EVA and everything related to EVA is copyrighted by Gainax/Project EVA 1995-2004. Nothing legal about my ownership. **************************************************************************** "Why are we going to to the first activation testing with Unit 14 on the surface?" Misato asked Ritsuko as they walked down one of NERV's many corridors. "To put it simply, Ikari doesn't want to take any risks. At all. No matter how many simulations we do, we won't know what will happen until it does." "I assume Unit 01 will be used." "As the primary monitoring unit, yes. Asuka's already on standby in Unit 02." "And the Sixth?" "Undergoing the preliminary stages of activation. We're treating this EVA like a totally new one. I don't want anything to go wrong." "What about the Operation Okosu?" "All the equipment is ready, personnel from both branches are beginning in a couple hours. Transport of Unit 01 begins as soon as this test is over. Have you got Shinji ready?" "He'll leave with the last personnel jet. Oh, and just today the Commander informed me that I would be accompanying Shinji." "Oh? He didn't tell me that. I supposed it was obvious, though." The two women entered the Annoucement Room, brimming with activity. The main holoscreen displayed Unit 14 in its cage. The entry plug had yet to be inserted. SUBCAPTION A: FIFTH JUDGMENT: Moribund "Ikari-kun, is that you?" Shinji glanced in the direction of the girls' half of the changing room. "Yea. How are you, Terakawa-san?" Shinji was making an extra effort to become acquainted with the new pilot, for personal reasons. "A little nervous. I guess you think that's pretty stupid..." "Not really. I feel the same way... every time." "Ugh... I hope I don't. This is too nerve-wracking. I can't take this every day. Come down here, get in the EVA, and go back up to test." "... We don't always test on the surface. In fact we don't test up there very often at all," Ikari said quietly. "That's great. Now I'm even more nervous..." "Sorry." "It's not your fault. I guess everyone's worried that the EVA's gonna go crazy. That's what happened to the Fourth and Fifth, right? Something happened to their EVAs, so they can't pilot anymore." Shinji tried to press out the images that came to his mind. "... Something like that." "And NERV needs my EVA right now." "... I guess... But how did you figure this stuff out?" "I overheard it from my father, right before I left." "Oh." There was a quiet pause, as if all activity had stopped. "... My EVA won't go insane... will it?" "I don't think so." Izumi didn't seem to notice how uncertain Shinji really sounded, but Shinji did. "No, of course it won't," he said more confidently. "Yea, I guess not. It worked fine before, but... You're there just in case, right?" "Yea, I'll be there." Now Ikari was more nervous than ever. --- --- At the city above, all citizens had been evacuated to their shelters. "What is it this time? I thought all Angels were gone," Horaki Hikari asked to no one in particular. Touji and Kensuke just happened to walk up at that moment. "Misato told us that they're testing a new EVA," Touji said calmly. "That transfer girl with green eyes is the pilot." Hikari's eyes looked toward Suzuhara with concern.
"Are you sure things are OK?" she asked. He nodded.
"Of course. Shinji will be protecting just in case something goes wrong with that other EVA." "Yea, and I'm sure Suzuhara can protect you from anything else," Kensuke said loudly, happy to be making mischief. "Shut up!" --- --- "Inserting the entry plug of EVA-14," a control tech said. On the main screen, the white cylinder twisted itself into the spine of the deep blue EVA. "Confirmed," Ibuki added. "And Unit 01?" Ritsuko asked. "Yes. Initial synch-ratio at 71% and rising." Aoba suddenly swiveled to face Misato. "Major, Lieutenant Kaima is requesting entry to the Announcement Room to view the activation," Shigeru stated. Misato shrugged. "It's not my decision, but I do give my approval." The Major turned to look up at the Supreme Commander of NERV. "Grant the Lieutenant's request," Ikari said quietly. A tall blond woman burst into the A.R. moments afterwords. "Wow, cool," Maru said, looking around. "I see you've got the plug inserted. Is everything alright?" "Activation is proceeding normally," Maya replied. "Launch Unit 01 using the seventeenth elevator, then prep Unit 14 for launch on pad 42," Misato ordered. "EVA-01, launching," Hyuga said. "Shinji?" Misato started. "Wait where you are and just monitor the situation. Don't interfere with the activation unless you are ordered to, alright?" "Yes, I understand." Misato smiled a little at the courage Shinji's eyes shown. Maybe things were getting better... "Unit 14 launched! Awaiting second stage," Aoba reported. --- --- Inside the entry plug of EVA-14, Terakawa Izumi sat in relative darkness, the usual hum of the plug her only input. "Filling the entry plug." As the LCL began to fill the plug, she was only minorly repulsed by the liquid. "Stupid stuff," she grumbled. "But this kind tastes different than before. At least now I can breath it without choking." "Pattern is green." "Connection of the main power supply is complete." "Second stage beginning." "Synch registers as 26%." "Harmonics are all normal. Pulses flowing forwards." "Start third connection," Ritsuko said forcefully. "Finally," Izumi sighed, her voice shaky. "But why do I feel so afraid this time?" "A-10 nerve connection started." The walls of the entry plug began to morph and change colors in a rapid fashion, quickly moving into complex patterns before turning into normal viewscreens. "Absolute borderline in 0.9, 0.7, 0.6, 0.4, 0.3, 0.2, 0.1... cleared. Absolute borderline is clear." "EVA Unit 14 activated." Izumi realized that she'd been holding her breath, and let the dullened oxygen out of her lungs. "Synch-ratio is rising slowly. Currently at 28.4%," Maya stated. "Those are very good readings, Izumi, considering you've only been in the EVA a few times before," Ritsuko said, noticing that her brainwaves were a little erratic. Izumi was nervous. "How are you doing?" Izumi recognized the voice as Maru. "I'm OK. I feel a little sick," the girl replied. Terakawa realized that she was not totally breathing the LCL, as no bubbles appeared when she spoke. "You'll get used to it in time," Ritsuko said, trying to sound reassuring. "It will go away soon." --- --- "Synchronization seems to have leveled off at 29.0%," Maya stated. "That isn't too bad. It could be worse," Misato said. The tensions that had filled NERV's brain had almost totally disappeared. The EVA had been successfully activated with no problems. "But it wouldn't be plausible to use her in a battle situation," Ritsuko retorted. "We'll have to train her harder than all the others." "Are you sure she'll be able to handle it? We pushed the other Children pretty hard. We still do, in fact," Hyuga asked. "Yes, I agree. Maybe too hard..." Maya said quietly, not wanting to go against her sempai's views. "Which presents us with another problem. She's bound to keep in contact with her father," Ritsuko sighed. "Huh?" Misato inquired. "What if she tells him that we're pushing her too far, in her humble opinion. Terakawa Eiji will take any chance he gets to pull his EVA away from us." "Nah, I doubt she'll call her father at all. I think not wanting to talk to one's father is a requirement to work at NERV," Misato whispered. Ritsuko's eyes turned to Commander Ikari for a split-second, even though he hadn't heard the Major's words. "Open a comm circuit to Unit 14," Ritsuko ordered. A smaller holoscreen appeared, showing Izumi in her entry plug. "Izumi, you did great. The test is over now, so we'll bring you back." The girl nodded. "Now Unit 01. Shinji-kun?" "Yes?" "The test is over. Return to the Geofront." "Yes." He seemed relieved, but it was hard to tell. "He sounds more and more like Rei these days," Ritsuko mentally noted. "At least, the old one." "So that's it?" Maru asked, piping in again. "Yes. All we needed to do was know she was compatible for activation using our equipment in Unit 14. Everything checked out OK, so we've gotten all the data we need," Ritsuko explained. "In lay man's, please?" The doctor scowled. "All we needed to do was known she-" "Thanks, I think I get it," Maru said, sighing. Misato leaned in closer to her. "Ritsuko's lay man's terms are our collegiate explanations," Misato whispered. "In her mind she can't be speaking in a more simple way. I don't think it's possible for her to speak an entire sentence without using words with less than three syllables. Not since college, at least." "Got ya." "Exactly. Now scram. The test is over. Go and meet Izumi." "How? I'm more lost in this place than she is-" "That's not what I mean. You're her guardian, so it's your job to find out if she's alright, then take her home." While Maru appreciated the help, she understood what she had to do... How hard could it be to watch over a 15-year girl? --- --- "Izumi?" The lieutenant stood at the doorway of the female's changing room. "Oh, hi Maru." "How was it?" "It was alright. I still feel a little sick to my stomach, though." "You feel like getting something to eat?" "I dunno... It couldn't hurt, I guess." "OK, then. Let's go." "Right now?" "Yea, why not?" The girl walked out and placed her hand on her hips. She was still wearing a plug suit dripping in LCL. "You expect me to go out like this?!" "I thought it'd come off like water! How am I supposed to know these things; I just now figured out what NERV really is!" CAPTION B: NEON GENESIS EVANGELION: DAY OF JUDGMENT EPISODE 29 Transgressions of Man At one of NERV's many megadepth facilities, Ikari and Akagi were observing a mutual project. "So the Sixth is no longer to be deemed as a threat?" the Commander asked. "I didn't say that. I said that she isn't from SEELE." "And how did you deduce this information?" "To put it simply, Terakawa Izumi doesn't seem too smart. Neither does her guardian." "It could be a hoax. Playing dumb is easy for humans." "I have yet to figure out just how someone can so perfectly emulate natural stupidity." "It's called honesty, Akagi." "All people are easily fooled. You just need to appeal to the right aspect. I think we've both been duped at least... twice." Ikari removed his glasses and stared forward at Ritsuko, his stony face unchanging from its normal... stoniness. "Speak for yourself." "Oh, this just reeks of 'honesty'. Teach me your ways, O Supreme Commander of Liars. Oh, please. How the hell did we get off on this anyway?" "Honesty." Ritsuko frowned, suddenly disgusted. He'd done it to her again... --- --- Back inside the 'normal' levels of NERV, Shinji and Misato were meeting inside one of the smaller meeting rooms. "We're both leaving in three hours," Misato sighed. "The plane will follow Unit 01 by about twenty miles." "I packed some clothes earlier, for both of us."
"Thanks, Shin-chan! You're more useful around the house than-"
"You?" Shinji grinned for just a few seconds.
"Haha, yea I guess you're right."
"It's OK, Misato-san. I think I understand... the things that go on here." Misato stared at the quiet boy, unsure what he meant. "Anyway, how long will we be gone?" "This shouldn't take more than one or two days... At least I hope it only takes that long. The area of searching should be pretty small, since we know the exact point at which EVA-04 was placed for the S2 test." "How deep could it be?" "I don't know. That area's a desert, but the sandstorms should have kept the levels about the same, I suppose." "What'll happen if we *do* find Unit 04?" Shinji asked. Misato silently commented on how innocent he sounded, even after all he'd been through in the past months. "I guess they'll send another F-type jet to move it here." "Do you really think we'll find it?" "To tell you the truth,... no. I believe Ritsuko when she 'thinks' it 'might have' really been destroyed. She knows more about EVA than just about anyone." "Then... why are we going?" "Your father is desperate for another EVA, and Unit 04 is the only option we have," Misato sighed. --- --- Above the ceiling of the Geofront, Asuka was gathering the two small suitcases that were occupied by Shinji and Misato's possessions for their short trip to America. Asuka had grumbled to Misato about it, even if she didn't mind for some reason. "Maybe I finally realized how much Misato and Shinji have done for me. Nah... I'm just getting soft in my old age." --- --- As Shinji's ears popped for a third time, he realized that he was getting sleepy. He lazily glanced at Misato in the seat next to his; she was already asleep. Shinji realized just before he fell asleep how much his father must have trusted him if... If Gendo trusted his son enough to watch over a potentially dangerous... --- --- "Initial synchro-rate is at 77.3%, rising. Unit 01 activated." Ikari Shinji sat inside the entry plug, which automatically filtered out a small amount of the light piercing the EVA's neural visual sensors. Shinji had set the maximum amount of light able to be shown on the viewscreens months ago. Tokyo-3 was pretty sunny sometimes, and the light could be a little to bright at times. The desert of Nevada was a little brighter than Tokyo-3. It was one of the most isolated places on Earth. Mountains to the east and west, ocean to the north and south, the eastern part of Nevada was about as far from the metroplex of the east coast of America. That was one of the main reasons NERV had placed its second branch there, besides the fact that the old U.S. Air Force base more commonly known as 'Area 51' was also there. The construction was minimal. The base of mobile operations was placed on the edge of that 178 kilometer circle, which highly resembled a huge crater. It was far too wide and far too shallow to be from any kind of bomb or human weapon, or even from a meteor of some kind. Misato looked over the crater through a pair of binoculars. True enough, she could see nothing when the electronic zoom put her vision at 88.7 kilometers. "No visual contact," she whispered. She looked down at the screens on which she leaned. "Nothing on radar, X-ray, or electron detection." "Yep. When do you plan on moving in?" Misato adjusted the universal translator over her left ear, turning to find the source of the voice. It was from a tall man with grey hair, but a pair of mirrored sunglasses covered his eyes. "Oh, Commander Schwartzwald, I didn't think you were here, too." "To tell you the truth, I'm surprised Ikari didn't come." Misato shrugged, then returned to her gazing at the center of the crater. "He's busy with more important things, I guess." "More important than the search for Unit 04?" The Major shrugged again. "Anyway, what's your plan, Major?" "We move part of the mobile base and Unit 01 to the exact point where EVA-04 was stationed. Then Shinji'll dig until we detect... something. If we go down more than a fifty meters without a single trace of anything, then we'll cal it quits." "Alright. The radar and X-ray stations can contact us through satellite, but the electron detector has to go: the sand messes with the transmissions. The mobile headquarters can also go." "OK. When shall we leave?" "Now's fine. The sooner, the better. I'd like to be back in Massachusetts by midnight." Misato glanced down at her watch, but almost immediately realized that she was quite a few time-zones away from Tokyo-3. "Shinji?" Misato said into her handheld radio. "I can hear you, Misato-san." "Alright, just follow us when we start to leave, alright? You'll get more orders when we arrive." "OK." The EVA-01, which towered over everything else for miles, gave a thumbs-up to Misato. --- --- Nearly ninety minutes later, all machinery had reached the center of the crater. While many of the NERV personnel from both branches were glad to be mainly done with their part of the mission, Misato had decided to stay inside the air-conditioned mobile operations base. "OK, Shinji, we're going to stop. Here's the exact coordinates of where you should start digging, alright?" Katsuragi typed a few commands into a nearby station. "Got them. Should I start now?" "Sure, commence operation."
Unit 01 walked a few steps to its right before bending down. Huge handfuls of sand were soon being pushed away by the giant hands of EVA Unit 01. Most of that sand was bulldozed away soon after. --- --- Four hours had passed. Tons of sand had been shoved away by Unit 01, whose pilot was beginning to get quite tired. While it was true that the LCL was kept at a very comfortably cool temperature, Shinji still felt as if he'd been out in the desert sun for hours. His arms also felt as if they were about to fall off. "Misato, I'm tired. Can I take a break or something?" "Huh? Oh, sure. Freeze the current commands and eject the plug." Shinji opened the door to the command car several minutes later. "Nice tan, Shinji-kun." "Hm?" "You're tan." "Really? I guess it's a side-effect of the EVA being in the sun for so long..." "You sound like Ritsuko." "Oh..." "Don't worry about it. Anyway, I think we'll have to limit your synchro-rate to about 55% so you don't get a sunburn," Misato stated with a little giggle. "OK." Shinji took a deep breath and sighed as he took a seat. "I'm beat." "I think this is taking too long. You're only down about half the way we're supposed to go for a maximum depth... But, hey, you moved quite a few tons of sand! You might even be able to give California a beach again!" Shinji was too tired to speak. --- --- Back at NERV HQ, the usual training went on without Shinji. While Rei trained on a simulation of Unit 03's original data, she did appear to excel at synchronization, already having achieved 40%. Of course, Ritsuko knew that Unit 03', if it was ever suitable for piloting, would take several months. Then again... Unit 03 and Unit 04 were similar in more than physical ways. The personality patterns were identical as well. So if Unit 04 actually *was* found, Rei had a good possibility of synching with it. Izumi passed 36% as a high point, proving that she had previous experience. Now that the Sixth Children was more trusting in the NERV staff, she was able to concentrate on her piloting. Asuka was also making quick and large strides forward, also passing about 38%. While an activation test between Unit 14 and Asuka was bound to happen sooner or later, Ritsuko kept this information from the Second for her own personal reasons... --- --- Shinji, much to his chagrin, had returned to digging. At about forty meters down, something was detected. Even with all the sand moved away, Unit 01 was still not visible from the surface as it continued digging. "You alright, Shinji-kun? Your heart rate is a little uneven." "I'm.. tired... that's all..." "Please just hold out a little more, alright, Shinji? This is vitally important. Ritsuko just told me that Rei is compatible with Unit 04. If this thing really is EVA-04, then Rei'll have an EVA again. You don't want Rei to be bored, now do you?" "... I guess not..." "Then go for it! Ten more meters!" Shinji began to dig with more vigor than before, encouraged by his guardian's words. Mining equipment continually moved the sand away; they worked non-stop. Thusly, the hole Shinji had started was now more than 300 meters across. Misato held her breath as she watched the camera feed from the VTOL hovering over Unit 01's position. With every handful of sand pushed away, the Major hoped with all her heart that white armor would be there. She almost yearned to hear the metal-on-metal clashing of the armors. Not only did she wish for a new EVA and an end to Shinji's toil, but also for Rei to have some purpose for being at NERV. Her eyes momentarily glanced at a horizontal view of Shinji's progress. He was almost down that ten meters... She bent forward in her chair, completely intent on seeing the exact moment Unit 04 was uncovered. With each scrape of ground that EVA-01 took, Misato imagined seeing the purple-armored hands bumping into something. A few more handfuls of sand, and the head of Unit 04 would be revealed... A display beeped as EVA-01's hands finally got down to 100 meters below the surface. "M-Misato!" "What? Did you find it?!" Misato asked quickly. "I don't know..." The Major looked over to the VTOL camera feed, which was digitally zoomed in and enhanced where Unit 01 was digging. A material could be seen below, but it looked more gray than white, and didn't look like it should have if it was Unit 04's head. "Should I try and dig around it?" "Yes!" As Shinji began to comment on how excited Misato sounded, he did continue digging, albeit far too slow for the Major's taste. "We're going to give him an air hose so he doesn't inadvertantly hurt the armor casing," Schwartzwald stated firmly. "Who knows how it was affected." "Oh, OK. You hear that, Shinji?" "Yea, I'm going to go up and get it." Unit 01 walked up the side of the hole, which was slow work anyway since the sand easily shifted beneath the massive feet. A large vacuum was at the surface, and a hose was attached to it. The vacuumed air was shoved down the thin tube at a high speed, basically turning the vacuum into a pressure hose of air. Shinji brought the device down to the bottom of the hole and placed it near the surface. When sand began to fly everywhere, the Third Children moved the hose a little further from the sand. Misato growled as the sand which was kicked up blocked her view. When the machine was turned off, it took several agonizingly long minutes for the sand in the air to settle. "Shinji? You see anything?" "Mainly sand, Misato. I'm gonna hold until I can see again." "OK." Shinji was surprised at how tense Misato's voice was. "Is this that exciting, Misato-san?" "Yes! It's... like being in line for a roller coaster you've never ridden but talked about for days in advance!" "Why?" "Because it was my idea to look for Unit 04. If it's there..." "You'll feel reassured that you're Head of Operations for a reason." "... Yes, that's right. You really do amaze me, Shinji-kun." "I've been thinking a lot lately." "Well, just think about finding that EVA for a few more minutes, OK?" "There's sand everywhere, Misato. What about the radar?" "Uh..." Misato swiveled to look at another screen. "There's definitely is something there, but I can't tell what it is from this data. Let me try the electron detector." Misato flipped the switch of the machine. The device had been pioneered by Gerhirn in 2003. It used the same type of technology as electron microscopes, but not really. Misato wasn't really sure how it worked, but she knew it could easily detect pretty much anything, combine it with data of what was being searched for, and see if the data matched. However, it did require a certain amount of matter to be present... "No, it isn't detecting enough material." "I'm gonna use the air hose again." The humming filled the air again, and more sand was kicked high into the air. Silent minutes passed as Shinji blew more sand into the air like a paleontologist uncovering a fragile set of 'X'-million year old bones. Katsuragi continually scanned the electron detector. Finally, at the exact same moment, two voices pierced the comm system. "Misato!" "Shinji!" ""I see it!"" ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- To Be Continued...