It started out as such a nice day. The Briefs family was hosting a barbecue at Capsule Corp., and the whole extended "family" was there, with exception of Piccolo, the Namekian. Meat was grilling. The moms talked, mostly about their children, many of whom were learning some new moves from the dads. That's when it happened. Suddenly, Bra Briefs-Vegeta, Bulma and Vegeta's teenage daughter, let out a piercing scream and collapsed.
When she woke up. she was on a sofa with a wet cloth on her head. Everyone was smiling in a nervous, "she'll-be-all-right" way.
"How are you feeling?" Vegeta asked.
"My head...it hurts...it hurts, Daddy."
Vegeta hugged her to his chest, lightly stroking her scalp and neck through her silken hair.
"Let's give them a minute," 18 said. Soon enough, everything seemed okay.
"Sorry, sis," Trunks said, "I thought you saw that one coming."
"It was nothing you did. I just had this...attack...this feeling...it overwhelmed me."
"Your mind power again?" Goten asked. Everyone gathered knew that the pretty teenager had a gift-an ability to sense emotions and connect telepathically. But nothing like this had ever happened.
"Princess," Vegeta whispered, "I know it was awful, but are you sure you're all right?"
"I'm okay, Daddy."
"What happened, honey?"
"It was so bizarre, Aunt Chichi. There was ice and black water and fear...a lot of fear, like it was crushing. Did anything weird happen today?"
"I'll check," Bulma said. She pulled out her pocket computer and did a quick scan. "Hmm. The Russians are saying that they've lost contact with one of their submarines north of Hokkaido. Could that be it?"
"As opposed to anything else? This psychic stuff is still a mystery to me."
"Maybe we should do something," Goku said.
"Like what, Mr. Wizard?" 18 was slightly annoyed by the whole thing. "There's nothing we can do."
"She's right, Son-kun. That sub is probably nuclear-powered. You don't want to mess with that kind of trouble."
"There was something else, too," Bra said. "After the panic, this was the one that overwhelmed me."
"What was it, B-chan?" Marron asked.
"Rage. Like I've never felt before."
"No idea, Daddy."
"It could be nothing, little star. But you let us know if you get any other feelings."
"Everybody else okay?" Pan inquired. "I'm starving."
At around 1:00 AM, another piercing shriek rand through Capsule Corp. This time, Vegeta, Bulma and Trunks rushed into Bra's bedroom and found her screaming, tears streaming down her cheeks, abject panic in her eyes. She screamed wrenchingly when her father touched her, then fell into racking sobs in his arms. He stroked her head and whispered soothing words while her mother and brother embraced her from the back and side. No one knew how long it took, but the girl finally calmed down.
"Honey, what happened?"
"A nightmare, Mama. It was horrible. I saw a city totally destroyed...burning! Buildings smashed! Stripped of life-people screaming! They were on fire! They were melting! They were on fire, Daddy!"
Vegeta was quick on that, making sure she didn't get hysterical again. "It's all right, baby. Remember what I told you."
"Yeah. Dreams can't hurt me. I'm okay, Daddy. Really."
Soon, the teenager was asleep in his strong arms. He lowered her gently to her pillow and pulled the covers over her.
"I'm always amazed at how you do that," Bulma said.
Everyone went back to their rooms, but a new problem was forming.
"What's wrong, Onna?"
"Bra-chan's dream. When she had her attack this afternoon, I didn't think that much of it. Her mental powers are such a mystery to me. Who knows how they might evolve? I just chalked it up to that. But her dream...that's beyond weird. She described a city reduced to a burning, uninhabitable wasteland, stripped of life, with people melting in their tracks."
"What does that mean?"
"I've heard stories like that, but they were no dream. They were told by people who survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki."
"Before any of our friends were born and long before the Saiyans came to this planet, humanity developed weapons that could split the atom. During the last great war, two were dropped on those cities."
Vegeta was stunned. "What? You irradiated your own planet?"
"That was only the beginning. The tests went on, making more powerful weapons. Now, several countries have bombs that can destroy the entire world."
"You humans are crazy as hell."
"Vegeta, listen to me! That submarine was probably nuclear-powered. And now she envisions a nuclear attack? I can't dismiss it as coincidence. Was her dream a memory of something that happened? Or was it a glimpse into a possible future?"
"If it was, then she has given us a great gift: time to prepare, and possibly prevent."
For three days, Bulma maintained a satellite watch over the Bering Sea. Nothing seemed to be going on. The submarine had been written off as a total loss by the Russian government with all hands aboard lost. The Russians said that no distress signal had been sent, but that didn't wash. There was something that the satellite's comm array had detected, but it made no sense. Something about a "giant," and then nothing. Then there was what Bra had said about rage, how it was overpowering. What could possibly cause that?
Bra had no more visions. Whatever it was seemed to be dormant. But they were all on-edge.
On the third day, the coastal authorities reported that the wreck of a fishing trawler had washed up in the northwest. Markings identified it as the Lucky Tuna, which had set out two days earlier. Curiously, the remains bore burn marks, not something you'd expect from a hurricane or collision.
Bulma made a play. Using some of her vast fortune, she acquired the services of a private investigator. He hopped a company aircar and flew out to the dockyard. The next morning, he came back and met with his employer.
"It's the strangest thing, Bulma. Usually, when charring like that is involved, it means an engine room fire, which is what they're calling it, by the way."
Bulma was no fool. "But you doubt that." It was not a question.
"I strongly doubt it. From what the dockmaster told me-strictly off the record, of course-to wreck like that from an engine room fire, either the engine would have to explode, or the fire happened first, they abandoned ship, and the ship crashed into something."
"True, but where are the crew members? Helicopters and boats have been combing the area, and not a sign of anything."
"Jin, you know there are a lot of ways they could be lost at sea."
"I know. But there was something else. The wreckage seemed to have been blasted from the outside."
Bulma's gorgeous blue eyes opened wide. "Like a torpedo blast?"
"Maybe. I'm no expert, and the dockmaster was getting hinky." Jin became serious. "Bulma, what are e looking for here?"
Bulma spoke low. "Jin, four days ago, the Russians lost one of their nuclear subs north of Hokkaido. I estimated its location and that of the fishing boat, and it's almost a straight line."
You're thinking maybe the Russians sent another sub to salvage, saw the Lucky Tuna and got trigger-happy?"
"Sure looks like it."
"If that's the case, we'd best keep out of it. It's a matter for the government to handle."
"Yeah. Thanks, Jin. The usual will be taken care of."
"I figured. But you're not convinced, are you?"
"That's why I hire you, Jin. You're that good. But the evidence is murky. Other than a torpedo, what could wreck a ship like that?"
"Nothing I ever heard of."
Dinner passed uneventfully at the Briefs-Vegeta home. But after Trunks and Bra had left to play some video games, Bulma noticed that Vegeta was staring at her very intently. Usually, that meant he was "in the mood." This was different, though. There was none of the sparkle in his eyes. They were hard as obsidian.
"Something's bothering you," Vegeta said plainly. "And I sense you do not wish to tell me."
"Vegeta, there's nothing to tell."
"Bullshit. Something about Bra-chan's dream has you scared."
Bulma tried a lie. "I am scared." That was true enough. "Another ship was lost near the sub crash. Another Russian submarine might be behind it. If it was, and the government can't negotiate, it could mean war. And Russia has those terrible weapons I told you about."
"No, you don't. If they attack us, the Americans will demand they pull back. If the Russians refuse to back down, the US will threaten them with nuclear weapons. If neither side gives, it doesn't matter which side launches first; the other side will have time to retaliate, at which point the world will end." Bulma was surprised at how convincing it sounded.
"So, what can be done?"
"I don't know. There may be nothing to do. There's no solid evidence that the Russians attacked the ship. But we need to be careful, just in case."
"How careful can we be?"
"I hate when you get philosophical, Vegeta."
The Japanese coastal authority had all but given up the search for any trace of the Lucky Tuna's crew. One lone helicopter was keeping up the vigil as night began to swallow up day.
"I guess they weren't so lucky after all," said one pilot to another.
"Not funny," said the senior man. "They had families, you know. Are you going to feed them?"
"Then you don't get to joke." The man sighed. "We might as well head back."
Neither man spoke during the return flight, until...
"Hey," the younger man said, "what's that down there?"
"That disturbance. Fly low."
"What for?" the man asked. looking out the cockpit to the ocean's surface. "It's probably just a whale."
The surface was disturbed by an object moving fairly quickly under the water. Whatever it was, it was big, judging by the size of the disturbance.
"Do you want to take that chance? One quick scan."
"All right, but only for a minute." The pilot swooped down near the surface. "Holy shit!"
For a brief moment, something breached the surface, but it was not a whale's fin. It was jagged, almost crystalline.
"Look at this!" the other man said excitedly, pointing to the Geiger counter. "It's going wild!"
The pilot pulled into an ascending run and pushed forward fast. Not fast enough. The two men had only enough time to scream as a bright flash streaked toward them. The helicopter exploded into a fireball.
Back at the base, all attempts to contact the helicopter were futile.
"Some kind of interference?"
"No, sir," the comm operator said. "No static. No garbled transmissions. Nothing, sir. Just dead air."
"It couldn't have just vanished into thin air!"
"What will we do, sir?"
"We'll bring our case to the government. A Russian sub is lost, a fishing boat is wrecked, and now a helicopter disappears? My mother didn't raise any stupid children, Number Five. You can't tell me it's a coincidence."
"Maybe not, sir. But what IS it? What will we tell them?"
"That we need a full underwater expedition to find out what's out there."
"Yes, sir. I'll have a full report ready by morning."
"Aah!" Bulma jumped in her seat. She'd been focused on her monitor and didn't hear her son come in. She got up and hugged him.
"Sorry I scared you, Mom."
"It's okay, honey. I'm spending too much time on this anyway. Is anything wrong?"
"No. I just thought you'd want some lunch."
"Your father made it?"
Well, with his cooking, as long as you don't ask where he got it from, you'll be fine."
"Yeah. As opposed to your cooking, where you have to ask-"
"Don't finish that sentence, mister!"
Trunks chuckled. "Nice to have you back, Mom."
It was true. Life had to come first. As the day went on, things got back to normal. She even made love to her husband that night.
At breakfast, Vegeta made the first move. He saw his daughter wasn't her usual cheerful self. "Is everything all right, Princess?"
"I'm fine, Daddy. Thank you."
"Did you have another nightmare, sis?"
"No, last night was okay. It's just that ever since I had that last attack, I've had this feeling, like an ambiance, that something is going to happen. Something unbelievable."
The faces of Vegeta, Bulma and Trunks became stone. They were all too familiar with unbelievable events.
The coastal authorities had been granted extra search powers and powerful submersibles. Their orders were to find anything-anything at all-that could link the disappearing craft together.
The three deep-sea search craft fanned out over an extensive area.
"Sub One, this is Sub Two. Anything? Over."
"Negative, Sub Two. Still combing Sector Twenty-seven. Come back."
"Roger. Sub Three, this is Sub Two. Anything? Over."
"Maybe, Sub Two. Sonar just registered something. We are investigating. Over."
"Roger, Sub Three. Can you identify? Over."
"Negative, Sub Two. Subject is too far away. It appears to be moving. Over."
"Roger, Sub Three. What is your position? Over."
"Sub Two, our position is Sector Ten. Over."
"Roger, Sub Three. Keep us posted. Over."
"Roger, Sub Two. Over."
A few minutes went by.
"Sub Two, this is Sub Three. Over."
"Sub Two responding. Over."
"Sub Two, the target has turned south. We are approaching fast. Over."
"Roger, Sub Three. Can you identify target? Over."
"Negative, Sub Two. Whatever it is, it's big. Over."
"Any other readings? Over."
"Affirmative, Sub Two. Geiger counter reads active. Over."
"Roger." The comm operator turned to the commander. "Sir, subject reads radioactive. Could it be a sub?"
"If it is, it has a leaky reactor. Patch me in."
"Sub Three, this is Captain Kage from Sub Two. Come back."
"Wilco. Go ahead."
"Sub Three, approach with extreme caution. We are en route. Over."
"Roger, Sub Two. Now within one-hundred meters of target. Radiation levels spiking!" A terrible metal-crunching sound was heard, along with screaming.
"Sub Three! Sub Three, come in! Acknowledge! Sub Three, come in, please!"
"My...GOD!" That was the last intelligible thing anyone could hear from Sub Three, but not the last thing. Sounds of metal rending, water splashing, men screaming...and a god-awful sound that no one could pinpoint. Then, it all went dead.
"Sub Three! Sub Three, come in! Shit!" The comm operator turned to the captain. "Nothing, sir Total silence."
"What the hell is going on? Patch into Sub One."
"Go ahead, sir."
"Sub One, come in."
"Sub One here. Come back."
"Sub One, this is Sub Two. We have lost contact with Sub Three. All attempts at communication...futile. Over."
"What happened? Come back."
"Unknown. We are moving toward their last known position. Over."
"What do you want us to do? Come back."
"Keep the channel open. If anything happens, report back to base. Over."
"Roger. We are holding position. Come back."
"Roger, Sub One. Over."
The captain turned to the helmsman. "Full scan."
The underwater lights and cameras revealed wreckage. It wasn't rusted, which meant it hadn't been there long. And the emblem of the coastal authority was visible on one large piece. There was something else, too.
"What is that?" The captain squinted at the display monitor. There, on the sea bed, was an imprint. It was oddly splayed into points and was longer and wider than a car.
"It almost looks like a...footprint, sir."
"What? That's ridiculous. No creature alive could make a mark like that, and nothing alive could have done this to a sub."
"Sir!" The sonar operator was agitated. "Just pinged something big, sir!"
"Five-thousand meters south."
"Full speed after it. We can't let it get away. Sub One, come in."
"We read you. Over."
"In pursuit of something. Over."
"Roger that. You want us to follow? Over."
"Affirmative, Sub One. We are at forty-five-hundred meters and closing. Over."
"Roger, Sub Two, but at our position, ETA is ten minutes to reach you. Over."
"Copy that, Sub Two. Do your best. Over."
"Helm, go to silent running.."
"Aye, sir. Cavitation engaged."
"Men, there's something out there. We have to find it. Keep your minds clear and your eyes and ears open."
"Sir! Object has halted. It seems to be turning."
"Time to intercept?"
"Two minutes, sir."
"Now, we'll find out what's going on."
The monitor showed a malevolent red eye, the size of an industrial satellite dish.
The men screamed as a bright flash consumed the sub.
Bra grabbed her temples in pain and screamed. Her brother caught her as she fell. "It happened again. The rage...I've never felt anything like it."
"What the hell is going on here?"
"I think I'm okay now."
"Here," Trunks said, laying her back on the sofa, "I'll get Mom and Dad."
"Okay," she said weakly. Trunks left the room. By the time he came back with Bulma and Vegeta, bra was fixated on a television news broadcast. "Look at this."
The news showed a coastal patrol sub coming into dock and the crew emerging, carrying a man was obviously injured severely. After a long time, a reporter was able to get an interview with a doctor and a policeman at the hospital.
"Doctor, what is the prognosis?"
"Terminal, I'm afraid. The man has suffered heavy internal injuries. Frankly, it will be a miracle if he survives the night."
"Lieutenant, how could he have survived?"
"According to the statements we got from the other sub crew, he found a pocket of trapped air in one of the larger pieces of wreckage."
"Yes, the sub was utterly demolished."
"What could have done that?"
"I'm not free to speculate. The other crew found nothing when they arrived."
"Did the man say anything?"
"Nothing that could be useful. Doctor?"
"Um, yes, the subject's words were indecipherable."
"Are you saying he's gone mad? Ocean-happy?"
The doctor became stern. "There is nothing 'happy' about it, miss." He calmed down a bit. "Aside from his physical injuries, the patient has suffered an unimaginable mental shock. Add in nitrogen narcosis, and yes, it's safe to say that the patient's mental state is compromised. I doubt we'll get anything useful from him."
"May I try?"
"Absolutely not! Lieutenant!"
"It's your call, Doctor."
"Doctor," the reporter said, "I understand your feelings, but you said it yourself: he's going to die, and nothing can change that now. If there is anything at all that he can give us, it may save other lives."
"You have ONE minute. Any shenanigans, and I'll have the lieutenant pull you out."
"The reporter and her camera operator went into the room and flinched at the sight of the sub captain. He was burned all over his body. "Sir? Did you see what attacked you?"
The man could hardly speak. Even the microphone could only pick up scattered syllables. "Ga...rah. G-God...Gaz..."
The heart monitor flatlined. The reporter's microphone had caught the man's death rattle.
"What the hell is going on here?" Vegeta said.
"I don't know, Vegeta. Honey, where was that sub wrecked?"
"Um, the TV said roughly fifty miles from the coast, off the northeast edge of Honshu."
Bulma pulled out her pocket computer, punched in a few coordinates, and said in a strangled voice, "damn."
"What is it, Mom?"
"I've been tracking these events. Look. Each one is almost a straight line getting closer to Tokyo."
"What can we do, Mama?"
"Honey, call our friends. Ask them very nicely, but very insistently to come over here. Ask them to stay with us for a while. If they ask why, tell them I'll explain when they get here."
"Okay," the teen said, heading for the phone. "Mama, I trust you."
"I trust your feelings, honey. There's no way all of this is a coincidence."
Day turned into night. By the time the sun had set, the Sons and Chestnuts had arrived, complete with their overnight bags.
"Okay, Bulma-san," Krillin said, "what's up?"
"Yeah," 18 said, "you're acting awfully weird."
"I'm sorry, everyone, but I figured it was best to be on the safe side."
"Safe from what?" asked Goten.
"That's what I'm trying to figure out, honey. Here," she said, laying her pocket computer on the coffee table, "I've tracked every incident since Bra-chan had her first attack."
"First?" Goku's eyes got big. "How many have there been?"
"Two more," Bra said.
"As I was saying," Bulma continued, "each one has happened in a straight line, heading this way."
"What is it, Bulma-san?"
"I don't know, Gohan-kun. Whatever it is, it can turn a military submarine into scrap metal. At first, I thought it was the Russians, but this is all wrong."
"I get it," Pan said. "You're thinking that we're the only ones who can stop it, whatever it is."
"Which is why we're here now," 18 said, "so we'll all be ready to go at a moment's notice against a threat we know nothing about. That's just dandy."
"18, go easy, okay?" Gohan was piqued, but rational. "I've known this woman since I was a little boy, and she's no hysteric. I trust her."
"No sense getting worked up yet," Videl said. "Now that we're all together, might as well see where it goes."
"Well," Chichi said, "I guess ev'rybody should find their rooms. Point me to the kitchen, darlin'."
"Sure, Chichi. Kids, you show them their rooms, please."
"Come on," Trunks said, "married couples and single guys with me."
"All single ladies with me," Bra said.
At dawn, the crew of an oil rig was just beginning the day. It was a joint Japanese/American drilling venture, with the Japanese maintaining a controlling interest. None of that mattered when the roughnecks spotted something long and jagged slicing through the water.
"Hey, look at that. Doesn't look like any shark fin I ever saw," said one of them.
And that is when the mystery was solved.
A giant reared up out of the sea. It was a monster in every sense of the word, a nightmare from the world's birth. It was huge and reptilian, with sharp, jagged spines running down its back and a head like a dragon. Its massive mouth was lined with terrible sharp teeth and its red eyes gleamed with pure malice and hatred. And then it let out a god-awful roar, which sounded like metal being twisted and torn apart.
"What the hell is that thing?"
"Who cares! I'm more worried about where it's going!"
The thing extended its long, powerful arms with menacing talons and came forward relentlessly.
"Abandon the rig," the foreman cried out in a frenzy. The men piled into lifeboats and roared away.
Most made it, but a few were killed when the monster crashed into the platform. More met death's embrace when its dorsal spines began to glow and it unleashed a bright blue beam of searing heat which struck the rig dead-center. The stored oil flash-ignited and exploded, engulfing the rig in a fireball.
Looking back as the smoke cleared, the workers were horrified to see the unscathed creature lumbering towards the shore.
Bra woke with a start. Something was wrong, and she knew it. Without really knowing why, she threw on her robe and bounded downstairs to the living room, where she flipped on the TV set.
The screen showed an emergency news broadcast. "...pooling our resources to stay on the air as long as possible in this time of crisis. Again, for those of you just joining us, an astonishing story coming to us only minutes ago. The surviving crew of an oil-drilling platform telling the story of a gigantic dinosaur attacking them. One of them actually capturing part of the attack with a cellular phone. Before we go live, we will show you this amazing footage. I'm told that we are hot now."
The news anchor's face was replaced with the recording. As to be expected, it was jumbled, but the images were undeniable and ominously clear, as were the sounds of men screaming and the monster's roars.
Bra was paralytic with fear, her eyes bulging, her heart pounding. She was hyperventilating, unable to breathe normally. She willed herself to catch her breath, then let it out in a plaintive wail. "Daddy! Mama! Come quick! Please!"
Within seconds, everyone-clad in robes and pajamas-was at her side, their own faces in shock over what they were seeing. The images were now being broadcast live by a news crew on the scene as the thing came ashore at an industrial park, shooting its heat beam and destroying everything in its path. Tanks and jets were already forming a line, but the thing shrugged off their missiles like they were mosquitoes. Even maser tanks only annoyed it. And the beast knew how to remove annoyances: either by crushing them under its oversized feet, sweeping them aside with its massive tail, or obliterating them with its heat beam.
As soon as he was able to find his voice, Vegeta said, "what the hell is that thing?"
Bulma was almost catatonic. her large eyes stared unblinking. She whispered, "Godzilla."
"Godzilla," she whispered again, seemingly oblivious.
Vegeta gripped Bulma's shoulders. That snapped her out of it.
"Are you all right, Mom?"
"None of us are all right, Trunks. That thing is Godzilla."
"I've never heard of it," said Trunks.
"Me, neither," said Gohan.
"You wouldn't have, boys. It happened a long time ago, before any of us were born."
"I think you'd better tell us all you know, Bulma," Krillin said, helping her to sit down.
Bulma took a deep, shuddering breath. "After the Great War, the people of Earth started making nuclear weapons. They tested them on islands they thought were uninhabited. But one of those islands had a dinosaur on it, like the one you fought, Gohan-kun."
"That dinosaur somehow absorbed the radiation and mutated into Godzilla. He attacked Tokyo, and nearly destroyed it before he was lured into the sea. Supposedly, he was trapped in ice north of Hokkaido. Everyone figured he was, since he was never seen again."
What could have woken him up?"
"That's easy, Krillin-san," Gohan said. "The Russian sub. It was nuclear-powered, enough to revive it."
"It's worse than that. My father survived the original Godzilla attack. He said that it was around sixty meters tall. But this Godzilla has to be at least one-hundred meters tall. Which means that it becomes more powerful whenever it absorbs nuclear radiation."
Marron, a marine biologist, was stunned. "How can a creature like that even exist? Something so opposed to life?"
"Godzilla is death incarnate, honey. The gods sent him to punish humanity for our hubris. We did a terrible thing when we invented those weapons. It made Godzilla angry. He will never forget and never forgive. And we won't stop."
"So this isn't just about Japan?" Goten asked.
"No. Godzilla will destroy everything and everyone. Unless we can defeat him, he won't stop until everything is gone."
"That's unbelievable," Pan whispered.
"If this Godzilla is so well-known," Krillin said, "how come I've never heard of him?"
"His existence was erased by a government blackout."
"What difference does that make now?" Vegeta was livid. "That thing will destroy the whole planet unless we stop it."
"And how do we do that," 18 snapped, "when that thing is a million times bigger than us with that kind of power?"
"We'll need more than strength, Vegeta, "Bulma said. "We need cleverness."
"You talk as if that thing were some sort of god. It's just a beast, no matter how powerful it is. It can't be invincible."
"Even if it isn't, Dad, how do we get close to it? It's powered by nuclear radiation."
"And the more nuclear energy it soaks up, the more powerful it gets," Pan added.
"Excuse us. Maybe we can help."
Everybody turned to where the voices seemed to be coming from. Voices? It sounded like one voice coming from two places.
"Who's there?" It was Goku who made the challenge.
From behind a radio set on a side table stepped two girls notable for three things: their beauty, their islander fashion, and their height of thirty centimeters. "Do not be afraid. We are here to help you."
"No offense," Goten said, "but how can you help us?"
"We sensed your need."
"One of you reached out psychically. That is how we found you."
"Wait," Bra said, "you mean you could sense me?"
"Yes. It is how we communicate with Mothra."
"Mothra?" Goku asked. "Who's Mothra?"
"Our god. She will help you."
"I guess we can go on a little faith here," Goku said. "What do we do?"
"You, my lady," they said, pointing to Bra, "will come back with us to Infant Island."
"No," Vegeta roared, "We need her! We'll need all the bodies we can throw at Godzilla!"
"Daddy, that's why I have to go."
"You must do this. Mothra has just given birth. She needs the energy of your spirit."
The words registered with Vegeta, but he held back. "Very well. The rest of us will head Godzilla off. We'll buy you all the time you need."
"You don't suffer from overconfidence or anything?" said 18.
"What choice do we have?" Goku said. "Let's do it!"
By the time the Z warriors arrived, Godzilla had forced the Japanese Self Defense Force into a retreat. The king of the monsters had turned the coastal industrial park into a sea of fire.
"My god," said Gohan.
"Yeah," Goten replied, "look at the size of that monster."
Gohan turned a little more quickly than the others at the sound of the rough voice. "Piccolo-san!" The mighty Namekian had joined the battle.
"Okay, everyone! Power up!"
The Saiyans entered the first Super Saiyan form, except for Gohan, who didn't need to do so. The others pushed themselves as high as possible. Then they all launched ki blasts.
The attacks had an effect, but not the one they had hoped for. Godzilla turned with speed surprising for such a gigantic creature and locked his eyes-great, baleful orbs of mailce-on them. For one long moment, nothing happened. It was as if the world held its breath.
Godzilla broke the silence with a god-awful roar of rage. He reared his head back and his dorsal spines were glowing.
"Run!" Piccolo shouted. The heroes scattered just in time to avoid the terrible, withering blast Godzilla unleashed from his dragon-like mouth.
"Wow," Goten said, "that thing's packing a punch!"
"Damn it," Vegeta snarled, "that big iguana has pissed me off!" He placed his hands together.
"Cover him!" Piccolo yelled. The others didn't need any prompting. 18, Pan and Trunks blasted Godzilla from the left; Goku and his sons from the right. That seemed to confuse the monster. For a few seconds, Godzilla seemed seized by inaction.
That was the opening Vegeta needed. "Final Flash," he cried, releasing a terrible blast that outshone the sun for a split-second. It struck the nuclear beast full-on.
When everyone's vision had cleared, their hearts sank. Godzilla was damaged, yes, but the wounds were closing before their eyes. And he was still on his feet.
"My best attack..."
"Snap out of it," Piccolo said, "or it'll be your last attack!"
It was definitely time for a new approach. "All right, green man. Regroup!" Damn it, Princess! Where are you?
Bra flew with all speed, guided by the two fairies, to their home island. When they landed, they were surrounded by normal-sized people. These were the island natives, primitive by the standards of the outside world. Many were done up in furry headdresses with leaf-like protrusions and gems for eyes.
Bra was smart as well as pretty. It clicked with her immediately. They said their god was Mothra.
A man with a long white beard and a much more ornate costume than the others stepped forward. Clearly, he was an important man. "There must be great trouble for outsiders to come here."
"There is," the fairies said, always in unison. "Godzilla has reappeared."
"He'll destroy every person on the planet, sir," Bra pleaded. "If you can do something, you must."
"She is right, High Priest."
The high priest sighed. "It is Mothra's choice. Go."
The fairies led Bra to a range of mountains. At the peak of the tallest one was a cave, gigantic in size.
"Mothra's in there?"
"Yes. We will call her.
Mosura ya Mosura Dongankasa kuyan indo muu Rusuto riadoaa hamba hamba muyan randa bangu radan tounjukanra kusaku yum!
"Sing, Bra-chan. Sing with us to give Mothra strength."
They all sang powerfully.
"Mosura ya Mosura Dongankasa kuyan indo muu Rusuto riadoaa hamba hamba muyan randa bangu radan tounjukanra kusaku yum!"
A loud, high-pitched chirp rang from inside the mountain. Slowly, something emerged. It crawled out onto a ledge, fully visible. It was a gigantic insect, with lush, vibrant colors. Its wings were bright and full, like a butterfly, with red, blue and gold speckles. Its head was furry, like a moth, with brownish-gold highlights and yellowish-white around the sparkling, gem-like blue eyes.
Bra gasped in wonder. "She's beautiful!"
"Yes. She is also very powerful."
Mothra chirped in rapid succession.
"She says she will follow us."
"Then let's go! And pray the others can hold off Godzilla."
The others were not faring well. Goten's arm and side had been burned by the heat from a near-miss by Godzilla's atomic breath. He was still in the fight, but this was a threat above all others.
Realizing that a frontal assault from the ground was foolhardy, the Z Fighters took to the air, buzzing the nuclear titan from all directions. This had some advantages: without a single target, the brute's primitive brain could not draw a bead. He was confused.
But it had its problems as well. Not only did Godzilla's heat beam present a threat, but his club-like tail was surprisingly flexible and had a substantial reach. Worse, without the ability to charge mega-attacks, the heroes weren't doing lasting damage. The only effect they seemed to be having was to keep Godzilla from pushing further inland.
"This is hopeless," Trunks said. "Goten, if we combine, maybe we can do it."
"We'll cover you, boys," Goku said, tossing a senzu to Goten.
With Godzilla sufficiently distracted, Trunks and Goten powered up as far as they could go and performed the fusion dance. Thankfully, they got it right and Gotenks was formed.
"Ghost attack!" Gotenks used his favorite attack and launched dozens of ki "ghosts" that resembled him. The semi-intelligent specters homed in on the atomic monster and exploded on contact. Oddly, this had an effect. Godzilla recoiled.
"Yes," Gohan shouted. "While he's distracted! KA-ME-HA-ME-HA!" Gohan unleashed a tremendous blue wave of energy, similar in appearance to Godzilla's heat ray. It crashed into Godzilla with earth-shattering force.
And then it happened. Godzilla reeled and toppled to the ground, shrieking with rage.
"Pour it on," Vegeta yelled.
A fusillade of ki attacks bombarded the reptilian giant as it thrashed on the ground.
"Hey," Piccolo shouted over the din, "what's happening?"
Godzilla was now glowing with his whole body, not just his dorsal spines. All of the energy pounding him and all of the energy powering him were clashing. It had to go somewhere. In this case, it went everywhere. Godzilla unleashed a shock wave of energy that knocked all of the Z Warriors to the ground and Gotenks out of fusion. The only good thing was that they were a fair distance from the dragon-like monster and only absorbed a diffused portion of the blast.
The shock wave made a mess. The Z Warriors staggered to their feet. "Everybody okay?" Krillin asked.
"No," Pan said. "I think I broke my arm."
Goten took a senzu and gave it to the girl.
"Okay," Vegeta snarled, "new ideas."
"And fast," Piccolo said. "Big Boy's already back on his feet."
"Am I late?"
"Bra-chan!" Gohan called out her name as the teen landed, carrying the two fairies. "Give us good news!"
Bra and the fairies pointed to the sky. Not that they needed to; the massive wind was a dead giveaway as a titanic moth flew into the battle zone.
"Great," Vegeta grumbled, "another monster."
Mothra hovered before Godzilla, chirping. The reptilian beast roared, as if in a challenge. He would not be disappointed. Before Godzilla could react, Mothra charged him full-on. slamming into Godzilla. The impact knocked him to the ground, electricity crackling all around him.
"Wow," Goten said, "that was amazing!"
"Mothra can do many things."
The immense insect swooped around while Godzilla was still dazed and unleashed a ferocious assault of lightning-like beams from her antennae and beneath her wings. Godzilla was flailing wildly, foaming at the mouth. He shot his ray at Mothra wildly, but she released a storm of golden powder which deflected the beam away harmlessly.
Trunks threw his hands in the air and cheered. "Yeah! Get him, Mothra! I promise I'll never swat a bug again!"
Godzilla's struggles were lessening, his blasts less frequent. Finally, he lay spent, terrible wounds opened up on his near-impervious hide. Mothra rose into the air, glowing brightly.
"Mothra is preparing to finish the battle," The fairies said. Mothra hovered, gaining energy.
But Godzilla was not out yet. And perhaps he was smarter than he seemed. He had been "playing possum." He quickly rolled onto his back and blasted his atomic ray. The beam struck Mothra full-on. She crumpled to the ground, he wings on fire.
Everyone watching was in utter shock, unable to speak. The silence was broken by Bra. "Mothra! Get up!"
"Please," Pan begged. "Please get up! You've got to!"
Slowly, Mothra fluttered. She was still alive, still trying to fight. But Godzilla was already back on his feet, advancing. He let out a roar, seemingly worse than the rest. His spines began to glow...
The Z Warriors rushed forward, hoping to divert the monster's attention, but they were too late. From Godzilla's mouth erupted an enormous beam, not blue this time, but red, clearly more powerful than the normal beam-substantially so, for even at the distance, the concussive force was enough to knock them back. Before anyone could do anything, Mothra, guardian of the Earth, was incinerated. Godzilla roared in triumph.
"NO!" Bra screamed and flailed, even when her father tried to hold her. She sobbed hysterically.
"Mothra...dead." Gohan was nearly catatonic.
"She gave everything she had to save us," Pan said, tears running down her cheeks.
"And it wasn't enough," Krillin wheezed. "If a creature with that much power can't do it, then it's hopeless."
"What the hell kind of talk is that?" Vegeta was apoplectic. "We can't give up!"
"There's nothing we can do, Daddy. Nothing can stop Godzilla now."
"We have to try! We're all this world has! I lost one planet! I won't lose this one! Are you with me? Or do I fight this battle alone?"
"I'm with you, Vegeta," Goku said. No one was leaving.
"We need a plan," Piccolo said. "A direct assault will get us killed."
Gohan's eyes became bright. "A trench. Let's put our backs into it!"
Trunks gripped Goten's hand. "See you on the other side, buddy."
"It's a date."
The fairies watched as the valiant warriors charged off to their fate. There was only one thing to do.
"Mosura ya Mosura Dongankasa kuyan indo muu Rusuto riadoaa hamba hamba muyan randa bangu radan tounjukanra kusaku yun!"
The psychic singing was unheard by the heroes. Their energy blasts dug a deep trench in the heated ground, turning the sides to glass- much like patches of earth where Godzilla's nuclear breath had struck. There was no way to dig deep enough to trap the monster, but that was not the intent. They were trying to slow him down.
"Kakarot, we'll get his attention. We'll hold it as long as we can, but there's only one chance now."
"A spirit bomb. I'll try."
"Find a hiding spot. When it's ready, you know what to do."
"Okay," the larger Saiyan said, dropping out of Super form. He sprang to where the two fairies were. He didn't comprehend why they were singing. All he said was, "give some of that to me," before raising his arms and concentrating.
Godzilla was annoyed with these dust mites. He advanced, destroying all in his path. That was exactly what the heroes wanted him to do. As soon as he stepped into the trench, he faltered, crashing forward onto his chest.
"Now! Big Bang Attack!"
Everyone used their signature attacks in a firestorm.
"Beef it up," Vegeta screamed.
"Yes," Goku said, "the energy is gathering. It has to work!"
"Okay," Gohan yelled, "cut it off."
The others needed no prompting. They were nearly spent.
The fusillade had thrown up a massive cloud of debris and dust. As it cleared, Godzilla was revealed. He had rolled onto his side and was attempting to rise. Large wounds had been opened up on his body.
"He's weakening," Goten said.
"So are we," Krillin replied. "I've got nothing left. We have to regroup."
"I'm through running," Vegeta said. "We've got to give Kakarot more time!"
"Wait," Goten said. "Bro, you know how Father, you and I can combine our blasts?"
"I get you, little brother. Everyone, power up as high as possible. When I give the order, focus your attacks in one massive ki cannon."
"And fast," 18 said.
"Everyone pushed themselves to the upper limit.
Godzilla rose to his feet and bellowed in pain and rage. He reared up for another blast.
The combined blast streaked toward the titanic terror just as his atomic beam fired. The blasts met in midair; thus began a ferocious clash of energies, each side pushing, neither seeming to gain the upper hand. When Godzilla beefed up the power, so did the Z warriors. It was as if they had set the sky on fire. With one final tremendous burst on either side, the energies exploded in a tremendous concussive shock wave. Everyone, including Godzilla, was thrown off their feet.
"Ugh," groaned Gohan, "I'm through." He tried to raise himself off his stomach, but his arms gave out.
"Here, Dad," Trunks said. He was on his side and bleeding from a gash on his head.
"D-Daddy?" Bra appeared seriously hurt. Scratches and burns adorned her arms, legs and face.
Vegeta dragged himself up and stumbled over to them. He fell to his knees, gripping their hands. "No matter what, we're together."
"I love you, Dad."
"I love you, Daddy."
Goku could see that his friends were spent. Sadly, he could also see that his spirit bomb was nowhere near big enough to take down Godzilla. "Come on," he urged, "we're outta time!"
"If it is time you need, Son-san," the fairies chirped, "you shall have it."
Godzilla struggled to his feet, ready to finish these meddlesome specks once and for all. But he did not even have time to charge an atomic blast when a colorful, fuzzy missile descended from the sky.
"Look," Piccolo said.
"It's...Mothra," Goten said, stunned.
"A different one," Vegeta pointed out.
The giant moth which chirped its defiance was substantially different from the first. Its wings spanned the rainbow, its eyes were green instead of blue, and its head was black. It swooped in close, but Godzilla rolled into a fast tail swipe. It was a glancing blow, but the new Mothra reeled back. It was time for a different tactic. A bright golden energy cross shot from Mothra's antennae. It exploded on contact and Godzilla gave back. Mothra kept up the pressure with a wing hurricane.
"Wow," Goku said, "this thing's growing!"
"Yes," the fairies said, "Mothra also draws power from all life."
"Ha! No way Godzilla can stand up to two attacks."
Mothra ceased her windy barrage. From her body came a green powder, almost like spores. She flapped the powder toward Godzilla and the nuclear dinosaur seemed disoriented, but only for a moment. His dorsal spines began to glow, and he blasted his heat ray.
It was not aimed at Mothra, but at the exhausted Z Warriors. Without hesitation, Mothra dove in front of it to shield them. Her special powder deflected some of the blast, but not all of it. The force blasted her into the side of a building.
"Damn the devil's mother," Goku cursed, "that monster has more tricks than a wizard!"
"Son-san, release the spirit bomb."
"No way! It'll have to be twice this big to stop Godzilla!"
"Use it on Mothra."
"Are you crazy? I'll kill her!"
Goku bared his teeth and threw the massive blue energy sphere. Instead of killing Mothra, it seemed to cause a metamorphosis. Mothra's body changed, plates growing over, terminating in sharp points. Her whole body was now covered in gleaming armor.
"Now you will see Mothra at her peak."
"I have to help the others."
Mothra launched a blistering attack on Godzilla, blasting him with lightning from her antennae and slashing him with the razor-sharp ends of her wings. Nothing he did seemed to have any effect on her.
At the same time, Goku split up a few senzu among the other Z Warriors. They sprang back up, fully healed an ready.
"I thought that iguana had us that time," Piccolo said.
"Do we help Mothra?"
"Gohan, my boy," Goku said, "I don't think she needs our help."
Mothra's wing tore a gash in Godzilla's shoulder. When he tried another atomic blast, part of it exploded out through the wound. The atomic dinosaur howled in pain and horror.
That was all the opportunity Mothra needed. She rose into the sky and summoned what later stories called the Omega Buster. Drawing power from the sun itself, the release came in the form of a titanic lightning bolt. It struck Godzilla dead-on, surging through his body. He gave one final howl, then collapsed, completely still.
Everyone approached cautiously. "Is he dead?" Pan's question broke the silence.
"I can't tell," Gohan said.
"Keep your guard up. Princess, can you sense anything?"
"Nothing. Before, the creature was pure hatred. Now, there's nothing."
"Then it is dead," Goku said, carrying the two fairies.
"What do we do with it?" Vegeta asked. "Even dead, it's still radioactive."
"Leave that to Mothra," said the little ones.
Sure enough, Mothra grabbed the immense reptile and lifted him off the ground. Then she flew eastward, out of sight. After some time, she returned. She landed near the battle site, chirping.
"Mothra says, 'thank you.'"
"We should thank her," Bra said, rubbing the creature's foreleg. "We'd have all been roasted if not for her and her mother."
"You faced Godzilla when others ran. And you helped Mothra achieve her ultimate form. Godzilla would have triumphed without you."
"If Mothra ever needs our help..."
"We'll call on you, Goten-chan."
"And we'll know who to ask for if we need aid," Piccolo said.
"Let's go home," Gohan said as Mothra and the little fairies rose into the sky.
When the heroes arrived home, their families rushed to hug them, laughing and crying at the same time.
"We saw the fight on the news," Bulma said, regaining her composure. "I thought you were...dead."
"I thought we were, too," said Krillin.
"That Godzilla was utterly unlike anything any of us have ever seen," Vegeta said. "But we know how to defeat death incarnate: with new life."
"I hate to throw a damper on the victory party," Marron said, "but all of you guys should be decontaminated for radiation."
"She's right," Bulma said. "We all should."
"We took senzu," Pan said.
"Your clothes didn't," Bulma said. "Relax; it'll only take a few minutes."
"It will be worth it," Vegeta said.
"I expected you to put up a fight, Vegeta," Bulma snarked. "Not for any reason, but just because you're you."
Vegeta ignored the giggles, strode forth and placed his hand on Bulma's stomach. "I meant what I said about a new life."
It was a count of about one, two, three and Bulma whispered, "a baby?"
"The other night. I wasn't sure until just now."
"A baby...a new baby..."
"Are you all right, Onna?"
"All right? Am I all right? I love you!" She threw her arms around him. "And I love it already!"
Everyone was celebrating.
The ocean had become a graveyard. A deep-sea trench was now a tomb for a monster-god.
And somewhere in that nowhere of smothering darkness and cold, a heart beat...an eye opened...and a tremendous roar of vengeance shook the sea floor...