Author: Connor Clennell | Banner: Dao Zang Moua

[continued from Match 252]

The Atlantic Ocean.

The second largest ocean on the planet, spanning an area of one hundred and six million, four hundred and sixty thousand square kilometers and accounting for twenty percent of the Earth’s surface. Billions of creatures called it home, filling the niches of its many environments. It was here that commercial fishermen gathered their catch for the seafood-hungry market of America, countless breakthroughs in marine biology and geography were made as humanity ventured deeper and deeper into its depths, and strange life forms, far more alien than any of the true invaders from the cosmos, made their home in the eerie darkness.

It was here where Cameron Winter would change the fate of the world.

The multi-millionaire mogul typed away rapidly before a wall of monitors, creating lines of code and complex instructions. Outside, waves lapped at the hull of his privately-owned, customized research vessel. He reached for his coffee cup, not even slowing his work as he switched to one hand and gulped down the last of the lukewarm exotic blend. One of the perks of running one of the largest bio-and-computer tech companies in the world was enjoying what many people had not the knowledge or the funds to. The average American would go bankrupt just trying to acquire one cup of what Cameron drank on a daily basis. For the richest man on Earth, it was not even a dent in his colossal wealth.

The cruel thought brought a smirk to his lips, awakening him from his focused state as the last commands were added. It was another five minutes of rechecking before the mogul was truly satisfied with his work. Raising his arms and stretching his sleeping muscles, he checked the clock on the wall and his watch. Both read 12:55 almost precisely, a full two minutes before his predicted completion time.

“Sometimes I surpass even my own expectations,” Cameron chucked to himself. He’d have to make sure not to make a habit of it. From his experience, timing was everything. Like any machine or team, an idea was only successful if all of its components were timed perfectly. It was errors like these that had spoiled his reputation in the past. From then, he had vowed to never fall victim to such mistakes again.

Cameron turned to the door and smiled as the alarm above it buzzed and flashed. The timing was perfect, as he’d predicted. Straightening his dark jacket, he stepped out of the room and marched toward the bridge.

The bridge teemed with activity as he stepped inside. Crewmen analysed the vessel’s systems and sonar radar, making certain that everything was tip-top, while scientists prepared the equipment soon to be utilized. Cameron glanced at each person with interest as he walked over to the captain, who turned to greet the white-haired man as he stood beside him.

“We’ve reached the coordinates you gave us, Mr. Winter,” he reported.

Cameron made a pleased sound. “In record time as well, captain. If there is one thing I enjoy seeing in my employees, it’s efficiency.”

“Thank you, sir,” said the captain. “Though if I may ask, me and the men aren’t sure why-“

“Why I made you come to the middle of nowhere.” Cameron finished the man’s sentence with a smirk. “Recently, my view of this planet has been expanded. Thus, I have to ensure I keep up with this expansion, and what I will procure here will make sure of it.”

The captain scratched his head, confused by this news. “What could you possibly find out here that’s of use to you?” he asked.

The head of Solstice Industries said nothing as he stared out at the ocean beyond the glass windows of the bridge. With someone of his wealth, intellect and social standing, it was solemn difficult to get what he wanted. A virus targeted at NASA’s satellites, a few bribes to keep nosy astrologers quiet and purchasing the rights to this section of the ocean meant nobody knew of the cosmic body that had crash-landed here two days ago. He had been keeping track of the object ever since it had popped up on the feed of his own satellites two weeks ago. He was further intrigued when a detailed analysis discovered the contents of the invading satellite. With this knowledge, he knew that it must come into his possession at any cost. After all, there was nothing he could not afford.

“Get your men ready, captain,” he ordered. “I want a boat out there depth-charging the area in ten minutes and my Cyber Flies operational in five.”

A small dinghy was soon out on the water, dropping explosives into the ocean per Cameron’s instructions. The mines sank deep into the inky depths, vanishing from sight and leaving only spouts of bubbles, minutes after their deployment, as the clue to their detonation. The mogul was certain that the bombardment would rouse whatever slumbered at the seabed and bring it to the surface. From there, his Cyber Flies would do the rest.

“We’ve got something!” a technician called out as the deep-sea sonar pinged to life, alerting its operator to the presence of a foreign body. Cameron’s head twisted to her direction as she worked the controls to get a more accurate reading. “Depth of one thousand meters… nine hundred… eight hundred…”

The ship’s captain glared at Cameron with his suspicions raised. “What have you dragged us out here to find, Winter?” he demanded. The cruel CEO’s eyes flickered over and he shot a smile at the man as the technician continued to count down.

“Every good company needs its security, captain,” he replied smoothly. “Or in this scenario, a guard dog.”

“Four hundred meters…” The technician and her co-workers began to grow nervous as the distance between the bogey and the surface lessened by the second. “T-three hundred meters…”

The sailors on the dinghy continued to drop mines into the water, unaware of the situation developing underneath them. As the commander’s radio crackled to life, bright flashes appeared below the surface as the explosives detonated against the rising anomaly.

“Two hundred meters…”

“Reggie, get yourselves the hell out of there!” the captain shouted into the radio. “Get back to the boat!”

“Belay that.” Cameron felt the captain’s gaze on him not a second after he had finished his sentence.

“We cannot abandon those men!” he snapped, but the mogul shook his head.

“Nothing that can be done that won’t endanger us as well. I’m afraid sacrifices must be made in these scenarios.”

The skipper didn’t buy his words for a second. He knew that Cameron had planned to use those sailors as bait, but he could not bring himself to argue with the man. He had seen what happened to those who spoke out against Cameron Winter and desired to not join them.

“One hundred meters… Contact!”

All hands on deck looked out to the ocean as the dinghy was surrounded by froth. Recognizing the danger, the commanding sailor ignored Cameron’s orders and slammed down the ignition lever, only for the water to rocket upward and launch the vessel skyward in pieces. As seawater and debris rained down, Cameron Winter stared out at the towering, seaweed green titan now protruding from the ocean. His lips grew into a smile as the beast’s maw opened, emitting a high-pitched and oddly familiar sound.

“Bemular.”

The entire bridge gaped in awe at the spiny creature, unable to make a sound lest they dare catch its attention.

“You know this creature?” the captain asked.

“One of his kind has been to our world before, back in nineteen sixty-six,” Cameron explained to the man. “From the records, that specimen was hardly a major threat.”

The captain narrowed his eyes at the mogul. “Then why do you want it? Surely, one of your own creations would be a far more suitable weapon.”

The world’s richest man didn’t reply. He only smiled as he pulled out a tablet-like device and tapped in a series of commands.

On the outside of the ship, Bemular had finally shaken off the last dregs of sleep. The space monster was pleased with the destruction of the object that had disturbed him, but his rage was far from settled. His eyes caught the main vessel, noting its similarities to the smaller entity. Concluding that it was connected somehow, and thus responsible for the attack as well, Bemular made toward it. Halfway to the vessel, however, the reptile stopped. A strange buzzing sound filled the air, irritating Bemular as his head snapped from side to side in search of its source. From the bowels of the ship, five objects emerged and hovered toward the invader. They resembled a type of parasitic wasp, only far larger in size and constructed of plastic and metal. The blue-and-white drones buzzed around Bemular menacingly as the reptile glared. He tried to keep his eyes on the artificial insects, but their swift reflexes made tracking their movements difficult.

One of the Cyber Flies surged forward, taking advantage of the extra-terrestrial’s confusion as it aimed for the back of his neck, but its buzzing wings betrayed its presence to Bemular and he spun around, blasting the drone with a fiery, blue beam from his mouth. As the burning remains fell into the ocean, two more Cyber Flies darted at the distracted beast. This time, the machines reached the reptile’s surface. They readied their stingers and drove them into his skin, only for the tips to shatter against the hardened spines coating the length of his back.

Cameron Winter frowned as he observed the feed of the two drones, now presented with a problem. All problems, nonetheless, had a solution, and the CEO was already racking his brain for the one required. He tapped in a new set of commands, instructing the four Cyber Flies to fall back.

As the two on Bemular’s back lifted off, the monster swung his head in their direction. The drones’ feed cut to static as they were crushed to scrap, their remains scattered to the waves. Over Cameron’s shoulder, the vessel’s captain smirked, far from brave enough to openly mock the man. His gaze landed back on the emerald titan outside, his features contorted in a worried expression as he contemplated the eminent danger.

“Captain? Mr. Winter?”

The sonar technician’s voice rang out, bringing both men’s attention to her as the sonar pinged in a slow rhythm. “There’s something else.”

“What do you mean?” asked the captain.

“Another object just appeared on the radar,” she explained, motioning to the screen. On the edge of the map, a large shape blinked with each sonar sweep. With each new readout, the shape moved closer to the center of the screen at an alarming rate. “Six hundred meters out and closing.”

Cameron’s displeased expression grew stronger. The operation was supposed to operate smoothly, but now complications were appearing one after the other.  Unlike the problem with penetrating Bemular’s hide, the appearance of another monster was a serious hazard to his work. In order to maintain the secrecy of the operation, the millionaire was unable to bring an armed escort along to defend him. But with any luck, the danger was not as extreme as it seemed. From his position, Cameron could make out the slender, reptilian shape of the approaching entity, which brought a smile back to the white-haired mogul.

“So it seems that Nickels and his mutant lap dog found out what I was doing out here,” Cameron thought. “Seems his team of glorified exterminators are smarter than I gave them credit for.”

His attention was brought back to Bemular, watching at the spiny monster snapped and snarled at his circling Cyber Flies.

“Perhaps I can kill two birds with one stone?” he wondered.

“Pull the ship out of the area,” Cameron ordered the captain. The man looked at him for only seconds before complying. As the ship began to turn and retreat, Cameron gave the order for the Cyber Flies to stand down and fall back. The two drones immediately turned back and flew toward the vessel, leaving Bemular confused by their actions. He started to follow, when the skies above were filled with noise. Hundreds of seabirds flew overheard, squawking loudly and completely ignoring Bemular as the flock sought refuge elsewhere.  A sense of dread overcame the space criminal, but he was not overcome by the urge to retreat like the humans and fauna. Instead, he turned in the direction where the birds were fleeing from. Something was coming, but the terror from the stars would not back down.

The alien’s defiance pleased Cameron as he watched, also eager to see the battle unfold. If this new plan succeeded, he would gain a new pawn and dispose of that annoyance, Zilla, once and for all. Or perhaps, if fate were to be so favorable, he could turn the lizard into his thrall. The CEO’s gleeful thoughts of humiliating his old college rival were interrupted by a cry from the sonar technician.

“Two hundred meters until contact with target!” she announced. “Sonar is estimating target’s size to be roughly one hundred eight meters in length.”

The analysis gave Cameron pause. He snapped his head in her direction, then bolted down the stairs and to her controls. Pushing the woman aside, he took over control as he performed the analysis again, assuming the first had suffered an error. The results came back the same, shocking the millionaire.

‘That can’t be!” he told himself. “But the readouts don’t lie. I thought the creature was Zilla, but it’s much bigger!” In Cameron’s head, only one creature matched the estimate for that size, and its identity made the man suddenly feel regret for his overconfidence.

The water shifted, alerting Bemular to the challenger’s arrival as the ocean current shifted. Opposite the reptile, the waves began to froth and bubble as something began to rise. From the white foam, jagged, brown fins extended, resting in three long rows along the length of an armored back and down a tail. The breaching creature slowed as it rose fully from the ocean, revealing a body hardened with muscles and rock-like plating as two tone arms rested at its sides. As gallons of water drained off its form, the monster’s boxy visage glared with amber eyes that burned like fire. Its chest heaved noticeably as gills along its neck twitched and shut down, allowing the beast to draw in oxygen from the air. Despite its massive structure, it only barely towered over Bemular, but the invading reptile was still consumed by its intimidating aura.

“T-that’s Godzilla!” the captain shouted in fear.

The bridge was alive with activity in the presence of the towering elder. People rushed to the windows, hoping to gain a better look at the king of the monsters in all his glory.

“Not just Godzilla,” Cameron added, grinning with elation. “This is the specimen from the Monarch files! The reason for the Castle Bravo tests that created and awoke other Godzillas! And I thought this day was about to turn sour!”

The captain stared at him as if he’d gone mad. “How can you be glad that we’re spitting distance away from the most dangerous monster known to Man?!”

“Because I thought we were under attack by the Japanese Godzilla, you pathetic coward!” Cameron snapped at the skipper. “But this is a far greater individual. The true American Godzilla, so to speak. People have known this creature for over sixty years and yet they know so little about him.”

“What point are you trying to make here?”

“This Godzilla’s potential is unknown. To the scientific community, the scope of his powers has not been revealed.” The mogul’s fingers came to rest together before his face, obscuring a smile that could sell to the Devil. “It means that Bemular may stand a chance.”

The captain turned to the window, studying the two monsters as they sized each other up. Bemular standing a fighting chance against the King of the Monsters? He simply could not see it. But a battle was about to start nonetheless, and he could pray that Cameron’s ego and lust had not led them to their doom.

Rising as far as he could from the ocean, Godzilla glared at his intergalactic contender. The alpha was constantly aware of the events that took place in his territory, but it had taken an entire day to realize Bemular’s presence due to the invader’s inactivity following his arrival. But now Godzilla was face-to-face with the interloper, seething with anger.  This was his territory. His domain. Other monsters avoided his home for good reason, and the few that felt brave enough to challenge the alpha quickly learned their mistake. Drinking in air with a deep breath, Godzilla released a long, booming roar at Bemular, giving the reptile his only chance to escape with body and pride intact.

But the alien stood his ground. Through initially alarmed by the powerful cry, Bemular was quick to regain his composure and returned with his own cry. Godzilla was taken aback by this reaction and filled with rage. A challenge, then. It would not last long.

At once, both raced through the waves. Colossal waves rocked the ocean’s surface as they surged toward each other. At last, the titans clashed, generating larger sprays as their bodies collided, jaws snapping at the other’s neck. Bemular found his mark first, sinking his teeth between Godzilla’s neck and shoulder and shaking his head violently. Blood pooled into his mouth, coaxing a purr out of the psychotic alien. A groan escaped Godzilla’s throat as he sought to dislodge the spiny beast, slamming his hands against Bemular’s uncovered chest. Through the invader grip was tight, the alpha’s strength was greater, pulling him from his body alongside chunks of meat and armor. Slamming his bulk against the smaller reptile, Godzilla forced the extra-terrestrial through the waves. With a shove, Bemular was thrown back, only for Godzilla’s claws to grasp his head and smash the beast’s face under the water’s surface. The titan’s foot was waiting, rising up and striking the emerald reptile square in the jaw and launching him back above water.

Godzilla snorted, expelling clouds of steam from his nostrils. The invader had no proper fight in it to contend with. There was barely a challenge here, which aggravated the alpha immensely. He trudged forward, raising an arm to strike the dazed Bemular. At the final moment, Bemular regained his wits and spun on the spot, exposing his spiked back. Godzilla cried out as his hand slashed the layer of spines, which tore and gashed his flesh. As he pulled his hand back, Bemular whipped around and lunged, biting down on the exposed arm and driving a howl from the monster king. Instantly, he tried to remove the green fiend by shaking the assaulted arm, but the extra movement only helped to increase the damage Bemular’s fangs were inflicting.

As his grip on the elder’s arm tightened, Bemular grinned as the assault dragged on. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted movement, and tilted his head to fully notice Godzilla’s other arm, lunging at him. Immediately, he ducked to avoid the limb, dragging Godzilla down in the process and flipping the titan over onto his back. Both monsters cried out in surprise as the Permian behemoth crashed back-first into the waves, the impact dislodging Bemular in the process. Thrashing in the surf, Godzilla fought to get upright once more. Before he could, Bemular leapt from the froth, taking advantage of the elder’s vulnerability. Godzilla tried to pull away, but the extra-terrestrial jaws fought their mark on his throat and thrashed. He squeezed the titan’s windpipe with all of the power in his jaws, but his teeth could not penetrate the surface or contract the area. Unbeknownst to Bemular, the armor on Godzilla’s neck was much thicker than on his arms or shoulders. It was part of an evolutionary adaption to protect the vital area during clashes with other members of his kind or rival predators. Though he tried valiantly, Bemular failed to maintain a strong grip on Godzilla’s throat. As a result, the alpha predator’s claws easily removed the scrawny reptile and pushed him aside.

Godzilla rolled in the surf, flipping over onto his front and sinking back under partially. His front half rose, spilling trails of water from between his dorsal fins. Behind the leviathan, Bemular’s screeching call sounded as the fiend launched itself. Before he could find his target, Godzilla twisted to the side and shifted his mass out of the reptile’s path. Bemular lunged at thin air, snapping down on nothing as he stumbled forward under Godzilla’s shadow. Before he could react, the titan’s own jaws came down, crunching the nape of his neck. The alien shrieked, blood flowing from the contact point as Godzilla’s bone-crushing bite broke through the rows of spines and sank into flesh. With his jaws securing Bemular, the primeval elder lashed out with his arm at the invader’s belly, slashing through the vulnerable scales. His talons assaulted the spot again and again, carving gashes into the reptile’s chest and spilling his blood into the churning ocean.

In desperation, Bemular swung out his tail, trying to hit the king of titans. After several failed swings, the limb struck Godzilla’s right heel, its spiny length cutting into the meat. The armored giant released Bemular, yelping in surprise. Another strike to his leg made the legendary monster back off, but only temporarily. He snapped at Bemular again, but the invader whipped around, smashing his entire body against the elder’s own. Godzilla was driven back again, stunned by the blow and cautious about his enemy’s next move. Thinking he had the advantage, Bemular charged blindly forward, but his assault was deflected as Godzilla’s hand slapped the beast across the head, sending him stumbling. Instantly, the alpha spun on the spot, following his attack by lifting his heavy tail from the waves and smashing it into Bemular like a whip. The alien wheezed as he was thrown back, the air beaten from his lungs from the blow.

As he recovered, Bemular snarled at his adversary, keeping his guard raised while he nursed his wounds. Godzilla growled back, confident that victory would be claimed swiftly. His strength had already proved greater than the extra-terrestrial’s, making it a matter of time before the reptile met his demise. He waded forth with claws outstretched, but Bemular’s mouth suddenly opened. The action’s purpose was made clear as a blue stream of concentrated fire shot forth, striking Godzilla square in the chest. The heat ray’s energies collected in that area, erupting into a blast of fire that overtook the titan’s front and earned a shriek from the giant. Godzilla ceased his charge, dropping to the waves in order to douse and sooth his burning chest as Bemular’s chuckles assaulted his hidden ears. He starred up, his expression sculpted into one of rage as he lifted his tail to ensure Bemular saw the building blue glow. It traveled up the length of his back, illuminating the cracks along each spine on its journey to his head as a deep thrumming sound emanated from his body. As the volume reached its peak, he leaned forward and opened his jaws to fire forth his own sapphire flame stream. The atomic ray slammed into Bemular, causing the monster to cry out as the force pushed him back. Fire washed over his body, cooking the exposed flesh from his injuries. As the ray died, he toppled over, crashing into the waves and sinking under the surface.

Cautiously, Godzilla approached the spot where Bemular had sank. The waters frothed and churned, but there was no sign of the intruder under the surface. He craned his neck closer to inspect the froth better, when the bubbling mass increased in intensity, spitting foam into the monster king’s eyes. He pulled back, blinking furiously and shaking his head to clear his vision, but it was too late. From the sea, a bright sapphire ball shot out and slammed into the titan’s jaw. There was a resounding crack as Godzilla tumbled back, crashing into the waves on his back once more. High above, Bemular’s travel ball hovered, looping in the air to come back down at the impaired alpha. Stunned from the impact, Godzilla could only force his aching jaws open and spit forth another atomic ray, but the crackling fire was deflected by the sphere’s smooth surface. It crashed into the elder predator, shattering upon impact, but launching both combatants down into the depths.

Powerful waves from the colossal kaiju combat rocked Cameron’s vessel, threatening to tip it over as crewmen on all decks worked to keep the ship stable.

“This is madness, Winter!” the captain screamed as he clung to the steering wheel, knuckles white whilst he struggled to steer the vessel against the hammering rollers. “Your guard dog hunting trip will get everyone here killed!”

“Hunting trip?” The millionaire pulled himself from the floor where he had been thrown by the impact and laughed. “This is more than that, good captain! This is an experiment unlike any other. The debut of my latest marvel of technology.” He watched the sonar hungrily as Godzilla and Bemular’s icons descended into the depths.

“And these two will be the guinea pigs in my mission to save the world!”

The ocean’s current was distorted as Godzilla and Bemular spiraled into the darkness. Their colliding bodies and powerful wake shattered the forms of countless marine life as they snapped and clawed at each other. Seeping to the surface, the combatants’ blood served as a beacon for the surface. At last, the seabed loomed, awaiting the reptiles’ collision. Instead, Godzilla’s claws snapped Bemular’s flesh and pulled him into his grasp. The ancient creature thrust Bemular before him, forcing the foreign beast to take the full force of the impact as the duo slammed into the floor. A cloud of mud and sand was kicked up and a violent tremor rattled the seabed, but no sound came from Bemular. The air was pushed from the creature’s body by the impact, leaving him breathless and gaping while Godzilla slammed his heel against the bedrock. The resounding tremor launched Bemular from the floor, leaving him floating and helpless in the open water. Before he could regain a sense of clarity, Godzilla’s claws slashed into his cheek, sending the alien twirling. Godzilla was on the reptile again in a moment, joining his hands together over his head and swinging them down onto Bemular’s body. He was spun around again, but now his thoughts had cleared and he could initiate a counter-attack. Using the momentum gained, he lashed out with his tail, catching Godzilla across the face with a whip crack-like sound. The titan’s head snapped to the side, spitting saliva and bubbles into the murky saltwater.

Bemular knew that his chances of victory were slipping. As much as he hated to run from a fight, the alpha’s strength and experience trumped his own. At this moment, survival and retreat were his priority over sating his bloodlust.

The invader planted his feet on Godzilla’s chest, using him as a springboard to propel himself forward. The shove made the elder stumble back, almost toppling over before correcting himself with his thick and heavy tail. In the seconds it took to regain balance, Bemular had sped away, his streamlined form rapidly disappearing into the gloom. Any other creature would have abandoned the chase at this point, but Godzilla was far from ordinary. Kicking off the sand, he pursued the escaping invader with powerful sweeps of his tail. Although Bemular had a head start, Godzilla was swift in closing the lost distance, but not at a satisfying pace. As the space between them shortened, the water blue glow shimmered through his jagged spines once more before the leviathan launched his nuclear fire. The attack’s glow alerted Bemular to the monster king’s actions, but he was left with seconds to react. The criminal veered to the side, allowing the atomic ray to flow past by a hair’s breadth. His body soaked in the immeasurable heat produced, motivating him to swim faster. Godzilla continued to pursue, firing shot after shot and lighting up the sea floor, but Bemular’s agility in the water enabled him to dodge the streaking flames every time.

Eventually, Bemular grew tired of the chase. The alpha’s determination made him impossible to shake, forcing the alien to take on the offensive once more. He instantly turned, banking to face Godzilla, then rushed forward, taking the titan by surprise. Their foreheads crashed together, knocking the two monsters back in a daze. Unfortunately for Bemular, Godzilla was quicker in recovering, shaking away the cobwebs and immediately diving at the scrawnier creature. His jaws locked around the back of his neck with a crunch as Bemular screamed in agony and began to thrash. The primeval giant’s teeth cut into the extra-terrestrial’s already wounded flesh and opened up deep cuts, filling the surrounding water with a plume of blood.

The elder continued to shake his head, throwing Bemular around like a chew toy. In desperation, Bemular’s foot lashed out, striking the armored relic’s crotch. Godzilla’s reaction was instant, dropping the spiny creature and shrieking shrilly as he stumbled away. Although he had the opportunity, Bemular paused to recover from the assault. The alien was quick to discover his error as he felt the prehistoric monster’s gaze on him. Godzilla’s orbs seemed to burn as they met the emerald fiend’s gaze, surging with rage at the invader’s action. Like flicking a switch, his dorsal spines ignited and he spat forth an atomic ray that caught Bemular in the chest. The monster was thrown back, screeching as the burning stream pushed him across the landscape and slammed him into an underwater mountain. His shape was instantly lost on impact, disappearing in a burst of debris and fire.

Consciousness came back to the reptile quickly, shaking pebbles from his spines as his vision refocused. The explosion had opened up the terrain, exposing an underwater network of caverns. In the remains of one such chamber, Bemular’s eyes widened at Godzilla’s approaching shape, ignited in the darkness by patterns of blue. Instantly, the green beast turned, seeking an escape route, but the only path available was a narrow hole in the mountainside. It was barely wide enough to fit through, but it was the alien’s only option. He darted toward the opening and squeezed in, squirming frantically in order to force his body through as quickly as possible. As he finally entered the chamber fully, he realized his error. The space was tiny with no other exits aside from the opening that Bemular had crawled through. As he turned to try and escape through it again, Godzilla’s head burst through.

The behemoth’s ninety-thousand ton mass slammed into the undersea mountain, shaking the landmark and cracking its structure. Rocks fell from the ceiling of the chamber and bounced off both occupants as Godzilla snapped his jaws at a terrified Bemular. The alien pressed his body against the opposite wall, barely keeping out of the alpha’s range as he tried to reach the spiky beast. Godzilla, although nearly the same size as his foreign adversary, was bulkier and armored, making it impossible for the predator to get through the opening. When he tried to reverse, the titan found himself unable. His body had been lodged in the hole from the force of his attack. As Godzilla thrashed and roared in his struggle to break free, Bemular started his escape plan. He opened fire on the wall with his Pale Heat Wave, weakening the rock before smashing his forehead against it. He continued to bash away at the stone with nothing but his cranium, chipping off chunks with each strike until, eventually, a small gap was formed.

Godzilla noticed the alien’s accomplishment amidst his struggling. Though his movement had weakened the cavern’s structure, it was still strong enough to immobilize the elder. At their current rate, Bemular would break free before he could, and the ancient leviathan would not allow him to slip away. The distinct thrum of his charging nuclear power filled the chamber, swiftly alerting Bemular to the alpha’s intentions. As he looked over and saw the building luminosity, the reptile knew he was out of time. He opened fire on the wall again with his blazing heat stream to open up the created gap even more. The new opening was barely bigger than his girth, but it was the only option. Bemular dived through the exit, cutting his flesh and snapping out spines on its rough edges. Pushing his strength to its limits, he forced his way through the exit and back into open water. A second after his escape, a blast of atomic napalm burst from the hole, widening its diameter and destabilizing the cave’s walls. Cracks appeared across the mountainside, but Bemular did not wait around, He sped toward the distant surface, ignorant of his torn and bruised condition. At this point, it was the only safe place.

As he ascended, the mountain exploded into rubble. Colossal boulders tumbled across the seafloor as Godzilla burst forth from the dust cloud. His gaze turned upward, making out Bemular’s retreating shape, and he started his own climb to the surface in pursuit. This time, he would finish their battle.

“Targets are both rising, sir! ETA, 3 minutes!”

Cameron smirked at the sonar operator’s report. “Send out the Cyber Flies again,” he ordered calmly to the room of technicians. “Have them ready to strike on my command.”

As he made his way to the door, the captain watched him with a judging gaze. The man knew that not a shred of kindness or generosity existed in the CEO’s soul, and whatever his new scheme entailed would surely threaten the entire world. For a moment, he considered selling out the mogul to the authorities in the vain hope of clearing his name from this operation.

“I know what you think of me.” Cameron’s words cut through the room as he addressed the captain without looking at him. “You may see me as cruel, greedy, selfish, heartless and more. I would not blame someone of your intellect viewing me as such, but I am not without pity, captain.”

Cameron turned his head enough to meet the skipper’s eyes. “Do not forget what I have done for you. You would do well to remember that I took you into my service when no one else would, due to your unclean history.”

The man’s gaze shifted away, his thoughts of rebellion crushed.

“Everyone here is my property,” Cameron proclaimed. “You all came to me because you needed me and I needed you. Never forget that. Perform well in my service and you will be well rewarded. Betray my will… and you will regret it.”

The white-haired mogul finally left the bridge, leaving it in silence as its occupants worked in imitated compliance. Navigating the steel corridors, he returned to his quarters and flicked on the lights. The dimly lit space was flooded with light, revealing the equipment stored within. As the mass of computers booted up, Cameron walked over to his new masterpiece. It was a circular stage, built in shining, black metal and divided in a grid by lines of neon grid. A cage of criss-crossed bars encircled the stage, littered at the top with wires and cables that connected to other electronic devices. As he reached the cage door, he flicked several switches on a panel next to the side to link the system with that of the computer, before returning to the monitors and initiating the start-up of the operation program.

On other screens, Cameron observed the streamed footage from the two Cyber Flies as they circled the freshly-breached Bemular. He tapped in commands on another keyboard to zoom in the footage, focusing on the alien’s shredded head and neck and highlighting each injury. One spot flashed green, displaying readouts that brought a grin to the multi-millionaire criminal.

“Gotcha.”

Bemular huffed in the sunlight, regaining his energy to prepare for his escape. Exhausted from the battle, he could not gather the effort to deal with the buzzing insects closing around him. His head weakly turned to focus on me, leaving the reptile’s other side exposed to the second. The Cyber Fly landed on his temple and raised its stinger, where a small, yellow device was connected to the underside, and drove it into am open wound. The controller immediately detached and anchored itself to the sides of the cut, drilling its probes into Bemular’s skull. The sudden pain snapped him back into action, throwing his head back-and forth to try and dislodge the techno-parasite. The Cyber Fly pulled away, re-joining the other unit as the neural receiver reached the nerves. Instantly, Bemular stopped. The scourge of the galaxy was motionless, pupils dilating as his neural pathways were slowly overwritten by Cameron’s device.

“And now for the best part,” Cameron said, cracking his knuckles before standing up and returning to the stage. With the click of another switch, the cage door opened and an apparatus descended from the ceiling. It resembled a virtual reality headset, connected with a pair of wrist and ankle trackers. Before stepping inside, Cameron discarded his suit and set the pieces inside as the circuit-lined bodysuit underneath was revealed. He entered the cage and began to attach the equipment, setting the headset on last. Once in place, the cage shut and the machine began to boot up. Signals were transmitted between the input stage and the neural controller, linking the two systems in a matter of seconds.

The ocean appeared before Cameron’s eyes. He looked around, seeing the outside world through the camera on Bemular’s receiver. As he turned his head, the extra-terrestrial did the same, mimicking the mogul’s actions perfectly. Cameron began moving his other limbs as well, pleased with Bemular’s instant response and imitation. In the past, he had been able to influence monsters through brainwave hacking controllers, transforming them into his puppets. But this was the next upgrade to that technology. With this machine, he could transmit copies of his own brainwaves into a monster’s primary motor cortex and make them mimic his actions. He had no longer a metaphorical monster. Now Cameron Winter could become one.

Water sprayed into the air as Godzilla burst to the surface. Cameron and Bemular spun around as the titan roared and charged through the waves at the enslaved invader. His claws slashed at the green monster, but Cameron jerked to the side, forcing Bemular to do the same and Godzilla to stumble forward as his enemy dodged the attack. Regaining his momentum, he turned and lunged again, but Bemular ducked left to avoid his snapping jaws. This time, Godzilla was quicker to react, but the spiny beast instantly smashed its body against the alpha, making him stagger back.

Cameron resisted the urge to laugh as he watched the battle through Bemular’s camera as Godzilla failed again and again to land a hit on the agile monster. He was not wrong when he had claimed that Bemular could stand a chance against this ancient Godzilla. What he had not mentioned was that the alien’s victory could only be obtained through the power of his own intellect. On its own, Bemular’s intelligence was too low to sufficiently deal with a stronger opponent. But now it had the gift of his superior mind to aid it in this battle. Coupled with months of physical training and combat courses, he used Bemular’s lithe form to the King of the Monster’s disadvantage, weaving around his powerful, but slow strikes and attacking at the areas left exposed in the process. If he were fighting the Japanese Godzilla, not even he could have saved Bemular from destruction. But against this older creature, weakened by age and slowed by his armored bulk?

His victory was assured the moment he took control.

Bemular’s spiky form slammed into Godzilla again and again, his efforts focused on the monster’s sides, chest and neck. The alien’s improved prowess left Godzilla utterly confused. Before, he had dominated the intruder with minimal resistance. Yet now, he struggled to land a hit as Bemular snaked and twisted around his attempts to strike back. Driven by rage, he lashed out at random in an attempt to land a single hit on the emerald reptile. Although he was able to direct Bemular around a majority of the attacks, Cameron found it difficult to read Godzilla’s new, chaotic assault and struggled to avoid every strike. At last, Godzilla’s fist collided with Bemular’s face, throwing the criminal back. He splashed into the waves, writhing in the froth before finally standing.

In the time spend recovering, Godzilla stepped toward the foreign creature. His plates flashed with blue light as his jaws parted and nuclear fire burst forth. The stream caught Bemular in the chest, pushing him back while crying out. Sparks exploded from Cameron’s device as the reptile’s agony was fed back through the system and threatened to damage the link. Despite this, Cameron only frowned as he focused his efforts on the battle. As the first ray flickered out, Godzilla launched another, engulfing Bemular’s front in fire. With no solid ground to grip, he kept sliding back from the force of the atomic ray. Fortunately, the extra-terrestrial had another counter to Godzilla’s strongest attack.

The invader’s energy flared throughout every cell of his body, wrapping him in a cocoon of sapphire light. As Godzilla assaulted the shield with his atomic energies, Bemular’s Spherical Change ability absorbed the heat from the attack to boost his own power. The cocoon expanded, shifting into the reptile’s travel sphere which rocketed toward Godzilla. The elder’s atomic flames barely fazed the orb of light, washing over it as the produced heat was drained into the sphere. Its surface began to shift into that of flames, surrounding the ball in a burning aura as it pushed through the dying fire stream. Only when Godzilla cut off the flow of nuclear fire did he noticed the enhanced travel sphere, but it was too late. Bemular’s sphere collided with the titan king, blossoming into a brilliant explosion of white that consumed the two monsters completely.

The shockwaves hammered Cameron’s vessel, knocking crewmen to the floor and causing instruments to explode into sparks. Amidst this, the captain clung to the wheel to keep the ship stable. In all his years at sea, he had only lost one ship, and had no desire to lose another. At last, the shockwaves ceased and the ocean calmed. Slowly, the crew began to recover as they examined each other for injuries and inspected the damage. With most of the equipment damaged in the blast, the technicians had to rely on their eyes to assess the results. The entire bridge flocked to the windows, peering out at the waters to spot one shape floating in the waters.

Floating in the waves, Godzilla stared at the sky. Scorch marks and cracked armor adorned his body, dripping blood into the water as his vision struggled to focus. A long, hair-thin cracks running across the ancient giant’s forehead was the cause of his sluggish nature, but its symptoms were quickly wearing off. Fatigue and agony filled Godzilla’s form, but he was in no rush to move. Despite the alien’s attempt to beat him, the king had prevailed once again.

Or so he thought.

With an ear-piercing screech, Bemular shot out of the waves besides the immobilized Godzilla. The reptile’s momentum launched him into the air, allowing his downed foe to see his own battle-scarred body. Using gravity to aid his worn form, Bemular brought down his foot on the alpha’s gut.  Godzilla spasmed violently, wheezing for lost breath as the air was pushed from his lungs by the blow. He weakly thrashed around, unable to find the second wind he needed in his pain-wracked state. With the apex predator weakened, Cameron made Bemular move in. The mogul mimicked grasping the titan’s jaws, making his alien puppet perform the task in reality. Fighting weakly against his actions, Godzilla’s orbs caught Bemular’s lips as fire churned behind them before recognizing the reptile’s intention.

Desperation surged his body with energy, but the second wind came too late as Bemular’s mouth dipped over his own. The fiend fired his Pale Heat Wave down the elder’s throat, flooding his throat and stomach with azure flames. Godzilla’s muffled screams filled the air as he convulsed and slashed blindly at Bemular, but his unfocused attacks were ignored as the extra-terrestrial continued firing. As his struggles began to lessen, some of the watching crew turned away from the sight and gagged as the stench of burning flesh hovered over the waves.

At last, the assault ended. Bemular dropped the motionless Godzilla, his head hitting the water as dark smoke drifted from his bleeding maw. Despite the damage, the titan’s chest heaved with difficult breaths, and his half-lidded gaze stared up at the spiky foreigner in defiance. It was exactly what Cameron wanted as he made Bemular lift up the beaten king. As the reptile’s claws restrained him by the head and neck, he made sure to dig one digit into the leviathan’s temple, earning a grunt from his barely conscious captive.

An unfamiliar buzzing caught Godzilla’s ears, growing in volume as it approached. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a brief glimpse of a Cyber Fly before it disappeared behind his head. The artificial insect made its way to Bemular’s incision and prepared its stinger, then sank it into the exposed flesh and delivered its payload. The neural controller instantly hooked itself into the wound as it dug further into the apex’s skull. Desperately, Godzilla shook his head to try and remove the aching pain as a strange dullness began to overtake him. Within seconds, his struggles had ceased and Bemular released him, leaving the King of the Monsters to stare blankly.

Cameron reached atop his headset, flicking the switch to disable the machine and began removing the equipment. With his signal no longer active, the receivers on the two monsters switched over to basic control, leaving them unresponsive in the water. Redressing himself, Cameron made his way back to the bridge, and was greeted with thunderous applause upon entering. The crew cheered and clapped, praising him on his victory and successful testing. The CEO said nothing for a while, his ego feeding on the applause given, even if some of it was far from enthusiastic. Making a mental note of the rebellious individuals and to dock their pay, he raised his hand for silence.

“Thank you, thank you!” he said with an unfitting smile. “I know that this is a momentous occasion in the history of this company, but there is no time to waste on celebration. Within the hour, a helicopter will be arriving to make me and Bemular to meet with the organizers of this project. After our departure, you will take this vessel and Godzilla back to our off-the-grid facility.” His smirk grew wider. “I cannot allow every success to go public, can I?”

There were nods and murmurs of agreement from the crowd before they departed back to their stations to resume the task of repairing the systems. Placing his hands behind his back, Cameron turned for the door.

“Oh, one more thing,” he announced to the security personnel at the doorway. “Make sure to keep an eye on the good skipper. I fear he may get himself into trouble if left… unsupervised.”

The captain swallowed, beads of sweat rolling down his skin as Cameron left the room with one last smirk in his direction. With that order, any hope of telling anyone what happened here was crushed. He silently cursed his lack of a backbone and the consequences that would now bring. In his younger years, he would be quicker to rebel against the wealthy criminal, but age was tempered that fire significantly. Like Godzilla and Bemular, he was but a puppet for the mogul, and had been ever since he’d been first approached years ago. The freshly-appointed CEO had been the only one to hire him due to his criminal history, and he had been grateful for that. But now he could see that it was simply a way to blackmail him into the man’s service. Ever the cheater, liar and accomplished businessman, Cameron Winter would stop at nothing to get what he wanted.

As he stared out the window at the two monster’s unresponsive forms, Captain Yoshimura could only wonder with dread what future awaited humanity now.

Winner: Bemular

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