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Chapter Two

NECESSARY
BACKGROUND

The Xians

*****

Chapter One


*****
TIME LINE
BIOGRAPHIES
OTHER REALMS AND
ITEMS OF INTEREST

A KING DETHRONED

After many years, the necessary preparations were complete. The Children's Land would not be ready for public use, of course, until after Godzilla had been disposed of and the powerful laser weapon located in the Godzilla Tower decommissioned. At G-FORCE's most secure facility, it would be stored to prevent its falling into the hands of militants or terrorists who might wish to use it for dubious purposes. Should another Godzilla appear, it could always be quickly returned to service.

At dawn on the first full day since the city had been evacuated due to a "G-Alert", Fumio Subo, General Takaki Aso, members of the Japanese Parliament's Defense Council and their respective assistants were the only people in Tokyo to witness the unveiling of their ultimate achievement. Amongst the illustrious heads of state, Doctor Kenji Kamaiya seemed an oddity in the group. Although one of Japan's most highly regarded and respected kaijuologists, he held no political or military authority. His presence was routine procedure since the United Nations had passed a law in 1963 that required a professional kaijuologist to be on hand during any formal discussion of or interaction with a kaiju. He was best equipped to discern whether the laser could kill the beast, make the appropriate arrangements for its body to be removed and take any needed samples or perform tests that might be required. If successful, this would be a tremendous achievement in the development of anti-kaiju weaponry, one that demanded a professional in the field as an observer.

Its inauguration was a secret kept from the general public but a quiet and inconspicuous traditional ceremony had been conducted. The mastermind behind the ambitious plan stood in front of the crowd beside the Prime Minister who then offered a few words.

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is a most glorious moment in our nation's history. For over fifty years, we have been terrorized by giant monsters, and in particular, Godzilla. Today we reveal to you the ultimate, fool-proof anti-Godzilla weapon. With this laser device, we will forever put an end to the monster's reign of terror!" Brief, almost half-hearted applause broke out. "Now, I will introduce the young genius who is responsible for this entire project - Mister Fumio Subo. Please pay close attention as he starts the operation." He signaled Fumio to take center stage.

Subo sensed the uncertainty filling the air but he had anticipated this. These humans had every right to be skeptical of him and his weaponry since reliance on both man and machine had failed them so many times in the past. He began his presentation as if he hadn't noticed.

"Here we have the control panel for the recording which we will soon play. The sound that this tape produces will attract Godzilla to our exact location. Using technology of my own invention, we are able to send the signal halfway around the world. Thanks to the assistance of Doctor Kamaiya, it appeals only to Godzilla and uses a sonic signal that is certain to get his attention. Otherwise, we might attract every kaiju on Earth. Once he arrives from the ocean, we will lead him within firing range. After that... is history."

Fumio turned to his assistant, Viceroy Kubota, and signaled for him to play the tape. After conferring with his technicians, the reels of a small tape recorder began to turn and a high-pitched, electronic noise was heard. As Fumio turned back toward his guests, he noticed one official eager to ask a question.

"Yes, Admiral?"

"This may seem odd but I have to ask. Why are you using a thirty year-old tape deck rather than a CD or even a computer media file?" There was a chuckle at the officer's question. Fumio smiled as well and shrugged.

"I suppose you could say I am a man of the seventies." Another laugh and the mood lightened.

"What if Godzilla overpowers your machine?" asked a lady from the back. Kubota stepped forward with a kind smile.

"As you know, the T17-B Satellite that was put into orbit above the Earth has a weapon system very similar to the one installed in this tower but much more powerful. It can be fired at any location in the world. Besides that, we have at our disposal two kaiju, one of which is of our own creation. The other is a revived King Ghidorah." Shocked faces uttered gasps that filled the room. General Aso immediately rushed over to Fumio.

"What do you mean, calling King Ghidorah here?" he roared. His greater size and stature appeared to tower over the calm and confident businessman who did not so much as flinch.

"Do not be concerned, General. King Ghidorah is under our direction." The Japanese officials were dumbstruck, be it from fear or mere speechlessness at these new developments. Ever the self-assured and confident host, Fumio quickly directed them to a viewing booth separate from the control room, leaving Aso behind as if brushing off the issue of the monster.

"From there, you may watch the end of Godzilla's reign of terror in comfort and safety. My associates are standing by to provide any refreshments you may desire." He raised his hand to indicate three young ladies who bowed in unison and then picked up sumptuous trays of elegantly prepared snacks. "If you will excuse me, I must see to deploying the laser weapon." Fumio bowed and left his guests to settle in.

"Awaken King Ghidorah," he ordered the technician who was manning the communications equipment.

"I assure you," Kubota continued to the guests. "Everything is completely in order. We fitted King Ghidorah with mind control devices that cannot fail. Also, the Godzilla Tower is capable of handling more than one monster should anything go wrong.

A young man suddenly shoved his way to the front of the crowd and yelled, "What you are doing is wrong! It isn't bad enough that the kaiju of this world have been confined to an island prison. Now you seek to kill them as well!" he went on, much to the shock of everyone present.

"Indeed? And may I please ask who you are?" Fumio asked him with a cocked eyebrow.

"Who I am is not important but what I represent is. I am a part of the Animal Liberation Front."

"I see... Well, good sir, it is only Godzilla we seek to destroy, not the rest of the kaiju who live peacefully on Ogasawara."

"It doesn't matter! If the various governments of the world had their way, they would all be exterminated, I'm sure. The only reason they don't is the fear of a public and political backlash."

"You are entitled to your opinion," Fumio informed him.

"It is not opinion! It is a statement of simple fact," the activist responded angrily.

"Whatever the case, if Godzilla was content to remain on Monsterland with the rest of the kaiju who dwell there, there would indeed be no need for this operation. But time and again, the beast has broken free of the island's boundaries, despite the latest technological advances to keep him there. He has continually attacked Japan and other countries for countless years. The nuclear disaster at the power plant in Higashido-ri last year as a result of one of his feeding binges left the entire region uninhabitable and under quarantine. And it still is, may I add. The death toll was nearly half of the city's seven thousand-plus residents. With that in mind, what exactly would you have me do?"

"What I would have ALL OF US do is take responsibility for our actions. We created Godzilla by tampering with the laws of nature and God with our science. Godzilla is our divine punishment for our foolishness. It is time that we reaped what we have sown! We have earned this living breathing wrath and should except its final judgment. Furthermore, when your race first made contact with our world, we had hoped that your seemingly benevolent species would teach humanity about the importance of living in harmony with nature. But I see now that you are no better and no different than those who live on this planet!"

"Well, that is very interesting but if you will please excuse me, I have an important operation to attend to..."

"No! You will not dismiss me! You will hear my words! You will remember what I have said this day! All of you!" the man cried out as he suddenly drew a pistol and fired at Fumio, who along with everyone else, dove behind the podium. A moment later, the mentally unbalanced extremist was tackled by several security guards as the people nearby screamed and panicked. Some took off running while others stayed hidden behind whatever was handy.

Once the situation was under control, it was Fumio who stood up first. "As you can see, our security personnel have everything well in hand." The cool and collected Nebulan stretched out his hands in a gesture meant to settle everyone down.

"I guess it is a good thing that I did not tell him that I had steak for dinner last night..." Fumio joked, eliciting a bit of laughter from the onlookers. "Is it too late for me to say that I come in peace?" he added, bringing forth a louder reaction of amusement from the unnerved crowd.

*****

At far away Monsterland, orders were received from Japan to turn all security systems off and permit Godzilla to leave without interference. It wasn't long before he stirred from his slumber, opening a lazy eye as a sound echoed in his head. Half-awake, he thought he might be dreaming but after a minute or so, he realized what he had actually heard. Both eyes snapped open and his ears twitched attentively. He raised his head slightly off his resting rock and cocked it in concentration. It was the sound of an evil laughter, one that roused his blood and stabbed at his heart.

The space demon was calling out to him, from the very center of Godzilla's territory - Japan - with a challenge. He would never tolerate that filthy creature to trespass on his land! The Monster King slowly rose to his feet, awakening Anguirus who had been resting his own head on Godzilla's stomach. The spiky kaiju settled on his four paws and shook his head to wake up.

"What's the matter?" he inquired in kaiju-speak. Godzilla moved forward and stared out at the horizon over the ocean.

"Ghidorah... "

"Are you sure? I heard nothing..." Anguirus stood on his hind legs and listened intently. "You are dreaming -"

"His call for a fight." Godzilla's eyes narrowed and his muzzle tightened with anger. He thundered toward the shore, waking and scattering flocks of birds with each footfall. Suddenly, Godzilla Junior appeared nearby.

"Father? Where are you going?" Godzilla halted at the sound of his voice. It always sounded funny to him for Junior to call him that, seeing how they were not related other than being of the same species.

"To Japan."

"Another battle?" Junior asked.

"Yes."

"Then I shall fight with you!" the young Godzilla stated firmly.

"No, not this time. This is no ordinary foe."

"But father, I-"

"You WILL stay here!" Godzilla cut him off sternly in a tone that Junior knew better than to challenge.

"Yes, father." Junior regretfully hung his head as Godzilla entered the water. When he was ankle-deep in the cold surf, he turned back to Anguirus, saying nothing but his stare spoke volumes.

"I am coming but this better not be just a dream... "

"You take Anguirus with you but would leave me behind?!" Junior complained.

"It's for your own good, kid," Ang told him.

"Don't call me 'KID'! I may have put up with that when I was barely large enough to take down a Kamakirus but I'm nearly grown now. And with all due respect, I AM a superior fighter to Anguirus!" protested the Prince of the Monsters.

"That ain't the impression I got when I made you cry uncle in our last wrestling match," Anguirus reminded him, much to Junior's embarrassment.

"We do not know what lies ahead, my son. This could be a trap. You are staying and that is final!" Godzilla chastised him.

With that, the two elder kaiju departed, leaving a dejected and frustrated Godzilla Junior standing on the shoreline.

*****

It had been about 14 hours since Monsterland reported that Godzilla had departed and Anguirus was following him. This took everyone by surprise but Fumio assured them that with the combined might of both Gigan and Ghidorah, there was little to fear. After a long period of silence, the communications technician had an update.

"Godzilla and Anguirus have entered Tokyo Bay." Fumio re-entered the viewing room and directed the officials' attention to the wall where a row of chairs set facing it. As they took their seats in slight confusion over the manner in which he was handling this operation, a giant electronic viewscreen slowly appeared from behind smoothly parting drapes. It quickly came to life with a beautiful image of Tokyo Harbor and the ocean beyond. Minutes later, the great saurian rose out of the bay with a thunderous roar, earning gasps from the women present.

Godzilla lumbered out of the water and approached the general source of the signal, ever alert and on edge, with Anguirus at his side. At first, he seemed slightly confused as he was practically on top of where the calling was coming from, yet there was no sign of his arch-enemy. Quickly, his mind shifted to yet another peculiarity as he felt a strange ambience about him, one that he couldn't quite discern. It was a bizarre sense of displacement in the world that he hadn't felt since... He turned his great reptilian head and saw something that startled even him. It was himself, but yet not. As he looked at it, he realized that it was a structure and not a biological copy. To see an impersonator, animate or not, only caused Godzilla more anger.

The thing, as if noticing him, seemed to flash a light from its 'mouth'. Godzilla cocked his head, wondering what was about to happen and prepared to take quick action. A beam of energy blasted from the Godzilla Tower and barely missed his head. It was still strong enough to shave off a layer of skin from the side of his face, causing Godzilla to throw up his head and bellow in irritation. The pain only served to make him madder as he advanced on the imposter, growling angrily. Anguirus, just as confused, followed closely behind.

Suddenly, a vibration in the ground nearby caught their attention. Two craters were opening before them. From one rose two gigantic blades that sliced the air and clanged loudly against each other. The creature they belonged to soon followed, knelt down and raised his head to stare at Godzilla through a single red eye that took up most of its face. It opened its metallic beak and insect-like mandibles, letting out a shrill shriek. The monstrosity rose to its full height, standing as tall as Godzilla himself. Gigan flexed his blood-red wings and gave the chainsaw implanted in his chest a test spin. Godzilla answered with a low growl, clenching his claws as Anguirus stood at attention, never taking his eyes from the bladed alien.

From the second pit rose three majestic serpentine necks. Godzilla took an involuntary step backwards as hatred flowed through him. He swore he had killed this abomination yet his enemy had, it seemed, risen from the dead and was more menacing than ever before. His appearance had clearly changed since their last encounter and his size doubled. Grand King Ghidorah cackled and came out of his holding pen.

"This time you won't come back from the dead," Godzilla growled. But there was no response, no real sense of acknowledgment in its eyes. His own eyes narrowed. "It figures. You never were anything but a puppet."

Gigan let out another shrill metallic chirp that hurt Ghidorah's internal ears. He growled but knew better than to strike out against an ally, at least until the greater threat was overcome. Anguirus, having barely been able to contain his aggression, charged the bladed cyborg on all fours. Gigan side-stepped the attack, turned and caught the spiky kaiju under the chin with one of his hooks in a single fluid motion. Anguirus shrieked in pain as he was gaffed like a fish. Godzilla bellowed and charged to help his ally.

Ghidorah used this diversion to rise into the sky with a few beats of his enormous wings. He then flew around Godzilla as he wrestled Gigan's arm blade from Anguirus' jaws. Ghidorah slammed feet first into Godzilla's back, knocking him down atop his spiny partner. The anguirusaur's spikes painfully scratched his chest and belly, though his hide was too thick to penetrate. Gigan brought his chest saw into play and leaned down toward him, causing Godzilla's back plates to spark and flare wildly. His tail suddenly whipped around, knocking Gigan's feet out from under him, the cyborg squawking loudly as he slammed into a complex of small multi-colored mushroom-shaped buildings.

Godzilla pushed himself up and grabbed him by his stubby wings, lifted and threw Gigan straight at King Ghidorah, sending both kaiju into a tangled heap. Ghidorah used his three heads to toss the confused cyborg away from him and charged Godzilla and his injured partner. He vented his full fury on the Monster King, lifting him into the air and shaking him like a rag doll while sending electrical charges from his mouths all the while. Try as he might, the great dinosaur could not break free of his antagonist's fierce grip. The dragon's strength was surprisingly stronger than before and nearly overpowering.

Gigan leapt skyward and disappeared as Anguirus tried to collect himself and help his friend but he was met with a blast of electricity from Ghidorah's wings, sending him falling backwards into one of the holding pits. Another beam of blue energy blasted from the Godzilla Tower and tore a hole in Godzilla's side, almost gutting him. He had never felt anything that powerful before and was surprised by the damage he had received. Shrieking and bellowing in pain and anger, Godzilla convulsed and began to foam at the mouth.

Anguirus pulled himself out of the hole and quickly trotted behind the space dragon. Turning away from his foe, he hurled himself backward with all his might. His spiny carapace drove into Ghidorah's back which drew a satisfying cackle of pain. He was forced to release Godzilla who fell forward and tripped over his enemy's body before stumbling into a large office building in the park. The mighty kaiju stood up, shaking the foam from his muzzle and looked gratefully at his ally but his face quickly changed to an expression of anger and... FEAR?

His long-time friend cocked his head in confusion, never having seen that emotion from the Monster King before. His eyes grew larger as Godzilla charged and fired a beam of hot blue energy directly above his head. It was too little too late as Gigan landed next to Anguirus, his buzz saw roaring. The last thing the prehistoric beast saw were the spinning blades on his chest. He managed to let out a half roar of surprise before they sawed his head off in one quick, bloody motion. Godzilla fell silent in horror as the prideful cyborg danced to his own mechanical laughter. He then kicked Anguirus' corpse out of the way and turned to Godzilla, lifting his right arm and firing dual barbed wire grappling hooks from his wrist that wrapped around the Kaiju King.

Still in shock at Anguirus' sudden death, he barely noticed a second pair of hooks tighten around his right side. With his arms and torso tied up, Gigan reeled in his prey and revved up the still-bloody chest saw once again. Godzilla, realizing his predicament, struggled futilely as the cyborg drew him in closer and closer.

King Ghidorah, having recovered and seeing the tide of battle turned in his favor, walked behind Godzilla and tortured him with a seemingly endless bombardment of electrical gravity beams to the back. His chest sparked as Gigan's blades hit rock-hard skin that gave way to a flurry of chunked hide as their space metal bit in deeper. Nearly exhausted, Godzilla garnered enough strength to charge his atomic energy for a final beam blast. His dorsal plates glowed blue and his open mouth disappeared behind a brilliant flash of light but he was firing wildly, missing Gigan's head but shearing off the top of one of his wings.

Surprised by the sudden attack, Gigan stepped back and kicked him in the stomach with his bladed foot, sending the monster to his knees. Clutching at his injured abdomen, Godzilla lost his balance and toppled forward into the dust. For a moment, he remained still, growling under his breath. Then both arms stretched out, palms to the earth as he tried to push his body up. He raised his head while struggling to his knees and stared up at Gigan. As he opened his mouth in preparation for another fiery blast, a brightly flashing laser beam shot out from the Godzilla Tower.

Blue streaks of light danced across the Monster King's neck and face, scattering sparks and smoke. He lost his balance again, falling on his hands. His vision blurred as images faded in and out. He couldn't hear anything and the ground was spinning beneath him. Godzilla shook his head, trying to regain some degree of composure but his mind still reeled. With great effort, he lifted his head and stared at vague, orbiting shapes that resembled Gigan laughing although he heard nothing. A final blast of the deadly laser flared from the Tower, striking Godzilla directly between the eyes, blasting pieces of hide off his brow and knocking him on his side and into the dirt once more.

As the dust settled, Gigan waited but nothing happened. He powered down his chest saw, reeled in his grappling hooks that slithered from around Godzilla like snakes to their dens and stepped back. The alien beast remained ready but the King of the Monsters did not rise. A stream of fresh blood ran down the side of Godzilla's face from his forehead but no grunts or moans came forth. Not even his breathing could be heard.

Silence fell over The Children's Land, the fiery red sun sinking into the deep blue and yellow evening sky over the city, silhouetting the two space monsters standing a short distance away on either side of the fallen beast. King Ghidorah sneered and kicked Godzilla toward his decapitated comrade. The victors' roars soon filled the air as Ghidorah gazed down at the unmoving bodies of Godzilla and Anguirus.

Inside the Godzilla Tower, the spectators of the great showdown sat in awed silence. Though they seemed frequent from history's standpoint, monster fights were still rare and epic events to behold. The very size of the beasts, the energy unleashed and the unfathomable destruction which ensued was breathtaking and very often changed the lives of those who lived to witness them. Although the great all-out battle of 1999 was generally considered the apex of such events, few would dare try and underplay the importance and power of what they had just seen. It was much shorter than anyone had anticipated yet decisive.

"This was history," declared Fumio. And it was. But now that it had come to pass, the audience was left with uncertain and uneasy feelings. Adrenaline and mixed emotions rushed through their bodies as the realization of the complete irony of it all hit them one by one. They had just seen the execution of the Earth's greatest threat ever known, and yet, its greatest protector. They had blamed and condemned the monster for the death of literally millions of people; a monster that they had created. They tried to destroy him at every turn and somehow always ended up looking to him for help. And, as if poetic justice, the only true evils which plagued life on Earth for decades, extra-terrestrial beings and King Ghidorah, had been crucial instruments in dealing the death blow. A subconscious sadness and honorable respect for the beast swelled up within many present that day.

Now it was done, the victory won and the struggle over but Doctor Kamaiya was perplexed. He had spent much of his professional career studying Godzilla as a model upon which large amounts of the science of kaijuology was based. But even within the realm of science, Godzilla held a status that was unparalleled by any other specimen. When teachers would teach, researchers study and professors lecture on subject matter pertaining to this creature, it was always with a sense of unspoken respect. Godzilla had achieved a status of legend and legends never die, or so Kamaiya repeated to himself over and over. No matter how much he tried to convince himself of this, he could not shake from his mind the image of Godzilla lying there, dead. The legend had died and he helped make it happen.

Kenji shook his head. He had simply done his civic duty. In fact, he was not only serving his country but the entire world. He was giving people the chance to LIVE. Regardless of the scientific cost, moral code demanded that people live. They must and he had saved them.

His attention was drawn to his right, noting Subo and Kubota conversing amongst themselves. With a long sigh, he turned back to the viewscreen, now zoomed in on the two corpses. Don't prove me right, he thought sourly.

Kubota stepped over to Fumio and whispered something. With a perplexed look on his face, the Chairman went to a computer console surrounded by his staff members. They looked up at him and gestured toward the screens. For the first time since he donned his human guise, Fumio looked as if he was about to sweat. Crossing the room, he approached General Aso in the friendliest way he knew.

"Excuse me, General." Still half-stunned by the brilliant execution of their plan, Aso hardly registered his presence.

"It was wonderful, wasn't it? It worked! It really did. After all these years... "

"General Aso, I believe we must terminate the operation."

*****

King Ghidorah felt something wash over him, a bubbling sensation flowing through his veins and electrifying his every bone. His body tingled and his mind, bit by bit, seemed to return to true consciousness. The three heads lowered, their eyes shut tightly while this unusual feeling surged through him. He was becoming aware of what was around him and what it meant to HIM. His thoughts were different, ambitions different; sense of direction lost but for a moment and suddenly, lacking any impulse to serve another. He slowly realized what was happening and this gave him a surge of confidence he had not felt in years. It was the feeling of FREEDOM!

He quickly grasped the meaning of this victory. Godzilla, quite possibly the most powerful creature on Earth, was down for the count. He kicked the behemoth in glee and the dethroned King of the Monsters rolled onto his side, tongue flopping out of his mouth and eyes blank. Grand King Ghidorah threw back all three heads in a cacophony of sadistic laughter until his chorus was interrupted by the shrill metallic call of Gigan, the creature he had been allied with by his Kilaak 'masters'.

The Destroyer of Worlds had energy within him he hadn't felt since the Xians dragged him to this godforsaken solar system. He would destroy them also for their error, along with the Kilaaks for pitting his weaker form against a force they knew he could not defeat. He would destroy the Nebulans for their stupid cyborg creation, even if it did give him the chance to finally kill his most hated enemy. He would destroy the Earth for defying him so many times in the past! And he would destroy every alien race that showed itself just because he felt like it.

Ghidorah ceased his laughter and his campaign of vengeance began. The time had finally come and the cosmic terror turned toward the Godzilla Tower standing tall and proud nearby. It had also assisted in the battle with its destructive ray but Ghidorah opened his three mouths and blasted the head with gravity distortion beams. The 'face' exploded, along with the laser weapon, in a grand display of fire and sparks as chunks of debris flew across the landscape.

Inside the Tower, people screamed and hollered as they fell over their seats to the hard concrete floor, then were thrown forward back into the stationary chairs. General Aso lunged to grab a metal railing bolted to the floor as the Tower was shaken a second time from another hit. As half of the company slid backwards yet again, he looked up to find Fumio holding tight to the computer console. Aso squinted in contempt at him. Subo looked up in time to notice and realized he was going to have a hard time talking his way out of this. What went wrong? Everything was going so well...

An explosion rocked the control room. Once the Tower stopped tottering to and fro, Kubota ran to Fumio. "Sir, we really must get these people out of here! I called a transport. We must get outside!" Subo nodded and picked himself up as his assistant turned toward their guests. "Everyone! A rescue craft is on its way. Please, to the stairwell!" They gathered themselves together and hurried as quickly as their bruised and shaken bodies would allow. As Kubota directed the evacuation, Fumio went to the communications console.

*****

A half-chirp of horror broke the three-domed beast's concentration. Grand King Ghidorah sneered and turned back to Gigan who was stunned both by the dragon's sudden treason and the momentary loss of control held over him. The creature let out another ear-splitting shriek, this time one of question, if not outright confusion. The King of Terror bellowed, eyeing the first being to suffer under his newfound reign. Gigan didn't have time to defend himself as the behemoth's entire weight slammed into him. He fell on his back and dug his hooks into the ground, attempting to lift himself back up as King Ghidorah approached. The titan blasted his arms out from under him and flipped him onto his belly. Gigan lifted his head in time to see a clawed foot coming down. The blades atop his head shattered against Ghidorah's hard scales.

*****

High above the Earth and out of sensor range, King Karkaru slammed his fists into the control panel of the FLAMING FURY, causing the housing to split apart. On the wallscreen before him, he watched King Ghidorah attacking Gigan.

"What is happening down there?" he demanded. The technician sitting in front of him jumped out of his seat in fright.

"We have lost control of King Ghidorah, sir," the ignorant Kilaak stammered. Karkaru screamed in anger and was on top of the inexperienced fool before he could react. He held the terrified young soldier up off his feet by his uniform coat, glaring with all the fury of their homeworld in his eyes.

"Get him back to us," he ordered as calmly as he could before throwing the soldier to the deck in a silvery heap. The Kilaak quickly got to his feet and back into his seat, playing his fingers across the controls furiously.

"Incoming call from the Nebulans, sir," the communications officer announced. Karkaru punched it up on his command screen. The furious, distorted face of Fumio Subo appeared, replacing the image of a cackling King Ghidorah. Behind the roach, the Kilaak commander could make out the ruined remains of a control room turned on its side, fire crawling up the walls. Fumio had made sure no one was nearby before initiating the call.

"What do you think you are doing!" he shrieked angrily.

"This is not our doing. We have lost control of King Ghidorah for unknown reasons," Karkaru replied as calmly as he could manage.

"Then I suggest that you FIND control quickly! Too much time, effort and planning has been put into this undertaking to have you destroy it!" the Nebulan screamed. Karkaru resisted the urge to declare war on the stupid, repulsive insect and crush him under the feet of the grand Kilaak army.

"We will try to regain control of the creature," Karkaru advised, his voice betraying his anger at the Nebulan's outburst. The Chairman fumed in rage for several moments before he responded.

"Very well. Get control of your monster. We will fight alongside you to take over the Earth but no relations between our species will take place afterwards." Fumio's image disappeared, replaced once more with that of Grand King Ghidorah literally destroying the cyborg known as Gigan. Karkaru's face hardened like steel as he stared intently at the scene. This was no fault of his and he couldn't wait for Subo to repair this mess. Things needed to start moving, and fast. His clenching fists crushed the metal bars that served as arm rests on his command seat.

"Withdraw our ships from this place," he ordered coldly. "Then proceed with the destruction of the human base on the planet's moon."

"But, sir! We agreed to wait until..."

"Silence! Do as I tell you!" With that, Karkaru stormed off the bridge, leaving his crew in stunned silence.

*****

Within the remains of the Godzilla Tower, Fumio struggled toward his guests who were being hastily evacuated into a Nebulan shuttle that had just landed beside the theme park. He quickly found Kubota who was tending a cut arm. "Call the base and order them to engage Ghidorah with the satellite. Drive him away from here." As the Chairman walked off with the remaining humans, he took a communication device from his orange suit coat.

"Control. Attack Ghidorah immediately with the weapon. Distract him away from the Tower!" He returned the alien object to his pocket and quickly made for the spacecraft.

*****

Gigan tried to scream through the rubble he was being ground into as King Ghidorah leaned down and latched all three of his mouths onto his wings. A terrible ripping noise was heard as they were torn from his back while Ghidorah held the cyborg's head under his foot for leverage. The space dragon tossed the bloody appendages away like so much trash. Gigan's body shook violently and his bladed limbs flailed in agony, sparks flying from the new opening in his back as wires and circuits were torn in two. Ghidorah lifted his foot from the bloody head and Gigan slowly staggered to his feet, trembling with shock and cowardice.

His single crimson eye glared at the Destroyer of Worlds before a beam of red light blasted forth, spreading harmlessly across his light-reflecting scales. King Ghidorah just cackled, enjoying his little fit. Gigan shrieked in fear but unable to fly away, he charged forward. The space monster opened its three mouths and grabbed Gigan's arms and neck to prevent the spinning blades in his chest from even touching his golden hide. The battered creature was lifted into the air to struggle helplessly for a moment before Ghidorah channeled electricity through his body. There was a long, horrible metallic scream of agony as the cyborg jerked violently, circuits outside his body exploding in showers of sparks. Suddenly, his foot shot forward, its hardened blade digging into Ghidorah's flesh and causing a flow of crimson from his belly. Ghidorah threw Gigan to the ground violently, creating an impact crater and destroying most of the remaining structures of The Children's Land. A blood-curdling scream echoed from his three mouths.

Ghidorah tired of playing games and spun around at a speed that defied his massive size. One of his club-like tails smashed into Gigan's face, denting his metallic beak. The other quickly followed, knocking it off altogether. Gigan lay broken on the remains of several small buildings and a ferris wheel, metal gears and hooks and wires moving back and forth where his beak had once been fused. Ghidorah did not care if the creature was dead or alive but opened fire with all twelve of his electric wing beams. Gigan thrashed and convulsed as tissue and electronics alike were ripped apart by the burning energy.

Fortunately for the dying creature, though sensitive to pressure, he was not created with any real feeling or emotion other than hatred or fear for an enemy. But such freedom from the tortures that now befell him was of little use as he did not require feeling to understand what was agony.

King Ghidorah finally ended the barrage and stared down at the results. Gigan didn't move except for an occasional spasm. He again picked up this trash in his three mouths and tossed the cyborg atop the carcasses of Godzilla and Anguirus. Ghidorah then lifted into the air and landed on the pile of vanquished enemies before throwing back his three heads in yet another song of victory. He was unaware of the large Nebulan satellite orbiting high above.

Suddenly, a massive beam of light struck the space monster, penetrating his shield and tearing a ragged hole in his right wing. King Ghidorah screamed in surprise and pain. His attacker carried a much stronger beam device than the one used in the Godzilla Tower. The monster lifted into the air to find his tormenter but it fired at him again, this time striking his right head, knocking it backwards and slamming it into his back. The kaiju wailed in agony as the appendage flopped against his wing and hung down uselessly. A third beam shot out of the sky, barely missing him. Before another could be fired, he turned and flew away.

King Ghidorah was not stupid and knew when he was outclassed. It was better to flee and fight another day than to remain here and die. With a single resentful bellow, the Destroyer of Worlds turned and ascended towards the comforting cold emptiness of space.

Nebulans Amongst Us

"Go, quickly!" Fumio shouted to the people he was shepherding toward the rescue craft. This one was small compared to most of their fleet but the Nebulans did not want to risk detection by Grand Ghidorah. It was rounded on all sides like a flattened egg with sliver components visible between its yellow and green metal surfaces. The panic-stricken officials did not stop to marvel at its design and quickly climbed aboard.

When the doors had slid shut, Kubota shouted to the pilot, "That's everyone. Get us out of here!" In a cloud of gas and dust, the ship rose and paused as its secondary rockets fired up, turning the craft before flying off. Safely aboard what vaguely reminded General Aso of something he had seen in an American television series about alien lizards who disguised themselves as humans, he tried to control his rapid breathing so that he might properly interrogate Fumio. The man had just put him and members of Parliament at great risk, whether he realized it or not. Swearing to exercise more and follow his doctor's orders about eating less, the career soldier refused to secure his safety belt and towered over the comfortably seated Children's Land proprietor.

"Mister Subo, you have a lot of explaining to do to my colleagues and myself, and the sooner the better!" he growled in a deep, low voice, glancing at his party and then back at Fumio. The others nodded as vigorously as their recent panic allowed. Still standing as the craft smoothly took to the skies, Aso prepared to rip into the civilian as if he were a buck private. "First of all, there was nothing in our agreement about another kaiju... this Gigan... being involved in the operation, much less King Ghidorah," he rumbled.

"And neither was Anguirus," Fumio calmly reminded him.

"But Ghidorah went mad! Did YOU plan that as well?" Aso yelled.

"Of course not!" Subo said firmly, rising from his seat. "We do not know why we lost control of the monsters but I assure you that it was most certainly not intentional, nor will it ever happen again!"

"You are no different and no better than the other aliens that have come to our world - deceitful and cruel!"

The smaller man's muscles tensed and his arms stiffened. It was all Fumio could do to restrain himself from slapping the General across the face or lunging forward and eating him. With a deep breath, he looked each of the party in the eye. "First of all, I assure you that my people's intentions are only to help defend the Earth against the kaiju and aliens. We have succeeded with our first promise and wish to continue our association with the Japanese government and the United Nations, although we are not of this land ourselves.

"Everything I have ever done has only benefited your people. I cleaned up your planet and unified your nations and I saved your country from yet another kaiju attack. I organized the top-secret discussions that were held with the Mu Empire. I SWEAR to you that I will not rest until I learn the cause of this unfortunate malfunction but I have my suspicions.

"You know all too well of the threat of alien invasion that lies beyond your borders. I told you that there was the chance of renewed enemy activity and current intelligence reports that those chances are greater than we may have initially anticipated." Lying was a gift of his, as was to bend the facts or make them up on the spot. Fumio Subo wasn't worried. There were plenty of beings in this solar system that he could pin the blame on.

"I do not pretend to understand what is happening but I do know what we could do to be ready for it," he continued, now standing tall with a gleam in his eye that suggested he was about to tell them the secret to becoming billionaires. "Make peace with Mu. They are a grand nation with technology superior to yours in many respects. They would be a great ally in our planet's defense." The others stared at him.

"But that is not all," he grinned. "Mu has a sister nation that also desires peace with your country."

"And who is that?" asked one of the women present.

"Seatopia." There was another shocked silence, only this time the reference was somewhat more familiar. Legends spoke of a great earthquake and flood that supposedly destroyed the continent of Mu but Seatopia might have managed to survive. Sensing that he had once more secured safe ground, Fumio confidently pressed on, as if reading their minds.

"The Seatopians did indeed survive. We found that our ideals of a better world were quite similar, although they chose to remain in their underground realm rather than contend with the strife of modern times. Their technology continued to advance over the eons and it was with their assistance that the Godzilla Tower was able to defeat Godzilla once and for all.

"With your permission, both Mu and Seatopia - recently re-unified - would like to discuss a treaty of peace and security. They want to be a part of their brethren once again. They approve of your concept of the United Nations and wish to join it in order to help their fellow man. This is a give and take situation, my friends. They want peace and an alliance. In turn, you are guaranteed protection of your country. The undersea kingdoms want nothing ruinous to happen to our planet and neither do you," Fumio smiled meekly.

This was considered a reasonable request in light of what Fumio and his associates had accomplished. The advanced craft they were flying in had been virtually ignored as the Earthlings only thought of King Ghidorah behind them as they made their narrow escape.

Although Fumio Subo may not be exactly what he appeared to be, Godzilla had indeed been subdued, as well as Anguirus. And despite the attack of King Ghidorah, Fumio's associates had also driven it back into space. The 'rediscovery' of the 'lost' kingdoms was a bonus the officials never expected from the personable fellow who had sold them on a most amazing plan to once and for all rid them of such a destructive beast as Godzilla. Having processed all of this information, General Aso remembered the question he had when they first boarded the shuttle.

"By the way, where are we going?"

"To Seatopia," Fumio replied. "Now that the surface world is safe from Godzilla, this would be an excellent time for ALL peoples of Earth to once again reunite in peace and harmony. Should any country wish to war with its neighbors, Gigan, once rebuilt, may be the answer to the United Nations' efforts to finally encourage a perfect peace. There is no need for expending great amounts of manpower and resources on military forces or creating weapons of mass destruction. This is particularly an ideal of the citizens of Seatopia."

The Prime Minister undid his seat belt and approached Fumio with a deep bow, requesting he be excused to confer with his associates. As graciously, the alien also rose and retreated to the flight deck, confident that more than one crisis had been avoided this day.

*****

The golden destroyer was wounded badly, his right head mangled horribly and hanging uselessly off his body. A large hole had been blasted through one of his immense leathery wings. The creature used his anti-gravity abilities to carry him into the void of space, not caring to use them. The only purpose they served was to collect solar energy so he could stay on any planet as long as there was sunlight. He could battle in darkness but only for several hours. However, with starlight shining on his back, he could function indefinitely so long as he didn't suffer any severe injuries, such as he had now.

King Ghidorah let out painful cackles that were lost in the vacuum of space as he rose to orbiting altitude and began drawing in micro-meteoroids to cover his body. It wasn't long before he was completely encased in a meteor of his own. However, rather than slink away from the planet as he had usually done from the worlds he attacked, he remained as a satellite in a geo-synchronic orbit that carried him directly over both poles. The meteor began to glow a strange, sickening shade of green as the triple-domed titan called upon an ancient secret power he had only recently discovered within himself.

He had ravaged countless planets in his lifetime under orders of the Iron Empire but even after he had been released from their control, he carried out his programming on still more hapless worlds. Death and devastation were not just a pleasure for the space monster but an instinctive necessity. He needed to destroy as much as any normal creature needs to breathe or eat. Deprived of this lust for destruction, King Ghidorah would eventually slip into a coma and die.

This is the reason he stopped completely eliminating all life on the various planets he visited. He left enough life force remaining so that they would eventually come back from the brink of extinction and thrive once more. King Ghidorah knew that he would eventually wipe out all life in the universe and be left with nothing. Little did the worlds he had left behind know that the King of Terror kept a close eye on them and when the time was right and they were once more ripe with life, he would come back to their healing soils to wreak havoc once more.

The universe was nothing more than a feeding ground for the Destroyer of Worlds. Every planet he had visited was labeled and branded like cattle because they were nothing more than that to him. But Earth was different. Unlike the countless worlds that fell before it, the Earth fought back. It did so with such ferocity that its inhabitants had caused King Ghidorah, for the first time in his long life, to retreat. However, in doing so, its creatures did little more than damn themselves further.

Like his brother, Death Ghidorah, King Ghidorah was endowed with the power to literally suck the energy from living beings. He didn't do this often because he rarely needed to. However, when retreating from the Earth monsters such as Godzilla, Mothra and Rodan, he had stumbled upon a massive supply of life-giving energy that no other alien race or creature before him could possibly have been aware of. He hadn't noticed it on other planets because by the time he was done with them, there was little left of it to be of any notice or use.

King Ghidorah had discovered the Earth's Mana. Unlike its atmosphere or magnetic field which he could only bend to his will in an area directly around him, he found that he could consume Mana in gigantic amounts and empower himself, healing his wounds and giving him great strength. Death Ghidorah dared not use Mana to such a degree. He depended on leeching the planet out until he grew a set of wings and was able to escape. Drained of all its Mana, Death Ghidorah would quickly starve. However, King Ghidorah did not need to worry about such an inconvenience. The energy quenched his thirst for death as well because he knew it would have adverse effects on the planet. Slowly but surely, he began to suck the energy from all living beings that inhabited it. The space dragon did this every time he retreated into the depths of space.

Humanity blamed pollution, industrial waste and nuclear materials for things such as global warming and the hole in the ozone layer. The Earth had survived the impact of massive asteroids and comets in its lifetime and more often than not, life became even more abundant afterwards. The actions of the little bipedal creatures scampering about with their technologies had little or nothing to do with these conditions. King Ghidorah himself had caused them. The space monster was the bane of Planet Earth and all life on it, using its Mana to bestow power into himself and heal his wounds. He was the worst possible enemy they had ever faced and now, Gaia, the very spirit of the Earth itself, was beginning to decay.

The Kilaaks knew this and had observed his actions. Unlike any other alien race, they understood what he was doing because they were connected to the beast. A large part of their plan in 1999 had been to have King Ghidorah come to Earth and be so horribly wounded that he would retreat into space and consume massive amounts of Mana to heal himself, thus weakening the planet's defenses and making it all the more easy to destroy and transform into a boiling, lifeless volcanic hellhole.

But in resurrecting their mascot, they didn't realize that the beast reborn was twice as deadly to the planet than it had been before. Earth was now in immense danger and the monsters of the world, being of such large stature and thus more quickly affected by the loss of Mana, realized this more acutely than the other lifeforms that cohabited the planet.

Seatopia

In the main courtyard of the Grand Palace, Emperor Antonio was on hand to personally receive his visitors. "King Antonio, my old friend! It is so good to see you again!" Fumio had walked directly up to him with outstretched hand before quickly remembering royal etiquette and his manners. Taking a moment to bow to Antonio and his heir, Prince Hector, the smiling monarch extended his hand to his longtime associate.

"It is good to see you as well!" He then turned to address the Japanese officials who had lined up behind Fumio, not exactly sure how to take in the splendor of their surroundings, much less the fact that they were indeed in Seatopia. It was bright and clean, everything seeming to be made of marble or coral and beautiful in its openness, giving an unusual but pleasant feeling of roominess.

"I take it your presence here means the mission was a success and that you are pleased with the project?" the king smiled.

"In a matter of speaking..." Fumio was having a hard time containing his anger and frustration.

"Fumio? What is wrong? You should be pleased with your great accomplishments..." Antonio had known him long enough to realize that his usual energy had quickly faded after their initial greetings.

"King Ghidorah has turned on us, your majesty."

"What? Who was responsible for this?"

"We do not know. He went completely berserk and has gone rogue..."

"What was the result?"

"Along with the Godzilla Tower, all of the theme park is in shambles. I am afraid that the Gigan was badly mauled as well. Ghidorah laid waste to anything and everything."

"Contemptible beast! But obviously, you escaped unscathed..."

"Yes. Myself, Kubota and the Tower's staff and guests managed to board a shuttle as Ghidorah was vanquished. A counter-strike was made by our T14-B satellite but Ghidorah survived the assault and escaped into space. In the meanwhile, my people are relocating to a secondary base in Kyoto. But despite all of this, Godzilla has indeed fallen."

"So you actually managed to kill Godzilla? It was amazing to observe on our monitors here in Seatopia before the signal was interrupted. That is when we started to worry," Antonio said as they led the way for the others into the royal palace side by side. Shortly, they were all seated in the main banquet hall with goblets of wine at hand.

"First of all, Godzilla is not dead," Fumio admitted as he carefully positioned the golden vessel before him.

"But the success of your project depended on his death, did it not?" the king frowned.

"Rest assured, your highness. Godzilla is being dealt with and our original plans can proceed as scheduled," Fumio assured him. "The lasers we built into the Godzilla Tower are the most destructive in the universe. We created them for the sole purpose of bringing the seemingly unstoppable monster down. The damage they did put him in a coma rather than killing him. Anyone in the known galaxies would be hard-pressed to match what we have accomplished."

"Where is he now?"

"In a secret underground facility under 24-hour surveillance with enough sedative running through him to kill a hundred blue whales. Just in case he does wake up. We do not plan on keeping him around long anyway. Remember back in 1965, when Gamera first appeared? The devastation he caused and how the Earth dealt with him?"

"Why, yes. They... You are going to send Godzilla into space?" Antonio asked in surprise.

"Quite correct. Your memory serves you well, oh honorable King. My associates are modifying a rocket as we speak. Even if he does wake up, he will be in deep space and of no concern to us."

"Brilliant! But what of Anguirus? He joined Godzilla in this battle..."

"Anguirus is dead. He kept trying to reach Godzilla but Gigan's bio-mech chest saw cut his head off. Victory is ours, albeit bittersweet."

"Then this is cause for celebration! Thanks to you and the wisdom of your world's leaders." He raised his goblet to the still somewhat awestruck Japanese delegation.

"I am glad that we have managed to lift this burden," Fumio beamed at the Prime Minister before turning to address Antonio. "But..." he started to say before glancing away.

"But what?" the astute king queried, concerned that his friend might not be able to fully enjoy the fruits of his latest success.

"We have it from very reliable sources in our spy network that other alien races have their eyes on our world. I received the information just before we arrived here. As well, King Ghidorah destroyed the Godzilla Tower. If word reaches them of his treachery and the fact that we do not have kaiju at our disposal anymore, along with our current weakened state..."

"Is this what is worrying you?" Antonio knew by his expression that Fumio was not at peace with himself.

"There is more. I am afraid we have intercepted a transmission from deep space that reveals invasion plans by numerous races, as best we can tell. The Mysterians, the Simeons and possibly others," Fumio finally replied after a long pause and a heavy sigh. "If push comes to shove... we humbly ask for your assistance."

"They must know that Godzilla is out of the way..." the General suddenly realized.

"I am afraid it goes far deeper than that. Based on the intelligence that we have gathered, these invasions have been in preparation for years or in some cases, decades even. They were simply waiting for the right moment to strike. And I think that Godzilla's defeat will be the signal that they have all been waiting for. After their previous defeats, they probably intended to return with enough firepower to kill Godzilla and whatever else got in their way. Removing him from the equation means one less obstacle for them."

"Would allowing Godzilla to roam free as a deterrent against these invaders have been preferable perhaps?" the King asked.

"No, he is a savage animal; a wild card with no allegiance to anyone and able to destroy whatever crosses his path. He had to be removed."

"Gods help us..." Antonio muttered with a frown.

"So they will soon be here?" General Aso asked, knowing it was only a matter of time.

"Actually, we think some of them already are," Fumio replied.

"What?! How long have you known this? When were you going to inform the rest of us?!" Aso roared angrily at the usually self-assured man before him.

"General, that was a part of the information that I just received."

"Where are they?!"

"I am afraid we don't know that. They have hidden themselves rather well and if they don't want to be found, they won't be."

"Do you think that they are aware of each other's plans?" Antonio asked.

"I am not sure... Maybe, maybe not but it does appear to be a rather strange coincidence that they would all converge on the Earth at once like this."

"In the past, we barely survived attacks by a single race! How are we supposed to defend ourselves if they do attack all at once?" General Aso grumbled. With that grim thought, Fumio turned back to King Antonio.

"That brings me to another reason that I have come to you, my most trusted ally. If we do find ourselves being assailed, will you send your champion, Megalon, to our aid?" Fumio asked with a hint of desperation. The king seemed taken aback at first, as if not sure how to respond to the request. "Surely, they will all come. Please think about it, your highness..." he softly beseeched him. "But against our combined forces, and with the aid of Gigan and Megalon, nothing can stand against the Earth!" For what seemed like the longest time, the undersea ruler was lost in thought.

"Megalon currently lies in a deep slumber and has not been awakened for countless ages," he confessed with a tone that suggested he did not truly wish to disturb the ancient protector's sleep. "My son, as next in line to rule Seatopia, has been trying to connect with him but has not yet been successful."

"I truly sympathize with your reluctance, proud and noble King, but if we do not stand united against these invaders, I fear that he shall indeed sleep forever more... in death along with your people and all of us." Fumio's sad frown caused Antonio's head to snap in his direction as he grasped the realization of what he had just said.

"I understand," he began to say after a few moments' deliberation. "I will see what can be done."

"I sincerely hope that in your great wisdom, your choice benefits our mutual survival," Fumio declared as he raised his goblet into the air. "We have moved Gigan's body to another location and are working frantically to rebuild and repair both the organic and synthetic components that were damaged. Hopefully, we can revive him for this coming battle, should it occur. My guess is that not all of the other inter-stellar races will join forces as we have. Their squabbles with one another may be used to our advantage."

"Let us hope so, my friend. The Earth is our home as well. We will not give it up easily and not without a fight! But whatever may happen, we will stand together in this! A toast, my compatriot. To the unity of all people of Earth. May we prevail together!" the King proclaimed as everyone raised their goblets.

Destruction of the Moon Base

Toshima Yamagata stepped down onto the ladder of the STARLIGHT EIR-2 (Extraterrestrial Intelligence Rover), affectionately nicknamed the 'Ear'. This was one of two brand-new vehicles that had been provided for use at the Moon Base. Ever since 1999, the human colony and its activities had grown steadily.

A network of underground tunnels were being blasted beneath the lunar surface, creating a habitable living and work space that was naturally protected from meteors and solar radiation. The advanced Moon Lander and quarters from the old days had become museum pieces somewhere back on Earth, as had the MOONLIGHT SY-3. The ship had served its purpose well and proven itself worthy against the likes of the Kilaaks. However, it was not built for battle.

The MOONLIGHT SY-5, with twice the budget, time and effort, was a different craft entirely. While the STARLIGHT was designed to take the old role of the SY-3 in exploration and shuttling back and forth from Earth, the SY-5 was fitted with the most modern weapons money could buy, and then some. Advanced 'freezer' weapons, rumored to have been built with research being conducted for the new GOTENGO, were incorporated due to the Kilaak ships' ability to encase themselves in flames. While mankind seriously doubted that another Kilaak invasion would occur, space had proven itself too hostile to be fully trusted. The Moon was the perfect place to conduct war against any alien race that set its sights on Earth.

To Yamagata, such things did not matter. He was a scientist, an exo-biologist noted for his research on the Kilaaks after the destruction of their Mount Fuji base back in '99. However, he never expected to be on the Moon and he certainly wasn't expecting what he would soon find there.

The EIR-2 set down inside the crater where Toshima knew that somewhere beneath it, a treasure trove of knowledge and discovery awaited. Mankind had been able to decipher some alien technology from past failed invasions, most notably the Mysterians'. They had used these appropriated resources to increase their own understanding of the universe. Newer and much more efficient space ships were being built as early as the mid-60s. While conventional weapons stayed the same for the most part, Simeon 'blasters' were creeping into the black market, as were other new and deadly alien devices. But whatever the case may be, the Kilaaks were a different kind of alien.

Despite old theories that they were slow developers, the beings of living metal had more advanced technology than anyone could have ever imagined. They could have very well won their battle with the Earth if they had had more manpower and a bigger fleet available. Something told Toshima that it was a simple case of under-estimation on their part. Almost every alien race before them had suffered defeat for the same exact reason.

The scientist clicked on his helmet's built-in camera, taking in his surroundings as he walked through the site where the crew of the SY-3 had broken into the former Kilaak base. Strange shapes and machinery filled the ruined area. A massive explosion had occurred shortly after the control device was taken out several years ago and had left much of the already damaged construction in disarray.

Toshima came across a slight pit in the ground and looked down into it. Several rocks lay in a pool of silver liquid which had a strange mist coming off it. He stepped into the pit and picked up one of the rocks. Holding a flashlight to its side, he peered into a small hole in the bottom. A silvery, slimy-looking creature cowered in the light and sank deeper into its hiding spot. Yamagata pulled out a pair of tongs from his pack and managed to pull the little creature out. It squirmed slightly but eventually gave up its struggles.

"Pathetic," Toshima said, laughing to himself slightly as he pulled out a chilled metal container and placed the Kilaak in it. This was the first live specimen collected since 1999 and would prove to be a great resource for the Moon Base to study. After collecting several more Kilaaks and a few pieces of equipment, Toshima went back to the ship to drop off his findings and help lower the 'Moon Mole' from within the EIR. After the tunneling machine was readied, he went back and grabbed one of the containers with the metal slugs inside. Toshima wasn't much of a believer in luck but he figured there was no harm in trying it out.

The crew mounted up and used the machine to dig through the rubble into the wider sections of the base. Toshima was awed by a massive space port that lay before him, frozen in time. Gigantic machines littered the corners of the hangar and on the opposite side was a tunnel that tilted upward, leading back to the surface. The ceiling must have been a kilometer overhead, with dimly glowing yellow lights illuminating the chamber and filling it with ghostly shadows. Several scattered rocks marked the location of the Kilaaks who had once manned this place. It was then that Toshima noted there were thousands of them. They were everywhere, hiding in anything that they could fit in to regulate their temperature. He was stunned to see a massive vessel sitting in the center of the room. As the rest of the crew went their separate ways to explore, Toshima approached the warship.

He quickly entered the imposing solitary Kilaak spacecraft. It was easily 80 meters long, much larger than the fighters that were salvaged near Mount Fuji. It became abundantly clear to him that this vessel was intact. Toshima approached what appeared to be the bridge of the ship where a chrome chair sat in the center of a large raised platform. Smaller seats were noticeable along the curved edge facing computer consoles. He spotted a control panel next to the raised chair and sat in the uncomfortable rest to inspect it. Several switches and gauges, some glowing green and red and still looking brand new, adorned the panel. Curious, Toshima flipped one of the red ones.

Suddenly, the forward domed wall of the ship was replaced with a holographic image of the Earth, taken from this very location on the Moon. It rotated slowly in space, a beauty that Yamagata had grown used to seeing from so far away. So real was the picture that he was tempted to reach out and touch it. However, the image was no longer the blue and white world he knew. It was a ball of flames! Toshima's heart skipped a beat and he gripped the edges of the chair as the graphic plunged towards the planet, showcasing a world that was now unrecognizable. Vast magma fields covered continents while volcanos erupted constantly, pushing great clouds of ash into the sky. Fluctuating temperatures cooled the outer surface of the magma enough for it to become solid ground but the eruptions still kept the planet incredibly hot. On this solidified lava were cities with structures that caused Toshima to inwardly cower. The nightmare shapes twisted and pierced the hellish sky as armies of Kilaaks dressed in black and bronze medieval armor roamed the planet, seeking out and destroying any remaining life.

The Kilaak equivalent of a special effects show was over and the wallscreen once more became the blank curving dome of the space ship. Toshima slumped back in the chair, not aware that he had been on the edge of the seat and holding his breath. He felt a chill run down his spine as the realization set in. The Kilaaks had never intended to co-exist at all! They had been planning to wipe out the human race. They had wanted to completely destroy the Earth altogether. If it weren't for the Moon Base... After a moment of processing what he had just witnessed, the scientist keyed his mike.

"Everyone, come to the Kilaak ship... I need to show you something." There was no answer so he repeated the transmission, using a higher frequency. Only static came over his radio. Grumbling to himself, he left the ship and began to walk back to the Mole, attempting to contact his team as he went. He stopped dead in his tracks when he felt static electricity run through him. The energy shocked him slightly as it entered and left his space suit. Toshima turned around and noticed that the warship was glowing an angry shade of orange. With a strange whistling noise, the vessel seemed to burst into flames. He was knocked backwards by the blast. Suddenly, the tunnel that presumably led back to the surface came to life, as did much of the machinery along the walls. A wave of horror ran through Yamagata as an equally large Kilaak ship entered the chamber via the glowing tunnel.

Confused, he turned to realize that the Mole had gone back through the opening it had made. His crew had abandoned him! Toshima ran after it but the excavation suddenly caved in, blocking his exit. He turned and looked back at the Kilaak ships. They were both in flames now and if the sweat running down his back was any indicator, they were turning up the heat. Suddenly, the rocks around him began to move and crumble. The metallic slugs came out of their holes and began to grow. They mutated and shifted as distinguishable body parts began to form. Toshima felt something pop in his backpack and it suddenly became very heavy. He dropped the bag and ran back to the rubble pile that had been his exit, digging furiously and praying to every god he could think of to help him get out of this alive. He suddenly felt a shadow standing over him. When he turned, a woman dressed in white chain-mail armor was staring down at him.

"Pathetic," she said, grinning devilishly as she grabbed the helmet of his space suit. Toshima saw an army of Kilaaks rising from the dead and walking calmly toward their ships, crushing Toshima's spirit even as his faceplate exploded outwards, the incredible heat melting his skin and ending his life.

*****

The crew of the EIR-2 arrived back at their ship and didn't bother to reload the Moon Mole. Quickly climbing into the vessel, the hatches were slammed shut as the engines flared to life, propelling the rocket through the opening above and out into the comforting black openness of space. But instead of freedom, all they saw was a fleet of black ships, each glowing with fiery energy. Before they could do anything, the lead ship, a 60-meter abomination, fired two spinning discs that sliced the STARLIGHT in two. All radio contact was lost, along with the report of the coming attack. Unknown to those back on Earth, no man, woman or child on the planet or otherwise was safe.

*****

Directly over the North Pole, a meteor began to expand and contract until it suddenly burst in a fiery explosion that was witnessed only by the few satellites tracking its path around the planet. The flames twisted, distorted and swirled in on themselves, seeming to come alive; breathing, convulsing and thrashing about violently. The fire took on the form of the Grand King of Terror. It shone a brilliant shade of gold and then dissipated as King Ghidorah appeared once more, fully healed from his wounds and energized with a new sense of purpose. And hatred.

His shield had been empowered to allow him to deflect the Nebulan's massive beam weapons, as well as all the others he had so easily waded through before. The space dragon screamed his evil laughter, the unearthly noise once more lost in the vacuum of space, leaving an unsettling, horrifying image of the most terrifying creature to ever live in the freezing, absolute silence. The death-dealing monstrosity slowly descended into Earth's atmosphere once again. The true destroyer of worlds was not content to allow his defeat to slow him down. He would be more careful this time but his mission was assured. A deadly plan began to form in the space monster's collective minds. He would have his revenge! He would take it and deal it out equally to each and every living being he came across, whether it be man or monster. Nothing would stand in his way as he lay claim to destroying the planet Earth.

CHAPTER THREE




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