Excerpts from An Oral History of the Kaiju Wars, chapter 7, Profiles of the Early Pilot Classes
No one who knew them was surprised when the Way brothers were put forward as candidates to be tested for drift compatibility. The traits the public had been asked to look out for were siblings, spouses, or close friends with a high degree of predictive behavior patterns, such as finishing one another's sentences, being aware of location or presence without visual confirmation, or resuming interrupted conversations after a significant lag. Gerard and Michael Way exhibited all three, as well as a lack of personal space restrictions, complex nonverbal communication shorthands, and verbal shorthands that frequently amounted to a secret code.
Their drift compatibility scores in the early neural bridge framework were at the top of the charts, and they began intensive training to compensate for their failing scores on physical capability to withstand the stresses of Jaeger piloting.
There are reports that upon seeing their assigned territory for the first time, Michael Way pronounced, "Shit" and turned his back on the Pacific Ocean.
"We're East Coasters," Gerard explained, with considerable gesticulation. "We're used to the Atlantic. What is all this?"
Partial transcript from the meeting to assign G. Way and M. Way to a newly completed Jaeger:
MARSHAL ROCKHAM: Your Jaeger is nearly completed in the facility in Mexico.
M WAY: We don't speak Spanish.
ROCKHAM: It will be transported to you on-base in Alaska.
G WAY: Alaska? Alaska is really fucking cold.
ROCKHAM: Gentlemen, need I remind you that the fate of the world is at stake?
G WAY: Mikey gets cold easily.
ROCKHAM: I assure you, the facility is well-heated.
M WAY: I want our Jaeger to be named R2D2.
ROCKHAM: Names are assigned by the Commission.
M WAY: And you should assign ours the name R2D2.
ROCKHAM: That will not be possible.
G WAY: Even at the end of the world, Lucasfilm's hanging on to their fuckin' intellectual property, huh?
A SILENCE OF SEVERAL MINUTES.
G WAY: Call it the Big Man.
G WAY: Clarence Clemmons? The E Street Band. We're from JERSEY.
ROCKHAM: Mr. Way, that is, frankly, stupid.
M WAY: Your mom is stupid.
At this point in the development of the Jaeger program, the effects of long-term neural drift were unknown. The Ways quickly became an unofficial test case, as they indicated their preference to remain in drift even when not actively engaged with kaiju. Reports were filed by Sitka facility crews of finding the brothers in the Big Man's cockpit at unauthorized times, neural handshake engaged, drifting to no official purpose.
When questioned about these incidents, both Ways issued statements to the effect of, "We just like it."
Official reprimands were placed in their files and access to the Jaeger was restricted when off-duty. The Ways responded by refusing to get out of the cockpit post-mission, spending several additional hours in drift at various points until they were physically removed to allow for repairs and maintenance.
Following their retirement at the end of the Mark 2 program, citing not only the standard concerns regarding radiation exposure but additional fears of neural strain(1), the Ways returned to New Jersey and lived in relative obscurity. While they certainly held the public's attention and gained the fan following typical of pilot pairs in that era, they appeared to reject it, preferring to live in seclusion and interact through periodic releases of art (Gerard) and stream-of-consciousness prose/poetry novellas (Michael). Critics were unable to establish a coherent take on either project, though some who attempted to view them as two halves of a single expression of the brother's experience in the wars are now considered to have been on a better path than others.
1. Rumors that the Ways acquired neural bridge equipment and spent their retirement in a state of more or less constant drift remain unsubstantiated.