You don’t go to church growing up. Most of the other kids at school do, since there's a lot of churches in your town. For you, it’s just one of those simple things that never cross your mind: some people believe in a god, some people believe in God, some people believe in many gods. Your dad and uncle don’t believe in any kind of god, so you don't either. Your dad and uncle don't go to church, so you don't either. It's simple.
In sixth grade, you start talking about religion in school. Other kids give you nasty glares on the playground and someone kicks one of your dinosaurs so hard the tail cracks in half. When you get home it breaks off. A few weeks later, your uncle drives you to one of the churches and you ask him why.
It’s kind of weird, because there are no crosses or impaled men or glass windows or anything like what the churches on TV have. There's a circle of chairs and a lot of posters on the walls. None of the posters look like the ones you have at home, which are a mix of cool things like Godzilla and cool things like biology and cool things like the Ramones.
You go to a church now, and it’s sort of weird because in your classes (church classes instead of school classes, but they don't give you boring homework and you don’t need to take paper tests, so they’re not hard classes) you talk about what makes someone a good person and what are the principles of life and different kinds of beliefs, which isn't something people think you understand usually, since you're twelve years old and still play with plastic dinosaurs.
One day, you all go around the circle and write down what kind of thing you believe in. Two kids write nothing, one kid writes Jesus, another writes reincarnation, and you stare at the paper for a while.
You write down “things bigger than us".
It’s not what you mean, exactly- four simple words can only convey so much, and without your exact thought process in their heads, someone else would probably misunderstand this. But it works well enough for sixth-grade religious education class.
Learning about natural disasters in school is scary, but it's also amazing. You don't know how to describe it. The idea that there's something so much greater than you, something you can't stop with a gun or a sword- that is the idea that amazes you. That is what you meant when you wrote down “things bigger than us”.
A long time after you've stopped going to church and sitting in a circle of chairs, you still believe in things bigger than humans. Every so often you'll rest your head against the bus window on your way back from campus and the bus will hit a bump and your head will jolt and you will stare blankly at the seat across from you and wait for the next thing bigger than you.
It happens on August 10th, in 2013, and your heart stops for a moment when you hear the news. You ask if it’s a joke, wide-eyed and clutching your Mothra mug, and your friend shakes her head. She hands you her phone and you watch the clip with rapt attention.
For a very long time after that, nothing feels real. Your reality was shaken around like a snow globe and then left on its side. It takes them six days to stop the monster- they're calling it Trespasser- and it takes you six days to schedule an appointment with your tattoo artist.
When you tell her what you want, she gives you a Look, and asks you if you've thought this through. You nod and say yes and your heart beats too loudly.
You get the tattoo.
A group is started, the Pan Pacific Defense Corps. You want to scream at the universe when the second one crawls out of the ocean, because you thought this was over. You thought that you'd get to glimpse God dressed in their Sunday best with their hair done up all nicely, and then you'd go back to earning your doctorates and the world would keep chugging along and the Earth would keep right on spinning.
You mail a letter to a scientist. His name is Hermann Gottlieb. You idly wonder if he believes in something.
Years pass, and God keeps crawling out of the ocean, and humans try their very best to fight back. It doesn't live up to what you first thought about God, way back in church, that they couldn't be beaten by guns or swords or robots. You decide the jaeger pilots are good people, but they're not God.
The PPDC puts you in a Shatterdome with Hermann Gottlieb, and you vaguely remember telling him that the kaiju were God and him screaming at you and leaving. Only vaguely, though, because after the meeting went sour you drank an entire bottle of vodka and watched High School Musical 2 on repeat until all your thoughts about gods were buried.
You don't talk to people about religion anymore, mainly because people don't think of their god as kind anymore. You know people are religious, though- whispered prayers float through the Shatterdome at night.
It’s 2025, and you're running out of space for more tattoos.