A NEON GENESIS EVANGELION fanfic. Rights belonging to GAINAX and AD Vision. Used without permission. HERZ by E.L.Toh Part II: Memories I "Tadaima! (I'm home!)" called out Asuka as she entered the apartment. "Mama!" Akiko squealed with obvious delight as the toddler ambled forward so that her mother could pick her up and carry her in her arms. "Okaeri nasai! (Welcome home!)" "Were you a good girl today?" asked Asuka as she ruffled her daughter's soft chestnut hair. Akiko nodded vehemently. She gave her best kawaii look, blinking her big blue eyes for added effect. Asuka reflected on how Shinji's genes seemed to have overwhelmed hers. Except for Akiko's eye and hair colour which took after Asuka's German ancestry, her daughter's features were completely Japanese. There were times when she looked at her daughter and saw a very young Rei with normal colour and plenty of emotion. She frowned slightly at the memory of her own behaviour when she first realized the resemblance and how embarrassed she had been when Ritsuko quietly explained Rei's origins to her. A surviving digital image of Dr Ikari Yui served to reinforce Dr Akagi's point. A printed reproduction of that image now had a proud place next to the other family pictures. "Welcome back, Asuka," Shinji emerged from the kitchen, straightening his apron. Asuka had always thought that as Shinji grew out of adolescence, he looked a lot like his father. But that was before she had a clear idea what Yui looked right. "Dinner is almost ready." "Thanks... ah it's so nice to come home to a nice warm house after a hard day's work," said Asuka. Later as they were having dinner, Asuka looked up from feeding Akiko and asked,"Shin-chan, is there something you want to tell me?" He had been fidgeting with the squarish cross around his neck. "Ummm. In fact there is...ummm...it's...errr." Asuka rolled her eye. "Well, what is it, Baka-Shinji?" Shinji gulped. "Kagero-san has been posted here from the United Nations Inspector-General's office." "Kagero? You don't mean... Kurumi," Asuka snarled the name. "So the bitch is back eh?" "Asuka! Please!" "Why are you defending her?" "Please, Asuka. She's never meant any harm. And you shouldn't use that type of language in front of our little girl." Asuka reddened and continued the meal in silence. Akiko, being a very intelligent child, decided against expanding her vocabulary. *** Zereul. The Fourteenth. "I'm neutralising its AT Field, aren't I!? Why don't you collapse!? I can't lose! Not again!" As the explosions cleared away, the Angel unfolded its arms like perforated paper. Both shot towards her. There was no escape. Asuka screamed in pain, clutching at her shoulders, as Unit 02's arms were severed. "Damn you! You swine!!!" Her mind was engulfed in a crimson tide. Through the haze, she could just hear Misato calling her name, telling her 'no' and ordering her neural connections to be cut immediately. Unit 02's head was sliced clean off. She cursed as she choked down her tears. FAILURE. FUTILITY. Arael. The Fifteenth. Light. Blinding light. Piercing her mind. "NOOO!!! Don't come into me!" "Asuka, I'm ordering you to retreat!" "NO! I'd rather die here now!" ... "...I'm glad you're alright, Asuka." "Shut up! Who are you calling alright!? I was rescued by that doll! By that damned doll! I would rather have died! I hate you! I hate you! I hate everything!" HATE. ANGER. Almisael. The Sixteenth. "Sortie Unit 02." "Shirei!" protested Hyuuga. "We can use it as a decoy." "H..Hai!" ... "Asuka, approach 300m more, and deploy your AT field. Fire the palette gun at the target's back. Alright? Eva Unit 02, lift off!" instructed Misato. No response. Unit 02 remained motionless. "Move out! Asuka! What's wrong? Unit 02's status?" "Impossible! Syncro ratio is too low!" reported Maya. "Asuka!" Asuka found that she could only whimper. "It won't move, it won't move..." "Remove the freeze on Unit 01. Sortie immediately," ordered Gendou. "Eh?" "Sortie immediately." Unit 01 ascended as Unit 02 was retrieved into the ground. "What's this? Am I so worthless to you? You didn't do this for me last time..." whispered Asuka. USELESS. WORTHLESS. The Nine. Bloodlust. Asuka screamed a war cry as she squeezed the life out of the last two white Evas. She swivelled around and threw forth an AT Field to block the weapon. It twisted into the form of the Lance of Longinus and pierced Unit 02's head. She screamed in pain as her vision went blank in her left eye, blood seeped down her face. Unit 02 ceased activation. FAILED. Screaming, she tugged on the controls. The white Evas came back to life and descended on her like a flock of vultures, pulling out the innards of Unit 02. FUTILE. Then as they took to the air, Unit 02 began to move feebly. She could see them circling her. HATRED. "I'll kill you. Kill you. Kill you. Kill. Kill. Kill." Her mantra as she clutched her face and reached out with her right hand of vengeance. "Kill you. Kill you. Kill you. Kill you. Kill. Kill." The first one had blinded her in one eye and pinned her to the ground. Now the second split her right arm down its length. The other seven soon followed. Thigh. Chest. Abdomen. She stared up into the sky as death descended on her, tearing her body and soul apart. Asuka screamed and bolted up in bed. Dream. Again. Breathing fast, shallow. Heart pounding. Cold sweat. Lightning flashed outside of the apartment's window. Hands over her face, she began to cry. Arms encircled her. Strong arms. She clutched at him. Burying her face into his chest as she sobbed. Shelter. Safe. Her breathing grew a little deeper. "You're bleeding!...I'll get a towel..." He began to pull away from her to get out of bed. "No..no..please.." she struggled weakly to hold on to him. "Shuuussh," he said soothingly, smoothly the damn auburn locks on her forehead as he propped her up on the pillows. She touched her face as Shinji scrambled to the toilet. Blood, sweat and tears. He soon returned and tenderly cleaned her face with a towel dipped in warm water. The blood had been coming from around her left eye. Its colour contrasted with the lively blue of the right's. A dead, almost milky grey. He could see the long gash of dead grey tissue that ran down the length of her right arm. There were another seven 'stigmata' across her body. The power of the Lance, even if they were just duplicates, was fearsome. She had told him before that the injuries throbbed with a dull, constant and persistent ache. They also defied medical treatment. It was a miracle that she was alive at all. The doctors said that her heart had actually stopped for a few seconds when they pulled her out of her shattered entry plug. It was a greater miracle that she had been able to carry a pregnancy to full term and deliver a healthy baby girl. "D..do you think I'm ugly?" Her eyes still shone with tears. Shinji gazed her. His wife. The mother of his child. The love of his life. "Of course not." She hugged him fiercely and whispered,"Don't ever leave me..." "I've always been yours." Asuka nuzzled his neck and began to massage his chest. Unbidden another memory arose. A cool monotonous voice. "If you do not open yourself to Eva, it will not move." That was the key. When she lay in Eva at the bottom of the lake, depth charges exploding all round her, she had realized how much she wanted to live, that she wanted to survive. She opened her mind and poured her heart into Evangelion, awakening its awesome power. The heart of Evangelion was human as well. Mama. She had always been there, guiding her, protecting her, loving her. The secret of the AT Field lay bare before her. The wall around her heart had protected her from hurt but the human heart became filled with loneliness and sought release, escape, transcedence. Mama had always been there. She had just never allowed Mama's love to fill her heart. It was a revelation that she had cast away in the despair of her defeat that fateful day in 2015. Again that same cool flat voice. "If you do not open yourself to him, you can never experience his love... You must choose now. Everything else hangs in the balance..." It was a second chance. Her last chance. Her mind returned to the present. "I love you," she said as she huddled closer to him. "I love you too." Their lips met. Asuka leaned into the kiss. She had lost much and suffered terribly, but from the ashes, she had risen anew. She had also gained so much. Things she had not dared to hope for in the past, a past that seemed like a lifetime ago. The irony of it all. Owing so much to two women she hardly considered as friends. But Asuka pushed all dark thoughts out of her mind as the Ikaris celebrated their union as husband and wife. *** Everything seemed like it happened yesterday. In the depths of Terminal Dogma, she had been gazing up at the huge white figure of Lilith from the base of the cross when the entrance, known as Heaven's Door, began to open. She turned around and levelled her gun at him. "It's all over," she said as she pushed a button on her remote control. "Let us die together, mother!" She raised her face to the Heavens. Nothing happened. CASPAR had refused the auto destruct signal. Her mother had chosen her man over her own daughter. Gendou pointed his own gun at her. 'I really did love you.' The bastard. Even now, he only mouthed the words but gave no voice to it. "Liar." A shot ran out. The bullet tore through her flesh and bone, the shock of betrayal replaced by the shock of realization. The realization that Gendou had the courage to shoot her. Her body was flung backwards by the impact of the round. Falling. Falling. Like an eternity. The LCL was thick, viscous, slightly warm and it smelt of blood. "This must be what the pilots feel like, surrounded by this..." she mused as she descended into darkness. "Ritsuko-sempai? ...Sempai?" asked a voice. Prof Akagi Ritsuko stirred in her wheelchair and blinked several times. She looked up to see Maya who was wearing a shiny venom-green sleeveless dress that hugged her figure and ended at the knee. She was wearing two dangly crystal earrings, stockings, red lipstick, and two white gloves. She had also combed her hair differently, having released her long brown locks from its usual ponytail and making them more tousled and less business like.(*) "Are you alright?" "Oh, just an old woman day-dreaming." Ritsuko ran a hand through her platinum hair. She had stopped bleaching or dyeing it and this was how it turned out. She briefly considered whether it was simply due to all the chemical abuse she had subjected it to or a physical manifestation of all her sins and suffering. "I'm sorry, I can't help worrying about you sometimes," said Maya as she cradled a mug of tea in both her hands, presenting it to her mentor. Ritsuko cupped her hands around Maya's. "Maya..." "Sempai?" Maya was blushing slightly. "Thank you for your... concern. And for taking care of me like this." "It's alright. Really." "Maya... I... I've always known..." whispered Ritsuko as she removed her hands and took the mug. "Let's go in. There's a storm brewing," said Ritsuko. Maya smiled softly as she took the handle bars at the rear of the wheelchair and helped Ritsuko from the apartment balcony into the living room. "Don't forget to bring an umbrella along," reminded Ritsuko as Maya put on her dress shoes. "Well, that's good." "What?" "When you start to nag, I know that you're alright." "Oh, just go or you'll be late for your date." "You're such a tease, sempai. It's not really a date..." "Oh whatev. Enjoy yourself." "I will," smiled Maya as she gave Ritsuko a quick peck on her right temple before leaving. *** "Deputy Commander Fuyutsuki has been found," said the intel man as the door to her cell slid open. "Thank you for your cooperation." Misato reached out and took her NERV ID and her pistol from the tray that the man held out to her. The former, a symbol of rights and privileges but which also tied her with duties and obligations. Duty. The latter, the instrument of execution. "I see," she said, inserting the weapon back into its holster. "And what about...? "You know what is required." "Where is he?" "I wouldn't know that." And then the Section 2 man walked away. He was leaning against the housing of the huge ventilation fan. He still needed a shave. And to straighten that tie of his. He looked up, his face, soft in dying light of the sun. "You're a little late, aren't you?" She fired a single shot and walked away. Kaji didn't even look surprised. The boy was pathetic, moaning for Asuka to help him and that he wanted to die. She could remember feeling so angry and disappointed as she dragged him through the carnage to the Cage's elevator. She remembered the pain as the round pierced her back. But he was safe. She had told him to go down to the Cage and destroy the Eva series. She listened to his words of self-loathing and self-hatred. She told him that he would have to do what was right. Or that she would never ever forgive him. And that once he had completed his task, to come back to her, safely. She gave him her cross and then she kissed him. "That was an adult kiss. We'll continue this later, alright?" But both knew that there wasn't going to a later. She pushed him into the elevator and the doors slammed shut. Her strength finally gave out as she leaned against the walls, staining them with her lifeblood. She collapsed onto the floor, a pool of red gathering about her. 'At least in my life, there has been one true thing...' she thought as darkness overtook her. 'I love you, Shinji.' Maj-Gen Katsuragi sat in her office. Bathed in the eerie red glow of the Tree of Sephiroth above her, she sat with her fingers inter- locked just under her nose, her elbows supported by the desk. She could hear the storm outside. The huge hole punched into the Geo Front by the JSSDF N2 attack on NERV was never repaired even after Tokyo-3 had been reconstructed around it. The heavens poured down on the pyramidal structure of HERZ Headquarters. The storm had been going on since last night. A light winked on her desk. "Enter." Hyuuga and Aoba entered the office and stood before her. The former began his briefing without introduction. "Firstly, the Russians are furious that Cpt Ikari destroyed the Krasnoyarsk missiles after having achieved the primary objective of preventing their launch. The top brass at the UN International Peace- keeping Force are actually quietly relieved that there'll be a few less loose Russian nukes sitting around. They'll give us full backing before the Military Staff Committee and the Security Council." "Secondly, the Americans are still refusing to hand over those 56 KH-11 survelliance satelites in accordance with UNIPF sub-treaty provisions to create an independent UN intelligence gathering capability. My sources tell me that they also plan to withhold their UN budget contribution for a second year running. Trying to force more concessions but kind of risky for their own position if you ask me. They'll probably get together with the Russians this time to get us disbanded or cut down to size..." Hyuuga's emphasis was on the unspoken 'again'. "The only bright spot is that they haven't gone through with their threats to revoke benefits for American ex-military who join the UNIPF." "Thirdly, looks like we're definitely going to be called in over the Congo. You want me to tell Strasser and Asuka to start making specific plans?" Misato nodded. "Nothing significant so far," reported Aoba. "Except that new babe from the Inspector-General's Office. The last accountant couldn't get much out of us so now they've switched from hard ball to soft ball tactics. Here's her file." "What a small world. Kagero Kurumi. Ummm. This could be very interesting indeed," murmured Misato as she leafed through the documentation. "Does Asuka know about this yet?" Both men nodded. "What? No fuss?" asked Misato. "Asuka was even whistling a happy tune before our meeting this morning," said Hyuuga who was smiling. "Aaah. Shinji-kun must be exhausted today." The three laughed. "Well, we could turn this to our advantage... In the meanwhile, Shigeru, have you told Kagero that Terminal Dogma is off-limits even to normal HERZ personnel?" "Hai, Katsuragi-shirei. But she protested - like the last one. Same old story about her remit. She also demanded to know who did have access. I told her to ask you." "Oh well, looks like she'll just have to learn the hard way... Before I forget, Major Aoba, can you still spare the time to deliver this for me?" "Hai, Shirei." Misato stood up and removed a black nondescript briefcase from a desk drawer. "Good luck," she mouthed silently as she handed it over. Both men nodded and left. Misato reassumed her previous position at her desk and was soon deep in thought. *** ANNEX A TO PART II International Politics in the Post-Second Impact Era by Dr Horaki Hikari First Year Undergraduate Lecture Synposis (2027) International Relations Department University of Tokyo-3 First and Second Treaties of Valentine and the Rise of the United Nations The Second Impact (13 Sep 2000) resulted in massive loss of life and destruction due mainly to the sudden rise in sea levels and the catasphrohic effect on climate. In its aftermath, there was widespread crop failure and disruption of the transportation of food and other necesities that modern industrial society had come to take for granted. The ensuing chaos tempted many states to resort to military force so as to ensure their own survival, as well as to settle old scores or to improve their relative position. Most notable were the outbreak of hostilities between India and Pakistan on 15 Sep 2000. It rapidly escalated into a full-blown nuclear conflagration that has left the South Asian sub-continent as a charred wasteland and reduced a major civilization into insignificance. The other was the annihilation of Tokyo by the new Non-Nuclear (N2) device on 20 Sep 2000. Japan, after the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was the first country in the world to be at the receiving end of another technological leap in destructive power. Since documents and witness accounts relating to these events are extremely sparse, it is still contentious as to who started it or who was at fault. What was certain that a continued zero-sum struggle among the nation-states of the world would result in further calamities. As such, the First Treaty of Valentine was signed at the United Nations in New York on 14 Feb 2001. Its most significant provisions centralized the military resources of the world under the direction of the Security Council and organized by the previously neglected Military Staff Committee. Economic disputes were referred to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and legal disputes subject to the mandatory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Though hailed as a step towards international, if not world, government, in retrospect, it was really a victory for the Great Powers. Particularly the permanent members of the Security Council (USA, Russia, UK, France and China) who would dominate all the important organs of the UN. Japan was compensated by an agreement to shift the headquarters of the United Nations to Tokyo-2 in 2007. Germany was bought off with increased control over a more closely integrated European Union. As the Eva Conspiracy was to show, the fate of the world was decided amongst a select elite amongst the Great Powers. In the wake of the revelations of the Eva conspiracy, public confidence in their governments collapsed. In the leading countries, a handful of men had agreed to man's evolution into a single perfect being through a Third Impact. Though the UN had played a major role in the cover up behind the Second Impact in its 2002 report (which stated that it was the result of a meteorite collision), that was seen to be due to its lack of independence and resources - a result of Great Power manipulation. The world looked to a new saviour, a more rational form of government - the new United Nations that was born on 14 Feb 2016. Many of the reforms of the First Valentine Treaty were retained but efforts were directed to break the monopoly of control by the Great Powers. The Security Council was 'rationalized' as the British and French permanent seats were merged into a European Union permanent seat. The veto was modified into a 'half-veto', requiring the 'nay' votes of at least two of the permanent members before a resolution would fail. The Japanese gained a permanent seat at long last. The developing world was represented by Brazil, Nigeria, South Africa and Indonesia. The practical reality of India's almost total destruction prevented it from becoming a permanent member as well. The decline of the Middle East due mainly to the petroleum substitute developed by the Quetzalcoatl Corporation will be discussed in the mega-corp/transnationalism lecture. The United Nations was given greater independence and legitimacy through a creation of a directly elected Representative Assembly which could check the inter-governmental organs. The Secretariat was given executive powers and made responsible to both the Security Council and the Representative Assembly. A UN International Peacekeeping Force was created. Its buildup is causing controversy today as states try to minimize its effectiveness and thus claw back power from the UN. However the UN's real teeth lies in its command over HERZ (previously NERV) and its force of six Evangelions. No force can defeat Eva in the field but Eva alone cannot occupy a country. This was the logic of a compromise over control of HERZ which remains a truly autonomous UN agency. It is no longer above the law as it was during the Angel emergency period. In conclusion, the First and Second Treaties represent important advances on the road to an international government. But my own position is that it is an 'incomplete' revolution. The UN still lacks the preponderance of force and power to overawe the states and that represents serious potential for future conflict. END OF PART II ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 1. (*) Maya's description here was almost completely lifted from Joyce Wakabayashi's 'The One You Want'. Her archive is at http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Gulf/7463/ and she can be contacted at MOBIUSKLEIN@prodigy.net 2. The events and dates of the Second Impact, India-Pakistan War and bombing of Tokyo, detailed in Annex A, were taken from the EVA FAQ ver.0.5.7. (March 31, 1998) Written by Stephen Lee. Edited by Widya Santoso. Elaboration of those events are my own. Ver 1.0 - 24 Jan 99 Ver 2.0 - 27 Jan 99 Ver 2.1 - 28 Jan 99 Ver 2.4 - 21 Feb 99 Ver 2.5 - 17 May 99 Ver 2.6 - 13 Oct 99 contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com archive: http://www.teloong.mcmail.com/HERZ.htm HTML version is available for Part 2.