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esselfortium
A Major Doomworld Concern


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NGE: The Cutting Room Floor is a comedy story written by myself and Lucretius, a friend from another community. It's based in the universe of Neon Genesis Evangelion, using its characters and settings, but with a significantly altered tone, possibly even comparable to that of shows like Hey Arnold. Actually, no, it's a bit wackier still.

I don't know how much interest there will be for it here, but I figured I might as well, since Doom and non-Doom flavors are allowed within the subforum rules, and familiarity with the source material is probably not really all that necessary. There will probably be some minor questions that'll come up if you're unfamiliar, but they should be easy enough to answer.

It'll be posted in chunks, a few scenes at a time as the story goes on.

Anyway, here we go:

It has recently come to our attention that Evangelionís tumultuous production actually resulted in a last-minute rewriting process far more encompassing than previously thought.

Under time, censorship, and budget considerations, nearly an entire seasonís worth of planned and scripted material was scrapped entirely, with a selection of segments deemed most important to the story hastily being rearranged and composited into the final 26 episodes we are familiar with today. It is rather surprising that viewers never noticed the missing episodes, as the characters' interpersonal relationships and even the revised ending itself make very little sense without them.

Hoping to benefit the larger fan community, we have taken the liberty of separating out the new and interesting material from this collection of scripts. For readabilityís sake, the resulting scenes have been arranged into the order that seemed most logical and translated into a digestible English prose form. Here, these striking lost episodes are presented in a complete form for the first time ever to an English-speaking audience. We hope this rare look into the production process of Evangelion will provide readers with a new understanding of what the series very nearly became.

***

Evangelion: The Cutting Room Floor

Episode 35: Mr. Lobsterís Important Adventure, Part II
Or, The Mystery of the Copper Keeper Clapper Caper


***

Rei Ayanami was awoken from her dreamless sleep by a buzzing and whirring sound. She checked her arms to see if she had become a giant insect, but it was not so. Red eyes snapping open to glance out of her apartment window, she observed a large industrial crane and a man with a yellow hardhat drilling on the roof of the apartment complex next door. The neighborhood she lived in was replete with construction projects and men with facial hair offering her strange powders and syringes which, following Commander Ikari's advice, she did not take.

Rei stepped down from the bed. The cold linoleum floor led her to consider the prospect of procuring slippers someday.

Many who knew Rei Ayanami would think that she dressed herself without a great deal of deliberation or effort, but this was decidedly not the case. In reality it was a long, arduous, and thought-intensive task that the pale-faced girl had made appear easy via long years of practice and the possession of an iron will.
Pulling open the doors to her wardrobe, Rei's eyes followed across its interior from left to right and found its contents to be just as she had last left them. She counted seven school uniforms, each of them an identical white with a turquoise skirt and vest, and at the end of the row was a frilly seven-layer purple dress of the finest Turkish polyester, extravagantly decked out in yellow polka-dots and topped with a Carmen Miranda fruit-hat upon which were precariously balanced an orange, an apple, three bananas, a pineapple, and a multitude of grapes.

Rei was fully aware of the importance of the choice that lay before her; in fact, she believed it would be one of the most potentially life-altering decisions she would make today.

An avid reader for much of her young life, she had at one point entertained the possibility that her wardrobe contained a hidden passage to Narnia. I have since moved beyond such childish frivolities, decided Rei as she stared thoughtfully into the mirror, examining the Carmen Miranda hat and placing it atop her head. Perhaps today would be appropriate for such attire.

The day on which she was to wear her fruit-hat must be absolutely perfect, neither too hot nor too cold. She opened the window, determined to ask the construction worker outside if it was too humid.

"Is the humidity today conducive to the wearing of fruit hats?" Rei asked the man on the adjacent building, raising her voice so that he might hear her adequately. The man did not look up from his drill; sweat stood out on his forehead, and his body shook from the machine's vibrations. Taking the man's silence as indicative of a response in the negative, Rei placed the hat back in its familiar place on the top shelf of her wardrobe and turned with a crestfallen frown.

Someday I shall proudly display my fruit-hat before my coevals, Rei reassured herself.

***

Morning preparations were also underway in another apartment elsewhere in Tokyo-3, where one Asuka Langley Soryu sat at the kitchen table picking at the eggs and sausages her roommate had prepared for breakfast while absorbing herself in the latest issue of GameWang magazine, idly flipping through pages to avoid any attempts at conversation. She was still irritated with stupid Shinji over the sandwich incident at school several days earlier, and quite frankly didn't want to hear about it. Shinji attempted to make eye contact with her from time to time, but she was careful to ignore it. He was sitting next to her, still wearing his white apron, which she had to admit looked kind of cute. Idiot.

A two-page spread in the magazine caught her eye. Brushing her red bangs out of her line of vision, she gawked at an image of a twelve-year-old boy hurtling through space while wearing goggles and holding the controller of a game console. He was grinning like he had never experienced such ecstasy in his life, and beams of light were shooting out from all around him; apparently the console made you a space deity or something! Wow! She had to get one of these, even though her genius intuition told her that it was probably false advertising.

Having decided she had eaten enough, Asuka picked up the magazine from her lap and set it on the table next to her plate before standing up wordlessly and running off to go brush her teeth.

Shinji followed her lead, standing up as well to take care of the dishes. As he reached over to pick up her plate, though, he noticed the colorful advertisement. Super Megason IV? He had never heard of Super Megasons I through III, truth be told, but he had never paid much attention to game consoles and supposed that it must be an established brand if there were four of them already.

Shinji shrugged and took his and Asuka's dishes over to the sink, pouring out the remaining bits of food into the garbage and then squirting out a bit of soap from the dispenser, beginning to scrub while holding one of the plates under running water.

"Hey! I wasn't done eating yet!" Asuka called out from behind him.

Without turning around, Shinji sighed and immediately began apologizing profusely, his scrubbing motions over the plate becoming progressively less and less emphatic as he spoke, before giving up and setting it down in the sink to deal with later as he tried to explain that, really, he thought she had finished already and that that's why she had gotten up--

"Anyway," she interrupted, "Forget it. I'm all ready to leave. You'd better hurry up and finish getting ready so I'm not late! What's taking you so long?!"

He bashfully turned to face her. "S-sorry. I was looking at your magazine; what's that Super Megason thing?"

"Uhm..nothing! It's stupid!" Asuka hastily defended as she contorted her face and quickly looked away, all too aware that her face was most probably matching the color of her hair. "Just some game console. I don't care about that junk; it's kids' stuff!"

"Huh?" Shinji scratched his head. Wasn't she just ogling it a minute ago, though? "But it looks kind of cool..."

Asuka shot him a sideways glance, her eyes still narrowed in suspicion as she slowly turned to face him again. "Y-you..really think so?"

"Well yeah...I guess," Shinji replied, looking at the floor and shuffling his feet.

Asuka glanced back over at the Megason spread. "Well, here, it's all yours." She picked the magazine up, tossing it over to Shinji, who flinched ever so slightly before quickly regaining his composure and skimming across the large, blocky text that had been presented to him, noticing something about a contest.

"Huh...apparently they're giving them away?" He looked up at her for a second as if expecting validation, but she just rolled her eyes, so he continued reading. "According to this, they've got a contest going on where if anyone can answer a bunch of questions and complete some tasks, they'll give one to them."

"Just shut up and get ready, jerkface. Last time you made me late, the teacher kept me after class and rambled about Second Impact for fifteen minutes." Asuka continued to look away from her roommate, her face feeling hot.

Shinji stammered out an apology and tossed the magazine back on the table, quickly untying his apron and throwing it into the laundry hamper as he hurried to his room to get his socks and backpack. The half-washed plates remained in the sink, covered in soap suds.

Asuka stepped over to the table where the magazine had been carelessly left, looking back over the contest guidelines for herself. Answering some stupid quiz questions? Pfft, I could do that in my sleep.

She heard Shinji calling from down the hall and quickly grabbed her backpack, stuffing the magazine into it and slinging it over her shoulder before scrambling to the front door while shouting after him. "Oh, sure, now you're in a hurry!" The last thing she wanted this morning was to be the cause of her and Shinji's lateness after having just gotten done berating him about it.

***

On their way out, a loud slam of the door jostled their sleeping guardian into the beginnings of a hungover lucidity. Misato Katsuragi blinked drowsily at her clock, rolled over, and considered going back to sleep. Shinji had already tried waking her up before breakfast, but she hadn't been in any state of mind to take that suggestion. She had things to do today, though, and she was already running late.

Groaning audibly as she sat up in her futon, Misato brushed a mess of purple strands out from in front of her eyes, squinting from sunlight that had leaked into the room through the venetian blinds. She pulled a shirt down over her head and figured that she could probably still make it to Nerv on time, or close enough to it.

But first she was going to head over to the kitchen for a beer.

***

Rei Ayanami was walking to school.

She sighed; once again she had opted against the unique combination of elegance and pragmatic functionality provided by the fruit-hat and its accompanying dress. With her in their stead was her backpack, which weighed heavily on her shoulders. She could see her breath assuming a visible form in front of her in the cold morning air, as she continued on her usual route.

School was the place where she was supposed to learn things. It was distinct from both trouts and bicycles, but was in some ways comparable to broom closets, which had confused her in the past. Mostly it was the place where she stared out the window and thought of Commander Ikari.

Rei heard a loud, feminine voice, and turned her head to see Second grumbling at Ikari-kun. They were dressed in their school attire and walking behind her several feet away to her right, their rapid footfalls hitting the sidewalk almost in unison. Second and Ikari-kun worked at Nerv. That was the place Rei Ayanami worked as well. Ikari-kun made her feel warm and fuzzy; she did not know why. Second, on the other hand, made her feel like the time her hand had been caught in the garbage disposal and Dr. Akagi had needed to give her a new finger.

Second was gesticulating wildly with her hands and talking excitedly to Ikari-kun, who was looking away from her, his shoulders hunched; she was gritting her teeth and pressing her face so closely to his that she was in danger of gouging out Ikari-kun's eye with her nose. Rei did not hear the whole of the conversation, but it seemed to involve the word "pastrami" and the future state of Ikari-kun's testicles should he ever mention it again.

Shinji glanced in Rei's direction and waved enthusiastically at her as Asuka sputtered to a halt.

"Hi, Ayanami!"

Ikari-kun sometimes said things to her. This was most perplexing, as for years she had spoken primarily to the Nerv staff and a potted plant which she referred to as "Steve."

"Greetings, Ikari-kun," she replied. She had recently ascertained that one was expected to reply to a salutation when directly addressed.

Asuka stepped forwards to put herself between Shinji and Rei. "Look, Wondergirl; it's great and all of you to come by and talk, but Third and I were kind of in the middle of something here. We've got some important business to work out here, so if you'd kindly--"

"What..sort of business?"

Shinji and Asuka both blushed at that, Shinji suddenly finding the appearance of the sidewalk very interesting and Asuka managing to eventually blurt out a response.

"W-well, we were, uh..the..the contest! It's for the new Super Megason, and I'm going to win one!"

"Mega...son? This concept has been absent from all of my genealogy reading."

"It's a console, Rei. You play games with it. You do know what those are, right?"

The blue-haired girl stopped short. "I.."

"Forget it! Come on, Shinji." Asuka got a devious gleam in her eye and grabbed the boy's arm, pulling him along. "You and I are going to talk about video games."

Shinji responded with a slight tilt of his head. "But I thought we were talking about pas--"

"I told you not to mention that!"

"O..okay, sorry...you're entering that contest, then..? Can I help?"

"Help? As if I would need help from someone like you. It's just a bunch of quiz questions; it'd probably all be way over your head anyway. I guess you can play too, though, if it'll make you feel better."

***

Rei Ayanami was jolted out of her musings on the nature of peanut butter when she realized that Ikari-kun and Second were no longer in sight; furthermore, she was standing on the same square of sidewalk that she had been standing on fifteen minutes previously. Although she rather doubted the existence of linear time, she did not wish to be reprimanded for lateness and decided to proceed as quickly as possible.

As she trotted along the pavement, her foot protection units clicking rhythmically against the hard surface, it occurred to Rei that she was not quite certain where the school was located. Her mnemonic functions were often impaired for several days after her recent memories had been uploaded onto the Dummy System.

Wrinkling her forehead, Rei finally recollected her usual route involved traveling along Josei Street for about a mile, before turning onto Mishima Avenue. But what guarantee did she have that Josei Street would always lead to the school? It had always done so in the past, but that was no assurance that it would continue to do so in the future. In all probability, it would lead to a completely different building today. After all, it had no incentive to remain always in the same location. She decided to go down Tokugawa Street instead.

***

Misato sped along the road, narrowly squeezing past a school bus at ninety miles an hour. I'm gonna be late! The Commander would probably bust her down to private if she was lucky. If she wasn't lucky, well, she had heard rumors of the Subcommander's proclivity for making his personal secretaries wear French maid outfits. Stomping on the gas pedal with all her might, Misato weaved in and out of the left lane and ignored the angry honks directed at her. Since Nerv broke the laws of God on a daily basis, she figured she could be forgiven for breaking the laws of traffic.

As Misato tossed an empty beer can out of her open window, she noticed two blue mops crossing the road at an intersection. Misato squinted through her alcoholic haze until she had forced the mops to congeal into the familiar form of Rei Ayanami...too late. She was jolted forward in her seat and saw a backpack go flying though the air. Oh God. I killed the Commander's autistic underage concubine. Ritsuko will never let me hear the end of it.

Well, the only thing for it is to keep driving and hope that there's no witnesses.

She fidgeted nervously with her sunglasses and looked into the rear view mirror. Wait, is that...yes! Rei was alive, lying on her back next to the sidewalk and rubbing her forehead. A few feet from her was a very flat squirrel. Well, Rei's fine, right? Yep, no need to stop. Misato sped forward, bobbed into the left lane, and flipped on the radio with a relieved sigh.

***

The bell rang shrilly as Asuka half-dragged Shinji along the school corridor, both of them them sweating as they sprinted along.

Asuka stopped abruptly at the sound, nearly knocking Shinji off his feet. "Jeez, not again! We ran all this way for nothing. This is all your fault, Third. I told you to get ready!"

Shinji looked at her in frightened bewilderment. He was never sure which of her tantrums were meant in earnest; it was safest to assume that they all were.

"Me? You're the one who wanted to stop at the Slushy stand!"

"It's comfort food, dorkwad. Geniuses are entitled to their quirks," said Asuka, winking and brushing back a strand of hair from her forehead, eliciting an audible groan from Shinji. "Anyway, if Nebukawa keeps me after class, I'm setting up your cello and Mrs. Garbage Disposal for a blind date!"

Still retaining possession of Shinji's arm, Asuka tugged him into class with a high-pitched "Hmph!"

Nebukawa was completely absorbed in his lecture about the bloody, post-Second Impact North Korean Turtle War and did not look up when they arrived. The other students were openly chatting with each other, listening to their iPods, or playing handheld video games. It was evidently not one of the teacher's rare lucid days.

"And the conflict came to an abrupt and shocking conclusion when David Bowie wrestled the emperor of the sea turtles for possession of the One Ring, which brings us to World War II."

Class Representative Hikari Horaki briefly let down her typical authoritarian air to wave at Asuka, who returned the gesture and greeted her, while Shinji was greeted by a sleeping Kensuke Aida and Toji Suzuhara.

Asuka took her usual seat across from Shinji, and snapped open her laptop. Humming cheerfully to herself, she loaded up the GameWang website and registered for the contest, instant-messaging Shinji with the sign-up URL.

> Here, idiot. Try to keep up, alright? :P

> It's just a stupid game. Why does everything have to be a competition?

> Because it's fun. Shut up :P

The two exchanged a glance of anticipation for a few moments before the first quiz question appeared in both their inboxes.

> Oh, that one's too easy...I should have known they'd dumb it down so any dork could play.

> ..the answer's "a house," right?

Asuka turned to Shinji exasperatedly. "Don't you know anything about competition?! If I just told you all the answers, it'd--"

"The next one's 'Boris Batanov,' I think."

Growling, Asuka turned back to her computer, sinking a bit in her seat at the realization that the correct answer was, in fact, Boris Batanov.

"Hey Hikari, you remember anything Nebukawa taught us about great white sharks?"

"Aren't those extinct?"

"Y-yeah, it's..do you remember how many fingers he said they had?"

Hikari considered this for a moment before confidently informing Asuka that great white sharks, in fact, had six fingers, prior to their extinction fifteen years ago.

***

Shinji, meanwhile, wasn't faring much better. "Kensuke, wake up! What was the last thing Carrot Top said before he died? Help!"

"Huh?" Rubbing his eyes, Kensuke tried to filter through bits of lessons long forgotten. "What'd you need something like that for? I can't remember, maybe Toji knows." The bespectacled boy lightly jostled the tracksuit-wearing jock sleeping at the desk in front of him, who awoke with a start.

"What? No, Class Rep, I didn't do i--"

"Earth to Toji! Come in, Toji. It's me, Kensuke! Shinji wants to draw on your surprisingly broad knowledge of 1990s pop-culture abortions! I don't know...you tell him, Shinji."

Toji crossed his arms defensively, tightening his face. "Shut up! I only know about all those Hanson albums 'cause of my kid sister!"

"N-no, Toji, it's..I just needed to know, uhm.. do you remember anything about what Carrot Top said before he died? It's for a contest."

Reaching his arm back around his head and looking up slightly in thought, Toji considered this for a moment. "'I've wasted my life,' wasn't it?"

Shinji hastily entered the answer on his laptop, validated by the now-familiar 'ding' signifying a correct response. His eyes narrowed in concentration as he read the following question, turning briefly to Asuka who regarded him with a similar expression before they each turned back to their respective computers.

Somewhere in the midst of this, Toji had somehow crept up behind Shinji to read the riddle from his laptop display. "It's 'shawl,' right? The answer has got to be a shawl."

Hearing the suggestion, Shinji and Asuka both frantically typed every variant of it they could think of into the answer box, turning to glare at each other as they typed, each becoming increasingly frustrated with every 'bzzt' of a wrong answer before suddenly their eyes widened and the solution became clear as day.

Two 'ding's sounded in near-unison before Shinji and Asuka read through the following challenge and realized that they would need to leave the school premises to complete it.

Two hands shot up in unison. "Teacher, I've got to go to the bathroom!"

Glaring at each other for a moment before eventually realizing that their teacher was completely deaf to their plea and would also, in all likelihood, not even notice their absence, Shinji and Asuka closed their laptops, stood up from their seats, and rushed out the door.

"Hey, where you going?! It was a shawl, right?!" Toji made his way back to his desk, dejected. "Now I'll probably never find out.."

***

Dusting herself off and picking up her backpack, Rei continued her trek, finding herself in an increasingly depopulated section of town consisting primarily of clapboard shacks with the windows boarded up. Urban areas such as these were colloquially known as "Nervilles," for reasons which she did not fully comprehend; perhaps it was related to the Commander's personal museum of ice sculptures, which the Secretary General of the UN had been none too pleased to learn about.

The shacks became increasingly sparse and eventually disappeared altogether, and the sidewalk gave way to a dirt road. The dirt road eventually led up to a rocky cliff face, from which there was a drop of eighty feet or so.

Rei could not remember if this was what a "school" looked like or not. The syllables humans had assigned to various objects were completely arbitrary, and thus very onerous to remember. For this reason, the Commander had helped her to compile a handy guidebook which was meant to tie together signifiers and their referents; he had found this necessary after she had confused the words "trout" and "bicycle," which had caused many embarrassing difficulties. For every important word, the guidebook contained a crude pictogram indicating which real-world object was meant.

She removed the guidebook from her backpack and searched for the entry for "school," bypassing the pictogram for "Ikari-kun," which was a stick figure with pencil lines on its cheeks to indicate a blush, and the pictogram for "Second," which was a long-haired stick figure with eyebrows knit angrily together over pointed fangs.

At last she arrived at the entry for "school," but was unable to distinguish it from the cliff face before her. She looked from cliff to guidebook, guidebook to cliff, but could not resolve her dilemma.

She remained in this position for several hours.

Old Post 06-21-10 21:41 #
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esselfortium
A Major Doomworld Concern


Posts: 6660
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Hmm. Well, a bunch of thread views, but no responses. I'll post the next chunk and see if there's any more interest. If not, I'll just link to another forum it's being posted and let this thread die.

***

"What do you mean you're not open for business on Fridays?!"

At the entrance gate of the newly-erected Museum of Pre-Impact Life, a lone guard shook his head stoically. "It's great that you kids are so gung-ho to Witness The Wonders Of Yesterday, but you'll have to come back on Monday," he sighed, unenthusiastically reciting the slogan engraved on a large plaque above the entryway. "They're setting up a new exhibit on guinea pigs, Terrors Of The Deep; it'll be worth the wait."

Shinji opened his mouth to attempt a diplomatic solution. "We're not here for that, really--"

"We don't care about the stupid guinea pigs, we have to get in today! It's for a contest! We're Nerv employees, doesn't that mean anything anymore?!" Asuka persisted, attempting unsuccessfully to push her way past the man, who just stood in place, looking at her apologetically.

"Really, I'd love to be able to make an exception for you kids, but this is out of my hands--"

"Fine! C'mon, idiot; it's obvious we're not wanted around here." Asuka nudged Shinji along as he followed her wordlessly down the sidewalk, taking in the sights of the overblown promotional banners hanging all around them and idly wondering how anyone managed to survive before Second Impact.

Sitting on a bench and looking at him with conviction, Asuka announced, "Alright, Third. I don't like you, and you don't like me--"

"Huh? I like you."

"Y-- you what?" Asuka blushed, shaking her head to clear her thoughts. "That's not important right now, stop interrupting me!"

"Sorry."

"What I'm saying is, if we're going to win this game, we'll have to put aside our differences and work together. This is obviously just a test of our dedication and ingenuity."

Shinji shrugged, taking a seat next to her and taking his phone from his pocket to dial their guardian. "Maybe Misato could help us get in?"

"Yeah, maybe. I mean, if she just had to flash her badge to get you and the other two stooges allowed on board the Over the Rainbow, this should be nothing, right?"

Shinji shook his head and closed his phone, pocketing it. "She's not picking up."

"It's just like her to leave us on our own at a time like this," Asuka bemoaned, biting her lip. "I guess I'll just have to do everything myself, like always. Sit still and I'll think of a plan."

Shinji groaned again. He did a great deal of groaning when he was with Asuka.

After a moment of frowning and humming to herself, Asuka jumped to her feet and stood in front of Shinji, balancing one foot on the bench beside him. He tried not to look at her breasts, which were level with his eyes.

"What if we disguise ourselves as time travelers from before Second Impact? They'll be sure to let us into the exhibit then."

Shinji blinked. "Time..travelers? Wouldn't it be easier if we went in as janitors or something?"

"Idiot! All we need to make this convincing are some bowler hats and handlebar mustaches from the costume shop. C'mon!" said Asuka, grabbing Shinji by the hand and pulling him across the street to Crazy Steve's Party Outlet.

***

Asuka sighed, peeling off her handlebar mustache and stomping it into the pavement. The guard had almost let them in before he had remembered that bowler hats hadn't been invented until 2005.

"We should've gone as janitors," Asuka muttered.

Shinji sighed. "So now what do we do?"

"We could try sneaking in through the air vents, I guess. It usually works in the movies."

The two began to idly wonder if they had, in fact, come to the right part of town, but suppressed their doubts and circled the museum exterior together, looking for a ventilation shaft of a sufficient size. As Shinji stepped over a fallen banner depicting a squirrel menacing two pre-Second Impact women in corsets, he heard Asuka emit a happy-sounding squeak.

"Hey stupid! I think I found a clue!" she said, holding up a yellow post-it note and grinning broadly.

Shinji glanced over her shoulder. "From the Megason contest?"

"What else, dummy?" she rhetorically asked, squinting at the kanji. "I..think it says something about fish sticks?"

Shinji chuckled a little, drawing a death glare from Asuka. "No, Asuka. It says 'If you want to find the next note/check the garbage chute'."

Asuka wrinkled her nose. "Is that supposed to rhyme? That's pretty stupid."

She pulled Shinji behind the building to the dumpster, which was stamped with a red Nerv logo. Shinji peeled another sticky note off the side and read the doggerel verse scrawled on it in kanji, appearing to have been written in a hurry.

"'You have only just begun/to find the Super Megason! The entrance that you seek/is on the bench facing the street!' I'm not reading the rest of this, it's just giggling and smiley faces."

"It's on the... damn it, we were just there a second ago! What the hell?!" Asuka tugged Shinji back in the direction of the bench, both of them panting.

Upon reaching the bench, the two of them stared in shocked silence at what had seemingly been left for them. On top of the bench, where they had been sitting only a few minutes earlier, were what appeared to be six canisters of nitroglycerin. Attached to one canister was a sticky note with a smiley printed face on it.

"Is that...?" Shinji stammered out after a few moments, his eyes wide. "Are we supposed to..?"

Asuka exchanged a nervous glance with him, attempting to maintain her confidence.

"Y-you idiot, of.. of course they wouldn't really have us blow up a public building with nitroglycerin. It's..this is obviously..just another part of the contest," she finally managed, acutely aware that neither herself nor Shinji were entirely convinced.

"..I mean...I guess it looks as official as anything else we've found today." Shinji tilted his head to the side slightly. "And they wouldn't give us real explosives...would they? If this is just another part of the game, I..guess we shouldn't stop now."

Shinji stared numbly as Asuka picked up three canisters and cradled them in her arms.

"After we've come this far? Y-you're right..it's, this couldn't be for real. This is all just a big game," Asuka chuckled nervously. "These things are supposed to look real; it's..it's obviously just how they keep the amateurs out! C'mon, dorkface, help me carry these to the museum!" she commanded.

Shinji nodded shakily and obeyed without another word, grabbing the remaining three canisters and suppressing his misgivings as the two anxiously began their brief trek back to the Museum of Pre-Impact Life.

***

At Nerv, Misato swung lazily back and forth on her swivel chair, grinning vacantly. On the way to work, she had managed to get drunk enough to temporarily suppress her hangover.

A few feet away, Ritsuko was scowling at her over her coffee mug, droning on about something that seemed to involve the words "urgent" and "Third Impact," but the surrounding phrases seemed blurry and meaningless.

Misato glanced idly at the TV screen attached to the ceiling, ignoring Ritsuko. The news was on. Twisting and turning in her chair, she read through the news ticker at the bottom of the screen. Pope condemns sentient diet soda... Experts question existence of Finland... Kamikaze submarines devastate Tel Aviv... Explosion in Hakone region...

Explosion in Hakone region?!

Misato's eyes widened as she stared at the screen, the display changing to an overhead map view, followed by a live feed of a familiar-looking area. Isn't that where the kids go to school?

"Damn it!"

Ritsuko walked away with a shrug and a sigh as Misato yanked her cell phone out of her purse, mashing buttons and hastily dialing Asuka's number. She would never forgive herself if anything happened to her kids, and besides, Ritsuko had bet her ten thousand yen that Shinji wouldn't survive under her charge for a year, and she'd be damned if she was going to pay up.

Misato held the receiver to her ear before immediately pulling it away a few inches upon hearing Asuka's shrill whine.

"AaaAAAaah! Stupid Shinji blew up a building, Misato!"

Old Post 06-23-10 22:25 #
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esselfortium
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K, guess there's no interest in posting about it here, then. Was worth a shot. If anyone stumbles across this and wants to read more, the first story arc was finished last night and can be read here, split into four short chapters.

Old Post 06-25-10 22:20 #
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