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Tarbtano


I came, I saw, I got turned into a Brony. Tumblr link http://xeno-the-sharp-tongue.tumblr.com/

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Dec
28th
2021

Godzilla 2000: New Era, PART 9 · 1:38pm Dec 28th, 2021

PART 8
Proofed by Lance-Omikron
Hina by FallenAngel5414

==========

The aged Toyota Camry rolled along the roadways leading to the city ports and docks.

“Okay so you found you were being followed, tasered them when they wouldn’t stop, and found out you just stuck the prongs in half a seafood market… But then a size-changing samurai chick with a katana showed up and saved you?” Yuki Ichinose huffed as her car sped down the roadway, heading for the fisheries.

The red-headed younger woman in the passenger seat remained quiet as she tugged at the coat her mentor had given her, pulling it tighter to her body. Yuri Tachibana cowered into it further, trying to hide from view by the rooftops.

“Yes.. but it was more of a rapier than a katana…”

Yuki could only give her a glance, needing to keep eyes on the road. A moment with the silence however left her shrugging all of the confusion and exasperation away, reaching over and patting her protege’s shoulder reassuringly.

“Hey.. I fully believe you. Ten years ago crazy things really kicked up and they just never stopped,” Yuki sighed, light filtering past the mid-day sun dappling across her face and windshield from the bridges and buildings they passed underneath.

“Just going to check on this gal and then we’re getting G-Force on this. Your father still in that secret operation?”

“Still radio silent,” Yuri whimpered with a frown.

She looked outside the windows a few times, both to scan her surroundings for threats but also to try and find something to distract her mind. The fisheries came into view as they turned down the roundabout, which thankfully was far less populated as she was dreading. Normally a lot of people around was a good thing, but she’d just seem a monstrosity burst out of a human’s skin and crowds were not something she wanted to deal with just yet.

Shifting in Yuki’s coat, Tachibana cleared her throat, “S-So this girl, who is she? What got you into babysitting?”

“Oh Io?” Yuki rolled her eyes with an over-the-top shrug, but Tachibana detected the smirk on the corners of her lips.

“Oooh she’s a character, must be genetic. If she comes off as abrasive, just coast through it best you can. She and her dad have been through a lot, I think it’s more a coping mechanism than anything else,” Ichinose sighed.

Tachibana grimmaced, “So.. her father is also a rude one then? Surprised you put up with it. You didn’t even get those first pictures of Godzilla that you told me spurred you to sign up with these people over.”

Ichinose shrugged, but not in an angered manner in the slightest, “Eh, call me a glutton for action. You know how I am”

Yuki kept her protege in the corner of her vision and waited for the baited lure to be taken, imagining exactly that on the surface of a pond.

Tachibana sat up a bit straighter.

“...Yeah, I know how you are. You and your adrenaline addiction are the reason my father worried when you agreed to mentor me,” Yuri deadpanned, “And that was compared to me signing up with G-Force.”

The bobber sunk beneath the proverbial water, the bait taken. Yuki Ichinose liked to fancy that she had a knack for recognizing what people needed. It was a skill that had served her well with the GPN given the near basketcases she’d been working with.

-Shinodas, great in smarts but not in sense.-

“Hey, I think I did decent at molding you into a proper news correspondent,” Ichinose grinned, tugging on the baited hook, “You certainly look better in front of a camera than I do, that’s why I stay behind it so I can make sure it focuses on something else.”

Tachibana furrowed her brow and pulled on the bait. The edges of her lips at last curled up in a short huff of a chuckle.

“What’s that say about you versus me then, old timer?”

“Hey! I’m young enough to be your big sister!” Yuki Ichinose snipped back with a roll of her eyes.

She pulled into the fisheries and furrowed her brow slightly, even as she enjoyed the laugh Yuri was enjoying at her ‘expense’.

“What’s up?” Tachibana chimed as she leaned back up in her seat.

The fishery was quiet as it normally was at this hour. A few workers milled about their business, several shipping trucks and a massive hauler semi-truck were parked and immobile; checking boats, operating or performing maintenance on machinery, or playing cards while on a break. What she didn’t see was the bob of white hair visible through one of the officers refit into a combination apartment and headquarters. Call it intuition she fancied having which helped keep her ready to guess for the good moments that could lead to the best photos being snapped, but perception was something she’d worked to cultivate. Enough to notice something being off in all her multiple visits here in the past week, let alone the past months.

-Knock system as it is, she always likes to see me or Yuji coming. Io never closes the curtains, especially when expecting someone…-

Yuki stopped the car further back than she normally would have, far enough there was a good twenty meters between the stairs leading to the door and their position.

Yuri Tachibana, not imperceptive herself, noticed the tire tracks worn into the gravel that covered the fishery grounds. Dozens upon dozens of trips between Yuki’s car and the GPN van had pushed the rocks aside and exposed the dark dirt beneath. And yet there was a good twenty meters or so of moved rocks ahead of them. It was like someone parking down the road from a house they could have pulled into the driveway of and spurred a perked brow.

“What’s up?” Tachibana quipped.

Yuki pulled out the satellite phone, a bulky brick of a contraption Yuji had gifted her, and dialed the GPN headquarters.

==============

The hound stiffly stepped into the bedroom, turning its head about and sniffing through a battery of rat nostrils lining its muzzle from one side to the next. As the Millennian drone stepped into the center of the room, noting to close the door behind it, it started to sniff about.

Io Shinoda tried to keep from hyperventilating, knowing her psychic projection only worked on the sense of sight. Be it by smell or sound, she could be found. Or more likely, given she was in a small enclosed space with something tracking her, she would be found.

Options flew through her mind rapidly.

Find something to defend herself? There was nothing in the room but the bed mat, a box of clothes, her desk containing books and mementos in the corner, and a desk lamp. Short of trying to pick up and throw the desk, something she wasn’t confident doing, she had nothing that could double as a bludgeon. No knives, taser, or anything else of the sort.

Use the electricity to shock it with the power cables hooked up to her desk? Promising, but that just left the other nagging questions. First there was the problem of cutting through the insulation, the manufacturer didn’t exactly make that stuff easy to rupture for a good reason. Then there was the question of how to actually use the cable to create a shock with all the safety features built into it. And thirdly was the obvious problem of trying to run across the room, weaponize something meant to be safe even if she had the means to, and do all that without getting tackled, mauled, or otherwise noticed and harmed by the hound.

Could she just leave? Io’s eyes tracked to the door, if only for a moment, before frowning at her positioning and where the hound was. The dog that wasn’t a dog was quite large and the room was quite small. It would have to be at the very end of the room and distracted for her to sneak past it, open the door without bumping into it, and get through without it noticing. And given the cold, unnatural wrongness perceptible just projecting the false image of a blank wall in front of herself in the mind’s eye of the drone, touching its alien psyche to do so; she didn’t put a lot of stock into her sneaking skills alone.

Io looked back and almost squeaked in fear, covering up her mouth and clamping down her airways. The cold, blank visage of the dog was right in front of her, practically on eye level. It was staring straight into her direction. Her pulse and heart froze instantly. The canine drone took in a large breath through its many nostrils, whiskered noses fidgeting at the scents in play. Eyes stared intently at her and her illusion.

Shinoda could feel every pulse in her body, every thought trying to cross the synapses of her mind. She had to keep the illusion up at all costs, and keep herself from breathing. It was a monumental endeavor, any rush of fear would drop the illusion in a lapse and she was beginning to feel her lungs burn and vision blur from lack of oxygen. The hound sniffled and fidgeted its ears to try and pick up any trace of breathing from prey it knew was around, but couldn’t see for some reason. After a few centuries of moments however, the eyeballs in the drone’s head rotated to the side and moved in mobile sockets. The head followed suit and the drone turned away to face the controls for the ceiling fan and put a paw up to turn it off.

Io took her chance to inch further back along the wall and no doubt leave a strong scent behind, now that the fan wasn’t throwing it around, given how badly she was sweating. The fan slowed to a stop and the movement of air within the room stilled as well.

Young Miss Shinoda rapidly took in her surroundings. The small closet door was open just beside her, but it lacked a door to seal it shut and doing so would instantly tip off her location. Not to mention given how the room was being swept, it might only buy her a few moments to just wind up tracked in an enclosed space.

The unnatural breath of the hound, multiple intakes of air through many nostrils and a slow hiss through the air, spurred her to think fast.

Her foot brushed against a metal coat hanger and she picked up on reflex, all too quickly privy to how paltry of a weapon it would make; even with the sharp point. Her finger ran over said point and her eyes widened. Briefly, rapidly looking at the closet and stack of clothes therein in a duffle bag. She’d always made a point to have a quick change ready when going out on expeditions with her father, never knowing when one was going to get rain or mud on themselves.

Mind acting at a mile a minute, she perceived the cushion the clothes could offer, the sharp point of the hanger, and the sniffing of the hound trying to pick up the freshest trace of her in a room covered in her scent.

The hound was about to turn around, it was now or never.

Io put her left hand into her mouth to muffle any noise and jabbed the point of the hanger into her left bicep; biting down to hold her left hand still from any reflexive thrashing away from the jolt of pain. She didn’t drive it in deep, just enough to get the blood pumping with a few flexes of her upper arm muscle. A few twists and a quick pull, and she leaked a stream of red ichor across the hanger while being careful not to get any on her hands. Stemming the blood with a fingertip, she measured a throw whilst biting her tongue. The bloody hanger, covered in fresh, strong scent, was tossed and landed on the cloth pile; messying them as well.

As predicted, the fabric cushioned the fall and muffled the noise. And as predicted further, the strong addition to the scents got the intruder’s attention. The hound paced towards the back of the room, following its nose and looking into the closet.

Io took her chance to sneak past and get through the bedroom door, whimpering and trying to keep the bleeding staunched the whole way. She had to peek around the corner to confirm the intruder that looked like a human had its back turned, practically jumping out of her skin in fear upon having to look away from the hound to confirm that. Any fleeting moment was one it might turn around and see her.

With a mountain of luck, it was so and she closed the door behind her as quietly as possible. She’d have to hope the latch would be audible enough to indicate if it had opened again.

Inching her way into the main room, she could feel the intense yearning to flee gnawing at every nerve of her body. She was so frantic she desperately wanted to call out or at the least exhale harshly to fully purge the stale air burning her lungs, but breathing had to be a matter of sipping and leaking through her mouth to avoid any noise.

The G-Force staffer was going through their equipment, inspecting it before discarding it piece by piece. Io noticed the computer tower had been opened up, but amongst the discarded pile of binoculars, maps, and barometers for field work; she didn’t see any of the hard drives. Those, the lifeblood of the GPN’s years of world and research, were always removed when no one was working on the PC. The internet was a fantastic tool, but her father had always been insistent on keeping their findings and work on a closed network; not wanting it to get out before it was all finished and ready or else it might cause more harm than good. At least, that was the excuse he gave her, complete with the borderline paranoia CCI would try to steal his work that he insisted on removing the storage harddrives every time the PC was not in use.

In truth, Io had long suspected he just wanted to try and ensure they were the first to find Godzilla again, in the hope she could see Junior once more. She’d caught him staring longingly at the picture of her and her friend back in Kyoto many times prior.

Those harddrives, containing everything they knew about Godzilla’s patterns, biology, history including information from Odo Island where her father had grown up, and more; were all in a hidden case on the bookshelf on the opposite side of the room.

Io felt the migraine begin to kick in from overuse of her powers, as she crept across the floor on her hands and knees to avoid any excess noise while keeping the illusion up. It was straining beyond effort, keeping a constant vigil on the intruder, but also listening for the door to the bedroom if it opened up to let the hound out, keeping track of what the floor looked like to maintain the illusion, and also keep her pace brisk. Step over step across the floor in a crawl, she made her way to the bookshelf, to her father’s most prized possessions in their hidden container. Her arm trickled blood, which ran down her arm as her mind was elsewhere.

Her old algebra textbook almost spurred annoyed memories at that paltry class she suffered through, but Io kept her wits about her.

A mass whacked her leg and she jolted back in surprise. Sucking in a yell, Io clutched her leg and looked back to see a thick satellite phone had been tossed across the room and banged into the back of her heel; shooting a spike of pain up her leg and making her whole foot tingle. Adding to the mess of a scene, the phone bleeped and started loudly ringing.

The rummaging of the G-Force imposter stopped. Io didn’t move, she didn’t turn around, she could only keep her mouth covered after realizing she’d turned around and broke eye contact for a prolonged period. Her illusion was down and if she moved suddenly, the broiling pain would cause her to cry out or gasp for breath, giving her away. The beeping phone was already doing an excellent job of that.

The bookcase had a few items on it. One of which was a glass nameplate with a metal piece with the words, “Dr. Yuji Shinoda, PhD. Kyoto Biotechnics”. It was from her father’s old desk back at the institute, a gift from their friends there like Hopkins and Gojo. And in the reflection of it, she could perceive a humanoid shape that was decidedly not human turn around from the noise.

The impersonator, wearing the garb of the G-Force trooper that had been assimilated, stepped away from the terminals and equipment it had been scouring through. Terran technology was primitive, needing only a few assimilated with their memories to pry apart and sort into the collective for a good grasp of its operations and classification. It was such a perfect system, that as soon as one learned a skill and it was added into the unity of the Millennian, all could repeat and perfectly recall it. No imperfections of teaching, focus, or wavering of recollection coloring memory. Just a perfect preservation and dissemination. In such a way, from the trooper that another drone absorbed yesterday and their hobby of computer building to the balzardan's finely tuned predatory experience and instinct from a planet scoured a million centuries ago, the assimilated and their lives were forever immortal. 

It knew what a mass storage harddrive was, down to the likely brand someone of economic means available to Dr. Shinoda would likely use, and their absence from the computer tower logically meant by deduction they were kept away from it. Sensible conclusion given the remote access attempts had been barred despite easy access to internet tethered systems. But the remote access to Ichinose's laptop had confirmed priority data was likely here about a very important subject.

It was just about to start dissecting some of the equipment, looking for what could be any hollowed out container for what had to house those important drives, when it had heard a sharp gasp of breath and the previously discarded satellite phone starting to go off. The phone bleeped and rang, the drone trying to spot it but finding nothing.

It did find something else, leaning down and touching at a small smear of red blood on the ground. Perfect memory and recollection meant it knew that blood hadn't been there when they entered. The contaminated smear, still containing just a few fresh cells, proved that it wasn't their own. 

Io saw the reflection of the drone wriggle and shudder, almost like it was excited. Her eyes were surrounded with swollen, aching black veins; sore from overuse of her abilities like a tired muscle. She couldn't break her awareness, not even to just turn around. She was stuck, looking at the reflection of the monster creeping up behind her. All while desperately hoping the illusion was still working even without direct eye contact, a tricky process even in a calm mind. Much less the terror she was in now.

The satellite phone bleeped again and again, deafeningly loud in Io’s frantic state of mind pushing all of her senses to be acute. A cold shock went up her nerves in realization.

The phone hadn’t struck her until just a bit ago, likely doing so because the intruder couldn’t see through the illusion and didn’t know she was there. Which meant the projection of the floor and bookshelf had been solidified in her mind’s eye without the phone in place. For all intents and purposes, it was being masked by the same ‘cloak’ she was, only it wouldn’t shut up and the intruder knew it should be there. The phone was right next to her foot behind her, but she just couldn’t adjust the illusion to copy what it looked like without seeing it. And that would require her turning around to copy what she saw, she couldn’t just make up an image whole cloth; her powers weren’t any good and she wasn’t that skilled!

The reflection shifted and grew in size. Io stifled a whimper, the phone still blaring.

The thing was right behind her, staring down and she was unable to tell from the distorted reflection if it was looking at her or for something. In the blurry, distorted visage she could see; she saw things she never wanted to comprehend. The limbs were set unnaturally in placement and number, there seemed to be a tall set of stalks sticking out of the shoulders tipped in a bulbous end unable to be readily identifiable; and the posture was uncanny in how it had bent forward so much. She felt a reverberation of a subtle weight on the floor travel across her skin in contact with said floor, like a footstep. Only she could tell the being was standing up on two legs that were still, only managing to notice an arm draping down to an unnaturally skinny span to the side. The tap of the distended hand touched the floor again and got closer.

-It knows something’s not right…-

Io felt a scared tear salt the edges of her eye. She felt so vulnerable, back to a threat, unmoving, her only defense wearing away as the investigative prodding got closer. Her blood was on the ground, the phone kept going off, and she was stuck between it and the bookshelf, with the only way out blocked. The windows were covered up so nobody would see anything, the hound would no doubt exit the bedroom soon enough, she was all alone.

The faces flashed before her eyes, ones she’d commit to memory even if there was no hope of them coming to the rescue. She cried, doom about to grab her bleeding arm. She was straining with the illusion with her need to blink growing agonizing with how simultaneously dry and watery they were getting. The corner of her vision, through the veal of blurry edges, perceived an inhuman hand with elongated, spiny digits and branching fingers splitting at their ends. Her own blood coated the tips.

-Missus Gojo, Auntie Elsie, grandma… Ichinose.. Yuki… please help me..-

Nobody knocked on the door. Nobody was with her. She’d pushed too many away, she’d lost too many to get help when she needed it. Cold points pressed into the skin of her wrist.

-Junior… Dad… I’m sorry I messed up…-

Deep seated pains ripped to the surface as she tried to make some peace with what was to come; as a point prodded before stabbing into her finger slowly. Maybe with her gone, her dad could move on. Find a new wife, get a new daughter. Not one who’d kill her own mother and drive him into misery no matter what he did. It was the type of thoughts no little girl ever should have to think, and yet she was accepting them.

She started closing her eyes.

-This is what I deserve…-

“Io!?”

The slightly distorted voice chirped through the satellite phone. She didn’t look at the phone, eyes stopping their closing.

“Io!? Are you there? You know I shouldn’t be running this phone much with the charges we get, but I’ll just take the imbecile rate!” Yuki Ichinose’s voice quipped through the phone still at the terrified hybrid’s feet.

“... Io? Listen, if you’re upset that’s okay. I’m just outside here to check on you again, and nag you I suppose. But I kinda need to know… if it’s working, the nagging I mean; obviously. Some crazy things have been going on… Wow I’m gonna hope I didn’t try to call when you’re in the shower just-... can you shout out something?”

There was a small pant in her voice, Yuki trying to grasp for words as to what to say; thinking this was young Miss Shinoda having an episode with her father away.

“Want me to get you some more shrimp and rice? Save you cooking? I know my GPN contract said I wouldn’t pay for food, but we can keep my second breach a secret from your father.”

There was an unnatural breath near her, prickling her skin before being inhaled away through airways that sounded more like wind sucked into thin metal pipes.

Io Shinoda was crying, a tear falling to the floor.

A smile started to crawl up her shaking face at every word by that blabbering imbecile.

She looked upon her father’s name. This plate was a gift from Kyoto, the last place they were both truly happy. It was gone, but that didn’t mean they’d never had it. She had issues unresolved, the pains in her chest from years back weren’t gone. But, she’d be damned if she just gave up now. Not when she had one last card to play, now that her mind was briefly cleared.

Letting out the breath kept stuck in her lungs all this time in a fantastic shout, Io Shinoda pulled down the bookshelf and threw herself into it. She grabbed onto the harddrive case as she went, riding the heavy wooden case right into the sliding glass window that overlooked the fisheries. The window, covered up by the curtains, was no match for the combined weight suddenly smashing into it. It shattered on impact, the old wood of the bookshelves snapping and groaning from splintering. Through the brief vertigo, Io felt her balance go end over end, and she started to fall over the edge.

Then something wrapped around her leg as she began to fall, one hand still on the hollowed out algebra textbook containing the harddrives. In the millisecond by millisecond perception the frantic state of mind like hers had, she glimpsed the abomination trying to brace itself against the window to pull her back and avoid being pulled out. It was human, and decidedly not. Multiple eyes on tall stalks blinking and changing their iris and pupil type each time, the strand of an arm erupting from the side of the chest snatched around her leg with what resembled a squid tentacle. Burning pain stabbed in at the spike of hooks and rimmed suckers around her calf.

But Io had good reason to volunteer this book for hollowing out for storage. She’d read the physics section front and back for applied algebra. Leverage was as much a matter of grounding as it was force. And there was a reason tentacles sucked on land without any leverage and terrestrial animals didn’t use them.

In her fall, she grabbed onto the bookshelf and braced for pain. The yank on her foot was intense, and endorphins blunted the searing pain of ripping skin; but that was paltry compared to what she’d been through earlier. The force of gravity and the fall between the heavy shelf and the girl was too much for the Millennian drone’s grounding, and it too was yanked out of the window.

Io heard a scream from beyond as she hit her head on the gravel, vision rapidly spiraling and blacking out. The abomination of nature smashed into the ground a few yards away, the snapped tendril that had been its hand flopping about. There was a terrific roar and Io smiled.

For a split second, she thought it was somehow Junior calling out, shrilly as he always did at the institute. But her friend was grown now, and he’d no doubt make a much bigger entrance.

An enraged Miss Ichinose driving her dented car and flooring on the gas would do though. Io smiled before she blacked out.

The Millennian drone glimpsed lights wash over it before over one ton of a blue, banged up, 1990 Toyota Camry rammed into it going as fast as it could within the distance allotted!


Yuki Ichinose didn’t think, she didn’t question. She just saw the same horrid thing Yuri had described trying to grab the girl and make her bleed. And she just. Saw. Red.

Her Toyota shot forward, well-aimed by skillful, instinctive driving to avoid Io; but slammed full throttle into the staggering abomination. The Millennian drone writhed and thrashed when her front bumper slammed into it, and it did so even more when the car continued forward and smashed it into the sidewall of the office building. Engines roared and wheels spat gravel like projectiles in a fight for traction and momentum, Yuki continually flooring the accelerator. The abomination was still moving, even with a gooey splatter of fluids that didn’t look like blood splashing across the wall on impact. The car fishtailed and shrieked.

Yuri Tachibana was screaming and leaning back in her seat, horrified at the writhing entity pounding and thrashing on the front bumper.

Yuki Ichinose was only gritting her teeth and clutching the wheel, stomping on the accelerator with everything she had.

Yuki’s hand shot to the shifter and she let go of the pedals in brief instances. Her car stopped, reversing quickly and pulled away. The monstrosity looked like roadkill, broken bone and flayed flesh jutting out at every angle below it's chest and yet it was still moving. It fell over from its snapped legs and pulverized hip, but was already starting to morph and repair the damage. The drone began to stagger about as if to rise despite its legs looking like meat pie, bones morphing into other tissue and being reabsorbed while a new skeleton was crafted. Multiple eyes stared through the windshield at the two women, the set that looked upon Yuri recognizing her from collective memory.

Yuki threw the shifter back into drive and floored it, ramming the entity again and sending most of it that was visible underneath the hood beyond its thrashing limbs. Geysers of fluid shot out of it on the impact and spattered the windshield with a mixture of colors. The lack of noise being made was beyond unnerving. Even if it was roaring or shrieking, that at least meant it was reacting to getting hurt or hit. But it remained silent, like it wasn’t even bothered by having bits of itself everywhere from the walls to the windshield; whilst half of it looked crushed and folded in some grotesque parody of origami.

Ichinose laid into it for a solid ten seconds more, grinding it into the wall. She turned and roared at Yuri so loud she nearly shot the younger woman’s ear out.

“GET HER IN!” She shrieked, pointing at the unconscious Io.

“WH-WHAT ARE-”

“It keeps getting back up!” Yuki yelled out as she stomped on the accelerator again and rocked the steering wheel, spurring the car to sway back and forth while tires streaking and smoke started to come up from the sides of the sedan.

She glared but kept herself rigid to avoid getting shaken up by the fishtailing, focusing on repeatedly grinding the abomination against the wall. Bones repeatedly snapped and reformed, only for another rock back and forth to snap them again, forcing the being to keep focusing on healing instead of escape or counter attack, “I’m keeping it pinned! Get! Her! In!”

Tachibana’s eyes widened as she glimpsed it again across the hood of the car. A thrashing mass that had once been a human arm smacked the hood hard enough to dent it. Human fingers curled against the flat expanse of the hood, bursting at their joints but rapidly reconfiguring with claws burst out of the fingers and scratching the paint. The back of the palm rapidly spasmed and then split open like a flower blooming, the skin pulling back in two sheets to reveal an eyeball that spun about in its socket before locking upon her. Yuki threw the steering wheel sideways and smashed the edge of her car’s front into the entity, shattering the left headlight and sending a burst of sparks flying out across the hood.

“On the double, Boss Lady!” Yuri yelped with a salute, before scrambling over the center console to get to the passenger seats in the back. Moving aside some bags and camera equipment, she all but kicked the door open and piled out.

Spilling out onto the gravel, having to catch herself with her hands in doing so, Yuri Tachibana had to cover her mouth to avoid inhaling rubber smoke or the kicked-up dust from the shrieking tires. Rushing through the haze, she quickly spotted the unconscious little girl; passingly surprised to see a Mysterian Hybrid here of all places given how many got scouted by G-Force and CCI. By now, the ruckus had gotten a few onlookers’ attention, some dock workers and fishermen having heard the commotion and starting to approach. A few looked just confused and concerned given the racket; and a few others looked like they’d wised up to it being some sort of attack and were running over with chains or boat hooks in hand ready to help.

But good as the sentiment was, if having several hundred kilos of car smash into it repeatedly wasn’t killing this thing; Tachibana didn’t think an old timer with steel links would do much good.

Yuri had to frantically wave at the attempted Good Samaritans and cry out, “No! No! Get back! It’s some kind of monster! Run! Get G-Force!”

Some of the greasy, stained fishery workers paused at the urgency evident in her tone and backed up; but most didn’t start to take their retreat until she was able to pick up Io. Being extra careful to support her neck, Yuri got her into Ichinose’s car. She briefly looked back to what the girl had been holding onto when she took that spill out of the window. The algebra textbook was partially spilled open, the curved-back pages exposing something shiny between them. Yuri scooped up the book and hard drives therein, and got it inside next to young miss Shinoda.

-If she had that as a priority when under attack, it has to be important to her to keep or to keep away from this thing!-

Seeing Yuri buckle the unconscious Io in through the rearview mirror, and trying hard not to think about the blood coming down the young hybrid’s face, Yuki Ichinose heaved through her teeth whilst waiting for a signal. She got it when Tachibana, still stuck in the backseat, flashed a thumbs up and slammed the passenger door shut.

“Hang ooon!” Yuki yelled out, a thrashing limb coming across the hood and bashing against the windshield.

The glass fractured in a spider-web pattern, making it harder to see what was directly in front of them. Through the distorted reflection, the refracted image of multiple blank eyes, none of them human, looked back at her.

The Toyota Camry pulled back, its front bumper all but gone and half the hood dented and scratched with one headlight busted as it hung out and flopped around. Yuki kept the car in reverse, skillfully turning around without looking and navigating her reposition from memory of the fishery’s layout.

All the damage she’d done looked gruesome. Spatters of body fluids and chips of bone were splattered across the side wall and Io’s attacker arguably would have looked less chewed up had it been put through a meat grinder. And yet, it was still moving. The fluids weren’t retracting, they couldn’t move without any muscle tissue or skeleton to give them motion, but it was drawing a limb across the ichors and they were being siphoned back into it. The body swelled back up and grew in size. It was like some disgusting parody of a vacuum cleaner, the arms sweeping the surfaces clean of fluids and leaving behind not much but a few stains of remnants as the biomass was reabsorbed.

Even through the cracked windshield and running engine, she could hear the sickening pops and cracks of rearranging bones. The car whirled around and started out of the fishery courtyard with haste. In the rattling reflection in the rearview mirror, the drone stood back up and started forward. It dropped on all fours and breached across the ground, looking vaguely lupine in general shape with elongated arms to match the length of the leg; but being covered in a patchwork of human skin, fur, scales, and the tatters of the G-Force uniform.

“Things just don’t know when to die!” Yuki growled while stomping on the gas.

She had half the mind to throw it in reverse to see if she could bowl the thing over and slam into it, but with how Io was out cold in the back and uncertain of what this thing could do; she wasn’t wanting to chance it climbing aboard. She resigned to just speed away as fast as she could, get some distance and try to summon help.

The drone stopped its chase of the car on foot, standing and calculating the situation. Coordination upon dividing into a flock of birds would be difficult in the city’s drafts of wind, let alone recombination atop the roof of a moving vehicle. One terrestrial and another aerial form would have sufficient speed and stamina to catch up to the car, but taking those would burn energy too rapidly. The data needed recovery, and the assimilation of Io Shinoda was a priority. That also demanded some degree of stealth, lest a bystander get in the way and complicate things.

Cold logic dictated a different approach. Moments later and a rubbery, cephalopod tendril protuberance was rammed into a key lock. Soft flesh molded and conformed to the pins meant for the key, before the tissue was rapidly remodeled into reinforced bone and enamel to keep the rigidity of metal. The key turned and an engine roared to life.


=========

Inside Io Shinoda’s small bedroom, a locked wooden box groaned along its latches as it was opened up. The craftsmanship was ornate, with swirl and jagged patterns rare in Japanese mainland antiques. Few metal pins started to stretch and jump off of small pegs, the center of the music box beginning to become animate. The musical lullaby box, vintage craft from Odo island by Io’s grandmother, began to slowly play the melody of “A Beautiful Dreamer”. Within the top of the box, a small picture was folded against the aged wood.

A small hand reached out and pulled free the aged paper, unfolding the parchment to look upon the photograph. It showed four Terrans, three human and one mysterian. The humans were young men, and despite the difference in age and clean shaven face at the time, one was a dead ringer for a young Dr. Yuji Shinoda. Memory of what another drone had pilfered from the G-Force archive identified the other two as current Crisis Control Intelligence head, Dr. Mitsuo Katagiri; with the last being a Kyoto Biotechnics engineer Dr. Shiro Miyasaka; deceased 1984. The woman, the mysterian, was also identified both from her white hair and grayscale coloration being identical to Io Shinoda as well as the archive. Dr. Asuka Shinoda, deceased 1986. They were all smiling, as though the one behind the camera had just engendered their laughter. Given the traditional attire for the Shinodas, and yet the suit and tie paraphernalia for the other two, it was a marriage ceremony. Other shadows were visible on the edges, implying the presence of others. The background was evidently on an island, the blossoms and altar visible behind the newlyweds.

The photograph was turned over, revealing something else hidden within the box. Kept adhered to the back of the wedding photo was a single, long strand of white hair. The strand, follicle first, was inserted against the rim of a tooth and into the gum. It sank underneath the tissue, absorbed with the useless strand of dead keratin snipped off and discarded. The genetic material was badly degraded, but could be repaired to working order. Genetic recombination was successful.

There wasn’t enough body mass to recreate an acceptable guise, just yet. Gray eyes encircled by black veins looked outside the window at the fishery and city beyond. 

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Comments ( 8 )

The Stealth Section with Io in the room was legitimately tense. You did great with the suspense, and convey Io's frantic headspace. Though the shitposting part of my brain imagined Doug from Up being the dog sniffing around. And now I got the idea of Croc voicing both of the Drones in this part, but still acting like Croc.

When Yuki crashes the car
"Hey! That wasn't really nice. You bursted my spleegdergooberangerdoo."

The glimpses we get of the Millennians' POV display their Blue & Orange Morality in full. Gives off a rather Gravemind vibe without its grandstanding vocabulary.

And Yuki's development is coming in nicely.

Will also say, as I forgot to comment on this last time. The reveal of Miyasaka being dead since 1984 does make a convincing change to Katagiri's mindset in the Amalgam'verse compared to his Canon self. In Canon, he still had Miyasaka on hand so he felt he could afford to be more colder towards Yuji. Whereas here, they're the only two of their College Gang left, so Katagiri feels more isolated. Therefore, he tries harder to reconnect with Yuji. Which definitely adds an interesting new angle to their dynamic.

Ri2

The strand, follicle first, was inserted against the rim of a tooth and into the gum. It sank underneath the tissue, absorbed with the useless strand of dead keratin snipped off and discarded. The genetic material was badly degraded, but could be repaired to working order. Genetic recombination was successful.

Oh that BASTARD

Hoooooo. What a moment. I was on EDGE of my Bed while reading the bits of Io trying to get away. It’s like A Quiet Place all over again(a movie I need to watch:twilightsheepish:) Also, Thank You Yuki to the rescue! And with Mother Hen Angy instincts. Woof. I do think you got mixed up Yuri in one scene.

Seeing Yuri buckle the unconscious Io in through the rearview mirror, and trying hard not to think about the blood coming down the young hybrid’s face, Yuki heaved through her teeth whilst waiting for a signal. She got it when Yuki, still stuck in the backseat, flashed a thumbs up and slammed the passenger door shut.

I think that was Yuri supposed to be the one doing in the back giving the thumbs up. Just a lil nitpick.
And that ending, oooooh boy, I’m scared for what’s to come.

5623166
Ohohoho! One of my first attempts at a suspense scene and it seems to be paying off. Funny thing? Well I know the plot of a quiet place quite well and it heard nothing but good things about it I've never gotten around to watching it. Good to know I unwittingly channeled some similar talent!

"Hell have no fury like a woman scorned" is a statement made by someone who's never seen what an angry woman looks like going Mama Bear/Mother Hen mode. I was waiting for this moment for Yuki for a while and I still grin having her run that damn thing over.

Curse you Japanese and your similar sounding names when you transcribe them! I'm definitely going to take notes to pretty much almost always refer to people by their surname when those two and Yuji share screen time.

The stealth section gave me alien isolation vibes. I never expected that lots escape plan would involve a book case.

I love that opening scene because it highlights how utterly insane both that situation and the Amalgem'Verse itself is that this isn't the most unbelievable thing someone could hear.

I also like Yuki and Tachibana's relationship. They have an interesting dynamic, and you can tell exactly how well they know one another.

I do also like the detail of how much Yuki has grown to like the GPN crew.

The background details we learn are also nice.

I do like Yuki's observant enough to tell something is off. It's good when our characters are smart and competent.

The drone remains terrifying...especially the body horror with the rat nostrils it spawns on its muzzle. But Io isn't stupid or helpess, and instantly gets to work figuring out ways she could possibly escape. Trying to figure out whatever she can and being inventive. It's fun to watch how she assembles together her way.

This scene is terrifying, but Io's actual distraction is both cringe inducing, but extremely intelligent. It's fun to watch how it plays out. Both suspenseful and a competent her, nat 20 scene.

I do like that the while Millennian is a dangerous threat, Io's dad was properly paranoid this time, and Io fortunately remembered that.

The phone being thrown and her being in danger really helps add to the fear of the situation at hand.

I also do like the rundown of how Millennian sees those it absorbed. How its memory worked. How they function. It highlights how utterly alien they really are.

I also like Io's limitations on her powers, adds to the tension, but also adds to the danger she's in, while also explaining how those powers work and having limitations.

Meanwhile, the Millennian Drone is still extremely terrifying, feeling like something out of a horror film.

We know Io isn't going to die, given we've seen her later in the timeline before, but this is the kind of scene that makes you genuinely question it.

Her thoughts are also terrifying and sad.

While it only serves to distract the drone at best, it does give Io a bit of motivation and a moment to realize a way to escape. That being tackling through a window.

I also do like that she weaponizes freaking physics to escape this situation and throw the Drone out the window with her...right into Yuki going full mama bear and weaponizing a car.

I love the description that she saw red and how angry she is to see Io harmed. Still, we know that this isn't enough to kill it, but it was enough to hurt it.

I like that Yuji knows getting a small army of help really won't help at this point, giving what they're facing, and just does the smart thing: tell them to back off and call in the big guns.

But we see more of the difficulty defeating the Drones, but also an implication of a potential weakness: it has to actively absorb part of its body if it doesn't have any muscle or bone to pull it back to itself. It also makes a big deal of conserving energy, something that was also implied in the Belvera fight. I like that as dangerous as they are, they do have weaknesses.

...But unfortunately, the hound drone managed to find enough of Io's dna in a music box to assimulate it. And that's definitely a cliffhanger. Also, good art work.

Over all, good chapter with a lot of build up and scares, but also competence from our heroes. Well done.

I find it fitting/funny I was listening to this when Io was about to give up but got the courage to think herself out of this problem. It was a really tense scene. Horrific but the slamming it into the wall bit was fantastic. Really sells how tough these creatures are. Also it absorbing the hair, which given how it was a treasured memento, pisses me off and I can't wait to see Godzilla blast these things apart.

A really good chapter for Io. A quick thinking, clever girl.

5637625
.... Okay dude that music slaps and I'mma see if I can use it later.

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