+ Preparation for Tomorrow (closed)
Kodiak Island was cold. Colder than than the California raised Candice was used too. It got into your bones and stayed there and not even a coat and gloves could keep it out because you breathed it in. It was her first week there and she was still learning her way around the compound and she could vaguely remember some sci-fi movie that she had watched with her brother Nicky. There had been a line about how how God had made harsh landscapes places to toughen men or something to that effect. Of course it being a bad 1980s sci-fi movie that tough place had it had been a desert planet but it reminded her of the island all the same. She may not have been speaking terms with religion but she couldn’t help but wonder if those who had founded the Academy subscribed to the same philosophy.
She breathed out, her breath coming out white and turned her head as she continued walking. Then she saw a face, a face she knew. “Burke,” She said, raising her voice so he could hear her. “It was Burke wasn’t it?”
Kodiak Island was… a bit colder than he was used to. A bit greyer, too, the sky overcast with a thick, flat blanket of clouds. It cast everything in the same dull light, swathing metal and earth alike in cold overtones. Bleak, he thought, staring up at the massive structure that housed the Jaeger production teams, an entertaining (if morbid) commentary on the state of the world. When the weather even knows to be grim, you know it’s gotten bad, he mused to himself, hands jammed deep into the broad pockets of his jacket. All in all, if he had to choose, this bleakness was preferable to Iraq’s landscape – both bleak and monotonous, but at least here he wasn’t tasked with fighting other humans. He also wasn’t sweating his balls off, which was always a nice change.
He was dressed in standard gear; heavy, regulation clothing piled in layers to stave off the chill. His jacket was new, PPDC logo emblazoned proudly across its back, taken in place of the older Army gear now tucked lovingly in a bin under his bed. The brightly patterned scarf was the only thing that set him apart from others, a garish and clashing rainbow of pink and green and orange. (He knit it himself, from leftover yarn hanging around his mother’s house. It was warm and comfortable and lopsided, and screw anyone who didn’t like it.)
No matter the weather, he always found himself much more interested in the compound. Who in their right mind wouldn’t be awestruck? The place was fucking huge, and it always struck him with the strangest urge to laugh. He knew why such a monstrous structure was needed, of course – he’d snuck more than a few peeks at Horizon Brave – but it never seemed to entirely click with him. If he bothered to think about it, he’d come to find he was in a sort of denial: He never wanted to remember how big the Kaiju got; how monstrous and seemingly unstoppable.
A particularly biting gust of wind snapped him from his reverie, and he snuggled further into his jacket, yanking the hood of his hoodie one layer down through the collar and tucking it tightly around his head. His poor, fragile ears weren’t cut out for this, no doubt flushed a pained red already.
His phone buzzed and he slipped it out of his pocket, double-checking the time as he did so: he only had another hour before it was time for basic PT, which meant he would have to cut his exploring short. He was still getting used to the compound, and, yes, he did occasionally want to slip away and ogle the Jaegers when no one was looking –
His phone buzzed again and he opened the texts, sent from his brother.
Be careful. Don’t you dare get eaten by a Kaiju.
Well, thanks, Joseph, you’re so helpful.
“It was Burke wasn’t it?”
Wait, that was his name-
He snapped to attention, head swiveling as he tried to get a lock on the source of the voice. He spied a younger woman, headed his way – oh, no, she definitely recognized him. Damn, damn, damn, where did he know her from? The memory escaped him entirely (he knew he hadn’t met her around the island yet), so he settled with grinning stupidly and thrusting out his free hand in greeting.
“Yes, uh. Aw, fuck, I forgot your name. … Oh…You were in San Fran, right? … On K-day?”