Authors: Tyler Trieschock & Andrew Sudomerski | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski

[Continued from Match 311]

Mt. Mihara – 1989

The responsibility Kubal had to fulfill weighed on his conscience. Endless droning from the V-22 Osprey’s propellers provided the only source of comfort for his anxiety. More than that, he couldn’t keep focus. Was his fear really getting to him? Surely not, he was a hardened veteran who was up to the task, but his mission was far easier said than done. He combed his gloved hands through his buzz cut silver blonde hair to ease the tension. It was a mission that the Japanese Self-Defense Force had failed time and time again, yet continually persisted at the cost of foolish men who didn’t know any better.

Kill Godzilla.

The cargo space blared to life with a red siren. That was his cue. A loud clang filled the empty space as the hangar door opened. Gusty winds seeped into the empty hull and pushed against Kubal. He rose to his feet and prepared the HALO insertion. The outside world presented to him the gates of hell and the devil that resided in it.

Even with the heavy gear loaded on him, Kubal dashed and leapt without hesistation out of the Osprey. He spread his whole body out to widen the surface tension. Coarse air pushed against his freefalling form as he made his gradual descent. He saw Mount Mihara blossom with a plume of smoke and lava, the erratic explosives detonated around the volcanic ridge, and the ever so fearsome silhouette that instilled fear upon seeing it.

A cavalcade of erupting lava and pressurized blasts roared triumphantly as if celebrating Godzilla’s long awaited return. The nuclear menace boomed a magnificent roar that overpowered the erupting volcano, one Kubal heard over the rushing wind that filled his ears. He went for his ripcord and pulled it, forcing the parachute to jettison from its pack. Air expanded the folded material as it bloomed into the balloon it was designed to be. Its circular shape caught the air and slowed Kubal’s fall substantially and allowed him to glide the rest of the way.

He witnessed the charcoal reptile’s sluggish march down the slope. However, the titanic beast stopped in his tracks and pivoted his head. Godzilla’s eyes locked onto the fleeing V-22 Osprey before shifting to Kubal. The drifting man hurried and tried to grab the blade strapped to his suit’s torso. Godzilla rumbled a low growl, almost curious of Kubal’s presence. The closer Kubal found himself to Godzilla, the more his human instincts screamed to run and abandon the mission. For a moment, a phrase spoken by Kubal’s father played like an anthem in his mind, strengthening his resolve and immediately removing any ounce of fear. Soon, only the devil staring into his soul would feel that terror…

If he had waited for mere seconds longer, he would’ve crashed into Godzilla’s scaly snout. But he knew the time was now. He pulled the blade out and didn’t hesitate for a moment as he plunged it directly into the palm of his hand, penetrating the glove and allowing blood to flow through the opening. Kubal’s body surged with a brilliant light and heat that enveloped him. Even Godzilla winced at the sudden fiery sphere, which was blinding to the eye.

No more than a moment later, there was an even greater light that consumed them both.

The active volcano quieted with the emergence of a more powerful explosion that could be heard for miles on out. Searing flames brimmed at the core of the blast and the residue kicked high into the sky, morphing into a mushroom-shaped cloud. Its aftershock rocked the nearby ocean and displaced the natural geological formations of Mount Mihara. The high temperatures it generated heated the ashen stone and evaporated the salt water into pure steam.

It was a light that was shone throughout the whole world.

***

Arabian Desert, Saradia – 1988

Thunder boomed across the lonely desert. The explosive blast generated an artificial sandstorm that followed the shockwave’s wake. Pure steam broiled from the crater’s center, and with it the gargantuan human. Composed of exposed muscle tissue and fleshy tendons, the 120-meter Colossal Titan rose from the charred sand that surrounded him. He stood idly by and waited for further instructions.

Wearing a labcoat and expressing a smile of satisfaction, Dr. Genichiro Shiragami raised a nearby microphone to his parted lips. His fingers gently pressed a button on the device, allowing the outside speakers to pick up his next words which he slowly spoke, in awe of his creation. “Excellent, Kubal. Now walk.”

The Colossal Titan lifted his hulking leg and brought it in front of him. The large foot crushed and dislodged the loose sand as he alternated movement to his other leg. Each step was awkward from the uneven desert, yet he maintained balance.

From the observatory, the high-ranking Japanese Self Defense Force and the Saradian Armed Force officials were nothing short of stunned.

“So this is Jaeger?” one of the Saradian generals noted in awe. “Was this your doing, Dr. Shiragami?”

“Not… entirely,” Shiragami hesitantly responded before he snapped himself out of his glare. “This wouldn’t have been possible without the generous cooperation from Prof. Ibuki and his invaluable research.” Shiragami gestured to the Japanese gentleman next to him.

“Oh no, the pleasure isn’t mine to take,” Goro Ibuki sheepishly dissuaded, displaying a proud grin as he pointed to his assistant. “It’s Jet Jaguar you have to thank for all this.” All eyes shifted toward the robotic android that stood by the bulletproof window, staring blankly at the red Titan. “My creation’s not one for words,” Ibuki continued, “but rest assured, his mind knows more of molecular biology and quantum physics than any human on the planet.”

“It’s assuring to know that the Titan Program bore fruit and wasn’t a waste of taxpayer money,” a Saradian general stated. “How soon can you mass-produce the Jaeger serum?”

“We can’t do that… yet,” Shiragami intervened. “The first obstacle is the subject itself and how rare their genetic makeup is, even in a world with nearly five billion people. But even if we found the handful of possible subjects, making more Jaeger is an incredibly precise and time-consuming process. In addition to these faults, we have yet to learn the full extent of these Titan powers to begin production. We need more time, but a solution will be found with it.”

“I concur with the doctor’s sentiments,” a JSDF admiral acknowledged. “We don’t know how this will fare in combat. We need a demonstration of Kubal’s power.”

“Funding for the Titan Program will be extended to next year,” the SAF general affirmed. “Get what you need and give us a demonstration by then. I’m being generous, so don’t disappoint.”

“Understood, but please gentleman, consider this an investment in humanity’s future,” Shiragami replied. Soon after, the officials were dismissed from the premises. Only those who were part of the Titan Program remained. Shiragami’s demeanor changed as he approached Ibuki and clasped his left shoulder.

The two men stared blankly at one another until a bit of laughter developed between the pair.

“Kubal turns into a humanoid taller than Godzilla and here all these guys can think about is money,” Shiragami lambasted as he rubbed his temples.

Goro’s chuckle evolved in a large, tooth-filled grin. “From how you were talking, I could have sworn you were one of them.”

Shiragami nodded his head in disapproval. “After what happened with Erika, I told you I’d help you make the world a safer place for the ones we care about. I’m still in agreement on that, no matter how many egos I need to stroke. Lives, no… death will be eliminated by what we do.”

Shiragami walked behind Goro, placing his hands on the inventor’s shoulders. “You understand what to do, right?”

Goro nodded, a few tears swelling in his eyes as he looked to Kubal’s titanic form. “There is no need to remind me of the importance of this. We’ll help however we can.”

“Good,” Shiragami whispered, his smile melting away to a look of ire as he stared at the back of his companion’s head.

 Goro kept silent. There wasn’t room to debate or criticize Shiragami’s way of thinking. He instead took a quick glance at his robotic friend and noticed something wrong. Jet’s shoulders sank with regret as he continued to stare at the Colossal Titan. While the robot bore a large, happy grin on his face, Goro knew in his heart of hearts that Jet felt a deep rooted remorse.

***

Mt. Mihara – 1989

Reptilian eyelids opened to the sight of a boiling stone wall. His head was filled with a quiet, sharp ring. The world around him was muffled and barely made out the destructive symphony that played around him. The light had already died down, and all that was left was a heat wave that muddled the air. Godzilla pushed against the melted rim and got back to his feet. He was disoriented, still recovering from the aftermath. His ears popped and returned his sense of hearing; his migraine faded and no longer bothered him as it did. At the last second, he noticed that he was no longer on a slope of a volcano, but one of a crater. He shook his head to reorient himself, then turned his wrathful gaze upon the hole’s center—a place he had only been at just moments before.

The hollow basin brimmed with pure heat that warped the surrounding air. White vapor rose in tandem with the heat, all enclosed by a magnificent ring of fire. In the center was the shape of a dull red human-like man with exposed muscle tissue and fleshy tendons. The monstrous man was crouched on his knees, with his upper half bent forward. It seemed as if he was bowing. Godzilla released tremendous heat that was absorbed into his body through a mighty bellow, demanding a challenge.

Scorched earth shifted under the Colossal Titan’s palms as the giant pushed himself up. His dull red muscles regained their natural color as he stood erect, his whole body washed with a brilliant crimson. Superheated flames coursed through his chest and spread throughout the rest of his being, further illuminating his bright red skin with hints of orange flashes. A cauldron of steam escaped from the natural vents on his body and drifted skyward.

The Colossal Titan finally came to a stop at a full one-hundred and fifty meters. His massive frame dwarfed the King of the Monsters, more so than most others Godzilla had fought in the past. The Colossal’s fiery irises flashed amidst the black sclera as he lowered his head and locked eyes with the charcoal reptile. He saw that Godzilla tilted his neck to meet with a gaze filled with insurmountable willpower and fighting spirit.

It was those eyes that made Godzilla the ultimate symbol of power.

Kubal and the Colossal Titan unleashed a deep, booming roar in unison.

The fight was on.

Neon blue lights trickled along the maple leaf dorsal plates. Nuclear energy quickly channeled through Godzilla’s reactor organ and up his throat. Separating his jaws, the atomic leviathan discharged a radioactive beam with immense power. The azure ray lanced itself into the crimson humanoid’s abdominal muscles and found an exit through his back. The Colossal Titan let out a pained groan as he collapsed onto one knee with a resounding thud. He impulsively pulled his left arm over the open wound, which gushed with uncontrollable steam as his body prioritized its regeneration process. The Titan’s flaming eyes peered away from the wound as a secondary flash from the leviathan’s dorsal spines illuminated the smoldering crater.

Inside of the Titan, Kubal’s eyes went wide as Godzilla fired another atomic ray. Terror entered Kubal’s mind, but an idea followed just as quickly. This time, Kubal threw the Colossal Titan’s right arm out, with the palm fully exposed. Heat channeled through the arm and concentrated into the hand, which shone with utter brilliance. Highly pressurized gases dispersed the powerful pillar of radioactive fire from a compact point. Godzilla stopped, as did the Colossal Titan once the beam dissipated, allowing Kubal to retract his remarkably degraded right arm.

Damn, it worked. Next time less steam, I can’t lose this much muscle fiber to block-

 A third, short blast of atomic fire detonated across the Colossal Titan’s left shoulder, forcing him backward while the nuclear leviathan gritted his teeth. With a grisly howl, Godzilla stampeded toward the enormous humanoid, prepared to take the fight up close and personal.

The Colossal Titan braced for impact. His enormous size, while imposing, left few evasive options at his disposal. His knee and bare feet anchored themselves into the molten slab the moment the gargantuan figures collided. Godzilla’s ivory claws punctured into the stringy sinew-bound chest of the giant, which poured burning blood and gusty steam. In an impressive display of his strength, the charcoal leviathan hoisted the giant over his head and hurled the searing Titan into the molten rock. Melted slag displaced against the Colossal Titan’s massive frame, which too began to swelter and liquefy under the humanoid’s superheated body.

Nuclear energy coursed through Godzilla’s body. The stampede wouldn’t stop; he would not relent for a moment’s notice. Thunderous footfalls sloshed through the softened mineral pool, undeterred by the heat it produced. Blue electricity sparked from his fingertips as he harnessed his nuclear power and prepared to strike. Then, with a mighty swing, pressed his energy-infused claws onto the muscles of the Titan’s right arm. With an immediate pop, muscle tissue and blood ruptured from the contact point, eliciting an agonizing cry from the Colossal Titan. The crater-like wound began to sizzle with steam, trying to resuscitate the damage sustained.

Again, Godzilla brought his claws forth and slashed the Colossal’s chest region, sparking a reaction from the heat and the radioactive jolts. Crackling explosive bursts lacerated the torso and profusely poured out blood and vapor. With a booming shriek, the Colossal Titan cried out in agonizing fury. Repetitively, Godzilla hacked and slashed the gargantuan brute, shearing tight-knit muscles from the skeletal frame.

Amber irises flashed against the Titan’s black sclera in a fit of rage. Even in pain, he mustered the strength to emit a low hiss at the mighty monster king. Then, he retaliated. From within the Colossal Titan’s core, a bright light illuminated from the holes and tears. There wasn’t enough time for Godzilla to counter what came next. Fiery steam jettisoned from the exit wounds and violently thrashed the monstrous tyrant. Every breath Godzilla took only further parched this throat as the hot, coarse air slipped into his orifice. Godzilla tried to fight back with a stream of atomic fire, only for it to scatter in his face.

From within his Titan body, Kubal pressed on. Slowly drudging from the outermost rim of the crater, the Colossal Titan continued to spew superheated, pressurized steam from his torso. The strands of muscle diminished to fuel the Titan’s wrathful retribution. But even all great lights fade as the exertion ebbed away. As the blazing storm died down, the battlefield became engulfed in a thick mist. Kubal didn’t need to look to see what his attack had cost him. He could feel it; the emptiness in his Titan’s chest, the compromised muscle knitting back together, his ribs reforming bone. He steadily rose to his two feet, but his eyes burned with unforgiving fury. What he needed to keep an eye on was the target that remained standing.

From the fog, the fearsome silhouette was slouched over. Godzilla’s eyes peered with intense bloodlust, with patches of ashen marks tattered across his already black, rugged scales. He salivated with drool from between his double sets of incisors, coating his inner mouth with protection as the remnants dripped into the molten slag. With a low rumble, Godzilla thrashed his tail around, churning the mushy pool of mineral. His spines flashed neon blue, regulating his atomic energy through his form. The leviathan peered at his battered foe, rage coursing as his claws twitched with destructive fury.

This battle would not be a challenge any longer. He’d tear apart every fiber of the huamnoid’s body and burn every particle to the finest ash. Nothing but a horrendously agonizing death would satiate Godzilla’s ravenous desire of destruction. Feeling the high of adrenaline from his bloodlust, Godzilla began to rush once again.

***

JSDF Headquarters, Tokyo – 1986

Screaming filled the small, bleached white room. Strapped to the wall with a variety of tubes feeding liquid into his body, Kubal couldn’t help but unleash his agony. Orange electricity sparked across his bare chest as the procedure continued, causing the two medical staff watching him to twitch nervously. One moved to assist merely for Dr. Shiragami to rest his left hand on their left shoulder, stopping them in their tracks. Minutes continued to pass, Kubal’s horrific screaming intensifying, but Shiragami ignored the unproductive sound, instead paying attention to his watch. As the big hand passed three, he relinquished his hold on the medical assistant.

Dr. Shirigami took a deep breath before he yelled with new life, “Can’t you see him screaming, he’s in pain! Get the man down!”

The door opened behind the doctor, attracting Shiragami as Goro Ibuki and Jet Jaguar entered the room right on time. “Hello Goro, did you hear the work of these fools.”

Goro nodded, a look of concern on his face as he walked past his friend and helped Kubal off the wall. The test subject nearly fell, but the three people were able to keep him upright as Kubal was handed a water bottle, which he downed almost immediately. With a few breaths, Kubal gradually stood upright without any support, walking stubbornly to a chair at the far side of the bare room.

Shiragami readied to move, but a metallic hand rested on his shoulder from Jet Jaguar, drawing a look of disdain from the doctor.

“Your favorite guest is here to speak to you,” Goro stated, attracting the doctor’s visibly agitated expression. “I can cover things from here my friend.”

Shirigami took a deliberate step away from Jet Jaguar.“Thank you, I doubt we will continue any further today,” Shirigami noted before he quickly departed the room with the other medical staff scurrying behind him.

With his head resting on the wall, Kubal continued to breathe chaotically. “Did you… come from the… hospital?”

Goro nodded with a grin on his face. “Results for the month show definite improvement.”

Kubal peeled his head off the wall, his breathing still labored but steady. “Thank you, you didn’t need to….”

“It is the least my assistant and I can do for all you have put at stake.”

Kubal rolled his eyes, placing his head back against the wall.

“My intentions are selfish, Goro. Everyone is and besides, without that treatment… I wouldn’t have much of a life. Would I?”

Goro’s eyes lingered for a moment, dulling ever slightly before life returned causing them to glow seemingly brighter than before.

“True, all people are selfish. To protect or better themselves is only natural. For me, I’d trade anything for a relaxing vacation from all of this,” Goro chuckled as he placed his hand on Kubal’s shoulder. “But going through this painful process, risking your own life, for those you care about or don’t know, would prove that you aren’t selfish. For what is there more to put on the line than your life?”

Kubal tilted his head back, closing his eyes in mild irritation.

“First man I’ve ever met that I can’t tell if you’re wise beyond your years or just daft.”

Goro retracted his hand, laughing. “Probably a bit of both.”

***

Mt. Mihara – 1989

The Colossal Titan pushed his left foot into the slag and placed his right behind him. His muscles tensed, anticipating Godzilla’s next move. The crazed leviathan plowed through the molten mineral, atomic lightning dancing along his spines. Gritting his teeth, the Colossal Titan pulled his right leg farther back and began radiating a burning light. Rugged air burst from the heel bone, displacing the mush behind it, and propelled his hefty foot like a rocket with incredible forward momentum.

Godzilla barely registered it as he recklessly barreled through the slob, but was quick to realize the error of his ways. Thick, compact toes collided against the black, muscular sternum that made up Godzilla’s chest, fracturing the skin and bones that laid beneath it in an earth-shattering shockwave of blood, heat, and muscle. The monstrous leviathan soared through the air, thrown back from the sheer force of its power–violently puking and erupting blood from his maw and chest cavity. Within seconds, Godzilla found himself beyond the rim of the crater, carving a path from his mass as he slowed to a stop.

Hate-filled eyes dizzily glared at the cauldron, with the humanoid at its center. A hideous snarl escaped Godzilla’s lips, forcing himself back to his feet. He slouched over, still feeling his shattered chest shift around as he moved. His regeneration slowly patched up the damages, but the residual pain lingered on. He diverted his attention to the Colossal Titan, who started limping out of the pit. With a quick glance, Godzilla noticed the dried up leg and splintered foot. Godzilla grunted as neon lights flashed from behind.

The Colossal Titan was quick to the draw as he placed his left arm over his core, in the path of the atomic ray. The arm illuminated into a fiery orange, pressurized steam expulsed from the forearm the moment before the beam could land. Concentrated air diffused the radioactive flames at such intensity that the beam never bypassed the buffer layer. Only the insignificant remnants of Godzilla’s signature weapon made their mark on the gargantuan humanoid; but those miniscule wounds were healed with minimal effort.

As soon as Godzilla ceased firing, the Colossal Titan simply back-handed the rest of the atomic beam into the nearby slope. The Titan retracted his left arm aside, only to stumble on his desiccated leg.

Shit, Kubal cursed to himself. He withdrew his Titan’s left arm, then his whole body was immediately bathed in a burst of steam; an indicator of his Titan form’s incredible regenerative prowess. But he knew Godzilla wasn’t going to let him have the chance to restore his body.

Godzilla spat another volatile atomic burst, far quicker than Kubal had anticipated. It lanced into the Titan’s left thigh, rupturing in an explosive burst of blood and gas. Kubal knew trying to patch up the wound was a fruitless effort, for his body was overtaxed with replenishing his innards from his earlier attack.

I need to prioritize, I can’t sustain the whole body like this.

Pinkish steam diminished from his core, diverting his regenerative cells to the thinned left arm and right leg. The Colossal Titan panted, sewing its wounds before resuming the offensive. But even so, Kubal knew he’d have to suffer for it. His Titan’s eyes gleamed at the King of the Monsters, who stumbled down the hill–eager for blood, and to end this futile effort.

***

JSDF Headquarters, Tokyo – 1985

Little light passed through the curtains of Shiragmi’s office, ensuring it a grey, almost lifeless appearance. Dust covered most surfaces and reflected through the light as it floated in the congested space. At the room’s far end, two men sat on opposite sides of a pristine desk with a fresh vase of roses, staring at the other with unparalleled disdain.

“I said no, and that’s my answer. Simple as that,” Kubal affirmed, his left eye twitching as he suppressed his urge to yell.

Shiragami rested his face against his hands before he closed his eyes, vented a deep breath from his nose and pulled his head back to look at Kubal once more. “And yet Mr. Kunimura, you never answered as to why.”

“Do I need to?”

“No, I think I have a rough idea as to why.”

Kubal’s eyes narrowed, his body leaning forward. “So, why was I ordered here?”

“Because I have the solution to your problem, one the five specialists you’ve visited this month lacked. Even the one you gave a black-”

Kubal burst from his seat, his shadow towering over Shiragami as he stood, his breathing labored as he thought of his next move. Meanwhile, Shiragami remained composed, unamused by the act of aggression.

“If you’ve finished, I know its terminal. Maybe a few years at most, but my work can ensure that doesn’t transpire, or are you too proud to accept my help?”

Anger faded from Kubal’s expression with every passing second. Without removing his gaze from Shiragami, Kubal leaned back into his seat, allowing it to creak under his weight. “I’m supposed to believe your word?”

“No,” Shiragami retorted with a wave of his right hand, “only my results. Until they are adequate, all medical costs will be covered to ensure your cooperation. By this project’s conclusion, we both will achieve our shared goal.”

Kubal’s left eyebrow raised in disbelief causing Dr. Shirigami to look at his roses with a smile which seemed unnatural for the doctor. Kubal vented a breath of defeat, his demeanor softening in his chair. “What do I need to do?”

“Survive, Kubal… That’s the only thing I require of you.”

***

Mt. Mihara – 1989

The two colossi swung at each other, superheated turbulence warping the radioactive jolts from Godzilla’s fingertips. Every tap of Godzilla’s atomic power popped the Colossal Titan’s frail musculature; in turn, every concise blow from the Colossal Titan fractured and broke Godzilla’s scaly hide in a pulse of burning air. For each hit Godzilla had to brace, he stumbled back against the upward curvature of the slope. Likewise, the Colossal Titan retracted his busted hand to recuperate, while the other dished out the heavy load.

This seems to be working, but… Kubal lost his train of thought as he clenched his left hand in preparation. He felt how much more time it was taking to mend the wounds. No, I need to take action now.

Heat swelled from the soles of his Titan’s feet, prepared to sacrifice more precious muscle fiber. Gaseous steam surged, acting like boosters as the Colossal Titan lunged at the charcoal leviathan. His superheated body collided against Godzilla’s blackened hide, cracking it and pressing the gargantuan reptile into the rocky slope of the volcano. The Titan smothered the monstrous creature in a blanket of his own ravaged body, pinning the beast’s throat with his partially formed left hand.

With his right, he pulled it back, ready to drive it into Godzilla’s head.

However, the reptile’s intelligent eyes flared at the sight and quickly dispatched an atomic ray at the raised arm. In a burst of radioactive flames and superheated steam, the right hand exploded with a cacophonous boom. Even with the hand missing, the stubbed arm came crashing down in a fit of rage on the reptilian’s throat, desperately trying to keep him pinned.

Very well, let’s try this! All across Kubal’s massive body, the Colossal Titan began to radiate light like the sun. Hot air jettisoned from his broken body, eating away at his muscle fibers. Heated jet streams dispelled when they struck against Godzilla’s dark armored hide, but coursed into the fractured wounds the monster king had sustained during their brawl. Godzilla’s blood and organs boiled from the foreign heat entering the body, slowly being sealed off by the regeneration of the scaly epidermis. Even with his innards being unnaturally heated, all this only fueled Godzilla’s bloodlust even more.

The Colossal Titan gazed at the pinned Godzilla, even as his own body slowly deteriorated from exertion. Come on, just burn! However, both Kubal and the Titan’s eyes widened when Godzilla’s rugged skin began to flash various shades of neon blue.

In an instant, the Colossal Titan was overwhelmed by atomic power.

The discharged energy exploded from Godzilla’s body, the nuclear pulse shredded the humanoid’s scarred figure effortlessly. The Titan’s face tore to pieces, its head and neck splintered from the rest of its body. The arms that had once pinned the kingly leviathan were reduced to ash, and the rest of the humongous, frail body was flung off of Godzilla, careening to the base of Mount Mihara. With a thud, the headless, armless form of the Colossal Titan laid in tatters, dissipating with uncontrolled steam.

Within the nape, Kubal only saw darkness. His mind went wild, overridden with swelling anxiety. He felt the harsh gravitational forces wrack his body, knowing full well that the head was airborne. But without his Titan’s eyes, there was no telling when or where he would land… His mind recalled this darkness once before. Locked behind the shutters of a wooden door, helpless as everything he once held dear to was shattered and destroyed. The deafening roars, the screams, they would never go away. His whole world crashed around him, then the shutters finally opened…

A burst of steam forcefully jettisoned Kubal out of his Titan’s nape, his frail human body rolling over the rugged terrain. Rocks and pebbles punctured through his clothing, or what little he had. He curled into a ball and shrieked, attempting in vain to shrug off the pain. Additional steam swelled from the fresh wounds, his skin trying to push out the foreign debris from his body. As the jumble of embedded rocks fell to the ground, Kubal felt his body patching the scars, a residual effect of his Titan powers.

His eyes shot up toward the King of the Monsters.

The monstrous beast heralded a victorious screech, barely paying heed to the insignificant human in his path. His cells sewed the damages he had sustained, and in a mere matter of minutes he would be as good as new. Kubal breathed in and out, letting his body physically heal… But there would be no time to rest. As new skin replaced the old, and his skeleton cracked in place, he once again undertook the herculean task set before him. There was brief apprehension, but he overcame it as he brought his bare hand up to his mouth, chewing into it until it bled. His body radiated light once more, and was quickly enveloped in a bath of steam and heat.

The thunderous noise and brilliant shine caught Godzilla’s attention. Before his very eyes, he saw a shape take form–a skeletal body materializing, threads of muscle sinew weaving together, ligaments and tendons coating the structural joints. A heat wave washed over Godzilla, but even he knew this wasn’t the humanoid’s full power it had once displayed. He grimaced at the thought of a foe he couldn’t comprehend, but drowned such ideas out of his head. If it could die once, it would perish again by his hand! Godzilla screamed at the defiant challenger, prepared to end it however many times it needed to take.

The Colossal Titan rose to its one-hundred and thirty meter height, its desaturated skin slowly regained color. Heat escaped as steam through the Titan’s natural body vents. Unlike before, the Colossal Titan’s muscles remained a stagnant, solid red, lacking the illustrious flare they once had. The ossified fibers were no longer the soft, natural strings that held the giant together. And although most of the body had formed, several areas of its anatomy were compromised: the bones of its forearms peeked amidst the muscles and tendons that held it together; sharp, spear-like ribs jutted out from its torso; the feet only had substantial tissue up to the metatarsal bones; and while its head had reconstituted most of its muscle mass, its face lacked any muscle fibers sewn to it. Rather, sunken hollow eyes glared at the tyrant that stood before it… Then from the darkness, they illuminated with fiery, yellow bulbs that pierced Godzilla’s soul.

The Colossal Titan opened its jaws agape, venting Kubal’s frustrations and anger with a spiteful, soul-shattering scream. Godzilla responded in kind with another regal bellow.

From the scorched earth beneath him, a shallow pool compared to the crater he had initially created, the Colossal Titan took long, massive strides, pushing his reformed body to its limits. Volcanic rock crunched under his malformed feet with every step, taking the initiative to re-engage in combat. Godzilla braced for battle, and again the two collided in a spectacular display of destruction. Their vie for supremacy raged on as they wrestled with their raw strength, eager to overpower the other.

In the midst of their scuffle, the red giant pulled his left arm back, preparing his next weapon of choice. Stiffening his index and middle fingers, they ignited in a supercharged blaze. He may have an armored shell, but his eyes aren’t! Swinging them around, the blistering fingers combusted the oxygen molecules in their path, generating a trail of fire.

As they lined up to Godzilla’s muzzle, the brightly lit appendages discharged a furious bath of raging steam directly into Godzilla’s eyes! The powerful and monstrous king of all monsters caterwauled in horrific agony–a sound that sent chills down the spines of those who heard it. The Colossal Titan pulled his left arm back to assess his next plan of attack. His two fingers were reduced to skeletal appendages, with not a trace of fiber left on them. They, however, had fulfilled their purpose.

Reaching his right hand out, he planted his palm atop the moaning dinosaur’s cranium and pressed with a firm grip. The blinded Godzilla wildly discharged an atomic heat ray from his jaws, as the Titan swiftly and forcefully twisted the reptile’s head to misdirect the lethal blast. It grazed the right shoulder and ear of the Colossal Titan, blackened and dried up from the intense radioactive heat produced from the beam.

Damn, that was close. But he knew he couldn’t wait. Godzilla could fire again at any moment. Heat radiated from the back of the Titan’s hand, thrusting Godzilla’s head downward. The sudden force and increased momentum left Godzilla mildly confused and irritated. Even in his handicapped state, Godzilla felt the swelling heat–the Colossal Titan had something prepared. And it came in the moment of impact, as the Colossal Titan rocketed his supercharged knee directly into Godzilla’s face! A thunderous cacophony resounded as the Titan’s right kneecap busted in a sweltering shockwave of heat, shattered bone, and blood. Godzilla’s snout cracked, spurting blood and fangs from his nostrils and mouth. With tremendous force, Godzilla was effortlessly thrown against the volcanic bedrock, plonked onto his wounded sternum.

Kubal, with his Titan’s auditory receptors, heard Godzilla’s wheezing and pained cries… He winced at such despicable sounds. A sign of weakness from a destructive being. It was repulsive and insulting, and proof enough for Kubal that it was not the god of destruction he had long feared. Yet hearing the maimed cries only emboldened Kubal’s mission; now, there wasn’t a doubt in his mind that he could kill it by his own power.

The lumbering Nephilm towered over the prostrate reptile, leaning over the bony plates that jutted from the leviathan’s backside. The wounded hands of the Colossal Titan reached out and gripped the centermost of Godzilla’s maple-leaf dorsal plates. With a firm grasp, the Titan’s remaining fingers lodged into the bony plates, cracking the protective shell around it. Before Godzilla could even wimper, the humanoid giant tore the spine asunder, eliciting an unrivaled shrill from the nuclear menace that unsettled the deepest depths of the human soul. Under the bony exterior, fleshy membranes pulsated neon blue and crackled with loose radioactive energy. They oozed flourescent puss, which bled out of the gaping wound.

From within the nape, Kubal grinned with an overconfident aura. Godzilla, it’s over!

Before he could plunge his hands into the forest of dorsal fins, a resounding crack shattered the Colossal Titan’s side. A long, segmented charcoal tail prodded itself into the giant’s ribcage, with splintered bone and fractured muscle. It pressed into the Titan’s side until it inevitably hurled the colossus aside, crashing into the slopes of the very volcano they fought on. It took Kubal by surprise, only to realize that Godzilla’s tail was the culprit. Kubal grimaced, directing his Titan’s fiery eyes at the fallen king. Realizing what had happened, he uttered a foul curse under his breath.

Even with the residual steam flowing from Godzilla’s face, his eyes had healed.

The charcoal leviathan pushed himself off the rugged slope and stood erect, brushing off volcanic ash. His lips curled with primal ferocity, revealing his bleeding gums and missing fangs. His dorsal plates surged with atomic energy, even as the shredded spine discharged excess energy from instability. Again they flashed, regulating his awesome power, channeling it into his next attack.

Godzilla’s eyes and spines crackled with lightning as he screeched yet another triumphant roar.

With no holding back, a swirling pillar rushed from his maw in eager anticipation. The once neon blue was now an equally radiant violet flare, one encased in white-hot spirals. The supercharged spiral beam at first effortlessly tore the earth asunder as Godzilla gradually brought the atomic ray to the Colossal Titan.

Try as he might, Kubal urged his Titan body to produce a countermeasure, but it was a moment too late. Burning purple energies scourged the collapsed Titan’s lower torso, eliciting a booming moan from the gargantuan, then promptly exploded behind the red giant. The intense heat produced from the souped up ray instantly cauterized the muscles before they could even bleed. Only uncontrolled steam and flames escaped from the wound.

Kubal grunted in furious ambition. You’ve been holding back, you son of a bitch!

Kubal forced the Colossal Titan to regain its footing, to which it could only get him on his knees. Godzilla didn’t even wait another minute before deploying another payload. The skeletal face of the Colossal Titan seemingly winced at the sight, immediately thrusting his compromised left arm out in front of him. Superheated gas slipped through the illuminated palm, mustering everything he could to keep the atomic beam at bay. The two forces collided, and while it had been successful and dispersed the energy, the spiral ray’s greater power allowed it to push against the sharp winds. Scattered pieces found themselves buried into the hardened muscle, puncturing it with relative ease. By the time the two ceased their brief war of attrition, Kubal felt how much of his arm had to be compromised to even block that. Although muscle still remained, the bone became significantly more prominent to the naked eye.

Fortunately, in the midst of their stalemate, it granted the Titan time to get back to his feet. Even with his right kneecap busted, he could still move. His yellow orbs peered at Godzilla, who exhaled burning steam from his maw. The reptile’s spines flashed a neon violet, merely regulating his energy. Even from within the cushion of the nape, Kubal broke out in a cold sweat.

No, he internally hissed, I refuse to bow to fear. Remember your resolve, Kubal! His body began trembling, though not of his own volition. At that moment, he recalled his father’s words…

***

Saitama Prefecture, Tokyo – 1951

The distant voices of two adults echoed through the chilly halls of Kubal’s home as he sat quietly at the desk in his room. The child’s eyes stared blankly at his homework. The multiple sheets of paper covered with scratches, eraser marks, and wrinkles, but no answers to be seen. The faint light of the sun through winter clouds and snow fall peered through his window, and as Kubal heard his father’s voice begin to strengthen, he knew his time was up.

The door to Kubal’s room swung open, impacting the broken wall stopper as Kubal’s father staggered in. Standing nearly six feet tall, the adult’s arm easily stretched and grabbed the papers in front of Kubal.

“Still blank?” he yelled, crumpling the papers into a ball using his right hand.

Before Kubal could react, his father’s left hand grabbed his collar and yanked him out of his chair. The two stared back at each other at eye level, no sound emanating from Kubal as he watched on in fear.

“He’s just having problems with this lesson. He’ll work through it,” a woman yelled from out of the young boy’s sight. The attempt at reasoning gave little assurance to Kubal who trembled within his father’s grasp.

“Problems huh?” Kubal’s father asked with a slur. “Well Kubal, let me teach you the greatest lesson life gave me in this cruel world. Only two types of people. Only two. You’re either the guy throwing the punch, or-”

A crack reverberated through the enclosed space while two female eyes looked away in shame. The floor creaked from the impact as Kubal’s body hit the floor with a resounding thud. The young boy’s body twitched from the pain, finding no comfort on the cold, wooden floor. A slight, tearful moan began to echo as Kubal’s father stood over him, his shadow encompassing the boy’s twitching body.

“And life isn’t going to hold back, Kubal. So never give the courtesy.”

***

Long, deep breathes parted from Kubal and his Titan form. Steam vented across his body, but his hardened flesh showed little sign of the regeneration he began the battle with, and yet, Godzilla’s wounds seemed to be fading before his eyes. Kubal stopped breathing for a moment, gritting his own and the Colossal Titan’s teeth in silent rage, but the thought of victory emboldened his duty. He was still stronger than the so-called ‘King of the Monsters.’ There was no doubt within Kubal’s mind he could win.

If I can get in close, I can go for the he– Kubal stopped the thought, yelling in frustration which in turn echoed a roar from his Titan. No, he’ll just blast me again… and, I can’t take that many…

The Colossal Titan’s head slumped downward, glancing over his scarred arms. The titanic body which granted him unrivaled strength, the one which desperately regenerated the numerous, grevious wounds across his form, why did he care if it survived? Violet, flickering light gradually attracted the Colossal Titan’s rage-filled gaze up the volcano’s slopes to Godzilla’s unavoidable presence. Steam vented from the Titan’s maw in anticipation of its future actions and as Godzilla let loose an atomic breath, the Colossal Titan charged forward.

Radioactive flame struck the Titan’s left arm as he formed an X in front of his cumbersome, sprinting body. By the attack’s end, the Colossal Titan’s nigh-skeletal left hand resembled a blackened stub, one which showed no sign of regenerating.

One.

Kubal slammed his gigantic form head-first into Godzilla’s abdomen. Ribs cracked and blood launched from Godzilla’s jaws before his body struck the rocky slopes behind him with tremendous force. A pained moan echoed from the King of the Monster as he lay nearly stagnant while a monstrous shadow enveloped him. Standing above the fallen king, Kubal swung his Titan’s left arm downward, causing Godzilla’s eyes to widen in shock.

Atomic power burst from the back of Godzilla’s throat with haste. Radioactive flame tore through the Colossal Titan’s weakened flesh with ease, reducing the Titan’s entire left arm to ash with a long, decisive blast that forced the Colossal Titan’s body upward.

Tw-

Time slowed in Kubal’s mind as he looked over his Titan’s nonexistent left arm out of the corner of his Titan’s left eye. A split second of fear evolved into unbreakable determination before the Colossal Titan turned back to Godzilla. Steam vented from the back of the gargantuan humanoid’s head and with a thunderous explosion of superheated air, Kubal swung his Titan’s cranium downward.

Murderous, reptilian eyes narrowed as the rock beneath Godzilla illuminated an overwhelming purple. If his foe wished to rush at him so brazenly, he’d ensure his death would be quick.

An immense spiral blast discharged from Godzilla’s maw, engulfing the Colossal Titan’s head in orchid flames. The continuous beam of plasma stopped the Titan’s head, burning its flesh away into radioactive ash, yet the Colossal Titan still pushed downward, infuriating Godzilla. With a final surge, Godzilla discharged the remains of his power to atomize the Titan’s skull in a fiery explosion. The dark nimbus clouds above the pair parted form the overwhelming power, swirling violently from the superheated air.

A plum blaze and smoke clouded the air before Godzilla watched the headless body of the Colossal Titan recoil upward. With a thunderous roar, Godzilla announced his victory to all those that dared to challenge his reign, deafening the volcano he lay upon. As he finished his bellow, the nuclear leviathan heard the nearly silent scream of another being, one coming from above him. His eyes focused on the humanoid’s nape, where something stirred at the edge of the neck’s flesh.

No hair remained on Kubal’s body. The skin across the human’s form was nearly all burned away, revealing an exterior nearly identical to his Titan counterpart. Wide, murderous eyes gleamed down at Godzilla, unable to blink without any eyelids, as Kubal closed his right hand into fist so tight that blood seeped from his mutilated palm. The Colossal Titan’s right hand, raised high into the sky behind the Titan’s torso, closed in tandem with its human pilot, releasing a titanic shockwave of air which cracked the rock behind Godzilla’s head.

Three.

Kubal screamed in rage a war cry and brought his own skeletal-like right arm down. The Colossal Titan’s right arm did the same, shaking the atmosphere as steam jettisoned from his upper arm to increase its velocity. A shiver coursed down the King of the Monster’s spine. It could feel the wrath about to be brought down upon it. Blue light flickered within Godzilla’s jaws, the beast trying to summon enough power to fire a ray to blast the appendage to ash, but as he desperately charged his depleted reserves, a superheated fist smashed into Godzilla’s face, sending a mushroom cloud of steam at least a square mile in size outward.

Mt. Mihara quaked from the blow. Vents of steam erupted along its sides while a fissure instantly cracked open to its vent, discharging steam in unprecedented volumes. The cataclysmic display of power rattled those that watched from afar. Terrified eyes looked on, unsure of the results of the battle, but as the steam cleared, terror morphed into joy.

The Colossal Titan’s headless, left arm deficient yet defiant form stood atop his nuclear opponent. Godzilla’s headless corpse lay stagnant while Kubal kept his right arm held high, to show his survival and superiority of strength over the supposed ‘King of the Monsters.’

After so many years of warfare against the nuclear titan, the will of Man had achieved its first true victory.

***

JSDF Central Hospital, Tokyo – 2 days after Godzilla’s defeat.

The hospital around Kubal fluttered with sporadic chaos as doctors assisted patients and nurses rushed to different rooms. No sound seemed to echo from their footsteps. No voice echoed through the endless hallway he walked down. The dim lights illuminating dust as the victorious individual meandered to his destination. An infinite weight began to drag his arms and his legs, slowing his movements even further. As Kubal finally snapped from his trance, he discovered his destination.

Kubal stopped in front of the door, resting his hand on it to catch his breath. Slowly, he pulled the door open with all his strength to discover three individuals looking over a small human, almost skeletal in appearance, buried under a white blanket. Kubal’s eyes immediately drew to the child’s own eyes which still shined brown, giving him strength to walk into the room. His sight remained focused on her eyes as he formed a smile, unable to look at her pale white skin or bald forehead.

“Dad…dy!” the young child softly cheered, trying to rise from her bed merely for Kubal to keep her still.

“Relax Titan, I’ll come to you.”

The child stopped any attempt to rise from her bed allowing Kubal to sit at its edge.

“Your day going well?” Kubal asked as he cradled his left hand against his daughter’s head, rubbing her forehead with his thumb.

“Yeah,” the girl said with a weak smile. “J.J. showed up and made me laugh, which was nice. Mommy brought me a toy from home. That helped, oh!” The child’s eyes suddenly glowed with curiosity as she focused on a singular thought. “Did you really fight Godzilla, dad?”

Kubal’s smile retracted slightly, his head turning toward the three others in the room to emit a stone-cold glare. The woman with long, black hair smirked in accomplishment, matching Kubal’s glare with her own. Their battle ended as the middle-aged man with graying hair followed, stepping forth while the humanoid robot remained stationary.

Goro stepped forward with a naive smile, his arms waving in the air. “I thought she’d like to know how strong her father was. Relax Kubal! Next time, I’ll make sure my assistant keeps quiet!”

A small laugh echoed from Goro while Kubal looked back at his daughter, the fierce stare replaced with one of compassion.

“Well, he’s right. I did beat him,” Kubal noted before pointing to his daughter’s chest, “and I’m not even as strong as you.”

A smile between the two seemed to warm the room until the girl’s eyes began to close. In an instant the girl fell asleep, but Kubal kept his hands close, rubbing his daughter’s forehead with a warm embrace until a hand which felt as if it possessed claws sunk its fingers into Kubal’s shoulder. Kubal wished to shrug off the act, but he kept his composure, stood upright and left the room without looking at who touched his back. As he shut the door to his daughter’s room, Kubal eyes shifted from compassion to fury in front of his wife.

“You got Goro to say-”

“Maybe you’ll finally answer me!” the woman retorted with her index finger on Kubal’s chest.

Kubal vented a long breath, staring uninterrupted into his wife’s eyes. “It can’t help her yet!”

“How long?!”

“More time!”

“What time do we have left?!”

The two stared at each other, ignoring the condescending eyes which gazed at them from every direction within the hallway. Tears formed in the sockets of both individuals as they stared at the other, and as a single droplet flowed down Azusa’s cheek, she pulled away, recomposing herself.

“I don’t want to fight, Kubal. I just… if there’s a chance… I need to know, with what time I have left, if I’m going to have to say goodbye.”

***

Shiragami’s Lab, Tokyo – 1989

Through the microscope, Shirigami witnessed human cells fall under siege. In the pattern of a wave, the normal cells expanded in size to nearly twice their original shape. Immediately their behavior changed to that of aggression, lurching toward the uninfected cells until none remained. After a few moments, the cells began to fade away, squirming violently until nearly nothing remained of them except microscopic remains. With the test completed, Dr. Shirigami pulled his head back and clicked the recorder in his right hand.

“Viral agent appears successful in eliminating the transfer issue, yet symbiosis still escapes me. Immunity or complete biological takeover remain the only results. Should I perhaps attempt genetic manipulation for desired results? Thoughts for-”

CLANK!

Genichiro looked right, noticing a vase of roses in the hands of a young woman. Her thick yet short black hair swayed side to side as she moved the flowers to their optimum position. Satisfaction of her flowery display overtook her with joy, forming an overwhelming smile which drowned Genichiro in delight.

“You surprised me, Erika. Trying to give your dear father a heart attack?”

“I doubt it’d be enough to stop you from working.”

The solace in the doctor’s face faded a moment with the final word. His eyes gazed for a moment away from the smile which brought him so much comfort, to the scar which encompassed most of the right side of the woman’s face. A wound from a malicious, explosive act that even after years of healing, still kept the fires of passion burning within Dr. Shirigami’s heart. Working up the courage to continue his smile, the doctor turned back to his work.

“I’ll be late again tonight, but thank you again for the flowers they’re-”

Erika leaned over and embraced her father in her arms, silencing him mid-sentence. He remained stationary in his chair, unable to utter another sound, but he knew the absence of words said all he needed between the pair. Relinquishing her grip, Erika walked away, vanishing past a corner into the darkness of the laboratory.

Genichiro gazed outward, lost in thought, until he quickly refocused on his work. All until the sound of footsteps brought his gaze away from his experiment, a smirk on his face as he thought of his daughter. As the doctor looked toward the cause, his smile instantly vanished, for in just a moment, he knew the tranquility which he cherished would be disappearing any second.

 

Goro Ibuki walked with a hurried pace through the halls of Dr. Shirigami’s lab, his robotic assistant by his side. Throughout the day, a dark thought permeated Goro’s mind from the tense discussion of the girl’s parents. Things were getting dire, he could not deny this of Nariko’s condition, and while he trusted his friend to remain level-headed, his instincts could not shield him from the inventor’s lingering doubts. Fears which manifested into reality as he opened the main door into the lab, merely to find Kubal clutching Shirigami by the neck with one hand, and holding two small vials in the other.

“Kubal!” Goro yelled before he bolted toward him merely for a deathly stare to stop the inventor in his tracks. Jet Jaguar readied to move past Goro, but the inventor put his right arm in front of his creation, hoping to talk reason into his friend.

“Please my friend, what are you doing?”

Kubal shifted his gaze to Shirigami who struggled to breathe within his captor’s iron grip. Fingers of Kubal’s dug into the scientist with ease. If he wanted to, Kubal could’ve snapped his neck like a fragile twig. “He has the answer, he’s always had Nariko’s answer. And I’m done waiting.”

Shirigami gasped an in-audible response, attracting Goro’s concerned gaze.

“He… doesn’t have your answer,” Goro sorrowfully retorted as his head tilted down in shame.

“Of course he does!” Kubal shouted in rage. “You’ve always been blind to all he’s done. All that he’s-”

“I’ve known.”

Kubal’s sharp words ended in an instant. Slowly, he lowered the doctor within his grip and faced Goro with an expression in no shortage of bewilderment. But as he looked to the inventor, the vigor which once accompanied Goro vanished as his shoulders and head sunk.

“The experiments… they went too far. I’ve known for a long time of what he’s done, and every time I thought of ending all of this, I couldn’t find the strength knowing the cost, the life we both don’t wish to see end. But, I know Shirigami. If he held the answer you seek, he would have already used it.”

The rage which Kubal once expressed gradually faded as did his grip. With a violent gasp, Shirigami drew in much needed air and yelled, “The vials, they’re contagious! Don’t let him open those-”

The loose grip of Kubal instantly tightened around the doctor’s neck, silencing the warning. A tired breath escaped Kubal who looked to Goro with a dire need for guidance.

“I can’t wait any longer Goro, I…”

Goro gradually tilted his head up, a warm smile across his face. He took a step forward, but hesitated a moment. His hands twitched as he thought, but gradually Goro found the words he desired.

“You’re not selfish for wishing for her safety, but this… this isn’t you. What is in those vials could endanger many lives. Please… Kubal…”

Kubal’s head gradually sank in silence. A gradual tilt allowed him to draw his attention to the two vials of the Titan serum he was able to acquire in his left hand. The clear liquid sloshed so easily from side to side, Kubal nearly doubted the impact it could have on others…

Kubal’s eyes dilated in revelation. Why did he care about others’ lives? Life never held back. It always delivered misery, pain, conflict, and now it threatened to take what he cared for. But this time he possessed the power to defy life, to defy the cruelty the world constantly bestowed. So why give the courtesy to others?

 Kubal lifted his head upward and stood tall, casting his shadow over Goro which seemed to shatter the inventor’s compassionate grin.

“I now understand what you are, Goro.”

Goro’s eyes widened with regret while Kubal’s snapped to his captive. With a violent yell, Kubal tossed Dr. Shirigami onto the lab equipment beside him. Glass shattered from the doctor who rolled across the surface. Jet Jaguar burst forward with inhuman speed as Kubal’s eyes shifted right. With an arm free, Kubal spun and launched his left arm forward to strike merely for the robot to evade and thrust its right palm. Blood exploded out of Kubal’s back as a robotic hand burst forth, clutching the beating heart of Kubal.

Kubal emitted an inhuman screech as blood and saliva rocketed from his mouth. The soldier’s legs trembled from the sudden loss of blood. Weak steps followed with Kubal falling face forward onto Jet Jaguar’s chest, clutching Jet Jaguar’s shoulder with his left hand. A violent pull retracted the robot’s hand through Kubal who stumbled backward, blood spilling from his gaping wound. As he neared falling, Kubal yelled in fury, resisting the force of gravity and demonstrating the strength he possessed as orange bolts of electricity began to cascade around him. Animosity and disdain now filled the hollow man’s eyes.

“You’re nothing Goro. Nothing, but a weak fool.”

The lightning around Kubal concentrated until its chaotic display overtook his meager form. Jet Jaguar spun around in the discord, racing toward his inventor to shield him from the inevitable. High winds shattered the lab’s windows in an ear-rattling boom. Then, all within the lab vanished as pure white steam jettisoned in every conceivable direction, illuminating all under the night sky with the lab’s immediate annihilation.

It was a light that seemed destined to engulf the world.

Winner: Colossal Titan

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