Godzilla:2000 - New Era

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Desghidorah
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Godzilla:2000 - New Era

Post by Desghidorah »

To both celebrate the 20th anniversary of the US release and for fun, I'm doing a rewrite of Godzilla 2000 set in my previously established continuity. Called the Amalgam timeline, it gets complex later but the short of it is built off the Heisei saga, with an altered version of The Mysterians occurring in the 1950s to help explain the psychics and sci-fi tech in the 1980s, and then a slightly altered Rebirth of Mothra 1-3 occurring immediately after it while the matured third Godzilla was in a coma due to rapid aging to an adult. I have much more written (about 40k words worth) but I want to release it in chunks. It's been a blast to write as it's very interesting to see how character dynamics and backhistories from G2000 shift now that continuity is involved. Stuff like Dr. Shinoda having worked at G-Force during the early 1990s or aliens having already happened once before. Add in some supernatural elements, some family dynamics and more focus on the main human trio of the GPN, and making the Millennian a lot more horror angled with a bigger focus; and you get the cusp of a New Era.



We had breached upon the trade winds south by south-east of Nipan when the storms came to a surge with the Triangle. As the wind whipped and seas roared, a strange manner of light became visible on the starboard. The sun had set and overcast blotted out moon and starlight, so the phosphorescence had come from the depths. The sea broiled and I ordered the men to row the ship forward, fearing the brightness to be from an undersea volcano. A form was spotted and a net was cast, but the fish ensnared was born of The Pit. The greater of their kind came upon us and destroyed the center mast. Harpoons and shot did little but force it overboard. The quartermaster was seized by the leg and we thought him perished when the demon dragged him into the depths from it hence came. It seemed as if a miracle later when he persevered below deck and we continued on towards port. But God in Heaven preserve his soul-
-Journal of António Mota, Portuguese Expedition to Japan, 1543. Remainder of the log censored by order of the Holy Office of Rome and King João III






================
1986, Odo Island
================

His name was Yuji Shinoda. A few days ago he’d been the luckiest man in the world with a promising career, friends and colleagues, surviving parents who were proud of him, and a loving wife who was literally out of this world in how she’d opened up his.

Asuka was everything Yuji wasn’t and was. Outgoing, but also intelligent. Astute, but also jovial. Confident, but also casual. They’d both be able to spew out a solid nine minutes of scientific jargon, but he’d do it tripping over his own tongue while she’d have the poise of an idol. What all she found endearing in him besides ‘making her happy and laugh’ was elusive to him, but he could trust he had to be doing something right… They’d survived protest groups still refusing to recognize Mysterians as people. They’d survived him nearly botching his life at every turn trying to be adequate for her and finding out it was vice versa as well. They’d survived him completely blundering their first date at every step from having his tie done wrong to his shoes being on the wrong feet. It was no small miracle he didn’t trip over his toes at the altar and require his groomsmen Shiro Miyasaka or Joe Brody to catch him, he certainly felt weak in the knees seeing his Mysterian bride-to-be in Odo Island bridal garb. They’d even survived Godzilla up close in 1984 in a harrowing incident with the being his parents’ people called an avatar of Destruction, a night that still gave him nightmares to this day.

This was supposed to be a trip of joy. An excursion to visit his parents back on Odo and keep them updated on the latest development with the pregnancy to bear them a grandchild… He was such a damn fool to travel with Asuka so far along, despite her insistence.

Elsie Chapman, an old family friend, had accompanied them to see the sights of his colleague’s homeland. Coming as a tourist, she was forced to put her limited medical knowledge to the best use she could when Asuka went into labor prematurely. They were on Odo Island and the far side at that. The nearest hospital was hours away on a calm night and it was storming to the likes of which some of the old timers seemed certain that Godzilla’s wrathful spirit was reaching out beyond Mount Mihara, his prison.

A few hours later, he was sitting with a form he didn’t know how to fully comprehend. A tiny, premature infant rested in his arms. She was so small, so fragile. He was so petrified because he worried that one wrong move would end up breaking her, his baby girl. She was supposed to be lively, active like her mother. Born in a spotless hospital with the best technology his wife’s race could get to make such unions’ safety assured. Not a dark, creaking, wooden fishing house he grew up in. She was so small, and so still at times...

The door opened and he barely registered it. An exhausted, distraught and barely composed zoologist stepped out. Her typically curly red hair was frayed and soaked with sweat and steamed, sterile water she’d been ordering by the bucketful. Her glasses were crooked on her short nose, and Elise was making no effort to fix them while clearly making an effort to hide the dark stains on the apron she was wearing. He knew from the smell alone it was blood and who it was from, sending Yuji’s already crushed heart to the point of shattering.

“I-I…” Elise gulped, wiping her reddened eye with the back of her wrist, trying to remove some of the crusty tears and mucus from her sobbing, “She had… an undiagnosed radiation-born cyst and scar in the birth canal, maybe from that time back in ‘84 when she was… You two got so close to it... The premature labor and delivery ruptured it too much to patch. I closed it but-... I-I wasn’t quick enough.”

Elise hung her head in shame and grief as her spine froze over, “She lost too much blood… She-”

He didn’t even hear what she said, only rising from his chair and staggering forward with his daughter held in his hands. He moved, almost on autopilot, until he sat in a chair beside an old bed with a single occupant. Even with all the fixtures set up for the operation, the room was still quite dark as some small mercy to him. Fear of agony wanted to keep him ignorant to the true condition of it all.

His face was pathetic, sporting a bad shave and leaking from all orifices while frowning. He didn’t need to see more to cry, he’d been exuding tears the entire time until a frail hand with gray skin that was supposed to be several shades darker wiped the waterworks. Asuka was not who she should be.

She was supposed to be lively, jubilant, confident. The life of the party, soul in the research, and drive for discovery. She wasn’t supposed to be covered in sweat, looking drained of life with gauntness about her darkened sockets and cheeks, and in a bed with red stained sheets; her pale gray hair looking decayed and her beautiful black veins that ringed her eyes appearing constricted to tiny lines. It was such a dissonance he couldn’t help but sob again.

Her hand slowly slid from his face as he was coaxed to lean in, feeling his wife’s hand rest upon his as he held their greatest treasure. Her ring-clad finger crossed over his, touching the Western bands of oath they’d accepted alongside what was traditional.

“Yu...ji…” her once lively tone, now a dry rasp; and yet he listened as if all that mattered in the world depended on every syllable.

Asuka swallowed, the Mysterian woman clearly fighting to hold on just a moment more every second. She probably tore her throat screaming earlier. And yet, she remained as soft as possible as she nestled her daughter close to her. The little premature baby, perhaps desperately needing energy, was sound asleep. Asuka let a tear roll down her face as she cradled her hybrid daughter, putting her forehead to her child’s in an mysterian kiss before adopting the Terran customs she loved so much and lightly putting her lip’s to the little one’s cranium.

“Our… beau-utiful… dreamer…” she cooed, before laying back and taking in a deep breath.

Yuji, much of his mind still not processing, followed her line of sight to what was on the nightstand within arm’s reach. A little wind-up music box, intended as a gift from his mother to her first born grandchild. Yuji held his daughter with his wife in one hand, their fingers knitted together and rings touching, as he reached over and turned the lever around and around.

A soft lullaby began to play. Asuka’s mouth curled into a smile at the start as she closed her eyes. Every time the box started to slow, Yuji wound it up again. And again. And Again. His parents were still off getting help, Elise was no doubt barking at the radio to see where that emergency chopper she called for an hour ago was.

Yuji only stopped repeating the song when his wife’s hand went cold and fell away from his, leaving him alone to hold her last gift to him.



His name was Yuji Shinoda. A few days ago he’d been the luckiest man in the world…

=======
1993
=======

Yuji Shinoda was in a fantastic state, and definitely looked it! Clean shaven, well rested, and for once he’d even managed to get his tie on properly. For the first time in a long, long time since a familial visit to Odo Island, he was truly happy. His job at Kyoto’s Biotechnics institute had been going steadily, he was a head of research for the G-Project studying Godzilla cells, and his work had cleared the legal hurdles and loopholes. Study of Godzilla’s cells had some… interesting framework. Maybe because no one wanted to seriously sign an international law with a name taken from an Odo Island legend, but the UN law banning study of cells from “The Large Scale Aggressor who attacked Tokyo in 1984” didn’t apply to others of his species. Everyone was worried about another Biollante being created, but Yuji wasn’t daring to do something so brazen.


The Godzillasaur species was a potential medical miracle. Some compound in their blood made them all but immune to radiation short of meltdown models of an overdose. Some notes he had from Dr. Shirigami suggested it was genetic and Yuji had all but confirmed it with Io’s playmate. Adona Island, where his egg had been found, should have had enough dirty nuclear material dumped on it to make it glow in the dark for the next decade. The Godzillasaur egg as well as the unknown species of pterosaur Radon hailed from however, had sucked it up like a sponge. That should have turned whatever it was in the egg into a deceased mass of tumors, but nothing happened. A few vials of blood taken with Azusa’s go-ahead during a medical checkup showed no issues with the little guy.


If he could find a way to isolate the compound and make it safe for humans, the possibilities weren’t a short list! Nuclear power plant workers, cities besieged by kaiju, victims of any meltdown incidents at any facility and many, many more could be helped.


He absentmindedly rubbed at the old ring he still bore around his finger as a cold, then warm feeling came over him.


He looked up from his work desk, a busy mess of organized chaotic papers and computer screens, and checked the time. 5:00 P.M.

It was time.


Yuji Shinoda saved all of his progress, putting his work away for the day as his smile grew. Before setting off for the zoological exhibits, he couldn’t help but notice a disgruntled looking soul sulking in the other head of research station. Kyoto Institute didn’t just house G-Force, but Crisis Control Intelligence. After all, one has to keep all their R&D in the same basket and in theory that breeds cooperation. C.C.I. made Mechagodzilla and G-Force staffed the pilots as one example of it in theory.


In practice they were about as united as the UN. Yuji could barely stomach working with C.C.I. elements at the best of times, even when they tried to seem approachable. Too many times he caught signs someone had been trying to access his computers, too many times he’d found them withholding “non-essential” information that was extremely important, and far too many times he’d been left wondering and worrying what they wished for their fantastic creations and research to be used on if “The Large Scale Aggressor who attacked Tokyo in 1984” was finally killed. Developing defenses was fine, but the reckless development of atomic weapons had created Godzilla in the first place. If a nuclear bomb could give rise to such a leviathan, what might a weapon that could kill such a being unleash?


He also didn’t much fancy the observations that their Mechagodzilla was shaped after an image of fear.


Their historic abuse of the Mysterians already put them in rough waters with Yuji, but their associate for this project was downright insufferable. Which was why Yuji was all too happy to see the typically cocky, confident, tall form of Mitsuo Katagiri nursing a black eye. Yuji made his way to the door, but just couldn’t resist passing by his C.C.I “co-head’s” desk.


“Run into a door, Katagiri?” Yuji hummed in faux concern.


Yuji, Dr. Omae had me run a CT scan,” Katagiri snapped back while intentionally using Shinoda’s given name as a slight.


Typically given names were reserved for two kinds of people. Friends or those you were wishing to not respect with a family name. Yuji held no illusions which category he fit in for Katagiri but was in too much of a good mood as he tilted his head, “Want me to get you some ice? And since when do you work with Omae?”


Katagiri took on a subtle but not subdued glare, “Omae asked for you but you were busy, as was Dr. Gojo.”


Yuji’s brow furrowed slightly. Omae, head of zoological specimens, was clue enough but Azusa was all but confirmation that Katagiri had done something involving “Junior”. And he hadn’t been all that busy in the past few hours.


“Little scaly give you that?” Yuji poised while motioning for Katagiri’s shiner.


Azusa didn’t approve of my methods,” Katagiri quietly noted with so much reserved spite one could swear he said Dr. Gojo’s given name with the disdain one would give a swear word involving a female dog.


Yuji resisted a passive temptation to make both of his eyes match and rubbed his thumb on his ring finger. It was something Asuka would have been all too happy to indulge in, but he had to stifle it for now. This was supposed to be a happy, calm day.


“How proceeds work on the samples,” Katagiri grunted with his stoicism returning, but Yuji knew all too well that meant he was just as if not more disgruntled than if growling.


“With Dr. Omae’s clearances, legislation regarding the cell cultures of the big Godzilla aren’t going to be a problem,” Yuji noted as he crossed his arms and nodded to himself, “Tedious paperwork, but someone’s gotta do it.”


“I know of a way to reduce that paperwork and have the UN not be breathing down our necks,” Katagiri retorted with a stoic stab in his pitch.


Shinoda deflected it after it cut in and verbally beat it back thanks to having the nerve to, “We are not transferring to the C.C.I. facility.”


“You know as well as I do this research is defended currently by the existence of Dr. Omae’s work and a legal loophole,” Katagiri stood up and looked slightly down at him from his greater height, “How long do you think this facility can keep the former going and keep the latter out of the UN’s spotlight?”


“Asuka and I’s project was born here with G-Force,” Yuji grunted, his verbal sword outwards.


“And I recall it had its genesis, as she herself, was at C.C.I.,” Katagiri parried and shrugged his shoulders.


Shinoda bristled. Genesis, more like coerced R&D work his in-laws were forced into after the Mysterians were defeated. If there was any proof C.C.I. could get away with anything, it was the fact they weren’t shut down when some of the truth came out of how the group tasked with ‘managing’ the refugee aliens was actually ‘managing’ them. Asuka wanted many things for her family, him, and their beautiful dreamer. One of them was to never visit her birthplace where she’d been poked and prodded for hours before her parents even got to hold her.


If he could pick up the whole of the group, Yuji would trust them as far as he could throw them. Which, considering he wasn’t very in-shape and they owned fifteen complexes and a multi-story HQ that towered over Kyoto, was not very far at all.


His fencing verbose came with a cutting slash, “What’s your game this time, Katagiri?”


“Kyoto’s big, but it can’t house a kaiju. Doesn’t matter if this new Godzillasaur grows to 20 or 100 meters tall. Kyoto likes their scaly mascot now but the big one’s killed hundreds, thousands even. How many supporters of the young Godzillasaur had family killed by the big one who might change their tune when they start seeing the youngster growing up,” Katagiri calmly quipped and deflected the spite, “And that’s not to say anything about behavior as it grows. They’re not disciplining it and its diet is changing from herbivore to carnivore.”


“Your point? Dogs and cats are carnivores, what’s the problem if his species is when it ages?”


“Well, it’s not my little girl dangling a foot away from its jaws,” Katagiri verbally stabbed and Yuji flinched.


Katagiri didn’t wait for any retort, and instead took his leave. Yuji took a moment to collect himself, conceding to a draw this time. The scenarios Katagiri posited were impossible. the dinosaur, Junior he kept reminding himself, was gentler with Io, with anyone really, than most sheep were.


But, there was the worry. And other worries. Yuji gazed at all his work, all his team’s work. So much of it, the tests, the data, the DNA sequencing, the programming. It had been born out of his and Asuka’s work, their first collaboration. A joint effort that could have saved her life and led to their relationship and ultimate collaboration. His gaze shifted out the window to the towering, looming structure of C.C.I.’s skyscraper of a headquarters. It seemed to almost strive to cast its shadow over him and his efforts. The cold crept in.


Yuji Shinoda balled a fist, before slowly relaxing it. His tightened fingers touched at his wedding ring. The cold was sucked into his lungs, and let it out with a breath. Today was a happy day. A fact he was reminded of as he stepped out of the building, suitcase with his work in hand and briskly made his way towards the Zoological exhibits. Io should be out of school and helping Azusa right about now, he’d have more than enough time to swing around and pick them up for some dinner. For themselves and Junior. Azusa had agreed to a bit of a sleepover for Io.






A little music box was set down near a scaly form, playing its tune.


“Does he always take his nap to music?”


A little hybrid girl with inky Mysterian veins running from her eyes and ash-powder gray hair set in two twin tails giggled. Still clad in her institute school uniform, the 8-year-old whispered back to her father as she crawled back on her hands and knees and giggled as she sat back in the nest, “Oh yes, this is one of his favorite songs!”


“What’s the name of it?” Yuji Shinoda, the comparatively mundane-looking Japanese man humored with a sigh. With a 5 o’clock shadow, slight bags under his eyes, and still dressed in his G-Force lab attire; he looked content but tired.


Io Shinoda chirped, “Don’t you remember? Grandmother said it was mom’s favorite!.”


Yuji Shinoda paused, a shake going down his spine as he breathed in and held it for a second. For a moment, he felt it all hitch on impulse before kneading his fingers. A thumb moving over a ring on his left hand. He stowed it away as he observed the sleeping dinosaur his daughter was all too eager to pet and stroke the head on in his sleep. The obvious, protruding fangs were very visible. Teeth that weren’t there when he hatched, and certainly not built for eating flowers.


“A Beautiful Dreamer. Yeah, very appropriate,” Yuji chuckled as he patted his daughter’s playmate on the head, noting how the scutes on his dorsum had grown out some.


“I think he’s grown already, don’t you?” Io piped excitedly as she took in her best friend’s form, which even curled up was easily several meters long.


Yuji shrugged and shook his head slowly, “Oh he’ll grow alright… that’s just the worry I have.”


Either psychically sensing his shift in mood or perhaps having that uncanny perception some little children have, Io whipped around and looked to her father pleadingly, “But father, I’m growing bigger too, so shouldn’t Junior?”


Ah yes, and she named him. Or helped him name himself. Really had to take Miki’s word for it on that front but little scamp seemed to respond to it, so it held up. Yuji was beholden to the goldmine of knowledge before them. Here was a creature, a seemingly gentle creature, that had survived the more trying period of development on a heavy irradiated island without a hint of deformity or contamination threat. If they could find out how, why, so many wouldn’t have to suffer deaths or worry about radiation again. This dinosaur, Junior, wasn’t just a key to finding out how to stop Godzilla; he was a medical miracle that could help so many. Could have helped so many…


His ring finger ached again.


Yuji closed his eyes and sighed, listening to ‘A Beautiful Dreamer’ play.


He was a scientist, a realist. Sometimes that meant accepting when things couldn’t be helped. Other times it meant accepting what could happen in the future. Even if Junior continued to prove docile, how big could he grow? Biggest Theropod was 12 or more meters long, and old Pacific War reports of an adult of his species exceeded 20 meters. And he was mutated, just like Godzilla, who was over 200 meters long.


How could they house such a guest? Could they house such a guest? Not if he wanted out, that was for sure. Already that crazy Dr. Malcolm claimed that normal-sized cloned dinosaurs broke out at some zoo in Costa Rica. But by that same token, what if others also wanted in? Humanity accepted the Mysterians, but only after decades. And they could walk, talk, and looked almost exactly like us. Humanity had a bad track record, even against itself. What about with a potentially increasingly radioactive saurian who might be identical to one that had killed tens of thousands? Would Commander Aso continue cheerfully calling their charge G-Force’s new mascot when he wasn’t so small and unthreatening? And if he did, could Aso protect his research asset from others who’d see a future threat looming and want it snuffed out?


So many possibilities, so many ways to end in tragedy… And each of them hurt his little girl. Yuji, unconsciously, picked her up and held her before settling Io into his lap as he sat on the edge of the nest.


“Io, try to understand. I know you’re lonely a lot of times, and he’s your friend. But… things can’t stay like this with your friend forever. One day, he’ll need to move out from here,” the elder Shinoda started, “Listen, when he grows up being around him might be dangerous.”


Io snickered at the ridiculousness of that statement, looking at the silly sleeping saurian who’d rolled on his side and was scratching his stomach in his sleep while dreaming.


“I’m serious, know that seems impossible to you now,” Yuji motioned to the dozing dinosaur, “But that cute…” he was about to say ‘little’ out of habit but stopped when he noticed the size, “ big baby one day will be… maybe the strongest creature in the world! Stronger than a hundred, maybe thousands of men. So strong he might be scary or, even if he stays calm, scare the wrong people. When that time comes, we can’t keep him here any longer… Do you understand?”



Io shook her head defiantly even as her father held her.


She wasn’t an ignorant imbecile like so many might think her to be. Some of the problems she knew her father was fearing were already known to her even before she accidentally, possibly, picked a few up empathically. There was only one she vehemently disagreed with. The worry she knew her father had looking at Junior’s developing teeth and claws, something even a non-psychic could cue in on out of logic and his line of sight.


And at the end of the day, of any day, what mattered most wasn’t what some stupid imbeciles thought or said. What mattered is what she knew and what her best friend knew, regardless of any changes.



“This will always be his home!”

In 1993, a much younger Io confidently piped up as she hugged her sleeping friend’s head, giggling as the little dinosaur was roused from his rest and stood up with her still holding onto his neck and head, dangling off the ground. Junior was keen to keep steady, reaching up and holding her foot to ensure she didn’t fall off him.

The little Shinoda had no doubt, rubbing her cheek against Junior’s as he chirped, “And we’ll always be friends!”

===========

Months later, a chipper, eager pair of twintails raced through the halls from psychic school at a breakneck pace. She was in such a hurry she couldn’t and didn’t pay attention to anything other than a few factors. Firstly, not falling over on her face. Secondly, not dropping the sushi rolls she insisted on having for her birthday in place of cupcakes. Thirdly, how close she was getting to the paddock.


She did however notice the nice Lt. Koji wasn’t guarding the entrance. She did notice how the door was unlocked. She did notice that her mentor, Ms. Gojo, was nowhere to be found. And, she noticed the nest, barren. It was hours later when her father came to collect her from the nest she’d sat herself in the whole time, head in her knees and unresponsive.

Reports later came in on how the UN’s Mechagodzilla was having a deployment later that evening, with the plan being to use Junior as bait to lure the adult Godzilla into a trap. A confrontation that ended with Azusa giving the one she raised over to the monster king to raise in the safety she could no longer give.



She was Io Shinoda. Her birth killed her mother, she’d lost her only friend, and she felt as if she wouldn’t smile for the whole decade.


=====
1994
=====



Yuji Shinoda was not in a good state. His efforts to hide some bags under his eyes and remain clean shaven than a 5 o’clock shadow was all in vain and he frankly looked like a buffoon when he’d quickly made a dash from lab work to get to the Hybrid School in the institute. What a place it was, meant to educate the budding psychic and enhanced population on how to use their gifts responsibly and better integrate them into the human world one of their parents hailed from. And yet, for a unique school it was a remarkably mundane, if very undesirable, reason he was called down. A parent-principal conference because the little girl beside him with her head down had given someone else a black eye.


Io was silent the entire time, having more than a few band-aids put onto her from nicks and bruises due to a fight.


The principal sighed, placing down the papers on his desk.


“This incident was not unexpected,” the aged Mysterian man, an old timer who was already a grown adult by the time of first contact almost half a century ago, sighed while shaking his head. He removed his glasses and rubbed at his pure black eyes.


Yuji Shinoda swallowed a rock in his throat and spoke up as Io stayed silent, “Not.. unexpected? I understood Io’s standing was good at school.”


The principal shrugged, “Academically, yes. Top or near top of the class. But not emotionally. Sadly, the teachers and staff have reported Young Miss Shinoda here has been exhibiting anti-social and stressed behavior for several weeks now. She has shown reluctance to participate in group activities, didn’t report back at all for entry in the field trip, and there had been reports about… negative interactions between her and some of the other children. Including the one she gave a black eye to today.”


Yuji’s face contorted briefly into a mess of confusion, “There was a field trip? When is it?”


“It was yesterday Mr. Shinoda, you didn’t know?”


Yuji wanted to spout out that he hadn’t been told, and pin the blame there. But that couldn’t be further from any truth. Ever since the confrontation between Super Mechagodzilla and his organic namesake, the whole institute had been in a whirlwind of confusion. Project M was trying to rebuild and upgrade what remained of Mechagodzilla’s systems and incorporate some of the old Mysterian mining machine into a new version of Moguera, Project T was trying to find further application for the psychics in ways of maybe even controlling or ‘aiming’ Godzilla. And then there was his own work. A massive, confusing spiral of issues. Back in 1989 after the Biollante incident, the UN had banned any modification or experimentation on the genetic material from the current Godzilla, now dubbed “Senior”. Any loose scales or blood were to be treated as high-threat biohazards; his work on trying to understand his resistance to radiation and healing ability had ground to a halt a few years prior.


The discovery of the second Godzillasaur, Junior, who was also mutated, was a blessing that kept his department running. It was a bit shady as a loophole, but none of the rules applied to Io’s big playmate and with him growing and having medical checks; it was always easy to get a few samples honestly and harmlessly. They couldn’t work with a city destroying monster’s cells, but a placid research subject was fair game. Even with G-Force so recklessly using the poor saurian as bait for the big one, Yuji still could have made sure Junior’s contribution to medicine and Asuka’s life’s work wouldn’t be in vain. He had dozens of blood, skin, and scale samples…. Had.


In the span of a week he’d been hit with order after order to downsize and destroy. As a head of the department, he had to ensure anyone he cut had a promising job waiting for them elsewhere; he owed them that for the hard work. And he had to keep as many samples for as long as he could, even with new rulings wanting to declare all of Godzilla’s species barred research material. He’d been working to keep their research from being destroyed by a paranoid UN, keep it and his coworkers out of C.C.I.’s shady clutches, and get as much work done as possible on a time limit.


He’d lost a few dozen pounds and gained more than a few bags under his eyes from it. That he could live with.


And he’d lost focus on his own daughter coming home late and not speaking as much as she used to. That he couldn’t forgive.


It wasn’t Io’s fault she probably put the field trip form in the shredder without him noticing, it was his fault for being a negligent father and not noticing how wrong things had gotten. He had to resist the urge to lunge to the side and clutch his baby girl to him. Yuji instead took in a deep breath and said plainly.


“No, I didn’t. What was the trip about?”


“It was on the second Saturday of May Mr. Shinoda. I was not born here but I think you should know what comes after that day,” The principal noted sadly, “It was a trip to explore a fair made to prepare for Mother’s Day.”


Yuji’s breath hitched.


-“That’s why she didn’t tell me…”-


He stiffened and glanced towards Io. With her head down, it was hard to tell but one could discern that the veins around her eyes were bulging somewhat with obvious expression of psychic powers. In this case, telepathic imagery cast as she gripped her father’s hand under the table.


In an instant Yuji was no longer in the principal’s office but in a very faded, blurry chamber that was distorted by emotional memory. He could feel the stress and strain brewing, muddying the imagery of the classroom more and more. Io had been sitting at her desk, which he could tell had moved from the front middle to the back corner from where he last knew it to be. Previously alone in class, she was bombarded by noise and stimuli as the other children filed in. Many carrying flowers, gift boxes, even one or two with a kimono for their parent. Previously, Yuji had known Io to be remarkably mature for her age regarding what happened to her mother. She didn’t show discomfort beyond passive knowledge she lacked something others often had, but didn’t angst.


But, seeing the others chatting, giddy, happy… it caused the whole world around him to become clouded with distorting anger and frustration. It got the attention of several children who promptly crowded around Io’s desk, trapping her against the wall. They were all speaking some statements, but he couldn’t easily tell just what. All until, with a present brought forth to boast about, one line struck home so deeply that it had to be memorized.


“Why don’t you get a new mom? My dad did, not like you could kill her like you did Miss Asuka too.”


It was so innocent, so childish, it was impossible to tell if it was intentionally knife-twisting or obliviousness causing calamity. It certainly felt like Yuji had been shot, so striking was the pain he couldn’t fully process just how a child could know such a thing or who told them what his late wife’s name was. Didn’t seem like something Io would just say.


In fact, she didn’t say anything in response. She just stayed and stared as her vision became wet with tears. There was laughter, and that was when Io exploded into motion. Io clawed her way over her desk to get to her tormentor and slugged her in the face, pouncing on her like a rabid panther. She fell on top of the screaming bully as her lackeys tried to get Io off her.



The sound of the door clicking open brought Yuji to awareness for several things. Firstly, that Io had been holding his hand under the desk but had quickly let go and shied away from her own father. Secondly, that the last person he’d ever want to see was stepping in. A tall, clean shaven, professional-looking Japanese man stood beside his chair. Yuji Shinoda looked up into the face of Mitsuo Katagiri.


“So, this is the one who decided to give my daughter Jane a black eye,” Katagiri coldly noted without the typical sniping he would fire at Yuji’s way, no doubt on account of the principal. Katagiri turned to the official.


“You no doubt remember the zero-tolerance rule. I will not have my child attending a place she can be assaulted at,” Katagiri spoke as he crossed his arms behind him.


The principal was unmoved, “Then you should no doubt know the zero-tolerance rule also applies to non-physical altercation. After all, many of the students here are psychic as are the faculty. We have both classmate reports and the teachers implicating young Miss Katagiri as instigating the altercation. And it is Miss Shinoda here that sports more injuries. No doubt the parents of the children your daughter is associated with will like to hear about how they all dogpiled a little girl not even 10 years old.”


Katagiri visibly simmered down but remained calm as he almost glared at the old man, “I’ll accept the punishments required, but whatever some little kid said it’s hardly cause for this one to try and use my child’s face as a punching bag.”


“Punishments will be doled out according to severity I assure,” the old Mysterian grunted, “The children can be put in separate classrooms to reduce chance of confrontation-”


Yuji saw the conversation unfolding as it all started to click for him. How Io’s classmate, Jane, had known about his status as a widower and the cause of his late wife’s death. In truth he didn’t even blame the girl too much. He was still livid and would never let her near his daughter again, but at that age a child wouldn’t know the implications of everything. Not unless they’re personally involved. And he knew someone who would have every reason to want to get to him through Io. The very man standing next to him who wanted him out of Kyoto.


Yuji understood the pitches the principal was making; he really did appreciate the old man being so reasonable. But right now, it was becoming abundantly clear this was just the last catalyst needed to make a big decision. Kyoto had been a great place for them once, but it wasn’t anymore.


With Io being constantly reminded of her lost friend she would never be really happy here, and what with him being so knee-deep in keeping a sinking shift aloft, he couldn’t be a researcher and a father at the same time anymore.


Yuji Shinoda stood up and looked to the principal, “I greatly appreciate everything you and the school have done for us, but I don’t think this is the best atmosphere for me or my daughter anymore.”


The old man’s brow perked but he didn’t express any anger, only veiled understanding, “I never meant to imply your daughter isn’t welcome in the school anymore.”


“A-and I know she is, but… I think for more than a few reasons we’ve been needing to move for some time. Could we possibly have her transferred into homeschooling until we find another institute?” Yuji sighed as he glanced to his daughter, “Unless… she says otherwise. Io?”


Io kept her head down for some time before slowly raising it up, revealing dried tears running down her band-aid covered cheeks. She nodded along.


The principal sighed as he sat back in his chair and contemplated before nodding, “Fair enough. As a parent myself I understand. See the clerk at the front and we can arrange for curriculum and transfer papers.”


Io stood up from her chair and bowed to her principal as well as Katagiri, before taking her father’s hand. Yuji did the same to the principal and to the shock of Katagiri, him as well. When she tried to leave however, Katagiri gently but firmly gripped his arm. Even without speaking, they both knew what the other meant.


If Yuji left Kyoto, nothing stopped Katagiri from taking the Godzilla Junior cell research to CCI.


Katagiri tilted his head and risked a smirk.


He’d won.


Yuji looked back and frowned, patting his rival for a lot of things on the shoulder. First for research, then for Asuka, then for her legacy.


Yuji shook his head slightly and sighed slightly, he disagreed if Mitsuo thought he won.


Yuji would keep some of his projects, just change focus. Maybe get Io involved to have some more time with her. He’d make sure the last of his employees got good jobs and ensure CCI’s takeover wasn’t smooth. But even if Katagiri got anything out of it, he didn’t have Asuka’s legacy.


Walking out to the front of the school with Io’s hand in his, Yuji held that legacy by the palm.




The night after, he tucked his child in for the first time in months. Kissing Io’s forehead, Yuji committed a sight to memory. He wound up his wife’s music box and gazed upon Io smiling in her sleep as ‘A Beautiful Dreamer’ played in the small room.
================
December, 1995
================

Yuji stumbled into the small apartment he had been renting out from Dr. Chapman, sirens still blaring outside in a manner not unlike a major storm warning. It didn’t matter they were in Osaka and the major incident was going down in Tokyo. They had half a decade to get used to the idea that what might be a rampage in one city on a certain day might lead to a monster brawl in another later in the week, or vice-versa. So thoroughly their country had been plagued that the moment a major incident escalated on an island in their home country archipelago, every citizen had to prepare. As he made for the kitchen cabinet to gain access to the emergency supplies they might need should they have to evacuate, he was privy to Io’s absence from the table she often did her homeschooling work at. Instead his daughter was transfixed less than a foot away from the television and shaking.


Pausing to gaze upon her, he could see she clearly was hyper focused to an extraordinary degree; facial veins bulging and her otherwise very weak telekinesis causing her hair to move in erratic angles. Yuji looked at the screen and grimaced.


“This is Yuri Tachibana on the scene near Haneda Airport and Tokyo Bay!” the redhead young woman who looked barely old enough to be an intern, evidently named Yuri, cried out as she stood on the rooftop of a short building overhanging sidewalks and roads that were absolutely packed with fleeing pedestrians, “G-Force and the JSDF are mobilizing evacuations of the bay area as fast as possible but the creature has been confirmed to have gone airborne after a failed extermination attempt! I-”


The camera focus and Yuri’s footing shuddered after a noticeably loud explosion off in the distance that shattered several windows. The cause of it was soon revealed when another aircraft came flying out from behind a building in an out-of-control spiral, a purple ray slicing through the air and one of its wings to make the plane nosedive and smash into a street before exploding. People fleeing from the bay area stumbled about or were knocked over from the reverberating shockwaves. As the camera rapidly tried to focus on something Yuri quickly pointed at, Yuji’s eyes widened upon seeing an airborne mass that sailed between several buildings. A shrieking, siren-like wailing that sounded like no known living creature ripped through the air.


“This creature-“ Yuri gasped into her microphone, “G-Force’s Dr. Kensaku Ijuin has officially dubbed this creature the Destroyah- And it has changed course! It’s swooping around now and-“


The Destroyah, a terrifying gestalt of reptilian and crustacean traits, banked through the air with its large wings and came barreling at the main street as it passed over a large park. So many people started to cry out alongside Yuri and her cameraman understandably joining in.


“He’s coming…” Io whispered with widened eyes, her father picking it up but being too transfixed on the oncoming horror to ask what she meant.


The Destroyah roared and the older Shinoda shuddered from the memories he was getting as a cold sweat started to pour down his face. He was almost transported back to that exact same city a decade prior when a blinding light overpowered the screen. For a split-second Yuji feared the worst but he could still hear Yuri and the cameraman simultaneously gasping for breath after falling over. Whoever was holding the camera had definitely earned plenty of hazard pay for their skills because they quickly adjusted the focus back onto the Destroyah just as the behemoth squawked in surprise. A familiar burning blue and white beam smashed into its chest, unleashing downpours of sparks as the monster was catapulted backwards into the park for a crash landing. The bright ray cut off just as the cameraman stumbled over trying to regain his footing. With the focus stuck on the wall, a low reverberating boom was audible as everything stilled.


Then another boom.


Then another.


No doubt many besides Yuji knew what that noise was. As the sound of walking thunder echoed from the Tokyo Bay area. An even more familiar, if higher pitched than normal, sound cried out as the Destroyah started to pick itself back up whilst shaking off entire trees splashed across its carapace like they were twigs.


Before anything else could happen, Io rapidly changed the channel. She flickered through one after another, passing by emergency evacuation reports, live updates from the aquarium and warehouse districts that supposedly the Destroyah originated from, some live statements by Dr. Ijuin, and more until she found what she was looking for.


The point of view from the camera operator focused in on a large mass standing above several buildings. Destroyah had swapped back to its land-based ‘Aggregate’ form resembling some strange combination of scorpion’s body with a long-necked, crested lizard head with multi-jawed mandibles and an overall head shape resembling the outline of a horseshoe crab. And it was grappling with something. There were subtle differences, such as the more hunched over or horizontal stance, the greenish coloration, and the immature dorsal spines that were more akin to a ridge then massive bony plates; but there was no mistaking what it was. The large fangs, reptilian hide, grasping arms with recurved claws, and blazing eyes of burnt gold surrounded by red. It was a juvenile Godzilla.


Roughly equal in size, the Destroyah charged forward and lowered its head to smash its broad, armored face into the young Godzilla’s gut. Even at the noticeable distance the cameraman was, certain details were still discernible. Such as the mobile masses of people close to the clash of titans and the shimmering of a mobile object atop a small rooftop. There was a small pixelated point of red in the same location and Yuji quickly realized that had to be where the first reporter, Tachibana, was. He didn’t get much more time to look as no sooner had the young Godzilla grabbed the Destroyah’s head, Io flicked the channels back to where they were.


His theory that the action was now right up where Yuri Tachibana had been located was swiftly confirmed when the original channel flipped back and the deafening sound of clashing, gargantuan masses was blotting out everything. The young Godzilla had its back to them, digging its clawed feet into the ground and slicing through concrete in doing so like one might move their hand through sand. The Destroyah hissed and tried to shove its opponent over, pincer-like arms gripping and gouging into the saurian’s thighs. But just as the Godzilla’s tail brushed up against the building behind it, its efforts seemed to double. Bellowing, its dorsal spines briefly flashed before a weaker version of what Yuji recognized as the nuclear pulse attack activated. Blue energy crackled across its form like it was being electrified, and every point of contact with Destroyah was shocked and concussed. The two titans stumbled to the side while still brawling for supremacy, the Destroyah’s head crests and eyes flashing purple before a secondary jaw extended from its mouth like a nozzle and fired. The air shrieked as energized Micro-Oxygen atoms smashed into the young Godzilla’s hide and dissolved parts of it. The saurian recoiled in pain but visibly fought back against it, lowering its torso and stampeding forward while keeping the crowds at its back.


Destroyah had the wind knocked out of its lungs, if it had any, when the young Godzilla slammed into it at a full sprint and lifted it off the ground. With noticeable effort but Herculean strength, the young kaiju hefted and threw its opponent several hundred meters to send it crashing into the side of Tokyo Bay. Now with the two monsters more or less in the same direction, the fleeing crowds knew exactly which way to run away from.



“W-We do have reports the harbor and portside are evacuated! It is still unknown why the smaller Godzilla is here-“



Io rapidly flipped through the channels again, and this time she didn’t seem satisfied until getting a visage of the battle close-up from a particularly bold news chopper encircling the titans from high above.



“It’s him,” she whispered under panting breaths, “It’s Junior…”



Yuji knew she was correct but was nonetheless more than a little concerned how transfixed his daughter was on the battle. It wasn’t a dramatic flurry of blows, nor the sanitized action from most fiction. Destroyah managed to tackle and pin down the dinosaur, grabbing Junior’s wrists with its pincers before plunging its secondary maw into Junior’s collar and injecting a micro-oxygen burst point-blank into the wound. Junior shrieked in pain while foaming at the mouth from the internal injuries.



“Get up…” Io whimpered, “You gotta stop her…”



“Her?” Yuji muttered quietly.



“Destroyah, Junior came to stop her. Kill her maybe.”



“How do you know it’s a she?”



“I do,” Io whispered breathlessly as her facial veins budged again as her pale hair shifted.



The roaring of the dueling monsters echoed through the television as sweat ran down Yuji’s brow at the implications. Be it the hopes of a young girl or her stretching her consciousness in ways he couldn’t fathom to actually tether herself to someone or something kilometers away, he didn’t beg to differ. What he did take heed of was how much his daughter was shaking, be it in fear or strain. He sat down and pulled her closer, the 9-year-old not objecting. She was still shivering in a cold sweat. Yuji never before wanted to turn the television off more than he did then, but he also knew doing so might wound his child more.



“He’ll win, right?” Io’s quivering tone was barely audible as she shook up and down her spine.



Destroyah was brutalizing the saurian who struck and wounded her, thrashing about to deepen the neck bite.



Yuji tried to cover Io’s eyes, “I’m sure of it.”



The way she flinched when Destroyah bashed Junior over the head with an armored limb only worked to confirm to him that there was more than vision linking Io to Tokyo’s events. Little hands pulled his down to free her face.



Junior for his part was not submitting to death, violently wrenching one of his arms out of the pincer’s pin to grab his opponent by the head crest. In a show of strength, he pulled Destroyah’s neck and head back, ripping its secondary jaw out of his neck before firing the very same kind of heat ray his predecessors were so known for point-blank into the micro-oxygen mutation. Destroyah’s carapace sparked and split, the altered arthropod shrieking in pain as the brawl continued with Junior rolling them across the side of the harbor. The two continue to bite and claw at each other even as they rolled through a whole warehouse in an explosion of debris before crashing into Tokyo Bay.



Yuji was troubled. This wasn’t a fight like most people knew of. It wasn’t a spar or organized match-up, it was two creatures mauling each other. And the dissonance between the gentle youth he once knew and the snarling reptilian with a visage so much like his adoptive father, was vast. To the point he frankly scared Yuji as much as Destroyah did.



The logical part of his brain looked to motive and hopefully suggested the young kaiju had arrived specifically to stop Destroyah. He knew it wasn’t invalid, but deep-down Yuji Shinoda knew something else was also true. The beautiful dreamer, his daughter’s best friend; Junior, wasn’t the same. He truly was a young Godzilla now… Tremors went up and down his arm.



That observation troubled him more than most might guess.



He was also troubled at how intensely he knew his little girl was watching the brawl.



===============
Odo Island, Same Night
===============




The once much more isolated island was entertaining far more company than it typically would this evening. When news of not only yet another monster attack but also the strange happenings with the blazing form of the current Godzilla became public knowledge, many left Japan in droves even before the showdown at Haneda Airport ensued. Hundreds of evacuees became tourists upon the old rustic island, a happenstance not unappreciated by the locals selling their wares and making their livelihoods; as long as the outsiders maintained their manners. Officially the mayor and unofficially the town leader, Akira Kayuki, had called for their winter festival to commence a few weeks early with the hope of diffusing some tension and lifting spirits. He was a younger mayor, on the cusp of middle-age, but his old styled robe like attire, topknot hairstyle right out of the 1800s, and jovial nature helped win over the anxious refugees and rally the village.


But as uplifting as the decorations, the songs, the dances that many from the main islands of Japan might only witness at a temple, and the foodstuffs prepared over the last few days were, they were no excuse for ignorance of the outside world. Seated at the tavern, Akira listened to both the murmurs of passersby doing everything from complementing one another and the food to reactions derived from the ever-yammering radio set on the central table. Hooked up to an antenna, the device continued to stream frequencies run by G-Force and C.C.I. themselves, who made sure the signal was strong enough to be picked up even far out at sea. Just strong enough to reach the island and tell of another conflict that seemed to belong more in the annals of myth.


The fantastic airport, the crossroads of the sky, was completely leveled and burned between three clashing titans. The radio announcer, not on the scene itself due to the ever-present risk of the current Godzilla undergoing nuclear meltdown and disrupting equipment with the sheer radiation output, related eyewitness reports from the battle itself. A battle which started to lose combatants. The young Godzilla, the heir to the throne, dropped from a kilometer in the air right atop the main airport terminal and repeatedly struck by its killer that rained down the very substance that slew the first Godzilla. The slain prince’s father flew into a grieving rage, mauling the creature that killed his child with such fury that between his blazing heat and the freezing weapons fielded by brave soldiers who went in knowing they were likely to perish, Destroyah met its end from mass thermal shock. But the monster king’s heart could not withstand the strain, his body bursting and melting down while G-Force’s cryogenic weapons worked to try and contain the reaction.


Tokyo might be a radioactive graveyard. So much would change. And yet there was excitement.



“This is a live report once again. Godzilla III confirmed killed, Destroyah confirmed killed, Godzilla II confirmed killed. Tokyo will need to be doused with ANEB, and it might be decades before it is inhabitable again, but C.C.I. is already preparing to cultivate the anti-nuclear bacteria needed. The Emperor and Prime Minister have enacted plans to relocate governmental and administrative offices to Osaka as a provisional capital. We turn our listeners now to a statement we’re to read from Commander Takashi Aso, head of G-Force.”


The speaker’s inflection changed and reeked of bravado, even if he was obviously just trying to sound hopeful, “The country has suffered terribly from this catastrophe, the latest in a decade filled with such tragedies at the hands of monsters. But, those tragedies are finally at an end. With strength of arms and unity of purpose, we have survived every disaster dealt to us and slain the monsters in return. A New Era for mankind is at hand, and humanity’s dominion has been restored!”


Quite a few people started clapping or even crying with joy as the announcements fed through. Akira sighed, observing every last one of the people applauding were outsiders. He enjoyed another shot of sake as the radio continued to yammer on. The fact that Commander Aso wasn’t giving this statement personally either implied the head of G-Force was not nearly so optimistic about the future or prideful in the given situation, but very well was probably putting up a show for the assurance of others. It was working and it wasn’t a bad idea, but it was starting to get many wrapped up in the moment. A man in a business suit, no doubt somebody else who was running away from the conflict on the mainland, stood up on a table and loudly hollered that the next round was on him for all involved in the tavern. Akira would have to politely suggest some of his subordinates keep some people from drinking too much, public disturbance and all that nonsense.


An old voice beside him shrugged, slowly shaking her head.


“Before your time, some people fled here back in 1954 figuring he would not retrace his steps. They celebrated then proudly,” the old woman muttered with a on her wrinkled lips, “Some of those same lively youths perished 30 years later.”


She didn’t appear upset, but this particular old-timer had every bit of Akira’s attention as she continued to treat the radio announcements with ambivalence at best.


“Restored dominion, new era for mankind… Pfft,” she huffed while getting up from her seat, “With pride like that, it will be a miracle if we’re judged well.”


She started to depart and instantly the entire tavern began to quiet down. The refugees still celebrated for a few moments more, but they too were privy to how many of the especially adult and elderly islanders quickly felt the silence as the old matron took her leave. Many started to follow her out.





Hundreds of kilometers away, Yuji Shinoda had pulled over his evacuating van and was seated in the back. The still sobbing form of his daughter clutched tightly against his chest for what felt like hours as he did his best to stroke her back. Even if he insisted on them turning off the radio, the impact was still felt. His daughter was near inconsolable and had been for the better part of an hour, thrashing and screaming at her worst. Part of him holding her was a desperate effort to restrain the girl, fearing that the bruises and cuts that appeared across parts of her skin were from her desperate thrashing born of overpowering grief.



The more pessimistic part of his mind, the one that never left him after the tragedy that cost him his friend and wife, might have speculated Junior had attacked the Destroyah out of anything from predatory intent to territorial manner. The more optimistic and dare he even say scientific side hoped to speculate the same gentle soul he knew from Kyoto years back had been made privy to the situation and came to the defense of his beloved humans. His efforts certainly had aided in the evacuation, which could’ve been a catastrophe if hundreds of thousands were still in a now irradiated city.



Yuji Shinoda could hope for a lot of things. He could hope Io would feel better in time. He could hope that one day they could maybe go back to his home island so that Io could meet his surviving family where he had grown up. He could hope Tokyo might still be restored one day, even if it took decades of cultivating ANEB.



And he could hope that Junior would rest in peace. Maybe the world was just too small for something so big as he might’ve become when fully grown. Maybe it was better that he died a hero instead of suffering from those humans would see him as the villain when he was of age.




Still, an old poem or hymn from his home island replayed in the back of his mind.




Rise from the depths, kami of the sea

Incarnation of destruction from eternity

Pride has reigned so mercilessly

And so the dragon shall ever be!






The old matriarch, now clad in a white robe with a red dress, however worn from the sun and decades of use, carried a small rod in her hands. It was a tamagushi, a short wand made from a live sakaki branch with crisp green leaves wrapped in braids of silk, and she approached her destination with it in hand. Behind her was a procession, mostly of old-timers from the villages and towns, some carrying candles and others carrying torches. All of them were ascending an old stony stairwell cut into the side of the hills bordering the sea cliffs so very long ago. The calm night of before had been completely upended, the tide surging in with crashing waves pounding against the cliff faces far below. Winds churned and the night sky was blocked out by storm clouds. Had this been any other situation so many would have stayed inside. But many more were drawn outside and to quietly follow, if only to wonder what kind of ceremony the old Shinto priestess was operating.



After all, there hadn’t been such a ceremony on the main island for almost half a century. There a shrine priestess or maiden, a miko, was an institutionalized and structured task taker. It was only in the more remote regions in Hokkaido or on the outlying islands one might see shades of what they once were in the olden days.



The aged miko paced up to the precipice of the stairwell, bordering the cliffside and roaring seas far below. At this peak she paused and stood before a large eroded boulder that sat in the midst of the pathway, the opening behind it leading to a sheer drop into the seas below. A slab had been hand carved from it in some bygone age, as was the hollow cavity behind the slab. The miko placed the tamagushi, an offering, upon the receiving slab. The storm was brewing high above once again, wind blowing up the stairwell and parting on either side of the boulder before blowing out to see. The miko motioned to the crowd and those up front stepped forth.



It comes with strife, as it did long ago

And wherever its storm may blow

We beg innocent shelter from its revenge

As nature will be avenged

More offerings were put within a basket placed upon the slab that stuck out from the boulder. Akira put down some writing scrawled on bamboo cuts, some weatherworn fishermen placed a few of their catch, and others still came for a time. The miko bowed to the crowd before taking a torch offered by Akira. To the shock of anyone who’d seen tamagushi used on the main islands, the Odo Island miko set the offerings to gods or kami ablaze. The fire consumed and crackled in spite of the wind, the dry old basket acting as perfect kindling.





Far away in Tokyo, Captain Sho Kuroki paused as he flew the Super-X3 about in a spiral. The airport area was in utter ruin, the fog of irradiated dust and debris clogging up the streets and paths as the eerie blue of Cherenkov radiation illuminated the dead city. Even if they were sealed inside the cockpit, there was a very high probability they had been radioactively contaminated. The thoughts plagued him even in light of the treatment options. All of the radiation levels, especially those detected at Haneda Airport, were off the charts. Despite only starting now to push into his 30s, the ace was feeling his age and was contemplating what he could get done in the time he might have allotted. He and the men and women of their task force very well might have just saved the world, but that didn’t necessarily mean they’d get to live to enjoy it. It wasn’t a decision he regretted, but Sho couldn’t deny the sadness that might come with understanding he and so many others may not be gifted the time to enjoy that world. Would future decades see himself and others immortalized as heroes? Or would future generations in Aso’s ‘New Era’ understand how mortal he felt right now?



The sensor picking up the alpha, beta, and gamma ray emission started to beep again and in consideration of his crew, Captain Kuroki contemplated turning it off. They already knew the danger levels were being exceeded, they didn’t need a reminder about being slow cooked.



Except when he reached over to at the very least a mute the thing, he noticed the illumination of the panel was showing something different. The readings were going down. Plummeting even. Like the flames of a stove that had just been turned off.





Somewhere on a distant highway, Io Shinoda went totally still. Her eyes, still puffy with tears and grime, opened.





Back on Odo Island, the fires of the burning offering, whipped about by the gales of seabound wind, illuminated the cavity in brief increments. Something the size of a forearm stood within the rock, braced against the back wall; solid but not made of stone. Waves crashed against the sea, silent prayers were carried on the drafts, until lightning split the sky high above. Across the flashes of light and rolling thunder, an ancient claw stood above the burning pyre. The miko continued the chant to the heavens as the mummified claw was wreathed in flame.







Banking the giant aircraft to witness the ruins of Haneda Airport’s main terminal as erratic lightning suddenly stretched across the irradiated sky, Captain Kuroki’s eyes widened as an explosion of movement threw debris skyward. Through the fog and the haze, he glimpsed jagged spines slashing through the roof, as burning golden eyes snapped open dozens of feet into the air. There was a splash of sea being torn asunder from a great mass charging into it, one so swift and obscured he couldn’t see it clearly.



Wild and strong, it can't be contained

Never bound, nor ever chained

Death is not destruction’s end

So Gojira will live again!

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Last edited by Desghidorah on Sat May 01, 2021 8:00 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Desghidorah
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Re: Godzilla:2000 - New Era

Post by Desghidorah »

===========
July, 1999
===========

Seated in a desk chair in an ‘office’ that smelled of the fishery that the apartment was built into was a 30-something Japanese woman. Her attempt to look professional with a business suit and short, shoulder-length black hair clashed horribly with the grizzled fishermen she passed on the way here to the office. And with the office itself given it was blatantly a messy apartment despite the numerous computer and sound equipment laying around. Yuki Ichinose was her name and she was, frankly, extremely confused. When she signed up to join the GPN, or ‘Godzilla Prediction Network’ under an esteemed Dr. Yuji Shinoda, she was expecting something a little bit more …science-y? The exact terminology eluded her. Maybe some slightly overweight professor who had a radio dish set up on his van with the express intention of moving towards the gigantic kaiju that nobody had actually seen in almost half a decade aside from one rare sighting involving the current Mothra. Frankly she signed up expecting this to be some sort of bust and she could sell the footage and pictures to tabloids about some whacko of a professor who got let go from Kyoto Institute.


What she wasn’t expecting was for a little alien girl a third her age to give her a full dressing down on legal matters while chopping carrots on the desk.


“And as we are technically a subsidiary of the fishery, due to the potential impact of our subject on fish stocks we are entitled to their health and dental plan but you will need to pay extra for root canals. You are expected to pay into the pot for any damages or medical concerns we might need as well as share in any of the profits towards 501 non-for profit organizations-,” Io Shinoda deadpanned as she chopped carrots to add them to a mixing bowl.


Yuki just blinked at her. While aliens on the planet had become widely accepted as a fact of life and her generation had been brought up to be accepting, Mysterians and their hybrids were still a fairly rare sight. Other than seeing some on TV or a story Yuri Tachibana got her in on thanks to her father being a G-Force admiral, she hadn’t really interacted much with any of them. Well except for that one little girl with the pet dinosaur…


Yuki’s brow furrowed as she leaned in order to study Io’s face.


Io was wearing a hair net and a simple shirt and shorts, not the giant pigtails and school uniform Yuki remembered. And while she was colored in grayscale which made identification by the typical hair, skin, and eye color different; something was causing her to get an uncanny sense of déjà vu. She puzzled for a solid moment before noticing a disgruntled looking Io was staring right back at her.


“Ahem, I said; we also expect 50% of all profits you make off your pictures to the press.”


“What?! You’ve gotta be joking!” Yuki’s business sense caused her to snap back to reality and out of her stupor of being lectured by a little girl, “And don’t I know you from somewhere-… Wait…”


Io just blinked at her.


Yuki’s eyes widened as she remembered the all too uncanny shock of when she found a startled little girl and couch-sized dinosaur bumping into her at Kyoto Institute some years ago. She jolted up and pointed at Io.


“You’re the little girl who let the dinosaur out of his cage and was walking around with him, you made me trip over in the hallways!” she barked.

Io was unphased, “... And?”

Yuki scoffed and narrowed her eyes slightly with a pout, “You nearly busted my favorite camera!”


“… Imbecile,” Io grunted.


The girls blinked, her facial veins bulging, before abruptly vanishing from Yuki’s sight. Now the photographer blinked, hesitating as she looked about to make sure she wasn’t losing it.


“Imbecil-?!... Um… Hello? Little girl?.... Little Miss Business Woman?”


Another voice joining the conversation from the kitchen, “Io, that’s rude. She just wants to sign up with us. You know we need people.”


On cue Io returned into view, sitting in her chair with her little arms crossed and pouting slightly. Stepping out from the kitchen was… Yuki’s face felt a smidge warmer. Top class he was not, but Yuji Shinoda was not quite a sweaty, fat old professor in form just yet. The photographer glanced aside as Yuji took a seat next to his daughter.


“We charge a lot, but that’s because we’re a bit of a niche. So the payouts are good, but we only get paid every so often. Sorry if it seems like she was reading you the riot act, Io’s just very particular,” Yuji shrugged.


“You coach her to say all that?” Yuki muttered.


Yuji laughed, “Nah, my business sense wouldn’t even get me through a community college course. She’s the one who handles things with that… Listen, Miss Ichinose-“


“Yuki… Yuki’s fine,” she corrected, fiddling with her fingers and keeping her eyes trained on the paper.


Yuji paused but smiled and chuckled, “Yuki then, what we’re trying to do is very important. Who we’re studying is a special aberration that’s only appeared three times, and unlike the other two he’s hopefully quite docile. Well, docile unless you’re that Destroyah monster from a few years back. He’s been elusive recently, but we’ve gotten close, really close to spotting him.”

Yuji pulled out a photograph from years back to a place Yuki recognized, the Kyoto Biotechnics Institute. It was of a fairly small group, composed of himself, a few G-Force soldiers Yuki vaguely recognized, a technician or two, and the notable Dr. Azusa-then-Gojo-now-Aoki. And standing behind them was the very recognizable form of the immature third Godzilla, a little girl in a school uniform perched on his head. Yuki’s eyes subtly wandered to Io for a moment in recognition before realizing the little girl had her eyes extremely transfixed on the image. Comparing the then and now, Yuji didn’t look all that different; but Io was… Much less of what she was now. Even looked happy.

Yuji flipped through a few other pictures. A few Yuki recognized and a few she didn’t. A few were dating a year or two after 1993, someplace called Birth Island; and showed what she could presume was a juvenile stage of the same creature she’d just seen. At the sight, Yuki’s brow lifted and she stifled a small chuckle. For a kaiju, the thing was pretty cute with all the baby fat. A lot of that cuteness was gone by the next year, dated to a month and date of infamy. On the date Godzilla II died and the Destroyah attacked, some panicked photos by evacuating civilians recorded a hunched-over form appearing on the shore and later to Tokyo proper. Labeled “Teenager?” at that size and shape, Godzilla III far more resembled his father.

What happened the night in 1995 that Godzilla II, the scourge of Japan since 1984, perished was a matter of record more than visual. The massive amounts of radiation fried most CCTV cameras during the battle at the airport and many of the boots on the ground had better things to do than try and catch it all on film. Government and G-Force had video, but Yuki knew the blockades the media had on trying to get access to it. Godzilla II and III had perished, Destroyah meeting her demise alongside it, but then the radiation was absorbed away. A few sightings and footprints indicated a Godzilla appeared and moved off into the ocean, but no one was really sure of which one. With all the chaos the following years of Mothra Lea, DesGhidorah, Dagahra, and the mutant iguana attack on New York to show kaiju were going global again; the surviving Godzilla was elusive.

And yet, in her trembling hand, Yuki held something she’d never seen. A grainy, single photograph dated to 1998. It had been taken on a coastal shore, the label said “Odo Island”. Behind the seaspray, mist, rain, and surging tides, was a figure amidst the seas far in the distance. One illuminated by lightning with its outline visible, displaying a pointed snout and jagged dorsal plates. The text at the bottom was also far clearer. ‘Imprecise! Must. Get. Closer!’

“S-so... You want us to get up close with a Godzilla?” Yuki cleared her throat, “And you’re really willing to bet it was the third Godzilla that survived that night? I thought it was killed by the Destroyah?”

“Or just badly wounded,” Yuji muttered after glancing at Io, “We know whichever Godzilla it was, he’s been staying out at sea most of the time. Only came ashore during that big hurricane a year back.”

“Right, with the reports of it attacking that creature that looked like King Ghidorah at the same time the new Mothra went active as well,” Yuki muttered as she ran a finger over the picture, as if to feel at any texture within it. “So what convinced you that it’s the same Godzilla that was raised in Kyoto? I mean, they’ve all had a habit of appearing miraculously. It could be-”

“Because it’s him,” Io snapped with the punctuation in her voice that sounded like she was trying to stab with her tone. Some loose items on the table quivered from telekinesis run amok.


“Io, that’s enough,” Yuji grunted as he nodded towards the back tables, “How about you finish your schoolwork and I handle recruitment for tonight?”


Yuki glanced at Io’s face, seeing the swelling in her facial veins that clearly conveyed some level of stress despite her not audibly speaking of it. It instantly spurred the reporter to want to say something, if only because she could tell she had needlessly touched a nerve; but Io didn’t give her any chance. The girl abruptly got up from her seat and bowed to her father before scampering off to the other side of the office. She wasted little time in fetching up some pencil and paper and visibly burying herself in work.


“Excuse me one moment,” Yuji muttered as he paced over to the kitchen before retrieving a steaming bowl of dinner and returned to his daughter.


Yuki didn’t catch any whispers of conversation, only seeing Yuji pat Io’s shoulder and Io visibly wilt. They held hands briefly before she accepted the dinner and picked up a pair of headphones connected to a portable CD player to put on as she got back to work. Yuji shrugged and paced back to the desk with Yuki.


“Sorry about that,” he grunted while rubbing the back of his head.


“No, don’t apologize,” Yuki noted as she shook her head, “Kids are kids. I have some nieces and nephews.”


“Thanks,” Yuji sighed before he tapped at the photograph of the Godzilla captured at a distance from Odo island, “Truth be told, we’re not sure what this one is or how it behaves. Could be something totally new, could be one of the two from 1995 that we thought had died.”


“Young Miss Io seems very insistent it’s her not-so-little friend all grown up,” Yuki sighed as she glanced at the little girl who sat facing them but with her eyes hidden behind her bangs and her focus clearly on whatever music was coming through the headphones as well as the homework before her.


“That would certainly be the best outcome, assuming he still behaves the same way,” Yuji noted with pursed lips and downturned eyes.


Yuki tried to smile and shrugged her shoulders, “Seemed awful friendly before, even when I tripped over his tail.”


Yuji rubbed at the back of his head and nodded, “Extremely. But if he did survive he went through one heck of a traumatic experience, and he went from eating flowers to biting through whales even before he came ashore again in 95.”


He tapped his index finger upon the picture, “Bad as it is to say it, there’s no guarantee that Godzilla is the adult Junior. Or even if it is, there’s no guarantee he still behaves the same. I could look at how other predators might behave when they are babies versus when they are adults, could even look at how some traumatized people act before and after the fact; but there’s just no precedent for his species.”


“And your daughter is an optimist in this little multiple-choice, right?” Yuki muttered and Yuji nodded.


He sat back in his chair again, “It would certainly make research a lot easier and world safer for all of us if she is. Only problem is, she can’t ever get back what she had and I think she wants to. The radiation output on this new Godzilla is contained. He doesn’t irradiate the ocean he passes through. But that doesn’t change that he’s a hot reactor in the moment.”


Yuki glanced at the photo from Kyoto and shook her head, “No more riding on his head, even if you could probably fit a bus on top of there now.”


Yuji nodded, “Io has her wishes. Just like I want to study him and you want to photograph him. I can’t guarantee anything, much less of all of our wishes come true; but this research is important. I know it might seem like we’re trying to track Bigfoot, but what we have here is a golden opportunity to try and make headway into study that could help thousands. Not just in predicting his movements but also finding out more about him. He is quite a remarkable being.”



Yuki shivered as she remembered being surprised to see double rows of serrated teeth in her viewfinder with glowing red eyes staring at her perplexingly. And that was when he was not much bigger than a cow.



“If you’re concerned about dangers, I can promise you that we're going to be as safe as we can be. I was in Tokyo in 1984, I was also in Kyoto in 1993 so I was up close with the second Godzilla twice. Very-… uncomfortably close,” Yuji whispered slightly before clearing his throat upon realizing his voice was wavering slightly.



Yuki gave him a sympathetic nod, “I was at Fukuoka when SpaceGodzilla came calling. Not close, but… what is far enough away from a kaiju? Been in some other crazy places. You oughta ask Van Owen and Paladecki some time.”



Yuji raised an eyebrow, “Danger prone one, aren’t you?”



Yuki chuckled and raised her camera, “Makes for better pictures. I’m not much of an egghead, I’m mostly here because no one else has gotten a shot of this thing and with the Internet getting as big as it is these days, I want to be able to leave a little mark… Doesn’t mean I can’t further this cause of yours, though.”



“Well you’re certainly also helping pay for gas, I just promise you won’t have to pay for food,” Yuji snarked and smiled at the chuckle he got from Yuki.

Yuki let the laughter come as she checked over the paperwork and thought things through. Egghead she was not, but it didn’t take someone with a PhD to know the benefits of studying the only known living organism to thrive off of radiation. Between the bombs, the monster attacks, and the potential for nuclear plant meltdown, there probably wasn’t a single person in Japan who didn’t know someone affected. The very thing that crippled so many was fueling possibly the most powerful creature on the planet. One which was poorly documented and the subject of a rampant Internet message board debate.



Still, she was a career woman. On one hand, she could go back to working for the tabloids. Sensationalist, exaggerating, but relatively safe tabloids... On the other hand, mountain-sized dinosaurs, creepy alien girls, and forking over most of her profits. She was no scientist, she loved sensation. But she wasn’t going to turn her nose at doing something to help others and Mr. Shinoda-... Yuji, seemed pretty earnest about it. And... well... What could be more sensational than possibly being the woman known across Japan for running towards a kaiju armed with naught but a camera?



Yuki Ichinose smirked as she leaned in closer as Yuji did the same to listen, “Alright, where do I sign?”




Io watched as Ms. Ichinose and her dad continued talking amicably. The slight flush on both of their faces wasn’t lost on her and she wasn’t as much of an imbecile to not know some body language. It wasn’t overt, but there was some budding fondness no matter how different they were. Just the start of it, nothing significant. Would probably die off in a few days, especially when the superficial sot had to spend a few hours in the van with her and her father. Part of her knew her father had been lonely to some degree or another all the life she knew him for, and the thought that he would eventually find someone else wasn’t entirely upsetting. Everything she heard about her mother suggested Asuka wouldn’t want him to be alone forever if he wasn’t content, and if he found a good one, she didn’t mind him dating.



Fat chance he ever would. Not too rough on the eyes as he was, her father had the poise of a half-blind klutz and managed to be an absent-minded professor even if he didn’t teach anymore. At the time when he had to get a suit on, she had to tell him to do it over again because he had on backwards.



Io shrugged as she picked at her rice balls and went to the kitchen.



She wasn’t miserable anymore, just not nearly as active as she used to be. Maybe it was because she grew up too quick, or maybe it was her not having any friends but her father, and just getting along okay with some of the colleagues he maintained. Times like this she sometimes wished they hadn’t left Kyoto, only to be reminded why they did. In all their trucking across Japan they had never returned even when it was opportune.



But, maybe things would change…



Not with Miss Ichinose, Io had her pegged as a failure five minutes ago.



But, maybe with something else…



Io looked up to a picture pinned to the small refrigerator via an old magnet. One of a little girl with pigtails and a scaly body she was snoozing besides, a tail tip laid over her stomach. Next to it, a blurry, distant photograph taken on a stormy seashore, the island she was born on. While it mostly just showed raindrops and dark waves churning in the night, in the distance one could make out something standing up from the water. Not a ship, nor a lighthouse. But a living being with jagged spines and a bluish glow.



She knew her father thought she was in denial and trying to be an optimist, he was just too courteous to not say anything. But if hope was foolish she could let herself be the imbecile in this one situation.



Io’s perpetually stoic face risked a tiny smile.


==============
December, 1999
==============

Storming seas roiled as waves crashed against the bow of the C.C.I. research vessel Eiko-Ryu, a repurposed shipping vessel. Crisis Control Intelligence was ever vigilant in the quest for new ventures and information, the past decade and a half of monster attacks only proved threats to mankind’s supremacy could come from anywhere. Even if that anywhere entailed investigating even areas that just happened to be in the urban legendary ‘Devil’s Sea’, the Pacific counterpart to the Bermuda triangle. Capt. Reinhardt was all too aware that the infamy of the area was more than a little inflamed by recent popular fiction. The triangle-shaped area did have disappearances, but they were largely small fishing vessels that rarely had the best radios, and the weather was definitely not ideal. This was typhoon alley for the Pacific, complete with numerous undersea volcanoes.

Regardless they had reason to be in the area anyway, investigating potential volcanic vents the latest Godzilla might be camping out at. C.C.I was paying him and his crew very well for this, enough that superstitious worries regarding the area and the possible prospect of one of the few remaining kaiju on the planet didn’t deter them. In a few years they would all be destroyed. This new Godzilla, the rumored second individual of that lizard that attacked the United States, and the new Mothra. Such leviathans came crawling back from the dead in the 1980s and C.C.I. had been there the whole way providing weapons to put them back down throughout the 90s. A few stragglers wouldn’t be too long for this world that they had no business in.

His brow perked when the radio went off.

“Satsuma 2 to Eiko-Ryu, we found something while setting up the beacon.”

Captain Reinhardt put the intercom to his mouth as he eyed several sonar screens.

“Eiko-Ryu to Satsuma 2, how is the beacon deposition going?”



A small screen flickered showing the very narrow field of vision the Satsuma 2 submersible bore, one of the many subs deployed to put down the long range so our beacons and light some flares. Within the field of view lit up by the powerful floodlights were largely what the captain would have expected. A few startled deep-sea fishes, crabs, with a rocky and sandy bottom. One curiosity however were the large white objects coming into view, stuck into this sentiment.

“Whale bones,” the Captain noted passively, recognizing them from experience in his years mapping out the deep-sea.

Whenever the big creatures, big as proper animal should get, passed on out of the mortal coil their bodies would eventually sink. It was a smorgasbord for the scavengers and seeing bones on the bottom wasn’t anything unusual as those were the hardest breakdown for nature's cleanup crew. Judging from the size it was some kind of medium-scale baleen whale, possibly a humpback.

“Yes Captain, but… look.”

The camera panned aside and revealed something that made captain Reinhardt visibly double take. The skeleton was there, but past a certain point it looked…. Scrambled. Bones were twisted at odd angles, it almost look like it had three tails sprouting off the spine at strange positions, and there seem to be bony fins protruding from the dorsum.

The captain clicked the intercom back on, “Swing back around to the head.. And get closer, put more light on it.”

Satsuma 2’s crew obeyed, and Reinhardt was greeted to a sight not seen in any of his nautical books. The skull was still visibly that of a baleen whale, with a very long and pointed cranium that had no teeth. The hair-like plates of baleen which should have been there in life had probably long since rotted away, so its absence wasn’t surprising. What was surprising was the grizzly, anglerfish-like teeth protruding from the lower jaw that got revealed when the floodlights were firmly placed upon the skeleton. On closer inspection of the eye socket, the presence of another bony fin protruding from the head, and the strange warping of the bones made no sense. Whales and dolphins had flippers, but the two main ones were obviously modified arms if one had a passing glance at seeing the hands like bones within. The dorsal fin was entirely tissue, there shouldn’t be any trace of it on the skeleton; and the same can be said with the tail flukes. Whales don’t have bony fins like fish. And no humpback ever had fangs.

“Captain, we have movement!” Satsuma 2’s pilot yelped as the screen shook.

Reinhardt refocused his attention on the now shaking screen, the seafloor being vibrated violently as if there was a undersea earthquake or volcano. Sediment was being shaken away, revealing more mismatch skeletons buried in the sands as well more than a few broken ship hulls. Everything from dinghy-small fishing vessels to things that looked downright archaic.

“Ascend, ascend now! Drop the beacon and get out of there!” Captain Reinhardt barked as he started to put the ship in reverse, hopefully to get out of the way of any potential undersea volcanic vent that was opening up.

The view from Satsuma 2 shuddered as it started to comply, but the pilot kept the focus looking downward at the sundering seafloor. The mishmash whale skeleton split in two upon the bow of a previously buried sailing vessel, snapping the preserved mast and pushing the vessel aside. The actions scraped free the seafloor and revealed a large patch of something shiny previously buried in rocky concretion. The metal almost seemed to flash and pulse from the floodlights put upon it. Then something rammed into the Satsuma 2. Captain Reinhardt glimpsed a tooth before the feed.

Rain beat across the surface of the Eiko-Ryu, drenching anything the waves couldn’t reach. And yet even through the downpour Captain Reinhardt could hear the sonar pinging with excitement at the approach of a large object. Two of them, one far bigger than the other. The latter was several times the size of the ship. Reinhardt swore as he got on the intercom and did the nautical equivalent of flooring it with the engines. Satsuma 2, the smaller object, was still tethered to them and would have to put up with getting towed.

“Emergency, all hands brace. We are going all ahead full engines! Recovery crews on deck to reel in Satsuma 2. Get them back on board but don’t risk yourself!”

His crew scrambled, diligent and professional even in the light of this weather and situation. Even if he didn’t say it over the intercom, they all knew what might spur the ship to try and run away as fast as it could. Something the captain knew had big teeth and its kind had been destroying ships for almost half a century or more. The tether cables connected to the mini-sub were quickly reeled in by powerful winches as the research vessel powered forward. But if the awaiting crewmen expected to see the floodlights of the mini-sub starting to breach the surface, they were sorely disappointed when no such visage appeared. Instead all they got was a snapped cable.

Captain Reinhardt could see it from his deck as his brow furrowed. He glanced again at the sonar screen hoping against hope the larger object had been overtaken by the smaller one, the mini-sub, and that he wasn't going to have to send some flowers to family members for Satsuma 2’s crew. But instead the screen still registered two distinct objects. A much larger one that was heading straight up and a smaller but still significant sized mass approaching the deck. Approaching despite the fact there was no cable connecting it and they should’ve seen the subs floodlights by now. Approaching and not slowing down.

“Oh no… BRACE!-“

His yell over the intercom was cut short by the school bus sized mass breaching out of the water and crashing onto the deck. In doing so it knocked out multiple deck lights and the captain only could glimpse dark blue colored skin before all descended in a shower of sparks and shadows. There was shouting, inarticulate yelling in obvious alarm, and then there was nothing. Nothing but the beating of raindrops. Captain Reinhardt could feel his own pulse in his throat as he shakily brought the intercom to his face once more.

“A-all crew…” His voice was surprisingly quiet, “Stay below deck.. Repeat, stay… below deck.”

There were certain things expected of a captain. You were expected to know how to navigate the ship better than anyone. You were expected to know which men and women to put in which job. And you were expected to bring them all back home safely. That entailed a lot of responsibilities and Reinhardt was not new to them. He picked up a floodlight with one hand and a loaded pistol with another. With some apprehension, he opened the door to outside both to glimpse what had launched itself onto the ship and check in on the Satsuma recovery team.

Rain assailed his face the moment he exited cover, thick droplets that stung on impact. He pulled his hat down more to shield his eyes and swept the floodlight about. Aside from the storm the deck was eerily quiet, but certainly not unoccupied. A large mass wasn’t at all hard to spot, half emerged from the water and flopped onto the surface with several ruined light towers stuck under it. It definitely was a whale and to this sense of the extraordinary but normal did give Reinhardt a fleeting moment of calm. Whales would have been known to breach and accidentally fall on top of a vessel. The large mass could have startled it and collapsed on top of them in an attempt to get away. That still meant it might’ve crushed several crewmembers under its bulk, but it was something that should have been a possibility in this world. It didn’t entail nuclear leviathans rising from the depths to set cities on fire.

However, normality was killed the moment the whale fidgeted. Instead of the haggard breathing and panicked flopping a beached marine mammal might do in its death throes, the motion was controlled and steady. Sliding side to side with flippers braced against the edges of the ship almost like hands, it seemed to be searching. Reinhardt tasted bile when he noticed a body and at first thought the poor man had been crushed under the marine mammal’s jaw when it reached onto the vessel. Except instead of a pulverized or partially crushed body, it wasn’t separate from the whale’s mass. It was a part of it. A body partially stuck inside of it and being drawn in.

That’s when the whale seemed to notice him and homed in on the floodlight. It vibrated and fidgeted before its enormous mouth split open in three different directions. Eyes more like a big squid or deep-sea fish instead of the tiny pits of a marine mammal reflected back in the floodlight, as a cavernous maw was exposed and shown to be not filled with baleen, but writhing cephalopod tendrils and mismatched teeth that could’ve been anything from human to angler fish.

And unlike any deep-sea creature, it vocalized into the air.

“ArrrouuuuuuuooaaaaghaAAAAAAah!!”

Captain Reinhardt stumbled backwards after firing several shots from his pistol, blasting through a giant squid tentacle that lashed out towards him and blowing the tip off. He scrambled back into the enclosed captain’s deck and slammed the door shut, falling back on the back wall for a brief moment to catch his breath and realize how much he was heaving. Very little respite was offered when the crunching of shifting metal and the splattering of several cephalopod tendrils smacked against the glass, showing the bizarre chimera was trying to clamber its way onto the ship. Stumbling up to the controls, Captain Reinhardt threw the steering as hard as he could to one side while shutting off forward momentum as he put it in reverse. Maneuvering a big ship was not like steering a car, but some of the same laws of physics applied. After speeding up into the turn and then abruptly cutting off the engines to throw it in reverse, the chimera was yanked aside by its own inertia. The monstrosity gargled as it rolled off the deck and crashed back into the ocean, Capt. Reinhardt only waiting to hear the large splash before throwing the controls back into all ahead full.

Sweat was mixing with the raindrops spattered across him with the only noises Captain Reinhardt was able to hear being his own panting breath. At least until the door to his deck was opened.

He turned and would have fired immediately had he not seen it was just a man. But relief soon gave way to confusion when he saw the man’s attire and figure. It was not any crewman attire, nor any he immediately recognized. It looked downright ancient, with studded bits of metal and woven silks that curiously didn’t look wet. And the man wasn’t right. Captain Reinhardt was a pretty tall man at just under two meters, and yet this man ducked upon stepping inside. And his skin seemed… Perfect. Too perfect. No creases, no scars, no hair. It seemed more like a statue. It seemed…

Eyes blinked with horizontal lids and pure green orbs emerged from behind the eyelids. Silks turned into spines and a maw opened to reveal mishmashed teeth.

Capt. Reinhardt screamed as he emptied the clip into the figure that charged into them. In the storming seas outside, a gigantic mass burst out of the water and levitated into the storming skies.




After millennia dreaming, they had finally awakened…







Hundreds of kilometers away, the calmness of the night was shattered by a sudden eruption of living thunder. Staggering up from her bed, a Shinto temple priestess paced into the courtyard of the temple. Clearly in her advanced years with a hunched back and grayed hair, Hina nonetheless stood firm as she gazed upon the now silent ocean with a frown. She stood alone, having been alone since the passing of her husband, and before that the departure of her daughter-in-law on the island; which made returning there nigh-unbearable for her son Yuji. But even in such isolation, a presence was palpable.

One coming in with the tides, heralded by the seabound winds. Crying out with the same roar she’d heard in 1954 when a living mountain loomed over the hillside.

A burst of light appeared upon the ocean, but not striking it as if in the case of lighting. It shot free from the depths and parted the cloudy skies, evaporating great swaths of seawater into mists. Even so many kilometers away, Hina knew what it meant. The sea dragon of destruction had awakened. And the prideful would be his target.








Skipper Takao Okawara ducked inside the control deck of the fishing vessel Lucky Dragon N.13, shrugging off the pouring droplets running down his now soaked shirt. One doesn’t go out at sea and be a fisherman while being afraid to get wet, and a bit of freshening rain was good to keep down the salt crust one might accumulate from sea spray. Despite the darkness which was otherwise only cut by the floodlights on the perimeter of the ship and the steady, but not significant, downpour; it had been a pretty good night for fishing and their haul had been prosperous. The seas were calm and quite giving, their stores practically filled to the brim already.


Which is why the grizzled skipper was all the more concerned at the signal they had picked up showing somebody was not having good fortune. He picked up the intercom linked to the radio after being handed some notes scrawled by the deckhand who had been manning it.


“This is Skipper Okawara of the Lucky Dragon N.13 fishing vessel, we have your distress beacon but it’s coming in choppy, switch to radio channel 44-1-4 to send a clearer message, over.”


The radio was empty static for a time before coming back to life with a fizzled voice.


“Captain Rein-…. Eiko-Ryu-… Research ves-… S.O.S-“


Okawara frowned and signaled with a wave of his hand for a subordinate to take the helm of the ship. He clicked the radio back on and tried to speak slower so the captain could hear him through the frequency disturbance.


“This is the Skipper Okawara of the Lucky Dragon N.13. We receive your S.O.S. Send your coordinates. What is your problem? O-VER.”


The radio fizzled before chiming back in.


“24.467151, 509.643918. In current flow- Engine-… Out-… Need-Help. O-“


Okawara checked his map coordinates on an old chart and sure enough the ping was roughly within the coordinates he knew to be on a northbound current heading towards the Honshu island of Japan. Still, paper could only be so exact and finding another boat at night in the rain would’ve been tricky 10 years ago. Much to his simultaneous relief and reluctance he had to pull up a much newer technology that a younger crewmember, the clean-shaven Hiroshi Abe, thankfully had more experience with. The younger man tapped away at the GPS and plotted a course on the position finder.


“They’re not far, about 10 kilometers north, northwest of us,” Abe chimed.


Okawara nodded to him before responding to the caller, “Stay calm Eiko-Ryu, we are on our way. Repeat, we are on our way. Continue to update us with your coordinates. Over.”


To his dismay it almost seemed as if the captain was either on loop or had taken his request to repeat their coordinates too seriously. For the next five minutes, the distressed caller just kept repeating the coordinates over and over again and seemed to almost ignore Okawara’s request to go into greater detail about what happened. He almost sounded hysterical, further unnerving the fishing skipper. Still, the GPS did its job and got them close to the exact same path, even hitching a ride on the current to follow it and catch back up. At last the deckhand called out with a whistle and pointed to the distant lights off the starboard bow. Given nobody else had responded to the distress signal and the Eiko-Ryu still clearly had its electronics working to send out the distress call, the pinpricks of light visible through the darkness and rain had to be them. The skipper was just about to try and hail him again when everything was cast into darkness. In an instant, the cabin lights and the floodlights across the bow clicked off. Blinking in sheer stupefaction for a moment or two, the skipper let his eyes adjust to the darkness and glimpsed Abe groping around for the flashlight they kept under the desk. Drawing out the audible click of its switch was perceivable even over the rain, and yet there was no ray of illumination to cut through the darkness.


Click, click, click. Off and on, but no change.


“You change the batteries?” Okawara grunted.


“Y-yes, this morning! Fresh ones we picked up at port!” Hiroshi piped.


“Main generator blowout and no luck with a new flashlight, the seas are giving us the bad with the good tonight apparently,” Okawara huffed as he drew out a match to light an old lantern he always kept in the corner of the control deck. The flickering light barely illuminated anything, but it was better than before.


Okawara poked his head down the hallway and called out to the other crew members across the boat in earshot, “Check the engine room! We have a blowout on a fuse?”


In the darkness he could perceive a shape poking out from said room before a voice familiar to him calling back down, “I was in there checking the motors on the winches, nothing! It all just clicked off and won’t come back on!”


Okawara’s brow furrowed, cursing both the happenstance that this occurred in the middle of a rescue operation and the puzzling nature of their predicament. He was just about to walk down to the engines himself to double-check or at least offer some light, when the sudden shift in the air caught his attention. It wasn’t a sight, but a sound. The absence of a sound. All of the rain suddenly cutting off, but not in any sense of normality. He had been on the sea for decades, he’d been in more storms than he ever could count, violent and calm. And unless it was windy as to throw the rain in a certain direction, showers just never suddenly stopped but rather petered out. This was almost like someone had been running a shower before abruptly cutting off the water.


Okawara looked back out the windows and let his eyes adjust to the darkness. It wasn’t a pitch-black night, though there was a loose overcast as to provide the drizzling downpour. The moon had been half-full, and he could see silvery beams of light coming down in the distances. Staring off into the horizon, he could just barely make out the telltale gray sheet of pouring rain. He could see it in front of them, but a glance behind them confirmed it was still coming down in that direction. A look to the east also revealed that, as did a glance to the west. In fact, in every direction the rain only seemed to be a few hundred meters out at most, enough that upon opening a door to the outside he could still pick up the faint, barely perceptible drumming of it on the ocean surface.


It was like the storm had a hole in it, or someone had put a giant umbrella on top of them. A look upwards only showed blackness. A look back out across the sea revealed the lights of the Eiko-Ryu still lit as the boat was getting closer. Neither of the vessels were moving, but the Lucky Dragon’s momentum left them at a greater speed with the engines cut out and they were drifting in the same direction with a closing distance. They were only a few hundred meters away now, and the flicker of the lights indicated some persons moving across the deck of the other ship, conscious of their closing distance. The Skipper grimaced while trying to figure out the puzzling situation, definitely not prepared to try and take on evacuating passengers and the boats were growing closer.


Closer in an exact trajectory.


Closer with no deviation from their path with the back of the Eiko-Ryu getting increasingly closer to the bow of the Lucky Dragon n.13.


“Drop the anchor! Drop it now!” he cried out at the top of his lungs, while scrambling out onto the deck with several crewmembers following alongside; Okawara holding the lantern aloft as a signal to rally them.


“Drop the anchor or we’re going to collide!” he barked while putting the lantern aside and scrambling onto the old, rusty analog mountings for the anchor. They had relied on an automated system to drop the heavy iron time and time again, leaving the analog controls to neglect much to his frustration.


Multiple crew members put their backs into trying to crank the winch and get the system of pulleys and chain going. All while the back of the Eiko-Ryu got larger with the decreasing distance. In the back of his mind, the Skipper registered that the crew aboard were not reacting to the threat of a coming collision. They were just standing there watching, expectantly. Okawara grimaced while clutching at the old wood and rusty metal, putting fears of tetanus aside as the horrific thought of the desperate crew of the other vessel being killed by their own rescuers in a freak shipping accident came upon him like the plague. They were in the middle of the ocean, the radio without for new how long along with all their other navigational and propulsion systems, if they had a bad accident out here and didn’t get picked up by somebody in visual range they were dead.


They were all dead.


A low humming became audible, but it wasn’t the creaking of the anchors starting to shift, that was drowned out. The low whirling was coming from high above and starting to grow in volume. Or closing distance. Somehow the impossibility that something was above them, suspended in the air, perked at the back of the old Skipper’s mind.


He started considering what was and wasn’t impossible when everything was suddenly illuminated. It didn’t come from the ships, nor from above; but from below. Off to the west and from below the surface came a light that briefly blinded the old man. A burning, crackling like a roaring flame or crack of thunder drowned out everything else as his eyes adjusted to what he could see through the fingers covering his face. Hundreds of meters away was a bright blue and white pillar that vaguely resembled fire, piercing through the evaporating mists of the ocean to sail well above the Lucky Dragon. On instinct the Skipper’s eyes tracked the motion and were quickly widened despite the brightness threatening to blind him again.


Chunks of debris were raining from the sky as the beam struck something that had indeed been levitating a few hundred meters above the shipping vessel. Large chunks of what look like a rock crashed down into the sea on the perimeter of where the massive object had been shading the Lucky Dragon from the rain. The whirring sound from earlier increased in volume as the levitating mass rocked to one side like the impact had a concussive force. It looked like something trying to keep stable despite the blow from below and to the side. It rocked violently to the east, glowing and smoking from where it was struck as the beam cut off. In the dying light of the ray that diminished into embers within the sky, the skipper thought he glimpsed the telltale glimmer of very shiny metal upon the object above them where the beam had struck it.


Everything seemed to happen at once. The unknown floating mass, or possibly some kind of craft, veered off to the northeast and floated away. No longer shading them, it left the Lucky Dragon n.13 to return to the drizzling downpour of before. A downpour the Skipper could now see because all the lights clicked back on and the whirl of the ship’s engines roared into the night. Conscious they were now barreling at the Eiko-Ryu even faster now, with the motors back to life, Skipper Okawara made a break for the controls.


“Turn us about! Turn us about!” he yelled out to the quicker form of Hiroshi Abe beating him to the helm.


The younger man gripped the wheel and spun it as hard as he could. Turning a ship wasn’t like steering a car, but thankfully the Lucky Dragon n.13 was not exactly a large vessel and there was just enough room for a sharp turn to narrowly avoid a bow-to-stern collision with the larger Eiko-Ryu. Letting out a sigh of relief as the research vessel passed alongside them while the fishing boat turned about, the hairs on the back of Skipper Okawara’s neck stood up on their own at what he didn’t see. He didn’t see desperate men and women crying out to them for rescue. He didn’t see someone trying to signal them to turn back around or indicate how close they had come to colliding. Nor did he glimpse a single soul trying to tell him what had befallen their ship. He saw no one, other than a single tall form standing on the bow looking at them.



Evidently Abe had seen them too and his own instincts spurred the younger man to cut the engines and leave the Lucky Dragon n.13 to float on the run momentum in a wide arc separating them from the Eiko-Ryu. It seemed the other crew also noticed the oddity, gathering on the deck to stare. It was almost impossible to describe. Perhaps if they had glimpsed it in a crowd they wouldn’t have thought anything about it. But seeing a solitary form stand on its own in the dim lights was causing instincts they didn’t even know they had to flare up. Instincts telling them something wasn’t right. Skipper Okawara was just about to point one of the floodlights at the… person, when the shifting roar of the ocean spurred his attention in both directions.


The whirling hum from high above came back in force, rapidly descending before a momentous splash crashed down in between the fishing boat and research vessel. Splashing waves rained down and nearly tilted the Lucky Dragon n.13 up on one side as its crew desperately hung onto the railing for stability. The seas churned off to the west but any sense of visual clarity was upended in the vertigo they were currently experiencing. It wasn’t until the waves from the impact splash passed them that the Skipper glimpsed what was causing the racket on the other side.


Piercing into the visibility of the floodlights were three tall spires ripping trails across the ocean surface. In the lights’ luminance, they could glimpse jagged shapes, ivory in color, sprouting out from the sea like the biggest shark fins imaginable. They were towering, mighty structures that would have dwarfed the height of the Lucky Dragon. Dwarfed them as it barreled towards them in the manner of three executing blades poised to chop them asunder. The Skipper would have been saying prayers to any gods that might exist if he hadn’t been so gobsmacked, staring wide-eyed as oblivion barreled forward on roaring tides.


Oblivion then shrunk. Through the pouring rain and deafening stirring of the sea, the Skipper blinked and contemplated what he saw.


The spires, fins, spines, whatever they were, shrunk in height as whatever mass they were connected to under the surface dove down deeper. They completely disappeared from view entirely, and it was only by the large but gradual rocking of the wake the entity they were connected to gave the fishing vessel, that Okawara could perceive it was passing underneath them. The Lucky Dragon n.13 rattled from deck to deck, bolt to bolt, with a reverberation that didn’t at all sound mechanical. Plenty of whales had passed underneath the vessel and a few times their echolocation or song would echo through the hull. This was like that but 100 times louder.


A deep, reverberating bellow.


It sounded angry.


The reverberation gradually passed as the large wake went off to the east. The dumbstruck crew looked likewise in the same direction, only to see the Eiko-Ryu had vanished from its last position. The only indication as to its whereabouts, the flickering lights upon the deck, showed it to be far off in the distance. It was heading northeast, and the wake was going in the same direction. The tall bony fins pierced out from the ocean surface once again, and it was only when they flickered with a familiar flash of blue did the skipper realize what it was.


It was then he fell to his knees and started praying.




============

Io sighed as she checked the monitoring equipment. She’d give Miss Ichinose one thing, she was persistent. Managed to survive a month with them so far and not her dad’s less than stellar manners nor her attitude had driven her off. Reheating up some fried goodness in a small rice cooker, she dumped it into a bowl with cheap soy sauce before passing it forward.


“Thank you, Io,” Yuji called out after flashing a thumbs up as he fiddled with a radar monitor while in the front seat. He already had a chopstick pack opened up and ready to use.


Io made herself a bowl and started to fork it into her mouth, lacking the patience for chopsticks. She paused and waited a moment for the inevitable complaints coming from the front passenger seat. A full minute passed and none were heard, instead just the calm adjustments of a camera lens and filter. Yuki wasn’t as brainy as their colleagues, but she had proved dedicated.


Io looked at the rice cooker before shrugging to herself and making another bowl. She intentionally used another cheap soy sauce packet, if only to see what sort of reaction she got. Her gray hand held it out and waited for Miss Ichinose to notice it.


It took a hot minute but the photographer finally did. She turned back and flashed a so-white-it-hurt smile at her and nodded. Io wanted to groan. Teeth did not look naturally that pale, she should know because she brushed diligently. Ichinose probably had them bleached in the hope she could be some fancy news anchor one day.


“Thank you, young Miss Shinoda,” Ichinose quipped as she took it.


A moment later and she opened her trap again, only to say, “Got another fork?”


Io absentmindedly glanced about and offered up a cheap plastic spork complete in a wrapping. Ichinose took it and waved her fingers at her.


“Ah good, I like these more,” she quipped before diving in without complaint.


Io paused as she listened to Ichinose eating alongside her dad. No complaints about lack of teriyaki, griping over it being reheated food and then not getting takeout from somewhere fancy, nor any notation about lack of vegetables or fine cooked beef. Didn’t even use chopsticks… She looked at her own hand holding a fork.


Io shrugged and tried not to think about it waiting for some minutes to pass until a beeping sounded off from the front seat.


“Ish thmat it? That Godzilla?” Ichinose mumbled through a face stuffed with rice.



Yuji leaned in more and studied the radar monitor, carefully adjusting some settings to make sure it wasn’t a false signal or maybe just a boat. Sure enough however there was no vehicle transponder and the object in question was coming up as almost as tall as what the radar picked up for as length.



“Figure we got a bit before anyone else can tell he’s here. He’s never come this close to shore before except once,” Yuji gasped as he turned off all the lights in the van, “Back in 1998, so if we picked him up, others might too. Either he’s going to skim the coast or come ashore like he did then.”



Even with the best private equipment and studies, it didn't change the fact that theirs was a nation that had been under kaiju attack almost constantly for over a decade and a half. Tracking kaiju movements far out at sea was almost impossible, but there had been plenty of local sensors that might give a heads up when they surfaced. They were the only non-defense game in town when it came to tracking them, but Yuji was under no illusion that they were the only ones who noticed his arrival. And G-Force was always getting better and better about response time. Which made it all the more important they could get some data before anything chaotic happened. The van was parked at the edge of a tunnel, a pouring torrent of rain just beyond it. Carefully, Yuji set the van into drive and crept towards the end of the road, ignoring the pounding drizzle of the rain on the roof. The windshield wipers were having to work overtime to keep visibility.



Ichinose had her camera up to her face and was trying to adjust it, “Which way?”



Yuji glanced at the monitor again before pointing, “About 1000 meters, 3 o’clock.”



Ichinose bit her tongue and fiddled with the camera controls. In a show of lack of regard for her appearance when the situation called for it, she opened the window and stuck her head out into the rain to direct her thankfully waterproof camera into the storm. Lightning cracked and for the briefest moment she saw a towering form standing in the bay a kilometer away. She tried to snap a picture and the camera flashed, but upon diving back into the van she could see the preview showed barely anything but rain.



“Is it getting any closer?” she quipped while she dabbed her camera with a napkin.



“He,” Io corrected, insistent, from the back of the van.



Yuji ignored the snipe and checked the monitor, “Hmm… Sensor’s having a hard time picking him up. Maybe dove under again. Can’t pick him out from the waves. Lemme try something.”



Much to Yuki’s surprise and Io’s intrigue, Yuji set the high beam headlights on and off, flickering them back and forth every few second. He glanced to the radar monitor hooked up to the beacons they’d set up earlier.



The massive blob on the scanner paused and started to change direction before disappearing again. Yuji stopped flickering the headlights and after some contemplation, reached for his keys. Memories from 1984 encouraged him to shut the car off and hide in the darkness of the tunnel. Without being able to see exactly where the kaiju was coming from, he wasn’t taking any chances. After a few minutes, they all felt it. The only light was coming from the top of the tunnel and they were in the shadows, able to see the beams extend out into the bay past the guard rails. Yuji made sure all the major lights in the van were turned off. A deep, rattling rumble reverberated through the bottom of the van. Something very heavy had stepped onto the sea cliffs not far below. There was a low bellow that shuddered the air.



Through the edge of visible sight, as their eyes adjusted to the darkness, they could see that there was a blackness the rain was bouncing off. An audible breath was exhaled, and thick rolls of mist clogged the road ahead of them, expelled by two nostrils. As her eyes adjusted, Io Shinoda’s mouth dropped open at the sight.



Obscured by the darkness as it was, it was right there. Not 50 meters from the van, having snuck up on them. The other two people in the van didn’t see it and truthfully speaking she couldn’t either. But there was a drive to, perhaps one so strong it projected in her vision. Her old friend, now a titan that walked with thunder, he returned to her! Godzilla Junior. She could see it, the jagged teeth, the serrated scales, strong brow, and sharpened dorsal spines; he looked so gigantic and imposing and yet the eyes seemed so familiar! Her own eyes watered as she sniffled, feeling the years peel back until she was right back in Kyoto with Azusa.



Yuji couldn’t see any eyes, only the faintest glint of gigantic teeth. He was back in Tokyo, inside a train car a leviathan had picked up. Yuki saw no warmth and recognition, only a gargantuan mass looking towards the tunnel as if trying to find something in it. She knew better than most how good predators could see in the dark.



Io wanted to reach out in mind to him, but she was so overcome that she couldn’t focus. She tried, she earnestly tried but nothing was working. She had to do something else. She looked to the back of the van.




“It can see us,” Yuki whispered to Yuji as she touched his shoulder with one hand and started a hold of her camera with the other.



Yuji’s shaking hand was holding the ignition key and his other was contemplating the reverse on the shifter, “I shouldn’t have done that with the lights, I thought we could tell when it was coming…”



“Io can you-“ he started but he and Yuki’s awe and fright was cut short when they heard the back of the van open and shut, seeing a little blur of gray run past the van.



Yuki was gobsmacked and Yuji almost screamed in terror.



“IO!”



Io ran ahead of the van and into the storm, nearly falling over because of the whipping wind and torrents of hail-like rain. She’d splash through puddles over ankle deep and was soaked within seconds, but none of that distracted her from advancing forward as fast as her little legs could keep her going.



Somewhere along the way in her strides she became aware that the rain was no longer pelting her skin. Io paused, glancing at the ground to confirm the droplets were no longer hitting in any frequency. The wind was blowing in from the sea, throwing the rain at an angle. And while it was still far too dark to see, even with the lights on the top of the tunnel, she could still make out an outline from where the rain was being blocked. Moving a soaked piece of hair out of her face, Io Shinoda stood up and was beholden to the gigantic being who was so massive as to be standing at the base of the cliffs and yet still cast a long shadow over her.



A low rumble was audible over the pouring rain. Io sniffled as several tears began to well up in her eyes.



Yuji, soon followed by Yuki, stumbled as they stepped into the rainless patch void of precipitation. It was surreal seeing a patch of open ground with barely a drop falling from the sky; even as the wind whipped around. Yuki saw the sight of Io standing before the guard railing of the cliffside road gazing up words and she followed it with her line of sight. There was no lightning to offer illumination and the spotlights from the tunnel exit didn’t reach far enough to offer clarity, but she could see the shape.



Glancing to Yuji and finding his expression to be completely unreadable, somewhere between awe and shock, she slowly started to reach for her camera while taking the flash off. Nice one or not, she didn’t ever want to take the risk of alerting a Godzilla to her presence. She did however notice something else. There were droplets of something on the edge of where the floodlights were illuminating. At first she took it to be torrents of rain but a smell the nature photographer was all too familiar with started to hang in the air despite the whipping wind. And she could see the liquid was red.



Yuji was in the midst of prayers, for reasons more than the hope his daughter was getting closure, when he noticed a pinprick of light. It was far off in the distance and at first he took it to be maybe a lighthouse or a pair of very distant high beams from another car going down the hill side roads. That was until he could tell it was both moving but ignoring geography, assign a flight. His eyes widened with recognition when he glimpsed a dark mass inside the light and a split second of a loud roar before the missile crashed into the back of the Godzilla.



All sense of serenity was completely shattered in that instant. Several jets streamed overhead after launching several other air to surface missiles upon the titan. Airborne maser platforms followed along soon after, igniting the air with streaking light as their rays zigzagged across the kaiju’s body. Heaven and earth shook from both the onslaught as well as the enraged roar the Godzilla let out.



In the gasps of light, Yuji Shinoda was 16 years in the past. Back in Tokyo, back inside a train car that had been ripped off the tracks by a giant hand. He’d heard that roar before, up close. He’d seen those fangs, up close. And be it in the moment, he’d seen that roaring titan, a nightmare from decades past back come back from the dead to kill dozens upon dozens of people. In the year after he’d seen it kill his wife. In some ways it almost wouldn’t matter which one this individual was, a survivor from 1995 or a whole new creature. It was still an avatar of destruction from the legends of his homeland at Odo. It was still Godzilla.



And now his daughter was in harm’s way, shrieking at the jets with sobbing screams of rage.

“DON’T HURT HIM! STOP IT! STOP IT!” Io called out as she ran forward while waving her arms, drowned out by another salvo of explosions impacting Godzilla’s shoulder.



Yuji sprinted forward and grabbed Io, yanking her back and nearly falling over.



Yuki, rushing behind him, as something fell from the saurian’s mouth with brief flashes from the G-Force onslaught illuminating it as it fell. She lunged and grabbed Yuji by his shoulder and shirt to help wrench him and Io away from the edge of the road. While it didn’t fall on top of where they were, she did become aware of what had been dropped as it fell down within the range of the tunnel’s illumination. A large mass of an animal, to a degree it could only have once been a whale, all but exploded when it hit the road. Even at a distance the spatter was more than enough to shower them all in hot ichors, blood, and bile, exacerbating any current experience of dread from being in the middle of a shoot out between the military and a kaiju.



Yuji was pasty white with shock and horror, intermittently looking at his daughter and the road ahead of them. And Io was slack-jawed in fright as she kept looking up past her father’s shoulder. Yuki could barely even process all that was going on around her, just holding on to the others and pumping her legs to get to the tunnel and the GPN van. She was the one with the most faculties as to notice the falling debris raining down from the hillside when a stray maser and the thrashing of Godzilla dislodged several tons of boulders and substrate.



“LOOK OUT!” she screamed while yanking as hard as she could on Yuji, diverging them away from a large chunk of falling debris the size of a refrigerator that impacted the ground beside them.

The tunnels foundations were beginning to crack and the light shorted out. Yuji comprehended the gigantic hand bursting from the storm reaching out towards them just as they entered the tunnel. The titanic monster roared into the night, shouting out the thunder from nature as well as that from mankind’s vehicles as missile and maser fire exploded against its armored skin. Holding place for a moment, it turned and dove back into the waters of the Pacific.
Last edited by Desghidorah on Mon May 03, 2021 8:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Desghidorah
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Re: Godzilla:2000 - New Era

Post by Desghidorah »

Got some fun art by my friends, FallenAngel5414, LordShrekzilla20, and Zeroviks. Posting a few here and rest in link form if they're too big.
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“She looked a lot worse than she really was, most of the procedures were just making sure no infections would spread from getting spattered by that carcass. We were really glad almost all of the blood wasn’t actually hers, just some nicks and scuffs from the falling debris. Her arm has a lot of bruising but nothing serious, hybrids recover quick,” the attending doctor calmly noted to Yuki as she stood down the hall from the occupied hospital room.

“Thanks, we were very worried with all the chaos,” Yuki said with a frown after bowing.


“All good families do,” the medical practitioner jovially noted as he nodded to her, “Your husband is still with her.”

“Oh…OH!” Yuki startled, “She’s not my daughter and I’m not married. I was just on the emergency contacts because we work together.”


Yuki awkwardly grimaced while shoving some odd thoughts out of her head. The doctor looked her down before shrugging and nodding.

“Ah. I thought her father looked awfully human, so I figured you might just be one of those Mysterians that are good at blending in. my apologies Miss… Well since it’s not an emergency and you were also screened, visiting hours are still good for nonfamily,” he noted while motioning down the hall.

“Thank you! Is this okay?” Yuki quipped as the doctor started to walk away while raising up a bag and pulling a fork out.

“What’s in it?”

“Oh just sticky rice and some shrimp, figured it'd be nice and simple on her stomach.”

The doctor looked like he was about to comment about eating rice with a fork before brushing it off and nodding, “There’s no problem with her digestion, so that should be fine. If she was in emergency care I might say no but this is the smallest injury report I’ve ever had with these kinds of incidents. Just a fractured humerus. I wish most kaiju attacks had a wounded count of 1.”

The doctor shrugged before walking off. Yuki felt some urge to say something, she wasn’t quite sure what, but stifled it away. As she passed by a common room, her eyes were brought to attention upon a TV screen with a news report. Evidently the altercation at the cliffside had gotten plenty of attention. Some of the soldiers had recovered video and those frames of night vision were playing through the television screen. And images of a Godzilla thrashing and roaring as missiles exploded against his hide were playing like nothing had ever changed since about five years earlier. Evidently G-Force was mobilizing with the all-too-familiar image of two bald men splashed on the side of the screen. One, who stood up front, was the shorter and older of the two. The Japanese man was aged while carrying an obvious aura of authority with a muscular stoutness which showed he was once of a very strong build that had begun to proceed with age. Behind and beside him was a dark-skinned British man, past his prime but still sporting a very powerful frame; his face accented by a short-cropped mustache and beard. The former spoke first.

“This is the first time this new Godzilla has come ashore near a populated area. While it was thankfully fended off swiftly by quick responding forces, we must remain vigilant. The Super-X3 has finished refurbishing and will be on call at a moment’s notice,” Commander Aso calmly stated as he tried to placate the reporters at the press release. He stepped aside and let his subordinate stand before the podium.

When he stepped up the news headline changed to the name ‘Pentecost’ and pretty quickly Yuki realized from where she had recognized him. Aso’s subordinate and, by word of the grapevine, most likely successor, had been the captain on the Mechagodzilla UN crew; scouted from British Royal Air Force. Here was somebody who arguably had come the closest to killing a Godzilla in recent decades.

“While there are some kaiju that have proven non-hostile, all of the confirmed ones are either accounted for on Infant Island with the current Mothra, or deceased with the third, sub-adult Godzilla. The identity of his current Godzilla is unknown, but what is known is that the first attack in 1954 killed over 40,000 instantly and then another of the same measure from injuries and radiation. The second monster doubled that number in 1984 alone, much less at the other victims from its other attacks later. G-Force is not taking any chances with this one.”

A reporter apparently had called out as Pentecost nodded to them. The camera swung around to show a young woman sitting next to a G-Force subcommander and Yuki was simultaneously impressed and jealous that her former protégé Yumi Tachibana had gotten into the meeting instead of her. Sometimes having a television repairman as your father like Yuki did has its benefits, but evidently having a commander as your father had plenty of other ones.

“Sir, what about worries attacking this new Godzilla might needlessly aggravate it? This incursion happened less than 100 km away from a nuclear power plant and the second Godzilla certainly targeted them after battles.”

Pentecost nodded sagely, “That’s why we’re sticking to perimeter defense. I know plenty of others want us to kill every large creature we see the moment it exists, and often there’s good cause to do that. Ever since 1984 more and more of them had started appearing, and just last year the attacks went global in New York City. Attacking these creatures is hard enough as to be borderline impossible, so new prediction methods and models are going to be needed. And though every commander dreads being unprepared for an attack, every commander also needs to know when not to send their soldiers into a losing battle. Like attacking a Godzilla at sea. We’re going to be testing out some new defensive measures and buffing up short defenses as well as evacuation strategies.”

Yuki glimpsed Aso nodding approvingly in the background, evidently having decided to let Pentecost handle a good bit of this. Yuki almost got the sense the old commander was intending to retire soon but had delayed it in light of current events.

There was a lot to begrudge, but not the least of which she was bemoaning the clarity and repetition of the captured imagery depicting the battle. Every few seconds it was a new frame of Godzilla taken from the video. It was blurry and distorted because of the distance and rain, but the news networks were clearly milking it for all it’s worth. The very first images of the newest King of the Monsters, the very prize she had come to the GPN seeking.

Yuki pouted as she grumbled, half wondering if she should consider seeking a booby prize by encouraging Yuji to give their production data to G-Force.


“So much for first shot bonuses….”

Stowing that baggage away for now, she paced off down the hall to the room she’d come for. She stopped however upon hearing raised voices coming through the door.

“You should’ve let me talk to him!” a little girl, clearly Io, shouted.

“And you could’ve become irradiated just by running up to it like that!” a reply, clearly from Yuji, barked back.

Yuki stiffened and awkwardly looked around. This was the loudest and clearly angriest she had ever heard father and daughter talk to each other. A large part of her mind wanted to intervene, but another large part wanted to back away far enough she couldn’t hear them and to stay out of it. The deadlock between the two kept her from moving aside from awkwardly stepping aside to stand beside the door just in case anyone came barreling out. Sometimes old snooping instincts paid off, but she couldn’t lie and not feel a little bit guilty.

“Those imbeciles that fired at him were the ones that hurt me, not him!”

“Those imbeciles might have just saved your life! What were you thinking of running up like that?!”

“I was just about to mentally reach out! I could’ve talked to him, do what our research wants us to!”

“Our research is to predict and study, not engage! We’re not G-Force, Io!”

“Mom would have wanted us to study him! And Junior would never hurt me-“

Yuji’s voice doubled in volume, “THAT THING ISN’T JUNIOR ANYMORE… ! It’s only Godzilla now.”

Yuki’s face continued to sink. Her mind drifted back to two images. One of a reptilian creature standing inside the biotechics institute at Kyoto. Sharp of fang yes, but apparently so placid it didn’t at all mind a helpless child riding on his back. The second was that photograph taken during that storm at Odo Island, the place all this half-century of monsters began. An ominous titan standing amongst the waves, a force of nature no lesser than that which turned Tokyo into a bonfire.

Reconciling the two seemed impossible.

Yuki heard the haggard breath inside the room, homing in on it and flinching only when she heard a footstep. Reacting quickly she stepped across the doorway and hid behind which way it would move, backing up enough to where it wouldn’t hit her up upon and swinging open. A haggard, clearly stressed Yuji stumbled out with one hand covering up part of his face. Even with his back to her, Yuki could see the shame and frustration fighting for the right to express themselves. She stayed hidden and breathed quietly, counting up as Yuji paced off.

She kept counting to 300 before very quietly stepping inside the hospital room.

She took note of what she saw and made a point not to react to it. Placing the take-out bags on a small table, she fished out a disposable box and plastic fork. Yuki turned back around to face… Seemingly nothing. But that nothing had to be something as she could still see the creases on the bedding from a weight being pressed on it.

“You can’t cover that up?” she quipped with as casual a tone as she could muster.

There was silence for a time before a quiet grumble conceded, “… I didn’t memorize what the bedding looks like, I can only project what I’m sitting on.”

“Well could you project a little bit less so I can hand this to you? Figured it would be really good to wash out the taste of that nasty x-ray dye they had you drink.” Yuki muttered, “Fork or chopsticks?”

“What kind of a question is that?” Io snipped.

“One I need an answer to,” Yuki huffed firmly.

After a few moments Io materialized, or at least most of her did. She was visible from the mid-torso down, parts of her upper arms phasing out of appearance when they moved to take the box.

Yuki held out the fork and clicked her tongue. Io was probably looking at it for a moment or two, Yuki couldn’t tell because she couldn’t see her head, before reaching out and taking it.

“I told him I felt fine…” Io mumbled as she sunk back into the hospital bed, “… Fork, if you please, Miss Ichinose.”

“Well, got to use the fishery’s healthcare benefits for something I guess…” Yuki shrugged before evening out her tone, “He just worried, Miss Shinoda.”

Io was silent for a time before opening up the shrimp and rice, scooping up the food with her fork and eating quietly for a minute or two.

“I thought you’d be more surprised,” Io mumbled in a way that was just barely audible, spurring Yuki’s attention.

Perhaps realizing she was too quiet, Io cleared her throat and motioned towards her head.

Yuki raised her brow and shrugged as she seated herself on a chair near the bed with her own forkful of food and box, “I’m no scientist but I pick up on things pretty quick. If you said chopsticks, I might’ve really worried you got hit on the head.”

It was extremely quiet, more of a huff than anything else. But for the faintest of moments Yuki could swear she heard a giggle. Another 10 minutes’ worth of silent eating ensued, Yuki not wanting to and perhaps feeling too awkward at striking up a conversation. That was motivation cast aside when a clearly muffled sound peeped out from Io. Glancing aside Yuki could see the little girl quickly covering part of her invisible face with a hand as if to muffle herself more, but the sound still leaked out. Sniffling and the edges of crying.

Yuki was about to say something when Io cut her off just as her mouth opened.

“I-… I.. Apologize. I cause my father a lot of undue stress with my actions….”

Yuki sighed as she raised her brow and tilted her head, “Not like I was exactly the picture of calm either, young lady.”

Io swallowed, collecting herself for a moment before speaking again, “Then… I apologize to you as well, even if you are an… Imbecile, for getting worked up enough to buy me cheap take-out.”

Yuki rolled her eyes while deadpanning, “Well I don’t exactly pay for gas…”

“I know you were listening outside…” Io whispered before swallowing, “I-didn’t mean to but I can tell when people are around.”

“Thought your father said not to use your powers on people too much?”

“Figured it was okay if I knew them,” Io mumbled.

Yuki took in a deep breath and sighed, smiling slightly as she knew the last imbecile comment was far less snippy and stabbing in tone than past foolhardy attempts.

“Sorry, I would’ve walked away but I haven’t really ever heard you and your father shouting before. You both seemed very stressed.”

Now it was Io’s turn to deadpan, even if her attempt at sounding blunt wasn’t exactly successful.


We got caught in the firefight of a kaiju and G-Force,” Io raised her hand which had a small splint brace on it, “And I looked worse than I was…. He’s a very good father, he frets a lot more than most would and I don’t always thank him when he tries to make sure I’m okay…. Sometimes he tries too much and gets worked up.”

“And I’m sorry about intruding, sometimes I just get like that where I have to observe. Call it news intuition,” Yuki pouted.

“… If you had that, why are you still working in the bargain basement of the airways tabloids when you came to us?” Io muttered in a lighter tone, more successfully managing the deadpan now.

Yuki couldn’t help but chuckle at the phrase that sounded like an insult but was clearly not, “That’s just the way it is with the media business sometimes. Sometimes you’ve gotta swing high and just land low. Celebrity stuff isn’t usually my thing, but you no doubt know that from checking my records?”

Yuki noticed how Io seemed to perk up slightly. Evidently that was something of an assumption she had made where her intuition didn’t quite pan out. It must’ve been Yuji Shinoda that thumbed through her record more. She raised an eyebrow, knowing when she had a captive audience, but decided to string this out a little bit more if only to distract from prior conversation. Taking in a big forkful of her food and shoveling it into her cheek, she started to speak again in a very unladylike manner that no doubt drove off plenty of suitors in her earlier years. Turning and addressing the seemingly headless body with a goofy visage, Yuki hummed.

“Personally I much prefer nature shots to celebrity gossip,” she swallowed the cheek full of food after closing her mouth to chew it, “Did you know I was nearly on the Isla Sorna expedition Ingen sent back in 97?”

“… You? Nearly got on that island?” Io muttered incredulously after shoveling a forkful of food into her mouth. She too probably had a packed cheek Yuki couldn’t see.

Yuki Ichinose nodded, “Ludlow and Masrani had me on their list, but Archer, Stewarts and Paladecki had to set out early because Dr. Levine went off ahead of them and needed help. I was away in Hokkaido and couldn’t get to the airport fast enough.”

“How… were you on their list to go?”

“Well that third guy? Paladecki, Gary if you want the given name; friend of mine on a venture Hammond apparently knew about. I was with him and this other photographer, Van Owen in Tanzania. We were at Lake Tanganyika, big one, extremely long-“

“Longest by length and second oldest in the world,” Io chimed in with much more steadiness in her voice that had previously been there.

There was a twinkle in Yuki’s eye much she didn’t let Io know about it, just quietly letting her plan come to fruition as she cast the tale.

“And you’d believe it by looking at the thing! Might as well be a sea if it wasn’t freshwater. Well, the boys were splitting a tent and I had my own. We were helping document the wildlife and humanitarian needs in nearby Burundi. I was checking my camera gear at night when this... biiig span started to push against the tent wall.”

She spread her hands out into an indication of span, like a storyteller would. Glancing aside she could see Io was facing her, clearly listening despite poking at her food and her face still being obscured. Her audience was certainly captive now.

“Well, I thought one of the guys was playing some joke, so I kicked it. Only it felt like a brick wall. Stunned my ankle.”

She patted at her ankle and waited for Io to speak.

“… What was it?”

Yuki smirked, “I got a good look when it passed by the front of my tent which was just a mesh screen to keep the bugs out… Biggest crocodile I’ve ever seen in my life! I got a good measurement for the head because it was right up against the mesh, the whole thing was probably just shy of 6 meters. Had a noticeable scar right about here-“

She paused to motion to her shoulder, “Later found out it was none other than the infamous ‘Gustave’, a man eater. Probably had come into the camp looking for a snack. He’d apparently grown up consuming the dead and saw humans as food. Unlike most predators, he’s attracted to fire.”

“How did you get out of that predicament?” Io muttered, “I don’t see you missing any limbs…”

Yuki shrugged her shoulders and motioned like she was holding her camera, “Photographers instinct, I grab my camera, old analog job, and hit it in the eyes with the flash a few times. The crocodile ran back off to the water after that. I only got to recognize it years later when someone finally got a picture of it.”

Io mutely thought about it before breaking her pause, “… Wait, but what about your pictures? Wouldn’t you have gotten the first still frames of it?”

The woman cracked a slightly sheepish grin as she rubbed the back of her head, “Would you believe that tent mesh messed up the focus, sooo I look like I was being attacked by a giant dust bunny?…..”

The silence was palpable and lasted a hot minute. Glancing about a bit awkwardly Yuki raised her eyebrow and pouted.

“… Going to call me an imbecile again? As I sure felt like one back then,” she snarked.

“…..”

“….”

“….” Io audibly deflated and laid back in her bed more, “No… Just bemoaning your track record and the fact that we’re relying on you to get our pictures.”

The laugh Yuki had was a snort at first before she had to rapidly pat her chest with a fist to avoid choking. Amidst making sure she didn’t accidentally spit out her food or choke on it, something that was music to her ears graced them. A little, girlish giggle.

Io must have noticed what caused Yuki to look her way and quickly stifled it. They looked at one another, or at least Yuki had to guess where Io’s eyes would be, and left a happy moment to be. Yuki had gambled that Io might have been very mature or intelligent for her age, but there still were bound to be some things about socializing that only come with experience. And given her current circumstances, the photographer was pretty sure her assessment was accurate. Having gotten the last word in, she left the thread of the conversation hanging for Io to pick back up if she felt inclined.

She did so after another interval of quiet eating.

“My mother got radiation poisoning in 1984, she and my dad were in Tokyo and in direct contact,” Io muttered.

The tone shift was like taking a car crash to the face and forced Yuki to spend a few moments mentally rebooting.

“I… erm… I remember your father mentioning they were there that year, but I figured they just maybe saw what went down at a distance,” Yuki gulped as she knew full well there was only one possible source for that radiation, “I guess I’m surprised he studies Godzilla then.”

Io seemed to be trying to stay calm but the waiver in her voice betrayed her strain, “Radiation helped kill my mother. Godzilla is the only thing known to thrive off it without consequences. Why wouldn’t he want to study it?”

Yuki mentally wrote down some notes on what she was being told. She knew full well Dr. Yuji Shinoda was a widower, as he didn’t seem like the type that went through a divorce. But she hadn’t thought it was her place to pry, so these details were new. Details like how Io said radiation contributed to her mother’s demise, not that radiation directly killed her. And given Io’s age, she couldn’t have been alive back in 84…

“That’s a lot of baggage, can’t imagine how hard it can be to hold,” Yuki sighed as she shook her head, “he seems so jovial when you two recruited me.”

Io shrugged her shoulders, what was visible at least, even if she did pause to rub at her fractured arm, “More like he recruited you. I wanted us to work with another scientist, so I was trying to scare you off…”

Ichinose shook her head slowly and did the exact same gesture, “Well, it didn’t work. Is that why he seemed so upset a bit ago?”

Io seemed to nod after whimpering slightly, “… I was the imbecile that time… Mom got poisoned because she got too close. I was… risking it.”

“Hey, it was reckless but it wasn’t your fault we turned out to be so good at predicting where he’d show up that the military didn’t know we were there before they started blasting. You were trying to see your old friend,” Yuki muttered before taking her last bite of sticky rice, “You don’t seem the type to socialize much anyways.”

“Not anymore,” Io murmured, “What tipped you off?”

Yuki picked up her camera from her side bag and motioned to it, “Let’s just say I went through junior high school looking out of the camera lens more than at anyone. I wasn’t exactly popular, believe it or not.”

She preened for a moment before Io replied with the tact of someone who just burst a balloon with a needle, “…Shocking.”

“Could make a desert with how dry your tone just was,” Yuki snarked, “Alright. I might not have been very professional up until now, but I’m your only other horse in this carriage beside your dad. So how’s about we make a deal? We both start acting more professional around each other, you don’t give me a heart attack like earlier, and I won’t torment you with tales of my wasted youth.”

“You’re not exactly an old maid,” Io grunted with a tone that somehow sounded both disparaging and reassuring.

“Well past 25, kid. Ever heard the term Christmas cake?”

Io huffed, “Only out of imbeciles.”

Yuki was just about to snarked back when the hospital workers stepped in, only to quickly yelp in surprise.

“Okay young miss Shinoda, doctors just want to have one last look at your shoulder about that fracture and then—AH!”

Ichinose perked her brow at the odd reaction before following her line of sight to the bed beside her. Io’s head was now visible, if slightly obscured from her long gray hair hanging down. Glancing between the nurse and the little girl, the photographer was quick to discern what was visible to her was not visible to the newcomer. She felt a bead of sweat run down her face as she deadpanned.

It was starting to feel very weird how used to this she was getting, hanging out with the psychic hybrid alien for weeks on end.

“Shinoda, that’s rude. They might have to look at your shoulder but they kinda need to know where your head is,” in an act much more brazen than she would’ve tried earlier that day she reached over and nudged Io’s arm.

The little girl looked at her and finally Yuki got a good ascertaining as to her condition. Io looked far better than she might have expected she’d appear right after the verbal fight with her father, Yuki was pretty sure she didn’t want to see what that was. Especially with the remnants of tears still staining parts of her grayscale skin and swollen facial veins. A large frown was on her features all the while. Yuki nodded to her and after sighing, Io nodded back and apparently dropped the cloaking. Her facial veins receded as she ceased her psychic concentration.

“Hey, want me to go find your father?”

A full stomach and an hour of brevity did frayed nerves good. Io Shinoda nodded with a slight grunt of approval. Her facial veins pulsed once again as she tapped Yuki Ichinose’s arm, putting an image in her head of where to look. The three left the room, Io going with the nurse and Yuki having some directions.

Dr. Yuji Shinoda sat behind the steering wheel of his stationary vehicle, a dozen things racing through his head. Over half of which concerned his daughter in a sad cornucopia of shame and regret. There was a heavy temptation in his line of sight. Across the street was a pretty good sake bar he’d once visited back in college, back in simpler and happier days. The warm storefront was very inviting as phantom scents and sights besieged his senses. The temptation of dulled pain was strong enough to give him a tremor before quickly shrugging it off and averting his gaze. Tapping his fingers on the steering wheel he tiredly wiped his face to try and spur thoughts of other matters.

It was a godsend that a distraction came to him when the passenger door opened, and Ichinose stepped in while holding a takeout bag.

“You know, I was kinda worried I’d find you across the street with a half-empty bottle of the hard stuff,” she muttered after glancing towards the bar.

“I gave up all drinking back in ‘85,” he shrugged, “Much as it might dull the pain in the moment, I’d be too worried about causing a lot more later.”

“Well if it takes some of that strain off; Io’s fine. Just a small fracture. She’s just having one last test to make sure her shoulder is fine otherwise,” Ichinose explained calmly, “… Hungry? I got enough for three.”

Yuji took in a deep breath before shrugging, nodding as he grumbled comically, “Well, there goes my promise of you not having to buy lunch with the GPN contract.”

“I’ll send you the bill. It wasn’t much, I got the Imbecile Rate anyways,” Ichinose snarked as she pulled out the only full rice box left.

The presence of two eaten boxes perked Yuji’s notice.

“How’s Io, did she eat well?”

Yuki Ichinose rolled her eyes and nodded, “She ate fine, she’s doing just fine… I was with her this whole time.”

Yuji sighed in relief as he got the chopsticks readied and took several bites, a realization slowly dawning on them. Awkwardly glancing about he cleared his throat before speaking.

“You.. ate with her…? Is she upset?”

Yuki raised an eyebrow, “... What, do you think I would spend an hour antagonizing a little girl in a hospital bed?”

Yuji Shinoda’s eyes widened and dilated as he rapidly jolted up, holding a hand in defense and dropping his chopsticks while trying to not fling rice everywhere.

“NO! No no no! Ah that came out wrong! I meant she usually-! Did you and her? Aaag,” Shinoda grumbled as he tried to root around in his seat for the chopsticks. A dull prodding in his arm spurred his attention enough to look over and see Yuki offering him a fork.

Conceding either the infinite nowhere under the seats had swallowed up the sticks or they were in contact with unsanitary floorboards, he took the implement.

“Thanks…” He noted, eyeing it oddly.

Ichinose chuckled briefly, “Surprisingly, Young Miss Shinoda and I had a much less-abrasive-than-usual conversation. Actually apologized to me… still called me an imbecile several times though.”

“It’s her quirk,” Dr. Shinoda muttered as he somewhat awkwardly help a fork between his twitching fingers, muscle memory trying to make it work like a stick, “Surprised though, I think she starting to warm up to you.”

“Seems so…. By the way, I think this is the first time I’ve seen you use anything other than a knife and chopsticks for food.”

“Well I never can understand why you two like using these for sticky rice,” Yuji noted with pursed lips before setting about to use the stabbing implement, more gouging the food then actually scooping it up.

“You’d have to have really grown up in the boonies or be very dedicated to a stereotype to not use one,” Ichinose quipped with a shrug, “No offense.”

“None taken, but I did,” Shinoda muttered with a forkful of rice, “I grew up on Odo Island.”

“… Wait, that place wheeere…”

Shinoda nodded, “The original Godzilla showed up and the legend that gave it its name came from. The ancient sea dragon of destruction… Aside from that, mostly just a fishing village. I didn’t experience air-conditioning until I was about 20.”

“Sounds pretty rustic, been back there anytime recently?”

“Not since Io was born no…” Shinoda frowned as he stabbed at his food and took in a few more sloppy bites, “Parents come to visit us when they want to see her.”

A silence gripped the air between them, Yuki awkwardly shuffling in her seat to try and fail at breaking the stillness, “…..”

“…..”

Neither of them looked at each other but the silence was starting to suffocate the inside of the van.

“…. Io told me some stuff. Mind if I just rip the Band-Aid off at the risk of insensitivity?” Yuki Ichinose huffed as she drummed her fingers against each other a bit nervously.

Shinoda swallowed another wad of chewed rice and after teething at his lip, shrugged a long exhale before taking in an equally deep inhale to steel himself.

“Well it’s better than dancing around it. All right, hit me….”

“I know why the research on Godzilla’s important to you, personally,” Ichinose said as softly as she could, trying to make sure she didn’t throw any gas on a fire or salt in a wound, “I’ll be honest, I kind of thought you were one of those kaiju groupies when I first signed up and I was hoping you could lead me to the big payout of some good pictures. The first ever of the new Godzilla… Well that goal’s shot.”

“… So, is this the part when you hand in your resignation?”

When she shook her head he was so adamantly expecting a nod it took him a moment to double take and look at her again. Yuki once again shook her head.

“No thanks, I think I’ll stay.”

Yuji raised his brow, “Even though you know about what we hadn’t been talking about, Io and I?”

Yuki shrugged, “Had I not, I very well might have quit. Check the tabloids for jobs to pay the bills before maybe trying to land some Safari gig to get out of here… But, no…. I would like to hear more though, if I’m to stay.”

“Ah, so I'm being blackmailed for information?” Shinoda humored with a chuckle.

“No, just requested it,” Yuki quipped as she held her hands up but nodded, “But if saying you were coerced helps with your daughter later, knock yourself out.”

“Think it would have the opposite impact… All right, I’ll tell you. Though I’m pretty sure you’ve already put together some of the links.”

“Like Io being moody because she never bonded well with other kids, her spending time with a mutant dinosaur whom may or may not be Godzilla currently, leading to you to chasing after what might as well be a kaiju ghost in the hopes it turns out to be her old friend and he gives her closure?... Yeah, I figured that pretty quick,” Yuki said casually with a handwave, “You’re just trying to be a good father and she’s trying to be happy again. Sad tale but I didn’t need to have a PhD to figure it out.”

“Yeah I figured… Well, it started back in 1984,” Dr. Shinoda muttered as he motioned out the windshield, as if trying to paint the picture in front of them like a tapestry, “I was married to Io’s mother Asuka. We were in Tokyo at the time to visit a mentor of ours, Dr. Hayashida, when we got caught up in Godzilla’s attack.”

His hand waved back and forth with the recollection, “I just remember.. chaos. Everybody was so confident the new Self Defense Force and C.C.I tools made from Mysterian tech would make mincemeat out of it. Odo Legend said otherwise but I was a lot younger and.. Maybe a lot more arrogant back then. I still remember the gawking shots in the gobsmacked crowds when the maser tech didn’t carve right through its hide. Then everyone started running. Asuka and I, we waited too long to leave and got stuck on a train trapped on the tracks after Godzilla bowled through the power station. I can still remember feeling the tremors and realizing it was not an earthquake as it got stronger, closer….”

Yuki Ichinose’s eyes widened slightly at memories from viewing the surviving 1984 attack footage. An infamous incident captured in photography of when Godzilla was confronted by the Super-X while still holding a train in its hand.

“That train? The one stuck halfway across the street. You were on that? The one it-“

“Picked up, inspected, and tore into before throwing aside when the Super-X pissed it off? Yep…”
==========
Vertigo, total vertigo. That was the best way to describe Yuji’s mind as he tried to stagger to his feet but was unable to because the orientation of the train kept changing. What was directly down kept changing. He could barely even hear with all the screaming, even as he futilely tried to call out his wife’s name; having lost his beloved amongst the sea of panicked passengers. The orientation of the train shifted towards the side and the young biologist was violently thrown up against cracking glass. Even as his head spun and he tried to get a bearing on any sign of his wife amongst the bodies thrown up against the walls and near him, there was one other sight and one other sound that canceled out all others.

He glimpsed jagged teeth illuminated by the military spotlights, the charred and darkened skin, and the overpowering presence from his homeland. He had a fickle relationship with his parents’ legend. When he was a boy, born after the tragedy from 1954 , plenty of the old-timers at Odo Island were feeling both vindicated and adamant. Sadly vindicated that their legend had been proven true, and that destruction had been wrought amongst the proud and the innocent near them. But every time he might challenge or question the needs for old ceremonies dating back to archaic times meant to satisfy a creature known to be dead decades ago, his parents and the elders were always very adamant Godzilla could not be so permanently dealt with. Even when he brought up the theories the creature was a mutant animal brought about by radiation; they were assured the sea dragon of destruction had always existed. It just mattered in how it incarnated.

In ancient times storms and lightning meant destruction, and so Godzilla arrived with storms and lightning. In modern times, what was more destructive than the nuclear bomb? So why wouldn’t such weapons herald Godzilla’s return?

And tonight, that titan of destructive legend was real again. The creature separated from him only by a half inch of glass and a few dozen meters of air snarled.

It didn’t seem to care what rampant speculation the young biologist might’ve had previously. If it was somehow the 1954 creature back from the grave or something totally new. All that mattered was it was Godzilla. Destruction on Odo Island might mean a few houses smashed up or damaged from a bad hurricane. Destruction in a place like Tokyo might entail a body count in more digits than Yuji wanted to think about.

The enormous titan roared, bellowing so loudly that everyone in the train was shouted into silence. Across the roof and the sides, metal started to creak and groan from strain as the monster held up the train in its hand.

“STAY BACK! HANG ONTO SOMETHING!”

The first voice to cry out once the creature stopped roaring was instantly familiar. Yuji’s eyes darted to the side and down the train car’s length. Amongst the piles of shivering, bruised, and terrified people was a familiar span of metallic gray hair. Sprawled with her back against several seats, Asuka Shinoda was about to cry out some other survival tip when the Mysterian woman was cut off by the screech of metal.

The roof bowed inwards as if made of tinfoil, the tip of a massive claw stabbing through the structure and punching a large hole in the sealed train car. A streaking light soared overhead, the telltale sign of missile fire arcing over the train car and crashing against Godzilla’s torso with plumes of explosions. The leviathan was hardly scratched, but responded with hatred. Its dorsal plates lit up as it glared upon the source of the missile fire. A metallic platform resembling a bulbous plane with no wings hovered across the downtown district in row to intercept the creature. The Super-X’s bright floodlight clashed with Godzilla’s blue radiance for domination of the light and the demise of shadow.

Godzilla dropped the train and let loose his radioactive plasma beam. Before the light became blinding Yuji glimpsed the train roll during its freefall and let the blue plasma ray’s radiating light cast through the hole the claw had punched. Right onto Asuka’s petrified face.

They hit the ground hard, Yuji’s head whipping into the window seal hard enough to cut him. The last thing he remembered of the immediate memory was the Odo island nightmare roaring into the night, no doubt as it carved a path of destruction chasing the Super-X.

==========
Yuji absentmindedly touched the back of his head where a scar cut through his hairline above the neck, phantom throbbing still palpable.

“Asuka, Io’s mother, was hit with a bad dosage. Not enough to cause immediate noticeable problems, but that meant we didn’t think it was serious. There were plenty of other people much more hurt than she was, so she insisted they go first. We were just happy to be alive… Call it ignorance being bliss,” Yuji swallowed as he rubbed at his eyes.

Yuki’s eyes were cast off into the distance of the city, perhaps transposing imagery she saw from the 1984 attack on to what was before her, “Hey, you don’t need to go on more….”

“… I’ve,” Yuji Shinoda steeled himself and swallowed a quiver, “I’ve had my years to grieve. Asuka and I had many good years together and I guess you could say the relief we had afterwards of being alive is how we got Io. But… When we were visiting my old home, that’s when complications happened. Asuka could save herself or she could save Io. She picked Io.”

Yuji’s breath wavered as he took in a deep one to push the memories out, “I got a job back at Kyoto Institute thanks to an old friend, while trying to be a single father. I did my best but I fully admit I bungled more than once. Io didn’t quite get along with most of the other children at the psychic school as she grew. It all seemed to pick back up though when Junior hatched and she took a big liking to him.”

Yuki Ichinose chuckled at the fond memory instilled within the picture sitting on the dashboard, “Io and you seemed pretty happy back then.”

“Seven years ago, yep. Job took a lot of time but we were making a lot of progress. Understanding how Godzilla cells adapted to the radiation was made even better by having Junior around to provide a lot of data. Io got a friend and was able to busy herself helping a colleague of mine, her mood at school was improving, and I was finally able to move past the grief…. Then G-Force and C.C.I. decided to use Junior as a lure to try and take the fight between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla away from any city. The plan went sideways and after her ward got used as bait I can’t blame Junior’s caretaker having him leave with Godzilla. Io lost her friend. I lost my research. And somehow,” Yuji stilled for a moment, “... Someone was aware of how my wife died the way she did. Told Io.”

Ichinose felt her pulse chill as the implication fully started to settle in. She would be the first one to admit Io was abrasive and needed an attitude adjustment, but the implication that somebody would rub it in a vulnerable little girl’s face that their parent was a widower because of them…? Yuki did not see herself as a violent person… Usually.

Thankfully before the conversation could get really derailed, Yuji continued.

“Kyoto wasn’t a happy place anymore. So, we decided to move and shift gears. Founded the Godzilla Prediction Network after 1995 when someone reported sighting one after the mess with the Destroyah was over. Seemed like a great deal. Lots of father-daughter time, get to see the countryside, try and take another crack at studying such a being again, help people get out of the way if an attack is going to happen, and Io seemed very eager.”

“Because the Godzilla was her friend,” Yuki muttered with pursed lips, “Because it’s Junior.”

“….” Yuji let out a long sigh, “Even at the start, I always worried in the back of my mind we wouldn’t like that answer regardless of what it was. You know how some people let their kids take pictures with things like lion cubs?”

Yuki nodded as she lifted her brow wondering what the analogy was.

“A parent might be alright with that because the little thing is harmless and tame… At that age. How many pictures have you seen of a baby next to a fully grown lion…? How about a fully grown lion that’s also radioactive and huge. So huge it might not even notice you and can kill you without even touching you. Just standing next to you, walking around you, or… breathing on you…”

The small bit of extra emphasis on that last part told Yuki enough considering the fate of Io’s mother.

“I worry I might have strung her along, made her think we were reuniting her with her old friend… I never actually said anything about how I was worried it might not be her old friend anymore. Even if he means no harm…” Yuji shook his head while rubbing at his scalp, then quickly massaged his eyes when Yuki glimpsed the edges of glistening drops coming from them.

His sharp exhale was clearly holding more than a little back, “And now… I just shattered all of that right in front of her, then screamed at her afterwards!.... Aarg! I-FFPH!.......”

Yuji blinked in confusion as he looked at the offending article that had just lightly whacked him across the head. A rolled-up tabloid clutched in the hand of Ichinose. With pursed lips and narrowed eyes she drew back with the clear intent to whack him again. She tilted her head and perked her brow, threatening to whack him again.

“…”

“…. Well what was that for?!” Shinoda complained as he rubbed at his scalp.

Ichinose narrowed her eyes while still gripping the tabloids, “A jarring distraction, do you need another?”

“W-What… How does… How does that help? Are you trying to psychoanalyze me and act accordingly or something?”

Yuki stuck her tongue out and hoisted her mighty paper weapon aloft, “No I’m trying to distract you because you egghead types tend to overthink everything and spiral, is it working?”

A small silence passed as Yuji glanced about a bit awkwardly. The mild stinging on his scalp from where the binding had very lightly smacked him actually was the only thing he could think about for a hot second. And when his own thoughts started to drift backwards, evidently something very obvious on his face given his dour looking off into space, the motion of Ichinose holding up the paper threateningly once again pulled him back.

“… Yes? I mean it didn’t hurt or anything really, just warn me next time.”

“Good, I wasn’t trying to hurt you!” Ichinose quipped with a very mild flush on her cheeks, “I’m just noticing a big family resemblance between you and Io. You Shinodas really do hyperfocus on things don’t you?”

“…” Yuji blinked before opening his mouth like he was about to say something, only for it to die in his throat. He tapped at his lip with the edge of his finger and soon shrugged, “Got me there. And Io definitely gets that from me.”

“Look, Shinoda…” she took in a breath and collected herself, “Yuji. Tonight was definitely a setback for everybody. Io lost out on her wish to reunite with her friend. You lost out on your wish to see your daughter happy… I lost out to my wish to make the big bucks getting some of those first photos. Looks like I’m going to have to go hunting Bigfoot if I want the first good shot of a new monster after tonight.”

She shrugged her shoulders, “Whatever happens happens, Ichinose family motto. Point is, tonight wasn’t a total bust. After all, the prediction models were spot on. We were so accurate at predicting Godzilla’s path that we got even closer than we ever thought we would! And based on the news reports, I think plenty of people are going to want to know how to tell when he’s coming!”

Her smirk and jovial wiggling of her eyebrows proved infectious. Yuji exhaled while making light of the situation and nodding along.

“Well you’re right there… Not like there would be much more data to test on him by anyone else,” Yuji Shinoda hummed, “Whatever happens happens.”

“H-hey, I said that’s my family motto. Only I get to say it!” Yuki quipped as she crossed her arms in a comedic showing of ‘anger’, “What do you mean by the way about there not being much data? I thought you said you worked with Godzilla cells back in Kyoto ?”

“I did,” Shinoda muttered, “But you know how laws change. C.C.I., shady braggarts, tried to snatch up my research when I left but laws got passed. No G-Cell testing whatsoever, doesn’t matter which Godzilla it’s from. And with all the samples destroyed, we’d be the only data in town about the big creature.”

“Well then, all the more reason to keep going,” Ichinose hummed, “Seems like Godzilla Prediction Network still has a goal! And I’m just interested enough to stick around to maybe see it through.”

Yuji sighed as he chanced a smile, “You really believe in our research that much?”

Yuki nodded while waving with her hand, “That and I needed dental insurance and you got me on contract for at least a year.”

“Well then, we’ve got at least a few hours ‘til Io is fully cleared. And something tells me she’ll want some time to calm down for that. How game are you to help me out with something?”

Yuki held aloft her camera, “Depends, can I use this?”

Shinoda was not entirely well again, stress lines and redness still surrounded his eyes, but a sense of levity had returned “What do you think I hired you for?”
=================
It was fairly convenient that reports of a kaiju incursion tended to clear the roads going one direction, making the drive back to the cliffside less than half the time it took to get to the hospital; a mere 20 minutes. Because they were still more focused on the titan far out at sea now in a futile attempt to track him, the military and G-Force hadn’t locked down the area. Finding a way around to the area where the confrontation at the cliffside had taken place did take a bit of finagling as Yuji did not want to drive through the tunnel again with any risk of foundations being upset, but they did reach the destination in good time. Suiting up in a hazard suit with a Geiger counter in hand, Yuji prodded along the perimeter while checking the readings.

“How exactly do you own that get-up?” Yuki called out from the van.

Yuji called back behind him as he swept the geiger counter about, “Two of my colleagues work at the plant in Janjira, Brodys, one of them was even a groomsman at my wedding!”

Seeing the needle not jump up past the norm spurred him to turn around and call out to the van.

“It’s okay! Radiation levels are about what they would normally be on a sunny day.”

Yuki exited the van camera in hand and quickly snapped a few pictures before Yuji could stop her, flashing a smirking thumbs-up at the image of the intrepid scientist. He supposed it was convenient that the bulky radiation suit completely obscured him so they couldn’t see him covered in a nervous sweat. Taking the helmet off to get some fresh air that he knew wouldn’t cause his nose to bleed and skin to start glowing green, Yuji observed the ruined roadway. The entrance of the tunnel was partially obscured by fallen rubble with four large gouge marks cut into the concrete. Yuki also saw them and held up her hand inspecting the anomaly while trying to match up her fingers to it.

Yuji was also keen to notice what wasn’t there. Despite large bloodstains and bits of tissue on the roadway, the whale carcass was missing. Observing some drag marks that led into a breakage in the safety rails dividing the cliffside from the road he paced along the trail and pulled out a flashlight.

“Where’s the whale?” Yuki called out to the man behind her as she kept trying to match up her hand to the gouge marks.

Bits of memory resurfaced, Yuki recalling the sight of a large arm lunging forward for the tunnel. She tried to mock swipe with her hand as if to see if her fingers could align with the gouges. The angle didn’t match up correctly, and one of the etchings into the concrete was offset to the side like a thumb.

“I think it got rolled or pulled down the cliff-face,” Yuji yelled back as he started to appear over the edge, “I wanted to get a tissue sample to see what species it was. The Godzilla mostly got their energy from radiation when at full size, but their base species did eat marine mammals. I was hoping if I could find out what kind of whale it was, to get an idea of where it's been. If it was a sperm whale it’s diving deep, right whale means it was far north-“

“-Yeah, yeah I get you. I know animals pretty well,” Yuki quipped as she puzzled.

From where the Godzilla had been standing it only made sense she had seen the right arm, if at glimpse, and that meant she could tell which way the hand had been oriented from the position of the thumb. If it was lunging down to trying smash or grab them, the thumb would be off to the right. If it was holding its palm upwards the thumb would be off to the left. She attempted to align her ring through index finger with the three smallest gouges while figuring out which one was the thumb.

Yuji meanwhile had managed to cast his flashlight’s beam down the cliffside, briefly stealing himself after realizing what a big drop it was. Considering what could happen to a whale carcass that fell hundreds of feet, he was expecting a giant red splatter with some bones. Instead he found only a gigantic burn mark several dozen meters across. His brow furrowed at the observation, mentally re-creating the position of Godzilla as well is the military strike in his head. The Super-X3 would have been flying overhead, any artillery, missile batteries, or maser tanks should’ve been perched up on the hillsides bordering the ocean. There wouldn’t have been anything at the bottom of the cliff. A quick check over for any wreckage or markings to indicate tires or trends came up with nothing. And the drag mark where the whale had been pulled down lined up with the scorch impression.

“Godzilla… burned the whale up. To ash,” Yuji muttered as he scratched the back of his head.

“That’s not all,” Yuki called out as she took several photographs of the tunnel entrance before beckoning Yuji over with her hand, “Check this.”

He followed and she pointed at the gouge marks.

Yuki nodded and held up his arm to align with the markings, “Claws and fingers, cut right through the concrete.”

“It was trying to swipe at us or was swinging around when the military attacked it,” Yuji noted dryly.

Yuki shook her head and held his wrist to rotate his hand. With the palm facing down and the thumb off to the right, Yuji lookex like he was swiping at something. But with his palm facing upwards, his thumb aligned with the large mark offset to the left. Yuki pushed his arm in somewhat so his elbow was bent.

“If it was swinging at us, then its claws shoulda dug into the road too and the hand wouldn’t align correctly.”

Yuji glanced between his hand and the tunnel, mentally imagining the motion needed for an arm in this position to make that kind of mark. Something in his mind clicked and he pivoted his flashlight up the side of the hill the tunnel cut through. Several impact craters clearly indicating missile strikes were visible further up, having created the large rockslides that had rain debris on them.

There were other possibilities, they were all in a big panic and with the darkness as well as the rain it was virtually impossible to see any clear details. But there was the chance, and Yuji could admit he almost hoped for it. There was the chance the Godzilla wasn’t swinging at the metal or hadn’t failed to notice them. There was the chance it, or he, saw the damage to the hill and was trying to hold the tunnel up by bracing its palm against the roof.

A brief flashback to Kyoto’s ecological enclosure was transposed with the sight of Io standing in the rain shadow of the leviathan.

It was no smoking gun, but… It was a chance.

Yuji’s eyes trained upon a small chunk of red with a bit of white stuck to a piece of debris. Keen to double check it with the Geiger counter, Yuji pursed his lips when the readings did start to increase. Not to dangerous levels, but markedly higher than what was the norm. He pointed to the piece of flesh with his light and nodded to it. The light of the flashlight showed it to be some piece of skin with dermis underneath, with an odd growth stuck to it along with a layer of translucent slime.

“Don’t get too close to that, it’d be like getting a few x-rays in a row.”

“Are you going to do something with it?” Yuki hummed as she gave the piece of flesh a wide span but did snap a picture.

Yuji put his helmet back on before getting close and pulling out a lead canister. Using some tongs, he picked at the piece of whale flesh and pulled off a strip of the slime that looked like saliva. Sure enough, the Geiger counter mostly responded to what he heavily suspected was Godzilla’s saliva and not the flesh itself. Content that this was certainly not G-Cells, Yuji did his best to clean the flesh before putting it inside the canister with the contaminated tongs. His brow was still furrowed in thought. Godzilla had made a conscious effort to destroy the carcass after carrying it for such a distance, something that made no sense with an incomplete assessment. And he’d look into getting it completed.

“I’ve got a colleague I can send this to.”

Stepping back into the van and letting Yuki drive, Yuji pulled out a satellite phone and tapped at the numbers after pulling out a directory. The dialing took several minutes but sure enough, a feminine voice replied back in English.

“Calling me super late. You realize I’m not back in the states and we’re not 10 hours apart right now?”

Yuji sighed and chuckled, “Sorry Elsie. But you are in Osaka right? I got a biological sample I’d like you to look at, you know marine life better.”

“Shinoda? Listen, I gotta be heading back to the states soon, Tatopoulos needs a hand with something and-”

“It was in Godzilla’s mouth, you got equipment for minor-radiation?”

“... You’d better send me it, pronto!... What was it exactly?”

Yuji glanced at the canister, “A whale I think, tissue sample. Thank you for your contribution once again, the most esteemed Dr. Chapman.”

A snarky tone responded, “Flattery won’t pay the transport bill, Yuji.”

Neither saw the tall figure watching them from the cliffside, even as they memorized Yuji and Yuki’s faces as well as the GPN logo on the van. Nor did they become aware that something else unseen picked up the satellite signals. Signals rerouted to the myriad of forms rapidly moving through the seas kilometers away. Dolphins, sea turtles, fish, gigantic squid all swimming in formation.
Last edited by Desghidorah on Mon May 03, 2021 8:32 am, edited 3 times in total.
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