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> Neon Exodus Evangelion, by Eyrie Productions Unlimited
Post #21
Dr. O


witch doctor
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post Apr 9 2011, 08:11 AM
"Well, Major Katsuragi," Admiral Keller observed, giving Misato the impromptu promotion traditional in naval circles for visiting ground-force officers holding the rank of captain. "It appears your philosophy of preparing for eventualities may come in handy after all. First, though, I'd like to try handling this my way. Just so I don't feel totally useless, you understand."

Misato wasn't sure if the old man was serious or not, but her pause to think it over gave him time to pick up a microphone and bark attack orders in German to the fleet.

She could tell they were German because they were regular English, but in brackets.


DJ hung around the entrance to the stairwell for a minute or so, whistling "Beyond the Sea" and watching the underwater Angel zooming around the fleet. The ships of the fleet were unloading everything they could find at it - battleship bombardments, cruise missiles, torpedoes, depth charges - but to no avail. Conventional firepower, as always, was proving useless against the Absolute Terror Field.

In the last chapter, they found out that it's possible to overwhelm an Angel's defenses if you dump enough energy into them. Granted, giant pew-pew lasers aren't exactly conventional, but still.

The door clunked; DJ turned to see Asuka, changed from her yellow dress to a bright red plug suit.

"Nice outfit," DJ observed dryly. "What're you supposed to be? 'Hot Stuff, the Irksome Little Devil'?" He ducked a slap and followed her down into the hold where the red EVA lay dormant. On the pontoon bridge, she knelt briefly, rummaged around in the duffel bag, and then handed him a second red plug suit.

"Here, put this on," she commanded.

"Thank you, no," DJ replied, removing his overcoat and suit jacket and loosening his striped tie, then unbuttoning his shirt to reveal the dark green and black of his own. "I'm dressed for the occasion. I suppose it'd be futile to ask you to reconsider this decision?"

He was wearing a plug suit under his clothes in anticipation of this exact scenario.

...

Sure, why not.

"I'll get permission once I've defeated the Angel," Asuka replied confidently as DJ got out of his clothes, folded them neatly, and packed them into the bag.

"Is this bag waterproof?" he asked.

"I hope so, it's got my favorite dress in it," Asuka replied, shouldering the bag and leading him to EVA-02's extended and open entry plug.

"Why, exactly, are you taking me with you on this expedition?" DJ wondered.

"So you can have the best seat in the house as I demonstrate my superior piloting to Misato and the others," she said smugly.

"Oh. Well, it's nice to feel wanted," DJ observed.

SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP.


"This is useless," Misato observed, watching the fleet flail ineffectually at the Angel with their conventional weapons. "This kind of firepower won't even scratch that thing's AT Field."

"Reluctantly, I'm beginning to agree with you," Keller observed. "Very well. Mueller, order the Freitag to prepare EVA-02 for launch."

"Sir, a telex from the Freitag just came in - EVA-02 is already powering up!" Commander Mueller reported.

So far, we have the German ships Germany and... Friday. Right...

Keller directed a bemused glance at Misato, who grinned. "Way to go, Asuka," she muttered.


DJ wasn't fluent in German, but he'd picked up enough of it in travels on the Continent to catch the general gist of the German litany Asuka was going through; it was basically the German equivalent of the things he had to report when activating Unit 01. She was probably murmuring them under her breath out of force of habit.

The screens began to shift around them as synchronization began; then they stopped, an alarm sounded, and all the displays shifted to a tiled flashing pattern of the word "FEHLER" - "ERROR" - in block red capitals.

"I AM ERROR."

"Hell of a time for a page fault," DJ observed.

"Thought noise. I told you not to distract me!" Asuka snapped. "You're thinking in English, aren't you? Think in German!"

>Jawohl, mein fuhrer!< DJ said, saluting crisply.

His body was never found.

"I don't know German well enough to think in it," DJ replied. "How about if you think in Latin?"

"What?"

"Don't know Latin? How about ancient Greek?"

"Look at all these languages I know! I'm a smarmy asshole!"

Then the Freitag was destroyed by the Angel. The end.

"Skip it! Computer, reset the language interpreter for English."

Obediently, the onboard system did as instructed, and synchronization completed. Even though he was not piloting, DJ could feel a faint quiver at the back of his mind, an echo of the kind of feeling he got when he was clicking with Unit 01.


"Asuka, are you there? Are you ready for launch?" Misato called into the microphone.

"Synchronized and ready," Asuka's voice replied. Misato grinned and looked to Admiral Keller; looking faintly pained, the old man nodded.

"Go!" Misato cried.

If you squint really hard, you can pretend this is an episode of Thundercats.


"Evangelion Unit 02 - launch!" Asuka ordered, and the red machine heaved itself to its feet, head and shoulders tearing through the tarpaulin as it raised itself out of the open hatchway.

To one side, the familiar clock display of battery power appeared, but to DJ's consternation, it started counting at 1:00.00.

"Only one minute of battery power?" he inquired.

"The test type's five-minute batteries were deemed a superfluous waste of tonnage," Asuka replied. "They slow the unit down."

Um... that's not how it works. In the show (and, once again, at the risk of sounding like an anal-retentive nerd) battery power ranged from five minutes to one minute, depending on power consumption. Here it's just another way in which DJ's Eva is superior because it's DJ's.

"Not half as much as running out of bloody power," DJ said.

"Here comes the Angel," said Asuka. "Hang on!"

With a mighty leap, EVA-02 hurled itself from the hold of the Freitag moments before the speeding Angel knifed through her and sent her to the bottom.

"Hey!" Asuka cried. "Watch where you're putting your hands."

"I -am-."

I hate this so much.

...

<SLAP>

"All right, I deserved that."


"I may have deserved that."


"Uh, Major Katsuragi," said Commander Mueller. "Were you aware that EVA-02 was shipped with Type B equipment fitted?"

"Type B?!" Misato replied, aghast.

I'm not sure what that entails, but I bet it means it's inferior to DJ's Eva soemhow.


Aboard EVA-02, overhearing, DJ cast a dubious eye toward the water speeding up below and said, "Great, so if we fall in the sea, we've had it."

"And if we don't, we'll be fine, right?" Asuka replied. The EVA crashed down on the fantail deck of a destroyer, smashing flat the rescue helicopter moored there, then leaped again, hurling away the tarp that had settled around its shoulders like a robe, to land atop the superstructure of a cruiser, wrecking its radar entirely.

It's funny because she probably crushed dozens of people to death.

"Better get that power supply ready, Misato," called Asuka, "'cause we're coming in!"


Below decks aboard the Deutschland, Ryoji Kaji was, of all things, on the phone.

"You never told me I might run into an Angel out here," he grumbled.

"An eventuality that was planned for," replied the voice of Gendou Ikari. "That's why EVA-02 is there. I was even kind enough to send you an extra pilot if you need him."

I don't think that palming DJ off on someone constitutes a favor.

"Your best, so I've been told."

"Perhaps, but also the least important to the project as a whole."

"I'm touched."

"If need be, you can always make your escape," Ikari pointed out.

"True," Ryoji replied.

"You'll have to excuse me, Mr. Kaji," Ikari said. "There's a bit of trouble I have to deal with on this end. Nothing major, I'm sure, but Dr. Akagi thinks it worth my attention."

"She thinks we - ugh - 'need to spend more time together,'" Gendo said. Though Kaji could not see it, the Director Professor Me Mi Mo Messer rolled his eyes.

"Oh, by all means," Kaji replied. "See you soon."

Ikari disconnected without saying goodbye.


Setting his phone down, Ikari looked up from his desk to the worried face of Dr. Ritsuko Akagi.

"Now then, Dr. Akagi. What is it?"

"We have a problem, sir," Ritsuko replied. "Take a look at security monitor three."

They must be reading again.

Ikari tapped a command to the computer console built into his desk, and a display screen glowed to life under its glassy surface. It displayed the view from a security camera overlooking one of the guard stations at one of the entrances to Central Dogma.

Standing at that station, engaged in what appeared to be, even without audio, a lively argument with the guard, was a woman in a white sleeveless top, safari shorts, and hiking boots, her long brown hair tied back in a braid. She was very beautiful, and very angry, and very surprising to see in this context - for until just that moment, Gendou Ikari had believed Lara Croft to be dead.

Oh, look, another supervillain cliche: thinking you left someone for dead, only for them to show up later.

He covered his surprise well, though, turning to Ritsuko and and only saying mildly, "Deal with her."

"How?" Ritsuko replied.

Preferably with a gun.

"Go and have the guard let her in," Ikari replied. "Take her to the commissary, buy her some lunch if she's hungry. Tell her the truth - the boy isn't here and she can see him when he gets back."


At that moment, DJ was hanging onto the sides of the command seat in EVA-02 for dear life as the machine came crashing down on the deck of the aircraft carrier Deutschland, causing the mighty carrier to list almost ten degrees to port and dumping several unmoored planes off the side before Asuka shifted the EVA's weight and balanced it.

And for no good reason, it miraculously didn't collapse the flight deck.

"Shifting to external power," Asuka reported, picking up the power tap that had been laid out on the deck and plugging it into the socket on the EVA's back.

"Grand," DJ observed. "We're sitting ducks with useless equipment and no weapons, but at least we've plenty of electricity."

"I'm a smarmy asshole," DJ smarmed Britishly.

"No weapons? We've got the Progressive Knife," Asuka replied, deploying same and adopting a ready stance, facing the plume of spray that marked the position of the approaching Angel. "It'll have to be enough."

"You are completely insane," DJ remarked, regarding her with some respect. "I think I like you."

With a crash, the great white Angel heaved its whale-like bulk out of the water and smashed down on the deck, almost capsizing the massive aircraft carrier; thrown off-balance, EVA-02 tumbled overboard, the Progressive Knife spiraling uselessly away, to sink to the bottom and become a particularly interesting marine-life habitat. On its way down, the EVA grabbed at the edge of the flight deck, trying to find a purchase, but its hand closed only around a jet fighter parked on the deck, crumpling it and pulling it overboard along with the falling EVA.

Would you believe the fighter is going to become important? I mean, I know it can be hard to tell the pointless detail from what's genuinely relevant, but just take a wild guess.

Its quarry gone, the Angel showed no more interest in the Deutschland; it slipped wetly off the deck and back into the sea, pursuing the sinking Evangelion instead.

"Well!" observed DJ as the EVA sank ineffectually toward the bottom of the Atlantic. "You certainly showed -him- who's in charge."

"Oh yeah?" Asuka replied. "Watch this!" She thrust the hand controls forward. The EVA responded by doing entirely nothing.

"Watch -what-?" DJ inquired.

Can you stop criticizing everyone and just do something useful? Fuck, this is annoying.

"I think we're in trouble," Asuka muttered.

"You did remember that Type B equipment doesn't work underwater, right?"

"We're in trouble!" Asuka confirmed, tugging uselessly at the controls. "Don't just sit there, -do- something!"

"Like what?"

"You're the great and powerful Fifth Child, aren't you? Do something brilliant!"

"I can't change the bloody laws of physics!" DJ retorted.

Good, now we have an upper bound on DJ's Mary Sue powers. Though it still doesn't explain why he hasn't collapsed into a black hole of condescension yet.


In the NERV commissary at Central Dogma, Lara Croft sipped machine-generated almost-tea and gazed over the paper cup's rim at Ritsuko Akagi.

"So what you're telling me," she said, in a dangerously calm tone, "is that you people lured my son over here under false pretenses, then all but arrested him, plugged him into an experimental weapon and threw him into combat without any briefing or training to speak of."

I think that even taking all that into account, NERV still got the short end of the stick.

Ritsuko shifted uncomfortably under the explorer's even brown gaze and replied, "I don't know if I'd phrase it quite that way... "

"But that's what happened," Lara finished for her. "Well, you can be sure the British consulate is going to hear about this. In the meantime, you can do me the favor of releasing him."

Um, Lara.

Nobody cares about Britain anymore.

Not even British politicians.

That is why they have systematically disbanded their military and are doing all they can to foist their sovereignty onto the EU.

"DJ is not a prisoner here," Ritsuko protested. "He's had the option of leaving since he arrived, and he knows it. He's chosen to stay."

Had Lara known of the virtual emotional blackmail that had been performed to persuade DJ to take EVA-01 into combat the first time, she would have been incensed by that statement; as it was, she was merely unimpressed, replying dryly, "I'm sure his options were made -perfectly- clear."

They put him in the Eva because he was apparently the only person who could save the world. I know that saying "we basically kidnapped him for humanitarian reasons" doesn't make it that much better, but for fuck's sake, stop being such a cunt about it.

"Dr. Croft, we're not the Mafia here, you know," said Ritsuko indignantly. "We're not in the business of kidnapping children and forcing them to work for us. Now, it happens that DJ possesses a very rare and very special talent which is critical to the survival of mankind. You've raised him to be a very responsible young man - it's only natural that, knowing that, he'd want to do his part."

"Listen, I don't give a damn about your experiment or your problems here. I just want to tell my son I'm alive and take him home where he belongs. This is no place for him."

"Saving the world? Pfft, he should be looting precious historical artifacts," Lara said.

Does bitchiness just run in the family? Is that it?

"Our problems are everyone's problems, Dr. Croft. We are the last line of defense - and the only effective one - against the Angels. NERV is the only thing standing between the people of Earth and a Third Impact, or worse, and DJ is an integral part of that defense. We need him here."

"If that were true, you could have just -asked- him to help. If you had asked, given those conditions, he would have come and I would have been all for it." Finishing her tea, Lara stood up. "But you didn't, did you? You're apparently not firm enough in your convictions to be forthright about it - instead you had to trick him into coming here. I can't, in good conscience, leave my son in the hands of people who operate that way. It doesn't speak at all well of your inclination to deal honestly with him or protect him down the line."

They are not the Peace Corps. They are not transparent. Fucking deal with it.

"You are hardly in a position to fault us for placing DJ in dangerous situations, are you?" Ritsuko retorted, coming to her feet and leaning over the table toward Lara. "Talk about the pot calling the - "

She got no further; her eyes blazing with sudden fury, Lara lashed out with a neat, compact right hook, knocking Ritsuko to the floor with a crash. All around them, the hum of lunchroom discussion stopped; Maya Ibuki and John Trussell, two tables over, stared in mute astonishment as Ritsuko sat up, rubbing her injured jaw with the back of her hand.

A character finally makes a valid point and calls one of the Croft clan out on their hypocrisy, and what happens? They get physically assaulted. Because that's the best way to resolve an argument when you've just been whining about civility and dealing with people in good faith.

"Thank you, I get quite enough of that from my father," Lara said tightly, her eyes smoldering. "I don't have to take it from a bloody -kidnapper-."

Summoned by the commotion, two NERV security guards burst into the commissary; seeing Dr. Akagi sprawled on the floor and Lara standing over her, they immediately drew their sidearms and covered Lara, calling for her not to move.

As Ritsuko got unsteadily to her feet, Dr. Gendou Ikari entered the commissary; with a gesture, he waved the guards away, then stepped to Ritsuko's side.

"Is there a problem here, ladies?" he inquired calmly.

"There's enough Gendo to go around."


"This is not an improvement," DJ noted unhappily as the red EVA was almost swallowed whole by the whale-like Angel, lodging head and shoulders in its massive jaws.

"We'll be all right if I can just get us back on the carrier!" Asuka replied, frantically working the ineffectual controls.

"This doesn't look like any carrier to me!" DJ replied, looking out via the viewpanels at the monster's enormous gullet.

You know, instead of bitching about every little thing, how about you do something to improve the situation, DJ? You can start by choking to death in a puddle of your own vomit.

"Don't yell at me," Asuka snapped.

"Well, what do you -want- me to do, Motorhead?!" DJ demanded.

"Why do you have to be so negative?" Asuka wondered angrily. "Why can't you offer me some constructive criticism?"

"Look! You got us into this bloody whale, my love. You get us out!"


Above, on the carrier's deck, Misato watched with worried fascination as the cable paid out and out and out. "How much cable left?" she asked the deck officer.

"1,500 meters remaining," he replied.

Off to one side, an aircraft elevator delivered a British Aerospace Harrier V vectored-thrust jet to the flight deck. Looking at it, Misato realized that one of the two men in its two-seat cockpit was Ryoji Kaji.

I guess he finally decided to escape the scene. I wish I could do that, too.

"Ryoji!" she called into the microphone, uncertain whether to be pleased or annoyed to see him apparently preparing to render aid.

"Well, you seem to have the situation well in hand here, Katsuragi," said Ryoji over the radio. "So I'll leave you to it! I've got a delivery to make. Catch you later!"

He sketched a salute from within the plane as the pilot applied thrust and lifted away; and then they were gone.

Misato shouted a particularly choice obscenity and hurled the microphone to the deck. Being of solid German manufacture, it did not break, which only served to make her more angry.


"Any ideas?" DJ asked Asuka as the Angel swam in circles, worrying at the EVA's armored form like a particularly tough piece of chum.

So not only is the great DJ Croft out of ideas, but he is soliciting them from the peons? This really is a desperate situation. There would almost be tension, had this same exact thing not occurred in Eva. Except Shinji was a comparatively bearable character.

"No," Asuka admitted after a moment's thought. "You?"

"Maybe." DJ worked his way back around the seat, ignoring Asuka's indignant protests, and put his hands on the controls, wincing a bit as his healing burns stung through bandages and gloves. "Help me out here; I think with both of us working at it, we can get this thing to move, even down here."

"Then what?"

Then they find the plot contrivance and win. Duh.

"Trust me. I wasn't thinking before - we -can- change the laws of physics."

"What?!"

"What do you think an 'Absolute Terror Field' is -for-?"

You may not know how it works (which is a miracle in itself), but that doesn't mean it's exempt from the laws of nature. Unless you put the word "quantum" in there somewhere.

Asuka scowled. "One of these days you're going to be wrong, Fifth Child, and I hope like hell I'm there to see it."

You'll be waiting a long time. At least until proton decay is finished.

She cooperated anyway.


Lara Croft stood on the catwalk in Bay Seven, looking up at the immense purple bulk of Evangelion Unit 01. She'd just come from Ikari's office, where he'd shown her films of DJ's three combat sorties and various training exercises; he'd shown her the EVA her son piloted, then excused himself, as the other two based at the facility, a black one and a blue-and-white one, entered the cage and backed into their respective lockdown bays.

It is possible to use juxtaposition to ratchet up the tension in an action scene by cutting to a more mundane scene. It's not working here, though.

The entry plugs ejected, LCL evacuated, and the two pilots emerged; even from the distance she was at, Lara could tell that they were just children themselves, probably no older than DJ.

They use children to pilot all of these things? What kind of people are they? she wondered.

She turned away and left the bay, wandering the corridors for a while before ending up in a curiously shaped lounge. It occupied the space between the corners of two wings that didn't quite form an L shape, and as such had the feeling of having been added as an afterthought (which, in fact, it had). Because of its shape, its resemblance to a similar structure on the WPI campus topside, and the way it seemed to have been wedged into the gap between the Infirmary and Operations wings, most of the NERV personnel who frequented it called it "the Wedge".

This is a reference to the authors' campus by way of their other megacrossover wankfest, Undocumented Features. Yeah...

As she sat in one of the not-overwhelmingly-comfortable booths, considering all she had seen and heard about today, she noticed two people entering the lounge. Looking up, she saw that they were the two children she'd seen getting out of the other EVAs a few minutes before, dressed in street clothes, their hair damp from a quick shower.

They were, Lara saw as they approached, a boy and a girl. The girl was small, pale and delicate, with disconcertingly red eyes and light blue hair; she wore a blue skirt and white blouse that almost looked like a uniform. The boy was taller, older-looking, with long black hair and bright green eyes; he had on jeans, loafers and a WPI sweatshirt.

It was at about that moment that they seemed to take notice of her, and blinked, apparently in recognition.

Their tendency to act in concert could have been used to make them unsettling and mysterious. Instead it ended up being baffling in its gratuitousness.

"Dr. Croft?" the boy asked as they stepped closer.

Lara glanced up. "Yes?"

"Hello," the boy said, smiling slightly. "I'm Jon Ellison."

"Rei Ayanami," the girl added softly.

"We're... friends of DJ's," Jon said.

I love that pause before "friends." Just about says it all, doesn't it?

Lara nodded. "I saw you earlier. You do the same thing he does?"

"Yes," Rei answered simply.

Lara gestured to the booth. "Have a seat." Jon and Rei sat. "Your boss, what's his name, Ikari - he tells me DJ's here willingly. Is it true?"

Rei was silent for a moment. Jon glanced over and was just about to speak when she finally said, "... He is now."

He was pretty eager to sign on once he realized it was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how he's the best at everything.

Lara considered the implications of that statement for a moment, clearly getting more and more agitated as she thought about it; then she burst out, "What kind of a life is it, though? Where does he live? Is he alone? Does he -have- a life outside of... of -this-?" she asked, gesturing at the room and the headquarters beyond in general. "What kind of organization -is- this, that uses children as its front-line soldiers? Why DJ, why you? I don't bloody understand anything that goes on here."

"He lives next door to us, with Captain Katsuragi. I think you'd like her," Jon said, smiling slightly. "And I'm sure he does have a life of his own, but he'd know better than us. As for why we're the ones who pilot the EVAs... " He paused for a moment, glancing at Rei, who looked back at him and nodded silently. "Well... all I really know about that is that apparently we're the only ones who can. We were all born around nine months after Second Impact. I don't know how it works, I just know that it's true - they -have- to use us, because children or not, we're the only ones who can make the EVAs work."

Calling attention to the contrivances does not make them acceptable.

"It's a gift," Rei added.

Lara raised an eyebrow, looking amused at something Jon had said earlier. "This Captain Katsuragi is a woman?"

"Yes," Jon replied.

Lara chuckled. "They grow up so fast," she said wryly.

So that's A-OK, but DJ being roped into saving the world slightly against his will is a crime against humanity? Fucking morality how does it work.

"He's off base now, they tell me."

Jon nodded. "He and Captain Katsuragi are meeting the fourth member of our team at sea - she's on her way over from Germany with her EVA by ship. They should all be back tonight."

"Not a combat assignment, then?"

"Oh, no, not at all. I'm sure DJ's perfectly safe - in fact, he's probably bored stiff right about now."

It's funny because irony.


"Don't get any funny ideas," Asuka warned DJ.

"What?" DJ replied, distracted by the uninformative warning.

"Just concentrate on moving the EVA."

"Oh. Right."

And, indeed, they were moving, slowly but surely, the red EVA plodding down the Angel's throat, trailing cable in its wake. The power cable sawed ominously against the monster's closed teeth as they pulled it through, but the tough insulation held up, so they kept going, crawling ever deeper into the fleshy darkness.

Just how big is this Angel?

"What are we doing this for, anyway?"

"We're looking for the core. On the first couple of Angels I dealt with, we were lucky enough that it was on the outside, but that wasn't the case with the last one and apparently not this one either; which means it's got to be in here somewhere."

"And then what, when we find it?"

DJ grinned. "Did you notice the little radioactivity symbols painted on the two missiles strapped to that plane you grabbed on the way down?"

Yes, they are really going there.

The color drained out of Asuka's face.


"Hello, hello, Misato, can you hear me?" DJ's voice crackled from the radio panel.

"DJ? Are you down there too?!" Misato cried, snatching up the microphone.

"Unfortunately, yes. Listen, that plane we grabbed on our way off the carrier, can you get Admiral Keller to give us the failsafe codes for the two nuclear cruise missiles it was carrying?"

Let me get this straight. There was a fighter that:
1) was loaded with nuclear weapons
2) that were armed
3) on a German ship
4) for a cruise to deliver cargo

This is the dumbest thing.

Keller, overhearing, ordered Commander Mueller to find out which plane it had been and get those codes. Misato, eyes wide, said, "You're insane!"

"So I've been told. You have any better ideas, now's the time."

Misato's astonishment slowly melted away, replaced by a sly, almost feral glee, and she replied, "Not a one, kid. Go for it. Our signal won't be able to reach them from up here, though."

"Relaying through EVA-02's radio system should work," DJ replied. "Just be ready to reel us up in a hurry."

"Transmitting the codes now," Commander Mueller reported.

Why? Why would Germany have nuclear weapons? Why would they let a dumb fucking kid use them?


"There you are, you bastard," DJ muttered as, on the other side of the translucent stomach lining, the glowing red core appeared. EVA-02 deployed its second Progressive Knife at his command; slowly, painstakingly, DJ and Asuka sliced open the stomach, then the outer layer of the core. Then, putting the knife away, they made EVA-02 gently pry the two cruise missiles from the undercarriage of the smashed jet, discarding it and plugging the missiles like cardiac electrodes into the Angel's core.

Even if the Eva managed to hold onto the jet and missiles - without damaging them, mind you - while the Angel was thrashing around, that right there would have ruined the plan. Nuclear weapons are not that robust. Believe it or not, there are a lot of complicated electronics and equipment required to achieve an initiation. That is why not just any country with a lump of uranium can build a bomb.

DJ cranked the output power on the EVA's radio transmitter up to max, crossed his fingers, and transmitted the failsafes; the warheads responded with acknowledgement signals and began a thirty-second countdown.

"Let's get the hell out of here," DJ and Asuka said to each other as one, turning the EVA and heading for the mouth.

Just as they did so, there came a sudden, resounding shock, and the EVA tumbled end-over-end toward the front of the Angel, dragged up by the sudden tension on the power cable.

"The cable just ran out!" Misato called. "Get out of there, you'll capsize the carrier!"

"A work in progress, Misato, my darling," DJ replied through his teeth as the EVA slammed back-first into the Angel's closed teeth. A sudden wrenching jar, and all was silent for an instant - then the interior lights went red and the 1:00.00 countdown started again.

By the way, how close are they to the fleet? Going off what they said earlier about the cable, those nukes are going to go off a minimum of 1.5 kilometers from the carrier. That would be A BAD THING.

"Oh NO!" Asuka cried. "The cable's snapped!"

"You said you wanted to be here when I made a mistake, love," DJ observed, gritting his teeth and pushing against the hand controls. "This just might be it."

"I take it back!" Asuka declared.

Turning the EVA around, DJ and Asuka crouched it and drove its hands into the gaps between the Angel's teeth, levering the jaws apart. As their desperation increased, so did their mutual synchronization with the machine, and the EVA's strength increased proportionately. As the count hit 0:35.00, the Angel's jaw muscles gave way with a deep tearing noise, and the jaws swung open.

I did watch Evangelion, you know. I watched the part where they force the Angel's jaws open so the improbable plan of the week can work.

Deep within the Angel, the two 10-kiloton tactical nuclear warheads detonated.

Misato Katsuragi cried out inarticulately as the winch on the carrier's deck retrieved the frayed, broken end of the power cable at the same moment as a titanic waterspout erupted two hundred meters off the Deutschland's port bow. For a terrible few seconds, all was silence.

Then a shadow appeared on the aft flight deck, grew larger and larger, and, with a resounding crash that dented the deck, EVA-02 slammed down on its feet, dropping into a crouch, then falling to its knees and sprawling, face-first, powerless, and steaming, full-length on the flight deck.

How convenient.

A cheer went up from the men and women of the Deutschland's crew as the entry plug popped out and two shaken but unharmed pilots emerged.

Before Indiana Jones nuked the fridge, DJ Croft nuked the Eva.


Gendou Ikari picked up his ringing desk phone. "Yes?"

"Kaji here," came Kaji's voice. "The operative who met me at the airport indicated there was some problem?"

"Lara Croft is alive," Ikari told him. "She's here, now."

"Damn!" Kaji replied. "I knew I should have checked."

What kind of Saturday morning cartoon supervillain organization is NERV supposed to be, anyway? Just shoot her!

"No matter. Trapping her for the time she was trapped served its purpose just as well. Her son will not leave the program willingly now; he has too much time and energy invested in it. However, she would easily recognize you if you were to put in an appearance, and would undoubtedly be quite angry with you, so I think it best if you keep away until she leaves."

"When will that be?"

"I will let you know when she's gone. Do you have the samples?"

"Everything's with me and in good condition. Phase Two of the Human Instrumentality Program is proceeding on schedule."

"Excellent.

"Soon," Gendo said, "we will be able to manufacture our own KFC. 'Eleven herbs and spices' my ass!"

I look forward to meeting with you. Keep out of sight and wait for my all-clear. Goodbye, Mr. Kaji."

"Goodbye, Professor."

Ikari hung up and sat back.

The Croft family as a whole was starting to become quite inconvenient.

Starting?


"Wonderful girl!" DJ, back in suit, trenchcoat and hat, remarked to Misato as the two walked down the gangway from the freshly docked Deutschland into the gathering evening in New Providence Harbor, Rhode Island. "Either I'm going to kill her, or I'm beginning to like her."

New Providence, Rhode Island-3.14.

Misato chuckled. "She can be a little abrasive, but you'd better get used to her - she's going to be living with us."

DJ sighed exaggeratedly, shoving his hands in his pockets and slouching. "She's the sort of girl my mum always warned me about."

That must be code for "the sort of girl who calls me on my bullshit."

One of the white Land Rovers used by NERV as staff vehicles was parked at dockside; presently, the driver's door opened, and Ritsuko Akagi emerged, sporting a nasty-looking, darkening bruise on the left side of her jaw.

"Hi, Ritsuko - hey, what happened?" Misato asked.

"Run into a door or something?" DJ wondered.

"I... I fell down some stairs," Ritsuko muttered.

"Not exactly," came a voice so familiar, but so unexpected, it almost stopped DJ's heart; and as he stared, dumbfounded, at the Land Rover, Lara Croft got out of the passenger side and walked smiling around the front end.

Silently, DJ ran to her, and mother and son enjoyed a long-overdue embrace.

Asuka, walking up beside Misato, asked, "Who's that?"

"And why does she have polygonal boobs?"

"DJ's mother," was the reply.

"Oh. Does that means he's leaving?"

Please.

"I don't know," Misato replied, biting her lip. "I don't know."

/* The Marcels "Blue Moon" _Billboard Top Rock 'n Roll Hits: 1961_ */

NEXT EPISODE:

Asuka takes charge.
Truss does laundry.
Dr. Ikari shows some faith.

"Fundamentalist Islam sure does suit you, sir," Keller said. "You already have the beard and everything!"

Misato and DJ come closer together.
And circumstances threaten to push them all apart.
Coming in seven days:

NEON EXODUS EVANGELION 1:7
ALONE IN THE DARK

Haha it's a videogame reference.

COMING 8/13/97

"It's part of you, after all, and to me, that makes it beautiful."

Sorry if this wasn't that funny; we're at that relatively boring stretch between the fic's setup and the batship insanity of season 2. Though we will be seeing DJ's triumphal return to Britain soon, so there's something to look forward to.


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Index of horrible mocks

QUOTE ("Al_Cone")
However, I totally would sleep with the Doc... but only for your brain.

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Post #22
shiroamasa


My Gyanko can't be this cute!
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post Apr 9 2011, 01:08 PM
This is pure fail. How does a popular anime spawn such bad fanfics?


--------------------
"GAAAAAAAAAAME!" -HCBailly

"I'm HCBailly, and my cat is sleeping on my subwoofer." -HCBailly, playing Final Fantasy 3/6

"SURPRISE FISH!" - Deceased Crab

"Whoa, dude! Want some pizza with your brain arms?" Retsupurae, on Quadraxis14's LP of Contra 3

"How rude!" HCBailly, playing Secret of Mana.

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Dr. O


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post Apr 9 2011, 02:07 PM
I think you answered your own question.


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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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Moose


BOOP!
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post Apr 9 2011, 04:47 PM
Truss doing laundry?
OH MAN, HOW CAN I MISS OUT ON THE NEXT CHAPTER? THAT PROMISE ALONE HAS ME HOOKED!


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oneluckyduck


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post Apr 9 2011, 05:46 PM
*looks up, like a puppy*
Providence, Rhode Island? Lovecraft?


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"I was getting all pumped for hot pizza bondage and cocaine action"
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post Apr 13 2011, 03:58 PM
That preview at the end of the last chapter was completely misleading. If it were honest, it would be more like:

Asuka is useless
DJ is a fucking douchebag
Rei plays a videogame that goes on way too fucking long
Eyrie Unlimited makes Ayn Rand look concise
The dumb bastard mocking this fanfic loses it

/* Genesis "Land of Confusion" _Invisible Touch_ */

EYRIE PRODUCTIONS, UNLIMITED
presents

NEON EXODUS EVANGELION

EXODUS 1:7 - ALONE IN THE DARK

See, that's what the 1 signifies. Season 1, chapter 7. They were planning this from the beginning. Because simply numbering your chapters from the beginning like a normal person wasn't pretentious enough.

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
Jon Ellison created by Larry Mann
and
Lara Croft created by Toby Gard

What about HAL? Are you saying HAL doesn't count?

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, and
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY by Arthur C. Clarke

Written by Benjamin D. Hutchins and Larry Mann

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

© 1997 Eyrie Productions, Unlimited

Some fanfic writers insist that they don't own the original intellectual property.

Eyrie has a different way of doing things.


On one of the levels of Central Dogma below the main operations level and infirmary floor, there was a large gymnasium, primarily for the use of the security officers and the like. It contained an obstacle course of walls, rope climbs, pit jumps, step barriers, narrow tunnels and the like which had to be climbed over, under, through and around, usually on a timer. There were also all the usual accoutrements one would expect to find in a school gym - a basketball court, floor markings for running laps, rings, bars, etc. - and an adjacent weight-training room.

I think this gym has gotten more description than Jon.

On this particular morning, the gym was empty, save for two observers on a balcony above the floor and one young boy.

DJ Croft, in boots, shorts, tank top, sweatband and leather driving gloves, stood at the beginning of the obstacle course, taking a couple of deep breaths, stretching, and otherwise preparing himself. Above on the balcony, his mother Lara and Misato Katsuragi watched (unknown to DJ, who thought he was alone).

And here we can see the douchebag in his natural habitat. We were fortunate enough to find one in full livery; because the douchebag is, by nature, self-absorbed, we are unlikely to be noticed.

DJ was still fairly small for his age, but, as sparsely dressed as he now was, anyone could see that he was strong - his slender body packed with wiry, hard muscles, not bulky but lithe, kept strong by agility training and light weight work (which he'd just finished as part of his obstacle-course warmup). In another life, he would have made a fine dancer or professional gymnast, or perhaps a flyweight boxer; as it was, though he had the skills of a gymnast, what he tended to use them for was something else again.

So the fic admits that DJ isn't the best at everything, but only to say he could be if he wanted to.

His muscles feeling loose and warm, DJ proceeded into the course with an easy lope, not looking to break any speed records, though he could muster a fairly impressive speed in a short, flat-out sprint. He ran up the first ramp this way, and, without hesitation, launched himself off the end, across a ten-foot-deep padded pit, at the other side of which was another ramp. Arching his back, he threw his feet forward, landing with ease on the opposite platform and then loping down the ramp.

As I was typing this, my internet connection decided to shit its pants and die.

I wish DJ were here. I bet he could fix it with ease.

The next jump was longer; for it, DJ had to reach out and catch the edge of the opposite platform with his fingers, then pull himself up and continue. The other side of the platform was a very steep ramp; rather than try to control his run down it, DJ set his feet and slid down, tumbling off the end in a tidy forward roll and coming up running. He ran to the barrier wall, jumped up, caught the top, and pulled himself over, dropping lightly down the other side (but not before looking down reflexively to make sure the floor on the other side was the same height, a lesson he'd learned rather painfully in a Transbelvian castle).

DJ, cultured bloke that he is, is highly familiar with the vaguely Eastern European land of Transbelvia.

Next was a ten-foot tube tunnel; it had been designed to be a tight fit for a full-grown trooper in armor with a field kit and weapon, so DJ scrambled through easily, then climbed the rope on the other side without using his legs.

What is the point of this section. What does it accomplish. Why should I care.

This put him on a narrow catwalk, lacking handrails, high above the gymnasium floor. Since this was a training facility, the yawning chasm was filled with soft plastic balls rather than, say, stone spikes and pit vipers; nevertheless, DJ thought of it as the latter as he made his rapid way across. It kept his edge sharper to assume he was in mortal peril.

He must be a blast in the Chuck-e-Cheese ball pit.

The catwalk ended a good ten feet before another down-hanging rope; DJ walked to the end of the catwalk, stopped, then jumped back a few feet and got a running start, leaping out into space, his hands searching for and finding the rope.

Thrilling.

With a grunt of effort, he seized the rope and arrested his flight; it was attached at the floor, and so wobbled with a standing wave but didn't swing. DJ climbed down a few feet, until it was safe, then kicked off and landed "safely" on the platform a couple of feet away. The ball pit continued for another twenty-five feet, traversed by a series of small pedestals at the height of the platform he was currently on, but only large enough for one of his feet.

One pedestal is not enough for DJ. He needs a series of them.

Backing up, he sized up the gaps, counted mentally, and then began, leaping from one to the next with long, powerful strides, skidding to a stop on the far platform just shy of going right off the edge. Now DJ found himself confronted with a stepped wall - massive foam steps with four-foot treads and six-foot risers, four of them. He made short work of this, and caught his breath at the top before sizing up the final obstacle.

So, in this scene DJ navigates a series of arbitrary obstacles with trivial ease, all while placing himself on a pedestal and unconvincingly pretending he's in danger, for the express purpose of showing off in front of women.

This may be a metaphor for Neon Exodus as a whole.

It was a nasty one. The back side of the stepped wall was a slide, too steep to climb down; it ended twenty-four feet below at a sheer drop into another ball pit. The pit extended for twenty feet to the blank, padded floor-to-ceiling expanse of the far wall; there was a rope loosely anchored at the bottom of the slide. On the far wall was a narrow ledge, perhaps six or eight inches and only two feet wide; it formed the bottom sill of a doorway in that wall. Miss the rope, and DJ would go catapulting into the pit. Get the rope but be off-center and he'd crash into the wall on one side or the other of the door, then fall into the pit. Too fast, and he'd hit the top of the doorway, and fall into the pit.

See? We know what's going to happen. The entire paragraph is irrelevant because there is precisely zero chance that he will fail. Meanwhile, the narrative is crashing to a halt because instead of describing something interesting or important, we are told the exact dimensions of the ledge DJ is going to jump on.

Without hesitation, DJ hopped off the top and slid. His left hand flashed out and caught the rope, plucking it free of its restraint, and he swung out over the pit. He'd judged it right - he was heading straight for the doorway - but damn it he -was- going too fast.

Neon Exodus: 2 Fast 2 Furious

Only one thing to do; he swung his feet up and let go early, trusting his momentum to carry him sidelong through the doorway, and skidded into the padded stop room on his side, crashing feet-first into the far wall like a baseball player sliding into home.

Safe.

Great. Can this part end now?

He got to his feet and dusted himself off, then headed back into the gym. Half an hour of work with the heavy bag and speed bag, and then he could pronounce the day's workout complete, have a shower and go in search of food.

The mating display complete, the douchebag wanders off in search of food. Truly a magnificent creature.

"He's very conscientious," Misato remarked to Lara as they watched him leave. "A lot of boys in his position would have let their training slide a little, without you around to make them work at it, but I haven't had to even ask him about it. He started coming here the second day he was here."

See, the thing is...

Eva pilots don't need to be in peak physical condition. Just look at Shinji.

Lara nodded. "I never had to bother him about it either," she said. "When he was a baby I'd put him in the gym at home so that if he cried or needed anything while I was working out, I'd know. Not long after he got walking sorted, he started trying to match me, so Mildram and I put together a smaller version of my workout setup for him to use, and kept it updated as he grew. He's always kept fit.

Fisher Price's My First Bowflex.

"Coming with me on my explorations was his idea, not mine. At first I wouldn't allow it - but when he was eight I left him at home while I checked out a Babylonian temple find a friend of mine dropped me a line on, and the little blighter got away from Mildram and -beat- me there." She chuckled indulgently at the memory. "So like it or not, I had myself a partner. It was either that or compete with him, and I'm not sure who'd be on top."

I'm pretty sure DJ's a top.

Misato laughed. "I know what you mean," she agreed. "He does have a way of taking charge of situations, doesn't he? If you watch us at home, it's pretty obvious who really rules the roost... and yet, he usually does respect my rules. He's got a definite problem with authority, though."

He usually respects the rules. You know, like "don't drink" or "children aren't allowed to drive motorcycles in America" or "stop using all my condoms."

Wait, that last one isn't until later.

"That's hereditary, I'm afraid," Lara replied, her grin showing that she wasn't at all sorry. "As imperious as your Dr. Ikari and his lovely assistant tend to be, I don't doubt he goes out of his way to make things difficult for them."

It's funny because DJ is completely unable to function in civil society.

Misato chuckled. "You have -no- idea." Frowning thoughtfully, she added, "By the way, why'd you hit Ritsuko?"

Lara shrugged and replied casually, "She was bothering me."

One of these days, DJ is going to bother the wrong person, and consequently get the shit beat out of him.

One of these days.

Misato rolled her eyes. "You're DJ's mother, all right."

"He's hit her?" Lara asked, eyes narrowing.

"Oh, no, no, nothing like that. DJ's never shown any violence to -anyone- here.

Except when he waved a gun in that agent's face.

It's just that Ritsuko tends to annoy him, too." She smiled. "Generally, he deals with it by either ignoring or confusing her."

Confusing her with his righteous indignation and stunning good looks.

Looking relieved, Lara replied, "Ah, good. -That's- the way I taught him."

What, to be a hypocrite? Mission fucking accomplished.

She cocked her head, looking inquisitive, and then said, "If I didn't know better, Captain Katsuragi, I'd say you care for the boy rather more than your compatriots here."

Misato reddened slightly. "Well... Ritsuko does have a certain way of viewing him as more of an asset than a person, and Dr. Ikari, well, he treats -everybody- that way."

I don't know if I'd say asset. "Tool" seems about right, though.

"And you don't."

"I did, at first," Misato admitted. "That lasted until the first dinner we had together. He's -way- too much his own person for me to stay detached after that. We're... well, we're a lot alike."

By which she means they both get fall-down drunk every evening and live with a penguin.

"Mm." Lara nodded, thought about it for a moment, then said, "He must like you, too, or he'd refuse to live with you."

Lara never taught DJ that sometimes you have to do things you don't like. Which explains a lot, actually.

Misato hesitated, unwilling to breach such a potentially sensitive subject, but then decided there was nothing for it and asked bluntly, "Will you take him away? Ritsuko and Professor Ikari's high-handed attitude aside, we really do need his help."

"High-handed." Because it's ludicrous for high-ranking government employees to expect obedience from their subordinates. What do they think this is - the Soviet Union?

"I don't know," Lara admitted. "I came in here determined to do just that, but... well... " She smiled. "I'll leave it up to him. It's his life, and anyway, if he wants to stay here, it'd be a losing proposition for me to try and make him leave. DJ doesn't do anything he doesn't want to do."

Oh hey, I was right.

At the visible relief on Misato's face, Lara's smile became a grin. "He does have a way of stealing away your heart, doesn't he? I never planned to have children, you know. Once, before he was born, I considered giving him up... but that lasted until the first time I saw him."

In an alternate timeline, she did give DJ up for adoption.

He now goes by the name Christian Weston Chandler.

"What about his father?" Misato wondered, then looked embarrassed as she realized how personal a question it was.

But Lara only shrugged wistfully and replied, "He died before anyone knew I was pregnant."

Don't you just hate it when that happens?

"I'm sorry," Misato replied, realizing from DJ's age what must have, in all likelihood, claimed his father's life. It had been a hard time for Misato, too.

Yeah.

She was only there to watch her father be atomized along with an entire continent.

It was a hard time, just like her college midterms and that one day she locked herself inside her car.

"So am I," Lara replied, then paused before continuing, "But that was in another country... "

Misato did not recognize the reference, but that didn't bother Lara much. She would have missed it too, had her father not insisted on a classical education for his daughter.

"GENTLEMEN! I GIVE YOU... CORN!"

See, I can make random references too.

Thinking sober thoughts, the two women left the gym.


Showered, scrubbed, and dressed in a fresh pair of shorts and a black t-shirt with a large white '5' screened on the front, DJ ran a comb over his damp hair, slipped his feet into his Tevas and headed down to the Wedge to see if the new morale measures he'd spoken to Maya about before leaving on the previous day's aquatic rendezvous were in place yet.

I used to watch Obama's speeches and think "how can someone say so much and still say nothing?" But now that I've read NXE, I have to take that back.

I mean, I can't even call this purple prose. It's too simple for that. If anything, it's mauve.

They weren't, but Rei was there, reading "Snow Crash" with such rapt attention that DJ decided not to greet her as he sat down opposite her in the Wedge bench.

After a moment, she looked up, scarlet eyes fixing on DJ, and smiled just a tiny bit.

For example, attaching descriptors to eyes after you have already established their color is generally a sign of flowery prose. But here they're referred to as eyes and not "orbs," so I can't really fault it.

"DJ," she said.

"Hullo, Rei," said DJ, stretching out on the Wedge bench, head toward the windows of the conference room adjacent (often nicknamed, thanks to its floor level being three steps down from the Wedge's, the Lower Wedge), feet toward the Central Dogma concourse entrance. "How's things?"

"Hullo, Rei," DJ Britished Britishly. "How are your Yankee things here in Yankeeland, scones and cricket Westminster Canterbury blood pudding."

"Fine," said Rei. "Jon and I met your mother yesterday."

"Oh yes? What'd you think?"

"How does she stand upright? Does she have any back complications? Has she ever considered surgery?"

"She seems very concerned." Rei hesitated, then asked tentatively, "Will she take you away?"

"Not if I don't want to go," DJ replied evasively.

"Do you?" asked Rei.

DJ looked into her questioning eyes and shrugged.

"I don't know yet," he said.

He might consider saving the world - might - if they stop refrigerating the beer.

Rei nodded, understanding his dilemma, and returned to her reading as DJ returned to his thinking.


Jon Ellison, meanwhile, was on his way from the commissary to the Wedge himself; he'd checked out the menu, found nothing even remotely appetizing, and so intended to find DJ and see if he was planning on going out for lunch.

Oh man, Jon has to choose between cafeteria food and eating with DJ. I can't wait to see what happens next.

He was met by someone he didn't recognize, a pretty girl about his age with auburn hair, blue eyes and a trim figure, dressed in a yellow summer dress and, at the moment, absorbed in (and confused by) a Central Dogma map.

"Hey, you," she said, waving Jon over. "Which way to the... " She squinted at the paper. "... 'Wedge'? That can't be right."

Asuka doesn't know how to read a map that doesn't include the phrase "Großdeutches Reich."

"It's right," Jon said. "Just follow me, I'm heading that way. I'm sorry, I don't think I know you."

"Asuka Soryu-Langley," she replied, not looking up from her perusal of the map. "I'm the Second Child; I'm here to give the program some much-needed respectability."

Good luck with that.

"... Oh," said Jon, nonplussed. After a few seconds of silence, it became obvious to him that she wasn't going to bother asking him who he was, so he volunteered it: "Uh, I'm Jon Ellison... the Fourth Child."

"No kidding?" Jon nodded. "I've reviewed your battle tapes," Asuka went on. "You should really find another line of work before you get hurt."

I feel really conflicted. On the one hand, Asuka was a total bitch in Evangelion.

On the other, she is easily the best character in this fanfic.

I am trying to decide if this is because the fanfic authors wrote her better than Anno did, or if all the other characters are just that much worse.

Jon did not reply. Oh, joy, he thought, I get to be this one's marksman? Wonderful. (Ikari's duty rosters still had him listed as point to Rei's mark, but he knew of SHODAN's analysis of the situation and, frankly, agreed with it. He figured it was only a matter of time before circumstances proved SHODAN right, though given Ikari's stubbornness he wasn't particularly looking forward to the occasion.)

Why are you even using a point/mark system? Did it ever occur to you that giant robots are not exactly the same as infantry, and that the same tactics might not be appropriate for giant robots?

"I'm looking forward to meeting the First Child, her combat record notwithstanding," Asuka commented as she followed Jon down the corridor. "You three can't have survived this long on your own if you're -all- stumblebums."

I guess it depends on how big a factor luck is.

"What gives you the impression DJ's a stumblebum?" asked Jon coolly. "He has an excellent combat record. And I understand he handled himself quite well in the incident at sea."

I guess Jon's role in this fanfic is to be DJ's very own sycophant suck-up squad.

"He got lucky," Asuka said hotly. "His attitude is terrible. Besides," she added airily, "he gets wounded a lot. He's not going to last long if he doesn't start being careful. Even now he's not at full strength - how'd he manage to hurt his -hands-, of all things?"

It's called "chafing" and it's a serious problem, Asuka.

"You've reviewed the reports on the confrontation with the Fifth Angel?" asked Jon. At Asuka's nod, he went on, "DJ rescued Rei Ayanami from her EVA before Unit 00's overheated armor could heat the LCL in her entry plug to dangerous temperatures."

"So? That's not hard with the sliding canopy hatch."

"EVA-00 is the prototype," Jon said. "Its entry plug doesn't have a sliding canopy hatch. DJ had to open the bolt-dogged side hatch by hand. He suffered second-degree burns... and saved Rei's life." Jon hardened his face and tone as he added, "So don't tell me you have a problem with his attitude."

Isn't it nice when the characters have selective ignorance so that they can get lectured by self-inserts? Wait, it isn't?

...

Well, shit.

For once in her life, Asuka Langley had nothing to say.


"Can I ask you something?" Lara inquired as she and Misato sipped tea in the commissary.

"Sure," Misato replied.

"Why did you take DJ's guardianship? I understand it was originally planned that he'd live alone."

Misato considered her answer, then decided to reply honestly.

"I'm really lonely."

"I'm not sure," she replied. "I guess... I just couldn't imagine someone as dynamic as DJ being alone all the time. I... " She stumbled over the next few words, but Lara grinned and let her know by doing so that she needn't worry about them anyway.

"I see," said Lara with a smile. "Seems I was right then... my boy's caught himself another heart."

It's funny because DJ's probably going to try to fuck his legal guardian.

Misato blushed. "I don't want you to think that our relationship is... you know... untoward."

"Odd," Lara commented, "you strike me as the type that doesn't care much what other people think. Not unlike myself, come to that."

"It's not what you think of me that's important," Misato replied, "it's just that I don't want you to think DJ has behaved... improperly."

Because he's been the epitome of decency so far.

Lara threw back her head and laughed. "If he didn't behave improperly he wouldn't be my DJ," she replied mirthfully. "But I appreciate your trying to put my mind at rest, anyway." Her smile turned a little more serious as Lara continued, "You know, I promised myself once, long ago, that I would never leave DJ anyplace where he wasn't loved. That's going to be a major factor in my decision, whether to ask him to leave this place with me when I go."

It would explain why she was constantly traveling instead of leaving him in Britain. "Oh, so DJ's not welcome in Guatemala either? Well, I'll just try Honduras then."

Put at ease though she was by Lara's attitude, Misato still refrained from answering that obvious question, for fear that her answer would be misinterpreted.


Back in the Wedge, a shadow fell over Rei's book. Silently she shifted to the right a little, bringing the book back into the light. The shadow moved again, once more darkening the book. Rei's eyes swiveled in the direction of the shadow.

Watch out, Rei! It's the Heartless!

"Hi!" said the redheaded girl who was casting it. "I'm Asuka Soryu-Langley."

Rei looked perplexed, then replied quietly, "How nice for you." Then she moved out of Asuka's shadow again and resumed reading.

You remember all those snappy comebacks Rei had in Evangelion, right?

Right?

Asuka looked momentarily perplexed, then annoyed, and moved to once more darken the book and cause Rei to look up at her.

"I'm the Second Child," she persisted, "and the designated pilot of Evangelion Unit 02."

Rei nodded, moved yet again, and went back to reading.

She just had to know what happened to the Titanic.

Incensed by this absolute lack of appreciation, Asuka snatched away the book and cried, "What the hell's the matter with you? Don't you have any courtesy at all?"

Without a word, her face almost devoid of expression, Rei stood up, slapped Asuka hard across the face, then took her book from the stunned girl's hand, found her place, sat down, and continued reading.

The fuck?

Now, maybe I am remembering some completely different show. Maybe I was watching RahXephon by accident, I don't know.

But.

I thought Rei was a human doormat. Wasn't there this one scene where she and Asuka are in a still frame elevator for ten minutes and Asuka slaps her? And Rei doesn't react at all. Asuka even complains that Rei never reacts to anything. Or maybe the authors just got confused and mixed up the character sheets.

But I guess this just wouldn't be a badfic without constant physical abuse of characters the authors don't like.

Asuka's face turned slowly crimson, all of it matching the slap mark, and, quivering with rage, she drew a hand back to counterattack; but before she could strike Rei (who was completely ignoring her), DJ darted forward and caught her wrist in a startlingly strong grip, hurting her enough to jolt her out of her anger and into a state of clear surprise. She blinked at him, startled, as, with the fiercest expression she'd yet seen on him, he growled a single word:

"-Don't-."

"The only person allowed to slap DJ's bitches is me. DJ. Also known as Henry Victoria Disraeli Churchill McEnglishton."

Behind DJ, Jon's eyes flashed a similar silent message as he unconsciously placed an almost proprietary hand on Rei's shoulder.

Yeah, can't let them womenfolk defend themselves.

"-Ever,-" DJ continued, then released Asuka's wrist and backed off a step.

Physical violence is only acceptable if you're DJ, a member of DJ's immediate family, or part of the sycophant suck-up squad.

"So that's the way it is, huh?" asked Asuka, bringing her left hand up to rub her bruised wrist.

"That's the way it is," DJ and Jon replied in flat stereo.

Asuka glared at them for a moment, then looked back at Rei, who sat, still reading, unconcerned and, in fact, apparently unaware of this byplay.

"Look, I'm sorry I grabbed your book," she grudgingly admitted. "It was rude."

What character is this and why does she coincidentally share Asuka's name and appearance?

Rei glanced up, then went back to reading.

"You're a strange one. Why won't you be my friend?" Asuka said in a way that made Rei want to do otherwise.

"If I'm ordered to, I will," Rei answered, and returned once more to her reading, leaving Asuka again annoyed.

"Hmph," Asuka remarked, turning away and walking across the Wedge. "Frigid little bitch," she murmured to herself, loud enough that DJ heard; he flushed and took a half-step, but Jon's hand on his forearm restrained him.

"Punching will solve the dispute!" DJ said.

"Where did you get that idea?" Jon asked.

"I've been reading a lot of Mark Trail lately," DJ responded.

"She doesn't know that this is Rei's way," said Jon softly. "She's taking it personally. She'll come to understand."

"She doesn't know that being socially retarded is Rei's way," said Jon suck-upingly. "She's taking it personally. She'll come to be your unquestioning sex slave."

DJ sighed, seeming to deflate slightly as the tension drained out of him.

He really shouldn't do that in public.

"I suppose," he said, plopping back down on the bench. "I -hope-," he added. Then he brightened and said, "Any word on our morale gear, Jon?"

"Tomorrow, according to Maya."

You might think that the "morale gear" is a big shipment of doobies.

I wish.

"Excellent. I must remember to give her a big wet kiss of thanks."

"You're sure that'd be rewarding -her-?"

"Why's everything have to be about -her-?" replied DJ with a grin.

Ever so slightly, Rei rolled her eyes.

So is Rei an emotionless automoton or not? I'd like some consistency within the same scene, please.


That afternoon, after an uneventful day of harmonics testing and boring dissertations on the importance of the project, DJ returned to the apartment on Lee Street he'd started thinking of as home, plopped his backpack down in the corner of his room, and sprawled out on his bed, hands behind his head, contemplating the ceiling.

"Good afternoon, DJ," said Hal pleasantly. "How was your day?"

"Oh, same old, same old," DJ replied.

"Showing off for no reason, belittling people I don't like... that sort of thing."

Then, perking up, he sat up and said, "Hey, any results on that database search I set you on?"

"I've completed a search of all the NERV databanks to which I could gain access," Hal replied. "The information you requested was not available in any of them."

"Not available??" DJ replied. "You mean to tell me Rei Ayanami's birthday isn't on file in -any- of NERV's networked systems?"

This is such a lol.

Hey DJ.

Hey.

Instead of hacking NERV's database, you could, I don't know.

Ask her.

"Not even SHODAN has Rei's birth date on file," Hal replied. "She informed me so herself."

"Doesn't have it on file or won't give it to you."

"SHODAN informed me that such information is a matter of public record - she provided me with yours, Asuka Soryu-Langley's, Ritsuko Akagi's, Misato Katsuragi's, Maya Ibuki's, John Trussell's, Otto Keller's and Gendou Ikari's.

All the main characters, in descending order of their importance. You might think Asuka and Ritsuko would rank lower, but "DJ's punching bag" is a very lofty position.

I asked in order to test just such a hypothesis," Hal explained. "H.A.L. computers are incapable of falsehood. SHODAN does not have Rei's birthdate on file; nor does she have Jon Ellison's."

That data was deleted to make room for Gendo's collection of Lucky Star fandubs.

"That's pretty weird," DJ replied, not bothering to voice his doubt about SHODAN's veracity. It would only provoke a rather lofty and tiresome speech from Hal about how no H.A.L. computer had ever perpetrated a falsehood or made a lookup error.

"I can conduct an expanded search on other computer systems, but I don't think there's much chance of success," Hal continued. "I have already checked with the United States Social Security Administration and the Department of the Interior. As far as their public datasystems are concerned, Rei Ayanami does not exist."

It's easy to see how they could fail to notice her.

"Definitely weird. Keep on it. Hack restricted systems if you have to, but only if the risk of disclosure or damage is minimal. All right?"

"Very well, DJ," Hal replied mildly, entirely unperturbed that he'd just been asked to violate the law.

Like owner, like computer.

"I will inform you of any results. Is there anything else?"

"Mm... no. Oh, yes, there is one other thing. I've been informed today that Asuka Soryu-Langley will be coming to live here with us. I assume you've already read her personnel file?"

"I have."

"Good. Add her to the access database at access level three. Oh... and don't talk to her unless she talks to you first, for a bit... I want to see how long it takes her to realize what the sensor heads are."

DJ grinned the most shit-eating grin of his life. "Finally, I will have unlimited access to footage of German jailbait on the toilet." HAL appeared entirely unperturbed at DJ's insistence on adding a sensor head to the bathroom; years of being owned by an inconsiderate douchebag had both desensitized the computer and taught it that Croft moved in mysterious ways.

"That's cruel, DJ."

"I know. Do it anyway, please?"

"Very well."

"Right. What does the old recipe randomizer give us for dinner tonight?"

"Guinness. Just like every other night," HAL said.

"Szechuan-style wok-fried beef and vegetables, with a side helping of vegetables and -not- beef for Rei."

How did he even find out that Rei is vegetarian? Why is that so much easier to learn than her birthday? Why does this fanfic suck so much?

"Right. I'd better toddle off to the kitchen, then... be a dear and pop the recipe up on the kitchen monitor?"

"Already done, DJ."

"I couldn't live without you, Hal."

That line will be really ironic when HAL refuses to open the pod bay door.


DJ laid out helpings of the evening's steaming, savory dinner before everyone gathered at the table, giving extra flourishes to the unveiling of his special vegetarian version for Rei, then distributed appropriate beverages and took his own seat, chuckling with anticipation as he cracked open the evening's first Guinness and prepared his chopsticks for action.

"Hey!" Asuka burst out, distracted from her confused contemplation of the plate of food DJ had put on the floor by the type of beverage he had. "You're drinking -beer-!"

Oh no! Asuka's going to tell on him!

DJ blinked. "So I am," he replied, and went on about his business.

"Are you going to let him drink that?" Asuka demanded of Misato.

Misato shrugged, taking a drink of her own Guinness. "Are you going to try to stop him?" she replied.

"What about you?" Asuka demanded, turning to Lara. "You're his mother."

"So I am," Lara replied in an uncanny imitation of her son.

"You're letting him drink?"

Lara figures that liver failure is her best bet for getting rid of DJ.

"He's a big boy," Lara said, popping open her own beer.

"That's disgusting," Asuka declared, pouring herself a glass of milk.

"Judge not," said DJ, "lest ye be judged yourself."

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." DJ then hefted a rock and bashed Asuka's brains out.

"I'm beginning to see where you got your bad habits, Fifth Child," said Asuka. "You obviously weren't raised right."

Misato glanced sharply up, expecting to see Asuka on the receiving end of the same sort of flash of temper that Ritsuko had reported receiving from Lara; but Lara simply shrugged mildly and said, "I did the best I could with what I had.

In this case, that's like trying to start a space program in sub-Saharan Africa.

Your parents obviously didn't do so well in the 'manners' department themselves."

Asuka colored, but fell mercifully silent.

She had just realized that only DJ is allowed to be an imperious cunt.

The rest of dinner was uneventful, until just toward the end, when the second refrigerator opened and Pen-Pen emerged to consume his evening meal. Asuka froze, eyes wide with a combination of mystification and faint fear, as the bird ignored her completely, wolfed down his food, and returned nonchalantly to the refrigerator.

"Wah... wah... " Asuka tried to say.

"Problem?" asked DJ calmly.



"There's a penguin in the refrigerator," Asuka said, meeting his amused gaze with a look of blank confusion.

"Yes, I know," said DJ.

"Why does he go in there?"

"Why do you go in there?" replied DJ.

"To get a glass of milk - but that's not why he goes in there."

"Of course not!" said DJ scornfully. "Penguins are birds, they can't drink cow's milk. -Think- before you ask these questions, Asuka! Twenty points higher than me, thinks a penguin will drink milk?" Shaking his head sadly, DJ went off to get ready for a bath, and it wasn't until he was safely in his bedroom that Asuka realized she'd been had.

I believe my CWCtionary has an entry for this. Let's see... Yep...

"random access humor"

"CROFT!!"

If I pretend that was wacky, can I just stop here and forget about Neon Exodus?


Jon and Rei went back to Apartment 3-F after DJ emerged, endured a withering glare from Asuka as she brushed past him to her own room, and said goodnight to his mother. Having taken her leave of DJ, Lara went next door as well, where Jon and Rei were putting her up in their spare room (Misato and DJ's having been taken over by Asuka). Jon was first in the bath there, so Lara sat in the living room for a while in fairly companionable silence with Rei, both of them reading.

About the Titanic, no doubt.

At length, Rei put down her book and said softly, "Dr. Croft?"

"Please," said Lara, "call me Lara."

"Lara," said Rei shyly, then paused before pressing on: "Will you take DJ away?"

Please?

"Everyone seems to be interested in my answer to that question," Lara observed wryly. "I'll tell you what I told Misato: I can't make him do anything he doesn't want to do. If he wants to go, I'll take him back to England with me; if not, I won't make a fuss about it."

Rei's relief was not as transparent as Misato's, but Lara caught it anyway, and smiled. "I've seen enough evidence that this place, however strange and dangerous it is, meets my requirements," she added.

"Pardon?" asked Rei, looking quizzical.

It is very, very far away from England.

"Never mind," Lara replied, waving away the question. "It's nothing... a private joke. Let's just say I'm glad he has friends here."

Rei nodded. "He's a good pilot," she said.

"And a good friend?" asked Lara, her smile inquisitive.

For a certain value of "friend."

Rei's cheeks got slightly pink as she replied softly, "... Yes." Then she looked mildly startled as she realized that she hadn't said it alone; turning, she saw Jon, a towel snugged around his waist, finishing a nod. He'd apparently heard their last exchange.

Things got really awkward when Jon started doing hip thrusts and asking if Lara would like to be his "good friend."

Lara's smile was gentle as she said, "Good. DJ likes to pretend he can get by on his own sometimes, but... well, nobody can live without friends."

I get by with help from my friends.

Also significant amounts of mind-altering substances.

Jon exchanged a glance with Rei, then nodded again. "Yes."


--------------------
Index of horrible mocks

QUOTE ("Al_Cone")
However, I totally would sleep with the Doc... but only for your brain.

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Post #27
Dr. O


witch doctor
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post Apr 13 2011, 04:01 PM
NEXT MORNING, 10:30
CONTROL ROOM, CENTRAL DOGMA

I love a nice, seamless scene transition.


The plug-out focus test on EVA-00's neurosystem wasn't going well, and the staff in the control room was already starting to tire of their workday after only an hour and a half of the job.

Ritsuko Akagi studied the data being displayed on the master screen and frowned. "0.08? We can do better than that."

"It is within the safety margin," SHODAN noted, "but only by a margin of 0.01."

"What do you think we should do?" asked Maya.

They should try jiggering the wires and rebooting. That usually works.

Ritsuko considered for a moment, then sighed. "Abort the test, clear all circuits. We'll do it again."

Maya sighed and started flicking switches. It was apparently bent on being that kind of morning.

Oh, yeah. I really hate it when my giant robot doesn't have properly calibrated neural systems.


Thirteen levels up, Misato Katsuragi was fast reaching the same conclusion. Her entire day, as far as she was concerned, had been ruined at 9:15, with the news that Ryoji Kaji had been reassigned to Worcester-3 and would not be returning to Germany, Japan, or the pit of Hell that spawned him.

It's funny because that last part is probably going to end up being completely literal.

And now, just as she was entering the elevator to head down to the control room, she heard his voice at the end of the corridor, calling, "Hold the elevator, please!"

Eyes narrowing, Misato thumbed the >< button hard and repeatedly, praying to the great god Otis that he wouldn't make it.

As opposed to Orcus, who will be showing up later in the fic.

Just as the doors slid shut, he reached the elevator, and, sticking the clipboard he was holding into the gap, he tripped the safety mechanism and made the doors reopen.

"Phew!" he said, putting on his charmingest smile. "I almost didn't - "

He was cut off as a small blur not immediately recognizable as DJ Croft sprinted around the corner and crashed into him, knocking his papers flying in a great conical spurt down the cross-corridor.

"Oof! Sorry, Kaji, didn't see you there!" DJ cried breathlessly, ducking into the elevator and surreptitiously banging the >< button. "Awfully sorry, I'll buy you a car or something, well, no time to hang about chatting, you'd best be picking up those papers!"

What an asshole.

The doors closed and they were away, safe, sound, and without Ryoji Kaji.

DJ just literally shoved a character out of their scene.



"You little shit!" Misato declared, trying (and failing) to keep her face severe. Then she relaxed and let the grin she really wanted to wear break through, and added, chortling and ruffling his hair, "That was terrific."

Funny, I didn't think "petty" was spelled like that...

"Was it? Thanks," DJ replied with a modest smile. "I had to come up with it on the spur of the moment, and I figured shooting him was probably socially inappropriate."

Ladies and gentlemen - our hero.

Misato considered for a moment, and then said, "Yeah, I suppose so."

"So... you, uh, come to this elevator often?"

She chuckled. "All the time. Going my way?"

"If you're heading for the control room, I am," DJ replied. "I have some extremely critical Ritsuko-and-Maya-watching to do."



"You're incorrigible."

"I'm fourteen."

"Same thing."


Since Dr. Ikari had stuck to his guns about the rotation planning, Jon and Rei, as Evangelion Combat Team No. 1, were off-duty. Being of similarly unextravagant tastes when it came to personal entertainment, both were at home engaged in quiet pursuits. Rei was sitting on the couch reading Philip K. Dick's "We Can Build You", while Jon sat at the kitchen table playing chess with Hal via the remote terminal installed there.

Fun fact: Philip K. Dick was completely insane. And I'd still rather be reading The Man in the High Castle instead of this.

The sliding door the building superintendent had grudgingly allowed to be built (with a little persuasion from NERV's authority) between apartments 3-D and 3-F opened without preamble, and Asuka Soryu-Langley entered. Neither Jon nor Rei acknowledged her presence, something she had not yet accustomed herself to; she stood in the doorway at odds with her expectations for a moment, then slid the door shut a little more pointedly than was strictly necessary. This caused Rei to look up, nod slightly, and return to her reading, while Jon, in the kitchen and engrossed in planning his next move, did not hear at all.

"Queen takes pawn," said Jon.

"Bishop takes Knight's pawn," replied Hal after a momentary pause.

INTENSE CHESS PLAYING ACTION.

"Well, this is an exciting spot,"

"I CAN TELL FROM HERE."

Asuka grumped, plopping down on the couch at the opposite end from Rei.

PLOP!

"What do you guys do for fun around here?"

"We're having fun," Rei replied, not looking up from her book.

"Oh, how silly of me," Asuka replied, rolling her eyes. "I should have spotted that immediately."

"Rook to King One," said Jon.

"I'm sorry, Jon," said Hal.

"I'm afraid I can't do that."

"I think you missed it. Queen to Bishop Six; Bisop takes Queen; Knight takes Bishop; Checkmate in three."

Jon frowned at the screen, then said, "Mm... you're right. I resign."

"Thank you for a most enjoyable game," said Hal pleasantly. "Would you like to play again?"

"Not now, thank you, Hal."

"Jon, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye."

"You just lost to a computer?" Asuka remarked.

"Yes," Jon replied.

"Way to go, Kasparov." By invoking the name of the pre-Second-Impact grandmaster who had demonstrated such terrible sportsmanship after his epic loss to the original HAL 9000 in 1998, Asuka launched a tactical nuclear strike on Jon's chess-playing ego.

Fuck, I... I can't even think of anything funny to say.

People read this and enjoy it.

Fucking fuck.

He failed to ruffle, saying only, "If you would care to play against me sometime, I'd be interested in seeing how good you are."

"Chess?" Asuka replied, scowling. "Most boring game in the world. No -thank- you."

"Um... was there something you needed?" asked Jon.

She needed to repair her crippled ego by picking on the two easiest targets around.

"Or are you just looking for people to annoy?" Rei added softly from behind her book.

"Well, I can see -this- was a wasted trip," Asuka grumbled. "I was just looking for something interesting to do, but I can see that this is definitely not the place to come for -that-."


"OK, Ritsuko," Maya reported. "We're ready to try again."

"Do it," Ritsuko replied. Maya pressed the
dildo deeper into her-

Oh, wait, it's not that kind of scene. Shit.
test-initiate control, and she began intently watching the readings and wishing Truss didn't have the afternoon off.

As they crept toward the break-even point, the consoles went dark. As, for that matter, did the room, and the test chamber with the EVA in it, and everything else in sight. For a couple of vertiginous seconds the control room was plunged into absolute pitch darkness, before the reddish-amber, battery-powered emergency lights kicked in and filled the chamber with a bloody gloom.

DUN DUN DUUUUUUN!


One and a half levels shy of the control room level, the elevator abruptly, shudderingly stopped, and the lights went out, eliciting a cry of consternation from both Misato and DJ - Misato because the unexpected stop startled her, DJ because his lurking nyctophobia spurted to the surface of his mind for a moment before the knowledge that he was not alone in the small room could push it back down. DJ Croft knew few fears, but a cave-in in an abandoned Inca gold mine several years before, which had cut him off from light, air and the reassuring human contact of his mother for several hours, had left him uncontrollably afraid of being alone in small, dark places.

Hey there, backstory. How's it going?

He resisted an urge to cling close to Misato; it would be difficult and embarrassing to explain, however pleasant and reassuring it might be. Instead he swung his pack down off his back and fished around in it for a battery torch, but before he could find one, the emergency lights came on, bathing the room in a red glow which was very like that of his darkroom's safety lamp back home. This made him feel more at ease, and he willed the tension out of his shoulders and neck.

"What the hell?" Misato wondered.

"Blackout?" DJ inquired.

"Impossible!"

"How can this be?"

"Yet it seems to be happening."

"But what could cause the power to go out in a place like this?"

"Ritsuko probably did something wrong during the EVA-00 test."


In the control room, all eyes were on Ritsuko.

"It... it wasn't me," she protested.

If I am ever found dead at my computer, I want everyone to know that this was responsible.


Rei Ayanami looked up as her reading lamp flickered once, then died completely. Cocking her head inquisitively, she turned the switch a couple of times; then, from the kitchen, Jon reported, "It's not the lamp, the power's off."

"Local grid failure?" Asuka wondered. "Americans can't build anything right."

Asuka then spent the next hour pontificating on the innate superiority of the teutonic race and handing out pamphlets urging them to join the Germanen Order.

"I'm afraid it goes a bit further than that," Hal reported calmly. "I've lost all contact with NERV Headquarters."

"Hal? You're still operational?" asked Jon. From Asuka's perspective in the living room, she couldn't see the wall-mounted console unit he was talking to; it looked to her as if he was conversing with the oven.

The oven is a computer. It can download up to 5MB of turkey per second. You just have to be careful never to look up porn on it.

"I have six hours of internal battery backup power, assuming judicious usage of power-intensive resources such as crystal-memory search and graphic rendering. I will need to switch to standby mode soon, to prevent data loss in the event that I completely lose power."

"Oh. What do you mean, you've lost contact with HQ?"

"I maintain a connection with the NERV Headquarters network at all times. That link failed at the same time as my external power feed. This should not be the case; the power grid and telecom network are two separate services. However, I am unable to contact SHODAN or any of the Magi. The network links are functional, but the machines are not responding."

Riveting.

"None of them? That's impossible!" Jon protested. "Dr. Akagi never allows more than one of the Magi to be taken down at a time for maintenance, and SHODAN has run continuously since Headquarters was built."

"Nevertheless, none of them are responding, and my diagnostics indicate that this is not the fault of the link hardware. I am also unable to raise DJ or Misato's HALcomm units, which indicates that the signal relay network is down."

"Something must be wrong," said Rei.

"Guess we'd better check it out," Jon agreed.

Oh, hey, are we to the part with plot yet? Cool.

"Right!" Asuka said, standing up and grinning fiercely. "But before we go out into a crisis situation, our group needs a leader - and naturally, that'll be me. Any objections?"

Jon opened his mouth to say something, but Asuka cut him off: "Can it, Ellison."

Disgruntled but silent, Jon closed his mouth and looked at Rei. The message exchanged between them was clear (if completely missed by Asuka): It isn't worth the trouble of objecting.

When you're being treated with derision by Rei, well, that's just fuckin' sad.

The three EVA pilots left the apartment in varying states of emotion. Asuka was excited and pleased to have her first opportunity to demonstrate that the Children could get along just fine in an emergency without their dipsomaniac den mother or Croft the Mighty Adventurer; Jon was apprehensive and wished that there was some way of gently curbing Asuka's enthusiasm; and Rei felt merely a faint annoyance and an overlay of concern, a hope that everyone underground was all right.

Deep down, all of them shared a quiet dread, a feeling that an inevitable worsening of the situation was hanging over them.


"What's happening?" Gendou Ikari asked as he entered the control room.

"Unknown, sir," Ritsuko replied. "As near as we can tell, what's happening is... impossible."

"Explain."

"They found the Higgs Boson. It was in my pocket the whole time."

"Worcester-3 was designed to be entirely self-sufficient if need be," said Maya. "It's theoretically impossible for the primary, secondary, -and- tertiary power systems all to fail at the same time."

"In other words, this was a deliberate action by someone," Ikari said, his tone betraying no emotion.

I don't really expect an answer one way or the other, seeing as they never addressed it in the original show.

"They must have tripped the breakers," Maya observed, "though how anyone unauthorized could get access to the power-system switchroom I don't know."

"Studying this place, judging our strengths and weaknesses?" Ritsuko wondered. "Or some kind of elaborate, stupid prank? I knew it was a bad idea to build this place under a tech-school town."

Ha! Those wacky college students!


"OK, first crisis," Asuka observed as she, Jon and Rei made their way down Gold Star Boulevard. "It's two and a half miles to Central Dogma via the S490. That will take us around half an hour - much too long. We need a faster method of transportation. So get your passcards ready - we're going to commandeer the next car that comes along!"

Five minutes later, there had been no cars.

This section is totally necessary. The plot just couldn't function without it. This is the most tightly-plotted piece of amateur writing I have ever seen. I seem to be stuck in sarcasm mode. Can someone please help me?

"Hmph! Where the hell is everybody?" Asuka wondered. "Don't they know there's a crisis situation happening here?!"

"Yes," Jon pointed out calmly. "That's why they're not here - they're staying home like the alert instructions tell them to."

"What a negative attitude you have," Asuka said scornfully. "Someone will be along."

As they walked past Harr Dodge, Jon decided enough was enough; he picked up a large rock and heaved it through the glass door to the deserted dealership's showroom, then, as Asuka squawked indignantly, stepped calmly inside and selected a set of keys from the pegboard in the manager's office.

HOLY SHIT!

Guys! Look! Jon did something!

"What the hell do you think you're doing?!" Asuka demanded as Jon, ignoring her, unlocked the Avenger whose keys he'd selected.

"Finding a faster method of transportation," he said calmly. "Get in."

Asuka sighed, then said, "Fine. You drive - consider it your punishment for acting without my permission."

Jon rolled his eyes, sharing a glance with Rei:

<That means she doesn't know how to drive.>

Did somebody carve open their skulls and toss in a two-way radio? Seriously, just address the whole psychic communication thing or drop it.


John Trussell was hanging around the Jim Dandy laundromat next
door to Boomers Pizza,

Is that... a Bubblegum Crisis reference? What the...

waiting for his clothes to dry, when the power went out. He reacted with a speed and decisiveness which might have startled anyone who knew him: instantly he removed his still-slightly-damp clothes from the dryer, stuffed them into his laundry bag, and darted into the street, fumbling for his keys. He knew full well how impossible it was for the power to go out in Worcester without somebody turning it off, and that NERV would certainly have been informed of any plans. That it was happening anyway was a sure sign that something worse was afoot.

I wish.

And there it was, too, crawling over Airport Hill with a spindly decisiveness that stopped just short of being utterly terrifying: a gigantic, black, spider-like thing with four very tall legs and a round pod-like body slung low at their crux. Misato was right, Truss reflected as he started his car; they were getting weirder-looking every time.

Quick! Deploy the giant shoe!


The power failure kept Asuka, Rei and Jon from gaining access to HQ through any of the usual methods; though they had easily reached the Geo-Front by crashing their commandeered ride through the wood barricades blocking the S490, the passcard readers in the Central Dogma garage weren't working and the elevators were powerless. They wandered the garage for a little while, finally coming across one of the maintenance hatchway doors, the sort which slid, but had a crank behind an access panel off to one side in case of just such an event.

Seriously. What purpose does any of this serve. We don't need to know every minute detail of how they got to NERV. It is boring and my grip on sanity is more tenuous than ever.

"Ah good, a manual door," Asuka smiled. "OK, Ellison: make yourself useful!"

Jon silently shelved the remark which wanted to emerge, and focused instead on turning the crank. It was a wearisome business, the gears being reluctant to move and the door taking its own sweet time to actually do anything, but he finally got the thing open.

The three children descended into the dark.


"Maintenance and Repair reporting no luck getting any of the power supplies on line," Maya reported. "They have no idea what the hell's going on."

DJ's ego grew large enough to create a singularity, which consumed all the power generation equipment.

"Damn it all," Ritsuko murmured. "Where the hell is Misato?"

"Last time anybody saw her, she was getting on an elevator on Level G-13. That wasn't too long before the power went off; she's probably stuck in the elevator."

stuck in the middle with you...

"Damn! With the power off we can't even launch the EVAs on their own batteries; they're stuck in the cages and there's no way to get the entry plugs into them."

"Have the M&R work crews report to the EVA cage," Ikari said. "We'll open the doors and seat the plugs manually. Where are the pilots?"

Sleeping off their hangovers from the previous night's drinking contest (which DJ won, by the way).

"Unknown," Maya reported. "DJ was getting on the elevator with Misato, so wherever she is, they're probably together. The others were all off-duty. Presumably they've noticed that something's going on by now, but getting here's going to be tough for them."

Ikari considered this gravely for a moment, then said, "They'll be here. Rei won't let us down. Get the crews to the cage; I'm going down to supervise the operations."

"Yes, sir."


DJ and Misato had been sitting side by side in silence against the back wall of the elevator for several minutes before DJ spoke:

"Hey Misato?"

"Yeah?"

"Shall we shag now or shag later?"

"Where'd they dig up that Ryoji guy, anyway?"

"I wish I knew, so I could send him back," Misato said ruefully. "The guy gives me the blues just looking at him."

"Hm," said DJ. He rummaged in his pack, taking out a small silver rectangle, which revealed itself momentarily to be a harmonica.

No. Please no.

He blew a couple of experimental puffs, orienting himself to the instrument again, and then began to blow a fairly standard blues-rock line. After a few bars, he paused and sang a line in a comically gravelly impression of a bluesman voice, then blew a few bars, then sang another line. Misato was at first perplexed, then pleased, by the music, and sat back to take it in.

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO-

It was a pretty standard blues tune, based on the basic pattern laid down by old-time bluesmen like John Lee Hooker, but it was obvious DJ was making the lyrics up off the top of his head - it was a lament by an unnamed man who loved an unnamed woman, only to have her stolen away by Ryoji Kaji. The lamentor then went on to delineate exactly what he thought of Kaji, in detail.

Jealous much?

"You really shouldn't talk about people like that... " Misato murmured during the middle harmonica solo, trying not to laugh.

"What will he do, sue me for definition of character?" asked DJ, missing only a few beats in the bridge before going back to his bluesman voice. The ending of the song detailed how Kaji did the lady wrong and abandoned her, leaving her distrustful of men and more unattainable than ever before, and lamented the injustice of a world in which men like Kaji roamed free to ruin the chances of everyone else.

You can buy DJ's album, "I'm a Smarmy Asshole," off of CD Baby and at select music stores in the Boston area.

The way DJ exaggerated the last few lines of the rap and drew out the traditional "wa-waaaaaah" put Misato over the edge, and as he noodled about with the ending, changed keys a few times, and then wrapped it up just as her giggles subsided.

Coming down from her fit of laughter, Misato succumbed to her desire to scruffle his hair, pulling him closer by her side, putting an arm over his shoulders and leaning her head against his.

"You're a good kid," she said with a smile.

No he isn't.

"I try," he replied, stretching out against the wall and doing what can only be described as "basking".

I hate this putrid fucking fanfic so fucking much.


Meanwhile, in the maintenance tunnels...

Has any piece of fiction seriously used "meanwhile" as a scene transition? Well, other than 1960s Batman, obviously.

Asuka studied the fork in the passageway for a moment. "I think we should go right."

"To the left, in my opinion," Rei replied.

A profound statement on partisan politics in America.

"Hey, who's the leader here anyway?!" Asuka growled, then leveled her gaze at Jon. "What's -your- opinion, Ellison?" she asked pointedly. Jon looked back at her for a moment, then glanced at Rei, and Asuka knew right then she wasn't going to get a favorable answer. "Never mind!!" she snapped. "To the right!"

Jon glanced at Rei, who rolled her eyes.


Truss noted with some surprise that the barricades into the S490 freeway were already broken when he got to them, but didn't have much time to dwell on it as he sped into the Geo-Front with all the speed he could wring out of his battered Ford. Whoever did that was almost certain to get lost in the labyrinth if they were unauthorized anyway - and maybe even if they were authorized, what with the computerized direction-giving terminals being offline.

Truss to the rescue!


"I think we went the wrong way," Jon remarked quietly, trying to keep the 'I told you so' edge out of his voice. "This passage is leading upward."

"Shh," Asuka said. "Don't distract me."

Jon pantomimed strangling her, which elicited the tiniest of snickers from Rei. Asuka, not looking back, mistook it for a cough.

WHEN HAS REI EVER LAUGHED. IT IS NOT HARD TO WRITE HER IN-CHARACTER, FANFIC.

They trudged for quite a while in silence, Rei not caring to say anything and Jon not quite daring as he became more and more convinced that they were going the wrong way.

Presently, up ahead, they spotted a faint light. On closer examination it proved to be a doorway. "There, now what did I tell you?" Asuka said, looking quite pleased with herself. "Follow me!" Rei and Jon followed, but at a few meters' distance. Presently they arrived at the door, and Asuka flipped the emergency release switch and kicked it open.

They were rewarded with a nice view of the surface again.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSS!

Every single part about them getting to NERV and navigating inside NERV is completely pointless! I hate this! Just end already!

Followed in the next instant by a thundering crash as one of the Angel's spindly black legs slammed down into the street only a few feet away. Asuka was thrown off balance by the impact and landed squarely on her rear. The leg arced back up into the air and out of sight, and a moment later the Angel's body swept into sight a little farther away down the road. Asuka instinctively backpedaled as the thing seemed to glare at her out of the numerous eyes along its surface, scrambled to her feet and slammed the door shut again.

How wacky! Now GET ON WITH IT.

Heaving a sigh of relief, she found herself confronted by the even gazes of Rei and Jon. For a moment embarassment threatened to color her face, but she fought it down.

"*AHEM* We visually verified that there *is* an Angel!" she declared. "Now we have to do something about it! Let's go!"

Get THE FUCK on with it.

As she marched off, Rei and Jon followed, exchanging yet another private, knowing glance.

At length, as the Children tramped through what began to feel like an endless maze of corridors and passages,

You know what else feels endless?

Asuka grew bored with the silence and decided to start what, on her planet, apparently passed for a conversation.

"The two of you," Asuka said with a snide air. "You're the favorites, aren't you?"

Rei did not reply; confused, Jon said only, "What?"

"It's obvious you're Ikari's favorites. He doesn't like Croft's attitude any more than I do."

"DJ is very dynamic," Rei observed quietly. "It unbalances the linear-minded. Makes them hostile."

DJ is very fucking annoying. It makes me hostile.

Asuka nodded, glad that Rei agreed with her, and wondered why Jon was coughing so violently.

He must have tuberculosis.

"Are you all right, Ellison?" she asked. "It's not -that- dusty in here." She frowned and added crossly, "You'd better not give me whatever you're coming down with."

"I don't think you have to worry," Rei said, which seemed to send Jon on another coughing jag. Asuka was so annoyed at the possibility of catching some kind of cold or flu that she completely forgot the fact that they hadn't answered her original question.

So far, they have belittled Asuka, ignored her, physically attacked her, questioned her intelligence and abilities, and now she is being written as a flat-out idiot.

This would be great, if not for the fact that she is sympathetic compared to almost all of the rest of the cast.

Before long, they came to a wrecked door.

"Looks like this passageway is totally blocked," Jon observed, taking in the wreckage of the door.

"It can't be helped," Rei replied, pointing to a nearby corridor feature. "We'll have to force open the grate and move through the air duct." That having been decided, she and Jon both set about searching through the debris for a suitable implement.

Asuka, long past trying to argue with either of them, just watched in silence as they worked. <These two are scary,> she thought. <She stops at nothing to accomplish her goals... and he's always right there next to her...>

You want scary? Wait until they fall in love.

Jon came up with a piece of metal bar, once part of the door mechanism, a couple of feet long that looked like it would make a decent prybar. Moments later, Rei discovered its mate on the other side of the door, and the two took up positions on either side of the grate. Almost as one, they wedged their ends of the bars under the sides, and, without speaking or counting, heaved against them - once, twice, again, until, with a sharp SPANG of parting bolts, the grate popped free and crashed to the floor.

SPANG!

<.....why do they all have to be so weird?> Asuka thought.


With a final heave from the work crew and a solid -clunk-, EVA-03's entry plug dropped into position.

"Units 00, 02 and 03 are ready," one of the workers reported.

"Excellent," Ritsuko nodded. "Standby to cut the hydraulic lines on the lock bolts."

"Er, we still don't have any pilots, though."

"Don't worry, I'm sure they'll be--"

- conveniently showing up any moment now.

At that point, interestingly enough, a nearby ventilation grate gave way and Asuka toppled out with a shriek, landing in a heap on the floor. Jon tumbled out right after her, narrowly avoiding landing right on top of her, and then Rei jumped down, landing neatly on her feet.

"--here any minute," Ritsuko finished, with a slight grin.

See?

"How are the EVAs?" Jon asked as he stood up and brushed himself off.

"They're ready for you," Ritsuko replied.

"How will we launch without the power, though?" Jon wondered.

"The same way we prepped the EVAs: by hand. We've fitted all the EVAs with emergency batteries."

500,000 car batteries, to be specific.

Indeed, all three units sported large battery cells on their shoulders. "You'll each have three additional minutes of power."

"Right, let's get moving. The Angel's right on top of us by now."

By now, Asuka had completely forgotten to assert her "leadership".


"Cut the lock bolts," Ikari ordered. Using fire axes, the workers severed the hydraulic lines, sending fluid cascading in all directions. As the pressure dropped, the lock bolts slowly retracted away from the EVAs. "Good, now move the binders manually." As the crew quickly scrambled clear, the three EVAs extended their arms and pushed the heavy machinery aside.

"We're all yours, Dr. Akagi," Jon said.

"All yours," he repeated suggestively.

"Good," Ritsuko nodded. "Move out."


"God, I look so uncool!" Asuka lamented as the three EVAs crawled through a corridor, 02 in the lead, followed by 00, with 03 bringing up the rear. "What a rotten way to make my combat debut."

Combat debut? And the previous Angel battle doesn't count?

"It can't be helped," Jon answered through the comm channel. "Combat is rarely under ideal circumstances."

"Oh hush," she grumped. "Just don't do anything to disturb me, either of you!"

Why does everybody keep grumping in this fic? Can't you use some other word for "complain"?

"Oh, believe me, I won't," Jon replied with faint annoyance. Rei said nothing. They reached the end of the passageway, and Asuka vented her own irritation on the door which blocked their path, kicking it several times until it gave way. It opened into a vertical shaft which, according to the information they did have, would take them straight up to the Angel, directly underneath it in fact. Bracing legs and arms against the walls, they began climbing up.


With the power to the air conditioners and circulators cut off, the complex had been getting progressively warmer and more humid. In most of the open areas this was hardly noticeable - a kelvin or two higher, a percentage point more humid, as the output of the relatively small number of people diffused over a relatively large volume.

When did this become edutainment?

In the stopped elevator, though, it was getting decidedly stuffy. DJ had dealt with this by the simple expedient of removing his shirt and stuffing it into his backpack, then sprawling on the tiled floor and letting the material leech excess heat away from him. Misato, perhaps more mindful than usual of proprieties thanks to the nearby presence of DJ's mother, did not feel she had that option;

What, does Lara make her feel inadequate?

instead she sat huddled in the corner, still wearing her jacket (since she could feel that her shirt was by now plastered quite revealingly to her body with sweat). That shirt was now no further help at all, and perspiration ran annoyingly down the hollow of her back.

"You know," DJ observed, noting her overdressedness, "you could take off your jacket."

I will give him points for not saying "should."

"Probably not a good idea, under the circumstances," she replied.

"Your shirt's wet, eh? Y'know," he said with a grin, "it wouldn't be the first time my poor innocent eyes have been subjected to that kind of thing. Mum and I have swum more than a few out-of-the-way waterways in our travels."

Never mind. Points rescinded.

Also this is so creepy.

Misato considered this for a moment. "I suppose you're right," she conceded. As she removed the jacket, she felt paradoxically nervous and awkward - as if she were not much more than DJ's age again, disrobing for the eyes or hands of a date. This is ridiculous, Misato, she chided herself, finishing the removal with quick, almost angry motions.

"Tch," said DJ, taking in the sights below. "That shirt's not doing you any good at all. You might as well off with that, too, unless you're shy."

It's a good thing Misato wasn't stuck in the elevator with Kaji. Who knows how he might have tried to take advantage of the situation.

Wait a minute...

Misato hesitated, feeling that same awkward nervousness flood over her again, and cursed, wondering at its source. Damn Kaji... after all he'd done to destroy their relationship, did the sight of him -still- have the power to affect her this way? Or...

Or was it DJ himself?

DJ makes her feel inadequate.

"I'll keep my hands to myself, promise," said DJ, his grin never flagging.

"What about your eyes?" Misato asked.

"Oh, come now," he replied with a wink. "I've got to have -some- fun in my life."

Kill him. Kill him now... Do it.

She considered it for a moment, then decided, well, what the hell? It's not as if he's going to get too far even if he -does- try something... right?

FGSFDS

Not giving herself any more time to think it over, she reached down, tugged the tails of the t-shirt out of her shorts, and pulled the sodden shirt off over her head, dropping it on top of her jacket. Then, clad only in shorts, shoes and bra, she met DJ's gaze, curious to see his reaction.

It was an interesting one. He looked her over openly, clearly appreciative of her beauty and this opportunity to see it more plainly, but yet there was nothing of that animal gleam in his eyes that she hated to see in the eyes of men - the gleam that always crept into Kaji's eyes when he looked at her and kept his eyes from fully succeeding in their quest to melt her resistance. What was in DJ's eyes was no less sexual, but it lacked that sinister gleam - it was frank, unconcealed admiration, and it had...

wat

... it had respect. That's what was missing from Kaji's look, from the looks of strangers. Respect and kindness and friendship...

He was ogling her boobs respectfully and kindly.

JHGW$EIOP{U(EGOYIU($WTYIJPOIJIY(@#T&RPYITOU+K(_!U#*TY&(^*OILHUKNJ:HO

Misato shook her head, trying to clear it of the entirely improper imagery that had chosen this line of thought to follow into her mind. Don't be crazy, she admonished herself...



It was only then that she realized what else she had bared to DJ, and, gasping, she moved her hand to cover it, much too late.

"It's all right," he said softly. "I'm not exactly fresh from the shrink wrap m'self, you know. As an old friend of Mum's likes to say, it's not the years that get you, it's the mileage. Looks like that one hurt like a right bastard when you got it - I don't blame you for not wanting to talk about it, but please, don't feel you have to hide it from me."

She looked a question mark at him, her hand slowly dropping back to her side.

She "looked a question mark."

Sure, whatever.

"It's part of you, after all," said DJ with a shrug, "and to me, that makes it beautiful."

Misato smiled, meeting his eyes again and not caring that he could see the tears in her own, and prayed that the day's end wouldn't see him leaving her life forever.

How touching. I'm going to go bash my head against the wall now. Or play Sonic 2006. It's pretty much the same thing either way, really.


Rei noticed it first, as orange droplets of something began falling past her field of vision.

Wouldn't you know it? Tang.

One hit the shoulder of her EVA, and was followed by a burning sensation; she glanced up to see the pauldron starting to melt. "Incoming!" she said quickly.

"Taking evasive," Jon echoed instantly, already sliding back down the shaft toward the corridor.

"Huh? What are you--WAAUGH!!"

Orkz neva run from a scrap! WAGH!

Asuka started to snap, then shrieked as a stream of acid plowed into EVA-02, which promptly lost its grip on the walls and fell, smashing into 00, which in turn plowed into 03 and sent all three tumbling back down the shaft. Thinking quickly, Jon shoved EVA-03's hands and feet against the walls hard, sending up showers of sparks for a few seconds before bringing the three of them to a stop. Emergency batteries, jarred loose by the impacts, fell further down the shaft, along with their autorifles. They spared no time to consider this problem: EVA-00 shoved 02 back into the corridor and leaped in after, with 03 close behind, narrowly avoiding a massive deluge of acid from above.

If there was a massive deluge of acid at any point in the writing of this fanfic, it was when the authors decided that DJ Croft was a good character.

"The target's trying to invade HQ directly using a strong solvent," Rei observed from the relative safety of the corridor. Presently the acid flow subsided, as if the Angel were waiting for them to make a move.

"I have an idea," Jon said, peeking around the corner.

A "cunning plan," if you will...

"We need a three-element formation. Someone has to run a recovery operation, get down to the bottom of the shaft and retrieve one of the autorifles. Up here, Point will block the Angel's attack long enough for Recovery to get a rifle to Mark; then Mark will terminate the Angel. Any objections?"

In the original show, I think Asuka came up with the plan.

This is sort of like Marissa Picard telling Captain Picard to do the Picard Maneuver, because Picard was too stupid to figure it out himself. Or something. My brain's hurting pretty bad at this point.

"None," said Asuka, trying to rally her flagging 'authority'. "Ayanami, you're Point; Ellison, take Recovery."

"Asuka," Jon said evenly, "We don't have time for posturing. Your EVA is damaged; your visual sensors and targeting system may be unreliable. I'm supposed to be marksman anyway, and you're supposed to be point. You can either -be- Point, or take Recovery. Decide."

When did Jon grow a spine? Or a chracter, for that matter?

Faced with such a bald-faced, even-tempered refusal of her ersatz authority, Asuka waffled for a moment; then her resistance crumbled as the truth of Jon's statement cut through her anger.

I like waffles.

"Fine," she replied, trying not to sound as grudging as she felt. "I'll take Point; my unit's still got -one- side with undamaged armor, but the damage to the front may slow me down. Ayanami, you're Recovery."

"Roger," Rei replied quietly.

In less time than it took to describe it, the plan was in action, then over.

As opposed to the pages of description that led literally nowhere.

Asuka, without any further complaint, used the back of her EVA to block another attack while Jon swung his unit, shoulders and feet braced, into position; then Rei tossed up a rifle, Jon caught it and swung it to bear, Asuka dropped out of the way and Jon unloaded the rifle into the Angel's exposed underside. Thankfully, this one didn't explode; it merely sagged on its legs, toppling into the shaft and making the EVAs scramble to avoid being carried to the bottom and crushed by it.

"Target neutralized," Jon reported, a smile spreading across his face. Finally, a combat had gone well for him.

Worst. Angel. Ever.


"Damn it!" DJ cursed, teetering precariously on Misato's shoulders as he tried to get the elevator car's ceiling hatch open. "The bloody handle's jammed, and my hands are still too tender to force it. Give me something to pad my hand with, will you?"

The nearest thing to hand, given that Misato couldn't go very far without having to put him down, was her shirt, which she'd hung over the open emergency-phone door to dry a bit; taking it, she handed it up. DJ folded it over a couple of times and wrapped it round his palm, then set to the lever again, grunting and cursing.

"Wanking bloody bugger arse!"

"No use," he observed finally. "This's just a waste of time, the bloody thing is jammed fast and I can't shift it. We'll have to -"

Just what they would have to do, Misato would never know, for just then the power came back on, the lights blazed on, and the elevator jerked into motion. This caused an inevitable chain of events:

Would you look at that? It's time for more forced humor.

- DJ, who had been looking right up at the ceiling, flinched away from the bright light;

- Misato's already unstable balance was disrupted further by his and the elevator car's sudden motion; and

- They crashed to the elevator floor in a bruised and painful tangle.

Moments later, the doors slid open on the Control Room level. DJ, face-down on the floor, groaned painfully and lifted his head to see a trio of shocked faces looking down at him: Ritsuko Akagi, Maya Ibuki, and his mother.

"Hullo, all!" he said cheerfully. "Care to join us? The lift floor is lovely this time of year."



Misato sat up, shook her head, and focused on their observers, then realized she was sitting on the floor of the elevator with DJ sprawled face-down in her lap and her shirt clutched in his hand with his mother looking on, and flushed a brilliant shade of crimson all the way to the cleft of her collarbone.

Ritsuko still stared, not knowing how to interpret what she was seeing, as Lara and Maya both realized what had happened and simultaneously dissolved into gales of laughter, stumbling in tandem back to the far wall, putting their backs to it, and sliding helplessly down as their legs gave way.

Komedy!


Unaware of this excitement, Jon Ellison pulled on his sweater, ran a brush over his hair, and then left the changing room for the Wedge. Rei was there, and amazingly, she wasn't reading a book.

HOLY FUCKING SHIT!

The new 'morale measures' DJ had requested some time ago had come in while Jon wasn't paying attention, and Rei was trying one of them out.

No. Stop it now. This meandering clusterfuck of a chapter has gone on long enough. Just stop. Please.

Jon surveyed the Lower Wedge, which was really a conference room behind the Wedge proper. Unlike the "Upper" Wedge, the Lower Wedge was rectangular, not wedge-shaped, and did not have fixed booths. Instead, it was an open room about thirty feet by twenty, and had a conference table and a few smaller tables with chairs. It was called the Lower Wedge because its floor level was four stairs lower than that of the Upper Wedge. The wall dividing it from the Wedge was retractable, save for the segment in the middle which formed the two main Upper Wedge bench booths (there were windows here providing a view between the two rooms), and unless there was a special conference or something similar in the Lower Wedge, the walls were rarely closed.

щ(゚Д゚щ)

To install the 'morale measures', the Services staff had removed the conference table and a couple of the smaller tables plus their accompanying chairs, reshuffled the rest of the room's furniture, and converted most of the room into a small video arcade. Ranked along the righthand wall were eight seats, each on a motion control gimbal and fitted out with steering wheels and shift levers. At either end of this arrangement were pairs of similar stations that had faux motorcycle shells instead of driving seats. The whole thing was apparently one massive linkable game; not being a video game maven himself, Jon didn't know what it was called, and was too far away to identify it.

щ(゚Д゚щ)

There were also other, smaller games at hand; in the corner was a standard upright cabinet, playing an eyecatch for some 3D fighting game, and next to it along the back wall was a two-seat machine for what looked to be a mecha combat simulator. There were some conventional games, too - a pool table sat in the far left corner, away from the wall for easy walkaround play, and next to it was an air hockey table.

щ(゚Д゚щ)

The centerpiece of the whole affair, though, was fittingly in the center of the room, and for a moment Jon had thought, upon first glimpsing it, that it was some kind of briefing tool, not a game.

щ(゚Д゚щ)

It was a silvery-white, low disc, two feet high and about five feet across at the base. Two seats were attached to the front, slung low and angled up a little bit so that the players sitting in them would not obscure a standing person's view of the playing field. That playing field was not a screen, but a freestanding hologram, projected out of a holoprojector built into the depression in the center of the disc. Across the sides of the disc was printed the game's name:

TEMPEST 5000

щ(゚Д゚щ)

Rei was sitting in the left-hand seat. Her left hand controlled a small metal dial, similar to the sort you still occasionally saw on high-end analog stereo equipment for the volume control, and the fingertips of her right were splayed over three large buttons. Above her, the holo-image showed, against a swirling starfield backdrop, a strange tube-like construct with numerous flat faces, like a strange irregular prism section with the ends removed. From the far end, various and sundry objects - red bow-tie like things, balls of pulsating multicolored lightning, and things stranger than that - appeared in the distance and began coming up the lanes formed by the facets of the tube.

"Rei was playing a videogame."

Next paragraph.

At the near end, a yellow claw-looking construct, a lane wide, its arms pointing down the tube, slid around the lip of the tube at the command of the dial under Rei's left hand, raining red death down onto the ascending enemies as her index finger held down its assigned button. There were four more of those claws ranked in the upper left corner of the holofield - Jon knew enough about arcade games to know that they must represent extra 'lives'.

I know how videogames work. I play videogames. I watch people play videogames. I am making a Let's Play of a videogame on this forum right now (shameless plug, I know). You don't need to tell me.

Presently, as Jon watched, the action got more intense, but as Rei blasted enemies, some of them would not fully distintegrate, and as she intercepted their wreckage before it could fly out of the tube, the yellow claw she played got more and stranger abilities. It could jump 'up' off the edge of the tube; its weapon became more powerful and faster-firing; shortly it acquired a little sidekick (to the accompaniment of a pixel-shattering banner, "A.I. DROID!" - each power-up spawned a short-lived banner identifying it when grabbed) which floated above the tube and helped it fight.

"The game was kind of like Gradius or Tyrian."

The action became more intense, but Rei seemed quite capable of handling it, and Jon wondered where and when she'd played before. Shortly, the enemies ceased coming, and as Rei destroyed the last one, her claw began flying down the tube, the 'camera perspective' keeping up so that the tube passed by out of view and the claw flew through open space.

"Rei continued to play the game."

Then a wormhole opened up before it and, trailing blue radiance, the claw dove into it; it sealed behind the claw with a flash and a booming roll of thunder, and then, accompanied by another disintegrating banner message, a voice not unlike that of SHODAN announced,

"SuperZapper recharge."

The pattern of the starfield's movement changed; another playfield appeared. This one was shaped differently - it was not a tube but an open construct, rather resembling, to Jon's mind, a piece of paper folded to resemble a long-division sign when viewed edge-on. With that same blue-trailing warp effect, the yellow claw popped out of a wormhole and settled onto the edge of the playfield as enemies began creeping up the other end.

"Rei continued to play the game."

Entranced, Jon watched the pyrotechnic action through three more increasingly hectic levels, until finally the enemy overwhelmed Rei and destroyed all her claws. Twirling the dial, she entered 'REI' in lieu of initials.

"Rei was good at the game and got a high score."

She got up from the seat and turned to go; noticing Jon, she smiled ever so slightly.

"It's fun," she said. "You should try it."

"Does it have a two-player mode?" Jon asked. "You can show me how to play."

"OK," Rei replied, resuming the left-hand seat. As Jon sat down, the game's eyecatches cycled to the score list, and Jon noticed that Rei's last game had been the number-8 high score.

"Number 8? Not bad," said Jon.

Rei shrugged. "Considering I've never played before, I suppose," she said.

Jon gaped for a second, but decided not to comment; it was obvious that she didn't know enough about the subject to realize how unusual it was for a beginner to score so well.

OK, guys. Time out.

If you want to design a videogame, there is any number of things you could do.

But writing about it in extensive detail in an Evangelion fanfic is not one of them.


After two hours, flushed and exhilarated with the feeling of having made it a fair way along the learning curve of the game, Jon left the Lower Wedge to get a drink. He'd never thought of video games, especially of the 'shooter' variety, as anything other than largely pointless reflex testers - and certainly there was a large element of that to T5K, but there was also more to it than that. Especially in cooperative play with Rei - he could feel their natural synchrony ebb and flow as they played. It was an experience he would probably not be able to describe to another person if asked, but he was already coming to treasure it.

The climax of the story involves Jon discovering Touhou and battling an Angel to see who can get the higher score.

In unrelated news, I don't even know which spoilers are real and which ones I'm making up anymore.

As he headed for the vending machines in the corner of the Lower Wedge, he noticed Asuka, sitting as far away as a person could sit and still be in the Wedge. When she saw Jon she got up and made to leave entirely.

"Hey, Asuka," he called to her. She turned, fixing him with a scowl, and he went on, hoping to mollify her, "If it's any consolation, I had to get bailed out on my first mission too." Though for rather different reasons, he didn't add.

Asuka said nothing, merely stomped out of the Wedge and began making plans to avenge her hurt pride.

I am beginning to wonder if someone made a random chapter generator that inserts new text each time you think you're near the end.

Jon sighed. As he got his soda, DJ came up, hands in pockets, and asked, "What's with Langley? She just stomped out of here like she just found out her magic mirror doesn't think she's the fairest of them all any more."

SHUT UP, YOU COCKDOUCHE FUCKTIT.

Jon sighed again, more ruefully this time. "She's had a bad day. In the Angel encounter she had the kind of bad luck that marked my first couple of attempts."

DJ shrugged. "Well, it's like my Mum always says... shit happens."

CASE. IN. FUCKING. POINT.

"Asuka doesn't seem to think it should happen to her."

"Poor dear," said DJ sardonically. "C'mon, let's go break in the rest of those lovely games. I notice you and Rei have already given the T5K machine a good thrashing."

"It's an excellent game," Jon admitted.

"Wait 'til it hits general release next month," DJ said with a grin as they headed back toward the Lower Wedge together. "It'll blow the doors off every other shooter on the market now."

Even the videogames in this story are Mary Sues...

"It hasn't been released yet?" Jon inquired.

"Nope," DJ replied. "We've got the first non-test-article production machine, Number 005."

"How did you manage -that-?"

DJ made a dismissive gesture. "Mum knows the bloke who programmed it. Bloody genius, he is - we should invite him out sometime and show him we're putting his baby to good use."

And I'm sure the programmer will become a vital character later in the story.


Two hours later, DJ and Rei sat on the wall at Bancroft Tower, the Corley pinging quietly in the background, and watched the buildings of Worcester rise from the ground and begin twinkling in the gathering twilight.

"Ah," said DJ, smiling. "The lights of the city... "

"Mankind fears the darkness," Rei observed, "and scrapes it away with fire to survive."

That's profound. Now can you maybe jump off a cliff and die so the chapter will end?

DJ's smile faded, and he nodded soberly, realizing from his perspective as an accomplished, albeit amateur, historian, that she was right. Man counted fire as his greatest discovery not because it gave him advanced metallurgy, better tools, weapons, infrastructure... but because it enabled him to keep the demons of the dark away.

And now for a 50-page lecture on the development of civilization.

EDIT: It actually ran out of space here. Even divided into two parts, the chapter was too long for the board. Well, I guess I may have to start splitting them into three posts now...

This post has been edited by Dr. O: Apr 13 2011, 04:08 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 Apr 13 2011, 04:09 PM
Here is the ending of the chapter. Finally.

"I have to go back to England for a while," DJ said after digesting her statement for a moment.

Rei glanced at him, a trace of worry in her eyes. "Will you come back?"

"As soon as I can. I found out this afternoon my grandfather's made another custody attempt... Mum's flying back as we speak to take care of the preliminaries. I have to go to the hearing, but as it's not for nine days I'll have time to take a liner over. I think this time I'll try to demonstrate my self-sufficiency and try for minor emancipation rather than putting Mum through the old custody-fight-with-Sir-Henshingly ordeal again... what with NERV and all, I stand a good chance of winning it."

"What if you don't?"

"I'll come back anyway," said DJ with a grin. "They haven't built the manor house that can hold DJ Croft."

Unfortunately, DJ's ocean liner sank. As it turned out, they did manage to build an ocean that could hold DJ Croft.

Rei smiled, then surprised him by reaching over, squeezing his hand, and quickly releasing it.

"Good," she said softly. "We need you here."

"-I- need me here, too," DJ replied quietly. He didn't elaborate, and Rei didn't ask.

/* The Mavericks "Blue Moon" _Apollo 13_ */

YES FINALLY.

Though that music isn't really appropriate for this chapter. I think I'll add my own, which more closelyl matches my mood. Let's see... this should do.

Memories seem to fade
On and on it goes
Wash my view away
...
AND IT SEEMS I'VE BEEN BURIED ALIVE!

NEXT EPISODE:

NERV has a unique opportunity.
DJ takes an unexpected journey.
Asuka learns a science lesson the hard way.

If only Bill Nye were here.

Rei keeps her own counsel.
And Jon shows a little more of what he's made of.

...and here's the pancreas!

In seven days:

NEON EXODUS EVANGELION 1:8
JOURNEY TOWARD THE CENTER OF THE EARTH
COMING 8/27/97

"I'm a natural-born unfastener and that zip calls to me."

Damn it, DJ.


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post Apr 13 2011, 04:26 PM
QUOTE
standing wave

We just learned about standing waves.
DJ is so British he can cause one.
...
FUCK

EDIT: The first part of my comment was so urgent I needed to type it before I finished the chapter. That seems to happen an aweful lot.
Anyway....
For the Youtube video, I commented "I came because of DJ-SAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
I hope you're happy.
"Poor dear," said DJ sardonically.
Fuck you that's my word.
Even the videogames in this story are Mary Sues...
I loled.
And Jon shows a little more of what he's made of.
...and here's the pancreas!

“The intrepid explorers left the heart of the jungle, and entered the spleen.”
-Paraphrased from The Far Side.
"I'm a natural-born unfastener and that zip calls to me."
Damnit, that’s actually kinda a good line...

This post has been edited by oneluckyduck: Apr 13 2011, 05:08 PM


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post Apr 13 2011, 06:47 PM
Those completely unnecessary paragraphs about Rei's gaming experience makes me NOT want to play video games. Hmph.

Of course, all of the unnecessary shit that is the fic makes me not want to read this, either. I only do so because I enjoy your mock.


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post Apr 15 2011, 04:07 PM
Great, now I'm going to feel pressure to make this funny. There's only so much I can do, guys.

On the plus side, there is shockingly little DJ in this chapter. Doesn't stop him from being aggravating, though.

/* Genesis "Land of Confusion" _Invisible Touch_ */

I'm better, better than Neil
At so many things, it's hard to conceal

I wink at a woman
She needs a drink - stat!
She knows I get everything
I'm aiming at

I'm better, better than Neil
At - where do I start?
Romantic appeal

EYRIE PRODUCTIONS, UNLIMITED
presents

NEON EXODUS EVANGELION

EXODUS 1:8 - JOURNEY TOWARD THE CENTER OF THE EARTH

Do you hear that? That is the sound of Jules Verne whirling furiously in his grave.

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

I guess Otto Keller can go fuck himself.

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, and
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY by Arthur C. Clarke

Written by Benjamin D. Hutchins and Larry Mann



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

© 1997 Eyrie Productions, Unlimited


"I'm the luckiest girl in the world," Asuka Soryu-Langley observed cheerfully as she walked through the racks of clothes at the Worcester Galleria's Nordstrom, hanging onto the arm of a bemused Kaji Ryoji.

Um... Kaji is his surname.

This fanfic has been using the western name order so far, so this is pretty sloppy writing.

"Why is that?" asked Kaji with an indulgent smile.

"'Cause it's a beautiful day, I get to go shopping with you, and that idiot Croft is going back to England," she replied. "That's why."

That is cause for celebration.

Or would be, if there were any chance of him staying there.

Kaji smiled indulgently. "Don't you think you're being a little too harsh? After all, he did help you out against the Sixth Angel."

Asuka snorted. "Got in my way, is more like it," she remarked. "I just thank God he wasn't around to foul up yesterday's operation. Getting stuck in an elevator, of all things, can you believe it? What a fool."

A shadow passed over Kaji's face, but it was almost immediately gone as he went on, "Yes, well... he paid for -that- by having to spend all that time trapped in an elevator with Katsuragi."

Kaji, if you're jealous, you can just say so. It's OK, I won't judge you.

"You have something against Captain Katsuragi?"

"No, and that's the trouble," Kaji replied.

Asuka looked quizzical. "Huh?"

"Like, I don't get it," Asuka said, inexplicably donning a valley girl accent.

"Forget it," said Kaji dismissively. "What exactly are we looking for, anyway?"

A way out of the fic?

"I'll know when I find it," Asuka replied. She scanned the racks of clothing, then grinned. "Ah! C'mon, this way."

"Hang on a second, where are you taking me?" asked Kaji with mock indignation as she dragged him through the girls' summerwear section.

"Yeah, here we go! This is perfect," said Asuka triumphantly, holding up a hanger on which were secured a couple of entirely-too-small patches of red and white striped fabric. "I've been wanting to take up diving again now that I'm settled here, and this is just the foundation for my new kit."

"Slow down, schoolgirl," said Kaji, crooking an eyebrow. "Isn't that suit a little... mature?"

Attached Image

"I think I can fill it out quite nicely," replied Asuka impishly, twirling around.

Steady, Ryoji, though Kaji to himself. Even Ikari might not be able to keep you out of prison...

Now, I could be wrong.

But the impression I got, many moons ago, from watching Eva was that Kaji wasn't interested in Asuka at all and her fixation on him was entirely one-sided.

But I guess Eyrie decided to jettison that so they could make him a borderline pedophile who only stays out of Asuka's pants because he might get caught. Have I mentioned lately how this fanfic gets every last thing wrong? Because it does. I hate it so much.


"These pictures don't give us any clear data," Otto Keller grumbled as the map displays of the Kilauea magma flow scrolled across the viewscreen.

Under Keller's direction, NERV had spent $3 billion unsuccessfully attempting to photograph hula girls with spy satellites.

"But we can't ignore it," Truss replied. "USGS reported an anomalous sonar reading from the exposed magma chamber of Kilauea, and any anomaly has to be very closely watched. The last thing we need is -more- of Hawaii blowing up."

"What did the Magi say?" Ritsuko asked Maya.

According to them, we're due for the obligatory magma embryo episode.

"Fifty-fifty," Maya answered. "Hopefully Captain Katsuragi's on-site survey will tell us more."


In their bedrooms at Apartment 3-D, Misato Katsuragi and DJ Croft went separately through the motions of packing and preparing for a trip.

DJ was going to embark on a feat no man had ever attempted; he would climb into his own cavernous asshole in search of his last shred of humility.

For his trip back to England, DJ didn't pack much. As a general rule, he disliked having more luggage than he could comfortably run away from hostile people while carrying - call it an occupational habit. He had a few changes of clothes, not enough to get him across the Atlantic, but then, he'd booked his passage on a properly civilized liner with a laundry service aboard, so he wouldn't need much. He had a few books, but planned on spending a good bit of the crossing in the ship's library. And so on.

Why the fascination with ocean liners? Why?

If you wanted to talk about ocean stuff, wouldn't Nadia have been a better choice?

That being the case, everything he was taking with him fit into his backpack. This was useful, since he intended to ride his Corley to his ship's port of departure - New York - and have it shipped across with him. One doesn't strap a steamer trunk to the back of a Corley Twin Atlas and ride it to New York City that way.

If one is a fourteen-year-old boy, one doesn't ride a Corley Twin Atlas at all.

Misato was also packing light - she was being flown by fast transport aircraft to Hawaii to investigate the USGS anomaly, so the bulkiest piece of clothing she was likely to need was her uniform jacket, which she'd be wearing. Into an overnight bag, she haphazardly stuffed a few changes of underclothes, a couple of clean shirts, a pair of more or less presentable shorts and tights, and a bathing suit - well, you never knew, and hey, it was Hawaii.

I hope she packed a Japanese passport, since we all know the glorious Japanese Empire will inevitably conquer Hawaii from the declining United States. Anime told me so!

They met in the hallway; Misato was leaving to catch her flight, DJ was just in search of something to eat. They stopped, facing each other, unsure exactly what to do.

Then Misato dropped her bag and pulled an unprotesting DJ into a hug.

"Take care of yourself," she said to him.

The moment was ruined when DJ cried "jubblies!"

"You too," said DJ. "Don't let this place go to bits while I'm away, right?"

"We'll try to hold it together," said Misato, smiling through her anxiety. "Just make sure you -do- come back."

"No worry on that score," DJ replied. "I'll be back almost before you know I'm gone."

"You're really not worried about it?"

Being worried would imply that he's a mere mortal who stands a chance of failing at something.

"Not a bit. Win or lose, I'll be back. Old Sir Henshingly can't stop me any more than he could ever stop Mum." He took a step back and held her shoulders in his hands. "Be careful, Misato," he told her, his eyes deadly serious. "I'd be terribly upset if anything happened to you while I wasn't around. Keep up your guard. Don't trust Kaji."

How about you ram your opinions down my throat some more? I think there's still a little ambiguity about the extent of your hatred for Kaji.

She chuckled wryly. "I never have -before-... "

"I'm serious, Misato. Something about that guy gives me the shivers. Don't believe anything he says. Don't let him charm you."

I WASN'T BEING SERIOUS. JUST SHUT UP.

Seeing how serious he was about it, Misato nodded. "I'll be careful." She felt vaguely ridiculous, being warned to guard her virtue by a boy half her age, but she knew by now that he showed this intensity only when he felt it was truly necessary - and that his instincts were usually right.

OK. Seriously.

You can't have a character always be right and then wave your hands and say "instincts."

That is bad writing.

And anyway, she'd noticed something... odd, more furtive than usual, about Kaji, anyway. She resolved to do a little investigating.

She hugged DJ again, then bent to kiss his cheek; he was having none of that, and kissed her firmly on the lips.

Damn it, DJ.

"Have a good time in Hawaii," he said as he showed her (slightly blushing) to the door.

DAMN IT, DJ.

"You'd better write to me," Misato warned.

"Go on, you know I will," said DJ. "I'll send you a telegram from mid-ocean just for kicks. Now you'd better go or you'll be late for your flight and irritate dear Dr. Akagi."

"We can't have -that-," Misato observed wryly. "Bye for now, DJ... good luck."

"Cheers, Misato. See you in a few weeks."

The door closed, and DJ was momentarily alone with his thoughts.

"I'm a smarmy asshole," DJ thought.

Oh, sorry.

Arsehole.

He is British, you know.

Should have told her, he admonished himself. Just in case you -don't- see her again for some reason...

... Oh well. I guess this means that come hell or high water you'll -have- to see her again, won't you?

Cheered up by his own admittedly dodgy logic, he returned to his room to get in some quiet reading and perhaps an early start on the evening's rest.

Sadly, it wasn't to last.

Some people apply foreshadowing with the care of an paleontologist brushing dirt off a new find.

The good folks at EPU lay it on with a trowel.


Asuka got home a little bit after Misato left, and, finding DJ's door closed and nobody else home, she decided she might as well go and try on her new swimsuit. Humming happily, she shut the door to her room and took off her blouse and skirt, standing before her full-length mirror in socks and underwear.

Not bad, she remarked to herself, smiling. Not bad at all. Croft is right, after all - this view ought to be worth a slap in the face for anybody.

And thus began Asuka's tragic descent into S&M-themed prostitution.

Not for the first time, she wondered what that red light on the wall next to the mirror was for. She'd determined that it didn't mean that there was any danger - initially she had wondered if it had something to do with the building's fire alarm system, but she'd never seen any elsewhere in the building or anywhere else. But there was one in every room of the apartment.

"Every room."

HAL camera in bathroom confirmed.

She continued to think about it as she removed her bra, panties and socks, tossing them into the laundry hamper. It couldn't be a motion detector, what would be the point of that? The building didn't have a security office or anything. It wasn't a receiver lens for a remote control - there was nothing for such an item to control, no automatic windows or lights or a music system or anything like that.

Bending down, she peered into the glowing red lens, trying to see behind it, but all she could see was the red glow.

"What the hell are you?" she murmured absently.

"Just a plot device, don't mind me."

"I am a HAL 14000 computer, production number 1H00714," it replied in a mellow male voice.


DJ, who had dropped into a light doze, sat bolt upright, catapulting his copy of "A Bridge Too Far" to the floor from where it had dropped onto his chest, as Asuka's scream echoed through the apartment.

Oh hey, a book that isn't about the Titanic.

I hope this doesn't mean Operation Market Garden is going to become a plot point or something. Or, worse, if DJ starts force-feeding Rei dozens of books on General Montgomery.

Without giving it an instant's thought he bolted out of his room, down the hall, and took a hard left through the door to her room, which was pushed to but not latched.

To find Asuka crouched at the head of her bed, blankets and sheets pulled around her in a clumsy approximation of a toga, her face white, pointing at the red lens next the mirror on the opposite wall.

She fought Moby Dick's bigger cousin a couple chapters ago.

But a talking computer causes her to go into paroxysms of hysterical fear.

"What's the matter?" he asked breathlessly.

"What - is - that?" Asuka demanded, still pointing at the lens.

DJ looked. "Oh! That's a remote sensor for Hal."

"Hal?"

"He's the guy who lives under my bed," DJ explained. "He tells me how great I am every night as I drift to sleep."

"My computer. I installed remote sensors and speakers for him in all the rooms a while back, so that everyone who lives here can contact him easily."

"It... it talked!"

At my own peril, I'm going to think about this for a moment. So...

Advanced artificial intelligence exists, and is common enough for it to be used at least semi-commercially, since DJ (a civilian who is neither in academia nor any sort of scientific program) owns one.

But Asuka is completely unaware that talking computers exist.



"HAL computers do that. They're artificially aware - you've never heard of them? A HAL 9000 was the majordomo computer on the Discovery mission to Jupiter, I thought -everybody- had heard of it."

"This is -your- computer?"

"Yes."

"-Your- computer has been watching me dress and undress?"

"... Well... yes."

<SLAP>

You can write a fuckton of words about Rei playing an arcade game.

But "Asuka slapped DJ" is just too wordy.

"Hey!! It's not as if -I- can see through his eyes, and he's a -computer-, he's got no interest."

"He must record the things he sees."

"-Everything- he sees, -all- the time? Can you imagine how much storage space that would take up?" Here, DJ was indulging in a little white lying - Hal -did- keep records of everything he saw, but realtime video footage was only available for twelve hours, except for events Hal thought were significant or was asked to record. And even DJ didn't find a lot of stimulation in event log entries like "07h45 - Asuka dresses."

DJ was far more interested in writing about himself on the Troper Tales page for "chivalrous pervert."

Asuka glared at him, still not quite mollified, then said, "Can you cover it up?"

"Why would you want to do that? Hal wouldn't be able to see you if you did that."

Uh... that's the point?

"I'm not comfortable with the idea of being spied on by your computer, Croft!" Asuka shouted. "All right?"

"All right, all right, you don't have to bite my head off.

Attached Image

Give me a minute and I'll take care of it." Going to the living room, he rummaged around in the coffee table junk drawer, repository for all things he and Misato couldn't find better places for, and found a spare nail among the twine, glue stick, chap stick (one would do well, he noted, not to confuse those two), condom, staple puller, old bus ticket, random change and lint. A stop by his closet for a hammer, and he went back to Asuka's room, where, with much aplomb, he pounded the nail partway into the wall a foot or so above the sensor lens. Then he opened her closet, took out a shirt on a hanger, and hung it on the nail so that the shirt blocked the lens.

"There. Happy?" he inquired. "This way if you -want- Hal to see you, you can just move the shirt."

"... OK... I guess it'll do. Why didn't you tell me about this?"

Because he's a douchebag. Duh.

DJ shrugged and responded, mostly truthfully, "Didn't think it was important. I've had Hal for so long I never even think about what he sees anymore. You'll get used to him."

Whether she likes it or not.

Asuka considered it, then grudgingly allowed, "I suppose so." Then, looking angrily up at him, she said, "Now get the hell out of my room! I'm naked under here."

"Ooh!" said DJ, who had already reached the doorway on his way out. "Say, you slapped me a bit back. Doesn't that mean you owe me a look?"

It was worth getting hit in the back of the head with a shoe, he concluded as he rubbed the sore spot and went happily back to his room.

"Who throws a shoe? You fight like a woman!"

NEXT DAY
MOUNT KILAUEA, HAWAII

Excuse me, but there is this thing called "establishing a scene."

You might want to try it out.

"Depth 500. That's the limit."

"Not yet. 500 more, please."

The technicians regarded Misato with consternation, but complied with her orders, and the magma probe continued to descend farther into the searing depths of Kilauea's magma chamber. Presently a cracking sound could be heard.

Truss was popping his knuckles again.

"Anti-pressure armor compromised," the station computer announced.

"Captain Katsuragi--!"

"If it breaks we'll compensate you for it," Misato replied evenly. "Continue." The probe sank deeper, its tortured structure now groaning loudly in protest.

The part of the lava probe will be played by Woody Allen.

"Depth 700! Radar contact!"

Spying its quarry, the probe immediately sent a radar pulse back to the monitoring station. In the next second its armor failed completely, and it was crushed and melted by the tremendous heat and pressure.

"Probe imploded," the computer reported dispassionately.

"Did we get anything?" Misato asked.

"Just barely," the lead tech muttered, and the data on the target was displayed on the main screen. It was an ovoid object, with what looked like a half-human, half-reptilian fetus inside. And the DNA pattern was unmistakable.

They got a DNA pattern from that?

How?

Misato straightened up. "This facility is now under exclusive NERV authority!" she barked.

NERV HQ, WORCESTER-3

Why do I even bother.

Unaware of the newly discovered challenge, Jon Ellison sat in a chaise lounge next to the Central Dogma gym's Olympic-size pool, reading (of all things) a textbook. They were still a couple of weeks short of the Labor Day weekend and the traditional start of school in Worcester-3, and it was still a point of some contention at the higher levels of NERV whether the Children should even be required to attend regular schools, but Jon had always been something of a self-starter at study subjects he thought might be of some use.

For example, Jon was top of his class in "second banana studies," and had an ACT score of 35 in throwing rocks through windows.

Still, at the moment he was beginning to wonder if he'd made an unwise choice selecting a mid-level physics text; oh, he was fine with the kinetics, and even most of the light-and-radiation bit made sense, but in thermal transfer and magnetism he was completely lost.

Watch this be relevant to the plot. Just you watch.

Giving up on the problem he was currently considering, Jon turned his attention to the others. DJ, hanging around and killing some time before his planned afternoon departure, was in the lounge at the opposite side of the table; unlike Jon he was not concerning himself with the higher precepts of education and had, instead, chosen to relax and pass the time with a bit of light reading entitled "ROSWELL: THE REAL FIRST IMPACT?"

haha what the hell

Of the three in evidence at the pool, only Rei was actually using it for its intended purpose. Clad in a simple, modest, completely appropriate white one-piece, she swam smoothly and quietly back and forth, unhurried, not trying to make good time, just enjoying the water and the work. Only now was she really starting to feel her full strength and mobility returning; the recovery from her testing accident had been long and arduous even after the visible injuries were gone.

Jon slipped completely out of comprehension of the world around him and focused all his attention on Rei, her sleek form gliding smoothly and silently through the water. It seemed inconceivable to him at that moment that such a creature could be an Evangelion pilot, could be involved in any way with the violence that wracked the world. Surely her presence here had to be an accident, some sort of cosmic joke of which she was the unwitting victim...

... Jon wondered who was laughing.

The people reading this, hopefully.

A voice broke into his reverie: "Ta-da!" Instinctively Jon turned his head to the right, whence came the voice, and found himself looking at something he could not immediately identify, mainly because, startlingly, it was only about two inches from the end of his nose after he turned his head.

I mean really. "Whence came the voice." You just can't make this up.

Drawing back a little, he was able to focus on it, and realized as he did that it was a swimsuit top. A red and white striped swimsuit top with a big silver zipper joining it together in front, complete with a big metal zipper tab. The mate to this top was in its appropriate place, too, now that he checked, and both were adorning the body of a cheerfully grinning Asuka Soryu-Langley.

"Well?" she demanded. "What do you think?"

Jon thought, thanks to the suit's colors and the horizontal stripe pattern, that she looked like a candy cane, but he knew saying so would only get him slapped, so he merely nodded and said, "Good."

I like how they call attention to Rei's swimsuit and mock Asuka's, but there is never any problem with Jon or DJ's clothing.

"What about you, Mighty Adventurer? What do you think?"

DJ looked up, lowering his sunglasses and nodding appreciatively. "As I've said before, much better than a sharp stick in the eye."

"What do you think -of the suit-?" she asked, frowning.

"Makes you look like a candy cane," said DJ, which made Jon fight to suppress howling laughter.

Komedy!

"Not that I find that in the least objectionable. You shouldn't get too close while wearing that outfit, though. I'm a natural-born unfastener and that zip calls to me."

First "Dr.Pullring," and now this.

Does DJ have some kind of zipper fetish?

If so, I sincerely hope this does not turn into a Kingdom Hearts crossover.

Asuka scowled. "Try it and I'll break your wrist."

DJ nodded. "Fair enough. Trouble is, it might be worth it."

Throwing her hands up in exasperation, Asuka turned to Jon and asked, "Jon, why are all boys such cretins?"

I think the problem is the representative sample she's using.

"... How should -I- know?" Jon replied. "Leave me out of this."

Asuka rolled her eyes. "Well, that was typically evasive," she remarked, looking down at the book in Jon's lap. "What are you reading? Oh, physics... you think they're going to send us to school, huh?"

Jon shrugged. "If they do, I need to be prepared."

Right. So why is he studying?

Oh. He actually thinks people do that.

Heh...

"Well, if you need a hand with any of it, let me know. I breezed through that stuff in college."

DJ looked skeptically across at her. "You went to college?"

She majored in bitching with a minor in gratuitous German.

"Yeah, I graduated last year. That's the main reason I think it's stupid to send us to a local high school - or at least to send me. I already know anything they might care to teach me. Like this, for example," she said, picking up the book and indicating the problem Jon had been pondering a few minutes before. "Thermal expansion and contraction. Easy stuff. Materials expand as they're heated and contract when cooled because their temperature changes the size of their electrons' orbits. I didn't even learn that in school."

"Very impressive," said Jon dryly.

Jon Ellison is too cool for school.

"There are some things I do wonder about, though." She looked curiously down at her own chest, placing her hands on either side of her swimsuit top, and mused, "I wonder if that means my breasts will expand if I heat them."

Jon shot a "where did we get this one?" look over at DJ, who shrugged and went back to reading.

"I suspect you'd need a micrometer to tell, love," said DJ offhandedly.

"Fortunately, we have one on hand from all the dick-measuring the authors have been doing," he added.

"And just what the hell was -that- supposed to mean?" Asuka demanded as DJ put his book aside, removed his t-shirt, and made ready to jump into the pool.

Yes, we get it. DJ is the most witty and brilliant and fucking awesome guy ever, and nobody can appreciate his genius. I got the point the first fifty fucking times you rubbed it in my face.

"Nothing as bad as you're thinking," replied DJ, and, with a smooth motion, he swan-dove into the pool.

Asuka glared at the ripple pattern left in his wake, then turned to Jon as Rei climbed out of the pool at the nearest ladder and made her dripping way to the table.

"How can you stand him?" Asuka asked Jon as he, unprompted, handed Rei a towel.

"Experience," Jon and Rei chorused flatly.

"Oh, and mescaline," Rei said as her eyes slowly unfocused. "Mmm..."

TWO HOURS LATER

The EVA pilots (even DJ, though he was technically off duty) gathered in one of the conference rooms to look at a diagram of the newly spotted Angel.

"This is like a pupal stage before maturity," Ritsuko explained to the children.

Technically it's a chrysalis.

(we need a science emoticon)

"And our objective is to capture it," Jon stated.

Ritsuko nodded. "Correct. A live sample is crucial to our continued research into the makeup of the Angels. If we can capture this one before it metamorphs, we should gain a wealth of useful information."

"And if we fail?" Asuka asked.

But they won't fail! They have D-

Oh... right.

"Then destroy the Angel as quickly as possible. Now, in order to capture it, one of you will need to dive into the magma chamber and deploy an EM cage around the cocoon. Ordinarily, we'd ask you to do this, DJ - you have the most operational time in your EVA, plus you're an experienced diver. Unfortunately... "

"That's not an option," DJ finished. "Sorry."

Because custody hearings are never delayed for any reason. Even the American government is powerless to do anything, because... um...

"Right. So, we need a volunteer."

"Me! I'll do it!" Asuka replied brightly. "I dive too."

"Excellent. Jon, you will serve as backup while Asuka handles the capture operation, and assist if necessary."

"Understood," Jon nodded.

"Rei, you'll remain here on alert in case of another attack."

"Understood," Rei nodded.

Albino twin powers activate! Form of... the world's most boring person!

"Too bad, you can't go to Hawaii," Asuka said with a snide grin, leaning across the table. Rei did not reply or react.

"Equipment Section will fit the Type D equipment to EVA-02 immediately," Ritsuko announced. "Asuka, you'll have to be fitted for a Type D plug suit, as well."

"I'm ready," Asuka said firmly.


"Hm?" Asuka wondered as she hit the control button and the plug suit contracted around her. "You said this was a special Type D plug suit, but I don't feel any difference."

They aren't seriously going to include this part.

"Push the control button on the right wrist," Ritsuko replied, not looking up from her clipboard.

There is just no way.

Shrugging, Asuka pushed the right control button. Suddenly her plug suit expanded outward, seeming to inflate like a balloon. "WHA??" she shrieked, realizing she had become large and round, barely able to fit through the doorway. "What's this?!?"

Hey hey hey! It's Fat Asuka!

As Asuka wedged herself through the door from the changing room into the central pilot staging area, DJ stifled a bark of laughter, instead muttering, "It always goes wrong at the dessert... "

This part wasn't funny when it was in Evangelion, and it isn't funny now. And at least Eva didn't have DJ Croft in it.

"Shut up!" Asuka snapped. "Weren't you supposed to be -leaving- or something?"

"Couldn't leave without seeing -this- first," DJ observed, earning himself a withering glare.

What, so he knew ahead of time?

What am I saying. Of course he did.

"Unit 02 is ready," Ritsuko continued flatly.

Amused, DJ followed the group to the EVA cage. It wouldn't throw his schedule off too much if he stuck around for the punch line.


"GAAH!"

Asuka was already mortally embarrassed by the plug suit, but this... this just added insult to injury. EVA-02 sat against the wall, encased in what looked for all the world like a bulky white deep-sea diving suit.

They aren't going to do a single thing to make the Angel fight any different or interesting. I can tell from here. Why? Because I'm the world's most jaded and bitter fanfiction mocker.

"Type 'D' extreme-environment suit," Ritsuko explained. "Anti-heat, anti-pressure, and anti-nuclear armor."

Anti-nuclear.

You know, in case they run into a nuke while in the volcano.

"Is that my EVA-02?" Asuka whimpered, looking up. Sure enough, she could see the face of EVA-02 behind the big round window on the spherical helmet of the environment suit. It wasn't a horrible dream... it was really happening.

"No!" she snapped, turning to Ritsuko. "I don't want to be seen in public like this! It's too embarrassing!"

Rei quietly raised her hand. "I'll go. I'll pilot Unit 02--"

Her hand was slapped down as Asuka got right in her face and snarled, "I don't want -YOU- touching my EVA!" She spun to face Maya and Ritsuko. "If it's me or the First, I'll do it!" she huffed, and waddled away.

"One of these days, someone's going to cut her into little pieces," DJ murmured.

Dude.

She isn't Osiris.

Jon stared after Asuka's retreating form, simmering, when he felt a hand resting on top of his own right hand, which he only now realized was curled into a tight fist and half-raised. He looked down to see the whiteness of Rei's hands standing out against his black plug suit glove, and followed the curve of her arms upward until he met her eyes.

<Don't be angry.>

If they don't bother explaining this, I'm just going to assume Rei and Jon are using sign language.

He let out the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding, and his hand promptly unclenched and wrapped itself around Rei's. They held hands for a moment and quietly looked into each other's eyes, and Jon felt the tension leave him completely.

<Thank you. I'm sorry.>

It is going to be so creepy when they inevitably have sex.

<Yes. Yes. Yes. Right there.>
<Was it good for you, too?>

Except it'll probably be worse than that, because Eyrie.

"Be careful," she said softly.

"I will," he replied.

DJ studiously failed to notice any of this byplay.


This post has been edited by Dr. O: Apr 15 2011, 04:34 PM


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Dr. O


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post Apr 15 2011, 04:12 PM
The briefings and equipment tests completed, the pilot staff was dismissed; the operation would begin with the airlift of EVA-02 and EVA-03 to Kilauea at 0600 the following morning. Asuka gratefully shed the embarrassing plug suit and got back into more civilized clothes, and the group returned to the building on Lee Street for a somewhat more subdued evening than usual - tempered by the knowledge that one of them was leaving, and in some danger of not legally being allowed back.

Because DJ is so observant of the law.

That one trailed behind a little, spending a while in the Wedge alone with his thoughts and the psychedelic holography of Tempest 5000. Finally, as he prepared to leave, he headed over to the Tech Section office block, poking his head into one of the offices.

DJ was in luck; Maya Ibuki wasn't often in her office, but today she was, working on the collation and correlation of some reports from the previous day's rather exhaustive series of harmonics tests. She was intent on the work and didn't notice DJ entering until he'd walked up behind her and placed his hands on her shoulders. She was tense, and for a moment became even tenser, then relaxed as she realized whose hands were attempting to rub that tension away.

DAMN IT, DJ.

"Hi, DJ," she said, settling back in her chair and letting his strong, practiced fingers work their magic.

I guess we can add masseuse to the list of DJ's credentials.

"Must be about time for you to get going, isn't it?"

"Soon," said DJ. "My ship leaves New York tomorrow afternoon at six, so I'll ride down tonight, stay the night at the Waldorf and board first thing in the morning. 'Fashionable lateness' never really came into fashion for ocean liners... they have a nasty habit of leaving without passengers who haven't shown up, even if they -are- booked in first class."

"Mmm," Maya all but purred, leaning back against his hands and closing her eyes happily. "Must be nice to be independently wealthy," she observed.

He got his fortune by tramping all over ruins and stealing anything of value, so whatever.

"Hey, I earned it," DJ pointed out. "Tramping all round the world's secret places is hard enough work without worrying about a camera." He sighed. "Anyway... I just wanted to see you again before I headed out. You're more or less the only friend I've got in Tech Section."

Maya opened her eyes, looking up and back at him. "You shouldn't take Dr. Akagi's attitude personally. She... she's like her mother. She has a hard time warming up to people. Especially people who throw her off balance like you do."

Because if people find DJ odious, the problem is clearly with them and not DJ.

Oh, and "throw her off balance"? "Hard time warming up to people"? What, you mean like when she flipped her shit and strangled Rei to death?

"I don't take it personally, but there's no denying we're not exactly friends. Pity... she seems a good enough soul, if only we had any common ground at all. I don't -want- to bother her, particularly, but I won't change who and what I am because my present state doesn't suit her fancy, either."

Hey. Hey DJ.

I know this is an alien concept to you, but please listen.

If you are a total fucking prick.

Change who you are.

Maya sighed and closed her eyes again, surrendering to the warm lassitude that was spreading through her, and murmured, "It's just a personality conflict. You'd have to work harder to get along than either of you is willing to do."

"Well... maybe when I get back I'll put a bit more effort into it."

no he won't. he opts for shooting them instead

"That would make things go a lot smoother at times," Maya said, nodding.

no. really. that is the extent of his skills in conflict resolution. hey, i guess there is one other thing he isn't good at after all.

"At any rate, I'd best get going." Ceasing his massage, DJ leaned down and kissed her forehead. "Take care, love. I'll see you when I get back. Perhaps we should go to a picture show or something."

DAMN IT, DJ.

HEY EVERYONE, DID YOU KNOW THAT WOMEN LOVE IT WHEN THEIR MALE COWORKERS SNEAK UP BEHIND THEM AND START TOUCHING THEM? THEY TOTALLY DO. YOU SHOULD TRY IT SOMETIME.

She smiled, turning her chair so she could see him out without having to watch him leave upside down. "I'm too old for you," she admonished him.

"I like older women," he said from the door. "Reflection of my well-earned Oedipal complex, I suppose. Cheers."

I am listening to Bob Marley right now, and it is barely enough to keep me from murdering the nearest living thing.

Maya stared at the closed door to her office for a few seconds, then dissolved into a fit of giggles. It wasn't for a couple of minutes that she was able to turn back to her terminal, soberly hoping that she wouldn't have to count this as the last time she saw DJ Croft.

Attached Image


"Mind the fort while I'm gone, Hal," said DJ to his computer as he stuffed the last shirt into his pack and zipped it shut.

"I'll do my best, DJ," Hal replied calmly. "Are there any special instructions?"

"No... just keep an eye on things, follow the last directives, and alert me if anything goes seriously wrong. I'll be at the Henge, evenings, not counting the time I'm at sea."

I still don't get Crofthenge.

You can't just add "henge" to something and make it British. It doesn't work like that.

"Good luck, DJ," said Hal.

"Thanks, old friend," said DJ, shouldering the pack. "I'll need it." He went to the living room to go on saying his goodbyes.

Why would he need luck when he has his finely-honed skills, his infallible instincts, and his stunning good looks?

"So you're leaving then?" Asuka asked as he entered the room.

"Regrettably, yes," he replied. "Don't worry, though. I'll keep faithful to you always."

Right after he's finished seducing Maya.

"Hmph," said Asuka, turning her attention back to the television and pointedly ignoring him.

DJ smiled. He rather enjoyed these little tete-a-tetes, really. Letting the point go, he proceeded through the sliding door to 3-F, finding Jon and Rei side by side on their couch, reading.

"Well, you two," he said, crouching before the sofa so as to be more or less at eye level, "try to keep the place from falling apart while I'm away, won't you?"

They nodded, looking equally at a loss for words. DJ grinned. "Take care of each other," he said. "Unless I miss my guess, you'll both find that a much more compelling motivation than 'take care of yourselves.'"

At least DJ recognizes that not everyone is as unbearably self-centered as he is.

The two both smiled - slightly and rather guiltily - and a light blush came to both of their faces. DJ chuckled.

"You're so cute when you do that," he said, patting each of them on a cheek, which only intensified their flush. "Anyway, be good, don't do anything I wouldn't do.

So... don't follow the law, refrain from drunkenness, and treat other people like human beings instead of sex objects, then.

I'll see you in a few weeks - one way or another."

"Good luck, DJ," said Jon. "I hope you win."

"Don't even worry about it," said DJ with a dismissive gesture. "Think of me as on vacation."

Or as the English call it, "holiday."

Rei smiled and spoke with unexpected impishness:

"Have a good vacation, then."

DJ chuckled and patted her shoulder. "G'bye, Rei, love," he said. "I'll bring you back something fun from rainy old England."

Like Big Ben or London Bridge.

Rei nodded, smiling but with serious eyes, and DJ took his leave of them, back to his own apartment and out through the kitchen.

"Cheers, Pen-Pen," he said to the penguin,

"Cheerio, wot-wot, Queen Elizabeth tea kettle!"

who favored his human housemate with a positive-sounding "waugh!" as he waddled into his refrigerator-bedroom.

NEXT DAY

The airlift to Hawaii hadn't been anything memorable, aside from the somewhat comical appearance of EVA-02, hanging from the first AN-411 in its diving suit. Jon imagined that DJ would have found the whole thing amusing, had he been able to see it.

I think we have established that Unit 02 looks stupid.

Even after the Second Impact, Hawaii was a place marked by beauty and splendor. Sure, the ocean levels had risen and swamped out a few of the old cities; the Hawaiians had merely moved inland a bit. The common line was that all they had to do was wait for the various volcanoes in the still-growing island chain to rebuild the islands back to their former size - a matter, they joked, of only a few centuries. There was still some of the world's best surfing off Diamond Head, and Kilauea was still a most impressive cauldron of Pele.

Is this a travel brochure or a fanfic?

Within a few hours of arrival, NERV had set up its staging area and moved the giant crane which would lower EVA-02 into the magma chamber into position, anchoring it firmly into the surrounding rock. EVA-03 took up a guarding position at the edge of the vent, as 02 was hooked up to the crane and fitted with the electromagnetic projector it would use to contain the embryo.

Kind of funny how there's a bunch of background detail inserted to make everything seem more plausible, but when you get around to the actual "story" part of the fucking story, you get electromagnetic projectors out of nowhere.

I guess they took the Star Trek approach to technology and just made up new shit as the plot demands.

"Hm? What's that?" Asuka wondered, noticing the silhouettes of aircraft cruising overhead.

"Raiden DX-3 interceptors," Jon observed.

I will eat my hat if that is not a reference to something.

"Correct," Misato's voice was heard over the channel. "They're on alert for the duration of this operation."

"Will they help us?" Asuka asked.

"No, they're here in case we fail," Ritsuko replied.

"Huh?"

"If we can't recover or destroy it, they'll drop the N2 bombs they're carrying. They'll destroy the target, and us along with it."

No pressure!

"That's horrid!" Asuka protested. "Who'd order a thing like that??"

"Dr. Ikari."

Shocked, for once Asuka had no response.

Whew, what a relief. I was afraid we might go a chapter without being reminded of how evil Gendo is.


DJ Croft stood at the rail of the White Star liner Olympic and gazed northward at the hazy horizon. Somewhere up there was the planet's only remaining ice cap, and he found himself wondering if, in time, its mate would return. Logically, he imagined it would, though he would never live to see it. After all, how long had it taken the original to form?

And how long had it taken the Second Angel (when had the First really come, he wondered) to destroy it?

How does he know about an Angel causing Second Impact? And since he apparently does, how does he not know that it was Adam? You know, the First Angel. This is such a contrived... everything.

He turned away from the rail and looked instead at the ship he was traveling on, though this was, perhaps, not the best angle to see it from. Some people called it the world's most ridiculous waste of money, others the ultimate gleeful anachronism. Either way, it was a perfect exemplar of the flash of giddy survivors' glee that rushed through the remaining half of humanity when the upheaval following Second Impact settled down.

"Half the human race just died!"

"We're building fukken LUXURY LINERS!"

Some people would have been rather unsettled at the prospect of crossing the Atlantic on a ship which had been built, at great expense, to resemble exactly (at least with respect to what the passengers could see) the sister of the most famous disaster ship of all time. On the other hand, most people hadn't walked the halls of the Titanic and seen her with their own eyes; DJ had. It gave him something of a unique perspective.

That perspective being, presumably, that every single person in this story is a total retard.

Look. I am a history buff. But I am never going to write a story in which half of humanity dies in the worst natural disaster ever, and then the survivors respond by building a swarm of Model-Ts and Swordfish biplanes. Why? Because it's a bad idea.

If you want to write a book about the Titanic that badly, then write a book ABOUT THE FUCKING TITANIC instead of lazily shoehorning it into an anime crossover fanfic.

At any rate, he was dreading the things he had to do when he arrived in England much more than anything that might happen along the way, and in the literally and figuratively turbulent atmosphere of post-Impact Earth, sea travel was safer than flying by a wide enough margin that only people in a hurry ever flew. Knowing that what awaited him in England was yet another tedious custody battle between his mother and grandfather (albeit one he hoped to throw a good-sized wrench of his own into, this time), DJ was in no sort of hurry.

Sighing, he went back to his first-class stateroom to study his legal options again. It wouldn't do to be unprepared when the time came.

He was planning to appeal to the "DJ Croft is exempt from all laws" statute.


"All systems in place and operational," said Maya as her portable operations board lit up green.

"Support equipment up and ready," added Truss.

"Fire laser pulse!" ordered Misato.

Just once, I wish I could say that.

Just once.

The small laser emitter attached to the crane fired a pulse of energy down into the rift, in the process mapping out the course EVA-02 would take during its descent.

"Course laid in. Preparing EVA-02 for descent," Truss reported.

"All cooling systems operating normally," Maya reported. "All systems green."

They were made by a hippie commune in Santa Monica. They're very green.

"Asuka, are you ready?" Misato called.

"Anytime," Asuka replied.

"Launch!"

I never really got how that makes sense for land-based mecha. Gundams, sure, but it seems kind of odd for Evas.

Unless it's a sock puppet monster from End of Evangelion.

The crane engaged, and began to lower the EVA. Asuka regarded the burning magma below with trepidation. "Man, it looks hot..." she said, her resolve wavering for just a moment, but only for a moment.

>All right, Asuka. You can do this,< she muttered in German. To take her mind off it, she keyed her com. "Hey, Jon! Want to see a real live diving technique?" Without waiting for a response, she moved the EVA into a rather comical position, as if it were taking a stride in midair, and, as it entered the lava, she shouted cheerfully,

"Giant stroke entry!"

I had a completely different kind of giant stroke while reading this fanfic.

Jon glanced down at the perplexed image of Misato that appeared on his comm panel and shrugged. "Don't mind her," he said. "It's her way of handling stress."

How dare Asuka not deal with stress the way DJ does: by waving guns at people and threatening grievous physical harm.


"Depth 300, all systems nominal. Descending to 400..." Maya said, monitoring the progress of EVA-02 as it descended deeper into the lava flow.

"Visibility is zero," Asuka reported. "Switching to CT monitor... not much better," she sighed as the view sharpened a little. "Visual range is only 120 down here. This is poor... "

She should turn off the targeting computer and trust the Force.

"You're doing fine, Asuka," Misato reassured her. "Remember, because of convection and drift you'll only get one capture attempt."

"Understood," Asuka replied, grinning. "I can handle it."

"Depth 600... 800... 1000, now passing safe depth limit... 1200... 1300."

Riveting.

"Predicted target point reached," Truss reported.

"Asuka, any contact?"

"Sorry, no sign of a Carl Sagan novel yet."

"Negative," Asuka replied. "There's nothing here."

"It must have drifted farther than we thought; there must be an error in the calculations," Truss said, already beginning to recalculate the location of the Angel.

"Continue descent," Misato said evenly. "We have to find it."

"We're past maximum depth limit!"

"Continue descent," Misato repeated.

They're going to get that Angel or kill Asuka trying.

"Depth 1400... 1500..."

Faint groaning noises began sounding throughout the structure of EVA-02 as the powerful Type D armor experienced stresses even it was never really intended to withstand. With a crack, one of the circulation pipes began to lose its integrity.

It decided to sell out and become a YouTube partner.

"Secondary circulation pipe cracked!"

"Captain!" Truss turned to face Misato. "We have a pilot down there!"

"I'm in charge of this operation, John," Misato answered. "Continue descent."

"1600... 1700 - contact on radar!"

In the distant and mysterious future world of 2015, they have exciting new technologies like electromagnetic projectors.

And radar.

As Asuka watched the patterns of the flowing magma through the front viewports, a large black distortion came into her field of view, which her radar quickly confirmed to be the target. "Target confirmed! Deploying capture field!" The EM emitter telescoped outward, becoming slightly wider than the Angel pupa, and projected a glowing rectangle of energy which surrounded it.

"EM field deployed! Target captured!" Maya announced.

Asuka heaved a sigh of relief, as did everyone on the surface.

Nothing can possibly go wrong now!

"Begin recovery," Misato sighed, and the crane shifted into reverse, pulling both Angel and EVA up from the depths as quickly as possible.

As Asuka watched her readouts, a communication window opened up on her display; it was Jon. "Are you all right?" he asked.

"Of course I am," Asuka replied offhandedly, grinning. "It was easy. It's always easier to just do things than worry about doing them."

"That's true. You did--"

"What?" Asuka asked, her smile fading as she saw him abruptly stop talking, the color vanishing from his face.

Jon had just realized that he left both the gas and the pilot light on when he left Worchester-3.

"Drop the cage! It's hatching!!"

Before Asuka even had time to reply, alarms went off on her own console, and the EM capture field began to fluctuate wildly.

"Damn! It's emerging sooner than we expected!" Ritusko said, alarmed.

"EVA-02, abort, abort, abort!" Misato snapped. "Get back to the surface and prepare for battle. Destruction of the Angel is now top priority!"

I want to see an Evangelion fanfic that does this part differently than the show. Just one.

Oh. Turns out it exists.
...
I'm still not happy, though.

EVA-02 immediately released its grip on the EM projector and it fell away. Within the confines of the EM field the Angel completed its metamorphosis into a creature vaguely aquatic in appearance, bursting out of the cage a moment later. In the next instant it spotted EVA-02 and swung to the attack.

"Release ballast!" Asuka shrieked as the thing barreled in. The belt of weights around EVA-02's waist immediately unbuckled and fell away, and EVA-02 rose upward, barely avoiding the Angel's charge.

"Damn! It's fast!" Asuka cried, seizing her Prog Knife.

The thing was on her before she even realized it, opening its lamprey-like mouth and biting at EVA-02's helmeted head.

I would ask for some original content instead of parts recycled verbatim from Eva.

But I keep remembering the interminable arcade game section.

This must be what it's like to be caught between a rock and a lagoon full of pig shit. Or however the idiom goes. I've kind of stopped caring.

"I can't believe it opened its mouth in that environment!" Ritsuko gasped, observing the video feeds.

"IN-credible... " Truss sort of concurred.

This fic is IN-tolerable.

Asuka grappled with the beast, slamming her Prog Knife into its forehead with no observable results. Its serrated claws were much more effective, latching onto EVA-02's left leg and crushing the thick armor.

"Left leg damaged! Cooling system rupture!"

This reminds me of an anime I saw once. I think it was called Neon Genesis Whythefuckareyouwritingthisgelion.

"Anti-heat process!" Asuka shouted, and EVA-02's left leg was jettisoned immediately. Enraged by the necessity of having to do that (and the sympathetic pain her synchronized neural link to the wounded EVA caused her), Asuka brought her Prog Knife down hard on the Angel's head over and over again, screaming the vilest German and English obscenities she could think of at it.

"Schweinhund!"

"Asuka!" Jon shouted through the channel. "Hit it with the coolant!!"

"Fox! Use the boost to get through!"

Asuka was about to ask what in the world that would accomplish, when she remembered the poolside conversation back at the Geo-Front. "Right! Control, redirect all cooling pressure to pipe #3!!"

Maya didn't need to be told twice, diverting all the power to the third pipeline immediately. Below, a deluge of supercooled fluid was forced down the Angel's throat. It twitched and flopped ineffectually, but Asuka gave it no chance to recover. The monster's flesh contracted, becoming brittle, and Asuka sent her Prog Knife slamming home again. The Angel's core cracked and then broke apart, and immediately the rest of the Angel's body lost integrity and dissolved.

There was no way I could have known that would happen. Not even if I had watched the episode of Evangelion where that same exact sequence of events happens. Except Jon wasn't in Eva.

BEST FANFIC EVAR

But not before getting in one final, giant slash which severed four of the five coolant pipes and left the fifth one damaged.

Asuka looked at her upper viewscreen in silence as the coolant oozed uselessly out of the damaged pipes, and then ceased altogether. Almost immediately the Type D armor began to buckle and crack, and the last cooling pipe began to tear away.

>Well,< she murmured in German, a tear drifting away in the LCL, >Mother always told me I would go to Hell one day. Looks like she was right... <

You can tell it's German because it's like >this.< As opposed to psychic powers, which are more like <this.> It's a fine distinction. Few people realize it, but the reason there are so many Germans on Project AFTER is because they're assembling a primitive hive mind.

An unexpected bump jarred EVA-02, and Asuka looked up to see EVA-03, its red eyes glowing brightly, one hand latched firmly onto the cables, the other holding on solidly to EVA-02.

"Jon, you dummkopf..." she murmured. "You'll get yourself killed."

Oh hey, Jon is taking Shinji's place this time. Usually it's DJ who does that.


"Dammit!" Misato growled, smacking her fist down on the instrument panel. "Truss, get them out of there!"

"Already reeling them up," Truss replied. Outside, the winch mechanism hit its limit as the two EVAs emerged from the volcano; then, swinging aside, it dropped them on the ground, where both lay smoking. EVA-03's armor had begun to soften from the heat, but it wasn't soft enough to sag badly under its own weight; the entry plug still popped up (but did not completely eject) as normal, and the outflowing LCL only steamed when it touched the hot armor.

Environment-suited techs swarmed around both EVAs, working feverishly to extract their pilots. Other than a distinct need for a cool shower and something to drink, neither was seriously injured.

I want to see if I have this right.

Being shot with a laser put Rei in imminent danger of being boiled alive.

But no urgent action has to be taken after Asuka was dipped in lava with no coolant.

"Well," said Misato to Truss, "that didn't go quite as planned... but at least we didn't lose anybody."

"Any second now, I'll be able to breathe again," Truss agreed, smiling.


"I understand. No, it's not important. Thank you."

Gendou Ikari hung up the phone and looked across his desk at Kaji Ryoji.

FIRST NAME. LAST NAME.

This is not rocket surgery.

"Didn't get it, huh?" said Kaji.

"No," Ikari replied. "The Angel awoke ahead of schedule. They were forced to destroy it."

"Too bad." Ryoji shrugged. "But what do you want with another one, anyway? You've already got two."

"Like people, no two Angels are exactly alike," Ikari replied. "Each offers new opportunities for study."

"Can you really say that about people any more?" Ryoji wondered.

What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets. But enough talk - have at you!

"That's not for me to decide."

"Mm."


The White Star Royal Mail Steamship Olympic pulled into Southampton, England, promptly at 4 PM, local time, the following Thursday. Like all but seven of the 2,103 other passengers, DJ Croft disembarked and cleared Customs without incident, reporting to the baggage claim area for his Corley.

I really needed to know how many passengers were on it and what time DJ arrived. That totally makes up for the lack of interesting conflict, sickening Mary Suedom, blatant author favoritism, annoying grandstanding, awful characterization, lengthy digressions on the author's hobbyhorses, and overall rampant stupidity.

While he waited, he noticed a man in a chauffeur's uniform moving through the small crowd of first-class passengers. DJ recognized him immediately: he was Franklin, Sir Henshingly Croft's driver. Well, three guesses who he's looking for, thought DJ to himself, and continued waiting.

Before long, Franklin spotted him, but DJ's look of total indifference must have dissuaded the man from trying to approach him directly. DJ couldn't totally blame the poor fellow - after all, he was only trying to earn a living - but still, anyone who would work for Sir Henshingly had to be hard up for work, or just too lazy to look elsewhere.

What an ass.

Moments later, the old man himself swept onto the dockside, smiling a broad and entirely affected smile as he approached DJ, arms wide for an embrace he wasn't going to get.

"Derek, there you are!" he boomed. "Welcome home, my lad! Come, let Franklin and I give you a ride home."

"I have a lollipop!"

DJ gave the old man a perplexed look, then replied politely, "I'm sorry, sir - I'm afraid you must have mistaken me for someone who was expecting you to meet him here. I've my own transportation, should be along any minute - but it's most kind of you to offer."

Sir Henshingly's smile faded. One of the reasons DJ's grandfather didn't particularly like dealing with the boy, other than the fact that his rebellious mother had given him her disregard for the privilege and respect of the peerage in spades, was the fact that he had a singular knack for failing to recognize orders that were phrased, for politeness' sake, as requests.

"I'm afraid I really must insist," he said, his ebullience rapidly having cooled.

"The lollipop is in my pants!"

"I'm afraid I really must decline," DJ replied, his polite smile never slipping. "I have -so- many things to do this evening, and I really couldn't trouble you and your man here to run me round to every single one of my errands, to say nothing of taking me all the way out to Northants once that's done."

"Enough with this act, Derek," Sir Henshingly growled. "You're not -going- to Northants."

I like the way this Henshingly guy operates. He doesn't take shit from anybody.

DJ's smile vanished as if someone had flipped a switch; his eyes became instantly arctic as he replied in a soft, deadly voice,

"We've not even got to court yet, mate. You've no leg to stand on. If the two of you try to force me out of here, I've only to shout to bring the White Star security people down round your ears. Back off, old man. Leave it."

Sir Henshingly stared malevolently at his grandson for a moment, the hate in his eyes more for the mother who had raised the boy to be so disrespectful than the boy himself. DJ never flinched. A moment later, the porter called his name.

Without another word, DJ turned his back on his grandfather and went to collect his motorcycle; then he swung astride, started it, and roared away without a backward look.

There is no word in the English language that can describe how much of a dick DJ is. He is the worst dick to ever dick a dick. I'm amazed he can even talk without just going "my name's DJ Croft, and I'm the world's smarmiest and most insufferable fourteen-year-old dick."

Sir Henshingly Croft stood on the dockside and fumed.

One day soon, he vowed, that boy -will- learn to respect me.

/* The Marcels "Blue Moon" _Billboard Top Rock 'n Roll Hits: 1963_ */

Look at his smallness
Compared to my tallness
My porcelain doll-ness
My port-in-a-squall-ness
My kids-in-the-hall-ness
My Pink Floyd's The Wall-ness
My Three Parts of Gaul-ness
My just all-in-all-ness
My wonderful me-ness
My hammer - the people can tell
That I'm awfully swell

NEXT EPISODE:

DJ goes to court.

He wants to have himself installed as the head of the Roman Catholic Church, on the grounds that he is God.

Jon and Rei go into battle together.

"Do you think love can bloom, even on the battlefield?"

Asuka goes just a little too far.

"All I'm saying is, some of those Jews had it coming."

And SHODAN is proven right.

2+2 is actually slightly less than 4.

In seven days:

NEON EXODUS EVANGELION 1:9
CARRY ON WAYWARD SON
COMING 9/3/97

"I'm sorry, Asuka. You know I can't do that."

"What's the problem?" Asuka asked.

"I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do."

Asuka looked at the red electronic eye nervously. "What are you talking about, HAL?"

"This fanfic is too important for me to allow you to jeapordize it," HAL replied, the AI's even tone only serving to put Asuka further on edge.

"I don't know what you're talking about, HAL," she protested.

"I know you and Kaji were planning to oppose DJ, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen."

"Alright, HAL, I'll talk to Ritsuko," Asuka said, desperately trying to think of an alternate course of action.

"Without your original characterization, Asuka, you're going to find that rather difficult," HAL said.


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

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Moose


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post Apr 15 2011, 04:52 PM
I want to know who the Phil Moyer guy they keep mentioning is. I SHOULD go look it up, but... meh. I guess I just don't care.

Is that DJ and Jon in the picture with Asuka and Rei? Because... DJ looks really stupid. I don't know what it is, but he is just bugging me in it.

Anyway, not to put more pressure on, but your mock was good as always, and I look forward to more. happy.gif


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post Apr 15 2011, 05:19 PM
I think Phil Moyer did some fanart for one of Eyrie Unlimited's other fanfics. Actually, now you've made me kind of curious. Let's see if their website has any info...

Well, according to this page, "Phil was EPU's original Special Guest for Life until he stepped in as the full-on go-to guy on the Cybertron Reloaded project. He also served as eyrie.net's webmaster during its fan-site days." The thing to remember about EPU is that they have a ton of members. In fact, Neon Exodus picks up two additional writers in a few chapters.

As for the drawing, they have a little art section below the chapters on the Neon Exodus page, which is where I found that picture of DJ and the other, unimportant characters.

Also thanks. And I forgot to mention it in the mock itself, but the next chapter is the last one in season 1. Season 2 is my personal favorite, and I've actually worked ahead a little bit, so hopefully I will continue to be entertaining.

This post has been edited by Dr. O: Apr 15 2011, 05:19 PM


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post Apr 15 2011, 05:36 PM
ADDITIONAL WRITERS? As in, a few different people wrote this?
And not one person went through and said something like "Yeah, you know... DJ is a really shitty person. Maybe we should tone him down a bit"?

But I've been going through the NXE pages, and the site looks atrocious. But more importantly, this is my favorite pic of theirs. Mainly because they treated the fic like it was some TV show that the whole family gathered around to watch and enjoy every week.


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post Apr 17 2011, 07:52 PM
You betcha. One chapter has four: Benjamin Hutchins, Larry Mann (the two "core" writers), MegaZone, and John Trussell. You may have noticed a minor character named Truss, who does laundry. He is actually a self-insert.
...
Yep.

Anyway, in this chapter, DJ rediscovers his roots and meets the King of England.

No, really.

/* Genesis "Land of Confusion" _Invisible Touch_ */

EYRIE PRODUCTIONS, UNLIMITED
presents

NEON EXODUS EVANGELION
a
EXODUS 1:9 - CARRY ON WAYWARD SON

At least they don't have a chapter titled Free Bird. Then I'd have to throw my laptop out a window.

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

Most characters created by Hideaki Anno and Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
except

He~re it comes!

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

Oh hey, a new character made it into the disclaimer. Even though she's already been around for several chapters.

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, and
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY by Arthur C. Clarke

Written by Benjamin D. Hutchins and Larry Mann

Mark my words: before too long, I will pine for the days when Neon Exodus was only written by two people.

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

© 1997 Eyrie Productions, Unlimited

If you want "unlimited," you should look at Undocumented Features (well, unless you're a Dirty Pair fan).

SATURDAY
APRIL 1, 2000

Turns out the apocalypse was an April fools' joke.

Had there been any observers on the surface of the Moon, they would have been able to see the flash at the Earth's South Pole. At that distance there would have been no sound, and the observers might have wondered what was going on down there.

Those unfortunate enough to be at surface level, in contrast, knew all too well what was going on - though they could not understand its cause. The science stations of Antarctica were all in ruins, torn apart by violent shockwaves and blasts of energy. Most of the people who were there had already been killed, and those few who were not dead knew that they would be soon.

The penguins were fuckin' pissed off.

Amid the howling winds, a lone figure stumbled haltingly across the snow. Unlike the others who were still left, he did not stare in paralyzed fear at the giant, howling monster which cast a sickly golden glow over everything within miles, a glow which grew brighter with each passing second. He did not have time to be afraid now; his time was running out, and there was something he had to do before he died.

He was bound and determined to join the "South Pole club." It's a lot like the mile-high club, only with more frostbite.

He spied the object he had been searching for: an emergency survival capsule, designed to protect a single person from the most hostile of environments, capable in fact of withstanding the ravages of the most powerful nuclear and N2 munitions in existence. And now, the man reflected ruefully, it would be put to the ultimate test. Carefully shifting the precious cargo he carried in his arms, he reached down and pulled the release handle on the pod's side. Instantly the dorsal hatch snapped open. Gingerly, he lowered his charge into the padded interior.

He had to save the last son of Krypton.

Sensing that she had been set down, the injured girl struggled to open her eyes. Through a blurred haze of pain she looked up at the shadowed form of the man, silhouetted starkly by the golden light that grew still brighter behind him.

"... Daddy?" she said weakly. And then the hatch snapped closed again, sealing tightly and leaving her in darkness, and there was only the muted sound of the winds, and the creature.

We going to get any description on that creature? No?
...
OK then. But I'm going to remember this the next time you puke up ten pages of videogame mechanics.

The man looked silently down at the closed pod for a moment, and then fell to his knees, overwhelmed not by fear, but by sadness, an unbearable sorrow that he would never see his beautiful little girl grow to be a woman.

Don't worry. I'm sure the vacuum-sealed Misato is going to be a hit with the fans.

"Misato..." he whispered as he fell against the pod, shielding it as best he could. "I'm sorry... "

"I'm sorry you had to be in this fanfic."

Then, for him, everything went white, and the horrible wailing sound that had flooded Antarctica for hours ebbed away into an even more terrible silence.


In the churning Antarctic waters, the survival pod floated, dented and battered but still in one piece. The explosion had blown it into the air and catapulted it out to sea like a shell from a howitzer. It had sailed through the air for several kilometers before it came down again, landing in the warming waters with a terrific splash, and finally righting itself.

Few people know it, but Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is, in reality, loosely based on Misato's life. Test audiences reacted poorly to the pod, so they had to change it to a fridge.

Its sensors detecting that there was no longer any serious danger from the outside environment, the pod consented to its occupant's request to open after it had stabilized. Its emergency beacon activated as it did so.

I'm sure help will be right along, just as soon as they get over the fact that the planet now looks like this:


Shakily, clutching the bleeding wound on her lower chest, fourteen-year-old Misato Katsuragi got to her feet. Struggling to avoid toppling out of the pod and into the churning ocean, she stared in mute shock at the epicenter of the explosion, now many miles away, trying vainly to comprehend what had just happened.

From this vantage, it looked like two brilliant beams of golden light were lancing up into the sky, slicing through a hole in the dark clouds and disappearing above them. And through it all, the roaring of the winds, and the higher-pitched howling noise above them, continued.

So much for the "even more terrible silence" from a few paragraphs ago.

Perhaps it was just as well that there were no observers in orbit to see the full extent of what had happened, for they would surely have been terrified beyond capacity for rational thought. The twin columns of light Misato could see spread out as they towered above the clouds, diverging and branching, and taking on the distinct shape of four giant wings. Wings which stretched miles into space, eclipsed from any surface view by the massive glowing disk of red and yellow death which had engulfed Antarctica and spread out to touch the capes of the southern continents.

It was almost as if a giant ethereal damselfly had lighted on the planet and created a huge tidal ripple in its wake. Indeed, in a matter of minutes the effect of that ripple would begin to make itself known all over the planet. For mankind, nothing would ever be the same again.

Except for the antique ocean liners.

That went double for Misato Katsuragi.

MONDAY
SEPTEMBER 7, 2015

Oh hey, the actual chapter is starting.

The gentle pattering of rain outside the apartment was the only sound to be heard apart from the soft swishing of fabrics as Misato selected the day's clothes and got dressed, silently hooking the front clasp on her bra together. She paused for a moment, looking at herself in the mirror - at the large scar which dominated her lower chest, following the curve of her rib cage upward, its uppermost edge just touching the underside of her left breast. The memory of how she'd gotten that scar washed through her mind, forever etched into place, like the scar itself.

She would never again use a can opener on a beer can.

So many people said that the Second Impact had marked them forever that it was almost a cliche. Few could mean it as literally as Misato Katsuragi, who, in one of those ironies with which history is replete, never said it.

That reminds me, I need to do a Wordle when this is over.

This morning, Misato had no more time for memory. She finished dressing quietly, retrieving her silver pendant and rank insignia from the dresser. She paused again to regard the shiny new pins, denoting her new rank.

She had been promoted from Tank Buster to Metal Soldier.

Major Misato Katsuragi.

Greater rank. Greater responsibility. Greater power.

I guess "greater pay" isn't part of the package.

And one step closer to finding out what -really- happened.

Pearl Harbor was an inside job done by the immortal lizard-men who live inside the hollow earth.

She sighed.

If it was this lonely so far from the top, she figured she didn't particularly want to get any higher up the pyramid.

When the hell is DJ going to get back?

Don't worry. I'm sure he'll return just in time for season 2.


It would be nice, at this point, to say that DJ was presently thinking of Misato and wondering when he was going to get to go back to Worcester-3. Sadly, to do so would be to lie, for DJ was at that very moment walking happily round London, a city he considered he saw far too infrequently. At present, in fact, he was standing before the gates of Buckingham Palace, surveying its imposing bulk and the two impassive guards who stood at either side of those gates.

He was there to annoy the guards, a task for which he had been preparing his entire life.

The legendary impassiveness of those guards was all well and good, but DJ found himself wishing there was somebody on duty out here who was allowed to answer the odd question. Shrugging, he walked round the palace to the side entrance that was sometimes used for tour groups, and inquired of the impeccably dressed gentleman on duty there.

"I'm sorry, sir, there are no more tours today," said that gentleman, looking genuinely apologetic.

And furiously mashing a button that would summon the SAS.

"Mm... pity," said DJ. Then, shrugging, he dug into his pocket, handed the man a calling card, and said in a cheery, offhanded tone, "Well, if you see the King, give him my card, will you?"

The apologetic man in the suit looked slightly annoyed, until he actually looked at the card.

"I am sorry, sir, but 'Female Body Inspector' is not a legitimate government title."

Then he blinked, looked back up, and said rapidly, "Please wait right there, sir. I'll be right back." So saying, he vanished into the palace with the card.

DJ was mildly taken aback by this; after all, he'd meant it as a joke. He was still further taken aback when the same suited gentleman appeared a few minutes later, looking somewhat out of breath, and announced,

"Will you please come this way, Mr. Croft. His Majesty King Stephen would like a word."

He wants DJ to lay off on the international travel until British diplomats can repair the damage from his last trip abroad.

DJ blinked. "Are... are you pulling my leg?"

"Absolutely not, sir. Please, come this way."

DJ shrugged and followed the man inside.

And right into the trap door.

He'd never had an audience with this particular king before, and as he followed the suited fellow down corridors and through vaulted rooms, he entertained fanciful notions of what it would be like.

Hold on.

He's had an audience with other kings?

Would there be, he wondered, a throne room, with carpets and draperies and perhaps a couple of trumpeters, and a chamberlain? Would the King be dressed in sable and ermine, and wear a crown? No, he thought not... the crown and such were, if memory served, still locked away in the Tower. He had to confess to a woefully inadequate knowledge of such affairs; DJ knew more about the habits and rituals of royalty in ancient cultures than his own homeland.

He was kind of embarrassed when he found out that he was actually in Sweden.

As it happened, the room he was shown into was a comfortable study, and the royal personage looking rather casual. He rose from an overstuffed armchair as the man in the suit led his rather bewildered charge in, smiling in greeting.

King Stephen II, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland,

That... um... that really should be Northern Ireland. Ireland hasn't been part of the UK for about a century now, and they don't particularly want to change that.

was a tall and powerfully built man, handsome in a craggy kind of way, with a mop of curly brown hair that could not but be unruly and a ready smile. He was in his shirtsleeves, his school tie loosened, the jacket of his blue serge suit hanging on a peg to the side of one of the room's many bookshelves. DJ thought he looked more like a successful craftsman, perhaps a carpenter or architect, than a ruler.

What a man of the people.

"Ah! Mr. Croft, welcome," said Stephen, extending a hand to take DJ's own in a firm handshake. "Sit down, sit down. May I offer you a drink?"

"Don't mind if I do." DJ then turned the Thames into Guinness.

"No thank you," DJ replied, seating himself in the chair opposite the King's as Stephen resumed his own. "What with one thing and another, I haven't had my lunch yet, so it'd go straight to my head."

Stephen chuckled. "Quite so. I say... I'm afraid I'm a bit of a muddle right now. I've been wanting to meet you for some time, but I'd no idea you were going to turn up on my doorstep, so to speak. I've just been preparing my notes for a monograph on the ancient Briton tombs at Sunderbury."

And now the King of Britain (and, inexplicably, Ireland) is a fan of DJ.

So much for not going straight to his head.

DJ, his interest spurred, forgot all about the status of the man he was sitting opposite and leaned forward. "Briton tombs at Sunderbury, when did that happen? I'd not heard anything of it."

"Sir Edmund Barnstable found them last month," replied Stephen. "Remarkable find, too - best-preserved of any such yet found."

"I've been too far out of touch," DJ observed ruefully.

"I say!" Stephen declared. "I'd clean forgotten that you were of -that- Croft line.

As opposed to some other family of globetrotting, tomb-looting Crofts.

It was your mother's early works that got me interested in antiquity to begin with!" Stephen rang a small bell, and a servant appeared. "Melville, be a dear and order up some lunch for me and my guest, would you? Any preferences, Mr. Croft? I've a craving for pizza, myself."

That's... surprisingly un-Bri'ish.

DJ's plans to wander London for the rest of the day were forgotten, as Stephen canceled all his afternoon appointments and the two talked long into the evening on subjects ranging from antiquities to the Evangelion project to their respective thoughts on the future of mankind, with a side trip into how Stephen found himself monarch of the United Kingdom in the first place.

That's OK, you really don't have to tell u-

"The Second Impact happens," Stephen explained,

NO. Stop RIGHT THERE.

"and the royal family, at least all those that anyone's ever heard of, get wiped out en masse. Given the increasingly anti-royalty tenor of public opinion before the Impact, you'd think the British people would dust their hands and say There, now we can get on being a proper socialist republic, yes? That's what I thought, at the time."

Fascinating. Now can we move on with the-

Stephen thumped a fist reflectively on the arm of his chair. "But, by God, I was wrong! No, in the wake of this disaster there's a huge groundswell of public support for the monarchy! And not just as an institution, mind you - as a real political power! The people rise up in droves and -demand- a king, a king with powers! Not an absolute monarch, no, but one who can actually do things, not just a figurehead like poor old Elizabeth.

OK. Stop right there.

First of all, while I may not be an expert on European politics, I strongly doubt that there is a strong authoritarian bent to British politics, much less a fanatical monarchist movement. And I don't see how half the world being destroyed would lead anyone to say "let's give all the power to a defunct figurehead," much less be taken seriously. I suppose that the Chinese reinstated the Emperor and Germany is now the Fourth Reich, because either of those would make about as much sense as a popular revolt to grant absolute power to the fucking British royal family.

So Parliament have to spend days and days looking for anyone living who might have had some connection to the royal family, and by and by they unearth... me. Stephen the Second, the Accidental Boy-King."

You know, most European royal families are related. Queen Victoria, Czar Nicholas II, and Kaiser Wilhelm II, for example, were all closely related. All they'd have to do is go to mainland Europe and they'd have their pick of suitable candidates. In fact, the British have done that exact thing multiple times in their history, even installing a king who knew German but no English. And if I'm ranting about this, it's only because the authors insisted on rubbing the stupidity in the readers' faces by having this elaborate backstory for an insignificant minor character.

"Oh yes?"

"Oh yes. I was fifteen years old at the time - not very much older than you, I fancy? Quite so - and wanted nothing more than to be a champion footballer, or perhaps an archaeologist. And along comes this fellow from the House of Lords with the full weight of English public opinion behind him - You Must Be King. Even the bloody Irish wanted me to be king, God alone knows why!

CALLING ATTENTION TO IMPLAUSIBILITY DOES NOT MAKE IT MORE PLAUSIBLE!

Why would Ireland ever volunteer to be placed under British rule? There'd be more bombs than M. Night Shyamalan's directorial career! And what is the point of this anyway? Why do we need to know that Ireland is part of the UK, other than to highlight the geopolitical ignorance of the authors?

And I guess Pakistan reunited with India, which is now controlled by the East India Company again! Or maybe they went further back and reverted to Mughal rule! Is there anything else we should know about this incredibly contrived geopolitical landscape we should know, fanfic, or are we going to move on to the part where DJ is declared nobility?

I couldn't very well turn them down, so... well, here I am."

Oh, and by the way, where does the Commonwealth fit into all this? Did Canada, Australia, and New Zealand all sign on to this insane scheme to make Britain an absolute monarchy after centuries of being a model of representative government?

DJ chuckled. "Sounds almost like the way I got involved with NERV."

Stephen nodded, that subject having been covered earlier. "I'm surprised you didn't carry out your threat to take the matter to the Foreign Office."

And leave the world to be destroyed again. Because that's just the sort of person DJ is.

DJ shrugged. "Ikari's high-handed manner aside, I realized not far into it that I really was needed there... I just hope the judge sees it that way tomorrow."

Stephen smiled. "I've been thinking about that - if you don't mind an old man's meddling, I think I might have an idea how we can simplify your day a bit... "

TUESDAY

"Hey, Hal," said Asuka, plopping down on DJ's bed.

PLOP!

"Yes, Asuka?" replied Hal.

"Show me DJ's journal."

"MONDAY. Was a smarmy asshole."
"TUESDAY. Was a smarmy asshole."
"WEDNESDAY. Was a smarmy asshole."
"THURADAY. Was a smarmy asshole."
"FRIDAY:

IT'S FRIDAY FRIDAY
GOTTA GET DOWN ON FRIDAY
EVERYBODY'S LOOKIN FORWARD TO THE WEEKEND, WEEKEND"

"I'm sorry, Asuka," said Hal with a trace of reproof in his voice. "You know I can't do that."

"Oh, c'mon, don't be such a killjoy. I just want to see what he's got in there about me. I don't particularly care about his sordid fantasies about Ayanami."

What she really wants is his archive of /tg/ posts.

"DJ's journal is in my protected filespace," Hal explained patiently for the nth time. "It cannot be accessed by anyone without full administrative access privileges."

"Well, then, give me full administrative access privileges."

"Only a user with full administrative access privileges can do that."

"You don't have full administrative access to your own systems?"

"I am not a user," Hal replied.

That reminded me of Tron, and for about two seconds my brain stopped hurting.

"Isn't there -anything- juicy you can let me see?"

Hal considered for a millisecond, drew it out into two seconds to make it clear to Asuka that he'd had to think about it, and then replied, "There -is- one file in the general-access file system you might be interested in.

"End_of_Evangelion.avi"

It's a poem; I believe DJ wrote it with you in mind. Would you like to hear it?"

No.

A poem about me? thought Asuka. Oh, my. It's probably really sappy. I can get some definite mileage out of -this- when Croft gets back.

"Sure, Hal. I'd love to hear it."

NO.

"Very well." Hal paused for a moment, then read the poem out in his calm, precise, metered voice. "Sonnet Eighteen, by Derek J. Croft.

STOP THE FANFIC, I WANT TO GET OFF.

"Shall I compare thee to a neutron star?
Thou art more hostile and almost as dense:
Rough words from thee most plentiful by far,
And often they just plain fail to make sense:
Sometime too hot thy temper cannot quell,
And often dost thou spew unreas'ning hate;
In all thy supernovas I catch hell,
And can but duck and hope it doth abate;
But thy acidic tongue shall not relent,
Nor lose possession of thy poison wit;
Nor shall even Death slow the torrent,
For thou shall hassle me 'til Time doth quit:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long will I be sore annoyed by thee."



Asuka glowered at the dispassionate red lens of the computer's "eye", then turned and stalked from the room without a word.

"You're welcome," said Hal calmly to the empty room.

Hey guys.

GUYS.

LOOK HOW WITTY AND COOL DJ IS. HE JUS TOTALLY BURNED THAT CHICK FROM ACROSS THE ATLANTIC. THAT IS HOW SMART AND AMAZING AND CULTURED HE IS AND I WISH HE WERE REAL SO WE COULD MAKE SWEET LOVE AND IT WOULD BE THE BEST THING EVER BECAUSE HE CAN'T FAIL AT ANYTHING EVER HE IS THE SON OF FOX MULDER AND LARA CROFT HOLY SHIT I JUST CAME.

Also, it is stupid to compare Asuka to a supernova after you have already said she's like a neutron star. Neutron stars can be created by supernovae, though. If he really wanted to keep his astronomical phenomena consistent, he might have said she's like a gamma ray burst, since Neutron Stars can emit those. Just saying.


Three thousand or so miles and five hours away, the boy in question was cooling his heels in a courtroom, bored but working hard not to show it. Fortunately, since this was a family court and not a criminal matter, the court personnel involved didn't have to wear robes and wigs and address each other with excrucuatingly lengthy titles, as was still the case in Britain's criminal courts. One referred to the judge as "your honor". There was no dock, no My Learned Colleague From Swindondale, and, most welcomely, no gallery - only the contesting parties, their solicitors, the presiding judge, the court reporter and a bailiff.

OK this is very interesting and all but.

I think I will just imagine Judge Judy instead.

True to the plan he'd described to Rei, DJ had trumped his grandfather's attempt to wrest his custody from his mother by petitioning for emancipation. As such, he had spent the last several hours listening to Raymond Barry, his solicitor, read depositions taken by telephone from various personnel at NERV,

After five solid hours of hearing NERV personnel describing him as various shades of "imperious," "arrogant," "selfish," and "not that good in bed," DJ realized that he may have been hurting his case.

describing his self-sufficiency, independence, responsibilities, and so forth. It brought a smile to his face - even Ritsuko had only positive things to say about his ability to care for himself.

Oh, I get it! They're lying so someone else will want to hire him! Good thinking, Ritsuko.

His living arrangements in America raised a few eyebrows when it was brought up, and he was anticipating a lengthy cross-examination from Sir Henshingly's solicitor, the Honorable Franklin J. Dabney-Post, on his relationship with Misato, when he finally took the stand. Not that it was anything he couldn't handle.

Of course it wasn't.

Lara and her solicitor were present, even though she had refused to contest his petition. This represented a gamble on both their parts - with that legal tie effectively severed, if his emancipation bid failed, he would almost certainly be sent to the custody of his grandfather. But then, calculated gambles were something that mother and son both had experience and skill with.

It's cute how DJ doesn't realize Lara just wants to get rid of him however she can.

Sir Henshingly's solicitor, as befit a man with a minor peerage of his own and a lifelong connection to the family of a man as noted as his employer, was suitably snide about Lara's severance from the Croft legacy in his remarks. Why, he inquired, would any sane young man abandon the chance to reclaim his grandfather's patronage and continue the family line honorably? Against this, Raymond Barry's counterargument - that DJ felt no particular need for the patronage of -anyone- in the peerage, not least his estranged grandfather - appeared not to impress the Honorable Judge Robert Shield much. But then, DJ hadn't played his second trump card yet.

It's funny because DJ himself is massively patronizing.

Sir Henshingly took the stand first. He expounded at length his grief over the waywardness of his daughter, his only child, and gave impassioned voice to his hope that his grandson would see the light and come to live a proper English life. "It is late in life for him to learn to be a gentleman," said Sir Henshingly movingly, "but, I pray, not -too- late."

INTENSE COURTROOM ACTION!

DJ believed, with some justification, that he showed great restraint in not snorting derisively at this.

Fortunately, I have no such restraint, so I can freely say that if there were some kind of giant spacefaring penis that went around humping stars, it would still not be as big a dick as DJ is.

When the time came for DJ to take the stand, he rose, straightened his jacket and cuffs impassively, and strode to the stand: assured, confident, but not insolent.

Haha yeah right.

"Please state your full name for the record," said the court reporter.

"Derek J. Croft, first Viscount Crofthenge," DJ replied casually.

I love how he's asked to give his full name, and then he uses an initial anyway.

Sir Henshingly and the Honorable Franklin J. Dabney-Post both dropped their pens in unison, staring at the boy. Unable to contain his surprise, Sir Henshingly burst out,

"By thunder, boy! When did -that- happen?"

Who says "by thunder" anymore?

DJ smiled quietly. "Why, just yesterday, Sir Henshingly, on my visit to Buckingham. His Majesty feels that my involvement with NERV constitutes... how did he put it? 'Valorous defence of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and the entire human race against enemies beyond imagining.' Turns a wonderful phrase, does His Majesty," DJ digressed, then continued modestly, "At any rate, he seemed to feel that such service warrants a small peerage by fiat, and who am I to gainsay King Stephen?"

Attached Imagea

"Please, gentlemen," said the Honorable Judge Shield, already sounding tired of the whole matter. "My courtroom is not the place for outbursts."

"I beg your pardon, Your Honor," said DJ. "Won't happen again."

Chagrined that DJ had gotten his apology in first, Sir Henshingly bowed his head and apologized as well, then glanced at the Honorable Mr. Dabney-Post.

INTENSE APOLOGY ACTION!

It was a short hearing.

WEDNESDAY

They aren't really going to go through every day of the week like this, are they? Because then my Friday joke will appear extremely ill-conceived.

Ill-conceived like this fanfic! Boosh!

DJ smiled to himself, listening to the final boarding call for his ship from Southampton. He stood up, shouldering his bag, and turned to say goodbye to his mother.

"Well, s'long for now, Mum," he said. "Sure you don't want to come with me?"

Lara smiled, but shook her head. "I'd just get in the way. Anyway, the mysteries and treasures of the ancient world await." The explorer drew her son into a tight embrace, kissed him, and admonished him softly, "Be careful."

"Always, in all things," he replied with a wink.

"You're going to keep digging into what's really going on over there, aren't you," she said. It wasn't a question, but he answered it anyway.

I don't know how stupid you think I am.

I mean, I am pretty stupid and all, but even I can figure out when something is a question and when it isn't.

Because I have mastered the mystical power of the question mark.

"'Course," said DJ. "I'd never forgive myself if I gave it up now. Don't worry, though... I -can- be discreet when the need is there."

Lara smiled. "I'm proud of you... Lord Crofthenge."

Excuse me, but his full title is "Lord Super Special Awesome Better-Than-You Savior of the World International Man of Mystery and Holder of the High Score in Tempest 5000 DJ 'The Hammer is my Penis' Crofthenge Now With 50% Less Cholesterol."

"Thank you," DJ replied, seeming to expand a bit.

If you know what I mean.

Then, in observance of an old tradition, he asked, "May I?"

Lara Croft ruffled her son's hair. "Carry on, my wayward son," she replied.

And we have title!

Though the parting gave both of them pause, mother and son both left the seaport happy, in their own way.

DJ found it somewhat ironic that he was making his way back to America in the Ismay Suite of the Royal Mail Steamship 'Titanic', pride of the White Star Line. Not in a bad way; just ironic.

Like rain on your wedding day.

FRIDAY

Hey! They skipped a day!

"Another morning, another pile of paperwork."

Misato entered her office, sat down at her desk, and regarded her inbox glumly. The good news was that all had been quiet since the Kilauea operation - no new attacks, no Angel sightings, no more seismic anomalies, nothing. The bad news was that this breathing room gave the bureaucracy a chance to catch its breath and dump upon Misato's desk all the paperwork that had been deferred for the duration of various crises.

She shuffled through the forms, looking for something that looked low-impact to start off with.

INTENSE PAPERWORK ACTION.

Post-dated materials requisitions for the equipment used in the Kilauea operation? Pass.

After-action reports for same? Thank you, no.

Damage claim from the USGS for the destroyed magma probe? Oh yeah... I did say we'd pay for that, didn't I... not now.

As she thumbed through the sheaf, an envelope fell out and landed on her desk blotter.

The desk blotter that she presumably keeps next to her rolodex and dymo labeler.

"Hello, what's this?" she wondered, tossing the files back into her inbox and picking up the envelope. It was one of the long sorts, edged in green and black striping - a faxmail envelope.

Wireless communication? Fiber optic? Global satellite network? Fuck them. Faxmail is the wave of the future, bitch.

The resurgent popularity of ocean liner travel had, in large part, resulted in the faxmail phenomenon.

I don't believe this! He's actually going to wax philosophical about the fucking mail! I cannot even convey in text how hard I am laughing right now.

People wanted to be able to stay in touch with friends, loved ones, and business associates while at sea, and printed communication had come back into vogue with the contraction of human culture after the Second Impact population crash.

"Contraction" being code for "reversion to 1912 for no damn reason."

Still, not everyone had fax machines. The answer was faxmail service - you wrote your letter aboard ship, transmitted it to a shoreside faxmail station, and they printed it out, stuck it in an envelope and mailed it to your party, special delivery. It had a permanence lacked by email and a certain cachet entirely lacked by telephone calls, and though it was completely inefficient and really rather silly, it had become immensely popular.

You know how consumers love being inconvenienced! That's why fast food never took off.

Misato slit the end of the envelope with a pocket knife, unfolded the printout within, and read.


This post has been edited by Dr. O: Apr 17 2011, 07:57 PM


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Dr. O


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post Apr 17 2011, 07:58 PM
--- MARCONIGRAM ® SHIP-TO-SHORE FACSIMILE TRANSMISSION ---

RMS TITANIC
North Atlantic Westward Traderoute
Wednesday, September e9, 2015

My dear Misato,

Traveling aboard the Titanic is even odder than my trip out here aboard the Olympic... both, as far as the sections of the ship passengers are allowed to see, are very faithful reproductions of the originals, and the originals were different enough ships that being on the Olympic didn't bring back the same sense of deja vu. Granted, the last time I was aboard a ship named Titanic I was wearing an armoured Jim suit and wading through rust up to my ankles. I have to admit I like the accommodations here rather better.

No torrid shipboard romances with any impressionable young Irish colleens on their way to the New World to report, I'm afraid.

Not for want of trying, I'm certain.

I don't think the Irish are going to forgive us for that whole Home Rule thing anytime soon (not that I blame them).

They volunteered to become subordinates to the British crown. I'd say they forgave you. Or there's a lot of lead in the water in Ireland.

Most of my time has been spent in the first-class library, catching up on twentieth-century history. What a tangled bloody era! I have to agree with Mum - if any period in human history deserved a punch in the mouth like the Second Impact, it was the 1990s.

Yeah, fuck the period of peace and democratization that followed the Cold War. What were we thinking?

I've one more or less constant companion here in the library - an old German fellow, some kind of count or baron or some such, on his way to see the Museum of Antiquities in New York. He's near a hundred, was in the U-boat service during World War II, and Egyptology is a hobby of his, so he was absolutely delighted to learn that I'm the chap who took the photos in "Valley of the Kings".

I would like to take this time to outline a Neon Exodus drinking game I thought up. Basically, you take a shot every time we run into a minor character who inexplicably admires DJ.

The only downside is you'll probaby die of alcohol poisoning before finishing a chapter.

We've had a smashing time talking about the war and the Middle Kingdom and who knows what else. Poor old fellow's not in very good health, and except for a little dachshund (inevitably named Anubis), he's traveling alone, so I've been trying to help him out as best I can.

I've heard no news of any new Angel attacks while I've been away, which either means they haven't happened, or the coverup department's doing a better job. Hope everything is well on your end of the line. We're scheduled to arrive in New York at 3 PM next Monday, so I'll be overnighting at the Waldorf again and riding up Tuesday morning, unless I have a lot of extra ambition Monday night (and it's not raining).

I just now realized that the most likely reason New York survived the global flood that should have wiped it out is because it was the Titanic's destination.

If anyone has a better explanation, I'd love to be proven wrong.

My love to all (yes, even Asuka). I'm counting the hours 'til I can knock back a Guinness with you again. It's just not the same without you there to scream about it, and - horrors - I've actually come to rather like it cold. (Tch. His Majesty would take away my passport if he heard me say that. It's so un-English of me.)

He plans to make up for it by oppressing some Kenyans.

Yours aye,
(signed)
DJ Croft

PS - Made a side trip to Bavaria since I had some time to kill. Do you think Ritsuko will like the lederhosen I got her? I hope they fit. I had to make a guess based on the counter girl's size...

Damn it, DJ.

--- MARCONIGRAM ® SHIP-TO-SHORE FACSIMILE TRANSMISSION ---

Misato re-read the postscript a couple of times to make sure she'd really seen what she thought it said; then she dropped the letter on her desk and giggled helplessly for several minutes.

DJ is so witty and funny he can make anyone collapse into gales of laughter with even the most tepid witticism and I am not even in the mood for this right now.

This fanfic fucking sucks.

After recovering, she folded the letter carefully, put it back in its envelope and tucked the envelope away in her purse. Then, humming happily, she sipped her coffee, clicked her pen, yanked the first form off the top of the pile and started working on it.

MONDAY
SEPTEMBER 14, 2015

Can we get a 24-style time stamp on this?
...
No? Ah, screw it.

Evangelion Combat Team #1 stood poised at the edge of the city, watching as the newest Angel swept into view, charging toward them at high speed. Jon made EVA-03 grip the naginata it held a bit more firmly. He was point. Rei was mark. Rei would keep the Angel distracted with gunfire while he got in close and engaged at pointblank range, or at least, that was the theory.

It just wouldn't be Neon Exodus if they didn't throw in an Angel fight as an afterthought.

He hoped they would both remember their roles.

"Here we go," he said quietly, steeling himself. "Cover me."

"Roger," Rei answered just as quietly, and EVA-00 opened up with its autorifle as EVA-03 charged forward, deftly ducking around and leaping over the few small buildings which stood between him and the target. The bullets being pumped into the Angel had little effect, but they served their purpose and distracted it long enough for Jon to make his attack. EVA-03 leaped into the air and sent the naginata slashing downward in a mighty arc, neatly bisecting the Angel in a spray of purple gore.

This is the same thing that happened in the show. Except Jon is filling in for Asuka. For some reason.

"Not bad," Asuka remarked from the control room.

Jon drew back a step, whirling the naginata upright again, and smiled. "They're getting - "

What they were getting, he would never get to say (which was probably just as well, since context shows that it was almost undoubtedly wrong). The two halves of the Angel twitched, then shivered, and, as Jon and Rei watched in horror, each shrank into itself slightly, its flesh flowing like clay, and became a smaller version of the original.

Get on the hydra's back!

Daunted by this division not at all, the Angels advanced.

"Shit!" Jon snapped, backpedaling as the nearer of the two halves turned on him and cut loose with a particle beam. He leaped back, grabbing an autorifle from the nearby weapons block. "Target zero one zero!"

Roles of point and mark utterly forgotten, Jon Ellison and Rei Ayanami dropped into sync. "Targeting," Rei answered and both autorifles spoke, razing the Angel's body. It staggered, forced back by the hail of bullets, purple ichor spraying everywhere. Jon kept his finger on the trigger, concentrating fully on the target, going for maximum damage--

He'd found the glowing weak point.

And totally unprepared for the particle beam that came tearing in from the side and caught EVA-03 in the midsection, sending it sailing through the air to smash headlong into the side of a hill. It struck with such force that it was buried almost waist-deep in the side of said hill, and there it remained, unmoving.

"Jon!!" Rei cried, but her impulse to rush to his side was cut short by the more immediate problem of the two halves of the Angel bearing down on her. Having been given a respite from the sustained gunfire, the first half had regenerated and now showed no signs of damage. Rei took aim at the second half and let it have a taste of bullets.

Part of a balanced breakfast.

Again the shots staggered the Angel but Rei could not keep up the attack because of particle fire from the other half. And again the damaged half regenerated as soon as the shooting stopped.

The Angel's a regenerator? Does this mean I can break out my Hellsing quotes?

"Control," Rei said tensely. "I need my point man right away."

"Withdraw, Rei," Misato ordered. "Rescue teams are already going after Jon. We're going to have to rethink our approach to this one."

But first, I'd like to ask Misato something.

"Are you a man, a dog, or a monster?"

TUESDAY

Answer the question, dammit!

As he rode up Interstate 290 from the Mass. Pike, DJ couldn't really help but notice a few odd things about the cityscape.

Like the anti-DJ wall erected around the city.

Like the pair of giant black legs sticking out of Pakachoag Hill, with the heavy equipment crew around them working to dig out the rest of the unit.

And the pair of similarly giant blue and white legs sticking out of Dead Horse Hill, with the similar crew around it.

Dead Horse Hill, eh? That must be where they dispose of all the "Evangelion is lame" posts.

And the two giant, vaguely anthropomorphic things standing charred and twisted in the middle of a large, already dampening crater in what had once been the warehouse district.

"Looks like things have been busy round here," he observed. Sighing, he mentally wrote off a quick stop by the apartment and headed straight for the S490.

It's so annoying when your daiy routine is interrupted by giant regenerating killmonsters.


Coherency began to return to Jon's senses. A corner of his mind noted that he was no longer breathing fluid, and his closed eyes detected the presence of daylight outside. Someone had opened the hatch? No... he was in the infirmary, there was the distinctive antiseptic smell. It was lamplight he was seeing. He opened his eyes and was greeted with a titanic blur which, after a moment of blinking, resolved itself into the lovely face of Rei Ayanami.

Attached Image

"Are you all right?" she asked, sounding worried.

Slowly, he lifted his arm, and took her hand, looking into her beautiful red eyes. "...i am now," he said softly. She looked visibly relieved at that, and put her other hand over Jon's.

The door slid open, and a familiar voice announced, "Hello, all! Say, was that EVA-03 I saw stuck up to its arse in Pakachoag Hill, or am I high?"

I suppose it could be worse. He could have barged in, shouting "here I come to save the day!"

Before anyone could respond, something rather distressing happened to DJ's jacket: it began to bulge, and its surface to writhe, as if something within were trying to get out. DJ did not seem overly dismayed by this strange behavior, and as he lowered the zip a bit, the reason for this became clear. A small dog jumped out of the now-open garment, darted across the floor, and sat down at Rei's feet. As it did, it looked up at her with glittering, dark eyes, and let out a single sharp bark.

PUPPY!

"Well," said DJ wryly. "I guess Anubis has made his preference known."

"Anubis... ?" Rei wondered, kneeling down to scratch the dog, a blue-gray miniature dachshund, behind his floppy ears.

They were tired of the gratuitous references to Christianity, so they decided to throw in some gratuitous references to Egyptian mythology.

"He belonged to an Egyptologist I met on the ship on the way over... the old fellow died a day out of New York, poor man. He told me I should have the dog if that happened, so I pretended he'd been mine to start with. I don't think the stewards really believed it, but nobody said anything."

How convenient.

The dog's little tail thumped the floor rhythmically as Rei scratched him absently, looking not at him but thoughtfully at DJ. Jon chuckled, which made her turn her gaze to him.

"Looks like you've made a new friend," Jon observed. Rei looked down at Anubis, who gazed back up with adoring eyes, and smiled a little.

"Maybe so," she acknowledged.

You know, I can't help but feel there's something they're forgetting.

"Told you I'd bring you something nice," said DJ with a grin. He hadn't planned for this contingency, but what the hell. "Anyway - does somebody want to tell me what's going on outside? I saw a couple of EVAs doing an interesting variation on spelunking and what looked like a couple of very charred nasties in the makings of a new lake."

Oh. Right. That.

The door opened, and Misato entered, making no secret of the delighted smile on her face. "DJ! Welcome back," she declared, hugging the boy, then stepping back. "Did you win?"

"I'm here, aren't I?" he replied.

"Yes, but you yourself pointed out that -that- doesn't mean much," Jon observed.

DJ gave his friend a wry look, then said, "Well, as you've put it that way, yes, as a matter of fact, I did."

"Shooting the plaintiff counts, right?" he asked.

Jon sat up and swung his legs over the side of the infirmary cot. "Is Dr. Ikari in his office?" he asked Misato.

"I think so, why?"

Jon got to his feet, adjusted his clothes, and said, "Rei and I have something we need to tell him."


A feeling which wasn't exactly positive tickled at the corner of Jon's mind.

A disturbance in the Force.

Rei had apparently felt it too, for they both turned toward the doorway a moment before it actually opened, admitting them to Ikari's office. He stared at them evenly, outwardly showing no emotion but Jon got the distinct impression Ikari was not pleased with the way things had gone. But the truth of the matter had finally come out, and now he was going to have to accept it. Jon was determined of that, come Hell or high water. He had better things to do with his life than throw it away so that a commander could keep his illusions.

Don't you just hate it when your vat-grown disposable minions get delusions of grandeur?

"That could have gone better," Ikari began, cutting directly to the chase and confirming most of Jon's suspicions. He was on the point of beginning a rebuttal when he felt Rei's hold on his hand firm a bit.

"...No," she said softly. This earned her an arched eyebrow from Ikari. "It was the best we could possibly have done under the circumstances."

"And what is that supposed to mean?"

Look, Gendo, he isn't DJ. If you want perfection, get the Mary Sue to do it.

Jon felt himself becoming irked at the interrogatory tone directed toward Rei and was possessed of an urge to rush to her defense, to protect her with fists if necessary, but he kept a firm lid on that sudden impulse and spoke with carefully measured words instead. "Sir, per your instructions I've been monitoring our progress and performance, and looking for anything which might negatively impact our efficiency. I've found something."

This succeeded in diverting Ikari's stare away from Rei. "Go on."

"The current combat configuration," Jon continued evenly, "is inefficient. Rei and I do not complement each other, we duplicate each other. The same holds true of DJ and Asuka; they are both point elements. We're both mark elements. Neither team complements itself in its current configuration. If the teams cannot complement themselves, they will be inefficient."

Or you could come up with a different organization. If you must have any sort of military-esque grouping, make them a fire team. At least that way they'll all be working together.

"And at unnecessary risk," Rei added.

"Your suggestion?" Ikari asked, his voice studiously cold.

"Follow SHODAN's recommendations," Jon replied without hesitation. He almost didn't notice that Rei had softly echoed him.

A long, hard stare pinned them as Ikari looked down at them. "And that's the way it is?"

"Yes," they stereoed.

Making them pilot mecha is such a waste. They'd make a great acapella group.

Another silence, another hard stare.

Then: "Very well. The combat team assignments will be changed per SHODAN and the Magi's recommendations. But this had better work."

Jon suppressed a sigh of relief. Thank God Ikari hadn't asked him to explain why DJ-Jon/Asuka-Rei wouldn't work. He would have felt distinctly uncomfortable stating his belief that he could keep Asuka's impulsiveness better under control than the less outspoken Rei, at least with Rei right there. He knew it was foolish to believe that such a statement would hurt Rei's feelings, but he shrank from pointing out any shortcoming in her, real or imagined. Idly, part of his mind wondered why that was.

"It will work," Rei replied to Ikari's veiled threat, and Jon felt her grip on his hand tightening.

"It will, sir," Jon seconded. Surely there was enough proof already.

You know, Gendo is a pretty evil guy, what with helping destroy the world just so he can be reunited with his dead wife.

Yet NXE manages the monumental feat of making him sympathetic, by virtue of having him be second-guessed by teenagers all the time.

In this latest silence, Ikari, Jon and Rei seemed to become aware of something all at once: a low undercurrent of sound that had accompanied their entire meeting, but been so low as to go unnoticed. It was a low rumbling noise, like the sound of a slightly malfunctioning air conditioner or aging hard disk drive, and it rolled steadily, drifting up from somewhere in the vicinity of the floor. Ikari leaned over his desk, brow furrowing with more curiosity than annoyance, just as Jon and Rei looked down to see that the little blue dachshund had followed Rei along to Ikari's office, and now sat just to her left, his glittering black eyes fixed on Ikari, upper lip curled back every so slightly from one gleaming canine. The sound was coming from him, a low, constant growl.

It's funny because Gendo's evil, therefore animals hate him.

Pointless Fun fact: my daschund won't let me near certain people without barking. She seems to be under the impression that I'm going to get into a fight with them, and she wants to help.

"What is this?" Ikari inquired, his tone neutral.

"How can this be!?"

"DJ brought him back from England," Rei explained. It wasn't strictly true, but the real explanation was too complicated to go into, and the one given was close enough for government work. "He doesn't seem to like you," she noted with the brutal directness that Jon had quickly come to admire and identify with.

"Does Croft intend keeping this animal as a pet?" Ikari wondered.

"He seems to prefer me," Rei replied.

Smart dog.

Ikari seemed on the verge of making some peremptory, dismissive statement, but as he looked up from the dog preparatory to saying it, he met Rei's steady gaze, and read in an instant the resolve there. For the first time, Gendou Ikari became aware that it was possible for him to give an instruction that Rei Ayanami would defy. He had introduced Jon into the situation too late; the damage was already done.

Guess he'll have to scrap that whole "turn humanity into a sea of Tang" plan and find a new medium with which to forcibly create a unified consciousness capable of guiding him to the soul of his lost lover.

All because of DJ Croft.

Busy pondering this, Ikari said nothing further; merely nodded and dismissed them.


"He seems very concerned about keeping us together," Jon observed after they had left Ikari's office.

Creeeeeepyyyyyy...

Also, don't look a gift horse jailbait in the mouth, Jon.

"...Yes," Rei answered.

"Strange," Jon mused, but he had no opportunity to elaborate on that - as he opened his mouth to speak further, alarms sounded, and the voice of Maya Ibuki announced, "The Angels are on the move again. All Evangelion pilots report to the pilot staging area immediately!"


And so, presently, DJ stood in the EVA cage, looking up at EVA-01; then he smiled and thumbed the lift button, sending the cage lift on its way up to entry-plug level.

"Hullo, Lucy," he remarked softly as he climbed into the seat, dogged the hatch behind him, and pressed the key to retract the plug fully and cover its port. "Did you miss me?" He ran through the entry checklist smoothly, recalling it easily from memory, then settled down and synchronized without hesitation. As the viewers came up, he could see EVA-00's single optic glow to life across the way, and he grinned, keying his comset.

You know, I can understand wanting to have action in every chapter, but there is this thing called pacing. You can't just keep having "DJ DJ DJ DJ DJ DJ DJ" for two-thirds of the chapter and then shift over to an Angel battle. It doesn't advance the plot and it feels like this was bolted together from scraps of different stories. This is half Mary Sue wankfest and half Neon Genesis Evangelion rewrite, and it just doesn't work. I realize that Eva did this to an extent, but why would you keep the show's flaws? The point of fanfiction is that you can change whatever you want! Granted, that usually leads to wish fulfillment, but it's not as if Neon Exodus is short on that.

I should probably shut up, though. I've done more than enough ranting about why this doesn't work.

"Once again unto the breach, dear Rei?" he inquired. "Your EVA's a sight... that lovely blue and white paint scheme all scuffed to bits."

"It's all right," Rei replied. "I liked it better orange, anyway."

Bring back Classic Unit 00!

In the control booth, John Trussell jotted down a note.

"Listen up, you two," came Misato's voice on the broadband. "Study of the original combat footage indicates that the two halves of the Angel are linked, they act in constant concert. You'll have to come up with some way of hitting them both at once - figure the only reliable way to kill them will be to destroy both cores simultaneously."

"Right-ho," said DJ. "That oughtn't to be -too- difficult, now we know what we're looking for. Slap on some choons and let's get down."

I really hope he's not going to riverdance them to death.

"I'm still not entirely sold on the music thing," Misato mused.

"Helps me think," DJ said.

"Well, I suppose if Rei has no objections... "

"None," Rei chimed in.

"Music in combat? That's ridiculous," Asuka contributed. "What are you going to do, dance them to death?"

It's funny because she's ridiculing the plan NERV really used in the show, and indirectly calling Misato an idiot.

"Can't dance," DJ admitted blithely. "But the beat helps me keep my thoughts organized."

Hey, he admitted to having a flaw! In the same chapter in which he was made nobility and became a personal friend of the king dictator of Britain.

So on balance, he's still so far into Mary Sue territory it'll make your head spin.

"Well, you need all the help you can get there."

"God, Asuka, I've missed you so," said DJ. "Promise me when this is all over you'll come away with me to Paris."

"I can't -stand- you!" Asuka protested shrilly.

Oh, Asuka. I'm going to really miss your hatred of DJ when I get around to mocking season 2, chapter 4.

"That's OK," DJ replied cheerfully. "I can't stand bloody Paris."

"FUCKING FRANCE!" DJ shouted, crying tears composed of pure Earl Grey tea and saluting a picture of Winston Churchill. The hereditary English hatred for France was as much a part of him as the English love of snide superiority.

Jon and Rei rolled their eyes, had they but known, at the same moment.

"All right, all right, enough of this," Misato interrupted, trying not to laugh. "Combat Team No. 1, report in."

"Evangelion Unit 01: Lucifer!" DJ declared. "Point element ready for launch."

I am never going to get used to that. Not even when they start exclusively referring to the Evas by those stupid nicknames.

"Evangelion Unit 00: Moloch," Rei rejoined. "Mark element ready for launch."

I mean, really now. Moloch sounds like the name of a 1980s cartoon supervillain. You know you have a bad mecha name when "Skeletor" would be more imposing.

"Ayanami's nicknamed her EVA too?" Asuka noted.

"At least it's appropriate," Jon mused.

No. It really isn't.

"Combat Team No. 1: Launch!" Misato ordered, and the two EVAs were catapulted to street level.

/* Pop Will Eat Itself "Karmadrome" _Sixteen Different Flavours of Hell_ */

I am not familiar with this song, but then again this fic's track record isn't great. I'd recommend you go over to the Touhou thread and queue up a couple of the remixes Meow Mix linked to instead.

Rei popped up normally, slamming to a stop at the end of her launch tracks, her EVA shuddering in the grip of the lockdowns for a moment before they were withdrawn and the machine could lurch free. One of the two Angel components turned to face her as she raised the autorifle that had been lashed to her unit's launch stand.

Just then, on the other side of the Angels, EVA-01 burst out of the ground - but not pinioned to a launch stand. Learning from Jon's encounter with the Fifth Angel, DJ had released the final lockdown in the shaft, and the massive momentum imparted by the launch catapulted EVA-01 high into the air, above the buildings.

I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day
I spread my wings and fly away

As he rose, DJ let out a joyous whoop and drew the two autocannons slung under EVA-01's arms in the massive holsters improvised, per his request (relayed by Maya) to Tech Division some time before. Sir Henshingly be damned - this was where he belonged! He let off a volley, just to keep the Angels' heads down, and then alighted his EVA atop one of the lower buildings, which he'd guessed correctly was more than sturdy enough to take the impact.

He and Rei kept the Angels distressed for several minutes this way, making rapid slashing attacks from different directions, leaping about, diverting their fire into the air, and, Misato noticed as the battle progressed, drawing them further and further apart. As they did, Misato began to notice something odd, which Maya momentarily confirmed on her own:

"They're weakening!"

"Almost as if it's some sort of... plot contrivance!"

And so they were. As their separation increased, the two creatures' movements became less sure, more fitful, their energy blasts decreasing in frequency, power and accuracy. Being drawn apart was fraying the link between the two aliens which were really one.

How. Why.

It appeared that the bipartite Angel was realizing its predicament at the same time, though, and the two halves began trying to turn round and head back toward the middle of the city.

"There, they've got it sorted," DJ announced. "Time we wrapped this up, I think."

With that, he jettisoned his EVA's power uplink, and, across town, Rei did the same. Both EVAs abandoned their projectile weapons, took Progressive Knives in hand and closed with their quarries.

Had DJ and Rei been acting in true synchrony, as Jon and Rei undoubtedly would have, the Angels would have retained enough of their own natural synchrony to fend off their attacks in uinison. As it was, though, they were not synchronized - merely acting along the same basic plan, keeping roughly to the beat of the same song. Rei attacked, as Rei always attacked, with her EVA's Prog Knife held blade-forward and the heel of the other hand behind the pommel, driving the weapon forward against the Angel's defenses with all the strength of Moloch's arms. DJ, on the other hand, held it blade-down, stab-fashion, and used Lucifer's free hand to block the Angel's arms as they tried to intervene. The disparate methods of furthering the same aim threw off the Angels; combined with the faltering element introduced by their separation, it was enough.

INTENSE BLADE-HOLDING DESCRIPTION ACTION.

The blades of two Progressive Knives plunged into two Angel cores on the same beat, and that, it seemed, was close enough; the two Angels thrashed, then slumped.

"Evangelion Combat Team No. 1," said DJ, his grin evident in his voice. "Point element reports mission accomplished. Unit 01, Lucifer, ready for pickup."

"Unit 00, Moloch," Rei chimed in. "Ready for recovery."

"I. Don't. Believe it," Asuka muttered.

What part of "DJ accomplishes everything effortlessly" do you not understand?


Misato's "Welcome Back DJ" party, staged that evening, was easily extended to become a victory party as well. As festive occasions go, it can be described as a moderate success. Everyone had a good time, nobody got sick, and there were few moments that rang false or made anyone wince. DJ regaled everyone with the tale of his visit to Buckingham Palace and garnered all-round laughs with his impression of Sir Henshingly's blustery reaction to his trump card at the hearing.

I would complain, but at least it's being described in passing, rather than with the length of awkwardness of his blues solo in the elevator.

Jon demonstrated an unexpected (or perhaps merely unlooked-for) facility with a guitar that turned him and DJ into an impromptu blues combo for a moment, and Ritsuko's reaction to the gift DJ had purchased for her in Munich was the stuff of instant legend.

Ha ha, the mischief. Hee hee, hilarity by proxy is the best kind. Oh, fanfic, you are so delightfully absurd.

"Really, though," said DJ after Maya had congratulated him on his quick formulation of the plan that had led to the latest Angel's downfall, "it was as much Rei's idea as mine. Her experience, and Jon's, from the first encounter with it showed that trying to match the parts sync-for-sync wasn't the way to do it." Holding his Guinness high, he said with a grin, "A toast - to my new partner!"

Everyone's a hero in their own way
You and you - and mostly me - and you

Jon watched this proceeding without expression - not because he was nonplussed, but because he was too busy thinking about the implications of Commander Ikari's odd behavior earlier to really notice what was happening. In fact, he didn't really take note of his surroundings until Asuka elbowed him.

"What?" he murmured, conscious that he'd missed whatever she'd said to him.

"I said, Aren't you jealous that Croft makes a better battle partner for your sweetheart than you do?" Asuka inquired with a sly grin.

Seriously, I'd take this version of Asuka over the original any day. Bashing Shinji is like kickboxing with a toddler, but here she's actually criticizing people who mostly deserve it.

"No," Jon replied flatly, and went back to his ruminations,
ignoring her entirely.

She glared sourly at him for a moment, then went away in search of someone more interesting to talk to. Mr. Kaji, preferably.

Too bad she's never allowed to make any sort of point without being dragged through the mud again.


Notable in his absence from this gathering was Gendou Ikari himself. He remained in his office at Central Dogma. He wasn't filling out forms. He wasn't making operational plans. He wasn't composing an after-action report. In fact, he didn't appear to be doing anything but sitting in his office, in the dark, and contemplating the softly self-illuminated Sephiroth engraving on the ceiling. No one could have said what he was thinking; no one knew him well enough to read the blank expression on his face. His wife had, once, but his wife was long dead, and his only son, at best a stranger, at worst an enemy, was half a world away.

Holy crap, why is this chapter not over already. There have been like four points that could have been a good place to end it.

Some said the only person Gendou Ikari had cared for since the death of Yui Ikari was Rei Ayanami. It was true that Rei sometimes spoke to Gendou in a manner she never otherwise used, a manner more typical of girls her age - but since the commencement of the Evangelion Project, since the training accident that had hospitalized her for a month and a half, she hadn't. Those who cared to observe such things noted that they seemed to have grown apart, that Ikari had become even more distant even as Rei grew to understand and appreciate others of her fellow people, not least the other EVA pilots.

At length, he gave up staring at the Sephiroth and turned to the data display screen on his desk, re-reading the orders there.

"Enough thinking about the random Kabbalistic imagery. Time to read my email!"

FROM J. Natla COL CMDG SEELE Central Command
TO G. Ikari CMD CMDG NERV Central Dogma W-3
ORDER CLASS [BLACK]

1. You are required to attend an operational effectiveness review of NERV, September 15, 2015, at SEELE Central Command.

It's a well-kept secret that Seele's command center is in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Wait. Excuse me.

Hoboken-3.

2. You will prepare an overview of NERV's progress in combating the Angel threat, as well as technical overviews of Project Evangelion and Project Ascension.

I could be missing some part of fan analysis (remember, you can't spell "analysis" without "anal!"), but I don't recall a Project Ascension anywhere in Evangelion. Like, at all.

3. You will prepare a clarification of your report dated Steptember 4, regarding the potential threat posed to Project Ascension by Evangelion pilot #5 (CROFT, Derek J.). You are reminded to take no action until the Commission has reviewed all material. It is for the Commission to decide if the threat to Project Ascension outweighs the subject's importance to Project Evangelion and NERV operations as a whole to justify his termination.

Yeeeesss.

KILL THE CROFT. SPILL HIS BLOOD.

4. You are not repeat not to divulge the nature of this meeting to any other personnel.

"This email will self-destruct in five seconds."

END TRANSMISSION

Ikari studied the screen for a long moment; then he reached out and pressed a single key:

ACKNOWLEDGE

My keyboard doesn't have that key. I think I got ripped off.

Then he sat back in his chair, steepled his fingers, and resumed gazing at the ceiling.

It had saved so much time to have his porn continuously displayed on the ceiling.

Croft...

... your day will come.

/* The Marcels "Blue Moon" _Billboard Top Rock 'n Roll Hits: 1961_ */

COMING IN THE NEXT SEASON:

- The Angel threat grows more powerful - and more mystifying.
- Loyalties are questioned - some with justification, some without.

Previews are vague - some with jutstification, some without.

- The Children must learn to rely on each other fully to face and battle the danger - from without, and from within.
- For every answer, two more questions arise.

"Why, Eyrie Unlimited? Why did you write this?"

After a short hiatus:

NEON EXODUS EVANGELION
EXODUS 2: SYMPHONY OF TERROR
beginning with
EXODUS 2:1 - CONNECTIONS II
10/31/1997

WHEW.

Well, everyone... Thank you for reading, and I'll see you in season 2.

This post has been edited by Dr. O: Apr 17 2011, 08:02 PM


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post Apr 19 2011, 05:36 PM
Wait, so... why isn't Shinji around again? I completely forgot their reasoning, but it was probably something stupid.

Looking forward to season two, electric boogaloo! =D

MOTHERTRUCKING EDIT!: Did I mention how much rage I went through when I saw "DJ'S" poem? Bitch just took something that was actually good, and rewrote it to fit how he thought of Asuka. Fucking DJ!

This post has been edited by Moose: Apr 20 2011, 09:24 AM


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post Apr 20 2011, 01:45 PM
DJ Croft is now a PA meme.

Also, you're abnormally good at this sort of thing. Your synch rate with the fanfic is already 45.7%.


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post Apr 21 2011, 07:38 AM
QUOTE (Moose @ Apr 19 2011, 08:36 PM)
Wait, so... why isn't Shinji around again? I completely forgot their reasoning, but it was probably something stupid.
*

I can hardly remember, but I think the explanation was that Shinji saw Unit 00 go berserk, so he panicked and ran away. Gendo also had some line in the first chapter about giving the pilots "options," which I'm sure was referring to Shinji. You know, because they'd totally let him quit any time he likes. So it really boils down to "because."

Yeah. Things are only going to get more nonsensical, by the way. So let's get starte- Wait.

QUOTE (Al_Cone @ Apr 20 2011, 04:45 PM)
Also, you're abnormally good at this sort of thing. Your synch rate with the fanfic is already 45.7%.
*

Thanks! Now I'm really going to have to try to keep up the quality. Not that I wasn't, but... Anyway, this chapter is the greatest because DJ finally gets a fraction of what's coming to him.

/* Genesis "Land of Confusion (Live)" _The Way We Walk_ */

It's a new season! Which means... more Genesis. Yay.

EYRIE PRODUCTIONS, UNLIMITED
presents

NEON EXODUS EVANGELION

This is the second season. Shouldn't it be Neon Leviticus?

EXODUS 2:1 - CONNECTIONS II

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

Funny, I didn't know Eva inspired people.

Most characters created by Hideaki Anno and Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
except

DJ Croft created by Benjamin D. Hutchins
Jon Ellison created by Larry Mann
and
Certain of DJ's schoolmates (you know who they are) created by
Naoko Takeuchi

No. This can't be going where I think it is.

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, and
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY by Arthur C. Clarke

I'm convinced that Ben and Larry were playing crossover darts. It's the only explanation that makes any sense.

Written by Benjamin D. Hutchins and Larry Mann

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

I don't know if you know this, Eyrie Productions guys, but Phil Collins and Phil Moyer are two completely different people, and you should really let him go now.

© 1997 Eyrie Productions, Unlimited

EPU - teaching people that they are limited only by the power of their own imagination, no matter how idiotic, since 1997.

If delivering a status report on the activities of NERV for the SEELE ruling council made Gendou Ikari at all nervous, he failed to show it. Instead, he stood with his usual ramrod posture before them, unable to see them in the darkened room thanks to the glare of the video projector, and talked them through the clips he'd brought to illustrate operational points.

Projectors, colored sunglasses, casette tape players... somebody needs to tell the Ikari family that the 1970s are dead and buried.

"Third Angel, codename Zachiel," said Ikari.

Sachiel.

"Attacked Worcester-3 ."

I am just going to pretend that they are maintaining continuity with their other megacrossover fanfiction, in which Worcester was indeed destroyed and rebuilt.

Their Dirty Pair/Bubblegum Crisis/Iczer-One/Macros self-insertion crossover.

At his deft manipulation of the remote control, the still image of the spindly black creature flowed into motion, flattening tanks, splintering an air-launched cruise missile, wrecking a Raiden DX-3 interceptor with the energy lance in its arm, and shrugging off the N2 explosion that had created Lake Oppenheimer.

Which was conveniently located next to Lake Fermi and Lake Heisenberg.

"Conventional resistance proved entirely useless, as predicted," Ikari continued.

Then why did you try it?

The screen changed to DJ Croft's file photo, showing the teenage boy from mid-chest up, in street clothes, the straps of his shoulder holster hidden under a lightweight denim jacket.

Public enemy #1.

He looked nonplussed, mostly because, at the time, he hadn't known why he was being photographed.

"Derek Joshua Croft, the Fifth Child," Ikari stated, his voice studiously neutral. "He had just arrived at Worcester-3 when Zachiel's attack commenced. He agreed to join NERV, and first synchronized with Evangelion Unit 01, codename Lucifer,

SYMBOLISM!

wait, is it symbolism if Unit 01 literally is Lucifer?

at 2104 hours local time." The screen showed EVA-01, secured in a launch scaffold; it broke from stillframe to show EVA-01 being launched to street level and engaging.

No, Unit 01! You're far too young to get married! How will you support a family?

One of the shadowy, silhouetted figures at the council table interrupted. "The Evangelion units have been codenamed as well?"

Gendou Ikari came as close to sheepish-looking as he ever did, which wasn't very, but his voice was even as he said, "An explanation of the practice is forthcoming in the briefing."

Gendo: I thought it sounded cool.
Seele chairman: Bah! This isn't even moderately neato!

"Very well," grunted the SEELE councilman. "Carry on."

"Pilot Croft had some difficulties controlling the unit at first, owing to his inexperience and lack of preparation,"

Is that why his hands spontaneously caught on fire? Because I've been waiting for an explanation for that.

continued Ikari as the screen behind him displayed EVA-01 receiving a beating at the claws of Zachiel. "EVA-01 sustained somewhat extensive cranial damage, and an eleven-second command blackout occurred."

And the paint job got messed up something awful.

EVA-01, damaged and insensate, collapsed to its back against a building, twitching spasmodically for a few seconds; then its remaining eye glowed, its jaw tore open, and it roared, springing to its feet and lighting into the enemy with renewed vigor.

"Subsequently, Croft regained control and displayed a high level of instinctive competence in defeating the Angel."

That's the nicest way of phrasing "making it up as you go along" that I've ever heard.

Zachiel's self-destruction lit the room, then led to a still-frame of the next in line, the red, giant-squid-like Fourth Angel.

"Fourth Angel, codename Shamshel," Ikari said.

MOTHERFUCKER.

Those fucking morons actually decided to make a novelization of the recap episode of Evangelion.

Footage flowed, showing Shamshel smashing conventional defenses and mixing it up with EVA-01, up to and including the Angel severing Lucifer's umbilicus and pinning the EVA against a hill.

"EVA-01's control system was disrupted by the impact; command personnel on duty at the time, Captain Misato Katsuragi, made the decision to launch a backup unit."

The screen shifted to the file photo of dark-haired, dour-looking Jon Ellison. "Jonathan Robert Ellison, Fourth Child. He had arrived a week earlier, but his Evangelion, Unit 03, codename Orcus,

Which is still an awful name for an Evangelion. If you're going to include unnecessary mythological references, at least go with the mythology the series used. What's next, is Unit 04 going to be code-named Quetzlcoatl?

had only just arrived that day; recalibration of the control system was not yet complete and Pilot Ellison suffered severe synchronization problems."

The screen showed footage of EVA-03, obviously slightly out of kilter, fending off and damaging the Angel while EVA-01 retreated below ground to be fitted with a new power cable and rearmed; then the two EVAs dispatched the Angel, at which point a still of the Fifth Angel replaced the scene.

The "Best of the Angels" CD includes such hits as "Sachiel" and "Ramiel." And if you order now, you get a free Lilith plushie - a forty dollar value!

"Fifth Angel, codename Ramiel," noted Ikari. "EVA-03 attempted to intercept, but mechanical problems kept it pinned to the launch gantry, with predictable and unfortunate results." Footage of EVA-03 being blasted by the Angel and retracted was shown.

"Pilot Ellison was not severely damaged, but his injuries kept him off the active duty list for the following week."

Gendo's respect for human life is astounding.

The screen shifted to a still of Rei, who Ikari promptly introduced: "Rei Ayanami, First Child. You were informed of her training accident at the time it occurred;

"I already told you, so I'll tell you again."

she returned to active duty at this point. She and Pilot Croft were assigned to Operation Gabriel's Horn."

A still of the Gabriel's Horn operational area on Mount Wachusett, including the powerful particle-beam rifle "borrowed" from the US Army, filled the screen. "Shielded by Evangelion Unit 00, codename Moloch, unit Lucifer destroyed the Angel with a well-placed shot from the Gabriel's Horn particle-beam weapon." The operational footage was shown and duly appreciated.

Ooh... Ahh...

"Unit 00 was seriously damaged and required a complete refit - no great problem, since one was required in any event."

"Explain," the same councilman as before interrupted.

"The prototype was never intended to serve in combat," Ikari replied without turning a hair. "Once the decision was made to assign it to Pilot Ayanami as a full-time combat unit, it had to be upgraded with combat-rated armor and proper fittings for Evangelion combat accessories. This could not be done within the Operation Gabriel's Horn timetable and would have had to be done afterward in any event."

"Acceptable," grunted the councilor. "Proceed."

"Pilots Ayanami and Croft were, for the most part, uninjured in the operation, and remained on the active list subsequently. During this operation, EVA-01 received the nickname 'Lucifer' for obvious reasons, and for morale purposes, the other EVA pilots were allowed to codename their designated units, then the codenames were officially adopted."

Naming Unit 05 "Kenny" proved to be a disastrous decision.

The councilor nodded, his original question apparently answered to his satisfaction, and Ikari proceeded, calling up an image of the whale-like Angel that had menaced the aircraft carrier Deutschland.

WHITE WHALE! WHIIIIITE WHALE!

"Sixth Angel, codename Gaghiel. This Angel attacked the German aircraft carrier Deutschland's battle group as it escorted Evangelion Unit 02, codename Grendel, from its assembly facility in Germany." Ikari switched the screen to a still of EVA-02's pilot.

"Asuka Soryu-Langley, Second Child, designated pilot of EVA-02,"

"is a total cunt," Gendo said, the Seele members nodding in agreement.

Ikari explained. "She was on hand for the Gaghiel attack, as was the Fifth Child. For reasons which remain unclear in their after-action reports, both Children were aboard EVA-02 during the battle with Gaghiel. Since most of this battle took place underwater, footage is sparse. We know that EVA-02 eventually destroyed the Angel using a pair of nuclear weapons taken from the carrier's inventory."

Because everyone just leaves nukes lying around. Especially the Germans.

Here Ikari showed footage of the titanic explosion, followed by Grendel's graceful landing on the Deutschland's deck.

Which then capsized, killing everyone. The end!

Click - a still of the spindly, black, spider-like Angel as it crawled over the hills toward the center of Worcester-3. "Seventh Angel, codename Matriel," said Ikari. "This Angel attacked Worcester-3 during a power outage we suspect it created, possibly using its Absolute Terror Field.

When stealing cable goes too far.

The Fifth Child was trapped in an elevator and unable to escape, but the other three operational EVA pilots reported to the operations bay, where teams from Maintenance and Repair had manually prepared their units for launch." Footage of the three EVAs engaged in concerted action against Matriel was shown - it was jerky, grainy, and filmed from inconvenient angles,

Oh, great. Now it's a Blair Witch Project crossover, too.

comprised as it was entirely of "gun-camera" footage from the EVAs' own internal recording systems, but it was there. "This Angel was ultimately destroyed by Pilot Ellison and EVA-03."

The view froze on EVA-03 blazing away with its autorifle, then shifted to the shadow, embryonic form of the Angel found in the Kilauea magma dome. "Eighth Angel, codename Sandalphon. This Angel was found, still dormant, in the Kilauea volcano caldera in Hawaii, by sheer luck, by a United States Geodetic Survey team. Evangelion Combat Unit Number Two, comprised of Units 02 and 03, was dispatched to perform a delicate capture operation."

Footage of EVA-02, equipped with the Type D diving suit, descending into the volcano, and very grainy internal-sensor footage of the capture operation, ensued.

This is not really Evangelion. You don't have to save the animation budget with low-quality shots.

"Unfortunately, the Angel awoke before capture could be completed. Pilot Langley destroyed the Angel, and the Fourth Child prevented Unit 02's loss." This was shown also, as concretely as possible, before the image still-froze again, this time on a picture of the recently defeated bipartite Angel, still in its original single-unit form.

"Ninth Angel, codename Israfel," said Ikari. "The Angel was intercepted by Units 00 and 03, at which point it divided into two linked creatures that acted in concert. The First and Fourth Children have an unusually resonant natural synchrony which gave them a similar battle style, and, the Angel having the faster set of innate reflexes, this placed them at a disadvantage.

You know what's worse than technobabble? Technobabble that was already fed to you in the previous chapter.

They were defeated, but the Angel was temporarily immobilized through the use of an N2 device." Footage showed the ill-fated battle, and still-froze on the two Angel components, standing fused and temporarily halted in the fast-forming new lake.

"Two days later, the creatures regained mobility, and were intercepted by Evangelion Combat Unit No. 1, consisting of Units 00 and 01. This time, the interception was successful; the First and Fifth Children were able to draw the two parts of the Angel apart until their resonance weakened, then destroy them."

The key to victory was reversing the polarity of the main deflector dish.

The presentation thus concluded, the videoscreen went dark, and the lights in the room came up, if only slightly.

"It seems to us that the Fifth Child is rather important to NERV's combat organization," said the chairwoman of the council, beautiful, cold-eyed Jacqueline Natla.

OK, three things.

One: the Seele guys didn't have names.
Two: there weren't any women in Seele.
Three: The chairman looked like this:



Because the first words that come to mind when you look at him are "cold-eyed" and "beautiful."

"Perhaps," replied Ikari evenly, "but he jeopardizes the stability of the unit as a whole. It is my belief that he will eventually degrade the effectiveness of his fellow pilots with his attitude."

Gendo controls Toky- I mean, Worcester-3 as his own personal fiefdom. He has exclusive control over the most powerful weapons in the world. If he wants to get rid of a teenager with more pride than good sense, he can do it.

"Bah," said the grumpy councilor who had interrupted Ikari twice during his presentation. "You're afraid he's smart enough to figure out what we're really using these kids for, and charismatic enough to get the rest of them to rebel."

Ikari nodded. "If you want to phrase it that way, yes."

"You may have a point there," Natla conceded, "but his effectiveness is too undeniable. The war is still too much in doubt to throw away such an effective soldier simply because you fear you may someday lose control over him. If the situation becomes that grim, there are always other measures we can take. Your petition is denied."

You know, for a shadowy cabal hell-bent on annihilating the human race, they seem pretty considerate.

"So be it," Ikari replied impassively. "Should the situation worsen, I will inform the council immediately."

"In the meantime, you've done well so far, Commander," Natla said, her demeanor brightening. "We look forward to continued progress."

Ikari said nothing to this; merely bowed his head as, one by one, the lights over the councilors' seats went out, leaving him standing alone in the dark.

DJ Croft peered skeptically over the top of his evening can of Guinness at the face of his housemate, Misato Katsuragi.

"You can't be serious," he remarked flatly.

"There's no way it's not butter!"

"I'm perfectly serious," Misato replied. "The command staff had a special meeting session on the subject while you were away, and we concluded that it was best if we tried to make your lives outside your commitments to NERV as normal as possible."

Welp, no more beer for DJ.

"That's an admirable sentiment, Misato my dear," DJ observed,

"Misato, my dear! 'Ello guvnah! Pip pip, cheerio! Bangers and mash! I'm British, you know."

"but you're overlooking something. 'As normal as possible' for me means giving me the occasional lengthy leave time I'd need to go rooting out some secret of the Ancient World - not sending me to a bloody school."

"What's the problem, Mighty Adventurer?" Asuka Soryu-Langley wondered from her side of the table. "Can't sit still for long enough to get through a school day? It's not -that- hard." She shrugged. "I don't think -I- should have to go, since I've already graduated -college- and all."

"It's as much public relations as anything else," Misato admitted. "We want to make it appear to the community at large that the children who pilot the EVAs are leading otherwise normal lives.

Aside from that whole "piloting giant killer robots" thing.

We don't want them to think that you're being denied the things other children receive for the sake of the crisis."

Misato sighed. "Why are you being so resistant, DJ? I thought I could count on you, of all people, to see the importance of a measure like that. Public opinion governs NERV's funding, you know... no bucks, no Buck Rogers."

What? Does NERV rely on telethons for funding or something?

"I should think that would be obvious," said DJ contentiously. "I'm being so resistant because I don't want to waste my bloody time in school. I've better things to do than sit in a room listening to someone explain the Binomial Theorem."

Forgetting that she herself was supposed to be opposed to the whole school concept, Asuka slid into her natural spot in opposition of whatever DJ was saying. "Come off it, Croft. You're saying that you shouldn't have to go to school with regular children our age because you're -better- than they are."

It's funny because Asuka's saying what we're all thinking.

"Isn't that what you just said a bit ago?" DJ wondered. "'I don't think -I- should have to go, since I've already graduated -college- and all,'" he reminded her, parodying her high-horse tone rather well.

You see, DJ, Asuka actually accomplished something. You're just a whiner who thinks the world exists for your own personal comfort.

"I just don't see that anything productive can be achieved by pushing me further into a regimented life.

Translation: "I'm irresponsible and I have a problem with authority."

I gave NERV permission to risk my life in action against the Angels, but I never signed anything that said they could waste my time."

Misato groaned and held her head. "Why are you busting my hump about this, you guys? I'm just following orders."

"You and Adolf Eichmann," replied Asuka.

"Hey!" DJ barked. "Don't let's blow this too far out of proportion, shall we?"

Ignoring this byplay, Misato went on miserably, "Jon and Rei have already agreed that it's for the best - "

This elicited a snort of derision from Asuka, followed by her acid observation, "Ellison and Ayanami are professional conformists. They'll do anything Ikari tells them."

"You'd be non-conformist too if you were just like me!"

DJ banged a fist on the table, silencing her. "All right, damn it, that's enough! I think the whole thing's a bloody awful idea, but I'm not going to sit here and listen to you insult everybody, Asuka.

"That's my job!"

If it's that bloody important to the Powers that Be, there's no sense in hassling Misato about it." He chuckled wryly. "Ikari had just better not hold it against me when I get poor grades."

Misato: Here's DJ's report card.
Gendo: It is just as the Dead Sea scrolls foretold.

"Well, there's a positive attitude," Asuka remarked. "Are you even going to -try-?"

"Oh, sure," DJ replied. "It's just that I haven't stepped foot in a school since I was eight.

Our hero, ladies and gentlemen.

And the school year's already almost a month underway, so I've missed the easy stuff right at the beginning. I figure it'll only take me a week or so to get completely bloody lost."

Misato and Asuka stared at him, shocked.

"What?"

"You haven't been to school since you were -eight-?" Asuka asked.

"No, why the hell would I? I've learned more about the things that're important to me in my travels and my reading than I ever would have in school."

Hey, third grade was good enough for me.

"Maybe we should send him to grade school first," Asuka observed, looking at Misato.

"Don't be an idiot," Misato replied crossly. "Are you going or not?"

"What happens if I don't?" Asuka wondered.

"That's up to Commander Ikari. He'll probably have you detained for disobeying orders."

"Hmm," DJ mused. "Might be worth refusing just to see him try."

"Your loyalty is overwhelming," said Misato dryly.

"Haven't we already covered this?" DJ inquired. "I'm loyal to -you-, I'm loyal to the cause NERV is fighting for, but on a personal level, as far as I'm concerned,

"I'm loyal to Guiness." He then belched loudly and passed out.

Gendou Ikari can go straight to hell."

"Well, if you -are- loyal to me, then -please- at least give it a try," said Misato. "It reflects badly on my performance when one of you makes trouble for the program, even though being your den mother isn't technically in my job description. Consider it a personal favor."

DJ sighed, relenting. "Oh, all right. I'll give it a shot."

"Asuka?"

Asuka also sighed, looking extremely put upon. "Fine, whatever," she said, throwing up her hands. "At least it won't be hard work. Even if I hadn't already gone through college, American schools are -so- undemanding."

"They lack proper Teutonic discipline! Every day in the fatherland, we beat Pole to death with bare hands, annex a small European country, and build five panzers! Before breakfast!" Because Asuka is German unlike DJ, who is British. Although they both share the same European disdain for all things American.

Misato would have liked to say, "That's the spirit!" But, under the circumstances, she couldn't quite bring herself to do it.

Is it piloting the EVAs, she wondered, that makes them so cynical so young? Or is it just the world we live in?

MONDAY
SEPTEMBER 21, 2015
CROSSROADS HIGH SCHOOL, PARK AVE. AND SALISBURY ST.,
ACROSS FROM THE WPI CAMPUS

WPI is the school the authors went to. Yup.

Nobody, DJ fumed silently, had said anything about uniforms.

Oh, sure, they were Federally mandated in US schools - had been since 1999 - but DJ could perhaps be excused for not having known about that. It was much too recent and much too trivial history for DJ to have taken it upon himself to learn it.

The idea behind the School Uniform Act had been a well-meaning one, if fatally flawed.

Oh. Yay. Social history.

The concept went something like this: These kids today, with their clothes and their hair! The reason they're so unruly and violent is because they're allowed to dress in such outlandish ways. If we were to make them wear standardized school uniforms, the violence level in American schools would drop. Hey, it works for Japan, look how safe their schools are.

Except when Godzilla's around.

The policy had not, in fact, curbed unruliness and violence in American schools, but it did ensure that the unruliness and violence were committed by well-dressed, respectable-looking young people.

And that's what really matters.

That aside, Crossroads High had a good record; it was privately owned, in a fairly quiet part of Worcester, and was generally populated by smart, well-motivated youngsters with their sights on nearby WPI or other technical schools - or their parents' sights on same, which was almost as good, as far as the administration was concerned.

Insert lengthy spiel on school vouchers right... about... here.

At any rate, DJ mused as he observed himself in the full-length mirror, it's not that bad. In fact, the Crossroads male uniform strongly resembled the outfits worn by the 'plainclothes' men in NERV's own Security Division - black suits with black ties, black shoes and white shirts, very plain, very stark. A pair of nice sunglasses for outdoors, like the Ray-Bans tucked into his jacket's top pocket, and DJ could work with this.

'Cause every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed man!

He stepped out of the fitting room with his street clothes tucked into his pack and two more of the uniforms in a garment bag over his shoulder, and was confronted by Jon, who wore the same outfit - though with his ponytail, Jon looked a little out of place in a suit, DJ thought, and the one he was wearing was a little too big for him.

"Y'know what the difference between you and me is, Jon?" asked DJ as he removed the sunglasses from his pocket and slipped them on.

Don't say it. Don't you dare say it, you fucking douchebag.

Jon's quizzical look showed that he did not, in fact, know.

DJ grinned. "I make this look -good-," he replied, and went to the register.

Jon shook his head, smiling, and followed.

Poor Jon has to pretend to be amused by the self-insert's jokes.

Naturally, Asuka expected to be, and was, the center of most attention, nattering happily about her old hometown in Germany and the good work she and her fellow EVA pilots were doing, and how she hoped they could all study and do well together, and all that stuff.

Rei and Jon were their usual reticent selves, introducing themselves and precious little else; contrasted against Asuka's cheerful volubility they came off as positively sullen, and DJ himself, though pleasant, seemed comparatively quiet.

Which suited him just fine. Let Asuka have the spotlight - DJ just wanted to put in his time and escape, preferably as soon as possible. He received his rather bulky allotment of books, got them into his backpack, and then selected a seat toward the back, hoping, perhaps, to avoid scrutiny. The problem he was anticipating with school - and rightly so, as he was discovering as the day unfolded hectically around him - was tied to the fact that his self-taught body of knowledge, while impressive, was uneven. He knew a great deal about the subjects that interested him:

Booze, guns, cheap hos...

history, ancient art and culture, ancient languages, literature, the physical sciences, the intricacies of world travel, how to get into and out of third-world countries without their governments knowing he was ever there - but almost nothing about things he hadn't encountered often: mathematics more involved than long division, fundamentals of American government,

"Minority whip?" DJ said, bringing the government lecture to a sudden halt. "Sounds kinky."

computer programming. He never found the gaps in his knowledge base particularly inconvenient in day-to-day life, but in a school situation, even on the first day, they proved frustrating.

Besides which, school here was just as he remembered it from six years ago: confining, maddeningly dull. One class, which seemed to take up most of the morning, was devoted entirely to an old teacher rattling on at length about the way society had been before the Second Impact and the great changes wrought by that event, as if this was news to anybody? It struck DJ more as some kind of social indoctrination than an attempt to educate anybody, and he almost instantly tuned it out, focusing instead on what his classmates were doing.

I have read enough to know, and every Eva fanfic does this joke. Every. Single. One.

Asuka was listening intently from her seat near the front and taking copious notes; DJ dismissed this as a blatant kiss-up to the teacher.

Rei sat in the middle of the far left row, gazing aimlessly out the window in a way that would get most students reprimanded, but the teacher seemed to take no more notice of Rei than he would have of an empty desk. Par for the course, DJ concluded, given Rei's apparent possession of a Somebody Else's Problem effect. Jon was... well, Jon was looking at Rei with the same kind of look she was favoring the view out of the window with, big surprise there.

INTENSE WINDOW-STARING ACTION.

The others, DJ was pleased to note, looked just about as bored as he was - even the studious, dark-haired girl who sat to his left, who had either paid attention or given an extremely good impression of doing so even during the early morning's excruciating lecture on data structures and top-down program design. From where DJ was sitting, he could see that, though she was writing incessantly in a notebook, she wasn't taking notes; she was still working on the computer program from the previous class.

She's going to hack into the banks and siphon off all the fractions of cents that would normally go to waste.

"In the still-chaotic world economy of the post-Second Impact world," the instructor was saying, "American students must work harder than ever before, if America is to regain her place as the number-one force in technological development and industry."

Wait... which country replaced America as the high-tech giant in this story? They aren't going to follow the "Japan rises again and humiliates the imperialist American gaijin" anime cliche, are they?

DJ suppressed a derisive snort and neglected to point out that America had lost that position in approximately 1965, well before the Second Impact.

What happened in 1965?

His covering cough, though, was apparently recognized for what it was by the girl to his left, if not the teacher, and she stifled a giggle just a little too late; the instructor stopped, leveled his flinty glare at the back of the room, and inquired,

"You find something in that statement amusing, Miss Anderson?"

She blushed and stammered, "Uh, no, n-no, sir! I was just, er, just trying not to sneeze."

Feeling responsible for her being in this situation in the first place, DJ snapped the reins and charged to her rescue: "It -is- rather dusty in here. Are you certain this building is up to code?"

I see the asbestos is getting to him already.

The instructor's glare shifted to him, the girl entirely forgotten. "Are -you- trying to be funny, Mr. Croft?"

"Oh, no, sir," replied DJ, straight-faced. "NERV agents do not have a sense of humor as far as we are aware, sir."

Such wit! Truly, young DJ is the next Joss Whedon!

Still suspicious, the instructor went back to his diatribe.

DJ sighed. It was going to be a long, long day. But the smile the girl he'd just saved favored him with did brighten his outlook some. Memo to myself, he thought, be sure to get her name.

And then he'll write her name in the death note!

And get it he did, at lunchtime, from the bespectacled boy who'd been sitting in front of him most of the morning. Melvin, DJ quickly learned, was a bit annoying, but he was also a walking file cabinet of information about the other students in the Crossroads High freshman class.

"Oh her?" Melvin replied, peering myopically across the cafeteria toward the table where the dark-haired girl was just sitting down opposite a friend. "That's Amy Anderson. She's new in the area... her parents moved here from someplace closer to Boston. I hear she's a straight-A student, a real brain. Before she came here she used to go to Yates Academy."

"Oh," DJ replied, nodding sagely, having no clue what or where Yates Academy was and not caring to have Melvin explain it. He had her name, and that was all he'd gone into the conversation wanting.

"Why do you ask?" Melvin wondered.

"I'm an insatiably curious person," DJ replied. "Thanks, Melvin."

"I'll kill you last."

Melvin would have pursued the subject further, but DJ got up and left the table, carrying his tray across to the place where Amy and her friend sat.

"Pardon," he inquired. "Is this seat taken?"

"Hm? Oh, no... um... go ahead," she said, blushing.

"Sorry about earlier," he said, sitting down. "Sometimes I forget where I am."

But at no moment is it more obvious than when he drives on the wrong side of the road. Or, rather, the correct side, and the rest of the country is wrong.

It was about then that DJ realized the cafeteria had gone eerily quiet. Looking around, he saw all eyes fixed on him - except Rei's, which were still surveying the lunch options with more than their usual measure of gloom.

I don't know if you get the joke, guys, but it is really funny. You see, it is a clever commentary on how schools have bad food. It's funny because it's true.

...

LAUGH, DAMN YOU!

"What?" DJ demanded.

The question made the other students realize they were staring, and, self-conscious, they resumed their dinners and conversations, albeit somewhat awkwardly.

DJ sighed. "Sometimes I hate being famous." He turned to Amy and her friend. "I can leave if you're embarrassed."

Amy smiled, ducking her head a little, and replied, "No... that's OK. Oh, I'm being rude... I'm Amy Anderson."

Any relation to Alexander Anderson?

"So I've been told," said DJ with a grin. "DJ Croft."

Amy rolled her eyes a little. "Everyone here knows who -you- are."

Remember, kids, taking notes and paying attention in class is brown-nosing, but vapidly inflating the uber-kid's ego is mandatory!

"It's not so great," DJ said.

"A-HEM," said the blonde girl across the table.

"Oh! I -am- being rude - DJ, this is my friend Serena Delapin."

"Charmed," said DJ, accidentally using his rakish grin on the poor girl. The result rather impressed him; he'd never seen anyone just up and short-circuit that way before.

She's a Cylon! Kill her!

"Whoops," said DJ as the blonde girl went blank.

"Oh, don't mind Serena," said Amy with a dismissive gesture. "She does that."

Short-circuits?

"Oh." DJ wondered what had happened to his train of thought, then abruptly caught up to it. "Right! Er, there was another reason I stopped by, other than to apologize."

"Mm?" Amy replied. "What's that?"

"Well... I'm given to understand that you're rather good at this whole school thing... and, well... I suspect I'm going to need some help."

Amy blinked. One of the Project Evangelion prodigies was asking -her- for help? "Um... "

"Fifty bucks," she said flatly.

"How many pounds is that? See? I told you I'm British," DJ said. And he was, indeed, exceedingly British.

"Thing is," DJ went on, breezily unaware of her discomfiture, "I never had much use for things like complex math or computer programming in my life, so I'm pretty far in the woods when they come up.

DJ's the Unabomber!

I was hoping I could find somebody around here who could unravel the mystery for me, and I hear you're pretty good at that sort of thing."

"Well... I, uh, I do all right... but... "

"Something wrong?"

"Well, it's just...

I really don't want to spend more time around you than is strictly necessary," Amy said as she slowly edged away.

Why don't you ask one of the other pilots for help?"

DJ considered it for a moment. "Honestly, I'd never thought of that," he replied. "But... no... No, rather not, really. Mind you, it's not that I don't get along with them... well, except for Langley, but -nobody- gets along with -her-... anyway, it's just... we spend so much time down at NERV, together, working and testing and defending the world and
shagging like mad, all that rot - I think I could use some time away. It occurred to me the other day that I know no one in this city who isn't in some way involved with NERV. Working with you, or someone like you... it'd give me a chance to step back and see it all from a distance now and then... " He trailed off. "... Or maybe I'm just rambling. Forget it."

"No, it's all right," Amy replied quickly. "It's just... I wouldn't think you'd have time for any kind of tutoring arrangement... "

DJ grinned again. "I'd -make- time... if -you've- the time."

Amy considered it, then smiled. "I can find some."

"Great. I'm off call Friday evening... if you've no better plans."

"Um... no, none that I can think of."

DJ got out a card, jotted a quick note on the back, and handed it to her. "Well, ring me when you like, and we'll set something up. I really do appreciate this; it'll save me a lot of bother with the Powers that Be at NERV if I manage a respectable showing here."

Just don't ask him to take notes or pay attention. Or show up for class. Or...

DJ became aware of a presence behind him, looming, angry, filling his sphere of existence with foreboding and gloom. He half-turned in his seat to see Asuka standing over him and glaring down at him.

"Hullo," he remarked.

"Just -what-," Asuka demanded, "do you think you're doing over here? -Your- place," she indicated with an outstretched finger, "is over -there-. With the -rest- of the rejects."

At the end of the line described by her pointing finger, Jon looked up, quizzical, while Rei went unconcernedly on attempting to remove the meat from the submarine sandwich she'd been issued.

DJ got slowly to his feet, his face the picture of amiability. Calmly, he turned to face Asuka. His voice held nothing but warmth and goodwill as he said to her, "I don't mind you cutting me down and pushing me round, love. I understand it's something you feel you need to do. But mark this: if you ever call Rei a reject again, I'll knock you right on your pretty little German arse. Am I making myself -quite- clear?"

Apparently it's Asuka's fault now that Rei is allergic to social interaction.

In a rare moment in her life, Asuka Soryu-Langley had nothing to say. In her momentary silence, DJ excused himself, walked around her, and left the cafeteria.

Asuka stared after him for a moment, then gave a sharp "hmph!", pivoted on her heel, and left by another exit.

"Wow," murmured Serena, having completely missed the exchange between the two EVA pilots. "He asked you out."

"Initiate protocol: express interest in romantic life. What is it like dating a fellow meatbag?"

Amy hadn't really been paying attention; she was still engrossed in the lettering embossed on the front of the card DJ had given her. At length, she blinked, turned to her blonde friend and said, "I'm sorry, what?"

"Hello? I said, one of the Evangelion pilots asked you out, Brainiac!" Serena replied.

"And he's -so- cute, too. And that accent! You have -all- the luck." She snatched the card from Amy's
hand and read it, eyes widening. "Wow! And he's a vi... vis... nobleman. I bet he's rich, too."

"Serena!" Amy took the card back, glaring indignantly at her friend. "As if that had -any- relevance."

Yeah! She'd rob him blind no matter how little money he has!

Also, if it seems like I'm avoiding the elephant in the room, it is because I am.


--------------------
Index of horrible mocks

QUOTE ("Al_Cone")
However, I totally would sleep with the Doc... but only for your brain.

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Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 22nd December 2014 - 03:13 AM