Godzilla: Tactical Assault.

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Ashram52
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Re: Godzilla: Tactical Assault.

Postby Ashram52 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:28 pm

Chapter 6: The Morning After

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I unstrapped myself and rose from the gunnery chair and climbed up to the flight-deck. It was in shambles. I made my way through the a chaotic mess of men and debris and found my way to the battle-scared island of the Enterprise. There I came upon the remains of a dozen sailors, all of them had been part of the gunnery crews. My heart sank when I discovered the remains of Teddy was among them. His blue eyes were just staring up at me lifelessly. His neck had been broken from the impact of hitting the steel plating of the ship. I stood there speechless.

'I told him that he'd be alright.' I thought fighting back tears. 'He was just a kid. He didn't deserve this.'

My knees got weak and began to buckle. I had to sit down. I threw my arm out on the flight deck to support myself and ended up putting my hand into a pool of blood. I stared at it for a moment and had the urge to vomit. However, I regained my composure and wiped the blood off on my pant leg instead. I looked around from body to body trying to find Joe and the others, but they were not there. I just needed to see there bodies for myself.

It then occurred to me that here were a lot of other men who were unaccounted for from the other guns crews. The few bodies still on the deck couldn't account for even a third of them. There was only one explanation; they had to have been blown overboard.

Still feeling too weak to stand, I crawled over to the starboard side of the ship and looked over. I was hoping to see them all floating their waiting for us to pluck them out of the water, but was disappointed. There wasn't much to see in the dark choppy water. All I could make out were the outlines of several bodies in the distance floating on the water supported by their life preservers. They didn't seem to be moving. They were just bobbing up and down with the waves lifelessly.

---

It was soon decided that the capitol ships were to change course and return to the nearest port for repairs. They couldn't be risked should the creature decide to return. I hear the captain announce the plan over the PA system. The undamaged destroyers would remain to fish survivors and bodies out of the water while the rest of us withdrew.

I watched as Marines saw to the bodies on the deck. Damage control teams were already working seeing to the ship. With little else to do I returned to the bunk room. When I entered I saw only the empty cots. They were all stacked together tightly one on top of he other. They were three high, two across, and two deep; twelve all together in our section. My place was the one on the left center. If they had been occupied I would have been withing reaching distance of all my buddies. As I stood there I felt just as empty as the cots were. The room was deathly quiet. It felt like a tomb. Tired as I was, I couldn't bring myself to lay down in that lonely place.

I was awake for the rest of the night. The ship sailed on and I wandered the ship aimlessly. I couldn't get the imagine of Teddy's dead eyes looking up at me in the dark out of my head.

---

By noon the next day our battered task force arrived at the naval base at Subic Bay in the Philippines. Repair crews started working right away patching the fleet back together, Almost every ship in the fleet had taken damage in one way or another, most of it light.

Some of the other ships had loose ammo explode on their decks as the monster made it's final pass over us. Two cruisers had collided having been blown off course into each other resulting in minor damage. A third cruiser had more serious damage. It had a huge hole in it's hull from were the monster had gouged the ship with it's beak. If they had taken much more damage they might not have made it back to port at all. As it was, it limped back in with the destroyers that had remained behind to collect our men in the water. They arrived about two hours after the main fleet.

The worst losses were the two destroyers sunk in the attack. The majority of both their crews were lost. Just over six hundred men in all were either KIA or MIA. A terrible loss and a great blow to our moral.

Not having much else to do I pitched in and did what I could to help the repairs guys get things back in order on the Enterprise. We were luckier than most of the other ships. We only had minor structural damage and we had lost a number of our gun crewmen. Overall though, the Enterprise herself was still intact and in fighting shape.

The arriving fleet destroyers had fished out a lot of bodies, but they had also found survivors. They ransomed some of the Enterprise's sailors back to us for a couple of tubs of ice cream. It was a more recent naval tradition and well worth the cost.

I came to see what they had brought back to us and was overcome with joy when I saw them carrying Joe up the ramp. His arm was broken, but he was alive. There were others too. Big Jim was right behind him. He was helping to move another sailor up the deck on a stretcher. Jamie Boggs was on the other end helping out. Randy followed closely behind them. Almost all of them were back, except there was no sign of the gun captain Nick. I ran over to them and they set Joe down off to the side so I could talk with him. I took his hand and grasped it tightly.

"You have no idea how happy I am to see that you are alright Joe. I thought the worst had happened." I told him.

He smiled up at me, but Joe was not himself. His usual overconfident demeanor was nowhere to be found. I couldn't tell you the number of times I wished that he'd wash that cocky smirk off his face before then, but just at that moment I would have loved to have seen it. The whole world felt a little off kilter and something normal would have gone a long ways to setting my mind at ease.

"Nick didn't make it Mark. He drowned in the water." Joe told me somberly. "We went on quite the ride after that thing went over us. We were blown at least one-hundred and fifty yards overboard. I think Nick hit his head on something on the way out. I saw him floating, but he was face down in the water and I couldn't get to him in time. I'm sorry."

"You have nothing to be sorry to me for Joe. It wasn't your fault. None of this was your fault. It was that thing at attacked us. It killed our friends. Teddy is dead too. I thought all you guys were dead, that I was all that was left. I didn't know how I was going to carry on. I'm glad I was wrong." I looked around at the rest of the guys. "It's nice to see all of you."

"I'm glad you are ok too." Joe replied. "When I didn't see you in the water I didn't know what to think." He looked like he wanted to say more, but couldn't find the words.

"Well, get your butt to sickbay and get some rest." I told him. "I have a feeling we're going to need you back at the guns sooner then later." He nodded and they picked him back up.

---

The monster that attacked us the night before had not been quiet following its raid on the fleet. As it headed north it changed its heading and veered off into the waters of the Japanese home islands. The Japanese military had not yet implemented radar, so they didn't have the slightest idea of what was coming at them. The monster had infiltrated their airspace around Kyushu, the southern-most island that made up Japan. Its speed left a vapor trail that initially went unnoticed in the morning hour and its path was taking it directly towards Nyutabaru Air Base.

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Down on the airfield a flight of medium Betty Bombers were being prepared to launch. In just a few hours they were going to be relocated to a base over in China. They were to be part of the renewed effort to hunt down Baragon. The warplanes were lined up all in a row and being fueled up. Bombs were being wheeled out by crews on the runway in preparation for them to be loaded up.

The fueling truck had just finished with the last plane and the ordnance teams were beginning to hoist in the first bombs when a whistling noise could be head all over the base. The crews came out from under the aircraft and looked to he skies. Above them they could see a long white band on the horizon. It almost looked like someone was drawing a thin line made out of clouds. They had no idea what it was. They looked at one another confused. Was it some strange sort of weather phenomena?

The line in the sky suddenly turned and hooked around towards them. As it came closer they could see that something was in front of the vapor trail and in fact was the thing causing it to appear. The air raid siren began to go off. Whatever was coming at them, the officers in the control tower decided that it was a threat.

Men ran out and started to man the AA guns at the perimeter of the base while others took cover in the nearby bunkers. Aircrews began to scramble to their fighters, but it was already far too late for that to do any good. Within seconds the creature was upon them.

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The first thing that it did was pass over the base extremely close to the ground. In fact, it was so close that its chest clipped the control tower. Between the force of the impact and the immensely strong winds that followed the tower toppled right over. The officers smashed against the glass as the tower hit the ground.

The fighters the occupied the runway near the control tower were picked up by the intensely strong winds and scattered like leaves in the breeze. Some fell right back down to the runway and were crushed, others flew into the hangers behind them. One of them blew up on impact starting a fire.

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Within just a few seconds, half the base was a devastated. It didn't take long for the attacker to return. The creature circled back around and landed on the far side of the base. The nearby AA gunners trained their weapons on it and opened fire. It reacted by flapping it's wings and creating a surge of wind strong enough to blow away anything that wasn't nailed down.

The gun crews were striped off their machines. Bombs that had been sitting on stands on the runway began to fall over. Some of them landed on their nose and exploded immediately on impact while others rolled across the runway threatening to blow up anything they came across. Several of them made their way into the sides of buildings before finally going off. The bombers on the runway became airborne hazards tearing up anything in their path. Full of fuel, they spread fires all over the base as they were ripped open.

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One of the bombers found its way directly into the main fuel storage. The tanks buckled under the pressure and the largest explosion yet rocked the entire base.

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---

Nearby, two squadrons of Zeros were performing training exercises. Mock battles to hone their dog-fighting skills against each other one on one. Leading them was Akira Honda, an veteran pilot of the Sino-Japanese war. He had been temporarily knocked out of combat, but was due to rotate back into the Chinese theater. The wound in his left shoulder from a stray piece of flak had almost completely healed.

He was one kill away from being declared a flying Ace. Getting his last kill wouldn't be too much trouble as long as he could get back into the fight. As brave as they were, the Chinese pilots were not as well trained and flew inferior aircraft. The odds were stacked against them when they came up against an experienced Japanese flyer.

Akira had not seen any Chinese fighters for over two months though. He had been getting back into the swing of things for the last couple of weeks by leading a crop of fresh young recruits in training flights. It was a far cry from actual combat, but it wasn't so bad. At least he could feel the sky beneath him again. There was nothing else quite like it. A good aviator loved the skies as much as a sailor loved the Ocean.

Akira watched his pups executed the last of their maneuvers for the morning. This was their final sortie together and his last lesson. He was going to miss them. Though he hated the idea of being their babysitter at first, he had come to find he enjoyed teaching. No one was more surprised that him that he had a knack for it.

Akira hated to leave his students behind, but he figured in a couple more weeks some of them would be joining him at the front. He was eager to see what they could do in a real combat situation. He signaled for his flyers to get back into formation. They regrouped and started back south towards the base. After a few minutes Akira picked up his radio transmitter and depressed the button to speak.

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"Akira to tower, Akira to tower." He spoke loudly and clearly. "Come in tower, this is Tanaka flight on approach. Requesting landing clearance, over." Akira could only hear static came back over his receiver. "Takashi, can you try raise the base? I'm not getting through." Akira asked his wing-man. Takashi obeyed and waited for an answer.

"I'm getting nothing back sir." Takashi reported. "Could they be having issues with their radio?"

"It's possible." Akira shrugged. "We'll just have to get in closer and try again. If we can't make contact we'll just have to circle until we are sure it's safe to land. We still have plenty of fuel and we should be the only thing up in the air at this point anyway. The bombers aren't supposed to take off for another two hours yet and I'm supposed to be with them when they do."

"Captain Akira, the base!!!" One of the junior pilots cut in frantically.

Akira looked up to see a huge ploom of smoke rising over three-hundred feet into the air in front of them. The airbase was on fire. As they flew in closer they could make out the carnage below. The fuel storage had gone up and five smaller fires were burning all over. Parked planes had been turned over and were scattered everywhere. Not a single building was undamaged.

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"Sir, What happened?!" Takashi asked.

"Looks to be a raid of some sort." Akira answered. He could see that bombs had cratered a portion of the runway. He knew that the Americans had brought a carrier force to the area. His eyes narrowed. "Attention Tanaka flight. Be on your guard, the base has been attacked and we have to assume the attackers are still in the area. Keep your eyes peeled for enemy planes."

Within his Zero, Takashi looked to his left and then his right. Nothing could be seen. If there were enemy aircraft in the area, they were nowhere to be found. Just then there was the flash of a shadow above him. Takashi tried to look up, but the sun was directly in his line of sight. There was something up above him 10 o'clock high, but it kept itself directly in line with the sun so he couldn't see it.

"Akira...!" Takashi began.

KA-BOOoommmmmmmm-!!!!!

Takashi's fighter was hit and blew into a hundred pieces that flew from the sky burning. Akira turned to see what happened, but it was all over in a split second. Whatever had hit Takashi's plane was already gone. A moment later the entire flight group could hear a thunderous noise that resembled thunder. The fighters vibrated as the blast wave hit them. One of the other fighters that had been following behind Takashi's suddenly lost control as it passed through the path of where his fighter had been. It spun about as if it were caught up in a whirl wind. It was Goro's plane.

"Goro, bail out!" Akira radioed to him. "Goro, bail out!" He repeated, but he could see that Goro was pinned to his seat as his fighter continued to tumble out of the sky. 'What the hell is going on!?' Akira thought to himself. Suddenly he heard a pop from behind him. A third fighter was going down, this one was on fire. Something had cut off the right wing of the plane. This time it was Kobayashi. He was able to bail out and Akira caught a glance at what had attacked him.

A pair of giant brown wings rose over the fighter planes and banked in a barrel loop up and around the flight group. It came around and started back towards them again.

"Break formation!!!" Akira barked over the radio. "Squadron one break right, squadron two break left with me. The fighters began to maneuver out of the way, but one of them got caught as it did. The sharp talons on the feet of the creature plucked it out of the sky and crushed it. The pilot didn't have any chance of escape. Akira wasn't sure who it was. At that point everything had turned into pure chaos.

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Whatever the thing was, it was larger, faster, and more maneuverable than their planes were by a long shot. Akira knew if they were going to have any chance against it they'd have to pull together and take it on as a group. They still had enough planes left to make a fight of it. He quickly issued out his orders to both squadrons and they moved into position.

With its last kill the creature had lost much of its initial speed. It was slow enough to allow the planes to get on either side of it. They approach from both directions, not leaving it anywhere to go. The fighters closed within firing range and opened up on it with their 20 mm cannons. Many of the bullets hit home, but to Akira's horror he could see all the burning magnesium tracers bouncing off the beast's hide. Their machine guns were useless. Only then he realized just how bad their situation truly was.

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"All fighters break off!" He shouted into his mic, but it was already too late. The monster changed its course and went for the second group of fighters that were approaching it. The monster began to furiously beat it's wings at them. The force its wings created knocked the planes off course scattering their formation. Two of planes collided and fell from the sky.

"Honzo, take command and get everyone who's left out of here." Akira commanded.

"Yes sir." Honzo replied.

Akira turned his plane on a direct course for the monster and pushed his plane as fast as it would go, gaining altitude. He aimed his cross-hairs right at its head. He knew he had no chance of winning, but he intended to at least buy his men time to escape.

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The monster changed course again before he could fire. I was diving, closing in on one of the Zeros that had been sent reeling. The creature had no noticed Akira moving in from above it. It was already too late to help the other pilot. The monster flew directly over it and then swooped down scrapping the canopy of the fighter off against it's armored underbelly. The pilot lost his head along with the top portion of his aircraft. Akira cursed in his cockpit. Too many of his men had already died. He would not let it happen to any more of them.

To his benefit, the monster changed course and was circling back his way. It's new focus was on the clump of retreating fighters moving off in the distance. It still had not noticed him. Akira opened up his canopy and pressed his stick down hard bring his fighter into a forty five degree dive.

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There was a patch of clouds that would mask his Zero's approach. He was going to put his fighter directly in the flight path of the monster. He only hoped it would see him until it was too late. Akira locked his controls into place and said a prayer as he jumped out of his plane.

The fighter continued on course without him and he tried to look back as the force of his free-fall was dragging him towards to the ground. Once he determined he'd gotten a safe enough distance away he deployed his para-shoot. It jerked him to a sharp stop the shook his own body.

Akira struggled to see if his efforts had been in vain. He turned against the straps of his shoot and saw his plane crash directly into the left wing of the monster. The fighter exploded as his remaining fuel ignited. The monster immediately had trouble maintaining it speed and course. In fact, it was struggling just to remain in the air for a moment or two. He watched as it turned and began to fly west out of the area. Akira cheered as he realized it had given up on hunting the remaining Zeros. His desperate gamble had paid off.

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---

The creature came to be known as Rodan, and news of its attacks on the U.S fleet and Japanese airbase spread quickly and changed the situation in Asia. We went from just one manageable menace to two. What made most people uneasy was that Rodan could conceivably hit anywhere in the Western Pacific in the space of twenty-four hrs. Additionally, there was still he very real fear of Angirus reappearing. If he were to, we'd have a terror for the land, sea, and air.

Such as it was, the Japanese called for a conference with all the major powers in the area to discuss the situation. We agreed to it, but only under certain conditions. First, Japan had to agree to cease it's invasion of China permanently. They agreed to this with little argument. With all the recent losses of men, material, and supplies to Baragon they could not effectively carry on the war anyway. Over the last few weeks the Chinese had managed to throw together a huge counterattack and took back a lot of previously lost territory while the Japanese had been fighting Baragon.

The Japanese had terms of their own though. Their stipulation was that the U.S. could no longer supply the Chinese military with American equipment. The Chinese didn't like it, but they begrudgingly agreed once we had whittled down the Japanese into agreeing to only discontinuing the supply of tanks and warplanes. Small arms and artillery was remain as it was. The Chinese agreed to those terms. The Russians were more than willing to fill that void afterwards.

We also got the Japanese to agree to allow us to temporarily move three army divisions into China to help hunt down Baragon. They were suspicious, but agree to it. I guess they'd had enough of their own men dying facing off with the monster alone. We were however obligated to remove these forces once Baragon was dealt with.

With the agreement signed, preparations were made and forces from the Philippines were mobilized. In the meantime, the plans for the conference were also set in motion. Since all sides were still a little weary of each other a neutral site was picked. The site they settled on was a small Chinese town on the border that had been occupied by the Japanese for months. It had been recently retaken by the Chinese. One of the big selling points for it was the airfield located nearby, which would allowed representatives from all sides to fly in and meet there quickly.

The plan was to bring in delegates of the various militaries, scientists, and I witnesses who had seen the monsters up close to discuss strategies on how to kill them. The whole thing was set to last for three days and the site was already being prepared.

Admiral Nimitz was invited/ordered to attend given his experience. In turn the Admiral insisted I come along as well, given my the insights I had about Angirus and given the fact that I had encountered two of the monsters first hand. I had misgivings about going, but was not in a position to refuse.

Prior to leaving, there was one matter we had to see to first. We had a military funeral to honor all the men we lost in the naval battle. There weren't many bodies, most of the men lost had gone down with their ships. I'm not sure if that made it easier or harder to accept the losses. There were only a handful of caskets to deal with, but I couldn't help but think of their families.

None of them would have a body in the cemetery to visit, nothing to say goodbye to. Didn't seem right considering what their sons had given up for their country. The best we could do for them was send letters and flags and hope it helped ease their burden.

I thought about Teddy's folks. They would at least be getting a body back, but I doubted it would make them feel a whole lot better.

Later that day we went to the airfield, boarded a C-47, and took off for the conference.
Last edited by Ashram52 on Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:05 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Ashram52
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Re: Godzilla: Tactical Assault.

Postby Ashram52 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:12 pm

Chapter 7: The Zao-Ming Conference.

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And so I found myself flying to China among Admiral Nimitz's entourage on a diplomatic mission I wasn't sure I should be a part of.

As I sat feeling the plane bob up and down in air I wondered what I was doing there. I would have been at more easy at my gun battery in the heat of battle than on that plane. I was completely out of my element. For starters, I had never flown before and it was a challenge for me to get used to. That might not have been so bad if I had someone to talk to as a distraction, but I was completely isolated. None of my friends were there. They were all still in the infirmary when we had departed. I was worried about them, which only added to my anxiety.

I did have company on the plane, not that it was much of a relief. A small squad of marines came with us as a security escort. They were a rough looking bunch and it was clear that they had seen some action. They were not like the fresh recruits I had known on board the Enterprise. Despite not knowing much of the details of their present assignment, they were calm and collected. Each of them were a couple years older than me and carried themselves as though they were prepared for just about anything. I imagined they had some stories to tell.

Only problem was they didn't seem too interested in talking to me. It boiled down to the fact that I was a naval officer. The rivalry between the navy and the marines was alive and well and that alone was enough to brand me as a figure of contempt for them. There was a general air of tension on the plane, which made the long flight seem twice as long as it needed to be. The only real interaction I had with the marines the entire time was with their commander. His uniform read Sgt Brock. I caught him looking at me once, seemingly studying me, otherwise I was mostly ignored by them.

They weren't the only ones doing their best to make me feel unwelcome. Admiral Nimitz's aide, Lieutenant-Commander Williams, also didn't like the fact that a low ranking officer like myself was tagging along. Perhaps he saw me as some type of threat, but whatever the reason he was very standoffish towards me and also ignored my existence for the most part.

Just as well. Even if he hadn't decided to hate my guts he was a ripe old prick anyway. In my short time in his company on the plane he managed to give off an extreme air of arrogance. This was in part due to his higher rank, but also largely due to what I assumed was his own natural personality.

He struck me as a person from an old East Coast family with a permanent stick up his ass. His accent gave the East Coast part away anyway. He acted prim and proper with his nose up in the air. It's a wonder that the marines didn't roast and eat him the way he carried on. He outranked everyone save the Admiral, who was too busy looking over his notes to care about the trivial matters unfolding around him. My only respite was the marines hated Lieutenant-Commander Williams to the core, which made me blend into the background. As the flight went on I faded more and more off everyone's radar.

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After what felt like an eternity on the plane we finally arrived at the airfield of Zao-Ming in China. The landing was a little rough, but I didn't care, I just wanted out.

I was the first to grab my gear and made for the exit. As the door opened I felt the breeze hit my face like a cool kiss. I stepped out and let the sunlight warm my skin. For the first time in many hours I started to feel alive again. The plane had been like a tin can being slow-boiled over a stove. I was a glad to have escaped it before it had finally popped from the pressure.

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The rest of the guys followed me out and we looked around. The airfield was located just north of the town of Zao-Ming where the conference was to take place. I could see that there were already numerous planes parked around the airfield and decided that we were one of the last parties to arrive. Given the distance we had to fly it was hardly surprising that we were last. Most everyone else had a head start on us. It was the Chinese's home turf and the Japanese had been occupying northern Chinese territories for years. Even the U.S. Army and Air-force had established a covert presence in China. We had been doing more than just than just supplying the Chinese in their war against the Japan.

Not long after our arrival a Chinese military truck pulled up. They greeted us and offered to take us to the village. We loaded up our baggage and climbed in. I ended up sitting next to a Chinese officer. He was one of the translators who was to help us overcome the language barrier during the conference. His name was Ling Yu. I came to find out he was quite the linguist. As he was the first person willing to engage me in conversation in about ten hours I latched on to him like a life preserver during the drive. He didn't seem to mind much. In fact, if anything he seemed to relish the chance to show off a bit, putting his English into practice.

Though he was only nineteen he already spoke seven languages including English, French, German, Japanese, Russian, Dutch, and of course Chinese. Being that I only spoke one myself I was both embarrassed and awestruck by his talent. His family were wealthy aristocrats and they had the resources to nurture his natural talent. He was still studying to learn even more languages. He was currently duel-studying Spanish and Italian. Since joining the military he had spent most of his career abroad trying to garner foreign support against the Japanese invasion. I could feel his resentment towards the Japanese almost immediately, not that I blamed him. If they had invaded the States I almost certainly would have developed a strong hate for them myself.

We crossed a bridge that took us over a small river than separated the airstrip and the village. It was of course practical, but also a beautiful piece of architecture. I thought it looked at least a hundred year old at the time, though in retrospect I very much doubt that it was. We soon entered the village itself and the buildings there were equally beautiful.

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Having never left the States prior I'd never seen the likes before. My narrow view of the world opened up a crack wider that day and I was better for it. However, there was something troubling me and it quickly became apparent what it was. As we saw more and more of the village I realized it was semi-deserted. Only a handful of Chinese locals were present to be seen. It felt as though half the population was missing and I was curious why such a large town was so quiet.

The truck brought us to the front of one of the nicer buildings near the center of town. I could see the other delegations from the United States representing the Army and Air-force were situated next to us. They were in equally impressive loggings along with some civilians representatives from the government. I was not much into politics at the time, so I didn't recognize anyone in particular, but there was a man with a nice suit who I assumed must have been a senator.

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I had a passing thought about meeting the President at the conference, but then it occurred to me just how silly that was. They wouldn't expose a man of that stature for this. No, everyone at the conference was someone who was expendable. The Admiral was probably the biggest VIP representing the States, but he was just one of many in the navy. If the man I saw was a senator he probably wasn't a high ranking one. There was a golden rule in the military: Important people do not do field work. So he was like the rest of us, someone who could be easily replaced if it came down to it.

Pushing that aside, I could see the Japanese delegation was being put up in their assigned housing across the street. It was far less impressive than ours. I asked Ling about it and he told me that there was still a lot of anger towards the Japanese. Their invasion and occupation of China had been particularly brutal and the Chinese people would not forget about it anytime soon. Though they were at peace now their minuscule loggings were just a passive aggressive jab at the Japanese delegation to remind them of it.

Ling pointed out that the very reason that so many of the houses were unoccupied for us to use was the fact that many of the former residents were killed or displaced by of the Japanese Army during the war. They had a well-earned reputation for not being gentile with captured combatants or civilians. It made me wonder what had happened to the owners the house we were staying in. I tried not to linger on the thought too long.

After helping us unpacked Ling had to report back to his superiors to let them know we had arrived. Alone again I settled in and tried to get comfortable. I lay in my new bed just waiting. I didn't have anything to do until it was time for us to report in for the conference the next morning.

I stared up at the ceiling and let my mind wander. I was just starting to feel a little drowsy then I became aware of a rumbling sound. It was growing louder and louder and it was beginning to make the bed vibrate. I was alarmed rolled off the bed springing to my feet. I ran out my door and towards the the entrance to look out and see what was happening. The marines guarding the entrance were also alarmed and were no longer standing at attention.

Across the road the Japanese were having a similar reaction. Their soldiers looked agitated. I could see them pointing down the road to the source of the disturbance. I peaked around the door-frame and saw a line of American made Stuart tanks with Chinese markings on them rolling down the street towards us. There were about ten of them bearing down on us and I wasn't sure what to think.

"Don't worry, they are only here for security." Ling said walking up to us from the side. "There is no reason for your soldiers to get nervous." The marines stood at easy, but still looked upon the tanks with suspect as they continued down the street. Meanwhile the Japanese had retreated inside their logging, eyeing the tanks wearily from the windows as they passed.

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I looked over to Ling who seemed to be enjoying the show. It was then I understood the true purpose of the tanks, or at least the purpose of rolling down the main street rather than along the outskirts. The Chinese almost certainly had brought them in for security, sure, but they were also meant to make the Japanese delegation anxious. Given that we had just signed an agreement not to sell the Chinese any more armor, this show of force was meant to make the Japanese question if we were honoring the deal.

However, if the Japanese were observant, they would see that the tanks were not the top of the line units we were producing at the time. Stuarts were light tanks that were quickly being replaced by better models like the Sherman medium tank. It was clear to me that the Chinese were brandishing armor that had been sold to them prior to the arms agreement being signed. Even so, the spectacle had to be prodding at the Japanese's patience.

"Do you think it's wise to provoke them?" I asked Ling, letting him know I understood the situation. "You just got your peace with them."

"A fancy piece of paper won't make us forget what they did to us anytime soon and it won't stop them if they should decide to turn an eye back our way anytime soon." Ling noted. "But no, I don't agree with the decision to pull this stunt. It is unwise to imagine a hungry tiger as your friend, but it is equally unwise to poke it with a stick."

The tanks continued past the Japanese occupied buildings without incident and made their way to the perimeter of Zao-Ming taking up defensive positions on the outskirts. Once they came to rest the village became calm again.

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Given that I was already outside now I decided to walk the streets and enjoy the Chinese architecture up close. Ling came along with me as a sort of guide. He told me more about the town as we went. We went past the Buddhist Temple and the Pagoda, both were impressive, resonating with Eastern culture. The southern part of town was speckled with small farms growing wheat.

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Much of the village's remaining population was found there in the fields tending to the growing crops. There was a formation of rocks on a hill to the east of the village with swirls of natural color. With a landscape so perfect I cursed myself for not being an artist. It felt like God himself had a hand in the design. Hard to believe that there had been so much strife there so recently.

As we continued to walked I saw a Chinese woman and her young son on the other side of the road. She was very attractive and wearing a majestic white cheongsam dress. Seeing her reminded me of how much I was missing Shauna. I had been writing her letters consistently, but it didn't compare to having her by my side. I must have stared at Chinese woman for a bit too long because Ling started to talk to me about her.

"I can translate for you if you'd like to talk to her." He offered with a smile.

"Oh, gosh no." I said a little embarrassed. "It's just that, she's making me miss home. That's all."

"Ah... I see. You have a..." Ling paused as he looked for the right word. "...sweetheart waiting for. It's tough being apart isn't it?"

"Very." I agreed with him. The young lady and her son passed us by.

---

Later that evening Ling brought me to the bridge we had crossed earlier in the truck. The Chinese townsfolk had prepared some entertainment for the conference. On the airfield they were putting on a fireworks show. In truth, the fireworks were originally meant to celebrate the end of the Sino/Japanese war, but it was lost on most of the guests. That fact might have been lost on me too if I had not met Ling.

From our position on the bridge the bright colors from the fireworks reflected off the water below enhancing their effect. The old bridge had build in lamps that made the frame of it glow softly in the dark. Again, I found myself thinking about Shauna and wishing she could be there to see it with me. The romance of the scene was wasted without her being there to enjoy it with me. I promised myself I'd write to her about it later. I tried to memorize every detail around me.

When the show was over Ling and I went our separate ways. I had learned enough exploring with him to find my way around on my own, even in the dark.

I came back to our temporary housing to find Sgt. Brock waiting for me and he didn't look happy. It was to be the first time he'd ever spoken to me and I guess he wanted to mark the occasion by making sure I'd never forget about it. Sadly, it had not occurred to me that I should have checked with him before exploring the town and he meant to ensure I realized the error of my way. He marched up to me the moment he caught sight of me and let me have it.

"Well, well, our prodigal son has returned!" He barked at me sternly. "Next time you decide to go sight-seeing son, you'd damned well better run it past me first so I can send an escort with you. In case it wasn't abundantly clear to you my job here is to make sure your little butt stays safe and secure on this trip and you are skreeonking it up!!! I see you running around with your new slanty friend! If you want to go run around and play grab ass sailor I'm fine with it, but don't let the fact that he's being nice to you distract you from the fact that he's an agent from a foreign power and don't take for granted that their interests don't necessarily line up with ours!" I could feel Brock's spit hit my face as he got right up next to me. "If it served them well to slit your throat then you wouldn't be standing here right now!"

I tried to say something in my defense, but Brock was not having any of it. He continued to light me up.

"Hang in there tight navy boy, I'm only getting warmed up!" He continued building up steam. "I'm about to give you an education on the world at large! Political alignments change quicker than the weather in the Midwest back home. It wasn't more than forty years ago that my grand pappy was fighting these little yellow bastards in the Boxer Rebellion. They would have happily cut you in half just for being an American on their soil back then. And that went for the Japs as well. They were on our side at the time fighting side by side with us. So if you are thinking we can just hold hands with the Chinese and be buddy-buddy I got news for you: Wait long enough and the tables will turn again. The only ones you can trust are our own."

Brock paused to take a big gulp of air, which I realized meant I was still in for even more.

"In the meantime don't turn your back on any of them, particularly the Japs! The fact that we are here sitting around the campfire singing kum-ba-yah with them will end the second giant monsters stop stomping around this part of the world. None of these recent events change the fact that their government is being run by dangerously ambitious and ruthless men. There's one thing your yellow friend got right, his stories about their causal brutality are all true. I've seen it first hand. They wouldn't think twice about abducting your dumb ass if they thought you had information that would benefit them. They got guys who get hard just thinking of new ways of extracting information from prisoners. So if you are going to insist on sight-seeing around here I'd strongly urge you to stay in public areas with lots of witnesses from all sides around." The vein on the side of Brock's neck looked like it was getting dangerous close to rupturing.

He was finally finished and walked away fuming. I stood there feeling like I had been ripped a new one by my father. I felt flushed and foolish. Though Sgt Brock came off a racist and an asshole, I knew what he said wasn't completely wrong. I had been very naive in my view of things. I had taken for granted that there were still a lot of things I didn't understand about the world. I had been so taken in by the beauty around me that I had forgotten there were also dangers. I also understood that part of the Sarg's anger was coming from his desire to protect our country and me personally.

Such as it was, I had a hard time being angry with him about it. I retired to my room for the evening, not daring to show my face around the marines. The guard at he front door was already snickering at me as I came through the entrance. He had been well within earshot of the Sgt Brock's rant and by evening's end I imagined the rest of them would be well versed in it too.

When I reached my room I found that the Admiral had left a stack of papers on my bed to review. They were copies of the various reports on Baragon and Rodan. We were meant to talk about Baragon on the first day, so I dug into those first. I spend a couple hours carefully reading through them. The details of some of the reports read like horror novel. As brutal as it was at times, I thought it was important to understand exactly what we were dealing with so I read everything. I might have missed something important if I skipped the less savory portions of the transcripts.

By the time I got through the reports on Baragon I didn't have enough time to get into the ones on Rodan. It didn't matter though, I'd have all evening the next day to catch up on those. I turned in for the night.

---

The next day the conference began at 0800 hrs. It was held in a Chinese theater that was meant for stage plays, but it was the only building in town that could hope to accommodate all the people for the event. The conference was being run by a Chinese man who acted as the chairman for the committee. He stood at a podium set up on stage. On either side of him were tables with the committee members representing the governments of the three primary delegations.

They had set up a projector in the back of the room and a canvas was set up behind the curtain on stage to review film when the time came. There were translators at the meeting for all sides. The seats in the theater were split into three sections: the Japanese on the right, the Chinese on the left, and us in the middle. Each section had one translator in their area to keep up with the speakers.

As I sat down I saw that Ling was up on stage off to the side of the committee members. He was being trusted to translate for the delegates on stage, a fact that spoke well for his skills. The other delegations filed in and took their seats. It didn't take long for everyone to settle down.

It soon became clear that the meeting was to be run in a fashion similar to parliamentary procedure. One person would have the floor and be allowed to talk at a time. That would make it easier for the translators to keep up and avoid confusion in general.

The meeting began with the chairman banging the gavel and calling for everyone's attention. He began to speak, welcoming everyone and thanking us for coming. Next, he gave a speech which outlined what had brought us there. He paused after every sentience allowing Ling enough time to echo what he said in English for the US delegates and another translator to speak Japanese delegate on stage. Meanwhile the fellow in our section did his best for us. Maybe it was just the timing or something lost in translation, but the Chairman's speech came off a little stiff and dry. Still, he managed to get his points across and that's what counted.

After his speech, the chairman turned over the floor to a Japanese scientist, Professor Kyouichiro Kashiwagi. He began to outline his theory on why Angirus, Baragon, and Rodan had suddenly appeared out of nowhere. He had brought some colorful graphics to help illustrate his points. In the instances of Baragon and Rodan he presented evidence that directly tied their appearances to the earthquake that had taken place in the mountains of Northern China some weeks back. His assistant put up a map and he pointed out the epicenter and the sightings that came thereafter for each monster. It was not difficult to see a pattern emerge.

He had gone as far as to investigate the area of the epicenter and his team were able to locate what appeared to be a nest with broken eggshell. Though a rock-slide prevented them from fully combing the area, they were able to bring back samples to examine. They also had found the remains of what looked like giant insect husks. It was not clear at the time how they were connected, but it was a discovery that couldn't be ignored.

His theory centered on the thought that all these creatures had been either living or hibernating within the Earth's crust for millions of years. He put fourth that they'd been dormant since the age of the dinosaurs. The fact that each of the monsters were obviously reptilian in nature did lend weight to his argument. There was no denying they looked like some sort of lost species of dinosaurs. He felt that the recent mass shifts in tectonic plates had allowed them to finally come to the surface. It seemed liked a sound argument, but there were still dissenters who argued that there was no evidence in the fossil record to indicate any of these creatures had existed.

Dr. Kashiwagi's counter arguments were three-fold: One, it was possible were had not been looking in the right places. Second, given the overwhelming size of the creatures, anyone running across the remains might not recognize what they were seeing as fossils. Third, these creatures might not decay the same way normal animals do. Without having remains to examine it would be impossible to determine for certain, but he felt as though there had to be something about their makeup that was radically different from most forms of life on Earth. Their sheer size was enough set them apart from anything else on the planet, so who was to say.

By the time he was done speaking Dr. Kashiwagi raised about as many new questions as he had answered, but it was still interesting to listen to. No one else was able to present a more sound theory at the time. Where they had come from was not the most pressing issue anyway. The committee was more interested in finding ways to deal with them.

Next, there was a brief overview of all the attacks. The first speaker was an American naval officer from the battleship USS Arizona. He had been present for all the battles with Angirus. As he spoke, I had to relive some uncomfortable moments, but he didn't linger too long on Angirus since he was no longer considered an active threat. At that point he had been absent for months, so they moved on.

Baragon was next and that's where things started to get interesting. I had noticed a pattern to his attacks in my notes from the night before. A Japanese Army officer presented on him and I was eagerly waiting to see if he was going to address what I had noticed.

The army officer bought out several witnesses who spoke about what they saw in the early attacks. While their experiences were certainly interesting to listen to, none of them brought any pertinent facts to the table that were helpful. When they were done they announced that we were going to watch a film that had been recorded during the failed Japanese assault on Baragon. As they loaded up the film and prepared the stage I was anxiously shifting around in my chair. They speakers had come and gone, but none of them touched on what I saw. Had no one else seen the pattern to Baragon's attacks?

I set my thoughts aside for the moment. The projector was ready and they had turned the lights off to view the film. The movie had been shot from a hill overlooking the valley below. It started with Japanese units getting into formation and advancing into the valley. It was too misty to get a good look, which was disappointing. This was going to be the first time I had seen Baragon for myself and I hated waiting a second longer for it. The filmed went on in a somewhat dull fashion for a while just the camera panning around in the mist aimlessly. Then there was a light in the fog bank.

Before long the Japanese tanks came back into view, retreating headlong back into their lines. Finally the monster appeared on the screen pursuing them. Reading reports was one thing, but seeing it in action was quite different. I had seen Angirus and Rodan up close and personal, but right from the start I could see that Baragon was a different kind of beast altogether.

For starters, unlike Angirus, he clearly did not like being shot at. He actively avoided taking hits. The speakers had mentioned they thought he'd be more vulnerable to conventional firepower and I could see that they were right. The moment in the film when the artillery hit him on the side it was clear as day that Baragon felt it and didn't care for it.

The film was cut about the time Baragon started to eat fallen soldiers, which reinforced the theory that most of his attacks were motivated by hunger. They felt as though they might be able to lure Baragon into a trap using food as bait. Still, no one had touched on the other thing I had noticed.

I turned in my seat and tried to get the Admiral's attention. I wanted to talk to him so he could bring my information to the committee. However, the Admiral was on the far side of my row though and talking to an army officer on the other side of him. In my attempts to signal him I instead drew the attention of the chairman on stage as I flailed around.

"Young sailor, do you have something you wish to share?" I heard Ling call down to me on behalf of the chairman. I froze like a teacher had called me out for trying to pass a note in class. Admiral Nimitz finally turned back and noticed me. I just looked at him in terror. He tilted his head towards the stage and urged me to speak for myself.

"I do." I stood up feeling every eye in the room narrow on me. "My name is Marcus Ryan. I'm a sailor on the USS Enterprise. I've been present during a number of these monster attacks, and well, in reviewing the notes about Baragon's attack I noticed something interesting."

"Have you now?" Ling translated for the chairman. He smiled down at me from the stage, seeming to enjoy watching me sweat.

"Yes, has anyone else noticed Baragon has never attacked during the light of day?" I asked broadly to the room.

"What are you talking about?" The Japanese officer who had presented on Baragon answered. "The battle we just watched in the film we just watched took place during the day and Baragon had been sitting in the open for days prior to the battle."

"Yes, that is true." I agreed. "But that's not what I mean. The reports I read indicate that on the day of the battle and the days preceding it weather was overcast. The sun itself had not been out at all over the course of seventy-two hours. If you go back through the reports and read the time of each incident you will see what I saw. Every instance of Baragon appearing have occurred when the sun was absent. His attack on Beiznen was at night. His following attacks on the surrounding villages all took place at night. When he hit the train-yard it was just after sunset."

I suddenly realized I wasn't giving the translators enough time to keep up with me. I paused hoping they'd be able to get across what I was saying and catch up.

"He's always attacked in the dead of night, the early hours of the morning, dusk, or on overcast days. There's not a single instance recorded of him attacking in broad daylight." I tried to press the point home in case I had not been clear. I sat and waited for the translators to do their job.

When Ling had finished the chairman looked down and thumbed through his reports, closely examining the times. Other members of committee and general audience members also started to ruffle through through their paperwork to see for themselves.

"This might point to an aversion to sunlight, maybe a sensitivity to light in general. We've established that the creature is subterranean, I would not say it's not a stretch to assume it is unaccustomed to light. We might just be able to exploit that." I pointed out feeling like I had he room's attention.

"He's right." The chairman spoke for himself in English. One by one everyone saw that what I said was true. "This young sailor might just have discovered something useful." He followed up in Chinese being translated by Ling. Do you have any other insights you wish to share with us?"

"I had one other thought sir." I answered. "If the plan is to lure Baragon into a trap with food, which I agree would work given his behavior, I would suggest doing so in an area with the rockiest soil possible so he can not escape underground easily. He is very adept at digging through regular dirt, but if you could get him in a place where the terrain is rough enough you might be able to pin him down for an airstrike to finally catch him."

"I was thinking the same thing." A Chinese General spoke up. I have already begun to scout potential sites for just such an operation if Baragon were to reappear within our borders. However, we would need some material support. We have the manpower, but not the armaments to ensure victory."

"The United States army would be more than up to the task and willing to support such an operation once certain arrangements are make." An American General in the middle section of the committee noted. "We'd have to secure the consent of our government first. But once that's done men and materials could be place in a week or so, depending on what location is selected."

"Alright gentlemen, I think that is good enough for today." the chairman noted. "It sounds like we have some phone calls and arrangements to start making." I move that we adjourn for the day and reconvene tomorrow to discuss what progress we have made towards this plan and to address the other threat.

After the meeting adjourned I left he hall and ran into Brock guarding the door.

"Well maybe you are worth babysitting after all." He noted. I couldn't tell if he was being sarcastic or not, so I kept walking.

---

After a quick meal I returned to my room and started to review the material on Rodan. Sadly it was not very helpful. I hadn't learned anything new. The first report covered the attack on our own fleet and given that I was present for that I already knew more than enough about it.

The trouble was that Rodan's appearance was still so fresh that there just was not a lot of data collected about him yet. The only other tactical report on him was from the Japanese and it was incomplete. Either they were holding something back or were still trying to collate their data. I read the material I had over and over again, but nothing strange was jumping out at me like it had with Baragon's notes.

I sat it aside and gave up for the evening.

---

The second day of the conference started much the same as the first. The committee read the minutes of the last meeting to ensure everyone remembered what we had discussed. The American general reported back to them that the American government would indeed support the Chinese plan to ambush Baragon once they had determined a location. The Chinese general reported that his scouts were still investigating a suitable location.

In truth, they would not be able to pick a location in advance. They were going to have to wait until Baragon reappeared before narrowing down their choices. There wouldn't be any sense in choosing a site, taking the time and energy to build a trap, only for them monster to show up hundreds of miles away. No, they would have to be reactionary in this case.

Given that we were at a dead end until Baragon re-emerged the chairman moved on to the new business of the day. He began to read out the information on Rodan that was already in the reports, but given how short they were, it didn't take long.

He called for a Japanese pilot by the name of Akira Honda to join him on stage. I looked over and could see a young Japanese man rise from the ranks of the Japanese section of the theater. I had not seen his name mentioned in any of the notes, so it seemed to me that perhaps the gaps in the reports were about to get filled in.

Akira got to the podium and began to recount his story. He explained how his men came under attack after losing contact with their base. How they were picked off one by one by Rodan and how by the end of their encounter they had lost 8 aircraft, including his own plane. All of this had taken place in just the space of two minutes. Akira was trying hard to impress upon everyone just how outclassed they were and how dangerous Rodan was in the sky. It seemed like he knew something the committee at large did not. I got the feeling that he was trying to continue an argument the majority of us were unaware of.

As the meeting pressed on, I finally understood what Akira was getting at. The Japanese military was set on confronting Rodan in an all out air battle. Their intent was to form a major naval strike group with their aircraft carriers and fight Rodan on his terms in the sky. Akira was trying to make them see how fruitless that would be. He wanted them to realize that attacking Rodan with planes would not work. It was starting to make sense why the Japanese officers had omitted large sections of their report on the airfield attack.

It almost felt like it was a matter of national pride to the Japanese military higher ups. They had absolute faith in their air-force. It made sense. At the time they arguably had the best air-force in the world in terms of pilot skills and experience. They also arguably had the best fighter in the the Zero. They felt as though Akira's group had only done so poorly due to the inexperience of Akira's trainees and the fact that Rodan had caught them by surprise.

Akira was trying to respectfully disagree with them, but the argument was quickly getting personal. One of Akira's superiors implied that he was a defeatist and that it was due to his cowardice and lack of leadership that had lead to their defeat. This lead to a minor uproar amongst the Japanese section of the room. Many of them came to the defense of Akira who respected his opinion, while others agree with his detractor.

Before long, the translators couldn't keep up the argument between them, but it was clearly getting nasty. I looked up to Ling who just shrugged at me from the stage. Raised voices gave way to shouts and the non-Japanese speaking sections just sat there in shock at the escalating furiosity of the argument. Officers on both sides clearly felt strongly about their opinion. Akira stood at the podium silently in shame.

I felt sympathy for him. He had been put in an impossible situation. Being forced to watch his comrades die one by one while he could do little about it. If I had been in his position I doubt I would have fared any better. All he wanted to do now is prevent other pilots from the same fate and he was being berated and insulted for his trouble. Having seen Rodan in action myself I felt Akira was probably right. No matter how many fighters you could throw at him they could never hope to keep up with Rodan in the sky.

Finally, the chairman pushed Akira aside and banged his gavel angrily calling for order. When the Japanese section finally settled down the chairman moved that we take a break to let tempers cool.

---

We came back together a few hours later and a Japanese Admiral took the floor in place of Akira. He outlined a plan for Japan to build a network of radar stations all across the home islands to track Rodan. They were also going to begin installing naval radar on board their capital ships. That way they couldn't be caught completely off guard again.

They were planning to track Rodan to his nest. Once they were able to locate its exact location they would send in the majority of their carrier force to attack it. This is exactly what Akira had been trying to prevent. I looked over to him. He looked like a beaten dog, just sitting there looking down. It looked like this was to be the plan and there was to be no more discussion about it.

The meeting dragged on for some time after that, but nothing else of much consequence was said.

---

The sun was setting and I sat in my bed starring up at the ceiling thinking. I was hoping that I would be hit by an epiphany about Rodan. The Japanese plan to throw raw force at him seemed like it was doomed to fail. I felt Akira, having seen the monster up close from a cockpit, probably knew what he was talking about. My own encounter with Rodan gave me some insights about the challenges the Japanese would have to overcome to prevail.

Rodan was just too fast to catch. They would only be able to engage him if the monster chose to fight them. If it ran away there was little they could do about it. If the monster did choose to fight it would be be on it's terms and would be able to stay several steps ahead of them. The only real hope the Japanese had was if they were able to keep up constant pressure they might be able to tire the beast out. But there was no way to know how long that would take. Even if they were able to pull that off they were likely loose dozens, if not hundreds, of aircraft in the process.

As I lay there racking my brain over it I began to become aware of a subtle rumble in the bed-frame.

'Are the Chinese driving their tanks through the streets again?' I thought annoyed. 'Isn't it getting a little late to be agitating the Japanese?' I rose from the bed, slipped on my shoes, and started walking towards door. 'Everyone is agitated already anyway.' The soft rumbling continued as I went down the hallway and to the front entrance.

The guards were at their station standing at attention. I looked around outside and saw no signs of the Chinese tanks. The rumbling continued just the same.

"Where's it coming from?" I asked one of the marines. The rumbling grew louder as we stood there. "I don't see anything." I got a bad feeling in my gut and I felt a cold sweat forming around my neck. "That is the Chinese tanks right?" The marine only looked at me puzzled. The rumbling continued to get stronger.

'That can't be what I think it is...' I thought to myself, growing less confident second by second. Time felt like it was getting slower with each passing moment. Anxiety was building inside my chest and it was getting harder to breath from the tightness. The rumbling grew into a tremor. The marine guard took hold of the door-frame to steady himself. I felt off balance myself as the tremor grew even more in intensity.

The air raid siren from the airfield started going off and I knew then we were in serious trouble. The tremor finally grew strong enough to knock everyone off their feet and the words from my reports were coming to life. Men from buildings all around began pouring out to see what was going on. It was in this chaos of noise and scrambling shadows that I heard the sound of rock-face on the nearby hill crack in half. It was an unnerving, unnatural, and everyone stopped in their tracks to look at it.

What followed was worse. Soil and rock pushed up through the crack in the rock-face from below. More and more displaced rocks and dirt rolled down the hill as something was forcing it's way towards the surface. Fire and embers poured out from the opening and it looked like a hell-mouth was opening up in the ground. A moment later Baragon burst forth throwing dust and debris into the air.

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Hunks of rock and silt hailed down on the roofs and in the streets of the village. Men in the street got pelted and many were injured by falling rocks. One of the Japanese men on the other side of the street was stuck dead and fell to the dirt. His buddies tried to revive him, but it was far too late for him. Brock and the Admiral came running from behind me and we were all showered by smaller raining particulates.

"We need to evacuate. Get everyone to the airfield!" Admiral Nimitz ordered.

We looked around and saw that the trucks which had brought us there were gone, however there were two jeeps parked just down the street that were being used to scuttle VIPs around the village. No one else had claimed them, so we quickly decided to use them for ourselves. Brock rounded up the rest of the marines and we made for the jeeps. The admiral and half of the marines jumped into the first one while Brock and I got into the other with the remaining marines in the back.

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The first jeep sped off and turned around the corner towards the airfield. Our Jeep however didn't start when Brock turned the key. He tried a second time, but again nothing happened.

"I don't believe this, I don't skreeonking believe this!!!" Brock cursed. "Why won't it start?"

I jumped out and went around the front of the jeep with the intend of opening the hood to investigate. As I came around I saw a large rock had slammed into the front of the grill and dented it inward nearly a foot. No doubt it had caused damage to the hardware within.

"Looks like we are hoofing it Sarg!" I shouted to him. He came around himself and saw the cause of our trouble. He kicked the jeep with his boot out of frustration. He knew what I knew. We had no other choice but to go on foot. There was no more time to waste on anger. The other three marines piled out of the jeep and we made our way through the streets to the airfield.

The monster meanwhile had made it's way towards the village and the Chinese tanks were moving to intercept it. The one that had been closest to was a burning heap, smashed by Baragon front paw.

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In our hast we were not being careful of our surroundings. We were in a dead sprint. The marines were more used to running than I was and they quickly got into the lead. Brock had stayed close by my side though. We came upon an intersection in the street and could see Baragon beginning to enter the village. The first three marines immediately bolted and I started to follow them. Brock was more cautious though, he grabbed me by the collar and pulled me back. It wasn't a moment too soon. Two Chinese tanks were coming up the street from the other side and opened fire at Baragon.

The shells from the main cannons went well over the heads of the marines, but the tanks also opened up with their machine guns. The three marines got cut to pieces in the crossfire. I heard a bullet fly by my head and I felt the blood of the closest marine hit my face as he got hit. I had only been a few steps away from death.

Brock kept a hold of my collar and urged me down the street with him away from Baragon and around the tanks to avoid wandering back into their line of fire. The tanks continued to advance towards Baragon and it continued to close in on the village. It crashed through the first building it came across and continued towards the heart of the town.

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Brock and I turned a corner around a building and a few seconds later the night lite up behind us. The sounds of the the tanks moving and firing of their weapons stopped. The the block behind us was ablaze.

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Brock stopped running and looked back as if he were thinking. He pulled me towards the closest building and kicked in the door. We rushing inside, it turned out to be a restaurant. He turned over one of the tables and we crouched down behind it.

A number of tense moments passed and we waited their silently. The restaurant had large windows in the front and I sat there watching out trying to catch my breath as quietly as possible. As we sat there I became aware of other people hiding inside. They were mostly Japanese men, I recognized the pilot Akira from earlier in the day. He was ducked down behind the bar with a dozen other men.

I heard a noise from outside and looked back. It wasn't the monster. It was the sound of a child crying. I crept towards the window to look. Just around the corner I could see the child. It was the the little boy I had seen the day before. He was just sitting in the middle of the street wailing. I had the urge to run out and get him, but I had doubts. I looked back at Brock and he shook his head no to me. He understood exactly what I was thinking. I wanted to act, but was afraid.

I was dying on the inside watching. Just when I thought I couldn't stand it anymore, the child's mother arrived and scooped him up. I was relived, he was going to be ok. Then there was a rumble. The roof above us trembled and dust began to fall from the rafters. I looked back to the street and the monster had already arrived.

The mother screamed as both her and her child were snatched up mercilessly in the mouth of the monster. I sat their froze in fear. I saw the whole terrible thing unfold. Tears started to form in the corners of my eyes. Brock pulled me back behind the table while the monster finished with them.

I sat there traumatized by what I had just seen. I could hear the monster's breathing just outside, its shadow blocked out the moonlight from the window. The building creaked from the monster encroaching on its foundation. Finally the pressure was too much for some of the Japanese men. Four of them bolted out the back door and ran for it.

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The monster sensed the movement and went after them. Light shined through the window as it moved around the building. It cut the corner too tightly though and its foot crashed through the ceiling, crushing a section of the roof and anything below it.

Brock took the opportunity to escape while it was distracted. We still had to get to the airfield if we were to have any chance of escape. I was still in a daze, but could heard very bad noises from behind us as we ran. The Japanese men who had fled didn't get very far. The rest of them in the restaurant elected to follow us. Dust a debris was still thick in the air and Brock almost took a wrong turn in the chaos, but having wandered the streets previously I pointed him back in the right direction after recognizing a landmark.

We ran and ran until we got to the bridge. We were very happy to see that it was still intact. Once we were at the top we could also see that there were still planes on the airfield, but they were all lining up to take off. We didn't have much time.

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Luck was not on our side though. The monster had spotted us at the top of the bridge and was already on its way towards us.

We continued to Run towards the airfield, but it was so far away. My body was aching and I was nearly out of breath. Still, we couldn't afford to stop for a second. I looked back and Baragon had gotten closer. It was nearly to the bridge. It was getting so close I could feel its big steps closing in on us. Some of the Japanese men had fallen behind. They were nearly a hundred yards behind us when I heard their screams.
Baragon had caught them. I didn't look back to watch, but I could imagine the horror happening behind me. As tired as I was, the thought of the same thing happening to me kept me motivated enough to press on. The men dying behind us bought us enough time to reach the airfield.

We were too late though. They were already leaving without us. Only the Admiral's plane remained and it was poised to take off on the opposite side of the runway. They must have thought we were dead already. I wouldn't have blamed them even if they knew differently. The monster was pressing in on the airfield behind us. If they didn't leave that second, nobody was going to get out alive.

Unfortunately the monster had arrived and was moving right for it. The Admiral's plane was the biggest and most obvious target. There was nothing to stop Baragon from pouching on the aircraft once the plane started down the airstrip. The monster seemed to have lost interest in us for the time being.

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It was in that moment that I saw a spotlight nearby and got a bright idea. I grabbed Brock and told him to help me. Baragon was slowly advancing on the plane, seeming to understand that he had it trapped. It was also getting closer and closer to Brock and I in the process. We quickly positioned the light and turned it on. The powerful ray of light shined directly onto Baragon's face and right into his eyes. He reacted almost instantly. He folded his ears over his eyes and thrashed about blindly. My plan had the desired effect.

Baragon took a few blind steps forward off of the airstrip and the pilot inside the Admiral's plane wasted no time taking advance of the situation. The plane sprang forward and sped down the runway. I could see the Admiral himself looking out the window at us as they passed by. The plane managed to slide by Baragon and get off the ground.

We kept the light on Baragon, following him wherever he went. The monster had stumbled even closer to us and though it still couldn't see, its instincts told it where the source of its torment was coming from. Its head began to rear back and every fiber in my body told me to run.

Brock and I bolted and we could feel heat from the monster's attack. We had managed to escape being engulfed by the flames, but could feel the skin on the back of our necks burning from the fireball. We saw the Japanese men from earlier taking shelter in the terminal across the runway and we decided to follow them there. It seemed like the best place to hide.

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It didn't take long for the spotlight to flicker out under the fire consuming it. With the light gone Baragon opened his eyes. He was in a stupor, no doubt his vision was still impaired. However, his ears flickered this way and that searching for sound. It picked up what it was looking for in our direction. We saw it heading our way as we slipped inside the building.

The terminal had glass sections built into the ceiling so people could watch planes take off and land. Through those windows we could see Baragon bearing down on the building. It's ugly sharp eye peered down looking for prey. Though I was hidden under the terminal's check in counter I was able to look up and see it from a crack. I thought it was starring right at me, intent on seeking me out in particular for revenge.

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I felt like my heart was going to burst out of my chest it was beating so fast. I realized we were trapped. There was nowhere else to run, nowhere else to hide, and no other way to escape. Any moment Baragon was going to rip open the building and devour us. I could hear the monster's breath pressing against the walls of the building as it was trying to sniff us out. I had to make peace with the fact that we were going to die there, though I desperately wanted to live.

I knew I only had a few precious moments left. My mind was racing on how to best spend them. I felt so much regret. I wanted to tell my mother I was sorry for getting myself into this mess against her wishes. I wanted to tell Shauna how very sorry I was to leave her this way; to tell her about all the things I wanted to do with her, but there was no hope for that. I shed a silent tear and settled on just a prayer, accepting this was the end of my life. I didn't know what would come next, but I accepted that I had no say in the matter anymore.

I didn't know it, but outside the remaining Chinese tanks had linked up and were charging Baragon. The first couple of shots hit him on the side of his belly and got his attention. As he turned to face the tanks his tailed slammed into the building and collapsed it all around us. I heard the wood structure give way under the stress. There were screams from other men as debris poured down on us.

Wood planks fell on top of my hiding place and I was pinned underneath the wreckage of the building as I blacked out.
Last edited by Ashram52 on Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Godzilla: Tactical Assault.

Postby Living Corpse » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:41 pm

Well, he's now seen all the monsters in the flesh that have shown up so far.
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Re: Godzilla: Tactical Assault.

Postby Ashram52 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 10:38 am

Chapter 8: The Mouse Trap

---

I woke up and sprang forward. The last thing I could remember was Baragon bearing down on me and being buried alive. While I was I had dreamt of Baragon digging through the rubble and biting me in half.

I looked around frantically. My heart was racing and there was a cold sweat on my brow. I felt disoriented and at first I wasn't sure where I was at. I was no longer in the terminal building. I felt dizzy and reached up, sensing there was something wrong. I could feel a bandage wrapped around my head and my fingers found a patch near my temple that felt wet and sticky. I brought my hand back down to examine it and sure enough, there was blood. Little balls of light began to swim around in my vision.

"You should try to take it easy." Brock said, taking me unawares. He knelt down next to me. "You took a pretty bad knock to the head. I'm no doctor, but I fixed you up the best I could."

I took in a few deep breaths and my vision started to clear. I became aware that I was on a stretcher on the airfield. The terminal building was just behind us, or rather half of it was behind us. The rest of it had been crushed in.

"What happened?" I asked. "How did we survive?"

"Well, the Chinese tankers made a last ditch effort to drive off Baragon." Brock began to explain. "They failed, but they did manage to distract him and draw him away from us. Once he was done with them, he went back to the village. I think he spotted more villagers trying to make a break for it. I'm not sure, I didn't leave our cover to go watch first hand. Didn't want to risk it coming back for us. Seemed like our best bet was to stay hidden."

I looked across the open field and saw the village off in the distance in ruins. Almost every building had been smashed in. The burnt out husks of tanks were scattered across the landscape. They appeared to have fought to the last man. Sadly their bravery had not prevailed.

"Those poor people. To have survived the war only to be killed like this." I lamented the dead Chinese civilians, thinking back particularly to the mother and child I witnessed die first hand. It made me feel sick to my stomach.

"Well, not all of them died." Brock pointed out, finding the small silver lining in the horrific situation. "Some of them were able to hide out long enough to survive. Luckily for us the Chinese had radioed in for air support. By dawn fighter planes had arrived. The sound of their engines alone was enough to make the monster high tail it out of here. Or maybe he just didn't want to face the sunlight. Who knows. Either way, he disappeared underground and has been long gone for hours. We should be safe now."

"Great, what now?" I asked. "We appear to be stranded here."

"Well, I was able to get to the radio in the terminal and let command know that we were still alive." Brock replied. "They are sending a transport plane back for us. I thought it would be best to get out of what remained of the terminal and wait for them out here. Though the walls are mostly still standing I wasn't going to bet our lives on its structural integrity. Better to wait it out at a safe distance, in case a strong wind should happen to blow by."

About fifty yards away behind Brock I could see the pilot Akira with a few other Japanese men. Brock noticed I was staring at them and looked back too. A Japanese plane had already arrived to pick them up and they were preparing for takeoff.

"Yeah, you and me are the only Americans who are still alive, but some of the Japs made it too. The majority of them died when the building collapsed on us, but some got lucky. Once the monster was gone those little bastards actually helped me get you out of that mess. There was a big support beam keeping me from getting to you and they helped lift it off. Guess I have to tip my hat to them, they are pretty strong despite how small they are." Brock almost spat the last part out.

I wasn't certain if he was anger about not being strong enough to move the beam by himself or the fact that he accepted help from the Japanese, who he seemed to despise. Either way I detected his pride was bruised by the ordeal. The plane had started its engines and the Japanese began to board. Akira looked over to us while he was climbing inside the plane. I nodded to him in respect. It was the best thanks I could muster at that distance. He smiled back to me and disappeared inside.

"The higher-ups managed to get out on the planes, the admiral included." Brock continued. "That was some smart thinking with that spot light. Good thing you did that too, the Admiral was the one who dispatched the bird back to pick us up. By the time I got the radio working and made contact I found out that he had already radioed ahead to the base to send someone back for us. They should be arriving in a few hours."

"Well that is good to hear." I felt a little dizzy so I lay back down. "Listen Brock, I just wanted to say thank you. If you weren't there looking out for me last night I don't know what would have happened. Also for digging me out and patching me up. I'm grateful."

"It was my job. I wouldn't be much of a marine if I couldn't keep a navy boy out of the fire." He somewhat brushed what I said off. He seemed like he wanted to avoid getting into an emotionally charged conversation. He grew noticeably uncomfortable at the notion.I just sat there watching him, surprised by the fact that my gratitude was the thing bothering him. I found myself wondering how he could be so acting so causal after all of that horror. He had seen the same things I had the night before and didn't seem the slightest bit shaken by it.

---

As Brock had promised the transport plane soon arrived to collect us. The air crew helped him load me up into the plane and they informed us that they would be taking us back to base in Philippines as soon as they refueled. I was still very disoriented from the blow to my head, so they strapped me into a cot for the flight back. To my surprise, Brock sat next to me and talked the whole time. He told me all about himself. He was from a big catholic family from the Midwest and he had played football at Notre-Dame. He went on at some length about it.

Between Brock's stories and the hum of the engines I fell fast asleep. I was out for the rest of the flight. Somehow the balls of light from earlier managed to infiltrate my dreams. They were accompanied by horrible flashes of my experiences from night before. Baragon attacking the village, the sounds of men being devoured, the huge yellow eye searching for me as I hid, the marines getting cut down, and the mother and child being eaten in front of me. That was the worst of it. Somehow I kept coming back to that image.

---

Twelve hours later we arrived back at the base. The impact of the tires hitting the runway brought me back to reality. It was a welcome reprieve for my dreams. As soon as we stopped they took me directly to the naval hospital for examination. The doctors could tell right away that I had a concussion, but they were also concerned that the trauma to my brain might be more extensive. They would not know for sure without more testing and time. The swelling would need to go down before they could say for sure.

I ended up spending next two weeks in the naval hospital getting poked and prodded. It was not all bad though. The Admiral had ensured I shared a room with Joe who was still there nursing his broke arm. Brock also was around. I don't know if the Admiral had ordered him to, or if he had volunteered, but he was the posted guard on our wing. He was never more than earshot away.

Joe was excited to see me and wanted details about my experience. I however was not ready to talk about it. I was still having nightmares regularly. The fact of the matter is I still sometimes have nightmares about it. Nothing was the same anymore. I felt like I had been damaged. I would wake up in the night thinking I was still on the battlefield and ready to run. One night I even fell out of bed I was so haunted by my dreams. I bruised a knee, but otherwise was ok.

After a couple of days the spots in my vision weren't as bad and I sat down to write a letter to Shauna. I had not written her since before I left for the conference. I was finally enough in my right mind to recognize that if I didn't write her soon she would start to get worried. And indeed, the gap between letters had already been long enough that she realized something had happened to me. Looking back, I realize just how traumatized I was by my experience. I could not even write to her about it, the one person I thought I could talk to about anything. But with that, I couldn't begin to explain to her what I saw and what it did to me. I was alone, marooned on my own private island in my mind.

I was feeling so defeated at the time I thought about telling her I was going to be damaged for life and that she might be better off finding a normal guy. It was the most isolated I ever felt.I didn't want her to realize how messed up I was, so I tried to fill the letter with words I knew would reassure her I was fine, even though I knew I wasn't. I told her about the conference itself and almost nothing about what followed. At least at the time she would not know better than that. What had gone down at the conference was not yet public knowledge. I told her we were close to working out ways to defeat the monsters and that she shouldn't worry. I told her that my injuries were only slight, but just the same, I still wished she was the one nursing me back to health like before.

The next day the doctors told me they expected I would make a full recovery, but I kept seeing lights off and on. They assured me they would pass with more time. That night while Joe was watching a film in the common room Brock came to speak with me. He'd been keeping a close eye on me the whole time I was in the hospital and he could see that I was struggling. He kept it pretty short and sweet.

"You're not the only one you know." He began. "It doesn't mean you're weak. Most soldiers who have seen real action go through what you are going through. Once you've experienced something as intense as this, it stays with you forever. It's not going to go away, but it will get better. Take your time. It won't be easy to move on. Just try to get by day by day and build on that. It's important to find someone to talk about it when you are ready because if you keep it inside it will eat away at you little by little."

Once he had spoke his peace he left it at that, leaving me to reflect on what he said. It made me feel better almost immediately. A weight I didn't know was there lifted. I did better over the next few days. The Admiral started to feed me information on what was going on. He passed on reports that Brock delivered.

Having something to focus on was going a long ways to getting me to feel normal again. I found out that Baragon had moved south following the attack on the conference and hit three more villages. As agreed to at the conference, he was left to the American and Chinese forces to deal with. They were proceeding with the plan to trap him.

The Japanese were meanwhile drawing up their own plans to take on Rodan. They had begun to construct radar stations across their home islands and had recalled their fleet in preparation for one massive strike. It was going to be awhile before they were ready, but at least they were on their way.

At about the week mark of my hospital stay the Admiral came to visit me himself. He came bearing gifts. Brock accompanied him wearing the fruits of his labor. He had a brand new legion of merit medal and a silver star pinned to his uniform. The Admiral had brought one of each for me as well. In addition, he brought a purple heart. He wanted to present the metals to me personally for saving his life. To his delight, Joe also got a legion of Merit and purple heart too.

"It is with great honor I present these medals to you along with this." The admiral handed me a sealed letter. I opened it and it read out that the naval office was promoting me two ranks from Petty Officer 3rd class to Petty Officer 1st class. "Congratulations sailor!"

"Look, we got a matching set." Joe held up his purple heart next to mine, bringing a little levity to the room. "Hey, no fair, you got extra." He frowned back at me, then smirked. I looked down studying the design etched into my silver star.

"Yeah, well trust me, you're better off without this one." I did my best to joke back at him.

---

Later Joe and I were making our way to the mess hall. He insisted we wear our new jewelry so he could impress the nurses along the way. It backfired spectacularly for him. Everyone asked me about my silver star and how I got it, while mostly ignoring him. After dodging several of those questions I took it off and put it in my pocket to avoid further inquires. We continued to hobble down the hallway, I in my wheelchair and him in his sling.

"Ha, what a pair we make." He smiled over to me. "Look at us, we're falling apart Marcus."

"I think we might be in the wrong line of work Joe." I smiled back at him.

---

While I was on the mend in the hospital and our forces on the mainland in Asian were preparing for the assault on the monsters, other events were beginning to unfold in Europe.

On a small lake called Hessengart near Muritz National Park, Germany a young German soldier is returning home of Essenheim. His family had lived on the lake just south of the town his whole life. The lake is an offshoot of the much larger Lake Muritz. The soldier's name is Heinrich and he is making his first visit back home in many months since joining the Wehrmacht.

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Heinrich made his way down the last stretch of road that led directly to his parents front door. He knocked, but there was no answer. He knew they keep their door unlocked though and he entered his childhood home to find it strangely empty. Though his visit was meant as a surprise for them, he had hoped his parents would be there to welcome him.

Heinrich put all is baggage in his room and searched the rest of the house, finding no one. While looking around he heard a noise from outside. Naturally he exited out the backdoor to investigate. He did not find his parents, but he did discover his brother on the dock. He was on his belly hanging over the edge collecting a jar of water from the lake.

"You know if you are that thirsty Reinhart I would always take you down to the pub!" Heinrich called to his little brother. Reinhart was so startled by the sudden disruption of his concentration that he almost fell into the lake.

"Heinrich?! Damn it, don't sneak up on me like that!" Reinhart scowled. "What are you doing here?"

"I took some leave so I could attend the town festival this year." Heinrich answered. "Where's the old man?"

"Well, he's in town of course, getting thing set up at the festival grounds." Reinhart answered still irritated. "Someone had to get the beer ready. What would the festival be without beer after all?"

"Boring." Heinrich joked back. "But serious, what are you doing? It looks like you got more pond scum than water in that jar."

"Well yes, that's right." Reinhart agreed. "And that's exactly the point of me collecting it. I'm working an internship for the university. They have been trying to treat all the lakes in the area. There is a huge problem this year with Algae. The counts are way, way, up this year. It is due to the runoff from the local fields getting into the water supply. The fertilizer is causing algae blooms to explode all over the area. It's making the toxins in the water spike and its killing the fish and other wildlife. Professor Gobel has been trying to treat it for over two weeks now. The samples I'm collecting are to measure how effective the treatments have been. It's tricky work though, the first treatment he tried actually seemed to make the algae grow more. So now he's trying a more aggressive regimen of chemicals to try to kill them off without effecting the wildlife."

"Oh, well that is all very interesting, but I guess if it's going to effect my fishing while I'm here you'd better get right on it." Heinrich did his best to pretend he care about in the science behind fighting algae. "I thought you were more interested in mechanics. I have contacts in the armored corps could probably get you a close up look at the newer Panzer models."

"I am still aiming for a career in engineering and it would be delightful to see the latest armor designs." Reinhart answered. "What I am doing here is for my biology class through the University. It's just going to get me extra credit and it's interesting to boot. You should take more of an interest in the world around you."

"Do you think you will be able to take the time away from studying your snot to attend the festival tonight?" Heinrich sneered "I could use an accomplice to scope out the frauleins."

"I would think your uniform would be enough to draw their attention." Reinhart replied. "The women all seem to love it when a soldier comes through."

"I wasn't planning on wearing it." Heinrich answered. "We can talk more about that later."

"Not going to wear it?" Reinhart looked surprised. "Lots of wasted potential there dear brother." He shook his head. "You should still wear it, if only to honor our late Fuhrer."

"I'm glad he's dead." Heinrich replied. If Reinhart's jaw were able to hit the ground it would have in that moment. He looked at his brother like his skin was turning green.

"Christ Heinrich, what did you just say?" Reinhart exclaimed. "After everything the Fuhrer did for this country you go and say something like that? This coming from a soldier of the Reich?"

"Reinhart, I know you are smart, but you have never been out of the village. You haven't seen the things I've seen. The newspapers and radios aren't reporting what has really been going on within the party. We should not trade peace of mind and stability for our freedoms. Piece by piece the party has been chipping away at them. What really worries me is that everyone had been going along with it blindly for so long they have forgotten to think for themselves. I was just and guilty, caught up in it myself, but I am starting to see the danger. A drowning man will take anyone's hand if they think they will save them, but you might just be accepting help from the devil if you aren't careful. I know, it sounds strange right? But let me explain." Heinrich replied. "I don't mind telling you now that I've been working for army intelligence for the last two years. Dispite all the good things the Fuhrer did for our people, you have no idea just how close he came to leading us into war. And not just one war, but multiple wars."

"What do you mean, what wars?" Reinhart asked confused.

"The Fuhrer reunited the German speaking people and restored honor to our nation, but that was not enough for him. He wanted more. I have seen the documents come across my desk which indicated an invasion of Poland was being planned. Invading another country is not the same as reclaiming what is rightfully ours. Do you know what would have happened if he had actually went ahead with the invasion? Both France and England had vowed defend Polish independence if we attacked. It would have meant a war on two fronts against three major powers. Who knows what else it could have led to. You're too young to know Reinhart, war is an ugly, ugly, thing. It's not the romantic story they try to sell you in the propaganda films. It's the worst thing that can happen in this world and too many of us have forgotten that. So, as treacherous as it sounds, with the Fuhrer and so many other high ranking members of the party dead, we are safer that way. Things are starting to head into a more sane direction."

"I'm not sure that I can agree." Reinhart replied. "Hasn't he death of the Fuhrer has caused a lot of upheaval in Berlin? The newspapers have said so. Isn't there a power vacuum that every two-bit politician is trying to fill?" The unrest is starting to feel like it did when we were kids, before Hitler stabilized things. The communists and other radicals are once again voicing their dissent."

"I'm not sure it wouldn't be better if some other political voice took over." Heinrich replied. "The Nazi party helped us restore our national pride, but their tactics have become increasingly brutal. With every shard of power they have collected they have become more bold. They are preaching reckless hate towards our other countries and own citizens. It has slowed down since the Fuhrers death, but it is still there. Two weeks ago my friend Franz had his store shut down and he was arrested on a false charge of treason. No one has seen or heard from him since he was arrested. I looked into it. No witnesses, no evidence against him, they just made the call. If they can do that to him what is stopping them from doing it to anyone else? And it wasn't just him, other people were disappearing, people who disagreed with the government or people who were just different."

The two brothers sat there pondering the possibilities.

"But now it's all starting to change." Heinrich went on. "The black cloud hanging over the country is lifting. The party is starting to fragment into factions as various groups vie for power. The party as a whole is much weaker than it was without Hitler and the other high ranking members. The lack of unity within the remainder has weakened their overall position. I'm not sure of where the present upheaval will take us, but I am sure it will be better than where we were going before."

---

Through the Admiral reports I learned that operation "Mouse Trap" had begun in China. Fortune had smiled on us, Baragon had appeared within forty miles of the primary ambush site that had been selected for the attack and the forecast for the day was cloudy. Given our past experience with Baragon's movements, the numbers boys calculated there would be ample time to get everything in place before he would arrive there.

The brass got things started by rushing transport planes and the stockpiled food stores to the area. The planes were kept just ahead of Baragon's path to avoid alarming him. Once they were certain of his course they made the first drop that would intersect his projected path. It worked perfectly. The observers on the ground reported from the first site that Baragon initially appeared weary of the food left out in the open, but quickly let his guard down. He took his first taste of many baits.

After finishing the first drop he followed his sense of smell to the second site several miles away. After two-three meals without interruption of any kind Baragon appeared less weary of a free meal. The beauty of having so many drops sites ahead of the actual trap was it was conditioning the monster into a false sense of security. It was also slowing him down long enough for the Chinese to rush in the equipment that was still needed in place.

Baragon seemed to be able to detect fresh meat up to seven miles away. Each time he came within that range of a lure he make a B-line for the bait. It was clear that he could be lured. Everything was going well. There was only one hiccup in the entire operation. Once it had been established that Baragon would eat food that was air dropped in his path one of the Chinese generals got the bright idea to poison one of the drops. He took it upon himself to lace the fourth drop with Cyanide. It didn't work. The pile was left untouched by the monster. Some of the local wildlife found it though. Suffice to say, the prey animals in the area had a fair number of predators less to worry about for a while.

In retrospect it was worth a try, but ultimately fruitless. The attempt had put the whole operation in jeopardy though. No one knew if Baragon would avoid the next lure after that. They resumed the regular drops immediately after the botched poisoning attempt and thankfully Baragon continued to respond to them as he had before. We dodged a bullet.

---

Several hours and food drops later Baragon was approaching the final destination on his journey. He seemed blissfully unaware of the rocky changes in it's surroundings as it pressed towards its next meal. A half full belly was not enough to satisfy him.

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The sun was setting behind the cloud cover as Baragon drew in close to the trap. The site was well prepared for him by this time. The few soldiers on the ground were hidden away in their bunkers waiting for him. They watched the monster closely with their binoculars.

In an effort to keep Baragon from becoming wise to the trap, ground forces were kept to an absolute minimum. There were no tanks, trucks, or cannons. The entire attack would hinge on the air force being able to hit the monster hard and fast. To that end, over two hundred planes had been brought together for the attack. The nearby airfields were stretched to their max.

As Baragon neared attack zone, dozens of bomber and fighter squadrons were already in the air, flying in a holding pattern ten miles away. They were just far enough away to ensure Baragon would not hear the sound of their engines. Once Baragon had reached the point of no return the signal would go out and they would begin their approach. It didn't take long.

Baragon crossed the designated line on the map and the silent radio signal went out. The monster could not know that he had just gone from the hunter to the hunted. The planes stopped their circling and formed up into predesignated columns to begin their attack.

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Baragon confidently marched his way towards the bait. He spotted it and his mouth watered. It was by far the largest pile that had been left for him and he eyed it greedily. Command wanted to ensure there was no chance Baragon would be done eating before the planes arrived. They looked upon it has his last meal, so they felt it was only right to be generous to the condemned. They had wanted him in an exact predetermined location for the attack and distracted. That's just what happened. The monster dug in and hardly looked up.

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When the planes came within range moments later Baragon was so engrossed in his meal he didn't notice the sound of their engines. It wasn't until they had closed to less than a mile that he finally heard them, and when he did pick up on their presence, he was slow to react. Perhaps he was tired from trying to digest his meals from earlier or perhaps he was just weighed down by the extra tonnage in general, but either way he was noticeably more sluggish than he'd been in previous encounters.

As predicted the first thing Baragon tried to do was retreat underground. He was able to dig up the surface soil easily enough, but very quickly he hit solid rock and that was a different story. The monster was not capable of expressing horror, but if he could, I think he would have at that moment. To his credit his claws were strong enough to chip way at the rock, but not quickly enough to make a difference.

Seeming to understand the wasted effort, he moved over to a new spot a couple hundred yards away and began again. The second attempt yielded similar results. Baragon then started to make a break for it back the way he came as the planes drew in ever closer.

It was at this point where the trap was truly sprung. The spotlights that had been carefully hidden all over the valley came to life one by one. Each of them aiming for Baragon's sensitive eyes. He came to a dead stop once the first stream found its target. He roared his rage to the world and spit out fire randomly in his path. It did him little good though, the spotlights were too far away from him to be reached by his flames.

As the spotlights did their job pinning Baragon down, the bombers closed to attack range. Not only did the lights disorient and blind Baragon, but they also pinpointed his position for the planes. Night bombing would have been impossible otherwise. High level bombing was fairly hit or miss even during the day with the best of conditions and unusually their attacks were made on stationary targets. This situation was anything but that, so the searchlights were essential for them to be successful.

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The bombers came in much lower than usual to compensate for all their disadvantages, but were careful to stay high enough to be out of range of Baragon's flame attacks. The first wave finally got into position above the monster and the attack began. Hundreds of bombs rained down all around Baragon and detonated on impact. At least two bombs hit Baragon directly, landing right in the middle of his back. While that spot was protected by his body armored, it was still clear that the force of the resulting explosions bothered him. An entire row of bombs were a near miss, hitting the ground close enough to Baragon's unprotected underbelly to do indirect damage.

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The first wave passed and the second wave of bombers had a similar level of success. Baragon was helpless to do much about it. He couldn't run, he couldn't hide, and he couldn't fight his attackers. He was just a sitting duck. The fighter planes dove down and harassed Baragon with their machine guns while the third wave of bombers lined up their attack.

It was at this point when Baragon decided to make a blind dash to try to escape, or at least avoid the next attack. He managed to get a few hundred yards before tripping over a formation of rocks. It would turn out to be a fateful move. The bomber pilots had to try to reroute their planes to redirect their attack on the fly and this was tough considering their tight formation. The cohesion of the attack was slightly disrupted.

Ultimately they were able to successful drop their bombs on Baragon for a third time, but one of the resulting explosions also severed the main power line that connected the spotlights to the generator that was powering them. The battlefield went pitch black and there wasn't anything that could be done about it.

The fourth and fifth wave of bombers circled aimlessly not being able to find a target. The fighters made blind runs trying to use their tracer rounds to locate Baragon, but that was like trying to light up a an entire gymnasium with a single match. It proved to be an impossible task. Baragon could not be found and the operation was at an end.

By morning Baragon was gone. Strangely there were no escape holes to be found within twenty miles of the ambush site. The search teams eventually found a trail which lead into a mountain range, but no further trace of Baragon were found after that. Though it was disappointing to have lost Baragon, we had managed to do some damage. His blood was found all over the battlefield. It was not clear if they had struck a mortal blow, but if nothing else Baragon understood that we too could be dangerous.

---

It had been quite the night. Heinrich had surprised his parents at the festival and they had feasted together with the best foods Germany had to offer. He had also drank his fair share of beer. Fortunately he had built up a good tolerance over the years and was handling himself well.

The festival was just the thing to make him feel at home and unwind. It had been weeks since he was able to feel so relaxed. The problems of his country sank to the bottom of his mind. He had danced some dances and sang some traditional songs along with the crowd. Even without the advantage of his uniform he had still caught the eye of some of the local girls. He could recall many of them from when he was in school, but there were also some new faces.

He talked with a few and danced with a few. He was having a good time. After a few more dances he spotted his brother Reinhart sitting by himself looking disinterested in the party. He went over to talk with him.

"What's wrong little brother, are we feeling anti-social tonight?" Heinrich inquired.

"I feel anti-social every night." Reinhart replied. "You know these kind of events aren't my thing."

Heinrich had hoped his brother would have changed while he was away, but he had never been the type of person who liked big crowds and noise. He didn't like beer, overeating, or loud music. Generally he preferred to stay home and quietly read a book or work on an project. Heinrich could almost feel Reinhart's urge to escape the party. He felt a little guilty because he knew Reinhart was only staying because he wanted to spend time with him there.

"I suppose we have spent enough time here. What do you think, should we say goodbye to the folks and hit the road?" Heinrich offered.

"I thought you would never ask." Reinhart wasted no time rising from his chair. It was as if he had been unclasped from some unseen shackles.

The brothers said their goodbyes and left the beer hall. Heinrich noticed a few disappointed looking girls on the way out, but there would be time enough for that later. He had several days still to venture back to town and get reacquainted. He wanted to make reconnecting with his brother a priority.

As they walked home they reminisced about their past exploits together as kids: Lost adventures down by the creek looking for pirate treasure, sneaking past their parent's room to raid the pantry for sweets at night, and camping out at night in their back yard looking for shooting stars.

They were about halfway home when clouds rolled in from the southwest. It began to rain on them. It was only a slight sprinkle at first, but before long it became an all out downpour and they were forced to run the rest of the way. Despite their best efforts, they were still soaked by the time they reached their doorstep.

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"Yarg, I didn't know it was supposed to rain tonight!" Heinrich exclaimed as he used the towel to finish drying off his hair. He handed one to Reinhart who began to dry himself off too. "I'd better get one more for the floor or mother his going to have fit when she gets back."

Heinrich got to work on the floor and Reinhart meanwhile made his way to the kitchen. When he returned Heinrich had managed to nearly dry the whole floor off. Reinhart had a plate with a cloth covering it's contents.

"Is that what I think it is?" Heinrich asked with a knowing smile.

"It is." Reinhart pulled the cloth off revealing the special family pastries their mother was know for baking.

"How did you manage to keep these a secret for so long?" Heinrich asked suspiciously. "Ha, the rest of this can wait."

"Well, when you mentioned our old raids on the kitchen it reminded me that mother had made a few of these for the festival. Clearly she forgot to take them." Reinhart smiled sinisterly.

"Their loss, our gain." Heinrich took one of the pastries and took a bite. They both sat on the wood floor and enjoyed their desert. As they sat and munched they could hear he rain getting harder. It pattered against the roof of their house.

"It's really coming down hard out there." Heinrich noted. "They're going to get stuck down there at the festival until this storm passes."

"Ha, that would suit father just fine." Reinhart laughed. "He never wants to leave. Mother always has to drag him out of there."

The wind kicked up and beat against the side of the house, taking the brothers a little off guard. It hollowed down the chimney, breaking the festive mood in the room. The rain grew even more intense outside. The wind started to blow the rain sideways so it was beating against the windows. Heinrich stood up and went to the window to get a better look outside. The rain was beating down hard against the lake water. Trees were rocking back and forth regularly from the gusts of wind. Spots of lightening were starting to creep in from the distance. The rumbles of the resulting thunder echoed through the house.

"I bet everyone out at the festival is running for the beer hall at this point." Reinhart had run to grab some candles and was trying to light them. Meanwhile the lightening was getting closer and reflected off of the water from the lake.

"Yeah, I bet you're right." Heinrich was starting to feel a little nervous knot his his belly. He had always played the part of the brave older brother when they were kids, but he had never, never, liked storms. Perhaps it was some primordial fear he retained from her ancestors. Whatever the reason, he tried to dismiss the discomfort he was feeling. He wasn't a child anymore and rainstorms shouldn't bother a grow man.

He looked away from the window and went over to help Reinhart light the candles. He was still struggling to get them lit. As he walked over he heard a rumble much louder than anything that had come before. The intensity of it shook the house and shook him to the core too.

"That was a big one, it must have been really close." Reinhart remarked, seemingly undisturbed by the sound and vibration. However, there was something deeply disturbing about it to Heinrich. He had not seem any flash of lightening proceeding the thunder. He stood there frozen by some unspoken fear. He knew something was very not right. He felt like he needed to turn around and look back out the window, but the other half of his instincts told him not to move. It wasn't clear which feeling he should act on. As he stood there like a statue, Reinhart looked up at him.

"Come on, don't tell me the weather is bothering you this much?" He smiled at him, not quite believing his tough older brother could be so easily humbled by the weather.The house shook with a second, notably stronger, rumble. Again, there was no lightening to be found to explain the noise. The slight smirk on Reinhart's face began to melt away as he too started to realize something strange was going on.

"That's not the wind..." Reinhart noted as the color in his face faded. A moment later the house was hit by a wall of water. It broke out one of the back windows facing toward the lake.

"What the hell is going on, what was that?" Reinhart shrieked in shock. The brothers both rushed to see what had broken the window. What they found was strange. There was a fish flopping around on the floor which had come in through the broken window with a fair amount of water.

"Did this come from the lake?" Reinhart asked poked at the fish.

"I think so." Heinrich answered, picking at some green goo hanging off the broken window. It appeared to be the same algae they had collected from earlier. "How the hell did....?"

Another rumble shook the entire house, causing Reinhart to loose his footing on the wet wood floor. Heinrich helped his brother get back on his feet on the slippery floor. As he did he caught a figure rising from the lake in the corner of his eye.

The first thing he noticed was a row of sharp spikes piercing out of the water, they glistened in the lightening from the storm behind it. Next came a massive back and torso. Hunks of mud fell away from the massive body as rain continued to pour down on it. As the mud was washed away its skin was revealed. Its back was bumpy and armored. It opened its mouth revealing sharp teeth and then it turned in their direction.

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The huge creature began to make it's way out of the lake and towards the beach, all the while the house shook with each of its steps. Heinrich and Reinhart watched helplessly through the window as it crashed through the house directly next door to them and continued past leaving their house untouched. They felt relieve for a few precious moments before they realized it was heading in the direction of town. For a few tense seconds neither Heinrich or Reinhart knew what do to, but finally Heinrich grabbed a coat and the family gun off the mantle.

"What are you doing?" Reinhart exclaimed. "You can't hope to stop that thing with just a rifle!"

"We have to do something." Heinrich snapped back, loading the gun. "Nobody in Essenheim has any idea that thing is coming."

Moments later the brothers burst through their front door and ran down the road in the rain after the giant monster.

---
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Re: Godzilla: Tactical Assault.

Postby Living Corpse » Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:10 pm

Oh poop Varan is in!
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Re: Godzilla: Tactical Assault.

Postby Ashram52 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:42 pm

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Re: Godzilla: Tactical Assault.

Postby Ashram52 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:21 pm

Hey forum folks, a quick update.

I meant to post a new chapter this weekend, but unfortunately that's not going to happen now. I've been hit with a minor disaster this week. My basement was flooded two days ago and that just so happens to be were I set up my miniatures to take pictures. I almost had all the writing for the chapter done and I had my next set up all ready to go when disaster hit. I don't want to spoil anything, but it was going to involve a monster attacking a town this time around.

Now the good news is the only real damage was to my carpets, but in the process of tearing them out I had to move everything out of the area, which meant throwing my newly set up town into a box to haul it out. Most of you probably aren't aware, but it's a painstaking process to set things up, particularly when a lot of buildings are involved. So I'm a little salty about having to start all over ago. :dizzy:

Anyhow, I probably won't be able to set anything back up for 2-3 weeks depending on how long it takes replace my floors down there.

In the meantime I figured I'd give you guys something to look at. This was one of my prototype cities when this project was still in it's infancy. Eventually I'll be setting up a fresh version San Fran. You've seen this set up in a grey photo already, but here's a colored one from a different angle.

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Keeping checking back for updates, there is still quite a lot more coming. I have not even scratched the surface of where I am going with this. There are more buildings, plenty more monsters you will recognize (along with several characters I put together myself). I think there will be some nice surprises you'll enjoy.
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Re: Godzilla: Tactical Assault.

Postby Ashram52 » Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:04 pm

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Re: Godzilla: Tactical Assault.

Postby Living Corpse » Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:13 pm

Sucks about your carpet. Take your time.
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Re: Godzilla: Tactical Assault.

Postby Ashram52 » Sat May 11, 2019 2:09 pm

Chapter 9: The Yellow Sea Turned Red.


Heinrich and Reinhart ran as quickly as they could. Rain continued to pour down on them, beating against their faces. The storm was making it difficult to see where they were going. Despite their best efforts, they could not keep pace with the monster. It was crashing through the trees effortlessly, snapping them like matchsticks as it went. It was getting further and further ahead of them with every massive step it took.

Reinhart did not have the endurance to keep up with his older, more athletic, brother. He was out of breathe and losing speed second by second.

"This is pointless!" He called to Heinrich ahead of him with his last bit of breathe as he came to a stop. "Even if we could keep up a dead sprint, there's no way we are going to beat the thing to Hessenheim."

Heinrich stopped and looked back at this exhausted brother, then back at the monster ahead of them. Though he hated to admit it, it was clear to him that his Reinhart was right. Even if he left Reinhart behind and pressed on alone, he would still continue to lose ground. They needed a better option and needed it fast.

"We're gonna have to go through the woods!" Heinrich called back to his younger brother. "If we stay on the road we have no chance, but if we take a short cut we might just make it in time."

Reinhart didn't look too impressed with the idea, as he was still struggling to catch his breath and more running would not be easy for him. However, he realized what was at stake if the monster reached the village before they did. Heinrich's plan was pretty much their only alternative. If they stayed on the road it would only wind them around the woods and cost them precious time.

"Ok, let's do it then." Reinhart resolved to follow his older brother's lead. Heinrich nodded and they both darted off the road and into the treeline. The trees gave them some relief from the hard falling rain, but the terrain was rough and slippery. Running through it was proving to be more difficult that either of them had expected.

For the most part it was a downhill dash, which helped, but that made slowing down and dodging around obstacles along the way tricky as their momentum carried them forward. Each of them struggled to keep pace, but finally they came to a clearing on the hill which gave them their first view of the town. The rain had slowed to a sprinkle by the time, so they had a good vantage point to see what was going on.

They could see gentile lights of the windows below in the dark. The monster by this point had circled around the hill and they could see it closing in on the town from the far side. Upon seeing it Heinrich realized they were too late. Even with their short cut the monster would still easily reach the town before they could. In desperation he came up with a last ditch effort to warn the people below of the impending danger.

Reinhart watched as his brother pulled the rifle strapped to his shoulder free and brought it into firing position. He expected the Heinrich would point it at the monster and was confused as his brother instead pointed it towards the sky and fired. Once he had fired, he ejected the empty cartage from the rifle and quickly loaded another.

Without explanation, Heinrich repeated his shot aiming at nothing in particular. The shot rang out, breaking up the slight white-noise patter of the rain echoing down into town. Down below in the beer hall, people hear the disturbance and started to trickle out to investigate the sound of gunfire. Reinhart meanwhile made his third shot, bringing even more people from the party outside or to the windows of the hall. They didn't spot Heinrich, but they did spot the monster bearing down on the town.

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It roared as it got even closer to the town. The reaction from the villagers was mixed as they realized the threat that was coming at them. Some people stood there in disbelief and shock, others instantly bolted away, and some simply retreated back inside the hall to what they must have felt was relative safety.

It was pandemonium as fear and terror spread throughout the village. Lights flickered on here and there as the town came alive with alarm. The majority of the villagers were inside the beer hall as the creature came within a hundred yards of the first house at the edge of town. Without even slowing down, the monster smashed right through the building with it's front legs. Wood shards and other debris showered nearby rooftops as it pressed forward.

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The monster continued to trample over everything and everyone in it's path. A man fleeing from his home caught its attention and he was snatched up in the creatures jaws. It was over for him quickly after that. People were still struggling to get out of the beer hall as it closed in on them. Seeing a man eaten alive only served to escalate the panic. The doors of the hall were jammed as people rushed to the doors to escape. Villagers fell over from being pushed from behind, which only made escape that much harder. The lights and sounds of chaos erupting at the beer hall only seemed to attract the creature more. It pressed in close and finally it's body rolled over the building, collapsing it instantly.

When it was over, the building was flattened. It was obvious that no one who was still inside could have survived.

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As they watched the aftermath Reinhart fell to his knees in anguish while Heinrich belted out a hateful roar that torn up his throat. The world had fallen off its axis for the two brothers. It was almost a certainty that their parents had still been inside the building when it collapsed. Reinhart sobbed uncontrollably while Heinrich threw aside his rifle having no more use for it. Heinrich collected his shattered brother and dragged him by the collar down towards the village.

"Are you mad?" Reinhart shouted. "What are you doing? We can't go down there!"

"We can and we are." Heinrich declared cold and calmly ignoring his brothers pleas. Reinhart struggled pointlessly against his much stronger brother. Meanwhile, the monster continued to rampage through small village, tearing up everything it came across.

"You idiot, you are going to get us killed." Reinhart yelled at his brother, trying to punch him in the ribs.

"No, you and I are going to stop this." Heinrich assured his younger brother as he released him. Reinhart fell to the wet ground and looked up at his brother, who he was certain had lost his mind from grief. Heinrich was walking away, leaving him to fend for himself in the mud.

"Where are you going?" Reinhart demanded getting back to his feet.

"There." Heinrich pointed the police station.

"What, you think you can find a bigger gun there?" Reinhart asked sarcastically. "What good is that going to do exactly?" A bullet or two won't mean much to that thing!"

"Just follow me and shut up." Heinrich growled back.

The two brothers made their way into the police station, which by that point, it was almost empty. There was just one frantic officer left inside trying to radio for help from the outside. He didn't even notice the two brothers slip past him towards the weapons storage locker. The locker had been left wide open in the chaos.

"Here, hold this." Heinrich grabbed a nearby duffel bag and gave it to Reinhart. They went inside the locker and Heinrich began to grab small tin canisters that were lined up along a shelf and put them inside the bag one by one. "Whatever you do, do not drop the bag."

"Ok." Reinhart answered, not certain what they were collecting. Once Heinrich had taken all the cans, he turned and grabbed a device with a long metal cylinder with a stand attached.

"Alright, let's go." They sneaked out of the police station undetected. Once they were back outside they found what was left of the village in chaos. People were running from the monster in every direction. Most of the police officers had already been killed by the monster. It was unclear to anyone where it was best to take refuge. Anyone wandering the streets would be snatched up and eaten and buildings certainly weren't safe. The creature was smashing them at will. It had just leveled another one when Heinrich caught sight of it.

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"Come on, follow me." He urged his brother on towards he beast. It was moving towards city hall.

"What did we just steal?" Reinhart finally asked as they chased after it.

"A mortar." Heinrich answered.

"A mortar?!" Reinhart shouted back. "Those things that launch explosives?!" He held onto the bag extra tight.

Once they had come within a block of of the monster Heinrich signaled for Reinhart to stop. He put down the pipe he was carrying and told Reinhart to open the bag up. Once the stand was set in place and pointed at the monster Heinrich told his brother to hand him one of the canisters from the bag. Reinhart obeyed.

Heinrich slid the canister into the opening of the pipe and quickly turned away from it. The canister rattled its way down the pipe until it hit the bottom. Once it had, there was a slight pop followed by an odd zooming sound. The canister flew back up the pipe and burst out the opening.

Reinhart watched as the shot arched up in the air and came back down close to the monster. The canister hit a couple yards away from its intended target, but it didn't explode on contact. Instead there was a slight crackle and smoke came out of it. Reinhart thought the explosive was a dud. He sighed, thinking they weren't off to a great start. Just then, the canister erupted, billowing out copious amounts of smoke. Heinrich launched another two canisters in rapid session, which landed close to the first one. They too let out a cloud of gas and smoke which began to spread all over.

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The monster didn't notice any of it at first. It just continued to smash city hall piece by piece undeterred. The bell in the tower rang out as the creature used its claws to tear down the structure around it. The building gave out and collapsed towards the ground. Slowly, the smoke from the canisters began to rise up. It took a few moments, but once the smoke had reached the monster's face there a noticeable reaction. It was plain to see that it doesn't like it. The monster moved forward out of the cloud and further down the block to escape it.

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"What is this stuff?" Reinhart demanded from his brother.

"It's tear gas." Heinrich answered.

"How did you know it would be in there?" Reinhart motioned back to the police station.

"I told you, I was working for intelligence branch of the army." Heinrich explained. "The gas was supplied to all police stations in the country since the Fuhrer's death. It was meant for crowd control. Given the riots in the past times of political uncertainly, the powers that be felt it would be wise to have it on hand." The brothers had to pick up the mortar and carry it down the street to catch up with the monster again, who had retreated out of range.

They set it up again within just a few seconds and resumed launching tear gas at the monster. Again, once the gas reached its face, the creature was forced to retreat out of the gas cloud. The brothers kept pace with it, moving and firing when needed. They had nearly managed to force it out of town after several rounds of attacks.

Heinrich and Reinhart were setting up for the fourth, and what they hoped would be, the final time. They were riding high on their momentum. Reinhart was on his knees bent over grabbing more canisters out of the bag while Heinrich was standing, positioning the mortar.

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The first canister they launched actually hit he monster in the face and bounced off. They had really gotten good at determining the range through repeated use of the weapon. Reinhart thought to laugh until he saw the monster start to turn its head towards them. Their luck had run out. The creature spotted them. Heinrich launched two more canisters, which he hoped would make the monster retreat like it had before. The gas was on target, but to their horror, the monster blinked, bringing up a semi-transparent membrane to protect its eyes from the gas.

It glared down on them menacingly, seeming to understand they were they source of all its irritation. It roared malevolently, the sound and resulting vibration paralyzing both Heinrich and Reinhart. The monster reared back its tail and swung it down at them. There was nowhere to run, they couldn't hope to escape its attack.

The massive tail swipe pulverized everything thing in its path, snapping trees and turning a house between it and the intended targets into a pile of kindling. The tail also hit a automobile that was sitting across the street, sending it, along with other debris, flying towards the brothers. Reinhart instinctively lay down flat. The car flew right over him and landed fifty odd yards behind him with a crash as it landed inside a house.

'Jesus Christ.' Reinhart thought frantically, frozen to the ground with fear. 'I should be dead.' The monster's tail still hung above him, blocking out the moonlight above. He was sure that at any moment it would come falling back down to finish him off. To his disbelief, the tail floated away from him back the way it had come.

"My god Heinrich, can you believe that?" Reinhart asked, rising to his knee. "He missed us!" Heinrich did not answer. Reinhart looked back to where his brother had been. He was gone. "Brother? Brother!" He shouted, his voice echoing in the ruined neighborhood. "Where are you?" He looked for Heinrich, but he was nowhere to be found. There was a gust of wind from behind Reinhart, but he ignored it, still looking for Heinrich.

What Reinhart wasn't seeing was the monster was moving again. While its eyes were protected from the gas, it still had to breathe and it had inhaled a significant amount of gas when he had swung his tail. The gas was doing its work, attacking the monster's respiratory track. With its chest on fire, the monster had finally had enough and leap into the air with its powerful back legs. While leaping, it opened up membranes between its front and hind legs and glided away from the village.

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The force of the jump caused a blow-back, which caused the tear gas to spread all over the town. The surviving villagers, including Reinhart, were caught up in the cloud. Reinhart was still trying to find his brother when it overtook him. Within seconds he was plagued by respiratory pain, skin irritation, and a horrible stinking in his eyes. He stumbled around, impaired by the effects of the gas. He took his shirt off and wrapped it around his head in an attempt to limit his exposure.

---

In the immediate aftermath, the monster who would went on to be known as Varan disappeared. The popular theory was that he retreated back into one of the various lakes in the region to wash the gas residue off of himself. The initial reports made it sound like it was Angirus who had reappeared. After all, there were certain characteristics that both monster shared, but given that the new monster possessed the unusual ability of flight, it was quickly concluded they were dealing with something new.

---

Meanwhile in the Gulf of Lion, just south of France, a strange object was found floating in the water not too far off coast from Toulon. A fishing ship was the first thing to run across it. The crew of the vessel radioed their discovery into their company's headquarters who then proceeded to report it to the French Government. What they had found appeared to be a gigantic egg. It was robin blue with yellow strips and white spots.

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There was much debate about what to do with it. Some wanted it destroyed on the spot, others wanted it brought inland to be studied, and a few simply thought it should be left alone to drift somewhere else. As it was floating in French territorial waters, it was in their government's hands to decide how to deal with it.

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They eventually decided that it was to be studied. The French officials felt it might offer some much needed insights to the sudden appearance of giant creatures all over the world. Such as it was, the egg was towed into port and brought inland. A shelter was quickly erected to house it and protect it from the elements.

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It didn't take the scientists on hand too long to conclude that the egg was fertile and housed some type of life form. It was giving off heat and, from time to time, movement was detected from within. Exactly what was inside was mystery though. The two leading theories were either a bird or reptile. Small samples of the egg's shell were chipped away and sent to a lab for analysis. The results were inconclusive.

Whatever was inside the egg, it was completely unlike anything they could find a reference match for. Though the studies continued, it was starting to become clear they wouldn't know exactly what they were dealing with until it hatched.

---

"Take that you bastard." Marcus said aloud, having finished reading the report about ambush for Baragon.

"They got him good then?" Joe asked.

"They are hopeful that he crawled into a hole somewhere and died." Marcus answered. "No seismic activity has been reported anywhere in China since the attack. It's a very good sign."

"So it's just the big bird we have to deal with then?" Joe mused.

"Don't take him too lightly." Marcus warned. "I'd rate your big bird far more dangerous than Baragon was. We were able to beat him because were we able to exploit a weakness. Rodan has no such weakness, at least not that we've been able to identify. The Japanese should wait until we can study him further before committing to such a large engagement."

"It's funny, I think the fact that we were successful in our assault has emboldened them." Joe suggested. "Or maybe they just don't want us making them look bad?"

"I'm afraid you may not be too far off." Marcus frowned. "The Japanese are a prideful people. The fact that we were able to defeat both Angirus and Baragon, particularly as they had been unsuccessfully hunting for the latter of the two for so long, just might have bruised their national ego. I just hope it doesn't push them into something rash."

---

In Japan, the radar network was being completed and the fleet was gathering in their northern bases.

Akira had volunteered to join mission to attack Rodan. Given his experience with the monster his superiors agreed. It wasn't quite as simple as that though. He would be required him to do some additional training if he was to participant. He was an avatar typically assigned to close air support from the army, and thusly, he was used to take offs and landings from a land based airstrip. This mission would be primarily carried out my navy planes and that would mean take offs and landings from a carrier. It was considerably more difficult to land on a carrier. Even for an experienced flyer like Akira, it was no walk in the park for someone who had never done it.

Over the days leading up to the mission, Akira practiced regularly. He was not an expert by the time they were done, but he was adequate enough to do the job. There was one condition to allowing Akira join the attack. He was not to speak of his previous encounter with Rodan or express his opinion of it to anyone. Not having much other choice in the matter, he agreed.

Once the radar stations were operational, they were able to narrow down the possibilities of Rodan's nest site. The large stations had a range of about 125 miles. They could not detect the monster all the way to the mainland, but they could detect the monster flying over the sea of Japan. Through repeated radar contacts they were able to determine that Rodan heading was flying fairly regularly towards a particular patch of airspace. The airspace in question was over an area of land just northeast of Korea, somewhere close to the coast.

With that knowledge, a radar station was hastily put together in Northern Korea to try to pinpoint the nest's exact location. The station was up within four days and it made contact with Rodan almost immediately. However, it too proved to be too far out of range to determine the exact location of Rodan's nest. It did however give them enough information to know the nest was within easy striking distance of the coast. It couldn't be more than twenty miles inland and that meant the fleet could launch their raid from the air as planned.

Factions within the military argued over if they should immediately mobilize the fleet to strike or construct a second tower in Korea with the intent of providing them with even greater intelligence. Most of commanders felt that it was unnecessary to build a second tower; that they had sufficient enough information as it was to carry out the attack. They also argued that if they built another tower too close to the nest that it might alarm Rodan and they wanted to surprise him.

News of the American victory over Baragon did seem to have some effect. After only two days of debate, the decision was made to proceed with the attack. The Japanese fleet made final preparations and set out for the coast.

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The fleet represented one of the largest gatherings of naval power the world had ever seen. There were well over a hundred warships, including most of the Japanese fleet's carriers and battleships. They sailed with an air of confidence. In terms of shear tonnage it was unprecedented for a Far-Eastern power. It had enough firepower to rival the British Home Fleet. How could such an overwhelming force fail?

---

On board the fleet's flagship Akagi the mood was no different. Many of its pilots and crew were gathered in the main hanger bay. They were only hours away from the target. Mechanics were hard at work making last minute adjustments to the planes, ordnance men were wheeling in bombs and ammo belts, and pilots were standing in a circle psyching each other up for the mission.

Akira was alone, sitting off to the side watching and listening. Nearby he overheard a squadron of young pilots boasting about what victory they were about to have and the eternal glory that would be heaped upon them once they brought the beast down.

As he listened to the cocky spirits of the young flyers, it was starting to become clear to him why he had been put under a gag order. The other men on the mission didn't have the slightest idea what they were in for. The government had hushed the facts about the monster and what it could do. Beyond the few other surviving pilots from the first encounter, the men at the conference, and the higher ranks of the Japanese military, everyone else was in the dark about the true threat Rodan represented.

Beyond shear ignorance, there was another major issue Akira was starting to identify among the other pilots on the Akagi. Quite lot of them had taken part of the seek and destroy missions looking for Baragon. They were used to the monster running away and avoiding any contact with aircraft. It gave them an ego boost and an inflated sense of power. Akira knew both of those things would be deflated quickly once they came up against Rodan. In the sky it, would not run or hide from them.

Akira looked around the deck and realized that the buzz, excitement, and overconfidence was not limited to just one squad of cocksure flyers. No, the problem was far worse. It appeared to be all the pilots on board. They were all strutting around as if they didn't have a care in the world. Too long they had been at the top of the food chain in the sky. Too many easy victories in China. A harsh lesson was luring behind the clouds, waiting for them, and there wasn't much he could do to stop it.

"Hey Captain Akira, don't you think we'll be the first ones to have a crack at the monster?" One of the youngsters in Akira's new squadron yelled over to him. "Batu doesn't think so, but I told him we're the best pilots in the fleet and it's always best to lead with strength!"

"I think once were are up there you'd best keep your wits about you." Akira replied. The young pilot looked puzzle. It simply wasn't the answer he was expecting. Akira wanted to say more, but if he did, he would be break his word.

An alarm bell erupted above them, bringing the short lived conversation to an end. The voice of the Akagi's Captain cracked over the intercom. He ordered his crew to general quarters. Rodan had been sighted on radar. It was not approaching the fleet, but it was flying over the Sea of Japan ahead of the fleet. The Akagi was to scramble all its squadrons.

---

Minutes later, Akira was in the cockpit of his fighter preparing to take off. He throttled up and his plane lurched forward, thundering down the flight deck. His plane caught air three quarters of the way down and he soared into the sky.

The line of fighters behind him followed shortly after, launching one by one. After all the fighters were up, the dive bombers were next. The fighters climbed and circled the carrier waiting for the bombers to catch up with them.

Peering through his canopy, Akira saw the other carriers of the fleet launching their squadrons as well. The sky was quickly filling up with warplanes. The fighter director on the Akagi below started to issue out his orders and the cloud of planes began to organize themselves into a massive formation. Akira's squadron became a part of the left wing.

All said, there were well over five-hundred aircraft and it was impressive to see so many coordinating all at once. The formation took shape as the last squadrons got into place. Finally they were ordered to advance. The huge formation of planes pressed onward toward the horizon and battle. Akira felt a sense of awe with the amount of air power around him. He had never seen so many warplanes in one place before.

The sun had just risen in the east and somehow it comforted Akira in the cockpit of his plane. The rising Sun was the symbol of Imperial Japan and he felt as though maybe it was a good omen for the mission. He had been dreading this moment in his mind, but now that he was actually there it wasn't so bad. He had a job to do, he just needed to get it done and come back alive. Simple as that.

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The fighter director radioed to the squadron to update them on Rodan's position and ordered them to adjust their course. The planes responded accordingly. Given the sheer number of planes, radio silence amongst the pilots was being strictly enforced. Excess radio chatter would be extremely disruptive. They were only to listen in to their orders. The only exception to breaking radio silence was to report in the position of Rodan once they spotted the monster.

The planes pressed on and flew over a small island as they continued on course towards their quarry. Akira noted a small mountain peak and some huts dotting the beach. The people below might get a show. When the formation had closed to within forty miles the fighter director crackled over the radio again. He updated the squadrons, letting them know that Rodan had changed course again. It wasn't clear how, but the monster must have somehow become wise to their presence. It was now coming straight at them.

Akira tensed up, thinking about the last attack. He pushed the thoughts out of his mind, but he could not help but feel anxious. They had been hoping to catch Rodan on ground. They were only to engage him in the air if that wasn't possible. The plan was already shot to hell and it hadn't even got off the ground. No help for it though, no choice but to press on.

The fighter director came back on the radio again, this time sounding more urgent. Rodan had rapidly closed to within ten miles of the formation and then disappeared off the radar. Akira had read the reports from the American fleet's action again Rodan and knew this could only mean one thing: The creature had climbed above the radar's ability to track it. Could Rodan somehow know it was being tracked and was intentionally climbing so high because it knew it shake them or was this simply how the monster liked to hunt?

"Watch out from above." Akira warned his squadron, using a separate radio channel only they could hear. He wanted to broadcast that message through his radio to the rest of the pilots, but would have to break radio silence to do so. He only hoped some of the other squad leaders were given the American reports to read too. Somehow he didn't think so. He watched breathlessly, waiting for a sign of the creature.

'Where is it...?' Akira thought. Moment after painful moment stretched by with nothing. He thought for sure they'd have seen it by then. The giant formation pressed on unopposed. Each pilot looked around in every direction of the sky without a sign of Rodan. The only thing that could be heard was the humming of the planes.

There was finally a crackle on the radio from the fighter director. It was a warning, but it had come far too late to be of any help. Rodan rose from below the formation, crashing right through the center of it. The monster took out an entire squadron of planes just with its body and wings. The squadron directly behind the first were caught up in the wash of the force Rodan left in its wake. Most of them went out of control rolling towards the sea below.

The formation was so tightly packed that other planes collided when they tried to avoid Rodan and the planes he destroyed or disabled. In just one pass Rodan had taken out two and a half squadrons.

'Son of skreeonk must have been skimming the surface!' Akira thought to himself angrily. 'But why didn't the radar pick him up?' Then he realized the mountainous terrain of the island they passed could have created a blind spot in the radar screen between the fleet and them. 'He was staying under the radar...'

The fighter director ordered the squadrons to break up the individual formations so they weren't all clumped up together and could maneuver. Though shaken, the pilots followed their orders, stretching out the formation. Meanwhile Rodan had risen above the radar screen and disappeared again. The fighters wanted to pursue and counter attack, but with no target in sight could do nothing but wait.

The formation came to and passed through a wall of clouds. Visibility was momentarily limited as the planes worked their way through the soup. When they came out, a section of planes were still in the dark and didn't realize they shouldn't be. A shadow was looming over the air-group, following their course and speed. Again, the flyers were too late to realize Rodan was right on top of them before it was too late.

Unlike last time though, Rodan did not swoop in and out. He remained in the midst of the planes and started to swat them from the sky rapidly. One of the pilots broke radio silence to report Rodan's presence, but the only thing the rest of the planes got out of him were his screams as his plane was torn apart and exploded around him.

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The rest of his squad mates responded, trying to help out their besieged comrade. They pulled in behind Rodan and opened up with their cannons. Once Rodan felt the ammo hitting him, he dived down to avoid the fire. The lines of cannon fire streaked behind the monster trying to reacquire him, but found friendly planes along the way. At least two planes caught fire and trailed smoke as they fell out of formation. One of the surviving planes stalled as it tried to maneuver away from Rodan and the friendly fire.

As plane after plane was knocked out, the formation started to fall apart and general chaos began to set in. Most of the squadrons managed to stick together, but amongst the ones that had been attacked, or were simply closest to the monster, it was degenerated into every man for themselves. The very sight of the monster was enough to inspire dread in the heart of some of the pilots.

The radio silence rule went right out the window as discipline broken down and panicked pilots began to flood the radio waves. Orders could not be passed along and there was no hope for coordination anymore. The center of the formation was a fur-ball of planes. It was a mess and they men stuck in it desperately needed help.

Akira had to resort to hand signals to his squad-mates to communicate as even their own radio frequency was bogged down by pilots from other squadrons desperately switching channels. Akira urged his men to follow him toward the center. As they closed in, Rodan's jaws snapped down on the tail and left wing of a bomber he was chasing. The bomber's wing snapped right off and the remaining portions of the aircraft began to spin and tumble from the sky.

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Akira's group pressed in, followed by some of the other contingents of the left wing who had decided to follow him too. The fighters depressed their triggers and showered Rodan in a hail of bullets. Rodan broke off his pursuit of the plane he was after and came right at Akira's group.

The monster came noise to noise with them as they continued to fire. He passed just a couple of feet below Akira's plane, which was close enough to push it higher as it went by. Two of Akira's wing-men weren't as lucky. Their plane's disintegrated as Rodan rammed directly into them. Several other planes were throw off course as it passed.

The flight groups that had followed Akira's had similar outcomes to their attacks, several lost places with no clear damage inflicted in return. Rodan pressed on and attacked other squadrons who were less prepared. It was more than clear by this point that machine guns and cannons were not going to get the job done. They had bombers with heavier ordnance, but they were perfectly useless until Rodan landed.

The air-groups were getting cut to pieces one by one as the battle continued.

---

The Admiral in command was keeping close track of the situation. He could see less and less of his planes on the radar screen with each passing minute. He knew he had to do something and decided to move the fleet in closer to try to support his flyers. His intent was to use the guns of his powerful surface fleet to shoot Rodan down. If they could just get him out of the air, they'd have a fair chance.

The Japanese had a great number of battleships and heavy cruisers at their disposal. The strength of their surface fleet was formidable and battleships had been proven to be at least semi-effective against the giant monsters they had termed Kaiju in the past. The Admiral felt it was the logical next step given how disastrous the air battle was proving to be.

Minutes passed by as the the air-groups continued to take casualties. The fleet pressed forward towards a showdown with the monster. The Admiral began to see the monster's handy work in the sky. He could see through his binoculars that planes were falling out of the sky regularly. The air battle had already been raging for a half-hour and he had little to show for it aside from the loss of many of his airmen and aircraft.

The admiral sent out an order for his planes to retreat and regroup behind the fleet. He was hoping the monster would follow them so he could concentrate his anti-air power in one good barrage.

The planes struggled to retreat as they got the recall order. Rodan destroyed even more planes as they did, he was so fast and agile compared to them. It was heartbreaking to watch the futile effort of the pilots. Rodan followed the stragglers knocking them out one by one, but in doing so he found himself right where the admiral wanted him.

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The order was given and the surface ships erupted with gunfire. Rodan was pelted with round after round, but quickly sweep his way out of the path of the majority of the fire. He came in low and before the gunners could make any adjustments and plucked a destroyer clean out of the water with his talons. Rodan continued to skim the water with the warship in its grasp until it came across the aircraft carrier Kaga. As the monster passed over the carrier he jammed the destroyer directly into the port side hull of the ship. The sound of twisting metal could be heard even inside of Akira's plane.

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The crippled destroyer sat there for only a few seconds before its forward magazine exploded causing even more damage to the carrier it was stuck in. Both ships started to take on a massive amounts of water and sink.

Rodan banked sharply and used its claws to slash at the side of a nearby cruiser. It left a gash in the side of the ship that ran almost the entire length of the hull. The cruiser also started to sink from lethal damage the monster inflected. Their was little the men aboard any of the three ships that were attacked could do. The damage was simply too extensive for the repair crews to handle.

Rodan found its way to the next closest carrier and landed right on the deck. The monster brought all its weight down on the bow of the Shokaku and waited while the whole front of the ship dipped down into the water. The front sections quickly filled with water as the stern rose clear out of the water.

Several light cruisers were nearby and took aim at Rodan. They landed a number of hits with their main guns, but if they bothered the monster even in the slightest, it was not apparent. The battleship Kongo was also nearby and leveled its main guns at the monster.

One of its rounds hit the monster square in its armored torso. This time Rodan took notice. It rocked back and forth digging its talons into the flight deck of the carrier as it continued to sink below it. The monster nearly lost its footing as it tried to recover on its perch. It roared angrily and it took off. The sound of it could be heard throughout the fleet.

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Rodan came at the Kongo and struck down at it as it passed. Rodan's talons gripped a section of the bridge and pulled it clear away from the ship. Still enraged, it sweep back down over the fleet. It came down close to the carrier Hiryu at an incredible speed. As it passed the flight deck blow right off the ship like a roof being torn off by a tornado. Two nearby destroyers were blown right over and capsized. The deck of the Hiryu flew around wildly until it fell into the hull of a cruiser, causing damage.

The admiral watched in horror as his fleet was being decimated. One of his subordinates handed him a piece of paper as the carnage continued. He looked down and quickly read it. Finally some good news had come in. A ground unit scouting for the nest had finally spotted something that looked promising. It wasn't too far away.

The admiral radioed for any of his planes that still had enough fuel to make an attack run on the nest. Akira got the message and his fighters, along with a two squadrons of dive bombers, broke away from the fleet while Rodan continued to lash out.

---

It took the the planes less than fifteen minutes flight time to reach their target and while they flew the fleet started to have better luck against Rodan. The battleship round Rodan had taken to the chest had slowed him down some and his attacks became less deadly and frequent. He had been circling the fleet and periodically swooping down. He was still damaging and sinking ships, though not nearly as easily has he had before.

As Rodan came in for another attack on the battleship Fuso its main guns managed to get a second hit to his chest. Rodan managed to sink his talons into the side of the ship and tear enough of the hull away to ensure the ship would sink, but the latest volley was enough to convince him further attacks on the fleet were something he was no longer interested in.

Rodan retreated as heavy cruisers pressed in towards him. They fired several volleys of their main guns at the monster, two of which managed to strike him in the left wing. The monster lost speed and altitude. It seemed like the fleet was finally starting to gain an advantage in the fight. Rodan hit the water and the Admiral ordered all ships to move in.

Just as things were starting to look in their favor, the radar officer spoke up with a warning.

"Admiral, I have a second radar contact incoming!" He revealed that their was another large blip closing in on the fleet. Worse, he noted it appeared to be similar to the signature of Rodan. No one exactly knew what to make of it, but it was coming in from the North and moving fast.

Meanwhile Akira's planes had reached their target. The nest was make up mostly of hundreds of trees that had been completely uprooted and dirt. The planes wasted no time, they dove down and unleashed ten-thousand tons worth of bombs. The nest and everything around it were obliterated in a series of explosions. The planes turned around and circled to observe the damage they had inflected. they saw that nothing was left of the nest but burning debris. Satisfied with the attack, Akira signaled for his men to return to the fleet.

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Back at the fleet, the situation was growing more dire. The radar contact had closed to just a few miles and was about to reveal itself. The admiral ordered what remained of his fighter pickets to intercept whatever it was, but they hadn't gotten far away before it was right on top of them.

To the horror of the Admiral, a second Rodan burst from the clouds and flew through a dozen aircraft as it made its way towards the first Rodan on the water. It came in low and capsized yet another destroyer. Then it used it's talons to rip the turret off of one of the heavy cruisers closing in on the other Rodan and dropped it on one of the other warships along the way.

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The momentum of the battle had shifted as the heavy cruiser's assault faltered. The second Rodan came back around and beat its wings towards the nearby warships, covering the retreat of the first one. The distraction of the second Rodan lasted long enough for the first Rodan on the water to flap it's wings and regain flight. Once the first Rodan had made it a safe distance away from the fleet the the second one joined it.

Moments later it became clear where they were going. The fighter director came over the radio once again and warned Akira's flight group that the Rodans were headed in their direction. Akira was puzzled and asked that he repeat the message to confirm that he in fact meant Rodans and not Rodan. The director confirmed the transmission was correct and that he meant the plural.

Cold sweat formed on Akira's forehead as he looked up to see that in fact two Rodans were pressing in on his flight groups position. Though they were just ever growing dots, they were already within visual range. They were much faster than his fighters. It would not take them long to arrive.

Akira knew that their weapons were no good against them and they had no chance of getting away, so he decided to do the only thing he could. He put himself on course to ram right into the closest Rodan. If he could hit it in the face, maybe it would distract both of them long enough to buy the others pilots enough time to get back to the fleet. But to ensure his plane struck home, he'd have to remain at the controls this time to guide it in.

"For the good of the homeland" He said to himself almost like a prayer and he pushed in closer to the monster. As the Rodans closed to a thousand yards they veered off to the right and retreated northward. Akira almost felt cheated as he saw them leaving the battle area. 'Where are they going? Don't they want revenge?' He thought puzzled.

---

In the aftermath of the battle, a close investigation revealed that there had been no eggs present in the nest. It was concluded that the Rodans had retreated simply because there was no longer a reason to fight. As the location of there current nest had been discovered, it would simply be easier for them go somewhere else and build a new one.

The Japanese had managed to drive the Rodans out of their territory, but the victory had bought them very little. Rodan was still at large, and worse, they had discovered that there were in fact two of them now. The cost in men and equipment had been high. The Japanese naval forces had lost over a quarter of their combat aircraft and nearly an eighth of their warships, including six capital ships and a handful of heavy cruisers. All said, nearly five thousand Japanese servicemen had died in the operation.

The debacle was a disaster for the Japanese government. They had to explain to their angry citizens why so many of their soldiers had died for so little.

---
Last edited by Ashram52 on Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Godzilla: Tactical Assault.

Postby Living Corpse » Thu May 16, 2019 5:57 pm

Keep it up man, loving it.
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Re: Godzilla: Tactical Assault.

Postby Ashram52 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:28 pm

Chapter 10: The Watershed


Admiral Ryan climbed down the steps into the archive to find Penwood waiting for him with a hot cup of coffee and pile of fresh files. Penwood seemed to perch up when he caught side of Marcus.

"Good morning Penwood." Marcus greeted him. "You seem a bit more ready for day two than I am."

"That's a affirmative sir." Penwood replied. "It's an interesting story and I like the way you tell it." Marcus only stood and stared the young clerk. He found it odd that he was so enthralled by the tale.

"I've been curious about something Penwood." Marcus began. "You seem surprised by the events as they are unfolding, surely you should have learned something about this before? How is it that this all seems new to you?"

"Well sir, I was home schooled." Penwood replied. "My mother was perhaps a little over protective and very religious. For obvious reasons, I don't think she wanted me know too much about what actually happened. Of course, I had friends growing up who would tell me things. But the stories of children don't give you the whole picture. In fact, only a small fraction of it thus far. So, in many respects, I'm hearing the truth of things for the first time."

"Ha, well I know a little something about overbearing mothers." Marcus laughed. "They always want to protect us from the world, but sometimes the best protection is getting out there and seeing things for what they are, growing to understand them. Ignorance is no defense. Fathers on the other hand know the value of throwing a child into the deep end of the pool and watching them learn how to swim themselves. Then again, maybe a little guidance from time to time isn't so bad..." He smirked. "It takes all kinds."

"There are three types of people when faced with danger Penwood. There are those who run away at the first sign of trouble, those who freeze up not knowing what to do, and those who rise to meet it head on. I tend to admire those who choose to fight, but as a species as a whole you need each. Those who run away usually survive. Those who freeze get to see the outcome for those who fight and learn from it, good or bad. And if no one ever stood their ground our race would have perished long ago. Anyhow, you aren't here to listen to a philosophy lesson, you are here for a story." Marcus changed gears. "Where did we leave off?"

"Here, I marked it." Penwood slid the file over to him, it was titled: 'The Battle of the Yellow Sea'.

"Oh yes." Marcus nodded. "The Japanese had just got their bells rung by the Rodans. To put it into a more realistic perspective for you, they lost five capitol ships, four heavy support ships, and several destroyers. Also a score of other ships that had taken heavy damage during the battle. Their losses in the air were even worse. About forty percent of the men and aircraft that participated in the skirmish were lost."

"Taken all together, Japanese losses would have amounted to billions upon billions of dollars in today's money. And this was on top of the ships they had lost earlier in the year fighting Angirus. So it was truly staggering blow for any country. They would rebuild and they would remain a power, but their naval dominance in the Western Pacific was shattered that day. They were no longer an immediate threat to the Chinese, the colonial powers of the region, or us."

"Now you're probably wondering to yourself, if capitol ships are so costly to replace, why bother? Well I'll tell you, having a strong navy makes you a player on the world stage. Big guns equal clout and prestige. It is true of most powerful nations today, and it was certainly true for the Japanese at that time."

"Just a few decades prior they were seen as a second or even a third rate power, but then they defeated the Russian's Grand Fleet in the early 1900s and they continued to develop more powerful warships in the years that followed. That victory put them in the international spotlight and they wanted to remain in it. Navies are expensive, sure, but they are a projection of a nation's power away from home."

"With enough influence and trade you can take over the world. The British are probably the best example of turning navy power into just power. They certainly never could have build the British Empire without their strong naval arm. I suppose in a sense, a navy is like a high stakes bet. The investment is big, but the reward can be even bigger.

"Anyhow I'm getting off track with my naval rant, back to the subject at hand..."

---

Akira circled the Akagi in his zero fighter, waiting for his turn to land. Even from a thousand feet above he could see the Japanese fleet had taken a beating. Ships were still burning and sinking in the waters below. The undamaged vessels were taking on the crews from other ships that weren't so lucky. Though there was an urgency to get the survivors out of the water, it seemed as though the action of the day was over. The Rodans had retreated north out of radar range, which made the Japanese feel a bit more secure.

After ten more minutes of circling, Akira landed back on the Akagi. His fighter was immediately brought down inside the main hanger to be inspected for battle damage. Once the plane was brought to a halt Akira jumped down from his cockpit and surveyed his surroundings. The flight deck could not have been any different from what it had been early in the day.

When they had left, the room had been full of the commotion of cocky pilots rearing for action and now it was as quiet as a tomb. Despite being one of the last flyers to set back down, Akira still found the hanger with less than half the numbers than when they had set out. He could see one of the other pilots just sitting on the floor with their backs against the bulkhead staring down at nothing in particular. All the rest appeared to be processing what had just happened. It was a dismal scene.

They had been decisively beaten, and point of fact, it hadn't even been a contest. They had been army of mice trying to assault a Lion's den and the truth of it was setting in. Bravado had been their pet in the outset, but only in the aftermath of the fight did they realize just how futile the effort had been. As the pilots stewed on this fact tempers started to flare. Someone needed to be held accountable.

Akira could see one angry pilot shouting at one of flight officers, demanding answers. He wanted to know why all his friends had been throw away like trash. His superior, not having a good answer, simply replied it was their duty to die for the Emperor at time and place of his choosing. The answer proved to be unsatisfactory to the incensed pilot. He had to be restrained by the few remaining men in his squadron.

Oddly, the officer walked away ignoring the flagrant display of insubordination. Akira got the impression that the officer secretly sympathized with the pilot and that he wished to avoid arguing or punishing him. Suffice to say it was a bizarre scene to be found on the highly disciplined flagship of the Japanese Imperial Navy.

Following the outburst Akira surveyed the other pilots and crewmen around him and concluded most of them felt the same. Though they all keep quite about it, they all seemed to recognize the had been sent out into the jaws of death by their commanders. It was bad enough that they had been defeated, but the disregard for their lives from high command was even worse for moral.

A few hours later the Fleet was recalled to Japan to regroup and reassess the situation. Meanwhile they did their best to track the Rodans. The radar stations set up on the mainland occasionally had hits indicating that they were still flying northward. However, the Japanese lost track of them as they retreated even further north our of range of the last of the stations in Hokkaido.

Small flotillas of destroyers and other patrol craft were dispatched northward into the Okhotsk Sea in an effort to relocate them, but with no success.

---

In Germany, government forces converged on Essenheim following Varan's attack on the village. Emergency workers did their best to clear the streets of debris and find survivors. Amongst them they found Reinhart crawling around blindly in the rubble, still feeling the effects of being exposed to a massive amount of tear gas.

They brought him to a makeshift hospital and began to treat him. Fortunately tear gas does not generally leave permanent damage to the eyes. They striped him down, washed his contaminated clothes, and flushed his eyes with cool fresh water. Reinhart started to feel the burning leave his face for the first time in hours.

Though the residue was finally gone, his eyes and throat were still inflamed from the prolonged exposure. The relief workers gave him water to drink and put him in a cot to recover. As he had been awake for hours wandering around in pain he was quick to fall asleep.

Reinhart's reprieve was short lived. A few hours later he was awoken to serve a solemn duty. The bodies of the villagers killed in the attack had been lined up along what remained of Main Street. They needed to be identified before burial. The majority of the villagers were either dead or in worse shape than Reinhart, so it fell to him to identify his parents and brother.

As he walked out of the tent, with some assistance from a soldier, his eyes were overwhelmed by he midday sun. From Reinhart's perspective he might as well have been standing on the surface of the Sun. Even with his eyes tightly closed the light was too bright for him. He was forced to retreat back into the tent temporarily to let his eyes adjust.

There was only a sliver of light coming in from the tent flaps, but even that took a minute to tolerate. Eventually Reinhart's eyes caught up and he was able to sit there with his eyes wide open. With that accomplished he was ready to try his luck outside again. This time he began with his eyes shut and stood there while they adjusted little by little. Soon after he was able to peek out without trouble.

Though his eyes still hurt, in particularly when a wind gust would hit them, a peek was all he need to proceed forward. The soldier led him back into Essenheim's broken streets. It was a blessing for Reinhart that he was unable to get a good look at his once beautiful home.

They pressed on undeterred until they approached the line of bodies. Once within sight, Reinhart's knees got weak as they drew near. Reinhart hoped the soldier didn't notice, but he did. Their pace had slowed considerably, but still, the soldier respectfully ignored it, saying nothing.

Step by step they came closer to the line of bodies. Through his impaired vision Reinhart started to recognize people he had know his whole life. In a village such as Essenheim everyone knew everyone else. Each step took him past another friend or acquaintance. He saw Hannah, Mila, and Elena, the girls that had made such an impression on his brother the night before, Sven, the owner of the local pub, Hannes, the baker, and finally he came to his brother Heinrich and his parents.

Each of them were battered and bloodied, but undoubtedly his kin. For Reinhart to see them like that was painful in all senses of the word. It was unnatural, like staring at terrible life sized dolls. Reinhart stopped breathing, his chest felt heavy. His eyes somehow burnt even more than before and a stone formed in his stomach. He tried to keep his composure, but it was of little use. Tears streaked down his face as he boiled over.

Seeing that Reinhart was upset, the soldier asked just one question: If he was certain. Reinhart nodded and urged him to take him back to the tent, he had seen enough. Without another word they departed.

---

In the Soviet Far East, above the peninsula of Kamchatka, a cargo plane was flying supplies to one of the remote military outposts located on the peninsula.

"This is Sergi to outpost K, Sergi to outpost K. I'm about a half-hour out from touchdown." The pilot radioed to the outpost.

"Outpost K to Sergi, we read you loud and clear." A voice crackled back on the other end. Sergi recognized it.

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"Oh Boris, it's nice to hear your voice." Sergi greeted him. "Do me a favor and make sure our comrades on air defense duty today are aware I'm coming. It would really spoil my day to get shot at."

"Can do, comrade." Boris replied. "I'm looking forward to seeing what you've brought us this time."

"How are conditions down there? Am I going to skid on the runway?" Sergi asked, having done so before at outpost K.

"Negative. I think the boys knew you were coming." Boris answered. "Everything was cleared away yesterday. The weather today has been nothing but sunshine down here. I assume it is similar up there?"

"No troubles so far." Sergi reported. "Good day to be in the sky."

"Good, fly safe and I will see you soon. Signing off." Boris cut out.

"Goodbye Boris." Sergi put down his mic.

His plane was called 'Lucky Old Olga'. Sergi Yukov was a retired officer from what used to be the Imperial Russian Air Services now rolled into the Soviet Air-force since the Czar was overthrown. Sergi was lucky enough to avoid any red tape since the change in government. It probably helped that he served with distinction and never made any waves.

Since becoming a civilian he had been able to negotiate a contract to bring supplies to the smaller outlier bases littered throughout the strategically located Kamchatka Peninsula. The Russians maintained a large military presence there as it served as their main naval base in the Pacific. It guarded their far east interests.

The supplies Sergi brought in were mostly of the non-essential kind. Of course he brought in the standard fare that was on the books, but his plane was fairly large, so as a side business he also brought in certain items that were off the books. Certain types of restricted food, cigarettes, alcohol, and other various things along those lines. Items the powers back in Moscow would consider 'contraband', but to the soldiers in the middle of nowhere they were anything but. As such, they would pay whatever was necessary to get their hands on it. Sergi was fair though, he wasn't going to die rich off of them, but he wouldn't be poor either.

Such an enterprise in a newly communist society carried some risks and security had been tightened since the Japanese expansion in the region. Given the two countries recent history the Russians had every reason to be wary of the Japanese.

With the tension so high Sergei's supply drops had become that much more important for the moral of the common Russian soldiers. For all they knew the Japanese could land on their shores at a moments notice, so any distraction was a welcome one. Men on the ground would run out with fists full of rubles when they saw Sergi's Old Olga approaching the landing strip.

Sergi loved to fly and Kamchatka was a beautiful place to do so. The large peninsula was dotted by a ring of fire. It was the one place in Russia with a volcanic belt, containing around one hundred and sixty volcanoes, twenty-nine of them still active. Night or day, they were a sight to behold.

Of course, Sergei tried to avoid the skies around active ones when they were being particularly active. Still, he always found it sad that travel there was so restricted. To outsiders and Russians alike access was very limited. The government saw it as so strategically important that you had to have a special pass just to set foot there. Luckily for Sergi, he happened to have one.

The minutes went by like seconds as Sergi surveyed the breathtaking landscape and before he knew it he was just a couple miles out from his final approach to outpost K. Sergi had not made a trip out there in about six weeks due to ongoing inclement weather. He figured they must have been long out of his wares from last visit. He smiled to himself, expecting he'd be getting a hero's welcome upon arrival.

Sergi banked Olga through a patch of clouds and hit some unexpected turbulence. He could hear bottles of vodka rattling against each other in their case in the hold.

"Yesh, air is out here is rough today." He tightened his grip on the controls and the plane steadied. 'Boris could have warned me about the cross wind.' He thought. The turbulence passed and he relaxed again. "Better go check the goods real quick."

Sergi flipped on the autopilot and quickly made his was back to the hold. As Lucky as Old Olga had always been for him, he didn't trust the autopilot so much. He was always worried that it would suddenly stop working. He crouched down and inspected the vodka bottles closely. After a quick glance he didn't find anything out of place and decided to head back up.

As Sergi stood up he thought he saw a flicker of a shadow out the window. He carefully crept up to the window and looked out. He saw only blue sky dotted with white clouds.

'I must have imagined it.' He thought to himself, almost laughing. Then he saw something and the thought of laughter became a distant memory. "B`lyad!!!" He shouted as he ran back to the controls of Old Olga and immediately put the plane into a hard dive.

The nose of the plane was nearly pointed directly at the ground. Sergi was pushing the plane into an eighty degree dive, which was hazardously steep. Bottles of vodka slipped from their casing and started to break against the wall. One of the bottles found its way all the way up to the cockpit.

Sergi ignored it all as he continued to dive hard. None of it would matter if he didn't escape. Just as he came within a thousand feet of the ground the force of something large passing over him fast sent Old Olga into a tailspin. The plane continued her way downward towards the ground. Sergi fought the controls and somehow managed to regain control of the plane around five hundred feet.

Near panicked, Sergei looked into the mirror he had installed just outside of his cockpit to see if he could locate his attacker behind him. To his surprise, he was able to see it. To his relief it was above and behind him moving off. He signed, comforted by his near escape. He had somehow managed to dodge it and it looked like whatever it was had given up.

'Maybe it just didn't like being that close to the ground?' Sergi thought. He only had a moment more to consider the thought. As he continued to watch it move away through his rear view mirror he had not noticed a second monster coming straight at him from in front.

Sergi had just enough time to shift his gaze forward to see it a second before it hit his plane. The Lucky Old Olga disintegrated into the thousand pieces and Sergi with it. Below Outpost K was burning and the Rodans were moving towards outpost J located further north.

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---

Meanwhile in the Philippines, Marcus was finally released back into full active service. Before even being officially discharged from the hospital he was ordered to report to Admiral Nimitz's office. Lieutenant-Commander Williams, the admiral's aide who seemed to have it in for Marcus, was waiting and approached him as he was signed out of care.

Williams escorted Marcus across the naval yard and to the temporary office at naval HQ the admiral was occupying. On the walk over the Lieutenant-Commander didn't say a word to Marcus. He simply kept a stern military frown and lead the way, expecting nothing from Marcus but to follow his lead. At last, the Lieutenant-Commander brought him to an office door and knocked. Marcus could hear the admiral's voice coming from the other side urging them to enter.

Upon entering Marcus found the admiral reading over the battle report the Japanese had just submitted. The admiral had sources within Japan that indicated the losses submitted report had been grossly underestimated, downplaying their naval losses during the single day of combat. One could hardly blame them, cooperation or not, it would be downright foolish to disclose to a rival power just how wounded they actually were. The Japanese didn't want to look vulnerable. Still, Admiral Nimitz knew better.

Despite its shortcomings, the report did however contain three facts that were very relevant. First, the Japanese had failed to strike a meaningful blow. Second, there were in fact two Rodans, not just one as everyone had assumed. Third, both monsters had retreated north out of Japanese or Chinese territory. What the Japan navy did or did not lose were secondary in the face of the other facts.

"Ah, Petty Officer Ryan. Glad to see you back to active duty." Admiral Nimitz greeted him. "Sit down, sit down. I'm assuming you are not up to speed, so take a look at this." He handed him the report summary. Lieutenant-Commander William's lip curled slightly seeing the confidence the admiral was extending to Marcus.

Marcus meanwhile was oblivious to the commander's contempt. As he read the report his emotions jumped from shock of their being two Rodans, to awe, reading about the Japanese heroics during the battle, to horror, as he read out the causality reports at the bottom. What particularly got to him was the hand written note the admiral had put in about what he guessed were the actual losses were. His estimate was staggering.

"I can see the weight of understanding on your face sailor." Admiral Nimitz noted.

"Well, the reports spell it out pretty clearly sir." Marcus admitted. "It didn't go well, worse than predicted in fact."

"Yes, to say it went poorly is an understatement." The Admiral looked grim. "Regrettably, I don't think our navy would have performed that much better in the Imperial Navy's place. A lot of men and material were expended for no practical gain. It was a tactical and strategic loss. The only thing that came of it is now we know we're dealing with two dangerous opponents instead of just one. And I'm not sure what we can do about it. These creatures have every advantage over us. They have no obvious weaknesses and we can't touch them in the sky. I've been in the naval for a long time and I can tell you one thing: the future is in the sky. Carriers and air power are making the strength of the surface fleet obsolete. But now these things come along and dominant the sky. They're so fast and powerful, no plane can keep up with them and no plane has the firepower to even scratch them. Have no answer for how to deal with them."

"Maybe the correct answer is not to engage them?" Marcus suggested. "Why play a game we know we can't win?"

"You are suggesting we just give up?" Lieutenant-Commander Williams sneered.

"With respect sir, I'm just saying why engage on their terms?" Marcus replied. "I think we have to wait. To beat an enemy you have to understand them. We certainly do not understand them yet. We don't know what they are and what they want. Once we do, we can formulate a more practical plan to deal with them."

"In the mean time you just want us to let them run free and wreck havoc?" Williams countered. "We can't allow them to do that."

"I think that would be better than doing what the Japanese tried." Marcus argued. "We need to watch and wait. Sometimes doing nothing is the hardest thing to do, but it's the right thing to do."

"Well, doing nothing isn't an option if these creatures threaten our interests." Admiral Nimitz cut in. "There will be political pressure back home to do something and hell to pay if we do nothing, although I see the merits of avoiding full scale assault at this time. Perhaps we should just focus on a defensive strategy until a solution to our problem presents itself. Fighters don't seem to be getting the job done. Investing in heavier AA cannons would be the most prudent move for now. We simply have to prepare however we can and hope for the best." Just then there was a secession of loud knocks on the admiral's door.

"Admiral, we're getting fresh news about the Rodans!" An ensign shouted excitedly from outside. "You need to come see."

Admiral Nimitz dropped what he was doing exited his office and followed the ensign to the radio room within HQ. Marcus and Lieutenant-Commander Williams were quick to follow as well. As they entered the radio room, they found the operators in an uproar. They were frantically trying to keep up with incoming messages. It was a storm of paper.

"It started about a hour ago sir" The ensign began to explain. "We intercepted just one signal at first, but now we are getting flooded by maydays from Russian outposts all over the Kamchatka Peninsula." The ensign motioned for the group's attention to be brought to a map he had of the area in question. "The first signal came from here in the south". He put a red pin in the map to mark it. "The first thing we found odd was despite originating from a military outpost was the message was not encrypted in any way. That is peculiar."

"I see, go on." The Admiral insisted.


"Well, I think they were in too much of a hurry to get the signal out to bother with that. As soon as I saw it I made it a priority, but the message was still in Russian, so its taken us a while to translate it and in the meantime we've received several other messages. The follow up messages have been easier to translate as they share certain words and phrases that are in common with the first. They point to one thing: these bases are under attack by the Rodans." The Ensign pulled out a quick copy of the message transcripts so the admiral could see for himself. Words such as: large, bird, and attack, were common in each message. it wasn't difficult to see the pattern.

"What else can you tell me son?" Admiral Nimitz asked.

"Following shortly after the first attack, two others happened almost simultaneously in different locations, just little bit northward, here and here." The ensign put two more red pins into the map, then two others here and here." He placed two more pins. "And right now were are picking up a signal from yet another bases here that appear to be currently under attack." The ensign put in one final pin. All of this in the space of just over an hour!"

"They are hitting them so damn fast." The admiral said, sounding troubled. "Williams, bring me the strategic map of that area from my office." He ordered

"Yes sir!" The Lieutenant-Commander disappeared to fetch it. A moment later he returned and outstretched the larger, more detailed map on the table for everyone to see. Admiral Nimitz put the smaller map next to it and looked back and forth, noting the locations of known Russian military facilities on the strategic map and seeing one by one they were being hit by the Rodans.

"It looks like they are clearing them out one by one sir." Williams noted.

"Yes, but how are they locating them?" The Admiral asked. "The Rodans are fast, sure, but in the time it's taking them to fly from one location to the other, destroying the bases, and moving on it's like they have a map of their own to follow. It's reasonable to assume if they spent enough time flying around eventually they would be able to find all the bases and destroy them, but the fact of the matter is they are knocking them off in no time at all. Am I the only person impressed by this? Once they are done with one site they make a B-line to the next one. It's like they already know exactly where the Russian bases are."

"Maybe they do?" Marcus suggested.

"How can they know that?" Williams asked, sounded bewildered and a little frightened. "They're just animals!"

"That is true, but a lot of animals can detect things that we can not." Marcus pointed out. "Birds can detect the magnetic poles when they migrate, bats use sonar in flight to detect things around them. Maybe the Rodans have their own way of detecting things while flying?"

"So what are these things using?" Williams asked.

"Perhaps they can detect radar waves?" Marcus suggested. "Something has been bothering me since the attack on our fleet in the South China Sea. I was sitting with the radar operator when we detected the first Rodan. At first, the creature's course was almost random, as if it was just flying around aimlessly, but once it came within a certain range, it made a B-line for the fleet. It was over a hundred miles away at the time, so there's no way it could have seen us at that distance, no matter how good its eye sight is. So , it must have had another way of detecting us."

"The Russians bases on the Kamchatka Peninsula don't have radar stations yet." Admiral Nimitz pointed out, shooting down that theory.

"What about radio waves then?" Marcus asked. "Maybe these things are able to sense radio signals? If they are, then all the bases out there are obviously transmitting at this point in a panic, which would pinpoint their positions for the monsters to track."

"That... is possible." The admiral admitted. "If it is true, that would explain a couple things, particularly how the Rodans having been picking their targets."

"We could test that theory by alerting the Russians sir." Marcus suggested. If the bases that have not been touched so far were to stop transmitting..."

"I'm afraid I'm not authorized to share any information with the Russians at this time Marcus." Admiral Nimitz interjected "Certain politics are preventing that. If it were the Japanese, that would be another story, but the Russians are not part of our pact of cooperation."

"Politics...?" Marcus was a little shocked."But peoples lives are at stake!"

"Do not question the Admiral, he knows more about the situation than you do." Lieutenant-Commander Williams snapped at Marcus.

Marcus wanted to belt Williams in the mouth at that moment, but knew the consequences of striking a superior officer. It would not end well for him if he did. Though he felt conflicted about it, he decided to keep his mouth shut. He could only stand there and continue to listen to panicked Russian voices pour though the radio's receiver.

---

As the day pressed on, more and more Russian bases came under attack. By the end of the day every single outpost on the map had been wiped off of it. Whatever the Rodans had planned for the Kamchatka Peninsula, they didn't want to share it with any human company. The surviving Russian military personal and civilians began to evacuate the peninsula next day.

Marcus felt terrible having done nothing to help them. To be fair, it was possible his theory was incorrect. And even if it wasn't, it almost certainty that the Russians would have eventually lost control of the territory anyway. Still, if he was right, many Russian soldiers might have been spared in the initial attacks.

Feeling his conflict about it, Admiral Nimitz came to Marcus privately and informed him why they couldn't warn the Russians.

The Russians had in fact just invaded Finland over a territorial dispute. The invasion was just a land grab and was condemned by the majority of the international community. Many nations, including the United States, Great Britain, and France were sending Finland aid. Given the political situation between the Western Powers and Russia, sending them as warning signal might be perceived as treason in some circles in Washington, even if it was the humane thing to do.

The war in Finland was young, but already bogged down into a stalemate. The Fins were fighting like hell, despite being outnumbered ten to one by the invaders. Each day more foreign volunteers were arriving from the neighboring Scandinavian countries, who didn't want to share a boarder with the Soviets.

Perhaps the thing that was slowing the Soviets the most though was Stalin's purges to the Red Army. It had a profound effect on the red war machine's performance. As it turns out, killing the majority of their army's leadership led to some problems. The disproportionately heavy casualties on the Russian side were a sign of it.

The Fins did possess powerful natural defensive positions and the area was experiencing heavy snowfalls, which made advances for the Russians near impossible. Even with all those advantages the Fins were still in a precarious position. Admiral Nimitz explained how a threat on the opposite side of their border might make Stalin reconsider his plans. It could even lead to an end of hostilities.

Marcus had a hard time arguing the point. It didn't stop him from feeling guilty. The common Russian people had not chosen the war, and they did nothing to provoke the Rodans, but it was they who would suffer on both accounts.

---

As the days passed, no aircraft or ship was safe from Eastern Russia to Northern islands of Japan.

The Russians had learned a little from the failed Japanese assault. Their fleet assets in the area were evacuated just as quickly as they could be made ready to sail. They did everything they could to avoid an open confrontation with the Rodans, but they wanted their peninsula back. Instead of a fight they focused on just trying to get Rodans to leave their territory.

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Having seen the limited success the Germans had using gas on Varan the Russians decided to use a similar strategy, but on a larger scale with something more hazardous than tear gas. They elected to use the left over mustard gas from World War I. They still had a huge stockpile of it. The Soviets moved in hundreds of truckloads of the gas into the peninsula and began making preparations to use it.

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Unfortunately for them the Rodans attacked within hours of their force's arrival. To their credit the Russians were able to deploy large quantities of the gas rapidly and even managed to launch it towards the Rodans before the monsters were able to inflict much damage.

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But from there the plan went completely south. Before the gas even reached the Rodans they used their wings to cause hurricane levels of winds to blow the gas back at into the Russian lines. The Russians had been wearing protective wear, but with the strength of the winds their suits were torn and masks flew right off their faces.

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Meanwhile the gas kept billowing out and nearly the entire force of Russians were caught up in it. Thousands died from the effects of the gas and almost as many survivors lived afflicted by the painful effects of the gas. The Rodans left the area to avoid the gas themselves. That left the few men who were fortunate enough to have avoided gas exposure to gather up the many, many, others more who were afflicted.

Hours later, those who could still be saved were loaded up in the trucks and the Russians retreated. By all account the action was a horror show. Nearly all the survivors were blistered from exposure. The Russian's first attempt to retake their land failed miserably.

---

A day after the failed Russian attack Marcus was called back to Admiral Nimitz office.

"Marcus, I wanted to tell you that Washington has been in contact with the French Government. They have been quietly negotiating American access to the egg they found. The War Department has asked me to put together a research team to send over. I would like you to come along."

Marcus felt unsure and it showed.

"I won't order you to." The Admiral assured him. "Considering your recent experiences, I'd understand why you might not want to go. I know you've had... difficulties since our last trip out. Your role would officially be just as a member of my staff, but I've found your insights to these creatures invaluable so far. I feel you'd continue to be an asset to myself and our country."

"We could learn a lot from studying that egg." The admiral went on. "The French are also concerned that the monster in Germany might hop over the boarder, if it were to reappear. At this point they can't seem to locate the darn thing. But I wanted you to know we are supposed to be there strictly as observers. We'll be staying far away from any action. We will only be there to gather intelligence."

"Aren't we just as useful here?" Marcus asked.

"If you mean the Rodans, well they are no longer our priority." The admiral answered. "They are a Russian problem now. Washington says as long as they are not threatening anything within our sphere of influence were are to do nothing. Now, they may still present a problem for the Japanese on occasion, but we're more than happy to see them distracted as well. They can keep their war machine focused on something that is not us or our allies."

"Then I will do my part sir." Marcus saluted.

"I can tell by looking at you that you are still afraid." The admiral noted. "Don't be ashamed by that son, it's ok to be afraid. The trick is to contain your fear. Given some time I see you doing great things in the military. A good commander learns from his fear. It makes you more careful, less likely to waste lives needlessly. A man who can master his fear is a man to be feared, because he can do anything."


"Yes sir." Marcus found some reason in the admiral's words. He still felt reluctant, but the mission seemed safe enough, and no man would be able to call him a coward.

---

In Germany, a week had passed since the attack on Essenheim. Reinhart had fully recovered from his exposure to the gas, but had not recovered from the loss of his brother and parents. They had buried them a few days ago and he'd been living in a fog ever since.

The search for their killer was ongoing. The fact that the monster was still out there and could strike again somewhere else at any time weighed heavily on Reinhart. He mostly just spent his time sitting in his family's house watching the lake from where the creature had come. It was ironic, because he hated being there, but had nowhere else to go.

The German authorities had been searching the countryside for days with nothing to show for it. Finally it occurred to them that the monster might have just retreated back into one of the various lakes in the region. The heavy rainfall over the last couple of prevented them from being certain either way.

Overcast skies made it hard for search planes to adequately scout and made finding a trail equally difficult for teams on the ground. Foot soldiers would find trees down here and there, but the rains that had come through had been accompanied by strong winds as well. Identifying what was potentially the monster doing versus what was due to mother nature was tricky business.

Fortunately for the search teams, the sun finally prevailed on the fourth day. Clear skies meant German planes could get out in force and cover a great deal of ground quickly. After spending two days patrolling the countryside, they had managed to methodically cover almost every corner of the Reich.

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The planes came up empty too. Having found nothing, it lead those in charge to believe the creature had indeed retreated back into one of the lakes. The trouble was they had a lot of places to search.

Before completely disappearing, it was clear that the monster had been all over the area. The area in question had twenty major lakes that were large enough for it to hide in. With all the rainfall it was impossible to guess which one was more likely. Each of them had considerably higher water levels than normal. Since the rain had not been distributed evenly, so saying it was in one lake over another due to the water level being higher wouldn't necessary prove anything.

Such as it was, their only recourse was to search each of them individually. To help speed things up, special sonar equipment was brought in to search the lakes. It took a few extra days to gather them up and fly them in, but it was worth the effort. Otherwise they would only have divers to rely on, which despite their best efforts, could only do so much good. Visibility in most of the lakes wasn't too good. Still, the divers were brave men. If they were lucky they wouldn't find anything down there.

Searching each of the lakes was taking a considerable amount of time. When they finally came to search Lake Hessengart Reinhart elected to join in their efforts. He was happy to have something to do. It gave him a welcome distraction from just sitting at home and stewing on his grief.

As it just so happened, one of Heinrich's good friends from the Wehrmacht's intelligence branch came to his funeral. Reinhart approached him and found out he was helping to coordinate the search for Varan. Reinhart asked the intelligence office, named Fritz, and he agreed to give him special permission to pitch in.

By this point it had taken nearly two weeks hopping from lake to lake, clearing them one by one. In the end, they were back at Hessengart. Reinhart knew in his heart of hearts the search would end where it all began. He spent all day helping them move equipment and watching the water. He even let the military use his family's house as a base of operations.

As day turned into night Reinhart was shocked as they announced that Hessengart too had come up clean. He thought it must have been some type of mistake. The creature couldn't have been anywhere else, they had already searched everywhere else. To humor Reinhart they did the sonar sweep twice, but there was nothing.

Reinhart was not alone in his frustration. The military had spent two weeks searching, clearing lake after lake, and in the end they didn't locate Varan. The authorities were puzzled to say the least. They had been banking on Hessengart being the most likely place they would find him as it was his place of origin.

As they had been searching, ruling out other places, they had been moving in tank divisions from the north nearby in anticipation of the monster reappearing from there. Given that they had no idea where the monster was, their plan was out the window.

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---


Marcus boarded the flight with Admiral Nimitz that was to take them the majority of the way to France. The Journey was long enough to where it was actually going to be several flights and a short ride on a ship for the final leg.

Marcus was still uncomfortable flying, but he had a much easier time with his second takeoff knowing what he was in store for. The first time around he avoided even looking out the window as it gave him anxiety and made him feel a little dizzy. On his second flight out from China he was too out of it to be bothered by anything. This time though he was actually starting to enjoy himself a little.

Instead of being afraid of the takeoff he got a little thrill out of it. And while in route to their first stop he looked out the window with only minimal trepidation. It was so different to see the clouds from that vantage point and not just looking up at them from the ground.

---

Back in Germany, Fritz and Reinhart were in his family's house looking over a map of the area. They were searching for an answer that was escaping them, reviewing the order in which the searches had taken place. One by one they crossed out each lake as they went.

"I don't see any gaps in the search." Fritz noted. "I've checked an double checked. We didn't miss anything."

"Is it possible that the creature could have "lake-jumped" from one you had not investigated yet to one you already cleared?" Reinhart asked.

"I suppose, but I don't see how." Fritz replied. "As a precaution we left some troops stationed at every site after we moved on to other locations. There have also been reconnaissance flights over the entire area the entire time. I don't see how something that big could have avoided detection from both."

"There must be something we're missing." Reinhart sighed. "Some detail that would explain the monster's disappearing act." He sat staring off into space trying to think.

"Don't get too discouraged Reinhart." Fritz put his hand on his shoulder. "Your brother was good at his job because he never gave up once he set his mind on something. He was told me you were smarter than he was, prove him right."

Reinhart smiled, but continued to stare off until his eyes came across his father's old bookcase. He saw a particular title wedged in the middle that caught his eye. It was titled: 'The Watershed'. Reinhart got up and picked up the book, then thumbed through it. He stopped on a page where something caught his eye and read for a moment.

"Oh no..." Reinhart whispered to himself. "Oh no." He said a little louder.

"What?" Fritz took notice, seeing that Reinhart's demeanor had shifted.

"Well, this book talks about the topographical features of this area." Reinhart began. "I just read a section that talks about the aquifer that runs throughout this entire area. In particular, there is a large underwater channel that run directly from lake Hessengart to Lake Muritz." Reinhart looked at Fritz knowingly.

"Is that true?" Fritz said, sounding a little alarmed.

"Look here, there's even a picture." Reinhart offered, putting the book down so Fritz could see for himself. The picture in question was an artist's interpretation. It highlighted the various layers of soil and showed how the flow of the underground channel connected the two bodies of water.

"I think we have a serious problem." Fritz grabbed his bag ran outside to the troops who had the portable radio.

---

At the same time in a restaurant on the shores of Lake Muritz a couple was sitting down to a nice meal. They had just put in their order and were passing the time waiting for their food by talking and enjoying the nice view of the lake out the window.

It was a perfect day. The couple had taken a leisurely stroll around the eastern bank of the lake. They were aware of the danger of the monster being in the area, but Lake Muritz had already been cleared several days ago and the 'muted' danger was exciting for them. It certainly hadn't stopped other people from venturing out. It felt like a lot of people were there hoping for a peek, from a safe distance of course.

The two love birds were staring into each others eyes when a large wave crashed into the window from the lake. The patio furniture that had been outside was all over the place and the large window overlooking the lake resembled a waterfall from all the water streaking down it. Amongst the cascade of water a form started to take shape. As the water cleared they had a better look at was outside the window and they realized too late that coming to the lake today was a very bad idea.

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---
Last edited by Ashram52 on Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:13 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Godzilla: Tactical Assault.

Postby Ashram52 » Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:38 pm

Chapter 11: Treacherous Water



Marcus had begun the second leg of his journey. His plane was halfway to French controlled Tunis in North Africa. Once there, they were to board a US navy destroyer, which would sail them the rest of the way to the research facility where the egg was housed in Southern France . The two long flights had taken their toll on Marcus' group. He, along with the rest of the passengers, were fast asleep.

Marcus was awakened by the sound of the radio crackling in the cockpit. He could not make out what the voice on he other end of the receiver was saying, but he heard the pilot reply back: "Understood." The radio chatter stopped from there and the pilot and co-pilot started talking amongst themselves for a moment. When they were done talking, the co-pilot unbuckled himself from his seat and came out of the cockpit. He quietly came up to Admiral Nimitz and tapped him on the shoulder to rouse him.

"Yes, what is it?" The Admiral asked, wiping crusts from his eyes and re-acclimating himself with the waking world.

"Admiral, we just got word that Varan has reappeared in Germany. Thought you would like to know."

"Have the Germans engaged it?" Nimitz asked.

"Not yet." The co-pilot answered.

"I see, thank you." The admiral dismissed the younger officer. The conversation had stirred Sgt. Brock and Lieutenant-Commander Williams. they had caught just enough of the conversation to know Varan was back on the prowl. Nimitz looked deep in thought, considering the situation.

"So what is Varan exactly? Lieutenant-Commander Williams asked.

"Well, beyond a monster, he's some sort of amphibian." Marcus answered.

"What, like a huge horned toad?" Brock asked.

"More like a horned salamander, because of the tail in all, but yeah." Marcus replied. "Of course, it's a lot more dangerous."

"I'm not sure what the big deal is." Williams said. "How dangerous can it be compared to what we've seen already? It's not heavily armored like Angirus, it can't breathe fire or go underground like Baragon, and it can't fly at the unbelievable speeds like the Rodans. Sure it's big, but that just means it's a big target too. And it can glide, so what? That just means fighters don't have to dive down to attack it. It's not incredibly fast in flight and isn't that maneuverable either. They outta be able to shoot it down easily." The commander said dismissively.

"You might feel differently if you saw one of these things in action." Brock shot back.

"We've been hearing for years now just how tough the German military machine has become, they should be able to handle it." Williams continued to be dismissive.

"I'd remind you that we've yet to kill even one of these things." Brock countered. "The best we've managed to do is deflect an attack or two. Nothing much to hang our hats on if you ask me. Until we find a way to kill these things, we are fighting a losing battle. So far we've just been hanging on by the skin of our teeth. That won't cut it forever."

"We've beaten them twice." Williams argued.

"Yeah, but on those two occasions we've managed to pull off what we generously call victories, they were both on ground that was well prepared ahead of time and of our choosing." Brock counter argued. "We're not going to be able to lure these things forever. What happens when one of them hits us somewhere that is not well prepared and not of our choosing? I think we're in for a nightmare scenario the first time ones of these creatures manages to hit a major city. And believe me, that day is coming."

"Having been on the ground in a small village when Baragon was on the warpath, I can tell you it's not something I'd wish on anyone." Marcus spoke up in support of Brock's argument. "We should do everything within out power to prevent that from happening again. And to Brock's first point, I feel like these creatures are intelligent, I doubt they will fall for the same tricks twice.

---

In Germany, Reinhart and Fritz were speeding their way towards lake Muritz in an army truck. They had tried to radio the patrol forces stationed there to keep a look out, but so far they had received no word back. Reinhart took it as a bad sign. Either the soldiers were too busy to respond, or unable to respond.

Their truck climbed the hill that overlooked the lake. As it came over the hill they got their first look at the situation unfolding. They could see Varan moving through the wooded landscape, tramping down trees as he went. It had just about reached a ridge on the far side of the valley. Below, the smoldering ruins of the restaurant remained around lake-shore. There was no sign of the guards.

Fritz stopped the truck. His eyes started to dart around the landscape, measuring the situation. As he did, there was a noise that drew both his and the monster's attention. The monster had just reached the zenith of the cliff it was climbing. It looked back and saw a platoon of tanks filing out of the woods on the opposite side of the valley. Fritz had radioed the armored division while in route as a precaution. It was a wise decision as it turned out.

Reinhart was less measured than Fritz, his blood boiled at the first sight of the monster. It was a mixture of hate and terror. His head was filled with hopeless notions of revenge for his family. In the space of a second, he relived every terrifying moment of Varan's attack. His only solace was his hunch was right on the money about the monster using watershed to avoid detection and the tanks closing in might be able to exact some revenge on his behalf.

As it turned out though, the tanks were too late and too far out of range to be a threat to the monster immediately. It simply ignored them and leap into the air, gliding down the other side of the hill. The monster was able to stay just high enough to skim above the treeline, avoiding rocks that jetted out along its path. It landed safely at the bottom.

From his vantage point, Fritz could see the path the tanks would have to take to catch up with the beast. He radioed the platoon leader of the armored column to rerouted his units in that direction. The tanks quickly started to move to the road that would take them into the next valley. Just like that, the chase was on. The heavy tanks struggled up the hill at 25 miles per hour, while Fritz and Reinhart speed ahead of them to get a better read on the situation just over the next horizon.

As he drove, Fritz radioed in their position and situation to Headquarters so other Wehrmacht forces could be alerted and converge on the area. He hoped they would be able to cut off, or at least slow down, the monster long enough for reinforcements to catch up. He wasn't confident what they had on hand would be enough to get the job done.

As Reinhart and Fritz came over the hill they sighted Varan again. The monster was surprising agile for something its size. It could move fast when it wanted to. Fortunately for them, it had slowed down. The monster must have felt secure that it had left any threats safely behind it.

Reinhart and Fritz were about halfway down the winding roads of the hill when Headquarters radioed back to them. They advised Fritz that a second armored column was close by, just a couple miles ahead of the monster. They were on the way, getting into position to block its path. Fritz spotted another good vantage point and pulled off the road. The spot served his purpose perfectly. Once stopped, he grabbed a par of binoculars from under his seat.

By that time, the panzers that were following started to crest the hill behind them. Varan meanwhile was still in the valley below. It was marching onward care free, seemingly unaware of them. Fritz shifted his sights to the other side of the valley to look for the second tank platoon. They were not there yet, but they would be any minute. Once they arrived, Varan would be surrounded and the assault could begin.

As Varan got halfway through the valley, tanks on the far side ridge began to arrive. The monster spotted them and stopped. It seemed to be considering what it should do next. Varan roared out a warning, not understanding what the tanks were, but recognizing them as a threat by their aggressive advance towards him.

Seeing them as hostile, Varan had to decide if he should fight or flee. His enemies might be small, but they were numerous. About the same time, Varan became aware of the first tank column approaching from behind him. Watching Varan through his binoculars, Fritz thought the monster looked distressed when it realized the tanks had followed him from the other valley too. Only then did it realize that it was being stalked by what it saw as little hostile creatures.

The tanks were still out of range, which bought the monster a little time to think. It looked around, considering its environment. To the left there was a steep hill that would be difficult to climb. It would likely come under attack while trying to escape if it went that way. But to the right there was salvation, a small lake. It didn't take Varan long to decide what he should do next. It bolted for the water as both tanks columns closed in.

Varan rushed forward and splashed into the water, sending giant waves in its wake to both sides of the lake's shore. The waves pushed far beyond the tree lines surrounding the lake before retreating back within their normal boundaries. It took Varan mire moments to swim across the entire lake. As it got to the other side it looked back, as if to see if the tiny hostiles were able to traverse the water as well. It sat and waited.

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The panzers caught up and stopped short of the lake, getting into position. Fritz noted Varan almost looked pleased when the tanks pursuing it stopped at the waterline. The tanks however had not given up. They had finally managed to close within firing range with their cannons and opened up.

A cluster of shells arched over the waters of the lake in a near-synchronized attack. They quickly found their target on the other side. Each shell landed on the tough armored carapace over Varan's back. To the shock of Fritz and Reinhart, the monster barely seemed to noticed them. There was no noticeable damage as the ammo popped against the sturdy armor.

The German tankers were equally surprised by the ineffectiveness of their attack. The tank commander however was undeterred and ordered a second volley. He instructed his men to readjust their sights and the panzers thundered off a second time. Some of their shots hit Varan a little lower than the first volley, hammering against its legs and belly and avoiding the more sturdy back armor. This time Varan did take notice. There was still no noticeable damage, but at least it reacted to the explosions.

At this point, the tanks that were not already in ideal firing positions started to make their way around the edges of the lake and Varan took notice. Again, the monster watched and appeared to measure its options. Surprisingly, Varan once again decided to move off, leaving its attackers safely behind it. The tanks were not fast enough to keep pace and it seemed to recognize that.

Fritz and Reinhart put the truck back into drive and took off after it. Meanwhile the monster was putting more and more distance between itself and the tanks with every passing moment. Fritz updated headquarters to the developing situation and in return they notified him that air support was in en route.

---

The Luftwaffe arrived on the scene just minutes later, or at least a small portion of it had. What they had at their disposal was not not the whole German air force, but rather the a collection of the few assets that happened to be on patrol in the area at the time. They had been patched together to form a makeshift attack force while other planes were being scrambled at that very moment from nearby bases. Trouble was, they wouldn't arrive for at least twenty-five more minutes.

Until then, it was up to the handful of aircraft to slow the monster down. Slowing the monster down was exactly what was needed at that moment. The tank's failed assault had altered Varan's path and it was now on a crash course towards a tiny village.

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With everything happening so quickly, there had been no time to alert the villagers to the immediate danger. So many Military aircraft flying over them probably should have been an indication to them that something was wrong, but warplanes had been flying over so frequently in the last couple of days on regular patrols that it didn't alarm them the way it should have.

As it stood, it was squarely on the pilot's shoulders to prevent disaster. The aircraft they had on hand in the motley flight group were a mixture of Messerschmidt 109 fighters, Junkers Ju 87 dive bombers, junkers Ju 88 medium bombers, and Heinkel He 111 medium bombers, nothing super heavy. Still, they were the only hope for the citizens in the village below. They quickly developed a plan, dividing into two attack wings. The fighters would come in low with their machine guns to distract the beast, and hopefully do some damage, while the bombers would hit it from above.

Trouble was, it wasn't clear how tough the beasts armor was. The Germans had obtained information about previous assaults on the other monsters. If Varan's armored plates were anything like Angirus' they would be wasting their time, but if it was more on par with Baragon's then they might stand a fighting chance. The pilots didn't figure they would be able to kill Varan anyway, but they hoped they could at least get it to change course if they harassed it enough.

The first group of planes came in for their attack and Varan spotted them immediately. He stopped in his tracks, and like with the tanks before, he appeared to be trying to figure out what the planes were. When the first 109 pilot opened up on him with its machine guns, Varan knew they were just like the tanks, hostile. Unlike before though, the monster had run out of patience. This time it would not avoid the fight.

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A second fighter the swooped down and got a nasty surprise. Varan leap up into the air and caught the plane with its mouth and talons. The aluminum fuselage of the air-frame easily bent under the pressure of Varan's closing jaws, crushing both the aircraft and its trapped pilot. Somewhere along the line, the fuel tank caught fire and the plane exploded in the monster's mouth. The explosion did not injure Varan in the slightest, but he did seem surprised by the pop and sudden taste of fire.

Varan stopped for a brief moment, confused by the taste and texture of metal. Perhaps it had expected the plane to be some type of organic pest it could eat? The machine elements were very alien to the ancient amphibian and he didn't like it. He spit out the flaming wreckage and moved on.

Above him, the first dive bomber had gotten into position and dropped its payload square onto Varan's back. The answer to just how durable the monster's armor was quickly became apparent. The resulting explosion didn't even make him flinch. The rest of the pilots watched in horror as they realized just how outmatched they were. Any thoughts about killing the monster with bombs evaporated.

Unwilling to give up, a medium bomber pilot was the next to attack. It carried several heavier bombs than the dive bomber, but despite this advantage, the attack was even less effective. Dive bombers had the advantage of putting their payload right on target by getting in super close and guiding them in. This was not the case with traditional bombers. Even low flying medium bombers relied on a lot of luck for accuracy. Out of the twelve bombs released by the Heinkel, only one of them was a direct hit and the monster showed no more regard for it than the first hit.

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Varan pressed on, unimpressed by the firepower the planes. It managed to snag another aircraft when a Junker bomber tried to press in too low. The pilot tried to pull up when he saw he had caught the monster's attention, but it was already too late. Varan jumped up for it. While the monster failed to catch the plane with its jaws, it did manage to cleave off the wing of the plane with the sharp spines running up its back.

Having lost a wing, the bomber went completely out of control. One crewman somehow made it to the side door with a parachute to escape the doomed aircraft, he even managed to jump out, but the surviving wing of the plane struck him after he jumped out. The man was pulverized by the impact and his chute never opened. He hit the ground along with the aircraft. The bombs still within the bay of the plane exploded the second it hit the ground. The resulting fire narrowed the already slim chance any of the other crew were still alive.

After that, none of the other aircraft dared get in close to Varan again. They instead chose to harassed the monster at a safe distance with their machine guns and inaccurately dropped bombers from high above. The only good that came of it was the villagers were alerted by all the commotion. They sighted the monster and started the slow process of evacuating. The smart ones dropped everything and immediately ran for the hills, having heard in detail what befell to the residents of Essenhiem when the monster had come calling there. The less intelligent townsfolk tried to pack up and bring their belongings with them. It would prove a fatal miscalculation for some.

Despite the best efforts of the Luftwaffe pilots, Varan had not changed direction. It spotted the village and stubbornly held its course as bombs and bullets fell around it. The monster crashed through the first few houses it came across, having learnt that smashing houses sometimes yielded snacks inside. It found a few.

The airmen above watched helplessly as the monster rampaged. Most of the aircraft had already expended their ammunition. There was nothing more they could actively do to help the situation. Their attack had been a wash, but it had brought about one positive thing. Their distraction had bought the ground forces following Varan precious time to catch up with he monster.

Varan was about halfway through the village when the tanks arrived on the scene in mass. They thundered down the main road and started to spread out along the treeline. Moments later they poured out of the forest. This attack was slightly better coordinated and effective than the first.

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Fritz and Reinhart were again nearby helping to spot for the gunners. Anything hitting Varan above his armor belt might as well have missed, so accuracy was important. Unfortunately, anything hitting Varan below the armor belt only seemed to annoy him, akin to getting a slight pinch. The tanks just didn't have the firepower to do any meaningful damage.

After several more volleys, Varan did something strange. It came to a stop and remained still, making itself a perfect target for the tanks. The attacks paused for a moment. The gunners had been moving the turrets of their panzers to keep up with the monster's progress and they had to suddenly stop and wheel back to where they had been before.

When the first shell in the renewed attack hit Varan, it sent out a gush of fluid as it exploded against the monster's side. At first, the crews inside tanks thought they had finally done some substantial damage, but what had squished out of Varan was not blood. It was instead some type of frothy white substance.

Several more tanks fired, yielding similar results. The white fluid splashed all over the houses in close proximity to the monster. One of the panzers that had ventured in closer than the rest also got doused by a large quantity of the substance.

Fritz and Reinhart curiously watched the tank as the liquid started to sink into the crevasses of the machine, finding its way to the inner workings where the crew was located. Moments later, the men inside the panzer came boiling out of their machine. The only other time Reinhart has seen men move like that was when some of his friends had knocked down a hornets nest.

Whatever the substance was, it must have been extremely toxic. The men running from the tank appeared to be badly burnt from where the fluid had touched them. One of the men, the one with the most burn marks, dropped over in the street. Then another man fell. One after another, they collapsed until the entire crew was down.

The men had been moving like they were on fire only a moment before and now lay motionless. Reinhart could only assume they were dead. The display had an effect on the rest of the tank crews. None of them dared fire another shot for fear of spreading more of the toxic brew and sharing the same fate of their comrades.

Reinhart looked back at Varan, who was now dripping with the slimy substance. It seemed to be leaking out of every one of its pours. In fact, there was so much of the fluid that it was beginning to run up and down the cobblestone streets of the town. People who had still be hiding in their homes where forced to run out, wanting nothing to do with what was coming at them.

Though most of the tank crews had already figured out continuing the attack was ill advised on their own, Reinhart still heard the tank commander crackle over the radio ordering all units to hold fire, otherwise they'd risk spreading the unknown substance all over the area and exposing the retreating civilians. Clearly, attacking the monster would do more harm than good at that point.

Seeing that the attack had ceased, Varan began to move again. It left a trail of the secretion behind like a snail as he left, covering his retreat. The tank commander's first urge was to follow it through town, but doing so would to mean having to drive directly through the slimy substance and he didn't like that idea one bit.

Varan's new course was taking him along the only road going towards a mountain path, meaning there was no chance the panzers could directly pursue him without coming into contact with the slime-trail. Seeing little other choice, the tank commander was forced to order the armored column to go the long way around, avoiding the town and road all together.

---

Two hours later, after a very long detour, the column of panzers had just about caught up with Varan again nearby the Elbe River. They had been chasing the monster over rough terrain for the better part of three hours already and were down to less than half of their fuel tanks. If the chase persisted for much longer they would be in danger of running out of gas.

However, some good news had developed in the meantime. While the monster had been retreating northward, an artillery unit had arrived and they just might just have the firepower needed to finally tip the battle in the German's favor.

Varan had stopped moving, apparently resting. The use of its slime defense might have taken some of the fight out of it. Reinhart theorized that it could be slightly dehydrated given that it was an amphibian and had been away from a source of water for such a long time. The use of its odd ability probably compounded that issue. Fritz and Reinhart agreed on that much.

The break in action meant that the pair had time to examine the bodies of the men who had been exposed to Varan's secretions. It was clear that the men had not died from their burns alone. In fact, one of the men had barely been burnt at all. There was only a slight touch of it on his wrist. Still, the substance had killed him just the same as the others, it had simply taken longer. He was the last one to die.

Samples of the muck were very carefully collected from the streets and sent back and to the lab to be studied. Reinhart already had a working theory though. He felt that the substance was some type of poison. The burns were on the men were just incidental, a product of the extremely corrosive nature of the substance. However, that part was just meant to be a vehicle for the poison to enter the bloodstream of the victim.

If the the wounds were compared to other corrosive chemical burns, most of the exposed men would not have died, at least not as quickly. No, there was clearly something more at work. The deaths were in order of most exposed to least, which was not a coincidence. Higher exposure rates correlated directly with quicker deaths. None the less, any level of exposure still meant death within a matter of seconds. Clearly, whatever Varan was using as a poison defense was extremely potent.

However, what wasn't clear, was if there was a minimal level of contact a person could survive. Would a mere drop be lethal? Even less that that? Reinhart was aware of some frog species producing neurotoxins that were so powerful they could stop the heart of a grown man even with the slightest amount of exposure. This did not bode well and presented a big problem when attacking the monster.

Fritz walked up and pulled Reinhart away from his thoughts. They needed to get moving if they were to catch up with the tanks.

---

The Luftwaffe had arrived in force and had been keeping tabs on Varan in the meantime. They were keeping their distance. It had been decided that the tanks and aircraft would be held back while the artillery was set up in the hills above the monster. Planes and tanks made too much noise and would betray their approach. Both would simply stay on standby until the big guns opened up.

The Germans were quickly learning what was not working. They hoped that their artillery would have the right balance of firepower and accuracy the aircraft and tanks lacked individually in their previous attacks. If they could just get the right amount of firepower focused into the right area they might finally start having some effect.

Trucks quietly started bringing in the artillery into the hills above Varan and crews quickly put them together as discreetly as possible. All was going well. The cannons were all just about set up when a truck driver revved his engine a little too much fighting to get up a hill. The noise alerted Varan to the growing danger around it.

The artillery was still well hidden in the foliage and Varan was not able to pinpoint them. Still, he felt threat around him and his instinct was to retreat. The monster almost seemed annoyed that it was still being pursued. It had barely had a moments peace all morning.

With the sudden movement of the monster, the artillery crews were left scrambling to make final preparations for the assault. They quickly loaded three and a half inch shells into their weapons. The monster was moving away, but still well within range of their guns. The cannons began to roar and salvos began to shower down around Varan.

Unfortunately, the monster had moved far enough away by this point that the cannons had to be raised up and their volleys were firing in an arch, plummeting downward. The difference being the the artillery shells were landing on the armored back of Varan and not hitting him on the sides as planned.

Once it was clear that they had lost the element of surprise, the tanks were sent back in to pursue the monster once again. They followed the road on a cliff-side overlooking the monster at it retreated. This firing position was no good. It guaranteed all their shots would land above the armor belt like the artillery was. All they could do for the time being was continue to pursue it.

The artillery fire began to die down as the monster continued forward, slowly getting out of their range. The cannons could be packed up to follow, but it would be a a while before they could catch up. The monster had outmaneuvered the Germans again. The panzers were already starting to loose ground and it wouldn't be very long before their fuel reserves would run dry.

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The decisive moment came when Varan found a bridge crossing along the Elbe river. Remembering from earlier that the tanks couldn't swim, the monster appeared to have gotten itself an idea. It changed course and climbed onto the superstructure of the bridge. The support beams gave way almost instantly under the creature's weight. Within seconds, the entire structure gave way and the bridge collapsed into the river below with Varan on top of it.

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The river was swollen high with all the recent rainfall, but Varan was far too big to disappear into it. The water only came up to the very bottom portions of its chest. With the bridge destroyed, Varan crossed to the other side and looked back to see what became of its pursuers.

Reinhart and Fritz arrived about this time to witness the final moments of the battle. The tanks had come to a halt, still on the road overlooking the river. It was clear to the commander that they had lost the day. They certainly would not be able to cross the corpse of a bridge the monster left sticking out of the river.

Nearly out of fuel and out of options the Wehrmacht would have to concede victory to the monster. It could do whatever it wanted now and there was little they could do to stop it. They would have to regroup, refuel, and find another crossing to begin again tomorrow.

---

Marcus' plane finally arrived at the airfield in Tunis and a car was waiting to take them directly to the USS Reeves, a Mahan class destroyer, which was waiting for them in the harbor.

The Reeves was an aged destroyer that appeared to have seen its share of wear and tear over the years. Being used to the grandeur of the Enterprise, the Reeves inspired a great deal less aw. Marcus realized that he had taken for granted the majestic flagship while he was walking up the ramp of old beat up old destroyer.

He had a foreboding feeling climbing up the rails with his bag. A certain unspoken something was gnawing in the back of his mind, telling him the next leg of the journey would be no pleasure cruise. Marcus tried to push it out of his mind. The sun was high in the sky, there was a gentile breeze in the air, and they had places to be. His feeling of uneasy would have to take a back seat.

The Reeves was underway in less than a half-hour and Marcus was starting to settle down. Admiral Nimitz spent most his time on the bridge talking with the captain of the ship, the recently promoted Captain Shack. He was a man eager to make a good impression on the admiral.

Marcus only met Captain Shack briefly when he had come to welcome the admiral aboard, but he immediately got the impression that Shack might have been promoted a little too early. He had a nervous energy about him. When they left port he got distracted and forgot to order the anchor be fully raised. The Reeves damaged the vessel moored next to them with the chain attached to the anchor scraping their hull. Fortunately the damage was only minor, but still, a bad start to their journey.

If that wasn't bad enough, Captain Shack had also overlooked another important detail when they left. He had sent several members of his galley crew to get some supplies while in port so that he could make special dinner for the Admiral during the journey to France. Trouble was, he was in such a hurry to get moving, he had failed to realize they had not yet returned to the ship. He had sailed without them. A half hour out of port he realized his mistake and was forced to turn around and go back for them.

Once the crewmen were back aboard they once again got underway. Captain Shack then decided that they should test fire their torpedoes to demonstrate to the admiral they would be able to defend themselves if the need should arise.

Unfortunately during the test fighting a live torpedo was accidentally launched in place of one of the dummy torpedoes. A local fishing ship was in the area and had to be alerted to make evasive maneuvers to avoid the danger. The fishing ship was easily able to avoid the torpedo, its draft was too shallow for it to be hit anyway, but suffice to say, Captain Shack's attempt to impress the Admiral had fallen short.

From there, Captain Shack's only aim was to try to keep the Reeves afloat long enough to get his VIP passengers to their destination in one piece. The admiral understandable stayed on the bridge to ensure no more shenanigans would take place.

Meanwhile Marcus and Brock were sitting in one of the anti-aircraft stations near the stern of the ship talking to one of the crew members of the Reeves, a man going only by the name Smitty. He was a salty old sailor and seemed to reflect the spirit of his ship, rough around the edges, but experienced. He had been in the navy for a long time and seemed in tune with the ocean.

Smitty had a very low opinion of the captain and obviously didn't like being under his command. He sighted several incidents where he had made the wrong call while on the open water. There had been several times the ship may have met disaster if not for the insights of his executive officer. This made Marcus feel even more uneasy about the issues they'd had earlier in the day. He had hoped it was just having the admiral around causing the Captain to made so many mistakes.

Marcus took a long drink the Coke he had been given from the galley and put it back down. It was good, it made him feel a little better. The wind changed direction unexpectedly and the half full coke bottle was blown over. The bottle rolled down the deck and over the side of the ship.

"poop." Marcus leaned over the side and watched as the bottle slowly sank below the waves. He notched the water had grown noticeable more choppy. Mere moments ago the waters had been relatively calm with the usual levels of bobbing up an down that he had grown accustomed to while at sea.

"Aw, well that's too bad." Smitty seemed somewhat amused by Marcus' bad luck with his soda. "But that's the sea for ya. She is a treacherous mistress. She'll encourage you one minute, then knock you on yer butt the next. Wise men respect her. I've been a sailor my whole life, seen many rare sights. Some good, some bad."

"What kind of things have you seen?" Marcus asked, accepting the loss of his coke.

"Oh plenty. Lets me see now." Smitty began. "I've seen seventy foot rouge waves come out of nowhere and capsize ships. Witnessed swimmers pulled away by a merciless riptide. I've seen the maelstroms of Norway suck down unsuspecting fishermen who go too close. Square cross-waves off the coast of California. The tides Monte St. Michel, which turn the fortress into a solitary island in a matter of minutes. Waterspouts in Florida come out of the water and rip up houses from their foundations. Red tides in India. Had a buddy disappear in the Bermuda triangle never to be heard of again. I've seen sharks twenty feet long burst out of the water to catch seals, but one of the worst things I ever saw was a Tsunami. Imagine if you will a wave ninety feet high hitting a beach at a hundred and fifty miles per hour, pulverizing everything in its path. It took hundreds of people with it. I was lucky enough to be perched on the rocks of a cliff overlooking the beach at the time with my sweetheart, otherwise I wouldn't have lived to tell the tail. It killed the mood."

"A thing like that would stay with you I'd imagine." Marcus noted. "But that's not the worst thing you've ever seen?" You said that was one of the worst things you've seen, what tops that?" Smitty looked at Marcus like he had asked something very taboo. He was quite for a second then looked around to see if any of the other crew were within earshot. When he saw no one was he went on.

"Those are just the normal things I've seen." Smitty began. "I've seen things that no one can explain. Might sound a little crooked if you catch my meaning. When I was young, I remember the old timers telling stories about mermaids, krakens, and the like and thought they were just the products of moonshine, boredom, and overactive imaginations. But I'll tell you truly, I've seem strange things with sober eyes."

"What kind of things?" Marcus was intrigued.

"Alright, I'll tell you the story." Smitty relented. "About fifteen years ago I was on watch duty on the USS Smith, a destroyer not unlike this one. This was after the Great War and tensions had long since died down. We were on our way Liverpool, England. Nothing important, just running some supplies. I think it was about half past midnight and I was alone in the crow's nest trying to fight off sleep. I had been out there for hours alone and most of the rest of the crew had long been asleep already. Well, it started out as a noise. Something I had never heard before. I've heard whale sing before, but this was nothing like that at all. It was a noise that no man or sea creature could produce. It was unearthly and it was getting louder. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up."

"Before I knew what was what, I saw a light moving under the water nearby the ship. And before you ask, it weren't no reflection from above, it was a moonless night. The landscape was pitch black aside from the visitor under the waves. Whatever it was, it passed right beneath the boat. The ship bobbed up from the wake of its passing. After passing us by it sank into the depths until the light vanished. Many are the nights where I sit by myself with a bottle of brandy and think about what it might have been. Nothing I've ever seen has made me loose more sleep than thinking about the noise it made.

"Could it have been a submarine?" Brock asked.

"It weren't no submarine, I can tell you that" Smitty replied. "I've been around them darn things since they were invented. There was something else in the water with us that night."

The Reeves pitched up with a high wave about that time, breaking up the tension. Marcus shook himself back into reality, caught up with Smitty's story. He hadn't noticed that the seas around them had grown even more unruly.

"Is the Mediterranean always this rough?" Marcus asked.

"No, Waves don’t ordinarily get this big in the Mediterranean." Smitty answered before getting up to walk away. "I'd say something very nasty is brewing."

"Wait, what?" Marcus said worried. After all he'd just heard, he didn't want to know what fit into Smitty's definition of nasty. Smitty continued to walk away ignoring him.

"So... he’s colorful." Brock said as Smitty retreated out of earshot. "You think he's the Mayor of crazy town or just the secretary?"

"You don't think we should take him serious?" Marcus asked.

"Don't worry about it kid, I think the old man was just trying to scare you." Brock assured him. "Grizzled old veterans like him get their kicks terrifying young squids like you. I wouldn't pay him any mind."

"I don't know." Marcus frowned. " If it was just a story, it was a damned convincing one."

Just then, there was a thunderclap above them and it instantly began pouring down rain. Marcus and Brock were forced to retreat inside the ship. They had to proceed carefully though, holding on to the rails, waves were bouncing the ship up and down higher than before.

"How'd it get so bad so fast?" Brock cursed. He slipped had Marcus grabbed him just to be safe.

If either of them were to fall overboard it wouldn't be likely that either of them could be recovered in the quickly deteriorating weather. A wave came over the side of the ship and hit the pair. While neither of them had been dry to begin with, the water soaked through Marcus' uniform instantly and was horrifically cold. It stopped both of them in their tracks for a second before they could recover and continue towards the hatch that would bring them inside. Brock laughed behind Marcus. While he had gotten soaked too, he was having more fun with the situation.

If it wasn't for the threat of drowning, Marcus too could have found some fun hanging onto the rail while the ship was pitching up and down in the water. However, he was not as fond of danger as Brock was and motioned for them to continue forward before something really bad happened. Finally, they made it to the hatch opened it. Upon stepping inside the Reeves, they found Smitty there waiting for them with a pair of towels. He was smiling a poop eating grin at them.

'Wait a minute, how'd he get those so fast?' Marcus grimaced with suspicion. 'Did he know we were about to get drenched the whole time?'

---

Less than hour later, the USS Reeves was caught up in a powerful storm. The thunder, lightening, and rain were beyond anything Marcus had experienced before. The ship felt like a tin can being tossed around on the waves. Marcus had been through storms before on the Enterprise, but on a big capitol ship, one hardly seems to notice waves. On a destroyer, on the other hand, every second is like the thrill ride, not knowing which direction you might get thrown next.

Image

The initial feeling of excitement and fun Marcus had at the beginning of the storm had long since faded, washed away with the continuous crashing of waves against the hull. He realized both the ship and his life were at risk to the hunger of the angry sea.

Marcus did his beast to keep a cool head, but he was certain his fear and concern was painted all over his face. He looked over to Brock who had also lost all his bravado from earlier. It only reinforced to Marcus how serious and precarious the situation was. Even Smitty, who was keeping tabs on the pair, had a grim look on his face.

The ship jerked back and forth violently and every man aboard had to hang on to something to keep their feet under them. Marcus imagined what it would be like if the ship went down and they were actually forced to abandon ship. His mind shifted around to all the nasty things Smitty had told them about the sea. What if they couldn't get to the life boats and were left floating on the surface in shark infested waters? It occurred to Marcus that the sharks probably wouldn't even have chance to find them before the raging storm drowned them.

Just as Marcus was pondering that question, another wave thundered against the hull of the ship and some water found its way into their compartment. That was enough for him and he decided that he didn't want to be sitting in the bowels of the ship if it started to go down. He got up and began making his way to the bridge to see how bad their situation really was for himself. Neither Brock nor Smitty tried to stop him.

It was a slow going trying to keep his balance along was way as the ship shifted in the water continuously. Marcus was bracing himself with his arms outstretched against the walls of the corridor as he went. It was tiresome and his muscles ached from the effort.

Marcus arrived on the bridge just in time to see the greatest threat to the Reeves beginning to unfold. The helmsman was reporting to Captain Shack that a huge tidal wave was approaching the ship from the starboard side. There was only a few seconds to decide what do to. If the ship stayed where it was the wave would roll over their side and capsize them. If that were to happen, the odds of any of the crew surviving would drop dramatically.

Captain Shack did the worst thing possible in that situation, nothing. He frozen up and left his subordinates standing there waiting on him to act. they were losing precious time they did not have. Fortunately for them all, Admiral Nimitz was there and was not about to let anyone to die standing on formalities. He quickly took command and issued out the orders required to get the Reeves positioned so that the ship would turn with the oncoming wave.

The Reeves made the turn just in time as it got caught up in the wave. For a few seconds the destroyer was nearly at a sixty degree angle as the stern was pulled up in the wall of water. Marcus was terrified as he tried to hang on. His heart was in his throat. Gravity was trying to pull him forward as he braced himself. Through the glass of the bridge he could see the water below them. The ship was never meant to see the ocean from this angle. As the wave rolled up under the ship they started to level out again. From there, the Reeves rode along the crest of the wave for a few more tense seconds. Time slowed down as the ship rushed forward with the force of the raging ocean. Another wave poured over the stern of the ship but then rolled back overboard again.

Though Marcus didn't realize it at the time, the ship was clear of the immediate danger. It rolled forward, still being pulled along by the wake of tidal wave that was rolling on in front of them. An addition hour of being tossed around saw the Reeves through the storm and back into calmer waters and safety.

---

The trip from Tunis to France had been meant to take only around twelve hours, but between Captain Shack's antics and the storm, they rolled into the port in Southern France about nine hours late. The French officials sent to met them were concerned when they failed to arrived on time. They had made efforts to contact them, but the antenna on the Reeves had been knocked out in the storm, making radio communication impossible.

Upon arrival, Marcus discovered the tidal wave they had encountered in the storm was in fact caused by an unrelated phenomena. There had been an earthquake in Libya that caused the giant wave to form. It was just a crazy coincidence it happened to hit the Reeves while in the thralls of the storm.

'Just one more strange story for Smitty to tell.' Marcus thought sarcastically.

The tidal wave had continued on northward after their encounter with it and had hit parts of Southern Europe. Italy was the hardest hit, being located directly across from the point of origin in Africa. In particular, the coastal areas of Sicily were devastated. France was relatively unaffected by the wave, as it had been broken up by other land masses between them.

With their safe arrival, Marcus, Nimitz, Brock, and Williams could continue on as planned. They left the Reeves behind to begin the long process of repairs in the harbor. Meanwhile, the French officials had a bus waiting to transport them to the research facility. Marcus was more than happy to be off the Reeves and on board something a little more stable. The sea voyage had tested his metal almost as much as his encounter with Baragon.

---

The trip through the French countryside to the facility was blessedly more quiet and uneventful. Marcus' shattered nerves needed some time to recover. In fact, he fell asleep for an hour or so before Brock poked him in the shoulder to let them know they were drawing near to their final destination. They were still driving nearby the coast, but had gone a considerable number of miles west. They made a turn off the main road and onto a private one that would take them the small remainder of the way. The road was a little windy, rising in elevation with each twist back and forth.

The grounds the research facility was built on were nestled amongst the hills overlooking the sea, but the lovely scenery didn't stop Marcus from being nervous. This would mark the fourth occasion he'd come into close contact with a Kaiju and he would not have recommended his first three encounters to anyone. There was no reason to think this would be any different.

The first thing Marcus spotted as they drove up on the facility was the impressive structure that encased the egg. He could only see the very top of it over the treeline at first, but as they got closer, he could see more and more. As it got bigger, he could feel anxiety building up in his chest. He knew he was already past the point of no return though. It wasn't like he could jump out of the bus and hitch hike back to the States. No, he was committed to whatever would come now. He'd have to see it through to the end.

Finally the bus brought them around the final corner, which allowed them to get their first good look at the entire facility. The structure housing the egg was the first thing everyone's eyes were drawn to. It dwarfed the buildings around it. The framework was steel, surrounded by what appeared to be glass. The building looked like something that should be found at the center of a World's Fair Exposition. It looked other-earthly, like an overgrown greenhouse or conservatory, but it housed something far rarer than anything that could be found in either.

Image

The whole group was even more impressed by the gargantuan egg, which was plain as day to see through the clear walls. It was even bigger than they had imagined. It resembled a robin's egg with its light blue base color, but was highlighted by soft yellow stripes and dotted with speckles of white throughout. It was an equal balance of unusual and magnificent and an aw-inspiring sight for certain.

As Marcus starred at it, something strange happened. All of his fear and anxiety about the mission started to melt away. There was something about the egg gave him a inexplicable feeling of being safe, but there was more to it than that. He felt good, real good. Marcus had not felt so good since before his encounter with Baragon, before he even knew that Kaiju existed. It was hard to Marcus to pinpoint exactly what the feeling was. The only thing that came close was how he felt the last time he was with Shauna, simply warm on the inside.

The bus came to a stop and a delegation of French scientists came from the facility to meet them. Admiral Nimitz shook hands with the lead scientist by the name of Dr. Jacquier and introduced everyone else. Routine pleasantries were exchanged, most of which Marcus was ignoring. His gaze drifting back to the egg. He couldn't keep his eyes off of it. There was a great deal of conversation his missed before his attention came back to it.

"How did you manage to make something this big out of glass so quickly?" He caught Williams ask the doctor, referring to the atrium housing the egg.

"Geez Williams, that’s what you are finding impressive?" Brock rolled his eyes. "We have a true wonder in front of us and that's where your mind goes?"

"Well, it is impressive." Williams floundered to find a better response, obviously a little embarrassed.

"First, I think both are impressive." Dr. Jacquier laughed. "Second, it’s not glass. It’s a new material called plastic."

"Plastic? What the heck is that?" Brock asked.

"I'm glad you asked." Dr. Jacquier replied. "Plastic is a recently developed semi-synthetic organic polymer discovered by James clerk Maxwell that is malleable. And because of that, it can be molded into solid objects derived from petrochemicals. It has great versatility and is imperiousness to water. It is light, cheap, and easy to produce. It has limitless applications."

"Oh." Brock replied. It was clear that half of what the doctor had said had went over his head. Marcus too was a little lost, but less so that Brock. He at least got the gist.

"I'll explain it to you more as we go." Dr. Jacquier smiled, realizing he was perhaps throwing a new concept a little too quickly at a simple soldier. "But suffice to say it is a discovery that will change the world as we know it in the years to come. Necessity is the mother of invention and it was necessary to protect our guest here from the elements as quickly as possible. My feeling is The Thing is happy in its new home."

"The Thing?" Marcus asked confused. "What do you mean?

"Oh, the egg, we don’t really know what is in there yet, so we have just been saying that." Dr. Jacquier explained. "Somehow feels right to me. Once we rightly figure out what is in there we can give it a more proper name. Would you gentlemen like a closer look? You've come all this way, might as well get cracking... so to speak."

---

A short while later, the group was climbing the stairs just outside of the atrium, which housed the egg. They had to pass through a security checkpoint to get there, but the armed guards were pretty relaxed waving the whole group through without issue.

Dr. Jacquier was talking more about the building and how it had been constructed so quickly, perhaps patting his engineers on the back a little along the way. He also explained the security measures that had been put into place. The atrium had a fail safe built in should the egg start to exhibit behavior seen as dangerous. The French government had only agreed to permit study of the egg within their territory so long as there was a way to destroy it quickly should the need arise.

The scientists had come up with a radical way to satisfy the security requirement. A relatively new technology was implemented into the very walls surrounding the egg. Dr. Jacquier described the technology as microwaves. He explained that microwaves were a form of electromagnetic radiation that caused dielectric heating primarily by absorption of the energy in water and thereby heating polarized molecules within a given object. In this case, the egg, should they turn on the surrounding emitter emplacements.

He went on to explain that molecules have a partial positive charge at one end and a partial negative charge at the other, and therefore they rotate as they would try to align themselves with the alternating electric field of the microwaves. This molecular movement would cause heat to disperse as the rotating molecules hit other molecules and put them into motion.

He summarized by saying that with the flip of just a single switch, the housing around the egg could be turned into a electromagnetic oven that would cook the egg and whatever was inside it in mere minutes. He joked that he could make enough scrambled eggs for the entire country if he wanted. Something about that statement made Marcus feel angry, but he didn't know why. He should have felt more secure knowing that they had such a well thought out defense.

"Where is this security switch?" Admiral Nimitz asked.

"It's in the observation deck." Dr. Jacquier answered. "Right next to the main control board. That way it's right at our finger tips should it become necessary."

"Are you concerned that someone might hit the switch by mistake?" Williams asked. "It could get awful dicey if someone where to trip it while we are up there."

"I wouldn't worry about any accidents like that." Dr. Jacquier assured him. "The switch is located inside a security box. It has to be unlocked with a key to be accessed. So it can't be tripped by mistake. There are only two keys. I always hold on to one of them and the security chief is in charge of the other one. Typically whichever guards are on duty below are entrusted with his key so they can quickly react in an emergency if I'm not around."

Satisfied with Dr. Jacquier's explanation, the group proceeded up the remaining steps that lead to the to observation deck. Upon entering the atrium and they got their best view of the egg yet. The only thing separating the group from the egg was a narrow panel of glass, the only glass to be found in the facility, the rest was plastic. Marcus pressed himself right up next to it, trying to get the best view possible. The egg was even more beautiful through the clear glass. The plastic exterior, which the doctor had been talking up so much was still inferior in some ways. The true colors of the egg were dulled from the outside view, but on the inside it was even more breathtaking. The feeling Marcus had felt earlier was even stronger now that he was so close to the egg, seeing its true details. He put his hand against the glass.

"Phew, it is cooking in here already doc, you're saying it would get hotter if the security system was turned on?" Brock asked.

"Considerably." Dr. Jacquier noted.

"I wouldn't want to be in here if that happened." Brock shrugged. He noted a thermometer on the wall. "Geez, it's a hundred degrees in here."

"Is it really?" Marcus asked surprised. He had not even noticed. He came over and examined the thermometer for himself. Sure enough, that's what it read. "To me it feels more like seventy-two." Just then he noticed that Brock was beginning to sweat and he was not. Marcus looked around and saw that almost everyone in the room was sweating. He still didn't even think it felt warm and got a little weirded out. He also noticed Dr. Jacquier staring at him strangely.

"Perhaps it's time to head back outside." Dr. Jacquier announced to the group. "It's pretty hot in here after all."

As the group made their way back down the stairs, Marcus noted an entrance to actual egg chamber. He saw one of the French scientists go through. It appeared to be restricted access though. There was a warning sign hanging outside the door. He couldn't read it, but the intent was still pretty clear for non-French speakers by the picture on it.

Dr. Jacquier talked for just another minute before wrapping up his welcome tour. The last thing he did was point out the housing unit were the new American arrivals were to stay for the duration of their stay. As they has arrived late in the day, there was not enough time to do much else before dark. There was just enough time have dinner and then settle in for the evening. Their work would have to begin tomorrow.

As the groups broke up Marcus again caught Dr. Jacquier watching him. Marcus mostly had a good first impression of the Doctor, but his staring was starting to make him uneasy.

---

After dinner, Marcus and Brock headed to their bunk for the night. Almost everyone else was well ready for a good night's sleep. Marcus aside, the rest of his group were still worn out by their misadventure at sea. He had been the only one to have slept on the drive over to the facility.

While everyone else slumbered, Marcus starred up at the ceiling thinking. His mind was racing and kept coming back to the same thought: he needed to get an even closer look at the egg. He tried to push the thought out of his mind, but as the night pressed on, he became more and more fixated on it. He tossed and turned and wasn't able to rest.

At about eleven-thirty Marcus finally couldn't stand it anymore. He grabbed his shoes and crept out of the room. Brock was out like a light, so that much was easy. Once outside of his room, Marcus slipped his shoes on and continued onward carefully. The rest of the building was just as dead to the world. Sneaking out of the bunk house unnoticed was even easier than getting out of his room. The hallways were deserted.

Marcus slipped out the door and into the cool night air. He looked around and found the facility grounds dark, quite, empty. Sneaking around proved to be stupidly simple. The only trouble Marcus came across was the guards at the entrance to the egg facility, but even there, he was in luck. One of the guards was just getting up from his station to walk the perimeter of the atrium and the other one had fallen asleep at his post.

Marcus waited patiently, knowing exactly what he needed to do. Once the first guard had circled around the corner of the atrium he would make a break for it. He waited just a few seconds longer and then sprinted across the grass until he got close to the entrance. He slowed once he came upon the other guard sleeping. Marcus tiptoed around him, as not to alert him. He crept past without difficulty and finally entered the door to the egg chamber.

Once inside, Marcus found the lights were on. The room was empty as best as he could tell. It was difficult to be sure. It was possible that someone was on the other side of the atrium being blocked by the egg. Kind of the same way the egg was blocking him so the guard on the outside couldn't see him. It didn't bother Marcus much, he doubted anyone would be in there that time of night. As he looked around, he noticed something odd. There were air raid sirens posted in three corners of the atrium and he assumed there must have been an additional one located in the corner he could not see.

'What the heck are they planning to do with these?' Marcus thought to himself.

There was no time to dwell on it though. His time was very limited. The atrium might be huge, but at best, he only had a minute or two before the other guard would circle back around. He'd be able to see Marcus through the clear plastic once he got close enough. Marcus could circle around the egg himself to avoid detection, but if the guard remained at his post for the rest of the night, Marcus would be trapped and eventually discovered. There was only one way in or out. Best to avoid that scenario.

Marcus wasted no more time, he briskly walked forward until he was right next to the egg. He should have been thinking the egg could crush him if it were to be disturbed, but that was far from his mind. He only had one thought at that point: He had to touch it with his bare hand to see how it felt. It was an impulse he simply couldn't ignore. An irresistible urge was driving him on.

Marcus' hand inched closer and closer until finally there was direct contact. The eggshell was warm, exceptionally warm, against his skin. He somehow had not expected that. As he stood there just soaking it in, he started to feel something. There was a flash in his mind and he felt the warmth against his hand begin to flow into the rest of his body. He stood there for what felt like ages while it filled him up. He stopped seeing the egg in front of him and started seeing other things, so many things, things he didn't understand. Time felt like it stopped and he could hear music, unlike anything he had heard before.

Marcus eventually came back to his senses and had spots of light in his vision once again. They were brighter than the last time he had saw them. He was suddenly very worried, it had been awhile since his last episode and he had hoped that they were permanently gone. Clearly they were not. As he stood there, he realized he had no idea how long he had been there. He might be in danger of being caught.

Marcus realized that it was time to go. He looked out through the side of the atrium and could see that the other guard had not returned yet. He couldn't risk staying inside any longer. He darted to the exit, opening the door carefully. He peaked around the corner to see if the patrolling guard was coming. There was no sign of him and and the other guard was still fast asleep.

It was now or never, Marcus carefully exited he atrium and walked quietly away until he was a good twenty yards away from the sleeping guard. Once he felt a safe distance away, he broke into a full on sprint until he was back into the safety of the shadows, far away from the atrium. Marcus looked back and saw the other guard just coming around the corner. If he had waited just a few more seconds he would have been spotted.

Amongst the shadows, Marcus quietly caught his breath and steadied his nerves. He quickly thought to himself what he would say if anyone back at the bunkhouse happened to be awake when her arrived and pressed him about where he had been. Marcus found it strange that it was only now that he was considering this. Why hadn't he thought about this before? He could find no reasonable answer to that question.

He was far more successful with coming up with an excuse for being outside though. It just so happened that the bunkhouse lacked indoor plumbing, as it had been erected somewhat recently and in a hurry. For that reason, an outhouse had been placed nearby. Marcus could simple say he had the urge to go during the night. Not so far from the truth, he'd barely be lying if he said that.

Feeling confident with an excuse in mind, Marcus began to walk back in the dark. He pasted a couple buildings and then came around a corner, which would lead him back to the bunkhouse. As he did, someone struck a match. Marcus stopped in his tracks, taken by surprise. The unknown figure brought the match up to their face and revealed themselves to be none other than Dr. Jacquier. He was carefully lighting a cigarette.

"Nice night for a walk, Marcus... is it?" He asked. Marcus felt like a child who had been caught sneaking down to the kitchen in the middle of the night to steal a cookie from the cookie jar. By Jacquier's demeanor, it was unclear if he had witnessed Marcus go into the facility or not. He seemed relaxed and aloof.

"It sure is." Marcus replied, not knowing what else to say. He felt cold sweat forming on the back of his neck.

"A little fresh air does the body and spirit good." Dr. Jacquier went on, though the statement was a little ironic considering he took in a long drag from his cigarette right after. "Well, you should rest up, we'll be starting bright and early tomorrow."

"Yeah, sure thing doctor." Marcus agreed.

With that, Dr. Jacquier simply walked away and Marcus could hardly believe it. Had he really not seen what he had just done? He was certain he was about to be busted. Could the doctor really have been out there just for a midnight smoke? Something told Marcus that was not the case, but despite that, he somehow felt ok about it.

---

The next morning, Marcus told Brock what he had done while sitting down to breakfast. All things considered Brock took it pretty well.

"Are you mad?" Brock choked on his wheat bran. "Do you know what they would have done to you if to had been caught? At the very least you'd be in the brig, probably awaiting a court martial, and the rest of us would be be at the heart of an embarrassing international incident. What were you thinking?"

"It's hard to explain, but I felt compelled to do it." Marcus began.

"You felt compelled to do it?" Brock grumbled, clearly not impressed with Marcus' explanation. "What the hell kind of answer is that? Where's your self control? I'll tell you what, I feel compelled to put my boot in your ass. Do you think it would be wise for me to act on that urge?" The vein in Brock's neck was starting to pop out.

"I know it sounds crazy and you're getting agitated Brock, but hear me out for a second." Marcus tried to calm him down. "Between the storm and our encounter with Baragon I've been a nervous wreck lately. You know that I've had issues dealing with it. But here's the crazy thing: From the moment we arrived here I have started felt different, somehow better and when I touched the egg I got a jolt of something. I don't understand it yet, but I'm starting to feel like me again for the first time in a long time. I know it's selfish, but for me it was worth the risk of being caught." Brock just stared at Marcus curiously, not sure what to say. He looked like he was thinking something over himself.

"I've felt a little different since we got here too." Brock admitted. "I'm not sure I like it though."

"Gentlemen, better finish up quickly." Dr. Jacquier came up surprising them. "It's nearly time to get the experiment underway! I wouldn't want you to miss it."

---

Ten minutes later, everyone was gathered on the stairs on the way to the observation deck. They had elected to start earlier in the morning so the atrium was as cool as possible. As the day pressed on, it would only get hotter and hotter inside as it soaked up more of the sun's rays. Dr. Jacquier was already chatting everyone up.

"It's funny, we've only begun to study the egg, and by its mere presence here, we've been forced to jump into two new areas of technological advances." Dr. Jacquier noted. "Who knows what will happen once we start to understand its secrets." He lead the group back into the observation deck within the atrium and began to bring them up with speed about the experiments that had already been preformed and what they had learned from them. The short answer could be summarized as very little, save for one important discovery.

The French scientists had conducted countless tests on the shell, taking very small scrapings in an effort to determine what was inside. The results were inconclusive. They compared the samples under a microscope to various types of bird, reptile, amphibian, insect, and fish eggs. They came up empty. Nothing was a match or even a close match. They even tried to screen it against the few types of mammals that lay eggs. nothing came of it.

The egg was wholly unique. One of the things that really set it apart was a new mineral found within it. The scientists concluded it was something that couldn't be found on the periodic table of the time. Whatever it was, it was strong. In fact, if the whole eggshell had been made up of the element, they never would have been able to scrape off a sample. This, as much as anything, stirred the French government's interest in continuing their research. The mineral could prove invaluable once they discovered an application for it. That alone could justify their decision to study the egg rather than destroy it.

After their first exciting discovery, the scientists tested the egg in a series of other experiments. The first was to see if it was giving off any radiation, magnetic fields, or conductivity. Each test failed to yield any noteworthy information. A litany of other experiments followed, each failing to produce anything of value.

Dr. Jacquier went into detail of each test extensively, but Marcus stopped paying attention when it became clear that he wasn't going to say anything else useful or interesting. Marcus' eyes and attention shifted to the egg instead. It was just sitting in the atrium waiting for him. He starred at it for a long time before he drifted back towards the conversation going on around him.

"What we are going to do today is a sound test." Dr. Jacquier announced as Marcus' attention shifted back to him. "You will observe the air raid sirens recently installed inside the atrium." He pointed them out. "We have converted them to act as speakers to amplify a selection of music that has been prepared in advance."

"What is the point of this test?" Admiral Nimitz asked.

"I'm glad you asked." Dr. Jacquier replied. "All of this probably seems strange right? Why would we men of science, being sound of mind, go as far as to hold a private opera for an overgrown chicken egg you might be asking yourself? Well, the answer is slightly more complex than my love for classical music." He jested, getting a mixed response from the crowd.

"Anyhow." The he went on. "The fact of the matter is there are factions within my government that feel that we should not be expending any more of our country's resources on this project until we can at the very least confirm that their is life dwelling within the egg." Dr. Jacquier explained "So far, our guest has been quite bashful about making its presence know. There have been precious few clues about what lurks inside, if anything at all. It could be a dud, but we certainly can't do the old farmer's trick of putting the egg in a glass of water to see if it will float. So, we must find another way to confirm we are dealing with a living organism or not."

"As luck would have it, a potential solution to our problem may have landed in our laps." Dr. Jacquier continued. "A few days ago Dr. Dellacqua was in the atrium compiling his experimental notes and happened to be listening to his new record player to help pass the time. As he was writing, something remarkable happened. He thought he noted movement within the egg. Unfortunately no one else was around to see or hear it and there was no recording equipment on hand at the time to catch it either. While Dr. Dellacqua's word is enough for me, it's sadly not good enough for those dissenters in the government who would like to see this project shut down. They demand something a little more concrete."

"Thus, our goal today is to correct that oversight and provide them with some hard evidence. To accomplish that goal we plan to provoke a response and reproduce the movement, but this time with recording equipment in place to prove our claim. To that end, we have placed sensitive seismic equipment near the base of the egg. It will detect the slightest vibrations, thus, if there is any reaction today we will be able to record it." Some of the members of the team looked impressed, while other like Brock thought the doctor had drank too much wine.

"Why would it respond to music?" Someone near the front asked.

"Maybe it just doesn't like French music and it was the only way it could protest." Brock mused. Marcus snickered. The pair were far enough away from the rest of the group didn't hear them. Neither of them heard the doctor's actual answer to the question.

The group settled down and Dr. Jacquier turned to a control panel on a table overlooking the atrium to begin the experiment. He flipped a switch and music became to softly creep out of the speakers. There was a small speaker in the observation deck so they could all hear it too. Marcus noted that the music wasn't anything special. It was simple, light, and easy on the ears. It was just the sort of thing a rich snob would play in the background of stuffy high class party. It was boring and bland, but not offensive.

The music went on at some length, the sound filling up the atrium while the observers above watched the egg, waiting to see if their was any response. The flat lined readout on the seismograph indicated that there was none. It would only occasionally bob with the more bombastic parts of the music, but nothing beyond that. If nothing else, it at least showed how sensitive the seismograph was. If it could detected the music, it could certainly detect any moment from the egg.

The first song on the record came and went uneventfully, then the second song began. From the moment it started, Marcus noticed several odd things about it. For starters, the second piece of music was not by the same composer as the first. The second piece was from a well known composer while the first piece was not. That meant that the record they were listening to had been spliced together and not just a record they had pulled from one of the scientist's personal collections. Something about that made Marcus feel uneasy. If their goal was to produce similar results as before, wouldn't it stand to reason to use the same music Dr. Dellacqua has been listening to?

Marcus looked over to Dr. Jacquier to see how he was reacting to the musical selection. He too looked a little troubled at that point, or at least a little distracted. It was hard to tell which. Could it be that this was not the record he had chosen? If it wasn't, it didn't stop him from proceeding forward with the test. Dr. Jacquier allowed the music to continue to play unabated.

It was at that point Marcus noticed the second thing that bothered him. The main melody of the song had started out exactly as Marcus remembered it, but before long, some rogue notes crept into it that didn't belong. As he listened more, he realized they were not just random notes thrown in, but instead belonged to a second song that was beginning to play subtlety under the main score. It was very strange.

Marcus again looked around to read the room. This time, he seemed to be the only person reacting to it. If anyone else was hearing the underscore, there were no signs of it on any of their faces. Everyone appeared to be completely oblivious to it. Even Dr. Jacquier no longer looked concerned like he had before. As Marcus stood there befuddled, he realized he recognized the song. He remembered hearing it while he was touching the egg the night before. He might have even been hearing it on a subconscious level even before that. What was it and why was he hearing it? Did anyone else notice it?

"Do you hear that?" He asked Brock.

"Hear what, the music?" Brock asked back. "Of course I hear it, I'm not deaf."

"No, I mean the underscore." Marcus clarified. Brock only looked at him confused.

"Don't know what you are talking about." Brock shook his head. "All I hear is some dusty old classic."

Williams had overheard the conversation and shook his head no as well when Marcus looked to him. Marcus started to wonder if he was the only one hearing it. Could it all just be in his head? He was starting to feel anxious. Almost on cue, the bright spots that had been plaguing Marcus since hitting his head, began to creep back into his vision. It made him feel even less confident about what he was hearing and was afraid to say anything else, so he kept quiet.

"Movement!" One of the scientists monitoring the seismograph announced to the group, pulling Marcus away from his inner thoughts. Everyone in the observation deck crowded around the paper readout. There were clear pulses of movement scratched into the paper. As they watched, it became obvious that the pulses were not just artifact caused by the music playing.

There was a sense of joy amongst the French scientists. While they had only accomplished a modest goal, it was one of the first clear successes the had managed to achieve. They had proven that there was indeed life residing within the egg. Any funding problem they might have had going forward could be put to rest.

Marcus could see the pulses were regular and in unison with the melody of the underlying song no one else was hearing. The hair on the back of his neck stood up. He got the sense that something was about to happen. The other men around him were carrying on, unaware of whatever subtle warning Marcus was picking up on. The readings on the seismograph were steadily getting stronger, but so very gradually at first that no one noticed them.

It went on like that for a few moments, very slowly building, until there was a sudden shutter strong enough that all the men in the observation deck stopped and took notice. The seismograph spiked with the tremor and then steadied again.

"Maybe you should shut the music off now doctor." Admiral Nimitz suggested. The enthusiasm in the room had quickly died down.

"Yes, I think we have what we need already." Dr. Jacquier agreed and flipped the switch off. The music died away, but the pulses of movement from he egg did not. If anything, they only grew stronger. The scientists looked worried, starting to feel the physical movement of the regular pulses. Marcus noted one of them starting to sweat, even though the temperature in the room was still only in the seventies.

A second intense tremor shook the observation room and at that point everyone inside recognized they were in trouble. Several of the scientists bolted for the door to the stairwell. Dr. Jacquier, Admiral Nimitz, Williams, Brock, Marcus and a few of the other braver scientists remained. At about that time, they actually witnessed the egg physically move within the atrium. That was the moment Admiral Nimitz realized they had gone beyond the point of no return.

"Dr. Jacquier, you need to activate the fail safe." The Admiral recommend.

Dr. Jacquier nodded in agreement and fumbled around in his pocket for the key to the security box housing the microwave switch. After several tense seconds, he finally was able to locate the key and used it to unlock the box.

"The rest of you need to get out of here, once I pull the switch the system will begin to activate." Dr. Jacquier warned. "There is only a slight delay built into the generators before they start running. The generators give the person starting the system twenty seconds to get clear of the atrium before they start cooking everything inside along with he egg."

With that, the doctor finished opening the box and discovered that the wires connecting the switch to the rest of the system had been cut. It was no accident. Someone had intentionally sabotaged the security system. The egg shifted off of its axis and rolled into the side of the atrium, knocking everyone still in the observation deck off their feet and destabilizing the structure. Everyone looked up to see that the eggshell had cracked and whatever was inside was starting to push its way out.

"poop here we go again." Brock cursed, recognizing they needed to move quickly. "Come on everyone, we have to get out of here now! He prioritized helping Admiral Nimitz to his feet and ushering him towards the stairs to escape. Dr. Jacquier was right behind them, abandoning the security system.

Marcus meanwhile had not moved a muscle to escape. He had become fixated on the egg, watching it as it hatched. The creature was still struggling, trying to burst forth from its shell. Its body collided with the ceiling and the already damaged atrium became even more unstable.

"Marcus, what are you doing?" Brock shouted at him "You need to get out of there!" Marcus wasn't hearing him though. His back was to Brock, so he didn't see him either. One of the support beams above gave way and came crashing down just feet away from where Marcus stood. He wasn't even aware of it.

Begrudgingly, Brock knew he had to leave Marcus behind. There was too much debris falling between them and his first duty was to ensure that the Admiral made it out alive. He couldn't afford to wait any longer to do it. The creature was quickly collapsing the atrium as it hatched. Brock escaped down the stairwell with the VIPs in toe.

The fresh hatchling was still trying to free itself from the confines of its shell while was Marcus standing like a statue watching it. Little by little, what was left of the atrium was smashed and fell apart as the creature bumped into it. There simply wasn't enough space for it to move around without tearing the facility apart.

After most of the atrium was already demolished, the creature had successful freed itself and looked around to explore its new surroundings. It vaguely resembled a brown caterpillar with small blue eyes. It had a pair of small antenna on both sides of its mandibles, which twitched as it moved its bulbous head around. Its round body was segmented into seventeen individual sections.

It spotted Marcus standing on the platform, one of the few places where the original structure had remained intact. In a curious sort of way, its head drew in close to Marcus. The monster came within just yards of the glass that separated them. It looked at Marcus for a moment with its small blue eyes before its mouth opened and squeaking at him. Luckily for Marcus the glass was thick and still intact, otherwise the decibel level would have deafened him at that range. Even so, he still was forced to cover his ears from the enormous level of sound bleeding through the glass. The monster's call was extremely high pitched and shrill.

The sound died down and the monster just sat there looking at him. Marcus was not a highly religious man, but in the presence of this creature, he felt an overwhelming sensation running through his body, a power akin to that of a God. A tear ran down his face. It was the closest thing he had ever had to a religious experience.

Marcus knew this being was immensely powerful, but he also knew he not in danger. There was no notion of it harming him. The creature drew back slowly, and carefully turning its segmented body to move out of the wrecked atrium. As it crawled through the rest of the facility, it left all the remaining buildings untouched. In fact, through the whole incident, not a single person had been killed or injured. Remarkable considering the track record for every other encounter with a Kaiju thus far.

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Marcus only watched as the creature gradually disappeared into the French countryside. As he stood there fixated, a hatch opened up behind him in the wall and Dr. Jacquier crawled out of it. Marcus turned to face him and saw a metal latter inside the crawl space.

"Well I'll be, you are still alive." Dr. Jacquier smiled. "That is certainly curious. I don't think its luck either. I have a hunch about it."

"Oh?" And what is that?" Marcus asked.

"I know you know someone sabotaged the fail safe. Any ideas who might have done that?" Dr. Jacquier inquired. Marcus figured he knew where the doctor was going with his question and prepared himself for what he knew would come next.

"Why don't you tell me what your theory is doctor." Marcus invited.

"Oh, it's quite simple really." Dr. Jacquier began. He reached deep into the pocket of his lab coat and began to pull something out. Marcus was expecting it to be a weapon, but was shocked when he realized what it actually was. The doctor had instead pulled out a pair of wire cutters. "I did it." He smiled at Marcus, who could only stare back at him confused.

"You did it...?" Marcus finally asked.

"You must be wondering why I did it." Dr. Jacquier put the clippers safely back in his pocket. "And also, why I would I tell you about it? I mean, after all, you could turn me in, right?" He mused. "Well I know for a fact that you won't." He said confidently. "How could I know that?" He posed the question. "Well it's actually really simple, I know you hear the music too." His eyes narrowed more seriously on Marcus. "It called to you like it called to me." The statement hit Marcus like a ton of bricks. At once, he realized that maybe he wasn't crazy after all, though maybe the doctor still was. "We both know destroying the egg would have been a mistake. The world is a far better place with the creature in it."

"Mothra." Marcus corrected him, speaking almost out of instinct.

"What?" Dr. Jacquier asked, caught slightly off guard.

"Her name is Mothra." Marcus answered. "Somehow I know that."

"Ah, I see I was right about you." Dr. Jacquier smiled even bigger. "She doesn't speak to everyone for some reason, but she can whisper to us when she wants to. That's how I knew the music would work. I could hear it in my head. I knew if I could just get it recorded and then play it she would hatch. The others couldn't know about it, they would have tired to stop me. But it's too late for that now. She's awake."

Marcus sat there processing the situation, trying to decide if he was in good company or not. A lot of the things the doctor was saying made sense to him, but he was still a little unease about him. The doctor seemed a little unhinged. Marcus wondered if working in such close proximity to the egg for so long had an adverse effect on him. And if that proved to be the case, would it start effect him in a similar way over time?"

"What happens now?" Marcus asked, trying to push those thoughts from his mind.

"Well, first and foremost, we have to get down from here, I just wanted to talk to you alone first. Make sure you were right in the head." Dr. Jacquier laughed. "Lets rejoin the others now, shall we?"

Not having much other choice, Marcus agreed. He let the doctor go down the latter first and followed behind him. He did not want the doctor above him while they were making their decent. Upon emerging from the secret entrance the doctor had used to reach him, they found the rest of their party was waiting for them. Brock was the first to spot them and made a B-line towards Marcus.

"What were you doing up there?" Brock began. "You can't afford to freeze up like that."

"I didn't" Marcus replied, confused. Brock had mistaken Marcus' fixation for fear and still didn't recognize it for what it was. He thought Marcus was still in shock.

"If you loose it like that out a battlefield you will die, your buddy next to you will die. Your whole unit will die." Brock pressed his point home. "Do you understand?"

"Brock, I'm telling you I was in total control the whole time up there." Marcus assured him. Brock looked into Marcus' eyes and suddenly wasn't sure of himself anymore.

"Maybe it would be best if we sent sent you back to the ship for the time being." Brock grunted.

"Actually I would very much like it if Marcus remained amongst us." Dr. Jacquier cut in. "I feel like he could be very useful indeed."

"How?" Brock asked.

"Well for starters, he has come up with a very fitting name for our little beastie." Dr. Jacquier answered. Brock waited for Dr. Jacquier to say he was joking, but he never did.

"I think you are both cracked." Brock surrendered.

---

In the Northern Pacific, the situation was tenuous. Japanese and Russian ships were still being hit regularly by the Rodans and the two governments still harbored a lot of enmity between them, so they refused to coordinate their efforts. The Japanese government thought if they just routed their merchant ships into the outer shipping lanes they might be ok, they were wrong. Five had been hit in the space of a week.

After that happened, the American government finally chose to share with the Japanese Marcus' theory about the Rodans finding at least some of their targets by following radio signals. Japanese shipping in the area was suspended entirely by that time, so they needed another way of knowing if that was the case. The theory had to be tested.

Wheels started turning in the Japanese government and a special mission was set in motion. Given the state of moral in the Imperial Navy following their devastating defeat, they decided it would be wiser to ask for volunteers for the potentially dangerous mission rather than just assigning someone to it.

They sent out a call for pilots and Akira was the first to put forth his name. Given his prior experience with the Rodans, he was an obvious choice and was readily accepted to lead the mission. Despite the issues with moral, other brave airmen quickly followed Akira's example and a crew was quickly coming together.

The mission was pretty straight forward. It was easy enough for Japanese engineers to put together a device that would transmit a strong radio signal to act as a lure. The device would be placed inside the durable casing of a water proof buoy and loaded into a long range bomber. The bomber would fly the buoy out to a Japanese outpost located on an island in the Northern Pacific and drop the device into the nearby ocean.

The outpost had an observation bunker and an airstrip. The long range bomber would easily be able to make it to the base, drop the device within visual range, land to refuel, and then return home. While they were returning, the radio buoy could be activated from remote and the men on the island could observe to see if the Rodans came to investigate it. The island was far enough away from the Rodan's new home that the Japanese could be reasonably certain that if they did appear on location it would be due to the presence of the device and not because of some other coincidence.

---

After having flown for hours, Akira and his crew had nearly arrived at the island. It had taken Akira a while to get used to the controls of a bomber, the aircraft was incredible sluggish and slow compared the fighters he was used to flying. For obvious reasons, radio silence was being strictly enforced during the mission.

As they approached the island, they could see a marker left in the water by the island's garrison. That was their beacon, where the radio buoy was to be dropped. Akira gave the necessary orders to his men and the bomb bay doors opened. Meanwhile, he corrected course to line the plane up with the target area. He slowed the aircraft to a crawl as they got over the marker. A lever was pulled and the buoy was away, falling towards the water. It splashed down and Akira only hoped it would stay afloat. It would be a long trip to make a second time if something were to go wrong. Thankfully the buoy bobbed right back up to the surface.

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Satisfied with that, Akira turned the plane and made a pass over the island. The island was a tiny spec of land and he could see why its only strategic value was as an observation post. Prior to the Rodans making their existence known, the base was being used to keep an eye out for the Russian's Pacific Fleet.

Akira spotted the makeshift airstrip that had been cut out of the jungle and came in for a landing. Once the plane came to a stop, ground crews came running out to begin the refueling process. Akira assured them their was no reason to rush. Akira was quickly growing into a cautious man and had decided he did not want his plane in the air anywhere near the island while the buoy was transmitting.

Instead, he asked the ground crews hide the bomber under the canopy of trees. Meanwhile, his crew would enter the bunker and observe the buoy from there while the test was being conducted. The garrison commander gave Akira a funny look when he realized he was deviating from their orders, however, he didn't argue. They might be in different branches of service, but the garrison commander was still clearly outranked by Akira and it would not be his career that suffered if the higher ups took offense to Akira altering their plans.

With everything in place, they activated the radio buoy and hunkered down to wait. Hours passed with nothing to do but play cards and talk. Akira quickly learned the men of the garrison weren't very excited about their assignment. It was boring enough on the island to begin with, but the Russian fleet they were meant to be monitoring had pulled out when the Rodans moved in. So there wasn't much of a reason for them to be there anymore.

The soldiers on the island would much rather have been with the main army during the invasion of China. Having known soldiers who were part of the fighting on the mainland, Akira was certain they would feel differently after witnessing a month of the carnage that was the Sino-Japanese War. It was brutal affair, not glorious or honorable as the propaganda films would have them believe. Akira was glad he only ever saw that war from the sky.

The day dragged on without any activity, but just when everyone was about ready to call the mission a wash a noise became audible within the bunker. Akira sprang up, instantly recognizing it as the whistle the Rodans made when they were fast in flight. Everyone within the bunker ran to the small opening to see out, and sure enough, one of the Rodans was splashing down into the shallow waters near the buoy. The monster seemed confused, having found no target to attack. The buoy at its feet was so small that it escaped its notice. Watching the monster look around confused was all the convincing Akira needed. The test had been a success. He deactivated the radio buoy assuming the monster would leave, having no signal to keep its attention anymore. Except it didn't leave.

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The Rodan remained in the water idle for a moment. Then the monster looked at the island and decided to investigate it. It only took the Rodan a few flaps of its wings to bring it to the island. The inexperienced soldiers in the bunker just about poop themselves as it passed over them. They lost track of Rodan as it flew over the bunker, but it must have landed somewhere nearby. The interior of their hiding place seemed to bend under the pressure. Bits of dirt and sand fell from the ceiling. Luckily for them, Rodan missed landing directly on them, but they could hear the monster moving around. Each of its steps brought more dirt down on them and they listened and waited.

Finally, they heard Rodan let out an enormous cackling roar and it took flight. It had lost interest in the seemingly empty island. Just to be safe Akira insisted that they wait a few minutes down in the bunker before venturing out. When he was satisfied it was clear, they crept out of their hiding place. Some of the palm trees in the area had been knocked down, but otherwise there was no serious damage to the base itself. The bomber had also not been discovered. They would be able to return home with a small victory.

---

In a vineyard in Southern France, a day's work was just coming to an end.

The vineyard was being overseen by Andre, the oldest son in a long line of viticulturists. His parents were away for the day and he was left in charge. There wasn't much to it really, he just had to keep an eye on the workers to ensure the didn't drive away with a truckload of grapes. Given the good working relationship between his parents and their farm hands, it was not likely to be an issue.

Andre was perhaps a little too pampered by his parents due to their recent success. He didn't like to get his own hands dirty and preferred to supervise the labor. His mother had a bad habit of overindulging his whims. As a result, he spent less and less time in the fields as he got older. He had come to see performing manual labor below his station in life. The work was going well despite this.

The grapes had just become ripe and it had been a perfect morning. They had gotten a lot of work done, the field in the first section had nearly been picked clean and the resulting spoils were being loaded into the storehouse for safe keeping. The rest of the harvest could wait until tomorrow. Andre hoped his parents would be pleased that he had managed to wrap up the whole first section of job in their absence.

Once his father was back they could begin to process the grapes while the field workers continued to gather the rest of the crop. Andre was looking forward to taking the first steps towards turning the grapes into fine wine. He was still young, but had already developed a distinguished palate for wines. His family produced one of the best.

Andre stood on the porch of the manor house and looked out over the green fields. Someday it would all be his. His family had grown rich over the years. Wineries were a very lucrative business and he was eager to get his own taste of fortune.

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As Andre continued to marvel at his family's legacy, he became aware of a noise. It was so faint that he wasn't even certain he was really hearing it. He dismissed it as his imagination until he heard it a second time. Nearby he saw one of the field hands just starting to unload the first few barrels of grapes from the work truck.

"Michael, come over here." He called to the worker.

"Yeah, what can I do for you boss?" Michael asked as he got close.

"Shhh... did you hear that just now?" Andre tried to quiet him down, waving his had. The noise come back at the exact moment Michael had started to speak and it was gone again just as fast.

"Uh... no." Michael replied. "Hear what?"

"Well it's gone now, but wait here a minute and listen with me." Andre said frustrated. The two men just sat there second by second waiting. Finally Andre hear it again.

"There, do you hear that?" Andre asked. "It was louder this time."

"No boss." Michael replied. Andre frowned at him. Michael was a man in his late fifties and his hearing was starting to fade. It probably didn't help that the noise was of a higher tone. Higher frequencies typically are the first ones that go with age. Andre on the other hand was only nineteen, so his hearing was still perfect. The noise came again. This time it was loud enough for even Michael to notice it.

"I think I heard it that time boss, what is it?" He asked.

"I haven't got the slightly idea." Andre admitted. "I've never heard anything like that before, but it's getting louder. We aren't having any trouble with the processing machines again are we?"

"Not that I'm aware of." Michael answered. "They were checked yesterday and where running right then."

"It's so odd, where is it coming from?" Andre grimaced. "It's like a squeaking sound right?"

"Yeah, that's about right." Michael agreed. "Don't sound like machinery though." They stood there listening until they heard it again, this time it sounded significantly louder than before.

"What the hell is that?" Andre asked, starting to get a little worried. It was about that time he realized something was very wrong. He also started to feel a vibration under his feet.

"Is it an earthquake?" Michael asked.

"I don't know, but just to be on the safe side I think you'd better tell the rest of the workers to get out of the storehouse." Andre warned. "That building is old and I doubt it will hold up well under strain."

With that, Michael ran down as quickly as he could. The other field workers were already starting to come out of the storehouse to investigate the noise and rumbling. Andre could hear Michael shouting to them and the group of workers rapidly poured out of the building. Panic was starting to spread as the squeaking noise had grown into a roar that was echoing throughout the valley of the vineyard.

Andre saw some of the workers pointing to the hill the overlooked the valley. He turned to have a look for himself and saw a dark mass cresting the hill. It just looked like a lump moving behind the hill at first. Then it started to grow as more of it became visible moving over the hill.

Andre was at a loss for words. It appear to be some type of gigantic brown worm. It was knocking over trees as it made its way down the hill and into the valley. It crawled along remarkably quick for a worm and soon found its way to the edge of the vineyard.

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Once there, it began to devour the field one line at a time. Andre watched as vines were ravaged. The creature was meticulously picking the rows apart. Its voracious appetite seemed boundless. Vines were disappearing at an alarming rate, the grapes, leaves, and even the stems. Nothing was left after it was done. Section by section the fields were growing bare.

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Andre just stood in utter shock as his family's livelihood was vanishing before his very eyes. Finally, Michael came up and shook his shoulder, bringing him back to conscious thought. Andre spared Michael a glance before running into the house and grabbing a rifle.

Andre came back out and began firing at the monstrous worm. He fired and fired and fired with no effect. He reloaded his weapon for a second time and began again. Still, the creature continued on unconcerned. Andre began to despair, coming to realize his efforts were in vain. His family's business, that had survived for generations through droughts and wars, was going to die on his watch and there wasn't a thing he could do to stop it.

He reloaded his rifle for a third time and began firing once again. Tears were running down his face. He already knew it was a pointless effort, but continued to fire despite this until his gun was out of ammo. He did it for no other reason than to avoid having to just stand there and watch it happen.

---

In Germany, the Wehrmacht was once again closing in on Varan. The Luftwaffe had been keeping tabs on him, but keeping their distance. In the immediate aftermath of the bridge's destruction, they had launched a second air assault that didn't do any better than the first despite a much greater amount of aircraft being at their disposal. Planes were deemed ineffective and relegated reconnaissance instead.

It had taken twenty-four hours for the ground forces to catch up with the monster, but they had been reinforced in the meantime. They felt confident they would be able to inflict damage with heavier artillery they were bringing in. The Germans had chased Varan to the foot of a mountain range, where it had stopped to sleep. They felt as though they finally had the monster cornered. The guns had been put into place and the tanks were moving into ready positions. All the pieces were in place, a major attack was imminent.

Reinhart and Fritz had stayed with the tanks the whole time, having to regroup, refuel, and find another bridge to cross the river. They pair had taken turns driving, allowing the other to get some sleep along the way. They would take no part in he battle, but had taken position on a mountain road near the Haltrechtshier dam. It gave them a perfect view of the battle that would take place below. They didn't have to wait very long.

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The artillery opened up and tore up the ground around Varan, rousing it from its slumber. With the attack underway the tanks charged in and added in their fire power. The artillery was doing well. They were able to hit Varan frequently and accurately. For the first time, Varan was showing signs of pain when a shell would hit him in the lightly armored areas of his body. It roared angry and didn't try to run this time. Enraged, it actually charged the German lines. This took them by surprise. The monster had chosen to retreat in every instance it was attacked up until that moment.

The charging tanks suddenly found themselves at the monster's feet and several of them were crushed in rapid secession by its claws. The surviving ones backpedaled as quick as they could. They aimed their guns at the monster's face, trying to obscure its vision to buy themselves time to escape. They were partially successful.

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Some of the shells were on target, forcing Varan to protect his eyes by blinking his transparent lids down over them. The smoke resulting from the explosions did make it hard for him to locate any targets for a few seconds. It also gave artillery just enough time to retrain their cannons and resuming their bombardment. At close range, they caused more than just a little discomfort for Varan and the monster was forced to back off.

The intensity of the barrage was increasing in frequency and accuracy as the artillery crews were starting to get into a rhythm and the gunners were learning to make minor adjustments to their aim through repetition. Varan seemed to understand the momentum of the fight was swinging against him. If he didn't do something dramatic soon, he was going to be in trouble.

Varan crouched down and launched himself in the air, aiming for a nearby cliff. The monster misjudged the distance though and it fell a little short. The sudden jolt of speed did give it a short reprieve from the cannon fire though and it began to climb the steep hill. Tanks below rushed forward again to keep the pressure up while the cannon crews were forced to reposition their guns.

From his vantage point, Reinhart could see what Varan was up to. The monster was climbing the cliff to make it into the relative safely of the water beyond the dam. Rains had been particularly heavy that month and the water beyond the dam was deep. If Varan was able to get into the water the artillery would be useless. The monster would be able to wait until dark and try to slip away in the night. After all the chasing they'd done already they would once again being trying to play catch up with the monster.

Suddenly, it looked as though the battle might turn once again. The artillery was again bringing fire down on the monster. Ironically, the shells that were on target were landing on Varan's back armor as it climbed and bouncing off harmlessly, while the missing shells were exploding against the rock face, which was destabilizing the soil the monster was clinging on to.

Reinhart could see that Varan was starting to loose its footing. It was struggling to find a place above it that was solid enough to hold its weight. The monster was a sitting duck, not able to progress any further up the steep ridge. It was just a matter of time before the artillery would be able to blow him off his perch. It looked like Varan was just moments from rolling down the jagged rock face. This was not not to be though.

Again, in desperation, Varan used his powerful hind legs to launch himself upwards. He managed to get just enough distance to find a more reliable perch to continue climbing. This time he was only a few dozen yards away from the top, which was little trouble for him to traverse before the artillery had a chance to reacquire him.

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Varan made it to the top. It looked as though he was about to pull off another miraculous escape. But it didn't move. Instead, it just sat up there looking down at the men of the Wehrmacht, who would once again not able to immediately peruse it without a significant detour prior. Finally, the monster began to turn, but not to leave. Instead, it marched forward towards Fritz and Reinhart's truck on the opposite side of the Dam.

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Upon reaching the dam, the monster dived into the water on the far side and disappeared below. Seconds later, the dam cracked from the monster ramming it's spiked head into it. Reinhart could tell because one of the monster's horns managed to puncture all the way though the thick cement wall. The horn retracted, allowing a spout of water to begin flowing through. The monster repeated the attack on a different section of the wall with similar results. Then a third time. It quickly became clear to the forces below what was about to happen. Reinhart and Fritz could only watch helplessly.

The fourth attack was finally more than the dam could take. It was already in shambles from the previous impacts. When Varan slammed into the dam for the fourth and final time, the whole structure gave way under the pressure. Varan, huge chucks of cement that had been part of the dam, and millions upon millions of gallons of water poured down on the tanks below.

Reinhart saw the whole thing from his perch. One by one, the men and machines below were swallowed by the flood. Tankers were engulfed and drowned under twenty feet of water, unable to escape their panzers. Trucks filled with troops trying to escape were swept clean off the road by the crushing waves. All of ground forces in the valley were wiped out in seconds, an entire German army obliterated.

That was bad, but what came next was worse. The flood waters didn't stop in the valley. Without the dam to hold back the the record amount of rainfall they had that year, it continued down stream northward and proceeded to wash out every bridge and flood every town it encountered along the way. Dykes and smalls dams were overwhelmed by the massive amount of water and also gave way, spreading the destruction even further. Magdenburg, Wittenburg, Luneburg, and finally Hamburg were overwhelmed by the flooding, causing immense damage to the cities and killing thousands of German civilians in the process. Bodies of the victims floated in the flooded streets to haunt the survivors.

The damage was not just limited to urban areas either. In the German countryside, crops were washed away and countless acres of rich farmland were ruined by the salt and sand that were spread in the wake of the water. The sediment would render those lands unusable for years to follow. Livestock was drowned in their pens unable to escape. Roads were washed out, which made getting aid to people in need even harder.

The mass of destruction was the worst natural and military disaster in German history. It was a knockout punch for Varan. Any immediate threat the Wehrmacht had posed to it was gone. The German army still had other military units all over the country, but nothing else nearby. The forces that were near would be caught up in disaster relief operations. From that point forward their first concern would be to help and protect their people from the ecological fallout the monster had created. Varan was mostly free to roam as it pleased. The Luftwaffe could still harass it, but that's about all they could do.

Having won the day, Varan waded its way through the water and began to move west unopposed.
Last edited by Ashram52 on Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Godzilla: Tactical Assault.

Postby Living Corpse » Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:53 am

Varan's a smart boy. His poison secretion is a cool idea. Also after all these monsters, you'd think they'd take Smitty's story about underwater lightning more serious.
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Re: Godzilla: Tactical Assault.

Postby Ashram52 » Tue Jul 23, 2019 6:55 pm

Living Corpse wrote:Varan's a smart boy. His poison secretion is a cool idea. Also after all these monsters, you'd think they'd take Smitty's story about underwater lightning more serious.


Thank you very kindly Living Corpse,

I really appreciate the feedback. I’m happy to hear that someone is enjoying my work. I was actually considering discontinuing the project. It’s a surprising amount of work between the writing and setting up the miniatures and it’s been pretty quiet around here, so I wasn’t sure anybody was getting anything out of it. But hell, if you are enjoying it that’s enough to put out a few more chapters.

Anyhow, what I am aiming to do is bring some new ideas to the table, while still staying pretty close to the characters as established. I have to take a few liberties to keep things fresh, but I still want to have solid ground to stand on when I make changes . It’s kind of a fine line.

With a character like Varan it’s pretty easy, because he’s a Godzilla character that has had very little spotlight as far as movie appearances go. He’s been in like 1.5 Toho productions as far as I’m aware. So giving him a poison defense doesn’t seem too unreasonable to me considering he’s an amphibian and that’s something they can do in real life.

Baragon is kind of in the same boat, he’s got like 2.5 movie appearances. So having him initially be photosensitive doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch considering he’s primarily a subterranean creature. In fact, in his first movie appearance (Frankenstein conquers the world) I’m not certain he makes an actual appearance during the daylight, which makes me wonder if him being adversed to light wasn’t their original intention. I might be wrong, but I think he was only out at night and a cloudy day. I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong on that.

In general most of the monsters who make up the first few chapters are ones I feel like don’t really get their due, Angirus included. Lots of these guys get overshadowed by more powerful monsters. I wanted to give them a chance to shine on their own before things get too crazy.

I started posting this story on fanfiction.net and someone there just asked me where Godzilla is. I’m betting a lot of readers here are wondering the same thing. Welp, the answer really just comes down to two things:

1. The reason listed above. Once Godzilla becomes part of the story, he’s going to take away the focus away from lesser monsters. In show business you don’t put your headliner at the beginning of a show. You let the opening acts warm up the crowd first and then bring them out.

2. From a story prospective one major plot development has to happen before Godzilla can realistically make an appearance. Has to do with when the story takes place. Godzilla couldn’t logically show up in the next chapter even if I wanted him to.

Anyways, you are correct, they probably should take Smitty a little more seriously. Marcus more or less did buy into his story. Brock was being somewhat skeptical. There is one thing to consider though: Smitty’s encounter took place prior to the asteroid Impact, so it was before all the monsters encounters started happening. That detail might just be important down the road, but no spoilers on that. :)

I will let one spoiler get out there though. Either next chapter or the one after that there is going to be a brand new monster. One that may or may not be considered canon. Would depend on the Godzilla fan you ask. But it’s a character that has gotten even less love than Varan and Baragon combined.
Last edited by Ashram52 on Tue Jul 23, 2019 7:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Godzilla: Tactical Assault.

Postby aabha31 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:05 pm

Excellent thread..!!!

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Re: Godzilla: Tactical Assault.

Postby Living Corpse » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:22 pm

Ashram52 wrote:
Living Corpse wrote:Varan's a smart boy. His poison secretion is a cool idea. Also after all these monsters, you'd think they'd take Smitty's story about underwater lightning more serious.


Thank you very kindly Living Corpse,

I really appreciate the feedback. I’m happy to hear that someone is enjoying my work. I was actually considering discontinuing the project. It’s a surprising amount of work between the writing and setting up the miniatures and it’s been pretty quiet around here, so I wasn’t sure anybody was getting anything out of it. But hell, if you are enjoying it that’s enough to put out a few more chapters.

Anyhow, what I am aiming to do is bring some new ideas to the table, while still staying pretty close to the characters as established. I have to take a few liberties to keep things fresh, but I still want to have solid ground to stand on when I make changes . It’s kind of a fine line.

With a character like Varan it’s pretty easy, because he’s a Godzilla character that has had very little spotlight as far as movie appearances go. He’s been in like 1.5 Toho productions as far as I’m aware. So giving him a poison defense doesn’t seem too unreasonable to me considering he’s an amphibian and that’s something they can do in real life.

Baragon is kind of in the same boat, he’s got like 2.5 movie appearances. So having him initially be photosensitive doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch considering he’s primarily a subterranean creature. In fact, in his first movie appearance (Frankenstein conquers the world) I’m not certain he makes an actual appearance during the daylight, which makes me wonder if him being adversed to light wasn’t their original intention. I might be wrong, but I think he was only out at night and a cloudy day. I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong on that.

In general most of the monsters who make up the first few chapters are ones I feel like don’t really get their due, Angirus included. Lots of these guys get overshadowed by more powerful monsters. I wanted to give them a chance to shine on their own before things get too crazy.

I started posting this story on fanfiction.net and someone there just asked me where Godzilla is. I’m betting a lot of readers here are wondering the same thing. Welp, the answer really just comes down to two things:

1. The reason listed above. Once Godzilla becomes part of the story, he’s going to take away the focus away from lesser monsters. In show business you don’t put your headliner at the beginning of a show. You let the opening acts warm up the crowd first and then bring them out.

2. From a story prospective one major plot development has to happen before Godzilla can realistically make an appearance. Has to do with when the story takes place. Godzilla couldn’t logically show up in the next chapter even if I wanted him to.

Anyways, you are correct, they probably should take Smitty a little more seriously. Marcus more or less did buy into his story. Brock was being somewhat skeptical. There is one thing to consider though: Smitty’s encounter took place prior to the asteroid Impact, so it was before all the monsters encounters started happening. That detail might just be important down the road, but no spoilers on that. :)

I will let one spoiler get out there though. Either next chapter or the one after that there is going to be a brand new monster. One that may or may not be considered canon. Would depend on the Godzilla fan you ask. But it’s a character that has gotten even less love than Varan and Baragon combined.


People don't always post feedback, doesn't mean they aren't reading. Don't be discouraged, your story has me addicted. Yeah I get where you're coming from, heck I feel some of Godzilla's latter enemies overshadow him, a sea monster/dinosaur shooting death rays almost sounds and looks natural compared to things like Hedorah or Gigan. Though that probably help this franchise live as long as it has, a hero is only as interesting as his rogues gallery.
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Re: Godzilla: Tactical Assault.

Postby Ashram52 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:21 pm

People don't always post feedback, doesn't mean they aren't reading. Don't be discouraged, your story has me addicted. Yeah I get where you're coming from, heck I feel some of Godzilla's latter enemies overshadow him, a sea monster/dinosaur shooting death rays almost sounds and looks natural compared to things like Hedorah or Gigan. Though that probably help this franchise live as long as it has, a hero is only as interesting as his rogues gallery.


100% agree about the rogues gallery, that’s why Batman will live on forever.

Hedorah is another Godzilla character I’m really looking forward to writing about and exploring. I Always thought his premise was an interesting idea, even if his movie is kind of looked down as being one of the lesser Godzilla movies of the Showa era. The movie is goofy, but there are still some really solid ideas.

Hedorah, like a lot of the other monsters we were talking about, is very underrepresented in the movies. Just 1.5 movie appearances. I would have loved to see what an Heisei version of him would have been like, Angirus too for that matter.

Anyhow, aabha31 thanks for the encouragement. A little bit goes a long ways. Looks like this topic was your first post. I’m honored.

I’ve started the outline and began the research portion for the next chapter. Hopefully it will be out in a couple weeks. Might take a little longer because it will involve putting together a whole city in miniature form. I have to set it up building by building.
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Re: Godzilla: Tactical Assault.

Postby Ashram52 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:01 pm

Chapter 12: Mothra's March.

Following the German's crushing defeat at the hands of Varan, the monster had slowed down. It began to travel westward through the green German countryside. Fritz and Reinhart were still tailing it, but they kept their distance. Without an army to back them up they'd be easy pickings if Varan decided he was hungry enough to go after them.

Fortunately, the monster seemed to be recovering its strength following the battle. Shortly after destroying the dam, it entered a small lake to rest. The lake was shallow enough that Reinhart and Fritz were able to see the monster's back spines protruding out of the water. They watched and waited as evening pressed in. Varan remained in the lake for forty-eight hours sleeping before becoming active again.

The Wehrmacht by this time had managed to throw enough units together to begin shadowing the monster again, but they had no plans to re-engage Varan unless he threatened a populated area. Instead, they focused their efforts on evacuating civilians out of its path. They stayed far enough back, or ahead, so the monster wasn't aware of them.

As the days passed, the strategy was proving to work well enough. Varan's pace was still slow enough that it wasn't too difficult for the Wehrmacht to operate around it. With no military pressure on him, Varan seemed content to take his time. Reinhart meanwhile was grinding his teeth the whole time. He hated letting the monster have free rein to do as it liked, but he knew there was nothing for it. The majority of the German military was still heavily engaged in disaster relief effort and would continue to be for some time.

Despite their efforts, there was still deep standing water all along the six-hundred mile length of the Elbe River. It ran right through the middle of Germany, ensuring that the disaster was felt by nearly everyone in the country. Most citizens of the Reich were either affected by the flood directly or had friends or family who were. Homes were lost, people were displaced. Some lives were ruined, while others were simply ended. Much of the economic recovery the Germans had achieved following the depression of after the Great War had been undone in just a day. The German stock market dipped to the lowest it had been in ten years.

Only after three days had the waters begun to recede enough to allow the bodies of soldiers drowned on the battlefield near the broken dam to be collected for proper burial and by that time, the flood waters had pushed corpses all over the countryside. Accounting for all the lost men was going to take a long time. Only the tank crews, trapped inside their machines, were easy to recover since the water could only push the twenty-five ton fighting vehicles so far.

A few miraculous survivors were found here and there, but it was only a handful of men out of the thousands that had been. Losses from the battle were virtually one-hundred percent. It was a black day for the German people when the causality report was made public. Reinhart knew what it would say, but he read the report with Fritz anyway.

"We threw everything we had at that thing and it wasn't enough." Reinhart lamented. "The most powerful weaponry at our nation's disposal and it all amounted to nothing. That thing killed thousands of our countrymen in mere seconds."

Fritz had little to say in response. He was still wandering through the fog of shock with everything that had happened. Reinhart perhaps had an advantage over him in that he'd already gone through something more traumatic with the monster prior. Reinhart sat in the truck with Fritz and stewed.

"This monster killed my parents and my brother because we didn't have the means to defend ourselves." He began. Fritz looked over to him curiously. "I'm going to change that. If it takes the rest of my life, I'm going to build a weapon that is strong enough to take that thing down." He promised.

Reinhart then exited the truck and walked away down the dirt road alone.

---

Meanwhile in France, Mothra had been significantly more active. She had not stopped once since hatching. The giant worm was like a machine, nonstop eating and moving, no rest. This took the French by surprise. They were having a hard time keeping up. They had assumed, wrongly, that she would likely move at a similar pace as Varan. But in the time it took Varan to cover thirty miles, she had managed to travel over one-hundred miles. Perhaps it was because he was cold blooded and she was not? Mothra was advancing Northeast, it was unclear what motivated her, but she was going somewhere at full speed. She only slowed down along the way to eat.

Dr. Jacquier insisted that Marcus, and the rest of Admiral Nimitz's entourage, continued to be part of the research team following Mothra. He noted that: The circumstances had changed, but the mission had not. He was still keen to study the monster. The name Marcus had coined for the creature had stuck and was being readily used to refer to her. That remained their most significant contribution thus far. They were hard pressed to keep up Mothra, she was pretty much consistently on the move.

Only one thing slowed down the research group initially. It was Dr. Jacquier himself, he wanted to ensure that all the left over portions of Mothra's egg were collected prior to them departing. He saw the fragments as precious samples and wouldn't risk any of them falling into the wrong hands. He placed a few calls to key members of the French Parliament, and with that, help arrived within hours in the form of a fleet of trucks and workmen.

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Truckload after truckload was filled up the shell fragments. It took well over a hundred trucks to carry away the precious cargo. The vehicles lined up entire road to the facility, further than Marcus could see. One by one, they pulled away in a huge convoy carrying away their prize to a secret location for further study.

When they were done, Dr. Jacquier noted the investment in the egg had already been worthwhile. They had lost the Atrium facility, sure, but through Mothra's hatching, they had gained all the raw materials she left behind. The new mineral found within the eggshell could prove invaluable in the future. With their business at the facility done, the research group got on the road and began driving to catch up with the Larva.

---

It took three days before they finally caught up with Mothra. She was devouring another field when they found her. The team had however been keeping tabs on her through reports in the mean time. Marcus noted two important things from them:

First, Mothra seemed to be reluctant to engage the French military forces that were sent out after her. Marcus took a map and drew in her path since leaving the facility. It winded and weaved around. Mothra seemed to be actively avoiding French patrols. Whenever they started to build up in strong numbers ahead of her she'd change course.

Second, while Mothra was doing extensive damage to the vineyards she came across, she had in fact bypassed several large wheat fields and apples orchards.

France was the sixth largest country in agricultural production in the world and thee largest one in Europe. Many countries depended on France's export goods to feed their people. If those crops were to disappear overnight, a great famine would occur. Marcus could not be certain, but it appeared to him that Mothra was limiting herself to only eating the non-essential cash crops and bypassing the rest. How she could tell the difference was a mystery to him. He couldn't rule out that she just preferred grapes, given a choice.

Even limiting herself, Mothra had already eaten up over a billion dollar's worth of grapes. It was going to be a very hard year for wine drinkers. On the other hand, it was going to be a great year for those merchants who already had large supply of wine stored. At the rate she was going, Mothra would wipe out well over half of the total crop before she was done.

In the years to come, wine from 1940 was extremely rare and horrifically expensive. Oddly enough, it was a good year for wine as far as taste. So if you could get your hands on a bottle, it was expensive, but at least it wasn't disappointing.

The loss of crops was extensive, but not sacrificed in vain. Mothra had grown significantly since hatching. The larva was at least an additional third larger since the last time Marcus had seen it. If her goal was to get strong, the grapes seemed to be doing the trick for her. Not everyone was happy about that though.

French General Charles De Gaulle was put in field command in the operation to counter Mothra and he was a lover of wine. He seemed to take the larva eating up the grape crop rather personally. Even so, he was cautious to engage her after the German army was devastated fighting Varan. He was determined to be more careful.

The General's approach was patient, and he could afford to be. In addition to keeping her distance from the French military, Mothra was also avoiding populated areas. She was sticking to the wide open rural countryside, either to stay close the crops that could be found there, or other reasons. Either way, it kept the pressure off of De Gaulle to act prematurely. He could afford to wait until he was ready.

The General carefully studied the map and positioned his troops in ambush zones hidden along the way to the vineyards that were the closest in Mothra's immediate path. Then he hunkered down and waited to pounce. To his surprise, Mothra changed her heading before even getting close to the traps. De Gaulle was shocked, it didn't seem possible.

Somehow Mothra knew they were there, but it wasn't clear how. The ambush zones were over twenty-five miles ahead of her, and thus, they were literally over the horizon. So they were well out of visual range. The vehicles were stationary and their engines were off, so they could rule out that Mothra was feeling the vibrations of the tanks and trucks through the ground. It didn't seem likely that the larva could hear or smell them from that far away either, so the French were stumped.

General De Gaulle needed advice, and as he was the closest thing they had to an expert on the creature, he asked Dr. Jacquier how Mothra could possibly know they were there and avoiding them so easily? Marcus was listening in on the discussion and had an idea about it, but kept quiet. He was not the person the general asked and he wanted to see what the doctor had to say on the subject. Maybe his theory would line up with his own.

Marcus knew that Mothra was able to touch the minds of those around her within a certain proximity when she was in her egg. Now that she had emerged, it seemed reasonable to assume that she was still capable of doing that. In fact, Marcus figured the ability was probably even stronger now. He felt that she was sensing the other living creatures around her through similar means and using that to identify potential threats. If she was able to do that, it was easy to see how she knew exactly where to go and what to avoid.

Dr. Jacquier, however, made no such proposal and offered no theories. He instead plead ignorance and stated that he'd need more time to study the monster before offering any meaningful answers. His response sounded reasonable. Dr. Jacquier had not disclosed anything he told Marcus to anyone else, and because of that, General De Gaulle had no reason to doubt him. He accepted the doctor's explanation without question.

Marcus knew better though. He just stared at Dr. Jacquier, wondering what his game was. Only the two of them knew anything about Mothra's apparent ability. Was the doctor still trying to protect the monster? And if he was, could he still be under her influence?

This troubled Marcus. Since Mothra had hatched and traveled some distance away, he'd felt less impacted by her presence and more in control of himself. He figured that the doctor should be in the same boat. That suggested to him that the doctor was making his own decision with a clear head. But if that was the case, why would he keep the information to himself? Marcus pondered on it for a moment and came up with two possible reasons:

First, it could have been that the doctor simply didn't want to propose such a radical theory to men who had not felt the same influence themselves. Thinking back to when he tired to tell Brock about it, his response was skeptical, despite the fact that he himself had felt something strange while being at the facility. Marcus knew the theory would be a hard sell to normal straight-laced military men. He figured if he tried on his own, there was little chance they'd hear him out. Even if he had Dr. Jacquier backing him up, there was no guarantee they wouldn't both be labeled as crazy.

Second, the doctor might just have believed of his own accord that keeping it to himself was the right thing to do, even if he thought the others would believe him. Marcus mulled it over himself and wasn't sure what the right decision was. Mothra was not not inflicting massive damage on France. She was just trying to eat and survive. It was hard to blame her for that. She was also actively avoiding getting into trouble.

If there was going to be fight, it would be because they brought it to her. If Marcus kept his mouth shut however, Mothra might just be able to avoid the French military until she was able to get to wherever she was trying to go. In the long run, it might prove to be in France's best interest to let her do just that. Marcus got the feeling that Mothra would leave French soil of her own accord if given enough time.

None of them, not even Marcus, understood Mothra. They didn't know what she was or what she wanted. The big bug seemed to have a purpose, but Marcus couldn't even begin to guess at what that could be. Still, he somehow knew she had a part to play in whatever was to come next. His gut feeling was that helping the French military attack her would be wrong.

Marcus looked up from his inner thoughts to see that Dr. Jacquier was watching him. Perhaps the doctor was trying to ascertain if he was planning to say anything. When their eyes met, the doctor seemed satisfied with whatever he found there. Marcus turned and walked away from the main conference room, he had made his decision.

As Marcus exited, he found Williams pestering Brock just outside. Williams appeared unusually unsettled by the recent turn of events.

"So why do you think the giant worm would bypass the wheat and go for the vineyards?" He heard Williams ask.

"Maybe the little spud just likes getting loaded?" Brock answered. "Who knows."

"Do you think Varan knew what it was doing destroying the dam?" Williams rapidly changed the subject.

"I don't know, maybe it just likes Krauts to be washed before he eats them." Brock answered callously. Williams looked a little disturbed considering it. "Marcus said it's an amphibian, so it could be as simple as it likes its environment soggy. It's hard to guess at the motivations of a giant lizard."

"Amphibian." Williams corrected him.

"Yeah, that's what I said before." Brock said irritated. "Same thing."

Marcus could tell Brock was not in an approachable mood, so he instead retired to a quiet corner and sat down with a pencil and paper. He began writing a letter to Shauna. He had not written to her since before coming to Europe, so it was long overdue. He expected he'd be getting a little grief about it later.

Marcus set that worry aside and instead focused on recounting everything he hadn't gotten a chance to tell her about since his last letter. Primarily he wrote about his experience at the facility with the egg. It was still pressing on his mind and he had to get it out. He needed to explain his feelings to someone who wouldn't think he was crazy. Of course, he couldn't be certain what she would think of any of it. From an outside perspective he was sure it did sound crazy.

He wrote to Shauna just how bad of a place he had been just prior to coming to France and how it melted away after going to the facility. Even though he felt less influenced by the egg at that point, he had still retained the calm feeling it had brought him. He was grateful for that. He'd had a dramatic turn for the better.

Marcus concluded the letter by telling Shauna that he was doing fine and was going to continue to help investigate the monster for the time being. Also, that he missed her and he'd write again when he could.

---

In Japan, Akira had been summoned into a private briefing. Following his recent success, his superiors had another assignment in mind for him. There was trouble brewing to the north. Through their network of spies in Russia, the Japanese government had discovered that the Soviets were planning a massive assault on the Rodans by land and air.

The aim of the attack however was not meant to kill the Rodans, but rather to drive them out of Russian territory. Such an operation would likely result in immense causalities for the Russians, much like what the Japanese had incurred during their assault. However, the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, did not care about how many of his men had to be sacrificed as long as they accomplished his goal. He just wanted the pair of monsters out of Eastern Russian territories so he could focus on the west.

In the west, his efforts to invade Finland were floundering. Finish resistance had been far fiercer than expected and they were receiving more outside support than anticipated. The fact of the matter was the Russians were being slaughtered on the battlefield. Assault after assault failed to gain them much of anything and their casualties were quickly mounting. A victory in the east, even a costly one, would help bolster moral in the west.

The Japanese however were concerned that the Russians could drive the Rodans back into their own territory, which was unacceptable. Between that and the advantage of having the Russians fighting a prolonged war on their western border, the Japanese felt compelled to act. Their plan was relatively simple, they would launch a covert operation to disrupt the Russian's plan by sneaking an enhanced radio device into the Russian camp and activating it. The signal would draw the Rodans down upon the Russian's staging ground before they were ready to launch their attack.

The device would be similar to the one used in the earlier test, only stronger. The Japanese spies indicated that the Russians were already beginning to get into position in the staging area. Unfortunately, their routine radio chatter had apparently not been enough to get the Rodan's attention on its own. It was likely because the signal was too weak from such a long distance. Thus, Japanese would have to employ something stronger.

Akira understood the Japanese Navy was still in shambles and not ready for another engagement with the Rodans, so this mission's success was vital for the future of his country. He readily agreed to fly the mission.

---

In the Mediterranean, there was a unspoken strangeness in the aftermath of the earthquake. A subtle disquiet. The local fishermen living along the Libyan coast, where the earthquake had originated, felt it keenly. It was something they couldn't see, but felt in their bones. The foreboding feeling gnawed at the corners of their consciousness. Some of them stayed out of the water for a few days following the earthquake. However, none of them could afford to stay out indefinitely. They all had families to feed and livelihoods to make.

Image

They ventured back out onto the open water and hoped for the best. Two days passed without incident and they had reasonable good catches. On the third day however the seas seemed deserted. There were no fish to be found by their nets and, by the end of the day, one ship failed to return to port. The day after, two more went missing. It was not unheard of for an occasional fisherman to be claimed by the sea, but for three to disappear in the space of two days, that was unusual. Following that, the remaining Fishing boats remained in the safety of the harbor.

The fishermen called a town meeting to discuss the missing men and ships. The villagers were scared and angry and were quick to find a scapegoat for their problem. Some of them suspected the local pirates of being involved. There were calls for an armed mob to gather and assault the pirate's lair to clean them out.

The leader of the local fishermen, Omar, decided they needed a more temperate solution, as there was no proof the pirates had anything to do with the missing men. He announced that he would approach the local pirates known as the Hayreddin raiders himself in order to ascertain wither or not they knew anything about the disappearances. It was a risky move on his part. If they were involved, he would almost certainly never return, but Omar didn't think they were. The pirates had little interest in the small affairs of the fishermen. They weren't wealthy enough to steal from. In fact, the two groups co-existed rather well, they often bartered with one another.

The pirates were typically more interested in the larger Italian supply ships that came through. Omar knew the pirate's leader personally and the reason he formed the group to begin with was to resist the Italian's occupation of their land. Libya had been taken from the Ottoman Empire in 1911 by the Italians and made into a colony. Not all of the Libyans were happy with that arrangement. Many fought back any way they could. Piracy was just one of the ways for them to hit back.

Upon approaching the pirates and discussing the problem, Omar discovered that one of their ships had disappeared too. He started to realize whatever was going on was bigger than either of their groups. The Hayreddin raiders were always well armed. They would not have succumbed easily to whatever took them. What they needed was a bonafide warship to investigate their troubles. There was a major issue though. The Libyans had no navy of their own to speak of. As much as Omar hated to do it, he knew he would have to swallow his pride and turn to the Italian navy for help.


---

Sixty nautical miles northeast, a large task-force from Italian Navy was running exercises. Specifically, they were out testing a new weapon. Though the Italian Fleet had taken no part in the international efforts to patrol for Angirus in the Pacific, the story had been widely covered on by Italian newspapers and their government were following the story closely.

Angirus had managed to elude the international fleet's combined efforts by retreating into waters deeper than they were able to pursue. While there were no signs of the monster since its defeat, it was still widely believed that it was alive and well, sitting just beyond the reach of the patrol craft above it.

Italy had the fourth largest navy in the world at the time and dominated the Central Mediterranean. With all of the advantages their powerful surface fleet brought them, the Italian Admiralty was concerned with running into a similar situation. The raw firepower of their Battleships wouldn't amount to much in the face of engaging a target that could remain submerged indefinitely.

They needed a way to respond if a Kaiju appeared in Mediterranean waters and retreated to the depths. As it happened, the Italians had already been working on a secret project for months that had been shelved, but with monsters like Varan and Mothra suddenly appearing in Europe, the Admiralty put there R&D department into overdrive to get prototypes produced for testing. Varan's rampage through Germany wasn't very far away from Italy's north border and that fanned the flames of their fear. They wanted to get prepared as soon as possible.

Their aim was simple, to be able to bombard an underwater target at extreme depths. Regular depth charges had their limits and proved to be vastly inadequate where Angirus was concerned, so they were trying to produce a new type of depth charge that could go far deeper with much greater firepower. If they couldn't kill a target, they hoped to at least be able to force it to the surface where their battleship's heavy guns could get some work done.

The Italian task-force was carrying the fruits of the R&D department's labors, the first Neptune depth charge prototypes. The Neptunes had twice the explosive potential of the next best depth charge and could go more than twice as deep as well. The bigger and badder depth charges required special rigging to be put in place to cater to their increased size. Because of that, destroyers could not be used and cruisers were selected to carry them instead.

The Italian sister cruisers Zara, Gorizia, and Fiume were carrying the experimental ordinance. They lined up in and orderly fashion and one by one let their cargo slip over the side. The charges were set to explode at a depth that would give the ships plenty of time to escape the explosions, but their captains weren't taking any chances and ordered the cruisers to flank speed once the barrels had made contact with the water.

Image

Meanwhile, sonar operators were monitoring for sounds to measure the results of the test. Under normal circumstances, a depth charge would explode relatively soon after being dropped, as they were designed to attack submarines closer to the surface, but these were a different breed. Success would instead be measured by how long they could go before detonating. Tense moments passed as they waited for results.

Finally the sonar men heard the first rumble, followed by a gush of water exploding up at the surface. One by one, the charges were all going off at their desired pre-set depths. There were cheers aboard the Littorio, the huge battleship that served as the flagship of the fleet. The admiral signaled for the cruisers to set off a second set of depth charges, just to be through.

The cruisers responded to their orders and came about. They dropped their charges and the second set of tests produced similar results as the first. The only hitch was the sonar operator reported hearing a unexpected secondary explosion following the primary explosion of one of the depth charges. He wasn't sure why this was the case. It was possible that there was a minor mechanical problem, but if that was the case, it didn't stop the detonation.

The officer theorized that there may have derelict submarine sitting on the bottom of the ocean floor. What they heard could have been the pop of the hull rupturing. There were no active sonar pings prior to the testing and they had screened heavy ahead of time to be safe. They couldn't know for sure what happened, but it didn't overly concern them. Everything was quiet in the aftermath. The important thing was the depth charges had preformed as designed.

With that, the Italian warships sailed for home, the testing could be declared a success. They would be able to report back that mass production could begin.

---

In France, the situation had changed considerably. Mothra stopped eating crops and began heading due north. Her predictable established pattern of behavior was broken. The French had set up an ambush just ahead of her at the next vineyard in her path. Mothra came close to the field, closer than she had gotten to military units prior, but she still completely ignored them and the field. It could have been that she was simply avoiding the trap, but then again, something seemed different his time.

Indeed, after another three hours had gone by Mothra bypassed another field, only that one was completely unguarded. Marcus and the rest of Dr. Jacquier's research team had to scramble to catch up. They had been anticipating Mothra slowing down slightly to eat the unguarded field as she had done before. With that seemingly being over, they had to pile into the bus and get on the road to keep pace.

At that point, General De Gaulle knew it was time to escalate his efforts. If they were going to force a confrontation with Mothra, now was the time. He wasted no time getting his forces reorganized. His plan going forward would be more aggressive. The general placed tank platoons all over the map along the most likely routes Mothra would take. They were arrayed in a crescent formation with units forward on the wings and back in the center. If Mothra continued forward on her present course, she would quickly find herself surrounded on three sides by them.

From there, General De Gaulle's plan was relatively simple. He would use the tanks on the wings of his formation to funnel Mothra towards the center where he had concentrated his artillery. With so many forces fanning out on the flanks, avoiding them was virtually impossible.

Mothra pressed on, seemingly unconcerned with the French army closing in around her. General De Gaulle was a little surprised. Considering her behavior from before, he had expected her to at least try to maneuver away from his men. Instead, she stubbornly held her course due north, coming right at them.

From his command tent, De Gaulle watched his subordinates move miniature tanks pieces around on the battle map. As the recon reports continued to flow in, the tanks platoon pieces closed in inch by inch on the miniature representing Mothra. The general wondered what could be driving her? As it was though, the whys weren't so important. It didn't change what he had to do, which was to stop her there and then. He ordered his tanks on the flanks to press in and attack.

---

Above the battlefield, a squadron of French fighter planes loomed. They were loitering while waiting for orders. Their only assignment thus far was to keep taps on Mothra's movements and to report back to HQ. As she had yet to change course or speed, it was a pretty pedestrian job.

One of the pilots was Jean-Pierre, a young man from Orleans recently out of flight school. He was a little nervous as it was his first real mission. Heck of a way to begin a flight career. It wasn't what he imaged. He had always saw himself fighting against the German Luftwaffe when he signed up for the French air-force, but life always finds a way to surprise you.

With little else to do, Jean-Pierre just watched as events began to unfold below. He could see tanks platoons closing in on the monster from both sides. Things were about to heat up. The tanks lined up in an orderly fashion and started opening fire. Jean-Pierre could see the shells popped against the side of the massive worm. If they bothered the monster, it didn't show. It just kept moving, ignoring them. The tanks continued to fire and there was a near constant barrage. However, it was obviously that its hide too thick for tanks to penetrate.

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As the barrage continued, Jean-Pierre heard the cracking of his flight leader's voice through the radio. Their squadron was to engage the monster. He tightened up and focused on the task at hand. The planes around him lined up and, one by one, banked left and then downward towards their target.

Jean-Pierre lined up the monster in his sights, but he didn't quite feel right about it. It didn't stop him from preforming his duty though. The flight leader in the plane in front of him opened up with his cannons and Jean-Pierre followed suit as if by instinct. One by one, the rest of the fighters let their cannons roar. Lines of tracer rounds dotted their way down towards the monster until they started to connect.

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Jean watched as the red hot tracers from his cannons struck the worm. They had no effect. In fact, he even spotted a few of them bounce off. He got a sinking feeling seeing that. The planes pulled up and out after several more seconds of machine gun fire. The monstrous worm continued along un-phased. The planes reported the results of their attack and went back to tracking the monster.

Shortly there after, Mothra had reached the artillery lines in the center of the formation. The gunners kept their cool, quietly preparing to attack. The artillery was arranged on the hillsides, just lying in wait. Their orders were to wait until the monstrous worm had closed to point blank range, to ensure maximum impact. The monster played right into their hands. It chose to pass right between both of the primary gun emplacements. They were going to be able to bracket it with shells from both sides.

They waited until it was almost directly between them, when every one of their guns could be brought to bare. Only then did they began to hammer away at its sides. The artillery flashed and thundered violently, their shots almost instantly hitting their target. The monster was not able to shrug off the heavy artillery's firepower as easily as it had with the tanks. For the first time, it noticeably slowed and then stopped altogether.

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Mothra's head began to turn toward the artillery on her right and she opened her mouth. From within shot out a focused stream of high-pressure silk. The silk raked its way down the line of artillery. The first man to be hit by it flew fifty yards like he had been hit by an enormous fire hose. As the stream went down the line of artillery, men became hopelessly suck to their guns, equipment, and the ground. They were no longer able to reload shells or do much of anything other than be stuck in whatever position they were in when they got hit by the sticky secretion.

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One stubborn soldier was still able to move his arm enough defiantly fire his cannon one last time, but he failed to realize that the barrel had been blocked by the silk. When he tried to fire, the ordnance went off inside the artillery piece, blowing it, along with all the men around it, into little chunks. Following the explosion, the right wing of artillery fell silent. No one else even tried to fire another shot.

With that, Mothra turned her head and repeated the same attack to the left wing artillery group with similar results. She managed to neutralize both positions in the space of thirty seconds. The majority of men were still alive, but hopelessly trapped, unable to move. Because of that, they were effectively out of the fight. With the cannon's attack stifled, Mothra moved on.

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By this point though, more tanks from the back-line reinforcement section had moved forward to support the cannons and appeared in front of Mothra to begin their own assault. The tank's opening rounds struck Mothra in the face. She responded in kind, once again using her silk to immobilize them. One by one, the tanks were hit and effectively frozen in place.

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The tanks could not maneuver and, for the most part, could not rotate their turrets either. The crews within were still free to reload and fire unabated, but without being able to readjust their aim, they would not be able to hit Mothra once she moved out of their cross-hairs. One tank crew learned the hard way the same lesson the artillery men had. Some of Mothra's silk made its way far down into their gun barrel and jammed it up tightly. The tank exploded from the inside when a shell backfired on them. Choosing to continue the attack was risky business, the other tank crews passed on it.

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With the tank column pacified, Mothra moved around them to avoid crushing them. The French had not given up though. General De Gaulle ordered in the heavy bombers he had waiting in the wings on standby. They arrived just a few minutes after the failed ground assault ended.

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Mothra by this point seemed to be out of patience. She did not allow the bombers to get close enough to drop even a single bomb on her. She lifted her head towards the sky and shot web at them. Her silk hit the bomber's propellers and stopped their engines instantly. With their propulsion disabled, the heavy bombers fell from the sky like bomb-filled rocks. Each of them hit the ground shortly after and exploded on impact.

Jean-Pierre watched in horror as his fellow airmen died. Other French ground forces were closing in, but he could see that the battle was already lost. Jean realized it had been lost before it even started. He could see they never stood the slightest chance of stopping the monster.

Jean's flight group drifted to Mothra's side as they watched the last of the bombers get demolished. They quickly realized they too were within her ability to strike after seeing the bombers go down, but only after it was already too late. She could hear the sound of their engines and perceived them as another incoming threat. She turned towards them and let loose with another stream of silk.

Most of the fighters saw it coming and maneuvered to get out of the way, knowing only too well what would happen if it hit their engines. All but two of the fighters managed to evade the stream. Jean-Pierre however was one of the two unfortunate pilots who were not so lucky. His engine stalled and the nose of his plane dipped down toward the ground.

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Jean-Pierre panicked, knowing that he was in serious trouble. He tired to remember his training. It became clear to him he had no choice but to abandon his plane. He grabbed the handle to his right within the cockpit and turned it to open up the plane's canopy, preparing to bail out. Only it didn't budge. He cursed and continued to struggle with it, putting as much of his weight on it as he could. His panic was growing more intense with every passing second. He knew he didn't have much time.

'Why won't it move?' Jean punched at the window in frustration trying to break it. It was at that point he noticed Mothra's silk had not only taken out his propeller, but also had hit the side of his plane's fuselage. The edges of the silk had reached the outer frame of the canopy. He realized that the silk was holding it shut and it wasn't going to open no matter what he did.

Jean felt a sinking that wasn't his aircraft plummeting from the sky. The plane was going to go down and he as trapped inside. He knew he couldn't do anything to change either of those things. He was going to die, it was inescapable. He only had a precious few seconds to make peace with it. Heck of a way to end a flight career. Life always finds a way to surprise you.

The fighter finally hit the ground and Jean's suffering came to an end. A general withdraw order was issued moments later. All French forces still engaged were ordered to retreat.

---

An hour later, the bus carrying the research team found its way to the battlefield. Mothra had long since moved on, but in her wake, she left a pretty good perception of how the battle went. The bus had to drive around the wreck of a fighter plane that had crashed directly onto the road they were on. Some fires were still burning from where the bombers had landed. Overall, there had been very few casualties, but anything hit by Mothra's silk was still right where she left it.

Other French units had arrived just after the battle concluded and were still trying to get their comrades out of the webby mess. Some men had even managed to trap themselves in the process. The French first tried to pull their fellow countrymen out by hand, which was laughably ineffective. Next they had tried to cut them out with axes and saws, which only saw them loss their tools to the silk.

The bus itself actually drove over a random strand of silk and lurched to a stop when one of the tires got caught in it. Marcus and Brock flew forward out of their seats crashed into the back of the seat in front of them. Brock issued a string of curses as they got to their feet. Marcus meanwhile wondered what happened and exited he bus to look. He had expected to see a pothole and instead discovered the silk holding the tire in place.

It was unclear how to best dislodge the bus or ensnared soldiers. Most of the artillery men were in no real danger, except for the few who were wounded by shrapnel from the exploding cannon. The rest would be ok since rescue teams had direct access to them. The real concern was the tankers. They were trapped inside their vehicles without food or water. If they couldn't devise a way to get to them quickly, they'd be in trouble after a few days.

On the bright side, they still had radio contact with the crews and advised them to remain calm. They were promised their rescue was of the utmost priority. The wounded artillery men were tended to the best they could be without being able to physically move them. Dr. Jacquier seemed to have other priorities. He was pretty pissed off that they wouldn't be able to immediately follow Mothra.

---
By the next morning, little progress had been made in freeing the trapped men and the tension was rising. The tank crews were getting stir crazy and claustrophobic being stuck in their machines for over twenty-four hours. It was starting to dawn on them that they could die of thirst in another forty-eight hours if the situation didn't improve.

Marcus and Brock were sitting and watching the French efforts fail. Marcus felt guilty wondering to himself if things would have turned out any different if he had said anything days ago when they had met with General De Gaulle. There was no way of knowing. He only wished he could do something to help. Brock was lighting up a cigarette and blowing smoke with a frown on his brow. Marcus just watched him trying to think, then it hit him.

"Brock, can I borrow that?" Marcus pointed to his lighter. Brock looked down an shrugged.

"Sure, but these things aren't go for you kid." Brock tossed Marcus the lighter and his pack of cigarettes. "You shouldn't get stared with them."

"The lighter alone will do, thank you." Marcus tossed the cigarettes back to Brock and then ran to nearest artillery piece. One of the trapped French soldiers jumped, surprised by Marcus' sudden appearance. The man said something to Marcus, but he couldn't speak French. Marcus rather assumed it was something along the lines of: 'Hey, what are you doing?'.

Marcus opened the lighter, ignited the flint, and then put the open flame under a strand of silk attached to the man's leg. The fire burnt right through it on contact. The French man seemed a little concerned that Marcus was going to light him on fire in the process, but fortunately the webbing didn't actually catch on fire. Marcus got goosebumps with the thrill of success. He then got to work, slowly cutting the rest of the French soldier free. Brock came up behind Marcus while he was in the process. He was still puffing out smoke when he saw Marcus' discovery.

"Brock, spread the word to anyone with a lighter, we can burn through it!" He requested.

"Can do." Brock smiled and flicked his cigarette to the ground.

Smokers in the camp were worth their weight in gold for the next hour. By the time they were done, they had managed to free all the trapped artillery men. The tankers were still trapped though. For them, something a little more heavy duty was in order. The French officers went and acquired some blow torches from the nearby town that had a machine shop.

It didn't take long after their return get the hatches to the tanks open. It would take quite a while longer to get the tanks back to operational conditions, but at least their men were free to enjoy the cool morning air of the French countryside. The bus was likewise freed, which pleased Dr. Jacquier beyond words.

---

Meanwhile in the Sea of Okhotsk, Akira had landed a large seaplane in the lagoon of the island outpost where he had previously tested the radio lure on Rodan. It was to be the final stop before the mission would begin in earnest. They just had to refuel one last time before heading out. The island garrison was also loading the plane up with additional fuel cans so they could refuel while in the air. It was going to be a long trip and since they were heading into hostile territory they wouldn't have a chance to refuel on the ground before getting back.

When the the seaplane had taken on all the extra fuel cans necessary to get to there destination and back they made preparations for take off. The extra weight made getting out of the water a little more challenging for Akira, but he managed. The benefit of taking off from the water was there was plenty of extra runway for him to work with. They caught air and were on their way.

The crew for the trip was kept to a minimum to save on weight. Aside from Akira, there was a co-pilot named Ken and two army soldiers. One of the soldiers was just a no name grunt, only there to help carry the device and by another gun if they ran into trouble. The other man, however, was a hard noised Japanese army officer who outranked Akira, Major Saito.

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Akira was piloting the mission, but Major Saito was the one calling the shots. He had the coordinates for the rendezvous point with their contact on the mainland. He seemed to know them personally. Akira deduced that Major Saito was connected to the spy network in Russia in some way, perhaps as a handler, given his familiarity with their contact.

Perhaps it was just his nature or his years in the spy game, but Major Saito was cold towards Akira. Despite his efforts in the name of the Empire the grisled old man didn't seem to trust him. The Major only told Akira as much as needed to for him to carry out his role in the mission and seemed more concerned with Akira following his orders to the letter than anything else.

The mission's timetable was his utmost concern. He wanted them to stick to it as closely as possible. Akira could understand why. The longer their contact sat waiting at the rendezvous point the more likely they were to get noticed. They could have some troublesome questions to answer if they were found by the wrong people. On the other hand, if they arrived too early the plane could be spotted and that would be even worse.

The plan was to arrive in the dead of night to minimize their exposure, then get in and out of the Russian encampment unnoticed as quickly as possible after delivering the package. They would fly back out the following morning and hopefully get word of the mission's success upon their return.

As the hours went by, Akira had little else to do but think. It occurred to him that if it came down to it, Major Saito was probably the type of man who would rather gun them all down than allow them to be taken captive by the Russians for interrogation. Akira could understand why. The secrecy of the mission was just as important as the mission itself, probably even more so.

Failure of the mission could mean the Russians drive the Rodans out of their territory, but there was no guarantee that would happen. Discovery of the mission though, successful or not, could potentially lead to a second war with the Russians. At the very least, it would sour their already bruised relations and paint Japan very poorly within the international community.

Given that they had just strengthened their ties with the United States and European powers through their mutual cooperation with their operations against Angirus, Baragon, and Rodan, discovering the act of sabotage would be poor timing indeed.

---

Marcus and Brock had just piled back into the bus with the research team to continue their pursuit of Mothra, who was continuing Northward unopposed following the battle. The freed French soldiers wanted to take both of them out for drinks following their rescue, but there hadn't been enough time.

"So where is it going now?" Brock asked as they got sat down.

"Paris." Marcus answered. "My money says she'll end up in Paris."

"How do you know?" Brock asked perplexed.

"I don't really." Marcus answered. "It's just a hunch."

"She's heading due north right now. Paris is northwest of here. Less North and more West." Brock noted. "I'll bet you five dollars she doesn't go there." He challenged.

"So to be clear, if she goes anywhere else in the world other than Paris, I lose?" Marcus asked.

"Yep." Brock replied. Marcus considered it.

"Ok, it's a bet." He smirked.

---

A few hours later, Mothra had entered an area of farmland full of hedgerows. Hedgerows were mounds of earth meant to keep cattle in and to mark boundaries between tracks of land for farmers. They dated as far back as the Roman times. The mounds generally were raised a few feet at sharp angles and had trees and shrubs growing directly out of them. The gave the landscape a more majestic look, but they were also making it very difficult for the French Army to keep up with Mothra.

For the pursuing tanks and trucks, they were a terrific obstacle to overcome. The tanks could power over them, but not without slowing them down considerably and putting a strain on their engines. Going over them was not even an options for the trucks. They, along with the tow artillery and the research bus, had no other alternative but to go around.

Mothra on the other hand had no problem with them. She was simply able to bull right over them. With her size, they were barely a bump in the road. The tanks eventually elected to follow suit with the rest of the pursuing forces after figuring out just how many hedgerows they would have to cross over. Their machines would likely break down before they were done.

After crossing through the valley full of the hedgerows, Mothra changed course moving directly due West. The tanks and trucks of the French army were still caught up in the middle of the labyrinth of hedgerows behind her. It became apparent that she had only gone through there to shake off her pursuers. It looked like Paris was her goal after-all. Brock frowned at Marcus and then slapped five dollars into his hand.

The French government immediately panicked. There weren't any significant ground forces between Mothra and Paris and she was rapidly approaching the city. They began to evacuate Paris and threw together a last ditch effort to prevent the monster from entering the city. The French air-force commandeered as much pesticide as they could, which turned out to be many barrels full. Once obtained, they loaded them into heavy bombers and took to the sky.

Marcus was impressed with the ingenuity of the plan. The French must have figured that Mothra, being insectoid in nature, might share some of the same features of actual insects. The mode of action of the insecticide was to attack an insect's spiracles. Spiracles were the small external openings commonly found on the abdomen of an insect's exoskeleton. They allowed air to enter their respiratory systems, and thus, the poison would suffocate its target.

The bombers with the barrels of the chemical quickly found their target about forty miles away from Paris. They were careful to stay high enough in the sky to avoid being hit by Mothra's silk. It would be hard for them to pinpoint her from as high up as they were, but with the type of attack they had planned, accuracy was not going to be much of a factor anyway. They just had to get them to land close.

The payload was dropped from the bombers and the chemical spread all over the surrounding area as barrels smashed all around Mothra. Her body was engulfed by the ensuing cloud of mist. She stopped and took notice of the mist for a second, but then continued on un-bothered by it. As it turned out, Mothra was not the same as other insects, or perhaps it was simply that the scale of her organs made the chemical's mechanism of action useless against her. Whatever the reason, the attack failed and Mothra was on the cusp of entering the French Capitol.

---

By the next morning, Mothra had entered the outskirts of the city. Paris was a very old city, having been founded over two-thousand years ago in 250 BC by a tribe of Gauls known as the Parisii. In its long history, the city had seen many foreign invaders, including the likes of Julius Cesar, but it had never seen anything like Mothra before.

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Paris was the center of the world in art and culture. The city was littered with monuments, landmarks, and other works that were irreplaceable. All of which were at risk of being destroyed with a giant monster on the loose in the streets. The city held its breath as Mothra entered.

Marcus and the research team had driven all night long and came into the city just a few minutes after Mothra had. The streets were empty aside from the few odd people curious to see the monster for themselves and the few French army units that had manage to enter the city overnight.

The damage Mothra was doing to the city was fairly negligible. She was mostly sticking to one wide avenue and avoiding buildings. On occasion though, one structure or another would get in her way and she'd topple it over with her mass by happenstance. Mothra seemed to have a goal in mind and nothing else was distracting her from achieving whatever it was.

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As Marcus sped down the street in the bus, he couldn't help but feeling like he was on a tour. He was on a bus after all in the most visited city in the world. They passed some of the famous landmarks like the Louvre art museum and the Notre-Dame Cathedral. Marcus felt a sense of aw seeing them for the first time. He had never been to Paris, and even under the turbulent circumstances, the city was a sight to behold.

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As they continued down the street and caught up with Mothra, her goal became clear. As it turned out, it was the Eiffel tower that brought her to the city. She was headed right for it. The tower, tallest structure in Paris, stood at eighty-one stories. It had been built for a World's Fair to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution and had been a symbol French freedom for over fifty years already. Its reign was now threatened to be toppled over by a giant insect. The onlookers watched with baited breath to see what would happen.

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Mothra came to a stop just short of the tower's base and looked up as if to examine it. She only paused for a moment. Whatever she had been trying to deduce, she seemed to be satisfied. The gigantic caterpillar crawled half of her body up the tower and began to spray silk high above her head. The silk hit the top of the tower and the spray that had gone straight up started to rain back down. It landed on the connecting strands on the tower.

The tower meanwhile was holding strong under Mothra's weight. The tough metal frame stood unbending against the extra weight and pressure of her body. The designing engineer would have been proud if he had still been alive to see it.

The bus came to a stop a few blocks away and the research team watched as Mothra worked. Slowly, but surely, her silk strands became interwoven and began to take form. Marcus finally understand what the larva was doing as it disappeared behind its webbing.

Two hours later, the process was complete and the larva had encased itself in a cocoon.

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Living Corpse
Seatopian Daikaiju
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Re: Godzilla: Tactical Assault.

Postby Living Corpse » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:47 pm

You managed to make a silk fight with the military exciting and relatively funny.
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