Author: Christian Salabert | Banner: Matthew Freese & Christian Salabert
The predator was hungry. He wasn’t sure just how long his wings had been carrying him through the metaphorical cosmic winds – it was almost impossible to keep track of time when traversing the dark void – but he could tell it had been some time since his last meal, given how obnoxiously loud his stomach currently was. Pushing onward, the creature began to seek out a new source of sustenance. Flapping his wings with a new determination, the crimson beast began to hunt. Unfortunately, even his unparalleled ears weren’t picking up any signs of life, and his attempts at physically seeking out prey weren’t doing much better.
Eventually, the creature’s search brought him to another galaxy. Another solar system. He looked around, taking in the sight of the nearby planets. He perked up a little. He had been here once before. He knew at least one of these worlds, which he had visited previously, had food. They had given him a name there.
Flapping his wings, the ravenous beast sent himself soaring towards the familiar world in anticipation. As he made his way towards a potential meal, he grew closer towards the largest planet in the system, which was swirling with stripes of yellow, orange, and brown. If he had been the type of being capable of it, the predator would’ve taken a moment to enjoy its beauty. But all the monster cared about now was food.
Just as the winged beast was about to leave the large striped world behind, his ears suddenly twitched. A sound. An unusual sound, made by living things. Possibly. Turning around and gazing back towards the striped planet, his eyes suddenly spotted a much smaller planet, or perhaps a moon, very nearly hidden behind the larger orb. Focusing for a moment, he made sure that the noise he heard did in fact originate from that smaller planet. The beast hesitated, thinking. While he knew for a fact that the blue and green planet he had visited before did indeed have food, this small planet with the strange sounds was so much closer. Licking his lips, he flapped his wings and headed towards the small celestial body.
* * * * *
Deep within the planet’s subterranean control room, the heads of two alien races conversed with one another.
“It’s a shame the apes of the Third Planet didn’t see the benefits of an alliance between our peoples,” said the Star Hunter M Nebula Chairman, a smug young man dressed in a neon orange suit.
“Indeed,” agreed the Controller of Planet X, slowly nodding his head. “Hopefully, Monster Zero is doing a good job showing them the error of their lack of vision.”
The two alien leaders shared a sinister laugh. King Ghidorah was currently ravaging the Third Planet from the Black Hole almost entirely unopposed, as the construction of their newest Mechagodzilla was not yet complete, leaving them at the three-headed monster’s mercy.
“But still,” the Chairman spoke up once the moment was over. “The Mysterians said they were interested, and once we unleash the full power of Gigan, King Ghidorah, and Moguera upon the Earth, then we’re sure to–”
An alarm went off, interrupting the Nebulan. The two aliens, as well as their henchmen, jolted in surprise at the sudden noise as the large view screen behind the Controller turned red. Reaching down to a panel on his desk, the Controller pressed a button.
“Status report!” he ordered.
The answer he received was a hectic one. “It’s the fleet!” an Xilien answered him. “The fleet is being attacked by–” The voice cut out, the call having been abruptly ended.
“What’s going on?” the Chairman asked urgently, standing from his seat.
“I will find out,” the Controller stated, rising as well. As he did so, he pressed another pair of buttons on his desk, suddenly generating a white force field around the Chairman and his two men as the Controller turned to leave the room.
“Controller!” the Chairman barked at the Xilien.
The leader of Planet X stopped in his tracks, realization hitting him. “Er, forgive me,” he said flatly. Turning back to the desk, he released the two buttons he’d pressed and the force field around the Nebulans dissipated. “Old habits.”
With a brief glare from the Chairman, the two leaders made their way from the control room, passing through a small corridor and entering a smaller, but similar area. In this room, numerous Xiliens were operating several large computer consoles.
“What is going on, you fools?” the Controller demanded angrily. “Someone tell me something!”
One of his underlings quickly made their way over to him. “Controller, the fleet is under attack!” the Xilien explained. ‘The fleet,’ of course, referred to the large group of Xilien and Nebulan flying saucers, as well as the enormous hovering diamond currently surrounded by them, in orbit over Planet X. “Something is taking out the ships one by one!”
“We are returning to the control room,” the Controller informed the Xilien. “Whatever it is that is attacking our ships, lock onto it and send it to the view screen.” With that, the Controller and his Nebulan guests turned and hurriedly marched back to the control room.
“Controller, if our fleet is destroyed, the invasion of Earth will be ruined,” said the Chairman.
“Once we know what is attacking, we will know how to stop it,” the Controller told him. Moments later, they reached the control room. Stepping behind his desk, the Controller activated the view screen and took a step back, eager to see what was attacking his forces.
Both aliens gasped as the view screen activated, showing them their fleet’s assailant: The predator; a giant, crimson bat swooping through the void, cutting through spaceships with his wings and crushing them in his talons. The creature was angry – These flying pests had teased him with the promise of sustenance and they weren’t even edible! The Xilien saucers shot the beast with their lasers, but this only seemed to increase his anger.
“The Korghan Beast!” the Chairman gasped. His lips curled into a sneer. “His appearance is an unnecessary part of the plan.”
“What is the status of Monster Zero?” the Controller asked a nearby minion.
“He’s still attacking the Third Planet,” the Xilien told him. “There’s no way he can make it back here in time, even at top speed.”
“What of your action signal tapes?” the Controller inquired, turning to the Chairman. “Perhaps we can use them to control him?”
The Nebulan leader shook his head. “The tapes cannot assume command of a monster unless it is in a dormant state,” he explained. Raising his hand, the Chairman spoke into a communicator on his inner wrist, signaling his main ship. “Gigan will now awaken from his slumber and destroy this Korghan pest!”
* * * * *
The massive bat the aliens were referring to as Korghan temporarily ceased the attack, taking a moment to look around at the result of his wrath. A good number of the small craft had been reduced to charred scrap metal floating through space and the ones that had thus far escaped his fury began to retreat towards the small planet below. Bagorah tilted his head in thought, considering chasing the little ships back down to the planet’s surface.
Before he could make the decision, he heard the signal.
It was a strange, high-pitched ringing sound, one that wouldn’t even register with most lifeforms’ range of hearing. It was audible to most giant monsters, however, and thanks to the predator’s hypersensitive ears, the noise was almost unbearable, causing the giant bat to writhe about. But despite the torturous emanation, the hungry beast’s ears could tell that it was originating from one of the ships he hadn’t yet crushed, and that it was directed towards the large diamond that the fleet had been gathered around, that for some reason hadn’t gone down with them towards the planet.
Within seconds, the strange signal was making it impossible for the bat to think. Desperate for it to end, the monster reared his head back and opened his jaws, letting out a devastating sonic scream, its sound immediately canceling out the painful signal. The winged creature’s relief was only temporary, however, as the giant diamond suddenly exploded into a massive ball of fire, sending glassy shards into the void in all directions. The force of the blast sent Bagorah hurtling backwards and before he could right himself, something hard smashed into his back and forced him through space, pushing him downward towards the planet.
Bagorah struggled to regain equilibrium, but it wasn’t long until whatever had been pushing the Korghan Beast from behind swerved away, releasing him. Unfortunately, the momentum and the planet’s gravity took hold, tugging the crimson bat down to the planet’s surface and causing him to smash down into the ground, sending a cloud of blue dirt high into the empty vacuum. A weary howl emanated from the bat’s lips, knocked slightly silly from the tremendous impact.
A few hundred meters away, the bat’s assailant made his identity known. Swooping down from the clouds, he dropped from the sky and landed on his metallic, spiked feet. His visor zooming in and locking onto the winged beast, even through the dirt cloud, Gigan flexed his arms and clashed his curved hammer claws together as he prepared himself for a fight. His beak and mandibles opening, the bird-like cyborg let out a piercing cry that communicated, in essence, “There’s more where that came from!”
A pained groan escaped the crimson predator’s throat as he began to pull himself up. The cyborg chirped excitedly – His foe still seemed to be in fighting condition! As the Korghan began to rise, his eyes narrowed as they fell upon the green and yellow cyborg, his lips curling into an enraged snarl. With determination, the angry beast rose to his feet, standing at his full height, which was just slightly taller than that of the cybernetic creature. Spreading his massive wings open wide, Bagorah showed off his full mass in an attempt to intimidate his foe. Unimpressed by the display, Gigan clashed his claws against his breast, then posed them in an attack stance, letting the red bat know he was ready to go whenever he was. With a furious screech, the cosmic hunter flapped his wings, shooting off towards Gigan like a rocket. With equally surprising speed, the cyborg brought his claws together and fired into the air, swiftly avoiding Bagorah’s attack. Reorienting himself, the red predator flapped his wings and quickly followed the mechanical killer into the sky.
Hearing his opponent’s angry screeches growing closer and closer behind him, Gigan turned his head to look backwards as he sped through the dark sky of Planet X. If his face was capable of it, his visor would’ve widened in surprise as he discovered that the red creature’s wings were doing a very good job of keeping up with his own jet propulsion. The Korghan Beast opened his jaws and then snapped them shut, as if preparing to tear into the multicolored monster. For a moment, Gigan considered his options. His foe would catch up with him any second now. If he could have, Gigan would’ve grinned as he slowed down and lost a little altitude.
With his foe now in the perfect position to attack from above, the bat-like beast spread his wings and swooped down, preparing to lash out with his talons. With the two space monsters roughly parallel with one another, Gigan suddenly performed a barrel roll, his universal cutter buzzsaw revving at full speed. The crimson beast had no time to react, nor did he know what he was faced with even if he did, and so the rotary blade gashed through the bat’s torso. Screaming in pain, Bagorah swerved away, green blood spilling from the large yet shallow wound. The metallic avian began to let out an electronic cry of laughter, when suddenly Bagorah tilted his head towards the cyborg and let out a powerful sonic scream. The radiating sound waves washed over the cyberclaw terror, disorienting him and knocking him for a loop, causing him to spiral down from the sky. With a pained shriek, Gigan collided with the ground.
Bagorah swooped down and landed on a nearby mountain, watching Gigan try to recover from the impact. Eventually pulling himself up, the cyborg shrieked angrily at the bat, waving his hook-like arms at him threateningly. Flapping his wings, the crimson killer took to the air and sped across the terrain, rushing towards Gigan. The cyborg chirped, revving up his universal cutter once again, hoping to slice his opponent in half upon impact, but this time the bat was wise to the strategy. Swerving to the left, Bagorah avoided the saw, but Gigan was ready for this, swinging his right arm up and uppercutting the space bat in the jaw with the backside of his hammer claw, knocking the creature silly. The Korghan Beast fell to his feet and staggered drunkenly, stepping on a small boulder which caused him to lose his footing and stumble onto his back.
Letting out a series of laughter-like shrieks, Gigan made his way over towards his fallen foe, ready to lay into him with his hammer claws. Positioning himself over the bat, Gigan sat down on Bagorah’s chest, squawking evilly. Swinging his left arm sideways, he swiped it across the crimson creature’s face, hitting it hard and causing some green blood to spurt from his mouth. With another cry, the Nebulan weapon nailed the opponent in the face with his right arm, hitting him harder and spilling more neon green fluid.
Suddenly sober, Bagorah lifted his head and screeched furiously at the scythed assassin, but the cyborg quickly shut him up with another hard left hook, dislocating the bat’s jaw and causing even more emerald blood to splatter across the Xilien landscape. Raising both his arms, Gigan prepared to crush the bat’s skull, but the red demon quickly lifted his injured head and let out a hellacious sonic screech. Gigan held his hammer claws to his head, trying to block the sound to little avail. Rising to his feet, he began to back up, stepping away from Bagorah’s body. Knowing he had to get the cyborg farther away, Bagorah focused the scream into a concentrated sonic blast, hitting Gigan hard in the face and knocking him onto his back.
Rolling over onto his stomach, Bagorah spotted a nearby rock sticking out of the ground. Bracing himself, the predator swung his head to the side and bashed it against the rock, squealing in pain as he forcibly relocated his jaw with a sickening crack. With a couple flaps of his wings, the Korghan creature pulled himself upright just as Gigan got to his feet. The cyborg still seemed disoriented from the sonic blast, and Bagorah decided it was a good time to strike. Flapping his wings, the bat rose from the soil and zoomed directly towards his foe. He opened his maw, even though it pained him to do so, and prepared to close it around Gigan’s throat before the bladed beast even knew he was there. Bagorah’s fangs shined from the saliva that dripped from them as he prepared to sink them into Gigan’s scaled–
Turning his head directly to face the bat, Gigan’s laser knife sprang to life, a blinding flash escaping the cyborg’s forehead as a blade of light plunged into Bagorah’s left eye.
The blood red beast flew back, green blood gushing from his left eye socket, now completely blind on that side. His wings, legs, and tail thrashed about in pain, his right leg inadvertently kicking Gigan in the face, which floored the cyborg. With a pained scream, Bagorah flapped his wings hard and shot into the sky, rapidly gaining altitude.
* * * * *
“No, you don’t get to attack our fleet and get away with it,” the Chairman sneered as he and the Controller watched Bagorah try to escape. Speaking into his communicator once again, the young man barked a new order: “Gigan will now chase after the Korghan Beast and destroy him!”
* * * * *
Back on his feet in an instant, Gigan turned his head towards the sky, instantly spotting his escaping foe. Bringing his arms together, his flight rockets fired up and launched the cyborg into the air. Though the crimson bat was fast and had a good head start on him, Gigan was just a little bit faster, slowly but surely closing the gap between them. Bagorah growled in a combination of frustration and fear. This opponent was too determined for the bat’s liking. He had to shake the cyborg so he could have time to escape.
With the red beast in range, Gigan activated his universal cutter once again. Bagorah panicked slightly as the sound of the spinning blade reached his ears. He had no desire to be on the receiving end of any of his foe’s weapons ever again. Turning around to face him, the giant bat let his tail lash out and snake around Gigan’s neck, catching the cyborg off guard. Glancing around with his remaining eye, Bagorah quickly spotted his target and somersaulted, pulling the cybernetic dinosaur along with him in the rotation. Quickly unwrapping the throat of his enemy, he sent his foe hurtling into the large cluster of flying saucer remains, cutting and battering the cyborg with their metal and setting off previously undamaged fuel cells and weapon cores. Gigan cried out as he was surrounded with multiple explosions, charring his scales in some areas. By the time the flame and smoke cleared, Bagorah had already put considerable distance between the two of them, now approaching the midway point between Planet X and Jupiter. With an angry cry, Gigan launched himself forward, chasing after the crimson killer.
Gigan’s jet propulsion sent him blasting towards his foe, watching as not only the bat grew closer, but also the immense, storming planet on the other side of him. Bagorah was well aware of the planet he approached, the sounds of the massive storm known to some as the Great Red Spot raging on as it always did, almost deafening to his sensitive ears. Slowly but surely, he began to feel the pull of Jupiter’s gravity and stopped, not wanting to risk being pulled into the planet’s atmosphere, and especially the storm. The speed and force of the winds within the Spot were enough to tear even a massive beast like himself to pieces with ease. Stopping his flight, he turned around only to see Gigan speeding towards him. The predator growled in fury. If this creature wanted to see this fight through to the end, then so be it.
Building up a screech within his throat, Bagorah opened his mouth and let loose with another focused sonic beam, but Gigan dodged to the left, avoiding the blast. The cyborg dodged another beam, but by then he was close enough to attack, reaching out and swiping the bright red bat’s chest with his right claw, creating a ‘T’ on the monster’s torso along with the earlier wound from his universal cutter. Just as the cybernetic killer prepared to strike with his left claw, Bagorah raised his right leg and kicked the cyborg hard in the chest, sending him spiraling back. Lunging forward, the crimson bat began biting Gigan repeatedly in the throat, drawing black fluid from each wound. With hooked claws, the cyborg lashed upward with his right arm, uppercutting Bagorah and sending him careening upwards. Flicking his tail forward, the bat whacked its tip against the visage of the mechanically enhanced organism, sending the cyborg back as well. With an angry shriek, Gigan let his buzzsaw whir to life once again, speeding towards his foe.
Seconds before the Nebulan weapon was about to strike, the two space monsters’ faces almost in contact with one another, Bagorah let his maw fall open. Out erupted the most devastating sonic scream the bat could muster, immediately stopping Gigan in his aerial tracks. Once again the cyborg tried to block the sound out with his hammer claws, but he was far too close for them to do any good. The blood red beast forced himself to put even more noise into his attack, which caused Gigan’s mandibles to twitch as the cyborg whimpered.
Finally, the scream became too loud, its frequency too strong. A sound resembling that of cracking glass was heard. Gigan’s visor shattered and exploded, sending red shards floating everywhere.
* * * * *
“GIGAN!” the Chairman cried. “NO!”
“Perhaps it is best if we–” The Controller never even got to finish his thought.
“That’s enough!” the Chairman signaled to the control ship. “Gigan is done! Get him back!”
* * * * *
For a brief moment, Gigan floated there in the void, dazed. He could only peek through the broken edges of his visor. He could still see, technically, but barely, and all the visual enhancements his visor provided – Sharper vision, infra-red, night vision, target scanning – were all gone. Even the cyborg knew continuing the fight in this condition would be an awful idea.
Bagorah tilted his head, trying to figure out if he had indeed landed a crippling blow to the strange, scaled beast or not. Before he could decide, he began to writhe and thrash about. The painful, high pitched signal from before was hitting his ears once again. Thankfully, it didn’t last as long this time, and as soon as it ceased, the red beast watched in amazement as energy began to surround his foe, then solidify. Within seconds, Gigan was gone, hidden away and sealed within another giant diamond. Now fully formed, the diamond began to hover away from the fight, slowly making its way back towards Planet X.
At first, the predator was relieved. But the relief was quickly replaced with fury. The bladed beast dared to draw Bagorah’s blood, to take his eye, and then try to run away? No. The ravenous killer would not allow this. Flapping his wings, he quickly caught up with the giant diamond and began to strike at it with his talons, scraping the gem with his claws, but achieving little else. He kicked and scratched at the diamond with all his strength, but all that came of it were a few sparks. Frustrated, Bagorah was just about to give up, when an idea came to him. Making his way in front of the diamond, the bat placed his head against it, then began to flap his wings.
Though the diamond possessed its own propulsion, Bagorah’s wings were stronger, and thanks to the lack of gravity in space, he soon began to force the diamond backward. The massive gem was obviously unable to defend itself as the bat pushed it onward, taking it along for a ride that the dormant Gigan within was completely unable to do anything about. Screeching an evil little taunt, Bagorah bared his fangs as he grinned, pushing the diamond further away from Planet X and closer towards Jupiter.
* * * * *
The Chairman blinked, a sinking feeling coming over him. “W-what is he doing…?”
“You might want to–” the Controller began, but once again found himself interrupted.
“The diamond casing consumes a great deal of Gigan’s energy!” the Chairman snapped, starting to panic. “He can’t just switch in and out of it every five seconds!”
“He’s going to have to,” the Controller stated bluntly.
Realizing the Xilien leader was right, the Chairman signaled his ship again. “Awaken Gigan!” he commanded urgently. “Immediately!”
“But, sir,” the Nebulan on the other end began to protest. “We just–”
* * * * *
Bagorah was rapidly picking up speed with every flap of his wings, soaring across the void faster and faster, with his head pushing Gigan’s diamond along with him. Closer and closer he grew towards Jupiter, once again feeling the planet’s gravity field begin to take hold. Not just the gravity, but he could also sense the energy radiating from the massive storm below them. His wings pushed him forward once again, urging him through space, closer to the planet.
The signal again! Painful. Agonizing. Received by the diamond directly pressing against his head. Screeching in torment, the bat recoiled from the gem and flapped his wings, putting as much distance as he could between himself and Gigan’s enclosure. He shook his head, trying to free it from the signal’s painful ringing, which was already starting to fade.
But while Bagorah was no longer pushing the diamond along, the damage had been done. The momentum the predator had built up caused the gem to continue sailing along in zero-G, until Jupiter’s gravity took firm hold and began pulling it closer, sending it shooting down, spiraling towards the planet. Bagorah watched as the diamond continued to fall before it suddenly detonated, freeing Gigan once again!
Unfortunately, the cyborg was immediately disoriented. He had never come out of his diamond casing while it was in a totally uncontrolled free fall before and he still wasn’t able to see very well with his visor destroyed, so he couldn’t really tell which way was up just by looking, either. It was then that the cyborg could feel the energy of the Great Red Spot and realized he was plummeting almost directly into the heart of it. Gigan began to panic, shrieking wildly as he tried to fire up his jet propulsion, hoping it would take him… He honestly didn’t care where it was, as long as it was away from his current location.
But Jupiter’s pull was too great, and his jets weren’t strong enough to pull him out of the tumble he found himself in as he fell deeper and deeper into the heart of the Spot.
Even with ears as acute as his, Bagorah nevertheless lost track of Gigan’s cries as the cyborg was completely consumed by the raging crimson storm. For a moment, the massive bat stayed there, watching the planet below, thankful that the battle was at last over. For a brief moment, he considered returning to the smaller planet and hunting down the rest of tiny, annoying ships. As quickly as the thought came to him, though, he dismissed it. This wasn’t the time to fight, even if the saucers posed no threat to him. Right now, he needed to eat. To rest. To heal.
The crimson predator turned, his wings propelling him away from Gigan’s stormy grave as he flew onward through the solar system, heading towards the lush blue and green planet he remembered from before. There were other creatures like himself and the cyborg on the planet that he would have to be wary of, but they’d be easy enough to avoid. The world’s vast array of fauna would make for a plentiful feast and that alone made the trip worth it.
Flapping his wings, Bagorah turned his back on Jupiter and Planet X. The two worlds grew smaller and smaller as the blood red bat put even more distance between them and himself, until they finally disappeared into the blackness of space.