Kaiju War Chronicles (K.W.C.)
Match 108:
By: Thomas Singleton

Billions of years ago, stardust finished sculpting what humanity would one day call Earth. But it was not meant to be, not like this. A massive celestial object collided with the young Earth, littering the surrounding space with its shattered remains. It would take an enormous amount of time for the Earth to reform. It would take a little longer for its broken pieces to become the Moon. With volcanoes and tectonic plates reshaping the surface, its core emitting a suitable magnetic field, the ozone layer repelling unwanted dosages of radiation, its tilted axis heralding different seasons, clouds of gas forming an atmosphere strong enough to allow weather formations, the Earth was ready for the coming of life. Its beginning far from climactic, life started off very small. While every living creature today could trace their heritage back to the same ancestor, one in particular couldn't. Even as a tiny cell, it was different. Whether it owed its unique heritage to the celestial object that fractured the Earth long ago shall forever remain a mystery.

It's routine was basic but the same couldn't be said of its genetic makeup. Inside each cell, enzymes were bouncing all over the place, carrying out thousands of tasks per second. For millions of years the cells followed the same pattern: live, improve, replicate, die. With every generation the cells made minor adjustments. It witnessed the rise and fall of the Cambrian Era. It traversed the primordial oceans. After hundreds of millions of years, it evolved into a greater organism. At first it gobbled up carbon minerals before acquiring an appetite for microbes like itself to increase its size. Most forms of life weren't that much larger than a microbe. This creature ended up dwarfing mountains. Scientists in the future have long debated about the Permian extinction event. Ninety-five percent of all life during the Permian Era vanished without a trace. Asteroid impacts, global warming, global cooling, solar flares, super volcanoes, and gamma ray bursts were the primary suspects. But they couldn't be further from the truth. The creature consumed almost every life form on the planet. Unable to seek out and devour the other five percent, the creature consumed itself. At its peak many of its kind towered above Mount Fuji. Around the beginning of the Mesozoic Era, it was reduced to a single microbe. The data of its ascension having been stored, it could easily return to its former glory. All it needed was time and sustenance. Suddenly, an asteroid hit the Earth, and the impact sent it hurtling into the atmosphere. There it remained for millions of years, following the same pattern of its rebirth.

Its time to evolve was nigh. Lethal dosages of cosmic radiation saturated its cells, mutating its genetic code. What would've normally taken millions of years, possibly longer, happened in a few short days. It was a giant once more. But it was nowhere near the size of a mountain like was before. To regain its former glory it needed to feed off carbon based materials.

It needed to devour all life.

 

Kenichi Yamani hated his quarters.

It was a small room with dull steel walls. It made the young Japanese graduate feel small, helpless, and inadequate. He couldn't sleep in his bed without pressing against the cold walls with his feet. And when he couldn't sleep, which happened often, Ken would tinker with his laptop. Ken started and ended his day by writing new theories about mutations, reading recent articles written by his contemporaries, and re-modifying the ship's computers. Realizing he had other duties to attend to, Ken suppressed his insomnia, and went to work. He accessed military satellites without trouble, using it to detect the migratory patterns of Gyaos. None of them were anywhere near large human settlements, so there was no need to alert the local governments. He reconfigured the satellites, programming them to detect any erratic radioactive signatures. There was a subtle signature emanating from the Sea of Japan. Ken forwarded this information to his superiors, speculating whether it was an active giant monster or North Korean activity. Losing interest, Ken accessed other satellites at his disposal, namely those monitoring outer space. Terrestrial monsters were a handful but were by no means apocalyptic; extraterrestrial monsters, however, were classified as world enders, and with good reason. Cosmic horrors like King Ghidorah, SpaceGodzilla, Hedorah, and Legion have brought nothing but death and destruction to the Earth. But what if they were just the beginning? What if they were running away from something worse?

The universe was like a vast ocean, one teeming with creatures bigger and badder than the last.

Suddenly, an unidentified object was detected in the Earth's stratosphere. Ken tried finding its exact location but the signal faded as quickly as it came. Frowning, Ken typed for what could've been hours before giving up. Whatever it was was gone. That's when red alarms blared. Ken stood up, the faint luminance of his laptop washed over him. Logging into the ship's mainframe, Ken wanted to find out what was happening until the doors to his room swung open, and two heavily armed guards escorted him out. Ken walked down a series of hallways at their pace, a pace he was not very fond of. Unlike many of his peers growing up, Ken was never interested in sports. So his thin, frail body was a huge contrast to the Man he saw standing firm in the center of the control room he entered.

Douglas Gordon, Captain of the Gotengo battlecruiser, met Ken with a feral stare. Ken suspected this was what it felt like to meet a lion face-to-face. That's how uncomfortable he felt around Captain Gordon. This seemed only to embolden Captain Gordon's fierce demeanor.

"Welcome to the show, bookworm," Captain Gordon growled. "You're about to get a front row seat."

"To what?" Ken replied.

"My rematch," Captain Gordon revealed. It was all he'd say for the next few hours.

Ken took his seat in front of a large computer monitor. It was currently the most sophisticated in the world. Ken bent down, powered up his laptop, and plugged it into the Gotengo mainframe. He preferred his own equipment. Continuing where he left off earlier, Ken discovered why they were on red alert. Grainy images of Godzilla flooded the digital screen in front of him. The King of the Monsters was on the warpath across Japan. The Japanese Self-Defense Forces were scrambled to delay his carnage. But nothing they did could hurt him, let alone kill him. Kenichi Yamani was the foremost Godzilla expert in the world. And even he would struggle to discover a way to kill the creature. Godzilla was virtually indestructible, not because of his dense flesh and atomic breath. No, the secret to Godzilla's survival laid hidden in his cells. Godzilla's ability to heal wounds instantly allowed him to wade through conventional firepower unopposed and overcome stronger foes. How he did it continued to be a mystery, one Ken hadn't quite solved. Ken was a prodigy in scientific studies. His expertise in biological and technological fields would one day win him a Nobel prize. But he was still very young and many of his colleagues were hesitant to accept his discoveries.

"Where could he be going?" Ken inquired out loud. He wasn't much of a public speaker, so he regretted doing this.

"Based on Godzilla's trajectory, we believe he'll be landing in the Tokyo area approximately three hours from now," one of the technicians answered. She was pretty, looked to be about Ken's age.

"But we're four hours away," Ken gasped. There's not much they can do. Ken was very good at making predictions, so he didn't like Tokyo's chances. Even with the JSDF attacking Godzilla with everything in their arsenal, they could never stop him from leveling the city. Evacuations were already underway, so the casualties wouldn't be anywhere near as bad as the 1954 numbers. And he should really think about asking that pretty technician out. Ken's face blushed. Why was he thinking about romance in a time like this? These hormones would one day be the death of him. They reminded him of his few failures in life. Like the time he tried courting Miki Saegusa, the only psychic to ever influence Godzilla. It was bad enough how she read his mind in advance and probably knew his true intentions before he could be made aware of them. It was even worse when his pickup line included Godzilla in the same sentence.

Ken regained control over his senses. He looked over, surprised to see Captain Gordon humoring him with a grin. Since Captain Gordon was gripping his katana in one hand and drinking a Budweiser in the other, Ken found his image very unpleasant. On the bright side, Ken knew the distress report he sent out earlier was what allowed the JSDF to buy the citizens of Tokyo time. But how many lives did he really save? What haunted Ken most wasn't the death toll. No, what haunted him was whether those people were going to die for nothing.

The age of monsters forced humanity to defend themselves in ways they never thought possible. Mighty machines were assembled in top secret factories, equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Some were built to engage the monsters in close quarters. Others were meant to merely delay the monster from destroying a city. The Gotengo was designed to do both. Flying across the Mariana Trench, the Gotengo bypassed the sound barrier. Sunlight glinted off its spinning drill and armor plating as it sped off. Clouds parted as it increased its speed. It left a trail of smoke miles long in its wake. It had to reach Tokyo as fast as possible. At this time the Gotengo was Tokyo's only hope. Humanity's other mechanical guardians were busy elsewhere. Even if the human race funneled all their resources into engineering an army of giant robots, they still could not guarantee their own protection. The Gotengo and its crew had their work cut out for them. In the past they've managed to deter the likes of Varan, Manda, and Rodan. But their next adversary was unlike anything they've ever faced.

Years ago, Captain Gordon took part in an unexpected skirmish with the King of the Monsters. In Antarctica, the Gotengo's predecessor, Atragon, fought the atomic behemoth. Captain Hachiro Jinguji commanded the attack. But he along with all other hands onboard lost their lives, save one. Douglas Gordon barely lived to tell the tale. He single handedly managed to subdue Godzilla long enough to escape with most of the ship intact. Staring death in the face and living long enough to fight another day is what landed Captain Gordon his promotion and a ship of his own.

Captain Gordon, the most dangerous Man in the world, wasn't really looking forward to a rematch. Who could blame him?

The Gotengo reached Tokyo at high noon.

Plumes of smoke painted the skies black. Fires consumed entire city blocks, sucking the oxygen out of its victims before burning them alive. Chaos was everywhere. Thousands poured into the streets, trampling over one another to survive. Nobody wanted to look back. But some couldn't resist. When curiosity compelled them to face their attacker, a living monolith of black scales glared back. Its flesh smelt like saltwater and sulfur. Its fierce eyes pierced the souls of the mortals scrambling at his feet. When it growled, it sounded like thunder. When it roared, the world cringed in fear. Godzilla squashed both human and machine alike with neither intent nor remorse. His predatory eyes surveyed the chaos unfolding beneath him, searching for an easy meal. But these people could never satisfy him. Only nuclear power could quench his thirst. And there was none to be had here.

Proton missiles shot out of the Gotengo's ports, showering Godzilla in explosions. Gray smoke curled off Godzilla, obscuring his terrifying face. There was a snort of contempt in the back of his maw. Whoever attacked him will pay dearly.

Captain Gordon sat in his chair as a computerized image of Godzilla materialized in front of him. Ken could've sworn he saw the Captain snarl in disgust. Returning to his laptop, Ken focused on what needed to be done. But every time he tried finding a weakness in Godzilla's cellular makeup, he found himself staring at the mutant behind the wheel of the Gotengo. Shinichi Ozaki, the finest warrior in the Earth Defense Force, was the pinnacle of human evolution. He wasn't genetically experimented on. He wasn't grown in some lab. He was born a mutant, gifted with superhuman abilities. Ken wished he could've called Ozaki a moron, like so many other soldiers he's had misdealings with in the past. But Ozaki was a tactical genius. Since childhood he's studied combat and warfare. He's been constantly training, constantly refining his skills to become the finest warrior the Earth would ever know. Miki Saegusa once read his mind. In the report, she went on record saying it was like seeing the world through the eyes of a god. Whenever his veins were pumped full of adrenaline, time slowed to a crawl. She admitted it felt like ecstasy before excusing herself out of embarrassment. Ken never forgave Ozaki for that.

"Ozaki, hit him with everything we've got!" Captain Gordon ordered.

Orange-reddish hued energy flashed around the Gotengo's drill. Seeing this prompted a similar response from Godzilla. Blue-silvery light enriched his dorsal spines, blinding the populace at his feet. The Gotengo fired first, scorching the air with its maser cannon. Godzilla's atomic breath greeted it in front of his face. With enough time, Godzilla might've pushed it back. But it was too close and unstable. The resulting explosion eclipsed even Godzilla's massive frame, blasting him through a skyscraper. Godzilla's feet clawed into the Tokyo streets, keeping him from crashing into the rubble. It would take a minute for the Gotengo to recharge its maser. Godzilla only needed seconds to fire his most dangerous weapon. Atomic fire once again burned out of his jaws. The Gotengo's rocket boosters allowed it to narrowly avoid nuclear annihilation. Godzilla's ray instead found a new target. It cut into a large office building, vaporizing its core.

As much as Captain Gordon hated to do this, he ordered Ozaki to use the buildings as cover. The evacuations didn't go so well. There were still many people trapped in the city. Thousands were going to die. But if he played his cards just right, he could potentially save millions. The Gotengo bombarded Godzilla with its proton missiles. Explosions once again blossomed over Godzilla's body. Unfazed, Godzilla moved to rip the flying ship apart with his claws. When he couldn't reach the Gotengo, Godzilla spat his atomic breath. The Gotengo flew behind a network of skyscrapers, using them as cover. They were all severed from their foundations, disintegrated by Godzilla's nuclear power. Heating up its engines, the Gotengo charged Godzilla at full speed. Not even Godzilla wanted to be impaled by the Gotengo. At the last second, he ducked his head. The Gotengo only succeeded in grazing Godzilla's dorsal spines.

"Remarkable," observed Ken. "The Gotengo has drilled through mountains, volcanoes, and it even managed to cut through solid diamond with ease. And yet it couldn't even scratch Godzilla's spikes. I bet his skeleton is made of the same material. That would explain why he's so damn hard to kill, if that's even possible."

"He's died before," Captain Gordon interjected. "I'll find a way to make it permanent."

The Gotengo swung back, pelting Godzilla with another proton missile salvo. Godzilla's scaly flesh recoiled from the explosive impacts. Curling up his lips, Godzilla thought he'd try intimidating the Gotengo with his sharp teeth. The Gotengo answered with its maser. Searing energies washed over Godzilla's face, sending him crashing down into the pavement. He wasn't down for long. Pushing off the ground, Godzilla snarled at Captain Gordon's beloved ship. Blinding light gathered in the back of his gaping maw. This time the Gotengo was too slow; Godzilla's atomic beam lanced into its side, pushing it into a skyscraper while burning through its hull. Inside the Gotengo's control room, sparks were flying as were some people. Captain Gordon was the only one unaffected by the sudden shift in gravity. Losing his grip on his laptop, Ken watched helplessly as it bounced off the ceiling before shattering across the floor. Now he had no choice but to rely on the Gotengo's computers, if time would permit.

The Gotengo was buried beneath rubble. Ken wasn't sure if the damage was permanent or not. He'd find out soon enough.

"What's our status?" Captain Gordon asked.

"All hope is not lost, Captain," the cute technician girl reported. "We'll be able to activate the rockets shortly. Proton missiles are still an option. The energy reservoir used to power the maser cannon has been put out of commission. We won't be able to use it again."

"We still can use the Absolute Zero Cannon," Captain Gordon guessed.

"Unlikely, given how our energy supplies have been greatly reduced. All we can do now is buy Tokyo time."

"We should lure Godzilla out to sea," Ken suggested. "If he's looking for sustenance, he wouldn't want to stay in the city for long. He'll search elsewhere."

Ozaki didn't even wait for Captain Gordon to give him the order. He knew Gordon would take Kenichi's advice seriously. Activating the rocket boosters, the Gotengo blasted out of the rubble, ascending hundreds of meters a second. Godzilla's feral eyes focused on it like how a cat would focus on a mouse escaping its paws. Should he go after it? Godzilla debated this in the most simplest of ways. The Gotengo flew above Tokyo Bay, firing off one last missile salvo. They engulfed Godzilla in fire and black smoke, helping him reach a unanimous decision. With an ear piercing roar, Godzilla pursued the escaping vessel. Miles of buildings stood in his path. Godzilla vaporized them in an instant, burning a smoldering trench into the harbor. He started making his way into the sea before stopping.

"He's not following us," a surprised Ken observed. Godzilla stayed at the edge of the city limits. One more step and he'd be in the water. Why wasn't he following them? Godzilla was a very territorial animal. Attacking him guaranteed a retaliation of any kind. He should be hunting them right now. But he's not. Ken didn't know if this was a good thing or a bad thing.

"Sir," the same cute technician girl reported. "The United States Navy have deployed their Nimitz-class aircraft carrier battle groups to give us aid. They should be arriving in Tokyo Bay at any moment now."

"That wouldn't make Godzilla stop," Ken said. "If anything, that'd agitate him even more."

"Am I really seeing this?" Captain Gordon shouted in alarm.

Everyone stopped what they were doing. All eyes turned to the large video monitor ahead. Nobody could believe what they were seeing. The aircraft carrier groups were being pulled out of the water by an unseen force. Several mighty ships, each weighing somewhere in the 20,000-90,000 ton range, were defying gravity. Nothing was spared, not even the aircrafts or the personnel. The typical aircraft carrier had over 6,000 crew-members. Given how an entire fleet was being raptured up, many more lives were about to be lost. The Gotengo funneled more energy to its rocket boosters, breaking the sound barrier again. Their sonic booms could be heard all over Tokyo. Godzilla stood like a statue, unfazed by the thundering sound. Ken reconfigured the Gotengo computers to his liking. He tried using satellite surveillance to retrieve a live feed of what was happening to the ships. But the clouds wouldn't let them get a clear image. So Ken used a number of frequencies to help identify the culprit. What he picked up on created more questions. The strange energy signature implied it wasn't a gravity fluctuation at all. It looked more like something was sucking the ships up. But what force on Earth could do that?

Monstrous tentacles slithered down from the heavens, heralding dark clouds and lightning. As the lightning acted as an omen for a greater disaster to come, the tentacles shimmered in the light. They looked like they were made of water. But they quickly demonstrated how solid they were by constricting one of the battleships. Their mere touch melted the battleship into a dripping, condensed mess. Terrified witnesses watched the tentacles snatch the liquified remains of the battleship up into the sky. Hovering in midair, the Gotengo stopped venturing any closer. Godzilla stayed on land, sensing the creature obscured by the sky. A nervous Ken watched him on one of the video monitors. Godzilla, the King of the Monsters, never backed down from a fight. Even in the presence of Bagan and King Ghidorah, Godzilla never faltered. No challenge went unanswered by the King of the Monsters. So why was Godzilla hesitant to face this new creature? At first Ken thought maybe Godzilla was afraid. But as he thought about it more, he suspected other reasons. This creature was large enough to devour an entire aircraft carrier fleet. Perhaps Godzilla was waiting to see what he's up against?

It made sense. That's why they were waiting. But patience was never Captain Gordon's strongest attribute.

"Take us up, find what's doing this, and blow it out of the sky," Captain Gordon growled. The Gotengo blasted off into the sky as commanded. Seeing his attacker move to face this new intruder convinced Godzilla to resume his hunt. The King of the Monsters marched into Tokyo Bay, disappearing beneath the waves. In the sky, the Gotengo approached the entity. Everyone was nervous and at the edge of their seats. Soon they'd be above the clouds with nothing but the Sun shining down on them. Everyone thought the creature would be hiding somewhere in the clouds. So when they found out otherwise, their reactions spoke louder than words. Ken felt like his mouth had dropped and hit the floor. Ozaki looked calm but not even his elite training suppressed his sense of dread. All the technicians and crew members gasped in alarm. Captain Gordon gritted his teeth, knowing his day just got a hell of a lot longer.

Dogora basked in the sunlight. Several tentacles branched out of its massive being, swishing the clouds below. It resembled a giant jellyfish. Rivers of violet glowing energy crackled beneath its translucent flesh. Acknowledging its electrical presence, the storm brewing in the clouds rippled with lightning. Somehow it manipulated gravity by levitating thousands of feet above sea level. Magnifying its core, the Gotengo located what remained of the aircraft carrier group. Trapped in the bowels of the beast, hundreds of thousands of tons of steel broke down, and became digested by Dogora's acidic body. This feast alone had a profound impact on Dogora's physique; its already immense size doubled. Not even a miracle could've saved the brave Men and Women aboard the doomed naval ships. Dogora's ravenous hunger refused to be sated. Seeing not with eyes for it had none, Dogora sensed the Gotengo in ways humans could only describe as taste. It hovered through the air at a slow pace.

The Gotengo fired several proton missiles at it. The missiles sliced through Dogora's ethereal body, almost making it out the other end before its corrosive touch forced them to detonate. Unaffected by the Gotengo's missile strikes, Dogora showed no signs of slowing down. The Gotengo's drill shimmered with blue-silvery light. It was preparing to discharge its Absolute Zero Cannon. Once a weapon wielded by the advanced fighting robot, Kiryu, the Absolute Zero Cannon now had another benefactor. If used correctly, it could freeze and annihilate its target on the molecular scale. Nothing could survive it. It also required massive amounts of energy. If fired, the Gotengo would no longer be airborne. It'd be drifting somewhere in the Pacific.

"Hey, bookworm," Captain Gordon grumbled.

"It's Kenichi Yamane," Ken corrected.

"Whatever," Captain Gordon replied. "I wanted to use the A.Z.C. to freeze Godzilla's prehistoric ass. But it looks like we've finally found something worse than Godzilla."

"That's an astute observation," Ken fired back. He tried being condescending but it didn't sound like it. "This creature appears to feed off carbon materials. Judging by its size and ferocious appetite, I'd say it won't stop until there's nothing left for it to eat."

"I take that as bad news?"

Ken felt like calling Captain Gordon a moron. But that'd be really stupid of him to do. He'd be pummeled to death or worse, maybe even ejected out of the Gotengo.

"Carbon is the reason life exists," Ken answered. "So what we're looking at is an omega level situation. If we don't stop it now, everything goes extinct. Everything."

Captain Gordon thought about this news for a few seconds.

"Use of Absolute Zero Cannon, authorized."

Possibly delaying its demise, Dogora attacked. Its monstrous tentacles lashed out, attempting to ensnare the Gotengo in its corrosive touch. Unable to fly around and power up the Absolute Zero Cannon, the Gotengo was forced to ditch the latter for the former. On the top part of its hull, laser cannons made their presence known by cutting Dogora's tentacles apart. The severed tentacles disappeared in the clouds somewhere beneath them. Redistributing its biomass, Dogora instantly regrew its lost limbs. The Gotengo twisted and turned, desperately trying to find a way out. But everywhere it went, Dogora's tentacles were there to meet it. It avoided Dogora by blasting its tentacles with its lasers. Those severed tentacles dropped into the clouds, vanishing like all the others. Nobody suspected Dogora was setting them up for a trap. Not until it became clear the only way they could go was through Dogora itself.

"It played us," Captain Gordon mumbled, gripping his katana. "It played us like fools. Just how smart is this thing?"

Ken didn't think it was smart, not in the same way humans were smart. Based on his observation alone, Ken suspected Dogora was a mindless colony of trillions and trillions of single-celled organisms. What Captain Gordon perceived as a trap was really the result of human negligence. They were interested in avoiding Dogora's tentacles. If they really wanted to prevent such an outcome, they should've retreated. But they stuck around to continue this hopelessly one-sided battle. On the bright side, it did give Ken a chance to examine this new kaiju specimen. The Gotengo's geiger counter detected it emitting low-levels of radiation. Could Dogora be yet another spawn of humanity's nuclear ambitions? Ken didn't think he'd have enough time to investigate the matter.

The Gotengo pierced through Dogora like a bullet would a water balloon. It shot out the other side at supersonic speeds. It wasn't in good shape. Dogora's corrosive body ate away at the Gotengo's carbon based armor. Ken guessed that maybe they had roughly several minutes before it would eat all the way through. Losing power and unable to cope with the damages, the Gotengo crash-landed into Tokyo Bay. The instant the Gotengo made contact with the water, clouds of steam shot up. Luckily, the aircraft stayed afloat as it was also designed to act as a submarine should the situation call for it. During its construction, the Gotengo's engineers suspected it might fight creatures like Biollante. So they outfitted it with a type of anti-acid coating. It would seem their technology, though outdated, helped a little.

Lightning bolts scorched the air and stabbed the sea. Thunder shook the heavens, signaling Dogora's descent. Its interactions with the dark clouds had an unusual effect on the electromagnetic spectrum. Dogora wasn't interested in shiny spectacles, it was interested in the Gotengo. It hovered above the crashed airship, dispatching its monstrous tentacles to scoop up the damaged vessel. In the command center, Captain Gordon and his crew watched helplessly as they moved closer. The situation was so intense, nobody could perform their duties. Nobody noticed the large blip on the sonar. But everyone noticed the dorsal spines cutting through Dogora's tentacles. Godzilla emerged from the depths of Tokyo Bay, shrieking at the leviathan above him. Even the King of the Monsters paled in comparison. Godzilla gritted his teeth, wanting nothing more than to destroy the Gotengo, and be done with it. But he knew he couldn't risk turning his back on Dogora. Dogora didn't move. It looked like it was assessing Godzilla's presence and what to do about it.

'Or it's wetting its appetite,' Ken thought to himself. 'It's probably never seen food this big, aside from itself.'

Godzilla didn't wait to be attacked. Atomic light irradiated his dorsal spines. Channeling his awesome power, Godzilla unleashed his atomic breath. The blue-silvery beam cut through Dogora's frail flesh, dicing large portions of its body apart. Bits and pieces of Dogora rained down from the sky, splashing into the water. Waters churned where Dogora's severed limbs fell, marking the site of their grave. The defiant Godzilla faced the larger creature, challenging it. Dogora did not disappoint. Its tentacles shot out of its body like harpoons, constricting and spearing Godzilla. The King of the Monsters shrieked in agony as the tentacles lifted him out of the water, ravaging his scaly hide. Quick bursts of atomic energy spat out of Godzilla's mouth, blasting off the tentacles that bound him. Falling into the water, Godzilla was quick to rise again to avenge himself. More and more of Dogora's biomass was redistributed, growing longer, bulkier tentacles than before. When these ones struck Godzilla, it felt like an entire city block had been fired into his head. Godzilla was sent hurtling to the bottom of Tokyo Bay, smashing into its watery soil.

"Incredible," Ken observed in astonishment. "That time the creature's corrosive touch wasn't implemented. It can strengthen its cells, fortifying its body."

Red eyes opened, penetrating the murky depths of Tokyo Bay. Godzilla's eyes were the most advanced known to science. He could see in the darkest depths. To him, Tokyo Bay looked like it was brimming with sunlight. But he didn't have time to contemplate how remarkable this was. His head felt like it had been split open. Digging his feet into the soggy soil, Godzilla gathered his strength, and jumped up. He propelled himself towards the surface at high speeds, rivaling the speed of a torpedo. Godzilla broke the surface, slashing the air where one of Dogora's tentacles waved. The tentacle was instantly parted. Godzilla's return from the dark depths sent a tidal wave crashing into the downed Gotengo, blowing it out of the battle, which was really a blessing in disguise for its crew. Godzilla, however, suffered a grisly injury. Contact with Dogora's body made the skin on his hand peel off. The pain made Godzilla briefly think about his past fights with Hedorah. To win this fight, Godzilla would have to find another way to attack. Atomic flames churned in his maw. Godzilla knew what to do next.

"Status report," Captain Gordon grumbled. He was standing now. This must have meant their situation was dire.

"Our engines have flatlined, we only have thirty-minutes of power left, and we're--"

Interrupting one of his technicians, Gordon grumbled, "Give it to me plainly."

"We're dead in the water."

"Damn it," Gordon said. There really wasn't much he could do.

Ken watched Godzilla fight Dogora. It truly was a breathtaking moment, one he'd remember for the rest of his life. Given recent events, Ken speculated how long he had left to live. Not wanting to contemplate death, Ken tried distracting himself. Both creatures are radioactive, so what if they were drawn to each other? And why did radiation have such an abnormal effect on their DNA? It's brought nothing but suffering and death to virtually every other life form living on the Earth today. On one hand, radiation has poisoned and killed tens of thousands of people. On the other, it's had a different effect on other organisms. Amphibian mutations have been directly linked to pollution and radioactive fallouts, having been seen but not limited to: sprouting extra limbs, producing another eyeball or two, or even growing a second head. All of these mutations have been directly linked to radiation. But not all of Earth's life forms exposed to radiation have died or been severely handicapped by it. For some, radiation kickstarted their evolution. What would've normally taken natural selection millions and millions of years to accomplish, devices like the hydrogen bomb did it in seconds. Nobody knew why. Nobody knew why radiation made them bigger, stronger, and more powerful. When he was younger, Ken thought he stumbled across the answer. It was found in the words of a song, one he remembered being quite fond of.

'History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of Man.'

For the longest time, Ken believed that to be the case. After studying Godzilla for years and life in general, Ken was no longer pleased with this as an answer. Because in his mind, it really wasn't an answer. To him it seemed to be motivated primarily by superstition. Nature, the prevailing force behind life, didn't really have an agenda. It neither liked nor hated its spawn. What it did was without intent. Many people, even some in the scientific community, suspected there to be some divine plan at work. They believed the complexity of organisms, stretching back from DNA all the way to the very environment these life forms inhabited, played a vital role in some master plan. But that was simply not the case. Since the beginning, humans have long confused their wants and desires with the indisputable truth staring them in the face. Ken couldn't blame them. People were hardwired to live like this. Maybe that's why nature paved the way for sentient life, to bring purpose and order to its existence. If that's the case, it still doesn't mean there was a divine plan at work. It just meant mindless, unmerciful forces of chaos can and have given life to flawed, intelligent creatures of order. In retrospect, intelligent creatures can and have given life to creatures who are more of a hybrid of the two opposing forces.

That's why Ken respected beliefs more native to his homeland. Good and evil were in the eyes of the beholder, placed in a fictional arena at the whims of its human spectators to battle for all eternity. Deep down, that's what Ken thought he was seeing. But he couldn't think such irrational thoughts. No, he had to stay focused.

The workings of a single-celled organism was complex. Humans couldn't artificially replicate it. To understand the blueprints of a DNA, the entire genetic history of an organism, one would have to study it for decades without stopping. Even then they'd just be scratching their heads. So back to his original query, how could creatures like Godzilla prosper from radiation? How could he change into a stronger animal? Why couldn't humans, fish, frogs, sharks, cats, and birds use radiation to change into higher forms of life? Why did creatures like Godzilla meet the criteria while others weren't so lucky? Ken had an answer, albeit it was a temporary one. Godzilla's genes allowed him to do it, that's why. But how did his genes come to possess the means of doing something that was originally thought impossible? That's what stumped him. So far the mutation was consistent. Godzilla's adopted son, Godzilla Junior, exhibited similar symptoms. So did creatures like Rodan, and they weren't even part of the same species. But what little sense Ken could make of this could be found somewhere in their genetic history. Godzilla and Rodan are different, much like how Godzilla and Man are different. But somewhere in Earth's history, they could be linked to the same ancestor. Even humans and Godzilla shared the same ancestor. Despite their differences, Ken saw Godzilla as a distant cousin, just like how he saw all life forms on Earth. There's a reason why trees are great symbols of life. Seeds, like the first organism, grew, and branched off into many different roots. These roots in turn branched off into more roots. Somewhere on the incomprehensible Earth Family Tree, Ken knew his and Godzilla's ancestors in the distant past split off and went their separate ways.

But what of Dogora? Ken scratched his head. He really didn't know much about it. All he knew was its radioactive, its really really big, and capable of exterminating all life on Earth. Ken hated how he could think so much and still not learn anything new.

Suddenly, Ozaki jumped out of his seat, and raced to the nearest exit. He shot Captain Gordon an alarming look. Gordon nodded, ordering the armed guards who had escorted Ken in earlier to back him up. Ken's curiosity got the better of him. So he left his post to see what was troubling Ozaki.

"Where do you think you're going?" Captain Gordon barked.

Turning pale, Ken whispered something about knowing how to get the Gotengo up and running, but he'd need to inspect the machines personally to get the job done. Captain Gordon wasn't really listening. Ken could've told him he was leaving to breed a goat with a crocodile and Gordon wouldn't have listened to a single word. All this scientific talk made Captain Gordon's head hurt. He waved for Ken to leave the room. Not because he believed anything the Japanese youth had said, no, he did it so he wouldn't do something dumb like breaking one of the poor kid's arms for feeling stupid in comparison. In a bizarre way, Kenichi Yamane's intelligence made Captain Gordon feel inferior. Gordon made a mental note to never confess this to anyone.

Ken sprinted down a hallway, searching for the armed guards and Ozaki. When he moved around a corner, Ken's vision distorted. There was too much steam in the air. He could hear the armed guards panicking, wondering where that rotten mutant had run off to. Ken suspected Ozaki was nowhere near them, otherwise they wouldn't had insulted him the way they did. Peaking around the corner, Ken saw them scrambling to make sense of the situation. There was a huge gaping hole in the wall. Walls of steam hissed out of the floor, brightened by the sunlight outside, which meant the Gotengo had been breached. That's when Ken saw it. A humanoid creature emerged. It had the shape of a human. But it looked like it was made of water. Could this be a remnant of Dogora? It had to be. But why was it mimicking human form? Even in the most bizarre times, Ken surprised himself. Normally he'd be more interested in how things work. The armed guards shouted at it, ordering it to surrender. It didn't understand human tongue. It did, however, know it had just been threatened.

So this H-Man stepped out of the sizzling haze, its translucent feet burning with steam. Like Dogora, its corrosive touch meant it should be approached with extreme caution. The armed guards lit it up with a hail of gunfire. The gunshots reverberated off the iron walls, pummeling Ken's hearing. He covered his ears as he watched the bullets pass harmlessly through the H-Man's liquid body. The H-Man recoiled from the sharp impacts but did not stop its stride. It swiped at one of the guards, ripping the poor soldier in half. He writhed on the floor for a few seconds before dying from the pain. His comrade bent down to check his pulse, never taking his eyes off the H-Man.

"He's dead," Ken screamed.

The armed guard looked at him in surprise. But there was no time for protocol. Ken could see the experience in his eyes. He knew this soldier relied on his instincts and nothing more. Running over, the soldier tried dragging Ken with him as he retreated. But Ken tripped, making this extremely difficult. Ken tried getting up fast enough. Had he done so, the solider would've lived longer. The H-Man's hand bubbled out of the soldier's stomach, having just finished melting its way through his spine and vital organs. Ken watched in horror as the H-Man melted the solider down into a red bubbling puddle. It wasn't finished. It reached down, siphoning the soldier's liquified remains.

The H-Man was feasting on the dead!

It then sensed Ken's trembling presence. When it faced him, Ken felt a chill shoot up his spine. The way the H-Man looked was scary enough. But the way it moved was scarier. It was inhuman. The H-Man stepped closer, becoming instantly shrouded in steam. Its dripping hand reached out. It hovered inches away from Ken's face. Ken shielded his face with his arms. He knew it wouldn't do anything. But he did it anyway. Doing this prevented Ken from seeing a moth fly out of nowhere and rest on his shoulder. It's subtle touch planted a seed of hope in the young man, one that needed time to grow. Several seconds passed before Ken realized he was still breathing. Lowering his arms, Ken stared at the H-Man in shock and awe.

The H-Man had its arms draped over its empty face.

"You're copying me," Ken whispered. "Does that mean you understand me?" The H-Man dropped its arms. It resumed its quest for sustenance by reaching for Ken's face. How it could maintain its form without turning into a puddle mystified him. Ken wanted to know how it did it. Not just because he was intrigued, he simply wanted to forget the hopelessness of the situation he was in. And damn it, he really should've asked that cute technician girl out.

For one second, Ken was staring death in the face. Another second later, he saw the H-Man being splattered against the wall. Steam shot up and exploded into a haze, obscuring Ken's vision. Someone grabbed his arm, lifted his body up off the ground, and carried him down the hallway. It happened so fast, Ken felt like he was going to puke. That's when he caught a glimpse of his savior: Ozaki. The mutant soldier was holding him with one arm, while holding what looked like a steel mace in the other. Ozaki must've crafted it himself on short notice, judging by its poor quality. Smoke hissed off its corroded surface, further proof Ozaki used it to attack the H-Man.

Ken studied his savior in the same manner a zoologist would study a wolverine. Ozaki's eyes were all over the place. No doubt his other senses were playing a prominent role in detecting any signs of danger. Since he looked alert, Ken guessed the H-Man was still a threat. But Ken wasn't too worried. Ozaki was one of the greatest fighters on the planet. With his mutant abilities, Ozaki can move faster than bullets, bend steel, and jump off skyscrapers without fear of ever hurting himself. Ken had also read reports about Ozaki possessing a unique healing factor, one very much like Godzilla's own regeneration. Ken hoped they wouldn't need to see the limits of Ozaki's healing.

"Oh," Ken muttered. "I-I almost forgot to thank you."

Ozaki glanced down at Ken, favoring him with a surprised look. Ken could've sworn he saw a faint grin on Ozaki's face. That bastard.

Steam hissed behind them. Ozaki's eyes pierced the haze, spotting the hostile. It had reconstituted itself perfectly. Ozaki couldn't find any weaknesses in its makeup. Hitting it would only slow it down or even worse -- it'd piss it off! And their time was running out. Ozaki realized his mace had melted down to its handle, and was no longer useful. Dropping it, Ozaki backpedaled with Ken. They could run back and try to alert the others. But in doing so, they'd endanger everyone on the ship. This H-Man had to be stopped, here and now. Recalling the Gotengo schematics, Ozaki knew they had a chance. Running over to the nearest corridor, Ozaki punched a hole in the wall, and peeled it apart.

"What are you doing?!" Ken shouted. Too numb to see how much he was shaking, Ken looked back at the H-Man. Dogora's spawn marched down the hall, leaving a trail of steam in its wake. It'll be in close reach of them soon enough. Inside the wall, Ozaki found the hidden EDF Weapons Vault. Under normal circumstances, tearing down the wall with his bare hands wouldn't have been necessary. There was another way to open it. He just didn't have enough time to punch in the codes. But even with the wall removed, Ozaki faced a new problem. He couldn't break the vault open, for not even he was strong enough.

In a calm manner, Ozaki addressed Ken. "Mister Yamane, please open the vault. It contains heavy firepower, so open it with caution. The code is 9-3-7-5-2-5. You will have to enter that code twice." With nothing more to say, Ozaki turned into a blur as he jumped into action. There was no time to argue. Ken did what he was told, knowing the lives of everyone onboard depended on it.

Ozaki jumped behind the H-Man, burying his fists into the steel floor. Tearing it loose, Ozaki lifted the floor up from below the H-Man, and tossed it down the hall.

Ken found the keypad on the vault. He pressed the button 9…

Ozaki sprinted down the hall. Jumping up, he gripped the ceiling panel and used it to bury the H-Man in rubble. But the H-Man melted out of the rubble instantly.

3…

The H-Man's arms sprouted out like pythons. With its reach greatly enhanced, the H-Man sought to catch Ozaki from afar.

7… 5… 2…

Ozaki jumped off the walls, evading the H-Man's shooting arms. Instead of searing flesh, H-Man's arms ended up punching sizzling holes into steel.

5.

Standing in the sunlight, Ozaki knew he found the spot where the Gotengo's hull had been breached earlier. This was also the spot where the H-Man had been first sighted. The H-Man tried blindsiding Ozaki, but the mutant flipped over the inhuman creature, and splattered it apart with a precise punch to its center.

Ken reentered the code. The vault opened.

Ozaki removed his kevlar glove, ignoring the searing pain in his hand. The H-Man stood in the sunlight, sparkling like an angel. But it was no angel. It was a creature that wanted one thing and one thing only: Ozaki as lunch. Ken's timely arrival made sure that wouldn't happen. Even with two hands, Ken couldn't carry the energy weapon. He had to drag it across the floor. Ozaki walked over, picked it up with ease, and took aim. Despite being a handheld weapon, Ken knew it was much more potent than that. It was designed to injure giant monsters, creatures powerful enough to wade through armor piercing rounds, artillery shells, and rockets. Ken shielded his eyes and looked away. With his seared hand pulling the trigger, Ozaki fired a blinding energy projectile, one that disintegrated the H-Man, and exploded out of the damaged hull.

The Gotengo vibrated.

"Are we alive?" Ken asked. His glasses had been blown off. There was now a bigger hole in the hull. Ken could hear and smell the seawater outside.

"We're alive," Ozaki replied confidently. He watched in satisfaction as his hand regenerated its hideous damages.

Unbeknownst to the humans, the moth flew off Ken's shoulder, and disappeared into the outside world.

Ken and Ozaki returned to the command center. It's as if their fight with the H-Man never even happened, given how oblivious everyone else was. Ozaki returned to his duties at the head of the ship. Ken stumbled over to his station, shocked by everything he had seen and experienced. Captain Gordon studied the Japanese youth. Feeling like he was being watched, Ken met Captain Gordon's gaze. The Captain nodded in understanding. Did he see everything? Ken would never know. At that point he really didn't care. All he wanted to do was get off this ship and sleep. But his scuffle with the H-Man was nothing compared to the battle happening outside in Tokyo Bay.

Dorsal spines sliced through the ocean waves. Fishermen who'd seen Godzilla out at sea feared his dorsal spines more than how most people feared seeing sharks fins. Once upon a time, there was nothing scarier than swimming through the water and seeing a shark fin creeping out of the ocean at you. Now there was. Godzilla moved so fast, waves strong enough to topple oil tankers rolled over the bay. The King of the Monsters swam beneath the monstrous Dogora, ignoring its tentacles as they seared into his body. Every time Dogora's tentacles burned trenches into his hide, Godzilla dove straight down. If it weren't for his regeneration, Godzilla would have nasty scars. Dogora penetrated the murky waters of Tokyo Bay, trying in vain to snatch the atomic dragon. The freezing waters rendered Dogora's acidic touch useless. So Dogora improvised by strengthening its mass like before. Swimming at over forty-knots, Godzilla glided through the water like a living torpedo. Tentacles blindsided him by ensnaring his tail, pulling him out of the water. Godzilla gritted his teeth, fighting the larger monster with every fiber of his being.

Dogora threw Godzilla so hard across Tokyo Bay, the giant reptile bounced across the water for a few seconds before sinking. Not yet ready to succumb to the dark depths, Godzilla fired his radioactive breath. Atomic energy roared out of the water, cutting Dogora in two. Forced to once again divert its biomass to repair its injuries, Dogora sealed up the damage though it had shrunk a little. It was still the largest creature on Earth. Not even Godzilla could hurt it. That wouldn't stop Godzilla from trying. But as the atomic reptile moved closer, Godzilla's instincts were too late to alert him to the peril he was in.

It started with the water recoiling. Then an unseen force pulled it into the sky. Godzilla watched in alarm as the water around him was sucked up into Dogora's mass. That's when Godzilla felt it tugging at him. He tried to escape but it was too late. Godzilla saw the ocean depths fall away from him as Dogora sucked him out of the sea. The King of the Monsters was pulled higher into the air, spinning uncontrollably. Godzilla couldn't see where he was going. If he did, he wouldn't believe his eyes. Dogora's entire lower section parted. It was if its entire lower half had transformed into two massive jaws. Godzilla was sucked right in into what could best be described as Dogora's belly. The lower half of Dogora's body returned to its original state. Its burning, translucent fluids smothered Godzilla. All Godzilla could do was roar in agony as the acids disintegrated his skin and flayed his muscles and bones. Godzilla's heart-wrenching cries died the moment he could no longer breathe. Not that he could make a sound if he wanted to; Godzilla's vocal cords dissolved along with the rest of his throat.

Ken watched in horror. "There has to be something we can do," he said. Ken was met with awkward glances. He knew he sounded too sympathetic for Godzilla's plight. A part of him was.

Captain Gordon didn't say anything. Ken kept expecting him to belittle him, maybe even relieve him of his duties. Monster sympathizers didn't belong in the Earth Defense Force. But if respected people like Miki Saegusa had a place in the organization, then he'd take his chances. Captain Gordon wasn't even looking at him. His big brown eyes were glued to the camera monitors. It was not a pretty sight. Even a war veteran like Douglas Gordon cringed. He'd seen Men burned alive by napalm but this was different. Unlike a quarrel between two nations, where killing your foe was both intended and expected, Godzilla and Dogora were nothing more than two giant animals. They fought only for sustenance, territory, and survival. So seeing Dogora melting Godzilla alive to feed off his body made Captain Gordon's skin crawl. It felt as if Dogora was devoid of any true purpose. But he had it all wrong. It wasn't purpose Dogora lacked, it was humanity. That's what truly bothered Captain Gordon.

"Ozaki," Captain Gordon grumbled to his mutant comrade. "Activate the Absolute Zero Cannon. Target the giant jellyfish."

"You want us to save Godzilla's life, sir?" Ozaki replied.

"Hell no," Captain Gordon replied quickly. "But the longer that things eats Godzilla, the bigger it's gonna get." He was right. Dogora's already massive size was doubling, maybe even tripling. When it's done feasting on Godzilla, it'd be large enough to devour all of Tokyo. Unless the Gotengo had something to say about it.

Its drill gathered large quantities of energy. Funneling this energy into a specific point allowed the Gotengo to achieve absolute zero temperatures. Doing this wasn't easy. If the Gotengo waited too long to unleash its power, it'd surely backfire. Ken thought the Absolute Zero Cannon was modern humanity's answer to time travel. To travel back in time, you'd need to go beyond absolute zero. You'd also need to reverse the flow of time and space, rewinding the motion of every particle in the universe, making sure they repeated the past perfectly. All of which should've been impossible. But since they've been visited by beings from the future, Ken was content with just freezing Dogora's atoms in place forever.

'This universe fails physics forever,' Ken thought to himself.

The order was given. The Gotengo fired the Absolute Zero Cannon, striking Dogora a few seconds later. It took several seconds to freeze Dogora's entire body. It looked like a frosted mountain, cracking under the weight of its own magnificent size. A dying Godzilla rested at the heart of the frozen Dogora. Most of his skin had been eaten away. His blood-pumping muscles stained everything they touched. Were it not for his twitching fingers or heaving chest, Ken would have declared him dead. It was a repulsive thing to see. Mankind's greatest adversary reduced to a gaunt, withered husk. Ken could only speculate about how much pain Godzilla must have felt. It must've been worse than surviving the radioactive fallout that mutated him.

Dogora's enormous icy bulk shattered, sprinkling billions of pieces down into Tokyo Bay. Godzilla's ravaged body fell into his watery home. He neither made a sound nor surfaced.

"That's it then," Ken announced solemnly. "Both Godzilla and Dogora are dead. We've won."

There was a collective sigh of relief in the control room.

Ozaki saw something nobody else could see. "No, we haven't."

Thunder and lightning split the skies, heralding the return of Dogora. Emitting a teal hued glow, the second Dogora descended from the clouds that protected it in its infancy. It was nowhere near as large as its predecessor. But it dwarfed monsters like Godzilla easily. It could also consume cities like Tokyo in less than an hour if left unabated. Twisting its monstrous tentacles, Dogora loomed above Tokyo Bay like a god preparing to cast judgment over the mortals of the world.

Those pieces we blew off earlier," Ken recalled. "They must have took refuge in the clouds, free to reform into a larger entity. We're in trouble."

"Damn it," Captain Gordon shouted. "Call the UNGCC and tell them to send everything they've got to Tokyo right away!"

His orders were heard and obeyed. Not that it mattered much. Be it MechaGodzilla or the Super-X, none of Mankind's self-made protectors would reach Tokyo in time. Having expended most of its power, the Gotengo could not fire the Absolute Zero Cannon a second time. All hope was lost.

'So this is how our species will go extinct. Not by a meteorite, global warming, or nuclear winter. But by the hands of another creature,' Ken thought bitterly. 'And I thought we were going to be wiped out by a new radical virus. Not much else we can do now but sit here in the water. It's a shame our civilization won't get the chance to see the next millennium. We'll meet our extinct relatives in oblivion. On a positive note, at least traces of our existence will remain for a few centuries. The Earth will recycle us one way or another. It's not all bad. Anyway, I doubt things would've gone well with that cute technician girl.'

Proofreading his thoughts, Ken's face burned red.

"Goddamn it, it can't end like this!" he shouted.

Tokyo burned.

Black smoke curled off the twisted remnants of its once great structures. Many were dead, many more were wounded. The survivors found themselves instinctively drawn to the outskirts, down where thousands of cargo ships a day used to unload at the docks. As one they stopped at the edges, staring in awe at the living monolith called Dogora. The radiance of its bioelectric aura washed over them. Some shielded their eyes, while others let the light blind them. All of them waited for the end to come. It's been a long, incredible journey for the Japanese people. They've endured so many disasters throughout the years, both natural and manmade. Not a soul among them considered this a fitting end. But if their end had truly come then they'd die with dignity. They'll face their destroyer together.

Huddling with the citizens of Tokyo, two twin girls held hands, and prayed for protection. Their youthful faces made everything all the more heart-wrenching.

Feral eyes opened in the cold darkness. Knowing he was still alive emboldened Godzilla's will to survive. The King of the Monsters felt pain in his chest, his arms, his legs, his spine, his neck. He felt pain everywhere. Still Godzilla defied oblivion, refusing to die at the bottom of Tokyo Bay. In 1954, the first Godzilla in recorded history perished in these very waters. Even after all these years, Godzilla could still smell the scent of his long dead ancestor. There was something else Godzilla sensed in the darkness. Something beyond the laws of order and chaos. He felt like he was being watched. Godzilla's regenerated eyes surveyed the dark depths, searching in vain for his phantom spectator. Whatever it was was beyond his keen senses to find.

Restless, Godzilla tried standing. He once had large, muscular legs and thighs. Now they were pale imitations that struggled to support the rest of his body. His eyes had healed and adapted to the darkness of the sea. But his skin hadn't quite fully healed. Godzilla's red blood darkened the water around him. With his life hanging on by a thread, Godzilla closed his eyes, and concentrated. Schools of fish and other marine life paid little heed to the meditating giant. Godzilla expanded his senses, hearing the sea talk in a language humanity had long forgotten. Several miles away, Godzilla heard a family of whales singing to one another. Hundreds of miles further, Godzilla heard the footsteps of his kaiju brethren on Monster Island. Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, Godzilla heard the heartbeats of his son, Junior, who was only seeking adventure. Closer to home, Godzilla heard the hopes and prayers of the Japanese people. Godzilla didn't understand their language. What he did understand was their resolve. These people who've fought and deprived him of his homeland for decades were calling for his help. Why? Why would these people want his help? Godzilla had been terrorizing Japan for generations. He's killed many and brought nothing but despair to the tiny country. Godzilla didn't think about any of this. He couldn't think about any of this. Symbolism, philosophy, sin -- these things were beyond his understanding. Godzilla used to be as moral as a hurricane. But his time spent fighting with humanity awakened something deeper inside him: empathy.

Millions of years ago, Godzilla ruled Japan. He knew no equal. Back then there was a balance he took for granted. But when his entire world ended and he found himself stranded throughout the ages, Godzilla searched endlessly for the one thing that would give his life meaning. It was a cruel hand dealt by fate. A creature incapable of understanding purpose lived only to… find it?

Godzilla's dorsal spines glowed, vanquishing the darkness around him. Blue-silvery fire burned in the back of his throat, the tremendous heat making the waters churn. Eyes glowing brighter than the heavens looked up at the most dangerous creature on the planet, Dogora, and showed no fear. Purging the chaos from within, Godzilla found purpose inside the light of his life. With his light, Godzilla shall unleash his thermonuclear might, and usher in a new tomorrow.

Let there be light.

The Gotengo's geiger counter went haywire.

"What the hell?" Ken blurted. "The radioactivity just went through the roof! It's as if a nuclear warhead just detonated underwater!"

"Worse," Captain Gordon observed.

Thermonuclear light erupted out of Tokyo Bay. Blinding light enveloped Dogora and the Gotengo, capturing the attention of everyone in Tokyo. Spectators miles away were the only ones who could see an energy beam amidst the light, blasting a burning swath through Dogora's maleficent shape. Dogora writhed as parts of its translucent body evaporated into clouds of steam. It tried harnessing the awesome force of Godzilla's power. It tried in vain. Little by little, the thermonuclear blast annihilated Dogora's core while vaporizing the rest of its body. Following the path of the thermonuclear beam, boiling waters parted, and molten steam filled the air. Godzilla stood at the bottom of Tokyo Bay, releasing so much heat, the water couldn't touch him.

The Gotengo's corroded armor plating absorbed the heat, emitting a red-orange glow as it burned. Internal emergency systems kicked in, activating cooling units for the Gotengo and her crew. Some of the humans passed out while the others fought to endure the blistering temperatures. Thousands of souls witnessed Dogora's fiery end. The intense light overwhelmed their eyes, forcing many to seek comfort in those beside them. Many of these people thought they were dead, mistaking the light and the company of their loved ones as the afterlife. In silent anguish, the tentacled behemoth disappeared, its molecules atomized by the King of the Monsters.

With his atomic energies depleted, all Godzilla could do was watch helplessly as walls of water crashed down atop of him. Buried beneath millions of tons of water, Godzilla disappeared. In the sizzling waters of Tokyo Bay, the Gotengo floated in no specific direction. It tried using satellites to survey the area. But Godzilla's attack had fried all communications with the outside world. Every electronic device in Tokyo was offline. In the most technologically advanced city in the world, the Gotengo had all the power yet lacked the means of sharing it.

The lights in the Gotengo's command center dimmed.

"What the hell is our status now?" demanded Captain Gordon. The cute technician girl filled him in. With no other means of contacting the outside world, all Captain Gordon could do was grab another Budweiser. Ken found his lack of taste and complete disregard for his health revolting.

Ozaki shared some intel. "When we last made contact with the UNGCC, they said they were two hours out. So we can expect rescue within that time frame."

"Plenty of time to get to know each other," Captain Gordon winked, gesturing for Ken to make a move.

Ken stared across at the cute technician girl. She was doing everything she could to get the Gotengo's systems back online. For a brief moment the sight of her gave him the strength to stand up. When he realized what he was doing, Ken sat straight back down. This was embarrassing. Ozaki pretended not to notice. Captain Gordon shook his head in disapproval. Ken's face blushed as he tried forgetting about the opposite sex. Like what happened to Godzilla? His greatest interest in life could be a shriveled up corpse somewhere on the ocean floor. What about Dogora? This creature was new to science. Could it still be alive? Is there another Dogora out there? How did it come to be? Ken felt like he wasn't giving these questions justice. He was too busy thinking about her. Why not? Biting his lip, Ken slowly got up. He was one of the most intelligent people in the world. Governments bided to recruit him, universities begged for his lectures, scientists wanted his brain. He's been thinking to himself for so long, Ken started thinking he truly was alone. But he doesn't have to be. Why couldn't he share his thoughts with another mind for once?

The cute technician watched Ken walk towards her with the most serious look on his face. She's taken aback by what she sees coming miles away.

"Uh, hello," stammered Ken. "I-I'm Kenichi Yamane, how do you do? Listen, I have something to say, something I've wanted to ask you for a very long time now. I'm sorry if any of this sounds awkward."

Her silence made it worse. She never took her eyes off of him though. So at least she was listening! This was all the encouragement he needed to see this to the end. Regaining his composure, Ken bowed his head in a respectful manner.

"It would be my honor to take you out on a date," Ken confessed passionately. "Preferably before and after we get rescued."

Nobody said a word. Ken felt like he was frozen in time, powerless to do anything but wait for her decision.

"Sure," she winked. "I thought you'd never ask!"

All the other technicians returned to their duties, gossiping over what just happened. Ozaki acted like he hadn't been paying attention, but his grin gave him away. Captain Gordon sat up out of his chair, clapping with the biggest smile on his face. Ken's fears and anxieties dropped off the face of the earth. For what could've been hours, he and his new girlfriend swapped stories, and learned interesting facts about one another. Like himself, she was a brilliant scientist, and could teach Ken a thing or two about molecular biology. Ken didn't need to ask for her name. No longer burdened by apocalyptic beasts and psychotic captains, he was finally comfortable enough to remember it as Miyuki Otonashi.

Ken was happy to be with her.

Bewildered eyes beheld the waters of Tokyo Bay. Thousands had flocked to the docks to watch the titanic battle. Many felt they wouldn't see another sunrise. Against all odds, Godzilla triumphed over the devourer of life, and saved the very lives he himself had put into danger countless times before. With their hearts still beating, not a soul knew what to do next. Not even when rows of white, bony spines protruded out of the waters. It looked like death hadn't forgotten about them after all. Everyone recognized the unique outline of the spines, how they perfectly captured the mindless elegance of life. But nothing else rose out of the sea. No fearsome jaws, no slashing claws, not even a thundering roar. What eventually did surface was a weary animal, one whose body had shriveled to the point of looking more like a gray skeleton than a fearsome monster. Godzilla's heartbeats were faint. His human listeners had to sometimes wait a full minute to hear it again.

Weakly, Godzilla's hand reached up, squashing an empty dock into splinters. The people jumped back, frightened by the monster. Their terror warranted more alarm when the two twin girls walked up, stopping a few feet away from Godzilla's monstrous claws.

Miraculously, the people at the docks were spared by the thermonuclear blast Godzilla used to slay Dogora. Had they only been a few hundred feet closer, they would have been roasted to death. None of them knew their story would one day be talked about for many years to come. Scientists would work day and night to answer how, not why, but how these people showed no symptoms of radiation poisoning. Neither the experts nor the people at the docks knew how they survived. But what happened next made everyone wonder why.

A moth flew off the shoulder of one of the twin girls. It hovered above Godzilla's hand before finding a place to rest. When Godzilla suddenly regained his strength, the moth vanished as if it had never been there to begin with. Godzilla ascended to his feet, water splashing off his healed flesh as he towered over the people of Japan. A brave few rushed forward, attempting to shield the two young girls from Godzilla's wrath. Their heroics would have been in vain had Godzilla chosen to attack. The King of the Monsters bent low enough for the people, if they were feeling lucky enough, to reach up and touch parts of his scaly face. Godzilla stared at them in the most unique of ways. It was like watching a child learn something new and fascinating about itself for the first time in its existence. Whatever it was, something about the way Godzilla looked at the people made them feel less afraid. These people would be the first to see the King of the Monsters as a friend and ally. While many people would never forgive him for killing thousands and ruining the lives of countless more, future generations would come to see him in a more positive light.

In the Land of the Rising Sun, Godzilla at last accepted Man as his friend and equal. It truly was the beginning of a new era. But whether Mankind would continue to honor the alliance or not remained elusive.

Winner
Godzilla® (Heisei)