There was only comfort in isolation. And for countless years, it embraced the empty vacuum, going through the basic repetitive routines of its existence. Its birth was irrelevant. Survival was the only necessity to thrive in the cruel void. The nothingness, for endless ages, was its only home. But an urge pulled it to a globe of green and blue, a place it had never been to before. Was destiny giving it a chance at a new life? To prove itself worthy to live in a heartless world? Following its instincts, the amorphous lifeform dove towards the massive sphere.
The time spent falling was nothing short of progressive. Time increased as it fell, gravity taking hold of its form. However, it wasn’t long until it found itself splattered against the hull of a metallic capsule. Orbiting across the ocean of emptiness, the Helios-7 was a research vessel collecting data of unknown organisms within Earth’s exosphere. Little did it realize that it would serve as a ride for an alien organism from galaxies far away. Acting on primordial instinct, the amoeba clung to the vessel with all its might. Its cells, adapt to the absence of heat, are able to withstand the bitter void, which did not bother it in the least. So when it seeped through the cracks and navigated its way to the interior, it began to torture the men aboard Helios-7.
Their screams faded before Helios-7 fell back into the atmosphere.
And so, the Helios-7 plummeted to the wideness of the Pacific Ocean. The world would learn of its tragedy later that week, as the spacecraft vanished beneath the oceanic surface. Little would anyone know the truth of the matter; a virus from far beyond our world settling in, adapting. The first set of earthly victims of the amoeba would never tell the tale of what happened…
Caressed in gray clouds on a humid summer day, Smokey traversed from nearly 10,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean. It remained invisible to the luminance of Earth’s star, but the heat was getting the better of the ship’s crew of three.
“Big brother, are we there yet? And the A/C’s broken.” Akira complained, drenched in a layer of his own sweat. This was about the fifth time he asked, and frankly, it was getting under Hotaru’s skin. She knew they were almost there. Heck, she was steering the aircraft to their destination, but her younger brother just didn’t have patience. Even then, the sweat underneath their homeworld uniforms would prove to be a pain to wash off. And to believe they bathed just earlier this morning. Of the three siblings, only Hikaru kept his cool.
“Almost,” he replied coolly, “We’ll start descent in less than five minutes.” Smokey’s cockpit only comprised of two seats for the pilots to fly. Not that Hikaru minded. It was his responsibility to search and repel any major threat, kaiju or alien, and transform if it had to come to it. And according to the reports from their parents and grandfather, there was something lurking on one of the Bikini Islands.
The Sakimori family were unlike any Japanese resident in Japan, and that was because, technically speaking, they were not. From a distant planet millions of light-years beyond the Milky Way, the Zones were of the celestial body Peaceland. Their race were pacifists, spreading goodwill from one planet to another in hope that the universe will be able to reconcile and amend their past wrongdoings. It wasn’t until they discovered the Garogas, an alien race that thrived in the war economy and bloodshed, did they find themselves in deep trouble. The Garogas were ruthless and cruel, profiting off of planetary-scale wars and cultivating the natural resources of that territory; or auction them off to other bidders willing to pay the price. So when the inhabitants of Peaceland tried to consult with the Garogas, they instead found themselves in a one-sided war resulting in the destruction of their home. The amount of survivors scattered across the universe was unknown, if any of them are even still alive. Only the six Zones, taking on human form and the identity of the Sakimoris, remained.
Hotaru couldn’t help but recall what their father said to them earlier in the day; a cluster of shipwrecks washed ashore on some of the nearby islands. The inhabitants, though far and few between, also accounted that of an unidentified flying object within the vicinity. The specifics, however, were rather vague. Some claim it to be Rodan soaring the skies, others Mothra, and still others a space monster or something different altogether. If it was truly a space monster, it had her worried. Are the Garogas already here, scouting Earth before sending their armada? She prayed that this wouldn’t be the case. Sucking her teeth under her pink face veil, she decided to drop it. Her questions would be answered in less than a minute, so she would have to see and find out.
“Brother, should I start the descent?” Hotaru asks, with a tinge of nervousness.
“Go ahead. We’re here.” Trying to mask her anxiety, Hotaru set Smokey on a steady slope down. “Activate the mist and keep Smokey concealed,” he said. Flipping switches on the control board, Hotaru encased their handy transportation vehicle into a cloud of thick fog. Although the effects were not immediate, at least they didn’t need to withstand the sun’s ultraviolet rays and heat waves anymore.
Hotaru, relieved not to be at high altitudes, grabbed hold of a two-way handheld transceiver. Unlike those from the human military, these are wireless and have a bandwith that well surpasses the technology of the 1970s. Small and compact, the otherworldly walkie-talkies are also known as “Zobots.”
“Mom, dad, we’ve arrived at the site, and we’re going in,” Hotaru informed her parents, clearing her voice of any downcast.
Of the family at their current residence in Tokyo, only the mother, Tsukiko Sakimori, was readily available. Yoichiro Sakimori, the father of the family, was at work, being the manager of Sakimori Toy Research Institute; Raita Sakimori, the brains, expert technician, and eldest of the family, kept himself isolated in the house’s secret bunker, waiting to see if his help would be necessary; and the family pet Bird Zone, a white Java sparrow with a pinkish colored beak, who lived in a cage, always watching. Upon hearing her daughter’s voice echo from the Zobot, she ceased her activities and headed for the Zobot on the kitchen counter.
“All right, dear. I will let your father know when he gets back from work.” Tsukiko paused for a moment, caught in an awkward silence. She knew there was nothing to say. They know what they need to do. “Best of luck!”
“Thanks, mom.” And with that, Hotaru went silent on the other end. Tsukiko knew full well that her children would have to take up a larger responsibility than anyone could ever imagine. That thought alone frightened her, as much as she didn’t like to admit it. They had only been here for less than a year, but they needed to be ready. If the Garoga were to ever find Earth, they must be its guardians. It was something she hoped, but also secretly dreaded. Emotions welled up from within, but she held back the tears.
“There’s nothing I can do now,” she muttered to herself. Tsukiko set the Zobot back on the counter and resumed her routine. But before she could get back into the swing of things, Bird Zone suddenly chattered loudly. Before she could tell it to shut it, the bird went silent as she heard knocking at the door…
Smokey continued its decline, the friction of the air encompassing the aircraft. Straight ahead was their destination. Lagos Island. For the last few decades, this section of the Pacific was considered a danger zone due to heavy exposure to radiation during the Atomic Age. The island, undoubtedly once harboring lush greens and silky white sands, was a dead-man’s land. Brittled trunks and charred bark stood erect, the sands coarse and ashened. Lagos had been devoid of natural life for a long time.
While radiation would prove to be toxic to humans, a Peacelander wouldn’t have much to fear of. Their biology was naturally tolerant of high doses of nuclear material, although they can die if they remain exposed for too long. In addition, they would still need radiation-cleaning for the safety of their environment and others. So when Hikaru leapt out of Smokey and into what was essentially a contaminated zone, his siblings knew there wasn’t too much to worry about.
The g-forces pushed against Hikaru’s human shape as he continued to accelerate from free falling to his destined location. While he could easily enter flight mode at any time, he wanted to have a little bit of fun now that time allowed it. Performing a series of gymnastics he would see often on the television during his off-time, Hikaru enjoyed the current of the breaking wind cooling his body from the sweat sustained from the flight here.
“Really, Hikaru? Really?” Hotaru muttered, softly chuckling at her brother’s antics as she brought Smokey to a slow halt. Outside of her and Akira, there was no one else watching. So why even do it? Akira, too, was watching with admiration. When he grew up, there was no one else in the world—no, the universe—he would rather be like than his older brother.
“One day, big brother,” Akira thought, indulging in his fantasies, “I will be the next Zone Fighter.” However, out of the corner of his eyes, he saw something. “Hotaru,” he cried out, “Look there!” Akira pointed in the general direction that he saw this object. Hotaru snapped her neck in place, surveying the clouds. For a second, she didn’t notice it. But there was something there. A silhouette of something… Otherworldly.
Hotaru’s eyes widened. Had her greatest fears come to fruition? Without hesitation, she got hold of the Zobot to contact their mother regarding the situation. “Mom! Mom!” Hotaru shouted, almost breaking her façade, “We have a reading on something!” Instead of their mother’s voice from the other end of the transceiver, the only noise to greet them was static.
“Huh? Wasn’t it working earlier?” Akira asked, confused. She tried to jam the thing for it to work, but all for naught. Seeing her like this frightened him. If she couldn’t get it to work, that would only leave one alternative.
“Sis, do you think it could be an interference of some sort?”
Hotaru beamed a look at him, almost as if it was a blatantly obvious statement. “Well, what else could it be?” Akira gulped. The tone in his sister’s voice wasn’t a very pleasant one. Although it was well-intentioned, he didn’t mean to add fuel to her anxiety kicking in. Still, knowing they were isolated from the rest of the family meant something was up. Hoping to relieve the tension, Hotaru exhaled a heavy sigh.
“Akira, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap.” She said, genuinely apologetic. “It’s the stress talking. We’ll figure what’s going on here, alright?”
Her younger brother nodded in agreement. “Okay,” she added, “I’m going to record a message in the Zobot to send back to mom and dad. I don’t think we’re going to be able to get through so long as that… Thing, remains.” Akira held his breath, to ensure that there would be silence in the cockpit of Smokey. She recorded the message within the Zobot, detailing the situation they were currently in and the specs of an interference preventing communication. After all was said and done, she relayed the coordinates to the Zobot as its jet propulsion systems ignited. Opening the hatch leading outside, Hotaru deployed the Zobot for a long trip back to the Japanese mainland. “You don’t have to hold your breath, Akira.”
Exhaling and inhaling oxygen, Akira started to regain his breath. “Do you think mom and dad will get the message in time?” he said, worried and concerned while still catching his breath.
Hotaru had to be honest with herself and her brother. “Maybe not. But we have to check it out. Besides, Hikaru will have us covered if we get in a tight situation.” She said, assuring her little brother. “Don’t forget that, okay?” Akira nodded. With that, the two pilots of Smokey veered a course to the object hovering in the cloudy sky.
As the free fall closed the gap between him and the land below, Hikaru ceased his flashy airborne spins and flips. Arms outstretched and straightening his body, Hikaru took flight and skillfully settled on the coarse, blackened sand with ease. Ash and salt kicked up from his landing, though Hikaru’s face veil filtered most of the particles. His eyes surveyed the setting. A desolate wasteland, barren and fruitless.
“It’s sad to think humans are capable of such destruction.” He released a heavy sigh. Ever since they made their stay on Earth, these thoughts often came back time and time again. Because of what man was able to do, they woke up their own demons. From the abuse of nuclear energy, Godzilla came into existence; of the excess waste thrown into the vast oceans, Hedorah, the Smog Monster, found itself a new home. Instead of learning from these mighty titans, humanity only proved that history repeats itself again and again and that nature points out the folly of man. If this trend kept going, their demise would be inevitable. “But they’re also capable of accomplishing great things.” And in a lot of ways, humans are very similar to the Zone race. A species that boasted advanced scientific feats and a strong desire to see their kind in an ideological unity. But humans are not without fault. Their differing beliefs, ideologies, and persistence to cling to freedom have kept humans from ever truly being united. Maybe one day, the Zones could bring peace to mankind as a whole. But until the day the Garogas are defeated, they have to keep hidden.
Before beginning to venture in for clues, Hikaru twisted his head to observe the shrouded Smokey. While the camouflage rendered it invisible to the naked, untrained eye, Hikaru’s sharp senses allowed him to see the vessel taking flight. But towards what? And even farther off, he could see the tiny silhouette of the Zobot rocketing off, presumably back to HQ. “Sending the Zobot off already? What are those two thinking?” Before he could do anything, he heard something directly behind him. Swiftly turning around, he saw a massive figure rise from the ocean depths.
“That answers that, I suppose,” he retorted to himself, dashing inland to avoid the wake of the strange beast.