Pilot
Candidate

Curriculum 01 (In Tune)

Wonderful summary written by Dawn!

Starts where the last episode left off. Zero is in the cockpit of Eeva Leena, Leena is panicking on the outside, and Gareas is running to answer her distress call. Zero's synch with the Ingrid is as high as is normally possible and still rising; Leena is terrified that he may get absorbed into the Goddess and never come back.

Zero, meanwhile, is having a vision. He's floating in outer space, reliving an attack the Victim made on his colony years ago. He had been separated from his mother, and even though she fought to reach "Rei" -- her son -- the press of people running for the underground shelters carried her away from him. The doors came down, leaving ten-year-old Rei trapped outside with the rest of the doomed. Their colony was too insignificant, too far away from Zion to possibly matter; nobody expected the Goddesses to come and save them.

Against all odds, the Goddesses did appear, and Rei watched in amazement as they attacked the Victim and killed it almost effortlessly. But the Victim was too close to the colony, and the shockwave blasts a whole in the "bubble" that separates the colony from space, and the air rushes out into the vacuum, sucking out anything in its path -- like people. Young Rei is among those that get carried off, hurtling out into the void of space... but the White Goddess saved him.

Back in the present time, Kuro and the official from last episode are now talking about the new Candidates. In particular, #88 (Zero Enna) and #87 (Hiead Gner). The two boys have identical statistics -- and they're identical to "hers" -- but their mind pulses are completely opposite each other.

Clay and Hiead have been dumped into a waiting room. Clay speculates out loud, at length, about where Zero is. Hiead refuses to acknowledge him. Azuma eventually makes it in, and notices Zero's state of not-there; upon discovering that he never arrived, he orders the computers to perform a search of GOA to find the truant Candidate, but the search comes back without result. Azuma orders the other boys not to move and runs from the room.

Zero, now officially freaking out, hallucinates a planet he knows isn't Zion, and without warning it suddenly glows and breaks apart, and within the ruin a girl appears, falling-- Zero reaches out to her, but his hand goes right through her. And then the girl is behind him, curled into a ball and wanting to know how he can see the things that she sees. When he has no answer for her, she reaches out to him and says that it's because he is the same as they are.

Then the Victim attack.

The remaining Pilots and their Repairers head over to the maintenance bay while the sirens go off, preparing for battle; GOA goes on alert and Hiead quietly has a heart attack for no good reason that is explained to us.

Eeva Leena starts up, and suddenly Zero feels the pain again, as though his body is burning -- but the Goddess comes up behind him and put her hands over his, telling him not to be afraid, that she'll show him what to do. He opens his eyes and suddenly he can see, as though seeing with the Ingrid's eyes. Eeva Leena engages the retrieval, and the Ingrid begins to back up for release; Gareas runs after her and does a flying leap over a several story drop, barely catching onto Eeva Leena's casing, heedless to his own danger. He cries out for her to stop, listen to him, but Eeva Leena only continues talking to Zero.

But something about the reality of the situation strikes Zero, as well, and he also demands that she stop, letting him out. Eeva Leena manipulates him, trying to remind him that this is his dream, so shouldn't he allow it -- but Zero repeats that he doesn't "understand yet", that he isn't ready... And this time she listens, drawing back almost sadly and listening as he starts screaming in pain again.

The other Ingrids launch as Eeva Leena's readings go all to hell, Leena watching with stunned horror as the synch drops and errors start appearing all over, with alarms going off as Zero falls below critical points and approaching fatal levels. Azuma arrives on the scene and tells Leena to do what she's been doing all along, but this time it works -- the cockpit opens and Gareas reaches inside and yanks Zero out, hurling him back onto the platform.

All five Ingrids launch on time. Leena cradles Zero in her arms and asks Azuma, bewildered, who this boy could possibly be. Azuma explains that he's nobody. Yet.

...inside Zero's dream, he's lying on a grassy hill, in the dappled shade under a tree, enjoying the breeze... a girl leans over him as he thinks of his mother and promises her that he will become a Pilot...

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