Asari Space, Colony: Nevos
Jaeger: Romeo Blue, Pilots: Harper, Leon/Harper, Benedict
Kaiju: Category 3, Designation: Boar
"Romeo Blue, report to Bay 07."
Leon Harper awoke, groggy and dazed, his eyes sore and throbbing as the lights of his quarters suddenly flashed on. The VI installed in the intercom terminal continued, its synthetic feminine voice acting as nails on a chalkboard. Nails wrapped in sexy-sounding velvet, but nails nonetheless.
"Radiation spike reported twenty miles off the coast. Kaiju landing confirmed. Category: Three."
The sandy-haired human dared to crack an eye open, only to be met with the blinding lights glaring down from the room's ceiling. Leon blinked, once then twice, forcing himself to roll out of bed. Unfortunately for the Jaeger pilot, he had forgotten that he slept on the top bunk.
The cold cement floor met him quickly as he landed on his side, dull pain shooting across his abdomen. Leon cursed loudly, picking himself off the floor as fast as he could, stumbling across the room to shut off the blaring terminal.
"Romeo Blue, Repor-,"
"We get it, sweetie," Leon grumbled, hitting the mute as he skimmed through whatever details Central Command could give him. "You don't need to murder our eardrums."
The human turned, throwing on a shirt as he came across the room's other occupant, watching as he stirred under the sheets on the bottom bunk.
"Hey," Leon called, voice raised. "Hey, buttercup. Wakey, wakey."
He yanked the blanket off of the sleeping form in a quick, rough motion, revealing his equally groggy brother, Ben.
Benedict Harper's eyes shot open, glaring up at the man who dared wake him from his precious slumber. Leon smiled back, infuriatingly so, teeth and all.
"Get dressed, bro. We've got Jaeger duty this morning," Leon said, tossing Ben a shirt.
Ben caught it, both fuzzy brows raised high as a small grin tugged at his lips. Whatever anger he had was gone now, replaced with excitement.
Ben's grin became a mischievous smile, a certain glint appearing in his eyes.
"It's not even my birthday yet. What size?"
"Category Three. Biggest one yet," Leon tugged on a pair of shows, gesturing to the VI terminal that connected them to the GCDC Command Center of their colony world. "Designation: Boar."
Ben clicked his tongue at the name.
"That doesn't sound like much. Is it 'bore' as in, 'boring'?"
"It's 'Boar' as in, 'enormous pig'. The big hairy ones with tusks," Leon explained, throwing on his pilot jacket. The Romeo Blue insignia, a blue rose, covered his right shoulder.
Ben shrugged, grabbing his own jacket.
"Still doesn't sound like much. Ready?"
Ben smiled once more, teeth gleaming. Both brothers headed for the door that opened out into the barracks hallway.
"Let's go bring home some bacon."
"That's awful. Don't do anymore one-liners, Ben. They don't agree with you."
Matriarch Lidanya clenched her teeth, her dentist be damned. Her jaw was set as she looked out over the Nevos Colony Shatterdome, watching as hundreds of GCDC personnel scurried about in what could only be described as organized chaos, engineers and the like working at a frantic pace to prep the only Jaeger available for an imminent combat drop.
The Command Center was more of the same, technicians and comm. specialists working at FTL speeds at their terminals, all the while communicating with each other at an equal pace.
She was loathe to admit it, but the asari officer was nervous. Kaiju landings tended to do that to people, even if they were near-on a thousand years old. It was only seven years ago that Jaegers weren't around to fight them on even terms. Back then, the usual response was to nuke them from orbit, the turians being particularly fond of doing so, even when it would come at the cost of a colony world's habitability.
Today, however, the races of the galaxy were putting up a strong defense with the construction of equally large, mechanical titans, mobile weapons that could truly fight back against the Kaiju.
The Jaegers were humanity's greatest contribution to the galaxy at large, effective in their purpose and efficient, but the machines were only as good as their pilots. And right now, the pilots Lidanaya had been stuck with were borderline rockstars.
The Harper Brothers were something of a wonderful nuisance to the Matriarch. They were very, very good at what they did, having six Kaiju kills to their names, the fourth highest number among the active Rangers. The problem was that the two men knew this and, as a result, their confidence born of that fact often grew into mild arrogance. Not exactly something that was impossible to put up with, but it was still frustrating for Lidanya to deal with.
The Harper Brothers were young, human males who were assigned by the GCDC to provide Jaeger protection for a tropical, asari resort colony. This had to be heaven for them, and if it wasn't then it certainly became so when the first Kaiju they fought on Nevos never even made it to the shores. They were hailed as heroes after that, all across the system were people celebrating Romeo Blue's crushing victory.
Then came the Ranger groupies. Goddess, the Ranger groupies. On one hand, there were a legion of young maidens, lonely asari girls who populated the Nevos resorts. On the other hand, there were Leon and Ben Harper, the young, handsome Jaeger pilots responsible for saving the colony from giant beasts by piloting a machine as tall as a skyscraper. It did not take a genius to figure out what the obvious conclusion was when the two eventually came together on shore leave. The two humans even had their Jaeger painted asari-blue, for Goddess's sakes!
If Lidanya had a credit for every time the brothers were caught with "friends" in their quarters… The Matriarch sneered when she recalled that even some of her own people fell for their charms, a couple of her best tech specialists to be exact.
Right now, the two heartbreakers where suiting up in their Jaegers Conn-Pod, the massive "head" in which the drifting tech was stored.
Lidanya walked up behind her Chief Technician, Trista Ealuanis, as the aging maiden was checking readouts of the humans' vital signs. Trista could be described as a pretty young woman, but not beautiful, with large, shiny eyes and a small, snub nose. The Tech turned to face the Matriarch, like she had somehow sensed her presence amidst the frantic workers of the Comm. Center.
"Ma'am," Trista greeted respectfully, nodding. The asari took a sip from her steaming mug, which was filled with the human drink called 'coffee'. "Our Rangers are getting hooked up now. Won't take much longer. They just have to go through the neural handshake and we can send them on their way."
"Good," Lidanya said, her lips straightening into a line. "Get them on the line."
"Yes, ma'am," Was Trista's reply, the Tech typing away at her terminal's holo-interface.
The interior of the Conn-Pod was surprisingly compact given the size of the mechanical head it was built into. Dark, too, even with the colored lights that lined the walls and ceiling, and the ones that flashed from the many buttons and screens set up around the pilots' rig.
The Harper brothers liked it. It reminded them of those rides at the amusement parks that they went to when the two were younger, the ones that they had to be strapped into. The same ones where the track would get foggy and then the automated monster head would leap out at them.
Leon and Ben did their best to keep still as the asari technicians basically man-handled them into their cumbersome Ranger suits, wincing as metal plate after metal plate was slapped onto their bodies. Leon winked at one particularly man-ish looking amazon as she fastened his heavy chest plate on. The tall asari sneered back and roughly snapped the plate into the shoulder harness, winding the human.
Leon craned his head to watch the amazon storm out of the Conn-Pod, her job obviously finished. When he turned back, Ben was holding back laughter. Leon snorted, chuckling despite his soar chest.
"I think she likes you, Lee."
"I'm out of it this morning, is all."
"Yep. That's the reason. Not the fact that you look like shit."
The sound of an audio link being initiated with them cut their little conversation short. Another Tech connected them with the other line, greeting them with the voice of their Marshall.
"Harper," Spoke Lidanya, her voice made more grating by the fuzzy comm. line. "…And Harper. I hope you two had good night of rest."
"Yes, ma'am. Slept like a couple of bears in winter." Ben answered, smiling. Leon gave his brother a look.
"I don't think she gets the reference, bro. Not a lot of snow on Thessia."
The other side of the line was silent for a moment. Then Lidanya spoke.
"…Right. Well, as you have already been informed, we have a breach opening. Category Three Kaiju, designation: Boar. You're orders are to keep that son of a bitch from reaching the coastal city. Hold the Miracle Mile and we will all have a lovely afternoon. Clear?"
The Conn-Pod began to empty of the extra personnel, the Techs filing out of the single door in the back. The two brothers pulled their helmets on with relative ease compared to the rest of their suit, the headgear fitting snug on their heads. With a small hiss, the helmets sealed shut and the brothers leaned back into their harness, carefully connecting the back of the helmet to the neural plug hanging from the ceiling. There was a loud clicking sound, a noise that brought a feeling of satisfaction to the Ranger siblings.
The two humans turned to face each other, both smiling, both giddy.
"Clear as my brother's mind!"
"Hilarious. That was sarcasm, by the way." Leon deadpanned, flipping off Ben.
"Hey, Marshall! Do you think that maybe you guys up in Command can come up with better names for the Kaiju?"
"Yeah, I mean, 'Boar'?" Continued Leon. "Ma'am, no offense, but that just sounds kind of lazy and… uninspired."
"The ladies who pilot Lunar Goddess, they got to fight something called 'Reaver'. Gotta be honest here, but that sounds a whole lot cooler than 'Boar'."
"I still can't get over the fact we got up this early to fight a damn pig…"
Silence answered them.
"You think we pissed her off?"
Leon and Ben could have sworn Lidanya was grumbling to herself on the other end of the line. They never got to find out as she never spoke another word, the voice of the Chief Tech coming through instead.
"Initializing Neural Handshake. Three. Two. One."
"Hey, I think I know that voice…"
Somewhere off the coast of the Nevos Seaside Resorts, the water began bubble and foam. Fish scattered beneath the waves, frightened by something massive as it floated on by, its rumbling sending vibrations throughout the water.
Then, the water split apart as a mountainous form rose through the churning waves, something dark and hulking. Water spilled down over its towering form, over its head, down its legs and arms and back. Blood-red eyes blinked once, then twice. The beast growled, tusks brushing its thin, flabby lips as it opened its toothy maw.
Boar had arrived.
The Kaiju looked about, taking in its surroundings as the sun peeked over the horizon. The creature squinted towards the west, barely able to make out the buildings that dotted the coastline. There was its target, the vermin it needed to remove. Boar started its long journey towards the shore, moving one long, boney front leg forward, then the other, sloshing its way through the thick water of the asari world.
Boar roared, loud and thunderous, making its presence known to the tiny creatures that resided within the city. The emergency siren was blaring at full power, a nuisance to the lumbering creature that crashed through wave after wave.
The water began to grow shallow as Boar climbed onto the sea shelf, pulling itself from the deep, dark blue. Now, almost its entire body was visible, the water only coming up to the thighs of its stubby hind legs. Movement now much easier, it began to race towards the coastline, stomping through the shallow sea, sending waves going every which way.
Then, there a light, bright and blinding. It seemed to come from nowhere, shining right in its eyes, burning. Boar screeched, an ear-splitting noise, recoiling from the source of the light. It swatted one of its clawed arms up high, hoping to swipe it out of the air, but to no avail. Many whirring noises had joined the little, all of them buzzing at the same time, sending gusts of air into the creature's face.
Disoriented, Boar roared once again, full of confusion and rage.
There was a loud snap, then an enormous splash that pelted Boar with globs of seawater. What followed was a metallic groaning, the sound of gears turning as something else rose from the ocean.
The light went high into the air, turning into many different lights, all flying in different directions around the beasts and the newcomer. Boar lowered its head, growling through its tusks at this… this…interference.
This new beasts now stood at its full height, boasting the ability to walk on only two legs. The arms hung down by its sides, fists clenched. It was blue, much like the ocean it came from and glistened as the sun shown off the water that ran down its bulky body.
Though the beast had no way of knowing this, the titan looked much like an armored knight from old Earth history, brave and true, ready to defend the innocent. With broad shoulders and thick, intimidating arms, the metal titan looked as fierce as any Kaiju.
The groaning noise returned as the metal beasts brought its arms up, lowering its stance into an almost crouching position.
Boar regarded it in silence for a moment.
Then it roared and charged.
"Piggy's angry." Ben said, laughing.
"I can see that, Benny."
"Maybe all he needs is a nice, warm, Romeo Blue-welcome."
Leon turned to face his brother, grinning.
"Maybe. Let's give it to him."
Romeo Blue charged forward as well, meeting the Kaiju halfway. Boar pounced forward, claws and maw open wide, ready to rip and tear and maul.
It never got the chance.
The Jaeger leapt at the beast's gut, ducking beneath the creature's attack, slamming a plated shoulder into the yielding, scaly skin of the Kaiju. The arms followed through, wrapping around the Kaiju's back and locking in place, trapping it in a steal-hold. Romeo pumped its legs, one after the next, digging its toes into the seafloor, charging itself and its load back into the water.
Within moments, the roaring beasts was on its back flailing and swiping its claws at unyielding, metal skin. Boar managed to shear off a couple of plates before Romeo got back onto its feet.
When the Jaeger found its footing, it pulled its arm back, fist clenched, and the machinery within working to bring several tons of heavy steal up through the air.
Boar was able to flip itself over just in time for a hammer of a fist to come down hard on its skull. The Kaiju's screech was drowned out as its head was forced under the violent waves, its arms and legs kicking and punching above the surface. One of its long arms reached out, catching something on the tips of its sharp claws as it swiped. It swiped out again with the other arm, digging its claws into something hard and cold.
Boar gripped hard and pulled.
Ben scowled at the readings he was getting on his screen.
"This asshole is ruining our baby, Lee. Messing up the paint job." He called out to Leon
"Well, let's show him what being rude gets you."
Boar pulled its head out of the sea, letting the salty water to spill out of its maw. The look on its ugly face almost resembled an evil smile of some sort, its jagged, yellow teeth showing in all their disgusting glory.
Its clawed hand was halfway buried in the metal titan's side, sparks flying from the edges of the wound. The towering machine was busy attempted to pull the claws from its body, one hand wrapped around Boar's wrist, yanking on it. The Kaiju's other arm shot out, claws ready to tear into the other side of the Jaeger…
…Leaving it completely defenseless when Romeo sent its knee into its face.
Metal impacted with flesh in a wonderful connection, a satisfying crunch resulting from the hit as one of the Kaiju's tusks cracked in half. Boar's claw pulled free from Romeo's side, the creature not having time to roar in pain before a metal fist slammed into the side of its head.
Another punch came from the opposite side.
Then another from below, right into the bottom of Boar's chin, causing the beast to bite off the tip of its long, slimy tongue.
Romeo's victory was short lived as the Kaiju managed to successfully land a hit in, its clenched fist connecting with the Jaeger's Conn-Pod, sending the metal titan into a staggered stance.
"Woah," Leon grunted, the Conn-Pod lurching from the hit. The harness did little to lessen the feel of the blow, both brothers feeling their stomachs do backflips. "There's a hit."
"Let's not have that happen again, Lee."
Lidanya clenched her jaw as she watched the fight unfold on the screen before her, the shuttles buzzing around the battle capturing everything on the mounted cameras.
That last hit on Romeo did not look very good and the readings that came up on the diagnostics terminal only confirmed her fears.
"Trista," The Marshall barked. "Give me something."
The Chief Tech glanced back for but a second before turning her attention onto the screen in front of her.
"Romeo Blue's Conn-Pod isn't heavily armored. The engineer crews haven't fully repaired it from its last fight, ma'am."
"It's in their best interest not to take another hit like that."
"Romeo, do you copy?"
"We copy, Marshall. Loud and clear." Answered Leon.
"Do not let another attack like that get by you. Your Conn-Pod won't be able to take the abuse. Stay clear of the Kaiju's arms. Wait for an opening before going in."
"We hear you, ma'am." Affirmed Ben. He glanced over to his brother. "Alright, Lee, we've had our fun. Let's finish this up quick. I've got myself a hot date tonight."
"Dog," Laughed Leon.
"They don't call us 'Romeo Blue' for nothing, Lee," Ben cackled back. "Girl's name is Trista and I tell you brother, she is something pretty."
"Hey, did we disconnect from the comm. line?"
Trista didn't need a mirror to tell that she was blushing like mad. The Chief Tech dared a look over her shoulder and found that damn near every pair of eyes in the Comm. Center was on her. Some looked at her with envy at how she caught herself a Ranger, others with knowing smiles, and some even with disgust, disbelief in the fact that she would lower her standards to spend her time with a human.
Marshall Lidanya, meanwhile, simply looked down at her with raised brows, clearly surprised.
Trista turned back to her terminal, wishing her chair would swallow her up.
Another punch from the Jaeger slammed into Boar's chest, drawing an angry shriek from the Kaiju.
A response came in the form of a claw digging into Romeo's shoulder, coming dangerously close to the head. Boar pushed forward with its assault, the other claw scraping at the heavily plated chest, tearing off sheets of metal with frightening speed.
Eventually, the Kaiju began to use its legs, digging the grubby feet into the sea floor, building up momentum and pushing the Jaeger backward.
Despite Romeo's attempts to find balance, the Kaiju won out, using one great push of its hind legs to send both of them tumbling into the water below, sending huge waves in all directions.
With Romeo on its back, Boar climbed onto its chest, maw open wide, and roared.
"Well, you are one ugly, mother-"
"Romeo, quit screwing around and get off your ass!"
Boar's victory was embarrassingly short-lived.
Too busy with a futile effort in clawing through Romeo's thick chest plate, the pig-faced Kaiju did not notice the titan bring its legs up underneath its body, settling on its gut.
Romeo kicked out, hard, with both legs.
The Rangers within could have sworn they saw Boar's beady, little eyes grow comically wide as the force lifted him up, into the air, sending him flying backwards into the sea.
"Well…" Started Ben.
"That was pathetically easy. Is it me, or are Kaiju exceedingly stupid?" Finished Leon, sharing his brother's thoughts, thanks in no small part to the drift.
"Oh, look," Ben droned, actually bored. "He's getting up again."
Boar sloshed through the ankle-deep seawater, making its way over to Romeo, roaring in anger as blue blood dripped from its mutilated mouth. It threw itself forward in an attempt to tackle the Jaeger, claws ready to rip and tear, but Romeo caught it, large open hands slamming into the beast's vulnerable chest, winding the Kaiju.
Boar shrieked, flailing as Romeo closed its hands tight around the creature's shoulders. Romeo crouched, hefting the enormous creature above its head, careful to avoid getting beamed by its swiping feet, and threw.
The monstrosity looked almost comedic swiping helplessly at empty air as it soared through the morning sky, trying in vain to catch onto something, anything that could break its fall. An instant later, it made landing several hundred meters away, a sickening crunch as the full weight of its body came down on its long, boney arms.
The splash was large and sent water in all direction, the Kaiju kicking up more waves as it writhed in pain in the shallow shores of the settlement.
Romeo followed, walking, almost swaggering, up to the crippled beast. Boar attempted to steady itself on stubby hind legs and two broken arms, only to be met with what was obviously pain. It slumped into the water, an unnerving noise coming from its throat.
"Let's take this guy out before this turns cruel," Ben recommended, wincing at the sight of bones poking through the thick Kaiju-hide.
"Sword or Gun?" Asked Leon.
"We haven't tried shoulder rocket in a while."
Boar, crippled and humiliated, craned its neck to look up at the titan that defeated it.
Romeo Blue stood tall and proud, the morning sun shining bright behind it, creating a halo of light around its head.
For a moment, the Kaiju and the Jaeger looked at one another, two titans in such close proximity being quite a sight to behold to any around to witness it.
Then, the shoulder plating above Romeo's right arm slide apart, the whirring and clanking of advanced engineering sounding off into the early morning air. A long, thick cylinder rose from the opening, up towards the sky before tipping over onto its side with one end pointing down, directly at Boar's face.
The Kaiju gave a noise that could only be described as confusion as it stared into the open end of the cylinder, seeing only darkness inside.
Then came the humming noise. It was low at first, but then it got louder.
And even louder.
There was now a light coming from the large pipe on Romeo's shoulder, growing brighter and brighter as the humming grew louder.
Boar stared at it mesmerized.
It saw the flash, but didn't hear the deafening boom when Romeo Blue's shoulder-mounted missile launcher fired directly into its face.
"Command, this is Romeo Blue."
Everyone within the Comm. Center went silent as the human's voice came through the comm. line, loud and fuzzy. There was a pause, as if to let the anticipation build.
Lidanya rolled her eyes at the brothers' attempt to be dramatic, slightly embarrassed for the many in the room who waited on their words.
"…Kaiju is down. I repeat: Kaiju is down."
The Techs, the personnel who worked the terminals, all of the workers who were the epitome of professionalism just moments ago, they all cheered loud and happily. Lidanya winced, her ears unprepared for such celebratory displays.
"All of you ladies can now go on and enjoy this lovely day, courtesy of Romeo Blue. No thanks are necessary, we assure you…"
Lidanya tuned the humans out, not too keen on listening to them boast on and on. She knew she should reprimand them for what was obviously blatant misuse of her comm. lines, but she let it slide. A Kaiju lay dead in the water, one that had not even made it to the shore, and that was enough for her.
The Marshall took in her surroundings, watching her women cheer and celebrate the total victory won by Romeo Blue. Her eyes landed on Trista, the maiden having the brightest of smiles and a certain look in her eyes. A look that Lidanya once had when she was a child, a look that she had when she met her first Justicar.
Lidanya stepped up beside her Chief Tech, patting the girl on the shoulder.
"Have fun tonight," She said with a knowing grinning.
To her credit, Trista did not blush, only looking away bashfully with a small smile tugging at her lips.
"Alright, Romeo. Come on home and get yourselves fixed up. You did well today." Came the Marshall's voice.
"Yes, ma'am. We read you." Leon answered, smiling like a man who won the space lottery.
"Can we break out the good booze tonight, ma'am?" Asked Ben, "We did kill a Cat. 3 and it didn't even make it to the shore."
"No need. You two are on shore leave for the next week. You've earned it."
"Aw, Gee! Thanks, Mom!" Ben joked.
"Much appreciated, Marshall," Leon cut in. "We'll be back in ten. Gonna do a walk-by on the shore. Give our fans a chance to see the big guy."
"These Kaiju destroyed numerous cities. Leveled them to the ground. Entire colonies were left uninhabitable. They thought we would just give up, roll over and die. They didn't expect our response to be a few hundred tons of 'fuck you'."
David Anderson, GCDC Ranger, pilot of Mk. II Jaeger, Nova Collider
First fight of the story is a curb-stomp. Not exactly a riveting read, but necessary considering this is the "Golden Age" of Jaeger. The actual plot won't get going for some time, but when I get there, you'll know. For now, however, I'm going to be focusing on Jaegers fighting Kaiju and the awesome that ensues when that happens.
Stay awesome, readers. Stay awesome and watch Pacific Rim.