Finally Facing the Past
"Roxie, what are you doing here?" Herc asked, his eyes wide as she strode into the control room.
"You need me," she said, walking over and putting on a headset, then focusing on the many screens, calmly catching all the status updates of the two remaining jaegers.
"What about Jin?" he asked.
"He's awake. He'll be fine… thank god," she said. "What's going on? Who's in Striker if you're here?"
"Chuck and Pentecost are manning Eureka Striker. They're going down with Gipsy Danger to drop the bomb in the breach," he said. Roxie looked at him, eyes wide.
"But… it'll kill him," she said. Herc swallowed.
"He knows," he said.
"It'll be fine, Rox. Let's just focus on the mission. There are two kaiju down there just hovering. Bigger than the others we've had," he said seriously. Roxie nodded as she looked back at the screens. If he wasn't going to let the insurmountable odds get to him, then she wasn't either.
"I thought there were supposed to be three," she said, frowning.
"For once, I'm glad to be wrong," he said. Roxie took a deep breath.
"Gipsy Danger, Eureka Striker, I need to hear those voices of yours," she said into the mic, looking at the conn-pod feeds.
"Roxie? What are you doing in the control room?" Pentecost said, his voice concerned. "You should be in the hospital bay."
"Jin's awake. Now I've got to look after you lot," she replied matter-of-factly.
"How is he?" Mako asked.
"He's gonna live," she said, smiling slightly. "So, you best get this over with and get back. I'm going to need you as my maid of honor."
"Yes, ma'am," Mako replied.
Roxie went silent as she watched their progress towards the breach, her jaw clenched and arms crossed tightly in front of her. Someone handed her a mug of steaming coffee, which she took without taking her eyes off the screens. She cautiously sipped at it while listening to the pilots' chatter. They hadn't reached the breach or kaijus yet and every second caused her nerves to flare up more. She closed her eyes, momentarily going back in time.
"You nervous, kid?" Jamie asked. Roxie shook her head and grabbed her helmet.
"Not a kid and not nervous," she snapped. She started out of the room towards where they would load into the conn-pod, but Jamie grabbed her and spun her around.
"We got this, Rox," he said seriously. "We've done this before."
She studied him a moment. She was still angry from their argument earlier that day. Still angry that he hadn't stood up for her in front of the others. And he knew it.
"Are you still angry about earlier?" he asked. She shook her head.
"It's nothing," she said, turning to leave before grumbling something about him needing to ask. She had to get her head straight. She was about to drift with her twin. He was going to be in her head. Granted he always seemed to know what she was thinking even without it. Twin thing, she told herself.
"I'm going to know what's going on in a few minutes, so you best get it out now," he said. Roxie sighed and turned around.
"Spare me the afternoon special, Jamie. Let's just get this over with," she said.
"Can you handle it?" he asked.
"Of course, I can bloody handle it. I always do," she snapped. "Just do whatever you can to not get killed."
"I won't get killed. You'll be in there with me, after all. And you won't let me get killed," he said, smiling slightly. Roxie huffed.
"Are you ever going to take this seriously?" she asked.
"I take it seriously every single time we get out there," he said, his mood changing slightly. "I'm not going to let you get killed so long as you don't let me get killed." She stared at him a moment and then nodded.
"Let's go," she said, turning and walking out of the room. She pulled on her helmet and stepped into the conn-pod, getting situated. Next to her, Jamie was busy doing the same. Once they entered the drift and started out with the other jaegers, Roxie had mostly calmed down, falling into her usual battle mode. She was laser-focused as they engaged.
"Just another mission," she thought over and over again. Jamie kept glancing over at her as they shouted instructions back and forth. Herc chiming in here and there.
"Rox, Jamie! Watch it!" Herc shouted. They both looked over, just in time to see the kaiju lunging towards them.
"To the left!" Jamie shouted, but Roxie quickly studied the situation and shook her head.
"We need to go right!" she shouted. Jamie stared over at her, hesitating. "GO RIGHT!"
The jaeger came to a halt as the kaiju slammed into them. Roxie grimaced as sparks flew. They didn't go down, but from the way Jamie was shouting and a quick look at the screens told her that their right arm was out of commission.
"We're hit," Jamie shouted. She looked around the conn-pod, trying to take in the damage as quickly as she could. She knew it was her fault. She caused Jamie to hesitate and they had taken a harder hit than they should have. If they had moved - left or right - the kaiju would have just missed them.
"Are you still functional?" Herc asked. Roxie was already running diagnostics, when Jamie took over.
"Weapons systems are down," he shouted. He looked over at Roxie. "You good, Rox?" She nodded and focused on what they could do.
"We can still do this," she called out.
"You've taken on too much damage," she heard their tech, Marissa, shout.
"We can do this, just trust me," Roxie said, the two moving around to face the kaiju again as a plan began to form in her mind. It was risky, but they could pull it off.
"I'll not sacrifice pilots!" Herc shouted. The kaiju was turning around to charge at them again. "Get out of there! One more hit and you're goners!"
"We can handle this!" Roxie shouted, looking over at Jamie. He was busy going through various screens. He looked over at her.
"We need to bail, Rox," he said. "Now. Before that thing takes us down."
"No, we can still fight," Roxie shouted, stumbling slightly.
"No, we can't," Jamie shouted back. Roxie locked eyes with him.
"Roxie! We've got to get out of here!" Jamie shouted. "We've taken too much damage!" She stared at him a moment before responding.
"I'll go when you go!" she shouted.
"No! Ladies' first!" he shouted back, grinning slightly.
"You twat! And let you take all the glory, I don't think so," she replied.
"I'm serious, Rox," he said, the grin started to fade. He quickly pressed a few buttons and Roxie found herself being forced into the escape pod.
"JAMIE YOU PRAT!" she shouted.
"Rox… I love you. Always remember that."
"YOU CAN TELL ME ON THE GROUND!"
"Don't give up!"
"What the bloody hell are you doing here?" Herc roared. Roxie shook the memory away and turned around, seeing Jin hobbling into the control room on crutches. She rushed over to him.
"You shouldn't be here," she said, frowning. He smiled slightly and shook his head.
"I wanted to see this," he said.
"You're injured!" she shouted. "And after what you just went through…"
"I'm fine, Rox," he said. "I'm fine. I need to see this." She looked over at Herc who nodded slightly.
"Someone get him a chair!" she shouted before turning and running back over to the screens. The two jaegers were getting closer to the breach. Roxie gripped the console as she leaned forward, watching intently. Suddenly there was another ruckus as the two scientists ran into the room, shouting out that the plan wouldn't work.
Roxie sighed and spun around, glaring at them.
"What the fuck?! We're in the middle of something!" she shouted.
"It won't work! There is some sort of reader… it reads their DNA and opens the breach to them. Without it, it won't open!"
Roxie spun back around to the screens.
"We should abort," she said, taking in all the data. "If they can't get the bomb through the breach, we need to bring them back and now. I'm not losing anymore pilots today!"
"No, we can still do this. We just need to take one down with us to open the breach," someone shouted. Roxie started breathing heavily, gripping the consoles again.
"That's a reckless call," she said.
"Fairly sure I know someone who would have eagerly made that call not long ago," Herc said. She turned and glared at him.
"Yes. I've made that call and it got my brother killed," she spat.
"This will end it, Williams. We're going forward with the plan. Aborting it is not your call to make," Pentecost shouted through the comms. Roxie turned to look at the screens, blinking back hot tears as she swallowed.
"Fine," she said, though she still thought it was reckless. Jin had moved to her side and reached out, grabbing her hand and squeezing it. She glanced over at him, frowning slightly.
"It'll be fine, Rox," he said. She nodded and looked back up at the screens watching as the jaegers reached the breach and engaged. Every hit had her flinching as she squeezed Jin's hand harder.
She watched in silence as the pilots yelled instructions back and forth at each other and with Herc. She had seen so many battles, talked so many pilots through it. Dealt with the aftermath. She had worked with Pentecost for so many years, she knew what he was going to do before he even said anything after the third kaiju had appeared. As soon as they determined that they wouldn't be able to launch the nuke.
Tears sprung in her eyes as she covered her mouth and started shaking her head. Jin pulled himself up from his chair and wrapped an arm around her waist.
"Roxie?" he whispered.
"No," she murmured. "I know what he's going to do."
"We're going to detonate," Pentecost said, confirming her suspicions. Roxie looked back at Herc, noting the sheen of tears in his eyes. They locked eyes for a moment and he smiled slightly at her. "Let's clear the way for the Lady." Roxie spun back around to the screens, holding onto Jin as tears started streaking down her cheeks.
She closed her eyes as the nuke went off, breathing slowly. She flinched slightly, all the memories from the past 11 years flying through her mind. While she and Chuck had a rocky reunion, she knew he was a good pilot and ultimately a good man. He knew what he was getting into when he joined the corps - they all did - but she couldn't help but get stuck on the image of him as a lanky, annoying teenager. And then there was Pentecost.
He had done so much for her and she was grateful for it. He had, in his way, helped save her from herself. And she hadn't told him enough how grateful she was. Now she never would.
"I can't go back," Roxie said, staring at Pentecost. Her bag was half-packed on her cot, clothes strewn about. Her face was puffy and her eyes were rimmed in red.
"Roxie, you are one of our best-"
"No, I'm not. You saw the reports, Pentecost. I killed my co-pilot. My, my twin! I'm doing you a favor by leaving," she shouted. Pentecost just stared at her, his face betraying nothing.
"We still need you," he said softly.
"No, you don't. You don't need someone reckless like me. I'll never step foot in another jaeger," she said. "Whoever gets in there with me is at risk."
"There are other things you can do," he said, looking over and seeing the half empty bottle of whiskey on her desk. Roxie followed his view and quickly stepped over and grabbed the bottle, throwing it in her bag.
"I can't stay here," she said, wrapping her arms around her. "It's… everywhere I look, I see him. I can't stay."
"Where will you go, Williams?" Pentecost asked.
"I don't know… home?" she said, nearly breaking down again, not wanting to admit that going back to London would be just as painful. "Maybe somewhere else. I'll figure it out. I always do."
"I have a position at Hong Kong that needs filled… pilot liaison," he said. "You would be perfect." She looked over at him.
"You want to put me in charge of pilots?" she asked. "After I just-"
"You would be in charge of training cadets. Taking care of pilots. Making sure they have everything they need. Overseeing physical therapy when they are injured or just, listening if they need to talk," he said. Roxie laughed haggardly.
"What makes you think I'd be good for that," she asked. "I'm a wreck. I can barely keep myself together. I can't be in charge of keeping others together."
"But you'll get there," he said, stepping towards her. "I know you, Williams. You're strong. You have good instincts. You can do this." She just stared at him. "I know what he told you."
"Don't give up," she whispered.
"So, don't give up, Williams," he said. "Come to Hong Kong. Start over. Stay with the defense corps. Help others." She looked at him and then shook her head, covering her mouth with her hand.
"I don't know if I can do this," she said softly. "My whole life, it was the two of us. And now it's just me. For the first time in my life… I'm alone. I don't know what to do with myself..."
"You can do this," he said. "You can." Roxie walked over to her bag and started throwing clothes in.
"Can I think about it?" she asked. Pentecost nodded.
"I'll give you a day or two, but I need to know soon," he said.
"I'll give you an answer by tonight," she said, not looking at him. Pentecost nodded.
"I'll leave you then," he said quietly before leaving. He had made it halfway down the hall before he heard footsteps hurrying after him.
"I'll do it," Roxie said. He smiled slightly to himself, but quickly cleared his face before turning to face her. Roxie stood there, her face serious with a spark in her eye. "I'll do. For Jamie."
"Good," he replied.