Pacific Rim: The Pilots of Hyperion Zero

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Spectre of the Fade, Sep 9, 2015.

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  1. "You're going to meet your partner today, right, daddy?" Claire asked while Richard was braiding her hair that morning, her eyebrows raised significantly at him in the mirror. A reminder, no doubt, in case he'd forgotten. She looked so much like her mother, except with his dark hair and dark eyes, but she acted so much like him sometimes it was painful. Barely nine and already so very responsible.

    "Yes, that is today, little ma'am," he responded, smiling softly as he continued braiding her hair. His accent was Southern, but he was careful with his enunciation. "I might not be back til late. Rose'll be checking in on you, making sure you get to bed on time." Training would run on for the entire day, probably longer, and he'd be stupid not to make preparations for that. He wasn't going to just leave his little girl alone, and Rose was one of the few people who weren't family he would trust with keeping an eye on her. "Okay?" he asked, looking up from the hair in his hands to the eyes of his daughter in the mirror.

    Claire gave a little pouty huff and crossed her arms over her chest, staring right back at him. "I can do it myself." She sounded so adamant. So determined to be independent. She would be a force to be reckoned with when she got older, he was certain of that.

    "I know," Richard admitted, because she definitely could, "but I feel better knowing she'll be keeping an eye on you, so that is not negotiable, little ma'am."

    She'd stopped pouting by the time he was done with her hair, chattered about her adventures with a friend she'd made at school over breakfast, and went off to school with a smile on her face. After that, Richard got himself ready. Shower, shave, get dressed in something comfortable but easy to move around in. Specifically, a pair of dark sweatpants and a white cotton tee shirt. Casual. He wasn't going there to impress the guy, after all, just to find out if they were as Drift-compatible as the personality testing apparently suggested they were. He hadn't read any of the file he'd been sent a few days prior. Who this potential partner was on paper didn't really matter much, the way he saw it.

    Richard arrived at the combat room at 07:50, ten minutes early for the meeting. He paused before entering, the enormity of what going in there could lead to really pressing upon him. Drifting with someone was an alarming thought. There would be no secrets. No privacy. Any one of his memories or thoughts or feelings could be exposed to this other guy, someone he didn't even know yet, at some point in the Drift.

    He swallowed hard, remembered his commitment to this course, and walked into the room. Hopefully he wouldn't have to wait too long for his partner, if he had to wait at all.

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    #1 Spectre of the Fade, Sep 9, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2015
  2. Today was the day that so many had been waiting for, but it felt like it had already been a lifetime for Miller Maddox. When he had originally signed up for the Jaeger program a few years before, he'd never thought that the long hours of training would bring him to Alaska. It was a far cry from New Jersey, the shore that he had grown up on, with the same people in the same houses, the rundown neighborhood that had shaped him from day one. There in Anchorage, no one knew him from any other would-be pilot, no one looked down on him for his past and if someone had something shitty to say, it was based on first impressions. Miller had to admire that—the way a fresh start had changed his entire perspective on life and what it had to offer.

    The personality test was standard in the pilot program, standardized and meant to be efficient but Miller had slaved over the thing as if his life depended on it. In a way, it did because if he ever wanted to find himself inside of a Jaeger and off the coast, kicking some kaiju ass, he needed to find a partner first. It was easier said than done, and Miller had heard story after story from other rangers who had been waiting longer than him just to find another person that matched their mind. Drift compatibility between total strangers was such a rare thing, but with Jaegers flying off the assembly line and the coasts needing to be protected, the search continued on.

    Although he was sure that he was just getting his hopes up, Miller found himself up for a chance at something more. A file folder had been delivered to him the night before, containing an endless list of information about his potential partner—Richard something—that Miller hadn't bothered to look terribly hard at. If they were compatible, the combat room would sort it out and there was no sense in memorizing every detail of some dude's life if they weren't ever going to see the inside of a conn-pod together. If it worked out, the drift would reveal all of their secrets; put everything on the table in the blink of an eye and that was more valuable than anything printed on paper.

    Dressed in loose, comfortable clothes, Miller finally made it to the combat room. It felt good to be out from the cold chill of another Alaskan morning, which was so much worse than anything the Atlantic could have ever churned out. Shaking off a shiver, Miller stripped his jacket from his shoulders and hung it up before giving a look around. The room was empty save for another man. He was tall and broad in a classic sort of way, the kind of face that should have been in propaganda, perfect for a recruitment poster or a training video. Miller was the type to judge a book by its cover, but currently, he just hoped this man delivered.

    Approaching from the other side of the room, Miller opened his mouth before he even reached the other ranger. “Are you the guy?” he asked, a clear accent to his voice that he didn't bother to hide within his vague as hell question. “I know I'm not late, so you're probably him, right?” He stopped in front of the other man, but didn't extend his hand before introducing himself. “I'm Miller.” Quickly, his dark eyes gave a look around, wondering where the Marshall was.

  3. The word Richard would use to describe the man who walked in a few minutes after him would have to be cute. Cute like kittens and puppies and baby bunnies were cute. Cute like Richard had the impulse to reach over and ruffle his hair or maybe pinch his cheek cute. He refrained, obviously. Such a gesture might not be taken so well, and that would be a bad start to his relationship with someone who could be his partner. That in mind, he gave the guy an unsubtle once over while he was speaking. Brown hair, brown eyes, probably here for sparring of some kind based on his clothing. He had the athletic body for a fighter. The man was also a good six inches shorter than Richard himself, but he tended not to rate someone else's fighting ability by their size alone. His little sister Reese was a testament to why people in general shouldn't, as she was barely five feet flat and she was a complete badass.

    He took note of the accent. And the fact the man started speaking before he'd even crossed the room.

    "I am a guy, last I checked," Richard responded after a moment of staring at Miller with his brows furrowed in a skeptical expression, unintentionally sounding like a smartass. He wasn't sure how else to respond to that question. 'The guy' could mean quite literally anything, from 'the pilot guy' to 'the instructor guy' to 'the idiot guy who did that one thing'. Considering he didn't know this man and he didn't like the thought that people might talk about the stupider things he'd done with strangers, Richard was really hoping it wasn't the last one. "I'm Richard. Richard Hendry," he added after Miller had introduced himself, offering one big hand for him to shake. "If you're here to meet your co-pilot, Miller, I'm probably him, yeah."

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    #3 Spectre of the Fade, Sep 12, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2015
  4. The expression on the other man's face didn't look terribly impressed—which was fine and something that Miller had come to expect over the years. He was used to people underestimating him, thinking that he was weak or stupid, or just a waste of space, only to prove them wrong on every front sometime down the line. That was always a good feeling and it was often Miller's sole motivation for doing anything. This time, however, his need to be inside of a Jaeger outweighed the always overwhelming urge to make someone else look stupid. If their fighting styles proved to be incompatible then it was back to the drawing board, and Miller was relatively sure that he wouldn't have to see Richard again anytime soon.

    What else would I be here for?” Miller asked, the question somewhat rhetorical as he looked down at the other man's outstretched hand. For a moment or two, Miller looked at the gesture with a critical expression before finally extending his own hand like a decent person should. His handshake was quick, possibly a bit too rough, but Miller wasn't terribly concerned. Inwardly, he continued to tell himself that they didn't have to get along in order to be drift compatible, and that they didn't even have to like each other to pilot a Jaeger. As it stood, Miller wasn't interested in friendship.

    Rocking back on his heels, Miller again gave another look around. “So, where is everyone?” he asked, eager to get started. Adrenaline had been pumping through him all morning and the longer he stood idly by, the more doubt crept into his mind.

  5. Well, that was rude.

    Richard's opinion of this Miller person went from apprehension to dislike in the space of a rough handshake. If this man couldn't be civil with someone who could be in his head in a matter of weeks, then how hostile was he as a person? It was hard to believe the personality test had matched them up. But then, it was based around matching their fighting styles, not making them get along. Still, Richard crossed his arms over his chest as soon as he got his hand back, his posture and expression both drawing up into something tight and military. This guy didn't want to be friendly. So, he wasn't going to be.

    "I don't need to be supervised to know if I can kick your ass," he responded after a moment of staring down at Miller, a frown on his face. He turned so he could look at the rack of weapons on the wall. Richard couldn't name most of them, but there were sticks of varying lengths and several swords for dueling, along with hand wraps and gloves for fist fighting. When he turned back toward miller, he raised his eyebrows into a challenging expression. "Since you don't look to be interested in anything but business, we could find out if we're compatible right now." Get this over and done with, so he could figure out if he was going to be stuck with this hyperactive little asshole for much longer.
  6. Being disliked was something that Miller was incredibly familiar with. While growing up, he had managed to gather a handful of friends for himself, but new people filtering in and out of his life was a constant occurrence. If someone thought they liked him, or happened to think he was worth all of the trouble that he carried around, they were soon proven to be very wrong. After a while, one or two close friends became enough and as a result, Miller became even more off-putting. In his mind, he didn't have anyone to impress and if someone thought he was annoying, or loud, or they hated the way he talked, that was their goddamn problem—not his.

    Currently, that same thought process of himself versus everyone stood true.

    Calm the fuck down, Rambo,” Miller scoffed, his brows furrowed in the face of sudden hostility. Ever since he started training to become a pilot, compatibility had been stressed and it wasn't about beating someone else, it was about working together and finding common ground. All of that hippie bullshit was fine in theory, but being challenged and expected to just take it from some roided-out jock with a chip on his shoulder was where Miller drew the line. It was hard to believe that he and...Richard—was that his name—had ever been matched up in the first place and now, Miller was starting to think that there had been some kind of error in the program's fancy system.

    Glancing toward the weapons rack, Miller didn't think he needed anything but luck and a hard swing to break this guy's nose and call it a day. “You're not going to kick my ass,” he said, gesturing as if to gently break the news. “And if we are compatible, which—holy fuck, I hope not—what's the Marshall supposed to do? Take our word for it?” Although he had never been through this process before, Miller thought someone should at least be there to monitor the whole thing and mark down the finer points of their combat. “I know you probably exhausted yourself just by figuring out where to put your arms in your shirt this morning, but you gotta use your head here.”

  7. Richard was silent for a long moment, arms still crossed and posture still tight, simply staring at Miller. He was presumably contemplating that insult and how exactly to react to it. Violently, perhaps? Charge into the other man, slam him down onto the mat, and assert his dominance that way. He could also return it, maybe? Deliver a similar insult, like something referencing Miller's lesser stature. Or he could ignore it. Turn away and wait for the Marshal in stony silence, or maybe walk to the weapon rack, grab one of the staffs and force Miller to defend himself.

    Richard did none of the previous. Instead, after that long moment of tension, he started laughing. One hundred percent genuine laughter that was neither cruel nor patronizing. He had six siblings and most of the people he called friends were military, so he was pretty used to getting insulted by people he cared about. One stupid barb from an asshole he'd met less than a few minutes previous wasn't nearly enough to provoke his irritation. "You really are a scrappy little sonuvabitch, aren't cha?" he asked after he stopped laughing, a smile on his face wide enough to show off the dimples in each of his cheeks. The tight posture he'd been holding didn't relax along with his expression, however. "I don't like you much, but if you can throw your fists half as fast as you can run your mouth, we'll work out just fine." He punched Miller lightly in the shoulder and turned back to the door just in time to see the Marshal walk in.

    Marshal Adrianne Arkwright was an intimidating woman. She was average height, somewhere in her early forties, dark of skin, and held considerable rank in the Army before the UN offered her the position of Marshal. "Good morning, gentlemen," she said with a nod at the pair. She was dressed in full uniform and there was a clipboard presumably for note taking in her hands. "I'll assume you're both ready to get started?"

  8. Fights started for absolutely no reason all the time. That fact alone was something that Miller was used to, something he could count on, but he had never seen a fight end without a beginning. The sudden laughter that came from the other man, non-patronizing as it was, left Miller genuinely unmoved and he wasn't going to set aside his first impression of someone just because they were too chicken-shit to back up their own bravery. “I don't give a fuck if you don't like me,” he said, the same bite to his voice as before. There was a darkness in Miller, a little too much brutality that people tended to shy away from but the thought of trying to hide who he was—or worse—change himself, was unthinkable.

    Before things could continue to escalate between them, the Marshal finally made her presence known. Miller may have been disrespectful to everyone else, but he knew his place and immediately straightened up. “Yes, ma'am,” he responded, ready as he was ever going to be. After a less than stellar first encounter with Richard, Miller was left to hope that the combat test proved how different they were, possibly the two most incompatible people on the planet. Maybe this would be the first and last time they'd have to see one another.

    How do you want to do this?” he asked, he asked, glancing back toward the weapons rack. Due to training, Miller was comfortable with anything but he felt the most sure with his own hands. They had gotten him out of more tough situations than he could remember.

  9. "Yes, ma'am," Richard responded to the Marshal, an echo of Miller's affirmation. Her appearance had him dropping the smile and straightening up in a motion that could really only be called 'coming to attention'; it was too practiced, too precise to be labeled anything else. Back straight, shoulders square, hands at his sides with his thumbs precisely where the seam on his pants would be if he had worn actual pants, and socked feet together at the heel then seperating to create a near perfect 45° angle between them.

    Brief as his time in the Marine Corps was, the habits were damn hard to break. Not that he was good at breaking habits in the first place. Not that he even tried to break those in particular.

    Richard relaxed into a 'parade rest' position while he considered Miller's question, still trying to form a solid opinion on this creature of fire and spite he'd been partnered with beyond the initial dislike. Did this man have the spine and the resolve and the skill to back up the belligerence? Was he capable of self control? Questions that needed an answer. Questions that might just get an answer, momentarily. "Hand to hand, I think," he finally answered, turning to look at Miller. "I wanna hit you in the face a little bit. No offense." As with the laughter, his claim of 'no offense' was surprisingly genuine. "Is that acceptable, ma'am?"

    The Marshal gave a soft huff of air that could have been out of amusement as easily as irritation before nodding. "Go ahead."
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