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When Ghosts Speak

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Everyone in the Shatterdome knew of Furiosa, even if almost no one knew whether or not that was her real name. She was famous in the way only Jaeger pilots could be, her name as well known as her Jaeger's deafening fog horn sounding in the Sydney harbor. Her co-pilot was just as famous, though her name was only whispered these days, the "poor Mary" who had still not regained the use of her legs and who still had the tendency to lose time and forget faces.

The battle that had lost Mary as a pilot and lost Furiosa her left arm was stuff of legend, but a legend that people seemed almost wary to speak of. The people in charge of such things claimed that the Drift technology had malfunctioned; Mary had suddenly received the entirety of the neural load, and Furiosa, no longer connected to the massive War Rig, had been unable to defend them against the attack that had caved in her side of the Jaeger and crushed her left arm between the mangled metal.

The Kaiju had been killed by another team and the rescue team had been somewhat surprised to find both women still alive in their Rig that had somehow stayed upright enough to keep them out of the water. Mary had been unconscious and Furiosa had likely wished she were.

Max knew of Furiosa. He also knew that she was stubborn enough to charge back into the fray as soon as the medical bay had deemed her healthy enough. She'd managed to catch the engineers right before they sent the Rig for scraps and demand it be repaired. No matter the fact that she was now missing an arm, no matter the fact that she didn't have a co-pilot, that damn Jaeger would be fixed.

And so fixed it was. Max saw her almost daily as he worked through seemingly endless rivets or dangled from one of the massive arms to upgrade the hydraulics. She never said much to the engineers, never tried to correct them or interfere. She simply watched, like a ghost hovering over the wreckage.

It was a little unnerving, if he was being perfectly honest.

It was even more unnerving when she somehow trapped him after one of his shifts, just as he was unhooking his harness and picking up his bag. Her left arm was in a sling still and he could just see the white bandage poking out the end.

"How's she doing?" The woman's voice was a little lighter than he'd expected - though come to think of it, he'd expected some kind of growl.

Max glanced up at the Jaeger automatically before giving a noncommittal shrug, doing his best to avoid eye contact.

"Well enough." He moved to step around her and was surprised when she mirrored him, blocking his exit.

"Any idea on how long?"

Another shrug. He hoisted his bag a little higher onto his shoulders, eyes flicking around the bay as if he might find someone who could distract her long enough for him to slip out.

"Few weeks," he told her shortly. "Month tops."

Furiosa nodded thoughtfully, staring up at the Rig with something that he might have called longing. "You're one of the head engineers, right?" She glanced back down in time to see Max give a sort of self-conscious shift of his shoulders. That got a quiet scoff. "What's your name?"

The question was unexpected and he spent a few seconds trying to figure out why she'd want to know. Maybe to report him to his boss for being unhelpful or something, maybe so she could find him again if she wanted updates...none of the options seemed like good ones, so Max tightened his grip on his bag and met her eyes for a brief moment.

"Does it matter?"

That seemed to catch her a little off guard and he used it to slip around her and stride for the opposite side of the bay. Furiosa didn't follow, and Max kept himself from looking back to see if she was still staring at her Jaeger, tried to keep himself from wondering what she was hoping to accomplish by getting the old thing fixed up again.

Maybe just to see it brought back to life in the hopes that Mary could manage the same. Maybe she was hoping to pilot again, even with the hinderance of having no co-pilot.

Either way. It wasn't his problem. He would fix the machine, and he would be out of the picture again.

Everyone knew of Furiosa. Nobody really needed to know of Max.