Author: Thomas Fairchild | Banner: Christian Salabert

The dark recesses of space looked down at the jagged and twisted terrain of Planet X. Hovering in an orbit of its own, the gigantic presence of Jupiter loomed over the insignificant moon. Streaks of light glistened off the shiny rocks of the alien world–only they were not the light of distant stars or Jupiter, but the illuming awe of a three-headed beast.

Covered with golden scales that wrought beauty and terror, the creature released a hideous cackle. Long, slender heads swayed back and forth; three heads, covered with golden scales that gleamed with divine power, hung on top of three separate necks that stretched out of the beast’s chest. On each head, three horns stuck out; on each side of the dragon’s body, were long, bat-like wings; in each mouth, hundreds of sharp teeth poked out from the top and bottom shafts of the jaws. Red eyes blazed from each of the dragon’s eyes as it observed the mysterious land.

In one dimension, the creature’s counterpart had ravaged this land and claimed it as its home. But now, in this universe, the creature was superior. Massive in frame and towering over the alien landscape, the ground itself struggled to hold the creature’s weight. Another cackle escaped its reptilian vocals as the three headed beast claimed this world under its heel.

King Ghidorah now had a place to call its own in the ever expanding universe.

But something was amidst. King Ghidorah hissed as it sensed the arrival of another. Its stench was repulsive, even from a great distance away. Flapping its mighty wings, the dragon lifted its body off the ground and manipulated gravity itself. Now flying through the skies of Planet X, Ghidorah sought to meet this intruder head on.

If the dragon had the eyes of a human, all it would’ve been able to see was the blackness of space; however, equipped with the keen eyesight it possessed, King Ghidorah could spot a meteorite-like object. Only its surface oozed with sludge and decay. The three-headed beast cackled and cleared out of its path, allowing it to descend to its planet. Striking the ground, cauldrons of smoke rose from where it landed. Even in an environment without oxygen, the stench was still there. King Ghidorah’s shared conscience wished that this thing would have landed somewhere else. But it hadn’t.

With an ear shattering cackle, Ghidorah dove from the sky and circled the extraterrestrial object. From its six prying eyes, the dragon could see sludge detaching from the sizzling space rock. At first, the sludge was only the size of the dragon’s foot. But it gradually grew and became larger. Whatever it was, it was alive, and the vicious hydra was not the type to share its territory with another. Saliva dripped from each of Ghidorah’s jaws and surged with electrical power. A torrent of gravity beams discharged from each head and struck the sludge, covering it with sparks and bright flashes of light. But when the light show diminished, the sludge was still expanding and enlarging itself.

King Ghidorah hissed with rage and flew to the unearthly ground. Bending all three heads down, drool dripped from the serpent’s carnivorous jaws as it inspected this strange organism. But to its surprise, the sludge morphed into a strange octagon shaped creature. Toxic exhaust propelled out of the creature’s abdomen.

King Ghidorah howled in pain as it felt its lungs burn from the creature’s exhaust. In rage, the three-headed monster wildly spat a barrage of gravity beams at the flying creature. The energized bolts washed across the creature and a shower of sparks became the result of the dragon’s assault. This was no ordinary creature. No, this was the smog monster, Hedorah.

Hedorah turned and flew towards the golden terror, leaving a toxic trail in its wake. In this form, the towering vile beast was covered with decayed flesh. The flesh, if exposed to light, was dark brown and made up of trillions of microscopic organisms. In the center of the red eyes were tiny black pupils. Ghidorah didn’t care what the beast looked like; all he wanted was it to be slain. Clenching its sharp teeth, King Ghidorah flew straight up and continued to spat his gravity beams. Only showers of sparks blocked Ghidorah’s vision of Hedorah. But like before, when the sparks died down, the smog monster remained undeterred and unaffected.

A scarlet laser shot out of the top of one of Hedorah’s eyes and slit into the terrible beast’s hide. Golden scales were blasted away from the rest of the dragon’s sizzling flesh. Bellowing screams of pain and agony escaped each of King Ghidorah’s mouths. In retaliation, the winged creature flapped his gigantic wings and created a strong gust of wind. Like being struck by a hurricane, Hedorah was blown out of the sky and splat against the ground.

King Ghidorah furiously rained down gravity beam after gravity beam, turning the entire area of where Hedorah had fallen into a light show. Now the terrain of Planet X had been spliced into dozens of smoldering craters. From all those craters, sludge oozed out and sought the other, and they soon formed and merged into one. But as King Ghidorah flew through the vacuum, cackling with rage, Hedorah took on another form.

Neon glows quickly enveloped the edges of Hedorah’s body as it grew larger and larger. Within only a few seconds, the smog monster stood larger than before. King Ghidorah’s feet slammed into the planet’s crust, which caused it to stir. The sight of the three-headed dragon caused Hedorah to lift its left palm up and howled a watery gurgle. Was it a sign of peace? No, to King Ghidorah there was only death. Gravity beams tore into Hedorah’s body and blasted chunks of its polluted flesh off the smog monster.

Another gurgle came from the polluted abomination, but this time something strange was happening. The skin around Hedorah’s shoulder manifested and formed an opening. With a loud splat, a ball of smoking acid flew from the smog monster’s shoulder and struck Ghidorah’s abdomen. Its red eyes narrowed at his forming wound, which was sizzling with smoke and flesh. The three-headed dragon reared its jaws back and released a blistering cry.

Now King Ghidorah’s wings were slashing through the empty void at thrice the speed of sound. The dragon rammed its body against the tower of rotted pollution and slashed its claw-tipped wings through Hedorah’s flesh. But just as Ghidorah had dipped any of its body parts into Hedorah’s skin, it had no choice but to pull back. Whenever it touched the smog monster, its skin would burn its own!

Anger flourished in King Ghidorah’s combined conscience and the three-headed fiend fluttered his wings and leapt back. The vile dragon spat another torrent of gravity beams, which struck Hedorah’s body. Illuming crimson eyes widened and a loud watery cry came from the smog monster. As Ghidorah continued to douse Hedorah’s body with its plasma beams, smoke churned from the putrid creature’s contaminated flesh.

While Hedorah’s exterior was being blown off, waves of condensed power flashed across the smog monster’s body. A horrible stench, even viler than the last, filled Ghidorah’s nostrils. The stench was enough to cause Ghidorah to cease his spree of attacks.

As the three-headed beast pulled back, Hedorah raised both of its arms and released a loud, painful cry. The energy bolts that had raided its body had stopped and now Hedorah turned its frightful gaze towards King Ghidorah. From each eye, a bolt of rippling power was released and grazed Ghidorah’s body. Golden scales ruptured off the demon’s body, and the three-headed beast could only cackle in agony.

Never before had King Ghidorah felt such pain and anger. No matter what it did, it couldn’t injure this hideous beast! Was this newfound planet really worth it? King Ghidorah was beginning to not care anymore. Flapping its mighty wings and manipulating gravity itself, the golden monstrosity hurled its magnificent body through Planet X’s atmosphere and disappeared in the blackness of space. Hedorah stood and watched Ghidorah flee. A loud, sickening laugh escaped the smog monster’s contaminated throat.

It had won. Now Hedorah turned towards its new home, never knowing it was being watched by the citizens of Planet X. Inside an underground chamber, the controller of the Xilien smiled at this new beast that would become the instrument of their desire.

Winner: Hedorah (Universal)