Title: Lead me Through the Night
Summary: Circumstances change, but the message remains the same: The Jaeger Program is failing, and only a few believe it can still make a difference despite evidence to the contrary. What difference will a wayward Raleigh Becket and a "retired" Yancy Becket really make in the long run?
Disclaimer: Pacific Rim and all things related is property of Guillermo del Toro, Travis Beacham and Legendary pictures.
001: It's a Harder Way, and its come Claim Them
They're getting shorter.
The breaks. They're coming quicker, like the eggheads keep telling command. Our last one was only two months ago.
There were two ways a fight with a Kaiju go could; in the favor of the Kaiju or the favor of the Ranger piloting the Jaeger. The last four years they've fought together, things fell in their favor. It was a constant, one they were never raised to expect or become accustomed to. They weren't children, Yancy especially, but they were hardly at the prime of what some called self-aware and in complete agreement with what they signed up for.
Ah, I don't think it's anything we have to worry about. Gipsy's got us covered.
Yeah, yeah, don't get cocky. I gotcha Hans Solo.
High emotion drove them through the doors of the Jaeger Academy and it was a single-minded goal, devotion to help others in an otherwise powerless situation, that kept them going when it appeared their instructors would rather enjoy breaking their backs and send them crawling out the door they came in. The weight of their decision, the ramifications of what they were doing really didn't hit either of them until Yancy's 25th birthday.
Sitting in the corner cubical of their old haunt in Anchorage, staring at the walls covered in newspaper clippings of Jaeger activity and PPDC articles; visiting the empty house they lived in once upon a time with their parents. It made an otherwise pair strapping young men feel old. Was this how soldiers felt? The life they once lived felt like a dream. To think they'd grown so used to walking in and out of the head of a giant robot was more than a little unnerving.
But so were giant monsters attacking cities.
What the hell were they going to do once this was fall over; if this was over in the conventional sense of the word?
Just above them they could hear the chatter of the fishermen on the Saltchuck as they attempted to discern the moving mass of "land" heading toward them. Knifehead was moving rapidly toward their position and they'd only have a few moments to actually execute the plan. The coms remained off; what they were about to do, they didn't need Pentecost bellowing in their ear, demanding they proceed to plan.
Gipsy Danger's hull adjusted accordingly as they rose up from under the water; Yancy raised his hand upward above the digital projection of the boat. Gipsy Danger's hand bumped the belly of the ship, fingers closing ever so slightly around it. "Alright, Gipsy, it's showtime," He said, a smile creeping up on his face as his brother flexed his arm. The flood lights illuminated parts of the stormy sea around them. The heat signatures coming from the boat dictated elevated heart rates, but the men aboard was otherwise unharmed.
As soon as they were standing completely upright, anxiety and instinct kicked in like second nature. "Alright, get ready," Yancy warned. Raleigh moved in position before his brother finished his sentence. Gipsy Danger raised her arm in defense; Yancy cradled the boat in his hand as they moved ever so slowly backward.
All was silence for a moment. The hydraulics of the Conn-Pod tensed and relaxed as Gipsy Danger moved to rest the boat back in the water.
"Where is it?" Raleigh whispered.
The water around Knifehead parted as it emerged behind them. The tip of its head slashed Gipsy Danger's right side as its smaller arms wrapped around her waist. The Conn-Pod rattled from the blow, Raleigh and Yancy struggled to break free of its grasp.
"It's behind us!" The older Becket cried, more than a little concerned by the turn of events. He fought to keep his arm steady and his fingers loose against the violent shuttering that rattled Gipsy Danger's frame. If he so much as closed his fist he would kill the fishermen.
"No, shit, Yancy," Raleigh growled as he drove Gipsy's elbow back against the hard edge of Knifehead. The Kaiju barely flinched; it dragged its claw curled claws against the waistline of the Jaeger, peeling away whatever it hooked its claws into whatever it caught. "I've got an idea." His brother nodded as his intentions filtered through their connection. Raleigh punched a sequence of buttons on the control panel in no particular order.
- Boosters Engaged -
The singsong voice of the Jaeger's A.I. chimed all around them. Yancy Kneeled with his brother, careful of his outstretched arm. Gipsy Danger's back roared to life, Knifehead screeched when it the heat from the propulsion began to burn away at its face. It shoved away from the Jaeger, its right hands moving to claw the burning skin from his face.
"Alright, we're free! Now!" Raleigh and Yancy stepped to the left and turned as they raised their right arm and thrust backward. Gipsy Danger moved against the tide of the sea, right arm raised. Knifehead drew its hands away from its face as the elbow came racing toward it. Whatever vision was left in its primary eye was shot; it burst on impact with the Jaeger's elbow. The Kaiju reeled from the pain that shot into the base of its skull and dunked its head in the water. A minor affliction compared to its face, but it made it no less bearable.
Yancy moved to set the Saltchuck on the waters beside them, the ship glided across the water like a toy in a bathtub. It was barely the best minimum in safe distance, but they couldn't afford to keep it in hand. With the swing of his arm, Raleigh charged the Plasmacaster, Gipsy Danger's hand split apart in a rapid twirl, the center of the weapon rising from the palm like a stigma.
Knifehead righted itself, water rolling from its head as it stared the tin woman down with its good three eyes left. Thunder rolled overhead, lighting illuminated the arena for a moment and plunged them into darkness. One moment Knifehead was frozen, the next its arms are slashing wildly at the water as his legs propelled it toward them.
Here it comes!
Raleigh didn't miss a beat; Gipsy Danger aims straight and true in the maelstrom and fired the canon with extreme prejudice. The first blast hit the Kaiju's arm; it barely flinched and kept going. The second hit its exposed belly; it stumbled backward but kept moving. Yancy's concern hit Raleigh an instant, he watched as Yancy started to charge the right Plasmacaster, but he kept his focus. The shot hit the Kaiju square in the chest, the wound burned right through its thick hide, revealing muscle.
Knifehead's legs powered through the wave rising up against it and Gipsy Danger. The water curled and came crashing down around them. Lightning flashed again, Knifehead roared and seemed to take flight as it leapt across the water, its entire body poised for attack. Raleigh and Yancy could hear the desperate cries of the fishermen as they prayed the waters didn't swallow them up. At the same time, the monster came crashing down on the Jaeger.
Collisions were never smooth at the top of the Jaeger; the Conn-Pod shook and trembled like nothing they experienced. They were sent reeling backward and couldn't keep their balance despite being locked in place, everything from the inside out rattled. The hydraulics on the clamp hissed and rose upward to relieve undue pressure. Gipsy Danger brought its arms up toward its face, she caught Knifehead's extending jaw between her hands, it snapped viciously at them. Their harnesses went taut and froze in place, their arms locked as the alarms in the Jaeger began to fall back.
- Maximum weight capacity breached. Please lose 2 to 2, 700 tons. Thank you -
The right Plasmacaster went off beside Knifehead's face; the Kaiju roared and broke free of their grasp, clamping on the Jaeger's shoulder with its teeth. An unceremonious scream escaped Yancy as the Kaiju's incisors sank deeper into the armor of the Jaeger. Gipsy Danger crashed against the water, the Saltchuck was sent tail first out of the water. Its crew held on for dear life or fell into the water, not expecting to be pummeled by the body of their rescuer.
Gipsy Danger plummeted down into the water, Knifehead's tail and weight guiding faster toward the bottom. Throwing its head back it drilled the end of it head into the shoulder. Gipsy Danger's armor tore away on impact, the Kaiju's head breaching the back; Yancy cried out, arm trying in vain to tear away from the pain irradiating through his suit. Knifehead jerked its head to the left. Gipsy's hand thrust forward, clamping her fingers around the Kaiju's neck.
The tip of its head tore through the shoulder the same time Yancy ripped the loose skin from its neck. It cried out, Kaiju Blue billowing out around its mouth and the gaping wound underneath. Gipsy Danger's arm hung loose from its body, unable to do anything. Knifehead was only too happy to finish the job. Its incisors bit down on the Jaeger's arm again. The armor gave way against the pressure.
Gipsy's left arm fought against the hold the Kaiju had on her surviving limb. The canon began to arm itself as Knifehead pulled Gipsy's right arm away from her body. Yancy saw red. Every muscle in his body seized up as the receivers sent a million different signals from the Jaeger's right socket as the muscle strands were torn away. His arm was gone, her arm was gone. His mind was overflowing with confusion, Raleigh's fear and Gipsy's pain, all of it perceived as white noise. He could see the alarm flashing overhead, could feel his jaw stretched to its maximum, there was no sound that he could discern.
The alarms got louder as the A.I. began to calculate the damage. Raleigh watched the blueprint of Gipsy Danger go red as his arm began to swing.
Right arm severed. Weapons system at seventy percent. Core intact. It was all Yancy could muster to think as he tried to reach for the control panel. Yancy grit his teeth against the sparking in his suit that burned down the right side of his back as he fell dependent on his left arm.
The right arm still twitching in its mouth, Knifehead released the appendage reared its head back. The tip came down on the neck of the Jaeger and collided with the flap protecting its neck. The Kaiju pulled away, irritated. The Conn-Pod groaned; the water pressure wasn't enough that crack the hull of the Jaeger, but both brothers flinched as Gipsy Danger's floodlights illuminated the bioluminious mouth of the Kaiju attempting to tear its way into Conn-Pod again.
- Maximum weight capacity breached. Please -
"We know!" Yancy shouted.
- lose 2 to 2, 700 tons. Thank you -
The Conn-Pod shook again, swinging them violently to the right from the unceremonious slap from one of Knifehead's free claws. The hull groaned. Yancy looked up and saw a single intention in the Pod above his position. Knifehead's tip came down on the flaps; they gave, tearing away from the back. The animated blueprint of Gipsy Danger illustrated the damage inflicted was growing by the second.
I'm beginning to think this wasn't such a good idea.
It'll be a bad idea if we don't get out of this alive, Raleigh! "Is the caster ready?"
"Yeah, but I can't get a clear shot at it-"
"Just shoot at whatever you can! I'm gonna try something-" Raleigh felt his heart skip in succession as he watched his brother access manual override for the nuclear reactor and the Plasmacaster.
- Plasmacaster Overload. Are you sure you want to do this? -
The reactor, are you crazy?
It's either that or we sink with her.
Yancy didn't waste a second hesitating. He confirmed the command and looked to his brother. "Alright, get ready." Gipsy Danger's heart burned bright in the murk of the water; Knifehead reared back and prepared to slash the Conn-Pod wide open. Gipsy Danger's hand unfurled, the youngest Becket raised his arm as far as the weight of the Kaiju would allow and squeezed.
The Plasmacaster lit up his side of Gipsy Danger's visor; blue and white mixed together as Knifehead's claw barreled through Conn-Pod. The Kaiju cried out, the proceeding blast burned through the sea, taking half its head with it. Its claw fixed itself between the two brothers and slashed at the back of the Jaeger's head.
Yancy threw his arms up on instinct, he felt the claw graze his side and cut through his armor like it was nothing. The left harness went limp, dropping him lower to the ground. Yancy cried out, Raleigh barely had seconds to witness the right harness being torn from the wall. Yancy went into a free fall toward the back of the Conn-Pod; his harness collided with the wall hard enough to knock the wind out of him when he finally came to a stop. He fell forward as the water began rise around him.
Raleigh cried out as burning pain raced up his right side; the impact of the imbalance hit him immediately. His leg bent under the weight that was no longer being supported by the right hemisphere and he began to panic. "Yancy!" The Kaiju's claw twitched violently, Yancy, restricted by the harness could only look on and watch as it struggled to break free of the Pod's entrance. The wall behind him caved, the nail slicing through the hull of the Pod as it was pulled out. Yancy could do nothing except brace himself against the floor as water rushed into the Conn-Pod at an alarming rate, drowning out the warnings of the A.I.. The Plasmacaster was still burning bright on Raleigh's side, but it was not the second discharge that caused the water to burn hot around them.
- Radiation levels rising. Please assume the Ration Prevention Position -
Knifehead's body twitched on pure instinct; it was no longer alive to screech as Jaeger's reactor burned through its skin and melted away the back of its armor. Gipsy Danger pushed away from the dying Kaiju, its boosters roared to life and with her one good arm, she raced toward the surface.
The crew of the Saltchuck could feel the blows of the battle beneath them as they scrambled to save themselves from the storm raging around them. Clinging to what wreckage they could grab onto as their livelihood sank, they witnessed thunder flash below. Moments later it was expelled from the bottom, tearing the water open for mere seconds before it closed back around. The waves swelled around them, threatening to consume them.
Gipsy Danger broke free from the bottom as thunder roared overhead. They screamed as the water rushed down from her shoulders, sweeping them further away from her body. Gipsy Danger never noticed them. Clumsily, the Jaeger moved forward, swaying back and forth, undaunted by the storm.
Raleigh couldn't feel his own body anymore. The only reason he knew he was moving was the constant rattle of the Conn-Pod that dislodged more and more shards of Gipsy's visor from her face and awful hiss and moan of her limbs.
He could feel every gaping hole in the Jaeger's armor, every piece that hung loose or wasn't hanging on at all. Gipsy Danger lost more than just a limb on the way back to shore; every step she took, her suspension continued to drop, and her balance got worse. She was falling apart from the inside out. They stumbled through the water that only reached as high as Gipsy Danger's ankles the further inland they came.
The interior of the Pod was wrecked, the control panel was gone, torn from the ceiling by the claw of the Kaiju that no longer remained lodged the Jaeger's head once they pulled free from the creature's dying body. Gipsy Danger's hand had yet to return to standard mode. The canon was no longer working, but it could still rotate. Looking up he could see where the right harness was pull from the ceiling and dragged to the back of the Pod.
His brother lay sprawled on the ground at an awkward angle, unmoving. Raleigh wanted to disengage from his harness (if he could), but he knew if they stopped Gipsy Danger wasn't moving again. He was still breathing, he knew that much.
Raleigh could hear every thought in his head as bounced off his own; Yancy was still fighting, still calculating, and there wasn't anything hit except the rapidly aggressive black spots that were beginning to blotch their minds.
He raised another leg; Gipsy Danger's foot collided awkwardly against land. The absence of water threw her off, Raleigh felt himself tipping and they fell forward. Her knee collided against the ground, followed by the next. Her head fell forward. Raleigh was suddenly hanging like a parachute victim caught on the branch of a tree. From behind he could hear the tendons of the Jaeger's neck breaking away from the Pod.
Everything that wasn't attached to the Conn-Pod began was propelled toward the opening of the visor. Yancy and the harness went flying past him. "No, no, no!" Raleigh scrambled, thrusting his arm forward. Gipsy Danger's hand grabbed the end of the harness; Yancy's eyes snapped open in response the pain that flared up in his side. He had no breath to cry out, he twisted in a vain attempt to move away from the agony. The air around him was cold; his lungs struggled with the weight bearing down his chest. He barely had seconds to realize where he was before his altitude started to plummet rapidly.
Gipsy Danger collided with the ground unceremoniously, arm outstretched.
- Gipsy Danger offline. -
To the boy and his grandfather who sidestepped the colossi, the Jaeger seem to appeared out of the fog on the mere desire of needing to find something better than a toy robot. It wasn't a ship, but it was the next best thing.
The little boy marveled at the size of the Jaeger at the same time his grandfather gawked at the severity of its damage. Neither had ever seen a Jaeger beyond a television screen or a newspaper. To think they'd be present when one came crashing down onto the shores after a battle, it was more than overwhelming.
"Do you think anyone's still alive?" The boy asked as he followed his grandfather toward the downed Jaeger. "God knows, I hope so," His grandfather shook his head. Picking up his pace, he told his grandson to remain where he was and rushed over to the shattered opening in the head. He was barely up the hill of sand stirred up by the crash when a body started crawling out of the head.
Parts of Raleigh's suit tore away from his body as he pulled himself free of the harness. His left arm was burning worse on the right, and he wasn't sure the pain was coming from him anyway. He fell into the blend of snow and sand, worn from piloting on his own.
Using his arms he dragged himself across the ground, clawing at the earth beneath him. His head is ringing once his ears are battered by the air outside the Jaeger. Raleigh tried to stand, his legs gave way beneath him, but he tried to remain upright as he stumbled down the hill. He didn't pay attention to the man circling him, asking if he needed help. Raleigh was single-minded in his determination to find his brother. He followed the outstretched arm of Gipsy Danger up the shore. "Yancy," Black spots dance across his eyes as he stumbles toward the Plasmacaster. "Yancy."
Every inch of Gipsy Danger is smoking; everything seemed imperfect, damaged beyond repair. "Yancy!" His brother was lying on the ground mere inches away from the hand. He stumbled across the distance toward him, falling to his knees he checked him over.
Yancy's left arm was pinned under him in an awkward position; he could see blood running outside of his armor. Oh, shit. "Yancy, Yancy, can you hear me?" Grabbing his helmet he pulled it away from his head and tossed it aside.
"…I can hear you,"Yancy barely groaned as his brother grabbed him by the right arm. Raleigh felt his brother's arm shift. "Stop, stop, stop!" Yancy started to squirm, when his left arm moved. He cried out, trying to pull his arm out of his grasp. "Goddamnit, Raleigh, get off my arm!"
"I know! Just hang on, hang on," Raleigh leaned forward and tucked his arm around his brother's waist and sat him up. Their position was awkward, the harness rested on his arm, pulling them both back toward the ground.
Yancy felt lightheaded, the pain in his arm and back was just getting worse upright and the harness attached to him didn't help matters either. His gaze shifted to meet his brother. The visor of his helmet was broken; he could see trails of blood running down his face and nose. "I'm sorry," Raleigh breathed.
Yancy ignored his apology. "Nevermind. Did we kill it?"
Raleigh nodded. "Yeah. Yeah, I think we did," Raleigh replied.
"Good," Yancy closed his eyes. "I can't feel my arm, Rals."
"Which- which one?"
Yancy shoot his head. "I dunno, the left?"
"Left arm's broken, we need to-" Raleigh stopped and looked to his right. The old man he barely noticed from before was still standing across from him. "Hey- hey, we need some help," He told him.
"My grandson's gone for help," The man informed him, his voice trembling. "Tell your friend- tell him to hang on."
"I'm not goin' anywhere… I don't think," Raleigh glanced down at his brother; Yancy's eyes were at half-mass, he could feel tremors from his body staring from his legs down. Bleeding, he was still bleeding. Raleigh stared down at his own side; he was bleeding on the opposite side.
They couldn't do a goddamn about the bleeding thing until- Raleigh turned to face the man again. His back was facing them, his attention on the shoreline ahead of him. "Hey, hey, guy!" The old man turned, he moved quickly toward them and kneeled.
"What is it, son?" Raleigh tried not wince at the sound of the word while his brother chuckled deliriously. "I need your scarf. A tourniquet to stop the bleeding," Raleigh explained. "Please, my brother's hurt." The grandfather wasted no time; he pulled the scarf from around his neck and handed it over.
"Alright, give me a hand, I've gotta keep him steady," Raleigh draped the fabric across his brother's abdomen. The armor and the circuitry suit on his left side were gone, torn away by the Kaiju. The old man grabbed the other end and fed it around the back, bringing it back to the piece Raleigh held in his hand. Raleigh twisted the two ends together and pulled them in opposite directions. The old man stared down at Raleigh's handiwork. Raleigh kept his gaze focus on his brother, he hadn't so much as flinched. Yancy blinked owlishly. "I barely felt a thing."
Author's Note: Pilot Under Grace has two more chapters before competition, thought I'd sit this out here (more or less because this was incumbent on mine completing a ficmix challenge that I completely forgot about). That said, I've been a bit wary about writing YL (Yancy Lives), because I'm okay with him being dead (him and Chuck), but at the same time fannish desires kinda pull me towards wanting to explore the idea of his survival because I did something similar with Cloverfield and it'd be a shame to let this bunny scamper off.
It's not difficult to come up with an alternate solution, but the consequence probably won't have the same impact. Regardless, I wanna do this and let's see how I land on my feet. Tally ho, y'all. Let me know what you think, comments are appreciated.