Latest Blog - News Articles

  • Author: Christian Salabert | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski

    The news had taken the world by storm.

    The genetics corporation known as BioMajor promised that it meant the end of world hunger, of ungrowable crops and barren wastelands, unable to produce food for the starving masses. Their miraculous creation was a new breed of plant that could be crossbred with countless other species, allowing them to grow in any new environment, no matter how uninhabitable. Naturally, people praised BioMajor and their newfound ability to feed the world.

    The plant was called Biollante.

    But not everyone shared the enthusiasm over BioMajor’s new creation. Others criticized and questioned it, concerned about what exactly they were doing and how they were doing it. The corporation had been exposed for using questionable, even unethical, methods in the past for their previous projects, and thus it was believed that they were doing the same thing once again. The most telling clue being that they gave no specifics of their new breed of plant. Not how they created it, nor how it was able to breed with essentially all other species, nothing. BioMajor hid behind the defense of corporate secrets, of course. They claimed that if they shared such information, then their competitors could breed their own Biollantes, making BioMajor’s original creation irrelevant. But with the company’s already shady history, people viewed their lack of transparency as far more suspicious than they would’ve otherwise. As increasingly more inquiries came, BioMajor became more and more aggressive in their responses.

    By the time allegations of ties to Saradia came, the corporation stopped responding entirely.

    For some time, BioMajor was quiet, continuing their work on Biollante in silence. But before long, they announced a big public event. Hosted in front of their corporate headquarters in Tokyo, they would finally reveal Biollante to the world, celebrating its release into the wild in various strategic locations in the upcoming weeks. Unfortunately, things did not exactly go according to plan. As soon as they unveiled their world-changing creation to the gathered crowd, the plant began to… react. What started as a large potted plant suddenly started to warp and twist and grow, bursting out of its container, sending people screaming as it began to reach out and flourish exponentially with seemingly no reason for it. Roots and vines ensnared everything… and everyone… in sight. By nightfall, the entire BioMajor HQ building was covered in vines. In forty eight hours, two whole districts had been enshrouded.

    In less than a week, all of Tokyo had been overtaken by Biollante.

    The Japanese Self-Defense Force retaliated, of course. They sent in soldiers armed with flamethrowers to eradicate the vines, then tanks, but they couldn’t inflict the needed amount of damage upon the thick foliage to make any progress. They tried an air strike next, but before the jets could even drop their payload, a series of vines detached from the buildings they ensnared and lashed out, knocking the fighters out of the sky. Realizing that brute force was not the answer to stopping Biollante, several of the world’s greatest minds were consulted. Yamane, Shiragami, Ijuin, Yoshizawa, Takiguchi, Yoshiwara, Kagaku… They all knew that merely removing Biollante’s vines wasn’t going to solve anything. They would have to strike at the plant’s source and destroy its roots if they were to effectively eradicate it.

    Unfortunately, even as the brilliant scientists came together to formulate a plan to uproot the plant, something happened that made them realize they wouldn’t have the time to execute any strategy they came up with.

    * * * * *

    The disturbance in Tokyo Bay was first spotted as the water began to bubble and boil. Soon the surface began to turn red, as if blood was somehow being released into the waves. News helicopters that were already on the scene reporting on Biollante quickly turned their attention to this new phenomenon, each trying to report the story before the other. The aircraft buzzed around the blood as it increased in radius within the bay. Unfortunately, none of them were prepared for what happened next.

    A massive, black length–resembling either a tentacle or a tail, with what seemed to be a haunting, skull-like “face” at the end of it–burst up from beneath the waves. It was a few hundred meters in length, towering high into the sky. The helicopters panicked as they tried to avoid the mysterious limb, but most of them weren’t fast enough. The tentacle-thing smashed through several of the choppers, leaving only one left to witness the rest plummet into the waves as burning wreckage.

    After a short time, the thing began to move. It lowered itself and floated atop the water. A ways in front of it, closer to the shore, three rows of jagged, leaf-like objects pierced the surface, sending water spilling down them. They were clearly connected to something beneath them, but what exactly that was could not be seen. Whatever it was, it began to venture forward, as the three rows and initial lengthy limb began to move towards the city. They moved fast; too fast to react properly. A military vessel, which had been stationed there to help keep an eye on Biollante, found itself in their way and was badly gouged as the spikes passed directly through it. The ship was damaged, setting off its ammunition and causing the whole thing to erupt into a ball of fire.

    A pained howl erupted from beneath the waves.

    From underneath the burning wreckage, a hulking, monstrous form began to lift itself up from the depths of the bay. Water, wreckage, and ignited oil poured off the back of an enormous creature as it rose from beneath the surface, straightening up to an unbelievable height. For a moment, the beast simply stood there, obscured by the smoke and fire. But as it eventually stepped out of the obscuring conflagration, it revealed a hideous monster that mankind had not laid eyes upon in over half a century.

    With a harrowing roar, Godzilla announced its return to Japan.

    Moving its massive legs, the vaguely reptilian creature made its way towards the shore, stepping up onto the harbor, crushing the pavement beneath its clawed feet. Slowly but surely, Godzilla made its way towards the city, but quickly came upon the edge of Biollante’s vines. For a moment, the nuclear abomination paused, sensing something… familiar about the greenery. Strange thoughts and emotions began to stir within the creature’s primitive mind. Finally though, the beast pushed such things aside and advanced, crushing vines beneath its feet.

    Immediately, the vegetation began to move, withdrawing and shying away from the stomping footsteps. Onward Godzilla marched, its thick legs taking it further and further into Tokyo, the vines parting like the Red Sea as the monster approached them. The monster wasn’t quite sure what was driving it on like this, what instinct it seemed to be following. It just knew that something was waiting for it in the center of the metropolis and that, whatever it was, it had to find it.

    * * * * *

    “Mosura…”

    Upon hearing the call, the blue, gem-like eyes of the Goddess of Infant Island began to alight. Slowly, her palps and antennae began to move as the enormous insect awoke from her long slumber, life returning to her fur-covered form. Looking around, the deity known as Mothra took in her surroundings; she lay inside her temple, deep within the bowels of the island itself. Focusing and reaching out with her mind, she soon became one with the Shobijin. Within seconds, she knew why she was awake. With a sharp cry, she acknowledged her priestesses and flexed her wings, testing them. They were as strong as ever, generating powerful winds within the cave. With a strong flap, Mothra lifted herself into the air, high off her pedestal. Higher and higher she rose with every flap of her wings, approaching the open ceiling to her temple. Soon, her wings took her high into the cloudless sky of her island home, allowing her to look over her domain.

    The lepidopteran goddess knew what had to be done and knew where she needed to be. It had been countless years since this particular beast had threatened the Earth, but with him on his way back, she knew she had to do everything she could to stop him. Taking a moment to sense and pinpoint her target, Mothra tilted her head upwards and gave her wings another powerful flap, the motion sending the enormous moth shooting even higher into the sky, speeding like a rocket, heading into the stratosphere.

    * * * * *

    Death. Swift, merciless death was on its way to Earth. And none of its people were even aware of it.

    Six cold eyes stared ahead as they drew closer and closer to the blue and green planet below. The three heads the eyes belonged to let out a low, warbling sound, communicating with one another. Anchored to the same body, they could all feel the same desire. The same need. The need for destruction. For torment. To arrive on the planet and prove itself the ultimate being. And, beyond that, a more primal, practical hunger for sustenance. At any rate, the multi-headed beast knew that, whatever his needs were, the planet he was approaching could provide it all. He had been there before.

    King Ghidorah would remind the Earth why it once feared him.

    The shining glow of the planet began to engulf the golden dragon as he drew nearer to it. Soon, the murderous beast began to enter the Earth’s mesosphere, oxygen starting to fill his lungs. Reaching and traveling through a nearby group of Polar mesospheric clouds, the Three-Headed Monster grinned in anticipation, ready to inflict all kinds of hellish suffering onto the planet below. It didn’t matter who Ghidorah came across; this time the golden Titan would emerge victorious. Already, his mere presence was starting to warp the clouds around him, charging the air itself with electricity.

    With another flap of his massive wings, the creature the humans once called Monster Zero emerged from the bottom of the clouds. With a cackle, he announced his arrival to the Earth–

    –And the fact that his call was immediately answered took the Titan by surprise!

    Before the ancient dragon could react, something slammed into his torso head-first, knocking the evil beast for a loop and sending him sprawling through the air. Though startled by the unexpected attack, a mere flap of his wings was able to stabilize him and correct his position. Stretching his wings out to their full size and snarling angrily with his three heads, King Ghidorah let out a cry of death at his foolish attacker!

    Similarly unfurling her wings, Mothra let out a sharp cry of defiance at the King of Terror!

    For a brief moment, the foul Titan was surprised to see the beast in front of him. He’d faced this creature before. The Queen. Eons ago, along with her King. He thought he’d eradicated her from existence. Narrowing his eyes, the dragon’s right head glared at her, thinking. His eyes widened with realization and he turned, cackling at his two brothers. They heard what he said and realized he was right–this wasn’t the queen, at least not the same one they faced before. She was much larger. Her colors and markings were different. Ghidorah’s center head snarled. It didn’t matter whether this was the old queen or a new one. She had still made the grave mistake of attacking the One Who is Many, and for that, she would die. More and more storm clouds began to form around the golden beast as he prepared to destroy this winged creature before him. With a piercing, unearthly cry, King Ghidorah told this strange new queen that her existence was at an end.

    It wasn’t the first time an evil beast had threatened Mothra’s life. With a flap of her wings, she took off like a shot, lunging towards the invader at surprising speed. The ancient Titan had no time to react before the massive insect slammed into him once again, sending the dragon careening back through the atmosphere as she pushed against him. Though he may have been taken by surprise, Ghidorah was quick to react, reaching down with his three heads, his jaws snapping at Mothra’s face and wings. Finally latching on, he managed to pull her away and toss her aside.

    Righting herself, the goddess lunged in again, striking at Ghidorah’s central face with her claws, slashing at his scaly skin. The first few scratches from the moth elicited a screech of pain and when his two outer heads came in to attack her, the buffeting winds from her wings made it hard to get near her. As its head began curling its lip in rage, Ghidorah’s middle neck began to fill and pulsate with a golden light. Like a blinding, searing uppercut, Mothra was knocked back hard from the evil Titan as a gravity beam escaped from his center head’s mouth, blasting her away. Thankfully, she recovered quickly, putting some distance between her and her foe in preparation for another potential blast.

    With an angry cackle, Ghidorah did indeed fire another golden bolt at the queen. This one nearly hit its target, but Mothra was able to narrowly avoid it. Snarling in frustration, the golden serpent began to give chase, flapping his wings and soaring after the massive insect. The guardian called out towards the destroyer, as if egging him on. As the evil Titan continued after her, the colossal moth began to focus, letting her wings vibrate. Energy began to pulsate from them as they began to shed their scales, leaving a trail of them for Ghidorah to fly through.

    The Devil with Three Heads began to hiss and snarl as the sizzling scales burned all around him, enraging him further. Emerging from the cloud of scales, a blast of light escaped the beast’s central mouth as he spat out another gravity beam. Rolling to the side, Mothra managed to avoid the attack, but Ghidorah quickly followed up with two more beams from his outer heads, firing them on either side of the queen and swinging them inward. She let out a cry of pain as these two blasts hit home, momentarily knocking her out of her flight path, the fur on her back singed and smoking.

    Shaking her head and regaining her wits, Mothra flapped her wings and pulled herself out of free fall, nearly hitting the water but zooming across its surface instead. Following close behind, the merciless dragon let out gravity beam after gravity beam, each golden bolt piercing the ocean’s surface as Mothra swerved from side to side, sending waves and clouds of steam into the sky. Up ahead, the deity spotted an island covered in jagged mountains. Grabbing the air with her wings once again, she sent herself soaring towards the mass of land. Ghidorah was close behind, sending geysers into the air each time his beams struck the sea.

    Soon Mothra reached the island’s shores, speeding ahead and flying inland. The island, known as Adonoa to humanity, was a desolate place, devoid of any real signs of life. But its rocky mountains could allow the guardian a chance to regroup, to strike out at the King of Terror once again. Lowering herself and hiding among the mountains, Mothra waited for Monster Zero to get closer. Searching for the insect, the evil dragon let his golden blasts rain down from the sky, hoping to flush her out. The terrain was torn asunder. Mountains were blown to pieces. Clouds of dirt began to blow about and mix with his storm, making it nearly impossible to spot the new queen.

    Mothra, however, had a perfect vantage point of the tyrannical Titan as he made his way across the island, completely hidden from sight. She watched as Ghidorah grew unwittingly closer and closer… Springing into the air, she attacked! Speeding towards the dragon, she pierced the veil of black clouds and got up close in his three faces, distracting him with swipes from her claws as she once again began to unleash her scales from her wings. Monster Zero snarled angrily as the golden particles began to swirl and swarm around his heads, his middle throat pulsating with light. His center head opened its jaws and let out another blinding blast, this one aimed directly between his foe’s shining blue eyes. As soon as Ghidorah let the alien energy escape his mouth, Mothra flapped hard, sending herself hurling backwards and away from the dragon. The gravity beam ignited the crackling scales floating all around the Golden Terror, resulting in an explosion that engulfed the Titan’s upper torso. Dropping from the sky like a rock, Ghidorah hit the ground hard, sending a cloud of dirt high into the air as his impact shook the entire island.

    The right head was the first to recover his wits, nudging and snapping at his brothers in order to stir them out of their stupor. The left and middle heads quickly recuperated and together the three of them glared up into the sky. Mothra, though still visible, had already put a good amount of distance between the two of them. Ghidorah snarled. He knew he’d be able to catch up with her, but it might take some time. Pulling himself up to his feet, dirt and rocks spilling from his burnt golden hide, the dragon spread his majestic wings and flapped, sending him up into the sky, chasing after the strange new queen who stood against him.

    Down below on Adonoa, the island was left in shambles due to the two creatures’ brief yet violent clash. The land was torn and burnt. Where proud, tall mountains once stood, now only piles of rubble remained.

    But they weren’t all that remained.

    The destruction caused by Ghidorah and Mothra had resulted in not only the island’s terrain being decimated, but also in the unearthing and exposure of Adonoa’s many subterranean caverns. And while most of these underground pockets were empty, one cavern in particular was not. One of them was inhabited by an ancient, prehistoric beast that had lain dormant for a great many years. But now that beast was awake, thanks to the battle that had devastated its island home. As Adonoa Island’s soil began to buckle and quake, a red, reptilian form began to push its way up from underneath the ground…

    * * * * *

    Godzilla continued on, forcing its way through several buildings, reducing them to rubble. Its lazily swaying tail demolished multiple structures as it passed through them and the claws on its feet ripped roots that hadn’t retreated deep enough yet out of the ground. Leaving a trail of destruction behind it, Godzilla finally stopped upon coming face to face with a certain building–BioMajor HQ. Of course, the creature was completely oblivious to the identity of the structure it faced, nor did it care, but it was still capable of sensing something off about the building. Even its primitive mind could feel that it was the source of all the strange plant life that had overtaken this territory. Ultimately, however, to Godzilla, this building was no different than any other. Marching forward, the beast’s powerful legs forced the monster through the corporate headquarters, turning it into wreckage. The vines that had been wrapped around the building collapsed to the streets below.

    Even though the building was gone, the colossus could still feel the strange urge. The mysterious, metaphorical siren song that had drawn the beast to this place to begin with. But although the mutant beast still felt curiosity, or at least the closest thing to curiosity its brain could muster, it also felt frustration. Whatever was calling to the monster, it could not see it, and thus there was nothing to be done about it. Ultimately, it decided to move on from this place.

    But just as Godzilla’s feet began to march through the devastated remains of BioMajor, the ground began to shake. The vines that covered the city began to mobilize, lashing out and striking its black hide. The creature cried out as they lashed against its mutated flesh like whips, leaving wounds. Others began to snake around and lasso its arms and legs, tugging on its limbs. Godzilla let out a roar of confusion and defiance as it struggled to resist the tendrils’ pull. But their numbers proved too great and the atomic beast stumbled forward as they tugged.

    More tendrils attacked, but unlike the previous ones, these were tipped with sharp, devastating thorns. Godzilla let out a series of pained screams as several of these thorns pierced its armor-like skin, drawing blood. The leviathan pulled and thrashed, but the vines had too firm of a grip on it. Realizing that its physical strength alone wouldn’t be enough to break free, Godzilla lifted its tail into the air and curled it towards itself, its primitive mind doing its best to concentrate. As the vines continued to stab and ensnare their prey, its dorsal spines suddenly began to alight with an ominous purple glow. The light began to travel down the back as more and more of the protrusions lit up, traveling down its tail until the very tip of the limb itself began to glow. More and more vines ensnared the reptile’s body, wrapping around its neck and snout, tying its mouth shut. As the tendrils finally started to become too much for Godzilla and began to pull its body down towards the ground, a hum filled the air as the glowing within the monster’s tail intensified.

    With a shriek and a flash of light, a purple atomic beam blasted from the skeletal “mouth” on the end of Godzilla’s tail. Like a hot knife through butter, the beam burnt and sliced through countless vines in a single swipe. Immediately, the flora began to withdraw, but it was no use; they were too intricately wrapped around their target, and the creature’s beam tore through them too quickly, sending cut, burning vines falling to the street. Godzilla’s tail swept around wildly, slicing through vine and building alike, until finally enough of them had been removed that the monster was able to simply pull itself upright, with its sharp spines ripping through what few tendrils its beam had missed. Now free, Godzilla watched as the vines retreated, disappearing into the far corners of the city. The creature took a moment to breathe. The threat seemed to be gone, but it was best to wait and make sure before letting its guard down.

    A golden bolt of lightning struck the street, sending sparks and flame into the air as it swept across the ground in front of Godzilla, leaving a trail of scorched pavement in its wake. The sudden blast caused the monstrous beast to rear back in surprise, very nearly toppling but managing to stay upright thanks to its tail. Craning its head back, the mutant gazed upwards to see where the bolt had come from.

    Spiraling out of control, Mothra fell from the stormy sky at a nearly forty five degree angle. Her left hindwing was smoking, having suffered a hit from one of the Tyrant King’s gravity beams. As Godzilla watched, the Goddess of Infant Island’s descent was brought to a sudden and violent end as she crashed into a nearby building, smashing it into pieces, covering the insect with dust and concrete. Cackling evilly, King Ghidorah flapped his wings, stabilizing himself as he approached the ground.

    Reaching out with his talons, he set foot in the plant-covered Tokyo, his claws sinking down into the pavement. Dark clouds churned overhead, the occasional bolt of lightning escaping. Thunder filled the air. Although he planned on closing in and finishing off the new queen, the dragon’s six eyes soon fell upon a new target. Their lips snarled in recognition as they glared at Godzilla. The three heads turned and faced one another, chittering to each other. As with the queen, this reptilian beast was familiar. The Rival. It had to be. But also like the queen, this rival was different. A descendant, perhaps? Either way, Ghidorah would not let it live. Springing into action, clawing the ground with his wings, Monster Zero charged forward, screeching in fury.

    Godzilla showed no reaction to this new arrival, not initially perceiving it to be a threat. Unfortunately, this proved to be a mistake. It had no time to react before King Ghidorah smashed into it, sending the reptilian creature sprawling onto its back. Godzilla roared in confusion as it tried to collect its wits–why had this new beast suddenly attacked it? The black monster began swinging its tail, but Ghidorah flapped his wings and leapt into the air, avoiding the lengthy limb before crashing down onto and standing on the leviathan’s chest. The mutant squealed at the sudden weight before the dragon’s left and right heads began snapping and biting at it, their teeth gashing Godzilla’s flesh. Flexing his talons, the evil Titan sank them into his victim’s chest, eliciting a howl of pain from the creature.

    As the mutated colossus raised its head to roar at its attacker, Ghidorah’s middle head responded by spitting forth a golden gravity blast. Nanoseconds before the beam hit, protective membranes closed down over Godzilla’s eyes, saving them from vaporization as the bolt hit point blank and slammed its head back down against the pavement. The unnatural creature let out a pained cry as the energy burned against its face and surged through its body, causing it to spasm. Bringing its tail forward, it slammed the powerful limb against its attacker’s back, but the alien beast barely even felt the blow as it continued to unleash its blast into Godzilla’s face. Finally, the mutant monster let its neck go limp, its head laying back against the ground. Similarly, its tail fell and lay still atop the street.

    Beneath their protective membranes, Godzilla’s eyes rolled back into its head. The creature began to focus its power and gather its strength. Ghidorah noticed the lack of movement from the new rival and decided that it was either dead or too weak and injured to move. It must’ve been decidedly weaker than the old rival, but he certainly wasn’t going to complain. Raising his three heads into the sky, the Titan began to let out an elongated, unearthly cry, declaring his victory against the strange beast. Unfortunately, with his heads pointed skyward, he couldn’t see Godzilla’s mouth open, its lower jaw splitting down the middle. Generating an intense heat deep within itself, the leviathan forced it up its throat and out of its mouth, unleashing a cloud of searing hot black smoke. This smoke quickly engulfed King Ghidorah like a fog, causing the dragon to cry out in pain and confusion, looking down at the foe he thought he’d beaten.

    Before the alien dragon could act further, the smoke pouring from Godzilla’s throat ignited, turning into a stream of hellish flames. He screamed as the fire washed over him, searing and charring his scales. Flapping his wings, the golden destroyer flew back, trying to put as much distance between the flame-belching beast and himself as he could. But the fire followed Ghidorah, flowing like water, and it was already starting to burn away at his wings. Desperately, the golden Titan unleashed gravity beams from all three heads, blasting Godzilla and sending it skidding backwards across the pavement, shocking the creature as it went. Flame continued to pour from the mutant’s mouth as Ghidorah’s beams sent it back, its dorsal fins cutting through the street until the monster collided with a row of buildings behind it. The impact brought them down and crushed the colossus beneath, covering it in rubble. The debris quickly ignited and burned due to the black beast’s breath, entombing it in flames.

    The Three-Headed Demon narrowed his six eyes as he watched the pile of rubble burn. Godzilla’s legs and tail stuck out from underneath the debris, the latter lashing from side to side. The dragon watched as the tail’s movements began to slow. Snarling, Ghidorah prepared to close in and finish his foe off once and for all, when suddenly a purple ray shot out of the burning wreckage and struck the center of the dragon’s chest. The Titan let out a screech of pain and took a step backwards, but within seconds the purple beam had burned through his tough skin and completely pierced out his back, shooting off into the sky. He tried to back away, but the ray just kept coming, searing his flesh as it lanced through his body.

    Without warning, the beam’s trajectory changed, sweeping upward and slicing through Ghidorah’s central neck, dissecting flesh and bone alike. The stormbringer’s left and right heads thrashed about violently, screaming in agony as their brother was cut up the middle, the severed, bleeding sides now hanging uselessly against his chest. As the golden dragon recoiled in untold pain, chunks of flaming concrete fell away as Godzilla pulled itself up from the rubble and onto its feet. Now standing once again, the mutant paused, surveying the matter with a seemingly blank stare. Such a fatal blow would suppress its foe’s assault, if only for the time being. And in such a state, it would be unwise to press on; but for Ghidorah, no such option was given.

    A loud, sharp trill resonated from the sky above, Mothra swooping in and tackling the xanthic hydra on his back. The dragon screamed out in pain-fueled confusion as the lepidopteran clawed at the gold scales, battering him with her wings. The extraterrestrial’s two remaining heads let out their gravity beams in a panic, their crazed state causing them to miss their target entirely, allowing the blasts to displace the foundations of the skyscrapers and bring them to the ground under their immense weight.

    Beating her majestic wings, Mothra began to shed her scales once again, eliciting agonized cries from the dragon as they touched and burned the exposed innards of his halved neck. Mindless with pain, the two heads reached up and bit down on the divine moth, one on her neck, the other on her abdomen. Mothra was so stunned by the sudden attack that she momentarily ceased her scale assault, allowing Ghidorah to swing his necks about and heave her through the air, sending her careening into Godzilla and knocking both creatures to the ground. The two thrashed about before managing to untangle from each other.

    A quick push from her wings allowed the queen to rise into the sky, only for the leviathan’s tail to sweep in from the side, swatting her away and sending her spiraling back to the ground. Shaking her head and regaining her wits, Mothra rose into the air with another flap of her wings, hovering in place and staring back at the beast that had struck her. She had no quarrel with this creature, but if it insisted on attacking her, the Goddess of Infant Island would have no issue putting it down.

    With a low growl, Godzilla took a step towards the moth.

    Flapping her wings, Mothra sent herself towards the mutant creature before her. Before the moment of impact, a crackling beam of purple energy shot down from above, sweeping between the two monsters and causing them both to halt their advances.

    With a cackle that reverberated throughout the sky, Rodan swooped down, his talons outstretched, ready to attack. He decided to deal with Mothra first, as she was one of the two creatures responsible for waking him from his long slumber. She tried to back away, but the new arrival was too fast, catching up with her and grabbing her back with his talons, dragging her away from Godzilla. Mothra flapped her wings, trying to break free from the pterosaur’s grip, but Rodan gave a heave with his legs, tossing her through the air.

    She swerved as she tried to stabilize herself, only to catch another blast of the pteranodon’s heat ray. The moth tumbled down to the pavement and Rodan prepared to press his attack, only for another searing beam from Godzilla to fire past him. Immediately turning towards the mutation, the ancient flier sped towards it, slamming his armored chest into his foe’s face, toppling the black and red beast in a single blow. The black beast squealed weakly as it waved its tiny arms in futility as Rodan came down and landed on his foe’s chest.

    He cackled angrily at this strange creature that had tried to attack him, lashing out with furious pecks from his beak. Even Godzilla’s armor-like skin wasn’t enough to stand up to multiple blows from the mutant flying reptile, a gushing cascade of blood beginning to flow. It opened its jaws, preparing to fire another blast, only for the pteranodon to beat him to it, blasting his foe point blank with another uranium heat beam. Godzilla let out a choking cry of pain as Rodan’s blast hit and seared the inside of its mouth. Before the flying reptile could continue his assault, Mothra came up from behind, snatching his neck in her claws and dragging him away.

    As the holy guardian flew off with the ancient predator in her grasp, scratching and striking the pteranodon as she carried him, Godzilla lay on the ground, trying to recuperate and get itself back on its feet. Just as the monster began to move itself about with its massive tail, it was suddenly descended upon by the two-headed King Ghidorah, the sliced halves of his central neck still laying uselessly against his torso. Godzilla let out a roar, but that roar was quickly silenced as the dragon’s left neck tightly wrapped around its own and squeezed hard, before the neck’s head bit down on the back of the mutant’s skull.

    At the same time, Ghidorah’s right neck wrapped around Godzilla’s left leg in a similar fashion, its jaws biting down into the ankle. His teeth in place within his prey’s flesh, the golden fiend began to drink–not blood, but energy. The sheer radioactive power coursing through the leviathan’s body changed course, surging towards the twin mouths. Soon, the energy reached his fangs and Monster Zero began to absorb the black beast’s power, his necks and heads pulsating with crimson light. Unable to open its mouth and unleash its flames, Godzilla’s dorsal fins began to glow. Raising its tail and curling it towards Ghidorah, the glow from its fins traveled down until the tip of the tail itself began to glow with the same eerie, violet light. But the extraterrestrial devil was too hungry and was absorbing too much energy. Just as quickly as the mutated monster’s fins and tail had begun to glow, their light faltered and faded, slowly going limp as he was drained by his draconic foe.

    Suddenly, Ghidorah began to loosen his grip on this new rival. Untangling his necks, he held tight with his two jaws and used every ounce of strength his necks possessed, sending Godzilla rolling through the air and crashing to the ground, shattering the pavement and leveling an entire block’s worth of buildings. Taking a step back, the serpent’s two heads chittered with anticipation as he felt this newfound power surging through his veins, revitalizing him. His body momentarily supercharged, the same purple glow as Godzilla’s fins overtook his dissected middle neck, lifting both halves and bringing them together. As if welded back together by a torch, the two halves connected and healed, repairing the damage done by the photon beam. The skull was next, snapping back together flesh and bone. At last, the head’s dead eyes began to move. Began to see. Evil thoughts started to course through the skull’s fully restored brain.

    King Ghidorah lifted all three of his heads high into the air and let out a monstrous scream of evil glee. He was complete once again.

    Woozy, weary, and worn, Godzilla managed to lift itself back its feet, but the monster barely had any time to regain its bearings before the Three-Headed Demon took to the air and swooped in, snatching the strange rival’s chest in his talons. Smashing the leviathan down against the pavement, Ghidorah flapped his wings and began to fly along the ground, scraping his foe through the street, sending him busting through structure and plant life alike. Godzilla let out pained, frustrated cries as it tried to break free from the brutal grasp, but with building after building being broken against its head, the creature found it impossible to focus enough to charge and fire its ray. The alien cackled maliciously as he ran his foe across the pavement, causing the rival more and more anguish and leaving a trail of destruction behind them. Soon he would release his grip and drain the mutant creature of every last drop of its power and–

    With a cry and a sonic boom, Rodan blasted down from the skies and struck upon Ghidorah like a meteor, wrenching him away from Godzilla and sending the Golden Terror smashing into the ground, onto the hydra’s back. With unparalleled speed and beak firmly planted in the ancient evil’s chest, the prehistoric predator carried the dragon a good distance away, a torn up, crater-like trail now leading in the opposite direction.

    Withdrawing his blood-stained beak with a sickening sound, Rodan took to the air and began circling the downed Ghidorah like a vulture, hitting the dragon with blast after blast of his heat ray. Though initially dazed by the sudden attack that left him partially buried in rubble and dirt, the dragon managed to regain his wits, all six eyes staring up and zeroing in on their attacker. Snarling angrily, Ghidorah used his wings to push himself up and out of the ground, the crumbled remains of buildings falling from his scales. Swooping down from the skies, the ancient flier prepared to attack again, but this time the destroyer was ready for him.

    His throats pulsating with light, the Three-Headed Monster opened his jaws and spat out a trio of gravity beams. Rodan had no time to swerve out of the way before the three energy bolts hit him like a truck, halting his advance cold and sending him careening backwards, pushing the mutant pterosaur into a skyscraper and bringing it down around him. With a shrill cry, Mothra flapped her wings, sending herself speeding towards the tyrannical beast.

    Unfortunately for her, he was ready for her and reacted far faster than she was expecting, lashing out with his three mouths, clamping his jaws down on her throat, thorax, and wing. The goddess let out a howl of pain as Ghidorah swung her upwards, his necks making a full arch, before bringing her down hard and slamming her back against the pavement, dazing the deity and eliciting a groan of pain from her mandibles. Glaring down at the new queen, he snarled in disgust. Rearing back with his three heads, he began to charge his gravity beams.

    A purple beam hit the golden Titan square in the chest, driving him back, causing him to fire his bolts harmlessly into the sky. Whipping his necks around in order to face the beam’s source, Ghidorah snarled at Godzilla, exposing his three sets of fangs. The intimidating display was cut short as the mutant’s long tail lashed against the trio of faces, its skull-like tip clubbing the three heads, knocking them together. Screaming in fury at the mutant reptile, the golden serpent started to move towards it, only for the black beast to bring its massive tail down on the dragon’s central head, stunning it. The left and right heads cackled furiously and lunged forward, biting down on the creature’s tail.

    Godzilla cried out as Ghidorah bit into its limb, thrashing its head and tail, trying to shake the tyrant off of it. But it was unable to as the multi-headed nightmare tugged with his two heads, yanking the mutated leviathan off its feet and bringing it crashing down onto its chest, causing it to grunt in pain. Before the scarred colossus could begin lifting itself back up, the alien hurried forward, leaping over the downed Mothra and landing on Godzilla’s back. The atomic mutation groaned out, feeling its ribs start to crack as Ghidorah pushed it down against the earth. The dragon’s talons pierced the black flesh, taking care to avoid the monster’s jagged dorsal fins.

    Curling its tail, Godzilla began to bring its tip towards its foe from behind, but the Three-Headed Monster sensed it approaching. His right head turned back to face the oncoming limb and fired off a gravity beam that hit the tail head-on, blowing chunks of flesh from its tip. Screaming in pain, Godzilla closed its eyes and, in an instant, over a dozen atomic rays exploded up out of its back, briefly entrapping Ghidorah in a prison made of radioactive energy. His skin charred and smoking, numerous holes blown through his wings, Monster Zero stumbled backwards, crashing down onto his back.

    With a rumbling growl, the radioactive lifeform got back to its feet, its eyes zeroing in on the fallen dragon. Using his burnt wings as arms, Ghidorah pushed himself back from his foe, firing his golden bolts at Godzilla. The three beams hit as one, driving the scarred reptile back, electrifying it, giving the golden fiend enough time to get back to his feet and spread his wings. Giving them a flap, he raised a little into the air, finding it harder to achieve elevation with so many wounds in his wings. Flapping again, harder, faster, he managed to pull himself up from the ground, taking off into the sky. But this time, Monster Zero had no intention of regrouping and attacking again. This fight was proving to be more than he had bargained for. This strange, new rival was just as strong and stubborn as the one he had fought before, and he still had the new, larger queen and the fast red flier to contend with as well. But he would return. He would single these annoying creatures out and finish them off one by one and make them regret ever crossing–

    Shrieking an angry cackle, Rodan came speeding up from the ground like a rocket, racing towards the unsuspecting King Ghidorah. The Golden Terror had no time to react before the mutant pteranodon hit him, snatching him with his talons. To his shock, he was hit with enough force to be driven back through the sky. The dragon’s shock quickly turned to rage, however, and his two outer heads lashed towards the crimson pterosaur, biting down on either side of his neck. Ghidorah relished the pained scream that came from his victim, only to be taken completely by surprise as his enemy faced him head-on and let out a point-blank blast of his uranium heat beam. The central head howled in fury as the blast scorched its face. His outer heads released Rodan, only for the golden dragon to rear back and lash out with his right foot, kicking the pteranodon hard and sending him spiraling back through the sky.

    With a flap of his wings, the red reptile zoomed back towards his foe, pecking at Ghidorah’s heads as they snapped back at him in return. Both flying beasts were suddenly knocked back as Mothra came blasting up between them, dousing them both in a cloud of her glowing scales. With an angry cackle, Rodan let loose a burst of his heat beam at the deity, only to ignite the golden particles all around him. The resulting explosion blew the two away from each other, burning them as well as the holy insect, causing the three flying creatures to stagger in the air.

    Unfortunately, as they were all focused on one another, none of them were paying attention to Godzilla down below. Focusing its energy, its dorsal fins shining with an intense purple light, the nuclear leviathan bent down and pointed its fins towards the sky, firing nearly twenty atomic beams into the stratosphere. As skilled in the air as the three monsters may have been, there were too many rays and they moved too quickly. One after the other, Ghidorah, Rodan, and Mothra were blasted by multiple rays and blown out of the sky, trails of smoke billowing from them as they fell back to earth.

    A rumbling shook the earth as, one by one, the three monsters impacted. The two born of Earth were each momentarily knocked unconscious by the impact, but the serpent of the stars was able to pull himself to his feet, although the Titan was clearly dazed. Shaking his heads from side to side in order to clear the mental cobwebs, the dragon turned to face Godzilla. The black and red monstrosity stared right back and started heading towards Ghidorah, its long tail swaying behind it. The ebony leviathan was moving faster now, its huge legs taking each step with greater speed.

    The gold wyrm snarled. This beast had hurt the One Who is Many for the last time. With a primal scream, he charged his foe. Opening and splitting its jaws, the aquatic beast thrust its head forward and unleashed another atomic ray. The violet beam hit its target directly in the chest, but this time the bat-winged beast pushed through, ignoring the burn. The mutant kept the beam flowing from its mouth, but it proved to be useless; within seconds, the evil Titan had reached his target.

    Rearing back with his three heads, Ghidorah lashed out with them all at once. Godzilla couldn’t focus on defending itself as they all came at it from different directions. Simultaneously, they bit down, sinking their teeth into the back of its neck, the top of its head, and its chest. The attack happened so quickly that the beam was cut short by shock. But before it could think of firing again, Ghidorah began to absorb its energy once more. Godzilla squealed as it felt its power immediately begin to wane. Summoning its strength, another ray was expelled from its mouth, but the interstellar predator easily avoided it, keeping his necks and body well out of the way as he drained his foe. Purple energy flowed from the body down the serpentine throats, feeding the dragon, making it stronger. Already, the various burns and wounds scattered all around his body were starting to close and heal.

    Godzilla’s beam started to falter, cutting out, flickering, growing less stable. It dropped in intensity and reverted into an unfocused stream of flame before giving out entirely. The monster clawed at the head of Ghidorah’s that was digging into its chest, but its small, spindly arms were useless, unable to reach the attacking head with even the tips of its claws.

    Desperately, the beast tried to fire beams from its fins, but a flickering light was all it was able to conjure. Godzilla could feel its power leaving its body, its strength waning, the nuclear fire coursing through its veins extinguishing. A roar of fury and intimidation tried to leave its throat as it attempted to wrench itself free from King Ghidorah’s vampiric grip, but the reptile’s body grew weaker and weaker with each passing second. Its small arms started to droop, and even its massive tail fell limply against the broken pavement, not able to manage more than the occasional twitch. Godzilla kicked its legs, but like its tail, their movements ceased as Ghidorah drained the monster more and more of its power. Even its primitive, barely sentient brain could recognize the danger it was in… And how there was nothing it could do to stop it. The radioactive creature tried to let out one final roar of defiance, but all that came out was a barely audible mewl. Letting out one last breath, Godzilla’s beady eyes rolled up into its head as its lids closed and the beast let the darkness claim it…

    As King Ghidorah continued to drink deeply the sheer nuclear power that fueled his foe, a quiet, nearly inaudible sound began to emanate. As the mutant’s consciousness slipped away, its body began to act. Began to shift. The disgusting sounds of tearing flesh and snapping bones could be heard. Monster Zero barely had time to even realize anything was happening before Godzilla’s chest tore itself open, bone and armored hide forming what looked like teeth, and reached out for the head that had been draining it. Ghidorah’s head barely had time to widen its eyes in shock before the grotesque chest-mouth engulfed it and bit down, shearing through muscle and tendon and bone, severing the neck completely with a sickening chomp.

    The two remaining heads immediately released Godzilla, the killer of worlds stumbled backwards, screaming in agony at the sudden loss of his left head. Blood poured from the quivering stump, spilling out onto the ground. His right and middle heads cried out in pain and confusion at the sudden loss of their brother. Its hideous torso-mouth shut, the slit in the abomination’s chest began to heal and close, Ghidorah’s still-conscious head screaming as it was, for all intents and purposes, eaten alive. Having regained enough of its strength, Godzilla’s eyes opened and the monster reared its head back and flexed its arms, letting out a roar of triumph. A purple glow quickly overtook its fins, this time accompanied by a slight crackle of golden energy.

    Splitting its jaws open and thrusting its head forward, Godzilla unleashed an atomic ray at its foe. This time, it had a golden energy bolt, one similar to Ghidorah’s own, swirling around it. The combined blast hit Monster Zero hard, knocking him clear off his feet and onto his back. The draconic Titan let out a cry of pain as he was hit with the combined power of the radioactive monster and himself. Rapidly, the god incarnate swept the atomic gravity beam across the fallen hydra, then a second time, then a third. Each time, the golden spiral grew weaker, until it had finally dissipated completely, at which point the ray ceased. But the damage had been done. Ghidorah lay on the ground, his two remaining necks and wings twitching, his body scorched by the multiple blasts.

    Smoke trailing from its mouth, Godzilla took a step forward, approaching its downed opponent. Its pinprick eyes watched as its enemy tried to recuperate, attempting to ignore the pain wracking his body. Glaring up at the one who had disfigured him, all the dragon could do was manage to snarl and growl in defiance. Rolling its eyes back into its head, Godzilla opened its mouth, charging its atomic fires and preparing to incinerate its foe. But before the hideous beast could unleash its flame, the ground began to shake.

    The deformed monster paused, closing its mouth as the quake continued. The streets underneath it began to crack and buckle. As the monster’s eyes darted about at the splitting pavement all around and beneath itself, the hydra wearily managed to push himself up with his wings, getting back to his feet. As the shaking grew increasingly violent, each creature realized that the ground they were standing on was rapidly becoming unstable. Its legs shaky, Godzilla tried to step away from any immediate danger. Ghidorah began to stretch his burnt wings, preparing to take to the skies.

    The pavement bulged, then exploded, sending dirt and concrete into the air. A massive form burst up from beneath the earth, sending the two careening backwards in opposite directions. More of the ground gave away, splitting and sinking into itself. A series of piercing shrieks emanated from the crack deep within the earth. Numerous vines, similar to the ones that had covered the city, arose from the crevasse, waving threateningly.

    Regaining their wits, Godzilla and Ghidorah managed to get back to their feet, rearing back in surprise as they laid eyes upon their attacker; a mountainous mass of plant life towering up into the sky, moving, breathing. Countless tendrils surrounded it, emerging from the plant’s sides. Topping it all off was a massive, crocodilian head with jaws to match, filled with a seemingly endless number of teeth. Two small eyes, almost entirely white, stared back at the duo of creatures. Rearing her head back, this new beast let out a long, terrifying howl.

    At long last, Biollante had matured and achieved her true form.

    King Ghidorah snarled, cackling in displeasure at this new arrival. If this fight had gotten out of control before, now its chaos was completely unprecedented. With a flap of his wings, he leapt from the ground and into the air, planning on leaving this place far behind him. But Biollante had no intention of letting this invader go. If he was foolish enough to step into her domain, then his death was on his own heads. Immediately, several tendrils lashed out and upward, ensnaring the dragon’s tails and legs, gripping tightly. Caught completely by surprise, he had no time to attempt a counterattack before the chimera tugged hard with her vines, bringing him back down to earth and slamming him against the pavement, dazing the golden beast.

    Godzilla, meanwhile, stared blankly at the massive plant. The irradiated reptile was either seemingly unafraid of the arrival of this new beast, or its mind was too slow to recognize the threat she presented. What the reptilian creature did know was that this new being seemed to be in charge of the vines that had attacked it before. It advanced, taking a step towards her.

    The bionic superbeast did not take kindly to being challenged in her own territory and sent a series of tendrils surging towards her foe. The god incarnate kept going, facing the vines head on. Several of the limbs struck hard, bursting their tips against the armored skin, spilling their sap. But more and more of them kept coming, ensnaring the monster, wrapping around its neck, arms, and legs. There was a squeal as it shook its body from side to side, trying to dislodge the tendrils that were assaulting it from all directions.

    Another wave of tendrils descended on Godzilla and these had mouths. Lined with fangs, they began to bite. Though at first the creature’s tough skin protected it from the tendrils’ snapping jaws, they just kept coming, biting, chewing, wearing its hide down with the acidic sap drooling from their fangs. Soon they began to make progress. The leviathan let out a howl of pain as the tendrils’ toothy jaws started to bite through its flesh. Blood began to spill. The reptile twisted its body violently, shaking it from side to side as it tried to wrench itself away from the vines to no avail. More of them wrapped around the monster’s tail, tying it down to the ground, unable to be of any use. Godzilla let out a scream, closing its eyes as the tendrils overwhelmed it.

    With a powerful burst of energy, atomic rays blasted from Godzilla’s back, slicing and incinerating the vines that dared to restrain it. Within seconds, the creature was freed and turned to face the source of the tendrils as burning chunks of them fell from its body to the street below. But while Biollante was disappointed by the loss of her vines, she was not discouraged. Lunging forward, she clamped her crocodilian jaws down around her foe’s head, tugging the black and red monster clean off its feet. So taken aback by the sudden, vicious assault, Godzilla could do nothing but scream in confusion and pain as it was lifted up, briefly shaken, and tossed like a toy, soaring through the air and crashing into a building, reducing the structure to rubble.

    A sharp cry from above grabbed the chimera’s attention. Lifting her massive head upward, she spotted Mothra hovering in place. With another chirp, the deity told the plant monster to stand down. There was no need for her to get involved in this fight. Biollante snarled, sending more of her vines at the audacious insect for telling her what to do in her own domain. But before they could even get close, the Goddess of Infant Island began to flap her wings, the powerful gusts dispersing the vines and sending them scattering in all directions, some landing on and crashing against various desecrated buildings.

    The artificial colossus howled in fury at the moth, who suddenly came in close to attack. With an angry cry, Mothra began to flap her wings once again, this time unleashing her golden scales against the massive beast. As soon as the scales came into contact with her flesh, Biollante cried out in pain, feeling her leaves sizzle. The floral titan shook her head from side to side, trying to dislodge the glowing particles to no avail, feeling them burn against her skin. She called more vines to help her, but they were quickly shredded by the burning scales, and those that weren’t still couldn’t get through the powerful winds generated by the guardian’s wings.

    Desperate to rid herself of the bug and her burning attack, Biollante pulled something up from deep within her very core. Opening her mouth, she vomited out a gushing torrent of acidic sap, blasting up through the scale cloud and spraying her in the face, absolutely drenching the deity. Choking and sputtering, Mothra faltered and immediately began to fall from the sky. She flapped her wings as best as she could, but everything hurt. The sap burned as it ate away at not only her fur, but at her exoskeleton as well. With a pained cry, the lepidopteran crashed to the ground, sending a cloud of dust into the air.

    Just as Biollante began to make her way towards the fallen moth, a purple beam pierced the side of her body and swung upwards, slicing its way out of her. Incensed, she whipped her head to the side and snarled as she found herself facing Godzilla once again. Wanting to finish it off, she charged forward, only for the reptile to attack with its powerful tail, clubbing her sideways across the face with it. The mountain of plant life staggered, ceasing her charge, only to recover immediately, snapping her jaws down on the malformed tail.

    The nuclear monster cried out, shaking its head in agony as Biollante sank her teeth into its flesh. With a growl, she thrashed her head about, sinking her endless array of teeth even deeper. Blood spilled from the limb, falling from her jaws and down to the pavement below. Desperate to free itself from the plant’s toothy grip, Godzilla began to pull, straining its muscles in an attempt to wrench its tail free. The genetically engineered monster narrowed her eyes as she felt her foe try to pull away from her mouth and, furiously, bit down even harder.

    Somewhere deep within the depths of its pained mind, the god incarnate knew that it had to escape the plant’s hold on it. It was barely even aware of it, but already its body had begun to prepare a defense, a way of dealing with this floral menace. With a grotesque ripping sound, Biollante tore the end of her foe’s tail clean off. Staggering backwards, an agonized howl echoed out. While it still retained most of its tail, the red, skeletal tip and a fair amount of black flesh had been torn away, hanging from Biollante’s mouth.

    Blood gushed from the shredded end of Godzilla’s tail. The monster’s eyes glared at his tormentor, burning with pain and rage. But just as the plant creature was thinking she had delivered a horrible blow to her opponent, she felt the severed tail in her mouth begin to move, its flesh shifting. To her shock, the tail began to separate, to split into multiple pieces. And these pieces began to change. And move. Strands of flesh reached out, becoming arms and legs. Some of the flesh hardened and molded, turning into faces, completely featureless aside from a single hole in the middle. Before Biollante even realized what was happening, the chunk of tail she had been holding onto was gone, and nearly a dozen small, humanoid creatures were now swarming her body!

    She cried out as the numerous little beasts began to attack her everywhere, biting, clawing, some of them even unleashing small jets of flame from their mouths. Crying out in pain, the massive plant shook herself back and forth in an attempt to dislodge them, but only a few of them fell from her. The others proceeded to climb as they attacked her and soon they were approaching her head. As one of the small “men” got close to her eyes, Biollante finally struck back, bringing multiple tendrils towards herself, letting them lash out and strike against her own body. Several of the human-like offshoots were struck and crushed by the vines, their bodies falling lifelessly to the ground. Feeling some of them crawling into her mouth and attempting to pull out her teeth, the chimera charged up and fired another stream of her acid sap, bathing the little creatures in the corrosive fluid, eating away at them before they fell from her jaws. One of the diminutive Godzillas, clinging to the side of its enormous foe, looked up and snarled in fury as one of Biollante’s mouth tendrils came in and attacked, biting down on it and crushing it in its fangs as a venus fly trap would its prey.

    As her vines made short work of the hellish humanoids, the mutated plant turned her head and glared furiously at the atomic fiend. The black and red monster realized her attention was on it once again and prepared to defend itself, its tail still bleeding. Godzilla paused, beginning to focus its power into its throat once again. With a cackle, Rodan swooped down from the sky, now intent on attacking Biollante. As he came closer, he unleashed multiple blasts of his uranium heat beam, strafing the floral beast. Growing even more enraged as yet another trespasser into her domain made their presence known, she sent a series of tendrils into the air, which quickly lassoed the sky monster before he had a chance to maneuver out of their way. In one swift motion, Rodan’s own momentum was used to bring him closer to the ground. He was swung around like a large flail, and slammed hard into Godzilla, stunning both reptiles as they crashed to the ground. Both creatures groaned as they attempted to collect their wits.

    The pteranodon was the first to recuperate and looked down at his fellow holdover from a bygone age. Rearing his head back, the mutant pterosaur prepared to start attacking with his sharp beak, only to feel a sharp pain in his back. One of the few remaining aberrant humanoids had lost its grip on Biollante, only to end up on Rodan when she caught and threw him, and now the little demon had sunk its teeth into the base of the kaiju’s neck. Crying out in pain and disbelief, he flapped his wings, lifting off from Godzilla and taking to the sky. As the reptilian humanoid continued to bite and claw at his flesh, Rodan flew higher and higher, until he suddenly initiated an aileron roll. Despite its best efforts, the small creature couldn’t hold on and went flying from the red Pteranodon, dropping through the air until it collided with a building, killing it.

    Godzilla lay on the ground, mostly recovered from its collision with the prehistoric predator by now, but still wounded and bleeding. This fight was taking its toll on the beast. Even with the energy boost it had received from devouring Ghidorah’s head, it was getting tired, its power was low, and now part of its once massive tail was missing. These monsters it found itself facing… They were quite powerful. The two flying creatures had their speed. The dragon had his multiple heads and lightning bolts. The enormous plant had her countless vines. As powerful as the leviathan was, it had no way of reliably countering their…

    …Something shifted inside its body, a tangible sensation. It flowed down its body length, tingles of great change.

    Forcing its wounded tail against the ground, Godzilla pushed itself back up onto its feet. Closing its eyes, the hideous creature braced itself. As Biollante stood before the reptilian beast, King Ghidorah rose back to his feet behind it, putting the creature between him and the floral nightmare. They both glared at the abomination as it stood still, trying to decipher its next move. A shining purple glow began to emanate from the fins upon the tail, eventually beaming out of the wounded stump at the end like a flashlight. But this time, the light didn’t consume the spines, instead focusing on the limb itself. The tail’s flesh began to crawl and warp. The chimera of plant and animal tilted her head to the side, unsure of exactly what was happening, but staying at the ready if she needed to defend herself. The dragon’s two remaining heads saw the tail shifting and looked at one another, communicating. They decided not to let the strange rival have time to complete whatever it was doing. With a chittering cry, Monster Zero charged forward, its twin jaws agape, ready to overwhelm and pummel his opponent by any means necessary.

    Accompanied by the sickening sound of tearing flesh, Godzilla’s tail split itself down the middle, ripping itself in half from its torn tip to the base at the creature’s spine. Ghidorah suddenly stopped his advance, shocked and confused by the sudden action. Seconds later, the tail halved itself again, this time horizontally, leaving the extremity in quarters that fell limply to the pavement. A cry of pain filled the city as blood spilled from its torn tail. But the ichor shortly began to slow, soon stopping completely. Flesh moved and shifted, reorganizing itself as new bones were generated. The crimson pterosaur swooped down and landed nearby, watching this bizarre sight unfold before him.

    Opening its eyes, the god incarnate let out a roar of surprise at what new development had occurred. Its DNA had acted to grant it a counter to its foes’ advantages. To Ghidorah, Rodan, and Biollante’s shock and even horror, behind Godzilla arose not one, not two, but four complete new tails, all of them ending in the same red demonic face the original had sported.

    With the three of them simultaneously realizing the threat that this new development posed, the trio of monsters burst into motion, each of them rocketing towards their common enemy at full speed, ready to tear into it with their jaws and talons and vines.

    Among them, Monster Zero was the first to reach the creature, lashing out with his mouths and biting down on two of the tails, battering the monster with his wings. The king of the skies arrived next, getting up in the aberration’s face, attacking it with his beak. The adapting menace thrashed about, its two free tails whipping sideways, repeatedly striking Ghidorah in the chest and stomach. Eventually the dragon was forced to release his toothy grip and backed away, the golden menace shrieking in irritance.

    The crimson reptile cried out as the abominable mutant bit down on Rodan’s trapezius muscle, teeth sinking into his flesh, which only worsened when the mutant shook its head from side to side. Then, with a massive heave, Rodan was finally released from the jagged bite of the nuclear leviathan, the pteranodon sent sprawling off to the side. Biollante charged in next, bringing with her a whole slew of tendrils ready to attack. Sending two of its tails towards her, Godzilla used them to push the plant’s vines aside and out of the way, then brought a third tail downward, clubbing Biollante’s snout. The blow rattled her skull and staggered the flora, stopping her advance cold.

    Ghidorah stepped forward and opened his mouths, firing his gravity beams. The atomic beast growled as the twin bolts hit, sending bio-electric energy coursing through its body. With a roar, the black colossus thrust its head forward and fired off another atomic ray from its mouth, a ray that was deftly avoided. However, the ray was intended to be nothing more than a simple distraction, as two of its tails swung into action. One of them slammed down onto Ghidorah’s right head. The other swiped upwards, uppercutting the middle one. The rapid blows dazed the Two-Headed Devil, causing it to cease firing its beams and stumble backwards.

    Faster than could be followed by the eye, Godzilla’s fins all started to glow and laser-like atomic rays shot out of all four of its tails. The swaying limbs began to whip back and forth, lashing the three other monsters with their powerful beams. Rodan was hit hardest, sent careening back into a building, scorch marks covering his skin. Ghidorah and Biollante were hit multiple times, but managed to push onward, ignoring the pain as both were blasted. Splitting its bottom jaw in half, Godzilla leaned forward and unleashed another atomic beam from its mouth.

    Before this one could hit either of its foes, though, the dragon’s right head bit down on his target’s throat, cutting the beam off. The chimera reared her head back, then spewed out another heavy torrent of acid sap, dousing both foe and temporary ally, eliciting cries of pain as the liquid burned their flesh. The scarred abomination swung its tails around wildly, never ceasing the beams emanating from their tips. They lacerated Biollante as they hit her repeatedly. Ghidorah’s wings were cut up severely, making flight all but impossible for the golden dragon. By pure chance, two of the tails swung close enough to each other that their rays collided and united into a single beam, slicing the wyrm’s right neck off at the midway point, sending it tumbling to the street below.

    The One was no longer Many. Stumbling backwards, King Ghidorah managed to keep his footing as his center head screamed out in agony at the loss of his last brother. Biollante sent a flurry of vines at the blazing nightmare, only to have them all instantly cut down by the purple beams. The two large kaiju ceased their attempts at attacking, instead simply trying to survive this new, impenetrable form of attack. To their relief, Godzilla’s tails stopped firing their rays. To their horror, the tails stopped waving about wildly and started moving as one, grouping together and aiming at a single target. The god incarnate opened its mouth once again, and together the alien and chimera suddenly found themselves staring down five blinding, ominous lights.

    Searching around behind himself with his tails, Ghidorah quickly found the barely conscious Rodan and wrapped the two limbs around his neck. Quickly bringing the irradiated pterosaur around to his front, he held the avian fodder before him, acting as a living shield. Snapping out of it but unable to break free from the grasp, Rodan cackled in fury. The sudden noise and motion grabbed Godzilla’s attention and it unleashed all five of its atomic rays directly at the evil Titan. The monster of the skies was completely helpless as the cluster of beams tore through him like a hot knife through butter, his last cry being suddenly and violently cut off as they left a huge gaping hole in his torso, blood escaping from his beak. But the rays didn’t stop there, hitting Monster Zero just as hard and burning through his flesh just as easily.

    Dropping Rodan’s lifeless body, Ghidorah staggered back as Godzilla’s rays cut a hole through him, bursting out his back before the dragon finally fell. Swinging its head and tails to the side, it cut through the entire city before hitting and bisecting Biollante horizontally, burning through her flesh. She briefly blacked out before resuming consciousness, her regeneration going into overdrive to repair the damage done. But the plant monster was severely wounded and even her amazing healing wasn’t fast enough to get her back to full strength quickly enough.

    Godzilla’s tails stopped firing their beams once again, though the glow of the creature’s fins remained. Tilting its head down, the leviathan focused the beam from its mouth down onto the street. The beam flickered and dispersed, reverting to the monster’s radioactive fire breath. The flames spread outward at a horrifying speed and began flooding the broken streets like rushing water, covering the city with a tidal wave of fire.

    The flames washed over Biollante and Ghidorah, immediately eliciting screams of agony. Being floral in nature, the former was dead as soon as the fire touched her. She thrashed about in untold pain as the flames ate away her flesh and vines and spores until nothing was left but bits of charred flesh on scorched bones. The destroyer let out a cry as the fire engulfed him. Normally he could withstand such heat, but he was too badly hurt, his strength gone, his body mutilated, and the flames too intense. They washed over every inch of him, pouring into his wounds, cooking him from the inside out. Bones and muscles burnt as internal organs sizzled and popped. Flame traveled up his lone remaining throat and burst out of his mouth, his eyes exploding as fire shot out from their sockets. Within seconds, King Ghidorah and Biollante were reduced to nothing more than fire and smoke.

    After a moment, the maw of the dread lord ceased spewing flame, briefly sputtering out black smog before it stopped completely. The monster closed its mouth. Tokyo was now a literal sea of fire that would take decades to repair. Its four tails swaying about lazily behind it, Godzilla looked over the burning ruins. The mutant beast was hurt, but it had won. It would need to take time to heal and recharge, but that need would be met soon enough. Satisfied with its victory and the destruction it had wrought, it began to focus on shutting down. It would need to enter a state of hibernation to renew its strength.

    A sharp cry caught the monster’s attention.

    Turning around to face the source of the noise, Godzilla was stunned to see Mothra–now essentially a blinding beacon of light as her entire body, broken and burnt by acid, was now lit completely alight by the sea of flame–flapping her wings and lifting herself high into the air as the scales which ignited her drifted down. Its limited mind couldn’t comprehend that the deity was even still alive. But it didn’t matter. She was clearly holding on by a thread, her body burning just as much as the city all around them. It would be easy enough to cut that thread. Moving its tails and aiming them at the flaming moth, Godzilla prepared to blow her out of the sky.

    With a thunderous noise, the cancerous kaiju unleashed all four of its tail rays at Mothra, who immediately began to twirl through the air, rolling from side to side, deftly avoiding every beam that came her way. Each blast Godzilla sent at her missed its target, exploding against the decimated pavement behind her. Her target fired over and over, but Mothra was too fast for its beams to hit. One beam at last nicked her left wing, but she barely even faltered. Enraged and frustrated, the leviathan reared its head back and let out a furious roar, letting the divine moth know that it would end her life no matter how many times she avoided its attacks.

    What Godzilla didn’t know, however, was that that was exactly what the Goddess of Infant Island had in mind. With each beam she dodged, she grew closer and closer to the hideous monster that fired them. Despite the flames eating away at her body, she knew she couldn’t fail in this one final attack. She’d already failed this one city; she couldn’t let her failure spread to the rest of the world as well.

    With one last chirp, Mothra slammed head-first into Godzilla’s chest. In a blinding flash of light, both creatures burst into a massive explosion, flames rising high into the sky, chunks of flesh and bone raining down in every direction. Very little of the holy one remained, her body crushed by the impact and almost completely incinerated by the blast, while pieces of the foul monster fell everywhere. Though normally this would be potentially disastrous due to the beast’s evolving, transforming nature, with Tokyo burning as severely as it was, the flames overwhelmed each lump of flesh they came into contact with, burning them until not even a hint of life remained within.

    Not too far from the point of impact lay the largest remaining piece of the reptilian monster. Godzilla’s head, neck, and right shoulder were all still intact and attached. More importantly, not only were they still attached, they were still, inexplicably, alive.

    The creature’s doll-like eyes lazily moved from side to side, surveying the area as best as it could with its head laying uselessly on the dirt. Shoulder muscles tensed in an effort to move an arm that was no longer there. It watched as the flames that engulfed the city slowly made their way towards it, but their heat couldn’t hurt it. Not seriously, at least. All it had to do was change. Change was how Godzilla survived. Even with so much of its body gone, the monster could still transform as it needed. Legs, perhaps? Yes, legs would be good. It needed to leave this place. Leave and heal, thus its body would do so.

    But Godzilla overlooked one thing. With most of its form gone, it had no way of storing and retaining the nuclear energy it needed to function. It had barely finished thinking about growing legs when it felt its skin begin to cool and harden. Its body, or rather, what was left of it, began to enter its emergency shutdown state, used only when the beast overheated or ran out of strength. The creature thrashed its head about, realizing what was happening, but at this point it was an automatic, subconscious process, and it could do nothing to stop it, no matter what its mind wanted.

    The monster let out one final roar of defiance before its remains turned gray and petrified. For all intents and purposes, Godzilla had turned to stone.

    * * * * *

    The news had taken the world by storm. The plant was called Biollante.

    In the following weeks, several high-ranking board members at BioMajor were arrested and the company had gone bankrupt in record time, their creation’s presence blamed for drawing four other giant monsters into one of the largest cities in the world, in addition to creating one of their own with Biollante. Unintentional or not, though rumors quickly spread that it wasn’t, BioMajor had still broken too many laws than could ever be counted in a single trial.

    Tokyo was completely destroyed. What few structures went untouched by Godzilla’s sea of fire were still ensnared by what remained of the mutated vines. It would likely take months to safely remove them all and make sure no remnants of the plant had taken root. It would take years to undo the damage caused and make the city inhabitable again.

    In addition to repairing the damage caused in the fight, the people of Japan also had the remains of five giant monsters to remove. Most of them were at least easy to locate, as most of the titans had died in roughly the same area. The most problematic of them were Godzilla’s, as the creature had been completely blown to pieces by Mothra’s kamikaze attack, and those pieces had ended up in all corners of the city. Thanks to their various sizes, not all of the pieces were easy to locate. In fact, some of them were surprisingly small.

    Not all of them were found.

    While a good majority of them had been, not all the scattered bits of flesh had been burned away by the fire. Some managed to disappear into the ground. Others ended up in the harbor, making their way out to sea. Unbeknownst to humanity, a fair amount of the monster’s body had managed to escape detection. Left on their own, the various pieces eventually began to heal. They sought out whatever source of radiation they could on which to feed. Slowly but surely, they began to grow.

    It was only a matter of time before Godzilla… or Godzillas… returned.

    Draw: Godzilla (Reiwa), Mothra (Millennium)

    K.W.C. Kaiju War Chronicles

    A very special thanks to Rampant Praetorian for the assets used in this banner for the K.W.C. Be sure to follow him on Twitter.

    K.W.C. // July 29, 2022
  • Author: Matthew Freese | Banner: Dao Zang Moua

    Upon the ocean floor, two colossi battled for dominance. Their movements disrupted the waves, great gouts of their projected power boiling the water and frying schools of fish above.

    One, a lengthy creature like a caterpillar, only far bulkier and coated in black, armored plating. From his head came forth a mighty horn, which would occasionally crackle with bolts of energy before a bolt like lightning seared forward. His red eyes narrowed in rage as a blue stream of nuclear light raked across his body, burning his flesh.

    Across from Battra, a towering leviathan. Black scales flexed and bulged from the muscle beneath as the mighty titan stepped forward, baring his ivory claws. The three rows of spines upon his back clattered as he walked, closing the distance and swiping the blades upon his hands down Battra’s front. Yellow eyes focused as he opened a maw full of sharp teeth, lunging forward and attempting to sink them into the insectoid’s body.

    Godzilla roared in anguish as Battra thrust his horn forward, running it through his side. Blood clouded the waters as the dark guardian pulled himself free, then quickly unleashed a point-blank blast of his Prism Beams into the closing wound. An explosion rippled through the opening, sending smoke and chunks of flesh flying.

    As the King of the Monsters replied by sweeping an Atomic Breath down Battra’s back, earning a shriek of anguish from the insectoid, his severed hide began to drift to the ocean floor.

    Unseen by either of the titans, who could only focus on killing the other, a relatively small creature darted out. Seizing a particularly large portion of meat with its fangs and clawed limbs, the prehistoric remnant fled from the dueling colossi as quickly as it had arrived.

    Blissfully unaware of the invisible waves radiating from its meal…

    Years passed, Godzilla eventually overcoming Battra and going on to fight several more foes, each one more horrific than the last. Finally, he passed, overwhelmed by an excess of internal power which his body could not handle. However, he left a successor.

    A young Godzillasaurus, who had survived the demise of his species. He had been adopted and raised by the leviathan, he was the one being who got to see a side of Godzilla that was not overcome with spite and rage.

    And now, Godzilla Junior stood upon Adonoa Island, the place where he had technically come into this world, even if it had only been as an egg. But, instinct drew him back here when his home with his father was destroyed, and so it was his territory.

    Junior was the perfect image of his father, in physical terms at least. Same imposing figure, powerful musculature, and wellsprings of nuclear energy within his core. But where he and his father differed was the mind.

    The Godzilla who had first arose in the 80s and rampaged throughout the first half of the 90s was a hateful destroyer, seeking vengeance for the agony and confusion of his transformation into a colossus. He had grown less aggressive towards the end of his life, once he had found Junior, but he was still nowhere close to kind towards anyone but his son.

    Godzilla Junior, who most had just taken to calling Godzilla, was no destroyer. His first memories were of humans being kind and caring towards him, providing him shelter and food. His transformation into a mutant had been mostly slow and gradual, the result of absorbing ambient radiation from both this place as an egg and from Birth Island as he grew. The most sudden transformation, into his present form, he had not even felt until it was done.

    And fortunately, for humanity, G-Force realized that he did not pose nearly the same threat as his father. So, anti-Godzilla countermeasures turned from killing to observing and appeasing.

    Adonoa Island had been outfitted with nuclear reactors specifically designed to feed Godzilla, to ensure that he never came to the mainland to satiate his hunger.

    The new King of the Monsters had no issue with this. He knew that war with humanity had been an unending, painful crusade that accomplished nothing for his father until he stopped it. Besides, the humans had done him no wrong.

    He began to walk inland, seeking some of that sustenance. Far away, a pair of eyes watched him from a lookout post. A black-haired woman put down a pair of binoculars, then picked up a radio.

    “This is Miki, Junior’s heading inland towards the north reactor. Over.”

    “Thank you, miss Saegusa, we’ll get preparations underway ASAP.” The voice on the other end replied. “Over.”

    Miki Saegusa had once been a gifted psychic, not a fraud on television or in a carnival booth type psychic, but a person gifted with genuine abilities beyond normal human minds. She had spent the better part of a decade arguing that Godzilla should be left alone if Japan wanted the destruction to stop, but her pleas had mostly fallen on deaf ears. Now, with exactly what she had wanted being true and her psychic abilities faded with age, she preferred spending her time as close to the colossus she admired and praised as she could.

    Suddenly, Godzilla stopped walking, and turned around. He sniffed the air, narrowing his eyes. He felt like he could sense something, an odd presence far away. He snarled, closing his eyes. As Miki raised the radio up to speak into it, the leviathan went back to his previous task.

    “Miss Saegusa?” The technician on the other end’s voice came through, as she had turned communications on.

    “Oh, sorry. False alarm, proceed as usual. Over.”

    As she turned the radio off, a voice rose behind her. “He sensed another kaiju, that’s all that could have been.”

    It was Azusa Gojo, another black-haired woman around the same age as the former psychic. She had been a biology researcher, and still was, though now she only researched Godzilla. However, it was not just the potential for scientific discovery that drew her here, it was also the relationship she had with the mutated Godzillasaurus. When Junior had first hatched, she had been one of the people in the room, and it had been her that the living relic had imprinted on and viewed as a mother.

    Miki turned to face her friend, who stood in the doorway of the small building. “Indeed. But I’m sure it was nothing too bad, given how he turned away and went back to what he was doing.”

    Azusa watched as Godzilla disappeared behind the mountains, his tail trailing behind him. “Yeah, maybe one of those mutants that team in America deals with.” She continued staring as he fully disappeared from sight, then sighed.

    “You’re worried about it, and him.”

    “I thought you weren’t psychic anymore.” Azusa replied, giggling.

    Miki laughed with her friend. “I don’t need to be psychic to tell that you’re worried about your baby,” she teased.

    Azusa put her hands on her hips, leaning down to better look her friend in the eye. “Oh, and you don’t worry about him?”

    “Of course I do, but I also know how powerful he is. If it’s something hostile, he can handle it.” The former psychic replied, smiling brightly.

    “But, he hasn’t fought anything nearly as rough as the things his dad had to fight.”

    Miki got up, walking past her friend and into the lookout post. “He can rise up to the challenge. He’s not that same baby anymore.”

    Azusa turned to face her friend, that statement dredging up a question she had been stewing over for a long time. “You think he’d still remember us if he saw us?”

    “I’d bet my life on it.”

    Deeper inland, Godzilla stood over the nuclear reactor, absorbing the energy from the opened casing of the isotopes to fuel himself. The radioactive mineral had been raised up on a platform, to ensure he could feed off it without needing to damage the actual building. Despite the meal, his thoughts drifted elsewhere.

    Something had swam near his territory. Usually, as long as it kept its distance, he would not mind the presence of another colossus. Sometimes he would allow even more than that, as long as the fellow kaiju was clearly not seeking to cause trouble. And few mutants with a working brain sought to aggravate him.

    But this entity felt at once so similar and so unfamiliar. Like it had been another of his kind, but warped and twisted. He wanted to feel happy about another being like him existing, but its presence felt so off that he could not.

    He had been lonely for a long time. Yes, people surrounded him every moment, but they stayed back and hid from his gaze like he was a tyrant and they were his subjects desperately trying to escape notice. It was not the life he was used to, nor was it the one he wanted. He knew the days of enjoying the sunny sky with his father by his side were long gone, no matter how much he longed for them.

     

    Days passed since that incident, nothing else out of the ordinary arising. Tokyo’s citizens carried on as normal. The JSDF headquarters was the same as it had been for the majority of the time since Godzilla’s meltdown, mostly confined to keeping an eye on global events and doing routine maintenance and training exercises.

    Suddenly, alarms blared throughout the facility, alerting everyone that radar had picked up a giant approaching Tokyo.

    Swiftly, the war room was staffed as soldiers were positioned to be sent off if the command came about. A deep, commanding voice filled the war room, drawing salutes in its direction. “I need details now! What’s happening out there?”

    It was General Aso, and despite how he was clearly getting up there in years, he still commanded a deep sense of respect from all working for him. A technician replied to him as the gigantic screen changed to display the radar imagery.

    “Sir, we’ve detected a kaiju approaching the city,” On the monitor was a green silhouette of a creature which resembled a fish, though far longer than any marine life. Even with this rudimentary image, it was clear most of its length was due to its tail. “It will make landfall within the hour if its current pace continues. We have no record of the creature, nor have any of the other nations that have replied to us.”

    “Have we gathered any information on this thing so far?” Aso replied, taking his seat at the head of the central table.

    “Yes,” replied another technician. She pulled up several images and readings onto the screen, eclipsing the radar image. “Low levels of radiation are being emitted by the creature, but more concerning is the blood it’s leaking into the water.” A red cloud of water rested on the surface, surrounded by dead fish.

    “Blood? Is it hurt?”

    “That’s the strange thing, because the amount of blood this thing’s leaked should have hampered a creature its size, yet its swimming has not slowed down at all. Either it’s not actually hurt, or it has the ability to rapidly replenish its blood.”

    “Regardless,” Aso responded, then raised his voice to the rest of the room, “We have a kaiju approaching which is going to contaminate the city with radioactive blood and who knows what else! I want to be prepared before this thing reaches Tokyo! Mobilize tanks, evacuate civilians, and send out a squadron to intercept it in the water!”

    “Yes sir!” Replied practically the whole room, before activity filled the space as everyone scrambled to accomplish their respective task.

    As the JSDF got citizens out of the way and sent tanks rolling through the streets, jets flew out over the waters intent on attacking the creature. Perhaps they could drive it away with the initial assault, and though it would make the tanks and evacuations worthless, General Aso would rather do such things needlessly than allow thousands to perish.

    And as these operations commenced, mechanics swiftly worked on a colossal plane deep within a JSDF facility. Coated in green armor, the flying fortress known as the Super X3 had been inactive since stopping Godzilla’s meltdown from ending the world. Despite the years out of action, it was still mostly intact, just minor touches being required before it could enter the air once again.

    Nearby, its pilot, Sho Kuroki, waited. He was not the sole pilot, but he was the main pilot and the only member of its crew to be who had also been part of the last. “Hope the ol’ girl flies as well as she did last time. If we even need her, this new kaiju didn’t look like much at all.”

    “You really think those jackasses in tanks are gonna bring it down? They would have barely been able to bring down that Godzilla knock off that showed up in New York.” Replied one of his co-pilots, an older, rougher man named Akira Yuki.

    Kuroki chuckled. “Sounds like someone’s just upset he’s been downgraded from a big, fancy mech to something that actually worked against Godzilla.”

    A third voice cut in. “Yes, ‘worked’ for all of a few hours, then later swept in and dealt with him while he was already melting.” It was Koji Shindo, another of the three pilots who had been with the mech MOGUERA.

    With the budget for the G-Force drastically cut since Godzilla’s threat was ended, the already existing Super X3 was the only anti-kaiju super weapon that could be afforded, and even then it barely received upkeep. Due to this, two of the pilots of Moguera had been reassigned to serve with the Super X3.

    Sho playfully smacked Shindo’s arm. “At least mine’s still intact.”

    The three shared a laugh, before a voice rose from nearby speakers. “Attention all personnel, the unidentified creature has dove too deep for the scrambled squadron to strike. Its course towards Tokyo, however, remains unchanged.”

    “It panicked when jets showed up, yet it’s still coming here?” Shindo asked, scratching his head.

    “Well boys,” Kuroki put his arms around both their shoulders. “Looks like Tokyo’s getting a fancy new ice sculpture in no time.”

    Minutes passed, the atmosphere morphing from Tokyo’s constant hustle and bustle to an eerie, anticipating stillness. Tanks rolled through the streets, ready to engage the enemy if the need arose. The Super X3 remained down for the time, and none of the maser weaponry had been deployed, but the soldiers still felt confident.

    The waters of the bay receded as the surface began to roil. Then, the waves rushed forth as its yellow head emerged. Bulging eyes rolled as they observed the surface for the first time. Its mouth flapped open and closed like a puppet’s as it further left the water, revealing its bloated neck covered in bloody gills. They poured crimson ichor, staining the waters. A thick, wormy tail ascended behind it, flailing through the air like the limb had a mind of its own. Thin, bony legs supported the creature as it made its way onto the land.

    Pushing itself onto land, the mutant stumbled towards the city. The air was filled with the rushing sound of jets flying overhead, drawing the creature’s attention. Bullets and missiles soared forth from the war machines, crashing against their lumbering target. The explosions drew cries of shock and pain from the mutant as they tore chunks away from its hide, prompting it to charge further inland, causing further chaos.

    “General Aso, the creature is retreating into the city. What is our next course of action?” Questioned a subordinate.

    “Open fire on it with all weapons until it either drops dead or goes back to the ocean!” The commander ordered. “And get me an ETA on the Super X3’s deployment!”

    “It should be within the hour!” Reported another subordinate, rattling off the reply he had gotten from the technician over his headset.

    “If that thing’s still in the city after an hour, that’s a failure! Get to it, men!”

    Windows shattered and car alarms blared as the creature clumsily ran, its tail carving out chunks of concrete from nearby buildings with its swinging. The same sound of planes overhead filled it with fear, earning a high-pitched cry of panic. Before it, tanks rounded a corner, pointing their cannons straight towards it. Despite not knowing what they were, the creature did not like what it was seeing.

    The mutant attempted to turn around, bashing its tail through several abandoned floors in the process. Then, they fired, unleashing their shells. The chunks of metal slammed into the yellow flesh, blasting away chunks of skin and scale. Oozing craters were left in their wake. Letting out a choked scream of anguish, the beast charged straight forward, plowing through the little shop that had been before it. Rubble flew in all directions as it tore through several buildings and emerged on another street.

    Another squadron of tanks and soldiers awaited it on the other side, bombarding it with their payloads. Rocket propelled grenades and tank shells joined a storm of bullets in hammering the stumbling mutant’s face and torso, its tail being once again struck with the shells of the first assaulting squad.

    It charged forward, shrieking and flailing madly towards its attackers. The tanks pulled back as best they could, the soldiers turning and running. Missiles and bullets fell from the heavens, crashing against the mutant’s back as the jet fighters sought to save their comrades.

    The diminutive scutes upon the beast’s back were cracked, several shattering beneath the assault. Falling onto its side, the mutant cried out once more, spraying blood from his gills and staining the pavement. Its tail beat the ground, cracking the concrete.

    “Give it all you’ve got!”

    More tanks rolled in as other jets joined those already assailing their common foe. Bursts of fire and smoke covered the mutant, sending gore flying through the smog. The echoing cries of agony rose above the cacophony of artillery, sending chills through the men and women witnessing the scene. They were used to a giant wading through their assault, reacting with hatred and anger instead of agony and sorrow.

    The chaos faded as they ceased their assault, leaving the smoke to clear and reveal a gruesome scene. The mutant’s hide was shredded, geysering blood as it twitched. Bone was exposed, coated in scarlet. Murmurs arose amongst the soldiers, questioning if they should waste the ammo to kill it or just let it lay there and die.

    Suddenly, it screamed as its flesh began to bulge and distort. The remaining yellow scales shifted into crimson, the legs growing as the entity reared up to become a biped. Tank cannons began to aim up, hoping to bring it down, only to finally be met with resistance as the gaping maw sprayed boiling blood.

    It was only ankle deep by the time it reached the soldiers, but the issue was not the depth. Smaller shouts joined the rumbling bellow of the mutating creature as the brave men were reduced to bubbling puddles as they fell into the ichor. Rubber melted as the tanks before it were immobilized, smoke rising.

    Instead of the sluggish lumber, the beast charged forward towards its attackers. Tanks were crushed beneath its feet, exploding. It cried out in pain at the anguish shooting up its legs from this, but this was soon drowned out as its skin bubbled and steamed.

    More shells and bullets crashed against the mutant, making it fall over and smash head-first into a restaurant. Looking back the way it had originally come, the beast charged towards the water, uncaring of any obstacles in its path. Helicopters descended, peppering it with bullets. The anguished mutant blindly swung its tail backwards, the pilots managing to barely avoid the swipe.

    Burnt shards of concrete and steel flew as the beast smashed through several buildings, each impact drawing out an agonized bellow. The waters of the bay called to it, a relief to this agony.

    “What the hell is that thing doing?” Aso asked, eyebrows furrowing as he watched the screen showcasing the battle. “And what the hell did it just do, how could it have evolved like that?”

    He looked around the room, getting nothing but murmurs. Pinching the bridge of his nose, the general took a deep breath. “If that thing gets into the water and gets away, I want our top kaiju experts and psychics here, ASAP!”

    Elsewhere, in the repair dock of the Super X3, the pilots of the mobile fortress were just as confused as everyone else. Yuki spoke up, his arms crossed as he watched the flailing creature retreat.

    “Well, it’s certainly no Godzilla, that’s for damn sure.”

    Sho Kuroki replied, his head tilted as he tried to make sense of things. “Sure looks and sounds a hell of a lot like him. Distant cousin?” He said with the shrug of his shoulders.

    Shindo spoke up. “You think it’s another clone of the big guy?”

    “Well, I don’t think we exactly have another Biollante or SpaceGodzilla on our hands if it is.” Yuki snarked.

    The waters of Tokyo Bay rippled as the mutant fell into them, disappearing beneath the surf as great gouts of steam obscured it. Helicopters and planes soared overhead, searching for the colossus as it went deeper down and further out. Soon, the steam stopped rising, and it was like the creature had disappeared.

    Tokyo began to fill back up, the areas the monster had been in still being sealed off as hazmat teams explored it. Geiger counters ticked all throughout the scenes of its rampage, but at the dried puddle of blood they went absolutely frantic. Though it no longer boiled and steamed, it still carried enough radiation to cripple an unprotected human.

    Despite the monster disappearing, G-Force remained on high alert. Several experts and specialists had been brought in to help deal with the creature and figure out where it had gone. Most noticeable among them, the two currently talking with General Aso and his cabinet, were Kenichi Yamame and Meru Ozawa. The former, a young man who had known more about Godzilla when he was a mere college student than anyone except G-Force’s top experts. He had been brought into G-Force when Godzilla entered his burning state, the organization deciding they would need all the help they could get. The latter, a young woman named Meru Ozawa. She wasn’t a genius like her comrade, but the raven-haired girl carried a special gift. She was a psychic, one of the best that the school for psychics had taught.

    Meru did not feel comfortable. Her mind picked up the emotions of the room, every anxious scientist and outraged military officer. She would still remain here, so she could know what to do when her talents were called for, and so that she could remain “in the loop.” But she could not relax, for no one could relax here.

    But most concerning of all was what she sensed from the man sitting next to her. Kenichi Yamane knew something horrifying, and it hung over his mind like a cloud.

    “Yamane,” Aso spoke, his voice keeping its even tone. Despite the mood of the room, Meru felt very little emotion from the man. He still cared about the situation, but if Meru had to guess, the years of fighting Godzilla had hardened his constitution to these sorts of things. “You’ve been with the scientists who scanned its DNA. What can you tell us?”

    “Well, sir,” Yamane replied, nervously. “We aren’t sure what exactly to make of it, except that it isn’t good.” He grabbed a remote, and with the click of a button, the main screen was occupied by three images. One, a strand of human DNA. The second, the all too familiar sight of Godzilla’s DNA, cast in a green light. Finally, something Aso, Meru, and nobody else in the room besides Yamane had seen.

    Context clues told them it was DNA, but it was far more complex and intricate than either of the other two images. Countless branches overlapped and intertwined, causing it to resemble an abstract art piece more than it did the genetic makeup of a living thing.

    “Is that the creature’s DNA?” Meru questioned, feeling the mood of the room further darken.

    “Yes, and it confirms what we suspected.” Kenichi replied, clicking the remote once more. The images were replaced by the radar silhouette, an image of the creature crawling onto land, and a picture of the mutated, crimson form fleeing.

    The young expert continued speaking. “The entity did not have fully developed legs when we first picked it up on the radar, or else we would have seen them bulging out from its sides. And, more obviously, the sudden, violent mutation when it was on death’s door.”

    General Aso stared at the screen, then looked back to Yamane. Meru sensed fear creeping into the aged veteran, and though it was small amongst the sea of emotions filling the war room, it stuck out and rose above the rest for what it meant. “Are you saying it‘ll be different when it surfaces again? More dangerous and powerful?”

    “Yes, sir. We can’t predict by how much, but if this rate of growth continues, we’ll be looking at something nigh-unstoppable.”

    “What do you suggest we do?”

    “Well,” Kenichi gestured to Meru. “I was going to suggest that she attempt to discern the creature’s location with her psychic powers.”

    The young psychic’s pulse quickened, but she remained stoic. She remembered talking to Miki about what the latter had experienced when she peered into Godzilla’s mind and tried to hold him back.

    “Are you kidding me?” Aso replied. “Miki passed out when she psychically connected with Godzilla, we can’t take that risk.”

    “Yes, but that was because she tried to mentally overwhelm Godzilla. I’m only asking Meru to find the creature and tell us where it is.”

    As Kenichi and Aso argued, the psychic looked over at the images of the new mutant. The crimson form had a foot pressed down onto a tank, reducing it to scrap. Somewhere in that pile of metal, there had been a human being. With a life, maybe a family, maybe any other number of things they had already accomplished or would have one day. Ended, in the blink of an eye, filled with terror as life was cut short.

    Many people wanted psychic powers. They desired the power to lift things with their mind, learn other’s secrets, and all other manner of selfish, stupid things. Meru eagerly awaited the day when her psychic powers would fade, so she could live a normal life. So that when a tragedy occurred, she only had to deal with the emotions of herself and those emotionally close to her, not everyone physically near her.

    “I’ll do it.” She cut both men off, drawing shocked gazes. “If it means preventing deaths, I’ll do it.”

    “It will help us so much, at the very least to get a better idea of the urgency of the situation.” Kenichi replied. To say he was fully confident was a lie, but he was not nervous either.

    For even he did not know the full depth of the situation.

     

    As preparations to fly the psychic out in a helicopter over the waters to find the target went underway, the situation on Adonoa Island grew more ominous.

    “He’s still standing out there, just staring out over the waters.” Miki reported to Azusa, watching through a pair of binoculars as Godzilla was almost unmoving.

    “He’s been out there for an hour. This isn’t normal, something’s bothering him.”

    “Turn on the radio, go to the news,” Saegusa asked. Her friend did so, and the answer became clear very quickly.

    “G-Force has announced that they have the developing situation under control, and that the mutant will be found and properly dealt with before it becomes a threat again. Tokyo’s citizens are advised to be prepared to leave their homes and evacuate at a moment’s notice, though G-Force promises that such a scenario is an unlikely worst-case.”

    Azusa scoffed. “That feels like pretty big information to not give us.”

    “There’s a mutant in Tokyo?” Miki replied, tilting her head. “I guess you were right, he did sense something.”

    “It has to be something major to get him acting like this.”

    “Should we tell G-Force about Junior’s behavior?”

    “Wait until he does something beyond this, I doubt they’d be happy to just hear that he’s standing there while they deal with all this.” Azusa answered, looking out towards the leviathan.

    “Do you really think they have this under control?”

    “You were the one with them for years on end, you tell me.”

    The former psychic paused for a moment, thinking. “They think they do, at the very least. But I doubt they truly know…”

    Godzilla wanted to swim out and discover what this was. He could sense the presence, the same one that had passed by his island, though now it was warping and twisting even further. He even considered the possibility that he may need to fight this new creature, but he did not want to risk leaving his island.

    Would humanity reject him if he entered their territory? He was not filled with the same hatred as his father, but would they understand that? His mere presence could terrify them into attacking. His father had told him of what humankind was capable of. They could create weaponry that could harm him, potentially even kill him.

    Godzilla Junior did not want a war with man. His only experience with people had been loving and caring, and he refused to let those memories be clouded with pain and hatred.

     

    Near the waters off Japan, a helicopter patrolled over the waves. In the backseat, Kenichi and Meru sat side by side, the latter with her eyes closed and her mind reaching out. She needed complete focus for this, so the other passenger just stared out the window, thinking.

    Not of the mutating aberration growing beneath the waters, though it was ever present in the back of his mind. Nor of asking Meru out on a date despite the crush he had on her, now was certainly not the time to even think of that. He was thinking about how Japan could seemingly never know peace. Just when it had seemed their troubles with Godzilla were over, a new one had crawled out and plunged the land of the rising sun into chaos once more. Would this one plague them for years to come like the second Godzilla, or would it be more like the first? That was not a comforting idea, for instead of raiding Japan for years, that one had just torn through Tokyo in a single night like the bomb that birthed him, leaving nothing but despair and death.

    Deep within the waters, it sensed something probing its mind. A shifting, chaotic mass of contorting flesh and bone which grew with each passing second “looked” up. Hatred filled every fiber of its mind, agony flowed through every nerve of its mutating body. No living thing should have had to deal with any one of the things that had plagued it, yet it had been blasted apart for merely setting foot on the land. Nothing cared for it, it was stuck enduring this all alone for all else reviled it. The entity would vomit all of the bile building up within its heart and soul upon the world, until all else but it drowned.

    The cancerous god opened its mind to the psychic, and Meru felt like someone had driven a burning iron through her brain. Her face contorted in agony as she went limp, twitching. She wanted to scream, but her throat felt like it had clamped shut. She barely registered Kenichi yelling at the pilot to take them back as quickly as possible, before going unconscious.

    Several anxiety filled minutes later, the young psychic was on a hospital bed, being treated by several medical experts. She was stable, nothing traumatic had actually happened to her body, it had all happened within her brain. They were unsure if her brain would be well after this, for she was still unconscious.

    Kenichi sat beside her bed, head down as he blamed himself. Years ago, when G-Force had first called for him, he had suggested recreating the Oxygen Destroyer to deal with Godzilla’s meltdown. Looks of horror and shock met him in reply, especially from Miki Saegusa, who he had hoped to romantically pursue. Her reaction to his idea buried that possibility six feet under.

    He remembered this, because once again an idea that he merely deemed as pragmatic immediately went wrong. He had always been a person who tried to go for the best solution, even when it may not have been the most gentle or kind option. But while the idea for the Oxygen Destroyer’s reconstruction had never actually come to pass, and for that he thanked the gods because it would have had unimaginably worse consequences than just him going home alone, this plan had been executed.

    And now, here he sat, the only visitor to a woman he had possibly rendered comatose. How could he claim to be an expert in anything? Was he even just a pragmatist, or was he a monster who didn’t realize what he truly was?

    As his sulking continued, Meru’s eyes fluttered open. She gasped in deeply, drawing Kenichi’s shocked reaction. His worries fell to the back of his mind for the time being. “Oh my god, Ms. Ozawa, I’m so sorry!”

    “Don’t,” she steadied her breathing, “worry about it. We’re going to get surprised by that thing several more times before this is all over.”

    “Wait,” Kenichi replied, feeling some of the weight on his chest lift, “you actually learned something?”

    “Yes,” the psychic paused for a moment, shuddering at what she had witnessed. “Most importantly, that we need to get every amount of firepower G-Force has, and before tomorrow.”

    Aso had not taken the news well. Not because it was a ludicrous request, but because of what it meant. “Are you sure we’ll need all of what you describe? Will the Super X3 not be enough on its own?”

    “Yes,” Meru replied, before turning towards the three pilots, who had also been gathered in the war room. “No offense to you three.”

    “None taken, we’re just wondering why we did away with the giant mechs.” Yuki replied without a hint of humor, his arms crossed.

    “Budget cuts because Godzilla was no longer a threat.” Replied Aso, similarly cross.

    “General,” Meru continued. “I sensed so much power within that thing, waiting to be released. And I sensed wrath that still chills me. That thing will destroy all of Tokyo, and beyond, if it is not stopped.”

    “Can you tell us how to stop it though?” Aso replied, his stoic demeanor beginning to crack.

    “No, any weakness I could have sensed was lost amongst the overwhelming pain and hatred within it.”

    Aso stood up, convinced. He didn’t like working with psychics, found them too soft most of the time, but he had managed to learn that they were to be taken for their word. “All personnel, mobilize now! We need to be ready for this thing!”

    Evacuations went underway, despite the protest of both civilians and politicians. The latter claimed that two evacuations in such a short amount of time was too much, especially with the lack of hard evidence for this second attack. A quick reminder of the tens of thousands of deaths that could occur even if a kaiju was repelled efficiently shut them up in no time.

    Hours ticked by as the fancier and more expensive anti-kaiju weaponry was rolled out. Maser tanks and jets, both of the normal and freezing variety, moved amongst their more rudimentary counterparts. The Super X3 waited in its docking bay, ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice.

    The flying fortress’s pilots felt confident behind the controls of the marvelous machine. It had survived an encounter with Burning Godzilla, how could it possibly fall to this new threat?

    Night had fallen, and without the citizens and businesses present, a large portion of Tokyo was unusually dark. The city had not been fully evacuated, such a task in such a short frame of time would be impossible, but the majority of those near the bay had been moved further inland at the very least.

    Far away, to Miki and Azusa’s horror, Godzilla dove into the waters, swimming at full speed.

    And the waters near Tokyo bubbled, then bulged upwards. Eventually, a form as black as the surrounding night pierced the water, coated in scars of bright crimson which glowed in the darkness. As opposed to the bulging eyes of the previous form, the mutant’s orbs were like pinpricks in the hideous face. A misshapen mouth full of white needles opened, spitting a roar of hatred towards Tokyo as it marched.

    Soon, bloated legs reached the beach, each one as thick as the entity’s torso. A tail of immense length reared up, waving through the air like it possessed sentience. The fact that it ended in an exposed clump of meat with an eye and a mouth had some thinking it did have a brain in there.

    Once it reached the first building, the mutant lashed out with the massive tail, tearing a vast gash through the structure. As debris and dust flew forth, the building imploded, sending out walls of smoke. Not taking the time to look at the destruction, it continued, tearing through more and more buildings.

    “Super X3, deploy! All other units, prepare for battle and intercept Godzilla!” Aso commanded.

    Kenichi whispered to himself. “A new Godzilla… I wouldn’t be able to believe it if I wasn’t looking at it right now.”

    Jets streaked overhead, firing missiles and streams of azure energy upon the towering colossus. Instead of stumbling back and crying out, Godzilla soundlessly replied by whipping its tail towards the squadron. They parted before they could be taken out by the deformed appendage, drawing a growl from the leviathan.

    A squadron of tanks rolled through the streets, firing upon the creature. Tank shells crumpled against the ebony hide, falling away as flattened hunks of metal. The maser beams streaked across the skin, sending a few flakes of blackness fluttering down. Freeze rays fired upon the keloid scars drew a bellow of rage, prompting the tail to swing into a nearby building.

    A rain of debris fell upon the vehicles, burying several and blocking more. Marching forward, Godzilla sent several more waves of shattered building upon them, until it reached them. Explosions disrupted the rubble as it stomped on the war machines, some being sent flying in piles of scrap as it kicked out with a surprising speed.

    As more tanks and jets fired upon the colossus, failing to do more than aggravate it, the Super X3 drew near. Yuki turned on comms, speaking to the people back in the war room. “Anyone got any leads as to this thing’s weaknesses? From what I’m seeing, just blindly firing on it ain’t gonna work.”

    Kuroki replied. “I’m going to suggest attacking the head. Maybe get some missiles down it’s throat like the first Super X did to Godzilla.”

    “Yeah, remember how that ended?” Yuki snarked.

    “I do. But this isn’t the first Super X.” Sho answered, before pushing down on the controls to close the distance between them and the leviathan.

    The front of the vessel opened, revealing a dish like that on the maser tanks, only much larger. From it came a brilliant beam of blue light, which crashed into one of Godzilla’s miniscule arms. The vestigial limb was bathed in freezing power, drawing a cry of pain. The fingers shriveled up, the arm curling into itself as it turned an even darker shade.

    Its head snapped towards them, bellowing. Closing its mouth when missiles left the wings of the vessel, Godzilla tried to rush forwards, but its colossal legs failed to move as fast as its mind wanted. Bursts of cadmium shrouded the being’s face and torso, sending the deformed leviathan stumbling back.

    “This all he’s got?” Shindo smirked. “I’d be more scared to fight that scrawny lizard America had to deal with.”

    “Don’t get cocky, you heard what the egghead said. This thing’s full of surprises.” Yuki scolded his comrade.

    Sho interrupted before his co-pilots could speak any further. “We’ve got his attention at least. Just keep out of reach of that tail.”

    Explosions burst across its body, beams piercing the smoke to lash at its ebony hide, but Godzilla was only focused on one thing. Even with its new form, it had still been hurt by the strange object flying above it. But it could not reach it, not yet anyway.

    If the flyer continued to harm it, then soon it would develop a countermeasure.

    Like a hammer, the deformed tail came down upon another group of tanks, crushing several beneath its bulk and hurling several more with the shockwave. More cadmium missiles fell upon the leviathan, though its reaction was not as strong this time. The Super X3 remained out of its reach, even with its mighty tail. Godzilla roared once more with rage, sending chills down the spines of all the men and women who could listen.

    Within the war room, a technician shouted for General Aso. “We’re receiving a call!”

    “Damnit, now’s not the time!”

    “It’s from Adonoa Island!”

    Aso’s eyes widened, along with everyone else’s. “Patch it in!”

    Another screen activated, revealing the faces of Miki Saegusa and Azusa Gojo. “General,” Azusa started, wasting no time on pleasantries. “Godzilla has left Adonoa Island, and swiftly. Me and Ms. Saegusa do not think it can be for any other reason than the mutant that attacked Tokyo previously.”

    “When did he leave?”

    “Twenty minutes ago. He seemed like he was thinking about leaving the island for several hours, but something must have set him off and he made the decision.”

    “Miss Saegusa and Miss Gojo, that mutant has changed into a creature almost as tall as Destoroyah, and is currently in a battle with our forces. I would hope that once it is dealt with, Godzilla will immediately begin to head back to Adonoa, or else we will have to engage with him as well.”

    Miki immediately replied. “How could you even say that at a time like this? You’re threatening to attack a perfectly docile creature while another kaiju attacks Tokyo!”

    “If Godzilla turns around once the new Godzilla has been destroyed, there will be no problem.”

    “New Godzilla?”

    Kenichi spoke for the general. “Yes, it has similar spiked scutes and a similar build, though the new one is deformed and very sluggish.”

    As they listened to the conversation, the crew of the Super X3 scanned their colossal foe for weaknesses. Yuki pointed at the back spines, which were illuminated by a crimson light. “What do our heat scanners say about that? Those spines have to be radiating some kind of heat.”

    Yuki quickly replied, looking at the screen showing an outline of Godzilla. “Yep, they seem to be vents of some kind. Given how last time we saw it its skin was boiling and smoking, that must be a new feature to make sure it doesn’t overheat again.”

    “Then what are we waiting for?” Flipping communications to speak to all other soldiers, Yuki commanded the squadrons. “Aim all fire on those back spines!”

    As he yelled this, Kuroki unleashed the Super X3’s full weaponry upon the target. Godzilla screamed in agony as the freezing maser and cadmium missiles crashed against the exposed flesh of its heat vents, sending shards of the scutes flying. The light dimmed where the frost struck, clogging the pores.

    As the flying fortress banked upwards to loop around for another strike, a hail of missiles, bullets, and maser streams descended, further assailing the leviathan’s back. Godzilla doubled over, screeching an unholy cry. Tanks behind it did the same, as the squadrons before it rushed to join the first attack to work.

    “See, everything is under control.” Aso spoke to the two women. “The new Godzilla will be dealt with, and Godzilla Junior should be able to sense this and return to his home.”

    “I suppose so…” Miki replied, watching with mixed feelings. On one hand, she felt sympathy for the new Godzilla, seeing the pain it endured at the hands of the military. But on the other, its continued existence was a threat to Junior. For if he did come to Tokyo, he may draw the same ire his father had. She looked over to her compatriot, and she did not need psychic powers to tell Azusa felt the same.

    As the danger to its life mounted, Godzilla’s immensely complex DNA began to shift. It needed to swiftly purge the threats, especially those out of reach of its body. The heat within was dimming, yet also becoming too much to bear as the vents were damaged. The DNA took the path of least resistance, even with the potential issues this measure would pose.

    Opening its jaws, thick clouds of smoke poured from Godzilla’s maw, rolling like a fluid over the masses of tanks. It filled the streets, rushing into opened buildings. Fear began to mount within the hearts of all spectators, the tanks desperately trying to pull back.

    Then membranes slid over the leviathan’s eyes.

    And the smoke ignited, becoming a roaring blaze. Tanks were consumed, melting and bursting as their carcasses were launched by a horrid force behind the heat. Windows shattered and buildings melted, crumbling as their supports gave way. The horror did not end, and progressed too quickly to be properly taken in as the geyser of flame thinned. The rushing cacophony was replaced by a high-pitched shriek as the fire turned into a purple stream of light.

    It tore through buildings like they did not exist, leaving blazing streaks of melted metal in its wake. Turning far swifter than its body should have allowed, Godzilla tore city blocks asunder as it carved a hellacious cavern of molten slag. Skyscrapers crumbled as they were torn into, unable to stand.

    And with pinpoint accuracy, the new deity began to shoot planes out of the air. They were reduced to burning comets as it sheared them in two, the pilots becoming vapor as the beam passed over them.

    The Super X3, its pilots overwhelmed by the sheer devastation happening before them, was surrounded by a burning sky. Godzilla turned its head towards the anti-kaiju weapon, raking the beam across the green metal.

    Alarms blared as the wing was instantly incinerated, dropping them from the sky. Layers of metal were peeled back, smoke and sparks pouring from the wound. It had only been a glancing blow, and the colossus had stopped firing just afterwards, but it had been enough to cripple the Super X3.

    As the vessel disappeared behind a cluster of buildings, the deity bent down once more, its back glowing with the same violet power. Over a dozen photon streams pierced the air, slicing into the sky as it shook back and forth, destroying the rest of the jets that had not turned tail and fled in time.

    Cutting off power to the beams, the abomination stood back up. Standing in the center of the raging inferno, surrounded by death and destruction of its own creation, Godzilla roared to the heavens. The lights of its body faded as its skin darkened further, and it became a statue.

    The war room, along with Miki and Azusa, were silent. They could all hear their hearts beating in their ears. The two felt no sympathy for the creature any more, not after such a display of power. It had done as much damage as one of Godzilla’s rampages in mere minutes.

    They still feared for Junior’s life, only now for much different reasons.

    In the downed Super X3, Yuki unstrapped his seatbelt and got up, popping his neck as a wave of pain shot through him. Nearby, Sho checked an unconscious Shindo’s pulse. “He’s alive, somehow.” The pilot blearily stated, before sighing as he tried to collect himself. He coughed, leaning against one of the few control panels not spitting sparks.

    “This is Akira Yuki, of the Super X3,” He spoke into a communicator. “The Super X3 is badly damaged, yet all of her pilots are alive. You said Godzilla Junior’s coming here? This’ll be a controversial statement, but I think that’s the best damn news I’ve heard all day.”

    He remembered fighting alongside the previous Godzilla inside Moguera. He saw the full power of the being he had thought himself to be the Captain Ahab to its Moby Dick, and was humbled greatly. This, along with the fact that Godzilla had been on their side in that conflict, had gone a long way to convincing Akira that they could rely on the King of the Monsters when all else failed.

    A few days passed, silence settling like a fog over Tokyo. The new kaiju, dubbed “Shin Godzilla,” remained still. In the Japanese language, Shin was a word with many meanings, the specific one here being new. Though, some said it also referred to god, as they could think of little else than god-like to describe the display of power they had witnessed.

    It was determined that Shin Godzilla was unmoving because it had expended too much energy, and so it rested to slowly recharge. Though, as some unfortunate souls in fighter jets had discovered, the deformed leviathan could still move and fire its ray in short bursts.

    The current plan of G-Force was to just wait for Godzilla to arrive and battle his counterpart. It was not the best plan by any means, but they had little choice. The Super X3 was out of commission, and likely would be for weeks, if not months.

     

    On Adonoa Island, Miki and Azusa talked. They knew that Junior would arrive soon, and they were discussing what they would do. They reached the same conclusion quickly.

    “I can’t just sit here and wait, not after seeing what Shin Godzilla can do. I need to be there in Tokyo with him, just in the war room with the rest.” Azusa told her friend, pacing back and forth. “It’s irrational and probably dangerous, but—“

    Miki took her friend’s hand, giving that same warm smile. “I’ll be with you for this. I feel the same way, it’ll just feel, better. To be near him, you know?”

    “As long as we keep far away, we should be fine, right? They said they can still fly planes and helicopters, just as long as they don’t get too close to Shin.”

    “We’ll get a helicopter, immediately. I’m sure there’s gotta be a pilot dying to get off this place, right?” She giggled, Azusa joining her in the brief bit of levity.

    “Besides, we need to be there in case Aso tries to attack Junior after it’s over, right?” She tried to justify, more to herself than her friend.

     

    Meanwhile, in the G-Force headquarters, Aso stood watching the haunting visage of the destructive deity. He stood there, realizing that he was once again relying on the creature he had dedicated his life to destroying. Not quite the same creature, but they were impossible to tell apart with sight.

    Was humanity truly the dominant species? He wondered this with how often it came under siege from creatures beyond its ability to fight, and how often they had needed to rely on other colossi to save humanity. Every time it seemed like humanity was able to claw its way into their league with some immense machine, it would be torn back down.

    But still, he would try to fight these things. The next mutant to attack Tokyo, he and the rest of G-Force would face it. It was their duty to the people of Japan, and the world. Even if it was always doomed to failure, their honor would never fail. He had never backed down before Godzilla. But for now, he would secede, and let the gods wage war.

    The waters of Tokyo bay rippled as another colossus swam through them. Three rows of white spines broke the surface, soon followed by the ebony body of Godzilla.

    “As with your father before, we turn to you in our darkest hour. Perhaps one day, we may return the favor to you.”

    Immediately, the leviathan saw his counterpart, and everything he had sensed was true. It resembled him on a basic level, but where his hide was unscarred scales, its was cracked and separated by red patches. Instead of spines that smoothed out at the ends, this being had jagged and spikey scutes. And where his thick musculature was well proportioned, its bulged out and rolled down the legs while the torso was thin.

    The King of the Monsters was looking at a broken mirror of himself. It made his steps towards it slower, as he contemplated what was about to happen. He saw vast fields of destruction around it, suggesting it had not had a good experience with humanity. Despite his good times with them, he knew full well of their darker side. His father had drilled that into his mind.

    Why was it not moving? Had it been damaged in some way? Life still coursed through it, but he did not know how much. Could he help it? If it was like him, then it fed on radiation. It could borrow some of his energy, enough to get it back to Adonoa Island where it could have all the energy it needed. Would the humans back there accept it?

    Godzilla drew near to his counterpart, his yellow eyes looking it over. He let out a gentle call towards it, seeking to rouse its attention.

    But he already had its full attention, the moment he had entered a several mile radius. Shin Godzilla sensed the radiation within it, the stimulus dredging up the memory of its previous life. The flesh before it coursed with the energy it needed. It just needed to be a bit closer…

    Stepping to its side, the young leviathan gazed into its eye. Another gentle call left his mouth, yet as he stared into the eye, he felt fear. It felt like the miniscule orb was boring into his mind.

    The god incarnate opened its gnarled jaws, revealing the hideous, toungless maw within. It lunged down, and the wariness Godzilla had been feeling was the only thing that let him jerk to the side in time. He cried out in genuine fear, a sound that few had ever heard and none would ever want to hear again. Instead of clamping onto his neck, the needles buried themselves into his shoulder.

    Thrashing its head back and forth, Shin Godzilla began to rip into the flesh of his victim. Godzilla’s eyes narrowed as his mind shifted into combat instincts, prompting him to scrape his claws against the charcoal-like hide of the cancerous one. The attack failed to do more than dislodge some sheddings, and the mutated theropod could feel the teeth sinking into him shifting and growing, the strength behind the bite increasing.

    Azure light filled the white spines, a brilliant glow manifesting in the monster king’s throat. As opposed to the thin ray of cutting light Shin Godzilla spat, Godzilla’s atomic ray was a thick pillar of nuclear energy. Tearing into the foul daikaiju’s side with a series of explosions, the Atomic Breath dislodged his attacker. But, a bleeding chunk of meat came with it, cutting off Godzilla’s assault as he roared in pain.

    As ichor sprayed from his wound with each heartbeat, he looked down to see the god incarnate, now with a maw of thicker, triangular teeth currently filled with his own flesh. Smoke poured from the hole in Shin Godzilla’s side, where a burnt crater throbbed.

    As sinews extended in the mutant theropod’s shoulder, connecting with one another and beginning to sew the wound shut, he lunged forward. His foot crashed against his downed foe, sending the abomination rolling as it madly tried to swallow its meal. Godzilla marched up to his foe, slamming a stomp into the aberration’s beam wound, earning a spray of ichor as burnt flesh tore.

    Turning its head towards its attacker, Shin Godzilla’s throat expanded as a freshly grown tongue helped force the bleeding chunk down. Purple light filled its spines, drawing the youthful king’s attention. Expecting a beam to erupt from its mouth, he charged forth and pinned its face to the ground with a foot.

    The horrid deity’s tail rose, turning its “head” towards Godzilla. From the toothy hole that barely resembled a mouth, a ray of violet power shot forth. It cleaved through scale and skin, burning them and peeling away layers of epidermis. Sweeping the ray down its now shrieking foe, Shin Godzilla carved a burning trench into Godzilla’s side. The mutant theropod backpedaled, prompting the mutant divine to cease firing the beam. Slamming its malformed tail into the ground, it strained the muscles in the limb to push itself back to its feet, turning its gaze once to Godzilla.

    Flashbacks to another unholy horror shredding into him with a ray of violet surged in his mind.

    A layer of red, raw flesh coated the less-mutated daikaiju’s shoulder, a vast improvement over the gaping chasm it had been less than a minute ago. Shin Godzilla tilted its head, intrigued. This made its desire to feast intensify, part of its brain still dominated by the primitive desires of what it had been. The more developed portions of its conscious wondered what more it could gain, especially if it did succeed in devouring its foe.

    Godzilla charged forward, intent on keeping the fight up close. Moving with a speed that belied his bulk, he crashed his shoulder into the deformed leviathan, forcing it back a step. As it groaned, he slashed at its chest with his claws once more, tearing in deeper yet failing to do anything beyond the superficial. Shin Godzilla’s tail swung around, bashing into Godzilla’s damaged shoulder, drawing a cry of pain. Growling, the smaller leviathan spun in place, whipping his tail across the grotesque behemoth’s chest. Shin Godzilla stepped back, allowing the monster king to thrust his foot forward and crash it into the stomach of the god incarnate.

    The taller beast doubled over, allowing Godzilla to grab him by the sides of the head. Turning his body, he lifted Shin Godzilla off the ground, his muscles powerful enough to handle lifting an object heavier than even himself. Twisting further, he released, sending the aberration soaring through the air for a brief moment. Rubble and dust shot into the air when Shin Godzilla crashed into a pile of rubble several hundred meters away.

    Miles away, Yuki watched on a screen from G-Force headquarters along with Kuroki and Shindo as the latter lay in a hospital bed. “Kick his ass, kid! Make your old man proud!” The former main pilot of Moguera cheered, his fellow pilots joining him.

    “Give him a good hit for me!” Shindo raised his fist in the air, then winced as a sting of pain shot through him for it.

    Sho smiled as Godzilla fired another Atomic Breath at the downed Shin Godzilla’s back, drawing out a bellow of anguish as chunks of flesh and shards of sharpened scutes flew. “Make him pay for all the brave men and women he’s killed.” He whispered as his comrades continued cheering, remembering his fallen best friend.

    It felt odd to cheer for the son of the one that had ruined his life…

    Once Shin Godzilla was back on its feet, Godzilla was upon it once more and slamming his bulk into his distorted twin. Splitting its lower jaw, its tongue dangling from the gap, the god incarnate called upon its power.

    The mutant theropod screamed as violet light tore down his back, leaving a glowing valley of tearing flesh. Several spines warped and cracked, some melting from the intense heat ripping through them. His world blurring from the anguish, he tried to search for some way to end the pain. Seeing the shriveled, dead arm of his foe, Godzilla blindly reached for it.

    Gripping the numb limb, the smaller leviathan pulled back hard, ripping it free with no resistance and earning a tide of flowing blood from his foe’s new wound. Shin Godzilla ceased firing, backing away in shock. The two stood across from each other for a moment, trying to recollect themselves. Godzilla dropped the arm, which shattered into dust upon contact with the ground.

    Geysers of blue flame erupted from Godzilla’s damaged spines as he charged an Atomic Ray, making him wince. They mingled with crackling bolts of azure electricity as he fueled the attack with radiation absorbed from the beam which had just lacerated his hide, erupting from his opened mouth as a brilliant beam wrapped with spirals of purple energy.

    The Spiral Ray blasted a series of craters into Shin Godzilla’s front as it swept up and down its form, making the cancerous god recoil and stagger backwards. Falling to the ground with a heavy thud, shooting up a wave of dust, the abomination howled. Another Spiral Ray tore across the downed beast, further mutilating the charcoal hide.

    With his back torn asunder by both the horrid wounds inflicted by his foe and his own runaway power, Godzilla slouched and breathed in deeply. His regeneration was powerful, but it had limits and did not erase pain. The bubbling skin and muscle fell away as they were replaced, his spines healing slowly as they needed to first crack back into place before anything else could be done.

    The monster king’s eyes widened as he watched the craters of the aberration begin to fill back in with pulsating muscle, the dead-looking flesh crawling over this to reseal and renew. Exhaling a wave of steam, Shin Godzilla released a series of calls that almost sounded like laughter.

    It would never die. The mutations responsible for its existence had stumbled into perfection, ensuring that whatever it needed, it would obtain. The radiation soaking the air around it thanks to the sprays of nuclear energy which had just tried to end its life certainly helped the process.

    From the hole where a useless, tiny arm had once been, a wave of gore pulsed forth. Godzilla tried to rush forward and stop this, but his back muscles locked up and blazed with agony. He could only watch as he sucked in air, clenching his teeth hard enough they almost cracked. A four-fingered hand larger than his head ripped itself free, earning a cry from Shin Godzilla that was both agony and bliss as the accompanying arm continued to exit. The shoulder began to morph as well, swelling to accommodate the new limb. Before it had even fully emerged, the arm smashed into the ground, then pushed. Forming muscles strained alongside Shin Godzilla’s tail to lift the god of evolution to its feet.

    Standing at its full height once more, Shin Godzilla raised its new, fully formed arm up to observe it. Rippling with muscle, it absolutely dwarfed even Godzilla’s mighty arms, much less the vestigial mass of bone and skin opposite the hulking limb.

    The grotesque colossus charged forward, its legs shifting with each step to make them better suited for movement. They thinned and became more muscular, so that the ponderous march it had been confined to was a thing of the past.

    Godzilla, his back healed enough to be bearable, braced himself.

    “Dear god,” Kenichi gloomily said as he watched this unfold, “we can’t stop that thing.”

    “How is that even possible? It just, grew a new, better arm!” Meru exclaimed, feeling her and Kenichi’s heart beat grow rapid. Was Godzilla really not going to be enough to defeat this thing? Was she looking at humanity’s demise? If what she sensed from Yamane was any indication, he certainly believed so.

    Godzilla was nearly knocked off his feet as the colossal fist bashed across his face, sending broken teeth flying from his maw. Spitting out a wad of blood, the smaller leviathan’s spines flashed once more, but he did not spit forth an Atomic Ray. The energy traveled as blue bolts through his body, flowing into his hands and shrouding them with an aura of crackling light.

    His energized talons slashed across Shin Godzilla’s torso, spraying sparks and smoke as they cleaved off a chunk of blackened hide. Growling, the god incarnate wrapped its hand around Godzilla’s throat, before hoisting him up off his feet. Shin Godzilla sank its teeth into the monster king’s stomach, tearing out a chunk of meat and spilling vast quantities of blood. The leviathan squirmed in its grip, but the mighty claws held firm.

    The three pilots of the Super X3 were speechless. Yuki managed to find some words, but he barely got them to roll past his lips. “What the hell…”

    Sho’s silence faded as anger flew forth. “It’s not fair! Every time that thing comes close to dying, it pulls something else out of its ass and dominates its opposition!”

    Another bite, another step closer to the vital organs within. The foul god relished each moment, enjoyed the warmth of blood and flesh filling its maw and flowing down its throat. So enraptured was it with this sadism that it failed to notice a blue glow from the spines of its prey.

    An Atomic Ray could not have left Godzilla’s maw at this point, for the pressure upon his windpipe was too forceful. But just as his father did, so too did his body have a mechanism to ensure that the building nuclear energy would not tear his insides asunder. It would not be pleasant, for this ability still induced pain with its usage, but it was preferable to this.

    A shockwave of blue energy erupted from every inch of the monster king’s body. The fingers attempting to crush his throat were peeled back, burning from the Nuclear Pulse’s might and being snapped back. As the bones in its fingers broke, the shockwave traveled down the arm, searing off layers of flesh with its passing. The concussive force sent Shin Godzilla backpedaling, its arm being thrust back hard enough to send additional pain shooting through the joints.

    Godzilla’s feet slammed into the ground, shooting up a blast of dust. Spiteful growls left both leviathans, the surrounding world blurring away as they only focused on one another.

    Lunging forward, Shin Godzilla slashed its prey across the chest, leaving bleeding wounds. The monster king gripped the burnt limb, his muscles straining against the aberration’s as he kept the hulking appendage restrained. Parting his jaws, Godzilla unleashed a Spiral Ray upon the wrist, severing the hand with a series of explosions.

    Throwing it aside like so much garbage, Godzilla, eyes narrowed, charged forth once more.

    Kenichi could not help but make an observation as he observed this. “He certainly has the spirit to overcome Shin Godzilla, but I don’t know if he has the actual power.”

    “If only he was stronger,” Meru casually replied, too engrossed in the battle to put much thought into her reply. Despite the casual nature of the statement, it did get Kenichi’s mind to drift as he pondered such an idea.

    Far away from the dueling titans, a helicopter drifted over the ocean as it approached Tokyo. Miki, Azusa, and a pilot who was regretting life decisions watched the battle with varying emotions as they drew close.

    “They’re already battling?” Miki stated, fear creeping into her voice. “I thought we would have beaten Junior here!”

    Their pilot replied, “The fact that we don’t have enough fuel to get back to Adonoa is the only reason I’m not turning around.”

    Godzilla bashed his tail across Shin Godzilla’s face, making the abomination stumble back. Slouching down, a demented expression that could only vaguely be called a smile crossed the aberration’s face. Violet light shined from its back, before shooting forth as over a dozen rays. Twirling in place, it raked Godzilla’s flesh with the numerous beams, forcing him back as he roared in anguish.

    The beams not striking him continued, piercing the air. One almost struck the helicopter, causing it to quickly swerve to the side as the pilot desperately tried to stay alive. “We are landing ASAP!” He yelled, to no complaint from his passengers.

    “What the hell is that helicopter doing out there?” Kenichi questioned, wondering why anyone would be out there at this time.

    Meru closed her eyes, reaching out with her mind. Her eyes snapped open, “It’s Miki and Azusa!” She exclaimed.

    “Should we help them?”

    Meru barely hesitated. “Yes! I’m tired of sitting here and feeling like I can’t do anything.”

    From their spot far away from the battle, Miki and Azusa observed the clash of titans. Godzilla, the burns upon his front still not healed, spat a regular beam of nuclear power upon his foe, then lunged forward. His claws tore across the flesh he had just scorched, only for the deity to reply by bashing its huge arm down on his skull. The mutant theropod stumbled back, shaking his head.

    “He’s certainly started to take after his father in combat…” Azusa said, watching the savagery with which he fought. It felt like she was looking at a totally different creature, not the sweet saurian she had watched be born.

    The stump of Shin Godzilla’s arm began to flail out with tendrils of sinew and muscle, which rapidly connected to attempt to recreate the hand. The monster king opened his jaws, biting down on the mass of tissue and crushing it between his teeth. Foul blood filled his mouth as he pulled back, fighting past the thick tail bashing against his hide like a hammer as he severed it.

    “Look how injured he is!” The former psychic cried out. “He’s covered in burns and he’s starting to get tired, how much has he had to regenerate?”

    Godzilla was assailed by another violet stream of photons, causing the writhing bundle to fall from his jaws. Shin Godzilla stepped closer, continuing to spew death from its hideous maw. It was almost too much for the duo of women to handle, seeing the young creature brutalized. Strips of blackened flesh fell to the ground, which the abomination’s serpentine tail seized in its “mouth,” human-like teeth within gnashing the radioactive morsels. Shin Godzilla shook with laughter as it watched Godzilla squirm in agony.

    An Atomic Breath parted Godzilla’s jaws, being split apart by the cutting laser. Twin streams of azure flame seared into Shin Godzilla, forcing the god incarnate back as it roared in shock. Drawing deep from his dwindling wells of strength, the monster king rushed forward, gathering power for another beam.

    “I can’t look,” The biologist recoiled, shielding her eyes. Blocking out the visual aspect did not help much, for she still heard the crash of their bodies slamming into one another, the hideous bellows of Shin Godzilla mingling with the wrathful roar of Godzilla.

    Miki shut her eyes and covered them as well, for she did not want to risk blindness as the two colossi locked eyes, bodies shining with grand power as they were right next to each other.

    An azure stream of rushing nuclear power crashed into the thin, violet beam of death, the two struggling for a brief moment as the powers fought to overcome one another. Over the span of a second, a pulsing sphere of the two colors formed in the epicenter, its heat threatening to cook the two as they nearly touched it.

    Then it burst, and both were lost in a massive explosion.

    Miki and Azusa screamed when the window separating them from the outside world, for they had landed in an airport near the shore miraculously still intact, shattered inwards. Chunks of broken glass fell on and around them, leaving them with myriad cuts.

    Once the chaos settled, they uncovered their eyes, wincing at the pain all over their bodies. Nothing had cut too deeply to be fatal, but it was still far from pleasant.

    “You ok?” The former psychic asked, getting a nod in reply.

    “I guess? Could be doing much better.”

    “What even happened out there?” She looked back, seeing neither Godzilla present. “They can’t both just be gone.”

    Miles away, another duo was asking questions. Akira Yuki and Meru Ozawa were seated in a Jeep, driving through the city seeking the pair of women. Yuki had little qualms with helping find Miki Saegusa, feeling similarly to Meru that sitting back and watching this unfold without being able to change anything was almost painful. Not that Sho or Yamane felt much differently, it was just that finding a vehicle able to fit more than four people on short notice was difficult after most soldiers had left on that day.

    “After how they were tearing each other apart, I can’t believe that explosion killed them.” Yuki gruffly stated, maneuvering the heavy vehicle down a cluttered road of abandoned cars.

    Meru closed her eyes, trying to be very careful to not peer into either mind. “They’re both still alive, just not moving. It must have knocked them both out, but knowing Godzilla, I doubt that will last long.”

    “Yeah, that sounds about right. Well let’s hope they both stay asleep long enough for me to drive around the spots they’ve turned into nuclear hellholes.” A Geiger counter built into the vehicle, standard issue for the JSDF after the rise of Godzilla and the constant battles against him, remained neutral.

     

    One moment, he had been locked in mortal combat with a horrendous mutant seeking to devour him. The next, he found himself in an entirely different environment.

    Godzilla Junior was far smaller and younger, a baby. Instead of the vast expanse of Tokyo, he stood behind a metallic fence, surrounded by foliage inside a large facility. Instead of the cruel leviathan ripping into him, he was looking at multiple people, including his mother. He cooed, intrigued by the humans watching him. They seemed just as interested in him as he was them.

    One stepped forward, a person who looked similar to his mother. She smiled at him, it was a warm, kind smile. But something felt off, her aura was uncomfortable to him. He sensed that she had attempted to control another of his kind with abilities most humans did not have.

    He growled, making them flinch back. Baby Godzilla did not trust the woman with the abnormal powers of the mind. She began to talk to his mother.

    “He can sense that I tried to control Godzilla, it’s got him on edge,” Miki Saegusa explained to her colleagues.

    “There’s gotta be a way to get him to trust you, right?” Azusa replied, “though, maybe don’t try to use your psychic powers, if that’s what’s set him off already.”

    The psychic nodded, before ducking beneath the top of the fence and slipping through the bars. Though the gaps were small enough to stop the young Godzillasaurus from getting through, a human had little issue getting through.

    Everyone on the other side of the fence was clearly nervous as Miki walked towards the infant theropod, even Azusa’s smile hid anxiety. But as Baby Godzilla watched the woman approach, he did not sense any fear within her. Her smile remained as she drew closer, a hand gently reaching out.

    This fearlessness was not born from pride, which is what he would have suspected moments ago with how she had tried mentally attacking an adult of his species. Instead, it was confidence born of kindness, she refused to believe he could bring himself to hurt her. She truly wanted his trust, and as he began to also walk, he felt the same warmness from her as he did from his mother.

    They stood right across from each other. The infant theropod stood taller than her, looking down upon the woman.

    His tail swung forward through the air, aimed at her head…

    And lightly brushed against her hair, unfurling it and sending the black locks tumbling down around her head. She began to laugh, as did the rest of the gathered people. “I think he likes me!” Miki giggled as the tail continued delicately patting her on the head. Baby Godzilla cooed once more, his mouth doing the closest it could get to a smile.

    She had trusted him, and that was enough to earn his trust. He basked in the joy filling the room, especially from Miki and Azusa. They cared for him more than anyone else, so he cherished them the most.

     

    This memory motivated him. A low growl left his maw as consciousness returned. He was beneath rubble, the light blotted out except for a few strands peeking through. He needed to get up, and to fight. For humankind, he would rise. Humanity needed him to win on this day. He had been through worse pain than this, death’s embrace had already encircled him once long ago. The foul nightmare that had plagued his dreams for years had inflicted such greater pain than this thing had.

    Those two needed him to be victorious.

    As Miki and Azusa looked out over the landscape, searching for Godzilla, they had remembered this moment as well. Happier times, though Miki found herself having a harder time enjoying the memory. For shortly afterwards she had helped try to kill Junior’s father, an action that had weighed on her conscious for a long time.

    When the psychic had tried to overwhelm Godzilla all those years ago, she had managed to glimpse the titan’s subconscious. Part of what knocked her out was how overwhelming his sorrow and pain was, as she got to see the psyche of a being that truly had nobody else.

    That was why she had fought so hard to make G-Force leave the previous Godzilla alone. He had not been some demon born of hell to tear humanity asunder, he was just a poor soul in the wrong place at the wrong time lashing out at a world that had forsaken him. Perhaps if they left him alone, he would do the same.

    “Do you think that Shin Godzilla is like Junior’s father?” She asked. “Suffering, and just lashing out?”

    “Perhaps. But Miki, I don’t think that thing is like Godzilla was. Maybe it’s the same on a basic level, but you heard what they said about it. It had fled and come right back once it was powerful enough, just to wreak havoc and destroy.”

    “What are you trying to say?”

    “The way that thing fought and tore at Junior…” The biologist paused, trying to find the words. “It won’t just stop at him or Tokyo. There’s something wrong with that thing, on a level that leaving it alone won’t solve.”

    Water surrounded the aquatic predator, his natural habitat. He tore at the flesh within the black scales in his grip, filling his belly. But, as he did so, he felt… wrong. Nausea, burning pain with each bite, this meat was sickening. Then why did he keep feeding? Because he was hungry, because he had not fed in so long that any sustenance was acceptable. It was why he had ventured so close to those two giants, risking death just to pick up the scraps they left behind.

    Time passed, how much it did not know. His body was beginning to change unnaturally, swell and shift in ways it had never done before. He ate other fish, fish he could have never brought down before as his power increased, but it wasn’t enough. Their flesh was not as filling, not as delicious. It lacked the strange essence of the titan’s flesh, the same essence that he had lamented.

    Perhaps the land would have more of the essence, more of what he needed. Yes, the land would have what he sought.

    The surface did have what it desired, but it also caused more pain and suffering. They must be eliminated, destroyed so that it does not need to feel anything negative.

    It was immortal, divine. It did not need to deal with the same struggles as the pathetic wretch it had once been. Not when a pillar of light could erase all in its path and when its body was perfect. But, it was not perfect.

    Rubble shrouded it from the world, obscuring the entity. With one movement of its hulking arm, now fully healed, the sun’s light caressed Shin Godzilla once more. Rising, casting more debris off its form, the god incarnate roared.

    Perfection was within its grasp, all it would take would be filling its belly once more…

    Responding to the roar, Godzilla climbed to his feet, then let loose his own call.

    Yuki’s eyes widened, and a quick glance over confirmed his passenger was feeling the same. “How close are we to them?” He asked, trying to focus on anything other than the gods about to tear each other apart between him and safety.

    “Close, should only be a few minutes.” She breathed in deeply, trying to remain calm.

    The rumbling of the city made that difficult as the two charged at each other with a renewed vigor. They had both been launched miles away, but the time spent unconscious had healed their wounds.

    Once they drew close enough, they began to fire their respective beams, their stride not breaking. Purple rays sliced through blue streams, sending portions of nuclear energy falling to the ground and detonating as they were cleaved from the beam. Godzilla was sliced open as Shin Godzilla was blasted, earning growls of hatred from both. Their claws flexed as the gap between them closed.

    An energy enhanced slash by the monster king left smoking marks in the chest protrusion of the aberration as the latter’s thick fist bashed into the former’s stomach. Tilting his body, Godzilla sent Shin Godzilla stumbling back with a tackle, only for the abomination to rush forward with a kick to the mutant theropod’s legs. Godzilla staggered as pain shot through his leg, allowing Shin Godzilla to slam its skull against his own. Blood poured down his face as the strike split his head’s skin.

    Lunging forward, the mutant theropod gripped the sides of his foe’s chest, before turning his body to try and take it off its feet. Shin Godzilla’s humongous claws raked down his back, but it did not stop him. The god incarnate bellowed in rage as it was thrown to the ground, sending up a cloud of dust.

    *****

    The monster king’s surrogate mother and her friend the former psychic watched as a Jeep pulled up to the airport they were taking refuge in. They almost had not noticed it with the fight taking up most of their attention, but it was who stepped out that grabbed their attention the most.

    “Miki!” Meru cried out as she ran towards her mentor, arms wide to give her a hug. She pulled her arms back close to her body when she saw the bandages on Miki’s body, “Oh my god, are you ok?”

    “Yes, Meru what are you doing out here?” Miki asked with concern, embracing her regardless. “Who knows what could have happened while you were out there, why did you come all the way out here for us?”

    “Miki, who’s this?” Azusa asked, her arms and legs also wrapped in bandages.

    “What the hell happened to you two!?” Yuki questioned as he stepped near, a level of worry in his voice that the former psychic had never heard from him before.

    “A window exploded with us near it, fortunately we already had our eyes covered and we were able to find bandages here.”

    “Oh my god, what the hell is wrong with you! Why are you out here?”

    Azusa stepped in, “Because we didn’t want Aso trying to hurt Junior after this is all over!”

    “Lady,” The former Moguera pilot had no idea who this was “Aso gave full control of the situation to the big guy, and while he’s an asshole, he’s not that bad.”

    Miki quickly tried to be diplomatic. “Azusa, this is Meru Ozawa and Akira Yuki. She’s a psychic like I was, and he was one of the pilots of Moguera.”

    “And the Super X3 before burnt-beef jerky out there knocked it out of the sky.”

    “Meru, Yuki, this is Azusa Gojo. She was a biological researcher at the facility where Junior hatched. And she’s who he imprinted on and viewed as a mother.”

    The psychic reached out a hand to greet the biologist. “Nice to meet you,” Azusa nodded, agreeing.

    Yuki rubbed his temple, groaning. “Alright, you two didn’t come out here to stop Aso, you two just couldn’t bear to be an ocean away from the kid while he took on that thing.”

    “We thought we’d already be here before they started fighting, we underestimated some things.” Azusa admitted.

    “Alright, understandable, I guess,” he gruffly replied, mentally admitting that they had all underestimated many things about this situation. “But can we talk about this somewhere miles away from that!” He pointed out to the two battling, both on their feet and clawing at one another.

    A kick to the burnt stomach sent bile pouring from the aberrant deity’s maw, staining the concrete with toxic sludge. Shin Godzilla’s gargantuan claws slashed down the young leviathan’s face, narrowly missing his eye as skin parted and sprayed blood. Godzilla snarled, his adrenaline managing to block out enough of the pain to let him keep going.

    Lunging forward, he wrapped his arms around the god incarnate’s torso, digging his claws in deep before surging power through them. Lifting the horrendous deity up in an attempt at a bear hug, Godzilla continued to burn twin holes which smoked into the cancerous flesh.

    This fight was not progressing, both knew this. They were both too powerful for the other to bring down, but while Godzilla’s only strategy was the one his father had always used, Shin Godzilla began to plot. While the monster king prepared to just dig in his heels and fight until his foe dropped, the larger mutant looked out to the ocean.

    With its adaption, it would attain what it needed in that environment, whatever it needed to take victory. It cared little about the specifics, being willing to just let its DNA figure that part out. All its mind needed was to just get them there…

    Like the cracking of a whip, Shin Godzilla’s tail slammed into Godzilla leg beneath the knee, bruising the limb and sending the monster king falling forward with a cry of pain. Swiftly, the deformed leviathan was on its feet.

    Shin Godzilla’s tail wrapped around Godzilla’s throat, before straining to lift him into the air along with its gigantic hand. Twirling in place, the aberration hurled its foe towards the ocean. The mutant theropod flew through the air, roaring in shock until he crashed into a cluster of buildings. The structures were destroyed in a series of explosions, sending debris shooting into the air.

    And a rumbling quake through the airport, which was less than a mile away from the impact. The four humans fell to the ground as they lost their footing, wincing in pain. When the shaking ceased, the four scrambled to their feet, frantically trying to get to the Jeep. Miki and Azusa stumbled due to their previous injuries, leaving the other two to rush back and try to help them.

    And then a shadow fell over them, blotting out the sun. Speechless, they looked up to see the god incarnate, looking towards its prey.

    Meru fell to the ground, breathing heavily. Just being so close to the thing dredged up the horrid memories of peering into its mind, seeing the pain of one’s whole body ripping itself apart and sewing itself back together over and over until a new form was achieved. Tears streamed from her eyes as she tried to block out the memories, but with the colossus standing over them, she could not.

    She cried out in terror, drawing a diminutive pupil towards the four.

    Miki Saegusa saw nothing in that eye that she had seen in the previous Godzilla. She saw no animal just wanting to be left alone, no sorrowful creature just trying to live. She saw a hollow soul, and when it shifted its head towards them and curled the foul chasm it called a mouth into the smile of a killer, she knew she was looking at a soul totally lost to madness.

    Humans. The insects that had torn apart its former body. Its weaker, pathetic body. The scum that had tried to destroy this new form, the almost perfect form of a god.

    The deformed leviathan’s tongue licked the edges of its mouth as it raised its tail into the air, preparing to bring it down like the hand of God upon them.

    So enraptured was it in its preparation to destroy the cowering humans below, and so filled with terror were they for seeing death hang above them by a fraying string, that neither noticed the ground shaking until it was thundered like a drum being beat.

    Godzilla’s roar snapped them all from their daze, drawing the shocked Shin Godzilla’s attention just before he crashed his bulk into the self-proclaimed deity. The shockwave knocked the four off their feet, earning cries of panic from them. The monster king’s gaze drifted over to them, his binocular vision allowing him to get a clear view of what were relatively insects to him.

    And what he saw widened his eyes and filled his heart with sorrow.

    His mother and her best friend were injured, cowering in terror and utterly helpless. He knew she was not his real mother, but that meant nothing to him. She was still the one who had cared for him at his most helpless, showed him kindness and love as some of the first things he remembered. And the other was just as close and caring to him as his mother had been, she might as well have been a second mother. Even though they had sent him away, he did not hate them for it, for he knew that it was for the best. Besides, it was that which had let him be with his father, who he knew was not his true father, but for that he also did not care.

    Shin Godzilla’s tail swung down like a hammer towards them. Godzilla noticed this at the last moment, shoving his hand out to catch the limb. Muscle strained as pain shot through his arm, but he had stopped it from crushing his loved ones. The god incarnate reared its arm back, swinging it forwards. The monster king’s other hand crashed into its palm, making him wince as it pushed his muscles to their limit.

    With a shove, he was forced to take a step backwards. He felt something metallic crunch beneath his foot, exploding. He assumed it was a vehicle from what his father had told him, though he had never had the experience until now.

    The four humans watched as their ride away from the warring titans was crushed like a tin can, the sturdily built Jeep being rendered a flat wreck. Yuki tried to take initiative, running to the side to try and escape, only for a purple ray of death to cleave through the ground a hundred feet before him, leaving a burning trench that blocked off meaningful escape that way.

    Shin Godzilla laughed, a raspy and crackling call that sounded painful. Meru was still unmoving, tears streaming down her face as the mind-shattering terror she had witnessed refused to leave her. Azusa and Miki just hugged each other, trying to comfort one another as Yuki frantically paced back and forth, trying to figure out some way to survive. Godzilla looked back, seeing them all.

    Another shove backwards, and he was brought even closer to splattering the two people he cared most about. He remembered the other two from somewhere, but his mind was too clouded to focus on that. Tears streamed down from his eyes, which just made the demon opposite him laugh even harder.

    The mournful calls of his mother and the former psychic brought back another memory.

    He swam through the ocean near his home, smaller than he was now. Instead of his home being Adonoa Island, it was another land that the humans called Birth Island. Here he lived with his father.

    Godzilla Junior crushed a whale’s corpse between his teeth. Despite being able to subsist off radiation at this point in his growth, he was not quite used to it yet and still persisted and eating flesh. The sky above was dark, but his vision was still nigh-immaculate in the night.

    He had been surrounded by darkness, until blinding light filled all in an instant. Heat washed over him, drawing an agonized yell from him that was lost in the horrid roar of the blast. It had faded as soon as it had begun, leaving him dazed as his body tried to repair the damage. Skin was burnt off, eyelids that had saved his eyes at the last moment incinerated, and his eardrums ruptured.

    Blurry vision being repaired by regeneration saw his home was a boiling crater in the water, the fluid rushing back into the gap as fast as it could. Despite the pain, he could only focus on one thing. Was his father dead?

    He got his answer, though it had not been what he wanted when he saw the form of his parent rising from the liquid crater. Even with his wracked vision, he could tell something was horribly wrong.

    His caretaker did not normally glow crimson.

    Godzilla Junior cried out, a pathetic cry. Godzilla looked over to his son, before swimming away with a roar. Instead of the powerful bellow of a king, it was a scream dripping with anguish. Junior could only watch as the one being he counted on abandoned him, suffering immeasurably. His vision went black as consciousness failed.

    The new King of the Monsters had already lost one parent…

    Suddenly, Shin Godzilla was pushed back. First, it was only a slight movement, not even a full step. The deformed colossus tried to shove once more, only to be forced away. Digging its feet into the ground, the deity roared wrathfully. It agonized the onlookers’ ears, even as they covered them.

    Then Godzilla looked up, and his spines flashed crimson.

    Eight pairs of eyes were averted in a split second to avoid being blinded as scarlet streaks of energy raced from the smaller leviathan’s back to his arms, shooting into his hands and having an immediate effect as bursts of smoke and flesh erupted and left imprints in Shin Godzilla’s flesh where he touched.

    The smaller mutant lifted his counterpart into the air, earning a cry of panic from the self-proclaimed god. Meru gazed at the sight, feeling the weight crushing down on her heart and mind fade. She smiled, as did the other three with her.

    Charging forward, the mutant theropod kept his foe aloft, before hurling it forward after a few steps. Absolute confusion and bafflement roared from its jaws as it soared. He watched as it crashed into a group of structures, being buried within, he turned to look back at the people, to see them cheering.

    The psychic’s eyes were closed as her compatriots yelled.

    “Show that overcooked piece of shit who’s the real king!” Yuki shouted, pumping his fist in the air.

    Miki cupped her hands around her mouth, “You can do this! Save us from Shin Godzilla!”

    Tears streaming down her face once more, but this time of joy rather than sorrow, Azusa whispered. “I’m so proud of how far you’ve come.”

    Thanks to Meru, the monster king heard it all. He was overwhelmed with emotion, unable to figure out how to even respond.

    Until a laser seared into his back, and a shriek filled the air. He screamed as it continued, digging in deeper with each passing fragment of a second. Godzilla roared, pointing away from this place, before turning around and responding with his own bellow.

    “He wants us to leave,” Meru replied, scared once more, though not nearly as much.

    “I didn’t need a mind-reader to tell me that,” Yuki quipped. “You heard the dinosaur, let’s get the hell out of here!”

    Snarling as he turned to face Shin Godzilla, who approached with wrath as it continued searing its power into the mutant theropod’s chest, Godzilla called upon his internal reserves of energy. This time, he was fueled by rage brought about by his desire to protect another. This fury was deeper then any self-fulfilling one, as the tangible threat to those he loved was ever-present.

    The taller mutant paused when Godzilla’s spines flashed red instead of blue. Parting his jaws was a stream of scarlet power wrapped in orange spirals, and the difference was apparent as soon as it made contact.

    Shin Godzilla hit the ground, mouth wide open as it failed to scream. Detonations reduced the fiend’s stomach to a boiling crater of sludge, rippling through the chest and shattering the outer layer of flesh while cooking that which lay beneath. Raising its tail, it tried to fight back with a stream of energy from there. Another Spiral Fire Ray crashed into the limb near the base…

    And sent it flying free with a trail of smoke and gore.

    Godzilla stomped closer, reducing more of his foe’s body into steaming viscera with another blast. He had already lost one parent to this cruel world, he would not be left alone. Even if she could not be by his side like his father had been, just knowing she was safe would be enough. Enough to let him know he was not alone in this existence like he had thought himself for so long.

    Shin Godzilla shrieked in hatred as the monster king stood over it, cursing him and promising unparalleled agony before slow death. Godzilla replied with a thunderous bellow that made the self-proclaimed god recoil, sending chills through even those cheering for him at the sheer ferocity present.

    The most grotesque sound either had ever heard rang out when the King of the Monsters plunged his foot into the bubbling caldera of blood and organs. Gore sprayed from Shin Godzilla’s maw, tail stump, and myriad wounds as its insides were mutilated and crushed. It tried to mount some last offense, but nothing would come forth as Godzilla ripped his foot free, worsening the damage.

    Where was its adaptation? It was supposed to be able to overcome any situation, yet nothing was happening. Was this it?

    As Shin Godzilla wallowed in its self-doubt and confusion as to why it was not ascending past this obstacle, crimson light filled its vision once more. Its flesh was beginning to grey once more, its energy robbed of it after such a cataclysmic trauma. The heir to the throne spent a few seconds charging this blast, he could feel his adrenaline fading so he decided this needed to be finished now.

    Finally, he unleashed the column of nuclear retribution, incinerating the scarred divinity. As its coffin was formed from blasts of immense power, Shin Godzilla’s last thoughts were despair as its illusion of godhood shattered like a glass vase hurled into a wall.

    Sho, Shinjo, and Kenichi cheered as they watched from far away.

    “He actually did it!” The young researcher was baffled, but far more ecstatic at the same time.

    Shinjo was less disbelieving, “Of course he did it. After what I saw his father do against SpaceGodzilla, I never doubted the kid.”

    “But, he needed help there?”

    “Yeah. He got help here too, didn’t he? Just not as noticeable as a big mech with a million weapons.”

    Sho said nothing, just watching with a smile. The fact that Godzilla Junior had been spurned into a powerful wrath by just a few humans being put in danger confirmed that they had a trustworthy guardian. This was not the one who killed his best friend, in fact, this one would ensure more people did not have to go through the same pain he had.

    Godzilla breathed in deeply, before rearing his head up and roaring in triumph. Once his victory shout faded, he slouched as fatigue hit like a freight train. He began to turn towards the ocean, beginning to walk.

    The four fleeing people watched as the King of the Monsters dropped like a sack of bricks, eyes that were yellow once more sliding shut. His abdomen still shifted with breath, but otherwise he was still.

    And to their horror, Shin Godzilla’s tail flailed, the skinned end of it rearing up like a serpent. And just like a snake, it slithered past the monster king’s body towards the shore. Disappearing into the waters, it was gone without a trace.

    Hours passed, in that time G-Force picked Azusa, Meru, Miki, and Yuki up and returned them to sanctuary. Godzilla’s eyes fluttered open, and he pushed himself to his feet. He would not dwell here for longer than needed, so he marched towards the waves. Soon, he walked into the ocean, leaving Tokyo behind to return to Adonoa. He felt triumphant, joyous. He would have liked to say goodbye to them, but he understood if they wanted to get inside and back to comfort as quickly as possible. Perhaps they would come visit him at his home?

    Once things had settled down, the four sat in Shinjo’s hospital room alongside Sho and Yamane, catching up.

    “Are you all sure you don’t want to come to Adonoa with us, just for a visit for a day or a few?” The biologist asked kindly.

    Yuki replied first. “I’ve had my fill of giant monsters for about… ever. I’m sure more will show up, but I’m not looking to go to them.”

    Sho shared similar feelings. “I prefer an anti-kaiju machine between me and a daikaiju, so no thank you.”

    “A chance to get to study Godzilla in an environment where he isn’t trying to destroy everything around him? How could I not?” Kenichi replied.

    “Of course!” Meru replied, overjoyed.

    “Eh, give me some time to think on it. Obviously, I can’t leave for a good bit.” Shinjo stated.

    “Of course, and I look forward to you all visiting! Yuki and Sho… I don’t really blame you.” She giggled.

    Yuki’s voice grew more serious. “Did any of you ever hear where Shinny’s tail went?”

    “They’ve got submarines searching, they haven’t found anything,” Sho replied. “Must have slithered further out to sea to make itself harder to find.”

    “Spineless shit.”

    Everyone in the room nodded their heads in agreement. Even the most kaiju sympathetic present carried no love for the creature, trying to specifically murder people who had done nothing to it had shut that door and sealed it forever.

    “Anything on Junior?” Shinjo broke the silence with that question.

    “He’s still swimming, nothing’s gone wrong with his swimming yet. He’ll be fine,” Azusa replied.

    “Of course he’ll be fine, he takes after his pa.”

    After more catching up and talking, the group ended up splitting up to do whatever they felt like doing at the time. While most of them just did casual things, Kenichi Yamane specifically searched for General Aso. After being directed to the head of G-Force, the young researcher had a pitch to make.

    “I’m listening, Yamane, don’t waste my time, I have a lot of things I need to be doing.”

    “Don’t worry,” he replied to the older man “I’ll be brief. First, we know that Godzilla Junior can be trusted, correct?”

    Aso paused for a moment, thinking. “So far, yes. He left as soon as he could and protected people.”

    “Second, while he has the willpower to take on stronger enemies, his physical strength may not be able to catch up. Shin Godzilla almost killed him.”

    “Yes.”

    “Third, we know G-Cells are highly receptive to other genetics.”

    “What are you suggesting, cut to it!”

    Kenichi recoiled, though he was not surprised that the last bit would spark such a reaction. “I suggest we experiment with G-Cells to try and discover a way to give Junior a boost,” he started talking quickly, worried about getting rejected immediately. “They would be very carefully monitored and ready to be terminated at a moment’s notice.”

    Aso was silent, skyrocketing the young scientist’s anxiety. Then, he spoke. “I’ll consider it Yamane, don’t expect much, but I’ll think over it. I have enough on my plate at the moment.”

    “Of course, of course, thank you.” He bowed as he backed away, leaving the general to do what he needed to do.

    Despite the tenseness in his mind, he felt good. Especially because perhaps, an idea of his would not cause revulsion or pain. Perhaps an out there plan of his could actually save people and do some good for this world.

    Days passed. On Adonoa Island, Godzilla looked out over the horizon, watching the sun glisten off the waters. It was a beautiful sight, and on an island of mostly stone, he tried to witness as many beautiful things as he could.

    “Hey! Down here!” The feminine voice that had remained on his mind for years rang out, louder than it had been before.

    The leviathan looked down, seeing his adopted mother holding a megaphone, smiling as her friends stood behind her. Meru and Yamane were more reluctant, slightly hiding behind her, but Saegusa stood right beside Azusa with the same joy.

    Godzilla smiled, a warmth in his heart he had not known for years.

    Winner: Godzilla (Heisei)

    K.W.C. Kaiju War Chronicles

    K.W.C. // July 21, 2022
  • Way back in August of 2019, I had a chance to revisit Universal Studios Japan for the second Universal Cool Japan attraction that would feature Godzilla—Godzilla vs. Evangelion the Real 4D (ゴジラ対エヴァンゲリオン・ザ・リアル・4−D). Looking back, I regret (again) not writing about the ride when it was all fresh in my mind, but at the time… actually, quite often, I just enjoy attending Godzilla and kaiju-related events, and it can feel like a pain in the bottom to write down every detail. As a fan, it’s nice to sometimes just enjoy. (more…)

    General // July 20, 2022
  • Author: Joshua Strittmatter | Banner: Landon Soto

    Even through the howling wind that permeated the frigid atmosphere, all of the Columbia River Gorge could hear the distinct bugling of two bull elk as they circled one another, their dark eyes piercing daggers as one threatened the other to back off before things got ugly. The larger bull, a proud old beast with antlers nearly as long as a grown human and strands of old fur hanging loosely off a thick mane, pawed the ground with his left hoof as he roared once more, kicking up puffs of snow to become one with the snowstorm that raged around them. The younger bull neither bellowed back nor backed down, pawing the snow in his own display as he swung his antlered head from side to side.

    Not too far away, a small harem of cows stood in a good-sized clearing, some grazing on any visible grass while others watched the spectacle, waiting for the victor to be decided.

    The wind seemed to howl along with the older male as he bugled again, a final warning to the youthful bull that opposed him. The young one, desperate to earn his place this year and pass on his lineage, roared right back as he pawed the snow aggressively… … …

    … … …and the howls of the wind were drowned out by a thunderous ruble that shook the mountains themselves.

    The antlered ungulates ceased their mating rights stand-off to look out over the cliffs, ears perked and alert. It didn’t take long for them to spot a massive shape moving through the gorge, half-obscured by the masses of snow that fell from the overcast sky. The herd of elk backed a good distance away from the cliffs as they watched the blizzard-masked colossus continue to tromp through the Columbia River, the beast looking all the more intimidating being seen from such a distance.

    While most of Oregon’s local fauna were busy searching for and attracting mates, some had already mated themselves. A deep, low-frequency roar echoed from the throat of the male MUTO, the prehistoric giant testing his echolocation skills against the snowstorm he waded through. While the storm did not hinder his physical prowess in the slightest, he was having a bit of trouble seeing ahead. The MUTO let out a series of dolphin-like clicks that echoed throughout the mountains, attempting to communicate with his mate from a distance. Sure enough, after a few seconds a deeper set of clicks greeted his unseen ears. Knowing he wasn’t lost, the male called out once more as he kept wading in the direction of the response, his smaller set of arms clutching his recently-acquired gift–a nuclear plant reactor.

    The MUTO was grateful to be able to wander this land in peace and quiet rather than be constantly assaulted by its former inhabitants. For reasons the MUTO did not know, this particular region had been largely devoid of human contact for quite some time. The roads were no longer filled with moving vehicles, and most of the houses and towns seemed abandoned.

    But in their place, life was flourishing here more than ever.

    Taking a brief moment to shake all the snow off him, the male continued along his way, the earth shaking with every step. Slowly recognizing the terrain around him, the MUTO finally turned left and stepped out of the freezing water. Piercing the mountain face with his hooked claws, the male effortlessly climbed the massive hill to the top, where he finally caught sight of his objective.

    Turning her head in his direction, the female MUTO called affectionately to her mate, who clicked back as he flapped his wings and landed a close distance away from her. Leaning her head down to his level as she walked towards him, the female grumbled gently as she nuzzled her devotee, who purred in kind before reaching down to clutch the nuclear reactor in his jaws. Taking notice of this gift, the female took it and trudged back to their nesting area, where she began to dig out a spot where she could place the reactor. A place where she would eventually lay her eggs before covering it up with dirt and earth to keep them safe from snowy days such as this. The kaiju couple would reproduce in time, but now was no such time. They would at least wait until it got a little warmer before the process of egg-laying could begin.

    One task done with, the male spread his wings, preparing to take a quick run back to the abandoned plant he had found the reactor at, when he felt the ground vibrate. At the same time, a faint boom reached his ears, one that sounded akin to a bomb going off.

    A human bomb.

    The female noticed too, and her face contorted in a snarl. Another boom, another vibration in the ground, and the MUTOs exchanged glances. It appeared as though the destroyers had found a way to locate them after all.

    Not wanting to waste his energy fighting the damn pests, the male’s right claw began to glow. Rearing it above the ground, he then slammed it back down to emit an electromagnetic pulse that rapidly spread for miles, shutting down anything electric in its path. The pair sighed with relief. Good, that should take care of–

    Suddenly, the pair were alert once more, more so than they had been before. The electromagnetic pulse of a MUTO wasn’t just a weapon against electrically-based foes, it had another evolutionary use–it amplified their echolocation. Because of the use of the pulse, the radioactive predators could now detect the signals of other lifeforms in the vicinity.

    Detect one they did. And, from what they could tell, a very large one at that.

    Flapping his wings, the male MUTO fluttered onto the peak of the hill to overlook the gorge, searching for the potential threat.

    The search was not a long one.

    Through the haze of the raging blizzard the male spotted a figure moving through the mountains on the other side of the river. The beast was bipedal in nature, and parts of its body seemed to give off a crimson glow. A ridiculously long, squirrel-like tail swung behind it as it moved, and its footsteps sounded akin to bombs going off. The female climbed her way to the peak and took in the sight of the newcomer. A wave of intimidation washed over them, something about the mere outline of the creature holding an aura of unease. Both nuclear parasites could sense the high levels of radiation emanating off the creature, and the same idea clicked in their minds.

    This beast could make a far more suitable breakfast for their future offspring, and quite possibly themselves as well.

    The male bent low to make sure the beast didn’t see him, trying to find the right moment to take flight and ambush the passer by–but was somewhat caught off guard when the beast suddenly stopped dead in its tracks. The male didn’t know what that meant, but he had a hunch they hadn’t gone unnoticed. The glowing behemoth stood still as a statue, its crimson glow lighting up the area like a giant lamp.

    And then it turned in their direction.

    Once more, a feeling of unease set in on the MUTO pair. It was all but clear this beast had noticed them. Perhaps the male’s EMP had given them away?

    A powerful roar unlike anything they had ever heard resounded from the glowing monster, drowning out the howl of the wind and sending all fauna scurrying for shelter. The MUTOs both took a step back, the oppressor slightly more visible now due to a decent decrease in snowfall.

    A hideously scarred, sickly burnt dinosaurian with tiny arms that barely reached beyond its axe-shaped sternum, and three rows of glowing red dorsal plates weaved in the shape of maple leaves running down its musculature-exposed back. A round, salamander-esque head watched them blankly with two beady eyes that seemed too small for the skull, with a mouth permanently baring several uneven rows of crooked teeth.

    The reptilian behemoth took a step forward, its bomb-like footstep seeming to emanate its unnatural nature. Its beady eyes fixed on them in a truly eerie fashion, the tumorous saurian reared its ugly head back and roared a second time. It didn’t matter to the MUTOs what that cry meant, their species were hardwired to take a sound like that as a challenge.

    And like always, they accepted.

    Rearing onto her hind limbs, the female MUTO flailed her six limbs and roared her own battle cry at the mutated dinosaur, her smaller mate spreading his wings and copying the motion. Digging her scythed claws into the earth, the female bellowed and charged at the intruder, the male taking flight behind her.

    Godzilla, the nuclear spawn of humanity’s sins, stomped sluggishly in a straight line in a seemingly mindless fashion.

    As the female neared, Godzilla suddenly stopped, his body held stiff as the nucleovore slammed her massive body into his sternum. The irradiated reptile dug his feet into the ground as he was pushed back from the hit, his eyes slowly looking down at her. Snow and dirt kicked up into the air as the MUTO took the opportunity to charge again, raising her claws and bringing them down on Godzilla’s scarred flesh. The monster king screeched in visible pain as glowing, radioactive blood spurted from the wound. Satisfied with this turn of events, the female lifted her right claw as she prepared to bring it down on Godzilla’s head.

    With a roar, Godzilla suddenly turned his body quicker than the MUTO thought him capable, slamming his overgrown tail into her chest. The impact rippled through the predator as she was sent careening several hundred meters away, slamming into a mid-sized mountain. The female wailed as she found herself tangled amidst her own limbs, trying hard to right herself.

    The bomb-like footsteps of Godzilla echoed through the gorge as the burnt behemoth shambled slowly towards the downed parasite. But as he moved, the King of the Monsters sensed another presence coming at him from behind and reacted immediately.

    Before the male MUTO could land on his target, Godzilla’s tail suddenly whipped and smacked him in the side of the neck, flooring him. Thankfully, the male landed on his belly and found it not too difficult to get to his feet. The diminutive parasite cursed himself as he stood to face Godzilla, unable to comprehend why the saurian had known he was behind him. Regardless, he had diverted his attention away from the wounded female, giving her more time to recover.

    Flapping his wings, the MUTO took to the sky as he began to circle the monster king like a hunting hawk. Godzilla was still as a corpse, minus the constant swaying of his tail, but the MUTO got the feeling he was paying attention to him in more days than one. As he flew, the male’s claws began to glow, the radiation building up within. In a way he hoped would take the atomic reptile by surprise, the MUTO suddenly dove down towards Godzilla.

    And clapped his claws together, triggering the EMP.

    Godzilla, fazed by the sudden attack, did not counter as the parasite landed upon his neck with a screech. Instantly the MUTO noticed that the flesh on Godzilla’s back and neck was far softer than his surrounding skin and began to stab his claws into it in repeated bursts of blood.

    Snow vaporized out of existence as the behemoth’s blood flew into the air. Godzilla had dropped his earlier composure and was now thrashing like a wrangled crocodile, screeching in agony with each strike. Unsatisfied, the male hooked his claws deeper to establish a firm grip on his prey, then lunged down and snapped his mandibles over one of Godzilla’s dorsal plates. The intoxicating taste of radioactive blood and marrow filled the male’s mouth, driving him into a frenzy.

    Shaking his head like a hungry wolf, the MUTO didn’t take long to rip off the protrusion in yet another crimson spray, and Godzilla’s thrashing grew more intense. The parasite lunged down to take another bite, but as he did so he felt something slam hard into his back. The wind temporarily knocked out of him, the male gasped after the hit only to feel yet another strike which made him dizzy. Realizing the attacker was the dinosaur’s oversized tail, the scythe-limbed amphibian flapped his wings and leaped off before the third hit could be dealt.

    But as he tried to veer away, he cried out in indescribable agony when Godzilla sank his crooked teeth into his back leg. The abominable beast ignored the nuclear-rich blood flooding his teeth as he yanked his head to the side, smashing the MUTO against the earth in a spray of snow and ice. Snarling, Godzilla yanked the opposite way, continuing to beat the parasite against the ground like a ragdoll.

    The winged kaiju wailed in distress as the prehistoric reptile savaged his left leg, scraping its jagged teeth against the bone beneath his elephantine skin in sprays of new blood. The male flapped his wings as hard as he could, but it was no use. Godzilla’s jaws were like a bear trap, the wounds getting worse as his grip got tighter.

    A booming cry of rage caused Godzilla’s left eye to look behind him, his phased array radar detecting another intruder. The atomic leviathan instinctively swung his tail, but the jaws of the recovered female MUTO caught it and bit down into the burnt flesh. With a hard yank, the female sent the screeching Godzilla toppling to the ground, releasing his grip on the male.

    The winged parasite panted in exhaustion as he tried to stand, but his wounded limb trembled profusely, and he collapsed on all fours. The female chirped gently as she hooked her smaller set of arms around his shoulders and hoisted him to his feet, occasionally lowering her head under his body to keep him up. The male gazed fondly at his beloved savior, chittering his gratitude to her, who responded in kind by nuzzling his smaller head.

    As the pair took a moment to pause their reunion, they both caught a glimpse of a startling sight.

    Godzilla had his back turned to them.

    And he was walking away.

    The MUTOs bellowed in unison, letting the mutant know they were not finished with him. The female was angrier than ever seeing the abomination flee like a coward when it had so nearly murdered her mate, and such an offense would not go unpunished in her eyes. With a gorilla-like charge, the female circled around the scarred nightmare and stopped to face him a few hundred meters away, blocking his path.

    Godzilla stopped.

    The female lowered her head and charged with all her might, predicting correctly when her enemy swung his tail like last time. Jutting her head up, the MUTO bit into the offending appendage and tossed it groundward, pouncing upon the reptile’s upper torso. Straining with her hind legs while hooking his flesh with her limbs, the female continued to push Godzilla back as he thrashed his head from side to side, screeching aggressively. Godzilla grabbed unto her with his tiny hands in a vain attempt to push her back, his claws only delivering minor scratches to her ebony armor.

    The titans snarled and roared at one another as they struggled, Godzilla slamming his tail into the ground in an attempt to halt the MUTO’s advance. But all this did was enrage the female into lunging forward and biting down on the mutant’s shoulder. A deafening shriek boomed from Godzilla’s muzzle.

    Had the irradiated reptile still possessed eyelids like he once did, he would’ve narrowed them.

    Opening his jaws wide, the cancerous behemoth lunged and bit down as hard as he could upon the MUTO’s neck, a spray of blood bursting from the cruel injury. The predator howled in agony as Godzilla bit down harder, her scythes sinking deep into the mutant’s charred flesh in return.

    Another set of scythed limbs plunged into Godzilla’s unarmored back, eliciting a cry of surprise. The male MUTO let loose a battle cry as he joined his beloved in battle, ignoring his damaged hind limb. Hooking one of his limbs in the roof of Godzilla’s mouth as the reptile screamed in pain, the male brought his other scythe down into the top of the monster king’s head, plunging it through the bone. Agonized cries were heard for miles from the irradiated reptile, birds and other animals sent fleeing as his pitiful screams echoed like a tortured soul in Hell.

    Throwing her head forward, the female tossed Godzilla to the ground with a shriek. The male flapped his wings and veered off to avoid getting crushed by the fallen giant.

    Then, as one, they attacked.

    Roaring in unity, the MUTOs descended on the crippled dinosaur with the ferocity of wild dogs. Raising and throwing their limbs down, the titanic couple skewered the scarred reptile over and over, each stab earning a spray of red and a howl of pain. Again, and again, Godzilla’s body was pierced by a new grisly wound, the predators’ scythes puncturing muscle and bone in horrific displays of prehistoric power. At one point Godzilla snapped his jaws at the male, only for the winged cretin to avoid and the female to yank him away by the roof of his mouth. As the female cut a new laceration through his upper jaw the male flapped high above them both, scythes raised.

    And then he flew downward, claws piercing the monster king’s back with all his might.

    While the angry predators continued to hack away at their downed quarry, their attack slightly slowed when two peculiar sights caught their eyes. First, the saurian’s injures were healing at a rapid pace, even ones that would’ve been fatal for any other lifeform. Second, Godzilla’s back had begun to change color; once a bloody crimson, it had now begun to shift to a more pinkish shade, and brightening further still… … …

    Deep within the wounded behemoth, another phenomenon was beginning to take place. His DNA, which possessed eight times the genetic information of human beings, began to change. Adapting. Evolving.

    Roaring defiantly, Godzilla lashed out with his tail, only for the female MUTO to bite down on it.

    But before she could make another move, the King of the Monsters yanked his tail to the left, sending the eight-legged predator falling to the ground. As the male flew just out of reach of Godzilla’s snapping jaws, both parasites witnessed the effects of the monster’s DNA adaptation beginning to take shape.

    Godzilla stood to his full height, steam billowing off his glowing back as his body adapted. Bone snapped and shifted loudly as the beast’s arms began to shift. Muscle split before regenerating to accommodate with the growing humerus’, threading along as Godzilla’s arms began to stretch. The mutated reptile grunted in pain as the radius and ulnas lengthened, the bones thickened in size, while the claws became sharper and slightly curved, the fingers a bit longer. All the while burnt, exposed muscle regenerated over the bones to add the strength needed to function. Barely any skin formed over the lengthened appendages, leaving musculature and veins still exposed.

    The parasites stepped back, shocked at what they were seeing. Godzilla had actually grown his arms in size in mere seconds, right before their very eyes. Millions of years of generational change, of evolutionary adaptation, all accomplished in ten seconds! What a monster!

    The female MUTO charged from the front, the male from behind, but Godzilla was ready this time. The male prepared for a swing, but instead the evolved beast lifted his tail upwards and brought it down like a club, bashing him to the ground and knocking the air out of his lungs. The female neared, but with his newly grown limbs Godzilla thrust his palms into her shoulders, stopping her short.

    Releasing a dominating roar, Godzilla began to push the female back, digging massive trenches in the snowy earth. The female tried to lash out, but abominable mutation lunged like a viper and sank his ugly teeth into her shoulder. On and on Godzilla pushed and shoved with no hindrance, until finally the warring beasts reached an old landmark that had gone unvisited for more than a year now: Larch Mountain.

    Taking a moment to release his toothy grip, Godzilla reeled back before lunging in and biting down a second time, this time on the MUTO’s neck. The parasite bellowed painfully as the scarred dinosaur shook his head like a frenzied shark, his teeth tearing through the elephantine skin. The female tried to skewer the mutant with her chest set of arms, but Godzilla’s left hand grabbed hold of them, holding them in place. With her free limbs the predator wrung in to stab the saurian in the back, but this did not stop the assault, and the female wailed helplessly as Godzilla repeatedly mauled her neck.

    Larch Mountain, once a tourist attraction revered for its beauty and outstanding view of the five great Cascades, was now a murder scene stained with the blood of an ailing giant. The female’s cries began to weaken, and her struggles dampen as Godzilla still pressed on his savage attack. As the parasite’s limbs began to fail and her bellows softened, the angry reptile bit down harder than ever before, hoisting her body upwards and, turning his body around, tossed her weakened form into the side of the Larch Mountain peak.

    A familiar cry boomed from the side, followed by an electromagnetic wave that washed over the land. Godzilla briefly stopped in his tracks, fazed by the sudden occurrence–and let out a shriek of surprise when the male MUTO slammed into his side, immediately hooking his claws around Godzilla’s neck before yanking them to the side, slashing his throat.

    A screech of pain ripped from the abomination’s jaws, but pain was merely a mild distraction for the nuclear giant.

    Godzilla’s back was now glowing a bright purple, the radiation flowing through his body catching the MUTO’s attention. The male could see the entire process, his senses able to detect occurrences that human beings could not see. And it mesmerized him.

    A fatal mistake.

    By the time the male recognized the extreme buildup in energy, it was too late; a volley of violet laser beams erupted point blank upon him. The male barely had any time to scream as the volley cut into his flesh like a dozen hell-forged knives through melted butter. With one swinging motion of his back, Godzilla sliced the beams to the left, one of the lasers swinging clean through his neck.

    The male’s cry was cut short as the atomic volley steered away, his head no longer a part of his body. As the once mighty predator fell, so did his body parts. The wing, the limbs, the torso, all of it. One by one, the lacerated remains crashed to the snowy earth, ending with the disembodied skull, its light still glowing and its jaw still twitching from the reactions of a brain that didn’t know it was dead yet.

    Then the light faded, and the jaws fell limp, never to move again.

    Godzilla’s back was still glowing, his body facing towards the only living opponent left: the female MUTO, who was too weak to even acknowledge the demise of her mate. Nuclear-rich blood still flowing from her savaged neck, the wounded colossus strained weakly to push herself to her feet, pitiful wails exhaling from her throat.

    Godzilla, his head facing the ground, opened his mouth, distending his jaws like a snake, while his throat began to glow a ghostly purple… … …

    A shockwave burst of glowing, violet gas exploded from the saurian’s mouth, flowing in a continuous wave that pushed the MUTO to the ground. But unfortunately for the parasite, that would not be the worst of it. An orange flash sparked in the back of Godzilla’s throat… … …

    … … …and the stream of gas combusted, thus a stream of atomic fire was born.

    The female bemoaned as the superheated flames washed over her, burning her ebony skin to the bone in seconds. Burnt flesh fell off in strings of glowing embers, a putrid odor permeating the air as the waves of ionized gas spread out with horrific speed, wiping out entire sections of forest in the blink of an eye. Snow evaporated, trees burned to the core, and the nuclear firestorm continued to eat away at the MUTO’s flesh. Muscle and skin withered away and vaporized, bone was charred black, and the female MUTO fought with every fiber of her being merely to stay awake.

    Suddenly, Godzilla’s flames began to condense and narrow, their color changing from orange to a bright purple that matched the glow of his dorsal spines. As the MUTO watched, the fire blast transformed into a thin purple beam of atomic photons, much like the ones the beast had launched from its back to slay her mate moments earlier.

    The MUTO was helpless as the radioactive abomination lifted his head to her level, the condensed atomic ray welding effortlessly through her chest like a supersized blowtorch. Before she knew it, the beam pierced through her heart and out her body, cutting a deep hole through Larch Mountain and exiting out the other end. With all the air left in her system she cried out in loss, now hoping more than anything that she would be with her mate soon. Her vision beginning to go dark and her burnt muscles giving out for the last time, her wish was granted as with a final wail, the parasite expired, falling to the burning earth and disappearing beneath the fires of Godzilla’s rage.

    Rearing his head skyward, Godzilla continued to spew his atomic beam into the snowy heavens, minute by minute expending all his excess nuclear energy. No longer could he control the flow, he was stuck letting loose the energy within. Now, his only option was to let it all out until he was spent.

    As minutes continued to pass, Godzilla’s heat ray began to weaken in power, growing thinner and thinner, changing color to orange, then shrinking in size… … …until finally, it dissipated in a puff of flames.

    An exhausted roar left the giant’s throat as his head began to hang low, the crimson glow in his scars beginning to dim. His energy was completely spent, and his body was beginning to shut down. Turning around, the King of the Monsters barely covered fifty meters before finally a mix of exhaustion and internal temperature finally overtook him. His fanged skull finally dropping and the glow fading from his body, Godzilla froze in place. For once, Godzilla was greeted by a warm presence that did not intend him harm, nor bring more pain into his life. It was the soothing feeling of his muscles relaxing, his pain ebbing away like an afterthought, and his mind going to the realm of dreams.

    It was the company of sleep, and Godzilla embraced it welcomingly. Eventually he would reawaken, and he would continue to wander about this cruel, yet beautiful world while he continued about his grueling battle for survival, but for now the irradiated colossus put those thoughts into the back of his dormant mind. For now, he would sleep.

    His sole gateway to peace.

    Winner: Godzilla (Reiwa)

    K.W.C. Kaiju War Chronicles

    K.W.C. // July 15, 2022
  • Author: Joshua Strittmatter | Banner: Matthew Williams

    Rain fell in foggy sheets upon the Chiyoda Ward in Central Tokyo.

    It was the beginning of Autumn; the air had turned cold and crisp. The clouds hung in an overcast blanket across the sky, a gentle cross between white and timber gray that wept their millions of watery tears upon the reaches of Japan. Like a downpour of mist, the sprinkling particles of water fell to the ground thousands of meters below, draping the city in a transparent quilt of H2O. But as beautiful as the sight was to behold, the massive outline that loomed somewhat obscured within it was anything but. For within this quilted downpour of water vapor, a most ominous visage loomed tall like an omen of death.

    In the middle of the once-great city, a giant stood. An icon of human sin; reptilian in shape but abominable in appearance. Frozen in place, having never moved in years. Posed with gaping jaws and outstretched small arms, it towered menacingly over the earth like a colossal, monstrous stone gargoyle. A gigantic tail twisted behind it, suspended in the air in the creature’s last moments of consciousness before its defeat. Spinal protrusions weaved in the shape of maple leaves lined the beast’s back in a triple row, like a devilish crown of cancerous bone; a fitting attribute to the monster’s bumpy, scarred skin.

    Occasionally, a citizen or two would look out towards the long-damaged Chiyoda Ward and glimpse upon the horrific beast, and even in its unconscious state, the very outline of the creature sent shivers of dread through them. Memories of a nation crumbling, a city engulfed in a sea of fire, hospitals overflowing and the screams of the dying and mourning would permeate their minds before they then moved on with their daily lives, passing the frozen monolith by to leave it behind them for the day. Their instincts compelled them to worry constantly, but their memories told them otherwise. After all, what was there to worry about?

    Godzilla was defeated.

    And he wasn’t getting back out.

    *****

    The heavens began to shift.

    It was an occurrence entirely off-prediction. An event that hadn’t been scheduled. The clouds above were beginning to build considerably, their once mild timber beginning to deepen into an ugly, foreboding gray. Flashes of lightning began to silently streak through the engorging thunderclouds, the quaking rumble of thunder following suit. It was as if, for whatever reason, the sky had suddenly come to with a mind and will of its own. As if Mother Nature was about to throw a temper tantrum out of nowhere, for reasons entirely beyond one’s comprehension. And the storm clouds weren’t just dark, they were huge. It wasn’t merely Tokyo that the clouds covered up; from Fukushima all the way to the city of Osaka, the storm clouds cast their hardening rain over the island of Japan. The storm began to worsen; no longer was it merely a falling sheet of tiny water sprinkles. All where the clouds enshrouded, a colossal microburst occurred out of nowhere, a massive downpour of raindrops the size of a man’s thumb showering upon the dumbfounded and frightened individuals present to bear witness to the rare phenomenon.

    It was not the only.

    As streaks of lightning began to dance across the clouds, the awestruck inhabitants of Japan were so taken aback by what they were witnessing that not a single one paid any mind to the changes being made to an entity they thought forever sealed away–at least, until a sound they wanted to hear less than anything else reached their ears.

    … … …CRACK!

    *****

    The extremity–the irregularity of the weather was all that was needed to cause a reaction.

    A crimson shade began to light up within the gaping scars that adorned Godzilla’s body; the nuclear fission that energized the creature’s blood, which had been frozen for years, re-igniting at long last. The ice encasing the abominable reptile began to melt as heat built up within its gigantic body, the creature’s eyes showing their pupils and irises through the melting water. The same blood-red hue from the beast’s scars began to faintly radiate from within its dorsal plates, a low hum subsequently beginning to drone from the pits of its huge body. Mounds upon mounds of steam rose from Godzilla as all water that touched the giant animal evaporated with the already intensifying heat.

    The frozen being suddenly echoed a quaking rumble as its right arm twitched, breaking off what little chunks of ice remained. The glow of its nuclear hemoglobin was at full intensity, the superheated flow up and running again. The world looked upon the scene thought only to exist in their worst nightmares: Godzilla was no longer still. Before the very eyes of Tokyo’s terrified citizens, the mutated abomination was actually moving.

    The weight of four years’ worth of sleep crashed down upon the newly awakened saurian, who fell forward to bend over with an alligator-like bellow. For a time, the giant reptile remained hunched over in exhaustion, his beady eyes staring off blankly at nothing in particular. Godzilla held motionless, his expressionless face concealing the fatigue that plagued his 92,000 metric-ton body, while rain continued to harmlessly bombard his glowing back only to evaporate from the burning heat. His throat bobbed ever-so slightly in an almost lizard-like fashion as he rested, instinctively recognizing the need to regain his sapped strength. He was free of his hibernation-induced prison at last, but his body was taxed with enervation and hunger, even with the energy the abnormal freak storm had given him.

    Water and air were steadily being absorbed into his system and converted into the radioactive isotope he relied upon, but that wasn’t enough. Much of the radioactive waste running through his system was old, very old; he wasn’t just hungry, he was starving. He needed a meal, and he’d rather get it sooner rather than later. Alluring as the temptation of exhaustion was to his tired body, Godzilla’s roaring hunger instincts overcame it in the end. With a tired push, the evolved mutant sluggishly stood back to his full towering height. A low boom rumbled from his jaws as he turned about, his nostrils and internal radar picking up the scent of the very thing his body needed right now, the only meal that could re-energize him from his tired state: nuclear energy. There was a power plant just southeast of where he was standing.

    And so that was the course he was going to take… … …

    But the fates were as cruel upon awakening as they were back before this land’s inhabitants imprisoned him. Lightning began to flash again and again amidst the roaring downpour; before he had taken his fifth step, Godzilla suddenly stopped. His phased array radar had picked up a presence–and from what his senses told him, it was a living being. The Incarnation of God slowly turned about as the lightning flashes became larger and brighter, before a bellowing roar made his head tilt quickly up. That roar wasn’t from the thunder… … …

    Another flash of lightning–and a creature clad in white-skinned armor descended forth from the heavens. Despite their tiny size in contrast to his skull, Godzilla’s eyes packed vision that would make even the sharpest birds of prey jealous. So, even from a considerable distance, he could see and make out every detail with this strange beast just fine. The airborne creature resembled some kind of mammalian carnivore, akin to a bear or wolf, but it seemingly lacked fur. Two horn-like tusks jutted out from the sides of its head, while two pointed protrusions stuck out of its back. Its head seemed adorned with a crown of spines, while its tail ended in a golden trident-like appendage. Godzilla’s expressionless face could not conceal the shock he felt as he stared at the oncoming creature; the nuclear reptile had never seen anything like it.

    With another great roar, Balkzardan descended upon the earth at last, the Chiyoda Ward trembling from his mighty paws touching down upon the earth. The electrical deity glared at the radioactive powerhouse, contempt burning behind his blue eyes as he pawed the ground. Out of all humankind’s sins and mistakes brought upon the face of the earth, there had been none quite as serious of a threat as this one. Godzilla was a walking nuclear disaster, a living radioactive plague that possessed truly limitless potential. An ever-evolving catastrophe that was constantly on the verge of becoming an unstoppable juggernaut of incomparable power. It was the greatest threat to the balance and well-being of Mother Nature in existence, a biological tumor given physical form. A stain upon the planet that had to be erased before it escalated any further. Pawing the ground once more, Balkzardan roared as he straightened his body into an attack position, and began to hunt.

    Godzilla slowly gaped his jaws, bellowing like a giant alligator as he took a step back, straightening his monolithic body in a defensive posture. His tail held stiffly upwards in an arc, like a frightened cat. The mutated intermediary reptile stood his ground in the face of a clear threat, bellowing a second time to make his warning clear:

    Stay away!

    As lightning continued to dance about through the sky like colossal spirits and thunder rumbling ominously behind each strike, the two colossi stood facing one another, one preparing to judge exactly when to make its move while the other waiting for the inevitable attack.

    Balkzardan suddenly straightened his posture and took a quick step forward, eliciting a deep growl from Godzilla. Before the nuclear giant could react any further, the thunder deity opened its toothed jaws and suddenly fired off a burst of electrical beams from its face! The Tornado Bolt struck Godzilla in the stomach, catching the atomic reptile by complete surprise. Throwing his head back, Godzilla roared in pain as he stumbled away, the divine bolts of electricity tearing into his scarred flesh.

    Two bolts of lightning suddenly arced down from the sky, striking the horned protrusions on Balkzardan’s back. Godzilla, still recovering from the guardian’s surprise attack, barely had time to react before chalk white thunder god suddenly rushed him, his body alight with crackling electricity. Seizing his chance, the mammalian deity at last charged the evolved creature with the full furious might of the Spark Dash. Balkzardan slammed into the torso of the abominal beast, transferring all the stored power through his bodily conduction and electrocuting Godzilla on the spot. The burned behemoth cried out in anguish, which only heightened in pitch when Balkzardan slashed his claws across his chest. Godzilla’s skin was tough, but the deity’s claws still managed to draw a few drops of its radioactive blood.

    Godzilla snapped forward with jaws agape, but they closed on nothing but empty air as Balkzardan dashed to the left. Turning about unusually quickly, the towering god of destruction tried to follow along as the Lightning Monster ran in behind him with speeds a normal creature shouldn’t be capable of. Before Godzilla could figure out a way to counteract his advancement, Balkzardan was on him in the blink of an eye. The bringer of storms pounced upon his back with enough force to send Godzilla toppling forward to the ground. A resounding BOOM! echoed across the reaches of Tokyo as 92,000 metric-ton bulk collided with the earth, a roar of pain echoing from his toothed jaws as Balkzardan slammed upon his neck with a clawed paw. Growling like a supersized wolf, the lightning deity lunged forward and sank his teeth deep into the flesh of Godzilla’s neck, drawing more spurts of atomic blood from the saurian.

    But, due to the nuclear fission running through it, the blood was hot and boiling to the electric guardian, so he was forced to relinquish his grasp on his reptilian quarry–an opportunity Godzilla took without hesitation.

    The behemoth’s massive tail flung with unexpected speed, smacking the deity with painful force and sending him flying off like a pinball. 55,000 metric-tons of monolithic bulk hit the ground with a loud CRASH! while Godzilla set to slamming his tail against the earth, gradually pushing himself off the ground to stand back to his full height.

    Balkzardan returned to his feet even quicker, and before Godzilla could turn to face him, he was running at lightning speeds around him. With his lithe tail, the atomic menace lashed out once more, but the Lightning Monster ducked under the lengthy appendage before it could strike him. Then, without warning, Balkzardan straightened out and fired yet another Tornado Bolt that struck Godzilla in the back. The divine electricity tearing into the softer musculature, the feral mutation shrieked in agony as a column of nuclear blood geysered forth from the injury, pieces of flesh accompanying it. The crimson haze fell to the ground below while Godzilla began to turn around, keeping his most vulnerable spot out of harm’s reach.

    Balkzardan bellowed thunderously as he charged the towering monolith, moving in what almost seemed like a blur. The God Incarnate roared as he collided with his upper torso, slamming his paws upon his chest like clawed jackhammers. The electric guardian snarled and lunged to clamp his jaws upon the trunk-like throat, all the while his claws curved forward to sink beneath the flesh on his torso. Godzilla hissed animalistically and tried to snap and bite at his quadrupedal attacker, but Balkzardan jutted himself up, forcing Godzilla’s head upwards along with him. The irradiated reptile snapped on nothing but thin air, all the while the mythic beast began to shake his head like an angry bear, cutting swaths of bleeding gaps in Godzilla’s throat. The burn of his nuclear blood singed at Balkzardan’s teeth, but the lightning deity ignored it for the time being as he continued trying to rip out the saurian’s neck.

    Godzilla suddenly lashed out with a leg, slamming his knee into Balkzardan’s gut and sending him recoiling back with a boom of pain. Roaring powerfully as lightning flashed in the sky, Godzilla pulled his body back, rearing his tail before then swinging it forward with speed that seemed to belie his gigantic build. The serpentine appendage slammed the Lightning Monster at full painful force with an organic CRACK! just as loud as the thunder that rolled in the sky, sending Balkzardan sprawling on his back.

    Godzilla roared again, this time in pain as his wounds began the process of rapidly stitching themselves back together. A loud BOOM! detonated through the air as Godzilla took a step, shaking the very crust of the planet. But rather than a step towards the floored deity, the evolved anomaly instead began to turn about face, putting his plated back to Balkzardan and beginning to stomp away. Godzilla wasn’t in the mood for this, nor did he have time; he had more important things to attend to at the moment. His hungry body screamed for sustenance that could only be sated through nuclear energy, and the trace of the meal he craved was strong in his senses. Normally Godzilla walked slower, more sluggishly than this, but this time he was powering his legs forward to walk a little faster. Times were a little more urgent right now, and his instincts told him to move fast. The flow of rain and the absorption of water into his body was still taking its sweet time to recharge him–far too slowly for the circumstances. He couldn’t just stay idle here; after what he had been through the previous time, this place was far too dangerous for that.

    Ignoring his opponent, he kept on walking.

    After taking a full minute to regain the wind knocked out of him, Balkzardan groaned in horrible pain as he managed to flip himself onto his stomach, slowly crawling about to face his opponent–and got an unexpected sight before his blue eyes. The mutated anomaly known as Godzilla was walking away! Ignoring him, even! The electrical deity bellowed mightily as he began to stand back to his feet, challenging Godzilla to come at him. But the mixotrophic reptile continued to lumber away, not even stopping or so much as looking back. As if he simply refused to acknowledge his presence.

    Balkzardan crept low to the ground, hunched in a stalking position like a giant black leopard; his blue eyes fixed on the lumbering reptile. Steadily he followed his saurian opponent, creeping towards him without making a sound. The tactic seemed to be working, Godzilla didn’t seem to notice the Lightning Monster was following his trail. Balkzardan made certain to time each of his steps with those of Godzilla, matching the atomic reptile’s pace so that he was all but imperceptible.

    Only when he was midway to the oblivious saurian, only when he was perfectly faced towards his exposed weak spot, did he make his move.

    Rather than spring forward to use a physical means of attack, Balkzardan suddenly fired a Tornado Bolt from between his tusks that struck Godzilla in the back, causing the apex of evolution to double over with a howl of pain. Two bolts of lightning rained down from the sky, striking Balkzardan and pleasantly electrocuting him, refilling him with the energy he needed. Bellowing, the electric deity summoned the charged energy given to him and channeled it into one of his most versatile powers, and before long a blue shield of electrical energy formed around his body like a bubble. Pawing the ground, Balkzardan ran forward like an oversized cheetah, just as Godzilla whipped his tail to intercept him.

    The S-Thunder electrocuted the tail upon its mere touch while Balkzardan slammed head-on into Godzilla’s back.

    A powerful shock of lightning rippled through the saurian’s scarred body, eliciting a screeching howl that threatened to split the heavens themselves as he fell on his stomach once more, spasming in pain while a few of his dorsal plates flew into the air, no longer a part of his body. Static crackled all over the mixotrophic reptile’s body, which only worsened when Balkzardan landed hard upon his back with all four paws; the lightning guardian slamming a paw down upon his head before firing another Tornado Bolt into the back of his neck. But despite the horrible agony he was enduring, Godzilla was only down–not out.

    His tail swung once more, but this time despite the pain it endured Godzilla powered through it. The blow once again was enough to knock the deity off his body, but unlike before, Balkzardan landed on his feet rather than his back.

    Smashing his tail against the ground, Godzilla began to push himself back to his feet as his injuries began to heal once more… … … before a loud series of organic cracks began to ring in the air. But they were not the cracks of thunder. The flesh on Godzilla’s back was beginning to alter; a burnt layer of scarred skin beginning to build from the edges and form over the exposed musculature on his back and the back of his neck. At the same time, small edges of ivory white crept around into existence on Godzilla’s dorsal plates. In less than twelve seconds, the new layer of skin had entirely covered up the once-exposed muscles on his back, neck, and the entire length of his tail. An angry roar thundered from the gaping jaws of the atomic beast as he finished his evolution, warning the Lightning Monster to stay away and not come any closer.

    A warning Balkzardan didn’t accept kindly.

    Calling down two arcs of lightning to charge himself up, the lightning deity rushed forward, body aglow with electricity as he performed another Spark Dash. Slamming into Godzilla’s belly, he sent the evolutionary juggernaut stumbling back with a roar, but rather than pain, it seemed more out of surprise than anything else. When Balkzardan backed up to get a distance between him and his foe, he was surprised at what he saw: Godzilla standing at a normal composure, electricity crackling harmlessly around his body before fading.

    His body sparking to life, Balkzardan fired forth another Tornado Bolt that struck the irradiated abomination in the chest. Godzilla roared as he dug his feet into the ground, keeping himself steady as the beam of electricity tried to topple him off his feet–and when Balkzardan pulled a cease fire, Godzilla still remained standing, his minor wound beginning to rapidly heal. Once more, after-static energy sparked around his body before fading away, as if his body had adapted some kind of defense mechanism against the electrical properties.

    Balkzardan lunged to the right, running at his cheetah-like speeds as he circled around Godzilla. The nuclear menace bellowed a menacing warning, which was turned into a loud roar when Balkzardan fired a Tornado Bolt that seared into his backside. But this time, the damage was far less severe than it had been prior, and what injuries were created healed in seconds. The mutated creature had learned from its weakness in the past encounter and had now changed the circumstances in its favor by erasing said weak point.

    Balkzardan began to charge just as Godzilla turned his body halfway to meet him. Anticipating the attack, Godzilla powered his entire upper body into a swing and rammed it against Balkzardan just as he neared, sending him reeling with a howl of pain. Not wasting the given opportunity, Godzilla reared back before swinging his tail, smacking the electric deity with all its devastating force and sending him flying through a couple of buildings.

    A violet glow began to encompass Godzilla’s once-crimson dorsal plates. Brighter and brighter it grew, like a biological lantern, until it was shining with an intensity to rival the rays of the sun. Rain evaporated into steam before even touching it as Godzilla reared back silently; his tooth-filled jaws opening wide and his lower jaw splitting in half like a snake, all the while the same purple light shone within the back of his throat. Balkzardan roared as he finally burst free of the rubble that buried him, only for his eyes to widen upon seeing the hauntingly beautiful glow that enveloped Godzilla’s massive form.

    The God Incarnate let loose his most formidable weapon.

    A thin, amethyst beam of pure concentrated nuclear photons erupted forth from the dinosaurian powerhouse’s fanged jaws. Balkzardan reacted just in time, calling upon his breakneck speeds to run out of the heat ray’s path while it proceeded to vaporize the rubble he had been buried under into melted nickel. Turning about, Godzilla followed the mammalian deity, who continued to run about in circles as he fought with every fiber of his being to avoid being struck with such a deadly weapon; the same weapon that had decimated such a massive portion of Japan in less than three minutes. Wherever the atomic ray struck, steel and concrete alike was outright vaporized and melted into a trench of radioactive lava. Balkzardan was still avoiding the horrible blast, but he could not keep up this tactic permanently. At some point, he would run out of steam.

    He could only hope his foe would run out of firepower long before he did his stamina.

    As he ran, however, Balkzardan failed to notice the glow along Godzilla’s tail beginning to shine more brightly, all the while the Incarnation of God continued trying to blast him with his radioactive heat ray. A change the lightning guardian noticed too late when a second atomic ray lunged forth from the meaty tip of the abomination’s tail–and unlike its oral predecessor, this one struck home.

    The atomic ray burned a gaping hole straight through Balkzardan’s hip, causing him to stumble out of control and crash to the ground with a terrible howl of agony. He tried to move, but with a sudden blast of more searing agony he collapsed back to the floor with a terrible realization: his entire lower body had been disabled from the strike. Godzilla’s atomic ray hadn’t just burned a hole straight through his body, the incredible heat as well as the unbelievable output of energy contained to such a thin blast had utterly burned and crippled his bones and organs past his hips. His strongest appendages were entirely disabled. He was handicapped.

    He wouldn’t be getting up.

    To his shock, however, Godzilla didn’t continue trying to blast him into oblivion, nor did he charge forward to crush or maul him to death. In a moment that baffled the lightning god, the unnatural deity instead boomed a low rumble before turning about, shaking the earth with his colossal footsteps as he walked away.

    Godzilla’s movements were a great deal more sluggish this time around. Anger and frustration built up within him, begging to be let loose, but in the end the tumorous reptile listened to his instincts once more. And his instincts told him to keep moving and find a radioactive meal. The source of the energy he craved was not too far away, and his persistent opponent was entirely crippled beyond the point of pursuing him ever again. There was no further need for conflict; as of right now, all that mattered was getting the energy required to sustain the nuclear hemoglobin flowing throughout his gigantic body.

    The God Incarnate kept walking, trying his best to power forth his leg muscles to move as fast as he could. But pain and fatigue scourged his every movement. Godzilla internally growled as he fought his exhausting battle. Everything was a struggle; everything was a test that pushed him to his limits. Everything was an arc of pain and torture as life seemed to do more than test him. The very world itself seemed to loathe him simply for existing, and even his primitive, animalistic mind was no stranger to the sorrowful rage to that realization. He was lost in a world that threw unnatural adversary after adversary, sprung death trap after death trap and tried his patience and tolerance more and more and more until he just couldn’t take it anymore… … …

    He was hungry.

    He had to keep fighting.

    The pain, it hurt so much.

    Keep fighting, his instincts kept screaming.

    He had to keep surviving.

    … … …he was so tired… … …

    A building crumpled to worthless rubble under the next step of Godzilla’s massive heel, but what lay in his path sent a wave of the closest possible concept his mind could comprehend as relief through him. The nuclear power plant, brimming with radioactive energy that he desired so. At last, Godzilla had reached his goal. Perhaps, for once, fate was beginning to take a turn in a different direction for him. Maybe luck was beginning to shine on him as of this moment–

    Godzilla suddenly stopped moving, his phased array radar picking up a rapidly approaching object. Silently, yet faster than an F-22 Raptor, it was rocketing towards him. The irradiated prehistoric reptile reacted instantly, his survival instincts banishing all thought aside to kick immediately into gear. A purple glow quickly encompassed his dorsal plates, but this time he carried on with a different tactic.

    Before Balkzardan, who was literally flying towards the abominable saurian like an organic fighter jet, could land upon his target, Godzilla fired. The Lightning Monster didn’t even have time to comprehend the concept of utter shock when a torrent of atomic heat rays, twenty-four in total, sprung forth from Godzilla’s back point-blank upon him. His armor crumpled instantly, his flesh melted and vaporized at every seam where the beams of pure atomic energy scorched him. Internal organs were superheated and melted to the core, muscles ignited like butter in a furnace and bones charred to the marrow before Godzilla suddenly swerved to the right with a roar of rage.

    The electric deity was sliced apart in an instant, falling to the ground as dismembered chunks of cooked flesh that then burst upon contact with the ground. Turning about, Godzilla bellowed before firing a radiation heat ray that scorched clear through Balkzardan’s decapitated skull, causing it to ignite orange with molten heat before he suddenly cut off his attack. Trudging over to where it lay, Godzilla angrily lifted a foot before bringing it down, crushing the molten head of his fallen adversary before rearing back his head and letting loose a city-wide roar.

    The thunderstorm in the heavens ceased as the microburst came to a sudden end, and within moments it was merely sprinkling again all across Tokyo. The ugly storm clouds that once encompassed so much of the mainland suddenly began to dampen and recede away, fleeing at the demise of their thunderous lord. But such changes were irrelevant to Godzilla, who utterly and completely ignored just about anything to do with his fallen adversary the moment he confirmed his death. He didn’t revel in victory, nor did he continue to vaporize its remains or even scream his frustrations to the world; he near-instantly turned about and lumbered towards the one and only priority on his wild mind.

    Rearing down and tearing off the top of the plant with a snap of his toothy jaws, the nuclear reptile reached into the billowing pillars of toxic steam and fumes, obscuring his view from all who watched him. But before long a loud, metallic CLANG! echoed from within the vaporous uproar before Godzilla then rose out of it–and held the nuclear reactor in his claws.

    Long tears rendered through the object’s metallic hull, exposing its contents. Godzilla’s claws had sunken deep within, buried inside the object as the starving saurian immediately set to gorging himself on its precious energy. Radioactive power flowed through his fingers and into his body as his dorsal plates began to flicker and brighten, their color changing from red to a bright azure blue as Godzilla absorbed the nuclear energy stored within; feeding on the radioactive heart of the plant without laying so much as a tooth on it. Standing still like a gigantic bipedal crocodile, the glow of his dorsal plates brighter than ever, the mixotrophic reptile absorbed every last drop of radiation within the reactor until it had been sucked dry.

    Eventually, the glow of his spines faded back to their usual blood red hue, and the reactor he held was now nothing more than an empty shell of rended metal. His strength rejuvenated at long last, Godzilla dropped the useless reactor to the ground with a loud CRASH! before turning away. His back to the city, the evolved creature began to walk south, his instincts driving him towards the one place that he knew better than any other, a place where no malevolent eyes could ever follow him:

    The sea.

    With echoing footsteps Godzilla finally began to take his leave; yearning to be, more than anything, one with the home he had missed so much. Ignoring everything in his way, the irradiated reptile lumbered through the sprinkling rain and towards the great blue sea–entirely unaware that the world that watched him had just proclaimed him with a new title, one that would spread like wildfire all across the planet. He had been given many names in the past; a God Incarnate, Incarnation of God, a Perfect Organism Surpassing Man. But today, all would be considered mere secondary descriptions upon the confirmation of the title that now reigned supreme as the #1 headline on nearly all news broadcasts.

    Godzilla.

    King of the Monsters.

    Winner: Godzilla (Reiwa)

    K.W.C. Kaiju War Chronicles

    K.W.C. // July 9, 2022
  • Released as a Valentine’s day exclusive, this now out of print hot sauce by Jade City Foods is devoted to Biollante from the 1989 film. In a bit of creativity, the hot sauce syncs up very well with the character, actually featuring rose petals among the ingredients. This, combined with red bell peppers, give the sauce a fitting red tint. Meanwhile, the heat from the sauce comes from good old habanero chilis.

    Now this review is tardy, very tardy. I was given this hot sauce as a gift from my best friend months ago, and wanted to do a few taste tests before giving my thoughts. Well a few taste tests turned into months, and here we are with this hot sauce now long unavailable. Regardless, let’s cover the heat, taste and overall thoughts of this sauce.

    (more…)

    Kaiju Kuisine // July 7, 2022
  • When Shin Godzilla (2016) was released, no one could have guessed what an enormous impact the film would have upon Godzilla fandom, lore, and cinema. It would be hard to pinpoint another single Godzilla film that has been as influential without stepping back into the Showa era. Even then, given that Shin Godzilla achieved widespread critical acclaim, up to and including receiving SEVEN awards from the Japanese academy award equivalent Japan Academy Prize, including Picture of the Year, Director of the Year, lighting, editing, and more, it’s safe to say that no other Godzilla film has been celebrated quite like this one has, with even the lauded original soundly trashed by many when it was originally released. At the very least, however any individual might personally feel about the film, Shin Godzilla has been enormously successful and influential. The follow up (if we don’t count Shin Evangelion), Shin Ultraman, thus had a lot to live up to. Directed this time again by Shinji Higuchi, with former co-director Hideaki Anno of Neon Genesis Evangelion fame handling writing duties, Shin Ultraman went through the pandemic churn-wheel of delays before finally releasing to financial success and celebration May 13th in Japan. The movie is a work of enormous affection for the source material—but arguably buckles under the weight of the expectations, while nevertheless maintaining a sense of joy riddled with irritating flaws.

    (more…)

    Movie Reviews // July 4, 2022
  • As we did in 2021, I sit down to do some quick miniature reviews for a few films I saw in Japanese theaters. In this case, the three movies actually came out last year in Japan. Furthermore, this batch is all Anime. The titles are: Belle (2021), My Hero Academia: World Heroes Mission (2021), along with Earwig and the Witch (2020). The last entry has a minor asterisk as even though the movie was released in 2020 worldwide, Toho didn’t distribute it to theaters in Japan until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    (more…)

    Movie Reviews // June 28, 2022
  • Author: Vincent Rodger |  Banner: Andrew Sudomerski

    MM-88.

    A man-made virus that had eradicated ninety percent of life on the planet. Humans, animals, and Titans alike fell to the Frankenstein-esque concoction of a disease. It spread fast across the world, turning our once green planet into a mass graveyard overnight. The cities reeked of death and decay, no sound ever heard aside from the passing wind.

    Some, however, were lucky. Those that lived in cold places such as Antarctica were unaffected by the plague. The same went for the Titans that roamed the Hollow Earth.

    One year had passed since the virus spread like wildfire, and how unfortunate it would be that humanity was once again on the brink of extinction.

    Below the ice’s surface laid an ancient Titan, one of the gods of old. Resting, waiting for his time to restore balance to a chaotic world. His icy domain shook as atomic bombs crashed into the glacier, radiation coursing through the ice in an instant. The power of the atom flowed through the ancient Titan, and for the first time in over twenty-nine years, his eyes opened.

    His scales and eyes flashed blue before returning to their natural color.

    The Titan shook his head back and forth in the water, trying to make sense of the surge of power. What happened while he slept? How come he could barely sense any life signs? The leviathan began to swim up, breaking apart ice as his head ripped through the frozen water before climbing to his feet. He could feel the vast amounts of radiation that surrounded him. The Titan walked forward, cracking ice underneath his weight. He would need to find out why this was all happening, though he had witnessed countless extinction events, this may be the worst he had seen.

    -China-

    A song played through the deep jungles of China, the melody echoing throughout the world. The Queen of the Monsters cried out for help, hoping that someone would hear her plea. Many had believed that the world had died that fateful day, but she could sense life. Sprinkles of a rebirth laying their foundation in the small corner of the world.

    She listened carefully, hoping that she would get any response. Seconds turned to minutes, but to her, it felt like eons until the cries of Titans filled her eardrums. She heard the cries of allies of old and a horde of death, each one crying out with murderous intent. A chill went down her abdomen; the Queen had heard a cry similar to these thousands of years ago. The city of Atlantis had fallen to these creatures, their last defender lost beneath the waves.

    The insect goddess opened her wings before taking to the skies, she would need to meet up with the other Titans, what little remained of life needed to continue.

    -Washington D.C.-

    Dr. Shuzo Yoshizumi stumbled out of the White House. He had failed to stop the nukes. The scientist only hoped that the woman and child he cared for were still alive. He walked around the dead city, looking for any food or water leftover in stores. He couldn’t hunt due to the virus, so this was his only hope of not starving to death. The man walked down the streets of D.C., looking for anything even resembling a store…

    The earth began to shake. The good doctor was knocked to the ground as what appeared to be pillars burst from the ruins. The scientist covered his face as rubble fell from the sky, crawling backward as a massive form began to take shape. Shuzo could barely believe his own eyes. It was a gigantic animal. A god of old, she had been written about in “Homer’s Odyssey,” an ancient Titan, Scylla, had made her return.

    Shuzo began to panic. He had never heard of a creature of this size, he could only fathom the power she had. “Impossible…”

    Scylla began to move through the city, she could sense the amount of dead across the planet, and it was her duty to decompose the dead. Titans had fallen just the same as the rest of life, like the petals of a flower. Their size and strength were no match for this disease. Scylla pondered if she would die of exposure, but she quickly focused on her journey; if such thoughts distracted her, she would never reach her destination.

    Shuzo looked in a mix of awe and fear as Scylla marched onward, pondering as his curiosity took over. He had witnessed this beast emerge from the earth, was it possible that some of the earthquakes he picked up as a researcher were these gigantic monsters? He began to take a deep breath, trying to calm himself down from his panic attack, his body shaking as he attempted to focus. He slowly stood up, shaking the entire way, watching as Scylla began to disappear from view.

    The man began to think. Maybe he could study these beasts while he made his way to where they evacuated those at the Antarctica base, giving him something to do while he made the long journey. He began to run, though he had no chance of catching up with Scylla on foot, he could follow her tracks. Just as life seemed meaningless, he had not two, but three reasons for living.

    ***

    -Odo Island-

    The water rose across the bay, crushing buildings underneath its immense weight. The mighty Titan placed one foot in front of the other and began to march across the small island, looking for any humans. The sound of the waves and passing wind were the only things the mighty Titan could hear. No animals… No humans. He began to believe his search was to no avail; all he could sense was death. If humans were here, they would have come out of their homes, he would have heard cheers or screams, but he heard nothing.

    The alpha’s heart began to sink. He had a particular fondness for humans. Even though they were destructive, they had soul and spirit. The Titan released a roar of dejection and rage across the heavens, for it was the only way he could mourn for humanity…

    Suddenly he heard cries from his fellow Titans. He was not alone. He turned towards the source and spotted three. The mighty Behemoth, the gentle Mothra, and the ruthless Battra. When they had awakened, they began their search for life just as Godzilla had, but unlike their alpha, they had found the foundations of a rebirth. Mothra cried out to her king, trying to tell him of their discovery when his scales once again flickered blue.

    They all stopped in place as they made landfall, each sensing the amount of raw energy that was stored inside of their king. It was like he was a living bomb.

    Godzilla stood confused as to why their body language began to change to a more hostile posture. He gave out a soft roar, asking his subjects what the meaning of this was. Mothra shrieked at the monster king, his heart sinking even more. He was a danger to all life. The atomic energy had been tunneling through his veins, building up to that of a living atom bomb. He looked at the three, knowing what was going to happen next. They would protect what remained of life to their dying breath, but just like that small pinch of life, he was alive. Did he have no right to live?

    The monster king let out a soft, mournful roar at the triad. He would never have thought it would come to this, the ones he cared for turning on him when he needed them the most. Mothra attempted to let out a response, only for Battra to charge at the alpha, discharging pillars of purple light at the once crowned “King of the Monsters.” Godzilla roared in pain as he was pushed back by the erupting blasts of explosive rage.

    With a snort, the dark moth was due for recompense; his spines illuminated once more, atomic energy quickly climbing up to his throat before firing his nuclear blast at the god of destruction. Battra cried as the blue flames bathed his armored hide, pushing him back as the alpha rose again to his feet. He was quicker than ever before; the atomic radiation boosted his speed and abilities tenfold. No doubt a fierce battle would commence, one to determine the fate of the few lives that persisted.

    Behemoth dragged his knuckles into the ground, roaring and charging at the reptilian leviathan. The mammalian Titan passed by the fallen Battra, slamming his body into Godzilla’s torso, shoving him back. The monster king roared before wrapping his hands around his attacker’s tusks, quickly overpowering the mammoth and throwing him to the ground.

    The queen flew into the sky before activating her God Rays, scattering a blinding holy light that descended on the pair of Titans. Godzilla cried out as the light took his sight before being struck in the side by the sloth-like mammoth’s tusks, the nuclear giant stumbling backward as he tried to regain his footing, only to be struck once again by Behemoth.

    Mothra quickly flew down, raising her sharp pincers as she descended towards the ongoing battle. Battra returned to the skies, hoping to aid his relative. Frantically the king shot out his atomic blast, tossing and turning, hoping to strike one of his opponents. The atomic flame scorched the side of Behemoth, burning his skin and fur, leaving him crying out in pain as he quickly moved out the way.

    The goddess of nature struck the top of Godzilla’s head, her talons cutting into flesh as she quickly returned to the skies. The monster king roared in agony as he stopped unleashing his atomic breath, blood running down his face. As he began to open his eyes again, seeing through the blood, Battra charged. The divine moth slammed into Godzilla’s torso, wrapping his legs around his foe’s chest, discharging waves of energy into the alpha’s body. The leviathan let out a growl of anger as he grit his teeth, smacking the deity of destruction to the side, his talons cutting ribbons into the exoskeletal hide. Battra cried out in pain as he fell onto the ground, crashing violently and carving a trench in his wake. Raising his horned head, Battra witnessed as Godzilla lifted his trunk-like leg, prepared to cave his skull in. The dark moth fired twin beams at his foot, cutting into scaly flesh.

    Blood sprayed as Godzilla roared and fell backwards onto the ground, his scales and eyes once again flickering blue. He could feel the power within him climbing as if it was begging to be unleashed…

    ***

    -The Pacific Ocean-

    The screams of the horde echoed for miles, their craving for flesh intensifying as they approached Odo Island. The Gyaos were hungry, and they were tired of devouring their kin.

    Two flew in front of the rest, a pair of Hyper Gyaos leading the charge. One had a blood-red coloring to its dried skin and a couple of black eyes, while the other had a bleach white tone and brimming crimson eyes. The pair of alphas could feel a small group of Titans nearby, and they would taste the flesh of a fresh kill.

    They would devour all that remained of life.

    ***

    Behemoth charged forth, rage fueling his actions as he prepared to beat Godzilla senselessly into the ground. But a mighty swipe from the king’s tail smacked across his face and cut into his eye, knocking him to the side, giving the monstrous leviathan ample time to rise to his feet. Spines illuminated before firing another atomic ray at Behemoth, shielding himself under the protection of his large, fur-coated arm in defense. The roaring animal groaned in pain as he attempted to push past the flames, their heat resistance serving as the only line of defense for the great beast. Mothra descended once again, shooting out a ball of web at Godzilla, striking his eyes and rendering him blind once again. Behemoth quickly ducked under the swinging arm of the ancient alpha predator before striking him across the jaw with his fist, a groan of pain exiting the reptile’s maw as a spray of blood landed across the sands below.

    With one hand, Godzilla attempted to remove the webs from his eyes while with his free hand swinging out, hoping to strike Behemoth, only to miss and once again be struck by the gentle giant’s fists. Godzilla tumbled back once again before he was stabbed from behind, Mothra’s stinger piercing into his shoulder. Blood flowed down his arm as she backed away, aiming to not be torn asunder during this conflict. The leviathan roared with rage as he finally managed to tear away the webs. Behemoth swung out, only for the king to bite into his hand, drawing blood as he tugged and swung his head side to side, ripping into his opponent’s palm as if it was paper.

    The mammalian Titan screamed in pain as Battra soared the skies, stopping in mid-flight and releasing poisonous scales onto Godzilla. The king released Behemoth from his grasp and kicked him away before turning his attention towards his assailant as the poison rain began to take hold. Godzilla could feel his strength leaving him. If this continued, it would be the end of him.

    He fired an atomic blast at Battra, shoving him away once again. As the divine moth fell, he fired twin energy blasts at the king, one striking across his chest and the other detonating the ground behind him. Godzilla roared in pain as the beam cut through his chest, blood spraying across the battlefield as he backed away.

    Godzilla looked around him and saw the three regaining their strength. The king snarled before unleashing a roar, charging at the downed Battra. The alpha Titan raised his leg and slammed it on Battra’s torso repeatedly, smashing the dark warrior’s armor until it shattered. But a powerful tug that did not go unnoticed, Behemoth pulled the king by his tail, forcing him off of his feet and proceeding to spin around. With a mighty heave, the great beast threw the nuclear leviathan onto the measly village that had once bustled with life, now nothing more than a shadowy memory of humankind’s dwellings.

    Godzilla rolled on his stomach and attempted to rise, only for Behemoth to raise his fists high above his head and slam them on top of his skull, sending him crashing downward. His jaw bounced off the ground, breaking his chin and knocking several incisors out of their sockets. His vision became blurry and blood fell from his mouth, shaking his head back and forth, trying his best to reorient himself. With a swift and decisive swipe from his tail, they collided against Behemoth’s legs, knocking the hairy giant to the ground with a resounding crash.

    Mothra charged at the reptile before being swept away by Godzilla’s tail, spinning in the air before catching herself. She stared into his eyes and saw… tears. His heart was filled with rage and sadness at the betrayal of his comrades, but none hurt him as much as she did.

    Godzilla roared before charging with extreme speed at the goddess, only for Battra to strike him across the jaw, sparks erupting as he flew by. The monster king swiped at the divine moth, striking his abdomen and drawing blood. He cried out in pain as he turned around and charged at Godzilla, attempting to slam into his chest. But this tactic was only countered when the ancient alpha predator grabbed ahold of the insect’s thorax, lifting him into the air before slamming him onto the ground. Mothra charged forward, attempting to save her kin, only to be met with a stream of atomic fire, the monster queen chirping as she tried to put out the flames across her body.

    Battra attempted to shake free from his enemy’s grasp, only for Godzilla to squeeze harder with his left hand, reaching around with his right hand and stabbing his talons where head and thorax met, ripping into chitin as he pulled.

    Behemoth, having regained his footing, attempted to rush on his limbs to save the god of destruction, only for the sound of shearing to fill his ears. The dark moth’s torso fell onto the sand, yellow blood oozing from the wound. Godzilla turned to face the mammalian Titan, ichor pouring through his fingers as he held the decapitated head of Battra. The gentle giant’s eyes widened as he watched the head of the fallen god roll from Godzilla’s palm onto the ground, his eyes darkened and lifeless.

    Mothra screeched in utter horror as she charged, her wings tattered and burnt. The nature deity swiped at the king’s head, only to miss and almost be caught in the jaws of the alpha Titan. The mammoth sloth-like Titan charged forth, thrusting his mighty tusks at the dying king. Godzilla lurched under the swinging protrusions, smacking his head against the hairy belly of the benevolent Titan, ushering a wheeze from the giant.

    Godzilla attempted to charge his atomic breath, only for a series of fireballs to plaster the leviathan from the side. A cry of agony erupted from his maw as he fell to the ground, smoke rising from his form as he watched a new arrival land. High in the sky, they watched a spinning Titan, its limbs exiting a shell as they landed on top of the ruined village that once stood there. Twin tusks jutted from its lower jaw, distinctly pointing upwards, attached to a being resembling the modern turtle. Gamera, the Guardian of the Universe, had arrived.

    Gamera bellowed as the monster king rose to his feet. The presence of a thousand suns emanated from within the Titan lord, which was what brought the guardian to this spot. Though he had felt the emergence of the Gyaos from this dead world, he would need to deal with the ancient alpha predator first, for he was the true threat to what remained of life. The creation of Atlantis looked over at Behemoth and Mothra, nodding at the pair. Together, they could end Godzilla once and for all.

    Godzilla rose to his feet, his scales glowing fully blue. His eyes became like stars, a loud thrum following as he stood up. He wouldn’t be put down like a simple commoner, he was a king!

    As he roared into the heavens, those that had opposed him knew that his full strength had been realized, the surrounding villages and forest burning as a result of the transformation. Mothra observed in particular horror, seeing a bastardized version of their symbiosis’ culmination. The sand beneath his feet turned into glass before shattering under his weight, heatwaves generating off his overheated body…

    Burning Godzilla had been born.

    The blue flame roared before charging at Mothra and Behemoth, leaning forward and carried by his powerful legs. The pair knew death would be imminent if he managed to get ahold of them, so they attempted to part ways from each other, hoping to avoid the clutches of the towering leviathan. Unfortunately, Mothra became the burning tyrant’s first target as the giant veered in her direction. In a stunt that defied expectation, a monstrous leap was achieved by a firm push from his legs and tail, sailing the skies like a flying fish with a trail of radioactive residue following behind. His arms grabbed hold of the miniscule moth as his colossal body slammed into the sands below, pinning her to the soft ground.She could only scream as her chitinous armor and fur burned away.

    Steam rolled Godzilla’s eye, but the mournful cries told it all. He didn’t want to do this, but they had made him, it didn’t have to be this way! Though anguish filled the monster king’s mind, he knew, in the end, that this was the only outcome.

    The seared Mothra cried out in tormenting pain before the great Titan rose to his feet, silencing her under the weight of his foot. The last sound heard was a firm crunch before the nature goddess stopped moving, burnt to a husk. Behemoth watched in horror before attempting to flee from the Titan lord, fearing for his life.

    Gamera activated his jet boosters and took to the sky, discharging balls of plasma at the Titan king. He circled the nuclear leviathan, knowing full well that if he was even hit once by this transformation, he would be done for. Godzilla stumbled as the plasma struck him, turning his attention towards the flying menace. He could deal with Behemoth later, this new arrival would need to be handled now. Dorsal spines began to charge before the mighty king shot out a ray of death at the artificial Titan. Gamera’s eyes widened as the beam blazed past him, only missing by pure luck.

    Gamera retracted his head and arms into the shell, unleashing strains of fire as he spun towards the blazing leviathan, striking him across the chest before flying back into the sky. Godzilla stumbled and to his surprise, the attack had damaged him, but the sheer heat had sealed the wound completely.

    The energy left over from Mothra began to disperse into the sky, passing into Gamera. The turtle didn’t know what was happening, but he felt his strength rising. The Guardian of the Universe cried out to Behemoth, drawing up a plan to take down the leviathan. The mammalian Titan shook his head up and down before charging behind Godzilla and attempting to pull his tail. He pushed through the pain until his arm began to catch fire, forcing the good-willed Titan away, screaming in pain.

    Godzilla turned around, facing Behemoth. What was his plan? Surely he knew that such a pitiful attempt of an attack would only end with regret and pain. Pathetic. The monster king roared before firing a strain of atomic fire at the mammoth, only for the Titan to dodge the onslaught of energy, erupting in a trail of fire behind the hairy giant. Gamera swooped in and knocked the mighty king to the earth, landing in the spot where Behemoth once stood. Godzilla began to rise to his feet, energy climbing before suddenly… It stopped. The energy that once emanated from his form began to cease its climb, his scales returning to their original hue. This wasn’t good.

    Gamera flexed his claws before charging headfirst, striking Godzilla’s stomach with his head, pushing him back before slashing at his chest, drawing blood in the process. The nuclear leviathan cried out in pain before attempting to fire an atomic blast… Only for nothing to come up. It seemed he had used so much power in such a short time that his runaway nuclear might had abated, temporarily at least. Somewhere deep inside he still felt the irregularity, but it was too deep to matter currently. His energy drained, he could only rely on his sheer strength and determination to survive, though his powerful will began to crack as doubt slithered into his mind.

    The last hope grabbed the mighty Titan king by the throat, attempting to slam him onto the ground, only to be thrown across the sands into what remained of the village. Behemoth charged forth with rage, attempting to stab Godzilla with his tusks, only to be met with a swift kick to the skull, knocking him to the ground.

    The two looked at each other as they rose, their breath becoming heavy, though he was surely weakened, Godzilla was still a force to be reckoned with. He began to approach before suddenly stopping, he could hear something coming… Something horrid. Turning his gaze towards the sky behind him, the king’s eyes widened as the horde approached. With hideous screams, they announced their arrival, the creations of Atlantis, the shadow of evil, the Gyaos snapped their jaws viciously, drool and blood falling from their maws.

    Gamera roared with fury. He knew they would cross paths eventually, but he had hoped to deal with Godzilla before going to stop the horde. Behemoth recognized these screams, but had never had the chance to see them for himself. He had failed to save the civilization along with his fellow Titans thousands of years ago; maybe now he could avenge those they failed to save.

    Behemoth and Gamera looked at each other, turning a concerned glance at Godzilla. If they were going to survive, they would need to do this together. Each walked over to the sides of the leviathan, locking eyes with him, making the mammalian Titan feel sorrow within his heart. Usually, he would enjoy fighting alongside his king. But given the circumstances, he was uncomfortable with this alliance. Godzilla flexed his body before charging headfirst at the horde, almost as if he awaited death. The white Gyaos screeched as it charged at the king, while the red Gyaos roared with anticipation as it narrowed its sights at Gamera, knowing this was her mortal enemy.

    The horde surrounded Behemoth, hundreds biting into his dense fur, while the others shot their sonic beams into the mammal, slicing his flesh apart. Blood sprayed onto the ravenous fiends, the Gyaos licking their teeth with joy in their wicked hearts. As the mighty mammal swung his tusks and body in circles, he killed dozens of the smaller Gyaos in an instant, their bodies crashing onto the ground as nothing more than puddles of blood. Behemoth cried out in pain as they tore into his flesh, and unlike the monster king or Atlantean creation, he had no extraordinary abilities.

    Gamera reared his head back, discharging a plasma fireball at the red Gyaos, scoring a direct hit onto the chest of the abomination. Wracked in pain, the winged ghoul pressed onward, slashing its talons at the guardian before firing a sonic beam. It missed the head, landing a direct hit on the shell before bouncing off, tearing into a dozen of the smaller Gyaos before cutting a hill clean in half. The last hope of humanity paid no attention to the destruction as he sank his tusked maw into the foot of the shadow of evil, shaking his head violently. Grabbing the abomination with his hands and pulling down, the chelonian guardian slammed the devilish monster onto the ground, a plume of sand and water vapor erupting from the earth. The Gyaos screeched in pain before firing another sonic ray at the terrapin, cutting into the left arm of the guardian.

    The neonate protector released a pained shriek as he wrapped his free arm around the Gyaos’ neck, tightening his grip as he thrusted the shadow of evil into the earth. Smoke rising from his maw as heat began to swell, gestating plasma in his maw. The Gyaos cried out as it felt the rage of the guardian inch ever closer, burning and boiling its skin. The burning kaiju attempted to squirm out of the ironclad grip, but the abomination was stopped by Gamera ripping its throat out. The Gyaos twitched as it drowned in its gurgling blood, movements no longer in its cognitive control.

    And another fireball made short work of the suffering devil in a blaze of explosive fury.

    Having dispatched the sloppy opponent, too gluttonous for its own good, he turned to his wound, watching as green blood flowed down his arm like a river. An angry grunt escaped from his maw, casting his attention towards Behemoth and the horde. Seeing his ally in danger, the chelonian warrior took wide gaits, firing plasma at the horde, striking a small group that flew next to the mammalian Titan.

    Behemoth continued to shake the horde off of him, slamming them into the ground or striking them out of the air with his tusks. Blood spattered across the mammal’s fur and the sands beneath him.

    A small group of Gyaos latched on, sinking their teeth into their mortal enemy’s flesh and swallowing it whole. Gamera grunted in pain as he swatted them away, grabbing a few of them midair and tossing them into the ground, ending their pitiful existence. The pair turned towards each other before directing their sights at Godzilla. They would only waste time if they focused on the horde; the best they could do was bring the fight to him.

    The monster king roared as the Gyaos fired a sonic beam, cutting into his leg with ease. Godzilla screamed with rage as he attempted to strike the abomination out of the sky, only to be denied as the Gyaos evaded every swipe thrown at it before biting into his scaly hide. The alpha Titan growled as he reached behind him, grabbing the vile artificial organism by the throat, proceeding to slam them into the ground with all his might. The Atlantean vulture screeched as they shot out another Sonic Scalpel, cutting into the arm of the leviathan. Godzilla roared in pain as the blood sprayed into the air, the monster king releasing his grip around the abomination’s throat, earning a bite upon his hand.

    The Gyaos violently shook its head, ripping flesh with their fangs. Godzilla cried out as he swung, throwing the experimental lifeform across the hillside.

    The albino beast let out a squeal of pain as they crashed into the earth, attempting to rise back up, only for the leviathan to sprint rapidly. Godzilla howled in utmost fury, his mighty footfalls shaking the earth before being abruptly thrown aside by Gamera’s tremendous force. The monster king let out a groan of annoyance as the man-made creature opened his maw and sank his twin fangs into his shoulder. Blood flowed from the wound as flames surrounded the turtle’s jaws, burning the open wound. Godzilla roared with agony and rage, reaching down and hoisting the Atlantean creation around like a ragdoll, tossing him free and ripping chunks as Gamera was sent crashing into the ground.

    The guardian of the universe watched as the alpha Titan approached. Growling as he rose to his feet, he was ready to finish the fight.

    ***

    The pure-white cretin flapped its powerful wings, rebalancing itself back to its feet. But before it could resume the task before it, the mammalian Titan grappled it from behind, wrapping his hands around the abomination’s shoulders. With a tremendous heave, Behemoth lifted the filthy abomination into the air before slamming them into the ground.

    The albino ghoul guttered a hellish cry, raising their head up, only for their eyes to widen when they saw Behemoth bring his tusks high above its head, preparing to smash them into his target. Quick to react, the white Gyaos fired a Sonic Scalpel, cleaving effortlessly through the spiked tip and cutting into the right eye and forehead of the protector of nature. Behemoth let out a booming cry as he swung his protrusions downward, only to miss when the Gyaos jumped out of the way and returned to the sky.

    Blood dripped from the guardian’s face, splashing into the disheveled ground created by the impact. Behemoth looked to the sky with his one remaining eye, spotting the Gyaos circling around and directing its sights to him. The wretched monster reached down, snapping their jaws violently onto the guardian’s back, ripping flesh and throwing blood into the air. With a hellish echo, the devilish fiend beckoned the lesser members of its kind.

    The horde approached, aiming to devour the guardian. Behemoth cried out in pain as he stood up on his back legs, forcing the Gyaos to back off. With a swift and powerful turn, the forest deity struck the monstrous bird across the jaws, hurling it into the earth.

    Behemoth sprinted into action, aiming to stab through the monster’s flesh with his remaining tusks. The albino raised its head and glared at the oncoming beast, shooting its Sonic Scalpel at the charging mammal. The golden lance sliced into the external incisor, dismembering bone. The upper half of the tusk fell to the ground, almost tripping Behemoth. The mammalian Titan struggled and pushed onward, enduring the pain as the horde of evil followed closely behind. His heartbeat echoed through his mind. He knew that he was not going to live through this, but he would make sure every action he had left would leave a mark.

    The Gyaos leapt into the sky, attempting to put distance between itself and the raging animal. only for Behemoth to wrap his claws around one of their legs, pulling them downward to the earth as he snapped the limb. A cry of anguish left the vile avian’s maw, summoning the horde which aggregated the living mountain, their jaws sinking into the flesh of Behemoth. The guardian released booming trills as he dug his claws into the chest and neck of the alpha Gyaos, ripping into its throat and chest. The Gyaos fired another blast, cutting into the shoulder, sending a geyser of blood into the sky as Behemoth continued to rip into the abomination.

    Blood spattered across his body and landed around them, the mammalian Titan’s eye a blood-red, filled with crimson rage as adrenaline rushed through his body. The Gyaos’ body was turned into mush. Behemoth stood over the body as the horde ripped into his flesh. With a powerful swing of his body, they splattered against his muscle-bound body, crushing them in an instant before sprinting away. He wouldn’t die to some horde, he would fall protecting this world against the king.

    ***

    Gamera cried out as he was slammed against what remained of a village, blood falling down his maw as Godzilla approached. The guardian attempted to swing upward, only for the monster king to reach out and sink his teeth into the arm of the guardian. The man-made Titan screamed in pain as the ancient leviathan ripped into his flesh. Gamera began to charge a volley of fireballs, when Godzilla kicked his head, misdirecting the flames away from him. Then, with a firm grasp, Godzilla latched onto the terrapin’s arm and began to pull. With all his strength, the fallen guardian ripped the lower arm clean off. Gamera roared with fury and anguish, green blood staining the ground and his body.

    Godzilla stepped back and tossed the limb away, watching the turtle squirm in pain. The leviathan attempted to fire an atomic blast, only for it to once again be denied.

    NO!

    He would not be delayed, he was a king. He could summon forth his atomic energy, he just needed to focus. His dorsal spines illuminated blue, the power of the atom flowed through his veins once again. His eyes were a bright blue as the atomic blast crawled up his throat as he reared his head back, about to unleash his almighty attack…

    Behemoth slammed his body into the fallen king, forcing the blast to miss the target, the beam striking the land to the side, exploding upon impact. Rage boiled over as Godzilla looked to his one close ally, grabbing Behemoth by the back of the neck before kicking his knee at full force, shattering it. The mammalian Titan protector released a cry of anguish as his former king wrapped his hands around his throat and turned, snapping his neck, sending out a shockwave from the immense forces involved. The corpse of the protector of nature fell to the ground with a loud thud.

    The ancient alpha predator turned towards the rising Gamera, moving forward to finish what he started, when the Gyaos horde surrounded him. Biting into his rocky flesh, Godzilla quickly turned, smacking what he could with his tail before swiping at what remained with his hands as he walked through. They were mere pests, if he were to focus on them, then he could finally end this charade.

    Gamera stood tall, taking in deep breaths as the monster king approached through the remains of the horde. He doubted that he would survive the battle, the guardian cursing at himself knowing he had failed in defeating Godzilla… until he felt a presence.

    The rest of Mothra’s energy had transferred into the artificial kaiju, though it had been unknown at the moment of her death, the power had finally run its course. He felt a sudden boost in energy rise through him, his eyes widening as his vision was no longer blurry, strength returning all the while. Gamera looked down at his dismembered arm and knew that he could not face Godzilla on his own. Normally this would raise great concern for the beast, but he was more than confident that he could still win this. His chest opened up to reveal a bright light, the fallen king flinching as the light began to blind him. The horde of Gyaos all roared in anger and confusion as the light appeared, charging headfirst at the gigantic turtle. Gamera was filled with determination as energy began to gather into him, the Earth’s mana fueling the guardian’s ultimate attack.

    The monster king attempted to fire another atomic breath, only to be denied once again. The Titan snarled before charging at full speed, adrenaline pushing through as his determination to live kicked in.

    Gamera unleashed a roar of fury before the energy was released in a single gigantic beam of Mana, engulfing the Gyaos in a matter of seconds before reaching Godzilla. His life flashed before his eyes as the light began to surround him. He remembered his life in prehistoric earth as the planet’s guardian, forcing the golden demise into an icy prison alongside his allies; He remembered when humanity had dropped a bomb of unimaginable might and when he rose to destroy the parasite known as Shinomura. He had a good life and even in death, the Earth would remember him, not as a king… but as one of the trillions of life forms that had graced it.

    The Mana Beam consumed Godzilla and with an unholy scream, he made one last claim to life, one last cry to the world. Skin peeled off, quickly revealing muscle and bone before being turned to ash. Gamera stopped the onslaught of Mana, falling to the ground with his arm being placed on his knee. He had done it… he had saved what remained of life. The guardian looked up into the sky and looked upon the sun, listening for the cries of more Titans. He heard them one after another, calling for a gathering. The gigantic turtle quickly retracted into his shell and took off into the sky with blazing speed.

    Hope ran through his form as he flew towards his destination, those that had been lost today would not be forgotten. Gamera would help defend the Earth with what remained of life, for life is wonderful.

    Winner: Gamera (Heisei)

    K.W.C. Kaiju War Chronicles

    A very special thanks to dopepope for some of the assets used in this banner for the K.W.C. Be sure to follow him on DeviantART, ArtStation, and Instagram.

    K.W.C. // June 26, 2022
  • Authors: Andrew Sudomerski & Tyler Trieschock | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski

    [Continued from Match 315]

    All of time and space flashed past Monique’s eyes, yet through the bombardment of hues, she forced her open stare to remain. The helicopter she piloted trembled through the anomaly, rotors squealing from forces beyond comprehension, yet she could not relent. Pushing the vehicle forward, blinding fractal colors gave way to a blue sky.

    Suppressing the urge to expel her stomach contents or cradle her aching head, Monique methodically checked her transport systems, wary of the anomaly’s effects. The helicopter was equipped with electromagnetic shielding and thick armor, but such benefits hardly suppressed decades of military training within the woman and a general readiness for the worst. As tension filled moments passed without incident, Monique vented a long held breath of relief.

    Entry was a success. Now came retrieval.

    Pulling forth a compass shaped device from her belt, the screen flashed a white hue. If within a twenty kilometer range of the transponder, the device would display the approximate range and direction, but a lack of details meant the transceiver, embedded in Zilla’s scales, was too far.

    Her mission would not be as swiftly accomplished as their entry to the new world.

    “Hey, we’re not dead!” Randy yelled, filling the woman with undesired tension. Shifting her attention to the transport’s interior, Monique looked to her two crew members, each giving her trademark smiles.

    At the back, an android with black eyes and an unending grin gave a thumbs up in approval. His smile was a permanent feature, an illusion of constant euphoria in exchange for speech which she wished applied to her other H.E.A.T. team member.

    “Compliments to the lovely lady flying today,” Randy said, flexing a suggestive eyebrow, sending Monique recalling.

    Randy Hernandez was a longstanding teammate of many traits; stubborn yet loyal, a child at heart, but a man gifted with unbridled talent. And while he could get under her skin like no other, so too did he bring her a sense of comfort.

    “If only he was less annoying,” she whispered, keeping a poignant focus on her mission.

    Orange light of a rising sun illuminated the lush landscape of neverending trees that sprawled along the horizon. The little manmade structures that had been there were coated in the endless overgrowth, rendering them nigh impossible to identify. The only thing misplaced in these surroundings gleamed behind the chopper, pulsating with light above a black mountain of crystal and basaltic rock.

    Hundreds of meters tall, the volcanic pile of rock stolen from her own realities’ Pacific island shined beneath the black anomaly, which pulsated like shifting glass. The obstacle was too vast to see past, so Monique pressed on, hoping for signs of Nick Tatopoulos or his loyal beast beyond her limited view.

    “Hey, Monique!” Randy yelled for attention, gaining an irritated look from her  as he sat in the co-pilot seat. “Any signs of Jefe or the Z-Man?”

    Only the echo of whipping rotors replied to Randy’s inquiry. With a shrug, he relaxed in his seat.

    “Shouldn’t have left Audrey,” Randy commented, shifting the topic. “Yeah, she’s not as well versed in this crazy stuff as us-”

    “Is that not reason enough to deny her?” Monique interrupted.

    A huff of exasperation marked the start of Randy’s response. “The girl’s been through plenty. She survived that post apocalyptic future we visited, with the Dragmas. Audrey’s as persistent as Nick. She’d… woah.”

    Monique caught the sight a second later.

    Charred scars cut through the overgrown forest. Husks of trees littered the blackened streaks while a line of crushed bark and leaves led to a distant ocean, surrounded by sandy beaches and grassy hills. The overwhelming green of the tree tops remained vigilant beside the marks of destruction, yet the signs were clear that a battle took place or more aptly, a fiery retreat.

    Zilla had come through the anomaly and discovered he was not alone.

    Monique pressed the nose of the helicopter forward, reaching the nearby shores in under a minute. From the rapid acceleration, a quick descent followed, allowing Monique to land on yellow hills beside a beach with two worn but recognizable tracks of Zilla.

    “So Zilla what, found something on the other side and went a few rounds?” Randy questioned as he exited the craft, sweeping his head side to side as if to find the hidden adversary. “I’m thinkin, maybe Winter’s? Remember, what was it, Rodan? Explains why the Z-Man left no body? Bird brain flew the coop.”

    Dropping onto the grass with Jet Jaguar beside her, Monique remained silent, not out of rejection of the idea, she simply possessed no further insight. Zilla arriving with another hostile creature was likely, and the flier could explain the lack of tracks except…

    Why the singular path to the water?

    Fingers massaged through the yellowing grass atop the soil, prying dried brown flecks from underneath the foliage. The texture as she rubbed her fingers together proved flaky, yet as she brought the substance close, a quick whiff of an iron aroma affirmed its identity.

    Blood.

    Snapping upright, Monique pointed to the mechanical assistant created and assigned to them by Goro Ibuki.

    “Jet, egh…” the name stung like a deadly poison across the agent’s tongue. “Jet Jaguar, fly and pinpoint our location on this Earth.”

    While her French accent hampered most electronic assistants like Alexa, Jet Jaguar showed no sign of misunderstanding the order. A thumbs up marked its approval before the robot lunged into the air, vanishing as it ascended like a rocket into the sun filled sky.

    The agent’s gaze shifted to Randy as he pried grass up from the root.

    “What are you doing?” she inquired.

    “Hey, you notice the grass is healthy on top and burned at the bottom? Explains the ugly color, it’s all dying. Maybe our mystery attacker traveled underground?”

    Monique’s brows heightened in surprise at the observation. “I did not.”

    A wide smirk formed across Randy’s face. As he arose, his hands clapped confidently together, rustling the foliage glued to his sun-kissed skin.

    “Well Watson, ready to search the forest. If Jefe’s here-”

    “He’s not,” Monique affirmed with such force Randy’s head whipped like it’d been struck. “The creature would not have abandoned him if he arrived in this world.”

    The last words brought forth a sorrow Monique rarely allowed herself to feel. If Nick Tatopoulos was in the other anomaly, then Elsie’s warning of high radiation levels meant one week’s exposure could signify a death sentence. Randy’s souring mood and expression revealed the truth was solidifying.

    “Just means Zone Fighter’s gotta win and save Jefe,” Randy countered, his peppier self snapping back. “He’s… he will. So, we got twenty four hours to find the Z-Man. Where do we start?”

    “With a question. What monsters does this world possess to make Zilla flee?”

    Shiragami’s Lab – 1989

    “You’re nothing Goro. Nothing, but a weak fool.” Those were the last words that dripped from the man’s spiteful mouth. And he knew he only had seconds, if even that.

    Robotic lenses viewed the carnage that was soon to consume everyone. He knew there was no hope for the others, but his priorities, hard-coded into his programming, were set. Orange light radiated behind him, knowing full well that the subject–Kubal Kunimura–was inevitably going to initiate the transformation, one that held the power to kill Godzilla.

    Jet Jaguar ran hundreds of thousands of probabilities and results in nanoseconds. He saw them all; from swooping him under his arms, in which the Mach speeds would certainly kill him by centrifugal force alone. Or even perhaps being knocked out of the sky by the ensuing shockwave and losing his grip. Even being too slow and steady would lead to their untimely demise. Each outcome, each hypothetical path taken, had all led to the same conclusion: Goro Ibuki would die. But he knew he couldn’t let that happen in spite of the odds placed against him. As the heat eviscerated the very room they stood in, and the violent wind torrents shattered the frail windows and walls, Jet Jaguar knew he needed to take action.

    A grim realization settled in. Out of all the virtual probabilities, there was a ray of hope. 2% chance of survival. These were the best odds, and he had to make it quick.

    The automaton’s chest flashed like a star, signaling his growth. Jet Jaguar’s program executive manipulated the atomic molecules in his metallic framework, expanding and reinforcing them through perfect mathematical calculations. Too big, there wouldn’t be enough time; too small, they would be incinerated. As suddenly as he initiated his signature power, he clocked in at a solid 30-foot height and promptly draped his metallic body over the miniscule human.

    Then, they were both engulfed in a rageful, brimming light.

    Seething flames washed over Jet Jaguar’s posterior, which took the brunt of the force. His metal exoskeleton peeled off from the severity of the heat, shredding layers of super-protective armor that was enforced to withstand heavy artillery ordnance. Non-vital circuitry fried from the tremendous heat, but he persisted in spite of the many emergency failsafes that flared up in his system. The electrons in his subatomic anatomy vibrated at such intensity from the Colossal Titan’s heatwave, which sweltered throughout his synthetic body. He knew his metal form did little to actually protect Goro, because it was a conduit for heat and electricity. All he was doing was acting as a buffer layer to protect Goro’s body from utmost destruction.

    2% chance of survival. That was all he had.

    Between the roaring explosion and gusty winds, Jet Jaguar’s auditory functions couldn’t decipher what was what. He had to take it on good faith that they weren’t Goro’s agonizing screams of being burned alive. However, everything had to come to an end, and soon it did. The massive heatwave died down, as did the vicious winds that accompanied them. Aside from the rumblings produced by the aftershock, there was little sound to be heard. All except for the air drag of the Colossal Titan’s oncoming attack.

    Jet Jaguar dug his hands beneath the floor boarding and soil, cupping his hands together to carry the human body that laid beneath him. Broken tiles and dirt acted as suppressants for his superheated hands, allowing him to transport Goro to a safe location. Without a moment to spare, the 30-foot Jet Jaguar took to the dark night sky–barely avoiding the meaty red fist that came slamming down where he once was.

    Only for a moment did the robotic assistant take a glance behind him. He saw that Kubal’s Titan body was malformed, only sustaining shape from the torso on up. His muscles were stringy, fresh, and pulsating with flames, and his face was nothing short of a bleach-white skull with blaring yellow eyes. Jet saw the Colossal Titan’s glare track them until they were out of each other’s line of sight.

    From the destroyed lab that once stood along the coast of lower Lake Ashino, Jet Jaguar flew to the upper part of the large body of water, out of Kubal’s reach. As he landed on the beautiful soil-rich grounds, he firmly planted his feet in the water, which sizzled from the heat trapped in his body. Gently, he laid the mound of dirt to rest–with the burnt body of a beloved friend atop it.

    For endless minutes, the robot man rested in the fresh lake water, gradually decreasing his size in the process. His humanoid frame was engulfed by water vapor produced from the boiling freshwater around him. There came a time where it subsided, but it never felt like it was soon enough. Even as he suffered hardware malfunctions, Jet Jaguar pushed himself and took the first few steps to analyze the results for himself.

    Goro looked nothing like the tooth-grinned jovial man he once was. Rather, what Jet Jaguar had rescued was a brittle corpse that superficially resembled a friend he held near and dear. Out of his software that survived the onslaught, he ran the medical executive for a thorough scan. His eye beams flickered to life, meticulously inspecting every element of the burnt cadaver. The closer he scrutinized, the better of an assessment he could make. After the examination process, Jet Jaguar came to the final verdict–

    Goro coughed

    –he was still alive. But deep down, Jet knew that he was not going to wake up. His brain had been fried beyond compare, leaving him in a catatonic state. Nevertheless, despite the odds, Goro Ibuki survived.

    Outskirts of Tokyo, Japan – 3 A.T.

    After many grueling hours, their fight came to a close. Thrusting his skeletal left hand out, superheated steam ripped through the air like a hot knife through butter. Jagged winds sliced the base of the tri-headed serpent’s middle neck, decapitating it. They had been beaten, bruised, and battered, but in the end, the Colossal Titan emerged victorious. Even so, that last attack sapped him of his mighty Titan’s strength. His muscles were nigh nonexistent, barely held together by strings of sinew. The left arm accelerated in the evaporation process, having converted his Titan biology into pressurized steam to pull off that last stunt. Because of this, he knew there wasn’t much of a choice; he couldn’t complete the task in front of him as desired.

    Kubal saw with his Titan eyes the golden dragon, drained of energy and maimed beyond belief, miraculously regaining its footing. It stood with war-torn wings, severed tails, several bleeding punctures in its mighty hide, and two snake-like heads. The creature, acknowledged as Ghidorah, didn’t remain standing for long in proof of its exhaustion. With an earth-shattering thud, the massive dragon collapsed onto the ground. Even with all the power at the dragon’s disposal, it wasn’t enough to dethrone the mighty Titan.

    “What a pathetic whelp,” Kubal muttered in agitation, “Couldn’t even force me to use a second body,” he mocked, panting in deep breaths to keep his composure. Minutes passed and the wind blew over the silent battlefield, but even Kubal knew to wait; regenerating was a moot point, but maintaining his skeletal integrity would be key to getting out of here alive. All because the vibrations of the earth acted as a beacon for hungry giants.

    The pitter patter of footsteps gradually evolved into rumblings of a stampede. The forestry, or what little there was, rocked and swayed from the large bodies that rummaged through them. When they broke through, they were numerous. Humanoids that stood in vastly different sizes, from no less than three meters up to an impressive fifteen meters, came tumbling out and made a mad dash to the fallen Ghidorah. They swarmed the gargantuan serpent, piece by piece they dug into his open wounds and tore the beautiful scales off his body. Ghidorah shrieked, but could do little to repel the relentless ensemble. Even Kubal knew that the larger ones–some reaching sixty meters–were on their way.

    As Ghidorah writhed on the ground, Kubal allowed the last piece of the Colossal Titan’s flesh to evaporate, which was the very nape that he controlled the body from. He held onto the spine and felt the rigid bones deteriorate as the massive skeleton slowly broke down, easing his descent to the land below him. In a slow and steady five minutes as he basked in Ghidorah’s misery, he scanned the horde of Titans, keeping tabs on them.

    He found footing on the soft soil under his boots and took off into the wilderness. With all the Titans converging to this spot, he knew he’d have safe travels. While it was true that Titans ate the humans that crossed their path, it was equally true about the kaiju that once held stakes on this planet. And for the collective, the great and mighty kaiju were perceived as the greater predator that had to be slain: For in this world, Man became the usurper of monster-kind. Not that it mattered to Kubal.

    Much to Kubal’s surprise, he turned and saw the goliath regain its footing, still swamped by the hundreds of Titans that burdened it. With several weak and exhausted flaps, Ghidorah took to the skies as the Titans fell to earth, while others clung on relentlessly. He knew the dragon wouldn’t last long; and where it disappeared off to was no concern. He had beaten it, and he knew the once mighty rulers were wise not to stand in the path of an immortal.

    That was still the fourth one this month alone. I wonder… Kubal’s mind wandered into the realm of possibilities, postulating on the idea. But that quickly turned into a hate-filled scowl. It doesn’t matter. If anyone, or anything, dares stand in my path… He came to a quick resolution.

    I’ll kill them, every last one.

    Kubal pressed on with his arduous journey back to the remnants of Tokyo, awaiting the next creature foolish enough to challenge him. Or perhaps to put an end to this–once and for all.

    The American Midwest – 3 A.T.

    Once a thriving metropolis, now nothing short of a city for the damned. Old, decrepit buildings stood aloft, having long since faltered in their luster under collected residue and overgrowth. The neon signs attached to these rusted structures no longer held the attention of bypassers, for there was no light. Moonlit skies rained illuminating beams down on those inside and outside the divide, a calm that brought peace to the haunted city.

    Peering from the outermost wall that gave the most optimal view of the ruins below, a man betrothed in silver and blue garments saw nothing but death and decay. An inevitable doom for those that funded such nonsense, without a single sign of life bustling the vacant streets.

    “This won’t do…” Hikaru gritted his teeth from beneath his mask. “There’s no sign of any of these walls doing what they’re supposed to.” He grimaced at the thought. These were meant to keep monsters out–Titans out–but yet the resources to maintain upkeep were far more costly than what they were willing to spend. And because of such flawed thinking, millions were either consumed or infected.

    “If they don’t get done soon, I’m not sure the one in Japan will be able to function.” The guilt of not being there for those who cried out lingered in his mind, but there were far more pressing matters to deal with. “Then the Colossal Titan…”

    A shining example of humanity’s evolution to some, an apocalyptic destroyer to others. But for Hikaru, he felt it brought imbalance in a world of monsters and higher beings. Humans were capable of many things, but should wielding such a mighty power be among them? Was it simply an eventual breakthrough, or could the path deviate for the sake of humanity’s salvation?

    “I have to stop them.” It was his only resolve. Turning around, Hikaru Sakimori took one last glance at the broken city. Spreading his arms out, he took to the air.

    Tokyo, Japan – A few days later – 3 A.T.

    Beyond the gargantuan walls that privy the land, an abandoned Tokyo laid dormant. Aside from the sluggish Titans that tried to break through the fortified structures, not a single human soul dared venture these ruins.

    But deep underneath, they were hard at work.

    Clanging of metal and hammers rang across the vast expanse that was hidden under the metropolis. Such a place remained out of human sight, but it was a necessary evil. Their grand fight against the Garoga armada sapped them of their sources, lost their greater family in the struggle, and forced them out of Japan. Even then, that proved not to be the worst of it. Once the Wraith went viral, there was little they could do beyond preparing a failsafe–one that was taking an excruciatingly long time to develop, more so than it should’ve.

    They had to trust their elder brother would have something figured out.

    Not a word was uttered amongst themselves. Quarantined to the ruins of their former home didn’t leave enough room for small-talk after the time sunk into developing this plan. They weren’t engineers like their parents or grandfather, so getting it to work was simply a matter of trial and error.

    “Hey sis,” Akira said in what felt like the first words uttered today, “you alive over there?”

    The young woman almost didn’t feel like responding, but decided to anyway. “Yeah, I’m alive. What about you?”

    “Tired and exhausted.”

    “‘Can’t wait for this to be done,’” she said sarcastically, “I’m sure that’s what you’re thinking.” Swiping the sweat from her brow, she continued to fine-tune the metallic hull.

    “Not just that, but… Saving people, y’know?” Akira rolled up from under the ship, taking a breather. There was an awkward silence between them, as if it needed to be said. But perhaps a reminder was a good thing.

    “Hotaru, do you think he’ll come back?” Akira asked.

    “Of course he will. You know Hikaru keeps to his–”

    “No, not Hikaru. The Titan.”

    Hotaru grimaced when he brought up the destructive Titan that seemingly held an iron fist over this planet. “Not even King Ghidorah was enough to stop him…” he added. “If we had only been ready, maybe we could have done something!”

    “Hikaru wouldn’t want us putting our lives on the line! Not after mom and dad died.”

    “But as long as we’re down here, what are we doing for the people that need us? We’ve been sitting ducks for the last three years. We can’t just let these people live in subjugation!”

    “Akira, we can’t do everything at once. We have our limits, and we need to do what we can to make the most out of it. Otherwise, what will all this be for? We’ve been helping humanity for the last twenty years, all across the world. This will be no different.”

    “But if we don’t act soon, we’ll–”

    “King Ghidorah wasn’t enough,” Hotaru reiterated, fear and frustration mixed in her voice. “I’m not sure any monster will be enough at this point…” A silence permeated between the two of them, unsure of where to go. The only thing they knew for certain was to do anything, they had to press on, and keep out of sight.

    Suddenly, a metal knock rang from above. The Zones halted work, squaring their attention to the metallic screeching of the sliding door, their heavy hearts elating at the sight. In what felt like a long, long time, a familiar figure stood in their midst.

    “Yo, hope things have been holding down here,” the voice of their elder brother rang.

    “Hikaru!” They both cried out, rushing to embrace their brother in familial love. When they separated, Hotaru was the first to ask, “Any luck?”

    Hikaru sighed. “Unfortunately, nothing. None of these sanctioned wall projects have been doing what they’re supposed to. Can’t even find anyone living in them. If this keeps up, the people here won’t have a chance…”

    “We’ve been making progress, but unfortunately nothing to show for it yet,” Akira said, “but hopefully sooner than later.”

    “And the people in the walls? How are they holding?”

    “Not well,” Hotaru reported, “A lot of tension and unrest. The only other detail I could pick up on is that the capital christened a new faction, the Public Order Administration.”

    “We have to do something!” the younger Zone cried out.

    “That’s what we’re doing,” Hikaru assured coolly, “and we can’t do anything until we’re ready. For now, let’s focus on getting this old girl up and running.” The firstborn brother patted the steel-forged hull of the vessel, showing its resilience. The siblings nodded in approval, gathering their tools and resumed work.

    Location: [REDACTED] – Year: [UNSPECIFIED]

    Information fed into his protruding antennae, absorbing the radio waves that silently permeated the air. Although most blurred into a mess of wailing static, the few stations that remained he tuned into. Their words were ones he had heard thousands of times already, yet it bore repeating.

    “Cases increase exponentially as these man-eating giants make the rounds in over half of the industrial districts in all of Japan. This ongoing pandemic has–” the voice was silenced by a wash of noise, buzzing in Jet Jaguar’s antenna. He switched channels until he found another. “–ome a global crisis, the United Nations has passed a bill for the Wall Construction project. And–wait, is that a light? Cut it, CUT THE–”

    Another lost feed.

    The world was rampant, chaotic. An outbreak like no other plunged society into unspeakable anarchy, leaving the nations of the world in utter disarray. Jet slowed his flight as he approached his destination, clutching the vial in his hand–something he had acquired from the contaminated waters, poisoned by the strain. As his rusted arms creaked into place, the robot man landed on the ground beside an inconspicuous mountain. In reality, this mountain had been a cover for a hidden base, with a hidden entrance way that–

    –had already been busted down.

    Jet’s brilliant blue eyes flickered in erratic distress, bolting for the thick, metal doors that had been pried and chewed open. From the deep imprints that led to the entrance, Jet calculated they were three Titans–of the 3- and 4-meter variety. And they were fresh. Slipping between the cracks, Jet Jaguar barreled into the dark interior, slipping down the damaged stairwell until he landed on the metallic floor. Lights blared from the other side–which in turn illuminated the silhouettes of these disgusting giants, magnetically drawn to the brightly lit room.

    Leaping high, Jet rotated to the side and delivered a double drop kick to one of the Titans, throwing the ravenous man-eater off its feet. The other two, one of them top-heavy with enlarged forearms, veered their attention to the human-shaped automaton. Slapping the metal floor with large hands, the top-heavy Titan lunged for the robot man, jaws agape and dislocated, tearing at the flesh that covered its mouth. Firmly gripping the heathen’s bare teeth, Jet wrestled with the brute, parting its lower mandible beyond the point of tolerance. With a swift and brutal pull, the lower jaw twisted in a sickening snap, and continued to do so until it was ripped clean from the joints that held it in place–steam rising from the jawless Titan. To put insult to injury, a well-placed front kick hurled the brutish cannibal across the metal grating as Jet prepared to handle the next one.

    The lanky, long-necked Titan dove straight in, only for Jet to weave under the giant. Placing his hands against the neck and chest cavity, the electronic robot used the humanoid’s momentum against it, tossing it overhead and letting it splat against the steel-enforced flooring. Without missing a beat, Jet leapt on top of the fallen Titan–stomping in a peculiar part of the neck, forcing an unnatural wheeze from the ghastly human. Blood sputtered from the nape, painting Jet’s usually multi-colored armor blood red. Evaporating steam rose from the humanoid frame, bright blue eyes flaring to life as he turned to see the jawless Titan once again lunge at him.

    His gentle blue eyes ignited in a shimmering brilliance that blinded the gagging goliath, choking on its own blood. Steam concealed the regeneration process, gestating a new jaw in place of the old one, which quickly became coated in flesh. Baring its disgusting teeth once more, the Titan lurched forward, tackling the armored human to the cold ground. Bony teeth screeched against the metallic exterior, sinking into artificial skin and leaving a permanent imprint on the arm. But a few well-placed jabs caved into the brute’s nose, forcing it to recoil in agony.

    Freed from its nasty vice grip, Jet Jaguar leapt over the gagging Titan, eyes squared on the nape as his primary directive. Propelling himself through his flight-based capabilities, he lunged with fists clenched–and at the moment of impact, drove it directly into the sensitive spot. Without stopping, Jet Jaguar alternated between his balled hands, rupturing the nape in a bloody burst, steam sizzling from the wound. Titan meat clung to the metal fingers as they dissipated into embers, with the rest of its body following suit. That signaled the Titan’s death, but out of the two… Where was the third?

    Snapping sharp to the brightly lit room, he saw the last one, a chunky individual with a disgusting grin plastered on its visage, hauling along to the only safe haven for his father-figure. A loud screech echoed in the hollow facility as creaking armor adjusted and metal feet scraped against the steel floor. Anchoring his footing, Jet activated his flight mode and sped directly towards the last Titan. It neared the white room, but turned its gaze to the airborne man that plunged his pointed head into the neck. Had it not adjusted its direction when it did, there was a chance at getting it by the nape; but alas, it was not meant to be.

    Hurled off its feet, the Titan and Jet Jaguar slammed against the high wall, the metal man pulling his head out of the gash. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to penetrate to the nape, evident by the sustained wound sewing back together in a matter of moments. In retaliation, the Titan grabbed Jet Jaguar and threw him to the ground, eager to rend and tear the electronic robot apart. In doing so, the vial the machine carried slipped between his fingertips, leaving it to shatter against the cold flooring.

    Knowing full well he’d be stressing his metal frame, a star shined along his chest, accelerating his growth up to no more than 5-meters. The instant shift shredded the Titan’s hold, blood and steam spewing from its lost fingertips. The damage from Kubal permanently stunted his maximum performance when enlarged, but for the time being it was enough to get the job done. Flinging the Titan into the air with a swing of his leg, the lardy humanoid crashed onto the unforgiving ground, leaving ample time for the size-shifting robot to pick himself off his feet. With a firm, well-placed stomp into the neck, Jet grinded the Titan’s nape into smithereens, leaving no chance for the cannibal to regenerate.

    A vexing, electronic sigh escaped his upturned grin. Another sample would have to be reacquired, though most importantly was the safe keeping of Goro. He turned and–

    –the glass casing had shattered, leaving an opening.

    Just as he realized this, Jet reduced his size and was about to make a mad sprint. But when all was said and done, it was too late. A shimmering yellow light emanated from where the cadaver was, then came an explosive burst. Jet braced the aftershock, forced to witness the Titanization of a dying friend. Fear became reality when he heard the moanings of the Titan that laid within. Part of him felt hesitant; would he have to be the one to end Goro by his own hands?

    Steam fizzled away, leaving Jet to see the Titan for himself. Where was once a burnt cadaver encased in an iron lung, now was a malformed Titan laying on its back. Flesh at last wrapped the entire body, along with a new set of eyes that were dilated and locked onto the robot man. Its wide jaw sporadically opened and closed, with no real apparent rhythm to it. Rib bones jutted out from its sides, and the appendages were shrunken and stubby…

    …It couldn’t move.

    Jet lowered his guard upon analysis. At the very least, this Titan wouldn’t pose a threat. Although the room had been lost, there were other research areas located in this facility. It was just a matter of resuming studies and seeing if it was at all possible to bring back his old friend…

    Wall Sotono – Monzen, Tokyo, Japan – 3 A.T.

    Behind the wall, Tokyo continued its meager existence, hanging on by a thread. Construction workers, adorned in uniform, face masks, and yellow hardhats, climbed atop the infrastructure and resumed their treacherous jobs. Those under the Garrison, or the Security Department, despite their name, were closer to glorified laborers than anything else.

    Haruma, a bitter and aged veteran of his time, slammed the next slab effortlessly in this weary, ongoing project. Heavy breathing vented through the surgical mask, as did everyone else around him. His eyes turned and saw his coworkers taxing themselves feverishly to get in the night’s work. Some welded the metal rods to the framework, others heaved the needed materials from the makeshift elevators, while the rest worked tirelessly with little compensation.

    Everyone here understood the essentials to the walls’ completion, making the burden all the more pressing. Even in the midst of work, Haruma’s attentive hearing pierced through the ruckus of footsteps and labored breathing, keying in on gossip for his own amusement.

    “Just got word from Aizuwakamatsu,” Haruma recognized the muffled voice as Takamaru’s, a more recent addition to the workforce, “Some days ago, the government christened the Public Order Administration, tasked with overseeing the walls,” Takamaru coughed, emphasizing his general distaste.

    “G-Great, now we have a bunch of eyes criticizing our work here? We already have the bossman for that, so no thanks,” a murmured voice in stammering Japanese remissed, from one Antoine Kane, a foreigner who was caught in the havoc.

    “And they’re all coming from the innermost wall in Fukushima Prefecture,” Takamaru ridiculed at the thought, “So nothing short of glorified security drones, I’m sure.”

    “T-to take our food supply, that’s what,” Antoine added, his thick accent filtered through the mask.

    “Three years too late if you ask me,” remarked Yamashita, “Could’ve used more men here.”

    “Are you kidding me?” Takamaru scoffed, tempted to pull his mask down for clarity, “We barely have anyone here because–” he fumbled on the accuracy of the information before winging it, “–this place is the hotspot for the Wraith strain. Worse yet, no one knows where it came from!”

    “Godzilla’s killed, then the world goes to shit,” Antoine added with his limited Japanese. He pulled the cloth from his mouth and inhaled a breath of fresh air. “These things are also stuffy!”

    “Better than being turned into those Wraiths down there,” Yamashita noted, pulling out a cigarette from his chest pocket. He gestured an offer, but they declined. Before he could even pull down his mask, a sudden, booming voice pinched the nerves of everyone that was a participant in the conversation.

    “What the hell are your lazy asses doing?!” Haruma verbally lambasted them, his volume loud and clear even from under the mask, “Scatter! Get back to work, or you’re really going to get it!” Without a moment’s notice, the jittery Antoine slipped by without a sound, even as his body trembled from overwhelming anxiety.

    Yamashita crushed his cigarette in sheer frustration, letting it fizzle out before he could even smoke it. “Hey, asshole, mind your damn business!” Eyes turned to the intense vocalizing, their attentions aroused by the stirring frustration that permeated the air. Haruma kept barking like a rabid dog, only to be met face to face with the far thinner and athletically built Yamashita. The younger man swung a right hook directly for the elder’s jaw, connecting with a solid hit. Haruma returned the favor with a bruising punch of his own, scraping across the agile man’s chest. The two continued to wrestle atop Wall Sotono, riling up the surrounding audience in estranged anticipation.

    Their brawl escalated to ruthless savagery, going so far as for Haruma to rip the mask off the thinner man’s face. Enraged, Yamashita struck back with twice the humanistic ferocity, which continued until a gunshot rang from a distance, bringing with it an abrupt silence. Every single set of eyes turned to the source, and felt their hearts sink into their stomachs at the figure that stood before them.

    Clad in a black uniform and with short, buzz-cut silver blonde hair, the authoritative figure held a pistol over his head, lowering it to meet the fist-fighting individuals that started this ruckus. Marching forward with his large boots, Kubal placed his gun back in its holster. He knew he wouldn’t need it for this.

    “So, who’s the shitstain that started it?” Kubal said with heated breath, intense eyes glaring at the two men before him.

    “These slackers weren’t doing their job!” Haruma spat out, snitching on his fellow coworkers, “So I set out to make things straight, until this one decided to be a disobedient little shit!” Yamashita grunted, almost ready to deliver another fist to the face, only for Kubal to throw a monstrous punch of his own, throwing Yamashita back onto the pavement. Before Haruma could relish in the thought, the large boot pressed against the old man’s face, muffling his wailing screams.

    “I don’t need you to act on my behalf, all I need from you is to work!” A sharp turn from the rubber soles snapped the man’s nose and twisted the skin with it, causing Haruma to wreak in agony over his bloodied nostrils. Scraping the blood on the concrete wall, the ruthless man made a stride towards the fallen Yamashita, gripping him by the collar.

    “And you,” Kubal uttered, hoisting the thin man off his feet. Next thing Yamashita knew, he was hanging over the outer edge of the wall, panicking as it was either face the consequences, or face death. “At any given moment, you could become a Titan. A menace, like you’ve already proven yourself to be.”

    Yamashita’s eyes glared at the monster of a man that held the ultimate choice in the palm of his hand. It was then Yamashita noticed the embroidery on Kubal’s sleeve; a head of a unicorn with a long mane plastered in front of a shield. “Wh-when the hell did you become part of the Public Order?”

    “That’s none of your damn business!” Kubal screamed, ready to release his fingers…

    “WAIT!” came the sudden yell from Takamaru, grabbing Kubal’s attention. “Please, Mr. Kunimura, have mercy!” Takamaru trembled before the dictator that stood before him, but he continued his train of thought, “We need every working hand to get the wall done! Just, please sir!”

    A stone cold face remained unwavering, refusing to budge at the emotionally driven words pouring from the laborer. However, he seemed to relent in his merciless spree, hurling Yamashita back onto the safety of the hard stone wall. Takamaru and Antoine gathered to get him back to his feet.

    “Then get back to it.” Those were Kubal’s orders, and they knew they had to abide. “And put on your mask,” he scoffed, adding insult to injury. As medical officers arrived to attend to the wounded, the work force underwent the arduous task before them once again, a dull routine that felt like it would never end. However, Takamaru observed Kubal closely, tracking what he was seeing. Off in the distance was a large armored Humvee, towing behind it an extension draped in tightly bound tarp. It seemed to have his interest, and to confirm Takamaru’s suspicions, Kubal made an order to the entrance guards. “Open the gate!”

    Before he knew it, Kubal was gone–taking an exit way that was out of his range of sight. Nevertheless, it always felt like Kubal had eyes on them; every last one of them. But he had to get this nagging feeling off his mind, and the only way to do that was to slave away at this thankless job until the day he died.

     

    In a matter of a few risky drops, Kubal landed on a series of external extensions that made traversing the height of Wall Sotono that much easier. But even if he slipped, it wasn’t much concern for him. Landing on his feet against the gravely asphalt, Kubal met with the vehicle at the opened entryway, which came to a gradual halt.

    The glass window slid down, meeting face with an individual from the Public Order Administration. “Kunimura sir, we have what you asked for. Please, get in.”

    “I’ll ride in the back,” Kubal said, waving him off and heading to the tarp.

    “I wouldn’t recommend that, it’s a–”

    “I don’t care about your recommendations!” Kubal barked, hopping onto the extension. “Now drive!” Without missing an order, the truck resumed its long destination. Lifting the polyester layering, Kubal slid under until he came face to face with a large, almost balding head that he knew all too well.

    “There’s my little Titan.” Kubal’s sharp demeanor shifted instantly to a soft, cooing voice that excited the Titan. Her eyes, large and bulgy, narrowed with intense focus. Dripping from her maw were a series of ecstatic chirps and gnashing teeth, the scrawny, useless limbs flailing compulsively.

    “Daddy’s got you, don’t you worry,” Kubal continued, comforting his little Titan. “We’re moving out of that dangerous hospital and into a new, safe place, just for us. Now you won’t have to be afraid of any more monsters, daddy will take care of the rest.” As the Humvee trekked for the journey ahead, Kubal and the Titan Nariko talked for hours on end, losing all track of time.

    Monzen, Tokyo, Japan – 3 A.T.

    Tired eyes drooped, yet refused to shut. Darkness surrounded him in the alleyway, but his vision adjusted. The makeshift sleeping bag was a temporary confinement, though not one he was content in sleeping in. Not tonight, at least. Yamashita clutched his chest, feeling the cracked ribs he had only just received earlier in the day. There was little doubt that Haruma was faring any better, still in recovery from a broken nose and fractures along his cranium and dentures.

    He slipped from the comforts of the dull brown bedding and sat up. The starry sky loomed overhead, crystal clear with a waxing crescent orbiting the globe. But that wasn’t the only light source; near the vacant dirt roads, a firepit remained ablaze for the homeless to seek refuge in the cold of the night. They huddled together next to the burning barrel, keeping warm in these turbulent times.

    Lucky you, at least you’re not working on the wall, Yamashita thought, envying their position. Truly, the daunting task was nothing more than a thorn in his side; but without it, those hideous man-eaters would get through, and innocents would perish by their grubby hands. Being part of the Garrison should’ve meant something, but every time he’s thrown to the ground by the cruel reality around him. An exchange of risky, back-breaking work only for a life of misery and suffering. For order and peace, he winced, clenching his teeth as he repeated the Garrison motto. What a joke.

    Pulling into his dirty shirt, he withdrew a lighter and a cigarette. With an effortless flick of his thumb, a fire sparked to life, using it to burn the tip of rolled tobacco. A huff siphoned the heat through the cylindrical paper and cured leaves, coalescing into smoky vapors in his mouth. He kept it stewed for a few seconds before releasing it in exhalation, departing from his lips as a smoky trail. Such a rush felt gratifying as he took another swig, the reddened tip eating away at the cigarette. Then, release, with smoke disappearing in the dim sky.

    Releasing another huff, he sighed. He sleepily limped closer to the light, tuning into the needless chatter of the unemployed, if only to take his mind off the building anxieties of what tomorrow had to offer. Sleep wasn’t an option, so this would have to make do. Suddenly, one of the vagrants erupted in uproarious laughter, which was followed by the jovial cheers that ensued. Such sounds were an irritant, but knew he had to deal with it nonetheless.

    In the streets of Monzen, there was little to do beyond being out of people’s sights. And while Yamashita had a job to his name, staying on the streets fared better over living and paying taxes to the central government. As he needlessly eavesdropped on the conversing beggars until an unusual figure came by, one that Yamashita wasn’t all too familiar with.

    He looked like a true and tried Japanese man, early to mid-30s, with fine clothing and a full head of tufted hair that made him stand out from the crowd. Was he a citizen from the Nakano or Okuno walls? It was hard to tell, but Yamashita knew this one was different. Something felt off, but he couldn’t put his finger on what it was.

    Then, the mystery man leaned over to the gaggle and began to speak. “I need your attention, please, this is urgent.”

    “And you do you think yer speakin’ to?” one of the hobos said in a drunken slur, downing the rest of his beverage without a care in the world.

    “The walls are dead, and the people living here are only being used as slaves for a pointless endeavor,” said the man, stressing the urgency of the matter.

    What? Yamashita kept his mouth closed, but his ears and attention span expanded significantly.

    “How do you know?” another individual asked, peeved by the accusation.

    “I’ve been around the world. China, India, Germany, the Americas. Virtually all of them yielded the same result; desolate walls with nothing living in them. Or worse yet, Titans living in them.” The derelict people raised their collective eyebrows in disbelief, even Yamashita was taken aback. You mean we’ve been at all this for… Nothing? Yamashita clenched his teeth at the idea, knowing that years of effort would prove to be utterly fruitless.

    “I am Hikaru Sakimori, first son of Yoichiro Sakimori.” He paused, seeing if the name registered with any of them. From their dumbfounded confusion, it didn’t click. He sighed. “Also known as Zone Fighter, and we are here to save humanity from within the walls.” He boldly announced, hoping for some kind of response.

    “…Who?” The only response that came from the crowd, while the rest murmured among them. “Isn’t he Godzilla’s friend, or was that Jet something-or-rather?” another suggested, struggling to recount. “Is this guy serious? Doesn’t look like much to me.” Had the situation not been so dire, Hikaru would’ve clutched his face in utter defeat.

    “Please, do not take the matter lightly. My siblings and I will be taking everyone in the walls to safety. Please meet us near Wall Sotono within the next week, and spread the word.” With a fervent bow, the man named Hikaru trudged along to his next destination. But that was when Yamashita had enough sitting idly by.

    “Hey,” Yamashita called out, catching Hikaru’s attention. “What’s this stunt you’re trying to pull here? You do realize once the Public Order gets word of this, your made-up operation blows up in your face, right?”

    “Of course, that’s a risk we realize,” Hikaru said, “But my little brother is very hopeful. If word spreads, then that’ll give ample time for the people to get ready.”

    “Hmph, too much hope I’d say,” Yamashita remarked. “Even if things do tip in your favor, how are you getting Monzen out of the government’s watch?”

    “When my family and I arrived, we were onboard our mothership, which sustained significant damage after the Garoga invasion,” Hikaru said plain and straightforward. “We’ve been gathering the materials needed, and we’ll have it fine-tuned in less than a week.”

    “And where will we go?”

    “Where there aren’t Titans. That’s all I can guarantee.” Hearing those words, doubt flooded the cynic’s mind. Though before he could rebuttal Hikaru’s statement, Yamashita heard a familiar voice call out his name. When he turned, he saw Takamaru rushing towards them, eventually stopping to regain his breath.

    “Takamaru? What brings you here?” Yamashita inquired. “Your ass should be asleep.”

    “Could say the same about you,” Takamaru retorted in kind. “You’ve been seeing these weirdos going around Monzen?”

    “Yeah, talking to one right now,” he said, nudging towards Hikaru.

    “Greetings, pleasure to meet you,” Hikaru kindly greeted with a subtle nod. Takamaru responded with a bowing gesture of his own.

    “I already heard about the whole spaceship thing in passing, but…” Takamaru held his tongue, trying to conjure the right words. “The Sakimoris? Like, from the Sakimori Toy Research Institute?”

    “That was my father’s facility, yes.” It seemed like they hadn’t been completely forgotten with time. “I’m surprised you know about that, of all things.”

    “My father used to work at the institute before it was closed down. Does Haru Ishige ring a bell?”

    “I’m sorry, I’m afraid I don’t know him. I rarely visited during my father’s work hours.”

    “Ahh, I see,” Takamaru rubbed the back of his head with a nervous chuckle. “But if you’re serious about getting us out…” Yamashita and Hikaru stared with tense eyes, awaiting the young man’s response. “Thank you!” Takamaru cried out in joy, “Thank you! Please, finish as soon as you can! I don’t think I can…” His words trailed off…

    “‘…Take it here anymore,’ right?” Sakimori completed it on his behalf.

    “Yeah.” Takamaru took a moment to collect himself with sniffles and deep breathing, regaining his composure. “I just… Do you think you can get past Supervisor Kubal? He’s a dangerous man.”

    The man leaned in carefully, attentively listening to what Takamaru had to say. “Tell me all you know, and we can adjust the plan accordingly.”

    “No one knows a lot about him…” the young man kept his mind focused on every past experience with the cruel and stern supervisor that checked in on them.

    “He’s a giant asshole with a lot of bite, and I know that from personal experience,” Yamashita interjected, rubbing his bruised chest. “Other than that, I don’t know jack shit–and I’d rather not find out.”

    Takamaru tapped his fingers, stimulating his mind on every strange case he ever noticed… “Maybe… What was in the cargo?”

    “What was that?” Hikaru stated.

    “There was a Humvee that passed through earlier today with a trailer attached to it. I just wonder what was in it…”

    “Don’t know, don’t care. If it keeps that asshat away from us for a while, I’ll gladly take it.”

    “Let’s not worry about it too much, but thank you. Please, spread the word.” Hikaru waved the two men off as he continued his trek, seeking out others with the ear to listen to their plea.

    “Oh yeah, Takamaru,” Yamashita said, “What brings you here anyway?”

    “Oh! Right, Yamashita…”

    “Just call me Ken.”

    “A-All right, Ken…. Did you want to crash at my place?”

    Yamashita was taken aback by the offer, almost stunned. “Any reason? I think you saving my ass is enough for me.”

    “Every off-day I have, I see you in this filthy alley. Maybe just… Passing the kindness forward, you know?”

    A smirk cracked on Yamashita’s usually stoic face. “Sure, I’ll bite. Be a nice change of pace, maybe even a place to lay low until that weirdo’s plan is able to be put into effect.”

    “Are you serious about that?” Takamaru asked sincerely.

    “Well of course. Paradise sounds like a footstep away, better than rotting in this hell.” The two men walked along the dirt road, the dimming light of the flames dying the farther they moved along. After a temporary silence in the air, Takamaru let his thoughts spill.

    “Ken, do you think it’s absurd to believe Supervisor Kubal is the Colossal Titan?”

    Such a strange thought once again took Yamashita by surprise. “Kinda. I don’t know, what makes you believe that?”

    “Well, Kubal and the Colossal have never been around at the same time, for starters. Plus, it isn’t hard to notice when the Colossal Titan is fighting a monster… It’s consistently appeared in proximity to this area, especially in the last month or so.”

    “So? I’m not surprised Kubal isn’t here, he’s part of the government now. Or something like that, I don’t know how he passed any kind of legislation or psychological examination. Even if your crackpot conspiracy is true, there’s no way that kind of information would leak. All we know is that the Colossal Titan has been fighting monsters since it killed Godzilla.”

    Takamaru slowed his pace, caught up in the realm of thoughts and imagination. “That doesn’t make sense, though. The Public Order Administration hasn’t been around for that long, yet it’s only now that the Titan and Kubal have been showing up here more and more frequently.”

    “Take it easy, man. Let’s just–” a sudden hacking forced Yamashita to cough his lungs out, puking bile from his mouth.

    “Yamashita!” Takamaru cried out.

    “S-shit, don’t worry about it. Heh, maybe another smoke will clear it up,” Yamashita smirked, trying to ease the sudden spike in tension. He cleared his throat, trying to dismiss the mess he made of himself. “Look, you make a lot of dots connect, but it doesn’t guarantee that you’re right. Let’s hope your assumptions don’t come to pass and we can get out of this hellhole safely, okay?”

    Reluctantly, Takamaru nodded. “If only we knew what was in that tarp…” The young man grimaced, but had to take his friend’s word for it. Maybe he was overthinking this, stressing himself more than he needed to.

    Let’s just hope all this ends soon… Those were the last words Yamashita recalled before drifting into autopilot, following Takamaru to his residential area, where he could get some proper sleep and healing in the days to come.

    Location: [REDACTED] – Year: [UNSPECIFIED]

    A needle plunged into thick flesh, drawing fluids from the greatest viral source within the Wraith Titan, the humanoid’s nape. Goro’s Titan form shifted, jaws snapping open and shut, yet the being remained relatively still, his frail appendages unable to shift his immense mass toward his creation. As the vile filled to completion, metallic fingers gently withdrew the syringe and gave a repetitive pat atop the Titan’s forehead.

    Jet Jaguar hoped the humanity within its creator turned monster appreciated the gesture.

    With pleasantries complete, Jet Jaguar left the Wraith Titan to perform its daily duties, beginning its trek across the mile-long stretch of launch bay interior.

    Created to house planned mechanical marvels of the Japanese Self-Defense Force, the underground facility would prove a perfect hideaway from the Wraith Titan plague for the foreseeable future. Possessing a nuclear reactor to power the station, freshly reinforced steel walls after the previous incursion, and an abundance of electronics to tinker with, Jet Jaguar possessed everything it needed for the dual missions it would not cease to complete.

    Goro Ibuki would be cured.

    Justice would be enacted for all the crimes of Kubal Kunimura.

    Concluding its trek under the endless white lights of the launch bay ceiling, Jet Jaguar entered the sole interior room of its make-shift laboratory. Originally a human maintenance workshop for the facilities crew, the enclosure now gleamed and hummed as medical marvels performed their respective duties. But for today’s procedures, Jet Jaguar passed all machinery by, uncaring of their newly created data. Another avenue of research was needed and it could only be unlocked through the late mind of a man gone mad in his effort to protect the one he cared for most of all. Storing his newly siphoned Wraith Virus extract, Jet Jaguar proceeded to snatch a hardcover book off a nearby workbench. Metallic fingers gently opened the cover, meticulously caressing the first line of text with a metal index finger.

    Human Biology by: G. Shiragami

    Reading for a factual understanding of human anatomy on a cellular level was not Jet Jaguar’s intention through the intricate deciphering of the text as he began to scan through the work. The Wraith Titan virus, at its core, was rather simple in nature. Transmission occurred due to a virus, specifically a common influenza strain modified for maximum contagiousness diffusion. While the virus was harmless to most of the human population by itself, the Wraith package attached to the viral pathogen housed Shiragmi’s true creation and was what transformed the world nearly devoid of humanity.

    Dr. Shiragami’s serum modified the human anatomy on a cellular level, bestowing Kubal Kunimura regenerative properties and a body seemingly unable to accept death. Traits Jet Jaguar held no doubt the late doctor wished to bestow upon his daughter after her near death experience in Saradia. A noble effort, and one the robot initially supported to end suffering on a global scale, merely to bestow an age of death, led by titanic forms of destruction.

    How the Wraith Titans or Kubal’s Colossal Form came to be from the reaction puzzled the logic-driven processors of Jet Jaguar, even after years of research and its initial involvement. Shiragami’s breakthrough came after examining its own schematics, but a world’s spanning trove of knowledge in physics and science failed to explain the mutation’s connection. Whether it be coincidence or a core necessity of the reaction, Shiragami’s cells transformed without an initial catalyst. A puzzle piece remained to be located and with its discovery, the Wraith Plague could be reversed.

    A world ending wrong could be set right.

    Processors replayed a conversation locked in the past, but as vivid as the present for Jet Jaguar. “The first obstacle is the subject itself and how rare their genetic makeup is, even in a world with nearly five billion people,” Shiragami explained in memory, drawing Jet Jaguar internal drives back to reasoning for deciphering a basic anatomy book for developing youths.

    Dr. Shiragami’s abilities were neither norm-breaking nor exceptional when compared to the greater scientific community. Barbaric and crude better defined the late man in his application of science. What did separate his methods was an insight to a part of the human being undefined by normal scientific methods of examination. Be-it madness or genius, Dr. Shiragami’s Wraith Strain could only be replicated by imitating the mindset of the fallen man.

    And in the pursuit of madness, Jet Jaguar proceeded his analysis.

    Monzen, Tokyo, Japan – One Week Later – 3 A.T.

    Darkness overfell the grand sky, the sun blocked by the enormity of Wall Sotono. As the purple glow faded into a bluish-black, the dim stars and the brightly lit moon loomed overhead. At the base of the wall, countless people were clustered along the gate, holding torches and lanterns to light the way. Those none the wiser would have merely guessed it to be some vague festival of sorts, but without the games, performers, and loud cheering that normally would have been a part of such an event.

    Alas, that wasn’t the case. Tension filled the streets, with building anxiety and heavy, panted breath. They stood against the outermost gate, awaiting for the opportune time, shuffling through each other impatiently.

    On the other side of the wall, the vanguards of the gate had already been rendered unconscious. Two figures, one on each side, activated the inner mechanisms that controlled the massive iron-clad doors that sealed Monzen from the outside world. A heavy collapse indicated the internal gears were turning, the steel frame slowly rising into the wall. The sudden and abrupt stop signaled it was safe to travel through, with the herd of people funneling out of the opened gate.

    As soon as the mass exodus spilled through, Zone Angel and Zone Junior took flight, acting as visual beacons for the people to follow–and to act as the forefront for any sneaky Titans afoot. The younger siblings kept careful tabs of their path and any threat that lay about, ensuring the success of their venture. They had to trust their brother that they had the rear and hope for the best.

    Amidst the clutter, Hikaru defended from behind, adorned in his silver jumpsuit and helmet he had once been recognized for. He signaled the refugees to keep moving forward, moving along with the stragglers as they pushed out of the boundaries of Wall Sotono. Patter of a few thousand feet walked upon the broken and disheveled asphalt, swelling anxiety ruminating the air around them.

    They can handle it, but… Hikaru had his concerns. Not that he doubted his siblings’ ability to subdue a Titan, but the persisting question was how could they be stopped? In the wake of the pandemic that plunged the world into hell, the weakness of the cannibalistic giants were virtually unknown–some even say they were truly immortal. From the few accounts accessible, contradictory reports indicated they could be killed, but the how varied from one source to another. The results were ultimately inconclusive, and without a thorough investigation to study the matter further, the truth would never be known to the public eye.

    Not that there would be many eyes to know anyway.

    I just hope a Titan doesn’t appear. Let this go smoothly, his thoughts concluded. His vision was beyond the range of a normal human, so it wouldn’t be difficult in the slightest to spot an oncoming Titan or unruly intruders and intercept them. While it was said that the Titans went dormant after sundown, it was better to remain vigilant and keep his guard up in case of any abnormals. But even that wasn’t the biggest worry compared to the crowd of uneasy people, shuffling between each other trying to keep pace. But out of the entire lot, his supersight took notice of a sudden jolt from one individual…

    Yamashita began to purposefully slow down. Forcing himself through the crowd would prove to be too much and not worth the time getting there first. Worse yet was when he coughed through his mask, so it was probably for the better to keep distance from the others. Deep down, he hoped Takamaru would be the first to enter–the first to be safe, to enter paradise. Unfortunately, the opposite became apparent when he saw him also slowing down to meet with him.

    “Hey!” Takamaru waved, decelerating to keep pace with Yamashita. “Thought you’d be farther ahead, you okay?”

    “Never better,” Yamashita remarked sarcastically, “Don’t need to rush, or at least I hope not.”

    Takamaru scrambled in his pocket for notes he compiled, recollecting the information they pertained. “I’ve been thinking about the whole Colossal Titan thing, and I wonder… If Kubal is the Titan, why isn’t he mindless like the rest?”

    “See, that’s the thing,” Yamashita interjected, “It doesn’t make sense. Kubal’s just a selfish ass. Maybe the Colossal is like a Titan god or an interdimensional alien.”

    “Hmm,” the young man pondered, trying to connect the dots together, but to no success. “Well, maybe let’s not worry about it too much, we can get through this and figure it out…” Takamaru’s wistful thoughts were cut short, noticing Yamashita becoming paler. “Ken?” Almost soon after, he began hacking up his lungs.

    “This isn’t some kind of…” Takamaru stopped, eyes widening at the sight before him. Yamashita’s skin grew pale, his hands shaking violently. “Dude, are you okay–?” Unloading a berserk scream, Yamashita’s eyes rolled in the back of his head, forcing Takamaru to take a couple of paces back. “KEN!”

    “GET! AWAY!” Lost in a blood curdling scream, Yamashita began to radiate an electrical light. Shocked and stunned in disbelief, Takamaru could only watch in horror at the grueling transformation that was proceeding. A voice cried out to him, but it didn’t register. Next thing he knew, the man by the name of Hikaru Sakimori rushed in and swooped him off his feet, carrying him to safety.

    Only hearing the thundering boom, the people began to panic. A wave of fear washed over the anxiety-driven crowd, forcing themselves through the masses. Those too slow fell under the wrath of the fear-inducing stampede, others taking refuge in the vacant alleyways of the desolate metropolis. Eyes stared in horror at the monstrosity that formed out of thin air, the brilliant light shimmering for all to see.

    From the steam cloud, the humanoid figure stood nearly 13-meters tall, nearly at eye-level with the surrounding structures, its narrow head and permanently upturned jaw aligned with external denticulations that displayed its horrendous visage. As the hideous fiend stood idly, its eyes glared at the frightened souls that fled before its presence. Drool loosely ran down its jaws, focusing its sights on the fleeing mass ahead…

    Landing perfectly on his feet, Zone Fighter placed the shaken man on his feet. “Are you okay?”

    Takamaru sniffled, both in fright and shock, “No,” he replied earnestly, “but I can move.”

    “Please, then try to get out of here.”

    “But Yamashita, he…”

    “I don’t know what I can do about it, but I’ll do what I can!” Hikaru cemented with a firm nod, allowing the trembling Takamaru to flee to the underground chamber. He turned to face the Titan, who had begun to take its first steps. Spreading his arms out in a ‘Y’ shape, Zone Fighter propelled himself to fly, tackling the large humanoid in the sternum. Surprisingly, the foul human proved to be rather lightweight, hurling the 13-meter Titan off its feet and onto its back.

    Yamashita, I’m sorry, Hikaru contemplated. There’s a good man in you, but I must protect the people! As he stopped in midair, the Titan lunged its hands toward the airborne warrior, hoping to snag him from the sky. But this proved fruitless, the meteor man swerving out of harm’s way. With a sharp battle gesture, a thin blue laser fired off from the antennae atop his helmet, shredding the face of the giant apart like torn paper.

    Takamaru, I’m unsure if I can do anything for your friend, but I hope an answer can be found! Darting from the sky to the ground, Zone Fighter swooped between the opening of the Titan’s legs, planting his feet in the broken road. Another flurry of Meteor Proton Beams eviscerated the giant’s knee joints, crippling the monstrous beast, though experience taught him this was only for the time being.

    Akira… Hotaru… His thoughts led to his siblings. Surely, they would have already started guiding them into the chamber. “Keep going!” Hikaru shouted at the bystanders, “I’ll keep the Titan occupied!” Without a hitch, the frightened people did as he said. In times like these, he had to wonder what life would have been like had he lost his brother and sister during the Garoga War; the ability to shoulder all the burden would’ve been… Overbearing, to say the least. He cast the morbid thought aside, focusing on the matter at hand. The Titan’s legs were reforming, as was its face, though it seemed it’d take a while. This one seemed to be on the slower end of the regenerative spectrum…

    A violent humming caught his auditory senses, the grinding of rubber making it evident it was of vehicular origin. But the sound it emitted was far too close for comfort, reflexively jumping out of the way. In the nick of time, Zone Fighter saw the armored jeep barrel through empty space, without a shadow of a doubt that the outlander was hostile.

    The door swung open with terrifying ferocity, the individual in question stepping out of the jeep, whipping out his pistol and aiming it at the silver-clad man. From what Hikaru keenly noticed, it seemed this man was alone, with no guards around him. But what permeated the air more than the steaming Titan nearby was this man’s seething rage, almost insurmountable.

    A loud pop echoed from the barrel as a bullet flew directly into Hikaru’s shoulder. Despite the attire, the bulletproof layer deflected the caliber round into a wall, though the immediate recoil was rather unexpected for the alien hero. Such a drastic measure spurred Zone Fighter into action, taking great care to avoid unnecessary damage from the ensuing bullet barrage that followed. Leaping into the air, Hikaru kicked off the broad side of a wall and soared at the angry man at high speeds. The tackle brought the man down as Hikaru ripped the handheld automatic from his hand, tossing it aside well out of reach.

    “What the hell are you thinking!” the man shouted out from the top of his lungs, wrestling with the alien that kept him pinned, “You’re leaving the gate wide open for Titans to attack! You’ll be responsible for the deaths of millions!”

    “That’s a lie, and you know it!” Hikaru spat back with righteous fury. “You’re letting these people live in slavery, in fear! What do you have to gain from this? The people need freedom, free from these walls that imprison them!”

    “Quit it with your childish spiel,” Kubal retorted, “You’re only sending them to their deaths, and nothing to show for it! Freedom is a dangerous tool, unless you hold the power to influence them. And that influence is fear, the only way to control the minds of many. Don’t you understand? If they live in a prison, then they know there will always be safety and security.”

    So this must be him. Hikaru’s discernment of human speech could tell these were only half-truths. The man’s words rang hollow, but he could see his eyes set ablaze by a hardened passion–something that keeps him moving forward, no matter the cost.

    “What is it that you fight for, Kubal?” Upon hearing his name, Kubal winced at this stranger uttering his name in defiance, a blasphemy against his personal being. “Why fight for something that strips the very component of being human? Humans aren’t perfect, they can be destructive. But it’s about learning from the experience of mistakes that counts! Enslavement solves nothing, but striving for absolute perfection isn’t the answer either. It’s about making your own choices and learning how to live with them!”

    Kubal grimaced, irritated at this moral tangent. “So what!” Kubal bursted aloud, his face scowling at the masked hero, “Let people be and leave them to their devices? The only thing that matters is power; everything is just a means to an end to accomplish that. So don’t give the courtesy!” Prying his right arm free from the restraints, Kubal delivered a strong hook into Zone Fighter’s cheek. Though the alien held superhuman capabilities and resistances, Hikaru definitely felt the force behind that punch–more so than any Garoga he had encountered.

    A burning wish deep within Hikaru was that his words would get through Kubal’s thick skull, that he could undo the hardening around his heart. But he couldn’t, or at least felt like it was a herculean task set before him. Zone Fighter gripped the free arm and forced it down, applying pressure to it. Neurons signaled Kubal that this outsider threatened to break his arm if he didn’t comply, but there was enough restraint that prevented the bone from being snapped.

    “This wall project, it won’t do humanity any good! Please, let me take these people and find them someplace safe, otherwise–” Before he could complete this thought, Kubal began to scream. A violent, bloody warcry that no human should mutter; an unsettling sight to the only witness to it. Questions stirred in Zone Fighter’s mind, what was the point? But the shifting of gravel made a poignant reminder of the Titan nearby, seemingly driven by the wild call, beckoning it.

    With a tense sigh, Hikaru released his grip and bounced back, putting distance between himself, Kubal, and the Titan. “Then I just have to use everything at my disposal to stop you,” Kubal snarled with a sharp breath, his brow furrowed in a monstrous glare. Kubal opened his mouth and clenched his teeth upon his tongue, bleeding profusely from the self-inflicted injury. The 13-meter Titan tore its mouth wide open, almost eager to swallow Kubal whole. However, sparkling electricity danced around the man, engulfed in a radiant light. Heat and fire expanded from the core, frying the lunging Titan in the process. Saliva dried up, stripping the monstrosity of its flesh. The husk of the wild man was tossed into a nearby structure, which caved in on the cannibal.

    Panic settled in Hikaru, realizing he had only moments before he was caught in the blaze of Kubal’s wrath. Though the only option available to him came back through muscle memory. Kneeling on one knee, he brought his hands out. “Zone!” His hands clenched, leaving his two prominent fingers out. “Double!” Then, in one last move, he brought his fingers to the base of his antenna, channeling all of his Proton power into it. “FIGHT!”

    A shining azureus star consumed the cosmic warrior, allowing himself to evolve into his truest state of being. What had once been flesh shifted into armored skin, his eyes expanding into large, yellow eyes that could see beyond human comprehension. His height expanded exponentially, growing from man-sized to 100-meters in what felt like an instant. The radiant transformation died down as Zone Fighter achieved his giant state, who immediately conjured a rectangular wall outlined in red to protect himself from the ensuing heat from his opponent.

    Likewise, the manifestation of Kubal was already underway. Muscle sinew and bone materialized out of thin air, dispersing a surge of heat and wind in the transformation process. Wrapped in a blanket of muscles and cartilage, the shining light rocketed skyward, allowing the rest of the enormous body to take shape. A sporadic burst of air flowed through the shifter, crashing against the Meteor Zone Barrier, fracturing it. Another concussive boom shattered the transparent barrier, blowing Zone Fighter off his feet, crashing into the diminutive structures nearby.

    Covering his eyes from the blinding light, the silver warrior could only gaze upon the monstrosity that stood before him. The radiant light faded from the colossal giant, the humanoid draped in tremendous amounts of steam that hid its elusive form. Yet from the thick smoke resided the gleaming eyes of terrifying power, baring its boxy incisors that lined its wide mouth. As Zone Fighter struggled to rise to his two feet, he looked up.

    The Colossal Titan, towering over him at 150 meters–dwarfing the Peacelandian giant.

    Zone Fighter struck a battle stance, raising his hands to the air. He dared not speak nor shout his trademark battle chants; this wasn’t a matter of dealing with a mindless drone like the Terror-Beasts of the past, or the native monsters that had once claimed this planet. But, much to Hikaru’s horror, a human, one who’s soul burned with a deep-seated hatred against the world around him. A task that would take everything in his power to extinguish.

    The alien hero clapped his hands together, discharging a freezing white mist from his fingertips. Going for the torso or head would’ve been too predictable of a maneuver, nor did the tremendous height difference help matters. Rather, Zone Fighter kept the spray down low, aiming for the feet of the red muscled giant. It was rather simple, really; paralyze the ruthless warrior, and then keep the pressure going. That was the hope he clung to.

    Alas, the Meteor Freezer was quickly made inert when the lateral leg muscles began to swell like a cancerous tumor, followed by tremendous heat being pushed down the cnemis, blanketing the feet and dispersing the wave of hot air around it. The harsh winds dispelled the freezing weapon, kicking up an unintentional windstorm in the process. Seeing the futility in his efforts, Zone Fighter leapt back and strategized on the fly. He couldn’t afford to hold back.

    Raising his hands to the air, Zone Fighter summoned a pair of missile-braced gauntlets, covering his wrists in two layers of silver and blue barrel cannons and cube-like protrusions. The Meteor Double Anti-Missile Might was the last gift instilled by his father, a surgical procedure using the reverse engineered technology of Super Jikiro to combat against the Garoga Empire. Outstretching both hands, Zone Fighter unloaded a barrage of missiles against the gargantuan Titan, the initial wave shredding and stumbling the Titan with ease. Puncture wounds ripped wide open, gushing steam and heated blood pouring from the holes.

    A fierce flash from the Titan’s eyes initiated a wild burst of steam from the torso region, dispersing the missiles’ trajectories and scattering them amok. The moment the extraterrestrial warrior ceased fire was the instant the Colossal Titan stopped its steam, propelled to take a tremendous step forward. Then another, and another, with its long legs and enormous height to close the distance rather easily. Meaty fingers ignited in a bright light, the exuded heat searing the air around it. Then, in a swing unusually fast for its size, the Colossal Titan arced its arm with a trail of flames following behind it.

    With a firm kick from his Bayonet Boots, Zone Fighter spun high in the air, narrowly avoiding the searing flames that passed beneath him. Switching from jumping to aerial buoyancy, holding out in a ‘Y’ shape. Circling around in loop-the-loops, Zone Fighter built up momentum, keeping out of arm’s reach of the Colossal Titan. An aggravated grunt escaped the Titan’s maw, who began to accumulate heat into its left arm, the glow becoming like that of the sun. Meaty feet buried themselves into the rubble, anchoring the giant firmly in place.

    Upon the final loop, Zone Fighter accelerated his speed exponentially with a tremendously bright trail, activating his Meteor Jet ability. Thrusting his whole body forward, the alien hero held his fist firmly out, prepared to shred through the Colossal Titan like a bullet through mere flesh. All of his strength, the power of shove mountains, in this swift and decisive blow!

    Though had the Titan been any slower, Zone Fighter’s wishes certainly would’ve borne fruit.

    Using pressurized steam to speed up movement, the shining palm intercepted at the last possible moment–unleashing a churning heatwave unlike any other. The astronomical blowback was the equivalent to a powerful explosive, scattering and ripping nearby structures from their foundations. The nigh-unstoppable acceleration of the alien was held in place by the fearsome gales of apocalyptic proportions from the Titan. Zone Fighter noted the rapid consumption of muscle tissue of Kubal’s monstrous form, nearly thinning out into a frail, anorexic state in a matter of moments. But like he was to fare any better; the sudden surge of heat and fire was certainly taking its toll, and he could only maintain the Meteor Jet for so long. So much so, he thought he felt his fist melting into itself. Much to Fighter’s dismay, he felt his strength give out, forcing him to give way to the merciless winds of the red giant. Steam and heat vented from the alien’s body, who’s colossal body rolled through the scattered debris–or whatever was leftover from the aftershock.

    The Peacelandian agent struggled to rise to his feet, his fist trembling in spastic anxiety. His nerves were shot, and it would be a moment before his alien biology processed the insurmountable pain dutifully. Stiffening the fingers of his other hand, the freezer spray coated the burning arm as a needed coolant for a faster recovery. Large yellow eyes shot at the massive figure that approached him, eyes glaring at the crippled hero. With a shrunken, almost skeletal left arm, the Colossal Titan clenched its right fist, prepared to drive it into the spot where Zone Fighter stood. Jumping out of the way, the meaty fist only struck the ruined pavement beneath the warrior’s feet, the Titan uttering a disgruntled growl.

    Glowing irises tracked the heroic alien, who ran to the upstanding Wall Sotono. Carefully adjusting his Bayonet Boots, Zone Fighter began to sprint along the side of the wall, hoping to find some kind of advantage in this pressing matter. Much to his relief, it seemed fortunate favored the brave, rocketing off with a firm, yet delicate kick off the structure. Using this newfound forward momentum, Zone Fighter opted the use of his feet, performing a roundhouse kick against the Titan. The instant the strike connected with the giant’s chest, caving in the muscles and rib bones and knocking the Colossal Titan off its feet.

    Crashing on its back, an eruption of heated blood splashed from the fallen Titan, and parted debris resounded across the battlefield. This gave the silver hero ample time to plant his feet within the torso of the burning nephilim, exposed to the furnace-like innards. But Zone Fighter would quickly extinguish these flames; using his good hand, the Meteor Freezer coated the fallen giant in frost, starting with the head and trailing down to where his own feet were. Cold steam rose from the Colossal Titan, its once vibrant muscles reduced to a pale blue from the deep freeze. When he noticed the Titan ceased movement, he could finally breathe a sigh of relief.

    That was, until he felt the temperature drastically rise.

    Scanning around, Zone Fighter took note of the immense glow of the exposed muscles, radiating the same light it had during their spectacular showcase of power. Not wanting to be in the middle of another of these destructive outbursts, the meteor man took flight and escaped moments before a sea of hot vapors overtook the supersized giant. To Zone Fighter’s horror and dismay, the maimed Titan began to rise, with the frozen portions melting away, liquifying under the immense heat.

    The two locked eyes, knowing full well this fight was far from over. Adjusting themselves for combat, they continued on, and wouldn’t stop until the other had fallen.

    The chamber doors to the underground facility were finally beginning to close, the panicking people sprawling in droves as the last of them rushed in. Concerns and anxiety were high in the Zone siblings, distinctly noticing the sudden surge of fear-stricken civilians. But their ears were quick to pick up the source. “Titan! It’s a Titan!” they screamed collectively, with the cries of others drowned out by the ensuing chaos and heavy breathing. But that was a conclusion they had already come to, especially once the Colossal Titan made its sudden appearance.

    Refugees huddled together within the cramped space provided. Although the underground bunker was graciously spacious, that did little compared to the many bodies occupying every square-inch provided. Eventual tremors shook the subterranean base with the intense fighting going on topside, spiking in irrational panic. Among them, Takamaru struggled to keep pace with the shifting crowd, feeling squished between the filthy humans around him.

    Then, in the dimly lit darkness, a bright light showed itself. The rear door of the evacuation vessel lowered, and the moment it touched ground was when the masses poured into the grandiose starship. The Zones and a handful of willing volunteers tried to corral the civvies into organized groups, and despite great difficulty, the rustle and bustle eventually settled down.

    Within the clean interior, Hotaru and Akira passed through the narrow aisles to get to the cockpit. As they did, everyone remained seated–but the odd one out was Takamaru, who grew sick to his stomach. Questions buzzed in his mind, concerns of the now Titanized Yamashita increased evermore, and the fear of the unknown became all the more haunting. But he knew causing a ruckus would do no one any favors; he had simply hoped everyone got aboard safely.

    Suddenly, a ping from the intercom caught everyone’s attention.

    “Hello. This is Zone Angel speaking, and welcome to Paradise Express,” she started, trying to maintain a jovial mood amidst the chaos, “Please be seated and have your needs taken care of, we will be taking flight in less than five minutes.” Murmurs spread as the comm-link ceased, though Takamaru drowned them out. That was until a familiar voice rang in his ears.

    “Takamaru? I-is that you?” The familiar Canadian stutter broke the man out of his trance, seeing Antoine a row ahead of him.

    “Thank god, glad you could make it,” the Japanese youth sighed with relief.

    “I’d be actually insane if I stuck around!” Antoine chuckled. But he grew concerned when he saw Takamaru drop into a sour gloom. “You all right?”

    “Yeah… But…” Antoine held an ear out, allowing Takamaru the chance to speak. “Yamashita, he’s… He didn’t make it.” Hearing those words made the Canadian’s heart sink.

    “Was it a Titan?”

    “He became one. He tried to eat me. But Zone Fighter saved me.”

    “Oh… Well, I’m sorry to hear that. N-not the Zone Fighter part, th-the–” Takamaru cut him off with an assuring nod, understanding the message. They sat in an awkward silence, tuning into the whirling drones of the engine starting up. In a few minutes, they would be out of this hell and taken to paradise. But is the cost, even for the loss of a single human life, enough to justify the means? Others would feel differently, but for Takamaru, it was an area of uncertainty.

    As they remained fasted in their seats, the colossal spacecraft began to move.

    The buckle situated around the alien’s waist went from the vibrant blue it started as to a bright yellow, indicating that time was awasting.

    Ruins burned with the intensity of steam and fire. Rolling out of the way, Zone Fighter evaded another focused blast of wind from the Colossal Titan. The right arm of the giant was already thinning out from the strain, although the opposite arm had already regained its constitution. Seeing this, Zone Fighter stiffened his hands and held them out, generating and consolidating the Proton power into golden surges of electricity. Arrows of light shot forth from the fingertips, spiraling directly towards the crimson nephilim, effortlessly shredding through its pelvic region. A burst of steam and blood spilled from the newly formed gashes, leaving the Titan in anguished pain.

    Zone Fighter followed up by converting his electrical prowess into carmine energy, bringing his hands together. Channeling his Proton power, the alien warrior spread his hands out, unleashing a wide sickle-like projectile at the gargantuan destroyer. But before the crescent could make contact, a wild bust of steam emitted from the Titan’s torso, immense pressure diffusing the energy weapon and rendering it inert. The ensuing explosion covered the Colossal Titan in dust, though the glowing left arm became more and more apparent by the second.

    Prepared for the worst, the humanoid alien sprinted into action, once again avoiding a column of superheated gale that eviscerated the rubble he once stood on. Yet even despite his best efforts, Zone Fighter found himself masked under the obstruction of dust and debris from the residual aftershock, screaming as the heat consumed him.

    “Tch, what a fool if he thinks he can defeat me.” Though it cost him his Titan’s arms, Kubal felt content. He knew there was fight left in this pest, but so long as he could stop their little escape plan from following through, then all the better. However, he felt a rumbling under his Titan’s feet, turning to face the source of the vibrations.

    “No… No…” Kubal’s eyes widened, realizing what was transpiring. Near the outskirts of the lost metropolis, a massive hangar opened from the streets, no doubt the base of operations for these Zone aliens. He grimaced, realizing the Colossal Titan would be insufficient in intercepting the escape vessel. A loud blast of rocket fuel emanated from the open chamber, with the sleek Peacelandian vessel sailing through the skies. Kubal gritted his teeth in frustration; even in his compromised state, he felt compelled to pursue. Heat generated along its posterior, speeding up its momentum, losing more of the Titan’s body in the process.

    Pulling its loose arm back, the Colossal Titan swung its floppy, useless limb at the airborne ship. But before the moment of contact, one last push from the alien vessel forced it beyond the Titan’s reach, soaring until it passed the horizon. Steam vented between the Colossal Titan’s teeth, seething in irritated rage. His body swelled with exorbitant heat, and…

    The thunderous booms of shredded air caught the colossus’ attention, no doubt the missiles from the silver alien. Superheated steam channeled throughout the Titan’s entire posterior, erupting in a volcanic flash of fire and wind. Just as he did, the powerful gales dispersed the bevy of missiles that aimed to rip and tear him into pieces, once again scattering them all across the ruins of what had once been Tokyo. Kubal felt his organic puppet diminish exponentially, but it was a far better alternative to being torn apart by the enemy. The giant craned its head, keeping tabs on what his foe would do next.

    The Colossal’s eyes saw the meteor man sprinting across the wreckage, although it wasn’t at the Titan specifically. Rather, Zone Fighter focused his attention on the diffused missiles, reaching his hands out. The explosive rods within proximity of the gauntlets began to shudder, being magnetically drawn to the blue ports of the bracelet. Before Kubal could even register this unusual action, another barrage of missiles shot out of the cannons once more, targeted directly at the Titan’s face.

    Then, in an instant, Kubal’s vision went dark with a loud boom.

    Gone was the head of the Colossal Titan, leaving only the lower jaw in its place. Steam bustled from the mangled head, trying in vain to reconstitute. But the sudden loss of the Titan’s greater functions, the exerted steam ceased to be, only able to remain standing due to the will of the human within the nape. In time, he would return more ferocious than ever; but the hero of Peaceland refused to let it be so. With a firm, decisive kick off, Zone Fighter leapt into flight and hovered over the frail, lanky monstrosity that only resembled the Colossal Titan. Clapping his hands together, another spray of the Meteor Freezer jettisoned from his fingertips, coating the anorexic giant in permafrost.

    Unlike before, there weren’t enough fibers to counteract the freezing agent, slowing the Titan’s movements under the immense cold. No matter how much he expended, the wave of ice only consumed more of the body, rendering the heat inert. Even from within the nape, Kubal felt a chill eat away at him, realizing this body was done for. As he tried to force the back of the neck to split open, it dawned on him that he had been sealed shut under a thick blanket of ice. He cursed under his breath, and before he could do anything–

    “METEOR PROTON BEAM!”

    The booming words uttered by the alien for the first time since the fight began alarmed his senses. In the split second that followed, Kubal felt the world around him shatter… His brain clenched as it re-experienced the trauma of the bottle smashing against his head, sweating in anxiety-inducing dread. His gut swirled under the influence of gravitational forces, the nape around him breaking apart until he could see his surroundings. Much like the millions of pieces befallen to the might of the extraterrestrial, Kubal felt himself aimlessly flying through the air, with nothing to hold onto… Only the flash of his daughter came to mind.

    Never forget.

    For Zone Fighter, the moment of the Meteor Proton Beam connected was nothing short of satisfying. The explosive power washed in a blue flash over the stiffened giant, fracturing it in a monochromatic display before being reduced to millions of pieces. A colossal blast rang from the epicenter, sending a wave of frozen chunks of muscle flying amok. But out of the cluster of scattered mass, Zone Fighter’s supersight zoomed in on one oddity out of literal millions. The figure of Kubal was sent hurtling through the air, with nothing to stop his fall. Moving in with speed unprecedented for his size, silver hands reached out and caught the descending human with utmost precision, careful not to crush him under his massive fingers.

    Around them, the frozen and burning chunks broke apart, the scattered cells reflecting like that of snow and ember. Such a serene sight would’ve granted peace, but was offset by the deserted metropolis that laid around them. And in Zone Fighter’s clutches was the source of the pandemic, the one that brought imbalance to this world–the one who made it cruel.

    And justice had to be served.

    Location: [REDACTED] – Year: [UNSPECIFIED]

    Sparks washed over Jet Jaguar’s metallic face as the machine welded the last monstrous beam of titanium plating, concluding an achievement of engineering exactly one week in the making. Taking a few steps back to behold the engineering marvel with its optical sensors, a bare skeleton of the UX-01-92’s right wing gleamed under the white, sterile lights of the launch bay interior. Much work still needed to be accomplished for the gunship, but the sliver of progress gave Jet Jaguar the first glimpse at the arsenal it would create to combat Kubal’s Colossal Titan over the coming decades, and a taste of success after a week of inconclusive scientific research.

    One week of meticulous scouring of the late doctor’s writings bestowed no clarity on Dr. Shiragami’s mind, so a change in strategy was in order. Computations and theories could be processed, accessed and reworked on the fly, but for the sake of efficiency, Jet Jaguar needed its body’s utilization at maximum capacity. Working on the arsenal would suffice, for now.

    Shifting focus to its metallic fingers, sensors scanned gradual degradation from constant, intense physical labor.

    Upgrades or repairs could not be maintained if the arsenal was to be modernized. When the time came for replacing failing body parts, Jet Jaguar acknowledged that a downgrade would be necessary. Perhaps if the engineer attached to the UX-01-92 project, Kazuma Aoki, was still alive, he would approve the allocation of resources to precious creation. The love and attention to detail on the azure blueprints, along with the nickname Garuda demonstrated the late creator’s care. Unfortunately, death granted no leeway.

    A logical fallacy stopped all cognitive processing within the machine, warning the last assumption was not entirely accurate. Religious text flooded the robot’s processors in response to the query.

    If human religion indeed existed as it was scribed, the engineer could be in a variety of places depending on which of the dozens of human books of worship proved true. Aoki’s current location could be in a luxurious afterlife, a demonic realm, reincarnated on a distant world, stuck on Earth in a ghostly form, or thousands of other plausible options.

    Modifying the assumption to accommodate the numerous possible afterlifes and other religious endpoints, Jet Jaguar noted that death granted no leeway unless the existence of an afterlife or soul was indeed true. If such unmeasurable sources of energy within humans did exist, the engineer’s chances of witnessing his final creation was greater than zero; however, Kazuma Aoki’s abilities would depend on whatever form was created by the soul’s transformation after death…

    The last data log replayed endlessly; Jet Jaguar’s mechanical mind feeling an unparalleled tidal wave of enlightenment crash against its artificial psyche. Dr. Shiragami’s secret revealed itself to Jet Jaguar’s calculations, unveiling the final variable which eluded all logical understanding, and yet fit perfectly to the madness unleashed by the late doctor.

    The Soul.

    Religious literature flowed through the robot’s mind once more, but the need for insight narrowed Jet Jaguar’s search criteria from the major religions most renowned literature. In a sea of superstition and belief, facts related to one’s inner self were the true treasure it sought. Scouring the trove of human knowledge it possessed, the machine focused on synonyms of the human soul, hoping to find something to measure the intangible but ever present force within all life. The Polynesian term for the spiritual power that could exist in all things, or Mana, would suffice as the name for Shiragami’s mysterious variable.

    Measurement of Mana was now the next step and to unlock that door, memory would have to be the key.

    The Japanese Self-Defense Force Hanger shifted in a nanosecond to the interior of a familial workshop. Machines of a retro-futuristic design littered the room Jet Jaguar called home for decades, while two men chatted side by side in a conversation lost to memory for most humans, but for the robot, was merely another recorded moment in a vast archive that spanned to his creation.

    Goro Ibuki smiled his renowned toothless grin, handing Dr. Shiragami a CD, locked within a glass case.

    “Diagnostic data for Jet Jaguar before and after that fateful day, as you requested old friend,” Goro asserted, blissfully unaware of the repercussions to befall everyone by the good-natured act.

    “Thank you, I…” Shiragami paused, eyeing the drive in his hands as if inspecting the authenticity. “I think this will benefit my research greatly. Your help-”

    Jet Jaguar’s inventor waved the doctor off, pointing to the machine who stood idly, watching the conversation play out, helpless to change the course of time. “He’s the miracle, one I still can’t come to reason on the whys, just happy he’s around. He’ll outlive us both!” Goro ended with a laugh.

    “Perhaps,” Dr. Shiragami questioned, growing his own devious smile just as Jet Jaguar ended the memory, returning itself to the spartan walls of the facility.

    The fateful day Goro described surely referenced the moment Jet Jaguar became self aware. His inventor never could understand what part the machine changed in his programming to gain its size changing abilities and free-thought, but perhaps his creator was limited by an engineering background, looking for a change when in fact, the answer was something being added.

    Pulling its own diagnostic data comprising visual, audio, and every other measurable metric before and after its clash with Megalon, the machine methodically chipped away duplicate information. From the vast troves in its catalog, only a faint, jumbled noise remained, one which seemed to both exude traits of a high and low frequency. Detecting a portion of the frequency on a visible spectrum, optical sensors readjusted to receive the noise, opening Jet Jaguar’s eyes to a world naturally unseeable to the human eye.

    An endless golden aura hung in the air; a fog of Mana that, while persistent, shifted between transparency and invisibility, mimicking the static-like quality the robot detected. Relocating his attention to its own Mana pulsating body, the aura which radiated off Jet Jaguar did so in a rhythmic pattern, similar in repetition to musical constructs of humanity.

    Registering the emission of its theoretical soul, Jet Jaguar’s focus shifted to his creator, the only comparable source of life within the facility’s empty shell. As the machine closed in, causing the writhing mass that was once his creator to snarl with aggression, the deformed monstrosities’ pain proved clear on the visual spectrum.

    Goro’s Mana pulsed within its body in a warped, erratic pattern. For brief moments, golden waves mimicked the wavelengths of Jet Jaguar’s aura before reverting to another, chaotic pattern. Unlike the robot’s free flowing aura, the body that contained his inventor shed no energy; instead, it soaked up the thin veil of atmospheric mana like a sponge. Ravenous teeth chomped at denser specs just above the Titan’s maw, clarifying seemingly random behavior for the Wraith Titan’s ravenous attention to deviate toward the robot as it approached, writhing with abundant aggression toward the source of untapped potential. Watching Goro’s struggle intensify made clear the horror inflicted upon humanity.

    Dr. Shiragami’s serum modified the human soul without any approval of the infected, twisting its victim into the monstrous forms spread across the continents, each bent on consuming anything that lived to placate their need of Mana. The attacks explained the ravenous Wraith Titan behavior and the subsequent eradication of humanity, while also shedding light on the seemingly erratic aggression toward lifeforms of the smallest variety to those which rivaled skyscrapers.

    Perhaps the serum’s volatility lay in its attempt to force the frequency of one soul upon another? If the soul represented the inner representation of one’s self, with Mana comprising the energy signature of said life force, then maybe manipulation of the soul could alter not just the body, but the mind of the victim, disfiguring the last vestige of humanity within the host. Jet Jaguar pondered its current theory before deciding to modify his antenna to detect the wavelength of Mana on an audible format. Maybe it would prove a method of communication between itself and whatever remained of his dear friend?

    As the machine modified its receivers to pick up on Goro’s unique signature, an inaudible series of seemingly human screams tore through its mechanical sensors. Static boomed forth between the wailing sorrow on display, bringing even the machine a sense of unease and a clarity it hadn’t considered due to the gravity of such a revelation.

    Whatever remained of Goro, his dear creator and friend, was in horrendous internal anguish.

    Taking a step back from the now jiggling runt of a Titan, Jet Jaguar modified its audible array to analyze its own emissions. As the machine attuned to the sound of his own soul, long dormant speakers began to exude a rhythmic poem, seemingly deprived of words that begged to be sung.

    Such peace bestowed a great weight upon the robot’s shoulders, removing all doubt to the extent at which his friend had been corrupted. Even if a cure was possible with years or decades or research, would the nightmarish torment Goro Ibuki suffered in that time be worth the cost?

    The answer was regrettably simple. Robotic eyes gazed at the Wraith Titan, its body uncharacteristically mellow as it soaked in the music. Even as Jet Jaguar approached, Goro’s Titan remained still, wide eyes laser focused on its creation.

    A soft pat of affection graced the Wraith’s temple, drawing a simple grunt before metal sliced into flesh and Goro’s titanic eyes closed forever in solace. The body fell limp, starting with a temporary release of the soaked essence in a wave of light. Steam billowed from the fresh corpse, cells decaying at stupendous speeds. In a matter of moments, Goro was gone from this world. At the very most, Jet Jaguar hoped he had freed his cherish friend from eternal torment.

    The lens around his right eye cracked.

    A deep sorrow lamented his soul, rooted in the loss of one he held so dear. But he knew time was short; his body was already falling apart, and he needed to make the most of it. Then, when the time was right, justice would be enacted for all the lives lost. Until then, he had to keep moving forward.

    Kubal squirmed in the hand of the silver giant, grunting in irritated rage. He felt the immense pressure surrounding his body; at any moment, he could be popped like a grape. Much to his dismay, he was under the mercy of the meteor man–and the final verdict had yet to be decided.

    “Kubal, what do you have to say for yourself?” rang the thunderous warning of Zone Fighter, his gigantic proportions amplifying his voice exponentially. “The people that have been evacuated would have died due to the poor conditions of the Wall Project. One of them was Titanized on the way, which shows the poor thought process of such an idea.”

    “And you will lead many more to die with the gate open!” Kubal spat in bitter fury.

    The giant sighed. “I know.” With his free hand, Zone Fighter walked up to the wall and leaned over, gently sliding the gate down until it was closed shut. “There, happy?” Kubal only responded with a disgusted snort.

    “Humanity deserves to live, to have a chance at life. And this…” he pointed to the walls next to them, “Isn’t the way. Let humanity be free. Allow my siblings and I to take them, and we can work this out.”

    Kubal remained silent, contemplating on his boiling thoughts. “No… That cannot happen, not so long as I live!” he firmly demanded. Disbelief overcame the silver hero, who only saw a man stuck in his own delusions. But he had to try, something had to give.

    “Why? We can figure this out together. We can find a cure for the Titans, there has to be something we can do!” When he heard that, Kubal’s head perked up. “Reconsider, or else…” Hearing those dour words sparked something inside the human, and he began to chuckle at the idea.

    “What makes you think I care about people? They are just a means to an end, a means which you stole from me. I need them here because they might have the solution to my dilemma.” When Kubal spoke those words, Zone Fighter could feel his body tension shift–subtly in body language informing the giant that the feared supervisor of the walls was finally spilling the beans. “I could care less if they get eaten by Titans. If any single living thing in these walls can be just like me, then that will make the search that much easier.”

    “‘Just like you,’” Zone Fighter echoed the words, coming to a haunting realization. “Are you… Farming people as livestock?”

    “If that’s what it takes,” Kubal stated plainly.

    “That’s inhumane!” the star giant shouted, vibrations rushing over the spec of a man. “How could you be so cruel to your own people!”

    Kubal smirked. “It isn’t hard at all to emotionally distance yourself from Titans.” The alien visibly flinched at such an absurd statement, but decided to keep his words to himself. “I do not proclaim to be the most knowledgeable, but here’s what I do know. Every ‘Wraith Titan’ and myself are part of the first generation of post-Titan humans. The virus has already made its rounds all across the globe, and humans have either succumbed to its effects or possess a natural resistance to it.”

    “Meaning?”

    “Meaning that your desire for an infallible cure is probably futile. Every living human on this planet has become a carrier to the Wraith. And those traits will be passed down to the next generation, and the next, and the next… Don’t you get it? The virus has become part of the human genome now, and will be ingrained for future generations to come. The people you stole from me are just Titans waiting to happen!”

    The realization was too mortifying to grasp or comprehend. Let alone difficult to take at face value. “Why? What use do you have for Titans if there is no cure to be found?” A stark silence befell the Titanized human, almost contemplative. With a heavy sigh, he let it loose.

    “To save my daughter. I tried to save her, but she didn’t become like me.” Kubal’s mind recalled the instant as clear as day; standing over his dying child, holding the beacon in his hands. The last sample from Shiragami, to which he shattered with a loud snap.

    Zone Fighter’s stoic eyes widened in horrified thought. The dots began to connect; the Titan outbreak began in Tokyo, then made its way all across the world… “No…”

    “If there is a chance that any Titan like me exists, then I must seize that chance. If billions more have to be sacrificed for my daughter’s well being, then that is a burden I will bear. So long as the population is sustained within these walls, I can save her!”

    “NO! Mutilating people into Titans, is that what she wants? How would she live if she knew the monstrous actions you took to get there?”

    A grim shadow outlined his eyes, but he nodded in assurance to himself that this was the right path, growing confident in his assessment. “Because she’s stronger than me,” he admitted, his sharp eyes piercing the silver giant. They burned with a righteous passion, a reflection of his soul. “Because she will grow to be strong! That I know without a doubt.”

    “No Kubal,” Zone Fighter shook his head in utter disgust, “I’m sorry. I know she means the world to you. I have siblings that mean the world to me; but the cost will be far too great. There must be another way!”

    “Then tell me something, alien,” Kubal scoffed bitterly, “What would you be without your cherished family?” The nagging feeling crept up from the back of Zone Fighter’s mind, almost seeing another version of himself. Broken, lost, without a cause. He had lost his parental figures in the Garoga War, losing his precious brother and sister would be beyond devastating. But even in this brokenness, a light would carry him onward. That light was his hope.

    “Even in the depths of despair, I can only push onward. So long as people call for help, I will be there.” That was his only response.

    “Tch, I knew you wouldn’t understand. But it doesn’t matter. I will control everything under my thrall if it means I get what I want. If the Public Order turns against me, or if there is a revolt from lowlife scumbags, then they will know the consequences of my wrath!” Kubal boasted confidently.

    “You’re wrong, it does matter,” the Peacelandian giant interjected, “Because if you so much as bite your tongue or your cheeks, I will resort to terminating you. This isn’t my wish, but I will do what I must if it’s to protect the people I care for. For humanity.”

    “Then we’ll–” Kubal cut short, his face becoming pale. His breathing became sudden and erratic. Zone Fighter could feel the sudden spike in tension; from what he could feel, his heart pulsating, throbbing in the man’s chest. The immediate conclusion he came to was a heart attack!

    “Kubal!” The silver giant cried out, helplessly watching as the man succumbed to the fatal infarction. It was a surreal sight to behold; the man who proclaimed dominion over this world falling victim to a biological defect like the humans he despised so much. And there wasn’t a thing Zone Fighter could do about it with all the power at his disposal. In a matter of seconds, the tyrant of the walls fell limp, his breathing coming to a crawl. The giant softened his grip, allowing the body to slide down in the cradle of his large palm.

    On this night, Kubal died in his hand.

    Aboard the Paradise Express – Pacific Ocean – 3 A.T.

    It had been several hours since their departure. Those who were privileged to see from the rear windows were the last to see Zone Fighter confronting the Colossal Titan before they vanished under the dark horizon. There was no looking back now, only an uncertain future free from the shackles of slavery and surveillance.

    Steady the spacecraft kept its aerial momentum, sailing the starry night skies until it passed the threshold that divided the hemispheres. Over the horizon, the sun came into view, shining its brilliance upon the tired, exhausted, and the sick. As the refugees minded their own businesses, the pilots at the helm kicked back and let the Paradise Express operate on autopilot.

    “I don’t know why, this feels strange,” Akira wondered, staring off into empty space. “We got what we wanted, right?”

    “I mean, yeah, I’m not seeing the problem with it,” Hotaru replied, albeit befuddled to her brother’s strange mood. “Maybe we lost one or two on the way, unfortunately. That could be what’s on your mind.”

    “Titans? Yeah, kinda.” The younger man pondered, almost as if that wasn’t the answer to quench his mind. “But I feel anxious not seeing Hikaru here… With us, carrying these people to a better place.”

    “Don’t… Don’t worry about it. He’s holding back the biggest threat we could’ve had right now. Remember what he told us back in the bunker?”

    Akira begrudgingly nodded, recollecting the words said by their brother. “‘Whatever happens, protect these people, until they can fend for themselves.’”

    “So we just protect them until then, right?” Hotaru concluded confidently. Akira wasn’t sure, but at the end of the day, he had to honor his brother’s words; not just for the people that need it, but to uphold Hikaru in his memories.

    “Yeah,” Akira sighed, releasing a deep breath, “Thanks for that.” For a time, they rested, getting some much needed shut eye after the hectic events of recent memory. But this proved to be short lived as a thunderous boom resounded from within the vessel.

    “Akira! Take the controls!” Hotaru sharply ordered, rushing outside to investigate. The younger Zone did not hesitate and took over, steering the refurbished spacecraft and keeping it steady.

    Takamaru and Antoine got accompanied with one another, talking hours into sunrise about other subjects to get their mind off the trauma of recent events. But even after shared laughs and common talk, a residual feeling of incompleteness remained in Takamaru.

    “What’s up? You seem out of it,” Antoine asked with worry-filled eyes.

    “It’s Kubal, it’s the Colossal Titan, it’s…” Takamaru paused, reflecting on the matter. “I don’t know, I feel like there’s a connection there between the two. I just can’t put the pieces together.”

    Antoine pondered, letting his mind wander to see if he could help his fellow friend. “Nope. Can’t think of anything.”

    “Maybe…” Takamaru let his mind drop into freefall, going with the flow, “What if only specific humans can become those kind of Titans? The non-Wraith ones.”

    “So you’re telling me that Kubal has some magic superpower that only he has? No thanks, not giving him that much credit.”

    “But think about it, if Titans are able to manifest out of thin air, wouldn’t there need to be some kind of catalyst for it?” Takamaru inquired, trying to convey his outlandish thoughts.

    “But then, what’s the trigger?” Antoine simply asked. Such a simple question stumped Takamaru, forcing him to conjure wild theories and ideas, but to no avail.

    “I don’t know. Maybe–” Then, he started coughing.

    “Yeesh, y-you all right man?” Antoine stuttered, “That sounded like a nasty cold.”

    “I’m not fully sure, maybe I should quarantine myself to be safe.” The youth rose to his feet, scooting across the aisles to find someone of expertise, or at least a place to be alone. The Canadian kept his eyes on his acquaintance, concerned for his well being. Unfortunately for Antoine, his worries turned out to be spot-on; the lopsided Takamaru fell over and collapsed, violently twitching as he slammed to the ground. Frightened people gathered around, morbidly curious as to the cause of the sudden seizure. But those that were next to him began to scream something Antoine didn’t want to hear.

    “IT’S A TITAN, MOVE!” Panicked cries echoed the lanes, crumbling over each other just to live. In the next few seconds, a flash of light and eruption of steam flooded the narrow space, choking those who were inhaling the sporadic vapor clouds. The entire ship was knocked off its axis, throwing every individual off their balance. When Hotaru arrived at the first door, she was initially overwhelmed by the flood of fear-stricken people trying to get out of the way.

    “What’s going on?” she firmly inquired, awaiting an instant response.

    “There’s a Titan onboard!” That was all she needed to know. Rushing through the crowd, she did her best to slip by, eventually coming across the steam that indicated a Titan’s presence. When she barged through, what she found was horrific. Even in the short span of time, the melted steel and scattered body parts painted the interiors with blood. When she identified the Titan, she saw it had a victim in its mouth–a Canadian man, half chewed and dead from fright.

    “No… No…” Despair turned to rage as she readied her battle stance, ready to take on the Titan. But before she could, more eruptions made themselves known. Her eyes widened in fear, realizing what was happening. By a cruel twist of fate, these people had begun undergoing Titanization. The ensuing explosions ruptured the hull of the mighty spacecraft, humans and Titans being sucked out by the air pressure and mercilessly tossed into the roaring ocean. The turbine engines that kept the vessel afloat became compromised, decelerating and losing aerial buoyancy.

    In the cockpit, Akira tried his damnedest to keep it afloat, but knew that he couldn’t. Setting it to autopilot for a last ditch effort, Akira rushed to join his sister in the hell that awaited them both. Soon, the Paradise Express came tumbling into the ocean with a tremendous splash, sinking beneath the waves…

    A somber feeling washed over the humanoid figure, unsure of how to feel about it. What was the root cause of Kubal’s death? It was a troubling question that lingered in the mind of Hikaru. The symptoms carried very similar characteristics to a heart attack, and that had been his initial conclusion. But rewinding the moment in his memory, was that really the case? His vision was impeccable in his giant form, able to see almost 242 kilometers away without fault; focusing said vision into the human body allowed him to peer between the skin cells and pigments, analyzing every structure of the human body. Although he did not possess true X-Ray vision, this was the closest facsimile he had to it.

    When his hyper fixated eyes located the heart, there was not a clot to be found within it. Perhaps because the subject had already passed, the clot had already been broken apart? No, that can’t be possible, his death was the result of heart failure, Hikaru contemplated, quickly trying to assess the situation. It was then that the vile words of the spiteful human rang in his mind.

    “I will control everything under my thrall if it means I get what I want.”

    Hearing those words repeat in an endless loop made him realize something. One disturbing realization after another with this individual. Could it be… That the ‘heart attack’ was self-induced? In his mind, he concocted theories aplenty; but in the end, he narrowed it down to what seemed like the most feasible. An influx of cortisol perpetuated by excessive mental stimulation, forcing his mind and heart to overexert themselves with stress. Even if he was wrong in his assessment, it was at least a basis to operate on.

    But he knew it wasn’t the most perfect conclusion; rather, it spiraled into a series of other questions he had to ask. Out of all of them, one left the most prominent in his mind. If that’s the case, then what would be the need to kill h… Zone Fighter took a glance at the rolled up eyes of the dead human.

    They were staring right back at him.

    Static electricity surged throughout his hand, and it clicked that he was about to initiate a transformation! In a near instantaneous reaction, Zone Fighter curled his palm into a clenched fist–crunching the body in a visceral and sickening pop, blood oozing between his silvery fingertips. Hikaru felt sick to his stomach; while it was no bluff that he’d execute any global menace, there was something unsettling about enacting this on a human being. It felt immoral, but at the same time, what immediate choice did he have?

    Unfortunately, with the guilty feeling of disgust, heat began to exude from within his fist. Light brimmed from the shadows of his large hand, scorching with immense heat as it expanded from the source. All of this concentrated power terrified the Peacelandian hero; more yet, he couldn’t feel the pain sensory in his hand anymore. His eyes fooled him into thinking his grip had loosened; when in reality, they were beginning to char away, which only became more evident when a sudden shockwave ruptured the rest of his remaining hand.

    Kubal’s ragged form became a shining beacon, surrounded by torrential hellfire and tornado-like winds. New bones and muscle began to materialize, wrapping Kubal in a blanket of membranes that encased his body within the nape. The Titan’s head and bust came into form, its eyes glaring at the star-destined hero. In that moment, Zone Fighter began to scream in unsettling pain and agony. It felt as if a fiery-hot poker stabbed into his radial artery and only pushed in deeper into his forearm. The manifesting spine shredded the giant of light’s arm in two, only to be parasitically wrapped under layers of muscle fibers and raw tendons. The more of the Colossal Titan that came to be, the more of its body merged with Zone Fighter’s own, akin to a sickening, living hand puppet.

    Even when overwhelmed in excruciating and nerve-wracking torment, Zone Fighter mustered the strength to channel his Proton power into his opposite arm. Electrical sparks focused into his fingertips, prepared to fire off an energized cutter to lob off his arm. But before he could, a massive meaty hand grappled the arm and effortlessly snapped it like a twig. A traumatic scream resounded from the cosmic warrior, as a sudden powerful pull ripped the arm clean out of its socket, spraying crimson ichor.

    Light faded as the completely manifested upper torso of the Colossal Titan shoved the stumbling alien down onto his back, crashing against the ground with a hard thud. Zone Fighter struggled and wheezed under the burning might of the nephilim, who focused his palms and slammed them against the meteor man’s head. Alternating between them, the Colossal Titan mercilessly pounded the visage of the once graceful hero, leaving nothing more than a contorted look nigh unrecognizable to what it once was.

    Concussive shockwaves battered the ruined city, swaying buildings falling under their weight.

    The belt around the giant’s waist faded, transitioning from yellow to red, then to nothing as the life essence drained from his mangled body. With one last blow for good measure, the Colossal Titan finally ceased its onslaught. Its hands dropped to its sides, facing down at the maimed hero from the stars. During this silence, Kubal’s body began to reconstitute; for it had been broken and fractured into many painful pieces. Had it not been for the graces of his Titanized abilities, death certainly would have granted him the chance to experience mortality.

    As bones cracked back into place and nerves and muscles reconnected, a burst of steam ruptured from the nape, freeing Kubal from his enclosure. Leaning his Titan’s torso to the ground, the man tore from his fleshy constraints and set foot on shattered pavement, making a stride to the guard rooms in Wall Sotono to contact the Public Order. But shifting gravel caught the man’s attention, witnessing the Titan from earlier emerge from the grave. Its flesh had only just completed wrapping around its body mass, though it was clearly incomplete. Its eyes had just reformed, and had very little hair beyond the miniscule strands.

    The 13-meter Titan glanced at Kubal, eager to consume him as it had tried to earlier. But then out of both of their peripherals, the body of Zone Fighter flashed in a bright light, vanishing instantly. This drew the Titan’s attention, and what it saw stunned it; compared to the contained essence of the human before it, this new signature was running wild, emanating nearby. Craving to consume the greater force of mana, the Titan sprinted for the other source–giving Kubal ample time to rush to the steel gate.

    When it got there, it found not the body of the giant, but the body of a man–whose essence was sprawling out of his mangled corpse. Without a second thought, the carnivorous humanoid snatched the brutalized cadaver and placed the corpse between its teeth, chowing down on it. As the remnants of Hikaru Sakimori was left to fall into the monster’s gullet, the brute instinctually realized that this wasn’t the one. A failed attempt acted on pure impulse. Its soul screamed in agonizing pain, with a tear falling from its face. Whether it remembered the man it consumed or not was not something it knew, but a harrowing feeling of regret overwhelmed the Titan.

    The bustling light had faded, and hope died with it.

    “Flee?” Randy snapped, flummoxed by such a statement. “Tactical retreat on the worst of days. The Z-Man can take on anything.”

    Before Monique could break down her friend’s baseless defense, the echo of metallic feet dropping beside them forced her attention to Jet Jaguar. Ascending to an upright position in halted, single movements, the machine outstretched his hands and began to shift his fingers. Five different hand gestures repeated twice, spelling their location out in American Sign Language.

    “Japan.” Monique said aloud, drawing a simple nod from Jet Jaguar.

    “Perfect,” Randy exclaimed. “So we talk to the locals and-”

    Mechanical digits began to sign once more. Jet Jaguar gifted Monique a far larger set of letters, bringing their current situation in line with expectations.

    “No humanity.”

    “You sure,” Randy inquired, only to be shot down by another affirmative sway of the robot’s head.

    “Where are we exactly?” Monique asked.

    Digits flexed forth a response, repeating twice in rapid succession.

    “189 kilometers south of Tokyo.”

    Such a location brought a new level of difficulty to the mission. While her affection for the creature wavered from time to time, Monique could not undervalue its impressive abilities, including its unparalleled speed whether swimming or burrowing. With a week to freely traverse the planet, the creature could easily reside on the farthest reaches of any continent, and while Jet Jaguar could scan far reaches of the globe, how much was possible within their limited timespan.

    Not enough, Monique decided and shifted to a new plan of action. “If Tokyo exists, it gives us options to locate or attract the creature. Let us go, unless you both have another-”

    Jet Jaguar’s head snapped right, halting Monique’s orders. Black eyes focused on the treeline a hundred meters away and following the machine’s gaze, the French member noticed a detail she wished she’d spotted minutes prior.

    The wall of thick, thirty meter tall trees wasn’t solid in the slightest, but spotted with dozens openings below their tops. Wide tunnels were carved beneath the upper branches, gifting enough room for a convoy to drive through, or as the agent felt growing quakes rattling her body, an army to hide or maneuver under.

    Monique’s mad instinctual dash was instantaneous, as was her lunge into the back of the helicopter’s open bay. Her impact echoed against the metal, but the rough landing barely slowed her down as a quick pivot propelled her into the pilot’s chair. Fingers raced, prepping systems which roared rotors to life and just as the start commenced, the transport’s roar was drowned out by a nearing, stampeding horde.

    Jet Jaguar hadn’t retreated like her and Randy, who still was thirty feet out from the helicopter; instead, the mechanical machine had taken position halfway between the forest and its team, shifting its size to a titanic thirty meters. The robot was a gargantuan force to trespass against, yet as the treeline began to visibly shake, a pale masse flowed forth like water.

    Of all the types of monsters or animals Monique expected to burst forth, oversized humans never crossed her mind, yet by the hundreds they charged. Naked, fleshy bodies swaying side to side, uncaring if one of their horde fell or was overtaken. The machine reared back at the sight, seemingly shocked at the running wave of fifteen meter humanoids until its right hand flexed and swung forward, dropping the first wave with a devastating chop. Swinging his arm back to strike the second proved too slow as the humanoids lunged, engulfing Jet Jaguar and submerging it under a writhing pile of naked bodies.

    The horde continued to pile upon the machine and then, the following waves crashed head first over the masse, clawing forth toward the helicopter. Monique felt locked in place, unable to shift her gaze from the approaching swarm of death desiring humanity until Randy screamed, “Vamos!”

    Monique pulled the joystick hard. Rotors squealed from a lack of preparedness, yet the transport, whether ready or not pushed off the ground, listing over the beach as the swarm overtook the yellow, grassy hills.

    Sand kicked up over smiling faces, but the dozens of humanoids continued in their relentless pursuit, kicking up salt water until their bodies fell beneath the waves. Just as she felt relief beginning to form, an abnormal woman, her long black hair flowing as she ran on all fours, jettisoned off its fellow kind and sprung toward the chopper, mouth agape as if to swallow the transport hole. Shifting direction to ascend, Monique pulled back merely for the top of the creature’s head to careen into the chopper’s right side.

    Armor snapped. Forces launched the chopper into a spiral. Desperate, Monique pulled against the rotation, fighting momentum for some semblance of control. As the water neared, the agent screamed, yanking with all the strength she could muster. Racing toward collision against calm waters of the pacific, Monique’s mind thought back to her last aerial failure.

    Disarming the pilot should’ve been second nature, even with the ascent of the helicopter at the time. But an oversight let a gun slip by, a round was fired, and while she escaped unscathed, Dr. Nick Tatopoulos’s fate was set. She was the protector of H.E.A.T., that one meant to ensure everyone came home safe, and toward that goal, she had failed, leading to her team’s current predicament.

    Such an oversight could never happen again.

    Metal groaned as it bent, contorting and forcing the twirling mechanical beast to halt its uncontrolled spin as it skimmed cresting waves. Cold liquid splashed across Monique’s legs before she fought the chopper to ascend and while sluggishly, the bruised transport obliged. The helicopter ascended and pressed forward, a minor hobble the only noticeable leftover injury of the near fatal crash. A chorus of laughter from a man who more than likely thought he’d die, deafened the whirling blades, drawing Monique’s attention to the back.

    “Zombies,” Randy managed to say between his bombastic cackling. “Giant, naked Zombies. Oh, World War Z, eat your heart out. Or… brains, I guess.”

    Stumbling to the co-pilot seat, the man continued to chuckle to himself.

    “So, Jet Jaguar. He’s… He’s, ugh-”

    “Fine,” Monique interrupted and then knocked on her left arm as if it were a door. “Metal skin. Besides, he can grow or fly, no? Many avenues of escape.”

    The man’s laugh came to an end. A wide smile taking shape which Monique welcomed with one of her own.

    “Good, cause Jet Jaguar is a terrible name. The man’s due for an upgrade.” Pointing to the blue ocean, the man raised a single eyebrow. “So, ugh, where precisely are we tactically retreating too?”

    Doubt attempted to take hold over Monique merely to be brushed aside. There was no further room for worry, only action.

    “Tokyo.”

    Winner: Colossal Titan

    K.W.C. Kaiju War Chronicles

    K.W.C. // June 20, 2022