PART FIVE: BLOOD
Agent Sahara watched as the first wave of men and equipment paddled out to meet the sub. Within the hour, they will have evacuated the island entirely. With no clue to what Kraken's plans might be, he could only wait until the man made his next move. The waiting was always the worst part.
He saw Kraken speaking with Duke, the Shade of Mycroft by his side. Something strange had happened to the man, changed him. He was no longer merely an international treasure seeking salvage magnate boasting a private army, no longer merely dangerous. Sahara was sure, Alexander Kraken had become a potentially global menace, and there were far too many dead right here already.
The Selgan raiders had been mowed down, taking some Gurani and the Guard with them. The battle was fierce, forcing him to fight to survive it. It was all he could do to make sure the Warchief's hands were bound loosely, praying it would give the kid a chance. In that moment alone on the boat, he swiped a pair of clay flasks from a cabinet in the wheelhouse. If they contained what he suspected, they would prove most useful.
More dead in the eruption, the monster rising from the volcano's shattered cone. Then came the Storm, and the Shades. After that, he was not surprised at the arrival of Fujiko and Doctor Noto. He thought of Miname, and wished he could reveal himself to them, but that time had not yet come. The mission was too important now, and the guise of Yoshi Sahara was still needed to see it through.

"Okay, boss. The Defense Force boys are history," Duke reported grimly, his regret at the confrontation almost evident in his voice. "I had to scare them off. I referred them to your attorneys."
"Hm. I believe you're learning to be subtle, Duke," Kraken mused. "Might come in useful for our PR campaign."
"They said they were tracking a signal. They said it had shifted from the critter to this camp," the Cowboy paused, then decided he had to know. "It's comin' from you, aint it, boss?"
Kraken smiled, and shook his head, no. "It's Mycroft. I'm just in tune with it somehow." He moved closer to his brother, and gripped him with affection. "I think he reached out to me, Duke, back there in the jungle. He showed me the signal's source, and suddenly I understood."
"Kraken, I gotta be straight with ya. That signal was what summoned back our dead to haunt us, and I don't like it." Duke confessed. "You were out cold when those natives showed up. They were like spirits too. Then this sorta fire rose up to protect us,"
"The fire," Alex seemed to think aloud. "I remember the fire. It protected us you say?"
Duke nodded, "I yanked a couple of 'em into it. It took 'em out like that." He snapped his fingers.
"Yes, that force was part of the storm that fought the beast. The Selgans brought it here," Alex spoke, remembering. "Traces of it remain around us still. Mycroft's chanting sustains him against it, keeping us tuned in to the signal." He paused. "You called me Kraken."
"I guess I did. Look, boss, as your Chief of Security I gotta oppose your decision to keep in contact with this unknown energy source. As somebody who cares, I'm asking you to let it go before you get hurt."
"That's the first time you ever called me by name," Alex mused. "I'd almost think you were scared of me, Duke."
"Scared for ya, maybe. Scared of what that energy might do."
"Duke, my friend, you don't understand. Two Dimensions now lay open before me, matter and energy flowing between them. The Necrodon was only one of many possible links with that other realm, the Spirits of the newly slain another. I won't be needing any equipment to gain control of the Gurani waveform, Duke. I've already got it!" Alex beamed at the Cowboy.
Duke gave a hopeful grin back. "Okay, boss. So, what are you gonna do with it?"
From far inland there rose a monstrous screeching howl, and the Necrodon appeared! The enormous creature shot into the sky, trailing jets of burning lava in its wake. Even the remaining Shade turned to watch the flying behemoth take to the air. It swooped low over the camp, giving the men a full, clear vision of its form. Liquid fire seemed to pour from the beast as it passed, and they realized it was not just lava they saw flowing from the monster. It was blood.

"Holy Yodels!" Cried Kazuki. "Take cover!" The Crew scattered as the Kaiju streaked overhead, its slipstream winds threatening to tear them from the ground! Gobbets of still molten magma dripped steadily from the beast, igniting the remaining underbrush around them. A chunk of the stuff splashed over Kazuki, burning deep into his right side. The soldier went down screaming.
"Oh my God," said Fuji. "Noto, Masada, over here now!" He jumped on his partner, unclasping the Markalite rig and yanking him free. The safesuit was burning too.
"Get it off! Get it off!" Kazuki yelled in pain, flame spreading along the sleeve. The uniforms were Kevlar reinforced and fire retardant, but they were not lava proof. Together they stripped him of gear, and Kazuki squirmed free of the melting unitard, not daring to even clutch at the blackened flesh of his right arm, hip and thigh.
Fuji winced at the sight. "Don't worry, Zuki. We are going to get out of here, and get you fixed up." Kazuki held him fiercely as Noto sprayed a thick coating of Synthskin over the burns. Miname filled a syringe, and injected the wounded soldier with a tiny dose of morphine.
"I screwed up. They're getting away..." Kazuki spoke, teeth clenching and releasing with his breath, the stinging waves of agony becoming a steady, numbing buzz.
"He's out," said the Doctor. "Domo arigato kudasai, Miname san. You have learned more than I had thought in our short time together."
"I'm a good observer," she replied. "Right now I can see we've got to get this man emergency treatment."
Fujiko grimaced. He could see the enemy camp was nearly empty, the monster winging farther out to sea. Sato was gone. Now Kazuki is down. There was no way they could stop those bastards now.
A strange commotion rose from the nearby brush. A harsh green glow, moving closer. "What on earth...?!" Miname cried as it burst into the open! An oozing liquid creature, almost manlike in shape, almost familiar. It paused for a moment, as if to get its bearings.
"It is Sato," said Fuji, readying his weapon. "He has transformed!"
"It probably saved his life," Noto remarked. "But look, is that something inside him?" The Doctor peered closer. "My God, it is. It is a person!"
Then, it turned, and they knew the thing had seen them. It shuddered, expelling a strange young man upon the ground, then quickly sped away. The stranger rolled to his feet, stumbling after the beast, screaming; "Iwa no! Come back! Iwa sama!"

Together, Hiroki and Iwa fell upon the Necrodon, a tiny speck against its gargantuan hide! The General's mutant body latched onto the giant beast, foaming as it melted through the flesh of the creature's skull! The monster thrashed wildly within the magma.
"I'm going to try a Radion burst," said Iwa. "Focus with me, Hiroki. Focus on destroying the beast!"
Hiroki agreed, concentrating as if he could will the thing to die. The power waves pulsed from the gelatinous General, disrupting the Necrodon's own energy pattern. The creature screamed at the bombardment, increasing its titanic struggle against the tiny attackers. The General pulsed again!
"It's no good. Iwa! As long as it's in the magma it can heal itself," Hiroki thought-spoke to the mind within the monster. "The thing's flesh reforms as quickly as its energy pattern."
"Then we will have to drive it from the magma, force it back to the surface."
"General, would it hurt you if I used my spear?"
"Hurt this body with a toothpick? No, you may use your weapon, though I don't see how..."
"There is great power in the spear. The same force which keeps me safe from your own acidic touch," the sailor held the weapon forth. "The SeaGod wants the monster dead. Her blood burns for me, Iwa. I've gotta obey it."
"You're kidding me now, right?"
Hiroki raised the silver tipped shaft high, "Yeah, right." And struck!
The Necrodon flapped wildly as the blade sunk deep, Spiritfire coursing into the wound! It screamed at the contact, this was the same power that had fueled the Storm! The monster panicked, unable to escape the lethal surge, shooting upward through the burning depths, heading for the sky!
"Hiroki! I cannot hold on!" Iwa screamed as they slipped from the beast, falling free as it broke the surface. They hit the ground hard, the Necrodon flew faster out to sea.
"We've got to go after it, General!" Hiroki blurted out. "Wait a minute, what am I saying?!"
"I think you know what you are saying. Come on. We're going."
General Akira Iwa began to move, sliding quickly along the uneven terrain. The ground fairly burned at his passing, vaporizing into a strange residue as most of its mass was absorbed into the liquid beast. He began growing bigger. He began shifting shape.
"Iwa, what's happening?" Asked Hiroki, still carried along inside the General's monstrous body.
"I am making arms and a head. Call it nostalgia."
"This is too weird," Hiroki grimaced.
In the distance, they could see the remains of Gura's temple. Closer, a group of beings gathered on the crest of a tree lined rise. "Hiroki, those people are from Vanguard Command, sent here to destroy the waveform's source. They are my friends. I want you to go with them, help them with your magic."
"General, no! Without me you will lose control of the creature, you cannot let me go!"
"I cannot keep you with me forever, my friend. I am going after the Necrodon alone."
Together they emerged from the brush, and stood pulsing before the Crew. A shudder passed through the General as his mass contracted, extruding the young sailor onto the jungle floor. "Iwa, no!" Hiroki screamed, struggling to regain his feet. The General sped quickly away, instinct overcoming intellect, driving him to find the wounded monster, and finish it off. "Come back! Iwa sama!"

"Do you hear him, Commander?" Noto inquired excitedly. "He is calling it 'Iwa'!"
"I hear him," Fujiko replied. "Hey, Mister! Who are you, and how..."
"The name's Hiroki. General Iwa said you needed help."
Fuji gave a questioning look at his team, then turned back to the young man. "That may be right, Hiroki. There is a submarine full of soldiers just offshore, preparing to escape. It carries the source of a strange signal that empowers the flying monster. It must be stopped."
"The General's going after the Necrodon, we wounded it pretty bad, I think. My ship can catch the sub." Hiroki gripped a flask of Godblood, staring at the icon adorning its face. The symbol of the power of the SeaGod. "I've got a score to settle with those bastards."

"Ah, Captain Koenig," Kraken greeted the sub's commander, the Shade of his brother by his side. "Always good to see you, John. Especially now!"
"Thank you, Sir." The seaman replied too coolly. He had seen many strange things in his short time with the company. Things he would sometimes rather forget. He saluted his employer, vowing silently to dim this latest horror with a good rum. "We're underway, Kraken. What's our course?"
"We're sticking close to the Necrodon, Captain. As close as possible," Alex leaned toward the man, smiling. "It's what's keeping Mycroft alive. Follow it."
"Yes Sir," The Captain obeyed without question.
The Cowboy approached them. "Captain, Boss, something urgent. Our sensors show the waveform is shifting again."
"What do you mean, Duke?"
"I don't know what I mean! You need to come see this yourself." The Cowboy led them to the sensor station. Agent Sahara was at the controls.
"What's going on, Yoshi?" Asked Kraken.
"I can't explain it, Sir. It is as if the signal is being jammed, or replaced." Just then, a shrill beeping rang sharply across the crowded bridge. "Something just triggered the proximity alert. An unidentified object is moving toward us, Captain. Intercept course."
"This can't be happening..." Alex rasped through clenched teeth.
"Take us down, helmsman," Koenig barked. "Weapons, lock on and stand ready."
"I've got a fix on the overriding signal," Sahara reported. "It is coming from the object."
"No," Alex turned to face his brother. Dimly aware that now, he could hear the spectral chanting.
"Fire all weapons," ordered the Captain. They watched the screen as the volley of missiles streaked toward their pursuer, converging. Shockwaves shook the sub as the warheads detonated, destroying each other. The object drew closer.
"It is as if the torpedoes passed right through it," said Sahara.
"All hands, brace for impact!" The Captain shouted. The sub rocked, then stabilized. Then the sound of buckling steel surrounded them. "Whatever it is, I think it's got us."
"It's after Mycroft," said Kraken, clutching at his pounding skull. "It's trying to shut the signal down at its source! Duke! Organize the men, t-tell them t-to, to..." Suddenly, Kraken hit the floor unconscious. Sahara, Duke and Koenig looked questioningly at each other.
"That's twice now he up and passed out on me!" Exclaimed Duke. The sub rocked again. "What the heck is that thing?!"
"I'm showing a hull breach, Captain," Sahara cried. "Engine room reports some kind of green liquid seeping through the exhaust ports." It is Sato, he thought to himself. It must be. They were being invaded by the Hydrogen Man. He had faced that monster in battle before, his full beard now covering the scars he bore from the encounter. Kraken was down, and these men were like sitting ducks to that beast, unless he did something now. "Captain, Cowboy, I think I know what is attacking us. Kraken is right. It is after the Gurani waveform. We've got to stop it before it burns through the ship!"
"What are you talking about, Yoshi?" Asked the Captain.
"What he means is, if we trash ghosty boy here, then the liquid critter leaves us be," said Duke.
"Exactly. You said you saw the Spiritfire back there in the jungle, didn't you, Cowboy? That it protected you?" Sahara drew a vial of the sacred Selgan elixir from an equipment pouch and showed it to them. "This is where it comes from."
Duke eyed the man they knew as Sahara suspiciously. "You sure seem to know a lot about some weird stuff, Yoshi. Go ahead. Make your fire."
Agent Sahara approached the Shade, holding the flask before him. The spirit-thing cringed. "Mikki, guide me," he spoke, and uncapped the slim clay container.
"Jesus Christ!" Cried the Captain, blinded as a brilliant glow rose from within the bottle! The Spiritfire flashed, flaring into a burning nimbus of sorcerous flame. The Shade's chanting ceased, replaced by a silent scream as the blood of the SeaGod cut the spectre's mystic link with the Gurani waveform. A look of horror crossed the thing's features, and it faded out of existence, and into infinity.
"Report from the engine room, sir. The creature has retreated from the interior of the sub, though it still appears to be attached to the hull."
"Weapons systems, I want you to route a power surge. Shockcharge the hull, see if we can't entice the thing to let go." A few seconds, and the lights dimmed throughout the ship, followed by the sound of lightning dancing across the hull. They watched the monitors as the charge dissipated, clearing the image on the screen. The strange invader had diminished greatly in size, and was floating free back toward the surface.
"Good call, gentlemen," said the Cowboy, propping Kraken's unconscious form into a chair. "I think we all know there's only one way to end this mess now. We gotta kill the Necrodon, and we gotta do it before the boss wakes up."

It was nearly an hour before the Crew reached Hiroki's ship, taking turns hauling the wounded Kazuki across the uneven, ash covered ground. The giant Necrodon was now a speck in the darkening sky, impossible to catch. Noto and Masada looked exhausted. Grimly, Fujiko signaled for them to rest.
"This is not good," he remarked, catching his breath. "Those creatures are heading for Japan. If Kraken has control of the signal, he might have control of the beast as well."
"What's it gonna take to stop that thing?!" Hiroki seethed. Then he saw them. The Crew turned, following his gaze to the treeline. The Gurani had found them. "Oh, shit."
Slowly, Fuji rose to face them. "Do not draw your weapons," he ordered. "It would do no good."
The natives approached, a young woman in the lead. Pretty girl, Hiroki thought to himself, her thick white dreadlocks and red leathers striking against her dark flesh. He was unable to stop the flash of a smile at her. Her own face was set grim, but Hiro swore her eyes smiled back. She spoke; "Greetings Selgan, Nihon-jin. The Gurani wish no more blood to spill between our peoples. We too have been defeated. Those you see here are all that are left."
Hiroki watched her, drinking the vision in. "What's your name?" He asked.
"Jenoka," she replied softly.
"Wow," He beamed her the sweetest smile he could. "I'm called Hiroki. Between us, there will always be peace."
The woman turned, eyeing her wounded spearmen. Together, they drove their weapons point first into the ground. She gestured, and an old woman came forth, guided by two assistants. The old one was not at all happy. "Myrga," Jenoka began. "Give me the stone."
"You are not ready!" Ancient Myrga replied. "You are not worthy! You have no right!"
"I am the only one left! I am cousin to our Chief's sister. The last of us with even a remote claim to the bloodline, save for yourself, my aunt."
"And I am too old to perform the ritual that would empower the relic. If, if you do this, Jenoka, I fear you will not survive. You shall not have it!"
"Dear, old Myrga," Jenoka kissed her aunt upon her withered cheek. "If I do not do this, many innocents will pay the price. Suffering as we have," she held forth her open hand, waiting. "You know it is the only way."
"I know," Myrga frowned. She reached for the blood red gem that hung about her neck and tore it from its cord. "Take it."
Without hesitation, Jenoka grabbed the stone. "Thank you, Myrga," she spoke as the old woman turned away. "I love you too. Hiroki, Warlord of Selga, I need your help. This polished stone is the Heart of Gura. Legend says it carries the FireGod's soul. Once released, it could stop the Necrodon cold."
"What do I have to do?" Hiroki asked. The young beauty came to him, and whispered in his ear. "Uh, guys," he turned to the Crew. "You're gonna have to rest here just a while longer. There's something I've gotta do." Together, he and the Gurani priestess quickly ran off.
Fujiko eyed the natives, then turned to his team. Noto grimaced back, watching over Kazuki. Miname looked thoughtfully after the couple. He could tell, she was thinking of Shiro.

Alexander Kraken looked down upon the endless sea, watching as a trail of burning blood marked his passing. Something was different, he thought, flying high above the waves. The chanting in his head had stopped, and he found that he was lost.
"Mycroft!" He screamed his brother's name. "Mycroft, help me please! Show me the way, brother. I know you can!" Alex waited, but there was no response. Then he felt it. His brother was gone, consumed by the Spiritfire. The same force now burning into his own gargantuan skull. The force that was driving him mad. "Damn you," Kraken raged. "God damn you all!"
Ahead lay Honshu, the Japanese mainland. Rich with resources both natural and man made, including Geothermal power plants, as well as a few volcanoes. Alex knew he would be safe there, that he could heal there, within the islands lava filled depths, but something made him turn instead.
One of his own people must have brought the blood of the SeaGod aboard the sub. Brought it aboard and used it on his brother. The plunder of Japan would keep for now. His enemies were striking from within his own ranks. Alex swore the traitors would die, even if he must destroy the submarine to do it!