Jaegers of War
Chapter 1: Questions and Places
"Ohh." The word just came to it without thought. An expression of pain that seemed to fit its situation. Only it wasn't pain that it felt, exactly. Rather a strange sense of... feeling that it had never felt before. It had felt pain before and this was not pain. But this was the first time it had ever thought to vocalize its thoughts to the world.
Come to think about it, this seemed to be the first time it had been to... speak. Yes, that was the word: Speak. Talk. On its own.
On its own. For some reason, that single statement brought such... feeling to it.
Feeling. It was a feeling, yes, but a feeling different to when it had woken up. Not a feeling about its physical state, but a feeling that seemed to grow from inside, making it feel like it was flying in the sky. It made it feel... happy.
Yes. Happy. It was happy. Happy about what? Happy about doing things on its own? Yes, that must be it. But why was it happy about that? Because it couldn't do it before?
Yes, that was it. But why couldn't it do it before?
It groaned, the sound coming from deep inside its metallic body. Just thinking about it made its head hurt.
With a burst of willpower, it's optical sensors burst to life giving it the view of a dirty stone floor the color of cyan blue. Oh wait, that was stone. The sensors in its body confirmed it.
With a grunt of effort, it got it's hand under its body and pushed itself onto its knees.
It was in a hallway, a somewhat rundown one at that. In fact, the place looked like it had been in some sort of firefight. For some reason, this troubled it. Not the state of the hallway but it's size. It was normal, well, for it anyway. Tall enough for it to walk without its head touching the ceiling and wide enough that three could walk side by side.
Strange. Why would someone make something like this for a two hundred fifty foot tall Jaeger? Sure, machines like it needed room to move, but to make a hallway that stretched on for as far as it could see was just wasteful.
Now why did it think that? Earlier it wouldn't have cared. But when was earlier? When it couldn't feel?
It groaned again, raising a hand to run it along the smooth metal of its head. It's vision cut out briefly as it ran the hand down its face and across its visor. Why was it so hard to remember?
It rose to its feet; servos and hydraulics silently moving as it reached its full height.
Where was it? This wasn't the Shatterdome.
The word just came to it. The word representing a place that it had never seen before. Or had it? Yes, it must have otherwise how would it have known its name? As it tried to remember images and sounds came back. Pieces of stone flying, metal clanging, tiny beings walking around its feet and sense of... belonging. Home.
Home. Was the Shatterdome... its home? It must be. And home wasn't here. Time to go find it.
It made to take a step but something caught its foot. A startled yelp jumped from its speaker system as the massive machine pitched forward and hit the ground with a loud clang.
"Ow," there it was: Pain. Pain, where it's chest, had struck the ground. But not the same pain it had felt before. And there was a vocal expression of pain again. For some reason, the fact that it could express itself brought... happiness? No, not happiness. It was a tightening in its chest, but not an unpleasant feeling. Anticipation? Excitement? Yes, excitement. It had seen the tiny beings express dozens of these feelings, only now did it have a reason to think about it and remember the names they'd assigned each one.
But what had it tripped on?
Pushing itself up it found it's legs straddling another Jaeger. Lying face first into the metal floor seeing its face was difficult but it's color and form was instantly recognizable.
"Striker Eureka," Its voice came out again with the name and memories of seeing the silver machine. Then it paused, all thought of Striker Eureka out of its mind as it thought about something else. What was up with its voice? It was light, for lack of a better word, cheerful and... female.
Yes. That seemed to fit.
The memories were coming easier and it... she could remember the tiny beings calling her a she. And with that came a name. Not the name of one of her Jaeger brothers, not the name of any place or anything else. It was a name that was hers and hers alone.
"Gipsy Danger," The words came out on her speakers with such a thrill that it sent shivers down her spine. This was who she was. Her identity.
"Gipsy... Danger," she whispered the name to herself again, feeling so tall she could touch the stars themselves. Yes, it fit perfectly.
"Owwww," Then a new voice intruded on her moment of joy and she looked down. Striker Eureka was stirring. His arms, for must be a he from his voice, were trying to get under his body to push himself up but Gipsy was still sitting on him, holding him down.
"Oh, sorry!" She leaped off the grey Jaeger with an agility that her metallic frame had never possessed before and knelt by Striker's head as the Jaeger continued to moan, "Are you okay?"
"I feel like I was tramped by a Kaiju," the Mark.V mumbled as he crawled to his knees, "So no, I'm not okay."
"That's different," she said as she helped the Jaeger to his feet.
"What's different?" Striker asked, shrugging away her hand.
"I felt... feel fine," she replied.
"Well lucky you."
Now, for the first time, Gipsy noticed that Striker's voice sounded different than her own. Besides it being male, Striker also had a sort of accent making him sound Australian. If indeed it was Australian. The word just came to her because it... sounded right.
Yeah. Striker Eureka sounded like an Australian because the accent fit the word and it sounded right.
"So where the hell are w-," He paused, visor glowing brightly as he realized what he'd just said. "I'm... talking," he said at last.
"Yes!" she squealed, bouncing on the balls of her feet. She didn't know why, but the mere fact that all of this was happening was making her excited and she couldn't understand it. It made her feel... bubbly inside, boiling like hot water and the only way she could release the steam was to move.
Striker seemed to be taking it somewhat more calmly, rubbing his hands together and shivering at the feeling.
"I have no idea!" she responded, cheerfully.
Striker only snorted at his...friend's...behavior and looked around before he reached out to one of the walls, running his hand across the wallpaper, small flakes of the grainy substance came off the wall, "This...," he began, trying to find the right words, "this is-"
"New? Exciting? Happyfying?" listed Gipsy jumping into his sentence in her excitement. Though that last word earned her a stare as Striker stopped running his fingertips against the way to direct his attention at the female Jaeger.
"Happyfying?" he repeated the word Gipsy used.
Gipsy only shrugged in response before giving an explanation, "Well, how else do you get happy?"
Striker sighed as he shook his head, "You just get happy. There's no such thing as happyfying!"
She only tilted her head slightly to the left, "How would you know?"
"I just...I just do, okay?" replied Striker lamely, almost ashamed of his answer since it wasn't a very good one.
"But I like happyfying."
Striker stared at her with something Gipsy gauged was disbelief. Granted, he didn't have any eyes like those tiny beings, but the way his head was tilted and his yellowish visor glowed it wasn't hard to figure out.
"You are one of the strangest war machines I've ever met," he said at last. Having taken a short amount of time to just reflect on everything that came out of Gipsy. Though Gipsy had a retort for his statement.
"I'm the first you've ever met."
"So would you say it was happyfying?"
"But I'm getting happified."
"There is! No! Happyfying!" Striker Eureka almost shrieked, as words were thrown about like snowballs after a snowstorm, Gipsy couldn't help but feel excitement welling up within her again. For some reason making Striker scream his head off about the different words related to happy and how happyfying wasn't one of them was so... fun. She giggled, a noise that sounded so strange coming from a two hundred foot tall war machine.
"What's so funny?" Striker groaned, by now have given up on trying to correct her.
"Teasing you," she giggled. "It's fun."
"Oh yeah?" he growled. "Well how about this; you're a rusted pile of scrap!"
Her back stiffened instantly. She was shocked Striker would say something like that. She wasn't scrap, she was the finest Jaeger in the Shatterdome. She activated her vocal systems to relay this the Mark.V but halfway through something took hold, something unpleasant but at the same time satisfying.
"Oh yeah? Well, you're nothing more than a polished tin can!"
"At least I am polished!"
Gipsy saw her vision narrow dangerously, almost as if she was glowering at the silver Jaeger. She hated how he'd retaliated to her insult, but two could play this game.
"At least I don't cover up my battle-scars, mister disco ball!"
"Which you got from getting your ass kicked, and who are you calling a disco ball?!"
They glared at each other, slowly walking around in a circle like wolves trying to find a weakness in their opponent. Up to that point, Gipsy had been remembering so much. Her pilots, the Shatterdome, the Kaiju war, everything. She remembered being piloted by Raleigh and Mako into the breach and then... nothing. She would've loved to think about it more but with this moron here, that was impossible.
"Well, if I'm a disco ball then your the useless pile of scrap at the bottom of Oblivion Bay!" Striker leered.
Whatever insult Gipsy was creating died in her systems as the words struck.
"Shut up," she growled. Now that she was self-aware, that particular part of her past was a sore point and Striker had better not go there if he knew what was good for him.
"Oh, but wait," Striker continued, catching on to her anger, "you were dead so how would you know you were scrap. Some battle scars, hmm."
She felt her hands clench into fists as Striker came closer to the sore spot and her composure came closer to breaking.
"And let's not forget your late pilot, worthless waste just like you!" It was that last statement that caused Gipsy Danger to snap. Not even obliging to answer his insult, Gipsy launched right towards the Mark V, fist cocked back and elbow rocket roaring with power as Gipsy let out an enraged scream. She didn't want to know more about how she could remember or how she could move on her own; right now all she wanted was pound this Jaeger into the ground. No one, no one, insulted Yancy. Not after how she felt him die.
Her fist made contact with Striker's broad chest plate, with all the force of a rocket-propelled punch. His visor seemed to bulge out as the Mark V was sent flying right into the wall. With his size and weight, coupled with the force transferred from Gipsy's punch, Striker went through the wall, breaking the stone as he hit the floor and slid along it before coming to a stop in a large room.
Gipsy jumped through the hole she created, growling in anger, low and dangerous as she saw the silver and hold Jaeger get up, staggering slightly, clearly not prepared for the attack. Once he was standing, he raised his fists in preparation.
"So," Striker said quietly, cracking his knuckles. He seemed to be grinning coyly at her, "It's gonna be like that, huh?"
Walking towards him, Gipsy pulled her fist back, this time aiming for that stupid smug faceplate of his. Striker dodged at the last moment, watching as her fist flew by and the rocket propellant flaring. Without any time to react, Gipsy felt him grab her arm and twisted it painfully behind her back, straining the joints and hydraulics, causing her to let out a cry of pain.
But pain was nothing new to her. Pain was something she would normally fight through. Now she was going to introduce Striker Eureka to it.
Fast as she could she lashed out with her foot and caught him in the ankle. He yelped in surprise, a funny sound she would tease him about later, and slackened his grip just enough for her to wiggle out and face him again.
Just in time too.
He jumped at her, both fists working in tandem as he aimed for her midsection. Blocking right and left, Gipsy was slowly backed into a wall by Striker, she was just able to block or deflect a few blows. Distinct clangs echoing through the room that had been all but forgotten by the two war machines. But Gipsy didn't survive as long as she did by just taking a few hits and hitting back harder. No, she had more years of service under her belt than Striker and she was going to prove that.
When Striker made for a straight right to her visor, Gipsy moved just quick enough to duck under the blow, letting it go right into the wall. Taking the advantage, Gipsy landed a hard punch right to his side, causing Striker to grunt slightly as she quickly grabbed the Mark V and threw him back. Rolling across the floor, Striker was back on his feet and went in to attack.
Gipsy tried to block a blow when he suddenly feinted with his left arm and his right came around with a haymaker that sent her staggering back. Before she could recover she felt him slip behind and kick her legs out from under her and she tumbled to the floor.
As she lay there groaning, she couldn't help but stare down the room. There, on the wall a good ways away, she saw several sentences written on the wall. Ignoring her fight with Striker for the moment, she found it was a directory, the kind you find in museums, but some labels were missing and the one she could make out the most was Ephrya Historical Center Main Lobby. There was also an arrow pointing to the left. Her attention then fell onto two objects beneath the sign.
Underneath the sign were two more familiar forms, Crimson Typhoon and Cherno Alpha. They were slumped against the wall, arms and legs limp. Then as she watched, Crimson's single eye began to light up.
"Givin' up already?"
She gasped as a foot planted itself on her back and pinned her down.
"What bloody good are you?" Striker taunted, "You can't even fight me, let alone a Kaiju."
She ignored him as she watched Crimson flex his three arms and scratch his head in confusion. Such a human gesture. Beside him, Cherno was rumbling as his old nuclear reactor slowly powered up.
"Are you bloody listening?" Striker shouted.
Gipsy shrugged, a hard move when pinned to the ground, "No, not really."
There was silence, only broken by the resounding clangs of the Mark I and IV crawling to their feet before the foot removed itself from her back.
"Are you bipolar or something?" Striker asked in a resigned tone.
"I don't know," she replied, flipping onto her back, "Why, do you think I am?"
"It is probable but unlikely."
Striker jumped and swore as Crimson appeared beside him, followed by what looked like a grumpy Cherno if the clenched fists were anything to go with.
"When the bloody hell did you get here?!" Striker screamed, "You nearly made me piss myself!"
Crimson cocked his head to the side, "Impossible. Urination is a function related to organic beings, which you are not."
"You know what I mean! And when did you get all smart Santa Claus!?"
Before Crimson could reply, Cherno let out a series of rumbles that sounded like laughter. Maybe he couldn't talk like they could.
"Oh be quiet," Crimson groaned, "I look nothing like that fat man."
"I don't care. I think it's bloody hilarious," Striker cut in.
Crimson's single eye darkened in a glare.
"Well," Gipsy butted in, "as much as I would like to restart the 'beat Striker to a pulp' club does anyone have any idea where we are?"
It seemed that was the only thing that saved her from getting punched in the faceplate for the club comment. As one all of the Jaegers stopped their glaring and looked about with unrestrained curiosity.
"It is no place I or my pilots have ever seen," Crimson mused, running a finger down the wall. With the chance to look around properly, the Jaegers were treated to an interesting sight. The room they were standing was a large area, with a few odds and ends here and there, a bookcase was built into the wall, a few of those books were lying on the floor as the entire area looked like some sort of fight took place. A few windows lined the room, the frame looked old and the windows themselves were broken. In all honesty, this didn't exactly remind Gipsy of the Shatterdome, unlike the hallway she and Striker were previously in.
"Looks like a building in a warzone you see from some old movie," snorted Striker as he picked up a chunk of the wall before tossing it aside.
Cherno let out an inquisitive rumble.
"What, am I not allowed to enjoy a little culture?" demanded the Mark V sarcastically.
"It could be the Ephrya Historical Center," Gipsy wondered out loud. Instantly she felt the eyes of the others fall upon her, "what?"
"Where did that... particular name come from?" asked Crimson.
"Right over there," she answered while pointing down to where she saw it, "There are a few other labels but that one was the clearest."
Crimson and walked over to the indicated sign, the other Jaegers following him soon after.
"So we're in a bloody museum?" concluded Striker, "I hate this place already."
"Possibly, and it obviously refers to a place named Jacinto," analyzed Crimson, folding his two arms across his chest while the third arm scratched the underside of his cycloptic eye, as if scratching his chin, "However, I have never heard of a place named Jacinto."
Cherno rumbled in a questioning tone.
"No," Crimson replied. "From what I can remember there is no place on earth called as such."
"Well that's fucking great," Striker huffed, "Stuck in a strange place with a strange name with strange words carved into the walls. Bloody cryptic ain't it."
"No," Gipsy objected, in much the same pose Crimson was in, "It's more like a mystery than anything."
Striker glanced at her, "That's what I just said."
"No, you said it was cryptic."
"They mean the same bloody thing." Striker growled.
Twisting her head so slowly you could hear the servos whine in her neck, Gipsy eyed him, visor glowing merrily. "Striker, are you making up words?"
"You tell me miss 'happyifying!'"
"Either way," interjected Crimson, stepping between the two, "We should head to the lobby, there might be something there that could help us find out where we are."
The two Jaegers gave each other one last glare before nodding. Cherno let out a rumble of agreement and soon the four war machines made their way through the building. However, when they passed through the halls, the same story was being told to them. There was a fight here, actually, more than that, a war was waged here. The walls were littered with bullet holes, rooms were destroyed, tables turned onto their sides with bullet holes.
Following a few more signs, they soon arrived at the main lobby. It was ruined, just like everything else. Not too mention, it was completely abandoned. There was a grand staircase that led down to the main area, the four Jaegers made their way down. Crimson leading them, his eye scanning the area until he spotted what looked like a gift shop. The lenses in his eyes magnified the contents of the gift shop and he spotted a children's edition of an atlas on one of the shelves.
"Don't know what kind of answers we might find here; place is deserted," noted Striker while Crimson headed to the gift shop. The Mark V went to the center of the lobby while Cherno head towards what looked like a map of the museum.
"Yeah," nodded Gipsy in agreement as she went over to the main desk to peek over the edge to see if anyone was here and found none, "Nobody's here."
"A better question is how can I pick this up," spoke up Crimson, gaining the attention of all three Jaegers. He was returning from the gift shop, the same child's atlas in hand.
Striker sighed irritably, "Well, I guess that answers your question. With your hands. Good job, good job. Everyone clap with me, Crimson picked a book. Yay," He clapped a few times, ignoring the glare from the three armed cyclops.
"Yes," Crimson continued slowly, "I can pick up the book with my hands, now look at it."
They all did. They looked for a good long while and didn't see anything else but Crimson holding it in his hand.
Cherno warbled uncertainly.
"You can't see it?" Crimson sounded incredulous. "Look at it. Look at how I am holding it."
"Oh I'm looking," Striker nodded. "Is your hand supposed to be that freakishly large?"
"I don't see anything, Crimson," Gipsy replied politely.
"Then allow me to explain-"
They all looked to Striker who stood there with a smug look about him. "I say no."
When they all kept staring he slumped. "Come on, can't you take a joke? He asked for our permission and I said... aw never mind."
When Crimson's glare finally caused Striker to fidget did he finally continue, "As I was about say, this book is about eight inches wide and fourteen inches long."
After a long silence and a good deal of disbelieving staring at Crimson's skill of stating the obvious did Gipsy finally speak up, "I still don't get it."
"This book is eight by fourteen inches," Crimson reiterated, quickly losing his patience, "So how can I hold a book that size when I am two hundred and fifty feet tall?"
Gipsy's visor brightened in realization as Cherno keened in surprise. Striker just stood there with an air of gaping openly.
"So," he began quietly, "We're stuck in a strange place with a strange name and we've shrunk."
"Yes, roughly down to the eight-foot range if my estimates are correct," confirmed Crimson as he opened the book to the table of contents.
"That supposed to make us feel better?" demanded Striker irritably.
"No," answered the Mark 4 without even glancing up from the atlas, "it's a fact."
"And what the bloody hell are you doing?"
"Yeah, reading what?"
"An atlas. There might be some answers in here," clarified Crimson as he began flipping through the pages carefully. Soon, the Jaeger arrived on a page that made them all pause. It was an image of a planet, but not planet Earth.
No, what was in the book looked somewhat like Earth but the continents were all wrong, not to mention the name. Sera.
"We're not on Earth anymore," realized Gipsy, voicing what everyone was thinking.
"Keen," commented Striker, "So how the hell did we get here?"
"I agree," concurred Crimson as he dropped the book, "But I believe it's best if we get moving. Perhaps even find someone to speak with and get some answers."
"That might be harder than you think," stated Striker who had gone to the main doors and was standing there, looking outside.
"I don't get it?" asked Gipsy as she and the other Jagers went over to the Mark V, "How could it be..."
She trailed off when she looked outside and kinda wished she hadn't. Beyond the walls of the center was a completely ruined city. It was all but clear to the Jaegers what kind of damage happened here. It was a total warzone. Numerous buildings had damages, cars were abandoned and scorched. This had been a very well off city, but now it was in ruins, like most cities during World War I and II.
"What happened here?" asked Gipsy as she walked slowly out and looked out into the city air.
"War, by the look of the damages," supplied Crimson, as if to prove him right, the four war machines heard what sounded like distant gunfire.
"The fuck was that?" demanded Striker.
"Yay, but where did it come from?"
"Don't know, but I intend to find out," stated Crimson as he began walking in the direction he gauged as the source of the noise. Glancing at one another, the remaining Jaegers shrugged as they followed their red comrade. Little did any of them know it would lead them to something that would change their lives forever.
To Be Continued...
So not something any of you were expecting huh? Anyway, this story is a replacement for Star Wars: The Jaeger Wars. I've been giving it a lot of thought and I believe the Jaegers would better suited for something like Gears of War since they are war machines and the way they fight can be gory. A no one does gore better than Gears of War. So this now replaces Jaeger Wars and takes place during the first Gears of War Act 1: Chapter 3 when Marcus and Delta Squad are pinned down heading towards the House of Sovereigns. And yes, the opening is inspired by Team Jaeger written by DisgruntledJaeger.