Author: James Webster | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski
The cold and glossy metal floor spanned across the length of the command center. Along its walls, hundreds of calculating machines ticked and buzzed with life. The luminescent lights of a hundred different colored knobs and buttons pulsed with lustrous vigor. Their stories and commands were being told with ever so slight shifts of their dials. The hands that directed these machines with edict care belong to a race whose intelligence was beyond the scope of most beings understanding. Their devoid emotions and cold demeanor were well known throughout this part of the galaxy. Though their mere sight was that of a ghost; a mystery. Simply put, they kept themselves hidden. They chose only to enact machines and other forms of technology to do their work. So their name was merely a whisper that lingered on the tongues of those who were brave enough to speak of them.
A small handful of the humanoid like aliens sat silently at their terminals. Each were scanning the readings of their cogent machines activities. Their eyes peered from the slits of their visors. Gleaming with barren desire that could only be compared to the mighty machines their ruled the nexus of their civilization. It was almost as if they were heedless of the carnage and death that was being shown on the massive screen that dominated one side of the room. It was a scene of villainy that could only be compared to the atrocities of hell.
On the screen, two towering and mindless creatures were laying waste to a city. The final city of the of the Natarl’s homeworld. The demons were called Terror-Beasts; creatures that were an amalgamation of metal and flesh. They were given form and purpose by a pirate race of aliens called the Garoga. Theirs was an empire that was based off the salvaged remains of those whom they defeated. They were scavengers. Beings that wiped out others and took what remained of their technology and worked them into their own twisted society. Truly the Garoga were a parasitic like lifeform that leeched off others in order to survive.
The culmination of their stolen science bared the fruit of their kaiju army. The horrific beasts that were decimating the lives of the terrified Natarl, were known as Wargilgar and Spyler in the Garoga armada.
Wargilgar was lean, tall, and insect like. His dark and olive hued armored body reflected the streams of city lights that still glowed heedless of the event that was taking place. The monsters arms, ended in crab like pinchers, while a pair of spindly limbs grew from its back. These more resembled the plucked wings of a fallen angel, rather than arms. His neck, which was a muscled trunk that was nearly half of his height, was topped with an ant like head. A terrible thing that held a visage of horns and a pair of eyes that sat upon stalks. From between his cackling mandibles, the monster spewed forth sheets of flames that incinerated those who sought to flee him. The twisting fires licked and tongued their way over the bodies and buildings in flashes of violence that burned as great as the evil that commanded the monster’s every move.
Spyler was a mere anachronism to his destructive partner. He was not as tall was Wargilgar, but he was squat and girthed. His bumpy hide, bristled with coiled muscle. His hands, like his brethren, were pinchers. Though, his resembled more like metal vice grips than that of an organic creature. Spyler’s back was covered in a bed of stiff tentacle like protrusions that mirrored that of a cadmium colored sea anemone. His head was angular and bird like. It was adored with sapphire glowing eyes and a set of three horns. Two of the growths flanked the back of his head, while the third was arched forward, such as the tail of a scorpion would stand poised.
Yes, they were as different from each other as one could be. But the same alien force commanded their every step. An intangible will that told them to kill ever last inhabitant and await for the Garoga army to come and scrounge through the scrapes of the maimed and dead.
More buildings crumbled as hundreds of Natarl attempted to flee to safety. It was a foolish hope their brains were latched onto. The basic instinct of fright and self-preservation had taken hold of their minds. Once a peaceful race, the Natarl were now demoted to a bunch of scared sheep that were running from the big bad wolves that were blowing down their homes.
Standing before the screen, behind the rows of computers and silent Xilian soldiers, three sets of eyes were watching the terror unfold. Two sets belong to a pair of rather high ranking Xiliens. The Commander of the Xiliens was dressed in a cloak of royal blue. Black armor garnished his shoulders and chest; along with thin black lines that were trimming his crossed arms. Next to him was his second in command. A quiet individual that had adopted the name of merely “X”. His garb was very different from the Xilien leader. But, it still maintained a mandate to its own presence. Onyx of midnight leather clothed this being. As well as a trench coat that concealed his muscular frame, which laid with relax poise. He stood, unblinking and statue like. The only sound was from his ebon gloves that flexed with anticipation of what was about to come.
As the two stood, unfazed by the butchery that was unfolding, the final pair of eyes could only look down in the ground in despair. He could not stand to see his people massacred before him. Blood and tears were pooling inside of his damaged helmet. His visor was cracked and his beige tan colored spacesuit was shredded in spots. More blood from his wounds seeped from these tears. Though it was the Xiliens whom had inflicted those lesions. After all, prisoners have no rights in this part of the galaxy.
The Natarl, Gurake by name, had fled his homeworld when the attacks by the Terror-Beasts had started. He knew his people stood no chance in the face of the Garoga’s power. In little time, the kaiju would wipe out his entire people. Gurake had only moments to think of a solution to the genocide of his race. He could only come up with an incredulous plan that would find himself to be captured by Xilien scouts. He knew of their location, so that would not be too difficult. The hard part would be for his begging. He would plead for their help; beseech them for their aid. He knew that such words would probably fall on deaf ears. That his vain attempt would only lead to his own death. But what else could he do. There was nothing else that could stop Wargilgar and Spyler. Though, as fate would have it, he was brought before the Commander and his lieutenant. Gurake was allowed to plead his case. And just by perchance, they agreed to lend their help. They would send aid and prevent the extinction of the Natarl race at the hands of the gargoyle like Garoga.
“You realize what will happen should this fail”, the Commander stated coldly to his confidant. “Should the Garoga find out that he was created by us, it could lead to an unwanted conflict. One that would delay our future plans.”
“You speak of failure as if it is a possibility,” X sneered back with hidden intent. “What was brought before us was a most unexpected juncture. A true field test, if you will. An opportunity to showcase of my creation’s abilities.”
“You mean ours,” the leader followed up with rising irritation. “There is no individualism with our people. I have raised you with this idea, and yet you have fought it every step of the way. Your blindness to your own personal power will be your downfall one day. You can’t even fathom that there is a chance that Monster X will fail in this task. Leaving only his bloody remains for the Garoga to find and revamp into their own twisted creature. You could be giving them a new member to their so called Terror-Beast Army.”
X turned to his ruler, making sure to hold back the anger that bubbled from the Commander’s doubt. His eyes, hidden within his visor, simmered with repugnance. But he knew better than to show too much for now. He eased his vigor and regained his composure with modest earnest.
“You are right my lord,” he whispered through thin lips that suppressed a catlike smirk. “I merely was caught up in anticipation for our years of hard work. With Monster X, we shall be able to enact a just rule over all races in the galaxy. He will be light in the darkness against those who stand before the will of justice for all.”
“Target is two parsecs from the Natarl homeworld,” a voice spoke suddenly, but with flat lull. It was one of the Xilien soldiers whom had been monitoring their monster’s celestial course.
X turned from his mentor, making sure to give a slight nod and smile in respect, and then approached a terminal that was just off to his left. His hand waved over its controls. Fingers trembled with excitement and anticipation. He could feel his own blood rushing, as he watched the artificial meteor that carried his creation, streak from the stratosphere. He could sense the mind that dwelled within that shell. It was an artificial consciousness that was struggling to understand its place in the world. A world, which up until a few days ago, was merely the inside of a laboratory of machines. Machines that pieced together its flesh and memories. They told him of the world; of how to react. But words without context of feelings and understanding are merely sounds that fall upon deaf ears.
“Now…you will learn,” the Xilien muttered quietly.
A loud boom suddenly broke through the sky of the Natarl world. It was a clamoring noise that belittled the sounds of the Terror-Beasts. It even dwarfed the screams of the dying Natarl. It was a blast that cleaved the air, cutting through it with unnatural bane. Wargilgar and Spyler halted the momentum of their fury for a moment in response to the new and unknown auditory threat. The twin beasts watched as the obtrude object made it way from the heavens. It was a huge circular fireball. A red-hot meteor of unbelievable size and calcine. The Garoga duo stood heedlessly, just as the Xilien craft touched the surface of the planet. The result of such an act culminated in an explosion of utter martyrdom. White lights flashed; which was soon followed by a wave of concussive might and flames. The shockwave reached for miles. It branched out from the epicenter as if it had a life of its own. Hills and ridges of aged rock that were the closest to the event were shattered in the blink of an eye. What had stood since the dawn of the Natarl’s world, now was nothing more than a crumbled mess. A pile of scorched and broken rubble.
As the fires from the crash continued to burn on, thanks to the sulfur laden earth, a figure began to move within the lively blaze. A dark and towering mass that strode through the pyre like it was not even there. The form was just as massive, if not bigger than the two Garoga weapons. Its body was incased in a series of exoskeleton like boney armored pieces. Its alabaster jagged shape gave it more of a demonic look like that of a lost knight, rather than that of a giant monster. The flesh that flexed beneath this said armor was a series of thick and ropey muscled onyx. Bristling layers of tendons and meat that was shaped almost human like. The beast stood upon two great legs, and had a forked black tail that laid lifelessly behind it. Its face was that of a twisted templar mask. It was narrow and ghastly, only punctuated by a sunken pair of glowing red eyes. His mouth parted, spilling the sound of grumbling roars that was more akin to the resonance of grinding boulders. Monster X had finally arrived.
Wargilgar took a few steps back, but Spyler refused to give. The squat, muscled kaiju screeched its challenge. He waved his arms in warning, snapping his clawed hands in expectancy for the battle. Monster X however was not receptive to the idle threat. He merely stood as a statue in front of the other monsters. Still and pictured as an effigy of a chiseled god. When Spyler attempted to take a few steps closer in order to reinforce his threat, X let loose another low grumbling roar in kind. A reverberating sound, that forced back the wild Garoga beast in cautious fear. Monster X was not afraid, however. The machines that gave him life, had taught him that he was created to be the greatest organism that had ever lived. To be afraid of such brightly colored “things” was not even an afterthought. Death was the only logical outcome in this battle. Theirs…
Monster X charged forward with speed that belittled his size. His form, resembling that of a demonic runner, collided with the surprised Spyler. It nearly toppled the Gargoa beast. Spyler held his own though and dug his feet in as he was pushed back. The result was two long trenches being scarred into the soil. The bulbous creature’s feet tore and dug in for footing and managed to hold, despite being pushed back several hundred feet from the ramming Xilien creature. X growled in frustration and grabbed hold of his adversary’s clawed arms. Muscles clinched and grew taught as he attempted to break Spylers limbs in his grip. But try as he might, he could not bring the full might of his strength down upon the crustacean like monster. It was as if he was being held back…
The hellish weapon did not have long to ponder this query though, for he was soon hit from his right side by a tremendous force. Ear wrenching screeches filled the skies as Wargilgar had finally entered the fray. The long neck kaiju slammed his tonnage against X, forcing him to let go of his prey. The Garoga weapon then followed up with a flurry of clubbing strikes. His clawed arms struck repeatedly like a jackhammer. Monster’s X’s bone like exoskeleton was able to withstand the assault, but the unwanted attack was unacceptable. Such a blasphemous thing should have no right to dare strike a god. It was an act that was most distasteful. The massive bone giant reached out with his own fists. The retaliatory shots sent Wargilgar stumbling back.
Unbeknownst to the kaiju, Monster X was indeed being held back in his battle. Though, even in his laggard state, his pelting punches still granted their own waves of pain to the enemy. But strikes such as his should have yielded much more desirable results. More bloody and definitive aftereffects. Wargilgar’s muscles though quaked and flesh shook from each strike. In pure distress, the Garoga weapon lurched forward with its long neck. The trunk of fibrous meat swung like a bat and tossed his attacker to the ground. After which he let loose with a waves of explosive hell upon the osseous ghoul that caused him such pain. A twin shotgun like barrel extended from between Wargilgar’s mandible jaws and let loose a volley of cannon fire. The results were most unexpected and painful for the Xilien weapon. The inorganic ordnance coming from within a being of flesh was preposterous to witness. And yet, destructive beyond thought. Mortar fire littered both the land and bod of the fallen Monster X. Blooming fires of scarlet flame yielded floods of aching muscle and smashed earth.
X howled in distress, moaning in both from pain and dismay that gripped his form and thoughts. Though his armor was holding up against the assault, the messages of torment and flashes of synapse pained reflection were no less overpowering. His mind told him that such an attack should not profit with such fruition of advantage. That such assault should not result in such agony against him. Yet, as the flood of bullet hell continued, the twinge of excruciating pain grew. Both his mind and body were in a vexatious state now. The thoughts that were implanted during his creation were coming in direct conflict with the actions of the unfolding battle at hand. They were wrong. The concepts he once believed to be true, were all but a lie. He was not the master in this battle. He was not going to be the victor. He was only going to be a gudgeon pawn. No…this would not happen. He would not allow this travesty to unfurl. A silent martyr, he would not be.
Screaming toward the skies, Monster X rolled to his knees and stood up against the still ammo spewing Wargilgar. Explosions ripped across his frame, but he was heedless of the pain now. For a moment, he was able to luxate his senses from his actions. He was numbed to the barrage of hate that still burned against his hide with explosive force. X stormed forward, drawing out every ounce of muscle and sinew that he could muster. He barreled into the surprised insect being, toppling them both in the process. Like waves against the shore, the two beings toppled over and rolled across the earth. They soon came to a stop with Monster X being able to remain on top. Pinning the Gargoa enemy beneath his frame, X unleased with a volley of clubbing strikes. His blows struck with deafening force against the creature’s carapace. The attack resulted in reverberations of clanging shelled armor that bounced along the war torn land. It was sickening to hear, for it mirrored that of the sound of bones breaking. And indeed, that is what was happening. Even though Monster X’s strength was being held back; unbeknownst to him, he still had more than enough to wound and maim this heinous thing before him.
Wargilgar screeched out in pain. He flailed his limbs about in a vain attempt to push away his attacker. The artificial beast could feel his armor cracking and breaking beneath the raw strength of his ossified opponent. The insect tried to aim his barreled maw at X, but the beast’s efforts did were to no avail. The white demon had gripped his throat with one hand and kept his head pin down. While his other arm was free to club and rend the meat and bone from the Terror-Beasts chest.
Suddenly a mountain of flesh slammed into Monster X. Knocking him off the wailing long necked bug, and sending him skidding across the rocky floor. The Xilien beast growled in unsated anger as the clouds of dust and dirt began to settle. Through the haze he could see the cackling Spyler clanging his metal clawed hands together in schoolboy delight. Behind him, Wargilgar was rising to his feet. His chest was cracked and bleeding from the previous attack. Surly the end would have been met for Wargilgar, if it were not for his partner. This bony foe of the Garogas was equivalent to their own individual engineered might. But together, it did not stand a chance against them.
Wargilgar trilled at Spyler. His call was warbled and strained. Yet there was a sense of urgency behind it. The purl was an ambient cry to all that heard it, except for the other Terror-Beast. It was language, rudimentary at best, but it was fundamental in orders. He was telling his cohort that the longer the battle went on, the more that their advantage would soon disappear. They should press their favor now and end this little skirmish.
Spyler chirped in acknowledgment.
X watched as the interfering Spyler turned itself around, presenting its back to him. The beast squawked in mocking form as it gestured its pincher hand in a forward motion. It was waving in the Xilien weapon. It was an invitation to attack. The vibrato of its cackling, along with its taunting gestures was beyond derisive. It was scornful mocking that defiled the senses of Monster X. A wave of emotion overtook him in response. There was a new feeling that he only knew of because of his genetic memories. There was anger; unbridled and unabated. These opprobrium beasts dared to insult him. To gibe him was blasphemy he simply couldn’t contain. Howling in unremitting ire, X charged forward at the cowardly beast. Each stamp of his trampling feet brought forth more passion and outage. In seconds, it was more than just mere hatred that gripped him. It was unfettered rage that was now boiling inside his belly. Rage that he so desired to inflict its acrimony and bitterness upon his target. Unbeknownst to him, though, the dotty actions of Spyler were not without a merited plan.
Turning around to greet his would be attack, Spyler let loose with its most powerful attack. From the numerous circular bulbs that adorned his chest and stomach, the Terror-Beast unleashed a sea of intense flashing lights. Light that was comparable to that of a hundred suns, flashed and exposed their lustrous might upon the unsuspecting Monster X.
X tried to put up his hands in defense, but that action was feeble and far too late. The divine light was too fast and too strong. The skeletal monster collapsed to the ground in front of the Spyler; clutching his face in vain attempt to hide his eyes from anymore of the lambent glow. The rage that had gripped his heart only moments ago was now all but gone. What replaced that now was throbbing agony. Spasms of ache caused his body to twist and flop on the ground. The throes of the pained kaiju brought only the screeches of laughter and delight from the two insectal beasts that stood before him. Especially to that of the quite jubilant Wargilgar, whom ran forward and began to kick and pummel the pain ridden X into the ground. Monster X tried to fight back, but the flashes of light had overloaded his already heightening pain receptors. He was in no position to defend himself. Though, it was strange. Such an alluvion of woe should not have been able to keep him this shackled. His memories told him once again that this amount of torment should only be of mild discomfort to him. This pain should not avow itself to this much dolor against him. He was told that he was god, a pillar of unmatched might. But now he realized it was just a lie. He was not the figure of ideal divinity, but rather that of a mortal pauper. A pauper that would soon be dead and left to rot on this god forsaken world.
Wargilgar backed away from his fallen prey. Taking note of the fragility that graced the image of his opponent. He could certainly go on with beating this monster to death, but something was gnawing him to just end it and continue on with the original mission at hand. Orders from the Garoga were directing him to bring an end to this desistance and to continue on with the destruction of the Natarl homeworld. Like Monster X, Spyler and Wargilgar had to follow their genetic programing. However, unlike the latter, theirs had not lied to them in this titanic battle. Theirs was of verity and had brought them victory in this fight. Wargilgar screeched into the heavens one final time, before he soon let loose with his cannon fire.
The ground exploded around X, flowering with fiery explosion after fiery explosion. Ground and rock split and burned as the titan mechanical insect continued its barrage. Endless and unceasing blasts of blazing flames created a martyrdom of heat that engulfed the fallen kaiju. The pyre all but consumed the oxygen around him. Stripping him of not only his breath, but that of voice as well. The searing attack reached down into his lungs, scorching and devouring flesh and sinew as they went. Try as he might to mount a comeback, the Garoga weapon’s attack was keeping him at bay, slowly stripping him of breath and clout. Admonishing thoughts began to cloud his wracked mind. Lies and falsehoods had placed him in this falsely predicament. Fictitious and matriclinous ideas that were coded into every fiber of his being, had proven to be beguiling. Slowly the sky began to fade from X’s vision. Light from the stars and flames around him began to deem to darkness. The veil of one’s end was beginning to close in upon him. Death was on the doorstep now.
“It would seem that your creation was an utter failure,” snarled the Commander coldly. He had watched the screen monitors in utter disbelieve throughout the battle. The creation of the general had proven to be invalid. A waste of valuable time and resources. Resources that the Garoga empire would no doubt plunder and pillage after they had killed him. The Commander turned to X and gave him a look of utter huff and outrage. He tried to keep his resentment under wraps, but the effort proved to be too strenuous at the moment.
“Not only has your beast failed, but you have wasted what little and limited recourses we could afford in this mad course of dominion that you have desired for so long. Your imprudent ambitions have squandered our manpower and allowed the Garoga Empire to not only gain victory in this fight, but to know that we exist. You gave them another weapon to rapine from! You have instigated a war that we cannot win at this moment! You have decreed death upon our entire race!”
The lieutenant seemed oblivious to the emotional outburst of his “lord.” He was more intent on watching the outcome on the large monitor in the room that displayed the kaiju battle that was nearing its end. Though, when he felt his shoulder grabbed hold by his father, his demeanor was changed. He turned to face the Xilien leader and merely sneered in contempt. A sneer that soon crept and curled into a cherisher cat smile. “You are a fool to believe that what has transpired here is a failure on my test.”
The leader was taken back a bit at his son’s reply, but soon fired back in measured zeal that sounded more cooled and emotionless in intonation. “You have failed in this test of strength my son. Your pretension for our people’s future has led you down a path of fallacy.”
“Who ever said that this was a test of strength?” X questioned the man in mocking timbre. “Such a thing would be in itself an exercise in futility. Why test the limits of strength of something I already know? Why test something that I have full control of?”
X slowly walked over to one of the computer monitors and played his hand across the panel with carnal like pleasure. Taking note of the setting of each dial; of each lever that laid before him. He grinned yet again and turned to the Xilien chief and spoke next with gloating glee.
“What would you say if I were to tell you that he was only using but a fourth of his true power. That I was holding him back on purpose.”
“I would say that you are bluffing and a fool my child,” the leader leveed back. “You are so consumed with your own avidity that you cannot fathom that you could ever fail. You have not only put yourself in harm’s way…but you have endangered our entire race. You are nothing but blight upon this kingdom. Failure of this magnitude can only resolve itself one way.”
“Elimination,” X cooed back softly.
“You are sick my son and I only do this in order to protect our people”.
The Commander was calculating and indifferent, as he motioned for the soldiers at his side to kill his own progeny on the spot. Death was an emotionless end to the Xiliens. There were no feelings associated with it. No need to prepare. For them, one’s finality is comparable to that of switching off a light. It is ended when one such person can no longer prove to be an intricate cog in the society of which they live. Especially when that said person threatens the commonwealth of the people.
The soldiers withdrew their guns and took a few steps toward their still smiling target. Fingers at the ready, they were about to pull the trigger when suddenly they felt their collective wills be stripped from their heart. Their muscles froze with tingling sensations. They were at first frightened, but soon that emotion was denuded as well. The Xilien soldiers now were more comparable to that of lifeless statues, than that of flesh and blood beings. Throughout the room, the same was felt by every Xilien who was assembled. All were turned to stringless puppets. Heedless of the conflict that was blooming before them. They paid no attention to X or their Lord. Instead they were concentrating on their computers and readings that transmitted valuable information from the battling kaiju that were worlds away.
“I agree with you father.” X simpered. “Elimination is truly the only resolution that makes sense at this junction. However, I contest it is you who possesses the greatest threat to “my” people.”
The mad general closed his eyes and expelled a deep and rhythmic sigh. The Commander was about to question him, when he suddenly felt his body go limp. His mind was thrown into a sea of darkness, with only the voice of his child cutting through the current of murkiness. It cleaved with uncanny precision as it spat its rhetoric.
“You’re frightened,” the voice of X hissed quietly and venomously through the ebony landscape of his father’s mind. “You taught me that emotions were weakness and had no place in our society. That to give into one’s feelings was to admit a lapse in frailty and should be condemned on the spot. But I protest that such a line of thinking is flawed. That there is untapped strength in these emotions that you have cast out of our people. These are not dratted things. They should be embraced and culled.”
“How are you doing this? What form of trickery are you using? You are truly a cursed thing,” the leader shot back in raised voice. “You are beyond blind, you are lost.”
“I think not,” the voice ridiculed in response. “It is you, whom are lost if you truly believed today’s test was that of pure strength alone. My creation is using but only a fraction of his true power. My mind and machines are holding back the final genetic markers that are programed into his DNA. The eugenic codes that will allow him to access his untapped strength from unused meat and thew that lies within him. Are you so blind as to not see that his body bears no mark or cracks? His form is undamaged. Only in his mind is this pain existent. The receptors in his body are at their maximum threshold. The signals are almost unbearable for even I stand.”
X focused his might and allowed his mind to reach out across the astral planes and feel but a scrap of the pain that his monster felt. It was hollowed and tasteless. But nevertheless, strong in its message. He was taken back a bit by the ferocity of Wargilgar’s assault, but he was even more so with his creations ability to withstand it in the heightened state of his nervous system. Amazing, did not even begin to describe the amount of pride that he held for himself when he designed Monster X. The monster was far exceeding his expectations. His dreams even.
“Why would you do such a thing,” the Xilien father hollered back at the pitch black void of his mind. His voice now was screaming, giving way to a new and unfamiliar emotion to replace the fear he has felt before. Anger.
“You can tell someone everything they will need to know in order to live life,” X retorted cheekily. “You can give them limitless power to wield. But without experience, one cannot truly understand the concepts of that information. Or the actions of that power. Implanted memories are not enough. One needs to draw upon emotions to fully understand one’s true strength and stand in this world. My creation is merely a child….my child. I have given him all the advantages he would ever need in order to catapult our people to their rightful place in the universe. But, like a child…he has no concepts or understanding of his actions and power. He doesn’t know the meaning of limitation.”
Suddenly, the voice of the spurred Xilien child spoke even louder and ferociously.
“I have given him that gift now. He has been shown the path to true godhood. A path that you tried to keep dimly lit from me. Do not pretend to claim that you do not know what I am. What you feared I was as a child.”
“A Keizer”, the old man whispered distraughtly.
“Yes,” X jeered with seeping mirth. “You knew what I was, even as a child…and you were too afraid. Afraid of what I would become. So you tried to mold me in your image. Tooled me to your ideas. Yet the fear that you so desperately tried not to show, dwelled within your heart every time you stood before me. At first it was a small allotment to your mind. But as I grew, so did your despair. You dreaded what I would become. That I would travel the road that all Keizers have done in the past. A path that leads to madness and self-destruction. A path of death at the hands of our very own people. All Keizers have yet to live beyond that of children. They were either destroyed by their inability to control their own power, or they were eliminated as a threat to the empire.”
X’s voice dripped to a softer tone now. He was allowing his next words to be more poignant and careful. “You knew what I was. And yet…you allowed me to not only live, but thrive. Your emotions were embroiled in conflict over my existence. So why allow me to live?”
Suddenly the sound of another voice boomed through the barren black world, interrupting both the thoughts of X and his father.
“Vital sign readings on Monster X are below fifty percent now. He has at most 5 quintets time before damage is irreparable and life functions cease”. One of the Xilien soldiers declared to the room of beings.
The Commander opened his eyes, awoken from the raven colored hell that was son’s making. While his mind was free, his body was still trapped, lifeless because of the telekinetic hold that his child had upon him. He tried to will his limbs, but the result was like trying to move a mountain. The hold that X had upon him was far too robust. He had seen glances of the child’s powers as he grew. Heightened speed and strength of not only his body, but mind as well. It had allowed him to excel in every form of science that the Xiliens had at their disposal. But more frightening than that though, was X’s seemly uncanny ability to tell what someone was thinking. He had chalked it up to the boy’s higher intelligence, but now he could see that he was wrong. So very wrong. His son’s mind was beyond imagination. It was powerful enough to not only control beings bodies around him, but their very minds as well. This was a feat that he believed could not surpass the aghast that dwelled within his now broken, hovel heart.
He was wrong again…
“I’m afraid I must conclude our little discussion father,” X spoke disparagingly. “For you see my “beast” as you put it, is finally learning what fear is. He knew of that emotion, though he did not understand the concept and idea of what it was. He never felt it. But now he does. It consumes him at this very moment. I can feel ever fiber in his being, screaming out in crude and loathsome fashion. And now that fear is beginning to change. Transforming fright into utter rage and umbrage at his inability to turn the tables on his aggressors. He knows he is capable of so much more, and yet he cannot do anything to stop the Terror-Beast’s attack. Yes…he is quite piqued.”
X strode over the main command console in the center of the room once again. And like before he played his hands over the controls. Making note of each unchaste thought of what his creation would do once his chains were broken. The thought of an unbound Monster X was thrilling to him. It was a cerebration that guided his hand to two denoted levers on the machines desk. Fifty percent of his power, that would be more than enough to vanquish these two bothersome cretins that dared to strike against the god he made.
“Lesson’s over, my child,” X whispered serenely, “Time to show them what you can really do and to mark this point as a moment that will echo throughout history. And that the Xilien race will rise from the shadows.”
And with that, the mad alien pulled the first level downward. The result caused the rest of the machines in the room to come to life and begin to flash their own charts of collected data. The room was bathed in a swath of colors that went unnoticed by everyone. Everyone except that of the Xilien Commander and the Natarl captive whom had watched in gasping horror as all of this nightmare was unfolded before his very eyes.
On the Natarl homeworld, Wargilgar had finally stopped its assault. Smoke danced its way from the blackened and candescent barrel between its mandibles. Even the machine appendage was showing signs of wear. The ends were smoldering and cracked. The weapon was not design for continuous use, especially one that lasted for over ten minutes. But it managed to hold up, and it did its job. Quite well, in fact.
Before the duo was a face down Monster X. His once bone white armor was war-torn and blackened now. Residue from the ground and explosive bombs covered his back and arms. Flesh was singed and armor was cracked. The guttering roars he once breathed that were comparable to that of rolling thunder were now like mere gusts of wind in the summer. His ruby eyes were closed, and mouth agape. It was a struggle now to even draw breath. He tried to right himself, raising his body only a few meters from the ground. But the strain was too much to bear and he plopped down once again to the earth.
Wargilgar and Spyler cackled with delight. Each clanging their pincher clawed hands together in wicked glee. With their foe now vanquished, the duo turned back around and set forth to continue with their original mission. To prepare the Natarl homeworld for their masters arrival. A preparation that included the complete destruction of the Natarl civilization. The biomechanical monsters began to march back to the city; each squawking their trebly roars in rancor and mirth.
Unbeknownst to them, something was happening to the prone Monster X. Endorphins and other chemicals began to release from several organs within the beast. They were carefully crafted enzymes that were designed to have an actinic effect upon the skeletal kaiju. The slow and shallow breathing of Monster X, soon turned from the sound of grinding boulders to an echoing growl of avalanching rock. His sunken crimson orb eyes snapped open, as if he had awaken from a terrible dream. Yet as he began to move about, he soon released that what had happened was not a dream at all. Strength and vigor began to return to his muscles. Though the threshold he once felt of his strength, now was beginning to be surpassed by the enhancing goad that flowed through his veins. On and on the organic structures of his inners continue to pump out their sanguine fluids. Aqueous and life-giving liquid that brought forth the full strength that Monster X knew he had possessed.
Suddenly a sound slinked into his mind. Even though he had never heard speech before, his genetic memories told him this was a voice. A voice that he had heard when he was being born. It felt soothing and comfortable. It had an air of familiarity to it.
The Xilien creation clinched its fist and let loose a howling roar that split the skies that dare to contain it. A reverberating and eerie bay caused the surviving Natarl to drop to their knees in utter pain. Blood seeped from the ears of those who were not fortune enough to block out enough of the demons terrible roar. For the Terror-Beasts, the booming growl sent their flesh to quiver. Each turned around to face the clamorous challenge. Releasing their resounding calls, the duo kaiju answered the challenge. Unknowing to them though, the roaring display was not an instigation for battle. It was an adjuration. A vow that the pain that they had cause him would be returned in kind, tenfold.
Monster X barked fiercely and then began to step forward. Within a few steps, his motion shifted to a full on stride. It was so fast that Wargilgar had barely anytime to react. The long necked kaiju let loose a sheet of swirling flame from its maw, in an attempt to halt the speed demon’s advances. But the fiery attack had little effect. The flames licked and tongued their way around the skeletal form of X with almost no pain. The receptors that once had domain over his mind were now quieted. He pressed forward into the flames, heedless of the maelstrom that continued to spew about. Wargilgar though kept up with the barrage, forcing every sinew and muscle to his will to try and emit as much gouts of flame that he could.
It was not enough.
Within moments the tonnage of X’s mighty shoulder rammed into the gullet of the taller Garoga weapon. The once few cracks that graced his armor, now were great rifts in the platting. Wargilgar was sent tumbling into the earth. Head over heels and rolling until he finally came to stop some several miles away. Tribbles of blood seeped from the cracks on his armored chest; the first sign that the Garoga creatures were in fact mortal.
Monster X sneered derisively and then turned his attention to the shocked Spyler. Malice and disdain writhed their way from the growling clinched fangs of the white Xilien devil. With balled fists, X focused his newfound strength into his most powerful weapon that he had. A weapon that was beyond his might in the beginning of this war. Thin scarlet beams of light began to emit from the ghastly beast’s boney shoulders. It took Spyler a minute to recognize that these calcium structures were more than just mere armored growths. No…both of these resembled the same skeletal face of Monster X’s visage. The only exception was that these were smaller and only contained half of the macabre facet. It was if X had another head, but rather it was split down the middle and placed upon each clavicle growth. As the sole eye of each of the bisected skulls grew in brightness, so too did the eyes of Monster X’s own face. In seconds all four orbs were glowing like lustrous embers in the darkness.
Spyler had little time to react when the attack finally came. In the snap of a finger, Monster X unleashed a wave of utter hell upon his foe. Streams of incandescent twisting light burst forth from the beast’s eyes. Each gilded beam, which was flanked by several smaller strains of energy weaving about them, was golden in color. They moved about the air like twisting snakes. And like a viper, they lashed out with both incredible speed and power. The resulting collision against Spyler’s flesh blossomed with a canopy of flowering sparks and torn flesh. The Terror-Beast fell backward from the explosive forces of the burning attack. An attack that the Xilien creators had code named the “Destroyed Thunder Beam.” An aptly named title it seemed at this moment.
Spyler wrenched its shrill cry into the heavens, shearing through the black mantle of the sky in utter agony. Its chest was ripped and torn wherever the beams had struck. Erubescent fluids poured from his wounds. Brawn and sinew dangled like hunks of butchered meat. He tried to stand, but the effort was beyond his strength. One of the serpentine beams had struck a leg; cleaving the flesh right down to the bone. The Garoga weapon looked up to see the face of his attacker but was only greeted with more fear and fright from the flourishing power that swelled within Monster X.
The ghoulish and osseous creature focused his will into the area around him. Waves of invisible but adamant forces imposed their very vim into the earth and air around him. As a result from his brash and mulish behavior, X’s very cells were allowed to bend the gravitational pith of the planet they were on. Not even a celestial body could withstand Monster X’s might. Slowly, like an abhorrent angel ascending into the heavens, the creature began to rise up. Floating higher and higher into the sable skies, until he was about a mile away. Silently, he hovered over his prone quarry. Taking note of how much pain he was in. It was a pain that, not too long ago, he felt. Reminiscing about that, as well as the fear that had gripped him, only fueled that hatred that boiled deep down inside him. Fear and pain. These things were repulsive and foul. They were odious feelings that he never again wanted to experience in his life. Though with this newly acquired power, he doubted that would ever come to pass again. After all, he was now at the apotheosis of his existence. He was an undeniable presence of reality. A newborn deity.
Spyler had no time to utter a gasp of dismay before the terrible bolts of energy came raining down upon him like hellfire. His consternation was silenced as the slithering quartet of energy rived through his battle worn body. Flesh scorched from the heat, and might was cleaved to bloody ribbons. In second’s time, only a shuddering and cracked squawk marked its passing from the world of the living. Monster X growled in contemn at the lifeless bloody mass. Its still flesh was nothing more than a soon to be a mound of rot.
One down…one to go.
Monster X turned to see his would be attacker and saw that Wargilgar was trying to regain his footing. He had rolled onto his belly and with great effort, took his stance once again. The skyscraper kaiju screeched acidly at the floating demon overhead. Flailing his arms wilding about in pained chagrin at how the battle has suddenly turned against him. Even though a basin of blood and oil were exuding from his many wounds, the war torn Terror-Beast still attempted to follow his programming. Destroy the Natarl at all cost. This ivory hellion, however, was proving to be a roadblock to those instructions.
Releasing his potent hold on the gravity around him, Monster X descended back to the ground’s surface. Landing with the grace of a floating feather, the Xilien creature clenched and flexed its claws in anticipation for the final strike that was about to transpire. Like gunslingers in the old west, the two kaiju stood silently at a distance, each waiting for the other to make the first move.
The wait was not a long one.
The curtain to the final act was raised, and it was marked by cannon fire. Wargilgar unsheathed its double barrel gun from its mandibles and let loose the dogs of war. Blast after blast was unleashed in deafening succession. Ground split and the air was hewed by the blaring barrage of munitions that exploded around Monster X. Some managed to hit his plated armor, but the pain was paltry and largely dismissed. Instead, the Xilien beast began to charge forward. Each step from the monster was quicker and more thunderous than the previous one. X was moving with speed like that of the Roman god Mercury. And the message of communication that he was bringing was that of the death of Wargilgar.
In desperate vain, the Garoga weapon kept up with his spewing attack. Dozens and dozens of shells were hurled at the creature that hastily raced toward him. An attack that once had nearly killed this monster now was being cast aside as if it were not even there. Wargilgar’s limited mental prowess could not understand what had happened. He could not comprehend the existence of the lowered pain receptors and rush of adrenalin based liquids that were now drumming with vigor. To him, this was the same titan that they had faced only moments before. But he was wrong. The abnormality that was nearly upon him was now more than what it was when it first appeared on the battlefield.
In seconds, the boney behemoth was finally upon his prey. He reached out with an outstretched clawed hand and grabbed hold of the blazing muzzle of Wargilgar. The Garoga kaiju continued to fire its cannon, even though he could feel the might of X beginning to push he head and neck back into the sky. Wargilgar tried to fight back. Lashing out with clubbing strikes at Monster X; but the shots were ineffective. X did manage to grab hold of Wargilgar’s right hand, with his own though. And like the hold upon the muzzled maw, X began to bring his full vice like strength upon the seized limb. In moments, there was a sickening snap. A snap that signaled the breakage of the insect’s right wrist. He tried to pull away, but he was completely caught in the grip of the terrible demon before him. A more terrible pain though was soon going to be following the broken bones.
X grunted in gaiety, as with herculean effort he ripped the metal cannon from the colorful bug’s jaws. A shower of blood and cries, rained down upon the murderous Monster X. The sanguine fluid stained his ivory hide in its deluge. X released its hold upon his prey and cast away the fowl scorched steel. If he was capable of it, he might have smiled at seeing Wargilgar stumble backward in its pain ridden and dazed state. The Xilien creation was not going to give the Terror-Beast any time to recover, though. Charging forward with his toothy jaws baring wide open, X latched onto the base of Wargilgar’s lengthy neck. The titan insectoid tried to push back, but found itself powerless. X gripped Wargilgar’s shoulders in his clawed hands and pressed forward; shoving the mechanical behemoth onto its back. Wargilgar screeched in utter martyrdom as the bone covered goliath sunk its fangs in deeper. He could feel that creature wrenching its bite, causing deeper and more lacerating wounds. The scene was that of a horror film, something straight out of the silent era of film. Like a skeletal Nosferatu, X bit and gnawed into the helpless insect’s flesh, while his monstrous grip held it at bay against the war torn earth. His serrated teeth made the effort quite easy. In seconds, he had made his way to the vital airway. Clamping down, Monster X crushed the air pipe, leaving Wargilgar with only the ability to wheeze and sibilate its final bewailing roars. The lamentation was cut short when the white demon ripped its head back into the sky. Carrying with it, a bloody mess of meat and muscle. X howled into the ebony cavern of the cosmos, as the Crepuscular rays of the dying sun illuminated the sprinkle of claret fluid was flung around. The final Gargoa weapon was now no more.
Standing again to his great height, X sneered at the lying mass of dead flesh before him. Blood and oil that once powered the cyborg creature, now poured from the many wounds of the deceased. The organs that were fueling Monster X’s raise in power were finally beginning to settle. Their beats were slowed. Great gouts of air that were breathed in and out of his flaring lungs returned to more measured eupnea. As he turned away, desperate to rid his sight of the decaying kaiju, a sound plucked at his mind. It was low and whispering, and yet blustering in its tone. The dissonance of the sound was that of only a single word.
Of course, the gigantic kaiju had no true understanding of verbal language that was conveyed through words. Such an act would be preposterous. But, the feelings, tone, and motivation behind the word… That was axiomatic to him. His mind replayed the moment of the helpless innervation that he had felt at the hands of the twin horrors that now lied dead at his feet. His blood rushed and muscles flexed when he felt himself question his own demise in that moment of the battle. No, X did not know what this “mercy” word was. But he did understand what it was trying to convey to him. The kaiju was in accord with the Domineer that whispered its candor to him.
Monster X turned to face the half demolished city of the Natarl. It was already half burned and destroyed from Wargilgar’s and Spyler’s initial assault. Among the flames, he could see the tiny beings trying to flee from the fiery ruble. Some of the ants were trying to be brave enough to fend back the flames. While others had actually looked to the standing monster and begun to cheer. A savior from the heavens had vanquished the Garoga devils that were beating down their door. Surely this moment would be remembered for all time in their history books. The day that the monstrous white knight fought against the black horde of the Garoga. They would create songs and teachings that would speak of their savior in only the highest of regards. Yes, peace would return to the Natarl finally.
Well, at least Monster X would grant them one piece of their fantasy dream.
The false savior let loose an ear shattering roar to the heavens before it unleashed its tetrad beams of unholy power from its soulless red eyes. The twisting ember bolts ripped into the buildings and ground that were untouched from the previous attack. Those whom were fortune enough died in quick fashion as the energy burnt them to ash in but the blink of an eye. Those whom were unfortunate enough not to be in the energy’s path died much slower deaths. The raining bolts ripped into energy providing facilities, causing a cataclysmic explosion to take place. Fires that were once limited to only but a handful of buildings, were now consuming anything in a five mile radius. X could see the little ants trying to run. Some were thrown about from the erupting blasts, while others had fallen to their knees clutching to their throats and chests. They were trying to breath in the toxic ash ridden air. Minutes passed before X finally ceased its hailstorm of energy blasts. Like a heap of dried leaves against a hurricane, he left nothing to stand. No piece of ground untouched. The extermination and genocide of the Natarl race had been quick and decisive. Peace was finally found for them.
“It would seem that my creation has more than passed his test,” the Xilien second in command said acidly out loud.
He was going to continue on with his gloating when all of a sudden his heighten sense of hearing picked up on a rapid volley of footfalls. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see the battered form of the Natarl, Gurake, was fast approaching him in a blind fury.
“Murderer!” he exclaimed with animalistic shouting.
Honestly, the Xilien had even forgotten the creature was in the room with them. He was so caught up in the unfolding battle of his champion and the short interlude with his own father. No matter though. Such an insect was of no consequence to him. With a flippant wave of his hand, he sent the injured alien flying across the room and into one of the bare walls. Then he used only the smallest sliver of his great mind’s power to hold down the raging being, while he turned to face his father for what would be their final interaction.
“What have you done,” the Commander spoke weakly to his son. “How could you allow him to destroy all of those people. Monster X was supposed to be not only the sword, but the shield of peace to the universe. This atrocity was nothing more than cold blooded genocide!”
“As you have already demonstrated, you have misunderstood the actions of the events that have transpired today,” X seethed back coolly. “The Natarl were bedeviled. No matter what the outcome was going to be. The fall of their race was doomed the second those Garoga beasts set foot on their world. If X were to lose, however preposterous that would be, those two Garoga weapons would have destroyed everyone. Leaving only dead meat and still standing technology for the Garoga to pilfer through and add it to the might of their own armada. If X were to win and then leave their world standing, the Garoga would return in full force to avenge their loss. Hence, leading to the eventual extinction of their race again in that scenario. No. The only sensible conclusion that had to be made was to leave nothing standing. Nothing but scorched earth. The Garoga will receive no spoils from their unsheltered assault and the Natarl will be blessed with a quick end that only a true god could bless upon them.”
“There were other ways,” the leader aggressed back in rankle tone. “We could have established an outpost; left some ships. Anything else would have been better than your dooming and derived decision of mindless bloodshed.”
“Mindless,” X whispered back venomously. “This is the only outcome that was possible from your archaic reflection. This was the only choice that had any true purpose for the future of the galaxies. If the Natarl fell at the hands of the Garoga, then they would have gone on to be just another innominate race that fell to those pirates. Nameless entities that would be forgotten in a handful of days. But, by allowing them to fall before my creation, they gave their lives to a higher cause. Their deaths were the final test for my beast. Now he truly understands what his role in the universe is and the ideas of exercised mercy. The weak will always fall and the strong will survive only through their own strength. Much like how he did when I had limited his power. No quarter was given to him. No olive branch of mercy. So in turn, he should give none in return. The strong must always press forward with their boon and shape the world. Lenity and pity are for the weak.”
“You are more of a monster than he is,” growled the Commander as he still tried to free himself from the invisible shackles that bound his arms and legs.
X bared his teeth in muted furor and squeezed his gloved hands with vice like grip. His father could not see the grand scheme of his experiment. He could not comprehend and analyze the truth that was so blatantly laid out before him. The man was a fool and had outlived his purpose for the Xillian empire. And when one had reached that point of which their mere existence was that of vainness, then only the end was left to be had.
“We are all monsters,” the young Xilien breathed in derisive tone, as he lifted his left arm toward his trapped father. He opened his hand and let loose with a brilliant bolt of azure colored lightening. The crackling energy slammed into the mass of his father and tore into the core of the once great and supreme leader. The man tried to let out a scream, but the power that coursed through him was squeezing and contracting every muscle in his frame. The heat and force of the resonating electrical birr he felt was a hundred fold greater than any pain he had ever felt in his life. Flesh began to bubble and cook as the lightening began to literally burn him alive. The air became thick and impossible to breath as well. And still, his son’s mind held him at bay while he was electrocuting him to death. All in all, the attack only lasted but a handful of seconds. But to the former Xilien leader, it was a lifetime before his soul was barred to grave from the vicious assault.
X let a thin cat like smile curl his lips as he watched the burnt husk of his father slouch to the floor. His head made a sickening plop as the skull bounced from the floor. The act of violence was simply ignored by everyone else in the room. The rest of the Xilien soldiers were more occupied with monitoring their machines. Their minds, still under the grip of the diabolical X. All except the cast aside Natarl alien, who was still trying to fight against the heinous invisible hands that held him down. The new Xilien leader scoffed as he let go of his perverse telekinetic hold.
“You may leave with your life now as your reward,” he asserted in dominating demure.
Gurake was shocked at the audacity of his captor. Speechless even. This being was letting him leave with his life. Even though, the man had just wiped out the rest of his race in such a decadent manner. He took a bold step forward, but was cut off by a host of drawn weapons from the nearby Xilien soldiers. The show of force stopped him in his tracks, needless to say. He debated about taking another step but chose not to forfeit his life in such a futile maneuver. Instead he chose to question the being about his effete and corrupt actions.
“Why am I being spared? What right of a reward did I earn,” he spat maliciously.
“Do you not understand that you are responsible for everything that has happened today?” X questioned.
The response was sudden and from out of nowhere for Gurake. He tried to wrap his mind around it, but he could not understand the insane mindset of this ruthless character before him. He was going to question X again, but the alien cut him off in mid thought.
“You allowed me to bring my creation to your planet,” the human-like black clad devil gloated in hidden spite. “The strongest members of your race could have left your world before the Garoga landed in your city. Those whom were too weak and sick could have been left behind. The dead weight should have been casted off. But you chose to try and save everyone. A plan that was both flawed and fraught with erring. This life, this galaxy is only for those who are strong enough to embrace it. Everything else is just an illusion for the weak. Your cognition of this was amiss. If you had not tried to be the savior of all, you could have at least saved a number of your race and rebuilt your world. But you chose not to. And now your softness has led to the destruction of your people.”
X could see that his words were plucking at the guilty heart strings of the Natarl before him. The once great fire that raged in his muscles and eyes were now but dim embers of fading anger. The axioms that he spoke of, was like a beam of revealing truth. X placed his hands behind his back in cooled poise and strode forward to place himself directly in front of Gurake. His eyes were slits of astute mirth; as was his baneful smile. He reached out with his mentality, as well as his hand, and placed it on the Natarl’s shoulder. His wicked mind pressed against the broken being, while he spoke more of his so called truths to his freed captive. The message was that of a malign shadow that draped over Gurake. Encompassing and lurid.
“You were the only one strong enough to act,” he uttered softly. “You did what needed to be done, while the others all cowered away in their homes. Waiting for the inevitability of death to greet them when the Terror-Beasts arrived. They were cowed and weak. But you wanted to live. Sure you sought help for them, but you secretly wanted off that world. You wanted to flee and continue on living. Self preservation is a sign of strength. And deep down, you know that is true. Your actions were not completely selfless in your endeavors. You cannot hide your true thoughts from me.”
Gurake was going to argue in retaliation, but something deep down inside of him held back the words. His mind was now questioning himself. Were these lies or truths that Xilien was telling him? This villainous creature had untold power with his mind. So surely he could peer into his heart and soul and see the truth that lied within him. He tried to push out the words that slithered and wormed their way through his ears, but he couldn’t block it out. What if it was true? What if he merely had tried to convince himself that seeking help from the Xiliens was the right thing to do for everyone? What if it was an excuse to get himself off that planet and away from the murderous kaiju that would descend upon his homeworld?
No, it couldn’t be. He was not a selfish coward and the entire extinction of his race did not serve any brutish purpose that X was spewing to him. However, now was not the time to fight back. Trying to would lead to only his death and the closing of the final chapter of the Natarl civilization. He wanted to do nothing more than rend and break every last bone in X’s body, but he knew he couldn’t. This mysterious being was more powerful than even that of an army of soldiers. No, Gurake would have to bid his time for now and rethink a strategy for a later date. Discretion is the better part of valor at this point.
“You’re right,” Gurake sighed with a hanging head. “I thank you for your reward of pardon.”
X nodded his head and brushed away the alien with a few blithe gestures of his hand. The Natarl returned the favor and turned to leave. Unbeknownst to him, his thoughts had betrayed him. The Xilien already knew of what Gurake was thinking. He could sense that thoughts of revenge and animus that coruscated in his heart. He had rejected X’s veracity. Instead he was planning on how to return and how to kill the Xilien leader. Such farcical ideas almost made X laugh. He had nothing to fear from this spurned Natarl creature. Not with Monster X and an entire empire behind him.
Hope… What a fanciful and illogical idea.
Winner: Monster X