Naoki had long since given up on Takashi; he'd left her waiting like a fool in the Hard Rock Café long enough. She strode through the crowded Roppongi streets in a huff, oblivious to the people she bumped into, envious of the sidewalk passersby who laughed and smiled and seemed to be having a great time. Well, she wasn't having a great time; even the explosion of multi-colored neon that lit up Roppongi's night district failed to have its usual restorative effect on her senses.
What could've happened to Takashi's subway? And if something had happened to it, why hadn't he called? Didn't he know how serious she was about him? Didn't he know she even wanted to marry him?
As she stepped into one of Roppongi's many crosswalks, oblivious of the oncoming traffic, a nearby manhole cover popped two feet into the air and clanged to the asphalt street. Naoki stopped to look at the open manhole, as did many other fellow crosswalk onlookers. A dank, putrid stench filled the air; Naoki held her nose.
A curious substance, something like brown jelly, oozed up from the open manhole in the street. It sloshed itself out over the asphalt like rancid butterscotch pudding that had gone bad months before, and it spread in an ever-widening and increasingly clotted pool. Soon it would be lapping at Naoki's feet.
She ran for the sidewalk, starting a stampede that fled from the blob-like substance as it continued to bubble up from the open manhole like fetid brown lava. Safe ten or more meters away, Naoki turned to look, along with several other Roppongi denizens, though others continued to distance themselves from the thing in the street.
By now, the brown blob had grown to the size of a transit bus, a bus that very much resembled a diseased internal organ ripped from the belly of a dead blue whale; Roppongi's neon lights glinted off the thing's wet, gleaming surface. The creature raised itself into the air and swayed back and forth, seeming to look out over the crowds that thronged the sidewalks as though searching for someone. It was then that Naoki noticed the thing's weird cyclopean eye that popped open and stared at her with a terrible intensity.
At that moment, a weaving yellow taxi screeched as though trying to stop but nevertheless skidded into the enormous cyclopean blob, which absorbed the blow with ease. The driver's head banged the steering wheel, and he slouched forward, apparently unconscious. His back seat passenger, a hefty-looking society matron stuffed into an expensive blue designer dress, fumbled out of the back seat. But her panic was short-lived.
Tendrils from Cyclops had already gripped her ankles and knocked her to the street, and as she was dragged towards the thing, ugly black tumors erupted on her exposed face and throat and arms. Her screams only whipped up terror in the crowd of Roppongi onlookers who stood by helplessly, and Naoki suddenly realized her own screams were so loud, she could barely hear the woman as the monster's tendrils pulled the unfortunate lady into a large, open slit - a mouth? - and seemingly swallowed her whole. It was then that the creature shuddered violently and turned a dark blood red; momentarily, the thing became translucent enough that Naoki saw the woman's eyeballs dissolve in their sockets.
Screaming louder than before, Naoki pulled her hands up to her cheeks and went into hysterics.
So absorbed was she in her terror that she didn't notice the heavy chop-chop-chop of a helicopter that flew in low over the Roppongi street and hovered fifteen meters from Cyclops. A ladder dropped from the helicopter, and a muscular man clad only in blue underwear scrambled down the ladder and deftly leaped to the street below.
In a frenzied moment, Naoki prayed that this strange man might be their salvation from the thing in the street.
"Please stay back," a loudspeaker from the helicopter blared to the crowds below. "Move away in an orderly fashion. Get into nearby buildings and stay there. Remain calm. Do not, repeat, do not approach the creature in the street. It is dangerous. Again, move down the sidewalk as quickly and as quietly as possible. Do not panic."
Naturally, the Roppongians did panic. Dozens of night partiers fled for the next block, while others fought to get inside the many bars and restaurants and dance clubs that lined the block. Three were trampled badly enough that they would require serious medical attention.
Ken closed his eyes and shut out the sound of the screams and the helicopter and the sight and smell of Cyclops slowly shambling towards him. He focused on his anger against the drunk driver who had plowed into his Mom and Dad's car, killing them, the driver receiving a comparatively light sentence for his heinous crime. He remembered vividly the things he had wanted to do to that drunk driver, the rage he'd felt after the trial when the criminal smirked at him and said he couldn't be touched, the fury he'd felt at the judge who overturned the jury's sentence of first degree manslaughter. What he'd like to do to that judge . . . and that . . . drunk driver . . . sorry scum . . . who deserved . . . who des . . . who . . .
Kengoji, the near-Godzilla state of Kenji Matthews, towered in all his glory in the now empty Roppongi street. Over seven feet tall, his bulky, dinosaur-like frame, dorsal plating, thrashing tail, and fanged snout gave Kengoji an appearance that could easily be mistaken to be that of Godzilla's near-cousin or even son, were it not for the size discrepancy. And just like Godzilla, Kengoji recognized the challenge of a nearby monster, the creature called Cyclops, which even now dragged itself towards him as though he might be another easy meal.
But Kengoji knew it wasn't going to be like that.
Cyclops shot out a battalion of spidery tendrils from under its base. Closing around Kengoji's ankles, the root-like tentacles tugged. But Kengoji wouldn't be felled so easily.
Reaching down, Kengoji grasped the tendrils in his massive clawed hands and ripped them from his ankles as though they were so much sewing thread. Nor was Kengoji affected by Cyclops' ability to produce instant cancer in its victims, for Kengoji's G-cells and the radiation condensed within them made Ken cancer-immune.
"Ken!" a familiar voice - was it that of his brother? -- called from the helicopter hovering overhead. "Use your ray! Your ray!"
Kengoji shrugged off the advice and spied a nearby taxi, the one that had originally plowed into Cyclops; the driver, his forehead bloodied, had crawled onto the sidewalk and collapsed. Grabbing the deserted auto by its rear bumper, Kengoji raised the car high into the air.
Cyclops looked on obliviously as it again started to inch forward.
Ken swung the car, once, twice, letting it gain momentum over his head. Then, with as much force as he could muster, Ken smashed the swinging auto directly into the top half of Cyclops' body. Huge chunks of the living tumor were sheared off in the process, splatting across the street like burst caterpillars. But the disengaged pieces quivered and began to move towards one another until they formed a mini-Cyclops of their own; apparently, any dislodged piece of the monster could grow into another.
The mini-Cyclops sprang upon Kengoji's right calf and pulsated like a beating heart. Ken shrieked in a half-roar, for the blob burned like acid, and it stank like death. Seizing it with one of his claws, Ken struggled to tear the mini-Cyclops from his leg, a sickening suction sound filling the air as he finally wrenched the thing free.
In the helicopter that hovered above Ken and Cyclops, Tosh squirmed next to Yuki as the two of them looked on at the battle below from the helicopter's back seat.
Dr. Takashima, seated next to the CCI pilot in the front seat, nodded. "Try again, Toshiro" the elderly scientist said. "Kengoji must strike Cyclops with his ray."
Spurred on by Dr. Takashima's warning, Tosh was about to yell over the loudspeaker system when he suddenly realized there was no need.
"He's about to do it," Yuki said as she grabbed Tosh's arm, "he's about to do it!"
Kengoji snarled as he squarely faced the approaching Cyclops, which pushed aside the damaged taxi that Ken had flung into it; windshield glass tinkled and metal crashed as the taxi fell to its side on the sidewalk.
The stegosaurus-like plates running down Kengoji's spine began to crackle and spark, sputtering into a bright blue light. Within his chest, the fusion furnace burned white-hot. He opened his snout.
As it oozed forward, Cyclops sent out feelers from beneath its base. The living tumor ignored the ball of light that shimmered at the base of Kengoji's open throat; it didn't perceive light as a threat. It would soon learn the error of its ways.
Kengoji's eyes glowed, and a blue-white ray shot out from his mouth, ionizing the air around it. The ray punched directly into Cyclops mid-section. Violently the brown monstrosity writhed as yellowish steam arose from the area on which the superheated beam concentrated. Molten chunks of putrid brown flesh poured from the afflicted region like muddy candle wax, and the creature's bright green eye grew wide with agony.
So far, so good.
Inside the helicopter above the fray, Yuki cheered and waved an arm in victory as Tosh grinned and shielded his eyes from the glare of Kengoji's ray.
Then the ray started to cut out. Once. Twice. As though the generator powering it were running out of juice.
Cyclops shuddered less feverishly as the intervals between Kengoji's staccato beam lengthened.
In the helicopter back seat, Yuki made a face and hit her knees. "No! No!"
Next to her, Tosh swore.
Beside the taciturn helicopter pilot, Dr. Takashima slowly shook his head. "Kengoji's ray organ is almost spent."
Tosh thought dark thoughts but somehow eked out a prayer in the midst of them.
Below, Kengoji's beam sputtered twice more, then ceased altogether. As though exhausted, the weregodzilla sank to its knees. In a rush, it tumbled to the street's asphalt and rolled onto its back, breathing deeply, its chest moving up and down in slow, deliberate rhythm.
Yellow steam still drifting from the hole the ray had gouged under its lone eye, Cyclops groped forward, seemingly anxious to vanquish this quasi-human foe that had caused it such pain; it made a sloshing sound as it moved. As though mustering all its strength, the creature shot out a thick mass of tendrils from under its base. Waves of anxious brown tentacles wrapped themselves around Kengoji's arms and legs and torso like thick brown rope. Feebly, Ken writhed. But his efforts to tear the tendrils away quickly ceased, and slowly but surely, Cyclops started dragging the weregodzilla across the street's black asphalt.
Cyclops opened its slit-like mouth, which now measured almost three meters wide. Ken seemed to have given up as Cyclops' tendrils towed him ever-closer towards the gaping maw.
Inside the overhead helicopter, Tosh balled his fists. No, he inwardly seethed. It can't end like this.
Yuki snarled. "Damn you, Kenji Matthews, fight. Fight!"
"Mm-hmm," Dr. Takashima said calmly, as though addressing distraught children, "if I am correct, Kengoji is not giving up."
Tosh swiveled his head in the monsterologist's direction. "What-what do you mean, he, he's not -- "
Dr. Takashima continued. "He is letting himself be pulled into Cyclops. It's the same principle as brachytherapy in a human, when the radiation source is placed inside the tumor itself."
"You mean," Yuki said, "Ken will let off radiation once he's inside Cyclops?"
Dr. Takashima nodded and smiled enigmatically. "Ah, yes. That is exactly what I mean."
Kengoji recoiled as Cyclops pulled the weregodzilla's head and torso into its mouth. That was quickly followed by Ken's legs and tail; thick shields slid over Ken's eyes, and as he held his breath, all his body orifices automatically shut when he found himself nestled inside Cyclops' warm, dark, stinking interior. Then, the slit beneath the living tumor's emerald eye sealed shut like a baggie, blacking out Roppongi's neon lights from the world outside; dank sponginess surrounding his body, Ken felt as though he had been stuffed inside the belly of a diseased whale.
Unlike its other victims, Cyclops found that weregodzillas were not subject to its strong acids and potent toxins; instead, trying to "absorb" Kengoji was a little like a human trying to digest a titanium doll.
As Cyclops nevertheless struggled to dissolve another victim, the creature was oblivious to the CCI Jeeps , troop transporters, and vans that rounded the corners of both ends of the street on which Cyclops pulsed. In unison, the CCI vehicles came to a screeching halt. Dozens of body-armored soldiers poured from the military vehicles, brandishing everything from Army rifles to bazookas to flamethrowers. The soldiers stood their ground, one group in the crosswalk on one side of Cyclops, the second group in the crosswalk on the other side. The troops were careful to stay a full forty meters from the amorphous monster.
From the blue-and-white CCI van, six figures emerged garbed from head to toe in white radiation suits with transparent face plates. What they were here for wasn't clear, but none of the men carried weapons, though several sported hand-held radiation monitors.
From his back seat in the overhead helicopter, Tosh gestured towards the soldiers in the streets. "What are they doing here? I thought conventional military weapons couldn't hurt Cyclops."
"They can't," Dr. Takashima replied quietly, looking away.
"Then what -- "
"Ken," Yuki said. "They're here to finish off Ken once he destroys Cyclops! Those double-crossing -- "
"No way," Tosh said.
"I'm afraid," Dr. Takashima replied, regret in his voice, "Miss Shimura is correct."
Tosh exploded. "What the -- were you in on this?"
"No," Dr. Takashima replied as he hung his head, "but I was powerless to stop it."
"Hirose," Tosh hissed between his teeth, then uttered an oath he had used only twice before in his life.
In the middle of the street, Cyclops jerked about like an ER patient in the throes of a grand mal seizure. The harder it tried to digest Kengoji, the more drained its resources became. It jolted to the right. To the left. Wobbled like a gigantic boneless skull about to expel its brain.
Then a single ray of light shone from beneath the creature's lone eye.
The massive brown tumor that was Cyclops began to glow from within, giving the thing an eerie amber cast. Shafts of light shot out from across its quivering bulk like moonbeams punching through Jell-O. Soon the creature appeared to be an enormous shivering sponge through which multiple searchlights shone.
As though caught in a powerful earthquake, Cyclops's trembling accelerated; soon it vibrated at such great speeds that it appeared to be a gelatinous blur.
The CCI soldiers in the crosswalks shielded their eyes as the intensity of Cyclops's internal glow increased, casting weird brown lights that bounced across the bars and clubs that lined the Roppongi block.
Shafts of light continued to punch their way through Cyclops's sickly brown skin. And with each new ray, the living tumor began to shrink; soon, its convulsive shuddering grew to a listless standstill. It puckered inward, bit by bit, as though the life were being leeched from its core. And as it collapsed in upon itself like a tired balloon, a dirty, yellowish-brown steam formed a thick, almost viscous fog around the dying tumor.
Standing a safe distance away, the CCI troops yanked free hands over their noses; the stench of Cyclops's steam was so intense that one soldier doubled over and retched.
And still Cyclops continued to shrink.
Having already shriveled to less than twice its former bulk, it now dwindled from the size of an SUV to the size of an adult coffin, and as it literally effervesced away into a carcinogenic fog, the weregodzilla's blue-white glow from within its belly shone like a cleansing fireball. Soon, Cyclops was the size of a microwave oven, then the size of a shoe, then - it was gone.
The glow in the street faded as Cyclops's foul-smelling fog dispersed in the wind. All at once, the glow shut off. And there, lying in the middle of the street in which Cyclops had reigned only minutes earlier, lay Ken Matthews. He was no longer in a near-Godzilla or even a near-human state - he was in a completely human state.
The radiation-suited CCI agents looked at their hand-held radiation monitors. The tallest agent, apparently the leader, nodded to his five comrades, and the group purposefully began to traipse Ken's way.
From inside the overhead helicopter, Yuki grabbed Tosh's arm. "Look!" she said joyfully. "Ken! He's back! He's back!"
"I can't believe it," Tosh said in wonder, relief surging through his chest. "What happened, Dr. Takashima?"
The famed monsterologist barely turned his wizened head to speak their way. "In his near-Godzilla state, once he was inside Cyclops, Ken began to release all the radiation contained with the G-cells that circulate throughout his body. This radiation proved too much for Cyclops, literally shrinking the creature to nothing. But Ken had to release so much radiation that he is no longer a weregodzilla. Or so it seems."
Tosh's elation slid into low-gear. "What do you mean, doctor? Doesn't this mean Ken can come back and - hey, what's going on down there?"
"What's going on down there," Dr. Takashima said in measured tones, "is that CCI is taking Ken to a place they deem to be . . . safe."
Tosh grimaced. "Safe from whom?"
Dr. Takashima cleared his throat but said nothing.
"Pilot!" Tosh barked. "Take us down!"
The pilot shook his head. "No can do, sir," he said blandly.
Yuki sneered. "And why the hell not?"
"Orders, ma'am," the unfazed pilot replied.
Yuki took Tosh's hand and squeezed. "They won't get away with this."
"No," Tosh agreed, returning Yuki's squeeze, "they won't."
Below, the six radiation-suited CCI operatives surrounded Ken, who appeared to be unconscious. Carefully, four of them lifted him onto a stretcher. The other two then carried Ken into the back of the CCI van. The van doors slammed shut with a metallic clang, and the vehicle casually drove around the block. Meanwhile, the CCI soldiers in the street's crosswalks relaxed and got back into their Jeeps and troop transporters.
Tosh shook his head in shock and anger. "Dr. Takashima," he said, "please tell me, where are they taking Ken?"
Sitting calmly next to the helicopter pilot, the good doctor chose to look straight ahead, refusing to face either Tosh or Yuki.
"Dr. Takashima," Tosh said in a low voice, "where are they taking Ken?"
Yuki frowned. "Tosh has a right to know, Dr. Takashima."
The famous monsterologist's head quivered slightly, as though from palsy or worry. But he would not look at them. And he did not speak to them until they landed on a CCI-owned building's rooftop, at which point he told Tosh and Yuki he simply did not know where Ken was being taken. He then asked them not to call on him in the near-future.
Memoirs of Dr. Akihiko Takashima
September 30, 2005
Today my attempts to discover the whereabouts of Kenji Matthews have once again ended in failure. Mr. Hirose will reveal nothing, even acting as though he doesn't know what I am talking about. I have taken his hint. I am well aware of the lengths CCI will go to in order to achieve its covert ends.
So far, Toshiro Matthews and Yuki Shimura have chosen not to go public with the fact that CCI has taken Ken to an undisclosed location, or the fact that Ken is still alive. However, Toshiro and Yuki are young, and I fear it won't be long before they will break their silence. For their sakes, I hope they do not. They would be better off to marry and live quiet lives in all due humility.
As for Kenji Matthews, I believe it is unconscionable that CCI has, in effect, kidnapped him. I would like to believe that they are simply nursing him back to health, and that he will be released in the near-future. Of course, I suspect that CCI wants to find a way to duplicate Ken's weregodzilla abilities to create an army of super-soldiers; I am well-aware of CCI's nationalistic leanings, and their hidden agenda reminds me of Japan's pre-war militaristic leanings before the advent of the Pacific War. For the sake of our country, I hope that I am wrong.
In any event, I believe Kengoji, the weregodzilla, will one day reappear. I only hope that next time, he is able to show the public that Ken Matthews is still alive before CCI steals him away. And in the process, it would not be such a regrettable thing if Kengoji were to break Mr. Hirose's corpulent neck.
End of Log Entry
October 28, 2005
Yuki here. (Surprise, surprise!) I've been a good girl and haven't gone public about Ken yet, but journalists will be journalists. Cryptic, no? But hey - for all I know CCI is reading my mail at this point, and I definitely want to keep those tireless defenders of the public good on their well-paid toes.
Of course, we know your phone is tapped. So I thought I'd answer your proposal this way. Yes, I can help you find a job here. And once you're here, we can decide what to do about your - our - major concern.
As for other matters, those last two weeks in Tokyo were great. You're the first guy I've dated who didn't try to take advantage of me - and that includes your brother Ken! Your romantic naiveté is charming, and please take that as a compliment, because it's intended to be. Tosh, you're a real sweetie. (Blush, blush.)
Maybe we can pick up where we left off when you get here? Think it over.
All my love and slobbery kisses,
© Todd Tennant 2004