A young Iraqi teen from the Iraqi Wasteland, swept up into the battle for a world he never knew existed. Pilot of Unit-07.
Tall, thin and somewhat malnourished for a boy his age, with lank brown hair and jaded brown eyes, Yusuf clearly possesses the face of one who has seen much horror in his short life. Usually dressing in dark clothes that are altogether too loose, informal and practical in the relatively ‘civilised’ confines of a Geofront/NERV base, he also possesses a perpetually ‘lost’ look if not around familiar people or places; especially if he does not have somewhere he needs to be or has something he needs to do. His plugsuit is a dull yellow with blue highlights and Yusufs’ discomfort in being in it is visible to all; coming from a conservative culture which hid their body not only as a matter of modesty, but as a matter of health and safety, the feel of the plugsuit (or lack thereof) is highly unsettling to him. Despite his somewhat intimidating appearance, Yusuf is, in fact, highly needy and dependent on human contact. Almost everything he does is apparently justified by meeting the needs of others, and when they are not met, or even if he is just having a bad day, his mood sours and he becomes extremely morose and withdrawn. However, when he is acting for such reasons, Yusuf is known for being incredibly brave and selfless, almost to the point of death, utterly unafraid and perhaps even eager to risk his life to save others.
He is also known for being altogether new to the modernity, relative safety and abundance of resources in the Geofront, having come from a dog-eat-dog (and sometimes, man-eat-man) world, where daily struggle for survival is a fact of life. The shock, both cultural and personal, of becoming an EVA pilot has left him utterly confused and extremely dependent on the opinions to even function; even moreso when one considers the people he left behind.
Hailing from the fortress-city of Erbil, one of the few beacons of (relative) sanity amidst the sprawling chaotic wasteland that was once Iraq. Yusuf is a nephew of one of the few rich Sheikhs with the foresight to see what was going to happen after the Second Impact. The once peaceful, green ‘Fortress City’ now lives up to its’ name-perpetually manned, perpetually besieged and perpetually running low on resources-An island in a sea of chaos. For nobody came to that part of the world anymore; nobody, not even the UN, came to the lost cause of Iraq, and, for the most part, their neighbours had closed their borders or nuked themselves to hell, the radioactive winds carrying over to Yusufs’ homeland, and with them, the endless hordes of desperate refugees, bandits and worse.
This is the sort of environment Yusuf grew up in.
While he was educated in several fields, they were always tertiary to the need to conserve resources, to know how to fight, and to never, ever let down your guard. Still, for the perpetually material-starved Erbilians, it was considered a rite of passage to go out and scavenge for resources in the gutted, burned, and half-destroyed remains of their once sister-cities, risking the danger of raiders, sandstorms and cannibals; and Yusuf, by the standards of Erbil, is a man-If only just. The horrors of what he had seen (and done) has left lasting scars on his psyche, however, and he is still wracked by bouts of guilt and disgust even as it made him more and more reliant upon others for emotional support, having coverly renounced Allah for abandoning his people to fire and ruin.
That was two years ago.
His repressed problems slowly rising to the surface, he gradually earned the distrust of his fellow city-dwellers, falling slowly into a spiral of depression and despair. It is quite likely that he eventually would have either killed himself or been left out to die, for Erbil did not accept the weak-Not after they had lost over 8)% of their pre-Impact population, and Yusuf knew this. Only a chancest meeting with Director (UNKNOWN) allowed him a way out, inviting the boy to a ‘test in a strange box just outside the city’, stating that she ‘had a good feeling about the results’-Which Yusuf, all too eager to please, accepted. To his astonishment, he scored astoundingly high on this test, with a Synch Ratio of 62%. He was then ‘invited’ to join the ranks of those who ‘fought to save the world’. Remembering the disappointed faces of his family and once-friends, Yusuf accepted with a second thought, and, in a rare fit of rebellion, decided not to inform anyone of his departure, his once sour mood vanishing at the thought of actually being significant. When he finally left, and arrived in the Geofront, he was greeted with a world he never thought could have existed and a job (and duty) that he never thought possible.
Faced with such pressure and with such unfamiliarity, Yusufs’ problems began creeping back up on him…
1. What is your real, birth name? What name do you use?
“Yusuf Al-Mansur bin Jamaludin bin Mohammad…But…Everybody just calls me Yusuf.”
2. Do you have a nickname? What is it, and where did you get it?
“It was always Walad or ‘boy’ back home…Leah calls me ‘Arab Boy’ or ‘Iraqi’ or whatever.”
3. What do you look like? (Include height, weight, hair, eyes, skin, apparent age, and distinguishing features)
“I am 5’6, and according to the weighing scales over here, I am 148 lbs. Uh…I have black hair, and brown eyes, I guess…I have a pale brown skin, too-I am a Kurd, after all. I’m fifteen years old. As for …Distinguishing features? My left hand has a burn mark from when I tried to grip a recently fired machinegun by the barrel, when I was younger…Uh…I have a scar from a bullet wound on my chest, too, as well as a few shrapnel wounds…Nothing too out of the ordinary,…”
4. How do you dress most of the time?
“I wear what I wore back home, I guess. An old, tough pair of khakis, a thick black cotton shirt and a jacket of some sort…it doesn’t really matter. I usually bring a scarf with me, too.”
5. How do you “dress up?”
6. How do you “dress down?”
7. What do you wear when you go to sleep?
“I…Go to sleep? In my clothes. What else would you do…? I mean, what if you get attacked?”
8. Do you wear any jewelry?
“No…Back home, that tends to get you killed.”
9. In your opinion, what is your best feature?
“I’m good with a knife, I guess. Better than Leah. Even better than Arya. But that’s about it…”
10. What’s your real birth date?
“The third of December, 2000. The world was ending around that time, or so I was told…”
11. Where do you live? Describe it: Is it messy, neat, avant-garde, sparse, etc.?
“I live in my room, I guess. It doesn’t have much…It has a prayer mat, a TV, and …A few movies and books in a corner. My first gun is there, too, although it’s been taken apart.”
12. Do you own an EVA? Describe it.
“Oh. Djinn? Yes…Well, I don’t really own him. But I pilot him. He’s tall and dark blue and yellow. He’s pretty big-But then again I suppose most EVAs are. I like him, though. When I’m in there, I feel like I could take on the world…Even though I know I can’t. O…Oh? Uh, I call Djinn a ‘he’ … Well, I don’t know why, really. You’d have to get in him to understand.”
13. What is your most prized mundane possession? Why do you value it so much?
“My Quran, I guess. It’s the one thing that was freely given to me…And without it, who am I? I am surrounded by infi-I…I mean, non-Muslims. I don’t know how to think or act or anything. Without it, I’m just a nobody, I guess; a nobody that they’ll hate anyway. But I suppose my first knife is important, too. It’s saved my life more than once…”
14. What one word best describes you?
1. What was your family like?
“It was big. I had so many siblings, even now, I can’t remember the names of all my living siblings, much less my dead ones. My father had four wives, and three before that, but they’re dead now. They were … Distant to me. Sometimes they’d talk to me, but usually it was to tell me to run errands. Uh…Well, um, let me count…I have twenty-four living siblings, or at least I did when I left home, and I had thirty-one dead ones. Even my mother didn’t talk to me much, even though she was nicer to me than others, I guess. My grandparents are all dead.”
2. Who was your father, and what was he like?
“Jamaludin Al-Mansur. He was the mayors’ cousin, and he was usually out raiding and scavenging. He was always stern and imperious, I guess-He was scary when he yelled at me, or anyone for that matter. I don’t like being yelled at by him. I…I’m glad he’s not here. He’d be angry with me, I think, for working with ‘the enemy’.”
3. Who was your mother, and what was she like?
“Aisha Al-Mansur. She didn’t speak much, I think, and she had me when she was quite young. I don’t think she really knew what to think of me…She gave me food sometimes, a little more than my brothers.”
4. What was your parents marriage like? Were they married? Did they remain married?
“They married just before the Second Impact…And it was …I don’t know. Sort of cold. Maybe it was different before the Second Impact and when I was really young, but abu-I mean, father, was all business as far as I remember him. I suppose he had to be.”
5. What were your siblings names? What were they like?
“Uh…Let me try to remember…There was Mian, Jelaudin, Mohammad, Achmed, Mawsun and Masil, Amira, Sana, Raheem, Malik, Jamal, Abida, Imad…Hold on…”
[It becomes fairly apparent that Yusuf has enough siblings that he cannot remember all of their names.]
“Mian and Khalid were nice to me, I guess. I don’t really know what to think of the others.”
8. When’s the last time you saw any member of your family? Where are they now?
“The day before I left for Yerushalayyim. Sarai, one of my fathers’ wives, was yelling at me for ‘stealing food’…And I don’t know. Probably still alive, I suppose.”
8. Did you ever meet any other family members? Who were they? What did you think of them?
“I had more uncles and aunties and cousins and nephews and nieces than I can really remember…And I was always sort of an outsider. I didn’t really like them.”
1. What is your first memory?
“Being pulled away from a landmine. I was three at the time, I think.”
2. What was your favorite toy?
“…Toy? I was given my first knife the day I could walk. They told me what vessels to cut if I were ever captured…I’ve used it to kill and skin game…Does that count?
3. What was your favorite game?
“Hide and seek. It was easy to learn and play, I guess, and once you found a good place to hide, it felt good not having to worry about much.”
4. Any non-family member adults stick out in your mind? Who were they, and how did you know them? Why do they stick out?
“My raid leader, Kamal Mazarif. He was a friend of one of my brothers. He taught me how to shoot and maintain a gun, survive in the wilderness, and kill people. He was a hard man, but I don’t think I’d be alive if it weren’t for him.”
5. Who was your best friend when you were growing up?
“I had a good friend, once…Soran Ibrahim. But then we went out hunting, once, and he broke his leg when he slipped and fell down a cliff. I went to go get help, and he was gone when I came back. I suppose he probably died….Oh, and I knew this girl from a neighbouring town, once, and we played together sometimes, but then she tried to steal from us, so one of my brothers shot her.”
6. What is your fondest, childhood memory?
“Sneaking up to an enemy raiding party and scouting them out for our warriors to kill them later. Well…Not that, actually. It was aba praising me afterwards.”
7. What is your worst childhood memory?
“I had to shoot Khalid-My brother-Once. He lost…Both his legs to a landmine. Begged me to do it. So I did.”
1. How old were you when you went on your first date?
[Yusuf ‘ums’ slightly and then murmurs quietly at the ground. It’s impossible to make any sense of it.]
2. It is common for one’s view of authority to develop in their adolescent years. What is your view of authority, and what event most affected it?
“They do what needs to be done, and I suppose it is my duty to help them. Even if it’s not nice at all…”
3. What “clique” did you best fit in with?
“….Clique? Uh…I suppose I was part of the Young Warriors society of Erbin…But I never really fit in…”
4. What were your high school goals?
5. Who was your idol when you were growing up? Who did you first fantasize about in your life?
“Idols? Oh, you mean people I admire. I suppose…Khalid ibn al-Walid. I wish I could be brave and ever-victorious, like him.”
6. What is your favorite memory from adolescence?
“The Geofront. Seeing the Geofront for the first time. By the Prophet, it was so beautiful. If my soul could live in such a place when I die, I would be content.”
7. What is your worst memory from adolescence?
“Getting shot, I suppose. That hurt, I spent a few months getting better and people kept yelling at me for being useless…I suppose I was, for getting hit.
Well, no. That…That’s not the worst memory. But I don’t want to talk about it. Please? Not here…"
1. Do you have a job? What is it? Do you like it?
“I pilot Unit 07, I guess. Someone has to do it…And I suppose I like it. But I still don’t know why they chose me, of all people.”
2. What is your boss or employer like?
“Oh, Sayeda Nicholas? …He’s a good man, I guess. But he drinks a lot. I don’t know why.”
3. What are your co-workers like? Do you get along with them? Any in particular? Which ones don’t you get along with?
“I don’t really know enough about them to make a judgement, but Leah is scary…”
4. What is something you had to learn that you hated?
“Breathing LCL. It always feels like you’re drowning, at first…”
5. Do you tend to save or spend your money? Why?
“I don’t know. It doesn’t really bother me, as long as I have enough to eat and drink. I suppose I spend it sometimes.”
Likes & Dislikes Questions
1. What hobbies do you have?
“Watching movies and reading books, I think. Was the world before the Second Impact really so amazing…? I can only imagine. I suppose I also practice the knife-fighting drills Kamal taught me when I was younger, and go running. I have to keep fit, after all.”
2. Who is your closest mundane friend? Describe them and how you relate to them.
“I don’t have any friends here yet…I just got here.”
3. Who is your worst mundane enemy? Describe them and why you don’t get along.
“The Israeli general of the Iraqi Front, Benyamin Spiegel or something, hates me. He spat on me when he was told that I was going to pilot an EVA…I don’t know why he hates me so, but it’s probably because I’m one of …Them.”
4. What bands do you like? Do you even pay attention?
5. What tape or CD hasn’t left your player since your purchased it? Why?
“….I don’t know, I haven’t bought one.”
6. What song is “your song?” Why?
“Song…I don’t know enough to really make a judgement, yet. But that song ‘You Raise Me Up’ is pretty nice…It makes me think that everything will be okay.”
7. What’s been your favorite movie of all time?
“Beauty and the Beast, by Disney! It’s just …Oh, so wonderful. If only life were really like that.”
8. Read any good books? What were they?
“Does the Quran count? No, probably not. Uh, well, I was given this ‘Gaunts Ghosts’ book by one of those suited guys when I asked if I could have something to read. I tried. I didn’t really get it…”
9. What do you watch on the Television?
“I don’t watch TV much. But I watch cartoons sometimes, I guess.”
10. When it comes to mundane politics, do you care? If so, which way do you tend to vote? If not, why don’t you care?
12. What type of places do you hang out in with your normal friends?
“I don’t have any friends here yet.”
13. What annoys you more than anything else?
“People talking themselves down.”
14. What would be the perfect gift for you?
“Gift…? I…I don’t know…Nobody’s ever given me a ‘gift’ before. Some movies, I guess?”
15. What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?
16. What time of day is your favorite?
“Midnight. It’s quiet, and the moon is beautiful. It lets me think, and dream.”
17. What kind of weather is your favorite?
“Rain, I suppose. Rain to wash away all the dirt and grime, and then sun. I like the sun after rain.”
18. What is your favorite food? What is your least favorite food?
“Food? Well, at home we couldn’t afford to be picky, but over here, just about everything’s good!”
19. What is your favorite drink? (Coffee, Coke, Juice, Beer, Wine, etc.)
“Same with food. But I like lemonade.”
20. What’s your favorite animal? Why?
“Cats. Cats are nice. They like me for some reason, and I like them back more. Did you know that the Prophet also adored cats?”
21. Do you have any pets? Do you want any pets? What kind?
“No. But a cat would be nice.”
22. What do you find most relaxing? (Not as in stress relief, but as something that actually calms you down.)
“Watching movies, I guess. Nice movies, with happy endings.”
23. What habit that others have annoys you most?
“Doors are wonderful. We didn’t have many doors at home. But what I really don’t like is people opening your door, walking into your room, talking to you, leaving and then refusing to close the door on the way out.”
24. What kind of things embarrass you? Why?
“…Girls, I guess. Especially my teammates when they’re in their plugsuits…They’re so…So tight! And it feels like I’m not wearing anything in front of them.”
25. What don’t you like about yourself?
“I’m too much of a coward, I can’t shoot straight, and I usually have no idea what to do…I’m not very good, am I?”
26. How would you like to look?
“Taller and stronger, like my brothers. Maybe I’d be a little more useful then.”
Sex & Intimacy Questions
1. Would you consider yourself straight, gay, bi, or something else? Why?
“….You mean, some boys … Like other boys? What? Girls, too? I don’t ….
I’m not like that. I’m normal. I like girls…”
2. Who was the first person you had sex with? When did it happen? What was it like? How well did it go?
“Ya Allah…I can’t answer…I haven’t-I’m…I’m…”
3. Have you ever had a same-sex experience? Who with, what was it like, and how did it go?
“What…? Why would I do-”
4. What is your deepest, most well-hidden sexual fantasy? Would you ever try it?
5. What was the wildest thing you’ve ever done, sexually? Who was it with and when did it happen?
“I can’t answer that one…”
6. Is there any sexual activity that you enjoy and/or practice regularly that can be considered non-standard? (Bondage, Fantasy Play, etc.) Why do you like it?
“No! I said please, stop! This is embarrassing!”
7. Is there any sexual activity that you will not, under any circumstances, do?
[Yusuf remains silent throughout the entirety of this question, refusing to answer it. The sound of him murmuring to himself in Arabic-Prayers, mostly-Can be picked up from the tape.]
8. Do you currently have a lover? What is their name, and what is your relationship like? What are they like? Why are you attracted to them?
“N…No! Please, I’m only fourteen and I just got here!”
9. What is the perfect romantic date?
“It’s…Oh, I don’t want to say. I’ll probably mess it up and sound stupid.”
10. Describe the perfect romantic partner for you.
“Someone who laughs and smiles, I guess. Someone who makes me feel like I’m worth something, even though I’m not.”
11. Do you ever want to get married and have children? When do you see this happening?
“If I can ever make something of myself…Yes, I think so. But not for awhile….And only if I don’t die.”
12. What is more important – sex or intimacy? Why?
“Oh…Intimacy. Without it …Love? It doesn’t have much meaning.”
13. What was your most recent relationship like? Who was it with? (Does not need to be sexual, merely romantic.)
“I…I haven’t had one.”
14. What’s the worst thing you’ve done to someone you loved?
“I loved my brother Khalid, I guess. He was a good brother. I had to shoot him so he wouldn’t suffer.”
Drug & Alcohol Questions
1. How old were you when you first got drunk? What was the experience like?
Did anything good come out of it? Did anything bad come out of it?
“Alcohol is forbidden by the Quran!”
2. Do you drink on any kind of regular basis?
3. What kind of alcohol do you prefer?
4. Have you ever tried any other kind of “mood altering” substance? Which one(s)? What did you think of each?
“Well…I’ve had opium, once, to dull the pain of getting the bullet pulled out of me. It was okay, I guess.”
5. What do you think of drugs and alcohol? Are there any people should not do? Why or why not?
“They fog your mind. They’re silly, but I suppose they have their uses, sometimes-Like anaesthetics.”
1. What one act in your past are you most ashamed of? What one act in your past are you most proud of?
“My most shameful act…I …I picked up a gun and I….And then afterwards, because we had to take the supplies back and weren’t allowed to have any we …And then Kamal ordered us to…So we took our knives and…”
[There is a moment of whimpering and barely restrained sobs, then silence for the next ten minutes. Then Yusuf speaks again, managing to collect his nerves.]
“My proudest act? I think I have already said, I managed to sneak up and scout some raiders for my citys’ warriors to kill.”
2. Have you ever been in an argument before? Over what, with who, and who won?
“Not many times, but I have. I am usually wrong, though.”
3. Have you ever been in a physical fight before? Over what, with who, and who won?
“More than once. I’ve stabbed and gotten stabbed quite a number of times…With who, and over what? More people than I can count, and usually over supplies. We usually won. Kamal was a good leader.”
4. What do you feel most strongly about?
“…Nothing, I guess.”
5. What do you pretend to feel strongly about, just to impress people?
“Being brave. Maybe if I pretend to be brave enough, I will learn how to actually be brave. And I don’t want to let my teammates down…”
6. What trait do you find most admirable, and how often do you find it?
" Kindness. It is hard to survive in the world, but without these kindness, what meaning does life even have?"
7. Is there anything you think should not be incorporated into the media or art (sex, violence, greed, etc.,)? If so, what and why, and if not, why not?
“…There are a lot of things that should not be incorporated, but, I think…We should all put our shoulders behind fighting the Mala’Ikhtar. We may not be able to understand them, but they cause so much devastation…”
8. Do you have any feelings in general that you are disturbed by? What are they? Why do they disturb you?
“When I’m in the cockpit sometimes, all I want to do is fight, rip, and tear…Anything anyone says, sounds like a good reason to fight them for. And it scares me.”
9. What is your religious view of things? What religion, if any, do you call your own?
“I am a Muslim-A Sunni, to be precise. But …I don’t really know what to believe anymore, sometimes. The world is so crazy…”
10. Do you think the future is hopeful? Why?
“To be honest? No. The angels are so powerful…But because we have the EVAs, I think we do stand a fighting chance. But even if we win, I wonder if it would be a future really worth living in. Compared to the world before Second Impact…”
11. Is an ounce of prevention really worth a pound of cure? Which is more valuable? Why do you feel this way?
“Yes. Kamal taught me this. It is better to kill the man shooting at you than risk dodging bullets.”
12. What’s the worst thing that can be done to another person? Why?
“Leaving them permanently crippled, unable to be of any use ever again. Forcing them or their companions to make the choice of death for them.”
13. What’s the worst thing you could actually do to someone you hated?
“…I don’t know. Shoot them, I guess?”
14. Are you a better leader or follower? Why do you think that? If you think the whole leader-follower archetype is a crock of shit, say so, and explain why?
“I’m no leader…I just follow. I don’t even know what I’m doing, most of the time…”
15. What is your responsibility to the world, if any? Why do you think that?
“I am responsible for EVA-07. Someone has to fight the Angels, and they have chosen me. I will do my hardest to be the person they need me to be, even until my death. It gives me a reason to exist.”
16. Do you think redemption is possible? If so, can anyone be redeemed, or are there only certain circumstances that can be? If not, why do you think nothing can redeem itself?
“Of course! People can change. But they might not choose to. So sometimes it might be better to kill them before they cause more trouble than they’re worth.”
17. Is it okay for you to cry? When was the last time you cried?
“No…It is not. Only weak men cry. But … I am weak. And the last time I cried was when my fathers’ wife yelled at me for stealing food, and that she would get him to punish me.”
18. What do you think is wrong with MOST people, overall?
“…They can be so cruel.”
1. What is the thing that has frightened you most? Do you think there is anything out there that’s scarier than that? What do you think that would be?
“…The things that humans are willing to do to other humans, even when it’s not necessary. The Mala’Ikhtar are horrifying, that is true, but they don’t have a choice-They don’t have free will…We humans, on the other hand, do…And what some people choose to do…”
2. Has anyone or anything you’ve ever cared about died? How did you feel about it? What happened?
“I have lost many people that I have cared about, and it hurt, but such is life. Most died to things like bullets, knives and disease.”
3. What was the worst injury you’ve ever received? How did it happen?
“I was shot two years ago. I was in a firefight with some raiders, and I got hit. It’s healed now, but the scar’s still there.”
4. How ticklish are you? Where are you ticklish?
“…I am quite ticklish. The back of my neck and my sides, particularly…”
5. What is your current long term goal?
“To lead a life I could call worthwhile. To be somebody others can depend on…”
6. What is your current short term goal?
“To survive fighting the Mala’Ikhtar-And to win. Failing that, to die a death of meaning.”
7. Do you have any bad habits? If so, what are they, and do you plan to get rid of them?
“The counselor says I have terrible self-esteem issues, but she’s just being nice…I really am that bad.”
8. If you were a mundane person, what would you do with your life? What occupation would you want, and how would you spend all your time?
“….I don’t know…I haven’t had much exposure with what you would probably call ‘ordinary’.”
9. What time period do you wish you had lived in? Why? (Looking at this as an attempt to change history doesn’t count.) What appeals to you about this era?
“Before the Second Impact. So much suffering has happened as a result of it … And so many wonderful things were destroyed. I’d have liked to have been able to see and experience it.”
10. How private of a person are you? Why?
“I don’t know…Sometimes I don’t want to talk to people about anything…But other times, I probably say too much.”
11. If you were to gain an obscenely large sum of money (via an inhertiance, a lawsuit, a lottery, or anything else) what would you do with it?
“I’d…I’d save it, I guess. If I survived this, I would use it to help the place once called Iraq to return to the way it was.”
12. What would you wish for if you found a genie?
“A genie? Well…They give three wishes, so…Firstly, the Second Impact not happening. Secondly, everybody having a chance to find their own happy ending. Thirdly…To be someone whose life was truly worthwhile.”
13. What do you do when you are bored?
“I watch movies, I guess. And read books.”
14. What is the most frightening potential handicap or disfigurement you can conceive of? What makes it so frightening?
“Losing my legs and becoming a cripple. I’d be a burden to everyone, and better off dead. Yet I don’t know if I’d have the courage to do the right thing and end my own life…I’m such a coward.”
Berserk Theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rp2V3ospi5o