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Chapter Three

NECESSARY
BACKGROUND

Chapter One

Chapter Two


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

UNEARTHLY POWERS

After parting company with Emperor Antonio and the Japanese delegation, Fumio hastened to the Nebulan's secret base in a forested area outside Kyoto. The entrance to the facility had been made to look like part of a tree-covered hillside. This facility was far more expansive than their operations in the Godzilla Tower, with more work stations, living quarters and a work/storage bay for Gigan. It connected to a subterranean tunnel miles away, opening topside in a remote unpopulated area. Fumio and the other Nebulans had used a similar underground route to reach the base.

No one knew of its location, not even their so-called allies, and Fumio intended to keep it that way. Despite the size of this headquarters, the bulk of their weaponry and firepower (aside from Gigan), their orbiting satellite and a basic armory was based aboard a flagship that remained hidden not too far from the Earth. It was accompanied by a massive transport ship that housed their fleet. However, Fumio hoped that it would not have to be called into service, considering that his plans involved careful conniving to take the planet rather than brute force.

"All rise!" Viceroy Kubota commanded as he and about a dozen other Nebulans stood when the Chairman entered the main conference room.

"You may be seated," Fumio directed as they all sat down.

"Are you ready to hear the reconnaissance reports, sir?"

"Yes. Where is King Ghidorah now?" Fumio asked.

"After retreating, he took off into space faster than either our ships nor the Kilaaks' could follow."

"Is it possible that he has left this solar system?" Kubota inquired.

"Yes, but I do not expect him to stay gone forever."

"After the injuries he sustained, it would be foolish to return and force another confrontation, would it not?"

"True, but I do not believe that we have seen the last of him. I am sure he wanted to cause far more destruction and havoc than he did. Speaking of damage, what is Gigan's status?" Fumio was particularly concerned about the cyborg, having pledged its services to the Earthlings should they require assistance against any of the other alien races observed in Earth's vicinity. He would have to 'keep up appearances' a bit longer before the Nebulans' plans to take over the planet were in place.

"Not good, sir. But we think we may be able to salvage him, though it will take time."

"Time... a commodity we may not have," Fumio admitted forlornly. Just then, a page came over the communications system.

"Viceroy Kubota?" the operator finally spoke.

"Strict instructions were given for this meeting not to be disturbed or interrupted," he replied gruffly.

"My apologies, sir, but we have found something that you and the Chairman may want to look at." Kubota glanced at Fumio who nodded in resignation.

"This meeting is adjourned." They stood to leave, followed by the other Nebulan leaders. Moments later, they were in the main control room.

"Sir?" a subordinate beckoned Kubota from his radar panel. "Would you look at this, sir?" He brought into focus what appeared to be the remains of a crashed alien fleet he had located in a rural part of Okinawa. Closer inspection revealed the ships to be Garogan in design. The Nebulans had advanced, self-propelled miniature spy drones whose onboard cameras enabled them to observe anything from a safe distance and altitude not possible by any kind of human technology. They had been deployed all over Japan to monitor any and all other alien and kaiju activity.

"A Garogan fleet?" Fumio asked.

"Yes, sir."

"What caused this? What could have attacked them?" Kubota wondered.

"Unknown, sir. They entered Earth's orbit spiraling out of control and crashed shortly after."

"Was it another alien race that did this? Or a space kaiju perhaps?"

"Unknown. Other than the damage caused to the ships by the crash, there appears to be no other structural compromise." A look of confusion replaced the curiosity on Fumio and Kubota's faces. The mere idea of any machine failing for any reason other than outside attack was almost obscene to them. But then again, the Garogans always were an inferior race as far as the Nebulans were concerned.

"I have found something, sir!" the subordinate advised as he zoomed in on one of the crashed ships, closely scrutinizing its hull. What appeared to be a strange green ooze of some sort was evident. All of the ships were covered with it. "Could this be what caused the crash, sir?" he asked.

"Intriguing," Kubota said, almost to himself as Fumio continued to gaze at the monitor which had switched to another image showing the mangled and dismembered bodies of close to two dozen Garogans. The two leaders gazed at the screen, wondering what could have done this.

"Chairman, with your permission, I would like to take an investigative team to Okinawa," Kubota offered.

"Yes, I agree. We should know what happened there firsthand and if it poses any threat to us. The bunker in which we are keeping Anguirus' body is in the same area. Permission granted."

*****

When the surface dwellers had departed with plans to announce the underground and undersea kingdoms' desire to assist the world against a possible alien invasion, Emperor Antonio retired to his private chambers to prepare his address to the United Nations. The elegantly furnished retreat echoed with the soothing sounds of classical Seatopian music, the beautiful instrumentals relaxing to the aged monarch's mind as he reviewed the memoirs of his reign. He paused for a moment to sigh and scratch his gray beard which had begun to thicken. The king lay back, feeling more like dozing off than dealing with affairs of state when the massive doors crashed open, the sound jarring his once-calm brain.

Prince Hector, his only son, jogged across the wide expanse of his father's anteroom. Fully decked out in popular Seatopian fashion, a silver button that symbolized his princehood pinned his toga at the shoulder. Antonio, his head still laid back, sighed deeply and shook his head. Oh, how I love my son but he surely needs to learn how to knock!

"Father," Hector began, continuing his quick pace towards his sire who stared straight ahead with a tired expression on his aged face. "We have reports of a possible attack on Earth by several alien species!" He looked at the King with great urgency whose response seemed one of boredom.

"The surface dwellers are handling it. Hector, you must learn that they can take care of themselves."

"But, father! A combined effort from who knows how many races is surely more than those primitives can repel! We must prepare our army..." He was cut off by his father's upraised hand.

"Hector, you, of all people should know that land forces are no longer used and inferior to the great titans that grace modern battlefields," he reminded his son in a stern voice. "Even the surface dwellers have learned that lesson," he chuckled lightly to himself.

"Then unleash Megalon," Hector replied grimly, trying feebly to stare down his wise father. Antonio continued to smile to himself.

"Hector, our Knight is older than I myself. He has no will to fight unless it is absolutely necessary and would rather continue resting peacefully in his sanctuary."

"But you could connect to him! You could project the will of every Seatopian into his heart and make him act on our needs..." Hector was almost in the Emperor's face and yelling.

"'Make' him? You think I can control Megalon?" Antonio seemed very offended by his son's words as he stood up proudly, staring down at him like a god. "I could make him do nothing! Megalon knows our people's needs and will act on them. He could choose not to but he will fight most valiantly, I assure you!" Antonio stared his son down with a fury unmatched by lesser rulers. Hector began to cower from his unexpected aggression.

"Hector, as my successor, it is your duty to be able to connect with the Great Defender and do as I did in our direst hours. How has your progress been? Has he responded to your calls? Or does he simply ignore your hot-headed demands?" Antonio looked at him with his wise old eyes and nodded when Hector lowered his head in shame, looking at his feet.

"He has ignored me," he admitted with terrible guilt. "But, father... Wouldn't it be a more fitting end for Megalon to die in battle than in a mound of dirt at our kingdom's doorstep? Wouldn't that be a more fitting memorial for the Knight of Seatopia?" He looked back up with slightly watery eyes. Antonio pondered this before giving his reply.

"Yes, I suppose it would. A fine end to Megalon's long knighthood. But you will have to ask him. If this is to occur, then he will have to choose to fight, not you choosing for him." Hector bowed in respect and quickly left his presence.

*****

Hector stood in Megalon's sanctuary, looking up in awe at the massive mountain that held the sleeping hero. The room itself was long and covered with white kneeling mats for the daily prayers that took place here. Near the middle of the chamber's wall was the gigantic gem that reflected Megalon's mood and indicated if he was even listening to the person addressing him. Glowing a dull light blue, it signified peace within the guardian's mind and that he was sleeping.

The young prince took his position on a stage about a foot higher than the prayer area. In front of him was the chilling silver statue of the priest who first found Megalon in a fiery ball that fell from the sky. The great warrior went on to destroy their long-ago enemies, the Atlanteans. Megalon was named a hero and god who resided here ever since.

Hector took the headband off the statue with shaking, nervous hands and placed it around his forehead. He could almost feel the connection between him and the sleeping titan above him. Kneeling down slowly, his whole body seemed to shake uncontrollably. The gem brightened as Megalon began to wake from his slumber. Hector's throat was so parched he couldn't speak but he knew he had to act quickly or Megalon would drift back to sleep. He repeated his father's first words to him during the times when he would be called from his slumber.

"Megalon! Rise up, Megalon!" Hector extended his arms in a plea, just as his father had. The massive gem became a brighter blue as Megalon stirred. "Megalon! It is I, Prince Hector, heir to Emperor Antonio. Please! Hear my words." The almost-blinding blue became less intense. Hector's throat became dry again as he struggled to speak. "There is news that a massive assault on Earth will take place. Several races have stopped warring with each other and have turned their weapons toward Earth." Megalon's attention rose and the blue gem shimmered more brightly. "I fear that Earth may not survive such an attack. Megalon, the fate of the planet may lie within your mighty lances." Hector bowed his head and hoped for a response but it was a surprising one.

"Prince Hector, why would I bother to get involved with matters that only concern the surface dwellers and not Seatopia?" his deep, booming voice echoed in the huge chamber.

"Our kingdom resides on Earth as well..." he responded humbly, trying not to show any signs of excitement. Never before had Megalon addressed him by name.

"Seatopia resides under the Earth's surface, Hector. We are of no concern to the invaders." The gem began to dim. "If the invaders dare attack our borders, then I will defend them with all the might of Atlas. Now, I would rather rest in peace than go to the surface," Megalon said tiredly as the gem took on its dull blue sign of repose. Hector became angry with Megalon's ignorance and his shaking hands clenched. He literally yelled at Megalon as he began to drift back to sleep.

"Would you rather die honorably on the field of battle or would you rot in your temple while you sleep? Which end to a great warrior would you prefer?" Hector knew his actions were disrespectful and could be punished but he wasn't worried about that at the moment. The gem dimmed to nothingness and in a flash, lit up a bright ruby red that made Hector shield his eyes. The mountain shook and rumbled violently. Tons of rock rolled down as Megalon stood within his temple. He had finally done it! Hector had summoned the defender of Seatopia, the Great Knight Megalon.

Megalon's towering frame burst from the mountain but his appearance had changed since his first awakening. The once bright, shimmering black helmet had become dull and worn with scars and a few dents. His bulging, fiery orange eyes lit by the fury of a mighty warrior were faded, the left one having a massive, thick scar running across it. The shining, sharp horn on his had become tarnished. Overall, Megalon's entire body had lost its color and was laced with scars of varying sizes. His mighty drills had dulled with wear and a few of the sharp knobs had broken off. But despite his aged and battle-worn appearance, Megalon still had the ferocity of Ares. Hector fell to his knees in awe. The great warrior raised his massive drills over his head and gave a long shriek that echoed across Seatopia. Megalon had awakened.

United World Powers

"And so, once again our world will be united. After thousands of years, we shall be one nation; one people!" The huge crowd gathered at the United Nations Building in New York City roared their approval. The applause was thunderous as Emperor Antonio of Seatopia stepped away from the podium which had been set up in front of the great edifice. His son and officials of state were by his side.

He had just finished addressing the people of Earth who had finally been able to resolve their differences and work together as one for a world of perfect peace. The King, the Emperor and Empress of Mu; Fumio and members of the United Nations shook hands with one another, taking their time for the benefit of the many media representatives wanting pictures. Those in attendance at this historic occasion kept clapping and cheering the entire time.

*****

The so-called 'lost' kingdoms of Mu and Seatopia having now joined the United Nations, a military branch was created: the United World Powers (UWP). In a conference room at the U.N. Building, its members were seated around a large oval table. A feeling of urgency and uncertainty filled the air as Earth Ambassador Yun Rees stood to begin discussion of counter-actions against this latest threat to the planet itself.

"We know from past experience that conventional weapons are likely all but useless against alien invaders. Nevertheless, the Global Defense Force is at our disposal."

"Have you no appropriate weapons?" asked Emperor Antonio.

"No, save for Maser cannons and such," General Aso admitted.

"Well, there is always -" began a tall young man with light brown hair who was standing in a back corner of the room. He quickly second-guessed himself and stopped.

"There is always what?" asked the Emperor of Mu.

"My apologies. I did not want to offend the Emperor," A. Johnson of the GDF admitted, stepping forward to properly address the dignitaries present. "But what if we used the GOTENGO? After all, it did single-handedly bring the Mu invasion to an end..." He looked worriedly over at the undersea ruler.

"He is right," replied the Emperor. "Putting our differences aside, I think the GOTENGO would make an excellent flagship for the GDF."

"Hardly," frowned the Ambassador. "It is in the Smithsonian Museum. Besides, the GOTENGO that defeated the Mu invasion would certainly be outdated by now. Especially compared to whatever the aliens might throw at us."

"Build a new one," suggested Johnson. There was another short silence as everyone thought this idea over. The Emperor glanced at his striking Queen, her bright red hair setting off her usual exotic wardrobe. She nodded in agreement.

"Our people will help you build the ship. We have great knowledge in the area of submersibles and will gladly offer our assistance."

"Thank you," replied General Aso. "We will begin the project immediately. Johnson, you will be in charge."

"If you will pardon my curiosity, your highness," the Prime Minister asked. "But how did Mu survive the original GOTENGO's assault?"

"We had an escape route to a fall-back location. Part of the reason Mu attacked the surface world in 1963 was because tectonic shifts in the sea bed beneath our kingdom would lead to its destruction in a short time. It was as much about survival as conquest. We had been constructing a secondary home for our people for just such a worst case scenario, which did come to pass. It is far smaller by comparison but adequate," the Empress explained.

"Let us also not forget that our new enemies are smart ones. They could send monsters to do their dirty work rather than risk the destruction of their space ships, which will likely be reserved for the invasion itself. We too should act in a like manner. Let monsters deal with monsters. We will save our military might for the intruders themselves." Emperor Antonio completed his remarks and sat back down.

"With the elimination of Godzilla, we have no adequate monsters," admitted the Earth representative, suddenly realizing that for all the destruction and death that the kaiju had caused, it had usually been the one thing that beat alien invaders back in the past. General Aso turned to Fumio, who had his back to him, looking out the window. Across the table, bright sunlight streamed into the room and reflected off the dancing dust motes in the air. The mastermind of Godzilla's absence finally turned back around.

"Gigan will be at your service when he is fully repaired," he offered.

"We hope that Megalon shall be able to join in this endeavor," declared Antonio.

"And Manda as well," added the Mu Emperor. "As may Gamera if it awakens to challenge this threat."

"Thank you, one and all." Ambassador Rees sat down with a sigh. "But I do not know if they will be enough." Suddenly, two faint female voices speaking in unison were heard all around them. The representatives and world leaders sat up in surprise except for Fumio who merely turned his head.

"We want to help, too." Everyone looked about when seemingly out of nowhere, three tiny women walked onto the table. The Earth people gasped but Fumio seemed a bit disappointed.

"The Elias!" exclaimed someone at the back of the room. Moll and Lora curtsied while Belvera simply stood with her arms crossed in front of her. Moll then proceeded to deliver their message.

"We have always wanted peace for everyone. And now that you are all getting along, it makes us most pleased. But we must work together if we are to beat the space invaders. Only then can we win."

"But... how could you... help us against an alien invasion?" stammered a military official, staring at them in amazement.

"Mothra will assist you. And Battra also," Lora assured them.

"Battra? What's that?" asked an aide.

"A guardian of the Earth. It was created thousands of years ago but now it sleeps. If our enemies become too strong, Battra will help us," Belvera explained.

"Well, that's wonderful!" declared the Ambassador as Fumio attempted to hide his frown by turning away.

"This is very encouraging news, isn't it, Mister Subo?" asked King Antonio.

"Yes, of course," muttered the disguised Nebulan.

"Then we shall return to Infant Island. Remember, as a people of peace, we will not help start this war but we will help end it. Good bye." Moll and Lora then called out in unison and Fairy Mothra appeared out of nowhere for them to climb aboard. Belvera mounted Garu Garu and the Elias quickly disappeared.

When he left the conference room, Fumio ducked down a side hallway and activated a miniature communications device to contact the Nebulan he had left in charge back at their base.

"I understand, sir," replied a voice through the tiny speaker. "Abort Mission Alpha. There has been a change in plans."

"Yes. I did not anticipate Mothra and the Elias joining this little consortium. Time is needed to analyze the situation and formulate a new plan," Fumio advised him.

Angelique

Moments after King Antonio had returned to his palace in Seatopia, Prince Hector rushed through the main courtyard as ecstatic as a child on Christmas morning.

"Welcome home, Father! The entire kingdom watched your address to the surface world."

"It was indeed an exciting experience. But first, explain to me the expression of jubilation that you have upon your face," the great ruler smiled.

"Yes, father. Megalon has awakened. He finally responded to my call."

"Excellent, my son! Where is he now?"

"Heading for the surface as we speak."

"Superb! Now do you see what a show of respect garnered you in our protector's eyes? Do you see what happened when you stopped being brash and insolent?" Antonio asked with a knowing grin.

"Yes, father. I am sorry that I acted inappropriately before," Hector replied with a slight blush.

"There is no need to be too hard on yourself. I was young once, too, after all," the King reminded him with an almost mischievous grin that made Hector wonder just what exactly his father had gotten into in his youth.

"Now that he has awakened, he will be a part of our new alliance as well. We will stand strong against whatever threats come to this world."

"Father?" Hector suddenly stopped as they walked together through the palace. He carefully prepared to address a matter that had been worrying him for some time now. "I don't know what it is but there is just something that I find... dubious about Fumio Subo..."

"Fumio? How could that be? He is one of, if not our greatest ally! What would prompt you to even think such a thing?" the old king wondered with a look of shock on his face.

"It is just a feeling that I have," Hector admitted lamely.

"Trust me, my son. You are worrying over nothing," Antonio assured him as he placed his arm on his shoulder.

"I hope you are right, Father. But in any case, I must go now." Seatopia's heir bowed before he was about to rush off again.

"Go? And where are you off to?" Hector stopped abruptly upon hearing the question, seeming as if he really didn't want to answer it.

"If I told you, father, you would only become upset," the young prince admitted regretfully.

"You are going to see her again, aren't you?" the aging ruler figured with a sigh.

"Must we go through this again, father? I really do not want to discuss it," Hector replied, finally turning around.

"Hector, please try to understand how I feel on this subject."

"Why can't you try to understand how I feel, father? I love Angelique with all of my heart."

"I do not doubt that for an instant, my son. But she isn't of royal blood..."

"You keep speaking of that as if it is supposed to matter..."

"And you think that it doesn't?" Antonio asked in surprise.

"Is that what decides the worth of my future bride? Is that what decides the worth of all our people?" Hector asked in an almost angry tone.

"Of course not! I am sure that she is a fine and strong woman. I would expect no less of a female of Seatopian birth. But there are many such women within the royal court, born of the highest nobility. Grand Duke Archaos has a wonderful daughter and then, of course, there is Shayira, the sister of Ramon, my most trusted aide. And many, many more who I could mention. Surely, you could court one of them?"

"I love whom I love, father, despite your reservations."

"But what about tradition, my son? For thousands of years, the royal bloodline has never been broken. We are the descendants of kings and queens born, you and I. It is because of the strong rulers of our past that our kingdom has flourished for so long. To go against tradition would be a great dishonor and disrespect to our rulers of the past. Can't you understand that?"

"Father, I do not mean to nor desire to disrespect our forefathers or tradition but I simply cannot help what I feel! And I do not wish to discuss this any further!" Hector declared and stormed off. King Antonio watched him go and rubbed his forehead. With an agitated sigh, he wished there was some way he could reason with his headstrong offspring.

*****

In one of Seatopia's many beautiful gardens at the edge of the city, a young woman was pruning the lush floral growth when Prince Hector appeared. She bowed as she gracefully went to her knees before him.

"Please don't do that. You know how it makes me feel..." Hector said disapprovingly as he extended his hands to her.

"Is it not customary for any citizen of Seatopia when royalty is present?" she asked, at the same time making a statement.

"Perhaps it is, but I do not want you to bow to me. You are not some lowly peasant. You are the woman I love."

"True, but it is still tradition," Angelique insisted from her kneeling position.

"Tradition!" Hector grunted angrily as he turned away. "You sound like my father."

"Have I angered you, my Prince?" she asked, rising at last.

"No, it is not you. And I shouldn't have grown angry," he apologized, turning towards her. "Tradition is my father's reason for not supporting our union," he explained.

"Your father only wants what is best for you," she assured him as they embraced.

"I know he means well but he just doesn't understand," the young noble insisted.

"And I know that you are what is best for me, my love," Angelique assured him with a warm smile before they shared a passionate kiss.

"And I can easily say the same of you," he smiled.

"Tell me, Hector. Is it true? Has our god awakened? I heard a great roar echo across the city," she asked as they walked along, holding hands.

"Yes, it is true! Megalon has risen and will help defend our home and the Earth from the threats it now faces."

"There have been rumors of alien invasions and kaiju. Will Megalon be able to fight against it all?" Angelique asked worriedly.

"Our deity and protector is strong and we now have the alliance of Mu, as well as the surface dwellers to augment our great strength. You must have faith, my love.

"I have faith in you, my Prince. You give me strength just by being near me." She wrapped her arms around him and leaned her head against his chest. Hector held her close, resting his chin upon her head.

"Can you promise me one thing, Angelique?"

"Anything for you, my Prince."

"Never bow to me again. You are to be my future queen, to stand and rule by my side as an equal. Do you understand?"

"A commoner will never be allowed to sit as Queen upon Seatopia's throne," she murmured sadly.

"But you are anything but common to me, my beautiful Angelique," he proclaimed as they shared another kiss.

Discovery

The cold wind blew hard and snow almost blinded the five men as they scaled the great peak on Iwato Island but slowly, they struggled up the side of the rocky fortress. With each peck at the ice-covered stone with their picks, the Russian expedition came one step closer to its destination.

Atop a plateau, they finally reached solid ground where they could make camp. They took off their heavy packs and knelt in deep snow to line out supplies and put up tents. It was tiresome work which often seemed futile against the thunderous winds that threatened to blow their meager shelters over, if not destroy them. In the midst of their struggles, one team member noticed that the winds had blown the snow from a circular object that definitely was not rock. The explorer stood knee-deep in the drift and stared in wonder at what was half buried against the outstretched peak of the mountain.

He called to his companions who were struggling with the tents but they failed to hear so he yelled again. This time, they took note of his absence and the urgency in his voice, following the sound to where he was. Then they saw it and hurried toward the enormous object.

It was about a man's size in every direction and light gray in color with gray-blue spots covering the curved surface. The team leader wiped away the snow with his gloved hand. He felt it again and realized that something was wrong. It was warm! He looked at his comrades in wonderment and confusion. Removing his goggles, the mountaineer peered further at the uncanny object, amazed to find it here.

Over the course of several hours, the team completely uncovered the giant egg from its snowy nest and built a tent around it with a heating unit. A helicopter was called to fly them and their discovery back to the mother country where the egg could be put in an incubator and properly studied and examined. This was no ordinary find, even for a dinosaur egg. Kenji Kamaiya, one of the top kaijuologists even at his young age of 37, was contacted and flown to Moscow where the egg would be kept.

Over the next few weeks, Doctor Kamaiya and his staff would learn all they could about this wonderful discovery. On day seventeen, the not-so unexpected happened. As he was sitting at his desk, there was a sudden cracking noise. For a second, he thought one of the pottery vases that decorated the main entrance to his office had fallen and broken. He turned around quickly but they were all intact. As he looked about the room in confusion, one of his assistants came in to make sure all was well.

"I heard something break..." said the researcher.

"As did I," replied the professor, taking off his glasses as he stood to better search the room. Panning across the lab and over to the incubator, he noticed a crack along the side of the egg and a smile came to his face. It's time he thought. The two scientists walked cautiously toward the metal and glass container and peered inside. Another small crack suddenly appeared, then another and the egg began to shake. Kamaiya went to the computers which had been hooked up to monitor the egg and glanced at all the readings. Indeed, it was time.

The egg shook again as a much larger crack broke across the top and ran downward in all directions. Kenji turned to watch, his assistant stepping backwards several paces. With each passing second, the shell became more fractured as the egg violently shook. Then it stopped. Kamaiya looked at his associate and then the egg. He was certain it was time for the hatching.

"What happened, Doctor? Why did it stop?"

"I don't know. Perhaps this was only one of several phases the egg goes through as it hatches. Many animals take hours to hatch. This one may not hatch until tomorrow." They both walked up to the incubator and peered inside, examining the various cracks that now dotted the once solid-looking shell. "I want video cameras for around-the-clock observation from all angles. The ones in the corners of the room aren't sufficient. I need to have more sophisticated equipment up here! Also, have the video feedback patched through to my lap top. I want to keep a constant eye on our egg." The assistant ran off to do his bidding.

The steel and glass walls of the incubator were removed and a soft blue spongy material laid around the egg. When the creature hatched, several additional video cameras would record every second of the historic event. Each was positioned seven feet from one another and surrounded it. This was a very exciting day for science as only one kaiju had ever been born in captivity before, although several such births had been witnessed in the wild. In 1967 on Sollgel Island, a baby Godzillasaurus hatched from an enormous egg that had been buried under a mound of rock and dirt. It had slowly grown from a small herbivorous dinosaur into a 40-meter tall kaiju, now much more closely resembling its adopted father, Godzilla. Though relocated to Monsterland, the world's foremost facility of kaiju observation, study and captivity, Godzilla Junior was never raised by humans, much less contained.

In addition, baby Rodans had been observed in the past by eyewitnesses, as well as the hatching of Mothra larvae and Barugon. However, none of these had been scientifically studied. This new egg gave scientists and kaijuologists alike the rare opportunity to see and observe the hatching of a kaiju in a controlled environment.

Doctor Kamaiya was thrilled and could barely contain his excitement. Several of his Russian assistants and staff, as well as his own apprentice, an Irish-American named Cillian Bakker, were busying themselves with last-minute checks. Kenji just stood staring at the cracked egg in the middle of the brightly lit laboratory with a large grin on his face, allowing everyone else to do all the work. Cillian walked up to him with a form to sign.

"Doctor Kamaiya?" Bakker spoke but Kenji paid no attention, not out of rudeness but because he was practically oblivious to anything around him. "Doctor Kamaiya!" Bakker yelled over the background noise. His mentor stuttered with a start and spun around.

"Don't yell! You almost gave me a heart attack! Couldn't you see I was busy?" Cillian looked about him, at the egg and back at his professor, grinning.

"Ah, well, no -"

"Don't interrupt. I'm thinking!"

"Sorry, sir."

"Now, what is it, Cillian?" Actually, the boy seemed to be the one who was slacking. Kamaiya eyed him from head to toe as if he had never seen him before. Cillian Bakker was a tall young man of 22, with short brown hair, green eyes, the occasional silver glasses and dressed in a long white lab coat. Truly a brilliant person who had been fascinated with kaiju in history books, television programs and Hollywood rip-offs as a boy. Still awestruck, he went on to college to take up kaijuology and ended up a straight A student, thus being privileged to go into the field alongside one of the world's top kaijuologists.

To say he failed to share his professor's enthusiasm about the egg would be as far from the truth as saying Einstein's Theory of Relativity was a sleeping pill. Cillian realized that much work had to be accomplished in order to insure everything went well with the hatching before he could stop and enjoy his surroundings.

"These are the forms you requested, sir. I need your signature on them before sending them off to Ogasawara."

"Oh, yes. Of course." The good doctor took the clipboard and quickly scribbled his name. After handing it back, Kenji resumed peering at the cracked egg shell.

Two hours later, after further tests had been completed, the egg began to break apart. Everyone huddled around it about twenty feet away, close while still trying not to be too near. Their feet dug into the floor and legs stiffened as they tried to keep from getting any closer while at the same time, their eyes, filled with excitement, pulled their heads and torsos further toward the cracked shell, restrained only by their determined feet. Surely, their heads would have popped off had they not been attached so well to their bodies. But as awestruck as they were, the moment was soon upon them.

The pre-formed cracks started to widen and split as new ones appeared all over the shell. The egg began to shake back and forth with a loud crackling noise. Yoke bubbled forth from the top where the largest opening had formed. Slowly, it turned to a slight oozing as the crack widened and split further down one side. When it stopped, everyone fell silent when the egg didn't budge. The scientists looked on for a few seconds but when nothing happened, they turned to one another in confusion. Cillian felt a sick feeling in his stomach as he hoped that the infant had not died. Doctor Kamaiya, standing beside him, wet his lips with anticipation as his hands began to sweat.

Suddenly, the side of the egg burst open with tremendous and unexpected force. The loud cracking sound took everyone by surprise as yoke and eggshell splattered across the room and onto the cameras, computers and scientists. Rolling out of the egg in a spiky ball, the quadruped baby kaiju fell onto the blue spongy matting and unraveled itself. Everyone gasped in astonishment. Just a few feet away was a baby kaiju, almost directly in front of Kamaiya and his student. The creature squirmed into the foam padding, waving its huge slime-covered feet in the air and opened its giant brown eyes. Doctors, professors and scientists alike uttered low exclamations of awe. Kenji's eyes were so big it was a wonder they didn't pop out of his head but despite his unnerved state, he managed to pull a pair of plastic gloves over his hands. He stepped forward when suddenly, the creature let out a loud cry. He quickly jumped back.

"It's an Anguirusaurus!" whispered Cillian. Everyone gasped again. Kenji took a few steps forward until he was within arm's reach of the creature.

"That's it, nice boy," he said softly. The baby Anguirus allowed him to come nearer. The doctor squatted next to the Ankylosaurus-like animal and slowly put his hand on its foreleg which was raised in the air. He ran his palm along the thick, rough hide and nearly cried with joy and pleasure. But he did not and approached the matter from a scientific point of view, restraining his emotions which already ran high. Carefully, Kenji removed the slimy yellow gunk as he stroked the leg. If anything, the little Anguirus seemed to enjoy the attention but the scientists weren't fooled. This was a wild animal and a kaiju, at that. As cute and harmless as it seemed, they knew full well that if this infant had been born with the ability to walk and the will to destroy, it could easily kill them all.

But this was not the case so they were able to release some of the stress and tension that had built up. Slowly, the staff started to ease in toward the hatchling as its eyes moved back and forth, looking at each individual as they made their way closer.

*****

The news spread around the world like wildfire with nearly every channel covering the hatching of the baby Anguirus. A press conference was held and media people surrounded the small podium behind which Doctor Kenji Kamaiya stood. Lights flashed continuously as photographers took pictures. Other journalists held tape recorders to catch every word while others jotted information on note pads. Doctor Kamaiya nervously spoke into the bouquet of microphones stretching out in front of him.

"The egg was found by a Japanese-Russian sponsored survey team on Iwato Island. As you all know, it recently hatched a baby Anguirusaurus which is being contained at a special facility in Moscow where it will be studied and cared for until it is transported to Monsterland in the Ogasawara Island chain.

"It is theorized that this egg belonged to the original Anguirus discovered on Iwato Island fifty years ago. That Anguirus, the remains of which have been identified as female, may well have been the mother and the one that was recently killed, the father. We suspect that the original Anguirus was in fact defending its territory and nest from the second Godzilla which it was found in battle with. Therefore, we can estimate the baby's adult size, space requirements, behavior and destructiveness based on data collected regarding its parents."

Inter-planetary Relations

The Hall of Discussion stood against the blackness of space as the giant swirling globe of Jupiter slowly passed behind it. Constructed in 1990 on Ganymede, one of Jupiter's sixteen moons, it was where initial peace talks with Planet X had taken place.

The first Earth representative was Ambassador Glenn whose twelve-foot statue gleamed in front of the building's main entrance. However, he had since died and been replaced by Yun Rees. Dressed in his finest suit and tie, he walked along the brightly-lit passageway into the great building. He was a thin man - almost gangly looking at 5'-9" tall with light brown hair and eyes. With briefcase in hand and several assistants, Rees headed nervously toward the Council of Peace. He was always uneasy about meeting with the Xians as he did not take well to the idea of extraterrestrial life to begin with. Now, there was no turning back as the eight-foot sliding doors opened before him.

The room was large and wide, brightly lit and painted white with few decorations anywhere. In its center stood a large round table with seats all around. To one side, across from the entrance, hung a large blue and white flag. Below, a picture of the solar system was surrounded by a wreath of laurels and the words United Planets.

Rees noted that the Xians had already arrived and taken their seats underneath the banner so he extended his own chair, put his briefcase atop the table and opened it. He pulled out several papers which he was about to read aloud. As custom was for the Council of Peace, each ambassador would open the meeting with reports from their home world. These usually consisted of the social, economic and political details which were relevant to their planetary neighbors. Ken'trus raised his hand to signal the Ambassador to not bother giving his report.

"Oh?" Rees asked as he put his papers aside.

"We have far more crucial news to speak of than our reports. Our intelligence has discovered a most unfortunate scheme against you. Our spies have recovered evidence of suspicious activity on the planet Kilaak."

"Kilaak?" the Ambassador asked worriedly. "How can that be? The Kilaaks were destroyed several years ago..."

"So it seemed. You Earthlings have the horrible habit of assuming that an entire race is eliminated after you have stopped an invasion force. The Kilaaks that attacked you in the year 1999 - according to your Earth calendar - were merely a small garrison, nothing more. Sources indicate that they are now at work preparing for a new invasion."

"What?" Rees' mouth hung open as he stood in surprise.

"The Kilaaks are a cold-hearted race, Ambassador, and have no regard for human life. They are a selfish race that will destroy anyone they see fit. They are harsh creatures, not to be trusted nor reasoned with. Thanks to the resourcefulness of your people, you were able to drive them away but do not think that will forever hold them back. We have proof of a Kilaak invasion army readying for attack at any moment. Though your people are clever, I would not put my faith in your scientists and politicians to save you this time. I also would not trust the Nebulans either. Their alliances with the ancient kingdoms of your planet seem all too suspicious. You are in need of real friends, real allies, whom you can depend upon to help you. We fear for your lives, Ambassador." Yun Rees blinked. He didn't know quite what to say. So much dire news, all so suddenly!

"Well, uh, that's certainly not good news. I will have to notify the United Nations about this immediately." He staggered to his feet and hastily put the Earth's report into his briefcase and closed it. "Thank you for the information... Er... I should go contact Earth." Rees quickly walked out the door.

"Yes, you should do that," said Ken'trus, almost to himself. He gave the Xian hand sign to the rapidly departing Ambassador and smiled. After Rees and his party had left, he chuckled to himself. A Xian who had been standing in the shadows in the corner of the room walked up to him.

"The virus to cancel out the control device was successfully introduced into the Skyllan DNA. What happened in Tokyo after Godzilla's defeat was only the beginning. It won't be long before Monster Zero turns against the Kilaaks altogether," the operative reported.

"Excellent. We will begin readying our invasion immediately. Our discovery of light-speed travel will greatly assist us in our mission." Ken'trus stood up from his chair and turned around. Walking over to the United Planets flag, he lit a small flame with a hand-held device. The banner began to burn upward, slowly at first but faster as the fire spread from the bottom corners.

"We won't be needing that anymore," the Xian smirked as he prepareded to leave the now-redundant building.

*****

When Ken'trus returned to Planet X, he threw his feet up on the desk and leaned back in his chair, ready to review the electronic schedule. Whether he was scanning through the daily reports or admiring himself in its reflection was not entirely clear. What was more important was that his ultimate weapon, Project X, was coming along very well and that pleased him greatly. As usual, the room in which he sat was dark, cold and mostly empty. It was lit by luminaries around the wall that were set on LOW and the starlight coming through the large window looking out into space. The doors slid open to reveal the presence of a Xian sub-commander.

"The Controller."

"Yes, I am. What of it?" replied Ken'trus. The officer looked at his superior, baffled for a moment before correcting him.

"You mistake me, sir. I meant the Controller." Ken'trus looked up and saw Sar'rious, the Controller of Planet X. He stood in the doorway, tall, bald and wearing the uniform of a superior with blue lining his robe and black metal on his shoulder and chest plates.

"You take your temporary title too seriously, Ken'trus," spoke the wise Xian. The Controller walked over to the desk as the sub-commander departed, the doors closing behind him. "I leave you in charge for one day and already you forge the vanguard of an invasion force against Earth."

"Sir, in order to conquer the Earth, we must attack with full power! There are several other species wanting to take over the planet and we must be prepared," stated his second-in-command as he rose from Sar'rious' seat.

"You feel that power is the only way to victory. Have I not taught you anything? History has shown time and again that those who rule only with might and live by it will be undone because of it."

"We are one of the strongest races in the galaxy and our power is matched by few. However, it is strategy that will win us this war which is certain to ensue. Power is an addition, nothing more." Ken'trus looked away in disappointment for he knew his thinking was correct. The Xians had the resources and by all means, they should use them! He was certain that they could wipe out their enemies in one swift stroke. "But nonetheless, we need all the resources we can acquire. I was merely ensuring our supply," he smiled at his superior.

"By putting the entire fleet on standby? And what is this 'Project X' you have been constructing behind my back? I just read a public schedule that a 'Project X' was nearing completion. Would you care to explain it to me?"

"Project X is our new bio-weapon. We have stolen Monster Zero DNA from the Kilaaks and begun creating our own. It will be completely controllable. No Earth invention will thwart our plans this time."

"You are creating a Skyllan?" The Controller walked over to the large window and looked out at the stars. He did not like the idea of trying to control another Monster Zero. They were too unpredictable and could easily fall into enemy hands. As well, they were one of the most dangerous creatures ever to appear in the solar system. But to create one here... He would never have agreed to such an idea.

Sar'rious knew that was exactly why Ken'trus had waited until he had left the planet. He should put a stop to the project now but it was too far along to be discontinued. There was no way the Controller could justify the massive waste of resources.

"Very well. You may have your Monster Zero. But if anything should go astray, I am holding you fully responsible. Is that understood? I will not have any more monsters lost to the ingenuity of the humans." Ken'trus smiled but smirked inwardly as he stepped closer to the Controller.

"Sir, the only reason we lost forty years ago was because of internal sabotage. If it weren't for Namikawa and her emotions -"

"Namikawa was a great warrior and citizen of Planet X. I will not stand for anyone to speak otherwise about her! She was deceived by those worthless cattle, nothing more!"

"That may have been before my time, sir, but I know what she was and so do you. If I didn't know better, I would think that your defense of her has an emotional element to it." Sar'rious sighed.

"She was the most desirable of the clones. I won't deny it. Her unique personality would have given much to our civilization."

"If you consider anarchy a positive thing," Ken'trus replied sarcastically. "I still think that old rumor about you and Namikawa is interesting. Were you really planning on overthrowing the Controller after Earth had been conquered to set up a perfect society and rule over it as King and Queen?"

"You talk too much."

"Tell me... Was that before or after you lost your hair?" Sar'rious turned around in a blaze of anger and grabbed Ken'trus by the neck.

"If you ever question my right as Controller again, I will see to it that you suffer as never before." His grip tightened around the cocky Xian's throat but Ken'trus just smiled.

"You realize that I can overpower you in an instant. Do you forget that I am a Kaiser?"

"And do you forget that I am the one who taught you everything you know? Don't ever forget that I am Number One and you..." Ken'trus frowned down at his superior and sighed.

"Are you trying to rule with power, Sar'rious?" The Controller's face changed from anger to irritation and disgust. He let go of his second-in-command who stepped back. After taking a deep breath, Ken'trus started laughing quietly to himself as if this moment signified his triumph. The Controller, no longer wishing to speak, turned toward the window and lost himself in thought. Number Two, having regained his breath, stomped out of the office and went to check on his ultimate plan.

Gudis

[INTERLUDE] "I Am Gudis"
[INTERLUDE] Cosmic Struggle

"INTRUDER ALERT! INTRUDER ALERT! INTRUDER ALERT!" a computerized voice blared over the loudspeakers throughout the secret base at the foot of Mount Tokachi in Hokkaido. A security detail of fully-armed Simeons spread out in search of who or what might have managed to infiltrate their hidden lair. As two of the soldiers turned a corner, they spotted their quarry and opened fire. The black-clad trespasser looked human but with sudden and unexpected speed and agility, he dodged their laser fire and was on top of them a split second later. One Simeon's neck was quickly broken and the other got a hole punched clean through him. As the assailant turned around, he received blaster fire to his face and chest from six more Simeons who had arrived on the gruesome scene. When they advanced, the infiltrator suddenly sprang up and charged them head on.

"What?! Fire! Fire!" a Simeon yelled in surprise as they tried to put the invader down once more. Only inches separated them when their quarry finally was stopped for good.

"The first blasts should have killed him. How did he get back up?" another ape asked, looking down at the body with so many holes there seemed to only be inches of it not damaged in some way.

"It would be interesting to know how he did this," Argon, the Chief of Security pondered aloud, looking at the hole punched through one of his guards.

"Chief! Over here!" another of his detail called. The infiltrator was still alive! Argon grabbed him by the front of his shirt to get some answers. The Simeons' second-in-command behind Mugar was tough as nails and knew how to get about any job done.

"Hey, you. You are still alive. Can you hear me?"

"...Yes," he whispered with a gasp.

"You no longer have a left shoulder, half your face is blown off and you have literally been skewered by laser fire. So explain to me who you are, what you are and why you are still alive." The badly mangled humanoid's only response was a laugh that started out human and then changed to something that sounded almost demonic.

"What are you?!" Argon roared, shaking him violently.

"I am eternal... I am immortal... I am that which cannot be stopped," it said in an eerie tone.

"You speak in riddles. Are you going to tell us anything we actually want to know?"

"I am death! That is all you need to know, worm!" it scowled as angrily as the remains of its face would permit.

"Care to elaborate before I blow the rest of your head off, Mister Scary Voice?" The Chief was not amused, nor afraid of the ominous situation he appeared to find himself in.

"I will sweep over this planet like a plague of locusts. Dead bodies floating in rivers of blood is all that will be left in my wake. You, the humans or any other race that gets in my way, it matters not. Earth's greatest protector is gone and the planet shall be mine now."

"Protector? You are referring to Godzilla, are you not?"

"Nothing can stop me now. None of you possess the power."

"I am asking you one last time, hamburger face. WHO ARE YOU?!"

"I... am GUDIS!!!" Everyone aside from the Chief had looks of utter horror on their faces. "Become a part of the genetic chain of the most powerful being in the universe or die at my feet. Either way, I win! The universe shall learn to live with me... or perish. When I am finished, you will all beg for-- " Gudis suddenly began to cough and wheeze in mid-sentence. "I'm... sorry. I try to keep the scary, hissy voice thing going but it's really hard on the vocal chords." He finished in a deep booming tone, minus the scratchy rasping as the Chief cocked an eyebrow.

"Where was I? Oh, yeah. Killing you all and such and such. Okay, Magilla, listen up 'cuz I don't plan on repeating myself. I shall devour this world and all of you are going to die, horribly, painfully and with as much suffering as I can muster. Ah, such sweet, sweet misery! 'Tis what I live for... and what you will all die for!" he finished in an ominous tone as the pupils in his eyes disappeared in a sea of glowing red.

"By the gods..." one of the Simeons muttered.

"I AM God," Gudis replied with an evil grin. A moment later, the body no longer had a head as Argon made good on his threat.

"I need to see the Commander," Argon grunted.

"Why? You just killed that thing. What does it matter?" a rookie soldier named Bordu asked. The Security Chief looked at him with a glare that made him gulp nervously as Argon slowly walked toward him.

"That thing is one of the most terrible forces of destruction in all the known universes. What I just killed was a useless human drone, one of probably thousands it possesses to speak through. That thing feeds on hatred, fear and misery. It thrives on war, bloodshed and death. It has sucked entire planets dry and wiped whole galaxies clean of life. That... is why it matters," he explained sternly. The Chief had made his point and left the young rookie shaking in his boots.

*****

After Chief Argon finished speaking with Commander Mugar, he exited the office and found Private Bordu anxiously waiting outside.

"Well?"

"Well what?" The veteran was somewhat surprised to find the young Simeon so expectantly watching his section chief.

"What are the Commander's orders?"

"To wait for further orders," Argon automatically replied with the standard military brush-off.

"What?" Argon was surprised, yet beginning to get a bit annoyed with Bordu's persistence.

"You heard me, rookie."

"But if this Gudis thing is as dangerous as you say it is, then shouldn't we do something about it?"

"The Commander needs time to plan our next move," he sighed. "The arrival of the Gudis has changed everything."

"Time? Time for what? That thing to march in here and kill us all?" The Private was clearly verging on insubordination with his many questions.

"No! Plans must be made to somehow deal with the Gudis. Patience is a virtue." Argon hoped his last remark would put an end to the conversation.

"Is cowardice supposed to be a virtue as well?" the rookie hissed, his voice dripping with venom. A stiff, solid backhand punctuated the Chief's response.

"The Commander may be many things but a coward is not one of them, boy! DO YOU UNDERSTAND!?" Argon roared angrily.

"Y-yes, sir," Bordu muttered.

"Gudis isn't the kind of thing that you take lightly. Nor do you rush off to fight it half-cocked without a plan of action. Come with me."

"Where?"

"Just do as I say, Private! That's an order!" the Chief growled, reminding the youngster very quickly of his status and who his commanding officer was. He marched toward his own office where he punched something up on the computer console.

"Time for a history lesson, rookie. The Gudis has existed for countless eons, moving through the wide expanse of the universe, literally pillaging, if you will, seemingly endless planets and solar systems of their life and energy.

"The first race of beings to dare stand against it were the Ultras from Nebula M78. They were a peaceful race before the arrival of the Gudis. For centuries, a war raged between them that crossed one galaxy after another as the Ultras were bound and determined to destroy Gudis for the sake of all innocent life in the universe as well as their own kind.

"During one of the many battles that were waged, Gudis fled through a particular solar system, trying to evade an army of no less than a hundred Ultras. It was weak and in dire need of sustenance so it fed off a small star to rejuvenate itself. When it had finished, it moved on and the star collapsed in on itself, creating a black hole."

"But what does that have to do with -" Bordu stopped in mid-sentence as the realization hit him. Argon turned the screen around, showing the coordinates of the location. Bordu suddenly felt nauseous when his suspicion as to what his superior might be leading up to was confirmed. "No, no! It can't be..."

"But it is, soldier." The Private's jaw dropped as he fell to his knees in disbelief. "The arrival of Gudis was the death knell of our civilization as we knew it," Argon assured him, his voice softer than Bordu thought was possible from the burly officer.

"Wh-why has nothing ever been done? Why haven't we sought vengeance?" the young Simeon scowled.

"Because, at the time, saving our race and our very way of life was the top priority. Also, because only select military personnel in high-ranking positions know the truth. And until now, we thought the Gudis was dead, destroyed by Ultraman Great in Australia in the year 1990. Obviously, that is not the case. But this time, we will find a way," the Chief assured him. "And you will tell no one about what we have discussed here. Do you understand, boy?" Argon glared at him.

"Ye-yes, sir."

*****

Later, eleven Simeons were in the mess hall, enjoying the first full meal they had had in nearly two days. In preparation for their attempt at conquering the Earth, creature comforts and even the most basic of needs were often sacrificed in the name of duty and a very tight schedule. They were quietly conversing and eating until the young rookie, Bordu, posed a question.

"Why are we doing this?" The others seated around him were somewhat startled by his unusual query.

"What do you mean?" one of them asked.

"I mean, why are we trying to take over the Earth again after having failed in the past?"

"Because we have been ordered to by Commander Mugar, we no longer have a world to go back to and because we have no other options," a Simeon called Nargas explained with much venom in his voice.

"And what is going to make this time any different?"

"No Godzilla," a third grinned.

"Yeah, no Godzilla," Bordu proclaimed sarcastically. "Instead, we have other monsters and other alien races to deal with now. Not to mention the Gudis." He wanted to blurt out what the Security Chief had told him so badly it hurt but he had made a promise and he intended to keep it.

"The Commander and our superiors have everything well in hand, I am sure," another added.

"How, may I ask? As it already has been said, we no longer have a homeworld to go back to which means no back-up personnel, resources or supplies, a luxury that the other races we are going to be dealing with have in spades."

"You talk an awful lot for a rookie. Maybe you should just keep your mouth shut and follow orders," one more ape chimed in.

"Why? Am I the only one who thinks this is suicide?"

"I think that you are starting to get on our nerves!" Nargas declared, even more irritated.

"I am just trying to make sense of all this. We are here because we are looking for a new home, right? We have tried force and been beaten twice, right? And now, the humans are also facing a terrible dilemma because of the Gudis and the possibility of a mass invasion, correct?"

"Just what is it that you are getting at, boy?" one of the other apes growled ominously.

"Well, as crazy as it sounds, has anyone ever considered... trying to make peace with the humans?" Bordu asked nervously. Everyone at the table abruptly stopped eating and looked directly at the young soldier in utter shock. It was as if he had lobsters crawling out of his ears. "Just hear me out! If we make peace with the humans, they may let us settle what remain of our people here. We can offer help and assistance to them against the threats they now face. We may believe the humans to be inferior but weak they certainly are not. Just look at what their race has weathered in the past!" As Bordu continued speaking, the looks of shock on his comrades' faces were quickly being replaced by menacing anger. "I know I sound crazy to all of you but I really think this could work."

"You are crazy, boy! The humans have been and always will be our sworn enemies. And more importantly, you're talking treason! If word of what you're suggesting gets back to the Commander, he'll have you shot!"

"Has anyone tried to reason with the Commander? Doesn't anyone else see the possible benefits of this?"

"I think if you know what is good for you, you will drop this entire insane idea of yours before it gets you killed."

"So we just barge in and try the same old pathetic plans all over again? If we are supposed to be such an advanced race, why don't we prove it by using our heads rather than our weapons?"

"I think we've heard just about enough out of you!" Nargas yelled, getting up from his chair.

"What are we, a bunch of murdering pirates? We used to be peaceful! We used to be explorers! What has happened to us?" Bordu begged of his comrades-in-arms.

"Desperate times call for desperate measures, boy! Now shut up before we shut you up!"

"Perhaps if we had simply tried to make peaceful contact in the past, we wouldn't be in this predicament now," Bordu stated bluntly.

"Are you questioning the orders and logic of our Commander?"

"Maybe I am." A stunned silence followed his statement but it did not last long.

"DIE, TRAITOR!" Nargas roared as he drew his pistol and fired. The rookie dove under the table and yanked Nargas' legs out from under him. The Simeon dropped his blaster and the others scattered out of the way as the fight ensued.

"What are you, crazy? I don't want to fight you! We are Simeon brothers!"

"A spineless worm like you is no brother to me!" Nargas snarled as he pulled out a jagged, serrated dagger and lunged at Bordu who drew his own knife to defend himself. The enraged ape made several swipes as his target dodged and parried. Nargas managed to disarm Bordu with a slash to his right hand as he tackled him, trying to force his knife into Bordu's throat. He was slightly bigger and stronger and soon began to overpower the rookie as his dagger inched dangerously close to a jugular vein.

"Maybe I should thank you, boy. When I tell the Commander that I slit the throat of a worthless traitor, perhaps he'll promote me," Nargas grinned viciously. Suddenly, a laser bolt illuminated the room, getting everyone's attention. They looked over to see Security Chief Argon standing in the door, holding a rifle in his hands.

"Is there a problem here, my fellow apes?" he growled. Immediately, every Simeon in the room snapped to attention and lined up next to one another, including Nargas and Bordu. "Does anyone have anything to say?" Argon asked, looking from one ape to the next.

"Permission to speak, sir?" Nargas asked.

"By all means."

"Rookie Private Bordu spoke of treason, sir, so I took it upon myself to remedy the situation."

"Indeed. Is this true, boy?" Argon asked, turning to the accused.

"Only in the opinion of some, sir."

"And what exactly did you say?"

"I spoke of a possible alliance between us and the humans to help us relocate here on Earth and face the threat of the Gudis and anything else that comes along. We are few in number and no longer possess the power and resources we once did, sir."

"I see... The rest of you will finish your meal and then return to work immediately. As for you, Bordu, you will come with me. I will deal with you personally. Is that understood?"

"Sir! Yes sir!" all the Simeons shouted loudly in unison. Argon stared long and hard at Bordu before he spoke again.

"Come with me, rookie." Bordu followed without question, trying to be strong but he was terrified. A few moments later, they were in the Chief's office. Bordu gulped nervously as Argon focused an intense stare at him.

"Well, rookie, I guess the question before us is a simple one. What do I do with you? According to our laws, what you have done is considered an act of treason and is punishable by death."

"W-with a-all due respect, sir..." Bordu stammered. "Those are Commander Mugar's laws. They were not created until he became Supreme Commander of all our forces. Before that time, a Simeon could speak freely without worry of repercussions, sir." Argon agreed that he was correct. "Sir, before you make your decision, can I at least request that you hear me out? I have already broken Simeon law in which case there can only be one result so what I say from this point on will change nothing, correct?"

"Very well then. Speak."

"We are but one of many races that will be vying for the Earth now that Godzilla has been defeated and with all due respect, sir, in my humble opinion, we are in no position to take on the challenges that lay before us."

"Your statements could be easily dismissed as cowardice, rookie."

"And when I was foolish enough to make the same assumption involving the Gudis, was it not you who set me straight, sir?" The Chief allowed himself a silent chuckle. The apeling had him there, he couldn't deny that. "Sir? Can you tell me that you have never disagreed with any of Commander Mugar's decisions? In light of our previous attempts to take the Earth and the results, can you say that it would not have been possible to approach the Earthlings peacefully with our dire situation if someone besides Commander Mugar had been in charge? And while on that subject, is peace really so impossible, sir? Sure, the humans may be brash, primitive and inferior but that does not mean we cannot co-exist. You don't have to like someone to be civil with them. Is that not true?

"Sir, aside from being a battle-hardened veteran, you are also wise beyond your years. If I were to ask you what you thought our chances were in this precarious situation, what would your answer be? Just between you and me, off the record. No laws, no regulations... no stubborn Simeon pride or delusions of grandeur... and no Commander Mugar breathing down your neck." Finally releasing a heavy sigh, Argon seemed to stare off into space as he thought over Bordu's words. They were up against a variety of other races far more prepared and better equipped than the Simeons were. They were also greatly outnumbered and would still be facing some of the most powerful kaiju in the universe. Then there was the Gudis, the ravager of their world and of their very way of life. He looked at Bordu who was nervously awaiting his commanding officer's response.

"Wise beyond my years, you said. Perhaps the same could be said of you... rookie," Argon replied with a slight grin tugging at the corner of his mouth and causing Bordu to respond likewise. "Very well. You will not be executed. I will find an alternate means of punishment at a later date. But for the sake of your own welfare, you had best keep your wild ideas to yourself around the other apes. Is that understood?"

"Yes, sir." Bordu was greatly relieved and finally exhaled.

"I will be honest with you, boy. I don't like the humans and don't suppose that I ever will but that doesn't mean that there is not logic in your words. You're very idealistic but history has not been kind to those Simeons who believed as you do."

"Yes, sir. And thank you."

"Come with me, rookie." The Chief led him out of the office and to an area that Bordu did not have security clearance to enter. He stopped abruptly and Argon took notice of this, turning around.

"It's all right. I grant you access to this part of the installation. Just follow me." They continued along until they came to a long corridor that led to a pair of double-reinforced doors. Argon moved toward a DNA scanner and placed his right hand inside.

"DNA confirmed. Welcome Security Chief Argon," a computerized voice said. As a second precautionary measure, a password was spoken. The doors opened and what Bordu saw literally took his breath away.

Before them were two monstrous forms. One was Mechagodzilla, now rebuilt and ready for action. The other was an even bigger shock. Next to the mech was Titanosaurus, only with cybernetic attachments on his body. Part of his face, right arm, left leg and chest had been altered to accommodate these new attributes. Bordu looked at them in awe, only able to guess what they might be capable of.

"We may be the underdogs but that doesn't mean we won't give our enemies a fight they won't soon forget, including Gudis," Argon stated proudly, looking up at their recently completed gladiators. The Simeon race would not go down without a fight. Bordu was mesmerized by the incredible behemoths standing before him.

"How is this possible, sir?"

"As you know, the elders of the once proud Simeon Homeworld Council were the most powerful and wealthy members of our race. They pooled their fabulous wealth together for the sole purpose of conquering the Earth. It took every cent they had. They bankrupted themselves by taking on this mission. When the last of our homeworlds was pulled into the black hole, they refused to leave, choosing to die with the planet they loved so much that they could not stand to be away from it. Thus, all their incredible wealth no longer served them any purpose. They gave it and their lives up with the hope that our kind could forge a new life somewhere else. What was spent on these two could easily build ten of the old Mechagodzilla."

"I see. Amazing! What can they do?"

"Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus both now have full shielding systems that they can activate instantly. It covers every square inch of their bodies and they can still fire all of their weapons, engage in hand-to-hand combat and move freely while it is activated. As a result, whenever they are in combat, they will be on. And that's just the beginning, kid. Mechagodzilla's missiles, aside from packing the same explosive power they always have, are now plasma based as well."

"Plasma based? That means they will burn through practically any substance imaginable!"

"Indeed. Especially the impaler missiles. Even a kaiju with regeneration will have a difficult time dealing with them."

"What else?" Bordu was sounding like a kid at Christmas time.

"It may interest you to know that both Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus have built-in gravitational nullifiers. The system creates an energy field around their bodies that negates the Earth's gravitational force on them by three-quarters of their body weight. As a result, their speed and agility are unmatched. Even natural kaiju sprinters and leapers like King Seesar and Baragon would be hard-pressed keeping up with them."

"Can it be engaged along with their other force field?"

"No. The two energy fields cancel each other out. The gravitational nullifier is a back-up in case something manages to breach their shields. If their defenses hold up, there will be no need for enhanced speed."

"What about Titanosaurus?"

"On his cyber-arm, there is a forearm cannon that acts like a cutting torch. In the side of his bionic leg is a rapid-fire six missile turret. His eyepiece has a photon discharger capable of firing a pure energy torpedo that splits apart into a cluster of five shots, covering a wide area. Also, Titanosaurus' cybernetic limbs have twice the strength of his flesh and blood counterparts. A punch or kick from those will pack even more of a wallop. And then, of course there is this..." Argon walked over to a control panel and remotely opened a compartment in Titanosaurus' chest, revealing a large dish of some kind. "This is a reflective repulser mirror. Any energy attack or beam that hits it will be absorbed and reflected back at five times its initial strength."

"They are fantastic!" Bordu exclaimed.

"Indeed they are. And if the opposing races and their kaiju want a piece of us, they're going to get it!" the Chief stated with grim determination.

"Unbelievable! It seems like we may actually have a chance now."

"I very much agree, rookie."

"It's a shame that it has to come to this. We weren't always enemies with the other races of the galaxy. If there were other planets out there like Earth that could sustain life, perhaps things would be different."

"Perhaps. But things are the way they are nonetheless."

"And if we do win, what then?"

"I assume you are referring to the humans. With the magnitude that this battle may reach with all the various aliens, warships, weaponry and kaiju that could be involved, the entire surface of the planet may be blasted clean of all life by just being in the crossfire. The humans may not survive. If there are any, the Commander will want them either enslaved or executed."

"Can you try talking to him? Reasoning with him?"

"For what? This peace you keep dreaming of? After two attempts to wipe them out, I don't think extending the olive branch now will do us much good, rookie. That, plus as you well know, the Commander utterly despises the humans with every fiber of his being. What you are wishing for seems to be nothing more than an optimistic pipe dream, I'm afraid." Bordu hung his head in a gesture of defeat so the Chief felt he had to say something more.

"You have a respect for sentient life, no matter what its form. That much is obvious and I can respect that. Listen. If it makes you feel any better, I won't put you on any kill missions. I figure that is the least I can do." After a long pause, Bordu finally lifted his head and thanked him. "I will escort you back to your work station so the other officers don't question your presence in this restricted area."

They departed the massive hangar and headed back down the long corridor together. Chief Argon briefly looked back over his shoulder. Everything rested on those two monstrous mechanized terrors. If they failed, the Simeon race would have no future.

"Sir?"

"Yes, private?"

"What are we doing here?"

"Excuse me?"

"I mean, what are we still doing HERE, underground. I doubt any other alien race has a ship as massive as this one or with the kind of firepower it has. What's stopping us fr-"

"From just charging in with guns blazing and obliterating everything that stands in our way?" Argon finished the young Simeon's question. "First of all, massive firepower or not, the fact is that the occupants of this vessel are the last of our race. There is no need to take unnecessary risks if we don't have to. We must preserve what remains of our people and our culture by any and all means possible. Yes, there was a time when we would have done exactly what you just said, back when we still had all of our homeworlds and our race was thriving. But that isn't the case anymore. Secondly, as you already know, Mugar has given strict orders for us to stand down and await further orders."

"But we've been down here waiting for YEARS! Just what is it that we're waiting for? And why?"

"It doesn't matter. All that matters is that we follow orders. That's what good soldiers do, boy. They don't question their commanding officer's decisions. Is that clear?"

"Yes, sir."

*****

Later, in the main control room of the base, Chief Argon reported to Mugar after making a security sweep. The Commander was standing with his arms crossed behind his back at the main console.

"Commander..." Argon addressed him, giving the forearm salute as he walked up. Mugar halfheartedly looked over his shoulder at him.

"Report," he finally ordered.

"Security sweep has been completed, sir. No signs of anything out of the ordinary."

"And what of our instruments of destruction?"

"Both Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus are armed, ready and fully operational, sir."

"Excellent. You may go, Argon." He started to leave but stopped for a moment. "Something else you have to say, Argon?" Mugar asked, knowing that he had paused without having to look at him.

"Permission to speak freely, sir?"

"Granted."

"Is it our mission to wipe out the remaining humans if we are victorious?"

"When we are victorious," Mugar corrected him sternly.

"Yes. Of course, sir."

"And as to your question, the answer is yes. The humans that survive will be completely annihilated," he said coldly. A long pause followed as Argon took a deep breath.

"Why, sir?" Mugar turned around and stared at him. The fact that Argon could not see whatever expression was on what remained of his face under the mask only made the moment all the more unnerving.

"What?" Mugar hissed as if the question had somehow insulted him.

"Sir, the humans are beneath our notice. They are useless insects to pay no mind who pose no threat to us. Godzilla had been the only reason that they ever won against us." Argon couldn't believe what he was saying. He was actually trying to argue that rookie Bordu's case but in a manner that he hoped would appeal to the Commander's cruel sense of logic.

"True, Argon, very true. But as insects, they will be crushed as such under our collective heel. Is that understood?"

"Yes, sir. But what, for the sake of argument, if we were to take the surviving humans into custody... maybe to see if we can learn anything from them? Information that may help us to adapt to this world in a way we have not done before."

"And what could we hope to learn from any worthless human?"

"I... I don't know, sir. Perhaps they could be kept as pets?" The Chief realized how ridiculous that sounded as he tried to stifle a cringe.

"Argon? What has come over you? Why are you speaking in such a manner?" A long uncomfortable silence stretched for what seemed like an eternity. "This wouldn't happen to be... compassion, would it?" Mugar grumbled disapprovingly.

"... No, sir. Of course not, sir."

"Are you sure? Mercy is a delusion of the weak. Have you not learned that serving under me? I do not like the direction that this line of questioning is taking, Argon. I do not like it at all!" Mugar seethed, the anger and volume of his voice steadily rising as he spoke.

"It was merely a point of scientific conjecture, sir. I apologize profusely if I have somehow offended you. I also therefore withdraw the line of questioning," Argon added desperately, trying to salvage the verbal exchange that was dangerously close to escalating. The Commander stared at him for what seemed like an eternity as he carefully weighed the statements of his second-in-command. Argon tried hard to retain his composure, knowing Mugar could have him executed for whatever reason he saw fit, regardless of his rank.

"Apology... excepted, Argon. You are dismissed to resume your duties," Mugar said with a slightly calmer tone of voice. Argon waited until he had begun to walk away before releasing a deep sigh of relief. Mugar continued to stare after him until he had departed the control room. Something wasn't right and the Commander could feel it in his bones.




CHAPTER FOUR




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