The Case of Suzuhara Misaki [25-26]

 

I have been here before. But there is no “here” where I am — or rather , there is no me to be anywhere.

And yet I remember.

The last time, I was born anew from the womb of Eva, for I had spent all my heart, my life, to protect the one I love, and that she loved too. Born anew from the inner world where his mother is, out of the body she now infuses with vitality.

And this time?

This time I have strained every sinew, given every last effort, to protect the whole world. Which is what an Eva pilot is for, when all is said and done.

The Boy in Blue

The one I love, still a child, not yet the man he will grow to be — like all boys his age, really. But so weak, so vulnerable. When I first saw him, it was the only thing to do, to open my heart.

And if at first, it was the ghost of the lonely child of years before I saw, and my love was more that of a mother; if now I have become a sort of sister to him; if I have to be all and every woman for him; then so be it!

And I remember black soil, a fine tilth in my hands. Kneeling, weeding Kaji-san's garden, while Shinji is gone to fetch water. But when is this? Is anyone going to arrive? or any thing?

Zeruel, the angel that most nearly succeeded in stopping us all, when I will soon run to sacrifice myself the first time upon Eva's altar — like Shinji's mother, or Ritsuko's, or Asuka's.

Or Asuka herself, arriving unexpectedly on her bicycle to show curiosity and surprise at what I am doing; and I see that I am now the only bridge that remains between her and Shinji.

Or no-one at all? And we just work through the gardening chores together.

He is shy and withdrawn, even when it is just the two of us.

Yes, I think it was just yesterday, or, rather, the last full day that I remember. Evening, when after study and training, we meet in the garden.

“Is this one ripe?”

He points at the largest of the fruits, then lifts it gently, still on the vine. I take it, and our hands meet. We are together and content. I sniff the melon. There is a fragrance that is more than just vegetal.

“Soon. Maybe tomorrow.”

He smiles. He does that more easily now. It is I who have lost that gift.

The Girl in White

The one who is an enigma, probably even to herself. She might have been a friend, if she knew how to be one, and not just a soldier. At times she seems better, finer, than human; at other times less. And all the time she is something other.

And I remember sitting helplessly by as she is violated, constrained not to interfere.

Is the violator an Angel? There were two, while I sat helpless in EVA-01, not permitted to go to her aid.

Arael, the mind spider — she did not speak to me of that, but just to look at her as she was lifted from the entry-plug, what Asuka had let slip about her own brief exposure.

Then Armisael who attacked her integrity of form and identity, that in the end she would die to save us from its threat. But she did not, could not speak of that. So how do I remember this?

Or was the violator human?

Am I standing aghast, clutching Shinji's hand in mine so hard it must be hurting him, as I watch her many empty shells being ripped apart, as Dr. Akagi finally shows us why Rei is different, weeping as she destroys all the potential Rei-tachi.

No.

The violation is not one I knew about.

It was today — or at least since the last time I remember sleeping. It is the Commander who seeks to use her, to infuse her with the Chymical Wedding of Adam and Lilith, while I am too engaged in keeping the end of the world from arriving from above.

And that final violation has borne awful fruit; the Apocalypse, the Eschaton.

The Woman in Red

My exemplar, the one I looked up to, the one I turned to for help. My Senpai.

And the one who believed in me.

I remember her strong, despite her pain — the chance meeting in the hospital, jokingly referring to her discomfort; later, comforting me although I had lied to her why I wanted to see her; stoical, when I told her that the man she had loved unrequited was probably dead.

And there were times when I saw her transformed so that I could no longer understand her, or no longer recognised her — intoxicated, infatuated, giddy with helpless yearning for another; and after, it was not that she had hacked away her beautiful hair, but the trauma that had been graved on her face, making her seem much older, and haunted.

And I remember her, my comrade in arms.

I remember her in stillness, like a sleeping tiger, a coiled spring, the eye of the storm.

Is it when I feel her arm around my shoulders, at first hesitant, then resolute, as I weep for her, for all of us?

Or is it when I watch her tensed for action, having taken on the responsibility for supporting the team, rather than plunging headlong into the fray?

Or simply standing ready against whatever unknown the world was preparing to throw against us after all reasonable battles had been endured?

In all of these things, she has grown, even in the few months I have known her.

It was the last of these, just now, minutes, if time has meaning here, upon the scarred field of war, as the final step approached, of this long road that has led to now.

The Patchwork Girl

Who is this girl, the one that is the context for these recollections?

Another civilian, dragged in off the streets. One who showed respect not due to a soldier. A girl that did not just take a look, and despise what she saw.

Not just a civilian - but one who had earned respect, but did not flaunt it. One who showed concern where none was due. One who showed love, where it had no reason

“Because I was asked, and because I can!”

The one who does not smile, who cannot let herself feel for herself, else terror would consume her. She has run away from her fears, uses concern for others as a shield, a martyrdom.

The one who has been near the crux of events, but never the one who can do what is needed.

Is it when I was forced to stay sitting helplessly by, pretending to read, until all I can do is shout in my frustration?

Or is it when I am forced to pilot an EVA against another, while the puppet-master is away somewhere else?

Or is it after all battles have been fought, and in the swirling aftermath, that I know I once again am just a bystander?

Never the one in the spotlight; never the one upon whom everything turns. But is being just part of the supporting cast such a bad thing?

Of all these times, it is the last. It is the moment just gone, as all on Earth turn to face the Grail.

The Choice

And that is now, or just past. And yet is distant, in another life altogether. Now?…

Now … a memory that is not mine in a language I don't speak, a snatch of Lennon from nigh fifty years ago rises to sum it all up : I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together

And yet there is still some facet of this that is the schoolgirl who arrived in Tokyo-3 in the midst of a power outage, who became an Eva pilot by mistake, who took on its burden of her own will. And in this maelstrom of Sartre's Inferno, a still centre, the voice of Ayanami-senpai/Lilith-sama

“What is it that you wish for?”

That none of these calamities should have had to have been borne by anyone. That there had been no Second Impact, no Angels, and that my friends, those I love, had not had to suffer so.

And in the darkness, light.

It takes me moments to adjust. I am again on the battlefield with two comrades. And yet… Perspective returns, as a thundrous voice annouces

“Magic Knights —— Win!”

It is not three titans on a battlefield with nine fallen demons - it is my Angel, Hikaru, and the rest of the Japanese Angelic Layer team, triumphant over the teams from the EU, US and PRC.

As the home crowd goes wild, my Angel, Hikaru, takes a bow, along with the others, then I leave her standing, while I look at my fellow dei — quiet, but efficient Rei-chan standing quietly, impassive; and arrogant and spirited Asuka-senpai, grinning broadly, but without a hint of humour, at the defeated EU team, an old grudge now settled.

People are starting to stream towards us. In the lead, Rei-chan's twin brother, Shinji-kun, but being pushed aside by Tamayo, who rushes up to Asuka and hugs her close — that will feed the love-love rumour mill about those two even further — and behind them Hatoko-chan, just beating Koutarou, coming to towards me.

And then the world becomes just a rush of faces — friends, family, strangers, fans, all shouting their congratulations.

This is fame. This is seduction. This…

No.

Not this, not now.

The facade comes tumbling down. This is still the maelstrom. And at the heart of it, another, reaching out for help.

“I can be your firm place to stand, Asuka, and you have the lever : for now it is time for you to move Heaven and Earth.”

It does not matter that those words pass between us encoded in Classical Greek — this unison of minds beguiles us that way. Again, I support but cannot do.

But she can. And does.

The Exit into Day

Much time has passed since then. Older, and perhaps wiser, I reflect on that day.

I do not pretend to know how much of the world we now know is conjured from Asuka's imaginings, as she made her wish upon the Grail, and how much of it is just how things would have carried on after Third Impact in any case. Twice in a generation, the world was knocked down, and, fewer in number, we have picked ourselves up, and carried on.

And yet in the few conversations I have had with Asuka in the years since, I have been given hints of what it was that she saw in those moments when the choice was hers to make, the span of worlds that could have emerged from that day, and the vaster span of almost-realities that could have emerged from the spine of history had a different turn been taken days, weeks or months before.

I sit in this room, a window spreading before me a panorama of a city, New Old-Tokyo rising from a reclaimed peninsula, tall spires gleaming in the sun; and beyond, the misty line of the Grand Arch that girdles the world. From the next room, the sound of boisterous voices, children pestering their 'jii-chan, who was lucky enough to have slept through all the excitement.

I shiver. So many of those worlds she saw were blasted, barren; human life, where it persisted, was reduced to the state of savagery; no Grand Arch, just rings of blood and souls. Worlds like this one were just the occasional golden thread in a tapestry of red and black. This is the rare path that might yet lead to Utopia. And, once again, all I can do is offer my moral support.

A bell rings. The baking is ready. I shoo away the persocon who always hovers by, and take the tray out myself. The smell is perfection.

“Could you open the door for me?” I ask.

“Hey, youngsters — look what 'baa-chan has made for you!”

And I step into the next room.


© Steve Gilham 2005-2007

© Mr. Tines 2005-2007


[18] Human Intervention

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