Neon Genesis Evangelion Fan Fiction ❯ Neon Genesis Evangelion: Clone War ❯ The Meaning of Life is to End ( Chapter 1 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Author's Note: See my Profile for information.
Disclaimer: Neon Genesis Evangelion is the property of Hideaki Anno and Gainax. Story is also parody from Judge Dredd and I don't even own that.
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
-Christian Bible, Genesis 1:26 and 1:27-
Titan Penal Colony, Alaska
It was the first winter storm of the season and the worst in fifteen years since Second Impact. It began as a silent snowfall, a thickening curtain of white that masked the dark peaks, the grim and barren plains. For half a day, this small section of the mountains looked like an ancient Christmas card. Then, the blizzard struck in full force, bringing howling winds and numbing cold.
The guard towers of Titan Prison rose like skeletal fingers behind the white veil. A chill wind moaned through the razor wire atop the granite walls. And, through there were thousands of men behind these dark battlements, not a single light was visible through the storm. Anyone who has ever been to this tomb of the living knows it is a place of darkness, not a place of light…
They made their way down the narrow maze of granite stairs, their shadows bent and warped, dark and misshapen on the cold stone walls. The public was familiar with Titan Prison from the countless videos, grim and deliberate reminders of the fate of those who terrorized the world after Second Impact. This was a part of that prison they had never seen, and never would—unless they became one of the two hundred nine incarcerated here, the elite, the monsters, the terrors, the men who had committed such unspeakable crimes they were sentenced to live instead of death; especially the ones who were involved in a large-scale civil war after Second Impact.
The UN had decreed that every effort would be made to keep these men alive, that they could never deserve the merciful release of execution.
Warden Brian Irons followed the two guards down the wet and treacherous stairs. He did not glance to the left or to the right, at the cells descending on either side. This is what they were called, but they were not cells at all. Each was a three-foot circle in stone laced with flat strips of tightly-woven steel bars. They looked for the entire world like the overflow gates of city sewers. The small rooms behind these bars were seven feet square. Every other day, a jet of frigid water sluiced the prisoners' waste away. Every morning at four, water-packs and food-pods were automatically dropped in each cell. The water contained a drug that would prevent a man from killing himself, or escaping into any degree of madness that would let him forget about his punishment or his crime. The drugs didn't make a man feel any better; they just made him do his forever-after time.
The stairs continued to wind into the bowels of the earth. Warden Irons was numb to the bone. He sighed with relief when the stairs came to an end at a massive steel door. The door was nine inches thick and incredibly old. The small computer lock inset in its center was relatively new.
Irons nodded to the guards. They took a step to either side of the door. Irons laid his right palm on the center plate of the lock. A winking red light turned green. The door slid open without a sound, and Irons stepped inside.
A dim light glowed from a slot in the ceiling. A pair of Auto-guns wheezed from the wall.
“Remain still. Identify yourself,” a metallic voice said as they aimed at the unknown intruder.
“Irons. Warden,” he addressed himself.
“Voice sample recognized. Thank you, Warden. System disarmed.”
The walls of the small room were steel instead of stone. The blind muzzles of the Auto-guns swung toward a circular platform against the far wall of the room. A pale blue light, a cobalt haze, surrounded the platform from the ceiling to the floor. A figure, who is sitting on a rusty chair in the middle of the platform with his back facing the Warden, addressed to the Warden's arrival without turning away from the book that he is now reading.
Ironically, it is a Bible.
“Why are you here? Did you come for another chat?”
The voice behind the barrier of light was cold as glacier ice.
“Just a short one, I'm afraid,” Irons said. “I have a good deal to do.”
“Of course you do. You're a very important man, Irons.”
“Warden,” Irons corrected. “Warden Irons. Don't forget that again.”
“Of course. No disrespect intended, sir.”
The voice behind the blue veil was different now. Sounded young and considerate. Warm and soft-spoken. It is almost to the point where Irons could call it insolence.
The figure closed the Bible with one hand and set it aside on a small table as he stood up from his chair and turned towards the Warden.
“I know it must be a strain, sir. Yours is a thankless job, feeding and caring for all these parasites who have sucked the living blood from society.” The young man laughed lightly. “And, of course, the public's expense.”
“That's right,” Irons stated. “You especially.”
“I don't cost anything. I'm a ghost. I don't exist.”
The figure stepped to the edge of the platform where Irons can make out an appearance of a boy…no…young man as he reminded himself. Anyone who committed heinous crimes such as murder and homicide will be charged as an adult, no matter how young they are.
The air around the young man sizzled as he approached the blue light. He was tall for a fifth-teen year-old child but well-built; almost as if he looked twenty. Flesh pale as raw milk, flesh that had long forgotten the warmth of the sun, stretched over classically-handsome features; and his hair is as white as the snow itself.
The young man looked at Irons, and Irons instantly looked away. He felt the heat rise to his face. He could never look directly into the young man's yellow eyes. His eyes were too bright, too intense. They were of that as a demon looking through a human's soul.
“We are both prisoners here, Warden Irons. You behind your desk…and I'm behind this. What a clever reward from the UN, huh? I mean, considering the services.”
“When you started killing innocent people, you went beyond service.”
“Innocent?” The young man spread his hands in a helpless gesture. “The innocent exist only until they inevitably become perpetrators themselves…just like you. You are a good an example as any, sir. You become a perpetrator when you conspired to keep me alive when you began to accept the generous bribes to make certain I retained a healthier and more positive outlook on life than those poor devils in their pestholes out there.” The young man sneered as he saw the Warden's eye twitch a little indicating that he had hit a nerve. “Guilt and innocence…is a matter of timing.”
Irons shifted his weight. He did not like to be in the same room with this young man, even if he is just a fifth-teen year-old punk. And even with the force field and the Auto-guns, he felt vulnerable and alone.
“I can't stand here listening to your ravings all day,” he said. “I came here because your—because our mysterious benefactor has sent a package for you.”
“A package, is it?” The young man showed Irons a terrible smile. “How delightful, I'm sure. No one sends me packages any more, not even my own flesh and blood.”
“I'm sure. Computer. Deactivate shield,” Irons said. “Auto-guns only.”
The blue light flickered and faded, melting into a warm amber glow. The Auto-guns in the wall whirred toward the young man.
Irons waited until the weapons were in place, then stepped up on the platform and handed the package to the young man. It was small, square, wrapped in the standard shell designed for AO, Addresses Only.
“I'm awfully excited,” the young man said. He cocked his head quizzically to one side. “I wonder if it's my birthday today. I simply can't remember all the special days any more.”
“Get on with it,” Irons said irritably.
“Your no fun.” The young man pressed his thumb on the smooth surface. The package opened like a flower. The young man held it close to his chest, his very own treasure that no one else could see. Finally, he reached in and drew out a plastic, square relic, no longer than his thumb. Bright bands of yellow, blue, red, and green circled the object in complex geometrical patterns.
Irons frowned. “What the hell is that?”
“I do believe it's a puzzle,” the young man said. He began to turn the bands of color in different directions. Red on red. Blue on blue.
Irons cursed under his breath. “I wasted my time bringing you a toy? Damn those people.”
“Your time, perhaps,” the young man smiled. “Not mine. I simply love puzzles. I remember this one. It's from India, I believe. A place that isn't there any more. It's supposed to contain the meaning of life.”
The Warden laughed. He made a show of looking around the small room. “Ah yes. I forgot about your so-called knowledge of the tree of life. Is that what you think it is?”
“Yes, I do think so, sir.”
“Good. I'm real happy for you. I've got maybe a minute to humor you. Why don't you enlighten me some? Tell me, what's the meaning of life?”
The young man gave him a weary, almost sorrowful look as he formed something from the puzzle. “It ends,” he said.
The puzzle made a quick, sibilant sound, like a hiss of a snake. Irons felt a jolt of pain in his throat. For an instant, he had the irrational thought that someone had shot him with a miniature sun. The pain was unbearable, intense, the nuclear heat of a star concentrated in one tiny spot. He gasped and fell to his knees, one hand clawing at his throat.
“Voice is not recognized. Repeat: your voice command is not recognized. Please remain still…”
“D-damn you!” Irons choked on the words, felt the terror grip his heart. “I…am…Warthejud…Warga…I…I…I… ;”
“Security Break…Security Break. Auto-guns targeting…”
The guns came alive, catching Irons in a precise crossfire, cutting him in half before he could take a single step toward the door. The young man just stood there, laughing maniacally as he witnesses the glorifying carnage before him.
In the corridor outside, the two guards jacketed Bulk-lead shells into their riot guns. One slammed the override button with his fist. They both stepped back, guns at the ready. The door slid open. The top half of Irons' body lay sprawled on the floor. The first guard gagged and stumbled back. A shadow came out of greater shadow, twisted the guard's neck, jerked the weapon from his grasp in a blur and squeezed the trigger once. The second guard slammed against the wall. The top of his head disappeared.
The young man slid another shell into his gun. He reached into the open package and retrieved two items Irons hadn't been close enough to see. One was a small photograph of a young girl with light-blue hair and crimson, red eyes with the same skin color as his. The other was a red I.D. card with some sort of picture of a leaf emblazoned on it. A small name was written on the card, also. The name read Kei.
Kei looked at the two dead guards then dismissed them from his mind. He took three steps to Irons' body and kicked the corpse soundly in the head.
“Keep it to yourself,” he said softly. “I'm back.”
He turned towards where the guards came from and made his escape.
“Open up the welcome wagon, sis,” Kei says to himself. “Big brother is coming back home…”
Based from Neal Barrett's novel…
Evangelion series and characters owned by Hideaki Anno and Gainax…
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