|Country of Origin||United States of America|
|Launch Date||March 23, 2018|
|Top Speed||32 knots|
|Operating System||PV-12 Washington Interactive|
|Energy Core||GF52 Fusion Reactor|
Lightning Shrike was a Mark-4 Jaeger, built in 2018, as part of the Pan-Pacific Defense Corps' Jaeger Program. Funded and built in the United States, Lightning Shrike was one of the first Mark-4s built and was stationed at the Los Angeles Shatterdome. Over six years of operation, Lightning Shrike took part in ten battles against the Kaiju, attaining six kills for itself, making its pilots, Myka Pearson and Jorie Marsden, two of the few Jaeger aces.
As part of the Los Angeles Strike Group, Lightning Shrike was one of several Jaegers deployed to make sure nothing like Trespasser's assault could ever happen again, the memory of the attack still raw even after five years. Due to its assignment in Los Angeles, it often provided assistance to the Panama City Shatterdome to the south and the Anchorage Shatterdome to the North. On October 20, 2024, Lightning Shrike was deployed to fight the Category IV Kaiju, Ngangaro, along with the Mark-3 Jaeger, Ark Royal, in the city of Acapulco. The resulting engagement lead to the destruction of Ark Royal, most of the city, the death of Ngangaro, and Lightning Shrike being damaged beyond repair. While Pearson and Marsden both survived, Shrike was transported to Oblivion Bay. The remains were later purchased by a private entity, who stated an intent to repair it and use it as a museum piece.
Shrike's main long ranged weapon is the prototype M328 Gatling Cannon, a large multi-barreled weapon attached to the side of the Jaeger's arm. The cannon fires 120mm HE rounds, commonly used on the M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank, which are pulled from a large internal magazine in its arm. Due to the risk of these rounds possibly detonating inside the Jaeger's arm, it has been sectioned off from the rest of the Shrike with reinforced armor, almost half a foot thick. In the event of a detonation, the arm would be rendered inert, but would preserve the rest of the Jaeger as well as its pilots. If all conventional ammunition is expended, the M328 has one final trait, a canister of ionized hydrogen gas that can be superheated and expelled in a massive blast of plasma, far more powerful than previous Jaeger plasma weapons. Due to rather makeshift nature of the weapon, it can only be firing once due to the fact that it would melt the firing system and severally damage the Gatling Cannon.
In addition to the Gatling Cannon, Lightning Shrike also sports a pair of M194 Coil Blades that extend from the underside of the arms. When in use, an electric current is sent through the blades, heating it up to just below the melting point of its classified alloy components. This allows it to flash cauterize the wounds it inflicts, preventing the spread of the toxic Kaiju Blue. The electricity can also be condensed into the tips of the blades and fired as a sort of tesla coil weapon. This devastates Kaiju nervous systems, with the purpose of temporarily paralyzing the Kaiju long enough for serious damage to be done. The electric attack also minimizes the risk of contamination by not breaking the skin and bursting the blood vessels inside of the Kaiju.
Its final weapons are two AKM-8 Missile Launchers mounted on Shrike's hips. Unlike the later AKM-9 Launchers, the AKM-8s are unable to fire more than one type of payload per configuration. This means that Ranger Pearson and Ranger Marsden have elected to have two launchers of different configuration, one able to fire the highly lethal K-Stunner warheads, and the other capable of using more primitive dummy warheads, which can be fired rapidly and can get past a Kaiju's ambient radiation field. This combination allows for an effective use of ordinance to compliment the Jaeger's fighting style, which for the most part, emphasizes defense.
Due to the numerous systems that allow a Jaeger to function effectively, and Ranger Pearson's heavy emphasis on the mostly defensive SCARS fighting style, Lightning Shrike was equipped with a unique, lightweight alloy that could protect its vulnerable internal systems while allowing it to maintain its impressive mobility. At three inches thick, it offers more than sufficient protection to both its internals and its pilots. Unfortunately, the special alloy has an increased rate of oxidation when exposed to salt water for large periods of time, meaning that its pilots are advised to act quickly when dealing with Kaiju in order to minimize their exposure. Because of the ease in which it could be rendered ineffective by salt water, the armor was designed as individual watertight plates that could be easily removed and replaced, allowing for easy access to the Jaeger's systems as well as speedy repairs.
Electronics and Operating SystemsEdit
Lightning Shrike's electronics and operating systems were designed by a small group of MIT graduates, who were later folded into the PPDC as part of Shrike's maintenance group. After working through various prototypes based off of previous artificial intelligences used for American Mark-3 Jaegers, the team eventually decided to start from scratch, using a wide range of resources available to them to build a new AI, the basis of which would be replicated in all American built Mark-4s from that point on. This AI, dubbed "Washington" after its model designation, would assist the Jaeger's pilots whilst in combat, proving much more effective than previous designs. With Washington's aid, Lightning Shrike became, for a time, one of the best Jaeger teams in operation. A feature unique to Shrike's AI was the fact that half of its processor was stored on the Jaeger like normal, whilst the other have was actually back at the Los Angeles Shatterdome. The two halves would communicate with each other and, in the event both pilots were incapacitated, allow limited, albeit clumsy, remote control over the Jaeger. Because of the potential security risks associated with this, as well as the cost of building two processor units, Washington is the only AI to be able do this.
While Marks 1-3 utilized traditional nuclear fission reactors to power the massive war machines, these led to numerous complications such as the Mark-1s flimsy and often non-existent radiation shielding failing to stop Rangers from developing cancer. Even in Mark-2s and 3s, the shielding could be damaged in battle resulting in the Rangers being irradiated. In order to stop this, scientists from the Jaeger Program's Research & Development labs worked diligently, with their work eventually leading to the development of usable fusion reactors, referred to as "digital plasma." These were installed on the first Mark-4s that rolled out in early 2018. These fusion reactors didn't produce any radiation, freeing pilots from the fears of radiation sickness. The new reactors also improved efficiency and generated more power than the older fission reactors, something that allowed other, more substantial technology to be incorporated into the Jaeger platform.
- "I'm definitely the fighter of the pair. I defend us while Jorie figures out a strategy to put it down for good. Some might wonder how a bookworm can work together with someone like me, but it does, and it works really well."
- ―Myka Pearson after Lightning Shrike's fifth Kaiju kill.
The dominant of Shrike's two pilots, Myka Pearson, was a United States Navy veteran who left in 2017, to join the Pan-Pacific Defense Corps and the Ranger Academy. Due to her military training, she quickly became the dominant of most of her training pairings in the combat simulator. Despite her effectiveness in combat training, she was surpassed by several of her fellow cadets in the classwork sections, specifically by Jorie Marsden, her future co-pilot. Marsden was a college graduate from the University of California who joined after her parents were killed in Yamarashi's attack on Los Angeles earlier in the year. The combination of Pearson's combat experience and Marsden's strategic planning made Shrike one of the most effective combat teams at the time.
Because Myka is the dominant mind whilst in combat, Lightning Shrike uses a modified version of the SCARS fighting style used by the United States military. The mostly defensive combat technique allows the Jaeger time to hold off a rampaging Kaiju long enough for Marsden, the "brains" of the team, to make strategies for each Kaiju they face.
Development and ConstructionEdit
In late 2017, two major events occurred, the first of which was the development of fusion technology, and the second was the seeming increase of the rate at which Kaiju were emerging from the Breach. In response, the PPDC elected to continue the Jaeger Program for another year to incorporate the new technology, the results being the Mark-4s. One of the first of the new Jaegers, the framework for Lightning Shrike was laid down on January 3, 2018, in the Los Angeles Shatterdome, funded by the United States. The Jaeger's design team was headed up by Drs. Bailey Stark and Davis Collins, two prominent individuals in the Jaeger Program, the latter of whom personally designed Shrike's Pons system. The leader of construction team was Lieutenant Commander Victor Kittel of the United States Corps of Engineers, who would later take the position as Shrike's chief engineer. After almost three months, Lightning Shrike was activated and officially assigned to the Los Angeles Shatterdome, where it would remain for the entirety of its career.
On September 14, 2018, the PPDC's Tracking Network detected the emergence of the Category-III Kaiju, dubbed Antresed, and predicted that it was heading for Bremerton, Washington, the largest city on the Kitsap Peninsula and home to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and the Bremerton Annex of Naval Base Kitsap. In response, the PPDC deployed the new Lightning Shrike and the Canadian Mark-2 Bronze Agamemnon to intercept it. After being airlifted there, they managed to arrive just after the Kaiju surfaced and moved to engage before it could begin demolishing the city. The large, digitigrade crocodylomorph turned its attention to the newly arrived war machines and charged at them, diving under the water before either Jaeger could fire on it. It soon launched itself from the bottom of the Sound, grabbing the Canadian Jaeger's arm in its mouth, taking it down when it fell back into the water. With Bronze Agamemnon in the water, it made it easy prey for Antresed to attack, biting at its legs and already damaged arm. It wasn't until Agamemnon managed to activate its Fury Talon that it was able to temporarily drive the Kaiju away, giving its pilots time to stand the Jaeger back up.
Now on the alert, Pearson and Marsden were ready when the Antresed attempted the same attack again, using Shrike's arm as bait so that when the Kaiju lept from the water a second time, they delivered a brutal blow to its skull, opening a wide gash on the side of its head. Angered, Antresed stoop up, revealing that it was partially bipedal, and charged at the American Mark-4, only to be knocked off balance by Bronze Agamemnon, who wrestled with it, slicing at its stomach with its Fury Talon, until the Kaiju used its tail to grab the Canadian Jaeger by the leg and throw it off. Quickly righting itself, it resumed its attack on Lightning Shrike, hitting it with its small, but extremely muscular arms, punching large dents into its armor. Using its pilot's knowledge of the SCARS technique, Shrike was able to push the Kaiju back far enough to activate its M328 Gatling Cannon, which it began unloading into it, severing an arm and destroying its secondary brain. In its death throes, Antresed charged once more, managing to work its way through the hail of fire, it tackled the Jaeger, knocking it over into the depths of the sound. Whilst in the water, the Kaiju latched onto the side of Shrike, sinking its teeth deep inside it, almost hitting one of the coolant lines running to the reactor.
Aware that it could rip away part of its armor and expose their reactor to salt water, the pilots reached down and grabbed it by the head, using all of their strength to pry its jaws open wide enough to release them. After getting a better grip, they activated boosters in each arm to force the jaws open wider, eventually breaking them. With its main offensive tool gone, the Kaiju looked as if it were about to retreat when Shrike extended one of its Coil Blades and stabbed up through what was left of the upper jaw and into its primary brain, killing it. Taking its body back to the surface where it was taken to the Anchorage Shatterdome for study, Lightning Shrike and Bronze Agamemnon were both airlifted back to their respective bases for repairs, with Pilots Pearson and Marsden experiencing their first battle and earning their first kill.
On January 6, 2019, five months after its first engagement, the Category-II Kaiju Atagon emerges from the Breach and was detected moving towards the Mexican city of Colima. While the Panama City Shatterdome scrambled the Mexican Mark-3 Inferno Solid and Mark-4 Hydra Corinthian, though they were not expected to arrive in time. In response, the Los Angeles Shatterdome dispatched Lightning Shrike to hold the Miracle Mile until reinforcements could arrive.
After being deployed via Jumphawk transports, Shrike stood guard off the coast of the city, waiting for the Kaiju to emerge. When it did, the two rookie pilots underestimated the smaller Kaiju which, while far less physically imposing than their last kill, had a devious trick up its sleeve. Swimming submerged under the water to protect itself from Shrike’s AKM launchers, it used its four muscular forearms to launch itself up from the water and grab onto the Jaeger. While it pounded dents into Shrike’s chest plating, it revealed its weapon; dual stingers hidden within its arms. Jabbing into the Jaeger’s armor, it released a venom-like substance inside the inner workings of the mech, interfering with the electronics and corroding away the armor from the inside.
Faced with the possibility of their armor melting away from the inside out, Shrike’s pilots had to act quickly, using both of their AKM launchers to fire near point blank at the Kaiju, who lessened its grip just enough for the Jaeger to engage its Coil Blades and slice into it and sever the stingers. Now with its most viable means of offense gone, Atagon flew into a violent rage, flinging itself at the battle machine, only to be meant with a devastating blow to the face, sending it flying back into the sea. It recovered just in time to see Shrike readying its Gatling Cannon, hundreds of massive 120mm HE shells exploding against it, shredding flesh all across it and destroying its secondary brain in the process.
Atagon prepared to charge one last time in a desperate suicide attack, but was distracted by the arrival of Inferno Solid and Hydra Corinthian. This proved to be its fatal mistake, as Lightning Shrike approached it from behind, sliced off one of its legs with its Coil Blades, and forced it into the water, where the Jaeger proceeded to beat it to death, forcing its fist through the weakened Kaiju’s skull and finally killing it. Lightning Shrike and the other Jaegers stayed on sight just long enough to assist with the clean up operations, though once again, Shrike and its pilots had prevented another Kaiju from making landfall.
After finishing their second battle and earning their second kill, Pearson and Marsden started to become more well known within the Ranger community and outside it, being invited to several talk and radio shows, as well as interviews by several news networks. While Pearson enjoyed their newfound noteriety, Marsden found it uncomfortable and worrying, afraid too much attention might attract the wrong kind of people, a fear that would later prove more than grounded.