CHILDREN OF AN ELDER GOD

A Neon Genesis Evangelion Elseworlds

Annotatations Page


by

John BilesRod M.




Episode 1:  The Stars Are Right

March 21, 2014:
Transcript of the Last Transmissions of the Long-Smith
Expedition

The day before the Spring Solstice.

Dr. Clark A. Smith:  Can anyone hear me?

Clark Ashton Smith was a writer and poet contemporary with Lovecraft.  They borrowed some of each other's fictional creations and corresponded for many years.

Home Base (Sandy Peterson): We read you, Dr. Smith.

Sandy Peterson was one of the main game designers for the Call of Cthulhu RPG from Chaosium, Inc.

Dr. Smith:  We've reached the edge of the chasm reported by
that spelunker.  This thing is HUGE.  Dr. Long is setting up
the measuring equipment with Mr. Derleth's help.  [pause]
Now where has that Carter boy run off to again...

August Derleth was one of the main individuals responsible for the eventual upsurge in popularity of Lovecraft's writings, despite the fact that many people feel he misunderstood Lovecraft's works.  He founded Arkham House, which held the copyrights on Lovecraft's work for many years, and reprinted it all.  He was a prolific writer himself, and wrote a fair number of Cthulhu Mythos stories in which the Mythos became more of a good/evil conflict than in Lovecraft's works.

Lin Carter was a prolific fiction writer who wrote several Lovecraftian pastiches along with many other works--mostly science fiction and fantasy.

Home Base (Sandy Peterson):  Is he acting up again?

Dr. Smith:  He was so impatient on the way in here that
he nearly fell to his death four times.  Anyway, [pause]
Strange, I just heard a noise somewhat like...Ugh!

Home Base (Keith Herbert):  Is something wrong?

Keith Herbert was another game designer associated with the Call of Cthulhu RPG.

Dr. Smith:  There's a veritable ocean of cave crickets
sweeping across the floor as if the hordes of Hell were
after them or something.  Anyway, the caverns seem to
be made of basalt, which makes little sense, given that
Oklahoma isn't exactly noted for its volcanic activity.
Going to take a sample... [banging noises]  Now I...
 

In defiance of geology, basalt caverns appear under Oklahoma in the story The Mound, which Lovecraft ghostwrote.

[There are faint screams in the distance]

Home Base (Speaker unidentified):  What the hell was
THAT?

Dr. Smith:  Dr. Long, what's...oh, shit.

Home Base (Keith Herbert):  Dr. Smith?  What's wrong?
Are you having a cave in?

Dr. Smith:  [loudly]  There's some sort of bridge across
the chasm, and something is coming across it.  Dr. Long is
playing the arc light across...holy shit!  How...How can
that thing support its own weight?  Carter, come back
here, you idiot!!!

[sounds of more running and screaming]

Home Base (Sandy Peterson):  What is it?  What's going
on?

Dr. Smith:  Spiders!  Everywhere!  And
a...AAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

[More screams, then silence except for a noise almost
like raindrops splashing on stone]

Blood raining down.

Home Base (Unidentified voice):  Dynamite the cavern
entrance.

Commander Ikari Gendo is speaking here.  He is the commander of NERV, and will be discussed in more detail when he makes his first on-screen appearance in a few lines.

Home Base (Sandy Peterson):  But that will seal them in
with...whatever that was.

Home Base (Unidentified Voice):  Do it.  I'm going to
contact headquarters.

                            -*-

        "So it has begun," the old man said to his younger
one-time protege, who by the whims of fate was now his boss.

        "And the day shall come when the endless weaver
shall complete his creation and cross the abyss which
shielded the world from him and once more gaze upon the sun.

This is Matriel, known as Atlach-Nacha, in the Mythos canon.  He is from the
writings of Clark Ashton Smith.

And he shall sound the call, awakening his ancient enemy
friends to come forth.  The heights will sink and the deeps

Atlach-Nacha completing his web across the chasm is said to be a sign of the rising of the Great Old Ones, of which he is one.  The Great Old Ones once ruled the Earth, having come to it from other worlds, but the stars changed and they were forced by cosmic forces to go into slumber the way plants slumber in winter.  Now the time has come for them to rise from slumber and resume their rule.  They don't all necessarily like each other (ancient enemy friends...).
 

will rise; the veils will be parted and what is known will
be occulted; the dead shall walk and the living shall die,"
the younger, though not young, man said, resting his chin on
a gloved hand and adjusting his glasses with the other hand.
"If the Hippies had understood the true meaning of the
dawning of the Age of Aquarius, they would have shot
themselves."  He laughed faintly and stood.  "If you will
pardon me, I must write a letter."

The Age of Aquarius is the astrological 'age' we're supposed to be living in.  In the sixties, it was thought this would be an era of peace and love.  To the Theosophists, it was the age in which the Jews and other impure groups would be killed off.  To me, it's a reminder that my mother is an Aquarius.

       "What should I do about the Long-Smith expedition?"

         "The usual coverup.  And keep me informed on the
transmitter.  Assuming Carter did his job right."

         "Well, we are getting a mobile transmission, so it
got attached to SOMETHING," the older man said.

         "Get me a speed and direction estimate then.  And
pray it doesn't just wander around underground for a few
months, letting the batteries run out.  Good day."  He
departed.

                            -*-

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

                 Children of an Elder God

             Chapter 1:  The Stars Are Right

"How shall a man know his gods?"
"By the signs of their divinity."
"And what if thieves walk among the gods?"
"Then, indeed, how shall a man know?"

--"The Aztecs" (Dr. Who, First Season)

Dr. Who was a long running British science-fiction show dealing with a time travelling human-appearing alien and his various human companions, who travelled around space and time getting in trouble and meddling frequently.
 

                            -*-

        Shinji's memories of his arrival in Tokyo-3 were
fixed in the first seconds of his arrival when a spider
landed on his nose.  It had been floating through the air,
held aloft by a gentle breeze and by a tangle of webs that
bore some resemblence to a parachute made by MC
Escher.  As he stepped off the train, the breeze blew it
onto his face.  Many people would have screamed or
hurriedly slapped it off his face.  Shinji simply blinked
and stared at it.

The canonical series also opens with Shinji's arrival in Tokyo-3 on the day of the first Angel attack.  That angel was humanoid in appearance. A later canonical angel was spider like.
 

        The train doors closed and it pulled out of the
station.  Shinji ignored it, focused on the spider.  It sat
on his cheek and stared at him.  He stared back in a
contest rigged against him, since his opponent had no
eyelids.  Slowly, Shinji put down his suitcase and raised
his hand, brushing the spider onto his other hand, then
putting it down on the ground.  It scampered away, and he
smiled a little smile for the first time in days.

        "Kind to animals?"  a woman's voice asked.

        Shinji blinked and looked up.  A woman was staring
at him through mirrored sunglasses.  She didn't look like
someone who would work for his father; she looked more
like an idol singer, dressed in casual, but sexy clothing,
with a figure of the kind that Shinji was just now
starting to notice.  It wasn't her clothing or her body that
drew his attention, but rather the strange necklace she
wore.  The chain was made of gold, while the pendant
mixed silver and bronze, tracing out a sort of broken five
pointed star with a tongue of flame in the middle made
of copper.  Shinji normally wasn't much for abstract art,
or any kind of art for that matter, but it caught his
attention and wouldn't let it go.

Canonical Misato wears a cross her father gave her.  Our Misato wears an Elder Sign, an ancient sigil with powers against the Mythos which are vague in Lovecraft's own work, and treated like crosses in vampire movies by some later Mythos writers.

        Since it was hanging just above the top of her
cleavage, the woman drew the wrong conclusions from
his stare, but she just smiled.  "Earth to Shinji.  Come in,
Shinji."

        He blinked and looked up.  "That's a...what is that?"

        "My father found it in Polynesia during one of his
expeditions.  I like it."

In The Shadow Over Innsmouth, a group of Massachusetts sailors went to Polynesia and allied with Deep Ones living there.  Mythos forces lurk about the entire South Pacific. Deep Ones are fish-men type creatures who worship the Great Old One Cthulhu, who is imprisoned in R'yleh, sunken beneath the waves. They often interbreed with humans for unknown reasons.
 

        Shinji nodded.  The pendant was oddly comforting.
"You're Captain Kusanagi?"

Major Kusanagi is a character in Ghost in the Shell.

        "Captain Katsuragi.  Captain Misato Katsuragi."  She
put out a hand.  "Nice to meet you."

        Shinji stared at it for a second, then shook her
hand.  Not what he had expected at all.  Much better,
really.  "So why does Father want to see me?"

        "Come with me, and all will be explained."  She
looked around.  "Where's your luggage?"

        "This is it," he said, holding up the one suitcase.

        Her response was cut short by her nearly jumping
out of her skin.  "Aaah!  Spider!"  She yanked it off her
shoulder and stomped on it.  "Damn bugs."

        "You didn't have to kill it."

        "I hate bugs."

        Two more spiders drifted by.  Shinji said, "I guess
you must hate this town, then."

        "Follow me."  She started to head towards the
parking lot.  "They're not normally so bad."

        The car was nice, very nice, a sports car.  It was
blue, a color Shinji liked, and it was probably more
expensive than the house he had lived out his life in.
Well, maybe not quite that expensive, but he was sure it
had cost more than anything he or the housekeeper who had
raised him could have ever afforded.  It only had one
flaw; four spiders were having a race to see who could
cover the windshield with webs faster.  Misato cursed
and ran over, unlocking the car, opening the door, and
jumping in in one fluid motion.

        The windshield wipers and twin water jets put an
end to the spider art competition, laying waste to their
work.  The artists themselves scampered for cover, and
two of them quickly fried when they foolishly fled into
the engine.  You can't expect much from a creature whose
brain is the size of a grain of sand, though.

        Misato kept the wipers running while Shinji got
into the car.  "I think you're overreacting a little, Captain
Katsuragi," he said as he put his suitcase in the back and
buckled his seatbelt.

        "You've never had a spider crawl up your nose, I
see."  She frowned and put the car in gear, peeling out of
the parking lot.

        "Are the spiders that common here?"  Shinji asked.
Maybe Father is breeding them, he thought.

        "No, not really.  It happened in college."  She
shivered and the car swerved all over the road, which
was rather disturbing at ninety miles an hour.

        Shinji wasn't brave enough to offer a critique of
her driving, but he certainly thought it.  All he said was,
"So why am I here?"

        "You really don't know?"  She swerved again, this
time to crush a can, and ticked off a little tiny tick mark
in the part of her brain that kept track of how many cans
she'd crushed today.

        They roared down the road into Tokyo-3, a city that
looked like it was all downtown and nothing else.  Buildings
towered around them, and many of them were increasingly
covered with webs as they moved deeper into the city.  The
car was crunching more and more spiders every minute, and
now Misato had to keep the windshield wipers going in order
to see.  The rear window and the side ones were starting to
vanish beneath grey-white webs.  "Has Father been
experimenting with spiders?"

        She frowned.  "I have no idea why we're getting all
these...shit."

        Shinji blinked, and then he realized why she was
cursing.  There was a spider the size of a small dog in the
road.  It went flying off the road when Misato plowed into
it, but it left a dent in the bumper, and Misato cursed.
Then the sirens started going off all over the city.

        "Great!  First my car, then the first attack happens
while I'm driving!"  She started trying to dial her
cellphone with one hand, but then it simply rang.  She
started driving one handed, swerving wildly as she talked.
"Yes, I noticed the damn spiders!  I'm putting the damage to
my bumper on my expense account."  Pause.  "This is official
business, dammit!  Yes, I have the Third Child."

The Children are numbered in order of their discovery by NERV.  Rei is First Child, Asuka is Second Child, Shinji is Third Child, and Touji is Fourth Child.  In the canon, a boy named Kaoru is the Fifth Child.  Our Fifth Child is Anna, Asuka's friend from Germany.

        Shinji blinked.  I have siblings?  I thought I was
the only child.  Why didn't anyone ever tell me?  I wonder
what their names are.

        "He's just fine, but I hope he's not allergic to
bugs.  How the hell did so many of these things get into the
city so quickly?"  Pause.  "How did so many EGGS get into
the city, then?"  Pause.  Swerve.  Shinji saw a man setting
himself on fire to get dozens of spiders off of him.  "Ahh,
so it's finally shown up.  With all its little kids, no
doubt.  Send the bombers to slow it down."  Pause.  "Ahh,
they're already on the way.  How soon?"  Pause.  "Shit."

        "Are we going to be bombed?"  Shinji asked.  It
seemed like the sort of day that he would get blown up and
eaten by spiders.  Most days he saw his father were like
that.

        "Not directly, no,"  Misato said to Shinji, then
turned back to the phone.  "I know this is what we've been
preparing for, but I wasn't expecting to get my new car
destroyed today!"  She squealed the car to a halt.  "Get
out!"

        "What?"

        She grabbed Shinji and jumped into the ditch along
one side of the road.  Then the N-2 bomb went off on the
horizon.

The first angel in the canon is also bombed with an N-2 bomb in the canon.  N-2 bombs are some sort of super-powerful non-nuclear bomb.  Don't ask me how they work.

                            -*-

        They had to walk the rest of the way to HQ.  The N-2
blast scared most of the spiders into hiding and killed the
rest with the shockwave.  However, as Shinji soon found
out...

        "The N-2 bomb seems to have stunned it.  We have a
few hours before it gets back up and comes after us,"  Dr.
Ritsuko Akagi said.  She was blond and somewhat attractive,
with short hair, glasses, and an odd habit of wearing a blue
one-piece bathing suit and a lab coat as her work uniform.

        It wasn't much stranger than the whole place was to
Shinji, who thought the place virtually screamed 'James
Bond'.  He wondered if his father was now a spy.

        The giant humanoid head, attached to a giant
humanoid body, which he was standing next to was bizarre as
well.  It looked like a giant badly made plastic doll of odd
colors with bits of mishapen armor.  The words 'Unit01' were
painted on the armor on the left side of the thing's neck.
It creeped Shinji out.  It was wrong.  He didn't want to be
anywhere near it, but everyone else seemed to see it as
perfectly normal.  "What is going on?"

 01 was the second test EVA made.  00 was the first.  02 was the prototype for the mass production models (03 and onwards).
 

        Shinji's father, a man named Gendo Ikari, looked
down at him.  He was tall and broad with a short dark beard,
neatly trimmed hair and small glasses.  "I have brought you
here to pilot this.  The world is under attack, and only we
can stop the menace.  If we do not act, the world will be
destroyed."

        Shinji stared at his father, who hadn't changed a
bit except for the beard, from his cold stare to his brief
and inadequate explanations.  'Why is grass green?' 'Because
it's not blue.' 'What's for dinner?' 'Food.' 'Why do Ihave
to live away from you, father?' 'It's for your own good.'He
didn't even get a hello.  He wanted to say hello, but as he
looked at Gendo, his resolve melted.  Questions died unasked
on his lips.  He and his father stared at each other
silently, his father grimly, while he wilted under the gaze,
which seemed to tug away his will.

       "This is the creature."  Ritusko pointed to a view
screen in one wall of the chamber.  It showed a creature
that resembled a huge spider, hundreds of feet tall, lying
on its side, its legs working the air feebly.  It was
surrounded by a charred cocoon of spider silk and the
corpses of countless spiders. However, more were erupting up
from the ground and forming from its blood, which was
puddled around it.  Further more, the charred marks on its
exterior were fading, and ichor was no longer leaking from
it.  "The enemies we fight are known as Angels, and the one
out there today is designated as Matriel.  Our current
estimate is that we have about a half hour before it fully
recovers, and another half hour before it reaches the edge
of Tokyo-3.  How long it will take to reach us is not yet
predictable."

The canonical Angels were given Angel names from Judeo-Christian tradition as well.
 

        Shinji stared at the screen.  The creature was even
more repulsive to him than the strange simulacrum of a human
they were all standing next to on a platform over the huge
tube it was kept in.  It wasn't possible.  Anything that big
should collapse under its own weight.  Shinji was better
educated than the average fourteen year old.  His father had
seen to that, if not much else.  And he had worked hard,
with some vague impulse of hope to please his father or at
least to get noticed by him.  Even anger would have been
better than being ignored.  "Shouldn't that thing collapse?
I mean, there's no way those spindly legs can support its
weight if it's that big."  It wasn't just the size.
Something about how the legs moved were wrong.  They were
too limber, too flexible, too nimble for such a creature.
And its shape...real creatures rarely have angles; they have
curves, nature doesn't produce straight lines, but this
creature was oddly angular.

Lovecraft loved to use the idea of angles which were 'wrong'.  One way of interpreting this would be to say that the Great Old Ones exist in more than three dimensions at once, and what we see is only a sort of three-dimensional slice of them, the way a square is a two-dimensional slice of a  three-dimensional cube.  Humans can sense something is wrong, but not what or how it's wrong.

        "Our understanding of such matters is entirely the
result of the cramped understandings derived from observing
the lifeforms of a single backwater planet, and quite likely
has no validity in the universe at large.  Possibly it looks

Lovecraft's philosophy in a nutshell.

at us and wonders why we don't collapse in on ourselves
under the weight of our atmosphere without an exo-skeleton.
Whether or not it SHOULD collapse, it is not collapsing."
She fell silent, apparently surprised with herself for going
on for so long.

        Shinji frowned.  "What do I have to do with this?"

        "One of our pilots is in Germany, and the other one
was injured,"  Misato said.  "But we believe you can pilot
an EVA.  You match the profile.  You'll help us, won't you,
Shinji?"

        He and EVA had a brief staring contest.  EVA won.
"I don't like it."

        Gendo frowned.  "You don't have to like it."

        "How am I supposed to pilot this thing without any
training?"

        "It's thought controlled,"  Misato said.  "You just
have to have the knack.  Anyone could do it, but only those
with the right genetics could do it well."

The canon is vague on how synchronization works technically.  Ours works somewhat differently, but to say how would be a spoiler.

        He stared at the horrible spider thing on the
viewscreen again.  It was wrong, an abomination.  It was
impossible; there was no way it could hold itself up.  Every
bit of biology he knew screamed that there had been some
kind of mistake here, but he couldn't deny his eyes.  It
revulsed him, even though the little spiders that had
preceded its arrival had been sort of cute, or at
least...they were right and it was not.  "I'm not much of a
figher."

Shinji is thinking of the cube-square law, where the larger something gets, the more its volume, and thus its mass, outstrips its ability to support that mass.  This is why giants don't roam the Earth these days.  The bigger you are, the thicker your legs need to be to support you, but the spider has thin, spindly legs that should break under their own weight.
 

      "It'll be just like using your own body,"  Misato
said with a wheedling tone in her voice.  "If your body was
dozens of feet tall and superhumanly strong.  Don't you want
to be a hero?"

        Shinji thought about all the giant robot anime he
had seen.  It always looked easy, but he was quite sure it
couldn't REALLY be that easy.  It wasn't the danger stopping
him so much as the fact that the EVA was nearly as creepy as
the giant spider-thing.  He turned and stared at his father,
trying to read him, even though Shinji wasn't much good at
reading people.  Was this what his father had really
summoned him for?  Was he responsible for all this?

        His father's eyes riveted him in place, fixing him
like a deer staring into headlights.  While the rest of his
face was blank, like a mask, Gendo's eyes were alive, stern
and piercing, deep as an oceanic trench.  Shinji could feel
himself falling into his father's eyes, being dissected; his
soul was laid bare.  He wanted to flee that gaze, to run far
away where no one could look at him and see how much this
all scared him, how much the spider repulsed him, how much
the EVA frightened him.  I must look like a scared rabbit,
Shinji thought.  I wonder how he sees me.

        In his mind's eye, he could see himself through his
father's eyes.  It was a vivid vision, almost realler than
life.  It was a strangely calm feeling.  He had been
breathing heavily, but his body felt serene now as he put
himself in his father's place, somehow absorbing Gendo's
calm.  To his surprise, he realized that his own body looked
much calmer than he actually felt.  Is my father hiding
emotions as strong as my own?, Shinji wondered.  He must be.
If I don't do this, he doesn't have anyone who can take my
place.

        He heard himself say, "I'll do it."  He didn't feel
himself saying it, but since he was busy fantasizing, as far
as he could tell, this didn't surprise him, although he did
SEE himself say it.  He had been intending to say it,
anyway, having changed his mind, so it didn't bother him
much.

        With that, his vision ended and he was back to
normal, seeing things from his own perspective, not from his
father's.  It had been surreal, but it had happened to him
before, though not often.  It was more common in his dreams.
Especially the stranger ones that made him wake up
screaming.

Shinji has just been possessed by his father and used as a puppet.  This mind-switching trick was used in the story The Thing on the Doorstep.

        Misato smiled.  "Excellent.  Let's get you suited up
and ready."

                            -*-

        The plugsuit wasn't bad.  It looked fairly snazzy
and it was remarkably comfortable for something so form-
fitting.  The LCL was another matter.  He'd almost gone back
on his decision just from looking at it.  It was a black,
gooey sludge that looked far too much like motor oil mixed
with toxic waste.  It smelled like rotten food mixed with
vomit.

We increased LCL's nastiness factor; it's bland like mouthwash in the canon.  This is because we changed where it comes from.

        Ignoring his protests and failing to explain very
clearly why it wouldn't kill him on contact, they just keep
filling up the plug unit with it.  He had expected it to be
ice cold, but it was comfortably warm, which was the only
comfortable aspect of it.  It tasted hideous, like battery
acid mixed with vinegar and castor oil and sewage.  Far
worse was the absolute darkness into which it plunged you;
it felt like all of the universe had been destroyed and only
Shinji remained.  Then the darkness began to swirl with
patterns of light, which constantly hinted at shapes but
would not quite reveal them.  He felt like he was drowning
in darkness, like it was oozing down his throat and into his
veins.  Every tiny bodily sensation felt like a harbringer
of doom.

        Just as he felt certain he would go mad, he realized
that the reason it was so dark was that his eyes were
closed.  At least, they felt like they were closed, although
he didn't remember closing them.  There had been a sort of
almost tugging feeling, and suddenly, his eyes were closed.
So he opened them.

        He was staring at the platform on which a while ago
he had debated whether or not to do this.  A small square
hung in the air in the lower right corner of his vision; it
was a video image of Misato.  "Can you read me, Shinji?"

        "Um, I can HEAR you."  Shinji said.  "And I can see
you.  I don't...wait, am I seeing what the EVA sees?"

        Misato nodded.  "You can call up various
instrumentation by mental command, but we'll have to go over
all that when we have more time.  Try moving Unit01's arm."

        It was indeed as easy as they promised, although he
couldn't move much, given the Unit was strapped to
something.  "I'm rea...wait, do I have any weapons?"

        While they were in a hurry, they did have enough
time to explain that, at least.

                            -*-

        "Synchronization rate is 85 % and rising,"  Maya
said.  She was one of Dr. Akagi's assistants, female with
short black hair and a smiling face.  While many of those to
be found in NERV seemed to think that somberness was part of
the Orders of the Day, she was not one of them.  "The Third
Child is even more of a natural at this than the Second
Child was."

Synchronization rate is the degree to which you can synch your thoughts to your EVA's actions.  At 100%, the EVA responds as quickly as your own body.
 

        Dr. Akagi nodded.  "Bodily functions report?"

        Another technician said, "All body functions normal.
Looks like this one won't die because his body forgot to
keep functioning while he was piloting."

        "Good.  We don't have anyone to take his place,"
Gendo said.

        "Well, we could try the..."  Dr. Akagi began.

        "Even if they were fully functional, what would they
pilot?  One of our cardboard models?  Unit00 is still
damaged.  We'll use it if we have to, but only if it's
absolutely necessary.  And if it comes down to that, we can
use Rei,"  Gendo said, watching the various viewscreens
intently.  "Luckily, this will likely be the weakest of our
opponents."

                            -*-

        As Shinji moved through the streets of the city, he
pondered two major questions.  First of all, what sort of
weirdo builds a hundred foot tall robot and only arms it
with a knife?  Secondly, what sort of idiot builds a giant
robot that has to use an extension cord?  Then again, it is
only a giant spider, he thought.  Scary looking, but spiders
don't have a lot of offensive armnament as long as you don't
run into their web, and I doubt the web's been made that can
hold this thing.

Both the extension cord and the knife-only armnament are canonical.  I kid you not.
 

        He rounded a corner, stomping hundreds, maybe
thousands of spiders with every step.  They ranged in size
from normal tiny ones to ones the size of a small dog.
There were webs everywhere, but he moved through them as if
they didn't exist.  The Angel-Spider itself was standing on
a tank covered with webs, looking around.  It spotted him
and chittered, which was somewhat creepy, but not very
communicative.  I should have asked for a super economy size
can of Raid, Shinji thought.  "I've spotted him," he said.

        "Strike for the eyes, Shinji,"  Misato said.  "Blind
him."

        Shinji nodded and Unit01 ran forward at his mental
command.  Shortly afterwards, Unit01 stabbed down with the
knife, missing only because the huge spider had taken off
running the second Unit01 started its charge.  Unit01 ran
after his opponent, crushing dozens of cars as it ran, and
even more spiders than before.  This section of the city was
coated with webs, a sea of greyish-white sticky stuff.  Bits
of web coated Unit01's legs and feet.

        He rounded three corners as the spider-beast
skittered through the streets, occassionally smashing into a
bank of glass windows with a stray leg and shattering them.
Finally, it darted around yet another corner and Unit01
charged right after it, right into a huge web between two
buildings.  The web strands were huge, nearly a foot across
each.  Unit01 was neatly caught, just like a fly.  "I've
been caught!"

        "Generate an AT field!"  Misato said.

        "A what?"

The canon provides no clear explanation of what an AT-field, except that they 'keep beings seperate from each other'.  The term actually derives from the study of autistic children.  They function in EVA more or less as reshapable forcefields.

        "We believe the EVAs are capable of generating an AT
field like that produced by the Angels."

        "So how do I do it?  And what is it?"

        "Actually, we're not sure how to make it generate
one."

        This was NOT what Shinji wanted to hear.

                            -*-

        "Activate Unit00, and get Rei prepped to pilot it,"
Gendo said.  "She's injured and so is her unit, but we can't
afford a defeat.  Not with it right here in Tokyo-3."

        "Perhaps we should use the..."  Dr. Akagi began.

        "We've already seen what inexperience can do for us.
I'd rather not repeat the experience."

                            -*-

        Shinji felt claustraphobic.  Unit01 was wrapped in
webbing and its eyes were half covered, so he could barely
see.  Unable to act, he was becoming increasingly aware of
being trapped in a metal tube full of a cold liquid that
gave him the heebie-jeebies.  Misato kept giving him
soothing assurances that he didn't really believe.  Many
people would have cried or blamed themselves or even blamed
others, but Shinji couldn't muster the will to do any of
those.

        "Rei is coming in Unit00,"  Misato said.  "Just hold
out a few more minutes."

        Shinji laughed faintly.  "I'll do my best."

                            -*-

        Rei was glad to be in Unit00.  It was an escape from
her body, which was wracked with pain from the recent
training disaster.  While Unit00 was damaged like her, it
felt no pain.  LCL held no terrors for Rei; it was an escape
from a body which usually succeeded only in getting in her
way.  The fluid that she knew had driven at least three
potential pilots insane made her more sane, she was sure.
It held something she needed.

        Or perhaps it was just the pleasure of piloting
Unit00 which she liked.  Few things gave her normal body any
enjoyment, but piloting Unit00 was always enjoyable.  She
sprinted through Tokyo-3 at speeds of which her usual body
would not have been capable.  Buildings whizzed by, and a
few cars crunched under her feet; it was like running
through a forest and accidentally stepping on some beetles.

        She paused to assess the situation.  Unit01 was
webbed between two buildings.  Her target, the spider, was
wandering around aimlessly, spinning webs and smashing
buildings.  Millions of spiders danced around the area,
imitating their...master?  father?  leader?  Perhaps the
pattern of the webs would mean something.  She activated
Unit00's radio.  "Katsugari-san, I need an aerial view of
the city."

        A tiny box appeared in the right corner of her
sight, showing Captain Katsugari's face.  "Yes.  We've got
planes over the area.  I'll have it patched through to you."

        Webs which had seemed aimless from the ground took
on a different visage from above.  The webs formed a roughly
v shaped pattern across the city, with some sort of oval
sigil in the middle with a dot in its midst where Unit01 was
trapped and where the giant leader of the spiders was
meandering about, clearing an open space inside the oval.
While the sigil remained meaningless to Rei, she felt it
must be some sort of meaningful pattern.  Perhaps a signal
to more of these creatures, whatever they were.

        Half-remembered bits of biology studies surfaced in
her mind, and she decided to experiment.  Wrenching a power
line support pole loose from the ground, she hurled it down
onto the webbing, then stepped back.  Sparks flew from the
damaged lines and the webbing ignited.  Soon, the city was
ablaze with a short-lived fire; the webbing was highly
flammable, but burnt away very quickly.

        Shinji was snapped out of his half-trance of doomed
apathy by the sudden feeling that he was on fire.  Instinct
took over, and he stopped, dropped, and rolled.  This was
rather more destructive when piloting Unit01 than would
normally be the case.  Countless spiders burned to death,
were crushed, or combined the two death methods.

        Unit00 drew its progressive knife and charged
forward while the Spider-Angel was still ringed in flame.
She hailed Unit01's pilot by radio while charging forward.
"Unit 01, attack now."

        Her knife plunged down into one of its faceted eyes,
gashing it open and spewing viridescent mauve ichor onto
Unit00's hands and arms.  Putting the Unit's weight into it,
she plunged the knife deeper into the creature's head,
trying to get to its brain.  Shimmering auras of fluctuating
color began to form upon Unit00's hands, arms, and knife,
eating away at the Angel-Spider's flesh.

        In her peripheral vision, she could see Unit01 was
hacking away at one of the huge spider-thing's legs, but her
attention was focused on her blade.  The deeper it sank into
the creature, the harder it was to push it forward and the
brighter it shone.  Perhaps it stole its color from the huge
spider-beast, which was turning grey where the shimmering
light shone upon it, its flesh flaking and crumbling away.

This effect is similar to the fate of those slain by The Color out of Space in The Color out of Space.

It struggled forward, trying to bite her, but she was
standing to one side of the mandibles and with the knife
pressing into its eye, it couldn't turn successfully to bite
her, especially with Unit01 hacking off some of its legs.
Nor could it turn to attack Unit01.  Nor could it retreat,
as its legs weren't well designed for trying to move
straight backwards, and as fast as it could move, Unit00
simply pressed forwards.

        Far away in the subterranean monitoring chamber, a
technician announced, "The Angel and Unit00 are generating
strong AT fields, while Unit01 is generating a somewhat
weaker one, as projected."

        "What about synchronization rates?"  Dr. Akagi
asked, looking up at one of the monitors which showed
hundreds of seperate statuses, jumbled together confusingly.

        "Oddly, Unit01 is actually showing a higher
synchronization rate, although Unit00 is climbing, but is
producing a weaker AT field.  It may be related to the fact
that Unit00's pilot is experiencing a higher level of
physical stress.  Respiration and heartbeat are up,
adrenalin levels have gone up, etc.  Meanwhile, Unit01's
pilot is only at the level of exertion of a brisk walk."

        Gendo's lips quirked into a very faint smile.

        Rei could no longer see her knife through the glow
of colors, but she could feel she was pressing
against...something.  The exoskeleton, she guessed.  "I'm
encountering resistance."

        "It's generating an AT-field.  Press harder,"
Misato said.  "Shinji, stop playing with its legs and help
Rei."

        "How?"

        "STAB IT IN THE HEAD WITH YOUR KNIFE!"  Misato
pulled herself together when several staff members stared at
her.

        Unit01 stood up and stabbed its knife down into the
creature's head, easily fending off its feeble and now
maimed legs.  Out of the corner of his eye, Shinji could see
more spiders approaching, but all the ones nearby had burned
up.  "So how did you know the fire wouldn't burn up my EVA
too, Rei?"  he asked, hoping she knew more about this
creature than he did.

        "I didn't."  Rei gritted her teeth, or perhaps it
was Unit00's teeth; there was no way to tell.  The darkness
inside the creature was struggling with her light and
losing; more and more of its flesh was turning a colorless
grey and flaking away; the eyes were completely gone, and
the colors were swallowing up her sight.

        "..."  She didn't know?  Shinji thought.  It took a
lot to snap him out of apathy, but that did it.  "You could
have killed me!"

        "If I did nothing, the situation would not have
improved," Rei replied.

        Misato cut in.  "Are you generating an AT-field?"

        "I have no idea.  My arms and knife are glowing.  Am
I doing that?"

        "Very good, Shinji,"  Misato said.

        "The Angel's AT-field is wavering, wavering...gone,"
the technician reported.

        The Angel popped like a balloon.  A wave of grey
rushed through its already dark body and it fell apart into
huge flakes of dried flesh which began to crumble even as it
tumbled to the ground.  Energy played about Unit00 and
Unit01 like Saint Elmo's fire.  Both Rei and Shinji felt a
jolt like they had just stuck a fork in an electrical
socket.

        While they couldn't see the changes in their own
units, they did see changes in each other's EVA.  Shinji's
changed color to silver and became perfectly smooth.  The
few bits of web that remained on it fell off.  Meanwhile,
Unit00 sprouted protuberances around its mouth that looked
suspiciously like the creature's mouth mandibles.  They knew
its true name now, though they didn't know how they knew.
Or what exactly it was.

        The command crew could see this as well.  Gendo said
to Dr. Akagi, "Has the Angel infiltrated the EVAs?"

        She shook her head.  "No sign of Angel presences.
As we projected, the EVAs have adapated to the battle they
have just fought.  It's too early to be sure of the exact
results, but I can speculate if you like,"  Dr. Akagi said,
smiling.

        "Save it for your report,"  Gendo said, and she
frowned slightly.  "Do you believe it is safe to bring them
back to our base?"

        "As safe as the EVAs ever are, giving what happened
during that test."  Dr. Akagi shuddered slightly from the
memory.

        "Good job,"  Misato told Shinji and Rei.  "Come on
back to the base."

                            -*-

        "Ugh!  Ack!  *COUGH* Blech!"

        "Oh come on.  It isn't that bad, is it?"

        Shinji, covered in the dark and noxious LCL fluid,
crawled out of the plug and gave Misato a dark look.

        "It... is that bad?"

        Shinji opened his mouth to say something, then
paused.  A moment later he was spitting out black sludge
from his mouth and into the coolant liquid below.

        Misato grimaced.  "Ew.  Okay, maybe we'd better get
you to the infirmary."

        Gasping, looking a bit ill, Shinji croaked, "Need...
water."

        After a brief stop at a nearby water fountain, they
made their way, Shinji on wobbly legs, and Misato frowning
about the nasty black sludge staining her dress.

                            -*-

        Ritsuko smiled as the two entered her office.  "Ah,
good.  I was going to ask you to come here anyway.  So how's
our pilot?"

        "Somewhat nauseated," replied Misato.

        "I think I'm getting better," said Shinji weakly.

        Ritsuko nodded.  "I expected as much.  Your first
time in the LCL wasn't pleasant, I'm sure.  Neither will the
next time.  But it won't be as bad, and it'll get better as
time goes by.  Your body gets used to it."

        Next time?  Shinji didn't even want to think about
it.

        "But, as standard procedure, we have to make sure
you're all right.  So if you'll step over here for a
moment..."

        Ritsuko subjected Shinji to a battery of tests, put
under the light of miscellaneous machinery that he didn't
comprehend.  Then various probes were stuck into multiple
orifaces, not improving his mood at all.

        And it didn't help that Misato was in the room too,
with an ever-so-slight smile.

        "Are you done yet?" asked Shinji meekly, feeling
more probed than he thought humans should be.

        Ritsuko nodded.  "I'm done.  Just get some rest and
the nausea should go away entirely on its own.  Now if
you'll excuse me, I've got another patient to attend to."

                            -*-

        The two walked through the endless maze of corridors
of the base, their footsteps echoing throught the empty
spaces.

        With the nausea far less severe than it was earlier,
Shinji had enough presence of mind to relfect on the day so
far.

        He had...

        ... seen his father for the first time in years.

        ... inhaled toxic sludge.

        ... almost been killed while piloting a giant robot.

        ... and killed a giant monster.

        On the whole, the day was far less pleasant than
that quick summary expressed.  It wasn't a day he'd care to
repeat.

        Except for the killing.

        There was an odd feeling that had run through him
when the creature died.  As it sagged to lifelessness, he'd
felt a rush course through his body.  Disturbingly pleasant.
He wondered if the battles would always end that way.

        Misato derailed his train of thought easily.

        "Oh, I forgot to mention.  You've been put in my
care, Shinji."

This also happens in the canon.
 

        He blinked.  "I won't be staying with Father?"  He
wasn't sure if he should be angry at his father or relieved.

        Her voice was a little uncomfortable.  "He's often
gone and very busy and can't take care of you properly.
Also, I have two spare bedrooms.  The other one will be
occupied by the Second Child when she arrives from Germany."

        "The Second Child?"  he asked.

        "Named in the order we recruited you.  The First
Child is Ayanami Rei.  The Second Child is Asuka Langley.
And the Third Child is you."

        As they passed a series of elevators, one of them
opened.  Misato winced and Shinji seemed puzzled as they saw
Ritsuko wheeling a stretcher out of it.

        "Quick, turn around," mumbled Misato.

        "Misato?  Is that you?"

        The commander smiled nervously.  "Ritsuko!  Hi!
Just... showing Shinji around the place."

        "You're lost again."  This was not a question, it
was a statement of fact.

        Misato scratched the back of her head nervously.
"Okay, maybe I am, a little."

        Ritsuko rolled her eyes.  "Don't even try to make
excuses.  Just go down three intersections, take a left, go
up the elevator to level 1, and you should be back in
central."

        Shinji ignored the banter bouncing back and forth
between the two.  His attention was, much to his own
surprise, rivited elsewhere.

        On the stretcher was a girl, probably his age.  Half
of her face, including one eye, was heavily wrapped in
bandages.  One of her arms was wrapped in bandages as well.

        With her eyes closed peacefully, her pale skin,
seemingly smooth as marble, he thought she looked rather
beautiful in a statue-esque way. He knew he was staring at
her, but couldn't stop himself. There was something about
her...

        And then she opened her eye.

        His eyes met hers.

        "Hey, Shinji."

        "Huh?  What?"

        Misato smirked.  "I know she's cute but we really
should be going."

        Rei's eye shut once more, and Ritsuko wheeled her
away.  Shinji, seemingly in a daze, looked back and forth
from the departing Rei to Misato.  And then he realized what
she was hinting at.

        "I-it's not like that!" he insisted, blushhing.

        "Sure it isn't," teased Misato.  "Come on, this
way."

        After a few minutes of silent walking, Shinji spoke
again.

        "I guess she's been training a while.  She fights
very well."

        "Rei?  She's been training here longer than I've
been here,"  Misato said.  "From a very early age."  She
looked both ways at an intersection, then turned right. "You
like cup ramen, right?"

        "Hmm?  Yeah, it's okay."

        "Good."  She sounded relieved.  "I really need to go
shopping one of these days, but you won't starve."  She
stopped at a door and slid her ID card through the keyslot.
The door opened into a room full of plastic sacks of
garbage.  "Uh oh, was I supposed to make a left turn or a
right back there?"

        While Misato puzzled over directions, Shinji stared
down the hall, where the squeaking of wheels marked Ritsuko
and Rei's passing.

        Rei.

        He had looked into the girl's eye.  It was red, a
bright, vibrant red, but otherwise seemed guileless,
straightforward, and void of any particular emotion.

        And he had felt fear.

                            -*-

        Shinji hoped for his own sake that Misato's
apartment wasn't normally overrun with thousands of spiders.
Regardless of the normal status quo, however, it had far
more than its quota of spiders today.  He stared quietly
about the room, shrouded in white.

        Misato's eyes widened.  "Damnation."  She began
running through the room, stomping everything that moved.
Shinji watched quietly, until she said, "C'mon and help!"

        Shinji was rather surprised to see a penguin burst
out of the refrigerator as they struggled towards the
cabinet. It tried to climb up Misato and failed since
penguins are not noted for their climbing skills.  Shinji
boggled for a few seconds and the spiders tried to web his
feet to the floor.

        "That's Pen-pen, my other roommate," Misato said.

While his existence or why he is living with Misato is never clearly explained, he's canonical.
 

        Shinji boggled a second time, and this time his feet
DID get webbed to the floor, but he easily broke free.  "A
penguin?"

        "Antarctica melted so they all migrated."

        Shinji simply extended his previous boggle instead
of starting a new one.

        They eventually clawed their way into one of the
cabinets and armed themselves with RAID.  Misato ran wild,
using up an entire can in minutes.  This drove all the
spiders out of the apartment.  It also fumigated the
apartment so thoroughly that it drove Misato and Shinji out
as well.  Exhaustion finally crept up on him while he was
sitting in front of the apartment, waiting for it to air
out.  It had been the strangest day of his life to date, and
he half expected to wake up in the morning and find out it
was all a dream.

                            -*-

        "Well, that was easy," Gendo's second-in-command
said.  The old man was sitting in his usual comfortable
chair, wondering why Gendo had kept the uncomfortable chair
for himself and let visitors have the nice one.

        "We nearly lost Unit01 and we could have easily lost
Unit00 if 'Matriel' had succeeded in biting into it,"  Gendo
said.  "The Developed Automatic Guardian Organic Navigator
hasn't been properly tested yet, nor has Diogenes found the
next Child yet.  Not that we have an EVA for a fourth child
to pilot yet, either.  Things will be much better once we
have all three Children here.  If it had actually broken
into our headquarters, it would have been disastrous.  As it
is, we'll be fumigating our base for weeks."  He pulled off
his glasses and began to polish them.

DAGON has the same name as Father Dagon, one of Cthulhu's servants, a giant Deep One.  Diogenes is our equivalent to Marduk, the agency which finds and recruits the Children in the canon.
 

        "Then why didn't you send Ayanami Rei out first?"

        "I did not think she would be able to function so
well.  While she acts as if she feels no pain, I think she
would likely behave that way if something bit off her arm.
And she lost control of her EVA during that last test.  We
couldn't afford such a lapse in battle."

        "But how could you be sure the boy would do any
better?"

        Gendo smiled.  "The wise magician never reveals ALL
his secrets."

And that's all for this one.
 


last updated 7-1-2000