* PROLOGUE *

Midnight on Gura shima, a small pacific island roughly nine hundred miles south of Japan.

Torchlight burns around a native temple, flickering over the bodies and the blood, the aftermath of battle. A group of dark skinned warriors stands off against the last of the beaten invaders, while inside the ancient structure a strange ceremony continues. The assault had failed miserably.

"Fools of Gura! The SeaGod curses you and all you worship!"

"Selgan dog, your SeaGod has no power here!" Blade in hand, the Gurani lunged, stabbing the Selgan deep between the ribs. The invader fell, joining his companions now unconscious beside him.

"Whoa!" A man approached, American. Complete with denim jacket, cowboy boots, and a double barreled Smith & Wesson. "Kraken says let the leader go." The warriors shook their spears in protest, still hot for retribution. "Well, I'll tell ya what," said the Cowboy. "You can tie him up, blindfold him, and then shove him off." He slapped the nearest native hard on the shoulder. "He's plenty hurt already."

The natives smiled and agreed. "Stupid SeaGod lover better pray real good. Only she gonna protect you now!" The mob laughed, and the ritual went on.

Within the temple. The natives shake and stomp across the floor, chanting the words of some ancient incantation, a summoning of power to aid them in their time of need. Around them stand banks of equipment, modern electronics set to both facilitate and record the ritual's progress. Then from somewhere out amongst the heavens, there came a response.

The sky flared white, and a great rumbling coursed through the earth, like something shifting far below. "Stay with me, Chief," spoke the man called Kraken. "My readings have spiked. They're flying off the scale!" He stood before a long instrument panel, monitoring the strange energy signatures these ceremonies somehow produce. The same readings that led him to discover this island, and the opportunities it now presented.

"My God," he cried, watching the ancient, alien images dance across the screen. "Mycroft! Are you getting all this?"

"Yes, Alex. Storage buffers are full, initiating datastream transmission now." Microwave uplinks come on line, tracking their satellite targets and feeding them the beam. The earth trembles again, and the sky begins to flash and roar.

"Kraken, something is wrong," spoke the Gurani Chief, as another tremor shakes through the building. "Gura Himself now tells us, the ceremony must stop!"

"Now, now, we made a bargain, Chief. My men help vanquish your enemies, you let us monitor your ceremonies. Besides, we both know you could be doing the bloody Macarena in here and the local volcano would not be forming opinions about it!"

"You know nothing of our heritage, foreigner. Nothing of our power! The Selgans were right, we have offended the Gods," the island Chief cried, looking at his people. "Stop the ritual! Now!"

Alexander Kraken's face turned grim as the dancers stopped. "Chief, you are forcing me to respond in a most uncivilized fashion," slowly, he reached for his revolver. "Is that really what you want?"

"Alex, wait!" Shouted his brother. "Look at the screen!"

The monitor glowed brightly, still showing the familiar waveform pattern of the ritual chanting. Only, the chanting had already stopped. "What the...?"

Suddenly, an enormous explosion rocked through the island, shifting the ground and threatening to bring the temple down around them! The equipment racks began to smolder and glow, their components all sparking with power! "Mycroft, the waveform, it's complete!" Screamed Kraken, debris falling down around him. "I think It's using the machines somehow..."

"Alex, the volcano is erupting! We've got to go!"

"Come on, boss. Time's a wastin'." From the entrance the Cowboy emerged, pulling Kraken to safety. Behind them, the entrance collapsed.

"Mycroft! Duke, let me go! We've got to go in after..." Kraken's words were cut short as the entire structure gave way, becoming a huge pile of crumbled stone. "Oh my God."

In the distance, they could see the volcano in action. Vast black plumes rising from the jagged cracks that cut the cone of Gura, the lava spurting and flowing quickly across the land. Then the cone cracked again. The lava flowed more fiercely, cutting through the shifting rips. They realized then, something big was moving inside the volcano. Something that was trying to get out...