square: the drift

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!

(x, x)

I saw this post across my dash and it got me thinking…

Why does it seems so odd that Raleigh would think of using Chuck’s speed and strength against him in a fight?

The Rangers are reportedly trained in MMA (mixed martial arts), including Krav Maga.  And just look at this guy go!

He’s using his own weight and body to throw his adversaries off balance and bring them to the ground in a position where he can then control their movements.

The move that Raleigh pulled with Chuck is a martial art technique used by any gender.

So imagine you have an enraged, heavily trained fighter (who is slightly heavier and likely more powerful than you) coming right at you while being high on adrenaline.  Why would it seem so outlandish that Raleigh could very well think of using his own weight to make Chuck lose balance, get him to the ground, and hold him in an arm-lock until he calms down?

Keep reading


There are things you can’t fight - acts of God. You see a hurricane coming, you get out of the way. But when you’re in a Jaeger, you can finally fight the hurricane. You can win.

Beyond connecting with the mind of another pilot, one of the most interesting aspects of piloting a Jaege, for me, was the way in which the pilots become embodied in the Jaeger as distinct consciousnesses connected in an interdependent bridge. As depicted in the film and the source material (see the quote from the novel above), the neural bridge acts to connect the two pilots together so that they function as a single individual within the Jaeger. So, to me, when Raleigh says “when you’re in a Jaeger,” I believes he literally means “in,” as in inhabiting the Jaeger as if it was his own body. So, this is the thing that I want to explore: the two Jaeger pilots as embodied in the Jaeger itself.

So, what is embodiment? In philosophy, embodiment is the idea that the way in which we inhabit our bodies has an effect on the development of our consciousness. The differences in our bodies (the “body” in “embodiment”) make a massive difference in the way in which we experience and interact with the world, hence, even Identical twins do not form identical personalities because their modes of embodiment are different. To this end, the concept of embodiment, or “cognitive embodiment,” treats the mind and the body as interdependent upon one another: if an individual had a different body, their experience and consciousness would be accordingly different.

So, before taking the brief sketch of embodiment and applying it to the Jaeger itself, we need to talk about the neural drift. The quote above gives a first person look at what it is to be in the drift with someone else: there are two individual connected as an organic whole, distinct yet connected. When Raleigh makes a motion, Mako completes it; where he ends, she begins. To this end, Raleigh and Mako think of themselves as both subject and object: Raleigh can see the end of his connection and the beginning of hers, and Mako can see the end of her connection and the beginning of his, yet neither moves without the other. That is to say, any action taken while in the neural bridge by one pilot, is an action taken by the other pilot as well, as if there was no distinction between the two.

Now, taking the bridged individuals as the “mind,” we can look at the Jaeger itself as the body. The supplemental material discussing piloting a Jaeger describes the experience as the bridged pilots moving the Jaeger as it it were their own body. We can see a bit of this happening in the gifs above: when Raleigh and Mako take a fighting stance, Gipsy Danger mirrors the motion, as if it were their own body. Sharing the neural load, the two pilots inhabit Gipsy, not like a pilot flying an aircraft, or even a motorcyclist riding his bike, but as a mind within a body, with all of the pitfalls that apply.

Here is where the discussion gets interesting: embodied consciousness typically assumes that the consciousness grows with the body. Again, in the brief sketch offered above, our minds would not be the same minds were we embodied in a different body. For Jaegers, the connection is close, but not as individualized: the movie makes a point that the Jaegers must be calibrated for their pilots before the synchronization can take place. That is, the Jaegers must become the bodies for their pilots, they must be made individual for each of their pilots through a process of calibration so that the mind can inhabit the body as if it were born with it. On this point, I don’t see a problem for thinking about the pilots as becoming embodied within the Jaeger, but it does introduce the notion that the embodiment will be different for different pilots.

The clearest visual evidence for this is with Gipsy Danger, as presented in the gifs above. When Gipsy is calibrated for Raleigh and Yancy, the body language is almost totally different: Gipsy moves with an arrogant, aggressive swagger, she fights more like a prize fighter, and there is more “power” in her strikes. We can view this as the blending of Yancy and Raleigh’s minds (including their fighting styles) being embodied within Gipsy: one of the more interesting things is the way that Gipsy’s swagger is mirrored in the Beckett boys when the audience is introduced to them.

On the other hand, when Mako and Raleigh are embodied in Gipsy, there exists an edge of aggression in her movements, however, this appears to be tempered by Mako’s precision. Her strikes have little in the way of wasted motion, and each has a determined goal beyond smashing into the particular Kaiju.Gipsy’s walk, while it possesses a little bit of Raleigh’s swagger, it is more of a purposive, determined stride than it is a challenge issued through body language.

Further, the distinction in their embodiment (the way they inhabit their body) comes out in the stances they adopt: In the above gif, Mako/Raleigh embodied in Gipsy adopts a combat stance that is more in line with what we see out of MMA fighters: gone are the double handed overhead strikes, replaced with a more conservative defensive stance that allows for grappling and close-in fighting. On the other hand, Yancy/Raleigh seemed to prefer a more aggressive stance favored by boxers, keeping Gipsy’s hands closer to the body and utilizing more “power” shots.

We may chalk the distinction in the stances to a different composition of the bridged “mind” that inhabits the Jaeger: the Beckett brothers were more rash, more aggressive in their combat styles, as evidenced by their actions in Alaska. Against this, Raleigh and Mako exhibit an aggression tempered by Mako’s precision: they waste little time with their combat, employing quick, precise strikes designed to take down the Kaiju as quickly as possible.

To this end, no Jaeger will be the same when it embodies different pilots: as the bridged pilots literally become the Jaeger they operate, and the bridge joins the individuals, a change in any of the individuals would result in a change in the Jaeger itself. Further, it seems to be the case that one pair of pilots is attached to a single Jaeger at a time, and that Jaeger is calibrated for those pilots. To this end, the Jaeger itself will be different depending upon who is embodied within the Jaeger. Thus, I think “piloting” is a bad way to talk about what happens to individuals connected to a Jaeger: “becoming” or “embodying” the Jaeger is a more apt description.

Also, credit goes to whomever captured the gifs and the text from the novelization.

The Headspace

It’s the tiny details, I swear.

This is a snapshot from Mako and Raleigh’s first drift. It’s probably a memory. That’s probably Yancy, Raleigh and Jazmine. But. What if it isn’t?

Remember, “each crew unconsciously negotiates its own consensus expression.” This is the last image we see from that first drift. What if it isn’t a memory?

Yancy got ripped out of Raleigh’s head mid-drift five years ago, but there’s more than enough of him still in there to derail the test drift. “You weren’t just tapping into my memories, you were tapping into my brother’s too,” Raleigh tells Mako afterwards.

We don’t know enough about the drift or the immediate aftermath of Knifehead to argue one way or another, but I’m not convinced that Raleigh carried only Yancy’s memories into the drift with him.

This could be three children at play, or it could be something else. A boy and a girl work out their drift metaphor, thoughts colliding like a game of marbles, and when they look up, that boy’s dead brother is there with them.

It’s probably only a memory. Probably.

Scott Walker - Clara (2006)

After Tilt, Scott moonlighted with various projects, including some film score work, before hiding himself away to make The Drift, his most ambitious project yet. The Drift is an onslaught of terror; in fact, it gives modern horror movies a run for their money. Most of the album is made up of just Scott and strings, nothing new there, but it’s the way he uses them to generate a fearful atmosphere that makes this album special. If the strings aren’t bringing up a sense of menace by holding one note, then Scott is whispering in silence ready to pounce on the listener with what can only be described as a jump scare. Scott has maintained that the album has a sense of humour, but that’s questionable when his idea of humour is to do a terrifying Donald Duck impression right out of nowhere. Clara is probably the most effective track on the album for generating fear. The Clara of the title was the girlfriend of notorious dictator Mussolini, and the song references their death in an Italian square where the locals had them hung, and then proceeded to batter their corpses. This track also contains the infamous sound of a side of beef being punched by Scott’s percussionist to simulate the sound of a corpse being hit.

(This is the last track in the retrospective, I’ll be doing OMD next week)

The Drift: Empathy in Trauma

Can we talk for a minute about Pacific Rim’s concept of The Drift as a metaphor for empathy toward a loved one’s trauma? 

The Drift enables you to be inside someone else’s mind, experiencing their thoughts, feelings and memories. Raleigh didn’t just watch his brother die, he felt it, as though he was dying himself. And later, in the trial run with Mako, he didn’t just sense that she was having a flashback. He was present in the flashback with her, experiencing it with her. 

Trauma is often very isolating. We have an experience or set of experiences that have so changed us, even defined us, and yet, in many cases, we find it difficult or even impossible to either speak of the experience, or to get a listener to understand what we are saying. Even if the listener is sympathetic, they often cannot really understand. 

The Drift changes all that. When Raleigh was with young Mako in her Tokyo flashback, he saw her pain and her fear firsthand. In chasing the R.A.B.I.T., Mako was triggered into a full-blown panic attack. It didn’t matter that the kaiju she saw wasn’t real. It felt real. When comforting someone who’s having a panic attack, it’s easy to get frustrated at their apparent irrationality. But Raleigh didn’t get frustrated. He stayed with her. He kept talking to her, kept the line of communication open, and was there for her when she came out of it.

As Raleigh explains to Mako, it takes a lot of trust to let someone else into your mind. The Drift weds extreme vulnerability to extreme empathy. But once your co-pilot is in your mind, you no longer have to try to explain your trauma, because they get it. It’s a relief to know that someone else understands. It’s a relief to know you’re not alone.

Drift theory

Drifting can be likened unto other two way communication, like social media. There is a receiving and a sending, both parties can send and receive simultaneously.
But as the pilots share the load of the jaeger they are exchanging different parts of that information. Therefore the feeling or experience of the drift is felt differently by each pair, or even within a pair.
Some pilots explain it feeling like water, others say it’s like wind, or sand. Whatever the sensation is, the drift always feels the same to that one person.
There are no documented cases of change in drift sensory descriptions on record.