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The Watchtower on the Pacific

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The fishing trawler finds him floating off the California coast, all spindly limbs and too many eyes and green skin.

When they bring him aboard and all the eyes open everyone aboard is hit by a wave of terror, doubled over until words resolve from the screeching.

They’re coming.

They finally believe him when the first one attacks.

---

He reveals himself during the first kaiju attack - no red cape yet, just a two fists and eyes aflame and not enough control.

The speculation comes after that - where did he come from? Is he like them? Is he in league with them? What else is coming?

He gets the cape afterward.

He’s the first one to ask J’onn his name.

(J’onn isn’t, strictly speaking, his name, but it’s the closest thing, the one that they can both pronounce. When he thinks about J’onn, though, he tries to think the right name, and hopes he’s listening.)

---

Superman didn’t come in time for his parents.

He’d be lying if he says he’s never resented him for that, even though Superman hadn’t been much older than he’d been at the time, barely into his teens.

Wayne Enterprises helps bankroll the first jaegers, and he knows them inside and out. When they start to build the first shatterdomes he hardly ever leaves the jaeger bay, climbing around the scaffolding to check each rivet. He argues with the bureaucrats and the politicians by day, by night he’s all too often found skulking in the rafters around the jaegers, a welding torch in his hand.

The other engineers start calling him the Bat.

---

She is the best the Jaeger pilot program has to offer. 51 drops, 51 kills.

(There are whispers in the Shatterdome of what she gave up to be here. They say she’s the heir to wealth and fame and power, and gave it all up to save the world. She says nothing.)

She’s faster, stronger, brighter. There’s no one to match her.

This is a problem, as they’ve realized all too quickly, even the strongest pilot can’t pilot alone for long, not safely.

There’s a lot of shouting in the jaeger bay before she hauls Bruce Wayne out on his ass to the training room and shoves a staff into his hand.

(Clark joins them quickly - they’d thought it was ridiculous to put someone with unbreakable skin in a metal shell, until they realized that Kaiju Blue affected kryptonians too. Steel Justice soon becomes a beacon of hope.)

---

They haul him out of the Marine Corps and into the Jaeger program in desperation. Despite his talent, he isn’t much for the drift, but he has a knack for leadership that sees him rising up quickly through the hastily assembled ranks.

(His hometown is far from the coast, which fills him with relief everyday.)

Soon enough he’s in command of his own shatterdome - the Watchtower, they call it - with plenty of opportunities to shout at his three most reckless pilots.

It’s hard for him to get used to J’onn, but he’s happy to have his expertise on base. If the other dome commanders are too squeamish to speak with him directly, well, that’s their loss.

He’s given up on finding a drift partner entirely when he meets her.

---

She’s lost, she tells them. No way to make it back to her home planet, no way to know where it is.

Marshall Stewart already has a Kryptonian and a Kaiju Master (not technically the right descriptor, J’onn had told them, but it was the best they could do in English) in the Watchtower, so he takes her in, resigning himself to running ‘the alien base’.

She watches the old fights on video in her new quarters, over and over.

“Your people,” She asks Marshall Stewart once. “they never give up, do they?”

“Nope.”

“Why?”

“It’s our planet. We’ll be damned if we let someone else take it from us.”

She doesn’t quite meet his eyes.

She refuses to drift for the longest time, long after he’s sure they’re drift compatible.

(“What, try and fit these wings in a drivesuit?”)

When they finally do drift, he understands why.

I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry -