- Posts: 193
- Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:53 am
For a monster to destroy a building, two conditions need to be met:
First, the monster's Class must be equal to or above the building's.
Second, the monster must physically move into the building's space on the board. In addition to using the necessary amount of action points for the movement, the monster character must also use an addition action point to destroy it. (This represents the monster using its body to smash through it.)
Optional: If a monster has a ranged attack, such as a beam, they may also use that to destroy a building at a distance, but the attack requires the regular amount of action points it typically takes to preform.
If a monster has a lower class level than a building it's attacking, they may also damage a building, but they must use a regular attack to destroy it. In these cases, a buildings class level represents the amount of hit points they have before being destroyed.
It'll be a while before I get the next post out. Not feeling it lately.
Thanks again Living Corpse for your ongoing support. As a token of my esteem, I'll be PM'ing you a little bonus material.
- Posts: 193
- Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:53 am
In the immediate aftermath following Mothra cocooning herself, no one was quite sure what to do. A few of Paris' residents came back before the military barred the roads.
The French government wanted as few civilians as possible in the city until they decided how to proceed. The military was keen to attack at first, seeing as the creature wouldn't be able to defend itself in its current state, but their plan was quashed by the civilian government when they caught wind of it. Though they had no issue with the military trying to kill the monster, they were however concerned with the potential collateral damage to the Eiffel Tower, which was a treasured landmark. The tower continued to hold up well under Mothra's weight and seemed stable for the foreseeable future.
On the second day, it finally occurred to the French generals that there was another possible solution which would not involve firing artillery at a historic site. Marcus had demonstrated the Mothra's silk could be cut with fire. It seemed reasonable to assume the webbing she used to construct her cocoon could likewise be vulnerable to fire.
The French military did have access to flamethrowers that had been developed during the prolonged period of trench warfare of The Great War. The generals were hot to employ them again. However, when using the potential weapon was brought up in a strategy meeting, Dr. Jacquier's voice was quick to ring out against them. He discouraged them, siting that such a strategy would be dangerous.
The doctor explained that he had been running tests on the strange material found within Mothra's eggshell and his findings suggested that it was volatile when exposed to extreme temperatures. Thusly, he suggested that the cocoon could also prove to be combustible if they attempted to set it aflame. He went on to say, if the military tired to burn the cocoon it could possibly trigger an explosion that could not only destroy the Eiffel Tower, but also damage or destroy numerous buildings in the surrounding area. He felt they would risk spreading fires all over the city if they acted rashly.
The Generals at the meeting were skeptical about Dr. Jacquier theories, but the civilian authorities on hand were horrified by the prospect of the tower or any other landmarks being damaged. They didn't want to take any risks, so Dr. Jacquier's argument prevailed and proved to be enough to buy the cocoon at least a few more hours while the French Parliament debated the issue.
By the next morning, word came in that there had been an explosion at the secret research facility where the egg shards were being housed. That was enough to convince the majority of National Assembly that attacking the cocoon immediately was too risky to undertake. They would have to look into alternative methods of dealing with it.
With fire ruled out, that left the French military with very few practical options to choose from. A more conventional attack with tanks and artillery ran the same risks. As it was, it seemed like their only recourse was to wait and see what happened. It was around this time that the French got even more bad news. Varan was continuing its trek west through Germany and appeared to be on course to cross over the French boarder. It was starting to look like the French were on the cusp of having a second monster threat to content with on their home soil and the latter of the two had proven to be extremely hazardous to human life.
Marcus was with Admiral Nimitz in the American Embassy when they received word. Understanding the seriousness of the situation, Admiral Nimitz was quick to pull out a map of Western Europe and began to mark out Varan's known locations in Germany. He was looking for a pattern. It didn't take long to see one. Since Mothra had arrived in Paris, Varan had shifted his trajectory from due west to northwest. There was no doubt Varan was on his way.
"Great, now we have to deal with an even more destructive monster?" Williams grumbled. "How will the French army stop it? That thing had no problem stomping the Germans. It'll have a buffet in the countryside with most of the French army up here in the north keeping an eye on Mothra."
"Don't panic, its got to get around one thing before it can do any of that." Admiral Nimitz assured him.
"It has to cross the Maginot line...?" Brock guessed. The Admiral nodded to Brock confirming he was correct.
"What's that?" Williams asked confused.
"You're joking right?" Brock balked at him, appalled by his ignorance. "It's only the most fortified defensive position in the World. It was built to keep the Germans out of France following The Great War." He turned his attention to Marcus. "I thought you said these things were smart, why is it trying to go through there?"
"First, I said kaiju were intelligent, not smart." Marcus pointed out. "Most animals are intelligent. Think about it in terms of dog breeds, intelligence can vary by wide margins."
"Yeah, my sister has a beagle, that little bastard is as dumb as a post." Brock noted. "It just sits in the back yard and barks at a stump all day."
"Thank you Brock, that was very helpful." Marcus signed. "Anyways, I'd say Varan is coming for the cocoon. Mothra is a sitting duck while encased inside it. Easy pickings if Varan is hungry and tired of paltry human portions. There's no way Varan could know about the defensive line between here and there." Marcus noted. "My knowledge of geography is limited, but I'm guessing crossing the Maginot Line is probably the most direct way to get to Paris from where Varan is?"
The Admiral used a pencil and a protractor to project Varan's course on the map. He confirmed that the monster's heading was taking him directly towards Paris. This lent weight to Marcus' argument. The admiral went a step further and did a little math on the paper and figured out that if Varan kept up his current speed he'd arrive at Paris in less than forty-eight hours.
"So that is why Mothra was in such a hurry to get here." Brock noted. "It knew Varan was on its way and is trying hatch before it gets here."
"That's what my gut says too" Marcus agreed. Just then he got a flash of an imagine in his mind and a jolt of fear shot down his spine. It was gone in an instant, but Marcus knew that they needed to ensure Varan was stopped at the Maginot Line to protect the cocoon. If they failed, something terrible would happen.
Within the hour, Admiral Nimitz made a call to Washington and it was quickly decided that they would be dispatched to the Maginot Line to see Varan for themselves. It was an easy sell. The Secretary of Defense felt that getting first hand information on the monster was vital. The Germans had not be very open with the Western Powers about what Varan was and what it was capable of.
Up until then, the United States had to rely on what their spies inside Germany were relaying. Mostly what they sent were pictures and articles straight from the German newspapers and the German High Command had kept a pretty tight grip on what they did and did not allow them to publish. Not too surprisingly, there was very little information on the total losses the German military had suffered or the extend to which the monster had damaged the country's infrastructure. Only some details about the monster had leaked. Thanks to the photos in the papers, they would at least be able to identify the monster on sight, but they didn't know how resistant to artillery it was or how it would fight when confronted.
After obtaining Washington's approval, Admiral Nimitz phoned General De Gaulle to get his permission to enter the Maginot Forts along the border as observers. Because Marcus had proved instrumental in rescuing French troops just days earlier, they were still in the general's good graces and it didn't take much convincing to get the him to agree.
It wasn't all just gratitude though. The general recognized the value of having American servicemen in the line of fire. If things went south at the battle with Varan, it would read well in American newspapers if some of their own were present for the fight. It would undoubtedly make the American public more sympathetic to their cause if they could relate to men on the front line. The French might very well need American military resources if they failed to stop Varan at the Maginot Line and capturing the heart's and mind's of her people would be a fine first step in ensuring their support.
Arrangements were made and a plane carrying the group of Americans was dispatched to an airfield near the Maginot Line along the projected path of the monster. An offered to bring Dr. Jacquier along was extended as well, but he refused. He was more interested in continuing his research on Mothra's Cocoon. Marcus suspected he just wanted to ensure the French Government didn't change their mind and try to burn the cocoon while he was away.
Off the Libyan coast, an Italian heavy cruiser and a pair of destroyers had arrived to investigate the rash of disappearances at sea. A large Italian supply vessel had been added to the list of missing vessels overnight, which is likely what brought about the rapid turn around time of the Italian navy's appearance.
Like Omar, the Italians almost immediately ruled out local pirates as being responsible for the disappearances. The pirates generally only raided Italian merchant ships they encountered. They would board, seize all the supplies they could carry, and then let them go on their way afterwards. Seizing entire ships didn't fit their normal M.O. Everyone seemed to recognize that something very odd was going on.
Omar watched from the docks as the warships swept the area looking for any clues. The didn't seem to be having any luck. The warships passed and Omar noticed something strange wash in with the tide. It was floating on top of the water, being knocked back and forth with each passing wave. It turned out to be a fish, at least in a manner of speaking. It was so bizarre looking that it took Omar a second to register it as a fish.
Omar had been a fisherman for close to twenty years and in all that time on the water he'd never seen anything like it before. The creature in question was intact, but no doubt dead. It was about a meter in length and had dark grey scales. It had two small eyes on either side of the head with proportionally large nostrils along with a huge gaping mouth filled with especially long, nasty looking sharp teeth. The fish also had an unusual limb protruding from its forehead. At the end of the limb was a bulbous orb that was semi-translucent. Its function was unclear. To Omar, it was easier to describe it as a monstrosity rather than a fish. Looking upon it gave him an eerie feeling. He felt like it was an omen. Storm clouds were forming in the distance.
Meanwhile in the Sea of Okhotsk, Akira was continuing to fly into the coastal waters of Russia. Having flown countless missions over China, Akira knew how it felt to enter enemy airspace, but still, this somehow felt different. If he made a mistake on this mission it could kick off a war, something he didn't want to carry the weight of blame for.
Akira tried to stay calm, but it was difficult not to feel the anxiety of the mission as they pressed further and further into Russian airspace. Up until then, he had been spacing out during the flight, allowing his thoughts drift to pass the time. However, he was now keenly alert, continuously scanning sky around him watching for trouble.
As it so happened, trouble seemed to find them. Akira spotted a Russian patrol fighter about one-thousand feet below them at one-o'clock. He instinctively reacted, jerking the stick backward hard and taking the seaplane higher. The seaplane was not a fighter though and the sudden jerk of the stick was not followed by a smooth climb upwards Akira had been expecting. Instead, the plane lurked clumsily and inside the aircraft the crew were jerked from their seats as the plane pitched. Akira could hear canisters of fuel clanging around and at lease one yell from behind him.
Akira had to ignore it though. His priority had to be to get the seaplane out of the line of sight of the fighter as quickly as possible. Luckily he found a nearby a patch of clouds that he could dive into. Akira flew the seaplane directly into it and disappeared into the safety of the fluff. His plan was to remain inside for a couple of minutes, hoping that the fighter had not spotted them and would move out of the area on its regular patrol route.
However, if the fighter had seen them, they'd be in a real fix. The seaplane was designed to be a transport plane first and foremost. So they wouldn't be able to out run, out fly, or out fight the fighter if it was waiting for them when they came out of the clouds. If it chose to engage them they'd simply be target practice.
To make matters worse, the seaplane was still loaded down with fuel canisters meant to get them back home. Their aircraft would go up like a box of match sticks if the fighter strafed them. Just one stray bullet in the wrong place is all it would take to blow them to bits. Akira could always try to duck into another cloud bank, but that would only postpone their problem. They wouldn't be able to hide forever and if the Soviet pilot called in their position, which they would undoubtedly do, they'd have a whole squadron of planes scrambled after them before long.
As Akira flew through the soup of clouds, not being able to see anything around him, he considered their options should the worst come to pass. They could always bail out, but allowing themselves to be captured would risk exposing their mission's true purpose. If he allowed the plane to be shot down it would be an international incident, but at least the Russian's would never know the extent of what they were up to. Either way, it didn't seem like they would escape the situation alive.
Akira leveled out the plane and Major Saito came into the cockpit looking for answers. Akira briefly summarized their predicament. The two agreed that staying in the cloud cover was their best option for the time being. Tense minutes passed as everyone aboard the seaplane knew that when they came out of the cloud cover, whatever they found would decide their fate. Either they'd be in the clear or cooked
Finally, Akira decided enough time had passed. He brought the seaplane out from the safely of the clouds and back into the open blue sky. Major Saito and the other soldier were glued to their windows in the back, searching for signs of the fighter on either side of the seaplane. Akira was looking straight up as they came out, as he expected the fighter would be waiting for them there if it was planning to ambush them. Meanwhile his co-pilot was looking down, just in case it attacked from where they weren't expecting it.
None of them saw anything but blue skies. No sign of the fighter whatsoever. They breathed a collective sigh of relieve. It seemed as though they had lucked out after-all. Akira's rough maneuver had spared them being discovered, though it had come with one minor cost. The foot soldier who accompanied Major Saito had been standing when Akira had made his sudden evasion and had twisted his ankle. While the injury was far from life-threatening, it did present them with another problem.
The soldier's primary purpose on the mission was to help Major Saito carry the device through the Russian countryside to the rendezvous point with their contact. With a bum leg, he wouldn't be able to fulfill his role. Someone would have to take his place or Major Saito would never be able to make the rendezvous on time lugging the package by himself.
Major Saito was eye-balling Akira's co-pilot for the job. Akira could easily read the fear on the co-pilot's face as he realized the risks that would be involved. The co-pilot was young and relatively inexperienced airman. He had never taken part on an operation on the ground before and clearly didn't seem ready for it. Because of that, Akira volunteered to go instead.
At first, Major Saito didn't like the idea of his pilot being exposed in the most dangerous part of the mission, but Akira assured him that the co-pilot would be capable of flying them back to base alone if necessary. Akira was physically larger an stronger than the co-pilot, so he was the better choice for sharing the burden. Hiding from the fighter had cost them valuable minutes already and Major Saito didn't want to loose and more time on the way there, so he agreed with Akira and the matter was closed.
Twenty minutes later, they arrived off the coast of Russia. Akira landed the plane and taxied it through the water into a nook that had been pre-selected to hide the plane. The site chosen made the plane hard to spot from the sky, but they put a camouflaged cover over it to make it even harder to locate just to be safe.
Once they had secured the plane, Akira and Major Saito took off their Japanese uniforms and put on Soviet ones. They wouldn't fool anyone up close, but at least at a distance they wouldn't stand out if they were spotted. One thing they had working in their favor was the close relations the Russians had to the Mongolians. Mongolia was a Soviet satellite and not generally recognized as sovereign nation of its own.
As such, it wasn't usual for Russians of Mongolian descent to serve in the Soviet military. Akira and Major Saito could pass for such men to the untrained eye. Neither of them actually spoke a word of Mongolian though and anyone looking closely would notice some issues. Mongolian people tended to be darker skinned than the average Japanese man, so the disguise wouldn't hold up under close scrutiny.
Major Saito handed Akira a soviet made PPSH41 sub-machine gun. It was known as a Papasha or "daddy" in Russian. It had a round magazine underneath. Akira thought it looked like a "Tommy-gun" that American gangsters were known to use. Major Saito explained that if there were gunned down during the mission they couldn't afford to be found with Japanese equipment on their bodies.
With that last vote of confidence, the pair grabbed a large duffle bag which had the eighty-pound radio device inside and became their journey to the rendezvous. They had to walk two miles inland to meet up with their contact. Even with two men, carrying that much weight over rough terrain was a fairly taxing ordeal. It didn't seem to bother Major Saito any, but for Akira it was an uphill battle.
At one point Major Saito stopped and had them put the bag down. Akira was most grateful for the break, but his relief was short lived. The major had stopped so he could inspect some tire tracks which had mowed down some tall grass ahead of them. They appeared to have been left there by a Russian truck, possibly a patrol.
They were too far away from the rendezvous point for the tracks to have been left by their contact. Major Saito guessed that the tracks had been made a couple hours earlier, so it was unlikely the vehicle that left them was still in the immediate area, but still, it put them on guard to know that Russians had been on the ground in that area.
The pair pressed on for an additional mile until the finally found their contact waiting for them. The man they found was likewise dressed in Soviet garb, but unlike them, he was in a officer's uniform. Their contact was a Russian and it became clear that if they were stopped, he'd be doing all the talking. He introduced himself as Vladimir Vanchaco. He was a survivor from the anti-communist Russian White Army that had fought against the Reds during the Russian civil war.
He hated the current Soviet regime and supported the Russian people returning to an Imperial power, that wasn't likely to happen though. The Russian he loved was long dead, which is why he chose to align himself with Imperial Japan. He didn't see it as betraying his country, he saw it as his country betraying him. His condition for joining the mission was he'd be allowed to defect. He wanted to repatriate to Japan and be granted citizenship. He couldn't stand watching his country be overran with communists. It was quickly becoming clear Stalin's idea of communism was even worse than Vladimir had expected. If he didn't get out soon, he'd be purged like so many other before him.
There wasn't too much small talk, both Vladimir and Major Saito were men of few words by nature and both were keen to keep things moving. They loaded the device into the GAZ-64 4x4 jeep that Vladimir had acquired and began driving to the Soviet staging grounds.
Marcus, Admiral Nimitz, Brock, and Williams landed at an airstrip located just adjacent to one of the Maginot forts. Marcus was awestruck by the sight of it. The unending line of fortifications stretched beyond the horizon in both directions like it was a mountain range.
In truth, the hillside fortifications were too short to be called mountains, but they were also too tall and imposing be called a hills. They were impressive to say the least. The entire line stretched fifteen-hundred kilometers, all the way from the border with Switzerland in the south to Luxembourg in the north. It had taken the French engineers nine long years and three-billion francs to complete it.
The forts were built directly into the hills and were impervious to most forms of attack, including aerial bombings and tank fire. Only the heaviest of artillery could hope to put a dent in them. The forts featured retractable turrets, which could pop out of he ground and fire and then retreat back down again for protection and underground railways, which could move troops and supplies quickly to anywhere along the line where they were needed most. For the troops garrisoning the forts there were state of the art living conditions, including air conditioning and an independent water supply. Men could live inside almost indefinitely.
The forts were designed to save manpower for France, which counted just thirty-nine million inhabitants versus Germany's seventy million. The French figured the next major European war would be a war of attrition much like the last one had been and hoped their extensive fortifications would help make up for the shortage in manpower. Their strategy was to outlast the Germans behind there defenses.
A prolonged defensive war would favor the French. It had been calculated that the Germans would eventually run out of resources as the war dragged on. If the French could just hold them off long enough the Germans would be unable to continue in time. With the appearance of Varan though, it seemed like the defenses of the Maginot Line wouldn't be tested by the Germans anytime soon. The monster had eliminated one threat only to take its place.
Marcus and the others were met at the entrance by a French officer who had been expecting them. He brought inside the main fort and offered to show them around, but it was decided they didn't have the time to linger and so they all piled into the underground rail system to head north to meet the oncoming threat. By that time Varan was only within twenty miles away from the forts and if it stayed on its current projected course, it would hit the line in just over an hour about six miles north of their current position.
Marcus road the rails through the darkness watching the occasional light flicker by above him on the tunnel ceiling. His group had been in the tunnel for almost a half hour already and his mind began to wander. He had always heard when people where close to death they would feel like they were traveling through a tunnel of white light heading for Heaven. The ongoing blackness of the tunnel make him wonder if that was what people bound for hell would see.
The train finally arrived at the proper underground station and they disembarked. As they came up the stairs leading to the main floor of the base they were met by a Brigadier-General who was in command of the forts. He informed them that Varan was still a little ways away. Admiral Nimitz commented on how impressed he was with the underground fortress. He had never seen anything like it before, which lead the general to take them on a brief tour of the facility.
The General pointed out the various gun galleries and casemates, the kitchens, the barracks, the power station, the communications room, the command center, the infirmary, the air conditioning plant, and the main magazine, which stored the majority of the forts ammunition behind large steel doors. Though they had only been in the other fort briefly, Marcus could see that the layout was very similar. He imagined that was so men transferring from one station to another rapidly wouldn't have problems adjusting to were things were.
"It sure beats the hell out of the snow forts I made as a child." Brock noted.
"Yeah, me too." Marcus agreed. Both of them where thoroughly impressed, as were Admiral Nimitz and Lt. Commander Williams.
The tour ended with them being brought to the peak of the observation post which housed the fire control tower. Marcus had to cover his eyes as there was real sunlight pouring in. He had been in the dark tunnels for so long they needed to readjust. After his vision transitioned the vantage point was breath taking. They could see the the green valley landscape outstretched for miles beyond the defenses.
A little closer to Marcus were the base's exterior defenses. There was miles of barbed wire, machine gun nests, mine fields, tank traps and other iron obstacles, anti aircraft guns, and portable artillery pieces that had been brought in to supplement the bases already impressive firepower. A battalion of tanks had also arrived and were getting into position in some of the gaps between strong points.
Just then, an aid to the Brigadier-General ran in and informed them all that Varan was within four miles of the defensive line. With that, Marcus and the others were rushed to an observation bunker, while the rest of the base was called into battle-stations.
Marcus ran through the corridors, dodging French soldiers that were getting into position. When he reached the bunker, he looked out and saw the same green fields and flowers from a position a little closer to the ground. It seemed serene. Anyone who didn't already know what was coming couldn't be blamed for being unable to foreseen the carnage that was imminent.
It didn't take long for the imagined image peace to be shattered. The rumble of giant footfalls could be felt within the bowels of the base and they were growing stronger and stronger with each passing minute. Finally Varan appeared over a hillside off in the near distance. The monster steadily moved in closer and closer to the fortifications.
Marcus finally got his first live look at Varan, and as he did, he felt a twing of fear hit his stomach. Varan wasn't unlike Baragon in appearance. No, it was not so different at all. There was one notable difference Marcus noted, though it was hardly comforting. Varan was slightly bigger than Baragon. Even at a distance, it was clear that Varan was the larger of the two monsters. However, Baragon was quicker. Having seen both in action, Varan was ponderously slow by comparison. Apparently the extra weight carried some disadvantages too.
Varan Roared and pulled Marcus away from his inner thoughts. He could swear Varan even sounded a little like Baragon. The small pebble of fear in his stomach grew into a softball sized rock upon hearing its roar. His chest felt tight with anxiety. Where had the calm that he felt around Mothra gone? It seemed to have abandoned him in that moment.
Shortly after Varan made his appearance, the long range artillery of the fortress began to open up. The force of the big guns shook the fort around them. The thunderclaps of shells echoed all over the valley and against the hillside fort. Varan pressed forward undeterred and the mid-ranged artillery joined. One by one, every gun within the fort joined shelling as Varan closed the gap gradually. The surrounding fortresses joined in as well and before too long Varan was completely engulfed by the hail of fire.
Through years of preparation and live fire exercises the artillery was raining down with exceptional accuracy. Every yard of the landscape had been pre-measured by engineers. They had determined and marked out on map the specific elevation and degrees to which the gunners needed to put a shell on a target anywhere within their defensive perimeter. And they had done so for each gun emplacement in the fortress.
The intensity of the barrage did seem to be affecting Varan, however the monster was still somehow able to struggle forward though the torrent of cannon fire. There were so many explosions that it was impossible to tell where one ended and the next began. The once green fields around Varan were quickly being shredded by craters of exploding shells. The scent of burnt soil and gunpowder was heavy in the air.
In an effort to escape the firestorm, Varan changed course. He was no longer heading in a straight predictable line towards the fort Marcus occupied. Instead, it dashed left and moved towards the neighboring mound of turrets. The amount of smoke and particulates in the air had rose quickly as the battle progressed. It worked in Varan's favor. His change in course was not immediately noticed and the guns continued to fire on where they expected Varan to be instead of where he actually was. Even something as big as Varan could be lost in the heavy banks of smoke that polluted the battlefield. The artillery's accuracy was hindered more and more with each shot that was fired.
Varan was obscured long enough to allow him to advance close to the outer defensive line. In fact, he was close enough to start setting off landmines. The mines weren't effective though. They were meant to kill regular foot soldiers and had little effect on a monster Varan's size. He barely seemed to noticed the series of crackles under his feet as he continued forward.
Varan next came upon the hedges of barbed wire that were intended to halt infantry assaults. Men manning machine guns nests on the far side of the quagmire of wires opened up on the monster. They proved to be next to useless. Even the thinner armor of Varan's underbelly was too thick for regular bullets to penetrate.
The barbed wire only managed to slow Varan down for a second or two before it overstretched and snapped. Only a little bit of it remained tangled on Varan's front paws, but they did not hinder him whatsoever. The barbs were dug into his skin, but didn't penetrate nearly deep enough to have any impact. With the monster coming at them, the machine gunners retreated down the passageways of their galleries, seeing the futility of their attack.
The tanks dotting the hillside began their attack, which was less accurate and focused than the artillery had been. Varan had made his was under the minimum range of the heaviest artillery within the hillside by that point and that's when the defenders started to realize that they were in serious trouble. There were still plenty of smaller caliber cannon turrets that were meant for close range fire against tanks and other intruders within the perimeter, but they had a lot less stopping power than their larger counterparts.
They didn't do enough against Varan's armored hide. The men in the outer defenses began to abandon their positions as Varan had passed beyond all the remaining obstacles separating them. One of the braver mortar crews stayed behind to carry on the fight and slow the monster down, but were snatched up and eaten by Varan for their trouble.
Varan trampled his way up the hill of the fortress and tore open the first turret he came across. The men inside met a similar fate as the mortar men. One by one, turrets were smashed open and any gun crews who failed to flee in time met with a gruesome end.
With the defensive line penetrated French aircraft that had been waiting above rushed down to try to repulse Varan and force him back down the hill. They had little effect. The fort was torn to bits section by section. Varan dug into the tunnels like an aardvark tearing down an anthill and ate anyone it found. One of the French fighter/bombers came in too low trying to hit Varan in the face and was swatted by the monster's paw.
The plane veered out of control and crashed into the main entrance of the fort Marcus occupied. He could hear French soldiers shouting though the tunnels as the entrance collapsed from the force of the impact. A second after the crash a bomb that was still within the aircraft exploded causing further chaos within the fortress. A small amount of smoke even found its way up to the observation bunker.
Meanwhile had Varan finished with the adjoining fortress. Marcus could hear the shouts from the surviving French troops running through the tunnel towards them. Sporadic fire was still hitting Varan, but not enough to deter him. In fact, the attacks seemed to enrage the monster, which made it advance on the fortress Marcus occupied.
A few tanks between fortresses felt Varan's wraith as he used his front claws to smash them to pieces. Marcus could hear more shouts of French soldiers within the fort abandoning their positions. After what they had just witnessed, he couldn't blame them. In fact, Marcus and the rest of his team took it as their queue to leave as well. They ran from their bunker to join the retreating French men, only to find a disaster in the tunnels below.
Not only had the plane crash collapsed the main tunnel, but its bomb's explosion had also partially collapsed the train tunnel, which would allow them to escape. Men could still get through it, but only one at a time and on their hands and knees. With the added men from the neighboring fort, there were nearly a hundred men all stacked up. No one wanted to go back through the fallen fort's tunnel, and because of that, there was a bottleneck at the only remaining escape route.
They were losing precious time. Varan would attack the fortress any second. Marcus knew if they didn't do something quick they would probably all die buried inside. He needed to buy everyone more time to escape. Marcus had a sudden flash of inspiration and knew exactly what he needed to do. He told Brock that he would need his help, but Brock was hesitate to leave Admiral Nimitz's side.
"Give me your lighter!" Marcus asked. It was more of a demand than a request. Brock handed it over.
Out of nowhere, Williams stepped forward and volunteered to help. There was no time for a discussion, so Marcus nodded and ran back inside the dark corridors of the fort with Williams close in toe. Marcus found his way to the main magazine that they had seen earlier. It was located under one of the main turrets and contained the lion's share of the fort's ammunition. Luckily for them, someone had left the door ajar in their haste to retreat.
"We need to work fast and careful." Marcus said to Williams as calmly as he could, adrenaline was pumping through his system as he tried to think. "Somewhere in this room there are fuses. You need to find them and bring them to me." Williams nodded and took off to look for them. It sounded simple enough, but with everything in the room labeled in French it made William's task that much more difficult. Marcus and Williams both felt a thud as Varan began to rip into the outer defenses of the fort. The clock was ticking. They didn't have much more time.
While Williams ran up and down the corridors of the room ripping open any promising looking packages, Marcus was opening a keg of black powder propellant and made a long line of it around the room leading from the main powder stockpile and to the outer doorway. Once the line was complete Marcus ran back to the powder storage and started opening more of the kegs up with a nearby crowbar. He ensured their was a large line of powder connected directly to the main supply and another line leading to the pile of artillery shells.
"I've got it!" Marcus heard Williams shout from the other side of the room. He ran back to Marcus with his prize in hand. "Here." He handed it over to Marcus who took the fuses and started to tie three of them together end to end. "Wait, what are you planning?" Williams asked.
"A fireworks show for our visitor." Marcus muttered back to him.
"Jesus Marcus!" Williams exclaimed. "You're going to end up blowing us up right along with that thing!"
"It beats getting eaten by it." Marcus snapped back at him impatiently. "Get going, I can handle the rest on my own." If you happen to see anyone still in the fort on your way back to the bottom, tell them to get the hell out." Marcus instructed. Williams just stood there staring at Marcus. "What are you waiting for? Get going."
Williams spared just a moment more before bolting out of the room. The fort was still shaking from Varan's assault. It sounded like the defenses were crumbling fast. Marcus did not waste time, he focused on getting the job done as quickly as possible. Finally, he was satisfied with his work and put the fuse into the end of the line of black powder. He pulled out Brock's lighter and in a flash the fuse was ignited.
Marcus ran for the heavy steel outer door and pushed it closed with all his might. The door was heavy and didn't move easily, but he got it shut. Once it was closed he then sealed the hatch, making it nearly air tight. The effort cost precious seconds to do, but it was vital that it get done. Marcus could tell that Varan was very close by, the intense rumbling in the tunnel around him was all he needed to hear to know it.
With his job done, Marcus dashed through the tunnel knowing at any moment it could come down on him under Varan's weight. Indeed, some bricks were starting to come loose above him. Dirt was failing from the ceiling and raining down onto Marcus as he tried to escape. He was racing both the monster and the fuse he had lite. If either of them caught up to him before be escaped the fort, he'd be dead.
Varan must have really been putting his weight into his attacks. The tunnel was quickly deteriorating around Marcus. A brick hit him in the shoulder as he ran. It dropped him to the floor for a moment, but he quickly recovered and got back to his feet. The thought of being buried alive helped keep Marcus' feet moving. He could feel that his time was running out. Any second the powder would ignite the arsenal and he was still one floor away from the bottom.
At the moment Marcus reached the stairwell that would take him to the ground floor, the ceiling to the main barracks room behind him gave way and completely collapsed. Marcus lost his footing and nearly fell head first down the stairs. Luckily, he was able grab the guard rail and caught himself. As he staggered to a stop, he could see the dirt and soil piling in behind him. It occurred to him if he had been just a few seconds slower, he would still have been in the room when the ceiling collapsed and never would have left it. Marcus had no time to dwell on it though. He continued on.
Only a few seconds later, the powder magazine finally exploded. In an instant, half of the hillside fort erupted upward, blown away in a horrendous explosion. Varan himself had insured the the force of the explosion had nowhere to go but up between digging up so much of the earth around the defenses and collapsing the tunnels below. The fact that Marcus sealed the steel doors of the magazine also played a role in bringing the force of the explosion right into Varan's face. The monster was blown clean off the hillside and landed hard in the valley below on its back.
Varan just lay there stunned for a few seconds having no idea what had just hit it. Debris landed all over the valley for miles around. The explosion had knocked the wind out of Varan, which was a new experience for the monster. As soon as Varan could get in a breath it rolled onto his feet and began to beat a retreat back into Germany. He had decided he'd taken enough abuse for one day.
Marcus meanwhile crawled towards of the rail tunnel on the other side of what remained of the fortress. Aside from some cuts and bruises he was mostly ok. Marcus was however covered from head to toe in dirt. The funny thing was Varan had in fact saved his life. Even with the steel doors Marcus put in place, the force of the explosion would have gone right through them and straight through the tunnels behind him if the monster had not collapsed them. In more ways than one, Marcus was lucky to walk away.
Back in Russia, Akira, Major Saito, and Vladimir were nearing the Russian's staging ground. Vladimir had scouted it out earlier, so he knew exactly where to go. He stopped the Gaz 4x4 on a cliff out of sight just short of the Russian camp. From there the three men crept up through the long grass to look down upon it.
Akira was shocked to see just what a mess it was. It could best be described as an organized rabble. It was clear to him that Stalin's purges were still having an impact on the Soviet army's organization. There were thousands of tents, but they didn't seem to be put up in any organized fashion. It just looked messy.
The outskirts of the camp were bustling with activity as supply trucks came and went constantly. There didn't seem to be any guards posted to keep tabs on any of the vehicles as they moved in and out. The trucks were more or less allowed to come and go as the traffic in front of them dictated. There were no ID checks, no inspections of the vehicles. Their priority just seemed to get things done as quickly as possible.
Vladimir looked over to the Japanese men and smiled. He knew this was going to be easy. Vladimir already looked and sounded the part if anyone bothered to approach him, and without any ID checks of any kind, it was highly unlikely that he'd be scrutinized.
The plan had been to sneak into the camp during the night if security seemed tight. If Russian security looked particularly bad, they could always activate the device nearby the camp instead and not risk getting caught. Drawing the Rodans to the general area would probably prove good enough, but none of those back up plans were necessary anymore. They were going to be able to place the device right under the Russian's nose.
Vladimir pulled some gas masks from the Gaz and handed them to Akira and Saito. The Russian's had used gas in their last battle with the Rodans, and even though they should have known better than to try it again, they couldn't be too careful.
Since Vladimir could hardly risk opening the bag in the middle of the Russian camp, Akira took the radio transmitter out and activated it in the 4x4 and then hid it safely back inside the bag. With that done, Vladimir left the pair of Japanese men in their hiding place on the ledge and drove down towards the camp on his own. He cut his way into the line of trucks as if he were a scout returning and slowly crawled his way through the traffic into the camp. They were at the point of no return. If Vladimir were to be discovered at that moment, they'd be in it deep.
After entering the outskirts of the camp, but before reaching the supply depot, Vladimir pulled away from the line of trucks and found a nice quiet place to deposit the bag. The device was difficult for him to move on his own, but he was a big and strong man and managed it nicely. Saito and Akira eagerly watched him through their binoculars. Vladimir was being very careful not to attract attention to himself and was being almost universally ignored by the Russian soldiers around him. With the device in place Vladimir spared a few more moments to obscure the bag by piling a few other supplies around it. In its new hiding place, it was unlikely that someone would stumble upon the bag by accident.
With the device activated and safely hidden within the Russian camp, Vladimir got back into the Gaz and slowly made his way back out of the camp. It only took him a few minutes to break away from the line of trucks bound for a station of the Trans-Siberian Railway to get more supplies. He returned to their hiding place on the cliff and waited for Major Saito and Akira to join him.
"It is done, we can leave now, yes?" Vladimir said to Major Saito.
"No, we can't." Major Saito replied.
"What do you mean?" Vladimir asked shocked and annoyed. "The longer we stay here the more likely we are to get caught."
"Yes, I am aware of that." Major Saito replied coolly.
"Then why are we staying?" Akira asked anxiously.
"Orders." Major Saito replied. Akira just sat there confused. Saito could see that his answer wasn't going to be enough for his two companions, so he elaborated. "We need to wait and see the results of this first hand." He began. "Ensure that the job gets done and that the device isn't found afterwards. There are explosives inside the transmitter's casing. If the Russians find it before the Rodans arrive, I'll blow it up. If the Rodans do arrive as planned, I've been instructed to explode the device during the fight. We can't leave any evidence for the Russians to find in the aftermath." Saito Pulled out a radio controller linked to the radio transmitter's hidden explosives.
"There was a bomb in that thing the whole time were were carrying it?!" Akira exclaimed.
"Yes." Major Saito replied coolly. "What, you thought the thing was so heavy just because of radio parts?" He smirked at Akira for being naive before going on. "Command also wants us to take note of how the Rodans attack during a land battle. We've seen them in the air and on the ocean. They kicked our butts in both cases. Maybe they will prove to be more vulnerable on the ground?" He suggested. "I doubt it though. Anyways, I personally don't mind sticking around to watch some Russians die, I lost an uncle during the Russo-Japanese War. What say you Vladimir?"
"I would prefer to leave, but watching Bolshevik vermin get crushed is tolerable." Vladimir replied. Saito turned to Akira.
"Orders are orders I suppose." Akira agreed. He didn't like it, but he didn't have a choice.
Hours passed as the three men waited. Each passing moment increased the chance that they would be discovered by the Russians and each passing moment the tension seemed to rise. Akira tried to ignored the the fear he felt in his chest, but even the stone-faced Major Saito was sweating. All of them had expected the Rodans to have appeared a while ago. The thought of having to explode the device and making a run for the coast had crossed each of their minds. It seemed to be the most likely outcome as they continued to wait.
The day had grow more overcast as they waited and in no time, clouds covered every inch of the skyline. With little else to do, Akira just watched the Russian in their camp below. He saw something troubling brewing, several tank crews had started up their T-34s and were moving out of the camp. One of the tank commanders noticed the trail Vladimir had left through the grass and stopped his machine to eye ball it. The officer looked at the lines with suspension. He grabbed his mic from below and then popped back up appearing to report his findings.
Akira's heart was pounding in his chest from the tension. He was about to nudge Major Saito when something else caught his attention. The clouds above them were moving, and not in the regular way that clouds move. Sections of the clouds were churned in swirling ominous wisps. There was no noise, but Akira knew something was awful wrong.
In the camp below, the Russians had no idea that anything was happening. They had no real reason to be alert and none of them were watching the skies. Akira watched as the alarming scene continued to develop. Finally, he hit Major Saito who was laying in the grass next to him on the shoulder to call his attention to it. Major Saito in turn nudged Vladimir. The three just watched as the clouds continued to move around in an usual manor. A soft breeze began to blow. Slowly and steady, it began to grow stronger.
A Russian soldier finally caught wind of something not seeming right and looked up to see the clouds churning above them. One by one, the soldiers stopped what they were doing looked up until nearly the entire camp was transfixed on the skyline.
It was then that something dipped down from the cloud cover several miles away. At first, it was too far away to tell what it was. The soldiers could only make out a dark blot in the distance, but it was coming at them, and coming fast. Akira could hear men in the camp shouting in Russian as it approached, but he didn't have a clue what any of it meant. Clearly what they were saying was urgent. Soldiers were running in all directions, most of them were scrabbling to grab their weapons or piling into vehicles.
Within seconds, it was clear that the object coming at them was one of the Rodans. It was moving at full speed, coming in low to the ground, right at the Russian encampment. Time seemed to slow down despite the monster's rapid approach. Second by second, it closed in until it passed directly over the camp. The supply base might as well have been hit by a five second hurricane. Every single tent in the camp was uprooted instantly. Most of the soldiers who had not found their way into a heavily armored vehicle found themselves likewise flying in the air. Those men that were close to armored vehicles at the time, but not inside them, wished they hadn't been. A great many of them were dashed against the hard steel plates of tanks. Very few survived the impact.
Men who had made it inside of trucks were only marginally safer. The sudden concentrated micro-burst of wind sent the majority of the trucks flipping crashing into anything around them, rolling over men and machine like. Some bounced off of the T-34 tanks and a few even exploded, starting fires all around the camp.
Though their position was a fair distance away from the Russian camp, Akira and the others still felt the impact of the attack. The force of wind was so strong that Akira held on to a tree to ensure he didn't catch air. Major Saito and Vladimir meanwhile remained in the tall grass hugging the ground. The grass stocks whipped harshly against their faces as the hurricane level wind pushed through around them.
Above the camp, Rodan made a pinwheel turn and came back around for a second pass. This time the monster was a little higher up and crossed the section of the camp that was further away and hadn't been hit as hard the first time around. This section happened to be where the BM-13 Katyusha rocket trucks were parked and they didn't fare any better than any of the rest of the soviet trucks had before them. They flew into the air and their rockets scattered all over the camp exploding violently.
The second pass also caused the fires from the first pass to spread quickly in the whirlwinds. Some of the Russians who had been lucky enough to have survived that first attack were caught up in the fire unable to move. Before long, Ammo stockpiles were overran by the fires and started to explode causing even more widespread destruction. It was at that point that Major Saito chose to set off the explosives within the radio device. In all of the chaos and confusion, one more explosion would hardly be noticed. Akira didn't much like the timing of it though, it felt like kicking the Russians while they were already down.
One Russian truck had survived in the hellscape and attempted to flee at full speed. Rodan was heading the opposite direction and hadn't yet seen it, so it looked as though they were going to make a clean get away until the second Rodan came down from the clouds and pounced on it. To Akira, it looked like a hawk diving down on a mouse. The truck and its occupants were immediately crushed under her talons.
The first Rodan came back around and landed inside the devastated camp. He went to work crushing the T-34 tanks he found there, as if he was personally offended that they survived his attack in the initial assault. The second Rodan quickly joined him and together they picked apart what remained of the Russian's assault force. Akira looked on in horror. The smell of burning flesh hung in the air and he saw one of the Rodan tilt its head back and swallow what used to be a man.
"They're eating people!" Akira growled to Major Saito in disgust. He had not witnessed that before. Akira had seen men die in battle and he had fought the Rodans before, but never in his previous encounters with them had they done something so blatantly monstrous. He could hear the distance shrieks of soldiers as they faced death. It was terrible, but the worst part about it was knowing that he played a part in making it happen.
Major Saito meanwhile was satisfied with what he had seen. The battle was over and their mission was a success. There may still be Russian tanks firing on the Rodans, but it was already abundantly clear that they would do no good. It was just a matter of time before they too were destroyed. Major Saito decided they needed to clear out while the tanks still held the Rodan's attention.
In Libya, Omar was sitting the beach and watched as the Italian warships returned from their sortie down the coast. It was hard to tell, but he got the impression that they hadn't found what they were looking for. Omar could see crewmen walking slowly along the decks and they didn't look enthusiastic.
Omar got up and started walking down the beach. As he did, something washed up in the sand in front of him. It was the bow of a small boat that appeared to have been torn away from the rest of the ship. Splinters of wood still hung off of where it had been attached to the rest of the vessel. A portion of the name could still clearly be read on the side. It was 'Zafar'. Omar recognized it to be from one of the missing fishing ships that had belonged to one of his friends.
The small hope Omar had been clinging onto for his friend's safe return was snuffed out by the sudden appearance of the wreckage. He began to tear up, but then heard a noise from the ocean. It was a low rumble or hum, very out of place from the normal sounds of waves and seagulls he was accustomed to. Omar turned his head towards the water just in time to see one of the destroyers that was about two hundred yards out get snapped in two. The bow and the stern both jerked out of the water upwards as the mid-ship section of the destroy sunk under the waves. The ship was sheared in half and the bow and stern fell back into the water.
The two remaining warships rang out their alarm bells and their crews scrambled into general quarters. The second destroyer was the nearest vessel to where the first had been and was the next to fall victim to a lethal attack. A tail rose from the water and came down hard on he aft section of the ship. It was crushed and the destroyer started taking on water at an alarming rate. It was out of the fight.
The surviving cruiser took evasive action, turning out of the path of the two wrecks in front of it. It was then that the attacker finally decided to reveal itself. An enormous green carapace rose from under the waves, followed closely there after by a head with a beak that was still clutching the remains of the midsection of the first destroyer. Ocean water rolled off of the creature allowing more of its features to become clear.
To Omar, it looked like a mixture of a snapping turtle and a dragon. It had clawed hands and two horns growing out of the back of its head. It had predatory yellow eyes with sharp black pupils. Its tail was short and had what resembled a mace at the end. The mace-like structure was made up of bulbs of armor with spikes jetting out in a rows of three on the top bottom and each side.
The Italian cruiser was able to fire off several salvos with its main cannons, but the rounds bounced off the armored chest of the monster. Unlike Baragon or Varan, this creature's underbelly was just as well armored as its back. Seeing his vessel's firepower was next to useless, the captain of the cruiser tried to make a run for it.
The ship turned hard to port, attempting to build its momentum and make it into the open ocean to escape, but the creature was too close already and was able to get its claws around the ship's hull. The monster's head dipped down and its beaked mouth bite into the ship's superstructure tearing away the bridge and the command crew with it. The creature's jaw power was impressive. The steel armor of what was left of the bridge immediately bent like it was made out of paper under its strength.
The rest of the cruiser was left without its nerve center and floated helplessly. The monster soon fell upon it as well, using its considerable body weight to force the ship under. The hole the creature had created in the vessel's upper hull quickly filled with salt water which sealed the cruiser's fate. When the monster was done with the the ship, it turned its attention to the shore. Omar felt like his skin was turning white. It seemed like the monster was looking directly at him. The hair on the back of his neck stood up and he was froze with terror. An untold amount of time passed.
Finally, Omar came back to his senses and he could feel the monster's footfalls getting closer and closer. He saw that the monster was only one hundred yards from the shore by the point and closing quickly. The creature was huge and dominated the mostly flat landscape behind it. Omar did the only sensible thing he could think of, run.
He dashed off the beach as fast as he could. Only moments later, Omar heard the monster smash through the docks behind him. He continued to run, knowing he had to reach the village to warn everyone of what was coming. It turned out that wasn't necessary though. The monster let out a sky shattering roar that announced his present to every living thing within a two miles radius. Every person in the village was alerted to the impending danger. Still, Omar needed to reach the village and get his family out of harm's way. His wife and little girl were no doubt waiting for him there.
Omar could feel the creature closing in on him with every giant step it took. He knew was loosing ground fast. Finally one its footfalls got so close that it knocked Omar off his feet from the impact. Omar rolled into the sand and looked up as a shadow loomed over him. The last thing he saw was the creature's enormous foot coming down and crushing him.
Marcus and the others arrived back in Paris. He had been cleaned up after escaping from the tunnels of the Maginot Forts and given a new uniform as the one he had been wearing was bloodied and soiled. Reports had come in saying that Varan was continuing to retreat back into Germany and there was a sense of jubilation in France. A major crisis had been averted with the monster being repulsed at the border.
Paris was still mostly empty due to the presents of Mothra's cocoon and the military blockade, but the citizens who were still in the city gave Marcus a hero's welcome. While they didn't overlook the efforts and sacrifices of the other fighting men, they saw his desperate act of heroism as the linchpin that finally stopped Varan.
Marcus quickly retreated from the crowds, overwhelmed by the attention. He didn't want to be in the spotlight. He only did what he did because it had to be done. Brock pulled him into a jeep and they went to the forward command post near the Eiffel tower that was monitoring the cocoon. There they found Dr. Jacquier, who gave them the update. As it turned out, the situation with the cocoon had changed very little. The doctor had insured the military hadn't taken any aggressive actions. Brock seemed a little disinterested and left to go to the bathroom. Meanwhile Dr. Jacquier brought Marcus a drink.
"A small thank you for saving Mothra." He said to Marcus when he handed it to him.
"Dr. Jacquier, I've been meaning to ask you something." Marcus took the drink, but set it down. "Did you just make up that story about the cocoon being explosive or is it actually true?" The doctor could tell by Marcus' tone that he was very serious. His recent brush with death had done a lot of to sweep away his subtly. He wanted to know and he didn't want to beat around the bush about it.
"Do you prefer a a subtle lie, or a blatant lie?" Dr. Jacquier answered, caving into Marcus' pressure.
"That's what I thought." Marcus signed.
"Well, now that you know, what are you going to do about it?" Dr. Jacquier asked. "I imagine you'll want to turn me in?"
"I should..." Marcus began.
"But you know what they'll do if they find out." Dr. Jacquier cut in with a smug smile. "And you're like me, certain that would be wrong."
"I don't know what I think." Marcus countered.
"Not an enviable position to be in." Dr. Jacquier smirked. "I imagine that makes your decisions difficult for you. Agree with me or not, I know exactly what I'm doing. I have been certain about all my actions since we found the egg, no regrets."
Just then, a French officer following by four armed soldiers burst into the room. They marched right up to Dr. Jacquier and point their riles at him.
"Dr. Jacquier, you are under arrest for the bombing of the Ambroise Research Center."
"I don't know what you are talking about." Dr. Jacquier replied, unconcerned. "I wasn't even present when the lab exploded. I've been here for days."
"Spare me doctor." The officer spat back at him spitefully. "We have your lab assistant in custody and he's confessed to everything. He planted a bomb in the lab under your orders. Your conspiracy is tantamount to treason. You will come with us now." The officer demanded.
"I suppose the game is up then." Dr. Jacquier stood up, resigning himself to being taken by the soldiers. "No regrets Marcus... no regrets." The soldiers walked him outside. A moment later Brock returned confused.
"What is going on?" Brock asked. "They have arrested Dr. Jacquier...?"
"They figured out that he fabricated they story about the cocoon. He also arranged for an explosion at the research center." Marcus informed him.
"Well, son of a skreeonk." Brock replied in shock.
With Dr. Jacquier exposed, the French military's leadership called a meeting to discuss what their next steps should be. They decided to proceed with a plan to destroy the cocoon with fire. As it turned out they were willing to risk damaging the Eiffel Tower. However, they couldn't act immediately. It was going to take one day for them to gather together all the necessary equipment that was required, primarily the flame throwers. The operation was set to take place the following day at noon.
Marcus was against the plan, but didn't have a say in the matter. Even his new hero status didn't give him enough pull to do anything useful. If he protested too much he might end up arrested like the doctor. He walked out of the command post flustered, needing to blow off some steam. Marcus resorted to walking the perimeter around the Eiffel tower, trying to think of a way to save the defenseless cocoon. As clever as he was, he didn't have to the power to affect the situation. The men in charge had made up their minds. Marcus leaned on the rail of the metal fence and stewed.
"Comment vs tu?" A soft voice spoke to Marcus, he turned to see a young French women at his side. "Es-tu l'américain de la lignée maginot?" He didn't understand a word she said and had been taken so by surprise he didn't know what to do. "Tu asun baeu unifrome." She came closer and touched his arm.
Marcus was in a near panic and embarrassed. At that moment, he wished Ling was there to translate for him. Unfortunately he was not. Marcus must have looked like a deer in the headlights to the young woman. She waited for an answer for a moment, but when Marcus failed to rely she continued.
"Faire vous parler langue Francaise?" She asked. Marcus felt himself flush and he started to sweat.
"Pardon, il ne fait pas." Brock said as he walked up to them. "Et je crois qu'il est pris, Mais il est flatte." Marcus still didn't understand a word, but whatever Brock said seemed to disappoint her. "Je suis à votre service bien." He continued. Whatever he said didn't seem to land with her because she walked away from the two after rolling her eyes at Brock.
"Brock you speak French?!" Marcus asked flabbergasted by the revelation.
"A little." Brock replied. "When you've been in the service as long as I have you pick up a few things. It's something you apparently need to work on. Because of your little shortcoming, I think you just missed out on a good thing."
"Well... I..." Marcus began to reply, but before he could finish was tackled by another woman.
"Yesh, how is this little chump so attractive to the locals?" Brock grumbled somewhat jealous as Marcus went down in a heap with the girl on top of him. "Need some help again or do you got this?" Brock asked sarcastically.
On the ground, Marcus had recovered enough to see that it was no a stranger that had launched themselves at him, but rather a familiar face. It was Shauna. Marcus was more bewildered by the fact that it was her rather then just some stranger that had tackled him. She only allowed him a moment to look at her before kissing him.
"These French girls are even more aggressive than I thought." Brock smirked.
"I'm not French!" Shauna laughed up at Brock. "I'm Marcus' sweetheart.
"Oh, well that makes sense I guess." Brock balked.
"No, it's true Brock, I know her from back home." Marcus confirmed. "Shauna, what in the devil are you doing here? You're the last person I expected to run into. I mean, I'm happy to see you and all, but how did you get here?"
"Well, it wasn't easy. Getting into the city was a bit of a chore." Shauna replied.
"You snuck in?" Marcus asked.
"Heck no, don't be silly." She assured him. Marcus looked relieved. "I just payed off some of the guards at the road blocks." That statement brought Brock to a full fledged belly laugh.
"You aren't AWOL are you?" Marcus followed up.
"No, no." Shauna laughed. "My term of service is up. I know it's a little crazy, but I just needed to see you. When you said you were in a bad place in one of your letters I knew I needed to come." She explained.
"Wait, so you came all this way just to see me?" Marcus was dumbfounded again. "I don't know what to say."
"The look on your face says it all, that's all I need." She embraced him.
"I just can't believe you are actually here. How did you even find me?" Marcus asked.
"Well, the way you were talking in your letters, I just figured you'd be following the big bug around. Its been parked here for about a week, so I thought you'd be close by if I came to the city and walked the perimeter long enough. I figured I'd find you eventually."
"I'm blown away by the lengths you went to, you're amazing." Marcus nearly teared up. "You came all this way by yourself?"
"Don't be too impressed." She replied. "My family is pretty wealthy. I've been to Paris before on a trip a couple years back. It was just a matter of purchasing a ticket for a flight and using a little deductive reasoning to find you."
"Jeez Marcus, you best never cross this little lady, she's resourceful." Brock laughed. "Do you have a sister by the way?"
"I do!" Shauna exclaimed. "But... she's engaged." Brock looked legitimately disappointed for a second before recovering.
"How long do you plan to stay?" Marcus changed topics. "I appreciate you coming in all, but it's not safe here."
"Well, I had planned to be here for another two nights, but if you don't want me here..." Shauna teased.
"It's not that, it's just I can't exactly leave and there are giant monsters roaming the countryside."
"Well the giant cocoon is not going anywhere tonight." Brock cut in. "Let me talk to the Admiral and I'm sure he'll be glad to grant you one day of leave. It would be a shame to make the lady's trip all for nothing. You should wander the city, see the sights."
Brock was as good as his word. Marcus indeed go his leave, and with Shauna, explored Paris. They toured the the Louvre and visited the Notre-Dame Cathedral and Sacre Coeur Basilica. The architecture of even the most common buildings were beautiful, but the monuments were unbelievable. As evening set in, they wandered the streets and in the dark found out why Paris was called the City of Lights. They came upon a sidewalk cafe that was still open and had a romantic candlelight dinner. Afterwards, they walked along the serene Seine River and sat under the Arc de Triomphe.
When they were done wandering, the pair returned to the hotel near the command post that they had been put up in. It had a great view of Mothra's cocoon on Eiffel Tower. Upon entering their room, they found a note attached to a case of wine. The note was from Brock who relayed that it came from the French President himself as the thank you for their efforts. Marcus and Shauna spent the rest of the evening in their room with the door locked.
At eleven thirty-two Marcus was just getting out of the shower and turned on the radio while he dried off. The radio was tuned into the a news station which was rebroadcasting a report from earlier in the day. The host was describing the sudden appearance of yet another monster in North Africa, which was cutting a swath of destruction through Libya. It had been named Kamerus and was moving eastward along the coast, destroying anything it came across.
'Another one?' Marcus thought bitterly and turned off the radio. He walked to the balcony and just stared out. Shauna came out of the bathroom and noticed Marcus wasn't in the room. She found him standing alone in the cool night air and sensed something was wrong. She came up and wrapped her arms around him and he held her hands in return. They just stood there like that for a time.
A flash of light from the tower brought both of attention to the cocoon. Something was happening to it. Splashes of color flickered from within the silk laden bulbs and the edges of it seemed to pulse with movement. Marcus and Shauna held their breath, knowing they were seeing something special. The top of the cocoon started to rise as a form of a head began to push it's way though gently. The silk started to tear around it and a golden powder poured out of the opening, flooding the area around the tower with it. The head came completely through, revealing two small white antennae and brilliant sapphire compound eyes. The head also had a light brown stripe down the middle. The creature slowly crawled the rest of the way out of the cocoon. Its thorax was brown with splashes of white and its abdomen was striped white and brown. Once its whole body was out it turned itself around and clung tightly onto the empty shell of the cocoon.
From there, it just sat perched. Its wings were crumpled tightly against its body and, little by little, they started to grow. Marcus could see the veins within the wings moving blood throughout their framework, giving them more shape moment by moment. Within minutes, the wings had extended to full size, revealing all the color within them. The primary colors of the wings were orange, yellow, and black arranged in beautiful pattern. The creature moved them ever so slightly to help them harden more quickly. Once they were finally set and ready, Mothra took flight. She was being careful not to flap her wings to hard, just enough stay in the air. She passed directly over the balcony that Marcus and Shauna were standing on and her gold powder trickled down on them. They were both in awe.
"I'm glad I was here to see this with you." Shauna spoke. She now understood the feelings Marcus had about Mothra. Watching her fly by was a powerful visual. She was Majestic in flight.
The golden particles hit Marcus' face. As they did, world seemed to bend around him. He collapsed, falling backwards. Halfway down, he heard a something that was somewhere between the sound of thunder and hitting water. His vision blackened, and before he knew it, was standing on a beach. He didn't recognize where he was, some place he had never been before.
It was night and Marcus looked up towards the sky. There he saw red stars. They lit up one by one until there were five of them total, burning hotly against the black canvas around them. His eyes shifted to the moon, and upon the face of it, he saw flashes of yellow all across it. His attention was then drawn to the water in front of him. He saw his reflection in it and below the water there was a pulse of blue. The pulse made a ripple in the water that seemed to extend into the sky.
There was a rumble next, followed by a large statue that rose from the water in front of him. It looks ancient, like it was thousands of years old. Carved into the stone was the face of a man surrounded by runes. The statue began to crumble. Piece by piece, it fell back into the water and blood rose from where the statue had been, but there was more. A pit opened up in the earth below the water and Marcus could see fire and shadows in it. The shadows were creeping towards the surface.
At that point, Marcus could hear something coming from behind him. Before he knew it, he was picked up off the ground and flying through the air. He rose higher and higher until he was above the clouds. He continued to be carried higher yet, until he was far above even the clouds. Below the clouds, there were flashes of what Marcus assumed were lighting, but they were not.
Suddenly, a section of the clouds rose in front of Marcus. It continued to rise in a solid column, but then it began to branch out at the top, once it had grown to a certain height. When it was done, its form resembled that a great tree, but it wasn't a tree and Marcus knew there was something dangerous about it. Under its fluffy outer exterior, there was a burning light that stung his eyes.
At the base of it, there were shadows. Marcus thought he saw wings flapping, but there was dust and debris so he couldn't make out what they were. His attention was drawn back up to the top of the cloud, which was changing shape. The first thing he could recognize was the shape of an open mouth filled with sharp teeth. As it continued to take form, he could see that it was a head. Once it was fully formed it reminded him of Baragon in its shape, except there were no horns or ears. Whatever it was, he knew that it was big and terrible.
The landscape around the center column started to take shape too. It was like a city that was on fire. Marcus saw a bridge overlooking the metropolis in the distance and felt a sense of dread. A moment later, he heard a roar behind him which made his blood curdle. He began to turn to face the source of it, but was shaken awake before he could see it.
Shauna was desperately shaking Marcus, trying to get him to wake up. She was in tears, having no idea what just happened to him.
I wanted to let the followers of this topic know a couple of quick things:
I'm going to have to take a few weeks off over the the next month. I have a professional license that needs to be renewed and it requires about 20 hours of continuing education before I can do that. It's really going to eat into my free time, which is of course when I write etc, so the next update is probably going to be a little ways off. Maybe a month or even two.
Sorry about that, but there's just no getting around it.
P.S. If you don't know who Kamerus is and want to find out more, check out the Godzilla Wiki. I assure you he is in there.
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- Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:53 am
Living Corpse wrote:That Fort sounds amazing.
Never heard of this turtle before.
Nicely handled that Mothra vision was.
Yeah, the Maginot Forts were pretty cool and I didn’t really exaggerate what they were. They really existed and had turrets that popped out of the ground, AC, a rail system, etc. The only thing that probably doesn’t represent what they were really like were my miniatures, but I made them from scratch out of share parts, so meh, best I could do.
The funny thing is in real life the Germans managed to bypass them altogether and took the French by complete surprise during WWII. All of that preparation for nothing.
Yeah, wasn’t sure anyone would remember Kamerus. He was a Character from the Godzilla’s Dark Horse comics series. He was kind of a reoccurring minor character who made several cameos. Never played into the plot a lot. He was basically a low rent stand in for Angirus. I don’t think Dark horse had the rights to any Toho characters aside from Godzilla and so they had a few of their own meant to represent more well known monsters. I can think of of at least two other examples. Soran in place of Rodan and I think a monster called Inagos in place of Mothra.
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