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The Drift

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Kaiiju (japanese name) : Giant monster

Shepherd (english name): One who protects, guides, or watches over people.

 

Whenever people feel small or lonely they look up to the stars, wondering if there’s life up there. It turns out they were looking in the wrong direction. When alien life entered the human world, it was from the depths of the Pacific ocean. A fissure between two tectonic plaques. A portal between dimensions: the Breach.

Chrom was fifteen when the first kaiju appeared in Plegia.

By the time tanks, jets and missiles took it down - six days and fifty kilometres later – three cities were destroyed. Tens of thousands of lives were lost. The dead were mourned, memorials were built up, and life went on.

 But then, only six months later, there was a second attack on Rosanne. And then a third one hit Chon’sin. And a fourth. And then humanity learned this was not going to stop. This was just the beginning.

 The world needed a new weapon. All the resources were gathered and the old rivalries put aside for the sake of a greater future. To fight monsters, humanity created monsters of its own; the Shepherd Program was born.

There were problems at first. The neuronal load of the interface of the Shepherd was too much for a single pilot. A two-pilot system was implemented: a left-hemisphere-right-hemisphere pilot control. Humanity started winning. The Shepherds were stopping kaijus everywhere. But the Shepherds were good only if their pilots were, so Shepherd pilots became rock stars. Danger turned into propaganda. And kaijus into toys.

 And then… everything changed.

 


 

 

Chrom ran with all his might in the large corridors of the Shatterdome, and entered the laboratory by slamming the door.

  - "Lissa!”

 A young blond girl lifted her head. Her hair was tied in two ponytails, transparent protection glasses were neatly put on her nose, and a surgical mask was hiding her mouth.

 - “Make it quick, Chrom, I’m in the middle of an experiment!”

- “Robin! She’s coming here!”

 Lissa slided her mask downwards and looked at the blue haired man with a pleasantly surprised look.

 - “Seriously, Chrom? Your pilot-crush got hired by Emm?”

- “Stop using that word!”

 Lissa giggled a bit and put her mask back on, before returning to the piece of kaiju brain she was dissecting. She covered it with a piece of plastic to prevent the organ from being damaged.

 - “Maribelle, you heard that?”

 A voice came from the stockroom of the laboratory.

 - “Lissa dear, I’m in the archives from head to toe, I can’t hear all your brother’s gossips!”

 Lissa giggled again and wiped her gloves, covered in blue blood, on her white coat, walking towards Chrom. The young man’s lips were distorted into a small pout, his cheeks slightly red. Her sister came to him and nearly put her hand on his shoulder, stopping just before touching him to not stain him with her gloves. She smiled.

 - “Joking apart, I think it’s a great opportunity for you to finally meet her. When is she coming ?”

- “Tomorrow I guess”

 Chrom smiled back and tried to keep control of himself. But he then took his sister in his arms, spinning her round while she yelped, asking him to put her back down before she stained his training clothes. His whole being was filled with joy and excitement.

He was going to meet Robin.

 

______

 

Robin arrived by helicopter the following morning. It was pouring outside, and it was practically impossible to walk without getting instantly drenched. Robin was about to get down anyhow, ready to run under the heavy rain, when Emmeryn stopped her with a move of her hand. Someone was approaching with a huge umbrella, but from that distance, it was impossible for her to see who it was.

The blond woman, who had already reached her thirties, nimbly jumped off the helicopter and walked rapidly towards the silhouette. By the time Robin joined them, Emmeryn had opened the second umbrella the other person had brought and handed it to her. She took it, while her commandant stood under the other one. The person who had welcomed them under the pouring rain – now visible - was a woman, probably around Emmeryn’s age. Her sky blue hair was perfectly tied into a plaited bun, with her bangs cut tidily just over her brown eyes.

 - “Robin, this is Phila” Emmeryn introduced“she’s my assistant and also a pilot”

- “Well, not that much anymore if I dare say” Phila said with a small smile.

 Robin and her exchanged a handshake and the three of them headed towards the base. They reached a quite large elevator. When the doors were closing, they heard a “wait, hold the door!” before a group of four people got in, pushing two huge containers filled of yellow liquid. Robin looked at them and recognized kaiju parts inside them, but wasn’t able to identify them with precision.

A young girl with blond ponytails wiped her forehead with the sleeve of her white shirt and smiled.

 - “Thanks, Emm.”

 Robin looked at Emmeryn suspiciously, surprised someone would use a nickname to address her. The commandant noticed her perplexed expression and pointed the other girl, and then the three other people accompanying her.

 - “Robin, here is my younger sister, Lissa. She’s a scientist, and studies kaijus. Maribelle, her assistant. Miriel, our mathematician. She tries to predict every kaiju apparition.”

- “I would prefer the term “calculate”.” Miriel pointed out, rearranging her tiny glasses on her nose.

- “My name is Ricken, I’m Miriel’s assistant!” the last one said, a boy who looked even younger than Lissa.

 Robin nodded “My name is Robin. I am a form-“ Emmeryn looked at her intensely, making her correct immediately “I am a pilot.”

 Lissa almost jumped at her “Oh my Naga you’re Robin?!” she shook her hand vigorously “my brother is a huge fan of yours! He’s been overexcited since he learnt you were coming here!”

 Robin took a second to assimilate the information, and looked at Emmeryn with a surprised expression. Lissa had not released her hand.

 - “I have a brother and a sister, both younger than me.” the chief specified.

- “Oh” was her only response.

 All the while, Miriel scribbled notes on a piece of paper while Ricken was helping her calculate. Maribelle was cleaning one of the containers with a tissue. All of them seemed very dedicated to their work, and somehow Robin felt glad and relieved to see this. There were people who tried to understand why the world had turned this way. She smiled gently. Lissa finally released her hand.

The elevator stopped, and Emmeryn and Phila got out. Robin followed them silently. She turned a last time towards the elevator, just enough to see the door close on Lissa, waving at her and smiling brightly.

 - “See you later, Robin!”