Author: Andrew Sudomerski & Tyler Trieschock | Banner: Landon Soto

Deep Space – 1973

There was only comfort in isolation. And for countless eons, it embraced the empty vacuum, going through the basic repetitive routines of its existence. Its birth was irrelevant. Survival was the only necessity to thrive in this cruel void. The nothingness, for endless ages, was its only home. But an urge pulled it to a globe of green and blue, a place it had never been to before. Was destiny giving it a chance at a new life? To prove itself worthy to live in a heartless world? Following its instincts, the amorphous lifeform dove towards the massive sphere.

The time spent falling was nothing short of progressive. Time accelerated as gravity took hold of its form. However, it wasn’t long until it found itself splattered against the hull of a metallic capsule. Orbiting across the ocean of emptiness, the Helios-7 was a research vessel collecting data of unknown organisms within Earth’s exosphere. Little did it realize that it would serve as a ride for an alien organism from galaxies far away. Acting on primordial instinct, the amoeba clung to the vessel with all its might. Its cells, adapted to the absence of heat, were able to withstand the bitter void, which did not bother it in the least. So when it seeped through the cracks and navigated its way to the interior, it began to torture the men aboard Helios-7.

Their screams faded before Helios-7 fell back into the atmosphere.

And so, the Helios-7 plummeted to the wideness of the Pacific Ocean. The world would learn of its tragedy later that week, as the spacecraft vanished beneath the oceanic surface. Little would anyone know the truth of the matter; a virus from far beyond our world settling in, adapting. The first set of earthly victims of the amoeba would never tell the tale of what happened…

*****

Lagos Island – 1973

Confident human eyes gazed upon an unbeatable leviathan.

The three-headed dragonoid scanned all in its presence, uncurling golden lips to reveal razor sharp teeth. Bright hot energies sparked within the beast’s three maws. The air rippled from the intense heat gathering near the dragon’s jaws as it prepared its signature weapon of destruction. A bright light encompassed the humans as they witnessed the colossal creature’s unmatched power first hand.

Gravity bolts tore into the ocean with unrelenting fury. Geysers of superheated vapor blasted high into the atmosphere, blanketing two men in a colorful mist which blanketed the ash-covered rock surrounding them. But even partially blinded, they could not look away from their biological creation, which possessed the power they desperately searched time and space for.

An irradiated mutation born through manipulation of the past.

A creature that ignited hopes for a brighter future.

A monster their enemies would curse with hate until they vanished from existence itself.

King Ghidorah.

*****

Pacific Ocean – 1973

Caressed in gray clouds on a humid summer day, Smokey traversed nearly 10,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean. It remained invisible to the luminance of Earth’s star, but the heat was getting the better of the ship’s crew of three.

“Big brother, are we there yet?” the young Akira complained, drenched in a layer of his own sweat. This was about the fifth time he asked, and frankly, it was getting under Hotaru’s skin. She knew they were almost there. Heck, she was steering the aircraft to their destination, but her younger brother just didn’t have patience. Even then, the sweat underneath their homeworld uniforms would prove to be a pain to wash off. And to believe they bathed just earlier this morning. Of the three siblings, only Hikaru kept his cool.

“Almost,” he replied in a confident tone, “We’ll start descent in less than five minutes.” Smokey’s cockpit only consisted of two seats for the pilots to fly. Not that Hikaru minded. It was his responsibility to search and repel any major threat, kaiju or alien, and transform if it had to come to it. And according to the reports from their parents and grandfather, there was something lurking on one of the Bikini Islands.

Hotaru couldn’t help but recall what their father said to them earlier in the day; a cluster of shipwrecks washed ashore on some of the nearby islands. The inhabitants, though far and few between, also accounted for that of an unidentified object within the vicinity. The specifics, however, were rather vague and conflicting. Some claim it to be the Oodako family, others Ebirah, and others something different altogether. If it was truly a space monster, it had her worried. Were the Garogas already here, scouting Earth before sending their armada? She prayed that this wouldn’t be the case. Sucking her teeth under her pink face veil, she decided to drop it. Her questions would be answered in less than a minute, so she would have to see and find out.

“Should I start the descent?” Hotaru asked, with a tinge of nervousness.

“Go ahead. We’re here.”

Trying to mask her anxiety, Hotaru set Smokey on a steady slope down. “Activate the mist and keep Smokey concealed,” Hikaru said. Flipping switches on the control board, Hotaru encased their handy transportation vehicle into a cloud of thick fog. Although the effects were not immediate, at least they didn’t need to withstand the sun’s ultraviolet rays and heat waves anymore.

Hotaru, relieved not to be at high altitudes, grabbed hold of a two-way handheld transceiver. Unlike those from the human military, these were wireless with a bandwidth that well surpassed the technology of the time. Small and compact, these ‘Zobots’ came in handy with long-distance calls; but for family only.

“Land Supi to Mirifa. This is Zone Angel,” Hotaru spoke, clearing her voice of any downcast, “We’ve arrived at the site, and we’re going in. Over.”

“This is Mirifa, this is Mirifa,” their grandfather, Raita, buzzed in from the other side. “I’m detecting anomalies that weren’t there before. Contaminated blood and several–” The feed abruptly cut off, arousing suspicion from the three.

“Strange that we’re getting interference this far out,” Hikaru remarked.

“And it’s concerning,” Hotaru noted, “What did grandpa mean by contaminated blood? I get there are waste fills in the Pacific, but I don’t think it’s that.”

“I’ll go out and check. You two keep an eye out.” His younger siblings simply nodded in agreement.

Smokey continued its decline, the friction of the air encompassing the aircraft. Straight ahead was their destination. Lagos Island. For the last few decades, this section of the Pacific was considered a hazard due to heavy exposure to radiation during the Atomic Age. The island, once undoubtedly harbored lush greens and silky white sands, was a dead-man’s land. Brittled trunks and charred bark stood erect, the sands coarse and ashened. Lagos had been devoid of natural life for a long time.

While radiation proved to be toxic to humans, a Peacelander wouldn’t have much to fear. Their biology was naturally tolerant of high doses of nuclear material, although they could die if they were exposed for too long. In addition, they would still need radiation-cleaning for the safety of their environment and others. So when Hikaru leapt out of Smokey and into what was essentially a contaminated zone, his siblings knew there wasn’t too much to worry about.

The g-forces pushed against Hikaru’s human shape as he continued to accelerate from free falling to his destined location. While he could easily enter flight mode at any time, he wanted to have a little bit of fun now that time allowed it. Performing a series of gymnastics he would see often on the television during his off-time, Hikaru enjoyed the current of the breaking wind cooling his body from the sweat sustained from the flight here.

“Really, Hikaru? Really?” Hotaru muttered, softly chuckling at her brother’s antics as she brought Smokey to a slow halt. Outside of her and Akira, there was no one else watching. So why even do it?

Akira, too, watched with admiration. ‘One day, big brother,’ Akira thought, indulging in his fantasies, ‘I will be the next Zone Fighter.’ However, out of the corner of his eye, he saw something.

“Big sis, look over there!” Akira pointed in the general direction that he saw this object. Hotaru glanced where Akira was pointing, surveying the clouds. For a second, she didn’t notice it. But it was then that she noticed the object. A silhouette of something… Otherworldly. The even stranger part, she was confident either herself or her older brother would have noticed it first thing.

Hotaru’s eyes widened. Had her greatest fears come to fruition? Without hesitation, she got a hold of the Zobot to contact their brother regarding the situation. “Zone Fighter, this is Zone Angel, do you copy?” Hotaru shouted, her voice cracking, “We have a reading on something!” Instead of their brother’s voice from the other end of the transceiver, only static greeted their auditory senses.

“That’s not good…” young Akira muttered, “But it has to be from that UFO! No doubt about it!”

“I agree. We’ll…” she paused, conjuring a plan in her mind. “We’ll investigate the spaceship, while Fighter scours the island for any clues.” Akira nodded. With that, the two pilots of Smokey veered a course to the object hovering in the cloudy sky.

*****

As the free fall closed the gap between him and the land below, Hikaru ceased his flashy airborne spins and flips. Arms outstretched and straightening his body, Hikaru took flight and skillfully settled on the coarse, blackened sand with ease. Ash and salt kicked up from his landing, though Hikaru’s face veil filtered most of the particles. His eyes surveyed the setting. A desolate wasteland, barren and fruitless.

‘It’s sad to think humans are capable of such destruction.’ He released a heavy sigh. ‘So many races have fallen into the trap of self-centeredness and waste, and it seems the Earth created monsters in response to these dangers. But they’re also capable of accomplishing great things. That cannot be denied–nor forgotten.’

Before venturing in for clues, Hikaru twisted his head to observe the shrouded Smokey. While the camouflage rendered it invisible to the untrained eye, Hikaru’s sharp senses allowed him to see the vessel taking flight. But toward what? Before he could do anything, he heard something directly behind him. Swiftly turning around, he saw a massive figure rise from the ocean depths.

“That answers that, I suppose,” he retorted to himself, dashing inland to avoid the wake of the strange beast.

The waters churned as the first piece of the mammoth monster made itself known. A golden, snake-like head whipped out of the shallow ocean, glistening with water and shining in the presence of the few strands of sunlight breaking through the gray clouds. Its deep red eyes fixed on Hikaru’s tiny form with awareness. Massive water droplets, with the size akin to boulders, rained down from the dragon’s serpentine neck. Hikaru reflexively doged each and every one, sans the water globules from the exploding boulder-sized droplets. He needed to put space between him and the kaiju, and fast. Transforming too close to the enemy and they could easily take advantage of his brief vulnerable state post-transformation. Putting mild distance between them would help him observe the enemy in case of any surprise attacks and give him time to react accordingly.

Hikaru outstretched his hands and took flight, then twisting his head he saw that wasn’t the full creature he witnessed. Two more identical heads with long necks shimmered in the light as the shores tore apart from the dragon’s gargantuan wings rising up. Cascades poured off of the golden dragon’s body as Hikaru recognized its shape.

“King Ghidorah…” Hikaru quietly muttered. He recalled reading about this one when he and his family were conducting their research in human history. Though it was strange, as the terrible monstrosity he saw right in front of him differed from the photographic evidence provided by various news articles. Maybe an immature member of the same species? He wasn’t sure. Even as Hikaru found himself deeper inland, Ghidorah’s shadow gradually caught up with him as the terrifying ziz stood completely upright, letting all the loose water roll down his scaly hide. Ghidorah flexed his wings, outstretching them to the point where they blotted out the sun’s rays. Truly, a horrifying sight to behold, yet so majestic. But Hikaru had no time to admire or fear the monster. He had no choice, he had to fight.

“Here goes nothing.” Hikaru turned around and made another perfect landing on the charred surface. The split-second he could get his footing, Hikaru knelt on one knee and brought his hands in front of him. He closed his hands, only leaving his index and middle fingers out as they pressed together. He brought both of his hands up, with the fingers directing all the needed energy into his helmet’s protrusion.

“Zone, Double, Fight!” Immediately, a swath of light enveloped the young warrior. Not even a second passed as he grew at an exponential rate. The light deformed his body, altering it to be fit for this new form. Bigger and bigger he became until the light reached a size suitable for his gargantuan humanoid body-type. As the light dissipated, the gigantic humanoid only met roughly at Ghidorah’s neck bases, where the necks joined with the main body. Adorned by silver and blue patterns with jagged red streaks and a waist-belt with a blue light, it was time for Hikaru to show off the power of the Zone’s heritage and legacy: Zone Fighter!

Six eyes glared at the new arrival. They held no disdain, anger or fear of the humanoid, but for Ghidorah, his thoughts didn’t matter anymore. His mind was now a prison within his own body. The humanoid was a threat, as his masters dictated. It was not his choice to choose to fight or flee and there was no room for backing down or disobeying their commands. In the end, Ghidorah held no choice, he had to fight.

Ghidorah initiated the conflict when the maw of his central head generated concentrated energy. Within seconds, a wild burst of electric light crackled through the air, but Zone Fighter was quick to evade the first bolt. The other two heads followed suit, putting the massive humanoid’s athletic abilities to the test. The Gravity Beams carved the surrounding earth, exploding with sparks and chunks of flying boulders. For as impressive as a feat it was evading Ghidorah’s bolts, nothing could last forever.

Gravity Beams soon found their mark, pounding against Zone Fighter’s massive figure. Sparks erupted from his body, scattering across the ruined Lagos Island. As Zone fumbled to get back to his feet, Ghidorah continued to press the assault without hesitation or mercy, knocking the champion of justice around as Ghidorah took several steps forward. Within the brief interval that his body wasn’t being bombarded by Gravity Beams, Zone Fighter generated energy in his hands and brought them together. Curving outward and bringing his hands down, Zone created a flat barrier reminiscent to that of a medieval knight’s shield. And just in the nick of time as the Gravity Beams struck against the pink energized shield. The Meteor Reflection Barrier, rather than dispersing the energy, took in the kinetic force of the beams and bounced them right back at King Ghidorah!

The golden dragon shrillishly cackled, feeling the wrath of his own beams and ceased firing. He needed to adopt a different tactic, and so he did. Flapping his enormous wings, Ghidorah shook off all the leftover moisture and propelled into flight, heading straight for the Zone hero. With enough time passed to recuperate, the meteor man leapt back and allowed the energy to flow through his body. As King Ghidorah shattered the Meteor Reflection Barrier with his incredible mass, Zone Fighter charged his body with a burst of light and vibration as he made a mad-dash to meet the terrible beast head-on.

Literally flying across the ground with his Meteor Jet ability, Zone and Ghidorah collided against each other in a massive shockwave, with the heroic fighter planting a firm Meteor Punch directly into Ghidorah’s chest cavity. Despite the golden creature’s incredible weight, thick scales, and pure muscle mass, the jet-like velocity combined with the powerful punch was enough to hurl the gargantuan hydra into the charcoal terrain on his back.

Zone Fighter took advantage of this by leaping on top of the fallen dragon, throwing a series of quick and successive hooks and punches that broke through the sound barrier with each strike. Each of Ghidorah’s heads were on the receiving end of the relentless onslaught, with none of them given the time to retaliate due to the massive concussions inflicted on them. As each of the heads went limp from unconsciousness, Zone Fighter planted his knee directly on the middle head’s trachea with light charging on his right hand. His last Meteor Punch should do the trick. Zone Fighter screamed as he brought his fist down, but alas it was not meant to be.

Even on the brink of unconsciousness, Ghidorah’s left head powered through the concussion and clamped his dagger-like teeth into the descending arm. Ghidorah pumped the arm full of his own energy as sparks and lightning flew off of the bite wound. Reeling from the pain, Zone Fighter cried out and backed off. The head limply released its grip, unable to hold out any longer.

The alien warrior inspected the wound he received, still feeling the aftershock coursing through his arm and shoulder. Simultaneously, he observed the unconscious Ghidorah, wondering exactly how much time he had to spare. Unfortunately for him, it wasn’t as long as he hoped for. Even after suffering a series of concussive blows that would have rendered any other monster or Terror-Beast immobile, Ghidorah proved to be nothing short of stubborn. Even if this wasn’t the demon of the galaxy, this lesser Ghidorah was every bit as worthy to be called one. Dizzy and disoriented, King Ghidorah recovered from his unconscious state with his heads writhing on the ground. It looked like Zone was going to have to pull out the big guns.

“Meteor Missile Might!” Zone Fighter shouted aloud, with his arms crossed over his chest. In a flash of light, each of his wrists were strapped with gauntlets, ready to open fire on the recovering Ghidorah. Now he would prove to the three-headed imposter his true might!

*****

Smokey crept in close to the stationary aircraft, hidden in their own artificial cloud. This saucer was unlike anything the humans had on record; it wasn’t Xilien nor Nebulan in nature, it wasn’t even of Garoga influence. What was clear in the minds of Hotaru and Akira Sakimori was that these guys, whoever they might be, were up to no good.

“How are we going to get in?” Akira questioned. The unfortunate part in Hotaru’s mind was that it was a legitimate query. She hadn’t quite figured that out herself. Since the saucer hadn’t moved since they arrived, it was a safe assumption that they hadn’t been spotted. The crazy idea crossed her mind to just use Smokey to engage it in a dogfight, but she wasn’t sure if such a rash decision would be a wise thing to do. They had to be a threat, but the extent of their capabilities were unknown. A stealth-based tactical approach would have to do, at the very least, to get a better understanding of who or what they were up against.

As Smokey closed in, hovering beneath the bizarre aircraft, Hotaru observed a pair of elevator-like doors protruding from the underside. “There,” she remarked, “I think we have our ticket into whatever this thing is.” She tapped on the control board, activating Smokey’s auto-pilot and kept it temporarily parked under the saucer.

“Sis, look!” Akira exclaimed, pointing out of the cockpit window. Hotaru decided to glance out the window herself to see what exactly piqued his interest. From their vantage point, they could see Lagos Island and the unfolding battle happening before their very eyes. Their elder brother, Zone Fighter, locked in combat with a familiar figure recorded in human history as King Ghidorah, each hurling Gravity Beams and Meteor Missiles at each other.

“Wh-what is this? King Ghidorah?!” Hotaru was indisputably shocked at seeing one of the galaxy’s most infamous threats here. Even before they arrived on Earth, Hotaru always recalled the myth of King Ghidorah as a fearsome destroyer from her youth. An apocalyptic punisher who, as legend has it, was born alongside the universe during its conception.

“Maybe these, uh… Uh…” Akira struggled finding a good terminology for these visitors.

“Aliens, Akira. They’re no different than us or the other races, at least to Earth’s inhabitants.” Hotaru stated.

“Right. I knew that.”

“Come on, we have to see what’s up. Maybe these visitors have the answers we’re looking for.” She pressed on the button that opened the roof door. It slid open, with Hotaru signaling Akira to follow her. The two siblings flew out of Smokey, with their Zobots in hand, quickly arriving in front of the doors in a matter of seconds. They scanned the surrounding area, surprised to see that there weren’t any cameras present.

“I don’t see anything,” Hotaru noted, “Let me know if you see any air vents we can use to get in.” Her younger brother nodded. Yet before they could do anything, the doors automatically opened and a swarm of humanoid guards already drew out their advanced pistols.

“On behalf of the Equal Environment of Earth Union, you are both under arrest for trespassing on government property,” the guard stated robotically, “put your hands behind your head, or we will open fire.”

Hotaru was stunned. ‘Did they really have cameras already set? Or had they known of our arrival beforehand? What’s the Earth Union? EUGH!’ she winced, venting her mental frustrations. Realizing this, she quickly resumed a stoic expression, praying no one noticed. The unexpected predicament they were in didn’t have room for them to slice through the group of soldiers. Not only were they vastly outnumbered, but the ethical consequences of killing humans didn’t sit well with her.

‘At the very least, maybe we can talk with someone to figure out what’s going on here,’ she thought to herself. So she complied with their commands when she put her hands behind her head. “Come on, Junior,” she insisted, addressing Akira by his heroic alias as she hid her Zobot out of sight. He quietly complied, doing much the same, and was quick to do what she asked of him.

“Good,” the guard was satisfied with their course of actions, “now follow us.”

*****

Zone Fighter and King Ghidorah warped the landscape with their onslaught of projectile weapons. They kept their distance from one another, though it was abundantly clear that golden hydra was more of a tank than the meteor man. Ghidorah ceased firing, shifting gears into a defensive stature. Tough membranes that were the wings concealed his body as the dragon tucked his heads within the empty space. Missiles continued flying amok, only to find that those that reached their target were merely deflected by the wings. Even worse, he started walking through it.

The alien hero was hard pressed to believe that the Meteor Missile Might, one of two weapons he often resorted to as a last ditch effort, was as ineffective as it was. True, he was against a member of the Ghidorah species, so it wouldn’t be a cake walk. Still, it was concerning nonetheless. But now that Ghidorah was wrapped behind his wings, there had to be an exploit Zone Fighter could yield to his advantage. Then he saw what he could do.

“Meteor Jet!” Zone cried out, summoning his jet-like speeds once more. Coated in a bluish glow, Zone Fighter closed the gap between himself and Ghidorah again. Time which Ghidorah had to prepare. Anchoring his golden trunks into the charcoal earth, the protected hydra pulled the weight of his twin tails, intending to use them as maces. Seeing through Ghidorah’s instinctual plan, Zone used the momentum built up to perform a twirling leap, completely avoiding the mace-like tails. This, in turn, left Ghidorah’s back completely exposed; focusing all the kinetic energy into one leg, Zone Fighter defied the laws of physics and plunged his sole directly into Ghidorah’s spine! Although it wasn’t enough to dislocate a spinal disc, as the scales and muscle absorbed most of the impact, the force was enough to plant Ghidorah into the crust, unable to unfurl his wings in time.

Using Ghidorah’s back as a springboard, Zone Fighter spaced himself apart as to prepare for his actual finisher. Bringing his forefingers to his forehead antennae, it flashed with a brilliant light. This, in Zone Fighter’s mind, should do the trick.

“METEOR PROTON BEAM!”

A sharp blue laser darted out, lancing into Ghidorah’s golden hide with resounding success. An explosion of gold sparkles and red blood gushed from the wound, eliciting an animalistic cry from the three headed monster. For one reason or another, hearing Ghidorah scream struck a chord with Hikaru. It obviously wasn’t the first time he heard monsters cry out; plenty of the Terror-Beasts were more than capable of imitating pain, though that was only a survival mechanism implanted by the Garogas, as to avoid destruction. It wasn’t like they had the capacity for empathy. Even the Ghidorah known to Earth was nothing short of an engine of destruction, only screaming in wrathful fury when in pain. But this was different… Concerningly different. But Zone had a duty and an objective. This was a Ghidorah, and it had to be stopped.

No matter the cost.

Ghidorah’s scales and muscle mass buffered enough of the Proton Beam so as not to completely eradicate his spinal cord. Nevertheless, it was going to be painful to move around. Using his wings and legs as support like that of a quadruped, Ghidorah regained his footing and hissed at Zone Fighter.

“Huh, I didn’t expect those wings to be so elastic,” he noted to himself. He glanced at the belt around his waist, noticing the blue hue shift into a concerning yellow. ‘The sooner, the better.’ The hero readied for round two until his ears began to buzz with static….

*****

A few moments earlier…

Hotaru and Akira found themselves surrounded by human-like guards and encased in the confinement of this mysterious vessel. The interior wasn’t at all what Hotaru would have expected. It had a strange retro-sci-fi vibe… But she assumed there was more going on under the surface than she could comprehend. Even their rifles were akin to human engineered weapons compared to the other known races.

They continued walking down the corridor in relative silence until they reached what Hotaru only assumed to be the main quarters of whoever these visitors were. The sliding doors opened, granting them access to the control room. With it, came many indecipherable screens, numerous other guards, and at the center were two distinctive figureheads who differed from everyone else.

“Sir, we’ve detained the Peacelanders as you instructed,” the M10 guard stated. Hotaru and Akira were aghast at what they just heard, but didn’t utter a single word.

One of the two Caucasian men, adorned in a business suit with graying hair, dismissed them with a wave. Immediately, all but one scattered and returned to their original stations. The one who remained, caucasian as well with short golden hair, stared at them with a smile which emitted a cold chill down Akira’s spine.

“Who are you people and what are you doing here?” Hotaru demanded, in need of answers.

“My my, direct and to the point, aren’t we?” the civil man responded before he began to walk toward his guests. “I am Chuck-”

A crack emitted beneath Wilson’s foot stopping the man in his tracks. As he raised his right foot, blood, guts and other fluids of a small crab lay at the bottom of his sole. A look of distaste from the blue fluids took hold of Chuck before he wiped his sole against untainted ground.

“Apologies, we were on the island a few moments ago and it seems the wildlife grew attached to our ship. I’m Chuck Wilson, and this is my associate, Glen Chico.” Glen Chico, the other man with red receding hair, offered his formalities. Unknowing of how to properly react to all this, the children bowed as a reluctant greeting. “We are here on behalf of the Earth Union,” Wilson continued, “collecting an experiment that will benefit all mankind.”

“Don’t you mean the United Nations?” Akira questioned.

“No,” Wilson corrected, “not in the least. Besides, I need some answers from you two. Exactly what it is you’re doing here?”

“That’s none of your concern!” Hotaru snapped.

“That so? Because if I recall not one second ago, I stated what our business was here. Equivalent exchange, I’m sure you understand.”

Hotaru sighed. “We received reports about shipwrecks near here. So we were investigating… I guess these are also part of your ‘mankind saving’ experiments? Using a monster to kill innocent people?”

Glen Chico’s eyes widened in confusion. “I’m not sure what you mean.”

“The golden dragon thingy,” Akira intervened, “the creature that’s fighting our brother!” Hotaru motioned for him to zip it, but the damage had already been dealt. Akira gestured an apology.

“I assure you, we and our Ghidorah have not done any harm since we arrived in this time-” Chico mistakenly commented merely to glance at Wilson who simply rolled his shoulders.

‘Wait, ‘our’ Ghidorah?’ Hotaru thought to herself, ‘How did they make their own Ghidorah?’

“There is no harm in explaining Glen. Would it really change anything?”

“You’re not of this time, are you?” Hotaru inquired as all the pieces in her mind began to form a single thought.

“Very absurvent. Yes, we are from the 23rd century. The Ghidorah below is something of our own creation and we know all of you from records of our time describing your feats. The worship of heros continues even to our own time.”

With a mere flick of Glen’s wrist, screen doors slid open to reveal multiple hi-tech projector screens. On them were surveillance footage of Zone Fighter, Ghidorah, the island, and its surroundings. Hotaru observed closely and realized all of these differentiating angles were impossible for standard drones to even observe, almost like a film.

“If everything is going like you said it is, then make him stop fighting!” Akira demanded sternly, “We don’t want to fight you!”

“Of course,” Wilson stated aloud, “so long as you tell Zone Fighter to do the same with your… Zobots if I recall our records correctly. They should work now as our communications were blocking your own.”

*****

Golden light gleamed within the dragon’s jaws, rippling the air from its heat, but the act did little to scare the mighty hero standing valiantly against the dragon’s onslaught. In preparation, Zone Fighter planted his feet deep within the ground and channeled energy to his fingers. ‘Come on, let’s see how you like a second round of the Reflection-Barrier.’

Before either enacted their strategies, King Ghidorah’s light began to fade. Fury-filled eyes of King Ghidorah dulled to passive stares. The three heads turned their attention away from Zone Fighter, appearing to chat amongst themselves in complete obliviousness of his opponent. The buzzing in Zone Fighter’s ears gradually morphed into a familiar female voice, drawing his attention briefly away from his opponent’s strange activity.

“Brother, please stop fighting Ghidorah. He will not attack as long as you don’t!”

An unrecognizable gasp echoed from Zone Fighter whose fists tightened with concern. ‘Stop fighting? Hotaru, what are you thinking? It’ll bring destruction and terror to everyone and everything!’

Zone Fighter kept his hands raised in a fighting stance. ‘No way I can let this thing live. I’ll need to end it now while it’s passiv-’

An eerie bioluminescent light attracted Zone Fighter’s focused gaze away from his foe to the nearby waters. Whatever glowed, it was large in size and just beneath the coastal waters. Believing this to be the moment of betrayal, Zone Fighter switched his attention to Ghidorah, his fists sparking with energy for a Meteor Slice, merely to see the dragon equally focused on the light. Zone turned away, unsure of his next action only to see more lights in the ocean. He counted… One… Two…

…then the ocean emitted an overwhelming light as far as the horizon stretched.

*****

“See, all friends here. Now, if you all wish to return to Smokey, we will be taking King Ghidorah back to our own timeline,” Glen enthusiastically explained to the pair.

“Hold up a sec!” Akira stated with his arms raised. “Why do you have a Ghidorah here in the first place? Equivalent change and all that!”

The enthusiasm seeped away from Glen who looked to Wilson for guidance merely to see his superior now staring at his hands with a look of unrivaled curiosity. Glen’s left eyebrow raised in uncertain concern, but with a shake of his head, he focused on more pressing matters. Deciding it best to answer, Glen began to walk over to the pair.

“Godzilla in our time has gone on to destroy Japan completely, so we created a new King Ghidorah to combat him. We first arrived in 1992, but… we realized quite quickly the great machine we built traverses not only time, but space as we found a past unlike what we knew. A world in war, in ruin and overrun with-”

Glen stopped his movement and shivered a moment in disgust and terror. “After the discovery, a few of our team stayed behind in that time while we dropped off our creation in your timeline’s 1944. Now, we’ve returned this year to retrieve our Ghidorah. Once he is safe, we’ll ensure our M10s will escort you-”

An energy blast tore through Glen’s skull like paper leaving a headless corpse to fall onto the floor. Nearby computers exploded from the energy shot sending sparks showering across half the room. Miniature explosions from electric circuits took hold of the control room as monitors sparked uncontrollably while the perpreator formed a smile as he retracted his smoking weapon.

“How… interesting,” Chuck Wilson commented as he looked at the gun, admiring it with intrigued, wide eyes. Before he could do anything further, a long kick from Hotaru struck him across the side sending him ragdolling across the room. Sickening pops reverberated from the human before he came to a stop, his body twisted and mangled.

Hotaru stood over the broken man, her right arm outstretched so Akira would not see the state of the madman beneath her. “You… you killed your friend!”

Wilson’s head turned beyond any normal limit, breaking cartilage as he gazed up at Hotaru. “To this body, he may have been a friend but to me-” Blue ooze began to glisten from the multiple wounds covering the Futurian’s body, “-he is nothing more than inferior. For I am all things. I am Yog.”

“You’re a parasite.”

Wilson’s eyes shifted their gaze to the flickering screens above Hotaru. “Oh, I am far greater and soon-” Hotaru looked at the screen, revealing Ghidorah, Zone Fighter, and an army of new monsters arising from the surf, “after I infect those two, I’ll be unstoppable.”

Wilson’s body fell limp while a blue substance oozed from his dead jaws. An audible sound of disgust filled Hotaru’s closed mouth, but before she could utter a word, the room around her began to tremble. Sparking computers morphed into a swelling blaze, quickly enveloping half the room in its wake. A small hand yanked Hotaru out of her stunned state and forced the young woman to run while the fires rapidly spread.

“Come on sis!” Akira yelled as he directed her to the door which they arrived through. Upon passing the door, Hotaru stopped in her tracks and glanced back to the massive screen showing the horror gradually unfolding beneath them. Fires glistened beneath the live feed, mirroring the racing of Hotaru’s mind. ‘Maybe Hikaru won’t have to fight this horde alone…’

*****

From the surf they arose in mass from their master’s order. Mere cuttlefish in origin, the squids now were mutated to monstrous size from the interstellar being coursing through their veins. Gezora, the Yog hive mind nicknamed these creatures. Tentacles dragged across the sand, gradually depriving it of all material until nothing but course rock remained. Greed filled the eyes of Gezora’s cold gaze inland to Zone Fighter, the hive mind urging the cuttlefish to restrain the humanoid so he too could join their collective. For with the warrior’s power and the dragon’s might, they could become more than just a meager army.

The world would tremble beneath the might of Yog.

Zone Fighter felt an iota of fear course down his spine from the horde which spanned the horizon. ‘Wait… so did these… are these what Father and Mother detected?’

A ping in Hikaru’s ear snapped him out of his fear merely to hear the sound of running and harsh breathing.

“Brother, can you protect Ghidorah?”

“Wait, what? Hotaru?” Hikaru responded in surprise. “There are new creatures, a horde of…”

“It’s a parasite!” Hotaru snapped in response. “They can control living beings and want to add you to its collection with Ghidorah.

Zone Fighter’s gaze locked on Ghidorah’s fallen form, sparks cascading down his left arm. Aiming methodically for its necks, the warrior’s left arm raised, ready to unleash a ray which would end the immobbile creature. “If I kill Ghidorah, that won’t be a problem.”

“There are too many!” Hotaru yelled, causing Hikaru to wince. “Besides, we need to stop the Yog here. If we let them escape, the parasite could spread. Hold them off and we’ll control Ghidorah from our ship?”

“We will?” Akira’s voice skeptically inquired.

“It’s the only way,” Hotaru assured.

Zone Fighter refocused his attention on the horde of cephalopods and with renewed determination, he felt the fear which momentarily froze him vanish. Small steps evolved into a resolute sprint toward the incoming swarm and as he approached the hundreds of Gezora racing toward him, Hikaru uttered no words in response to his siblings, for they already possessed his trust and respect. All he needed to do, as always, was face the impossible. A mission Hikaru accepted without question as he launched a fist into the mass of flesh.

The warrior’s hand tore through Gezora’s flesh like tinfoil, taking Hikaru by surprise as his hand punched through the back of squid’s head. Azure blood sprayed from the wound, red eyes rolled back into the creature’s body and with a thud, one Gezora lay dead in the shadow of Zone Fighter. The tremble of the earth from the remaining hundreds kept Hikaru’s first victory muted.

An all encompassing screech of anger let loose from the horde of Yog, tentacles surging toward Hikaru’s body as the full swarm reached his position. The slimy appendages grasped nothing but recently vacant air as Zone Fighter rolled under the tentacles and reached safe ground. Outstretching his own arm, the hero of justice grasped a number of tentacles and pulled. A Gezora flung forth toward the hero who swung his right leg into the parasite infested creature, launching brain matter onto its kin as the leg ripped through blue flesh.

‘Can’t keep killing them single file like this. Time I jumped in.’

With a determined yell, Zone Fighter launched himself into the air, evading a fresh wave of tentacles. His arms outstretched and flying at full speed, the horde watched the warrior perform an aerial loop before Zone Fighter flew parallel to the ground and like an arrow flying through the air, tore through all in his way, leaving a trail of dead or dying Gezora in his wake. Feeling his momentum slowing, the alien warrior tilted back up toward the open sky merely for tentacles to ensnare his legs. Whipping the hero back to the ground, Zone Fighter collided with the recently dead, creating a cloud of dust and azure blood.

The horde of hundreds descended upon the fallen warrior, encircling him from every direction, but Zone Fighter refused to suffer such a grim fate on his back. Jumping to his feet in an instant, Zone Fighter demonstrated his defiance with overwhelming strength. His right fist cleaved the entirety of a single Gezora’s face off. Blood sprayed upon three squids who angrily charged forth, waving their slimy appendages in an act of intimidation. A spin kick plowed the trio of cephalopods to the blood stained dirt while a single elbow strike upon a squid behind the warrior ruptured its eye and sent it screeching backward in anguish.

Even as the dead began to pile up, Zone Fighter felt no relief. The horde which encompassed him showed no sign of ending, no sign of stopping and their icy grip seemed ever tighter with every passing moment. Then, in unison, the swarm launched itself toward the hero from every direction. Tentacles constricted Zone Fighter while bodies buried him in a growing, monstrous mass.

A few Gezora, scattered across the charred landscape, stood ominously as they watched their kin throw themselves upon the warrior. Inside their bodies, the unified Yog hivemind relished the sight and awaited the inevitable. The frigid bodies of Gezora would make resistance impossible, even for the powerful Zone Fighter, and soon he would become nothing more than another vessel. A new, unbeatable-

The pile of Gezora atop Zone Fighter vanished in a monumental explosion and fire ballooned into the heavens. Within the blaze, a humanoid shadow arose with silver bracelets upon its outstretched arms and as the fires gradually died, Zone Fighter stood triumphant, bathed in the blood of Yog. Charred flesh crashed upon the earth like rain, a deathly gaze emanated from Zone Fighter and the bracelets upon his wrists clinked as they reloaded another volley for imminent fire. The horde of Gezora, or specifically the Yog’s hopes of a quick addition to its army vanished as Zone Fighter lifted his arms and screamed in defiance, “Meteor Missile Might!”

King Ghidorah remained still on the warm, rocky terrain it lay upon. With no orders, it could not move any part of its body and so, like a prisoner within a cell, it remained stagnant, watching the horde of squids be shredded in a spectacular volley of explosive firepower.

Why was the battle occurring? What were these new creatures? Simple questions like these entered the dragon’s mind, yet were disregarded with little care. For the only question the dragon truly desired to be answered, was when would shatter the submissive chains which bound him? When would it be free once again?

*****

Hotaru and Akira felt the ship listing beneath their feet as they dashed down flickering hallways. Sliding, metallic doors became nothing more than a blur to the pair as their eyes eagerly awaited for one particular entryway. Yet as distant detonations reverberated through the deteriorating vessel both knew their time of escape was fading. The groan of metal followed another tilt of the ship, turning the floor’s twenty degree angle to a thirty degrees.

“How much farther!” Akira whined.

“Not too much, just keep running!” Hotaru retorted through harsh breaths.

The flickering lights surged with power and faded, acting as a precursor to the ship listing another five degrees.

“We’re almost running on the wal-”

“There!” Hotaru shouted in relief as the pair turned a corner. “Get behind me Akira!”

The confused eyes of Akira snapped to her sister. “Wait, what do you mean?”

From outside the Futurian vessel, metallic doors burst open and began a long descent to the land below. Hotaru, her shoulders extended so she could ram through the door, morphed into a suitable flight orientation as she flew toward the Zone family aircraft. Right behind her, Akira floated forth with his arms slouched, relief dripping from his expression.

“That-that was close. I wonder how much time we had le-” Akira’s eyes widened in terror as he looked back to see the air which once housed the Futurian ship now vacant. An explosion of metal far below made the child forcibly laugh to himself as he entered Smokey with a vacant stare, ignoring his sister who scrambled onto the smokey’s communications.

“Land Supi to Mirifa, this is Zone Angel. Do you read?” Hotaru urgently shouted. ‘Please let the interference be gone.’

The line remained ominously silent until a familiar voice soon came to life, bringing great relief to Hotaru. “I am dear. What’s wrong?”

‘Yes! Now the hard part.’

“Mother, we need grandfather’s help to save Hikaru. Can you reach him?”

“Already here,” Raita Sakimori assured over the Zobot communication line. “When you three didn’t check in, your mother reached out to me in the lab. What do you need?”

“Can you hack King Ghidorah?” Akira enthusiastically inquired.

“Excuse me?” Raita replied while Hotaru sighed, clutching her forehead. “It’s a long story.”

*****

Standing over charred, dismembered pieces of at least a hundred Gezoras, Zone Fighter took a moment to catch his breath. A few battered and bloody Gezora still walked across the landscape to attack, some peeling themselves off the blood soaked land, but a single well placed strike ended their existence. ‘Timer’s red, but at least I cleared most of them. Maybe I won’t need King Ghidorah’s help after-’ Hikaru snapped his attention to where the dragon lay stagnant merely to see in the opposing horizon a far larger horde of creatures composed not only of Gezora, but two new creatures.

The hivemind, once enraged, now grew arrogant with the unveiling of its full might and the deployment of its newest creations. With red eyes which extended from an exoskeleton covered body, multi-legged mutated crabs lumbered forward in the midst of its Yog kin. Snapping elongated pincers, the beasts Yog nicknamed Gamines would be a great asset along with the other, reptilian creatures hidden beneath black shells. The massive turtle mutations, or Kamoebas, crawled forth, ready to implement its master’s will without hesitation.

A furious punch from Zone Fighter floored a nearby Gezora before he burst toward King Ghidorah to intercept the swarm. ‘Were all squids just a distraction? An easy win so I wouldn’t notice the main threat? Hopefully these new creatures are just as easy to kill.’

Running at full speed, Zone Fighter jumped into the air and retracted his legs, soaring over King Ghidorah whose eyes watched him with intrigue. Touching down at the edge of the hydra’s wing, Zone Fighter rushed only a hundred meters more until he came face to face with the forward forces of the horde or specifically a lone Ganimes. A kick fueled with Zone Fighter’s momentum struck the crab’s abdomen, violently cracking the exoskeleton, while the mutation’s right claw sliced across the warrior body. Blood leaked from both wounds, yet each combatant showed little sign of giving in as they charged at each other.

Zone Fighter ducked under Gamines’ swipe and moved beside the crab, unleashing two mighty blows upon its exoskeleton. Each fractured the protective shell, causing blue blood to leak, yet the crab showed no signs of slowing when it swiped at Zone Fighter again. ‘Alright, it’s far tougher but I can’t get caught up on this thing. I need a weak point!’ Spinning under the swipe, Zone Fighter swung his right leg outward and retracted it in, burying Gamines’ head into its own body with the heel of his foot. ‘And, found. Now…’ Zone Fighter spotted a nearby Kamoebas to practice on prior to the main swarm’s arrival. ‘Let’s see how strong you are!’

Zone Fighter dashed forth, taking the turtle by surprise from the humanoid’s speed. Retracting his right arm backward, the warrior launched it with all the strength he could muster at the beast’s shell causing a sickening snap to echo. The sound of two bones breaking in Zone Fighter’s right hand. A monothlitic yell escaped Hikaru lips as he clutched his hand and from his pain, Kamobas found an opening and clamped its maw around the warrior’s left thigh. Hammer like blows struck the top of the turtle’s head in a desperate effort, but Kamoebas refused to let go. Infuriated, Zone Fighter clutched the terrapin’s skull and forced its thumbs into the creature’s eye sockets, impaling brain matter. A weekend howl echoed the turtle’s jaws before it finally vanquished its grasp, allowing Zone Fighter to stagger away from the dead creature.

‘Even tougher… great!’ As the ground began to tremble, Hikaru took a fighting stance and summoned latent energy to his arms. King Ghidorah would not fall into the parasite’s realm of control, not as long as he drew breath.
.
*****

“We have an issue,” Raita’s voice echoed within the cockpit of Smokey. “We can’t remotely control King Ghidorah.”

Hotoru and Akira looked to one another in panic. “What!” they yelled in unison before Akira proclaimed, “But, you gotta!”

“Huh well these, Futurians you called them? They’re tech is impressive for humans. They used a high pitched frequency to send orders and another to enforce their demands. This second signal was their key. I can imitate the first frequency, but the second alludes me. Their key alludes me…”

“So we can’t help Hikaru,” Hotaru worryingly questioned.

A tired, old breath coupled with static echoed in the call. “No, we can. Using Smokey, I can send out a signal to break the lock on Ghidorah.”

“So basically we free him and have to ask him nicely?” Akira remarked with dread. “Maybe brother doesn’t need help?”

Hotaru nervously pulled up optical sensors within the command center of Smokey to assess the situation. A live visual feed of Zone Fighter’s position appeared revealing the warrior desperately fighting a literal sea of flesh and his timer now glowing a dire red.

Hotaru, filled with concern, dug her gloved fingers into the control panel. ‘Brother, just hold on a little longer.’

*****

“Meteor Slice Chop!” Surging crimson energy from his fingertips, Zone Fighter thrust both his arms out, each angled to perform optimally. Arrow-shaped blasts sliced through the air, shredding through the limbs of the Gezoras like paper. Even the Ganimes caught in the crossfire were susceptible to the energized cutters, disarming the mutated crustaceans in the process. The Kamoebas, however, proved durable enough to withstand it, though it did chip their reinforced armor.

‘No matter how much it takes, we must fight!’ A Ganime rushed up to him, the meteor man shifted combat styles and plunged his fist into the disgusting visage of the cretin. Its eyestalks and mandibles caved in from the tremendous force of the impact, the ensuing kinetic energy flinging the dead crab away from him. Even so, a quick glance to his belt buckle was already cause for concern. ‘It’s still red. I have to let them know.’

His compound eyes scanned what was in front of him, prepared to take down the next Yog spawn. However, unbeknownst to him, his Achilles’ heel shot with a sudden, sharp pain. With a twist of his head, Zone Fighter saw the dark shelled terrapin gnawing at the back of his foot. Before he could prepare another Meteor Slice to do the deed, he was suddenly jumped by a pair of Ganimes’, one of which was an unusual white color. Using his strength, he wrestled with the shelled triad, but found himself slowly overwhelmed.

From the eyes in the sky, the pilots of Smokey came swooping down. “Zone Fighter, this is Angel, we’re coming in!” Hotaru glanced at Akira, and they both nodded. Fighter was in imminent danger, and he needed the help he could get.

“Meteor Proton Beam!” the siblings shouted in unison as Hotaru pressed down on the joystick’s buttons. From the frontal nose of the alien craft, a searing blue laser washed over the aquatic marauders, eviscerating the brown Ganimes and carving off a piece of the Kamoebas’ face in the process. Freed from their grip, Zone Fighter hurled the white Ganimes to the side and, in an act that mirrored his siblings, brought his fingers to his antenna.

“Meteor Proton Beam!” From the red-tip of his forehead protrusion, a bluish beam struck the albino crustacean and promptly ignited in a glaring fireball, even if it was far from the end of it. However, there was still a chance, so long as they could pull it off.

“Akira, prepare for Zone Marker replacement!” Without missing a beat, Akira’s fingers prepared for the ol’ switcheroo. From Smokey’s belly, the red-tipped cap lowered into the outside world. “We only have one shot at this,” Hotaru added. “We have to be within 90 meters of Fighter, otherwise it won’t lock on.”

Suddenly, the cockpit rocked violently. “What’s going on?” Hotaru’s eyes furiously scanned her surroundings until she noticed the source of their predicament. For a moment, she thought she had hit some terrible turbulence so low–but the reality was everso more unsettling. From the ground, many of the Ganimes reared their heads back and spat volleys of coalesced seafoam from their mandibles. While such a feat would be nigh useless against their brother or the mighty Ghidorah, the force of it was still enough to crush humans into paste. Or in this instance, bend metal.

One of the watery spitballs thwacked on the nose cone, warping the metal and displacing their aerial momentum. “We lost the laser cannon!” Akira bluntly shouted, “We need to pull up!”

“Hang in there,” Hotaru muttered under her breath, eyes laser focused on her brother, who was starting to lose balance from loss of Proton power. “Now!” Simultaneously, they cried aloud, “Zone Marker Change!” and fired the cap directly at the meteor man. The expired cap adorned on his head fell as the new one came in its place. He could feel the Proton power course through his giant form, the belt shifting from red to blue in an instant.

Energized and prepped, Fighter gave a simple thumbs up. If nothing else, it delayed the worst of it–provided this ongoing war would ever come to an end… As Smokey was forced to retreat into the artificial clouds of its own creation, Zone Fighter saw a shift in behavior from the unusual lifeforms.

“Wait… Are they….” Before he could complete his train of thought, he saw the others of the Yog-spawn divert their attention directly to the other target: King Ghidorah.

“Oh no you don’t!” The meteor man boldly proclaimed, whipping out his Meteor Missiles Might bracelets into action. A flurry of missile fire erupted around them, temporarily halting the mad fiends in their place, if not outright destroying them in the process. Leaping to the air, the renewed Zone Fighter landed directly in front of the mass horde, eager eyes desiring to add them to their army.

‘As much as I’d hate to admit, I could really use its help right about now,’ he silently confessed in thought, continuing his relentless onslaught.

If the threat wasn’t stopped here, then the entire world would befall into doom.

Serpentine slits could only scan the environment around it, unable to act in accordance with its will. These dead shores and the basking sunlight reminded it of a time long since passed. Nostalgic memories flowed into its suspended consciousness… A place it had once called home. A home stolen by the great flames that forged it into the superbeast it now was. For a time, such a feeling granted it freedom, but much like the stasis it was in, was denied by its former masters.

It saw the humanoid and the amassed army of sea monsters. They converged upon him, and he fought back rigorously. For what? Even if it was against its will, hazy memories recalled their recent bout. This alien man was a fighter and no doubt fought to kill. Was it… It couldn’t. Perhaps as a byproduct of the swarm that befell them, were the alien’s intentions truly altruistic? Unable to control its facial muscles, Ghidorah gawked idly from the lonely coast of its deserted home.

Then, its eyes snapped violently as a sharp ringing resounded in its consciousnesses.

A mental lock unhinged, decompressing the pressure that had plagued its brains for so long. For the first time in its existence, feeling returned to its body. Bat-like wings, feet, and tails stirred sporadically, at long last acquiring a body that belonged to it. Pulsating red sparks circulated around its heads, each one emitting their own cries of jubilation.

As it reoriented itself to its will and control, Ghidorah continued to observe the fight that unfolded before their very eyes. All that transpired turned less and less favorable for the alien warrior. As strong as it was, even this proved to be far too much for them to handle. Ghidorah’s facial muscles contorted into a grin. Perhaps as a means of repaying the favor, the beast came to a decision. Not out of some comradery act of selflessness or righteousness that moved its wild heart.

No, it was to prove a point of who the strongest really was.

Hikaru continued to struggle, but a familiar darkness began to creep in from the edges of his sight. Appendages became numb from the multiple tentacles of Gezora which clutched his body. Gurgled sounds escaped the constricted warrior’s throat merely to fall on malicious ears of the horde which surrounded him. A tentacle gradually arose above the endless sea of creatures, dripping animated blue blood which contained the pure essence of Yog.

The hivemind grew impatient as the torn appendage raised over an open wound on Zone Fighter’s body, waiting for a large droplet of blood to ensure the infection. Regardless of the time it would take or the tenacity of the humanoid, the Yog would grow stronger and soon, no living creature would be able halt the conquest of Earth. All would be Yo-

A goliath of golden skin crashed in front of Zone Fighter, caving in the head of a Kamoebas and the body of a Gezora. Before the swarm could realize the situation, hurricane force winds blew dozens away while lightning like blasts ignited those too close to Zone Fighter’s body. Creatures burst into flames around the warrior’s body, creating a wall of fire which none of the horde dared cross. For now they faced a new opponent, one free of its chains and ready to unleash the pent up rage it harbored for so long.

The horde of Yog would fear the wrath of the mighty, the unshackled, King Ghidorah.

A wary cry echoed from each maw of the dragon and on bat-like wings the hydra ascended into the air. Its flight proved short lived as it crashed down upon the back of a Kamoebas, cracking its sides and flattening the soft flesh with its shell. Blood and organs jettisoned from the holes which the smooshed Kamoebas’ appendages stuck out of and standing proudly on the shell of the creature it killed, Ghidorah unleashed a torrent of gravity beams on all foolish enough to squirm in its shadow.

The dragon took special interest in the cephalopods, frying them with such precision their fiery corpses littered the battlefield more than any other creature. Ganimes boiled within their shells from the energy blasts, venting steam from their cracking crustaceous exoskeletons; however, unlike their dying Yog infected kin, Kamoebas by the dozens crawled forth under the chaotic barrage. With heads retracted, the mutated sea turtles dragged themselves closer and closer to their attacker, infuriating the dragon.

King Ghidorah’s three heads ceased their assault. Animalistic sounds barked from each draconic maw to the other on what to do with the persistent reptiles merely for each head to nod in agreement. Turning their six eyed gaze to the nearest Kamoebas, a continuous, triple gravity beam cascaded across the creature. The massive outer shell at first held strong, but its durability quickly faded. Sparks enveloped the Kamoebas while its deathly cry signaled to all its breathren its gruesome death, fires encompassing the fresh corpse.

A once slow crawl evolved into stampede for the Kamoebas group, shaking the earth with reptilian heels. The sudden burst of speed took King Ghidorah by surprise and from its momentary confusion, three reptilian heads extended forth and clamped their jaws upon golden scales. Wails of anguish cried out from the dragon’s heads before it refocused on Kamoebas clutching its wing. King Ghidorah’s three heads snapped upon the neck of the creature and ripped its maw off his body before swinging it wildly like a club. The other two Kamoebas clutching him retreated to their shells, but the horde around Ghidorah could not hide so easily, allowing the hydra to flatten dozens. As flesh finally tore from the reptile’s neck, the gravely injured Kamoebas which acted as a club flew into the swarm and crushed a lone Gezora beneath its bulk.

The Yog, its parasitic essence watching behind every set of eyes in the horde, grew furious by the display of sheer power from King Ghidorah. This dragon, imposing its size and strength may be, would succumb to it. It, the Earth, all would eventually be Yog!

Tired breaths escaped Zone Fighter’s faceplate. The beeping of his color timer kept the alien warrior aware of every precious passing second as his belt flashed red while his mind raced. King Ghidorah’s unequivocal rampage through the mutated army proved an invaluable ally, but he’d grow tired soon, an opening would appear and just like his fight, the dragon would fall. Hundreds still remained and even if most of the creatures were focused on mostly focused on him-

Rocks rustled behind Zone Fighter’s wary body. A new Gezora, appendages flailing wildly, charged toward Hikaru merely for the warrior to spin and thrust his elongated hand through the cepholopod’s head, right between its eyes. Blue blood spurted around the warrior’s embed arm, the squid’s eyes rolling up until the creature fell plummeted to the charred dirt, dead.

Another tired breath exited from Hikaru.

-it wouldn’t last for long.

‘Hotaru and Akira only had the one recharge pellet. Even with another, would that be enough?’ Hikaru chuckled at the irony as he remembered his thoughts arriving to the destroyed isle. ‘I need some humans capable of destruction right about…’ Zone Fighter’s eyes widened every so slightly while his gaze shifted to King Ghidorah, watching the dragon burn a Ganimes and a Kamoebas to smoldering corpses with his gravity beams. ‘Or maybe, just one of their creations.’

Zone Fighter stood tall with renewed confidence, the dire buzzing of his timer ever present, and pressed the Zobot within his right ear. “Hotaru, Akira, do you read?”

“Brother!” Akira excitedly replied. “Wait, what happened with Ghidorah?”

“He’s fighting the swarm, why?”

“He’s not under our control,” Hotaru admitted in a resentful tone. “We can request him to do things, but that is all.”

“I knew protecting him would make him like-”

“Akira!” Hikaru interrupted, “Tell Ghidorah to unleash his gravity bolts on me.”

The communication between the two brothers fell silent, surging with life as Hotaru yelled, “Are you mad?”

“It’s the only way to end this, please,” Hikaru assuredly pleaded only to continue, “and make sure you tell him not to hold back.”

With silence returning to Hikaru’s ears, he focused on Ghidorah, awaiting the sign his message went through.

Four separate sets of pincers launched forward, puncturing Ghidorah’s golden scales. Harrowing cries echoed from all three maws of the dragon until rage forced action. Gravity bolts spewed out in every direction, setting fire to two Gezoras and one Ganimes. Yet even as the trio of creatures perished, seven more took their place, forcing Ghidorah to screech in defiance. The horde retorted with action.

Tentacles lashed out, entangling the dragon’s left head while Kamoebas’ heads launched out of the horde and grabbed a hold of the right head as well as the hydra’s legs. Pulling from every direction, the sea of mutated creatures struggled to make the golden creature bow, but as their relentless struggle intensified, Ghidorah felt itself inching toward the charred dirt. Realizing it was losing even with its immense strength, golden wings flexed out of the horde and with a mighty swing, launched Ghidorah into the safety of the open sky.

Kamoebas, too stubborn to release their grips, plummeted like rain upon the mob who looked on with a unified glare of envy. Furious growls echoed from the swarm of Yog-mutated beasts, but Ghidorah cared little for their intimidation display, taking the moment to catch its breath and look upon what remained of the horde. Even after slaughtering so many, staining his golden scales with their blood, an endless swarm of the beasts remained. After the relentless fighting throughout the day, the dragon dreaded the thought of continuing any furth-

Messages suddenly flooded the hydra’s three minds, orders to fire gravity beams upon the humanoid which protected it, sending Ghidorah into a bout of rage. He would not heed these new directives. It was free, it was… Ghidorah’s heads looked to one another, slowlying grasping it held control over its body. Was this a mistake? If they could ignore the orders, why would he receive them?

A humanoid bellow rattled the heavens and drew the dragon’s bewildered attention as well as the hundreds of eyes of the yog swarm below it. Upon finding the source, King Ghidorah discovered Zone Fighter standing proudly, its left arm raised high with his right pounding his chest in affirmation. A second, confident yell echoed and as the horde began its charge toward the humanoid, Ghidorah’s three heads formed amused smirks, golden energy glistening within their maws.

Zone Fighter’s open hands fell to his sides as the sky above him began to glisten a golden glow. Tremors rattled him from the approaching army of Yog, the charred earth beneath his feet fractured from the sheer approaching mass and his timer’s beeping notified him of the few dozen seconds he had left, but all the dire signs failed to sway Hikaru, even as golden bolts discharged toward him from Ghidorah’s maws.

For what was there to fear? He would not be dying this day.

“Meteor Reflection Barrier!” Zone Fighter proclaimed for all those that dared fight him.

A curved shield, composed of hardened light, materialized in front of the warrior and upon its outward facing plate which reflected the silhouette of King Ghidorah, the gravity bolts struck. Lightning like blasts rained down upon the barrier, ringing it like a drum and causing it to become brighter and brighter until a mighty gravity blast descended upon it. The continuous, triple gravity beams flowed like water into the radiating shield, its glow rivaling the sun, and as King Ghidorah finished unleashing his reserves, Zone Fighter reached out and grabbed his creation’s edges.

Immediately, the fingers of the warrior burned, sizzling from contact with his creation, but Hikaru refused to allow the meager damage to stop him. Hearing the barrier cackling with Ghidorah’s energy, Zone Fighter knew he possessed little time and pulled with every ounce of strength in his possession to reposition the angle of the shield. The ground cracked under Hikaru’s heels, small flames ignited around the warrior’s fingers, and a steady yellow drowned out the stampede toward his position. Gradually, the barrier shifted from a one-hundred and thirty five degree angle to a ninety degree formation, giving Hikaru a small sense of relief as the Yog horde nearly reached his position, their silhouettes reflecting in the barrier of light.

Watching the Reflection-Barrier cackle with energy, Hikaru couldn’t help but launch his arms outward in defiance. This would be the moment the Yog, and all under its vile control, vanished from his planet!

“Reflection Barrier: Gravity Maelstrom!”

As if on cue, the barrier produced a singular gravity bolt of unparalleled size and destructive potential. The single Gezora standing directly in front of the blast vanished in a golden light and after it vaporized, all those behind it followed it into oblivion. The protection of Ganimes’ exoskeleton or Kamoebas’ shell failed to stop the blast and just as quickly as it tore the first Gezora to molecular dust, it cut a blinding hole through the swarm.

The Yog horde’s charge transitioned into a disorganized frenzy as the beasts moved out of the blast’s way, but Zone Fighter would not allow their escape. Grabbing the shield once more, Zone Fighter pulled with all his might and shifted the barrier’s angle, sweeping the Gravity Maelstrom’s bolt across the landscape. Horrendous screams of hundreds of Yog filled the air, Zone Fighter too screamed in agony as he felt the skin on his fingers sizzle away, but the bolt continued firing until the alien warrior completed a three-hundred and sixty degree turn, his fingers burned to the bone.

The Reflection-Barrier’s shield fragmented into nothing but droplets of light and with its departure, Zone Fighter collapsed to the charred landscape in exhaustion. The warrior pried his vision off the ash covered ground, watching a dark shadow encompass his sight, before he fell into the pits of unconsciousness.

The familiar light of day welcomed Hikaru as his consciousness returned. To his left and right, Hotaru and Akira sat respectively, visibly smiling through their facial coverings at the sight of their brother’s awakening. Hotaru fought back tears in her eyes while Akira looked away, crossing his arms and doing his best to obfuscate his joyous sniffling.

“I knew… you’d be fine,” Akira remarked, stuttering as he found it difficult to speak. As Hikaru’s hand placed itself atop his younger brother’s head, the child’s emotional barrier gave way to a warm hug upon his older brother.

With one arm clutching his younger brother, Hikaru peeled himself off the ground and swept his gaze past his siblings to what lay beyond. In the distance, monstrous corpses set aflame lay scattered in every direction. The source of their burning showed no interest in hiding its actions as Ghidorah spat gravity bolts, vaporizing what Hikaru could only assume to be the remainder of the mutated swarm.

A hand rested upon Hikaru’s shoulder, drawing his gaze to Hotaru. “The Yog is gone,” Hotaru affirmed with a confident nod. “Whatever’s left, he’s been burning since we got to you.”

Hikaru looked back to King Ghidorah, a sense of unease and relief rushing through him greater than any lingering pain he felt. ‘So… what are we going to do with you,’ Hikaru contemplated.

“So, we keeping him?” Akira remarked, breaking Hikaru and Hotaru’s thoughts as their eyes became wide in shock.
“Why?!” Hotaru shouted.

Akira eyes narrowed, his arms crossing once more in apparent disgust. “He saved big brother. We gotta help him out.”

“It was an alliance of momentary, strategic convenience!” Hotaru snapped only for Akira to tilt his head, drawing a sign from Zone Angel. “It was only temporary.”

“Ohhhhh, well we still gotta.”

The rustling of Hikaru staggering upright attracted the squabbling pair to their sibling. Jumping to their feet as well, Hotaru and Akira noticed a confident, familiar smile form beneath Hikaru’s face veil, putting them both at ease.

“We’re going to help him,” Hikaru affirmed without a trace of doubt in his voice. “And I think I know just the place he can live in peace.”

*****

Skull Island – 1973

Within the chaotic storm walls which swirled around the island’s perimeter, monstrous flora and fauna dotted the archipelago’s landscape under near sunny skies. The ravenous emerald allosaur, Gorosaurus, hunted herds of Sker Buffalo across empty plains merely to see a familiar beast of golden scales descend on the far side of the island. Without hesitation, the beast unleashed a wail to alert all battle capable monsters and most importantly, the island’s king, before he charged toward King Ghidorah.

Zone Fighter touched down in a sea of lush jungle and rolling hills. A harsh gust of wind blew past him while the ground ferociously quaked from the three-headed dragons landing just a dozen meters behind him. With a simple nod, the hero instructed King Ghidorah to follow, but the shaking of the ground halted any movement. From the jungle, beasts of monstrous size enveloped the pair, encircling every angle of the duo.

Gorosaurus screeched with frenzy, bearing his serrated teeth in preparation to tear the vile invaders apart. Baragon continuously roared while he knelt low to the ground to pounce on the pair. Black Moth snarled viciously at the unwelcomed party, carving a line in the ground with her talons. The boisterous cry of Maguma acted as a warning. Before the group could lunge, a booming roar echoed, silencing any thought of action within the island’s defenders. All eyes turned to two ape-like creatures which parted the jungle with a flick of their wrists.

Grey fur coated the larger of the pair who looked on his subjects and intruders with intrigue. King Kong’s primal eyes scanned Zone Fighter and King Ghidorah, weighing his options before the smaller Kong began to growl. The younger beast beat his brown-fur chest in an act of aggression merely for the larger Kong to bat him over the head with the back of his left hand. The undisputed king of Skull Island swiftly returned his gaze, deciding the best course of action.

As primal eyes gazed into the dragon’s, King Kong noticed no terror or rage emitting from the beast. It seemed… lost.

With a final grunt in preparation of his order, King Kong roared into the heavens of his decision, deafening even the mighty storm which encircled the island. King Ghidorah, at least this particular creature, could stay in his domain.

As he finished his commanding bellow, wary eyes of the ape looked to Gorosaurus. The allosaur’s eyes twitched with rage, but gradually, the ancient dinosaur nodded slightly in acceptance giving the old ape a feeling of relief. With no other noticeable discontent, King Kong returned to the jungle with his heir following closely, and soon, the rest of the creatures in tow.

With trouble avoided, Zone Fighter parted a wary breath and turned to King Ghidorah who looked at the alien hero with a grateful gaze. A mighty shout echoed from Zone Fighter before he launched into the sky, leaving his ally in the safety of the mighty king.

King Ghidorah, an ally.’ The thought made Hikaru’s head spin as he soared through an endless sea of clouds which glowed under the setting sun. ‘Never thought that was possible, but against the Garoga, against the future the Futurians foresaw… I’ll gladly fight by his side once more.’

*****

Pacific Ocean – 1973

Churning bubbles escaped the air pockets that remained in the submerged MOTHER, drifting ever closer to a watery demise. A state of being to be abandoned by the vision of man, forsaken to die a lonely death. Destiny was a cruel mistress. Fate had forgone the glory promised to it, and all value of conquest and propagation was lost because of it.

Within the husk of a saucer, Yog persisted in the bitter void of the oceanic trenches. Conjoined to the host’s amygdala, bulged eyes of a desecrated, twisted corpse contracted in deep thought. It scoured the dead man’s mind for additional intel. What it saw, if it uttered the truth, terrified it beyond belief.

From the eyes of its victim, it only saw the end ad infinitum. To it, this had to be the absolute truth. Yet such knowledge was so limited, even more restrained by the arrogance the deceased had once held near and dear to his shallow heart. The impossible and plausible all existed in equal factions, but only through his eyes did it see the end brought about by the red giant.

Deep sea pressure contorted the metal framework of the saucer, compressing it like aluminum foil. The Yog remained in the heart of the vessel, clinging to the host for a physical form. Certainly, the Yog’s enhancements allowed the human body to survive depths it normally would be unable to breach. It wasn’t that it couldn’t abandon the body and find another host to parasitically infest. If it chose to, it could phase through the subatomic molecules and resume its mission anew.

But the realization of the truth–a future where it no longer existed or would leave its mark in the universe–killed the instinctual drive to spread. With this existential knowledge burned into its sentience, could it really live knowing that it would be forgotten to time? Even if a future existed that would be more merciful than the one it saw, the results would be the same nonetheless. For Yog would never leave the lasting impact it had so desired. The fruits it bore would be infertile, for the seduction of the Earth’s worldly pleasures snuffed the life out of it.

As the Futurian vessel plunged in the abyss, the host curled into a ball and waited for the inevitable. This planet would go on, but it would not. All that was left was itself and its thoughts, with only one solace to all of this.

There was comfort in isolation.

Winner: Zone Fighter, King Ghidorah (Heisei)

 

 

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •