Raleigh Becket’s life changed irrevocably on August 10, 2013. Prior to this, he’d just been a regular kid growing up with his brother, Yancy and sister, Jazmine and concerned more with getting into a fight on the playground than the world at large. K-Day, though, changed everything. The first kaiju wiped out Sacramento, Oakland and San Francisco before the military was able to take it down with nukes and the relative safety in which Raleigh had lived his life prior to this point was shattered.
DOB: 11 December 1998
HOMETOWN: Anchorage, AK
BUNGALOW: The Corydon #36
PB: Charlie Hunnam
COMPLEXION: Golden fair
If monsters could come out of the ocean and wipe out entire cities, what the hell could a fifteen year old kid do about it?
Hope came in the form of the Jaeger program, a military defense that pitted two pilots against the kaiju with the shield of a several ton robot between them. Jaeger pilots had to share their brains through a neural link, experiencing emotion and memory through the Drift. Once he came of age, Raleigh and his brother Yancy signed up, more than used to fighting in concert and ready to kick some kaiju ass. Yancy was more cautious than Raleigh, less concerned with the glory and glitz of being a Ranger, and they made a good team. The best.
That all changed when a category III kaiju, Knifehead, showed up outside Anchorage, Alaska on February 29th, 2020. Raleigh had thought this would be an easy mission and, hyped on adrenaline, made the decision (along with his brother) to defy mission protocols and save a civilian boat that was meant to be collateral damage. Both underestimated the intelligence of Knifehead and Raleigh was still linked with his brother in the Drift when Yancy was ripped from the control pod and killed. Raleigh managed to take out Knifehead and stumble to shore, numb with grief and gravely injured.
Raleigh spends the next five years as far away from the Jaeger program as possible, choosing instead to work on the anti-kaiju wall along the Alaskan coast. The Jaeger program is set to be decommissioned and as a last-ditch effort, Marshal Stacker Pentecost recruits Raleigh to come back to the program for one last assault against the Breach itself, hitting the kaiju at the source. He reluctantly agrees, unsure if he wants to let anyone else in his head after losing Yancy, and ultimately finds a worthy co-pilot in the brilliant and reserved Mako Mori. Mako has her own damage when it comes to the kaiju and after a rocky start, they find a groove and co-pilot the jaeger Gipsy Danger for the first time since Yancy’s death.
Their first real mission is to provide backup for Crimson Typhoon in handling the first ever kaiju double-event. Otachi manages to take out the Chinese jaeger with relative ease and it’s only through quick thinking that Mako and Raleigh are able to hold their own but not without a price: Otachi is capable of flight and drags them above the earth’s atmosphere, sending them crashing down to the ocean once Gipsy Danger is able to take the kaiju out.
It is from this point that Raleigh enters sixthiteration.
Raleigh is the kind of guy who works hard, plays hard and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty if the cause is just. While he has shades of idealism, life and circumstances have made him hard and the cocky, self-assured pilot he was during the early days of the Jaeger program has shifted into something harder and darker after the death of his brother, Yancy.
Raleigh is a man who is one half of a whole, a survivor in every sense of the word. He’s been through the horrifying experience of having his brother killed while they were in the drift and lives with the fact that he knows the pain, fear and anguish of Yancy’s passing in vivid technicolor. There’s no giving himself platitudes that he didn’t suffer or that he’s in a better place. One moment, he had his brother and the next, he’d been ripped away.
Rather than tackle those feelings and deal with them, no matter how difficult it might be, Raleigh chooses to ignore them instead and sublimate his grief into work - this time around, on the anti-kaiju wall, no matter how much a failed endeavor that might be. He runs away from his fears and abandons the Jaeger program, in spite of being a capable pilot and one of two who managed solo combat. Raleigh fears failure and fears that it was his pride that brought his brother down, not necessarily Knifehead; instead of conceding this fact, he runs away from his problems and pretends they don’t exist for the next five years.
In spite of those difficulties, Raleigh is still a hero and, underneath the grief and anger, there’s a glimmer of idealistic hope. He sees himself in his co-pilot, Mako, and fights for her to be assigned to Gipsy Danger in spite of her own troubled past. He has a strong sense of chivalry where she’s concerned, more than willing to go toe to toe to defend her - be that to Marshal Pentecost or to Chuck Hansen - in spite of Mako’s ability to defend herself from all opponents.
Raleigh is a man who needs something to believe in and, on the other side of that, needs someone to believe in him.