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A Concept of Mind

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Right hook.

Uppercut.

Strafe.

Block--

BOOM.

The conn-pod shook wildly as the kaiju dubbed “Slugfist” lived up to its name, landing a hard one with two of its four hittin’ arms simultaneously.

“Son of a..!” Jackson shouted, righting himself from the awkward position he was thrown in the primary control unit.

Teagan grit zir teeth and did the same. “We’re gonna get our ass kicked if we don’t pull out the cannon soon!”

We need to corner it first, Jackson thought.

Let’s bring it in for a nice, big hug, then, his co-pilot thought in return, reaching forward for the console to prep the generator.

Sierra Dynamo, Sacramento's mark 4 Jaeger was, when cleaned up, a beauty, and the pride of California. A smaller, lighter Jaeger, it was speedy, but not nearly as fast as the mark 5’s were projected to be. Sierra came in at just under 70 meters tall, just over 1600 tons, and had exactly two supercell cores. 

Slugfist let out a hideous, roaring trill, sounding something like 100 car accidents happening all at once. It beat its chest with two of its oversized arms, stubby tail swishing around in anticipation of a kill.

Not today, both pilots thought in unison.

Speech wasn’t necessary between two drifting pilots, but sometimes it couldn’t be helped. “Come on… come on…” Jackson hissed as they crouched down low, arms wide, like a goalie poised to spring an oncoming puck or ball.

Slugfist was sizing them up, waiting for them to strike, but after a moment of pacing, took the initiative. It leapt forward, all four arms out, and Sierra was knocked to the ground.

“Now! Now!” Teagan yelled, struggling against gravity and the impact of the kaiju’s continuous blows. “Initiate live nodes! Let’s light this fucker up!”

Sierra seized the kaiju atop it in a fierce hold, and Slugfist began to struggle. They were outnumbered by two sets of arms and had precious few seconds.

“Initiated. Nodes hot in 3… 2…”

 A chunk of armor was torn off Sierra’s arm and Slugfist began to thrash wildly.

Sierra was the only Jaeger to have been produced with two cores, and for one reason only. 

“...1." 

A hum, loud enough to be heard over the cries of the kaiju rose quickly up from nothing, and then a near-deafening crack accompanied by a noise low enough to be felt rather than heard. It ripped through the both of them and the giant screamed, jerking uncontrollably. Dozens of tungsten-alloy needles had struck out from Sierra’s arms and chest, each hot with 500 megavolts worth of electricity. 

Slugfist was just struck by lightning.

“Plasma cannon!” Jackson ordered the computer. Now was their chance.

But the kaiju wasn’t going to give up so easily. It flew into a rage, tearing into Sierra, throwing it down into the sand of the Kiribatan beach that had become their battleground over the past half hour.

Plasma cannons took about 15 seconds to charge once deployed, and it wasn’t looking like Slugfist was going to give them that long.

“Shit, shit…” 

Sparks flew from somewhere in the conn-pod, showering over Teagan as they were hit again. The kaiju tore a few nodes from the Jaeger’s chest, sending them flying. But then it noticed the charging cannon, and suddenly all of its attention was focused on it.

Teagan tried all that ze could to get out from under the kaiju, but it was no use. Jackson tried keeping their most important weapon away from the monster’s grip, and Teagan used the Jaeger’s free left arm to deliver concussive blows that could finish what the electric shock started.

Slugfist found that by keeping one foot on Sierra’s chest and another on the cannon arm, it had free reign to do whatever it wanted to the Jaeger with all four of its arms. 

The two pilots inside paused, thoughts hitching for a moment as they realized the predicament they were suddenly in. Slugfist would have been their first solo kill.

It’s a spooky experience, being in the drift and having nary a thought cross either mind; only the mingling of astonishment and fear. Teagan would remember that moment for the rest of zir life. 

But it ended quickly. The kaiju started pumelling the conn-pod, throwing both of the pilots around, still attached to their controls. They suddenly felt like they were being whipped around like flags in a storm or victims on stretching racks. Teagan couldn’t have imagined that it was Jackson who would get injured first out of the two of them; ze called out when he was thrown from his anchoring, feet still attached to their step-drives. Ze reeled in shared agony as Jackson's ankles snapped, but his cry of pain was cut short as his head collided with a broad strut in conn-pod's floor. The back of his helmet cracked.

Warning lights flashed as ze was ripped from the drift and the neural handshake broken. Light, noise, and pain suddenly filled zir head as ze was suddenly faced with carrying the full weight of the Jaeger alone. Teagan’s helmet echoed the voices of those at LOCCENT in the Los Angeles shatterdome so far away; it was a struggle just to hear them.

“Teagan! Backup is on the way! Your handshake’s been cut!”

Zir entire body was on fire, tears welling up in zir eyes as ze mustered up one last burst of energy before unconsciousness would be due to take over, just as it had for Jackson.

“Shiv!” ze cried out hoarsely.

A blade, something between a knife and a sword, shot out from the outside of Sierra’s free left wrist. Teagan had lost control of most of the Jaeger’s body, but the fight wasn’t over so long as ze could still use Sierra’s arm. 

“RRAGH!”

The co-pilot tore into the kaiju’s side with the knife, hacking off two of the beast’s arms and sending it stumbling backwards and into the squat bluff beside them. Kaiju blue spattered the beach.

Things started to fade for Teagan, and ze fell limp as a crippling headache seared through zir skull.

“Sierra, Sierra,” crackled the radio in zir helmet. “Hang in there Sierra. Mammoth Apostle is inbound…”

Jackson…

Blackness.