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Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 09:18 pm
Title: No White Flag
Summary: Stacker had said they were a Resistance after all.
Content notes: Warning for a badly named Jaeger, you know the one

Even before the politicians could think of organising a vote on whether to reverse their original stance of closing down the Jaeger program, the Hong Kong Shatterdome was buzzing. Crimson Typhoon and Cherno Alpha had been fished out of the Bay, and the working parts needed to be sorted from the wreckage regardless of whether the Jaeger program would be revived. Mako was mostly in charge of this operation, consulting with engineers and overseeing that parts were restored to their former glory before being catalogued and stored out of everyone's way.

This left Raleigh to watch the news almost obsessively. His eyes were glued to the news channels as he sat in the control room half-listening to Herc go through the personnel and suss out who wanted to stay and who wanted to go home. The world on the brink of danger was a very different place from the world in a new era of peace, and men and women who would have given everything to fight for their families now wanted to see those same families at the end of a long war.

It was at the end of one of these long line of interviews that Herc threw himself into the chair next to Raleigh and turned his full attention to the news. Both of them watched the grim announcement that the committee stood by their previous decision and the Jaeger program would not be reactivated.

Raleigh tuned out the politician's simpering speech about how a new peace meant they had to put the past behind them and let his face fall into his opens palms. "I can't believe it." He drags his hands down to stare uncomprehendingly at the politician's cartoonish figure on the screen. "I can't believe that they still don't believe in the Jaegers after all we've done. Herc, you're the Marshall, didn't you - "

"Couldn't even arrange an appointment," Herc grumbled. He was leaning back in his own seat, arms crossed as he glared in disapproval at the television. "I figured storming in there after fucking up the bodyguards would be the excuse they needed to shut the whole program down, so I stayed put. As for this bullshit, I reckon they thought to pull a fast one on us so we wouldn't have time to prepare ourselves for a fight against the shutdown."

Raleigh let his head fall back into his hands again as he despaired for humanity. "We had to hear this from the news."

"Course. They think if it's a done deal we wouldn't make any noise." Herc slapped Raleigh on the back, and the sound of his chair scraping back indicate he was standing to leave. "Why else do you think I let you watch the fucking news in here? This was the only way those fuckers were going to let us know."

In the end they took Mako's carefully catalogued boxes and shipped them to Alaska.

Where Hong Kong's bustling streets and people had hidden the fact that they were repairing Jaeger parts, even an innocent bystander would notice if a Jaeger had been assembled right in the middle of their city. The Hong Kong government had also dropped Herc a note that they would like to rebuild, and that the Shatterdome was sitting on some very valuable land.

Herc dropped them a note right back that the PPDC would be moving, no fucking thanks for the eviction notice. The next note he dropped was to the Committee, saying that the PPDC would be busy putting the Jaeger parts into storage and that they would not be contactable.

If it was storage they wanted, Alaska was their best bet. It was away from prying eyes and had enough space.

"Besides, Alaska was operating on a skeleton crew before we shut it down," said Tendo, wry as he led Raleigh though the familiar rooms with unfamiliar layouts. "We've had to recalibrate the machines so they could run with just one person overseeing them."

"Not that we will have a problem with personnel. They've shut down the Jaeger Academy," Mako pointed out.

Raleigh hissed. He wouldn't know what he would have done if the Jaeger Academy had closed down before he and Yancy had completed their pilot training. "They trained for a war they would never fight in."

Mako laid a hand on Raleigh's shoulder. "The war's not over yet," she reminded him, her expression as stern as her warning.

Hermann was convinced that it wasn't over, and he took the news about shifting to Alaska with the anger it deserved. "The throat could be reopened anytime," he blustered, waving his cane for emphasis. "The aliens clearly have the technology, it's just a matter of putting that technology to work. And now they're chasing us to the remote wastes?"

"Don't worry Dr Gottlieb," Mako assured him. "If they are rebuilding the bridge, we will build faster. Alaska is just a step to having a battle ready Jaeger."

"Let's just hope they have dumbass politicians like we do, just to be safe," said Raleigh, which earned him the first smile he's seen from Mako for a while.

There's not much to smile about in the weeks after, where there's hard work for everyone. Raleigh had thought he had left construction behind him, but there's still welding and hammering to be done, even if he's working on a Jaeger instead of a wall. There was nothing left of Gipsy Danger, but they took parts from Crimson Typhoon and Cherno Alpha and were assembling it into something functional. Their crew was motley, but it worked hard and slowly the Jaeger took a recognisable form.

Finally they reached the stage of running the first piloting tests. There's no question about who will pilot the Jaeger - Herc swore off it, saying that he's needed as Marshall; Newt and Hermann know how to Drift but not how to pilot a Jaeger; and the Jaeger Academy candidates were far too inexperienced to be piloting Planet Earth's possibly one and only defence.

The gravity of it hit Raleigh as they were suiting up for the test drive. This was as important as the time when they had been preparing to escort Striker's nuclear payload to blow up the Breach. But this time there would be no expectant crowd, eyes watching their every move as if they could will them into succeeding. Nor, Raleigh realised as he looked at Mako, would there be a Stacker to give a rousing speech to send them off.

Mako picked up on his mood, but not Raleigh's exact thoughts, for she said, "It's far too quiet out there."

To avoid talking about Stacker, Raleigh settled for teasing, "I didn't know you were one for adoring crowds, Mako Mori."

"Not everyone is born with your ego, Raleigh Beckett. It'll be nice to have encouragement."

Raleigh was no Stacker, but he could give a good sound bite or two. "We've got a duty to the world. We've got to do it, with or without recognition."

Or possibly Mako Mori's smile was all the recognition that Raleigh needed, because when she smiled at him right now he could feel a burst of happiness growing within him until it spread across his face in an answering smile.

"Let's do our duty then," she said, tucking her helmet under her arm.

Moments later, Crimson Alpha took her first steps out onto the hard frozen ground outside the Shatterdome.