Caitlin is born September 4, 1984 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her father is Methodist minister and her mother is a librarian. After she graduates high school, Caitlin attends Carnegie Mellon where she meets Jasper Schoenfeld. During her time in college, Lightcap becomes romantically involved with professor Schoenfeld who is married at the time. Prior to her graduation, she sleeps with Schoenfeld. They separate soon after Schoenfeld's wife finds out about their relationship.
After earning her degree, Lightcap is accepted into D.A.R.P.A.. There, she works on developing a thought-based piloting interface for fighter jets. However, her worsening OCD and depression leave her reliant on medication. As a result she is given a leave of absence from D.A.R.P.A. for “difficulties”.
Tales from Year Zero
Prior to the creation of the Pan Pacific Defense Corps, Jasper Schoenfeld approaches Lightcap to help him with the Jaeger Program because of her extensive knowledge of brain-machine interfaces. He tells her that the world needs her help and he wouldn’t ask otherwise if the situation were different; overwhelmed, Lightcap decides to help Schoenfeld.
As the world reels from incessant Kaiju attacks, Lightcap creates the concept of using the mind of a single pilot to control a machine twice their mass and size. Part of the concept is called the “Pons” (“Bridge” in Latin); a neural interface that allows the brain to receive digital data fed from the mech. As the Jaeger Program begins, Lightcap and Schoenfeld run into financial troubles with the PPDC.
During a check on their progress, Lightcap explains the nature of their work to Stacker Pentecost when he asks about the concept behind a human piloting a Jaeger. Knowing they will face further difficulties in securing funding without tangible proof, Stacker volunteers to test the Pons headset and succeeded in moving the fingers of the mech. His efforts are enough to get Lightcap and Schoenfeld more funding to proceed with their program.
Lightcap and Schoenfeld successfully develop a prototype Jaeger, which they code-name Brawler Yukon. Of the selection test subjects they have to choose from, Lightcap and Schoenfeld choose USAF Captain Adam Casey and Lieutenant Sergio D'Onofrio. During an evaluation with Sergio, Lightcap discovers he has a crush on her. Panicking, she makes sure to tell him she is involved with Schoenfeld, but Sergio argues she poked around his mind and maintains he has no intentions of pursuing her.
During a demo for the PPDC’s higher-ups, Captain Casey attempts to control Brawler Yukon on his own. However, the strain on his mental and physical facilities triggered a seizure that kills him. Upset by the death of Casey, Lightcap becomes concerned over Sergio's well-being and suggests they postpone the next demo. Schoenfeld assumes the time she spent preparing Sergio suggests that her concern stems from romantic feelings. Lightcap argues that if the next test fails, they will lose the funding for the program; however, Schoenfeld is unwilling to budge on the issue.
The following month, Sergio attempts to control Brawler Yukon without the assistance of another. He manages to get it to walk before he begins to have a seizure. Using the Pons, Lightcap is able to connect with Sergio and help him control the Jaeger. Her action leads her to create the "Drift"; a system of checks and balances that would allow two pilots to control a single Jaeger using their combined strength. The success of her system allows the Pan Pacific Defense Corps to move ahead with the construction of other Jaegers. Afterward, Lightcap continues to train with Sergio and the other Rangers-in-training. Her health and self-confidence improve gradually over time, surprising Schoenfeld.
When Drifting with Sergio, she tells him she saw the dream he had about her and the two share a kiss. Lightcap is hesitant to pursue a relationship with him because she is still involved with Schoenfeld. Sergio asks her what she wants out of either relationship. Feeling guilty, Lightcap admits to Schoenfeld that she is in love with Sergio and never meant to hurt him. Schoenfeld admits that he is aware of what was happening between her and Sergio and lets her go.
In April of 2015, Lightcap and Sergio are deployed as Brawler Yukon's pilots against the Kaiju Karloff. They successfully engage and kill the beast. Their victory definitively proves the effectiveness of Jaegers and heralds humanity's readiness to fight back against the Kaiju.
In the aftermath of her battle against Karloff with Sergio, Caitlin remains a proactive figure in the Jaeger Program as Brawler Yukon's pilot alongside Sergio. She assists in the particular design of the Mark-4 Jaeger Crimson Typhoon's Conn-Pod and creates a specialized Pons interface for the Wei triplets, Cheung, Hu and Jin.
She continues to document the side-effects of the Drift in relation how it affects the Rangers, using her personal experiences and Defense Corps analysis as a starting point of her research.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Travis Beacham: Caitlin Lightcap
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Pacific Rim: Tales From Year Zero
- ↑ Travis Beacham: Caitlin Lightcap's "Difficulties"
- ↑ Travis Beacham: Brawler Yukon's pilots
- ↑ Combat Dossier: Crimson Typhoon
- ↑ PACIFIC RIM Lexicon Entry #2: Headspace