There are things no one tells you when they put you into a Jaeger. You will become possessive of the monster you ride. You will dream of your partner's past.
You can drift with the dead.
It's an easy thing to do, simple, really. Find someone who knew them well, who has memories you don't share. Lie and cheat to get them into a Jaeger with you, connect. And chase that rabbit.
They don't tell you. They know that you might not come back.
So he thinks of an excuse. He finds Herc. And puts on a smile.