Evangelion: The Final Battle
or: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About NERV*
*But Were Afraid To Ask
Commander Gendo Ikari sat at his ultra-secret desk in his ultra-secret private office, located behind an ultra-hidden panel in his ordinary-secret private office. He had just transmitted virtual greeting cards to his three ace EVA pilots, cards of congratulations. All three cards bore the same message: “With warmest appreciation on your accomplishment.” All three cards bore the same graphic of a gold loving cup surrounded by a swirl of confetti.
Hallmark, he thought. Straight from the heart. What better way to note their achievement of defeating the Angels, defeating the invading Evangelion units, and protecting Adam and Lilith, thus preventing Third Impact and saving the world from incalculable catastrophe, probably including the extermination of the entire human race, if not indeed all of Earth’s normal life?
Commander Ikari sat back and closed his eyes. Now maybe I can relax for a few hours, he thought.
A few moments later, he became aware of red flashes penetrating his closed eyelids; Commander Ikari was immediately alert. The ultra-secret telephone was flashing its alarm. This was a very special phone line: heavily scrambled and protected from surveillance, it connected to only one other telephone, and one other man. Ikari looked up at the portrait on the wall above his desk, a near life-size painting of an aged Japanese man wearing flowing white silk robes. He stood up straight, and bowed deeply toward the painting. Ikari pushed his glasses up into place and answered the Chrysanthemum Hotline.
“‘Ikari here, Majesty,” he said. “Hai. Hai. Understood, Majesty. The G-Network people have confirmed this? Where? Hai. It will be done, Majesty. Banzai, Majesty.” Ikari hung up the phone and sat. He leaned forward, hands folded in front of his face, an unconscious mannerism which he did not realise all his associates would have recognized at once. Behind his hands, a smug grin stretched his lips.
Today was the day, he thought, that NERV’s real task began. The Angels had been a distraction: a real danger, but a diversion nonetheless. Seele! he sneered to himself. The old men and their puerile prophecies — with the might of one EVA, he could have eliminated them and their Machievellian machinations as easily as crushing an ant underfoot.
He rose, and exited to his outer, less-secret office. There, he keyed the intercom which reached to the command deck of NERV.
“This is Commander Ikari. Are the pilots there still?”
“Yes sir,” responded Major Misato Katsuragi’s pert voice.
“Scramble, instant. Launch Units Zero, One, and Two, proceed eastward immediately. Further orders en route.”
“Understood!” Katsuragi hung up, and ran to the ready room, where the Commander’s three ace pilots sat, drinking tea and sodas. They were wearing their customary uniforms: Asuka Langley in a creamy-white sundress, calculated to show off the coppery-red colour of her hair and her demi-pubescent figure; Rei Ayanami in a hospital gown, one arm in a sling, one eye bandaged shut, and a larger bandage, blood-stained, wrapped around her head; Shinji Ikari in a blue funk.
“More work, kids! Get to your EVAs and go now!”
Rei blinked her good eye at Misato. “I thought we were finished,” she stated in a whispered monotone.
Asuka jumped to her feet. “What! They can’t do this to us! We won! We were the best!”
Shinji huddled into a fetal ball on the couch. He mumbled quietly to himself: “Why, Father? Why must you do this to me again? I hate you . . . . Please, I didn’t want to kill him, you used me! I’ll never forgive you . . . .”
“Oh fer Buddha’s sake, lighten up kids! It’s probably just a drill or an exhibition to show you off,” Misato lied. It was a useful technique for managing her misfit charges. “Rei, start walking. Asuka, start dragging Shinji.”
Rei obediently started walking to the access deck. Asuka enthusiastically grabbed Shinji by his collar and heaved him onto the floor, where she kicked him.
“Move it, loser!” she shouted at the still-huddled Shinji. She grabbed his hand and started pulling. Eventually momentum got the boy to his feet, and he shuffled behind the girls. Asuka flounced, making the hem of her thin dress sail provocatively, or so she hoped. “And don’t you dare try peeking up my dress!”
Shinji continued to stare at the floor, oblivious to Asuka’s attempted enticement, and mumbled unintelligibly.
A few minutes later, the three were in their EVAs, rocketing toward the surface. Misato passed on the orders to head east. “Move fast, get clear of the city limits. Stand by – ” She stopped to listen to Commander Ikari’s instructions coming through her headset. “OK, pilots, pay attention. All of you, now, open up your AP3 discriminator relays. I’m going to broadcast destination co-ordinates directly into the onboard guidance system, and your autopilot function will take over. Don’t panic, you will be able to override manually if there’s a problem. Maintain best speed. Power isn’t a problem any more, remember.” That had been a breakthrough — in the last two days, EVA Unit 01 had somehow managed to either reprogram or actually teach the other two surviving EVAs to synthesise their own S2 engines, and so were no longer limited by power cables or battery life. “All right, AP3s open? Here it comes.”
Misato hit the ‘Send’ button and the autopilot instructions flowed to the EVAs. Asuka resisted at first, as she felt her EVA begin to move out of her direct control; Shinji gratefully released his will to the autopilot. Rei had no reaction. The three towering war machines strode east, then bore off slightly south toward the coast.
“When you get to your destination, there will be conventional forces in strength already there. Be careful of them. Don’t step on any tanks or artillery pieces.”
“What’s going on, Misato? We need to know now.” Asuka’s voice was as petulant and demanding as always.
“Stand by.” Misato listened to Commander Ikari’s voice in her headset again. Her eyes widened. “It is, then? I’ve wondered how long. Kids, it’s a G-Alert. Status Red.”
A few minutes later, the three EVA’s stood about a kilometer back from the coast. Ahead of them were ranged dozens, if not hundreds, of tanks, artillery pieces, rocket launchers, and assorted other weapons. Helicopters and fighters buzzed about aloft. For more long minutes, nothing seemed to move. Then, there was a disturbance in the water less than half a kilometer offshore, and dozens of soldiers began pointing.
“It’s coming,” whispered Rei into her microphone.
Shinji tapped his headset. Oddly, there seemed to be ominous orchestral music in the background, heavy with brass and bass instruments. “I mustn’t run away,” he told himself, for possibly the five-thousandth time in the last three months.
“Gott in Himmel!” screamed Asuka, lapsing into her native German as a huge reptilian head broke the surface of the water.
The head, and the massive body beneath, moved purposefully toward the beach. Evil red eyes glared from under bony eye ridges, and a massive collection of rubbery spikes decorated the creature’s back. Fully bipedal, a pair of arms tipped with heavily-clawed paws – or hands – reached out.
The inexplicable music in Shinji’s ears soared to frenzied heights of trumpet cadences.
On the beach, a lone civilian pointed in horror, and screamed, “It’s Godzilla!
From out of nowhere, thousands of Japanese peasants began running, screaming, from the scene, trampling each other and running over one another on old bicycles. Where did they all come from? wondered Shinji. And where did they just all disappear to? he wondered a few moments later.
Godzilla stood on the beach. He looked up and down, surveying the scene before him, much as an outraged Odysseus must have stood on the shore and gazed upon his home island of Ithaca, returned after twenty years of wandering, only to find his home besieged by swarms of unwelcome guests.
There was a long moment of dreadful silence. Then, Godzilla roared.
The three EVA pilots ripped their headsets from their ears, almost deafened by the monstrous cry, amplified through the external microphone leads. It was a dreadful roar, low pitched at first, but with overtones and undertones that reached all through the audible range of human hearing. Shinji thought involuntarily of sandpaper being dragged along the strings of his cello.
On cue, the massed firepower of the Japanese Self-Defence Forces and the United Nations Peace Enforcers let loose. Godzilla waved his armored hands before his face to brush away the most annoying of the ordnance.
“Rei, Asuka, we have to back up!” yelled Shinji. “We are not running away, we’re just strategically retreating! Look, he’s getting ready to blast!”
Indeed, Godzilla’s mouth had opened wide and was inhaling a mighty breath. The three EVAs stepped backwards quickly, out of range of the monster’s atomic-powered exhalation.
Then with a terrible sound, Godzilla let loose. Smoky fire jetted from between tooth-laden jaws. The tanks were the first to go. Under that fearsome attack, those metallic behemoths melted as if they were so many plastic toys under a blowtorch. Artillery cannons were next, likewise puddling into waxy blobs.
The airborne forces fared no better. A second Godzilla blast swept the sky, and the intensity exploded the volatile aircraft fuel and munitions. The fighters and helicopters blew apart like so many model aircraft which a mischievous boy has loaded with firecrackers.
It was over for the conventional forces in moments. The few surviving units withdrew hastily. Asuka stared in disbelief. “It’s impossible,” she gasped. “All those men dead so quickly . . . .”
“Women too,” Shinji commented. “It’s always the same. I’ve seen old news footage. I don’t know why they bother.”
“Maybe they had no choice,” observed Rei philosophically. “I’m going in. Back me up, please, Shinji.” Unit 00 ran forward, and grappled with Godzilla hand to hand.
Shinji approached from the side. Asuka, still shocked by the holocaust she had witnessed, couldn’t even protest at being left out of the first assault. Her Unit 02 stood immobile.
The other two heard Rei scream. Godzilla’s mouth had clamped down on her right arm. “Oh man,” said Shinji. “Her bad arm again. Get out Rei! Get out!”
Shinji ducked Unit 01’s head low, and attempted to butt Godzilla in the midsection. The creature brought one knee up sharply, catching Unit 01 neatly on the chin. The EVA reeled backwards.
“Shinji, you idiot!” Asuka was being as helpful as ever. “You should know by now that you and that machine both have glass jaws!” Regaining her composure, Asuka — or EVA Unit 02, more precisely – drew the progressive knife from its shoulder casing.
“Aaaagggghhhh!” Asuka screamed, charging directly at Godzilla at full speed, arm and knife straight out like the lance of a Medieval knight. “Aaaaagggghhhh!” she continued to scream, as Godzilla neatly side-stepped her rush, allowing her to overbalance and careen head-first into the sea.
Misato’s voice crackled over their headsets. “EVA pilots, retreat one kilometer to the west and regroup. Retreat and regroup! Rei, are you all right?”
“Yes ma’am,” the unflappable Rei responded. “I’ve only lost an arm from my EVA. The pain is not disabling.”
“I’m wet and drowning, and that monster made me look like a buffoon! How should I be!”
“I’m OK, too,” said Shinji. “If you were going to ask.”
“That’s nice, Shinji. All of you, get to the new position pronto! Good. The tactics we’ve perfected against the Angels aren’t going to work against Godzilla. I can see that already. Pilots, we’re going to commence Attack Strategy DD.”
“Attack Strategy DD? But Misato,” whined Shinji. “We’ve never tried it for real! And I’ve only had one simulation in the trainer using it, and I failed! I failed! I don’t want to fail again!”
“Snap out of it kid, and follow directions. I’ll walk you through it. Girls, hang back and stand by for your turns.”
“Attack Strategy DD. Attack Strategy DD,” Shinji repeated to himself like a mantra. “I don’t have the – the whatchamacallits, Misato. Are you sure I can rely on you?”
“Don’t start with me Shinji. I have everything right here. Now get ready, Godzilla’s moving toward your position.” Misato began speaking slowly and evenly, as if reading from a prepared text. “OK Shinji, pay attention now. You are a Level Seventeen Giant Robot. You have a Strength of Nineteen, an Attack of Eleven, and a Defense of Six. You have one melee weapon: Progressive Knife, with a Plus Five Attack, and Plus Two Defense. You have one range weapon: Lance of Longinus, with a Plus Two Attack and Zero Defence. You are also a Magic User. Additionally, you have Twelve Dexterity, Ten Intelligence, Zero Personality, and Zero Charm.
“You are at the seaside. Rolling plains and mountains are to the North, the Sea is to the East and South. Tokyo-3 is West. Godzilla is attacking you. Do you want to Attack, Defend, Retreat, or Use Magic? And I’ll tell you right now, I won’t let you retreat.”
“Uh, what can I do with Magic?”
“Not a lot, with your class. You have Magic Missile hardwired into your EVA, which gives only an Attack of Two, but can’t be exhausted. Hmm . . . oh, you also are carrying two Dead Sea Scrolls. One lets you cast Raistlin’s Mordant Wit, which has an Attack of Twenty, but with your stats, there’s a fifteen percent chance it will backfire and reduce your own party’s Morale by seventy per cent. Also you can cast Bonaparte’s Retreat, but that’s only for escaping an Attack without penalty. What do you want to do?”
“Oh, God, I can’t decide! I can’t decide! Asuka, tell me what to do! Make me look foolish!”
“Cast Raistlin’s Mordant Wit, you useless lump! Always use Magic first, and avoid taking hit points!”
“All — all right. Misato, I’ll cast that. What Asuka said.”
“All right, here goes.” There was an odd rattling sound over the headsets. A ripple of energy radiated outward from Unit 01, looking something like an AT field propagating. Godzilla lurched backward, his slow progress toward the EVAs stopped.
“Good job, Shinji, it worked! 5 HP from Godzilla! Quick, Rei, your turn! You should have your stats on the readout in front of you.”
“Range Attack, please, Major Katsuragi. With whatever I have. I don’t care what it is.”
“You have – Rail Gun. Hurry, do it!”
Unit 00 found an awkward weapon built into its remaining arm, and fired it toward Godzilla. The monster roared as a gigantic slug of hardened steel plowed a furrow along its leg, but did not penetrate deeply.
Misato’s voice crackled. “Blast, it’s no use! Your Weaponry is no match for his Armour Defense, and his Experience is off the charts! If only one of you had any Charm or Personality you might be able to distract him enough to get a couple good solid hits in, but no joy there.”
“What?” screeched Asuka. “What do you mean no personality?!”
“Well, yes, Asuka, you do have Six Personality, but you’ll notice your Charm is Minus Fifteen, so you’re a net liability there. I didn’t want to say it aloud.”
German profanities scorched the airwaves.
“Shut up, Asuka! Listen, pilots. Retreat and regroup, one half kilometre west. There’s still hope.”
On the Command Deck of NERV Headquarters, Commander Ikari had joined the rest of his crew. “Dr. Akagi, what do the Magi suggest at this juncture?”
Dr. Ritsuko Akagi held a computer printout in her hand. “The Magi recommend a variation of the Acme Gambit, Subroutine Thirty-Two Delta. In this, Unit 01 will excavate a large hole in the ground. Unit 02 will fill the hole with dynamite, upon which 01 will cover and camouflage the dynamite, and retreat to a safe location. Wearing rocket-powered roller skates for high speed, Unit 00 will then act as bait, enticing Godzilla to walk across the hidden dynamite. At that moment, 01 will depress the plunger, setting off the dynamite. The explosion will yield a carefully calculated trajectory which will throw Godzilla high into the air, traveling north. There, he will fall all the way to the bottom of a canyon, upon which, 02, who has repositioned there, will drop a 16 ton weight on Godzilla, killing or permanently disabling him.’
“Sounds complicated,” frowned Commander Ikari.
“There’s a complete blueprint as well.” Ritsuko handed Ikari a large, complex sheet, detailing the operation. The blueprint was replete with numerous intricate calculations and vector arrows, as well as a number of small stick figures illustrating the positions and actions of the participants. “It’s very well thought-out,” she said encouragingly.
“There’s just one problem,” said Ikari flatly.
“Ever since Second Impact, those canyons north of the city have been swarming with road-runners. If they were to scent that much dynamite in their territory . . . .”
Ritsuko’s face went ashen. “Oh my God. Third Impact.”
Ikari nodded grimly. ‘This doesn’t look good, does it?’ he commented to Misato.
Misato had pulled off her headset, wiped the sweat from her forehead, and buried her face in her hands. She felt very old and helpless. “There’s only one thing left, Commander.”
“Yes. Do it,” he ordered from behind his hands.
Misato pulled the headset back on. “Are you all in your new position? OK. We’re escalating. Tactic 3S. Repeat, Tactic 3S.”
Shinji again voiced his unhappiness. “But Misato! We’ve never even tried that in the simulators! All we saw were the first training videos! It’s impossible!”
“Suck it up, boy. Or do you want to run away now?”
“No, I mustn’t run away! I mustn’t run – ”
“Oh, shut up, Shinji!” Asuka shrilled. “Let’s just do it!”
“Good girl, Asuka! For this evolution, your designators are as follows – Shinji, you are ‘C’. Asuka, you are ‘M’. Rei, you are ‘L’.”
Shinji complained again. “I thought I was going to be ‘S’, not ‘C’.”
“No such luck. ‘S’ wasn’t that great anyway. And ‘C’ ‘s tactics will be much more effective anyway.”
Back on the Command Deck, Ritsuko Akagi put a horrified hand to her mouth.
“Commander – you don’t mean – this can’t mean – the designator ‘L’ – it’s for ‘Larry’ isn’t it?”
“Yes, Doctor Akagi. And ‘M’ is for ‘Moe’. ‘C’ is ‘Curly’.”
“You can’t mean it! Right under my nose, you implemented – ”
“Yes. The Human Stoogeification Project.”
Ritsuku turned away, and began gagging up into a trash basket. “No – no decency in you at all – ”
Ignoring Ritsuko’s reaction, Misato shouted, “Asuka – I mean M – attack! Primary Assault!”
“You bet!” replied Asuka, and raced toward Godzilla. At less than fifty meters, her right arm extended. At twenty-five meters, the hand of Unit 02 curled up, leaving the first two fingers extended. “Think you’re gonna get away with this, do ya, muttonhead?” she cried. The extended fingers poked Godzilla cleanly in the eyes.
“Oooohhhhhh!” bellowed Godzilla, hands reaching for his injured orbs.
“Take that, knucklehead!” retorted Asuka, letting her EVA’s left hand whirl in from above, clouting the monster squarely on the back of its head.
“Rei – L – Diversionary Attack!” yelled Misato.
Unit 00 reached down with its one arm, and pulled from the ground a round section of earth. “Nyaaahh!” Rei taunted, and pushed the pie-shaped piece of dirt into Godzilla’s face.
“Shinji – C – Secondary Assault!” ordered Misato.
Unit 01 charged toward Godzilla, who was still brushing dirt-pie from his eyes. “Woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo!” Shinji shouted. He halted his EVA toe to toe with Godzilla. Unit 01 had mysteriously developed a distinct bulge around its midsection. The EVA’s hands slapped at its own face a few times, then belly-butted Godzilla. “Hey Rei, hey Asuka! I got him!” announced Shinji ecstatically, as Godzilla reeled backwards, clutching his own midsection.
“Oooohhharrrghhhooohhhh!” howled Godzilla, which in monster-speak roughly meant: “You three idiots! I’ll get you for this!”
Misato’s voice crackled back over the three pilot’s headsets. “Special Stooge Assault! You’ve seen it done, now do it!”
Immediately, Shinji dropped Unit 01 to the ground. “All joints locked, standing by!” he announced.
“OK, lamebrain!” Asuka addressed Rei. “You get that side, I’ll get this side!” Units 00 and 02 stood on either side of 01, and picked up the rigid form in a horizontal position. “Ready, on three! One, two – ”
Rei’s EVA stepped forward alone, promptly dropping her side of Unit 01. “That was three!” she protested to Asuka.
“That was two, numbskull!” retorted Asuka. She held out both arms of her EVA. “Now pick one!”
Rei’s EVA pointed at Unit 02’s left arm. The arm windmilled around in a vertical arc, and smashed Unit 00 soundly on the head.
“Whatjda do that for?” whimpered Rei, holding Unit 00’s hand to its head.
“That’s for thinkin’ too much!” answered Asuka. “Try it again, and if you don’t get it right this time, I’ll moider ya!”
The two EVAs again picked up Unit 01 like a battering ram, and commenced an attack run at Godzilla.
“Time to use that head of yours for something useful, porcupine!” Asuka advised Shinji.
“Moe, Larry, cheese! Moe, Larry, cheese!” howled Shinji, as the head of 01 impacted into Godzilla.
The blow knocked Godzilla flat on his back, and a whirlwind of radioactive fire blasted directly upward, scorching the underside of Unit 01. “Ow ow ow ow ow!” howled Shinji. “Help me fellas, I’m on fire! I’m boynin’ up! I’m boynin’ up!”
Godzilla’s short arms darted out and grabbed an ankle of the two other EVA’s as they ran by. The two stopped short, tripped, and flew sprawling onto the ground. Unit 01 shot forward in the air. “Rei, Asuka, lookit me, I’m flyin’! I’m an air-e-o-plane!” yelled Shinji gleefully. “Wheeeee!” he called, as his EVA sank lower and lower, finally touching down and skidding nearly half a kilometer. “Hey fellas, that was great! Let’s do that again!”
“Button yer lip, toadstool,” advised Asuka. “And take a look at tall dark and gruesome back here.”
A wrathful Godzilla was again lining up a mighty blast, and the flabby plates along his back were swollen and glowing with a blue-white fury.
“Uh-oh, fellas, he looks mighty sore,” observed Rei. “Let’s take it on the lam.”
“You may be right, chucklehead,” concurred Asuka. “Everybody scram!” she hollered, as the most devastating Godzilla blast yet seared through the air. “And don’t stop running until Niagara Falls!”
“Oh-oh-wow-woo-ow-woo!” chorused three hysterical voices, as the Godzilla blast swept across the lower backsides of the mighty Evangelion machines. Fire blossomed from their bottoms, and all three took a mighty leap, landing them, seated, in the sea. Steam and smoke roiled up from their charred nether regions.
“Ooh, I’ll get you two for this!” growled Asuka, in the middle. Her EVA’s arms swung out sideways, smacking the other two in the middle of their faces; not content, the thumbs jabbed back up into EVA eyes, evoking further howls of protest.
Godzilla lumbered ominously on toward his attackers.
Misato’s voice crackled over the airwaves again. “It’s no good! Abandon 3S Tactic, repeat, abandon 3S!” She thought furiously. Commander Ikari scowled at her, arms folded across his chest. Time for desperate measures.
She stood heroically, facing the video monitor. Which one? she deliberated. Here goes, she thought. “Shinji-kun! I choose yooooouuuu!”
“Wait!” Rei’s voice interrupted. “What is that in the sky? I see something!” Her voice was oddly stilted.
The three looked up at something swirling down through the clouds, something large and round, trailing smoke and spewing flame.
“Oh! Look!” Asuka exclaimed, her voice also strangely brittle. “Look! It is Gamera!”
Shinji caught his breath as he too spotted the giant spinning turtle. Again, he seemed to hear music playing, this time joyful and heroic. “Of course!” he cried in a voice similarly strained. “Everyone knows that Gamera is the friend of children. He will save us!”
The three EVAs stood, still in the water up to their knees. They began waving their arms high in the air. Three voices called out in their unnaturally lilting tones. “Help us! Gamera, save us! You must help us!”
The giant turtle spun in low and fast, twenty meters over the ground, directly at Godzilla. Godzilla’s breath-blast stormed, but had no effect on the thick monster-armour of Gamera’s shell. Gamera dove into Godzilla’s knees, knocking the terrible creature to the ground.
“Hooray for Gamera!” cried the three EVA pilots.
But Godzilla, enraged, stood up again. He grabbed Gamera’s rear legs, and began spinning around, faster and faster. Then, like a discus thrower, he released Gamera. Gamera flew uncontrolled through the air, straight for the towers of Tokyo-3. Godzilla charged after him.
Gamera spun edgewise into one of the buildings, slicing the top thirty stories cleanly off. Thirty floors of hardened steel and reinforced cement crashed to the streets below, killing hundreds of onlookers, as well as the occupants of the thirty floors themselves. Gamera himself pancaked in on top of the rubble.
“Oh, poor Gamera!” cooed Rei. “It is very uncomfortable for Gamera when he gets people caught between his toes.”
“Look out, Gamera!” called Shinji. “Godzilla is coming after you!”
Sirens were wailing in Tokyo-3. Godzilla strode through the streets, pulling down high-voltage lines and knocking monorails from their tracks. Sparks and rubble flew. Casually he kicked a bus aloft, which stuck a landing half-way up the famous landmark, Tokyo-3 Tower.
“Run Gamera!” yelled Asuka.
Gamera had regained his footing. Withdrawing his extremities, he spun flaming into the sky, and dropped neatly behind Godzilla. Gamera’s head popped out, and colossal snapping-turtle jaws clamped down hard on Godzilla’s tail. Instantly, Gamera jetted back into the sky, carrying Godzilla far out over the ocean. When he returned, he was alone.
“Hooray! Gamera has saved us all!” cried Rei.
“Yes. Did I not tell you, Gamera is the friend of children everywhere?” Shinji asked rhetorically.
“Hooray for Gamera!” called Asuka. “Shinji, Rei, do you also hear that strange victory music?”
“Woooo-yeah!” Misato’s voice howled delightedly into their ears, incidentally drowning out any of the still-inexplicable theme music. “Bring ’em on home, gang. Everybody gets spicy cup-noodles, on me tonight! And I’ll even let you all have turns on my new Playstation Ten!”
Later, that evening, the three pilots sat again in the ready room. They had reverted to their standard uniforms, as worn earlier in the day.
“Great work, kids!” said Misato, coming in. “Who wants noodles and video games?”
“I just want to kick some more butt!” said Asuka.
Rei gazed at the floor. “I don’t care. Whatever you like. I’ll just sit here for a few days, if you prefer.”
Shinji was again curled into a tight ball. “Please. Just leave me alone. I don’t want to pilot my EVA again. I want to die.”
Misato stood and stared. What you all need, she thought, is a swift kick in the pants. “Well, I’ll be home. Come on by if you like, but knock before you come in. Kaji may be over.”
She turned and left. The last thing she heard was Asuka’s shrill voice: “Shinji, you’re still a loser!”
Misato glanced at the small case she carried in her left hand. It was an anonymous grey metal box, resembling a small lunch-box. She carried it to Commander Ikari’s less-private office, and placed it on his desk.
Ikari gave her an inquisitive look.
“Mmm,” she grunted, and nodded her head affirmatively.
“Mmm,” responded Commander Ikari.
Commander Ikari touched the metal box almost lovingly: his fingers caressed the edges, and explored the smooth surfaces. He did not open it.
He rose, and entered his ultra-private office. Ikari stood for a while, gazing reverently at the portrait of the Emperor. There, he thought, there is our real God on Earth.
Commander Gendo Ikari sat and waited for the Hotline signal to flash. Although it was possible to do so, he could not conceive of any circumstances – even these – under which he would dare pick up the phone himself to summon the august presence at the other end.
Commander Ikari, for perhaps the hundredth time, examined the Japanese characters which were etched elegantly onto the nameplate on his desk. Strange, he thought. Why do they always put my last name first, and my first name last?
After uncounted hours, the Chrysanthemum Hotline flashed its alert. Commander Ikari stood and answered it immediately
“Hai, Majesty. Ikari here. After the battle, we collected a viable, self-sustaining culture of Godzilla cells. NERV can now begin production of the next generation of Evangelion units – Evangelion-G.
“Within the year, we will be in a position to continue the great vision of your most honorable ancestor, Hirohito-sama. Hai, Majesty. Today, Japan; tomorrow, the world. Banzai!”