A/N Hey all! Thank you to those of you who have reviewed and liked, the comments are below. I'm sorry I dropped off the grid for awhile, I recently moved to another country and it's been really busy. I have the plot written out though, so I will finish this eventually! Shoutout to 'eye of sparta', for not only leaving one, but Two reviews! You're awesome man.

Reviewer: - I really like this idea! The foundation and backstory you have built with these first chapters is great and let's us get to know who is going to be telling the story.

Response: Thank you so much! This feedback was very much appreciated, and is partly the reason I've gotten back into writing this chapter.

Reviewer: musicluver246 - Love your story.

Response: Aww, Thanks! It's comments like these that really get me going!

Reviewer: eye of sparta - Amazing please continue when will you update next you are taking a lot of liberties with the story line. I love it your making it better than the movie

Please continue please continue

Response: I'm not abandoning this story, Promise! It's just been hectic in my life recently, but I'm getting back into it! And thank you for your review, I'm glad you think that way! And man, you are an absolute gem for you reviews.

Reviewer: Guest (Maybe leave a name next time so I could thank you more personally?) - Such a dramatic opening. Please continue the story, what happens next.

Response: Thank you, I'm very happy that you're enjoying it!

Without further ado! I present Chapter 3!

Chapter 3 – The mystery of the Russian Pilot & the Recruitment.

The after story

Shelly Conners (Nurse at Hutt Hospital, New Zealand), P.O.V.

It was a calm day on the Petone Beach, when the helicopters came to pick up the Jaegers – Or as the Maori call them, the Kaitiaki. Protector. I wasn't there myself when it happened, but it was all over the news: The story of 'The Black Jaeger that saved Wellington' spreading like a wildfire in a town where precious little happened. I heard snippets of what had happened: 2 Kaiju, Taniwha, cropped up: some say there was only one at first and the other rose out of nowhere and the four Kaitiaki barely made it with their lives. In fact, one didn't. I don't pay much attention to gossip. As a single mum of two kids, I couldn't afford to be swept up in this nonsensical news, and just kept my head down and treated my patients. Of course, that was before I met the Russian. On that fateful night, I had just finished checking up on some of the patients, doing my once-every-two-hours round at around 10pm. My shift was due to finish at midnight, after my last round, when a woman stumbled into the hospital. No, that isn't the right word. A girl. A broken, defeated girl stumbled in. She was shaking and quivering when I rushed towards her, the summer night's air frigid (A/N In NZ, summer nights are usually cold, unless it's around Christmas.). I was about the scold her for her stupidity when I paid attention to her clothing. It's was black and armoured, built to mould to the user's body. It was.. unusual to say the least, but I was a woman who acted first and asked questions later. I rushed her to the emergency aid area, where another nurse was tidying up. She saw the girl and immediately ceased what she was doing to help me place her on the bed. Now, I could see that her.. suit had sand on the feet and the unmistakeable scent of salty water that only a beach could have. The other nurse, Phoebe gasped when she saw her face. I looked up, and her bloodshot eyes, a salty mix of tears and beach water pouring from them, struggling to stay open. She was crying and whimpering, her muscular arms the strength of jelly as she grieved something privy to God alone. Crusting red liquid was all over her face, a tell of the fact that she had a bad nose bleed, but I didn't see what was so great about h- Oh. My mind flashed to the radio which had reported the news that evening. Taniwha. Her suit made sense, and Phoebe looked like she recognised her, and Phoebe was one of those who couldn't resist digging around for gossip and information. She must be a Kaitiaki. The word was referring to both the Jaeger and the pilots. Protectors. But weren't there meant to be two? Instead of pondering about what may have happened, I quickly starting taking her vitals and she was admitted half an hour later for the aftereffects of a nasty concussion, and hypothermia. Over the next few weeks, she was slowly nursed back into decent health, though she barely spoke. When the news about the Taniwha hit the next day, I recognised her as Anya Luna. It was reported that her sister had died in the attack, and after a heated confrontation a month later, she spilled the full story, showing rare tears that didn't make a reappearance for the next 5 years that I knew her. How terrible it must be, to have lost so much. Anya became a celebrity in the Hutt, but as per her wishes, nobody reported to the government that she was a current ward of the Hospital. When she finally recovered, she admitted to having no money, no place to stay, but was more than willing to help out around the hospital. It was agreed by the Hospital management that in return for a bed, food, and an allowance, Anya was to help out the nurses with the patients: her allowance based on the type of work she was doing at that time. At first, she did the very basics: manning the desk during the low traffic hours, helping clean up the patient's bed area, and wandering around with nurses on duty to help record temperature and blood pressure. Over the next year, she gained experience and was allowed to provide aid in the emergency department and helped to treat the wounded for things like a fever, or a nasty cut. Another year passed, and she had taken up a full nurse's role in a hospital, especially the Hutt where we didn't have very many doctors, and in 2023 she showed the intelligence that makes a Kaitiaki Pilot: she sat and passed the tests required to become a full Nurse set by the Hutt, a risk paid for by the Hutt Hospital. Many spent years trying to pass the exam, but with just 3 years experience, she left with top marks. Two years passed, and Anya was the centre of the Hospital: an acclaimed celebrity (though she didn't act arrogant about it), and a renowned genius with a hidden soft-spot for children. On most days, she wandered in and out of the Children's Ward and oversaw their treatment and administration of medicine.

And as the years passed, Anya and I grew closer as well. We were both headstrong, practical women who didn't like the company of others. Soon she became a regular at the Conners house, where the kids, Kim and John, grew to adore her.

She shared stories of her days as a Pilot, not doing anything for the hero worship the two had developed, and it allowed the four of us on grow closer. Tales of her family: her strong mother and gentle sister, her days in the academy where she was put down and overlooked for her gender and her rising above it, the day she first met Midnight Reaper and how she could feel her come more alive the more they loved her, her missions, and the horrific day that took her precious mother and sister.

She taught them too: how to throw a punch, how to run long distances, where to aim when attacked, and so much more. She also made a point to always train and keep her physique from deteriorating. But she also taught them how to think, how to act. Her philosophy 'Good Skill' left a strong impression on the kids and they strived to be like Aunty Anya.

She even tried to teach them the complicated art of Speaking Russian, but the most they could say were basic conversation starters and simple phrases. Even though it was to be expected, I could tell she was a little sad that they couldn't fully converse with her in her mother tongue. However, she always made the effort to get them to revise what was taught, and talk with them in the language as much as possible.

Anya Luna was a force to be reckoned with. She stormed into the lives (and hearts) of Lower Hutt residents, and wasn't about to leave anytime soon. She was determined and stubborn. God help the soul who stood in her way. But she had a soft side: one that was full of compassion, mercy and forgiveness. Yes, Anya was a genuinely good person. Which was why, when they came for her, I knew she couldn't stay any longer.

3rd January 2025

It was a quiet Thursday when the Marshal came. Anya had inevitably drifted off to the children's ward, and another young nurse and I were the only ones at the front desk. The janitor was whistling a merry tune, remnants of the infectious Christmas Spirit still on the air. The three kids (because I saw Anya as the child I never had, to repay a woman I had never met) had pooled their meagre allowances together for a beautiful Tag Hauer from the local watch shop. It was a petite thing, the antique one of the only analog watches still around, and I just about burst into tears when John and Kim gave it to me, pride shining in their eyes.

The silver beauty glinted in the light as I went about the usual administration work when a platoon of men dressed in military garb strutted into the hallway. A tall, dark-skinned man led the group, an impressive collection of ribbons and medals decorating the uniform. He walked up to the front desk, and looked impassively at us. The girl fidgeted at the look he sent her, but I calmly stared back. I'd had worse from Anya.

"How may I help you?" I coolly asked him.

He appeared surprised but requested, "Is Anya Luna here?"

I warily studied him. It was never made official that Anya resided at the hospital, though it was hard, we managed to scare all the reporters and journalists into submission… er, we asked them very nicely if that would be so kind as to not report that she lived here.

"Who's asking?" A cute brunette in his late 20s looked like he'd swallowed a fly when I replied.

Raleigh's P.O.V

Wow, this lady is fearless! The Marshal looked vaguely impressed but the expression disappeared as fast as it had settled on his face. A careful blank, he replied,

"Marshal Pentecost of the Hong Kong Shatterdome. I'm here to recruit Anya Luna to pilot the Jaeger Midnight Reaper on a mission that, if successful, would save the human race." I balked. That was more of the plan than what he'd told me.

She eyed him critically, before soundlessly nodding and reached for the Intercom,

"Nurse Anya Luna, Anya, you're wanted at the front desk. I repeat, Anya luv, you're wanted at the front desk." The silence that followed was thick enough to cut through, and I was relieved when the girl emerged from the elevator. No, girl wasn't the word. Woman. Because that was what she was, a straight-backed woman with a calm expression on her face.

She was wearing a typical nurse's uniform, though a lime green colour instead of the standard white: the other two nurses were wearing similar. Her dark brunette hair was pulled back into a tight bun, not a single wisp escaping the almost invisible net. The usual cap was missing, and she had sensible black shoes on.

When she saw us, her face remained impassive, but her sky blue eyes sparkled with curiosity.

"You called, Shelly?" her voice was smoother than dark chocolate, the Russian accent still strong. The other nurse, Shelly, grinned in ease and flicked her eyes over to Marshal. Anya walked up to him, and stopped just a few feet shy.

"This gentleman is a Marshal Pentecost, here to ask you to go back and rejoin civilisation. I think he'd want to talk to you about it," she spoke in a friendly tone, but I could see the command in her expression.

Anya nodded, and motioned towards the door on the left, titled 'Meeting Room'.

"This way Marshal," he walked ahead, and she followed behind him. The rest of us sat down on the chairs, and the two nurses went back to whatever they were doing previously.

5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes passed.

The silence that had hung over everyone in the walkway had intensified in awkwardness. The younger nurse would glance up every once in awhile, while the older nurse went about her work, ignoring us.

In an attempt to relieve my boredom, I glanced around the walls to find something to read. My eyes landed on two framed pictures on the wall behind the desk.

The one on the left was a picture of a family. I recognised the nurse Shelly, and the two kids looked like mirrored images of her. However what surprised me, was Anya on the other side of the kids, smiling without a care in the world. They was standing in front of the hospital, and Anya was holding a piece of paper in her hands.

The right frame was a certificate that read, License to practice Issued to Nurse Anya Luna of Hutt Hospital. From the colour and shape, I guessed that it was the same piece of paper that Anya was holding in the left picture.

I didn't know much about nursing, but to pass a test in under five years must be impressive. Wanting to know more, I asked Shelly,

"When did she get that?"

She looked up, and a proud look crossed her face, "She sat in 2023. She's been working at the hospital since she came here and we finally persuaded her to take the tests." I nodded in thought, and was about to ask more questions, if only for the sake of getting rid of the silence, when Marshal walked out without Anya.

"She's still deciding, but asked that you were sent in," he said. She nodded and wordlessly made her way to the room. Closing the door behind her, the faint click was the only sound that made it's was across the hallway.

Anya's P.O.V.

Shelly walked into the room, closed and locked the door, and sat down on the couch next to me. I didn't need to tell her anything; she just gathered me up in her arms and we sat there for a few moments.

"I don't know what to do," my small, hesitant voice stated. I turned to her and she pulled away just far enough that I could look at her properly but still had her arms on my shoulders.

"Anya, I love like a daughter. And I know you like a daughter. You want to go, to fight the beasts that took your family, but you don't want to leave us behind." her stern voice brokered no doubt.

I nodded.

"Remember Anya: you can stay here for the rest of your life, and we would let you. But, would you be able to sleep at night, or go about your daily life, if you knew you were sitting here when you could be out there protecting us? You should go Anya, you should go out there and kick Kaiju ass, for your families: the ones who have died, and us who are still around.

I don't want to let you leave. If I could, I would lock you up in the house forever, where I know no harm could be done to you. But you would be unhappy. So go and do what makes you happy in the long term.

Don't worry about us: you've thought the kids life skills that I could never teach, and they would miss their Aunty so you'll be seeing a lot of us at the Shatterhouse, or whatever that place you're going is called."

In a rare moment of lack of self-control, I giggled. Her butchering up of the name brought a smile to my face, and I made a decision.

There was a reason I wanted to hide. I hadn't thought I'd be able to deal with getting back into any Jaeger, without my precious sister next to me. But, after spending these past 5 years away from all the death and destruction, I finally made peace with both their deaths. Yes, their non-presence left a gaping hole in my heart, but after living with the Conners, I found a reason again. I found a family.

I knew that by leaving this peaceful life I had created here, I would be thrust back into a violent and painful world again: but I also realised that by doing so, I was preventing the chances of Kim, John, and all the other kids from growing up in a fearful world.

A bittersweet smile shone from the woman who was my mother in all but blood, a tearful twinkle in her eye. I pulled her closer, hugging her and whispering reassurances in Russian to her.

"It's ok mama, it'll be alright. I'll come back to you and Kim and John and all the children and the staff and the nurses… It'll be ok. Ya obeshchaniye." I Promise.

She wiped the tears away, and we made our way back out to the reception. The other Pilot looked relieved, and Marshal patiently awaited my answer.

"Yes," I said, "On two conditions." He continued to stare at me, and I said, "Shelly and the kids get to visit whenever they want on all-expenses-paid trips, and when this is all over, I get to retire here and you won't bother me again." my tone was flat and without question. He mulled over my conditions, before finally,

"I think that would be acceptable. We need to leave as soon as possible: how far away are your clothes?"

Over the years, I had migrated out of the hospital beds into Shelly's guest bed: all my gear was collected in neat piles at the foot of the bed from my time in the Russian Pilot Program. I told him that it was all located at the Conners, and that it was a five-minute drive.

Shelly left with us, and we climbed into one of the army trucks that were used to transport the guards. The ride was tense, but mercifully short. I climbed off the truck, and into the house. The soldiers waited outside, leaving Shelly and I to walk into the house.

She headed to my room to collect my things, while I explained the situation to the kids, who were on their Christmas holidays. They were a little put-out when I told them I had to leave, but were jumping in excitement when they were told they could visit the Shatterdome as often as they wanted. The two of them had always wanted to see a real life Jaeger, which only developed when I told them stories of Midnight.

I finally had to leave, and tight hugs and tearful Russian goodbyes were exchanged. By the time I made it out of the country, the sun had long-ago set and the chilly eight o'clock temperatures had settled on the air.

10 hours of the 12 hour flight was gone in a blink, as I used all the time I could to get some sleep: Marshal had mentioned that the search for a co-pilot was to be held the following day, and I highly doubted they were going to postpone it just because we were tired.

Unfortunately, there was a limit to how much I could sleep. Even without an alarm clock, I didn't fail to get up at exactly 6 o'clock New Zealand time. Which was 1 am Hong Kong time. Grr, time zones were a bitch.

I used the next two hours to get to know Raleigh.

"So, where were you born?" I asked when I noticed he wasn't asleep.

Raleigh's P.O.V. (This is gonna be a lot of dialogue, and instead of finding a hundred and one ways so say 'said', I'm going to bold Anya's speech. Most of it is pretty obvious, but just in case.)

"Anchorage, Alaska. You?" her sleep mussed hair was gently hand-combed as she answered,

"St. Petersburg, Russia." She had changed out of the uniform and into a set of black long-sleeved shirt, and waist high cargo pants, completed with high ankle black combat boots.

"When did you join the Program?" I asked, curious about the girl.

"I joined in 2014, at 17. You?" she stated. I felt my eyebrows raise. 17?

"Class of 2016, at 18. I was 15 when Trespasser attacked San Francisco, and ever since that day, me and Yancy made a decision to join up and fight."

"Who is Yancy?" my heart stuttered. I knew I didn't have to tell her who he was, and what he meant to me, but I had a feeling that it would do more harm than good.

"He was my brother," seeing the question in her gaze, I continued, "He died on February 2020, to the Kaiju Knifehead. The Conn. Pod had been breached because we got cocky, and the bastard yanked him out and killed him. It felt like-"

"Like your whole world was dying." she finished. I looked up in shock. How did she know?

"I lost my twin, Anastasia Luna on January 6th off Wellington. We were doing a mission with the Mark 5, Striker Eureka, and there was only supposed to be one: Skinner. Then, another popped outta nowhere, but we were winning at first. Until we got distracted, turned around for too long, and the Kaitiaki ripped Anya away, and killed him. We were still connected. Her last words were-"

"Come on, come on, get up." I finished. She stared at me, and I felt a bond stronger than anything I'd felt in the past grow between us.

"My mother was supposed to have an operation that day too. She didn't make it, and my Commander thought it would be a good idea to tell me just after Ana had died. I still feel sad, and angry, but I've made peace with it." I was baffled. How do you overcome something so terrible? I asked her, and she replied,

"Talking helps. I opened up with Shelly, and she helped me understand. Getting away from all of it, and just meditating on your past helps too." I nodded. Maybe it was a good idea to disappear after this.

"My mom died of cancer a couple of years ago. She never got to see us in a Jaeger, and honestly I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad one."

"What was your Jaeger like?" I was confused. The way she phrased the question sounded almost as if Jaegers were alive. But that was impossible. Right?

"Gipsy was beautiful. She's a Mark 3, launched in 2017-" she interrupted me,

"No. What was she like?" Okay, I'm confused.

"For example, Midnight was a temperamental Jaeger. She was easily angered, but mostly quiet. She got the emotions from Ana, but the silence is all mine. DO you really think that after years of Drifting and battles, a Jaeger was going to remain inanimate? I know it sounds crazy, but it's real. And you know it." I paused and thought about what she said.

"I guess Gipsy was very emotional. She was a hothead like me, but could work under pressure like Yancy. Better?" I asked. She nodded in approval.

Similar conversation was held about similar topics. Everything from birthdays to favourite foods were discussed. By the time we made it to Hong Kong, I felt like I knew everything about her, and she knew everything about me.

When we arrived, we were greeted by Marshal's adopted daughter, Mako Mori. A snide Japanese remark back and forth, and I could see Anya's eye twinkling.

"What?" I asked in Russian. Her expression was priceless, and she rushed back,

"You speak Russian?! How come this never came up?"I shrugged, and she replied,

"I just noticed how the two of you acted."eyes pointing to Mako ahead as we made our way inside.

"What? There is nothing going on." I rolled my eyes. She laughed, a hearty laugh, and I couldn't resist chuckling alongside her.

"Just wait, Raleigh. You'll see what I mean soon."shaking me head in exasperation, I sighed. Whatever.

The meeting with the self-acclaimed 'Kaiju Groupie' left the both of us growling in anger. I had to hold back Anya from scratching the guy's eyes out, and I was tempted to just let her do it anyway. But, orders were orders.

When we first met the two Russian Pilots, I saw Anya picked up in a massive bear hug, and the Russians were conversing so fast, I barely understood the conversation.

Anya's P.O.V.

I saw Sasha and Aleksis, and I grinned. Aleksis squeezed me tight, and Sasha was making conversation,

"Oh, little Anya, where have you been! It's been so lonely at the Shatterdome, and when we heard that litte Anya was going to be here, we couldn't resist coming! How are you?"

"I'm good Sasha. I'm sorry for leaving so suddenly, but with Ana's death and mama…" she nodded grimly,

"Ah, no need to discuss such sad thoughts, little Anya" - I glared at the reminder of my petite height (well, petite when compared to the two, at least)- "It is good to see you!" Aleksis remarked.

I nodded and promised to chat later, and we met the Chinese Triplets. Their impressive basketball skills were causing goal after goal to be put away. Then we met the Australians.

The moment the younger, Chuck, saw me, he was gaping like a fish. The term 'like you've just seen a ghost' was extremely appropriate. Herc turned around at the commotion, and he had a similar expression. I took a deep breath.

"Anya! You're alive!" he exclaimed, and the other pilots looked shocked at his disbelief. The basketball game long forgotten.

"Yes." I said quietly. I had always felt guilty about the incident afterwards, when I had attacked him. And now, I wasn't sure if he would accept my apology. Knowing I had to get it over with, I walked forward,

"I'm sorry about what happened afterwards. I was emotionally traumatised, and when you reached out to me, and touched the same shoulder the Kaiju did, I didn't think."

Chuck's P.O.V.

My mind was still reeling. She's alive! Ever since that day, I haven't stopped thinking about her. What had happened, if she was still alive.. And now she's apologising!

"Look, Anya, it's not your fault: I wasn't thinking either and it was just as much of my mistake." She smiled a bright smile, and I felt my heart stutter. What?

"I'm glad. Maybe we could catch up at breakfast?" I nodded dumbly, and when she disappeared further in, I felt dad chuckle next to me. I turned to glare at him, and he just laughed louder.

Anya's P.O.V.

Contrary to what I had believed, we were allowed to sleep until morning. After a pleasant meeting with Tendo and Ai Mori, who had helped with Midnight's refitting, I wandered in my room to try and get more sleep. At 6am the next day, I made my way to Raleigh's bunk, which was next to mine. The two of us got lost together, and after asking about a dozen techies, we managed to find the dining area. Chuck looked up and waved us over.

After a slightly awkward breakfast (courtesy of Raleigh and Chuck), we headed to the room where the search for our co-pilots were to be held.

Raleigh had gone first, and after defeating every one of his opponents, he began arguing with Mako. Honestly, I might not have much experience with dating, but even I could tell there was tension between the two. Though what she said was right, but as a seasoned Pilot, I knew it was the way Raleigh fought: you can't expect all Pilot's to fight in the same style.

After his demands for Mako to be his co-pilot were shot-down, it was my turn. The other Pilots had decided to come and watch, and I could hear Aleksis' whistles as I made my way to the mats. The contestants had been divided fairly evenly: half were to face Raleigh, and the other half were to face me.

This time, it was Ai who saw to my training. Well, more like my warm up, and the contestants ass-whooping. Shelly had imparted a great many insults during my time with her. After the final defeat, I saw Ai's smile. I knew from the beginning that none of them would be suitable for me. Ai however… taking a page out of Raleigh's book, I called out,

"Ai Mori. Would you do me the honours?" her eyes widened, and without waiting for Pentecost's approval, made her way to the mats. She shrugged off her jacket, to reveal toned arms and an exercise outfit on.

The fight commenced. She was good: far better than her sister, even though she was shorter than Mako. She fought with a mix of the Program's standard, and something else. A raw style that was unpredictable, and fun to combat.

Sasha's P.O.V.

"Little Anya is doing well," Aleksis commented. I nodded, it was obvious that she had been keeping fit during her time away. Her moves were fluid and graceful: all Russian Pilots were taught to dance before combat training. It was the secret to our Pilot Program. Ai, however, was a little ball of fury. She was shorter than Anya, but was using her lithe frame to her advantage. They were very well-matched. Just when Anya looked like she was going to win, Ai ducked away. And every time Ai looked like she had Anya, she would dance away, using all of the room and her body length to stay just out of reach.

After a good 10 minutes, Ai was tapped. Another 15 minutes, and they were tying.

"They are very compatible. Ai reminds me of little Ana, no?" I commented, and Aleksis nodded in thought. The longer the fight continued, and further the gap between points. They were getting better at reading each other's moves. Everyone in the room were entranced by the fight: even the Marshal looked impressed. But I knew it would be a cold day in hell, when he agreed to let Ai or Mako go out in a Jaeger. However, with the attacks, it looked like hell was getting colder each day.

Finally, the match was decided. Anya had won, by the skin of her teeth. One of the impressive things about Anya, was always her fighting capabilities. She was always the top of the class, and the only one with a chance to beat her, would be Ana on a good day. Apparently, their father was an instructor in combat before retiring to have a family. For the smaller girl to have survived so long, was truly an impressive feat.

The bowed to each other, and were struggling to come down from the adrenalin high accumulated during the fight.

"We're getting into Midnight together." they spoke as one. Marshal looked furious and was about to deny it, when Anya spoke,

"You saw what happened out there. She's the only one who I'm capable of Drifting with. You can call in all the Pilots you want, but I'm not Drifting with any of them."

"It'll be ok, father. They'll protect me, and I can do more out there, than I can in here." Mako looked torn between defending her father's decision, and joining the coup. Marshal was angry, then sighed in defeat.

"Fine. However, we will test if you're Drift-Compatible in your Jaegers in a couple of days. If you aren't, you will accept whichever Pilot was the next most compatible with you. Understood?"

The four nodded, and the two Japanese ran up to each other and jumped in excitement.

Looks like the Re-Recruitment was a success then.

A/N Ok, so things are finally on track! Most of what I've written is factual (Hutt Hospital is an actual hospital in Wellington), and the time differences, so if you have a question, feel free to send in a review!