Most people believe that the world is what they can perceive. Most don't believe in the concept of alternate realities, and yet they exist. Every choice made, every idea created: each creates a new version of our own reality. The other possibilities are meaningless in one reality, but in others that have splintered off, they are the truth of existence. It goes beyond the conceptions of the "Butterfly Effect" and all the way into quantum states and true objective reality.
Today you may decide that you want to take one route to go to work, and it is a route you didn't take normally. Along this route, you witness a terrible car accident. You leap out of the car and find an injured person. You save their life and they become indebted to you. Eventually this person becomes your best friend, or perhaps your lover, and forever changes your life. If you had taken the normal route to get to work then you would never have met them.
However the concept of the multiverse sustains that you did, in one reality at least, take the alternate route. The sheer infinite possibilities of the multiverse are far too much for one person to try to order in their minds Although you believe you understand it now, you likely still fail to grasp to true scope of what the multiverse really is, or amounts too.
In the year 2000 in a certain universe, as it had done in many universes, the angel Adam's legacy was spread throughout creation in an event that humanity refers to as "Second Impact". Children born around that time were gifted with part of that legacy. One agency, known as Gehirn, learned to tap into that legacy and created the bio-mechanical weapon known as Evangelion. Only children who shared that legacy could make proper pilots for these war machines, but so much more went into it. Many were the secrets of Gehirn, and its eventual descendant NERV, and many of those secrets would twist and break the minds of many sane individuals.
This world was different. A girl was born into this world at the moment of the arrival of the fifth angelic messenger. Her name was Mayumi Yamagishi. When it was time for the fifth messenger to attempt to begin Third Impact, Mayumi was there with him. Fate had intervened to bring the messenger the part of his core that was bestowed upon a mere mortal. The messenger, Ramiel, failed in his mission but before his death bestowed the reminder of his power and his legacy upon the individual who held that missing part of him, completing her. Mayumi had become the heroine known to that world as Storm.
As time passed Storm attempted to stop the Angel Wars, the name given to the conflict between heaven and earth, by negotiating a peace. Every attempt ended in failure... Her human mother died and new villains rose from the chaos, including the man who inherited the full legacy of Adam, Gendo Ikari.
Gendo was the Supreme Commander of NERV at that time, and his position gave him access to much. The power of Adam manifested within him by transforming him into living metal, and bestowing upon him great power and intelligence. He became the supervillain known as Doctor Doom, and tried to use his knowledge and power to overthrow the world.
Storm however, was able to form a legion of heroes known as X-Factor to oppose him. Even with that power, they proved no match for the madman. In the end, it was Adam's greatest minion, Exodus who would prevail. Exodus was once Ryoji Kaji, a man who served too many masters. His loyalties lied with Adam alone and he proved this when he defeated Doom's hold over him and killed him.
There, in the middle of Tokyo-2, he tore the Core of Adam out of Doctor Doom, killing him. But the trauma didn't just kill him. Doctor Doom's bio-metallic structure was based on Lancea Longini which constantly exposed the core to the subduing energies of the lance, without penetrating it. It allowed Gendo to control the power, but now it would damn his soul in many ways. The metal retained his soul, or at least most of his soul within the confines of his corpse. The rest was torn away from the core as Adam reasserted his control over the S2. This action tore the piece of Gendo's spirit free and shunted it into the æther that separates the different universes.
Herein lies your next lesson on the nature of the multiverse. The æther is an ethereal energy that separates each universe. Think of the multiverse like a large jar full of small pearls. Each pearl represents an alternate reality. If you were to fill the remaining space with water, then the water would represent the æther. If one is able to break into this energy, they can ride the currents and join another universe. This under normal circumstances would have dire consequences as two souls of the same being cannot exist upon the same plane without causing a fundamental imbalance. As it happens however, if a being were to join a universe where they no longer exist anymore, no imbalance would result, at least in theory.
In Gendo's case, his fractured soul was sent into a parallel universe where the superwomen didn't exist. Instead, in this world a gravitational shift sent an alien symbiote to Earth. Ritsuko Akagi, a scientist at NERV collected it, enhanced it and tried to make a supplemental project out of it for Project-E. Shinji Ikari, his son, rejected Third Impact and burned the souls of SEELE and Gendo himself to restart the universe. This chaotic shift weakened the barriers around the universe which allowed the Gendo from Storm's universe in. But a soul without a body was just a quickly dissipating energy pattern in the fabric of existence.
As it happens, he found someone who was strong willed enough to take on his legacy. By the time he found the soul that was able to take his essence, much of Gendo's fragmented personality was gone. Few things were left, but they were both the best and worst aspects of Gendo...
It was everything that would form both the perfect leader and the perfect supervillain. Along with enough fragmented memories to bring the knowledge of mechanical dynamics, genetic engineering, and political maneuvering to the new host. They also received Gendo's affinity for f-LS, preparing their body for a massive techno-organic shift to bring them closer to the true Doctor Doom. Unfortunately for the world, the host was the new Supreme Commander of NERV...
From the onset, she showed great leadership in the new world that was rising up. Even when the likes of Alexander Cartigan showed their faces, she showed her resolve. But problem after problem impacted upon her...
The Chinese Civil War...
The return of Cartigan...
The revival of the Soviet Bloc...
A myriad of problems that conspired to break her beyond the point of normal stress. As her mind weakened under the constant strain, the parts of Gendo that slept within in her awakened, and she began to teach herself things to keep the stress at bay. Eventually, she stopped caring about the people around her that were no longer useful to her. She was becoming Gendo without actually being the madman.
In the last twist of the knife, when the world now seemed dead set on its own destruction... the desires and hidden agendas of Gendo Ikari became the full property of Misato Katsuragi...
Now, deep within NERV, she worked... the hammer striking the metal she created. Nearby in another section, the remains of the aquarium that once held the clones of Rei Ayanami, another silently waited for its new purpose. As Misato finished the first piece of her new costume, she held it up for her eyes to gaze upon.
The mask was composed of metal plates that appeared to be bolted into place, and a cage-like set of metal lines covered the mouth. The dark green color of the mask was a result of a special dye she added to the metal as it was still churning in the forge. It was perfect in every way. As if talking to her closest friend, she began to speak.
"I don't know where I got these skills, but I'll use them and the knowledge afforded to me to forge a new personae... one that will create an army in secret. A powerful force of cloned warriors to overrun the world country by country until it is fully united under my leadership. And then, Ritsuko's dream of a peaceful world can finally be achieved. She believes she can do it with her reactor, but one piece of technology can't achieve this end now. It's going to take a lot more than that."
She held the mask a few moments more. Like many things she had built lately, it was created in a moment of inspiration. It was familiar to a small part of her, a part inherited over the vastness of the multiverse. But like a scar that she never remembered the injury that caused it, she would never know the true origins of her knowledge, or the dreadful legacy that it carried.
"I have a lot of work to do."
She placed the object on the table in such a way that it was staring at her as she worked. The skull-like mask of Doctor Doom would soon become a face the world would know... and fear...
Archdruid Sephiroth Presents
Book III of the Superwomen of Eva: Alterverse Saga
I: The Madness Unleashed
Six Months Ago
Deep within Terminal Dogma, madness was brewing. The massive cavern that once held the second messenger was being re-purposed. Massive construction robots, machines that had been kept and maintained since the days of the construction of the Geofront were operational again. The LCL was gone, but a natural river had taken hold here. Massive grates of metal now crossed it, supported by great iron braces. Above, hanging like strange ornaments on a metal tree of evil were the cloning tubes. Each one contained a clone of Eve, the child of Rei and Shinji. But they were not mere clones.
They were genetically altered to enhance their already impressive array of abilities. Their eyes glowed purple, and their black hair was darker than the blackest of shadows. They were paler in comparison to the original but otherwise they looked the same. The eldest of the clones was only a few days old and weren't hatched yet. It would take time before their development was completed.
In a room built into the cliff, there was a set of four specially designed cloning tubes, each holding a single embryo. These were even more special as their genetics were manipulated by hand to give them unique powers. One day, they would awaken and take their place as Misato's most ruthless generals.
Inside the halls, the sounds of clanging metal can be heard as the Supreme Commander of NERV continued her work at the f-LS forge. Her commander's jacket had long since been abandoned when she crafted the first piece of her costume. Near her, there was now an armor stand that held the specially crafted pieces she had completed thus far.
As she worked, sparks of hot metal touched her skin but she didn't feel them. A determined observer however would notice that the sparks were being absorbed by her skin. She had already touched the molten metal a few times without realizing it, and each time the metal didn't burn her skin, it was simply absorbed by it without her knowledge.
It was the second day of construction and already there was a lot accomplished. The cloning factory was up and running, the machines were creating more work areas, and her generals were already forming in their confines. It was a good day to be a bad girl. With a few more well-placed hammer strikes, the last plates of the boots were completed.
She stood back and admired the work as the boots cooled. The armor was designed with slots installed that took the specialized devices she would need to add to it soon. It was full body armor with an underlying layer of chain. The other layers were form fitting, which would show off her physique, one she was quite proud of. But something seemed like it was missing still.
The sound of Lilith walking caught Misato's attention. She watched as the girl entered with bundles of cloth. In the last few days she experienced a growth spurt thanks to the growth enhancers. She was now the equivalent of a 9 year old, and apparently was very good at tailoring. Unfortunately she still had the limp due to her malformed foot. Lilith now calls it her "hoof" and is actually proud of it, only wishing her feet were not so unbalanced.
"I made these for you, mama," she said with pride. The cloth was black with the barest hints of Forrest green. A tabard was included to cover the front of the armor and hang in front and back, and a large cloak was included. A pair of metal broaches connected with a chain was added to the outfit to keep the cloak in place. A hood was also provided, sewed into a mantle of the same cloth, designed to be worn under the cloak.
"Excellent work, Lilith," Misato praised. "Would that the rest of NERV worked as hard as you do."
Lilith smiled with pride. She only wanted to make her mother proud.
"You should try the armor and cloth on," the child suggested.
Misato nodded. "Stay here, I'll be back."
Misato picked up a special package that was on the table and took it with her into another room. Now in private, she stripped off her boots and shirt. She looked down as she reached for the button of her pants and stopped.
She saw her scar, her reminder of the Second Impact, and the reason she joined NERV.
She quickly removed her bra so she could look at the entire scar. Time had not made it any prettier. It was a jagged thing running from below her naval all the way into the valley of her cleavage. Her mind flashed back and she remembered the pain when she was rescued. It pulsed in time with her heartbeat and felt like it split her in half.
Misato gently placed a hand over the top of the scar between her breasts.
"Adam is dead now," she whispered. "My reason for fighting is done... So why am I still doing this?"
'You already know the answer to that question,' she thought to herself. 'This world is tearing itself apart. If you don't do something about it, the world will be lost and everything that Shinji, Kaji, and our father sacrificed will be for nothing.'
Her eyes turned to anger. "Then let this scar be a reminder of my new oath. I will unite the planet and bring order to this chaos. I will save the world from itself, even if I have to rend it asunder first with my own two hands!"
She stripped off her slacks and panties, and then retrieved her package. Inside was a black plugsuit made for her body. Wasting no time, she slipped into it and pressurized the suit.
"I will bring about the destruction of the world, and like a mythical phoenix, the doom of this planet will signal its glorious rebirth."
Without further delay she returned to the forge room where Lilith was waiting to assist her with the task of equipping her armor. She sat down and put the boots on, locking them into the booties of the plugsuit. The under-layer of chain was attached and locked into place and the armor plates were added one by one. First her torso and legs, then her chest, shoulders, arms and gauntlets. Then she put on the cowl, pulling the hood back before putting on the tabard and throwing the cloak around her, locking both broaches in place to complete the outfit.
She turned and looked at herself in the mirror as Lilith stood next to her holding her mother's mask. The result was as expected... The armor formed an intimidating visage.
"This is a new day for you," Lilith observed as Misato tied her hair back and out of the way.
"A new beginning, yes," Misato agreed.
"Perhaps you should invent a new personae, leave the name of Misato Katsuragi behind you while you wear the face of Doom."
"You're right," Misato agreed. "As the future ruler of the world, I shall name myself..."
Lilith leaned forward, curious to hear her mother's new name.
"Victoria... A name derived from the world 'victory'. I shall call myself, Victoria Von Doom."
"I like it!" Lilith said happily as she held the mask of Doom up to her. "It'll be time soon, right?"
"Yes, Lilith," Misato agreed as she took up the mask. "It will be time very soon. The world will change, and there will be hardships... but in the end... we'll recreate the world the way it's meant to be."
She brought the mask up to her face and put it on slowly, as if watching the transformation into an instrument of change. Once in place, she pulled the hood up to complete the look. Her hair invisible behind the hood and cowl, she now wore the façade of evil. The voice modulator gave her a metallic twinge to her voice as she spoke.
"Soon, the world will tremble before the might of Doom. But their suffering will not be eternal. In the end, the world will be remade into an edifice of progress and advancement. We will finally ascend to true greatness!"
"Yay!" Lilith cheered. "Hail Doom!"
"Hail... Doom? I like the sound of that."
Two Months Later
Misato spent plenty of time in NERV getting the Evangelions ready for war. In fact, she had the manufacturing plant build more spare parts for the Evangelions so they could be well stocked. This was a front though. Many of the new parts were being shipped down to Terminal Dogma.
A few days ago, the first large batch of clones hatched. Unlike Lilith who was born a baby, these clones were accelerated to the age of 15 years and were immediately put to work creating cores and cockpits for additional EVAs. The next few batches of clones would be infantry, but some of these clones would be set aside to be trained as pilots for the war machines.
No questions were asked about the missing pieces because according to the computer systems, there were no pieces missing. If someone were only industrious enough to check the stock records and cross check them with the manufacturing departments reports on how many were produced, they would see discrepancies... big ones. But that would only happen if they checked the reports before they were input into the MAGI, which was making the parts used for the secret units simply vanish from the records. As it happened, there was no one there that would be that industrious, especially with Maya gone.
All the time Misato spent down there, she spent as Victoria Von Doom, overseeing the construction of new units and the building of the armory. By the end of the first month after the first hatching, more infantry were being trained, and the new units had pilots.
Two Months Later
Of all the infantry created, the four generals were just now completed. These would form the basis of her elite soldiers which would come to be known as "The Doom Guard".
The first cylinder opened before Misato as she waited with her arms crossed. The first clone stepped out. Like the others, she appeared to be 15 years old. Her eyes opened and there was more blue than red in her purple eyes.
"Welcome, Whiplash," Doom spoke.
"I am at your service, Doctor Doom," the clone immediately replied. She walked to the table and picked up a plug suit. As she began to dress herself, the next cylinder opened. Victoria stepped in front of that one.
This one was very different from the others. Her body was blue, covered in ridges and scales. Her hair was red instead of black, and her eyes were almost pure red as well. For a moment, her appearance changed into a normal clone in a ripple effect but returned to 'normal' as quickly.
"Welcome, Mystique," Victoria said in greeting.
"Hail Doom," the clone replied. She didn't bother taking a plugsuit and simply joined the forming line. Moments later, the third cylinder opened.
This clone had white hair, the color of newly fallen snow. Her skin was pale and her eyes, like those of Whiplash, were more blue than purple. As she gained her bearings, her body appeared to crystallize briefly as she relaxed.
"Welcome, White Queen," Doom said.
"I live to serve you, mistress," the clone replied and retrieved a plugsuit.
The last cylinder opened, and a clone that looked more like Asuka than Eve stepped out. Her fiery red hair was a stark contrast to the others, and her eyes held an almost predatory look to them.
"Welcome, Pyro," Doom stated.
"Ready to serve, Doctor," Pyro replied as she retrieved her plugsuit.
"The four of you are my Doom Guard, my Generals in the coming war. You are the first but you won't be the last. Serve me faithfully and I will reward you well."
"Hail Doom," the four replied as one.
"Take control of the troops, finish their training. We mobilize in two months' time. Dismissed."
As they left, Whiplash stopped and remained behind.
"Something on your mind?" Doom asked.
"Yes," the girl replied. "I seem to have a large amount of engineering knowledge. A gift I assume you desire for me to use."
"Indeed, I have great plans for you, Whiplash. I want you to take command of construction and begin creating drones to assist with the regular army. Use the knowledge I gave you to help build the future."
"Why me specifically?"
Victoria smiled gently behind her mask. The girl knew there was more to this than just building the future.
"I have to take all variables into account," she explained. "Early in your development, I saw your potential, and decided you needed to serve as something very important. It occurred to me that if something should happen to me, the dream would collapse. You will bear the torch should I fall."
Whiplash straightened up immediately. "I'm honored," she replied. "I can only succeed you."
"I know. That is why I choose you. Now go forth and make me proud."
"Hail Doom!" She brought her hand to her chest in a clenched fist with her elbow parallel to the ground. It was gesture that the world would come to fear as much as the old Roman and Nazi salutes.
Time would grind on and soon... Victoria Von Doom would be ready to pounce...
The Diet was the name given to the primary representative government of Japan. It consisted of many men, many of which were old enough to remember what the world was like before Second Impact. They spent most of their days bickering. While some wanted to focus their efforts on stifling the advancement of Alexander Cartigan, who now controlled almost the entire western hemisphere, others were more concerned with the domestic problems of a poor commerce and virtually no new development in the cities at all.
Suddenly, the Diet was distracted by the sound of a struggle outside their doors. They heard the sounds of men grunting, slamming noises, and the occasional gasp. The ambient sound in the diet died as the sounds of a struggle become more pronounced.
Finally, the doors burst open with one of the guards flying in as if thrown with great force. He rolls to a stop in the middle of the aisle. All eyes turn towards the doors where a girl walks in wearing a black plugsuit. Her hair is short cut and so black it seems to absorb light. Her eyes glowed purple even in the light of the Diet. Murmurs begin as the girl walks her way to the center of the room. On her back is a complex looking device which she shrugs off and places before her.
"Gentlemen of the Diet," she says in a strong voice. "I present to you a message from my master."
She kicks the machine and it starts up, projecting a large hologram into the air above it. The image is that of Doctor Doom with her hood and mask firmly in place and her arms crossed below her breasts. Most of her chest area was covered by the cloak but a small bit of the armor there is visible. The cameras meant to film the debates in the Diet were now focused on this electronic apparition.
"Good afternoon, esteemed members of the Diet," Doom began. "I am Doctor Victoria Von Doom. For many years, you have led the people of Japan though the worst of disasters and the best of times. Times, however, change. At this point in history, decisions must be made quickly. The world is changing far too rapidly for any bureaucracy, regardless of its form, to adjust and adapt. Therefore, it seems that the old ways of running a country are being rendered moot.
"This is of special importance to the people of Japan. For too long have the people wallowed in the world's pain. And too many times have they been asked to endure great suffering. Unfortunately, I must ask them one last time to endure it."
Silence befell the Diet as the message was spoken.
"But today the people of Japan can rejoice, for it is the beginning of a new age! Today, Doom will befall the world to make way for a new chapter of Earth's history. At last, the people will be able to rise up and work towards our destiny! Together we will build a glorious future!"
As she continued speaking, her body language became more pronounced with clenched fists or outstretched hands where appropriate.
"But that future cannot begin, until the edifices of the old world are washed away. And to that extent, I now bring about the Doom of this world. Soon, the warriors of Doom will march across this shattered world and retake it. The future of humanity depends upon what we now accomplish, and there can be no further distractions, no old ways, nothing that would impede our advancement."
As if sensing where this was going, the members of the Diet became uneasy. One of the representatives just noticed that the girl who brought the message to them was busy locking the doors to the Diet. Before he could point it out, Doom's last words reached the ears of the Diet.
"Therefore, I offer you all as a sacrifice to the future. Let the purging of the old begin, and let the birth cries of the new age be heard in every corner of this world!"
The girl returned to the machine, producing a trigger mechanism in her left hand. She brought her fist to her chest in the salute she was taught without hesitation, despite knowing this would be the last time she would ever perform it.
"Hail Doom!" she yelled and pulled the trigger.
Outside, the late afternoon sky was lit with a massive fireball. The entire diet building was nearly disintegrated as the low-yield N2 Mine detonated. The buildings closest to the diet suffered massive damage and up to a few blocks away, windows were blown out and vehicles were flipped. Everyone inside the Diet, including the messenger, ceased to be...
At first the effect was subtle... A quiet that hadn't befallen across the country since the Angel Wars quickly engulfed it. Within minutes, the sounds of chaos took hold. Realizing that there was no authority left in the country, riots broke out all over the land. The cities became war-zones almost immediately with fires and explosions pockmarking every civilized area. Those seeking to escape the chaos suddenly ran into the problem of everyone else not gone insane by the sudden anarchy having the same idea.
Traffic jams spread deep into cities. The riots quickly spread, and innocent citizens were caught in the crossfire. Some were trampled as crowds of men and women fled the chaos or joined in it. Hospitals became inundated with new patients with numerous wounds including lacerations, burns and gunshot wounds. Things only got worse when the JSSDF arrived in the major cities to try to slow the tide of chaos that took hold. The attempts to keep the peace by that sadly outnumbered group only resulted in flared tempers and more dead or wounded men and women.
But nowhere was this more obvious than in Tokyo-3, where deaths were happening with much more frequency. Spiderman stood on the roof and watched as all hell broke loose below. There was so much going on that he had no idea where to start. That was when the chaos truly began...
The sound of weapons fire exchanged on a larger scale caught his attention. He quickly launched a webline and swung towards the disturbance. When he arrived, he had to take a double take.
The JSSDF were being slaughtered in the streets by what appeared to be an army of clones. The enemy soldiers wore what looked like light armor-plated plugsuits. Their black hair was short cut, reminding him of Rei when he first met her, though the lower faces of the women were covered in a breathing mask of some form that obscured everything south of their eyes. And those eyes! They glowed a purple color that made them look even more sinister.
He watched as the ones up front appeared to shrug off automatic fire and drew a pair of wakazashi crafted of a strange metal, the color of which reminded him of 'the lance'. The ones closest to the front were able to swing those weapons fast enough to block many of the shots aimed at them. They leapt upon the soldiers and cut them down efficiently as the clones in the back were using sonic blasters to deal with other threats.
Spiderman knew that only Section-4 had access to such weaponry, a throwback to when Venom was a problem in this city. Of course Venom was no longer a problem, but the weapons remained in case they ever had to deal with a symbiote organism again. The possibility was certainly there. But who were these cloned women working for and where did they get those weapons?
Spiderman slid down the wall and snatched up one of the clones with a well-placed webline. Before he could pull her in completely, she spun facing Spiderman and kicked up the building, slamming into him hard. He flew back, recovering with a spin as she pulled herself onto the roof with no effort. She pulled a pistol and Spiderman quickly relieved her of the weapon. She suddenly went on the offensive delivering attacks like an experienced combat veteran.
Spiderman focused on blocking her attacks and trying to land some of his own, but only managed to get caught up in her movements. She delivered a heavy strike into his chest which took the breath out of him briefly, but he recovered before the follow up strike, meant to break his neck, was thrown. He caught the hand and head-butted her hard, but she shook it off.
'Tough bitch,' he thought to himself. With a flipping attack he finally delivered a hard enough strike to get her off of her feet. Before she could get up, he struck her in the side of the head hard enough to knock her out.
"Damn, that was harder than I thought it would be," he commented, breathing hard. He reached down and pulled her mask down. The sight made him gasp.
In his mind, he saw what Eve would likely look like when she turned 15 years old, and lying there before him was a girl who was damn close to his vision.
"Eve?" he whispered. "No... This can't be..."
He walked towards the edge of the building and saw the soldiers marching in the street. Now in rank and file, it was painfully obvious, even with the masks, that each one was an exact copy of the one that he knocked unconscious.
"No..." He pulled his mask off and clenched his fists as the anger took over. Someone took Eve's genes and violated them for all intents and purposes. Whoever they were turned his miracle of a child into an instrument of evil.
"Shinji!" came as scream over his com-link. "Shinji! Please come in!"
"Anako?" he asked over the radio, wondering why she wasn't being formal. She sounded very frantic.
"Shinji! Help! They're coming in! I don't know where they're taking the others! You have to help us... NERV is being overrun!" The signal abruptly cut off after that.
'Impossible,' he thought at first. But he realized all too quickly that the only way this could happen was if they were already inside... or originated there...
He leapt from the building and made his way to the nearest NERV access point as fast as he could.
The door to Anako's area burst open and two of the clones swept in with submachine guns. Anako screamed and dropped to her knees as they opened fire. The equipment was destroyed and her two fellow operators were gunned down mercilessly.
She opened her eyes and gasped at the sight. Blood dripped from the panels and the screens were badly damaged. The girl looked up in time to watch Doctor Doom enter the room.
"Did you call Major Ikari?" she demanded.
"Good. Hopefully, he gets here soon. I have much to speak to him about. Thank you, Lieutenant Anako."
"C-Commander?!" she gasped as she recognized the voice through its metallic overtone. Then gasped in fear as she felt the barrel of a pistol being pressed into the back of her head. She knew immediately she was going to die, and tears streamed down her face.
"Unfortunately, your services will no longer be required." Without a further word, Doom left the room.
Anako whimpered sadly she heard the hammer being pulled back on the pistol.
'But... there was supposed to be more to my life... I... I don't wanna die... I don't—"
Two shots later, Anako's head hit the floor, and a large puddle of red surrounded it.
Rei had managed to get her hands on both Hikari and Mari and smuggled them into the air system. Eve, as if sensing the danger of their situation, stayed quiet. At barely over 18 months old, she was still a baby by most standards but she was far more intelligent than a normal child of equivalent age. Hikari held the girl close to her as Rei was in her Venom form, minus the head covering.
"We need to keep moving," Rei whispered as they started moving towards the surface tunnels. "If we continue this way, we can hit the tunnels that lead to the armor layers. We can use that route to get out of the city."
"I can't believe what's happening," Mari whispered in response. "I hear Misato may be behind everything but I didn't see her."
"Neither did I. Let's move..."
Shinji managed to make it into Anako's area and found the door had been taken down by a blow of great force. No bodies remained, but there was blood everywhere. Wasting no further time, he ran into the hall that led to the secondary service area, only to hear the sound of metal on metal.
He turned and saw a fully armored female in green tinged metal. The skull-like mask of bolted steel seemed to speak of just how evil this individual was. She walked, with one foot in front of the other calmly. This was the person behind it all, Shinji decided as he saw several of the clones with submachine guns flank her and walk with her.
"Shinji-kun," she said in a metallic voice. "I was wondering when you were coming home."
Only three people in NERV still called him that; Anako was missing in action, and this woman was too tall to be Rei.
"...No..." he whispered as cold realization took hold. "No, not you... Not you too."
"Yes, Shinji-kun," she replied as she pushed her hood back, revealing her dark purple hair. The mask was removed as the hands came down, and the mask was held in her left hand. "Me."
"How... How could you do this?" he asked in shock at seeing the mastermind behind this chaos was his own ward. "How could you violate Eve like this? How could you ruin NERV?" In total disbelief he shouted, "What the hell are you doing?!"
"I'm doing what needs to be done," she said without hesitation. "The world is falling apart even as we speak. Fiends and butchers are gaining power and no one is opposing them. The old men in the Diet would never face the fact that Japan is the only country that has the power to stop them."
"But you're breaking every law known to man and nature!" Shinji cried. "You created an army of clones! Clones of my daughter!"
"I also have additional Eva's," Misato pointed out. "I have an army and it grows daily. I'll be able to finally unite the world under a single ruler... Me. I'll lead humanity into the future and finally bring peace to the world."
"By destroying it?!"
"Yes!" Misato answered emphatically. "That's what none of the world leaders or anyone who had any real power understood! You can't tiptoe into the future and expect that change will happen. Change and growth are supposed to be painful and abrupt! Real change can only happen after tragedy. Look at Second Impact. For a time it brought the world together, but no one took the initiative to consolidate humanity. Instead, the SEELE council had to step in and protect mankind. But as we both know, they had their own agenda."
"So you're going to cause disaster to befall this world through a massive war just to unite it?"
"Why not? You destroyed the souls of 13 people to give us another chance at living."
Shinji bit his tongue, but he couldn't believe she would throw that in his face now.
"Can't you see it, Shinji? Can't you see what this will lead to? I'm creating a new future for us! The outdated tools of the old world will be swept aside under the unrelenting tide of progress and advancement. The world must either embrace the change of be swept away in the undercurrent. We will at last have order, even if half the world must be sacrificed to bring it about!"
"I don't believe this," he replied sadly.
"This is what you wanted," she replied. "Change... Real change. I will redeem this world."
"No... You will only damn it again... and undo everything I've worked for."
Misato looked on sadly.
"I'm sorry you feel that way," the former Supreme Commander of NERV admitted. "But change will come, even if you don't agree with it. Join me, Shinji-kun. The world needs you."
Shinji closed his eyes. In his mind he saw the future... the pain... the torture... the oppression...
"The world does need me... to oppose you." He looked up. "I won't join a tyrant, especially one that turned out to be no different than my father."
Misato's eyes flashed red briefly, indicating to Shinji that she modified herself somehow, and he briefly wondered just how deep into the shit he was at that moment.
"So be it... hero. Every Chimera must have her Bellerophon and every Hydra her Hercules." She put her mask back on and pulled her hood up. "I'll give you a 30-minute head start, and then the hunt is on."
"What makes you think I won't try to take you now?"
"Because you're currently surrounded by dozens of my girls, and last I checked you had a problem taking down just one of them."
Shinji's eyes widened at that. Misato saw the battle somehow, and she knew she had the upper hand. He decided to focus on why he came down here in the first place.
Doom tilted her head to the side. "Retired... I made sure she got her nine-millimeter pension. Clock's ticking... Spiderman."
"I underestimated you," he replied as he fought off the tears. "You make my father look like a saint in comparison. She was innocent, and you simply killed her. You're sick."
"If you think that now, just wait until I really get started. You now have 29 minutes. I'd stop wasting time if I were you. Your wife, child, and two other members of my staff have already escaped through the air system. I can only imagine they're using the maintenance tunnels through the armor plates above us. A sound plan. I suggest you do the same."
Shinji turned and ran, inside his heart wrenched at the thought that poor Anako was so casually murdered by his own ward. Misato had fallen far, and Shinji knew she would continue to fall as time passed.
'How...?' he lamented as the adrenaline kept his tears from falling.
Doom watched him disappear in the air system. A small sigh escaped her as her hand came up to her face.
"Shall we pursue?" one of the clones asked.
"Don't bother," Doom replied, turning around back towards the bridge. "Neither he nor his pitiful friends are any real threat to us. I want this city fully under my control by nightfall."
"It will be done! Hail Doom!"
Hours later, Rei and her allies stepped out of a drainage tunnel outside of Tokyo-3. Hikari, still holding Eve, was on the verge of crying herself. Mari was silent as she climbed up the embankment and looked over, getting a pretty decent view into Tokyo-3 from this level. She took off her glasses allowing her to see minute details at an incredible range.
Mari beheld the marching ranks and files of cloned troopers, JSSDF forces being shot down in the streets, and civilians being forced back into their homes. She watched as some of the clones slapped papers to the wall declaring a curfew being put into effect.
"What do you see?" Hikari asked fearfully.
"You don't want to know," Mari said sadly.
"It seems inconceivable," Rei commented as she took Eve from Hikari. "But the only person who could have staged something like this would be Misato."
"It's not her anymore," Shinji's voice came from the drain. Rei went to the entrance immediately and put an arm around him. Shinji returned the gesture, placing his forehead on hers, before taking his daughter and looking at her now in a new light.
"What is it?" Rei asked.
"She used Eve's DNA to create the army," Shinji replied sadly.
Rei looked completely shocked and outraged at that. "How could she?!"
"It makes perfect sense," Mari replied. "Eve's potential is far beyond a normal person's due to her parentage. She's probably had this planned for a while."
"And we let it happen," Rei lamented.
"We had no idea it was happening," Shinji whispered. "I should have seen what was happening to Misato... but I couldn't see it..."
Rei placed an arm around Shinji and allowed him to break down on her. Hikari took Eve again as Rei held her love and allowed him to bawl properly.
Mari looked away, knowing she could never truly understand what he was feeling. Although she didn't have the whole story about him, she sensed that there was something more to this, something that would make him break under it's weight.
At this rate, they would all break soon...
End of Chapter I
Don't give me your line, won't let it go this time,
And make a mockery of this obscenity
It's gotten out of control, some poor unfortunate soul,
Will pay the price again to feed your vanity
The fascist face of the day, contributes blood to the fray,
And wrecks his devastation on humanity
He hears his own people cry, as countless innocents die,
He stands defiant in his own insanity
-Device (feat. Serj Tankian and Terry "Geezer" Butler), Out of Line