The Cat Who Walks Through Walls is a mostly-Rebuild Evangelion AU, started before Q came out and with a lot of scenes set after the end of 2.22. Then Q did come out, and instead of 'Third Impact was prevented and mostly covered up and things went back to near-anime normal' there was the horrible dystopia.
I started wondering about an alternate universe version of The Cat Who, where the Third Impact happened the way it happened according to Q. Since it was in my head, I decided to get it written before I get back to the happy/crackish scenario. Consider this an alternate Bad Ending scenario that diverges at Third Impact.
I originally published this 'verse in the main fic as sort of an omake, but even though this fic is dependant on The Cat Who's worldbuilding, when I asked reviewers they thought it would be less confusing instead of more confusing if posted seperately, both because this is AU of the main fic and because this is much, much more depressing than the main fic.
I seriously recommend reading The Cat Who Walks Through Walls first, but a short version of the worldbuilding is that angels were designed to terraform worlds full of humans which would then create more angels (generational dimorphism, like fern seed), spreading humanity throughout several universes. Planetary human AT fields are designed for mental attack and defense (while angels have telekinesis and physical shields to let them survive space travel and terraform worlds), since humanity is a psychic species. Screaming insane angels caused Earth's humans to huddle behind mental shields, meaning that not only were they starved for mental contact, but they never developed the psychic warfare capabilities that normally would have allowed them to handle angels. After SEELE set off Second Impact, Tabris was the one remaining angel who retained both sanity and knowledge of humanity's true nature.
Unfortunately, while angels are humans, they're products of genetic and mental engineering refined for a very long time, meaning the psychological difference between an angel-type human and a planetary human is a lot bigger than little things like planetary human age and gender differences. They are wired for terraforming, not dealing with messed-up societies or interpersonal difficulties in general (otherwise Adam and Lilith having equal claims to Earth wouldn't have taken billions of years to resolve), and the only thing he could think to do was train one of the future pilots in psychic warfare and angel capabilties so he could fight off the other angels and hopefully figure out some means of dealing with the crazy death cult known as SEELE. In theory, with the other angels dead, Earth's humans could have come out from behind their mental shields and regained their true power and the stars. But this is Eva.
The Cat Who Walks Through Walls is more light-hearted than the standard Eva, since Shinji grew up with at least one caring family member (if by adoption) and is a lot better at bonding with others. This 'verse... Is Q-based.
The second time Kaji met the hero of the hour, the pilot from SEELE's moonbase who had kept Third Impact from being a total impact was in his melon patch.
Not that it was his melon patch anymore. The inside of the Geofront could be protected from the outside environment. The alien planet that had replaced Earth, thanks to that angel and the Eva.
NERV and SEELE were trying to blame Shinji Ikari. It would have really depressed Kaji that people were seriously buying that if he wasn't used to it by now. How easily the truth was hidden. What gullible idiots most people were.
The UN already seized all remaining arable land, to make sure it was planted with crops. It wasn't as though Kaji really minded: he liked not starving to death as much as the next person. But maybe there was an element of nostalgia in how he'd ended up here. Of course he wanted to check out the plantings, see if NERV and SEELE were even pretending to make a serious effort to feed what was left of the human race. The amount of industry, the plantings and greenhouses that sprung up down here overnight would have been more reassuring if Tokyo-3 wasn't a fortress.
Gendo Ikari and the others didn't want to die before they accomplished whatever terrible purpose they had. So of course they'd move to secure their own food supply. By planting crops somewhere the starving masses wouldn't be able to get their hands on them.
He'd expected to find his melons plowed under, or already picked. His patch covered up by new plantings and construction to the point that he wouldn't even be able to figure out where it once was.
Sound echoed in the geofront: between all the construction and people calling to each other in the distance, he didn't hear the humming until he was right on top of the kid. That white hair was instantly recognizable. Recognized the world over now, or what was left of it, thanks to SEELE wanting to hold up their boy as the reason anybody at all was left. "Wasn't expecting to find you here," he said, walking forward.
"According to NERV, I should be in testing right now," the boy agreed, brushing the dust off a leaf. Even though the melons hadn't been torn up, it looked like all the dust kicked up around them during the construction had left them the worse for wear. "But I managed to get some of my testing data from the moonbase released," which was news to Kaji: he'd heard Ritsuko mutter about how they didn't have anything on this kid but his birthday just yesterday, "and I know quite a lot about hydroponics."
"I guess even kids on the moon have chores."
The boy – Kaworu – smiled at him. "Something like that. I've been down here whenever I could get away: most of the people with the expertise for this sort of project were brought up to the moonbase years ago, and… I understand why the decision has been made to have them focus on expanding the moonbase's food production capacity."
The moonbase: somewhere else starving rioters couldn't get at. Somewhere the old men could retreat to when that started to go down: from the shadows in Kaworu's red eyes, the faint sense of disapproval, he knew the boy had figured that out too.
Oh, the official reason was that the moon, though clearly not out of range given what First Impact'd done to it, was at least a little more likely to escape something that destroyed the planet. With Earth prettymuch dead meat at this point, it only made sense to focus on figuring out human survival in space. Start seriously thinking about sending some people over towards Mars. They'd have to grow their own food there, too.
The strategic reserves of materials and food built up for WWIII had already been plundered after Second Impact. What was left of them wouldn't last much longer. After they were gone, Earth wouldn't even be able to feed its own surviving population. Forget supplying explorers, forget devoting any resources towards long-term survival. Towards a future that was only a pipe dream.
If this boy still had some fight left in him, though?
In Kaji's experience, the people outraged by whatever fraction of the truth they'd discovered made crappy sources. Sure, they'd give him what information they had, but that was if they lived long enough to get it to him. SEELE was good at spotting potential leaks and dealing with them, one way or another.
Accidents. 'Reassigned to the moonbase,' and never showing up on any passenger manifests.
The moonbase was SEELE's most secure facility for obvious reasons, and this boy had grown up there. Inside the belly of the beast. What did he know? What had he seen of what they were studying up there, away from prying eyes?
His lack of faith in the Committee made him a potential source. It also marked him for death. NERV needed pilots, but with Asuka fixed up they had two spares… Except not for much longer, if Misato had anything to say about it.
If Kaji could make this boy a source, and WILLE could make him indispensable to the old men of the Committee and the Commander of NERV… They'd kept him locked up tight in the moonbase for years, and now he'd gotten a taste of freedom? A little teenage rebellion was to be expected: Kaji was already working on how to use Shinji against Gendo Ikari when this happened. The problem with that plan was that Shinji clearly wasn't allowed close enough to his father at any point to find out anything useful, be any kind of a real threat to his interests. To be able to cut his throat, if he really was in with the faction Kaji had only heard whispers of, the true believers who wanted Third Impact, wanted Judgment Day to finish off the human race and take them to heaven or whatever.
Kaworu stood up, dusting off his hands, and Kaji noticed the slowness of his movements. "Gravity getting to you?"
"No." A faint smile, quickly replaced by a frown as he turned, looking past Kaji at the curve of the geofront, at the rows and rows of what Kaji could only call plant cubicles. "It's just a headache."
Kaworu was transparent. Transparently lying. "Want me to rub your neck for you?" Kaji asked, taking the opportunity of lending aid to get into the boy's personal space. This was always fun, and it was much easier to get a read on people when they were surprised or uncomfortable. You got to see how they'd jump.
This one just said, "Thank you for the thought," as though they didn't realize there was anything at all remarkable about Kaji making the offer.
Seriously? Had he never been hit on before? Well, raised on the moon, so everyone there would have been at least twice, more like three times his age (bunch of people with doctorates and years of experience in their field) so maybe not.
"But it's not… that sort of pain," the boy said, with another wince.
"Can't hurt, right?" Kaji said with one of his more dazzling smiles.
And that was how he ended up with sitting there with that silver head in his lap, SEELE's pilot damn near purring like a cat.
Someone really needed to teach this boy how to recognize when he was being hit on, Kaji knew, or else he might end up being lured to some stranger's room with the promise of candy. Or backrubs.
Their angel stood in the center of the monoliths, radiating perfect calm. "It is my nature. An effect of my presence."
"Nothing like this happened on the moon," another member of the committee responded waspishly while Keel simply watched, silent for now.
"That was before I was caught up by the edge of an impact. If I was returned to the moon, something similar would happen there."
The area around NERV recovering was one thing. The media were happy to buy that it had something to do with being the eye of the storm. That human tendency not to look a gift horse in the mouth. The workers who didn't know the truth were happy to move in, to plant that purified area and try to expand it, working around the edges. They were happy to take credit for its expansion, even though this was not their doing. Not something that could be accomplished by the labor of human hands.
Earth had been reset to the environment suitable for the spawn of a Seed of Life. Who could control such a world but a Seed of Life? But Adam's host?
Keel would have been much happier if the boy had tried to deny it. That would have been a sign of guilt. That he knew he was doing something wrong, and then it would simply be a matter of ordering him to stop that. Not to torment the lesser beings with false hope. Not to let humanity survive on his charity.
Thanks to the blessings of a god.
Be beholden to a god? No, they would become gods themselves, by their own hands!
But the First Ancestral Race had tried to make sure that their creations would only be angels, not true gods. That they would not dare to control humans, only serve them.
The story of the Great Flood, the doings of Zeus and Odin: imperfect, too-human gods would only oppress mankind, suppress their potential. No, SEELE's goal was to create a perfect being, one worthy of the title of God.
This being in front of his monolith, this tame angel they had created was meant to serve man, made to serve man. Angel of free will? Angels did not possess free will. Only humans did. Angels were crafted to be servants, and could no more change their natures than a leopard could its spots.
Adam's vessel showed no signs of shame or apology. Those would have been red flags, in Keel's eyes. Why should it feel ashamed for simply acting in accordance with its nature? Like the animals.
Like Adam and Eve found no shame in their nakedness, before they ate the forbidden fruit.
"You are tormenting them with false hope," another member said, voicing Keel's thought with tones of deep disapproval.
"I would think that hope was a kindness… but I am aware that my understanding of the Lilim is inferior to your own," Kaworu said with that same serenity. "I fail to see how it harms the Lilim and their true hope, complementation, for them to be spared the pain of starvation. Yes, I am aware that Lilim existence is pain, but is it not my purpose to relieve you of that pain?"
In the eyes of the rest of the committee, yes.
Keel and Gendo Ikari had this in common, he thought to himself. They wanted humanity to attain godhood by its own power. The difference was that Keel wished to exalt humanity, while Gendo Ikari would see his brethren's souls destroyed so that only one person could become transcendent.
His viper of a daughter surely knew how to pick them… If only his grandson had inherited his mother's selfishness instead of his father's slavish devotion. If that were the case, Third Impact could have occurred under controlled circumstances, and they wouldn't be forced to cobble together some scenario for a Fourth.
Extensive testing would be required. Years of it.
Humanity's ascension would be delayed for years. So close, and then that brat stole it from them, from everyone!
He deserved to be hated by the entire world, even if they didn't understand the true reason they should hate him.
The other members of the committee were either hemming and hawing or trying to browbeat the angel into an apology, confirm that they still had it under control. This kind of nonsense was why Keel could be certain he had no real rivals for control over the committee.
Wings, turning in a blue sky… Not white, but banded brown.
A meadow in a mountain's shadow, the smell of grass. Leather, oiled wood, the musky scent of oiled feathers. Sharp talons gripping his leather-padded forearm, the falconer warning him to be careful or he'd wind up missing an eye.
This was a tame angel, but there was no such thing as a tame hawk.
In order to hunt, they had to be set free. There was nothing to stop them from simply leaving. From seeking the blue sky and never returning to captivity.
Thus, it was necessary to convince the animal that it wanted to return. That it wanted the cage enough to put up with the indignities of the bells and jesses.
Even the species used as a symbol of freedom would fly wherever you wanted it to fly, kill whatever the hunter wanted dead. Provided you could convince it that this was its own idea. That it would have the best hunting if it followed your orders.
They would even surrender their fresh kills in exchange for little treats.
The secret to true control was to understand the nature of the animal. To know the way its primitive mind worked, and then simply arrange matters so that nature would make it flow down the channels you had charted out.
Humans, in their current, unrefined state, were just one more kind of primitive, violent animal. The angels might be more powerful, but their creators had worked to ensure that the angels would follow their programming long after their makers were dead and dust. Had carved those channels, those instincts, deep into their minds.
A being that could not understand selfishness could never understand humanity. Knowledge was power. Without knowledge, without free will, how could anyone fail to realize that the being who had obeyed their order to report was no threat to them at all? Wasn't this just more proof that it would do as it was made to do, bade to do?
Beings with godlike power, programmed to use that power to play nursemaid to worlds. To use their power in service to humanity and then to sleep instead of taking their 'rightful' place as gods of their creations. After all, didn't every soul on those worlds owe them their homes, their very lives?
Years spent under observation on the moonbase, powerful enough to simply brush aside the fragile shell that was all that protected the humans there from death, and it had never occurred to the angel to make use of that power. That threat. Those around it who knew its true nature were well aware that it could kill them, and even the angel had realized this eventually, but it had never taken advantage of this.
It was the nature of a child to try to control the adults around it. Such an obvious piece of leverage, and the angel had never made use of it? When violence was the first resort of so many, the angel had never, not under any pressure, even resorted to the threat of it?
It truly boggled the mind.
Because if the ancients had the technology to create humans without casual cruelty, humans who did not think in terms of destroying and harming others, then why hadn't they applied that to the children of the black seed? Millions of wars, murders, countless atrocities and petty cruelties throughout human history. The power existed to change human nature, to make them something greater, something better, and it hadn't been used?!
The decision had been made not to give the Lilim the benefit of this knowledge, this invention? The ancestors had allowed their descendants to remain infected with evil, inflicted solitude and suffering upon them? Even if this alteration removed the angel's free will, it wasn't as though the vast majority of the Lilim were doing anything useful with theirs!
This lamb… This lamb, destined for the slaughter. As soon as the time was right to retrieve its killer. For now, it was to their advantage to have Shinji Ikari contained, unable to speak in his defense. There was little risk of any of the truth escaping, but just in case… The same reason Misato Katsuragi was contained after Second Impact.
It seemed they were right: she was the sort to make trouble even when that was not in humanity's best interests. Well, as long as she continued to target Gendo Ikari, she would be useful. Enough to be allowed to live, when it was also proof she didn't know enough of the truth to be harmful
The thought that she was a fool to be doing this ran through Ritsuko's mind as she opened the e-mail again, but it wasn't as though that was news.
A short message. Her cat had run away.
Before Third Impact, the e-mail would have been full of condolences, but now? Cats were obligate carnivores. They couldn't survive without meat. And meat animals had to be fed. Feeding cows meant that grain wasn't going to people. With food rationing in place? NERV had privileges, but they also had to set a good example. Gendo Ikari had ordered all the employees to get rid of their pets.
No one had found Shinji's cat, but the animal was probably killed either in Third Impact or shortly afterwards. One of the survivors taking their hatred of the Ikari out on an innocent animal.
A bitter twist to her lips: such was humanity. The species she was supposedly protecting. The species Misato wanted her to protect.
Ritsuko's cat was almost certainly dead already. Cats were meat on four paws. There were lots of hungry people out there.
But at least this way, she could imagine her cat was alive somewhere. She wouldn't have to get e-mail after email as her cat starved to death without taurine. She wouldn't be forced to put the one creature that loved her (or at least it was easy to pretend it did, even it was a cat. Easier than with Gendo Ikari) down.
'Your cat is out there somewhere,' that was what she wanted to see when she read this message, even though she knew what it really said was 'Your cat is dead.'
How eager she was to retreat into illusions. Delusions.
She should delete this e-mail. She should leave Gendo. Join Misato. Face reality.
For the sake of her own pride, even if that same rationality told her that it wouldn't make any difference. Any difference at all.
His birthdate wasn't the real reason Misato didn't trust him.
She didn't trust SEELE's boy because she wasn't an idiot.
What Ritsuko had finally told her about Rei, the Ayanami series? He was too much like Rei, and there was only one Lilith. Even if they didn't have access to the Magi anymore, it stood to reason that angelic souls had to come from angels. If Rei was Lilith, this one had to be Adam.
The one that angel had hovered over. The defeated foe.
So it was possible this one was on their side, just like Misato did truly believe that Rei was on their side. It was hard to be fair to her or to Shinji, looking at the devastation.
Another Second Impact.
Misato had failed. Because of Shinji, she'd failed, and it was hard to keep her self-hatred from contaminating everything else. Hard not to hate Ritsuko for not telling her the truth earlier, when she looked down at the red sea.
He might be an angel, but that wasn't the reason she didn't trust SEELE's boy.
She didn't trust him because she wasn't an idiot, and only an idiot would trust anyone after what she'd seen. She stood at the foot of a mountain of lies, and what she'd found out felt like the first few pebbles before the avalanche hit.
Even Ritsuko, keeping things like this from her?
She couldn't trust anyone. Especially Kaji.
The only reason she was coming in person was that she'd been promised watermelon. That was the only reason. It wasn't to personally confirm that Kaji was still alive or anything.
See? Even she was lying.