Herc nearly starts crying when Eureka’s escape pod bursts up through the water. He isn’t sure if it’s joy or sorrow or both or the hideous, breathless terror of not knowing- who was in there.
His son, or his lover?
It doesn’t open. Herc rams his hand in his mouth and shudders. God, what if they’re dead too? What if if it’s empty? He’d given up hope before the helicopter spotted the escape pod and it twist at him now, coiling like a Kaiju and chewing on his guts.
The camera pans in as the helicopter drops lower. Mako Mori, still in her Jaeger suit after Pitfall, kneels down to open it and even through the feed Herc can see her hands are shaking.
He knows who she wants to see. He wants her to be right and he wants her to be wrong and oh god it’s so awful he just wants to close his eyes and just- not be here.
The pod opens, Herc can barely look. His legs tremble and Tendo shoves a chair under his legs. He falls into it, nerveless.
In the pod, two tiny children look back up solemnly.
He can almost feel the universal what the fuck. Stumbles to his feet again and gripping the sides of the screen. What the hell. What the everlasting hell?
Two boys. And God, of course he knows the smaller one. Of course he does. Eighteen years ago. Chuck. Oh god Chuck. He’s alive. Alive.
And the other- the slightly older boy, darkskinned with a close shorn haircut. Stacker doesn’t keep childhood photographs, but if he did, this little boy might have put in an appearance.
Herc sits down again, hard. Tendo looks at him in concern. He looks- not entirely surprised.
“Did you know this was a possibility?” His voice is flat.
Tendo takes a breath, “After Newt and Hermann sent word- we heard they suffered- a change too. It seems to affect people a few minutes after the Drift ends.”
Herc pauses, then darts forwards to get the microphone. “Mako, just to warn you-”
A very young voice comes through, “Chichi?”
“Oh, fucking hell.” Herc buries his face in his hands. Tendo pats his shoulder tentatively. “No.” He sits up, takes a breath. “They’re alive. They’re all alive- fuck, I don’t care what shape they’re are, they’re alive.”