Foreword: This story follows an alternate continuity in which the Cloverfield monster was killed by the HAMMER-DOWN Protocol, but the bombing destroyed much of New York City. The city's loss sent shockwaves crashing through the world economy and plunged the United States from the Great Recession into the Second Great Depression. Six years later, Joe Brody survived the Janjira incident, but during the San Francisco attack, Godzilla wasn't fast enough to stop the female MUTO from killing Ford Brody. Ishiro Serizawa and Vivienne Graham discover something horrifying about the Cloverfield monster and seek out Joe's help for their organization, Monarch. The story also includes references to Godzilla: Awakening and Kong: Skull Island.
Joe Brody walked up to the lectern. His left arm lay immobilized in a cast, but he was able to use that hand to hold the note cards for his speech. The room was mostly quiet, with some whisperings and murmurings that died as he cleared his throat. A casket stood directly to the lectern's right, but everyone knew it was empty. Ford's body was gone—swallowed whole by the MUTO and likely incinerated when the other creature, Godzilla, had blown its head off. Just like Sandra, they would be burying a hollow piece of wood.
"Um, hello," he began. His voice came out a rasp, and he coughed. "Hello. I'd…I'd like to thank you all for coming today." He cast his gaze over those gathered: Sam, Elle, her mother Amanda and father Tim, her sister Dianne and husband Abdul, and Sandra's parents. Joe was the sole representative from his side of the family; like Ford, he had been an only child. His parents had died peacefully five years ago. A peaceful death…seems like a luxury these days. Many of Ford's military friends were present with their spouses as well. There were some others who he didn't recognize—probably more of Elle's family who he'd never met. "I'm sure this is a very difficult time for all of you. It means a lot that you found the time to attend this." And then he saw the two faces that he hoped to never see again: a grave-faced Japanese man with rimless glasses, and a misty-eyed Englishwoman. His jaw tightened, but he pressed on.
"When Ford was a little boy, he loved monster movies. Couldn't get enough of them. Every Saturday morning in Japan, I'd sit with him on my lap and we'd watch those movies. The special effects were always terrible, and the acting was cheesy as all get out, but…they had a certain kind of charm even to an old fuddy-duddy like me. It's an ironic twist of fate that he was killed by something that would have made him laugh with glee if he had seen it on a Saturday morning special." Joe let out a humorless chuckle, which quickly morphed into a sob. "My son…my wonderful son…"
With a mighty effort, he forced himself to keep going. "Make no mistake: these creatures, these kaiju killed him. Ford will never grow old with his wife, see his son grow up to become a man. He'll never know what it's like to hold his grandchildren in his arms. So much of his life was stolen away from him by those…things. But to all of you here, I will make you a promise: I will not let Ford's death be in vain. I will do whatever it takes to ensure that." Whatever it takes. The same words he'd spoken to Ford when he thought he'd never see him again. Protect your family—whatever it takes. And Ford had done just that. He did what I told him to…and it got him killed.
"Thank you all for coming," Joe finished, and left the lectern. His speech wasn't nearly as long as Elle's had been, but she had known Ford much better than he had. His military buddies knew him better than I did. As he headed back to his seat, he caught the eyes of Drs. Ishiro Serizawa and Vivienne Graham. Graham quickly looked away, but Serizawa held his gaze until Joe reached his seat and broke eye contact. Joe didn't pay much attention to the rest of the funeral, looking at his hands instead and trying not to cry. When the proceedings moved outside to lower the coffin into the ground, he followed them mutely, staring down. The voices around him became muffled, the faces blurred. Eventually, almost all the attendees left...save for Elle, Sam, and the scientists, who kept a respectful distance for the moment.
"I miss Daddy," Sam sobbed.
"I know, Sammy, I miss him too." Elle picked him up and held him close. "Joe, we have to get going. Will you be alright?"
"Yeah...I'll catch up with you later."
"Okay." She put Sam down and gently nudged him forward. "Give Grandpa a hug, sweetie."
Sam did as she told him to, embracing Joe's leg, but the hug wasn't very enthusiastic. Can't blame him, Joe thought. I haven't been the happy jolly grandpa most kids have.
Elle's hug was little better, though she did avoid aggravating his injured arm. Then she took Sam's hand and lead him away. "Say bye-bye, Grandpa."
"Bye-bye, Grandpa." Joe's heart shattered into a million pieces at those words. He stayed standing like a statue in front of his son's new grave. A cold wind blew through the cemetery, but he forgot to shiver.
"Mr. Brody?" He didn't respond to the Japanese-accented voice behind him. "…Mr. Brody?"
Joe knelt and rested his good hand on the tombstone. It read: Ford Brody. July 15th, 1988 – May 6th, 2014. Beloved son and husband. Below it was a quote from Alfred Lord Tennyson: "So let the wind range, for even and morn, ever will be thro' eternity." Not what I would have put there. But it wasn't up to me.
"Mr. Brody, please," Dr. Graham's British accent implored him.
"What do you want?" he growled, without looking or getting up.
"We want to pay our respects. We are so very sorry for your loss."
"Thank you." Joe's curt reply did not carry a hint of gratitude. "Now leave. I'm sure you have a monster to go worship."
"Mr. Brody, if we could just speak to you for a moment-"
"How many others?"
"How many other soldiers' funerals have you attended?"
"I'm not sure I understand-"
"How many?!" Joe exploded, whirling around. "Ford wasn't the only one. Those things killed dozens of soldiers and God knows how many more civilians. How many of their funerals have you attended?!"
Dr. Graham was taken aback. "None," Joe guessed from her and Serizawa's silence. "You haven't attended any other funerals for the monsters' victims. So why are you really here?!"
Serizawa stepped forward. "Because we need your help, Mr. Brody. There are-"
"And why would I help you?" Joe cut him off. "Your precious monsters killed my son, my wife, and thousands of others. If it wasn't for you and your goddamn organization, none of this would have happened in the first place!"
The Japanese man didn't waver. "You're right," he replied. "Without us, the death toll would have been in the millions, or even billions, rather than the thousands." Joe rolled his eyes, but Serizawa pressed on. "You are not the only one who has lost people they love to these creatures, Mr. Brody. And if you don't help us, the next attack may be the one that destroys the human race."
That got Joe's attention. "What are you talking about?"
"I'm sorry, that's classified. And your special access is no longer valid." Dr. Graham looked genuinely apologetic as she delivered this bad news. Just then, her phone rang and, stepping away, she put it to her ear. "This is Dr. Graham."
Joe felt the old urge rise inside of him again: the thirst for knowledge of the world's hidden secrets. The thirst that set him on the path which lead to Ford's death. He shook his head. "No. I'm through with Monarch. My family—what's left of them—needs my help more."
"Very well." Serizawa reached into his pocket and handed Joe a card. "But if you change your mind, you can reach me at this number."
"Don't hold your breath. We're done here." Joe turned and strode away.
Serizawa remained where he was, watching the sunset. "We'll be there ASAP," Graham said, and hung up. She put a gentle hand on his arm. "Come on, Sensei. They need us at HQ."
The two scientists returned to their car. "Take us to the airport," Graham told the driver.
"On it, ma'am." The vehicle warmed up, pulled out of the cemetery's parking lot, and sped away.
"Do you think he'll reconsider?" Graham asked.
"I pray he does. For all our sakes."
Next time: Joe looks for a job as he, Elle, and Sam all try to adjust to life without Ford. Serizawa and Graham make a horrifying discovery, while a Canadian research ship in the Atlantic suffers a mysterious setback.
Final note: If you read this, you may be wondering "How can there be a Godzilla vs. Cloverfield story when Cloverfield is dead in this continuity?!" All I have to say is: stay tuned. ;)