There’s nothing more they can do. Hermann crosses four arms over the railing, leans over the edge of the balcony. Newt’s bulk a warm, comforting weight against his side.
The Jaegers are leaving.
The Hong Kong Shatterdome has the space to launch 30 Jeagers. They’ve filled up that and more, had four more waiting to join them at Stanley, on the other side of Hong Kong island.
Thirty four Jaegers, apart from eight left behind in Tokyo, those are all they have. Operation Pitfall, the last gamble to end this war once and for all.
The Hive stirs fretfully. The Kaiju can feel the new disturbance now, from Hermann and Newt’s minds. They rise from the deeps, gather around the Breach, waiting.
Newt turns to Tendo. “They’re in place.”
Tendo nods, leans forwards to the microphone, “Marshall? The Kaiju are waiting.”
“Thank you.” Stacker’s voice is taut.
Hermann swallows, he turns, and sees Mako. She looks up at him from her corner by the communications set-up, solemn and fearful. He wants to say something- to comfort her- but nothing comes. His mouth is dry, he can only look at her, helpless.
Newt puts a hand on his shoulder, Hermann leans into him and he puts his arms around him, hold him.
Hermann closes his eyes, buries his face into his shoulder. He- he cannot think. He doesn’t dare. One outcome is too terrible to imagine, the other utterly impossible.
They could lose, and that is horrific.
They could win, and that- Hermann cannot even wrap his mind around it. But- there are so many Jaegers, so many Kaiju ready to carry them through the Breach. There are disruptors to free all those in the Anteverse. They could- it is possible.
No, he cannot even think of it. He opens his eyes and sees Mako again, huddled in her corner, alone.
He unhooks an arm from Newt, holds it out. She looks at him, bright eyed, fearful. Hermann tries to smile, to pull his claws in as far as he can. Newt looks at him, then at her, and holds out his own arm in invitation.
Mako hesitates another moment, then gets up, and pads over. She doesn’t step into their outstretched arms, but she takes Hermann’s hand, and hangs on very tightly with her small fingers.
Hermann smiles, lets go of new, and holds Mako’s hand in return.
“Mount up,” Stacker’s voice comes harshly through the speakers. “One to each Kaiju.”
“Which one are you riding?” Tendo smiles, leaning forwards.
“Onibaba.” Mako shivers at the name. Hermann pats her shoulder. “Ready? Dive.”
The speakers explode is static crackle for a few moments, and then-
The static was better. Explosions, shouts, roars. Hermann shudders, Newt presses close to him, they side down to the floor, pressing heads together as the free Hive bursts with rage and wild terror- the last recourse of madness against the horror of the Masters.
Mako huddles against them, and Hermann puts an arm around her- an anchor keeping them here, even as the war threatens to tear them away.
Then- oh no no no no- Hermann’s eyes open- and he cannot see anything, everything is blocked out. The huge, towering wall of the Masters. The Orders. Their Claws.
“Disruptors-” Stacker’s voice seems to come from so far away.
Then- the wall shatters. The obliterating horror is blasted apart. Hermann catches his breath, the heat in the air, the humidity, Newt and Mako against him, the concrete under them- he is utterly aware of everything- so much more real.
The free Hive is broken, he reaches out and the edges of it are raw and bloody, Newt is there beside him, but no more.
There are shouts coming from inside, incoherent and Hermann’s head is pounding too hard to make sense of it. Newt presses his face into Hermann’s chest, shudders. Hermann clutches at him, at Mako and is glad for four arms that allow him to do both.
They hold each other, on the edge of the most terrible war, and hold their breaths for the end.