So, me and my brother were watching Pacific Rim the other night. And then this happened.
I know, I know, I'm supposed to be working on chap 9 of I'll Leave the Love, but this idea just...kinda briefly took over. On the bright side, this is only one movie as opposed to a series with six seasons, so it should be over pretty quick. I'm going to try to update this thing weekly, probably on Thursdays.
This is set in the Pacific Rim universe, so it will follow the course of the movie. I just put the Voltron characters in because I love to torture them.
WARNINGS: minor character death. Battle scenes, wee bits of PTSD.
SPOILERS: Pacific Rim. The entire movie.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Voltron or Pacific Rim. There's a fair bit of word-for-word dialogue in this chapter in particular, just because it's explaining what's happening, but after this one, I keep the gist of what was said but change the wording a lot.
I am going to go ahead and give you the character list, though, just to make it a little simpler for you:
PACIFIC RIM AU CHARACTER LIST:
· Marshall Stacker Pentecost—Alfor Castle
· Hannibal Chau—Iverson
· Ops Tendo Choi—Matt Holt
· Gypsy Danger
o Raleigh Beckett—Lance McClain
o Yancy Beckett—Carlos McClain
o Mako Mori—Allura Castle
· Eureka Striker
o Chuck Hansen—Keith Kogane
o Herk Hansen—Takashi Shirogane
· Research Division
o Dr. Newton Geiszler—Ezor
· Cherno Alpha
o Lt. A. Kaidanovsky—Ken "Tex" Kogane
o Sasha Kaidanovsky—Krolia Kogane
· Crimson Typhoon
o Triplet #1—Kolivan Marmora
o Triplet #2—Thace Marmora
o Triplet #3—Ulaz Marmora
o Head Mechanical Engineer—Hunk Garrett
o Head Tech Engineer—Pidge Gunderson (Katie Holt)
o Head of the Department—Coran Hieronymus Wimbleton Smythe
HERE WE GO!
Of Corroded Steel and Broken Souls
Kaiju: (Japanese) Giant Beast
Jaeger: (German) Hunter
When I was a kid, whenever I'd feel small or lonely, I'd look up at the stars. I wondered if there was life up there.
Turns out I was looking in the wrong direction.
When alien life entered our world, it was from deep beneath the Pacific Ocean, a fissure between two tectonic plates. A portal between dimensions.
I was twelve when the first Kaiju made land in San Francisco. By the time tanks, jets, and missiles took it down six days and thirty-five miles later, three cities were destroyed. Tens of thousands of lives were lost.
We mourned our dead, memorialized the attack, and moved on.
And then, only six months later, the second attack hit Manilla.
And then the third one hit Cavo.
And then the fourth.
And then we learned…
This was not gonna stop.
This was just the beginning.
We needed a new weapon. The world came together, pooling its resources and throwing aside old rivalries for the sake of the greater good. To fight monsters, we created monsters of our own.
The Jaeger Program was born.
There were setbacks at first. The neural load to interface with the Jaeger proved too much for a single pilot. A two-pilot system was implemented, left hemisphere, right hemisphere of pilot control.
We started winning, Jaegers stopping Kaiju everywhere. But the Jaegers were only as good as their pilots. So Jaeger pilots turned into rockstars. Danger turned into propaganda, Kaijus into toys.
We got really good at it.
Then it all changed.
Lance McClain, nineteen-year-old Jaeger pilot, was dragged from a deep, sound sleep by the dreaded sound of Kaiju alarms.
Gipsy Danger report to Bay 08, level A-42. Kaiju alert. Breach movement. Kaiju attack imminent, said the AI system of the Shatterdome. Code name: Knifehead. Category: Three.
He toppled out of his bunk, ripping off his tank-top.
"Carlos!" he yelled, scrambling around in his cupboard to find his under-armor. "Carlos, get up, you perezoso!"
There was a muffled groan from the top bunk, and Lance rolled his eyes with enough force that he was temporarily concerned they might fall out of his head.
"Get up, hermano," he repeated, pulling himself up so he was at eye level with his twenty-four-year-old brother's unconscious form and slapping his pillow to wake him up. "Movement in the Breach! We're being deployed!"
Carlos groaned again, his bright blue eyes cracking open and locking onto Lance's matching blue orbs.
"Alright, alright, I'm up," he moaned, rolling out of bed and only just managing to land on his feet. "What size is this thing? I'm hearing a lot of alarms."
"Yeah," Lance shot him a wild grin, dragging his under-armor out of the cabinet and hopping on one foot to get it on. "It's a three, Carlos. And it's the biggest one yet."
"Oh, great," Carlos rolled his eyes.
"Codename: Knifehead," Lance said dramatically, and his brother snorted.
"That…is a really awful name. What time is it?"
"Two," Lance answered, pulling on his top.
"AM?!" Carlos turned to look at him like it was his fault.
"Yup!" the younger McClain answered cheerfully with a laugh. "What do you say?" he held up his fist. "Fifth notch in the belt?"
Carlos waved his hand in Lance's general direction, too tired to actually aim for his fist.
Somebody banged on the door. "Come on, McClains! Time for the drop!"
Carlos went for the bathroom as Lance reached for his jacket.
"Hey, kid!" the older boy called.
"Yeah?" Lance twisted, and Carlos' smile widened in that way it did so rarely now, since they'd lost their family in the fifth Kaiju attack.
"Don't get cocky."
He slammed the door before Lance could throw his dirty socks at him.
You know before all this, you wouldn't have picked my brother Carlos and me for heroes.
We were never star athletes, never at the top of the class. But we could hold our own in a fight. And it turns out we had a unique skill:
We were Drift compatible.
"Alright, let's get them suited up!" yelled the head technician.
Lance and Carlos stood still as the aides and mechanics ran around them, clipping their armor in place, double and triple-checking every alignment.
The exoskeletons clicked into the back of their armor, Gipsy Danger's symbol proudly stamped on their pauldrons.
They grinned at each other before they pulled their helmets on, the viewscreens clearing in moments. They marched single file into Gipsy's head, and the harnesses came down from the ceiling. The brothers stepped up to their respective sides of the cockpit, their feet securely locking into place on the floor.
The aides ran around some more, attaching all the wires and making sure everything was connected and working the way it was supposed to.
Their helmet comms whirred to life.
"Good morning, Gipsy boys!" said the cheerful voice of their operator, Matthew Holt.
"Matt, what's happening, my man!" Lance said with a wide grin.
"How'd that date with Allison go last night, Mr. Holt?" Carlos put in with a smirk. The operator was a good-hearted guy who sometimes had trouble finding a date, and the McClain boys loved to tease him about it.
Matt was grinning, they could tell. "Oh, she loved me. Her boyfriend—not so much."
Lance had to laugh. "You're gonna get your butt kicked," he informed the operator.
"A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, brother," was Matt's cheerful response.
"Engage drop, Mr. Holt."
The stern voice of their Marshall, Alfor Castle, had both McClain boys snapping to attention.
"Engaging drop, sir!" Matt said smartly. "Marshall Castle on deck. Secure the Conn-Pod. Getting ready for drop."
Carlos reached out and flicked his authorization switch. "Release for drop," he commanded.
"Gipsy Danger, ready for the big drop," Lance said, completing the two-part authorization sequence.
The technicians filed out, and a minute later, one banged on the door.
"Conn-Pod door lock secure!" the techie shouted.
The brothers grinned at each other.
A few moments later, Gipsy's head plunged down.
"Here we go!" Carlos said with satisfaction.
"Yeah!" whooped Lance. "Let's go!"
"Coupling confirmed, sir," Matt said as the head connected smoothly to the shoulders.
"Engage pilot-to-pilot protocol," the Marshall ordered briskly.
"Engaging now," Matt said.
Pilot to pilot connection protocol sequence, Gipsy's AI announced. Gipsy launch, Bay 6.
Gipsy powered up, and the bay doors opened to reveal the raging storm outside the Shatterdome of Anchorage, Alaska.
"Gipsy Danger, ready and aligned, sir," Carlos said, flipping on the last few manual switches above his head. Lance easily copied him from across the cockpit.
"McClains, this is Marshall Alfor Castle. Prepare for neural handshake," the Marshall ordered.
"Commencing in fifteen seconds, boys," Matt said seriously. "Fourteen. Thirteen. Twelve."
Carlos grinned at his little brother as Matt kept counting down.
"Ready to get shoved into my head, kid?" he teased.
"Oh, please, after you," Lance shot back. "Age before beauty, old man."
Carlos laughed out loud.
Neural handshake, Gipsy's AI said. Initiated.
The Drift. Jaeger tech.
Based on DARPA jet fighter neural systems. Two pilots mind-melding through memories with the body of a giant machine. The deeper the bond, the better you fight.
And me and my brother…
We were about as close as you could get.
We thought that would be enough.
We were wrong.
Lance closed his eyes as he was swept into his brother's mind, their shared and individual memories meshing and blending until they couldn't tell one from the other.
He could feel his brother's lingering sleepiness, his will to serve his country, his determination to save the innocent people who were depending on them, and his love for his little brother.
That last one made him smile.
"Neural handshake strong and holding," Matt reported. He scoffed quietly. "What a shocker."
The McClain boys grinned.
"We heard that," they said in unison.
Matt groaned. "Of course you did."
"Right hemisphere, calibrating," Carlos said.
"Left hemisphere, calibrating," Lance replied easily.
Gipsy slammed her left fist into her right palm, her pilots' signature gesture to show that she was ready for action.
"Gentlemen," the Marshall said. "Your orders are to hold the Miracle Mile off Anchorage, copy?"
"Copy that, sir," the brothers said in unison.
Then Lance's eyes were drawn to his display. Carlos frowned, seeing the problem through his eyes.
"Sir," Lance said. "There's still a civilian vessel in the gulf that—"
"Gentlemen," Alfor cut him off. "You're protecting a city of two million people. You will not risk those lives for a boat that holds ten. Am I clear?"
"Yes, sir," Carlos said, sliding as much sarcasm as he possibly could into the statement. He rolled his eyes at Lance. He switched off the comms. "Man, let's go."
Lance looked at him. "You know what I'm thinking."
"I'm in your brain," Carlos deadpanned. "Of course I know what you're thinking."
Lance grinned. "Care to go fishing on this lovely morning, brother mine?"
Carlos' mouth pulled up in a smirk. "You're an idiot. Let's do it."
If you asked me, I could never tell you exactly what happened that morning. It was so dark, and the seas were raging all around us. Lightning lit the sky, and the thunder was so loud, Gipsy's couplings were rattling.
I do remember that we saved those fishermen.
I remember Carlos, unloading blast after blast from his Plasmacaster into the thing's chest.
I remember it sinking beneath the waves.
I remember thinking that we'd won.
"Gipsy!" the Marshall didn't sound angry that they'd left their post anymore. He sounded afraid. "We're still reading Kaiju signature!"
"What?!" Carlos shouted.
"It's still alive!" Matt yelled. "It's still alive!"
"Get the boat and get out of there!" Marshall Castle bellowed. "Do you hear me?! Pick up the boat and get out of there now!"
They turned to obey, but before they had taken one step, the Kaiju exploded from the ocean.
I remember when it ripped my arm off. Well, not mine, exactly, but in the Drift, it sure felt like it was mine.
"I've got it!" Lance shouted, prepping his Plasmacaster to attack the creature.
But Knifehead had learned.
It ducked low and drove its bladed head straight through Gipsy's left shoulder, completely ripping the arm off.
Agony was clawing through his entire body, and his left arm wouldn't move.
He couldn't think, couldn't hear, couldn't see.
He could only scream.
Carlos needed help.
"Left arm's gone cold, sir!" Matt's frantic voice carried through, but he wasn't talking to them.
"Come on, hermanito!" Carlos bellowed above the shrieking alarms and howling storm and roaring Kaiju. "Come on, Lance!"
The Kaiju recovered a lot faster than Lance did.
It went for Gipsy's head.
I also remember exactly what it felt like when Knifehead ripped my brother straight out of Gipsy's cockpit.
Knifehead's talons punctured through Gipsy's viewscreen.
"It's breached the hull!" Lance screamed into the comms, trying desperately to ignore the way his arm still wouldn't move, was still hurting so much he could barely breathe.
"Lance, listen to me!" Carlos ordered. "Listen to me, you've gotta—"
But whatever Carlos wanted to say, Lance would never hear.
Because Knifehead's talons curled around his harness and Carlos was gone.
We were still connected.
It felt like half of my soul had just died in a violent, agonizing way.
I almost blacked out, but that really wasn't an option for me.
There were still two million people living in that city behind me. And it was still my job to protect them.
Lance ground his teeth together and howled as the full neural load of Gipsy's control tore into his mind. He could dimly see blue electricity lashing around him, but his whole body was numb.
All he could feel was rage.
That Kaiju was dead.
It took them almost two days to find me and Gipsy after that fight—or what was left of Gipsy, as it were. I didn't stick around for very long after that.
Jaeger pilots come in pairs. Two make a whole. And like I told the Marshall the day I left, nobody wants a broken half of a whole.
"McClain…" Alfor sighed, running his hands through his hair, looking older and more tired than Lance had ever seen him. "Are you sure about this? You're one of our best, and quite frankly, I'm not sure we can afford to lose you."
"I'm sure, sir," Lance said. His once bright blue eyes were dull and grey. The young man's left arm was wrapped in bandages from his collarbone to his fingertips, and a brace pinned it to his chest to hold it in place as it healed from the massive lacerations and burns it had sustained in the attack. His stiff posture betrayed the multiple stitches, staples, and bandages holding his torso together, and the long scar down the right side of his face was a lurid line of red scar tissue and harsh black stitches. His normally tan skin was pale, and he was covered in bruises from head to toe.
That wasn't even beginning to touch on the mental trauma inflicted by watching his brother die and shouldering that much neural strain for such a long amount of time.
Alfor was honestly amazed that the young man was still standing at all.
"Piloting a Jaeger alone for that long is bound to leave some residual effects, son," the Marshall said quietly.
"No more than sharing in my brother's death then opening my eyes and realizing that I was still alive," Lance said with a bland smile that was nowhere near reaching his eyes.
Alfor winced slightly. "If this is really what you want, I can't—I won't—stop you. But we need more men like you, McClain, and—"
"This is what I really want, sir," the young man said quietly. "And all due respect, Marshall, but nobody wants a broken half of a whole."
Alfor gave a heavy sigh. "We owe you a debt that we can never repay," he said. "Anything you need, ask it and we'll see it done."
"Anything," Alfor promised.
"I want to be left alone," Lance said softly. "I'm done. The Jaegers, the Kaiju…I'm done with all of it. I want to go home."
Alfor's mouth twisted, but he nodded. "It's the least we can do." He rose and held out his hand. "It's been an honor working with you, Ranger."
Lance offered him a thin ghost of the brilliant beam his smile used to be and clasped his hand firmly. "The honor was ours—" his face whitened, and his smile broke. "The honor was mine, sir," he all but whispered.
He walked out of the Marshall's office and never looked back.
I honestly don't remember most of the fight after Carlos was killed.
But I do remember blowing that son of a gun into a thousand smoldering pieces.
I have no idea how I made it to shore. They told me later that I controlled Gipsy, alone, for nearly twelve hours.
I was miles away from the Shatterdome. It was pure chance that I was even found at all.
An old man and his grandson, I was told.
Looking for old ships in the ice with a metal detector, of all things.
Instead, they found Gipsy Danger, staggering out of the sea like a drunkard.
Half a Jaeger.
I was alive.
Not entirely sure I wanted to be, but there I was.
According to Mr. Thomas, when I crawled—honest to God crawled like an animal—out of Gipsy's shattered head, I wasn't responding to anything he said.
I don't remember.
He said that I made it about ten feet and collapsed completely.
He said that I was repeating my brother's name over and over and over, like a prayer or a mantra or a mindless plea.
I don't know.
I don't remember.
But I remember staring up at the cold, harsh, white sky and knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that Carlos was dead and it was all my fault.
I remember staring up at that cruel, unforgiving, frozen sky and swearing up and down on everything I had left and Gipsy's broken soul that I would never pilot a Jaeger again.
And for five years, I thought I would actually get my wish.
Only to find that—yet again—I was so very, very wrong.
So yeah. There's that.
Hope you enjoyed, and keep an eye out for chapter two, either next Wednesday or next Thursday!