A NEON GENESIS EVANGELION fanfic. Rights belonging to GAINAX and AD Vision. Used without permission. HERZ by E.L.Toh Part VII: An Alignment of Heavenly Bodies "Not much to look at." Her very first words to him. "Chance!" To her, the Sixth Angel was just that. A chance. To show everyone she was the best. Most of all she would show him. "I should haaave known." He had surprised her. She didn't know he played the violincello. About his hidden talents. Still his self-effacing response gave her the chance to put him down. After all, he was just wimpy little Shinji. "You wanna kiss me?" Until this day, she had no idea what possessed her to do that. She had pinched his nose shut and made a show of gargling after the kiss. She had her pride. "I hate you! I hate that bitch! I hate everything!" Her pride in tatters. Defeated and violated by the Fifteenth. Rescued by Rei. It was too much for her. Shinji's concern nauseated her. "Are you that happy that I can't pilot Eva? Don't worry. When an Angel comes along, our invincible Shinji-sama will defeat it. We little girls won't have to do anything. They only need their pathetic Shinji!" The waves of her anger crashed impotently against the rock that was Ayanami Rei. She was so sure that she hated the both of them. "Shinji!!! Where the hell are you!?" Fighting for her life against the Eva 05-series. That fateful day in 2015. He didn't help her. He couldn't - until it was too late. It was 2020. He was on the phone, begging her not to go back to Germany. He said he needed her. She felt sick to her guts. The pervert. He was making fun of her now that she was hideous and disfigured. That was his fault too. "I know what you did to me!" He lapsed into a stunned silence. Then the only sound that came from him was a strangled whine. She pressed on with her attack. "You tried to kill Touji! You killed Kaoru! You shook your little twig at me while I lay there helpless!" By this time, he had become incoherent as the full weight of his guilt crashed down on him. "I never want to see or hear from you ever again! You can go and die for all I care! I hate you! I hate you! I HATE YOU!!!" Her coup de grace. Then she hung up. She had no idea that she had just pushed him over the edge and into the abyss. She still kept the final note he had written for her. Just for her. He could be so stupid. "It must be your fault! What have you done!? Why does my little girl look like that freak!?" 2023. They had been married for almost a year. She went hysterical when she first realized how much Akiko looked like Rei. She hit him hard. Repeatedly. Akiko wailed in her crib, not fully understanding what was happening. But the child knew that something was desperately wrong and she was frightened. It took a whole week for his bruises to heal. Turned out Rei had nothing to do with it. Akiko simply took after Shinji's mother. All the things that she had said to him. All the things she had done to him. Today was their fifth anniversary. And he was taking her out to dinner. The doorbell rang, interrupting her thoughts. It was Kagero Kurumi. "Good evening, Cpt Ikari. I'm the babysitter." "H..Hai. Call me Asuka. Please come in." Asuka showed her guest to a seat amd served some tea before introducing Akiko Asuka was in control. Just barely. The woman terrified her. She was beautiful in her own way. Shinji owed her his life. And she was also his first. But this was a challenge. Ikari Asuka Langley did not run away from challenges. But tonight was a happy night. It was their fifth anniversary and her husband was taking her out to dinner. *** Akiko was no trouble at all. She ate her dinner without fuss and watched TV on Kurumi's lap before she was put to bed. It wasn't long before Kurumi started poking around the Ikari household. She was nosy by nature. One of the reasons why she had been reassigned from the UNIPF's shock troops to the Inspectorate. She found herself examining the photographs in the master bedroom. The earliest was a print of a digital image from within the MAGI system itself. It was a picture of a woman in a pink shirt and white lab coat. In her face Kurumi saw Ayanami Rei and Ikari Akiko. There was a bit of Shinji as well. This was Ikari Yui, mother of Ikari Shinji, who died under mysterious circumstances in 2004. Some say that she was the mastermind behind everything. The next was a picture of the three Children in school uniform. Asuka had her right arm around Shinji and her left around Rei as she smiled broadly for the camera. Shinji had an almost dreamy look on his face. Rei graced the image with the barest hint of a smile and her red eyes shone with spirit. Then there was the wedding picture. Shinji looked very smart in his tuxedo. Asuka, despite the eyepatch and arm harness, looked stunning in form-fitting beaded bodice with a chain belt across her waist.(*) She smiled radiantly as she clung tightly to Shinji's left arm. There were also Akiko's baby pictures. She soon found the discs that recorded the wedding and the various stages of Asuka's pregnancy. Apparently Kensuke was the camera man. "This is all your fault, Baka-Shinji," grumbled Asuka cheerfully as she held her swollen belly. "Ooh! She's kicking me! Can you feel it? Oh Shinji, come on! Don't be so mousy. I'm not marked fragile or something, you know..." Kurumi buried her head in her hands and tried not to cry. *** "Tadaima," whispered Shinji as the door slid open. It was past 1AM. All the lights in the apartment were out. He had an arm around Asuka's shoulders as he supported his rather tipsy wife into their home. She giggled and began to nuzzle his neck while rubbing his chest with her free hand. "Hmmmm...(giggle)...Baaka-Shinjii..." she whispered amorously. "I know you just love it when I call you that... (giggle).." Shinji heard the sound of a gun's safety catch. He tensed and reached for his own weapon. "It's alright," came Kurumi's voice. "It's me. Just had to make sure it wasn't the bad guys." She put her own weapon away and walked in from the balcony where she had been staring at the stars. Asuka looked up as Kurumi approached them and freed herself from Shinji's support. "You. I really hate you, you know. I mean REALLY. Hate you." Her voice had none of its usual fire. "Feeling's mutual," said Kurumi matter-of-factly. "Oh good, I feel so much better now," said Asuka who suddenly lunged forward and engulfed Kurumi in a hug. "Thanks for everything though... For looking out for the baka," Asuka whispered. "Thank you." She disengaged herself from Kurumi and walked away a little unsteadily. Her back towards Shinji and Kurumi, Asuka gave a royal wave. "Don't be too long now, Shinji..." As his wife stumbled drunkenly into the bedroom, Shinji started to scratch the back of his head as he stood before Kurumi. They looked at each other. "No, it's alright," said Kurumi, shaking her head. "You sure?" "Yeah, I know I asked for a kiss before and after the baby-sitting. But no, thanks. I couldn't. Not now." Shinji sighed in relief. "You told her?" asked Kurumi. "I tell her everything." "Everything?" Kurumi pointed at Shinji, then at herself. Shinji nodded. Kurumi rolled her eyes. "I should have known... What's the matter with her anyway?" Kurumi swayed her hand back and forth. "Champagne. Lots of it. She had the whole bottle. I had to drive. And you of all people should know what alcohol does to me..." "I sure do." Kurumi smiled her crooked smile. They walked to the door. As it slid open, she took his hand. "You've got a beautiful daughter, Shinji-kun. And Asuka... well... take good care of both of them." "I will." She gave him a quick peck on the cheek and walked away. *** A few days later. In the arid plains of Western China was the Lop Nor testing facility. A towering white monstrosity drifted across the desert sands. It was mainly a huge floating head topped by a pair of wings that held it aloft. Under that was a pair of appendages shaped like VTOL engines. Below that was a pair of scythe-like arms. It had no real body, only a long snaking white tail. The floating head was dominated by a huge, razor-tooth mouth within which was a round green globe. Just at the base of the wings, crowning the monstrosity was the familiar red S2 globe. The source of its life and power. Helicopters buzzed around it, their weapons having as much effect as bee stings against a mountain. The smoking husks of tanks and artillery lay scattered around like toys cast off by a child. More shells and rockets impacted around the giant. It responded by firing a huge pulse of energy from its mouth. A whole column of rocket launchers were vapourized. Its arms suddenly became sheet-like and metallic. They streaked into the air and brought down another two helicopters. The monster continued its trek eastwards. Maj-Gen Katsuragi watched the images of death and destruction impassively from her dais in HERZ's command centre. Lt Col Hyuuga stood at her right hand. "Definitely an A.T. Field," reported 2nd Lt Mochida Kaori. "Pattern is fluctuating intermitently between orange and blue," said 2nd Lt Igarashi Mitsuru. "We have an Eva basic structure infused with Angel DNA. Somewhat like the Thirteen Angel but this one seems to have bits of most of them in it," announced 1st Lt Ito Ichiro. "You can see that the situation is not well, Maj-Gen Katsuragi," came the disembodied voice from the communication monolith linking the Chinese military command to HERZ. "We need you to dispatch your Evas." "Gen Ning Hai, there are proper channels," replied Misato "Even if China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, it cannot order HERZ around." "This is an emergency. Many lives are at stake. Your charter allows for action now." "Indeed." There was a deadly silence. Finally the Chinese side broke it. "What is your price?" "Information. On where the other Evas are being built. All of them." "You can't expect us to know all that. And what makes you think.." "..that you would know?" interjected Misato smoothly. "That thing was built in Lop Nor. Using technology from SEELE and Chinese military resources. I'm sure this will be an interesting revelation before the UN Organs and the world media..." "That's blackmail!" "I'm also perfectly happy to let this thing continue its grand tour through your heartland and population centres. I don't have to do anything until the UN to get its paperwork done or until it reaches Japan itself..." Another pause of silence. "Alright." Under her folded hands, Misato's lips twisted into a wry smile. *** Just outside the ruins of the Great Wall at Wuwei, Eva Unit 01 stood triumphant over the body of the mutant Lop Nor Eva. Units 05-Bravo and Charlie were both badly damaged and were being readied for transport back to the Geo-Front for repairs. "Shinji-kun, daijobu (Are you alright)?" Shinji smiled. Misato could know just by consulting the technical data at Maya's fingertips but she still felt the need to ask him herself. He could see faint traces of worry lines on her face as her image popped up in his entry plug. "Hai, Misato-san." He had never gotten into the habit of addressing her as 'Katsuragi-shirei'. She had forbidden it anyway. "I was afraid I would be out of touch but the simulation exercises seem to have paid off." Misato's face softened in relief. She smiled gently. Shinji saw more silver and gold in her hair today. "Good... Good. Come home to us." "Why does everyone always pamper Baka-Shinji?" grumbled Asuka as her own communication screen popped up alongside Misato's. "I told you those Dummy A.I.s can't fight for nuts in a *real* battle." Shinji smiled at his wife's bravado. He knew that though she had made a solid professional judgement by suggesting the deployment of Unit 01, she had been worried as well. Striking up a pose like he was receiving an award, Shinji said,"And of course, I have to thank my beautiful and loving wife for actively supporting me. They say that behind every successful person is a strong partner. I'm no exception. Thank you. Thank you..." "Hey Shinji!" said Kensuke, joining in the fray. "You forgot to credit that demon wife of yours for how she keeps you in line by disciplining you when you're a bad boy. Of learning how to live with humiliation night after night after night..." "Kensuke..." said Asuka dangerously. That meant quietly. "What does the fuhrer command?" asked Kensuke mockingly. "Kensuke... I bet your darling Kaori-chan would just love to hear about all your perverted little exploits back when we were in school.." "What exploits!?" "Oh, you know... those..." Asuka raised her eyebrow suggestively. "I don't know what you're talking about! I... Oh man..." whimpered Kensuke whose image then winked out. Asuka smiled in triumph. "Ja mata, Baka-Shinji," she said. Then she switched off her comms channel. "Would have brought Units Delta, Echo and even Wondergirl's Zero if Misato had let me," muttered Asuka to herself. *** "Just what is this?" asked Ritsuko in wonder as she stared at the huge column that stretched away above and below. It was several hundred metres thick and several kilometres long. On the deck level she was on, the column was buttressed by three huge terminals. They were labelled S.C. YGGDRASIL 01 - CLOTHO, 02 - LACHESIS and 03 - ATROPOS. "This," said Kagero Natsumi with a broad sweep of her hand, "is the Eighth Generation Super Computer YGGDRASIL. It uses quantum methods of computing - moving beyond binary logic. It also incorporates an evolution matrix derived from the Eleventh Angel." "But... this is incredible!" exclaimed Ritsuko. "Your Commander Ikari gave the MIMIR Institute the necessary materials to form a basis for this," boomed a voice as a black comms monolith appeared. An image like a bas-relief was formed red lines. It was a two-dimensional depiction of a jackal-headed man. Anubis. "We had already assembled a system prototype in 2015. Who do you think was responsible for stopping the other five MAGI systems from continuing their attack on your 666 Protector program? And for shutting down five of the nine of Eva-05 series?" asked another voice. Its monolith showed a falcon-headed man. Horus. "Unfortunately, the prototype was assembled in great haste and could not take the strain. It had to be rebuilt from scratch. Now before you, you see the fruits of our labour," said a new voice from a monolith that showed a crocodile-headed man. Sobek. "And now we stretch out our hand once more. To shape the world into a more just order," said another. Its image was an ibis-headed man. Thoth. "We must now force the hand of the Great Powers and break this impasse over the satelites dispute." The YGGRDASIL system reached across the invisible world of data and electricity. Millions of microscopic nanobots streamed from its core and rode on the communication infrastructure towards their target. "But why are you showing me this?" asked Ritsuko, still reeling from the shock of the revelation. "Because your work and your mother's is the foundation on which this was built. We wanted you to see it, in action, for yourself. Also as a warning, not to underestimate the ASCENSION system that SEELE has been building. If we had not forewarned HERZ through Gessler and Ibuki, the old men at SEELE would already be in control of MAGI. Maj-Gen Katsuragi may have destroyed one of the three nodes of ASCENSION but it can be rebuilt," said the fifth monolith, bearing the image of a woman bearing a moon. Isis. "You must prepare," said Kagero Natsume, smiling a crooked enigmatic smile. "For what?" asked Ritsuko, her eyes narrowing in suspicion at the vagueness and evasiveness of the pronouncements. "For Armageddon." *** In the depths of Cheyenne Mountain in Mid-West America, headquarters of NORAD, several top brass were conferring. "I understand that we've failed to produce a single operational Eva thus far." "No matter, the boys are still at it. We'll crack that hoary old chestnut someday soon." "We've still got the Orbital Defence Platforms that we put up over the past few years. Their positronic cannons should give HERZ's Evas a real nasty surprise should the need actually arise. And they thought that we'd actually use it to help those UN and HERZ guys over that little escapade in Kransoyarsk." "Ain't this a beauty." Each ODP was a satelite mounted with a version of the positron rifle first used by Eva. Power was collected by solar panels and channelled into a sophisticated power system. This was the ultimate weapon. And now, they were all in place, circling the heavens. Deadly and waiting. "Blast from the sky. The wrath of God and the United States of America." They laughed. "So when are we are going to give those KH-11s to the UN?" "When the cows come home." More laughter. "Sir?" "Well, what is it?" "Sir, I think you all should come see this." "No, it's not possible!" "Afraid, Sir, that it is." "Do something! Anything!" "We can't. The guidance and control systems aren't responding!" "Nooo!!!" screamed the generals as the whole host of their Orbital Weapons Platforms fired up their retro-rockets and sent themselves hurtling towards the earth. All over the world, these billion dollar satelite weapons were burnt to a crisp as they descended through the upper atmosphere. In Tokyo-3, it was night. Asuka and Shinji were playing a subtle game of footsie out on the balcony when the latter pointed up at the sky. A streak of light made its way across the star-filled sky. "Look at that meteorite. Isn't it pretty?" asked Shinji. "Dummkopf. That's a meteor. It'll burn up before it reaches the surface. Meteorites are things that were supposed to have caused Second Impact. Or so Sensei used to drone on and on about. But you're right, it is pretty. I'll go get Aki-chan so she won't miss it." *** The next day. "This is the latest in from Hathor Broadcasting Corp. Breaking news from the UN on a new Eva conspiracy. We're put you to UNIPF HQ in Tokyo-2 where Maj-Gen Katsuragi Misato of HERZ will be making a special live announcement." Misato was very telegenic. She had a commanding and charismatic presence. The viewers respected and liked her. As a result, in some higher circles she was feared and hated. "Yesterday after events in Western China, the UN has uncovered evidence that the major governments have not learnt the lessons of 2015. They have been lying to us and have continued to build Evas in clear contravention of the Second Treaty of Valentine and without regard for the well being of the human race. UNIPF and HERZ hereby evoke the Emergency Clauses of the Second Treaty of Valentine to declare these actions by some member-states as a clear and present danger to international peace and security. We are also authorized by the Emergency Clauses to evoke Chapter VII of the UN Charter. As such, all Member-States must comply our decision to employ massive force to correct the situation. The UN regrets that it must take this course of action but finds that it has no choice. In the days to come, we ask for your support. We do this to ensure that humanity will have a future so that you and your children can live with the possibility of happiness. May God have mercy on our souls." The image switched to UN bombers dropping N2 mines on military bases throughout the world that had been implicated in illegal Eva construction. *** The image of a mushroom cloud rising was observed twelve black monoliths. SEELE 02: Valiant but to no avail. Katsuragi's actions are in vain. We already have eight of the new Eva-06 series, wrenched from the hands of nation-states. Our understanding of the workings of the Sea of Dirac, much improved over these twelve years, allowed us to come as far as we have. SEELE 03: We still need one more to make the complete Nine. SEELE 05: Katsuragi was simply not ruthless enough. And we were wise not to let our Chinese friends in all of our secrets. We still have several secret production facilities hidden in highly populated cities. SEELE 07: Yes, it will be adequate. The last of the Nine will be ready soon. And we shall have it delivered to us conventionally so as not to raise any suspicion among the bumblers in the UN or HERZ. SEELE 11: The Lop Nor Eva has weakened HERZ's forces. They even had to use Unit 01. But most importantly, it has shown that the Ayanami clone in the Dummy Plug that was installed at Lop Nor is workable. We now have a replacement for the Nagisa Dummy Plugs we lost in 2015 when GEIST's Yggdrasil prototype attacked our systems. Fitting the eight Eva-06s with their Plugs should commence immediately. SEELE 03: Yes, our assault on HERZ HQ retrieve Angel DNA from the Third to the Sixteenth. We managed to gain the First Child's DNA and first generation Dummy Plug designs as well. We cannot risk the interference of Akagi or GEIST which would arise from the use of HERZ A.I. Plugs. But is there a risk with using a Dummy Plug based on one of the Three Children? SEELE 01: She is but a doll created by Ikari to serve his own purposes. She is no threat to us. One mere individual, not even fully a person, can stand between us and our goal. SEELE 04: Now we have the Nine, what about the rest of what we need? SEELE 06: We can almost be certain that Adam, Lilith and Unit 01 will be within the Geo Front at the anointed time. The information on their exact whereabouts will be obtained shortly by the...appropriate means. SEELE 08: And of course, technology has not just progressed on the Evangelion front. There is something of ours that the traitor Ikari had tried to put beyond our grasp... The image that appeared before SEELE was of a massive double-pronged spear silhouetted against the moon whose gravity held this precious instrument in lunar orbit. The Lance of Longinus. ANNEX A TO PART VII Dr Horaki Hikari's personal notes: CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS Chapter I Article 2(4) All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations. Article 2(7) Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII. Chapter VII Article 39 The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security. Article 48(1) The action required to carry out the decisions of the Security Council for the maintenance of intenrational peace and security shall be taken by all members of the United Nations or by some of them, as the Security Council may determine. Article 48(2) Such decisions shall be carried out by the Members of the United Nations directly and through their action in the appropriate international agencies of which they are members. The Emergency Clauses of the Second Treaty of Valentine were written to empower the United Nations International Peace- keeping Force (UNIPF) to be granted the powers vested in the Security Council. Given the complicity of most of the Great Powers in the Eva Conspiracy, it only seemed the logical thing to do. However, a body independent of the member-states with the authority and resources to carry out enforcement measures has grave implications for the traditional system of state sovereignty - which might not be such a bad thing. END OF PART VII NOTES: (*) Asuka's wedding dress comes from Joyce Wakabayashi's 'There's Something About Misato'. As you might have gathered I don't have any original ideas when it comes to fashion. Her archive is at http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Gulf/7463/ and she can be contacted at MOBIUSKLEIN@prodigy.net ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Many thanks to Rocci Cirone, A1BoogZ, Alain Gravel, Greg Thomas, John 'Your Name' Bell, Prometheus, Tang Sze-Beng, Xiang Guo and Joyce Wakabayashi for all the helpful comments and criticism. It's been immensely helpful in sorting out the bugs in the story. Of course, any remaining cock-ups are entirely my fault. Ver 1.1 - 6 Apr 1999 Ver 2.0 - 15 Apr 1999 Ver 2.2 - 24 Oct 1999 contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com archive: http://www.teloong.mcmail.com/HERZ.htm HTML version is available for Part 7.