Godzilla vs. Cthulhu
By C. L. Werner
The waters of the Bering Sea boiled into life as a huge form, like a black mountain rising from the ocean floor, broke the surface. Black scales glistened in the setting sun as red eyes glared at the horizon. Reptilian lips curled in a snarl and a high-pitched shriek rolled across the blue waves. The surface of the sea was again broken as the titanic shape returned to the depths.
Hundreds of miles away, a man stared in horror at the monitor screen before him. He removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes, unwilling to believe the information being conveyed to him by the computer. With almost complete hysteria, he screamed for his supervisor. An uniformed man, a colonel in the Japanese Self-Defense Force, followed the alerted technician to the frightened man's consul. The colonel followed the technician's gaze, cursing under his breath as he noted the blinking blue light that gleamed like a harbinger of doom upon the CGI rendered map.
"He comes again", the colonel said with somber gravity. "Notify the UNGCC…and the papers. Let the people prepare as well as they can." The colonel's adjutant raced away to follow his superior's command. He did not see the tear that fell from the colonel's eye as the officer watched the blue light head slowly, deliberately, for Japan.
My name is Ryu Yamamoto. I am a police officer, at the time of this narrative, a member of the Tokyo police department. It is a strange story that I have to tell, a story of old gods and new gods. It is a story that haunts me, poisons my life. Upon an accursed shore of an accursed land, I witnessed what will be the end of man's world and know that ending to be inevitable and unavoidable. I do not know if we shall endure for an hour or a century, the one blessed veil of ignorance left to blind my eyes. No, there is one other unknown, whether we shall perish before old gods or new.
It began when my superior gave me an important undercover mission. As I closed the door of the briefing room behind me, the nature of my assignment was revealed to me – I was to infiltrate "The Watchers on the Shore", a cult of religious fanatics who worshipped an ancient sea god and had gained considerable notoriety in the media for their eccentric dogma, immoral teachings, and the suspected kidnapping and brainwashing used to increase their congregations. In recent months, the cult had been spreading like a cancer throughout the Tokyo waterfront and the cult members themselves becoming increasingly erratic and violent in their behavior. There had been several near-riots caused by mass bodies of the cultists demonstrating outside what they called "the false temples of delusion" – Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, and Christian churches. Then there was the "Green Scourge" incident when all the fish taken from Tokyo Bay seemed to rot as soon as they were removed from the water. The watchers had taken credit for that incident, a reprisal for Japan's refusal to listen to the "truth". Although their claim had been publicly dismissed as preposterous, privately the government was concerned that the cult may have poisoned the bay with some new chemical they had developed.
Now, it was time to act.
I would pose as an initiate to the cult's bizarre faith and seek to learn what was going on within the secretive group. I was especially to seek the confidence of Akira Natanaka himself, the high priest of the Watchers, the "Unclosing Eye", their living prophet. This would be no mean feat. Others had gone before me and failed.
I had been a Watcher for seven months and still my mind trembled at what had happened to the others who had infiltrated the cult. Dead, one and all, their bodies found bloated and maimed floating far out at sea, never with a shred of evidence to link their unknown murderers with the cult.
I was reflecting upon this when a shaven-headed man clad in a green robe with a golden octopus embroidered upon the chest, the garb of the watchers' priesthood, entered my small, cell-like room. He bowed to me and motioned for me to follow him.
I was being granted a private audience with Akira Natanaka, the Unclosing Eye.
"Hokkaido." The name left the seated general's lips less speech than hiss. Commander Aso of the UNGCC ran a hand through his graying hair.
"There can be no doubt about it. Godzilla is following a direct path to Japan. Hokkaido lies directly in his path", the colonel sighed loudly. "The Super X-3 is months from completion. We have nothing to fight him with, no hope of driving him off."
"All those people," Commander Aso pounded the table before him in impotent fury.
"We have already scrambled two wings of fighters and a squadron of maser jets to try and halt his advance," stated the aged representative of the Japanese air command, his voice lacking any manner of conviction.
"Will Hokkaido be cleared in time?" asked the Commander of the colonel who had brought him the news of the monster's approach.
"We are evacuating the city even now, but we estimate that only twenty-five percent of the populace will be removed to a safe distance by the time that he arrives." Commander Aso clutched at his temples, trying to think.
"Project Raptor," he said at last, turning toward the air command representative. "Is Project Raptor ready?"
"Yes, but the Super X-3 is not."
"I want the sonic transmitter removed from the Super X-3 and placed onboard the fastest helicopter the air command has." Commander Aso saluted the general from the air command as the aged officer departed to carry out his orders. The puzzled colonel spoke after the general had left the room.
"What is this sonic transmitter?" he asked.
"A device invented by Professor Hayashida when Godzilla reappeared in 1984. It emits a signal which affects Godzilla in a manner similar to the way a dog whistle works. I don't pretend to understand how it works and I know that it is not very reliable a device. We have used it on Godzilla many times since the Mt. Mihara operation with little effect.
"I also know that it is Hokkaido's only hope," the Commander added.
* * * * *
I could feel the sweat upon my palms as the silent priest led me down the candle-lit halls of the temple. Once it had been Buddhist, now it played host to an obscene faith, the hideous conspiracy that I had infiltrated. I was a sane man alone among the denizens of a mad house. I was going to see Akira Natanaka, the Unclosing Eye, head lunatic. Such a meeting was the ultimate privilege for the frenzied members of Natanaka's cult. "See Natanaka and die" the philosophy of the cultists, for having seen their living prophet they could imagine no greater moment in their twisted lives. Some did indeed kill themselves after a private audience with the high priest.
"See Natanaka and die." Those words chilled my being. Why was I being allowed an audience with the Unclosing Eye? Perhaps the madmen about me had recognized my sanity, had realized that I was not one of them.
But there were others among the watchers on the Shore who wore only the cloak of the cultist while pursuing their own agendas and they had not been discovered.
There was Miss Kumi Odaka, a beautiful young woman, a university student before circumstance caused her to become one of Natanaka's minions. I had gained her confidence soon after my arrival. She perhaps sensed the difference between myself and the true cultists, for she risked much confiding in me. Kumi needed the strength and support of someone else for her own was nearly spent, and she needed a friend. Kumi had joined the Watchers on the Shore only after her brother Kenji had been inducted into its crazed ranks. The brother refused to listen to his parents, his family, decrying them as "heretics blinded by their own ignorance." Kumi had joined the cult hoping that as one of the "enlightened" she would be listened to by Kenji and be able to open his eyes to the insanity of Natanaka's cult. Thus far she had succeeded only in terrifying herself by witnessing the cult's strange rituals and experiencing the horrible dreams which afflicted all those who slept in the cult's temples and were called "the sacred gift" by Natanaka's priests.
I did not realize at first how much we meant to each other, how much we depended upon one another's strength to forget our fears of discovery. Then, to my problems was added a new one - concern for Miss Kumi Odaka, the woman I now knew I loved.
Take Hidemasa introduced himself to me the day after I joined the cult. His introduction came to me in a darkened corridor where none could see or hear us. He told me my name and my reason for being in the Watchers on the Shore. He then told me to stay out of his way and not to alert my superiors until I had notified him. Fearful that I had been discovered, I demanded to know who he himself was and why he wasn't reporting me to Natanaka. Hidemasa grabbed hold of me and slammed me into the corridor wall. He informed me that I was in no position to demand anything of him. He was a covert operative of the American DOD. His mission was his own business. If I interfered, the cult would learn about me as quickly as the DOD had.
These then were my fellow masquers, a frightened woman and an American spy who would be only too happy to give my life to the Watchers should it be convenient. Arrayed against us were two thousand religious maniacs, five hundred of them housed in this waterfront temple. Our weapon was trickery, theirs a fanatical devotion to Akira Natanaka and the mysterious "Lord of Dreams" which was his god.
Akira Natanaka. I had read the file on him before infiltrating the cult. He had been a marine in the Imperial Japanese Navy, the sole survivor from a battalion that had been dispatched to construct an airfield upon a small island in the Mid-Pacific. Military records suggested that the battalion had fallen victim to a submarine attack but Natanaka offered a very different explanation. They had landed upon the island and found the remains of a lost civilization. Many of the soldiers died, how Natanaka would not say except to call them "faithless". The others perished when the island sank "back into the deeps from which it came for the time was not right for it to remain in the world of men". Natanaka, whatever the truth of his comrades' destruction, was rescued from the sea by a Dutch ship and spent the war in an Australian POW camp. After the war, Natanaka traveled to China where "I sought those who would give meaning to the sights I saw upon the island before it returned to the great deeps." It was in 1973 when he took leave of his mysterious Chinese monks and returned to Japan, founding his Watchers on the Shore first in the small fishing village of Moshida in northern Japan, a place whose people were considered pariahs by their neighbors and generally despised by all who knew of the village's existence. From Moshida, like the tentacles of an octopus, the cult had spread to Oneda, Osaka, and Tokyo. Now temples were appearing in Thailand, Taiwan and Korea with no end in sight.
Natanaka's second at the Tokyo temple was Goro, a hulking brute from Moshida village. A sadist with the face of a mythical Oni, his huge, round bulging eyes and wide, chinless mouth were said to be common marks of the Moshida villagers, the stamp of their degeneracy.
Natanaka's shadow was another native of Moshida, a nameless, voiceless dwarf whom I yet refer to as Bakemono - the Goblin. He wore only black, black robes and black gloves and a black mask to hide the lower half of his face. What flesh did reveal itself was painted like the face of a Kabuki dancer and his eyes were bloodshot saucers which never left the face of those who stood before his master.
The Goblin, he would be there too, I reflected as the priest leading me opened the double-doors of bamboo that separated me from the audience chamber of the Unclosing Eye.
I closed my eyes and prayed to my ancestors as a stench of brine and fish fled from Natanaka's chamber.
"Enter, my child," rasped an ancient voice in a sinisterly soothing tone. I knew it to be the voice of Akira Natanaka.
The bamboo doors closed behind me.