He begins it already pried apart.
His perception of himself doubles as he backs away from the underlayered narcissism at the fusing core of all he is and straight into the protected perspective of completed analysis.
There is a threat to himself and that threat is him.
The front man Newt hasn’t been for a decade steps out of the shadow of the day job he’d loved too much to quit and the night job he’d loved too much to sleep, lifting his latter day and bastardized guitar, remodeled into a remote detonator of his consciousness. He looks at up at the lights, hoping for photobleaching of the psyche on this stage of his own design, backed by a green column of formaldehyde. In that space before the echoed vibration of that first note all audiences anticipate, before he creates that wave of sound and pressure, he feels the floor, he feels his fingertips carefully apposed, and then he squares his shoulders because this is every show he’s ever played, man, every time he’s ever stared into those lights without counting the faces in the crowd, this is his show-stopper, if Hermann’s right this is his heart-stopper, the Freddie Mercury moment that he keeps finding over and over again in increasingly intense variations. And now, with the cover art for the most salient album of his life jacketing his skin in green, here he stands, one terminal in a two terminal system, holding his button and looking at the lights.
Key change, people; brace yourselves.
Whatever happens, he’ll leave it all to chance.
No he won’t; but it makes a nice epitaph, if one’s shopping around.
It seems he is.
He tenses his back, he raises his hand, the balls of his feet press against the floor in a subtle homage to the power chord that’s about to blast out his brain, the last killer riff of his conscious existence. He can’t even tell when he hits the button because he rides his conviction straight down into something dark and vast and violent and violet, many-eyed, many-consciousnessed, an infinite arachnine incarnation of death destroyer of worlds and the last aware and awful mental annotation that Newton Geiszler, of the sextupled doctorates and the sloppily-rolled shirt sleeves, is able to make is: oh god, a hive mind.
Their childhood bursts like a thing dammed up by time and knowing better. They stand in childish shoes, they find a Dyson sphere is not enough, they are too small, they are grown too sprawling, too mired by their waste, there is the day that the bookcase they are climbing falls on top of them, dark and shedding books like backlit falling bodies; they discover that the truth of the universe is that planets that are fit to support life do, they always do; they weep amidst a radio in pieces irreparably destroyed through disassembly, so this is death—a garage, the dust-filled air, and a thing that had a function unmade by childish hands in blind pursuit of something better—the scale of the drift confuses them—it is too vast, it is too confined, and they’re not certain this is death, after all, in pieces, like the radio.
Kaiju do not die.
Jaegers do not die.
Or do they die in pieces?
Shock yields to rage and to elation.
They struggle with themselves on foreign scales, seeking structure, seeking science. They clone their war machines, they construct their war machines, their resources are vast, their wars ongoing, their resources are limited to resurrected metal and a Wall that falls in hours. Limitations, limitations, they seek them, they seek them. They’re constrained by the nature of the breach, the short statistics of its opening, they’re constrained by the tranching of money, the terror of failure, the tiny fragility of their forms, the energy requirements of sending progressively larger kaiju, drowning comes as revelation, they are caged by their genetics and their genetics sets them free to share and build and decouple viciousness from consciousness, their kaiju do their killing, but they are in the Jaegers, they did not know, they did not know.
They will never stop coming.
“Newton,” Hermann says.
In Two Parts
He begins it like he begins all things worth beginning.
The unity of Hermann’s purpose flows from his thoughts to his voice, initiates the anticipatory removal of his glasses and the offering of an open hand in a prefigurement of immediate neural necessity.
Newton looks at him, for once uncertain.
Hermann waits like a spring compressed beneath the pressure of his own assurance. He has made his contribution, not a calculated offering but an offering of calculation, and he stands now on the perimeter of all that he has plotted and prepares to step into a realm less quantified, prepares to reveal all of himself to the nightmare he has opposed for the past decade and to a man whose entire existence is one limitless, lambent stream of self-revelation. Hermann’s civilization is out of time, running up hard and fast against the temporal asymptote of a triple-event unless his species can shatter their way through it with explosive power, precisely applied. He knows now what he needs and doesn’t have, and that is data on the breach, on its origin and composition, and on what, if any, ways it has been engineered, where its foundations sit, in lees of space-time turbulence—so that he can orchestrate, or even guarantee, a quantum demolition. The meridian of their time passes across the unbridged space between the man who designed the required interface and the man who can best interpret the data it will offer.
He waits for apposition.
For the shattering of limits, the stuff of mathematical nightmare.
And he’s going to attempt this thing with Newton?
Yes, it seems he is.
Their hands clap together, chiral and connected. They sit, they affix, and, in accord, they drift. The locking together of two human minds comes first and comes harder, because in the face of alien neural infinitudes their differences collapse like a wave function, superimposed eigenstates falling to one in the face of exponential decay into the veldted darkness of a foreign immensity, an infinite plane, an infinite volume, deep and wide and strange and the last insight he can ascribe to himself is a shift in his perception as Newton snaps, with regrettable permanence, from quixotic to clairvoyant.
They exist like light, a non-paradox that looks like one on paper; tormented and alone, the incandescent center of a set of older peers, a roiling mass of needs justified by their achievements. They sit with ordered pages and ink upon their hands, they stand in boots astage and under lights while silently, in water, they swim toward San Francisco, ready to destroy and to learn through this first essay in destruction. They watch it, they perform it, and their buildings cave like shell-walled castles made of sand, colonial and colonized, as catenaries snap and bridges fold and fall. They don’t know fear, they feel their fear, they turn it into aspiration and write it on their skin; they’re throwing up in bathrooms as they rend apart their Jaegers and they picture death by drowning. They cannot win, they always win, they win or stop existing. So this is fear—the bathroom stall, the heavy coat, the mouthwash and the needle. Their risks are so abstracted that they are caught in fascination because here they’re absolute; they nearly killed the part of them that killed their radio, they find that unacceptable and they find that illuminating and they find that an entirely reasonable cost.
All things fear their ending.
If endings will permit their own perception.
They will not submit to the intrinsic finality of an alien teleology.
This time they are ready, so in they dig with claw and foot.
They know the scale on which they clash. They tear through with precision. They’ve sent out ships but space is vast; they send no ships—tormented into silence; their ships are metaphor but they will literally rock them, guys, come on. They built the drift, they built a door, a lock in one direction, forceable with ease if one has seen it, opaque if one has not, because who upon the other side will ever see, will ever guess the mechanism by which it might be forced, a key genetically incarnate. They’re filled with rage, they’re dying, they own this secret now, they are lying in the rain unable to get up, what happens if they drink this, all around them are the sounds of closing doors as people leave them. They try to optimize performance in a setting unpreferred. They want into the breach, they’ve lost surprise, they’ve lost their secret, how potent are the weapons that they have not yet used upon their planet’s surface? They wrest, they yield, they know that outside the fragile architecture of the breach even fusion’s not enough, but they know the code, they’ll get inside, they’re seeking names and numbers. They will not yield, and yet they must; there is a blur of obfuscation as they drag themselves into the roaring stream of memory and struggle for control of someone’s hands and helmet in a rush of memories so thick so fast—the depress of ivory keys, the alignment of two shoes, the sliding planes of chalk, the steadiness of hands, head down, head back, the lights are hot, the room is dark, the math is waiting, but so is Gipsy Danger with a core of glowing revolution.
When faced with threat, there is a coalescing; true at every scale, true at every time.
They move against disorganized assault from within and from without.
They detach their helmet.
But Hermann pulls it off.