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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: toheel@singnet.com.sg or teloong@cwcom.net
archive: http://www.teloong.mcmail.com/HERZ.htm

HTML version is available for Part 7.