Chapter 20 - An Ill Omen
It was the mismatch of the century less than one hour ago as Akiko and the others sat on the rooftops wondering what in the world happened to Godzilla. Burtannus completely dominated their match, which normally would not happen unless something was ailing Godzilla or if there was some other force at work which had yet to be identified. Akiko watched the footage of the bout over and over again, continually displaying suspicion as she focused in on Burtannus while the others spoke together about possibilities. Keiichi's favorite possibility was the Burtannus was on steroids, to which Ken gave him a punch to the shoulder for joking around.
"You know… He may be on to something." Akiko finally chimed in as she paused the footage on her computer.
"Come over here and look at this." She said as she beckoned the team over.
As they all gathered around Akiko pushed the video clips to full screen.
"Now watch here." She said as she played the first part of the fight where Godzilla's tail was impaled.
"Burtannus's movements are very mechanical and unnatural for a creature of its body type and temperament. From what little we have gathered, Burtannus is content to just dig its home underground and not bother anyone, but this time it came out to look for a fight. The last time it was in Godzilla's vicinity it completely avoided him, so what changed?" She asked.
"We don't know enough about Burtannus to assume such things Akiko." Ken said.
"No, she's right Ken. We've got enough data and evidence to support her claim. Burtannus has never attacked a city before today, never gone out of its way to look for a fight, and never done anything but dig and dig and dig until it found a place to settle. I think Akiko's got the right idea. Something isn't right with Burtannus."
Ken looked at the video again and began to notice another recurring trend in Burtannus's behavior during the fight as he made Akiko start the film over again.
"… Burtannus twitched its head every time Godzilla began to attack. Not only that, but look at its face. Its eyes are rolled back into its head half the time and its drooling as if it's in a comatose state." He remarked as he finally began to see that Akiko was right.
"Then its settled." Akiko declared.
"What's settled?" Sayuri asked cautiously.
"We're going into Burtannus's tunnels to find it and give it a thorough examination." Akiko said as she started packing up her gear.
"Excuse me?" Keiichi asked.
"You heard me. Pack your gear and let's get a move on. Burtannus isn't radioactive like Godzilla is so approaching it should be safe enough. I just need to get close enough to see what's going on." She said.
Ken was about to protest, but when he thought about Burtannus's eyes rolled back into its head he began to think it wasn't such a bad idea even if it was completely crazy. Reluctantly, the team gathered in the RV and drove out to Burtannus's dig site before parking the RV nearby and exiting with a small amount of gear that they could all hold onto. Now on foot, the team ventured forth into the lair Burtannus had made for itself. As they entered the enormous cave system it had carved out, they began to notice that it was moving in very precise angles as opposed to the erratic and random patterns of natural animal behavior. A near perfect right angle was formed in one area not far from the entrance, and that was a big red flag for Akiko and the others as they proceeded with extreme caution.
Along the way, they followed the trail of saliva and the foul odor emanating from the beasts lair before Ken turned one final corner and threw his hand back to stop the rest of the team. As they all peeked around the corner, there was Burtannus laying on its side. Its eyes were still rolled into the back of its head and it was still drooling with a glazed and comatose look in its eyes as it labored to breath. Akiko walked ahead despite Ken's silent warnings and looked up at the poor creature as the rest of the team began to gather around her.
"Okay, I'm going up to take a look. You guys take some pictures down here and see what else you can find." She whispered.
The team all nodded in agreement as she began to scale Burtannus's hide towards its head while the others began to document the find. Keiichi took pictures while Ken filmed the event. The girls extended their thoughts to Burtannus to try and figure out what was wrong, but the only thing they could pick up from its thoughts was the equivalent of static. No coherent thoughts or single ideas that they could latch onto which meant that something was interfering with its brainwaves.
As Akiko climbed aboard Burtannus's head, she noticed something strange going on near what had to be its ears. As she got closer she saw a shining silver object deep within the ear canal with a small pulsing red light. She took some photographs of it as it was much too big for her to remove by hand, and climbed back down to get some close ups of its eyes, nose and mouth before getting down to inform the rest of the team what she had found. When she showed the pictures to the group Burtannus began to stir which forced them to pack up and start leaving… quickly. They rounded the corner as they heard it take a single step with a loud groaning sound while they sprinted for the exit. Turn by turn, they could feel Burtannus lumbering behind them.
Finally, the entrance came into view. However, so had Burtannus. The creature was walking towards them and the exit as they sprinted for it, and it became quite clear that they were not going to make it outside before Burtannus did. Ken led the group to a small crevice near the edge of the cave and they all huddled in close together as Burtannus walked by. Its tail narrowly missed swiping the wall above the group which could have crushed them under the weight of the debris, but thankfully it had retracted its tail before that had happened. Burtannus walked out into the night as the team let out a collective sigh of relief.
"… Keiichi, is there any particular reason your hand is on my chest?" Sayuri asked.
Keiichi looked down and realized that he had accidentally groped Sayuri's left breast with his hand as they had all huddled together and pulled his hand away.
"Sorry!" He said with a bow of his head.
Sayuri giggled a little bit, but still punched him in the head to let him know not to do that again.
The group walked outside to try and see where Burtannus had gone, and oddly enough it was heading out to sea. It followed Godzilla's trail of destruction through the city and waded into the water and began to swim away as the team made it to the RV and began to drive towards it. Without a way to catch Burtannus, all they could do was wonder what was going on as they all began to fear for Godzilla's safety. If Burtannus decided to attack him now in his weakened state there was a serious possibility that he could be killed, especially if Akiko's new theory was correct.
As they all drove back to Tokyo in the RV, Akiko told them all of a new experiment that a colleague of hers had been a part of before it was scrapped and prohibited as "unlawful" by the government. They used lab rats and pigs as test subjects for a new kind of brainwave inhibitor which could effectively wipe their minds clean of cognitive thought which left their brains exposed and prone to invasive thoughts and suggestions. One such subject was even made to attack and kill one of its fellow subjects by little more than a single whisper of "kill it." Akiko showed them the pictures of the device in Burtannus's ear again and they all began to suspect that the brainwave inhibitor device was at fault. It was confirmed by Sayuri and Miki that Burtannus had no coherent thought patterns for them to latch onto and connect with it, and that all but finalized the theory into a fact as Akiko made a call to a friend of hers in the US who possibly could help.
"What does she do again?" Keiichi asked as Akiko finished the call.
"She's… in acquisitions." Akiko responded.
"What kind of acquisitions?" Keiichi asked, arching an eyebrow.
"Don't worry about it. Just know that she might be able to help us. She might not though too, so don't be too disappointed if she can't help." Akiko said.
"Fair enough. So what do we do now?" Ken asked.
"You keep your eyes on the road." Akiko said to him as she pinched his cheek.
Ken grumbled as Keiichi and the others all laughed to themselves on their way back. Not too long after unloading all of their gear at base and sitting down to relax Akiko got a call back from her friend.
"… Oh really?" Akiko asked.
"Thanks Julie. I'll be in touch." She said as she hung up the phone.
"Well, it turns out that we were right. The Japanese government publicly condemned the research of the brainwave inhibitor, but they have apparently adopted it for private military use and experimentation. Burtannus is one of their lab rats." She said.
Ken sat back in his chair and let out a breath.
"If they get one of those things into Godzilla, we're screwed." He said quietly.
"No joke. The Japanese government might want most monsters destroyed publicly, but privately if they know they can control them and use them as weapons, they'll jump on it like any other government would. We have to find a way to stop this from getting any father out of hand." Keiichi chimed in.
"But how do we get that thing out of Burtannus's ear?" She asked.
Miki raised her hand.
"I don't think we can, but I might be able to get Godzilla to do it if I send him a mental picture of it." She said.
Akiko snapped her fingers as she went to her phone and hooked it up to her computer and began to print the pictures she took of Burtannus's ear and the device inside it. She took the first one that came out of the printer and handed it to Miki.
"Memorize this picture and we'll give your method a try. It's the best thing we have next to climbing onto Burtannus and using a pickaxe to try and break it, but at least your way gives us some distance as a safety net in case things go wrong." Akiko said.
Miki put the picture down and began to study the image as Keiichi got to work calling his friend Ueda to try and see if he had a boat they could use. He had a sub after all, why not a boat? Once the call was finished, Keiichi was happy to report that Ueda had one which they could use so long as they paid him for the time they kept it which was a fair bargain. They all piled into the RV and took off to find Ueda. The next day they were on board his boat and headed out to sea in search of Godzilla with Miki and Sayuri working together to track him down to the best of their ability. It was slow going, but Miki finally picked up on a thought pattern she believed to have been coming from Godzilla.
The boat stopped even though they were in the middle of nowhere and they kept still and quiet as Miki and Sayuri extended their power to try and locate where the thought was coming from. It was one of pain, and a lot of it, and they were hoping that it was Godzilla given his injuries from his previous fight. Another thought began to emerge as they concentrated on the first, and it was one of discomfort. Miki and Sayuri did their best to find out what was causing it, but after only a few moments everything went static as it had been with Burtannus. No coherency or solid thoughts which could be located or latched onto as they desperately tried to find something they could work with. However, the boat's sonar began going off like wildfire as a mass began to rise from the depths of the ocean towards the surface right underneath them.
Ken powered up the boat and kicked it into full throttle, but even then he only just narrowly missed having Godzilla's spines rip the boat right in two as they were thrown about at the mercy of the waves created by his body rising to the surface. As the boat stilled and they finally managed a moment to look at Godzilla, the team was horrified to see that he was being affected the same way Burtannus had been. His eyes were rolled back into his head and his mouth was slightly agape with saliva dripping down with his wounds still only just beginning to show signs of healing as they continued to bleed out into the water around him. His left arm still dangled limply at his side indicating that it was likely broken as opposed to just injured as previously thought, and to make matters worse they could all see that same device planted within his ear canal as he sank down into the ocean once more and began to swim away.
"… Does anyone else get the feeling that this is not going to end well?" Keiichi asked.
"That is the understatement of the century." Akiko remarked.
"No kidding… Especially if those who are doing this have any kind of beef with any other nations or peoples around the world which I'm sure they do. Otherwise, they wouldn't be taking such high level risks as this." Ken added.
Miki watched Godzilla disappear from radar with tears falling down her cheeks and Sayuri wrapped her arms around her and tried to comfort her as Ken was forced to turn the boat around and head back to Tokyo due to them running low on fuel and supplies.
"This blows." Keiichi said.