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Here There Be Monsters

FICTION - by George Thomas









PROLOGUE



Osaka, the house of retired Defense Force General Akira Iwa.

The old soldier sleeps now, dreaming. His dreams are sometimes of battle, and sometimes of love. Tonight his dreams will be of only horror.

"Iwa sama," it calls his name. Slowly, the soldier opens his eyes. A figure stands wavering in a darkened corner, a vague aura surrounding it. "Iwa sama, help me." It spoke again, in a voice vaguely familiar.

"Sato san? Is that you?"

"Help me, General," it shifted closer. "You've got to kill me. You've got to make it stop!"

Iwa found he dare not move at the sight of the thing now standing at the foot of his bed. A being composed not of flesh but of fluids. Something that may indeed have once been young Maki Sato, now become something else. Something for which Man has no name.

The creature's luminance was shifting, growing brighter, and it let out an unearthly yowl! "Tell them, General!" The thing shouted fiercely, rage and pain now burning in its eyes! It shuddered, flowing closer. "Tell them to kill me before it's too late!!"

The glow dimmed as the creature flowed suddenly away through an open window. Iwa rose from his futon to peer after the being. Whatever it was had vanished into the night, leaving the General alone, and afraid. "Oh God. Sato..."







War against the Wild Gods

BOOK FIVE: Godzilla Versus The H-Man





Part One: THE TEMPLE







Osaka. G-Force Command.

"What on Earth is going on here?!" Captain Inoshiro Tanaka entered the medlab, shouting. The place was in chaos. Equipment and supplies strewn about, tables overturned and broken. A technician stood in a corner, bandaging a bloody wound. There was a loud thud, and Doctor Noribu Noto rose from beneath a counter, rubbing a bump on his head.

"Captain, thank God you've come! She's uncontrollable, a devil! She bit my radiologist!"

Tanaka ran a hand through his close cropped hair and sighed. "Where is she now?"

"Under that cabinet. She won't let anyone near her. Look what she's done to my lab!!"

"I'm sorry, Doctor. Why don't you attend your assistant now. I'll stay and do what I can."

"Be careful, Tanaka, she's a demon," said the doctor, leading his assistant from the room.

Alone now, Shiro walked through the debris and picked up a chair. He sat and looked about him, awed at the destruction the tiny beast had wrought.

"Okay, Mikki. Playtime's over, come on out of there." From beneath a cabinet a shaggy blonde muzzle poked out. It gave a quick snort, then retreated. Shiro thought for a moment, then added, "Please."

The cheeky little terrier pulled herself slowly from her hiding place and sat before him, a self satisfied look on her canine face. Everyone had the same reaction when Shiro brought her back; the dog was adorable, and he had to force himself to scold her.

"Mikki, you have behaved very badly. Look at this mess!" Tanaka spoke firmly, trying to intone disappointment in his voice. "You know you must not bite people. We only wanted to make sure you are all right." Shiro caught himself speaking to the dog as if she was human and could understand him, another reaction shared by those who met her. Mikki rose to her haunches and pirouetted, as if saying "See, I'm fine!" Shiro could stand it no longer, and laughed with affection! "Come here to me, you little beast!"

"She seems to like you, Shiro. A testimony to your good nature perhaps." Tanaka turned, and there stood General Iwa, smiling. The man had an uncanny knack for sneaking up on people. A natural stealth that had probably helped keep him alive for so very long in this line of work.

"General!" The Captain rose, dog in arms, and saluted. Mikki watched him, and raised a paw herself. The General laughed, amused by the gesture.

"Did you see that, Shiro? What a soldier she would be!" Iwa patted the pooch. Mikki responded with the affirmative double yap.

"She seems to agree with you, sir, as do I," said Shiro looking around him. "Mikki is already well versed in demolition. A little protocol would round her out nicely."

"Ha ta, I see what you mean! Any word on the whereabouts of her masters, the Bradley's?"

"None, sir. We still can't determine if they successfully escaped the battle on Ogasawara using the device the Starman gave them. It's just as likely they both perished, caught in Godzilla's nuclear blast." Shiro looked at the dog, her expression quite melancholy as if she were following the conversation.

Iwa shook his head. "I don't know. Kenji and Kyoko have survived too many encounters with the monster already. I cannot believe their part here has ended in such a fashion. I have been unable to contact Mr. Bradley's mother in the United States, however. She too seems to have disappeared. It is all very vexing, Shiro. Very vexing indeed." The old soldier stood at a window, peering out at the grounds. "No. I am certain the Bradley's still live. I want you to work from that assumption, Captain. I want them found."

"And how do you suggest I begin, Sir?"

"How have we always found them before? Follow Godzilla. They are bound to reappear somewhere near the beast. I must now see to my young charge, Sato. I had a strange dream last night. I think I ought to check on him."

"And what about our little mascot, 'the demon,' as Doctor Noto calls her?"

"You brought her here," said Iwa, turning to leave. "You take care of her."

"Me? But I...!" Tanaka began, and the General was gone. "Oh my."

Outside, Iwa's jeep sped off in the direction of Sato's new quarters, a puddle of what appeared to be anti-freeze left on the ground behind him. The green fluid shuddered, then flowed unseen into the complex...





Ogasawara gunto, sometimes known as the Monster Islands.

Stone shatters and flies across the ground. The earth shifts, then collapses, and a vast pit is formed. Godzilla steps back to observe his work, and decides the hole is ready.

The beast's enormous tail swings, raking over the valley floor, casting the broken, hulking debris of the alien warship into the chasm, burying it forever. Somehow, those beings had managed to control him. He would tolerate their rotting stench no longer.

Godzilla stands before the pit and roars. This island was not the haven he had hoped it would be, so he turns from the valley, heading shoreward. He would return to the sea now. To remain here could only invite further attacks, and Godzilla was weary of attacks.

At the edge of the shattered valley, the saurian pauses. It is as if the entire world has gone into silence. Even the wind has stopped. He knows; something nasty's about to happen...

Beyond the valley, the sky was lit like a sheet of fire. A great rumbling noise was growing, filling the very air. Then the ground ripped wide beneath the beast, shaking him off his feet and plunging him headlong into the depths of a nascent volcano! Godzilla raged, and slipped deeper into the burning earth.





Osaka. Sato's quarters.

"So, it was not a nightmare," Iwa stood shivering amid the shambles Sato's new home had become. The simple, orderly environment the young scientist had made lay shattered. Iwa feared he already knew why. The notes he found confirmed it.

"Now I know I must be truly going mad," the General read. "The transmutation is nearly complete, and I am haunted by the memory of my father, and my failure.

"I do not know what it is I am becoming, but I do know what made me this way. The Radion Wave." Iwa remembered the day. Sato's machine detonated, driving the monster Godzilla from Kyushu. He watched from cover as the lad was caught in the shockwave, exposed to whatever strange energies he had tapped into. Now, those energies may have turned him into a monster.

"I will not be human much longer. I must destroy my lab at G-Force Command while I still can. I have discovered the Wave is extradimensional in origin. Something never meant to exist in our universe. No one must be able to duplicate my work, I will make sure no one can."

Wordlessly, Iwa stuffed the notes into his pocket and raced to his jeep. He knew Sato would follow through once his mind was set on something, no matter how dangerous. One way or the other he had to be stopped, and there was a bad feeling in his gut, like somebody was going to get hurt.





G-Force Command.

The fire was under control by the time Iwa arrived, contained mostly to the labs. Ambulances and emergency vehicles raced about the scene, and he realized; the battle had begun.

"Tanaka-San!" The General's voice cut through the clamor, and from a group of those wounded in the siege, the captain responded.

Tanaka rose to his feet and saluted. "I am here, sir," he called. The man was bandaged at both arms and half of his face, his uniform torn and bloody.

"What the hell happened, Shiro?"

"An attack, sir, some kind of creature! It destroyed the labs, we couldn't stop it." Shiro grasped the General's shoulders fiercely. Iwa guided him slowly down to sit upon the ground.

"Captain, you will take it easy. That is an order. Now slowly, give me your report."

"Yes sir. The infiltrator appeared without warning, it seemed to target Sato's Radion generators in the research wing. We fired upon the creature to no effect. It injured over a dozen guards in its escape. I seem to have lost the dog as well."

"The creature, roughly humanoid, green aura, and a liquid surface?"

"Hei, though it moved as if the entire being was composed of fluid. How did you know?"

"I told you, I had a strange dream last night."





Ogasawara.

The valley smolders in the twilight, the scorched and twisted earth pumping clouds of steam. Lava floes puddle and spew, igniting the remaining underbrush in the sickly glow of forced combustion. The island shakes with force, and the immense form of Godzilla erupts from the molten crater and into the air.

Godzilla rises, dripping with magma. Its bony dorsal plates begin to flare, then flash, then the Atomfire bursts from its jaws, burning into the heart of the volcanic hellpit. A wall of nuclear steam rises, blanketing the area in a cloud of radioactivity, and the monster screams.

The giant creature treads slowly from the magma, great chunks of the now cooling lava sloughing free from his hide. He stands at the rim of the shattered valley, the winds now rising, sweeping clear the wall of steam to reveal something incredible...

Before him looms an enormous temple, risen up from the depths of the Earth. The structure reeks of age, and power. For a moment, the monster stands transfixed, then slowly, begins to approach...









Part Two: WAR STORIES





Osaka.

The cold rain pours, relentless. Maki Sato shivers instinctively, no longer really feeling the chill. His assault on the Radion labs had not stilled the voices in his head, nor erased the guilt of his conscience. He had allowed himself to create a monster. Now he had become one himself. "Something never meant to exist in our universe," he called it. Sato began to realize, he had to find a way to die.

"Konban wa, mister," came a voice, as Sato was grabbed and shoved against a wall. "You shouldn't be out so late. Give us your money quick and we let you go."

"No," said Sato, his voice a liquid rattle. "You get my money if you kill me."

"You look like a smart guy mister, don't do this."

"I 'm serious. Cut me a deal. I'm getting the best of the bargain."

"Hey, Ichi, I say we leave this guy alone," said the other assailant. "Look at him."

The thug spun the researcher around, and gazed him full in the face. The energy spent in the raid had drained Sato, leaving him almost human in form. Almost, but not quite. "He's some kind of freak!" Screamed the mugger, hurling himself from his former target.

Sato's features twisted into a liquid scowl. "What's the matter with you?" The scientist charged the men. "Kill me you bastards!"

"Come on, Ichi, let's go!" They began to run.

"I could kill you," Sato screamed in frustration. "I could kill you all!!" Maki Sato dropped to his knees, his tears of rage lost to the rain, and to his own fluid mass. Then, from the edge of his conscious perception, came the voice.

"I hate you, Sato."

"You are dead. I know you are dead. Why won't you let me be?"

"Because I made you. Now I must destroy you."

"Then do it, please. Kill me father!"

"Kill yourself, mutant. Attack Godzilla, surely he can do the job. Then you and I will both be free." The voice faded, and Sato writhed in anguish.

"Hei. I'll do it, father. Then we will both be free."





G-Force Command, the infirmary.

"General Iwa-San? Oname wa, Tominaga desu. Chief Komai asked me to see you." The old Detective entered the crowded ward, and bowed to the soldiers.

"Arrashimasse. Komai told me the creature which attacked us might be known to you."

"Hei. Your description leads me to believe so. I helped destroy a colony of such beings back in nineteen fifty-nine. One left quite a body count before we killed it. We called it the H-Man."

"The H-Man! Now I recall the incident. You managed to burn the creatures, yes?"

"Hei. We believe they were vaporized in the flames, but we understand so little about them. We know they were born of radiation, and we know that they kill. I can only pray whatever did this can also be dealt with, and destroyed."

A grim look passed between the soldiers, and Tanaka spoke. "Tell him, General."

Iwa fixed his gaze upon Tominaga as if trying to look into his heart. "I believe the creature is a friend of mine, detective. The nephew of Chief Komai, a young researcher named Maki Sato."

"Komai's nephew! Does the Chief know?"

"No, I did not tell him. Personal reasons."

Tominaga looked shocked, then gazed back at Iwa, measuring him as well. He decided to let it go. "What makes you think it's him?"

"You have heard of the incident in Kyushu last month, the battle of Godzilla and Dogorah?" The detective nodded the affirmative. "What the news did not reveal was that it was Sato who revived the monster. He tapped into a strange power, and used it to bring Dogorah back to life, but the energy was like a beacon to Godzilla who seemed compelled to destroy its source. Sato drove the beast away by detonating his device, but was himself caught in the blast."

"And you believe the exposure changed him, I see." Tominaga considered the story. "I'm afraid it makes perfect sense to me. But it makes killing him a last resort. That's a problem."

"That's why you're here, detective," Iwa smiled. "But I would not ask of you what I myself am not prepared to give. The Captain, however, will not be joining us, is that clear, Shiro?"

"Under protest, sir. Yes, sir."

"Thank you, Captain. Tominaga San, it's time to call in whatever favors you've got coming to you. I may be getting old and sentimental, but Sato and his family have become my friends, and I'm going to fight like hell to help them."







Ogasawara.

The King of the Monsters steps slowly across the threshold, and enters the ancient temple. The structure is vast in proportion, as if built for one of his own, but the stench that marks it as the work of the menthings remains.

Godzilla can almost see them now, vague and indistinct, like visions from some time long past. They are working. No, fighting. It is a battle being played out before him in the shimmering air. There is blood and fire and cries of war, and Godzilla roars, stepping into the fray.

The ephemeral armies scatter, being crushed beneath his feet. Quickly, they vanish, leaving the monster alone inside the huge building. But Godzilla knows that he is not alone. There is something else here. Something that cracked the earth, and pushed the Temple through. That showed him visions of death and horror. Something that is an enemy, one he knows he must destroy.





Osaka. Tanaka's home.

It had been a sleepless night, as usual lately. Shiro lay resting in the pre-dawn darkness, telling himself he was not to blame. He had been shaken by the Markalite squad's defeat on Ogasawara. When the H-Man appeared at G-Command he froze, and was quickly struck down. He had always dreamed of leading the vanguard against the kaiju that terrorized his homeland. Now that he had it, he found himself wanting. A great shame came upon him, and Tanaka vowed; he would die before he let himself fail again.

A quick, sharp sound startled the captain, and he jumped, his wounds protesting the motion with vigor. It came again, like scratching. It was coming from the back door.

"Hello!" He called, and caught two faint yaps in response. "Mikki?" He rose swiftly, ignoring the pain, and looked outside.

"I don't believe it." There indeed stood the raggedy little terrier, as eager as ever. "I don't believe it." He scooped up the tiny dog. Mikki kissed him, squirming happily in his grasp. "I don't know how you found me, Mikki, but I'm glad you're okay."

"Don't turn around, soldier," came a voice, followed by the unmistakable feeling of a gun pressed into his back. "Get inside, quickly." Shiro looked for options, and found none. "Quickly!" The voice repeated, and the soldier complied.

"Now let go of the dog and have a seat, Tanaka," the soldier did so, now facing his captor. The dog ran to the old woman with the gun aimed at him, and he realized who she was!

"Where is my son, Tanaka?" Said Anna Bradley, an edge of madness in her tone. "What have you done with Kenji and Kyoko?!"

Tanaka watched speechless as Anna narrowed her gaze and chambered a single round...





Tokyo. The house of Masada.

"Thank you for coming to meet us, Miname. I am sorry we don't get to visit more often," said Tominaga, accepting the tea the young woman offered him.

"It is my pleasure, uncle. Besides, you would have escorted me from work claiming 'Official Police business' had I not!"

"I am kept busy even in my retirement, Miname-San."

"I know the feeling," said Iwa. "Tominaga tells me you are a scientist, Miname-San. A biochemist, as was your father."

"Hei, though I admit, not half as skilled. Some of his research was fascinating! I have kept all of his records in order, hoping to one day expand on the work left unpublished when he died."

"Well, they say there is no time like the present," The detective began. "General Iwa has arranged a leave of absence from your job, Miname, as well as full access to G-Force's research facilities. Your father was a dear friend to me, and his records may hold the key to stopping a potential menace to Japan. I ask you now, in his name, to say you will help us."

"Uncle, I'm not sure I'm the best choice. There are others vastly more qualified who..."

"None of whom are familiar with your father's work," the General interrupted. "Sumimassen, but I have not slept, and am left cranky as well as old. We wish you to begin now, Masada. Please."

Miname considered the General. She resented his presumptions, and yet she knew he was sincere. Tominaga would not have brought him if it were not truly an important case. "You are right, General. You are cranky, but I promise I will try to help. Would you like another cup of tea?"

"Hei. Domo arigato." Replied Iwa, smiling back.





Ogasawara.

The surf breaks upon the rocky shore, foaming high upon the sand. Tide pools form among the crevices and depressions of the narrow beach. Pockets of calm water left over from the roiling ocean. One of those pockets becomes uncharacteristically active, the fluid slowly rising, surrounded by an aura of viridian light.

Maki Sato stands upon the shore and looks over his surroundings. This stretch of beach was more like a wasteland than a pacific island. Long tracts of shoreline appeared fused into rough sheets of glass, as if exposed to some incredible heat source. The stones themselves were all rounded off somehow, their sharp angles now melted away. A chill ran through Sato as he realized he was standing at the battlesite Tanaka had spoken of, where the Bradley's disappeared, and his squad was defeated by Godzilla.

The researcher steeled himself at the thought of the monster, and began to trek inland, plagued by the overwhelming guilt of his scientific abuses, as well as their horrible results. A thundering, inhuman scream echoed across the island, and Sato knew that beyond the next rise he would find redemption, or he would find death.









Part Three: ABSOLUTION





Osaka, G-Force Command.

"This is impossible! Impossible!!" Miname shrieked. "Every attempt to recreate my father's experiments has failed. Either I'm doing something wrong, or the conditions in which the original tests were conducted have been altered somehow."

"I can assure you, conditions have certainly changed since the H-Man first appeared," Iwa spoke. "The levels of background radiation alone must be drastically different now. Lower than in nineteen fifty nine I would assume."

"Also, we know the original creatures were formed by the testing of hydrogen bombs," Tominaga added. "Iwa tells me the energy which created this new monster was vastly different."

"And the equipment which tapped into that energy has all been destroyed, I know," said Miname. "So what am I supposed to do now, gentlemen?"

The General rose from his seat, considering the situation. "We are indeed forced to work without Sato's Radion generators, but there may be a way to duplicate the conditions of the original tests more closely."

"You have a greater stake in this than I, General. What's your idea?"

"Increase the background radiation, then bombard the test subject again."

"Sounds good, but Japan would not be my first choice to find the necessary fissionable material."

"Hei, I can think of only one source at G-Force's disposal," Iwa paused then, seeming to regret the suggestion before having finished it. "Before I was called to serve as chief advisor to the anti-kaiju vanguard, my predecessor, Commander Nakano, was overseeing the cleanup of a battle between Godzilla and the mutant squid Gezorah. That operation yielded some incredible material salvaged from the scene."

"General, please, cut to the chase," said Tominaga, watching the frustration on Miname's face.

"Nakano managed to secure a number of deposits of frozen blood. Godzilla's blood."





Tanaka's place.

"Mrs. Bradley, we have been trying to contact you since the incident with the alien controllers. You could not be found," Tanaka said calmly. "Were it not for the weapon you now hold, I would say that it is very good to see you!"

"Don't placate me, soldier. I am old but not easily fooled," Anna spoke through clenched teeth. "I watched your squad kidnap my son!"

"That is true. The Kartanans held us in thrall, and we were powerless to do anything but obey them. The Starman saved us from that fate, as he attempted to save Kenji and Kyoko as well."

"What do you mean 'attempted'? I swear I will kill you if you don't tell me where they are!!"

Shiro loosed a weary sigh. He was gravely injured, in no condition to defend himself even from the demands of a gun wielding old woman. Mikki too seemed content merely to observe the drama. He could expect no aid from the dog, whose first loyalty was to the clan Bradley.

"Anna, the Starman was summoned back to the world of his masters. He left Kenji and Kyoko a device he claimed would return them to your side, but Godzilla was still in a fighting mood, and attacked. I managed to save Mikki, but I don't know if your son and his wife escaped the monster's power blasts," The soldier clasped his injured hands before him as if in prayer. "Kenji and Kyoko disappeared from that battle, Mrs. Bradley. I swear to you, I don't know where they are."

Anna shuddered, collapsing into a chair. Shiro flinched, half expecting the pistol she held to go off. She forced away her tears, and demanded; "How do I know what you say is true?"

"Why don't you ask Mikki?"

Anna's eyes widened, realizing the man was right. The strange little canine could somehow understand and respond to her. She had not been surprised when she found the dog near the scene of the fire at G-Command, nor when it led her to Tanaka's home. Holding the pistol steadily at the soldier, Anna looked at the dog and spoke. "Mikki, is this man telling me the truth?"

The terrier looked deeply into Anna's eyes, absorbing the meaning of her words. Then she turned to Shiro, and joined him. Mikki curled into the soldier's lap and gave two sharp yaps.

"Oh, God," Anna sobbed, turning her gaze from Tanaka as she placed her husband's old service revolver upon the low table. "What has happened to my son?"





Ogasawara. "Buddha's belly," Sato swore. "Where the hell did that come from?!" Atop the rise that overlooks the shattered valley, Sato gazed upon a strange tableau; The area was sheathed in bubbling lava, the landscape blackened and burned, and from the center of the now molten meadow, there arose a gigantic stone temple.

A shudder ran through his liquid form, and he began to flow slowly down the slope. Although he yearned for his lost humanity, he had begun to appreciate the power this new body possessed. The journey from Nihon was a quick and effortless glide. Standing now at the edge of the magma, Sato wondered if this crossing would be the same.

Flames rose about him as he slipped into the lava. Without true nerve endings to signal pain, Sato could still somehow sense the damage to his form. Strange vapors streamed as he contacted the molten earth, and he knew that he was slowly losing mass. Perhaps here, he thought, he could simply melt away from his accursed existence, from the scorn of his father's spirit, and his own unconquerable shame. But the Temple, looming closer, seemed to override such thoughts, to replace them with a kind of compulsion. A need to know that transcended mere curiosity. Sato could almost sense the structure, as if it were calling to him, and he flowed toward it.

Within the immense building, all was silent. Sato felt as if in crossing its threshold he had crossed into another world. His consciousness seemed to shift then, and he became aware of activity around him. He jumped in surprise as a figure passed before him, then another. Soon, a throng filled the large open space, crowds of strangely costumed people milling all about him. The odd folk seemed unaware of his inhuman presence as he watched them come and go. Then, from somewhere among the vast crowds, someone called his name. One of the figures approached him, growing more distinct. Sato gasped as he realized, the man now smiling before him was his father.

"Sato, my son, I have found you," Kirino was young and healthy, much as Sato remembered him before the cancer. Yet there was a subtle difference as well, an aura of peace Sato had never before seen, until now.

"I know your true feelings, father. Your disappointment and disgust have plagued me since you died."

"Not mine, Sato San. Your own," Kirino replied. "Only now, in this place, am I able to commune with you, though I have watched in anguish as you tormented yourself since my death," the spirit reached for Sato, and grasped his liquid hand. "I could never hate you."

"I neglected you, father, I let my research consume me to the exclusion of all else. I revived the monster Dogorah, and I let you die alone. It is a horror I have wrought! A horror!! Look at me. Look at the freak that I've become! Is this the face of the son you love, or that of a monster?!"

"And what of my face? Did your love for me cease as I lay in my hospital bed, disfigured by the disease that I too had brought upon myself? I love you as I always have, Maki Sato. And always will."

Sato's liquid form seemed to crumble, and he fell to his knees before Kirino. "I came here to die, father. I cannot go on as the creature I have become."

"You must forgive yourself, Sato, and I ask you to forgive me as well."

"Father, there is nothing you have done that..."

"But there is. I too was a man consumed with his work, your mother Midori was the one who suffered then. Do you never think of her, Sato? That is my fault. I cast her aside long before you had ever truly known her. I never forgave myself for that, the cancer which consumed me a reflection of the guilt which had poisoned my spirit for so very long. I beg you now, do not make the same mistake."

"My mother?" Kirino's words had reached something within the tormented once-man, and he saw in his father a reflection of himself. "Father, I..."

From the depths of the temple came a deafening roar. A howl of monstrous, bestial rage that shook the ancient walls and sent ripples coursing through the magma. Even the ghostly crowds stopped as the King of the Monsters stepped from the shadows and into the great open hall. The creature growled as it scanned the now scattering mob, strange energies flaring in its eyes as its gaze focused, and settled directly upon Sato.

"You must leave here," Kirino spoke with conviction. "Godzilla will surely kill you, and it is not your time to join me. Not yet."

The saurian roared again, treading closer. Sato stood before the beast, torn between his father's words and the desire to end his own inhuman existence. He knew the choice had been made the day he completed Kirino's research, and unleashed the Radion Wave upon the Earth.

"Forgive yourself, Sato! Do not die here before you have truly begun to live!"

"I do, father, and you as well, but perhaps this was meant to be. Perhaps I was given this power as a means to finally stop Godzilla. The Radion force that changed me repelled the beast once before. Maybe now I can use that force to kill the monster."

"Sato, the bridge which brought me here is fading," said Kirino. The crowds that had filled the ancient temple were gone, and he too was slipping away. "I urge you again to run from this place, before it is too late!" Kirino vanished, reaching out to touch his son for the final time. The Atomfire sparked along Godzilla's spine as he closed upon the mutant. His decision made, Maki Sato stood his ground, and prayed...









Part Four: CRITICAL MASS





Godzilla tread the halls of the vast and ancient temple, exploring. Deeper and deeper he went, searching for the power behind the building's strange appearance. Apparitions still haunted the place, drifting here and there across his field of vision. He watched a group of the tiny human echoes as they raced ahead into the darkness. Then the darkness was rent by a brilliant flash of light!

Godzilla roared, blinded by the sudden flare. He lurched onward, as a low chanting began to sound throughout the giant chambers. Ahead, he could just make out the source of the brilliant glow; a monstrous, coiling silhouette that struggled against a slowly closing doorway. Whatever it was, was being trapped inside, behind an enormous golden slab. The slab slammed closed, sealing the doorway and casting the chambers once more into a pure and empty darkness. A darkness broken only by the low, incessant chanting still echoing through the halls.

Godzilla hit the massive vault enraged. He was close to the enemy, to the beast now trapped behind the door. He pounded the slab, pummeling it with his claws, but the vault remained unaffected by the onslaught. It was immovable, inviolate. The spectral chanting grew louder, mocking him, and Godzilla screamed!

Suddenly, the chanting stopped. Godzilla stood before the vault, considering the single hairline crack that now appeared. Then something new called his attention, a scent carried down from the surface. A scent that stirred his instincts, and signaled a challenge. Whatever lay behind the slab would have to wait. There was a new and extant enemy within the temple now, one that Godzilla was compelled to destroy.



G-Force Command.

A dim glow rose from the test chamber as the particle accelerator came on line, positioning itself above a small, sealed jar. Within the container stirred a common frog, immersed in a very uncommon liquid. Miname Masada hit a switch, activating the cyclotron buried beneath the complex, and bombarding the small amphibian with a steady surge of atomic force.

The frog struggled against the unseen rays, thrashing wildly as its body slowly changed, breaking down to its component elements, and mixing with the strange fluid that surrounded it. "It is working," said Miname. The frog's struggles ceased, leaving only a foaming, fluid mass. The mass shifted, as if trying to escape.

Miname deactivated the machine, and approached the chamber to observe. "We have done it, gentlemen. The irradiated blood provided the perfect medium for the process to succeed. Do you see? The liquid remains motile. It is alive!"

Tominaga grasped the young woman's shoulder affectionately. "Congratulations, I think."

"The first step is complete," said Iwa. "Now the true work can begin. We must find a way to reverse the process..." Suddenly, the old soldier faltered, and fell grasping for support.

"General!" Cried Tominaga, moving quickly to Iwa's aid. Miname grabbed a chair, sliding it into position as the soldier's legs gave way. "Miname, get a medic in here now!"

"I'm all right!" Iwa shouted, still clinging to the detective's arms. "The need for sleep has increased with age, I fear. I merely need a moment to rest."

"You are exhausted, General," Miname spoke firmly. "And you look it. Let me get one of the doctor's to look at you."

"Domo, Masada San, but no! I must remain here until it is done, until Sato is out of danger!"

"There is nothing more for you to do here, General," said Tominaga. "You must be strong to help your friend, and your strength has reached its limit." The detective forced his gaze to meet the soldier's. "I too am no spring chicken, my friend, and I too am exhausted. Come, let us both get just a few hours sleep. Miname has enough to deal with without worrying about two stubborn old men!"

Iwa rubbed his brow, and nodded assent. "All right, you win. The couches in my office will suffice us both. I wish to remain nearby, in case we are needed."

Just then, the lab doors opened, and in walked Captain Tanaka. Iwa was glad to see the young soldier, as well as the woman who accompanied him. She was mature and very handsome, and held little Mikki in her arms. "General, I bring good news! A partial success in my mission."

"You must be Kenji's mother," Iwa rose shakily and bowed in greeting.

"Anna Bradley desu. I think you already know Mikki," the woman bowed in return.

"Indeed. Captain Tanaka, Mrs. Bradley, my associates; Detective Tominaga and his niece, Miname Masada."

"Pleased to meet you, Bradley San," said Tominaga. "And you as well, Mikki. Please excuse myself and the General. We are both exhausted and are about to retire for a few hours."

"Are you all right, Sir?" Asked Tanaka.

"Nothing a bit of rest won't cure. Have you anything else to report?"

"Only that Anna has journeyed here to find her son and his wife. She is quite determined to help us in our efforts."

"No offense, Mrs. Bradley, but I don't see how you could be of aid here," said Iwa.

"The Captain tells me there is currently no clue as to Kenji and Kyoko's whereabouts. He also mentioned the more immediate problem you now face. Although I am no scientist, I am no stranger to the workings of a laboratory either. I have learned much assisting both my late husband as well as my son, I wonder if I might now be of help in assisting Miss Masada."

Iwa glanced at Tanaka, who nodded his assent. The General could see the deep and pervasive grief that lurked behind the old woman's still pretty smile. That grief may well overtake her, were she not to be kept busy. Iwa knew, because he felt exactly the same way. "I think that is a marvelous idea, do you agree, Miname?" The General asked.

"Hei, I do. Your family name is well known in scientific circles, Bradley San. I am honored," said Miname. "Now if you three handsome gentlemen will excuse us, we have a project to complete."





Ogasawara.

A bolt of burning nuclear force burst from Godzilla's maw. Sato moved fast, shifting to liquid and sluicing quickly away. He turned, and saw the spot where he had stood only seconds before was incinerated. He couldn't help thinking, he should have listened to his father.

The saurian roared, and renewed the assault. Atomfire flared along his dorsal plates, and the beam blasted forth. Again, Sato moved, his fluid mass shifting out of the path of the ray. The monster compensated for the mutant's flight, trailing the glowing figure with a sustained and lethal blast.

Finally, the beam stopped, and Sato reacted. Instinctively, he thrust two clenched fists before him and focused, sending waves of Radionic force slicing through the air, and into Godzilla. The beast paused, watching as the energy poured from the strange human, to form a growing field of power around his chest. The nuclear force that surrounded Godzilla reacted to the Radion charge and detonated, liquefying a layer of scales from his hide. A minor effect, but more than enough to annoy and enrage him.

"Not enough power," thought Sato, as the beast advanced. Now he was certain, the time had come to flee this mad battle. He ran from the temple, flowing through the burning magma, a blast of Atomfire chasing his wake. Sato dragged himself onto the slope, realizing he could feel the heat of the lava now. The Radion discharge had been too much for his body to regenerate, leaving him more human, and more vulnerable.

Across the valley, Sato saw Godzilla wading into the lava in pursuit. The beast is relentless, he thought, crawling painfully up the rise. Tears flowed from his green, inhuman eyes, as he realized he no longer wished for death, and that death was right behind him.

The mutant clawed his way across the ground, into the cover of the surrounding jungle as the monster reached the base of the slope. Sato cringed in terror as the beast's enormous head rose before him, emitting a deafening roar. Sato screamed as well, as an uncontrollable panic seized his mind and stripped him of all control. All that remained was a vague awareness as his body began to spasm and shake, his consciousness now somehow detached from his form. These were the symptoms that had ultimately led to his present condition, and he realized he must be mutating again, transforming into something else.

Around him, the jungle blurred into a liquid haze as the foliage began to foam and dissolve. Sato felt his own form expanding, absorbing the organic matter. The liquid spread through the tangled growth, eating at the jungle like an enzyme, adding mass as well as energy to his colloidal form. The form began to build, to rise, driven by some buried human instinct that now controlled it. Higher and higher the creature rose, until the now massive mutant faced Godzilla, glowing with renewed power. The lingering thread of awareness that was Maki Sato finally snapped, and the H-Man screamed, and attacked!!





G-Force Command.

Miname studied the spectrographs intently, looking for some trace of a change. Time after time, the readings were the same, nothing affected the liquid life form. It had, so far, absorbed everything, assimilating the various elements and chemical compounds with an almost impudent ease. Now she knew why she hadn't pursued this work sooner; failure was pissing her off!

"Anna, have you found anything in my father's journals that may be of help?" She asked, still watching her monitor. Behind her, Anna sat stone still, staring at the large open volume. "Anna?"

"Nani? Oh, I'm sorry my dear. I am still somewhat distracted by my own affairs," Anna replied. "This research is incredible, although there is nothing that points to a way to reverse the condition. Not directly anyway."

"And what of indirectly? You sound as if you may have found a clue."

"Perhaps. Once more, Masada chan; we are working on the assumption that although the catalysts were different, the results are so similar that what affects our test subject, should also affect the creature still at large."

"That is right, Bradley chan."

"Then I have a suggestion. The original H-Man was killed by fire. Oxidation. I believe a metabolic oxidizer, injected into the test subject, should result in a 'resolidification' of the creature without killing it."

"A metabolic oxidizer?" Miname asked. "You mean, like iron?"

"Hei, iron. One of the main components of my late husband's original desalinization compound. I am familiar with the formulae, as well as my son's more recent refinements to it. I may be able to synthesize a version that could restore the balance of liquid to solid at the cellular level. I think."

"Even so, wouldn't the restored integrity break down rapidly?"

"Not necessarily. Radiation seems to have an alchemical effect on the compound, something my family's research has as yet been unable to explain. I am confident it will produce some result in the subject, hopefully a full remission," said Anna.

"Bradley San, it sounds like a good idea. Theoretically, the process might even perpetuate itself, regenerating new matter using the radioactivity as the fuel to do it!" Miname smiled, intrigued by the woman's hypothesis. "I am going to need more supplies for this, I..."

Miname looked at Anna, the old woman had begun to weep, lost again in the turnings of her own tragic circumstances. Her heart sank at the sight, and she moved to comfort her.

"Anna, I know you are very worried. I know neither your son nor his wife, but finding them has been a priority at G-Command since before I arrived. The General believes they still live, and that it is his job to find them."

"I know, Miname. Tanaka too has promised me he will do all he can to locate them. I just feel so helpless!" Anna's fist slammed hard upon the counter. "I think I could use some fresh air."

"Of course," the young woman replied, watching as Anna quickly left the lab. Miname felt awful for her, but what else could she do other than offer her a kind word? The woman may have just helped save Japan, but grieves now because she could not save her own son.









Part Five: BARRICADE







Ogasawara.

Godzilla reeled as the liquid beast lunged, engulfing him in a wave of power and fury. The creature clung on, an enormous weight that toppled them from the rise. They hurtled down the slope, and fell grappling into the magma. The lava churned as the titans fought, beams of Atomfire blasting the roiling surface, joined by the pulse of the Radion Wave that was the power behind the H-Man. But what little remained of the mind of Maki Sato was lost, buried somewhere deep within the now gigantic form of what could only be called the H-Monster.

Godzilla's own power burned into the being, disintegrating its liquid mass. The H-Monster retaliated, coating its opponent with its slime-like form, eating into its armored hide. The creatures were fast reaching a standstill, their powers were canceling each other out.

Driven by instinct, the liquid leviathan grabbed hold of his saurian foe, channeling a massive discharge of force into the scaly beast. Godzilla screamed at the assault, he had tasted this energy before. It was the same power that had fueled the monster Dogorah, a force he could not absorb. The strange energy scrambled the monster's access to his nuclear might, leaving him stunned and unable to focus the Atomfire. With the last of his power, the H-Monster raised Godzilla from the magma and hurled him crashing into the temple. The ancient walls collapsed at the impact as Godzilla smashed through the structure, bringing the enormous facade down all around him.

The H-Monster howled, and turned to flow quickly up the slope. Below him, Godzilla lay buried beneath the crumbled ruins. Some dim spark of reason kicked in as the liquid beast began to diminish in size, its mass converted into energy in the terrible battle. It knew it had won but a momentary victory, and that to survive it must now escape. Nearly drained of power, the creature flowed shoreward, guided by the need to rest, and the desire to return home.



G-Command. "Gomenasai, General. May I come in?" Asked Anna, rapping on the door.

"Hei, Arrashimasse, Bradley chan," Iwa replied, reclining in his chair. Detective Tominaga snored loudly from the couch. "Sleep, it seems, is determined to elude me today, and I welcome your company. Please sit down."

"Domo. I have come to tell you, Miname and I have succeeded in our efforts. A crude but effective stabilizer has been developed, restoring the cellular integrity of the test subject to a great degree. The frog is almost completely returned to normal."

"I knew there must be a way! Thank you, Mrs. Bradley," Iwa reached out a shaky hand to grasp Anna's, and looked deeply into her eyes. "I thank you with all my heart."

"Don't thank me, General. I intend to see that you pay for my assistance, bearing in mind this formula is not a proven cure, but a stabilizer which seems to promote a state of remission."

"I understand, Mrs. Bradley. I am still greatly indebted to you for it."

"Yes, you are," Anna forced a smile.

"Would you care for some sake, Bradley San?"

"Call me Anna, Iwa sama. Yes, please."

Iwa could see the woman finally beginning to relax. She had already proven herself of invaluable aid, and he hated to burden her further, but he knew she was the only one of the team he could talk to. Shiro was too young, Tominaga too straight laced. But Anna Bradley was a stranger, a Japanese woman acclimated to the culture of the West. Only she might understand what it means to be so displaced, and so very old.

"Anna, there is something I must confide in you. I believe Commander Nakano was correct that the fate of your son and his wife are linked in some way to Godzilla. I believe the purpose behind that connection will soon be revealed. They will return, Anna. Only I will not live long enough to witness it. I have kept the secret for so long now, I find I have not the words to speak it..." Iwa downed the rice wine and swallowed hard. He closed his eyes, and spoke. "I'm dying."

"Honestly, I had already guessed as much. You have the same look about you as my husband did before he passed away, though he chose not to tell me until it was too late." Anna shook her head quickly, shaking the memory of that time long ago. She sipped at her drink and asked; "Why is it that you choose to tell me now?"

"Because you are safe. We are strangers to each other, and will not be hurt by the admission. And because I must beg from you one more service before this can all truly end..."

Just then, there came a knock at the door, and in walked Tanaka. He had a grim and desperate look, magnified by the now unbandaged scars that marked the left side of his face. "Gomenasai, General," he began. Tominaga stirred from his sleep at the intrusion. "Word just arrived from Naval Command, sir. The H-man has appeared in Tokyo bay."

Iwa gazed intently at his second in command, then back to Anna. He stood, and slowly approached his protege. "Alright, Captain. I want the Markalite squad there now, in case things get nasty. Tominaga, please make certain Masada is ready with her new formula and see her safely to the site. Mrs. Bradley and I will join you directly."

A brief flash of uncertainty crossed Tanaka's features, then he agreed. "I promise to make every effort not to harm young Sato, sir."

"You are in charge now, Shiro. You do what you must to succeed in your mission and to protect your people. I know you are the right man for the job."

"Yes, sir!"

"And, Captain, bring the dog with you. We both know that if she can aid us in any way, she will. Anna, I hope you do not object?"

"I understand. Take good care of her, Captain."

"I shall. Domo arigato ." Tanaka bowed and left, followed by Tominaga.

Alone again, Anna could see the fatigue seeping back into the General. Even so, he was still a most attractive man, and she knew he was wrong to think she would not be affected by his misfortune. She found herself wishing she could take away his pain, and make him happy again.

"Iwa sama, whatever you may ask of me, I shall give. I can see that you are a man deserving of such consideration from his friends." Anna led the soldier to a seat, and passed him the wine.

"One for the road, my friend?" Asked Iwa.

"Or as we say in California, 'Party on'." She replied.





Tokyo harbor.

The Metropolitan Police Emergency Response units line the piers, cordoning off the seaport. Patrol boats cruise the choppy bay, keeping order among the evacuating craft, and an eye on the strange intruder now rising from the water.

Chief Komai stood at the head of the barricade and faced the advancing horror. An immense wall of iridescent slime, nearly humanoid in form, was slowly approaching the docks. It was the same beast General Iwa described, only about twenty meters taller.

The 'H-Man' had not shown any hostile intent, and Komai was not about to start the fight by shooting at it! In fact, they had observed the creature growing smaller as it approached, giving them a better chance to hold it in the harbor. Komai was surrounded by a staggering array of conventional firepower, but the monster's nearly manlike aspect made him wonder if there could be some form of intellect within it. He could almost sense there was.

The mutant paused, rearing high over the dock. It seemed to scan the area, then settled its gaze on Komai. The old cop shook as the creature howled, a cry of pain and anger that could chill the soul and twist the mind to madness!

The beast spun left and right, as if seeking a route of escape. Komai bellowed; "Hold your fire! let it go!" The creature cringed at the sound of his voice, though not in pain. It seemed to Komai almost as if it were ashamed.

Without warning, the H-Man struck, hurling itself against the dock and smashing the boardwalk into splinters. The humans reaction was automatic, instinctive, and the noise of a hundred guns filled the air as the Police fired upon the beast, emptying their weapons into its liquid mass. The monster reeled under the onslaught, still advancing through the surf as the lethal barrage continued. It screamed as the shells ripped through its body, scattering its mass and speeding its shrinking process. Komai stood silent as the beast drew nearer, the drumbeat of the weapons intensifying in response. He stood as the mutant reached out, as if pleading to him, and then it called his name.

"KOH MAH YEE." The voice was resonant and deep, and filled the air with an almost liquid tone. Suddenly, the shooting stopped. Komai stared in horror at the thing's inhuman visage, and fell to his knees before it. Then the H-Man fell as well, its ten meter tall frame crashing onto the solid land. Komai alone moved to approach the wounded monster, and stare once more into the creature's face. "KOH MAH YEEE." It gurgled, and the old Cop was sure.

"I'm here, Sato San. I'm here."



Ogasawara.

The tortured earth trembles and cracks, shaking the island to its volcanic core. The Temple lay in ruins, crushed within the crater that was once a lush and verdant valley. Then the ruins begin to move.

The broken stones shift and slide, bursting outward as an immense nuclear fireball erupts from the shattered structure! Plumes of smoke and vaporized particles choke the air, billowing into a vast mushroom cloud rising slowly out of the heart of the valley. From within that cloud's black depths emerges Godzilla

The scene is quiet. The enemy has fled. But this fight would not be won so neatly. Godzilla caught the monster's spoor and followed, determined to assert his power and superiority over the attacker. Determined to make the creature pay.



Tokyo bay.

The G-Force convoy arrives, too late. Evidence of the massive firefight is everywhere. Tanaka steps silently from the Command car, with full armor and Mikki at his heels, and approaches the fallen H-Man. Komai kneels beside the inhuman being, and Tanaka knew, the old cop must already know the truth.

The dog joins Komai, and sits to watch the shift and flow of the creature's liquid surface. Up close it was almost prismatic, almost beautiful. Tanaka saw it too.

"Komai, I..." Shiro began, his words cut off by a shout from his partner Fujiko.

"Captain! G-Command on the line for you. It's Noto."

Shiro turned to take the call, thankful for the interruption. He saw that monster in action, and he bore the scars to prove it. What could he say to old Komai?

"Tanaka here. Is there a problem, Doctor?"

"Captain, I want you to listen to me very carefully," said Noto. "It's about Mikki."

"Doctor, I am in the middle of a situation here. Please make your point."

"Captain, the H-Man may be the least of your problems. I've finished analyzing the results of the tests we managed to run on Mikki. The findings are unprecedented, and unexplainable."

"What exactly did you find?"

"Mikki has a tricameral brain, Captain. Three lobes, not two. It is operating on levels and frequencies we cannot even begin to match! The real problem is that this cannot be explained by some kind of natural, or even deliberate mutation. The answer is so much more!"

"Doctor?" The Captain pleaded impatiently.

"The genetic analysis gave us something no one expected to find. The DNA from that dog is ancient, Precambrian in origin."

"Precambrian? But that's..."

"I know," said the doctor. "But these tests are accurate. The cells of that animal pre-date all other life on this planet! Whatever she is, Captain, that dog is not a dog."









Part Six: SACRIFICE





Maki Sato hung lost somewhere between awareness and oblivion. There was so little left of his true body to connect with, its liquid mass now dissipating away. Then he realized, he was no longer alone.

"Sato San," said Iwa. "I have found you."

"Iwa sama! I am dreaming. You cannot be in my mind."

"We spoke like this before, Sato. You came to my home, you said you wanted to die. I thought it was a dream then, too."

"Hei, you are right. I did dream of your home, and now I must ask of you again what I asked in that dream. Tell them to finish me off, General."

"The two of us must be very near death now. Mine has crept close for a long time. The Old War-horse, fighting for nearly a century, finally grown too old. But we may yet save you, my friend."

"General, after I destroyed the Radion labs, I went to Ogasawara, intending to confront Godzilla in the hopes of destroying myself. Instead, this...disease changed me into something that could stop the beast, but with no control over what I had become. You cannot save me, Iwa sama. You must see that I am destroyed now, before I mutate again and kill you all!"

"There is a chance, Sato San. A chemical stabilizer has been developed. Absorb it, and you may yet regain your human form."

"Look at me, General. There may be nothing human left to save."

"I know. That is why my body will carry the stabilizer. My body that you will absorb."

"General, you can't truly believe I would do that."

"I told you, Sato; I'm dying anyway. Besides, you don't have the strength to stop it..."



Iwa and Anna approach the creature shakily. Tominaga and Masada are already there. The old soldier addresses the crowd. "I want this area cleared. Chief, please tell your men to pull back."

Komai turns and gives the order, breaking the massive barricade the Police had formed.

"Miss Masada, the stabilizer please," asks Anna. Miname hands her a small case containing a vial and syringe. Carefully, Anna fills the needle and checks it while Iwa removes his jacket and shirt.

"General, what are you doing?" Asks Tanaka.

"I am preparing for battle, Captain. A battle we must all face someday, when our time has come." Quickly, Anna injects the General, and he falls.

"Iwa sama!" Tanaka cries, the shock of Anna's action now hitting home. "What have you done, Bradley San? Are you mad?!" Anna's tears are her only response. Then the General spoke.

"All of you, listen! This was my idea, and I am going to see it through. My death was imminent long before the injection you just witnessed, but young Sato's was not. My hope now is to make him human again, using the stabilizer as well as my own body as a template to work from. If it does not work, you will have to destroy us. We are both as good as dead now anyway."

"You knew, you old bastard," said Komai.

"I am sorry, Komai sama. I should have told you, but I was too ashamed. It was I who authorized your nephew's actions against the monsters. Now I must try to make things right."

"Captain, aren't you going to do something?!" Cried Munabe, another of Tanaka's squad.

"The General is right, Munabe. He is also my Commander, I won't stand in his way."

"But, Captain, you have to stop this! You can't just..."

"Captain, for once I agree with Munabe," began Fujiko, the squad's surveillance expert. The soldier held forth a small tracking unit, its screen now lit by a bright and moving blip. "I think you had better do something quick. We've got company coming."

"Damn," spat Tanaka. "It's Godzilla."





The King of the Monsters swims steadily toward the mainland, toward the domain of the humans. The liquid beast who attacked him was one of their kind, changed somehow into a creature of great power. A creature Godzilla would now destroy.

Ever since the battle with the Lakebeast Varan, when the stars had called him from the ocean's depths, there has been conflict. Battle after battle he has faced, as if all the Wild Gods had gone mad and arrayed themselves against him. Even the humans had called upon their power, summoning the aid of the tiny beast that now ran with them. Godzilla had seen the Spiritfire burning around the creature, urging him not to strike. That force had been of aid to him as well once, but now it stood among the humans, among his enemies. This war had gone on long enough, now the time has come to end it.





"I'm sorry, Captain. I can't let you do this," said Munabe, drawing his pistol. Before anyone could react, Mikki moved, leaping at the soldier and biting his unarmored wrist.

"Mikki!" Anna screamed as the gun fell from Munabe's grasp, discharging into the air.

Munabe screamed as well. "That dog is crazy! I think you all must be!"

"Munabe, get a hold of yourself!" Ordered Tanaka.

"Forget it, Tanaka. I'm not taking orders from you anymore!" The soldier backed quickly away, then broke into a run. "You won't get away with this! None of you!!"

"Captain, should I stop him?" Asked Fuji.

"Let him go, Fujiko. I need you here. Kazuki, I know Munabe is your best friend. If you want to join him, you had better leave now..." The Captain eyed the squad's final member grimly.

"No, Captain. I never could pick my friends wisely. I'll stay."

"Thank you, Kazuki. Now, I want you and Fuji at a fifty meter spread down this pier. Tominaga, please see the ladies safely back to G-Command. Chief Komai..."

"I'm staying." The old Policeman replied. "I want to be here for Sato."

"I know, Chief. I would not have it any other way."

One by one they turned to leave. Miname eyed the group, her gaze settling on Tanaka's scarred features. "Good luck, Captain." She said, then turned to bow before the General. "Perhaps we shall all see you again, Iwa sama."

"Perhaps," the General replied weakly.

Tominaga too bowed before him. "Good luck, my friend."

"Thank you, detective."

Wordlessly, Anna approached him, bending slowly to her knees to embrace the man. A tear escaped Iwa as he spoke to her. "Anna, how is it that in just a single day we have become so close? You have done more for me in that short time than anyone in my whole life," slowly, they drew apart to look in each other's eyes. "You must be strong a little while longer. The war is almost at its end."

Anna nodded, and forced a smile. Then she kissed him sweetly, and quickly joined Tominaga and Miname as they made their way from the scene. Mikki watched the departing trio, then looked at the General. The little dog gave the man a quick wet kiss, then joined her mistress.

"Shiro," said Iwa.

"Yes, sir?"

"Do me a favor. Wipe this dog drool off my cheek."

"Yes, sir."



The waters of Tokyo bay churned as Godzilla rose roaring from the waves. Before him lay the liquid beast, now tiny, almost human in form. Godzilla would have preferred to face him at his former stature, and hesitated to strike. The being was obviously dying already. No matter, the saurian decided, an enemy was still an enemy.

The Radion charge now shunted from his system, the King of the Monsters drew upon the Atomfire which was his life blood and prepared to strike. Suddenly, a trio of Markalite beams struck him first, forcing him back into the surf. Godzilla twisted and turned, trying to avoid the onslaught, firing blind against his attackers with a return blast of energy from his jaws. The plasma beams continued their barrage, relentless, and Godzilla fell.



"All right, General," Tanaka called. "It's now or never!"

With the last of his strength, Iwa hurled himself into the mass of colloidal slime that was the H-Man. He screamed as the enzyme like fluid began dissolving his ancient form, his soldiers praying now more than ever that this was truly the right thing to do. Tanaka was closest, the only one to see the smile break over Iwa's now skeletal features, and hear the muted, liquid rattle of his voice; "Come on, Sato! We can do it! Together we can!!" Then the General was gone.

"Captain, What is happening?" Cried Kazuki. The squad watched in horror as the H-Man began to shudder and shift, vibrating to the pulse of the alien energy that powered it.

"Captain, we must leave here now," spoke Komai.

"I think it's a little late for that, chief," Tanaka answered grimly.

"No! Somehow, I think it is Sato's idea. I am sure, it is what he wants."

The creature's pulsing increased, and it began to flail, to change, to grow. Shiro looked at the Police chief and nodded. "Fuji! Kazuki! Fall back! Fall back!!" He screamed, running alongside Komai as the H-Man began dissolving the very wood of the pier itself.

The green fluid raced behind them as they fled the harbor, disintegrating the boardwalk and absorbing it as it grew. The storefronts and warehouses began to fall as well, crumbling as Tanaka and Komai ran for safety. Then, they froze as a flash of Atomfire lit the sky, and the warcry of Godzilla thundered out across the bay.

At the mouth of an alley leading into the streets, they turned to see Godzilla standing face to face with the H-man, now enormous in size. Somehow, the stabilizer must have failed, either that, or there was some new force at work here which they had yet to understand. Either way, the situation was about to get ugly.

Then, the giant mutant spotted the men, and to their utter shock, it spoke. "Go on, get out of here," the H-Man screamed, its voice booming through the air. "I'll hold the monster back as long as I can."

Komai clutched Tanaka's arms. "My God. What the hell has happened to them now?"







Part Seven: MELTDOWN







Not far from what had once been a thriving harbor, two modern day titans square off in the waters of Tokyo bay.

The H-Man; A creature born of strange, trans-dimensional energies that man had tried to harness, and failed. Its entire body now transformed into a kind of liquid acid that dissolves organic matter and absorbs it , adding mass and energy to its now gargantuan form.

Godzilla; A Paleolithic survival from the age of dinosaurs, transformed by atomic testing into a hundred meter tall monster with the power of a nuclear reactor burning in its blood, and a will to survive unmatched by any living creature on Earth.

The saurian circles the mutant human and roars its challenge, sparks of Atomfire now coursing across its bony dorsal shields. The H-Man stands ready, bracing itself for the blast, and summoning its own reserves of alien energy to counter the attack.

As one they strike, Nuclear beam against Radion wave, locked in a tug of war of incalculable force! A corona of cosmic energies grows where the beams meet, building into a blinding pocket of power, a point which quickly reaches an overload and bursts. The H-Man staggers, crashing into the waves. Godzilla roars and closes in for the kill...

"No!!" The H-Man screams, tackling his opponent! The impact knocks Godzilla off his feet, and together they fall grappling into the sea. The saurian knows this creature's power could scramble his nuclear energy, given the chance. Godzilla channels his might into a tight field of plasma that surrounds him like a second skin, blocking the H-Man's attempts to use the Radion Wave against him. Sure of his safety within the protective field, Godzilla blasts his adversary with a deadly bolt of atomic force, vaporizing the liquid creature's head. The H-Man is merely shaken by the beam, quickly regenerating itself back into shape.

The waves begin to churn and foam as the monsters struggle in a fight to the death. The souls of two men, and the fate of an entire city now hang in the balance as the H-Man pounds fiercely against the most powerful monster on Earth.

Again Godzilla blasts his foe, vaporizing more and more of the creature's body. Its massive size rapidly diminishing, the H-Man knows, this battle will soon be over, ending only with his own inevitable defeat...



"Alright, General, what the hell do we do now?!"

Within the form of the giant H-Man, two minds now grapple against a hopeless cause; How to defeat Godzilla.

"The monster has rendered the Radion beam ineffective, yet this mutant body we now share still has great power, Sato. It also has the consciousness of both a brilliant scientist, as well as a military tactician with nearly a century of battle experience under his belt," said Iwa, not speaking, but sharing his thoughts with his mind-mate.

"Then I hope you've got a tactic for a situation like this, Iwa, or it won't just be our butt getting fried. Something tells me Godzilla isn't going to settle for our defeat alone, he'll destroy the city if we can't stop him, and quick."

"I know, I feel it too. As if the beast has had enough of this war, and wants to end it."

"War? What war? I don't know what you're talking about, and frankly we don't have the time to waste discussing it now. He's killing us, Iwa! What are we going to do?!"

"Something that has saved me from certain death more than once in the past, Sato. An ancient tactic used by nearly every successful soldier in the history of battle," Sato could feel the waves of courage and determination emanating from the General's mind as they shared their thoughts. "We're going to fight dirty."



Godzilla howls, reveling in triumph as he burns the very life from his enemy. He rakes his claws through the mutant, scattering its mass even further. The being was less than half his size now, and soon, it would be no more.

Suddenly, a green haze sweeps over Godzilla's eyes, blurring his vision. It was the creature! The being had managed to sluice a portion of itself behind him unseen. Now it flowed over him, covering his head, seeping into his eyes, his ears, his nostrils. The liquid beast was forcing itself into Godzilla's skull.

The King of the Monsters screams again, but this time it is a scream of pain, as the H-Man's slimy essence begins to work its way deeper into the saurian's pate, eating away at the tissues of his mutant brain. The Atomfire dances wildly around the beast, flashing out of control. Instinct takes over as the monster panics, generating a spontaneous and devastating nuclear pulse from the heart of his atomic core. The H-Man seems to explode from the beast, blasting outward along the waves of nuclear force, its liquid mass scattering over the surface of the bay.

Godzilla stood alone then, vapors rising from his singed and burning hide. A harsh rattle escaped his gaping jaws, and he shuddered involuntarily, his paws grasping at the air. The monster slowly realized, he could not see. He could barely move. The liquid beast had hurt him, dissolving some integral part of his primary brain, leaving him helpless, and defeated. With an almost pitiable screech, the mighty Godzilla falls. A dim spark of Atomfire flares briefly from the monster's spines, then finally, is gone.



"Sato. Sato San!" called Komai.

The young scientist opened his eyes, and spoke; "Where am I? Oh God, Godzilla...!"

"It's alright, Sato. You stopped the beast. I think you nearly killed it."

Sato raised his hands before his bleary eyes and stared. "I am human again. I am cured!" His gaze continued down, and he realized he was naked. Right then, he really didn't care. "Komai, Tanaka, how did this happen?"

"We were hoping you could tell us," said the captain.

"I don't know exactly. I remember fighting the beast, losing. Then I was no longer alone. Iwa was there, with me in my mind. It was he who defeated Godzilla, and cured me as well. Oh my..."

"What is it, Sato? What's wrong?" Asked Komai.

"Nothing," he replied. "For a moment, I could feel his presence. Like his spirit is still with me." Sato looked at his companions, searching for reassurance in their eyes. "That's crazy, isn't it?"

"No crazier than a man transformed into a walking tower of slime, or a beast breathing radioactive fire," said Komai.

"Or a dog with a tricameral brain," said Tanaka.

"Excuse me?" Asked Komai.

"Look," Shiro pointed to a tiny form sitting alone, some few meters down the shoreline.

"Mikki! Mikki!" Came the voice of Anna Bradley, her old frame moving quickly toward the dog. Behind her, Tominaga and Miname came running toward the men.

"Captain! We came as quick as we could. Your man Munabe has managed to stir up a real hornet's nest back at G-Command," said Miname. "Oh my goodness!" She blushed, averting her gaze from the naked man lying before her. "You must be Maki Sato. I've heard a lot about you."

"Pleased to meet you. Uncle Komai, would you mind lending me your jacket...?"

"Oh, of course! My apologies, Miss Masada."

"That's alright, Chief. Captain, I suggest you get away from here now. The Defense Force has been alerted, and military police are on their way to arrest you for the murder of General Iwa."

"What? But you know that's not true, Munabe knows it as well!"

"We know, Captain. They would not listen," said Tominaga. "We were nearly arrested ourselves, luckily Mikki had other ideas. That dog was like a kamikaze! She managed to slow the soldiers down while we made our escape."

"I'm sure she did!" Said Shiro, as Fujiko and Kazuki came running to join them.

"Captain, something strange is happening," said Fuji. "My battlesuit's systems have locked up. Tracker, weapons, everything."

"Mine too," said Kazuki.

Shiro checked his own instruments and found they too were dead. "Same here."

"Excuse me, Captain, but did I hear you say something about a 'tricameral brain' a moment ago?" Asked Sato, Komai's jacket now tied about his waist.

"Help me!" From down the shoreline they heard Anna scream.

"Oh what now?" Spat Shiro, signaling his men to join him as he raced toward Mrs. Bradley and her strange little dog. "Anna, what's wrong?"

"It's Mikki, I can't seem to move her. She won't respond to me at all!"

Shiro crept closer to the little terrier, and watched. She seemed to be focused on something beyond the horizon. Her sea green eyes now lit with a subtle luminance as she stared unblinkingly past the form of the fallen Godzilla, and out across the bay.

Then they saw it; a massive stormfront was forming at the edge of the ocean. A band of clouds so black and thick they seemed to swallow the very light that struck them. The wind began to rise, whipping at the small group, as the sky shifted from blue, to violet, to a deep blood red.

"Captain, it looks like the end of the world out there," said Fujiko.

"What's happening to the sky?!" Asked Sato.

"It's the dog," said Tanaka. "They examined her back at G-Command. They said her brain was operating on levels unmatched by anything on the planet."

"What do we do, Captain?" Asked Kazuki. "We don't have to shoot her, do we?"

"I wouldn't try that, soldier," said Anna. "Something tells me you'd regret it."

"And what about the M.P.'s? They're bound to be here soon," said Tominaga.

"I know, damn it! I know!" Cried Shiro. Things were happening too fast! Godzilla had been dealt with, for now. Sato had been saved, but the General was gone. Now it was up to him to lead this ragtag group safely through the situation. Only, he was not sure exactly how...

"I'm staying here," said Anna. "I have to stay with Mikki. If that unholy storm out there is her doing, then you can bet there's a good reason for it."

"I agree with Anna," said Miname. "I mean, she did find the way to change Sato back, and I think she's right about the dog as well. Besides, there's no way I could leave her here alone."

For a moment, there was silence, and then in turn each of them spoke.

"I'll stay here, and look after the ladies," said Tominaga. "As usual."

"You'll need some back-up, detective," said Chief Komai, moving to join him.

"The plasma throwers are down, Captain," said Kazuki.

"But our revolvers still work," Fuji added. "You should leave now. We can stay here and..."

"No," Shiro cut off Fujiko's speech. "Im staying too." He stated flatly, keeping his reasons his own. "Well, Sato San?" He asked the last of them.

"Well I wish I had my pants," said the former H-Man. "But I think it's best we stick together."

A slight smile cast over Tanaka's scarred features. "All right," he said. "Together then."

Above them, the sky grew darker. The wind became a gale, screaming high above their heads. Lightning struck far across the sea, lighting the clouds with an elemental fire. A fire that also burned within the eyes of the strange little dog called Mikki, igniting the storm, and gathering its forces for the final battle. The Great Storm was growing, and drawing closer. And closer...





EPILOGUE





Ogasawara.

An unnatural calm has fallen over the shattered valley. As if it were the eye of some vast and mystic maelstrom. The molten earth still bubbled and spewed. The Temple still lay in ruins. But somewhere deep within that ancient place, something stirred.

Slowly, a strange, ghostly chanting began to fill the air. A golden slab began to crack, rocked by an enormous impact. Something was trying to get out. And the chanting grew.

man-da man da manda Manda MAnda MANda MANDa MANDA MANDA MANDA...