The electric hum of florescent lights buzzed, the
only sound in an otherwise sterile and silent bathroom. 

        Ritsuko Akagi began her nightly ritual, taking a
long look at herself in the mirror every night before she
went to bed.  She leaned forward and examined her right eye,
then her left.  She held one hand before her, turning it
slowly, then examined the other.

        Satisfied, she closed her eyes and took a deep

        "I am Ritsuko Akagi.  I am Ritsuko Akagi.  I am
Ritsuko Akagi."

        She took one more breath, then gave her reflection
an intense stare. 

        "I mustn't forget." 

        And then she held up the syringe of opalescent
viridian liquid...


               John Biles & Rod M. Present
          A Neon Genesis Evangelion Elseworlds

                 Children of an Elder God

                          Part 2

                     This is Tokyo-3


        It was one of the more mundane dreams of Shinji's
life.  That, he found, was really odd, considering the day
before it was far from ordinary. 

He was on a maglev train. 

        The constant thrum of the train's movement was the
only sound heard.  Outside, to one side, the myriad towers
of Tokyo-3 stood, tall and shining, a testament to the
achievements of mankind. 

        On the other side of the train was the ocean, vast,
wide, and forever flowing, a symbol of the endless nature
of, well, nature. 

        He looked from one to the other, studies in
contrast, and wondered what kind of a dream this was
supposed to be. 

        It was incredibly dull. 

        Behind him, hidden by shadows and unseen by Shinji,
a pair of red eyes watched... 


        Rei Ayanami slept soundly, silently, unmoving. 

        No nightmares plagued her. 

        No dreams lifted her spirits. 

        Rei Ayanami never had dreams she could call her own. 


        Shinji awoke to something stranger than a dream. 

        "Shinji!  Breakfast is ready!" 

        Misato's breakfast. 

        The young Ikari stared blankly at... it. 

        "Breakfast?" he asked. 

        "Breakfast," she reaffirmed, much to his chagrin. 

        "Breakfast," he repeated, as if trying to attach the
concept to the object before him.  It looked like Ramen but
didn't quite smell right.  It was certainly ramen, but with
other... objects thrown in.  The egg, he supposed, wasn't
too off track.  The large chunks of spam were an odd touch. 
Was that curry powder he smelled?  And... and something
else.  Something sharp. 

        The drink next to it wasn't much help either.  It
was some instant orange juice drink.  He despised that
orange goo. 

        "Eat up!" she said cheerfully. 

        Well, it all looked edible, certainly.  It didn't
look...  disgusting... no. 

        With a shrug, he took a bite. 


        Hot!  Very hot!  Very spicy!  Flaming spicy hot! 
Need drink _now_!


        Orange goo...  Hate orange goo! 


        "You okay?" 

        "Water!  Need water!"  He rushed out of the room
quickly, towards the kitchen and the promise of cold water.

        Misato blinked.  "Maybe the Tabasco was a bit much." 


        School was something he was ready for.  It was, he
figured, going to be the same as it was in the last school. 
He'd keep his head low, be quiet, and get through another
school year with no disturbances. 

        That was the plan, anyway. 

        He entered the room, feeling somewhat hesitant. 
First days were always like that for him, though, so even
the feeling of hesitation was oddly comforting. 

        He arrived a little early, wanting to not stick out
too badly by being late, and looked subtly around the room
as he found his way to an empty chair in the back rows. 

        The other students there paid him little attention,
just a quick glance as he walked by and nothing more.  For
this he was relieved. 

        And then there was Rei. 

        She was seated by the windows, and was staring out
at them with an unreadable expression.  She still had her
bandages, one covering half of her face, another wrapped
around her arm, but seemed to be in no discomfort. 

        And suddenly, the rest of world seemed out of phase,
as Rei slowly turned towards him.  He tried to look away,
desperately, as if his life depended on it.  His heart began
pounding, hands trembling, as her one red eye slowly locked
with his.  Blood rushed through his eardrums in a roar and
he felt himself chilled to his very soul. 

        And then the bell rang, Rei looked away once more,
and Shinji found himself with a massive feeling of
disorientation.  Shaking his head and blinking, he took a

        "Stand!  Bow!  Sit!" 

        The class followed along, as was custom, greeting
the teacher. 

        "Class, we have a new student today," said the
elderly man.  "Transfer student Shinji Ikari." 

        "Um, hi." 

        And with that fairly embarrassing moment taken care
of, Shinji took to the task of fading into the background
once more. 

        At least, that was the idea. 

        As the teacher droned on about how the Second Impact
was caused by a meteor hitting the Antarctic, Shinji
received a mysterious message on his laptop. 

              ARE YOU THE NEW PILOT? 

        No hints of who it was, or where they were
broadcasting from.  Odd.  He decided to reply, carefully. 


        A moment later, the mysterious person sent a message


        Shinji sighed.  No sense putting off the inevitable. 
They'd find out sooner or later anyway.


        He was expecting one person to turn around and
whisper at him.

        Maybe two. 

        "You're the new pilot?" "Wow, how's it like to be in
that thing?" "What's the inside of NERV like?" "Is it true
your dad is NERV's commander?" "Are you dating anyone?" "How
was it like to fight that thing yesterday?"

        The entire classroom, on the other hand... 

        "H-hey!  Waitaminute!" 


        Lunch was, in theory, supposed to be what the start
of class wasn't.  It was going to be Shinji fading nicely
into the background and having a quiet time of it. 

        "So you're really an Eva pilot?"

        That didn't happen either.

        Shinji blinked, looking up from his instant ramen
lunch.  There was a person trying to talk to him.  He didn't
understand people very well, and didn't have much practice
communicating with them.  It wasn't so much irritating as it
was embarrasing and awkward. 

        "Um, yes."

        "Hey, that's neat!  Shinji Ikari, right?"

        Shinji nodded.

        "Nice to meet you.  I'm Kensuke Aida," said his
classmate enthusiastically. 

        Shinji blinked.

        "Don't suppose they'd let you bring visitors into
NERV, would they?" 

        "Ah... I don't think so."

        "Saw the fight yesterday.  Didn't do too bad.  How
long have they been training you?" 

        "They haven't.

        This reply accomplished one thing: it actually made
Kensuke stop talking for a moment. 

        "They... didn't train you."


        "Not at all?"

        "Not at all."

        "Wow," said Kensuke, sounding very impressed.  "Hey,
lemme ask you, how well do you know Ayanami?" 


        "The other pilot.  The girl.  Y'know, the real
creepy one." 

        "I haven't talked to her.  Much."

        "Oh.  I can understand why, though.  There's
something about that girl that's just... unnatural." 


        She walked.

        Cicidas were immediately silenced and ceased all
movement.  Birds stopped in their singing and immediately
took flight.  Squirrels scattered away in droves.  No
mosquitos drew blood from her, nor did they seem to be
anywhere near her. 

        This was Rei Ayanami.





        She stopped, rubbed her nose, blinked, and gazed at
the general direction of one Aida Kensuke.


        "Didja feel that?"

        "Feel what?" asked Shinji.

        "Felt like a cold breeze or something."  Kensuke
rubbed his arms a bit, trying to warm up.  Then he spotted
something behind Shinji. 



        "Um, I'd just like you to know the really pissed off
guy coming towards us, Touji Suzuhara, is mad 'cause his kid
sister got hurt in the fighting yesterday.  And, ah, nothing
personal, but I don't think I can stop him."


        Shinji found himself grabbed violently by the shirt,
lifted up, and tossed, actually, flung across the ground
roughly.  He did manage to catch a glimpse of a tall boy
with a really angry expression on his face. 

        "Get up!"

        Before Shinji could do anything, he found himself
picked up again, feet dangling helplessly above the ground. 
This time he was staring right into the boy's face. 

        "You put my sister in the hospital, asshole!" 

        "I... I didn't mean to!"

        "That ain't enough!" snarled Touji.  There was a
slight chill in the air, but Touji was too mad to pay
attention to it. 

        "Hey, c'mon Touji, give the guy a break."

        "Shut up!"  Touji wound his fist back for another


        ... and felt something cold grip his arm.  His face
immediately drained of color and fury, replaced by a
somewhat nervous expression. 


        Shinji, who had his eyes closed, opened them slowly. 
The scene wasn't exactly what he was expecting.  There was
Ayanami, still emotionless, but holding Touji's arm back
easily.  Kensuke was silent and perfectly still, while Touji
seemed actually frightened. 

        "Let him go," said Rei quietly

        Touji took a nervous gulp, then slowly released
Shinji.  Rei shifted her attention to him and said, simply,

        "Who?  Me?" 

        "Go," repeated Rei.

        "Um... okay."  Shinji took a few awkward steps back,
giving Touji an apologetic look.  "I'm sorry about your
sister, really," said Shinji.  "I'll try to be more careful
next time.  Um, bye." 

        Shinji left, and a moment later, so did Rei. 

        This left the area with two rather puzzled teens. 

        "Looks like she's taken a liking to him," said
Kensuke.  "That's weird.  She doesn't like anybody." 

        Touji wasn't listening.  He was, instead, sorting
through logic and finding something missing. 

        "Hey, Kensuke.  What the hell just happened?" 

        "Rei grabbed your arm and-"

        "Yeah, yeah, but it doesn't make any -sense-," said
Touji.  "I mean, Rei doesn't look menacing, does she?" 

        "Well, no, now that I think about it.  Kinda cute,
in a mysterious kinda way." 

        "And she doesn't have superhuman strength, right?" 

        "Not that I've seen, no."

        "She didn't yell at us or nothin'."



        Touji sat down and thought it over.  He'd been in
many fights, and lots of arguments.  He wasn't one to back
down easily. 

        But he just did.

        "So what the hell just happened?!" yelled Touji to
nobody in particular. 

        Kensuke shrugged "I dunno, man.  There's just
something about Rei." 


        As he made his way through the curving, twisting
metal hallways of NERV, Shinji felt like a rat in a maze. 
And he really didn't want to find his way out of this maze. 
After all, when the reward was worse than death, it wasn't
much of a reward. 

        To waste time (i.e. to delay the inevitable), he
read through some of the various official papers and
pamphlets Misato had given him.  For some people, this would
have been making efficient use of time, but since Shinji
knew that he would walk slower if he was reading, this both
got him there later and gave him a valid excuse for being

        The first pamphlet looked like some kind of public 
relations pamphlet.  'NERV--Defending the Earth', the title said 
in big letters.

        'Founded in 2001 AD, NERV is dedicated to advanced 
technological weapons research and deployment in order to 
deal with the threat to Earth discovered by the unfortunate 
scientists who perished in the Second Impact.'

        'The precise events surrounding the Second Impact
remain classified, however, the information gathered was
sufficient to convince the Security Council to create NERV. 
The surviving Alien artifacts were remanded into the care of
NERV, which has studied them to create much of its current

        Something squeaked under Shinji's feet.  He blinked and 
looked down just in time to see a rat flee for its life.  Sorry 
about that, Mr. Rat, he thought.  He turned back to the pamphlet.

        'It is unknown whether the aliens succeeded in 
communicating with their home planet, however, before their 
destruction (generally assumed to be the result of an alien 
failsafe device that acted to prevent their capture), they 
successfully concealed a number of powerful artificial combat 
lifeforms around the Earth, which NERV is continuing its 
search for.  It is expected that these lifeforms will come to 
maturity in the mid 2010s, giving us several years in which we 
can try to destroy them before they reach full strength.  
Research also continues into space travel applications in the 
hope of preparing for the day when the aliens arrive from their 

        That spider was an alien?  It made a certain amount
of sense, although Shinji was left wondering how the aliens
had managed to conceal the life forms around the world but
couldn't hide themself.  I suppose their failsafe was the
meteor, he thought. 

        Somehow, he reached the testing room much faster than 
he had wanted to.  This especially impressed him considering 
he hadn't even been looking where he was going, due to his 
reading.  He stepped inside.  "I'm here."

        Maya frowned.  "Well, you beat Dr. Akagi here.  I'll
go look for her." 

        Ritsuko read over the lab report and frowned. 
Another failure.  If only the Human Genome Project had not
been disrupted by the Second Impact and its consequences. 
If only Crowley had finished his researches.  If only the
experiment in Germany had not ended so horribly.  We should
have known better, she thought.  The first recorded
experiment of that type had failed horribly as well.  Still,
it had held so much potential. 

        Instead, we are stuck with mere children as pilots, two 
of them potentially uncontrollable and a third one...She 
shuddered.  That experiment had gone too well.  She reminded 
Ritsuko too much of her own mother and of her old rival.  There 
was something...It was what they had wanted.  But sometimes, 
the gods destroy people by giving them what they want.  She 
prayed this would not be the case.

        "Whatcha reading, Dr. Akagi?"  The voice was soft, 
female, and pleasant.  It was Maya, her assistant.  One of her 
assistants.  Maya had been trained to monitor the life 
functions of the EVAs.  She was not privy to the more highly 
secured aspects, such as the report Ritsuko was reading, which 
she quickly closed.  

        "A failed experiment.  Is it time for more synchronization 
tests already?"

        "I've been looking for you for ten minutes."  Some would 
have chided, but with Maya, it was just a statement of fact.  
Likely, she had enjoyed the hunt.  "Shinji doesn't seem to be too 
happy about getting into the LCL."

        "I wouldn't be either, and I helped to invent it,"  Ritsuko 
said, getting up.  "Not quite so clean and shiny as the tech in 
mech animes, but then, real life never is."

        Maya smiled, grabbing Ritsuko's arm.  "Come on.  They're 
waiting for us."


        Shinji tried to fight off the urge to choke to
death.  He could see Rei's face in a little box on the
corner of his vision and Misato's face in another.  The rest
of his sight was dominated by what his EVA saw, which was
the rather boring interior of the huge tube they kept it in. 
None of it was able to distract him from the fact that gooey
black tar (well, a close substitute) was inside his lungs
and stomach and throat and most importantly, his mouth. 

        Rei was simply too serene; indeed, she had her eyes 
closed.  Not that you could have seen one of them through the 
bandage.  Indeed, he was somewhat glad he couldn't see either 
of them.  "Don't tell me you like this stuff, Rei," he said.


        "It's just so...does it have to be THIS disgusting?" 

        "It's not toothpaste, Shinji,"  Misato said.  "Would
you rather it taste good or work?  Move your right arm." 

        Shinji saw Unit01's arm move across his vision.  He felt 
it too; it was just like moving his own arm.  "Done."

        "Done."  Rei said.  She was in a seperate tube; he couldn't 
see her Unit moving.  

        "How about your sense of spatial relationships?"  Ritsuko 

        "What about it?"

        "Are you having any problems?"

        "None,"  Rei said crisply.

        "Uh... I seem to be able to judge sizes and stuff as far as I 
can tell," Shinji said.  Should I be having problems?

        Her voice brightened slightly.  "No sense that everything 
has shrunk?"

        "It's kinda like watching a movie; things may be too big, 
but I can still judge size from how things...uh...comparing 

        "No change,"  Rei said.

        The test continued, with Shinji usually feeling like he 
wasn't getting something, until finally it was all over and he 
was liberated from the plug.  As usual, it left an aftertaste 
which he didn't like.

        They left him alone with Rei to change out of his suit, 
which embarrassed him, since there was no dividing room.  
Especially since Rei had apparently not learned the concept of 
modesty.  He simply turned his back to her and said, "Thanks 
for helping me out with Touji.  He was mad 'cause his sister 
got hurt during our first battle."  He paused, then said, "And 
thanks for helping me against the spider thing.  I know you 
were hurt."

        Silence was his answer, except for the swish of
clothing in motion. 

        "I mean, I can understand why he was mad at me, but
getting beaten up...well, no one likes to be beaten up.  I'm
not really any good at fighting, but I guess you kind of
figured that out from what happened against the first

        Only the tiniest of grunts replied.  For a moment, Shinji 
wondered if she had somehow fallen asleep.  That didn't seem 

        He kept talking, trying to fill the silence, wondering why 
he couldn't shut up.  "Except for being beaten up a few times, I 
haven't had a real fight in years, especially not against a giant 
spider.  So, what exactly happened at the end?  When it died.  
Our EVAS... they haven't said anything, but I think something 
happened to our EVAs.  Yours grew fangs and mine...got all 
shiny and stuff."

        "Adaptation.  Like humans, EVAS learn."  Her voice
was cool, but Shinji was happy to hear it; it meant he
didn't have to keep talking.  "Are you done?" 

        "Umm... yeah, I guess."  Shinji hastily buttoned his shirt.  
"So how did you stop Touji?"

         Her voice had just a hint of surprise.  "Touji has not been 

        Shinji blinked and turned around.  Rei was back in her 
school uniform; without the bandages, you could have mistaken 
her for a normal girl.  "You stopped him from beating me up."

        "Commander Ikari would not be pleased if both of us
had been rendered dysfunctional at the same time.  The
Second Child has not yet arrived."  She turned to go. 

        Shinji followed her.  "Do you live with your parents?"

        "They are gone," she said, heading out the door. 


        "I was raised here at NERV."  She turned back and looked 
at him.  "Have you familiarized yourself with the layout of 

        Nervously, Shinji said, "Umm... not yet."

        "I will take you home," she said.  "Follow me."  


        Shinji quietly ate what passed for dinner in the
Katsuragi household, namely the same thing that passed for
all three meals, instant ramen.  I think Penpen eats better
than I do, Shinji thought.  "What happened to Rei's

        "Killed in the anarchy after the Second Impact,"  Misato 
said.  "I think.  She was here at NERV before I was."

        Shinji blinked.  "Before you?"

        "I was catatonic for a year after the Second Impact, then 
went to school for several years.  I was your age when it 
happened."  She finished off her box of ramen.  "Hmm.  Needs 
more beer."

        "She sure knows her way around the place.  And... does she 
know martial arts?"

        Misato paused in the middle of trying to decide if
she wanted Sapporo, Guiness, or Mad Dog #3.  "Martial arts?" 

        "She used some weird move on Touji when he tried to
clobber me.  Grabbed his arm and he couldn't do anything." 
Shinji finished off his ramen and made a quick mental prayer
to something (what he was praying to, he didn't know) that
Misato would learn to cook. 

        "She's been trained in unarmed combat, but nothing like 
special nerve pinches or the like.  I wish we knew anything like 
that which actually worked."  She looked over at Shinji 
contemplatively.  "We need to start training you as well.   
Heaven only knows how many of these Angels are going to show 

        "Are they really aliens?"

        "They're not from this Earth, whatever they are."  Misato 
shrugged.  "I'm sure Ritsuko could tell you more, but you 
probably wouldn't understand any of it."

        Shinji nodded.  "Well, time for me to do my math 
homework."  He sighed and got up.  "I don't suppose you're good 
at math?"

        "Nope."  She stretched.  "I think I'll watch Baywatch 
Generation 2 now."  

        Shinji resolved to do his homework in his room with his 
walkman volume turned up to ten.


        Makoto drove round and round in a very large circle, 
circling Tokyo-3 in his battered old blue compact.  I need a 
new car, he thought.  But I'll never afford one on this salary.  It 
wasn't that his salary was bad; it was that new cars were 
expensive in this day and age.  The world wasn't quite on a full 
war economy, but there were tendencies in that direction; 
quite likely it would shift over to such once the Angel attacks 
heated up.  

        If only we had a little more time, he thought.  We hoped 
to finally be ready for mass production of EVAs in a few 
months, but now...  Still, that wasn't why he was driving round 
and round the city on the loop road.

        He was thinking about Misato, who he liked very much, 
but who he didn't know how to approach.  Part of the problem 
was that she was sort of his boss.  In NERV, one often had 
multiple bosses with variable levels of authority and other 
people who technically had no authority over you, but in 
practice you grovelled to them.  A chart of the command 
structure would have looked like a family tree for a family 
riddled with incest.  

        The other part of his problem was that he simply didn't 
know too much about how to get a woman's attention.  Well, 
besides the blunt approach, which he didn't quite have the guts 
to try.  Not after watching Misato shoot down several other 
potential boyfriends in flames.  

        After much malingering, he decided to finally go bite the 
bullet.  He drove back to where he lived and walked over to 
where Misato resided.  As he approached, he saw Rei heading 
that way.  He didn't want Rei lurking about when he was trying 
to ask Misato out.  Or at any other time, really.  Something 
about her creeped him out, although she had her moments 
where she seemed quite normal.  

        I'll just go home and come back in an hour, he told 
himself.  Yes, that would be wise.  I ought to shower before I 
ask her, anyway.  Yes.  Good idea.  He walked merrily off to his 
apartment and within an hour, he was asleep.


        PenPen suddenly bolted upright, splashing water
around the bathtub.  His feathers stood on end and the water
fowl's eyes bulged wide in what could be called panic.

        With a shrill squawk, PenPen scrambled out of the
room, past a puzzled Shinji, and slammed the door shut
behind him as he hid in the refrigerator.


        Rei stared at the door, wondering why she was there. 
She knew where she was; she had had to report there twice
before.  Plus, she walked past it on a regular basis. 
Still, she had no reason to go there.  Her arm was suspended
in mid-swing.  She had been about to knock, but had nothing
to say if anyone had answered. 

        She felt something, something new.  Like she was being 
watched.  Looking around, she saw nothing.  Just a rat staring 
at her.  Wherever humans go, you go too, she thought.  

        Rei had no idea what, exactly, one was supposed to
do when a small creature was as close as this rat was.  She
had no experience with this sort of thing.  No creature
aside from man ever approached her, yet this rat stood
before her, looking at her curiously.  She found this very

        Not knowing what to do, she tried to recall what
other people did.

        She knealt and turned to the rat, trying to make
soothing noises.  The rat, however, chose this moment to
panic and scamper off.  It certainly didn't help that Rei's
idea of soothing noises weren't quite that, sounding more
like a bad attempt at mimicry.

        Before she could stand back up, Shinji opened the
door.  "Hello?"  He looked around, then looked down. 
"Umm... what are you doing, Rei?"  And why are you making
weird noises, he asked himself. 

        "Nothing."  She blushed just a tiny bit.  "I came
ask you about... the math homework."  She had in fact had
trouble with the math, although normally she would not have
sought help.  Perhaps that is why I came over here, she
thought, although she wasn't entirely convinced of that.

        "Yeah, it is pretty tough.  Come on in,"  Shinji said.

        Soon enough, they lost themselves in the complexities of 


        Frau Doctor Himmelfarb found the girl she was looking for 
up on the roof of her house.  When the girl had not been in her 
room, Himmelfarb had known where to find her.  She had a 
liking for high places for some reason.  Frau Doctor 
Himmelfarb spent little of her time trying to understand the 
subtleties of human behavior.  

        Standing in the yard, she shouted, "Come down here this 
minute!"  The head of research for NERV in Germany had better 
things to do than climb up on the roof, even to fetch the girl 
who had been her ward for ten years.  It was not that she didn't 
care about the girl; it was more than she had to do this several 
times a month and was tired of it.

        Asuka scampered down the ladder.  "Sorry, Frau 
Himmelfarb.  I was just trying to spot Scorpio.  It's..."

        "I have good news, Asuka.  They've found the Third Child.  
And defeated an Angel."

        Asuka's eyes widened.  "Without me?"

        "We did not know where the first one would strike.  You 
will be departing for Japan within a few days; the Commander 
has decided to consolidate our forces.  I hope you've been 
practicing your Japanese."

        ""  She laughed, and Frau Doctor Himmelfarb smiled as 
well.  Asuka's laughter was infectious.  She was an impulsive, 
passionate child and at times she made Himmelfarb remember 
her own youth and lose the carefully built up control that 
shielded her from her memories.  

        "Good.  You'll need that and possibly your English
if you go to the American base, which you almost certainly
will."  She smiled more; Asuka was dancing around like a
small child on Christmas morning.  Perhaps she did see it
like that, Himmelfarb thought.  This is what she was raised
for, what we've trained her for.  Probably sees herself as a
red knight on a shining metal steed.  "Go pack.  And try to
not take everything in the house this time."  Taking Asuka
on a vacation was almost impossible; she seemed to believe
she would wither and die if she left anything, a single item
she owned, behind.  Ever.  Sometimes Himmelfarb wondered how
she could bear to go to school and leave her possessions

        Three of the Children, Himmelfarb thought.  But who will 
be the fourth?  

        Touji sat by his sister, holding her hand.  The doctors 
thought she would recover from her injuries in a few days 
enough to go home; the worst of it had been the spider venom; 
she had had an allergic reaction.  She would still have a cast on 
one leg from the telephone pole that had been knocked on her by 
the EVA, and she'd have to come back and have the stiches on 
her stomach removed, but she would be fine.

        "I beat the guy up whose clumsy fighting got you hurt, 
sis.  You're going to be fine.  Just fine, they said."

        She moaned in reply, and he frowned.  Weren't they giving 
her enough painkillers?  Then she mumbled something.  Was she 
trying to talk?

        "Did you say something?"

        "...coming back..." she muttered along with garbled, half-
human noises.  Her body had been placid.  Now it began to jerk 
about and thrash.  "The stars...the stars are moving.  He's 
calling them.  They call him.  No!  MAKE IT STOP!"  Only his grip 
on her hand was keeping her on the bed.  

        "Nurse!  NURSE!" he shouted.  

        It took an amount of sedatives that disturbed him to 
calm her down.  The nurse frowned.  "We may have to restrain 
her; if she thrashes around like that, it could have 
complications."  She sighed.  "Although she's not the only one 
having bad dreams."


        "We've had a couple of insomnia cases; people who can't 
sleep or report weird dreams.  Probably just tension due to 
that spider thing attacking.  I sure had nightmares the next 
night after it showed up.  And I'm STILL trying to get all the 
damn spiders out of my apartment."  She looked over the files.  
"You'd best get home unless you just want to watch her be 

        "I'll stay a while, if that's okay."

        The nurse shrugged.  "She'll be out a good four hours.  
Maybe six.  Have fun."  She departed.

        He finally left after he started hearing squeaking noises, 
but not seeing anything.  Must be fatigue, he thought.

        It wasn't every day that someone dropped a dead rat
on Gendo Ikari's desk.  His second in command sat down on
the other side of the desk.  "Another one." 

        Gendo frowned.  "More of those fools.  Again."

        "The rats really don't have much choice in the

        Clasping his hands together under his chin, Gendo said, 
"Very funny.  You know what I mean."

        "Not really.  I understand the basic principle, but
there's still a wide range of possibilities."  He stared at
the rat.  "Or do you recognize it?" 

        Gendo picked up the rat with one hand, staring intently at 
its face, which was disturbingly human-like.  "How freshly 
dead is it?"

        "About ten minutes or so."

        "Not too late to find out, then."


        She consulted the chart a fourth time.  It was best to be 
sure that everything was coming into place before striking.  A 
lock of hair fell down between her eyes, but she brushed it 
aside.  Her hair had always been unruly; it seemed to be getting 
out of place even worse lately.  The chart gave her the results 
she had been hoping for.

        It was time; the return had begun.  They would awake and 
she and her followers would be ready.  Ready to worship and 
serve them as... a thought troubled her, a thought of a time 
when she had not sought to serve them but to prevent that 
return.  She brushed it aside.  She had no more time for 
childish weakness, the squeamishness that had held her back 
for so long.  

        Yet, even the stars could not be left to do all the work.  
And the rivalries of the great ones...there would be wars.  
Takeo had told her that NERV posed a threat.  She had not 
believed it until they had learned.  One of the Great Ones was 
dead.  She had not believed it possible, but what she had seen 
through her...the shock suddenly hit her.   He was dead.  Dead.  
Shot by a soldier.  A soldier of NERV.  

        They would pay, pay in full.  There would be a reckoning.  
Takeo was right; they would drown, drown in blood, a sacrifice 
to open the way for the one to whom they had sworn the 
Unspeakable Oath.  The Stars were Right.  She and her allies 
would see to that.