By George Thomas
PART ONE : ASCENSION
Defense Force HQ, Osaka Japan. Vanguard Command.
Doctor Noribu Noto watches his monitor intently, the biodata readouts all confirming his fears. Slowly, he removes his thick glasses and turns to his human test subject. The man's name is Maki Sato. He is shaking like a leaf.
"Dozo ohairi kudasai, Sato san." Noto reached within a low cabinet, producing a bottle of Sake. He poured out two cups. "Drink."
"I don't..." began Sato.
"I have found that sometimes the simplest of medicines can produce most profound results. Drink it." Reluctantly, Sato drank. "Now you are ready to listen."
Noto began slowly, reviewing the case in his mind. This Sato was an interesting man. Expert in a range of sciences, including crystallography and nuclear physics. A man who recently discovered a source of strange trans-dimensional energy and tapped into it. His success left him transformed into a monster.
"As you know, there was a second test subject involved here. A small frog was used to duplicate the condition which afflicted you, and test our cures upon it. Our success with the animal led to the stabilizer which restored you to human form. Three days ago, the animal's condition began to change."
"It is breaking down, Sato. Liquefying," Noto reached for the wine and drank. "Turning back into the dangerous Hydrogen based lifeform your experiments inadvertently created."
"Damn! Have you tried further treatment with the metabolic oxidizer?"
"We have tried everything, but I don't think the compound is the problem. It is as if the animal has been exposed to Radion Wave bombardment, the very force which caused the condition to begin with."
Maki's jaw hung slack. He had destroyed his old labs to ensure no one else could access those forces. Now it appears someone has. "I can rig up a Wave sensor to confirm it. In the meantime, I recommend the frog be used to continue to refine the stabilizer. I will notify General Shinzo, and begin moving my equipment back to the containment facility. Just in case."
"Thank you, Sato. I have already sent word to Miss Masada, asking for her help. Try not to worry now, we will find a way to cure this, I know it."
"In that case, thank you, Doctor." The men bowed, and Noto left the room.
For a while, Sato sat in contemplation, then slowly began to dress. He shook, reassuring himself it was only the medlab's characteristic chill. If the Radion Wave was indeed behind the lab animal's current condition, he could track it to its source. Unfortunately, such a move would likely leave him in much the same shape as the frog, and he found himself most unwilling to step back into that particular nightmare.
He wished Tanaka was still with them, or even the Bradley's, but they had to break up the crew after the deaths of General Iwa and Agent Munabe in the War against the Wild Gods. Now, Sato knew he was mostly on his own, haunted by the knowledge he must work to destroy a monster of his own making. Before it destroys him first.
Tokyo, the House of Masada.
Miname sits at her computer, keying in the last of her work. The system was new, with the most advanced speed and capabilities, and linked directly to the mainframe at Vanguard Command. She had asked General Shinzo only to upgrade her existing equipment, as payment for her aid in developing the formula that cured Sato from his mutant condition. Instead, he insisted on replacing her old system entirely, an offer Miname gratefully accepted!
The call from Doctor Noto was no surprise. Anna Bradley had warned her the formula was not a proven cure, but a stabilizer that promotes a state of remission. The old woman was the one who really figured out the metabolic oxidizer, before being reunited with her family and returning to America. Miname knew no computer ever made could be of as much help, and despaired at her own chances of success without her. These days, it was not her only cause for despair.
His name was Captain Inoshiro Tanaka, Commander of Japan's anti-kaiju Vanguard. A man whose actions had branded him a criminal, and forced him into hiding. He had professed his love for her, before he disappeared. A love she shared for him, though fate had chosen to keep them apart. Now, Miname searches for him, using the technology at her disposal, as well as the talents of her uncle Tominaga, a retired Detective. So far, Shiro was taking no chances, making himself impossible to find. She told herself to shelve her efforts for now, to focus on her mission to cure Sato before he transformed once more into an inhuman killer. Her aching heart told her otherwise, but she knew there really was no choice. She gathered her data, and headed for V-Command.
Graves were dug for Mycroft and the dead of Kraken's guard, topped with mounds of stone from the fallen temple. Sharks swarmed the beaches as the remains of the Selgans were given back to the Sea, while the Gurani gathered their own fallen warriors to be fed into the still flowing magma.
Kraken wept, his tears staining the dusty stone of his brother's mound. It was going to be hell to have to tell the family. Screw it, he thought, it's hell right now.
"Duke," he called to his assistant. "Give me the numbers."
"Nine down, three sinkers, and as many banged up." The Cowboy spat upon the ground. "Gurani don't look like they're doin much better. I... I'm real sorry about Mikey."
"Mycroft was the heart of our operation, Duke. I don't know of anyone who could fill his shoes. I'm not even going to try. Come on, let's see what we can salvage."
Kraken's team had already begun repairs. Supplies and equipment pulled from the ruined temple now lay piled along the remaining treeline, covered by tarps. The base camp had burned in the eruption, taking the bulk of their resources with it. The crushed and scattered components they had recovered here were all that they had left. Kraken began to fumble through the equipment, searching. He smiled grimly, pulling a disc still intact from its broken drive, and slipping it into his breast pocket.
"Do you know what this is, Duke? It's the key to our future. The waveform that woke the God of the volcano. You saw the beast! It is linked somehow to this energy pattern. If I can learn to unlock the pattern, I could use it to control the monster."
"Whoa now! Finding that critter here was just an accident, boss. Durn thang flew off thataway last I saw it. Sure you don't wanna jus' leave it be?" Duke asked hopefully. "It was awful big."
"That 'critter' is an invaluable scientific find, but a dangerous one. Its size alone gives it the destructive potential of a nuclear warhead, and I set it loose." Kraken seethed a moment, then composed. "It killed my brother, and I set it loose. Now I'm going to do something about it, before any more people wind up dead. Tell the men to establish a defensive perimeter, and dig in as best they can. We'll have to rough it till supplies arrive."
"Supplies? Not transport?" Asked the Cowboy.
"No. We finish this mission where it started, right here. You'll excuse me now, while I call the Office."
Miname stepped through the wide, glass doors into the Defense Force complex. The whole place was abustle with activity, everyone moving double time. It was definitely some kind of alert.
"Masada san," behind her, General Shinzo appeared. "Thank you for coming so quickly. This way, please." The huge soldier's face was set grim as usual, but something different showed there now. A look that made Miname automatically comply. A look that was very close to fear.
"General, what is this about? Is Sato still...okay?"
"Hei. He remains as human as you or I, and hard at work as well. That work has again revealed something strange, but he can brief you on the particulars far better than I."
Miname remained quiet as they made their way to the labs, observing. Officially, she was a consultant here. Her father's research on an affliction similar to Sato's that occurred in nineteen fifty-nine, as well as her own background in biochemics, had proven useful in reversing the condition, but she doubted there was much more she could do. She was out of her league and she knew it.
The guards saluted and stepped aside as they approached the prison-like research wing, making way for Shinzo's Sumoesque girth. The General's size alone was enough to intimidate almost anyone, yet Miname was not wholly uncomfortable in his presence. Shinzo knew the truth behind Tanaka's actions, and had refused to arrest him. It was one of the reasons she had agreed to help the man, she was indebted to him for her lover's freedom.
"General. Masada san. Arrashimasse." Sato looked up from his work and welcomed them.
"Hello, Sato. You look well," said Miname.
"Luckily, I feel well also, but I appreciate your concern."
"It's my job." She replied with a cool smile.
Sato smiled back. He liked this lady. A lot. "Let me show you something," he motioned toward the largest monitor. Its surface was lit with strange glyphs, flashing in frantic fractal dance.
"What is it?" Asked Miname.
"A waveform. Unique, alien. I found it while scanning for Radion emissions." Sato sighed, a look of great burden on his young face. "I believe it may be extradimensional in origin. Possibly some kind of side effect of my original experiments. My responsibility."
"That may be true," began the General. "But placing blame is not among our priorities, Sato san. Determining the true nature of this force and its possible effects are."
"Hei, I understand, though it will not be an easy task. I have been unable to pinpoint the waveform's source. Every time I get a clean signal, it shifts before I can lock on."
"Shifts? Shifts how?" Miname inquired.
"That's a good question. Possibly location. I've got a Satracker program on it now."
Miname thought a moment, considering the implications. She decided she did not like where they led. "You mean, like something moving?"
Sato nodded in grim capitulation. "Hei. just like something moving."
First, there was the cold. Then came sound, and the motion of the sea swelling against the hull of the tiny ship. Only the darkness remained. That, and the pain.
Hiroki of Selga groaned awake, the pounding in his skull dragging him back to reality. He shivered in the chill ocean wind, his every breath an exercise in agony. His thoughts quickly sharpened, focusing to a strange clarity as he realized, he must be in shock. He tested the bonds about his wrists, and discovered them loose, thanking the SeaGod as his hands came free!
The young sailor dragged himself upright and pulled the blindfold from his eyes, greeted now by a dawn as red as the pools of still wet ichor that surround him. He was bleeding badly, and damn lucky to be alive. Too lucky. He was the one who had called for the raid on Gura. He who had led his people to defeat at their enemy's hands. It was not the first time he had brought suffering to those who believed in him, and he wept. The pain of his body as nothing before the torment of his lost soul.
Suddenly, a vast black shadow fell upon him, plunging him once more into night. Hiroki froze. There was something far above him, in the sky. With a rush of air, the shadow passed, and a gigantic form appeared!
The beast was huge, pteranoid in shape. It's leathern wings stretching nearly fifty meters across. Each. Hiroki stared at the giant monster gliding silently over him, its details lost in a haze of pain. Strangely, he found his shaky vision revealing something else.
An aura surrounded the creature, shifting and gathering about its ragged, skeletal form. He strained to focus, and the aura formed a pattern. The pattern pulsed, energy flowing outward in waves of primordial force! Lances of it struck the ocean, sending charges of arcane energy coursing through the sea. A harsh and chilling screech ripped the night as the creature slowly banked , turning back the way it came. Hiroki turned as well, his gaze following the beast as it flapped steadily toward the horizon. Its silhouette shrinking against a sky quickly filling with the most menacing of clouds.
The wounded sailor's jaw went slack at the sight. A Spiritstorm was raging, extinguishing the face of the dawn. Hiroki glared in grim defiance, his gaze burning into the heart of the advancing maelstrom. Getting buzzed by that Kaiju was nothing. The SeaGod was angry, angry and heading his way!