Three months earlier…
On Big Bear Mountain in the
Uncle opened his eyes, disturbed at the interruption. “Who's going to come up here at THIS time of night?” he said.
“It's probably Old Man Johnson,” replied Patrick. “Here to tell his story about the UN Anti-Christ again.” He stood up and walked to the door. “Here, I'll get it.”
Patrick opened the door, and from the darkness he saw a teenage girl with short blond hair and green eyes. She was dressed in a hospital gown that was soiled with dirt and water, and she had an absolutely terrified look on her pale face.
Patrick gasped. It's her!
She immediately grabbed Patrick's sweater and brought her face close to his, shouting “WHAT'S ALIVE IS DEAD! WHAT'S DEAD IS ALIVE!” Patrick tried to break away but she continued to shout and cling to him. Uncle quickly rose up from his chair and grabbed a small black object from inside one of the cabinets.
Patrick looked into the blonde girl's eyes and could see them quiver in horror. “What's alive is dead! What's dead is alive!” she kept screaming.
Patrick tried to get hold of her and pull her into the cabin and out of the cold outside. “Who are you?” he asked her, but she continued to cling tightly at his clothing. Patrick looked behind her and saw his Uncle apply the small black object to her shoulder and activate it. The tazer made a loud crackling sound as the young girl shivered in shock for a moment, and then fell to the floor.
Patrick managed to catch her in his arms as she fell and laid her gently on a rug. All he could say was “Oh, my God!”
Uncle looked at Patrick. “Is this the girl from the dreams?” he asked. Patrick nodded, still in shock himself. “Who do you think she is?” he asked Uncle.
Uncle walked over to one of the bedrooms and came back out holding a mirror and a blanket. “I always wondered if something like this might happen,” he said. “Here,” Uncle handed the mirror to Patrick. “Take a good look.”
“You, of course.” Patrick did so and just saw his reflection in the mirror.
“Now look at her face,” Uncle told him as he gently placed the blanket over the unconscious body of the girl. Patrick did so and then looked back in the mirror. Her eyes were emerald green, the same color as his, and her hair was also blonde. Something really familiar about her Patrick thought. It took him a good moment and he suddenly realized what uncle was trying to show him. ……No…No way!
“She looks like me…..” the full emotional impact of the girl’s presence was finally felt by Patrick and he turned to his uncle. “Who is she?” he asked him again.
Uncle paused for a bit, sizing up everything. He crossed his arms and looked straight at his nephew. “Her name’s Erin…..Erin Forrestal.”
“Sister?” Patrick asked.
“Twin.” Uncle quietly replied.
Completely in shock, Patrick sat down in a chair. “You knew?” he said to his uncle softly.
“Yes. I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you earlier.” Uncle said. “It was conditional to you being here.”
”What do you mean?” Patrick asked, more hurt than angry.
Uncle walked to Patrick's bedroom closet and pulled out a large backpack. “Your whole life’s about to change. Quickly, get your stuff packed. They’ll be here any minute.”
Patrick didn’t get up. “Uncle, what’s going on? Where did she come from?”
“She’s been in the desert with your father. If she’s here, something must have gone very wrong.” Uncle didn’t wait for Patrick to get up but just started to put clothes and things into the backpack. Patrick finally got up at that.
“Gone wrong with what? “ Patrick was now angry. He walked over and stood right in front of his uncle as he had finished stuffing his backpack. “What the hell is this?”
Uncle put down the backpack and then gently pushed Patrick to sit down on his bed. “Son, listen to me now. We don’t have much time. I’ve always taught you to question things, push your way to the answer, correct?”
“This time, this one time,” he held a finger in the air, “I need you to trust me. There’s a lot at stake here.”
“Uncle, you are really freaking me out!”
“I know. This can’t be easy as you don’t know anything right now. You’ll find out everything you need to know soon enough.”
“Just remember everything I taught you. Do you understand?” Uncle looked directly into Patrick’s angry eyes until he could get a response. Patrick paused for a bit, looking away, then returned his glance back to his uncle, submitting one last time to his uncle’s will.
“Good lad,” he affirmed. “Now, how’s your Japanese?” Uncle spoke to him in the other language.
“Um, I’m good with it,” Patrick replied back, also in Japanese. “What’s that got to do with anything?”
“You’ll probably make some use of it later.” Patrick winced at Uncle’s comment. What did he mean by that?
The sound of helicopters whirled overhead, and was rapidly getting louder.
“Now, I’ve got your stuff here. You’ll be alright, just do as you’re told and keep your head on straight.”
Patrick tried again. “What’s all this about?”
“No more questions, Okay? It would all take just too much time to explain.”
“Is this got anything to do with father's work?”
“Yes. You’ll be his responsibility from now on.” Uncle paused and sighed. “Patrick, I promised your mother you’d be all right, that she could count on you. Please don’t disappoint me.”
“What’s this got to do with my mom?” Patrick asked.
“Everything,” his uncle sharply replied. The helicopter noises were now getting very close and it felt like one had landed nearby. “I guess that’s it, then” Uncle said, mostly to himself, and then he looked at Patrick and smiled. ”Patrick?”
“Yes?” Patrick was nearly at tears now as it seemed the whole world was collapsing in on him.
“Your mom always said to me ‘as long as there’s breath in your body, there’s hope.’ Just remember that, will you?”
“OK” said Patrick sheepishly. With that, Uncle left the cabin and walked outside to meet the men coming out of the helicopter. Patrick just stood inside the cabin and looked at the unconscious body of the girl, his sister, his twin sister, lying on the rug.
Patrick kneeled down to the floor and gently, cautiously moved to touch her. He carefully touched her blonde hair, and then moved his hand across her cheek. She was still unconscious from the taker strike, but he could hear her softly breathing, her head quivering slightly. Her face seemed peaceful now, in contrast to when she had first arrived.
This is me, the me I might have been, Patrick thought to himself. But how did she know to come here?
He reached down for her hand but then as he did so, three men in flight helmets and olive-colored light suits entered the cabin. Their visors were drawn down over their faces. Patrick stood up off the floor but before he could say anything one of the men gave him a mobile phone, while the other two quickly picked the girl off the floor and put her into a stretcher. They carefully tied her down to the mobile stretcher, being sure to firmly secure her head, hands, and legs, and then carried her out of the cabin. Patrick just stared at them as they did this as he heard a voice on the mobile phone.
”Dad!” Patrick said “What’s going on?”
”You need to go with these men now. You need to do everything they tell you to do. Do you understand?”
”But...” His dad had always been a bit distant with him, but was never this strict before.
”No argument! Just do this now. It’s very important you go with them.”
“Where are they taking me?” Patrick asked.
”To the desert. There’s a place there. You’ll learn more when you get there. Now please go.”
“Dad, who was that girl?” Patrick tried to get more information but the phone clicked off. The Caller ID display on the phone said UNKNOWN NUMBER.
The first of the flight crew promptly took his phone out of Patrick’s hands. He was already holding Patrick’s luggage with him. “We need to go now,” the man said to him.
Patrick walked out of the cabin with the crewman and towards one of two waiting helicopters.
As he moved towards the helicopter Patrick turned around and saw Uncle speaking with one of the aircrew. He was having a spirited conversation with what looked like the leader of the group, when uncle turned his head and saw Patrick. Patrick tried to call out to him but the rotor noise was too loud for him to hear. Patrick waved with his hand to his Uncle as he simply nodded and then went back to speaking with the leader. One of the crewmen pulled him by the arm into the helicopter's passenger cabin and quickly slid the door shut. Patrick barely had time to sit down before the chopper rapidly lifted into the air.
Patrick looked out the window and saw the cabin, his home for as long as he could remember. The other men were still talking with Uncle on the ground as the helicopter turned around and moved away. Now shivering, Patrick sat back in the seat and tried to think about what had just happened. It was all so fast, not even fifteen minutes before he was finishing his jigsaw puzzle and now he was being whisked away to parts unknown. What will happen now? He thought about the girl that had started all of this. So many pieces to put together in his mind. His body started to shake in the coldness of the cabin, and he slouched in the seat and saw the mountains fall away quickly out the cabin window.
Patrick continued telling his story to Shinji. “The next thing I knew, I was in
“How about Vance?” Shinji asked. “When did you meet him?”
“Not long after I got to NERV-2. The first time I met him I almost made him an enemy.”
Patrick was sitting in the pilot locker room, as another boy, tall with dark hair and dark eyes, walked over to him. He was wearing a black and red plug suit. Patrick had been slowly putting his own orange and black plug suit on.
“Hey, new kid! How's it going? I'm Vance! Vance Vinson. ” He offered his hand to the newly selected pilot.
“Screw off!” Patrick replied with a very angry tone. Before Vance could say anything Patrick quickly finished putting on his suit, stood up and left the room.
“Geez! So Hostile!” Vance said, sure that Patrick heard him. He smiled to himself as he watched the new pilot leave.
He'll be back.
“Did they tell you anything about your sister?” Shinji asked.
”No, and that was the most frustrating part. My dad didn’t tell me anything else, and neither did anyone else at NERV-2. They all acted like she never existed. It wasn’t until later when I found out about who she was.”
“How did you find out?”
”There were some clues. Like the tape over my nameplate on my locker to cover up ‘E. FORRESTAL,' instead of ‘P. FORRESTAL.’ Also, early on they accidentally gave me a girl’s plug suit instead of my own, which was quickly replaced before I could say anything. About the second week that I was there one of the nurses gave me a check up and whispered to me that I looked just like ‘her.’ I asked her who she meant. Actually, I kind of did more than just ask – I was pretty angry at the time.”
“What did you do when you found out?”
Patrick silently waited in front of his father’s office in NERV-2’s 1st Division wing, where the Science and Technical branch was located. His father walked out of the office talking on his mobile phone.
“Oh…wait a bit, I’ll call you back.” Dr. Forrestal turned to Patrick and smiled broadly. “Patrick, what a pleasant surprise? I hope things are going well for you over in Operations.”
Patrick was livid. “WHY THE HELL DIDN'T YOU TELL ME I HAD A TWIN???”
Dr. Forrestal’s expression immediately changed to serious, and he sighed. “I thought this might happen eventually. Who told you? Was it the other boy?” Dr. Forrestal entered his office and Patrick followed him inside, fists clenched.
“Someone. Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You must trust us. We had our reasons.”
“You mean Mom was part of this?”
“Yes. It was her decision, actually.”
Patrick scowled. “This is so much bullshit!”
“I see I left you with your uncle too long,” said the elder Forrestal. “You must understand the scale of things that we’re doing here. It’s not just about you. We are dealing with life and death for the whole planet.”
“What does that have to do with keeping me in the dark about my own family?”
“I don’t expect you to understand and I’m under no obligation to explain the reasons to you in any case. “
“Why should I believe anything you say?”
“Look, boy,” Harrison Forrestal pointed a finger at his son as he spoke sharply. “While you were up in your Winter Wonderland, the rest of us were hard at work preparing to defend this planet from forces that are completely beyond your comprehension. Now it’s your turn to pay back. Got it?”
Patrick changed the subject. “So, does that mean I’m going to get freaked out like her by the time you’re done with me?”
Dr. Forrestal stepped right up to Patrick’s face “You have no idea what you’re even talking about!”
“I saw her in the plug two months ago! I saw what happened!”
“You did, then?”
Dr. Forrestal mulled for a bit. “Unfortunate, that is.” He turned to Patrick. “If I were you, I would just consider her dead and get on with things. We don’t have time to waste on such matters here.”
Patrick folded his arms. He had run out of patience. “You know what? I‘m outta this clown house! Get me the hell out of here.”
Dr. Forrestal smiled again. “Suit yourself. Call you uncle and have him pick you up. You can use the phone in my office.” He motioned to the desk.
Patrick stepped in quickly and grabbed the phone. “Um…how do I dial…?”
“Press the orange button first: that gets you on the secured outside line. Then dial the number.”
“Fine.” Patrick did punch the orange button and then called his house number. There was an automatic message saying the line had been disconnected. He redialed the number, and received the same message again. Then he called his uncle’s mobile phone and heard a similar message. He kept dialing several times, but always the same result. No way, he thought, they wouldn’t disconnect so fast, there’s not even a voice mail message. What the hell?
“It seems he’s abandoned you!” Dr. Forrestal said over his shoulder.
“No way! He would never….”
“Actually, things got so busy here I forgot to tell you. The UN security forces called him up on active duty the day after we took you here. He’s currently on assignment…and unreachable.”
“So…” Dr. Forrestal smiled. “It seems like your stuck here!”
Patrick looked around the desk for something sharp.
“I don’t keep scissors here for security purposes. If you're considering something rash, I would suggest not doing so – there are two security guards outside the opposite door to this room and, while they wouldn’t kill you, they would certainly cause you a great deal of unnecessary pain. See?” He waived his hand in the air and out of the back door to his office two uniformed guards rushed in. Patrick just glared at his father.
Dr. Forrestal addressed the guards. “Please take the pilot of Unit 04 back to the operations wing, they’re no doubt searching for him there. “ With that, Dr. Forrestal turned his back and moved to open the front office door. He stopped for a moment “Patrick?”
“What?” he angrily answered.
“Don’t come here again.” He then left the room.
The two security guards reached to grab his arms but Patrick shrugged them off. He started walking back the way he came in as the two guards followed him closely from behind.
“After the encounter with my father,” Patrick continued, “Vance tried again.”
Inside the NERV-2 EVA operations bay, Patrick was leaning on the railing looking at the two Evangelion units. One black, one silver-white, standing next to each other, as technicians crawled over each of them. Vance Vinson, dressed in a printed t-shirt and camouflage pants, walked over to Patrick as he was sulking,
“Hey, there,” Vance said, as Patrick just scowled at him.
Vance ignored the facial insult and leaned on the railing next to Patrick. “You know somewhere we got off on the wrong foot.”
“I really don't want to talk to anyone right now!” Patrick shot back, not looking at him.
“I could understand that, given what you've been through.”
Patrick stood up and started to move away from him. “You have no idea what I've been through!”
“You know,” Vance called to Patrick as he started to walk down the gangway. “Instead of arguing why don't we call a truce and let me show you something.” Patrick turned his head, as Vance continued. “Give me one hour. If after that you're still not convinced, you can go back to hating me and everyone else, no problem. Deal?”
“Good enough,” replied Vance. “Come on, follow me.” Vance walked down the gangway as Patrick reluctantly followed him.
Vance took Patrick to the pilot ready room. Filled with several easy chairs, there was also a very large video screen on one wall. Patrick automatically sat down in one of the quite comfortable chairs as Vance activated the video player and dimmed the lights.
“Here, let me show you something.” Vance said. The video he played for the next few minutes showed various footage of both EVA 03 and 04, undergoing a series of combat maneuvers at night. Both EVAs were attacking large targets, and sometimes each other. There were several scenes of the black Unit 03 using what seemed like martial arts to take down a set of very large targets mounted on steel platforms. Then there were a few scenes where the EVAs went through a giant-sized obstacle course. As he watched the video Patrick couldn't help but notice the swiftness and intensity of the giants.
“...Cool?” Vance finished for him. “You have to admit, it looks pretty awesome running in one of these things, doesn't it?” Patrick just shrugged his shoulders.
Vance sat down in the chair next to Patrick and faced him. “You know, there are about a million guys our age that would gladly give up their right nut to be in your position right now and you're treating this like a funeral! You've got the chance of a lifetime right here in the palm of your hand!”
“Oh, so I can end up like she did?” Patrick angrily replied as he pointed at an image of EVA-04 on the video screen. “Why doesn't anyone want to talk about her? What the hell happened?”
Vance sighed. “Well, no one says anything because it's a sore subject for a lot of people here. She was pretty popular, a bit like a mascot. When she...freaked out, a lot of us were pretty shook up about it.”
“And now it's my turn?” Patrick turned away, not yet convinced. Vance used a remote control to start the video again. Then he tried once more with Patrick.
“Look, Forrestal? Here's the situation. Now you saw the video. I'm good, I have to admit it, but this is a big job, okay, and I cannot do this on my own. Right now you are literally the only human being on Earth that can pilot that thing.”
Patrick rolled his eyes at that. “I find that hard to believe!”
“Why do you thing they went to such lengths to keep you under wraps?” Vance countered. “Yes, everyone lied to you. Yes, it's totally unfair. Yes, it's scary what happened to
Vance was starting to get a bit frustrated and almost a bit desperate. “Hey, I'm not your dad, OK? I'm not going to threaten you or say you’re a loser if you don't get in the plug. But I need you to at least try. I promise you, I promise you, you will not regret it. Not at all.”
Patrick thought through everything he had just heard and saw as Vance sat silently next to him. To Patrick, at that moment, Vance seemed a lot older than just fourteen. “Did you have a choice to do this?” he asked him.
“No,” Vance replied. “I'm here because I need to be, same as everyone else. I'd rather be home with my boat and chasing girls. However, being as I am here, and, being that it could actually be the end of the world and all, I make the best of it.”
Patrick couldn't doubt the sincerity of the other pilot at that. It seems like there's no other choice anyway. “I'll give it a go, then.”
“Good attitude. Welcome to EVA.” Vance offered his hand again and this time Patrick took it,
“Where do we start?”
“Did you sync yet?” Vance asked.
“What was that like?”
Patrick was honest. “Weird.”
Vance smiled. “Good. So, let's take it from there.”
At the Spectro Arcade, Asuka and Vance spent the next several hours engaged in mortal virtual combat. On Super Mecha War Combat they selected head-to-head mode: both pilots played opposite each other facing a large holographic display while miniature mobile-suits dodged and fired at each other and all other manner of hostile targets across the digital landscape. Asuka was very concentrated on her game while Vance kept one eye on her.
“You're looking at me,” she said to Vance without looking up.
“Oh?” he replied as he played on. “I didn't notice.”
“Don't think I'm so easy to hit on,” she said, waiting for an opening.
“Trust me,” he replied again. “I never had that impression.”
“So, don't you think I'm cute?” She quickly glanced at him.
“Actually,” Vance said, “You remind me of someone I knew once.”
“Really?” Asuka rapidly jammed on the controls and Vince did the same a half-second later. “Bah! I almost got you!”
They both focused on the game again. Vance started on her this time. “Hey, what do you see in the Third, anyway?”
Asuka was a little surprised. “Who, Shinji?”
“Yeah. You're together, right?” Vance quickly made a series of maneuvers as he said this.
“Ohh...” she saw the trap and responded quickly. “You did that on purpose to make me mess up!” Vance laughed as they both went into overdrive button-mashing. “Not so fast!” she retorted, as her on-screen mecha got an advantage on Vance's.
“Wow! You really are the Queen!” he said.
“Nobody beats me and lives to tell about it,” she replied. They both played intently for a moment, each moving and firing and dodging to avoid being killed by the other. Asuka continued “We're not together or anything, but being as we train together I suppose we stick together more often. Does it show that much?”
“Well, I was thinking you're roommates after all, and one would naturally assume that ...” Vance again went into attack mode but this time Asuka was ready for him.
“Oh, no! You're not doing that again. You're going down!” She quickly jerked the controls and mashed several buttons repeatedly until the holographic screen vividly exploded.
“Ouch!” he said, almost meaning it. “Oh, crap, you beat me!”
“HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!” Her grin was a mile wide.
Vance sighed. Oh well, mission accomplished. On the opposite side of the video game Asuka did a little victory dance, her short skirt swishing as she swung her hips in rhythm with the game's victory music. “Ca-Ke! Ca-Ke! Ca-Ke!” she chanted as she started to dance around Vance, and then starting singing in a booming voice, “Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alles...”
She's insufferable when she wins.
Both Shinji and Patrick talked for a bit longer as it got darker outside, as each traded their many stories about their experiences. Shinji asked several questions about Patrick’s training and life in
“Hey, Shinji?” Patrick asked as he looked at the nearly full moon outside,
“You seem to know Rei better than anyone here, from what I can see.” Patrick crawled over to the bed where Shinji was lying down. “Do you think she would go out with me?”
Shinji looked very surprised. “Who, Ayanami?”
“Yes,” Patrick said quite seriously.
“I really don’t think so,” Shinji answered. “I don’t think she would do it.”
“Still,” pondered Patrick. “I wouldn’t mind at least one date.”
Shinji turned to him. “Patrick, I’m not even sure she would even know what she was supposed to do.”
“Supposed to do?” Patrick stood up. “What, doesn’t every girl just want to be taken out and dined, and bought things, and have these romantic…moments? If she’s human she would still want this, even if she didn’t really think about it. On some level she’s still a G-I-R-L.”
“I don’t know…” Shinji said cautiously.
Patrick sat down on the floor again. “Anyway, help me out, will you?”
“With what?” Shinji asked.
The American pilot looked directly at him. “Help me to get a date with The First Child!”
Shinji was absolutely stunned at the request. “Um.....well....”
That evening, with both American pilots pre-occupied, Kaji went to the NERV officer quarters where the American pilots were given their room. He started to work on the lock and noticed two things. One was that the standard room lock had been altered to accept a different key card than was originally set for the room. The other was that the lock now had a counter installed that simply counted how many times the door had been opened. Being somewhat experienced in such matters, Kaji was able to quickly defeat the lock and reset the counter to ignore the last opening.
Looking around, Kaji saw a wide collection of luggage, magazines, dirty clothes, and local souvenirs. A holographic jigsaw puzzle was spilled over one table, half-way completed. He went through the bags quietly and after a few minutes found in one of the bags several syringes and bottles. Taking an empty syringe that he had brought with him he carefully extracted some of the orange chemical in the bottles.
What ARE you two hiding?
Go to Chapter 7