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Dr. Hermann Gottlieb ([personal profile] verinumeri) wrote2016-05-26 09:58 pm
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This is very long and I am very sorry.

Player name: Campbell ... ok, Jules (...the joke worked better when the default text said something about tins.)
Contact: scuttling [at] gmail, scuttles [at] plurk though whoa, dust.
Characters currently in-game: N/A

Character Name: Dr. Hermann Gottlieb
Character Age: 36
(arguably 38 though one could not physically age in his previous game)
Canon: Pacific Rim
Canon Point: Juuust at the tail end of drifting with Dr. Newton Geiszler and the kaiju brain.
History: @ the Pacific Rim wiki. However, I have to make a gross note.

Pacific Rim has a number of supplemental materials that contradict one another from the art book to the movie's novelization to the director's DVD extra notebooks. In the novel, Hermann hasn't got a cane, is blond, and has a strong German accent and other characterization differences. He does, however, have a wife with a baby on the way, according to a single line in the dossier. The first script writer confirmed on his tumblr that such was still true, but gave very sparing details as to her character (English, model, mixed-race, strong presence, grew into her looks, can keep up with Hermann, and since Hermann is too "lofty and pragmatic" to care about looks whatever got them together can "only have been more interesting" -- not enough for anyone to permissibly play her, I think, as she and their relationship would have to be almost entirely invented). Hermann's actor reportedly denied such a marriage emphatically at a convention.

In 2013, I was waiting for more information on Vanessa and I'm still waiting. For ease then, I took some things from the novel, but not her. For ease now, I'm doing the same. There's no movie canon evidence of her (though Hermann's a pretty minor character so that's not terribly conclusive), but at this rate, with the universe having an uncertain future in any media, I'm not sure we'll ever get more, and so instead of having to play around a wife I'd never get to play with, when it comes to games, I tend to ignore that bit from the supplemental material. ...and yeah, hate myself a little because of how otherwise obviously ship-geared the rest of this will sound.

So, basically, wiki link minus wife. God forgive me.

Personality: Numbers do not lie, Hermann tells Stacker Pentecost, Politics, poetry, promises, those are lies. Numbers are as close as we get to the handwriting of God. His sincerity in delivering such a line is just this side of embarrassing to watch, made all the more so when Newton laughs at it, yet he means it, absolutely and entirely, and that ought to tell you everything about (Doctor) Hermann Gottlieb. If not everything, then a great deal.

Hermann is one of the last two remaining members of the Pan Pacific Defense Corps' Jaeger program's Research Division, or Kaiju Science (K-Science), along with Dr. Newton Geiszler. While this superficially speaks to extreme funding cuts and the Jaeger program becoming a resistance movement, it also speaks of certain beliefs. The belief that the Anti-Kaiju Wall is not the solution (even, perhaps, that it is cowardice, it is running away, it is hiding and hiding in a futile way that only delays the inevitable), the belief in the Jaeger program (when he, after all, wrote the coding for the Mark I's and quite possibly was involved in the later models), in fighting back, in trying to win. Belief must be involved, because his novel dossier tells us -- his father's support of the wall (after having been involved in the Jaeger program) and Hermann's support of the jaegers has led to their relationship becoming estranged, both men so devoted to their beliefs that they sacrifice their relationship.

This does not seem to be the first time people have disappointed or "betrayed" Hermann. The scattered bits of information given and images seen in his drift with Newton paint a stark, lonely picture. While still a boy, he is seen teaching a class that jeers and throws things at him, and later, he is curled into a fetal position. His drift stream of consciousness in the novel states: numbers the language of the universe and they will hide me I can hide behind them because they are never angry they are never wrong they choose no sides and expect nothing they are purely themselves and will never betray me and, after all, as he proclaims with utmost earnestness: promises... are lies. For Hermann, it becomes increasingly clear that people cannot be trusted. Words cannot be trusted. All that comes of human interaction is disappointment. It may be safe to assume that even before the wall vs jaeger conflict, his family life was less than warm (though we've no details either way), and as such, he was alone both at home and among his "peers," whom patently rejected him.

There looks to be another disappointment in his past -- his drift memories show a boy playing with a toy airplane, as well as a toy robot. It may be fair to extrapolate that Hermann wanted to fly, wanted to be a pilot, whether in a plane or even a jaeger, yet life prevented him. Those frames also show a fighter pilot HUD (head's up display) overlaid, with stars in the background, and his helmet says "SPACE CHAMPION" on it. Given the thought put into the intricate details of the Drift sequences, it is fully reasonable to extrapolate from even toys. These frames were meant to show the innermost, hidden truths of the characters, their intimate secrets, to characterize. A fighter pilot HUD, stars, and a space champion helmet are pretty deliberate details to bother not only incorporating, but since to film it they had to have black-and-white and gray props, to accordingly design.

There are other small details suggestive of it in his portrayal. He salutes Stacker Pentecost three times in the film -- in the deleted scene where he does it, Newton says, "What are you doing? You look like an idiot. Put your hand down. You're not an officer; you don't need to salute anyone." (+What a jerk that guy was, expecting Hermann to agree.) Interestingly, despite the insult, that may be a compliment from Newton -- you're not an officer, don't salute -- because when they much later race into Loccent, Newton yells "MOVE YOU FASCIST!" at Herc Hansen and is all wannabe anarchist, punk rock, anti-authority. Clearly, however, Hermann loves authority. (Of the right kind, anyway, as in, not the political sort.) Not only that, again -- he salutes Stacker three times. Judging from Newton's words, it's a new, Stacker specific thing, which speaks to Hermann's high admiration and respect for Marshal Pentecost -- but Hermann also, when turning from sniping at Newton back to Stacker and Herc, pivots in a rather military fashion.

A fighter pilot's HUD and military plane toy in his Drift, saluting Stacker, "like the Jaeger pilots do" -- it really seems quite fair to infer the man wanted to be a military pilot. Well. The novel offers another stream of consciousness from his drift: Newt had mud between his toes at Lake Como. Gottlieb was soldering a robot together can I build a robot that will pass the Turing test and if I could of course I can I must never say anything about it until it is done or Father will. He might have coded the Jaegers, but he never flies, and he never pilots.

And so, Hermann chose numbers, and as his novel dossier speculates, used and uses them to distance himself. He seeks distance, he seeks control, and he seeks space... yet, having devoted himself to numbers and maths, to his work, he also seeks validation through them with a neediness that borders on desperation. This absolute, often obnoxious need to be right might have its roots in a lack of validation as a child (however much he was clearly a genius), and note, too, how adamant and snappish he is in insisting that he be introduced as and called by his title, by Doctor. (Though that may be a cultural/Southern German thing, as apparently Austrians are very title neurotic, and fairly to, may be another effort at control and distance -- only Newton, when they are alone, may call him by his first name, only friends.) Whatever its roots, it is clearly exacerbated by the extremely tempestuous nature of his relationship with Newton Geiszler. That will be expanded upon momentarily.

His need to be right can be seen in his every interaction, thus meriting this repetition. He defends his predictions with that ridiculous opening line, and though he may have been referencing Galileo (Mathematics is the alphabet with which God has written the universe), his belief in the absolute truth of numbers (and his work) begins to take on a reverential if not religious zeal. And why not? This has been his entire life, in some capacity. He tells Newton, who has just had his drift-with-kaiju idea rejected by Stacker and Herc, "I know that you're desperate to be right, so that you haven't wasted your life being a Kaiju gr(rr)oupie" -- and it's difficult not to see that Hermann, who preens and stands there with the most disgustingly self-satisfied smile on his face when Stacker asks for his data and not Newt's, that Dr. Hermann Gottlieb, who chooses to drift with with a kaiju and Newton because he predicted three kaiju and there are only two -- Hermann, too, is desperate to be right.

Now, given, Hermann's childhood seems to have been miserable, he's just this side of socially awkward, a borderline misanthrope, and he hides behind numbers -- that doesn't equate to a emotionally fraught, trembling man who fears people, or a delicate and wounded soul, the sort who still cries himself to sleep at 36. Instead, Hermann is a brittle, unfriendly man, with little patience or interest in the world outside of his numbers. It may be worth mentioning that we meet Hermann under extreme duress, and mostly see him interact with someone he absolutely can't stand. As such, he might just be moderately more temperate with others, though still not social or too friendly. He can read social cues to step in on Newton's behalf, but would otherwise prefer to stay out of direct contact. As his actor Burn Gorman says of him, "He's the last person you'd want to be stuck in the tiny confines of a lab with. He has issues with personal space. He's not particularly friendly. He's arrogant in terms of the belief in the systems he's come up with." (Though, really, I'd think Newton Geiszler would then be the second to last person you'd want to be stuck with.) He's "an inveterate filer of complaints" -- mostly against Newton, but clearly about other things as well, so this charming man's charming personality receives a lovely little cherry on top in that, apparently, he's plaintive as hell.

His borderline misanthropy really makes it all the more interesting, if you think about it -- that he's on the FIGHTING side, with the JAEGERS, go big or go home, go big or go extinct. It suggests a dogged, stubborn optimism, a willingness and devotion to saving the world, and isn't that strange for someone with so little faith in the human race? For someone who uses numbers to distance himself? At heart, Hermann is an idealist, so disappointed only because against every better judgment, he continued and continues to hope.

Even with others of the non-Newton variety, Hermann is doubtless, then, stuffy, with the necessary minimum of etiquette ("These are humans, Hermann, say hello"), with his imagination strictly focused on Mathematics. His sense of humor doubtless only crops up at Newton's expense -- and thus, is sharp, sardonic, unkind. Dry and British(/German). He is pretentious, self-important, arrogant, "lofty and pragmatic," with little tolerance for nonsense and anything superficial.

While Hermann might occasionally indulge in the "classy" and classic, perhaps opera or very fine cuisine, he by and large seems spartan and abstaining. His complete, fanatical dedication to his work, a ten year commitment against the end of the world, leaves him with little time for or interest in distraction. Just the sort of guy to forget to sleep, scrape the bare minimum and truck on, measuring his food to the milligram, essential nutrients only.

There is evidence for just that sort of micromanaging, even obsessive-compulsive attention to detail. His side of the lab, and doubtless the tape down the middle was his idea, is all structure to contrast Newton's chaos, everything in its right place. He likes order, organization, precision, distance, and control, and he is as stubborn in this as he is in all things. The world could be falling around his shoulders, and it's still very unlikely Hermann would admit he was wrong about anything. Not directly. However, he might cede that you are right, too.

In the movie, Hermann relies on a cane. In order to have a reason in play, and going off of Drift frames (there are a few in which a nervous system was overlaid with his profile, and then sequences of an eye exam), alongside actor commentary (Burn Gorman reportedly favored illness when speaking to a fan at a convention) and use with both hands, I've decided to play him as having an illness that caused his handicap. It might be that his use of it coincided with whatever causes him to dress and act two times his age. He's 36 but radiates the crotchety, 60+ year old professor, and has the chalk dust to underscore it. This may be yet another point of contrast with Newton, whose skinny ties and skinnier jeans suggest mid-20s rather than 35. (And as GdT says in his notebook, is mentally 12.)

Speaking of Dr. Newton Geiszler. As leery as I am of being too Newton focused, or talking in as much detail as I am bound to, it might be impossible to do otherwise and still adequately describe Hermann, because Hermann literally exists because of Newton. Originally, they were the same character, a Dr. Newton Gottlieb, who was eventually split into two. Consequently, they became near to two halves of a whole, near-polar opposites (with certain threads of similarity, such as, they're both... well, in a word, assholes, desperate to be right, stubborn, etc). They somewhat embody the left-brain, right-brain dichotomy, with their two sides of the lab called just that in the novel -- also, like ever-squabbling siblings having to share a room. Hermmann and Newton are order vs chaos, logic vs imagination, left vs right. As walking opposites, obviously they chafe, their opposing styles driving one another mad.

They seem to hate each other. Where the art book described Newton as cruel and mocking of Hermann, Hermann, in turn, is "utterly dismissive" -- "Gottlieb thinks of Newt a little like one would think of a cockroach. He's an irritant. He is found in dark and dank places." They clearly did not respect one another. Newton refuses to introduce Hermann as doctor (despite his multiple requests that he do so) and daily throws bits of kaiju onto Hermann's side of the lab (seriously, second to last person you'd want to lab with, gross!!!). Hermann calls Newton a kaiju gr(rr)oupie, and they both mock each other in front of other people. Terribly professional, really. Terrific first impressions. Later, immediately after Newton drifted with a kaiju brain, Hermann still dismisses what he says as impossible, and when Newton hears there's a double event, two kaiju, he calls that impossible -- despite the fact that Hermann's been predicting that very thing.

In the novel, Stacker states that they were the first two brought in, and now are the very last. This is a case of date weirdness, however, because according to the timeline on the wiki, Newton joined the Academy a year later than Hermann. I might be being too literal -- point is, they were there from the start, and now are the last. Point also is, it's difficult to tell just to what extent they have been working together for the entirety of the last ten years. In the director's notebook segments of the DVD extras, another possible background is offered by director Guillermo del Toro (though Newton' age is wrong in his profile): as the kaiju attacks grew in frequency, Newton began to write the son of the Jaeger program's inventor [NOTE: it is uncertain and not fully likely Lars was the inventor, but he had a big role], Hermann was the only one to ever match Newton's intellect, they exchanged "passionate and fascinating letters" for four years until they met and "disliked each other instantly" in 2017, then in 2020 under the auspices of the PPDC they were brought to work together in Hong Kong (for the next five years) where they shared a "tempestuous" relationship. So, five years stuck together, maybe.

Hermann's complained about Newton so many times that the PPDC psychological staff recommends accepting but not acting on them -- basically, they humor Hermann. At this point, he must be aware of that, yet he keeps on filing the damn things. He will be heard and he will follow the official if apparently useless channels!

Along with left-brain, right-brain and fighting sibling comparisons, the novel also treats us to "like an old married couple" choosing which fight to resume, and they do seem to have a plethora. There are times when it almost seems like an obsession, this need of theirs to argue with one another, to best the other, to prove the other wrong, to interject with a criticism or correction. Obviously there's a sense of competition, of my work or his, and Newton's possible last words before performing an experiment that could very well have killed him, are an aside to blame Hermann for driving him to it and go neener, neener, somehow I'm right. Hermann's criticism drove him to risk killing himself in a literally thrown-together experiment.

They seem to hate each other, yet they've been working together for 5(?) years in some capacity. If they were honestly not able to get anything done, logically another room could have been found in the entire Shatterdome (which used to launch thirty jaegers, and now only have four) -- so clearly, their weird, antagonistic relationship also works. As the novel also says, that's why they work so well together -- literally, "they strike sparks." They file reports together, corroborating one another's theories for the report, and doubtless use one another as sounding boards to strengthen their respective proposals -- because they can certainly rely on each other for, if nothing else, an acerbic and thorough dismantling of everything said, making what's left stronger. For all that they supposedly hate each other, in the deleted scene shortly after bickering, they are quite familiar; there is a sense of routine, and the feeling that perhaps all that arguing lacks true acerbity.

Backtracking to beliefs, both men are so passionate about their work and the Jaegers, about studying and dismantling the breach, about understanding and defeating and studying the kaiju, that they continue to work together, to SHARE A LAB despite hating each other, to be the LAST TWO very much not getting along. Yes, their work is that important but perhaps there is, as Burn Gorman speculates, a hidden and secret fondness. Perhaps also, the most minimal dredges of respect -- because hell, they aren't hiding behind the wall, they're sticking it out, he may be a kaiju groupie but he's here, too.

You probably couldn't pay them to leave.

It is clear that as much as Hermann is absolutely chagrined that Newton WAS right, and that his numbers are not the only / most reliable method / chosen, he's also extremely worried when he finds Newton prone and seizing post drift. He seems even shaken by it. (And returning briefly to his need for control -- when he brings Stacker Pentecost to the lab, he explains in a feeble, shaking voice, that when he found Newton seizing on the floor, he didn't know what to do, then proceeds to look rather devastated until anger takes comfortably over.) Backtracking to respect, it's interesting that after he finds Newton, he actually runs to get Stacker -- he doesn't go to medical, though I'm sure he would have if Newton was really on death's door. Doubtless Newton woke up, insisted he was fine, and told Hermann to get Stacker -- and Hermann listened, prioritizing having Newton's information heard. Though he reflexively doubts it, he isn't so obsessed with being right (and Newton being wrong) that he is petty, small, or in any way sabotaging.

Then, then - Hermann drifts, too.

There's a greater irony in it in the novel, where Newton earlier thinks a man like Hermann would never conceive of doing it, even if it would save the world -- when it turns out, actually, he would. Hermann suggests it. He claims it's because the end of the world's the certain alternative, and because he's obviously irritated that he predicted three kaiju and there are only two, and something is wrong so clearly he must also climb into that kaiju's brain to make sure he's right and save the world.

However, Dr. Hermann Gottlieb. Super scornful of all things Newton, of kaiju and messes. Performing a drift with an underdeveloped alien brain (the neural readings off the charts, far more than the tiny piece Newton first drifted with; there's no way it wouldn't have killed Newton alone), and the man he hates, using garbage equipment, is not something one would ever ever expect of Hermann. He wouldn't conceive of it, wouldn't do it even if it would save the world, only he would because it could. And perhaps because it might've killed Newton otherwise-- share the neural load, together. Just like the Jaeger pilots do. And by ceding it could save the world, he finally, indirectly tells Newton: you were right, this insanity is necessary.

As Beacham tells us, to be drift compatible, trust must already exist: Trust is critical to the connection. Your psyche doesn’t want to share its secrets. It wants to protect itself. It doesn’t like feeling naked in front of a stranger. It wants to cover itself and push the stranger out. You have to really drop your guard to make the connection. You have to trust the person next to you implicitly. Trust is fundamental. Not casual trust. Implicit trust. Trust as a reflex. All of which doubtless Hermann and Newton both knew having been involved in this nonsense for ten years. Of course, their mutual scorn might be such that they really don't care what the other guy sees, because who cares if he judges me? One suspects, however, that that's not the ~trust yay working together~ message.

Somehow Hermann both considers Newton an annoying insect, and yet also trusts him so completely that he'll let him unguarded into his head. That level of trust between two men that routinely, viciously tear each other, and each other's work, down. That from a guy who hides behind numbers and thinks of people themselves as lies. Needless to say, there aren't many people he trusts. Go figure, when given the opportunity, when accepted, he's boyishly excited. And says shit like, "BY JOVE!" in complete enthusiastic earnest, complete with flapping hands.

Inventory: Cane! Switchblade in a pocket from a Haven event. Sadly, he once had a box of chalk and a pocket notebook, along with a mechanical pencil, but most of that went a bad way due to certain events. A few scraps of ragged cloth serving as handkerchiefs.

Abilities: Run of the mill nerd genius with his specialty in maths/physics/engineering. "Displayed early aptitude for abstract mathematics, completed studies at TU Berlin in engineering and applied sciences. Wrote programming code for first-generation Jaeger operating systems. Has constructed highly accurate models predicting frequency of kaiju attacks. Also responsible for advances in understanding the physics and structure of the Breach itself." It is suggested in the novel drift that he was working on Artificial Intelligence (and literally soldering a robot together himself) before the war. So he's very much of the pure mathematics PLUS applied mathematics/engineering tract. Furthermore, as he's "able to engage Newt's intellect in a way no one else could," Newton who has six doctorates and a subsequently wide area of expertise, it seems reasonable to assume a fairly broad knowledge across the sciences. He was a bit less able to throw together junk into functional machines, but having worked with Newton on such projects in Haven, he's improved on that as well.

He and Newton also have acute feedback from their Drift, but that's not so much an ability. + Kaiju nonsense. Wow, Hermann does not recommend using rubbish equipment to be jaggedly yanked into a Drift -- which already unhinges the brain and rehinges it around the new -- with one's nutty co-worker an a behemoth alien hivemind all about cold inhuman destruction devouring etc. etc. etc. when the darn equipment was designed and coded to control machinery. Not to dive into a consciousness comprised of millions of beings.

Flaws: LOL, see personality section. No, OK, but seriously. As noted there: he's arrogant, petulant, plaintive (prone to making complaints especially about Newton), avoids social situations, has a terrible temper (and a short one with Newton). Certainly a control freak and very neurotic about maintaining distance. He can be quite condescending. ALL HE WANTS IS A LITTLE RESPECT... or a lot of respect... call him Dr. Gottlieb, please...

Previous Game and Time: Haven. Two periods (bit of a drop in the middle, whoops): August 2013-October 2014, then February 2015-May 2015 (game end).

Previous Development: Haven was largely terrible for Hermann, though it did force him to say hello to many, many more humans.

Without getting into the nitty gritty of every event and failure and friendship, to paint a broad thematic picture, for Hermann, Haven was an exercise in futility and a crushing lack of utility. Starving and sickness and the constant horror were plenty bad. Worse was that he couldn't do anything. The superhuman characters could do nothing. It felt as if he could do even less.

In Haven characters couldn't write, they could barely tinker with basic machinery, they could not make advanced weaponry, barely had regular, humane living conditions. Both things he attempted to do, that he could uniquely and actually do, were complete disasters.

The first big thing of note: in Haven North there was a library with empty computers that nonetheless turned on. Hermann attempted to hack into one. As something that would require incredible skill, that was something he could do -- though as he got further along, it gave worse and worse electric shocks. When he finally broke through, revealing a screen full of spirals, the shock was so bad it stopped his heart and would have killed him but for timely intervention (thank you Dr. Harper and Mr. Deadpool).

A shock that Newton, meanwhile, halfway across the town, felt and came running back for. This lead to the sharpening of a fear that never left him, that caused rows with Newton beyond their standard arguments, and was never resolved -- because in the night, when they dreamed of the kaiju hivemind devouring, when the nightmares tortured, it wasn't as bad if they were close. Because Newton felt the shock. Because Hermann, a feeble man with a cane and no fighting ability, even with Newton being reckless -- Hermann was always and absolutely going to be a liability, an easy target, a guaranteed death.

He did the math. It was easy math. What would it do to Newton mentally if it was a gruesome one? What happened when they became increasingly codependent because of the Drift and Hermann died? Codependency in general was incredibly alarming to a man like Hermann, never mind such that would drag someone else down.

So, the row: Hermann told Newton they couldn't work together and would have to stay away from one another. With the fool's hope it would somehow cause a reduction in the Drift's aftereffects. Neither of them got much done for two weeks and Hermann had to give it up.

An interlude among vengeful spirits and collapsing apartment buildings and monsters and yatta yatta despair etc. everything is terrible all the time -- but not a nice interlude. When, finally, they're given nice new housing, with a nice well in the middle of a spiral arrangement of houses. Shelter! Water! Hermann thought to fetch a pail. Lo and behold: Pyramid Head, and the newly arrived Marshal Hansen yanked him out of harm's way. It likely would have gotten the both of them killed if not for the intervention of both Mr. Thor and Mr. Deadpool (again titles: distance, formality; even when ridiculous, to drop them would be too personal).

At that point, Hermann BSOD'D. His weakness had almost gotten Marshal Hansen killed, perhaps even the other two. He couldn't do anything for anyone. In a town prison where people could barely scavenge enough food for one meal a day, if lucky, he was a mouth to feed, taking from children, from people who could do things, who could help -- when all he seemed able to do was get in the way and nearly (and inevitably actually) get someone killed. Essentially giving up, only Newton screeching in his face jerked him out of it, but again -- nothing was solved.

Of course, Haven being Haven, it got worse. There was one thing left that surely he could do. Sure, the single book of writing in Haven North had warned them against thinking about spirals, against investigating why they were everywhere, built into the fabric of the land. The water rippled in spirals. Everything was so arranged. Yet, surely -- surely Hermann, a man of patterns and predictions and numbers, who so well knew the golden ratio, could suss it out. Could discover something.

Yeah, unfortunately, thinking about spirals in Haven makes one go crazy until they attempt to break their body into that perfect shape, with only death solving it. Realizing he was losing his mind, a brief healing (ala Korra of Avatar) only temporarily set it off. Eventually, he and Newton had to agree that the latter would poison him once he was too far gone. Eventually, after using his cane to break his arm in two places, after covering an empty house in chalk and tearing every page out of his notebook to either origami fold into spirals or fill with pertinent equations -- the poison.

And so still, in the end, he couldn't do anything.

Other bad stuff obviously happened. Some good things: in desperate situations, in Hell, Hermann had to rely on people a lot more. He spoke to them! He was even friendly! In fact, became quite attached. Because he felt so useless (and boy, how awful it was to have to explain time and again, no, not that sort of doctor), he went out of his way to do whatever little thing he could, even if it was simply finding new arrivals and explaining the grim reality.

He met people from different universes. He watched Newton tear through the fourth wall. That, alongside the uncertainty of how death and "resurrection" worked in Haven, made him skeptical as to whether they were even themselves (rather than clones or simulations or...) -- not that it would be terribly significant either way. He was very, very excited to meet A.I.!

And he and Newton went and did a stupid thing like fall in love, despite his very best efforts before and after. Indeed, he even tried to stop the moment of truth despite having pined for longer (but largely controlled himself). In short: during a previous event when Newton had been without half his jaw, they conversed via morse code (Hermann sympathetically), and in a fit of emotion Hermann had almost confessed -- almost because his hand shook too badly when rapping it, and he refused to correct it. When Newton figured it out, he attempted to confess in kind, and Hermann tried to reject him via a literal "You do not!" "I do too!" argument. Indeed 2.0, he did also attempt to break up with him on waking again in Haven (after my drop, oops) to find Newton'd been, unsurprisingly, pretty upset during the absence. If not actively attempting to end it, Hermann would in distress, in response to Newton's gestures, despair -- I don't know how to prepare to lose you.

Because Hermann hadn't stopped being afraid. Because he couldn't do or control anything. Because what Hermann does, what he has always done, what has always been his most basic grasping at control -- is to distance himself. Because if he was a lost cause, his survival more and more and forever unlikely, he couldn't have Newton less and compromised when the extremely probable happened. If they weren't together, if Newton was angry with him even better, because then it would hurt and distract less. Surely. That small thing he could control.

Except not really because Newton is impossible.

So, uh, what did Haven do for Hermann's development? He made some good friends whom he admired ardently (boy he's a fan of young hero types, he is just ALL ABOUT the very good-hearted leaders full of ideals and no-one-gets-left-behind and let's all be our best selves he just wants to salute the fuck out of 'em). He was touched and impressed by those who did help him. He felt absolutely crushed by his inability to contribute -- yes, of course he built generators with Newton, but he was hardly necessary for that. It was a small, small thing besides. As the days passed the odds stacked more and more against his survival. He was always low-key terrified by his helplessness and what it would do to Newton or anyone stupid/good enough to help him.

Dr. Hermann Gottlieb isn't the type to give up against terrible odds, isn't the type to think less of himself, to resign himself to death. However, he is the type who needs to be busy, to be useful, to have something to do and control against those odds. And he is not a person who could be content with being idle, useless, and a liability to other, better people.

At that point, the math is clear, and at least numbers are entirely true and entirely without emotion when they tell him, Better that you die -- and that's coming, sooner than later.

Basically, he got especially jaded.

Action Log Sample: Test Drive Meme.