To: Shinji Ikari
(handwritten) Come – Gendo Ikari
- Classified Information File#0013772-A, item 11. "CC of letter to Shinji"; Security clearance level 1: Publicly Release Information
"A face… a giant robot?"
Shinji stared at the colossus in front of him. Ever since he'd gotten it 20 minutes ago, Shinji had managed to skim the index as well as the most interesting chapters of the NERV handbook. This, however, was certainly not mentioned in there.
"This is humanity's ultimate fighting machine," declared Akagi Ritsuko with a hint of pride. "Synthetic life form Evangelion Unit 01: the final ace up our sleeves."
"The PA earlier… Project E… Dr. Akagi, you mean this is your handiwork?" Shinji looked at the scientist with admiration. "Wow! That's awesome! What's it powered by? How'd you overcome the Square-Cube law? How do you control the -"
"I'm glad you asked!" A voice boomed down from balcony above. "It's been awhile, boy."
Shinji glanced up towards the speaker, and beheld the man who had mysteriously summoned him to Tokyo-03 just two days ago. The commander of NERV – the UN's super-secret-last-hope-of-mankind R&D institution – and the man who walked out of his life 11 years ago. "Father!" said Shinji – the giant robot in front of him instantly forgotten. "Yes, it's been a while. Sensei passed along his regards. I'm so glad to finally-"
"Spare me the reunion," Ikari Gendo spoke. "I'm busy fighting a war right now. Katsuragi, prepare to scramble."
Hearing her name, the dark haired Captain next to Shinji immediately stood at attention. "Scramble?" Katsuragi Misato questioned, "Commander Ikari, sir, Unit 00 is still in cryo-stasis. Even if we manage to activate Unit 01 here, Rei is in no shape to walk; let alone fight! What are you saying?"
Gendo shifted his gaze, and Misato followed.
"Shinji?" Misato gasped, "Commander, that's impossible! It took Rei seven months to synchronize with her Eva! He just got here! What you're saying is crazy!"
"Crazy enough to work," Ritsuko interjected. "Shinji, listen. You saw that thing out there. You saw how it shrugged of an N2 mine like a lot of bad weather. We must stop the Angel at all cost, or risk complete annihilation. Even if there's one in a billion chance that Unit 01 will activate, and even if there's less that you'll sync with her, it is still not zero! It cost you nothing to sit in the entry-plug, and if we succeed we'll have a chance of fighting back! Will you do it? Will you be our one in a billion?"
Shinji glanced from Misato, whose eyes shivered with apprehension, to Ritsuko, whose eyes shone with resolve, before finally settling on Gendo, whose eyes couldn't be seen at all.
11 years without a father was a long time for a 14-year old. When you suddenly receive a handwritten invitation – as short as it may be – a child tends to have certain expectations. Maybe it's an invitation to reconcile? A chance to make up and do over? Full of hope, Shinji had taken the journey here as quickly as he could; and between an alien attack and an atomic explosion, it was not an easy one. Finally the moment, and it was strangely anti-climactic. Surely, just now, his father was doing his best given the monster invasion outside? This strange feeling was undoubtedly just a case of 'incredibly bad timing'? Any moment now, he's going to say the words that wipe away the years of doubt and confusion. A son could ask for that much from his old man, right?
"Father, before I decide, is there anything you'd like to tell me?"
The silence between them was deafening
"Ok. Fine," said Gendo finally. "It's powered by a long flexible plug-in cable, the square-cube law is moot if better materials are used to compensate, and control is achieved via direct neural interface. Now if you have no further questions, I'd like to have your decision. You've wasted enough time already."
Shinji recalled how 11 years of abandonment wasn't the only reason he hated his father. So much for his optimism. Stupid crazy heartless absent parental figure. Well, if Gendo wasn't going to play loving father, Shinji didn't feel like playing obedient son either.
"You know what?" Shinji spoke, "I do, in fact, have one more question for you. Why, exactly, did you call me here? And don't say it's because you needed me to pilot this purple tin-can either. There's nothing inherently special about me, and you clearly don't care for me as your son! Are you expecting me to believe that the fate of humanity is in my hand? That you're risking everything on my decision? I have half a mind to refuse just to spite you for all you've done, so don't give me any more reason. Stop insulting my intelligence and tell me what this is really about! What's going on?!"
"It is because you are my son, and because your psyche matches the optimal profile of an Evangelion pilot," replied Gendo. "Second guess yourself as much as you like; that's part of the profile too. You are here, Shinji, because I have a need for you – because no one else can do it."
"Now you're just insulting Dr. Akagi instead. Psych profile? Optimal match? There is no way her system is that stupidly rigid. What if I died, or just didn't turn up today? Do you just lose your war before it even begins? I'm calling your bluff: no deal."
"I appreciate the sentiment, Shinji" said Akagi Ritsuko, "but that's neither here nor there." She turned from him towards her robot, eyes lock on her creation. "The fact remains that you're the only one who can pilot the Eva right now. Will you really leave us all for dead?"
Shinji didn't let her choice of words go unpunished. "Right now? What happened to all your other pilots? Are you saying NERV is so desperate, you'd put silly untrained me in your last hope Deus-Ex machine and go all-in? I don't buy it! In fact, Misato, you mentioned another pilot who's too injured to walk – what happened? Until I know exactly what I'm signing up for, my answer doesn't change: no deal."
"Shinji," said Misato, touching him on the shoulder, "I'm sorry, but we don't have time to explain everything right now, so please trust me. Rei is going to be fine. She got injured while performing a test run on Unit 00, but in a couple weeks she'll –"
"A couple weeks?" Shinji screamed, "A pilot with 7 months experience on the job got so badly injured she's bedridden for a couple weeks? And you expect me to fight an alien monster, on my first try, in a machine that might be dangerous if it even turns on at all? Are you trying to kill me? I'm not suicidal. No deal, and that's final."
"Enough!" Gendo roared, and at the same time a low rumble shook through the underground headquarter. Far far away, on the surface above the Geofront, an explosion punctured a hole down into the underground cavern; a reminder from the enigmatic Angel that it was not to be trifled with.
"It seems my son is as useless as I feared," Gendo sighed, then glanced at his monitor array, "Fuyutsuki, wake Rei up. Even in her current state, she will be more helpful than this pathetic excuse for a man."
"Yes sir," NERV's second in command acknowledged before disconnecting. Not two seconds later a sound only channel connected to Gendo's comm terminal.
"Rei, can you handle this?" The Commander asked.
A weak, almost inaudible voice responded affirmatively.
Shinji watched as a crowd of engineers set about altering Unit 01's configuration; still anxious whether he made the right choice after all. Ritsuko was running all over the place, shouting a constant string of command here and there. Misato was on the phone next to the wall, discussing whatever it was her job entails. Shinji couldn't help wondering what they were hiding from him. Too many things didn't add up. Surely trying get him into the driver's seat was a joke, right? As appealing as the idea of piloting a humongous mecha, fighting a large menacing alien and saving the day was, even a country bumpkin like him suspected some kind of foul play. What the hell is going on?
Shinji noticed that he was confused.
How, exactly, did he come to be where he is and what, exactly, is he seeing here? He'd received a mysterious invitation from the commander of NERV. He'd arrived in Tokyo just as a giant alien monster made landfall. He'd been rescued by a – not altogether unattractive – higher ranking officer. He'd witness an N2 bomb explosion, the most powerful explosive in humankind's arsenal, do exactly bugger-all to the enemy. He was then escorted into the depths of a secret government agency, shown a gigantic mecha that could only exist in a Saturday evening cartoon, and then told he's the only one who could save the day. Throughout the entire trip, he was given no explanation, no training, no clarification except for an important looking handbook which, in actually, told him nothing he couldn't look up on NERV's publicly accessible website.
Shinji crossed his brows. There was simply no way NERV, the super-secret UN task force and humanity's last hope, could really be this incompetently short staffed. Everything was so contrived and coincidental, it might as well have come straight out of his favorite shounen anime.
In retrospect, the answer was completely obvious. Why did everything seem like a hoax, a sham, a thinly veiled cover up story? Because it was a hoax, a sham, a cover up story. Everything was just an act, and the spotlight was on none other than himself.
Shinji almost cried. It was marvelous. This was the best hazing ritual he had ever seen.
Any moment now, that door over there was going to open and Rei, or whatever their name might be, is going to walk in with a huge cheesy grin and pat him on the back. They're going to laugh, point out what a fool Shinji was for falling for the ruse, and tell him every member of the NERV special force was welcomed aboard in exactly the same way. They will then explain how every randomly selected, appropriately aged, sufficiently matured Japanese children have a duty to train in this agency so that, in 10-year time, they're adequately prepared to protect the peace and tranquility of mankind. Rei will then shake his hand, hop in the robot, and go kill the monster in such a way that he is left with a lasting impression – inspiring him to become the best mecha pilot of his graduating class. Smiling as he realized this, Shinji turned towards the door just in time to see…
Shinji saw 3 paramedics wheel in a pale, lifeless looking girl on a gurney. The blue haired woman was wearing a skin tight futuristic suit, and wrapped up in enough bandage to cover a football field.
"Okay!" Shinji shouted, "That's enough! You got me good, father! I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't how our elite mecha pilot is a critically wounded teenage girl. That's one hell of a curve ball. Can we move on to the part where the robot kills the monster and leave me feeling eternally inspired and motivated now? This prank is getting a little drawn out."
Misato, Ritsuko, the engineers and the paramedics all stared at him with complete, absolute, unyielding seriousness. A rumbling explosion echoed through the hangar once again, knocking the gurney and the girl to the floor. A soft cry of pain rang out.
The human race as we know it is doomed.
Shinji ran over to the girl and gently held her up. The human race is doomed, he thought. The human race is doomed. The human race is doomed. The human race is doomed the human race is doomed the human race is doomed human race doomed doomed doomed doomed DOOMED!
"Okay, I'll do it!" Shinji shouted to the room as he assisted the girl to her feet. "Is this why I had to be here? Is this what I need to do to save the stupid goddamn world? So be it! I accept!"
Gendo smirked. Misato slowly approached the boy, barely containing her incredulity. "You'll do it? You'll pilot the Evangelion?"
"I said I accept, but I didn't say anything about going into the suicidal pilot crippling robot. I need to actually live to do what I intend to do."
"What do you intend to do?"
"I intend to put the only person in this entire organization who knows how to pilot the Evangelion into her robot. Once I am done with that, I'm intend to watch her fight and learn exactly what this alien thing we're up against is. And if by some miracle we survive until tomorrow morning, I intend to take over this organization and save the human race myself – because if you all are the greatest hope of mankind for their continued existence then, by all that is mighty, they deserve to bite it."
Hello, and welcome to Human Immortality Project! I'm A.T. Fields. On behalf of the author, I hope you enjoy the story!
A good taste of what this is all about should be apparent by chapter 3 (~10k words). Chapter 5 is when the first serious action starts (~20k words). If you still don't enjoy all this by the end of chapter 8 (~40k words), give up.
Additional information and framework (highly skippable)
Human Immortality Project is an ongoing work-in-progress Sci-fi/Humor story. It occasionally tries to be funny, but there's a reason it's listed as Sci-fi first and humor second. There's a lot of philosophy of science, psychology, physics and game theory in the story; as well as a healthy sprinkling of scientific method application. This means that many of the mysteries that the characters run into are solvable; though that doesn't mean they're going to be fair!
H.I.P. is also an alternate universe story. This means many things will play out differently compared to canon - including (as evident from this chapter) character personality, as well as some fundamental laws of the world! That said, many other things will remain the same. It is assumed that the reader is quite familiar with the story/technology/style of the original universe.
Characters will often wax philosophy that seems just a little abnormal. This is wholly a device to increase character complexity, and shouldn't be construed as the politics of the author or the original series creator! Please keep in mind that, true to its origin, most of the cast is psychotic in some ways and you probably shouldn't take anything they say seriously.
The author has sprinkled references to any number of things in the story. See if you can find them all!