Patrick leaned against the stone wall and stared at the glass barrier in front of him. In the time he had been in the SEELE prison the lights in the prison room had never been turned off. How many days was it? One? Three? A week? He didn't know, and every meal he was fed through a metal slot in the stone wall all consisted of the same items – simple bread and water, provided in disposable foam containers. There was no indication of time in this small place, only that time had passed.
A metal clanging sound came
from outside of the glass and Patrick raised his head to see what it was. A
minute afterward Erin walked in, dressed in a warm green and gray parka, ski
pants and cold weather boots. The
expression on her face was hard as she stopped in front of the front of the
sell and stared intensively at Patrick as he sat there against the
wall. He met her gaze and for a while
didn't say anything. He could see her
breathing and knew that she was still very much angry at the sight of him,
despite him being on the other side of the cell wall.
“Happy?” Patrick asked Erin, partly in sarcasm.
“Oh, I'm ecstatic!” she replied facetiously. “I only wish it was you and not that other boy who died.”
“Then that makes two of us.”
Erin paced on her side of the clear wall, her warm breath coming out visible in the cold air, and then approached the front of his cell. “Just tell me why you did it?”
“What,” Patrick asked, “you mean NERV-2?”
“Yeah,” she said, her voice in a growl, “why did you blow it up like that?”
“Well, if you must know,” he said, “it might have had something to do with being lied to and being kept from your family, having your best friend killed, and then being tied up and thrown in a cell like this one for two weeks. After all of that and then hearing that Dad wanted to, you know, go and let the Angels bring the world to an end and all, the last thing I wanted was to let Dad have an EVA all of his own. I guess the EVA agreed with me.”
“There you go again about the EVA! It's just a robot, you idiot!”
“And you call yourself a pilot,” said Patrick in a low voice. “The one time she talks to you straight up and you freak out.”
“That's not what happened!”
Patrick picked himself off of the wall and stood up in front of her. “So do you remember it, then? Before you blacked out?”
Erin took a step backward. “Nothing...that's all. Nothing happened.” Her brother knew it was a lie.
“There's no shame in it,” he said to her. “All of us have really messed up experiences with EVA, you're not the only one.”
“I just blacked out!” she told him, her voice getting louder. “That's all!”
Patrick ignored her reply. “Although if some sort of ghost came in front of me like that I'd pretty much lose it too!”
Erin was about to shout back when the outside door clanged open again and several men came in. They were led by an older, gout man who was pushing another in a wheelchair. She turned around and faced the incoming group, feeling relieved to be interrupted.
“Miss Forrestal,” Chairman Kiel said without any pleasantries, “I need to speak to you.”
“Did you find our operation to recover the Evangelion to your liking?”
“I'm glad to have it back,” she told him, her voice becoming more elevated and cheerful, “although I don't know why we brought the fake pilot back with us.” As they spoke with each other neither Erin or the Chairman paid any attention to Patrick, who was just standing there on his side of the clear wall.
Kiel ignored her comment and continued on. “I'm gratified that we could return it to its rightful operators. I do have one issue with you however and that is this: why did you disobey our orders during the recovery mission?”
“What do you mean?” Erin asked. “I thought I played it along pretty good.”
“That you were able to gain the trust of those within the rogues in order to gain access to your EVA was commendable, but once in the EVA and when Unit 06 arrived you were instructed to attack the other NERV EVAs as they engaged Unit 06. Why did you not do so?”
Erin winced at the criticism. “Why bother?! Your pilot pretty much wiped everything out!”
The old man looked right at her. “That is not the point. It was essential to the operation's success that you use the EVA to engage the other units and destroy them. EVA-04 was considered a friendly unit to them, any attacks you conducted would have had immediate success.”
“Look, I just wanted my EVA back,” Erin told him. “I didn't sign up for shooting other kids in the back.”
“You were instructed before you left to follow our orders to the letter,” the chairman said sternly. The girl was annoyed by the chairman's seriousness. “Hey, do you know what it was like to have to go through everything I did for the last week?” protested Erin. “ I should get a freaking Academy Award for playing along like that, and it got you the EVA. Besides, your pilot pretty much creamed everything he ran into, having me out there would have just gotten in his way.”
The old man sighed. “I see that you feel that our commands are subject to your interpretation. It was important to our goals that NERV understand that EVA-04 was not to be trusted. It's not your position to judge this. If you wish to continue piloting her you must do as we say!”
Erin looked at the chairman smugly, putting her hands on her hips. “Or what? You're going to get another pilot? According to what Father told me I'm the only one who can really pilot it, you know.”
“Fortunately for me I have an alternative to dealing with a
spoiled brat such as you.” Kiel then snapped his fingers and pointed at Erin.
Behind him two large, muscular men in black uniforms approached and grabbed
Erin, holding her arms behind her back as she struggled.
Patrick stood up erect as he saw the men take Erin and hold her, pushing her down to her knees. She tried to protest by screaming but one of them then put a gag around her mouth while the other fastened handcuffs to her hands. He could look into Erin's eyes and she looked back at him, suddenly terrified and fearful.
“Hey!” Patrick shouted from behind the glass. “Don't hurt her!” Kiel looked at him and then looked at the two guards, and one of them proceeded to pull out an automatic pistol out of his jacket, pointing it at the base of Erin's neck. He looked at Erin and saw streams of tears run down her reddened face. Chairman Kiel then maneuvered his wheelchair to face Patrick.
“If you wish no harm to come to your sister you will do exactly as we say without any reluctance or resistance. Do you understand me, boy?”
Patrick took a deep breath, looking again at a terrified Erin kneeling on the ground and then swallowing hard. “Yeah, I get it!”
“You will pilot Unit 04 and stand guard outside this fortress until we provide you with further instructions. If the enemy appears in any form you will immediately engage and destroy them with your Evangelion. If you do not follow our orders precisely as we give them to you your sister will die. There will not be another warning. Is this understood?”
“Yes,” Patrick growled.
Kiel motioned to another guard. “Remove him from the cell,
and take him to Unit 04,” he commanded. Immediately the guard went to a control
panel that was mounted on the outside wall and a part of the clear plexiglass
wall slid downwards. Patrick started to move out of the cell but the guard then
stepped in and pulled him by the arm, dragging him out. The boy pushed back but
the guard was firm and pulled him towards the metal hatch at the side of the
room where the SEELE men had come in from. Patrick looked behind him and saw
the two other guards pulling Erin off the floor and then ripping off her parka,
revealing a white turtleneck sweater underneath. They then pushed her inside of
the opening that Patrick had come out of and closed the door. As he looked back
Patrick's eyes met Erin, and in her green eyes trembled fear and dread. Before he could say anything else to him the
guard then hit him on the head and then pushed him out the hatchway and outside
of the cell room.
After Erin was put into the cell, the chairman left two of the guards in the room and then his manservant pushed him outside along with the two remaining guards and another middle-aged man who was one of the SEELE committee members. As they exited the steel hatch another man, also dressed in a grey and green uniform, came running up to the chairman and bowed respectfully before speaking to him. “My Chairman! The Engineering group wants to notify you that the remaining Super Solenoid units have been made operational! Ahead of schedule!”
The chairman’s head rose up. “Have they been placed into their units?”
“They are doing so now, my chairman!”
Kiel looked up at the other committee member, who then considered what was said by the messenger for a moment and then nodded. "It’s time, my Chairman,” the man said.
“Very well, and not a moment too soon.” He turned to his manservant behind him, “Go send for the Son of Adam, have him and his EVA brought to the chamber underneath here, and let all preparations be made!”
Go On to Chapter Forty-Three