Chapter 1: Awesome Teaser Sequence
It was a typical afternoon in downtown Tokyo.
Godzilla, in other words.
Well, maybe it was Gurlugon or Barugon or Fin Fang Foom. Regardless, something was smashing buildings, and someone in a ridiculously large robot was smashing it. These were trivial details.
The important thing, thought schoolteacher Yukari Tanazaki, the really significant thing, was Street Fighter X — specifically, her pre-order thereof. She'd scrimped and saved for months for it; had bribed, cajoled and offered (or, from their perspective, threatened) to sleep with half the vendors in Akihabara market to get it;(1) and now, after a furious 15-minute sprint to reach downtown on her lunch-break, some idiotic chest-thumping radioactive iguana on steroids had stepped on her local GameStop!
"Hey you!" she said, standing atop the rubble. "Yeah, I'm talking to you, lizard-breath! You got any idea what you just did?! That was the best game store on the block! It had X-Box! Playstation! Nintendo! It had Frogger stuck on free-play, damn it!"
"Rockketoo-PUNCH!" said the giant robot.
"You stay out of this!" she screeched.
"Yukari!" said her long-banged friend, cowering behind a hunk of rubble. "What are you doing?! We've got to get out of here!"
"No, Nyamo!" she snarled. "My soul burns for revenge!"
"Are you crazy!?" she said. And why am I bothering to ask? she added, mentally. "No, wait! Don't —"
Too late. With a bestial roar, Miss Tanazaki had leapt from the rubble and charged the mighty beast. "Yukari SMASH!" She hurled most of a devastated Marvel vs. Capcom console at the beast's ankle, where it shattered 'gainst its atomic skin. "HA! Feel the power of justice!"
The beast shifted its weight slightly.
"Ack!" said the teacher, as the earth split beneath her.
Her friend, Nyamo, snagged her by the sleeve. "Come on! Stop struggling! We are leaving!"
"I want another shot at him, damn it!"
She goggled. "Giant monsters! Lasers! Fire, doom, death! Class in 10 minutes!"
"Raaagh!" Miss Tanazaki shrugged her off, grabbed a nearby bicycle and hammer-threw it at her nemesis, striking the dread beast dead on.
Boom. The mighty report blasted teacher and friend off their feet. Dust flew. Walls split. Windows shattered. The beast bellowed in pain.
Yukari bounced upright much faster than advisable. "YES!" cried the mildly concussed-one, now mostly deaf and stone grey from cement dust. "Take that, you…uh…"
It was at this point that Miss Tanazaki, high-school English teacher, realized three things.
First, that she had just smashed her bicycle against the hide of a giant radioactive lizard.
Second, that said blow, whilst surely capable of cracking rock and toppling the gods themselves, was in no doubt partially assisted by a 600-tonne titanium sucker-punch from the giant robot, which was just now winding up for another.
Third, that the idiotic, chest-thumping radioactive iguana had just stumbled into Tokyo's second tallest office tower (the Altitudinous Building), dislodging 27 floors worth of prime real-estate and setting it tumbling in her general direction.(2)
Yukari's devastating one-liner died on her lips. She was dimly aware that she should be going somewhere, but the mass of stone, steel, and glass seemed to take up the entire world, or, at the very least, her immediate future. She felt someone (Nyamo?) pulling with desperate strength on her arms, but fear had fused her legs to the ground. She watched as the building hurtled on to its inevitable destination, tumbling ever so slightly, surrounded by a nimbus of sparkling shattered glass. She noted, distantly, that there were still people in it. Oh, she thought. There's cousin Egawa in accounting…how I hate him.
Her life flashed before her eyes. Most of it was beer. She wondered, briefly, who would take care of her kids. There they were, all alone, waiting back in the classroom for her, not knowing that their beautiful, eloquent professor with her mellifluous voice was even now about to meet a gristly, horrible end with lots of snap and crunch and blood on the sidewalk. Who would watch over them? Who would teach them about the world and its dangers? Who would get her vacation pay?
Man, she thought, I should have called in sick.
She fell to her knees, raised her arms and screamed.
Suddenly, a crack split the air, like a million exploding suns. There was a rush of wind, a deep, resonant thoom, and then…nothing.
Yukari opened an eye a crack. There was light everywhere. It was bright, blindingly so, yet soft and warm. Am I dead? she wondered. Is this heaven? Is…is there free beer? She checked. Damn.
Someone gibbered by her sleeve. "Yu…Yukari…"
"Mm? Whazzap, Nyamo?" She followed her friend's shaking finger. "Oh."
Several tonnes of office tower had stopped a foot above her head, surrounded by a radiant glow. Right in front of her, a terrified office lady was pressed against a glass window. She waved, hesitantly. Yukari waved back.
"Look!" said Nyamo. "There! Who…what's that?"
"That" was apparently the source of the golden glow. It looked human, assuming humans came in fusion. A cloak of stars floated about its head. Twenty-seven floors of skyscraper, all intact, rested on its straining shoulders.
It turned towards Yukari, it's black-hole eyes ringed with the fires of creation. "Are you okay?" it asked.
Yukari gabbled. "Uh, yeah! Sure! Super!"
It nodded, flexed its knees, and soared gently skyward. It gently placed its burden atop its former home, welded it in place with some sort of ray, and returned, its cloak of stars wafting behind it. Several stunned office workers floated to the ground behind it. "You should leave," the figure told them. "I'm not sure how long that will hold." It moved to jump into orbit.
"Wait!" said Nyamo. "Who are you?"
The figure paused mid-leap, floating a bit. "Um…" It looked thoughtful. "It's, uh, kind of a secret," it said, sheepishly. "I guess you could call me — eh?" It seemed to hear something. "Cake? Thank you." And then, with the flash of the first light of dawn, it was gone.
Dust wafted in the devastated street. A small mob of office workers from the Altitudinous Building hustled past in an orderly panic. A streetlamp fell on someone's car.
Nyamo dusted herself off and glanced warily at the building. "Come on, Yukari. Let's do what the glowing thing said and get out of here. Yukari?" She looked at her friend and flinched at her 10-gigawatt grin. "Um, are you…?"
"Do you know who that was?" she asked, shaking with excitement.
"No, stupid! Didn't you see his chest? The big 'S' like a bolt from the blue? That was The Sentry™! The guy with the might of a million exploding suns! Time Magazine's Man of the Year! The smartest, strongest, sexiest, richest man in the universe and he talked to us!"
Nyamo blinked. "…And?"
"So we've got a shot at him!" said Yukari. "Just thing, Nyamo! All this time we've been looking in the singles bars for a perfect man when we should have been watching the skies! The golden guardian of good! He's gold, Nyamo, GOLD, and he's up for grabs!"
"Okay, here's the plan!" she whispered. "I'll go stand by that rickety brick wall and when I give you the signal, you knock it on top of me!"
"Right, good point, you don't have my superhuman strength. Okay, change of plan! I'll hop into that wrecked car, scream for help, and you light it on fire! He'll be back to rescue me in seconds! Got any matches?"
"Yukari!" said Nyamo, horrified. "Get a hold of yourself!"
But she was already on another planet. "Oooh, Yukari's gonna win, Yukari's gonna wiiiin!"
As her friend contemplated her dangerous, glamorous future as a super-hero's trophy wife, Nyamo's subconscious alerted her to a small, significant detail she'd missed in the last few minutes. "Um, Yukari?" said Nyamo.
"Less talky, more burny! Ow! That hurt, darn it!"
"Yukari," said Nyamo, massaging her wrist, "I want you to think for a second. Are you absolutely sure the person we saw was this Sentry character?"
"Well, duh. How many flying glowing super-hunks are there in the world, huh?(3) You saw him! He had the glow, the cape, the 'S', the —"
"Breasts," added Nyamo.
"— the look, the…the what?"
"Breasts, Yukari. You know, the things you keep smothering your date's faces in before they run screaming?"
Yukari crashed back to earth. "That…that was…a girl?"
"It's hard to tell, nowadays, but I believe so, yes."
"Oh." She considered this. "Well then. She's all yours, Nyamo."
"Good. Hey! Wait! What's that supposed to mean?"
1. Miss Tanazaki considered herself quite the bombshell. So did everyone else: she was loud, explosive, and tended to maim people. It wasn't as if she was ugly or anything (quite the opposite, in fact); it was just that most of the men she went after did not find her ability to shotgun 30 beers very attractive.
2. In our universe, the second tallest building in Tokyo is Tokyo City Hall. In this one, city council realized that it was pointless to build something that tall when some monster robot slug from Dimension X would knock the top off of it every other Tuesday, and went with a sensible two-story bomb-shelter. Now you know. And knowing is three-tenths of the battle.