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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
29th
2021

Godzilla 2000: New Era, PART 10 · 11:40pm Dec 29th, 2021

PART 9
Proofed by Lance-Omikron
Hina and illustrations by FallenAngel5414
Additional illustrations by LordShrekzilla and Zeroviks

“Yuji?! Yuji?! Damnit Shinoda, pick up!” Yuki Ichinose huffed as she sped down the road with her satellite phone still to her ear, glancing to the woman who was barely visible in the backseat, “Any luck getting a hold of your father?”

Yuri had her cell phone out and was holding it in one hand while trying to make sure the still unconscious Io was kept steady with the other, her jacket removed and the sleeve wrapped around the girl’s head to staunch any bleeding, “No dice. He’s a G-Force admiral and told me they’d be going radio silent to all but emergency lines due to some operation with Godzilla.”

“Emergency line?” Yuki huffed whilst trying to eye any place they could pull into across the passing highways and roads, “What would all this count as if not that?”

A hospital was an obvious choice to check in on Io’s welfare but considering the assailant she didn’t want to risk going somewhere undefended. The authorities had to be made aware ASAP and she wasn’t risking letting her guard down. Eyes darted over road signs and signals.

-Maybe a JSDF base or G-Force coastal station nearby?..-

The car rolled down downtown Tokyo and she felt a twinge of apprehension upon seeing an upcoming traffic jam. Movement was the best thing assuring her of safety right now and getting bogged down was very far from ideal. They were at a literal crossroad. Head for the heart of the city where there were more people and a chance to find help, but also a much higher chance of getting bogged down and tracked? Or, stick to the fringes of Tokyo across the roundabouts and highways and keep moving, at the cost of making help possibly harder to flag down.

A glance at the cuts and dents that flailing, unnatural fingers made on the hood of her car and the cracked glass that once bore a glare helped her make the choice. Ichinose turned left onto the roundabouts, keeping the car moving at a brisk, though not speedy pace. Her eyes still scanned about not just for dangers but avenues to summon assistance.

“Tell me if something weird starts following us,” she noted to Tachibana, eyes on the road and other cars.

The redhead warily looked over the top of the passenger seats and out the back window, “What? You think this thing’s got a license or can keep up with a car?”

“Just tell me if you see something suspicious. You saw how that thing morphed, just like you said. It could look like anything for all we know.”

“... Like some big monster guy running forty kilometers per hour right behind us?”

Yuki’s eyes widened and glanced to the side as she gripped the wheel tighter, “... Is there?”

Yuri was just about to snark it as her poor attempt at a spark of levity in the current circumstance, when her eyes trained upon something on the edge of the overpass they were going under. The car was shadowed by the concrete briefly as the sky became the underside of the bridge, but exiting out the otherside perked at her focus yet again. It was hard to look, the sun was gleaming heavily from the surface. But movement was evident. A lot of it, going in one direction.

“No… Worse!”

Yuri yelped and ducked, pulling the unresponsive Io down with her. A crash sounded out before a piece of street sign was sent flying in their direction, lodging in the back window and sending a spider-web of fractures across it. There was a screech of metal and rubber and Yuki could only glimpse the source from her rattling side mirror.

An enormous train of a truck from the fishery completed a jump off from the overpass and landed fully onto the road behind them, its bumper snapping off and engine roaring all the while. It grew and grew in size and it was then she remembered the all too unwelcomed notation on side mirrors as it bore down on the car.

Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear...

Yuki ignored the brake pedal and pulled the parking brake, spurring the wheels to skid and lock up. The Toyota swerved and started to fishtail, the truck bearing down faster and faster. A mere more or less away for the mauled front end to maul her bumper and-

She snapped the wheel to the side, causing her car to rapidly rotate and spin-out. In the endorphin-fueled slowed-down perception of time, she glimpsed the truck fly past the car in a missed charge. Her eye turned and caught the gaze of the driver, a monster in human skin, perch its eyes upon her, rotating its head to center its vision.

She almost smirked, her car having dodged getting run down.

-Nice try, asshole...-

Pulling off the brake at just the right moment, she stomped on the gas and shifted gears to blast down the road the way she’d come. The truck’s tires and brakes screamed as it tried to turn about and follow suit, but its additional mass and momentum made doing so all but impossible with the same fluidity. A loud uproar of twisting metal signaled that it had slammed into the metal divide bordering the median some distance behind the fleeing Toyota Camry.

The problem now was that with that median dividing the roadway, Yuki was forced to stay on the side she’d been going down, only now she had to drive going against the flow. The road was only a 50 kilometer per hour zone, a casual cruise initially. Brisk, not too slow, but quick enough to keep on the move. But now that window for response time had been more than cut in half with traffic coming at her with that exact speed while she was accelerating in their direction.

Already she had to swerve to the right to dodge what had been a rather slow moving red car she’d passed just moments earlier, now a crimson blur that launched past the window blaring its horn.

Yuki glanced up at the rearview mirror and cringed, knuckles whitening with her tightened grip on the steering wheel.

“Buckled in?”

Tachibana absentmindedly checked and only blurted out, “Uh-Uhuh!”

“Good! Hang on to Io!” She roared and stomped on the gas, barreling the car straight at an oncoming semi-truck which was roaring back at her, the horrified driver spinning their controls to try and avoid a head-to-head collision with her.

Yuri complied, but screamed all the same.

The semi-truck swerved to the right and then started to shift left to correct itself. Reading their movements in the fractions of a moment she had to work off of, Ichinose followed through. The subconscious instinct and perception between both her own movement and predicting that of the other driver paid off. She yanked the steering to the side and double-tapped the brakes, spinning her car aside to just barely avoid crashing into the truck or its trailer.

A second or two after, Yuri dared to look past the back seat at the rear window; just in time to see the trailer the small semi-truck explode into fragments and shrapnel. The fishery truck, sturdy and massive, rammed right through it. The cab of the truck was safe thankfully, but the light load it was hauling barely slowed the fishery truck down, which roared down the road after them.

“Uh, YUKIII?!” Yuri whined whilst keeping eyes transfixed on the truck bearing down on them.

“Yeah, I noticed!

“You might wanna go faster theeen!”

I’m tryyiiing!” Ichinose groaned, swerving to avoid smashing into an oncoming car.

Her Camry was significantly lighter than the truck, which looked to be a modified, imported Peterbilt hauler. It was absolutely monstrous by the typical Japanese trucking standards. In theory she should have been faster, but this Camry had aged and the engine was rattling when she tried to floor it; possibly damaged from using it as a battering ram multiple times earlier. She hadn’t had time to stop and check the internals post-haste from the fishery, and with how much that thing was thrashing around it could have jammed parts of itself and damaged the car under the hood. The RPM just wouldn’t go past a certain threshold, even if she couldn’t usually drive top speed at the risk of slamming into oncoming vehicle-shaped obstacles.

“Incoming!”

Ichinose noticed the entirety of her back window black out and she inwardly swore. Did the thing have to grab the biggest truck in Japan for this? Why couldn’t it have just picked an easy-to-wreck motorcycle!?

Yuki braced and cringed when the car lurched forward and metal scraped. The back window fractured and blew out, with the entire trunk hood flying off somewhere in the mess. The truck let off and Yuki’s eyes multi-tasked between looking at it in her side mirror and looking ahead at oncoming traffic. The barely human shape behind the wheel let off on the gas to get some space before accelerating forwards. She stomped on her accelerator and swung left, letting the truck barrel past her until she was running parallel with it. Eyes tried not to focus on the being behind the wheel, even as she felt it seem to glare right through her. She instead studied the road, the truck’s layout from the longnose on the front to the empty trailer it was hauling in the back, and the side mirrors flaring out both sides.

Another horn cried out and she looked ahead, cringing at the unwelcomed sight of an oncoming jeep. With the blown-out back window, the road noise was almost deafening beyond the honking horns of desperate people just trying to get out of the way. The Camry rattled and screeched, the truck sideswiping it and beginning to push the smaller vehicle into the next lane. They were on a three-lane road, Yuki in the center with the truck on one side and the jeep swerving into the other side to avoid them. But with the truck pushing them out of the center, there would literally be nowhere to go to avoid a head-on-collision!

Yuki Ichinose’s mind raced faster than her car could.

Couldn’t outrun this thing with the damage to her car.

Couldn’t outpush it with how they were and the size difference.

The solution was as nerve-wracking as it was unwanted. Stay close and outmaneuver it.

The jeep barreled closer despite obvious attempts to dodge them, and Yuki stomped her brakes briefly. The car jerked back and part of it hooked on the trailer’s flank. The truck swerved further and tried to shove her into the border lane to collide with the jeep, but the car had gotten lodged too far back, broken and twisted plating snagging on the trailer’s sides like anchors. The jeep harmlessly rolled past, barely. Yuki swore she could see the pores on the terrified driver’s face as they went.

Now there was the problem of being stuck on the thing trying to kill them.

The truck weaved and rocked side to side, trying to dislodge the car, with Yuki needing to match the movements precisely to flow with it. Eyes had to be trained on the truck’s front-most wheels for any signal of which way it was diverting. Left, right, straight, right, left; matched to keep pace with it. Finally it seemed like it had enough of them as they closed in on a bridge with pylons bordering the roadside, and swerved sharply to the right before straightening out in an arc.

“Hang oooon!” Yuki yelled as she kept on course to smash directly into the first pylon.

Yuri Tachibana was praying to anything that might hear her when her mentor snapped the steering wheel in a jerk towards the side of the road. She thumped the gas just enough to lurch forward and unsnag herself from the side of the trailer, then pulsed the brakes even harder. The car shrieked and groaned, losing most of the panels on the passenger side when it ripped away, but succeeding in dislodging from the trailer and getting behind the truck. She then did something risky and stomped down on the gas. The Millennian drone quickly course corrected, but abruptly nudged forward slightly. It glared at the side mirrors sticking out from the flanges of the cab doors, its only means of looking backwards with how the trailer got in the way.

Yuki Ichinose grit her teeth and hit the accelerator again, ramming into the very corner of the trailer and pushing it forward ever so slightly. It was enough to put pressure on the truck, jostling it as it had them, but to a much lesser degree. It wasn’t sufficient to slam the semi into the pylons, but it was enough to cause said concrete pillars holding up the bridge to clip the side of its cab. The side mirror went flying off in a metallic snap, nearly taking the door with it.

The Millennian drone swerved and tried to get a look at its quarry, needing to dodge an oncoming truck that could have caused some damage had they collided. It swung round to the far lane and stuck an arm out, it was covered in a gout of cancerous tumors that couldn’t be fully ignored. The damage from getting rammed repeatedly and needing to rapidly oscillate through different genomes required energy to mend, which had eaten a good chunk of its lifespan. It snapped the arm, remodeling the tissue to eject off the tumors that blocked progress, the cancer cells sloughing off the limb. A hand morphed and grew an eye socket and functioning orbit, a falcon’s eye prioritized due to the rush of air against the tissue. A clear membrane swiped over the orbit to shield it and it scanned. The Toyota Camry the meddler had been driving was gone.

It didn’t rage. It had a solution to this problem as any adaptable form did. But it had to be quick. The countdown was nigh, it had been active too long and been exposed to too much sunlight. The mission needed results, and it needed them fast.

Having seen the mirror ping off the road as it went flying past her car, Yuki had smirked and looked towards the right at a turn-off from the roadway just past the next bridge that led into downtown proper, making a dive for it now that she was in a blindspot. By the time the drone was able to physically look behind the truck, she’d already got on the detour and disappeared down a road they couldn’t turn onto.

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

Commander Takaki Aso felt multiple decades older than his already aged body. G-Force headquarters was another home to him, with his office not nearly as sterile as many would have guessed. Simple gardening usually helped him take the edge off, so he didn’t waste much time upon entry to retrieve a small watering dish and fill it. Slowly, the tremors that had been shooting up and down his arms stilled upon watering the small ferns and orchids he kept near the windows to his office. It felt like going back to his roots, back to the path his parents had initially planned for him given they were backwood horticulturalists living in the rurals of Hokkaido. They had raised him for that life, but he’d run away from home as a youth to hitchhike, actual hike, and boat-hop his way to Tokyo so he could lie about his age and join the Self Defense Force not a day after he’d heard of it finally forming. His father had told him that trying to prove his enlistment was better than the draft he’d been forced into during the Pacific War made no sense.

Takaki didn’t see his parents again until after the incident in Tokyo, when the world really did no longer make any sense.

Watering plants was a much needed dose of normality, a fleeting respite. One that ended when Aso looked up and saw the UFO hovering over the edge of G-Force’s base. It had been a nightmare trying to keep the civilians away, but the perimeter was set. The unknown craft’s unnaturally smooth coating almost seemed to absorb sunlight rather than reflect it like it ought to, yet another thing that unnerved him.

He didn’t disagree when Dr. Shinoda voiced caution and arms to be brought up against the craft, even if Aso wasn’t firing a shot just yet. He had enough sense to know that if something could muster the force to sucker-punch a kaiju like Godzilla, having it around a populated area whilst it still refused any attempts at communication was dangerous. Shinoda had left shortly after, in a scared haste Aso recognized well and Dr. Katagiri confirmed it. There was something very wrong, and Takaki had a feeling he would be taking up his scientific advisor’s plea to hear him out when he had “proof”. For now, he’d mobilized the spare G-Force troopers he could, surrounded the UFO from multiple angles with everything from missiles to masers, kept the Super-X3 on standby at all times and put in an order to expedite repairs, and had every coder he could working on figuring out what caused the Super-X3’s Captain Kuroki and company to get a scramble order from him.

He had a suspicion, the answer to both Dr. Shinoda’s sudden caution and the strange happenings was the very craft he had his eyes on.

Takaki Aso’s gaze moved from the window and his own reflection to look upon another reflection hailing from the corner of the room.

“Are you sure I need not reprimand someone for lax security?” He huffed, not bothering to turn around due to the lack of threat.

A familiar old woman, clad in the garb of a Shinto miko, calmly sat in her seat.

“No need, Commander. An old woman has her tricks,” she eyed the office passively, noting it was a relatively small thing despite ample large rooms on the higher levels, “Quite a humble abode. I expected it to be larger the first time.”

“Opulence and arrogance I find often go hand-in-hand,” Aso noted calmly, putting his hands to the small of his back and turning around, “The men and women who served under me in the JSDF, and now in G-Force, need a reminder of how I’m one of them even as their commander.”

“That sounds like a choice motivated by something beyond a creed.”

“I’m not a religious man,” Aso corrected, but Hina was unphased.

“Beliefs are what we make of them. I don’t recall the officers in the army carrying themselves with such conscious choices to be humble when they came to Odo for recruits.”

“Ah yes…” Aso shrugged with a shake of his head, pacing behind his desk whilst trying not to look at the Millennian UFO beyond the window, “The Imperial military’s resurrection of the Feudal caste system. Well if you want to call it a creed, then I suppose me choosing to not be like those men is motive enough. Those men would send thousands of their own troops, and thousands more civilians ahead of themselves before they’d be brought to task for their deeds. Such can only be done when they’re separated from those they’d make subject to their will.”

“And you stay with your troops instead of sitting on a throne above them, so you’re forced to remember as many as possible.”

Commander Aso met her gaze plainly, a very brief flicker of a truly haunted look visible in the depths of the black in his pupils. He could see Tokyo turned into a fireball twice. His own superiors crushed by rubble from an angry titan, one that the war of General Tojo and others like him had awakened. And then thirty years later, he was forced to watch his subordinates crushed by the reincarnation of that very being in a new form.

The fact he briefly thought of Godzilla in mythic terms like ‘titan’ and ‘being’ was perhaps indication the old miko was rubbing off on him. The presence of the Godzillasaurus claw she’d gifted him from the island still being on his mantle was further proof the lines of myth and reality were blurring.

“Yes,” was the only word he had to say on the matter, before turning onto another, “Why are you here, Miss Hina?”

“To warn you. Tragedy has happened both times our paths intersected previously, Commander. We’ve met before, as you no doubt know.”

1954 and 1984. The two worst years of his life, with two of the absolute worst nights. Perhaps it was his recent nightmares of those nights offering clairvoyance or clarity, but he remembered now.

He was a rookie recruit to the Self Defense Force at the dawn of the Cold War. Running down an evacuating street with an unconscious boy on his back, glimpsing the young woman in white running the opposite direction of the crowds and towards Godzilla.

He was a young General in the thick of the Cold War. Standing on the corpse of the Sunshine 60 tower and Super-X, surrounded by his dead men and woman; and seeing the very same robes of a miko flowing in the wind staring off at the departing monster.

Both times, if only for a fleeting moment, two lives crossed paths and locked their gazes then. The fresh recruit trooper and shrine maiden. The seasoned General and island miko. Their eyes were upon the other now once again, and Aso felt cold.

“... So, it was you,” he whispered, almost dumbstruck.

Hina stood up and stepped forward, bowing her upper body and vieling her face with her grayed hair.

“The cost to others fifteen years ago was my fault. I witnessed the end of the first attack on your people with my own eyes,” Hina spoke quietly, still bowed and still remembering being that young woman once who snuck aboard that infamous ship the American reporter was on by pretending to be his nurse, “I saw Godzilla seem to meet its end… In the thirty years after, I married, had a child, and let the traditions lapse.”

Takaki furrowed his brow, but remained quiet and listened well.

“For three decades there were no ceremonies, no offerings, no appeasement. No Kami was invoked and drawn up from the waters because I, in my arrogance, thought the superstitions were just that. Just misunderstandings of a very real, but very mortal beast of flesh and blood that could die like any other. The second time our paths crossed at a distance-”

It was almost as if, for a split second, time really did wind back exactly half of three decades ago. Takaki standing on the roof of rubble of the Sunshine 60 and glimpsing the middle-aged miko a hundred meters or so away. The smoke and ash was thick and heavy in the air, the slow winds hot and metallic in scent. Her hair was blowing past her tearful face, as it turned to briefly cross gazes with his.

“-That was the first time I put my sacred garb back on in years. It was also the first time I’d ever seen Godzilla once more hence… The destruction of your city, the deaths of your people and so many more, I could have stopped had I seized my second chance; enacted the call to the sea. My wavering was my own arrogance, and Godzilla punished it when he took from my family that night.”

For the briefest of moments, Aso could admit he felt a surge of anger and spite. He could vividly remember the faces of every single trooper lost, from the tank corps to the Super-X crew. And while he could never hope to memorize the civilian loss of life, he’d never let the very uncomfortably high number leave his mind. And if this woman was to blame, his fury would be rivaled only by the hatred he bore to the monster that caused that calamity! He-... he caught himself in an instant later from the wrathful flash.

This woman, this stranger he barely knew, was standing before him claiming that waving around some tamagushi or rattling a rainstick would have somehow kept Godzilla from doing what it did horrifically best. It was absolute lunacy! And part of him very much wanted to say that.

Takaki steeled his breath and sighed, holding back his exasperation. His guest was very convinced of her own supposed folly, extremely so. But she also had her own loss, perhaps coloring her vision and recollection. Survivor’s guilt was a powerful thing, about as potent as the power of belief. They had survivor’s guilt twofold, and if one tells themself something enough times they will believe it.

He’d believed her for a brief instant, after all.

A chair was pushed out for the still bowing Hina, and a cup of fresh tea poured into a serving ceramic cup that Aso kept in his cupboard. She sat herself back down without issue and accepted the offering, still quiet for several very long minutes.

Commander Aso sat behind his desk opposite of her, heeding her words with the same respect to advice he’d allotted to his scientific and military advisors. He could owe her that much, given what they’d both been through.

“You mentioned a second chance… what was the first?”

Hina closed her eyes and rolled up her left sleeve. The question as to why was soon evident to anyone who’d lived in Japan in the last half century or so.

A crisscrossed board of keloid scars lined her arm just above the elbow, etched deep into skin devoid of hair or pore. Aso had seen some of those same marks on his father, who was drafted for arms work at Nagasaki when the Imperial Military got desperate. The lightning-quick wave of heat and radiation was moderated slightly by clothing if you were far enough away when the bomb went off, enough to leave differing patterns of scarring if you were lucky. His father had lived with those marks for ten years before he died, and they couldn’t even keep his ashes due to contamination concerns. Just from looking, it was clear that the old priestess’s scars had been there for a very long time. Several decades or so…

“You’re a hibakusha,” Aso said it free of questioning, knowing the exact term that meant “bomb-affected people” to describe people with radiation burns from the atomic explosions. His father’s markings were on his back.

“Except I was only a little girl when Hiroshima and Nagasaki happened. And I was nowhere near Japan when they did. These came a decade later. There was a reason my arm was wrapped up in 1954 when our paths crossed,” Hina continued as she fished into a pocket sewn on the inside of her robe, retrieving a small piece of paper.

If there was any doubt she had been the miko he’d glimpsed on the streets of Tokyo in that chaotic night almost half a century ago, it was quickly laid to rest when he looked upon the image. Weather beaten, faded, and lacking color as it was, she was still quite recognizable as she stood on the precipice of a stony walkway cut into the mountainside. It was what was in the background that also caught his focus. Beyond the walkway were the rolling seas off the cliffs, and on the edge of the frame was a large form in the waters.

Commander Takaki Aso felt forty five years younger, flung back into the streets that had become a sea of phosphorus flames. He closed his eyes and rubbed at them with a hand, briefly overcome by the raw fear and dread he glimpsed on the regular. Even with all the smoke, all the fires, and his mind not able to comprehend something that huge being alive; he still experienced it. The smell of death, that roar of hurricane, and the sight…

A building crumbled as the enormity smashed through it, surrounded by flames while a jet streamed overhead.

He dared to look upon the picture, at a being similar and yet distinct, wading off back to sea after a ceremony. An image of the 1954 Godzilla before its ascension into a living mountain.

“Not even the other islanders knew the full situation,” Hina whispered with a frown, “I was chosen as the medium to the kami of destruction when I was a little girl and sworn to secrecy. It was my job to keep it satiated. When it left suddenly, I followed.”

“Let me presume, right to Bikini Atoll,” Aso continued the train of logic as he looked at Hina’s radiation burn, “You were more fortunate than the Lucky Dragon fishing boat.”

“I was within eyesight of those fishermen when I followed the kami, and tried to call out to it.”

She could vividly recollect. The spray of the sea in those south pacific waters. The roar of her engine as she tried to steer and keep pace with something she’d only glimpsed at a distance.

“I knew nothing of the bomb test, or why it had left suddenly to venture at the time,” the old miko frowned.

She had been looking down at the time when it finally happened, checking a map. Her little boat had journeyed far beyond its normal means and she was keen to keep track of islands to stop at. That was when she felt the flash as much as she glimpsed it. The blinding flare, like another sun. The young miko fell backwards, shielding her face with her left arm. Most of her was shadowed by the rim of the boat, but the arm stuck out above it into the light. The brightness was overpowering, and all sound was soon blotted out from the rumbling that traveled through the ocean far faster than it did through the air. She mutely screamed, the pain in her arm overpowering for an instant before vanishing away due to her nerves being burned off; etching the pattern of her coat’s seams into her skin. A shadow appeared visibly through squinting eyes, one that towered over the edge of the boat despite being far beyond it.

Even through the rumbling of the bomb, she could hear the roar.

Back in the present as a tear fell from her eye, Hina pulled her sleeve back down to cover up the old scars, “Had it not absorbed the radiation, I would have perished.”

Aso furrowed his brow, “You make it sound like that… thing saved you...That-”

Aso bristled and sweat, not just in rage but in primal fear. His mind flashed with the glimpse of that fanged face staring down at him from the shroud of smoke and ashes that swirled around it.

"That thing," He used that word to describe something that should never have existed, he couldn't use a term for something more natural like 'beast' or 'creature', "Killed thousands. You were there, you saw all of that happen!"

Hina sighed, “I honestly will never know. What I saw then, what I saw after changed nothing and changes nothing now... With what I saw upclose after, I’d almost have wished to have taken the blast myself. Maybe I really am just a foolish old woman, just as I was a foolish girl then. One way or another, the sea dragon of Odo was baptized in the bomb’s power and took it for its own. The same fire it used on all of those poor people, because I didn’t keep it at Odo.”

Takaki sighed, slowly shaking his head as Hina started to cry. Unsure of how to approach this situation as he was, sympathy did soften his features.

“Miss, you have no way of knowing if that was somehow connected. You’re seeing mysticism in what could have just as easily been cases of the worst kind of luck… I didn’t see any divination when my first outing as a member of the Self Defense Force was against that creature…”

He stiffened, eyes cast down at his desk and through time, “Nor when it reappeared thirty years later… nor again fifteen years to that day.”

Hina only shook her head, “Commander, you and I both know that’s not entirely true. Especially when the nightmares of our time seem to plague the younger generations.”

The death stare on the corpses of the Super-X crew was still burned into his vision, as he closed every one of their eyes. Hina, likewise, vividly remembered the haunted screams uproaring into the night as she tried to push through the crowds.

“I wanted my second chance to end this. But when I started it, I had no say in it. Kami, gods, spirits, fate; some things like this are out of our hands. I had come to you hoping to avert what happened,” her words piqued his attention slightly considering they more than heavily implied she was aware of what happened at Amami island. He almost demanded to ask how she knew of a top-secret operation, but at this point with her he’d long gone past questioning some things.

Hina met Aso’s gaze before looking out into the cityscape, perhaps not even sure of where in particular she should be looking.

“But, it seems I wasn’t the one chosen as the miko for this kami, this time. That fate, and the judgment for mankind, had gone to another.... All I have, as hope now,” she placed the photograph on Aso's desk and frowned as a tear ran down the contour of her aged face, "Is the same sort of hope you can have. That what comes after each of us will be better..."

Takaki Aso sighed, closing his eyes and contemplating for quite a time. A drink was poured for his guest and her served her himself, silent in voice but mind racing. In the end, be it the legacy he inherited from the Imperial Military as the Self Defense Force, or now with the Self Defense Force morphing into G-Force; he couldn't help but agree.

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

“ABOUT TIME YOU PICKED UP!”

Dr. Shinoda nearly went deaf from how loud the satellite phone transmission was.

“Yuki?!” Yuji yelled into the phone, driving the GPN van down the roadway from Tokyo towards the outskirts, “Say that again, a what?!”

Half the goddamn seafood market, Yuji!” Yuki snapped back through the satellite phone, which was evidently sandwiched between her jaw and shoulder given how loudly she was breathing into it, “Some… thing came after Io and now it’s after us!”

Yuji’s heart jumped up into his throat and he had to swerve to avoid hitting another car, “Is she alright?!”

“She’s out cold in the back, we need to get her to a hospital!”

Another voice called out into the phone from behind Yuki, “She got grabbed and hit her head, but she’s breathing!”

“Who’s that?” Shinoda piped whilst trying to maintain his navigation, now that he was looking for another car instead of a known location.

“Yuri Tachibana,” Yuki huffed, “She came to me this morning screaming about-”

Yuji swallowed roughly and shrugged, “Getting attacked by a chimeric monster and being saved by an angry fairy with a sword?”

Beyond road noise, there was only silence transmitted for a hot moment.

“.....”

Yuji shrugged, “... Yuki, please tell me I’m right.”

It was telling for her mindset given how the usually cool-headed Ichinose exclaimed, “How the Hell did you know that?!”

“I told her soon as I got to her apartment, Dr. Shinoda,” The second voice, evidently Yuri Tachibana again, called out, “We couldn’t get ahold of my father or G-Force so she insisted on checking Io first. Creepshow got to the fisheries first.”

Dr. Shinoda panted, still trying to catch a glimpse of any landmarks to set up a rendezvous, “And Io, how bad is she?! Was she attacked?!”

“Cut up in some spots,” Yuri grimaced, wrapping another emergency bandage Yuki kept in her first-aid-kit around Io’s lower leg where the hooks of the squid tentacle had ripped the skin, “But not too bad. Got her patched up as well as I can, but we need a hospital, or something as good.”

Yuji Shinoda eyeballed his surroundings and spied a familiar building with a prominent sign made highly visible for a good reason.

“There’s a hospital with an ER a few blocks from here, we can meet up there-”

“We can’t!” Ichinose piped loudly, “We need somewhere secure. I was heading for the G-Force base for that reason when that thing came back at us with a truck!”

Shinoda’s eyes bulged and his pulse shot up, “It’s driving?! It’s still after you?!”

“Yes, it’s driving a damn tank and just gave me three heart-attacks in a row avoiding it. Tore practically half my car off getting away from it. The last place I want to go is a small ER with it hot on our heels. It’s dead set on Io and we can’t let it go blasting into a place full of hurt people!”

Shinoda panted, keeping eyes on the road but his mind in fifty other places. He wanted his girl tended to as quickly as possible, especially with how Yuki’s words had brought Belvera’s roaring back into his mind.

-”One way or another, she’s part of this. And it wasn’t for anyone to decide why.”-

The fairy vindicated once again, Shinoda steeled himself and looked at the roadway he was one.

“How good is the condition of your car? You said it was damaged?” Yuji dictated into the phone.

“Banged up, I’m squeezing every meter I can out of it to get as clear as I can.”

He spotted a familiar turn-off into one of the city’s major highways, “Okay, I’m heading right for the north terminus of the southern entrance of the Kawaguchi Route. Are you near there?”
“.. Yes! Yes, I’m about 2 kilometers away from that spot! Heading for the low clearance bridges, you know that spot?” Ichinose piped, relief palpable in her voice.

“Meet me at the 2nd junction just past the bridges, we’ll pile into the van and head for G-Force HQ soon as we can,” Yuji noted as he turned onto the roadway that would take him to his daughter and compatriots, studying every moment he wouldn’t see or hear any large trucks.

“Alright! Alright! We’ll see you th-CROUACK!-"

Yuji Shinoda’s heart stopped as Yuki’s voice was cut off by a sudden uproar that sounded like crunching metal. There was a scream, and then the satellite phone bleeped incessantly to indicate a lost signal.

Shinoda stared briefly at the phone, jaw slack with terror.

“Yuki?! YUKI!?”

He screamed, but got no reply.

He started heaving, mind alight with fears. His daughter was in harm's way, her and plenty of other people. He had to help, in some way he had to! But where were they?! Yuki wasn't able to describe their location and they were on the move constantly. Shinoda knew what her car looked like, but letting his eyes dart about to an path or roadway he could see offered nothing but crushed hope. His vision darted about the jungle of towering buildings and roads, packed with dozens upon dozens of cars. So many lights, so many sounds, so much movement, registering anything in detail seemed impossible. It would take a miracle to get what he sought and he wasn’t one to believe in much of anything, much less good luck. The logic for hope was crushed to death by Tokyo's massive infrastructure making it all but impossible for anyone to comb through it all in but a moment.

He gasped and whimpered, desperation clutching his chest like an icy vice. Hopeless was a word many knew, but so few ever felt. He'd felt it before in 1984, and almost again two years later. When his wife was sentenced away from him and finally wrenched out of the mortal coil. The heaviness of the heart, like it tear out of your body from the sheer mass and cold. It bled tears from his eyes. He tried to use any means to divine a glimpse of them. From the direction she was going to the make of her car to just anyone driving erratically.

And for all his perceptiveness and time spent searching, he couldn't find anything. He couldn't help them. He was just as hopeless now to save Asuka's legacy as he was to save Asuka. All because he had been away now, and had been were he was then. It. Was. All. His. Fault.

And he couldn't do anything....

And yet, for the most fleeting of moments, he just let go. There was no chance he'd be able to think this through in time. Not a chance to devise where they were or what path he needed to take to find them. For a brief moment, upon closing his eyes and not even realizing he was doing it; Dr. Shinoda prayed with a grip upon his own heart, before casting his lot to fate. His eyes were pulled to one direction in particular.

Through the sea of distractions that would crush any hope of seeking what he needed, he glimpsed it through a rush of several cars and between a passing building.

Multiple roads and turns away was a beat up car dodging another lunge by a massive semi-truck that looked half-mangled and twisted to resemble the snarling visage of a beast.

Shinoda floored his accelerator and took it in good faith that he’d navigate where he needed to successfully.

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

Comments ( 7 )

Goddamn, that chase scene was intense. The convo between Hina & Aso is compelling with its ambiguity on Goji's behavior at the time. And that's one hell of a suspenseful ending.

Can't wait to read the next part.

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Can't wait till you see what I got next. I was a bit worried the conversations between Aso and Hina seemed a bit dragging on, but good to know that the pathos got through. It really is interesting to be able to write for two characters who conceivably would have been alive during the major events from the tail end of World war II if not just after, up until the modern era of 1999. Japan both in a fictional universe and the real life would have been changing drastically.

Also I will 100% admit the truck scene was based on the infamous GUN Truck Chase from Sonic Adventure 2, with some obvious influence from Terminator thrown in.

I'm with Tem on this. Outstanding work with the suspense for this whole installment! :pinkiegasp:

What is Fast n Furious doing here?! Though seriously I tried reading that intense chase scene, and all I can imagine in my brain is. “CRUNCH CRUNCH BANG BANG BANG SWEEEEEEERVE”. I’m not good at visualizing fight or car chase scenes. :pinkiecrazy:
Also, a nice addition there for Hina’s character. (Great. Now you Giving Me Art Ideas. Damn you.:rainbowhuh:)

The chase makes me think of the scene in terminator 2 when the t-1000 is giving chase to John and the T-800 in a semi. Chuckled a bit at the jurassic park reference.

We open with our protagonists being as proactive as they possibly can. Always like that.

Also like the sense of paranoia behind it from just what their foe is.

Which is entirely right because their pursuer does its best T-1000 impression and a car chase ensues. I do like the action scene and the welcome comedy to keep things from going too tense. Especially since he chose a truck that can rival the City Escape truck.

Fortunately, their pursuer's body is degrading and Yuri is very smart and able to get them out of this with their brains, not their brawn.

Meanwhile, Aso is trying to relax and isn't entirely onboard with this.

And of course, he priestist friend has once more snuck in.

I like the introspection Aso has and why he stands with his troops rather than staying as a general in the back. I like that about him.

And Aso learns that they have a much closer history than Aso intially believed. And she blames herself in part for letting herself lasp in her duties as a priestess. I like that even though he gets angry for a moment, he also acknowldges that she's suffered a lost and calms down. I like this because it shows a softer side to Aso that's very much welcome.

The scars, her loss, and everything else helps flesh her out. As well as the reveal that she both knew Grandpa Goji before he became Godzilla I and got her scars from the event that mutated him...and the possibility that he directly or indirectly saved her.

Very good scene. I like the emotional connection and just the more somber moment in general.

And now Yugi is being brought into the know and understandably scared for his daughter. I love the interactions here, manage to be both dramatic, but also comedic, kinda necessary.

Also like the explanation why they can't just go to a hospital.

Unfortunately, they're interupted and Yuji doesn't know by what. Poor guy has a lot on his mind, but this is sincerely something no father should have to deal with. Fortunately a prayer is answered and he sees them. Whether divine is at play or not.

Good chapter, mostly a cool action chase scene, but very fun.

Well that was a freaking intense car chase. Excellently written and heart pounding. It's good to mix up the action now and again so this was a nice change of pace. Another really good chapter, best bud. I also did like the continued conversation between the general and the shrine maiden. It does tie perfectly into Godzilla and the perception of him fantastically. Well done.

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