without any discernible reason.

Prof. Kozo Fuyutsuki had held a chair for Metaphysical Biology at Tokyo University long before humanity at large possessed any way of properly detecting souls or interacting with them – and he didn't have any connection to SEELE then. Much of his work was miraculously correct and laid the foundation vital for later developments.

Dr. Katsuragi, a physicist specializing in high energy reactions, had theorized the existence and function of an Angel's super solenoid organ without ever knowing of their existence – which had promptly led to him being unknowingly recruited by SEELE and sent on the fateful expedition to Antarctica, triggering Second Impact by accessing Adam.

Dr. Wai Lee had done ground-breaking works in the field of robotics that was indispensable for the cybernetic parts of the Evangelions long before they were even contemplated. In fact, the man had died years before Second Impact.

Dr. Yui Ikari's achievements as a bioengineer were nothing short of miraculous. From the creation of the Rei clones to Evangelion construction, what should have taken decades, centuries or even be flat-out impossible Yui had managed in a few scarce years.

Dr. Naoko Akagi had been a brilliant computer scientist. The Magi supercomputers were impressive for all their limitations. Another feat was the related control system for the Evangelions.

Rei had not been in a position to notice and had lacked the necessary knowledge in the other timeline, but due to her closeness to Ritsuko Akagi she could watch the events in motion this time around. Ritsuko was Nerv's chief scientist and head of the Technical branch of Nerv headquarters. Her main responsibilities at the current time were getting the Evas operational, overseeing the building and expanding of Tokyo-3's defenses and Eva-related infrastructure and the beginnings of the dummy plug project.

If you knew what to look for the manipulation was evident. Whenever an obstacle presented itself Ritsuko or one of the scientists working under her came up with an idea to solve the problem. Actually researching and implementing these ideas still took a lot of work, of course, but there was a suspicious lack of dead ends.

It wasn't obvious for anyone involved (they were some of the smartest people alive and were expected to come up with ingenious solutions, after all), but Rei and her sisters knew better. From their perspective it was evident that ideas were somehow seeded among the humans without them noticing, most likely by the Black Tabris. In certain fields they were advancing through centuries or even millennia of scientific and philosophic development in mere decades. In other fields nothing like that happened.

In many ways it was eerily similar to what Rei was doing in her own budding scientific career. She knew how problems had been solved in the other timeline or had received the knowledge from her sisters (who did have intact memories from their time as Angels, including advanced in-depth technical knowledge that applied to their normal tasks). Now she was feeding it back to the humans bit by bit, building up her own reputation in the process. In effect both she and the Black Moon were working backwards from the desired result. They already knew the best solutions.

"That is quite a lot of involvement." Emiko remarked. "What does that say about our anonymity?"

Iku shrugged. "If the Black Tabris noticed our activities he didn't do anything to curtail them. I don't know what tools of observation he has available. The Black Moon is mostly broken. Overall our AT-field emissions are probably below the detection threshold."

"Then we will proceed with our plans unchanged for the time being." Misao decided. "Iku, what about the detection system you wanted to build to investigate the Black Moon's active systems you noticed in the past?"

"I won't finish it anytime soon. It still requires a lot of fiddly work and my schedule is pretty much full."

"Make time for it." the blonde girl instructed. "We can't afford to be blindsided."

"Is there a way to restore Naoko?" Rei finally asked to break the ensuing silence.

"I don't think so." Aeko shrugged uncomfortably. "First the mental breakdown, then the trauma of dying followed by getting her psyche overwritten by parts of yours wasn't conducive to her mental health. There's just not much there we can work from to restore her. Considering how messy the process is we won't be able to get a sane copy of you, either. Shreds of Naoko will remain, making the Evangelion prone to going out of control. Wiping Naoko clean might be the best solution. At least that way she wouldn't suffer any longer."

Iku had a thoughtful expression on her face. "What about the Magi? They aren't a true artificial intelligence, but Melchior, Balthasar and Casper were modeled after how Naoko saw herself as scientist, mother and woman. Could we use them as templates to restore her?"

Aeko visibly considered the idea. "Maybe. That depends on how complete the thought patterns are and if we can feed them into the memory recording machine. This is a long-term project. We don't have the time to sit here and do it personally."

"It's still worthwhile. I would prefer to have a sane soul in the Evangelion I will pilot. A conflict during a critical moment might be lethal. I want to avoid dying again if possible." Rei said in a dry tone. "Besides, without an active soul Kaworu might be able to take control as he did to Eva-02 in the other timeline."

Rei's guilt about her part in Naoko's death went unmentioned. She wasn't sure if the others would understand that notion.

In the end the group agreed on trying to restore Naoko. It wouldn't be quick, but hopefully one day the woman would be restored to a semblance of sanity.

Eleven year old Shinji stopped dead in his tracks when he spotted the man standing at his birth mother's grave. This was the first time he met anyone here. Ever since he could remember Ando-sensei had taken him to a yearly visit of Yui Ikari's grave near Tokyo-3, but the teacher had taken to waiting at the entrance of the enormous graveyard. Shinji didn't actually remember his birth mother, but such visits were the way things were done.

Slowly continuing on his way, Shinji's eyes flicked left and right to spot anything else that was unusual. There were no other normal visitors in the vicinity, but several men in dark suits were keeping at a discreet distance to the man at the grave.

'Are those security guards?'

That was not a good sign. When Shinji got close enough to make out features his heart skipped a beat. There, at the grave of his mother, stood Gendo Ikari, his biological father. More importantly, the man was the commander of Nerv. It was only through a few appearances on television that he actually knew how Gendo looked like. Shinji had not seen the man for eight years and didn't really remember anything about him.

Shinji felt his heartbeat speed up and his steps faltered. His mom and dad had repeatedly warned him against Nerv. Under no circumstances was he to draw attention to their family. Shinji didn't know the exact reason, but it had something to do with Shinobu's past and the girls. They as well had always emphasized the importance of keeping away from Nerv or at least not arousing suspicion.

Arriving at the grave, Shinji put down the flowers he had brought. From the corner of his eye he saw that Gendo had turned his head slightly and was looking at him.

Once the question why Gendo had abandoned him had filled Shinji's entire being, although it had affected him less and less over the years. He knew Gendo had sent him away immediately after Yui's death due to an accident at work. Still, he had wanted to know why. He had questions for his biological father. When he grew old enough to understand he had been angry about the abandonment, too. You simply didn't treat a child that way.

Now that Shinji finally came face-to-face with his biological father he found he had nothing to say to the man. He was his own person and part of a real family. Gendo had stopped mattering to him long ago. The 'why' was still on his mind, but it was more idle curiosity, not a question worth voicing considering the potential consequences.

Gendo was dangerous. Shinji was politically aware enough to recognize that Nerv was an extremely powerful organization. In fact, they were possibly more powerful than the Japanese government if push came to shove. They were a multi-national organization with the full backing of the United Nations and were being touted as the pioneer for the reconstruction of the world after the destruction of Second Impact. The construction of Tokyo-3 as Japan's new, future capital was an example of that.

The city was a marvel of engineering and there was indeed a plethora of other inventions coming from Nerv (and their predecessor organization Gehirn), but Shinji was sure there was more to it. His parents wouldn't fear them otherwise.

All that led to Shinji's current predicament. Whatever he did might be the wrong choice. Simply leaving without a word could be interpreted as a slight, but speaking to Gendo had its own share of problems. He didn't want to give himself away, but he doubted his ability to make up a convincing story on the spot if Gendo somehow started questioning him.

'I mustn't run away. I mustn't run away. I mustn't run away.'

Shinji could feel his hands shaking slightly and sweat beginning to coat his body as he struggled with the situation. He wanted nothing more than to run away, but he stayed put.

Half a minute later Gendo suddenly turned around, facing Shinji fully, thereby causing a spike of fear flashing through the boy's body. Shinji reciprocated the movement after a second, looking up to the man towering before him.

Gendo's eyes were barely visibly behind the man's tinted glasses. His face showed not the slightest trace of emotion, giving Shinji no idea what he was thinking. It seemed like an eternity until the man abruptly turned and walked away, the security guards closing up to him.

'What was that? He just gives me the silent treatment and leaves?'

It wasn't as if Shinji was unhappy with that outcome, but it was beyond strange. He watched Gendo until he disappeared in the distance, feeling somewhat lost. Then he shook himself.

'I really hope I'll never meet that man again.'

Shinji waited a few minutes until he felt the stress abate. Then, with a last look at the grave of his mother, he left. The giant cemetery always gave him the creeps. Rows upon rows of nearly identical grave markers in an endless barren field didn't make for a welcoming place. There were markers for all the millions of people of the region who had died in Second Impact, the nuking of old Tokyo shortly thereafter and the Impact Wars. Shinji often wondered who had designed this place. It could really do with some greenery in his opinion.

Ando-sensei awaited him at the entrance of the graveyard. There was no indication that his father had left this way, but there were multiple exits anyway.

"Finished paying your respects, Shinji?"

Shinji nodded. "Yes."

"Good, good. Come along."

He and Ando-sensei would stay in Tokyo-3 for the night and return to their hometown on the next day. The city had changed a great deal since his last visit. Construction work was still ongoing, but the final design was becoming ever more visible. It was fascinating, really.

'I should buy something for Mom, Dad, Keima and the girls while I'm here.' Shinji mused.

The girls would leave shortly after he returned home. They had signed up for some sort of week-long sightseeing tour with a friend of the family. Shinji hoped they had fun. It would be the first time none of them were in his vicinity for any length of time.

Darkness was replaced by light and Aeko blinked. Instead of the expected deserted countryside the group was greeted by the sight of a city. The alleyway they were standing in protected them from being observed casually, at least.

Misao gave the buildings a glance. "This doesn't look like the Rocky Mountains."

Iku removed a map from her backpack and unfolded it. "I wonder if we took a wrong turn in Albuquerque? The junction there was extremely confusing. Emiko, you did follow the directions, right?"

"Of course I followed the instructions."

Emiko's expression remained completely calm and serious, but Aeko noticed that Ami had problems to keep a grin from her face. That wasn't suspicious at all. Stepping out of the alley, Aeko looked around.

'Well, that answers that question.' she thought when she spotted a particular sign.

Emiko had obviously decided to humor one of Ami's ideas. Aeko didn't particularly mind the detour. Traveling across the world in one week using Emiko's power was somewhat stressful even if they weren't involved with the transport process. Fortunately her sister was strong enough for intercontinental travel by now if she paced herself. They had picked out multiple isolated locations on every continent to set up new bases. Their home base was far too close to the Black Moon for their comfort. Now that Iku had the production facility up and running their options had increased dramatically.

At each location they dropped off a package of semi-autonomous machines after a careful scouting. It would take a few months, but the machines would create an underground complex before assembling into a teleportation device (a collaborative project between Iku and Ami). In a year they should have access to several dozen hideouts strewn across the world, ready to be developed as they saw fit.

Most of them wouldn't be relevant for the fight against SEELE and the Angels. They were part of the contingency plans for outcomes that stopped short of 'complete destruction of Earth'. It was very possible for them to die, but humanity surviving would be a last act of spite against their creators. Well, and it was a good deed in its own right. Probably.

Another reason was that they wanted to scout out the other assets of Nerv and SEELE. Well-timed sabotage could take care of some things before they became real problems, like the mass production Evangelions for example.

By now they had finished the circuit across South America and were planning to cover the rest of North America they had eschewed on the first part of their journey across the Bering Strait and down the west coast of the continent. Once finished they would use Greenland as a shortcut to Europe, minimizing the way across the open sea. Emiko needed landmarks to orient herself if she didn't want to lose her way over longer distances. Unfortunately all other means of navigation like GPS were unavailable while they were in her Dirac Sea and stopping regularly to make sure of their position would put disproportionate stress on Emiko.

'We are well ahead of schedule.'

Leaving Shinji alone so shortly after the encounter with his father was a risk. They had not expected for the man to turn up after eight years even if their hacking of the Magi had given them some forewarning. Depending on what Gendo decided to do they might have to intervene on short notice. Unfortunately they had planned the trip (and their alibi) far in advance. Another opportunity wouldn't come for months. In the end they had decided to follow through with their original plan.

Returning to the other girls, Aeko cleared her throat to break up the squabble. "Ami, Emiko, your scheme is up. I know where we are. You could have simply asked, you know."

"It is easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission." Emiko replied calmly.

"Well, now that we are here we might as well visit for a few hours. Come on, girls."

"Yay! We're going to Disneyland!"

"This is goodbye, then."

Misato nodded. "Yes, my flight leaves in an hour. Then I'm off to Africa."

They had known this day would come. Neither Misato nor Asuka had been under any illusion that she would stay permanently as the girl's guardian. As a member of Nerv's military forces it was only a question of time for Misato to be reassigned elsewhere.

'Time for some last words of advice.' Misato thought. "Don't spend all your time studying or training. It's okay to have some fun from time to time. There's more to life, you know."

"No time for that! Just wait! I'll graduate before I'm fifteen and become the best Evangelion pilot ever."

Misato chuckled. "I believe you. Goodbye, Asuka."

"Goodbye, Misato."

Once Misato was safely out of earshot she let out a sigh. Another chapter of her life closed. Being Asuka's guardian had been an… interesting experience. The girl was possessed by a single-minded determination to become the best Evangelion pilot ever despite the things being years away from deployability. She was racing through her education, too. Asuka was a true prodigy.

Misato had grown to like Asuka in the one and a half years they had spent together, but she couldn't say they were truly close. Comfortable with each other, yes, but not close. Asuka had erected walls around herself that she didn't let down for anybody. In many ways Misato was the same, but that made things only more difficult.

Since the suicide of Asuka's mother and her estranged father's remarriage (and subsequent transfer to Nerv-01 in North America) the girl had been passed from caretaker to caretaker, often several times per year. Misato's time with her was probably the longest she had spent with any one person.

It wasn't as if being Asuka's caretaker was a fulltime job (that was serving in the military security staff of Nerv-03). The girl was actually quite capable of taking care of herself despite her youth. Between the mass of instructors Asuka worked with daily and the regular health checks a caretaker was essentially unnecessary. Asuka certainly wanted to be treated as an adult; or at least what she thought of how adults treated each other.

Instead of ignoring Asuka or trying to micromanage her life Misato simply had tried to be there for the girl... and tried to show her how to have fun instead of training and learning endlessly. She didn't know how successful she had been, but she hoped Asuka would be better for it.

'At least I won't be around when Asuka enters her teenage years and discovers boys. Hormones and moodiness… that will be a barrel of fun. I already pity whoever will have to put up with her.'

Ryoji Kaji felt a cold shiver run down his spine when he left the inconspicuous room in the UN headquarters.

'Damn, that man is cold as ice.'

Dealing with Gendo Ikari was nerve-wracking, but the contact had to be made. Nerv's commander was an important node in the network of contacts he was building. Playing all sides against each other was a walk on the tightrope, but it was the only way to get through the layers upon layers of lies.

Nerv, SEELE, the UN, the Japanese government, the parties he worked for were steadily rising in number. He had to get valuable enough that nobody would simply dispose of him when he learned something incriminating. More useful alive than dead was what he was aiming for. Ryoji only hoped it would be enough when the time came.

Kozo Fuyutsuki suppressed a sigh. The paperwork was threatening to bury his desk… again. Managing an organization like Nerv was a never-ending task. His old work at Kyoto University had produced not even half as much. Without the support of the Magi supercomputers it would have been nearly impossible. On the other hand, his staff had been decidedly larger in the time before the things came online. Still, less staff meant less people in the know.

'No rest for the wicked, I suppose. Better get on with it.'

The door opening interrupted his work after half an hour. Gendo had returned from his trip to the UN. "I'm back. Did anything of note happen during my absence?"

"Construction of the outer defensive perimeter is on schedule again. The progress reports are in your inbox. The problem on the east side has been dealt with."

Which was a nice way of saying that the old priest that had tried to sue Nerv and rally public support to keep his land (and temple) had been murdered. He had been found dead in his bed due to a heart attack. The bill for 'special medical expenses' had passed Kozo's desk yesterday. Come to think of it, he really should add a position for something like that to the normal discretionary budget. Less paperwork that way. The man would have lost the legal battle in the end, of course, but they simply couldn't afford the delay.

Normally such a thing would be resolved via non-violent ways, but the Angels were coming and the schedule was uncomfortably tight. They had been forced to shift the position of one of the power outlets for the Evangelions by a few hundred meters because of a recently discovered aquifer at the last minute. Unfortunately that caused a huge string of consequences and delays for related projects. A murder was a light price to pay to keep things moving forward.

Kozo supposed it said bad things about him that he was now perfectly capable of ordering the deaths of innocent but inconvenient people without hesitation or guilt. They were just two more bodies on the pile.

Gendo nodded in acknowledgement. "Our budget for the next year has been approved. The old men were satisfied."

"They simply accepted our continued changes in personnel?"

"Yes. Our English friend is growing suspicious, but Chairman Keel backed me. The others followed suit."

Kozo didn't ask further. He didn't want to know how Gendo managed to keep the support of SEELE's leader, even if the man's goodwill was instrumental to their plans. A large part of the people belonging to Gehirn, Nerv's predecessor, had been members of SEELE. One by one they were replaced by outsiders, the old people shuffled to the other branches of Nerv. By now the majority of Nerv employees here at the geofront had no connection to SEELE at all. They should be finished with the cleansing of their ranks in time for the Angels… and the implementation of their own plans diverging from SEELE's.

The next topic was somewhat delicate. "Dr. Akagi has requested to become Rei's official guardian. Furthermore, she wants Rei to become officially assigned to her department and move into a shared apartment in the city."

It was subtle, but Gendo gave a visible twitch before he got himself under control. "We expected that sooner or later. Rei has proven to be a valuable asset in more ways than expected."

Kozo nodded when Gendo fell silent. The original plan had been to keep Rei mostly under wraps until about one year before the Angels were prophesized to return. Then they planned to send her to the school with the unknowing other Eva candidates and live in Tokyo-3 most of the time. That had been scrapped when she proved to be positively brilliant after interacting for a while with Dr. Akagi.

Rei's insight into metaphysical biology and related sciences was astounding and had helped them solve several critical problems in getting the Evas ready for deployment. Continuing on this path would put Rei into the spotlight earlier and to a greater degree than they had hoped for, but it was unavoidable. They simply couldn't afford to waste Rei's talents, not with their tight schedule and the uncertainty about the operational readiness of the Evas.

"She is keeping the good doctor under control just as planned. Dr. Akagi isn't investigating anything she shouldn't." he offered when the silence stretched too long for his taste.

Naoko Akagi had been a member of SEELE. Her daughter was not. That had been one of the reasons to remove Naoko after she wasn't indispensible anymore and replace her with her daughter. They had not been able to use their usual assets for wetwork since at the time many of them were SEELE members as well. Neither could they have done it themselves as they would have come under scrutiny in the aftermath. A suicide due to stress while suspicious had been the best way. The flawed first Rei clone had to be put down anyway. In the end the gamble had paid off.

Of course, they had still needed some measure to keep control over the younger Dr. Akagi after Gendo's idea of initiating an affair had failed. Rei was fulfilling that purpose admiringly, keeping Nerv's chief scientist safely focused on relevant matters and ignorant of some deeper truths.

Gendo was still silent. Kozo supposed he was fighting some sort of inner struggle. They had spoken about this course of action before, but Gendo's relationship with Rei was complicated. This probably felt too much like giving her up.

As Rei grew older the similarity to Yui was becoming just eerie. Some mannerisms or small movements were identical. Rei's scientific brilliance only added to that. Other aspects of Rei's behavior were completely her own. It disconcerted Gendo greatly. On rare occasions his emotions actually led him to treat Rei as Yui and not as the replaceable asset she was. Kozo wondered if that had been part of Yui's plan, too. It was likely in his opinion.

Privately Kozo enjoyed every bit of discomfort that came Gendo's way as long as their plans were proceeding smoothly. He had never liked the man. Their first meeting had consisted of Gendo calling him to bail him out when the man was in police custody for brawling. Only later had they been formally introduced by Yui. Being given a 'join or die' offer after he dug too deep into the lies of Second Impact had done nothing to endear Gendo to him. Only Kozo's faith in Yui's plans allowed him to work with the man at all. Their alliance was one of business and convenience, nothing more.

Finally Gendo spoke again. "Very well. I will speak with Rei about how she will have to act. Everything is proceeding in accordance with the scenario."

'Yes, but is it your scenario or Yui's?' Kozo thought.

Watched by her sisters, Iku carefully checked the sensor assembly in an unused room deep in Terminal Dogma one last time before activating it. It had taken her years to produce the components. Other things had taken priority. Now though it was the time to lift one of the remaining mysteries.

Originally the Black Moon had been a starship. More precisely, it had been an infrastructure construction complex, much as the White Moon had been a terraforming vessel. A single Lilith-type was the central Angel of the former; an Adam-type fulfilled the same function for the latter.

Iku had detected signs of minimal activity deep down in the Black Moon when she first visited after acclimating to her new body, but without interfacing with the Moon she had been unable to determine details. Interfacing in turn was out of the question, both because the parts of the Moon they could easily reach were non-functional and interfacing directly would be detectable. Their AT-fields were low-level enough to be overlooked on their own. Constructing an array sensitive enough to give them information while remaining stealthy had not been an easy task.

They knew the Black Tabris was still active, orchestrating the destruction of Earth. Misao (or rather Armisael at the time) had 'heard' him sending sort of a global ping to determine the number of the Angels surviving the White Moon's self-destruct a few months after Second Impact. The question was what resources he had available.

A sinking feeling spreading through her stomach, Iku double- and triplechecked the readings before she turned to her sisters. "There is at least one active Angel besides the Black Tabris down there. It doesn't belong to Adam's White Moon."

Author's notes: Thank you for the reviews.

One more chapter and the childhood arc should be finished.

So long.