Drift Science and Compatibility

In (somewhat belated) honor of K-Day, I submit unto the fandom a canon-supported theory of drift compatibility and testing, based on PPDC officer UIDs.

ex. 1 (graphic)


ex. 2 (additional canon examples)

Raleigh Becket   R-RBEC_122.21-B
Mako Mori   R-MMAK_204.19-V

Stacker Pentecost   M-SPEN_970.89-Q
Hercules Hansen   R-HHAN_832.84-G
Chuck Hansen   R-CHAN_512.66-D

Newton Geiszler   S-NGEI_100.11-Y
Hermann Gottlieb   S-HGOT_471.120-V


Harlowe-Sheehan-Parker Compatibility Index: Ranging from 100 to 999, the HSP index indicates range of compatibility with other drift-capable individuals. The lower the number, the smaller the range of potential drift partners for the individual in question. A person with a lower HSP score is less flexible in dealing with dramatically different brainstyles, and requires a drift partner with either significant shared life experience, a high mutual degree of trust, or a close CORO pattern. Someone with a higher HSP score is significantly more adaptable to drift partners of disparate backgrounds, experience, and CORO profiles. Observe above how Stacker Pentecost and Herc Hansen have extraordinarily broad indices and thus may drift with nearly anyone.

CORO pattern: CORO patterns are shorthand for cognitive architecture, how a person thinks, processes input, makes decisions, etc. The range for CORO patterns is 1 to 99. If two people have the same CORO, they can establish a stable drift connection. Whether or not they can sustain a drift is a different matter, but generally being within twenty points of each other is enough to have a solid drift whether they get along or not. Mako and Raleigh are two points apart: they are Jaeger soulmates. Note that Stacker and Herc are five points apart: they are also Jaeger soulmates. Observe that Hermann’s CORO number is 120. The zero stands for a medical exemption, recommending against drifting due to his illness. Otherwise, he and Newt are a point apart.

Juno Keeler Trauma and Stress Tolerance Rating: Ranging from A to Z, from most stable to most easily destabilized, the Keeler rating (also abbreviated KTSTR, pronounced ‘kitster’) measures emotional volatility and resilience, and is also used as a general indicator for how likely someone will go to pieces inside the drift. Less precise than the HSP index and CORO pattern, the Keeler rating is based on in-person psychological evaluation and consideration of any previously lived trauma and/or extant mental illness. Note that a high Keeler rating does not contraindicate drifting, merely offers a warning for potential difficulties. Newt’s high rating is likely due to a mood disorder; Mako’s may be attributed to Tokyo. Observe also how close Raleigh and Chuck are to the beginning of the alphabet. Raleigh arguably had a fairly stable upbringing and, especially given his rating was handed out pre-Knifehead, a mature and level emotional response. Chuck might also have had a stable childhood before Scissure, and his low Keeler rating indicates he is not overly damaged by the experience, he isn’t emotionally-compromised, he’s just an ass.

IF YOU FEEL INCLINED TO USE THIS IN WORKS OF FICTION: I offer this drift science to the fandom for free, no catch, under a creative commons license. Adapt as your fanfictional needs require so long as no profit is involved. I thought the idea was too good not to share. If you do use it, please credit and/or link back to me, and feel free to message me also because I want to see what you do with it.

This is canon-compliant until canon proves otherwise. Go forth, beloveds, AND CREATE!


"I want you to be honest with me. Totally and completely honest. Have you been time traveling?"

I feel like this is what happened after the #AskSupernatural disaster
  • Writer a:we trucked up
  • Writer b:yep...
  • Writer a:what are we gonna do now? They mad and out for blood
  • Writer b:*shrugs* I guess we could listen and create a well rounded female character who isn't there solely to fuel the theme of 'man pain.'
  • Writer a:...
  • Writer b:or we could consider the possibility of solidifying the relationship we've established between Dean and Cas.
  • Writer a:....
  • Writer b:....
  • Writer a:how do you feel about singing?
The Organization for Transformative Works was founded six years ago, because fans realized that owning the means of circulating and distributing fanworks—the servers, the interface, the code, the terms of service—would be essential to the long-term health of fan creativity, and so we created the nonprofit, donor-supported Archive of Our Own. Today, when I talk about the importance of fan writing, I don’t just mean fiction and nonfiction: I mean contracts and code. In the old days, fans self-published their fiction (and put it under copyright, asserting their ownership in their words), they distributed their own VHS cassettes and digital downloads, and they coded and built their own websites and created their own terms of service. Today, enormous commercial entities—YouTube, Amazon, LiveJournal, Wattpad, Tumblr—own much of this infrastructure.

This is a very mixed bag. On the one hand, these companies’ products and interfaces have made it infinitely easier for the average fan to connect with other fans and distribute fanworks. Now you only need a username and a password to get started, where before you needed access to server space, a knowledge of HTML, how to use FTP, and so on. However, there are also various dangers, including not only capricious or exploitative terms of service but simple market failure. None of the companies I just listed has anything like the track record of the average fandom or fannish institution; consider how much younger they are than Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Who, or even Supernatural fandom. In the best case, these companies may fail and become a disruptive force in relatively stable and long-term communities; in the worst case, they may exploit and betray their users.

In the past few years, the nature of the arguments I have been having as a fandom advocate has changed: In the past, I found myself arguing for the legitimacy of our works; now, I find myself arguing against their exploitation. The commercial ownership of the infrastructure means that money has now complicated fandom’s gift culture, and, like it or not, we now have to think about who should benefit. Here, too, there is a spectrum: Some grassroots creators don’t want to engage with the commercial world on any terms (and they should have the right not to); others feel that if someone is profiting from their works, it should be them, and it should be a fair compensation. If the relationship between fans and the commercial world is being renegotiated, we’re going to have to apply some of our creative energies to writing contracts as well as fanfiction, rather than let unfavorable or disrespectful terms of authorship be handed down to us by corporate owners.