Kaiju War Chronicles (K.W.C.)
Match 83:
By: Thomas Fairchild

Dr. Nick Tatopoulos watched gray cloud bombard the sea with rain. He was standing inside the Heatseeker, a boat with a devilish grin painted on its bow. On deck, the most advanced computers and hardware in the world were stationed around every corner. But Nick was more interested in the outside world. Although he was a biologist at heart, Nick couldn't help but appreciate the complexity and ingenuity of the ocean. All life recorded on Earth traced their heritage back to it. Most of Earth's creatures today called the oceans their home. In Nick's eyes, you're not a biologist or a zoologist if you have absolutely no interest in the sea or its inhabitants.

He turned when their sonar detected an anomaly. It first appeared as a large blip. It was bigger than a Blue Whale, once regarded as the largest living creature on Earth. Now it was small-fry compared to a new species humanity was quick to dismiss as monsters. Nick and his research team, also known as H.E.A.T. (Humanitarian Environmental Analysis Team), studied these large, dangerous 'monsters'. But they maintained a greater understanding than most of their peers. Aside from their immense size and unique attributes, these monsters were nothing more than giant animals. While most religious groups like to label them as devils and a sign that the end was nigh, the scientific community saw them as a true byproduct of evolution. Whereas Mankind's descendants chose brain over brawn, it would seem these creatures selected an alternate route. What they lack in intelligence they made up for with their sheer size and power. And best of all, it was easy to trace back their genetic heritage. Most of these monsters were super-sized versions of existing animals. But Nick viewed these creatures differently. To him they were the finest examples of complex life.

"Uh, Nick?" Randy Hernandez, H.E.A.T.'s resident computer hacker quipped. "Care to return to Earth for a sec and help us out?"

Nick apologized. But his apology fell on deaf ears. Walking over, Nick quickly assessed the situation. Mendel Craven was too busy re-modifying N.I.G.E.L., an amusing yet competent robot. Elsie Chapman forgot she was holding a cup of coffee in one hand while skimming through encyclopedias, footnotes, articles, and theories about kaiju in the other. It wasn't until after she had spilt it all over her research papers did she recall how hot it was. Monique Dupre looked pale as she guided the ship. Nick knew she was as cold and dangerous as the sea itself. For the longest time he refused to have weapons onboard. But he relented when he realized Monique was herself a weapon and her persuasion knew no bounds. Nick suspected she had already primed the heat seeking missiles and machine guns. Randy glanced at the French Secret Service agent. Nick recognized his desires immediately. It was practically universal in all male life forms desperate for a mate. Like so many times before, Monique ignored him.

"Monique, do we know what's down there?" Nick asked.

"We don't know exactly what is it," Monique replied. "But I presume it is a hostile mutation."

Nick shook his head. "Unless it's Zilla, of course."

"Your trust in the monster is misplaced," Monique fired back. She was not in a good mood. There was no arguing with her. That didn't stop Nick from trying.

"And you continue to prove why I don't take your presumptions seriously," Nick retorted. But he was lying. He took Monique very seriously. Most of the time she was right. So he was thankful Monique decided to ignore him instead of snapping his neck.

"The kids are fighting again," Elsie joked.

Craven sneezed over N.I.G.E.L.'s face. He rapidly wiped away the snot, blushing. "Y-you two are s-so immature! And you c-call yourselves p-professionals." He thought he was giving a lecture.

"Ignoring the doc for like the hundredth time today," Randy said. "I've hacked into all available military satellites to find out what big bad calls these waters home."

"Don't keep us in suspense," Elsie replied.

Randy cracked a grin. "It's a giant lobster."

Nobody laughed. Nick knew right away they were dealing with Ebirah. According to the classified documents Randy 'borrowed' from the satellites, Ebirah had been terrorizing these waters for months, wreaking havoc on the fishermen. When three submarines were dispatched to eradicate it, all but one returned intact. Not to waste anymore lives, the government left it alone. Fishermen avoided these waters like the plague now. So then why did Cameron Winter select one of the islands nearby as the site of his new project? Not even Winter would sacrifice innocent lives to feed his own ego, right? Nick felt sick to his stomach. He already knew the answer. His former college roommate now turned technological mogul cared only about himself. Nick knew he couldn't just send Zilla in there to wreck the place. Not without being sued, thrown in prison for a thousand years, and slapping a death warrant on Zilla's face. But they were in international waters now, so the only things he had to fear was the sea, pirates, and giant lobsters. Life couldn't get any worse.

"Oh crap," Randy shouted, losing his grin. "It's surfacing! I think it's going to attack! Man, I don't want to get eaten by seafood!"

Everyone looked outside to see a giant crimson claw burst out of the sea. When it disappeared beneath the waves, it sent a tidal wave smashing into the Heatseeker. Nick and the others lost their balance, except for Monique. She accessed the targeting computers, locking them to Ebirah's heat signature. She launched them without another thought. Heat seeking missiles shot out of their bunkers, piercing the watery surface. Unseen explosions shook the waters. This succeeded in only ticking Ebirah off. Nick felt like bragging. But it'd be a waste of time. Ebirah resurfaced, revealing its ugly crustacean face. Raindrops bounced off its black eyeballs. Drool dripped like a faucet out of its grisly mandibles. When it raised one of its pincers, Nick thought they were all going to die. That's when sonar detected the presence of another large creature. It was moving really fast.

Razor sharp spines slashed the waves. It belonged to a giant reptile whose back was covered with them. It swam so fast, it jumped out of the ocean in the blink of an eye. It risked its own life by shielding the Heatseeker from Ebirah's claws. Nick and the other members of H.E.A.T. recognized the creature instantly. Years before, its parent attacked New York City. The United States military killed it after it left hundreds dead and thousands injured, along with billions of dollars in damage. The media was quick to call the creature Godzilla. Nick believed this himself for some time until he saw the real one attacking Japan. It wasn't long before the media settled with Zilla. But Nick didn't think the crisis was over. He and his team explored the ruins of Madison Square Garden, the first Zilla's nest. There out of hundreds of eggs, they found the sole survivor. Nick tried his best to study it before it could hatch. When it did, Nick was covered in a strange liquid substance. Instead of killing him, the human-sized Zilla hatchling imprinted him as its parent. Since then Zilla acted as their protector, saving them more times than Monique would ever care to admit.

Ebirah's claw snipped at Zilla's neck. Zilla countered by diving beneath Ebirah, popping up behind him. Zilla bit down, squeezing Ebirah's head with his jaws. But the giant lobster fought back, its thrashes generating more and more tidal waves. They crashed into the Heatseeker, thankfully pushing it out of harm's way. Unable to shake the reptile off, Ebirah descended beneath the murky waves, taking Zilla with him. Zilla heard Ebirah's head crack as his jaws squeezed it even harder. To get rid of his unwanted passenger, Ebirah brushed him against an underwater mountain. Zilla couldn't hold on. He felt parts of the mountain break across his face, forcing him off. Touching down on the ocean floor, Zilla tried getting his bearings. There was no sign of his crustacean adversary anywhere. Before Zilla could think about what to do next, Ebirah blindsided him from behind, and pinned him down with its bodyweight. Zilla felt Ebirah's claw tighten around his neck, poking past his flesh and bone. It was also crushing his windpipe. Zilla could hold his breath for hours underwater. But Ebirah was cutting off the oxygen supply to his brain. If this continued, he wouldn't last for another minute.

Nick tried being patient. Several minutes ago, Zilla and Ebirah disappeared underwater. A few minutes later Craven sent N.I.G.E.L. down under to capture their battle on camera. All they could see right now was hundreds of acres of coral reef and seaweed. That's when N.I.G.E.L. entered a clearing. Nick gasped in alarm. On the grainy underwater camera, it looked like Ebirah was seconds away from decapitating Zilla.

"Monique, fire those missiles at Ebirah! We need to save Zilla!" Monique shot a tiny smile at Nick. He knew she would take this as a victory of sorts. He didn't care.

Missiles punctured the oceanic surface, bombarding Ebirah's thick exoskeleton. Ebirah ignored the human weaponry, concentrating more on Zilla. Thinking quickly, Craven typed in a new series of commands into his handheld keyboard. N.I.G.E.L. complied at once by moving closer to the dueling behemoths. But the seriousness of the situation experienced a minor setback.

"Captain Ahab, sir," N.I.G.E.L. sounded off over the radio, mimicking a 19th century sailor. "I am preparing to do what you could not by killing that accursed albino whale, Moby Dick! Oh, my God! That ain't no sperm whale! That be an oversized lobster chowing down on a lizard! Tell the chef to get the boiler ready. I'm gonna cook me some lobster tonight!"

Craven glared at Randy.

"Don't look at me," Randy shrugged, "It's not my fault if your robot is into Melville."

N.I.G.E.L. used its propeller to move in closer. It electrified one of its thin arms before jabbing into one of Ebirah's eyes. Nick couldn't help but commend Mendel Craven for his technological brilliance. Who'd of thought a tiny robot could generate so much electricity? Ebirah's painful screech was heard for miles, alerting all marine life forms to stay away. Ebirah loosened his grip on Zilla's neck. It was all the reptile needed to break free. Zilla twisted out of Ebirah's grip, clawing at the underwater soil with mind-blowing speed and elegance. This was an excellent distraction as it made the water murkier. Ebirah couldn't see Zilla anymore. Zilla didn't need to see Ebirah to know where he was. Swimming faster than a torpedo, Zilla rammed into Ebirah at full speed. N.I.G.E.L. tried squeaking past the underwater monsters only to end up sandwiched between them.

"NI.G.E.L., no!" Craven mourned the loss of his robot. Everyone else didn't look that much surprised.

Zilla pushed Ebirah into the underwater mountain from earlier. The impact crumbled the upper strata. Zilla shoved Ebirah into the crumbling mountainside, pleased with his efforts. Before being buried alive, Ebirah saw Zilla swimming to the surface, victorious. In the crammed darkness, Ebirah scurried to break free. The voice in his head ordered him to finish them off. He had to listen to it. He had to listen to the Cyber-Fly controlling his mind.

"Yeah! Another epic win for the G-Man!" Randy proclaimed proudly.

"Uh, Randy," Elsie mumbled. "Copyright infringement. Japanese lawyers. Not good for us."

"Oh please, call him what you want," Randy refuted. "He just saved our butts just now while looking good as always."

Nick watched Zilla surface, smiling. To him Zilla was more than just an experiment or a surrogate son. He was his friend. The feeling was mutual. Nick seriously believed Zilla was empathic towards himself and other life forms. That's when Zilla shifted his gaze at the island owned by Cameron Winter. When he caught a strange scent, Zilla snarled. This sudden change in behavior compelled Nick to investigate his earlier suspicions.

"What is Cameron Winter doing on that island?" Nick asked.

"Especially around waters a giant lobster called home," Elsie chimed in. "How much you wanna bet Cameron is using it as a guard?"

Nick didn't like what he was hearing. Randy wasn't the least bit surprised. Craven looked scared out of his wits.

"Then perhaps we should pay Winter a visit?" Monique proposed.

"Now that Citizen Snips is out of the way, why not?" Randy added.

The Heatseeker plotted a course for shore. They found a good spot in shallow water. Using a motorboat, Nick and the other members of H.E.A.T. arrived on a sandy beach. Monique took point, brandishing an assault rifle. The eerie silence made her uneasy. She couldn't hear any birds chirping. That meant there either weren't any birds on the island or something was keeping them quiet. Monique believed it was the latter. Looking back at her teammates, she felt annoyance. They were way too slow. Even after so many missions together, they still moved like scientists. Randy kicked up sand on the damp beach to join her.

"Little early for our honeymoon," he joked. "But not a bad place to be, right?"

Monique ignored his advances. While she respected him as a comrade, the thought of them as a couple made her want to jump off a cliff. It wouldn't work. She's taken too many lives to settle down one day to share her own, especially with Randy. He wasn't exactly prince charming. Monique felt her cheeks burn red. Why was she even thinking about this? If she truly felt that way, she wouldn't even be having this mental discussion in the first place. Why can't she get him out of her mind?

"Why are your cheeks red? I didn't embarrass you did I?" Randy grinned.

"They're sunburned," Monique quickly replied.

"Oh," Randy said in disappointment. "Wait, it's raining! We can't even seen the Sun!"

Elsie smiled. "Love is so sweet. Too bad it doesn't really exist."

"It does too exist," Craven replied sharply. He looked at Elsie with his puppy dog eyes, wounded.

"What? Life isn't about that," Elsie retorted. "It's about reproduction. What you call love is really testosterone, dopamine, estrogen, and pheromones at work. All telling your tiny little body it's time to find a mate to reproduce with. Of course, it does pay to be with someone you can confide with and trust. Apparently, it makes life feel easier. And it makes paying taxes easier, too. Just ask Nick. He and Audrey get along great! They're gonna seal that knot any day now."

"That's, uh, not exactly true," Nick mumbled. "We, uh, haven't spoken for months now. It's her career, she wants to concentrate more on her career. Yeah."

"I think you and I get along great," Craven whispered to Elsie. She pretended like she didn't hear him.

"Quiet," Monique shouted. She raised her assault rifle, aiming at the foliage nearby. That's when the ground rumbled. A terrifying roar brought everyone to their knees. It sounded like thunder. Nick looked up just in time to see King Kong burst out of the trees. The giant ape landed on all fours, knocking H.E.A.T. off their feet. Monique was back up on her feet in no time. She emptied an entire clip into Kong's face, knowing her bullets wouldn't kill him. But if she blinded him, they might survive. To her dismay, the bullets deflected off Kong's eyes. She was out of options. That's when a shadow fell over them. Monique looked above her head, catching the sight of Zilla's underbelly. He had come to save them again. This time she was grateful.

"What's King Kong doing here? This isn't Skull or Farou Island!" Elsie complained.

"To the jungle! Go, go, go!" Nick commanded.

Nick and his teammates ran like their lives depended on it. Kong bent down to swat them into red paste. But Zilla intervened by head-butting Kong down. The reptile lunged at the fallen gorilla, intent on ripping out his throat with his teeth. Kong had other plans. He caught Zilla with his feet and pushed him back into the water. As soon as there was a splash, Zilla was back on the offensive. Sprinting out of the water, Zilla tried biting off Kong's face. Kong grabbed Zilla's jaws. Using Zilla's momentum and his own prestigious strength, Kong flipped the giant iguana over his head. The moment Kong slammed Zilla into the trees, Nick and the others were sent flying through the jungle. Luckily, none of them were seriously injured. They resumed their journey through the underbrush with a few scrapes and bruises. Zilla, however, wasn't so lucky. With sheer ruthlessness, King Kong pounded his fist into Zilla's chest. Zilla felt the wind knocked out of him. He also felt his sternum breaking. Thinking fast, Zilla waited for Kong to get closer before kicking him in the face. This bought him enough time to burrow underground. Kong sniffed at the newly formed tunnel. There was no sign of Zilla anywhere. He couldn't even smell him. That's when one of Zilla's claws popped up and yanked Kong into the tunnel. Before Kong could defend himself, Zilla buried him beneath the earth.

That's the second opponent today Zilla buried alive.

But this was a temporary reprieve. Weakly, Zilla stomped through the jungle. Miles ahead he beheld the sight of a nuclear reactor. It was surrounded by electrical generators with power lines hanging all over the place. There was also a large river running beneath the nuclear reactor. A disgusting smell assailed Zilla's nostrils. It belonged to a terrible threat. Looking down, Zilla saw Nick and his team approaching the facility. He knew they were going to try and sneak in. Watching over them, Zilla insured their safety. But when an earthquake shook the island, Zilla realized he had his claws full. It wasn't an earthquake. King Kong was breaking out of the earth. The enraged ape found Zilla standing hundreds of meters away, paralyzed with fear. It was time for them to end this.

At the base of the nuclear reactor, Monique found her way in. She didn't have to kick down the door or pick its lock. All she had to do was open it. With her assault rifle raised, she carefully walked down a dimly lit hallway. Nick and the others followed her from behind. Monique didn't like how narrow the hallways were. She also didn't like how easy it was to sneak in. And why were the others following her so closely? They should've stayed outside before she gave them permission to enter! When she rounded a corner, Monique ducked down. There were two guards stationed next to a door, heavily armed. Monique waved for her teammates to stop and keep their mouths shut as she listened in.

"Mister Winter won't like us leaving our post," one of the guardsmen said.

"Relax," the other replied. "I'd rather take our chances in here than out there with those monsters."

Monique brainstormed how she was going to disable them. It would've been easier to shoot them and be done with it. But Nick wanted no casualties. Since she's ordered to listen to him, she begrudgingly thought up another method. There's an air vent next to her. She unscrewed it and quietly crawled in. It lead up to the ceiling hanging above the guards. Nick didn't want to take any chances. He asked Randy to hack into the security computers and disable the lights. Such a task would've been impossible for most technophobes. But Randy was the master. It took only a minute for him to shut off the lights. When the guards voiced their alarm, there was a loud clatter. Then they heard nothing. Nick ordered Randy to turn the lights back on. As the lights turned back on, Nick looked over, and saw the guards laying at Monique's feet.

"That's my girl," Randy exclaimed.

"What's Cameron doing with a nuclear reactor? It still doesn't make any sense. And what's that godawful smell?" Nick wondered.

It was strange how they just started smelling it. Maybe it was a trap or a security defense. But it was so unlike Cameron Winter. He never would've used a bad smell to drive off his intruders. Something wasn't right about this whole thing. That's when the doors opened behind Monique. It was another guard, a big one. He must've been 7ft tall. He had a very muscular shape. His arms looked like pythons. He even had a large battle scar over one of his eyes. Despite how intimidating he looked, it didn't save him from Monique. Her reflexes were lightning fast. She jabbed at his jugular before aiming at his pressure points. Monique had him out on the floor within seconds after that. But there were more guards. She didn't have access to her assault rifle anymore. So she improvised. Whipping out her pistol, she put a bullet in their kneecaps. They were writhing helplessly on the floor by the time Nick and the others saw them.

"Monique," Nick sighed.

"You said no casualties, so I complied," Monique replied slyly. Nick frowned. Randy was beaming like a pervert.

"Uh, guys?" Craven groaned.

They looked up to see a security camera watching them. That's when the wall opened, revealing a large digital screen. On it Cameron Winter appeared, looking sleek and elegant. But it's not his wealth that got under Nick's skin. It was his arrogance. Cameron Winter was the youngest billionaire in the world. He revolutionized technology, designing high functioning computers for many governments. Rumor had it he was designing the first quantum computer, too. He probably already had it but was just using it for his own personal use. Like always.

"And here I thought I was being invaded by G-Force," Cameron Winter chuckled. "Nice to see you again, nickels."

Outside, Kong was throwing Zilla around like a rag-doll. Zilla couldn't overpower him. So he would have to find another way to win. Kong swung his fist, hoping to bash Zilla's brains in. Instead he grazed one of Zilla's spines. The pain was minor but affective. Taking advantage of this, Zilla sent Kong hurtling backwards with his tail. Kong hit and slid through the jungle like a freight train, flinging trees all over the place. Zilla sprinted at Kong while he was still down. But before he could munch on Kong's ankles, the ape grabbed Zilla's face with his toes. He pulled Zilla down, giving Kong enough time to put him into a headlock.

"You were expecting G-Force?" Nick asked. "So then this does involve mutations."

"Oh, those aren't mutations," Cameron reiterated. "Ebirah and King Kong are natural byproducts of life. But they are too wild for my taste. So with a little Cyber-Fly here and there, I remolded them into two new upstanding citizens!"

The Cyber-Fly is one of Cameron Winter's finest inventions. It was a man-sized, techno-insect. What it did was attach itself to a giant monster, preferably to its ear lobe, synchronize with its neural pathways, and manipulate it. It's essentially turned the giant monster into an unwitting slave of Cameron Winter. Too bad the world would never know about the Cyber-Flies or any of his other secret projects.

"So this is just a big factory for your Cyber-Flies? All you're doing is building a massive Cyber-Fly swarm with these monsters as your bodyguards?" Craven speculated.

"Wow, why didn't I think of that?" Cameron smirked with sarcasm. "Not quite my grand scheme, but close. I'll give you props for trying. But not for dying if you all decide to stay there any longer."

"Just ignore him, he's loco. What's he gonna do, destroy the island?" Randy joked.

"More or less," Cameron admitted.

"You're insane," Nick blurted out. Cameron Winter's smug face was replaced by camera shots of Zilla and King Kong fighting. Kong had Zilla in a headlock, one he couldn't break out of. Seeing his friend struggle made Nick so angry. Cameron reappeared on the digital screen.

"Nickels, Zilla was your best bet in ever making some serious money in this world," Cameron said. "Without him, what becomes of you?"

"It was never about the money, you greedy bastard!" Nick shouted. "Zilla is one of the greatest protectors of our world! He's saved more lives than you ever will! You think he's garbage. You may even think he's a pretender to the throne, nothing more than a shadow of the real thing. But you're wrong. He's a champion. And he will help us stop you!"

"You tell him, jefe!" Randy applauded.

Losing consciousness, Zilla carried Kong with him as he jumped forward. They both landed next to the river. Kong's grip loosened, giving Zilla the chance he needed to break free. But Kong was quick to rise to his feet. Zilla charged at full speed, ramming into him with all the strength he could muster. Kong was sent flying into the electric generators, getting tangled up in the power lines. Millions of volts of electricity coursed through King Kong's veins, frying the Cyber-Fly inside his ear. Kong felt his muscles increase in size and power. He celebrated his freedom by pounding his chest. No longer was he Cameron Winter's slave. He'll return home after finishing these pests. On all fours, Kong ran over to attack the dazed Zilla. But he stopped. There was a strange odor in the air. It was the scent of a terrible life form, one not of this world. Kong gritted his teeth. Even with his newfound power, he couldn't stop it alone. He might need this overgrown reptile's help. Zilla stood up, his legs shaking in exhaustion. Before a truce could be made, Ebirah's claws jumped out of the water, clamping Zilla's ankles. Kong couldn't rescue him in time. Ebirah pulled Zilla into the river. Kong ran over to the riverside. He couldn't see them. But what he did see was the river running red with blood.

Ebirah surfaced but didn't attack. The Cyber-Fly controlling it still thought Kong was under its thrall. Kong proved it wrong by caving in Ebirah's face with his fist. Kong's arm sent surges of electricity into Ebirah, electrocuting the giant crustacean. Kong thought the smell of roasted lobster was delicious. But it couldn't drown out the awful smell of whatever was lurking inside the nuclear reactor. Kong looked at the river one last time. Convinced Zilla wasn't coming back, Kong marched over to the nuclear reactor. It was time for payback

"Another one bites the dust," Cameron laughed. "What was that last part about Zilla helping you? I don't think I heard you right."

"I'm so sorry, Nick," Elsie said. She touched his shoulder to express her sympathy.

Monique said nothing. As much as she didn't want to admit it, she will miss the reptile. Still, there was no time to mourn over a fallen comrade. She needed to get into Cameron's head. "You've made a critical error, Mister Winter. King Kong is on the warpath. He will destroy this facility with everyone in it, yourself included. You've sealed your own fate."

"Not necessarily," Cameron responded. "True, my reactor will be torn apart very soon, and there will be casualties. But I will not be among them."

"How so?" Craven inquired.

"Because I'm not in the facility. I'm not even on the island. That's right boys and girls, I'm talking to you now from the other side of the world. Gotta love modern technology!"

"Then what is so important about this place? Why build it only to tear it down?!" Nick demanded to know.

"Do you really want to know?" Cameron asked. "Look behind you."

The walls folded, replaced by a second one made of glass. The members of H.E.A.T. looked down into the core of the nuclear reactor. But what they saw was far more different than your typical reactor. Swarms of Cyber-Flies were being constructed. They were harvesting and using uranium to neutralize a dark entity as they tried imposing themselves over its collective consciousness. That's when a big crimson eye opened and stared up at them from the darkness.

"Hedorah," Nick whispered.

"The Smog Monster," Cameron mused. "It's actually an alien life form, unlike any terrestrial life on our planet. It's genetic makeup is based completely on minerals. It feeds off pollution and toxic fumes. Radiation didn't have the electrifying punch on it we were looking for. So to keep it grounded we fed it trash."

Nick could see it breathing in the polluted smoke. He finally found an organism that baffled him in every way. While he'd love to have enough time to study it, time simply wasn't on their side today.

"So you're going to mind control Hedorah?" Nick asked a question he already knew the answer to. "You're insane."

"Aren't you being a bit hypocritical, Nick?" Cameron shot back. "You were the one controlling a giant iguana to do your dirty work. What I'm doing is saving this planet. I'm going to control the most dangerous creature we've ever seen. And with it under my control, I can guarantee the safety of our people."

"Do we look stupid to you?"

"You really want me to answer that?"

"Shut up, you two!" Elsie screamed. "We need to get out of here."

Right on cue, the reactor shook. King Kong was wailing on it from the outside. Hedorah stirred in irritation. Using its hind legs, Hedorah jumped up to the top of the reactor. There the smog monster clawed it apart. With pieces of the roof falling, Nick knew none of this would end well. The falling debris inflicted critical damage on the reactor. Alarms blared throughout the facility. Meltdown was imminent. But Nick knew a few falling rocks couldn't do this much damage. It was as if someone activated the meltdown.

"You're going to murder everyone in here!" Nick screamed.

Cameron stopped grinning. He stared at Nick as if he might have a change of heart. But that feeling was brief.

"Goodbye, Nick," the techno-mogul said before signing off.

Kong stopped punching holes into the reactor. He looked up, catching the sight of Hedorah's deformed visage. The smog monster wailed a gurgling battle cry. Kong answered with a savage roar. Leaping off the top, Hedorah used his smoke as a propulsion system, and glided over Kong's head. But the smoke was toxic. Kong choked as it corroded his lungs. But the great ape was not so easily beaten. He charged the hideous space creature, tackling it off its feet. Kong wanted to tear it apart with his bare hands. But the moment he buried his fists through Hedorah's putrid flesh, he was forced to retreat. Smoke sizzled off Kong's fists. Hedorah's acidic body was eating away at his hands! Kong was hesitant to strike now. How can he win this fight if he couldn't use his incredible strength? Strength was all Kong had! Hedorah's red eyes fired a crimson laser which torched Kong's face. Kong backpedaled while howling in misery. From different parts of its body, Hedorah fired globs of burning sludge. The moment they touched Kong's muscular chest, they dissolved his hair, and ate away his skin.

Hedorah wanted to laugh. Those Cyber-Flies tried corrupting his mind. But his body devoured them in no time. Soon he will overrun this world and there will be nothing left to oppose him.

Inside the reactor, Nick was out of ideas. He wanted to stop Hedorah. But he needed to get his team out before that could be done. Before leaving, rubble struck the reactor's core. Explosions ripped it apart. Nick watched the fires hiss closer. Elsie screamed for him to run with them down the hallway. But he wasn't fast enough. That's when something jumped in front of the flames, saving Nick's life. Nick couldn't believe it.

"You look like you've seen a ghost," Randy pointed out.

That's when all H.E.A.T. members froze. Inside the reactor, Zilla roared in celebration. He was still alive! It would seem he drifted down the river after his scuffle with Ebirah. When he arrived beneath the reactor, he woke up, and rushed to save his father. Reptiles weren't selfless creatures. But Zilla was. He was loyal. It would seem he was an emotional creature after all. Nick stared at the bleeding gashes in Zilla's skin. Ebirah had left its mark on him. And with all that radiation, Nick doubted Zilla would live much longer.

"Thank you, my friend," Nick said before rejoining his team. Zilla watched the humans escape the reactor. Weakly, he moved closer to the radioactive core. For some reason he felt connected to it. Curling next to it, Zilla lost consciousness. He never would've woken up again if the radiation didn't have an abnormal effect on his DNA…

Nick and his team escaped the reactor. They wasted no time to stop and watch King Kong duking it out with Hedorah. They ran through the jungle, eager to escape this forsaken island as fast as possible. That's when Nick heard a familiar sound, one he was grateful to hear.

Hedorah blasted Kong into the reactor. Kong felt the electricity within dwindle. Even in his augmented state, Kong knew he wouldn't last much longer. Hedorah stepped closer, corroding the soil beneath his feet. Hedorah couldn't wait to melt the skin off Kong's bones. That's when a shadow fell over them. Hedorah rolled its eyes up, catching the sight of a new and improved Zilla. The reptile king was standing at the very top of the reactor. Very soon the facility itself would be consumed by a radioactive meltdown. But before it could wipe out this island, Zilla will have his fight. Hedorah shrieked at the lizard, daring it to attack him. Zilla felt the atomic energy pulsating within. With all this power, he finally felt complete.

Zilla's eyes glowed. His dorsal spines burned like the heart of the nuclear bomb that spawned him. Hedorah's eyes widened in shock. This was not what he was expecting. Zilla's jaws parted to roar as he expelled his newly acquired thermonuclear fire. Its green flames engulfed Hedorah, blasting it hundreds of feet into the air. It landed in the jungle with a loud, quaking thud. Zilla jumped down next to King Kong. The wounded ape couldn't believe Zilla was still alive. He wondered if the reptile was going to finish him off. But Zilla looked at him with compassion. Somehow he knew Kong wasn't his enemy right now. Summoning his strength, Kong stood at eye level with Zilla.

Nobody saw this alliance coming.

Surrounded by burning trees, Hedorah straightened up very slowly. Electromagnetic bolts crackled about his putrid frame. Hedorah glared at his two opponents. They complemented each other well. One possessed incredible strength, ferocity, and intelligence. The other was fast, agile, and now packed some serious firepower. Hedorah waited as the flames died and plumed into black smoke. King Kong charged the smog monster on all fours. Zilla sprinted past him, eager to test his newfound power. Tiny slits opened up around Hedorah's neck and shoulders. Burning sludge shot out of them, dousing Kong. It stopped the great ape in his tracks. Zilla watched the sludge burn Kong's sizzling flesh. Knowing what it was capable of, Zilla approached with extreme caution. Hedorah shot more sludge at Zilla. But the reptile was quick to duck his head and move. Hedorah resorted to his crimson beams. But they never landed a direct hit. Zilla circled Hedorah, forcing the smog monster to turn around, and face him. Zilla jumped forward, swiping Hedorah's legs out from under him with his tail. It would've been wise to use his thermonuclear flames. But Zilla's instincts usurped his judgment. He wanted to eviscerate his enemy with his claws. But the moment Zilla jumped onto Hedorah, he felt his skin burn. The situation grew more dire when Zilla sunk deeper into Hedorah's body. Knowing Hedorah's body would eat him alive, Zilla jumped out of harm's way. But the damage was done. Zilla saw the flesh stripped from his hands and feet. It was so bad, he could see bone. Hedorah started rising, mocking Zilla with its bone chilling laughter. Zilla empowered his spines with atomic energy. Hedorah proved to be faster on the draw. Crimson energy lanced into Zilla's chest, blasting him into a clearing. Hedorah studied the fallen reptile. There was no movement. Hedorah thought it'd be better safe than sorry. So he flew up high above Zilla, dropping burning pieces of sludge. As soon as the sludge hit him, Zilla stirred to life. The dissolving of his skin was a horrible feeling. Hedorah landed behind him, loading more sludge to fire. Zilla purged the pain from his mind, knowing his life depended on it.

Suddenly, Hedorah felt a powerful fist break open his back. He cried out as Kong pushed his fist deeper into Hedorah's body, electrocuting it. Hedorah felt the toxic moistures depart from his body. If he dried out, he would die. And as long as Kong was using his electricity, Hedorah couldn't burn him with his touch. So he thought up the next best thing. Hedorah's neck unnaturally twisted to the side. Kong stared face to face with the alien. Hedorah's eyes fired their lasers into Kong's face, flaying the skin off. But Kong refused to surrender. He dug his hand deeper, locating something of great value in Hedorah. But before Hedorah fired a blast that would've given Kong's face third-degree burns, Zilla jumped on him from behind. Hedorah tried shaking the mutated iguana off. But Zilla persevered. Treating his claw like a spear, Zilla shoved it into one of Hedorah's eyes. The end result was quite messy. Black blood sprayed out of Hedorah's wounded eye. Zilla moved to pluck out the other eye. A thrashing Hedorah screamed as he went blind. Jumping off, Zilla left Kong to inflict critical damage. The Eighth-Wonder of the World ripped out two egg sacs. His electricity reduced them to dust. Together with his ally, King Kong and Zilla hit Hedorah so hard, the smog monster was knocked back all the way into the river.

This was not a good thing.

Hedorah thrived in water. Even if he couldn't see and was now deprived of reproducing, Hedorah would not die. Zilla and Kong wanted to test that theory. Thermonuclear flames engulfed the smog monster. The river boiled as Hedorah's crackling form fought off the sweltering heat. Hedorah's blistering skin popped and evaporated. The smog monster couldn't believe it but he was shrinking. Needing to recharge, Zilla ceased firing.

Nick and his team reached the beach. He recalled feeling the heat of the battle unfold while running through the jungle. Many of his contemporaries have written about Hedorah. They all agreed the best way to neutralize him was by drying him out. But it would be a temporary setback. As long as there was water and pollution in the vicinity, Hedorah's return was inevitable.

"You doing okay?" Elsie asked.

Beyond the jungle, they heard Zilla's distant roars. Nick smiled, "I'm just glad he's still alive."

Seismic activity vibrated the island. Worried, Elsie pushed Nick into the motorboat with the other members of H.E.A.T. Against all odds, Zilla returned from the dead, new and improved. But if they died, none of them would be coming back.

Hedorah's healthy eye churned. The smog monster knew it didn't have much time left. It needed to strike soon. Zilla and King Kong took their eyes off the toxic alien, casting their suspicions at the unstable nuclear reactor. It was going critical. When it melted down, the island would cease to exist. Beneath Hedorah's melting exterior, a smaller menace emerged. Zilla and Kong shrieked in alarm when a miniaturized Hedorah flew out. It looked more like a flying tadpole than the larger smog monster. Kong ducked as it flew above him. But the great ape soon found himself choking on poisonous fumes. Gritting his teeth, Kong refused to succumb. The flying Hedorah swooped down to finish the job. Kong, however, was ready to greet it with a punch to the face. Kong slammed it straight down, frying it into dust with his electricity.

There was still the larger Hedorah to contend with.

With time running out, Zilla and Kong moved into action. Powering up his atomic breath, Zilla engulfed the smog monster. Hedorah writhed in the boiling waters, unable to take the heat. Kong improvised by jumping into the nasty waters. He felt the water drain him of his electricity. Conducting King Kong's power, the river coursed with the very element Hedorah hated. Kong's electricity snaked into Hedorah's rotting body, reducing its exterior to crumbling dust. Zilla's flames boiled Hedorah's insides. Before their very eyes, Hedorah had shrunk into a shadow of its former self. And with no eggs to carry on its legacy, Hedorah melted down permanently. Zilla and Kong sniffed the air, sensing that they were victorious. But the clock was ticking. At this rate they never would have made it off the island on foot. Zilla slashed into the earth with his claws, tunneling underground. Kong had no choice but to follow him into the abyss.

The Heatseeker sailed across the sea at its top speed. Nick stood alone on its stern, looking back at the island. He thought about Cameron Winter and how much would've been different if they had worked together instead of against each other. He thought about the mysteries of the universe, the world, and life itself. Nick was a scientist, he knew there were answers waiting to be discovered. But did he know that for certain? As much as he hated to admit it, Nick didn't. All he could do was have faith. There was something else. Something Nick didn't know if he should feel troubled by or not. Although the pursuit of truth was important to him, Nick couldn't help but wonder if the journey there was a truth in itself. Where would any of them be without mysteries?

"Out of the job, I guess," he whispered to himself. A blinding flash stabbed the horizon. Nick shielded his eyes, praying Zilla survived. When the light faded, there was no sign of the island. It had been wiped off the face of the Earth. Nick looked down at the water, lost for words.

"No sign of him?" Monique asked. Only she was stealthy enough to sneak up on him without making a sound.

"I can't believe he's dead," Nick said under his breath.

"Were it so easy," Monique replied. She left him alone, hinting she knew something he didn't.

Nick looked back at the water. It's where life began. It's also where life was rekindled. There was a loud splash in the distance. Nick pulled out his binoculars, spotting its source. King Kong was in the water, alive and in good health. He was presumably swimming back to one of his islands. Before disappearing into the horizon, Kong bellowed a loud, thundering roar. It was a thank you. But to who? That's when Zilla surfaced next to the Heatseeker, soaking Nick head-to-toe. It would appear Zilla's quick thinking saved his and Kong's life. Zilla answered Kong with an ear-piercing shriek. Bending down, Zilla stared into Nick's eyes. Reaching out to touch Zilla's scaly chin, Nick knew the giant reptile was special. It would always be there for him. And Nick would always be there for other people.

"Let's go home," Nick told his friend.

The Heatseeker plotted a course for New York City. As it sailed across the ocean, sunlight brightened up the horizon ahead of it. Zilla watched the humans swim away on their vessel. Knowing he was faster, he gave them a head-start to compensate. To Zilla this was a race, one he knew he'd win.

King Kong Zilla