Title: The Secret File: Giant Monster Attack!
Chapter 1: The Worst of All Possible Worlds
West 46th Street
Exiting the elevator of the building he visited on an occasional basis, Neville Jamison briskly strode towards the conference room that had become too familiar. The room in which a small international coterie of aging men plotted ways to keep humanity safe, even as they engaged in activities that seemed antithetical to their purpose. For this reason, the group met in secret.
Jamison himself belonged to this group, known as the Syndicate. It seemed to him a necessary evil, but an accretion of the group's brutal actions and internal power plays slowly increased his disenchantment with the organization. Even the comfort of his private jet could not buffer him from the sinking feeling that the Syndicate had fallen into decay, nor could it alleviate the jet lag that wearied him on his trips from London to New York.
Jamison's mind could only reel at envisioning the latest failure of the Syndicate. Many incidents within its charge could be kept secret or explained away fairly easily; the spread of an easily-contained (albeit nasty) mysterious virus, crashed extraterrestrial spacecraft explained as experimental aircraft, and so on. But not the one he and the Syndicate would be facing this day.
With his thoughts dashing among a number of potential scenarios, Jamison entered the dimly-lit conference room. Having given up cigarettes many years before, he involuntarily winced at the inevitable prospect of smelling fresh tobacco smoke. However, he only detected the stale scent of previous meetings.
As the door closed behind Jamison, the other members of the Syndicate turned in his direction to acknowledge his presence. Although Jamison typically saved his indignation for the latter portion of the Syndicate's meetings, his irritation at the latest incident and the absence of one man prompted him to speak immediately.
"Where the hell is Spender?"
The leader of the Syndicate, a heavyset man with slicked back hair whom Jamison knew as Spoletta, calmly and gruffly replied, "He is handling the situation."
"Him?" Jamison asked incredulously. "He is little more than a hatchet man."
"He's also in close touch with the Japanese. He'll give us the confirmation we need."
Looking at the new flat panel television hanging on a wall, Jamison asked, "What on earth is that doing here? Those cost thousands of dollars."
"Visual confirmation," Spoletta said. "Just so we're sure that everyone is kept honest."
Jamison sniffed, turning away from the monitor. "Our man Spender will see to that."
"Oh ye of little faith," a disembodied voice seemed to reply with bemusement.
Jamison turned back towards the television. From a mountainside observation deck on the other side of the world, Spender seemed to smile sardonically at the rest of the Syndicate. The intended target asked, "What are you doing there?"
"That wasn't explained to you?" Spender asked disingenuously.
"If we can dispense with the Kabuki," Spoletta said, "we should begin."
"If I may," Spender started, "it is back on the island. As usual, a contained release of radiation did the trick."
"What about clean-up?" Spoletta asked.
"We should have nothing to worry about. Any survivors from the fishing boat will likely be gone soon. Anything they say will be dismissed as delusional, based on their condition."
"And how do we explain a nuclear disaster on an island under Japanese authority?" Jamison asked.
"Joint authority," Spender said, "of Japan and the United States. Besides, the Japanese are not entirely adverse to nuclear energy. It could have been a failed reactor. After all, there is one on the island."
Jamison continued to press. "A failed reactor? That essentially burned up a Japanese fishing boat nearly 20 kilometers out? The burns on the survivors point to no other plausible explanation."
"You think we can't cover it up?" Spender asked.
Spoletta and the others turned to Jamison, who had started stealing Spender's attention.
"It seems almost impossible. And it seems inevitable that there will be some further investigation."
"I don't think we need worry. Besides, we have ways of ensuring that a power failure won't occur again."
"A glorified invisible dog fence?" Jamison asked incredulously. "This is becoming a much deeper problem than we can handle."
"We need a bargaining chip," Spoletta stated. "This is probably the best we have."
"And the most unique," Spender added.
"And the most difficult to keep secret." Jamison proffered.
"What is the worst that can happen?" Spoletta asked.
"That this will happen again. And maybe we won't be able to lure... it back to the island."
Turning to his left, Spender said, "Well, it's here now. If you wish to see it."
The camera panned to the right, transitioning from the observation deck to a panoramic view of the island's forests. As the lens of the camera automatically adjusted the the new view, the members of the Syndicate caught sight of a blurry figure gracefully lumbering in the distance. With the exception of Jamison, an obligatory sense of relief came to all of them.
Spender knew that he had the best view of the figure, which his compatriots could only see on a television monitor in New York. From almost a kilometer, he could hear it rustling on the islandscape, with footsteps that made a definitive thud. He could also see the creature quite clearly; it resembled an ancient reptile... perhaps a bipedal carnivore, but with more powerful arms. It also would have towered over such creatures, and could have taken them on quite easily. Its hide would certainly make the creature tough enough to withstand an attack by a pack of them. Even more challenging would have been the creature's dorsal plates, ascending in size from the back of its neck to the middle of its back, and then becoming smaller once again before tapring off on its long tail.
Placing a cigarette in his mouth, Spender mused upon the almost human characteristics of the creature. Its arms were more like those of a primate than a tyrannosaurus or allosaurus, and it stood upright. Spender also considered the creature's eyes, more expressive than those of other reptiles and amphibians. Its eyelids seemed to lend the creature a sinister aspect. Spender found the application of physiognomy and anthropomorphism to be misguided in animals, but incidents prior to the one with the fishing boat had already made him rethink his skepticism... at least in relation to this one.
Exhaling blue cigarette smoke from his mouth, Spender watched the creature turn in his direction. He reckoned he would remain safe for a few minutes before needing to return to the island hillside's observation and control facility.
Seeming to look at Spender, the creature opened its mouth and emitted an earth-rattling primal sound. Although the word "roar" seemed approximately correct, it was insufficient for describing what the Syndicate heard vaguely over the speakers in their conference room, and what Spender heard quite clearly on the island. It sounded more like an organic carilion, playing roughly the same melody: a high-pitched opening note, followed by a lower one, and an ascending legato.
The creature repeated its primal song, prompting Spender to smile.
Removing the cigarette from his mouth, Spender felt compelled to respond.
"Welcome back, Gojira."
Chapter 2: The Sea Dragon
J. Edgar Hoover Building
Fox Mulder expected the knock on the door to his basement office, signaling the arrival of his partner Dana Scully. "Ah, you're here."
Scully entered the room, closing the door with apparent agitation. "You brought me in to discuss something that happened, over in Japan? That's not even our jurisdiction, Mulder."
"Actually, it is," Mulder replied, getting up. "The incident I called you about happened near an island jointly held by the United States and Japan. And, there are elements that make this case a potential X-File."
Mulder turned on the projector, which displayed the photograph of a man with severe burns. "What happened to this man?" Scully asked.
"I want your opinion first."
Walking up to the gruesome image, Scully studied it for a few moments. "Looks to me like radiation burns. Almost like he got too close to an atomic explosion." Turning back to Mulder, she asked, "How did it happen?"
"We don't know, but there are a few others who survived." Mulder clicked through some similar images. "All these men were onboard a fishing boat, of which very little wreckage has been found. Very little is known about what happened as well, other than some offhand stories in the news that downplay what happened. Unfortunately, their conditions are such that we might not be able to find out anything else." He picked up a printout and handed it to Scully. "There is a lead. Something I received in an anonymous e-mail."
As she began to scan through the document, Scully's eyes were drawn to a sentence marked with yellow highlighter. "A sea dragon?"
"That's what one of the fishermen claimed to have seen. What makes it even more interesting is the name of the closest island, which you will also see highlighted."
"I only know German," Scully said, finding the name in another part of the document. With some hesitation, she finally attempted to say it. "Day... Daykay..."
"Daikaiju Island," Mulder said. "In that case it's like German. Pronounce the second vowel."
"So, what is your theory about what happened to the fishermen, and its relation to this Daikaiju Island?"
"The alleged sighting of this sea dragon apparently happened a little over 10 miles due east of Daikaiju Island. Translated into English, daikaiju means 'giant monster.'"
Expecting the familiar Scully stare of incredulity, Mulder was not disappointed.
"Giant monster," Scully finally repeated, almost as a question. "So, what you're saying is that a giant monster... a dragon from this conveniently-named island, destroyed a fishing vessel and somehow caused the radiation burns we're seeing in these photographs."
"Occam's Razor," Mulder replied.
"That's not a good, or even accurate, way of putting it."
"After what you've seen in the six years we've been together, working on cases that have no rational explanation? That can't be explained by present-day science?"
"A dragon? Mulder, how can you expect me to believe in that, or to investigate this case with that as one of the few leads? That's out of old legends. Fairy tales. Besides which, the witness is very sick, and is likely delirious. Maybe he thought he saw a dragon, when it was actually something else."
"That's how the fisherman described what he saw. It might not even be a dragon as we know them. 'Dragon' might be the best term for describing whatever he saw. An unknown creature that somehow has radioactive properties."
"A 'dragon,' with radioactive properties."
"Look. All I want to do is get ourselves to Japan and find out where I can get to these remaining fishermen before they pass away. Considering how the story has been downplayed in the mainstream media, and how both the United States and Japan have remained quiet, it might be sooner than we think."
"And what if you don't get to them in time?"
"That's why I want you along. As a medical professional, you'll be able to get the answers I can't... or maybe even ask the questions I can't. Whether they're alive or dead. Assuming, of course, that they don't conveniently 'disappear' before we can learn anything."
Leaning against Mulder's file cabinet, Scully coolly folded her arms and looked directly at him. "All right. I'm convinced that we can and should investigate this. And that I can aid in learning the truth about what happened, whether there is a sea dragon or not."
Mulder smiled, reaching out to Scully and touching her shoulder. "You don't know how much I appreciate this. Whatever you find out will help us figure out what really happened, whatever the answer is."
"When do we go?"
"We're on a 7:30 flight to San Francisco, with a connecting flight to Tokyo. But before that, I'm going to see if a couple of wild and crazy guys can get us a closer view of Daikaiju Island."
Chapter 3: Three Wild and Crazy Guys
Offices of the Lone Gunmen
As editors of the underground conspiracy-driven newsletter The Lone Gunmen, its three-man editing and writing team had covered practically every topic imaginable vis a vis the federal government and secret activities. Stories ranged from technological developments that would remain quiet for at least a generation, to its interest in unexplained phenomena. That is how Melvin Frohike, John Fitzgerald Byers, and Richard "Ringo" Langley came to know Mulder many years before. During their first meeting with both Mulder and Scully, the clean-cut and understated Byers observed how Mulder's ideas were stranger than theirs.
Mulder's latest proposition was no exception.
"Now this one takes the cake," Frohike said, shaking his head with disbelief, pacing about the office. "I heard some story in passing about the Japanese fishing boat in the mainstream media, but not your idea about what happened to it."
"Byers," Mulder said, "you're the genetics expert around here. What do you think?"
"Well," Byers began, clearing his throat, "it's not entirely impossible. It would have to depend on the level of radiation, and what specific changes occurred in the lizard's genertic make-up. But the kind of lizard you're describing would have to be huge, especially to have taken out a ship of that size."
"Mulder said that one of the survivors said something about a dragon," Scully remarked. "Assuming he wasn't delirious, could it have been a komodo dragon?"
Byers shook his head. "They're among the largest lizards, but they're still too small to have done the level of damage that would have left little wreckage. Besides which, the accident happened thousands of miles from their native habitat."
"By dragon, I'm thinking of something more literal," Mulder said. "Something that breathes fire."
"It's a mystery then," Byers conceded. "An adaptation like that, for whatever purpose, would take many generations to develop."
"What about you, Langley? Any thoughts?"
"Yeah. Radioactive lizards are a real bitch to kill on Level Seven in Desert Base 34."
Noticing both Mulder's and Scully's confused expressions, Frohike explained Langley's response. "That's why he has to buy a new keyboard every two weeks. Keeps wearing out the same damned buttons."
"First-person-shooter game," Byers added. "It's like everything you've investigated thrown into a single free-for-all."
"Coolest game around," Langley proclaimed defensively. "You really have to have good hand-eye coordination to get through it."
"So, I can count on you to defend us when we get to the island?" Mulder asked.
"Hey, that isn't the same thing," Langley said nervously
Mulder reassured Langely. "I don't plan on going there myself, actually."
"So how are you going to find out what happened?" Frohike asked.
"We're all going to the island," Mulder replied. "Just like Langley in Desert Base 34."
"Virtually?" Scully asked.
"That's why you came to us," Frohike deduced. "You want to find plans for the island, or some kind of virtual replication."
"If I wanted something like that, I wouldn't have come to you," Mulder explained. "I had something more devious in mind."
"Thanks," Langley said sarcastically.
"Anyone know how to hack into a U.S. government spy satellite?"
Pointing directly at Langley, Frohike said, "There's your man."
"Oh, now..." Langley started, stepping back slightly. "If you wait a few years, you can see everything in the world just by getting on the Internet. You'll probably even be able to do map overlays on high-res satellite photos."
"When's that going to happen?" Mulder asked.
"It's already been developed. As with everything the military develops, everyone will know about it in a few years, and some of it will be used by everybody that can afford to do so."
"Like jet packs," Byers observed.
"So, what you're saying is that we could get a clear view of anything now?" Scully asked.
"Good enough to see a hamster's pubic hairs."
"Hey!" Frohike scolded, turning to glare at Langley. "There's a lady present."
"It's fine," Scully said, her initial shock having given way to mild amusement. "I am a medical professional."
"Not a veterinarian, though," Frohike grumbled before turning away from Langley.
"Frohike's delicate sensibilities aside, what I mean is that the resolution is quite excellent. You're thinking photos, Mulder?"
"I'm thinking live, from Daikaiju Island."
"From where?" Langley asked.
"Daikaiju Island," Mulder repeated. "It's Japanese for 'giant monster.'"
"I know what 'daikaiju' means," Langley pointed out indignantly. "Don't think that I've watched a bunch of anime in the original Japanese, and not picked up on a few words."
"Reason 169 you're still a virgin," Frohike commented.
"Kutabare," Langley grumbled.
"Live from Daikaiju Island?" Scully indirectly asked Mulder, trying to steer the conversation back to the original topic.
"What I mean is, Langley will hijack a satellite, and we'll see if we can find this dragon lurking about. If the resolution is as good as he says it is."
"Put those magic fingers to better use," Frohike added.
"You owe me big time, Mulder," Langley said as he walked to his workstation and settled into his chair.
"Langley means that, he thinks he's ready for you to get him une femme de la nuit," Frohike whispered to Mulder.
As everyone gathered around Langley, he barely disguised his continued tirade as a lecture. "This isn't as easy as it looks." As his fingers hammered into the keyboard, new security prompt screens kept making way for even more security prompts. "Even though I can override the passcodes, I have to do at least four levels of encryption so they don't detect what we're doing, and then do several levels of double-encryption whenever we're done with the peep show."
"He does this a couple times a month for laughs," Byers observed.
"Keeps the mind active," Langley said, staring intensely at the monitor.
"Are there any spy satellites that can detect radiation?" Mulder asked. "Like do a visual?"
"Exactly what I'm looking for. The closer to Daikaiju Island, the better."
Within a matter of a few minutes, Langley had overridden the safeguards on a suitable satellite within range of Daikaiju Island. He, Frohike, and Byers couldn't figure out why Mulder and Scully looked agape at the monitor, until Langley said, "Oh, yeah. You've never seen this kind of thing before."
"Byers thinks he saw Cameron Diaz sunbathing nude once," Frohike pointed out. "I think it was just some skinny blonde chick that looked a lot like her."
Langley toyed with the satellite's imaging capabilities, zooming in and pulling back a few times before settling on a view of the entire island.
"So, where do you want to start searching?" Langley asked.
"I'm not even sure how big this creature is," Mulder replied. "Does this satellite have some way of imaging radiation?"
"It's the closest one to the island," Langley said somewhat forlornly. "I should be able to do a sweep of the island."
Byers pointed to some spots on the island. "Looks like there are a couple of clearings. Here and here."
From one side of the monitor, Scully saw an object moving over the island. "What's that? Heading into the island?"
Langley moved the lens towards the object and zoomed in. "A helicopter. There's some kind of activity here."
"We should follow it and see where it goes," Scully said.
"Pull back a little," Mulder said. "That way, we can see what's in the surrounding area."
Langley's monitor showed approximately 100,000 square feet of the island, the helicopter a noticeable speck within the view. The vehicle continued on its westward path for a minute or so before making an abrupt 180 degree turn.
"Why are they turning around like that?" Mulder asked.
"Someone must have warned them off," Frohike said. "Either they're not supposed to be there or..."
A brilliant stream of blue light emerged from a point slightly further west of where the helicopter turned around. Within a few seconds, the stream stopped, and the helicopter was engulfed in an orange fireball.
Everyone stared at the monitor in shock. "What in the hell was that!" Frohike asked.
Although aware that he and everyone else around Langley's monitor had indirectly witnessed the collective demise of the helicopter's crew, Mulder calmly told Langley, "See if you can zero in on where that blue light came from."
"I'll try," Langley responded, sounding somewhat shaken.
"What was that, Mulder?" Scully asked.
"I think we've found our radioactive lizard."
"Not for long," Byers said. "Look what's happening to the monitor."
"We're being jammed," Langley muttered. "They figured us out already. I'll have to do some fast double-encryption."
"Now what?" Frohike asked.
"We've seen what we needed to," Mulder said. "I know one thing for certain, though."
"What's that?" Scully asked.
"Whatever it was that destroyed the helicopter, must've destroyed the fishing vessel. I just hope that it doesn't leave the island, and do further damage."
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