The Blue Rose

Chapter 8: Invitation

That evening in his apartment, Ryoji Kaji took the chemical sample he obtained from the American pilots' luggage and placed it in an analyzer on his desk next to his computer. Within the next few minutes the sample was examined by various sensors and after several moments the computer screen displayed the results:


Kaji picked up his mobile phone and dialed a long, but very familiar number. A voice answered.

"Hello. Yes, it's me. I need to have a sample rush examined. I'm unsure, it's some sort of neural control serum. Yes, I'll drop off at the usual place."

He hung up the phone. Kaji looked at the screen for a few moments and then glanced at the photo next to his computer: a college photo of him, Ritsuko Akagi and Misato Katsuragi, all leaning on his college car, an old 1991 Porsche 911. They were all smiling, his arms around both of the girls. His thoughts then turned back to the sample. Interesting.


In the desert city, it was early morning. The man sat at his desk again examining a wide variety of reports displayed on monitors, including a large holographic display behind his desk. As he did so, his administrative officer again opened the door and leaned inside slightly.

"Another message from MICHAEL, sir," the young officer said.

"What is it?" asked the man.

"He says he will be ready with the package in two days."

The man smiled. "Good. Be sure that all preparations are made accordingly. "


At the same time, within the deeper levels of the GeoFront, Dr. Ritsuko Akagi walked down an isolated tunnel and opened an air-locked door. The doorplate read in both English and Japanese: "MAGI COLD MEMORY ARCHIVE."

As she opened the door, chilled air came out of the room as she donned a heavy parka she brought with her to go inside. Ritsuko spoke to herself (or was it someone else?) as she entered the room and started to switch on the access terminal there, iced over in the sub-freezing temperature. "Now, Mother, I can't believe you didn't think of this earlier. Let's see what we can find." Once the access terminal booted up and showed an entry screen, she logged in and started her searching.

For some reason the dream that night seemed more vivid than usual. Patrick could clearly see the everything inside the entry plug around him - it had filled with LCL and the video monitors were all turned on to various data displays, or views of the outside of the EVA. He heard voices speaking around him, but this time they were more distinct.

"Entry plug inserted," the operator reported over the plug speakers. "Commencing activation of Unit 04."

An older voice then came on: "Everything okay, Erin?"

Patrick heard himself speak with a girl's voice. "Sure, sure. I'm fine. I just wish we could get this over with so we can go home."

"I know," the older voice replied. "It's just a routine activation test, so bear with us a little longer."

"Alrighty," Erin Forrestal sighed.

The controller checked in again. "Dr. Forrestal, Everything reports normal so far."

"Very good," the older voice replied. "Proceed with synchronization."

Patrick could hear his stomach growl. "Suddenly I'm very hungry."

"So how about Chinese tonight?" the older voice asked her.

"That sounds good. I could really go for some Walnut Cream Shrimp ...What's that?" Patrick/Erin looked ahead and saw some cloud-looking form at the far end of the entry plug.

The controller had also noticed something. "There's an unusual reading in the entry plug."

"What is it?" asked Dr. Forrestal.

"It's some sort of energy form," the controller said, "But I can't determine the type."

The cloud moved closer to the pilot, and began to take a physical shape, something that looked like a woman, but with no features. The cloud woman drifted right up to Erin's face as she looked at it. The face of the woman was blank at first, and then it started to take shape.

"Who are you?" Erin asked the cloud. Patrick could feel her heart pulsing.

"Energy reading is increasing dramatically," the controller shouted.

"Stop the activation!" ordered Dr Forrestal. "Erin? Erin!?"

The face of the cloud woman suddenly formed sockets where the eyes were supposed to go, then teeth appeared and the face transformed into that of a skull. The cloud sprouted arms that moved to touch the pilot's head. Patrick could feel a bone-chilling sensation as the demon's hands moved along the skin of the face.

"Get away from me!" Erin called out at she struggled to leave the throne.

Patrick could hear his father calling on the speaker. "Erin! Force eject the plug!" The controller could not get the EVA to comply, however. "Entry plug not responding, sir!"

Patrick watched helplessly as the white ghost moved its face right up against Erin's, as she struggled to leave the pilot seat. The mouth of the apparition stretched wide and he could feel an icy gust of wind rushing against his face as the ghost wailed loudly. His stomach twisted suddenly as he heard the ghost gurgle out something incomprehensible. Erin screamed in terror.

Dr. Forrestal called in the microphone "ERIN!"

Patrick literally jumped up from his bed, also screaming. He looked around and saw that he was in the apartment again, back in Tokyo-3. He could feel the cold sweat along his forehead and his hair was all standing on end. He squeezed his palms to be sure he was conscious.

Oh, God...what the hell happened?


As she did every morning Rei Ayanami walked to her school locker and opened the door to place some of her books inside, and take out other ones. However, this morning as she did so a small envelope fell out and floated to the ground. Rei silently stooped down to pick up the envelope, which was addressed only as "REI " written in roman characters, and opened the envelope. She took out a folded piece of letterhead paper and read it. It was handwritten in English, with all capital letters.







Rei looked at the invitation again carefully and folded it back inside the envelope and placed it in her school bag. Then, as always, she closed her locker and went to class.

In classroom 2-A the other students, including the two American visitors, were already seated at their desks. It was in the morning break period after the first two classes. In Japan there was still school on Saturdays, but only in the mornings.

Patrick noticed first that Rei entered the room. He whispered to the others "Here she comes!" Several pairs of eyes were on Rei as she took her seat by the window. As the teacher started to address the class, the students were all on their school-issued red notebook PCs. While feinting interest in the math teacher's lecture, they were also messaging each other in the classroom's network chat room.

VISITOR1: Do you think she got my note?

IKARISHINJI: I think so. You put it in her box like I said, right?

VISITOR1: Yes. Any way she would skip over it?

IKARISHINJI: No, she should see it.

SORYUASUKA: Don't tell me you're still stuck on this, are you?

VISITOR2: Give the guy a chance, Asuka!

SORYUASUKA: I'm not speaking to you, you bastard!

VISITOR2: Oohh, we're still sore are we?

"Would you shut up?!" Asuka said aloud.

Nearly everyone in the class turned around and stared at Asuka as she realized what she just did. "Oh, sorry!" she said sheepishly as she turned her attention back to the chat session.

VISITOR1: She's not making eye contact with me.

SUZUHARATOJI: There's no way she's going to! Ayanami-chan's an Ice Queen; she's never going to give you the time of day.

VISITOR 1: It's worked out so far.

SUZUHARATOJI: Personally I'd pay 10,000 Yen to see you two go on a date. I think that would be most entertaining.


HORAKIHIKARI; Guys! You are so horrible! Everyone feels so sorry for her. I for one think that Patrick should take her out. At least let her have some sort of a life for once!

AIDAKENSUKE: Teacher's on to us!

With Kensuke's warning everyone quickly clicked out of chat and focused on the class. The teacher was now calling on students to explain problems on the chalkboard. Nearly forty silent prayers went up as the teacher looked for someone to pick on. "Ayanami, come to the board please," the old teacher commanded.

Rei stood up. "Yes, sir."

Several sighs were audibly heard as Rei walked to the chalkboard. There she wrote down a fairly complex mathematical equation and explained the equation to the teacher and the class. Satisfied, the teacher next called on Suzahara, who gave a loud groan as he got up from his desk.

As Rei walked back to her seat Pat tried to get her attention by making eye contact with her again. She only gave him one cold glance and sat back in her seat.

Patrick sighed. This is going to be harder than I thought.

Later that afternoon in Central Tokyo-3 Shinji and Misato walked along the sidewalk of Tokyo-3's shopping district. The shops here were an eclectic collection of antiques, clothing stores, electronic stores or denkis, and gift shops, with restaurants and cafes scattered throughout. Being that is was a Saturday afternoon, the sidewalk was crowded with shoppers. Shinji was still dressed in his school uniform, but Misato wore a red mini-dress with mule sandals and her best handbag, with her hair worn long held together with a multi-color holographic hair band.

"So the American actually had the guts to ask our Rei on a date?" Misato asked Shinji.

"Yeah," Shinji replied, "But I don't think she'll do it. She's never that kind of person."

"Still," Misato said, "It's really cute just to think about it." She turned to Shinji and smiled. "And you're cute too, for trying to help!"

"I didn't know what to do, really," said Shinji. "I didn't want him to be too disappointed, as he's a guest."

Misato narrowed her glance at Shinji and pointed her finger at his chest. "Or maybe it's YOU who really wants the date?" Shinji was taken aback, as she had just hit a little too close to home. "Uh, Misato, it's not like that..."

"Sure, sure. Any way, you're mine this afternoon!" She tugged at his arm, wrapping her hand around his arm much like a girlfriend would. "So let's you and me pick out something for her to wear."

"You mean we're going to shop for clothes for her?" he asked. "Don't you think her uniform is good enough?"

Misato sighed. "Rei is the only 14-year old girl I know that wears her school uniform on Sunday. She's got to get another outfit if she's going to do this."

"But I have no idea what she likes!" said Shinji.

She laughed a little. "Silly boy! We're going to pick this out for her. Oh, let's go in here..." Misato grabbed Shinji by the hand and dragged him into a nearby ladies boutique.

Except one time with Asuka, Shinji had never been shopping for women's clothing before. The boutique was crowded with young and middle-aged ladies. With perfume and voices and the ambient music the store was playing, it was a very heavy sensory experience for the faint-hearted, of which Shinji was certainly one of.

"Uh, Misato…" Shinji was shaking nervously. Misato paid him no mind but let go of his hand and immediately went to work in the trendy young women's section. She first set eyes on a blue dress with mesh and lace on top of a mannequin with, oddly enough, short blue hair. ."Hmm, let's see… No, that's too formal for a date in the park." She searched for a while on one of the racks, found something, and pulled out a short black and white plaid skirt. "That's more like it! Let's see the size...Ah, yes! That should fit fine. I'm so glad I have the plug suit measurements; it takes all the guess work out of this! "

Shinji, now separated from Misato, was wondering around the store and managed to be bumped into the lingerie section. A wide collection of women's underwear filled Shinji's field of vision. "Umm, Major..."

Misato couldn't hear him where she was. "She's going to need some shoes, those school shoes just don't work. Hmm, sandals? No, maybe she's not used to wearing them. How 'bout these loafers...that'll do. Now, to catch his eye a little!"


"It might be a little breezy tomorrow… Oh, those are really cute stockings! But, no, not really her. Let's go a little conservative; those black tights will do fine." She took a red plastic package and added it to her shopping basket along with the skirt.

Hopelessly lost in the other side of the store, Shinji was whimpering as he tried desperately to find his guardian above the din and crowds of the store "Misato?"

Unfortunately Misato was completely absorbed in her mission. "Now we need a good top for her." She saw a black sleeveless tank, with a plunging neckline. "No, too open. She's going to be too exposed wearing this. She has such a nice figure! I'm so envious of her!" Then she saw something she liked and pulled it off the wall display. "Okay! Hey, Shin-chan, how about this?" She looked around for Shinji as she held up a mid-sleeve white turtleneck sweater.

Shinji turned around at the sound of her voice and suddenly found himself face to face with a red-haired mannequin dressed in nothing but a racy red brassiere and thong. It was just too much for him, as he could feel his face go flush and his nose started to bleed. "MISATO!"

Fifteen minutes later Misato and Shinji walked along the boulevard again, this time Shinji was now carrying several large shopping bags. "I swear I can't take you anywhere," she said to him, slightly annoyed. "You spend all day with girls in plug suits and you get hot and sweaty over a mannequin wearing a bra!"

He looked away from her. "Sorry, Misato"

"At least we got it all done. And I got some extra stuff for myself!" she said cheerfully.

"But you had to buy those to shut up the store manager." Shinji retorted.

Misato sneered at Shinji. "You know, Shinji, sometimes you're just too honest for your own good!"

Meanwhile the two American boys were hanging out in their temporary apartment. Patrick was working on his jigsaw puzzle, a 1,000 piece set with a photo of a geisha that he picked up locally, while Vance was watching baseball on the TV and drinking a sports drink. He turned to Patrick, who was highly focused on his puzzle. "So what's the plan?" Vance asked his roommate.

Patrick didn't look up at him but was scanning the puzzle pieces spread all over the table. "Tomorrow at 12, at the Old Hakone Central Park."

"Do you think she'll show up?"

Patrick turned from his puzzle as he put in another piece and was rewarded with a changing holographic image. "I don't know, really. Ikari-kun said he was going to talk to the Major about getting her to go."

"You know," Vance warned, "even if you go through with this, we're only here for a few more days and then back to the States."

Patrick scratched his head. "I know, but, still I'd kick myself for not trying."

Vance leaned on the couch and folded his arms. "Do you know what you're going to do?"

Patrick didn't seem that confident. "I figure we'll just walk around the shopping area and find something to eat, talk a bit."

Vance smiled. "That's probably not going to work on this girl. Here, if you get stuck, I've got an idea." He leaned over to him and whispered something in Patrick's ear.

"Really? That works?" Patrick asked.

"Just try it."

A couple of hours later Shinji appeared in front of Apartment 402 and knocked loudly at the door. He was holding a blue gift box in his hands. After a few moments Rei came to the door, still wearing her school uniform. "Ikari-kun?" She was surprised to see him.

Shinji bowed down and presented the box to Rei with both hands. Still with his head bowed, Shinji said out loud in an official-sounding voice: "Per Major Katsuragi's orders, in the interest of further cooperation between the Japanese and American branches of the NERV organization, we humbly request that tomorrow afternoon you escort the American pilot Mr. Forrestal as per his request. Also, as per the Major's order, you are requested to wear this...uniform while you are on this duty. That is all."

Blushing, Rei looked at Shinji. "Ikari-kun?"

Shinji was still not looking up as she took the box. "Yes?"

"If it's an order from the Major, I will do it."

"Really?" He looked up at her. As usual she had no real expression, but her voice seemed sincere to him.

"Yes." Rei opened the box and began to examine the contents. Something in particular caught her interest. "Ikari-kun?"

"Yes?" he asked.

"I have a question." She took something from the box.

"What is it?"

"How do you wear this?" Rei unfurled the black tights from the red package and showed them to Shinji. Confronted with the unmistakably feminine intimate apparel, Shinji promptly fainted directly in front of Rei.

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