Neon Genesis Evangelion Fan Fiction ❯ Hidden Virtues ❯ Section 4 ( Chapter 4 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
(Section 4)

It had been so distantly long.


Jane had not fought with her hands and feet in so long she almost completely failed to recall what it was like. Almost.

But she could walk again! Her arms lifted, her fingers flexed, she could bend her legs and knees, stretch her back. She could command her hands to cup, scooping up tender loam from the ground, its texture tickling her palm as she sifted it through her fingers. With a pulse of effort, she sensed rocks shattering under the force of her clench. Most of all, dance movement sprang from her heart without the slightest bidding. Was fighting any different?

This world was absolutely the most beautiful place she had ever seen. Clouds of puffy gray formed a ceiling of indefinable complexity. The rolling surface composing the floor was colored so many tones of brown that her eyes refused to distinguish them all. Gusts of air washed around her from no discernible source, swirling like the waters of some invisible river. From above there trickled light produced by no manmade fixture. She felt warmth and cold not generated by human appliance. To her eyes, nothing else was needed to make this world absolutely perfect. A waking dream, impossible even in its reality. Stretched out to infinity from where she stood, there was no vastness more splendid.

The voice of the tiny thing at her feet reached her again, "Could you please do something about them?"

"All of them?" she asked in confusion. Standing amid such beauty, she felt no need for fighting. It was so alien a feeling in a realm of such intense tangibility that it simply was not present. Without a driving intent, a fight could not exist. "I don't know if I can?" The statement sounded so stupid to her that it came out as a question.

"We have no time for this," several panicked adult voices were telling her all at once, "That thing is our enemy!"

No matter what they said, Jane simply could not feel it. The forms standing around her, each one swaddled in wisps of cloud, were nothing more than distant notions of brooding. They were all still; one collective intangible mind, quiescent ravens sitting on the posts of a coral fence, staring contemplatively inward.

"I'm not sure I remember what it's like to have an enemy," she half lied to herself, her voice spilling into the communications link extended from her will.

"But they're going to destroy us!"

"I can't feel it..." she began, still sensing nothing from the gigantic phantoms at the edges of her mind. If she was to fight this thing, would she not feel some sort of malevolent emanation? She had been so long out of practice that the old understanding refused easy clarification. Wasn't that the essence of fighting? An Intent? Yet, she could not taste Conflict's tart stench on these elusive forms. Their mind was perfectly still. Unmoving.

"Look around you," the general's voice commanded, "see for yourself what they've been doing to us."

Uncertainly, she did as she was told. Tracing her eyes over the boundless vista of wonders, features previously overlooked became surreally apparent. Pocks and boils and burns, ruptures in the flawless lines of the land, vicious reminders of an almost infectious struggle. Like signs of a disease rather than a battle.

"It did this?"

"Yes," was the simple response.

For a long moment, the nearly immobile forms seemed as gargoyles. -A disease!- she realized to herself, -And I'm the intended cure.-

"I guess," she finally decided, intentions of action solidifying in her thoughts, "I'll try to stop It."

They responded suddenly, a crystal sharp edge of piercing light flashing at her. As a unit, their large hands raised and fanned open, discharging a blaze from the circumference of their circle. Where she stood, she was caught directly at the epicenter of the attack.

Startled, Jane was overwhelmed beneath an ocean swell of pure force, the cascade peeling her back in layers. Blinding light cut through her with the ease of a warm blade through butter.
-PARALYSIS!- was the truthful bolt that skewered her first.


"We've got video! Spotter 5 is broadcasting again!"

"Stabilize the link dammit. What's happening?!"

Tainted by the battle blossoming on the open plains above, the live video feed flickered sporadically with a sparkle of astral static. The Angel attacked the gypsy Eva from twelve positions at once with a blast of white. Horror ran in a gasp through the command crew when Unit-06 staggered at the center of the spectral assault. Rumbles passing through the base seemed dissociated from the plight of the tiny, distorted figure fixed in the center of the dusty LCD screen.

"Jane!" Lt. Wise choked, giving voice to a moment that had robbed every other breath in the room.

"By the Maker," Stormcloud quietly agreed.

Wavering under the celestial deluge, the Eva lifted her forearms to block her face. Her hands balled laboriously into quivering fists. She reeled faintly for fragment of a heartbeat until she recovered from the initial jolt. Tendons tightening like banjo strings in her arms, the first two fingers and thumbs of either hand strained, curling like the hooking talons of a hawk. Powerful legs coiled beneath her shivering body until the immensity of their stored force sent her hurtling forward in a meteoric advance. The Eva's feet slammed down with rattling concussions, leaving a trail of furrows and flying turf in her wake as the ground gave way beneath her. She opened her arms wide with every muscle visibly tensing, and barreled head long toward her nearest antagonists.

"Dear God," Dr. Valentine was whispering, "this can't be right."

"What is it? What?" Belmont demanded, instantly aware of how pallid the doctor's face had become. The whispers she heard gave a silent scream.

"There's an organized signal imposing on Jane's synchrograph telemetry! It must have penetrated Jane's ego boundary. Toho, get a spectral analysis on the Angel's beam!"

"Already doing!"

"What does it mean?" Belmont asked, already knowing the answer.

"Analysis is coming back," Toho told them, her earphones in her hand, "the surge has similar characteristics to an AT Field."

Valentine shook his head nervously, "Without better instrumentation there's no way to tell. My guess is that the Angel has initiated First Level contact with Unit-06. Jane's taking psychic pollution!"

"Why won't she raise her AT Field?" Lt. Wise was asking in a strangled voice, "she can't fight the thing like that!"

"Status has no readings!" Toho told him, "I can't clear the interference from Unit-06's telemetry signal!"

"Unit-06 is incomplete," Belmont answered in a voice that felt much calmer than the tornado kicking up in her skull, "She may not be mechanically able."

Bathed in an aura of white, Unit-06 was among her opponents before the persistence of human vision caught up. Her body transformed into a spinning dervish of motion without the slightest pause, every limb brought up like a weapon. Slashing with her fingers and flailing with her feet, she never seemed to reach any of her targets despite the fact that each blow was as accurate and powerful as anyone had ever seen. Barred by unbreachable barriers, she slammed with each strike into walls that were invisible. Though protecting the Angel from harm in the wild attack, the invisible AT Fields hardly slowed her down. Instead, Unit-06 careened flat into each barrier with pinballish resolve. At every collision, the angular battery packs belted to her massive back shuddered precariously in their delicate makeshift fastenings.

"What's wrong with her?" Lt. Wise was asking himself in a stuporous awe that bordered on shock, "this isn't how Jane fights."

"I think there's a more appropriate question my distraught friend," Valentine told him, a cruel flicker behind his anguished voice. His face twitched bizarrely when he spoke again, "why didn't she stop in her tracks when it first blasted her? I can't believe she's actually still moving. From what I can tell, any other pilot would have been reduced to cowering on their knees by now. The psychic pollution hardly phased her!"

"But that isn't how Jane fights!" Wise insisted frantically, trying to wedge himself behind the computer in front of a protesting Avery, "We have to help her!"

Valentine stopped him with an extended arm. "Just take a break. I- I'll figure something out," but the statement was empty.

On the screen, knowing that the Eva didn't understand her peril, the Angel's bodies began to encircle their helpless victim. Their limbs almost seemed to quiver in greedy anticipation. To Major Belmont, the spectacle resembled a flock of vultures cornering a desperately harassed animal. This was the first time the whispers had ever seemed in fear. -They're going to shred her and kill us in the process. I should have known it would come down to this. That I should die for this series of sins is long overdue.-


-GUILT!- shrieked the truth, a thousand dagger needles striking into her floundering brain.
-Never!- she tried to deny, attempting to suppress the memories that gushed forth whether she wanted them or not.

-It was your fault!- the man cried, his face inches from hers as he shouted. Spittle struck her in the eyes, stinging along with his hot breath. Already she was too weak to move away, condemnably bedridden for nearly two agonizing weeks. She could barely lift her head from the pillow.
-no.- she protested in a croaking voice, the necessary wind not quite filling her lungs.
-If it weren't for you, I would be a Master now.-
-i didn't mean it.-
-You and your plucky Genius!- he raged on, -Enchant everyone who matters with your inexperience and lies! If it weren't for you, the Grandmaster would still be with us just as before! No favorites, No betters.-
-i didn't mean...-
-And now this,- he continued to shout, heedless of her nearly inaudible protestations, -He won't ever be teaching again! Even those of us he didn't disown... because of you!-
-no- tears ran down her cheeks.
-Oh, Didn't you know?- he feigned surprise, half verging on cruel laughter, -he felt so sorry for you and this little stunt that he gave himself an aneurysm. Now you're the only one who knows what he had to teach, and you won't be showing anyone! So much
for prodigal protegees!-
She sobbed in quiet rasps wanting someone, anyone, to come and hold her. It _was_ all her fault.
-Selfish little Bitch. Finally Jane Wise slips toward the abyss,- he taunted in scathing tones, etching the moment so deeply into her mind that she would remember it in nightmares for months, -hopefully no one will remember, or believe that she ever existed.-
Lip quivering, she could not deny it.
-Robbed of her glimmering movement, she is nothing. Disconnected from the whole, she means nothing. HA!- he laughed, -As far as I'm concerned, you're getting the least of what you deserve!- The door slammed shut behind him as he left.
-i'm sorry,- she said to the ringing silence, the last words she ever spoke before stillness robbed her voice.

-No!- she cried out in abject denial, struggling to push the thoughts away, trying to fight off the darkness she could see looming in the distance.
-GUILT!- The jury accused, their voice raging over her like the squawking of a million migrating avians, spinning on the thermals of her emotional reaction. No matter how she strove they bit into her, twisting through each minuscule hole she failed to block, overwhelming her with ease. Circumventing all her parries, finding all the places she hurt, it spoke to her with nothing but the truth.
-FEAR!- It told her, cutting to the heart of the matter,

-...It may be two weeks or two years...-
Daddy, where's my Mommy?
She, ah, -left- when you were young, Sport.
I wish you had known her.
-...very rare, I haven't seen anything like it...-
-...The specialists can't quite identify it, but these special vitamins may slow it down...-
-...electronic stimulus is barely effective, only a mechanical lung can keep her breathing...-
Will Grand Master Hang come visit me?
He's in the hospital himself
He can't remember you.
-...All we can do is try to make her comfortable...-
-...Congenital Myopathy, it may be too late before we can devise a genetic cure...-
What's going to happen to me?
I don't know, Sport, I don't know.
-...When it reaches her heart...-
-...I'm afraid there's nothing else we can do...-


the only enemy she'd ever known


Slipping its coils slowly into place, like some cartoonish snake transfixing a rabbit, the Angel's bodies stepped in. Under the eyes of God, colored by the brilliant radiance still shone upon her, Unit-06 was now completely helpless. With her display of violence ebbing to little more than shivering limbs, resistance had finally left her. Under the continued barrage, the sixteen story tall fighting machine swayed with the impaired balance of year old toddler. The Angels' massive hands enfolded her colorful body, prying her arms out away from her sides with strange gentleness. By the wrists, they held the Eva up like a trophy bull shot during the prime of hunting season.

This was not the sort of fight the command crew had hoped for.

Yielding to his generally frenetic ways, Valentine stood shouting orders in poor Toho's ear. His demands were barely coherent, each one more futile than the last, "Spark her input cross-links, maybe we can snap her out of it!"

In shock, Toho was typing and protesting at the same time, "I don't know... I can't... I..."

Avery was just staring at the synchrograph, helplessly watching the signal harmonics decay, as if confronted for the first time by a limit he never knew he had.

Rocking slowly in her chair in time to explosions rocking the lab complex, Stormcloud bowed her proud face. She held her little dreamcatcher in a quivering hand, singing a quiet prayer to herself. Of all those in the foreman's booth, she alone retained a shred of dignity in her fear.

Lt. Wise was crumpled on the walkway, left arm slung over the rail, right hand crammed in his mouth. From the shuddering of his shoulders, he was obviously weeping. His head resting against the railing, his face was half hidden. Tears stained the front of his uniform.

Major Belmont just stood there silently, regarding the entire scene from a condemned distance. Listening once again to a scene she had never quite left, she recalled each instant of regret. She was empty now. She had done nothing last time, she could do nothing this time.

On the little screen, two Angels were holding the Eva with arms outstretched. A third slipped around back of the victim, its huge hands fanning open with menace. It drew the judgmental blade over its head then dropped it ax-like into the Eva's back. Sparks escaped into the sky with a short burst of ornate flame. The battery pack fell free, dropping earthward on the tip of a steaming plume. With that shooting star dropped the hopes of several hundred people. It hit the ground with a thunderous impact that belied module's overall size.

"Battery power has bottomed out!" Toho shouted, her hand brushing Valentine out of the way so that she could look directly at Major Belmont. On her face was a despairing question. Muscles locked, Belmont couldn't bring herself to shrug.

-What will I tell Astra when I see her again? Do I tell her I let her one and only daughter die in battle with this damned Angel? Do I tell her that she made a mistake all those years ago and that Jane's life still ended up for naught? What can I say?-

Blinking a tear out of her eye, she tipped the microphone of her headset until it touched her lip. Holding the ear piece, she took a deep breath to gather her calm. "Jane, Honey," she said in a voice that wavered slightly beyond her control, "Whatever happens, I know you can hear me. You'll be all right, Honey. Just hang in there. I believe in you."

The major squeezed her eyes shut to keep from seeing the Eva fall bonelessly to the ground when the Angels released their grip. Belmont did not see when they rolled that helpless child onto her back and stepped on her wrists to keep her from squirming. All Belmont heard was the haunting whispers.

"I Love you Jane," Alexandra Belmont barely managed.


Distant voices drained in. Words that made no sense, only sonic transients that reverberated through her, devoid of meaning. There was barely any 'her' left. Barely anything left. Somehow the universe was collapsing again. Each bad memory tearing a piece away. Each piece amplifying into a swarm of fragments from the rapidly dissolving firmament of self.
Lost, she fixated on the one word that reached her,
There was a face there, connected to that word. An alpha, and omega. Both the cause and solution to all things. Both with her and absent. A person she had always known but never really met. A face, a gentle hand, soothing and searing. Aware of her flaws before anyone else, giving her the gifts that made her what she was. There was a present of hatred and love, sewn into the linings of everything she knew. Something of which she was only marginally comprehending, what she was becoming quickly formed into what she wasn't and vice versa. As a result of a devious sacrifice, there was some ephemeral manifestation that she couldn't fully apprehend. Or appreciate.
Like sitting on the edge of sleep, staring off into the world of dreams and knowing beyond a shadow of doubt that the ultimate revelation was just beyond finger's grasp. All on that one last step at the threshold of nightfall.


Two of the beasts stood on the gypsy Eva's arms and one on her ankles, holding the prone figure in a sprawling crucifix. The other nine filed into a wide circle. When their solemn procession reached nine equidistant points along the round path surrounding the prostrate Unit-06, they all turned as one to face the middle. They raised their arms and opened their hands. A simmering effulgence began to take form over the sacrificial lamb. They would charge their burst with a Dirac Sea, scorching the lone Eva, North Dakota and probably several surrounding states, out of existence in a matter of moments.

Standing on the lonely plain, without an army, without a gun, possessing only the tattered clothes that hung loosely about his battered form, General Teneyl watched the proceedings with a psychological distance that may have been Hope moments before. Trudging on the empty slopes, his nearly forgotten wounds were beginning to feel stiff again. Perhaps his age was finally beginning to catch up with him. He had done his job at least, expending every bullet and weapon in his possession. Too bad, in the end, that the enemy had just been too strong.

To place hope on a child?

He had done his best, but why? What was it all for? Why had the Angel come to this empty place, intent on destroying an incomplete, useless weapon? Killing hundreds, perhaps thousands of people to pointedly annihilate a single helpless little girl who had nothing to do with anything NERV was planning? It all made no sense. Tactically, it made no sense what-so-ever.

The air began to grow cold, heralding a gentle fall of snow against the dwindling noon light. One last snow before hell's foul heat. Even as he watched, the crepuscular rays from the hole through the clouds died as the solar mandate expired. Winds sealed the blanket of gray, locking in the rapidly decreasing temperature. As the coldness intensified, reaching through his skin, Teneyl bowed his head in reverence. A flake of snow tingled at the end of his nose.

He made his peace.


A pin-prick of light glistened down from the opening of a vanishingly long tunnel. Shiny despite the drab noire muffling her senses, the pencil stroke caught forms amid the chaos that scattered understanding like a prism. In showers reeling through the bottomless void, white blossoms blown from a cherry tree by a massive wind danced on currents of illusory air. Not cherry blossoms, but fragments of broken memory caught up in forces of misery. Understandings, impressions, notions, recollections.
In the channel of nothing, one came to light where she might find it, making itself amply obvious to her distance. Almost as if it wanted to convey its hint of understanding.
Laughter! twinkling.
Child! You never cease to amaze me!
What have I left?
Past and Future mean nothing, Child. You carry with you every tool you'll ever need, regardless of what you recall or what you desire. If you make a thing part of you, it isn't just memory, it is you! Sometimes you're so eager to forget lessons so recently learned. Whatever you are doing, where ever you are, no matter what is happening around you, the past can't touch and you never reach the future. Those are tools only, and they must have their place. The body of human action exists at one point. Regardless of memory or desire, you are only where you are. At any point in space or time, you must be who and what you are, regardless of what changes within you or in your surroundings. It is Enlightenment.
I'm not sure I understand.
No one particular understanding is ever the same; it is all interpretation. Even from one moment to the next. Just be at the moment. Be vital. Use the tools that are in your grasp. Remember of yourself. When used in all existence, fighting, thinking or just living, the most important key of understanding is the spirit of vitality. When the spirit of vitality is bright and luminous, the ears and eyes are real. It does not matter if your opponent's hands are as fast as a flying swallow, an ant's shouting to your listening is like a tiger's roaring. Vitality is humanity at one indivisible point. The essence of immortality is in the understanding of mortality. The essence of understanding is living, and the essence of living is vitality despite how the past or future touch you.
How do I do this?
Just trust me. Be at a point, allow another's motions and actions to shape your response. Past and Future can be used as weapons not only to determine you, but also to defeat any opponent. Accept what you are without regret. You cannot change what has already passed and you cannot effect what may not occur. You can only be where you are. Follow your nature, Child, it is one that cannot fail you.
Keep my Promises?
Heavens no! Meet your Gift!


In the flittering void of Chaos, a child let go of the underpinnings she had attempted to guard with her life. She threw herself to the currents, allowing them to carry her where they would. Past did not matter. Future could not hold her. No threats, no fears, no thoughts of loss.
At once reality crystallized into being. Sucked away by its own sheering winds, limbo dissipated. Fear of Guilt fell away, a set of shackles she hadn't even been aware she was wearing. Cut free from past and future, Loneliness disappeared without Time to anchor it. Without Memory to sustain it, and without dread of returning to its grasp, notions of Paralysis were gone. Pulsing into being in her abdomen, looping, lacing upward through her physicality, the Small Circle of Heaven, her conceptual understanding of her corporeal and spiritual selves, sprang forth clear and unmarred.

Her opponent's initial energy attack fell away like water shed from the feathered back of a duck paddling on the surface of a glistening pond.

Bodies standing over her with an effervescence of light, tart odors of ozone and heat, forlorn breezes of intense cold. In an instant, she registered it all. Her arms and feet were pinned to the ground by the full weight of three bodies, but it didn't matter.

Collecting her heat to the bowls of her being, she fired impulses down her legs and up her arms, rooting her body in its prone position. Magma washed to her fingertips and toes, throwing a bass drum concussion along every limb.

Around her, those restraining her limbs splashed away, undermined by her unanticipated retaliation. They would never have felt it coming, since the action was neither intended nor committed by mistake. It simply was. She perceived forms moving, falling and flying back, limbs pinwheeling in strange attempts to gain balance, but she did not care. Purity of motion was the only thing that existed.

Thrown what seemed an unreasonable distance, Angels crashed down around her in slow motion, pick up sticks with arms and legs bumped off a kitchen table.

Without even glancing to them, Jane pulled her feet beneath her body and righted herself. Her movement seemed for a moment languorous, a heavy sleeper navigating the first morning step out of bed. But she need do nothing more. She stood, performing the action at one spot in the universe, prevailing on muscles without really considering what to do next. There was no need to plan; existence occurred in one fluid moment.

Seeing, hearing, feeling and tasting the world in gradations of elemental movement, Eva-06 turned about, at last ready to fight.


It had happened almost too quickly for anyone to realize exactly what was transpiring. On the screen there had been a sudden flurry of dimensionless motion which abruptly sent three of the attackers hurtling to the ground. Thrown by an impossible force. Amid the plume of dust, a figure stood.

"Something's happening," Avery cried, looking up from the synchrograph. On the screen before him there existed an unusual threading of signals that appeared inverted compared to the overlay. As he watched in disbelief, the signals canceled, dropping the synchrograph reading to a flat line.

Belmont, who still speaking to Jane through her headset, glanced over, "W- what is it?"

Before Avery could say anything, Toho was shouting excitedly, "AT Field, AT Field! Unit-06 has unfolded its AT Field. I don't believe it, she's on her feet! By heaven, she's as strong as It!"

"The S2?" Belmont had glanced to the screen, seeing the Eva rising out of the corner of her eye. The whispers were strangely subdued.

"Same as before. I can't see a difference!"

"Where's her energy coming from, how's she moving?!"

"I can't tell Sir!"

Turning about wildly, Belmont saw Dr. Valentine staring from screen to screen, shaking his head. "What is it Doctor?"

He was aghast, "I haven't seen anything quite like this before. Pieces, hints on separate occasions perhaps, but never all at once. Hypersynchronization with Unit-06, continued operation without a power source. Its just like before, only different. More. This... this reverse-synchronization trick she seems to be pulling with the Angel's invasive field is beyond expectation." He laughed, "Jesus! I haven't a clue what's happening. For all I know, she's established a first level contact with _it_ and now it's experiencing contamination!"

Unit-06 stood to her full height, then turned to regard the glowing interstice of radiant energy at the middle of the Angel circle. She looked silently at the weapon meant obviously to slay her. Then she lifted her hand over it. Rocking her hip slightly, her palm swept down and popped to a sudden reverberating stop. Invisible force crossed the gap. A candle breathed on by the wind, the effulgence abruptly winked out. Beneath, at her feet, a sudden blast of air kicked up in a powerful gust.

"She's canceling the Angel's AT Field!" Toho said excitedly, "It can't form the Dirac sea it was using to empower its main energy attack!"

"Jane's Back!!" Lt. Wise was standing at Belmont's shoulder looking on with wide eyes, "That's my little Sport! Now we get the fireworks display!"


What happened next was beyond comprehension, both for Jane and for those watching. She moved only once, as if she had taken one lengthy, fluid stride that went everywhere at the same time. It was not a fast movement, but one that seemed like a long dynamic exhalation whipping through every hole present. As if she were everywhere and nowhere, sliding slowly in a full out sprint, nothing quite reaching her while she almost seemed to run smack into everything thrown at her. She became the calm center of a hurricane, effortlessly controlling the gales that revolved around her.

Her enemy, lost by her lack of feel, was caught totally off guard. She was devoid of intent, though working in earnest. Order seemed beyond her even when chaos never quite consumed her. Direction of action polymerized only for split instants, dissociating before it held any sense. In her, there was now not the slightest path or precievable plan of attack. For her enemy she displayed only the unreadable, untouchable numbness she felt. And the world subsisted in perfect clarity.

It attempted to bar her at every turn, but was unable to find the mad rush that should have been bubbling from her will. It tried to partition and enclose, to paralyze. Yet, there were no barriers for her to collide with; fences disappeared in her path before she ever reached them. Barricades rose in the wrong spots, losing track of the suddenly elusive prey.

Caring or not, she attacked. Flowing like water, swooping around, absorbing, dissolving, evaporating, she crystallized when the enemy wound itself into arm bars, leg bars, head bars. Her blows were determined not by her own effort, but by targets bashing themselves into her patiently positioned hands or legs. Limbs came away as they were presented to her, opponents fell at her feet even though she never actually did anything. She crashed against the rocks when they appeared before her tide, whittling away with infinite patience at a sandbar that was not long to this world. One after another, they fell.

Bolts of pure motion whistled toward her. Unheeding of any possible danger, she settled her center of mass, folded into the attack before coiling snakelike around it, absorbing its shock and redirecting it. To those watching, her actions were flatly impossible. She caught hold of energy bolts flying at her, rolled them around her middle and sent them back to where they came from, striking each angel its own attack. To her, the term 'AT Field' had no meaning; any explanation of power never entered her mind. Each bolt directed against her simply wove itself into her next attack.

At last, one opponent remained standing. Only then did Jane's single, capacious motion draw to a close. Sweeping through in a final spiraling forward step, the movement bled out of every part of her body not as if she were dispersing it, but siphoning it up through her long axis. Constricted along the line of her waist, channeled through conduit of her back, it hooked and coiled like the eddies of a tornado. Funneled toward a point, the drill bit passed in a wave down her arm, snapping to a stop out the palm of her hand. Pressure leaping upward fantastically, oxygen and nitrogen were compressed past their gaseous triple points at the interface with her hand, flashing suddenly into a visible puff of vapor.

Moving at the speed of sound, the pressure wave streaked through the air as a tangible, visible entity. Were it a bomb blast, the fantastic power of the Evangelion would have enabled her to channel it through a needle's eye. No AT Field stopped it.

The final body of the Angel teetered on its feet, a tubular hole blown clean through its midriff, sheering across the shiny surface of the globe shaped core inside. Jane did not push forward because it remained where it was. It stood, swaying slightly, not advancing, not retreating.


There was a surprised silence in the command center. It was like watching a magic trick performed by a master illusionist; you couldn't be certain when the act was finished. Unlike those in movies or television shows, there was no flamboyance in this fight despite the shocking fluidity. It was almost as if Jane planned out the entire scenario before she ever initiated the engagement.

At last the one angel body remained standing, swaying precariously as if ready to fall over at any second. Unit-06 was still alert in one corner of the LCD screen, moving as much as her opponent, waiting with unebbing patience.

"My Daughter," Harrison Wise exclaimed softly, a relieved smile on his face showing through the wetness of tears, "That's how my daughter fights."

Belmont was nodding; she had seen Jane use her talent prior to her debilitating illness, though never witnessed the girl quite so deft. While Jane had been incredibly capable before, she was now absolutely stellar. Augmented by the Eva, it was as if her skill were
amplified by a half dozen orders of magnitude. How could two years trapped in a hospital bed yield such skill? Could she have improved that much without ever physically practicing? Whatever the justification, the reality was stunning.

"How did she do that?" Avery was asking, "Did we get that recorded? I want to see it again."

In the moment that followed, everyone was speaking at once, raising such a din that nothing was being done. The little foreman's booth over the empty construction cage shook with glee.

Through the radio, whispering in Major Belmont's ear, General Teneyl was cheering. She was certain the old general was probably out in the middle of the prairie somewhere, dancing a little jig on the battle scarred scrub. Belmont herself stood watching the LCD
screen, transfixed by the Angel and the Eva.

Why hadn't Jane stood down? Even in the grainy image, the Eva's muscles moved in slow synchronous gyrations, ready to spring back into action at any moment. On its own side of the battle field, the Angel stood still, swaying imperceptibly in the cool winds.

For Major Belmont even the whispers went quiet.


That last one remained on wobbling feet, it's spherical, ruby colored core exposed and vulnerable. For one final spell, hunter regarded prey from reversed roles. Comprehension was mutual between equals, each gazing upon the other for the first time in full truth. The Eva stared at the Angel, who returned the look with equal intensity. Their conversation was wordless, on a domain where humans could not intrude, carried out in a manner exclusive to a single moment in time.

Then the spell was broken.

Eva-06, literally one of a kind now, prolonged that moment by remaining unmoved. When at last the serpent sensed it was time to fold her hood, she drew slowly upright. Slipping her hands together as if in prayer, the orange and yellow spawn of man bowed her head in respect. Born not of human influence, the angel assented. Its core glowing with a burning light, the wounded thing stooped as if to return the bow.

Red radiance metamorphosed to blue as it spread through the broken form, heightening the funeral pyre from within. Somehow the angel crouched too far, its flaming body crumbling into aquamarine sparks. It evaporated, becoming a swirling cloud as it hit the ground. Without a sound it struck, blowing outward in a glistening swarm that cast vibrant color on the drab gray of the sky.

In an instant, the embodiment of the Angel changed from a single form to a cloud of a billion radiant fireflies. River rapids not bound to the earth, the coursing flow zipped hotly through the sea of air. Dull banks of atmospheric vapor were pushed back out of existence while fluid from the ground welled upward in steamy founts. Sun burst down through the sky in a powerful wave, painting the world for the first time in unrestricted hue. Twinkling gnats coalesced into a whirling school that ran a race lap around the motionless Eva. Drafts of obscuring vapor were kicked up in a dynamic wall that enshrouded Unit-06.

Then it was gone. In an explosive flash, the simmering horde blue disappeared straight up into the deep azure heights, beyond the vastness of the heavens.

General Renard Teneyl was the only command personnel who bore witness in person. Save Belmont herself, none of in the command center realized the event until the spotter recordings were evaluated hours later. Crying out and cheering a moment before despite his painful injuries, Teneyl watched in stunned silence. Whatever had just happened he couldn't be sure.

Orange and yellow highlights brilliant in direct sunlight, a massive humanoid figure appeared, sauntering calmly forth from the misty shadows.

"Jane?" Teneyl asked into his radio, "What just happened?"

"It's gone General," came the soft reply, almost sad. Something about the voice was very different from her earlier speech. She almost seemed older.

"Did you kill it?" he wondered.

"No, General," was her reply.

"Is it coming back?" he continued urgently. "Will there be more fighting?"

"Not here, no."

"Why?" Teneyl asked.

"There were other things it needed to do yet. It's death wasn't to be at my hand," she explained simply.

By this time, those in the command center were paying attention to their conversation.

"How do you know it won't come back?" Major Belmont asked tightly.

"I know."

"Can you be certain?" Belmont almost could not conceal her vocal quaver behind the radio static.

"Trust me..." was the only response.

Walking steadily across the northern prairie land, Unit-06 emerged victorious in its contest with the Fifteenth Angel.


Afterward: Three Days later-

Chairman Keele sat ponderously at the head of the omega-shaped holographic teleconference table as he listened to the latest depositions. A secretary stood on a holographic platform in the middle of the 'U.'

"When Arael ascended again into orbit, it altered its tactics toward a more standard angelic approach. From what we can tell, it revived itself, then went against NERV at Tokyo-3 and initiated its attack without ever leaving a mid level orbit. When the pilot of Evangelion Unit-02 was dispatched with a high-pass particle beam weapon, the angel retaliated at long range using a form of penetrative AT Field attack. We assume that it was a more highly directed version of the same strike it used when it confronted Unit-06. The pilot of Unit-02 was subsequently rendered helpless with signs of level one invasive psychic pollution. Accidental discharges by the particle beam weapon in her possession at the time caused damages to the structure of the surface city, but little injury to the Geofront. Gendo Ikari then authorized the dispatch of the prototype Evangelion wielding the Lance of Longinus."

"Damn Ikari," one of the councilmen hissed.

"Unit-00 then managed to defeat the fifteenth angel," the secretary continued, "by manually hurtling the lance directly into orbit. The angel died in the attack due to a puncture through its core by the lance. We are now tracking the Lance of Longinus in a
direct ascent lunar orbit with low probability of earth return."

"And the technology is not currently available for a salvage operation," intoned one of the councilors.

"As I understand it, sir," the secretary agreed, "salvage may not be available at this time, but could be attempted at some point in the future."

"Thank you," Chairman Keele put in abruptly, "that is all for now."

The secretary bowed before his hologram winked out of existence.

"What are the damages incurred by this scenario?" one councilor asked quietly, "Half a city, a military fortress with a good sized combat force, and two extremely expensive Evangelions with pilots."

"Damn Ikari! First with Unit-01 and now Units -02 and -06 along with the Lance of Longinus!"

"The Lance doesn't concern me," Keele resigned quietly with his light German accent, "that can be remedied by modifications to the plan. Unit-02 itself is uninjured while the pilot is of little consequence; she can be replaced to our advantage. What is bothersome is the maneuvering by Ikari to put Astradea DuMer-Wise's daughter in Unit-06."

"You think he knew what would happen? You think he realized what might come to pass by putting the matrix buffer in the entry plug?"

"Of course he did," Keele nodded, "Ikari certainly knows of the girl's importance. Undoubtedly, he guessed how Major Belmont would react if she was backed into a corner, though I suspect our minor insurrection was propagated by Dr. Valentine."

"Him again? Can't we be rid of the man?"

"His expertise is valuable, a very hard commodity to throw away," another councilor put in. "Without him, Evangelion mass-production would still be a fitful dream."

"His work," Keele acknowledged, "and that of Astradea DuMer-Wise. Haphazard experimentation by Fuyutsuke's team with Doctors Ikari and Akagi led to the main body frame, while the German team created the S2 power scheme and the Americans
invented the mass-production technique. Unit-00, -01 and -02 took years to build. Without Dr. DuMer-Wise's work, Unit-03 would still be in production with the other Units years behind. We can thank her for her sacrifices."

"And the girl? It's all for naught without her."

"Exactly," yet another councilor pointed out, "Ikari maneuvered the Americans into putting her into an entry plug to keep her out of our hands."

"Then Unit-06 has a completed trinity?"

"The Unit has remained activated and unresponsive to external command for 72 hours. Whether the flawed S2 engine is responsible for the prolonged activation is entirely unknown. It is suspect that accidental component redundancy resulted in a completed trinity, but this isn't yet certain."

"What then of the final black box from the initial batch, is there any way to recover the one from Unit-06?"

"Unlikely," yet another councilor put in, "the Unit is completely out of our control. Chairman, you yourself authorized the relocation of Unit-06 to Tokyo-3 so that other Evangelion units would be close at hand if she grew too much to restrain. At this moment, the Unit is considered a renegade and extremely dangerous."

"A black box was recovered by NERV from Unit-03 following the incident with the thirteenth angel," Keele informed them. "If we can bring it back into our possession, there is a possibility that secondary copies can be made of the box without the presence of the matrix buffer."

"Then the renegade unit can be destroyed before it manages to jeopardize the Instrumentality Project."

Keele shook his head, "On the contrary, no artificial trinity created totally by accident has ever been stable for 72 hours. I suspect we are witnessing the aspect of Astradea DuMer-Wise's work no one was willing to believe. Dr. DuMer-Wise perished in the attempt to prove her point, lasting only 37 minutes within a trinity. Since our S2 design is still flawed and we are rapidly running out of time, this opportunity seems foolish to pass up. We must study the phenomenon more closely."

"Would Dr. DuMer-Wise have been insane enough to use her own daughter?" one councilor asked in disbelief.

"In these dire years, we've all made sacrifices. Jane Wise _is_ necessary for the current mass production strategy. Who can say what else Dr. DuMer-Wise had in store with her daughter."

"What of Gendo Ikari? He's proven we can no longer rely on his command of NERV. Can we trust him to return Unit-06 to us for research? Does he know of the importance of the black box from Unit-03?"

"Reliable sources inform us that Ikari still knows nothing about the black box," one councilor put in.

"As we've already heard, the renegade Unit itself is uncontrollable;" Keele added, "we have little choice but to let it remain in Ikari's hands until we can complete Units of our own capable of standing up to it. Bad enough that Unit-01 was permitted to acquire an S2 organ... far worse that Unit-06 has now attained equal power and is totally beyond human control. Unit-01 is still the only thing on the planet with strength equal to that of Unit-06. Keeping control of the unit is more important for the time being than the issue of the black box."

"And what of Jane Wise's peculiar gift? Would even three fully powered Evangelions be her match?"

"The girl possesses the absolute best of what it means to be human. For that very reason, we need her to complete the project."

"What of the fifteenth angel? Why did it divert to North Dakota to attack an incomplete Eva?"

"That, gentlemen," Keele said simply, "is a mystery we have not yet set out to understand."


Gendo Ikari sat at his desk with his hands steepled before his mouth. His glasses were an opaque shimmering of reflections that shielded his eyes. As evening fell, sun streaming into the Geofront shifted more toward pink and red. Crafted from rose marble, Ikari's office appeared stained in blood by light from the huge panoramic windows. On the ceiling was a stylistic etching of the Sepherothic diagram. In counterpoint, carved into the smooth floor was the data tracing from a particle collision in an atomic accelerator. Two justifying complements for every act in the human universe.

On his desk, the video loop was running again, decorating the thin LCD display with a ballet that lasted only a matter of seconds. Grainy as it was, the recording was a total of five minutes and fifty three seconds long. Despite all else, the most interesting parts were in the final thirty seconds.

The recording demonstrated sky and terrain of another place on Earth, very foreign to a Japanese national. No place in Japan was so endlessly open. Sitting in the middle of the camera field, no more than five inches tall on the diminutive display, was the figure of a rag-tag Evangelion. The Eva gave a quaint little bow as the opposing Angel dissolved into a glittering blue light.

Ikari paused the action. In the image, the Eva remained bowed.

Ritsuko Akagi, running her hand through her short bleach blond hair, entered the office. She produced a manila folder from her lab coat pocket as she approached Ikari's desk.

"The Magi have completed analysis on the simulations you asked for." She dropped the folder on his desk, "I can't say I was enthusiastic about the results."

"Which were?" Ikari remained transfixed by the image.

"Using the current operational data on all our own Eva pilots, it was not good. I would recommend removing Unit-01 from stasis as soon as possible... even then, because of the current intellectual state of the second child, I'm not certain we could decisively control the renegade Unit."

"Explain," Ikari bade her shortly.

"Nineteen times out of twenty, Unit-06 defeated our Units in combat. Even with all three of ours working together -in peak condition and armed, I might add- Unit-06 was victorious one time in two while she was already missing an arm and a leg. The ratio reached one to one or two to one in our favor only when we threw a hypothetical Angel into the scenario for good measure. That girl has an incredible genius."

Ikari nodded, "I assume this anticipates Unit-06's operational capability to match what it demonstrated when it finally overcame the fifteenth angel?"

"While it may have been a fluke," Akagi told him, "I'm not certain any of our pilots are a match for her individually. Despite his ability and Unit-01's new power, Shinji is simply not the most intelligent fighter we have."

"And the second child?"

"Asuka would be the most capable opponent," Akagi gave a small shrug, "but she's totally unreliable after her defeat at the hands of the fifteenth angel. I might point out that Unit-06 managed to emerge victorious against that same opponent. Because it's been only three days since her defeat, I would recommend that Asuka get a little more leave time for recuperation. We can only hope she's back in peak condition before Unit-06 can pose a threat to us."

"What of the Renegade?"

"72 hours of continual activation, still totally autonomous. She... It refuses all external commands and has obscured all internal telemetry. In addition, it continues to display the pilot's personality. The Americans were even using it to help in their clean up effort at Ft. Tenacity when Major Katsuragi and Rei arrived on the scene."

"Is the completed S2 enabling Unit-06 to remain active?"

"Presumably, but we can't tell for certain," Akagi shook her head. "There is some speculation that the S2 is only partly responsible; Dr. Valentine believes that Unit-06, in its current state, represents an accidentally completed trinity."

Ikari glanced slowly up from the image still fixed on his LCD display, "Has he given you his reasons."

"Yes," Akagi coughed, "He claimed that since the girl occupied two separate functions in the project, she may well be redundant with herself in some way. You may remember that her mother, Dr. Astradea DuMer-Wise, had a hand in proving this could happen."

Closing his eyes in thought, Ikari rested his chin against his fists, "When will the Unit arrive here?"

"Major Katsuragi reports that she had to 'bribe' Unit-06 in order to get her to sit still long enough to be loaded onto an Eva transport. They left the United States four hours later than anticipated. Pending any further unforeseen delays, they should arrive here in fifteen hours."

"Very well," Ikari said softly, "make arrangements to store the Unit outside of Tokyo-3 when they arrive. Also, set the stasis lock down on Unit-01 for rapid release and put Rei and Shinji on standby alert. If the renegade unit gives you any trouble, bring Unit-01 out of stasis and do not hesitate using all necessary force to contain it. For the time being we can't risk bringing Unit-06 into the Geofront."

"Commander," she said, "I would like to implement an accessory training program to prepare our pilots to face her."

Ikari nodded and waved her away.

"Sir," Akagi didn't move from his desk, "what do we do when SEELE wants her back?"

"We'll cross that bridge when we get there, Doctor. Now, carry out your orders."

Akagi gave a frustrated face fault as she left the office, her heeled shoes tapping across the shiny marble floor on the way out. When the door clicked shut as she left, Ikari glanced back down at the stationary image on his desk.

In the image, a yellow, orange and gray Eva bowed slightly to a dissolving angel.

"What twist of Fate has brought you onto this battle field?" he asked aloud, "Is it for Their sake or for ours?"



A warehouse, even a former Mitsubishi factory once dedicated to heavy equipment fabrication, was barely big enough for an Evangelion. Misato Katsuragi stood with her arms crossed, shaking her head at the amazing sight.

Working for hours before the arrival of Misato and her group, construction crews had ripped out much of the superstructure in the highest bays of the mile long factory complex. Then the wreckage was hastily shoveled aside into tremendous piles to make room for the new inhabitant. Now the building was nothing more than a husk, outfitted only to keep most rain out. Even then, some of the weakened sections had already collapsed without internal support.

At a quarter past midnight, under an unexplained curfew throughout Tokyo-3, Unit-06 had been moved from the airfield. Rather, Unit-06 moved herself from the airfield. Despite Katsuragi's protestations and admonitions, the Eva was fully determined to carry out any and all tasks by herself. Of course, without the leverage of a power cord to pull, an Eva could do damn well anything she wanted to. A sixteen story fighting machine stretching her legs was probably the least of Misato's fears.

Really, Misato could hardly blame Unit-06; being cooped up at the airport under a general quarantine had made the entire group arriving from Ft. Tenacity more than a little jumpy. Especially with Japanese Self-Defense Force F-22s and bombers making continuous patrol circuits across the airfield. Misato knew full well that the planes were loaded with N-2 mines intended as a deterrent in case their distinguished guest became unruly. Commander Ikari's orders were designed to hold the Americans at arm's length for as long as possible. Not that Misato was deluded into thinking that N-2 mines could slow _this_ visitor down.

Now, under the blaze of several banks of elevated spotlights, Unit-06 retired quite miraculously to a seated lotus that kept her head from brushing the ceiling seven stories up. Misato would never have guessed an Eva capable of such flexibility, except that this one was still practically naked compared to the others. Lacking much of the typical Eva armor plating, Unit-06 had a freer range of movement than any of the Units stationed in Tokyo-3. Somehow, the giant managed to make the difficult position look comfortable. But, unlike any other Eva, this one required no support equipment. It lived of its own accord.

In addition to the guard group that served as an escort from the airfield, Misato had been accompanied by Major Belmont and Lt. Wise. As much as she hated to admit it, the two American officers constituted a bribe intended to lure Unit-06 to this new location. Much of the Ft. Tenacity party were remanded to 'protective' custody to await court-martial upon arrival at the Tokyo-3 airport, accept for Wise and Belmont. Misato found both to be amicable the whole trip, even though they both quietly realized they would eventually join their cohorts in captivity.

"Are you going to stay here, Sport?" Wise was asking into the hand held radio.

"Why do you have to leave Dad?" his daughter answered by means of question.

"Jane, it's just that..." he broke off, not certain what to say.

The Eva was gazing down at them with its huge glowing eyes, no expression on its mechanical face.

"... we can't get you out. I mean..." he tried again.

"Will you let me?" Misato asked him.

Wise nodded slowly before relinquishing the radio. Misato accepted it with a bowed head, trying to guess what the father was going through.

"Jane," she said as she depressed the 'send' button, "I have to take your father and Major Belmont away now. Until NERV can learn how to get you out of the Evangelion, you have to stay here."

"I can't leave the Eva," returned the young girl's voice, "and I would like to stay with my Dad."

"I haven't got a choice," Misato told her. "Commander Ikari has ordered that I take your Dad into custody to stand trial for disobeying a direct order. Unless you eject yourself from the Eva, you have to stay here."

"I can't leave the Eva any more than I could leave my own body," the girl insisted, "if I did, I'd die."

"How do you know?" Misato pressed.

When the girl failed to respond, Misato sighed deeply.

"Can you leave me?" Major Belmont asked, glancing toward the Eva.

Misato looked at the older woman. There was a settled and peaceful look on the blonde's face, perhaps the first Misato had seen. During their initial meeting several days before, Misato found herself wondered why the major, as old as Gendo Ikari, was merely a major. Misato sensed without words that this woman had been in untold contact with the Eva project. Indeed, Belmont wore a frown most of the trip, and remained tight lipped even when spoken to by members of her own team. The woman's blue-green eyes were returning Misato's gaze evenly.

"Commander Ikari ordered me to take both of you into custody," Misato began.

"The only person who will be punished in all this is me," Belmont said, "I was the officer in charge of the Construction brigade, all the actions regarding the Eva were my responsibility. Everybody else in custody will be giving depositions meant to nail my coffin shut. They won't want to speak to me until they've milked my team dry and are sure they can back me into a corner."

Silently, Misato knew this was probably the truth. Belmont would more than likely take the blame.

"In the mean time, I would like to stay here and keep my niece company."

"Alex..." Lt. Wise started to say.

Belmont lowered her eyes and shook her head, "Harry, please don't call me that name; I'm not that woman anymore."

"Alex," Wise patted her on the shoulder, "If you're going to stop running away now, at least acknowledge the people who knew you before."

"If it's time to heal and get on with a life," Alexandra Belmont told him, "I will do it only for the sake of protecting those who've been hurt by what we created. That!" she pointed sharply at the Eva, "is my niece and my sister. My life."

"Alex, Astra is dead."

"No, my sister is strewn across a production line of a hundred monsters." Alex spoke quietly, "Whatever happens, I can't leave her."

Wise looked stricken, "And you think I wasn't hurt by this too? She was my wife. Nobody's even told me how exactly she died..."

"I wish I could," Belmont turned away. "There is a lot I wish I could do."

Recovering from the shock inherent in the force of this conversation, Misato ventured to put a hand on Lt. Wise, "Whatever you guys are thinking, I still have orders."

"Will you let me stay with my niece?" Belmont asked again.

Misato hesitated over her answer, "There's a good chance I'll lose my job for what I'm about to say. But, yes, I'll let you stay here. As soon as I can, I'll bring Lieutenant Wise back to watch his daughter. As long as Jane's here, one of you will be with her."

"Your word?"

"My word," Misato assured them both, knowing that otherwise she had no way of keeping this Eva contained.

"Thank you major," Lt. Wise said softly. "Jane," he said into the radio still in Misato's hand, "I'll be back as soon as they let me. Don't give Aunt Alex a hard time."

"I... I guess I'll stay here Dad, If you really want me to."

"Yes sport, I want you to. See you in a while."

"Bye Dad."

Belmont nodded her thanks to Misato without saying a word.

Lt. Wise and Major Katsuragi departed together, leaving behind the scene of a family reunited. Wise went quietly, almost too quietly. He said nothing as he walked, his arms slack at his sides.

When they reached the van that would take them to the Geofront, a pair of uniformed security troopers stopped Wise with outstretched hands and cocked weapons. "I'm sorry Lt. Wise," one apologized not unkindly, "but we're under explicit orders to keep
you restrained."

Wise did not respond, instead he extended his wrists and permitted the soldiers to cuff him. Katsuragi followed when they put him in the back of the plain white vehicle, seating herself on the bench across from him.

The little van had windowless sides, but tinted glass in the back. As they drove off bouncing on poor suspension, the entire width of the deserted factory was visible. Wise never looked away, even as hills began to block his view.

Misato stared thoughtfully at the back of the older man's head, wondering silently about everything happening in his mind. After a time, she ventured to speak, "I've heard it said that strength is born from adversity. If that's true, your daughter is one of the strongest people I've ever met."

Glancing her way, Lt. Wise gave a wan smile, "Perhaps... but I'm not."


Copyright 1999 Gregory P Smith

Author's note:
This story was inspired by Eva tape 0:9 when I first watched it, and later discovered that Unit-03's pilot would become an amputee. Though it may seem Jane is set up to come in direct conflict with NERV, this was never my intent. Again, the story is not supposed
to rewrite the history of Eva more than a little. If Jane encounters the other Eva pilots, it is doubtful the event will take place in battle.
Jane is basically my vision of a more and less gifted Touji. Where she is headed, I refuse to say simply because there are two other stories to be written. Depending on reader response and the time I have available, I intend to eventually write "The Sister" and
"The Husband" which would complete the Hidden Virtues story line.
If you really want to see more fanfiction about Jane Wise be certain to let me know...
I do not intend to edit or change this work, despite the fact that it is hardly
representative of my style any longer. It was written over the course of two years -four
years ago. I've since lost this way of thinking about things and could not, in my right
mind, alter this piece. I decided to post it now because of a recent email asking why I
hadn't posted it more widely in the first place.

-Greg Smith, 2001