"What!?" screamed a German redheaded Eva pilot. "They turned them over to Doctor Mengeles?"
"She's not that bad, Asuka." Retorted Misato, driving with one hand on the wheel and one hand on the tightly clenched hand of Shinji Ikari, her sacrifice for today's hell ride. Asuka had forced him to flip a coin for the back seat of the car when they heard that Misato hadn't had her beer at lunch, and Shinji had lost. The reason that the back seat was so valuable when driving with a sober Misato was that one could, with a little effort, use their arms and legs to wedge themselves into the seat, which, when done correctly with all seatbelts fastened, gave the person a fighting chance of surviving the trip without major injury. Shinji had told her before her first ride with Misato that the passenger seat of the car was called "the Chair" for a reason: it would be safer to be in an electric chair than in the passenger seat of her four wheeled bullet. Asuka had laughed and said that the great Asuka Langley feared nothing. That lasted until the first corner, which Misato took on her customary one wheel. Asuka had had Eva fights more relaxed than that ride. Shinji, numbed to the specter of his own gruesome end by repeated rides with Misato (aka Kamikaze Katsuragi), had closed his eyes, turned up the volume on his SDAT and locked his hands onto his seatbelts. Misato had at some point developed the habit of putting her hand on his when driving with him in the front seat.
He and Asuka had heard about the strangers and what had happened when the crews had begun to hook up emergency power cords to their Evas instead of retrieving them as the plan had called for, and Asuka wanted to know more. "Yes, she is, and why didn't you tell us earlier?" demanded Asuka, her distrust of the Doctor a legacy of a minor incident a couple of weeks before.
"Simple." Replied Misato, narrowly missing a pedestrian who had foolishly thought to jay walk in the Captain's path. "You two were having a lover's spat on the comms channel. The commander was so engrossed that he couldn't bear to interrupt you two love birds." Asuka went pale at the thought that her berating of Shinji had been heard by the bridge crew.
"You heard us?" she asked, slightly nauseous at the thought.
"Oh, not just us, Asuka. The whole thing went out across NERV and the local JSSDF rescue band." Replied Misato happily. That ought to take the wind out of you for a while. She thought smugly. She thought wrong.
"Shinji, you damned Baka!!" screamed Asuka, smacking his head as she yelled at him. "Why didn't you tell me we were on open comms?!"
"And how was I to know?!" cried Shinji, trying to shield his head from his roommate and her legendary temper. Misato took the approaching corner on one wheel again, forcing Asuka to abandon her attack on Shinji and brace herself again. Shinji thought to himself that he would almost rather have the beating than Misato's driving. I swear, she must be trying to figure out how to take a corner on NO wheels. He thought glumly.
"What the fuck are you trying to do, kill us, Misato?!" screamed Asuka.
Back at NERV central, another teen was thinking a similar thought, but she was more interested in doing the killing than being killed. "What is their goddamned problem?" she snarled. She had been taken from her cell by four burly thug type men, who seemed to enjoy touching her in places they didn't have to and literally tossed onto a hospital type gurney, where she was quickly secured and a nurse gave her a shot of something that made her sleepy and relaxed. She had been in that calm, lethargic state for about fifteen minutes when a blonde woman entered the room, clipboard in hand and looked her over. If she hadn't of been drugged, Ritsuko wouldn't have liked the way the woman looked at her; instead, she just watched as the blonde flipped some pages on her clipboard and then smiled a fake smile and said
"Well, let's get this started." During the next two hours, she had been poked, prodded, examined, tested, sampled, measured, weighed, charted, plotted, graphed, analyzed, photographed and generally made to feel thoroughly violated. Being a very healthy teenage girl, Ritsuko had never had a liking for doctors, and had only been to see them when it was necessary for school physicals. Before this, she had thought that the physical she had undergone for high school was thorough. The girls and her had compared notes and had thought it was way too detailed a physical to be necessary; now, she wished that was all she had to worry about. One of her friends had jokingly mentioned the "virginity test" and how the doctor she had gone to had thought she wasn't a virgin because her hymen had disappeared without a trace between her physicals. Ritsuko had laughed with the others and joked, because most of her friends were the same way due to sports and generally active lifestyles. Ritsuko, however, still had hers, and it wasn't something she felt she needed to talk to others about. This doctor, however, felt she needed more information on that and had asked her for her entire intimate history. For some reason, she had answered the doctor's questions; she blamed the drugs for her uncharacteristic cooperation. The doctor had made notes then given her a pelvic exam. She kept muttering about samples and Ritsuko knew that she had taken every kind of sample she had ever heard of, and some she hadn't. Another hour passed before she was finished. Ritsuko was beginning to come out from the drug-induced stupor and when the blonde had handed her a paper hospital gown, she had asked her whom she was.
"The name is Doctor Ritsuko Akagi. I believe we share a name." The woman had replied, then called in the guards, who seemed to be upset that she had the paper gown now, to escort her back to her cell. Instead of her cell, she was led to a room in a different area of the building and told to wait.
That was about stupid, as I have nowhere else to go and no means of getting there. She thought as she flipped the guards the bird and made comments on their parentage and family tree. Her blood was getting up and she was very interested in sharing her anger. Where is that muscle headed idiot when you need him? She wondered. For some reason, the thought of her companions on this trip through hell calmed her down, and her rational side took over. OK, Rit-chan, think this through. They did all those tests for what reason? Obviously, because they want to know who I am. No; that is incorrect. The woman said we shared a name, and that means that she knew my name. How? After a moment, she felt very stupid as she realized that they had doubtlessly found her ID and cards. So the question becomes, they know who I claim to be, but they test me to see if I am what? Human? What else would I be? It's not like there are any other life forms here but us and Celsia Oh, fuck.
"So what do you think I am? Obviously, you want to see if I am human, so that means that you have another choice open to you. Who or what are you looking for, Doctor?" asked Airi of the blonde woman currently taking a blood sample. She ignored her nudity and carefully projected a sense of calm, non-threatening passivity. Inside, her mind seethed. Bitch! Even my personal doctor doesn't treat me this way! What is going on here that they would treat a human this way? I feel like a cow at the vets; no, scratch that. A filly at the vets. I've had more personal handling from an ATM! The actress was striving to forget the pelvic exam and certain other indignities. "Well? Do you think I'm an alien? Or maybe an angel?" The doctor jerked slightly in surprise. Most would have missed the short-lived flinch, but Airi was not most.
"Why do you say that? I think you should know that I don't believe in angels." Replied the woman, her tone flat and disinterested. Airi smoothly turned the questions away, but her mind filed the data. So, whatever they call angels is what I need to know more about to figure this all out. The actress would have won another Oscar for the performance she put on for Ritsuko. Eventually, she was handed a paper hospital gown and the guards escorted her to a different room. When the door opened, she saw Ritsuko standing in the center of the room with a blank expression on her face that Airi had come to associate with deep thought. Airi smiled at the guards and thanked them, winking at one flirtatiously before the door shut. When it had, she immediately crossed to Ritsuko, calling to her friend softly,
"Rit-chan? Are you ok?" Ritsuko blinked once, then focused on Airi.
"Airi! Thank god. Are you ok?"
"Asides from a rather unpleasant examination, yes. And you?" replied the actress, carefully checking her younger friend over. She seemed to be no worse for wear.
"Let me guess, a blonde named Ritsuko?" asked Inoue, giving her friend a wry half-smile. Both women shared a moment of silent companionship, then Ritsuko gasped.
"What's wrong, Rit-chan?" asked Airi, concerned at her friend's outburst.
"Oh my god! What if they put that asshole Junpei in here?" Airi considered it, then replied.
"We are a bit under dressed, aren't we?"
Ritsuko, my dear, thought Akagi to herself, you have let yourself become spoiled working with Shinji. You have forgotten that he is in no means a typical male. And this is the result. She straightened her lab coat and zipped her shirt back up as she tossed the auto-injecting hypo into the trash bin. The male called Junpei was currently sprawled across the gurney, giggling and drooling out some sort of come-on line for the woman named Airi. He had been very interested in giving her a sample. Probably more than one, but his method would have contaminated the sample. So she had hit him with a dose of her personal favorite tranquilizer, which had slowed him momentarily. The second had almost stopped him, so she hit him with a third, and now he was in la-la land. Good enough for her purposes. Somehow, he reminds me of Kaji in college. At least, he would if I were Misato. Thought the faux blonde doctor. "On with the work." She sighed.
Two hours later, Junpei was dragged into the room with Airi and Ritsuko, dressed (more or less) in the same paper gown the two women had on. When asked if they could get some more appropriate clothes and maybe some food, the guard Airi had winked at said he's ask about that. Airi gave him another wink for thanks. When the door closed, Ritsuko snorted at Airi's action. "How can you do that? He and his buddies were groping me!"
"Me too, Rit-chan. But our choices are limited just now, and when you have limited choices, you use what you must to gain control."
"Men are assholes." Declared Ritsuko, tossing her red-blonde hair.
"True. But that makes them predictable, Rit-chan."
Celsia had been a major problem for the guards to drag into the examination room. They had finally gassed her with nitrous oxide to get her under nominal control. The problem arose from the face that her laugh was very annoying. Not to mention distinctly psychotic. Ritsuko felt like a child on Christmas morning. There was definitely something new here and she had fifty-seven pages of test scheduled for her new toy. The seven pages given to the suspected humans were hardly complete in comparison to this battery of tests. Ritsuko took a moment to drain the last of her coffee and put on a pair of earmuffs. Answers awaited her, and she would not wait.
At the Katsuragi/Ikari/Sohryu residence, the phone rang. Shinji glanced at the couch to see the heads of his two roommates hadn't even turned to acknowledge the phone's ringing. "That's ok, don't disturb yourself; I'll get it." Muttered the Third Child as he dried his hands and crossed to the phone.
"I heard that, Third." Stated Asuka. Shinji sighed. "And hurry up with supper!" commanded the redhead. Shinji made a sound that might have been a yes or a curse, but Asuka's attention was back on the television. Shinji picked up the phone.
"Katsuragi Household. May I help you?" he asked.
"Is Misato conscious, Shinji?" asked a voice he immediately recognized as Doctor Akagi.
"Yes, doctor Akagi. I'll get her." Shinji replied, starting to set the phone down when he heard Ritsuko speaking to him. He put the phone back to his ear. "Excuse me, what was that doctor Akagi?"
"I said, call me Ritsuko when you're not at NERV."
"Yes, doct I mean, Ritsuko. I'll get Misato." Shinji set the phone down and crossed to the couch to see if Misato was conscious or just faking it.
"Misato, the phone is for you. It's Ritsuko Akagi."
"Ritsu, really? That was fast." Said Misato, standing and crossing to the phone faster than Shinji thought she could. "Rits? What do you have?" Misato listened, then glanced at Asuka, who was watching her curiously and Shinji, who was still standing where he had been, stunned by Misato's speed. Misato stepped around the corner and lowered her voice so Asuka couldn't hear. After a moment of silence, Asuka looked to Shinji.
"Want to bet it's about those people they snatched?" asked the Second Child of the Third.
Airi and Ritsuko turned to the door and saw two of the suit-wearing apes enter with two trays that held food and drink. The third one to enter held some cloth in his hands that Airi hoped were clothes of some sort; the paper gowns hid nothing, and neither she nor Ritsuko had any desire to star in Junpei's twisted chicken-choking fantasies. Airi suspected that she, Ritsuko and Celsia were already favorite masturbatory icons for the hormone ball, based on what she had occasionally heard at odd times during their elf hunting days. She and Ritsuko knew for a fact that many of the elven women they had stripped were regular stars in his fantasy world of King Junpei's Pud Pulling Land of Hot Chicks. She and the schoolgirl had spent one whole night laughing their heads off at his sleeping antics. It was a fact that they deliberately forgot to mention to him that the mighty Junpei talked in his sleep. At times, between life-and-death fights and absurdly surreal situations, there were moments of mind-numbing boredom. And that was when Junpei the Comedian was at his best. The two women (and occasionally Celsia) had laughed themselves to sleep often enough that it was something of a tradition.
Funny or not, I don't want to give him any more images of me to get his rocks off with. God knows he's obsessed enough with me already. Thought Airi. That whole scene with the fish pirates is proof of that. Airi shuddered to herself at the memory of the maniacal look in his eye as he chased the leader of the pirates across the beach, promising to make fish patties of him and his crew for harming an Oscar-winning actress like his miss Airi. He's a fraction of an inch from being a stalker, the little creep. Still, she wasn't overly concerned as she was used to genuine stalkers and crazies because of her stellar popularity. It just came with being famous; and besides, Junpei wasn't a real threat to her. Of course, Rit-chan was a different matter. I know she can take care of herself, and she's saved all of us several times, but no schoolgirl needs to know that someone like Junpei jerks off to mental images of them naked; it's enough to give them mental disorders. Airi mentally frowned at that thought. Of course, our young Rit-chan has enough mental disorders already. What's a couple more? Airi mentally shook herself free from that train of thought as she realized her pet monkey was talking to her.
"Pardon, you were saying?" she asked, making it sound like she had been day dreaming about the two of them together. The guard fell for it like a brick.
"Just that command OK'd your request for food and clothes, though this is all they issued for now." He handed her three cotton terry bathrobes. She smiled as she took them, passing one to Ritsuko, who had moved behind her and folded her hands over her breasts and groin. The strawberry blonde girl quickly slipped into the robe and tied it securely shut. Airi donned her robe as well, tossing Junpei's on top of his kind-of conscious form. She took one of the trays and handed it to Ritsuko, taking the other herself.
"Thank you." She said in a playful voice. The guard's cheeks colored a little, and he and the others left the room. Airi looked at her tray, noting the presence of water, tea, cola and milk containers. Ritsuko's tray held fruit, bread and cereal. "Does this mean that it's breakfast time now?" she asked Ritsuko, a little humor in her voice.
"Doubtful." Replied the teen, her tone indicating that she was not in a joking mood just then. "It doesn't feel that late, and it is more than likely a menu based on limiting our energy than time of day."
"True. Are you thinking that "
"Yes." Replied the teen, not needing to hear the actress say what she was thinking to know what she was getting at. "But we have no choice, and if they wanted to do that to us, they have multiple ways and opportunities to do so. Let's eat!" The two women sat cross-legged on the floor as the room lacked any furniture and fell to eating, giving no thought to saving any for the young man.
"What do you think, Fuyutsuki?" asked Gendo of his second. They two were in Gendo's office and watching the room through the surveillance cameras and microphones. Gendo had wanted to see how they acted and who made what decisions for them. So far, it was apparent that the dark-hair woman Airi was in the most commanding role. But then, the elf (Gendo grimaced a little at the very word; he didn't believe in fairy tales after all) wasn't there and she may be the true leader, though the actions and words of the people in the room made that doubtful.
"They're smart. You noticed that both of the girls thought of the possibility that the food had been drugged. They also speak only in oblique terms, like they know they're being watched. But they don't seem overly concerned about their situation. Strange in and of itself, but they still may be in a mild state of shock from all that has happened to them today."
"Our human guests play it carefully then. But they bear more observation, if for no other reason than their acquaintances and the fact that the MAGI branded them potential Angels." Gendo went silent for a while, and his old teacher could swear he heard the wheels turning in the mind of the demon he had once called student. The old man tuned to look at the stack of reports on the results of the tests that Ritsuko had run on the three strangers. That they were human was incontestable, and that seemed to disappoint Gendo a little. Of course, he now knew more about them than their personal doctors, right down to the tiniest detail. Hell, the data even told him where Airi and Ritsuko were in their respective menstrual cycles as well as the timing of the cycles. The way that Gendo had perused the three files, the old man was certain that the Commander was plotting how to use them as pawns to further his quest to regain his wife. Cold bastard. I will never understand what Yui saw in you. Thought the white-haired man. Gendo interrupted his mental musings. "Have them taken to rooms for the night and post guards with orders to kill if they attempt to escape. And the guards that took them those robes are to be relieved of duty effective immediately. Put the women in the room the Second and Third used for the synchronization drills and put the man somewhere close by, but not in a location close enough to contact the others."
"Very well. But why those two?"
"Because, women usually talk more when it is just them. And one should always treat a woman properly." Replied Gendo, knowing full well that he was a lying hypocrite for saying that in light of the way he treated the women he used to further his ambition. But still, it at least sounded good. "And I want to speak with the three of them tomorrow morning in my office. Make the arrangements." Said Gendo, standing and walking toward the door to his office. Fuyutsuki knew he was headed for the cage where Eva 1 sat, silent and waiting for its pilot.