Galactic Rim: Kaiju Campaigns
"The Start of a Golden Age"
The first attack came when I was only sixty-seven years old. Just a wide-eyed maiden who would stare out of bedroom window on long nights, gazing up at the stars and wishing to see all the wonders of the galaxy.
I was still living with my mother and sisters at the time, so the house was usually crowded. I remember storming out that day after a fight with one of my sisters, hailing a sky-cab and going deep into the inner city.
Goddess, I don't even remember what we fought over.
I remember catching a vid at one of the theaters in the heart of downtown, but I don't remember anything about that either. I do remember the loud booming sound that kept distracting me and being herded out of the building along with everyone else. The security officers said it was for our own safety that we either leave the downtown area or that we head into the underground tram tunnels.
Many of us simply did not understand what was happening. Officers were yelling at us, "Go underground!" and then the booming and the rumbling would drown them out. Then the ground was shaking and I stumbled to the floor. People were screaming.
Everything was happening so fast that I couldn't really grasp what was going on. Next thing I knew, I, along with many other annoyed moviegoers, were out on a shockingly packed street, ground cars clogging up traffic as far as the eye could see. An ocean of people weaved in between the vehicles, sometimes over them, all appearing to be running away from something. Then there was another loud boom followed a deafening roar unlike anything I had ever heard. It was like a noise from the depths of the underworld, the scream of a thousand lost souls.
I had been knocked to the ground again, scrapping the skin of my palms. I struggled to rise from the shaking ground, but found some balance against an empty ground vehicle. That's when I saw that people were leaving their cars behind and running as fast as their legs carried them, forcing those in front of them aside, even trampling them! I remember one turian male simply abandon his asari date when she tripped. He looked back, saw her lying there, and just turned and left, sprinting.
There was that roar again, much closer this time. I cringed as it felt like claws digging into my eardrums. The ground was shaking like it was an earthquake with road signs falling over onto cars, buildings and people. That's when I saw it, lumbering towards me from many, many blocks down the road.
It was monstrous, a mountainous creature that dwarfed many of the buildings that surrounded it. The beast was a dark silhouette, indiscernible from the dust cloud it created as it forced it's too-wide body in between the towers that lined the street. The eyes, though, those I could see just fine. Glowing green orbs that were as soulless and empty as a thresher maw's head.
Somehow, despite how large it was and how small I felt in comparison, we locked eyes. I went still as those demonic, green eyes met my own. It stopped as well, mouth open, revealing many rows of teeth, yellow and jagged. I looked into it's eyes and saw nothing. Then it roared again, ear-splitting. Then it started forward again, its bladed shoulders cutting through the buildings beside it like a hot knife through butter.
I turned and ran. I kept running, past police officers, past people crying for help. I kept running even when my lungs burned and my legs burned, even when my brain begged me to rest. Goddess, I thought I was going to die, listening to that… that… creature roar and scream the entire time.
I kept running until I got home, many miles outside the main metropolis, finding my family safe indoors, still watching the whole thing unfurl on the holo-screen. I saw footage of the beast swiping a claw at the ground, sending a row of tanks flying away, some embedded into the sides of buildings.
My mother ran over and hugged me when she saw that I was home, held me tight and kissed my dirty cheeks over and over. I didn't hug back. There wasn't any time for that, not until we were far, far away and safe.
I yelled at my mother and sisters, my throat somehow finding the strength to do so after all that running, ordered them to "move their fucking asses!"
We left in my mother's sky car, all five of us, crammed into that little, purple thing she bought two centuries ago. Made it all the way to a space-port city before the eezo core finally sputtered and died.
By then, the town we landed in had gotten the news as well: "Enormous Beast Rises from Sea, Levels Qo'nossis City"
My family and I were one of the lucky ones. We arrived before the wave of refugees and were able to secure seats on a shuttle off-world. Some of the townspeople were smart enough to do the same.
I remember taking off in an enormous transport shuttle, one that was so packed full of people that I couldn't move an inch without bumping into someone. I had a window seat and as we were rising into the atmosphere, I could see the beast slowly make its way through the forest that surrounded the space-port town, being hounded by fighters and gunships all the while. Nothing seemed to affect it, the beast shrugging off a rain of bullets and a rain of missiles all the same.
I was in my family's hotel room when I saw the news report that the beast had finally been brought down. The turians had sent a dreadnought and slammed it from orbit, over and over until it stopped moving. Thousands of asari who hadn't been killed by the creature's rampage, ended up dying when the slugs from the turian ship hit planet-side. The colony world, my home, had been rendered uninhabitable in the aftermath.
"Unfortunate, but necessary," was what the turian leadership had to say afterword.
The salarians said it was most likely a prehistoric creature that had been dormant for the past hundred thousand years. They said that it was a one-in-a-million chance that it even woke up. The galaxy thought that it was over, that that was the end of it.
But we all know now that it was only the beginning.
Interview with Wymera T'Naesu, survivor of K-Day, 2179
First Kaiju made landing in Qo'nossis City, on some Asari colony world on the edge of the Republic's space.
The second attack hit Taetrus, tore up a couple population centers before being put down. That one was the one that woke the people up, got the politicians and the military leaders moving.
The third one hit Shanxi and left the planet a cold, barren rock.
Eighty million dead and two uninhabitable planets were the scars the galaxy bore by the time the year was out. That's what it took for the people to understand that these attacks weren't just going to stop.
The turians always liked their conflicts over with fast, usually by overwhelming the enemy with large assault forces that didn't even pretend to be anything other than overkill.
With Kaiju, the only way that was going to happen was if they intended to use dreadnoughts for each attack response. Qo'nossis and Shanxi had been left barren rocks by those tactics and the Hierarchy's relations with the Asari Republics and Systems Alliance suffered greatly because of that. The humans more so because of the prominence of Shanxi in their past conflict with the turian military.
From the beginning, it was clear that any victory against these mountain-sized beasts was going to pyrrhic at best, but I don't think anyone expected that we would lose entire planets to them.
It was the salarians who found out that the Kaiju weren't of our galaxy. It turned out that they weren't even of our dimension. Every time a Kaiju appeared, the salarians noted that there was a spike in radiation near ground zero. It was the sign of a Breach forming, a tear in the fabric of the universe. It was a doorway between dimensions, with these monsters originating from the other side. Deep beneath the oceans of these worlds, a rift would appear and out would crawl a massive being with the instinct to destroy.
At first these Breaches only popped up on colony worlds, so people started abandoning them, evacuating as fast as they could so they could get comfy and safe on their species' homeworld. Entire worlds, colonies that had cost the governments of the galaxy billions of credits to found and maintain, were left empty. But despite the mass exodus, there were some worlds that couldn't clear out in time. The salarian colony, Thoome, got wiped out, even with the STG carefully tracking radiation levels within the colony's oceans.
That particular Kaiju took over five dreadnought slugs to kill. People called that one "Meathead".
Meanwhile, the races of the galaxy thought that they were safe and sound on their homeworlds, thinking that they were just going to wait out the attacks until the galaxy was safe again, that eventually the Kaiju, like all vermin, would be exterminated.
Then one of them hit Kahje.
Two whole cities were destroyed and half of the drell population ended up wiped out in the span of three days.
Six months later, another popped up on Earth.
San Francisco was gone in a day. And by the end of the week, San Jose was rubble. California was declared a wasteland, many thanks to Kaiju Blue, the creatures' noxious blood.
People can only lose so much before they take a stand.
The Jaeger Program was thought to be a hopeless goose-chase by the other races of the galaxy. The turians called us insane, idiotic. The asari and salarians thought that we humans were putting forth a futile retaliation effort and that whatever venture we were planning would be in vain.
Their feelings were understandable, to be honest. Creating monsters to fight monsters wouldn't have been the first idea that came to my head in such a situation.
It was a crazy idea. But, then again, aren't those the kinds of ideas that work?
Brawler Yukon was the first Jaeger ever built. Human made and nobody should ever forget that.
As tall as a twenty story skyscraper, Brawler was the size of your average Kaiju of the time. With a squat, wide-set build, it was likely a bitch to knock over, a fact that probably saved it. Thick, hammer-shaped fists that were built for crushing and breaking thick bones and shoulder-mounted AA turrets were what awaited any Kaiju who dared to set foot on a human world.
The Council races still looked to Earth and simply shook their heads, taken aback by the humanity's bull-headedness.
Elysium was what shut them up.
Elysium was when they realized that we, the small, helpless citizens of the galaxy, could fight back.
Elysium was where we started winning.
Interview with Admiral Steven Hackett, Task Force Head of Galactic Council Defense Corps within Systems Alliance Space
I don't know what goes through a Kaiju's mind when it tears up a city or stumbles across a mountainside.
I don't know what went through Axe-head's mind that day on Elysium.
I'd like to think that it was surprised.
I think it came from the ocean, expecting these helpless little insects, barely evolved primates that would either just flee for their lives or roll over and die. It didn't expect to discover that we had built something just as fierce as itself. It didn't expect us to fight back.
When Brawler Yukon landed that first punch, right in the ugly bastard's jaw, I'd like to think that it was scared. I'd like to think that when Brawler started pelting it with AA fire from its shoulder mounted guns, it wanted to run away, far away and crawl back into whatever darkened hole it came from.
Most of all, I'd like to think that it felt humiliation, that it felt pain when Brawler tore its jaw off.
I'd also like to think that when it was all over, when the dust had settled and Brawler stood over a dead-as-dead-could-be Kaiju, when the Lion and Lioness of Elysium stepped out of their cockpit onto Brawler's shoulders and felt as tall as giants, the rest of the galaxy felt the same.
We had sent a very clear message, that not only could we fight back, we could also win. Nothing bittersweet either, I mean: winning in the truest sense of the word.
In the aftermath, the people of the galaxy were shocked. I don't think it really sunk in for them. At least, not until the Alliance started parading Axe-head's skull around the galaxy as badge of honor. When it was shown on Palaven, the crowd cheered. When it was shown on Thessia, they got the same reaction.
Seeing a crowd of turians cheering for a human victory was odd, but seeing asari cheering for a creature's skull? Now that was a sight to behold.
Brawler's win was the morale boost the galaxy needed and the spark that started the Jaeger Golden Age.
Turians, asari, salarians, hell, even the krogan, they all started building their own mechanical monsters. Soon, every Council species had at least one Jaeger of their own, ready to fight whatever slug came for them next. Of course, they all gave their bots their own official names, with the asari calling them "Huntresses" and the salarians calling theirs, "Agents".
Everyone else, though, they knew just what they were.
They were Jaegers and they could kill Kaiju.
Leon Harper, Jaeger Pilot of Romeo Blue, commenting on the Battle of Elysium and the "Hero Twins", Brawler Yukon pilots, John and Jane Shepard.
Jaegers and the GCDC
Jaegers are a special type of mobile exoskeleton weapon created by the Jaeger program. They are enormous, mechanical constructs that tower over most buildings, a trait that makes them ill-suited for combat in conventional warfare. They are slow-moving, very expensive, and have high support requirements, among other things. They were built for one purpose and one purpose only: killing Kaiju.
At first, many believed that the idea of building enormous robots to fight enormous monster was ridiculous. The Shepard twins' victory against Kaiju, "Axe-head", by piloting Brawler Yukon quickly changed their minds. It was this single win that led to the mass production of Jaegers by all species.
The scientist who devised the plans for the hulking metal beasts was a man by the name of Dr. Jasper Schoenfeld, who first spawned the idea after the seventh attack had hit Earth. The destruction of San Francisco and San Jose, followed by the exodus of the state of Califronia made the man look for a more efficient way of dealing with these monstrosities without resorting to nuclear ordinance.
Each Jaeger is controlled by its two pilots, named "Rangers", from within its cockpit and control center, dubbed a "conn-pod" by the Jaeger engineers. From here, the Rangers can control the Jaeger's every movement, from kicks to punches and even jumps, making them dangerously swift and graceful for something of its size. The conn-pod is usually built into the "head" of the giant machine, effectively acting like a brain.
Unlike most military weaponry in the galaxy, the Jaegers do not use element zero, since using slugs that are shot out at a fraction of the speed of light wouldn't be a viable option in highly populated areas. Instead, current Jaegers use nuclear reactors to power their movement, putting their pilots at risk of contracting cancer from the radiation. Recently, engineers have been working to combat this by either building Jaegers that do not rely on nuclear reactors or having the pilots wear suits designed to protect them from said radiation.
Jaegers are constructed in buildings called "Shatterdomes", and are handled and maintained by dedicated teams of the highest skills, groups which are assigned to each mech.
All Jaeger Operations, including deployment and strike missions, are overseen by the Galactic Council Defense Corps, or GCDC, of which there are many Task Force Heads, each leading operations within their assigned region of the galaxy.
Each region of Citadel Space is put under the protection of a specific branch of the GCDC.
The Turian Hierarchy watches over turian and volus space, and operations are led by Task Force Head, General Adrien Victus.
The Asari Republics oversee Jaeger deployment in asari, elcor and hanar space, and operations are under the leadership of Task Force Head, Matriarch Lidanya.
The Human Systems Alliance and Salarian Union jointly protect human, salarian, krogan and batarian space, and missions are overseen by both Admiral Steven Hackett and Dalatrass Esheel.
Jaegers are deployed wherever needed, regardless of the Jaegers' species of origin or the race of their pilots. If, say, a turian world is in need of a Jaeger and the only one available is human-made, then the Jaeger and its pilots are sent to handle the situation and are only sent somewhere else if the situation calls for it.
Kaiju and the Breach
The Kaiju are a race of enormous, amphibious creatures that originated from a dimension that was not our own. Entering our universe through a tear in the fabric of space and time, the first Kaiju revealed itself to the galaxy by attacking the City of Qo'nossis, on the asari colony world, Etaises in the year 2179.
No one knows why or how the Kaiju are attacking the Milky Way Galaxy, but one thing is most definitely apparent: Kaiju are both dangerously hostile to organic life forms and are extremely toxic. Once killed, a Kaiju will immediately start to decompose, its rotting flesh releasing toxic fumes into the air and its blood poising the soil. They also release a noxious agent into the air known as "Kaiju Blue". Kaiju Blue is capable of rendering an atmosphere unbreathable and is very acidic. Many cities have been left barren because of this.
The Kaiju are categorized by the "Serizawa Scale", being classified under five different categories, with categories 1 and 2 representing the weakest of them, and 3 through 5 representing the strongest most lethal. The S-Scale measures water displacement, toxicity and ambient radiation levels given off by their hulking bodies as they pass through the Breach and into our dimension. This tells us their size and how much they can contaminate the world's environment once they are killed.
Kaiju behave much like wild animals when fighting, acting very territorial when pitted against something of equal size and strength, such as a Jaeger. One thing STG experts have noted is that the Kaiju of lower category, such as ones and twos, do not have the cunning or determination of the threes, fours and fives, often just charging headfirst into battle and are often dispatched quickly.
There have been 53 confirmed Kaiju attacks since K-Day in 2179 and more are sure to come. But with the Jaegers, the galaxy will be ready.