Godzilla vs. Tiamatodon
By Neil Riebe
Film appearances for the cast of characters:
- Miki Saegusa: Godzilla vs. Biollante through Godzilla vs. Destroyah (1989—1995)
- Paleontologist Hironori Mazaki: Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)
- UNGCC Director Takayuki Segawa: Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1993)
- Major Sho Kuroki: Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)
Robert Mills dropped anchor a mile or so off the Australian coast. Bondi Beach could be seen on the port side where the sunbathers and beach lovers appeared to be about half the size of his thumb over the distance. His girlfriend Heather Bianchi leaned forward on the railing admiring the undulating sea toward starboard. Her bikini hugged close to her skin.
“Look at it will you?” she said. “They say the reflection of the sun makes the waves look tipped with gold. Really, it looks silver.”
“It’s the middle of the afternoon,” Robert said. “Wait till the sun begins to set.”
He sat back and admired her while she continued to adore the Pacific in her own wistful silence. Heather was twenty-four, half his age. Robert wasn’t bothered by the age gap the way others were. As he saw it, he deserved her. He worked hard, made his money. Age had nothing to do with the ability to care for someone, anyway.
Besides, Heather cavorted herself around acting as though her curvaceous body gave her the right to expect to have things handed to her. That made things even, right?
Robert cocked his head for a moment. It was strange he should feel that way, deserving a soft and smooth dark-haired lass as though she were a reward. His parents certainly didn’t raise him to think that way.
He kicked the thought out of his head, chiding himself for being stupid on a beautiful day, and offered Heather a drink. She accepted. He went into the cabin. While he mixed a couple of Manhattans, he heard a deep sounding thud and felt a disturbing reverberation thrum through the ship. He puzzled at what it could be. Just as he was about to discount it, the thud came again, only softer, as if further away. Heather then called out from the deck. “Robert, come here!”
He rushed up.
Heather pointed out to sea. Panic was wild on her face.
He looked. Immediately he dashed to reel in the anchor. The chain clinked like seconds ticking away to doomsday.
Out at sea, a massive, prehistoric head broke the surface. Anyone who had access to a TV knew that was Godzilla.
But what were those rhythmic vibrations under the boat? It sounded as though it were heading for the shore.
The answer came when Robert revved up the yacht and veered it back toward the coast. A second creature, identical to the first, rose out of the water. Its back fins splitting the sea as it rose to its full height. The water rushed off its craggy back.
“My God!” Heather yelled. “There are two of them!”
Robert saw the swimmers and sunbathers on the beach scramble for safety. His attention was not on them for long when he saw the second titan turn his way. It wasn’t the monster so much as the wave it threw in the boat’s direction as its moving bulk shifted the sea. The wave struck the yacht, sweeping the chairs and fishing gear across the deck. Heather screamed, clinging to the railing for dear life. The beast unleashed a deafening roar. The world flipped upside down, became wet, violent…
“…and then the two mutated godzillasaurs milled about Bondi Beach for the next forty-five minutes,” Miki Saegusa read in the report, “exchanging what some zoologists suggest may have been mating calls before returning to sea, causing no further damage. The capsized yacht was unsalvageable, but the two Americans aboard were rescued, examined for injury, and then released.”
Miki had gained notoriety in her young life for her psychic ability, more importantly, her ability to sense Godzilla’s whereabouts. She spent the last few years acting as a sort “Godzilla radar” for the government. Paging through all the printouts, she scanned through reports similar to the first. Three godzilla-like creatures were sighted in the jungles of New Guinea, one came ashore on Wake Island, and the list went on and on throughout the South Pacific. She set the papers on Segawa’s desk.
Takayuki Segawa was the director of the UNGCC — the United Nations Godzilla Countermeasures Center — headquartered in Tokyo. He was a trim man for his sixty years, his gray hair conservatively cut short and parted to the side.
Also present in Segawa’s office was Professor Hironori Mazaki.
Mazaki was in his forties yet had an affable boyishness about his features. He had risen to preeminence in paleontology after the renowned Dr. Yamane retired. The professor had just returned home from the digs in the Liaoning province, China, when the Director contacted him and Miss Saegusa.
“I read the treatise Dr. Yamane wrote in the 1950s about Godzilla,” Miki said. “He believed Godzilla was one of many creatures like it. That makes sense, obviously. What doesn’t make sense is that they look like him as he does today.”
“Exactly,” Mazaki chimed in. “Godzilla is a theropod. Theropod dinosaurs don’t have bulky bodies, upright postures, and a wild array of back plates. Godzilla’s kinfolk are much smaller, about the size of a large Tyrannosaur. Their bodies are more streamlined and sheathed in a smooth sheen of gray scales.
“The only way his kin can resemble him as he is seen now, they would need to have been exposed to the same nuclear tests. But,” he interjected with an upraised finger, “tests haven’t been conducted in that region of the Pacific since the 50s. If they were exposed to the same radiation we should have seen them over the same period of time as Godzilla. We haven’t, which suggests their mutations are recent. So where does that leave us?” he asked rhetorically, rubbing his hands together.
“You don’t think someone purposely subjected these animals to radiation?” Miki asked Segawa.
The Director gravely nodded. “Over the past few weeks about forty scientists and engineers have been reported missing throughout the world. Biologists, paleo-biologists, nuclear physicists — the type of people needed to crew an operation to mutate the godzillasaurus into the monsters we’ve seen cropping up. Investigations have just gotten underway. There’s not much I can tell you, although in lieu of what we do know I authorized a reconnaissance flight over Lagos Island, where Godzilla had come from. This is what the recon team found.”
Segawa showed them aerial photos of a massive bunker nestled in the lush verdure of the tropical jungle. A large path appeared to have been beaten down on one end of the building.
“I can understand the scientific curiosity,” Mazaki said. “But it blows my mind that someone would be that irresponsible. Where did they get the funding without leaking out their intentions?”
“I’m hoping the answers will be found in this installation,” Segawa replied. “You two are the only ones under the age of fifty who have been to Lagos. You understand best what we’re dealing with. I hope you understand why I am asking you to return there.”
“Don’t worry, Director,” Miki smiled. “I would have been disappointed if you didn’t asked us to go.”
Miki and Mazaki hadn’t just go to Lagos Island. They had gone back in time, arriving on the island in 1944 during the Second World War when their countrymen had a garrison stationed there. Time travelers from the Earth’s future wanted to prevent Godzilla’s mutation by moving him out of the south Pacific before he could wander into the nuclear testing sites of the 1950s. Miki and Mazaki accompanied one of the time travelers, an independent-minded lass named Emmy Kano and her deceptively human android, M-11.
The night they arrived in Emmy’s sleek-looking time traveling aircraft the US Navy pulverized the garrison’s position. Early the next morning, US troops stormed the jungle. The Japanese had little to resist them with other than bayonets and bravery. They counterattacked and fell like wheat in the Americans’ blistering gunfire. When it looked like every last one of them was going to join their brothers in arms who fell at Guadalcanal, Bougainville, and Tarawa, Godzilla, then an ordinary dinosaur, raised his head through the trees and bellowed over the din.
The machineguns and Garands fell silent, and the open-mouthed faces of the Americans turned skyward. The next instant their guns spat death at the giant archosaur that had lumbered onto the battlefield.
Even then Godzilla showed an uncanny level of resourcefulness. The human invaders were like mice under his feet. Unable to stamp them all out, he toppled the trees upon them with swipes of his tail. He pursued the Americans back to their landing zone on the beach where the battleships scored direct hits to his head and chest.
Only then was he stopped. Dripping blood, he returned to the jungle.
After the battle Miki and Mazaki with Emmy and M-11 approached Godzilla. He lay on his side, in pain. Even though physically he was so different to Miki’s eyes, his soul was the same. She sensed it. To console him she telepathically communicated her feelings. She could only hope his reptilian mind could conceptualize her sympathy.
Emmy was eager to get on with her work. The android M-11 teleported him off of Lagos to the northern Pacific using the teleporter aboard the time ship. However, the mission failed. Godzilla was exposed to radiation and mutated all the same. The time travelers tried to bring change. All they accomplished was fulfill destiny. As for others of Godzilla’s kind, nothing was seen. What else the fauna of Lagos had in store would have to be discovered first hand.
Miki and Mazaki set sail aboard a Haruna-class destroyer equipped with a helio pad and a pair of helicopters. They saw little of each other as Miki was assigned to the bridge to keep her senses keen for the presence of Godzilla and other creatures like him. The trip proved to be as peaceful as a tropical cruise. When the news circulated among the crew the ship would be arriving at the island the next morning, they shared a collective sigh of relief.
Anticipation made it hard for Miki to fall asleep that night. In time sleep took its course. As she slept she dreamt of two people existing in one body coming toward her out of a glowing red light. The dream did not reveal much in detail of this being. It was black and undulated in a side-to-side motion as a serpent sliding across its belly on the ground. What else was certain in the dream was that those two individuals living in that strange body hated her, and their hate filled her with dread.
Miki struggled to wake up but the dream would not let her go. She felt as though a heavy weight was pressing down upon her chest, forcing her to remain asleep. Her breath restricted, her attempts to cry out failed. Finally, in shear force of will Miki bolted up right in her bunk. As her chest rose and fell taking in much needed air she regained her composure.
Now awake, she should have felt safe from those two phantoms that haunted her sleep. Instead, she could sense their presence outside, coming toward the ship. Throwing aside her sweat-soaked sheets, she looked out the portal. There was nothing to see but the moonlit waves. Grabbing her robe, she ran up to the deck. Clutching the railing, she gazed cross the ocean. Still nothing. Aside from the whir of the engines, all was peaceful.
Then the approaching evil arrived. For a moment Miki blacked out. Within that instant she saw the ship sailing beneath her, and deep down below in the sea a massive creature with a long tapering tail passed beneath the boat. It was so far down, its passing did not disturb the surface.
The vision ended as abruptly as the snap of a person’s fingers and Miki came to, finding that she had collapsed upon the deck. Getting up, she scanned the sea again. Now the presence of the two hate-filled souls were far in the distance heading away from the ship. Then two roars cried out softly from the horizon, one following the other in succession. They were shrill, vicious, and sounded like Godzilla.
By sunup Miki was still certain the ship had a near brush with a sea creature, yet the beast seemed too sophisticated to be an animal. Neither could she figure out why she sensed the presence of two beings and yet only one body. Miki reported the creature to the Captain anyway. It was the responsible thing to do. “It swam under the ship,” she said, “heading south.”
“That’s good,” the Captain replied. “Because when we’re done here, we’ll be heading north for home.”
Late in the morning one of the helicopters dropped Miki and Mazaki off on the beach with a squad of soldiers. The troops were qualified to deal with NBC disasters — Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical — whether it be a meltdown from a civilian power plant or an enemy attack. Colonel Yagato was the team leader, and Sergeant Namura was his assistant.
The enclosed helmets and air ventilator packs made the white, protective NBC gear everyone wore resemble spacesuits. The radios in the helmets were an open mike. What one said, everyone heard.
Mazaki nudged Miki’s arm. “So when was the last time we were here, 1944?” he asked jokingly. His voice sounded tinny over the speakers in the helmet.
“I suppose we should visit more often,” she replied. “Maybe every twenty-five years instead of fifty. The island looks different, doesn’t it?” she added.
“The tides reshape the shore year round,” he explained.
For safety’s sake Miki and Mazaki had also been issued side arms.
Colonel Yagato ordered everyone to check the dosimeters clamped to their wrists. The radiation reading was point-o-eight-six milliroentgens, well within tolerance of their protective suits. Next the Colonel gave a three-minute briefing. “The bunker is two and a half kilometers inland,” he said, stuffing his map back into his pouch. He then pulled out his machete. “Keep in mind it will seem twice that.”
The Colonel led the way into the jungle, hacking a trail. Along their path large flowers stretched their petals in a splash of color. Startled birds flapped from the underbrush, and the wind picked up among the trees.
However, the breeze could not be felt. The helmets muted the cawing of the birds. The sound of one’s breath was more distinct. Even the beauty of the flowers had to be appreciated through an amber filter of the tinted faceplate.
The group stepped out into a clearing and started up a rise. The ground was pitted with long, shallow gullies. Old trenches, no doubt. Then Mazaki tugged Miki’s sleeve and pointed toward a mossy grotto shrouded with undergrowth.
“Isn’t that the cave where M-11 stood with his relay camera?”
“Yes, I think you’re right,” she said after studying the shape of the aperture in the rock wall. “That was where the garrison commander had his command post.”
They split from the line to take a look. Yagato protested over the com. Miki and Mazaki were too engrossed to care, forcing the squad to take five while they investigated.
“The android must have stood about here,” Mazaki positioned himself on the left side of cave, “and then peered in with the camera.”
“I remember,” Miki said, switching on the light on top of her helmet. She shined the beam into the cave. She recalled the radios clustered on tables against the right wall, the lanterns hanging from hooks hammered into the ceiling and frightened infantrymen huddled on the floor while the US Navy bombarded the island. But those moments were gone, and all that was left was the dust floating in the beam of her headlamp.
A little thump from the ground tapped the soles of her boots.
“Did you feel that?” she asked Mazaki.
The thump tapped again.
“That,” she said.
“Saegusa!” Yagato’s voice screamed over the headphones. “Mazaki! Back into the ranks! Now!”
She and Mazaki looked down the slope. The troops were assuming firing positions in the shallow trenches. The Colonel stood waving them to get into cover. He then pointed into the jungle. A series of trees were wavering like tall grass. The thump tapped from the ground once more, this time much sharper.
A lizard-like head wedged through the foliage, rising fifteen feet above the soldiers. It swung back and forth, laying its reptilian eyes on the armed men. Saliva glistened off a battery of teeth. Despite its size, the beast’s movements hinted that it could be dangerously agile on its pair of chicken-toed feet. The small, but muscled arms were poised and ready to rake the meat off a body with ten-inch long talons.
Miki and Mazaki dropped back into the cave.
“It’s an Allosaurus!” Mazaki cried excitedly.
The assault rifles capped off sounding like a staccato string of notes — prrurp-prrurup-pup! The scaly hide of the beast merely flinched irritably along its flanks. The Allosaurus whipped around in a sharp twist and lunged for one of the men on the Sergeant’s left.
Assault rifle at the hip, Namura put his body between the carnivore and his subordinate, firing at the monster’s mouth. Gleaming brass flicked out of the rifle chamber. A hole ripped into the wrinkled skin hanging from the Allosaur’s throat. Another round pierced one nostril, spurting blood. Bits of the gums were pulped. The dinosaur jerked back as if it were sustaining repeated blows from a skilled boxer. It swung its mouth wide letting out a sharp, whistling hiss.
Out of reflex, Miki capped her palms over the sides of her head, even though covering her ears was impossible.
The Allosaurus nimbly spun around, thumping the ground with its weight, then bounded back into the jungle. The Sergeant pursued, reloading his rifle as he went.
Awestruck, Miki wanted another glimpse so much she neglected her own safety and burst from the cave, following after Namura. Mazaki followed after the Sergeant as well. As a paleontologist, his reasons were obvious. When they caught up with the Sergeant, the only sign of the Allosaurus was a broken tree branch dangling in the distance.
Upon their return the Colonel asked, “Can we expect more monsters like that?”
“Count on it,” Mazaki said.
“I sensed the Allosaurus was familiar with us,” Miki warned. “Meaning, it has eaten human flesh.”
As one, the soldiers looked at her.
They then continued up the hillside and down the opposite slope into another patch of thick jungle. Sunshine was visible up ahead, revealing another clearing. One of the trees at the rim of the clearing lurched forward with an adult-sized Stegosaurus clutching the trunk with its forepaws. Guns leveled.
Mazaki rushed forward pushing the rifle barrels down.
“It’s OK. He’s a vegetarian.”
The bent tree strained to remain upright. In a crack of wood tissue it crashed to the ground under the weight of the dinosaur.
Miki followed Mazaki who went on ahead. A whole herd of Stegosaurs populated the clearing. A number of them were pig-sized juveniles. As soon as their mother felled a fresh tree, they trotted over with their mouths open, abandoning the one they were chewing on even though half the branches were still green with tender food.
Mazaki cautioned Miki not to get too close as she approached the first Stegosaurus that plopped into view.
“Don’t worry,” she radioed back. “He doesn’t mind us at all. I can sense it.”
She ran her hand across its side as she walked from one end of the creature to the other. The scaly hide felt pebbly through her gloves. Its back arched high above Miki’s head, brandishing its breathtaking array of diamond-shaped back plates, and then sloped back down to where the head was level with her waist.
With its narrow snout the Stegosaurus fussily pruned the leaves, avoiding the tough branches like a kid who eats his entire sandwich except the crust. Miki knelt down and gently stroked its neck.
“Hello, little fella,” she said softly. He seemed small because his head could be held in both of her hands.
The Stegosaurus blinked, and its expression tensed, reflecting annoyance.
She offered it a branch full of lush leaves.
In response, the Stegosaurus stopped eating and lumbered to another part of the clearing.
“Ornery old thing,” Miki said, standing up, tossing the branch.
Mazaki patted her shoulder. “Nice try. You wouldn’t be too amused either if someone poked at you while you were eating. It’s amazing this pocket of Jurassic wildlife exists.”
“Isn’t it true that so long as an animal’s niche in nature remains it will continue to propagate itself?” Miki asked.
“You don’t understand. The Allosaurus and Stegosaurus died out about one hundred thirty million years. A hundred thirty million years ago this island wasn’t here. This piece of regolith we’re standing on was still a part of the ocean floor before volcanic action pushed it up into the sun light.”
Miki folded her arms. “So how do you explain the dinosaurs being here?”
“I can’t. Although it’s going to be easy raising the money for an expedition to find out.”
After another half hour of hacking through the underbrush they found the trail leading to the bunker. Hundreds of godzillasaurus tracks imprinted the sun-baked dirt along the way. In minutes they stood before the massive concrete edifice. The trail led to a yawning doorway that stood about forty feet high. The group stopped to marvel at the engineering feat to erect such a structure in such unlikely terrain.
Then Sergeant Namura reached up into a tree, using his rifle as a pole to dislodge a ragged piece of clothing. It was hard to tell if the cloth were part of a jacket, shirt, or pants. It was blackened with dirt and stained with dried blood.
“Miss Saegusa wasn’t kidding about dinosaurs eating people,” he said, holding the bloody rag out for the whole squad to see, causing a bit of a stir.
Yagato grabbed the rag and tossed it into the bushes. “Let’s move inside, two by two. Sergeant, hold here with the civilians. Bring them in when you hear my OK.”
The troops switched on their overhead lights and hustled through the large opening. The OK to enter came a minute later.
Within was a chamber enormous enough to house a military cargo jet. Makeshift nests of straw littered the cement floor along with what appeared to be old lumps of feces the size of pineapples.
A door to the left permitted access to the interior of the bunker. It was locked, but that was quickly rectified with the butt of a rifle. Beyond the door was an unlit corridor.
The group filed down the hall. There they found a body, a woman in a white lab coat. She lay curled, seemingly asleep. The Sergeant gripped her shoulder and turned her over. A murmur went through the troops. Miki spun away, gripping her stomach.
The side of the woman’s head that was in contact with the floor had flattened. Her features were contorted as if decomposition was causing the flesh to slowly ooze. The floor was stained black where her skin touched the cement surface.
Yagato pulled out a list of names and photos of the missing persons, comparing the ID tag clipped to the woman’s front pocket to the information in his hand.
“She’s one of the missing scientists,” he remarked. “Dr. Susan Peterson, biologist. The state she’s in, I’d say she must have been lying here for several weeks. Look at her skin. It’s been burned from exposure to radiation.”
Two more bodies, also on the list, were found further down the hall. Another five after they entered a lead-shielded changing room. The switches by the doorways indicated the doors were electrically powered. The fact the doors were opened suggested the power in the complex had gone out.
Beyond the changing room was a service tunnel. A sign hanging from the ceiling read in English, “Caution: Moving Vehicles.” A forklift was parked along the wall with one of the cumbersome godzillasaurus eggs atop its skid. The egg had hatched and the driver lay slumped behind the driving wheel, half eaten. The Colonel stood at an arm’s distance from the grisly corpse and checked the ID tag.
“This man’s not on the roster,” he said. “He was probably just a hired laborer.”
A garage adjoined the service tunnel housing a number of forklifts and small flatbed pickup trucks. A second sign hanging from the ceiling read “Hatchery” with an arrow pointing further down the service tunnel. Following the sign, they located a large room. Entering, they found clusters of metallic spider-like arms mounted to the floor.
“Colonel,” Sergeant Namura aimed his light at the ceiling. “What do you make of those?” Directly over each arm cluster was an energy beam projector.
“Of course,” Mazaki worked one of the clawed arms. “They mounted the eggs on these and then subjected them to radiation from above.”
A window was set in one wall. A door hung half open beside it. Going through, the group discovered a laboratory with a control panel for operating the beam projectors.
Mazaki found a clipboard. “Listen to this.” He read from the pages. “May 15: Professor LaSalle’s radiation application theory, test 8. Higher wavelengths produce larger specimens. Applying too much radiation too fast breaks down cellular structure, in essence dissolves them. Today we are going to — “
“Back up,” the Colonel interrupted. “You said too much radiation too fast dissolves the godzillasaurus? Godzilla was exposed to the A-bomb. It didn’t dissolve him.”
“That depends upon what power source they’ve been using and at what intensity.”
“Do the notes say?”
Mazaki flipped through the pages and shook his head. “No. But we should find what they were working on. According to this they had been irradiating a juvenile godzillasaurus during its first growth spurt. It says here the results were phenomenal, but the specimen died. They have it scheduled for disposal. But the date coincides about when many of these people were first reported missing.”
“If we find the specimen,” the Colonel surmised, “we should find the equipment they were going to use to get rid of it.”
The signs on the walls made the pen easy to find. It rivaled the size of the chamber they first entered. The height was the same, but the width was narrower. A stairwell spiraled up to a landing. Miki scaled it to the top. Below, her light faintly illuminated a baby godzillasaurus bloated to the size of a whale. Its dead eyes were open a crack and shone dry and shrunken in the light. Its sides had bloated and its tongue lolled from its mouth.
“Poor thing,” she murmured.
Over her radio headset she heard the Colonel talking excitedly. The soldiers had found a room further down the landing with another projector. He grumbled, announcing that neither the controls nor the projector gave any indication of the power source.
Reconnoitering in the hall, Colonel Yagato split up the team. A sign by the elevators gave directions to the offices in the upper levels and the reactor below the base. He ordered Sergeant Namura to accompany Miki and Mazaki up to the offices while he would take the troops below to see what happened to the reactor.
With the elevators out of commission, the Sergeant’s half of the team climbed the stairs to the fifth floor. Here the builders of the complex had constructed modern office spaces. However, the offices were in such disarray only incomplete files could be compiled. Most of the filing cabinets were locked, and too sturdy to risk shooting them open. It wouldn’t do to have bullets ricocheting. Mazaki resorted to removing hard drives from the computers. Sergeant Namura collected as many as he could carry in his waterproof satchel.
The Colonel radioed his progress in the lower levels. “We broke through to the control room,” he said. “It’s clear a reactor failure was the source of their trouble. They had an automatic system that sealed this area off from the upper floors in an emergency. However, the system failed to close off the vents. The air was still being circulated through the complex hot with radioactivity. We found a manual release for the next door. We’ll be going down one more level to see what actually happened to their reactor.”
“Be careful,” Namura radioed back.
Making the best use of time, the Sergeant recommended they search for employment records, contracts for constructing the base, and receipts for the equipment. Miki found some notes with a diagram of an egg with two infant godzillasaurs curled inside.
“Mazaki, what’s this?” she asked.
Mazaki took the papers. “This is interesting. According to the notes they logged, they hatched a double-yoked egg.”
“A what?” the Sergeant asked.
“A double-yoked egg. That means the egg is going to hatch twins. Anyway, it says here,” Mazaki traced the words with his gloved finger, “that the radiation they subjected the egg to fused the embryos, forming a Siamese twin.” He scanned ahead on the next page. “Oh,” his voice dropped an octave. “Listen to this: ‘typically the infant godzillasaurus is docile. However, the Siamese twin demonstrated a streak of viciousness and deceptiveness. Our hatchery supervisor, Dr. Cumbermin, was tending to the creature down in the pens. Till then it projected an air of innocence, more so than any of the others of its kind. A number of us felt uncomfortable around the thing. We took a vote and elected to contain it in a separate pen. Our suspicions proved to be all too true. When Cumbermin’s assistant, Dr. Hailey, checked on her, he found her lying on her back. Her sternum had been crushed and the flesh of her face had been ripped from the skull. The Siamese twin sat in the corner projecting that air of naiveté. However, the blood dripping from one of its mouths made its guilt all too obvious.’
“The report,” Mazaki concluded, “wraps up by saying the creature escaped before it could be disposed of. Nothing was seen of it since.”
Miki rubbed the sides of her arms, as though she were cold.
“Something wrong?” Mazaki asked.
“What?” She reacted surprised. “No! I’m fine. That Siamese twin reminded me of a nightmare I had.”
“Dream?” Mazaki said.
“At least I hope it was a dream.” Before Miki could clarify what she meant the Colonel spoke over the radio.
“Sergeant,” he said, “get Ms. Saegusa and the professor to the beach. There’s quite a bit of steam pressure built up. The crane to the control rods is locked. This thing is liable to — “
“Colonel!” one of the soldiers cut in. “Look! The reactor!”
An explosion ripped over the radio speakers. The floor of the office level bucked, knocking Miki, Mazaki, and the Sergeant off their feet.
Stunned, they collected their wits. Miki checked her dosimeter and saw that the reading was well above the tolerance level of her protective suit.
“We have to run!” she called into her mike. But her voice rang about her in her helmet. The radios were knocked out. Sergeant Namura sat on the floor tapping the side of is helmet. His muffled voice cried out from within his suit, “Colonel! Do you hear me?”
Miki showed her dosimeter reading to Mazaki. He scrambled to his feet, and together they grabbed the sergeant.
From then on it was run or die. They doubled back down the stairs and out of the building, crossing over the two kilometers of rough, hilly terrain in suits not meant for running. But one cannot out pace radioactive particles. Mazaki, being the oldest, was worst for wear. He collapsed when they reached the beach, falling into Sergeant Namura. Once down, Namura did not get up. Miki was the last to keep going.
The ship was in sight. She waved her arms at the water’s edge in hope she would be seen, and then fell to her knees and pitched face-forward into the sand. Even if she were rescued, Miki knew her time was up. She was going to die. With nothing else to lose, she popped the seals to her helmet and rolled it off her head. She breathed in fresh air like it was cool water.
But the cruelties of life didn’t seem finished with her.
The ground reverberated from something large coming her way from the direction of the ocean. Because of the radiation exposure, she was too weak to focus her mental faculties to determine what was coming; yet she was determined not to become a dinosaur’s lunch. Drawing the .45, she cocked back the hammer. The creature burst from the sea, washing her in an onrushing wave. Wiping the water from her face, she looked up. Once she saw her target, she let the gun slip from her fingers.
“My day just keeps getting better and better,” she moaned. Resigned to her fate, she lay her head down on the warm sand and closed her eyes, exhausted.
Towering above her was Godzilla. He announced his supremacy to the denizens in the island’s jungles with a bellowing roar. Flocks of birds shot up from the treetops and fled to other parts of the island.
Godzilla looked down and saw her and her two companions sprawled on the shore. Despite her size, his predatory vision was keen on detail. He recognized her. He also recognized Death’s handiwork when he saw it. The energy he drew strength from was killing her. Bending down, he scooped her from the beach, and as the sand drained between his fingers he absorbed the radiation from her body.
Miki stirred, feeling as though she had crawled out of the deepest pit of sleep. Taking in her surroundings, she received a shock that nearly made her faint when she saw whose face it was looming over her. She gasped in fright.
But then… was he harming her?
Miki put her fingers to her temple, concentrating, probing Godzilla’s intentions. This was the closest she had ever been to him. The proximity allowed her to see into his mind with perfect clarity. Sadly, there wasn’t much going on in his mind other than his attention was focused on her, waiting to see what she was going to do.
“I don’t know if gratitude means anything to you,” she spoke, “but thank you. I’m sure you saved me. Who else could have?”
“What?” Miki reacted with surprise. His grunt seemed like a response.
Then she remembered Mazaki and Sergeant Namura. They were still lying on the shore.
“My friends,” she pointed down to the beach. “Help them! Do for them what you did for me.” She jogged his thoughts to repeat the same action he did for her.
He remained inert. Not until she nearly panicked did he lumber forward and scoop the two men into his other hand. Mazaki and Namura did the same double takes when they came to.
“It’s OK!” Miki yelled, waving for their attention. “You can take off your helmets,” she pointed to her head. “Remember, Godzilla can soak radiation.”
Hesitantly Mazaki and Namura removed their helmets.
“Are you controlling him?” Mazaki called over.
“No,” Miki called back. “Why would you think that?”
“Because you’ve been asked so many times to find him with your ESP, it just seems to be the next logical step.”
“How about getting him to put us down,” the Sergeant spoke up. “Gently!”
“I’ll try.” Miki put the image in Godzilla’s mind to bend down and set them on the beach.
He interpreted it as letting them go, as in, dropping them. Turning, he stepped back to the sea to drop them in so they could swim home.
Miki tried to make her self clear as he slowly lowered his arms. They rolled out of his hands and splashed hard.
Once Godzilla proceeded onto the shore one of the helicopters lifted off from the ship and fetched Miki, Mazaki, and the Sergeant out of the water. As the pilot lifted off, Miki and Mazaki gazed out the copter’s port windows. Back on the island Godzilla was wading through the trees toward the bunker. A column of ugly, black smoke rose from the point in the jungle where the bunker was located.
“Just think,” Mazaki reminded her, “we were right in the middle of that.”
Of all the officers in the Japanese Self Defenses Forces there was no one who fought harder than Major Sho Kuroki to defeat Godzilla. Because of his aptitude in leadership and initiative, the government gave Kuroki any amount of authority he needed to protect the country. He ordered evacuations. Shut down airports. Wielded the navy, air force, and army as chess pieces, and exhausted the entire range of his nation’s super weapons.
He deflected Godzilla’s ray back at him with the fire mirror mounted in the forward hold of the remote-controlled Super-X2 aircraft. Infected Godzilla with the ANEB — Anti-Nuclear Energy Bacteria. Not even lightning bolts generated by the weather-control array, the TC-6000 system, stopped Godzilla. Kuroki was even the one who first utilized Miki Saegusa’s extra-sensory perception to detect Godzilla’s whereabouts. It was his idea to have her stand before Godzilla and try to drive him away with telekinesis. Back then she was barely old enough to hold a driver’s license.
Nothing worked. Just when the mutated archosaur was put down, Godzilla defiantly got back up and returned to the sea.
No one called Kuroki a failure. Many an officer tried and failed. As one scientist put it, Godzilla was beyond human understanding. But then, Kuroki didn’t need anyone to call him a failure. He had himself to do that.
So it was with great interest he received the news of the expedition to Lagos that the missing scientists had developed an energy beam powered by a derivative of Strontium 90 — the radioactive isotope that mutated Godzilla — that could reduce living flesh to bubbling goo — any living flesh, including that of a godzillasaurus.
He met Segawa at his office at the UNGCC, Tokyo. Mazaki and Sergeant Namura were there, giving an account of their story.
“Did the computer hard drives you salvaged have enough data to build one of these beam projectors?” Kuroki inquired.
“Schematics, wavelengths of the beams, everything,” Mazaki assured him.
“Good.” Kuroki’s visage took on a grime aspect. It was time to slay the demon that has been haunting him. “I want the ASTOL-MB93 maser fighter and the Type 92 maser tank refitted with the new energy projectors. I want NT-1 appliqué plates mounted on the turrets and hulls of the tanks. Professor,” he turned to Mazaki, “you said these beams can dispose of a creature the size of a godzillasaurus in under five minutes?”
“That’s the estimate recorded by the missing scientists.”
“Then the NT-1 armor plates should buy the tank crews more than enough time against Godzilla’s flame attacks to do their work. Do I have your permission to proceed,” Kuroki directed his request to Segawa.
“The budget of the UNGCC is not in any shape to take on this project.” Segawa folded his hands on his desk. “I’m prepared to put this under your jurisdiction.”
“I’ll get to work as soon as I receive written authorization,” Kuroki said conditionally.
The UNGCC had “shot its load” so to speak with the Mechagodzilla project. Mechagodzilla was a piloted war machine built in Godzilla’s image. Its armor plating, the NT-1, withstood blast after blast of Godzilla’s atomic breath. Eventually it succumbed as everything else. But, if the projectors worked as hoped for, the refitted maser tanks would have finished their job before the armor failed.
Segawa signed over the consignment of surplus NT-1 sheeting. Soon the maser tanks were rolling off the assembly line with bright, new silver-metallic skin.
Since none of the recent mutated godzillasaurs threatened Japan, Kuroki took the fight to them. Coordinating through Japanese embassies throughout the nations of the Pacific Rim, he secured permission to deploy his new equipment.
The new projectors blasted the mutant beasts with awesome and gruesome spectacle. The rays, now designated the LaSalle laser after the missing scientist who experimented with the energy beams, shined a glimmering purple and cut like a surgeon’s scalpel. Scaly skin evaporated, muscle tissue went soft, and fat bubbled and ran like melted butter. Limbs, tails, and sometimes the sides of heads, depending how the rays hit the godzillas, dropped in the streets. In short order the mutated godzillasaurs were being wiped out. From Manila to Saigon, to Bangkok, people cheered.
As for the major, Kuroki regained total authority from the government. He also became a celebrity. More so when he showed indifference to his fame, rebuffing a promotion to a proper rank of brigadier-general.
“I will not accept a higher rank until I finish the mission I was given five years ago,” he said at the podium before the Diet. “That’s to destroy Godzilla. Neither will I stand down until I know he is counted among the dead.”
He received applause. To the public they were noble words. But he meant them.
Miki’s last connection with the expedition to Lagos was her attendance at the memorial held for Colonel Yagato and the ten soldiers who lost their lives in the explosion in the reactor room of the bunker. Since then she returned to her job as a counselor at the Mind Development Institute in Osaka where she assisted in the study of extra-sensory perception in children.
Of all the counselors, the kids liked her best, because she was one of them, a psychic. She understood what it was like to be different the way they were different. Second, they loved her monster stories. The stories were “kakko ii” — really cool!
They ate up her latest adventure on Lagos, although she left out the bad parts. Dinosaurs then were the coolest things. To sate their enthusiasm she bought two dozen model kits of a Stegosaurus and stayed up all night putting them together so they would be ready for the five to eight year olds to paint during recreation hour.
No sooner had she got them settled down painting their Stegosaurs than one of the other counselors stepped in, whispering in her ear that a soldier was down in reception.
“He said Major Kuroki wants to see you,” the counselor explained. “He’s here to drive you to the Major’s HQ.”
“It seems the Major assumes I’m going to say yes.”
“Well?” the counselor asked, starting to look worried.
“Usually if the government wants to see me they make an appointment. But then, this is the Major. Protocol was never one of his strong suits.”
“It’s getting like it was before when the government put him in charge of everything,” the counselor continued in her hushed voice. “I just hope he doesn’t put the country under martial law.”
Miki patted her hand. “I’ll be sure to talk to him about that. Can you watch the children when I’m away?”
“Of course! Good luck.”
Fetching her jacket, Miki headed downstairs and paused when she saw the soldier dressed in full combat fatigues. Unless there was an actual alert, attachés wore dress uniforms.
Picking up her step she presented the stern-faced trooper a winsome smile.
“I’m Ms. Saegusa,” she introduced herself. “Consider me at the Major’s disposal.”
The soldier was humorless, but polite. He drove her in a military jeep to a high rise overlooking the docks. The police had the roads heading for the coast cordoned off. One of the improved maser tanks was parked in the middle of an emptied street. Its eight-wheeled chassis resembled a silver turtle, watching and waiting.
“What’s going on?” she asked. “If there is an alert, why aren’t the sirens on? Why aren’t there more police out getting people into shelter?”
“Putting the city on alert would clog the streets,” the soldier said. “Major Kuroki needs you at his command post immediately.”
The soldier escorted Miki to the top floor of the high rise. There, the office space had been cleared to set up tables with communications equipment. A number of generals stood by as well as the city’s anxious-looking mayor. Mazaki was even there, dressed in his usual paleontology duds, cotton shirt, denim vest and blue jeans. He greeted her.
“Nice to see a friendly face,” Miki said.
“Kuroki hired me on as his advisor.” Mazaki flipped open the inside of his vest to show off his security tag.
“Ah, you’ve been promoted!”
“Well,” Mazaki spoke out the side of his mouth with an eye on Kuroki, “no one says no to the Major.”
Miki lightly punched him in the side of the arm to stop goofing around.
“You’ll see,” Mazaki warned.
Kuroki stepped over. Indeed, his demeanor had changed since she last saw him. There was something…not particularly pleasant brewing inside him.
“Ms. Saegusa,” Kuroki nodded to her. “Thank you for coming.”
“Well, I couldn’t say no,” she quipped.
Kuroki’s eyes narrowed. He looked to Mazaki, who remained poker-faced, and then to her. “Of course.” The Major extended his hand toward the windows. “If you could come forward, so you can see past the troops.”
Miki obeyed. At the windows she could see that a considerable amount of traffic had been cleared. Waiting like wolves were several of the squat Type-92 maser tanks. Their LaSalle laser guns aimed toward the heart of an empty intersection. Then every soul on the floor gasped bar Kuroki who gazed intently at the bay as Godzilla rose to the surface.
“Is this creature Godzilla?” Kuroki asked Miki. “The original Godzilla we have been fighting?”
“Yes. But you don’t have to worry about him. He’s somewhat attentive to me now. I’m sure I can send him back.”
“A positive identification is all I need.”
“Just let me try,” Miki offered.
“That will not be necessary,” Kuroki said with finality. He nodded to one of his officers.
The soldier took Miki by the arm. “If you could please stay clear of the operational area.” He pulled her to the back of the room.
Outside Godzilla sank his foot through the roof of a warehouse. In short order he made his way down a four-lane highway, approaching the empty intersection. He eyed the tank directly in front of him, and then approached, slowly.
“Tell Unit 2 to hold fire till Godzilla reaches the intersection,” Kuroki said. One of the men seated at the tables relayed the order to the tank.
As ordered, Unit 2, the tank in front of Godzilla, opened fire the instant he stepped into the intersection. Its purplish-silver beam of light speared him in chest. He bellowed, his cry sounding shrill and fierce. Trying to get out of the way of the beam as fast as he could, he stumbled backwards into one of the buildings. The face of the skyscraper crumbled to pieces from the impact of his weight and spilled into the street.
Slamming his tail, Godzilla flared up his fins to fire his atomic ray. A second beam pierced his side, this one from Unit 3 on his left. He whipped his flame down the intersecting street blasting the tops of the buildings on the street corner as he turned. His fire beam hit the tank dead on. Instead of exploding, the tank in its hard skin of NT-1 armor plating glowed. As the plating cooled it shimmered back to its dull, silvery finish.
Bewildered, Godzilla cocked his head, and then leaned forward to examine this unusually resilient opponent.
Unit 3 resumed firing, joined by Units 1 and 2. Roaring, Godzilla started pulling out of the intersection only to be lasered in the back. The fourth tank, Unit 4, rolled in behind him, closing the trap. The crews used their lasers like scalpels, slicing his belly, slashing his flanks. Enraged, Godzilla clubbed his tail through the buildings. The structures toppled as easily as bowling pins, falling apart in palls of smoke.
“You see, Mayor,” Kuroki said as Godzilla’s screams vibrated through the walls. His massive form twisted over in the smoke lit to an eerie glow by the purple rays. “In about ten minutes you can dispatch your street crews to clean up the mess.”
The mayor mopped his brow with a handkerchief. He still looked doubtful.
“He saved my life,” Miki protested. “And Mazaki’s!”
“A couple of lives don’t make up for the hundreds that have died from his rampages,” Kuroki reminded her. “Don’t get me wrong,” he turned toward her, “I’m not trivializing your survival.”
“He isn’t aware of what he is doing,” Miki pleaded. “He’s just an animal!”
“Exactly,” Kuroki reiterated, “just an animal. So why be so upset?” He turned back to the battle.
Miki watched in horror. She could sense the synapses popping in Godzilla’s brain. He could smell his own flesh and bone burn. She pinched her eyes tight, trying not to look, to keep herself from synching with his thoughts. But she could not stop herself. Neither could she stop from envisioning a tactic that would save him: collapse the buildings upon the tanks, crushing the LaSalle laser guns.
Godzilla’s eyes suddenly focused. He aimed and fired at the base of a building alongside Unit 2. Debris exploded into the machine’s side. The structure collapsed, toppling into the building across the street, burying the tank, crew and all, under the rubble.
“What the—?” Kuroki quick-stepped up to the window. A billowing cloud of cinder blocked his view.
Godzilla backed out of the intersection. The tanks to the right and left lost their line of sight. That left the one cutting off his route to the sea.
“Order Unit 4 to withdraw!” Kuroki cried.
“Unit 4, withdraw! Withdraw!” repeated the relay.
The tank was not fast enough. Godzilla cut his fire beam through the base of a bank tower. Its smooth walls broke apart. The tower fell apart in a concrete-crumbling, girder-rending scream on top of the rear tank. Shards of glass glittered in the collapse. The purplish beam it fired winked out. Fresh smoke rolled about the battlefield. The way was now clear to the bay.
“We can’t let him escape.” Kuroki spun around to his radiomen. “Tell the captains to ram him if necessary. Slow him down at all costs until the maser fighters get here.”
Godzilla stormed through the shipyard for the bay. His injuries still burned as if hot knives were stuck in his flesh.
Four destroyers positioned in a blockade formation rotated their turrets on target. They too were armed with the LaSalle laser guns. The destroyers opened fire. One beam struck Godzilla in the shoulder. His back fins flaring up, he cut his atomic ray down the center of the superstructure of one of the ships, killing the command crew on the bridge. Directionless, the ship listed in flames.
Godzilla dropped into the water, going down below the surface on all fours, sinking his hands into the cool, soothing mud.
A laser beam hissed through the water, piercing like a hot needle through one of his fins. Godzilla thrashed. The waves tossed in the bay like water in a tub. Docked boats were ripped from their moorings. The destroyers criss-crossed their beams into the water, trying to get him. He swung his head back and forth, searching for targets. Water screeched into steam when he started firing.
“Lost contact with the Nakamura, Major!” called the radioman in contact with the destroyers. Another ship exploded. “Lost contact with the Seichizawa!”
Kuroki bit into his lip. His fists clenched.
Godzilla fired on everything boat-shaped. One by one the laser beams stopped. Wreckage settled around him. He then aimed his snout toward the open sea and with a thrust of his thick tail he was out of the bay.
“Godzilla is gone,” came the final report.
“We were so close,” the mayor groaned.
Kuroki stood leaning against the window with his forehead pressed against his fist.
Miki twisted her hands together over and over. With one foolish thought, all those soldiers and sailors…gone.
“I want her arrested.”
Miki locked eyes with Kuroki who stood pointing at her.
“What for?” questioned the mayor.
“Godzilla is an animal,” Kuroki stated firmly. “He can’t think. Someone had to think for him. Who else but a psychic could do it?”
Mazaki blocked the soldiers from seizing her. “How do you know, Major,” he challenged Kuroki, “unless you’re a mind reader yourself?”
One of the troopers un-cocked the safety and pulled back the bolt on his assault rifle. With regret marred on his face, Mazaki stepped aside.
“Come with me, miss,” the squad leader said. He gestured toward the door.
Miki cooperated. As she walked through the door, a frank realization came to her: she would not be going home tonight. From here on out, things would never be the same.
Miki Saegusa thought of herself as a good person. It was an argument that stirred in her head until it ached, while the bunk she sat on in the holding cell and the droning buzz of the fluorescent light above her told her otherwise. Somewhere, forever, in the public record would be a file of a sin for which she could not repent.
Since the cell had no windows, day and night was marked by switching the lights on and off. Some time after the lights were switched back on two officers fetched her and escorted her to a car outside. For now she would undergo a hearing to determine her culpability. She was neither cuffed, nor did the authorities require her to wear the baggy prisoner’s jump suit.
A mob was waiting at the courthouse when they arrived. The angry throng became animated at the sight of the car. Amazingly, her escort parked along the curb and opened the door for her to get out. No other police were present to exercise crowd control. The only friendly face she saw when she climbed out of the car was Professor Mazaki at the top of the steps of the courthouse with the TV cameras.
The two officers stoically pressed into the crowd, bringing her in tow by the arm. The mob pushed and shoved to get in close so they could spit, curse, and shake their fists at her. “My brother died yesterday because of you!” “My husband was assigned to the Seichizawa, one of the ships you sank yesterday!” In their minds it was no longer Godzilla’s fault. It was “you.” “You did it!”
An elderly man wearing dirty, worn out old clothes stood in the way. His gray hair was a tangled mess and his face was unshaven. “I was here,” he pointed at the pavement, “on the street, fifty years ago when Godzilla burned this city to the ground! I lost both of my parents. I fended for myself, a boy of ten, for seven months — seven — on these streets before someone found me and took care of me. You think you’re scared now?” He glared into her eyes. “Try living in a world of ash and cinder!”
“Beat it, you old kook,” one of the officers retorted as he pushed the old man back, “I can smell the alcohol on your breath.”
Enraged, the old man balled his fist, and instead of striking the policeman he bashed Miki dead in the face, snapping her head back. She fell.
That punch became the spark that lit the fire. Overwhelming the two officers with ease, the crowd kicked and stomped the young woman at their feet. Miki curled up and covered her head. She then angled her body toward the largest gap between their bodies and sprang to her feet, trying to run away. Her maneuver succeeded for about half a dozen paces before someone grabbed her by the hair and pulled her back down. It was like being sucked back down into turbulent waters.
Miki’s fright turned into fury. Grabbing the closest pair of ankles, she pulled them to her chest, shifting her assailant’s center of gravity. The man she grabbed fell back, spilling a number of people to the ground.
It was just the gap Mazaki needed. He had been worming his way down the steps toward her all the while. Taking advantage of the moment, he scooped her off the road.
“Hey!” a voice yelled over the din. “That guy’s helping her!” The crowd’s wrath whipped up into a frenzy. “Who’s helping her?” “Where is he?” “Kill him!”
A burly man tried to wrap his big arm around Mazaki’s neck. More agile, the paleontologist slipped from under the man’s grip and with his heel kicked the man from behind, sending him stumbling into the other attackers. No one seemed to know who had picked Miki up off the ground. Many mistook the man Mazaki had just kicked to be the culprit, and attacked him. Taking advantage of the confusion, Mazaki carried Miki out of the surging mob, down a narrow alley leading to a lot where his car was parked. Sirens came rushing toward the rioters from the main roads. Using side streets, Mazaki managed to avoid the incoming police.
“You can stay at my place,” Mazaki said. He glanced at his passenger in the front seat. “Miki?”
Miki winced as she wiped the endless flow of tears from her bruised cheeks. Her thin frame trembled under her disheveled clothes.
“Well?” Mazaki persisted.
“No,” she said. Her voice sounded hoarse. “Just go…” Closing her eyes in concentration, she pointed south. “That way.”
They drove along the coast until early evening. Miki guided Mazaki to a conservancy, to a foot trail going into the woods. Mazaki squeezed down the narrow path through the undergrowth, until it emptied to a beach where he put the car in park.
“What’s out here?” he asked.
Miki exited the car and gazed toward a still-watered bay spread out before them. Filling the bay was an island with a large, roughly pyramid-shaped pinnacle and a wooded shore. Miki knew what, or rather who, was on the island. Not wanting an objection, she left Mazaki’s question unanswered.
“You don’t plan on staying out here,” Mazaki said as he got out of the car.
Miki gave him a look that showed she had every intention of doing so.
Mazaki didn’t argue. He took the flashlight from his glove compartment and a blanket from the back seat and offered them to her. Miki accepted them.
“I’ll come tomorrow morning around seven with something eat.” He gave her his watch. “We’ll meet by the fallen tree down there.” He pointed to a tree trunk laying half buried in the sand on the beach.
Miki nodded her thanks and headed for the island. Mazaki waited at the car in case she would turn back. She did not.
As the sun settled behind the horizon, Miki removed her shoes and socks and waded into the shallow water, wincing from the sharp stones embedded in the cold sand. Once ashore she trekked to the seaward side of the island where she found an immense cave bored into the island’s pinnacle. Within, she switched on the flashlight.
The floor of the cave sank into a wide basin with a ridge along the cave walls that was just wide enough for her to walk on. Her flashlight beam revealed the basin to be filled. There, lying with his back propped up against the far wall was Godzilla. As she scanned the light up his scaly form one eye opened and stared at her. Because of his size his head was at a distance and the light shone faintly on his features.
She bowed to him in apology for the intrusion. The last twenty-four hours had been so dehumanizing to her it did not seem odd to show the creature respect.
Godzilla closed his eye. His chest rose and fell in a raspy sigh as he resumed sleep.
Miki scaled the ridge along the cave wall to get away from the drafty entrance. Wet, cold, and bruised, there was no comfort to be found lying on a stony surface with just a blanket to wrap around the shoulders, until she heard through the stone the rhythmic beat of Godzilla’s heart. It reminded her of when she fell asleep with her ear against her father’s chest when she was a girl. Sleep soon came.
Miki awoke alone the next morning. The sunlight lit the cave walls in a dull gray color. It was debatable if a night’s rest on the cave floor made things worse or better. She tottered along the ridge to the mouth of the cave still feeling as rickety as someone who had been through a street brawl.
Godzilla was nowhere in sight but she sensed his presence. Miki took in the morning air. Mornings always had that distinct smell of newness. It was good. Miki descended to the shore where the waves lazily rippled across the sand. There was a nook along the shore where the water was still. However, before she dipped her hands in to wash her face she paused at the sight of her reflection — the swellings under her right eye and bottom lip, the cuts, what the mob had done to her. She swallowed down hard and then rinsed her face.
Miki journeyed back to the meeting place Mazaki had arranged. It was well past seven. Concealed in the nearby bushes, she found several waterproof bags with a note.
“Miki, if you ration the food and bottled water I left it should last you through the week. I’ll try to return then at the same time, 7 am. I hope the extra clothes you’ll find in the bags will fit. Couldn’t wait for you. Major Kuroki will wonder where I am. Take care, Mazaki.”
She also found a bow saw with extra blades, a cigarette lighter, and some hastily written notes on how to build a campfire. For basic hygiene, Mazaki had left a toothbrush, toothpaste and a cup to rinse her mouth, plus soap. The food stock included canned fruit and vegetables, a box of candy bars, a can opener and a cooking pot, more stuff than she could carry in one trip.
After hauling her stores to the cave and exchanging her wet slacks and underwear for fresh clothes, which did fit, she set off with the bow saw to collect wood for a fire and a candy bar to snack on while she worked. Her first branch was a bear. Moist from sap, it was as resilient as hard rubber. She looked around for a place to put her candy bar, but everywhere she looked was either too dirty or crawling with ants. With a shrug, she put the bar in her mouth and renewed her efforts on the branch. Inadvertently she bit through the bar. It bounced in the weeds getting dirt on the unwrapped portion.
“Well,” she sighed, “this is the first day of the rest of your life. Enjoy!” Miki slipped the wrapper off the candy bar and finished the clean part and threw the rest to nature. “You enjoy, too.”
According to Mazaki’s instructions, once some wood was cut it would need to be stored some place where it can dry. In the mean time, Mazaki’s notes said, she should collect wood that had already dried.
She took a break under the shade of the trees near the shore. Godzilla’s presence hung about the island the entire day, and he was yet to be seen. He was as elusive as Nessie, the Loch Ness monster from Scotland.
With the top of his head sticking out of the water, Godzilla watched Miki as she sat and relaxed. He was aware she felt safe around him. Had she become confused? She was not of his kind. Since the human was not a threat and the island was no more his territory than hers, he decided to let her be. As soon as he healed fully he would swim for the open sea and get away from the dirty taste of coastal water. For now the salt aggravated his wounds too much to remain at sea for long.
Godzilla stretched out his hand to feel the current. It was time to venture out. The big schools of fish would be arriving soon. He braced himself for the stinging salt and dipped the rest of his head below the surface.
Miki heard a big, wet bur-lop in the bay, and then Godzilla’s presence was gone. She stood up straining her neck to spot something, anything. All there was to see were the widening rings of water just beyond a long, rocky peninsula.
In a conference room at Major Kuroki’s HQ in Tokyo the Major, Professor Mazaki, and the head of the UNGCC, Director Segawa, sat across from Akira Nagumo, captain of the fishing seiner Soryu-mura.
“Tell us, Mr. Nagumo, what your crew found in the nets,” Segawa began.
“Our ship was out in the open sea. We found blood as large as an oil slick on the waves with bits and pieces of bodies. After we drew the seine from the water it appeared as if we netted a load of entrails. Sharks were everywhere, even in the nets wriggling in the lumps of flesh.
“My guess the bodies were of Brydes whales. They’re about the only kind of whale swimming in tropical waters this time of year. Sharks are too small to rip a whale apart like that.” The sea captain leaned back in his chair. “What exactly are you chasing? It’s something else now isn’t it? If the new Godzillas had killed those whales, the carcasses wouldn’t be there. Animals eat what they kill.”
Segawa folded his hands on the conference table. “We don’t know what we are after. Once we do we will make the information public.” He glanced toward Kuroki for confirmation.
“Of course,” the Major nodded. He stood from his seat. “Thank you, Captain, for coming.”
“I hope your new laser can kill it, whatever it is,” the fisherman said, remaining in his seat. “It’s hard these days raising a crew willing to sail.”
“You have my word,” Kuroki stated firmly.
The sea captain snorted, and stood up. Kuroki turned him over to a liaison officer in the hall to be escorted outside, and then closed the door.
“After returning from Lagos,” Mazaki said, “Miki told me of an ESP contact she had with a pair of godzillasaurs. She described them as two in one body, a Siamese twin, the same type of creature that killed Dr. Cumbermin. Note, just killed, not eaten, like the whales.”
“Therefore the Siamese godzillasaurus killed the whales,” Kuroki concluded as he sat back down.
“Exactly,” Mazaki confirmed.
“If this Siamese twin proves to be particularly dangerous we should give it a name for quick identification,” Segawa advised. “That’ll be your department, Professor,” he nodded toward Mazaki. “You’re the paleontologist. What should we call it?”
“Off the top of my head I’d call it ‘Trouble.’ But if you want a special name,” Mazaki rubbed his hands together, “let’s name it after Tiamat, the Babylonian goddess of chaos and destruction. Tiamatodon — does that work for you, Director?”
“It’s as good a name as any,” Segawa said. “By the way, Major,” he then pulled out a memo from the inside of the his suit jacket and gave it to Kuroki, “you’ll be interested to know the Russian embassy has issued a complaint from Moscow. The Russians say we have been fishing in their waters around the Kuriles again. The thing is, our fishermen couldn’t be responsible for the number fish the Russians claim to have been depleted from their territory.”
Kuroki read the memo, and then smiled. “I knew Godzilla couldn’t be far!”
“It might be better to pool our resources to locate Tiamatodon,” Mazaki suggested. “The scientists who died on Lagos believed that thing was deceitful and murderous.”
“That suggests it can make a moral choice,” Kuroki turned to the professor.
“You heard the fisherman. It kills for the sake of killing.”
“All the better,” Kuroki said, bemused. “If it doesn’t eat what it kills it’ll starve, saving us the trouble of having to go after it.”
“Doesn’t the fisherman’s story concern you?” Mazaki asked.
“The brains of that creature are probably malformed,” Kuroki replied. “It doesn’t know enough to swallow its food. Godzilla is what worries me. If you want to discuss an animal that is cognizant of what it is doing, this is the one.”
“Six days ago you accused Ms. Saegusa for helping Godzilla escape,” Segawa reminded the Major.
“Cognizant doesn’t mean intelligent, Director,” Kuroki rebutted. “I know what happened and if you can’t accept how I handled it that’s your problem.”
“You’re a bitter man, Major,” Mazaki said folding his arms.
Kuroki had nothing to add.
The insects chirped a cheery note outside during the night. Miki stoked her small fire pit in the cave and then sat back facing Godzilla while he lounged on his back in the basin of the cave floor. The firelight created flickering shadows among his craggy scales, although it was not bright enough for her to see his face, only enough to reflect off his eyes, making them glisten like black glass.
“It’s been almost a week and I’m already used to being around you.” Miki pulled the blanket tighter around her shoulders. “I…” She paused to detect if he was listening. It was difficult to tell. Most of the time he seemed to be just staring. “I always wondered why you spared me.”
Godzilla looked down at her.
“Here, I’ll see if I can jog your memory.” She concentrated, recalling the time she was on the construction platform in Osaka Bay. It was five years ago. She was seventeen. Major Kuroki had sent her out there to force Godzilla to return to the ocean with telekinesis. She remembered everything Godzilla might recall about the event — the weather, the battle of wills — and projected them to his mind. When she came to the part where he won he stirred, making a rumbling sound in his throat.
“Sure, that you remember. You knocked me unconscious you big goof!” Taking a breath, she calmed her annoyance. “You spared me when anyone who opposes you, you kill. Why?” She used telepathy to let him know the fear she had while facing him and the relief that followed when she came to in a hospital bed, alive. She revealed how much she pondered the reason why he walked away from the platform.
He had a simple answer for her. She was alive because he let her live.
“Yes! But why?” How can I convey the meaning of ‘why’ to you?” Miki stopped probing his mind and dropped her head.
Godzilla sighed a raspy sound of relief and stared back outside.
Then it occurred to Miki. “Of course he doesn’t understand,” she said to herself. “Godzilla doesn’t ask why.” She was approaching him too much in human terms.
The following day she met Mazaki at the appointed time and place.
“Colleagues of mine are preparing for another dig in Liaoning, China,” Mazaki informed her. “I can’t go, but I think I can arrange to have you smuggled over in my place. The village you would be going to in Liaoning is not as modern as what you are used to, but it’s better than out here. I know the people in Liaoning. They are good people.”
Miki shook her head. “I’m happy here.”
“You don’t expect me to keep bringing you supplies forever, do you? Besides,” he spread his hand to the wide open wilderness around them, “you’re alone out here.”
“That’s just it,” she smiled, “I’m not alone.”
Mazaki studied her. Then he noticed the size of the pinnacle on the island. A look of realization came over him when he caught her meaning. “Is he--?”
“Yes,” she answered before he could finish. “He’s here. After what those people did to me,” she ran her hand across the scars on her face that had not completely healed, “I wanted to be with someone whom I know would no hurt me.”
Mazaki looked on her with concern.
“Don’t worry!” she said. “I’ve learned so much about him. His thinking is so singularly focused. For example, when we watch the sun rise we may ask: Is the sun really moving or are we moving? Or, if the sun is rising for us, is it setting for someone else? To him,” she looked forward as though she were Godzilla, “the sun is rising.” She then dropped her pose and shrugged. “Simple.”
“Oh, and also,” she went on, becoming animated with her hands, “his kind is sort of social except he doesn’t need to, you know, like us, talk. For us we would feel uncomfortable if someone didn’t say something. Think of a bunch of iguanas lying on the rocks together. Each other’s presence is good enough. That’s what Godzilla is like.” Miki broke into a giggles. “I probably annoy him with all my chatter!”
“You’re drifting from us, Miki,” Mazaki said.
“Huh?” Miki for the first time gave him eye contact.
“The way you keep talking about Godzilla it sounds like you have a boyfriend tucked away up there,” he nodded toward the island.
“Maybe I do!”
Mazaki reacted, getting ready to argue with her.
She slapped his knee. “Come on, I’m just teasing. Besides, it’d be odd if I didn’t get excited about this. You would, if you could see into a dinosaur’s soul, Mr. Paleontologist.”
“I suppose.” He looked at his replacement watch for the one he gave to Miki. “I have to go. If you need anything and I don’t see you leave a list.”
Mazaki became withdrawn. Miki lost some of her cheerfulness. She gripped his arm as he stood up from the fallen tree.
“You’re right,” she said. “It’s unfair of me to expect you to keep coming out here at your expense. I’ll go to Liaoning. But not now. Give me a little more time here.”
“All right.” Mazaki brightened a bit. “But I think you will be better off among people.” He patted her hand, and left.
In the Ohkstok Sea Godzilla felt the friction of a sonar wave go through the water. He looked up. The Russian anti-sub vessel Kulakov and two Hatsuyuki class Japanese destroyers re-armed with the LaSalle laser guns in their turrets slid above him on the surface. He recognized the slender hulls of the destroyers. If it could harm him, he recognized it. Godzilla settled to the bottom, and remained still.
Meanwhile, the schools of fish he had so carefully tracked swam away. The LaSalle laser taught him a hard lesson and he resented it. Once the ships passed over he slipped out of the area before more ships arrived. He searched for fresh feeding grounds without success and returned to the island with an empty stomach. No sooner than he had come ashore, his mind was being poked and prodded by the girl. The sound of her soft voice irritated him as much as the salt water that had seeped into his unhealed wounds. Humans, everywhere!
Godzilla hissed as he passed her on the beach.
“Bad day?” Miki asked from her reposed spot under a palm tree.
Godzilla spun on her and roared. His fins flared in warning, flashing blue light as bright as lightning.
Miki jumped to her feet and got back in the trees. She realized she had been insolent.
Godzilla climbed into the cave.
Her pillow and blankets were in there. As angry as he was she didn’t dare go get them. Just like a spouse, she was forced to sleep on the couch, so to speak. In this case, the couch was the outside with the weeds for her bed and the treetops to serve as the roof over her head.
“He didn’t have to take it out on me,” she muttered, glaring scornfully at the cave.
She curled up at the base of a tree with the mosquitoes, pillowing her head on her arm. At least it was summer. In Japan, even the evenings were balmy. She did not have to worry about getting cold.
Still, she thought about how much better off her friends were at this moment. Most of them were either engaged or very happily dating someone, meaning they were in a warm bed with clean sheets and a guy they loved. As for her, look where she was.
Miki had lost touch with many of them. It did not bother her too much. Her ESP had set her apart. The adults told her while she was growing up that was what made her special. So perhaps she was meant for something more meaningful. Her path crossed with Godzilla’s so often it seemed he had a role to play in it.
Then she became ill in a way that gripped the heart first before the illness spread to the body. Mazaki was right. She had drifted away from people. She had thrown her life away for Godzilla, and he didn’t care. He didn’t have the capacity to care. Miki would have been better off if she had let him die. And now it was too late to go back. She wept, laughing at herself, and as the truth sank deeper her sobbing turned bitter.
Miki marked time until her next meeting with Mazaki. She was ready to accept his offer to be smuggled to China and hoped he wouldn’t say it was too late.
Godzilla came ashore from one of his long sojourns at sea fully sated and in good temper. His wounds were nearly healed.
Miki noticed Godzilla was watching her idly draw in the sand with a twig. Lowering the twig, she looked up at him. He was in a playful mood. He wanted to tussle in another battle of wills with her psycho-kinesis. Tentatively she probed his thoughts and saw he was recollecting their confrontation from five years ago. Back then, when she faced him, the weight of her country’s security was on her shoulders. To him their confrontation was a game.
“You never did have anything against us, did you?” Miki said.
Lagos was too small for him once he was mutated. If it hadn’t been for the nuclear tests he would have had no reason to search for new territory, and with Japan being much larger than Lagos…
Miki tossed the twig across the beach.
Godzilla grunted to get her attention back on him.
“No,” she shook her head. “It hurts too much to use psycho-kinesis against you.”
Godzilla tilted his head imploringly.
Miki felt bad, and then realized what was happening. “You devil! You’re trying to manipulate me. How did you know how to put on that puppy face, unless you’ve been looking into my head and saw how I used to get my way?”
Godzilla assumed a straight face, looking forward, acting as though he was not doing anything of the sort.
“All right,” she said. “But be gentle!”
Godzilla tossed his tail excitedly into the air. It hit the beach with a thunderous wump with the far end of it splashing the water.
Miki stood up from the ground and dusted the sand off the seat of her pants. She took a deep breath and when she felt ready she exhaled. Closing her eyes, she focused her concentration and pressed her will against the will of her giant opponent. Then she felt a blow within her skull as if a cat batted her brain like a toy. She fell back a couple of steps gripping her forehead. A tingling sensation coursed through her scalp.
Godzilla grunted in disapproval.
“I’m just warming up,” she grinned, looking none too confident.
Miki summoned her strength. This time she let him have it. His eyes popped wide and he stood up straight. However, he relished a good fight. Their wills locked like rams’ horns. In her mind’s eye she could see a semi-tangible figure of what must have been his soul pushing against hers. She could sense that he was not all-powerful. He could be beaten if she utilized the right leverage of mental pressure. Yet the frailty of her body could take no more. She feared she would burst a blood vessel in her head. The pressure was that great. She broke contact, gasping for breath.
“No more,” she pleaded.
Victorious, Godzilla happily plopped his tail across the beach. The impact made her wince.
Miki suffered all night from a pounding migraine. She didn’t get any sleep until dawn and when she awoke she still felt weak. Glancing outside she saw Godzilla sitting back on his tail near the entrance of the cave. Curious, she looked into his mind to see what he thought he was doing.
It turned out he realized she was sick and was guarding her until she was well enough to fend for herself. Touched, she searched further and found uppermost in his mind his first memory of her, back on Lagos before he was mutated. Her sympathy for him soothed his fear of dying and gave him the strength to survive.
That was why he spared her decades later when she confronted him on the platform in Osaka Bay. That was why he saved her life from radiation poisoning. That was why he was watching over her now, because she had compassion for him.
Back at HQ Major Kuroki called Mazaki into his office.
“I think we have been using the wrong approach in finding Godzilla,” Kuroki said, shutting the door after Mazaki entered. “We should be looking for Saegusa. I suspect wherever she is, Godzilla won’t be far.”
“I don’t see where I can help,” Mazaki replied, taking a seat in front of Kuroki’s desk. “You’ve taken the discussion outside of dinosaur behavior. You’ll need a policeman, not a paleontologist.”
“The police have not been of any help.” Kuroki opened a side drawer and took out a folder. “The news footage didn’t give a clear picture of who rescued her from the rioting crowd. They checked on her parents, but her parents are visiting her grandparents who had retired to Australia. Her coworkers haven’t seen her. She has no other relatives or anyone else who would be looking for her. Anyway, I’ve already gotten results with my own investigation. Unlike the police, my intelligence people know whom to follow.”
Kuroki removed a set of photographs from the folder and spread them across the desk for Mazaki’s perusal. The photos showed him entering Miki’s apartment to get some of her things and going to the store to pick up food for her and driving toward the foot trail in the woods. The last photograph showed him talking to Miki at the fallen tree.
Mazaki turned pale. Slowly his frightened look hardened and his complexion reddened with anger.
“So,” Kuroki sat down and leaned back in his leather chair, putting his hands behind his head, “from what I hear you plan on smuggling her out of the country.”
Mazaki glared. He was not going to say anything, not without an attorney present.
“You have not done anything wrong, yet,” Kuroki said, breaking the uneasy silence. “We can keep it that way, if you cooperate, and you know what I mean when I say ‘cooperate.’”
“So that’s where you hide!” Miki said as she gingerly stepped barefoot along the rocky peninsula with a pair of sandals in her hand that Mazaki had fetched for her from her home. She also had on a pair of her denim shorts. Her short-sleeved blouse she had left unbuttoned. There hadn’t been a soul in sight the entire three weeks she had been here and the weather had been so balmy.
The narrow peninsula ended in a broken chain of rocks, and the last object jutting out of the water was the top of Godzilla’s head. He resembled an alligator on watch for prey. His gaze was stern with an “I’m on the prowl” look in his eye.
“There’s nothing for you to hunt here,” Miki giggled. “Don’t be such a slave to your instincts.”
Godzilla dipped his snout and sucked in water.
“I’m only kidding!” Miki held out her hands to protect herself. “Don’t — stop!”
Foosh! Godzilla spouted twin streams of water from his nostrils, drenching the poor girl. He took on a self-satisfied look.
“Very funny!” She wiped off her face and wrung out her hands. Then a crafty grin came across her lips. Godzilla glanced back at her. He is not as untouchable as he thinks, Miki thought to herself. She discarded her blouse on the last rock of the peninsula and slipped into the water.
Godzilla squinted. He took a step back from her as she swam toward him. The vibration of his footfall rippled the surface of the water.
“Don’t worry,” she called to him, “I won’t swim into your eye. Trust me!”
The bottom of the bay was a sheer drop by the peninsula, giving a nice nook for Godzilla to conceal himself. However, it didn’t give him any room to maneuver. Miki came up fast and gripped his scaly hide. She hoisted herself out of the water and climbed on all fours to the top of his head.
Pressing her palms down upon the crown of his head, she checked for motion. On unsteady legs, she stood up. Godzilla remained still. Confident now, Miki stood straight and tall with her arms out spread from her sides. Godzilla was hailed as the King of the Monsters. Miki Saegusa now stood atop the King, and there was nothing he could do about it for he would not harm her. She had conquered him.
Miki dropped down by his ear. “You are Godzilla,” she said as she stroked the outer edge of the tympanic membrane inside the ear opening. “I bet you did not know you had a name. Godzilla,” she said again. “Your name is Godzilla.”
Godzilla listened. The sounds she made were fuzzy. They sounded to him like “Go — zee — wa!” However, he was aware of when the attention was on him.
“And me,” Miki thumped her chest so he could hear and understand she was referring to herself. “I am Miki. Mee-kee!”
He frowned in concentration.
Miki gave it rest. She lay flat on her belly. Stroking his scaly skin, she wondered if he could even feel the palm of her hand.
Henry, a young man who lived in a small town on the New Zealand coast, had heard the stories about pets reacting to things the human owner couldn’t see, ghosts, things like that. Those stories came to mind when he saw his dog, Casey, stop in the middle of playing fetch and turn toward the sea and stare with perked ears and worried eyes.
The night was warm, the moon full and bright, perfect for tossing the Frisbee for Casey to chase and catch. Fun time was now over. The Frisbee lay on the sand, ignored.
“What’s the matter, girl?” Henry called to her.
Casey looked at him momentarily and then turned back to sea. A sound thrummed in the night air. It resembled the muffled noise of thunder in the distance. Br-ummmm. Startled, Casey jumped, and then barked. Henry could hear the panic in her voice.
The thrumming noise continued. It became clear that there was a rhythm to it, like that of footsteps. Henry squinted in the direction that had Casey’s attention. In the moon light the water foamed, and out of the foam rose a shadowy-black form.
“Back to the house!” Henry ordered the dog.
Casey bolted up the beach and between the houses. Henry followed right behind her, rushing through the front door to get his wife out of bed. The sound was becoming louder, vibrating the house. Calling the dog as he hurried his wife to the car, they came out of the house to the driveway. The neighbors were gathered in the street, looking toward the beach, looking up at the sky.
The sounds were becoming further apart, but when one of those thunderous noises did come, it was loud enough to hurt the ears and make the heart skip. The reverberation nearly shook Henry and his wife off of their feet. One woman among the neighbors kept crying out, “Oh my God! Oh my God! Look at that!”
Compulsively Henry turned and looked. There, towering over the rooftops in the ambience of the full moon was one of the mutated godzillasaurs. Except, this one had no arms and its upper body glistened in the lunar light. Its head turned revealing a second one. The beast moved forward one step. The sound of wooden walls being kicked in followed and one of the rooftops burst up into the air. Shingles and trusses were flung about like confetti.
The reverie was broken and the neighbors scattered and ran, screaming and crying.
Henry’s wife withered to the ground, mortified with fear. “Get up!” he yelled. “Get up!”
A bright light lit the houses in sharp relief and flickered like lightning. In the next instant a blast of searing blue light swept across the street, setting fire to everything it shone upon. Henry had a good view of this for a few moments before he too was engulfed in the light.
“Over three thousand deaths,” Segawa repeated in a whisper. The monitors in the Command Center of HQ were alive with news broadcasts about the small town in New Zealand. The footage of the burning buildings was taken from the air by helicopter for there was no place to land.
“It’s obvious which godzillasaurus did this,” Mazaki said, eying Kuroki. “Tiamatodon moved in, left no survivors, and then moved out, just as it did with the whales.”
Segawa turned away from the screens to a large digital map table that filled the center of the room. The map was of the entire Pacific region with a handful of red dots indicating sightings of the mutated godzillasaurs. There were fewer of these dots each day. The green markers of the ships, tanks, and aircraft of Kuroki’s forces were withdrawing toward Japan and closing in on the southern coast of Honshu, the location of Godzilla that Kuroki had pried out of Mazaki. “Do we have a fix on Tiamatodon?” Segawa asked.
“Yes,” one of the technicians seated at the map table replied. She keyed in the location at her console station causing a fresh red dot to appear off the New Zealand coast. The dot showed where the Siamese godzillasaurus came ashore, and a red line branching from the dot indicated the direction it took after its attack on the town.
“It’s heading north into U.S. territorial waters,” Kuroki observed. “Rendezvous three of our destroyers with the U.S. Pacific fleet.”
The technician relayed the order to the Japanese admiralty.
“Happy now?” Kuroki asked Mazaki.
“Sure, provided the navy finds its needle in the haystack. If it doesn’t,” Mazaki pointed to the next landmark on the map that was in line with Tiamatodon’s last known course, “this is going to be the site of the next disaster.” That site was the Hawaiian Islands.
Miki worked on a letter to her parents to explain that she would be leaving the country and why, and when the time is right she would let them know where she went. Pausing from her work, she read the letter to see if there was anything more that should be added, or taken away.
A shadow cast over her. Startled out of her concentration, Miki looked up and gasped at who she saw looming over her.
“Baby!” she cried excitedly. Baby Godzilla quizzically looked at the words penned on the notepad on her lap. When he first hatched he was no taller than she was. Now he was as large as an elephant and stood about as high. His yellow eyes were not as big and cute, but more set inside his head, which had taken on some mature characteristics.
She reached up and grasped one of his wrists and shook his arm. The claws on his fingers were now sharper, more deadly. Yet he was as friendly toward her as ever, and at a time in her life when friends seem few and far between, Miki was so relieved to see him again.
Godzilla watched them play from a distance. Miki signaled for Baby to get down so she could climb up and ride on his back. Being born among the humans, Baby made a better companion. Godzilla understood that. He looked back out to the ocean. His wounds fully healed, he was ready to return to the sea for good. It was only a matter of finding a safe place for himself and Baby Godzilla, which was why he fetched the juvenile godzillasaurus, before it could wander into the line of fire of the new laser weapons. He remained still and took in the scent of the air, the temperature and the direction of the wind, divining from these factors which way to go.
As the U.S. Navy dropped charges, Tiamatodon swam forward on the ocean floor. Once the charges ceased exploding and the sonar sent its waves through the water, it stopped and waited among the craggy rock features. Beyond any person’s ability to believe, the Siamese twin learned quickly what those sonar waves meant and perceived accurately the confidence the tiny creatures up above on the surface had. If those creatures believed it could kill it, the Siamese godzillasaurus concluded they could.
In time it swam behind the fleet. The ships continued plumbing charges into the ocean, heading in a southward direction while the Siamese godzillasaurus continued its journey north. Hawaii now had no defense.
Tiamatodon envied other animals because, unlike them, it could not mix with its own kind. Prior to hatching, Tiamatodon was originally a pair of unborn theropods, one male and one female. The radiation experiments fused the embryos into one monster. Where Tiamatodon’s intelligence came from, no one would ever know. But the hermaphrodite was aware that its physical state was not normal. Tiamatodon hated its deformity. It hated being a solitary creature. It hated the world for being indifferent to its condition. Since nothing could be done to restore Tiamatodon, it decided to make certain every other living being was worse off. Anything that swam in the sea, crept upon the ground, or flew among the clouds must die…
During the sleepy hours of night, Tiamatodon surfaced off the eastern shore of Oahu in Maunalua Bay. Water dripped from the fins on its back, draining in rivulets down its smooth, black hide, and sprayed in the breeze from its lipless mouths.
An opulent row of resort hotels boxed in the beach. Curious vacationers gathered on the balconies and stared out into the bay, trying to figure out if something was out there. They could see in the pale luminance of the hotel lights that whatever it was, it was big and as black as the darkness. Yet many doubted they saw anything other than a trick of the eyes.
Then the fins of the Siamese monster lit up, back-lighting the beast. Now it was obvious something was out there. It was huge, and it had no arms and two heads. The hermaphrodite spread its twin radiation beams across the face of the hotels. The buildings burst into flames and hundreds of lives were extinguished.
The Siamese godzillasaur roamed upon the beach and broke through the conflagration of hotels. Beyond were the residential neighborhoods of Wilhemina. The lights came on in the houses as the inhabitants stared out their windows and doors, bleary eyed and bewildered. The sight of the fires and the towering twin-headed beast bearing down on them cleared their heads soon enough. But before anyone could do anything, the fins of the creature lit up and both heads jerked back as if taking in a deep breath. In the next moment the radiation beams exhaled from Tiamatodon’s mouths, erupting Wilhemina into an inferno.
The late shift on duty at the civil defense administration building overlooking Wilhemina was always prepared for trouble, but never did they imagine it would explode so fast and furious right on their doorstep. As soon as they positively identified the Siamese godzillasaurus, the head administrator, Carl Davis, radioed the admiral of the U.S. Pacific fleet. The admiral was shocked. “We sounded the bottom of the ocean over a twenty mile wide spread. If it was on its way to Hawaii we would have found it!”
“Nevertheless, Admiral,” Davis retorted in a strained, yet matter-of-fact tone, “it’s here. I can see it from my office window.”
One of the members of the mayoral staff in Honolulu awoke the mayor to give him the news. “It was Davis who called. The monster was spotted ten minutes ago outside the grounds of the civil defense administration building.”
“Did Carl notify the governor?” the mayor asked as he grabbed his robe and hurried out into the hall tightening the belt around his waist.
“Sir,” his aide said, trailing behind him, “the line has since gone dead. We can’t reach civil defense.”
Just then a series of explosions thundered outside. The mayor and his aid jumped. They went to the window in the corridor. All along the horizon toward the east shore an orange glow blazed behind the Honolulu skyline.
The mayor contacted the governor who then notified the National Guard. As the authorities tried to get organized, the Siamese godzillasaurus rounded the Diamond Head crater and lumbered down the packed Lunalilo Freeway, heading for the city’s heart. The Honolulu nightlife was out in full force. Once the monster stopped traffic on the freeway, the motorists on the intersecting streets came to a halt. Fire trucks and ambulances blared their horns, but no amount of noise could make the cars budge when there was no room to get out of the way.
Unimpeded, Tiamatodon crushed the vehicles underfoot and spread a swath of destruction that rapidly cut phone lines. One by one the governor, mayor, and the commissioner of police lost touch with each other, and soon not one of them could be located. Compelled to take matters into their own hands, individual police officers established roadblocks to the affected part of city. However, no civil infrastructure remained intact to dispatch an official bulletin to the airwaves. Tourists and locals alike who were miles away from what was happening were baffled and upset when they found themselves blocked by police officers standing before their cruisers decked in riot gear, directing them to head west out of Honolulu.
Unable to reach anyone in authority, the National Guard wrote off the entire Honolulu and Waikiki districts as a total loss and assumed command over the police department in the neighboring district of Ewa. As far as the National Guard commander, General John Ray, was concerned Oahu was at a state of war. Resources had to be deployed in a practical manner. Save the people who could be saved. With the beast heading west, the commander ordered the citizens of Ewa to be routed north up Highway 99 and the interstate between the Waianae and Koolau mountain ranges. If any stragglers made it out of the Honolulu district, thank God for it, and usher them north with the rest. “A half million people are going to have to be pushed up a narrow valley between the mountain ranges,” Ray said in his briefing to his staff. “It’s going to be like pushing sand up an hourglass.”
Back in the written off areas of Honolulu and Waikiki, Tiamatodon sliced its twin beams like knives through the high rises. In glittering shards of glass and twisted steel the top halves of the buildings collapsed upon the people below in the streets. Those who were not burned, collapsed upon the pavement, asphyxiated by the roaring fires sucking the oxygen out of the air.
Drawn by the runway lights, Tiamatodon left Waikiki to roam down the runways of the Honolulu International Airport. Passengers spilled like bugs out of a jar from the jet liners waiting for clearance for takeoff. Ignoring them, Tiamatodon lashed its punishing rays on the passenger planes in the air. Thousands perished as the jets careened out of the sky in flames and struck like bombs on airport facilities. Tiamatodon proceeded to Hickam Air Force Base where the National Guard fighters were just taxiing onto the runways. The hermaphrodite made short work of fighters. Their ordnance went off like Fourth of July fireworks.
Pearl Harbor had one battleship and two cruisers in dry dock. Witnessing the devastation at Hickam, the base commander ordered the crews to battle stations. The mutant godzillasaurus was an open target on the airfield. The nine and eighteen inch guns thundered into the night. The bridge crew cheered as they saw their target buckle over from the impact of their shells. But impact did not equate with actual injury. The fins on the hermaphrodite flared as it stood up straight and burned its rays into the ships like twin blowtorches. The radioactive beams pierced through the superstructures as though they were made of liquid wax and struck the warehouses storing ammunition on the other side of the docks. The whole harbor jolted from the deafening explosions. Every window within miles shattered from the concussion.
Tiamatodon ravaged Pearl City, and turned north toward the valley between the mountain ranges. General Ray was incredulous when he received radio reports from his troops along one of the evacuation routes, on Highway 99, that the monster was approaching.
“It’s just an animal!” he bellowed to his command staff. He pounded his fist on the map table. “It should have continued in a straight line due west, straight back into the sea. That’s what any of the others would have done!”
Tens of thousands were log-jammed in their cars or trudging on foot along the shoulders of the road, stretching out for miles before Tiamatodon. Humans — these were the same creatures that believed they were given dominion over all the other animals. Tiamatodon sensed that about them when it was young and confined in the pens on Lagos. Now they were abandoning their machines and running for the foothills of the mountains as though Tiamatodon were bringing the end of the world. The hermaphrodite sniffed at the notion. It was not bringing the end of the world. Mankind was just losing his place in it. Tiamatodon shined its atomic rays across the treetops of the woods covering the foothills, bursting them into flame. The screams crying from within the burning foliage were hellish. Like a frightened herd, the fleeing mob changed course and ran across the open field, parallel to the road. Tiamatodon followed leaving many crushed bodies in its tracks.
When the news of what happened in Hawaii reached Tokyo, the Japanese government held an emergency session. As an expert on dinosaurs and a member of Kuroki’s staff, Mazaki gave the Diet a threat analysis of the Siamese godzillasaurus.
He put up a side-by-side comparison of Godzilla’s path through Tokyo in 1954 to Tiamatodon’s route through Oahu. “As you can see,” he indicated on the projection screen with his pointer, “Godzilla entered the city from the bay, making one complete circle before returning to the sea. The red dots along his path indicate where he used his atomic ray. These areas tended to be buildings that obstructed his progress. Compare this to the other mutant.”
Mazaki directed attention with the pointer to the extensive regions marked in red on Oahu. “Tiamatodon was not targeting obstructions, but major population areas. Wherever the U.S. authorities tried to evacuate their people, Tiamatodon followed. In 1954, sixty percent of Tokyo still stood. In Oahu, three major cities have been devastated. The fires are still burning as we speak, and neither has it been possible to mount any sort of search for survivors.”
The representatives of the Japanese Diet began murmuring among themselves.
“I hope by now,” Mazaki raised his voice to be heard, “it is clear which of these two monsters is the greater threat. Before anyone accuses me of siding with the enemy,” Mazaki directed his gaze toward Major Kuroki, “I understand Godzilla is an imminent danger because of his proximity to us, but as the only nation that has the capacity to destroy these creatures it is up to us to stop first and foremost the one that is the greatest menace to the whole world.”
“So what of it, Major,” Segawa said, turning the issue over to Kuroki, “are you going to redeploy your troops to take on Tiamatodon?”
“It won’t be necessary,” the Major replied. “I have been informed by U.S. naval intelligence Tiamatodon has been spotted heading in our direction. We won’t have to go looking for it. It is coming to us.”
The room broke apart in an uproar. Cameras began clicking furiously. Kuroki, appearing confident, raised his hand for silence. “I understand many of you feel we missed our chance to stop Tiamatodon at Oahu and now it’s too late. Even among my own staff I have been told I should not have withdrawn all of our forces to the home islands to deal with Godzilla,” Kuroki smirked, alluding toward Mazaki. “I assure you by the time Tiamatodon arrives Godzilla will be dead. We will be ready.”
Kuroki dispatched every engineer battalion available to the conservancy to clear-cut a three hundred foot wide path through the woods to the shore. He established his rear assembly area by the highway where his troops staked their tents. Two artillery batteries positioned themselves forward of the assembly area, one rocket battery and one self-propelled gun battery with a reserve gun battery left parked back on the highway. The maser tanks rumbled into the clearing to take up their positions while on the beach troops marked fire zones for the tank gunners with orange flags. Destroyers waited outside the bay, spread out as far as the eye could see in a blockade of the coast. It was like the police had arrived with guns drawn. Choppers circled the island, searching for any sign of Godzilla.
Both he and Baby slumbered in the cave all day, seemingly oblivious to the commotion outside. Miki was astounded at the number of troops and equipment brought to bear. She sat atop a knoll working out her nervous tension picking at blades of grass while the army continued to turn their side of the bay into something that resembled the beaches of Normandy. A small boat came over to the island. She recognized Kuroki and Mazaki among the soldiers on board, and went down to meet them.
The Major looked her over. She wasn’t the same since he last saw her — tanned, a little dirty, and her hair had grown past her shoulders.
“Miki,” Mazaki began, his voice heavy with regret, “I’m sorry. They had been watching me. I had no choice but to tell them where you were.”
“You don’t apologize to her,” Kuroki interrupted with an upraised hand. “You’ve done the right thing.”
“What do you want?” Miki glared at Kuroki.
“We’re about ready to go into action,” Kuroki glanced back at his army. “If your friend doesn’t show himself soon we will be coming after him. It would be humane to give you a chance to vacate the operation area.”
“Will I still be under arrest?”
“Then I’d rather be ground under the treads of your tanks than give you the satisfaction of escorting me back into custody.”
Kuroki smiled. He nodded toward the massive rock pinnacle. “Is he in there?” Miki did not answer. “Do you love him?” he then asked.
Miki snorted in contempt, but Kuroki stood his ground. She became uneasy, suspecting he knew more about her than he should.
“Come now,” Kuroki continued, “your social life is no secret, and I’m sure your psychic ability allows you to see an aspect of Godzilla we can’t. It wouldn’t be impossible for that aspect to become a substitute for a companion, eh?”
“Don’t taunt her,” Mazaki admonished the Major.
Kuroki found a raw nerve and had pressed down on it for all it was worth. Miki’s complexion turned red and her eyes became misty as her lean frame tensed in fury. Kuroki then extended his hand.
“Let’s go,” he said to her. “It’s time to come back to the real world.”
Miki looked to Mazaki for support. All he could do was stand by and look upon her with sympathy. He was as much a prisoner of circumstance as she. Miki turned back to Kuroki.
“Let me have my freedom one last night,” she requested. “You have the island surrounded. There’s no way I can escape.”
“To say goodbye?” Kuroki agreed after a moment’s thought. “After that you come when we fetch you. If you don’t, what happens to you will be your responsibility.”
Godzilla remained in the cave, and whenever Baby started nosing out of the entrance he hissed at him to get back inside. Being more adapted to an omnivorous diet, Baby happily accepted Miki’s offer of the last of her food stores. She would not be needing them and it helped keep Baby settled.
“It looks like I won’t be going to China,” Miki lamented, stoking a fresh campfire as the sun waned outside. “And you won’t have a chance to find the fish-filled seas you wanted,” she said to Godzilla. “At least for you the end will be quick. As for me…”
Godzilla grimaced at her in skepticism. Despite the power of the LaSalle laser he did not believe he could be beaten.
Miki smiled at his confidence, and then wiped away a tear. “I don’t care if the rest of the world laughs at me. I will miss you.” The firelight played across her features. She looked tired, as someone who was carrying more than her share of worry. “Even though we’re so different you never made me feel different like people do. I never felt self-conscious around you. I will miss that.”
Baby nudged her with his snout, wanting something more to eat. Godzilla bared his teeth at him to leave her alone. With his head ducked low, Baby returned to his corner of the cave. Godzilla looked back at Miki who sank into a quagmire of dread for tomorrow. Unable to shed tears, Godzilla watched Miki wipe her cheeks, uncertain of what she was doing.
As agreed, Miki came the next day. Mazaki and two soldiers met her on the shore of the island. Without protest she accompanied them to the mainland to the tent where the Major had established his HQ.
Kuroki offered a chair. Before she could acquiesce the soldiers forced her to sit. One of them rolled up her sleeve as a medic in combat fatigues came forward with a syringe. She struggled and swore at them to let her go. Mazaki made a move toward the army doctor, but before he could grab the medic the Major stiff-armed him back. The doctor then drove the needle into Miki’s forearm. Shortly her struggling ceased and her head rolled back as she slumped in the chair.
“Enough’s enough!” Mazaki hollered at Kuroki. “I don’t care what you think she’s done. You don’t treat her like a dog!”
“You do not tell me when enough is enough.” Major Kuroki put his finger to Mazaki’s face. He enunciated each word as though they were statements. Mazaki stumbled back to get some space between them, but the Major kept pace, letting loose what he had been hiding under his aloof demeanor. “For five years I have lived with failure,” the Major stated. “I slept with it. I ate with it. It was with me every step I took. As far as I knew I would never get rid of it until, as if a gift had fallen from the heavens, you found on Lagos the means to exterminate Godzilla. I was this close,” Kuroki held his finger an inch from his thumb, “in wiping the slate clean, and then she screwed it up! I’m not going to let that happen again.”
Mazaki and Kuroki fell silent, but their eyes remained locked. The medic nervously looked from one to the other. “Uh, Sir,” he said meekly to Kuroki, “the girl should be unconscious for an hour.”
“Thank you,” Kuroki acknowledged the medic.
Then Godzilla’s footfalls thundered from the island in the bay. One of the radio operators relayed a message from the blockade. “Captain Akagi from the destroyer Shinitsu reports that Godzilla is heading in our direction. He asks permission to fire.”
“Tell him no,” Kuroki countered. “Let Godzilla come to us. I want all ships to keep watch for Tiamatodon. And scramble the fighters.”
“Flight leader Sasaki,” the forward air controller announced, “replies that his ETA will be twenty-five minutes.”
“Tell him to make it fifteen,” Kuroki returned.
Godzilla came into view from around the pinnacle. Despite the firepower at the army’s disposal tensions were high among the ranks. At a hundred meters tall his size was still more than enough to send a chill through their blood, regardless of the advantage their weapons gave them.
Coming to a halt on the island’s shore, Godzilla sized up the opposition. Five maser tanks were in hull-down positions on a ridge to the right. To the left, three tanks waited atop a hill with two more dug in below. More tanks hunkered down in revetments fortified with freshly cut logs within the clearing cut through the trees.
“Come on,” Kuroki whispered between clenched teeth. “Close in like you always do.” He double-checked Miki. She was still out, so Godzilla should not be receiving any forewarning of what the orange flags on the beach were for.
This time the behemoth did not follow a predictable course. From where he stood Godzilla brewed up, his dorsal plates flashing in lightning-blue light, and spewed his atomic ray across the base of the ridge, blasting the terra firma out from underneath the tanks. The entire platoon tumbled to the shore, their guns bent and ruined. Without let up, Godzilla swung his beam into the hillside blasting the heart out of the hill. The hilltop collapsed and the tanks at the top tumbled down upon the tanks below.
“Damn it!” Kuroki cursed. His first company out of commission, he ordered Second Company in the revetments to open fire even though their line of sight was not good. Godzilla forced himself into the beams. His thick hide blistered and peeled. He held up his hands to shield his torso, but the beams burned through his palms. Yet he did not bellow. It appeared he knew what he was doing, sacrificing less vital areas of his body to buy time.
Crossing to their side of the bay he stopped on the shore. With two swipes of his tail, one slamming into the loosened remains of the ridge and the other into the battered hill, he buried Second Company in their revetments under tons of dirt, silencing their guns.
Kuroki let Godzilla continue to close halfway up the clearing then ordered Third Company into action. The next set of ten tanks emerged from their ambush positions among the trees, surrounding Godzilla. He watched them swivel their turrets. Since he remained still, the tank gunners raised their sights until his head was locked on target. The instant they fired Godzilla ducked. As their beams criss-crossed over the top of him, he dug out the tanks of Second Company with his bloodied hands and threw them at Third Company, smashing them into junk.
Kuroki committed Fourth Company, his last group of ten tanks. Now it was a near even match. They had clear line of sight, yet they were within stomping range. The gunners raked Godzilla’s flesh like electric talons. Enough wounds were opened for the artillery to do some good. Kuroki ordered them to join the assault. For the first time Godzilla was sustaining injuries from conventional high explosives shells. Blood spewed. Godzilla cried out in agony from the onslaught. He in turn brought the full force of his feet down upon the LaSalle laser guns, silencing them one by one with the tanks smashed nose-first into the dirt. He fired his atomic ray across a wide arc over the artillery positions in the rear. The heat of the ray set many a tent on fire and the detonations of the ammunition shredded many more with shrapnel. Red-hot debris ripped through Kuroki’s tent, toppling it and setting it on fire. Mazaki scooped Miki up from the chair and joined Kuroki’s staff as they scrambled for cover.
Only Kuroki remained, refusing to give ground to his giant antagonist. Godzilla scanned the smoking field and made note of Kuroki. Disinterested in the tiny human, he kept looking about, as if searching for someone. Kuroki’s jaw clenched tight in anger. Whipping out his pistol he fired up at Godzilla’s head. The pistol rounds could hardly reach Godzilla’s skull, much less harm him. Yet he knew the sound of the gun well, and the intent behind it. He roared back, drowning out the report of Kuroki’s weapon, and raised his foot to crush the major.
At last the fighters arrived. Godzilla turned to face the new incoming threat, but the planes were on him quicker than he could determine the direction from which they were coming. Sasaki and his pilots strafed Godzilla mercilessly with their LaSalle lasers. Roaring, Godzilla staggered back under the harsh lashing. To protect his nearly exposed vitals, he spun his untouched back toward them. The lasers peeled away skin and fat. Several of his dorsal plates were seared at the roots and twisted off his back.
Once the fighters veered away to regroup, Godzilla stood up and repositioned himself. Kuroki figured out what he was about to do and grabbed the FAC’s radio headset.
“Flight Leader Sasaki,” he cried, “break up your formation! Break it up!”
The command came too late. Godzilla swung his beam across the path of the fighter wing. Thirteen of the fifteen planes burst into balls of fire. Black smoke and falling debris was all that remained. The last three pilots, obviously less experienced, repeated the same mistake, forming up, approaching wingtip to wingtip. Godzilla blasted them.
Kuroki raised the destroyer Shinitsu. “Captain Akagi, do you read me? Do you have line of sight to Godzilla? Wait a minute.”
It appeared naval assistance would not be needed. Dazed, Godzilla took several unsteady steps. He looked about for any further attackers. Seeing none he roared triumphantly. He took several more unsteady steps. His skin hung from him like rags. It was clear blood loss was making him light headed. He made one more attempt to stand steady and then fell with a crash, shaking the ground.
Excitement crossed Kuroki’s face. But instead of letting out a whoop, he collected himself. “We got him, Captain,” he reported in his usual calm tone. “I repeat: we got him.” Tossing the headset aside, he leaned forward on the communications table, regarding his fallen foe. Five years… Finally, the slate was clean. All that was left to do about his bloodied opponent was let nature take its course.
Miki came to in one of the aid station tents by the highway. Mazaki had laid her on one of the cots. He sat in a metal folding chair, waiting for her to wake up.
“Who won?” she asked, sounding groggy.
“No one,” Mazaki replied.
Alarmed, Miki got up and hurried out of the tent. The army was loading the wounded onto trucks. Toward the bay, columns of smoke were marring the sky. She pushed her way through the soldiers searching for Godzilla. She found him just as she saw him on Lagos years ago, lying on his side, mortally wounded. It was like coming full circle.
While the people around her labored to extract the crews from the smashed tanks, the dichotomy was not lost on her that she was the only one who was sad for Godzilla.
Miki looked at her open palm, remembering when Godzilla took her into his palm. I know you came for me, she said to him silently with her thoughts. There was no way they could have flushed you out of the cave. Just as you came for me I will stay with you until… Miki swallowed a hard lump in her throat. Until you go, she continued. Rest now.
With her open palm she made a downward motion for him to close his eyes, and with her will put his mind at ease so he could sleep.
As she stood by a familiar voice spoke to her.
“Miki,” Mazaki said, “I want you to meet a colleague of mine.”
She was overcome by surprise when she saw that it was Dr. Yamane. Yamane’s daughter, Emiko, and son-in-law, Ogata, were helping the old paleontologist over the rough ground. Nearly ninety, Yamane was thin and frail, yet his purposeful manner made him seem indifferent to his age.
“Dr. Yamane,” Miki bowed. She straightened her dusty clothes, trying to look presentable. “I can’t believe you are here.” Up to now she only knew him from his writings and photographs.
“We heard on the news the army was going to have its showdown with Godzilla today,” Ogata explained. He and Emiko were well along in years themselves.
“I read all your research on Godzilla, Doctor,” Miki said. “Everything I know about dinosaurs I learned from you.”
“If that’s the case, child,” Yamane said with a twinkle, “your knowledge is twenty years out of date. I imagine you know more about Godzilla than anyone. When this mess is over I would like you to come visit me and tell me everything you have learned about him.”
“I would,” Miki lowered her gaze. “But I have to stand before a hearing to determine if I helped Godzilla fight the army. If the court believes I did, I’m looking at charges that could range from reckless endangerment of our soldiers to treason. The public hates me and trusts Kuroki. So you know whose side the court will take.”
“I’ll see to it that you have the best representation,” Yamane assured her. “You have too much to contribute to be locked away.”
“Thank you,” Miki bowed. “It’s been awhile since I’ve been appreciated.”
Yamane leaned on his cane, looking upon Godzilla gravely. “So this is how it ends.”
“I remember years ago when we were on Odo Island,” Emiko said, “and he peered down on us from over the hill. We ran and ran. I thought for certain we were going to be killed. I can still hear his roar ringing in my ears. If someone told me back then that someday I would see Godzilla like this, I would never have believed it. It’s such a relief!”
Miki glowered at the old woman. Yet, Emiko’s reaction was only natural.
A gray overcast covered the sun. Miki rubbed the sides of her arms. An unearthly chill was in the air. Oddly, she seemed to be the only one who was feeling it. Her brown eyes went wide and looked out to sea when she realized that she was sensing the presence of the two-headed creature that had haunted her in her sleep.
The destroyer Shinitsu exploded. Everyone jumped at the sharp, booming sound. The ship listed in flames, and spilled over on its side, revealing a massive hole burned into the bottom of the hull. The water foamed and churned as Tiamatodon rose from the depths. Its black scales glistened like polished opals. Quickly Tiamatodon turned its heads in either direction, knocking out ship after ship in the blockade before a single LaSalle laser turret could swivel and return fire.
Major Kuroki was in the midst of supervising the evacuation of the wounded when his promise to protect Japan had gone up in smoke. How quickly absolution slipped through his fingers.
“How did that monster get in close to the ships without being detected?” his adjutant asked.
“It’s quite simple, Lieutenant,” Kuroki replied acidly. “Dinosaurs ruled the earth once before. Who are we to get in their way of ruling it again?”
Godzilla opened his eyes at the sound of Tiamatodon’s double roar. He heard the blood lust in Tiamatodon’s voice. As he stood up from the ground, his sense of balance rocked like the sea until he could get a grip on himself. Out in the wild, it did not matter what shape you were in, so long as you had a spark of life left you fought to hang on to it.
“No!” Miki cried. “Stay down! You’re too weak to fight!”
As Godzilla headed down to the beach the soldiers bolted from the damaged tanks. They hurried Miki and her friends to come along with them, away from the shore. Miki had no choice but to leave Godzilla to his fate. They jumped down into the trenches at the rear of the combat zone.
The two dinosaurian titans threatened each other with their fiercest cries. Tiamatodon’s replies sounded shriller, like the hiss of two devils. Sizing up his opponent, Godzilla noted that Tiamatodon was much younger, streamlined, and no doubt more agile. Yet, waist deep in water, Tiamatodon’s agility would be negated, and Godzilla would have the advantage of his size and arms — for what they were worth. The LaSalle laser beams had severed muscles and nerves. His right hand would not fully close and his left arm was numb and could be barely raised to the level of his shoulder.
The sizing up stage over, Godzilla closed in. Sensing a severe disadvantage about to be levied against it, Tiamatodon blasted Godzilla with both atomic rays before he could step foot into the water, knocking him to the ground, insensible. The reverberations kicked up clouds of dust. The way now clear, Tiamatodon proceeded into the bay. The hermaphrodite came ashore on the island, and when it was about to re-enter the water to close the distance with Godzilla on the mainland, it was beset by a sharp set of teeth and claws digging into its tail. In mid step it found itself being pulled back.
There, behind it was Baby, wrenching its tail back and forth. Tiamatodon yanked its lengthy appendage away in an irritable gesture. Dwarfed under Tiamatodon’s shadow, Baby stepped back baring its teeth, hissing. A cold-blooded expression shrouded the countenances of Tiamatodon. With one mouth opened wide, it grabbed Baby in its jaws and swung him high in the air and slammed him down hard on the ground. Bones snapped. Baby’s form went limp.
But once wasn’t enough. Tiamatodon slammed Baby down once more and then stomped on the juvenile godzillasaurus. One of Baby’s feet twitched for a few moments before he became completely still.
Now Tiamatodon finished the distance toward Godzilla. Rolling Godzilla over with its foot, Tiamatodon inspected all the tender, open wounds on Godzilla’s torso, picking the choicest place to sink in its teeth.
Miki climbed out of the trench in a burst of speed. No one had as much as a heartbeat’s time to restrain her.
“Hey!” She waved her arms to distract hermaphrodite. “Down here! Remember me? I mattered enough to you before when you tried to scare me in my dreams. You want someone to fight, fight me!”
Oh, yes, Tiamatodon remembered her. She was going to use psycho-kinesis against it. Tiamatodon was more than happy to accommodate her in a battle of wills. After all, humans believed their strongest asset was their minds. How fitting it would be to kill one of them on their own turf — so to speak.
Closing her eyes and clasping her hands together, Miki focused her concentration, knowing she was going to be facing two minds, not one. However, she did not anticipate encountering the level of sophistication, the paths and byways of thought possessed by her enemy. Its complexity was before her mind’s eye for a moment before she found herself in a place, the bunker on Lagos Island. Tiamatodon had created some sort of psychic illusion.
Unclasping her hands, she looked around, finding a body dressed in a lab coat lying on the floor. The nametag read “Leslie Cumbermin” and displayed a photo of a smiling woman in her late forties with short, curly gray hair. The photo didn’t match with the body, for the face had been shorn from the skull. This was Tiamatodon’s first victim.
Miki became aware someone was behind her. Spinning around she saw it was Tiamatodon, standing no taller than a six-foot man. Tiamatodon also had arms. Balling a fist, it smacked her across the jaw with a backhanded swing. She crashed among a table and stools.
The blow felt real, the knuckles hard and brutal. Hearing Tiamatodon approach, she scrambled away for the nearest exit, not wasting a moment to look back to see how close it was. Once out of the room, she hit the buttons to the door controls to lock it. Quicker than the door, Tiamatodon grabbed it before it could shut and forced it open. The gears whined, sparked, and leaked acrid smoke.
Miki bolted down the hall. An object hit her square in the back, knocking her to the cement floor. It was one of the stools. Making a metallic twang sound when it struck, it clattered on the floor beside her.
Elbows, knees, her back — bruises stung her in so many places. This creature was going to batter her to death unless she turned the tables. Tiamatodon was at home here. She needed to imagine a place where she would have the upper hand.
Tiamatodon strode down the hall. With its quarry prostrate and seemingly too sore to get up, Tiamatodon merely needed to make her demise complete.
Then the dank, cement corridor switched to a brightly colored women’s clothing section of a department store. The girl seemed to be standing everywhere. Tiamatodon had no idea what a mannequin was, and as far as it was concerned all humans looked alike. Tentatively it touched one of the stiff, human figures, getting no response.
As Tiamatodon roamed the aisles searching for Miki, she emerged from the sporting goods department with an aluminum baseball bat. Without a word she walked up behind it and delivered a series of blows that more than made up for the trouncing she took in the Lagos bunker, striking Tiamatodon across both heads, the knees, arms, stomach. Tiamatodon staggered back, teetering at the edge of the escalator going down to the music and video department. Dropping the bat, Miki grabbed a brace stretched across the ceiling and kicked both feet into Tiamatodon’s chest, sending it tumbling end over end down the moving steps.
Retrieving the bat, Miki pursued. When she came down to the next floor the light switched to a pale luminance. She found that she was standing on the ocean floor. Water poured, swirling around her ankles, quickly rising up to her head. She swam.
Still in its human size, Tiamatodon, as graceful as a porpoise, slid through the cold depths and raked its dorsal plates across Miki’s stomach. She doubled over, gulping cold seawater. Her fingers sinking queasily into the wound, she struggled to regain control of the scene. In desperation, the best she could imagine was the safety of home. The scene deposited her, dripping wet and spitting water out of her lungs, on the steps leading up to her apartment.
She rushed up and slammed the door, locking it. In one blow, Tiamatodon smashed it open. Miki retreated into her kitchen, grabbing a knife from the dishes she had left unwashed from breakfast so many moons ago before her arrest. Again, Tiamatodon showed uncanny speed, knocking the knife away. Grabbing her by the front of her shirt, it threw her onto her unmade futon in the next room. Miki attempted to get up, but Tiamatodon was on her, mashing a pillow over her face. She struggled, trying to pry the talons loose. Her lungs felt ready to burst.
Then Tiamatodon’s weight was suddenly off her. Like a spell broken, Miki came conscious from the psychic battle, coughing for air. While Miki and Tiamatodon fought, Godzilla had found the strength to stand and grab Tiamatodon from behind, severing the psychic link. Tiamatodon in return flung Godzilla off and pounded him with the double-barreled blast of its heat rays.
“We have to give Godzilla a chance,” Kuroki declared to his troops. He ordered the reserve battery to split its twelve guns, six to Tiamatodon’s right flank and six on the other. The tracked guns entered the uncut portions of the woods, emerging enough from the trees at the shore for the crews to aim their weapons. Taking a walkie-talkie, Kuroki hopped into a forward observation trench.
“On my mark,” Kuroki instructed, “Right flank, stand by. Fire at the heads… now!”
Tiamatodon reeled around, bewildered by the sudden fusillade. The shells didn’t inflict much injury, but they were loud and stung.
“Left flank, fire!”
Irritated, Tiamatodon turned toward the left.
“Left flank, stand down. Right flank fire.” So it went, back and forth. The artillery fire gave Mazaki ample opportunity to get Miki back to the trenches. Shaken from her fight, she kept checking her stomach as though she were looking for blood. Godzilla regained his senses. Once he got back up Tiamatodon whipped around firing both beams smacking a one-two punch across his face. The first blast sent him reeling. The second knocked him off his feet. Tiamatodon tossed its tail high in the air in glee.
Godzilla rolled toward the Siamese monster and chomped its ankle. Howling, Tiamatodon hopped on one foot while trying to pull the other free. Godzilla released it, letting Tiamatodon crash to the ground.
Like a sack of bones, it was a struggle for Godzilla to get back up on his feet, while Tiamatodon got back up easily, despite the lack of arms. It spun around and cracked its tail across Godzilla’s exposed belly. As it came full circle, Godzilla vomited in both faces. Without hands, all Tiamatodon could do was swing its heads side to side to get rid of Godzilla’s gooey stomach contents.
Bile dripping from his jaws, Godzilla gave Tiamatodon a helping hand by burning the sticky matter off with his atomic ray. Tiamatodon staggered.
Godzilla then lurched forward in pain. The walls of his stomach were protruding from the wounds inflicted by the LaSalle lasers. The blow from Tiamatodon’s tail only worsened the matter. He squeezed in his entrails, blood oozing through his clawed fingers. Instead of panic his actions were more of a hardened soldier’s when the chips were down.
Amused over Godzilla having to hold his guts in, Tiamatodon uttered a sort of grunting chortle. In essence Godzilla was armless as well.
Head down, Godzilla charged Tiamatodon and flipped the twin-headed beast over his shoulder. The whole conservancy seemed to hold its breath as 60,000 tons of flesh and bone was suspended in the air and then came crashing down.
Godzilla fired into Tiamatodon’s kicking body. Residual energy crackled and popped off of its scaly obsidian-colored hide. Godzilla allowed Tiamatodon to get to its feet while he channeled his atomic energy to regenerate his cells.
Tiamatodon reacted in surprise to what Godzilla had done. Such was the benefit of the older monster’s experience. However, without fresh exposure to radioactive material the most Godzilla could do was form enough muscle tissue to hold in his internal organs.
But his hands were free. Grabbing a pair of empty battle tanks, he threw one. Tiamatodon blasted it. He made a throwing motion with the other. Tiamatodon fired again, hitting nothing. Godzilla had faked his opponent to find out how fast Tiamatodon could fire its rays. Now that he knew, Godzilla threw the second tank. While Tiamatodon blasted it, Godzilla charged in. With quickness as its last defense, Tiamatodon swung its whip-like tail. Godzilla skidded to a stop and grabbed the swinging tail in one motion.
Tiamatodon squawked from being out-maneuvered. The head of the female half of Tiamatodon’s being grabbed Godzilla’s forearm with her jaws, ripping off a flap of loose skin. Defiantly, Tiamatodon swallowed the loose meat.
Incensed, Godzilla collared the female’s throat. That insult did more to give him his second wind than anything. With a sharp wrench on the neck, the vertebrae snapped. Wailing, the male half of Tiamatodon felt the pain. The female head now hung lifeless as an awkward weight. Backing up toward the bay, Tiamatodon wrapped its long tail around the neck, trying to pull the head off to regain proper balance. The sight was gruesome. It appeared as if Tiamatodon was attacking itself.
Summoning the last of his radioactive reserves, Godzilla blasted Tiamatodon off its feet. The concussion on the ground stirred Baby to consciousness. Pushing himself up, Baby limped forward on a broken hip with a score to settle. When the dust settled around Tiamatodon, the first thing the male head saw was a small set of jaws sinking its teeth into his left eye. Baby pulled the visual organ from its socket, prying a fresh cry of pain from his abuser.
Godzilla grunted at Baby to go ahead and eat his prize.
Tiamatodon, with its optical cavity oozing fluid and its one good eye crazed with fear and agony, floundered on its belly, groveling to reach the water. Godzilla pulled it by the tail farther up on the shore. Tiamatodon flipped to its back, firing its heat ray.
Godzilla swung aside. The beam shot harmlessly into the sky. He smacked the male head to the right with his tail, and then smacked it senseless to the left. He then stepped over and slammed his heel down on its head, breaking the jaw. The broken mandible hung loose. A gory hiss gurgled from the male head’s throat. The second blow from Godzilla’s foot crushed the beast’s cranium like a clay pot. Bits of bone lodged into the brain. Tiamatodon was dead.
A struggle of this magnitude of course did not go unnoticed. The media began to arrive in force along with curiosity seekers. The army put up a cordon to restrain them from the beach.
Kuroki refused to speak to the press as he sequestered within the shelter of another tent where he established a temporary command center. Mazaki caused considerable annoyance among the reporters gathered outside when the guards permitted him to go in. The Major had just sealed a hand-written message in an envelope and handed it to a runner to be delivered to Tokyo.
“So,” Mazaki said, “what are your plans for Ms. Saegusa now? You realize Godzilla showed more tactical aptitude today than he did when you accused her of helping him.”
“I am aware of that,” Kuroki replied, tucking his pen into the inside pocket of his leather army jacket. “The soldier you just passed coming in is delivering my recommendation to Tokyo to drop all charges against her.”
Mazaki smiled contentiously. “You admit you were wrong.”
“No.” Kuroki folded his hands on the table. “It’s just that I can’t hold her accountable for jeopardizing the safety of our armed forces and our country for selfish reasons when all this time I have been more guilty than she has. You will give her the news she’s free, won’t you?”
“Why don’t you do it yourself?”
“Because, Professor, I think she would rather hear it from a friend.”
Out on the beach, Godzilla inspected Baby’s stance as the juvenile godzillasaurus tottered on his broken hip. Baby had enough strength to stand, he ought to be able to swim, albeit slowly. Godzilla intended to leave regardless of the discomfort the salty sea would cause his open wounds. He had had enough of this place.
The braver souls among the press managed to get around the cordon and headed down to the shore, but Miki was in no mood to speak to them any more than Kuroki. Dr. Yamane took the pressure off when he consented to answer their questions.
Miki then asked, “Who just called my name?”
No one owned up to speaking to her. Then Dr. Yamane touched her shoulder to draw her attention and then pointed up in the air, toward the beach. She turned and saw Godzilla looking down upon her. He spoke her name again, in thought.
For Godzilla to use her name showed he had the capacity to understand the meaning of being an individual beyond the basics, beyond predator and prey, mate and offspring. She now knew for certain what she needed to know most: that he was as capable of being concerned for her in the same way she had become concerned for him. Her emotional investment in him had not been in vain.
The press, Emiko and Ogata fell silent as they, along with Dr. Yamane, watched Miki approach Godzilla. She spoke to him as one person to another. They could not hear what she said, because she was too far away. “I can’t go” was all they could make out. Miki shook her head when she said those words.
Godzilla then summoned Baby with a grunt to follow him out to the bay. Miki returned and walked past Yamane and the others with her cheeks reddened by emotion. Some would say later they saw Godzilla acknowledge her with a nod. But all agreed that during Miki and Godzilla’s time on the island in the bay something special had happened.
The author loves feedback. Feel free to email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
You may also be interested in reading some of his older Godzilla stories in back issues of G-FAN:
- Attack of the Super Allosaurus: Issues #15 through #17
- Battle of Manazura Island: Issue #25
- Rodana: Issue #42