Chapter 2: The Drowning Deep

Shinji. Remembered. Everything.

He remembered his mother's smile. He remembered the beat of her heart as he slept within the womb. He remembered the first time he opened his eyes. He remembered his mother's death. He remembered yesterday. He remembered tomorrow. He remembered the days to come. He remembered the dream he had. He remembered his life. He remembered his death. He remembered things that did happen, things that almost happened, and things that didn't happen. His births, lives, and deaths blurred together. He witnessed an untold past of meanwhiles and a future of infinite possibility. The could-have-been and the never was crept through his mind. Past, Present, and Future was lost in a singular moment unbound by cause and effect. Every year, month, week, day, hour, minute, second, millisecond, and planck instant blended together into a singular moment so vast that it outshone the sun itself.

Shinji knew himself.

He knew the swirls of his fingerprints and every scar that marred his body, even the ones that were no longer there. He knew the exact formation of his veins and every drop of blood within him. He knew how many hairs were on his head and exactly how long they were throughout his entire life. He knew all that pertained to himself. Then it ended, and Shinji cried on the cobblestone floor as he rubbed his cold shoulders. His life laid bare before him. He realized the terrible truth, that his life had no intrinsic value, that no one did. He was just a puppet. That everyone was a puppet. Only now he could see the strings.

"Beautiful is it not?"

The voice cut through the air like a blade, and Shinji looked up to see the smiling face of a man sitting on an Obsidian throne. It was a tall man, unnaturally so who smiled at Shinji with his legs crossed as he leaned his head on his closed fist. Something about this mysterious figure seemed chillingly familiar. His features were unmistakably Egyptian and he was dressed in the finest black silks and profane jewelry.

"Who… what was that?"

"That was you. I asked if you wanted to know what happens to the things you forget, and I showed you. Of course no one can view these things unmolested, and in doing so you remembered. Nothing is truly forgotten, not really. Every stray through and passing fancy you've ever had, every lonely day and cold night. Such truths are beyond the mere scope of the linear progression of cause and effect you call time indeed memory falls under my domain, not the domain of that sapient space-time continuum who has chosen its name as Yog-Sothoth. Thus you remembered thing yet to pass from a human's perspective."

Shinji… had absolutely no idea what that even meant, but it succeeded in giving him a pounding migraine.

"Who are you anyway?"

The man smiled.

"Would you really like to know?'

Shinji through about it for a moment, before thinking better of answering in the affirmative.

"I'll settle for a name."

The man laughed.

"Wise decision. I self identify best under the name Nyarlathotep."

"That's… a weird name."

The man shrugged but said nothing. Shinji took to observing the world around him. He looked to be in a castle of some kind. One filled with Egyptian iconography and artwork. However when viewing the window Shinji saw… a haze of landscapes, seas, and colors that defied description.

"Where am I?"

"You are located in the Dreamlands. A place where all dreams came true. Remember some of yours?"

Shinji did remember. He remembered every dream he had and will have. Dreams that made and will make him afraid to go back to sleep. Dreams of implacable stalkers and grotesque monsters. Surreal landscapes that change when unobserved and nameless things hidden in the shadows. He then realized what it meant in a place where dreams were more than a little real. Shinji however continued staring, despite the fear that he might see one of them. It was just such a beautiful and breathtaking sight to behold. A pink marble city clung to the clouds, built on an ethereal coast where the sea meets the sky.

"Some see beauty when looking at the Dreamlands, others horror. Normally entering it requires entering the Steps of Deeper Slumber. I am not so limited."

Shinji nodded as he continued looking out the window and marvel at the expansive vistas he saw that all but brought him to tears. Towering mountain tops above thick and ancient green forests and sparkling oceans of the deepest blue. White twisted clouds circled the mountains as the majesty of a misplaced aurora that shone with all the colors Shinji could name, and many more Shinji could not. The sight was the single most amazing and beautiful thing Shinji had ever seen. Only marred by sprawling silver metropolis, teeming with thousands of thriving souls. It was indescribably serene.

"It looks like a utopia." Said Shinji, to which Nyarlathotep barked out a sardonic laugh, tearing Shinji away from his momentary serenity..

"Amusing that you'd think so. Did you know that in Ancient Greek, the word Utopia is a pun on the words eutopia, meaning 'good place' and outopia, meaning 'no place'. Utopia as a realized concept could only exist in dreams… though no place here can be adequately defined as a utopia. I make sure of that. The mere idea of a Utopia is anathema to me."

Shinji looked over to the man as he stared back in amusement. He had a smile with far too many teeth on display, where the mouth didn't match up with his eyes, going practically from ear to ear with a wicked gleam in his eyes. Then Shinji blinked, and the man was no longer smiling. Just reclining in his throne.

"Why are you even talking to me? What exactly are you?"

"Hm… Well, to answer the former, you're a passing fancy. A curiosity in play with a grand and terrible destiny to come… as I'm sure you're aware."

Shibji was aware as memories to come reached the forefront of his mind.

"Instrumentality?" Asked Shinji.

The Outer God nodded.

"To a degree, though I find such a thing pitifully limited and shortsighted. No I have different aspirations. To answer the latter question… Imagine if for a moment you were to pick up an ant and place it back on the ground. If another ant were to ask it what was that… how would it explain it?"

"I'm… not sure." Said Shinji.

"Exactly. No language in the human tongue can adequately explain or describe what I am. As close as I can put it, I am the substance of this universe and countless others. A fundamental part of it. I AM several concepts. Entropy, Soul, Mind, and Chaos are my more notable aspects. Every thought you or anyone has ever had or will have is indistinguishable from mine. Your soul is a poor facsimile of myself and you wouldn't have one if it was not for my persistence. The eventual equal distribution of matter and energy across the universe is my will. I am the absolute thinking heat death of countless realities, and the end of those countless realities happen because I exist. These concepts exist because I do, not the other way around. I am all of these things, and so much more. I am representative and herald to the mindless Big Bang of creation that will be the Big Crunch of destruction. A cosmic awareness, I am things your science has yet to discover or beyond its ability to discover. I'm Nyarlathotep, and I AM and therefore so are you… with my blessing."

Shinji was unsure how to respond to all that. However, child that he was, Shinji said the first thing that popped into his mind.

"You look human."

"I have had far more practice being one than any human has ever been alive. I can pass for human better than you. The only hint of what I really am is revealed by my will when I let slip the mask for but a moment." Said Nyarlathotep as he did just that.

Shinji stared unblinking and frozen at what he saw when the mask slipped. He saw a thousand faces. A thousand eyes. A thousand forms. A thousand lies. Before he could fully register what he saw however, the mask slipped back on, and a man sat before him once again.

Nyarlathotep chuckled upon looking at the face that Shinji had made.

"Thomas Edison has that same look on his face when I showed him my many forms. I used to go by Nikola Tesla at the time. Now that was fun times."

Shinji, upon hearing that, was thrust back into reality. Much to the Outer Gods continued amusement.

"Wait… you're… you're Nikola Tesla? THE Nikola Tesla?"

"During an age at the dawn of the 20th Century, I educated humanity in the ways of science. Displaying prophetic cinema reels and extraordinary experiments. Initially this was to hasten the time when… They would awaken. Imagine my surprise when The Wizard of Menlo Park, who fancies himself a businessman, actually managed to surprise me. Despite what some believe, in subsequent years Edison and I were relatively cordial. It was his rivalry with George Westinghouse that proved more than entertaining enough for me to delay the coming of old ones."

"...Oh…"

"Indeed. Your reactions to the unknown are very atypical for your race. One of the reasons I have chosen you. You who stared down the drowning within Bokrugs throat and found peace, who saw his life laid bare before his eyes and came through unchanged. Who has seen my many manifestations and was only momentarily awestruck as opposed to existentially crippled. I have gazed into your being young Shinji and I have found you… acceptable."

Nyarlathotep nodded as he lifted himself from his throne suddenly holding an ornate gold and Obsidian staff. Shinji flinched as the Outer God was suddenly before him, looking down with a fanatic gleam of anticipation in his burning eyes.

"A grand future is coming, and I will ensure it goes as I desire. You are a valuable component young Shinji, one I intend to exploit to its fullest. I will guide you, I will mold you, I will change you. You will be made something less than human, and something more. You will realize this destiny I have laid out for you soon enough for now… Awaken."

Shinji watched as the world around him dissolved and melted into the radiant dreamstuff that permeated his very being. Then there was only darkness as Shinji opened his eyes… and found himself back in his room.


Ritsuko Akagi looked at the last picture of Bokrug their cameras managed to crack. Currently the main screen of the MAGI Supercomputer needed to be replaced entirely, giving only limited access to the Magi itself. The photograph was a still shot of Bokrug engaged in combat, where you could see down his throat. The one that everyone saw just prior to the MAGI's screen breaking…It was strange. When the event in question had happened, upon looking down the lizards throat she knew exactly what it was she saw… and it shook her to her core… but now, she couldn't seem to recall what it was no matter how hard she tried. Even this image did little to answer the question. She could tell that whatever it was down the creatures gullet was, in fact wrong… but she didn't know why.

That had led to the current project on studying the coral carcass that remained of the lizard. The building the lizard wrapped around had become a makeshift NERV Lab for the time being. Completely off limits to anyone not granted access. However no one stayed in the building for very long. Inside the building, water crept dripped up the walls in defiance of gravity. Something that was more than a little unnerving to see. It was also deathly cold inside of it. As such any scientists spent as little time there as humanly possible. More than one person reported sudden hydrophobia that persisted even after leaving the building. It didn't help that the damnable lizard proved to elude any attempt at understanding what it even was. Three diamond encrusted drill bits failed to separate any coral from the main mas for analysis, and drones sent down what used to be its mouth all had their lenses break just prior to reaching the base of the neck. The water the coral monstrosity spewed was just that. Salt water. Nothing about it was different from sea water in any regard barring an unusually high salinity of 35%.

Looking at the coral remains… Ritsuko couldn't help but wonder how the Evangelion managed to do this to it. All camera feeds were lost when the MAGIs Screen broke, and all attempts to find a witness came up with nothing. The Third Child didn't remember anything, not surprising considering the Eva apparently went berserk.

It was all such a mystery that at this point all they really knew about Bokrug was it existed… everything else was suspect.

They however had one final Avenue. A new kind of lens that might allow them to figure out what was going on inside of this coral nightmare.

Maybe understanding it would make it less terrifying.

Maybe.


Gendo had wasted no time looking into the name of Bokrug. While the scientific aspects of the creature would be studied, there was still the matter of hope, no matter how small, that perhaps there was information hidden within mythology and history for this entity. To that end, he stood within a private room of the The Tokyo-3 Metropolitan Library. Here the oldest of books were kept in the archives, a series of hermetically-sealed vaults. None of the books could be physically read, not even someone in Gendo's position could get a hold of them with such short notice, but he was allowed to view digital scans. With a name he felt as if perhaps he could look into humanity's past to see if it were possible to figure out if this was indeed humanity's first contact with these... things. Alas nothing came up, though in hindsight it was to be expected. Most of these books and scrolls were letters, diaries, records, catalogues, certificates, imperial decrees, testaments and maps. Even those that spoke of mythology had nothing even close to the Lizard creature that had emerged only the day before. As far as Gendo could tell, until Shinji spoke that creatures name, it never existed. At the moment he found that none of these old books, tomes, and scrolls seemed to possess any information on whatever was happening.

There were plenty of mythological creatures that fit somewhat with the strange lizard monster. The Cetus of Greek Myth, Tiamat of ancient Mesopotamia, The Tarasque from Provence in southern France, and countless others. None of them however fully matched Bokrug in physical description or the sheer sense of wrongness that radiated from that foul beast. Gendo needed to know as much as he could about that monster, he needed to know how much of his plan was in jeopardy. Alas nothing here seemed to help. Gendo was ready to leave and dismiss this entire trip as a waste of time... until Gendo froze at a sudden awareness.

He felt like something big was coming towards him. He quickly looked up to see what it was, but did not see or hear anything coming towards him. Only a room with little more than a desk surrounded by hermetically-sealed rooms. Nevertheless, he sensed that whatever it was expanded larger and larger as it grew nearer. He felt his whole body vibrate. It was like being in the middle of a storm. An otherworldly tempest of prodigious might. All caused by this... Thing that was undeniably Immense and unquestionably powerful. At first Gendo thought he was in this massive things way and was going to be annihilated by it, but somehow, he realized that Whatever-It-Was was going to pass him by. He had an extremely strong feeling that it had noticed him and had briefly glanced in his direction. A feeling of overwhelming power washed over him and a single word boomed in his head.

"Breathe"

So he did. Gendo breathed as deep as he could. As he did, he felt years of turmoil melt away as his mind filled with images of sea foam in strange patterns, and a Great Abyss. Then it ended.

Gendo stood still as he found himself feeling... better. How such a thing could happen was unknown but it was so. Years of the crushing loneliness following his beloved's death was momentarily lifted as he found himself at peace, as if healed of all of his ailes. It lasted but a moment, but it was enough for Gendo to feel that, maybe… things were going to be alright. However it lasted a tragically short amount of time, and a broken man once more stood as he did his best to gather himself and slip back into his hard visage with a heart of stone and a will of iron.

"WOOF!"

The sudden noise almost startled Gendo… almost. He looked down to the source of the noise, only to see a large Dog looking up at him, one that Gendo recognized as an Irish Wolfhound. Gendo just stared blankly at the dog in mild confusion. It seemed so odd to see a dog in the middle of a library, especially one as large as this. It was nearly 40 inches at the shoulder, with rough-coated grey hair. If it could stand on its hind legs, Gendo had no doubts the dog would greatly exceed 7 feet. Before Gendo could fully process this unexpected situation, a figure of a man, who no doubt owned the dog, walked slowly into the room from the shadows. He was not Japaneese that was for sure. It was an older man, with a long flowing white beard and walking stick. The Dog walked over to its master before calmly sitting at its masters feet, who had stopped next to the dog and patted it on the head.

Looking at the man Gendo found several oddities that did not mesh. For one while the man was exceedingly old, he moved with the vigor of a youthful man. He was tall and stood straight with a build that made Gendo think of great hunters and swimmers. He wore strange clothes. A bear skin fur cloak over a tartan tunic with an intricate golden neck tonk. The man also had an old oak walking stick that he didn't really seem to be balancing himself on. The old man looked to Gendo curiously for but a moment, then he spoke.

"I am Mr. Noon, is there any way I can help you?"

Gendo found himself thrust back into reality as the old man spoke. No longer focusing on the man's odd form or dress or deceptive vigor of youth. He assumed a much more dignified position as he looked down at the large dog that stared up at him.

"I was unaware Dogs were allowed in Libraries." said Gendo somewhat accusingly.

The only response he received was a curt nod.

"Gaul here is a service animal, is there any way I can help you?" repeated Mr. Noon.

Gendo narrowed his eyes a bit. The way the old man repeated the last words were exactly the same as how he said them previously. Every vocal inflection matched exactly the same. It was... odd to say the least. Almost as if Gendo had listened to a recording. Something about this man was most assuredly off. Now that he thought of it, the man's voice sounded frighteningly similar to the Whatever-It-Was that told him to breathe.

It immediately put Gendo on edge, though he hid it very well behind a mask of indifference.

That strange nameless… Thing that had passed him by was but an illusion. A simple misfiring of neurons or a sudden alleviation of anxiety. It had to be, for the alternative was far outside of Gendos control, and his position required him to always be in control of any given situation. In the end it didn't matter what it was, because it was gone now. All that was here was himself, an Old Man, and his dog. Nothing more and nothing less.

"Perhaps you can help me. I am looking for a name. Bokrug." said Gendo standing straight, hands in his pockets as he stared back at the man with a mask of quiet disinterest.

Mr. Noon watched as Gendo lifted a hand and pushed up the rim of his glasses before humming to himself. He looked down to his dog as he leaned on his oak walking stick.

"You won't find that name here. Very few libraries have the knowledge you seek. Though I know of one that does."

Gendo found himself again taken aback, though on the outside there was no indication of his sudden change in demeanor. It still shook him on the inside. Here this unassuming man had no response to hearing the name Bokrug like everyone else who heard it and immediately knew such a word could only belong to the massive lizard beast. He didn't react in the slightest. This man seemed to know much more than he should. Just like Shinji did. Yet there was something about this man, something… old. Very old. Ancient even. Gendo shook those thoughts from his mind.

This was just an old man. A foreigner whose behaviors and nuances were bound to be different from Japanese norms. His mind was simply playing tricks on him. This was just an old man and his dog. Nothing more and nothing less. More importantly than all that was that this man seemed to know where to go to find the knowledge he sought.

"Where is it then?"

Mr. Moon stroked his beard several times as he looked down to Gaul, whose tail wagged happily as he laid at the feet of his master. There was something… off about that dog. It didn't seem to blink. Actually, apart from the single bark that alerted Gendo to the Dog in the first place, it didn't seem to make any sounds. The dog was breathing, panting even… but there was no audible sound accompanying its panting. It was deathly quiet. There was also the way the dogs hair and fur seemed to move despite there being no stray wind or misplaced breeze.

"Miskatonic University has the information you seek. It is located in Essex County, Massachusetts."

"I have never heard of Miskatonic University."

The old man nodded, as if he expected such a statement. It was at this point Gendo noticed that the man was looking in his eyes, and had always been looking in his eyes since the old man first entered the room. Gendo supposed this was the polite thing to do, but for a reason he couldn't quite explain, he desperately wished that he didn't. His gaze was something difficult to look away, and there was something about his green eyes staring at Gendo that felt invasive.

"That is because it isn't here yet, but it will be here, and will always have been here."

Gendo narrowed his eyes further. Nothing about that sentence made any sense.

"What do you mean isn't here... yet?"

"Does it matter?"

"It might."

Mr. Noon nodded.

"True enough Mr. Ikari, true enough."

Gendo did not recall giving the man his name… however this was the least strangest thing the man had said or done thus far… and that terrified Gendo to his core as he had came to that appalling realization. Gendo felt such an alien sense of awe when looking at the old man. It made no sense, the man had done nothing to dredge up these feelings. Yet Gendo felt it all the same.

"Who… are you Mr. Noon?"

Mr. Noon took a deep calming breath. Gendo swore he smelled the scent of salt in the air.

"You know… those who are wise know that all symbols are symbols of something, not of nothing. It was, indeed, a symbol which men long ago veiled their knowledge of the most awful, most secret forces which lie at the heart of all things; forces before which the souls of men must wither and die. Such forces cannot be named, cannot be spoken, cannot be imagined except under a veil and a symbol. A symbol to most may appear quaint, a poetic fancy, or to some a foolish tale. But to you and I, we know something of the terror that may dwell in the secret place of life, that which is without form taking to itself a form."

Gendo stared at the man… that he suspected was not a man, but something far, far more horrific. At the very least… it was almost human. Looking at the man… Gendo saw only a man… but there was something subtly off about him. His skin was almost like porcelain but… not. It was not as pale as porcelain, but when his facial expressions changed his skin didn't stretch, instead there was just… more of his face. Where porcelain would crack, Mr. Noon's face… didn't. It was so small as to be unnoticeable, that is until Gendo started paying attention to the small intricacies of the old man before him.

It was difficult to put into words. This man was a distortion of the familiar human form. Not enough to be obvious, but enough to catch one off guard. Every human was an expert on humans. We instinctively know how a human should walk, how they should move, how they should look. This man was… slightly off in this way. It was a human-like face that was neither sufficiently inhuman nor human enough. Perfect even. Every movement he made seemed to be carefully calculated and exquisitely done. A level of perfection that no human should have.

Then there was what he said.

"You say a lot without saying much. Are you talking about Bokrug? Or yourself? Anything can be a symbol."

Mr. Noon nodded. Almost approvingly. This was when the worst thing happened… because then Mr. Noon smiled. Gendo looked at that smile… and almost looked away. There was no warmth in it, or anything else, just near porcelain flesh being moved by muscles. It was a bright smile that didn't quite reach the icy depths of his startling eyes of liquid sapphire... Wasn't his eyes green before? Perhaps the change in eye color was a mere trick of the light. Whatever the case, Gendo knew one thing for certain.

That… thing should not smile.

"Very good Mr. Ikari, very good. I suggest you leave now, go to Miskatonic University. The answers you seek are there." said Mr. Noon as he turned around and walked away. The Dog, Gaul, continued staring at Gendo, before getting to his feet and following after his master.

Thus all that remained in the room was a man… a lonely, sad, and ultimately fearful man filled with self-loathing. Nothing more and nothing less.


Makoto Hyuga lifted up in the joystick on his chair and watched the screen as the drone ascended. It was a very expensive piece of equipment. Capable of moving as well in the water as it could through the air. Maya Ibuki and Shigeru Aoba watched the footage next to him with interest.

"Damn that thing is creepy." Said Aoba as the first bits of craggy coral came into view.

As the drone continued rising, the waterfall was seen trickling from the lizard turned corals mouth.

"Where do you think that water is coming from anyways?" Asked Maya.

Makoto shrugged as he focused on the task of piloting the drone.

"I hope it isn't just making water. That would be very bad. If that were the case then eventually it will flood the planet."

Aoba tilted his head at that.

"Wouldn't that take like… millions of years? I mean… it's not that much water… is it?"

"Matter can't come from nothing." Said Maya.

Aoba stared back at her with a mild look of disbelief. One that took Maya off guard a bit.

"And monsters the size of buildings should collapse under their own weight… yet here we are. C'mon Maya try and keep up."

"Alright point taken."

"I'm not saying, I'm just saying." Said Makoto.

"So… should we like… build an ark or something?"

"Noah's Ark 2: Electric Boogaloo." Said Aoba.

"I'm being serious guys." Said Makoto as the drone neared the gushing waters.

Ritsuko had done her best to ignore the antics of the Tactical Operations trio. She supposed a bit a levity was warranted considering all that had happened recently. Currently Gendo was away for reasons he decided it was best not to enlighten her on. This project was currently under the official leadership of NERVs Deputy Commander Kozo Fuyutsuki, who was not currently in the room as he presumably did whatever it was Gendo should have been doing. Not that Ritsuko was inclined to care. She had far more to worry about as of late. Especially ever since Bokrug had unexpectedly shown up and shattered whatever machinations Gendo had. The thought actually brought a smile to Ritsuko's face. It was quite refreshing to see Gendo taken off guard, and regardless of the circumstances, it had the effect of humanizing the man. Something Gendo was sorely lacking. Ritsuko silently joined the trio, looking at the screens as the drone entered the mouth of the strange entity that had continued to elude all methods of scientific understanding. As expected, the inside was lined with backwards facing coral reminiscent of the teeth that had previously been there. It was unnerving to watch as the endless waters continued flowing out. Then they past the base of the throat, and found a massive coral cave far larger than it's outside dimensions suggested. Beyond that the chasm was absolutely filled with water. One the drone had suddenly and unexpectedly found itself within. It was fortuitous the drone was both aquatic and aerial. With a flip of a switch the rotors pivoted as the drone transitioned into its aquatic stage.

"That's weird." Said Makoto suddenly.

Ritsuko hummed as she looked over to him. Makoto cleared his throat as he pointed to the various chemical sensors analysing the waters as the semi-aquatic drone swam through the water.

"Salinity is 3.5%. Much lower than the water pouring out of the mouth."

"That…" said Ritsuko before she stopped herself and sighed. "... I suppose using the word impossible given the context is wrong."

Aoba interrupted.

"Personally everything about it is impossible. It's a giant lizard that turned into a lizard shaped coral colony. Nothing natural about it… that's for sure." Said Aoba.

"What's that." Said Maya suddenly as she pointed at the screen.

Looking at the image… everyone just stared at it in absolute confusion. Maya was pointing at what could only be described… as a lake… under the waters. Ritsuko however was quite aware of what she was seeing… despite it being, as said before, impossible.

"It's a brine pool. High salinity water. The high salinity raises the density of the brine, which creates a distinct surface and shoreline for the pool. Some can be so dense that there are records of submarines floating on their surface, even creating waves."

"Chemical analysis reveals a high methane content, salinity at 26%." Said Maya.

"That's… kinda creepy. A lake under the water." Said Aoba.

Ritsuko turned to him somewhat sternly.

"It's a completely natural phenomena."

"Under the sea maybe… not in the stomach of a dead lizard." Said Aoba dismissively.

Maya glared at Aoba as she wasted no time defending her mentor.

"It's 'stomach' is bigger than it is. A brine pool is hardly anything compared to that."

"I'm not saying that it is."

As Ritsuko, Aoba, and Maya continued speaking among themselves. Makoto ignored them as he brought the drone closer to the pool. As the camera looked down the lens finally cracked, but the feed didn't stop, and Makoto stared down the brine pool into its deep… dark… depths. No one watched the screen as a shimmer appeared on the brine pools surface. The ebbing rise and fall of undersea waves. No one noticed as Makoto widened his eyes as the shapes of dancing Paracelsian Undines on the surface ceased moving and the scent of the ocean breeze wafted in the wet briny air. No one noticed that Makoto gazed into the abyss, and it stared right back. A fae gleaming followed by a semblance of a figure that appeared and instantaneously collapse back into the brine sea. As strange as that was however… it did not hold a candle to what Makoto saw next. It was like swimming in the deepest ocean, and looking down… down… down… down… into fading darkness. The feeling one gets when looking down the ocean in abject horror as they stare into a drowning deep black abyssal limbo. It got under the skin and took you to places both breathtakingly fascinating and endlessly terrifying all in one. The sea is a vast and seemingly empty place, and it was here that Makoto saw that within the primeval trench, was Bokrug for what it really was.

Ritsuko at this point had turned back to the screen, and grimaced as she noted the lens had cracked. A blink after that the screen turned black. An exasperated sigh escaped her lips.

"Great. Back to square…" was as far as Ritsuko got when Makoto spat out a mouthful of water over the black screen and fell out of his chair. Immediately drawing everyone's attention to the surreal horror they were about to witness.

Makoto opened his mouth to scream, but all that came out was mouthfuls of stagnant salt water as his skin began to prune and shrivel before their very eyes. It was as though he had been submerged and held under to drown in unseen waters by an invisible force. Every sharp intake of air was followed only by sputtering coughs of sea foam and water, Makoto attempted to scream, but was far to busy futility gasping for air. Ritsuko watched in abject horror as every attempt to draw in fresh air was unmercifully replaced with a suffocating flood only to be forced back out of Makoto's bleeding and chapped lips as foul choking water without end. Aoba exploded into action, running over his friend and starting chest compressions that proved to be pointless as it only forced more throat burning water to spray from Makoto's nose and mouth. His bloodshot eyes rolled in the back of his head as his tears sprayed out in trickles that shot several feet out. Maya screamed as a foul mixture of water, sea foam, blood, and vomit pooled on the floor growing more as Makoto kept trying to breathe… and fail. His skin turned a putrid shade of yellow as he continued to shrivel and rot before their eyes. Then the struggling stopped And Makoto fell limp. A bloated waterlogged corpse with ruptured and cracked skin was all that remained. One who drowned on dry land.