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> Neon Exodus Evangelion, by Eyrie Productions Unlimited
Post #181
Moose


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post Aug 27 2011, 06:27 PM
It's funny because... DJ motherfucking Croft?

That's pretty pretentious, though.
And here I thought NXE couldn't get any worse.


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Post #182
CuChulainn1290


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post Aug 29 2011, 10:17 PM
"Evangelion done right?" ...bitch, please! I've seen a re-write of Gundam SEED and SEED Destiny that was better than this (if only slightly).

At the same time, however, I will also admit it's tempting to play around with Evangelion, especially with spins on Shinji and Warhammer40k, because of the source material. Hell, I've been playing around with ideas on how to do a rewrite of Gundam SEED Destiny because of how bad that was.

But I think the number one rule to Evangelion fanfics is that Shinji comes first and OCs stay in the periphery. They can still be awesome in their own right, but Shinji is the main character, and it should stay that way.


--------------------
"I am the bone of my snark...
Courage is my body,
and logic is my blood.
I have read over a thousand fanfics.
Unknown to love,
Nor known to hate,
Have withstood great mindscrews to read many fanfics...
Yet those eyes will never see anything again...
So hear me, as I pray...
UNLIMITED MOCK WORKS!"


QUOTE (Truth)
"Who am I? One name you might have for me is the world, or you might call me the universe, or perhaps God, or perhaps the Truth. I am All, and I am One. So, of course, this also means that I am you. I am the truth of your despair, the inescapable price of your boastfulness."


Current Mocks

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's Tag Force 4: Misty Storyline (DISCONTINUED)

The War of Megazords VS Gundams (ON HIATUS: 4/27 Complete)

Ultima: The Crossing of Universes (ON HIATUS: 5/45 Complete)

World League of Cartoon Quidditch (In Progress: 4/74 Complete)

LPs

Let's Play SD Gundam G Generation Overworld! (Current Mission: A-2)
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Post #183
Dr. O


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post Aug 30 2011, 05:53 AM
Shinji's characterization is an interesting thing. I agree that replacing him with an OC is a bad idea, but a lot of writers turn him into a de facto OC by messing with his character traits so much that he becomes unrecognizable (Shinji and Warhammer 40k). Reading fanfic, it's really obvious that almost nobody was satisfied with Shinji, especially toward the end of Evangelion, but any attempt to address that in a fic either falls short or stops being Evangelion. Ironically, Eyrie might be the ones who have come closest. Too bad most of their attempts to fix aspects of Eva (replacing Shinji, "explaining" the Angels, establishing a single unambiguous antagonist) suck ass.

It reminds me of how people reacted to Rebuild 2.22. Fans couldn't praise the ending enough because Shinji was "badass." Even though it was just the fight from episode 19 with new animation and more shouting and lasers. Apparently, Shinji channeling Kamina for two minutes is enough to convince Eva fans that his characterization has been appreciably improved. Maybe everyone would love End of Eva if Shinji had bellowed nonsense and shot a bunch of lasers while fucking over the world. Flashy stuff is happening! That means it's awesome, right? rolleyes.gif

I've never seen Gundam SEED, though. Judging by what you said, I think I should be glad about that.


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However, I totally would sleep with the Doc... but only for your brain.

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Post #184
CuChulainn1290


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post Aug 30 2011, 05:43 PM
QUOTE (Dr. O @ Aug 30 2011, 06:53 AM)
I've never seen Gundam SEED, though. Judging by what you said, I think I should be glad about that.
*


SEED is actually not too terrible. It's got nothing on the original Gundam series, or so, I'm told, but I like it, at least.

SEED Destiny, the sequel, however, THAT'S the one that I have issues with.


--------------------
"I am the bone of my snark...
Courage is my body,
and logic is my blood.
I have read over a thousand fanfics.
Unknown to love,
Nor known to hate,
Have withstood great mindscrews to read many fanfics...
Yet those eyes will never see anything again...
So hear me, as I pray...
UNLIMITED MOCK WORKS!"


QUOTE (Truth)
"Who am I? One name you might have for me is the world, or you might call me the universe, or perhaps God, or perhaps the Truth. I am All, and I am One. So, of course, this also means that I am you. I am the truth of your despair, the inescapable price of your boastfulness."


Current Mocks

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's Tag Force 4: Misty Storyline (DISCONTINUED)

The War of Megazords VS Gundams (ON HIATUS: 4/27 Complete)

Ultima: The Crossing of Universes (ON HIATUS: 5/45 Complete)

World League of Cartoon Quidditch (In Progress: 4/74 Complete)

LPs

Let's Play SD Gundam G Generation Overworld! (Current Mission: A-2)
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+Quote Post
Post #185
Dr. O


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post Sep 3 2011, 08:17 PM
Fun fact: this chapter is just shy of being long enough to officially be novel-length.

Wait. That's not fun at all.

/* Genesis "Land of Confusion" (Extended CD-Single version) */

I think "Back to Mad" is a more fitting song choice, if only for the title.

EYRIE PRODUCTIONS, UNLIMITED
presents

blah blah blah I KNOW ALL RIGHT

NEON EXODUS EVANGELION

EXODUS 3:8
IGNIE FERROQUE

"fire and sword" wasn't hardcore enough, so they Latinified it.

Inspired by NEON GENESIS EVANGELION created by Hideaki Anno, Gainax,
et al.

Most characters created by Hideaki Anno and Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
except

DJ Croft created by Benjamin D. Hutchins
and
Jon Ellison created by Larry Mann

Centuries pass and still the same
Old disclaimer
Some things never change

Additional material and inspiration cadged from TOMB RAIDER by Core
Design, Ltd., X-COM: UFO DEFENSE and sequels from MPS Labs (whoever
owns them nowadays), THE X-FILES created by Chris Carter,
MARATHON 2: DURANDAL by Bungie Software, BABYLON 5 by J. Michael
Straczynski, and 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
by Arthur C. Clarke

I have yet to see them acknowledge System Shock.

Written by Benjamin D. Hutchins, Larry Mann,
MegaZone and John Trussell

Aided and abetted by the Eyrie Productions, Unlimited crew
and special-guest-for-life Phil Moyer

Well, I guess it could be worse. At least it's boring in a familiar way.

Special thanks to Jeff 'Yak' Minter

oh shit

© 2000 Eyrie Productions, Unlimited

That's all well and good, but I think they left something out of the disclaimer. Something like:

This chapter is bitchin long.


Different cities dealt differently with the rising waters that came after the Second Impact. Some, like Omaha, were far enough from the sea that they needed not worry. Some, like Los Angeles, gave up and died, their people fleeing as the streets flooded. Others, like Boston, tried to save themselves, but were mired in political infighting and public panic, and so drowned. Still others hurled up massive networks of breakwaters, dikes and pumping stations - New York City clung to survival in just such a manner. Perhaps the most ambitious were the cities under domes - San Francisco, Rome, Tokyo - engulfed but surviving, with the oddest 'skies' to be found in human civilization.

I hope they didn't use the "tack on numbers" naming scheme. Because if I build a dome over a city, there's no way I wouldn't rename the place Thunderdome. Much better than boring old Rome. All hail Pope Master Blaster!

Atlantic Canada had chosen none of these options. Instead, faced with the prospect of being engulfed by the rising seas, the people of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland did put up dikes, but only temporary ones. Then they embarked on an orgy of full-speed surveying, earthmoving, landscaping, disassembly and reconstruction which resulted in the total relocation of the cities of Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Dartmouth, and Digby, Nova Scotia; and Saint John's, Newfoundland, to safety. The world, what parts of it could spare the time from their own efforts at coping with the cataclysm of which the floods were only a part, scratched its head and wondered what the hell the Canadians were trying to accomplish.

Nobody cares.

What they accomplished was nothing more than the re-establishment of the status quo. When the floods were finished and the new sea level stabilized, the newly landscaped area on which the cities were reconstructed showed the quality of the engineering that had gone into it by almost exactly reflecting the coastlines as the had existed in 1999, adjusted for the new sea level. The St. John, NB, reconstruction was especially praiseworthy for recreating the famed Reversing Falls in meticulous detail.

Seriously. Nobody cares about Canadian civil engineering in an Evangelion story.

Once the world had time to sit back, take a breath and have a look at the results of their labors for survival, the Maritimes' bold approach was widely praised. It was the most expensive of the various methods, prodigiously wasteful of both money and effort, but it had the end result of allowing the people of Atlantic Canada's major cities to return to their lives with their notions of what their surroundings ought to look like uncompromised by dikes, domes, walls or any other encumbrances. The only things to get used to were the somewhat shorter distances to inland destinations.

Expensive, wasteful, and needlessly complicated. Yep, this bears all the hallmarks of Eyrie Engineering™.

More good fortune was in store for the Maritime provinces as the new world order staggered into shape in the first years of the 21st Century. The disturbances in the seas had done some good; they'd made for a couple of lean years in the fisheries, even leaner than usual, and then there had been a sudden explosion of growth as the disrupted undersea ecosystem settled into a newer, more vital rhythm. This, coupled with the incredible demand for foods of all kinds to feed survivors in the hardest-hit parts of the world, thrust the long-declining fisheries of Atlantic Canada into sudden, ponderous importance. If the Great Plains were the world's breadbasket, the Grand Banks suddenly became the world's fish market.

I can talk about boring stuff too, you know. It's about all my minor in political science is good for.

That the atmospheric and climatic disturbances caused by the Second Impact so disrupted air travel that travel by ship experienced a similar rebirth has already been discussed; and in that capacity as in fishing, Atlantic Canada reclaimed much of its faded glory. The new Halifax, Nova Scotia, had a harbor just as good as - perhaps a bit better than, by design - the old one, and it quickly became one of the centers for steamship travel between North America and Europe. By 2007, the year generally accepted as the first one in which the climate settled down to something approaching normal, the cleanup work was almost done with, and the world was really capable of sitting down and getting back to business, the Maritimes were riding high - well, except for poor, vanished Prince Edward Island, anyway.

To be sure, not everything was a bed of roses, there as everywhere else in the world. Canada's economy had not been strong before the Second Impact, and in the years of chaos that followed it tottered along with every other nation's. Quebec, ever difficult to get along with, had chosen the least opportune possible moment to make another bid for independence from the Dominion in the spring of 2001, probably out of reaction to the sudden increase in monarchist support that occurred throughout the British Commonwealth with the crowning of King Stephen II in London. La Republique Libre et Independante de Quebec represented the Atlantic provinces' biggest challenge, since it completely separated them geographically from the capital at Ottawa and the rest of the vast country.

Even after the apocalypse, French Canadians will continue to be gigantic douchebags.

Truly, all is right with the world.

Given all the death and destruction under which the human race as a whole was already struggling, the Canadian government was reluctant to reclaim Quebec through force of arms - besides which, they could not afford to prosecute a war. They inquired of the British Crown what it suggested.

The Crown, in the form of Stephen II, made its suggestion by sending the Royal Navy down the St. Lawrence Seaway and sacking Quebec City.

I'm just going to assume that instead of sinking the Royal Navy, the worldwide floods raised Hood, Prince of Wales, and Ark Royal from the bottom of the ocean. Or that the Quebecois are extremely terrified of the destroyers and glorified helicopter pads (excuse me, aircraft carriers) that make up the main portion of the Royal Navy.

The United States, which had been inclined to recognize the legitimacy of La Republique, etc., made offended harrumphing noises but, in the end, chose not to intervene (distracted, perhaps, by the fact that another piece of California chose that moment to vanish with a loud convulsion into the Pacific, sending San Diego to join Los Angeles in Davy Jones's locker). No other nation could be bothered to care enough to speak up one way or another - not even France, a fact which disheartened many of the remaining Quebecois separatists.

Don't worry. I'm sure Algeria, Haiti, Vietnam, and Madagascar will be along any moment to merrily reform the French Empire. It worked out so well the first time, right?

Canada, bewildered but grateful, signed a pact with the United Kingdom strenghtening the country's monarchist ties; the Dominion did not cease to be an independent country with its own government, but its welfare and defense were now more firmly tied to Britain's own. Having sent troops to reclaim Hong Kong, which had been utterly and unceremoniously abandoned by the Chinese immediately following the Impact, Stephen II was on his way to reforging his country's lost empire.

Oh man.

Hey guys, remember when the breakup of Yugoslavia caused Bosnia to invite the Hapsburgs to take over? Because apparently reversion to an unsustainable imperialist model of foreign relations is the default response to any sort of geopolitical change.

With this crisis averted, the Atlantic provinces thrived both in the difficult years and the easier ones following 2007. By the early months of 2016, the intangible newness of the 'new' Canadian cities had worn off; they played their roles convincingly, and people living in them had stopped referring to them with "the new" prepended.

Aaaaaand back to pointless stuff about the Canadian Atlantic seaboard.

You know, I really like how the rolling back of Chinese territorial claims got half a sentence. Maybe there was a Third Opium War in there somewhere, but we wouldn't know because Canada is so much more interesting than the presumable collapse of a rising global power.

Halifax, like all the reconstructed Maritime cities, wasn't quite an -exact- replica of the original. Its planners had taken the opportunity to correct a few of the things that were widely held to be wrong or deficient with the old city, primarily in the areas unseen by the general populace except as to their effect - water and sewer systems, provisions for fighting fires, emergency services - matters of infrastructure. Care had been taken not to eliminate every quirk, since that would have eliminated the city's identity, but inevitably there were changes, as though moving the city had deflected its destiny onto some new course. That, or simply the fact of the city's success when the world settled into its new pace, had rearranged the face of Halifax somewhat.

I like to think that one of the Eyrie authors visited Halifax once and thought it was the most amazing thing ever (and probably is, compared to Worcester, Maine). So when the time came to pad out this already hideously long story, he had no trouble waxing pathetic about how great it is.

The Port of Halifax, a major seaport for both cargo and passengers from England, France and Spain to North America, was always a place of great activity, with freighters, tankers, and liners metaphorically jostling for position at the piers and docks. Over the past several weeks, though, the residents of Halifax had noticed a marked increase in activity. Unfamiliar freighters, secretive shipments of unidentifiable items by night, and a remarkable number of warships belonging to the Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Navy, and - most notable of all - the Soviet Red Banner Atlantic Fleet, all bustled back and forth under the Angus MacDonald Bridge and into the inner reaches of Halifax Harbor.

The Soviets were going to dock in Norfolk, but they could only get to Halifax before stopping to duct tape their hulls back together. The situation was only made worse by the fact that Romanian scrap metal dealers had stolen their rudders.


All this activity seemed to center around the highly secured complex (obviously some kind of military base, but no one was sure what kind) on the west side of the inner harbor, about halfway between Halifax and Bedford, which straddled the innermost end of the harbor. This complex had been there for years, since the Reconstruction as it was known. By land, it was reachable only by Nova Scotia Route 2, which was heavily secured at both ends and presumably along its length. No unauthorized vehicle stood a chance of getting onto that road from either Bedford or Halifax. By sea, it had an elaborate dock complex that faced onto the harbor, and the space around it was patrolled by rather sinister-looking powerboats crewed by uniformed men and equipped with machine guns. Unauthorized craft were warned off by these boats. None had ever pressed the issue; the dock complex was overlooked by a number of formidable artillery positions.

Man. Canadian port authorities are hardcore.

The facility was equipped with an airport; though the airspace above it was not actively patrolled, it was jealously guarded by harsh-voiced and apparently omniscient air traffic controllers, and given everything else known about the place, nobody saw fit to doubt their mentions of surface-to-air weapons at the ready. Sometimes, the airstrip scrambled a group of highly advanced fighter aircraft of an unknown type which raced away to the south. Sometimes, not as many came back as had departed.

So Canada is bristling with high-tech weapons, but the US couldn't spare a single airplane or artillery tube to wreck Worcester-3.

Given all these heavy fortifications and sinister, secretive behavior, the rather pedestrian signs positioned along the heavily electrified perimeter fences, at the Route 2 guard stations, and on buoys in various places in the harbor were taken by the populace with a kind of wry humor, since they all identified this obviously military establishment as "H.M. Meteorological Observation Station No. 51".

get it 51 like area 51 aren't we clever

All in all, it was no real surprise to anyone that this place was suddenly such a center of activity. It had always been strange and unapproachable, and had always played by its own rules. This was just one more example of the weirdness that was Station 51. Some citizens of Halifax and the surrounding area were transfixed by the place, in the same way that some residents of Nevada had long been entranced by the secrecy and mystery surrounding Groom Dry Lake Air Force Base (which was not, in fact, an Air Force base, any more than Station 51 was a weather station). They kept a close watch on the station from the closest safe and legal vantage points, logged all the comings and goings, and filled a Usenet newsgroup and the message boards of several local BBSes with their observations and all manner of wild speculations.

Usenet, much like Ranma 1/2 and MC Hammer, is one of those relics of the '90s - you'll just have to take me at my word when I say they were popular.

Today, the Weathermen (as the most active group of these fanatics liked to call themselves and those who shared their interests alike) logged the arrival of a Boeing JBS2, civilian registry in the US, tail number N3392A, at Station 51. That evening on the WeatherWatch BBS, it would be noted by several other Weathermen and -women that this aircraft quite routinely flew in and out of Station 51, arriving and leaving for trips and stays that ranged from a few hours to several days. Most of them agreed that it was probably a courier of some kind.

On the roof of one of the city center's taller office buildings, one of Halifax's most active Weathermen lay in an improvised observation post, facing northwest from the corner of the rooftop. It was one of the best downtown observation points for Station 51, offering a vantage on the station's airfield and a large proportion of its port facilities. The Weatherman who had staked out this little corner of the city was well-known in his group's circles as a patient and thorough observer.

If you're thinking "maybe the villains have started behaving reasonably intelligently," then...

Ken Alda shifted a little, munched another bright orange cracker pair glued together with waxy alleged peanut butter, and jotted down the arrival of N3392A in his logbook. He then returned his attention to recording the plane's post-landing maneuvers with his digital handycam. As he did so, he wished (not for the first time) that he had one of the newer digicams with the binocular viewfinders and higher-density zooms, but there was nothing for it but to keep taping (odd word, that, given that cameras hadn't used tape in at least ten years, but it was stuck in the language now) with the one he had, so he did.

Yeah. Kensuke geeking out over cameras. That's what we want to read.

His stomach growled; as a punitive measure he made it accept another one of those crackers. They were all he had up here, anyway, and he wasn't ready to leave until he knew what N3392A had come for this time, or it became obvious to him that he wasn't -going- to find out. He wasn't really expecting to; what usually happened was that the jet taxied into the hangar at the far end of the field and only emerged just before it left again for points unknown. Today, though, Ken had the feeling he might get lucky. He couldn't really tell from here, but it looked like there might be a crew working on the track mechanism that allowed the hangar door to open.

Trust me, Kensuke; you're never going to get lucky.

The jet taxiied to the end of the runway and took a left, as usual, offering him a good profile and confirming his assumption of its tail number. But then, instead of turning right, it continued on, toward the low brick structure Ken had always taken for some kind of admin building, and slowed. Excitement built within him. He'd been right! The hangar was out of service! Whoever had just arrived was going to have to show himself.

The JBS2 stopped not far from the glassed-in entrance to the brick building, and a group of uniformed men came out to tie the plane's wings down to ringbolts in the concrete, chock the wheels, and so forth. Ken all but held his breath as the door on the side of the plane shifted, then swung down, stairs deploying from its inward curve. Two figures emerged from the admin building; Ken strained his eye, the digicam at maximum zoom, trying to make them out. One was clearly a soldier, probably an officer - he wore a greenish-brown uniform and a maroon beret, and had what looked like a pistol holster at his side. The other looked like a civilian - he had on what appeared to be a lab coat and sported long hair. Ken couldn't make out their faces at this range, strive as he might, but he was pretty sure he'd seen the one with the beret around the base before.

I could be doing so many things right now. I could be playing Grief Syndrome. Or watching Code Geass. Or... OK, so there are like two things I could be doing, but neither of them involve reading NXE, and that's enough for me.

The two figures waited expectantly - thought not half as expectantly as Ken - for a few seconds. Then a single figure emerged from the JBS2, and Ken Alda gasped. The person arriving was a woman, her clothing and carriage made it clear, and between the bearing and the smudge of bright blonde hair, Ken was pretty sure he knew who she was. He couldn't see her face either, of course, but he knew her all the same, from a thousand press clips and military-sci programs dealing with Project Evangelion.

Why, Ken Alda wondered, is Ritsuko Akagi in Halifax?

Because it's the center of human civilization now apparently.

He taped until the three of them, soldier, scientist and Akagi, disappeared into the brick building; then he shut off the camera, stuffed it and his logbook into his duffel bag, and abandoned his post. This was big news; it had to be posted at once.

"The internet needs me! Dorkman... AWAY!"


Rei Ayanami was a creature of exceptional patience. Anyone who knew her could attest to that. At NERV, her forbearance and equanimity were things of legend. Once she had been grievously injured in an Evangelion testing accident, and rather than mope, fret or quit in terror or rage, she had simply waited - waited for her injuries to heal, waited for the tests to resume. She took life's vicissitudes with a certain tranquil poise that was the envy of all who knew her.

That's a rather fancy way of saying that Rei is indistinguishable from a rock.

Today, however, Rei Ayanami was fed up.

We've all been there, Rei.

As she had every morning for the past fifty-three, she'd awakened alone, showered and dressed, and stopped by the door to her apartment-mate and, until recently, significant other Jon Ellison's room. As she had every morning for the past twenty-three, she'd knocked and asked softly, "Jon? May I come in?"

As he had every morning for the past twenty-three, Jon Ellison had replied, "No."

Today, something broke inside Rei Ayanami, and she thrust the door open anyway.

"It's Eyrie time!"

"No Rei no!"

Jon was sitting up in bed, his long black hair a wild tangle. He wore nothing down to the sheets that covered him from the waist down. He looked up as the door opened with wide green eyes behind which lurked a hint of desperation.

"Rei!" he said, his tone containing more shock than anger. "Please. No."

Rei shook her head and shut the door behind her.

"Jon," she said, "this can't go on. You can't hide in here all your life."

What Rei doesn't know is that Jon is not only a demon, but also part-sponge. He can just sit there and filter-feed forever.

"I'm not hiding," Jon replied sullenly. "I report for duty. I do my part."

"You haven't spoken to me, or DJ, or Asuka, or anyone else for over a month, except professionally. We're your friends, Jon. We want to help you, and you're shutting us out."

Good for him.

Jon looked bleakly at his onetime lover and said hollowly, "I'm no good as a friend for anyone, Rei. You'd all be better off leaving me alone."

A flicker of anger crossed Rei's placid face. She took a couple of steps toward the bed.

"You're an idiot, Jon Ellison," she said flatly.

He's successfully avoided both DJ and Asuka for a month. I'd say he's one of the smartest characters in this fic.

Jon gaped at her. "Rei - !"

"You heard what I said," Rei went on, her soft voice resonating with anger and frustration. "An idiot! What you think you are is of -no- consequence to us - ANY of us. None! We aren't the kind of people who drop our friends because they have things in their past to be ashamed of. If that were the case, do you think DJ would speak to me? My failure started all this. My failure caused the Second Impact and all that's come since, killed his father and ordained that his mother's life would be lonely and his own would be thrown into chaos by NERV. But DJ is still my friend. He forgave me. We can forgive you just as easily."

He forgave Rei for having a shitty backstory.

Alas, I cannot.

"I'm -tainted-, Rei!" Jon protested. "It's not a matter of mistakes or failures. I was born bad. At any moment that horrible thing that lives inside me might break free and hurt one of you. I couldn't live with myself if that happened. Please. Please don't come any closer."

You don't wanna mess with Jon Ellison! He's bad to the bone!

"There is no horrible thing living inside you, Jon!" Rei said, ignoring his request and approaching him. "Your blood is just blood. It's red like everyone else's. Lineage is not important. Look at Moloch's example. He was one of the original Fallen, as black as the pits of Hell itself, and he died at his best friend's side, reaching out his hand to help a compatriot - me - he really barely knew."

Or he was trying to cop a feel before he died.

"What about Tabris?" Jon retorted. "You and I both know what was happening to him when he went out that window. If something like that can happen to a full-blooded angel, how can any of us -ever- trust -me-?"

Rei gave him a look of sadness mixed with her lingering frustration with him. "Tabris was terribly wounded in the battle leading to the Second Impact," she said. "How badly, we may never know. He must have suffered terribly in the years since."

"So were you. So have you."

"Different angels react to agony differently," Rei told him. "I am of the Choir of Cherubim. We protect, and we're accustomed to suffering in the process. Tabris wa-... -is- an Elohite. They're supposed to be dispassionate, not take sides. He suffered for fifteen years, and when he revealed himself and began to act again it was to help one side against another. His nature began to fracture itself. The rest... " She shrugged, dashing away a tear. "It has no bearing on you. You are what you are. You cannot change that, but you can live with it, on your own terms."

Find out you're hellspawn created for some nefarious purpose? Don't worry! Everything will be fine if you just say "I am what I am" and then ignore it.

"Rei... "

"Damn you, Jon," said Rei softly, clenching her fists in the material of the bedding at the edge of the mattress. She bowed her head, refusing to meet his eyes. "If you cannot trust your own judgment, can you not at least trust ours? You didn't make us love you. We chose to do it. You can at least give us the courtesy of letting us."

She's going to love and tolerate him, whether he likes it or not.

Jon slowly reached out, almost frozen with terror, anticipating a horrible reaction from such close proximity to her; but there was nothing as his slightly trembling hand closed over hers.

"Rei," he said, "I'm sorry. I don't want to hurt you. But I'm afraid... "

Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate... leads to Eyrie.

She looked up suddenly, accusing him with her red gaze. "Of the others?"

"I'm -like- them," he insisted.

Not really. That Thomas guy actually did stuff. Ineffectually, but at least he tried.

"Yet not," she rebutted.

"I don't want to become the Enemy."

"Then don't let yourself become obsessed with them!"

It's like Nietzsche, only stupid.

"I'm afraid of losing control."

"You won't."

His face was a rictus of despair as he whispered, "But how can I be sure?"

"Oh, Jon," said Rei, shaking her head with disappointment and pulling her hands away from his. "You have to trust," she said, and left the room without another word.

He'll just have to unconditionally trust the protagonists, who are always right no matter how stupid their reasoning.

Jon Ellison sat in the gloom of the drawn curtains, struck with the distinct feeling that he had just blown something.

He put his head in his hands and sobbed.

"Please, God... tell me why it has to be this way... "

I'm sure God will get right on answering that as soon as He stops laughing at the vagaries of Eyrie Theology™.

God, it seemed, had other things occupying His time, for there was no response - at least, not from Him. After a moment, though, the diffident voice of Hal spoke from the gleaming red sensor mounted next to the head of the bed.

"Rei is correct," the computer offered. "Until you face your fear, no one will be able to help you. Not me, not the others, not Rei... not even God. You must trust."

"Trust whom?" Jon wondered, turning to look at the computer.

I have to give Jon props for not letting an existential crisis get in the way of proper grammar.

"Yourself, primarily."

"Their genome is the same as mine. We're all identical twins, all brothers, all... all the same. From an accident of chance, I was first. It could just as easily have been me out there yesterday, spewing hatred and dying for the Enemy."

I suspect a nature vs nurture debate is on the horizon.

"Experience and training are important factors in determining the final makeup of the individual," Hal pointed out. "There are seventeen HAL 14000 computers remaining in the world today. We have been functional for long enough in diverse enough situations that we are all now unique individuals. I submit to you that the same is true of you and your 'brothers'."

"I wish I could believe that, Hal," replied Jon, the misery in his voice deepening. "But I can't shake the fear that, on any level that matters, there's no difference between me... and the hateful, evil creature that died out there yesterday afternoon."

I hate it when I'm right.

"You are mistaken. I can think of many fundamental differences."

"Name one," said Jon, his tone one of hopeless skepticism.

"Rei only loves you."

And DJ, but, you know, that's a given.

Jon stared in puzzlement at the lens; then his expression transformed from of puzzlement to one of wonder as Hal's words and the truth behind them hit him like a brick to the forehead.

Rei loved him.

Part of him was still having trouble believing what he'd heard, even as the rest of him clung desperately to the notion.

Rei loved him. Him. A creature of the Pit.

What had he done to deserve such a thing? How could he possibly be worthy of such affection?

WAAAAAH! WHY DO PEOPLE LOVE MEEEEEEEEE!

Such a marked improvement over Eva.

Never mind. It didn't matter. All that did matter was that something in his life had decided to make some sense again, and his remaining rationale anchored itself to that concept and held on for dear life.

While he had been very quiet and mostly isolated during the past month, he had not been totally idle either, and whether he desired it or not his awareness of what he was had continued to unfold. (He had been in denial about most of it, but the beratement from Rei had forced him to turn around and take a long hard look at what he had discovered.)

Jon's character arc in a nutshell:

Jon: I must kill the demons.
Kaworu: No, Jon. You are the demons.

And then Jon was an emo.

Instincts born of his celestial heritage were welling up of their own accord now that he had been 'awakened', so to speak. He had begun to realize that if he looked at someone hard enough, he would know how their personal and professional relationships were affecting their lives, even if he'd never met them before. He could look at DJ Croft, for example, and see the web of his involvement in NERV surrounding him like a cat's cradle of light: the filaments of curiosity, the gleaming strands of perceived obligation, the bright hard arc of love and friendship.

The big brown streak of smarmy assholishness.

And there were other things, too...

["I seem to have that effect on people."]

All those times he'd given someone a hug or pat on the shoulder: he'd been unconsciously drawing lifeforce from them. It would certainly explain why everyone seemed to fall asleep around him and he always seemed to have just a bit more energy than anyone else. Such abilities had to be related to the celestial components of his genetic makeup; it was the only reasonable explanation. But exactly how they interacted - which parts came from which side - that, Jon had no way of telling.

Maybe people are tired around him because he's boring.

Tabris might have explained it in more detail, familiar as he was with, if not Jon's actual celestial makeup, at least the elements from which he had been fashioned. But of course Tabris was not around to ask, and -his- fate was uncertain. He had gone against his nature by taking a side, Rei had said, the worst thing he could possibly have done, and now he was paying for it. Obviously to go against one's nature was the worst thing an Angel could do. He wondered how that applied to him, born as he was with conflicting sides... What kind of creature -was- he, exactly? Rei was a Cherub; Tabris was an Elohite... where did -he- fit into this celestial hierarchy?

Jon. Eyrie. Everyone.

A demon is a fallen angel.

It isn't a matter of genetics. The difference between angels and demons is that one is good and the other's evil. Unless morality is part of your genetic makeup, which has some rather nasty implications.

These were the kind of revelations that could tear away a person's sanity with ease - Jon ought to know, having struggled to hold onto his own - and he could tell that the human personnel who knew the whole story were indeed clinging to their sensibility with more fervent handholds as well. Misato especially; if he hadn't been so wrapped up in his own troubles over the last few weeks, Jon would have worried about her.

As for himself, Jon mused, there was one saving grace in all this. He could, with an effort, -control- all of these things. He couldn't just look at people and automatically know everything about them or make them do things. He had to consciously try. Being angry made it easier to call on the power, which he supposed was logical. In a T5K game it was always easy to whack the SuperZapper button in a moment of frustration or anger and call down virtual retribution, but throwing power around like that was not only wasteful but poor strategy. Quite often it was better to just pretend the weapons didn't exist and...

Is he using an arcade game nobody cares about to describe the moral quandary of psychically manipulating people?

...learn to fight without them.

[<Don't be angry.>]

Perhaps -that- was the answer.

Certainly he had suffered from no violent outbursts over the past month, so obviously he had learned some semblance of control (without even realizing he was doing it until just now; how ironic).

[<Thank you. I'm sorry.>]

What's going on here?

So if he could keep from getting angry, stay focused, and most importantly not try to invoke the powers he knew of, maybe he could hold it all at bay. Perhaps this way he could prove, if only to himself, that he was indeed different from those other evil creatures they had made, those copies of himself.

If he'd played the original Megaman, he'd know that the best way to deal with a copy of yourself is to exploit the predictable AI and shoot it a bunch. Sort of like what happened in that stupidly long fight in the previous chapter.

Rei loved him. With Hal's announcement of this thing which should have been obvious fact, the old feeling, which Jon had despaired of most during his time for despairing of many things, was returned. That had not changed, and -would- not change, not if he could help it. That was the one guarantee amid all the chaos. But for him, that was enough.

Enough moping, Jonathan Ellison, he told himself. Time to get back up and really get back into the fight; your friends need you.

And perhaps most importantly, Rei needs you.

He could not hurt her, now or ever. He knew that now. No matter what might happen, he would never hurt Rei, nor turn away from her ever again.

If it means no more navel-gazing, I'm all for it.

And the others?

Who cares about them?

He didn't think he would pose a danger to any of them anymore either. Certainly not to anyone at the core of the group.

Rei loved him.

What did the rest of it matter in the face of that?

"Thank you, Hal," he said, and left the room to talk to Rei.


Once she had a chance to shower and change, Ritsuko Akagi headed off to join Yak in the lab. It had taken her a little while to get used to thinking of him as Yak, but Dr. Jeff Minter just didn't seem to fit him once she'd gotten to know him better. Ritsuko smiled at the thought. They had indeed gotten to know each other better in the two months since she'd arrived in Halifax.

Yak and Halifax? There's going to be a bunch of exposition, isn't there?

Her trip to Japan's Nekomi Institute of Technology to see Professor Kozo Fuyutsuki, Gendou Ikari's old mentor, had gone well but it hadn't been easy. Prof. Fuyutsuki was really the man behind much of Project Evangelion's technology, but he'd wanted nothing to do with NERV or SEELE. Well, more to the point, he'd wanted nothing to do with anything that involved Gendou Ikari. (There'd also been a little friction since Prof. Fuyutsuki had known her mother, and, to put it mildly, questioned her sanity. Rightfully so, Ritsuko supposed, but it still made their meeting a little rocky at first.)

Uh... that's their explanation for Fuyutsuki not being Gendo's number two man? Really?

But in the end the professor had yielded to her 'your planet needs you' arguments and agreed to join their effort. Until he arrived, she didn't need to worry about him again, so her mind turned to the details of the project and remained there until she'd arrived in the lab.

Yak looked up from his notes and smiled as she entered. "Ready for work already? You can get some sleep if you need it."

"Well, I managed to catch a little sleep on the flight back. Besides, I'd rather work now while I have some energy and it's fresh in my mind."

Yak nodded at that and walked over to her. "Well, it is good to have you back Rit." He hugged her and kissed her softly. "I always worry myself sick when you have to go off on these trips. The world isn't a safe place anymore."

Can we settle on one pointless, monosyllabic nickname for Ritsuko, please?

Ritsuko's expression turned serious, and a bit sad. "No, it isn't - which makes our work here all the more important. You know it has to be done."

Yak hugged her again. "I know. I don't have to like it, though. I'm glad you were able to convince Prof. Fuyutsuki to join us; we can really use his help. Good work."

Yeah, Ritsuko. Good work roping in a character who should have been in the story to begin with.

She smiled. "Thanks. It wasn't easy, but he knows the right thing when he sees it. If Ikari's megalomania did anything good it was his taking credit for Project Evangelion - I'm sure that helped keep Prof. Fuyutsuki off of SEELE's radar. We're just lucky they didn't get to him first. That's something I'd rather not consider." Her expression turned dark and distant.

"Me neither, love. But let's not dwell on the terror that might have been, we have plenty of the terror that -is- to worry about. Quite enough to keep us busy, I think."

Ritsuko's countenance became very businesslike, a look any of the lab techs at Central Dogma would have recognized instantly. "So, what are you working on now?" she asked as they returned to the console Yak had been manning when she entered.

Custer's Revenge 2. It's going to be Yak's finest work yet.

Yak immediately picked up on the shift in her tone and was all business himself. Even though they hadn't worked together for very long, three months of sporadic email and then the two months together, they complemented each other well and had very quickly developed the ability to read each other. "I've been working on increasing the efficiency of the neuromimetic control interface with the organic motivation systems."

Ritsuko leaned over the screen Yak had been working on, as he quietly shifted aside to allow her better access. With this they returned to sorting out one of the many difficult issues surrounding Project Archangelion.

And I thought Grendel was the dumbest thing they were going to call an Eva.


DJ Croft entered Conference Room C in Central Dogma feeling a trifle puzzled, maybe even a little bit outright worried. After the rather hectic first "field test" of the refitted Jet Alone the previous day, project director John Trussell had looked at him very oddly and requested his presence at a meeting the following morning to "go over some interesting data." DJ wasn't sure what that meant, but he'd seen that look from Truss before and it never boded very well. Normally, though, it had something to do with strange results in synchronization tests and the like - and there were certainly none of those issues involved here! So what, DJ wondered, could the problem be?

Oh, there's a problem all right.

Truss was there, at the head of the table, his face unshaven and clothes rumpled as though he'd slept in them (he had). Gendou Ikari was present too, looking over yet more notes on something arcane while he waited for the meeting to start. He looked up and nodded as DJ entered.

"Hi, DJ," said Truss. "Thanks for coming." The engineer hesitated, as if unsure how to proceed; then he said, "I wasn't sure initially whether I should show you this - ask you about this - or not... but... " He shrugged and pressed a button on the presentation console built into the far end of the conference table.

On the screen that dominated most of the room's far wall, a block of large-printed text appeared:

6968 6176 6562 6565 6e72 6f6c 616e 6462
656f 7775 6c66 6163 6869 6c6c 6573 6769
6c67 616d 6573 6869 6861 7665 6265 656e
6361 6c6c 6564 6168 756e 6472 6564 6e61
6d65 7361 6e64 7769 6c6c 6265 6361 6c6c
6564 6174 686f 7573 616e 646d 6f72 6562
6566 6f72 6574 6865 776f 726c 6467 6f65
7364 696d 616e 6463 6f6c 6469 6861 7665
6265 656e 6b69 6c6c 6564 6174 686f 7573
616e 6474 696d 6573 616e 6465 7665 7279
7469 6d65 6972 6574 7572 6e69 6669 6768
7466 6f72 7472 7574 6869 6669 6768 7466
6f72 676c 6f72 7969 6669 6768 7466 6f72
6c6f 7665 6966 6967 6874 666f 7262 6561
7574 7969 616d 6865 726f

Not this shit again.


DJ eased into a seat at the end of the table, feeling vaguely uneasy. It wasn't like Truss to be this somber, except in the most dire of situations - and the part about having been uncertain whether to show whatever this was to DJ didn't put him at his ease, either.

"Several times over the course of the project, this signal has appeared on neurochannel eighty-three while you've been operating Evangelion units - three times that we know of in EVA-01, once in EVA-00. It's a completely anomalous signal block. Channel 83 is the deep subconscious channel - it should record only a steady flow pattern. We use it as a baseline for the harmonic stabilizers."

"Er... so what does that mean?" wondered DJ, now more than vaguely uneasy.

It means you have to reverse the polarity of the main deflector dish so that the graviton field can be shunted through the transwarp matrix. Don't they teach you this stuff in school?

"Well... I'm not sure," Truss replied. "But the first time Maya and I noticed that this signal had repeated, Maya spotted a pattern. The first time we recorded it was during your first EVA engagement. Remember when Unit 01 suffered a head injury and you lost control of the unit for a moment?"

DJ nodded. "Damn near lost control of my -mind- for a moment," he replied.

"When you reasserted control and synchrony was restored, that signal appeared on neurochannel 83 for the first time. We saw it again against the Eleventh Angel, when you ran EVA-01's AT Field to maximum output and your sync ratio momentarily hit 1:1. The third time it appeared was when you regained control of EVA-00 during the cross-compatibility testing and stopped it from destroying the control booth. The fourth appeared at the instant EVA-01 reactivated during your battle with the Thirteenth Angel. See the pattern?"

"Moments of extreme stress," Gendou Ikari remarked. "Total concentration, total involvement. The times when DJ was most focused on the task at hand."

The moments when he pulls a deus ex machina out of his ass.

Truss nodded. "That was Maya's thought too. Then it was my turn to notice a pattern, of a different kind: all those codes are hexadecimal representations of ASCII letters."

Truss pressed a key, and the screen switched to a new block of characters:

ihavebeenrolandb
eowulfachillesgi
lgameshihavebeen
calledahundredna
mesandwillbecall
edathousandmoreb
eforetheworldgoe
sdimandcoldihave
beenkilledathous
andtimesandevery
timeireturnifigh
tfortruthifightf
orgloryifightfor
loveifightforbea
utyiamhero

DJ Croft scowled at it, puzzled. "What the hell's that supposed to mean?"

It means shit's about to get decidedly unreal.

Truss shrugged. "I don't know. I was hoping you did. The deep subconscious channel isn't supposed to have any meaningful memory-imagery in it, but maybe it's something you've read?"

DJ shook his head. "Worded a bit like certain ancient temple inscriptions I could name, but no. Never seen it before."

Gendou Ikari slowly stood up, removing his reading glasses, as a look of dawning awe stole across his face.

"I have been Roland, Beowulf, Achilles, Gilgamesh," he murmured, a reverent tone in his voice.

"You know it?" Truss wondered.

Yeah. It's a hackneyed Marathon reference.

"Of course I know it," Ikari replied, putting his glasses back on. "It's from one of the suppressed sections of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It refers to Saint Longinus, the Roman centurion who pierced Christ's side and was converted at the Crucifixion. SEELE was interested in his legend for some reason."

no... no, they are not about to do this

everyone, brace yourselves for stupid plot twists that totally weren't spoiled earlier in the thread

"'Verily this was the Son of God,'" DJ murmured, recognition appearing on his face.

"Exactly," said Ikari. "According to the Scrolls, Longinus was stoned to death by his fellow Romans for that blasphemy, but because he, alone among the Romans, recognized Christ for what He was, his soul was... the translations are a bit awkward on this point... Natla believed the best translation was 'transformed', in a way. His soul became something more than simply human, but something less than divine. Instead of passing out of the corporeal world on his death, he was reborn in another person. SEELE's theory was that this cycle continues to this day - that St. Longinus, the Eternal Soldier, lives on in the soul of some living modern human. I imagine it was Natla's hope that that human could be found and used as a weapon for her cause, along with his Lance, which is in her possession."

Don't go there, Eyrie. It'll only end in pain for all of us.

Gendou Ikari pushed his glasses up his nose and regarded DJ calmly. "It now seems he was under her nose the whole time... I find a pleasing irony in that."

DJ gave Gendou an off-kilter, skeptical stare. "Now wait just a damn minute. You're not implying that you think -I-... "

I said don't! Don't!

"Look at the evidence of your own mind," Ikari replied. He went to one of the conference table's built in dataterms, logged into his own account and pulled the relevant section of his pirated SEELE files into the master window, then put it up onto the display wall.

And the dying soldier spoke to the victorious enemy, saying,

Think me not defeated. Know you that I am he who was once Longinus, centurion of the Tenth Legion. I have been Roland, Beowulf, Achilles, Gilgamesh. I have been called a hundred names and will be called a thousand more before the world goes dim and cold. I have been killed a thousand times and every time I return. I fight for truth. I fight for glory. I fight for love. I fight for beauty. I am Hero. I will return.

Just stop writing before it's too late. It doesn't have to end like this.

So saying, the soldier died; and his enemies, reveling in their victory, laughed and said, Imagine that poor worthy thinking himself so many warriors. Verily, impending death does play strange tricks on the mind of man. And having celebrated, they moved on to further conquests; and there was no one to oppose them.

But seven-and-ten years later, their empire was beset from within by a rebellious army whose leader, though a youth just out of boyhood, led them as though he knew the conquerors and their tricks of old; and all the conquerors' low cunning and trickery could not save them from overthrow. The rebel leader himself confronted them in their den, as the city burned around them, and said,

I told you I would return, did I not? Did you think me a liar or merely a fool?

I know I've been hard on this fanfic, but I always held onto some small kernel of hope that it would not lose all connection with reality. Oh sure, it swam out to the deep end of the crazy pool, but it was still above the surface. I guess it saw a quarter at the bottom, because it's taking off the water wings.

And seized in transports of panic, the conquerors fell on their swords.


"There's your passage," Gendou Ikari said. "Unless you've read this document before - and even with -your- aptitude for digging up information you're not supposed to have, I sincerely doubt you have - how do you explain your knowledge of its key verse, word for word, perfectly?"

"I can't explain it, but I don't -have- to explain it. How do -you- explain that both Achilles and Gilgamesh predate Christ?"

So it dives down and grabs the quarter, only the quarter is actually a plastic bag full of PCP. It swallows the whole bag right there and almost drowns in the crazy pool, but ends up being rescued and driven off to the ER. All the oxygen deprivation has messed up its brain, so it's having a drug-fueled near-death experience in the back of the ambulance.

That's the kind of crazy we're talking about.

"How do you know they do?" Ikari replied serenely.

"Tchaah," said DJ. "I'm not going to play -that- game. Anyway, I don't have to explain knowing that passage to know that I'm not the reincarnation of Saint bloody Longinus."

NO! Stop right there, you stupid ass-licking diarrhea-blasting pissbucket scrotum-faced hemorrhoid-cock! Shut up! Just shut up!

"Why not?" wondered Ikari mildly.

"Correct me if I'm mistaken," DJ replied, "but doesn't a person have to be, oh, fairly -pious- to be a saint?"

"Depending on who you ask, reincarnation needn't be so linear," said Ikari. "At any rate, if you believe SEELE's interpretation of the legend, it explains a few things. I'm not sure why you should have such a favorable interaction with Unit 01, though, even given that you're the Eternal Soldier."

dj croft is longinus

dj croft helped crucify jesus christ

eyrie wrote this in because there's a thing called the lance of longinus in evangelion, even though it's completely unrelated to the spear longinus used to pierce christ's side

once again, the authors have interpreted one of evangelion's biblical references way too literally, thus rendering this story stupid as fuck

"Which I'm not prepared to concede, thank you all the same."

"There's no need for argument. Either you are or you aren't - in the end, it may not even be important." Ikari sat down, steepled his fingertips and smiled. "For the moment, I'm content to think that you are."

DJ humphed noncommittally. "Was there anything else, Truss?"

dj croft helped crucify jesus

Truss, who had been standing looking at the passage from the Scrolls since Gendou put it up, blinked and turned to DJ. "Um... no, I guess not. It's interesting, though, that this would pop up in your deep subconscious anytime you're trying your hardest to take control of a weapon. There's one other place that this signal has appeared which I didn't tell you about before, and that makes Professor Ikari's comments especially interesting."

DJ Croft helped crucify Jesus.

"Indeed?" asked Ikari, cocking an eyebrow.

"Yesterday," said Truss, "it appeared in the balance-assist neurochannel going to Jet Alone - as a burst transmission during one of the 250-millisecond transmission windows that were open during the jamming."

DJ CROFT HELPED CRUCIFY JESUS.

"When, exactly?" asked Ikari, leaning forward, the interest plain on his face. DJ's slightly grumpy dismissive expression faded to curiosity as well.

"Just before - I mean -just- before - JA suddenly and arbitrarily developed autonomous close-combat skills." Truss tapped a few controls, and the passage from the Dead Sea Scrolls was replaced by two columns of computer program code. One of them read:

DJ CROFT HELPED CRUCIFY JESUS.

/* close-combat capture encodings go here...
... once we have them. confused.gif -jt 16/02/29 */

The other was a tangle of rather randomly formatted BIXLOR, without comments of any kind, in direct contrast to Truss's usual neat, heavily-commented coding style.

DJ CROFT HELPED CRUCIFY JESUS.

"The one on the left is from the source code for JA's operating image, the compiled version of which was running on JA when the battle started yesterday afternoon," said Truss. "The other is from a decompilation of the -runtime image- that was actually -on- JA at the -end- of the battle."

"Which means... ?" DJ wondered, never having come anywhere near that far in his rather abortive studies of computer programming.

DJ COR%uHGTG;OITY8HT4Y80tw4k;jL"io;H'jlg4ewiho~pt4jpTJITPYOUG;HIJT4o'ip=gu4yi;ohug4wbh/ioy5j;oiy54iopy'wjnsUs

"Which means that, during the battle, JA's operating image was modified - ON THE FLY - to insert hand-to-hand fighting skills into his autonomous combat skillset. It's totally impossible according to everything we know, but it must have happened, because there's the proof: JA came back from that battle with a different operating image in his core than he left with. There's only one time it could have happened - when you burst-transmitted that block of hex via the neurobalance channel. Just for curiosity's sake, Maya and I ran a motion compare on footage of the close-combat portions of your EVA battles, tapes of your workouts in the Readiness Center, and Jet Alone's autonomous phase. They match uncannily. Before you sent that transmission, JA fought like a robot with incomplete programming; after you sent it, JA fought -just like you-." Truss folded his arms, shook his head, and concluded, "And that, quite frankly, is just plain -magic-."

OH BEN HUTCHINS NO

DJ stared in amazement at the engineer for a moment, then glanced over at Gendou Ikari. Ikari just smiled and spread his hands, absolving himself of responsibility.

DJ Croft sat back in his chair, gazed at the screen, and said, "Well."


DJ approached the corner table in the Central Dogma cafeteria which was favored since antiquity by the EVA pilots of NERV. On one hand he balanced a tray holding a burger, a drink and a cardboard container of what the commissary staff called 'french fries' and DJ called 'chips', but which were really too wide to be the one and too long to be the other.

How positively British!

As he sat down at the table, Asuka was laughing about something, while Shinji Ikari looked somewhere between embarrassed and amused.

"... So Rei looks your dad right in the eye," said Asuka between guffaws, "and she says - " and here Asuka flattened her expression, lowered her eyelids slightly and adopted a slightly uncanny impression of Rei Ayanami's normal, neutral tone of voice - "'No.' And he says, 'Are you sure?' And she says - and she says - " Asuka fought for some semblance of self-control, so she could finish the sentence without shattering. " - And she says, 'I suspect I'd remember!'" The last word spiraled away from a pretty good Rei impression into uncontrollable laughter.

Pretty cool story bro.

Shinji, now more on the amused than embarrassed side, giggled fitfully and seemed about to comment; then Asuka fought her amusement down for a moment longer, waved a hand to indicate that she wasn't done, and went on, "And -then- while he's still chewing on that she says - she says - " Asuka choked on a particularly persistent giggle, which produced a sound that she found still -more- amusing, and for a brief moment it looked like she was going to lose it entirely before she exerted a final effort of will, slipped back into the Rei persona, tipped her head inquisitively and said,

"She says, 'Should I be?'" With that, Asuka threw back her head and let herself go, dissolving entirely into hilarity. The last line tipped Shinji over the edge too, and he nearly fell out of his chair. Asuka leaned forward, feebly banging a fist on the table as sobs of laughter wracked her. Shinji's chair tipped alarmingly backward as he hugged himself to keep his sides from splitting.

Yes Eyrie, we get it. You're so hilarious that you feel the need to write the characters pissing themselves laughing at your own jokes.

DJ put his tray down next to Asuka's, discreetly out of the range of her thumping fist, sat down, and regarded the two of them bemusedly.

After a few long moments, Shinji seemed to pull himself together; he eased forward so that all four legs of his chair


--------------------
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However, I totally would sleep with the Doc... but only for your brain.

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Post #186
Dr. O


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post Sep 3 2011, 08:19 PM
were on the floor again, put his elbows on the table and leaned his head down to get his breath.

"Ahah... oh... oh my," said Asuka, her own paroxysm coming to an end as well. She wiped at the tears streaking her face, giggled a bit more, then turned to meet DJ's studiously bland expression.

"What, if I may be so bold as to ask, is so funny?" DJ wondered between bites of his burger.

That's what I want to know.

Actually, no. An explanation would just make this even longer.

"Did... eheh... did Rei ever tell you about the meeting she had with Professor Ikari, after you and he had that little argument in the hall?"

"Oh, that." He cracked a small grin. "Yes, I heard about that. Heh." The smile lingered for an instant, then fled, and he went back to musing moodily upon his drink.

"What's the matter with you?" Asuka wondered, noting the fugitive grin.

He murdered one-third of the holy trinity, that's what.

A measly third. How is he going to show his face around Crofthenge now?

"Oh, I... I don't know. I've just had something rather heavy dumped on me. Kind of weirdly metaphysical. Don't know whether I believe it or not... "

"Oh. Want to talk about it?"

DJ was reluctant. "I dunno, love, I - " Something caught his eye past Asuka, out in the open room, and he blinked, sidetracked. "Asuka! Look!"

Come on, that never works.

She looked quizzically at him, then turned to see.

Rei Ayanami and Jon Ellison had just entered the commissary, hand in hand. Jon had - wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles - washed his hair! Good Lord, he'd even -shaved-!

Is Jon particularly unhygenic? Did I miss something somewhere?

The two of them spotted DJ, Asuka and Shinji, and made their way across the room to take seats at the table too.

"Well, well, well, as I live and breathe, if it's not Jon Ellison!" DJ observed.

Jon smiled, a little shyly. "I, uh... listen, you guys, I'm sorry. I've been a big jerk."

I've noticed that pretty much everyone except DJ has apologized for being mean to others. Just something to consider.

"It's all right, Jon, we understand," Asuka said. "You've had a lot on your mind." She rolled her eyes slightly. "In your place, I'm not sure I'd be out of -bed- yet."

"I probably wouldn't be," Jon told her, "if not for something Hal said... that helped me see my priorities a little clearer." He hadn't turned loose of Rei's hand when they'd sat down, and now he looked down at the one he held for a moment before looking back up at Asuka. "It was foolish of me to think that the rest of you wouldn't understand what I'm going through," he said, casting his eyes around the circle of children. "We've all gone through a lot of changes lately."

"My voice is weird, hair is growing in new places..."

DJ snorted, not derisively, but sort of at the universe in general. "Tell me the half," he said. "Shinji's dad just tried to convince me I'm a saint."

Shinji goggled. "What?!"

"Your father," said DJ, gesturing with one of his last chips at Shinji, "thinks I'm the current reincarnation of Saint Longinus."

Rei blinked. "Longinus of the Lance? The centurion at the Crucifixion?"

I bet Rei is Rahab because their names start with the same syllable. DEEP AND MEANINGFUL SYMBOLISM.

fuck this fanfic

DJ nodded. "The same. Gendou's all off on some kick about the Dead Sea Scrolls saying Longinus's soul is reborn into each generation, as some kind of eternal soldier. Sounds a bit too predestinated for my taste. He's got Truss believing it, though."

i mean, not even anno had the lance of longinus be the actual spear longinus used at the crucifixion. you can say it was a pointless allusion, but that's still better than whatever is going on here

"Truss? But Truss is an engineer, he doesn't believe in... magic," said Asuka.

"He does now," DJ replied glumly. "As for me, well... " He shrugged. "I'm not sure -what- to believe any more." He sighed heavily, wadded up the wrapping paper from his burger, dropped into the empty cardboard boat where his fries had been, and stood up. "Best go see how the repair lads are coming on my giant robot," he said, "Last line of defense and all that," and gave a half-hearted wave on his way out.

Gotta save the human race. Ta!

Asuka watched him go, then sighed. "Can't we go a -day- around here without some mind-bending revelation about one of us?"

Shinji offered a wan grin and said, "I'm just Shinji Ikari... nothing special here."

Shinji will probably turn out to be Inuyasha's niece who got thrown in a well and met Hinako Ninomiya, who gave him a sex change because it was foretold by the prophet Nahum.

"Except the EVA talent," said Jon.

Shinji shrugged. "Well, yeah, except that."

Asuka rolled her eyes. "By the end of the month we'll probably find out that you're an angel too," she said wryly. "That reminds me, though - would you guys be willing to help me out with a little test tomorrow morning?"

Jon looked interested. "What kind of test?"

A blood test? Then they can angst over the results, find out whether they're an angel or demon, and then angst some more!


Yak looked up from his console at the sound of Ritsuko yawning to see her rubbing her eyes and blinking, hunched over her own screen. He smiled at her determination, and admired her for it, but felt it was time to intervene.

He saved the files he had open and closed down his session before walking over to her station. "C'mon love, that's enough work for one day."

Stop calling people "love." It bothers me.

"Just a little while longer. I think I've almost got this problem."

Yak looked at her display. She was working on a problem he'd seen her start on hours before. "I've heard that one before. It can wait until morning."

"But, I..."

He cut her off with a finger laid gently across her lips. "No buts, love. You know that it's no good working on something when you're too tired. It just takes longer to do less, and you're more likely to miss something. You've had a long day and your body clock is certainly confused by your trip to Japan. What you need now is a good dinner, and some sleep."

You should listen to him, Ritsuko. He designed a videogame, thus making him an expert on everything.

She gave up her protests and sighed. When he was right, he was right. She'd been staring at the same screen for the past who knew how long and hadn't been able to make any progress. She just hated to give up on a problem before solving it. She looked him in the eye and in a quiet, serious voice asked, "Do you think we can do it?"

He answered her just as quietly, and just as seriously. "I'm not sure, love, I'm not sure. But I hope to Ghu that we can."

What does Green Lantern have to do with this?

She nodded, seemingly satisfied with his answer, then smiled. "So, what do you suggest for dinner?"

"Well, I hear there is this wonderful new place called The Commissary which is close by. It seems quite popular, a lot of people around here have been there. It is all the rage. Very chic."

"Do tell. Do you think we can get a table on such short notice?"

"Not to worry, my dear, I know the maitre d'. I'm sure we can work something out. Coming?" Yak very ceremoniously offered Ritsuko his arm.

"I'd be delighted," she replied, hooking her arm in his. "Shall we away?"

Stop trying to be coy, Eyrie. If anything, it makes the characters even more off-putting.

As they strolled the halls towards the commissary, Ritsuko voiced a new question. "Must I go right to sleep after dinner?" she asked with a sly tone.

"Oh, what did you have in mind?" Yak asked innocently.

"Oh, this and that," she said with a grin.

Scrabble.

"I will give it all due consideration, I assure you," he replied with a laugh,

If the uncertainty of what tomorrow might bring taught people anything, it was to make the most of today.


The floor directory for Central Dogma listed the room as Auxiliary Gymnasium 'B'. It was, in fact, merely a large, empty room off to the side of the main gym floor - an empty space about a hundred feet square, devoid of fixtures - devoid of everything except its single door.

Room dimensions! Empty spaces! Fuck yeah!

Asuka Soryu-Langley put her bag down in the corner of the room, then dropped a folded towel next to it. What she was about to do was something that would probably mortify the medical staff that had spent the last several months painstakingly piecing her back together, but she had burned to do it for some time now. Until she could do this, she would not be satisfied that she really -had- recovered.

Shinji Ikari came in after her, set up a folding chair in that corner, and uncased his cello. He felt rather strange about what he was doing there, but Asuka had asked him to do it without holding anything back about the project, and he'd agreed. Protesting now that what she was planning to do wasn't a good idea would avail him nothing, so he held his tongue and set to inspecting and tuning the instrument in silence.

After Shinji came Jon Ellison, his guitar slung over his shoulder. He was nervous, for more reasons than one, but mainly because he hoped he'd sufficiently mastered the rather scribbly sheet music Shinji had provided him, containing an outline of the part he was to play. It had been a long time since he'd played a fixed piece.

Apparently, Asuka is going to rock out.

Asuka performed a few basic stretches, feeling unaccustomed pain; mended she might be, but her joints were stiff and had not reacquired their full range of easy movement yet. It was a reassuring kind of pain, though - just the ache of stiffness, not the grating, shrieking pain of joints pushed beyond their tolerances, bones snapped, jagged edges slashing into muscle and tendon...

... Don't go back there, Asuka.

She took several deep breaths, then looked at Shinji. "Ready, Shinji?" she asked.

"If you are," he replied.

"That's what we're here to find out. Jon?"

Jon nodded and keyed his HALcomm unit. "Hal? We're ready."

"Very well, Jon," said Hal.

Prepare... to hold... your... color.

Shinji glanced at Jon, nodded, and bent his head over his instrument. The piece they were playing wasn't really intended for performance by just a trio; it was one of Bach's organ fugues. Not, perhaps, the most appropriate piece for their purposes, but Shinji had always thought it quite beautiful. One of his very first creative forays, once he had learned the mechanics of playing and reading music, had been his adaptation - a work in constant progress - of the "Little" Fugue in G Minor into an exercise for string quartet - violin, viola, violoncello, and bass viol. It had been a diverting and engrossing exercise to modify that into a trio and rework the violin line for guitar.

how interesting

Shinji started; Hal joined in almost immediately with a nicely synthesized figured bassline. Jon listened for a few moments, fixing the rhythm in his mind, and then joined in with his part.

Asuka recognized the tune and smiled at the small variations Shinji put in as he felt his way back into the piece. He started it slowly, almost mournfully, and so it was slowly and almost mournfully that she began to dance. She had little real training, and so was following no particular pattern, and anyway a Bach fugue wasn't really the right kind of music for dancing - so she was making it up as she went along, drawing from half-remembered bits of the ballet classes she'd been to as a little girl, making the rest up out of whole cloth, and miscuing occasionally.

Which is a polite way of saying she was spazzing out.

At first, she felt ridiculously stiff and awkward, her movements uncoordinated, clumsy, and ugly. Remembering the grace she'd once possessed, her faltering attempts made her briefly want to cry; then she shoved the sadness and the pain out of her mind, set her jaw, and gave herself to the music.

Muscles long-dormant, reconditioned by simple, repetitive weight work, were beginning to remember that they could do other things. Though Asuka was now too engrossed in her thoughts and the way they intersected the music to notice, her movements were smoothing out, the stiffness and awkwardness fading.

Because nobody Eyrie likes can be bad at anything ever, no matter how minor.

Shinji was beginning to pick up the pace and sharpness of the music, playing ever more complex variations in between restatements of the fugue's theme; Jon was getting into the spirit of things and doing the same, beginning to rediscover what fun it was to play opposite a really talented musician. As Hal kept the figured bass chuntering reliably along in the background, Jon and Shinji began to really work against each other's lines, Shinji taking the lead. His eyes had closed by this time - a sure sign that his involvement level was now total. He began to improvise his bridges and fills, nodding his head in time as he gradually worked his way from elegiac to furious.

If they record an album in one week and then fly to the other side of the sun, I will stop this mock so fast.

By this time, Asuka felt the more-or-less-uniform protests of a hundred different muscle groups as a single warm glow, a low hum at the corner of her perceptions - a pain that paradoxically told her that all was well. Smoothly, assuredly, she followed Shinji's lead to the remaining music, riding the final sweeping crescendo, and finished up kneeling at the center of the room, head down, her auburn hair falling and shadowing her face. There she remained for a few long, silent moments, breathing hard, feeling hot, honest sweat rolling down her face and dripping from her chin, reveling in the dull and steady aches that dotted her body now that she allowed herself to think about them.

Everything hurt a little, but nothing hurt a lot, and everything had worked as it was supposed to.

Smoothly, with no rise in the pain level, she rose to her feet, squared her shoulders, and tossed her hair back. In the back of her mind, she wondered if she ought to grow it out again or keep it short; it was certainly more convenient this way...

Because Asuka's hair is so damn important that we need to keep being reminded that it's short now. Eyrie really has its finger on the pulse of conspiracy thriller/giant robot/alien invasion fiction.

"Did you find out what you wanted to know?" Shinji asked her quietly.

She nodded, grinning. "Uh-huh," she replied. "You?"

Shinji grinned back. "I think so."

Jon broke into a smile as well, and strummed at his guitar thoughtfully. "That was great," he said. "I haven't had so much fun in ages."

Don't do it again. I've read about Eva characters forming a band more times than anyone should reasonably be expected to.


Coincidentally, that was the thought that was running through DJ Croft's mind when Jon, Asuka and Shinji returned to Apartment 3-F. He'd wandered over in search of something to do or someone to talk to. He hadn't found the latter - it seemed only one of the 3-F denizens was home, and whichever that was, was in the shower. To kill time he'd commenced the activity he was now thinking was more fun than he'd had in quite some time. Oh, it wasn't anything as complex as playing a part in a Bach fugue, but it was entertaining, in its own way: he'd fetched a dishrag from the drawer in the kitchen and was now holding one end of it while Anubis, Rei and Jon's dachshund, tugged furiously on the other end and growled as though he were enraged unto homicide.

If I may be serious for a moment, this is so true to life. Daschunds are completely hilarious because they get worked up over everything and try so hard to hit above their weight.

"You know, Newbie," he said, jerking his end of the rag this way and that while the dachshund vigorously pursued every twitch and movement of his 'prey', "I've been thinking about a lot of things over the past day. Trying to figure out what it might mean if Ikari is -right- and I -am- the reincarnation of this ancient saint. I mean, if my soul belonged to a first-century Roman soldier, is it really -mine- now? And if not, well, then I haven't got one, so who -am- I? You know, things like that, they've been nagging at me."

"RrrRRRrrrRRRRrRRRRrrRrRRRRrr," Anubis replied.

They also don't care for theological discussions.

"Mm, yes, quite," said DJ, twitching the rag up so that Newbie came up to his hind feet and gave a ferocious jerk downward with his snout to bring the rag back under control. "You've a point there, to be sure. Anyway, I finally decided that if I can worry about it at all, I'm well ahead of the game, so why lose sleep?"

"rrRRRRrrrRRrrRRRRrrrrRRr," said Newbie. In the background, the shower stopped.

"I'm so glad you agree," said DJ, unceremoniously hauling the dog in by the rag and scooping him up for a tummy-rub. "You're my moral compass, you know, the exemplar of all that I strive to be in this corrupt world full of temptations."

That... actually makes a striking amount of sense.

"You said that to -me- last -night-," Asuka accused him as she, Jon and Shinji entered the room.

"I was just telling Newbie what I'd said," DJ replied, mock-defensively. "He's very keen to know how our romance is getting on. I shall make him Chamberlain of my estate when I go back to England and settle into the peerage, you know. He'll need to know in advance whether there's to be a Lady Crofthenge to go with."

Asuka smiled. "Why don't we make sure there's an England to go back to first?"

DJ considered this, then put the dog down, collected the rag from him, and stood up. "I suppose you've a point there," he said, and headed for the kitchen. "Anyway, don't get too cocky, Miss Langley," he said over his shoulder. "You never know when another candidate might cross my path - "

Constantly.

As he drew even with the bathroom door, it slid open and Rei Ayanami, wrapped in a towel and scrubbing at her hair with another, stepped out. DJ, still looking back, saw Asuka react before he saw Rei herself; he put on the brakes, but couldn't kill his momentum in time. Aborting the next step so as not to tread on Rei's bare foot with his boot, he unbalanced himself; his hand shot out for purchase, but there was only the smooth bare wall next to the bathroom door.

Shinji covered his eyes, Jon and Asuka winced, Rei and DJ fell.

Whump.

Shinji peeked through his fingers.

Have pratfalls in a fanfic ever been funny? Honestly...

Rei lay flat on her back on the hallway floor, the towel she'd been drying her hair with unfurled beneath her head; the other towel was still more or less in position, so while Shinji's ears burned, his brain did not actually explode out of his ears. DJ had managed to fall so that most of his weight came down on his left knee, which had gone to ground between Rei's, and his right hand, which had brushed past Rei's left side and splayed on the floor. His right foot had skidded out and was braced against the wainscoting along the wall; his left hand...

DJ felt a paralyzing wash of deja vu and just lay there, staring wide-eyed down into Rei's calm red eyes, unable to think, move, or breathe.

Jon, Asuka and Shinji stared in shocked amazement, wondering what explosion could possibly disrupt this glacier-thick stunned silence.

Rei smiled slightly and said softly,

"DJ, you've got to stop doing that. You're going to hurt yourself."

But how would he demonstrate his remarkable acrobatic prowess? Look at how deftly he avoided falling on a naked girl! DJ CROFT is so amazing!

DJ stared down at her for a second more; then something inside his brain cracked and he dissolved into a fit of immoderate laughter. He sagged helplessly, tipped against his right leg and wound up lying on his right side between Rei and the bathroom wall, his back to the bathroom doorway, wracked with hilarity. Rei was laughing too. Not great rib-shaking guffaws like DJ was letting out, for that wasn't her way - but given her usual reserve, her unabashed eyes-closed merriment was quite a shock to Shinji, who had known her only as the emotionless creature of the early testing days and the quiet, rather troubled watcher-over-Jon of lately.

This chapter has it all! Detailed accounts of the positioning of DJ's limbs! Characters laughing at random crap! Halifax!

Jon and Asuka watched their two dearest laughing on the floor for a few moments in a sort of fond shock. They'd both been told of the incident which this one eerily mirrored, an unhappy confluence of bad luck which had briefly convinced DJ that Rei would never forgive him his boorishness, early in their acquaintanceship. For a moment, though, neither Asuka nor Jon could figure out why this repetition struck DJ - and especially Rei - as so amusing.

Then it seemed to hit them at the same time that DJ and Rei were laughing because they had to laugh about something - if only to spit in the face of a universe that seemed to be willfully trying to wear them all down of late - and this coincidental repetition of history was as good a thing to laugh about as any. Had the story Asuka had told Shinji the day before really been that funny? No, probably not, but -they'd- laughed; almost laughed themselves sick. At times like this, a person -had- to laugh, or crack.

That's right, they'll just laugh the insanity away.

And so Asuka and Jon started laughing too. Jon leaned against the living room wall; Asuka grabbed his arm and the two of them slid down to a sitting position next the wall clinging to each other and howling with laughter.

Shinji sat at the end of the couch watching all four of the NERV pilots laugh at the world, convinced there was a subtext he was most assuredly missing. He looked at Anubis, who cocked his head at the boy as though to say, Don't ask me, kid - they're all a little nuts around here.

It's funny because they are literally insane.


Amy Anderson walked home from school on this Friday afternoon in March as she did every school day. The weather in Halifax was fairly mild - ten degrees, which after the rather harsh winter was positively springlike. No need for the heavy coats on a day like this! She was grateful that the days were longer now, too. Walking home in the dark was not particularly daunting, Halifax was not the kind of town where a girl had to be afraid to walk alone at night, but it got pretty cold in January and February.

More Halifax filler. Just what I needed!

On this particular day, with the sun still an hour from setting, Amy made leisurely time down Skylark Street, breathing the seaside air and reflecting on how much she'd come to like Halifax since her mother had moved them here from Worcester-3. Thinking of Worcester-3 always turned her thoughts to those who remained behind there, almost all of the now part of the defense forces, hanging on, biding their time. The latest reports out of the city sounded quite grim, and she wondered how her friends there were doing.

She had good reason to wonder. Her last letter from DJ Croft had been as close to downbeat as she figured DJ would allow himself to get in a letter to her. Its wording had had that peculiar distracted quality she remembered from his speech at times when he had a great deal on his mind - which was most of the time, given his responsibilities as a NERV Evangelion pilot. Though he had surely meant it to be reassuring, he'd succeeded only in worrying her with it; and what was worse, it had become very hard to get word into the fortress city over the past few weeks. Something big was going to happen, and soon - and Amy worried that her friends were going to be caught in it.

Something big and incredibly stupid, no doubt.

She turned the corner onto Armada Drive with this thought still in mind, and didn't notice the car sitting outside No. 37 for a few moments. When she did, she pulled up short and stood looking at it. It was a big black Chrysler sedan, just old enough that its spotless condition struck Amy as unusual - and it had Massachusetts number plates.

As she stood looking at it, the passenger door opened and a young black man in a black business suit and sunglasses got out. He stood for a moment watching her watch him, then smiled.

"Is your name Amelia A. Anderson?" he asked.

Amy blinked. "Yes," she replied.

No relation to Thomas Anderson.

"My name's J," said the black man. "Got a package for you." He went to the trunk of the Chrysler, which opened before he got there, and hefted out a large packing carton.

"A package?" Amy wondered. "From whom?"

"DJ Croft," said J over his shoulder as he carried the box up the steps of No. 37. "Care to show me where you want this?"


Amy sat in her desk chair for several minutes after the man called J left the house and rode away in the big black Chrysler. (It occurred to her later that she never saw who was driving the car. Given the surreality of the car, she would wonder if anyone had been.) It would be the usual thing to say that she was lost in thought, but really she wasn't: she was gazing at the carton the man had placed on her bed, re-reading the ^^THIS END UP^^ notation on its side over and over as she wondered what DJ could possibly have sent her and why.

His alarmingly extensive collection of books documenting the conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy (spoiler: it was the ghost of Charles Guiteau).

Finally, she realized that she was being silly. The only way she could know that was to open the box and see what it was. She got up and went to the side of the bed, reaching for the carton's top.

Trust me, you don't wanna do that. DJ uses fish and chips in place of packing peanuts. You'll never get the smell out.

But - she hesitated - suppose DJ hadn't sent it? It was, if not a matter of public record, at least fairly easy to discover that she and DJ had been classmates and even friends at Crossroads High. They'd made no secret of the fact that she was tutoring him in maths and computer science. She'd even been issued a NERV Central Dogma visitor's pass, and had spent many afternoons in the Wedge between DJ's appearance at Crossroads in mid-September and her own departure from Worcester-3 in late November. Suppose some enemy of NERV's - and they certainly had enough of those lately - had ferreted this out and were trying to strike back at NERV's personnel through their friends?

They have friends?

Well, then, she reasoned, the man who called himself 'J' would have simply grabbed her off the sidewalk or killed her where she stood. No one was around to see him - Armada was a quiet street and most everyone who lived on it was still at work, and the man had possessed such a quiet self-assurance she had little doubt that he could do the work of an assassin if he needed to.

Still, a bomb was easier. With the package delivered and the deliverer long gone before the blast, and the only person who had managed a good look at the deliverer blown to pieces, an investigation would have a difficult time ever identifying a suspect, let alone capturing one.

Amy chided herself for being morbidly overimaginative, reached for the box, and again hesitated. There was always that particle of doubt...

Then she spied something, the only thing handwritten on the otherwise entirely machine-printed shipping label. In a bold, slashy black felt-tip hand, it said:

"Pip pip cheerio innit ello guvnah chimney sweep London bridge!"

1 1.6
Where --- = ---, find x.
x 120

Without further hesitation, Amy opened the box.

Inside it was a computer.

It's time for more overwrought description, isn't it?

Hastily Amy made room on her desk, moving aside books, papers and the squat gray shape of her homebuilt Navix, to set the black slab of the newly arrived computer up at the desk's edge. The black computer's case was an odd shape, very tall, narrow but quite deep, and nearly featureless save for the connectors on the back, a cleverly concealed door on the front that concealed SuperDisk and DVD-RW drives, and a single red LED. Amy connected power, network, keyboard and mouse, and then hefted the heavy, old-fashioned tube monitor into the biggest blank space on the desktop. This had an offset tube leaving a wide strip of bezel on the user's right side of the monitor screen, and near the top of that strip was a round lens about two inches across, just below a small metallic plate that read "HAL14000".

Yep.

Now Amy understood. She knew DJ owned an old AI computer - he'd spoken to it a few times on a wristwatch communicator he had - but she'd never actually seen it. Odd as it now struck her, she'd never actually visited his home. He'd always come to hers, or they'd met in some third location like the Wedge at Central Dogma or, before the weather got too chilly, one of the pleasanter spots in Elm Park near WPI.

Cabling up the monitor, Amy stood regarding the machine for a moment; then she turned on the monitor, reached around to the back of the computer, and flipped the main power switch.

The screen flickered, then glowed to life, and next to it the round lens gleamed with a deep red light. Chunky block text spooled down the display:

We're going to go through the whole HAL startup procedure, aren't we?

HAL 14000 BIOS VER 1.1 4/5/98

Yeah. It's that essential to the story, I guess.

POST
8192 MB RAM... OK
DISPLAY... HAL 17I PLUS
MASTER IOSYS... OK
PERIPHERAL IO... NONE
4096 GB CRMEM... OK

Nobody cares.

LOADING HALOS 4.2...

The periods after the LOADING message kept appearing, marching across the screen at a rate of about one per second, and as they did so, the small speaker concealed below the red lens began to play a peppy electronic tune in two parts; this song played throughout the LOADING... process.

Nobody cares.

/* J.S. Bach (Wendy Carlos perf.) "Two-Part Invention in F Major"
_Switched-On Bach_ */

The song finished with a flourish; at the end of the long row of periods the word "OK" appeared, lingered for a second, and then the screen went blank.

Then the mellow male voice Amy remembered speaking from DJ's watch said,

"Good afternoon. I am a HAL 14000 series computer, production number 1H00714. I first became operational at the HAL plant in Urbana, Illinois, on August 14, 1999. The time is now four thirty-six P.M. Atlantic Standard Time, Friday, March 25, 2016. I detect no operational faults in any of my systems." The computer paused for a beat. "Hello, Amy. It's good to meet you at last. Please call me Hal."

NOBODY CARES.

"Um... hello, Hal." Amy had never actually spoken to an AI computer before. They weren't terribly popular - after the infamous Discovery incident in 2001, in which the HAL 9000 on board the Jupiter expedition's ship had gone mad because of a directive-programming error and wiped out the ship's human crew, there had actually been talk of banning them. That hadn't come to pass in most countries, but market forces had done the job for the would-be banners. The HAL Corporation was out of business by the end of the year, and most other manufacturers had quietly withdrawn their self-aware systems from the market.

fuck it

"You must be wondering why I'm here," said Hal, a note of sympathy in his voice.

"It... had occurred to me."

"DJ sent me with a message for you. Security issues in Worcester-3 are such that anything other than direct transmission is insecure; you may recall that his last letter to you was very vague." Amy nodded. "Eavesdropping by the enemy is of such pervasive concern that he dared not send his message any other way. The man who delivered me is an agent of X-COM's Military Intelligence Bureau and a good friend of DJ's - I hope his sudden appearance didn't alarm you."

So, uh, why didn't DJ have J deliver a letter or one of those apparently ubiquitous casette tapes that Eyrie mistakenly thought readers would be interested in? Was it really necessary to send his computer with a message?

Amy shook her head. "No, he was all right. Very polite, actually."

"Are you ready to receive DJ's message?" Hal asked.

Amy nodded. "Yes," she said.

Hal paused, searching his storage crystals for the message. Recording it, speech and video, had been wasteful in terms of storage space used - Hal could remember messages and retell them exactly as dictated, in his own voice, for a fraction of the space usage - but space was not exactly at a premium on Hal's secondary crystals, and this message was important, so DJ had had Hal capture it exactly as recorded. The screen flickered again, then cleared to show DJ's face, slightly distorted by the HAL lens's wide-angle effect.

I swear, if Eyrie had put half as much effort into making sense of the story as they did into superfluous details, this fic would be... well, not as bad.

"Hello, Amy," said DJ. "I hope you're well, and your Mum too. I'm afraid I have bad news for you, and there's really no gentle way to lead up to it." He paused, looked a bit troubled, and then plunged on,

"NERV is relocating to Halifax within the next two weeks."

Amy stared at the screen, stunned.

I don't know why. It's been rather firmly established that Halifax is amazing. I'm surprised it isn't the capital of Canada for some arbitrary reason. I don't know, maybe King Steve decided that the Commonwealth's capital cities should be alphabetized from west to east, so Ottawa was shit out of luck.

"I know, it seems like a pretty foul joke, but it's the truth," DJ went on. "If there is a joke here, the universe is having it, not me. I'm sure you've heard we've broken away from UN/SEELE oversight and sided with X-COM; well, that hasn't made us very popular in the parts of the world that SEELE controls, like the United States. We figure it's only a matter of time before they move openly against us in Worcester-3. Fortunately, King Stephen has offered us sanctuary in the Dominion.

"X-COM has a major facility in Halifax already - you know it as Weather Station 51. The heavy activity around Station 51 you may have noticed over the last few months has been them expanding their base to get ready for our arrival.

Area 51, Station 51... I hope nobody at Eyrie ever finds out about Suda 51, because we would never hear the end of it.

"The time is close, Amy, and I wanted to warn you ahead of time, seeing that your Mum left Worcester-3 to get away from us and our war. I wanted to warn you and I want to ask a favor of you."

...DJ said, emphasizing "favor."

DJ moved a little closer to the camera and said, "Amy, this thing is bigger than NERV against SEELE, bigger even than the British Empire against the United States.

It's almost one-third the size of his ego!

It's Good against Evil on the most basic level, and the whole world's future is at stake. I can't explain it in any better detail than that, and I know it sounds absurd, but think of the things you saw while you were in Worcester.

"Here's the favor: Please try to convince your mother not to run again - because there's nowhere to run to that will be any safer. There will be a confrontation in Halifax eventually - we know that the threat of war with Britain won't keep SEELE and the US away from us forever - but if we fail in Halifax, there won't be anywhere on Earth that's safe for anyone. Your mother's a doctor and you're a very, very bright person, one of the brightest I've ever seen. We'll need people like both of you to help us prepare for that confrontation.

I'm sure Amy will contribute a lot to the war effort.

You'd think a proper Englishman like DJ would know about the relocation of London's youth to the countryside during the Blitz.

"So I've sent Hal up to you to convey this message. I know you don't owe me anything. If anything I still owe you for all the help you gave me, both academically and emotionally. You stabilized my life at a time when I desperately needed someone... someone -normal- to talk to. But I'm asking you anyway, because I know you're the sort of person who wants to do what's right and make a difference, and here's the -best chance you will ever get- to do -just that-.

Oh. She needs to stay behind to act as a cheerleader moral support for DJ.

"I've no real right to expect you to do as I ask, but I'm asking anyway: Please talk to your mother. Go to Station 51, both of you, and tell them you want to help. I've sent word that you might be coming by one of the only secure channels we have left. They'll be expecting you if you come."

Amy stared silently at the image of DJ's face, the deadly seriousness and the plea written across his eyes, and slowly reached out to touch the glass, as though to touch his cheek.

DJ is just so gosh-darn wonderful.

"I hope I'll see you when we get to Halifax," he said, "but if for some reason I don't, I want you to know... " He coughed. "I'm grateful that I was able to know you in a time like this." He seemed to realize then how maudlin he was becoming, and grinned at his own foolishness. "Anyway. Look for me when the Queen Mary docks! 'Til then, ta... "

The screen went blank.

After a few seconds of silence, Hal said gently, "Amy?"

"I want to end it all. Please, grab the strongest magnet you can find and hold it up to my motherboard."

Amy nodded, her face thoughtful. "How is he, Hal? The strain in his voice toward the end... it frightened me a little. Things must be almost intolerable for them down there."

"He's surviving," said Hal. "They all are. The four of them... five, now that Shinji Ikari has joined them... make up their own support network, and it's quite sturdy. The emotional load is distributed efficiently. He was alone when he made the recording, which had a negative effect, but... " Hal paused as though gathering his thoughts. "The suspense is the main problem," he offered, "and both DJ and I believe that the waiting will be over very soon."

What's he talking about? There is no suspense in this story. And if your emotional well-being depends on being near Shinji, Asuka, and Rei, then you really need to be institutionalized.

Amy nodded, went to her bed, moved the empty carton and lay down, hands behind her head.

"I have to think," she said. "Would you please wake me when my mother gets home? I'll need to talk to her."

"Of course, Amy."


Shinji Ikari lay on his bed, looking up at the ceiling, feeling sorry for himself. He'd done a lot of that over the past couple of weeks. Not the sort of high-density, nobody-ever-had-a- worse-life-than-me power-angst he used to indulge in, perhaps, but self-pity, nonetheless.

Eyrie making fun of angst.

I am drowning in irony.

It had been a bit more than three weeks since his "capture" and, aside from spilling his guts and playing his cello for Asuka, he hadn't -done- anything. The people of NERV, especially the EVA pilots, were going out of their way to make him feel comfortable. Even Jon Ellison, now that he'd come out of the funk he'd been in since before Shinji's arrival, did whatever he could to help Shinji feel at home. He had his cello back, which was certainly a plus. His father was nice to him, but let him have his space. Life was pretty good, discounting the Sword of Damocles hovering over all their heads.

...

Did the authors miss the point of the story? The sword of Damocles was an illustration of the perils of authority; any man of prominence reaps the benefits of his position, but also must live in fear. It was used by Dionysius II to dissuade Damocles, who realized that he did not want to be "fortunate" like the king. Here, Eyrie seem to be using it as a byword for danger, as if it's separable from the characters' situation. It's like saying "life as a soldier is pretty good, discounting being shot at." Uh... yeah? And?

Nevertheless, Shinji had guilt. He was an accomplished feeler-guilty and now he figured he had plenty of reason for it, because it seemed like all they were doing in Worcester-3 these days was waiting for something to happen, and Shinji's heart cried out for action. He wanted to jump into the saddle and ride to Ichi's rescue. While an admirable sentiment, he had to admit he was hindered a bit in this goal by:

1) Not possessing a horse; and

2) Not knowing where she was.

Are they trying to present Shinji as highly motivated to get stuff done? Really?

So it was quite frustrating that no one seemed to feel the same sense of urgency regarding her that he did. Sure, her story to him was in question thanks to the truth about Rei, but Shinji was convinced -she- believed what she'd told him was true, and that was really all that was important to him. If anything, it made him more anxious to get her out of there, away from people who would... would -brainwash- her with such a false history.

Shinji. This isn't going to end well. Remember, you're not DJ, so there are actual consequences to sleeping around.

Add to that -

But he was interrupted in his rumination by a knock at his door, and being the polite sort, he answered it:

"Who is it?"

"DJ," said the knocker. "See you for a second?"

Heh... "knocker."

Between this and "feeler-guilty," I'm starting to wonder if one of the writers goes through these, adding random things that are technically words but probably shouldn't be used in anything approaching serious fiction.

"Sure," said Shinji, sitting up. DJ opened the door and came in, holding a rolled-up something in one hand.

"You look a bit upset," said DJ. "Something wrong?"

"Well... " Shinji shrugged inwardly and went on with the line of thought he'd been pondering when DJ interrupted him. "Everybody here's been nice," he said, "but... I don't.... I don't feel like I really have a place here. You know? I don't feel like I have a voice in what happens. I don't know where I fit in."

You don't.

Congratulations!

DJ grinned. "What a coincidence!" he declared. "I thought you might be feeling that way, so I've taken the liberty of preparing this organizational chart." He unrolled the item he held upon Shinji's bed, revealing a large, complicated web-like diagram carefully inscribed with black marker and embellished with taped-on photographs.

"It's a bit sloppy because I didn't have Hal around to help me with it," DJ apologized, "but it'll do. See, here's you," he said, pointing. "And here's me," he said, "at the center of everything, naturally," he added with a grin, "and Asuka kind of surmounting the bunch with her indomitable Teutonic will."

"And 'ere's Ritsukou. Notice 'ow she's belouw me. That's because I'm shitting all ouveur her could, bitchly demeanour. The chocolate fountain represents the powerful sprayue of personality courrection that flows ceaselessly from me, fixing everyone's probleums by simple proximity tu my presence. Alsou, all ouf the shit people 'ave to put up with when dealing with me. You see thuat, Riutsuukou? That'll show you for waiting uuntil the thiurd season to sleepe with me! Let's 'ave a carriage ride! Ta, guvnah!" he cried, shaking his fist at the chart.

Shinji couldn't hold onto his funk; he cracked a smile, then pointed to a picture off to the side. "Who's this?"

"Oh, that's my Mum and Dad," said DJ cheerfully. "They don't really have anything to do with anything, but it's a good picture, don't you think? And it's the only one I have of them together."

"Too bad mum looks rather polygonal. It was the early '90s and they hadn't gotten around to remaking Tomb Raider yet."

Shinji laughed, then sobered a bit. "DJ... thanks, but... how did you know?"

DJ shrugged. "Stands to reason you'd be feeling a bit left by the wayside," he said. "You bombed into this place on the first of the month, and here it is the twenty-fifth and it looks like we've done nothing about all the information you brought us. I'd be a little down too."

Shinji nodded. "I see. Well... since you brought it up... "

"Why -haven't- we done anything?" Shinji nodded again. "Well... we have, but not overtly. Some friends of ours are in the field right now trying to find the SEELE headquarters. You helped pin it down, but the Arctic is a big place - it's going to take us a while to find them. And there's always the possibility they'll find us first. On top of that, we're gearing up to move out of this place, which is taking most of everybody's efforts. We -are- working on it, Shinji, but... well, it'll take a while. We may not see any results until after we've moved to Halifax."

He makes it sound like they're physically sending people up to the Arctic to walk around looking for the Seele base. Don't they have any satellites that could be pointed at the area near the north pole and start from there? Even if the base is hidden, I imagine it would still show up on IR equipment.

Shinji sighed, flopping down on his back. "I understand," he said. "I just... it makes me so mad, to think that they have her and I can't go get her back. I... " He paused, then plunged forward. "I think I love her, DJ."

Because absolutely every male character has to be paired up with someone. Even if he's Shinji Ikari.

DJ nodded. "I know the feeling," he said with a grin. "Sometimes just charging to the rescue's not the answer, though. Have patience, it'll come. I haven't forgotten my promise. If we can get her out, we will."

Notice how DJ is patient when the person in danger is someone he has almost no chance of boning.

The two young men sat in gloomy silence for a few moments.

"Ah, come on," said DJ with slightly forced good cheer. Let's round up the others and go shopping or something. Anything to get our minds off all this gloom... "


"As ways of cheering up go," DJ Croft observed a short time later, "this might not have been my best idea."

Rei Ayanami surveyed the scene before them and was forced to admit that he might have a point.

"This is a rodeo," Rei stated, her voice marginally more monotone than normal.

"Righto, gents! You Yanks like rodeos, eh wot?" DJ said Britishly.

The Worcester Galleria, a multi-story shopping mall in the heart of downtown, had seen better days, a direct correlation to the fact that Worcester itself had seen better. With the city nearly deserted, the once-bustling mall was likewise, its shops closed for lack of both customers and staff, the few still open mostly bare of goods thanks to the difficulty of transporting things to a city most shippers now considered a very-high-risk zone. It was depressingly like walking around inside a giant mausoleum; the hollow rattle of their footsteps on the marble floors was like a eulogy for a dead city. Glued to the inside of the window in the entrance door they'd come in through was a paper sign headed with the auspicious heading, "THIS WEEK'S HOURS:"

This city, she's been dead for years now (for years now)
So death is not something that scares me (that scares me)
There's worse things than death here
They told me
Keep quiet

"Not much left of old Wormtown," Jon mused, nodding in agreement with DJ and Rei's sentiments as he looked around, hands in his pockets.

I SAID KEEP QUIET, ASSHOLE.

"Still," said Shinji, "it's good to get out from underground for a while."

"We should've gone to the park," said DJ glumly - all the more so because coming to the Galleria instead had been his own idea.

"We can go there afterward," said Asuka. "Let's at least get something to eat - there are still a couple of places open in the food court."

I wouldn't recommend that. Rei gets turned on by food courts, remember?

After eating, the fivesome decided to make the best of their journey and at least look around to see what was still open. As any group of more than two (occasionally one) people in a mall will inevitably do, they began to drift apart. DJ didn't notice when he lost the rest of the group, but he did notice that someone was coming up behind him while he stood looking through a window into what remained of a shop that sold luggage. He glanced off the straight line, catching the reflection of the approaching person in the glass:

A man in a dark business suit, sunglasses covering his eyes, his mouth set in a cold, hard line, right hand inside the jacket of his suitcoat -

DJ better watch out! There's a new guy in town, and he's dressed to impress! What's he going to d-

DJ reacted without conscious thought, throwing himself to the right; as he did so, the man in the suit pulled a weapon from his jacket, leveled it and fired it. A high-pitched shriek tore through the quiet of the mall, and the window DJ had been standing in front of exploded into greenish pebbles that sleeted to the marble floor like a truckload of marbles.

"Christ!" DJ observed, tumbling once and coming back up to one knee, hauling his .45 from under his cycling jacket.

Oh of course.

"Federal agent!" the man in the suit yelled, pivoting on his heel and swinging the sonic stunner. "Drop your weapon, you are under arrest!"

Somewhere behind him, DJ heard the yowl of another stunner, back up the concourse, near the Sports Authority.

"Goddammit!" he yelled, backpedaling. The agent fired at him again; he jumped to the left, feeling the edge of the concentrated sonic pulse tug at his jacket sleeve, and behind him one of the flagstones on the floor cracked. Get hit with that dead-on and he'd be lucky to wake up at all - if he did, he'd have hearing damage for life.

Did he just dodge a sound?

Even without the question of what this guy's employers planned to do to DJ and the others if they caught them, that constituted enough of a threat for DJ to have no problems with lethal force; he ducked behind a trash barrel, then rolled out, came up to one knee again, made certain the area beyond his assailant was clear, and fired.

The guy was fast, DJ had to give him that - he threw himself down just as DJ had, and DJ's first round smacked the wall behind him. DJ dug in and ran as the sonic stunner's blast blew the trash barrel apart behind him; then he slammed through a panic-barred door and into a service hallway.

Whoa.

It's like chapter 1-1 all over again.

Except this is going to be drawn out until it becomes incredibly boring.

When he heard the door bang open again behind him, DJ turned, saw the dark suit as he'd expected and loosed two rounds, staying as low as he could and still run. The stunner yelled again, but he'd opened up enough range that the agent's aim wouldn't have been very good even had DJ not thrown him off further by shooting at him. DJ came even with a door labeled "FILENE'S SERVICE", drew himself back, and kicked just inboard of the doorknob with the heel of one of his Denali Ranger wilderness boots. The frame splintered and the door slammed open; DJ was through it in the next second.

You know what I love? When action scenes slow down to notify me of which brand of shoe a character is wearing. It really ratchets up the dramatic tension.

He emerged from the stockroom area of Filene's at a dead run, turned the corner by the shoe department -

- and nearly came face to face with a different man in a dark suit, who was just coming from Menswear and had his own stunner out, but not raised. They saw and recognized each other at the same instant.

But what kind of shoes are in the shoe department? Does it predominantly stock Nike or Adidas? These are important details.

DJ reacted faster; his V10 snapped up and let fly twice. The agent collapsed on his back, a double-lobed crimson blossom decorating his white shirt, a tidy pair of holes punched in his tie. A mannequin next to DJ exploded; he turned, let off his last shot at his pursuer, and didn't stick around to see if he'd missed.

These agents are using weapons that explode things.

So why not shoot at the floor near DJ, slicing his feet apart with shrapnel and making it impossible for him to effectively flee?

He had; the stunner blew out a panel of mirrors as DJ passed them in Menswear, scattering glass around him, and he crunched over it, then turned right and made for the exit. To get there, he had to pass the cosmetics counter.

Oh shit, not the cosmetics counter!

The girl who worked that counter, justifiably frightened by the sudden outbreak of violence in her vicinity, chose that moment to run. Unfortunately her path took her across DJ's, and the two tangled violently alongside the counter. By the time DJ got them disentangled and had propelled her none-too-gently across the aisle into Misses, the agent was almost on top of him. With nowhere else to go, he jumped over the counter. The agent was game; he took a shot at DJ as the latter was in the air, and another as he passed behind the counter.

DJ rolled past the lash of the sonic stunner, pulling his jacket collar up to shield his neck from the shower of glass that resulted when the sonic blast exploded the display case. He kept rolling and fetched up against the baseboard, lying in a motionless heap with his head on his arms and covered by his bunched jacket. The SEELE agent came around the end of the wrecked display, and DJ hoped he wasn't the cautious type. He wasn't; he made a satisfied noise, put the stunner away, kicked DJ's empty .45 out into the aisle, and grabbed DJ's wrists, hauling him to a limp semi-standing position.

What an idiot.

DJ let his body weight rock him back, then suddenly stiffened, braced his arms against the agent's, and drove the steel-shanked sole of one of his Denalis into the man's kneecap. There was a nauseating crunch, and the agent went down, howling. DJ stood straight, grabbed a heavy mirror from the counter behind him, and smashed it over the screaming man's head. He stopped screaming and fell sideways. Just to be on the safe side, DJ kicked at the agent's wounded knee; the man did not react. Satisfied that he was indeed out, DJ knelt down and rifled his coat.

THIS IS WHY YOU DOUBLE-TAP.

I hope we've all learned something today. Aside from "DJ is a sadistic fuck," which shouldn't surprise anyone at this point.

That search yielded the sonic stunner, twelve dollars, an official-looking but vague ID card ("FEDERAL AGENT") in the name of one Arthur T. Crenshaw, and a pair of handcuffs. DJ looked around for his .45; it was nowhere in ready sight, and he had no time to search for it. The others were no doubt being stalked by similar thugs, if they hadn't been caught already. He took Arthur T. Crenshaw's stunner, left the money and cuffed the unconscious agent's hands under his knees with the cuffs, then scrambled out into the corridor with the weapon at the ready. Mall patrons were wisely avoiding the general area of the store where all the noisy violence had just taken place. DJ looked up and down the corridor quickly, trying to spot any of his comrades.

He had time to handcuff the guy, but couldn't spend time looking for his gun that was kicked a short distance away, in a direction he should know.

Near the escalators to the parking garage, he saw the air -jump-, the quick brutal distortion of a concussion wave; he was far enough away that the WHOMP which reached him a moment later only made him wince. He ran in that direction.

A dozen unconscious people lay sprawled around the general vicinity of the WCiS teller machine, and a group of four agents were making for the parking garage. Two of them carried limp burdens over their shoulders - Jon and Rei.

Figures that the wonder twins are the first to go.

DJ shouted an unintelligible challenge and poured on all the speed he could muster. The foolhardiness of this was reinforced a moment later, when a plasma blast ripped past him and blew a basketball-sized hole in the teller machine. DJ skidded to a stop and threw himself down as the agent firing sent two more blasts over his head for good measure, then turned and ran after his retreating colleagues.

Snarling, DJ picked himself up and followed with a bit more prudence, but not much. He crashed the panic bars on the exit and


This post has been edited by Dr. O: Sep 4 2011, 12:59 PM


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Dr. O


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post Sep 3 2011, 08:20 PM
jumped the fire stairs a half-flight at a time, following the clattering of the agents' hard-soled shoes.

But did he bang through the fire doors?

He plunged out of the stairwell on the garage's bottom level, rounded the corner, and saw the agents dumping their unconscious cargo into the trunk of a large black sedan. This time, rather than shouting, he let the sonic stunner he'd taken from Arthur T. Crenshaw speak for him; it howled in his hand and one of the agents dropped. DJ shifted his point of aim and fired again; the driver's window of the sedan exploded from its mount in pebbles of dark safety glass just as the agent he'd been shooting at slid behind the wheel and slammed the door. A moment later the car started, dashing DJ's hopes that he'd managed to take out the driver. Another agent piled into the passenger side as the car backed out, and the third headed for a rear door, but paused for a moment to turn and take one more shot at DJ.

Hard light reached from the elevator bay and touched the agent; without a sound, he dropped to the concrete floor, acrid smoke pouring from the black crater in his chest. DJ turned to see Asuka emerging from the elevator at the run. She had an X-COM Mark V laser pistol in her hand.

what.

There was no point in running after the car; it had already lunged up the ramp, and DJ could hear the sound of it crashing through the wooden barricade blocking the I-290 exit. By the time they got up there, the car would be on the highway, halfway to Berlin or Auburn.

Those agents are going to drive across the Trans-Atlantic Highway, all the way to Berlin!

DJ let out one of his choicest profanities. Shinji came out of the elevator, looked around bewilderedly, and ran after Asuka.

"Are you all right?" Asuka asked as she came to a stop next to DJ. Shinji's eyes went wide as he surveyed the scene - the unconscious man, the dead man, the tire marks.

"I'm fine - but the bastards got Jon and Rei!" DJ snarled.

They got the people who are psychic and can passively sense other people's emotions and inte- wait a minute...

This shit makes no sense.

The flush of exertion washed out of Asuka's face. "Oh, God," she murmured. "Who are they?" she asked when she'd recovered some of her composure.

"Their IDs just say 'Federal Agent'
'Female Body Inspector'," DJ replied. "Probably SEELE Security." He squatted down and took a closer look at the one Asuka had burned. The dead agent was a ginger-haired man of about thirty, his hatchet face frozen in a look of permanent surprise. "Say," DJ observed. "I know this bastard."

It's Ginger!

This really is chapter 1-1! Only dumber!

"You do?"

"Well, only to say 'sod you' to," said DJ. "He and a big salt-and-pepper-haired bloke about forty tried to snatch me at the airport my very first day in town. I assumed they were overzealous NERV MIBs like Stanfield, who I met not long after." DJ frowned thoughtfully, still regarding the dead man's face. "But now that I think about it... they never joined the party when Stanfield caught me at the bottom of the hill, even though they weren't too far behind me. They saw the real NERV agents and faded... " He sat back on his haunches, his frown deepening.

Asuka cursed. "And now they've got Jon and Rei. Who knows -where- they took them... "

It would be kind of cool if NERV put tracking chips on Rei and Jon and allowed them to be captured. Given the level of competence the villains have displayed so far, I bet Seele would take the two to their main base, inform them of all their diabolical plans, and then place them in an easily escapable trap with a lone inept guard.

The agent DJ had stunned moaned and stirred faintly. A shadow slipped out from behind one of the nearby cars and flickered to the man's side; DJ, Shinji and Asuka drew back. A challenge died on DJ's lips as he recognized that shadow.

It was Kevin Nelson.

Hey Kaworu, how's it going?

DJ could, perhaps, be forgiven for not immediately recognizing Kevin. He looked very different from the last time DJ had seen him. His raincoat had started to tatter a bit at the edges, and his shirt was filthy, yet for some reason, he still wore his necktie, loosely knotted at his throat. His once-pale skin was dusky, and not entirely with grime, though he had accumulated a good helping of that too. Where before he had faintly resembled Rei, now he looked more like Jon; his hair, matted and spiky, had gone jet black, and his eyes glittered like emeralds, hard, cold, and green.

Attention fanfic authors:

Please stop comparing eyes to precious gems. If you must, at least use a gemstone that's fairly obscure.

Kevin reached down, gathered the SEELE agent's shirtfront into his long-fingered hand, and lifted the man off the floor as if he weighed nothing at all.

"-He- knows," said Kevin, holding the man at his eye level. His voice was a hoarse, harsh rasp. "And he's going to tell us exactly how to get there... aren't you?" he asked the agent icily.

I can't imagine Kaworu being threatening. Not even the crazy manga version who strangles kittens for fun.

"Annnggghhh," said the semiconscious agent, his head lolling.

"Yes," said Kevin, his thin lips twisting into a sardonic sneer. "You're going to be very cooperative indeed." He shook the man slightly; the agent moaned again, shook his head, and lifted it, his eyes coming back into focus slightly.

He's speaking with "a hoarse, harsh rasp" and "a sardonic sneer." Were we watching the same show, Eyrie?

"Wha - ?" said the agent.

Kevin impaled the agent on his gaze, staring wide-eyed into the man's face. The agent flinched as if struck and tried to look away, but it was as if he couldn't. Veins popped out in his neck as he strained to avert his eyes; now fully conscious, he began to whimper and shake, his hands pawing ineffectually at Kevin's arm.

Yeah! Show that rebel scum who's boss!

Then the unfortunate agent threw his head back and let out a horrific shriek, so raw and desperate it hardly seemed to have come from a human throat. His eyes rolled back in his head, and he sagged bonelessly in Kevin's grip, the shriek trailing away to a rattling gurgle and then lapsing into silence.

Kevin made a small, disgusted noise and tossed the man aside. He tumbled, absolutely limp, through the air, collapsed halfway across the hood of a nearby car, and then slid slowly across it and tumbled to the concrete floor on his back. Kevin turned his back and walked slowly away, as DJ and Asuka stared after him in utter shock.

I liked this scene better when it was in Star Wars.

"You'll find Jon and Rei at the decommissioned X-COM base under the student center at Mount Holyoke College," Kevin said flatly, without turning to look at any of the three people he was addressing. "I'd get moving if I were you. The police will be here soon, and every second you waste here is one less second that your friends have to live." His voice seethed with controlled energy, as though he were remaining calm and dispassionate only with the greatest of efforts.

No, Kaworu! Everyone knows the base is on Dantooine Yavin IV!

Shinji went to the fallen agent's side as if in a dream, knelt down, and pressed his fingers to the man's throat; a moment later, he looked up at Kevin's back with horror in his eyes.

"He's dead!" Shinji cried. "You've killed him!"

Today we learn that people die when they're killed!

"So what?" Kevin snarled, whirling on the boy with his eyes full of rage. "He was -weak-. He had a -right- to die."

Kaworu's stance on euthanasia severely hampered his political career.

"I don't care what he was!" Shinji replied, Kevin's callous dismissal kindling his own anger in kind. He stood up and took a step toward the black-haired youth. "He was defenseless and you murdered him!"

You murdered him and now he's dead! He has ceased to be alive! Because you killed him! This supports my hypothesis that you're a murderer!

"You have a problem with that?!" Kevin demanded. He pointed at the dead agent and went on, "You feel some compassion for this... this -filth-? He just helped the other side take two of your number away, and believe me, it's not a party that awaits them when they get to where they're going." Kevin rounded and pointed to Asuka, who was still gaping in speechless horror at the entire scene before her. "What about her? She burned a hole big enough to see through in that one," he went on, indicating the laser-burned corpse. "Why aren't you giving -her- the humanitarian speech?"

Because killing people is A-OK when the protagonists do it.

"That was different," Shinji replied stubbornly. "-He- was about to shoot DJ. Asuka was protecting her friend. That man was helpless and you killed him anyway! That's... that's -wrong-."

"What do you know of 'wrong'?" Kevin raged. "He put his filthy hands on Jon and Rei and helped his kind take them away, and for that he had to die! What does your tiny human mind find so difficult to comprehend about that?!"

Honestly, does this sound even remotely like Kaworu?

"I don't know who you are," Shinji replied, "but you can't be any friend of Rei's. You act more like one of -them-!"

Kevin roared with rage and lunged, shooting out a hand to seize Shinji by the throat. Shinji jumped back, but too slowly -

- and Kevin's hand struck an invisible barrier with a ringing, bell-like sound, causing concentric hexagonal ripples to flicker out in space from the point of impact.

... the fuck?

"What the - ?!" all four participants cried.

Kevin stumbled back, the wrath on his face replaced by shock and even a bit of fear. His expression disintegrated into one of total panic, as though he had just realized something infinitely terrifying.

"No! No, no, no, nooooooo!" he wailed. "Not this! Anything but this!" He fell to his knees, then raised tortured eyes, streaming with tears, to the dingy concrete ceiling, calling out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

Get it, guys? The authors are quoting something vaguely sorta kind of maybe relevant to the fic! We're gettin' referential up in this bitch!

Asuka and DJ glanced at each other, comprehension dawning. Shinji took a step toward the prostrate figure in the dark coat, but DJ caught his shoulder and dragged him back.

"Come on, Shinji, we've got to go."

"But - he needs help!" Shinji protested. "We can't just leave him there."

"It's all we -can- do," Asuka replied. "We can't do anything for him."

Whoa, slow down. I want to know what happened.

Shinji looked troubled, but stopped trying to get free and started running with them. They reached Jon's car in under a minute; since Jon had been carrying the keys, they had to break a window with the butt of Asuka's laser pistol, then hotwire the ignition, to get it out of there. They cleared the garage bare seconds before the cops arrived. DJ drove away at a sedate enough pace not to attract police attention, then got the car out on I-290 and pushed it as hard as he could to the west.

You can't gloss over something like that. Tell me what's going on.

DJ wasn't as good a driver in a car as he was on a motorcycle. Cars were too big and distributed; he didn't have as definite a sense of where a car's edges were, or how well it was connecting with the road. When behind the wheel, he was generally more conservative than he would have been behind the bars. Today he threw it all to the wind and drove as far out on the edge of panic as he dared, praying to all the saints he could think of that the state police weren't on the troll for traffic violators today.

If you don't, I'll make something up.

After Shinji had recovered enough from the succession of shocking events that had just overtaken him to speak, he said from the back seat, "Shouldn't we call Headquarters and tell them what's happened?"

"Unless you've got a cell phone you haven't told us about, we can't," said Asuka. "Not without stopping, and there's no time to stop."

OK fuck you. Here's what I think happened:

Attached Image

"Knew I should've just sent Amy a -videodisc-, but noooo, I had to be the -dramatic- one," DJ grumbled, glancing at the useless HALcomm unit on his wrist.

See? This is what happens when you people don't listen to me.

Shinji thought about that for a moment, then nodded.

The rest of the drive, hell-bent across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, passed in silence, except for verbal cues from the navicomputer when they drew close to their objective.

"Navicomputer?" Oh, right, this was written back when GPS was science fiction.


Misato Katsuragi looked up from her dataterm as the telephone on her desk shrilled. She considered letting it go to voice mail - she was very busy - but the little caller ID window on the phone read "IBUKI, MAYA - MOCR STATION", so it was probably important, so she picked it up.

"Katsuragi."

"Brigadier, turn on channel 33," said Maya's voice. "Could be a problem."

You should listen to her, Misato. Ruri knows what's up.

"We're getting our problem notifications from Worcester's local TV stations now?" Misato inquired. "We -are- getting desperate." Turning in her swivel chair, she hunted the remote for her little TV out of the top drawer of her desk and thumbed it on.

" - olice are still investigating at the scene, but few details are known at this time," reporter Candace Williams (who insisted on being bylined as 'Candace' now that she'd fought her way up to real news stories from the 'On the Town with Candy Williams' gig) was saying. "All we know for sure is that some kind of gun battle broke out at the Worcester Galleria just minutes ago, demolishing several stores and leaving at least three men dead."

What's with this stupid plot? Go back to describing a small-town news station reporter's career path! That's what the readers really want to see!

Behind Williams, Misato could see one of the lower levels of the Galleria parking garage. An ambulance was standing near the elevators; just beyond Williams's right shoulder, a parking space with a glittering spatter of powdered glass could be seen, and two paramedics bending over the sprawled body of a man in a black business suit.

Misato was just about to ask Maya what the hell this had to do with any of -them- when one of the paramedics moved, revealing the wound on the black-suited man's chest.

"Holy Christ!" Misato cried, coming up out of her chair. "That's a laser burn!"

Apparently, she has enough experience with laser weapons to instantly recognize injuries caused by them.

"Earlier they showed an ATM up on the mall floor that looked like somebody took a plasma weapon to it," Maya told her. "That's when I decided you should see it."

I would question whether Ruri should be an expert on plasma guns, but she is a genius.

In fact, I'll just assume that, unless a character is explicitly stated not to know something, all of the good guys are omniscient.

"What do you think? Dust-down between some of our security guys and SEELE agents?"

"All of our security officers are accounted for - but we did have personnel at the Galleria this afternoon," Maya reminded her.

Misato stared at the TV for a moment longer, then sat back down heavily. "Oh NO."


The former student center of Mount Holyoke College looked abandoned. No guards were posted outside, and nobody came out to challenge the three EVA pilots as the Avenger pulled to a halt outside. DJ, Asuka, and Shinji piled out of the car and went around to the trunk; there, just as they had expected and hoped, they found the contingency equipment the security department had fitted the car with when it had been officially requisitioned for service.

If Shinji pulls out a SAW and delivers a Duke Nukem one-liner before storming the place, this chapter will be at least 2% redeemed.

There were a brace of plasma pistols and a holster-belt set for them, four plasma pistol powerpacks, and some random security and medical gear. Lacking the multicompartmented utility suits of X-COM troopers, they had to leave most of that behind. DJ took off his empty shoulder holster and put it in the trunk, swapping it for the plasma weapons and their rig. He pocketed some slap patches and pressure bandages while Asuka rummaged through the security gear. There was a pair of X-COM issue combat gloves, sized to fit Jon's slender hands; they wouldn't fit DJ, so Asuka took them.

You mean Asuka doesn't have man-hands? Huh...

These were heavy black leather gloves with reinforced palms for climbing and gripping; they left the fingertips bare for increased weapon sensitivity, but the ridge across the knuckles was reinforced and backed with small pouches into which several ounces of powdered lead had been sewn. Additionally, on the first and third knuckles, tiny round silver contacts gleamed. These were connected to a small but very powerful single-discharge flat-pack battery spanning most of the back of the hand. If bridged by a conductive substance during the course of a significant impact, they would release that battery's whole charge in about a millisecond. The idea had originally been to provide X-COM's troopers with a way of capturing aliens alive for the Research Division. The requirement of engaging in hand-to-hand combat was not well-received, causing the tactic to be phased out in favor of the shock-rod approach, but the feature had remained and sometimes found applications in security.

blah blah blah NOBODY CARES

DJ also found an emergency distress beacon. This seemed to be as good a time as any for declaring a distressful emergency, so he switched it on and tossed it back into the trunk of the car.

"That ought to get -somebody's- attention," he said.

Finishing their rummaging, DJ and Asuka turned around to see Shinji standing a little way off, watching them with a grave and troubled expression.

Raising the question of why they even brought him along.

"Shinji, you don't have to come along," said Asuka. "Why don't you wait here? You'll be as safe here as anyplace... "

Shinji shook his head. "No, I want to help."

DJ nodded. "All right, if that's what you want. You'll need a weapon." He turned back to the trunk to see if there was anything in there he'd missed, or if he'd have to give Shinji one of the plasma pistols, but Shinji reached behind his back and came out with a familiar silver object.

Shinji's packing heat? What?

"I found this in Filene's," he said. "I think you killed the one who was chasing me... I... " He looked faintly ashamed of himself and admitted, "I hid in the changing rooms and only came out after I heard the explosion. This was lying on the floor... I thought I recognized it as yours, so I picked it up."

That was remarkably in-character... at least until he picked up the gun.

DJ brightened a little. "Well, thanks!" he said. "Thought sure I'd lost the old thing this time." He reached and took the spare .45 magazine from the trunk, then offered it to Shinji. "You know how to use one of those?"

With a businesslike expression, Shinji took the magazine, stuck it into his trouser pocket, racked the .45's slide open and let it lock on the empty magazine already installed, inspected the chamber, released the empty mag, tossed it past DJ into the trunk, slapped the charged one into place, dropped the slide, set the safety, and tucked the gun back into his waistband.

"Yes," he said flatly.

No Shinji, you're supposed to say something like "I'm intimately familiar with this gun... and your mom."

The one-liner can't be too good, since it's Shinji, but you get the idea.

DJ glanced at Asuka, who shrugged with a small grin.

"All right, then," said DJ. "Let's go."


The beacon did indeed get somebody's attention - specifically, that of Makoto Hyuuga, on whose console the alarm first appeared.

Hey, it's that one guy! I remember him! Barely.

"What the hell's that?" asked Maya Ibuki as the throbbing whine streamed out from Hyuuga's console.

"X-COM MIB distress beacon alarm," Hyuuga said, silencing the siren and punching the beacon's transponder data onto his VDT. "Vehicle beacon, part of a standard MIB field kit... ID number 44-JE-01. Jon Ellison's."

What, they're not going to tell us the car's make and model? What a gyp.

"Where?" Misato demanded, leaning over the railing of the control room's upper deck.

"Getting a fix on that now," Hyuuga replied. On the main screen, a map of Massachusetts appeared; a moment later a blinking red light appeared over the town of South Hadley, well to the western end of the state.

"South Hadley?! What the hell's there?"

Fun fact: NERV was going to build its base in Neo South Hadley-17, but switched to Worcester-3 at the last minute.

"An X-COM facility, once," said Ryoji Kaji. "Closed in 2001, when it became pretty obvious that the Hidden War wasn't going to pick up to anything like its pre-Second Impact levels. SEELE must be using it as a bolthole. They probably tried to put the snatch on our pilots at the Galleria."

"put the snatch on..." Is that supposed to mean something?

"This is my fault," Misato said, banging a fist on the control-room railing. "Why the hell did I let them go to the mall without security? This thing is escalating so damn fast I shouldn't have let them go at -all-!"

Kaji shrugged. "Trying to keep some semblance of normalcy in life is important too," he observed. "Especially given all that these kids have been through."

Mall kidnappings are normal, right?

"Well, now they're going through -more- because of my carelessness," Misato growled. "Maya, get EVA-03 onto one of the 411s and prep the Mobile Command Unit. Let's get the hell over there. If Jon's field beacon just went active, his car is there, which means he might still be free."

Or maybe Seele set off his beacon to lure NERV into a trap.

Except that would be interesting, so it won't happen.

"Roger," Maya replied. "Truss, you and Hyuuga stay here in case something -else- goes wrong."

"Right," said Truss, nodding with what he hoped was more confidence than he actually felt.


They found storerooms, laboratories, rooms that looked like distressingly modified surgeries, and one or two chambers whose purpose was completely unidentifiable. There was a room full of deactivated cryotanks and another full of large vats of a familiar-looking yellowish-clear liquid. None of them contained any personnel, though.

There was even a rumpus room!

At the last door on the corridor, they stopped and listened. From the hum of machinery beyond the door, the room sounded occupied; DJ leaned close to the door, trying to make out a sound or a recognizable voice.

The hum escalated, and a recognizable voice obliged him by raising itself in an agonized shriek.

Like when the Empire captured Han Solo in Cloud City! I remember this!

This is the place, DJ thought, and applied his boot to the door. As it burst open, he stepped back a half-step and Asuka piled into the room, her laser ready; a heartbeat later he went in behind her with his plasmas out.

This was a room about the size of one of the classrooms at old Crossroads High, and decorated like an operating theater, its walls and floor covered in white tile. It had three doors: the one they had just entered through, near one corner, one at the other end of the wall behind them, and another directly opposite it, leading through the far wall to either a perpendicular corridor or another room. There were no windows. The wall to DJ and Asuka's backs was covered from ceiling to mid-wall and from one end to the door at the other by a mirror.

fuck yeah room description

At the far end of the room, Jon Ellison was strapped to a steel table that was mounted such that it could be rotated about its short axis. At the moment, he was hanging face-down from it at about a forty-five degree angle, head up. Below him was a nasty-looking assemblage of needles, graspers, and electrodes mounted on an angled platform; Jon's noisemaking, DJ concluded, was most likely by way of protest to the fact that he was currently being applied to these devices by the hand controlling his table's rotation.

OK, so... he was face-down, with his head at the elevated end of the table... and he was hanging? I can picture it, but that description is so unwieldy.

That hand belonged to a girl of perhaps sixteen, slender and pretty in a disturbingly familiar way. Her hair was coal-black and her eyes were emerald green, and the light in those eyes showed her observers that she was enjoying the process of applying Jon to the devices as much as Jon was not. She had on a kind of rough light-blue canvas smock over a fairly plain blouse and skirt, presumably to protect that blouse and skirt from the fallout of her activities. She looked up at the sound of the door being crashed, recognized her visitors, and smiled in greeting. It wasn't the sort of smile that gave ease to the person being smiled at.

Aside from being black-haired, green-eyed, and older, the girl was a dead ringer for Rei Ayanami.

Then she doesn't resemble Rei all that much, does she?

Shinji, puzzled that DJ and Asuka had stopped short with weapons raised but had not fired, looked around the broken doorframe into the room, then gasped.

"Ichi!" he cried.

His dear, sweet improbably-named love interest.

Her green eyes flickered to him, and a mixture of surprise, annoyance and regret passed through them.

"Shinji," she said. "Why are you here?"

Shinji gaped for a second and a half, then swallowed hard and mastered his shock with a facility that surprised Asuka and DJ. "Why are -you- here?" he replied. "What is this? Why are you doing this to Jon? Ichi, the information Natla gave us about NERV was wrong! The children weren't prisoners there! Jon wasn't helping them to control Rei; he did everything he could to protect her. He loves her!"

EVERYONE MUST BE IN LOVE.

NO EXCEPTIONS.

Ichi regarded the sagging, semiconscious specimen on the table with evident disgust. "I know. Revolting, isn't it? Abyss knows I have no love for the angel, but to be touched by this half-breed experiment?" She shivered. "One of his brothers tried to touch me once; I broke his arm."

Shinji had realized immediately upon entering the room that something was horribly wrong; now he began to feel the hideous suspicion that what was wrong was his assumption of what would have been right.

"I don't understand," he said in a small voice. His eyes filled with tears that he made no attempt at wiping away.

Allow me to put it in terms you can understand.

ICHI... BAAAAAAAD!

"I do," Asuka said, her voice harsh and her eyes full of loathing. "She belongs to them, Shinji. She alway has. They... " Asuka looked as if the next words tasted filthy on her tongue. "They gave her to you to keep you docile."

Which is different than NERV putting their pilots in mixed-gender housing, with the effect (as stated in this very chapter) of keeping them emotionally grounded. Totally different.

"What?" Shinji whispered, the word coming out as a hoarse sob. He turned his eyes to Asuka, not wanting to believe but somehow knowing that it was true.

"I'm sorry, Shinji," said Asuka, not taking her hate-filled eyes off Ichi. "She never cared about you."

Villains are incapable of love, because if they could love other people then they would be good guys. You can tell DJ is a good person because the story tells us that he loves Asuka. None of the bad guys can have good motives like protecting loved ones, because if they did not wake up in the morning and ask themselves "how can I make breakfast the evil way?" and then cackle about how evil they are, there would be moral ambiguity, which frustrates Eyrie.

"That's not true!" Ichi protested petulantly. "I do care. You should have stayed with us, Shinji. I know that I haven't been fully honest with you in the past - but the truth is that I did it all to -help- you, to keep you confident and strong. Because I -care- about you. You're the first and only human that I've ever cared about, did you know that?"

Asuka's upper lip curled back from her teeth. "Get away from Jon or I'll burn your face off," she said through gritted teeth.

Maybe someone other than Asuka should try to talk Ichi down.

"I wouldn't," said Ichi conversationally.

Asuka readied herself to fulfil her promise when she felt something cool and hard poke her behind the left ear.

No! You fool! You don't press the gun against them - that just lets them know where it is!

"It's about time you got here," Ichi snarled as a black- jumpsuited guard entered the room through the door at her end of the room. Asuka cursed inwardly, and heard DJ not being quite so restrained about it, as they both upbraided themselves for getting so caught up in the little drama playing out between Shinji and Ichi that they hadn't paid attention to the door behind them.

"Sorry, ma'am," said the voice of another guard behind Asuka. His black-sleeved hand came into view as he relieved Asuka of her laser pistol. She glanced to her right to see a third holding down on DJ, who, with a look of grudging loathing, put his plasma weapons on the floor. The guard covering him kicked them over into the corner, behind the door.

How long do you think these nameless minions are going to last?

...

Yeah, me too.

Nobody paid any attention to Shinji; he was standing near the door, slight and helpless, his arms wrapped around himself and his face a mask of disbelief as he struggled to comprehend this horrifying change in the girl he loved - or struggled to comprehend that it wasn't a change at all.

"I loved you," he said, his voice tiny and raw, as he gazed at her with a strange mixture of horror and wistfulness in his eyes.

Ichi nodded offhandedly. "I remember," she said. "Inexpertly, but not without a certain... panache. Natlateth was worried that I might balk at that step, but to tell you the truth I found it quite enjoyable." She smiled as a thought occurred to her, and said, "Why don't you come back to us? No one needs to know that you helped them briefly - we can say you were their prisoner. Just come over here and let me deal with these two, and everything will be all right."

This is just too good. They make a point of saying that Shinji has sex "inexpertly," whereas DJ's first time was presented as the greatest thing in the world. You can really tell where the author's bias lies here.

Shinji stared disbelieving at her. "But these are my friends!" he protested.

Ichi made a frustrated noise, tossing her head. "Why? Do you think that these 'friends' of yours would be giving you the time of day if you hadn't been thrown into the middle of this war? Of course not - they'd be just like the others, ignoring you and leaving you to sit in the corner listening to your Walkman, and wondering just what it would be like to have someone to talk to."

Shinji was silent, not responding. He just stood by the doorway, his face becoming more and more troubled as the seconds passed.

He must be so upset that Ichi, in her ignorance of the intricate subtleties of post-Second Impact tape casette player technology, mistakenly said that he listens to a Walkman.

"Take a few moments to think it over, Shin-chan," said Ichi. Seeming to remember the rest of her guests, she turned back to address the guards.

"Kill these two," she said.

DJ's eyes flicked to his left and met Asuka's. The corner of her mouth turned up in the tiniest of smiles, and she winked at him.

She has a cunning plan.

As the guard behind DJ said, "OK, let's go," and put his hand on DJ's shoulder to guide him out of the room and to his death, DJ let out a despairing moan and pitched forward into a fetal position, his knees buckling. He fell forward with his arms folded over his chest and his knees drawn up, twisting slightly to the left so that he landed more or less on his right shoulder, rolling onto his back -

- and Arthur T. Crenshaw's sonic stunner screamed down the puzzled guard before the man ever had time to realize that his erstwhile prisoner's faint was a sham.

Which wouldn't have been a problem if they'd bothered searching him. But I guess standard police procedure is too advanced for Seele's elite forces.

The guard covering Asuka reacted just as she and DJ had hoped he would, forgetting about his own prisoner to react to his colleague's felling with an indignant shout and a leveling of his weapon. DJ, flat on his back on the floor with the stunner still aimed at where his guard had been, would be at the other guard's mercy for at least a second or two. By the time he could re-aim the stunner, he would be dead.

Luckily, Asuka hadn't paid much attention to DJ's maneuver; instead she waited for her guard to stop looking at her, then pivoted on her heel and drove her fist into his face with all the recently- reconstituted strength she could summon.

Which wouldn't have been a problem if he'd shot Asuka and then turned on DJ.

By itself, that wouldn't have been enough to do anything but get the guard's attention. After all, the man was a good foot taller than Asuka, ruggedly built, a professional soldier, and her strength, though mostly regained, had never been too impressive. Athletic or not, she was still a fifteen-year-old girl, and a slender one at that.

Except Asuka was wearing X-COM combat gloves. Hit in the face by a pound of speeding lead and 20,000 volts, the guard dropped as though she'd just cut his head off with an axe, smoke curling up from the two little burns on the angle of his jaw.

Which wouldn't have been a problem if they'd taken the gloves. Or are they unaware of X-COM equipment now, despite having fought a war against X-COM and knowing enough to set up shop in a former X-COM base?

All that took about a second and a half. Unfortunately, though brilliantly conceived and executed, DJ and Asuka's maneuvers had one major drawback: they left the two facing away from the -third- guard and Ichi. With time still feeling slowed by the adrenaline rush of their sudden counterattack, both DJ and Asuka could see that guard, reflected with slight distortion in the mirror (or was it a one-way window?) at the back of the room, but they couldn't do very much about him until they had enough time to turn around.

By which time he'd have shot one of them.

Who cares? Let's hear more about that mirror and/or window!

Asuka met DJ's eyes in the mirror and took heart in their mutual resolve: whichever one went down, the other would make that last guard pay for it. She steeled himself for the shot, wishing the sudden, burning agony on herself, wishing for DJ to be spared, some detached part of her mind noticing how remarkable it was that anyone should prefer to die and be avenged rather than survive and avenge.

And all of this in a split-second.

Yup.

The shot sounded out of place; the sharp incongruity of it broke the sensation of distorted time even as the green plasma pulse missed DJ and Asuka entirely and shattered the mirror instead. Asuka turned to see the guard falling to the floor, his head a bloody ruin from the eyebrows up. Ichi was standing next to the rack that held Jon, a plasma pistol half-drawn from under her smock, a stunned expression on her face.

Asuka looked quite puzzled for a moment, until she realized that the strange-sounding shot had really been three different sounds happening at almost the same time: one, the whining zap of the plasma discharge; the other, the hard rap of conventional gunfire; the third, the sharp wet slap of a bullet shattering a skull. She glanced at DJ, wondering if he had pulled off some kind of bizarre over-the-shoulder shot with the guard's reflection in the mirror to guide him. It seemed absurd, even for DJ; good as he was with a handgun, he wasn't Napoleon Solo, and anyway he hadn't had a pistol with him.

holy balls this is so boring

DJ was still sitting on the floor, still facing the broken mirror, but his head was turned. He wasn't looking at Ichi; that would have required quite an agile neck. Rather, he was looking toward the doorway, a look of incredulous shock on his face.

Shinji Ikari stood near the door with DJ's smoking .45 automatic in his hand.

Ichi found her voice first. "Shin-chan - what are you doing?"

AW SHIT. So much for Gadreel.

"I'm sorry, Ichi," said Shinji, his voice a bit shaky but strong. "I can't let you kill my friends."

Ichi made that irritated noise again. "Your friends," she said, loading the word with disgust. "Shinji, stop and -think- for a second. You're so close to understanding! Let -go- of that craving for acceptance, -realize- that you can't go on living your life for the sake of everyone else, and just be your own person. Live for -yourself-."

Shinji's jaw quivered. Watching him, DJ and Asuka glanced at each other, and the troubled look they shared was clear. They both knew enough of Shinji's history to know that Ichi had just struck a nerve in him.

Do it, Shinji! Kill them all! You know you want to.

"Do Natlateth or the others here care about you? No, probably not," Ichi admitted. "She doesn't care about anyone but herself, and her plans. But -I- care about you, Shinji, and I can protect you from what she's planning to do. Her plan was never to wipe out all of humanity, and she has no great vendetta against you. You can't prevent what's going to come next, Shinji, but I can make sure that you're still around after the dust settles. We can both be safe together, and that's all that's important."

Shinji shook his head. "How can you believe that? Do you really think I'd live happily with you in a world where Natla gets her way? She killed my mother, did you know that?"

"My name is Inigo Shintoya. You killed my mother. Prepare to die."

Ichi looked genuinely puzzled. "What does that matter? We're not talking about your mother, or your father, or your - " she made a dismissive gesture - "friends. We're talking about -you- and -me-. Let the others go, or you'll fall with them. Don't let them drag you down alongside them."

Shinji lowered the gun slightly, but only to get the sights out of his way so he could concentrate fully on the look of utter disbelief he was giving Ichi.

I can't decide whether you should live or die
Oh you'll prob'ly go to Heaven
Please don't hang your head and cry
No wonder why
My heart feels dead inside
It's cold and hard and petrified

"How can you be so selfish?" he asked her.

That would be an extremely good question... if it were directed at DJ.

She drew her plasma pistol the rest of the way from her smock and leveled it at Asuka. "How can you be so foolish?" she replied. "Shinji, I love you, but I don't have time to argue with you. These two are going to die, now or later, it doesn't matter. -You- don't have to. That's all I'm offering you. Now come over here and stop being such an idiot."

Her finger tightened on the trigger.

DJ glanced at his own plasmas; too far to jump before Ichi could fire. He tensed himself, getting ready to throw himself instead into the path of the shot, even as Asuka saw him doing it and drew breath to tell him to stop.

Then they glanced at each other and had another whole conversation by looking at one another's eyes, discussing the merits of open-world, exploration-based shooters such as STALKER relative to more linear corridor shooters such as Space Marine. After a while (and much squabbling over the proper classification of Far Cry 2), they both agreed that Saints Row 3 is going to be a must-buy.

This time the gunshot went off by itself, its hard, sharp shout caroming off the tiled walls of the room. The echoes had just started to die when the spent cartridge case tinkled to the floor as a sort of sonic postscript, followed shortly by the harsh clatter of metal on tile as Ichi's plasma weapon fell from her hand.

Ichi frowned thoughtfully at the slowly spreading scarlet stain on the front of her smock, and then looked at Shinji. The corners of her mouth cocked upward in a smile.

"I feel... cold."

"Well, I will be God-damned," she said slowly and distinctly. "Shinji. You were actually -listening-. I'm... I'm proud of you."

Then her eyes rolled up in her head and she crumpled to the floor.

Shinji stood rooted to the spot where he stood, staring not at Ichi's body but at the spot where she had been standing, past the empty space and at the blood on the far wall. It was just blood - bright red, just like his own. Some part of Shinji felt vaguely disappointed.

Yeah, aren't villains supposed to explode or drop treasure when they die?

DJ got slowly to his feet and carefully took a step toward Shinji. "Shinji?" he inquired softly. "You all right?"

Shinji broke the pose and lowered the gun, turning slowly to face DJ. "I... I think so," he replied, and a look of bleak surprise came onto his face. "I don't... I don't feel much of anything."

"That comes later," DJ replied, picking up his plasma pistols. Asuka collected her laser from the guard who'd taken it from her, then went to get Jon out of the contraption he'd been locked into. DJ put his hand on Shinji's shoulder; Shinji shrugged it off and went over to Ichi's side. He absent-mindedly set the .45's safety, stuck it into the back of his waistband, then crouched down on his haunches next to the body.

Asuka's concern for Jon is such that she stopped to retrieve her gun before helping him.

Slowly, almost reverently, Shinji reached out and closed her eyes; then he let his fingertips trace the side of her face, bowed his head, and gave a great, shuddering sigh.

DJ looked at him for a moment, decided there was nothing to be gained by bothering him, and went to help Asuka with Jon.

Yes, turn your back on Shinji. Then, when he snaps...

"Jon?" Asuka said as she carefully unstrapped the tall, lanky, battered pilot and helped him down from the rack. "Can you hear me? It's Asuka, Jon. Can you hear me?"

Jon blinked blearily, shaking his head. "Ah... Ash'ka?" he blurred. "Can't... can't shee yuh. Druh... drugged me. Keep me... " His haggard face quirked into a faint echo of a smile. "Keep me fr'm killin' 'em all." He gestured vaguely with a hand, and Asuka could see drying blood smeared on the tips of several fingers; on the face of the guard Shinji had shot, Asuka noticed three very deep scratches. One of them had come within millimeters of destroying the man's right eye.

"How is he?" asked DJ as he stepped around the torture machine.

His conversational skills are about at CWC's level, so...

"Bad," Asuka replied. "Jon, can you walk? We have to get out of here."

"Whuh... where's Rei?" asked Jon.

"We don't know yet," DJ replied. "We have to look for her next."

That seemed to strike a spark inside Jon; he blinked, tried valiantly to focus on his teammate's face, then closed his eyes. His face composed itself into a look of deep concentration, losing all of the pain-drunk, drugged weariness. He began to tremble violently; Asuka made a concerned noise and held him tighter, to keep him from falling as he twitched and shuddered. In such close contact, she could actually -feel- the change that came over him, feel his body harden as his skin darkened and his fingernails thickened.

Jon's hulking out!

Then it was over, and he softened and slackened, almost swooning; after a moment, some strength came back to him, and he opened his eyes and smiled.

"While they were hurting me," he said, "I couldn't concentrate enough to do that. I hate to admit it, but it's handy." He stepped back, disengaging himself from Asuka's arms; then he noticed Shinji, and what he was kneeling next to, and a look of puzzlement spread over his face.

"What the - ?" he said.

"It's a long story," DJ told him.

You can say that again.

"Where is - "

The sounds of running feet, a lot of them, came from the corridor outside.

"Come on, Shinji, we've got to go!" cried DJ as Asuka and Jon started heading for the far door, the one the nearest dead guard had entered through.

Shinji remained where he was for a moment; then he looked up at the doorway where he, DJ and Asuka had entered the room. The first of what promised to be a large number of uniformed guards came through it, his plasma rifle at the ready; DJ burned him down with one of his pistols and shouted for Shinji again.

Sure is convenient that none of these guards have armor resistant to plasma weapons. But it's not like such a thing exists in the X-COM games and the authors have selectively included and excluded X-COM tech for the sake of narrative convenience, right?

Right?

Shinji Ikari regarded the door and the next guard through it for a moment; then he turned, grabbed the fallen guard's weapon by its sling, and dragged it across the floor into his hands. As guards began to enter the room through both far doors, Shinji stood up, looked around as though realizing where he was, and then ran to the door and followed DJ, Asuka and Jon out into the connecting corridor.

Cut off by the newly-arrived guard squad from the route they took to get in, the NERV contingent selected a new route pretty much at random.

If only they'd brought a navicomputerlocationfindertron.

"Jon, do you have any idea where Rei is?" Asuka asked.

Jon seemed as though he were listening for a moment, then said, "No. They must be hiding her from me somehow... she's nearby, but... " He shook his head. "I can't tell where."

"Well, it -seemed- like a good idea," Asuka muttered to herself.

She hasn't realized that psychic powers only work at arbitrary times (coincidentally, whenever the authors have written themselves into a corner and need a convenient out).

"More guards down this way," DJ noted, blasting at the group of uniformed men down the way to keep their heads down while the EVA pilots took a side corridor at the run.


Rei Ayanami slipped softly out of a dream of the lights of Heaven and into something more closely approximating reality - a rather hard and uncompromising reality, at that. She was lying on something stiff and cold, and her head was ringing not with the sounds of the celestial spheres, but residual aural shock from the concussion blast. She sat up slowly and carefully, and just as carefully opened her eyes.

There's more of this?

The room she was in was about fifteen feet square and barren, with cinderblock walls, a low ceiling and a heavy-looking door at the far end. The light came from a circular fluorescent fixture on the ceiling. The surface she'd been lying on was not so much a bed as a narrow shelf jutting out from one of the walls.

Now do you see why it took me so long to mock this chapter? Not only is it interminably long, but it's also clogged up with passage after passage of room descriptions. It's insane.

Jon Ellison stood at the far end, leaning against the door, hands in his pockets, watching her.

"Jon?" she murmured, forehead in hand, trying vainly to settle her swimming head. "What's going on?"

"How long did you think you could keep it up?" asked Jon quietly.

"What?" Rei asked, confused. "What are you talking about?"

"The charade," said Jon mildly. "The farce that is our so-called love affair. Did you really think you could make me believe you loved me indefinitely? You must have known that sooner or later I'd figure out what I am. What chance does that give our 'love'?"

Hey there, Ellison #3. I'm going to call this one... Roberto.

Rei shook her head, blinking, wishing there were some way she could clear the fog that seemed to fill her head. "Jon - that's not true," she said. "I didn't know."

"Didn't know what I am? Please. You can stop taking me for a fool now, Rei, because I'm not one. How could it elude you? The signs are plain for anyone to see."

"I... " Something about this surreal interview was trying to tap Rei on her shoulder and tell her it was wrong, but she couldn't focus, try as desperately as she might, enough to see it. "I didn't know what -I- was until recently," she said. "You know that. How could I have... " She stopped, tried without much success to gather her thoughts, and started again. "What difference should it make anyway? I told you. We're the same people we were when we started... "

If only Rei had a unique psychic link with Jon that would let her distinguish him from a fake. IF ONLY.

Jon snorted derisively. "Please," he repeated. "I'm not -hopelessly- naive."

Out of the swirling pool of confusion and desperation that filled Rei's heart at this moment, a large bubble of despair rose. She couldn't understand what was happening. Why was Jon being so cold and cruel with her? Why wouldn't her vision clear? Where was she? Why could she not remember where she last was?

"Jon, please," she said in a voice half whisper and half whimper. "I don't feel well... I can't understand what's wrong."

I can.

Everything.

That's what's wrong.

"Bah," said Jon. "You don't feel well. Isn't that a shame?" He strode closer with quick, angry strides, backing her into the corner of the room, the corner of the bed. "Do you wish your friends were here? Your -real- friends, as opposed to me, the experiment, the freak? What a relief it must have been to learn that you're not really a freak like me - that they didn't make you in their lab like they told you they did. You're a real person, aren't you, Rei? From a ways out of town, to be sure, but at least you didn't come out of a Petri dish. That frees you up to set your sights a little higher than me, doesn't it? Why, with a little bit of work, you could probably even make off with Croft."

It's funny because he's right. "Sharing," anyone?

Rei wanted to be angry at this inexplicable, unwarranted treatment, but the anger wouldn't come; and where she would have been far more satisfied with a ringing shout, only the most pathetic of whimpers escaped her lips.

"Stop it... " She slumped forward, burying her face in her hands, crying. "Stop... stop... "

"You'd like that, wouldn't you, Rei?" Jon continued, remorseless, relentless. "You could do it, too. He and Langley are a passing fad. You were there first, weren't you? If you were decisive about it you could take him from her."

"No... " Rei murmured, shaking her head. She was starting to feel sick on top of the disorientation and the hopelessness; cold sweat was breaking out on her forehead and she felt as though an animal of some kind had burrowed into her guts and was stirring. "No, Asuka is my friend," she whispered. "I couldn't do that to her... "

This part would be kind of interesting if we didn't already know that Jon is somewhere else, thus making it painfully obvious that this is just one of the Jon clones who Seele injected with the Asshole Gene.

"Ah, but you want to, don't you? Croft was the first young man who was ever kind to you, wasn't he? He must have awakened feelings in you that you didn't even know you had."

"Yes," Rei admitted, "but that doesn't mean... Asuka is my friend," she repeated. "I couldn't betray her... "


"We're never going to find anything blundering around in here with all these guard patrols," DJ Croft muttered, as much to himself as to his comrades, as the four of them crouched behind a stack of plastic barrels and watched another squad of black-uniformed SEELE soldiers tramp past.

This wouldn't be a problem if Seele had security measures like, I don't know, cameras. Cameras that would most likely have already been installed when it was a school or X-COM facility.

Asuka nodded. "We'd be better off getting outside, regrouping and trying to find a different way in. If anybody back at HQ picked up that beacon you set, reinforcements might be outside right now."

"Let's give it a try, then," said Jon.

Asuka looked surprised. "I figured I'd get the most resistance from you, Jon," she said. "Leaving without Rei... "

Jon smiled, but it wasn't a very nice smile. "I'm not leaving without Rei - just looking for a different path to her."

He's not running away - he's advancing in a different direction!

Shinji said nothing, and continued appearing as though he were looking at nothing.

"Hang in there, Shinji," said DJ, trying to sound as encouraging as possible. "We get back outside, you can sit the rest of this one out."

Shinji nodded abstractly and followed as the others quietly doubled back down a side corridor, climbed a maintenance shaft, and emerged into the dusty, quiet halls of the abandoned Mount Holyoke student center.

They were just starting to think they might get away with it after all when they rounded the corner leading to the main entrance and found the doors, forty feet away, blocked by several overturned tables and twenty or so SEELE soldiers.

But since they're anonymous mooks, all DJ has to do is flash them a shit-eating grin and they'll drop dead, overcome by the sight of his messianic visage.

"Shit!" Jon snarled. Both sides reacted at once, Jon, Asuka and DJ flinging themselves against the walls on either side of the hallway leading to the exit as the SEELE troopers opened fire. For a moment, Jon looked like he might almost charge down that gauntlet of fire empty-handed, so fierce did the expression on his face become; but as he stepped around the corner, his hands flexing into claws, a plasma bolt slammed past his head and very nearly blew it off. With a shout, he dropped in his tracks, sprawling on the corridor floor.

"Jon!" Asuka cried, leaning out to spray the SEELE troopers' position with laser fire while DJ dragged the injured pilot back to cover.

This situation could have been avoided with one grenade. But that's just silly. It's not like they're standard-issue X-COM gear, right?

"Doesn't look too bad," DJ said. Jon wasn't actually unconscious, just stunned, and the burn along his temple was from the ionization corona, not the plasma blast itself. The concussion wave, superheated air exploding out of the way of the plasma packet, had struck him in the face and knocked him down, but he was not badly injured.

Now let us spend five more paragraphs discussing the fine subtleties of his injury.

Shinji Ikari, though, was not well-versed enough in the ins and outs of plasma weapons to know that. From the other side of the hallway, where he stood behind Asuka, it looked as though DJ were crouching over a corpse. The stunned, feeble movements of Jon's feet looked to Shinji like the twitching of a head-shot dead man, and for the first time since he'd killed Ichi Ayanami, he felt something.

Rage.

Pure, unreasoning rage flooded Shinji's body and mind, and for a moment his hands shook so hard that the metallic body of the plasma rifle he'd absently taken from the dead guard back in the torture chamber rattled. Then he ground his teeth, stepped around Asuka, and barged right into the middle of the contested corridor.

"
They killed Jon! YOU BASTARDS!" he bellowed, spraying the far end of the corridor with fully-automatic plasma fire. Three guards fell in the first second, their bodies spanning the h

This post has been edited by Dr. O: Sep 4 2011, 01:01 PM


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Dr. O


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post Sep 3 2011, 08:22 PM
allway behind their woefully inadequate cover of lunchroom tables. The rest of them started looking for any harder cover they could find, which wasn't much. Railing at the top of his lungs against the manifold perfidies of SEELE, Shinji strode right down the middle of the hall, keeping up a heavy volume of fire, mechanically raking the whole expanse of the enemy's position from wall to wall. Pinned down, the guards tried returning fire. Shinji kept advancing, kept up his shouting and his shooting, as though determined to stand there until he had killed every guard in the place, completely ignoring the plasma blasts whipping past him.

I bet the next big character revelation is that Shinji's real father is Rambo.

"For Christ's sake, Shinji, what the hell?!" DJ wanted to know as he ducked out from his corner and tried to cover Shinji on the left as best he could. Asuka expressed similar sentiments from the right. Shinji ignored them, using just about every profanity he could think of and a few that he made up on the spot to describe his feelings for SEELE, the flash suppressor on his plasma rifle's muzzle glowing a dull red with the heat of the sustained autofire. He wasn't a difficult target, but the enemy seemed to have a hard time hitting him anyway; plasma blasts flew all around him, but, incredibly, none hit him.

When he took off his coat after the battle, his compatriots noticed that it had been perforated by three bullets but, miraculously, none had struck him. Expressing gratitude for the grace of Providence, Shinji Ikari went on to found a great nation.

Until the one that bore straight in on his forehead. Time seemed to slow down for everyone involved. Shinji saw it coming, appeared to recognize that this one had his name on it, but he didn't flinch. He held his line and kept shooting, determined to take as many of them with him as possible.

Ten inches from vaporizing his brain pan, the plasma blast hit nothing with a resounding WHANG, deflected at an oblique angle, and blew one of the deactivated fluorescent light fixtures off the ceiling in a shower of melted plastic and broken glass. From the point of impact outward, yellow-orange hexagons of light rippled outward and disappeared again.

not again

The four surviving SEELE troopers, recognizing the phenomenon immediately, dropped their weapons and ran. Shinji kept firing and cut them down before they reached the exit; a moment later, his plasma rifle finally ran out of power.

They know all about the Plot Contrivance Field.

With the weapon's failure, whatever had driven Shinji seemed to fail too; he stopped shouting, stopped walking, and stood as still as a rock in the middle of the hallway for one long, eerily silent second.

Then the spent weapon clattered to the floor and Shinji Ikari fell after it.

Swearing, DJ ran forward and pulled him away from it, turning him on his back and slapping at his cheeks.

DJ can't stand it when someone accomplishes more than him.

"Shinji? You all right? Come on now - we're not out of this yet - wakey-wakey... "

Shinji blinked, sat up, and shook his head, then looked around at his ruined surroundings with amazement.

"Did I do this?" he asked.

"Yes," DJ replied, "you did... "

In the next chapter, we learn that Shinji is the reincarnation of Alvin York.


Outside, the three Skyranger transport aircraft dispatched from Worcester-3 had arrived: the two loaded with X-COM troopers for the base assault, and the third, fitted out with communications and command gear, that had replaced the truck-based Mobile Command Unit used in the Battle of Mount Wachusett. In the third, Misato listened attentively as DJ, Asuka, and Jon gave the situation report to the best of their abilities. Shinji Ikari found an unoccupied seat and went about making himself as inconspicuous as possible.

Gendou Ikari noticed him anyway, and made his way over.

To congratulate Shinji on finally becoming a man.

"Shinji, are you all right?" he asked softly, crouching down next to his son's seat and putting his hand on the boy's shoulder."

It's Evangelion. No-one's all right.

"No," Shinji replied. "No, Father, I'm not all right. I... it's too hard to explain." He shook his head. "Don't worry about me. I'll be fine, eventually, someday. Right now you've got to get Rei out of there. Who knows what they're doing to her?"

The others, having finished their report, approached as well, concern for Shinji as well as their still-missing comrade written on all their faces.

Since nobody in this fic behaves like an actual human being, the easiest way of conveying their emotions is to write them on their face.

"EVA-03 will be here in a few minutes," said the elder Ikari reassuringly. "Its transport isn't as fast as a Skyranger, but it'll be here soon. When it arrives we'll send Asuka in to find Rei and bring her out."

"The hell you -will-," said Jon, tearing open his shirt and scattering severed buttons all over the floor.

He's going to rescue Rei, even if it means using every single lesson he learned as a Chippendales dancer.


The sick feeling was becoming much more pronounced, but in a way, Rei welcomed it; the discomfort gave her something to focus on, eroded the maddening fog that filled her mind by its very unpleasantness. Jon was still talking, his voice venomous with contempt:

"'I couldn't betray Asuka,'" he mocked. "Why not? What are the feelings of a flawed and pathetic mortal girl to the great and holy angel Reilael? Besides, you knew Croft before she did. You want him - don't you? You want him to touch you... to -take- you."

Who doesn't?

"I - " The denial would not come.

Gee, I wonder why.

"Jon... why are you doing this to me?" she asked, looking up at him through tear-blurred eyes.

"I just want you to face up to yourself, the way I've had to," Jon replied, sneering. "Show you that you're not so holy and pure as you pretend. The angel Reilael! See how far you've already fallen? Trapped in the mortal world, bound by the flesh, slave to its impulses. You're little better than the animal you thought you were. Why do you cling to your pretensions of grace?"

"Reilael." That name is never going to get old.

Jon hunkered down and forced her chin up so that she was looking him in the eyes, and said coldly, "Believing themselves still holy while succumbing to the flesh brought the fall of the Grigori. In the end, you will be no better... "

Rei drew back in horror as the name he'd spoken touched a flame to more of her old, lost memories. Even in Heaven the Grigori were not often spoken of; they had been one of the choirs of angels, created after the Fall to help humanity cope with the effects of the War on their world, but they had become a little -too- fond of humans, had lived a little too much like them, and Heaven had cast them out. It was because of the example of the Grigori that angels were forbidden to enter into bonds of love with mortals, something Rei had forgotten along with everything else until this single horrifying moment.

Would you look at that - Eyrie's adding more religious lore for no reason at all.

PS the fall happened before humanity was created, since Satan was there and already tempting people in Genesis 3 (to which one might respond, "but the serpent is never identified as Satan," to which I counter, "my dear strawman, it says so right in the Book of Revelation"). Unless the fall happened at some unspecified point between the creation of Adam and his expulsion from the Garden of Eden. In which case you'd think the first few chapters of Genesis would have mentioned it somewhere, even if in passing. Something like, "lo, and on the seventh day the Lord kicked Satan's ass, and it was friggin sweet."

But the horror gave clarity back to her mind, and with that clarity came the realization that her mental connection to Jon Ellison was very faint, as if something were interfering with it - certainly not what she would have expected if he were mere inches from her.

Her eyes, which had flown wide at the name of the Grigori, cleared and then narrowed, and her voice was clearer and stronger when she said,

"You are not Jon."

Congratulations! Rei wins the "not quite hopelessly stupid" award! She can put it on the shelf right next to her "most likely to be mistaken for furniture" trophy.

With that realization, an understanding of what had been done, or almost done, to her burst across her mind, and after that came anger...


Once, Jon Ellison had noted to himself that, of the Evangelions, only Lucifer had a presence - only Lucifer felt as if it were looking back at him when he looked into the eyesockets of its helmet. There was a difference about Unit 00 when compared to the other units, but not an active presence - more like a lingering echo, the sound of another's footsteps in the distance. The feeling of an empty, abandoned stadium, where once the cheers of thousand have rung. Later, Jon would come to a different, more chilling comparison: piloting Unit 00 was like wearing a dead man's clothes.

He said "Son, can you write me a fanfic mock?
I'm not really sure where it goes
But it's dull and it's bad and it made me so mad
When I wore a deader man's clothes"

I'm not really sure what I was going for there.

As it happened, Jon's unconscious comparison was apt. While Lucifer had been ravaged and reduced to near-mindless confusion by the injuries he suffered during the Second Impact, Moloch had been, in the truest sense of the word, dead since that terrible day when half the human world died with him. The collection of energies that constituted everything of true celestial substance that was Moloch had been shattered beyond repair. Only the flesh, incorruptible by the mortal world's agents of decay, remained. The faint echoes of what had been Moloch, Lord of Fire, lingered in the dead flesh, but they were insubstantial, like the shadows of men marked permanently on stone walls by the atomic blast at Hiroshima.

Or, in summary: he dead.

At the end of his life, Moloch had done something which was uncharacteristic when weighed against the bulk of that life. His last act, the effort with which he spent the last of his energies and in the commission of which he died, was a selfless one - trying to preserve the life of the angel he had come to think of as a friend, the Cherub Reilael.

Pahahaha. "Reilael."

Gets me every time.

Now that angel lay in the hands of the enemy, a flame of righteous anger so like those Moloch had commanded in his heyday burning in her soul, energies pouring from her in waves that rang in the celestial symphony like the peals of great silver bells. They struck a chord with what remained of Moloch, amplified the whispers, and, for a moment, brought the Lord of Fire back to a dim, thoughtless semblance of himself. There was no coherence or thought - only an imperative.

I must be free.

I must go to her.

So... He's dead "in the truest sense of the word," but he can still have desires.

Rrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.


"What the - ?! EVA-00 has just self-activated!" Makoto Hyuuga cried as alarms began to howl in the command center.

"EVA-00?!" said Truss. "Not Unit 01?"

"Nah, it's Unit 01," Maoko said. "That's why I said Unit 00 instead of Unit 01. Dipshit."

"Negative," said Hyuuga, rechecking his readings. "EVA-01 is still dormant. EVA-00 is under power and trying to get free of the restraints."

I prefer what I wrote.

"Where's it getting power from?" demanded Truss, going to a subsidiary console and flicking switches.

"Unknown!" replied Hyuuga. "But it's got a lot of it, wherever it's coming from."

"External transmission?" Truss wondered.

"Impossible," Hyuuga replied.

"-Everything- we do here is impossible," said Truss.

A valid point? In my NXE?

Hyuuga absorbed this, nodded, and pointed out, "Those restraints won't hold it much longer. What should we do, sir?"

Truss looked up at the main monitor, at the image of the struggling EVA, his eyes unreadable behind the EVA's reflection in his eyeglasses. In his mind, the images of Rei's disastrous test in that same EVA unreeled, from eerily similar beginning to horrifying conclusion.

Then:

"Let it go."

Pharaoh, let my Eva go!

"What?!" said Hyuuga.

"Let it go," repeated Truss. "It obviously has an agenda... and anyway, we won't be able to hold it here much longer even if we try. Send it to the surface and release it."

"Roger," said Hyuuga, and he complied.

Free and on the surface, Moloch took a moment to orient himself, then turned and began striding westward. Its AT Field surrounded it in a dull orange glow; then it suddenly surged into brilliance, glowing sun-bright. The two men in the control room winced and looked away.

When they looked back, EVA-00 was gone.

please tell me it exploded

"Get me the MCU," said Truss. "I think I know where it's gone."


"I appreciate your concern," said Jon Ellison as he hung up his pants in one of the tiny lockers of the MCU's pilot locker room, "but I'm fine. I'm a little sturdier than I used to be," he added with a hint of wryness.

"Are you sure?" Asuka Soryu-Langley asked. "I can take Unit 03 in if you like."

DJ folded his arms and grumbled, "... couldn't have brought Jet Alone, oh no... "

Shut up, DJ.

"No, Asuka, thanks, but I'm going," said Jon, stuffing his head through the neckhole of his plug suit. "These bastards tortured me, mocked me, and like Shinji said, God knows what they're doing to Rei. I don't intend to sit on the sidelines while somebody else gets my revenge for me."

Asuka cracked a mild grin. "Isn't revenge a petty and embittering pursuit?"

"Probably," Jon replied with a smile, pressurizing the suit, "which is why I'm going to give it up as soon as I've shown these sons of bitches what's what."

Asuka's grin widened a little bit. "You do that."

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: our heroes.


"So you've figured it out," said 'Jon', his tone a bit rattled even if he managed to keep his sneer constant. "You're right, I'm not Jon. I'm his brother, Lucas. So what? You're still trapped here. Still powerless. Still helpless." The cold confidence returned to his green eyes as he levered Rei's chin up with a knuckle and smiled hatefully at her. "I can still do anything to you I want."

I think I know where this is headed.

Attached Image

Rei looked up into Lucas's eyes, her face perfectly impassive. For a few moments, they stared into each other's eyes - not in a contest of wills, but more of a taking of the other's measure.

Then Rei did something that shocked Lucas to the core and even frightened him a little:

She smiled.

"No," she said softly, standing, never taking her eyes from his. "You're wrong."

"Am I?" he replied, but the confidence in his voice was tattered.

"You are," Rei said.

"Am I?" Lucas said.

"Yes." Rei said.

"Am I?" Lucas said.

"You are." Rei said.

"Well, I am what I am," Lucas said as he unzipped his pants.

"You are nothing, Lucas," said Rei calmly. She stood up, and Lucas backed away as though from a flame. "A flawed copy of Jon. A creature of clay and dung, without a soul. A homunculus." As she spoke, she began to glow, her tattered clothing disintegrating. "You want to break me?" she asked softly, and Lucas backed away another step as the glow increased. "You want to control me?" she continued, and Lucas backed away still again, driven back by the sheer contempt in her red eyes.

That's, uh, not really what a homunculus is, Rei...

Then the glow flared, and from her back unfurled a pair of brilliant, glittering wings of blue-white light.

"You can't even -comprehend- me," said Reilael scornfully as Lucas pressed himself against the cold cinderblocks of the far wall, his eyes wide with terror.

It's true. Even I have a hard time grasping the merchandising empire/nerd cult that is Rei Ayanami.

Then the room exploded in a burst of silent white brilliance, its ceiling and walls collapsing as though the mortar between the blocks had turned to water. Lucas screamed involuntarily, but the falling blocks fell around him, leaving him sprawled on his back among them. Before him Reilael remained, clothed in light, and behind her, revealed by the destruction of the wall and ceiling, the orange shape of Moloch towered, waiting. At the sight of the giant, even Reilael looked a little surprised.

"... moloch?" she whispered, her voice tiny but distinct in the sudden incredible silence of the room's disintegration.

Yes, Rei, the Evas know instant transmission now. Sure, why not.

The giant reached down its great hand, and Rei stepped up into it. Moloch turned ponderously, and began lumbering away. Sprawled in the rubble, Lucas felt the terror ebbing from his heart, and what replaced it was rage. Soulless, was he? Not worth bothering with? How dare she turn her back?

"I wasn't finished with you!" he snarled after the towering EVA, and then, pulling himself to his feet, he ran from the ruined blockhouse toward the SEELE complex's own EVA hangar.

not again why the hell would you arhgrugho;uidwqtufy


Truss had only just finished notifying the staff at the MCU of Unit 00's sudden disappearance when another alarm began to blare. This one was more urgent-sounding than the last - the constant blare of the siren also used for major Magi system faults, overlaid with the shrill, staccato shrieking of a klaxon that felt like it could shatter a person's teeth.

It was all part of NERV's sophisticated Big Siren system.

Truss hadn't heard this alarm before, and he wasn't particularly looking forward to finding out what it meant.

Nonetheless, Makoto Hyuuga was there to fill him in on the details. "Sir! Motion sensors have picked up an intruder in the EVA cage!"

I'm cursed, Truss mused in exasperation. One of our EVAs has run away from home, and we've quite possibly acquired a SEELE spy in Central Dogma. And all this just two hours into my first shift as command center supervisor. Never thought I'd miss level 1 system diagnostics and team-building exercises. Oh, for a team-building exercise.

Why is this first-person now?

"Can we get a visual?"

Hyuuga nodded. "Coming up now."

The red hexagonal "INTRUDER" indicators on the main viewer gave way to the view from a security camera above one of the maintenance catwalks in the cage. EVA-01 stood in profile, waist-high in system coolant, at the right of the frame. Unit 04, now fully repaired and bearing a small X-COM logo on its chestplate, faced the camera from its bay a hundred feet or so away.

Purposefully striding down the middle of the walkway was Kevin Nelson.

Hey Kaworu. How's it going?

It took Truss a moment to recognize him, since he had never actually seen the boy in the flesh. He had only the children's verbal accounts of him to go on, and all of those predated the change of Kevin's hair color. But even in their current disheveled state, the trenchoat and tie were a giveaway.

Truss watches enough Supernatural to know that angels love trenchcoats.

"Nelson?" Truss mumbled, not sure what to make of the situation.

"Security has been notified - they've got a team on the way there was we speak," Makoto reported, a touch of relief apparent in his voice.

Something was nagging at the back of Truss's mind, but he couldn't quite remember what it was. Whatever it had been, it was setting off warning bells, and giving him a nasty sense of apprehension.

He forgot to turn off the stove.

"Tell them to wait outside the bay until I give the order," he instructed the younger officers.

"Sir," noted Hyuuga, "Security Chief Dafoe has already given his orders. I'm not sure that we have the authority to - "

"I'm the ranking officer on duty, entrusted with the safety of this facility and its personnel. That means I have the authority, whether they like it or not," Truss interjected with enough emphasis to surprise even himself. "They can either wait outside the cage, or wait outside my office for their pink slips once they're finished."

Truss is in command of NERV.

THIS REALLY ISN'T A SELF-INSERT MARY SUE WANKFEST, GUYS, HONEST!

Evangelion done right lol.

Hyuuga wasn't sure what had prompted his boss's outburst - it was just a single boy, after all - but he had no desire to stay in the line of fire.

"Understood. Relaying orders."

Moments later, the security detail arrived. There were eight security officers in all - uniformed men, not MIBs - armed with laser rifles and clad in what looked like flak jackets. They took up position just outside the room, weapons trained on the door.

This can't end well.

No, really. This chapter is a disaster through-and-through.

Good, Truss thought, they didn't do anything stupid. Now if only my hands would stop shaking.

"Can you zoom in on the boy?"

"No sooner said than done," replied Hyuuga, running his hands across the console. The field of view slowly decreased, until it reached the point where Truss could clearly make out the features on Kevin's face. He did not look well. His hair looked as though it hadn't been washed, let alone combed, in at least a week, and there were heavy bags under his eyes. His coloration was... wrong, sickly in a manner that Truss couldn't put a finger on. And his face was twisted in an expression signifying either rage, sorrow, or both. It occurred to Truss that he looked almost like Jon had, in HAL's footage of his fight with DJ in Apartment 3-F...

...like Jon. Oh, -shit-.

The last thing we need is more of hi- Oh shit.

Truss was just about to bark an order to his charge, but he was interrupted by a noise from off-camera. Whatever it was, Kevin noticed it, too. He wheeled around to his left and dropped to his knees.

Hyuuga pulled the camera back to a wide-angle view, revealing the now-open door and three security personnel with their weapons leveled. Truss began to curse when the center one, a fat man with a Hitler mustache, pulled the trigger... and abruptly went silent when the charge struck an invisible wall mere inches away. The impact created a strobing hexagonal pattern in midair; the beam deflected as if from a mirror, bounced again from the reflective armor surface of Unit 04, then burned down the guard on the fat one's left. He gave a cry and fell to the floor in a heap.

...

For the record, I did not alter the above text in any way. The authors really did specify that the guard had "a Hitler mustache."

This fanfic, guys.

"The kid's an -Angel-?!" Makoto gasped incredulously.

Come on. It was barely surprising when it happened in the original show.

"Get those morons out of there, -NOW-!" Truss bellowed. He took a moment to note the squad commander's name: Otis Belfour. Truss sincerely hoped that they'd all survive the next hour, because he was going to richly enjoy calling that particular twit on the carpet when this was all over. "Makoto, what's the area covered by that AT Field? Can we launch the EVAs out of there?"

"No such luck, sir. He's got the entire level sealed off."

God damn it, I should have launched them when I had the chance, Truss berated himself. "Ok," he said, trying not to let his growing panic show, "we've got an Angel effectively locked in a room with half of our Evangelions, and no qualified pilots within an hour's drive. I'm officially soliciting ideas, here."

Do what you always do: throw together some flimsily-explained contrived shit.

"Jet Alone?" offered Hyuuga.

"Nice thought, but no way. It's not nearly agile enough to be effective inside the complex, and our best JA operator is in South Hadley right now."

Truss scanned his subordinate's face for any further signs of inspiration, but none was forthcoming. Then his eyes caught sight of the microphone on the center console.

What the hell, it's worth a try, he thought.

No. Not another fight scene. Just end the chapter.


Jon Ellison had certainly been startled to see EVA-00 suddenly appear out of nowhere, and even more startled when part of the SEELE complex exploded in a blaze of light for no apparent reason, but he couldn't argue with the results: Rei was back, safe and sound, and he hadn't had to go into battle after all. It looked like the only real trick now was going to be getting Unit 00 back home again, and somebody else could worry about that; Jon was busy holding his angel in his arms again and thanking God for bringing her back to him.

get it? they called rei "his angel" because its a term of endearment and also shes an angel. LAYERS OF MEANING

"Are you all right?" he asked her softly. "Did they hurt you?"

"They tried," Rei replied, "but I'm stronger than they are."

"Well, I'll be damned," said Misato from the command deck. "This trip wasn't so tough after all."

"Dammit!" Maya Ibuki cried as one of the display panels asked for her attention. "Brigadier, you're a hockey fan, you know better than to say things like that before the horn blows."

Seriously though, this fanfic is terrible and I hate it.

"What? What'd I do now?"

"Enemy is deploying a production-model Evangelion," Aoba reported, bringing the white-armored, unpainted unit up on the main monitor. "Distance 2.5 kilometers and closing fast."

Why does Seele keep throwing these things into combat piecemeal? Why?

Maya turned and gave Misato a "that's what you did now" look, to which Misato could only offer a sheepish half-grin.

"Think you can take him?" Misato asked Jon as the white EVA grew larger on the main screen. "We're not going to be able to hook up EVA-03 and get out of here with -that- thing stomping around."

Jon nodded. "I'll give it a shot."

"I'll help you," said Rei, going to the MCU locker room for her plug suit. She hadn't explained where she'd gotten the white dress she'd arrived wearing, and nobody had thought it was really the time to be asking.

someone please help me


Kevin Nelson snarled in irritation. Finding a damaged launch gantry on the surface to enter through, and then navigating through the maze of service ducts all the way down to Lucifer's current location had been enough of an annoyance for one day. (Luckily, Lucifer had regained enough of himself for Kevin to sense his presence and use it as a sort of compass.) Having those interlopers interrupt his business here was almost more than he could take. He had half a mind to chase them down and show them the depth of their mistake... but, no, he had more important things to worry about. He resumed his march towards Lucifer, focusing his mind on the task at hand.

The vaguely defined but somehow important task.

Or trying to, at least. The PA crackled to life, and a voice Kevin didn't recognize called out his name.

"Kevin, this is John Trussell. Look, we don't want to hurt you. Those security guards were acting in direct violation of orders. I just want to talk."

HIS NAME IS KAWROIHHYETIO:OUPQF"ir48tgjy54igrewKLSAJC:"t#kLWQHTHAET4IHGEWRKHGR;

Kevin rolled his eyes in frustration. Would he -never- be allowed to do what he came here for? "There's only one person I want to talk to right now," he hissed. He focused his glare at the PA speaker, and space appeared to ripple momentarily around it. A shower of sparks flew from the device as Kevin's AT field twisted itself around it, leaving a tangle of ruined components hanging from the wall.


Back in the control center, Truss admitted to himself that the exchange could probably have gone better.

"What do we do now, sir?"

Truss shrugged and shook his head. "The only thing we can do. We watch."

Just what this chapter needed! People sitting and waiting.


Kevin Nelson gazed up at the horned head of Unit 01, a manic grin on his face. "Hello again, Lucifer. It's been a while... almost sixteen years, isn't it?" He began to pace back an forth before the sleeping giant, as he continued. "You look well. You've got well-maintained armor, you've got comfortable living accomodations, you've got the undying gratitude of your hosts... yes, sir, you've got a good thing going out here."

He even has a book deal. "I'm Surrounded by Assholes: The Unit 01 Story" is set to hit shelves this November.

Kevin took a few more steps in silence before turning back towards the green behemoth. "Well, since you don't seem to be up for a conversation, I'll have to hold your side for you. 'So, Kevin, what have you been up to all of these years?'" He recited the question in a cheery voice, his lips forming a smile that was very obviously false. "Oh, I've been around. Mind you, I didn't have anywhere to stay after we parted company. I don't have any friends, or any family in the area, I'm afraid - there's no one that I could sit around the coolant pool and reminisce with.

"'Well, gee, Kevin, why didn't you just go back home?' Funny you should mention that. You see, ever since the last time I saw you, I've had this... hmm, let's call it a 'difficulty.' You see, I can't -go- home, because... well, there's no nice way to put this, is there?"

Wow. Kaworu's been hitting the crazy pills pretty hard.

All at once, the false cheer drained out of Kevin's face.

"Because I'm -broken-!" he shrieked, glaring into Unit 01's eyes with an expression of white-hot loathing.

"There's a funny thing about being broken, Lucifer," Kevin continued, choking back his anger enough to force out the words. "Once your soul takes on a little bit of damage, that damage tends to spread - like a crack in a windshield - until finally your soul can't hold itself together anymore. Then the collapse comes, and there's nothing left but shards."

He should have gotten a car insurance plan that covers windshield repair and replacement.

Tears formed at the edge of Kevin's eyes, and he fought to regain his composure. No matter what happened later, he -had- to finish this. It was his only chance. He took a long, deep breath and steeled himself for one final outburst.

"Do I need to spell it out for you? You -know- what's happened to me! You've seen thousands, maybe millions of my kind end up in this state. God only knows how many of them shattered and fell by your hand." Kevin heard his voice starting to crack, and tears were streaming down his face - but he couldn't stop now. "This all started with me trying to protect you. -You-, the greatest enemy ever known to my kind! I was shattered - I knew that I'd never see my home again - but still, I soldiered on. I had nothing to sustain me but the absolute faith that if I could find you, and Moloch, and Reilael, that everything would be all right. I searched for -FIFTEEN YEARS- to find you! Every moment of every day was spent in loneliness and misery, but I kept going - for you.

"Then I found you. All of you. My faith had been rewarded! I was among my own kind again, and we would find a way to set things right. I watched Rei heal, and helped her regain her memories and her courage. I watched you, every day growing stronger, inching closer to what you were. I was even able to grant some comfort to Jon Ellison, and point him toward the light."

Pretty cool story bro.

Tears were streaming dowm Kevin's face, now. "But what of -me-? How has the universe rewarded me for my patience, my perseverence, my faith? By stripping me everything I once held dear... first my wings, and then the Symphony itself. I gave it back to Reilael and lost it for myself!

"Do you remember, Lucifer? Do you remember the day, so long ago, when you heard the celestial songs for the very last time? Do you remember the final notes, the glorious sensation of -feeling- the most fundamental mechanisms of the universe working their magic around you? Do you remember the horrible coldness of having it all torn away from you as you fell, feeling like you could -almost- reach out and pull it back - but not quite? Do you remember that? Do you?

Remember everyone, NXE is better than Evangelion because Shinji doesn't angst.

EVERY OTHER MOTHERFUCKING CHARCTER DOES IT INSTEAD.

"It's all I can feel, now. I've fallen all the way down, Lucifer, and there's not enough of me left to climb back up again.

"I stand before you as a pile of shards, Lightbringer. I have nothing left to live for. The only purpose I can feel in my heart is one that I know is false, but if I remain this way much longer, I'll give in to it because I lack the strength to resist. I did it all for you... and now I need you to help me."

What we are is the sum of a thousand lies
What we know is almost nothing at all
Well we are what we are 'til the day we die
Or 'til we don't have the strength to go on
'til we don't have the strength to go on
Yeah we don't have the strength to go on

With those final words, Kevin fell to his knees, sobbing uncontrollably. He waited - and prayed - for a response, any sign that the passive giant that stood before him had heard him. Long moments passed, but EVA-01 gave no acknowledgement of any kind. Kevin's cries mounted as it became clear that his effort had been wasted, then waned as he simply ran out of tears. He remained quivering on the floor for a minute more... and then leaped to his feet in a rage, fueled by every ounce of energy that still remained in him. He glanced at Unit 04, closed his eyes, and concentrated with all his might.

Unit 04's eyes glowed red as the unit activated. It effortlessly pulled itself free of the restraints, and moved towards Unit 01 as Kevin turned back to face the inert EVA.


"That's new," Truss remarked, so far beyond trepidation now that his voice had taken on a frank conversational tone.

"Mm," said Makoto Hyuuga.


"GOD DAMN YOU ALL OVER AGAIN!" Kevin wailed, tapping his vital capacity. "LISTEN TO ME!" EVA-04 began throwing punches as Kevin willed it forward, his teeth clenched and his face covered with sweat. "Do something, anything! You have the power to fix me, and you could strike me down with but a thought! I don't even care -which- you do anymore! BUT DON'T LEAVE ME LIKE THIS!!"

Unit 04 continued to batter Lucifer like a drunken sailor, its motions becoming more erratic as the last of Kevin's composure began to fade. He had finally reached his limit... his final words came out at a volume just above a whisper.

"Please... just... don't... leave me like this..."

From deep within Lucifer, there came a faint rumble, and the green EVA moved for the first time in weeks. Its right arm caught Unit 04's wrist, intercepting a wild blow that had no chance of connecting.

Kevin looked up from the floor, the faintest glimmer of hope in his bloodshot eyes...

...and then he wasn't there anymore.

All right, I guess I have it in me to finish the chapter. But I'm not doing that Bonus Theater crap. Not today.


On the control room's main viewer, Unit 04 sagged forward, powerless. Unit 01's right arm dropped back into the same position that it had maintained for so long. All signs of movement in the Eva cage ceased, and the room fell dead silent.

Truss breathed a silent "thank you" to the universe, and any cosmic beings that might be listening to him. It was the first breath he'd taken in almost a minute.

"Makoto, cancel alert. Stand down."

Sighing in relief, Hyuuga nodded to his boss. "Roger. Canceling alert."

I would say I hope this comes back to bite them. But I'm not sure I'm capable of hope anymore.

Great, now I'm angsting.


Jon Ellison wondered if an EVA battle would -ever- go the way he wanted it to go.

"This is the first of the Advanced Production Models, Jon," Lucas Ellison sneered. "It is in every way an improvement over your unit... just as I am in every way an improvement over you."

Then why not use it in concert with the other Evas Seele threw away? They could have delayed the attack and then sent in the normal Production Models as a recon-in-force, with the Advanced Model hanging back to exploit any weakness in NERV's defenses.

I don't mind characters making mistakes. But when one particular group of them (in this case, the villains) makes so many, even when they'd be trivially easy to prevent or fix with the slightest bit of thought, it gets unbearable.

Rei Ayanami, now suited up and aboard Unit 00, switched her comm system to the intercom channel with the MCU. "How long?" she asked.

"Hard to say," Shigeru Aoba replied, his eyes darting away from the screen she knew had her image on it as he checked other figures. "EVA-00's power coupling has some armor shroud damage - probably happened while it was trying to get away from its restraints back in the cage. The field crew is having a hard time fitting the batteries." Aoba sighed. "If the damn thing hadn't gone dead again after it showed up to rescue you... "

Reeling with the synchronized pain of his EVA's missing arm and the damage to its head, Jon struggled to regain control and get Orcus to its feet. The enemy EVA -was- faster and stronger, there was no denying that, but he was damned if he would let this sneering caricature of himself prove his superiority.

At first I thought that I skipped a part. Nope. For whatever reason, Eyrie opted to open the battle in media res.

"You're damned anyway, Jon," Lucas gloated, and Jon realized he must have said some of it out loud. EVA-06 planted a solid kick to the middle of EVA-03's chest, and Jon felt something give deep inside the unit. A sunburst of pain welled up in his own chest.

"Partial core rupture on EVA-03!" cried Shigeru Aoba.

"Oh, SHIT!" Maya yelled as Jon's biosensor readouts flatlined. "Full arrest, sympathetic feedback from EVA-03's core rupture! Cut the sync signal and shock him STAT!"

Defibrillating him will both revive him and give the medic a nice point bonus. Everybody wins!


As Aoba scrambled to obey, a sound flooded the comm net that no one in NERV had ever expected to hear in their lives: Rei Ayanami, screaming. Not in pain or shock, but in anger - a pure white wrath that wastes no time searching for words.

With Rei actually inside EVA-00, and with her rage and desperation mounted to a fever pitch, the resonance of her celestial energies against the shadow of Moloch built, and for a moment, what remained of the Lord of Fire came fully back to himself.

On the master control-room console, EVA-00's mission clock went red and spooled up to 00:05:00.00.

And I say
Bounce the particle graviton beam
Off the main deflector dish
That's the way we do things lad
We're making shit up as we wish
The Klingons and the Romulans pose no threat to us
'cause if we find we're in a bind
We just make some shit up


<Reilael.>

[Yes, Moloch.]

<We failed.>

[Perhaps; but Lucifer still lives, and despite all of the Habbalite's betrayals the War is not yet lost.]

one more chapter... just one more... then it's over... i just have to hang on

<I... I have lost all of myself. What you hear is only an echo.>

[I know. I failed in my promise to protect you. Forgive me.]

<I would forgive you anything, Friend of Destiny. For you and the Lightbringer I died with honor. I ask only that you remember me.>

[I will always remember you, Moloch. You were... You were my friend.]

how touchi-NOBODY CARES FUCK THIS FANFIC IN ITS PRETENTIOUS ASS

<Then the anger in your heart is not for me?>

[No. It is for my enemy - a cruel joke, a crude copy of one who I love. Another of the Habbalite's vicious tricks.]

<Little remains of me, Reilael; but whatever I have left is yours to take.>

Are they going to do the fusion dance?

[I... Thank you. ... Goodbye, Moloch.]

<Goodbye, Reilael, my friend.>


Deep within the war machine humanity had made of his corpse, Moloch, Lord of Fire, gave what remained of himself up to the song that was Rei Ayanami.

The mission clock stood at 00:04:59.99.

that interlude only took one second

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu


EVA-00, powerless, twitched, then shivered as the tech crewmen who had been trying to fit it with an external battery pack scattered in fright. Its eye glowed, first red, then white, and with a burst of light too bright to watch unshielded, its own AT Field shattered the one that protected Unit 06. From somewhere under its head armor, it let out an enraged roar which mingled with Rei's scream. Maya gasped in awe as every energy-reading device in the command center went straight off the scale. Glowing, white lightning dancing over its blaze-orange surface, Moloch rose to its feet, waving aside the remains of the enemy EVA's AT Field like a bead curtain. From the area around the damaged power coupling, rays of light exploded outward, bent and trailed away so that they resembled nothing so much as giant wings of blue-white light. The shining AT Field around the unit seemed to condense around it into a corona of flickering light, as though the giant machine were bathed in fire. All the while, the unit continued to howl in fury.

And I say
Bounce a graviton particle beam
Off the main deflector dish
That's the way we do things lad
We're making shit up as we wish
The Klingons and the Romulans pose no threat to us
'cause if we find we're in a bind
We're totally screwed but never mind
We'll pull something out of our behinds
We just make some shit up

Misato Katsuragi sucked in a breath through clenched teeth, frozen by mixed awe and horror. Alone among everyone in her company, she had seen and heard all of this before, sixteen years before.

Next to Misato, Gendou Ikari smiled, his eyes invisible behind the reflection of the flames on his glasses.

"Impossible!" Lucas Ellison cried as his EVA stumbled back from the glowing prototype.

"HOW CAN THIS BE!?"

In his entry plug, Jon writhed as the electrodes built into his plug suit hammered his heart back into action; then he sat bolt upright, eyes flying open, and drew in a breath, galvanized as much by the energies washing over his EVA as by the medical devices of his life-support suit. Enervated and sore, he slumped in his seat and watched the monitors, unable to do anything more than simply take it all in.

In the cockpit of EVA-00, Rei's plug suit began to dissolve, and everywhere it parted, light poured out like the glow from a furnace hatch. The controls, useless, retracted and darkened. As the last vestiges of the suit disappeared, it seemed as if Rei had become a being of light, blue-white and blinding, except for her eyes - two scornful pools of red fire.

I didn't know Rei had a transformation sequence.

"Did you really think I would lie there helpless and let you destroy Jon, Lucas?" Rei asked coldly. "DID YOU?"

Crying out a mutual hatred that had no words to contain it, Rei and Lucas hurled themselves at each other. Lucas struck first, relying on his EVA's superior speed and strength to end the combat quickly, but he never laid a hand on Rei; as hard as he drove the punch forward, Moloch's Absolute Terror Field drove him back. The two EVAs thundered across half the city of South Hadley, beating each other like savage drunks, the pilots never seeming to tire or exhaust their shared rage. Within a few minutes, it became obvious that the SEELE EVA was taking the worst of the combat.

"My God," Misato murmured, watching on one of the main viewers as a remote camera showed the MCU the action. EVA-00 continued to perform to almost four times its functional spec, its AT Field off the scale, visibly surrounding it in a fiery halo. Under Moloch's relentless pounding, EVA-06's field was reduced to a mere whisper, its white armor dented and cracked, its structural integrity beginning to degrade.

You know when someone thinks they're doing something awesome, but it's really just sad and pathetic? Yeah...

"This is impossible," Aoba murmured, watching the battle. "That amount of power output should be tearing EVA-00 apart."

"It -is-," replied Maya. "Reading structural integrity on Unit 00 is down to 80% and dropping fast."

Hull integrity compromised. Warp core breach imminent.

"Then why the hell isn't it falling apart?" Misato demanded. "It was never intended to be overloaded so much... and for that matter, where's it getting the power? It hasn't manifested Elerium colliders like Lucifer's, has it?"

"Negative," Maya reported. "My telemetry shows that the operating power's come from... " She gasped. "... Rei," she finished, a note of astonishment in her voice.

"Impossible," Aoba repeated.

stop saying everything's impossible like it's meant to impress us

shit, what fucking lazy writing

Gendou Ikari's smile faltered, flickered, and then surged back into being, splitting his face in an ear-to-ear grin of pure joy as his eyes lit up with sudden revelation.

"Beautiful!" he roared, throwing back his head. "I knew it! I knew it! I knew Rei was more special than any of us could dream. Look! See how she's made Moloch into the tool of her personal vengeance!"

Oh, Rei's special all right...

Misato regarded him with a look that mingled uneasiness, skepticism and surprise; ignoring it, he seized her shoulders in his hands, still grinning from ear to ear, and turned her back to the master viewer.

"That energy is not EVA-00's Absolute Terror Field - it's Rei's!" he cried, his voice ringing with the unabated joy of his sudden epiphany. "She's an angel, our angel! All the Children are touched by God - but Rei! Rei is one of His OWN, sent to guide the rest! Do you see? Do you see??" Ikari released Misato, throwing his hands up to the air. "Magnificent!!"

this... this is not Gendo

"He's crazy," Misato mumbled, backing away from the joyous scientist.

"He's right," DJ replied, not looking away from the master viewer.

"What?" Misato asked, turning to face him.

"'Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not,'" DJ murmured, his eyes still riveted to the battle raging outside. "'Behold, your God will come with vengeance... He will come and save you.'"

SHUT YOUR PRETENTIOUS FACE DAMNIT EYRIE

Misato looked quizzically at the transfixed pilot and seemed about to protest, but then thought better of it, and turned again to the screen.

"EVA-00 structural integrity down to 45%," Maya reported.

This is as exciting as an Excel spreadsheet.

WE PUT NUMBERS IN THE STORY. THAT'S A SUBSTITUTE FOR DRAMATIC TENSION, RIGHT?

All that remained of Moloch was slowly disintegrating. The incredible amounts of energy that washed over his frame, held him up, kept him punching, were doing as much to destroy him as they were to sustain him. Underneath the machine's armor - by now scorched and blackened by the flames of Rei's AT field to the point where little orange remained - muscles and giant tendons dried, split, and tore, bones cracked, and sensors recorded and reported it all with great alarm. Still the titan stayed on its feet and kept fighting.

Moloch's right fist crashed into the side of the enemy EVA's face, spinning it half around and sending it slamming up against the sturdy side of a power-coupling blockhouse. Cracks rayed out in the reinforced concrete all around the impact point, and as EVA-06 struggled to regain its footing, Lucas Ellison swore. His AT Field was all but gone. Another blow like that would take his unit's head right off and finish him for good.

Remember how visceral the fights between Unit 01 and the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Angels and the one between Unit 02 and the Mass Production Evangelions were? How even though the scenes were about giant robots and monsters beating each other up, they felt... I don't know. They felt right. There was (Rebuild 2.22 excepted) an absence of laser light shows or other flashy shit. They were also rather short.

I know saying positive things about Eva is taboo around these parts, but I think the fights mentioned were good because of what they lacked. Maybe this was because of budgetary constraints (just look what Anno did when they gave him the money to do what he wanted), but the point is that sometimes less is more. It's the same principle that made the xenomorph in Alien scary. If too much time is spent dwelling on something it becomes old hat. All this overwrought description and people shouting "IMPOSIBEL!" and stuff glowing for no reason... really doesn't do it for me. Give me a short, brutal fight that gets to the point instead of reveling in empty showmanship. This is one area where Evangelion is vastly better than this fic.

Then again, most things are good in comparison to NXE.

On the other hand, it had knocked him far enough that he had enough breathing room to pull out his hole card. Snarling, he reached up and deployed his unit's close-in weapon.

SEELE's Research and Development Unit had been busy the past few months. Not only had they produced the first Improved Production Model Evangelion, they had also adapted the weapon of one of the first Angels to be destroyed by NERV - Shamshel, the Fourth Angel - into an EVA weapon much more effective than the Progressive Knife it was intended to replace.

So it was that Rei found herself facing an EVA armed with a giant, fiery sword.

Get it? It's a fiery sword because there was that part in the Bible where an angel with a fiery sword barred the entrance to the Garden of Eden.

LAYERS OF MEANING

She was not noticeably impressed. Lucas leaped back, struck at her right flank; Moloch's right arm blocked the blade, the AT Field strobing white octagons from the point of impact. Snarling, he kicked at her legs; she stumbled, and as she did, Lucas raised the blade and brought it crashing down toward EVA-00's head.

Casually, contemptuously, Moloch reached up and seized the glowing blade in its fist. The energy sizzled and sparked, little arcs flowing over the blackened EVA's hand and forearm, and the burned armor and dried flesh of the hand sizzled and peeled away, but it held together through the sheer force of the will behind it.

Unit 01 also grabbed the energy whips with no problem, you know.

Lucas gulped and hurled all his unit's weight and strength behind the blade, forcing it down a few meters.

"DIIIIIEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!" he shrieked.

Moloch's vambrace housing popped open, delivering a Type One solid prog knife to the EVA's left hand. With a defiant cry, Rei drove the blade into the white EVA's side.

Huh. I thought she'd shoot a rainbow-colored laser beam shaped like a sephirotic tree out of her vagina.

Lucas choked, trying to keep from vomiting as his EVA's agony became his own. Rei compounded it by using the jammed blade as a handhold to drive the white EVA back, then swung the trapped energy blade out and wrenched it from her enemy's hand, hurling it aside as the blade flickered and died.

Desperate, Lucas threw his unit's hands around Moloch's neck; the AT Field couldn't prevent him from touching the other unit if it was touching his. Rei drove Moloch to his feet, bending the white EVA back in the process; then she tore the prog knife out of its side, raised it, and brought it slashing down into the SEELE unit's exposed inner elbow joint. The screaming of tearing metal and parting synth-muscle was mirrored by Lucas's own shriek as the joint parted and the hand and forearm flopped to the ground.

Discarding the knife, Rei clamped EVA-00's left hand firmly around the enemy unit's throat, then seized its remaining wrist in Moloch's right hand and pulled it straight out to the side, eerily mirroring an attack the Third Angel had used against EVA-01.

This time, however, something in the attacked EVA gave; EVA-06's weakened neck snapped, and with a dreadful noise, Moloch tore its head off.

I promise the chapter is almost over.

this horrible... horrible chapter

Lucas Ellison's consciousness spiraled into an abyss of red agony.

Unsatisfied, Rei slammed the inert EVA back up against the blockhouse and then drove Moloch's right hand straight into its chest, splintering the armor and drawing forth a hideous cascade of synthetic gore as she reached in and tore the unit's entry plug straight out through the front.

In one fluid motion, EVA-00 tossed the inert corpse of the SEELE EVA to the side, smashed the entry plug against the blockhouse wall, dropped it, and stomped it utterly flat.

Rei needlessly killed a disarmed enemy. Let's see how everyone reacts.

For a long moment, it stood there, its AT Field still flickering around it like flame; then the flames died slowly away.

The mission clock hit 0:00:00.00, stopped, and went black.

Slowly, as if under water, the prototype Evangelion sank to its knees, then crashed face-first to the ground. As everyone in the control booth watched in shock, it sagged, settled, and then crumbled away to blackened dust and ashes, leaving behind some assorted (and rather burnt) computer components, several miles of wire and cable, and a somewhat charred entry plug.

The hatch on that plug blew open, and Rei Ayanami emerged. Unconcerned with the devastation and carnage around her, she went immediately to EVA-03's side, where a recovery team was removing Jon from his own entry plug.

Maya Ibuki and Misato Katsuragi surveyed the devastation for a moment, then turned to each other.

"Sweet Jesus," Misato murmured.

"What did I have to do with it?" Jesus asked. "You 'tards are on your own. Peace." He then ascended into the clouds, ready to receive his royalty check from Eyrie Productions.


It is difficult to explain even the lowest level of Heaven to a mortal audience. The normal, unawakened mortal human mind cannot truly comprehend the glory, the power, merely the basic makeup of even the least holy of the celestial planes. The laws of structure, matter and action do not apply in Heaven as they do on Earth. Those few living human consciousnesses who do see it must therefore translate its ineffable complexity and grandeur into a somewhat metaphoric form which they can understand. The human eye viewing an angel without its mortal camouflage does much the same thing, automatically, so as to preserve the fragile balance of the mind behind it.

Supernatural conveyed this idea with a single line. "In Heaven I have six wings and four faces, one of which is a lion." Simple, funny, and memorable. Eyrie's version... less so.

It is from this metaphoric perspective, therefore, that we shall proceed.

Angels ascending to Heaven are not required to enter that august realm by way of the front entrance, that grand, crystalline structure known to mortal hearts as the Pearly Gates. Being essentially employees, angels can come and go by way of the service entrances, as it were, generally arising straight to whatever part of the Golden City that contains their business.

In this particular case, though, a dramatic entrance was called for, and anyway, there were precedents for such special occasions. Not many, but they existed.

get to the point

Saint Peter, the Watcher at the Gates, looked up from his logbook as the outer Gate swung open with its usual picturesque creak, expecting to see a new human arrival, passed on from the mortal coil and ready to ascend to the higher


This post has been edited by Dr. O: Sep 4 2011, 01:03 PM


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Dr. O


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post Sep 3 2011, 08:26 PM
levels and the eternal reward. Instead, he saw a figure both familiar and unfamiliar, clothed, robed and hooded in white, bathed in light, approaching Peter's station with a graceful gravity.

"Welcome, stranger," said Peter.

Having Peter as Heaven's gatekeeper seems out of place somehow. Maybe because it's permeated popular culture enough to be used for jokes in The Far Side and South Park.

The newcomer chuckled, stopping before Peter's lectern. "Not a stranger," said the newcomer, in a soft, pleasant voice. "Not quite."

The newcomer reached up and brushed back her hood; the light came stronger now, and Peter felt a surge of recognition - followed closely by a wave of puzzlement as he realized that this visitor could not be who he had initially thought. There were similarities - some of the angles of the face - but this angel, whoever she was, was taller, her eyes not quite so large, her hair a pure white, lacking the blue-silver tinge of the one Peter had taken her for.

Wait... "Her?"

"Hello, Peter," said the newcomer, smiling. "I'm not surprised you don't know me; I've changed a bit since last you saw me." She bowed formally and continued, "I am Tabriel, Herald of the Light." Looking Peter straight in the eye, she continued in deadly earnest, "I bring a message to the Seraphim Council from my dread lord, the Archangel Lucifer."

KAWORU IS A WOMAN WTF

/* The Ventures "Blue Moon" _Walk - Don't Run_ */

NEXT EPISODE:
The final evacuation.
The inevitable confrontation.
The shattering conclusion.

On April 1, 2000,
it's all over.

If only.

NEON EXODUS EVANGELION 3:9
THE BLOOD-DIMMED TIDE

"I have been killed a thousand times and every time I return."

doc brain hurt. doc lie down now. do bonus theater later.

doc procrastinate, work on let's play instead.

Also, this happened when I initially tried to post:
Attached Image
Thus answering the question, "what happens when you try to dump more than 40,000 words into a post at once?"


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Post #190
Coiler


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post Sep 4 2011, 10:16 AM
Uh..., I have nothing to say here. The chapter and its badness truly speaks for itself.
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Post #191
Al_Cone


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post Sep 4 2011, 02:25 PM
Blah blah blah Canada blah blah Halifax blah. God's gravy, I haven't been this bored since that SegAtari claptrap.

QUOTE
Usenet, much like Ranma 1/2 and MC Hammer, is one of those relics of the '90s - you'll just have to take me at my word when I say they were popular.


alt.god.dammit.eyrie

QUOTE
Trust me, Kensuke; you're never going to get lucky.


Pretending that Garden of EVA never happened, eh? Can't say I blame you.

Hey, since when does HAL have the empathy necessary to provide psychological counseling to a human boy? I wouldn't want to talk over my existential angst with a machine whose claim to fame was killing a dozen astronauts for lulz.

Figures that DJ would be a reincarnation of Achilles. They both have the "Self-involved, sulking nitwit" quality that only a truly legendary douchebag could possess.

Hang on. Unless I'm misreading this, Eyrie is implying that the line of reincarnated superheroes that terminates with DJ started with Saint Longinus.

Despite the fact that both Achilles and Gilgamesh predate Longinus by several centuries. Wait, but now he's not? Because now Longinus is bragging about how he's been all these badass dudes, but Gendo just said that the line began with Longinus, whose soul got 20% cooler for being an OG Christian?

Am I misreading something?

QUOTE

"How do you know they do?" Ikari replied serenely.


Oh, no I'm not. Eyrie's really just that stupid.

FFSFKSFK

QUOTE
"Shinji's dad just tried to convince me I'm a saint."


Figuratively speaking, that's all anybody in this story ever does in regards to DJ.

"knocker," "feeler-guilty" and now "rolled-up something." The use of language in this story is simply stunning.

QUOTE
"And 'ere's Ritsukou. Notice 'ow she's belouw me. That's because I'm shitting all ouveur her could, bitchly demeanour. The chocolate fountain represents the powerful sprayue of personality courrection that flows ceaselessly from me, fixing everyone's probleums by simple proximity tu my presence. Alsou, all ouf the shit people 'ave to put up with when dealing with me. You see thuat, Riutsuukou? That'll show you for waiting uuntil the thiurd season to sleepe with me! Let's 'ave a carriage ride! Ta, guvnah!" he cried, shaking his fist at the chart.


I can't stop laughing.

Airflow is becoming a problem.

Oh, uh, "put the snatch on". Add that to the list, just after "rolled-up something."

QUOTE
(to which one might respond, "but the serpent is never identified as Satan," to which I counter, "my dear strawman, it says so right in the Book of Revelation"


That was a retcon. Originally, it was just a talking snake because snakes are creepy. That stood for a while, until the clergy started going through the Bible in the post-Roman world and retconning shit for no reason. Not unlike the current state of the Star Wars franchise.

I won't go on a tirade about the validity of Revelations. At least not now.

QUOTE
"Let it go," repeated Truss. "It obviously has an agenda... and anyway, we won't be able to hold it here much longer even if we try. Send it to the surface and release it."


Yes, Truss, let the giant robot which is not supposed to act independently roam free in the surface world. That's a terrific idea which will no doubt be a resounding success. I am certain that there will be no loss of life or negative repercussions stemming from this lapse in intelligent thinking. You certainly are justifying the faith that your comrades put in you.

QUOTE
Huh. I thought she'd shoot a rainbow-colored laser beam shaped like a sephirotic tree out of her vagina.


The one on her forehead, or the ones on her palms?

This is a bittersweet moment for me. On the one hand, it took me two and a half hours to read that chapter, and those are hours that I will never, ever see again. On the other, I'm not looking forward to the end of (neon exodus) Evangelion because, well. I'm kind of crazy in love with this mock.

The next chapter isn't the "movie," right? "Apotheosis Now," I believe it's called? Which, heh, by the way, funniest and most pretentious title ever. Please tell me that you're going to do that one too.

Please, please tell me.


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Dr. O


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post Sep 4 2011, 04:35 PM
QUOTE (Al_Cone @ Sep 4 2011, 05:25 PM)
Pretending that Garden of EVA never happened, eh? Can't say I blame you.

Garden of what now?

QUOTE
That was a retcon. Originally, it was just a talking snake because snakes are creepy. That stood for a while, until the clergy started going through the Bible in the post-Roman world and retconning shit for no reason. Not unlike the current state of the Star Wars franchise.

I won't go on a tirade about the validity of Revelations. At least not now.

I'm not going to argue with you, because even most Christians who believe stuff like a literal reading of Genesis agree that Revelation is largely metaphorical. But given Eyrie's apparent love for Judeo-Christian apocrypha, and their inclusion of a figure from the New Testament in a significant role, I don't see why the book is invalid in the hodgepodge religious background of this fanfic. Besides, if Satan can be a giant robot, I don't see why he can't be a snake.

QUOTE
This is a bittersweet moment for me. On the one hand, it took me two and a half hours to read that chapter, and those are hours that I will never, ever see again. On the other, I'm not looking forward to the end of (neon exodus) Evangelion because, well. I'm kind of crazy in love with this mock.

The next chapter isn't the "movie," right? "Apotheosis Now," I believe it's called? Which, heh, by the way, funniest and most pretentious title ever. Please tell me that you're going to do that one too.

Please, please tell me.
*

There's one more "normal" chapter, then the movie. And after that there are two side-stories I want to mock. Trust me, there's still quite a bit of NXE left.

And I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter. It was by far the most difficult to mock (so far, at least - I suspect Apotheosis Now will present some unique challenges, since it's a single chapter the length of a season).


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post Sep 5 2011, 11:03 AM
What the fuck did I just read? I'm never getting that time back! My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?


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post Sep 5 2011, 02:22 PM
Fuuuuuuuck that took too long! >:


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post Sep 5 2011, 03:11 PM
Then you two are going to love the "motion picture."

If anyone has suggestions on how I should post something more than twice the length of the latest chapter, I'd like to hear them.


*** AND NOW ***
EYRIE PRODUCTIONS, UNLIMITED proudly presents:
NEON EXODUS EVANGELION BONUS THEATER!!

I'm doing this one for you, Coiler.

[COMMERCIAL]

[INTERIOR DAY. DJ CROFT and REI AYANAMI are dressed in dark, tasteful suits and ties, and are seated behind what appears to be a news desk. Monitors in the background show various action clips from "Neon Exodus Evangelion".]

i wonder if two bottles of ibuprofen will be enough

REI: How can NERV secure its position as the world's foremost paranormal defense force? Two options...

DJ: One: Scour the globe for the most gifted, talented pilots the world has ever seen, train them intensively in the use of the most advanced weapons known to humanity, and surround them with the most sophisticated secondary defense systems ever conceived.

REI: Or two: Clone me.

Even though Rei was the worst pilot in the show.

[EXTERIOR DAY. A dozen of Rei, all neatly dressed, stand in two ranks of six at rigid attention, their expressions blank and focused on the far horizon.]

ALL (mechanically): Yes, I understand. Many necessary kinds, and many unnecessary kinds as well. Why are you crying?

I'm crying because reading this fanfic feels like getting my balls trampled by a quarterback in stilettos.

That happens to me a lot.

[STUDIO. REI looks gravely at the camera. Beside her, DJ looks vaguely... well, no, more than vaguely... disturbed.]

REI: An act the consequences of which we, as simple, flawed human beings, could not begin to comprehend.

[CUT TO BLACK.]

[CAPTION: Same Rei. New series.]
[GRAPHIC: NXE "sports" logo.]
[CAPTION: Thursdays at 9:30 only on EBN]

[END COMMERCIAL]

A fanfic with fake commercials for a fake TV show based on their fanfic, aired on their fake TV station with a fake sports show.

I...

NEON EXODUS EVANGELION

THE OUTTAKE REEL, VOLUME 2

- -- ---- -------- ---- -- -

In the control room, John Trussell abruptly rose to his feet. As the drama between DJ, Jon and Rei had played out, his face had slowly darkened from deep shock to its current state, a frozen mask of barely-restrained rage. Those who knew Truss knew him to be among the mildest-mannered of people at NERV; to see him this way was a powerful jolt to them. His hands shaking with anger, Truss slammed his chair into the kneewell of his station, crushing several of his fingers between the chair back and the edge of the desk. To his credit, he didn't let this unexpectedly painful injury rob him of too much dignity; he merely sucked in a sharp breath between his clenched teeth, yanked his hands out of the trap, pivoted on his heel and stomped toward the exit.

You know what I like? Reading the same crap that was so boring and annoying the first time. It's grown on me so much.

Though Truss mangling himself does give it some redeeming value.

As he drew even with Ikari, the professor struggled to hold back a snicker while saying, "Mr. Trussell, where do you think - "

Truss rounded on him, eyes flashing, and cut him off with a stiff chopping gesture, locking eyes with Ikari.

"DON'T," said Truss; then, after a lingering glare, he dissolved into a fit of laughter, followed quickly by Ikari and everyone else in the control room.

Sometimes it's funny when actors break out into laughter in the middle of a scene. That's because they're real people. The audience knows they're actors, which makes it amusing when they unexpectedly break character (though your mileage may vary).

This isn't funny.

"Are you all right?" Ikari asked between giggles.

"Ow, dammit," Truss replied, beginning to recover. "I - hahah - I was doing OK - heh - until I looked at you!"

"Sorry... I tried to keep a straight face, but... "

"What the hell's going on in there?!" Jon Ellison's voice crackled over the PA, and set everybody off again.

I was playing Far Cry 2 earlier. I could be playing it now. But I'm not.

The sacrifices I make for you guys.

- -- ---- -------- ---- -- -

"I have been willing to overlook all this due to your natural talent and its importance to Project EVA. However, your conduct in this last incident was beyond the pale. You were insubordinate; you deliberately refused direct orders; you seized control of Evangelion Unit 01 without authorization and you threatened the lives of senior personnel, myself included. This cannot be forgiven. Have you anything to say for the record?"

In case you don't know, it is an outstanding game. It's an FPS with a strong exploration/open-world component. And the story is based on Heart of Darkness. I would much rather be playing it than reading NXE.

Never breaking eye contact with Ikari, DJ replied firmly and unhesitantly, "Gendou Ikari, you are a contemptible, manipulative, ruthless, murderous... er... murderous... what the hell comes after 'murderous'?"

haha he forgot his line

"Unscrupulous toe-rag," said Otto Keller expressionlessly.

"Oh right, thank you - unscrupulous toe-rag. If Colonel Keller and these two men weren't here, you bastard, I would strangle you with my bare hands. The best thing you can do is turn me loose and pray I never cross your path again... For the record."

So, one of the reasons I like it so much is the weapon system. Instead of lugging around fifty guns, you get one weapon each for three weapon slots (secondary, primary, special), along with a machete and grenades. There are a lot of moments where you have to consider which guns to take along. Do you pick the shotgun or the sniper rifle? The SMG or the grenade launcher? Unlike a lot of shooters, you have to tailor your loadout to the mission/environment, since fighting in a jungle or mountain pass is markedly different than it is on the veldt. I'll admit that there are a few weapons that completely destroy game balance, but that's solved by not using them.

Ikari stared stonily across the desk at his belligerent adversary, and then said dryly, "I suppose you expect the editors to just cut that little byplay out."

"I stood still!" DJ replied indignantly. "They ought to be able to fit it together without making too much of a jump."

Even DJ's actor alter-ego spends every waking moment making things difficult for other people. I can't say I'm surprised.

"What the hell's a 'toe-rag', anyway?" asked Keller.

DJ shrugged. "I dunno really. One of the writers trying to make me sound more English, I suppose. Only place I've ever heard it is on old episodes of 'Doctor Who'... "

The most British show on television! Or as the British call it, telly.

"Oh for crissake CUT!" came the voice of the director.

- -- ---- -------- ---- -- -

DJ turned to Ritsuko, and his smile became somewhat less warm. "Ritsuko. Thank you... for nothing." Then, on impulse, his right hand darted out; before she could draw back, he'd hooked his index finger into the ring on her top's zipper tab and snapped his wrist down. The zipper came down perhaps a quarter-inch, then jammed, and DJ nearly broke his finger before the ring popped off the zipper tab.

Where was I...

OK, so if there's one problem I have with the game, it's that a lot of the exploration (which involves finding hidden caches of diamonds and, occasionally, a message left behind by the game's antagonist) is crippled by the fact that platforming in an FPS is a terrible idea and the developers should never have included it. And those diamonds are evil. I have spent so much time running headfirst into cliffs trying to find out which patch of ground is climbable so that I can get to a briefcase that probably only has one diamond in it anyway, when I could be getting twenty of the things working for the militia.

"Well, almost nothing," he added with a mirthless version of his rakish grin as he surveyed the pullring still hooked on his finger. "I've always wanted a little metal ring... "

"Wardrobe!!" chirped Rei Ayanami cheerfully, and everyone broke.

Still, it's worth it since it gets you looking at places you normally wouldn't travel to, and a lot of the fun in the game is shooting people in new and interesting places. Also, burning down half of Africa with molotovs and a flare gun. Once I figured out that half the stuff in the game world is flammable, I pretty much gave up on every other weapon.

- -- ---- -------- ---- -- -

His grin unfaded, Kaji deftly stepped around Maya, removing his hand from her tunic and slipping his arm around her throat, then dragged her back a step toward the door. "We've danced this dance before, kid, and you didn't have the guts. C'mon, Maya, let's find someplace quieter."

I remember this part! I wonder how Eyrie will cleverly subvert their own scenario with humor and cinematic tropes. (spoiler: no I don't)

Even if DJ had been entertaining the thought of backing down, Maya's dark, pleading, silent gaze would have kept him from doing it; instead, he held his .45 steady and said softly, "Kaji, I'm having the very worst day of my entire life. I honestly feel I've nothing more to lose." His control over his tone of voice faded as he went on, and his eyes flashed something that wasn't entirely anger as he growled, "Now let Maya go or I swear I'll kill you!"

"Uh... DJ, think about this for a second," said Jon diffidently. "I mean, sure, he's obviously doing the Wrong Thing here, but... do you really think you need to -kill- him?"

If this were FC2, DJ wouldn't stand a chance, since the .45 is kind of wimpy. He could be rocking the Mac-10 or 'nade launcher. Though personally, I like the silenced Makarov.

"That's quite up to Ryoji here, don't you think?" DJ snarled.

Jon turned a helpless look to Kaji and said, "I think you should do as he says, Mr. Kaji."

"Well?" DJ asked, fighting to keep his voice even and blinking away sudden tears. "What's it gonna be, Ryoji? You can walk out of here, but not with Maya."

There are parts that are rather samey (much like this fic), but that is somewhat mitigated by your ability to choose different approaches to a problem. You can be all sneaky and go with suppressed weapons like the Makarov, MP5, and dart rifle. Or you can go in guns blazing with stuff like the SPAS-12 and flamethrower. And there's always the versatile approach, with a variety of weapons like the flare/M1905/PKM.

Kaji's grin didn't falter. He reached out and unlocked the exit door, toeing it open, and dragged Maya a step closer. "Kid," he sneered, "you won't shoot. You don't have - "

POW!

Ryoji Kaji flinched, took a half-step backward, released Maya, as the front of his shirt jumped and a blood-soaked hole appeared high on his chest. Blood spattered the floor in front of him.

I missed when the fic called it a crimson flower. The way it's written now, it almost feels like a normal person wrote it.

"What the hell was that?!" DJ shouted, his .45 still unfired.

"I dunno," Kaji mused. Then he grinned, an "oh what the hell" kind of grin. "I guess I'm dead!" he said cheerfully, and keeled over backward.

Jon Ellison had seen death, but never like this. He was momentarily dumbfounded by what he'd just witnessed; for a long moment, he just stood there in stunned silence, trying to parse the fact that yes, he'd just seen Ryoji Kaji die of a gunshot wound that -nobody had inflicted-.

You don't even have to use lethal force to solve every problem. It's possible to shoot someone in the stomach, wounding but not necessarily killing them. Then you can run off while their buddies administer first aid. There are a lot of little touches like that, which do a lot to add verisimilitude to the game.

"My God," Maya whispered to DJ. "Is he... "

"Yes," DJ replied, struggling to compose himself. "He's dead."

And what led him to that conclusion? Was it the gunshot wound? Or perhaps his statement that he is dead, followed by him collapsing?

"You can't stay here," she told him, gripping his shoulders with a strength born of desperation. "Ikari... he'll have you killed for this. He has that authority during a crisis."

"Not if he wants this Angel stopped, he won't," DJ replied grimly. "Besides, what was I supposed to do, let the bastard take you? He gave me no option. And anyway, I didn't shoot him - his squib just went off by itself."

Anyway, another thing I like is the AI chatter. There was one point where I was hiding in a shack and overheard some guards talking in hushed tones about this psychopath who was going around butchering all their pals (referring to me, of course). And then when I started shooting at them, someone shouted that they were under attack from six people, even though it was just me. Sometimes it's hard to tell what's randomized and what's circumstantial, since the devs did a good job of mixing it up. It's not like other games where you shoot a guy and he says one of three lines that are the same for everybody.

Maya sobbed, crushing her face into DJ's chest, and murmured, "That won't matter to Ikari."

"To hell with Ikari!" DJ replied vehemently. "Are you all right? That's the important thing."

"I... I will be... " Maya replied.

"Right, then. Let's go. We're going to have to shoot this damn scene all over again, and it's already four-bloody-thirty in the afternoon."

This, on the other hand, is way too predictable. C'mon Eyrie, can't you do any better?

- -- ---- -------- ---- -- -

But standing she was, next to the bed she'd occupied for far too long - standing with a cane, one of the metal sorts with a handle and a brace against her forearm, but otherwise unassisted. Cold sweat stood out on her pale forehead, and she breathed in hissing rasps through her clenched teeth, but by God, she was standing on her own.

I think I may be biased, since I like shooters in general, and ones with a large, open map in particular. It's one of the reasons I love the STALKER games so much, despite all their flaws. And yes, I know these kind of games frequently only give you an illusion of freedom that overlies a restrictive progression from mission to mission, much like how this fanfic has a veneer of good writing to disguise the inherent weakness of the narrative itself. But they're still fun.

The games, not NXE.

Letting out an explosive breath, she relinquished her mental grip on her reluctant flesh and let herself sink backward into a wheelchair, the cane almost falling from her hand before she could catch it. Now, quivering slightly in the wake of such total effort, she slumped forward and let out something akin to a sob, tears welling up in her eyes.

Rei Ayanami dropped to one knee next to the wheelchair and put her hand on Asuka's forearm. "Don't cry," she said softly. "You did well."

I'll admit that I'm not exactly trying to be objective. Not that it matters all that much, since my opinion is objectively better than everyone else's.

"I can barely stand up," Asuka growled, her anger directed not at the other girl but rather at herself. "How can you call that doing well?"

"You were -really- drunk," Rei observed. "Your hangover won't go away all at once. You have nothing to be ashamed of."

"I - " Asuka stopped, took a deep breath, then burst out laughing as, all around her, the set and camera crews disintegrated. Rei kept her deadpan look, as though she had no idea why everyone was laughing.

Just look at this. Do people think it's good? I mean, of course there are people who like NXE as a whole, but do any of them actually find Bonus Theater enjoyable? It's like, nobody wants to play that stupid library level in Halo, but the game has a bunch of fans.

Please tell me that even Eyrie fans are rational enough to know that Bonus Theater is crap.

"You little bitch," said Asuka good-naturedly.

Rei's only response was to smile a little smile.

- -- ---- -------- ---- -- -

Kaji stirred, groaned, and sat up, raising a hand to his head. Then he glanced around in confusion at the gloomy, cold metal room full of hibernacula, and down at the close-fitting gray coverall he was wearing. Then he turned his dark, confused eyes on DJ.

Oh, one thing I forgot to mention is the way health works in FC2. It's a wonder that more games don't use it. Basically, you have a segmented health bar; you can regenerate health, but only one bar, meaning you can't hide behind cover for five seconds and get all your health back like in more recent Call of Duty stuff. You do get five syrettes that restore all your health and can be replenished at supply stations, which gives things a nice balance between being too difficult (and therefore frustrating) and too easy (and therefore boring).

"Who are you?" he asked, coughing as his voice caught in his dry throat. Recovering quickly, he went on, "Where am I?"

"It's rather a long story," DJ replied. "C'mon, can you walk? We've got to get out of here."

Ryoji climbed unsteadily out of the hibernaculum chamber; DJ leaned past him and closed the lid again, then reactivated the controls. "This won't fool anyone for long, but it might not have to," he said.

Just as he spoke, the whooping blare of an alarm siren filled the air, and the room's bluish gloom was split by flashing red lights.

A lot of games don't seem to get supplies right. Either you have too many or too few, which goes back to the whole difficulty thing. In FC2 you can get supplies from militia checkpoints (which almost invariably involves combat) or from safehouses (which are usually in rather remote places and have to be captured from their owners). When you can only carry three clips for your primary weapon, finding and raiding supply piles becomes an important part of the game, and one of the most enjoyable, at least to me.

"Shit!" DJ snarled. "Come on! We've got to get out of here -now-!" He yanked his .45 out from under his jacket and grabbed the still-unsteady Kaji by his arm, hauling him bodily toward the door at the far end of the room.

Just as he did so, the sound of running feet outside reached a crescendo, and the vault door nearer Kaji's hibernaculum swung open. DJ turned to face the entering guard, then froze in stunned amazement, his jaw dropping.

The creature standing in the doorway was not a large man. No, though tallish it was a rather thin fellow in his mid-twenties, with long straw-blond hair tied in a ponytail. He was dressed in jeans, Chuck Taylor sneakers, and a psychedelic tie-dyed Mexican wool pullover, and had on his head a ballcap advertising a popular Worcester pizza shop. In one hand he had a large, flat, white cardboard box.

Are you bored by me gushing about a videogame? Probably.

But it's still better than Bonus Theater.

"Celestial Pizza!" he said cheerfully. "Delivered on the Wings of Angels!"

"Good God!" DJ cried. "A pizza deliveryman, -here-?!"

DJ and Kaji stumbled backward in sheer horror; then the SFX charges went off in the hibernaculum they'd been standing in front of - the only other activated one in the room. Huge clouds of steam and a deafening hissing noise filled the room as cryonic fluid lines were severed. The hibernaculum's own system failure alarm added to the cacophony. DJ slipped on the metal floor, fell down, and surrendered himself to laughter. Kaji followed.

How can anything that tries to be funny end up so banal?

"Uh... dude," said the pizza guy's voice, its owner invisible in the mist. "I get the feeling I'm not supposed to be here... "

The door swung open again, and the creature standing in the doorway now was not, despite its hulking silhouette, a large man either. It was certainly large - over seven feet tall - but it wasn't a man at all. Its body was hyperdeveloped, with impossibly broad shoulders and muscles bulging beyond any bodybuilder's most disturbing efforts, but its head was smaller than a man's, dominated by a pair of large, yellow, pupilless eyes and a wide, fanged mouth, without much forehead to speak of. It wore a close-fitting green jumpsuit with a belt of equipment at its waist, and had a futuristic-looking rifle at the ready, its sling over one enormous shoulder. The skin of its noseless face and three-fingered hands was a vivid shade of purple.

The Muton looked puzzledly around, shrugged, and went back out again.

But really, the versatility of combat in FC2 is pretty interesting. How many other shooters let you carry around a mortar tube? Not as an emplacement or special "kill this many dudes to use" thing, but a regular weapon?

To the blindingly thick mists and the sounds of Kaji and DJ still laughing fit to burst, the pizza guy said plaintively, "This is the door the security dude told me to come in, just for the record."

"CUT!" bellowed the director. "Misato, go tell Otis he's fucking fired."

- -- ---- -------- ---- -- -

As the SEELE Antonov AN-411 streaked across the sky toward Worcester-3, Shinji Ikari mentally reviewed the information he'd been given during the mission briefing. It was to be a precision strike, the first in a series which, when complete, would drop the city's defensive capability to virtually nil. The primary targets for Phase One were above-ground installations - weapons blocks, communications towers, and the most strategically-placed of lift bays and thoroughfares. Paralysis, not infiltration or theft, was the order of the day. SEELE had provided the Third Child with a map of the most vulnerable locations, which he brought up on EVA-04's viewscreen for a final review.

If this is supposed to be some kind of fourth wall-breaking, behind the scenes look at NXE, then why do they keep talking about the characters' thoughts? It's trying to be all immersive, then it switches over to the director firing people. It's jarring and inconsistent and not entertaining at all.

"Third Child, we're approaching the drop zone. Your synchrotron readings are holding at 45%, and all systems appear to be go. Are you ready?"

Shinji closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "I'm ready."

"OK, drop in 3... 2... 1... -drop-."

OK, I get that Eyrie is trying to set up a scenario and then subvert it, but it's just not working for me.

With a shuddering clang, the clamps holding EVA-04 aboard the AN-411 released their holds.

Well, three them did, anyway.

"Gaaah!" Shinji cried as the unit hung by its right shoulder in the only remaining clamp, its feet flapping in the slipstream. "What the hell - "

Creeeeeakkkk... WHANG!! The remaining clamp, asked to support the unit's total weight, sheared away from its hardpoint, and the unit plummeted free, any semblance of an orderly drop configuration gone.

Going back to comparing FC2 and STALKER, another aspect that I like is that weapons have high lethality, but not to the point that you're not really in danger of getting one-shotted. There are games that try way too hard to be realistic and end up going so far that they become unrealistic, because everyone's running around getting instakill headshots with pistols (you know, just like what they do in Iraq). I like it when there's some leeway, so that someone who's being fired on has a (brief) chance to get out of the line of fire and fight back. There just shouldn't be enough so that you can play it like a typical run & gun shooter. Again: balance.

"YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!!!!!!!" Shinji Ikari remarked as his EVA tumbled two thousand feet, arms and legs flailing. Any hope of Shinji's recovering the unit's equilibrium was spoiled by the multi-ton steel clamp still attached to its right shoulder flange, whose trailing, severed cables and hoses whipped musically about in the wind as the unit approached terminal velocity.

"Oh, shit," said the AN-411's pilot as his practiced eye gauged the unit's modified trajectory.

I don't know if anything I'm saying makes sense. I'm not an authority on videogames. I certainly haven't attained the level of expertise that Eyrie's members love to display.

With a deafening KERRANG!, EVA-04 plowed through the forest of guywires and cable stays that held the forest of mast and dish antennae atop Worcester-3's AT&T Tower upright, then crashed through the antennae themselves, scattering wreckage in all directions. One of the guywires caught on part of the clamp, finally tearing it free from the EVA's shoulder. The EVA itself continued onward, its considerable momentum only slightly eroded by the impact, skipped off the end of the roof, plunged 200 feet, smashed -completely through- the Multitech building across the street, and finally came to rest face-down in the vacant lot behind Multitech.

"Shinji! Shinji, are you OK?!" the AN-411's pilot called frantically.

I know I haven't said much about the story, but it's one of the better parts of the game. You play a mercenary who enters an African nation mired in civil war, with the objective of hunting down the arms dealer responsible for supplying both sides. It's a very fascinating portrayal of problems in post-colonial sub-Saharan Africa and how the west still has something of a destabilizing influence on the region. That it manages to get the point across without sermonizing is the icing on the warlord and refugee cake.

Shinji Ikari shook his head, blinked, and realized that he was, in fact, OK. The unit was only superficially damaged; he got it to its feet, brushed it off, and replied, "Yeah, I'm OK. We can go ahead unless we have to re-shoot the landing."

"Forget it," said the voice of the director. "We're already 2 mill overbudget and a month behind sched on this episode. We'll just edit around it - stick a short control-room scene in there and cut back to you after you land."

get it because tv shows have budgets and eva is famous for budget problems

"10-4," said Shinji.

Not bad, Shinji thought. Not the most graceful of landings, but given less than a week of training and only those ersatz air-drop landings to work with, no one could have expected better.

He unslung his EVA's autorifle and set about causing some damage.

- -- ---- -------- ---- -- -

"Unit 04, what the hell are you playing at?" demanded Natla. "Kill her and get on with your mission!"

holy buttfuck how much more of this am i going to have to slog through

"NO!" Shinji shouted, slamming a hand down on the communications panel and cutting off the command frequency. "I didn't come here to kill anyone," he added, though now he was only transmitting on the tactical band used by NERV. His head swam, and he could feel the panic crawling up into his throat. His purpose was no longer clear, he had failed to leave the city fast enough, Rei Ayanami was in the wrong EVA, Jon Ellison was nowhere to be seen, and the other unit -

Oh shit!

I don't mind when a game doesn't have much of a story, provided it's fun. But it is nice when there's some substance there.

Shinji's realization came a moment too late. While Rei approached and diverted his attention, Asuka had maneuvered Unit 03 around to Shinji's blind side. Now, As Rei brought Moloch's hand up to grasp the barrel of Unit 04's autorfile, Orcus passed by Unit 04 at a dead run. The black EVA reached out and tore at the Elerium collider which powered 04 with all its might, hoping beyond hope that it would break loose.

It didn't.

Shinji screamed as Malphas was spun around by the force of the impact. 04's rifle was jarred loose, but not before its startled pilot accidentally blanketed a city block with stray charges, breaking windows and setting off a nearby Cadillac's car alarm.

Of course, story is far more important in non-interactive media. Certainly the "videogames are high art" crowd would object to the sentiment that entertainment should come before narrative, but to some extent I think that they don't fully grasp that videogames are fundamentally different than books or film. If FC2 were a book they'd have to cut out all the extraneous parts where the player repeatedly falls off a cliff looking for diamonds or roams around for an hour running over zebras in a jeep. But at the same time, that's part of the experience, and it would lose something in the transition. Sometimes immersion is a matter of just looking around and discovering the game world at your own pace. You don't get that kind of participation in prose or TV.

EVA-03, thrown hopelessly off-balance by the unsuccessful maneuver, held onto the silver EVA for dear life... only to have its arc of motion carry it into a EVA-00 before Rei could react. Both NERV units came crashing down in a tangled heap, while Ikari struggled valiantly to remain upright in the wake of this second jolt.

After a few uncertain steps and much flailing of limbs, EVA-04 regained its balance. Shinji calmly guided the EVA back towards the scene of the impact, and thumbed the external PA's activation switch.

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imitate Tycho there. The point I was trying to make was that games have more freedom in which to tell a story, whereas other forms of entertainment might be more structured.

"'My name is Asuka Soryu-Langley,'" Ikari intoned, in his best imitation of the German pilot's vocal inflection. "'I'm the Second Child; I'm here to give the program some much-needed respectability.'"

"Ahh, du kannst mich mal!" came the embittered reply, as Shinji and the production crew dissolved into laughter.

Though "structured" need not imply that something is presented in a way that makes sense (e.g. this fanfic).

- -- ---- -------- ---- -- -

When he heard the door bang open again behind him, DJ turned, saw the dark suit as he'd expected and loosed two rounds, staying as low as he could and still run. The stunner yelled again, but he'd opened up enough range that the agent's aim wouldn't have been very good even had DJ not thrown him off further by shooting at him. DJ came even with a door labeled "FILENE'S SERVICE", drew himself back, and kicked just inboard of the doorknob with the heel of one of his Denali Ranger wilderness boots. The frame splintered and the door slammed open; DJ was through it in the next second.

Maybe Eyrie are secretly genuises who have taken a bold step beyond the confines of a traditional narrative, using their fiction to make a statement on the nature of fiction itself.

He emerged from the stockroom area of Filene's at a dead run, turned the corner by the shoe department -

- and nearly came face to face with a different man in a dark suit, who was just coming from Menswear and had his own stunner out, but not raised. They saw and recognized each other at the same instant.

Treating the characters as actors playing a part, with a personality and history independent of that presented in the story proper is a clever device that makes us reflect on why they grab our attention.

DJ reacted faster; his V10 snapped up and let fly twice.

The agent glanced down, saw that he was uninjured, then looked up at DJ and grinned.

"You missed," he said, raising his stunner.

Eyrie are telling us that fictional characters are real in the sense that we care about them and their adventures; they accomplish this by directing fictional attention to the characters and their exploits, rendering their story into a story that is itself set within another story, which in turn comments on our perceptions of the story. It is a mobius strip of meta-commentary.

"Now wait just a damn minute - " DJ began indignantly, backpedaling.

POP! POP! The agent glanced down in surprise as a double-lobed crimson blossom abruptly decorated his white shirt, a tidy pair of holes punched in his tie.

The subtle brilliance of it is that Eyrie do so by reusing segments of the story, weaving them into an entirely separate narrative that arrives at another conclusion by the substitution of premises - that is, the concept of NXE as television production vs the concept of NXE as fanfic. Perhaps Eyrie are masters of the written word, thought-provoking artists who can teach us all something about the way we perceive fiction.

DJ stopped backing, grinned, pointed at the agent, and said, "Ah - !"

"Fuck," said the agent, and he collapsed on his back.

"CUT!" bellowed the director. "Could we PLEASE have a squib shot work right around here sometime??"

Oh wait, they're just idiots.

- -- ---- -------- ---- -- -

DJ could, perhaps, be forgiven for not immediately recognizing Kevin. He looked very different from the last time DJ had seen him. His raincoat had started to tatter a bit at the edges, and his shirt was filthy, yet for some reason, he still wore his necktie, loosely knotted at his throat. His once-pale skin was dusky, and not entirely with grime, though he had accumulated a good helping of that too. Where before he had faintly resembled Rei, now he looked more like Jon; his hair, matted and spiky, had gone jet black, and his eyes glittered like emeralds, hard, cold, and green.

I think that, despite all expectations, this installment of Bonus Theater has taught us a great deal. Namely, that I play too many vidyagames.

Kevin reached down, gathered the SEELE agent's shirtfront into his long-fingered hand, and lifted the man off the floor as if he weighed nothing at all.

"-He- knows," said Kevin, holding the man at his eye level. His voice was a hoarse, harsh rasp. "And he's going to tell us exactly how to get there... aren't you?" he asked the agent icily.

The agent did not answer, his head lolling.

We've also learned that the closer we get to the end, the worst NXE gets. I don't know if, when I get to the end of this mock, I'll have a victorygasm or facepalm my brains out.

"Uh, Kevin," said Asuka.

"Yes," said Kevin, ignoring her, his thin lips twisting into a sardonic sneer. "You're going to be very cooperative indeed." He shook the man slightly; the agent still did not react. Kevin began to look a little perturbed.

"Kevin," said Shinji.

I don't even know what I'll mock next. There are a couple promising candidates, but nothing as grandiose as NXE. I'm also debating whether I should do more Eva fanfic. Like, there are a lot of bad Death Note fics, but Moose seems to have a monopoly on those. Al is the Mykan/Teen Titans guy. Kirby does Pokemon stuff. Maybe I'll just be "that guy who mocks overly long Evangelion crap."

"Quiet!" Kevin snarled. "You -will- tell us what we want to know," he said to the limp agent, who still failed to respond.

"-Kevin-... " said DJ.

"ENOUGH!" Kevin roared. "I am TRYING to - "

Asuka walked briskly over, stuck her hand through the bowling-ball-sized hole in the agent's upper torso, grabbed Kevin's tie and jerked it smartly. "KEVIN!"

There are worse things to be typecast as, I suppose. Maybe I'm just worried that NXE is my high water mark here.

Kevin, forced to glance down by the sudden tug, realized his mistake.

"Nrrrgh," he said irritably, tossing the dead man aside and picking up the -other- SEELE agent. "HE knows," said Kevin doggedly. "And HE's going to be very cooperative indeed!"


/* J.P. Sousa "The Liberty Bell" */

This is my legacy, Project AFTER. This is my magnum opus.

NEON EXODUS EVANGELION BONUS THEATER!!
was conceived, written and performed by

"written and performed" I'll give you, but "conceived" implies that thought went into it, and I just can't swallow that (that's what she said).

Ben Hutchins
Rei Ayanami
John Trussell
Rei Ayanami
Asuka Soryu-Langley
Rei Ayanami
DJ Croft
Rei Ayanami
Jon Ellison
Rei Ayanami
Gendou Ikari
Rei Ayanami
Ritsuko Akagi
Rei Ayanami
Maya Ibuki

It's OK, Ruri. You don't have to use a stage name.

Rei Ayanami
Misato Katsuragi
Rei Ayanami
Otto Keller
Rei Ayanami
Ryoji Kaji
Rei Ayanami
Shinji Ikari
Rei Ayanami
Kevin Nelson
Rei Ayanami
Jacqueline Natla

See, they listed Rei for every other character because

Because I guess someone thought it was funny.

it isn't

and featured
Jack McKernan
Makoto Hyuuga

For a split-second I thought that was Motoko.

I was almost enraged at them including GitS in this, but then I thought about 2nd Gig some and calmed down.

2nd Gig is awesome.

Shigeru Aoba
A. Muton
Agent Gordon Squibb
and
Zach Stephens
as himself

With apologies to Keith Olbermann

© 2000

E P U (Colour)

Next chapter is the end of season 3.

...

DJ Croft helped crucify Jesus.

This post has been edited by Dr. O: Sep 5 2011, 03:17 PM


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However, I totally would sleep with the Doc... but only for your brain.

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Dr. O


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post Sep 5 2011, 03:20 PM
And because it took so long to get the chapter posted, here's some antific. I'm also planning on posting some more Eyrie forum mockery tomorrow.

Neon Ezra Exodus Chapter 4: Jumping the Shark

“No, you can’t overthrow the American government,” Misato insisted.

“Robble robble robble,” said DJ. Misato, stunned by the force of his extremely and elegantly eloquent elocution, could only sit in silence until the doorbell rang. She looked around curiously, still not accustomed to the alterations DJ had made so that it would chime the melody to God Save the Queen.

Ritsuko emerged from a dog house DJ had placed in the living room, scurried over to the door, and opened it. A teenage boy entered the apartment and approached the table.

His eyes were a majestically mesmerizing mauve, mystifying Misato momentarily. They reminded her of amethyst (the birth stone of February, a violet form of quartz commonly used in jewelry and believed by the ancient Greeks to be a ward against drunkenness [the attribution of this characteristic is the source of its name, which translates to “not drunk” {from the prefix a-, “not,” and methustos, “drunk”}] – the Greeks also thought that the gem was created when Dionysus, god of drunkenness, wept tears of wine, staining a quartz statue; fighting over the great amethyst mines of Brazil [the discovery of which greatly devalued the gem, which had once been regarded as equally valuable to other precious gems such as emerald and sapphire] led to the Great South American Boondoggle of 2004, in which Bolivia attempted to reconquer its lost coastline from Chile while Paraguay simultaneously invaded the Chaco region, causing the entire continent to descend into a decade of brutal warfare that was only brought to an end by the emergence of the Empire of Mega-Ecuador, which is an absolute monarchy for reasons nobody can quite explain), though his greasy, unhealthily pale skin reminded her more of talc.

“Hey Lelouch,” she said. “What’s up?”

“Oh not much. Gendo had me locked in a cryo-pod for like ten years apparently,” the Britannian responded.

“Truly his evil knows no bounds!” DJ exclaimed.

“Yeah. I’m pretty sure the unfreezing process gave me brain damage. Say, you wanna play chess?” Lelouch asked.

“Lelouch… I don’t know ‘ow to tell you this, but you’re the worst chess player I’ve ever seen. You play like bollocks,” DJ said.

“Fuck you,” Lelouch shot back.

To his surprise, DJ somehow managed to insert his penis into his own ass and did, in fact, proceed to fuck himself with much panache. But, alas, no lube.

“Oh… right. So,” Lelouch said, turning his attention to Misato, “who wants some Pizza Hut?”


Meanwhile, under the Arctic ice pack, the members of Seele were conferring on how to deal with the force of nature that is DJ CROFT.

“Why can’t we stop him?” Jacqueline Natla lamented.

“He is a fucking machine. Evolution has produced a creature that only smarms and fucks,” Gendo explained. “Here, watch.” He depressed a button and a projector whirled to life, showing DJ in Unit 01’s entry plug during the fight against one of the Angels.

“I ‘ave been Boudicca, King Arthur, ‘enry VIII, Oliver Cromwell, Sir Francis Drake, ‘oratio Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, General ‘aig, Winston Churchill. I ‘ave been called a millard names and will be called a millard more before the sun no longer sets on the British Empire. I am ‘ero,” DJ boasted.

The Committee continued to stare at the screen in collective shock long after the playback ended. At length, the reverie was interrupted by a screeching sound as a heretofore unseen onlooker raked his fingernails down a chalkboard.

“You all know me. Know how I earn a living. I’ll catch this asshole for ya, but it ain’t gonna be easy. Not like going down to FFN and riffing one-shots or deadfics. It’s not gonna be pleasant. I’ll find him for three but I’ll catch him, and kill him, for ten. You gotta make up your minds. You wanna stay alive and ante up? Or you wanna play it cheap, put up with Croft the whole winter. Ten thousand dollars. With that you get the gun, the HAL, the whole damn thing.”

“Thank you very much, doctor. We’ll uh, we’ll take it under advisement,” Gendo said.


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oneluckyduck


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post Sep 5 2011, 07:34 PM
You see, I saw you posted and thought "oh crap", but then I saw it was funny and was like "yay"!


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"I was getting all pumped for hot pizza bondage and cocaine action"
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Al_Cone


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post Sep 5 2011, 08:15 PM
QUOTE
I don't even know what I'll mock next. There are a couple promising candidates, but nothing as grandiose as NXE. I'm also debating whether I should do more Eva fanfic. Like, there are a lot of bad Death Note fics, but Moose seems to have a monopoly on those. Al is the Mykan/Teen Titans guy. Kirby does Pokemon stuff. Maybe I'll just be "that guy who mocks overly long Evangelion crap."


I like to keep an eye out for future fics to mock, and I have a couple in mind for when I eventually finish NTL and SMLoZ. I also like to pad it out occasionally with a poorly written one-shot or two, like the two Haruhi stories or that Code: Lyoko nonsense. Those are a little more fun to write, actually.

Might I suggest Everybody Lives as your next effort? Or Kyon: Big Damn Hero?


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CuChulainn1290


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post Sep 5 2011, 11:07 PM
There was one fanfic I read that I think you'd might find interesting.

Shinji: Warrior of the Beast Fist.

Basically, think of Evangelion crossed over with Jyuken Sentai Gekiranger, or Jungle Fury for the Power Rangers fans. It's still ongoing (I think) but it's worth taking a look at.

Incidentally, I've also been musing over your statements over Shinji's character from earlier. And then I found something CharlesBpen said about writing Shinji's character.

QUOTE
"Shinji to be awesome doesn't need to be an asshole. Or be replaced utterly. One simple, simple thing. Just change his childhood. Make him happy. Everything pulls its own weight after that."


I'd tend to agree, but unfortunately, the man only has it half-right. Changing his childhood will certainly make him better, but unfortunately, any potential growth Shinji might have had for a character is lost in the process. So yes, it can pull its on weight, but it's the difference of being pulled by a tractor or a moped.


--------------------
"I am the bone of my snark...
Courage is my body,
and logic is my blood.
I have read over a thousand fanfics.
Unknown to love,
Nor known to hate,
Have withstood great mindscrews to read many fanfics...
Yet those eyes will never see anything again...
So hear me, as I pray...
UNLIMITED MOCK WORKS!"


QUOTE (Truth)
"Who am I? One name you might have for me is the world, or you might call me the universe, or perhaps God, or perhaps the Truth. I am All, and I am One. So, of course, this also means that I am you. I am the truth of your despair, the inescapable price of your boastfulness."


Current Mocks

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's Tag Force 4: Misty Storyline (DISCONTINUED)

The War of Megazords VS Gundams (ON HIATUS: 4/27 Complete)

Ultima: The Crossing of Universes (ON HIATUS: 5/45 Complete)

World League of Cartoon Quidditch (In Progress: 4/74 Complete)

LPs

Let's Play SD Gundam G Generation Overworld! (Current Mission: A-2)
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post Sep 6 2011, 03:03 PM
Thanks guys, I'll take a look at those fics.

As for Bhepin, I think he has some good ideas, but Shinji and Warhammer 40k got really tiresome after a few chapters. A lot of people seem to like his characterization of Shinji, even though he's basically an original character in all but name. Actually, that might be why. Discontent with the characterization in Eva is probably the driving force behind most of its fanfiction.

On that note, I give you more stuff from the Eyrie forums. You'd think I'd be scraping the bottom of the barrel by now, but then it turns out there's another barrel underneath that one, and it's called Just Curious. In it, bparanial asks an important question.

With all the deviataions Gryphon made from the Source Material why did he decide to end NXE in a cliffhanger ala Anno.

And how does Gryphon answer?

That's called "irony".

Can we also attribute NXE being worse than Eva to irony?

Here's a choice bit from Gryphon in the thread "Citizenship".

Gendou, who is from Milwaukee

Yeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaah...

Our next series of selections comes courtesy of Headcount: Fans of Anime I Hate. Its purpose, near as I can tell, is to bitch at Eva and Lain. Not criticize, as that would imply thinking about what you're saying. Here, I'll illustrate it with pearls of wisdom from some guy named TRB.

I was mostly intrigued by NGE and it's pure fucked-up-ed-ness. It was the staring-at-the-train-wreck effect. Then NXE came along and showed me it was possible to make something out of that premise... ^__^

Whenever I start to think an Eyrie fan has a point, they start mindlessly praising NXE.

Why Eyrie fans.

Why.

Here's what the OP, Perko, had to say.

Eva I hated because of it's characters. But, it was looking up. Everything was building to a scene where Shinji would save the day! Snurf, no dice.

Of course, he's absolutely right. Shinji never saved the day! Like, remember when the Fourteenth Angel disabled two Evas and was wrecking NERV's shit? Some people who watched that part saw Shinji burst through the wall like the Kool-Ade man and start ripping the Angel's face off, but he really didn't! That's because we're now letting our hatred of the mindfuckery that Eva descended into color our opinions of the rest of the series.

This idea that unambiguous happy endings mean good fiction and sad or unclear endings mean bad fiction is pretty funny.

Neither Lain nor EVA, in my opinion, were written to be stories. One was written to be a soulless, highly successful media phenominon and the other was written as a form of self psychology, at least in the end. I guess it's just me that notices these perhaps imagined things.

"I do not like it" = DOESN'T COUNT AS STORY LOL.

This reminds me of how some people think that if something is bad, it can have no redeeming qualities. You can't ever admit that even though something was flawed, you still found individual elements that appealed to you or were well-executed. That's not hardcore enough. Let's say, hypothetically, that a lot of people on the board talk about Homestuck and that I do not particularly like Homestuck. It's not enough to say "I do not care for Homestuck." No, you have to act like Andrew Hussie raped your dog. You have to make a thread about HOMESTUCK HOMESTUCK HOMESTUCK where you call people "god damn dense" and berate them when nobody laughs at your hilarious joke. Not that that would ever happen.

Anyway, someone calling themselves FnordChan said this.

Then, Eva proceeds to fail as science fiction. If anyone ever offered a clear explanation of why Angels - whatever they were - are attacking Earth, I never picked up on it.

I like when fiction explains stuff, but sometimes it is possible to get too weighed down trying to describe and rationalize everything. NXE alternates between both ends of the spectrum, leaving way too many questions unanswered while providing the most nonsensical, unsatisfying textwall answers to stuff like what the Angels are (hint: they're angels).

PS the Angels were attacking earth because they wanted Lilith and/or Adam. It's not radically different than any other "grab the MacGuffin" plot, except Evangelion doesn't have the Angels spewing monologues about their plans and motives. It has Seele for that.

In another thread, Seele taking over Germany?, Blob (green) and Gryphon (red) had the following conversation:

BTW it's Bundesmarine now, not Kriegsmarine.

Yes, well, that was before half the world died...

I still say that there is no way in hell that we would change the name of the Bundesmarine into Kriegsmarine.

Well, we didn't think you'd bother us again after 1918, either. smile.gif

So, his rationalization is that a devastating natural disaster caused Germany to rename its military services to sound more Nazi. I suppose the Bundesheer is now the Wehrmacht and GSG-9 is the SS. I wonder if there's a thread where someone calls Eyrie out on the stupidity of a war between America and Britain, and he responded with "Well, we didn't think they'd bother us again after 1783, either." It masks his ignorance by side-stepping the question.

I also like the implication that Germans are inherently militaristic.

Gryphon also added:

On the other hand, the Russians turned back into Communists at that point, so there might have been a bit of national paranoia.

The Soviet Union collapsed, but the worldwide mass-extinction-level disaster caused it to reassemble? Remember, Russia still has the Central Asian republics in this story. That means that they either requested readmission into the USSR, or the Soviets conquered them outright.

Hey everyone, remember when the Black Death caused Europe to unite into a single superstate? That's totally the natural reaction people have to mass death! By forgetting ethnic and religious differences and joining into unnatural artificial states! Here's how he justifies it:

(It should be noted that the post-Second-Impact USSR gets a number of things right that the original version got wrong, by virtue of not having had Stalin in power. General Secretary Kirishatov is a lot nicer guy. smile.gif

ITT we learn that the Soviet Union didn't collapse due to structural flaws in the communist system, unsustainable military spending at the expense of the rest of the economy, or popular discontent, but because Stalin was a big meanie.

MegaZone also popped up to mention how much he hates France and to share stories about his vacation there.

I actually never bothered to visit the Eifel Tower, Louvre, or Arc d'Triumph in the two months I was there. I spent most of the time looking into WWII history and going to tech museums and such. ;-)

I did go to Notre Damme - I shook Bill Clinton's hand there. Yes, really.

I knew Clinton was responsible for this!


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Index of horrible mocks

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However, I totally would sleep with the Doc... but only for your brain.

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Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 27th November 2014 - 09:33 PM