CHAPTER THIRTEEN1,637 Views4 RepliesAdd A Reply
Sedona, Arizona Monarch Outpost 55 Titanus Scylla
Rick drove from Flagstaff to Sedona on the winding road through Oak Creek Canyon, admiring as he always did the great beauty of the place. Forty years he had been making this drive, and he still loved it. He thought about how he'd brought his children here, when they were young, to play in the creek. one day he explained that the stone the canyon cut through had been laid down mostly in the Permian period, and they'd spent the rest of the day crawling on all fours through the horsetails pretending to be dimetrodons, the top predators of the early Permian. He was a rock hound and a paleontologist at heart, but that didn't always pay so well, so he'd put his degree to work in the oilfields down around Sedona. He reached the field and pulled his truck around by the office, a prefab metal building. He climbed out and stood for a moment, watched the pumpjacks bobbing up and down, like giant metal versions of the drinking bird toy he'd had as a kid. The pumpjacks, of course, were drinking oil- or as his youngest, Molly, liked to put it, "sucking the earth's blood." The operation was mostly automated, but there were workers around, minding things. About half a mile away he saw the government guys were unusually busy. They had commandeered some land a few years back, claiming some sort of bio-hazard. It didn't matter; they could pull the oil right out from under them, and they kept to themselves. Sawyer stuck his head out of the shed. "Hey Rick" He nodded. "I was headed on west to have a look at the new site," he said. "I thought I would check in here first." "Did you get my text?" "I was in the canyon," he said. He pulled his phone out. "There it is." "I just sent it," Sawyer said. "It's your seismograph. It's going loony." "Huh," Rick said. The seismograph was something he'd built, mostly for fun, nearly thirty years ago. His son Evan had helped him update it a few years back, so it recorded digitally, instead of on paper. Sawyer was right; the usually flat line was looking excited, as if recording a distant earthquake, and a pretty big one. Or else a little one, right under the ground where they were standing. As he watched, the waves continued to spike. Now he felt it in his feet. The shed was starting to rattle. "You think it's one of the rigs?" Sawyer asked. "I don't know," he said. "But I don't like it." He stepped outside, looking at the field with a more critical gaze. "I don't-" The ground exploded, and something long and black stabbed out of it, arched over, and slammed back into the ground about twenty yards from the shack. Rick stepped back so fast he banged into the shed. "Holy mother-" sawyer swore. They were sticking up everywhere, jamming into the ground. Jointed, covered in bristle-like hairs. The earth jumped and just lifted up. Almost quietly, the pumpjacks slid into the it left. It. He was barely aware that he and Sawyer were only a few feet from the pit it had come up out of. His whole nervous system felt like it was shutting down, the thinking part of his mind overwhelmed by fear hundreds of millions of years old, encoded in the primitive brains of his chordate ancestors when they were prey to things like this. It's spider legs held up a bulbous body, a face of squirming tentacles under two merciless eyes, buried in something like a cuttlefish. David. Anna. Molly, he thought, picturing their faces. "The goddamndest thing," Sawyer said. it was the last thing Rick ever heard.
Near Munich, Germany Monarch Outpost 67 Titanus Methuselah
The cork came out of the bottle with a loud pop, sailing across the meadow. "That's littering," Lara said, smoothing out the blanket and placing their little picnic of cheese, bread, and strawberries on it. "It's cork," Jannik said. "Biodegradable." "Um-humm," she said, as he poured the champagne into two plastic cups. "Paper is also biodegradable, but if you throw it on the ground, it's littering." He handed her a cup. "Prost," he said. They both took a sip. "Listen," Jannik said. "I grew up right here, you know. You see that mountain there?" "You're trying to change the subject from littering," she said. But she glanced behind her and saw the mountain he meant, rising over the trees. "My grandfather told me it wasn't always there. There was a village instead. And then one day a guy who was traveling in some other country came home. The village was gone, and that mountain was there." "I see," Lara said. "And when did this happen?" "Very long ago," he said. "The Middle Ages, maybe." "Your grandfather must have been pretty old"> "My family has been here for centuries," he said. "But let me tell you the other thing about this mountain. They say if you bring a pretty girl here, and ask her to kiss you, sha can't say no." "Oh, I see," Lara. "well, it's a good thing you haven;'t asked me. I would hate to prove your legend wrong." He grinned and leaned toward her. "But I will prove it wrong," she said. He stopped and reddened a bit. Jannik was used to getting his way with girls, she knew. With his long blond hair and blue eyes, he was almost pretty, and he could be interesting if he wanted to, so maybe someday she wouldn't mind that kiss. Maybe even later today. But not now. "Are all university girls so hard to get?" he asked. "You tell me," she said. "You've gotten plenty of them, from what I've heard." "what's wrong with that?" he asked. "I like educated women." "I like men who don't litter." "Fine," he sighed. He stood up and wandered off in the direction the cork had flown. She had a strawberry and looked off into the distance. "A-ha!" Jannik said. He held the cork up. And then his gaze went past her. His eyes widened. "The mountain..." he said. "Oh, now am I going to hear more about this magic mountain?" she said. Come on, you've tried that before. Be original.” “No,” he said. “The mountain, it-“ His scream was surprisingly high-pitched. It was so surprising it set her skin on edge. He turned and ran. “Really, he’s taking this too far,” she said. But then she felt the earth shift below her. She turned around and saw the mountain was standing up on four immense legs. It had a face and horns like a bull from some ancient hell. And as she watched, it put one ponderous limb forward and then another. The forest growing on its rocky back shivered and shook with each step. She didn’t scream; she kept her breath quiet. It was half a kilometer away, at least. It would never notice her unless she drew its attention. They had walked here after taking the train from Munich to the little town over the hill. She thought that was where it was going. When its head was out of sight she picked up the champagne bottle and began drinking.
Indian Ocean Classified Monarch Outpost Undesignated Titan
In his office beneath the Indian Ocean, Dr. Kingsley Ikande lay on his cot and watched the surface of the some ten meters above him. He had tried to take a nap- he hadn’t slept in over twenty-four hours- but sleep eluded him. He was too troubled. He meant to fly to Lagos, to see his wife and little girl for a week. And now all of this. He knew Emma Russel; his dissertation had been based on some of her early work. He'd had the great pleasure to meet her, at a conference. There, she had recruited him for Monarch. It was so hard to believe she had gone mad. Two Titans unleashed on the world, and the suspicion was that she would try to release more. Their floating containment was probably one of the safest; very far from land. Anything flying or moving under the water would be noticed from very far away. But that didn't stop him worrying, of course. Let the nap go. He was going back up. But instead, he went to go see Kraken. That wasn't it's official name. it still hadn't been assigned one in the Monarch classification. That was fitting, since this outpost was similarly unnamed. But someone-he seemed to remember it was Delvin- had called it Kraken, and the name had stuck. They had discovered the sleeping Titan on a seamount in relatively shallow water, curled around the remains of a nuclear sub that had been missing for decades. They had built the containment around him, sub and all. He was in deep hibernation and didn't seem to have noticed a thing. The habitable part of the base- the living quarters, the control room, the laboratories- was all either on the surface or near it. But to observe the Titan directly- or take some sort of sample- several elevators ran through the ocean down to various points adjacent to the beast. They had learned quite a bit about Kraken. X-rays, sonic scans, DNA analysis, had built a picture of what he must be like. His central brain cavity was enormous, far larger than it needed to be in control his body, suggesting a certain amount of intelligence, not unlike his distant cousins, the octopuses-although unlike octopuses and squids, his head was protected by a a dense, curving cone of shell. He had dozens of smaller brains associated with his limbs. Like octopuses, he could change the color and pattern of his skin and shell; when they found him, he had been virtually invisible. They pinpointed his location by radiation signature and his bio-sonic emission. He had multiple hearts, and there was good evidence that he could regenerate his limbs and, in fact, virtually any part of his body. The elevator came to a stop; Ikande stepped out. One of the techs, Jane Harris, looked up from her instruments as he came in. Otherwise, the lab was empty. The large window faced one of Kraken's eyes. It was closed and had been closed since they found him. Jin, the paleobiologist, thought he was in the middle of a sleep cycle that might last another decade, unless he was threatened. They had been quite careful not to make him feel threatened. "Anything new?" he asked. Harris shook her head. "No, nothing. Same as always. All functions are there, but at very low levels. How about topside? Any more Titans cut loose?" He shrugged. "Nothing new there, either. I almost feel slighted. Why wouldn't our big fellow be invited to the ball?" "Don't even say it," she replied. She frowned. "What?" she fiddled with her equipment. "Nothing, I guess. There was just a little spike, but it went right back down. No, wait..." The com light suddenly blinked on. He answered it. "Ikande here." "Dr. Ikande, it's Jen. We just got a flood of reports. Titans have been released in at least four other locations, simultaneously." "Released? By terrorists?" "It's unclear, Doctor. Things are kind of chaotic at those sites." "Of course they are," he said. He looked back at Jane, who was now frowning in earnest. "What is it?" He demanded. "Is he waking up?" If he was, the containment field should still hold him, but there was no way to be certain of that. If he woke like the other Titans, it would be best to use the kill switch. Emma had clearly thought of something the rest of them hadn't. "No," Jane said. "The opposite. His hearts are shutting down, one by one." She looked over at him. "He's dying." "Why?" "I have no idea. It's like he's having an allergic reaction or something. Everything's dropping off, including radiation signature." He stared at Kraken's lidded eye, trying to decide how he felt. This creature had been put in his charge, and he failed it. He knew how many of the Monarch scientists-like Serizawa-felt about the creatures. On the other hand, if it died naturally, he wouldn't have to pull the kill switch. "Did you get all of that, Jen?" he asked. "I did," she replied. "I...don't understand." "Call it in," he said. "Tell Castle Bravo we'll be sending them our data. Maybe whatever happened to-" His words stopped in his throat. Kraken's eye was open, staring at him. "Oh,God," he said. "Turn on the containment field." "Done," Jane said. "Doctor, I'm still getting nothing. This says he's dead." "His eye is open!" "Maybe some postmortem reaction-" but then she broke off, too. One of the tentacles was suddenly right there, pushing against the containment field-no, pushing through it, effortlessly. "What is happening?" Ikande yelled. "The field works on living Titans," Jane said, getting up from her workstation, knocking a coffee cup off. It shattered on the floor. "Kraken still doesn't read as alive." "I..." His skin prickled, and suddenly he felt very cold as understanding dawned. Oh, ****. Protective coloration was only the surface of what this thing could do. It could mimic other states. It could make sonar think it wasn't hearing anything, disguise its radiation signature. Play dead. The tentacle was reaching for them, but it wasn't here yet. He bolted toward the kill switch. But the tube suddenly collapsed and water rushed in with such a force that it almost knocked him out. He saw the other tentacle that had reached around from the back, quietly wrapped around the elevator tube. He got his bearings and tried to swim toward the surface, but Kraken was way ahead of him, grappling the floating base and dragging it down by the middle. Ikande kicked desperately, until something took hold of his leg and yanked him back down.
Tingua Preserve, Brazil Monarch Outpost 58 Titanus Behemoth
Mariko crawled through the hatch and into the access tunnel. The alarms were blaring, and everyone was running around crazy. Behemoth was awake. He had been sleeping deep in a cave in the Tingua preserve not far from Rio de Janeiro. Mariko had been on the crew that discovered him, her first job with Monarch. First job, period. After the containment was set up, she had volunteered to stay on. It was actually a great gig. Behemoth was, to her, the most interesting of the Titans, and when free time came her way, Rio and its beaches were less than an hour away-quicker, if she could catch a helicopter ride. Her Portuguese had gotten pretty decent, she'd made friends. She was only twenty-five; the future had looked bright. But now everything had changed. She reached her destination, a panel on the wall of the tunnel. She did her job quickly, then continued down the tunnel, opened another panel, and dropped down into the room beyond. Mounted high in the cave, the room was shaped like a hockey puck. The wall of the cir***ference was transparent, giving her a good view of the giant below. His legs were folded under him; his mighty tusks curving above him. As she watched, he struggled against the containment field, trying to stand up. "Mariko? Why didn't you just use the door?" She turned and found Erik staring at her, his bespectacled eyes full of puzzlement. "I was checking the wiring in the access tunnel," she said. "The meter downstairs showed some resistance. It looks okay up here, though." "You could have sent a tech," he said. "Yeah," she said. "But I wanted the view." "Are you crazy? He's trying to break out. Like the others." "I know," Mariko said. "What are you up here for?" "Backup," he said. "Dr. Singh has us on standby to use the kill switch." Not all the kill switches were the same. Each was tailored to its Titan. And no one was sure if any of them would work. But Singh was pretty confident with their setup. Behemoth roared and pushed up hard, swinging his head through the containment field and shredding the equipment that powered it. The field vanished. Floodlights snapped on, everywhere. Toward the front of the cave, dozens of security personnel took their positions. "Erik?" the voice came over the intercom built into a control panel that otherwise had a few indicators and a single switch, locked beneath a cover with a keypad entry. "Dr. Singh," Erik replied. "We've had negative results here- we're not sure why. Go ahead and enable the backup kill switch." "Will do, Doctor." He punched in a code and flipped up the cover. "Enabled," he said. "Do it," Singh said. Erik reached out and flipped the switch. Nothing happened. He flipped it back, and then again. "Nothing's happening," he reported. He checked the instruments. "There's no power!" "No," Mariko said. "There's not." Erik looked at her, eyes wide, then glanced at the hatch to the access tunnel. "You were in there. You cut the line that triggers the cascade." She nodded. "Oh my God," he said. "Are you one of them?" "I'm Monarch," she said. She nodded toward Behemoth. "Look at him," she said. "You think we have the right to just kill a god? He was here long before we were. There are cave paintings of him in here that are twelve thousand years old. That's just after people got here. The indigenous people still have a name for him-Mapinguary. You heard Emma. We have to let him go." "You're as crazy as she is. How long have you been working with her?" "I'm not," she said. "At least not the way you mean. You heard her speech. She's right. Our seas are dying, the rainforests are nearly gone, thousands of species exterminated. I'm proud to help her" Behemoth rose to his full height. Or at least his full height on four legs. There was a running bet about whether he could go bipedal or not. She was in the "yes" camp. His tusks and thick hair made him look superficially like a mammoth, but he was really built more like a giant ground sloth; his forelimbs were longer than the back, and he rested on the knuckles of hands or paws with thick, sharp claws. The only way he could use those claws was to stand up on his stubbier hind limbs. She saw muzzle flashes from small arms but couldn't hear the gunshots. "You've killed us all," Erik said. "Probably," she said. Behemoth leaned back, and his forelimbs came up from the floor. His tusks dug into the ceiling, and the entire cave shook. He swatted the soldiers shooting at him with his claws. It looked almost funny from this distance, like he was knocking over toy soldiers. She felt sorry for them, for everyone who had to die. But this was how it had to be. "I was right," she said. "About what?" "Bipedal," she said. "Goddamn it," Erik yelled. He climbed into the crawlway. It didn't matter. There was no way he could fix it, not in time. Blue-white flame jetted toward the Titan from somewhere near her. Behemoth screamed and turned around. He was facing her now; she could see his eyes, the eyes of a god. An angry god, whose sanctuary had been violated. The fire spewed at him again. This time she saw where it came from, a nozzle protruding from the ceiling. She hadn't known about that. Behemoth saw it, too. He roared and lunged forward. "Come on," she whispered. "You know what do do." The ceiling of the cave was higher, here. This time when he rose up, he was nearly at his full standing height. His face was meters from her when his tusks smashed into the ceiling. Huge chunks of stone tore loose, followed by a tremendous explosion as the reservoir of napalm or whatever it was breached. Behemoth turned back toward the cave entrance, covered in flame. The fire seemed to find no purchase on his fur, and quickly burned out. He didn't look hurt at all. The cave, however, was filling with fire,and rock was still falling. The observation room shooked. Mariko had one last sight of Behemoth, crashing through the barriers at the cave entrance.
Jebel Barkal, Sudan Monarch Outpost 75 Titanus Mokele-Mbembe
The ground twitched beneath Nez's feet. She almost didn't notice, but then she saw that nearly everyone in the control room was looking around, puzzled. Then the floor lurched, and people began screaming. "Satellite?" Nez snapped. "I've got nothing," Connaught said. She turned on her headset. "Squads," she said. "Everyone shout out, in order. What are you seeing out there?" None of the helicopters had seen anything, nor had anyone on the ground. The desert was quiet. Nothing on radar, either. "It's M&M," Keller said. "He's moving." "Hit the kill switch," she told Kearns. He shook his head. "Turn on the containment field." "I'm way ahead of you," Keller told him. The floor kicked up, hard, overturning tables, sending people and equipment flying. "What the hell is going on?" Kearns yelled. "Radiation levels are rising," Keller said. "And I'm getting something on the bio-sonar monitor." "Mokele?" "Yes. His heartbeat is quickening. But there's something else, something more distant. Sir, he's pushing against the field." Nez keyed on the radio. "I want all choppers back here, now," she said. "Recon units, you too. Be ready to fight." She looked up at Kearns. "He can't get through the field," the scientist said. "He can push all day. Mothra's field was sabotaged. Ours is intact." "Sir, that's bull****," Nez said. "He's breaking free. You know what you have to do. If you don't, I will." "Sergeant," Lang said. "These creatures-" "Jesus," Keller swore. The lights dimmed. "What?" Kearns snapped. "The containment field just overloaded." "Evacuate the base," Nez said. "Now." The she pushed him aside and ran toward the kill switch, only yards away. Before she got there the entire building abruptly flipped on its side. She flailed through space and hit the wall so hard it knocked half a ghost out of her. Nez came to with the taste of blood in her mouth, a god-awful stench in her nostrils, and a sound like a rockslide that just went on and on. Bodies littered what used to be the wall of the building; the whole place was shaking. The power was out, but light poured in through splits in the metal of the prefab. As she rose to her feet, the whole building dropped and tilted again, more slowly this time, until it was upright again. She was two meters from the door. It burst open and sand and gravel began pouring in through the bottom third. They were sinking. "Everybody out, now!" she yelled. Kearns was clearly dead, as several others. Keller and Esmail were alive, but dazed. "Out, I said!" Esmail nodded rapidly, scrambling up the mound of dirt and through the door. She managed to get Keeler on his feet and dragged him through. Outside, the once-level ground was now a slope. The three of them scrambled up it as the building behind dropped another few meters, burying the door. She turned and stared. It was like watching him being born. He emerged from beneath one of the pyramids. Control had been almost on top of his containment and was now falling in the hole Mokele-Mbembe was leaving behind. Most of the compound was still intact. Monarch personnel were pouring from the buildings, screaming to high heaven, flailing their arms, tripping over one another. His back broke out first, gray, pebbled like some lizards she had seen. Enormous five-clawed forelimbs pulled at the edge of the pit, and then his long, curved horn knifed out of the sand, followed quickly by his head. It looked something like an earless elephant, except that its tusks were turned down, rather than up. His tail had unwound; it made up two-thirds of his body length. His trunk flickered out like a snake striking, straight at them. She yanked her sidearm, but she was already too late; it snatched Keller, pulled him back. The long, elephantine head opened like a crocodile's, revealing thousands of teeth. Then Keller was gone. "Run,"she told Esmail. An Osprey shrieked by overhead, and then another, jamming with their fifty-caliber guns, launching rockets. She looked back in time to see a missile explode against Mokele-Mbembe. It didn't seem to bother him much. That trunk was fast, whipping around and snatching up people three and four at a time. It was completely out of the pit now, lurching forward on four thick legs. The front legs were a little taller than the rear. Its tail sliced through a pyramid and the flicked up to cut an Osprey in half. It was as if the world was new again, she thought. The monsters had ruled in the beginning. Now they returned to rule again.
Get Ready to have your socks blown off(if you're wearing socks when you read this).
Skull Island Monarch Outpost 33 Titanus Kong
Alone. Quiet. He sat on the mountain ridge and looked over his territory. The gleaming waters that held the sun in their waves, the shore where land and sea met. The grassland and the jungle, all quiet. The heat of the sun warmed his fur. The last of his wounds was now merely just an itch along his ribs. In time, he climbed down from the ridge; he walked his old paths, to the places where the world of both night and day crossed paths of always-night, the hollows in the stone where the enemies lived. That was quiet too; the smell of the enemies was faint and old. His feet felt nothing in the stone. He went from valley to valley, searching. He went by the little things that spoke to him in voices like wind, but they had nothing to say. He returned to the ridge and watched the colors in the sky, watched the sun burn behind the clouds, dim, vanish. He watched the smaller sun appear above. A breeze came, from some distant place, a place he did not know, with strange scents on it. He heard the call. He had heard calls before. Not the enemies who killed his parents, the deep-dwellers. Others somehow more like him. When he was young, he did not hear them often. But in recent seasons the calls were more frequent. Once he had heard one of the others, near, very near the island. But it wanted nothing of him. So he did not care. But this other wanted something. Wanted him to come. To hunt together. And he heard responses. Many of them. For a long time, each season was much like the next. The rains came and went. The animals of the island were born and died. And he went on as always. But something had changed now. It made him restless. It made him angry. Change was not good. Let them stay away from him, these others. He did not care about their places, their islands. Best they did not come for his. He felt movement in the stone beneath him, and his anger grew brighter. The deep dwellers heard the call, too. The crawlers with faces like bone that haunted his sleep. They were waking. The quiet was over. He scratched the itch on his ribs and began to hunt.
Zwei Wing is the best singing duo. Change my mind.
Thanks. Kong never left Skull Island at all. And Methuselah is described as the water buffaloes in "Skull Island"
Isn't this from the novelization?
A true fan can acknowledge the bad while still appreciating and cherishing the good.