If Eternity Should Fail
The following piece is the beginning of a story I've held in my head ever since I watched Neon Genesis Evangelion for the first time last year when it came on Netflix, though its changed somewhat since its first inception. The following story takes place in its own continuity independent of the show, but inspired by the story and events that take place within it. As a warning, the story is heavily OC and AU-centric, so if that is not your thing, you may wish to read another story. For those who continue further, I thank you. Also, for anybody who might have come here from reading my NGE/OPM Crossover, I have not abandoned that story, its just I felt kind of cringe about it after the last update and eventually removed it. I will be rewriting the eighth chapter sometime in the future but I want to get this started.
Chapter One: Meeting the Monster
A dry wind blew through the sleeves of Kyle's denim jacket as he stood atop the hills overlooking the city of Tokyo-3. He had only been in the country for about an hour, escorted by an unfriendly suit clad in dark aviator sunglasses, and already felt miles out of his depth. The city seemed to be still in the process of recovering from an extensive trauma, and Kyle was smart enough to figure that his government's sudden decision to take him into state custody and ship him over here was no coincidence.
"What happened here?" Kyle asked, not expecting to obtain a straight answer. The man he had flown with from California was an employee of the U.S. State Department and hadn't been briefed on anything concerning Kyle besides where the fifteen year-old boy needed to be.
The man took a long drag from his cigarette and let loose a stream of carcinogen-laden smoke through his thin, pallid lips. He tapped a bit of ash out the filter and answered curtly, "Your guess is as good as mine, kid."
Kyle frowned, watching construction vehicles haul huge clumps of rubble from the remains of a ruined building in the valley below. "Figures," he said, "Why are we out here anyway? Couldn't they pick us up at the airport?"
The man shrugged and replied, "Who knows? And there's no us after this bit, kid. I'm just here to hand you off, then I'm on the next flight home."
"What if I decide I want out?" Kyle asked.
The bureaucrat repeated his gesture, "That's their problem, not mine. Though flights in and out of this country are about to become a bit…limited, I'm sorry to say."
Bastard, Kyle thought to himself, gripping a nearby hand-rail so tightly that his knuckle-bones looked like they might pop out of his skin, he knows more than he's letting on. This was a mistake. But yet…
He thought back to two weeks ago. He was just a bi-racial teenager living with his aunt, uncle, and younger cousin in a region of the Pacific Northwest still depopulated from the effects of the Second Impact over fifteen years ago. His guardians were scientists, tasked by the government with studying the explosive resurgence of animal life in the area. The area they lived in was extremely remote, so Kyle and his cousin were educated through an online curriculum. He had some friends among the children of other scientists and officials nearby, but most of his free time was spent alone or with his sickly cousin, Lisa. Their life wasn't exactly normal, but Kyle had become comfortable with spending lots of time reading books, playing his guitar, or exploring the woods around their house.
Things changed however, when a black SUV pulled up one afternoon, and a man from the State department informed him and his guardians that he had been pre-selected by a UN survey team to be capable of accepting a unique position at NERV. NERV, the man explained, was a paramilitary organization under the purview of the United Nations Security Council, and its primary headquarters was in Tokyo, Japan. The man told him that he had been ordered to bring Kyle in for a visit to this headquarters for a meeting with Commander Gendo Ikari to discuss the terms of this position.
His aunt and uncle were immediately incensed by the idea of their nephew being taken by some mysterious organization for purposes their visitor wasn't even allowed to explain. The government men explained that under laws passed after the cataclysmic destruction caused by Second Impact, they had the legal authority to conscript Kyle for government work if necessary. These laws, Kyle figured, had not been necessary in some time, but remained on the books simply for situations like his, and chose to come in quietly despite the protestations of his guardians. He didn't want them to face any consequences, but he also knew something they didn't. He had met this Commander Ikari before, at his father's funeral five years prior.
"Heads up," the government suit said, interrupting Kyle's pondering, "Your ride's here."
Kyle turned back to the face the hillside road, and watched as a light, indigo-colored sports-car revved up the asphalt and came to a screeching halt by the curb.
"Whoa," Kyle exclaimed, "A Renault!"
The suit adjusted his aviators and nodded, "Pretty impressive, I'll admit."
Kyle heard the click of a door opening, followed soon after by the sight of a tall, dark-haired woman emerge from the right side of the vehicle. She wore cross-shaped earrings and a crimson leather jacket, with a pair of dark shades over her eyes. She slipped them off, folded them up, and clipped them to her breast-pocket before asking in English, "Kyle Rhodes?"
"Uh, that would be me," Kyle replied somewhat awkwardly. This was not the ride that he was expecting. The woman in front of him was young, fit, and extremely attractive. It was a little too much for a jet-lag-addled teenage boy such as himself to handle within an hour of reaching the homeland of his maternal ancestors.
"My name's Misato," she said cheerfully, "And I'll be driving you to headquarters. Got everything you need?"
Misato looked down at the small pile of duffel bags that had accumulated at Kyle's feet, consisting of all the stuff he thought he might need, not knowing exactly how long he would be in Japan.
"Uh…yeah," Kyle replied nervously, rubbing the back of his neck, "Guess I can just shove it in the backseat?"
"Works for me!" Misato answered, "I'll take it from here," she addressed the suit, "Thanks for your help!"
"No problem," he said flatly, "Good luck, kid."
Kyle watched as the man hopped back into his ride and immediately drove off. "Thanks, I guess," Kyle said flatly.
Misato drove them down the hillside at a brisk pace. Kyle rolled down his window and let the breeze cool him down. The weather was changing – where once it had been sunny, the clouds were darkening and the air growing thicker and more humid. Ever since the Second Impact nearly fifteen years ago, many of the world's countries no longer noticed a significant change in the season due to a change in the axial tilt of the Earth, and Japan was caught in an endless summer. The meteor the world government claimed had landed on Antarctica had been large enough to do that. Yet not large enough to be detected by anyone watching the sky for a living, Kyle thought, channeling his Uncle's conspiracy theories.
"So, how was your flight?" Misato asked, breaking a silence she had held uncomfortably for too long, "What do you think of Japan?"
"I can think of better uses for twelve hours," Kyle replied in a Japanese approximation, "As for Japan, its about what I expect, but hard to say given I've only been here for like, an hour."
"Hey!" Misato exclaimed, "They didn't tell me you could speak Japanese!"
Kyle shrugged, "I've been taking it the last year and a half as an elective in school. People say Japan runs the world now, and maybe they're right if they can drag me out here."
They passed by open fields and small clusters of trees scattered about the landscape. There was a lake and more hills beyond that. Soon enough, Kyle saw a large, maw-like opening built into the side of nearby hill, with some kind of security checkpoint blocking the entrance. Misato slowed her car down and approached the entry booth, flashing her badge to the guard on duty.
"Here we go," she said, "Hope you aren't claustrophobic."
She smiled, "You'll see."
Misato pulled the car forward onto a metal platform, and an automated voice playing over the intercom announced that they would now be descending to the command level. Everything went dark, and Kyle felt a shiver crawl up his spine in conjunction with a momentary lapse of weightlessness. He took a deep breath as the whole platform started to move downward, sliding along a pair of grooves on the side of the dimly-lit tunnel.
"How deep are we going?" Kyle asked.
"Not sure exactly, but we'll be far beneath the city."
"Beneath the city? Why is this here? Who exactly are you people and why are you here?"
"Don't worry," Misato assured him calmly, "Everything you want to know will be explained in a little while. And hopefully, you'll agree to stay. We could really use an extra hand."
"I don't understand," Kyle replied, "They forced me to come here, but I have a choice if I want to stay? And why would you need me? I don't have any skills...other than playing the guitar, I guess."
"It's not about your skills, it's about your person, so to speak. But I'll let the Commander fill you in."
"Commander Ikari is here? Right now?"
"Yes, he's about to leave on business but he wanted to meet with you briefly. I hope it turns out better than his last meeting with a recruit."
Kyle clicked his tongue in annoyance, "You're really making me nervous; you know that?"
"Sorry!" she said, "But take a look! We're here!"
They came under the lip of the tunnel and out into a wide clearing. Warm, golden light shone from a band of mirrors atop the ceiling, casting wide beams down on the shimmering lake before. On the bottom was grass, trees and a pyramid covered in twinkling lights. But above was what Kyle couldn't take his eyes off. Jutting from the ceiling were buildings, clustered together like stalactites in a cave.
"What is this?" Kyle said, "Where are we?"
"This is a Geofront," Misato explained as they continued to descend towards the surface, "a wide open cavern built deep beneath the Earth. More importantly, it's where the headquarters of NERV is located, stretching even further into the Earth. Its from here that we do our work, the work of protecting the human race."
Kyle turned away from the window slowly and looked directly at Misato, "Protecting the human race from what?"
The monster stood at the end of a long hall, titanic shoulders smothered in darkness beneath the cover of platforms and scaffolding above. Its lifeless grey eyes stared unflinchingly in Kyle's direction as he and Misato approached from the floor at the level of the behemoth's waist. From each of its massive shoulders arose long, rectangular fins tipped in white, the same color as the joints on its body. The rest of it was covered in ebony plates, the thickest of which converged in close bands at its mid-section.
As they got closer, the iron-rich smell of blood grew stronger, causing Kyle to wrinkle his nose in distaste and sniffle. Distant sounds of whirring machinery and creaking footsteps echoed from above, where engineers and laborers continued to make improvements to the structure of the NERV base. Kyle paid them no mind though, for all his attention was placed on the armored giant.
Kyle didn't know what to say, struck by its awesome figure. He gripped the railing and stared at it slack-jawed in wonder.
"This is amazing," he breathed, then turned to Misato and asked her, "What the hell is this thing?"
Before the young woman had the chance to reply, a cold voice cut across the space from their right and spoke in English, "Humanity's last hope."
Kyle looked behind him and saw a pair of figures emerging from the darkness. One was a blonde-haired Japanese woman in a long lab coat, clutching a clip board in her hand. The other was a man, looking no different than he had when Kyle had seen him last at his father's funeral. He was tall, lean, and had a chin-strap encircling the borders of his face.
Ikari, Kyle thought. He thought back to that day, when he was still a ten year-old boy in shock over the death of his father. Ikari had approached his uncle that day in the snow, claiming to be a colleague of Kyle's father, and inquired as to who would be taking care of the boy now. Ever since that day, he had not forgotten the face of a man who put a chill in his spine. Things were different now though - Kyle was close to being a man, and now confusion fueled his apprehension more than fear.
"Commander," Misato said. Ikari gave her a curt nod and then spoke directly to Kyle, "It's been a long time, Kyle. Do you remember me?"
"Yeah," Kyle answered, "I'll never forget anything about that day. But somehow I knew we'd meet again. Just not like this."
"Indeed," the Commander adjusted his glasses, "We've had our eye on you since that day. And what you see before you," he gestured to the behemoth standing dormant before them, "is the reason why. Dr. Akagi, fill him in."
Akagi? Kyle thought. The name sounded familiar, but he couldn't place why.
The Commander's blonde assistant nodded and turned to the monster, "What you see before you is an adaptable human construct. A synthetic android designed as a top-secret weapon. Its code-name is Evangelion."
"Evangelion, huh?" Kyle said, "So it's...some kind of robot?"
"Not quite," Dr. Akagi corrected him, "The Evangelion cannot move of its own accord. It requires a human pilot to manipulate its nervous system through a telepathic, which is where you come in."
I'm not liking the sound of this, Kyle thought. "Wait, you brought me all this way because you want me to drive that thing?"
"Pilot," Dr. Akagi said, "But the truth is, we don't even know if you can pilot it. We have a theory" she looked uncertainly in Misato's direction, "...that you can, but we need to do a couple test runs before we can even think of having you fight in it."
"Hold up," Kyle outstretched his hand in Dr. Akagi's direction, "You had the government ship me here on the suspicion that I might be able to run this thing? What gave you that impression? I only just got a driver's permit! And what do you mean...fight? Fight what?"
"Katsuragi," Dr. Akagi grumbled, "You didn't mention the Angels?"
Misato scratched the back of her neck nervously, "Oh. Well...I didn't want to make him nervous...er, more nervous than he already was."
"We don't have time for this," the Commander said, "For now Kyle, accept that you may possess the right temperament to pilot Unit-03. And that the fate of humanity might rest on that temperament."
"You're talking about whatever caused the destruction of the city!" Kyle exclaimed, "That was caused by one of these...Angels?"
"What happened to it? Where is it now?"
"It was defeated."
"By what? Another pilot?"
"You are not the first. But already one of our pilots is unable to pilot her Eva due to damage sustained in technical trials. We cannot afford delays if we are attacked by multiple Angels. That is why you are here. Will you comply?"
Kyle chewed his lip thoughtfully and mulled it over. He didn't like this one bit. But he doubted they were lying. Nobody would spend all this money and effort to build what he had seen and bring him over here on a whim. And his over-riding sense of curiosity was starting to get the better of him.
Always look for the truth, his father had said once, truth is the only good in this world. These words were one of the last his father ever spoke, and they had haunted him ever since. He had a thirst for secrets, a hunger for knowing what hid behind the curtain. And secrets like this had revealed themselves to him.
"Kyle," Misato said from behind, "Say something."
"Something," he replied instantly. Misato groaned.
"Why give me a choice?" he asked, "Why risk that I would refuse?"
"An unwilling pilot is no use to us," Dr. Akagi said coldly, "You can leave, but know that there is much we can do for you."
"Your cousin, for starters. She's sick, isn't she? She needs a lung transplant due to complications with cystic fibrosis? Very expensive and rare treatment...in America."
Kyle stiffened a bit in response, "You know about Lisa?"
"Yes. Our influence is wide enough that we could help her...if you pass the test and agree to work with us. Additionally your government has already agreed to set up an account in your name as well, since you are assisting a foreign nation."
"Risk my life for money?" Kyle smirked, "I'm no mercenary. Not that I would refuse..." But if I could help Lisa...
The doctor was right, his sister was on a long waiting list for a viable lung transplant. She had managed her condition fairly well, but most doctors pegged her at having a life expectancy of twenty-seven, maybe twenty-nine at best.
If there's a chance...
"...but how do you know I can trust you?" Kyle asked.
"Hmmm..." Dr. Akagi thought for a second, "I suppose you can't. You're very paranoid for a teenager, aren't you?"
"Not paranoid," Kyle smiled, "Just not a complete moron, which is what you'd have to be to think being a child soldier was cool."
"So, you won't do it then?"
"I didn't say that," Kyle shrugged, "I came all this way," he tried to sound more confident in his decision than he really was, "I might as well get to say I sat in a giant robot. I'll run your test. Anything after that...no promises."
Dr. Akagi smirked, "Very well, that will have to do."
"Good," the Commander said simply, "I will leave you in Captain Katsuragi's hands." The Commander began to walk away, alone, over to a nearby platform. He pressed a button on a raised toggle and he began to ascend towards the platforms above.
"Not going to wish me luck?" Kyle said.
"Luck," the Commander replied, "Won't have anything to do with this."