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~~~~~~~~~~Chapter 3 "Good Sunday"~~~~~~~~~~



KAIJU REASEARCH INSTITUTE
SUNDAY MORNING

The chapel was small, despite the relative population of the institute. But it was well kept and provided a comforting space for anyone who required a bit of solace or reflection. The rows of pews drunk in the sunlight streaming down from the stained glass windows, warming the benches and creating an ethereal aura as it gleamed off the polished lacquer. The red of the cushions matched the carpet running down the center isle over the hardwood floor. At the front of the room, atop a dais that came not two steps higher than the floor, was the lonely podium. The inanimate pastor of the chapel stood, a flexible microphone arm bent perpendicular across the top.

The dreamlike silence of the room was interrupted when one side of the double doors at the back opened. Shane Redmond peeked his head in, scanning for any other occupants, and finding only the podium to rebuke him for his timidity. A smart-alecky comment came to his mind, but his reverence for the situation stayed his tongue. Instead, he entered and closed the door behind him, reached over to dip his fingers into the pedestal font of holy water, making the sign of the cross over his face and chest as he bowed his head.
In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.” He whispered.

With an exhale, he opened his eyes and tread down the isle, selecting a pew in the second row to seat himself. This was one of those weeks where there wasn’t a proper priest to provide the Mass. So there was no one to hear his confession, lead him in prayer, or even provide the Eucharist. Not that that was at all unusual, it just bugged him. Shane sat or a few moments, his forearms leaning on the back of the pew before him.

Finally he decided he’d better do something holy or just get out. The spacing of the pews didn’t exactly accommodate kneeling for prayer, so he simply clasped his hands and lowered his head. He began to recite the Lord’s prayer in his mind.
Our Father who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name…

By memory he repeated the invocation, having it drilled into him from an early age in Vancouver, British Columbia. There was something about saying the prayer that part of him still felt as if he could reach out to his right and touch the leg of his father, and to his left the skirts of his mother.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses.

Despite all the horrible stories that had come out in the past few years, Shane had never experienced any of the things that so many were alleging had occurred at the hands of Catholic priests. His faith had never been shaken like that, but there were times he felt spiritually starved. Though he could always recall the scent of the smoke fuming from the censer, ushering in emotions of serenity and contentment.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever, Amen.

Making another sign of the cross to close the prayer, Shane lifted his gaze to the window at the head of the room, a generic depiction of doves soaring into the sky selected as a non-offensive, non-denominational symbol of religious faith. For another few minutes he stared off into the miscellaneous shards of colored glass, contemplating his life; particularly where he thought it might go in the near future.

The offer of another mission for the institute Dr. Darien had contacted him about yesterday sounded exciting, and bore the prospect of tremendous adventure, discovery, and fame. It would certainly outdo what he achieved in Egypt with the Varan confirmation. If Quinn was to be believed, it would shake the very foundations of human civilization.

There was supposed to be some kind of get-together in the next few days to bring everybody together, meet who’ll be going and get the ball rolling on logistics and training for the expedition. Another few months of his least favorite part of the process.

Today however, today was his day, and provided with the sacred solitude of the chapel, his mind drifted back a few years. Back to the howling winds of the Yukon with his squad, and the fatal discovery they made on the mountainside. He had watched his friends die that day. Now, Quinn expected him and Challenger to lead their own team somewhere dangerous, where they could all meet very unpleasant fates.

Shane sat in contemplation for some time, thinking over how he would arrange the training, and prepare the inexperienced members of the team for navigating through the uncharted wilderness. More than his own private quarters, the chapel helped to clarify his thoughts. This was a place where he could set aside distractions and focus his mind to whatever tasks deserved his attention. Whether it be a scientific expedition into a land of monsters, or trying his best to keep his soul in a state of grace.

Leaning back in the pew, Shane noticed a dog-eared copy of the New Testament sitting in the shelf along the back of the bench. He grabbed it and flipped to a random passage, planting his finger in the middle of a page. It was Daniel, and he spent the better part of the morning reading quietly.


ARBORETUM

Spacious, but simultaneously cozy, the Institute’s recreational tree park was a favored spot for the denizens. Growing under a high-domed ceiling and carved out of a mountainside, the grounds were arranged in a series of terraces, the lower one went, the taller the trees. Various styles of seating were installed, where students liked to get together during free time.

Laid out on a patch of grass under the shade of a towering fern, an implant from elsewhere on the island, Faith Wolff sat with her lunch. Her halved sandwich resting atop her backpack as she thumbed through a soft cover copy of Dr. Darien’s memoir “Age of Monsters” with a highlighter, outlining notes here and there. Despite the inferences people might make, Faith didn’t idolize the woman like some others did. The doctor had already moved on by the time she arrived at the Institute, and played little part in any visions Faith had of herself in pursuing her passions.

Rather, the young Ms. Wolff was going through it to get a better sense of the person she’d just agreed to work for the next few months. It was certainly worth reading for any Kaiju aficionado, as far as the personal stories went. Though her occasional cynicism of Humanity could become tiresome, she never seemed to lose her hope for a future of better understanding.  

Faith lifted one of her sandwich halves and took in a bite without looking away from the page, the audible crunch of the lettuce not a distraction in the least.
She was holding the sandwich aloft when a new head came down to steal a bite from it.
“Hey!” Faith cried, turning with a start to see a friendly face.

Chewing his pilfered mouthful as he sat down next to her, John Tarbtano gave her a wry grin.
“Hey sweetheart.” After a swallow, he leaned over to supplicate his girlfriend with a kiss on the cheek. “Doing your research?”

“A little.” Giving him a lowered brow of displeasure for the loss of one of the best parts of her lunch, as faux as it was, she nonetheless denied him the return of his affection. For now anyways.
“Just trying to figure out what kind of lady we’re dealing with.”

They had met yesterday afternoon, both shocked to find out they’d been elected to be on the journey.

“Obruchev said it was because I think outside the box. But I think it’s because we had the guts to sneak over onto Ogasawara and visit Anguirus.” John leaned back to support himself on his hands, gazing up at the branches, where the imported red squirrels leaped between the boughs.
“Plus you’ve got that whole legacy thing going for you.”

“I suppose.” She groaned. “But I don’t think being related to a guy who died long before I was born is going to be a whole lot of help.”

“If it helps get your foot in the door, then I say all the better.”

A few tiers below them, on one of the wider terraces, a game of tag football was in play. Faith recognized the hand-made jerseys as team Rodan and team Kong. There were a number of amateur sports teams at the Institute, and typically played several different kinds, from baseball, to volleyball, to track & field. Each of them choosing a particular Kaiju to be their mascot. The closest thing the KRI had to fraternities. While Faith wasn’t particularly sporty, and wasn’t a part of any club, John was a member of team Titanosaurus.

“What do you think we’ll discover there?” Faith wondered. “New monsters? Lost treasures? Ancient civilizations?”

“Well I haven’t gotten any more information about it, but I’d say it’s fairly certain we’ll find new Kaiju. Other than that, who knows. Did they tell you about anybody else who’s coming?”

“Nope. Just that Dr. Darien will be in touch.”

“Sounds like they’re keeping their cards close to their chest, wonder why.”


NORTHERN SCATTERED ISLAND 14

In a private meeting room, gathered around a long black wooden table, Professor Challenger, Dr. Quinn Darien, and Institute President Peter Darien examined an array of satellite images and ancient yellowed documents pinned to a wall. The room itself was Spartan, with enough chairs to surround the table, one side of the rectangular space lined with windows, the other featuring a length-spanning corkboard. The most modern item was a slightly dated and dusty flat screen TV at the head of the room.

“So are we thinking about a two-phase delivery for the team?” Asked Peter from his seat, pointing to the poster-sized photo of Antarctica.

“That seems best.” Quinn, glasses lowered on the bridge of her nose, confirmed his speculation with perfect anticipation. She pinned a photocopy of the ancient map she’d obtained in Hong Kong atop the Antarctica map, roughly where she imagined the entrance was. “We take the Calico to the edge of the ice, and from there the helicopter to drop them off.”

“What do you suppose this entrance looks like?” Challenger huffed, crossing his arms over his chest. “Some type of altar with pillars and stone guardians? Or a just a hole in the ice?”

“The gateway to Urth could be anything in between.” She shrugged. “It’s conceivable there was once a formal entrance, but god knows what it looks like now after thousands of years.”

“I hate to say it aunt Quinn, but just finding or forging an opening could be a time-consuming task in itself.” Peter rubbed the bridge of his nose, mentally factoring in all the extra logistical needs if simply accessing the entrance turned out to be an arduous project. Excavation equipment, machine drills, and the means to power and transport them.

“We could try ground penetrating radar.” The suggestion from the typically adventurous Challenger took Quinn a bit off guard, but the idea made sense. A bit over a year prior, a research team working in the English Channel, had planted a network of electronic stakes into the sea floor, in what used to be called Doggerland, when it was still a land bridge to the European continent circa 10,000 B.C.. Acting in concert, they projected their radar into the ground and created a digital map of the layers underneath. The success of the technique had been the talk of the many in the scientific fields.
“It seems to work well enough, and can be transported without much trouble.”

“We’ll keep that in mind.” Taking a note on the idea, Quinn stuck the small yellow square into the Antarctic poster. “What I think we need to sort out first is what kind of training we’re going to need for the inexperienced.”

“I imagine an assortment of the usual.” Peter went through his mental checklist, acquired after approving dozens of field expeditions for the Institute. “Starting with my personal favorites, the Three-C’s, climbing, camping, and conditioning.”

“If half the tales about this place are true, they’ll need a bloody well lot more than that.” Having spent his own decades exploring hundreds of nooks and crannies of the planet not already mapped and surveyed, Professor Challenger could tell that this mission would require some preparation beyond a summer camp for teenagers.
“I’ll wager you Peter, that a full basic course in several more robust disciplines will be needed. Marksmanship, survival, hand-to-hand combat, and hunting to name a useful few.”

“I’m way ahead of you Georgie.” Leaning down, Quinn removed three files folders from her light brown leather carry bag, sliding them across the table to the men.
“Aside from our boy Shane, I’ve arraigned for some specialists to take part in their drills.”

Scanning through the information in the reports, both men seemed satisfied by what they read. Challenger nodded.
“Quite the resume on these fellows Quinn, especially your friend Mr. Eikenboom.”

She gave him a thoughtful sigh, “If only I could send him with you guys. But you know the EDF policy on deploying their mutants.”

“Speaking of mutants.” His tone becoming somber, Peter closed the file he was inspecting. “Have you heard the news in China? What the Red Bamboo is doing?”

The others gave silently grim affirmation. News out of China in the past few days had been spotty, but appalling nonetheless. Reports of villages being raided by soldiers of the Communist terror group, seeking out those suspected of being mutants. Even kidnappings in larger cities for the same. Adults, teens, and children dragged out of their homes and from their families at gunpoint.

“God only knows what those monsters are doing to those poor bastards.” Quinn bristled, her hatred of the ruthless organization going back to the 70’s. Finally taking her own seat, memories flashed in her mind’s eye of her perilous escape from one of their island bases in the south Pacific. She remembered how they beat Captain Majors and threatened to kill him if they didn’t summon Titanosaurs into their waiting trap.
“Has the EDF put together any response? Or are they still too chicken-shit to disobey the UN?” She spat, a poisonous revulsion for the oversight the United Nations has of the Earth Defense Force, and the way it hamstrings it at every turn.

“Nothing so far.” Her nephew lamented. “The same bureaucratic obfuscation they always churn out whenever something like this happens.”

The deployment of mutant soldiers under EDF command was tightly controlled, and was only sanctioned for conventional use in the case of a Kaiju incident. Use against human opponents was considered a war crime, and protecting them came under the same laws that governed any other citizen. Unless specific authorization from the UN was granted, the EDF simply did not have the authority to go into China and start enforcing human rights. And as long as China held the sway it did in the Security Council, among other prominent positions, that permission would never be granted.

No one in the EDF was happy with this state of affairs, and many campaigns from several contributing nations had been launched to have this policy amended. But the scope of the bureaucracy was as indomitable as Godzilla himself, and had barely budged since the Destroy All Monsters Compact in 1968.

“My fear…” Challenger started. “Is that sooner than later, we’ll start seeing mutants in Red Bamboo uniforms. A force to counter the teams of M-Organization, ones not restricted by the law and indoctrinated in their Maoist propaganda.”

Dr. Darien shook her head, refusing to give into the dreadful notion. “Should that day ever come, there’s a whole lot of people who don’t give a damn the UN says, who will put a stop to it.”

Peter however, did not consider the idea with the same optimism. “And thus we will have, the first war between mutants. I wonder how many, normal and enhanced, will die? It’ll be like the introduction of the machine gun onto the battlefield, a massacre, a new world war.”

“Enough of this dour conversation, we should get back to matters at hand.” Sweeping aside the gloomy air between them with a gesture of his arm, Challenger dragged out a sheet of his own from inside his jacket’s breast.
“There is of course the matter of procuring the necessary rights to anything that’s discovered there.”

The current KRI president knew he was right in thinking ahead. Antarctica, while divided among multiple countries, technically belonged to no-one. The legal status of anything of value discovered on it or under it, would undoubtedly create a massive international fracas. And that was just the interest of the various States that planted a flag on the frozen continent, never mind the machinations of corporations. The likes of Bio-Major, Taos Mammon, Rolisica Pharmaceuticals, they would all chomp at the bits for the commercial rights to mine or harvest some new exotic resource.
“It was my hope to handle as much of this under the radar as possible.” Peter explained, giving them both a conspiratorial glance. “The less people outside the project who know about it the better, I think.”

“Probably a good idea, given how close the location of the map came to falling into the wrong hands.”
Quinn recalled the effort she had gone through in researching the map, and the ever-present feel that someone was looking over her shoulder. Since the discovery of King Caesar’s summoning statue in 1974, Okinawa had attracted researchers by the busload trying to uncover more ancient relics. Some of whom, Darien knew, were just plunderers looking for something to hock on the black market.
It was a good thing the EDF kept a manned station on the ocean-side mound opposite the Azumi clan estate, else some foolish act might stir the Guardian of Okinawa himself from his dormancy.
Her fear that she might have to somehow negotiate the map from some private collection, or worse, that it had been destroyed or lost to all knowledge worried her for the long months it took to track it down. But fortunately, through her many contacts within secretive organizations, the map had been confirmed and retrieved without incident.

Challenger tapped his thick finger on his sheet, indicating another of his talking points. “Then I further recommend that training be conducted here on 14, away from curious eyes. Best that we have the whole island to ourselves anyway.”

“Oh good aunt Quinn, that means you can give them the tour.” Peter chirped, “I know you love the look on people’s faces when you introduce them to your house pets.”

The elder Darien raised an eyebrow, her nephew’s suggestion extrapolating into a multiplicity of ideas.


SUBTERRENEAN CHAMBERS

His face buried in his notepad, pen wriggling furiously, Tyler York stepped through the bulkhead door, closing it behind him with a shove of his foot.
Today had been very interesting. While monitoring the cameras planted around Ogasawara, he noticed that Anguirus and the juvenile Godzilla were acting strangely in the mid-afternoon. In separate locations they had paused in what they were doing, and simply stared off into the distance to the east. They stood for several minutes, as if waiting to see something appear on the horizon.
His own interest peaked, Tyler used the real-time satellite feed over the island to search for the cause. The raw aerial view showed nothing out of the ordinary, aside from an Ookondoru circling above the trench, and neither did the thermal filter. But something was drawing their attention, and as he considered the possibilities despite the lack of positive data, he was excited to reach his own conclusion. Godzilla, he reasoned, had come close to shore, his junior kin and oldest ally sensitive to his presence.

Long had scientists speculated that the Kaiju were able to detect one another, even over great distances. Godzilla himself famous for not just tracking other monsters, but exhibiting the uncanny ability to anticipate opponents. The growing theory was, that his connection to radioactivity allowed him to tap into strong and weak nuclear forces on what seemed to be a global scale. Tyler suspected that bending these forces to his will was what permitted him to avoid being detected by the instruments of man.

“But what does this mean?” He wondered aloud. “How can he mask himself to some receptors and not others?” Coming to a dead stop on the grated metal catwalk that spanned the aquatic antechamber, a new, grander thought spawned. “Or could it be the other monsters, with some kind of mechanism to penetrate the deflection?”

“Mysteries of life my friend!”

Stunned by the interruption, Tyler cocked his head to the side, his jaw slowly dropping. Down on the outcropping of volcanic rock that served as a landing, was a man he didn’t recognize. What bewildered him more than the fact that the blond stranger was dressed only in a pair of swim trunks, was the fact that he was petting a Leanei Gorgo the size of a pony like it was a cat.
“Wha… who…?”

The baby beast lay on it’s stomach, head curled along it’s forelimb and eyelids narrowed to a slim margin as Shane Redmond caressed its scales.
“You’re Tayler right? I’m Shane, you and I are gonna be mission buddies.”

“Mission buddies?” Baffled and slightly offended, York shook his head and adjusted his glasses in an attempt to make sense of what was going on. “What mission? Who exactly are you? And why are you playing with an amphibious monster?”

Shane’s face warped like he had just been asked why the sky was blue. “The mission, the mission for Dr. Darien into lands uncharted! Tell you what, come down here and we can get properly introduced, eh?”

The very idea of surmounting the railing and being within arm’s reach of the Gorgo was inherently ridiculous according to his first instinct.
“Down there? With that thing?”

“Yeah! He ain’t gonna bite.” Shane leaned bodily onto the creature, reaching under its chin for a playful scratching. “Are you buddy?”

The Leanei gave a contented purr, lifting its head to allow Shane greater access. Tyler didn’t quite know how to react, seeing the progeny of a monster that attacked his home country loafing about like a spoiled house cat. He thought about he potential biological dangers of physical contact with a deep-sea kaiju, and considered the influence he might have on a creature that should be better left untainted by human interaction.

But, he remembered that this was precisely what Professor Challenger was getting at. His prowess as a scientist would keep hitting roadblocks if he never deigned to study something without using instruments and safety glass. Plus seeing the Gorgo act like a pet reminded him of the family dog he had been so fond of as a boy.

Pursing his face in fortitude, Tyler shed his long white lab coat, folding it over the railing, then unbuttoned his aubergine dress shirt, laying that atop the coat.

“That’s the spirit!” Watching the studious junior researcher weave his way between the horizontal bars of the railing, Shane had to suppress a chortle by biting his lip. Tyler was dangling himself down from the bottom of the walkway, his white tank-top coming untucked from his slacks as his polished shoes hung not but four feet from the rocks.
“Little more.” Shane encouraged. “Just ah, just let go.”

Dropping down with a clumsy tangle, Tyler did all but fall on his ass, bracing himself with his hands. The Gorgo let out a curious trill.

“You alright?” Shane asked.

“Quite.” Brushing himself off and flexing his wrists, York composed himself as if nothing more had happened than he had absentmindedly tried to enter the wrong door. “We should really get a set of stairs installed.” He grumbled.

Stepping awkward over the uneven igneous platform, Tyler laid his hands on the infant beast. At first it was to steady himself, but as he felt the living tissue in his hands, the realization that he was touching a real-life kaiju caused him to stare at the green scales with a silent awe. Slowly, he slid his palms across the back until they met the limits of his reach.

“See? He’s just a big baby.” He extended his arm across to the other side. “Shane Redmond.”

Tyler York.” The slightly enchanted Englishman returned as he shook the hand. “But I gather you already knew that.”

His innocent introduction spoiled, Shane smirked. “Yeah. Once Dr. Darien told me about the mission, I figured I’d get to know you guys.”
Gorgo yawned, rolling onto its side.
“So you’re a synecologist huh? What’s that all about?”

“Not that I don’t think you don’t already know…” Measuring his response as he rubbed the softer scales of the creature’s belly, Tyler’s ego couldn’t resist the urge to brag about his work.
“A synecologist studies the entire communal interrelationships between plants and animals within a given ecological environment.”

“Sounds big.”

“It is quite deeply involved, yes, and the best of us are experts across multiple disciplines.” York took one of Gorgo’s forelimbs in his left hand, pressing his right against the reptilian palm.

Enjoying seeing the other man take to the interaction like a kid in a petting zoo, Redmond scratched the tot under the chin.
“So how’d you fall into it? Magical talking hat, eh?”

York deadpanned him. “Ha-ha.” But a smirk peeked through his grimace. “No, when I was a kid, all the children in my school would marvel at the monsters like they were supernatural entities. The Titans from classical mythology, Leviathan and Behemoth from the bible, that sort of thing. But it was in science, and later on biology, that I learned about the web of life, and how interdependent life on this planet really is. So I realized, that the kaiju, Godzilla, Ebirah, Reptilicus, this little guy here, they were as much a part of the ecosystem as any spider or hare.”

“And you wanna figure it all out huh?”

“Precisely. Despite what some daydreaming Venusian might say, the Kaiju play their own unique part in Earth’s biota. That is my chosen field.”
Tyler brought a hand under fin that sprouted from the side of the creature’s head, scratching it like one might a dog. To his delight, the Gorgo started to emit a hum from the back of its throat.

“Aww, he likes you.” Shane mused, an eyebrow raised. “Next he’ll be following you around.”

“I admit, this is much more stimulating than watching the Man-Eater plant in a terrarium.”

“You have a Man-Eater plant in your lab?” Genuinely intrigued, Shane tilted his head and leaned forward.

“I do!” Tyler exclaimed. “As a matter of fact I-” Catching sight of his watch, he frowned. “Well, I would show you, but I’m afraid I’ve got a biopsy sample I really should keep an eye on. Wouldn’t want it to grow out of control and destroy the lab you know.”

“Right.”

“In any case Mr. Redmond, it was a pleasure to meet you.” The pair shook hands again, and after a pat of the Leanei’s belly, Tyler went back over to the catwalk where he tried to lift himself back up.

The Gorgo pup and Shane watched on curiously as their new friend stood uncomfortably, looking up to the platform that hung above his reach.

“Check this out.” Coming around York’s side, Shane squatted down, interlocked his fingers and created a step for him to climb up with.
“Little team work.”

Acting in tandem, Shane helped project Tyler high enough to grip the bottom of the walkway. His musculature not exactly conditioned for the strength necessary to hoist his bodyweight, he was glad to have the steady assistance of the quixotic Mr. Redmond.

A sudden burst of effort surprised him, and he nearly smashed the crown of his head into one of the rungs. Luckily he was able to angle his ascent in between the steel bars and sprawl onto the grate.
“Redmond! What the devil-”
Tyler looked below to see the Gorgo staring back up at him, the pate of his head directly under where he had been climbing.

“He gets a little excited sometimes with people he likes.” The Canadian explained.

Getting to his feet, the junior researcher noticed that Shane was walking back towards where the rock jutted out to the water.
“How exactly did you get in here by the way?” York asked. “I didn’t see you pass through the lab.”

Shane called back over his shoulder, “Oh I came in the back door.”

Without a hint of trepidation or pause, Shane swung his arms up to his head and leaped into the water.
Tyler was left gawking.


DORMITORY FLOORS

“So what are you going to do with Princess while your away?”
Approaching the door to Faith’s room, John Tarbtano slumped his shoulder against the small span of wall between her frame and the one to the neighboring dorm.
“Turn her loose into the wild?”

She was aghast, turning on him as she plugged her key into the lock with faux affront.
“No, knowing her, she’d go up to a Kamacuras for a petting and get gobbled up. I haven’t sorted anything out though, we’re months away from that.”

The breath of air from inside the room was distinctively cooler than the hall, and the two of them filed inside with a sigh of relief. Faith threw her bag on the bed, inciting the mentioned feline to rise from the groove in the comforter it had settled into, and saunter up to its beloved human. The sable-furred Princess pressed her head into Faith’s offered palm, nuzzling as if she hadn’t been shown affection for days.
Tarbtano was just closing the door behind him when someone laid a hand on it to keep it open.

“Sorry!” The young dark woman apologized, in a noticeable African accent. John recognized her as the mail deliverer for this wing of the dorms.
“Package for Ms. Wolff.” She announced, holding up a rectangular parcel wrapped in brown paper. Stuck to one broad side was a small white card.

Accepting the mail, John pushing the door open for the girl to see inside, allowing Faith to give the messenger a wave to let her know her job was done. “Thank you.” He said as the girl departed down the hall, a bundle of other items under her arm. With mystery gift in hand, he closed the door and extended it to his girlfriend, much to her own puzzlement.

“Oh, a card…” She said, her fingers dancing in anticipation.

“Feels like a book.” Weighing the shape, he ran a palm along the side, feeling the covers stick out from the middle. Sliding it into her grip she plucked the card away and read the short note.
“May your memoirs be as interesting as mine. QD.”

“Quinn Darien?” Tarbtano guessed, the clues fairly obvious.

Faith ripped apart the wrapping and found in her possession, a journal. Light-brown soft leather covers, with a length of black twine that secured it closed around a latch in the middle of the front. Embossed on what she assumed was the front cover, was the imprint of a feather in the middle of two interweaving lines that topped in a valentine shape.
“Iiiii love it already.” She said, undoing the string and flipping through the blank pages, the smell of new ink on paper wafting up to her.

“Seems like she had it custom made.” Plopping down on the bed beside her, John craned his neck to examine the stamp. “Dr. Darien must’ve taken a real shine to you.”

“Well this is nice of her, love the emblem.” She turned the book over in her hands, soaking in the meaning and potential of the mission incarnated in the aromatic tome.
“I wonder what this thing will look like a year from now.”

“Maybe it’ll be filled with stories and sketches of underground jungles and exotic monsters.” He suggested.

“Or maybe just my gripes about how my feet hurt, or it’s too hot, or my boot got eaten by a giant centipede.”

Acting out her last comment, John reached down, seized her left foot, and brought it up to his mouth, making growling, chewing noises as Faith was levered onto her back on a fit of laughter. He removed her shoe, locking his eyes onto hers, the attention of the two young paramours focusing in on each other.

John began to lean forward when she hooked her leg around is back, tugging him forward to loom over her like a stalking puma. She placed a hand on the back of his head as he continued to press his body closer to hers, a predacious grin growing

Their heads were a foot apart when the alarm sounded.

KAIJU ALERT…KAIJU ALERT

The abruptness of the blaring klaxon jolted them both out of bed in an ungainly jumble, Princess yelped and scrambled out of sight. They raced to the window, which faced to the northeast, where Faith luckily had a good view of the neighboring islands.

“Look at that…” John said breathlessly.

Passing between NS 11 and 14, a massive, muscular, reptilian tail lashed out of the water in a long arc, splashing back down in an explosion of sea-spray. Arriving just in time, they caught a glimpse of huge bony plates disappearing behind the rising profile of another island.

Like theirs, the many windows facing in that direction were filled with gawking faces, some pointing and shouting. They all recoiled when their windows were shuddered by the thunderous roar that filled the air.


SOUTH PACIFIC
HALFWAY BETWEEN HAWAII AND THE MARSHAL ISLANDS


The oil rig “Ocean Bounty” belonging to the multinational Taos Mammon corporation hummed along through the night, pumping tons of liquid crude from the Earth’s mantle. Red lights posted on the extremities continued to blink through the howling winds and briny rain. The storm kicking up the white tips of the waves had been raging for the last hour, keeping the crew and any other prying eyes from noticing the two uninvited guests creeping along the corners.

Black robes covered them head to toe like ninjas, only these warriors also bore tactical vests with magazine pouches, backed with Kevlar padding. On one side of their hips were holstered 40mm handguns, on the opposite were KA-Bar knives. Their heads and faces were covered in hoods tucked into their collars, with mesh over the eyes and nose. Clasped in hard-knuckled gloves, were their compact Glock 18 submachine guns at the high ready. Stemming from between their shoulder blades, Tottori short swords.

Silently and efficiently they slinked though the walkways, the tempest doing a fair job of battering them but failing to slow them down. Filing behind one another, the one in front stopped before crossing a door, the other swinging around to cover their rear. Glancing through the porthole window, he saw the path beyond uninhabited, a small room opening to a hallway.

Once inside, they made sure to tread extra silently. The initial room was dark, but the hall was lighted midway through, creating a greater threat of exposure.

The television in the common room screamed in Japanese of the ongoing soccer game being broadcast from their satellite feed. The event from the Tokyo Dome was a big one, and the dozen or so crew members were transfixed to the screen. They never noticed the black-clad figures sneaking through the back of the room, progressing out into another area.

Laying asleep with his feet propped-up on the control panel, the lone technician yawned as the data readings of the pumping machines continued to beep softly, a sign that everything was working as it should be. A number of security monitors, three rows of four screens, displayed different sections of the facility. One of them was focused on the common room, where the two other crewmembers who were supposed to be on duty with him were cheering for the game.  

Parting the folds of his hood around his mouth aside, one of the shadowed warriors approached behind the slumbering platform tech, a man in his early forties, slightly overweight. His partner closed the door to the room, lowering the locking bar to seal them inside.

As carefully as disabling a bomb, the first intruder slipped a hand over the man’s mouth, and pulled it tightly into the crook of his shoulder, pressing the muzzle of his gun to his temple. Stolen from his dreams, the man awoke and tried to scream and flail, but an authoritative grip on his face convinced his to settle down.

{Translated from Japanese}
“Cooperate, and you will live. Scream, and you die. Understand?”

The man nodded slowly, not making a sound, staring in the direction of the voice with saucer-wide eyes.

“Good.”
Releasing his grasp of the tech’s face, he rose from his crouch. The man turned his swivel chair, shaking in fear to see the two armed Ninjitsuka in the room with him.

“Do you know why we are here?” The masked-man asked.

His head bobbed swiftly, sweat beginning to seep out from the pores of his brow.

“Your drilling has been causing damage to the environment since it started operating. You mutilate the Earth, you pollute the ocean, and you terrorize the wildlife. Now, you are done.”

The twitch in the technician’s face betrayed confusion, looking to his captor as if he had just recited a litany of random words in several languages. Something clicked in the warrior’s mind, and he suddenly realized that the man had been afraid of another secret.
“You thought we were here for something else, didn’t you?” Slinging the weapon around to his back, he drew the Tottori from its sheath and rested the tip on the man’s knee.
“What did you think we were after? Huh?”

The technician convulsed, “No!” he cried, trying to keep his voice just above a whisper. “If I tell you, they will kill me!”

The sword sunk into the flesh half an inch, eliciting a sharp bark of pain that the man had to cover his own mouth to avoid shrieking.
“If you don’t tell me, I will kill you.”
To emphasize his threat, the blade was slowly twisted.

His resistance overcome, the man put his hands together in prayer in front of his face. “Please! Please!”

Disgusted by the man’s sniveling weakness, the warrior withdrew the sword with a flick of the wrist, and slapped him with the flat of the blade.
“Quite your crying!” He scolded. “And show me what you are really doing here!”

With both hands raised shoulder-high the crewman turned, wincing, to the control board for the monitor screens. Fingers quivering, he pressed a button and the three monitors on the end switched feeds. Now they showed a room, the same from different angles, and it was filled with people, men, women, teenagers, children.
Behind the mesh veil, the warrior’s face grimaced in revulsion. The room itself was dark, with a single series of fluorescent lights down the middle. Some of the people were shackled to the vertical bars that lined the walls, others weighted down with wrist and ankle restraints to eyelets drilled into the concrete floor. The floor itself was filthy, patches of rust, puddles of some liquid reflecting the gleam of the lights. They were all dressed in dirty, torn clothes, heads hung in despair. One woman was yelling across the room in Chinese.

The second warrior who had been guarding the door walked over, curious to see for himself what had rendered his partner silent. Upon taking in the inhumane video, he pushed the other aside, gripped the crewman by the front of his shirt, and kicked the wheeled chair out from under him. With a hapless squeal the man failed to support himself on his injured leg and slipped, held up only by the furious hand.
“You are keeping slaves!” The other Ninjitsuka snarled. “Taos Mammon is using your rig to smuggle people!”

“Not us! Not Taos no!” Panicked tears were welling up in his eyes as he searched for any hint of mercy from behind the black hood. “I swear!”

“This is your rig!” The warrior shook him violently, but was calmed by a hand placed on his back.

“This is not the work of Taos.” The first one said, motioning with his Tottori to the videos. “Look.”

Glancing again to the screen indicated, not one of those inside the room, it showed a uniformed man walking through what seemed like the bowels of the rig, carrying a file folder, and bearing a pistol on his hip. It was the crest on his officer’s cap that revealed who he was.

The Red Bamboo.

“They pay us.” The crewman whined. “Taos doesn’t know about it, supervisors are bribed.”

“You deal with terrorists.” Growled the one holding him. “You take blood-money.”

“We have to! They said if we do not allow them to operate here, they will kill us all and sink the rig! They are extorting us! They know our names, where we live! We avoid them, we do nothing with them!” The frantic man sputtered.

The fist tightened as livid eyes appraised the words, weighing their honesty. Chao Gang judged them to be true.
“I should throw you into the ocean for your cowardice.”
Instead of hurling the man to a watery death, he settled for a punch that knocked him out cold.

“We did not come here for people.” Tozawa reminded him sternly. “We have no way to transport them. We are here to shut this rig down.”

“I am not leaving those people in chains!” Chao swore. “And I will soak the floors in Red Bamboo blood.”

Elsewhere in the facility, down in the lower quarters, the Red Bamboo officer approached a secure room, the guard at the door snapping to attention. His white uniform was similar in style, but more functional, completed by a white patrol cap and the Chinese replication of an M-16 at his side. The officer opened the door and passed him by without acknowledgement.

The Taos Mammon rig served as a weigh station, a transitional holding site the Bamboo used while moving the prisoners from their marked vessels, and into another disguised as one belonging to any number of nations or corporations. Assigned staff for theses intermediately periods was kept relatively small, eight men, to ensure their presence was not a distraction or burden to the Taos crew. Two soldiers rotating the post at the door to their office, two Lieutenants that rotated watch over the captives and crew, and four more men who rotated guarding the door to the holding cell in the room beyond.

Inside the small room, the relieving officer saluted his counterpart who returned the honor, and without word switched places behind the desk. The man on his way out making sure to close the door behind him. Shifts tended to be monotonous, and the officers, who monitored their own number of video cameras, were authorized the small luxury of party approved literature. Since things aboard the Ocean Bounty went generally smooth, the oncoming supervisor once seated, opened a drawer and took out his dog-eared copy of a book by a North Korean veteran, who recounted the glories and tragedies of fighting the Americans for the global Communist revolution.

As he immersed himself in another tale of how the brave author snuck past enemy lines and managed to toss a grenade into a position filled with enemy troops, one of the monitors he was ignoring showcased its own bloody drama.

The soldier guarding the door outside was set upon from above by two figures in black, one severing the arm that held the rifle with a chop of the Tottori, the other wrapping an arm around his face, twisting it away and smothering any horrific scream. The one who had taken the arm took the liberty of slashing his blade across the soldier’s throat, and doing something ungodly to his abdomen that the camera could not see.

Satisfied, Tozawa adjusted his hold of the man, and eased him down to the floor. Chao swung his sword at a hard angle to pitch the excess blood off, and prepared to breach the room.

With practiced skill, Tozawa stood behind the door, and opened it from the hinging side, allowing Chao to rush inside and deal with any immediate targets in the two seconds before he joined him. A quick cry that ended in a gurgle was all the disturbance raised before the room was cleared. Tozawa, seeing the length of his friend’s Tottori being pulled out of the Officer’s throat where it had pierced through a book and out the nape, noted only that the threat had been eliminated.

Climbing down off the desk he had dived onto, Chao wiped the sword on the officer’s sweat-stained lapel and slid it back into the sheath. He again positioned himself at an angle to the next door, bringing his submachine gun up. This time Tozawa simply knocked on the metal.

After a few moments, the door swung open and the curious head of the solder, along with a portion of his chest, was assailed by a barrage of bullets. The body, dead before it could fall, was caught by Chao who braced it against his chest as a shield of flesh, and entered the room.
The second guard on duty raised his rifle, but hesitated upon seeing his comrade in his sights, a mistake. The underarm Glock spat a burst of rounds that tore into the soldier’s left leg, collapsing him to the floor. Chao dropped the corpse he was holding and took aim to finish his work.

“NO!” Tozawa barked, pushing Chao’s weapon aside.

Thinking his life had just been spared, the Bamboo guard took a few more adrenaline energized breaths.

“You can’t take them all.” With a quick burst, Tozawa’s bullets ripped through the guard, splattering blood across the walls.

Rifling through the soldiers pockets produced an electronic key, shaped like a conventional one, but inlaid with circuits. The door to the holding cell was another simple lever-action lock, but took a bit of muscle to move.

A stench that no factory farm would tolerate greeted them as they pulled back the door, but it was the faces of those in chains that struck Chao even harder. At first the people gawked at them with a newfound fear, cowering and shuffling away if they could.

Chao removed his mask, revealing his face to his kinfolk, and they began to respond with hope. He quickly crouched down to the nearest person, a boy he guessed no older than 14, and unlocked his shackles.
“We’re getting you out of here.” He told the boy in their shared tongue.

With only one key, Tozawa busied himself by inspecting the room, and most importantly, the manner of the high-tech restraints.
These are not normal prisoners. He deduced.

“There are eight guards.” An older man said in Mandarin, in his late 40’s - early 50’s judging by the creases in his face.

“Eight you say?” Tozawa repeated, considering the impact of the information.

“Eight.” The man confirmed with a tired nod. “Make sure you get them all.” The words had a venom to them.

“We will. You are all mutants, am I correct?”

“Yes.” Cried a young woman, her face drawn from long hours of weeping. “They killed my husband and kidnapped me. We are all mutants here.”

Chao worked fervidly to free them, and while doing so, noticed something queer on the inside band. An absorbent patch that smelled of pharmaceuticals lined the curve, where it would make skin contact.

“Some type of sedative or muscle relaxant.” Tozawa remarked. “To keep them controllable.”

Once all were freed, they were warned to remain in the cell for a few more minutes while the pair took care of the other guards. A few objected, but the older man, who seemed to have taken on a leadership role among the captives calmed them enough to see reason.

The sleeping quarters for the guards was not hard to find. Down the hall and unguarded, it was a small thing for them to sneak inside and slay them in their beds.

While Chao led the people, 14 in all, down to the egress point, Tozawa peeled off.
“Where are you going?” Chao demanded.

“To finish our mission.” Taking a detour back to the control room, Tozawa found the negligent crewman still unconscious. The intelligence he had been briefed with beforehand proved accurate, as the controls were the same as the diagram he trained on.

Down at the bottom of the rig, the weather had fortunately begun to die down, and the specter of having to get the crowd through a tropical storm was not as daunting for Chao. He was also relieved to see the grapple hooks they’d tied off unmolested. Attached to them were ropes with knots at intervals for hand and footholds, which were anchored to their SEABOBs, underwater turbines that one held onto as they were propelled forward. These ones modified to increase horsepower.
The plan was to tie off the lifeboat to the SEABOBs and tow it. That was, whenever Tozawa returned.

Hopping down the perforated stairs two at a time, Tozawa arrived to see the last of the captives being loaded into the back of the lifeboat in it’s slanted berth, pointed to the water some 40 meters below.
“Ready?” He asked Chao, who yanked down on the lever mechanism to release the boat.

The orange lifeboat slid out from its lock, and plummeted to the churning sea nose first, stabbing a few feet down before bobbing uprightly.

Unhooking their grapnels, they slung the metal quadrate around their shoulders and down around to the hip where they weaved the line around the arms to secure it to their bodies. Tozawa removed his own hood and tucked it into the inside of his load bearing vest. They climbed over the railing and standing side-by-side on the edge, raised their arms and leaped off, diving headlong.

Hooks fastened to the boat, the reason why the older man had been so composed under pressure became clear in a brief conversation. He had been in the Chinese Navy before retiring to a life of commercial boating. With him at the helm, he was able to guide the boat through the rough waves and keep up with the two rescuers who surged along ahead of them beneath the surface.

As they made their escape, the lights of the Ocean Bounty went dark and the machinery ground to a halt. An explosion erupted from the northwest corner.
[bigger cast picture here]

A few years before the events of the Godzilla/Marvel saga, one team of Kaiju devotees had a fantastic adventure.

Dr. Quinn Darien arranges a mission to Antarctica, where lies the gateway to a subterranean world of Monsters, sub-human savages, ancient beast-gods, and the truth behind Earth's Kaiju.

Our team of Kaiju Research Institute students, a veteran explorer, and a pair of religious warriors travel down into a continent lost to time and evolution, where the great monsters of prehistory still dominate the land, tribes of men kill each other for women and the favor of the gods, and the secrets of humanity's past with the Kaiju wait to be discovered.

What incredible sights await them? What secret treasures of gold and knowledge will they uncover? Who are the beasts that demand worship and make war? Who will make it back alive from a land of imminent peril, ground-breaking brutality, and primal rage?

Find out as we explore, "THE LAND PRIMEVAL"

John Tarbtano is a character based on Tarbtano, author of the epic Godzilla/MLP crossover fic "The Bridge", who generously agreed to let me base a character off of him.

Faith Wolff is a character based on Faith-Wolff, artist for "The Bridge", and epic artist in her own right. She also graciously agreed to let me feature her.

Also find the story on FanFiction. And check out the rest of my inter-connected Godzilla universe over on FanFiction, or here on DeviantArt.

All non-original rights reserved to their respective owners. This is a fan creation.
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:icontarbano:
tarbano Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2017
HUH!... Cockblocked and yet you're not that far off! :rofl:
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:iconrmc1618:
RMC1618 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2017
Hope you enjoyed the rest of the stuff BTW!
Reply
:icontarbano:
tarbano Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2017
Oh yes yes! Reminds me a lot of an old style adventure story. Of course by old i mean tried but true. You do a pretty good emulation ofelements found in Rice Burroughs even if you intended that or not.
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:iconrmc1618:
RMC1618 Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2017
Yeppers, it is in that exact vein as the early science-fiction writers that I look at this story. Though, more of the flavor comes from the old films inspired themselves by the books, and others like: "One Million Years BC", & "King Dinosaur". Of course, there are the elements of a Godzilla universe, which actually make things pretty easy.

I figure another 3-4 chapters and I can let loose some of the good stuff.
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:iconfaith-wolff:
Faith-Wolff Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
KAIJU COCK BLOCK

seriously tho i LOVE this! i love how we're represented! >/w/<
Reply
:iconrmc1618:
RMC1618 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2017
TBH, I got a little uncomfortable going much further with that, so I devised an interruption! (A temporary one, as far as your girl's concerned;) )
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:iconfaith-wolff:
Faith-Wolff Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ahh i'm sorry! ;w;
Reply
:iconrmc1618:
RMC1618 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2017
The next chapter will get more into how the rest of the story will go, from the perspective of your journal. (hope you noticed the emblem BTW)!
Reply
:iconfaith-wolff:
Faith-Wolff Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i did!!!!
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