Dr. Akagi carefully wrapped bandages all over Rei and placed her in the NERV hospital wing, in order that she was seen by others to verify her status as “injured” and not “dead.” After leaving Rei in the hospital she left quickly and traveled to one of the deeper access ways in the Geo Front. Dialing on a mobile phone, she reached the commander on the first ring,
“Yes,” Gendo answered.
Ritsuko's voice was unusually warm. “I've done all you've asked. Please tell me we're finished.”
“Almost, Ritsu,” Gendo told her. “The Committee is coming to suspect that we're interfering with their project, and that our intentions are not the same as theirs. I think it's time we told them to mind their own business.”
“Then there is one more thing that I need you to do for me, Ritsu.”
Ritsuko forced a smile. “What is it, darling?”
She stood there in the darkened holographic conference room and waited for the others to appear. To her, this was the last hurdle to cross. Ikari had asked her to perform one more task and then she hoped that his loyalty would be assured. While Ritsuko was uncomfortable with what she was now doing, she knew Gendo had been right about everything up until now. Through what she was doing she would show SEELE where her own loyalties lay, and that together with Gendo they would be unstoppable.
Projection lights came on in the conference room as the holographic images of several square monoliths appeared in all directions around her. Ritsuko stood at attention in the middle with a light shining down on her. She was completely naked.
The monolith labeled “SEELE 01” spoke to her first. “We would wish that we can conduct this peaceably, Dr. Akagi. We don't wish for you to suffer from any further insult.”
Ritsuko was defiant. “I don't feel insulted in any way.”
A voice came from another monolith. “Quite a strong woman. No wonder Ikari keeps her close.” A third voice came forth. “However, it was Ikari himself that presented you to us like this.”
The first voice spoke again. “We had demanded that the commander present the pilot of EVA Unit 00 to us for interrogation. He, however, rejected our request, and instead presented you to us as her subordinate.”
The scientist gasped in surprise. “I...am Rei's subordinate?!”
That bastard! It was about her all along!
Patrick was moved from his hospital bed to another building, which was an officer's quarters. His room there was small and quite plain with walls painted white. For the furniture was just a bed and a desk with two chairs, and there no television, radio, computer, or even telephone.
Remind you of someone you know? a voice in his head said. He had to admit it didn't help his emotional state to see this place. With nothing else to really do other than wander aimlessly outside, Patrick sat in the room and went about thinking about everything.
He was given a small suitcase with khaki-colored clothes and some small possessions like underwear and a toothbrush. Patrick thought to himself that the suitcase and its contents were literally everything he now had on Earth: all of his other possessions were gone with NERV-2 or the old cabin. While he was fishing through the suitcase trying to find anything other than clothes or personal care items, there was a knock on the door. He went to open it and found Sir John Sheffield standing there, a manila envelope in his hand.
“Sorry to intrude,” the general said. “I hope I didn't catch you at a bad time?”
“Uh, no. Just getting settled in.”
“May I come in?”
“Sure.” Patrick opened the door wider and invited the commander inside.
“How's the nose?”
“Oh,” the boy motioned to his bandage, “they said it should be OK in about a day.”
“Right. Sorry about that. Miss Illustrious can get a bit testy if pushed the wrong way. Despite that she's really quite a sweet girl.”
Sheffield stood over the desk and opened the envelope, inviting Patrick to sit down and examine the contents. What Sir John showed Patrick was a series of reports, which also included several poor-quality photographs of a large, white humanoid figure.
“I wanted to ask you about this,” Sheffield started, “as I thought perhaps your father might have mentioned to you about what we think this is.”
“Well, what is it exactly?”
“We believe these are Mass-Production Evangelions, being built by SEELE possibly for the purpose of implementing Third Impact.”
“He didn't say anything about this,” Patrick told him. “Not that he spoke to me much anyway.”
“But you knew about his betrayal of the Admiral and his son?”
“All of that came out after Tokyo-3. He mentioned something about an Instrumentality that brings about a 'perfect end state' for humanity, but I don't think he was going to go along with it. Nothing about other EVAs, though.”
“Considering the efforts he was putting into accelerating his own part of the EVA program, and also considering the not insignificant help he received from SEELE in hiding it, our thoughts were that perhaps he was also assisting in building these units as well.”
“Sorry, sir. I don't know anything.”
“Very well. I'll just leave these with you then. Perhaps that will jog your memory in some way.”
Sheffield left the photos and information on the table and went to leave the room. Before he left the room, Sheffield said to Patrick “you should know that if and when SEELE decides to try and take over NERV, these things will likely be in the forefront.”
“I see. You said mass-production?”
“Does that mean there's a lot of them?”
“We don't know the exact number but there could be at least nine of them, if they're completed. Right, then. We'll see you later.” Sir John then left the room.
After Sheffield left and with little else to do, Patrick glanced through the photos and documents. While the pictures were grainy or blurry the figure of the Mass-Production EVA was clearly seen: about the same size as his own, colored white, and an unusual looking head – no helmet, no eyes even, but a very large toothy mouth. Like the other Evangelions, the mass-production type looked slender and muscular. Patrick noticed that there was no power cable in the rear. When he paged through the documents in the folder, he found one that was a written summary of the mass-production's estimated capabilities. While there was a lot of technical language in the document, by reading it over he could surmise that like the other EVAs the new ones also had AT fields. Unlike the original EVA however they also came with the S2 engine built-in, which would definitely give them a combat advantage. There was no real information about weapons but a good look at the unit in the photos showed that they appeared menacing enough. Fighting other EVAs was bad enough, he figured, but he wouldn't want to face one of these much less nine of them.
Is this what they want me to do? Fight these things?
Patrick closed his eyes, took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Oh, shit. When the hell will this ever end?
Together Gendo and Vice Commander Futsuyuki entered the cavernous Dummy Plug Plant room. Once they saw the LCL tank in the back of the room Futsuyuki nearly gagged while Gendo remained silent.
“Oh, my God,” Futsuyuki gasped. Floating in the LCL tank were fragments of human bodies. Normally the tank was closed from view and for good reason: inside were contained nearly one hundred biological copies of the First Child, each identical in appearance to her but lacking the spark of life. The clones formed the basis for the Evangelion’s Dummy Plug (or artificial pilot), as well as other uses that the command staff didn’t care to disclose to anyone else. Now the bodies of the clones were just pieces floating together in the glowing orange glare of the giant tank, as dozens of arms, legs, torsos and heads all floated in an aquarium of the macabre. Both men walked closer to the tank as they noticed that several agents from Section Two in black suits were also investigating inside the large chamber.
The vice commander sighed. “Hell hath no vengeance...”
“At least we still have the one left,” Gendo responded. “Stupid woman. Just like her mother.”
Futsuyuki looked at the tank as a severed head floated by him, the eyes still wide open and the mouth smiling. “Without the dummy plug we won't be able to control Unit 01 during Instrumentality.”
Gendo pushed up his glasses with his forefinger. “There's still an alternative method left open to us.”
One of the Section Two agents approached the commander. “Sir!”
“Where is Dr. Akagi now?” Gendo asked.
“In a holding cell. She was reported to us by Major Katsuragi.”
“Did anyone else see this?”
“The Third Child was summoned down here by the director. Major Katsuragi followed him here and then brought Dr. Akagi to us directly and informed us of what happened.”
“It's problematic that they both saw this,” Futsuyuki commented.
The commander was stern. “By this time it no longer matters.” He addressed the senior agent standing next to them. ”Continue to allow the First Child freedom of movement but double her security.”
Gendo looked at one of the Section Two agents in the room, a very tall, muscular man in his 20s who was poking around the plant control terminal. He was an unfamiliar face to the commander. “Who is that?”
“It's Kikuchi, sir. He replaces Sato. Don't worry, he's very trustworthy.”
“What happened to Sato?”
“Died in an auto accident yesterday, sir.”
“Tell him to not be too nosy and remind him of what happens to cats who get too curious.”
“Yes, sir.” The senior agent went to speak to his subordinate at the two commanders continue to look at the silently drifting pieces of Rei inside the storage tank.
Go to Chapter Ten