The leaders of the world met around a secret table to discuss necessary changes in international relations and policy that came with the destruction of the Breach.
"I think our first point should be to acknowledge our thanks and debt to Stacker Pentecost and the brave women and men of the PPDC."
"That said, and in no way to disparage their achievement in closing the Breech, I move that we keep the Jaeger project running, albeit in a mothballed condition. We can't know that there will not be a new Breach, and retaining capability may become essential in the the event of a recurrence."
"Earth is hurting. Nearly every nation is near bankrupt*. Nearly every country has at least five percent of their population starving**. In the absence of rampaging monsters the size of a city block, there is no excuse for the massive wasteful expense of actually running Jaegers. We're going to have to make some pretty harsh downsizing decisions for the PPDC."
"There is one piece of information that made it out of the Hong Kong Shatterdome in the last hours Before the Breach was closed. We should review it before making any funding decisions regarding Jaeger capability."
The room dims, and a projector fan whirrs into life. Grainy security footage of Stacker Pentecost from his last hours plays on the screen.
'I bring nothing to the drift, no rank, no ego'
The lights brighten again.
"Stacker Pentecost let slip something that no other drift-capable human has ever admitted: the Jaeger program can work with professionals."
"We've been working with emotionally incontinent psychological wreaks because we thought that there was no one else who could pilot these things. Because we were told that we needed compatibility above all, and the number of humans offering that sort of synchrony were rare almost to the point of non-existence. We thought we were lucky to have Cheung Wei Tang and Lt. A. Kaidanovsky, and we put up with the ... flaws of their drift mates because we had to."
"We don't have to. Stacker Pentecost was drift-capable with anyone because he was a professional."
"I have two proposals based on this"
"First, the Pan Pacific Defense Corps will commence a full investigation into the grotesque series of blunders that put the safety of the world in the hands of the current Jaeger pilot corps when this was not necessary."
"Second, that work on recruiting competent, Jaeger cadets with the sort of commitment to civilian control of the military and professional service that we expect from any other part of the armed forces should commence to run in parallel with artificial mind research as part of the much reduced PPDC."
The chief administrative staff of the PPDC met around a cluttered desk
"We should try to retain some of the pilots as trainers. They'd be an inspiration, even if they weren't that great as teachers. Meeting them would drive our cadets to heights unimaginable."
"Which, you know, might make the artificial mind look less attractive to the higher ups."
There was a pause while they thought about the artificial mind. It was a monstrous murderous machine that could never be defeated. Having human-piloted Jaeger that were as effective was a good argument to not turn it on. Having human-piloted Jaeger between you and it when it was turned on was just common sense. They'd all seen what it had done to that class one, and that was just with earth moving equipment, not a proper Jaeger at all.
"Can I be the one to tell them?"
"That they're not pilots any more. Well, not all the pilots, just Beckett."
"Imagine, if you will, that you are running the Anchorage Shatterdome. You are responsible for protecting the civilian population, and there is, shall we say a single asset valued at one percent of GDP between a Kaiju and, to pluck an example entirely at random, the western seaboard and one third of the US population."
"And the pilots stop their interception to play with a fishing boat like a child in the bathtub."
"This is beginning to sound like one of those hypotheticals which aren't really hypothetical."
The administrator had spoken with the fishermen in question. Deep sea fishing has always been one of the most hazardous jobs in the world. Giant monster attack has affected their premiums hardly at all. They were prepared to die from the moment the storm caught up with them. Some of them had been prepared from the moment they took the job.
"The crew of the Saltchuck are grateful for their lives, of course, but they understand that the funding to repair the extra damage to the Gipsy Danger would have paid for a hospital for ten years. Would have paid for schools which meant that their children could have jobs that did not involve deep sea fishing."
"Our hypothetical Shatterdome administrator would very much like to have pilots who display professionalism, because pilots doing what they felt like was unnecessarily costly, dangerous, and at best imperilled hundreds of millions of civilians."
"And now we have the next best thing, which is to say, we can fire grotesquely unprofessional pilots and replace them with someone else, rather than catering to their diva-antics."
"Sorry, the pilots with combat experience are staying, if we can get them too."
"They're all very good, skills-wise. If they can pass that on, they'll be good teachers, even if they are awful, awful ways to implement policy or to protect a civilian population."
"Please can I be the one who tells Becket he's fired? I had to stand and watch Knifehead approach Anchorage knowing that once it was done with us it'd have a clear run all the way down to San Francisco."
"Fine, I recuse myself."
Raleigh Becket and the HR bod met in a grimy meeting room.
"Mr Becket? Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to see me."
It was true. After the Breach had closed, Becket and Mako had hit the talk-show circuit and had been generally doing everything possible to stay in the public eye.
"We have a few points to cover, but before that, on behalf of the PPDC, thank you for your service."
"You've won the war, which I'm sure is a great relief for you as well as everyone else, but it also means that we don't really have much need for Jaeger operations anymore; as such we can not keep you on staff a a full time pilot."
"So what? I'm fired?"
"The PPDC would like to keep you on staff to help train cadets and maintain Jaeger capability, but actually running a Jaeger is an expense that is really hard to justify when twenty percent of the world population is starving."
"There's something else too, Mr Becket. You might be able to save the world again. Watch."
With a certain amount of fiddling, the HR bod was able to get a movie to play on her antiquated desktop.
"This is the Hambach surface mine in the Rhine valley, Germany, about a year ago."
"It was one of the safest places on the planet. Almost the other side of the world from the Breach; there wasn't a Jaeger presence for eight thousand miles because there didn't need to be one."
"To this day, we don't know how the Kaiju got there. Maybe it was the first one across and it burrowed straight down for a year."
"The machine you can see is a Krupp-built bucket-wheel excavator. For scale, it's a bit taller than Gypsy Danger and weighs about seven times as much."
"Seismology gave the German authorities about four hours warning, which was long enough to declare a state of defense against the invading Kaiju, and to install an experimental artificial mind on the excavator."
The excavator shuffled slowly in the mine-pit for about half a minute, spinning its bucket-wheel. Raleigh was beginning to shift impatiently when the armored, worm-like Kaiju broke the surface and took a face full of clawed scoop for its trouble.
He watched in unmoving silence after that.
After a minute, it was all over bar the sadistic mutilation of the corpse. With nearly two hundred cubic meters of blood and flesh being excavated every minute, it took less than a quarter hour before the Kaiju was completely de-meated.
"Yes it was only a class one, but equally, that wasn't a combat machine. Even on its best day it moves at less than a kilometer per hour."
"Mr Becket, if humans won't run Jaegers at their very best, the higher ups are going to look to using the artificial minds, and it is absolutely impossible to make them anything other than filled with hate. Violence is its sole vocation."
"I pity us all if that thing gets the body they want, and they will, if the human Jaeger program is less than outstanding in every way."
*The Vatican, in an unprecedented display of solidarity with the other states, had actually flogged off a couple of the Michelangelo's** to raise funds for the good of displaced peoples. The microstate still did not have a national debt.
** They were now on permanent loan to their former owner, and an awful lot of money was now not so much laundered as shriven.
*** The Vatican again, has a population of less than a thousand old, wealthy clerical bureaucrats, all of whom are quite well fed. And, notably, a popeulation density of 2 pontiffs per square mile.