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Aeon Natum Engel (NGE cross-over)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by EarthScorpion, Nov 4, 2008.

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  1. EarthScorpion

    EarthScorpion Fell on His Sword

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
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    10,931
    I'm just sort of cross-posting this from SD.net. Only one chapter, so far, unlike most of the migrants.

    Firstly, I would like to thank (or possibly condemn to be consumed by Cthulhu, for the role in taking up my time by making them read their very, very cool stuff.) a few authors for this;

    John Biles, and his awesomeness incarnate of Children of An Elder God. This may prove to be a problem; the “giant organo-technological mecha against the Cthulhu Mythos” genre is quite amply filled by something a lot better than what I can hope to write.

    The creators of Cthulhutech, for making such an awesome setting, which can sort of be summed up as “In the Grim Darkness of the Near Future...”

    Most of all, however, Academia Nut, and his Thousand Shinji 40k/NGE crossover, and its equally cool sequel The Open Door. He is personally responsible for getting me to buy Cthulhutech, watch Neon Genesis Evangelion (and put aside a rabid dislike for all anime), and generally being a Licensed Purveyor of Cool to a humble Physics undergraduate.

    I own none of the series detailed in this work, most specifically neither Cthulhutech nor Neon Genesis Evangelion. They belong to their respective owners. I'm just writing a story about a pair of universes which fit together unsurprisingly well that I happen to like.

    This is partly a fan-fiction, partly a make-work, and partly an exercise in improving my writing skills. As a consequence, criticism is most welcome.


    ~'/|\'~


    Aeon Natum Engel

    A retelling of Neon Genesis Evangelion, set in the Cthulhutech universe.

    Chapter 1

    Herald Assault



    AD 2091


    The sea lapped at the remains of Old London. Those buildings which had survived the First Arcanotech War rose like macabre tombstones to those who had died under the Nazzadi bombardment, while between them, smothered by the devouring tide, were craters, burned into the ancient city by indiscriminate bombing from orbit and the lightning waves of mecha that had swept through the city, putting all to the sword. The flooded streets, grey channels between grey buildings, under a grey sky, seemed to tell a melancholy tale of the hubris of a city that had once considered itself centre of the universe. Once, Old London had sprawled over most of the South of England, a revocation of the anti-urbanisation laws of the twentieth century allowing a phase transition that had turned large amounts of the country into one massive metropolis. Now, Old London was split between the various enclaves, that were towns and even cities within the ruins, and the wastes, which were left to slow succumb to entropy. To the east, the London Arcology, capital of New Earth Government Europe, and Inner London, the domain of the Ashcroft Foundation, held thirty million people, human and Nazzadi; its order a stark contrast to the decay of Old London.

    The gently lapping water was barely disturbed by the low passage of a wing of F-109 Komets. Their glowing A-Pods hummed the obsolescence of reaction-based engines, as they flew barely one hundred metres above the ground, the eleven-metre aircraft armed with smart missiles, and a blue-green (optimised to allow air-to-sea strikes) Laser Cannon. Fifty-four million Terranotes flew in that formation, a proud declaration of humanity's will to survive. Let the Migou and their bio-mechanical mechanoids come, they spoke; give us suitable air cover and they can not stand against us. Let the monsters of the Rapine Storm come to Europe; those degenerates and their unnatural allies shall be given a brief lesson in why charging at your opponent, screaming for blood and other bodily fluids, has been considered unwise for three hundred years. Let the abominable hybrids of the Esoteric Order of Dagon and their inhuman parents emerge from the seas where they have cowered for untold millennia; we shall fight them on the beaches, and turn those open plains into a killing field.

    The eyes of First Lieutenant Cevy were drawn to a dark shape, swimming up the mouth of the Thames. Her on-board scanners had only just picked it up at all; a liability of modern days. So many of the creatures that emerged from the shadows with the start of the Aeon War were invisible to anything technological; a reason for the large canopy of the Komet. More importantly, this creature was massive, swimming up the blasted channel of the river.

    First Lieutenant Cevy frowned. How the hell had that thing got past the battlegroup in the North Sea?

    “HQ, this is Komet Mantis-One. Hostile target detected at 57 degrees 27'06.27 north, 0 degrees 25'26.77 East. Shape is bipedal, blackish in colour. It doesn't match with anything known. Target is Vee-Oh. Might be Eee Oh Dee; shape is wrong for a Migou weapon. Someone get a Sentinel over here!”

    “Em Oh, Mantis-One. Target acknowledged and position updated. Reinforcements are five minutes out; do not engage until then. Be aware for hostile AA; target has multiple CB-type weapons and can use them against aerial targets.”

    “Em Oh, Command. Mantis-One out.”

    The wing, as one, pulled up and away, up to just below the clouds. When the reinforcements arrived, they would hit this monster with enough fire-power to flatten a village.

    The land forces held up their positions around the enclaves in Old London. Rows of Vreta Main Battle Tanks, painted blue-grey and hidden under urban camo were placed to fill the killing grounds with 120mm railgun slugs, backed up with M-111A2 Jaeger Howitzers. A Jaeger could punch through a Migou Spider in a single shot, and start firing from twenty four kilometres away. The mecha made possible by Arcanotech were the poster-children of the New Earth Government, but the good old tankers were still around, and the wonders of non-euclidean technology served more traditional designs just as well, if not better.

    In the rubble of Old London, the poster-children positioned themselves. Nine metre tall Broadswords were the main punch, backed up by Claymores and specialist Gladiuses were ready to let the monstrosities taste their white-hot flamethrowers. The lighter Nazzadi mecha were in reserve, their gaudy colours not really appropriate for an ambush. And while the final preparations were completed, the loudspeakers blared their warnings into the air.

    “Today, at 12:30 pm, a special state of authority has been declared by the New Earth Government. All inhabitants with an arcology pass are to return immediately. All inhabitants of the enclaves within the Eastern Greater London Area are to head to their designated shelters. Temporary martial law is in full effect. Message repeats, today, at 12:30 pm, a special state of authority has been declared...”



    ~'/|\'~​



    By Old Waterloo Station, a teenager, clad in a white shirt and dark trousers, stood. The entire station, already merely a minor terminus for the maglev network, thanks to New Waterloo in the London Arcology, London-2, had emptied in what seemed like seconds. Shinji Ikari was only here because of his father, but the bastard hadn't even arranged for him to have an arcology pass. He looked down at the picture of the woman he was meant to meet. What kind of a person sent a what appeared to be a holiday picture as a first introduction? Especially, he added to himself, one of what appears to be a holiday to Nazza-Duhni, the world's first “clothing optional” city. She was actually decent by the standards of human beachwear, but quite a few figures in the background were most certainly not, something which the sixteen year-old had “appreciated”. The words “Look here” and the attendant arrow just added to his initial wariness.

    He flipped his mobile phone shut in irritation. The phone network had been shut down; all he was getting was the same message as the one blaring through the loudspeakers. He checked his watch, and yawned. He had had a two day stop-over in Chicago, after the plane had been diverted due to Migou activity under the flight path, which had left him less jet-lagged than he might have been, but his body was still screaming at him that it needed sleep and food. The Ashcroft Foundation had paid for the trip, which only added to his surprise; Shinji knew that his father was an important man in Ashcroft Europe, but that they would use a private jet just to carry him was... surprising.

    “Where is she?” He paused, and looked around for a sign to a shelter. The speed at which the residents had evacuated indicated that they were used to it.

    There was a figure, standing in the half-gloom of the entrance to the arrivals section, a strange, pale girl. An albino, maybe. No, he realised with a gut-clenching feeling. She wasn't pale, she was actively white, with both her skin and hair the colour of fresh milk.

    A White xenomix.

    A flock of pigeons flew straight towards him, and he ducked, shielding his eyes reflectively. When Shinji looked up again, she was gone. Brow crinkled in puzzlement, he stepped towards where he had seen her. She might be a White, but maybe he could find out where to go to get to safety.

    A series of thudding explosions began, from behind him. Reflectively, he ducked back down again. The noise was joined by a chorus of tortured metal and a deep thrumming noise.

    Shinji decided that getting out of there was perhaps the most sensible thing to do. He headed as fast as he could to where he had seen the girl, to find where she had gone. And if something really bad was happening, a parapsychic would be a fairly sensible person to be near. Unless they were burning, of course, which would make them the source of the trouble.

    The internal dialogue was shut down, as he ran. Looking up, he could see quite a lot of aircraft heading in towards were he way, tearing through the cloud cover as multiple sonic booms added themselves to the cacophony. Yet more shrieks and explosions filled the air as, unbeknownst to Shinji, large number of Jaegers opened fire.

    For Shinji Ikari, it felt like the world was ending.



    ~'/|\'~​



    Inside the NEG military headquarters, the mood was sombre.

    “The unknown entity is still approaching. It has left the Thames, and is moving as a biped.”

    “The Magi believe that this rules out it being Migou. Two-to-one certainty predicts that it belongs to the Esoteric Order of Dagon.”

    “Sentinel Drone has visual. I'm putting it up on main screen.”

    At the back of the room stood two advisers from the Ashcroft Foundation. The elder, a white-haired man in a brown suit stood behind the younger, watching the NEG military, while the black haired man stared at the glowing orange Augmented Reality Feeds scrolling across his glasses. The military seemed to edge away from the pair, leaving Gendo Ikari, the local head of the Ashcroft Foundation, and Kozo Fuyutsuki, his second-in-command, in an invisible bubble.

    “It's been seventeen years.” Fuyutsuki spoke softly. “Since 2074 and the start of the Second War...”

    The main scream filled up with the image of the beast that had shrugged off the best that the New Earth Government could throw at it.

    It was horrifying.

    Unnatural.

    It dwarfed the buildings below it, with them barely reaching its knees. The main, hunchbacked body was black, but the black of the void, and like the void, it had tiny speckles within it, that seemed to capture the gaze of those who stared at it too long. Ribs and viscera protruded from the front of the abomination, like someone had taken a human corpse, disembowelled it, then coated it in the essence of the night sky. A glowing red orb, like the eye of some creature that had walked the earth long before man and was merely waiting for the mammals to get over their tiresome delusions, glowed from the front, casting everything before it in a sick red light. A mask was worn upon its face, like the beak of some Stygian plague doctor, from ages past, who came not so much as to heal as to speed his victims to their final destination.

    The entire room recoiled at it. Most were able to hold onto their sanity; though the beast was horrific, the children of the Strange Aeon were made of stronger stuff, and beings that would have driven their ancestors screaming into the arms of an asylum orderly could be tolerated. A female human with the stripes of a Second Lieutenant let out an involuntary shriek, and a male Nazzadi fell off his chair, huddled in a foetal ball weeping. As the unfortunate was dragged away to the Ashcroft medical facility outside, Gendo stared at the image of the entity, without any outwards sign of disturbance.

    “Heralds...”



    ~'/|\'~​



    As Shinji watched, the Herald (though what dynasty would spawn such a prince?), even as it strode inexorably towards London-2, raised its hands, covered with too many leech-like fingers. From the mouth of each of the wriggling appendages, vomited a sick, greenish yellow beam that lanced through the air. They each burned cleanly through the gunships strafing the monster, even cutting down the missiles that were volleyed against it. They couldn't seem to track the Jaeger shells that ripped down from over the horizon, but they didn't need to. The 155mm high explosive shells that the howitzers were throwing forth burst like harmless rain against the void-dark body of the Herald. Occasionally, one would knock it back, make it stumble, but something seemed to stop it being hurt.

    Shinji glanced at it just once, and then flinched away even as he ran from it. An intense wave of nausea and a nagging headache struck him; that thing shouldn't exist, be allowed to exist. Nothing should be able to take that much fire-power; it was like watching a man run into a flying insect and go flying backwards. It just screamed, in a guttural tone that belonged to the monkey before man, that the world should not, and does not work like this. Even with his back turned to it, he faltered, almost tripping, as the world faded to black.

    “...Area are to head to their designated shelters. Temporary martial law is in full effect. Message repeats, today, at 12:30 pm...”

    The hum of an A-pod bought the world back to normal for him. A new, very nice looking aircar dropped from the sky and, in an incredible act of handling, pulled to a stop in front of him, the wheels deploying automatically as it shifted into ground mode. The door slid upwards and a dark-haired woman clad in military issue body armour and a pair of sun glasses, the woman who he was meant to meet, smiled at him.

    “Sorry to keep you waiting,” she smiled.

    Shinji could only stare blankly back, the mixture of jet lag, the shock of the being and now this surprise addling his wits. After a second or two, her expression changed to a frown.

    “That means, “get in!” This is a warzone! And put on your seatbelt”

    Shinji could only clamber in, still dazed. The woman kicked at the throttle, and yanked the control-shaft downwards. The wheels folded back up, and the Zephyr Enforcer 2000 pulled a tight corkscrew upwards, accelerating to one hundred and eighty miles an hour in six seconds.

    That was enough to make Shinji finally lose control of his stomach. Luckily, the woman, Misato Katsuragi, had anticipated the effect that such a manuever might have on those not used to her... idiosyncratic driving style, and had activated the automated sick catcher. This miracle of modern technology had saved innumerable car interiors from the corrosive contents of the human stomach, and had made its inventor, a refugee from what had been China before the Rapine Storm happened, a very wealthy individual.



    ~'/|\'~​



    The air in the command centre was turning to a type of professional panic. Glances were being surreptitiously directed against the two Field Marshals in charge of the NEG forces for the United Kingdom, the third currently organising strikes against Dagonite forces in the North Sea.

    “All air units within range have been destroyed. Artillery bombardment is having no effect.”

    “Ground forces are engaged. Target has broken off attack to target Alpha Squadron. Their Auphan reports that it is jamming its extra-sensory equipment.” The woman pauses. “Their Cherub has just been destroyed by the charge beams it is using. They are reporting that their...”

    “Alpha Squadron's Auphan has been incapacitated. They are requesting permission to...”

    Field Marshal Lehy leapt to her feet, and banged her coal-black hand into the table. An old school Nazzadi general, she had been one of the individuals responsible for the death of Old London, favouring cold, sterile strikes on anywhere where humanity could get food. She considered it somewhat appropriate, as her penance, that she would keep London-2 safe.

    “Get those Engels out of there. It seems to be targeting them. Retreat away from London-2. Mobilise all conventional forces in the area, and prepare for a simultaneous strike.”

    Field Marshal Jameson glared at her.

    “We'll get nowhere with that level of fire-power. It's already withstood three divisions worth of artillery.”

    “It's protected by an AT field, as we suspected.” Fuyutsuki said softly, for the ears of Gendo only, in the hubbub of the command centre.

    “Like Yog-Soggoth's Shield, conventional weapons will not harm it,” was the reply.

    The Field Marshalls were by now locked in a staring contest.

    “Three nought point one kiloton pure fusion bombs set to airburst above it,” stated Jameson, calmly. “They will not damage London-2, and they should at the very least hurt this Herald.”

    “And the enclaves? There are four within the kill-radius, and you will destroy Old Waterloo,” hissed Lehy back.

    “They knew the risks when they chose to live outside London-2. Anyway, if they are in the bunkers as they should be, they should be fine from an airburst. We have to do it now, before the Herald gets too close to the arcology.” His calmness had by then become ice cold.

    Field Marshal Lehy looked away first.

    “Project the effects of a Clover-type tactical strike.”

    She stared at the three overlapping circles, and their positions relative to the marked populations.

    “Rotate pi by twelve, then deploy.”

    She activated the implants in her left hand with a thought, the subdermal lights glowing blue beneath her night-coloured skin. Jameson's hand was already glowing.

    “On the count of three, authorise.”

    “One.”

    “Two.”

    “Three.”

    Both hands were placed into the complex three-dimensional hologram before them, and they made the code gestures to authorise the use of pure fusion devices in a circumstance where there might be human fatalities.

    “We're going to have to move the Sentinels away, commanders. We'll lose visuals on the Herald until we can move them back.”

    Lehy nodded her head. “Approved.”

    Jameson was heard by some to faintly mutter something about a desire that they still had satellites. The Nazzadi ignored him.



    ~'/|\'~​



    Shinji Ikari was a quiet boy. He was polite, fairly intelligent, a good chef, and good on the cello. He would make a nice, somewhat submissive husband for someone someday. That comment had actually been written in his file by the school's councillor. The existence of widespread psychiatric councillor in the Strange Aeon had left him quite a lot more mentally stable than he might have been otherwise; he still preferred to be alone, but he was capable of more than he might have been.

    And circumstances were much altered from what they had been one hundred years ago. The population of the Earth was 4.3 billion individuals. Only 2.5 billion of them were human, down from a peak of eight billion only a few decades ago. The definition of “mental stability” had undergone quite noticeable redefinition. Almost no-one over the age of twenty had not lost a close family member, to the First Arcanotech War, to the genocidal Migou, to the depredations of the Rapine Storm and the rape camps of the Esoteric Order of Dagon, and many of the younger ones were similarly bereaved. What was one more child with a dead mother and a father who would not care for him?

    Shinji had been raised by a foster couple employed by the Ashcroft Foundation, by two women, Gany, an Ashcroft-employed sorceress, and Yuki, an FSB agent, both of whom refused the title of “mother”. He was fluent in Japanese, English (the tongue of the New Earth Government), and the Nazzadi tongue, and Gany had insisted that he keep up the cello. He had also picked up enough German to swear, but Gany had not appreciated him repeating those words in front of Yuki. He was clear, though, as were they, that they were not his real parents, and since the twins were born, he had subtly retreated away from. He had thought that this summoning from his father, despite its brevity, might even be a chance to properly know him. Maybe Gendo had changed. Maybe it might be good.

    Being in the car of this madwoman, with her mad driving and general madness was not his idea of a good time.

    Not one bit. He had already thrown up twice more, especially since Misato (she insisted that he call her than, rather than Ms Katsuragi), seemed to like the idea of streets in general, but not the actual driving along the ground bit, which just resulted in too-fast jaunts at the high of the lamp-posts. And bent pieces of metal. And the occasional collapsed tenement. And the far-too-frequent barrel rolls, just for fun.

    He was sure that she really needed a councillor. And, preferably, some kind of leash. He clamped down on the resulting thoughts after only a brief interlude, as they were rather enjoyable thoughts, they were not quite appropriate when he was hurtling five metres of the ground in an entropic... my gods, did she just drive through that crater in the row of houses rather than take the corner. Yes, yes she did.

    Shinji Ikari threw up again. As his stomach was empty by now, there was only bile left, and it was an unpleasant experience.

    Misato looked at Shinji with a mixture of pity and contempt. He really didn't seem to be good with motion sickness, did he. Mind you, she'd heard from Ritsuko that his father was the same, which was always good for a smirk. Shinji and Gendo; they didn't really belong in the same picture, from what she could tell. The reports she'd read about Shinji generally said the same things; quiet, polite, somewhat forgettable. The Representative of Ashcroft Europe, and former second in command of Ashcroft Oceanasia, fit none of those boxes.

    Her radio chattered. It was on the priority band, over-riding the classical musical channel.

    “All units, evacuate. Sigma-Sigma-Gamma-Delta-Pi. All units, evacuate.”

    Her mind put the code together. A Clover strike!

    Damn. She had to get out of the air. She checked the automap; there was the Hammersmith Enclave nearby. It'd be safer there, with modern buildings to shield them.

    “Shinji, get down! Close your eyes! They're using nukes on the entity! In the city!”

    The car twisted, and bumped gently as she pulled it to a stop that would be impossible without modern D-Engines, braking from one hundred and twenty miles an hour to still. As soon as she could release the steering column, she threw herself on top of him, pinning him down.

    “...calling, see we ain't got no high//Except for that one with the yellowy eyes// The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming in...” screamed the radio, until the wash of static cut it off.

    Three new suns bloomed over London, as the earth pulsated. The fireball washed out, demolishing the already decaying buildings in a cleansing wave of atomic, while the blast wave tore age-softened concrete from steel frames like bread. The Old City earned itself another scar from Lehy the Butcher.

    The blast was mostly spent by the time it reached Misato and Shinji. The car rocked a bit, but remained upright.

    Then a lamp-post fell on it, crushing the back of the car.

    Misato raised her palm to her forehead.

    “Not the A-pods...”

    Misato was somewhat aggrieved by the time she badgered the ill-looking Shinji to shift it. It was positively plastered with posters, all of a handsome Arabic male model. He really was attractive, she thought, as she strained. Almost a little pharonic-looking. Although the poster could be improved by the removal of the boxers...

    The A-pods seemed to be intact, but the D-engine was damaged, and, frankly, the inclusion of non-euclidean technology in car engines made the repair liable to damage your sanity worse than the engine. Her eyes flicked to a nearby Tescorp shop. They wouldn't miss a few D-cells, would they...



    ~'/|\'~​



    “Detonation successful. The target exhibited anti-missile defences, but the dummy warheads served their role.”

    The main view screen was whited out.

    “T-minus one minute before we can move the Sentinels back in position.”

    Field Marshal Jameson nodded his head.

    “Move the units back in position. It should be destroyed, so have a collection team ready to salvage what we can.”

    Field Marshal Lehy's red eyes reflected the white screen back, like catseyes. She sat, silently, her face impassive.

    “Sentinels back in position. Thermal bloom prevents IR, too much dust in the air for visuals. Switching to X-ray.”

    The screen protruded out, the Augmented Reality of modern holography giving a true three-dimensional image.

    One single spike towered in the clover-shaped gap in Old London. As the resolution improved, the shape was confirmed.

    The antediluvian monster had survived.

    “Kokopy!” yelled Lehy, slamming her fist into the data-desk before her. “How is it still upright!”

    “That was not expected by the Magi.” Jameson looked over at Lehy, his cold blue eyes meeting her red ones. “I propose another Clover strike.”

    “What is the status of the target? Has it been damaged at all?” The comment was directed at the tactical officers.

    “Unclear. The target has stopped moving.” The Nazzadi officer, lit by the three-dimensional AR panel she was manipulating, paused. “The target's X-ray profile is changing. It's getting more dense, and protrusions are... growing. I can see the bones under the skin as a patch of density. They're more dense than lead!”

    “Focus, Lieutenant,” snapped Lehy. “What are growing?”

    “Unknown. They appear to be appendages, and appear similar to the things upon its hands. Weapons, as a first degree projection.”

    “It's regenerating, as we expected,” said Gendo softly, from the back of the room. “It is appropriate for its status as a target.”

    He pushed his glasses up, back onto his nose.

    “And we will lose E-9 coverage within a matter of seconds.”

    “Energy pulse detected in the new appendages,” yelled a tactical officer.

    The main screen cut out, as the big red words “Signal Lost” lit up.

    “Strike approved.” The Nazzadi Field Marshal nodded at the human. “Let's nuke that thing until it... dies.”

    Gendo sat back in his chair.

    “That is not dead which can eternal lie. And with strange aeons even death may die.” These words were so soft that even his old teacher could only lip-read him.

    “But Alhazred could not really see now. He was a primitive in a society that could not even solve the Ashcroft-Yi equations. Now is the Strange Aeon, and the Herald bears his message too late,” Fuyutsuki mouthed back.

    “The next missiles will not get through. The Herald can learn and change.”

    Gendo's words were proved right by yells of rage from the front of the room.

    “Ah.” Fuyutsuki frowned. “It has acquired intelligence.”

    He paused.

    “What will you do now?”

    Gendo stood up, staring at the blank view screen. They were already re-routing as much informational coverage of the eldritch abomination. Even as he stared, a new visual lit up of the Herald, its ribcage extended and fused, and prehensile tentacles emerging from its shoulders, waving here and there in implausible, spasmodic fluctuations. The barrage of shells from the Jaeger artillery had already resumed, but these new tentacles were intercepting many of these.

    He glanced back at his sensei.

    “I will wait for them to come to me. They know about the project they ridiculed as a “primitive Engel”. And then?”

    He smiled faintly.

    “I will activate Unit 01.”

    “Unit 01.” A faint hint of disappointment crept into Fuyutsuki's voice. “But we don't have a pilot.”

    “One will arrive soon.” The words were not so much stated as declaimed, written into reality as an irremovable statement.

    It only took three minutes for the NEG Army's will to accede to what Gendo Ikari knew to be an inevitability. A few quiet words were all that was needed with the resident Field Marshals. They knew it already. They had the best arcanotechnicians outside the Ashcroft Foundation (excluding the Chrysalis Corporation, but Gendo knew that most of the NEG was not familiar with that) advising them, and they knew what the creature had taken. Officially, the Evangelion Project had been subsumed by the Engel Project after Dr Anton Miyakame had worked around many of the issues with the Evangelions. But the Engels were conventional weapons of war, that used inhuman flesh twinned with the two branches of homo sapiens. They relied upon kinetic energy and human weaponry. The Evangelions may be seen as an obsolete white elephant, flawed in their control scheme, but Gendo had his trump card...



    ~'/|\'~​



    Shinji Ikari stood deep in the bowels of Inner London, the subterranean dome below London-2 that was the domain of the Ashcroft Foundation. London-2 had been amazing, an entire artificial ecosystem within a building, complete with animals and vegetation. They had been fast waved through the system, subjected to only three blood checks, and one neural scan, the latter to get into Inner London.

    The Inner Sanctum.

    Before him, immersed in fluid like an drowned idol belonging to a long dead civilisation, was a massive biped, its head glaring from the depths. Even from a distance, Shinji could feel a sort of ancient malevolence, like he was desecrating a tomb merely by being near the construct.

    “A giant face,” he blurted out. “It's... it's a massive Engel, isn't it.”

    A blond scientist standing in the middle of the gantry, holding a clipboard, glared at him.

    “It's not an Engel,” she snapped. “Engels are inferior copies of the technology invented for the Evangelion Project.”

    She tucked a loose hair behind her ear, and pointed somewhat dramatically at the Evangelion.

    “Behold, Humanity's Original Synthorg, Evangelion!”

    The Evangelion was painted in a mottled purple, blue and grey camouflage scheme; a classic urban pattern, despite its size. Its red eyes glowed a dull red, set as they were over a jaw shielded by thickened armour. One massive horn, hyper-edged, protruded from its forehead.

    It was a creature of war, death, and fear.

    “This is Unit 01, the Second Prototype Model. We believe that this is humanity's last chance.”

    Shinji frowned.

    “Excuse me, Doctor...?”

    “Doctor Ritsuko Atagi.”

    “Doctor Atagi, but the Engels have been around for over ten years. How is this the prototype if the Engels have been around for so long, and I've never heard of them.”

    She narrowed her eyes. Evidently, she had a wonderful speech ready which he had disrupted, or this was a major raw nerve.

    “After the construction of the first prototypes, funding was shifted to the cheaper, more... controllable Engels. We have suffered reduced funding for a long while because of Dr Miyakame and his defection.”

    Shinji cringed.

    “I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I didn't know.”

    A light flicked on, above the Evangelion, creating a backlit silhouette, and an amplified voice boomed out throughout the chamber.

    “No, you didn't. And you wouldn't.”

    Gendo Ikari stared down at his son. Around him, camera feeds showed his progeny from every angle.

    Shinji's eyes widened in shock. Father, he subvocalised. Memories threatened to overwhelm him, years of ambivalent hatred for the man who abandoned him after the worst day of his life. He restrained them, ignored them. He would not look away. He had the willpower, the tenacity to resist the urge.

    He glared up at the light, putting on his coldest voice, the one that Gany had used to scold him.

    “What am I doing here, Father. Why did you summon me to this place from Japan? Since I arrived I have been abandoned, nearly been killed by an entity, and been subjected to some of the least responsible driving I have ever experienced.”

    Gendo stared back down. Deep down, a tiny scab was knocked off his soul. That tone of voice; that sounded a lot like Yui when she had been in a mood. Even the facial proportions were similar.

    He flexed his new hands, still sore from the transplant. The protective gloves covered the new, soft skin, and they ached.

    None of the emotions showed on the Representative's face. Ashcroft had merely added to his natural skills in that area.

    Behind Shinji, Misato and Ritsuko began to argue about the Evangelion. Shinji half ignored them, most of his his attention focussed upon staying calm in this war of wills with his father. A few phrases clicked together, though, and he felt a terrible prescience about what they would have him do.

    “You want me to be an Engel pilot?” Shinji said, staring up at the shadow.

    “Evangelion. It's an Evangelion, not an Engel,” muttered Dr Atagi from behind him. “And, yes, we do.”

    “Impossible.” Shinji stated, flatly. He raised his hand to forestall the doctor's objection. “You need a special implant to use one of these things, and I don't have it. So, unless you want...”

    Shinji cut himself off, suddenly fearful about where this was going.

    “And anyway, I won't. You can't make me, you can't conscript me; the NEGA and the NEGN are purely volunteer armies, and I don't want to go any closer to that creature.”

    He paused, and shook, involuntarily, as he saw it cut apart the air strikes and shrug off the artillery.

    “I saw it this afternoon, far too close. I don't want to see it again.”

    He straightened up.

    “You abandoned me. At age four. Go find some professional soldier to do it. Why would you need an untrained sixteen-year old, anyway?”

    Gendo glared back down at him.

    “Target has opened fire on London-2. Arcology wall breached by energy weapon.”

    Gendo Ikari nodded his head once at the message.

    “The potential pilot is useless. A replacement will be obtained.” He switched to Fuyutsuki, up in Command headquarters. “Prepare Rei. I don't care about her physical condition. We need to get Unit 01 working, to save the city.”

    This makes no sense, Shinji thought. Why would they go to all the effort of getting me from Japan if they could obtain a pilot here, in London-2. Thus, I am preferable to whoever the replacement is. Which means that the effort required to transport someone to the other side of the globe is considered less than the effort required to find a replacement. Who on earth would keep a potential pilot so far away from the vehicle, anyway? Or not give them any training?

    The conditions in which an individual is raised can have drastic effects on their personality. Some Shinji Ikaris, in the tumultuous depths of the narrative universe, had been raised by uncaring foster parents, left to retreat inwards until their self-loathing reached approximately the same density as degenerate matter. One, via an exceedingly complex series of events that had involved time-travel, malevolent deities (on his side), and a very special tutor, had ended up as a Machiavellian genius who put his father to shame. The Shinji Ikari, though, which this tale concerns, was raised from age four by a Federal Bureau of Security (Behavioural Analysis Unit) agent, and an arcanotherapist (medicinal). A bright child cannot help but pick up a few things, especially when heritage is taken into account.

    His internal questioning was broken by the humming of a A-pod equipped hospital bed being pushed into the hall. A girl, clad in what looked like a pilot's suit, was lying upon it. Shinji could not help raising his eyebrows, for she looked a lot like the White he had seen by the train station. Then again, Whites tended to look fairly similar, as the lack of normal pigmentation removed so many of the traces that humans and Nazzadi alike used to identify each other.

    As she got closer, though, he could see that her skin looked wrong, far too fresh. She had the protective eyepiece that a newly regrown eye required on her right eye, and all the skin he could see was that disturbing, infant-like texture. Gany would have screamed and demanded to see who was in charge if she had seen that; patients shouldn't be out of a sterile environment when it was like that.

    Shinji stared back up at his father.

    “So, this is your pilot,” he said calmly. He felt a sudden wave of anger, just from seeing her like that, as a petty affront to him. His father was right; they did need him.

    He balled his fists in rage

    “She shouldn't be out of a sterile environment,” he shouted up at the glass. “She shouldn't be out of hospital!”

    Gendo smiled, faintly. He had his son, now. “Your cowardice makes it necessary.”

    His moment of triumph of wills was cut short by the Herald firing a beam, down into the earth. Exhibiting more fire-power than a NEGN Battleship, it punched through the thick shielding of Inner London and left a three dimensional hole of death and destruction through the layers of the arcology. Debris rained down through the domain of the Ashcroft Foundation and a section of the ceiling in the Evangelion hall broke away, plummeting towards the White xenomix, who had herself been knocked from the bed as the A-pod gave out as the floor rocked.

    Shinji grabbed her to haul her out of the way. Sadly, even the weakest of the four fundamental forces still provided more acceleration than he could provide, and too late he realised that all he had managed was to get himself into a position where he could be crushed. Surprisingly, the lethal debris was stopped short of crushing the two of them as the Evangelion-class Engel lifted its massive hand from the lake to shield them.

    “Impossible!” yelled Dr Asaki, prone on the floor. “It broke free! It should even be able to move; the entry plug hasn't been inserted!” She paused in her rant, and checked the AR tool around her wrist. “The D-Engine isn't even enabled! I'm going to get to the bottom of how this could happen,” she added, more softly. “Anyway, prepare Evangelion Unit 01 for a new pilot.”

    “Yes, Doctor. Preparing new profile,” came the reply over the loudspeakers.



    ~'/|\'~​



    Within a few minutes, Shinji had been changed into a standard issue Engel Suit and loaded into their entry plug. Dr Atagi had been insisting on calling it a “plug suit”, but he was beginning to suspect that, as an Ashcroft Foundation scientist who seemed to work regularly with arcanotechnology, her grasp on reality was a little bit looser than most.

    He felt around the neck, feeling a rigid seal. It felt vaguely noose-like

    “Hey,” Shinji asked the floating head of Misato projected on the interior wall of the plug, “Isn't there meant to be a helmet for this?”

    “Well, Engels need a helmet, but the control scheme of an Evangelion requires that you don't wear one,” she replied. “The plug should start filling with fluid; you can breathe it it, as it's hyper-oxygenated.”

    Right on cue, a thick, viscous fluid started pooling and rising in the capsule at an alarming rate. It was a dark orange-red, he saw, and vaguely necrotic, like the colour of a scab. The entire plug stank of blood, with strange currents and undertones to the scent.

    Shinji held his breath until it covered his head, feeling somewhat unclean just from its clinging contact with his skin, and then exhaled all the air in his lungs in one go.

    The liquid (LCL, he heard the doctor's voice in his ear) tasted exactly as it smelt. That is to say, absolutely vile. Shinji began to gag; a difficult proposition when you have no air in your lungs, and an act that mostly results in pain.

    “Don't worry, you'll get used to it soon,” was the somewhat heartless comment over the radio.

    Dr Atagi turned to her main assistant, Maya Ibuki, a short, cheerful, yet somewhat withdrawn woman, who was manning the main control desk.

    “How is it?”

    “The pilot's body remains intact. Vitals are elevated, likely from stress. No abnormal brain patterns.” Maya looked up at her mentor. “He's still alive. Your predictions on the necessary qualities for a candidate were correct. Shall I connect the D-Engines?”

    Ritsuko nodded once. “Do it.” She paused. “Monitor the synchronisation ratio once the Evangelion boots up. If it goes above 90% or dS/dt exceeds 3 percent per second, abort immediately. We don't want a repeat.”

    “Yes, senpai. Acknowledged and logged” Maya moved her hands through the three-dimensional matrix before her.

    A complex spiral appeared in the air before her. Consisting of two sin functions around a central axis, the projection resembled a double helix more than anything. As they watched, the two lines rotated around the axis, moving closer.

    “Synchronisation is forty eight... no, fifty one, no, fifty two percent. Stabilising... fifty four.” She snapped her fingers within the AR matrix. “dS/dt is constant, plus or minus 0.8%.”

    Ritsuko stared at the graph, almost hoping for it to be wrong.

    “Incredible.”

    “Harmonics are steady and strong. Vital signs are still strong. No mental contamination, as of yet.”

    “It took Rei seven months to achieve a stable connection. This is astonishing. If we can replicate this, we can beat Dr Miyakame and his damn Engel Synthesis Interface.”



    ~'/|\'~​



    The mood within the Evangelion itself was somewhat less tranquil, as Misato briefed Shinji on what they expected him to do.

    “... so, you don't exactly want me to fight the thing, even after all this,” Shinji said in surprise.

    “No, not at all. You'll be backed up by a squadron of Engels, which will be the ones which will kill the target. Your job is the most important, though.”

    She pulled up a projection within the capsule.

    “You've seen the creature, and some of what it can shrug off. We believe it has a protective field which replicates a second-tier sorcery. It seems to naturally produce it, as the spell shorts out all machinery on the person if we use it. The Evangelion can produce a similar field; we call it an AT field. Two fields, if put in proximity and set similarly, can cancel each other out. Phase, anti-phase, see.”

    “So, wait.” Shinji frowned, even as the feeling of the LCL moving against skin made it feel like he was covered in bugs. “Why can't other Engels produce this “AT field”? Or can't you just use the sorcery against a weapon, to put the field it, and then just give it to something else?”

    “Because this is an Evangelion, not an Engel!” came the inevitable response from the good doctor. Shinji groaned. He'd hoped that she hadn't been listening. “And anyway,” Ritsuko continued in a more normal tone of voice, “for your latter point, we have.”

    An image of Unit 01, certain areas highlighted in red appeared before Shinji, levitating in a messianic pose.

    “Evangelion Unit 01 is more heavily armed than anything in the New Earth Government that isn't a naval unit. Note the Hyperedged Horn, Claws and the Spurs on the feet. All these objects have been enhanced with a weaponised variant of Dimensional Shield. We hope that the spell will replicate the effects of the AT field, allowing the weapons to stab through. You also have a Hyperedge Blade, mounted under your left forearm. There are also two, head-mounted XV4 heavy laser cannons, synchronised with the eyes, an LR-15 lightning cannon on your left arm, and twinned CB444/AA charge beams attached to the right arm. We've disabled the ranged weapons though; you aren't trained to use them.”

    Somewhat overwhelmed with the list, Shinji simply nodded his head once.

    “Prepare launch!”



    ~'/|\'~​



    Within London-2, four more unnatural hybrids of man, Nazzadi, machine, and inhuman monstrosity stalked their target. James in Tabris, his Auphan (Codename: Tragedy), Sarah in Ramiel, her Malach (Codename: Mantis), Wera in Iruel, his Aral (Codename: Shadow), and Jenny in Lilith, her Shinnan (Codename: Bloodmare). They'd heard that Alpha Squadron had been completely destroyed by this thing, and so they were trying their very, very best to keep out of sight.

    “Shadow, what's the status on the target?” First Lieutenant Jenny Intry, their CO asked their stealth specialist. Around her, Lilith snapped her claws reflectively.

    “Target is still advancing through the arcology. It's firing repeatedly at the ground. It's headed somewhere, and that somewhere is down.” He paused, hidden under his stealth field. “It's like it's digging. And it's going straight through the arcology levels.”

    The unspoken acknowledgement of all the casualties it must be causing passed between the quartet.

    “Ashcroft better hurry with their secret project. I've seen it sniffing the air, and it's jamming most of my unconventional senses. I think it suspects something,” added Tragedy. “And it's a lot more heavily armed that we are. And it shrugged off a Clover strike.”

    “Cut the chatter,” ordered Jenny, from within the warm, uterine, control capsule. A panel, embedded in the fleshy wall lit up with a priority message. “Okay, the prototype is coming up through the mag-tunnels. Says it's an “Evangelion-class Engel”, whatever that is. Haven't heard of it myself.”

    “But what good can one more of us do?” Wera whispered, in his rather attractive Nazzadi accent.

    In front of the target, the ground opened up, with a hiss of supercooled magnets. Riding up on rails, a titanic figure, the same size as the target appeared, in the blues and greys of the NEG. It dwarfed the Engels; Lilith and Ramiel were only (only; it seemed like such a petty word) 13 metres tall, while Iruel and Tabris were shorter.

    “Now that is a humongous mecha,” stated Sarah. “If it's similar to the target, we might even be in with a chance.”

    “Ready up,” ordered Jenny. “We hit the bastard when he's distracted by the prototype. Try to take out its legs, so it'll stop moving and we can hit it at will.”

    Shinji Ikari would have been less than reassured by their confidence. For one, they had disabled his ranged weapons. For seconds, they had also put him in a prototype war machine without any real training. He was able to move; the Operator Side Effect luckily worked even with the massive discrepancies in size, and so he knew instinctively how to make the Evangelion do as he wished.

    The figure of the Herald loomed before him. Oddly, now that he was in the Evangelion, it didn't seem so horrifying. Of course, maybe the fact that he was now the same size as it played a role in that. He followed the instructions over the radio; it seemed that the movements of the giant Engel were controlled by his own thoughts, with the controls almost just a prop. He flexed his (the machine's?) clawed fingers reflexively, and took a few, slow steps towards the target.

    “Good, Shinji!” Misato sounded delighted over the radio. “Now, try activating the AT field!”

    Shinji frowned. Somehow, they had never got around to explaining how he did that.

    “How? How do I do that?” he exclaimed.

    Back down in Inner London, Misato looked helplessly at Ritsuko.

    “Yes, how does the pilot use the AT Field?”

    “We don't exactly know,” the scientist hissed back. “We know that the Evangelion can do it, but we're unclear as to how it is performed.”

    Misato raised her palm to her forehead. There was a faint slapping sound.

    “You mean we risked an Evangelion and an Engel squadron in the hope that the pilot would, in his first go, work out how to use a field that consists mostly of shredded spacetime which we don't understand ourselves.”

    “We had no other choice. And, anyway, it would be more accurate to say that no-one sane and still human understands AT theory,” Ritsuko added, more thougtfully. “Research into something that involves rotating a one dimensional object that curves through two higher dimensions outside the World of Elements has a very high attrition rate. It's predicted by an expansion of the Ashcroft-Yi equations into an n-dimensional chaotic system. I don't think I have to remind you about what happened to Ashcroft or Yi. Or notable amounts of my mother's team. Or Soryu. Or the other Ikari.”

    Misato shuddered. Arcane physics was a closed book to her, and Ritsuko, as an accomplished arcanophysicist, arcanobiologist and sorceress, was weird even as an old friend.

    “Nevertheless, what should we do?”

    Just a little closer, mouthed Jenny within her Engel, as the squadron snuck up on the Herald. The Evangelion-class didn't seem to be doing anything, but it had all the monster's attention. They just needed the field to go down, and they could kill the thing.

    The Herald seem to come to a decision. All of its leech-like fingers and the apendages mounted on its shoulders, as one, swivelled to face Unit 01. And in perfect synchronity, they vomited forth their yellow-green beams. The cutting light swivelled and cut scores across the plating of the Evangelion, knocking it down, onto its back.

    Within Unit 01, Shinji screamed and clutched at his face, his body, his limbs. He could feel the monster cutting into him, like hot irons on his skin. His body started convulsing, wracked by the pain. Most of the wounds on the Evangelion were cauterised, but some, such as the one punched through his left arm, began spraying blood all over the wrecked interior of this district of London-2. Even the LCL around him seemed to grow warmer, as heat was conducted through the body of the beast.

    He slumped back in his pilot's chair, at the edge of unconsciousness. A faint sussuration filled his ears, the whispering of a thousand voices, in perfect harmony and peace. He rolled aside, trying desperately to get out of the way of the burning and pain, but only his body moved, not the Evangelion.

    And then it clicked.

    Pain is bad, yes.

    Like a wire in the head.

    But wires are small, thin.

    Easily avoidable.

    So if you rotate the pain, it cancels itself out.

    And if you rotate it again, it can be used as a stabbing tool, to give others pain.

    Good, good, yes.


    Normally, Shinji was sure that that sentence... chain of thoughts would make no sense.

    And yet it did. Like the world itself had been rotated, and he had remained static.

    He opened his eyes. A filigree network, like a cage of fractured glass, protruded over him. The beams of the Herald licked harmlessly at it, like a match held against a brick wall.

    Shinji fainted.

    An observer who was not enthralled by the pyrotechnics would have noticed other things about the filigree cage, the AT field. Like the fact that the strands reflected light wrong, not always showing the same scene, or showing it at another time. Through one strange glimpse, Eva 01 lay against a building, blood pouring from its head. A thousand thousand tales of woe were reflected in that mesh, and a few would be soon enough.

    Evangelion 01 picked itself up, off the ground, and roared. A mass of tendrils emerged from its mouth, hungry and scenting, from within its mammalian jaw.

    The Aral pilot nodded.

    “That's certainly an Engel. Permission to engage?”

    Jenny, in her Shinnan, nodded.

    “I think this is our best chance. Keep out the way of the Eva-class, though; we don't know what else that prototype can do.”

    The Herald was confused.

    brotherdietime
    bearmessageofill
    whyfightwhywhywhyrescue
    smallchildrenwerebrothersnotnow
    painpainpain


    The Evangelion roared with glee, a dreadful sound, like the scream of a drowning man, a reptilian cry blocked and attenuated by the tentacles that filled its mouth. It grabbed the Herald by both arms, and lent in, a bright corona where the two AT fields met, as the tears in space and time, in the corpus of an great being, tore the air apart at the sub-nuclear level.

    As the bubbles of shredded insanity breached and passed each other, Unit 01 vomited more tentacles forth, and affixed them to the glowing red core of the Herald. And the ancient scion of a race that pre-dated humanity knew fear. And pain. And endless suffering.

    Fuyutsuki stared at the view screen, deep in Inner London.

    “He's won.”

    The core dimmed, its radiance consumed by a great blackness. As the Evangelion squatted on the body of the Herald, its jaws locked, lamprey style, on the orb, the Engels were belatedly assisting. Twin charge beams from the Shinnan scored further gashes on the core, while the Auphan, its acid-covered manibles slathered, was locked onto the being's hand, consuming a leech-like finger like some alien lizard eating a worm. It consumed the entire finger, then stuck its lightning gun into the wound, its white carapace soaked in blue blood, and fired, leaving the entire hand to convulse.

    As the core began to splinter, as the tentacles of Unit 01 moved from place to place, devouring what they could, the Herald realised what danger it was in. Its mask protruded upwards from the blackness of its body, on a tendril of blackness, looking nothing as much as a primordial cobra.

    “Get back, Tragedy!” yelled Wera.

    As the Auphan jumped away, activating its A-Pods and soaring away into the sky, more appendages of void emerged from the fallen Herald, all wrapping themselves around Unit 01, while the parts of the Core that the Evangelion had not gotten to began to glow even brighter. The synthorg ignored it, mindlessly trying to consume all that it could.

    A barrage of fire slammed into the core. Already damaged, and overloaded with power, it shattered, sending pseudo-crystalline shards tearing through the arcology. The Herald, by now nothing more than a mass of black pseudopodia trying to envelop Unit 01, slumped to the ground, flooding the area with its liquefying, unnatural flesh.

    Looking to the artificial sky above it, coated in its own blood and the black, tar-like remains of the Herald, Evangelion Unit 01 raised its head and cried out. The gargling, dying scream shifted to a hideous roar, as the tentacles retracted into its jaw.

    And the people throughout the land knew fear.

    Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate

    Deep in Inner London, Gendo Ikari steepled his fingers and smiled, faintly, in satisfaction.

    “And thus it begins. The saving of the world.”

    ~'/|\'~​
     
  2. bullethead

    bullethead Part time fanfic writer

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    A pretty good start, but anyone who isn't familiar with Cthulutech is going to need some explanation for stuff like "A-pods" (I'm assuming they're antigravity pods or something).
     
  3. EarthScorpion

    EarthScorpion Fell on His Sword

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    Ah, good. That's exactly what posting it to more places gets you; helpful comments about things like that.

    Yes, the A-Pod is an anti-gravity generator. Basically, the fundamental technology of arcanotech is the D-Engine, a device which uses non-Euclidean "Stuff that man was not meant to know", drives its designers and maintainers mad, and in return gives infinite energy (but finite power). If you modify them, they become an A-Pod, which gives you a constant force applied upon the vehicle, which opposes gravity or gives you thrust.

    Most aircars have a single A-Pod. Misato's car has two. Military vehicles can have more; for example, the Auphan has six, and can fly at 180 mph. The pictures of the Engels are below;

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Tabi

    Tabi Over a thousand stories, yet unfinished.

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    I will have to say, not bad. Not epic, but not bad.
     
  5. Aranfan

    Aranfan Team Plasma Grunt

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    Not epic yet, Tabi. It may become epic in time.

    I look foward to more of this.


    Also, can I get a link to Cthulutech stuff so I don't get lost?
     
  6. Garlak

    Garlak "Lag is coming."

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  7. wellis

    wellis

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    Earth this actually looks pretty interesting. Still I was kind of hoping that it would be that somehow a group of Engels, or some of the good guy corporations and groups from Cthulhutech would somehow end up in the NGE verse and thus have to fight Angels.
     
  8. Xon

    Xon Cabal Arm Commander Staff

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    Might not have enough GRIMDARK and HOPELESSNESS for some of the local Cthulhu/Mythos wankers (thankfully they don't grace the Creative forums often).

    Otherwise, this looks just as good here as it did when you posted it in sd.net
     
  9. nick012000

    nick012000

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    I'll also point out that a decent mech (like a Chasmal or a Typhoon) piloted by a powerful parapsychic with the right powers is very, very nasty. Maybe even nasty enough to take out Angels.

    An agility of 20+ plus a bucketload of armor (from your Gravikinetic sheild and your Engel's natural armor) and regeneration means that what few attacks don't whiff tend to get stopped cold by the armor, and what few aren't stopped by the armor regen in short order.

    A starting character can start off with both powers needed there too, if they're a Zoner, though he'd still need to spend a bit of XP increasing the powers (though far less than he'd need to spend to learn them after chargen).
     
  10. Aranfan

    Aranfan Team Plasma Grunt

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    That's what the AT Field is for Nick.


    Also, I've done a little research and I want to know to what extent the ES and the CC have infiltrated the Eva Project.
     
  11. Forgetful

    Forgetful Nuka Chemist

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    I don't know where the above mecha come from. But I think they'll mesh well with Evangelions.
     
  12. EarthScorpion

    EarthScorpion Fell on His Sword

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    Yes, Nick. Because the New Earth Government, a much more sane organisation than 99% of groups in anime, or indeed much of fiction, is going to put a Zoner (which is to say, an unstable madman granted powers that shredded their sanity by going near the SWIRLING ZONE OF PRIMAL CHAOS that used to be Las Vegas) in an Engel (which is to say, a highly expensive piece of war technology when they're already on the defensive and slowly losing, and the machine itself DRIVES YOU MADder) and use them as a weapon. And then encourage them to use their powers, which increases the chance that an already unstable individual will start Burning, where their powers are permanently on (which, in the case of the twinkery you proposed, is exceedingly unpleasant).

    Yes.

    Sure they are. Are you sure that you've been attending your mandatory psychological evaluations?

    Seriously. I would model River Tam using the Zoner trait. Most Zoners can survive in society just as well as she could, except instead of slashing at Jayne with a knife, most Zoners would have broken out the Force Lightning/ FIRE!!!!/ shrieked because they were reading the minds of the entire crew simultaneously and then tried to hang themselves.

    And the sane(ish), stable(ish), (very) wealthy individuals who tend to have that level of power tend to, you know, be running corporations that specialise in the manufacture of dense composites that can be only manufactured in high g, or deployed as specialist infantry not dissimilar to Imperial Guard Sanctioned Psykers and used as the heavy guns. Like "There's a large scale riot in the city. Deploy the Gravikinetic and pin them to the pavement to allow us to get more people up."

    Yes. I'm sure that you do.


    Arches fingers, and stares at computer monitor through orange-tinted glasses.
     
  13. Forgetful

    Forgetful Nuka Chemist

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    Sooo..how's your son doing?

    Also, moar pls?
     
  14. Aranfan

    Aranfan Team Plasma Grunt

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    I second the request for more. Also I have several questions:

    In NGE the Eva's had cables and eventually shut down, this isn't the case with the D-Engines and I'm curious on how they would deal with a berserk Eva.

    What side is Kaji on?

    Will we see the Eva's in use against the other enemies of the New Earth Government?

    How will Asuka be handled? I find it unlikely for her to have not seen combat if her situation is similar to NGE canon; which would mean that the Evangelion would also have been combat tested, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.

    Will we see the Heralds fighting more than just the New Earth Government? Specifically the aquatic Heralds will have to deal with the Dagonites and the Orbital Heralds will have to deal with the Migou.
     
  15. Forgetful

    Forgetful Nuka Chemist

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    You know, I have to ask, if the Cthulu nonhuman forces will be scared, or be somewhat knowledgeable about the Angels/Heralds.
     
  16. EarthScorpion

    EarthScorpion Fell on His Sword

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    Update is up to eleven pages so far, and maybe half done or so. I'd like to keep the chapters fairly long, which keeps the updates spaced out with, you know, degree stuff. I'm slightly worried about Ritsuko, though. It seems that I'm suffering from conservation of psychological problems; by making Shinji more sane and balanced, I'm... negatively affecting THE WHOLE WORLD!

    Now, to answer some questions. That which I will, anyway.

    Yes, the Evas have internal D-Engines, which are basically S2 Organs and the source of all human power supplies in the setting. To shut them down if they berserk, they'll use the same method as they do on the Engels; they can lock down the armour, paralysing it. On the other hand, they'd prefer not to have to resort to that, as Engels, at the very least, get pissed if you do that to them.

    Formally, the Global Intelligence Agency. Informally... well, in all honesty, I'm not exactly sure how many sides he was on in the OT, which should give you some ideas...

    Some of them might even be right.

    Oh, I hope so.

    I have two awesome, (IMO) sequences planned for Moloch (formerly known as Sandalphon) and Yarikh (formerly known as Sahaquiel). In the former's case, a volcano will be preserved, but, well. Look at the nearest really volcano region to the UK, and its current state in the Cthulhutech timeline.

    The naming convention is something I'm rather proud of, too, as it keeps the middle eastern mysticism, while letting the Engel pilots keep the names of their Engels.

    Well, there are legal issues with deploying children to battlefields, and before now, they haven't really needed the Evangelions-class Engels. Remember Ritsuko's complaints about the funding cuts, and imagine how worse the template for the MP models could be suffering. Now, on the other hand, Asuka is still a progidy, and in fact will be deployed to the Eastern front (versus the Migou from Russia) immediately after the noted success of Unit 01, which should actually give her a more justified reason for arrogance.

    Partially yes. And that's all I'll say.
     
  17. EarthScorpion

    EarthScorpion Fell on His Sword

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Messages:
    10,931
    I cut this short from what I was planning; it seemed like a better idea this way, for the events to be covered in a separate chapter. A large amount of this chapter, of course, is the preparing and loading of Chekhov's Guns. Or is is? :rolleyes:

    Chapter 2

    Transitions of a Terminus


    Shinji Ikari woke to the sight of a smooth white ceiling above him, and the faint smell of antiseptics in the air. The bed below him was nice and soft. Soft was good. The skin on his front itched, like he had been bruised all over.

    Raising his head and looking down, he noticed that this was, in fact, the case. A multitude of red welts, like he had been whipped or pressed into a heated wire, covered his bare torso. They looked days old, though, which raised two possibilities. Either he had been unconscious for that amount of time, after... whatever had happened in the Engel, or arcanotherapy was boosting his healing time. As a primary conclusion, he suspected the latter; a suspicion made more certain by the fact that the door was marked with the symbol of the Ashcroft Foundation, and the room had obviously been prepared as a concecrated area for ritual workings.

    In the Strange Aeon, all children were taught to recognise that at a very young age. Bad things (things unspecified to young children, but as they aged some of the badness, such as being smeared across thirteen dimensions while still conscious) happened if a sorcerer were distracted. The more inquisitive, those who showed the greatest interest in sorcery and the occult, were shown some pictures by a New Earth Government visitor to the school. Typically, the interest died down after the twelve-year olds were shown what the human body looked like when that had happened. Lots of pink and grey.

    Shinji, of course, had already known that. The room upstairs, where Gany had kept her books and her circle, had been locked at all times, and the four year old had been told explicitly that if he made noise around there, bad things could occur to everybody in the house.

    His thoughts were dismissed by the noise of the door hissing aside. A nurse, a dark-skinned human in a gleaming white medicinal suit, entered.

    “You are awake.” The English voice came from the ceiling, from the Augumented Reality display that had just lit up, bathing his face in a cool blue light. It was not a question; they quite obviously had access to his vitals.

    “Yes.” Shinji blinked his eyes heavily, trying to get his head in shape to speak English. “Uh... who am I speaking to? Is this a LAI or a real person?”

    “This is the Type-65H Limited Artificial Intelligence System, attached to the Charing Cross Hospital (London-2), an Ashcroft Foundation medical facility. This hospital is a specialist facility for New Earth Government soldiers and members of the Ashcroft Foundation with both-slash-either physiological and-slash-or psychological injuries.” The voice paused. “Your file indicates that you are fluent in English, Japanese and Nazzadi. Would you like this Limited Artificial Intelligence to switch languages?”

    “Yes, please.” Shinji winced, as he tried moving an arm.

    Limited Artificial Intelligences (or LAI, pronounced as an abbreviation) were common in modern society. They were standard in nearly every computer system or computerised device. Indeed most people (excluding the types of people, who, years ago, would have been the type of people who used Linux) wouldn't be to even able to use their computers without the installed LAI, and its voice recognition and gesture interpretation. True AI, on the other hand, was outlawed for the same reasons as cloning; a cocktail of ethical issues, technical problems that made it difficult anyway, and the League for the Preservation of Nazzadi Culture. For some reason, the race of altered humans created and brainwashed to wipe out their progenitors by space fungus from Pluto (or Yuggoth, as they apparently called it) viewed the idea of creating any other kind of life rather negatively. Of course, inevitably, the rules were bent and ignored. The Magi computer system, developed as an offshoot of the Evangelion Project, was one of those little breaches, both from its composition and its theorised potential intellect. Other exceptions existed; top secret projects linked to the Engels, penguins, the GIA FACADE project...

    Anyway, in an Ashcroft Facility, the LIA was always going to be more advanced than that on a laptop. The Type-65H was a high operating one, able to monitor the patient, administer drugs, and respond to the typical questions that patients tended to ask. And call for security, to have the subject subdued or terminated. Such things were needed in the Strange Aeon, sadly.

    It took the LAI less than a second to upload the Japanese files to active memories.

    “Patient Shinji Ikari.” The voice itself remained exactly the same, but it switched to flawless Japanese. “Do you wish to know your physiological status? You have not yet submitted a psychiatric evaluation to this facility.”

    Shinji indicated assent. The machine proceeded to give a full diagnosis, the majority of which Shinji couldn't really understand. After getting it to simplify, he found that he had bruising and some first degree burns, and the LAI indicated that he had been approved for release, subject to mental evalutation.

    Well, Shinji thought to himself. Well, well, well. Yesterday...

    “LAI, what is today's date?” he asked the ceiling.

    “Today is Wednesday, the 22nd of August, 2091. The time is 10:37 am,” the voice added, without prompting.

    Okay. The day before yesterday. He'd been out for a day. Flexing, he ached, but nothing really hurt, in the stabbing way. Shinji swung his legs out of bed, and held his head in his hands.

    Monday, as a day, all things considered, had really been terrible. He could still see the creature. It shouldn't have been. It was wrong. And whatever had happened with the Engel. He'd fainted after the laser (and that in itself was wrong; why was he being hurt when it was the Engel being hurt. He could understand transmitted pain, even if it seemed stupid not to put in some kind of buffer, but there was no way that he should have been burnt by being in the Evangelion.), and then...nothing coherent. There was the memories of thoughts which didn't make sense now, but in the memory of the thoughts they did.

    And worse, in the memory of those thoughts, the monster had made sense.

    And that was a horrific concept. Cold shivers ran up and down his spine, just at the thought of that.

    Shinji Ikari groaned. He was sure that he could have to climb in the entry plug again. All he could hope was that there were no more creatures with AT fields. The other threats to London-2 could obviously be dealt with by conventional forces.

    But the body of the creature had been horrific. That one glimpse, that hurried slight backwards, was burned into his mind. Suddenly the evaluation seemed like a good thing...



    ~'/|\'~​



    Inner London, sometimes somewhat jokingly called London-Minus, and one of the prototypes funded by the Ashcroft Foundation as a test bed for the technologies involved in the construction of a geocity, was a construction marvel. The sealed buildings, organised for mass public transport and transport by foot, were interspaced with gardens and parks. The arcology even imitated weather, with wind, rain, and snow every Christmas. The D-Engine powered lights, gleaming far above in the greater dome of the geocity, were currently set to day, giving a good replica of daylight, but during the night the lights would dim, and new stars would twinkle above. These were not the night skies of the modern days; the stars were wrong, and kept deliberately so. For one, the glint of the Migou Hive Ship, hypothesised to be the body known as Charon, did not hang above the world, a seemingly ever present reminder of the threat of the Aeon War. The Foundation had designed the entire geocity to have a historic feel, reaching back to the Earth before the modern wars and the ecological damage of the twentieth century. In the midst of this primal beauty, Inner London, a pale girl with a lily, beauteous to the eye, lay. The red lights of the NEG positions, even underground, pooled around the city, marring the corpus while reminding the inhabitants of the price that humanity must pay every day.

    The office of Gendo Ikari, in the heart of Inner London, below the London-2 arcology, was the gleaming interior of a sphere. The entire room was a potential source of Augmented Reality projections for his glasses, and the walls themselves could be made transparent, to look down over the domain of the Ashcroft Foundation. The dome, at the peak of Central Dogma, centre of Inner London was the tower for a modern wizard, properly consecrated for rituals as it was.

    Currently, the walls were set to dark, and the Ashcroft-Yi equations, source and seal of the wealth and immeasurable influence of the Ashcroft Foundation (still technically a private trust, something its horde of lawyers were very clear to the NEG media, despite the fact that it had a word in every level of government) hung over the surfaces in a profusion of Greek letters, sub-and-superscript characters.

    Fuyutsuki stood before his superior.

    “We have a problem with Rei.”

    Gendo looked up from his computer, the code flowing across its surface reflecting off his face like society of eldritch insects. Fuyutsuki shuddered. This place always put him in a morbid frame of mind. But Gendo seemed at ease here, or at the very least concealed it so utterly that he could neither sense, nor feel in any way, discomfort from the man. But he never had, not apart from that one day, locked in the past.

    “Explain.”

    “Because of her removal from a sterile ward while the epidermis had not yet fully acclimatised to its new body, we are getting an immune response against her left arm. Moreover, there is a necrotic bacterial infection in the same limb.” The elderly man paused. “Your son was right, you know. Mind you, you were the one who picked out those two women for foster parents. The Nazzadi one was a doctor.” A slight smile passed over his face. “I've always wondered why you did that.”

    Gendo's eyebrows raised slightly in irritation. “I know. But you wouldn't be here to tell me about a routine infection; not in person. Therefore, something else had come up.”

    “Two somethings, actually. The Committee wishes to speak with you. But, there is a more pressing problem with Rei. The left arm is suffering both dystrophic calcification epidermally and hypophosphoric softening in the actual bone. Moreover, unusual blemishes have appeared around the hand.”

    Gendo's hands moved through the projected screen, as fresh data rippled over his glasses. Then:

    “It is certain.”

    “It is certain.”

    He blinked, once.

    “Amputate immediately, and grow a fresh one.” The black haired man paused, as something caught his eye. “There has been unauthorised tampering with her samples on the medicinal database. Specifically, chromosome 10.” His voice grew colder, if possible. “I want a full list of every single person who had access to that data. We will need full DNA and mental scans on all of them, and prepare for full use of the Clauses.”

    “I anticipated that. The individuals have already been noted to Internal Security.”

    “Thank you.” The words were a pleasantry, nothing more or less. “Now, I must talk to a few... people. I will have to justify activating Unit 01 ahead of schedule, and with what they will see as the wrong Pilot.”



    ~'/|\'~


    Rei Ayanami lay in her hospital bed, her lumiescent white skin beaded with sweat. As Ashcroft-loyal medical orderlies swarmed around the bed, her left arm already encased in a MAU, she was left to silently blend into the room; almost an irrelevancy. She looked up. The arched ceiling, two metres above her head, was white. To the left, the plain, clinical walls were the same.

    She was a ghost.

    A non-entity.

    And as the sickly-sweet smell of lilies suffused the room, she looked at the orderly (Dr Phyl Laforge, MArcTher), and knew that he was mourning the loss of his wife to him.

    And she wondered at the choice of words.



    ~'/|\'~​


    The vast flatscreens, mounted against the walls of the interior of the steel canyon that was London-2, blared out their approved message, on every channel. The current channel showed a very attractive Nazzadi, her hair dyed snow white to match her facial tattoos, in what might be generously called a skimpy dress.

    “The latest news; the defeat of the latest strike in the Aeon War deployed against the valiant New Earth Government forces on the European front, against London-2. Although the New Earth Government has made no official statements, highly placed sources have stated, off the record, that they believe the vehicle, a bipedal walker roughly seventy metres in height, to have been of Dagonite origin.”

    Misato snorted in a rather unladylike manner. She knew very well that the “highly placed sources” were the official briefing, at least at first. She shivered, and wrapped her arms tighter around her HEV suited body. The recovery attempts upon the dead entity, now codenamed by the New Earth Government as “Asherah”, were going as planned, and Ritsuko was positively delirious at the fact that they had a (nearly) intact corpse to poke around in. She had over-heard her old friend talking with some of the NEG scientists poking around in the innards of the beast, and the words “non-euclidean”, “extra-dimensional”, and references to exceedingly complex mathematics were being thrown around far too casually. With signs of intense enjoyment, too.

    While obviously better able to deal with such things than, say, her grandmother would have been, Misato Katsuragi still held that there were some things that man was not meant to know. Like, say, how to bend space in a way that parallel lines intersected and then start showing them to her.

    Moreover, because Evangelion Unit 01 had still been an internal Ashcroft project, rather than a NEG Army project, she had been the ranking officer, as the individual formally in charge of the military affairs of Inner London. Now, normally she could have deputised someone to over see the project, and got back to filling in some of the paper work that accumulated, like flies on a carcass, on her in desk. She would actually have done it, too. It would have been preferable to spending time around here, with the Arcology wall punctured and the ever-so-pleasant British weather blowing in.

    It was raining, despite all her experiences with such things as gravity, horizontally.

    Someday, she swore to herself, she would hunt down and find the individual who had approved her promotion to Chief Operations Officer for the Foundation in London. And then she would have words. Words involving coldness, wetness, and being forced to listen to arcane scientists explain what they were doing for very long periods of time. It was clinically proven to drive you mad, after all; what more did they have to show to get it banned...

    But maybe she could start with the idiot in the New Earth Government Army who had decided, after their failure to kill the Asherah entity, that they had to be seen to be doing someone big and brave and heroic. As a consequence, they'd sent a dammed O-8, a Marshal to oversee the operations. She'd only been an O-4, a Major, when she'd left the NEGA for the better pay working for the Foundation. As an individual in the odd legal status of being a member of the Foundation's state-within-a-state (and didn't they know it, she added silently, her mind substituting the name “Gendo Ikari” for “they” as soon as she thought it), she wasn't technically outranked, but her instincts were yelling at her to defer to him.

    She ignored them. Reluctantly, she got up from her section behind the wind (and rain) shadow of a wrecked piece of wall, and went to get some more coffee. Coffee was warm. Warm was good.

    That was the kind of maths that she approved of.

    Unfortunately, the path to the nano-fabber set up for hot drinks was blocked by scientists. Talking science. And not even proper science; arcane science.

    Approval rating dropping, she thought to herself.

    As the black liquid came out of the machine into her waiting voice, she heard the unmistakable tones of Dr Atagi from over her shoulder.

    “...so, yes, it seems that the entity, is, quite apart from protruding an extra-dimensional bubble which warps space-time in the same fashion as a massive body to an extent that we'd only really see this degree of the imposition of a non-Euclidean geometry around a singularity... oh yes, did I mention? The WEYL and RICCI tensors are themselves complex... I know! This thing should give research materials for years.”

    Ritsuko's voice dropped in enthusiasm, suddenly.

    “And keep the whole damn psychiatric wards of the Foundation with a regular influx of patients, too.”

    Misato could feel the change in the atmosphere. Colder, suddenly, as if it had just dropped ten degrees. Was that a sniffle she heard? Yes, it was, she decided, and more than one.

    She turned around. The flock of arcane scientists was already dispersing, leaving Ritsuko staring down at the ground.

    She shuffled towards her friend, steaming cup of coffee in her hand, and a decidedly neutral expression on her face.

    “Rits? You want a cup of coffee? It's black?”

    Her friend grabbed at it, with a hungry, almost inhuman expression on her face.

    She then downed it in one.

    “Uh, that was very hot...” Misato began, before fading away.

    Ritsuko was crying, her dyed blond face obscuring her face. She began to sob, a thick burble halfwhere between a sob and a giggle.

    “Ow. Yeah.” She pulled out a pack of cigarettes from within her HEV suit, and lit up.

    “Gods, yeah. Ow. My tongue feels like, well, like the taste buds and the muscle itself have become scalded and engorged from the excess heat.”

    Misato looked at her wryly. “I think you meant “I burnt my tongue!” she replied, in a somewhat forced light-hearted tone of voice.

    “Yes, sure.”

    “Are you sure you don't want to talk about it.” Misato paused, a slightly stricter tone entering her voice. “Have you been going to your weekly evaluations? Have you been taking your pills?”

    “Yes, Misato, I have.” Her voice steadied somewhat. “It's just... well, the day before yesterday, I went to the Twin Obelisks. Some new names had gone up.”

    The black-haired woman didn't say anything, but merely hugged her friend around the shoulders. Of course, Misato thought. She tends to get like this when she goes near that place.

    The Twin Obelisks. There were copies of them in any major Ashcroft Foundation facility, although the originals stood in the Foundation's headquarters, in Chicago-2. The larger White Obelisk, which, engraved upon it in minuscule text, listed the names of every single researcher and arcanotechnician lost to insanity, locked up in the permanent wards of the Foundation's cavernous mental facilities. And the Black Obelisk, listing every single individual killed directly in the line of their duties.

    “It's just,” Ritsuko, in a shaky voice, as she wiped her eyes on her sleeve, “it's just, well... the year before last, over half my graduating class in now on one of those two Obelisks. My mother's on the White one.”

    NAOKO AKAGI

    “You remember Asuka, right, over in the German branch.”

    Misato nodded her assent.

    “I heard this morning that they're putting Unit 02 off the training position its been in, since the funds were cut, and attaching it directly to the NEGA. Her mother was driven mad by the Evangelion project, and now...” Ritsuko clammed up.

    KYOKO ZEPPELIN SORYU

    “Hell, you know how I bitch about Dr Miyakame, but he's the only sane one left out of his entire research group. The rest are on the monoliths, one way or another. Simon Yi, the man who developed the D-Engine, is up there.”

    SIMON YI

    “And then there's Teresa Ashcroft. She did all the theory, from scratch. She's responsible for all much modern technology. People in the past would have killed for the almost free energy, 100% environmentally sound...”

    “Apart from when gribbly things burst out and eat the technicians.” Misato bit down on her lip, well aware that her attempts to interject some humour into the situation might just make the situation worse.

    “That only happened with the first few prototypes, back in the '30s, as you know quite well,” Ritsuko snapped back, sounding more like herself. “But, anyway, what did that brilliance get Teresa Ashcroft...”

    TERESA ASHCROFT

    “Nothing, that's what. She was committed in '22, aged 27. If she's alive now, do you think she cares about anything at all.” The doctor took a deep pull on her cigarette. “And that's just the White. I can name several more on the Black. You know the Ashcroft college we'll be sending the Third Child to. Almost all the children there have a parent on the Obelisks. That's what we're doing. The dammed D-Engine is eating up all our best and brightest, and spitting some out, mangled, while it swallows some whole.”

    Inside, Ritsuko Atagi was shaking. She realised, now, that she was having one of her episodes. She hadn't told her friend yet that they'd bumped her up to twice-weekly examinations. She was losing it, she knew. But still, all the people she knew were going slowly crazy. And what they were doing to get the Evangelions working. Sometimes, she doubted that the human race was worth what they were sacrificing for it. What she, personally, was sacrificing. It wasn't even going crazy, not really. Because when she looked at it through the new viewpoint that she got through arcanotechnology, it made more sense. What did human emotions matter when you knew, as a clear statement, that all humanity was was a collection of three-dimensional molecules arranged in a complex pattern, embedded in the fourth dimension, and with slight intrusions into the fifth. But whenever she wavered, out of the mists of her subconscious emerged that face. She would never be free of him.

    She pulled herself together, internally, following her councillor's guidance. There were a lot of things that Misato both shouldn't (both for the reasons of their friendship and the classified nature of the information) and couldn't (unable to understand from her limited perspective) know, and she would not blab it out to her. She took several deep breaths.

    “Don't you have to collect the Third Child from the hospital, anyway? He was assigned to you.” She looked at her friend's face, her eyes still red and damp. “What did you think of him? Before he got in the Evangelion, obviously; they haven't given him a full analysis yet for mental contamination or any of the... problems we had with previous candidates.”

    Misato gave a dark look at her friend.

    “Don't remind me. I kind of liked him, which is a good start. No tolerance for motion sickness, of course, but you said that the Representative is the same.”

    Her friend laughed weakly, her voice still shaky. “Misato, remember Pola? The fighter pilot. He only let you drive him around twice before he left. You know, I think you burned out your vestibular system right when you joined the NEGA.”

    Misato looked blank at her for a few seconds.

    “Oh. You mean I-N-N-E-R space E-A-R, I think.” Inside, she felt somewhat better. If Ritsuko could needle her by the use of too long words, then she was getting better.

    “Yes, Misato, I do.” She pulled a handkerchief out of her suit, and blew her nose, noisily.

    “Not my fault I was assigned an Eclipse as my first mecha,” the black-haired woman added in a deliberately childish voice.

    “What happened to Pola, anyway. I thought you quite liked him, back in college.”

    Misato shrugged “He was only really a handkerchief after Kaji.”

    “Handkerchief? Ah, something to sob into, then discard.”

    “Well, actually I meant it in the sense that it's only good for a few blows, but your version can be safely explained to children. But, yes, he ended up being moved over to Shanghai from Tokyo-3.” Her voice went cold. “He was probably still there when the Rapine Storm hit China.”

    Words were not necessary to explain what that meant. The human Disciples, if the term could apply to those degenerates, would rape you to death, eat you and wear your skin as clothing. These actions could even be re-arranged, without nearing some of the worse things that they could do, things that weren't even released to the general public.

    “Look at us,” Ristuko said, in a black tone of voice. “We're in our mid thirties...”

    “Early thirties!” Misato replied, in a hurt tone of voice. “I'm still thirty two!”

    “Thirties, then. So many people we know are dead. Dead in this stu... this war.”

    “Yes, yes,” she replied, her voice shifting into a more authoritative tone of voice. “For your own sake, Rits-chan, I'm formally, as Director of Operations, giving you sick leave. I'm going to the Charing Cross Hospital to pick up the younger Ikari. I'll drive you there, and leave you at the out-clinic. You can't work in this state, and you won't help up if you have a break-down like this when the Evangelions are active.”

    Ritsuko sniffed. “You're right. You know, you might actually be maturing.” A weak smile covered her face. “As I can recall, in university it was me driving you to hospital, to have your stomach pumped...”

    A pained look entered Misato's eyes. “That hurt. Man, my twenty-second birthday sucked...”

    “Among other activities, yes.”

    “That was low, Rits, that was low.”

    “As low as you went shortly before you tried rock-paper-scissors with absinthe? And, before you ask why I'm bringing this up, I still haven't forgiven you for what you did to my carpet.”

    Clutching her rather tattered dignity around her, Director of Operations Misato Katsuragi stalked off to her car, scientist in tow.



    ~'/|\'~​



    It was three days before they released Shinji from the in-clinic. He felt better, now. A full psychological profile, of the same level assigned to Engel pilots, had been generated, and he had been subject to eight sessions of talk therapy. They'd prescribed him a course of prochlorperazine, a mild relaxant, which should help with his still elevated nerves. He had been deemed stable and sane, capable of normal activities within society, and, he noted with a hint of displeasure, fully able to operate a standard NEG Sword-class mecha. He wasn't sure how that related to ability to climb into an entry pod, and he wasn't really sure if the psychiatrists knew, either, but he knew that what this meant was that they would pretty inevitably try to make him pilot the Evangelion again.

    Well, if they thought that he merely acquiesce, subject to the blackmail of the White xenomix and her physical state and the demands of his father, then they didn't know Shinji Ikari. He knew the law. The New Earth Government required all mecha pilots (excluding certain civil-assigned power armours, defined as D-Engine powered vehicles subject to the Operator Side Effect less than 3.5 metres in height) to have a commission, and they didn't usually accept candidates before age of eighteen. The New Earth Government couldn't legally deploy him. He was vaguer on the somewhat extra-judicial nature of the Ashcroft Foundation and their operations, but he wasn't an employee of the group, and so they had no authority over him when he was outside of one of their facilities.

    He smiled faintly. The Ashcroft Foundation. So much like the historical papacy of Historical Christianity, with its own authority and its whispering voice in the ear of the powerful. And, in the faint whispers on the grapevine of society, just as willing to sacrifice a martyr for them.

    On the other hand, though, it seemed that they really needed him, to the extent that they would fly him from Japan to pilot the Engel. He was sure that his father would find a way to make him do it. The name of Ikari bore its own baggage; that of the eminence grisé.

    Shinji was quite unaware of how true that was.

    And anyway, there was the guilt, that he was needed, and to run away was... well, against his social conditioning, for the protection of the tribe. The very fact that he could articulate the thought, that the desire make grandiose gestures “For Humanity's Sake!” was merely biological programming designed to subjugate the mind of the individual to the collective good didn't make the sick, roiling feeling in his stomach, when he considered the so-called cowardice, go away. What to do, what to do?

    As his mind ran over these problems, Shinji's body removed the clothing he had been assigned in the mental health hospital. He looked out over the clothes that they had given him to wear. His white shirt and black trousers had been destroyed, he had been told, by the immersion in the LCL.

    The question to what that would do to his health in the long term was a nagging itch at the back of his head.

    As a replacement, they had given him a generic light blue T-shirt, and dark grey trousers. They were obscured, though, by the ballistic vest. Its black mass lay under the white lights of the sterile room he was in, soaking in the light. He had been told by the orderly who had laid this clothing out that, as pilot, he was obliged to wear this in all places not deemed secure. Apparently he was now a potentially valuable assassination target for Migou infiltrators, Dagonite cultists, malcontent, and possibly even people who might view the late deployment of the Evangelion as the failure of the NEG to save their loved ones.

    Not a happy thought at all.

    Outside the gleaming entrance to the facility, in a courtyard filled with flowers under the artificial sun, a figure waited for him. As his eyes cleared from the unusual brightness, Shinji was somewhat surprised to find that the Foundation's Director of Operations waiting for him.

    With, he shuddered, her car. That loathsome machine, that was merely a tool for her deep seated desires to make perfectly innocent individuals suffer. That finely bladed weapon that was the way that her desires to be a pilot (again, he judged, looking at her posture) could be made manifest. Many fears have been attached to objects in the past; a fear of uncontrolable attached to alcohol, a fear of the unknown attached to mimes, a fear of the unseen attached to shadows. Shinji Ikari was far too logical, in his own mind, to displace fears like that. No, what truly terrified him was the car, specifically when it was in motion. And when the individual greeting him was driving it.

    “Hello... uh... Misato,” was all that he could get out, past the waves of nausea and fear. “I... uh... thought that I was just going to be collected by ... someone less important than yourself.” He paused. He would not hyperventilate, he would not faint. “What will... uh... be happening to me now?”

    Misato smiled at him, in a slightly desperately hopeful way. She didn't have much experience with children (though Shinji wasn't really a child. On the other hand, he wasn't even born in the '70s, and she was damned if someone who couldn't wasn't really a child, because that would make her old), and it had just been her luck that had resulted in her accommodation being selected from among the few with the appropriate security for such a high value target. She had volunteered for that list, true, but that had just meant that she had got a bigger apartment up in London-2, and a small Foundation funded tax rebate. She hadn't expected them to actually use it, damn it, beyond possibly a nice, sober officer who could maybe help with the tidying. She hadn't expected Rits' Evangelion project to ever a) bear fruit, and b) land her with one of the pilots as a flatmate. Especially since they'd already told her, in private, that if they had to move Unit 02 over to London, she'd be getting yet another visitor.

    The fact that, unbeknownst to her, her psychological profile had been noted to “have deep rooted, unfulfilled maternal tendencies”, had also helped narrow the choice, when the first choice for supervision and guardianship of the pilots had refused to have his son living with him.

    “I've been appointed your legal guardian. You're an important military figure now, after your success against the first Herald... you do know that we're calling them that, right?” Misato flapped her hand. “Doesn't matter, anyway, silly name if you ask me. Anyway, I've got a big apartment, and one of the few in the entirety of London-2 that fit the security criteria. I volunteered.”

    Well, it wasn't technically a lie. She did have a big apartment, it did fit the security criteria, and she supposed that she had sort of volunteered when she filled in that form when Ritsuko had pointed out that it seemed like an easy way to get preferential treatment. It wasn't the boy's fault that she was being forced into it.

    “What about Yuki and Gany?”asked Shinji, referring to his foster mothers back in Tokyo-3.

    “They agreed, said that they couldn't really legally guard you while you were in London-2. I'm sorry, I meant to collect you three days ago, but they wouldn't let you out before they'd given you the full works. Anyway,” she continued, brushing quickly past the sensitive subject whatever had happened in the psychiatric facility, “It'll be fun, honestly. I'll go out and get food, so there'll be no need to cook anything from the nanofab. We'll have a welcoming party!”

    Shinji paused. He wasn't even sure that he wanted to stay here, let alone go anywhere near that monstrous Engel they wanted him to pilot, and here was this woman barging into his life, taking it over, and dragging him off, importantly, in her devil-forged car.

    “Excellent,” Misato declared, grabbing him by the elbow and pulling. “I've put in a form to have the rest of your stuff shipped over. I doubt anyone could have enough stuff to fill up my place.”

    Shinji, for his part, was merely running to keep upright. How the hell could that woman move so fast? Did she have little A-Pods in her feet?



    ~'/|\'~​



    Lieutenant James Hawass, known to his co-pilots as “Tragedy” sat beside his wife's bedside, the bleep of the hospital machine unheard. His olive skin was grey with fatigue and stress, his hair lank, his posture bowed. He'd sent his daughter back, to stay with her friends. It wasn't much, or even the right thing to do, but it was the only thing that he could think to do.

    Dammit! It wasn't fair.

    It wasn't meant to like this.

    He'd helped kill the Herald, felt its finger fill the gullet of his Auphan, while the new Evangelion class tore it apart. He'd helped save London-2. He was getting a commendation for this.

    Except it was now just meaningless. He'd come home to find his daughter sitting in the corner, hands clutched over her eyes, crying, while his wife lay motionless on the floor, in a pool of her own vomit. That wasn't the worst of it.

    She'd clawed her own eyes out.

    She'd clawed her own fucking eyes out.

    And now he sat, the big damn hero, saviour of the New Earth Government, by her bedside. She was tied down, with the full in-patient treatment to stop any extra damage.

    The doctors had said that they could fix the physical damage. A new set of cloned eyes could be grown; that'd take a few days, and then maybe a fortnight of recovery while her brain got used to it. No, it was the mental damage that would be the problem. They'd said that this was Aeon War Syndrome, which just made it worse for the Engel pilot, who knew what that really was.

    Somehow, Katrina, his beautiful wife, had been exposed to something that should not be. He'd seen things like that, and killed them. Hells, he sat in a uterine pod inside something that man was not meant to know, and used it as a tool. That was fair. He knew the risks when they offered him the surgery to get the Engel Synthesis Interface. He was a volunteer.

    But what had she been doing wrong? She wasn't an arcanotechnician or an occult scholar. The OSI had already torn up the house, and they'd found no sign of sorcery. She'd been genescanned; one human female of Caucasian/Indian sub-continent origin, no outsider taint. She had no previous records of parapsychic abilities.

    It wasn't meant to happen to people like that.

    But it did. All too frequently. And so he was left to sit here, waiting. He'd seen friends, comrades, in a less bad state, who had taken years to get out of the in-clinic.

    God-fucking-damn it. It wasn't fair.

    All over the city of London-2, and the rest of Europe to a lesser degree, the same melancholy tale had repeated itself like a sick joke. A mysterious wave of madness had swept through the populace like a dark tide, leaving most unaffected, but dragging some poor, hapless souls into its malevolent vortices where few surfaced. Average people and businessmen; the majority of the populace of the New Earth Government mostly survived untouched, with but a few suffering disturbed nights, and a slightly increased death rate in local hospitals, as those already weakened succumbed to the darkness that lurks behind eyes other than theirs. Some ran screaming from their workplaces, and ran to the nearest bodies of liquid, to cast themselves in, claiming that they must walk the waters to placate that which awakes. The scientists, of both the mundane and the arcane, sorcerer and biologist alike, oddly, were affected less, with most feeling no difference. Perhaps the pursuit of logical thought had in some way inured them to the ripples in the pool behind the senses, where it is all put together. But it was the artists; DJs, painters, and dancers who suffered the worst. In one strip-club, specialising in the Nazzadi, the workers fell upon the clientèle, consuming them in a madness that seemed quite beyond what many of the sickened OIS Agents, who put down the mad souls, had seen before. Painters produced masterworks beyond their skills, with sickening words in Aklo, R'lyehan and Tsath-yo that proclaimed profuse truths about the universe. And scultors made figures cast in bronze, clay and tin, that portrayed a morbid, yet horrifically gravid, vaguely female figure, like a Stygian Medusa stripped of all the romance of myth.

    And in a blacked room, under stars which were wrong, a figure, cast in white light, nodded to Gendo Ikari.

    “You know what must be done. You cannot back out now. The Human Iteracy Project comes above all. For the Greater Good.”

    The figure vanished.

    And the glint of the eyes behind the orange glasses spoke of the plans of the Ikaris. The Old Men had their plan, and he would follow his.

    ~'/|\'~ ​
     
  18. Aranfan

    Aranfan Team Plasma Grunt

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    Another excellent chapter. Good job integrating the infodump.
     
  19. bullethead

    bullethead Part time fanfic writer

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    Nice Event Horizon reference with the girl ripping her eyes out.
     
  20. Barricade

    Barricade A Perfectly Elegant ZA WARUDO!

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    And in a blacked room, under stars which were wrong, a figure, cast in white light, nodded to Gendo Ikari.

    “You know what must be done. You cannot back out now. The Human Iteracy Project comes above all. For the Greater Good.”


    Oh.

    Shit.
     
  21. Sarpedon

    Sarpedon Shadow Cabal Space Pirate

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    Nyarlathotep, head of Human Instrumentality? FUUUUUCK!
     
  22. Aranfan

    Aranfan Team Plasma Grunt

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    I thought it was just Keel. He was lit in white in NGE.

    Where are you getting that it's Nyarlathotep.
     
  23. EarthScorpion

    EarthScorpion Fell on His Sword

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    Actually, no. Just a generic, bog standard allergy to "Things that Man was not Meant to Know". Also, Conservation of Psychological Problems again; for each time I treat Shinji better than in the OT, I have to transfer the misery. ;7

    In all seriousness, that little section is reworded from something from the big HP himself wrote.

    The Crawling Chaos has already made a very brief appearance (and a reference to one of his tools), although, no that is not it . Of course, SEELE is one of things that is being reinterpreted for the crossover; as has already been pointed out, you'd have to be utterly, utterly, completely mad to actually want to make a Mythos God. Remember that Cthulhu himself is just a mythos denizen who is also the high priest of the really big Gods. Of course, Science and Magic in the Mythos are exactly the same thing, and the Scientific Method does rule supreme. Through logical and concise means, you can explain why the sacrifice and consumption of an infant in an abandoned quarry has the effect it does, and the effect is repeatable.
     
  24. Aranfan

    Aranfan Team Plasma Grunt

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    Yeah, I got the reference when Misato say the poster, but I want to know how others got it into their heads that Old Nyarly was the dude Gendo was talking to.
     
  25. Sarpedon

    Sarpedon Shadow Cabal Space Pirate

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    Nyarlathotep's human guise Glows bright white in the dark.
     
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