"Wake up," whispered Ann Darrow, her voice soothing. "It’s dawn."
King Kong’s brown eyes rolled open. As his vision adjusted to the cliff he called home, he saw Ann standing in the palm of his hand, nursing his scarred cheek. Kong wanted this moment to last forever. When his stomach growled, Ann enlightened him with a smile. It was brighter than any star in the sky.
“Come on, sleepy head,” said Ann. “Let’s go explore.”
Her persistence inspired him to rise. Kong stretched, flexing his huge muscles. He breathed in the morning air, delighted to have a companion to explore with at last. Kong gently picked Ann up and swung her on his shoulders. Then in a huge burst of speed, Kong jumped over the cliff, and fell hundreds of feet before catching the side of the mountain.
Ann gripped the hairs on Kong’s back, screaming in excitement. The cold air blew over them as they continued their descent. While Kong was too busy jumping from rock to rock, Ann gazed down at Skull Island. It was both beautiful and foreboding. Jungles greener than any rainforest on earth covered most of the island. Wild rivers flowed through and disappeared in the thick foliage, feeding the dark swamps. Far across the island, Ann saw the great walls of stone lying in shambles at the shore. It served as an epitaph for the natives who once lived there. Beyond the shoreline, a sea of fog concealed Skull Island from the rest of the world.
King Kong plummeted his hands and feet into the ground. He let Skull Island’s aroma assail his lungs before breaking into a sprint. Kong maneuvered through the forest, kicking up dirt and plants in his wake. Ann, likewise, evaded low branches as they sped forth. She loved doing this. Finally, they arrived at a great lake that was concealed in the heart of the island.
Ann Darrow and King Kong’s reflection shined on the crystal watery surface. She stood on his shoulders, basking in the warmth of the rising sun. Kong, captivated by her waving reflection, could only stare in disbelief. How did he ever get so lucky? He knew he had been alive before Ann entered his life, but he couldn’t remember his past nor did he really care. All that mattered was this moment.
In the darkness of the jungle, red eyes glared at the pair in the most detached of manners. Moving quietly, the ravenous hunter snuck up on them. Its scaly snout opened, its jaws dripping with blood. It moved in as if it was going to snatch Ann up. Instead it leaned in close to King Kong’s ear.
“Time to wake up, my son,” whispered the demented saurian.
King Kong was no longer King Kong and Ann Darrow was no longer with him. That dream was over. A weak, malnourished hand reached up in front of him. The hand was his. Wires funneling life-saving fluids ran through his arms. When he breathed, the respirator on his face hissed. Artificial light shined above him, blinding eyes he had never used before. Squinting, he tilted his head to the side. In a mirror, he saw a dying gorilla being kept alive by lifeless machines. He turned away in shame, disgusted by what he saw.
An automatic door slid open. The dying ape heard footsteps approaching his bedside. When the light panels above him shut off, a gray-haired Japanese man in his mid-sixties, dressed in black, entered his peripheral vision. There was a black fire in his eyes, one that burned with a mixture of brilliance and malice. The dying ape knew this old man was his maker and he was at his mercy.
“My son,” said the infamous Doctor Who. “I’m very disappointed in you. But rest assured, I have finally found a use for you. If you survive the night, I’ll give you purpose.”
It was a command the dying ape had no choice but to follow. If he had a choice, he would’ve chosen to never wake again.
The lights flickered. In a small room, Doctor Who stood on a stage while a slide show of the dying ape played on a projector screen behind him. His wrinkled face maintained a cold composure, only showing an ounce of emotion when it suited him. The audience, numbering in the single digits, consisted of the most powerful individuals in the world. Some were not even of this world.
The Xilien Commander, donning a black combat uniform, grinned through his dark shades. Images of the frail ape compelled him to make a condescending remark about apes being puny and weak, no different than cattle.
This infuriated Mugal, Leader of the Black Hole Aliens. Mugal’s second in command, Tsuda, convinced him to stay his hand until the time was right. Both were dressed like businessmen.
Doctor Shinji Mifune, a brilliant yet mad scientist, watched the slides with great interest, oblivious to the extraterrestrials bickering around him.
The Saradian Agent, SSS9, watched from the back corner. He had been sent by the Emir of Saradia to collect both vital information and to plunder his rivals. Stroking his beard, SSS9 waited patiently for the right moment to execute his plans.
Captain Ryuui, representing the terrorist organization known as the Red Bamboo, was anything but calm. The Red Bamboo Commander had given him strict orders to buy whatever Doctor Who was selling. He wasn’t sure he could now that he knew the identities of his rivals. This might cost him another eye.
“Gentlemen, let’s not dispense with any introductions,” said Doctor Who. “I know why you’re here. Like myself, you’re all visionaries. You have goals and agendas like any sensible human being, or carbon based life form, and will accomplish them no matter the cost.”
“I thought Doctor Who was supposed to be British,” the Xilien Commander joked.
Doctor Who didn’t miss a beat. “Behind me is one of my greatest creations, Prometheus. I grew him in a lab from a sample of King Kong’s DNA. Unlike Kong, Prometheus was born with physical defects. Even with the aid of Element X, of which only I can control,” boasted Doctor Who, “the defects couldn’t be eliminated. Originally deemed a failure, Prometheus was scheduled for dissection until I made a remarkable discovery. It would seem Prometheus, while lacking in strength, possessed a brilliant mind.”
Live images of Prometheus solving puzzles, mathematical equations, and repairing complicated machinery flashed across the screen.
“That’s what you wanted to show me?” scoffed the Xilien Commander. “If I wanted a smart monkey for a slave, I would’ve taken a trip down a black hole.”
“You insolent dog,” shouted Mugal, offended by the Xilien Commander’s words.
“Gentlemen, please,” said Doctor Who. “There’s more here than meets the eye. Prometheus, despite being a pale imitation of King Kong, is still a Kong. He’s no longer an ant, but a giant, one I’ve taken the liberty of properly tuning.”
New images of Prometheus, now standing at 45-meters tall, waited patiently in a giant cage for the technician-controlled machines to strap him in a suit of armor.
“This is Mechani-Kong,” said Doctor Who. “Armed with kaiju busting grenades and a hypnosis generator in its head, Mechani-Kong is every bit as strong as his progenitor. With the latest in armor coating technology, generously provided by a loyal UNGCC informant, Mechani-Kong could wade through any army sent to oppose him. One thing that really fascinates me about King Kong is how electricity makes him stronger. Even though Prometheus, in his natural form, is a weakling, Mechani-Kong has a generator specifically designed to feed his body electricity.”
Prometheus was covered in armor. No longer the frail, gangly creature he once was, Mechani-Kong was a sight to behold. Suddenly, a live x-ray image showed Prometheus’s live body hidden inside the suit. The x-rays intensified, showing his skeletal structure. Inside, needles connected with the suit poked deep into his body, bypassing his skin and muscles. The needles connected with his bone marrow, acting as a conduit for an electrical conduit. Prometheus’s muscles returned to view, showing Doctor Who’s audience what happened when the ape’s body meshed with electricity. Immediately, his muscle mass doubled.
“Remarkable, isn’t he?” said Doctor Who. “And with the power of Element X burning in his veins, what was once a weak creature has now become the strongest being on Earth.
“We’ll start the bidding at $10 billion.”
The Xilien Commander clapped, laughing manically. “Doctor Who, I mean no disrespect, you are a credit to your cattle race, but why would I want this Mechani-Kong? I have an army of creatures at my disposal. Why would I want a King Kong reject?”
“Because he’s superior than the original creature,” replied Doctor Who. “He’s superior than any beast you have in your armada.”
It was Mugal’s turn to speak. “Doctor Who, if what you say is true, then perhaps a demonstration is in order.”
Doctor Who’s decrepit face contorted into a smile. Nobody else knew he was smiling. “I concur.”
Doctor Who left the room, leading his audience outside. SSS9 waited for the Xilien Commander to leave. But he stayed in his seats, staring off into space. It looked like he was somehow communicating through nonverbal means. SSS9 was no stranger to psychics, so perhaps telepathy was at work here. If so, SSS9 suspected he had been compromised. On cue, the Xilien Commander favored the Saradian agent with a grin, confirming his worst suspicions.
Outside, the humid air was intoxicating. Darkness had fallen yet temperatures were almost unbearably high. This could’ve been Doctor Who’s doing, given his controlling nature. Light poles taller than trees helped shine light on the forests, mountains, and streams. A full moon lit up the dark heavens, casting its luminance. In many ways, it was a tropical paradise.
There was a distant tremor. Most of Doctor Who’s guests looked nervous, frightened even. This emboldened Who’s agendas. Doctor Shinji Mifune, however, looked more ecstatic than alarmed. Like Doctor Who, Mifune was an old, experienced scientist. And like Who, Mifune was infamous for his mad theories. It’s been decades since the scientific community excommunicated Mifune. Most people would’ve accepted the early retirement. But not Doctor Mifune. Not long after the fall of his career, Mifune returned into the world’s spotlight, but not as a visionary or an innovator. No, Mifune returned as a monster. His name soon joined the unholy ranks of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. What the public didn’t know, however, was one disconcerting truth: Mifune was right all along.
There was a reason why Doctor Who saw a kindred spirit in Doctor Mifune. Mifune wasn’t afraid of getting his hands bloody. In the pursuit of truth, the ends justified the means. And if the truth didn’t meet their criteria, they’d manipulate it into a more fitting conclusion.
Trees wobbled and fell, heralding the ascent of the subterranean dinosaur, Baragon. Baragon peaked out of the forest, hungrily gazing up at the ledge where Doctor Who and his guests congregated. If he jumped at them, Baragon would be crunching on their bones in seconds. That’s when the earth vibrated. A massive, gaping hole opened no more than a few hundred yards from Baragon’s location. Inside the hole, two massive, silvery arms reached out, and pulled Mechani-Kong to the surface. Baragon growled a warning at the cybernetic ape. Mechani-Kong’s dull, lifeless eyes peered at the horned saurian. Behind the artificial optics, Prometheus concentrated on his first opponent with his own eyes. His creator’s orders were clear: search and destroy. Searching was no longer a problem.
Mechani-Kong’s eyes emitted streaks of focused light, blinding Baragon. Baragon, unable to see, rushed blindly into the light, hoping to find his opponent. He instead found Mechani-Kong’s metal fist smashing into his face. The impact sent Baragon flipping in the opposite direction, blood splashing out of its broken jaw. Baragon’s insatiable appetite suppressed his pain, allowing the horned beast to ready himself for a second charge. Baragon jumped towards his larger opponent like a supersized frog, hitting Mechani-Kong so hard it sent the cyborg flying back. Mechani-Kong watched the treetops swish by his feet before falling into a forest.
Doctor Who and his guests watched columns of plantation shoot up, obscuring Mechani-Kong. Baragon, like a predator stalking its prey, moved in for the kill.
“Mechani-Kong had the advantage,” snorted Doctor Mifune. “Why’d he let Baragon do that to him?”
“My child is merely testing his opponent,” Doctor Who explained. “More accurately, he’s testing himself.”
Baragon galloped through the jungle at his top speed, mowing trees down with his bulk. When he arrived in a clearing, Baragon isolated Mechani-Kong’s position, and opened his mouth. Baragon’s breath turned to fire, washing over Mechani-Kong in its burning embrace. As trees and all manner of plant life turned to cinders, Mechani-Kong emerged out of the inferno, his metal armor glowing bright. In a quick burst of speed, Mechani-Kong grabbed the unsuspecting Baragon by the face. Baragon writhed in agony as Mechani-Kong’s hot glowing hand burned his skin off. When Mechani-Kong released him, Baragon dropped to his belly, his face burnt, his eyes sealed shut.
Even from a mile away, Doctor Who and his guests could smell the burning flesh. It was repulsive, even to the warlike extraterrestrials. Only the human, Captain Ryuii, looked indifferent.
Ryuii was once a faithful servant of Japan, defending the motherland whenever she called. But that all changed when Ryuii was ordered to infiltrate the international terrorist organization known as the Red Bamboo. It took months for him to earn their trust, months of blood, torture, and abuse. Then the opportunity presented itself; the Red Bamboo Commander wanted to see him. This was his chance to break the chain. To his surprise, he learned he hadn’t been the only spy Japan sent to overthrow the Red Bamboo. Now he and his countrymen had the Red Bamboo Commander right where they wanted him. But the Red Bamboo Commander had other ideas. From the beginning, the Red Bamboo had always known their true identities. To prepare for this, they took the necessary steps to incriminate Ryuii and his countrymen. There was blood on their hands now, for the people they killed to gain favor were ones of prominent status, royalty even. So even if they assassinated the Red Bamboo Commander, even if they somehow managed to topple the Red Bamboo itself, their motherland wouldn’t protect them. Japan, to avoid a geopolitical nightmare, secretly disavowed them. If they ever stepped foot on Japanese soil again, their government would betray them. The Red Bamboo, however, was willing to make them an offer, an offer meant for only one and one alone. Whosoever was the last one alive would find a future in the Red Bamboo. After an intense, bloody fifteen minutes, Ryuii, missing an eye, emerged the sole survivor. On that day, he’d been baptized in the blood of his countrymen and was reborn as Ryuii, Captain of the Red Bamboo.
Mechani-Kong was no stranger to pain. As he watched Baragon wallow blindly in its misery, Mechani-Kong felt no sympathy for the creature. His creator, Doctor Who, despised weakness with a passion. That bleak view is one Mechani-Kong begrudgingly inherited. Wherever he saw weakness, he saw his own reflection. Enraged by Baragon’s pain, Mechani-Kong’s suit sent electric currents through his bloodstream, augmenting his strength. Mechani-Kong pulverized the helpless Baragon, mangling his flesh and shattering his bones. The blows were so intense, even the sands on the island’s distant beaches trembled. The beatings lasted for approximately two-minutes. Baragon died in the first.
“Now you see the power of my creation,” said Doctor Who, pleased of Mechani-Kong’s performance.
“You’d have a point if I was invading a world populated by Baragons, Doctor,” scolded the Xilien Commander. “But I’m not planning on fighting Baragon, especially now since he’s dead. I was hoping you’d have your pet fight a worthier opponent.”
Mugal nodded. “As much as I hate to admit it, the Xilien is right.”
Doctor Who shot an ugly look at the aliens. Even with all their power, the aliens didn’t want to suffer his wrath, so they stopped talking. SSS9, before his arrival, researched Doctor Who’s history. Most of his past was stripped from the record. Knowledge is power, so when knowledge of your life remains shrouded in mystery, you deprive people from having power over you. And what power does Doctor Who hold over all of them? He and he alone unlocked the secrets of the mysterious Element X.
Mechani-Kong marched through the jungle, returning to his cage. Suddenly, a line of webbing ensnared his back, pulling him down.
Doctor Who smiled. That cadaverous grin of his always gave people chills.
Baragon wasn’t Mechani-Kong’s only opponent. Eight-legs crawled out of the shadows and into the moonlight, revealing itself as the monstrous spider, Kumonga. Mechani-Kong took a couple steps back, startled. It was common instinct to retreat from the sight of a spider, especially one larger than a football field. Kumonga, obeying the mysterious signal affecting her brain, attacked. The giant spider launched herself at Mechani-Kong, stabbing him with her bony-like legs. Sparks flew as Mechani-Kong’s armor repelled the attacks. Mechani-Kong, forced to give ground, used his arm to block Kumonga’s webbing. Thinking quickly, Mechani-Kong tugged at the line of webbing in order to reel Kumonga towards him. Mechani-Kong punched the spider so hard the resulting shockwave leveled the trees in the vicinity.
Kumonga crashed into a hillside, causing an avalanche. After the spider crawled out of the rockslide, Mechani-Kong blinded Kumonga with his bright eyes. The spider panicked, trying in vain to shield its myriad eyes with her front arms. At last it formulated a different solution; Kumonga jumped over Mechani-Kong and landed behind him, entangling him with her webbing. Even with his incredible strength, Mechani-Kong couldn’t tear apart the webbing. To compensate for this, Mechani-Kong’s eyes shot a blinding light into Kumonga’s face. This time, however, the giant arachnid was ready; Kumonga launched a poison stinger into one of Mechani-Kong’s glowing eyes, disabling it in a shower of sparks. Taking advantage of what she perceived to be her prey, Kumonga leapt onto Mechani-Kong, constricting him with her legs. Kumonga, immune to the adhesive effects of her webbing, regurgitated another poison stinger. She fired it into Mechani-Kong’s neck, denting the armor. Again and again she fired poison stingers, knowing there was meat hiding inside this metal suit. Mechani-Kong had other ideas; he loosened the webbing enough for him to reach down and touch his waistline, where a belt full of grenades waited. He grabbed two grenades and, raising them to his chest, detonated them.
A fiery explosion incinerated the webbing and ripped Kumonga’s legs apart. Mechani-Kong stood motionless in a smoldering crater, unscathed. Kumonga writhed helplessly next to him, trying in vain to scuttle away. But without legs to do the scuttling, she was defenseless. Mechani-Kong reached down and picked up one of the legs, and slowly walked towards the wounded arachnid. Kumonga’s many eyes looked up and stared at the armored creature. There were no exchanges of pleading or remorse between the two giants. Kumonga wasn’t aware of the differences between life and death. She was a slave of her habits and instincts, nothing more. So when Mechani-Kong plunged her leg through her face, killing her instantly, she felt nothing.
It was a sentiment Mechani-Kong shared.
Hours have passed since millions of insects gathered to consume Baragon’s rotting corpse; hours have passed since smoke stopped curling off Kumonga’s fried carcass; and hours have passed since Mechani-Kong returned to his cage.
Doctor Who, secluded in his laboratory, watched the footage on one of his many monitors. When he looked into another monitor, triggering its sensor, the screen showed all of his guests resting in separate rooms. With the press of a button, Doctor Who listened in on their private conversations.
As expected, the Xilien Commander remained unconvinced of Mechani-Kong’s usefulness. During his ravings and laughter, the Xilien Commander thought about destroying everyone for wasting his time. Doctor Who suspected he had a different reason for being here.
Mugal and Tsuda, the Black Hole Aliens, discussed other matters of importance. Their world, years away from being consumed by a black hole, was on the brink of chaos. If they didn’t find a new planet to act as an exodus for their people soon, a rebellion was inevitable. Much to Doctor Who’s delight, they expressed great interest in Mechani-Kong, believing he’d make a worthy addition to their armada. Doctor Who couldn’t help but see the irony in selling a weapon to an alien race that would then use it to raze human civilization.
SSS9 was sitting in the corner. Doctor Who stared into the silent image for a few seconds. In a facility full of aliens and mad scientists, the Saradian agent was the one not to be trifled with. Before landing on the island, Who had his guards thoroughly search him. No weapons were found. Yet there he was, sitting alone in a room, twisting a silencer on his pistol.
Captain Ryuii quietly meditated with his sword. Unlike SSS9, Ryuii was granted permission to bring his weapon of choice. This wasn’t the first time Doctor Who had done dealings with the Red Bamboo. In the past, the Red Bamboo agreed to these meetings only if their representatives were properly armed. Who was certain Captain Ryuii would make a tender offer soon.
Doctor Who turned to see his last guest face-to-face.
“Are you impressed yet, Mifune?” asked Doctor Who.
Doctor Mifune nodded. “I am, yes. But you know I’m not a man of wealth; I’m a man of science. So why did you invite me here? You know I can’t afford Mechani-Kong.”
“This is true,” said Doctor Who. “I apologize if I’ve offended you, Doctor. You’re easily one of the most brilliant scientist on the planet. So please, don’t feel insulted by the circumstances behind your invitation.”
“And what are these circumstances?”
Mifune was silent. After a moment of silence, he asked, “What about Titanosaurus?”
“My creation, Mechani-Kong, has proven to be quite the formidable creature,” said Doctor Who, pausing for Mifune to nod in agreement. “But he has yet to become a juggernaut. Titanosaurus is one of the strongest creatures on the planet. If my creation bests him in combat, I will have no trouble selling my creation to the highest bidder.”
“No,” grumbled Mifune. “No, Titanosaurus is mine!”
Doctor Who glared into the eyes of his colleague. With a gesture, Who summoned a number of heavily-armed guards. All of them surrounded Doctor Mifune, weapons drawn.
“I thought a fellow scientist would’ve been more understanding,” said Doctor Who, with deep resentment in his voice. “It’s a pity that I must resort to threats.”
“Shooting me won’t summon Titanosaurus!”
“Who said anything about shooting you, Doctor? Oh, my, no,” said Doctor Who. “I have far better means of extraction. This is your last chance, Mifune. Give me what I want willingly or give me what I want painfully.”
Cold seawater washed ashore, dampening the sands. Moonlight reflected off the waters, casting a brilliant luminance over the beach. In the backdrop, tropical trees swayed in the wind. It looked like a beautiful place, one many would pay a high price to visit. But it was far from a perfect getaway.
An enormous creature stomped out of the sea. The beaches quaked beneath its massive bulk. It scanned the shoreline with its feral, catlike eyes, searching for its enemy. It couldn’t see it but the island was brimming with the scent of death and decay. As water skidded down its crimson, bumpy flesh, Titanosaurus marched to the heart of the island. Titanosaurus, annoyed by the rows of trees blocking his path, turned and flapped his fan-tipped tail. Strong winds instantly ripped the trees from their roots, as if they had been struck by a hurricane. Titanosaurus continued his stride, crushing the pile of trees to splinters.
In the rooms where his guests were being kept, Doctor Who’s face appeared on the television screens.
“Attention honored guests,” said Doctor Who. “I wish to show you yet another demonstration of Mechani-Kong’s power. Any minute now, you will have the honor of watching Mechani-Kong fight the aquatic leviathan known as Titanosaurus. You may now start the bidding at your leisure.”
Doctor Who’s face was replaced by footage of Titanosaurus marching through the forest. That explained the rumble they all felt. It wouldn’t be long before Titanosaurus met Mechani-Kong in combat. It wouldn’t be long before all their plans clashed.
“Awaken, my son.”
Before hearing those words, Prometheus was darkness. Now alive and awake, all he saw was darkness. Did that make him an extension of it? Whether it’s in his mind or in the mind of the world, Prometheus couldn’t escape it. There had to be a way to find the light.
Mechani-Kong wanted to remove his helmet, but nigh-unbreakable chains kept his arms at bay. He remained, as always, a prisoner. Growling in frustration, Mechani-Kong waited for his master to release his chains and shackles. But it didn’t happen.
“I will release your shackles when you show me discipline,” said Doctor Who, unhappy with Mechani-Kong’s attitude.
Those words ignited his fury. Mechani-Kong thrashed, trying in vain to break free from the darkness. His rage activated his armor, which pumped millions of volts of electricity into his body. Again and again, Mechani-Kong swung his fists, desperately trying to snap the chains off. While Mechani-Kong wasn’t strong enough to break them, he was strong enough to snap them off the wall. In a frightening display of power, Mechani-Kong brought the whole wall down behind him in a shower of rubble.
“Stop this, Mechani-Kong!” screamed Doctor Who.
With his hands free, Mechani-Kong moved to switch his helmet display on. Images of the outside world flooded his vision. Bars blocked him from leaving his cage. This infuriated the monster to a new extreme. With his muscles increasing exponentially, Mechani-Kong felt the space in his armor compress. Was his armor durable enough to contain his growing body?
Mechani-Kong’s furious hands bashed the bars. No longer will this cage call him its prisoner.
Doctor Who was angrier than his creation. His guards kept a good distance, not wanting to attract his wrath. Doctor Shinji Mifune, however, wasn’t afraid to mock the gaunt scientist.
“What’s this I’m seeing? Has the great Doctor Who finally lost control?”
“Mind your tongue, Mifune, or I will have it cut out!” snapped Doctor Who. “You think I’ve lost control? You know nothing of control.”
“Yet it is not my beast running amok.”
Doctor Who tried his best to ignore Mifune’s criticism. But there was no escaping the truth, he realized. Mifune was right. Thinking quickly, Who initiated a backup failsafe, having anticipated a meltdown like this. This conflict will soon be resolved and when it is, Doctor Who thought to himself, Mifune will be stuffed into a body bag.
Mechani-Kong pried the bars open, free at last. He stepped out of his cage, free to destroy this underground compound. Technicians and guards at his feet scampered to safety. Mechani-Kong’s stomping feet made sure they would not escape alive. Amidst the chaos, a lone figure walked, undaunted by the madness swarming around her. When he saw who it was, Mechani-Kong’s heart stopped.
It was Ann Darrow.
Mechani-Kong hunched down, inspecting her. It was her face, her smile, and, to Mechani-Kong’s content, her eyes. She was tinier than he remembered her to be, smaller than his thumb. And her scent had changed. When he seemed like his doubt would hinder his acceptance, Ann smiled that wild, soul-fulfilling smile, and reached out to touch him.
Ann whispered, “I’ve been dreaming about you.”
Mechani-Kong felt the electricity surge, a response to his rising adrenaline. This was not the result of anger, he realized, but love. As he reached for her, the electricity in his body intensified. For a brief second, Mechani-Kong’s neural pathways were electrocuted. Instead of knocking the savage beast out, it had an unexpected affect on Mechani-Kong’s consciousness. It purged his mind of Doctor Who’s brainwashing, liberating the animal from its ignorance. As Mechani-Kong returned to reality and saw Ann Darrow smiling up at him, he saw through the lies. Clenching his fists, a mournful roar thundered from his helmet, reverberating off the walls. Ann’s smiling complexion quickly morphed into one of fear. What did she do wrong? Doctor Who told her exactly what to say and how to behave. A dark shadow fell over her, encroaching on her hope.
As Mechani-Kong brought his fist down, his mind put all the pieces together. This life, all of it, was a mockery. Somewhere in the world, there lived a mighty creature, a creature that wasn’t shackled by a weak, dying body. All these dreams he’s been having? They were fragments of another life, experienced by none other than the ruler of Skull Island himself, King Kong. So then how did he come to possess these memories? Doctor Who, his creator. The mad-doctor used Element X to create an imperfect clone of King Kong, a clone he called Prometheus. While Prometheus lacked King Kong’s prestigious strength and health, the clone was very intelligent. Even though Doctor Who admired his intelligence, he ultimately yielded to his worst fears because he didn’t want to be overthrown by his creation. So Doctor Who suppressed Prometheus’s brain with mental restraints and concentrated on enhancing his sickly strength. Now all the restraints were gone, cast into the wind of change.
Mechani-Kong smashed Ann Darrow into a bloody smear.
Doctor Who was beyond livid. He stormed out of his laboratory without a word, leaving Doctor Mifune in the hands of his guards. His guards acted like nothing was wrong. Mifune, however, knew everything was wrong, and this was the beginning of Doctor Who’s downfall.
A few minutes later, Doctor Who arrived in his control room. It was the most technologically advanced room in his entire facility. On every wall, large screens projected all the major events happening on the island. Some screens showed events happening elsewhere in the world, like secret meetings between high-officials at the Pentagon and the UNGCC headquarters. Every technician kept their heads trained on the machinery, daring not to look into the murderous eyes of Doctor Who.
“Get out you cretins,” screamed Doctor Who. “Leave, now! You’ve all failed me.”
In truth, they did nothing of the sort. They had diligently fulfilled their duties of maintaining the island and doing everything Doctor Who instructed. Doctor Who was just too proud to admit he miscalculated. As the technicians left, many in a hurry, Doctor Who glared at one of the screens. On the screen, Mechani-Kong was on the move. With his godlike strength, King Kong’s clone smashed through one of the ceilings, flooding the underground compound he was in with thousands of tons of soil. As that screen went black, another showed Mechani-Kong clawing out of the earth.
Suddenly, the control room shook. Something big was attacking the facility. Doctor Who identified the attacker on another screen: Titanosaurus. Suspecting Mifune, Who ordered his guards to execute the old man at once. There was no response. Through the lens of one of his laboratory security cameras, Doctor Who saw the bodies of his guards lying in a puddle of blood. Mifune, his clothes stained red, operated the control module that controlled Titanosaurus. He looked up at the security camera, his face full of intense hate.
“How?” said Doctor Who, at a lost for words. “How did Mifune do it?”
“With help,” announced Mugal. Doctor Who glared at the Black Hole Alien leader. Tsuda was at his side, holding an alien gun.
“What’s the meaning of this?” said Doctor Who.
“Isn’t it obvious, Doctor?” said Mugal, relishing in his treachery. “We’ve decided it would be easier to take Mechani-Kong and all your research by force.”
Doctor Who scoffed at the idea. “Who do you take me for, a fool? I’ve long anticipated this.”
“That may be true, Doctor, but you clearly didn’t predict that all of us, your esteemed guests, would betray you,” said Mugal.
There was an insidious laugh, one that didn’t come from Doctor Who or the Black Hole Aliens. The Xilien Commander revealed himself, grinning in the fluorescent light.
“You’re all fools,” said the Xilien Commander. “I won’t dispense with the melodrama. I’m not here to steal your pathetic Mechani-Kong. I’m here to unlock the secrets of Element X.”
“What do you want with Element X?” Doctor Who inquired.
“I want to make a monster,” replied the Xilian Commander, unafraid of sharing his motivations. “Now surrender Element X to me at once and I will destroy you utterly.”
“Or you’ll destroy him utterly,” said Tsuda, correcting the Xilien Commander.
The Xilien Commander smiled. “I’ve come as your doom. The least you can do is give your meaningless life meaning by helping a higher being like myself.”
Lasers pelted the Xilien Commander’s chest, dropping him to the floor. Tsuda kept his weapon on him. Mugal motioned for him to finish the job. Acknowledging his order, Tsuda walked over to shoot the Xilien in the head. The Xilien Commander had other ideas; in a blur of speed, he jumped to his feet, and kicked the gun out of Tsuda’s hand. Then he placed a bone-shattering kick to Tsuda’s chest, which sent the Black Hole Alien flying through the exit doors. Mugal brandished a weapon and fired, but watched in stunned silence as the Xilien Commander stopped the laser in the scorched air.
“When one possesses the power of a Keizer, your powers are almost limitless,” said the Xilien Commander. “So what happens when you combine that power with Element X? Do you become a god? That’s what I’m eager to discover.”
The Xilien Commander distorted the light around him and vanished. He reappeared in a blinding flash next to Mugal, disarming him with contemptuous ease. The Xilien traded glances with the Black Hole Alien for a few seconds before throwing a knockout punch. Doctor Who backpedalled, fearing he’d suffer a worse fate.
“So what time is now, Doctor?” said the Xilien Commander, arrogant as ever. “Is it time to talk or time to die? Either’s fine with me.”
Both Doctor Who and the Xilien Commander looked over at Tsuda. The Black Hole Alien no longer looked human. His appearance was more apelike, with feral yellow eyes and a hulking physique. When he launched himself at the Xilien Commander, he moved faster than the human eye could see. The Xilien Commander felt the Black Hole Alien’s body collide into his, which hit him so hard his vision blurred. When his vision returned to him, he was lying in a pile of twisted wreckage.
The Xilien Commander chuckled.
“What’s so funny?” grumbled Tsuda.
“I think it’s funny how you look like them, the cattle, I mean,” snickered the Xilien Commander. “Is there a connection I’m unaware of? How is it that you all look very similar yet are separated by millions of light years? Not that it matters much. I’m going to exterminate every ape world in the universe.”
Tsuda moved to strike but the Xilien Commander was ready. He blocked Tsuda’s swipes, jabbing the alien ape in the face in turn. Roaring, Tsuda kicked the Xilien’s legs out from under him, snatched him up, and slammed him into the floor. With the push of his arms, the Xilien Commander was back on his feet, unfazed. Cracking his fists, it was the Xilien’s turn to dish out the pain. Again and again he punched Tsuda’s face in, finally hitting him so hard the Black Hole Alien slammed into one of the video screens.
Doctor Who turned to leave but Mugal, having transformed into an apelike monster, blocked him. “Come with me, Doctor,” said Mugal, with a seething growl. “If you delay me any further, you will come in pieces.”
With no other choice, Doctor Who guided Mugal to a corner of the room, where a secret door opened. Mugal took Doctor Who by the arm and forced him inside. As the Xilien Commander and Tsuda exchanged blows, their hits ringing off the walls, the doors closed. Doctor Who and Mugal went down in an elevator, one that descended deep into the island.
Titanosaurus shredded the facility walls, tearing it down like a human would tear down paper. The source of the signal that summoned him was broadcasting from somewhere in the massive structure. It beckoned him from the darkest depths of the sea, urging him to seek it out, and destroy it. A strange sound from behind him compelled the giant reptile to postpone its roaring rampage. Mechani-Kong emerged from out of the ground, no more than a few hundred meters away from the aquatic kaiju. Chains swayed back and forth from Mechani-Kong’s wrists, a reminder of his enslavement. Titanosaurus tasted a piece of his past when he tried tackling Mechani-Kong to the ground; the armored ape whipped the chains across Titanosaurus’s face, stopping the reptile in his tracks. Mechani-Kong tackled Titanosaurus to the ground and proceeded to punch its scaly, bumpy body. Titanosaurus responded by pushing the cyborg off, giving him enough room to stand upright. When Mechani-Kong charged a second time, Titanosaurus was ready. The hidden flaps of skin at the tip of his tail opened.
A powerful gust of wind, rivaling the might of a tsunami, smashed into Mechani-Kong. Trees were ripped out of the ground and thrown into the wind long before Mechani-Kong was sent hurtling into a mountainside. Plumes of dirt and dust shot up into the sky, marking the spot where Mechani-Kong hit. Mechani-Kong stumbled out of the sea of dust. Snapping out of his daze, Mechani-Kong charged on all fours, trying to reach Titanosaurus before he could flap his tail. He was unsuccessful. Once again a wall of air hit Mechani-Kong, sending him hurtling back into the same mountainside, disappearing somewhere in its core.
It took a full minute for Mechani-Kong to punch his way out of the mountain. When he emerged, his rage sizzled off him like steam. Mechani-Kong shined his lights into Titanosaurus’s eyes, temporarily blinding him. Mechani-Kong next unbuckled three grenades from his waistline, tossing them in front of Titanosaurus. The explosions blew gaping craters into the earth, enveloping the area in dust. Titanosaurus squinted in the dust cloud. Eyes keen enough to see through the darkest depths of the sea were rendered blind. Titanosaurus roared in frustration as he turned to flap the dust cloud away. It took only a few wags to disperse the cloud. With his field of vision cleared, Titanosaurus thought he’d see his opponent. Much to his dismay, Mechani-Kong was gone. Titanosaurus searched but couldn’t find him. When Titanosaurus lowered his guard, Mechani-Kong jumped out of one of the craters, and took the aquatic saurian by surprise. Mechani-Kong smashed his fists across Titanosaurus’s bottom jaw.
The control center was a disaster. Dozens of monitors were in ruin, rows of computers had been smashed into oblivion, and the walls looked like they were about to fall apart. The Xilien Commander, standing at the center of the room, held a glowing sphere in his hand. It acted like a gravitational magnet, pulling Tsuda into his clutches. Tsuda buried his claws into the Xilien’s arms, hoping it’d make him relinquish his hold. It didn’t.
“Go on, struggle,” laughed the Xilien Commander. “I haven’t had this much fun in ages.”
Gritting his teeth, Tsuda swiped off the Xilien Commander’s black visor. The Xilien stopped laughing. Tsuda thought this was a blessing in disguise until the Xilien punctured one of his lungs with a chest-breaking punch. Coughing up blood, Tsuda’s resistance faded.
Suddenly, the ceiling and the walls crumbled like a house of cards. It happened so fast it took a moment for the Xilien Commander to realize how lucky he was to still be alive. Titanosaurus was lying over them, his bulk crushing the control center. The Xilien Commander, still holding Tsuda by the throat, stood between his scaly fingers. Titanosaurus, unaware of the aliens, pulled himself up, and resumed his brawl with Mechani-Kong somewhere outside their view.
The Xilien Commander dropped Tsuda to the floor, laughing like a madman. “I had a near death experience,” said the Xilien Commander, pleased. “I’ve never had a near death experience! This is fantastic news. I think I’ll make this day a holiday for my people, to celebrate my continued existence.”
The Xilien Commander was beside himself. Tsuda weakly crawled away, trying to escape under the cover of darkness. But the clouds parted, casting moonlight on his skulking shape. The Xilien Commander, both humored and disgusted by his attempt to flee, disintegrated the ape with an electrical blast from his hand.
Breathing in the smell of scorched flesh, the Xilien Commander searched for Doctor Who with his thoughts. All signs pointed down. Smiling, the Xilien Commander followed the mad-doctor underground, knowing he’d soon possess a stockpile of Element X.
The elevator raptured down into what looked like an underground catacomb. On one end, a large glass wall shielded an army of chemists and geologists from the glowing rock quarry on the other side. It was neither too dark nor too bright. Mugal greedily stared at the abnormal rocks. At last he’s found Element X. Doctor Who, however, wasn’t so pleased. As soon as they entered the glass chamber, he will summon all the guards on the island to this level. Then there will be a reckoning. Mugal interrupted his daydream by pushing him into the glass chamber, where Doctor Who’s people looked at him in confusion. To them it wasn’t unusual to see Who walk around with a hulking, apelike specimen.
Mugal killed one of Doctor Who’s scientists with his laser. Even with smoke sizzling out of the cauterized hole in the scientist’s head, nobody screamed, and nobody ran. Mugal rolled his eyes. It would seem these people are no strangers to this kind of violence. Mugal unloaded on the rest of the staff, mowing some of them down. That’s when they finally had the sense to run.
“The conditions of your workplace are appalling,” said Mugal.
Doctor Who frowned. “Do I detect sympathy? You didn’t get it from me. I’m immune to such impediments.”
“Not at all, Doctor,” said Mugal. “It was only an observation.”
There was a moment of silence. Much to his dismay, Doctor Who felt compelled to explain himself.
“I designed them that way,” he clarified. “You see, I couldn’t risk sharing my work with outsiders. I require absolute obedience from my subordinates. I’ve yet to find that in another human being, so I created one. And then I created many more.”
“Just like the blonde woman you sent to seduce that monster of yours?”
“How did you know about that?” said Doctor Who, astonished.
“Look, your dedication to your craft is immeasurable, Doctor,” said Mugal, ignoring Who’s question. “But this god complex of yours will be the end of you.”
“This isn’t a god complex,” said Doctor Who. “That would imply there is a god for me to rival. No, it’s more of a matter of transcendence. I have the intellect and the means to push the boundaries of my evolutionary potential to the next level. In the pursuit of truth, all that matters is how much knowledge you have.”
When Mechani-Kong crashed into the earth, the impact was devastating. Maelstroms of soil and smoke blanketed the jungle. This time Titanosaurus didn’t need to see through the haze to locate his opponent. Mechani-Kong, while in a seated position, arched his body up. Titanosaurus’s foot greeted him with a kick to the face. That was only a prelude. Titanosaurus jumped on Mechani-Kong, stamping the cyborg deeper and deeper into the earth. Mechani-Kong’s armor groaned as it repelled Titanosaurus’s bulk. With an enraged roar, Mechani-Kong caught Titanosaurus’s foot, and threw the aquatic titan. Mechani-Kong hurried to his feet to trade blows with Titanosaurus. No matter how hard Mechani-Kong hit, his metallic fists couldn’t even leave a bruise in Titanosaurus’s bumpy, scaly flesh.
So Mechani-Kong improvised.
Mechani-Kong stepped back to give himself enough space. Titanosaurus lunged forward, giving Mechani-Kong the perfect opportunity he needed to implement his strategy. Mechani-Kong entangled Titanosaurus’s neck with one of the chains on his wrist. This momentarily stunned the reptile. Mechani-Kong entangled the other chain around Titanosaurus’s neck and ducked around behind him. Summoning all his strength, Mechani-Kong used the chains to pull Titanosaurus back. What happened next was exactly what Mechani-Kong planned; the chains tightened, sealing Titanosaurus’s throat shut. Titanosaurus, unable to breathe, thrashed around in desperation. Mechani-Kong could barely hold him at bay. If Titanosaurus continued fighting back like this, he’d break free in no time. So Mechani-Kong pulled his head back so far, they’re faces were almost touching. That’s when Mechani-Kong deployed his secret weapon. The top of his armored head opened, revealing a glowing gem. It bombarded Titanosaurus with blinding flashes, hypnotizing the giant dinosaur.
Titanosaurus stopped struggling. When Mechani-Kong pulled the chains harder, Titanosaurus’s eyes rolled back their sockets, a clear sign he was suffocating. And then something unusual, something unexpected happened. Somewhere in Mechani-Kong’s rage and torment, a flicker of mercy sparked to life. This creature, however primitive, wasn’t his true enemy. His true enemy was hiding somewhere in his steel castle, likely pulling this poor creature’s strings like so many others.
Mechani-Kong spared Titanosaurus’s life, choosing instead to focus on finding his creator turned betrayer, the enigmatic Doctor Who.
Mugal pinned Doctor Who against the wall, debating whether torture was necessary. Who’s contracted pupils remained in a perpetual state of hate, no indication he’d squeal. Mugal was fascinated with human expressions and micro-expressions, believing it to be a form of mindreading in disguise. But Who was a blank slate, completely unreadable. Mugal’s claws gently peeled back a small patch of skin on Who’s neck.
“Your choice, Doctor,” warned Mugal. “Tell me what I want to know and live or let silence seal your fate.”
Doors opened. Several heavily armed, masked guards flooded the room, assault weapons drawn. Mugal didn’t even flinch. The guards surrounded him, waiting for Doctor Who to give them the kill order.
“I’ll go with the third option,” said Doctor Who, smiling in satisfaction.
Before Doctor Who could give them the signal to fire, one of the guards fired his weapon—at the other guards. With one arm, he choked the life out of another guard; while with the other hand, he unloaded hundreds of rounds into his comrades. Hot lead punched through human flesh, painting the walls with blood. Dropping his empty rifle, the treacherous guard whipped out a pistol with a silencer, and shot one of the last guards between the eyes. The traitor confirmed the kill, unaffected by all the carnage that lay at his feet. Satisfied, he removed his mask.
“It’s that damn Saradian agent,” murmured Doctor Who, jaws clenched.
SSS9, the Saradian Agent, aimed his weapon at Doctor Who. Before Doctor Who could make sense of this unholy alliance, one of the doors opened. A lone guard stepped into the room. All of Who’s hope vanished when he saw the blade of a sword sticking through the guard’s chest. The guard fell face first into the blood stained floor, with a sword handle pointing out of his back. Captain Ryuii entered, removing his sword from the corpse. While watching his step, he casually cleaned the blood from off his blade. Doctor Mifune entered behind him, ignoring the bloodbath.
“So we’re all here,” laughed Mugal.
Suddenly, everyone in the room felt lighter than air, like they’re minds had been separated from their bodies. There was a distortion of light yet nobody could summon the strength to react to it in time. The Xilien Commander replaced the distortion, repairing the space-time rift with a thought.
Mugal wasn’t laughing anymore.
“Now we’re all here,” said the Xilien Commander. “And just in time too. I see our poor, deluded host has finally been made aware of your secret coalition. Only the weak seek strength in numbers.”
Mugal grimaced. Even if they attacked the Xilien all at once, he’d kill them all just the same.
“Brilliant deduction,” said the Xilien Commander, making eye contact with Mugal. “And by the way, I can read minds. It’s a far more effective technique than your micro-expression nonsense.”
Explosions shook the walls, triggering the emergency alarms. The ceiling lights changed from a yellow-white luminance to an eerie crimson glow. The Xilien Commander smirked. This was quickly becoming the best day ever.
“That’s Mechani-Kong,” coughed Doctor Who, trying to breathe through Mugal’s fingers. “If you free me now, I’ll order him to leave, and we’ll conclude our business.”
“You’re acting stupid again,” said the Xilien Commander. “Stop acting stupid, especially when you don’t need to act. I tried using persuasion. You should count yourselves fortunate. I’ve never been this merciful. But force is, as it has always been, the best means to take what you want. Soon the secrets of Element X will be mine! Try not to think happy thoughts, Doctor.”
Mugal pounced on the Xilien Commander, knowing Who’s mind was about to be compromised. But the Xilien Commander was too quick; he evaded Mugal’s furious swipes and disintegrated his arm with a searing blast of energy. It all happened faster than the human eye could blink. Mugal writhed on the floor, howling in agony. The Xilien Commander’s eyes dared SSS9, Captain Ryuii, and Doctor Mifune to attack him. None of them moved a muscle. So these humans weren’t as foolish as he thought.
The Xilien Commander stared into the eyes of Doctor Who. Who trembled, knowing his memories, everything that made him human, was being assimilated. It was all over in a minute but it felt like it lasted hours. Doctor Who fell to his knees, sobbing quietly. Before he looked like a wrinkled corpse, now he resembled a living skeleton.
“Just the push of this button?” the Xilien Commander asked, while walking over to the control pad. “That’s all it takes. Many years from now, my people will question why I hesitated, why I didn’t extract this information sooner. On that day, I’ll remind them why entertainment is a commodity everyone can afford celebrate.”
The Xilien Commander pushed the button. But to his surprise, the wall of glass shielding them from Element X lowered. High concentrations of radiation washed over the Xilien Commander, weakening him. While the Xilien Commander soaked up radiation, SSS9 put on his mask and successfully shielded himself. Captain Ryuii and Doctor Mifune ran out of the room, escaping with their lives.
“Come Mifune, it’s time you fulfill your bargain by joining the Red Bamboo,” said Captain Ryuii, his voice echoing down the hall.
Doctor Who, revitalized by Element X’s rays, stood a cackling conqueror.
“Now who’s the fool,” boasted Doctor Who. “Element X is mine and mine alone. Nobody else, be they of this world or beyond, will ever know its secrets. But not even Element X holds a candle to my glory. You thought my mind was weak. You thought wrong. For years I’ve experimented on myself, evolving my mind and body. All your telepathy saw was what I wanted you to see. This day has seen many players of treachery.
“But none of them compare to Doctor Who, the International Judas!”
SSS9 retreated to the exit door, weapon raised. Mugal dragged himself across the wet floor, knowing he was at his most vulnerable. The Xilien Commander slumped to his knees, shaking.
“Well played, cattle,” winced the Xilien Commander. “You won a war of words. But I will win a war of worlds.”
A powerful laser burned through the ceiling, exposing this underground catacomb to the surface world. Moonlight washed over rocks that had been submerged in the dark for billions of years. The Xilien Mothership, a massive sphere construct that dwarfed the entire island, hovered in the sky.
Doctor Who wasn’t intimidated.
“You just revealed yourselves to my world,” said Doctor Who. He turned his gaze on SSS9. “Would you care to divulge your treachery with us?”
“Treachery would imply we were in league with one another from the start,” said SSS9, talking through the mask speaker.
Doctor Who smiled, turning his attention back to the Xilien Commander. “The Saradian agent recently reported back to his government. In exchange for lifting the sanctions imposed on them, Saradia shared this information with other world governments. My island will soon be destroyed along with your Mothership.”
“How could you possibly know that?” SSS9 asked.
“It’s what I would have done,” replied Doctor Who. “Be on your way, agent. These aliens will be dealt with.”
“I should just kill you,” said SSS9.
“But you won’t kill me,” said Doctor Who. “Either because you’ve been ordered not to or because you know you can’t.”
“No, it’s because this place will become your tomb,” said SSS9, leaving the room. “I was just trying to be merciful.” He inserted a card into a security device, hacking into its mainframe. The doors closed shut, locking Doctor Who and the aliens inside the glass chamber.
“That damn Saradian agent,” Doctor Who laughed. “Now you see what happens when you underestimate us humans?”
“Yes, it makes the game last a little longer,” said the Xilien Commander. “The Saradian was right about this being your tomb, Who. Long after you rot in this hole, I will return to harvest Element X. With Element X and the power Keizer in my thrall, the universe will kneel before me.”
The Xilien Commander vanished, returning to the Xilien Mothership.
Doctor Who basked in Element X’s warmth. It was a fitting end, Who thought quietly to himself. But his life wasn’t over yet. A looming figure cast a shadow over the Element X catacomb, capturing Doctor Who’s undivided attention. He instantly recognized the giant as his rebellious creation, Mechani-Kong.
Mechani-Kong peered down into the massive hole in the earth. He had been rampaging through Doctor Who’s facility when he saw the Xilien Mothership descend from the heavens to blast the earth asunder. Somehow he knew his creator was down there, hiding in the shadows. Suddenly, the Xilien Mothership vibrated. There was a low rumble emanating from its core. At its base, metallic doorways screeched open. A giant creature dropped down, hovering above the island like a dark assassin. Its red, singular eye glowed in the darkness. One of its arms was a massive chainsaw, the other a demented scythe. The buzzsaw running vertically down its chest whirred to life. Blue energy silently burned underneath his crimson wings, keeping the cyborg adrift. Moonlight glinted off its black armor as its clawed tail swished the air.
Gigan screeched a challenge to the world. It was answered by Mechani-Kong.
“Yes, my Prometheus,” whispered Doctor Who. “This will be your greatest challenge yet.”
Sparks flew as Mechani-Kong slammed his metal fists together, rattling the chains around his wrists. Gigan scorched the winds as he flew to meet Mechani-Kong at supersonic speeds. At the last possible second, Gigan’s scythe-wielding arm fired a grappling hook, entangling Mechani-Kong. Gigan flew past him. Mechani-Kong, unable to react in time, was pulled off his feet and dragged through the air. Gigan spun him around before throwing him into the burning wreckage of Doctor Who’s facility. Exploding rubble buried Mechani-Kong.
Mechani-Kong, weakened from the impact, slowly rose out of the rubble. Gigan flew inches above him, grinding Mechani-Kong’s faceplate with his buzzsaw. With his vision compromised, Mechani-Kong blindly threw his fists into the air. Gigan, after making landfall, slashed Mechani-Kong’s damaged faceplate with his chainsaw arm. Mechani-Kong saw only showers of sparks and eviscerated metal. Finally, Gigan clamped Mechani-Kong’s faceplate with his clawed tail, and ripped it off. For the first time in his life, Mechani-Kong saw the natural world with his own eyes. Gigan screeched at him in surprise. The cyborg must have thought Mechani-Kong’s faceplate was his real face. Gigan’s buzzsaw and chainsaw roared to life, signaling he would soon rectify that mistake.
The two titans slammed into the other so hard, it sounded like a cosmic gunshot. Mechani-Kong wasn’t holding back when he punched Gigan, but his blows failed to leave a dent. Gigan, however, sliced open Mechani-Kong’s armor with his scythe strikes. Mechani-Kong winced as hot blood shot out of his wounds and dripped down his armor. Gigan’s red eye shot a blazing trail of energy. Before striking Mechani-Kong, it exploded into a cluster of beams. Explosions danced across Mechani-Kong, scorching his armor and exposed flesh. It wasn’t hot enough to bring the giant ape down.
Gigan’s scythe arm shot another grappling hook, entangling Mechani-Kong like before. Mechani-Kong wrestled with it, trying in vain to break it. But he wasn’t strong enough. Gigan’s propulsion engines, tucked beneath his crimson wings, blasted at maximum power. Gigan dragged Mechani-Kong into the sky, where the ape caught a quick glimpse of a world bigger than he ever imagined. Then Gigan released him, sending Mechani-Kong speeding into a lake. Mechani-Kong pierced its watery surface, instantly striking the bottom of the lake. Geysers of water shot up and recoiled from the violent intrusion.
Mechani-Kong dragged himself out of the lake, exhausted. He could hear Gigan grazing the winds above, preparing to launch yet another attack. Mechani-Kong cared little for his wellbeing. He leaned up to look back at the lake, intrigued by his wavering reflection. For a brief second he saw himself, healthy and strong, standing above the water with Ann Darrow resting on his shoulder. The Sun was brightening the sky, bathing beauty and the beast with its enchanting warmth. But it was only a dream; the Moon replaced the Sun, darkness consumed the light, and there never was beauty to begin with—only a beast. Mechani-Kong lowered his head in sadness, loathing his wretched existence. He didn’t see the reflection of the razor sharp discs rapidly closing in on him from behind.
In an instant, Mechani-Kong felt a sudden flash of pain before slipping into the void. Cold water stirred him from his forced slumber. When he came to, his face was drenched in blood. His blood. He found two cuts on his side, each bleeding profusely. All the pain and resentment he felt fueled his rage. Electricity raced through his veins, supercharging his muscles faster than normal. With the increased muscle mass and accelerated cellular activity, Mechani-Kong’s body stopped the bleeding. Facing the heavens, Mechani-Kong unleashed a roar that was louder than thunder.
Gigan flew at him, unafraid. Mechani-Kong surprised him with an earthshattering punch to the face. Gigan was sent hurtling into the trees, hitting the forest floor like a meteorite. Mechani-Kong sprinted after him on all fours, feeling stronger than ever before. Amid all the warring emotions clouding his head, Mechani-Kong thought about this power, and knew his strength had finally exceeded King Kong.
Gigan darted into the sky, brushing off mounds of dirt and foliage. The cyborg tilted his head and fired a barrage of cluster rays, setting the forest ablaze. Mechani-Kong charged through the burning jungle, unharmed. Then with tremendous power, the great ape jumped hundreds of feet into the air, preparing to strike Gigan with both fists. Gigan managed to hit Mechani-Kong first with his chainsaw and the ape was sent plummeting into the conflagration below. Not wanting the earthling to recuperate, Gigan fired an onslaught of cluster beams. Explosions racked Mechani-Kong’s being. Believing his opponent to be finished, Gigan launched a grappling hook with the desire to reel him in and finish him with his claws. Mechani-Kong had other ideas; he caught the grapple and heaved it with all his might, pulling Gigan out of the sky. Gigan crashed in front of him. Mechani-Kong pounced on him, hitting him repeatedly with punches that could level a mountain. Gigan fought back, slicing and whacking Mechani-Kong with equal intensity.
Using his intellect, Mechani-Kong grabbed Gigan’s scythe arm, and shattered its elbow joint. Then he twisted it until it popped off. Gigan screeched in agony, a feeling he had thought himself immune to. Mechani-Kong gave the cyborg back his scythe by stabbing it through Gigan’s abdomen. Gigan, overcome by a combination of shock and pain, dropped to his knees. Mechani-Kong shattered one of his pincer mandibles with a quick jab. Gigan paid very little heed to his pain; he activated his jet propulsions and flew into Mechani-Kong at top speed. The pair crashed into a mountain and exploded out the other side. Not even a mountain could slow these monsters down.
Mechani-Kong crashed and slid across the island with Gigan on top of him. Gigan’s chainsaw buzzed as he moved to pivot it into Mechani-Kong’s face. Mechani-Kong stopped it by grabbing Gigan’s elbow. But Gigan wasn’t so easily denied; the alien cyborg pushed it closer and closer. Mechani-Kong roared in anguish as the chainsaw’s spinning teeth shredded his forehead. His life would be over soon.
Suddenly, a wounded Titanosaurus whacked Gigan off Mechani-Kong. Gigan screeched at Titanosaurus, threatening him with his chainsaw. Titanosaurus snarled at the alien cyborg, determined to return Mechani-Kong the favor for sparing his life. As Gigan and Titanosaurus tore into one another, Mechani-Kong struggled to his feet. Gigan whacked Titanosaurus so hard the reptile hit the ground, unconscious. Gigan moved to dissect the aquatic dinosaur until a large boulder hit him.
Mechani-Kong charged, wanting to grind Gigan’s skull. Tiny compartments in Gigan’s chest slit open, shooting the razor sharp discs. Mechani-Kong’s chest didn’t even slow the discs down as they ripped through his body. Mechani-Kong, his stride broken, fell into the blood soaked land. The discs moved like they had a life of their own; again and again, the discs spun back around to crucify the fallen ape. By the time the carnage ended, Mechani-Kong was almost finished. Gigan stomped towards the dying ape, looking to bury his chainsaw into his face. As Gigan screeched with insane laughter, he didn’t see Mechani-Kong unbuckle four grenades from off his belt. Gigan’s shadow fell over him. It was now or never.
Gigan brought his chainsaw down. Mechani-Kong caught it and cried out as it shredded his armored fingers. Rising to his feet, Mechani-Kong willingly sacrificed his hand to plunge his other with the grenades into the back of Gigan’s throat. Mechani-Kong, pulling his hand out of Gigan’s mouth, rolled away. Gigan charged Mechani-Kong in desperation, knowing he could kill him with one more hit. But the grenades in his throat detonated, almost blowing his head off his neck. Gigan’s body stopped in its tracks. As the cyborg’s head dangled from his neck, Mechani-Kong knew how to finish him.
Mechani-Kong ripped Gigan’s scythe out of his body and, in a swiping motion, decapitated the alien with it. Gigan was dead long before his body slumped down. Mechani-Kong, breathing heavily, dropped the scythe. He was so full of adrenaline his enlarged muscles protruded his armor. Facing the heavens, Mechani-Kong celebrated his victory by pounding his chest with a mighty roar.
Doctor Who’s eyes transfixed on the Element X quarry, arms folded behind him. He’s been visualizing the battle for the past hour. Mechani-Kong’s victorious shriek made him smile. Doctor Who closed his eyes, squeezing out tears.
“My son, my Prometheus,” he whispered. “I knew you wouldn’t fail me.”
Deep down inside, Who knew he was in a state of delirium. He attributed this mainly to Element X. It would seem overexposure to its radiation had abnormal effects on the human mind. Somehow, he felt he has always known this or at least he thought he did. In truth, Doctor Who was in denial. He thought Mechani-Kong was a failure the moment the beast disobeyed him. In fact, he always thought he was a failure. But Mechani-Kong exceeded his expectations.
The Xilien Mothership was long gone. Who suspected SSS9, Captain Ryuii and Doctor Mifune were long gone too. It wouldn’t be long now before naval ships reduced the island to ash. There was a sole thought lingering in his head, one Who couldn’t ignore. Why didn’t he try to escape? He has one of the most brilliant minds on the planet. Even aliens, capable of interstellar travel, feared his brilliance. So why didn’t he try overriding the security controls? Why did he have a death wish?
His answer dropped down in front of him.
“Mechani-Kong, you’ve returned to me,” said Doctor Who, his voice full of pride and disdain.
Mechani-Kong glared into the eyes of his creator. For the moment it looked like he would do nothing else. Then in a burst of speed that belied his size, Mechani-Kong snatched Doctor Who. Mechani-Kong was careful not to crush the frail little human, at least not yet.
“Your control is very impressive, my son,” shouted Doctor Who, his eyes wide with ecstasy. “But you can’t take all the glory. I made you. Remember that. All your accomplishments will be laid at my feet.”
Mechani-Kong’s bloodlust boiled. Doctor Who knew he was fueling the inferno. Soon he would be fueling it with his life.
“It doesn’t surprise me to see you in this light,” said Doctor Who, his voice high-pitched. “Originally, I thought you were my greatest failure, tantamount to an abortion. But then I saw your brilliance and I knew, on that day, you would surpass me. Not only would you surpass me, you would succeed me. But what birthed your intelligence, Prometheus? It didn’t come from the genes of a primitive ape. It came from me, Doctor Who!”
Silence. Mechani-Kong was taken aback by this revelation.
“You have my DNA flowing in your veins, my son,” Doctor Who explained. “In exchange for your deformity, you were given the gift of awareness. Now go, Prometheus! The world is yours. But remember this: I created you, I guided you, and you will always be like me.”
“No!” roared Mechani-Kong, his voice louder than thunder. “I’m nothing like you!”
Doctor Who was speechless. Finding the words to speak, Who made one last attempt to imprint his legacy on his vigilant creation.
“I’ll tell you the secret of Element X,” whispered Doctor Who, hoping to entice Mechani-Kong with his most valuable piece of information.
Mechani-Kong growled back, “I already know.”
There was no time for Doctor Who to process this revelation. When Mechani-Kong squeezed his body, there was a sickening pop. All that remained of the International Judas was a cloud of blood.
Mechani-Kong took a deep breath, savoring his newfound freedom. In the throes of his rebirth, an unexpected creature squirmed not far from where he had grabbed the late Doctor Who. Mugal, still in his apelike form, crawled out into the open. Mechani-Kong wondered if he should crush him too.
“Prometheus, I beseech you to stay your hand,” Mugal pleaded. “I’m not your enemy and neither are my people. I only wish to make peace with you. For centuries I’ve traveled with my people across the cosmos, searching for a new home. In all the years of my life, I’ve never believed in a higher power until today. When I look at you, I don’t see the eyes of my kin, I see the eyes of my new god.”
What was a god? Mechani-Kong didn’t know but he was determined to find his own answers. Climbing to the surface, Mechani-Kong examined the state of his island. It was salvageable. Preparing for the next phase in his new life, Mechani-Kong greeted the early morning light. It was a new day.
The USS Fay Wray, a United States Navy aircraft carrier, plowed through the seawater, leading a fleet of battleships. It was beautiful sailing weather, nothing but blue skies. It was a huge contrast to the weeks leading up to this voyage. A mysterious electromagnetic signal scrambled their navigations. But the Navy was determined to reach their target: the island of Doctor Who. They have finally done so.
Inside the USS Fay Wray’s command center, Admiral Frank Englehorn readied his fleet. That’s when he received an urgent message from one of his scout ships.
“Red alert! Red alert!” one of the scouts screamed through the radio transmission. “Abort mission!”
“Pull yourself together, sailor,” ordered Admiral Englehorn. He didn’t think the sailor’s behavior was the conduct of a United States Navy serviceman, let alone an elite scout. “Give me eyes on that island. What’s happening?”
All communication was lost. Admiral Englehorn gestured for his Communication’s Officer to investigate why. He relayed the command to the sailors on deck. Advanced binoculars were pointed at the island to ascertain the truth. Live images of what they saw appeared on the control center’s screen.
“Oh, my God,” Admiral Englehorn cursed. “Get me the UNGCC and the Earth Defense Force! We’re in way over our heads.”
On the beach, Mechani-Kong stood in his upgraded armor, brandishing a gigantic spear made from Gigan’s scythe. When his faceplate snapped opened, he barked a command. A swarm of Black Hole Alien starships levitated up from the heart of the island. The triangular shaped crafts flew overhead for reconnaissance. But they were just the first wave. Kumonga and Baragon, reanimated by Mechani-Kong’s advanced science and technology, emerged from the foliage to join their creator. Titanosaurus stomped out of the jungle, acting as Mechani-Kong’s noble vassal.
At long last Mechani-Kong’s chains of bondage were broken. He was a pariah no more and was eager to show it to the rest of the world.
In Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire from the gods, and shared its power with Mankind. Now a new Prometheus hath arisen, eager to share its knowledge with the monsters of the world. Nothing, not even fate, knew what such a future would bring.