It cannot be run by one pilot.
Not, “It was never meant to be run by one pilot.”
Not, “It should not be run by one pilot.”
Not, “It has never before been run by one pilot.”
It cannot be run by one pilot.
The designers of this machine proved it, painstakingly and with every possible and impossible scenario simulated and re-simulated a thousand times: It is mathematically and physically impossible for a single, human pilot to operate the device. It is too complex, requiring too many subsequent inputs in precise order, subsisting of too many non-automated features, and constructed in such a way that all necessary operations are too far apart to be reached at all times. There is no hidden switch, no autopilot, no bug in the programming to be manipulated or hacked, and no failsafe. The Hellbraker: perfect in its impossibility
But its cruelty comes not in the fact that one pilot cannot operate it; its cruelty is that it looks like it could be. A practical blend of mechanical and electronic controls, mixed with logical design; the vehicle is not nonsensical, merely complex. Any young pilot with an open mind would reason—and wisely so—that the very complex can become simple with enough experience, even if the difficulty of the task never shrinks. Thus, they try. They try to learn how to pilot it, this “Hellbraker”, the king of weapons, the emperor of warships. They strive to learn, and be rewarded for their diligence with success. They are willing to walk the long, toilsome road, because it’s worth it.
Somewhere along that road, they will discover the truth; that awful, mocking laughter hidden with a name: christened Hellbraker not because it will break down the gates of Hell, but because it breaks the souls of those who dare to try in a way only Hell can break. Everything they try will always come up short, no matter what technique is tried. They will make progress, but to an end doomed not to failure; merely abandonment. And they fight for it, every single one. The ability to pilot the Hellbraker is there, right in front of their faces, every moment of every second spent dashing madly to make it run like they know it should, like they believe it can. Taunting them to improve, to man up, and focus. They drive themselves mad chasing after it. They curse themselves, God, and the world because of it. They might give up a dozen times, a dozen dozens, and still come back, because it must be possible, it must be!
The Hellbreaker is the ultimate test for the champions of pilots. All who show the promise of greatness are subjected to the test of the war machine: to see how close they come to the unattainable success, to see how well they deal with inevitable failure, and to see how their belief shifts between the former and the latter. To test their maximum potential, for until a man tries to do more than he possibly can, he is not doing all that he can do. To each pilot who has reached for the stars and been rejected, the reaction is different. Despair. Denial. Degeneracy. Determination. Devotion.
And such is life.
Thus the true secret of the machine: the Hellbreaker is life. Life, encapsulated into a machine. Outwardly simple, infinitely complex. The object which possesses the greatest potential, and the object which squanders it the most. None can truly live a life at “maximum efficiency”; there is no such thing as a perfect life. But then, the goal of life has never been to perfect it, only to live it. To do what can be done, to learn what can be learned. To chase after the sublime and never obtain it, but at least to obtain something else along the way.