For singer/songwriter/actress Lady Gaga, who is the main inspiration for the character of Stephanie Beatrice (Lady
Gaga's real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, which makes her the perfect choice for the character. Another
reason I chose Lady Gaga is because she has one of the biggest hearts filled with such bliss & love in the entire world).
To the loving memory of actor Ren Osugi, who portrayed Prime Minister Seiji Okochi in 2016's 'Shin Godzilla', which
is also known as 'Godzilla Resurgence' (Ren Osugi died on February 21st, 2018 from heart failure at age 66).
To the loving memory of Japanese actress Yuriko Hoshi, who played such memorable roles such as photographer Junko
Nakanishi in 'Mothra vs. Godzilla', Naoko Shindo in 'Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster' (both 1964), & professor
Yoshino Yoshizawa in 2000's 'Godzilla x Megaguirus' (Yuriko Hoshi died on May 16th, 2018 of lung cancer at 74).
CREATURES & DAMSELS:
VIVE LA FRANCE
2018 by Anthony Ogozalek
In an underground cavern:
For a number of unknown years, they've stayed hidden from the rest of the world, unseen by human eyes. They stay in large clusters that barely left room for a person to walk in between them, their surface a sickly pale blue & wet with an unknown saliva that gave them a moist look & would possibly glitter if any light shone upon them.
But it was dark in this cavern with not even the slightest shred of luminescence anywhere, leaving the area devoid of life sans these aberrations.
For too long, these unholy specs of life remained incognito to the world above.
Soon, they felt, it will be time to once again pay it a visit like they did many years ago with their queen.
Until they were driven away by an opposing force.
When they awaken & get topside, they will make it pay for daring to defy them and their ruler.
All they need to do is wait a little bit longer for the right moment to strike.
Then…all bets will be off.
Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow, Russia, Sunday, July 24th, 2016, 7:30 p.m.:
Gathering all their luggage & personal belongings, the Benice, Fleming & Sugimoto families get escorted to the airport by their four Russian friends – Ambassador Sergei Yeltsin, his assistant/bodyguard Nikolai, Police Colonel Boris Romanoff & Red Army Colonel Malvina Semenov. Maximus, Sven & Angus were brought over in their mobile stables & placed inside a cargo plane that took off an hour ago to get a head-start on their new destination that was all planned & scheduled by General Ronald Len Ernie of the U.S. Army beforehand. Pascal will need to of course stay in his travel cage during the flight, but at least he gets to stay with Eugene & Rapunzel on their flight as they fly first-class.
Oh, the joys of being the pet of a well-known singing pair with an owner & her husband from centuries past!
As for Olaf, he was placed in his travel bag & also placed in with the animals for the trip; the only difference is he would share space with Angus, Merida's Andalusian. Olaf says that he's as quiet as they come, & also doesn't smell much unlike the other two.
Having received 'the look' not just from Elinor, but also Merida & the rest made Olaf not speak any further about the animals' hygiene.
Not wanting to hear his complaints when they reach their next stop, the group had complied with the snowman's request & threw the bag inside with Merida's steed, happy to have him quiet as he accompanied the animals.
The group gathered in the main lobby of the airport awaiting their flight to be announced.
"So, the flight from here to Paris is only about four hours away?", asked Anna.
"Approximately three hours & fifty minutes, if we wish to be precise, da", Nikolai said. "It is now 6:30 in Paris, so by the time you arrive there, it will be at around eleven in the evening."
"Is there anybody in particular we're supposed to be meeting once we arrive in the City of Love?", Nathan asked. "Despite his secrecy, I'm sure General Ernie arranged it for somebody to be our guide & all."
"You are most clever, Nathan Benice", said Sergei. "General Ernie didn't give me any specific details, but he did inform me to tell you all that upon arrival, you shall be met with a man by the name of Sacha Pierre when you all touch down at the Charles De Gaulle Airport. From there, he shall take you over to the hotel you'll be staying at for the next several days. Other than that, he would relay no further information to me besides asking you all to trust him upon his word."
Realizing they wouldn't get any further info out of the man, they all nodded.
"Fair enough, Sergei", said Patricia. "We can have the General give us all the details on this unexpected detour when he arrives in Paris. When, exactly, can we expect to see him there? Did he say?"
"In a few days' time", Boris explained. "He's still got some business with the clean-up over in North Korea after Godzilla, Rodan, Gaira & Sanda hit it hard. Once he meets up with you in Paris, he will fill you in on the situation."
"Considering he's pre-arranged for all of usto be sent to Paris on such short notice, something big must really be happening over there", Eugene said.
"And if the General said that this predicament required Tajima's attention specifically, then I believe it is best we all trust the man & look into this, whatever it is", Kristoff adds.
Nods from each head gave their immediate answer.
Some of them, such as Tajima's wife & daughters, wanted to wonder why this sudden trip to France's capital city would require the scientist's attention, & they came up with the theory that maybe it has something to do with the alien mutagen that was taken from Bagorah's tail before it was ordered to be incinerated.
But they didn't want to jump to conclusions too soon, so they kept silent & their opinions to themselves for now; whatever General Ronald Len Ernie wants him & the rest of them over in Paris for, it can wait until the man himself gives them the lowdown of it all.
The overhead speakers abruptly came to life, indicating the latest flight departures in Russian.
"That's us, kids", Gus says, understanding the announcement. "Time we got this particular show on the road…or in this case, the air."
The British agent winked at everyone, causing grins of amusement from each face.
Everyone in the group gave warm handshakes and/or hugs to their four friends from Russia, thanking them for all their services throughout their ordeal in the former Soviet Union.
"Farewell, Elsa Sugimoto & Merida Fleming", Malvina said with a grin. "You both were magnificent as members of our Russian Spetsnaz, even temporarily. I'll be honest: I do hope for the day when you both and Gus Fleming get to work together with me on such a mission again sometime in the future: I've never seen such stamina in soldiers before!"
"Spasibo, Malvina", Elsa says, also grinning. "We hope so too, & perhaps one day you can visit Tokyo & see my home for almost three whole years now. Call it as returning the favor you, Sergei, Nikolai & even Boris did for us."
"And we also have to show you folks our home in London, England", Merida says, grinning herself. "The city is still quite a mess when that mutated octopus creature attacked, but there's still a lot for you people to see in spite of it."
Malvina chuckled from Merida's little joke.
"As American people would say, 'I shall put those suggestions upon my 'to do' list'", she says. "Until the time comes when we meet again…farewell, my two lisichkas!"
Elsa & Merida gave Malvina a kiss on her cheeks, followed by a warm hug that Olaf would be proud of. Malvina embraced them back.
"Take care, Miss Elinor Fleming", Boris says, taking her hands in his. "If I may, your handling of diplomacy at the rogue pilots' trial was nothing short of amazing. Perhaps you could start a career in politics, da? You certainly have the knack for it."
"Spasibo, Boris Romanoff", Elinor says, smiling. "But I keep myself busy enough taking care of my daughter." Elinor leans in closer to Boris & lowers her voice. "And believe you me…she's more than a mere handful."
Both share a chuckle they were barely able to suppress.
"However…I shall take your suggestion into consideration, as you do raise a very valid point", Elinor adds.
The Russian police colonel gives Elinor's hand a kiss in a most gentlemanly manner, making her grin.
Gus couldn't help but do so himself, watching his wife be treated like the lady she is from a man who's as hard as nails at his job.
It's one of the reasons Gus was quite fond of him for, as he can relate.
"Take care, Sergei", Emiko said, smiling. "I'll be counting the days until you make your visit to Tokyo."
"Until that time arrives…all my best to you & the family, my lisichka Emiko Sugimoto", Sergei said with a smile.
Emiko kissed the Russian Ambassador on the cheek & embraced him warmly, which he returned. Akemi did the same with Nikolai, who returned the gesture.
Their affection brought warm grins to all faces.
"Ready to go, Pascal?", Rapunzel asked her friend in the little cage as the lizard nodded his head & does his own imitation of a French man, having heard of Paris from Rapunzel on the internet some time ago.
The one-time princess of Corona giggled at his antics.
"Yeah, me too, little buddy!", Rapunzel says. "Let's get on the plane, everybody!"
With that said, the three families make their way to their flight.
"Sayonara, everybody!", Malvina said as the group paused & faced their Russian friends.
"Dasvidaniya!", each member of the Benice, Fleming & Sugimoto families say with a big grin.
Sergei, Nikolai, Boris & Malvina grin back, very impressed by their antics of learning certain Russian words.
Repeating their trademark 'goodbye' in their tongue, they waved as the three families boarded their flight.
Finding their seats, they placed any hand luggage in the overhead compartments & buckled up as they prepare for takeoff.
"From Moscow, Russia to Paris, France…we're doing better than we've ever thought possible!", Eugene happily stated. "Even back home, we've never traveled this much!"
Rapunzel giggled as she placed Pascal's cage on her lap.
"I know, right?", she says with a smile. "If my parents were here today, they'd always be on the go, wanting to experience all the wonders of this day & age! We would hardly ever see them at home!"
"Curious cats, huh? Sounds a lot like a certain ex-blondie I happen to know of!"
Eugene punctuated his statement with his playful grin that used to attract the ladies back in Corona when he still went by Flynn Rider. Rapunzel giggled while placing her hand over her mouth.
"That, my dear Eugene alias one-time Flynn Rider, makes two of us", she points out.
"Oooh, touche", Eugene shot back playfully before they engage in a passionate kiss as Patricia, Nathan & the rest watch in amusement & comfort. Their bliss for one another easily reflects that of their adoptive parents, Gus & Elinor, Kristoff & Anna, & Tajima & Hidemi's own.
Amid all the bliss between the two ex-residents of Corona, said couples share in the moment before resuming in making themselves comfortable. Akemi, Emiko, Pascal, Elsa & Merida enjoy the scene before doing the same.
Blissful moment aside, there were several things weighing in on their minds about their next destination, & Akemi became the first to bring it up to her family as she spoke in her mother tongue.
"Papa, do you think this trip to Paris could have something more to do with the mutagen stolen from Bagorah's tail before Malvina ordered it destroyed?", she'd wondered. "It was never recovered, & what had been found was used by rogue scientist Kazimir Volkov, turning him into the monster they dubbed 'Chaos'."
"And because the rest of it was never found by Boris, Malvina & the Russian authorities, we must assume that it still has that Bratva boss Pyotr Lipovsky's name written all over it, despite what Boris told us about him cutting Kazimir loose from his organization", Emiko added.
"The girls bring up strong points, Tajima", Hidemi adds. "What portion of mutagen had been taken from that tail sample was undoubtedly more than what Kazimir had in his possession to experiment on. Pyotr may have mentioned his removal of Kazimir to throw off Boris & his people, thus leading him astray. It's quite common practice among the criminal underworld in order to protect their own assets & keep them safeguarded. I have a feeling we could be dealing with the rest of that stolen mutagen again…and it could be sooner that we might expect."
Tajima gave the matter of what his wife & two daughters thought. Each one did raise strong, valid points: the rest of Mugal's mutagen that was taken from Bagorah's tail segment was not recovered by the Russian authorities, & what rogue scientist Kazimir Volkov used to turn himself into the gorilla monster Chaos was only a small piece of it. Anyone in possession of that alien mutagen was bone-chilling to even think about, let alone see the results of.
Somebody like Russian Bratva boss Pyotr Lipovsky or even Japanese Yakuza boss Hisashi Masahiro would gain huge profit from such a substance, & they'd do anything to keep it safe.
Masahiro may be sleeping with the fishes (thanks to the lizard-like monster Varan), but Pyotr is still alive & well.
Tajima himself had no doubts that the Bratva boss could very well have it stashed somewhere, so that not even those who work for him would know its hiding place, much less its existence.
"I definitely see what you & the girls mean, Hidemi", Tajima replied. "People like Pyotr Lipovsky always have a contingency plan or two to keep themselves one step ahead of those who wish to stop them. But even if what you're saying of the rest of that mutagen is true, it's currently out of our hands: Boris, Malvina & their people will have to deal with it on their own turf while we head for Paris as per General Ernie's request. However…"
"However?", Hidemi, Akemi & Emiko say in unison.
"Should the mutagen be found in Moscow or anywhere in Russia, Sergei & the others will deal with the situation in a hot minute however they can. It's the best we can hope for right now."
It was the best answer Tajima could give, & his wife & daughters didn't press the matter any further.
Having heard their conversation from his spot, Gus translated it to Elinor & Merida.
"They're right to be concerned, Gus", the one-time DunBroch Queen said. "Something as dangerous as that alien mutagen can't be allowed to fall into criminal hands, let alone stored away by a man who's just as deadly. Plus, I'm all but worried that the Russian government's idea of holding giant monsters will literally blow up in their faces. Can they not see the absurdity of keeping them in captivity against their own free will?"
"Mum, if even Sergei couldn't dissuade his own government officials from standing down on their idea, how do you expect anyone else to?", Merida says.
"She's right, love", Gus said. "Sergei's just the ambassador to his country: his job is to represent his homeland & try to ease tensions that may have sparked between them & the country he's visiting, & even he has people which he answers to that are higher in authority than him. Same goes for Nikolai, Boris and Malvina, despite their ranks."
Elinor felt helpless at that moment, & she releases a sigh of despair & hopelessness.
"So, we're all but powerless to do anything that will surely cause great harm to their homeland?", she said orally.
The look of despair on Gus' face told Elinor all she needs to know.
"Sorry, love", Gus said softly.
"On their own heads, be it", Elinor said softly, sinking into her seat.
Gus & Merida took Elinor's hands in theirs to give her comfort.
"You really can't blame Elinor in feeling that way", Kristoff says, listening in with Anna & Elsa. "I thought we knew some stubborn people back home, but this takes it up to a whole new level."
"Prince Hans & the Duke of Weselton were two prime examples for sure", Anna said. "And who can forget how those Russian delegates treated Tajima at their conference meetings at the Kremlin? If one of them wasn't discovered to be a traitor & consulted with the enemy of this whole fiasco, who knows how else they would've behaved towards him. With the exception of Sergei, Nikolai, Boris & Malvina, I won't miss this country too much."
Elsa placed a hand on her sister's shoulder & smiled.
"Try not to judge Russia too harshly, Anna", she said. "While some of the people are quite rough, it is a rather nice place to visit – and the structures our friends showed us were marvelous wonders of this or any century."
Anna looked into Elsa's eyes & saw how truthful they were.
In turn, she went & spoke the truth.
"Okay, you win…it was a nice place to visit…", she started to say when everybody in their group spoke as one.
"But you wouldn't want to live here!"
"Bingo!", Anna says, grinning & inciting the rest to giggle.
They may have concluded their trip to Russia on a somewhat negative note, but this little piece of amusement had turned it around into positivity they could be comforted with as they depart Russia for France.
At five minutes before takeoff, their plane gets on the runway & into position awaiting further command from the tower.
When the clock reads 8:00 p.m., the plane speeds up & takes off without a hitch.
Sergei, Nikolai, Malvina & Boris watch as the plane carrying their friends from America, England & Japan depart from their Mother Russia. They kept their eyes on the plane until it was no more than a blinking light in the far distance.
"Godspeed to all of you, our friends", Malvina said in her mother tongue, getting nods of agreement from Sergei, Nikolai & Boris.
Once the plane was gone for good, the quartet turned & exited the airport.
They were now on their own.
The northeast region of St. Petersburg, Russia:
On the outer region of Russia's second largest city, a hidden facility located underneath the motherland was alive with activity as scientists & military personnel were laboring at console stations & going about their daily patrols. The facility was very large, being at a depth of 80 meters, with ten of those meters being a ceiling/barrier of dirt, concrete & steel. Walls of reinforced steel made the place as sturdy as could be, having been said that it could withstand a blast from a nuclear weapon should one detonate close to it.
But while it serves as a good fallout shelter should a nuclear winter ever erupt, that wasn't the main reason this underground lair was constructed for.
It's to hold giant monsters in: since Godzilla's rampage in April 1986 shortly after the Chernobyl Disaster, Russia devised plans for facilities such as this to place the Earth's monsters in & keep them in captivity until something could be done to control the creatures they'd collected.
The idea for it took many years to get funding for before construction could even begin, but when the money for the Russian government's idea came pouring in, hundreds of workers labored day & night to get it up & operational.
Finally, it was completed in late 2010-early 2011.
All they had to do was to wait for its first 'volunteer'.
As luck would have it, they received two of them – the quadrupedal spiked monster Anguirus, & the burrower beast called Baragon. Both creatures were found on the outskirts of Saratov two weeks earlier after they were found by nearby residents, sporting scratches on their bodies that indicated they'd been in a fight with something else.
They were blessed to be receiving two first inmates as this installation waited half a decade before getting their debut volunteers in which to tame & bring under their control. The President & Prime Minister feel that if they could control the giant monsters of the world, they can all but rule it.
It became a dream come true, really feeling like it is 'Christmas in July'.
Anguirus & Baragon were placed in holding pens that were each 100 meters long, 50 meters wide & 60 meters in height. Anguirus just barely fit inside as the pen was more or less equal to his size, while Baragon had room to move around in as he measured only about 30 meters from head to tail.
He'd discover that he could move around in his holding pen – if he were awake.
Both were sedated when they were brought in & were still snoozing by the time Anguirus was brought inside their walls underground. A large window of the thickest/sturdiest plexiglass gave the scientists in the room a close-up view of their captured subjects without fear of getting trampled should either or both awaken unexpectedly.
So far, neither creature has so much as twitched since their arrival.
In the literal blink of an eye, that changed: Baragon opened both of his & surveyed his surroundings, startling the scientists as the subterranean dinosaur monster rose from his place & stared back at the humans who backed away from having the large carnivore giving them the eye that indicated he'd gobble them up like French Fries in an instant.
Baragon suddenly recalled his fight with the mysterious creature he was engaged in with Anguirus, receiving the most painful of cuts that hurt like the devil himself before getting beaten into unconsciousness along with his fighting partner. Now he finds himself placed in a holding pen of some kind, surrounded by humans scrambling about upon the other side of the plexiglass, instantly forgetting they were safe as can be as it was said the glass could withstand blasts of excessive heat.
Getting a good look at his new home, Baragon took an immediate disliking to it & wasted no time in displaying it: taking in a deep breath, he let out a bellowing roar that was audible & loud even through the plexiglass as it vibrated from the noise. Baragon's roar woke Anguirus as the spiked monster also found himself in new surroundings & took an instant loathing of them. He also discovered that he barely has any room to maneuver, & his ire for the limited space & movement only fueled his displeasure of the situation.
Like Baragon had, Anguirus unleashed a boisterous honking roar that stung the ears of the people in the room, its noise causing the window in front of him to wobble like it was made out of Jello gelatin instead of the strongest plexiglass. The spiked monster charged at the glass & rammed his nose horn into it, causing a large spiderweb of cracks in the glass. Within his own holding pen, Baragon belched a gout of high intensity flames from his maw that was aimed straight at the glass & was halted like it hit an invisible force field.
They held, if just barely.
From Baragon's pen, the glass started to blacken & distort from the intense heat of Baragon's primary weapon & Anguirus' glass barrier was forming more cracks with each strike he inflicted upon it, doing so with terrible force
Seeing the plexiglass receiving damage & fearing the worst was going to happen, one of the scientists pushed a button that caused klaxons to blare throughout the underground complex to indicate immediate evacuation. As personnel rushed to gather their belongings before making their way towards the exits, the inevitable occurred: after a minute or two of physical abuse from head-bashing & fire blasts, Anguirus & Baragon broke free from their holding cells, causing the plexiglass to shatter within the complex everywhere as people scrambled to escape both the flying shards & also the monsters themselves.
Nobody in the room was fortunate: some were hit & crushed underneath the giant shards of plexiglass that was melted/shattered, while others fell victim to Anguirus & Baragon as they made their way out of their pens & into the room itself, destroying anything & everything in their paths. Those that were able to make it to the elevators had only delayed the inevitable as tons of steel, wiring & concrete came crashing down within the enclosed spaces.
Even the guards' high-velocity armor-piercing rounds from their machine guns & powerful RPG rocket launchers with Stingray missiles couldn't halt their progress, & they met the same fate as the scientists themselves.
Many died screaming in fear as death came from above.
Some didn't have time to scream at all.
Not wanting to be cooped up in the facility any longer, Anguirus & Baragon began crawling & making their way up, bashing the ceiling & raining down tons to concrete, steel & earth on the whole facility.
Each strike also caused the area to vibrate as if an earthquake hit.
The entire city was jarred by sudden tremors as everyone ran outside as is protocol whenever one hits an area to prevent being trapped inside buildings should they suddenly collapse. Several cars had crashed into each other from not paying attention to where they're going when the tremors started, causing fury to erupt between drivers & resulting in more than a few fist fights that had to be broken up by the police.
From the Leningrad/St. Petersburg border, several people saw large chunks of dirt, grass & trees being pushed up from below & exploded like geysers as a portion of the ground seemed to sink into the Earth itself. Some used a pair of binoculars to see the event occur, but it was more than visible enough to be witnessed with the naked eye even from where they stood.
Soon, they would see movement from the earth that was anything but dirt, grass or trees: in no time at all, they all bore witness to a pair of large animalistic heads poking through the opening of the freshly-made hole. One was like a crocodile's, sporting a short nasal horn above its nostrils, a mouth full of sharp teeth, predatory eyes & a half-dozen curved spikes on the back of its head. Climbing out, the people could see a large quadrupedal monster with claws on its feet, a bony shell on its back with spikes the length of telephone poles & spikes on its tail.
Its flesh was a dark gray & reached a full length measured 100 meters & stood about 60 on its four feet.
The second creature emerged from the hole to reveal its presence to all: another quadrupedal beast with maroon flesh & clawed feet, & a hard carapace upon its back & tail. Its head was smaller than its companion but was also very fierce-looking with large floppy ears on the sides, large red predatory eyes, & a mouth with sharp teeth. A number of five small horns rested atop its head, & a pointed horn three times longer protruded from its snout.
It measured only 30 meters in length but possessed the same fiery attitude as the larger beast next to it.
Even though they've never set foot in Russia before, the people of the country were familiar with these creatures.
"Anguirus!", said a man, lowering his binoculars.
"Baragon!", said a woman, seeing the monster clearly without any such device.
Both creatures let out bellowing roars that were heard for miles as people rushed to get their cell phones out to get in contact with the authorities. Some even tried getting pictures of the two creatures as they now started to shake to get the excess earth off their backs like groggy bears awakening from a long hibernation.
Having escaped the cramped spaces of their one-time holding pens, Anguirus & Baragon start making their way on a southwestern path – one that leads them directly for St. Petersburg.
In no time at all, the alarms in Russia's second largest city erupted everywhere, causing citizens to flee once word got out that Anguirus & Baragon were heading straight for them. Police were all but overwhelmed in their arduous task of getting civilians out of the city as the Russian Red Army in the vicinity fill the streets with assault vehicles consistent of T-80/90 & BMD-3 battle tanks, TOS-1 Buratino MRLs, & an air support consisting of Mi-28 Havoc & Mi-25 Hind helicopters, along with Tupelov Tu-160 Beliy Lebed jets.
As the ground forces line up at the city border & the city itself, the jets & choppers fly ahead to cut them off.
Luckily, the armed forces of St. Petersburg were all ever-alert & ready to deploy in case something in the monster-holding facility went south, explaining as to how they were already up & about, coordinating their attack patterns on a dime.
It went like clockwork as per each drill they practiced for months, if not years.
Now it was their task to prevent the monsters from entering the city & either drive them towards the water or to destroy them.
Up in the skies, the Tupelov jets were on Anguirus & Baragon in no time & unleashed their payloads of powerful Raduga Kh-55SM cruise missiles onto the approaching monsters. Most of these hit their marks, exploding with fierce blasts all over the backs of the beasts, the vibrations felt even within the cockpits.
Anguirus & Baragon roared in annoyance from the blasts, but neither stopped nor slowed their trek towards the city.
As the Tupelov jets turn for another pass, the Havoc & Hind choppers get in their licks on the monsters by firing their payloads of 9M120 Tandem High Explosive Anti-Tank & S-24 missiles/rockets & machine guns that can shoot a volley of hundreds of rounds per minute. Each whirlybird dump whatever they've got onto the two creatures for several minutes accompanied by the returning Tupelov jets, creating a pair of smoke clouds which came close to fully engulfing Anguirus & Baragon.
The sounds of their blaring roars echoed over the explosions rocking their bodies, with only a portion of them still visible in the clouds.
The barrage lasted until their armaments were spent, with not a single bullet spared.
As suddenly as it began, the assault ceased & everything was deathly quiet.
"Air Strike Team, what's your status?", came the voice on each radio. "We need a sit-rep! What is the status of the two targets? Over!"
"There's a lot of smoke but we can see the two monsters clearly enough!", said one chopper pilot.
"Have the targets been defeated? I need a confirmed sit-rep! Over!"
Each pilot stared hard into the clouds to catch the sights of Anguirus and/or Baragon.
So far, they can easily see they're still among the living.
"Air Strike Team, what is the condition of the targets? Over!", the radios announced demandingly.
Neither creature looked to be damaged or even hurt in the slightest.
"Targets are still active!", another chopper pilot reports. "Not one seems to be injured by the barrage we threw at them! Wait a minute – they seem to be doing something! It's still a bit hazy to see, but it looks like they could be…"
"What? What do you see? TALK to me!", the radio barked.
In a move which defies logic, Baragon leaped out of the smoke cloud & crashed face first into the chopper closest to him, taking it & several other whirlybirds out & giving none of them time to maneuver out of the way in time. Each one exploded in an orange & yellow blast that took out both bird & operators, their remains spreading in all directions.
Baragon landed with a ground-shaking thud on all fours before resuming his trek across the land.
Anguirus didn't exactly leap out of the cloud cover, but he did reach up & swiped his front paws at several of the whirlybirds, taking out a few while others scrambled to safety & avoided a fiery fate. The spiked monster even got a couple of jets that swooped in & dumped their payloads on the beast.
Unfettered by the destruction he left behind, Anguirus also made his way towards St. Petersburg.
Once Baragon landed, the sergeant of the first defense line ordered his men to open fire: as one, tanks & multiple rocket launcher vehicles unloaded with their armaments & making direct hits on the oncoming creature. They did the same with Anguirus once he became within range, & both monsters were once more bombarded with missiles & shells that caused powerful, deafening blasts. A thicker smoke cloud obscured their vision, but nobody relented on their attack; they simply aimed their shots where they heard the roars of either beast.
So far, they only heard Anguirus' roar, who sounded closer towards them than before.
Then they heard & felt the sounds of rumbling in the earth, the vibrations getting even nearer.
Each military personnel looked around for the source of the rumbling for several minutes, & without any warning Baragon emerged from underground right smack dab in the middle of the first defense line placed between the Volgo Donskoy & Shafirovskiy Prospekt roads. Men & machines were tossed around in the air like toys as the subterranean dinosaur creature emerged from the ground, bellowed a roar & belched a gout of flames from his mouth. These flames struck the heart of their armada & detonated vehicles that spread more fires throughout the defense line, scorching men beyond recognition as they screamed in terror while they burned to death.
Soon, Baragon was consumed by flames that reached high into the evening skies over St. Petersburg.
The monster of course was unscathed by the fires he caused, & Baragon continued on his way towards the city.
Anguirus joined him when he curled himself up into a spiked ball & tumbled his way into the city, flattening the buildings to rubble & vehicles to crushed metal like what recycling machines do with soda cans. They get bombarded by more ground forces over at the Smol'naya Naberezhnaya road on the southern part of the Neva River; Anguirus & Baragon leap into the river of water with a thunderous splash that reached both shores & drenched the nearest areas with floods of water, drowning many people attempting to flee the city along with their police/military escorts.
Even that didn't stop the ground forces from firing upon the monsters, & soon Anguirus & Baragon approach the second line of defense, sending it to the same fate its predecessor met as man & machine end up scrap metal & burned alive from Baragon's flames. Helicopters assault the creature as Baragon marched south, heading for & into the Smolny Cathedral. The cathedral, designed & built by Italian architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli between 1748 & 1764, was originally made to house the daughter of Peter the Great, Elizabeth. It closed in 1923 & left to decay until 1982, when it became a concert hall until 2015, when it was reverted into a church.
It is one of St. Petersburg's most famous landmarks.
Baragon pulverizes it into rubble in a matter of seconds.
Anguirus also destroys a piece of iconic history in St. Petersburg: the spiked monster runs into & demolishes the Tauride Palace – a structure that was designed & built by Ivan Yegorovich Starov from 1783 to 1789 before his death only two years later. The spiked quadrupedal creature crashed into the main building, smashing the Convention Hall into debris as he continues southwest & moving away from Baragon.
With both monsters going in separate directions & their armed forces spread thin, the Russian Red Army knows it will have a tough time to corral the two beasts & send them away. The Tsentralny District becomes a showcase of chaos as Anguirus & Baragon rampage through the Russian city, leaving buildings & vehicles in crushed rubble/debris.
Even the helicopters & jets – whatever was left of them – couldn't steer either monster into the river & out into the open seas, & what ground forces were still operational were getting their assets kicked vehemently by the invading monsters who were unleashing their fury of being beaten & locked up like they were no more than zoo exhibits.
Unless something concrete gets done to expel the two monsters, Anguirus & Baragon will raze St. Petersburg to its foundation.
A miracle comes in the form of a pair of spiral grenade missiles that struck each monster from afar that exploded against their armored backs, causing them to bellow a roar of surprise & displeasure as their attention gets pulled from their destructive rampage to the east where the missiles came from. From over 500 meters away, a massive 120-meter tall silver & blue robot with metal apron, a circular port in its midsection, thick legs with working treads underneath its feet, arms that ended in black cones, & a bird-like head with yellow eyes & drill for a nose makes its appearance.
Baragon stood & stared in wonder at the robot, having never seen it before until now.
With Anguirus, it was different: he knew what this massive machine is, & a rage deep down resurfaces & fed the anger he was already experiencing from being cooped up in a cramped space.
MOGUERA hovered in the air at 200 meters off the ground as it slowly but surely made its way towards the city & the two monsters tearing it asunder. Baragon watched with both curiosity & fury, while Anguirus watched the robot with simple fury, remembering the defeat he met by its hands during their scuffle in Moscow.
The three-man crew inside MOGUERA also watched the two creatures, their eyes peeled for any sudden moves.
"The spiral grenade missile attack certainly got their attention as we hoped for, captain!", said the first pilot.
"And now that we have their attention diverted from the city onto us, how do you want to begin this?", the second pilot asked.
"For right now, let's stay in the air long enough so the authorities below can get people further away from all the chaos", the captain said. "Let's also try & keep this fight mainly in the Admiralteysky District: they've already torn up a good portion of it, so we'll do our best to keep them contained in this area for the battle. Understood?"
"Yes sir!", both pilots said.
Baragon had the same idea, & the subterranean dinosaur followed MOGUERA within said district, pulverizing whatever buildings were in his path as police & military personnel hastily escorted people away from the danger & the creatures themselves. Thankfully, Baragon paid the fleeing humans no mind, keeping his focus solely on MOGUERA as the robot now hovered over the ruined area of Moskovsky Avenue as Anguirus & his partner approached the robot, which now slowly set down on its feet.
Even though the landing was a soft one, MOGUERA had still shaken the area with its massive weight of 160,000 metric tons before raising its arms, ready for battle.
Anguirus & Baragon stalk up to the machine like a pair of cougars ready to trounce on a deer for its dinner.
Neither monster took their eyes off the robot even for the briefest of seconds.
MOGUERA's crew did the same.
"Stay alert, men!", warned the captain. "We already know what Anguirus is capable of, & don't underestimate Baragon either: he may be smaller, but he's just as feisty & brutal in a brawl! Plus, those flames he produces can do a series of damage to MOGUERA, so let's be sure to avoid it whenever possible!"
"Understood, captain!", said pilot #1.
"What's the status on our systems?"
"All weapons are fully functional, captain!", said pilot #2. "Plus, we have enough sedative for each monster: all we need to do is stick them once with each needle, & we'll have them put under & inoperative!"
"Good! Prepare to fire another round of spiral grenade missiles on my command!"
"Roger!", both pilots said.
Pressing a button, MOGUERA opened up both cones with each one aimed at its two targets.
Anguirus & Baragon roared in rage, indicating an attack pattern.
The captain gave the order.
Both spiral grenade missiles left their ports & streaked towards their targets, both of whom moved out of their path with speeds that belied their great sizes. Missing their marks, the missiles struck abandoned complexes, blowing both into smoking rubble. Closing their cones, MOGUERA shot forth its plasma beams from its eyes, hitting Baragon along the face & briefly disorienting him. Anguirus rushed at the robot for a sneak attack, but MOGUERA's crew was wise to his tactic & counterattacked by swatting the spiked monster in the side of his head with its right arm, causing him to see stars in his vision.
Opening its chest port, MOGUERA's maser cannon emerged from within & shot forth a beam of plasma energy at Baragon, who recovered from the surprise hit & charged the robot. The blast struck the subterranean dinosaur square in his own chest, the blast throwing him backwards 40-50 meters, creating a swath of destruction as he slid across his armored back before coming to a stop.
The creature bellowed in rage when he was hit, the beam scorching his flesh.
Anguirus recovered sooner than the MOGUERA crew anticipated, swinging his tail at the robot & striking it in the apron just below the maser cannon, jarring the crew inside from the unexpected hit.
"Quick…put some distance between us & him!", the captain ordered.
Without responding, the pilots activated MOGUERA's feet treads & put the robot in reverse, backing away from Anguirus as he barked angrily at the massive machine before charging after it, determined to turn it into worthless scrap metal once & for all.
MOGUERA responded by firing its plasma beams from its eyes, striking Anguirus in the face & neck. The beast paid these hits no mind & concentrated on advancing towards his robotic enemy, craving vengeance for the thrashing it gave him days earlier.
Watching the rear-view monitor, pilot #2 announced they were fast approaching the Fontanka River, & that the robot's weight will not be supported by the bridge.
"Don't worry – we have something else in mind that Anguirus won't be expecting!", the captain said. "Prepare to reverse the treads on my order!"
The two pilots looked to each other in wonder, but they would obey their captain nevertheless.
MOGUERA was about 10 meters from the bridge, with Anguirus still following despite the various hits received by the robot's plasma beams.
When it gets to 2 meters, the captain gave the order.
Again, in silence, the first pilot pressed the button that got MOGUERA to abruptly halt in its tracks, startling the spiked monster as he crashed right into it. The captain then ordered MOGUERA to open its cone arms, only this time it wouldn't be to fire its spiral grenade missiles on the monster.
It would be to inject him with the needles & tranquilize him, exactly as they'd done in Moscow when both cones opened to reveal the robot's syringes.
But Anguirus would have none of it: dazed as he was from the sudden stop & collision, the spiked monster would not allow himself to go under again. In a move that stunned the three operators, Anguirus lowered his shell so that the right arm's needle would strike there, thus breaking it off as it fell to the ground. At that same time, Anguirus reached out & bit down on the other needle in the left arm & tore it off like a lion would to prey it's killed. Gallons of the liquid spilled onto the streets of St. Petersburg, with some of it even getting into the river.
Having both of their needles down & MOGUERA losing its tranquilizer fluid, the crew had no way to sedate the monsters, & Anguirus was as ornery as ever as he raked at the robot with his front paws & teeth.
"What now, captain?", asked the second pilot. "With our tranquilizer fluid & both needles gone, we'll have to improvise!"
"Then that's what we'll do!", the captain said. "Quickly – grab Anguirus' neck with the left cone & use the right one to keep him in place! Once we do…"
"We'll steer MOGUERA to the water & throw him in! Got it!", the first pilot finished as the captain nodded.
Acting fast, the pilots work to get MOGUERA to briefly immobilize Anguirus long enough to get him steered to & thrown in: the left cone closes around the monster's neck in a literal vice-like grip as the right cone closes but puts Anguirus in a tight bear hug to the robot's chest.
With no time to lose, the captain ordered MOGUERA to get airborne.
Pressing a button, the second pilot gets the robot's thrusters operational as MOGUERA lifts up & off the ground, carrying Anguirus with it even as he struggles to get loose from his enemy's grip. MOGUERA gets 30 meters off the ground before turning right & hovers over the Fontanka River to avoid any further damage to the city's buildings. The robot makes its way with prize in tow over towards the Reka Bol'shaya Neva, which will lead straight out into the Gulf of Finland.
Everything went well: despite the minor setbacks & Anguirus' frantic struggling, the MOGUERA crew worked in getting the monster out of Russia.
An error was still present, however: in their fight with the spiked monster, the crew had more or less forgot about Baragon after blasting him with the plasma cannon.
That mistake would cost them: the subterranean dinosaur regained consciousness & ran after the robot, smashing buildings & flattening vehicles before making a powerful leap at MOGUERA. Caught unawares, the crew was violently jarred by Baragon's impact as both monsters & massive robot went plummeting to earth, crashing onto an unsuspecting Ostrov Galernyy area. The impact shook the MOGUERA crew even with their safety belts on.
With MOGUERA lying on its back, Anguirus & Baragon unleashed their fury upon their mechanized adversary, raking at it with their claws & gnashing with their teeth. Anguirus bit down on MOGUERA's right cone & twisted it off like a person would do with a turkey leg, while Baragon simply wrenched off the cone halves on the left arm, tossing both aside before dousing the robot with a gout of high intensity flames from his mouth that scorched the chest.
Inside the cockpit, the crew were feeling the impact of their attacks, their bones & teeth feeling like they're about to shake loose. What's more, they were literally feeling the heat.
"Check the damage level & give me its status – quickly!", the captain bellowed.
"The damage level is at 6% & climbing fast, sir!", said pilot #1. "If this keeps up, they'll tear the robot apart like it was made out of tin foil!"
"Not only that, the internal temperature is also rising fast – 70% & climbing!", said pilot #2. "If it reaches 100%, the fuel tanks will blow & take MOGUERA & us with it! We need to get away from this, sir – now!"
The captain saw on the monitor that Baragon was now climbing atop the robot, & it gave him an idea.
"I agree…but we're not getting away emptyhanded!", he said. "Are the cables & thrusters still operational?"
A quick check showed they were, & the first pilot announced it.
"Good!", the captain said. "Quickly – wrap them around Baragon & try to include his mouth! Then get us into the air once you have him secured!"
"Yes sir!", both pilots say, getting to work instantly as they spoke.
From the hidden open ports on MOGUERA's chest & upper legs, strands of thick titanium cables snaked out of the robot & wrapped themselves around the subterranean dinosaur. Legs, arms, body & including Baragon's mouth all got entangled by the snakes of metal. Baragon fought to get loose from these appendages but could not, & MOGUERA was taking to the skies via thrusters once Baragon's capture was confirmed. Anguirus watched as the robot took off on its back with his partner on tow, dragging him briefly before getting an airlift. MOGUERA got itself hovering in an erect, vertical position as Baragon dangled from the cables keeping him prisoner.
No matter how fiercely he fought, the creature could not break the binds that tied him, & with his mouth wrapped closed, he's unable to burn himself loose.
MOGUERA then tilted downwards into a horizontal position, its bird-like head pointing forward before it went flying like a rocket. The robot made a circling pattern around the immediate area as Anguirus kept a keen eye on their robotic enemy, never letting it out of his sight. He watched while MOGUERA made a full 360 degree turn, heading for & making a beeline straight towards him.
Rising on his hind legs, Anguirus roared a challenge to begin their scuffle anew.
It was exactly what the captain had hoped for.
Perfect!, he thought.
Using Baragon as their battering ram, MOGUERA crashed the subterranean dinosaur into the spiked creature as both Anguirus & Baragon collided with each other, their momentum carrying them over & right into the water, creating a splash as the captain ordered his pilots to release the cables & free Baragon. When both monsters regain their bearings & resurface, they see MOGUERA hovering 60 meters from the ground & at a distance of 150 meters – too far for either of them to launch a counterattack, let alone reach it with flames.
"Now what, captain?", asked pilot #1.
"Hold your positions, men", he answered. "Let's not do anything to provoke them. Now that we've gotten them into the water, they have two choices to make: back onto the motherland or out to sea. Let's find out if they're smart enough to make the right decision."
The MOGUERA crew stared at Anguirus & Baragon, with both monsters doing the same in vehemence. As the two monsters decide on which direction they wish to take, the MOGUERA crew were also pondering on whether they should try & recapture the creatures in order to honor the government's decision in attempting to contain/control the giant monsters of Earth, or if they should leave well enough alone & allow the beasts to go their own way.
The air was so thick with tension, one could cut it with a blade.
Finally, after what felt like an eternity, Anguirus & Baragon made their choice.
Bellowing a roar that could be heard all over St. Petersburg & the surrounding area, the two quadrupedal monsters turned & started heading westward in the Reka Bol'shaya Neva, heading away from St. Petersburg – and all of Russia.
MOGUERA's crew breathed a collective sigh of relief, sparing the city and country further chaos.
"Looks like they've had enough", said pilot #2. "Which is good; considering the damage we've taken, I doubt we would've lasted or even survived another round or two with even one of the creatures. Don't you agree, captain?"
Their commander didn't answer right away: he was too busy contemplating in his mind how this was all going to go down with their government. For decades, Russia wanted to be prepared for any future attacks from monsters like Godzilla when he first appeared on Russian soil in April 1986, shortly after the Chernobyl Disaster. Years of planning & millions of rubles/building materials went into the project, & when they finally succeed in capturing not one but two giant monsters, it all literally comes crashing down: a ruined facility with most possibly no survivors, Russia's largest cities – Moscow & St. Petersburg – in heavy ruins, hundreds dead, thousands wounded, & their prizes escaping with hardly a scratch aside from the ones they received by some unknown creature.
In short, it was time wasted, money gone & nothing to show for it…except death & destruction, the captain said to himself, mulling over the details with a face of disappointment & displeasure.
"Captain…is everything okay?", asked pilot #1, snapping the man out of his thoughts.
"Yes", he replied, even though it wasn't true. "I'm just wondering on how we're going to explain all this to our superiors. They put in a lot of time, effort & money into their plan…and it all fell apart in one day."
The two pilots looked to each other before facing the captain again.
"Just tell them the truth, captain", said pilot #2. "We've nothing to lose or gain by lying to them. Besides, on a more personal level…it was a foolish idea from the start. Trying to contain, then control, giant monsters like Godzilla is something only a madman would do. Word has it that even our ambassador was vehemently against it from the start & tried dissuading our government officials from following through with their plan. Perhaps they should've listened to him after all, da?"
"He's right, captain", pilot #1 adds. "If they had even half a brain in their heads & listened to the ambassador, all the lives lost today could've been avoided. Now they have all those lives on their conscience."
Neither man was wrong, & the captain knew it: people like their Russian government were the type to put profits over people's lives in order to shape the world in their own image. Men like him & his pilots were no more than mere servants/soldiers who protect the country for those that actually run it. It felt like the days of Russian leader Josef Stalin, who was just as cruel & vicious to his own people as Adolf Hitler was to his Nazis during World War II, & even killed morepeople in his reign than Germany's lunatic chancellor did.
Nobody dared to oppose Stalin during his reign, & the President Russia has now was somebody very reminiscent of Josef in many fashions – being despised even among his own people.
And yet, just as it was with Stalin, nobody defies that man because they're too afraid of him, the captain thought.
On the one comfort he can take is that this failure of capturing giant monsters will be a hurtful blow to his pride in ways no physical pain could inflict.
The downside of it was that many people paid the ultimate price for the President & his government's tomfoolery.
Exhaling a sigh, the captain shook his head from it all.
"All we can do is hope & pray that they've learned their lesson", he said orally. "Some things in this world were never meant for mankind to control. The weather itself & giant monsters are two of them, but when one thinks about it, they're really not that much different from one another. Word has it that many people see Godzilla as more of a force of nature – like a typhoon, hurricane or earthquake – than as a living animal."
"It's exactly like that Japanese scientist – Tajima Sugimoto – always depicted Godzilla as, captain", said pilot #1. "He's studied the creature longer than possibly anybody else on this planet, so we ought to take his advice to heart on it. I wonder: is he still in the country with the Russian Ambassador?"
"Nyet", said pilot #2. "He left with his family & friends for Paris, France. They're on their way as we speak."
"And we should be heading our own way back to base", said the captain. "MOGUERA needs a lot of work done in order to get it back at full-working capacity. Set a course for home, & along the way, contact the maintenance crew to begin repair work on the robot soon as we arrive."
"Yes sir", both pilots said.
Making MOGUERA turn 180 degrees, the crew flew off into the Russian mainland as the pilots carry out their orders in reaching the base as rescue services help the survivors in the devastated St. Petersburg behind them.
While it was mission accomplished (of sorts), it came with a heavy price.
The trip was made in complete silence.
On the flight to Paris, France:
Shortly after their plane took off, the Benice, Fleming & Sugimoto families decided to nap on their flight, wishing to feel mostly refreshed for when they arrive upon French soil. Using blankets & pillows that were stored in the overhead compartments & given by stewardesses, they rested comfortably in their seats with the lights off as they get taken over towards their new destination.
In her seat, Elsa Sugimoto's mind drifts to a memory that took place about seven months ago:
United States Court of Military Appeals, Washington, D.C., Monday, December 28th, 2015, 10:00 a.m.:
After spending their Christmas holiday over at Patricia & Nathan's Los Angeles home, the Fleming, Sugimoto & Benice families were all invited down to the nation's capital as per requested by General Ernie's military. Settling in at a hotel in close proximity of the building, they were all asked to join for a summit meeting at 9:30 in the morning to begin the day's activities. Everybody there was dressed in formal wear (i.e., business suits/dresses), but Elsa had been attired in a soldier's uniform, now that she's been deemed as a member of the Mechagodzilla crew by General Ronald Len Ernie & Japanese SDF Commander Yoshi Shimazaki – both of whom were also present & in uniform.
Russian Ambassador Sergei Yeltsin & his assistant/bodyguard Nikolai were also in attendance.
The meeting started at exactly 9:30 as both General Ernie & Commander Shimazaki were called to the stands & each gave a detailed description of their rank & a few other bits of information before being asked to describe the battle between the monsters that invaded Los Angeles – Mecha-King Ghidorah & Gigan – and the ones that were summoned by them, the malevolent Black Hole Aliens.
Yoshi & Ronald gave detailed information on what occurred in the fight, from landing Mechagodzilla in the city to when the real Godzilla departed & headed south, & beyond.
When both gentlemen were done, they've each took a seat before one of the top delegates in the room – a woman with a head of blonde hair – spoke. Her ranking is as a colonel, & went by the name of Danielle Hale.
"Thank you, gentlemen. And now we call to the stands of this morning's hearing, Sugimoto…", she began.
Tajima, Hidemi, Akemi, Emiko, Kristoff, Anna & Elsa tensed as their name was called, as did their friends.
"Elsa", she finished.
Putting her fears aside, the Snow Queen rose & walked up towards the stands with grace & posture as her shoes clacked on the floor. A man with a large thick book held it out in his hands as Elsa placed her left hand on the front of it while raising her right; she was taught to do this by General Ernie just before things began, giving her a quick rundown on how the system worked.
Now she was putting it to the test.
Ganbatte, Elsa, Tajima, Hidemi, Akemi, Emiko & Yoshi thought.
Good luck, Elsa, the Benice & Fleming families, General Ernie, Sergei, Nikolai & Kristoff thought.
Good luck, sis, Anna thought.
"State your name for this court, if you please?", the man said.
"Elsa Sugimoto", she said simply.
"Elsa Sugimoto, you do solemnly state that the testimony you may give in the case now pending before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth & nothing but the truth, so help you God?"
"Yes, I do."
General Ernie, Yoshi & the rest smile at Elsa's performance, seeing she learned the process well…thus far.
Colonel Hale spoke again once Elsa was sworn in.
"Before we begin, I simply want to explain to the witness that this is just a formal hearing, not an actual trial. It means that there are no types of criminal charges stacked against you, & you don't have to answer any questions against your wishes, or even testify at all."
"I understand perfectly, ma'am. And I'll be happy to answer any questions that I can", Elsa replied.
Again, Elsa's family & friends smiled at how well she had handled things. Even Colonel Hale smiled, along with most of her fellow delegates.
"Excellent, Elsa", she says. "Let's begin: although your last name is Japanese, you originally weren't from Japan, correct?"
"That's true", Elsa stated. "I'm originally from the country of Norway. I lived in the woods with my sister Anna & a young man named Kristoff, both of whom are in the room with us."
Said people raised their hands briefly to indicate/acknowledge their presence.
Nodding, Colonel Hale urged for Elsa to continue.
"We lived a simple life out in the woods – hunting animals for food & clothing, keeping wood for fires during winter, & so forth. It's been that way for us since we were little, being taught by our parents before they were lost on a trip out at sea, God rest their souls."
Anna bowed her head at the memory of losing their mother & father. Kristoff took her hands in comfort.
"I see. And how did you three happen to hook up with Tajima Sugimoto & his family?", Hale asked.
"Shortly after our home burned down by an accidental fire, we traveled the woods for days until they saw us out in the cold. Explaining our situation, Tajima & his family took pity on & invited to take us to their home in Tokyo, as a way of starting our lives afresh. Having lost everything – and I mean everything – we've owned & loved so dearly, we more than accepted their offer. It turned out to be the right choice: for just over two years, we've lived with Tajima & his family – learning their customs in Japan, fitting in as best we could, & just three weeks ago, we were blessed to discover that we now bear their last name."
The colonel nodded before she spoke again.
"Miss Sugimoto, from what I've been told by Commander Yoshi Shimazaki here, you & your family & friends were targeted by Yakuza crime boss Hisashi Masahiro, who also resided from Tokyo."
"Yes ma'am, that is correct", Elsa explains. "They hit our house & tore it up with their guns before we turned the tables on them. When we interrogated one of the gangsters, he explained that Masahiro was behind the hit but wouldn't give the reason why, saying he was never told – only to carry out his orders or suffer the consequences. Realizing how utterly dangerous & ruthless he was, Tajima & the rest felt it best to leave the country & arrive here in America until a plan of action could be implemented in dealing with him. Turns out we didn't need to lift a finger: the monster Varan permanently dealt with the merciless gangster & his men while being pursued by American & Japanese Naval Forces. Hearing upon his death, we were relieved to know we could finally head home again after nine months of life here in the United States."
"And just before the main fight against the monsters Mecha-King Ghidorah & Gigan, you were made as a member of the Mechagodzilla crew by General Ernie & Commander Shimazaki, am I right?"
"Again, you are correct."
The courtroom stayed quiet as Colonel Danielle Hale & her delegates absorbed every piece of information.
After a minute of contemplating Elsa's words & that of General Ernie's & Commander Shimazaki's during their own report, the colonel nodded as she & most of her fellow delegates were all but satisfied.
"I guess in some cases, it takes a monster to defeat another", she said, getting chuckles from most. "In any case, on behalf of this court, the United States Armed Forces and that of the world, I want to thank you very much for both your bravery during the fight to save humanity, as well as your statement here on this frigid but sunny Monday morning, Miss Elsa Sugimoto. We are all in your debt."
"It was my pleasure to serve, ma'am", Elsa said, bowing in the Japanese sense. "And you're welcome: I was just doing my part to save my planet, nothing more."
Colonel Danielle Hale, her fellow delegates & most everyone else smiled at her statement.
One man, however, did not feel congratulatory along with everyone else, & he neither smiled nor chuckled with his delegates. He had a head of short-cropped brown hair, blue eyes & a face that was as stern as stone.
His ranking was as a major – Major Derek Synapse.
And he didn't seem very happy with the results of the morning's hearing – a sentiment in which he was about to make quite clear.
"Are you sure there's 'nothing more' you'd like to add to this hearing, Miss Sugimoto?", he said in a voice that garnered no humor. All eyes in the room turned to Major Synapse, most of which were none too pleased of him speaking out of turn.
"Major Synapse, do you have something to say?", Colonel Hale asked in a not-so-pleasant tone.
"As a matter of fact, I do", Synapse said, shuffling his papers & reading from them as he spoke. "Having lived a life out in the woods & suddenly ending up in Tokyo, Japan does seem to raise more than a few eyebrows. According to these reports, neither Kristoff, Anna or Elsa here have any previous background information prior to being christened the Sugimoto name to their own: no records of other known family members, relatives, medical records of any kind, not even a birth certificate. And you know what the funniest thing about all this is?"
Major Synapse looked straight at Elsa with a hard stare. The Snow Queen gave him indifferent, having an instant disliking to the man.
"Elsa Sugimoto here has absolutely no prior military records or experience in actual combat, & yet she's been made a certified member of the Mechagodzilla crew – from right out of the blue! I ask you – doesn't any of this strike you as somewhat odd by any chance? Because it surely feels that way to me!"
Elsa & Major Synapse continued staring at each other, with neither backing down.
Only General Ernie's voice helped to break it up.
"Major Synapse!", he barked, rising from his seat & pointing an accusing finger at him. "I feel very highly that you are questioning my choice of recruits, & if you have any kind of complaints about it, you will hereby bring them directly to me, & only me!"
"But General…", Synapse started to say before the General cut him off.
"Major, when our country entered the two World Wars, thousands of people went in to enlist! They had absolutely no previous combat experience, yet they trained hard & fought even harder to defend our land and our allies from those that wished to wipe out world peace, not to mention our very freedom! Each of these recruits enlisted of their own free will, regardless of history, race, nationality or other differing attributes – and they did so for no other reason than it was simply the right thing to do! Therefore, I don't see Miss Elsa Sugimoto here as being any different: although new to the experience of combat, she performed her duties well like any soldier out in the field! Don't you forget, Major: it was her that put Gigan in literal cold storage before we blew him to whatever creepy hole he crawled out of!"
Major Synapse nodded, knowing it was the truth. But he was still going to point out certain facts on Elsa's behalf.
"Okay, yes she did, General, I'll grant her that!", he said, facing Elsa. "But she also could've done the same thing to Godzilla when she had the chance, yet she didn't! Care to tell us why, Miss Sugimoto?"
"Because I didn't see any reason to!", Elsa said.
Major Synapse's face feigned shock as he went on.
"You 'didn't see any reason to'?", he repeated, mocking the Snow Queen as Elsa scowled back. "Miss Sugimoto, Godzilla is the singular, most destructive force this planet of ours has ever seen! Since his debut in Tokyo in 1954, he's caused multiple deaths/injuries & billions of dollars in damages wherever he goes! Economies & stock markets have all but plummeted during his reign, & there are even victims of radiation poisoning from the monster that surpassed the 100,000 mark! If that's not reason enough to have Godzilla eliminated – an act in which you failed to perform when the opportunity presented itself – then what's the point of even having you onthe Mechagodzilla crew if you can't do the job the robot was even built for in the first place?!"
"Major Synapse!", General Ernie cut in. "I will not have you questioning my crew member's judgment any more than of who I choose to be on the Mechagodzilla crew! And for your information, Elsa Sugimoto here has shown sound judgment of the situation: the real enemies to the Earth were all disposed of, & a part of our victory against those alien maggots was of partnering & fighting with Godzilla rather than against him!"
"What the General means, Major Synapse, is that Godzilla sees the Earth as his territory, & like the other monsters of this planet, he'll fight to defend it by whatever means necessary!", Elsa explains. "The Black Hole Aliens knew that Godzilla was the one obstacle in their path from claiming Earth as their own, which is why they sent two of their beasts to combat & kill him! Had they actually succeeded in that, Earth would've been lost! And another thing: you believe Godzilla to be a monster like most others, but let me ask you this: you want to see a real monster? Just simply look at yourself in the mirror!"
Major Synapse raised his eyebrows in surprise.
"And why would I do that?", he asked.
"Because humanity is the greatest monster of all!", Elsa says. "It was humanity that created Godzilla in the first place, what with all your atomic bomb testing that gave birth to him! And with mankind's attempts at trying to conquer nature itself, the world's other monsters started to appear shortly after – Anguirus, Rodan, Varan, & so forth! Time & again, you battled these creatures to defeat them, only to meet with disastrous results every time! And the ones that came from space? They were even worse than Godzilla: the one called King Ghidorah was larger & more powerful than he was, & ravaged various cities around the globe! Nothing humanity did against this horrible beast could even slow him down: King Ghidorah was stopped only by the combined might of Rodan, Anguirus and Godzilla!"
Synapse listened to Elsa's statements, being only partially interested.
"You point being?", he asks.
"Only this: like it or not, Major, for better or for worse, this planet is as much theirs as it is ours! Therefore, either we learn to co-exist with Godzilla & the other monsters as best we can, or it's us who'll be on the brink of extinction!"
"So then, we should just forgive all the death & destruction these monsters cause? Is that it?"
"Back off, Major!", General Ernie warned.
"I said 'back off'!"
Major Synapse dared not challenge General Ernie any further, & he stayed silent.
It was then that Colonel Hale made a statement as she grabbed her gavel.
"In testimony of the facts provided for us by that of General Ronald Len Ernie, Commander Yoshi Shimazaki and Elsa Sugimoto, this court has hereby reached a decision: due to Miss Sugimoto's outstanding performance on the battlefront against enemies that were all but adamant in wiping out all of mankind on a whim, she is hereby given full permission to remain as a member of the Mechagodzilla crew indefinitely, & once the robot is fully repaired, it shall be sent over to Tokyo, Japan at Commander Shimazaki's request. This morning's meeting is now adjourned."
Pounding her gavel once, the hearing was over as everyone rose from their seats & began exiting the room. Elsa went over first to General Ernie & Commander Yoshi, getting congratulated by both men with warm handshakes & big smiles on their faces before it was Elsa's family & friends doing the same, which included Sergei & Nikolai.
Only Major Synapse didn't rise from his seat: he sat & stared at Elsa Sugimoto with a deep loathing of the young girl that virtually came out of nowhere & entered the ranks of the armed services – American, Japanese or otherwise.
What's more, his own people in the U.S. Army were actually against him on this hearing, siding with a female nobody – including himself – hardly knew or even seen before, & yet becomes a member of the highly sophisticated & advanced robot built in conjunction with Japan. She's even activated the machine's strongest, most powerful weapon in its arsenal – the Absolute Zero Cannon, which can freeze enemies at deep minus temperatures.
Not only did Major Synapse object to the idea, it made him sick to his stomach.
He will not allow for such blasphemy to be as it is.
The man will deal with this manner – on his terms.
Yoshi & General Ernie lead Sergei, Nikolai, the Benice, Fleming & Sugimoto families over to a small room that had a mini banquet of fresh bagels & other foods, along with a couple of beverages like coffee, milk, tea & juice to get it washed down. When Nathan asked if they'll be joining them, both men said they have a little bit of business to take care of but will see them all later.
Congratulating Elsa as she thanked them for their services, they replied it was nothing & disappeared with a smile on their faces, closing the door behind them.
Taking a bagel with a cup that had the drink of their choice, everybody toasted to Elsa's success in becoming an official member of the Mechagodzilla crew.
"Pazdravlyayu, Elsa Sugimoto!", Sergei said, sipping his coffee. "Your actions in battle against invading aliens and their monsters have earned you the right to be member of Mechagodzilla crew!"
"And why not, Sergei?", Nathan says. "Not only did she have excellent moral support from family & friends, Elsa's had some pretty good teachers!"
"Very well said, Nathan Benice!", Nikolai said, sipping his own beverage. "She will no doubt make her superiors most proud in future endeavors!"
"We'll certainly drink to that, Nikolai!", said Patricia, Eugene & Rapunzel, doing so with their juice & milk.
"I still just can't believe it, sis!", Anna said, going to her side. "You – a bonafide & official member of an armed forces branch! And of two countries, no less! Whoever would've thought?"
"The feeling is mutual, Anna", Elsa said. "But it's really only just one country's branch once Mechagodzilla gets taken over to Japan after its repair work gets completed. Nevertheless, full congratulations should really go to General Ernie & Yoshi: were it not for them, none of this would be happening right now."
"I don't think they would ever take full credit for getting you where you are now, Elsa", Kristoff put in. "It's your efforts that made all the difference and your membership possible."
"He's got a point, Elsa", Merida said. "Getting into the armed forces – no matter what country you're affiliated with – is something not just anybody can go & accomplish!"
Elsa giggled as Merida's remark.
"You, Kristoff, Eugene, Rapunzel, Gus & my sister Anna didn't do so bad yourselves against Mugal's people on their ship when you went to go & rescue Tajima, Merida", she says. "If there's anyone who truly deserves to serve their country on a daily basis, it's you six!"
"Well, I'm not one to toot my own horn, but…we weren't too shabby either!", Eugene said with his stylish grin.
"Yeah, just give the four of us frying pans…", Rapunzel says, pointing to Kristoff, Anna, Eugene & herself. "and we'll handle the rest, toot-sweet!"
Everyone giggled at Rapunzel's joke when the door to the room suddenly opened…and the laughter died at the drop of a dime when they saw who it was that entered.
Major Derek Synapse.
The happy faces abruptly turned to frowns of displeasure & malice.
"Did the heat in this room suddenly stop? Because I do believe a cold breeze just entered the room!", Elinor said in an equally cold manner to the unexpected visitor.
"Now that you mentioned it, love…it did get somewhat nippy in here!", Gus said in the same tone.
Major Synapse was unfettered by the sudden change in attitude from the people inside the room.
On the contrary, he found it somewhat amusing & even gave himself a sly smirk.
"Well, well…isn't this a friendly gathering!", Synapse teased as he closed the door.
"Do you want something, Major?", Sergei asked sternly.
"You know, I can remember when I was first recruited into the United States Armed Forces", Derek began as he made his way towards Elsa. "I was no more than 20 when I got accepted, & wouldn't you know it, the General became my commanding officer. Since that day, he put me through some of the worst training torture a man could ever endure. Behind his back, I called him all sorts of names that would make even a sailor blush. However, I've always shown my greatest respects to him, even when we didn't agree with each other at certain times. Once I even told him…"
"You know, fella, it's pretty rude when you ignore a foreign ambassador when he asks you a question!", Eugene snarled.
"He's right, you know!", Elsa said sternly, locking eyes with Derek. "Foreign representatives should be treated with dignity & respect when they visit your homeland, so I'm going to ask again: what do you want, mister?!"
Derek Synapse halted when he was just less than a foot from Elsa's face.
"First of all, little girl, whenever you address me, you will do it as Major Synapse!", he stated firmly, staring at the Snow Queen. "And you'll also put a 'sir' at the end of it!"
Elsa's eyes narrowed into a menacing scowl.
"There are many things we'd all like to call you, but I don't think you'd want to hear anyof them…mister!", she scolded, unfazed by his attitude. "Now…spare us the trip down memory lane & tell us what you want!"
Derek gave a brief smirk before beginning.
"Direct, huh? I like that", he said. "Very well, I will get to the point: I think you're nothing more than a fraud!"
His remark boiled the blood of everyone in the room, & the men were barely able to get themselves under control of their tempers with help from the ladies.
"Excuse me?!", Elsa snapped.
"You heard me!", Derek went on. "The story of you & your family living out in the woods, living off the fat of the land, losing everything you owned, the whole shebang! And now they've made somebody like you as a member of a robot we've sweated blood to make?! It's absurd! You may have fooled the General, the Japanese commander & the other members of the board in this building with your story, but you don't fool me! From the moment I laid eyes on you & your family/friends, I knew there was something out of place with you! And the way you contradicted me in there – nobody's ever contradicted me in this man's Army, missy, sans the General himself! Who in the world do you think you are, anyway?!"
I'm the Snow Queen, & I can turn you into a human popsicle before you can so much as even blink!, thought Elsa with fury.
"I was asked to tell the truth, the whole truth & nothing but…which is exactly what I did!", she says instead. "If you have a problem with handling that truth, mister, then I suggest you go find yourself another line of work!"
"Oh, I have a problem, all right!", Derek snapped back. "Not only am I not convinced by your backstory or the General's decision of making you a member of the Mechagodzilla crew, you've made two mistakes when you were out in the field! One, you let Godzilla get away when you could have – and should have – frozen him solid like you did Gigan! Two, you did nothing to prevent Mecha-King Ghidorah from escaping after causing so much destruction over at Downtown Los Angeles! Thankfully, it crashed into the aliens' home base out at sea & killed everyone on it – up to & including its pilot!"
"That 'pilot' was my friend who got brainwashed into helping the aliens until I helped her see the light!", Emiko said. "She was an unwilling victim in this!"
"You need to learn to speak only when given permission to, little girl!", Derek snapped, pointing a finger at her.
"And you will not speak to anyone in my family like that, mister!", Tajima barked, approaching the major until Hidemi, Akemi & even Anna halted his progress.
"Tajima, don't", Anna pleaded. "The guy's a jerk, but let's not cause a scene that could degrade Elsa in any way, okay? Please?"
"Tajima…", Hidemi pleads.
"Papa…", Akemi pleads.
Taking a deep breath, the scientist exhales, nodded & remained where he stood.
"You're lucky they stopped you, four-eyes!", Derek warned. "Otherwise, I would've had to put you down like a rabid dog! Don't youapproach me like that again!"
Tajima scowled, but made no move forward.
"Excuse me, but the only 'rabid dog' that we see in this room is you!", Elinor said, getting the man's attention.
The former Queen of DunBroch gave her the hardest version of 'the look' at Derek.
The Major simply scoffed in amusement & smiled slightly.
"What…is that supposed to somehow intimidate me, my dear?", he asked amusingly & even chuckled.
It was exactly what Prince Hans said to Elinor when they met the rogue prince in the Arendelle kingdom's jail cell with the Duke of Weselton shortly after she, Merida & Angus arrived in 1788 after their battle with the malevolent wizard Asarlai.
Between them & Major Synapse, Elinor couldn't tell who was worse.
"How about if I rammed my foot right up your keester, mister?", Gus asked. "Would you be intimidated then?! Lay off my fiancé!"
Derek approached the British agent until he was inches from his face.
"Watch it, Brit!", he warns. "Many others have gone down that road with me…and they all regretted it!"
Gus grinned at him.
"You know the funny thing, mate?", he asked the major. "I've gone down that road many times…and I've always come out on top, same as with my daughter Merida! So, when you think about it, it's you who should watch it!"
Merida, Elinor & everyone else smiled amusingly, each one picturing in their minds Gus trampling the major in a split-second as only he & even Merida could.
Again, Derek was not amused or intimidated.
"Get it straight, mister: none of us are afraid of you, & you'll do well not to get on our bad side!", Rapunzel said.
"That's because you people don't know me well, missy!", Derek says. "But I guarantee that once you do, you'll shiver at the mere mentioning of my name!"
"Dude, we've gone up against worse people than you!", Eugene adds. "Considering the creeps we've faced in the past, all that you are is a warm-up!"
"In short, mister, there's nothing we can't handle!", Merida puts in. "And we don't care if you don't approve of Elsa as a member of Mechagodzilla's crew: she's been rightfully given that position by General Ernie & Commander Yoshi – and they're the only ones who can take it away from her!"
"Like it or lump it, fella, you'd better start getting used to the idea of Elsa being in the armed forces!", Kristoff put in.
Major Synapse took a good look at the three families, the Russian Ambassador, his bodyguard and Elsa – all of whom had faces of nothing but the utmost contempt for the military man. With most anybody else, they'd shrivel under such a position.
But Major Derek Synapse wasn't 'most anybody', & he refused to cave in from all the hate that's sent his way.
He approached Elsa & puts in his own two cents.
"You know, beneath his rock-hard exterior, the General is a big softie…and he means well. But let's face facts: he's not gonna live forever, & guess who's gunning for number two. It's pretty simple math, when you think about it."
Derek inched closer to Elsa until he was just inches from her face. The Snow Queen never flinched.
"You better hope & pray that your decision to not freeze Godzilla won't cost more lives in the long run", he said coldly with a stare of venom to match. "Because if it does, all those lives he takes will be place on your conscience! Do you think you can handle such a heavy burden? I guess we'll soon find out, won't we?"
Ever so slowly, Major Synapse backed away from Elsa & made his way for the door. Opening it up, he gave the Snow Queen one last look of malevolence that would cause most others to shrink. But Elsa stood firm, her eyes never wavering from Derek's own before he disappeared through the door & closed it, leaving the group alone.
After several seconds of silence, Patricia was the first to speak.
"That filthy, horrible man! Did you all see the way he looked at Elsa?"
"We most certainly did, Patricia!", Akemi said, getting nods from all. "It's exactly how a snake would go & look at a mouse for its dinner – right before it kills & consumes it!"
"I got bad vibes from that man since he started lashing out at Elsa during the hearing!", Hidemi said. "And the way he did so to my Emiko before? He makes my skin crawl & my blood boil!"
Tajima, Akemi & Emiko give Hidemi comfort to release the tension she felt.
"The feeling is mutual, Hidemi!", Kristoff says. "Just who does he think he is, anyway…snapping at Emiko like that, not to mention how callously he spoke about Ayana?!"
"Kristoff, please don't worry…I'll be okay", Emiko says.
"Are you sure, my lisichka?", Sergei asked as Emiko nodded. "As you wish, my dear. But I will definitely inform General Ernie and Commander Yoshi of that man's harsh treatment towards Miss Elsa Sugimoto & the rest of us."
"Somebody should", Elinor said. "I get the feeling we haven't heard the last of Major Synapse, as he's the type to definitely hold a grudge."
Nobody could argue with Elinor's statement: considering how harsh & cruel Major Derek Synapse was not only to Elsa but everybody else in the group during & after the hearing, they all felt they'd be hearing from him again, no matter how much they wish otherwise. Aside from General Ernie & Yoshi Shimazaki, they're the only ones within the building who know of Elsa, Rapunzel & Merida's secrets that they're all from the distant past, & should Major Synapse keep poking around, he could eventually wind up discovering it for himself without having to force any of their adoptive families spilling the beans on their true nature.
That's why they hope that General Ernie and/or Commander Yoshi can figure out a way to have Major Synapse kept clear of doing so; if there's anyone capable of accomplishing this, it's them.
Whether it will be enough remains to be seen.
Somewhere in the depths of Elsa's mind, she heard somebody calling her name.
The flight to Paris. Now:
The Snow Queen opened her eyes to see Akemi, Emiko, Hidemi & Anna standing over her seat as she'd looked around to see all other passengers getting up, grabbing their personal belongings & exiting the plane. Immediately Elsa unfastened her seat belt & sat up.
"How long was I out for?", she asked.
"For the entire trip", Emiko said. "You were out like a light."
Looking out of the window, Elsa could see they were on the ground as airport crews work to load/unload planes, direct aircraft for takeoff & landing, & so forth. She could also see a terminal with a loading dock attached, meaning they've arrived at their destination, giving Elsa the cause to get up & gather her carry-on luggage before joining both her family & friends who were possibly already off the plane & into the terminal itself.
"Are you okay, Elsa?", Akemi asked.
"Oh yeah, Akemi", Elsa replied, smiling. "I must've been more out of it that I originally thought. Is everybody else already off the plane?"
"Just about", Hidemi said with a smile. "We're all waiting on you, dear."
"Then let's not keep them waiting any longer."
Grins on each face was Elsa's answer, & the five ladies went down the aisle & exited the plane into the loading dock & into the terminal itself to meet up with those already waiting for them. The place was a large tunnel-like area, with ceilings that were mostly curved like oval arches & rows of windows that sometimes reached from one end to the other. Certain areas of floor were covered in carpeting while others were left bare, with tiles that shone by the overhead lights. Just like when they first entered their new homes upon arrival in the 21st Century, Elsa, Rapunzel & Merida's groups were astonished by their surroundings, having heard of Paris, France but never actually been there until now.
Oh, the joys of being people out of time & seeing the most incredible sights!, Rapunzel thought with glee.
"Elsa…welcome back!", Patricia joked, getting a grin from her. "I guess jet lag overcame you like it did all the rest of us here?"
"I didn't get any jet lag", Eugene says.
"Yes, you did", Rapunzel insisted, smirking.
"I got jet lag…so did poor Pascal."
Rapunzel lifted up the little chameleon's cage to show Pascal wobbling on his legs, his face looking paler than usual as his tongue sagged out from one side of his mouth. His legs unable to hold him up any longer, Pascal plopped onto his stomach.
"Do not worry, mes amis – that will soon pass, usually after a good night's rest", said a French-English accent.
The group turned to see a man who stood at a height of 6 feet, 2 inches tall & has a rather fit physique attired in a white dress shirt, black pants & tie, gray sneakers & a hairline very similar to Gus' own, also sported a peppered beard same as the British agent's. His eyes were brown, & his smile showed he had a playful manner as he approached the three families.
"Excuse me, sir, but…are you the one we're supposed to meet once we've arrived here in Paris?", Nathan asked.
"Wee, monsieur…that I am", the man said. "My name is Sacha Pierre: I will be your tour guide & humble servant for the next several days. Bonsoir, ladies & gentlemen – and little lizard – and welcome to Paris, France!"
Sacha gave out a hearty laugh as he spread his arms out, causing everyone to smile at the man & taking an instant liking to him.
"Monsieur Pierre, we've had three animals flown here in advance…", Patricia began to say.
"Yes, mademoiselle", Sacha says. "They've arrived safely to our fair city, & I've taken the liberty of having them transported in mobile stables over to the hotel you'll be staying at for the duration of your visit here. Come: let us gather the rest of your luggage, get checked in with your passports, & then to your living quarters."
With Sacha leading them, the three families follow him to pick up their suitcases before getting stamped in with each of their passports before making their way over to a rental van to store their luggage & drive everyone over to the hotel they'll be staying in. Even in the 11:00 hour of the night, the city of Paris was breathtaking to the group as they see luscious landscape & brightly-lit buildings as part of the scenery.
For the families, it was similar to that of London, New York or even Tokyo.
Just as with Russia, while they're actually here on business, it wouldn't hurt to see the sights of Paris, France in the meantime.
All work & no play, & all that jazz…, thought Nathan, reflecting on the great tour Sergei, Nikolai & Malvina had given them of their homeland's capital just before Tajima's business at the Kremlin. For him & his wife Patricia, it has been some time since they set foot on French soil & did a performance here in honor of those that have fallen victim to acts of violence, ranging from bombings in 1995/1996 to mass shootings in the 21st Century.
Nathan & even Patricia found it a little ironic: Paris is hailed as the 'City of Love', & yet the acts some people commit in this city are anything but; it's a city that has been targeted for terror on par with London, England & even in Patricia's hometown of New York's Manhattan, with September 11th being the worst in the city & across the country right to this very day.
It's what making what they do – performing to raise money for those less fortunate during terrorists acts or even weather incidents/giant monster rampages – all the more important, strengthening their commitment to it.
Shortly after midnight, the three families arrived at the place they'll be spending the next several days.
The Hotel ibis Paris Montmartre 18eme, located at 5, rue Caulaincourt, 75018.
It was a ten-story triangular-shaped building with a marvelous interior that amazed the group, especially those of centuries past. Sacha got each of the families checked in before they looked around to see a lush lobby with restaurants & bars, suave seating everywhere. Even though not as cavernous/spacious as the hotel in Russia they stayed at, it was still quite the wonder to behold.
When they saw the rooms, they were also smaller than those in Russia, but they couldn't deny they were looking most comfortable & inviting: Hidemi explained to everyone that these rooms were not much different from some that stand in Japan, where the rooms weren't as cavernous but people still made the most of it. The rooms contained double beds with flat-screen TV, desk, free internet, wood floor & bathroom. Because of the twin double beds in each of the rooms Sacha reserved for them, four people will be sharing in most.
The pairings would be as follows: Tajima, Hidemi, Akemi & Emiko in one, Patricia, Nathan, Gus & Elinor placed in another, & Anna, Rapunzel, Eugene & Kristoff in the third. Elsa & Merida were the last two, & they shall be sharing a room with twin single beds.
It was a perfect pairing!
Pascal, of course would be staying with Rapunzel, but shall be staying in Elsa & Merida's room once they get Olaf inside, who hitched a ride with Angus. Sacha told the group that each one – Maximus, Sven & Angus – were taken inside the hotel's parking lot where they'll stay for the duration for a fee…one Sacha says he'll gladly take care of. The French man has also informed them that they've been well-fed upon their arrival as per Kristoff, Eugene & Merida's instructions: apples for the Andalusian, carrots for the reindeer, & oats for the Clydesdale.
Everyone was immediately grateful for the French man's services, especially when he offers the still-jet lagged chameleon a little treat – a helping of a piece of peppermint candy.
Pascal immediately perked up & lashed out with his tongue, striking the candy & retracting his appendage in the blink of an eye with prize in tow, swallowing it up & changing his skin color to white & red.
He felt better instantly!
Sacha smiled big, saying he likes the little lizard already before letting out another heartfelt laugh.
The feeling for Pascal towards Sacha was certainly mutual, & he even wagged his tail like a puppy upon seeing him. Rapunzel let him out of his cage to allow Pascal to climb upon the French man's shoulder, enabling Sacha to pat him on the head before going to his master & friend.
Wishing everybody a bonne nuit (good night), everyone retired to their rooms for a good night's sleep as Sacha went over to his own room reserved at the hotel.
Changing into their night gowns of blue & red, Elsa & Merida get themselves into bed.
"I guess it was nice to allow Eugene & Kristoff to be with their loved ones on this trip, wasn't it?", Merida asked. "I can imagine how much of a headache Olaf gave them in Russia, having the snowman staying in their room!"
The two ladies shared a giggle as the redhead's little joke.
"They knew it wasn't anything personal, Merida", Elsa said. "It was just for the best at the time. But I agree: they deserve to be with their loved ones this go-round, & they've suffered Olaf's antics enough."
"You think he'll be all right with Angus until morning? You know how he can't tolerate being cooped up in that travel bag for too long."
"He'll be fine: despite his frail appearance, Olaf's sturdier & stronger than he looks, & he does understand this era's customs as well as any of us do."
"That snowman's all heart, isn't he?"
"Oh yes: he may be silly & say the wrong things at the most inappropriate of times, but he really does mean well, & I just wouldn't want it any other way."
Merida grinned with Elsa, knowing the Snow Queen was correct.
"Let's get some sleep. Good night, Elsa", Merida said.
"The same to you, Merida", Elsa replied as she turned off the light & both ladies slipped under their covers.
Their first day in Paris, France would begin in a few hours.
Beneath the Earth's surface:
The oval objects in this cavernous space under the planet's exterior were blinking on & off like the warning lights of emergency vehicles. What was encased inside each one were getting stronger by the day, & soon they would have the strength to fully emerge out into the world & attempt to claim it like it once tried many years ago.
And any opposing forces that stood in the way of them or their supreme ruler would suffer the consequences.
Just a few more days was all they needed.
It would be worth it.
Hotel ibis Paris Montmartre 18eme, Monday, July 25th, 10:00 a.m.:
Despite getting only about eight hours of sleep due to their late arrival, the Benice, Fleming & Sugimoto families all felt refreshed & alert, the jet lag they suffered the other day all washed away like sewage water down the drain. Each one taking turns for 15-minute showers apiece, they dressed formally & met downstairs for breakfast – already seeing Sacha Pierre waiting for them at the table as he waved them in greetings.
Smiling at their guide, the three families approach the table & sat down.
"Bonjour, my friends!", Sacha said pleasantly. "Did everyone rest okay?"
"About as well as can be expected to, considering the late hour we arrived", Nathan says.
"But my husband & I are quite used to that, believe it or not", Patricia said with a smile, getting one from Nathan as he nods himself.
"That pretty much makes all of us, Monsieur Pierre", Gus says. "We've more or less trained ourselves to get a decent sleep, no matter how late we may hit the sack."
Nods from each head confirm Gus' claims, causing Sacha to grin & laugh amusingly.
"I love it!", he says. "I've only known you all for a mere few hours, & yet I feel as if I've done so all my life! Let me fill you in on something: I don't usually feel this comfortable when addressing a group such as yours, but you're all quite the exceptional case! As soon as we have breakfast, I have the most promising tour of our fair city!"
"Then let's order, because I for one am starving!", said Eugene as Rapunzel & Pascal giggled.
"That definitely makes for all of us, Eugene!", Rapunzel says as Pascal nodded.
"No need for that, mon Cherie, because I happen to have taken the liberty of ordering for everybody long before you all came down", Sacha said, looking over to an approaching waiter pushing a cart with food on it.
The French man smiled.
"And here it comes now!", he says.
A cart was placed next to their table as the waiter took each large dish & placed it in front of them, surprising most of the families.
It was a most unusual serving for the morning meal, as what they're being served was none other than pizza with eggs that were made sunny-side up as its toppings.
"This is our breakfast – pizza?", Hidemi asks, looking at Sacha.
"I have to agree with Hidemi, Mr. Pierre", said Elinor. "Pizza is ideal for lunch, dinner & even as a snack, but I never heard of it being served for the first meal of the day."
"Believe it or not, it is a French custom that dates back many years", Sacha says. "Did any one of you know that having pizza in the morning is even more nutritious than, say, a bowl of cereal?"
Looks of astonishment & shock adorned most of the faces in the group, amusing the French guide.
All except for Patricia, Nathan & even Gus, the latter of whom gave a little laugh.
"I've been to Paris before on a business trip once", the British agent says. "Each morning on that particular visit, pizza was the one & only thing I had in the mornings to start my day!"
"Same as with Patricia & myself", Nathan adds. "When we visited Paris for tribute/charity concerts, we also had pizza for breakfast, along with a croissant & fresh fruit."
"Go ahead & try it, folks", Patricia says, grinning. "It may look strange, but once you give it a shot, you'll find it to be quite the delicatessen at this early hour!"
"On a similar subject…", Sacha says, picking up a bagel in his fingers & showing it to the waiter. "No croissant?"
"Not this morning, monsieur", the waiter said in English. "We will be getting a fresh supply later this afternoon."
Sacha nodded as he put the bagel down.
"Bring some coffee, if you please. French Roast", he said.
"French Roast it shall be, sir", the waiter says before departing to get said beverage.
"Shall we dig in, everybody?", Tajima asks.
"May as well, Tajima", Kristoff says, taking a slice. "Odd as it may look, I'm hungry enough to eat the plate our food is on."
"Me thinks it best you have just the pizza, Kristoff", Elsa joked with a grin.
"Yeah, last I heard, eating metal is not the proper way to get your daily does of iron in your diet", Merida joked, getting chuckles from all including the outdoorsman.
"Well, folks…when in Paris, & all that", Anna says with a sheepish grin.
Like Tajima suggested, everyone grabbed a slice of pizza with sunny-side up egg on top & feasted.
Much to their joy, they found themselves enjoying the idea of having something as American as apple pie enjoyed during the first & main meal of the day. Pascal was fed pieces of both pizza & egg by Rapunzel, lashing out at each one with his tongue in the blink of an eye. With each piece he consumed, he changed color & amused his master/friend.
A minute or two into their meal, they were joined by a visitor.
"Excuse me, folks", said a female voice, causing everyone to look up from their meal.
The lady that suddenly appeared stood at five feet & one inch, wearing a glamorous red dress & shoes. Her golden blonde hair was styled short & suave & her eyebrows/eyelids sparkled with a rich lavender color. The lips she sported were a medium pink, & she had one of the brightest smiles on a lady which was very much like Patricia's own. A pair of crucifix earrings hung from her lobes.
Next to her stood a man in complete black attire with sunglasses.
Most everyone's eyes widened when they saw who their visitor was.
"I'm so sorry to interrupt your breakfast, & please correct me if I'm wrong, but…are you two Patricia & Nathan Benice, by any chance?", the lady asked.
"You know them, miss?", asked Kristoff.
"I know of them, good sir", she says.
"Kristoff, this is Miss Stephanie Beatrice – singer, songwriter & even actress!", Akemi said.
"Sorry, Miss Beatrice, we…didn't recognize you at first", Anna says with a sheepish grin.
"That's okay, my sweet", Stephanie says, her smile still present. "There's always a chosen few who still haven't heard of me yet. Allow me to introduce to you my bodyguard & consultant Dennis."
Everyone raised their hands in greeting of Stephanie's right-hand man as Dennis nodded warmly with a smile.
"Miss Beatrice, how did you know that Patricia & Nathan would even be here, if I may require?", asked Emiko.
"I didn't, actually", Stephanie says. "I just happened to see them from a distance while attempting to order for my own breakfast when they caught my eye over at my table. And lo & behold, not only do I get to see the Benice duo, but Eugene & Rapunzel Benice themselves! I loved the show you all did over in Washington, D.C. earlier this month in celebrating the nation's 240th birthday – very nice! Your interpretations of those songs you performed, along with the 'Who's On First?' routine were all outstanding! Our nation couldn't have asked for a better celebration!"
"You're a rather big fan of their work, we take it?", asked Merida.
"That's one way of putting it, sweetie: I grew up watching them perform in concerts, raising money for charitable events & relief funds from acts of violence such as terrorism & disasters either by nature itself or when giant monsters attack major cities, causing mass death & destruction. It's because of their works that helped me get where I am today."
"And now you do the same, along with joining in the fight against the deadly disease AIDS – something you've been hard at work on for nearly a decade now, correct?", Gus says.
Stephanie nodded proudly.
"Well, since you know Patricia & Nathan & their family, I think it's only fair you know the rest of us", Elinor says with a smile. "My name is Elinor Fleming, this is my husband Gus & our daughter Merida. These folks from Japan are…"
"Tajima Sugimoto & his family", Stephanie said, cutting her off & amazing Elinor & the rest. "The world's most leading expert on Godzilla, am I right?"
The Sugimoto family looked to each other & grinned, amazed at the lady's knowledge.
"That we are", Tajima said. "You probably already know my wife Hidemi & two daughters Akemi & Emiko, but we've also had new additions to the family – Kristoff, Anna & Elsa, who've been living with us for almost three years exactly."
Stephanie turned to the Arendelle trio, each of whom smiled at the famed singer/actress, who returned the gesture.
Her eyes widened slightly, recalling where she saw them before.
"Say…didn't you three perform at the Christmas show at the Amphitheatre in December?", Stephanie asked.
"Oh, you saw that too, huh?", Kristoff says as Stephanie nods.
"You three – and even Merida here, whom I also saw & admired – have such a beautiful singing talent! Why is it that neither of you pursued a career like Eugene & Rapunzel have? Any reason?"
The Arendelle trio & even Merida look to one another before Anna spoke.
"Well, Miss Beatrice…", she began.
"You can just call me 'Stephanie', hon", she said kindly.
"Okay. Well, the thing is, Stephanie, we do love singing & all that, don't get us wrong. But the main reason as to why we haven't made a career out of it is because, well…"
"We're much too devoted to Tajima & the family", Elsa puts in, saving Anna as she, Kristoff & Merida nod. "For us, they will always come first no matter what."
"Same with me", Merida adds. "As tempting as a singing career may be, Gus & my mum won't ever get pushed aside for fame & fortune. We could never do that to them…not in a million years."
A warm smile came on the faces of everybody at the table, including Sacha, Stephanie & Dennis.
"Family loyalty at its finest", Dennis says. "I like that!"
"As do I!", Stephanie said. "So…what brings you all here to the City of Love, if I may ask?"
"We're actually here on business, believe it or not", Hidemi said, getting nods from most.
"However, that business won't be occurring for a few days from now", Sacha says as the waiter brought back a pot of freshly-brewed coffee & poured Tajima, Gus, Nathan & the French man a cup. "In the meantime, I shall be giving these fine people a grand tour of our fair city, as most of them have never set foot on my country's capital until now. If your schedule permits it, Mademoiselle Stephanie, we would be honored if you could join us for both breakfast and the tour. Wee?"
Seeing the eager faces on each member of the Benice, Fleming & Sugimoto families gave Stephanie her answer.
"Wee monsieur…I'd be most delighted!", she says as Dennis nodded & went to get two extra chairs.
"Merci, my dear!", Sacha says, taking his cup of coffee & taking a sip along with Tajima, Gus & Nathan.
All four of their faces turned sour after the first sip, lowering their cups.
Merida, Rapunzel, Elsa & the rest watch their displeasure in silence.
"You call this 'coffee', mate?", Gus says.
"You said this was French Roast!", Sacha said to the waiter.
"It is, monsieur", the waiter said, holding up a container with writing on it. "See? French Roast."
Eyeing the container, their coffee & then each other gave the men their answer.
"More cream", Sacha, Tajima, Gus & Nathan said, handing out their cups at the waiter.
Dennis, Kristoff, Eugene & the ladies were barely able to keep from bursting out laughing.
Elsa & Merida's room, 10:30 a.m.:
After breakfast, Kristoff, Eugene & Merida headed over to the parking garage of the hotel with food for Maximus, Sven & Angus, all of whom were waiting patiently for their breakfast that was brought to them in abundance. As they ate hearty, Merida took the travel bag that contained Olaf, checked to see if the snowman was still inside, & took him up to the room she & Elsa shared, who waited for her within.
Opening up the bag, they poured Olaf out like he was soup as the snowman reformed himself into the three-foot little jolly he always was, complete with coal buttons, stick arms/hair strands & carrot nose. The miniature cloud over his head was still active, keeping him frosty even in summer.
His eyes, however, remained close as if he were hypnotized and/or in a trance.
"Olaf?", Elsa & Merida say.
A snoring sound came from Olaf's mouth, with more coming out until the two ladies patted each side of his head until he woke up.
Three pats did the trick: Olaf's eyes opened wide, & his head went flying into Merida's hands as his body ran around the room like a beheaded chicken.
"Whoa, I'm up, I'm up, I'm up!", he exclaimed when he saw who had his head & smiled. "Why hello, Merida & Elsa! So…how are you doing today?"
Holding Olaf's head in her hands while he spoke was starting to creep the Scottish lady out some.
"This is awkward, Elsa!", Merida says to her. "How do the rest of you even put up with this?"
Elsa giggled softly.
"Very carefully, Merida", Elsa says, unable to hide her amusement. "But after a while, you do get used to it."
"Yeah, just ask Kristoff – he can tell you", Olaf says, watching his body running rampant inside the room.
A sharp whistle from his lips caused the headless body to stop.
"Okay…I think we've had enough daily exercise for today, and you're creeping the girls out!", Olaf says to it. "Now then…be a good boy & come here so we can be together again."
Olaf's body obeyed & walked to Merida, who then placed his head onto the top, making him whole again.
"That's so much better!", Olaf said, feeling his head with his hands. "Thanks, Merida!"
"Uh, you're welcome…I guess", she says awkwardly as Elsa chuckled more.
"Sorry we didn't get to you sooner, Olaf", Elsa says once she regained her composure. "We arrived in Paris late last night, & we've only just finished our breakfast before we could get you in here, and…"
"Paris? We're in…Paris?!", Olaf said with an excited face.
Merida & Elsa look to each other then back to Olaf & nodded.
"The City of Lamour", they say in unison in a semi-seductive tone, blinking their eyes & smiling.
Olaf went over to the window & looked out if it, seeing the people & cars in the streets passing by, along with nearby buildings.
"The City of Love!", Olaf said with glee. "If only Grand Pabbie & the trolls were here…they'd be in Heaven!"
The girls grinned, imagining the so-called 'love experts' reacting to being in Paris.
You certainly have a point about that, Olaf!, Elsa thought.
"All right, Olaf, you're out of the bag finally, but you remember the rules, correct?", Merida asked.
"Yes ma'am: stay in the room at all times, don't draw attention to arouse suspicion, & when the maid comes in, get back in the bag & stay there until she departs", Olaf says.
Elsa & Merida nod to each other, seeing that Olaf knew the ropes quite well.
"Good snowman!", they say proudly.
Olaf smiled equally proud that he remembered the drill of traveling with them.
"We'll see you later, Olaf", Elsa says, heading for the door with Merida.
"And we'll give everyone warm hugs when we see them, too!", the redhead says, causing both girls to giggle as they exit the room.
Grabbing the remote for the flat-screen TV, Olaf immediately found a station & flipped through the stations until he came across one that played some of his favorite things he's grown quite fond of viewing.
They've even got anime here…YES!, he thought happily, seeing that Japanese animated films/shows were also broadcasted in France.
His eyes were glued to the set.
Paris, France, throughout the day:
Once Elsa & Merida took care of Olaf in their room, they headed down to meet with the rest as Maximus, Angus & Sven were all geared up & ready to go as Sacha got behind the wheel of the miniature tour bus to take around France's capital city. With Stephanie Beatrice & her assistant/bodyguard Dennis joining the group, the tour was underway with Maximus, Sven & Angus following closely at five-six feet behind.
Like Sergei & Malvina did in Russia, the three steeds were fixated with French animal licenses by Sacha, enabling them to walk around freely & unrestricted in case they run into any police.
First on their agenda…the Roman Catholic Church known as the Sacre-Coeur Basilica, which is placed in the hill named Montmartre, the highest point in the city of Paris.
Since animals were most likely not allowed inside the church or even on the very premises, the three steeds & also Pascal would have to wait at the bottom.
Nodding, they stayed put as Pascal waited upon Maximus' head.
The stairs leading up to the church was a staggering 130 plus meters that would be difficult for the elderly or the infirm, but the group took to it like pros. As an inside joke, each one agreed that the hill stood taller than even Godzilla himself, who stood a staggering 100 meters tall.
They even joked that going up these stairs was just like climbing Godzilla, inciting grins of amusement.
While walking up to the entrance & going inside, Sacha gave a brief history of the church, having been designed by French architect/building restorer Paul Abadie, with construction starting in 1875 & ended in 1914; in October 1919, after the end of World War I, the building was consecrated.
Before going inside, Sacha warned the group that the use of cameras/video recorders were forbidden inside, so instead they took pics of the church's exterior including the bronze statues of both Joan of Arc & King Saint Louis IX riding an equestrian. Once inside, they pocketed their cell phones to avoid getting into trouble with the law as they took a solid look at the tall domed ceilings of the building & the wonders of what lay inside. One of these was the painting of Jesus in the altar, where the pipe organ was also on display, built by renowned French organ builder Aristide Cavaille-Coll.
Even though photo taking/video recording inside the church was all but prohibited, the three families, Stephanie & Dennis will never forget what they've seen inside; their eyes & brains were all the cameras they needed, as the images were burned within.
Before descending down the stairs again, the group all got a panoramic & spectacular view of the city from their vantage point, which also includes the Eiffel Tower.
It is where they shall definitely be visiting & going up in sometime long before their tour is done.
Right now, Sacha has another place to take his group to, which is located over at the fourth arrondissement of the city called Ile de la Cite. It was a building that defines the Gothic structure, be it in France or anywhere else on Earth.
The Notre Dame Cathedral.
With construction starting in 1163 & completed in 1345, the cathedral stood at a height of 69 meters (90, counting the spire), 48 meters in width & 128 meters in length. A number of 10 bells were placed in the two towers, each with a name: Emmanuel, Marie, Gabriel, Anne Genevieve, Denis, Marcel, Etienne, Benoit-Joseph, Maurice & Jean-Marie.
Hearing this information from Sacha amazed the group like every piece of history their guide gave them.
Sacha also let his party know that while photo-taking is allowed inside, he asked not to use any flash within as it would basically ruin the pictures or disturb any of the ceremonies that might happen inside, which would be just rude.
Everyone agreed to the terms, & they all began taking shots of the exterior of the cathedral, getting the gargoyle statues with the zoom lens on their cell phones & the rest of the Gothic architecture.
Kristoff & Eugene whispered in Anna & Rapunzel's ears that they're glad they didn't have to deal with creatures like the gargoyles during their original time, inciting them to giggle slightly & nodded in agreement.
Finally, they enter inside & the scenery literally took their breath away: the interior was cavernous with a hugely high ceiling which possibly dwarfed that of the Sacre-Coeur Basilica Church filled with statues on stools & even placed upon the walls as part of the architecture, adding to its Gothic appearance. The stained-glass windows were marvels to behold, consisting of many illustrations that make them beautiful works of art; most everyone in the group were pretty much particularly fond of the windows, having quite a passion for art.
While not too passionate for art, Merida Fleming did find them quite exquisite.
Luckily, there were no masses taking place today, so photos were snapped constantly, wanting to get in as many pics of these historic wonders as possible before moving on to the upper levels.
Taking the spiral stairs to said area, Sacha lead his party to the bell towers for another spectacular grand view of Paris & the chance to see Notre Dame Cathedral's roof from their vantage point. Even that had a lovely design, being in a T position with the spire sticking out in the middle of the cross section. The Seine River looked amazing from the altitude they stood at, with several boats passing by as they enjoy the glorious sunshine on this Monday afternoon.
Sacha took them over to see the aforementioned ten bells that ring during church/wedding ceremonies & on other situations of vital importance. Along with their history, the French man also mentioned of the time the bells rung on the night of August 24th, 1944, the bell Emmanuel rung to announce that the city's liberation from Hitler's Nazis was well underway before being completely freed from their tyranny the next day.
More of that piece of French history was to be mentioned at their next two stops as they descended the stairs to get back to street level. The last piece of fascinating trivia about the cathedral Sacha gave his friends was that it became the background for the immortal story of 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' as written by French poet, novelist/dramatist Victor Hugo, which was published in 1831 about a hunchback named Quasimodo who is the bell ringer & hardly leaves the building due to his grotesque appearance.
Not wanting to spoil the entire story for his group, Sacha made a suggestion to pick up a copy of the novel in English to read at their own leisure. What he does add is that the story has been adapted into many versions upon stage, television & movies, from the silent films beginning in 1905 & 1911, the 1939 film starring Maureen O'Hara & Charles Laughton, & even an animated Disney film in 1996, featuring the voices of Tom Hulce, Demi Moore & Kevin Kline.
In addition to reading the original novel, Rapunzel says she & her friends will also have to check out the movies on which Victor Hugo's story is based on, getting everyone to agree.
Into the bus they went with a future goal.
But before heading towards their next stop, lunch was in order & as fate would have it, a Japanese restaurant was in their general direction located between Rue de la Monnaie & Rue du Pont Neuf streets.
Ironically, the name of the place was 'Kong'; whether or not it has any reference to the 1933 movie classic, even Sacha didn't know.
What they did know is that it was like being back at home for the Sugimoto family, & that the Benice & Fleming families get another taste of Japanese cuisine while not actually in Japan. As they ate, Rapunzel made a note to Tajima & his family that they'd one day like to take a little tour of Japan, having not really gotten the experience to do so when the gangsters of Hisashi Masahiro made an unexpected house call last year in March & were forced to leave the country until the Yakuza boss was dealt with in December by Varan when he tried to leave as authorities went in pursuit.
Hidemi replied that they would love to do exactly that for them, getting nods of approval from both her husband & daughters.
Kristoff, Anna & Elsa were already in agreement, saying that anywhere with Rapunzel & Merida's groups were time worth spending.
Rapunzel, Eugene, Elinor and Merida grinned to that.
Once lunch was had & the tab was paid, the group went back to the bus Sacha drove as most everyone piled in for preparation of their next visit but not before Eugene, Kristoff, Merida & Rapunzel offer lunch to Maximus, Sven, Angus & Pascal. On this particular occasion, however, the 3 steeds were fed not their usual diet but that of what their owners/friends bought in the Japanese restaurant. Each felt that, while what they usually eat is good for them, it really wouldn't kill them to give different foods a try.
Taking a sniff & finding the aroma tasteful, the three steeds ate every bite as Maximus gave a neigh & grunt of approval with grins of satisfaction, while Angus simply neighs with a nod. Pascal also had his share of Japanese cuisine & took a shine to it, being his second time.
Each owner took a mental note to feed them more contemporary stuff before heading back to the bus as the steeds followed on foot to their next destination Sacha has planned. Driving up Quai Francois Mitterrand, Sacha gave a brief history of the row of buildings they were passing on by – the Musee du Louvre Museum, the world's largest art museum in the world & a historical monument in Paris, with a record of 8.1 million visitors.
Having quite a passion for history, Elinor suggests that they enter the place & see the exhibits first-hand.
Sacha liked the way Gus' wife thought, & so he put the minibus over to the curb as Maximus, Sven, Angus & Pascal have all stayed at the vehicle while the rest went to the entrance & inside the building. Handling their admission, Sacha lead his group through the halls of the museum & showed them the thousands upon thousands of historic artifacts from France's prehistory right on up to the 21st Century. Even Stephanie gave the group several historical facts, having such a passion for Paris & the French in general; starting off as a fortress in the late 12th to 13th Century under Philip II, remnants of this fortress can be visible within the museum's basement which they will take a peek at later on.
Looking at the paintings & other forms of history pieces along the walls & standing on pedestals gave Rapunzel, Eugene, Anna, Kristoff, Elsa & even Merida reminiscent memories of seeing all sorts of paintings from both their old homes & here in the 21st Century.
Fine art is always vastly appreciated, no matter what era one lives in, Elinor thought with a smile.
Sacha & Stephanie each took turns in explaining the artifacts from times such as the French Revolution to when Napoleon invaded, including when the French gathered as much of the artifacts as they could & took them over to the Chateau de Chambord before the Nazis invaded the city in 1940, having returned the art in 1945 after the war was over.
After seeing most of the exhibits along the halls, they were taken down to the basement to see what was left of the original building from medieval times, & to close it off, no trip to the Louvre Museum would be complete without seeing the Venus de Milo sculpture as done by Greek sculptor Alexandros of Antioch, followed by Leonardo da Vinci's immortal Mona Lisa painting – the best known, most visited/written/sung/parodied piece of work ever made.
Kristoff, Eugene, Rapunzel, Anna, Elsa, Merida & Elinor fell in love with it immediately, admiring its beauty.
Never have they seen such glamorous work done in a portrait, & Elinor highly hopes to have one done of her in that same fashion sometime in the future.
Sacha took them outside of the building to give his friends a gander at the Louvre Pyramid – a large glass & metal pyramid structure designed by Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei. Completed in 1989, it has become a landmark in Paris as much as the Notre Dame Cathedral & others.
Now that they were outside, the three families can see the lush greenery of the lawns & the statues that were all displayed like a miniature version of the famed Arc de Triomphe – a momentum they've yet to see up close & personal.
Traveling down the Allee Centrale path of the museum, Sacha takes them over to the Place de la Concorde, where the Luxor Obelisk stood in the center. Over 3,000 years old & originally from Egypt, the Obelisk had arrived in Paris on December 21st, 1833, & by October 25th, 1836 was placed where it now stands by King Louis-Phillipe.
Everybody soaked up the history lesson like a sponge, especially the Arendelle trio, Eugene, Rapunzel, Elinor & Merida, remembering every detail given to them by Sacha & even Stephanie when she put in her own two cents.
When Akemi asks where else they'll be heading on this day, Sacha had rather disappointing news for her & the rest.
"My apologies, Mademoiselle, but I'm afraid this shall have to be the conclusion of our tour for today", said the French man in a somber tone. "I realized we've spent almost all of our daylight hours at the areas we've paid a visit to, & now with the sun starting to go down…"
Each one took a gaze at their watches to read the time.
They all read 7:00 p.m. in the evening.
"Whoa, you're right, Sacha…it is getting pretty late, isn't it?", said Emiko.
"I'll say…even we hadn't noticed the time until you mentioned it just now", said Patricia.
"I don't think it's too disappointing", said Nathan. "We did arrive in Paris late last night & didn't get up until the nine o'clock hour, & all this traveling around has practically gotten us pretty spent, so perhaps we ought to call it a day & pick up where we left off tomorrow."
"That would be the best thing to do, Nate", Gus said. "Even I wasn't aware of the time, or how many hours we've actually all spent inside the museum, looking at France's history through the centuries. I think heading back to the hotel would be ideal right now: I could certainly use a shower & a good meal before turning in this evening."
"And get a fresh start in the morning", Tajima adds. "Excellent ideas: let's get ourselves back to the bus for the hotel. Round two of Sacha's tour can commence tomorrow morning."
"Wee, monsieur", the French man said with a smile before leading the party back to said vehicle where Maximus, Sven, Angus & Pascal were waiting. Eugene, Rapunzel, Kristoff & Merida went to their animals & gave them petting across their manes as the Andalusian & reindeer wagged their tails & panted like happy dogs while smiling as Pascal got the patting on his head, realizing how warm he was from being out in the sun most of the day. Eugene, Kristoff & Merida suddenly had a stench fill their nostrils, each coming from their animals.
It even reached that of the others, & they all had the same message for the three steeds.
"You guys need a bath…bad!", they said in a simultaneous manner.
Maximus & Sven's smiles disappeared & looked at each other.
Angus just nodded with a soft neigh.
Hotel ibis Paris Montmartre 18eme, 8:00 p.m.:
Once they arrived back at the hotel, Maximus, Sven & Angus were told to wait on the street of Rue Forest to be scrubbed down thoroughly. Kristoff mentioned to Tajima & the others that they should go ahead inside, shower up for dinner & order ahead of them, adding that they'll do the same once the animals get their own shower.
Seeing how sound an idea it was, most went inside as Eugene, Kristoff, Merida, Anna, Rapunzel & even Stephanie & Sacha all remained outside, the latter two saying that they wish to help in giving their animal friends a good cleaning. Eugene & the rest happily agreed, saying that while he, Kristoff & Merida get started on cleaning their mobile stables that were placed in the parking garage, they can get started on the animals themselves.
Wasting no time at all, they began: Rapunzel worked on Maximus, Anna worked on Sven, while both Stephanie & Sacha worked on Angus. Eugene, Kristoff & Merida went to work on their mobile stables & were surprisingly done in about 15-20 minutes, tops.
Their chore done, they went to assist in washing down their faithful steeds.
"There you go, Sven!", Anna says, scrubbing the reindeer's back & right side. "Doesn't that feel much better?"
"It certainly does! Thank you, Anna & Kristoff!", Kristoff says in the voice he uses for Sven.
"You're quite welcome, buddy!", Kristoff said in his regular voice.
Smiles of amusement appear on each face, getting chuckles from Sacha & Stephanie.
"He must really love that reindeer if Kristoff's pretending to speak for him", Stephanie says as she scrubs Angus' right side. "Then again, I'm quite the animal lover myself, & the Clydesdale has always been a favorite of mine. He's a beautiful horse, Merida!"
"That he is, Stephanie!", Merida says, working on Angus' left side. "Each morning, from where I hail from, I got up, went out into the woods with Angus & practice my bow & arrows for an hour or so before breakfast. Back then, I was the only one who fed & groomed him. But it is nice to have a friend or two help me with him now & then, so…thank you, Stephanie & Sacha."
"You're very welcome, Mademoiselle Merida!", Sacha finished with a big grin.
Merida gave him indifferent & the trio put the finishing touches on Angus.
The same went for Sven & Maximus, the latter of whom was neighing proudly to get the smell from off of him from before.
"Feels good to be smelling better than you did before, huh Max?", Rapunzel asked as the Andalusian lets out a loud/proud neigh in response to her question, making her giggle. "Yeah…that's what we figured!"
"And I figured we've covered every inch of Max's body, so why not give him a good rinsing before we each give ourselves a similar cleaning in our rooms?", Eugene says.
"Good idea!", the rest say.
Grabbing buckets of fresh water, the group pour it all over the animals as they literally put them through the rinse cycle of their baths, getting the soapy suds off as they get poured down a nearby sewer drain. It took a handful of pails to get all the soap off, but once they did, the animals looked – and smelled – cleaner than they've ever been before.
It made them and those that washed them proud!
But one thing entered their minds, & Rapunzel brings it up to her two new friends.
"Oh! Sacha, Stephanie, you may want to give those three some space at this time!", she says.
"Some space, mon Cherie?", Sacha asks.
"And why is that, Rapunzel?", Stephanie wondered.
Without warning, Maximus, Sven & Angus shake their bodies to get the excess water off themselves in the same manner a dog or a bear would. The maneuver splashed the water like sprinkler systems that sprayed everywhere in close proximity – including the group that just washed them, as they became instantly drenched from head to toe.
"That's why", said Eugene, Kristoff, Anna, Rapunzel & Merida.
"Wee…I see", Sacha says as Stephanie spat out some water that managed to get inside her mouth like a fountain.
Maximus & Sven wore big grins on their faces.
Elsa & Merida's hotel room:
As the animals were getting a washing out in the streets, Elsa went inside the room she shared with Merida to see Olaf viewing the flat-screen TV, going through the various channels as the snowman acted out whatever scenes were the most affectionate to him. When he saw Elsa enter, he asked if he could reenact certain things he'd seen on the TV, Elsa giggled & said maybe when she stepped out of the shower.
Giving her a thumbs-up with his stick hand, Olaf resumed his French TV viewing.
As Elsa stepped out of the shower attired in a dark blue evening dress, Merida entered the room, all soaked from washing Angus with Stephanie & Sacha, taking both by surprise. When the Snow Queen asked what happened, Merida simply smiled & told them both she had a fun time washing her steed.
Now it was Merida's turn to be in the shower – for sure!
While the redhead from Scotland took her turn washing her own filth away, Olaf entertained Elsa with what he'd learned from the French TV stations, speaking in phrases he'd amazingly memorized in as best a French accent as he could muster.
Elsa giggled & clapped from his performance, being highly amused by Olaf's antics, zany or not.
Both even went so far as to joining up on doing the opening number to the Three Stooges 1938 short 'Wee Wee Monsieur', where Moe, Larry & Curly were living in an apartment in Paris as they concentrate on their art & music – while being eight months behind on their rent.
As they sang, it was Olaf who did the 'woo-woo' parts in the song, which Curly handled.
Plus, they couldn't resist doing a little bit more afterwards, with Elsa hitting Olaf – albeit softly – in the side of his head with a pen as the snowman cried out like Curly did in the short.
"Oh pardon, pardon, comrade!", Elsa said in her best imitation of Moe Howard.
"Oh wee, wee, wee, wee, wee, wee, wee", Olaf said, imitating Curly.
"We should be more careful what we do around here…chiseler!"
Elsa playfully tapped Olaf on his head as Merida opened the bathroom door, attired in a red evening dress.
"Gentlemen, my music!", she says, imitating Larry's voice.
The three shared a good laugh from the classic comedy scene.
"You just gotta love that Moe, Larry and Curly!", Olaf said.
"Shemp's not so bad either!", Elsa adds with a giggle.
"Okay…before we start poking each other's eyes out like those comedy clowns, let's get downstairs to the others. They're probably all done by now & are expecting us", Merida suggests.
"Good idea, Merida", Elsa said, getting up & heading for the door with the redhead.
"See you later, porcupine!", the girls say, calling Olaf what Moe nicknamed Larry in their shorts.
Olaf gave them his 'Curly look' before they closed the door, grinning.
The snowman resumed his TV viewing until the ladies came back up 90 minutes later.
The Petit Palais Museum, Tuesday, July 26th, 10:30 a.m.:
Last night's dinner went well as the three families, Sacha, Stephanie & Dennis chatted it up with fun memories & the like. They dined/chatted for about an hour-&-a-half before retreating to their rooms, wanting to get in some extra sleep to make up for their late arrival the other day.
When they woke up, they were more refreshed & energetic when they came down for breakfast, which consisted of fresh fruits, croissants (much to Sacha's joy) & yes – a slice of pizza for each, remembering what their French guide told them of the delicatessen that's usually reserved for lunch/dinner in America & other countries. It was a fulfilling meal that everyone found satisfying.
And the French Roast coffee wasn't too shabby either, as the men found out!
Once breakfast was enjoyed & done with, Sacha drove the group over to resume their tour where they left off the other day, beginning with the Petit Palais Museum building that was constructed on October 10th, 1897 & was finished in April 1900. They were taken onto a trip through the building that was filled with exhibits that astonished all sets of eyes that laid upon them: statues, paintings & even the courtyard in the center of the building.
The three steeds & Pascal could see & admire its beauty even from their vantage point by the minibus.
Exiting the building on Avenue Winston Churchill, Sacha gave them a treat of showing them the actual statue of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill that was located on the southern part of the museum. It was reminiscent for the Fleming family when they moved to/visited London on their honeymoon in March, but with a slight altercation: the cane was placed in the man's left hand instead of his right, & he stood more upright rather than a slight slump. On the statue's head was a cap, whereas the statue in London he had none.
Sacha says that Winston Churchill always had a strong love & respect for the French people – although he never did quite master their tongue.
This got giggles from his party.
More came when Merida actually went up to the statue and, like she did in London, she took her newly-bought long Tootsie Roll candy & placed it between her fingers like it was a cigar. In her best Churchill voice, she recited one of the man's immortal lines: 'You do your worst, & we shall do our best!".
Placing the Tootsie Roll between her teeth, the group were amused & laughed/clapped at Merida's performance of the British Prime Minister, with Sacha & Stephanie doing so the loudest.
Each one got their photo taken with the statue before moving on to the Grand Palais, which was right across the street: the interior was cavernous like the Sacre-Coeur & the Notre Dame Cathedral, only more so with its huge glass & metal rounded windows atop that could possibly hide the monster Baragon or even one of the Kamacuras inside very easily with room to spare & maneuver within.
Stephanie became the center of attention when she explained that the Palais was used during the two World Wars: in the First, it served as a military hospital to treat the wounded. In the Second, it became a truck depot & later housed a pair of Nazi propaganda exhibitions. When the liberation of Paris came in 1944, the French Resistance have used it as a headquarters to fend off the enemy, getting hit with shell fire from tanks that set the building ablaze for 48 hours, causing serious damage to it. On August 26th of that year, American & French forces parked their vehicles inside, completing the building's – and city's – liberation.
Finishing the tour inside the building, Sacha brought his party outside on the corner of Avenue Winston Churchill & Avenue des Champs-Elysees to a statue of a man that stood on a platform wearing a soldier's uniform & cap. The left leg was extended out front along with the right arm, & the figure seemed to be looking towards his left instead of straight.
A name was stenciled into it on one side, along with the years he lived:
CHARLES DE GAULLE
It was a name the Arendelle trio, Eugene, Rapunzel, Elinor & Merida recall well, remembering their World War II history.
"So, this was the guy that lead the French Resistance during World War II", Kristoff said.
"Wee…Charles de Gaulle", Sacha said. "A French general & statesman who served in World War I as a lieutenant & platoon commander, getting injured & becoming a German prisoner for 32 months. Despite several escape attempts, he remained in their captivity until war's end."
"That would definitely explain as to why he led the Resistance to the Nazis in the Second World War", Rapunzel said, getting nods from all.
"Quite so, my dear: after the country was conquered in the summer of 1940 & the armistice was signed inside the railway car in the forest of Compiegne – the very same vehicle & area where the 1918 armistice was signed by Germany – de Gaulle wouldn't yield. He stayed strong throughout the ordeal, even when faced with imprisonment by his fellow Frenchmen. When the Great Invasion of Normandy came in June 1944, after a long summer of fighting to free Paris & all of France from the Nazi tyranny, Charles de Gaulle marched down the Champs-Elysees near the Arc de Triomphe when it became mission accomplished. My very own grandfather had the utmost pleasure of serving under his command during that tumultuous period in time, becoming very good friends. There was nothing he wouldn't for de Gaulle, from driving him around everywhere to taking a bullet for him."
"Your grandfather knew Charles de Gaulle?", asked Patricia. "What a lucky man he was to have been acquainted with such a legend in this country!"
Patricia's remark put a warm smile on Sacha's face.
"My family has a fascinating history, Patricia. And since we are just down the road from it, why don't we go pay a visit to where Charles actually marched down in 1944 – after getting your pictures taken of de Gaulle, of course."
With smiles & nods, the Benice, Fleming & Sugimoto families do exactly that, snapping photo after photo of the statue of a man who showed no fear of but utter contempt for the Nazis & resisted their tyranny in every way, getting spectacular shots of the statue & several with each member of Sacha's party including Stephanie & Dennis.
After everyone got in their desired shots of the statue, Sacha drove them right down the street to their next stop, one that has made history on more than one occasion.
The Arc de Triomphe.
"That's quite the monument, Sacha!", Elinor said. "The detailed work the designers put into it is most exquisite!"
"Indeed it is, Mademoiselle Elinor", the French man says. "Hailed as one of the most famous monuments in Paris, this marvelous wonder was designed by Jean Chalgrin & construction began on August 15th, 1806 & completed between 1833 & 1836. Sculptures along the legs & across the main body showcase some of the most famous battles this country of ours has endured through the years, most notably the French Revolution & the Napoleon Era. From the base straight up to the top, the Arc stands at a height of 50 meters & became the highest triumphal arch ever built until the Monumento a la Revolucion in Mexico City which stood 67 meters tall, followed the Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang at 60 meters."
A somewhat sinister smile grew on Sacha's face as he turned to the group.
"But…rumor has it that North Korea's arch became the victim of a rather 'unfortunate' accident not too long ago, no?", he says slyly, getting grins from each face as his grew wider.
The man couldn't suppress a chuckle that was semi-sinister.
"Gee whiz, Sacha, I wonder just what could've happened to it", Akemi says, turning to her sibling. "Any thoughts, Emiko?"
"Maybe it has something to do with the unexpected 'house call' Godzilla made to the country & decided to bring over Rodan, Gaira & Sanda as his guests", she exclaimed, barely able to keep from laughing.
"Nevertheless, it's really no big loss to us", Hidemi said, half-joking. "Those people were all but asking for a good whipping, & they got one!"
Tajima placed his arm around his wife & kissed her cheek which made her grin.
Seeing moments like this thrilled & warmed the hearts of the Arendelle trio.
"In short, it was good riddance to bad rubbish", Dennis put in. "I, for one, won't be crying over what happened at that isolated country, who wished nothing but utter harm done to the United States, its southern neighbor and Japan."
"That's the spirit, Dennis!", Eugene says, pointing a finger at him with a grin & a wink.
Stephanie & her assistant/bodyguard chuckled from his joke.
Rapunzel giggled from her husband's antics as Pascal pounded his fist in his hand, indicating he wished he could have given the North Koreans a thrashing as Godzilla & company did only about two weeks ago.
"As a good friend of ours once said, maybe we should give Godzilla & his friends a medal & have them join up for the armed forces", Gus joked with a grin as Elinor chuckled.
"This 'good friend' of yours – he sounds rather brilliant, mon ami", Sacha says.
"He…has his moments, I admit", Kristoff says, getting a playful tap on the shoulder from Anna. "What?"
Smiles adorned from every face.
"Say, Sacha…what's that underneath the Arc?", Merida asked, pointing to said area that caught her eye. "Is it a memorial of some kind or another plaque we missed seeing before?"
The French man saw where Merida pointed to & he nodded.
"Something like that, mon Cherie", he says. "Come…let me show you."
He took his friends over to where Merida saw: it was a stone slab laying on the ground underneath the Arc which was surrounded by a small barrier only a couple inches high, linked by chains. At one end lay a circular urn with a big bouquet of flowers next to it, & writing was stenciled into the stone:
ICI REPOSE UN SOLDAT FRANCAIS MORT POUR LA PATRIE
1914 – 1918
"Is this a memorial for someone?", asked Elsa.
"Most assuredly, Elsa", Stephanie said. "What you're looking at is the famed 'Tomb of the Unknown Soldier'. It's become quite a national monument that's shared with the Arc itself."
"What is carved on this particular memorial reads 'Here lies a French soldier who died for his fatherland'", Sacha said, translating the words. "Even though his name remains anonymous to this day, it was his deeds that have earned him this grandest of honors any soldier can receive."
"If he was willing to fight & die for the defense of his country, then he all but deserves this – anonymous or not", Rapunzel said with Pascal nodding on her shoulder.
"It's not just here in France that they have tombs like this for those that gave their lives in service, love", replied Gus. "Such tombs can be found in other parts of the world too: in the United Kingdom, there lies a tomb located over at Westminster Abbey in London."
"I remember that, Gus", Elinor said. "During our first year together, you took Merida & myself to see this thing at said area. We've never seen anything so wonderful, especially with all the flowers placed around it."
"It was something my Mum & I had to take a photo of", Merida adds. "If there's one thing I love & respect in a person is their willingness to fight & die for what they firmly believe in."
Elinor placed a hand on her daughter's back with a smile on her face, with Merida returning the favor.
"Over in Japan are also such monuments", Tajima said. "Tombs of anonymous soldiers are located at Saitama, Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo. I don't believe we've shown you three that particular spot in our home just yet, have we?"
"Not that we can remember, Tajima", Kristoff said.
"We'll simply save it as a future reference for when we get back home", Anna said.
Tajima, Hidemi, Akemi, Emiko & Elsa smiled & nodded.
"I'm pretty sure there's also tombs like this in the United States as well", Eugene adds.
"Perceptive as always, Eugene", Nathan said. "And you're correct: Arlington & Alexandria in Virginia, Biloxi in Mississippi, & Washington Square in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania are where these tombs can be found at."
"Definitely places we need to pay a visit to", Eugene said.
"We'll put that on our calendars for sure", Patricia said. "In the meantime, let's get our shots of this memorial & of the Arc itself while we're here."
Nods of agreement were all that was needed to get the group snapping photo after photo of the memorial plaque underneath the Arc, followed by the monument itself & them with it. When it became Anna, Rapunzel & Stephanie's turn, the three ladies saw something to help make their photos much more colorful – with 'colorful' being the term.
They see a man carrying a large bunch of 16-inch balloons on strings as Anna, Rapunzel & Stephanie approached the man.
"Girls – what are you doing?", asked Hidemi.
"I remember seeing something like this in a movie once, Hidemi!", Anna said, smiling.
"I'm betting it's the same movie that I'm thinking of, Anna!", Rapunzel says, smiling herself.
"'Funny Face'!", Anna, Rapunzel & even Stephanie say in unison as they giggle amusingly.
Stephanie handed the man a few hundred francs to purchase all the balloons from his stash, who gladly accepts & exchange his balloons for the money the singer/songwriter offered him.
Expressing his utmost gratitude, the man smiled & walked away to get another stash for the populace.
Getting the gist, the group – notably Elsa, Eugene, Kristoff & Merida – get their cell phones/cameras ready to get some spectacular shots of Anna, Rapunzel & Stephanie in front of the Arc de Triomphe while holding onto their stash of balloons exactly as Audrey Hepburn did in the 1957 musical movie 'Funny Face', co-starring Kay Thompson & Fred Astaire. Anna, Rapunzel & Stephanie posed with their balloons in various fashions, from singular shots to duos & all three together, smiling in each one. From around the Arc, spectators stood & watched the display of picture-taking take place, grinning at what they were witnessing.
Like Audrey Hepburn did in the movie, the three ladies were giddy as children during each shot.
But unlike Audrey, neither of them let the balloons go once they were done: noticing the crowd circling the Arc, Anna, Rapunzel & Stephanie went to them & handed balloons to the children & young adults, getting happy faces from each one that got a balloon or two.
Hidemi, Patricia, Elinor & the rest grinned happily at the display.
As soon as all their balloons were handed out, the group took photos of Maximus, Sven & Angus posing with the Arc before moving on to a place Sacha believes will make the Sugimoto family feel right at home.
It was the Palais de Tokyo, located next to the Seine River.
Checking out the interior, it was like being back home for Tajima & his family: Japanese displays, architecture & the like gave a sense of 'home away from home', & the slight case of homesickness washed away upon seeing all of the displays like magic.
The Sugimoto family thanked the French man for this most wondrous gift.
For as long as they were already there, Stephanie suggested grabbing a late lunch before moving onwards with the rest of their day: while they dined, most were staring out the window at arguably Paris' greatest achievement of this or any century.
The Eiffel Tower.
When Eugene asked if they were going to go up in this marvel of a monument, Sacha answered they will be doing so after they've eaten, with everyone giving each other a high-five.
Lunch was completed in 30 minutes time.
Outside, the three steeds were fed their leftovers along with their traditional diet: Maximus was treated to Japanese cuisine with a few apples, Sven with carrots & Angus with oats Merida took along on their tour. Each animal ate both in good fashion, enjoying the combination of their favorite foods with Japanese.
When asked if they'd like to try more combos with their faves, Maximus & Sven nodded 'yes', with Angus doing so while making a neighing sound.
Having their stomachs filled, Sacha took them over to the one place everyone was most anxious to visit: crossing over the Seine River via the Pont d'lena Bridge, they were taken straight to the Eiffel Tower which stood in all its glory, its size staggering even from a distance. Getting closer, it seemed as if the tower was growing in size on its own as only one of its leg supports filled their point of view. After they've stopped, the group all got out of the minibus & stared at the Eiffel Tower, craning their necks upwards to check out its full size.
"And we thought Tokyo Tower was impressive!", Kristoff says.
"Which it is!", Anna & Elsa said together, causing the sisters to giggle.
"And…Tokyo Tower is taller by about eight or so meters", Emiko said.
"Sorry about that, Sacha", Akemi joked.
"Just barely, Mademoiselles", Sacha joked before giving out a laugh & cuddling Tajima & Hidemi's daughters close to him in his arms, making their parents grin.
"You've both been up in this tower before, haven't you?", Eugene asked Patricia & Nathan.
"You better believe we have, Eugene!", Nathan said. "What a memory that was!"
"Going up again will be sure to bring back thatgreat memory for us, too!", Patricia adds.
"Same as with Dennis & Me", Stephanie adds. "Upon our first trip here, we got a grand view of the city from the top of this marvelous structure – and it took our breath away, a feeling you'll experience soon enough!"
They smiled at Stephanie's statement, indicating they could hardly wait.
Even the animals were astonished by the sight of one of Earth's tallest structures, with Maximus & Sven getting somewhat dizzy from its height as Angus let out a snort of approval. From Rapunzel's shoulder, Pascal looked up & he made a noise in his throat that was equivalent to him saying 'wow', causing his master/friend to giggle.
"I know what you mean, Pascal – it is really tall!", Rapunzel said. "I wish there was some way for you to join us in going up the tower, Pascal, but…"
"Actually, Rapunzel…there is!", Merida says, wriggling her hair on the left.
They got the idea, & Pascal jumped from Rapunzel's shoulders & onto Merida's. Changing his skin color from green to crimson to match Merida's hair, the little lizard blended in perfectly.
"Now remember, Pascal…not a sound", Merida says as the lizard gave her a thumbs-up gesture.
"Clever thinking, Merida", Elinor says. "So long as Pascal stays quiet & not stir any attention to himself, he ought to be just fine up there."
"And now that we've arrived & ready to go…", Gus says, turning to their guide. "Sacha…let's take 'er up, mate!"
"Agreed, mon ami. Shall we get underway?", Sacha says, gesturing towards the elevator.
As one, the group made their way to the elevator which will take the party straight on up to the top of Paris' tallest structure. Maximus, Sven & Angus watched as their human friends went up in the magnificent tower of France's capital.
Once the door closed & the elevator rose, Sacha gave his party a quick history lesson of the tower.
"Maurice Koechlin & Emile Nouguier were the designers of this magnificent marvel", he began. "Construction of it began on January 28th, 1887, completed on March 15th, 1889 & opened to the public 16 days later. Amazingly, this very tower was supposed to have been dismantled in 1909 after its permit to stand expired, but because it proved to be highly useful in communications purposes, they've allowed it to remain."
"It's not much different from Tokyo Tower, which also has an antennae placed at the top in order to help broadcast television transmissions & the like", Hidemi said. "The majority of TV broadcasts is because of Tokyo Tower, so it's most fortunate that they decided to scrap the idea of dismantling this beautiful structure."
"And it was a good thing, mon Cherie: during World War I, it helped to jam German radio communications which hampered & prevented their advance towards the city. In 1940 during World War II, the lift cables were cut to prevent the Nazis from advancing to the top & stayed that way until six years later. When Paris was liberated, Hitler ordered General Dietrich von Choltitz to demolish the tower along with the rest of the city. Amazingly, von Choltitz refused to carry out Hitler's order."
This piece of information became a stunner to most in the group, having never heard of it until now.
"A Nazi general who actually disobeyed Germany's chancellor? What made him change his mind?", Elsa asked.
"At that point in the war, Choltitz felt that Hitler had more or less gone insane, which helped contribute his choice. He also said that he loved the city & didn't want to see it destroyed. Because of his decision, he had been hailed as 'The Savior of Paris'."
"I'm guessing that von Choltitz felt destroying Paris as a whole was overkill – a burden he didn't want placed on his own conscience", Kristoff says.
"That could very well be, Kristoff", Gus said. "Generals are battle-hardened for sure, but even they know where the line gets drawn: if a general was forced to take down a group of armed men using only his wits & bare hands, he'll do it. But I doubt he ever signed on to do something so callous & cold-hearted as killing innocent women & children asleep in their beds. That's a burden nobody wants placed on their conscience, enemy or not."
"At least von Choltitz had better sense than Hitler & his fellow Nazis", said Eugene. "I still can't believe he was ordered to raze this city down to its foundation but gratified that he all but stood down from carrying it out."
Before anyone could say anything, the elevator stopped & the door opened to reveal the top level of the tower as everyone stepped out.
"And here we are!", Sacha says, gesturing to the top level.
The Benice, Fleming, Sugimoto families, Stephanie & Dennis walked across & peered out the large windows on both the sides & just beneath their feet which gave a bird's eye view of the street below. It reminded the Arendelle trio during their first year with Tajima & his family of when they went up Tokyo Tower to gaze down at Japan's capital, the memory flooding back like a rising sun.
Like Tajima, Hidemi, Akemi & Emiko, they were glad to be given the chance of going inside & up Paris' famed tower as they did with Tokyo's.
Same as with Eugene, Rapunzel, Gus, Elinor & Merida, having never had the experience.
It also went for Pascal, who saw out the windows from the cover of Merida's long red curly hair.
"Enjoying the view, little buddy?", Merida said softly to the little red lizard, who nodded without a sound.
"So glad Pascal got the chance to be up here with us, Merida…thanks to you", Elinor said.
"Of course, Mum: he's as much a part of this group an anyone else."
"That's right, Merida", Gus says. "Never underestimate the little guys: they can surprise you in the most unusual of ways."
From Merida's hair, Pascal stuck his head out & nodded to the British agent, making him & his family grin.
"What a view from up here, Rapunzel", Eugene said. "It makes you feel like you're Leonardo DiCaprio of sorts, know what I mean?"
"I think I do, Eugene", Rapunzel says, grinning as she extended her arms. "'I'm King of the World'!"
She laughed at her own impersonation of the 'Titanic' actor as her husband wrapped his arms around her from behind, reliving the roles of Leonardo DiCaprio & Kate Winslet, who'd played his lady love in the 1997 Award-winning blockbuster film, directed by James Cameron.
They ever went so far as to kiss like the two stars did in that very scene.
"Ah…so you two have seen 'Titanic', I gather?", Stephanie said with a grin, cutting in their little reenactment.
"Who hasn't seen 'Titanic'?", Eugene & Rapunzel said in unison with big grins, making Stephanie's own bigger & even chuckled. Dennis smiled, enjoying the scenario being played out.
Sacha, however, was busy speaking on his cell phone to enjoy the sights from atop the Eiffel Tower, having his device buzz shortly after arriving on the level below the antennae. He was on the phone for a few minutes & spoke in his mother tongue before thanking his contact, hanging up & pocketing his phone.
He approached Tajima, who saw him coming as his family turned to him.
His playful demeanor was absent this time, indicating that something was wrong.
"Sacha, is everything okay?", the scientist asked.
Hearing the concern in his voice, the others joined Tajima as Sacha lay it out for them.
"Professor Sugimoto", he says. "I've just been informed by my people that General Ernie will be arriving in Paris on the morning of July 28th, which is this coming Thursday. Once he arrives, he'll fill you & everyone else in on why he's requested your presence here in my country. Thought you might want to know."
The group – including Stephanie & Dennis – looked to each other in wonder, suddenly feeling very worried.
Because of the sudden change in atmosphere, their trip up the Eiffel Tower didn't feel as eventful as it did before.
When it came time to go back down, it was done so in eerie silence.
Mercury City Tower, Moscow International Business Center, Moscow, Russia, 9:00 p.m.:
For a few days since the incident with Anguirus, Chaos & the two gargantuan beasts Gaira & Sanda ended, Bratva boss Pyotr Lipovsky spent the time to dig into the files of those that have caught his attention since their arrival in his country only days ago.
Eugene & Rapunzel Benice, Elinor & Merida Fleming, & Kristoff, Anna & Elsa Sugimoto.
Their names & faces were basically engraved within his mind, & ever since their arrival in Russia when Tajima Sugimoto witnessed the theft of Godzilla's blood/tissue samples in the Sea of Japan, he's gotten in touch with everyone he could think of to get background information – any kind – on these selected seven.
He was frustrated: Pyotr has the best people in the business to dig up people's background/history almost as good as the FBI or any other service bureau, & yet his people couldn't dig up anything about their past.
It boiled his blood, & he wasn't one to be shy on his feelings.
"You're absolutely certain you can't find anything on these people?!", he fumed at the man he was speaking to on his laptop via cam chat.
"Not a trace, Mr. Lipovsky", he replied, his demeanor calm despite his boss' rage. "We've tried every method available on checking into their own personal histories & didn't come up with anything that could help us to determine just who these people are. We tried cross-referencing their family files multiple times over right down to their ancestors & couldn't see one shred of evidence – physical or otherwise – that could help us find the information you seek. In all my years at handling this job, I've never had anything like this. It's like these people don't even exist."
"Unacceptable! People don't just appear suddenly on the Earth from out of the blue! There has to be something in their files that tells us who these individuals are, & if you can't do your job correctly & thoroughly like I pay you to, then maybe you'd better…"
Pyotr stopped in his tirade abruptly as he fell silent, his face looking like he'd just seen a ghost.
"Mr. Pyotr? Mr. Pyotr, are you all right?", his man asked him.
When next Pyotr spoke, it was in a much calmer tone.
"Tell me something: do you know where Tajima Sugimoto & his family went after they left Russia?", he asked.
"Yes sir, I do – the scientist, along with his family & friends, took a flight on over to Paris, France only two days ago", the man said as a thought occurred to him. "Isn't that where you're scheduled to be at, sir?"
A smile slowly grew on Pyotr's face.
"Indeed it is", he says. "Cancel & suspend all operations on digging into the backgrounds of those seven people I mentioned. I'll be able to get the answers I need myself – in a more hands-on, personal approach."
"As you wish, sir", the man said before cutting off the feed.
Once he departed, Pyotr got on his intercom to his assistant/secretary.
"Yes, Mr. Lipovsky?", said the voice on the other end.
"Irina, my private plane to Paris is prepped & ready for flight, correct?", Pyotr asked.
"Yes sir: the plane's got a green light for landing in Paris with the Flight Administration of France. All we need is to have the plane fueled, which will be completed by the time you're scheduled to depart at about 6:00 on Thursday morning."
"Excellent. Thank you, Irina. That will be all."
"Very good, sir."
Pyotr cut the connection before getting back onto his laptop again.
But it wasn't to those who seek personal files for his benefit.
It was to his family.
On the first ring, a pair of little four-year-old girls came into view that made Pyotr smile.
"Hello, papa!", they said in unison.
"Hello, my two angels!", Pyotr said charmingly. "Do daddy a favor & put mommy on the line, won't you?"
The twin girls nod & rush off to get their mother, calling her name.
After twelve seconds, his wife Natasha appeared on the computer screen.
"Pyotr", she said. "Will you be coming home tonight?"
"Yes, my dear Natasha", Pyotr replied. "I'll be away on business beginning Thursday morning, but I'll spend the entire day tomorrow with you & the girls before I go. We'll do whatever the three of you would like – anything in which your dear heart's desire."
Natasha smiled at her husband's request.
"We would very much love that, Pyotr! See you soon, my love!"
Pyotr nodded before shutting the feed & closing his laptop.
Standing up & going over to the window to see the city of Moscow below him, Pyotr thought of the ways to get the information he craved from the people his own heart was set on. It would only take him just over one day in order for that to happen, but in the meantime, he has family matters to attend to…and Pyotr Lipovsky is just as devoted to his own flesh & blood as he is to his work.
He heads for the door to head for home.
The Elder & his people were deep in prayers & song this evening as their twin priestesses – the Shobijin, who were both only six inches in height with long black hair wearing identical orange dresses – detected an evil aura in the air that scared them beyond words. It soon turned to the attention to their people as they explained of what they saw, & all Infant Islanders began chanting, praying, singing & dancing in rituals that have been going on for hours.
The adult Mothra rests on the ground before them, her wings & body in a motionless manner.
She remains perfectly still as if she were a statue.
But the islanders & Shobijin know that Mothra was keenly aware of the danger that will soon show itself to the world.
When it does, Mothra will awaken & battle it.
All they need to do until then is wait. And pray.
Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean:
Like gigantic sea snakes, they swim through the waters of the second-largest body of water in the world, their destination not far off from their current position. These giant life forms – insect larva – measured 120 meters each & had a pair of shining blue eyes with a black proboscis for a mouth. Just as with a school of fish/dolphins, these monster insects swam within the Atlantic in perfect parallel with each other, letting out a chirp every now & then.
Their trek leads them further up north.
With grace & a little luck, they'll reach their destination in a few days.
Hotel ibis Paris Montmartre 18eme, Wednesday, July 27th, 9:30 a.m.:
Last night's dinner was more or less eaten in silence before everyone turned in for the night, wishing everyone a good night's rest. When Olaf saw the melancholy faces on Elsa & Merida when they entered the room, even he knew something was wrong & asked what it was. Being reminded that they were actually here in Paris on business rather than for a vacation put the snowman on a worried edge, recalling the reason why they made their stop here in the first place after their ordeal in Russia was done.
A good night's sleep was only partly successful: while they did sleep okay, it wasn't as good as the other nights they've spent at the hotel; even when they fed the animals before turning in, it wasn't in their usual chipper moods, & it made the Andalusian, Reindeer & even the Clydesdale worried, not to mention Pascal.
During the night, the little chameleon turned blue & stayed that way while he slept.
This morning's breakfast didn't help chase the blues away either: after being greeted by one another at the table, most everyone sat & ate with hardly uttering a word, taking their share of food & consuming it like they had almost no life in them, having been mostly drained away since their trip up the Eiffel Tower.
Tajima, Hidemi, Akemi, Emiko, Patricia, Nathan, Gus, Elinor, Stephanie, Dennis & Sacha watched as Rapunzel, Eugene, Merida & the Arendelle trio had their first meal of the day in a slump, their eyes on the food they ate without any enjoyment.
It sank their hearts lower & made them feel like deflated balloons with no air or life left in them.
"Hey, are you folks gonna be okay?", Nathan asked them in a fatherly tone.
"Yeah, it pains us to see you all in a deep slump like this", Patricia says compassionately.
"We don't know yet, Patricia, Nathan…we hope so, at least", Kristoff said somberly.
Eugene, Rapunzel, Anna & Merida nodded.
"My friends, was it because of what I said to Tajima the other day?", Sacha asked. "If so, I humbly apologize: it shouldn't have been so direct like that & could've waited until we were back here at the hotel before laying it on each of you."
"Don't worry, Sacha", Anna said. "It isn't you…I mean, it is you, in part, granted, but then it's not because…oh god, I'm so sorry…"
"I believe what Anna is trying to say is…", Rapunzel says, saving the day. "While your announcement did pretty much put a damper on our good time here in Paris, we're not blaming you for it."
"Not at all", Elsa put in. "It just reminded us that we really came here on a business proposal from General Ernie, so we ought to start focusing on that right now."
"So, the General will be here tomorrow morning exactly as your contacts told you, Sacha?", Eugene asks.
The French man nodded.
"But in the meantime, we still shouldn't let this upcoming piece of business ruin our good time here in Paris", said Elinor. "Since we have one more day to spend before the General gets here, let's use it productively & on a rather positive note."
"I don't know, Mum", Merida says. "Maybe Elsa's right: we should concentrate on General Ernie's arrival here tomorrow morning. I for one am eager to know why he asked us here to Paris instead of sending us all home after the time we spent in Russia."
"I'm sure the General wouldn't want us to worry about that long before it's time, love", Gus says. "Your Mum is right: let's spend our last day of leisure on a positive note while we can. What do you say?"
The Arendelle trio, Eugene, Rapunzel & Merida looked at each other & at the faces of their adoptive families as each of them wore a smile of pure love & assurance.
It was something none of them could say no to.
"We'll try", they said as a group.
"Excellent!", Emiko says, turning to their French guide. "So, Sacha…where do you plan on taking us to visit this time today?"
While they consulted, Stephanie whispered in Dennis' ear, who nodded.
"Actually, Emiko…Stephanie here has something more productive in mind", he says, getting their attention.
"What would that be exactly, Stephanie?", Tajima asked.
"Instead of seeing more of the sights, I was thinking of heading down over to the La Nouvelle Eve, which is only a few blocks from this hotel", she says. "When we get there, you folks can all perform whatever dance moves, songs or anything else your heart desires. How about it?"
"But mon Cherie Stephanie, that place doesn't open until 6:30 in the evening", Sacha says. "What will these folks do in the meantime?"
"Oh, I think they'll make an exception for me, monsieur Sacha."
"And that is because…?"
"I happen to know the owners of the place."
A chorus of 'ooooh' came from each mouth, impressed with Stephanie's connections.
"Dancing & karaoke…Stephanie, it's perfect!", Akemi says. "I think that's just what the doctor ordered to chase all their blues away, & they've never been known to turn down either one!"
"Akemi's right", Hidemi said, staring at Elsa & company. "A little bit of both is what you all could use right now, & I believe Sacha would love to get the chance to see and hear you folks perform, same as with Stephanie here."
Stephanie faced Rapunzel & company.
"You know, your families keep on telling Dennis & I just how much they love hearing you guys & girls sing, as it makes their hearts & souls swell with joy every time", she says. "And I myself would also simply love to hear you people sing up-close & personal. Sound good?"
The opportunity was too good to pass up, so they all agreed.
"We could never turn down an opportunity to sing when it's presented to us, Stephanie! Count us in!", Rapunzel said with a grin, getting nods from the rest.
Rapunzel's answer made everyone else grin pleasantly.
"Then it's settled, mes amis!", Sacha said. "We leave for the La Nouvelle Eve after breakfast, so eat up!"
Sacha let out a laugh as Merida & company do as the French man suggested, finishing in no time.
They ate every bite!
The La Nouvelle Eve Cabaret:
Once they consumed their breakfast, Maximus, Sven, Angus & Pascal all get their breakfast from their owners & friends – in a much-improved mood than they were in just the other day, putting them in the same chipper attitude & eating their food in a positive vibe, reflecting that of Eugene, Kristoff, Merida & Rapunzel.
Amazingly, it was one of the best breakfasts the animals ever had!
Because the La Nouvelle Eve Cabaret was only about three blocks from the hotel, Stephanie suggested they walk on over to it instead of taking the minibus, thus saving gas & getting some exercise in the process. The singer received a treat of riding upon Angus with Merida, while Dennis rode on Maximus with Rapunzel & Sacha being on Sven with Anna. Each animal gave their new passengers a smooth ride to the cabaret as Elinor says it was in appreciation for all they've done for them.
Stephanie, Dennis & Sacha were very grateful beyond words for the opportunity.
Along the way, the group passed the Moulin Rouge Night Club as one of the most popular night spots in all of Paris. When Sacha asked his friends if they'd like to give it a try before they left his country, they kindly passed on the invitation, causing the French man to laugh at his own joke but causing smiles on everyone.
Going down Rue Pierre Fontaine Street, they walked down until they reached their destination.
La Nouvelle Eve Cabaret.
It might not look like much from the outside, but inside was a different story: the main theater was quite the sight to behold, with a main stage that can hold a performance on a grand scale & shines with a multitude of colors when lit. Tables were placed in a mostly circular pattern around the room, each with a well-placed cloth covering each one & a lamp with a shade placed on a post that was bent inward & over. A second-floor balcony allowed those to see the show from a higher vantage point.
The Fleming & Sugimoto families, along with Eugene & Rapunzel, were marveled by it all, having never set foot inside such a spectacle. Even Patricia & Nathan were lost in its beauty, despite having performed in this very cabaret in the past when they paid Paris a visit years ago. The same went for Sacha, even though it's been many years since he set foot inside the place.
It looked beautiful then, it looks beautiful now.
Even Pascal was lost in its lovely splendor, giving out a sound that resembled a 'wow'.
Rapunzel & Stephanie couldn't help but giggle.
While Maximus, Sven & Angus stood outside acting as bodyguards, Pascal was taken inside the dressing rooms backstage as everyone was introduced to the owner of the cabaret along with Stephanie's backup dancers/singers. Each one greeted them with warm handshakes & smiles as Eugene, Kristoff, Anna, Elsa, Rapunzel & Merida started looking at the various costumes displayed on the racks for their performances, ranging from glittering dresses to simple black outfits that covered the whole body. Pascal gave the group a little dance number & did some color changes that made Stephanie's people & cabaret owner grin & giggle with amusement.
Although pets aren't really allowed in the theater, the owner said that Pascal can stay – as long as he remains in the dressing room.
Rapunzel said she & her friends had no problem with that whatsoever, & the little lizard can view the show from a flat-screen TV placed upon the wall.
Pascal gave the cabaret owner an army salute & thumbs-up gesture, confirming that he understands.
He nodded with glee & told Rapunzel that Pascal was quite smart for a reptile.
The one-time princess of Corona agreed!
Kristoff, Eugene, Anna, Elsa, Rapunzel & Merida start going over what they wanted to do during the show later on while the rest exited & left them to their work. Taking a seat at the tables, Sacha gave the adults a rundown on the cabaret's history as Stephanie helped prepare the girls & guys with costumes for her backup performers, while Rapunzel & company go over the songs they wish to do via YouTube & the like.
Each one picked such marvelous songs which Stephanie saw as marvelous choices, saying they have quite a taste for tunes of the past, getting everyone to grin proudly. Another factor came into play when Anna & Rapunzel showed Stephanie of two particular dance numbers they wished to perform in the evening.
Stephanie saw what they meant & smiled big, telling the girls that she would absolutely love to bring both these dance numbers to life tonight.
After several minutes of making their choices, the group got dressed up & came out on stage.
But when they did, they saw Tajima, Nathan, Gus & the others getting up & heading for the door.
When asked what this was all about, Elinor simply stated that they were going to go for a stroll around the area with Sacha & the animals while they rehearsed their desired choices. Hidemi quickly added that they will definitely be back before showtime, & that they wouldn't miss it for the world.
Nodding, they waved them goodbye before getting started.
For the next several hours, Eugene, Kristoff, Anna, Elsa, Rapunzel, Merida & Stephanie rehearsed their songs & dance steps with hardly an error made with the singer/songwriter's backup troupe. They rested for about five minutes at the top of each hour for water/bathroom breaks, having a late lunch served inside the cabaret by one of the waiters who came early to work.
As promised, Sacha came back with his friends a half-hour before the evening's show was about to start, getting a front-row seat of the action & a fine meal of fish, meat & vegetables for dinner.
When the curtains finally went up & the floor was lit, Stephanie welcomed everyone to the evening's performance at the La Nouvelle Eve Cabaret, saying she has quite a show for the audience tonight. She started by doing an exotic dance number while singing a group of songs she wrote herself, adding to the spectacle & dazzling the audience with her masterful moves.
It went on for a good 35-40 minutes before Stephanie & her group took a bow to huge applause.
She then addressed to the crowd of several friends she's made which shall be performing this evening, beginning with Kristoff Sugimoto. Dressed in a stylish black suit, shoes & tie with orange undershirt, he performs a number of Elvis Presley songs with great compassion & spirit, just as the King did in his prime. This next tune he does came from Volume 5 of 'Elvis' Gold Records' series, which he originally recorded back in 1976 – a song that would later put the Judds on the map.
In true lively rockabilly sound, Kristoff sang to his heart's content with Stephanie's backup singers lending their vocals after a short guitar/piano opening:
Had a dream about you, baby
Had a dream about me & you
Had a dream & woke up crying
Well, I can roll but I just can't rock (I can't rock)
And the time's going by, tick-tock (tick-tock)
For the heart, I just can't love no one but you
Well, I'm high & dry & lonely
I'm as lonely as can be
And I stare out of my window
Well, I can play but I just can't win (I can't win)
And the weather's looking dim (mighty dim)
For the heart, I just can't love no one but you
For the heart (I can't love no one but you)
For the heart (I can't love no one but you)
For the heart, I just can't love no one but you
For the heart (I can't love no one but you)
For the heart (I can't love no one but you)
For the heart, I just can't love no one but you
Had a dream about you, baby
Had a dream about me & you
Had a dream & woke up crying
Well, I can roll but I just can't rock (I can't rock)
And the time's going by, tick-tock (tick-tock)
For the heart, I just can't love no one but you
For the heart (I can't love no one but you)
For the heart (I can't love no one but you)
For the heart, I just can't love no one but you
For the heart (I can't love no one but you)
For the heart (I can't love no one but you)
For the heart, I just can't love no one but you
Well, for the heart (I can't love no one but you)
For the heart (I can't love no one but you)
For the heart, I just can't love no one but you
Yes, for the heart (I can't love no one but you)
Kristoff got a round of big applause, seeing that Elvis Presley still gets worldwide recognition even in Paris & he took a bow to the people before doing his imitation of the King trademark 'thankewvermuch' in one of his poses before exiting the stage.
Hail to the King, baby!, Stephanie thought, smiling hugely & clapping her appreciation with everyone else.
Sacha said it aloud, giving himself a hearty laugh with his friends at the table.
Next up was Eugene Benice, who has decided to go a little silly on this night, performing classic tunes from Ray Stevens such as 'Gitarzan', 'Jeremiah Peabody's Poly Unsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green & Purple Pills' & 'The Streak' (which got a ton of laughs), before going on to this number that was originally recorded by American-Australian singer/songwriter Joe Dolce, who had a huge hit with this tune back in 1980, from its same-named album.
Using an Italian accent, Eugene does Dolce's million-selling song to perfection as he speaks and sings that began with an accordion-like sound:
'Allo, I'm-a Giuseppe, I got-a something special-a for you, ready?
Uno, duo, tre, quattro!
When I was a boy just about the eighth-a grade
Mama used to say 'don't stay out late
With the bad-a boys always shoot-a pool
Giuseppe going to flunk-a school!'
Boy it make-a me sick all the t'ing I gotta do
I can't-a get-a no kicks, always got to follow rules
Boy it make-a me sick just to make-a lousy bucks
Got to feel like a fool
And-a mama used to say all-a time
What's-a matter you? Hey! Gotta no respect?
What-a you t'ink you do, why you look-a so sad?
It's-a not so bad, it's-a nice-a place
Ah shaddap-a you face!
That's-a my mama, I can remember!
Big accordion solo!
Ah, play 'dat again!
Really nice, really nice!
But soon-a come-a day, gonna be a big-a star
Den I make-a T.V. shows and-a movies
Get-a myself a new car but still I be myself
I don't want-a to change a t'ing
Still a-dance & a-sing
I think-a about-a mama, she used to say
What's-a matter you? Hey! Gotta no respect?
What-a you t'ink you do, why you look-a so sad?
It's-a not so bad, it's-a nice-a place
Ah shaddap-a you face!
Mama, she said it all-a da time!
What's-a matter you? Hey! Gotta no respect?
What-a you t'ink you do, why you look-a so sad?
It's-a not so bad, it's-a nice-a place
Ah shaddap-a you face!
That's-a my mama!
'At's out-a dere in-a radio and-a T.V. land
Did you know I had a big-a hit-a song in-a Italy with-a dis?
Shaddap-a you face
I sing-a dis-a song, all-a my fans applaud, dey clap-a da hands
Dat-a make me feel-a so good
You ought to learn-a dis-a song, it's-a real-a simple
See, I sing 'what's-a matter you?', you sing 'Hey!'
Den I sing-a da rest & den at de end we can all-a sing
Ah shaddap-a you face!
Okay, let's-a try it, really big
Uno, due, tre, quattro!
What's-a matter you? (Hey!) Gotta no respect? (Hey!)
What-a you t'ink you do (Hey!) Why you look-a so sad? (Hey!)
It's-a not so bad (Hey!) it's-a nice-a place
Ah shaddap-a you face!
That's great, we gonna do it better this time!
What's-amatter you? (Hey!) Gotta no respect? (Hey!)
What-a you t'ink you do (Hey!) Why you look-a so sad? (Hey!)
It's-a not so bad (Hey!) it's-a nice-a place
Ah shaddap-a you face!
Okay, one time for mama, everybody!
What's-a matter you? (Hey!) Gotta no respect? (Hey!)
What-a you t'ink you do (Hey!) Why you look-a so sad? (Hey!)
It's-a not so bad (Hey!) it's a nice-a place
Ah shaddap-a you face!
The crowd gave Eugene a big round of applause as the one-time prince of Corona flashed a smile & waved his appreciation before departing to make room for the next performer on stage – Elsa Sugimoto.
Dressed on a glamorously sparkling blue dress, the Snow Queen did a multitude of songs she'd been wanting to sing for some time, doing each with heart & soul like she & her friends always do. Her next selection was originally done by the Motels back in 1985 from their fifth album 'Shock'.
After a New Wave musical introduction, Elsa brings out her inner Martha Davis as she gives another powerful performance:
A very simple statement
A very simple crime
A lot of grief reflecting in how we spend our time
I want to change things
I want to make a change
I'm tired of spending time agonizing yesterdays
Shame on me
Shame on you
Shame on every little thing that we do
Shame on me
Shame on you
Now there's only one thing that we can do
Another empty day
Another day comes true
A lot of selfish dreams are waiting here for you
I've got to have you
I've got no one to blame
It's just the two of us
With nothing left to say
But, shame on me
Shame on you
Shame on every little thing that we do
Shame on me
Shame on you
Now there's only one thing we can do
Shame on me
Shame on you
Shame on me
Shame on you
(A brief musical interlude commences as Elsa gives a slight dance to it before she finishes)
I've got to change things
I've got to make a change
I'm tired of spending time agonizing yesterdays
Shame on me
Shame on you
Shame on every little thing that we do
Shame on me
Shame on you
Now there's only one thing we can do
Shame on me
Shame on you
Shame on me
Shame on you
Shame on me
Shame on you
Like her friends, Elsa received a warm round of applause from everybody in the cabaret, making her smile & bow to give her thanks. Everyone was captivated by her voice, having done several wonderful tunes from years past & having them sound very much like they were only recorded yesterday.
She gave a performance that went on for over a half-hour.
Merida Fleming went on stage next, dressed in a white long-sleeve shirt, black pants & shoes, looking more like she was ready to hit the town rather than sing on stage. But that's exactly what she does, & on this evening, she goes for some Beatles – rather, after their break-up in 1970 when Ringo, George, John & Paul went their separate ways with all having successful solo careers. Merida sang songs mostly from John Lennon & Sir Paul McCartney, but for her next number she does one from George Harrison, who recorded this tune in 1976 from his album 'Thirty-Three & 1/3'.
Her backup singers were even dressed in the costumes from the video to this song, including one resembling the Joker, based on Batman's arch-nemesis.
With a catchy introduction, Merida does her best interpretation of the late, great George Harrison:
I was so young when I was born
My eyes could not yet see
And by the time of my first dawn
Somebody holding me they said
I welcome you to Crackerbox Palace
We've been expecting you
You bring such joy in Crackerbox Palace
No matter where you roam know our love is true
While growing up or trying to
Not knowing where to start
I looked around for someone who
May help reveal my heart someone said
While you're a part of Crackerbox Palace
Do what the rest all do
Or face the fact that Crackerbox Palace
May have no other choice than to deport you
(A musical interlude commences with Merida & her backup troupe doing a dance before she resumes vocals)
And we welcome you to Crackerbox Palace
We've been expecting you
You bring such joy in Crackerbox Palace
No matter where you roam know our love is true
(Merida leaned forward briefly as George Harrison did in the video for the next verse)
It's twoo, it's twoo
Some times are good, some times are bad
That's all a part of life
And standing in between them all
I met a Mr. Grief – and he said
I welcome you to Crackerbox Palace
Was not expecting you
Let's rap & tap at Crackerbox Palace
Know that the Lord is well & inside of you
And we welcome you to Crackerbox Palace
We've been expecting you
You bring such joy in Crackerbox Palace
No matter where you roam know our love is true
You'll bring such joy in Crackerbox Palace
No matter where you roam know our love
Know our love is true
As with in the video, Merida placed a black top hat on her head & waved at the audience with her troupe during the song's finale, receiving a marvelous applause for their performance.
Oddly enough, neither Rapunzel Benice or Anna Sugimoto wanted to perform their own numbers.
At least not solo: during rehearsals, they decided to do a little change of pace by singing as a duet or a group, i.e., with Elsa & the others. Stephanie liked the way they thought, thus fixing it up to do several songs as a quintet.
Which was exactly what they ended up doing: with Stephanie on lead vocals, the group performed a multitude of songs such as ABBA's 'Money, Money, Money', the Bangles' 'If she knew what she wants', & this next song that was originally performed by Fleetwood Mac from their 1990 album 'Behind the Mask'.
Stephanie once again took lead vocals as an instrumental introduction begins this tune with Rapunzel, Anna, Elsa & Merida once again providing backup vocals:
The one with the laughing eyes
You, the one with the haunting stare
You have the power to hypnotize
I should'a known better
I should beware
'Cause I have followed you
Done everything for you
But you just won't look my way
So come on baby and
I'm running for cover
Is it one or the other
It's time for somebody else
Well, you, you could own the universe
Think about it & you'll realize
You, you got to believe me
And take my word
Look at me
It's written in my eyes
'Cause I have followed you
Done everything for you
But you just won't come my way
So come on baby and
I'm running for cover
Is it one or the other
I guess it's time for somebody else
(A rock music interlude took place as the ladies moved to its beat before finishing the song)
I can't wait any longer
I told you once
I'm not gonna tell you twice
So come on baby and
I'm running for cover
Is it one or the other
I guess it's time for somebody else
I'm running for cover
Is it one or the other
It's time for somebody else
The song ended with a rock & roll finale before the five ladies smiled with a bow to a cheer of applause.
Stephanie Beatrice then announced to the audience that a 30-minute intervention will now take place, giving all a chance to hit the restrooms, order food, & so forth. Sacha & his party do the same as people took leave of their tables, with others remaining & getting waiters to bring them nourishment.
Tajima, Hidemi, Akemi, Emiko & Gus were the first ones to make it back to their own table. Sitting down, they go over what they've seen thus far, & Emiko brings something to mind about their performance.
"I have to say: while they're all magnificent on their own, it's even more amazingto see Elsa & the others doing performances together like we just witnessed!", she says in her mother tongue. "And because of their predicament, it's brought something to my attention that needs to be discussed."
"I think I know what you mean, Emiko", Akemi said, turning to her parents. "Mama, papa, we're suggesting that Elsa, Rapunzel & Merida's groups ought to see each other for a fixed amount of time. Not only will it be good for them, it's also very important that they do, for the very greatest of reasons."
"The girls have a point, Tajima, & I can see just where they're going with this", Hidemi said, facing her husband. "Although they've adopted very well to their families & this era in particular, we must never forget that Rapunzel & company are all people out of place & time, having been taken from their true places of origin & thrown into/reawakened into the 21st Century. That in itself can be quite a strain on a person's psyche, no matter how high-spirited one is."
Tajima nodded at what his family contemplated.
"It certainly can be a burden on people who've been removed from their original time against their will", he said. "You girls definitely have something there, & I myself was beginning to think of that very same notion. They love their adoptive families with all their hearts, but it would be good for them to spend time with each other in order to give them some semblance of being in their own eras. Therefore, I'm suggesting that we have Merida & the rest have a get-together once, maybe even twice a year. But once is a definite must for them."
"A very sound plan & tactic, Tajima", Gus said in flawless Japanese. "Despite the fact they wouldn't head back to their own times even if there was some way of doing so, having them all being together would help ease that burden a great deal. When the time is right, we'll consult with this to Patricia, Nathan & my wife Elinor, as she herself is also a woman out of place & time."
The Sugimoto family nodded, knowing it's the best option.
Seconds after Gus was finished, Sacha came back along with Patricia & Nathan Benice & Elinor Fleming.
"Hey everyone!", Patricia says, taking her seat with her husband. "Looks like we've made it back just in time for more!"
"Just about", the Sugimoto family & Gus say simultaneously with a smile.
"Forgive our curiosity, but…we've heard you all speaking our names, even though it was in Japanese", Nathan says. "Care to tell us what that's all about?"
"Yes Gus", Elinor says with a face that was half a smile & half 'the look'. "You know it's quite rude speaking of your spouse when she can't understand a word you're saying."
Gus laughed heartily as everyone else grinned.
"You're right, love", Gus said. "We'll fill you, Patricia and Nathan in on it at the perfect moment. Promise."
Elinor stared at Gus like she wanted to say something on the matter, but instead she smiled.
"Fair enough, dear", she said, kissing her husband just before the main stage came to life once more.
"In the meantime, mes amis…it's showtime once more!", Sacha says, gesturing to the stage.
For the first performance after the intervention, the stage was set up similar to that of the 'Choreography' number in the 1954 classic film 'White Christmas', starring Bing Crosby & Danny Kaye: steps prop, a painting of flowers for a background & a few poles placed near the ends. Anna Sugimoto & Rapunzel Benice were both dressed in full-bodied black suits, complete with shoes & round hats on their heads. Their backup dancers were attired in dark blue dresses & those with long hair were braided in a ponytail but walked the stage barefoot. Each had a fixing of lavender placed upon their eyelids to give them a sparkle look, & a chorus playing classical music helped reenact the scene from the 1954 movie, beginning with a little slow-paced dance before Anna & Rapunzel get to the vocals just as Danny Kaye did.
Of course, the two improvised the dance to add a little spice to the number:
The theatuh, the theatuh
What's happened to the theatuh?
Especially where dancing is concerned
(The tempo & momentum then goes into a more upbeat style)
Chaps…who did taps
Aren't tapping anymore
They're doing choreography
Chicks…who did kicks
Aren't kicking anymore
They're doing choreography
Heps…who did steps
That would stop the show in days that used to be
Through the air they keep flying
Like a duck that is dying
Instead of dance it's choreography
Seconds after Anna & Rapunzel finish the vocals, Stephanie came slowly down onto the stage via cables that are suspended from above. Just as in the scene from the movie, Anna, Rapunzel & their backup dancers keep their eyes on the descending Stephanie Beatrice, who was attired in a pink dress & tap shoes as she does exactly that beginning with her right foot before switching to her left. Detaching her harness, Stephanie breaks out into a full-throttle dancing mode, followed by her backup troupe, Anna & Rapunzel, swinging & swaying every which way.
For the most part, they do go the path that Danny Kaye & Vera Ellen went, but with some improvised moves like Anna & Rapunzel taking Stephanie's hands in their own & doing a spin across the stage before breaking into a human chain & safely breaking away into three individual dancers. Their exotic dance with stunning moves went for a full 2-3 minutes before ending it with a masterful pose & facing the audience with smiles, who gave them an applause of high appreciation.
Dimming the lights put the stage in darkness for about a minute or so before shining up to reveal a different set piece, one consisting of a live band with musical instruments ranging from bass guitars to pianos. Anna & Rapunzel still wore their black outfits but this time ditched the hats.
For this number they rehearsed to do was the Bohemian Dance Audrey Hepburn did in 1957's 'Funny Face'.
They started it off by speaking to the audience in Audrey's words, pretending they were all Fred Astaire.
"Isn't it time you realized that…dancing's nothing more than a form of expression of release?', Anna & Rapunzel say in their best Audrey Hepburn impersonation. "There's no need to be formal or cute about it. As a matter of fact, I rather feel like expressing myself now…and I could certainly use a release!"
Once they recite Audrey's words, Anna & Rapunzel do indeed begin to 'express themselves' by dancing to the music as Stephanie joined in on the fun, now dressed in exact attire as her two friends. For the first two minutes, their dance started at a medium pace before slowing down some, performing with a handful of Stephanie's dancers dressed in formal clothing.
Stephanie then grabs a string on one of the bass guitar players' instrument, lifted it up & released it, causing a thrumming noise that was the cue to pick up the music & dance's pace at a more rapid level. A series of hand-clapping, foot-stomping, leg-kicking, twirling & other moves Audrey did, & then some. The audience were really digging into a blast from the past, with a few of them recalling the 1957 movie when they first saw 'Funny Face' as children, followed by its re-release in 1964 when 'My Fair Lady', which also starred Audrey Hepburn & co-starred Rex Harrison, first ventured into theaters.
Seeing this reenactment on tonight's stage was a treat for these selected few, their smiles & tears of joy being the proof.
Cheers from the crowd erupted when the trio of Stephanie Beatrice, Rapunzel Benice & Anna Sugimoto finished their interpretation of the movie's Bohemian Dance, grinning big & waving to the audience before taking their leave.
Danny Kaye, Vera Ellen, Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn would be proud!, Gus thought happily.
Although the festivities in the cabaret went on until midnight, the Benice, Fleming, Sugimoto families, Stephanie, Dennis & Sacha headed back to the hotel at 11:00 in the evening as Maximus, Sven & Angus gave their three friends a ride on them.
A good night's sleep was in order.
Tomorrow would be a day of business.
One thing was for sure: because of their stop at the cabaret, their doubts were whisked away.
Whatever happens in the morning, they can face it with full confidence.
The Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Syria:
From the early 1920s up, Syria has been garnered as one of the absolute worst countries in the entire world for human rights: numerous destructive conflicts like the Battles of Maysalun (1920), al-Mazraa (1925), the 1941 Syrian-Lebanon campaign, the Six-Day War (aka the June War, 1967), the 1973 Yom Kippur War & the 1982 Hama Massacre, the latter of which left 10,000-40,000 dead.
Now the country was in the midst of a Syrian Civil War which began on March 15th, 2011 & lasting right up to this day. This conflict was caused by the unrest of protesters who grew out of discontent with their country's government which demanded the removal of their current president, hereby escalated into armed combat.
Since the fighting began, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, the majority of them being ordinary civilians – innocent men, women, children & the elderly became cannon fodder/expendable liabilities.
Syria is possibly second only to North Korea in terms of inhumane treatment of its citizens, with many dying on a daily basis.
And one man was relishing in the slaughter.
Bashar al-Assad, the current President of Syria who became the country's ruler since July 17th, 2000, following in the footsteps of his father Hafez al-Assad, who served as Syria's President from March 12th, 1971 until his death on June 10, 2000 at age 69.
Bashar looked rather good for a man his age, sporting dark hair that was cleverly styled & blue eyes. He was in a medium blue business suit, white socks & black shoes. He was presently stationed on a warship that resided upon the Mediterranean Sea just outside his homeland with his wife – Syrian First Lady Asma al-Assad – and their three children Hafez, Zein & Karim. A selected band of aides also accompanied the country's First Family to serve as both informants & bodyguards.
The Syrian President's choice to live on this warship was mainly due to the fact that he lost great confidence in his own security detail because of the civil war going on, fearing for himself & his family's lives. Bashar does, however, make trips to his Presidential Palace in order to attend meetings via helicopter but dares not stay longer than necessary.
His warship was surrounded by Russian battleships – a country Syria has been allied with since the civil war had begun.
On this evening, Bashar checked the newsfeeds on the televisions in the ship's bridge.
The sour look on his face left little doubt on how much he was enjoying what he saw.
"How long have these filthy rebels been enjoying their victory celebration for?", Bashar asked his sergeant.
"For about two-&-a-half weeks now, sir", he said. "Ever since the monsters Godzilla, Rodan, Gaira & Sanda had attacked North Korea, leveled their missile bases along with Pyongyang and murdered our friend & trading partner Kim Jong Un, the rebels over in Douma have cheered once word of it spread across their city. For as you can see, the rebels have even less love for the North Korean government than they do this country's – which is saying something."
Bashar nodded as he viewed the images of rebels in Douma dancing/singing around campfires with large photos of Kim Jong Un, many of which had a red X or circle with a red diagonal line painted across it. The Arabic writing on them underneath depicted their feelings to the late dictator, each one of malice & hate they've had for the North Korean ruler that died at the hands of the green-haired monster known as Gaira.
Syria's ruler did not like the display, let alone their harsh treatment of the late supreme ruler: North Korea has been a grand business partner with their country since the late 1960s, even going so far as to building a nuclear reactor on their soil, which got destroyed in 2007 by an airstrike. But it hardly deterred the Syrian leader: he began getting a cache of chemical weapons from the DPRK – weapons Syria has used, & against its own people. In April, they've used chemical weapons on Douma & killed hundreds, simply because he could.
Now the rebels were making a joke out of Kim Jong Un's death, acting like he wouldn't be missed by anyone in the world.
He'll definitely be missed by Bashar, as the devastation of North Korea was a terrible loss to his country – in his estimate, anyway.
Seeing this callous disregard for a business partner enraged Bashar, & he was determined to do something about it.
You rebel scum want to party? Fine…let's party!, Bashar thought with disdain at the dancing rebels.
"Tell me, sergeant – are our forces deployed where I've ordered them to?", Bashar asked.
"Yes sir", the sergeant replied. "My men in Damascus say they've been in position for a few minutes now, each one ready to open fire upon your command."
"Good. Get on the radio & tell your troops to standby, sergeant. Once I give the order, they are to fire a multitude of chemical weapons into the center of Douma. They will keep firing until I order them to stop. And once the rebels get another lethal dose poured over their city…"
Bashar's mouth became a huge grin.
"Let's see if those rebels still feel like celebrating after getting a lung-full of a slow & torturous death eating away inside of them!"
Bashar & the sergeant share a laugh, already picturing the rebels dying with agony once they inhale the chemicals that will soon be fired their way.
Their wait won't be a long one.
In another part of the Mediterranean:
The caravan of American, British & French battleships waited outside the Syrian border, their missile systems all but ready to fire at a simple command. Despite repeated warnings from the Russian fleet protecting Bashar's warship not to commence with an attack, the armada of ships from the three nations stood their ground in defiance, ignoring the warnings just as Bashar had done when he was warned not to commence with his plan of attack, lest his land suffer the consequences of his irresponsible & callous act of random violence towards his neighboring city of Douma.
Everybody on their ships prepared for the worst.
"Talk to me, son. Give me an update", the American captain said to his first mate.
"There's Syrian forces still stationed over at the outskirts of Irbin, sir", the first mate replied. "We've sent various warnings to their troops to stand down or be fired upon, but they vehemently kept neglecting them. Their stubbornness can only mean they're going to commence with their operation…and soon, sir."
"Then so shall we with ours. Have the British & French been notified of the situation?"
"Yes sir: they said they're all on standby & ready to launch a counteroffensive once the word is given."
"Good. If neither Syria's forces nor their Russian allies will listen to reason & halt this insane scheme, then we'll be just as defiant as they are. Be ready to launch an attack at a moment's notice. We are Code Red, son."
Klaxons blared throughout the ship as personnel went into battle mode & checked their systems for readiness to open fire once the command was given. Despite the thick tension, each sailor played it cool & followed procedures like they were trained to & getting everything in perfect working order.
After two minutes, the man stationed at the radar called to the captain.
"What have you got for me, son?", the captain asked.
"Sir, we've got an incoming bogie arriving in fast from the east & heading in the direction of Damascus", said the radar operator.
"How fast are we talking about?"
"This object – whatever it is – is traveling at a speed of about Mach 3."
"It's not a jet?"
"Not according to these readings, sir. Whatever this object is, it's not an aircraft of any kind."
The captain checked all the readings himself speedily to make sure that there wasn't a glitch of any kind. Upon a thorough inspection, he couldn't find a single one, meaning that what he was seeing was accurate & legit.
But he still couldn't believe his eyes.
"My god", was all he could say.
The outskirts of Irbin:
A wall of artillery was placed in a horizontal line in a sturdy display of might among the town's border: along with a half-dozen BM-27 Uragan multiple rocket launcher vehicles with 220mm rockets that can easily carry chemical payloads, they were also armed with ZSU-57-2 Ob'yekt 500 double-barreled anti-aircraft tanks, 2K12 Kub surface-to-air missile systems, 2K22 Tunguska self-propelled anti-aircraft tanks, OTR-21 Tochka missile launchers & a multitude of pickup trucks with ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft guns placed in the rear.
The soldiers were well-armed themselves: RPG rocket launchers, AGS-17 auto grenade launchers, PKM general-purpose machine guns, heavy machine guns, sniper & assault rifles, hand grenades, handguns & knives were a part of each person's arsenal, all loaded for bear & ready for action.
All they need is word from their President.
The city of Douma:
People were still cheering & singing about the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, happy that the world has one less cold-blooded, merciless dictator to worry about. The celebration has been going on constantly since word of it reached the ears of Douma's populace, bringing a huge relief in knowing that trade with North Korea is all but cut off, thanks to the arrival of Godzilla, Rodan, Gaira & Sanda – all of whom paid the country a visit & decided to end the reign of the Kim regime once & for all.
Each one had to admit that not even the United States of America could've done a better job ridding he world of an overweight weasel of a man who'd go so far as kill his own family members in order to remain in power.
One man stated that maybe they should have Godzilla join their rebellion & help them rid Syria of their President Bashar al-Assad, inciting laughs from his joke by most.
The laughter died when the sound of sudden booms were heard from a distance, followed by the sight of a dozen rockets streaking their way, each one looking like a comet streaking through space.
Only these comets are armed with chemicals that will spread like wildfire once they touch down & explode, their lethal payloads being the beginning of intense agony that will last like eternity before finally expiring.
And there was nothing they could do to stop it.
Twin miracles came from a pair of yellow beams that streaked across the evening sky that struck the oncoming rockets & exploding each one while still in the air. All those watching the event live or from monitors – from Bashar's warship to the people in Irbin & Douma – bear witness to a gigantic butterfly creature with a main body that measured 70 meters in length & a wingspan of 170 meters from one end to the other. Its main body was mostly white with a light brown underside, with three pairs of legs attached. The head sported a pair of blue multifaceted eyes, with twin antennae wiggling above them. They were the point of origin for the yellow beams that just blasted the chemical rockets.
It was both an unexpected yet amazing sight for friend & enemy alike, with a name that was known to most.
"Mothra", the captains of the American, British & French ships said.
While the rockets were detonated in mid-air by the large lepidopteran, the danger to Douma was still present as the lethal chemicals in the projectiles were making their way towards the people below.
Letting out a chirp that echoed for great distances, Mothra flew over towards the deadly chemical cloud & started flapping her wings, creating strong gusts of wind that blew the deadly cloud away from Douma & sparing the citizens a grisly death all over.
Those that fired the rockets in the first place were not so fortunate: out of desperation, the Syrian military opened fire on Mothra as she still flapped her wings to divert the chemical cloud & artillery fire back at those which launched them. Most were deflected by Mothra's wind gust, but a couple of them did get through & struck the butterfly upon her body & a few on her wings, causing her to cry out in pain & surprise.
Fortunately, they neither stopped nor slowed her attack, & the cloud she redirected hit the aggressors. The men all screamed in agony as the chemical cloud hit them with a vengeance, their lungs filled with the lethal substance as men dropped to the ground like flies caught in a spray of Raid bug killer.
Caught unaware & unprepared by Mothra's abrupt appearance, the men never stood a chance. Adding insult to injury, Mothra blasted the wall of artillery on Irbin's outer border with her antennae beams, blowing each one into piles of burning man & machine.
Usually, Mothra would never be this aggressive towards humans in a conflict, but because the Syrian armies are most cold-blooded & followed a president who's more ruthless even against his own people, she will make an exception on these heartless human beings.
Since they'll give no quarter to their enemies whatsoever, there's no reason for Mothra to show any herself to the Syrian aggressors, beginning with literally giving them a taste of their own deadly medicine.
Watching the rebels in Douma dancing in celebration to Kim Jong Un's death was irritating enough for Bashar al-Assad. Now his country was invaded by a giant household pest that has not only saved the lives of those he wished dead, but also obliterated some of his troops & weaponry so callously.
How dare you…!, Bashar thought irritably.
"Sergeant!", Bashar snapped at him. "Get in touch with the military base immediately & have our commanders deploy everything that we have out there & do the same with our airfield: get whatever fighter jets & helicopters that are fully fueled & equipped in the air & bring that overgrown garden pest down! Nobody is going to make a fool out of me, be it a foreign nation or any of the planet's monsters!"
The sergeant saluted quickly before getting on the radio & relaying his president's orders to both the military & air bases. At that moment, another soldier came running into the bridge, his face a display of worry.
"What is it?!", Bashar demanded.
"Mr. President, our radar has picked up two foreign objects heading this way!", the soldier said.
"What kind of objects?! Submarines?!"
"No sir! Judging by the estimated sizes we've calculated, they're way too big!"
Bashar's heart skipped a beat upon hearing the news: he feared that his homeland of Syria was about to receive a pair of more unwanted visitors, aside from Mothra.
What if one of those objects is…him?!, Bashar thought, dreading the idea of the one monster Earth fears most.
Even a man of Bashar al-Assad's reputation felt great trepidation of the mere mentioning of his name, & now he begins to get weak-kneed as he placed one hand against the wall to steady himself.
Looking at the television screen, Bashar can see a pair of wakes that were heading directly for Syria.
This very same image was also witnessed by the American, British & French ships outside the country's border in the Mediterranean.
"You gentlemen can see this too, wee?", the French captain said in English over the radio to his comrades.
"We certainly can, guv'nor!", said the British captain. "Two massive objects on par course for this very location! Whether Syria or even us wants it or not, we're all about to have some more uninvited guests like Mothra!"
"Whatever happens, let's not go crazy & start blazing away at these two newcomers!", the American captain said. "Unless they begin to think that we're the enemy & come after us, hold your fire!"
"Copy that, guv'nor!"
"Understood, monsieur!", the French captain said. "We refrain from attacking unless under attack ourselves!"
Thanking his two partners-in-arms, the American captain, his allies, Bashar & his troupe watch as the two wakes approach the western shoreline of Syria. Luckily, both seem to ignore all ships in the vicinity, having no interest in any of them. Getting to 120 meters from the shore, the two wakes erupt in twin geysers of water to reveal what caused them: a pair of giant hominoid creatures that were similar yet different from each other: one had green hair, the other brown; the green one had pointed ears, sharp claws on its fingers & sharp teeth in its mouth, sporting two fangs protruding from its lower jaw; the brown one had teeth, fingernails & ears that were not sharp or pointed, & appeared 10 meters taller than its companion.
Departing from their visit to Russia a week ago, Gaira & Sanda have now arrived in Syria!
Both gargantuan siblings unleash a roar that was heard even through the thick plexiglass of the ships floating in the Mediterranean Sea before quickly wading over to shore & setting foot on Syrian soil. Sensing a great disturbance in the air, Gaira & Sanda consult with each other as if speaking at a meeting or summit.
Then they both bellowed in rage before breaking into a full run as if training for a decathlon, heading east & into Syria itself, smashing buildings as terrified people scramble to get out of their way.
Bashar & the soldier turned to each other, fearing the worst.
"Could they be heading directly for Damascus, Mr. President?", the soldier asked.
"Possibly! But whether they do or not, I don't want those things setting foot on my soil any more than that giant moth!", Bashar said before turning to the sergeant. "Have the troops send half the ground & air squadrons to the western region of Damascus! They are to open fire the second they see those two hominoid monsters in their sights!"
"Right away, Mr. President!", the sergeant said, getting back on the radio.
Syria's president then turned back to the soldier & approached him.
"I want you to get my wife & kids onto a helicopter immediately", he said. "Should any of those monsters make their way back here to this fleet, I want them taken away to safety long before they arrive."
"But Mr. President, what about you, sir?", the soldier asked. "Won't you be going with them? If anything were to happen to you…"
"They understand that my duty is to my country. If things get too hairy for me here, I'll take the second helicopter & fly to safety before they can even get close to me. Now go."
His decision final, the soldier saluted & exited the room to carry out his orders.
Facing the television screens, Bashar viewed Gaira & Sanda as they ran across the soil of his home, stepping on whatever's in their path.
He cursed them and Mothra for invading his home.
The outskirts of Douma:
On Bashar's order, the multitude of military aircraft took off & converged on Mothra, opening fire on the gigantic butterfly, hitting her with machine gunfire & well-aimed missiles everywhere on her person.
Swarms of MiG & SU fighters combined with SA, KA & Mi helicopters flew around Mothra like angry bees that were under attack at their hive. Ground forces of various rocket launchers, tanks & mobile anti-tank cannons blasted at Mothra relentlessly as the giant lepidopteran remained between them & the city of Douma, using herself as a shield in order to give the innocent citizens time to escape & head for safer areas. Mothra fired back with her antennae beams at passing/approaching jets & choppers, hitting some but missing more due to the pilots' expert skills.
The armed rebels who were fighting against the al-Assad regime stayed behind & watched as Mothra took the full brunt of the attacks, the creature screeching in pain & frustration as she takes punishment meant for them.
It is a noble act the rebels can honor from anyone or anything – even a giant moth with a 170-meter wingspan.
"Just look at the creature…how it uses itself as a shield to keep us safe & buy the rest time to flee the city!", said a female rebel. "Surely it wouldn't be too much to ask to return the favor to & help it?"
A male rebel turned to her like she just lost her ears.
"Are you insane?!", he said. "How can we help a creature that big?! It's suicide if we try!"
"So is taking on President Bashar al-Assad & his horrific regime!", said another rebel who is deemed the leader. "But each one of us knew the risks of battling his rule, & did anybody who's able to fight back down? No! We took to arms & raised as much chaos against him as we could, & we will continue to resist Bashar & his regime for as long as we can! Giving an assist to this monster that's taking hits for us is no different!"
The rebels fell silent to contemplate their leader's words: ever since Bashar al-Assad had come to power after his father's death, the country of Syria was in even more turmoil than before, with people dying by the thousands. Having had enough of the tyranny being spread, they vowed to fight Bashar's rule to the bitter end, regardless of consequences piled upon them.
He was right: they did know what they were getting into & vowed to never give in or give up.
They were also taught to give assist to those that do so with them, human or not.
"You're right", said another man. "We help this creature, but how?"
"Why not use the M40 recoilless rifles?", asked a second female. "We've modified them to be able to shoot at a farther distance than when we first captured them! Combine those with the RPGs we've obtained…"
The leader thought about this & nodded.
"Now you're talking!", he says. "Quick…get as many as you can & set them up! Fire immediately once you do!"
The rebels nodded & raced off to get their weapons as the firing from Bashar's forces were getting more violent on Mothra, who stood her ground & fired back to bring down as many offenders as she could.
Just hold tight, friend…help is on its way!, the rebel leader thought to Mothra.
Three-four minutes later, that help returned with aforementioned weaponry the rebels set up both on the ground & on building rooftops to get higher vantage points. It took only a minute to set up the M40 recoilless rifles, but those with RPGs were ready to fire instantly, which they did.
As one, a dozen RPG rockets streaked across the air & headed straight for the line of defense that replaced the one Mothra obliterated before, setting up when the jets & choppers ascended on her. Three of the Syrian forces saw the oncoming projectiles heading their way & shouted of their arrival.
By then it was too late: the rockets struck the closest vehicles & blew them to smithereens, killing their drivers & those nearest were burned to a crisp. At that time, the rebels M40s were in place & launched another counteroffensive at the line of defense, hitting more targets & their operators. The commanders saw where the rebels were firing from & blasted away in their direction, hitting buildings that became a bit too close for comfort to the rebels.
The leader shouted an order to retreat & get deeper inside Douma & not give them easy targets.
A Sukhoi SU-24 Fencer bomber jet that circled around Mothra dropped its payload of cluster bombs onto Douma, devastating many buildings as rubble flew everywhere. A handful of rebels were caught in the melee & blown off their feet, hitting the ground & the sides of buildings that left them stunned with more than a few unconscious. The leader's troops were getting blasted backwards into the city as the aircraft that eluded Mothra were now focusing on Douma & its rebels. Another strafing of bombs leveled a whole block, turning buildings to debris as dust kicked up.
It made for near-impossible sighting as none of them could tell where they're going.
The leader saw his forces dwindling in number, & with Mothra preoccupied, it looked bleak for those who began this civil war with Syria's corrupted government.
He saw a platoon of Aerospatiale SA.341 Gazelle choppers advancing on their position as the pilots got them in their sights, their fingers on the trigger buttons.
Big grins adorned their faces.
From the right corner of his eyes, the first pilot caught a sight that made him freeze: it was a large object that had a body 70 meters long & a 120-meter wingspan, two legs, tail, a chest with overlapping plates that protected it & short spikes sticking out, neck & head that had a pointed gray beak with teeth, yellow eyes & a trio of sharp curved crests that protruded behind the head.
The pilot had only a second or two for his brain to acknowledge this information before this gigantic flying object ran straight for his whirlybird & passed over it, causing the chopper to explode in an orange-yellow fireball with all of its crew aboard.
Nobody had time to scream before meeting their makers.
Both rebels & regime watched in awe at this new arrival as it flew around & gave out a boisterous cackling roar that echoed everywhere.
Even in Syria, this winged creature was known as Rodan, the so-called 'Samurai of the Skies'.
Now the country was invaded by four giant creatures exactly as North Korea was earlier in the month – and by mostly the same monsters. The only difference being that Mothra was in place of Godzilla.
But even with the absence of the Monster King, Syria still had big problems as Rodan started targeting choppers & jets, alleviating Mothra with some of the burden. With what ground forces they had left, Bashar's military had opened fire on both monsters, plus targeting the rebels in Douma, who were now preparing a second wave attack of their own.
The battle for supremacy commences!
As Gaira & Sanda ran at top speed directly for the capital of Syria, they were met with opposition from helicopters & jets alike, which strafed/bombarded both creatures with heavy artillery as some struck the ground at their feet while others hit them in the chest, shoulders & limbs.
Neither gargantuan sibling stumbled or even slowed in their trajectory.
They even managed to knock a few whirlybirds & jets out of the sky by either punching or slapping them with a fist/open palm, pulverizing them as they flew and/or sent them crashing into the ground as the pilots & crews watched their graves rush up to meet them.
Some screamed before getting blasted into oblivion, others could not.
Small towns/villages such as Sohmor, Kfar Mechki & Dahr El Ahmar were evacuated before large portions were flattened underneath the feet of the two behemoths dashing across Syrian soil like humanoid wolves chasing a pack of wild deer. No matter how many aircraft fired missiles, machine guns & dropped bombs, their progress couldn't at all be hindered as they raced towards their destination.
Damascus, the capital of Syria.
Having arrived in over an hour's time, Gaira & Sanda were met with further resistance by the Syrian army's vast weaponry of recoilless rifles, anti-tank guided weapons, tanks (PT-76B, T-62/K/M, BMP-2, & others), artillery trucks, mortars, multiple rocket launchers, & personnel armed to the teeth from handguns, assault rifles to RPGs.
Once Gaira & Sanda were seen & got within range of their weapons, the Syrian army opened fire.
Dozens/hundreds of rounds of machine gun fire, shells, rockets & missiles were shot forth at the two approaching monsters, who were now nearing the capital's outer border.
Little did the gargantuan siblings know there was a little surprise in store waiting for them.
A few more meters & they literally stepped right into it.
From beneath their feet, as series of hidden TMA-5 land mines that were buried in clusters of four containing 5.5 kg of TNT detonated with powerful blasts that caught Gaira & Sanda off-guard amid the melee of artillery being thrown at them from ground & air forces. With enough powerful explosive to blow a tank off its treads, these stunned the two gargantuan siblings, never seeing the mines until they were practically on top of them.
But while it did surprise them, the mines still couldn't stop them.
Underneath their feet, they were no more than firecrackers.
Getting through the rest of the mine field the Syrian army had set up, Gaira & Sanda reached the perimeter defense line of Damascus: despite the pummeling they received, vehicles get grabbed by the siblings & thrown like baseballs into the city's interior as they crashed into buildings, detonating & destroying whatever/wherever they landed at. Rubble sprayed & spilled to the streets everywhere, crushing cars that were mostly empty.
Those that were not had occupants that cried out before getting flattened.
Some of the vehicles were thrown at passing jets/choppers who got their attention; some have been lucky enough to avoid a mid-air collision. Whichever aircraft were unlucky were struck by the precise aiming of Gaira & Sanda, each one causing mid-air blasts of orange & yellow as debris fell to earth in twisted, smoking heaps.
A number of tanks & rocket launchers were stepped on by the siblings' feet, crushing man & machine as their operators died screaming while being flattened like empty soda cans. Others were simply kicked all across the city like they were metal footballs, exploding wherever they landed & bringing down buildings that were hit.
Now they were inside Damascus, bashing down any military opposition they run into.
Between Irbin & Douma:
Syria's air & ground forces dwindled under the combined might of Mothra, Rodan & the rebels of Douma as the giant butterfly used her antennae beams to destroy any & all chemical weapons rockets fired their way before sending its deadly contents back to those that launched them, all the while continuing to use herself as a large shield from enemy fire reaching into the city. Rodan was much more aggressive: he used his speed to out-maneuver every jet that chased & fired at him before sending each one to a fiery death in mid-air either by his uranium heat beam or simply running into them. Those that were lucky enough to score a hit on Rodan with their missiles either by air or ground forces were just as ineffective against the mutant Pteranodon as everything else.
In no time at all, the Syrian air forces were down to a quarter percent & still dropping.
The rebels in Douma were just as relentless: using whatever weapons they had left, they blasted away vehicles & shot dead soldiers that were foolish enough to launch a ground assault across the land & into the city, with most ending up as corpses when they wouldn't yield.
For all those that did, they were tightly tied with rope & literally thrown into a pile of others that surrendered to rebel forces & having their weapons collected, adding to their own arsenal.
Rebel & enemy watched as Mothra & Rodan now concentrated mostly on the ground forces, their uranium heat & antennae beams blasting vehicles left & right as soldiers died screaming in fiery holocausts. When only a few of the military vehicles & personnel were left, Rodan was side-by-side with Mothra before the two winged creatures started flapping their wings, creating a strong wind gust that blew away whatever was left. Anything & everything that wasn't securely nailed down got tossed by hurricane-like winds like they were mere toys, crashing into buildings that mostly caused them to collapse into heaps of rubble.
Men were also blown away by these gusts, with some managing to grab onto something solid to keep from getting carried off. It worked at first, but then the strength of Mothra & Rodan's winds were too much for them, thus releasing their grips & smashing into buildings, wrecked vehicles & even the ground itself.
Not one survived the trips after they've landed.
Both winged monsters cease their wind gusts after a few minutes of mayhem, surveying their situation. When no other opposition was forthcoming, they both chirped & cackled loudly in victory before Rodan took to the skies & flew towards the country's capital, firing his uranium heat beam on Irbin as he does so.
Mothra hung back as the rebels in Douma cried out their own victory cheer, raising their arms in triumph as they gave cheers to both their win over Syria's forces and their most unusual but welcomed allies that helped them achieve this victory.
Those taken prisoner by the rebels scowled in hatred.
Despite overwhelming odds, the Syrian armies wouldn't yield to Gaira & Sanda, who were giving the country's capital city a fierce thrashing wherever they went. As battle-hardened as they fought, every opposition the gargantuan siblings ran into were met with resilience that extended a thousand-fold of what they were receiving: tanks were picked up & tossed into incoming jets & choppers, causing more explosions & raining debris of charred metal onto city streets; buildings getting pulverized that had Syrian military personnel within or on rooftops firing at the creatures, only to meet a burial of concrete & glass; soldiers getting crushed by buildings that stood & fired upon the monsters from the streets, meeting disastrous results every time.
Even famed areas like Umayyad Square & the nearby Damascus Sword monument became casualties in Gaira & Sanda's rampage across the city, which also included the Presidential Palace located on the outskirts of Damascus when Sanda grabbed a BTR-70 armored personnel carrier & threw it at a squadron of KA-25 Hormone helicopters, hitting a few before crashing & exploding smack dab in the middle of the building, creating a crater that killed several people.
Watching this incident from his warship home, Bashar al-Assad was relieved he & his family had moved to this home of his in the water.
But it didn't ease his emotional pain or the rage swelling inside him as he bore witness to the city he ruled getting demolished by a quartet of giant monsters – three of them being the ones that did the same to Pyongyang & killing their supreme ruler Kim Jong Un, who refused to leave his city even amidst the destruction.
It was a mistake Bashar wasn't foolish enough to repeat.
That's why I'm still alive & Kim Jong Un isn't, Bashar thought, having empathy for the late North Korean ruler.
Rodan added more fire to the flames as he swooped in & started blasting away at numerous buildings, setting the ones he struck with his uranium heat beam ablaze & blasting it to bits along with everything/everyone that was inside.
Bashar was extremely steamed at seeing this because these were the storage facilities where his chemical weapons were all placed in – and Rodan was detonating them all with his heat weapon, finding each one by & following his own instincts. Another factor was the intense stench they set off which hit Rodan's nostrils as the mutant Pteranodon closed in on each source & blew it away in a fiery explosion.
The attacks on the chemical weapons facilities by Rodan & Damascus itself went on for more than an hour as the capital was burning in flames from various spots where the President's chemical weapons were placed at, followed by blazes caused by fuel trucks Gaira & Sanda threw and/or dropped rubble/vehicles on. Gaira even got the lucky chance of snacking on several military personnel that opened fire on the green-haired monster on a rooftop as he snatched the group & stuffed them into his mouth before he began to chew his food.
Each man died screaming before & after entering his toothy maw.
Like he did with Kim Jong Un, Gaira spat out the clothing/weapons of the soldiers he ate, all of them torn rags & blood-stained.
Sanda slapped away a squadron of soldiers who were firing at him from a rooftop, making them disappear almost like he was performing a magic trick – one second, they were blazing away at him, & the next they were all gone in the blink of an eye. Their bodies went flying across the sky, hitting buildings on the side before falling like rag dolls to the streets below.
For good measure, Sanda pulverized the building the men attacked him on, crushing another squadron that was to take their place should they fail.
Rodan takes out the final standing chemical weapons facility, along with a military armada that was on hand to stop him from completing his mission. It all ended in a foregone conclusion like everywhere else the winged beast hit.
As a fiery holocaust.
Believing he's accomplished his goal, Rodan landed on the ground, spread his wings & unleashed a cackling roar which was heard throughout the city as he displayed his superiority over the place that reeked of nearly as much evil as North Korea did. Even Gaira & Sanda can sense that the majority of evil in this human city has been expunged, despite scraps of it still in existence, & they too let out roars of satisfaction & join Rodan in the cacophony of noise.
On the streets below, soldiers who were fortunate enough to survive the onslaught turn to see a plethora of women, children & men emerging from the rubble of what was once their homes, also lucky to have lived through a harrowing experience. Seeing what became of their beloved city made this attack on it worse than all the past wars/conflicts put together, up to & including the current civil war. The soldiers knew these people were all but against their President's reign, & with the monsters' attention turned away, they get the chance to make an example of them.
All the soldiers aimed their weapons at the civilians, who cowered in fear.
"You people!", one soldier spat. "You think this actually changes anything?! You believe this attack on our home will help to overthrow our President's rule somehow, thinking you're free from it?! Wrong! This changes nothing – you are all still under Bashar's rule, & you will follow his orders to the letter with no argument! And just in case you feel like resisting his rule like those filthy rebels, an example needs to be made – beginning with your children!"
Several soldiers went in & grabbed the young kids, pulling them away from their parents who fought to get them back only to be shoved away. Getting placed in a bundle, the children wept & cuddled each other as half of the soldiers aimed their guns at them, with the other half at the parents as they can only watch as they're about to see their lives get shattered further.
None of the soldiers were able to fire a single shot: from above, tentacles of glistening yellow energy had whipped down & struck each gun/rifle that were aimed at the civilians, causing them to be severed in half like they were made of cheese instead of metal. Everyone looked up to see Mothra floating over them & staring down at the callous/cold-blooded men that were going to do a public execution.
Unleashing an angry chirp that stung the bones of the soldiers, they backed off in fear as the children ran back to their families before the civilians ran off, not wanting to be targets again. Lighting up her antennae & threatening to hit the aggressors while barking off sharp angry chirps, Mothra let them know the bottom line in a language even they can understand despite the absence of human speech.
It was as follows: 'either change your warlike ways, or we'll come back & teach you another lesson – one you might not survive to learn thoroughly!'.
Gaira & Sanda were also convincing another band of soldiers to not be so callous towards their fellow citizens or get a second taste of their brutality – one which puts theirs to shame.
A bellow of angry roars along with literally putting their foot down gave Bashar's soldiers a scare that reached the core of their souls. Sanda added to it by shaking his head 'no' & gesturing with his arm as an extra warning.
Having dealt with the soldiers & chemical weapons facilities, the monster quartet gather over at what remained of Umayyad Square at Mothra's insistence as she began chirping to Rodan, Gaira & Sanda, each of whom do the same in return with soft grunts & cackles. This got noticed by Bashar al-Assad, his Russian escort ships & the American, British & French fleets in the Mediterranean Sea as they viewed this gathering on their monitors.
Each came to the same conclusion that the monsters were having a conversation.
What they can't conclude is what they were speaking about.
Then they do something nobody expected: Rodan took ahold of Gaira's shoulders with his clawed feet as Mothra did the same with Sanda before flapping their wings & actually lifting their passengers off the ground. Once they were confirmed to be secured after getting 100 meters into the air, Mothra & Rodan flew over Syria with the two gargantuan siblings in tow.
Bashar al-Assad's heart raced madly because he saw they were heading in a northwest position.
The monsters were heading directly for his ship!
Digging out his cell phone, he dialed his wife as his eyes were glued to the television.
"Asma dear! Have you & the kids been taken to the helicopter yet?!", he spoke with determination & fear.
"We're all sitting in the seats & the rotors are almost at full speed, Bashar!", Asma replied. "Once you get here, we'll escape from those monsters long before they reach the ship!"
"I'm sorry, my love. I won't be joining you & the kids…not just yet."
"What?! Bashar…it's suicide for you to stay aboard that ship! I know that you have a duty to your country & all, but…"
"But nothing. You knew what you were getting into when we married, yes?"
There was a pause before Asma replied.
"Then please make sure you escape in time…your family needs you as much as your country!"
"I will go up in the spare helicopter once I know you & the kids are far away from here & safe. Are you in the air yet?"
"We're just taking off now! Be safe, Bashar, & please remember what I said!"
"I will, my love. I'll see you soon."
Bashar hung up before Asma could say more. Seeing the monsters getting closer, he turned to the sergeant.
"How soon will those creatures get here?!", he demanded.
"At the speed they're going, Mr. President, they'll reach this area in mere minutes!", the sergeant replied. "If you are going to continue running our motherland, the time to leave is now, sir!"
This stunned Bashar, not realizing that time really was of the essence.
"Then get that second chopper to lift up by the time I reach the platform atop this ship! Afterwards, tell our Russian friends to open fire on all four of those monsters the moment they're within range!", he ordered, taking his sergeant's advice & exiting the bridge with him as he gets on his radio.
Fortunately, the pilots of Bashar's second helicopter already started their rotors long before the order was given: like he hoped, they were spinning rapidly & set for takeoff. Pausing to take a quick look in the distance, Bashar could see Mothra & Rodan heading their way at a quicker pace than anyone anticipated. They were now only several meters away, getting closer by the second.
It urged Bashar to move it as the sergeant followed close behind.
"Get me out of here NOW!", Bashar screamed at the pilots as he opened the chopper door & climbed in, while the sergeant closed the door behind him. The helicopter rose the instant that Bashar was in, almost leaving the sergeant behind. It wasn't a moment too soon: the Russian ships opened fire on the monsters as Mothra dropped Sanda down for him to deal with them while Rodan did so with Gaira, letting him go into freefall at Bashar's vessel, whose chopper was basically within arm's reach. The Syrian President's eyes widened as Gaira's hand filled the whirlybird's windows, attempting to grab the dictator's escape craft.
The eyes of the sergeant & pilots also were agape with fear.
As fate would have it, Gaira missed Bashar's chopper by mere inches as he splashed down into the Mediterranean Sea, where he engaged with the Russian ships along with his sibling.
Having narrowly cheated death, Bashar let out a laugh of relief that soon turned maniacal as his flight took him away from the danger zone.
"Nice try, monster, but you missed!", he shouted at Gaira through the window as they flew off into the night. "I may have lost my chemical weapons today because of you creatures, but just you wait & see: in no time, I shall have a new & more powerful batch to use at my disposal! And once I do, I shall use it on all you beasts & purge your existence from this Earth so that we are the supreme rulers of our planet once again!"
Not only that, I will use that same new formula on those accursed rebels for starting this civil war in our country!, Bashar thought with malice. Once they get a taste of it, they will bow down to me & obey my commands without further question! And all those that dare to oppose me from then on shall get publicly executed!
The thought of seeing the image in his mind of rebel scum & giant monsters falling to his chemical weapons & dying slow, agonizing deaths put a big, pleasing smile on Bashar's face.
He will vow to make that a reality, even with the loss of their #1 trading partner North Korea.
Next to him on the right, the sergeant made a noise that got Bashar's attention: seeing his eyes go wide, the man was pointing out the window on the President's side which made Bashar turn to look where he pointed at.
The man's own eyes went agape as his heart became stuck in his throat, unable to utter a sound, let alone speak.
From the chopper's left side, Rodan streaked directly for the whirlybird & opened his beak while emitting a loud cackling roar that finally caused Bashar, his sergeant & the two pilots to cry out seconds before the mutant pterodactyl closed in & his beak on the helicopter that carried the ruler of Syria. All four men died in a fireball as Rodan spat out what remained of Bashar al-Assad's ride before joining Gaira & Sanda in the melee against the Russian ships assigned to protect Bashar & his family, blasting away man & machine with his uranium heat beam even as cannon fire/rockets strike him & his two hominoid partners.
Sounds of cannon fire, rockets firing & monsters roaring can be heard even through the plexiglass of the bridge on each of the American, British & French ships that were a distance away. Each personnel on these vessels watched as Gaira, Sanda & Rodan pounded the daylights out of the protectors of Bashar's family, their ships not lasting too long against their tremendous might.
Not one of them dared to launch an attack on even one of the creatures: if they can defeat the Russians this easily, they wouldn't stand a chance themselves despite their own tremendous firepower.
Grabbing a ship each from underneath, Gaira & Sanda hurl it at two more, striking them dead-on & exploding on contact. Rodan added fuel to the fire with his heat beam, causing a thunderous explosion that all but obliterated their fleet. Rodan, Gaira & Sanda bellowed roars of victory, seeing their enemies defeated.
Overhead, Mothra chirped in intervals as the monster quartet started another conversation which lasted a minute or two before Rodan let out a cackling roar as he took off for the skies, heading east.
He was gone from sight in moments.
Gaira & Sanda turn for Syria again but this time stay in the water & close to shore, being only about 900 meters or so from it. People on both land & warship watched as the gargantuan siblings followed the coastline, heading south.
Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
"Hey mate", the British captain said into his radio at the American captain. "This show is still basically your call, but…in my most honest/humble opinion, I think we can walk away from this one. In the strangest of ways, we did get the results that we were aiming for, & then some."
"Wee, monsieur", the French captain said. "Not only did the monsters destroy their chemical weapons factories, they also rid the world of a man who kills his own people without a second thought. As you Americans are quite prone to saying, 'we've gotten two birds with one stone', no?"
The American captain nodded, knowing they both made perfect sense in what they say.
"You know something? I agree", he said. "Our mission was to warn Syria not to use chemical weapons against its own citizens lest they get fired upon, & wouldn't you know it, their bases that make them get obliterated by the most unlikeliest of allies & we get quite a honey of a bonus in return – the death of their dictator of a President. And we didn't even have to lift a single finger to get it done!"
Cheers from the sailors on every ship erupted for doing a thorough job without having to actually do anything.
When the captain began speaking again, everyone quieted down to hear him.
"But while this mission is officially over, our work still isn't", he says. "First, let's get in touch with our home bases & tell them of what went down here tonight. Afterwards, do the same with the Syrian government & tell them we are locked & loaded to strike again if we're forced to return to their shores. Whatever path Syria goes down from this moment on, let's all hope it's the right one. Let's get to work."
All crew members immediately get busy carrying out their orders as the American captain stared out the window of the bridge to see Mothra floating at 100 meters above the water from a distance, looking directly at his ship. The two seemed to lock eyes with each other & sharing something of a mutual respect.
This lasted for over a minute before Mothra chirped, turned & took off into Syrian territory.
Thank you kindly, Mothra…and Godspeed, he thought with a smile.
Saying his prayers to the butterfly, the captain gets back to work himself.
Somewhere in the North Sea:
For over a week since being dumped into the Gulf of Riga by MOGUERA, Godzilla felt like he was literally at death's door repeatedly, only to barely avoid stepping inside of it. Despite the great pain he felt, he refused to give in to the poison the Russian robot injected into him, disrupting his internal organs & messing them up too badly for them to work properly on healing him. Even the cold temperatures of the water did little to quell the agony he was suffering, & with no sustenance to find, Godzilla felt like he could lie down & let death take him.
But still he won't yield & allow for the Grim Reaper to claim him just yet.
Somewhere out here is something that can prove to be his salvation, as his instincts drove him to the North Sea even if he doesn't remember getting himself to this part of the world.
Unless he finds it or death takes hold of him, Godzilla won't give up.
On the surface:
An armada of two-&-a-half dozen heavily armed battleships were patrolling the North Sea, their German & Italian flags waving in the breeze as they sail across the waters of the area.
But the truth of the matter is, these ships aren't really what they appear to be: the German/Italian flags are only a ruse to keep the authorities from becoming too suspicious. Inside each one are Syrians & North Koreans operating each vessel, the latter group occupying the country of the former.
They weren't out on patrol at all. They were hunting for something.
Ever since word got out that Godzilla, Rodan, Gaira & Sanda attacked North Korea, destroyed Pyongyang & had also killed their supreme ruler Kim Jong Un, the North Koreans staying in Syria vowed revenge on the monsters, & in their luck they discovered that the Russians injected Godzilla with a poison that was currently eating him alive. Once it was learned that Godzilla was in the area of the Gulf of Riga, the Syrians took the North Koreans on their hunting trip & headed out in full force & speed to track Godzilla's location & destroy him for good.
What luck they happen to find him in the North Sea via Geiger-counter readings.
Deep beneath the armada of ships was a lone submarine filled with both races of people. Also on board with them was a single weapon capable of ending Godzilla's life once they have his exact position; if the poison hasn't killed him yet, they were certain this one weapon will.
All they have to do is make it count, as this is the one & only chance they'll get.
The sub's radar started blinking in rapid intervals.
"Has it found him?", asked the captain of the sub – a North Korean.
"Checking", said the Syrian working the radar, going over the instruments carefully to not miss any information & making sure it was accurate. "I think…yes! It is him…he is here in these waters, only more than a thousand kilometers from our current position!"
"Are you sure it's him?", asked another North Korean.
"My men & I have checked the readings three times! It's too massive to be anything else, plus the readings on the Geiger-counter show high levels of radiation! Only one creature gives off a reading like that!"
The North Korean captain checked the readings himself, seeing he spoke true. He grinned in satisfaction.
"Excellent!", he said. "Get us into position & fire the instant you have a positive lock on him! Remember – this is for the glory of our supreme leader Kim Jong Un! Even in death, his superiority rules!"
All aboard the sub cheer in unison, knowing the hour at hand is near: as one man contacts the ships overhead on the surface, those operating the sub get it & themselves into position. Using the sub's ancient but still effective targeting systems, they line up the torpedo tube with that of their target that got itself directly in the crosshairs.
Once Godzilla was in their sights on radar, the one operating the torpedo tubes pressed the button.
He announced the launch of their payload as the lone torpedo shot out of its tube along the side of the submarine, streaking across the water at high speed. The radar man orally displayed the torpedo's trajectory & distance as it closed in on Godzilla, who was still floating within the sea as his eyes were nearly shut & flittering. The Monster King's very muscles feel as fluid as the water he was submersed in, & his movements were slower than a turtle's; he's exhausted his strength to the limit, & he could barely stay awake & coherent.
Then he felt something his sixth sense picked up & felt it getting closer & closer by the second. Whatever it was, Godzilla neither had the strength nor the time to dodge it.
Oddly enough, it felt familiar as it closed in on the monster.
A minute later, it struck Godzilla dead center & the area turned bright white as the whole North Sea seemed to light up brighter than noon. On the surface, a large geyser of water shot up hundreds of feet high that was visible even from land, indicating that contact has been made. Those inside the sub held on tightly when the shockwaves from the nuclear weapon hit, jarring the sub like a child shaking a can with coins in it. When the violent shaking subsided, cheers on all 30 battleships & in the sub below erupted, followed by laughter that was both maniacal & gratifying.
"Death for Godzilla – for our leader Kim Jong Un!", said one crewman, inciting another cheer as readings on the Geiger-counter went off the scale.
"Move in!", said the captain. "I want to see Godzilla's pieces displayed all over the sea bottom! We'll take photos of them & have them hung in Syria and North Korea for all to see, proving that not even the monsters of the world can ever cripple the Kim Dynasty or Bashar's regime!"
Nodding, the sub operators push onwards into the radiated area of the North Sea as the Geiger-counter readings all reach beyond their limits to decipher, its noise now a steady beep. The cloud of sea dust obscured their vision as the submarine entered without a moment's hesitation as powerful searchlights shined through the murky waters to find the slightest signs of Godzilla's remains.
Powerful as he is, they were sure that not even Godzilla can survive a direct hit from a nuclear weapon.
For over a half hour, they found no trace of the monster's remains as the Geiger-counter's beep still prevailed.
Then, as gradually as it began, the beeping started getting softer as the radar operator saw the readings & became puzzled.
"What is it?", the captain asked.
"The radiation levels, captain – they're actually declining!", the radar man said, getting the attention of all hands.
The captain & several others watched as the Geiger-counter readings shrunk as the sound became softer & beeped longer between each interval until they finally subsided & stopped altogether.
"This can't be!", said the Syrian second-in-command. "This area should be buzzing with radioactivity! Where's it all going?!"
For another fifteen minutes the sub traveled the waters where Godzilla is supposed to be dead & sleeping with the fishes, seeing nothing on screen & picking up nothing on their radar. Then the sub was hit by some kind of electro-magnetic interference as instruments began going haywire & lights flickered on & off. Man scrambled to correct the errors in their systems before it stopped as suddenly as it began, with everything working as they should.
Each man aboard wondered what brought it on when the radar came to life.
Checking the readings, the men watched the monitor as a bright white flash erupted in the water 40 meters ahead of them, shining similar to the flash the nuclear weapon emitted as it exploded.
Only this was no nuke, & the men could see rows of teeth in conjunction with this white light.
Their eyes widened in fear as a beam of blue-white energy was shot forth at the sub.
Everybody aboard had only a second or three to scream in terror before this beam struck & destroyed the sub in a powerful explosion.
A powerful guttural roar echoed through the water.
Inside the bridge of the lead battleship:
The radio transmission from the submarine abruptly went dead.
"Sub commander! Are you there?! Come in!", the captain – a Syrian general – barked into the receiver.
He got no response.
"What happened?!", asked a North Korean colonel.
"The sub commander was sending an S.O.S. when it was suddenly cut off", the Syrian general said. "And before you ask, he didn't say by whom or what because he didn't have time. However…we ought to have a pretty good idea on what happened, regardless of how impossible it may be, or how much we don't want to believe it."
"So, it really could mean that…?"
The Syrian general nodded.
"Look! Out there!", shouted a North Korean man, pointing out the window as everyone gathered to see. At about 2000 meters out, a spot in the water began to churn white before a triple row of massive spiked dorsal plates cut the surface as an enormous dinosaurian beast with barrel-shaped chest, powerful forearms & feral head rose from beneath the waves & let out an ear-shattering roar that was loud even inside the bridge.
Godzilla was back in good health after the nuclear weapon blew up on him: the radiation from it counteracted the poison the Russian robot MOGUERA injected him with, eradicating it from his body & rejuvenating him from head to tail. But while he's never felt so great in all his life, Godzilla was angry: he had been poisoned that left him weak & in excruciating pain for days on end, followed by somebody daring to fire a nuclear weapon at him.
Although he destroyed the sub that did this to him, Godzilla was still burning with rage & needs to unleash that anger within him.
He spotted a fleet of 30 ships from 2000 meters away, which Godzilla will exact his rage upon.
Letting out another boisterous feral roar, Godzilla surged forward.
"Battle stations! Everybody!", cried the Syrian general as klaxons blared before getting on the line with the other ships that danger was heading their way. Men raced to their stations, getting their big guns & missiles ready for firing once the order to commence attack was given.
Their response was immediate: Godzilla was brutally assaulted by the first row of ships & blew them away with his heat ray, sending pieces of burnt, twisted metal flying everywhere that also included charred bodies that were burned beyond recognition. Every other ship was blazing away at Godzilla, hitting him with whatever shells/rockets & machine gun fire they could muster. The Monster King was getting buffeted at every angle, with some hitting his face & causing him to cry out in pain & anger. He retaliated by firing his heat ray & blasting another ship to bits at the bow as metal & men went up in a fireball before sinking beneath the waves, going under faster than the Titanic.
The loss of the first few ships did nothing to cease the others from taking up the slack as Godzilla continued to get hit & hammered by shell fire, rockets, missiles & thousands of rounds of machine gun fire, with no man sparing the artillery: as long as it can reach Godzilla & hit him, it got fired.
But unfortunately, it wasn't hurting or stopping him: no amount of artillery fire is even starting to halt his assault or even get him to turn away as Godzilla used his great bulk to ram the next nearest ship & jarred the crew from their posts, with some falling into the water & drowning. Godzilla held the bow with his forearm & blew it in half with his heat ray that split it open like a can of sardines, spilling men & equipment into the drink. With another ship, Godzilla lashed out at it with his tail, crashing it into the bridge & crushing everyone inside who only had a second or two to scream before being forever silenced.
Picking up one half of the ship he destroyed, Godzilla threw it casually as it landed on another ship, blasting it in a fiery holocaust as Godzilla sends one more to a fiery demise with his heat ray, setting it ablaze like a cauldron.
From 10 meters out of another ship, a geyser of water erupted to unveil a reptilian creature with crocodile jaws & sharp teeth inside, six curved horns behind its head & a horn like a rhino's on its snout. It had a hard shell placed on its back that had long sharp spikes that were the length of telephone poles.
Anguirus rose from the waves & bellowed an ear-splitting honking roar before using his forepaws to grab ahold of the nearest ship & push it towards another, even as cannons & rockets were striking him at point-blank range.
The spiked creature slammed the vessel into another which caused both to erupt into twin fireballs, roasting all hands aboard. Anguirus then head-butted another ship as he plowed into it with his nasal horn, splitting the vessel open like an egg & filling the interior with seawater, drowning everyone inside. Those on top were roughly tossed overboard, meeting the same fate & sharing space in Davy Jones' Locker.
With another enemy ship, Anguirus pounced on it like a cat would do with a mouse before using his forepaws to shove it under in a move that instantly flooded the vessel with water, drowning everybody in seconds as no one had the time to let out a cry or scream before getting their lungs filled with fluid.
Getting struck in the shell with rockets & cannon fire, Anguirus dove underwater himself to avoid any further hits from enemy fire. The crews wondered where the creature went when Anguirus abruptly rose from beneath their vessel, his spikes digging into/puncturing the armor-plated hull like it was cheese. Men were thrown overboard before their very ship which was supposed to be their refuge has now become their death bed when it got loose from Anguirus' spiked back & fell upon them.
Nobody resurfaced when it came down.
The maneuver left Anguirus vulnerable as the ships were now concentrating their fire on the creature's underbelly which received multiple hits that exploded with powerful force, causing Anguirus to cry out not in pain but annoyance.
Godzilla's heat ray blasted away these troublesome pests in the water, along with three more vessels that got its crew of Syrians & North Koreans cooked instantly. A tail swat from Godzilla demolishes yet another enemy which got its crew taking on water before exploding seconds later.
With the last few vessels remaining, Godzilla & Anguirus finished these quickly with heat ray incineration, tail-bashing, shell-ramming & simple tearing apart metal like they were model kits.
Now it was down to one last vessel – the one with the Syrian general & the North Korean colonel & their men, all of whom were terrified beyond words staring at the two behemoths.
Godzilla & Anguirus stared back, sending chills down the humans' spines & their hearts galloping mad with great fear: before they were battle-hardened men who've fought countless fights & walking away with hardly a scratch.
But now they're shaking in trepidation as Godzilla eyed them like he was the devil himself – someone the Monster King was often referred to as, which was very understandable & easy to see why.
His eyes glaring with loathing, Godzilla stared at the last remaining ship of Syrian/North Korean humans infested with it for what felt like eternity before he does something they never expected him to.
Letting out a guttural roar, Godzilla dove head-first into the sea & disappeared as Anguirus stayed where he was.
The move perplexed the crew.
"Where did he go?! Is he moving away from us?! Somebody answer me!", demanded the Syrian general.
"No, general: Godzilla is still in the area!", said a man at sonar. "He's moving at a speed of forty knots, & seems to be heading for…"
The sudden pause in his statement did not sound good to everyone else.
"Heading for where, exactly?! Speak up!", barked the North Korean colonel.
But the man could not speak, for he was too paralyzed with fear to answer his question.
Even if his vocal chords were working, he didn't have time to answer: the ship was violently rocked by Godzilla as the prehistoric beast collided with it from underneath, his dorsal spines penetrating the thick steel of the hull like a knife through butter. Men screamed in terror as the Monster King rose from the water like Poseidon, the God of the Sea who wanted nothing more than to punish his enemy Odysseus, the entity that blinded Polyphemus, Poseidon's son who was a cyclops.
Like the God of the Sea himself, Godzilla's vengeance was powerful & direct: the ship split in two as it was not able to resist the strain Godzilla was placing on its hull with both halves falling in either side of the Monster King. The men cried out in horror as they took the plunge before Godzilla lit up his rear dorsal spines with energy & spat his heat ray from his mouth, striking one half of the ship, then onto the next. Both halves caught fire & exploded, the flames all but roasting every living soul aboard before sinking beneath the surface, never to rise again.
Having vanquished all their enemies, Godzilla & Anguirus bellowed roars that were audible for miles. The latter monster swam up to his longtime friend & fighting partner as Godzilla noticed the scratches on his partner's face & he asked how he received such wounds. Anguirus replied with what he saw, right down to his battle with the giant robot, getting trapped in a human facility before escaping with Baragon, heading out to sea & catching up with Godzilla.
When the Monster King asked where the subterranean dinosaur went, Anguirus replied he didn't know as he lost him miles back.
Nodding once, Godzilla let out a softer roar before descending beneath the North Sea, followed by Anguirus only seconds later. Only the pieces of debris & floating bodies of Syrians & North Koreans were any evidence that Godzilla & Anguirus were ever here at all.
Their next destination? Only they know.
The underground cavern:
Scientists monitor the creature's vital signs on their computers, seeing no kinds of flaws/disturbances anywhere as the beast rested in its chamber with a calm that was not usual for an animal of its species.
The leader & his second-in-command walked up to the working men as the latter spoke.
"And how is our prized creature doing today?", he asked.
"All signs are in the green, sir", said one scientist. "He's resting well after the meal we fed him earlier, & when he gets out there again, he'll be in top shape like he was last time."
"Perfect!", the leader said joyfully. "We've just learned that Godzilla is still alive & well, the North Sea being his last known whereabouts, same as Anguirus! The King of the Monsters shall be an excellent target for our big friend here to face in combat! We will be releasing him once again in only a matter of hours, so see to it that he stays in perfect health until the time comes!"
"Yes sir!", the scientists all replied, resuming with their work.
The resting creature sensed that more prey awaits it to be hunted down & dealt with – just like it did with Anguirus & Baragon a few weeks ago. Even at rest, its hunting instincts were restless & eager to be free to track it down & fight it to the death.
For now, it will rest & save its strength.
The Hotel ibis Paris Montmartre 18eme, Paris, France, Thursday, July 28th, 10:00 a.m.:
Everybody slept until about between 9 & 9:30 in the morning, wanting to get extra time to rest up for what this day was sure to bring the three families, Stephanie, Dennis & Sacha. The French man suggested they eat their breakfast over at a place that's more private, considering the fact that General Ronald Len Ernie was scheduled to pay them all a visit on this day. They knew that what he had to say to the group would require privacy & being as confidential as they can was essential.
Along with the General's meeting, Sacha also informed the group in on what he learned from the news networks as he woke up: the attack on Syria by Mothra, Rodan, Gaira & Sanda, the death of their dictator of a president Bashar al-Assad, the launching of a nuclear weapon by Syrian & North Korean forces in the North Sea, followed by the revival of Godzilla as he & Anguirus laid waste to each ship in their fleet before disappearing beneath the waves.
The reappearance of Godzilla had mixed feelings to the group: they couldn't decide whether to be happy that he survived the poison the Russians injected him with or nervous, knowing the world's most dangerous force still lives.
One thing was for sure: the Monster King's revival shocked them all, especially when they discovered the cause of his miraculous recovery.
More than a few were not happy about it, as Eugene became the first to express it.
"Unbelievable!", he says in a fit but still keeping his voice low. "It's bad enough those filthy North Koreans were attempting to make their own nuclear weapons, but they have the utmost gall to actually use one in the world?! And on Godzilla, no less?! What were they thinking?!"
"It was undoubtedly revenge for their fallen leader Kim Jong Un, Eugene", Kristoff said. "At this point, they had nothing to lose, so they decided to settle the score. It's what any desperate people would do when they've lost it all."
"And look where it got them", Nathan adds. "They only have themselves to blame for their irresponsible/reckless behavior. The one silver lining in this is we can only hope that other nations won't be as suicidal as both North Korea & Syria were in hitting Godzilla with a nuke, especially now we have proof – concrete proof–that it won't work."
"But not before getting a highly contaminated North Sea, which probably won't support any life in it for decades, if not centuries!", Elinor stated, her irritation very clear. "What I wouldn't do to see all the leaders of the world make at least some attempt to abolish their nuclear weapons before this planet becomes uninhabitable!"
"Actually, Elinor, from what Sacha told me this morning as we were heading down for breakfast, the radiation in the North Sea was all absorbed by Godzilla after getting struck by it", Tajima explains. "Since it's what Godzilla takes into his body as his sustenance just as we do with food, he soaks it all up like a sponge."
"So, you're more or less positive that the North Sea is no longer contaminated with radiation because of this?", asked Stephanie as Tajima nodded.
"Like you stated on the day we met, Stephanie, my husband has studied Godzilla for many years & has become an expert on the creature", Hidemi said with her daughters Akemi & Emiko nodding in full agreement. "He practically knows the monster better than anyone else alive."
"And it's no doubt that the radiation from the nuclear weapon they fired at Godzilla counteracted the poison the Russians injected into him via their MOGUERA robot & made him healthy again, is that right?", Patricia asked, getting another nod from Tajima.
"When Godzilla absorbs radiation to store into his own body, it does act like an antidote to cure whatever's ailing him, yes", Akemi says. "A massive dose like that of the nuclear weapon the Syrians & North Koreans hit him with had more than enough to dispel the toxins & eradicate them in order to make Godzilla healthy & strong again."
"It's one of many reasons as to why hardly anybody's ever used a nuclear weapon on him in the first place", said Emiko. "If one nation uses such a weapon like that against him, other nations will follow suit & do the same, thinking it to be effective when in reality would only cause a radiation storm & blot the sun out for God-knows how long."
Rapunzel puts in her own two cents as Pascal sat on her shoulder.
"Meaning that, the plants won't get the sunlight they need in order to grow properly, not to mention animals will feel cold including those that rely on the sun's warmth like reptiles, for instance. Solar panels won't operate due to the lack of sunlight, leaving miles of areas dark & without power. In short, it would mean the end of the world."
"Or something very close to it", Anna adds. "I agree with what Nathan said before: let's hope that this becomes a lesson to every nuclear power in the world – from Russia to the United States – that using a missile of that magnitude on creatures like Godzilla is the last thing they should do. The one saving grace of it is that the nuclear weapon they fired at Godzilla was deep underwater, keeping the radiation within a secluded spot for him to absorb it all."
To themselves, everyone agreed with Anna: due to the tremendous explosion being underwater at a considerable depth, the nuclear weapon & all its radiation was basically contained in one particular area & hadn't spread anywhere else, making it much simpler for Godzilla to drink it all up & rejuvenate him to full capacity/strength.
No one wanted to think even the slightest of what might've happened had it exploded above the water.
"My wife also raised a good point, love", Gus says. "It really wouldn't kill the world leaders to discuss getting rid of our planet's nukes before it becomes nothing but a lifeless husk floating in space. We only have one Earth to call our own, & there ain't no contingency plan to live elsewhere. But since that is asking for too much, we'll just have to hope there'll always be cooler heads to make sure that a catastrophe like that never occurs to our beloved Earth. On the plus side, we got good people like Sergei & General Ernie who fight constantly in keeping the peace, so amen to that."
And we're proud to be associated with people like them, Elsa thought happily before she speaks orally.
"Speaking of General Ernie, did he say at what time exactly he said he'd be arriving here, Sacha?"
"For the answer to that, darling, just simply look behind you."
The Snow Queen does indeed turn around, along with several others to see a very welcome surprise: a man in his early 60s with a buzz cut of hair & a general's uniform that looked like it was ironed just before putting it on or even while he wore it. His firmly-trimmed face had a tender smile that caused Elsa & the rest to do the same.
"General Ernie!", they say in unison.
"Hello, everyone! It's certainly been a while, hasn't it?", General Ernie says as he approached the table, noticing Stephanie & Dennis. "And having breakfast with a well-known singer/songwriter! Some people really do have all the luck, don't they?"
The group chuckled at Ernie's joke as Stephanie & Dennis rose from their seats.
"I suppose we ought to be going now, since you have business with these folks, General, so…", Stephanie says but was stopped by the General.
"Oh no, my dear…you two don't need to go anywhere", he insisted.
"We wouldn't want to intrude or anything, General", Dennis said.
"Nonsense! If these fine folks here invited you two to have breakfast with their group, then that makes you a part of it! So please…please have a seat."
Stephanie & Dennis looked at each other before sitting back down again as General Ernie pulled a seat for him to sit down in.
"Some coffee, General? It's made very strong this morning", Sacha said.
"Glad to hear it…I can certainly use a cup", Ernie said, pouring himself a cup of the beverage before drinking it all in one gulp. "That really hit the spot! And now, folks, with my arrival…it's time for you to know exactly why you've all been invited here to Paris on such short notice after your business in Russia was concluded."
General Ernie looked around to see if there were any eavesdroppers that might listen in on their conversation. As he found none nearby, he went on.
"First of all, Sacha Pierre here is something of an…associate I happen to know of."
"You mean to say that he's actually…working undercover for you, General?", Merida says as Sacha chuckled.
"Something like that, Merida Fleming", the French man said. "Sacha Pierre is simply an alias I use. For you see, my real name is Phillipe Roache. As you & your father both are, I am a secret agent of the French division."
Everybody at the table – sans the General – were stunned by this sudden revelation: nobody, not even Gus, could have seen it even from a mile away.
"This is a shocking turn of events, I must say!", Patricia says. "But what could the reason be for you to join up with Phillipe to require our attention, General?"
"It's this, Patricia: we believe that Russian Bratva boss Pyotr Lipovsky was lying to the Russian authorities when he said he cut his ties with rogue scientist Kazimir Volkov", he explains. "Although we can't prove it yet, it's possible that not only were they still in cahoots with each other, but also that Pyotr was the one who staged that theft of Godzilla's blood/tissue samples in the Sea of Japan earlier this month, along with the theft of the mutagen from Bagorah's piece of tail just before it was to be incinerated by Malvina Semenov & her crew."
"It seems Tajima & his family's suspicions were correct!", Merida adds. "The mutagen sample Kazimir used to turn himself into Chaos was only a fraction of what's been stolen from that tail piece, which also means that…"
"He retrieve more of the mutagen than we all originally thought", Elsa said as General Ernie nodded. "The sample we saw Kazimir put into his own body was only a piece of it, meaning that he has another – and larger – amount of it hidden somewhere. It's something we should've expected of him. We need to find & get rid of it soon as we can."
"And that's exactly why Phillipe & myself arranged for you & your group to be here in Paris, Elsa", the General said. "We've received indisputable proof that Pyotr himself is arriving here at this very hotel later this morning, and we have reason to believe that he's brought the rest of that alien mutagen with him. What he plans on doing with it, that I don't know. But what I do know is that you people are the best chance we have in getting rid of it for good."
The Benice, Fleming & Sugimoto families look to one another as they conceive all the information General Ernie handed to them. Stephanie & Dennis were doing so themselves, but with more on their minds than what's given by the military man.
"Merida, you & Gus are…secret agents?", Dennis asked as both British man & Scottish girl nodded.
"As for me, I'm a member of the Mechagodzilla crew", Elsa adds. "It became official back in December."
"As a part of the maintenance crew or one of the pilots?", Stephanie asked.
"Pilots. I operate the machine's Absolute Zero Cannon."
Stephanie & Dennis looked at each other with faces that told how immensely surprised they were: to think that a girl who sings about as good as Stephanie herself does with a sister & friends that do so beautifully themselves are also battle-hardened fighters, with one as a James Bond-like secret agent & the other as an operator of Godzilla's mechanical double.
If that isn't a jar to one's senses, Stephanie & Dennis couldn't think of what would.
It made them wonder what other surprises they could throw their way.
"I'm afraid there's no time to delve further into it, Miss Beatrice", General Ernie says. "What we need to do now is to prepare for Pyotr's arrival, find out somehow where he's taking that mutagen & dispose of it while putting him inside a prison cell once we get the solid evidence needed for a conviction. Tajima, I'd like to call for a meeting in your hotel room with you, Gus, Nathan, Phillipe & I to work out some kind of plan."
"Of course, General", the Japanese scientist said as the others nodded.
"Shall we get started then, mate?", Gus asked, rising from his seat.
"We're not getting any younger, son."
Grinning briefly, the rest all stood up as Phillipe called for the waiter to send the tab for him to pay. General Ernie goes to his Humvee to grab a metal suitcase before heading upstairs with Tajima, Phillipe, Gus, Nathan & even Dennis, who had also wished to be let in on the plan to help put a dangerous Russian mob boss in his proper place.
Admiring his bravery, General Ernie nodded & had him join the group.
Nathan told the rest that once their plan of action was determined, they would be let in on it.
Going inside the first elevator, the six men rose up to the floor of Tajima's room.
Unfortunately for the group, unlike with the General, a very unwelcome surprise also awaited them at the hotel lobby as Major Synapse has just arrived to find Elsa & everybody else. The room suddenly became like a place where time stood still, giving all in the group a neutral feeling in both body & spirit as the atmosphere dropped exponentially, creating an eerie scenario to all.
Merida was the first to speak, who did so with malice in her voice.
"Let me ask you people something: is it cold in here, or is it just him?"
Every pair of eyes in the group stared at Major Synapse with deep malice, their feelings towards him exactly the same as at the hearing in Washington, D.C. back in December.
"Nice to see you & your friends again too, red!", Derek said sarcastically.
Merida approached the man until she was inches from his face. The Major never flinched.
"Only my family & my friends have the privilege to call me 'red'!", she growled. "You're neither!"
"I thought we'd be running into you again sooner or later, mister!", Elinor says in a hard voice as she gently took Merida away from him. "Much to our dismay!"
"You could say I'm like a bad penny, sweetie – I always turn up when you least expect it!", Derek said coldly.
Elinor stood her ground as mother & daughter gave the Major hard stares that could burn wood.
He wasn't intimidated then, he wasn't intimidated now.
"We're surprised the General would allow such a callous individual like yourself to accompany him!", Patricia said. "I always thought he'd have you behind a desk, after how you treated us at the hearing seven months ago!"
"I could give you folks a lot of reasons why he didn't, but I doubt your feeble minds would ever understand!", the Major replied, causing their scowls to deepen.
"How about you step outside with us, fella?! Then we'll show you just how 'feeble' we really are!", Eugene said with malice, clenching his fists until Rapunzel put him at ease.
"I might take you up on that, mister! But right now, I have a more pressing matter to get off my chest!"
Then he looked at Elsa & walked over to her, ignoring the cold stares of Eugene, Rapunzel & the rest.
Elsa didn't cower before him as Derek came within a foot of the Snow Queen.
"I'm pretty sure you knew you'd run into me again, little miss!", Derek said.
"Between the hearing & this moment, I had hoped you'd get into an accident and/or shot at, but I guess that would be asking for too much!", Elsa said defiantly.
Derek scoffed & allowed himself a smirk in mild amusement.
"Still got that macabre sense of humor, I see", he said. "Well, I doubt you're gonna find what I have to say next to be so humorous! Do you recall when I told you that if Godzilla caused more death & destruction because you refused to freeze him out in the Pacific like you did Gigan, that burden would be placed on your conscience?"
"If you're referring to the mayhem he caused over in North Korea earlier this month or even the ships that both he & Anguirus destroyed in the North Sea only hours ago, you're wasting your time!", Elsa said firmly. "Those people lived only to cause death themselves by hitting their own citizens with chemical weapons, not to mention starving their own people just to put every cent of their government's money into their nuclear weapons program they planned on using to hit the United States and its allies with once it was completed! Do you really think I'm going to lose any sleep over the deaths of those that are as much monsters as Godzilla are?! Truth be told, he did us a favor in ridding the world of such a horrible dictator & those who blindly followed him without question! As far as I'm concerned, it couldn't have happened to a nicer man, & this planet will be very much better off without him!"
"We would've come to a negotiation with North Korea sooner or later, little miss: the sanctions that we slapped on their country would've caused them to come to the table eventually!"
"Oh yeah, you were really having great success with that! Because despite those sanctions, North Korea was all but still able to create enough nuclear weapons to start a war, regardless of how many of their own people were starved and/or tortured to death! Godzilla & his friends did a more efficient & thorough job than any armed forces ever could! Perhaps we should recruit them in the armed services, as they seem to do a better job in ridding the world of great evil than some people I happen to know!"
"I don't find that funny in the slightest, little miss, so I'd cut the humor if I were you!"
"It wasn't intended as a joke, mister: they displayed better judgment than we did involving North Korea! Instead of waiting for America or anywhere else to get hit by their weapons, they went & actually did something about it!"
"And now, because of them, we won't have to worry about them shooting their missiles over our home anymore!", Emiko adds.
"I seem to remember telling you not to speak unless I've given you permission, little girl!", Derek barked at her, pointing to Emiko.
Kristoff ran up to Derek, grabbed his arm & violently twisted it behind him while slamming his face into the wall.
Major Synapse winced in pain as Kristoff barked back at him, his face full of hate.
"And I seem to remember Tajima telling you that you don't speak to anyone in this family like that, fella! That's already twice you did so, & I'm going to offer you one warning: you do it a third time, & you're really getting hurt! Do we understand one another?!"
Derek tried to get free, but Kristoff held him firm.
"Answer me!", he snapped.
"Kristoff, please stop!", Anna said, taking hold of his arm. "I'm steamed at him too, but let's not cause too much of a scene, okay? Remember what we're here for!"
The outdoorsman looked to see several people staring at him, & Anna's words made Kristoff recall his objective as he turned the Major around & slammed his back to the wall.
Getting into his face, Kristoff lets Derek know the bottom line.
"Like Rapunzel told you back then, mister, you haven't seen us really steamed, & for your sake, I pray that you never do!", he said through clenched teeth. "So, I'm going to be nice just this once & offer you a warning, which you better heed: stay away from & don't cross us! Otherwise, you'll be very sorry!"
Kristoff punctuated his remark by slapping his hands together in front of Derek's face, staring at him a few more seconds before walking away with Anna, who leads him towards the others.
Elsa gave a warning of her own to the Major.
"Here's the bottom line again, mister!", she began. "I do not feel guilty about what happened in North Korea, let alone to its ruler Kim Jong Un: he got exactly what he deserved, & millions of people – including his own – won't lose any sleep over it! Same as what Rodan did with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad: the world will be happier without a dictator that kills his own citizens on a whim! As far as we're concerned, it good riddance to bad rubbish, & if I could repeat the decision of letting Godzilla walk away instead of putting him in cold storage like I did with Gigan, I would! And now, I'm going to warn you as Kristoff did: the next time you threaten or harass anyone in my family or friends, I will put you in cold storage, even if I have to go through the General to do it! If you think none of us are any threat to you, mister, you better think again! Now, if you'll excuse us, we have a task to fulfil, & we can do it much better without your interference!"
Elsa headed towards the elevators as she gestures for the others to join her, giving Major Synapse a hard look as they passed by him. Eugene & Kristoff even so much as bumped him on the shoulder, with Pascal even sticking out his tongue, having as much disdain for the Major as his human friends do.
Derek snarled at him, but Pascal was unfazed.
When the group entered the elevators & went up, Derek turned to the people still staring at him.
"What are you people all looking at?!", he snapped, causing them to turn & walk away.
Moments later, Derek went to the elevators himself to retire to his room.
General Ernie went over the plan with Elsa, Merida, Rapunzel & the rest once he'd square it away with Tajima & the men. Each one got the details down to perfection & went down to begin implementing them once everything got run over twice, three times. Before heading down, however, Stephanie had informed General Ernie of Major Synapse's intolerant behavior towards Elsa, her family & friends, sparing no detail. Tajima, Gus & the rest were furious hearing it all, but Ronald assured them that he would deal with Derek himself.
But for the time being, they need to put their personal problems aside & concentrate on the task at hand.
Nodding, the group get organized & set themselves up.
Once downstairs, Kristoff, Eugene, Merida, Anna, Rapunzel & Elsa all visited the stables of Maximus, Sven & Angus as they begin cleaning them out, followed by giving them breakfast. Each animal ate hearty before getting taken out of the parking lot & receiving a thorough washing by their owners/friends, each of them wearing sunglasses as they wait for their quarry to arrive. Pascal hid in Merida's hair, enabling him to see events without getting seen himself.
Elinor, Hidemi, Patricia, Stephanie, Akemi & Emiko were also waiting in the wings for Pyotr to arrive, only they did so at the café within the hotel lobby as the windows gave them a clear view of the entrance right outside. Like Elsa & her group, they too wore sunglasses to hide their identities, topping it off with ladies' hats for further concealment.
In Tajima's room upstairs, the Japanese scientist, Gus, Phillipe, Nathan, Dennis & Ronald waited within, being able to keep in touch with everybody downstairs via miniature communicators in their ears, courtesy of Gus. They can speak normally as if they were standing next to them, & they don't even have to talk loud to do it.
Once they were set up, Ronald paid Derek a quick visit in his room & scolded him for how he treated Elsa & the others. The Major's ears were ringing when he was finished, & the General confined him to his room & warned him to remain inside until their ordeal was done, lest he suffer the consequences.
Slamming the door behind him, Ronald decided to pay Elsa & Merida's room a visit & knocked on the door. Olaf opened it up & smiled when he saw the General enter, who was just as happy to see him.
Giving each other a handshake (which didn't fall off, unlike that first time), Ronald gave the snowman a quick rundown of the situation & gave Olaf an extra communicator for what passed as his ear, enabling him to listen in on the conversation between his friends. Like everyone else, Olaf could hear everything clearly in it.
Thanking the General, Olaf wished him & the others luck before Ronald exited the room to rejoin Tajima & the men in his.
Everyone played it like pros for over an hour until the ladies in the café & Elsa's crew see a pair of limousines pulling up into the hotel entrance, putting everyone on alert.
"Heads up, everyone", Patricia says. "We believe the guest of honor has just arrived…and we also suspect that he won't be alone."
"Copy that, honey", Nathan replied. "Keep us up to date on their progress, & if Pyotr or any of his friends should get too suspicious of you – any of you – just get up & walk away casually."
"Understood", they all replied as they monitored the situation while keeping busy with the animals & looking as inconspicuous as they could. When the limos stopped & the passengers in the front seats got out, they opened the doors on the right side to allow Pyotr Lipovsky out, along with several other men that all wore business suits that look like they cost more than what the average man makes in a single week. The men were each of different nationality: Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Italian, German, Spanish, Irish, British, Polish, Greek, & even the country's own French.
Merida also could see a man from the States in the group, & she consulted with Gus that each one was no doubt a high-profile mob boss of their own respected countries.
Gus & the men acknowledged this information, seeing that the plot was thickening.
Pyotr & the rest consulted with each other as both limos pulled away once their passengers got back in to make room for the minivans that hold all their luggage to pull in as bellhops move in with metal carts to gather their belongings & reel them inside. Opening up the rears, the men each pack suitcase after suitcase & find they were heavier than they each looked, making progress slow.
When one of the bellhops asked what was inside their luggage, the Irish mobster simply said 'just what the doctor ordered', getting chuckles from the rest as they turned & headed for the hotel entrance.
One of the bellhops had a little trouble with one of the suitcases and, not watching where he was going, tripped on the curb & fell onto the sidewalk as the suitcase also hit & split open, revealing its contents.
Elinor & Merida's groups gasp at what they saw spill out.
The suitcase was filled to maximum capacity with bundles of cash; stacks of hundred-dollar bills wrapped up in nice neat packages.
Hearing the man fall & seeing the money slip out of his suitcase, the American mobster started advancing towards the clumsy bellhop but was held back by Pyotr, who held a hand up & smiled, saying he got this.
When Pyotr approached the bellhop, his smile was gone & replaced by a grimace.
"Hey monsieur!", he snapped at him. "I'd be more careful with luggage if I were you! Otherwise you could lose tip…" His voice became lower & more menacing. "Not to mention head!"
The other bellhops backed away, not wanting to suffer his wrath as his companion was.
"Wee, monsieur! I'm so sorry, monsieur!", the bellhop cried, placing the money back into the suitcase as quickly as possible, unable to look Pyotr in the eye.
Leaving the sniveling bellhop to his chore, Pyotr turned to & approached his mobster comrades again, smiling.
"It's so hard finding good help these days!", he says nonchalant.
"How very true, signor!", the Italian mobster said, raising his fist in a Benito Mussolini salute.
His gesture & Pyotr's comment caused the other mob bosses to laugh in good spirits as they enter the hotel & get over to the front desk to sign in before heading over to the elevators & heading for their rooms.
Once they were gone from sight, Elinor contacted her husband of what they'd witnessed.
"Gus, there's something you really need to know, as this caper just took a rather bizarre turn!"
"How 'bizarre' are we talking, love?", Gus replied.
"Pyotr & his friends all arrived with suitcases that have inside huge quantities of cash in each one!"
This bit of news was something unexpected to the men, but the message became very clear.
"So that's the bloody game!", Gus proclaimed. "This is why he came here to Paris!"
"Yes, Gus…now we see the big picture!", Nathan said. "Pyotr isn't planning on making his own monsters with that mutagen he stole from that tail sample like we all originally thought…"
"He's going to auction it!", Gus, Nathan, Tajima, Ronald, Phillipe & Dennis say simultaneously.
11:45 a.m., Elsa & Merida's room:
Once Pyotr's plan was revealed to the others, Phillipe suggested they get back to their rooms so as not to be seen by Pyotr or any of the other mobsters, not wishing to tip their hands too soon. Elsa told Ronald & company that she'll be taking Merida, Anna, Rapunzel, Eugene & Kristoff to her room while the rest regroup with the men in Tajima's.
Removing all their ear comms, they ask Olaf to do the same: neither Phillipe, Dennis nor Stephanie know of the snowman's existence, & having them hear his voice will raise too many questions they can't answer.
Thankfully, Olaf was very understanding & did so without hassle, giving the group freedom to speak without a fear of raising suspicion.
Having heard their conversation, something was troubling the snowman.
"Auction? What's that, you guys?", Olaf asked.
"Gus told my Mum & I about it, Olaf", Merida said. "It's when a specific item gets put on display to be sold at the highest bidder. Whoever can promise & does pay the highest price wins the prize & walks away with it."
"And that's something we can't let happen, Merida!", Anna said. "Those mobsters don't realize that what they're eager to get their hands on is deadlier than thousands of pounds of TNT!"
"I agree, Anna!", Rapunzel said. "That alien mutagen is dangerous even in stable hands! I get chills just thinking about that stuff falling into the hands of mobsters, especially since we discovered that it can also turn people into giant monsters like it can ordinary animals!"
"That would be even worse that using it on animals, Rapunzel!", Eugene said. "Those that get injected or doused with that mutagen in some sort of gaseous form will probably still retain their iotas as human beings after being turned into God-knows-what!"
"All the more reason why we cannot let even one of them have that mutagen, Eugene", Elsa said. "It's caused the Earth more than enough trouble when it was in Mugal's hands, & many good, innocent people paid the price. The last thing we want are any more repeats of it."
"We definitely concur on that, Elsa", Kristoff puts in. "Fortunately, we have something of our work cut out for us: from General Ernie's intel, we know the mutagen is here in Paris, which is the primary reason he set up this detour. Once we all discover where the auction is being held, it'll be a matter of finding and keeping it contained here in the city. Above all else, that mutagen is not to leave the boundaries of Paris…which is where we all come in."
Kristoff raised a good point: without knowing it, Pyotr made their task somewhat simple by bringing the mutagen into Paris, thus leaving them only with the task of discovering where the auction will be held at & finding where they've stashed it. Then it will be a chore of figuring out how to safely dispose of it without endangering either the environment or any kind of life, human or animal.
That, & getting through a multitude of very dangerous mobsters & surviving to do it.
However they do it, they need to be very careful in not only their task, but also in not getting caught by any one of the mobsters: despite having the last names of their adoptive families, there still isn't very much to go on in terms of family history aside from the fact that Eugene & Rapunzel are both husband & wife singers just like Patricia & Nathan, Merida as a secret agent just like Gus, & Elsa being a part of the Mechagodzilla crew, being the one that operates the machine's Absolute Zero Cannon without most others realizing she's the main power source for it.
They're already worried enough about Major Derek Synapse wanting to dig into their backgrounds without the attempts of the Russian Bratva boss or the other gangsters doing so, & they can't tell whether or not he has even done so already since their skirmish with him the first time in December during & after the hearing; receiving an immediate disliking to the Snow Queen, they feel Derek would dig as deep into their histories & find something that he can use to discredit Elsa & get her booted off the MG crew.
Should he actually discover that she & everyone else is from the distant past who have been reawakened/thrown into the future, they could be experimented upon to claim Rapunzel & Elsa's power for themselves.
And the rest could be thrown in prison and/or institutionalized, possibly for life.
With Pyotr, it could be even worse, & they didn't want to even start to think of the consequences.
They all sat in silence, pondering their next step.
The men were rejoined by Hidemi, Akemi, Emiko, Patricia, Elinor & Stephanie as they went over all the details of what they, along with Rapunzel & company, witnessed when Pyotr Lipovsky & the other mob bosses pulled into the hotel entrance to the point when the money was spilled onto the sidewalk, placing the pieces together in a horrific scene which they knew will only spell disaster in the future.
Their feelings of the situation were similar to that of the kids, & then some.
"Unbelievable!", said Nathan said. "That mutagen was a terror when the aliens had it in their possession! Now it's going to end up in the hands of mobsters, who cause nothing but pain & suffering to innocent people just to make a profit every day! And thanks to Pyotr, they'll be offered something that will take it up to a whole new level!"
Patricia took her husband's hands in hers & looked at him with sincerity.
"It's not all that bad, Nathan", she said with equal sincerity. "While Pyotr does have that mutagen to sell among his fellow gangsters, we won't let any one of them leave Paris with it. Little does the Bratva boss realize, he's made our task somewhat simple: now that we know it's here, it's just a matter of containing it within the city. Paris is where that mutagen goes no further, & we're going to see to that. Nathan honey, no matter how bad things get or what vile people we may happen to run into, you have always shown your heart's content even long before we married, & it's because of your compassion which drew me to & tied the knot with you in the first place. So, don't lose hope, okay?"
Nathan considered his wife's words: even when humanity was at its worst, he always did his best in performing at shows in order to raise money for disaster relief whether it'd be caused by nature or giant monsters. He's been doing so even before he & Patricia met/married, & with the two of them together, they became more of a sensation than when they performed alone.
Like she just stated, it was Nathan's generous/caring heart that really drew Patricia to him, rather than his musical talent on the guitar.
"Monsieur Nathan", Phillipe says. "During all my years as a secret agent, I have seen the worst humanity had to offer: from terrorist attacks right here in Paris, France to missions abroad, these are horrors which would all but make any sane person cringe with dread. But I have also seen the best in humanity as well: people who are complete strangers to each other lending their assistance when they need it most, never thinking of anything else except to make sure those that got hurt were rescued & treated. During times of crisis, the light shines when these ordinary people band together & give to their fellow man exactly what they need most…hope."
"One example is back in the summer of 1940", General Ernie said. "When the Nazis had conquered France, the British forces were vastly outnumbered & became trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk. But a miraculous thing happened when all hope seemed lost: hundreds of boats – civilian boats – came to their shores & took those men out of harm's way, saving over 300,000 lives. And the most amazing thing about it? They didn't receive orders from anyone to do it: these people rescued those soldiers of their own free will."
"So, in short, Nathan, never lose faith in the good side of humanity", Stephanie added. "Whatever evil may come its way, there will always be people ready & willing to stand up against & defeat it. That's something I've learned as I was growing up, thus encouraging me to be a singer & share my gift with the world, same as what you & Patricia do."
Their words gave Nathan an extra boost in the dire situation, & he nodded proudly.
"I'll never lose faith in our fellow man…not so long as I have my wife, family & friends", he said. "So…how do we go about stopping this auction? That mutagen will be like a ticking time bomb no matter who walks away with it."
"And we dare not just barge into wherever they're holding this event", said Hidemi. "More likely than not, each of those men will be armed to the teeth, ready to shoot anyone that tries to claim their prize before it gets sold."
"Phillipe, how many auction houses are there in Paris?", asked Akemi. "If we can hopefully narrow it down, we could find out exactly where they'll be, & once we do…"
"A good strategy, mon Cherie, but I'm afraid it wouldn't help us any", the French agent said.
"Why do you say that?", Emiko asked. "You probably know all the ones located here in Paris."
"And that's just it, my dear: there are too many in this city to decipher which one they'll be using. It would take hours before we find the right one, & by then, it may be too late. No, we need a way to discover where this auction will happen at, but also be inconspicuous about it at the same time. Any ideas?"
The room went silent for a few moments before Gus spoke up.
"Rapunzel's little friend Pascal can help us find it", he says. "All he has to do is ride on the rear bumper of the vehicle Pyotr & his friends will take over to their destination. He's more than small enough to hitch a ride without being seen, plus he'll wear a miniature tracking device on his collar to pinpoint his location. Where he goes, we'll keep him – and them – in plain sight."
Everyone gave the matter thought as they recited Gus' plan of action, going over every detail.
With no other plan to go on at the moment, they've each agreed.
"Sounds like it's our best shot", said Dennis. "We should inform the kids about it: they have as much a say in the matter as we do."
Nodding, Tajima agreed to be the one to do so.
After the Japanese scientist relayed their plan of action to Rapunzel, Elsa, Merida & the rest, they were a little bit skeptical because it involved putting Pascal somewhat in harm's way, but the little chameleon heard the plan himself, & agreed to it when he stood on his hind legs & saluted like an obedient soldier.
Admiring his courage, Rapunzel kissed her little friend.
The plan would soon commence just as soon as they figure out when Pyotr & his friends will depart.
For the time being, everyone played it cool & went on their day as casual as possible, getting lunch at the café as Stephanie & Dennis invited Elsa, Anna, Rapunzel, Merida, Kristoff & Eugene at their table, which they all accepted as their lunch would be on her.
On the menu for today would be a serving of food the group have yet to try yet were skeptical about trying.
Each of their plates were a serving of frog's legs, giving each person a look of confusion & inner disgust.
"And…are you sure these are edible?", asked Anna. "Eating fish & their eggs are one thing, but…"
Stephanie & Dennis giggled amusingly.
"Trust me, Anna…it's no different from that, not at all", Dennis says.
"As a matter of fact, frog's legs have been a delicatessen here in France since the 12th Century", Stephanie says, putting one into her mouth & consuming it in front of her friends as they watched in silence. "They're also served over in Southeast Asia, parts of Europe & even in America. It's said they taste a little like chicken, albeit a bit soggier, as if being cooked alongside fish. But try them…try them & discover for yourselves."
Giving each other a look, the group take their utensils & use them to get their first taste of a French delicatessen, not sure what to expect. Their faces lit up when they discovered how flavorful they were in their mouths before each swallow it down their gullet.
"Well, kids? What's the verdict?", Stephanie asked with a grin.
"Magnifique!", they said in unison & with smiles, causing Stephanie & Dennis to laugh heartily.
Phillipe & the other adults watched the events unfold from their own table, having the same meal as they are.
Big grins came on their faces, seeing they were enjoying a delicatessen as scrumptious as Russia's caviar.
Pascal breathed a sigh of relief, happy to know that what his friends are eating aren't any known reptiles.
Rapunzel giggled at the notion of her friend's antics, deducing what he was thinking.
As they ate, their good time took something of a downfall when they see who it was that entered the hotel's café, putting everyone else on alert as their smiles disappeared & they ceased talking.
Pyotr Lipovsky, along with the Japanese Yakuza & American mafia bosses, have just entered. The Russian Bratva boss carried a suitcase in one hand.
Each one felt like the room became even colder than with the air conditioner running.
Nevertheless, they all played it cool as Pyotr & his two friends approached Stephanie & her group.
He had a smile that chilled everyone to the core.
"If my own eyes don't deceive me…Stephanie Beatrice, as I live & breathe!", Pyotr says in his best gentleman-like tone. "I know of two very special people who are such big fans of yours…and I don't mean my two friends here!"
"Yes, well, I'm afraid Miss Beatrice isn't signing any autographs right now, fella", Dennis said in defense.
Pyotr chuckled in amusement.
"You misunderstand, good sir", he replied. "I'm not here for autograph. I'm here to make proposition for Miss Beatrice."
This caught the group off-guard.
"What kind of proposition are we talking about?", Stephanie asked.
"I am holding auction over at Artcurial Auction House this evening, which starts at 8:00. Your presence there will make event most special, for we have most extraordinary item being held for sale."
"You wish for me to perform for you at this auction house tonight?"
"Da. You will be well paid for services", Pyotr adds, opening his suitcase, digging into it & taking out a thick wad of cash that he placed on the table in front of the singer. "That pile equals to $100,000. An additional $100,000 will also be paid to each of these four ladies sitting here with you."
Pyotr gestured to Anna, Elsa, Rapunzel & Merida.
"You want them too?", Stephanie asked.
"I do: I remember seeing them performing at Christmas show in Los Angeles last year after disaster with Mecha-King Ghidorah & Gigan. Truly remarkable, I have to say. So then…can we count on you ladies showing up tonight?"
The group stare at one another, each one unsure of what to say or respond to Pyotr's request.
"Well, your offer is most inviting, I have to say", Stephanie says, keeping her composure. "But coming basically out of nowhere like this & so suddenly…we'll have to think about it first, if that's okay."
"But of course", Pyotr said charmingly. "Since auction starts at 8:00, kindly have definite answer by 7:30, if you would. This way we'll know for sure if you accept generous offer. I leave you my card."
Digging into his pocket, Pyotr took out a business card with a cell phone number on it before he bowed his thanks & turned to walk away with his two partners, exiting via the front door & entering the limo before it drives off.
Stephanie picked up the card & studied it with Dennis like it's something they'd never seen before.
"You folks got all that, right?", Eugene asked into the mini communicator in his & everyone else's ear.
"As if we were sitting right next to you, Eugene", said Nathan over at his table.
"Now that we've got a confirmed location, what should the girls do? Accept their invitation?", Kristoff asked as he & Eugene stared at Elsa & the girls.
"That's entirely up to Anna & the others, Kristoff", Tajima said. "If they feel it may be too dangerous to execute, we'll handle this some other way that won't put them in any…"
"We'll do it", Merida, Elsa, Anna, Rapunzel & even Stephanie say simultaneously, surprising most in the group.
"Ladies, are you all sure about this?", Patricia asked. "Security's going to be at its tightest once this auction gets underway."
"And Elsa, Merida, if they find out that you're a member of the Mechagodzilla crew & secret agent, they'll likely offer neither one of you any mercy, & your young age won't convince them to go easy on you either!", Elinor said, her voice full of worry.
"Possibly not, Mum, but it's a chance we're all willing to take", Merida says, getting nods from Rapunzel, Anna & Elsa. "Besides, I just thought of another part of this plan, so I want you all to listen to me very carefully. Here's what I'm proposing…"
Checking to make sure there were no eavesdroppers, Gus urged Merida to go ahead & lay it out.
The Artcurial Auction House, 7:00-8:00 p.m.:
Once Merida gave the layout of her idea, they all gave it thought for a few moments as they went over it in their minds to see if they could change a certain detail or two or even improvise on it. Discovering no flaws, they would go & commence it exactly as Merida laid it out: after lunch, the ladies decided to get themselves a few hours' sleep to be refreshed for the evening's festivities as most others did the same.
Except General Ernie, Gus & Phillipe, as each of them were wide awake & fully alert; being in their line of work helped train them to remain awake & active for long hours in the day, needing only to catch a few hours of rest between intervals before rising on a whim & ready for anything at a moment's notice.
Dressed as ordinary civilians, the trio observed the day's actions at the Artcurial Auction House unnoticed by the occupants already there, each one getting the house set up to their specifics before the main event.
However, the day progressed with no further activity to arouse suspicions to the unaware public, & the men had to give the mobsters credit for not drawing unwanted attention to themselves; had the men not known the truth, their charade would've fooled even them.
Up until seven in the evening, their daytime stakeout was pretty much uneventful.
But now, the others were awake, & the ladies (Stephanie, Anna, Elsa, Rapunzel & Merida) each showered & got into their best dresses to perform for the night at their destination. A call from Stephanie on her cell phone to Pyotr had all but confirmed her agreement to arrive & put on a show for him & his friends, along with the quartet.
Pyotr was all too happy to hear upon it, thanking her for her contribution before hanging up.
She felt that Pyotr had agreed much too happily, thus passed it on to the girls as Elsa said they needed to be extra cautious with everybody agreeing.
While this was mostly the ladies' show, it still didn't mean that the guys wouldn't get involved: General Ernie had Phillipe rent a large delivery van that was parked on Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt between the two buildings on either side at the corner & further concealed behind the brush. Inside was more than enough space for everybody else to fit, with room to spare. With General Ernie, Tajima & Nathan all working the console that will enable everyone to hear what's going on inside the auction house, Gus, Phillipe, Kristoff & Eugene each stealthily kidnapped a gangster before any of them could make a sound & alert their fellow gangsters.
Dressing in their clothes & taking their weapons, the quartet approached the house with two very large coolers that each needed two people to carry. Approaching the main gate, the quartet were stopped by two men in black suits & dark shades.
"Excuse us, gentlemen, can we help you?", the first man asked.
"This is the auction house, isn't it?", Gus asked as they put the coolers down.
"Yes, but it's closed for a private party this evening", said the second man. "Were you expected?"
"But of course we're expected!", Kristoff says, lifting the cooler lids with Eugene to reveal bottles of French beer being kept cold with ice. "Tell Mr. Lipovsky that we got his beer & we'd like to get it inside as soon as possible. What – you think he'd get through this dull event without gulping down a cold one to chase the boredom away?"
"Unless, that is, you'd like to explain to him that his cold refreshing beverage is being delayed on account that you two are holding us up in getting it to him & his friends inside!", Eugene says with his sly smile. "I'd really hate to be in your shoes if they take their frustrations out on you if they don't get their share of this cool refreshing treat."
The guards at the door sternly looked at the four men & the coolers & back again. Out of them, only Phillipe was calm & quiet, sans the chewing gum he was working on in his mouth.
"Hey you!", the first man said to Phillipe. "You got a problem talking? Why don't you say something?!"
"And what would you want me to say, sir?", Phillipe answered in a southern American drawl.
The two men looked at each other with a quizzical expression.
Having wasted enough time, they turned back to the quartet.
"Never mind! Go on – get this stuff inside before it gets warm!", the second man said as he & his partner opened up the gates to allow them entry.
"Right away. And thank you very much", Phillipe said in his southern drawl accent before he & his friends picked up the coolers & made their way inside the auction house.
Upon entering, they were greeted by several gangsters that looked them over with suspicion, the quartet fearing they've already been made. Instead, they cheered to see that the beer has arrived as one of them asked that they set the coolers down over at the table where the coffee machines/water coolers were placed at.
Obliging, the quartet do exactly that before taking a croissant each along with a cup of water/coffee before walking off.
"We're in, folks", Gus said softly into his ear comm.
"Excellent, Gus", General Ernie said into his mike. "See if you boys can do a perimeter sweep without raising any suspicious eyebrows from the crowd. Let us know the moment you see what you believe to be the mutagen."
"Understood, General", Phillipe said in his regular voice.
"By the way, Mr. Roache…where'd you learn how to talk like that?", Hidemi asked.
"Where else? Elvis Presley!", Kristoff said, getting grins from his group.
"He was – and still is – the King!", Phillipe said.
This got smiles from everyone inside the truck as Elinor, Akemi & Emiko giggled.
Everything got back to business again when Dennis got on the line.
"Folks, this is Dennis", he replied into his ear comm. "The ladies & I are now approaching the auction house, so let's keep our senses on full alert from this point on."
"Copy that, Dennis", General Ernie said. "Gus & his group have already done their part & are inside, so now it's your turn. Just remember: we'll be blind visually, as there are no cameras for us to hack into. You'll have your miniature ear comms, & that's it. Also, try not to talk to us directly if you can help it, so as not to give away either our positions or our cover."
"Understood", Dennis & the ladies say together before approaching the front gates.
The two men stationed there eyed them closely: Dennis wore a gray tuxedo & shoes, while Stephanie was in a pitch-black sparkling dress. All the other ladies were in their best dresses themselves: Elsa was attired in medium blue, Rapunzel in lavender, Anna in lime green & Merida in red. Each wore shoes that perfectly matched their outfits.
"We're here to see Pyotr Lipovsky", Dennis said.
"And you people are…?", the first man asked.
"We're tonight's entertainment", Stephanie said simply. "Mr. Lipovsky himself personally came to me & asked if I would be part of this evening's ceremony."
"Name?", asked the second man.
The name rang a bell with the men, & they immediately changed their demeanor from hard to soft.
They even grinned pleasantly as they opened the gates.
"Miss Beatrice! You certainly were expected!", said the first man.
"Won't you & your friends step this way inside? Please enjoy yourselves!", the second man said.
"Much obliged!", the six say as they entered the premises & into the auction house.
Getting inside, they were immediately greeted by the man that orchestrated this entire event.
Dressed in a sharp brown business suit, the Russian Bratva boss grinned from ear to ear upon seeing the ladies as each one eyes the man carefully while fighting the chill that had suddenly struck their spinal cords.
Brushing the fear off as best they could, they remained professional & kept their composure firm.
"Ladies! So glad you could make it tonight!", Pyotr said, taking Stephanie's hand & kissing it in a gentlemanly manner. The singer fought the urge to pull it away. "Your phone call saying you accepted my invitation made me very happy, & so shall the rest of my friends be soon enough!"
"It sounded too good to resist, so…here we are", Stephanie said as nonchalant as she could in his presence.
"Splendid, my dear, splendid! Can I interest any of you in bite to eat, or drink perhaps?"
"No thank you, Mr. Lipovsky", Rapunzel said. "We've managed to take care of that right before heading down here, so we're all good."
The other ladies nodded to confirm Rapunzel's claims.
"If it's all right with you, Mr. Lipovsky, we're quite eager to begin tonight's festivities, so if you could show us to where your friends are…", Anna said.
"Direct & to the point…I love that!", Pyotr said. "Absolutely, my dear: let's go meet your audience this evening, yes?"
"Da", the ladies say as one, making Pyotr grin with joy before leading them to the room where all the other mob bosses were waiting at. It was a room that was more than large enough for a group of people to perform in, with seating not a problem for the mob bosses & a good number of their men, most of whom rushed to see Stephanie Beatrice & her friends sing & possibly dance.
Singing & dancing is precisely what they do: Stephanie, Anna, Elsa, Rapunzel & Merida each take turns in doing vocals on songs from the 1970s & 1980s before going into dancing to music from said decades. Their performance all but dazzled Pyotr & his mobster comrades to the highest, mesmerized by their voices & dance moves. Dennis watched on the sidelines as he kept his eyes more on the mobsters than Stephanie & the girls, seeing their every move behind his dark shades.
But so far so good: the men were enjoying their performances, & with a little luck, they'll have the prize on hand before any of them do.
If Gus, Phillipe, Kristoff & Eugene can find it, that is.
With most of the gangsters going to see Stephanie & the girls perform, it left a skeleton crew standing guard at the auction house from within, making it simpler for the four men to locate the mutagen & report it back to the General & their friends. For over a half-hour, they've stealthily searched each room to see if there was anything that resembled a large canister or some other to store hazardous materials in.
So far, they've come up goose eggs.
"The two top floors in the whole building, & we've found no sign of that mutagen anywhere!", Kristoff says, the frustration clear in his voice. "Isn't the attic where most people put their prized valuables in?"
That's when it hit them, the realization suddenly coming into focus.
"That's it, mon ami!", Phillipe says. "You're definitely on the right track, but we're looking in the wrong area!"
"Of course, Phillipe!", Eugene says, turning to Kristoff. "Aside from the attic, where would you place something most valuable to you to keep it safe & hidden in your house?"
At once, Kristoff saw where Eugene & Phillipe were going as the answer came to him in the wink of an eye.
"The basement!", they all answered as one.
Quickly as they could, the quartet went down three flights of stairs until they reached a door leading to said area, which was guarded by a pair of men who each had Uzi 9-millimeter guns in hand. As casual as they could, the quartet walked up to the door as the two men stood in their path, stopping them.
"And just where do you think you're going to, eh?", asked the Spanish gangster. "Not downstairs!"
"I'm afraid so, mate", Gus said. "Pyotr just gave us the order to get the mutagen topside, for the auctioning is to commence very shortly."
"Ve didn't hear anyzing uff ze kind!", the German mobster said. "You vill not be heading downstairs unless ve hear it from Pyotr himself!"
"Do you want we should tell him you're delaying his party by obstructing us to our orders, monsieur?", Phillipe asked. "Are you really prepared to suffer the man's wrath because of your foolish error?"
Kristoff & Eugene knew where the men were going with this, & they winked at each other.
"Or maybe…you'll just suffer their wrath!", they said in unison.
"Huh?", the Spanish & German mobsters say, their confusion plain on their faces & voice.
Before either man could begin to comprehend, they were both clobbered in the face by a powerful fist from both Gus & Phillipe, knocking each one out cold as they slumped to the floor. Gus & Phillipe took their weapons as Eugene & Kristoff took the men into an empty room & tied them up tight so as not to alert their comrades when they awaken.
"Why must they always want to do thing the hard way?", Kristoff asked with a smile.
"Hey – no law against being stupid!", Eugene says with a grin.
Phillipe & Gus had to keep from bursting out with laughter before regaining their composure.
"Well, now that dumb & dumber are out of the way, let's take a peek downstairs, shall we?", Gus says, getting a nod from his friends.
With Uzis ready, the quartet descend the stairs to the basement that was quite large with a concrete floor & walls, a large boiler that kept the house warm during winter & allowed hot water to be had, along with a pair of doors on the far corner that had yellow barrier tape that said in French 'Danger! Do not cross without proper authorization'.
Aside from a few other instruments that were stored in various spots, there was no sign of any barrel/container to keep what they were searching for in anywhere.
"A literal dead end!", Kristoff said. "Now what?"
"One moment, Kristoff. I think…", Eugene says before going over to an opening that was covered with a ragged cloth that's been stained with oil/grease. The former Flynn Rider pulled back the cloth to unveil a large barrel that was about four feet tall & two feet wide in circumference. It was fully rounded with no ridges along the sides, unlike most.
Not a spec of writing was on it, sans for this little writing in Russian.
It was all the evidence they needed.
"Boys…I think we've found our prize!", Gus said.
Just then, the doors on the far side of the room & upstairs burst open as heavily armed men flooded the room, all of them having guns pointed at them.
"What a coincidence…because we've found a bunch of spies!", said an American gangster.
"Don't even think about it!", said a Chinese mobster. "Toss your weapons over to us! We won't ask twice!"
Seeing they were vastly outnumbered and outgunned, Gus & his band could see no way out of their situation but to surrender, which they do: tossing their guns towards the gangsters, they raised their hands as mobsters moved in on them.
On the first floor:
Having been applauded for their outstanding vocal performances, the ladies turned to dancing & showing off the skills they've learned through the years as they do so in sync with Stephanie, moving in rhythm with the music that got played on the speakers via a CD stereo system. Their latest song they danced to was 'The Screams of Passion' as done by the Family – a band formed by Prince in 1985, whose self-named album spawned this tune.
As they danced, the ladies did their best to not let the intense stares of the mobsters get under their skin, though it was with great difficulty.
We hope you guys have found that mutagen soon!, Stephanie thought as she danced with her friends. These creeps are really starting to give us the creeps!
During their performance, Pyotr's cell phone buzzed as he fished it out of his pocket to read a text he received.
Placing it back into his pocket, he stopped the music right before the song is finished, making the ladies & even the men wonder.
"Apologies for the sudden stop of performance, everybody", Pyotr addressed to the room. "It appears we have developed a slight problem this evening."
The ladies & Dennis were more nervous than ever, but they fought to hide it.
"What kind of problem, monsieur Pyotr?", asked the French mob boss.
"It appears we have rats running around the house", the Russian man says. "Fortunately, our friends have all but caught most of them, so this should be over with quite soon."
"Most of them?", wondered the Irish mob boss. "Where are the rest, me boyo?"
Pyotr snapped his fingers, giving the signal for several gangsters to emerge into the room & aim their guns at the so-called rats – training their weapons at Dennis & the ladies!
The move caught the mobsters and their guests off-guard. Dennis gets to Stephanie as the ladies huddle in close to each other.
"Pyotr! What's the meaning of this?!", asked Dennis.
"My sentiments exactly!", said the Polish mob boss. "What's the big idea of threatening our guests with guns?! Are you mad?!"
"No, but they are", Pyotr says, gesturing to the ladies beginning with Merida. "Behold! I give you Merida Fleming – secret agent, just like her father Gus Fleming! And over here we have…" He then gestured to the Snow Queen. "Miss Elsa Sugimoto, a member of Mechagodzilla crew!"
Gasps of surprise & even contempt filled the room, seeing they did have rats in the house.
"Spies!", cried the Greek mob boss, pulling out a large survival knife. "They need to be dealt with!"
Pyotr stepped in front of him, halting the man in his tracks.
"And they will be, I assure you. But on my terms!", the Russian man said, turning to Dennis & the ladies.
They all stared back at him, mostly in hatred.
Five minutes later:
Getting rope out, Pyotr & the other mobsters tied up Dennis, Stephanie & all the rest – including Gus & his crew – tightly so that nobody had any slack in their ropes in order for them to wriggle their way free. They were then taken over to a large storage room & thrown in like they were sacks of potatoes, landing hard on their bottoms and/or sides before those that tossed them inside exited the room to make way for Pyotr to come in.
A sense of dread & utter malice filled the room.
"I hope you folks are quite comfortable! We wouldn't want you to think we were bad hosts!", Pyotr joked, getting chuckles from him & those outside.
Everybody stared at the Russian man with contempt in their eyes.
"You knew!", Elsa said. "You knew who we were all along! That's why you specifically wanted us to attend this evening's auction!"
"Yes, & no", Pyotr says, confusing his captives.
"We don't understand", Eugene says, feigning ignorance. "How could you know us, & yet not know us?"
"I know for fact that you & your wife Rapunzel Benice are husband-&-wife singing duo, same as with Patricia & Nathan, along with my claims of Merida Fleming & Elsa Sugimoto as secret agent like Gus & Phillipe Roache here, not to mention Elsa being member of Mechagodzilla crew. But I can find no trace of background information of you people…" Pyotr pointed to not only Eugene & Rapunzel, but also Kristoff, Anna, Merida and Elsa. "Medical records, personal family history, not even birth certificate could be found anywhere. Each are virtually non-existent as if you people don't even, & yet…here you are. Surely even you find that to be somewhat…odd?"
It seemed their fears became a harsh reality: unbeknownst to them, Pyotr has already checked into their personal files to discover who they are, & now he's eager to dig even deeper by any means necessary.
"If you're trying to get us to incriminate ourselves to you, Pyotr, then you're even more bull-headed than we first thought you were!", Merida growled.
Pyotr smirked in mild amusement.
"Not to worry, little girl", he said. "If none of you are willing to cooperate & tell me what I want to know, I can always ask your families to, shall we say, 'fill in the blanks'."
"We're not letting you touch anyone in our families with your filthy hands, mister!", Kristoff barked fiercely as he clenched his teeth, staring hard at the Bratva boss.
With hardly any attempt, Pyotr grabbed Kristoff by the neck with one hand, lifted him up & slammed him against the wall. The ladies gasped in fright as Anna cried out his name as Kristoff felt his windpipe getting constricted.
"And how are you going to stop me, little man…tied up as you are?", Pyotr asked.
Despite his predicament, Kristoff still glared at him with pure hatred.
"Let him go, you filthy Russian bear!", Gus spat at him.
"Put him down now, monsieur!", Phillipe barked.
Glaring hard at them, Pyotr does indeed put Kristoff down – by letting him go as he hit the floor hard. The iceman gasped as he worked to get air into his lungs.
"Kristoff?", Anna, Elsa, Rapunzel, Merida & Eugene say.
"My god, he's strong!", Kristoff said hoarsely, getting himself upright with his legs.
Pyotr gave his 'captive audience' a glaring look before letting them know the bottom line.
"In one way or another, you people will grant me information I demand. I'd pay visit to your loved ones now if I had time. But luckily for you, I have auction to commence with. Therefore, you are to sit tight & remain silent: for each word any of you utters, the guard outside of room comes in & breaks finger of Miss Beatrice before moving on to arms & legs. In short, whether Stephanie here stays broken or unbroken depends entirely on you…beginning now."
Glares of hatred for the Russian man flared higher, their eyes scowling & teeth baring in deep abhorrence.
Pyotr was unaffected by it & he exits the room but issues a statement to the guard – a German mobster – to make sure his prisoners hear what he says.
"Stay on guard & carry out threat for every word that exits their lips", he announced.
"Yahwol", said the German mobster as Pyotr closed the door & looked at his prisoners with a sinister smile on his face, leaving them alone & in the dark.
Beneath the city:
They couldn't be contained any longer.
One by one, the eggs in a cavern underneath the streets of Paris began breaking open as the occupants started to emerge, their three pairs of legs stepping out & feeling freedom for the first time into the open.
Having such a voracious appetite, these creatures felt a strong presence of food not far from their position.
Unable to resist, they traveled as a group towards the source of what would be great sustenance for them to feast upon.
They will reach it in only a matter of minutes.
Inside the delivery truck, General Ernie & his party heard everything from the mini comms of Gus & Phillipe's group, from capturing their family members/friends to threatening to pay them a visit & get the information the Bratva boss desperately craves.
Ronald was furious over what he heard, with the rest having deep fear on the fates of Rapunzel & company.
"That filthy rat, sunuva…!", the General started to say.
"General, what do we do?", Patricia asks. "Once they sell that mutagen, the lives of Rapunzel & the others won't be worth beans to Pyotr!"
"And he will no doubt decide to come after us to get information about them!", Hidemi said, cuddling both her daughters who were scared…and not for themselves.
"Not to mention me!", Elinor said. "Thinking of what he'll do to my Merida is bad enough, & should he learn of our true nature…"
"Not to worry, folks", Ronald says. "I've predicted they might be caught, as did Elsa & company. That's why the Snow Queen & myself went & had a contingency plan in the works just in case."
"What kind of contingency plan did you & Elsa have in mind, General?", Nathan asked.
"This one", General Ernie says, switching frequencies on the mini comms until he found the one which he desired. "Come in, Olaf. This is the General, you read me?"
Olaf?!, the rest thought in wonder.
The Hotel ibis Paris Montmartre 18eme, Elsa & Merida's room:
Olaf & Pascal were left behind at the hotel as per the General's & Elsa's request. They were both informed of the plan just before they took off for the auction house, a two-way mini comm in the snowman's ear being the only contact with the group. For over an hour they received no word on their progress, making them worried.
All that changed when General Ernie's voice came on the mini comm.
"Come in, Olaf. This is the General, you read me?"
"Yeah, General! This is Olaf, standing by, sir!", the snowman replied as Pascal perked up.
"Listen up, my frosty friend: Elsa & the others have all been made by Pyotr & the other mobsters at the auction house & are now being held prisoner inside. I need for you & Pascal to get yourselves to the animals in the parking lot & over here to attempt a rescue operation. Copy?"
"Copy that, General Ernie, Sir! Pascal & I are on our way! Private Olaf reporting for duty, over & out!"
The communication was cut as Olaf & Pascal heard the sound of somebody on the other side, attempting to break in. The snowman & chameleon searched for the bag for Olaf to hide in but found it too far away to get inside in time before the door opened.
Snowman & lizard had to think fast.
The door opened to reveal a burly maid who came in for an evening cleaning with her equipment. As she began to sweep with her duster, she moved the bag that is used to conceal Olaf off the bed as she dusted before making it neat again. She then dusts the TV, desk & other areas as Olaf & Pascal watch from atop a shelf, their appearance unnoticed by the burly French maid.
Olaf lets out a silent sigh of relief just before Pascal gave out a slight sneeze from all the dust in the air.
"Gesundheit", Olaf said to his little friend before realizing his error.
Hearing a voice, the maid turned to see Olaf & Pascal next to the wall near the ceiling before she screamed in fear of seeing something she shouldn't come alive as both snowman and chameleon did the same, with all three running around the room & screaming in panic. Getting his bearings, Olaf suddenly remembered the mission & quickly snatched the bag before racing out of the hotel room with Pascal as the maid did the same shortly after, closing the door & taking off in a frenzy.
Now outside of their sanctuary, Olaf had to think fast lest he get discovered by anyone else & create more panic among the people.
Pascal made a grunt to Olaf & pointed him to something that would help to conceal them both.
Wasting no time, they ran for it.
Ground level floor:
The burly maid made it to the main floor of the hotel without screaming but was still hysterical underneath after seeing a living snowman as she worked, needing to see the manager – her boss – about it. When she was just down the hall from his office, she heard the manager yelling at one of his employees.
"Imbecile!", he snapped. "How dare you display such disorderly conduct with the guests! I won't tolerate it any further, & the next person I find who's been drinking on the job and/or found drunk is fired – no excuses! Understand, monsieur?! Now get out of here, & don't come back until you're sober!"
The man saluted before stumbling away.
Not wanting to get into hot water like her fellow employee, the burly maid went to the nearest window, opened it & took out her flask as she dumped its contents before anyone could see her.
From outside, an elderly man caught the spilled liquor in a large cup he held & a big smile on his face, not wanting to waste it.
Mentally thanking the mademoiselle, he took off with his newfound prize.
At another area:
Olaf hid inside the vase of a potted plant that sat in the hallway which looked to be his size. Puncturing two holes in the side enabling him to see, the snowman & chameleon navigated through the hotel inconspicuously, stopping when people were present & looking his way. Reaching the first level, Olaf remembered the way to the parking lot garage, where the animals were waiting.
Along the way, he passed by & bumped into a woman from behind in the rear before disappearing around the corner. Turning around, she snapped in her tongue at the man whose back was to her, believing he was the culprit. As he turned to face the irate woman, she slapped him across the face with her purse, knocking him down & out cold just before she stormed off, fuming.
The rest of their trek to the parking lot garage went without incident, & Maximus, Sven & Angus see a vase with a potted plant before it stops five feet in front of them. Olaf & Pascal emerge from the pottery, carrying the bag used to haul the snowman whenever they go traveling.
"Guys, Elsa & the others are in terrible danger, & we need to go help them!", Olaf says in a huff.
Maximus, Sven & Angus look at Olaf like he's something new, seeing the snowman still wore the plant atop his head. Olaf took notice & sighed in irritation before quickly shaking it off.
It was then that the animals became aware of the snowman's warning & went on alert as Sven took Olaf in the bag by the strap with his teeth once he entered it. The little lizard went upon Maximus' head like he usually does.
With Olaf & Pascal in tow, the three steeds race off to the rendezvous point, exactly as the General showed them.
They raced across the street at full speed, watching for cars & pedestrians along the way until they arrived at the General's truck minutes later. Maximus knocked on the rear doors with his front hoof as it opened on the first attempt.
Seeing their human friends made them smile, & vice versa.
"Maximus!", Patricia & Nathan called out.
"Sven!", Tajima, Hidemi, Akemi & Emiko called out.
"Angus!", Elinor called out.
Akemi took the bag from Sven's mouth & brought him inside. Olaf popped out like a Jack-in-the-box & became quite enthusiastic with seeing his friends again, along with helping Elsa & company.
Pascal jumped off Maximus' head & went inside the truck.
"Glad you & the animals could make it, Olaf!", General Ernie said. "Being filled in on the situation here, you two are the best candidates to help turn this all around in our favor!"
"Whatever you need, General, we'll do it!", Olaf said, standing at attention like any soldier. "You need Elsa & her friends rescued, am I right?"
"Right as rain, Frosty", Ronald says, gathering Elsa's specially-made guns & Merida's arrow quiver & bow in a bag which Olaf takes, placing it over his shoulder. "I need you & Pascal to get these weapons to Elsa & Merida before things can get too out of hand in there. Once you get inside, you'll be on your own until you've accomplished your task. You boys ready?"
Pascal stood on his hind legs & saluted, giving him the answer.
"Excellent!", Ronald said. "Now all we have to do is to get you two inside."
"If I may, General, I have an idea about that", Emiko says.
"Lay it on me, sweetheart", he replied with a smile as Emiko returned the favor.
One minute later:
It was a simple plan, & Sven & Maximus put it in play once Emiko laid out all the details.
The plan got implemented when both steeds casually walked up to the main gate as the reindeer held the bag on his antlers before they face away from the auction house & begin to pee on the sidewalk – right in front of the two men standing guard, getting an instant reaction from them.
Those in the truck couldn't help but to snicker at the scene, doing their best not to burst out laughing.
"Hey!", cried out the first man. "What are you two think you're doing?!"
"Yeah, are you both stupid or something?!", cried the second man. "If you need to pee, go over by the bushes & do your business!"
Maximus & Sven ignored the men & continued, having big smiles on their faces & making those on the two men redder with rage.
Opening the front gates, they draw their weapons & aim them at the animals' heads, both of whom continue to pee with smiles despite staring down death from behind.
"Hey!", said the first man. "What are you, deaf?! Didn't you hear what we said?!"
"Or do you want this little bathroom stop to be your very last?!", said the second man.
Sven & Maximus finally finish their business, leaving twin stains on the pavement as they scrape the spot with their hind hooves, causing the men to look down. When they do, both get walloped hard in the chin by a swift uppercut which knocks them out colder than wet mackerels, their limp bodies collapsing to the ground in double thuds.
Patricia, Elinor & Hidemi walk up to the animals as Sven placed the bag containing Olaf & Pascal onto the ground as said characters pop out to see the unconscious gangsters – and the urine stains close to them.
"Not a very subtle approach, is it, you guys?", Olaf asked, shouldering the bag containing weapons.
Sven & Maximus simply grin in satisfaction.
"Maybe not, Olaf…but they did get the results we wanted", Elinor said with a smile as she handcuffed one of the men with those supplied by Ronald, with Hidemi doing the same to the other.
"And now it's up to you two from this point on", Hidemi said. "Do whatever you have to in getting Elsa & Merida their weapons."
"And try to stay out of sight as much as you can in there, okay?", Patricia asks. "Who knows how Pyotr & those other gangsters will react to a living, talking snowman."
"Leave it to us, ladies!", Olaf said, turning to Pascal. "Ready, little buddy?"
Pascal nodded before the duo race off towards the auction house as Maximus grabbed one of the men in his teeth & tossed him upon Sven's back, with the reindeer doing the same with the other on the Andalusian's. Patricia used the bag to store their weapons in before heading back to the truck.
Each said a mental prayer to Olaf & Pascal, wishing them luck.
From within the basement:
The closer they get to this strange but powerful energy source, the more determined they are to get to it as their insect legs work overtime to get to their target. It was a pull they could not ignore, nor did they want to: never have they felt such a surge of energy that drew them ever closer, something they will get their grip on no matter what.
And any & all that stand in their way shall be eviscerated without mercy.
Onwards they scurried, reaching the basement doors that was left open when Gus & his group were ambushed by gangsters & marching through it like soldiers. Inside the auction house was where the stench of this energy felt its strongest, & seeing a staircase leading up & into the house itself, they scramble up it.
It wouldn't be long now.
The main auction room:
While the intruders were found, tied & placed in the room guarded by a lone German mobster, Pyotr got several people to get the barrel containing the mutagen from the basement floor & have it brought up to have it on display once the time was right. It took six men to haul it up the stairs, with one of them slipping & nearly stumbling in the attempt.
But as arduous as it was, they managed to get it inside on the ground floor, where it had been placed on a trolley & covered in a clean cloth before getting wheeled into the room. It was placed on the podium where Pyotr stood as he addressed his audience of each mob boss & their men, some of whom share a drink of French beer & of a very special concoction the Russian Bratva boss created himself, savoring its rich aroma.
Gavel in hand, he speaks into the microphone.
"Good evening, fellow gangsters & partners in crime!", he began. "First, I want to thank each & every one of you that were able to make it to this very special gathering here in beautiful Paris, France! And after an hour of some musical entertainment – and flushing out rats that wished to all but stop this auction…"
The gangsters shared a laugh from Pyotr's little joke before he commenced.
"We can now commence with tonight's main event! Gentlemen…"
The gangsters standing next to the prize to be auctioned pull off the cloth to unveil the barrel containing a highly volatile – yet valuable – substance inside. A chorus of 'ooohs' & aaahs' filled the room, impressed by the display.
Pyotr smiled as he went on.
"Comrades, in this barrel contains sample of alien mutagen used by Black Hole Aliens to create monsters Vertigo, Armadon & Bagorah that attacked our planet last year! Now, it comes to us in compact form to one lucky winner that bids highest price! Think of it, gentlemen: to create creatures completely under one's control by turning simple animal into giant monster that is obedient as any household pet! What's more, it is recently discovered that mutagen can also transform even people into creatures! Imagine having soldiers hundreds of feet tall that will carry out one's orders on a whim! One can invade & conquer countries with army of beasts if one prefers! Possibly even Godzilla & other monsters will fall under a might of multiple creatures you can create, with only limit being one's own imagination!"
Every gangster in the room – mob boss & otherwise – smiled at the notion/image of seeing the Monster King & all other monsters on the southern islands falling to armada of beasts they can create with possibly even a simple drop of offered mutagen.
Pyotr seemed pleased with their reaction as he now asks the question that will really get the ball rolling.
"And now, gentlemen…how much am I bid?", he addressed the crowd, pointing with his gavel.
The response was immediate.
"Five hundred thousand!", said the Polish Pruszkow boss.
"That's chicken feed! I'll bet a million!", said the Greek mob boss.
"I bet two million!", said the Irish mob boss.
"I vill raise it to four!", said the German mob boss.
"I'll see your four & raise it to five!", said the Chinese Triad boss.
The bidding price went higher & higher with each announcement.
The top floor:
Making as little noise as possible, Elsa used her ice power to attack the strands of her rope, making them brittle & finally getting herself free before rising up & doing the same to Merida's. Elsa took her time to make it seem to their friends Phillipe, Dennis & Stephanie that she was attempting to unravel them with her fingers, keeping her ice powers a secret as long as possible. Getting Merida free, she then concentrated on Gus before the Snow Queen & Scottish agent head over to the door as Elsa pointed to her open mouth then to Eugene, who got the idea & nodded.
"Get these ropes off! They burn!", he said so the guard outside could hear, which he does.
"Zat vill get ze fraulein six broken fingers! You haf been varned!", the German mobster said, opening the door & stepping inside.
Once he does, Merida grabbed his gun, tossed it aside & threw him inside before she lands a series of well-placed punches & kicks which all but disoriented the German man, giving him no chance to fighting back before Merida puts a foot to the man's face in a move that snaps his neck, killing him instantly.
The German mobster fell to the floor in a heap like a rag doll.
"Wow!", Dennis & Stephanie say in a low voice.
"Magnifique, Mademoiselle Merida Fleming!", Phillipe said with a smile, very impressed.
"I had some very good teachers!", Merida exclaimed, getting grins from all.
"Well, little miss James Bond, now that you took care of that Nazi wannabe, how about you, Gus & Elsa getting us out of these ropes, if you please?", Dennis asked.
"You only need to ask, mate!", Gus says, clicking his shoes together as a six-inch blade protrudes from each one before the British agent took them off & tossed one to Merida. Immediately they get to work in freeing Stephanie, Anna, Rapunzel, Eugene, Dennis & Phillipe with blades that were sharp as razors, cutting through them like they were warm butter. Elsa freed her sister & Kristoff with her ice confidentially, being the last two.
"Everyone okay?", asked Gus, putting on his shoes after contracting the blades in each one & grabbing the fallen German mobster's weapons & ammo.
"Aside from a cut in our circulation, we're dandy", Kristoff said, moving his arms to get the blood flowing again. "They really tide us tight!"
"No worries, Kristoff", Anna said. "As we're moving to get ourselves downstairs, we'll feel much better before we know it."
"And we'll need to be at our best if we're to have any chance in stopping that auction!", Eugene said.
"But first, we should get Dennis & Stephanie out of harm's way!", Rapunzel said. "If those men get their hands on either of them again…"
"Agreed, Rapunzel", Elsa said. "Phillipe, once we get to the first floor…"
"I shall get these two out of the house & away from their grip before rejoining you", the French agent said as Elsa nodded her thanks.
"Let's lead the way, Elsa!", Merida says as Elsa nodded again, with Gus & Phillipe bringing up the rear, followed by everyone else.
It was time to put this auction out of business!
First floor hallway:
Getting into the house wasn't too difficult for Olaf & Pascal: finding a window that wasn't locked gave the duo an unrestricted access within, the bag containing Elsa & Merida's weapons slung over the snowman's shoulders as they stealthily tiptoed through the house for any sign of their friends that were discovered by Pyotr & the other gangsters & taken prisoner.
The duo vowed they wouldn't stay their prisoners for long.
Amazingly, they've not seen even one gangster this whole time.
But they knew better not to press their luck, so onward they went.
"So far so good, Pascal", Olaf said in a whisper-like voice. "Not a single creep in sight. Let's go find Elsa & the others so they can end this auction before we run into any creatures that are creepy, scary, hideously ugly…"
Neither realized they approached the door that lead down to the basement when it opened slowly with a creak.
Olaf & Pascal also heard a chitinous sound that caused them to turn, only to find themselves face-to-face with a horde of 'creepy, scary, hideously ugly' creatures with glowing green eyes & drooling mandibles capable of tearing a man asunder with ease. Their eyes & mouths slowly but surely opened wide as they stare at the nightmares that were now doing the same back.
Pascal's skin color turned a bright yellow in fear.
The main auction room:
Each mob boss kept raising the price in an attempt to outbid the other, the action getting more frantic the higher the price went. So far, they've reached up to 80 million dollars from the most recent bidder.
"Eighty-five million!", said the British mob boss.
"Ninety million!", said the French Milieu boss.
"Ninety-five million!", said the Japanese Yakuza boss.
During the brief pause, Pyotr prepares to close the deal, believing the Yakuza boss could be the winner.
"I hear ninety-five million!", he announced, raising his gavel. "One hundred million, do I hear any bids for one hundred million? Anybody? Ninety-five million, going once, going twice…"
"One hundred million!", said the American mob boss, opening his suitcase to show the money inside.
Seeing the money already in hand closed the deal.
"Sold!", Pyotr cried out, pounding his gavel once. "For one hundred million, the prize is awarded to my country's longtime rival, the Americans!"
Mumbles of disappointment & disapproval filled the room, with insults like 'what a crock!' from the British mob boss & 'I can't believe his luck!' from the Irish mob boss.
"Now, now, gentlemen…no sore losers!", the American mob boss joked as he presented Pyotr the money, which he gladly took as they shared a chuckle.
"Congratulations, comrade!", Pyotr announced. "You are now proud owner of alien mutagen! All that I ask is for you not have your monsters go romping all over my homeland any time soon!"
"And why would I do a thing like that?", asked the American mobster in a nonchalant/innocent manner.
The room was filled with laughter, including Pyotr & the winner of the auction before they shook hands.
"Hey! Does anybody else hear that?", said an Irish mobster as the room became silent.
Listening intently, they could hear a whine that rose in volume with each passing second. It sounded like a pair of voices – one a person, the other a loud croaking noise – that was heading directly for the room. Getting their weapons ready & believing they were under attack, the gangsters & mob bosses aimed their guns at the rear of the room.
In a blinding instant, Olaf & Pascal crashed through the door on one end, ran across the room & through the door on the opposite side. On that collision, the snowman dropped both his stick arms & weapons bag as Pascal stared at the men in the room, waving with an uneasy smile. Realizing he dropped his stash & little friend, Olaf re-entered the room & went over to re-attach his arms while picking up the satchel.
He stared at the gangsters in the room, smiling uneasy himself.
"Sorry, boys…lost my stash here for a bit!", Olaf said casually. "How you all doing this evening?"
The snowman let out a nervous giggle before rushing out the opposite door, disappearing from sight.
Every gangster in the room – Pyotr included – stared at the area where Olaf passed through, dropped his personal belongings, retrieved them & exited with faces that all looked like they've just seen ghosts: wide eyes & mouths which were mostly agape.
For thirty seconds, nobody could more or talk until several of them rubbed/blinked their eyes, shook/smacked the side of their heads, believing what they'd just seen was something of a hallucination.
The Italian Cosa Nostra boss was the first to speak as he turned to Pyotr.
"What didyou put in this drink, signor?!", he asked, pointing to his cup.
His remark caused everyone in the room to face him with quizzical looks.
"Si!", said the Mexican La eMe boss. "It makes us imagine we're looking at living, talking snowmen rather than large dancing pink elephants!"
Everybody waited for Pyptr to offer an explanation.
For the first time in his life, the Russian Bratva boss was speechless & unable to provide an answer.
He wouldn't have had time to anyway: moments after Olaf & Pascal vacated the room, it was invaded once again by another group of uninvited guests as everyone turned to see something unimagined in their worst nightmares. The room was filling up with large 2-meter-tall insects, sporting a brown exoskeleton, large green eyes, mandibles that had sharp teeth, & three pairs of limbs with the front ones sporting large claws that grasp prey with incredible strength.
Most of the men believed they were hallucinating again, but Pyotr knew better.
What they were looking at was no hallucination.
"Everybody. Don't. Move", he warned, keeping his voice steady as can be.
More of the insects came in as men slowly but surely raised their weapons, ready to fire despite Pyotr's warning.
The Russian mobster shook his head vehemently to stop the men, but it was too late: in speeds that belied their size, these insects rushed directly at the first few gangsters that quickly overwhelmed them as they screamed in terror while being killed, getting only a few shots off.
Pandemonium ensued as the men were engaged in combat with the insects, firing bullets at the oncoming horrors but barely slowing them down before meeting a grisly demise. Even more of the insects entered the room, advancing towards the gangsters, all of whom were falling like dominoes under their power as the floor looked like it was alive.
Sensing the energy they seek was inside the room, a half-dozen of the creatures approached the barrel containing the mutagen had been met by the American mob boss, who wasn't going to let the things have something in which he's paid a pretty penny for. Using his powerful .357 Magnum, he blasted away at each creature in the head, falling them like bowling pins & spraying their ichor everywhere.
But for each one he took down, two more took their place.
In no time he was overwhelmed, screaming as he fell under their weight & power.
Not wanting to share his comrades' fate, Pyotr made for a hasty exit at the door located at the front of the room.
Losing the mutagen was nothing compared to losing his life, even though it was painful to the Russian man.
Making it out into the hallway, Pyotr pulled out a pair of large bowie knives he's concealed under his suit, ready to do battle with any of the large insects that dare to come his way. From outside the room, he could hear the screams of all the other mobsters & the sounds of the monster insects killing each one mixed in with gunfire.
Hearing their cries of agony, Pyotr made a cross gesture over his chest in honor of the fallen.
A chitinous noise from above caught the Russian man at attention as Pyotr looked up to see three of the insects on the ceiling like geckos before they dropped down on the floor to confront the Bratva boss. Pyotr struck first with his bowie knives, stabbing the nearest one on the top of its head as deep as he could. With his other one, he sliced the neck of another that bled like a faucet before stabbing it in the eye.
Both fell dead to the floor as the third one advanced towards him.
Pyotr dodged to one side & brought down both his knives into the back of the creature as he briefly rode the beast like a cowboy at a rodeo. Repeated stabbings from his knives brought the thing down before Pyotr decided to get out of the auction house before he gets overwhelmed by more of those horrors than even he can handle.
He raced for the nearest exit.
At another part of the house:
Keeping their senses on full alert, Elsa & Merida lead the group to the first floor of the auction house when they all heard the sounds of guns shooting & men screaming before being silenced.
It gave a chill to each one.
"What are those men shooting at?", wondered Anna.
"And what's killing them?", wondered Kristoff.
"Whatever it is, let's make sure Dennis & Stephanie are not part of the casualties", Eugene said, turning to Phillipe as he nods.
"Agreed, Monsieur", the French agent said. "Come: let's get you both away from the danger, yes?"
Dennis & Stephanie nodded as Phillipe lead the duo towards the nearest exit & were gone in seconds.
The sounds of carnage were dying down, making everyone nervous as they have no idea on what to expect next.
From one door over, it gets roughly opened by Olaf as he & Pascal were still crying out in fear before they stopped abruptly when they discovered who it was.
"Olaf?", the group say in unison.
"Pascal!", Rapunzel says, glad to see her little friend who made his way to & got on her shoulder.
"Not that we're not happy to see you guys, but…what are you two doing here?", Gus asked.
When Olaf replied, it was in rapid succession.
"Everyone! We were both asked by General Ernie & Elsa to come down here & bring your gear to you, when all of a sudden we were besieged by these ravenous bugs, & we ran away into the room of the auction where we dropped your gear – accidentally, mind you – and went back to pick it up before the men were all screaming for help, & they…"
"Whoa, calm down, Olaf!", Elsa said, stopping the snowman. "Did you say 'bugs'? Was that exactly what had been killing those men?"
"Yeah. Gangsters or not, I couldn't help but feel bad for them, you know?"
"Olaf…please tell us those men didn't actually see you!", Kristoff pleaded.
"Uh, well…maybe just a teensy bit."
Eugene & Kristoff slapped their foreheads & shook them briefly.
"Aw, don't worry about it too much, kids", Gus assured them. "What's important is that he brought the girls their gear, so on that particular note…"
"Oh yeah…here!", Olaf says, handing Elsa & Merida the bag containing their weapons as the Snow Queen dug in & took out her specially-made guns which she placed her hands into. Merida took out her bow & quiver of arrows, placing the latter over her shoulder when they were suddenly struck by a stench which hit everyone's nostrils.
It was the smell of urine, & only one of them could be the culprit.
"Pascal", Elsa & Merida say, turning to the little chameleon.
"Did you pee on their weapons, little guy?", Rapunzel asked her friend.
Pascal's cheeks turned red from embarrassment & he cringed on Rapunzel's shoulder.
"Dude…not cool!", Eugene said, pointing an accusing finger at him.
"Come on, you guys…Pascal didn't mean to", Anna says with a little smile. "Those bugs he saw no doubt scared the poor little guy, & he reacted as anybody probably would in that situation."
Then Anna saw a sight that froze her body.
"Like I might do in a few seconds!", she says in utter fear.
Everyone turned to where Anna was staring at & gasped at the sight of said insects as they filled the hallway like a living tide, each one eyeing the group as their next meal.
"Blimey!", Gus said, bringing up his weapons.
"Whoa!", Kristoff, Eugene & Rapunzel say.
Olaf yelped as a child would before running behind his friends as Pascal hid in Rapunzel's hair.
Merida & Elsa kept their composure & raised their weapons.
"Get behind us, everyone! Elsa…!", Merida says.
Elsa nodded & fired her ice through her hollow guns, striking the insects & freezing them into lifeless statues as parts of the hallway also became frozen.
"Got them! Merida…you're up at bat!", Elsa said.
"That I am!", Merida replied, getting an arrow & pulling back on her bow before letting it fly. The projectile hit the frozen swarm & blasted them into pieces along with a portion of the hallway. Those that Elsa & Merida didn't get retreated, being well out of range.
"Quick…let's follow them!", Elsa said, immediately giving chase as the rest followed.
As quickly & quietly as they could, the group followed the insects over to the door leading to the basement.
"That was where we found the mutagen!", Eugene said.
"In the basement!", Kristoff adds. "But we never knew those bugs alsocame from there!"
"Unless…let's take a quick look, kids!", Gus said. "I have a strange feeling I know exactly where they came from!"
"Stay close!", Elsa warned as she took point with Merida & entered the room leading to the basement, descending the stairs. As they reached the floor, they saw a pair of doors swung open with a trail of drool they've been following which leads through the opening. With their weapons drawn, Elsa & Merida took a peek inside.
It was a tunnel that lead underneath the city.
"I bloody well thought so!", Gus said. "These doors were cordoned off when we first came down here, but never did we realize they lead straight into a bloody tunnel beneath the city! No wonder it was off-limits!"
"Then they couldn't be mutations from the mutagen…could they?", wondered Anna.
"Whatever they are, Anna, we'd better get topside & tell the General & everyone else about this!", Elsa said. "But before we do that…"
Nodding, Gus closed the doors before stepping back for Elsa to seal them shut with a wall of ice.
"Good thinking, Elsa: that should keep them there until we come back with reinforcements!", Eugene says.
"Let's head upstairs, kids!", Gus said as they all nodded & did exactly that.
This night was only getting started.
On street level:
Having run into no more of the large man-eating insects, Pyotr managed to get to the safety of the outside & onto city streets. Using the bushes for cover, he cleaned his suit up as best he could to leave as little trace of insect blood/ichor as possible, placing his bowie knives back into concealment under his suit.
Waiting a bit before moving on to make sure none of the insects were pursuing him, Pyotr was satisfied after one minute before walking away from the auction house like it was a typical evening in Paris.
As he stepped out of the bushes & approached Avenue Montaigne, he was punched in the side of his throat hard by Kristoff, causing him to collapse & cough/gasp for air.
"Now you know how it feels, mister!", Kristoff barked as Anna & Eugene held him back from doing any further damage to the Russian man.
Pyotr struggled to get air into him as his blurry vision came back into focus, seeing Gus & his group standing a mere few feet away, with Elsa, Merida & Gus aiming their weapons at him. Hearing footsteps behind him, Pyotr turned to see General Ernie, the adults, Maximus, Sven & Angus approaching the Bratva boss, stopping several feet from him as Ronald aimed a Glock pistol directly at him, with Phillipe aiming a rifle. Olaf hid & the bushes & out of sight.
Every face on both humans & animals scowled & stared at the man with contempt.
Despite being surrounded with weapons pointed at him, Pyotr couldn't resist chuckling as he saw the irony of it.
"I admit – I've not seen that coming!", he says, grinning as he looked to Kristoff. "Good hit, Kristoff Sugimoto – one of best I ever received!"
"If you want another one, mister…", Kristoff started to say, his fists clenched.
"Whoa there, Kristoff – let's not make it easy for him", Eugene said.
Angry as he was, Kristoff stayed put.
Pyotr turned to the Snow Queen.
"Those are some impressive guns, Miss Elsa Sugimoto!", he says, spreading his arms out. "They hardly make a sound!"
"You have no idea how 'impressive' they truly are!", Elsa said with malice.
"Are you going to freeze me with them?"
"I would certainly love to, so don't tempt me! Get up!"
Keeping his arms out, Pyotr rose to his feet. Through it all, he kept the smile on his face.
"The Benice, Fleming & Sugimoto families – all together!", Pyotr says as is the weapons aimed at him weren't even there. "It's quite an honor to meet all of you in person!"
"I wish we could say the same of you, Pyotr Lipovsky!", Nathan said.
"You've been keeping a close eye on us ever since we've arrivedin Russia, haven't you?!", Patricia says.
Pyotr's smile & slight chuckle was all the answer the group needed.
"You monster!", Hidemi snapped. "You're the one who really orchestrated that theft of Godzilla's blood & tissue samples in the Sea of Japan! And when you learned of our observation of it…"
"I'm afraid I've no reference on what you speak of, Miss Hidemi Sugimoto", Pyotr says.
"Don't even try to play that card with us, Pyotr!", Tajima says. "You've broken international law in getting your mitts on the creature's blood, sacrificing the lives of your own men to get it! And when we were in Russia, you dared to endanger the lives of my friends and my family when we got a little too close to the truth! Only somebody of your vast resources could pull off such a feat!"
"I'm hardly the only one with multiple resources, Tajima Sugimoto. Anybody in possession of such wealth like mine could commit a theft like that. You all simply stuck your noses where they didn't belong."
"When crimes are committed in our neck of the woods, you can bet that we're going to interfere in one's affairs, Pyotr!", Akemi says. "When Malvina mentioned your name, we should've known that you were behind it all, even if the three rogue pilots of MOGUERA never mentioned it in their confession!"
"And that theft of the mutagen from Bagorah's tail sample – you and Kazimir Volkov were working together to get your hands on it!", Emiko adds. "You didn't 'cut him loose' from your organization like you told Boris Romanoff! You each had your own plans for that mutagen – Kazimir for his experiments, & you for making a profit from it!"
Pyotr laughed at the young Japanese lady.
"You have no concrete evidence to support your claims, little Emiko Sugimoto. But I should say: such intelligent young ladies you have, professor. They no doubt do you proud", Pyotr says, laughing a little bit more. Nobody so much as smirked at the man's attempt at humor.
"You really are a most despicable man, Pyotr Lipovsky!", Elinor says. "That mutagen caused enough trouble for Earth when the Black Hole Aliens had it! And now you dare to go & sell it to another like yourself who's eager to profit from human suffering?! You gangsters are no better than Mugal & his people!"
"I'll say he isn't, Mum!", Merida says, pulling back on her bow. "I've got a good mind to simply blow you to bloody pieces for the trouble you've caused us and the world, Pyotr: this arrow has a powerful explosive to do exactly that, so give me one reason as to why I shouldn't just let this fly!"
"Miss Merida Fleming – you'd be so cold-hearted as to blow away an unarmed man?", Pyotr asked. "That isn't very honorable, my dear. Russian Bratva is all about honor."
"We neither need nor want a lecture of honor from you, Monsieur Pyotr!", Phillipe says. "You have made many mistakes since this whole ordeal began, but the worst mistake of all? Bringing that mutagen filth here – to my country! You have the utmost gall to smuggle that garbage into my homeland, only to have it auctioned as if it were the Mona Lisa! Sorry, monsieur – not on my watch! Therefore, you will compliantly take us to that mutagen so that we may take it off your hands!"
"I'm very sorry, 'monsieur', but I'm afraid I can't do that."
"Can't – or won't?!", Gus says. "Because if it's the latter, I'm pretty sure I can persuade you to be a little more cooperative, mate! Or maybe you'd like to have Maximus and/or Sven here to make you change your mind!"
Said Andalusian & reindeer lower their heads & snorted angrily, their faces like bulls ready to charge.
And Angus isn't any pushover either!, Merida thought.
Pyotr was impressed by their behavior but unafraid.
"You misunderstand, Gus Fleming", the Russian man said. "It's not so much that I won't – it's because I actually can't."
The group was somewhat puzzled by Pyotr's remark.
"Explain!", Anna & Rapunzel said.
"It's like this, Anna Sugimoto, Rapunzel Benice", Pyotr began. "When those giant insects attacked my party, I've managed to barely escape with my life. During the chaos, I saw several of them actually pick up & carry heavy barrel containing mutagen like it was nothing. Wherever they went with it, I wish I could say."
The information Pyotr gave them sent a chill down the spines of Gus & the kids, remembering where they had all retreated to. It was a bad situation that was starting to become even worse.
"But what I can say is…", Pyotr went on. "Should those insects begin feeding on that mutagen & turn into worse monsters than they already are, Paris could be in even greater danger than originally anticipated. So, when you think of it, I'm really not the problem anymore…am I?"
"Don't you worry your red rear end about those overgrown cockroaches, Pyotr!", General Ernie said, "We'll take care of & exterminate them before they can cause any real damage to this city! But that still doesn't leave you off the hook in the slightest! Thus, we are placing you under arrest as of this moment for the multiple crimes of…"
Ronald was cut off in mid-sentence when the ground started trembling, beginning as a slight tremor before getting more violent. Everyone in the city started wondering where it was originating as they all struggled to escape from their homes & keep their balance. From the center of Place Francois 1er, large cracks split the pavement as terrified people scramble away from the streets & their homes, lest they fall in to their deaths and/or crushed from above by debris.
Most were fortunate but there are an unlucky handful that do fall into the cracks as they scream in horror. Others in buildings that couldn't get out in time were also gobbled up by the earth beneath their feet, followed by bikes, cars & other objects that weren't fast enough to escape a plummet.
Without warning, a geyser of earth & rubble erupted, sending large chunks of it flying everywhere. Buildings & vehicles were crushed from above wherever they landed. The Benice, Fleming & Sugimoto families & their friends all took cover to avoid getting flattened. One piece of earth came close to burying the animals but Maximus, Sven & Angus managed to escape death, if barely.
As soon as this mini eruption began, it stopped.
In its place was a sight that made many people gasp in horror: a large winged dragonfly of a monster hovered in the air at a height of 150 meters, its body length reaching 70 meters with a wingspan at a full 100 meters from one end to the other. Its body consisted of a dark purple hue with yellow on the tips of its rear spines, wing supports, head & large pointed crab-like claws. A stinger protruded on the end of its segmented tail, & three pairs of legs jutted out from underneath the thorax along with the twin large claws that can both grasp & stab. Its head was shaped somewhat like an arrowhead, with red oval eyes & a mouth full of sharp teeth that were visible even when closed.
Clenched within its maw was something Pyotr recognized even from a distance.
The mutagen…my mutagen!, he thought with displeasure.
Tossing its head up, the monster opened its maw & bit down on the barrel of mutagen as it swallowed it whole in one gulp before letting out a horrible screech that sounded like multiple nails on a chalkboard. In moments, the beast glowed briefly all over as the mutagen took effect on it not on the outside, but from inside: the stinger on its tail started to glow a bright yellow before emitting a beam of energy that struck the buildings along Cours Albert 1, demolishing them in fiery blasts & killing many people. From the inside of its mouth, a crimson surge of energy lit up before a ball of energy shot forth like a cannonball that streaked across the sky before hitting the MTP Invest building, blasting it to flaming pieces & killing many of its occupants as survivors run & scream in panic.
Letting out another screech, the dragonfly creature – named long ago as the queen Megaguirus – discovered she likes the new abilities the mutagen had given her, & thus will be sure to put them to some very good use.
From the depths of Megaguirus' primal instincts, the winged horror senses immediate danger approaching the area & she started flapping her wings at a rapid pace, creating a high frequency magnetic wave that caused people to cover their ears, being a very irritating sound. Even Maximus, Sven, Angus & Pascal were affected by the sound & the animals neigh/grunt loudly, with the chameleon also covering his ears.
Olaf, on the other hand, was broken into several pieces by the sonic wave & fell to the ground as a head, two body parts, legs & arms.
Okay…this is getting monotonous!, Olaf thought with an irritated face before working on getting himself literally together again.
Megaguirus took off along Rue Francois 1er at a great speed, her vibrations causing buildings to get blown apart as debris flew everywhere. Reaching Avenue George V, Megaguirus turned left & entered the Chaillot District, causing more destruction as she passed by before going northwest & rising higher, ceasing her vibrations.
The dragonfly queen's current course was taking her in the direction of the English Channel.
"Everyone okay?!", General Ernie cried out once Megaguirus was gone beyond their sights.
Each one of them announced that they were, even if there was still a slight buzzing in their ears.
"Wait a minute…where'd Pyotr run off to?!", Eugene said, looking everywhere with the rest.
He was nowhere to be seen.
"He would run off in all the confusion, the coward!", Rapunzel stated.
"I know how you feel, sweetie, but as much as it pains us, we'll have to let him go for now", Ronald says.
"Pyotr had been right about one thing", Stephanie stated. "That creature – whatever it was – poses an even bigger problem than he is at the moment."
"What was that thing anyway?!", Dennis says.
"Megaguirus", said a pair of female voices.
From behind a piece of debris a pair of six-inch ladies stepped out from hiding & came forward to greet the group. Both wore identical orange dresses & sported long jet-lack hair with a flower placed on one side.
Dennis, Phillipe & Stephanie were wide-eyed at the little ladies, having never seen them before until now.
But for the rest, they were as familiar as their own names.
"The Shobijin!", they said.
"You actually…know these little beauties?", Stephanie asks as they nodded.
Pascal ran down to the ground & went to the ladies, bowing in a true gentleman-like manner, making the Shobijin smile pleasingly.
"It is good to see you too, Pascal, everybody", they said before their demeanor turned serious. "But we came to warn you all of a great evil that has reawakened. Needless to say, we were too late."
"This creature we've just seen – Megaguirus – you ladies know of it?", asked Phillipe as the Shobijin nodded.
"She's an enemy that Mothra faced many years before", they began. "It was during the closing days of Napoleon's rule of France. Mothra & Megaguirus fought as fiercely with each other as the Allies did against the French statesman's army: it was even this battle between the two creatures that inadvertently helped overthrow him. During their conflict, Megaguirus had laid waste to countless combatants on both sides, using her own soldiers – insects called the Meganuron – that are very violent in nature & show enemies no quarter or mercy. These insects also mature into winged creatures called the Meganula, capable of draining energy from other creatures & delivering it to their queen Megaguirus. Once powerful enough, she can fly at great speeds, creating a sonic wave that can destroy buildings & topple most foes. Her stinger at the end of her tail can be used to stick an enemy with & drain them of their energy & possess their abilities. Megaguirus did this to Mothra in their battle, nearly beating her to death with her own weapons until she turned the tide & defeated this horrible monster here in Paris, where it was assumed she was destroyed for good."
"Unfortunately, ladies, your claims of Megaguirus' death was greatly exaggerated", said Gus.
"And these Meganuron insects as you call them – they sprout wings & fly in due time?", Elinor asked.
"Correct, Elinor Fleming", the Shobijin confirm.
"Those insects that retreated into the tunnel of the auction house's basement…", Anna began.
"They're currently only at their first stage!", Kristoff said. "If they get topside in either form…"
"Paris could be overrun with those creatures!", Eugene put in. "This city will be like an all-you-can-eat buffet to them!"
"Merida, we'd better get those reinforcements Eugene mentioned & head back down to that basement & follow those things to their lair to take them out before that happens!", Elsa said.
"Agreed, Elsa!", Merida replied. "But first…perhaps we should do that in something more suited for combat than our dresses, wouldn't you say?"
The ladies look at their attire & share a grin of half-embarrassment. The group couldn't help but chuckle slightly.
"Not to worry, ladies", General Ernie says. "Thankfully, the truck's okay, & inside is where better attire for you both awaits! So…what say you go in for a quick wardrobe change?"
"While you ladies do so, I will contact my people & have them join us in exterminating these irksome insects", Phillipe said, getting on his cell phone & speaking in his tongue to an official before hanging up.
"The General & I will also be joining this little party, Phillipe", Gus said, getting a nod from him.
"I suspected as much from you & the General, Gus Fleming. As we prepare for the literal bug hunt, I suggest the rest of you allow to be escorted by some of my men. They know of a perfect place to take you where you'll be protected from the upcoming fight."
"Fair enough, Phillipe", Nathan said, getting nods from the rest. "Just as with you & the rest, I have no reason to believe that Megaguirus wouldn't come back here."
"I concur, Nathan Benice. My people will be here in about thirty to forty minutes as they set up defenses around the city for her inevitable return."
While they were consulting, Anna & Rapunzel spotted Olaf in the bushes & signaled for him to come over & hop in the bag before he could be seen by Phillipe or anyone else. The snowman nodded & looked around to make sure that nobody could see him before he quickly dashed towards the bag & dived in like a champion swimmer.
Anna quickly zipped it up & shouldered it, looking completely innocent.
Elsa, Merida & the others had to smile before they became all business.
"Maximus & Sven will accompany us as we go bug hunting", Elsa said.
"As for you, Angus…I want you going with my Mum & the rest when Phillipe's men take them to safety", Merida says. "Understand?"
The Clydesdale nodded with a neigh, stating he does.
You are quite an intelligent creature, Angus, Stephanie thought with a smile.
"Go get changed, girls…we're going bug hunting!", Gus said.
Grinning, Elsa & Merida head for the truck to do precisely that.
The English Channel, one hour later:
Megaguirus flew over the French landscape, causing mayhem & destruction underneath with her sonic wave that also claimed many lives in the process as they were hit with no warning & no chance of reaching safety before disaster struck. Areas like Forges-les-Eaux & Dieppe suffered heavy destruction & life loss as the dragonfly queen followed the massive threat which drew her towards the waters of the English Channel.
An array of French SEPECAT Jaguar fighter jets raced in to attack the monster & bring it down, but Megaguirus' tail beam made short work of them as jet after jet were blown to bits, leaving very few survivors. Whatever machine gun fire and/or missiles that were lucky enough to hit the flying horror exploded harmlessly against her exoskeleton.
Now Megaguirus reached her destination without any further opposition as the scent of danger was strongest.
From 600 meters out, the water churned white in two places as something rose from beneath in each: the first one displayed three rows of large spiked dorsal spines that were bone white at the edges, while the second one was a shell of large pointed spikes. Both rose up from underneath to reveal Godzilla & Anguirus – a sight that made Megaguirus halt & hover in mid-air from 200 meters away, having found the source of trouble she sensed from Paris.
The dragonfly queen screeched as Godzilla & Anguirus unleashed boisterous ear-shattering roars that could be heard for miles. Already they could tell this winged creature was a threat to them both, having sensed her malevolent presence just as Megaguirus could of Godzilla & Anguirus. The trio of monsters continued with bellowing threatening roars/screeches at each other, taunting them to make the first move.
It was Megaguirus that does so: from her mouth, she shot forth several crimson balls of energy that struck both Godzilla & Anguirus in the chest, face & shoulders, exploding with powerful blasts that stung the monsters. Godzilla & Anguirus cried out from the hits, having portions of their flesh charred. The Monster King retaliated with his heat ray, aiming it straight for Megaguirus who dodged it with ease before whipping her tail forward & firing a stream of yellow energy. It hit Godzilla across his chest, causing flesh to be scarred & him to bellow in pain & rage.
Anguirus was also hit by this energy beam, but the spiked creature lowered his head & allowed his shell to take the brunt of it. While it sizzled & smoked, the beam did not penetrate his shell or spikes anywhere.
Being distracted from the pain, Megaguirus flew in close to Godzilla & raked at him on the shoulder, cutting him deep that made him bleed & cry out before getting more hits from behind by Megaguirus' crimson ball attack.
Doing a 180 degree turn in a speed that belied his size, Godzilla fired his heat ray at the dragonfly queen, only to miss her entirely as Megaguirus flew off to avoid getting scorched. Multiple blasts from her tail caused Godzilla to go head-first into the water as he disappears from sight. Following his example, Anguirus does the same, not wanting to be easy pickings for the flying horror.
Megaguirus screeched in annoyance at this little game of hide-&-seek, showing her disdain by firing blasts from both her tail & mouth simultaneously at the areas she saw her prey last. Unfortunately for her, Megaguirus has hit only water as she is unable to enter the drink, knowing she'd drown as most insects would if immersed.
All she can do is keep a sharp eye out for either or both of her intended prey, ready to blast away at the first sign of Godzilla and/or Anguirus.
Godzilla launched a counteroffensive by firing his heat ray from beneath the waves, striking Megaguirus from her underside & stunning her temporarily. It gave Anguirus the perfect moment to strike: like a crocodile rising to catch an unlucky bird, the spiked creature splashed up from underneath his hiding place & snatched Megaguirus by the tail as the dragonfly queen screeched, feeling her tail end getting caught in vice-like jaws. Anguirus pulled her down with him, intending to drown the winged insect like an overgrown rat.
No matter how hard she tried, Megaguirus could not escape the monster's maw, which was like a bulldog's.
Godzilla rose up & lit his rear dorsal spines to prepare in firing his primary weapon.
Thinking fast, Megaguirus launched a crimson energy ball from her mouth, striking between Anguirus & her tail end, severing it from the rest. Anguirus was caught off-guard by the unexpected hit & was thrown backwards into the English Channel as Megaguirus flew off, missing Godzilla's heat ray by mere seconds & inches.
Her tail end, however, was another story: Godzilla's weapon hit & scorched Megaguirus' appendage, creating a smoking scab wound that ceased the blood/ichor flow. The winged horror screeched in pain, having been made to lose one of her primary weapons. She vowed to make Godzilla and his partner suffer immensely for this outrage.
Both combatants faced each other in pure hatred as Godzilla waded closer to shore when the water churned only 120 meters away, revealing Anguirus – and another new creature.
Godzilla & Megaguirus eyed this newcomer with curiosity, temporarily forgetting about one another as this new beast made its way to shore at the Aquatic Centre, stepping on structures underneath its four-toed clawed feet. It turned around to face the trio of monsters for them to have a good look at it: the monster was a bipedal beast, standing a good 75 meters tall & sporting orange fur all over its body with patches of white fur on its feet, chest/stomach, underneath its arms & paws, & covering the outer rims of its mouth. A thick black stripe formed from its nose all the way down its back to where the tiger-like tail began. Its forearms were long & powerful, sporting paws that had five clawed fingers capable of ripping through even the toughest steel. Like its eyes, the head was in the shape of a wild cat of prey like a tiger or panther's, & its mouth contained sharp teeth. A pair of fangs protruded from both its jaws, with the ones on top being much longer than the ones below.
In all, this new creature looked to be a hominoid Smilodon – the famed 'saber-toothed tiger' that lived during the Pleistocene era from 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago.
It eyed Godzilla, Anguirus & Megaguirus with suspicion, hatred & intrigue.
The dragonfly queen didn't feel a threat from this new beast & approached it as she began communicating with it. Sensing something primal yet similar in nature to the winged horror, the Smilodon beast communicated back, saying it was already an enemy of the spiked creature it first battled weeks ago in another land, & feels a threat from the larger one with the dorsal spines on its back.
Both dragonfly & predatory cat creature were consulting well, creating a trust between them.
Somewhere beneath the Earth:
The bipedal Smilodon creature was being monitored by those that grew, nurtured & cared for it.
"Very nice!", said the leader. "Not only is Slashfang operating at top capacity just as he did in Russia, he's also made something of an ally of the winged creature called Megaguirus! This is better than even I have expected!"
"And along with another bout with Anguirus, Slashfang also has none other than Godzilla to test his primal rage upon!", said the second-in-command.
"Indeed! Slashfang will have a real challenge for his mettle with Godzilla, & the country of France is an excellent choice of a battleground! Give the order!"
"Yes sir!", the second-in-command says, pushing a button on the console. "Slashfang – go!"
The English Channel shore:
Slashfang & Megaguirus' conversation ended when Godzilla & Anguirus came to shore, with the Smilodon beast & spiked creature eyeing one another in pure hatred. Anguirus remembers well of the beating Slashfang gave to him & Baragon when he'd besieged them in Russia, catching them off-guard & beating them into submission. But this time, Anguirus won't let the orange-furred monster get the drop on him, keeping his sights on & never letting him get a lucky shot. Rage from their last encounter swelled up in both combatants, each one eager for a rematch.
As Anguirus & Slashfang have their sights on each other, Godzilla & Megaguirus do the same, staying alert for even the slightest hint of an attack. Godzilla's footsteps sounded like an angry god's as he tramples structures unlucky enough to be in his path as people scrambled to run from the raging behemoths. Megaguirus stayed a good 110 meters away from the Monster King, her senses on full.
For what seemed like forever, the monsters simply gave stares & taunting barks/roars of hate, daring the other to make the first move.
Then it happens: Slashfang bellowed an animalistic roar at Anguirus, who returns the favor before the Smilodon creature turned & ran off in a speed that would be deemed impossible for anything his size. Anguirus ran after him on a dime, curling himself into a spiked ball as he followed his quarry, their footsteps/curled body shaking the earth with every hit.
Godzilla took this as his chance to attack: firing his heat ray at Megaguirus, the dragonfly creature was still too fast to be hit as she flew up & out of Godzilla's line of fire. As she flew, Megaguirus launched a volley of crimson balls of energy at Godzilla, striking the beast on the side & back. Each hit exploded on his body with devastating force, their blasts equal to the Monster King being hit by his own weapon. He roared his displeasure as Megaguirus swooped in & buffeted Godzilla in the back of his head before flying out of his range, repeating the process several times.
With every hit he received, Godzilla's vision started to swim & his reaction time was getting slow & sluggish.
It was exactly what Megaguirus was counting on: after a dozen hits, she utilizes her sonic wave, flapping both of her wings until they became a blur of vision & flew over Godzilla. The noise irritated the Monster King greatly, having his already buzzing head receiving extra pain before Megaguirus slammed into him at full speed, creating a thunderous impact. Godzilla fell forward & onto his face/stomach which shook the area, crushing whatever lay beneath him.
Because her tail stinger was bitten on & blown off, Megaguirus could not stick Godzilla & drain the creature of his vast energy he possesses. It angered Megaguirus but she had an alternative: she'll carry the beast over to her insect larva that are currently occupying Paris.
This brought a sinister smile to Megaguirus' mouth & she flew in on Godzilla, grabbing the beast by his dorsal spines before airlifting his entire 60,000 metric tons & heading in the direction Slashfang & Anguirus went in.
They were on a direct course to Paris.
Exactly where Megaguirus was now heading with her prize in tow.
Underneath the city streets of Paris, France, 10:30 p.m.:
Like Phillipe surmised, his armada of troops came by Avenue des Champs-Elysees forty minutes after the French agent made his phone call. With the entire city on high alert as evacuation measures were currently underway, Tajima, Hidemi, Akemi, Emiko, Patricia, Nathan, Elinor, Dennis, Stephanie, Kristoff, Anna, Eugene, Rapunzel, Pascal & the Shobijin (in Hidemi's care) all boarded a military bus – with Angus to follow – to be taken to said base that will provide both protection from the inevitable return of Megaguirus as well as a view of the city itself from above. They'll even get a view of the action happening at Place Francois 1er where the dragonfly queen emerged from as several of Phillipe Roache's people were watching for any Meganuron/Meganula that were thinking of entering the city from below, with the rest going underneath the city as Phillipe & his men along with Gus, Elsa, Merida & Ronald traveled the tunnel in which the Meganuron dug themselves into the Auction House.
Merida was dressed in her Russian Spetsnaz uniform (a gift from Colonel Malvina Semenov) & armed with her bow with quiver of various arrows, while Elsa was attired in her Mechagodzilla outfit & her specially-made guns which Commander Yoshi Shimazaki designed for her. Gus, Phillipe & his men were all armed to the teeth with rifles, shotguns, grenades, survival knives, handguns & even high-powered flamethrowers as they enter the tunnel that was 10-15 meters deep in the ground, 5 meters tall & 7 meters wide, keeping an eye out for any sign of the Meganuron.
They're to exterminate each & every insect they come in contact with.
Sven & Maximus brought up the rear, their instincts on high alert as they navigate the tunnel which broke into a split after reaching near the area where Megaguirus emerged from. When Phillipe asked the soldiers on street level if any of the insects had managed to make their way topside, they replied no.
Phillipe told the men to continue monitoring for their whereabouts as they do the same below, their group splitting up to cover more ground. Phillipe, Ronald, Gus, Elsa & Merida stayed as one, with the rest going in the other tunnel.
Elsa told Sven & Maximus to stay with them, saying the second team will be all right.
Obeying with a nod & a neigh/grunt, the Andalusian & reindeer remained on rear guard.
Thus far, nobody's seen a thing even with powerful flashlights shining their way.
"Over a bloody hour, & still no sign of the ugly buggers!", Merida grumbled. "Where have they all gone to?"
"Not topside, Merida", Gus said. "The French authorities would've spotted & reported them if they had."
"Meaning, they're still down here somewhere", Phillipe said. "Once anyone sees these things, you know what to do, yes?"
"Make sure not even one of them lives", General Ernie said. "You needn't have to worry about that, Phillipe: the Meganuron are just as savage as their dragonfly queen & deserve nothing less than a quick death before they have even a chance to…"
The group spot something at 10 meters ahead of their current position.
"I see it too, General", Elsa said, closing the gap between them & whatever they saw. Up close, they could see it more clearly: it was the remnants of an egg that was hatched presumably not too long ago, followed by several more when they shine their flashlights in the general direction.
"Eggs…dozens of them", Gus said, seeing that many laid out on the floor, each one of them opened with pieces lying around in close proximity. "This can only mean one thing, kids…and truth be told, it scares me."
"We must be in close range of a nest", Elsa deduced, feeling the same way as the British agent as she fought it down. "Let's follow this tunnel: if my hunch is right, it could very well lead us straight to it."
As Elsa & Merida charge up ahead, the rest follow until they reach an opening that has more eggs – unopened – standing at the entrance. Shining their lights, they could see more as far as they could see. Because the room was pitch black, they couldn't see too deep inside the next room.
"It's like the grave in there!", Merida says. "How many eggs do you suppose there are inside?"
Phillipe grabbed his flare gun & fired a shot within. The lone flare rose into the air & exploded in a bright white light to reveal a huge circular room 100 meters wide in circumference with even more eggs – hundreds or thousands of them – standing in clusters that litter the floor wherever they looked.
Eyes went agape at the sight from most as Gus & General Ernie whistled in amazement.
"I suppose we better start counting, mon Cherie", Phillipe said.
On street level:
Anguirus pursued Slashfang into Paris, crushing whatever was in his way & finally catching up to the Smilodon creature at the Seine River when his feline foe jumps into said body of water in the Hauts-De-Seine side of the Colombes District. Unfurling, Anguirus took the plunge himself & lands near Slashfang as both monsters engage in a brawl that churned the river into white foam for several minutes before the Smilodon beast exited the Seine & continued on his trek towards the heart of France's capital city. Anguirus came out of the river as well, pursuing Slashfang as they crash into & demolish the district's stadium before getting deeper into Paris.
People that were able to escaped their homes barely avoided getting trampled by the two monsters.
Placed in various areas of the city are a plethora of AMX-10 RC six-wheeled armored tanks, AMX-30 AuF1 self-propelled howitzers, VBCI fighting vehicles & M270 MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket Systems), ready & waiting to open fire on the rampaging monsters. In air support, a volley of Aerospatiale Gazelle & Eurocopter Tiger HAP/HAD attack helicopters, accompanied by SEPECAT Jaguar fighter jets.
They were ordered to attack Megaguirus when she came back, along with any other monsters that happen to be making their way towards the city. For now, however, their attention was turned to the newcomers.
Once Anguirus & Slashfang were in range, the armada of assault vehicles & aircraft cut loose with everything they had: machine gun fire, missiles, bombs & rockets were unleashed on the spiked creature & Smilodon beast, both of whom were engaged in a savage scuffle as tooth, claw & spikes went into play. Boisterous roars get heard all over Paris as structures get trampled under their tremendous weight, with people scrambling to get to cover. Explosions from missiles & the like pepper both Anguirus & Slashfang's bodies, both beasts ignoring them as they raze the surrounding area into piles of debris that filled the city streets.
Backing up from each other, Anguirus & Slashfang stare at each other with hatred for several moments, paying no mind to the volley of artillery fire striking their bodies. Anguirus makes a leap at Slashfang, who counterattacks with a swipe of his right clawed hand which sliced through the spiked creature's left forearm once the Smilodon beast moved to his right, avoiding his enemy's charge. Anguirus bellowed a roar of pain as his wounds bled before Slashfang made a run for it across the Seine, only this time he gets to the other side via the railroad bridge that was able to support his weight, if barely.
Ignoring the pain of his wound, Anguirus pursued his foe across the bridge, which crumpled under his weight but still held.
Making a leap at Slashfang, Anguirus grabbed ahold of his back & used his momentum to drag down his enemy into an array of buildings, destroying a nearby gas station which exploded in a fireball & deafening blast. More ensued as the French military resumed fire on the two battling behemoths, creating a smokescreen that engulfed them. Within it, Slashfang swiped at Anguirus but struck only his spiked shell, nearly getting himself skewered as it rang like a bell.
Anguirus took this moment to do a swift 180 degree turn & buffet Slashfang in the solar plexus with his tail, sending the Smilodon beast soaring through the air & landing on his back at the Square Edith de Villepin Park, hitting the ground with an earth-shattering thud & plowing into one of the buildings there to rubble. Giving chase right away, Anguirus charged into Slashfang & landed on top of him, slashing away at him with his foreclaws & creating cuts into his face, arms & chest.
It was the spiked creature's way of saying 'let's see how you like it!'.
Slashfang bellowed in pain & rage at being on the receiving end of a claws attack, bleeding where Anguirus made his hits. But Slashfang was also equipped with a degree of smarts as well as savagery: grabbing Anguirus' forearms by the wrists, he threw the spiked creature further south, crashing into many buildings between the Levallois-Perret & the Porte D'Asnieres Districts & pulverizing them. Slashfang rose to his feet & ran after Anguirus, kicking him into his side before the beast could recover, sending him flying over several blocks before landing hard on Boulevard Pereire.
Fazed by the unexpected move, Anguirus was sluggish in getting up from his bed of debris of buildings he landed upon, spraying the streets with it. Slashfang gave him no quarter: he immediately pursued Anguirus after he'd kicked him & raked at his face with his claws on the left side of his face. This caused the spiked monster to cry out in pain & go into a frenzy: like a mad dog, Anguirus came at his Smilodon enemy with every ounce of hate he could muster, their violent tussle heading down Avenue Mac-Mahon as buildings get razed & the monsters get pummeled by artillery fire.
Like before, the French military stayed on their tails & shot at the creatures but having no apparent effect despite powerful blasts that can level whole city blocks.
Giving Slashfang a hard head-butt, Anguirus backed away from his foe as the Smilodon beast put distance himself in order to get his bearings, being only several meters from the Arc de Triomphe. The surrounding area suddenly shook from an unexpected tremor for several moments before the ground at the Arc de Triomphe began opening up as a new creature emerged from below, demolishing the iconic structure to rubble as it surfaced. Having a dark brown/burgundy flesh hue, thick forepaws with sharp claws, a carapace shell on its back, thick neck with a head that was reptilian & a mouth full of sharp teeth, with large floppy ears like a dog's, red eyes, small spikes on its head & a long nasal horn on its snout.
The subterranean dinosaur Baragon has entered Paris, beginning with the destruction of the Arc de Triomphe.
From their safety refuge at the French military base, the Benice & Sugimoto families, Elinor, Stephanie, Dennis, Pascal, Angus & army personnel watch Baragon's arrival along with everything else the choppers were broadcasting.
"What a strange coincidence that Anguirus and Baragon should join up here in Paris against that new creature", Eugene says. "Then again, it can mean only one thing…"
"True, Eugene", Kristoff says. "That two-legged feline monster must be the one that attacked them both in Russia, & now they're here to settle the score."
"My husband Gus was correct before when he surmised that Anguirus & Baragon were attacked by some feline", Elinor said. "It's only natural for them that they came to seek vengeance against it…and who could blame them?"
"As for me, I'm more worried about my sister & her group underneath the city, searching for those Meganuron insects", Anna said, watching the monitors showing Elsa & company in the tunnels.
"Elsa, Merida, Gus & the rest are well-equipped to deal with them, Anna", Rapunzel said, taking her hands. "I'm sure they'll find a way to rid the city of their terror. Remember…this is part of her job."
Rapunzel gave her friend a reassuring smile, making Anna do the same as she nodded: Anna was all too proud to see her older sibling becoming a member of the MG crew, same as with everybody else. If she didn't believe Elsa could handle being part of it, she never would've accepted General Ernie's invitation to get inside Godzilla's robot double & activate the Absolute Zero Cannon that literally put Gigan on ice.
Be the icy Raid & exterminate all those vermin, sis!, Anna thought.
The Sugimoto family had a conversation in their mother tongue with the Shobijin.
"Ladies, with you in the vicinity, is it a sign that Mothra will be coming here?", Hidemi asks.
"Yes", they answered. "Mothra felt Megaguirus' dangerous presence a few days ago back on Infant Island & has flown to this area to intercept her. She merely sent us here ahead to warn you all of the horror the dragonfly queen plans on inflicting."
"That's good", Tajima said. "Like the French military, we all have a strong feeling that Megaguirus will return to Paris again. The sooner Mothra arrives, the better."
"Ladies, do either of you know anything about this new creature Anguirus & Baragon are now engaged in combat with?", Emiko asked.
"Not much, Emiko Sugimoto", the Shobijin said. "However, we do hear a name it's been frequently called by the ones that have created it. They call it Slashfang."
"'Slashfang'?", Tajima, Hidemi, Akemi & Emiko said.
"It makes sense", Akemi says, watching the beast on the monitors. "This creature has a strong resemblance to the Smilodon – the 'saber-toothed tiger' that lived during the late Cenozonic era, making it aptly named."
"Have you any idea who made this creature?", Tajima asked.
The Shobijin shook their heads.
"We are sorry, Tajima Sugimoto", they said. "We have no inkling as to who the creators are."
They continued viewing the monitors in silence.
At the remains of the Arc de Triomphe, Baragon bellowed a roar that the whole city heard, all too eager to exact his revenge on the monster that gave them a terrible beating in Russia before being hauled away & imprisoned. Anguirus joined in, his feelings the same as his smaller but still fierce partner.
Slashfang gave them indifferent, daring them to come at him: he beat them both badly once before, & he'll gladly do so again, only this time it'll be to the death.
Unable to contain their rage, Anguirus & Baragon charged.
Beneath the streets of Paris:
The tremors caused by Anguirus & Slashfang as they entered the city were felt where Elsa, Merida & their group were at, fighting to stay on their feet as both monsters clash on the surface. On Phillipe's miniature monitor the size of an iPad or cell phone, they view part of the battle with Anguirus & Slashfang just before Baragon emerged from beneath & destroyed the Arc de Triomphe.
And we were just there the other day!, Merida thought with disdain.
"That orange-furred creature is a new one on me, mes amis", Philippe said. "How about you?"
"Yes & no, mate", Gus says. "When we saw Anguirus & Baragon in Russia with deep scratch wounds on them, I brought up the notion that they'd been attacked by some giant cat, even though we've never seen the thing until now. It turns out I was right all along."
"Do you suppose Mugal & his people could've made just one more creature with their mutagen & hid it away before they were defeated?", Merida asked.
"That's something for us to consider later on, darling", General Ernie says. "Right now, let's not forget the reason why we came down here in the first place."
Ronald pointed to the tunnel to give his group a quick reminder of their task at hand, just as the light Phillipe shot into it went out, plunging it into darkness before the French agent launched another inside & shined on the eggs again.
The only difference this time was that several hundred of them were now hatching, unveiling the Meganuron as these insects already spotted the humans at the entrance. Some were closer to their current position, & these all but send a signal to those far in the back to confirm that food was here.
As one, they charged at their first intended victims.
Sorry, boys…we're not gonna be on your menu!, Elsa thought.
Aiming her guns at the nearest batch of eggs, the Snow Queen cut loose with her ice as she instantly froze them solid before it quickly spread out into the egg chamber, freezing egg & Meganuron alike in the blink of an eye. Phillipe watched with awe & fascination as Elsa turned the inside of the huge room into something of an ice cavern at the North or South Poles. In just over a minute, the entire room was encased in ice & glistened everywhere as not a single one of the Meganuron escaped getting the icy encasement.
Merida, Gus & General Ernie smiled proudly at Elsa's handiwork as the latter stated he couldn't do better.
Elsa grinned at that.
"Magnifique, Mademoiselle Elsa Sugimoto!", Phillipe said.
"Merci, Monsieur Phillipe Roache!", Elsa said back, making the French man grin & let out a hearty laugh.
"Like the rest of your friends, you are a fast learner! And now that we have the Meganuron incapacitated, let us send our frozen friends a little 'parting gift', no?"
Seeing the grenades in Phillipe's hands gave them the answer of what he meant, nodding.
"Sounds good to us, Phillipe!", General Ernie says as he, Gus & the rest of Phillipe's men remove their grenades before getting to the opening, pulled the pins & tossed them inside as far as they could – the deeper, the better.
Elsa & Merida were already on their feet & running away before their task was done before Phillipe & the rest did the same.
Ten seconds later, the grenades went off in multiple blasts that blew apart the frozen eggs/Meganuron which had also caused portions of the ceiling to come crashing down & pulverized the eggs/insects underneath, smashing them to pieces like they were made of glass.
Aside from the rumbling of the explosions & the monster battle going topside, the group managed to escape okay.
"We all good here, kids?", Ronald asked.
Merida, Gus & Phillipe gave the General a thumbs-up gesture as Elsa nodded.
Sven & Maximus breathed a sigh of relief…until Phillipe's radio came on.
"Monsieur, come quick! We are under attack! I repeat, we are under…!", a male voice replied, followed by the sounds of gunfire, creatures screeching & men screaming before they were abruptly cut off.
"This is Phillipe!", he said in his tongue. "What is going on over there?! Report! Anyone!"
The sounds of utter chaos were his only response.
"There's another nest of Meganuron!", Merida says. "That's the only explanation!"
"My men shouldn't be too far from our current position!", Phillipe said. "Let's move, mes amis!"
With the French man taking the lead, the rest of his party follow.
Running at top speed, they reached to where Phillipe sent the other half of his men when they split up in a span of two-three minutes. When they arrived, all they saw were weapons & pieces of equipment/clothing laying around, followed by a clear viscous fluid that shined when light hit them. Phillipe, fearing the worst, got on the radio again but got no answer from anyone. Going further, they saw dozens of Meganuron – some shot dead by gunfire, others standing still as if oblivious to the humans approaching them.
Weapons raised, they walked up to these vicious insects, ready to strike if they so much as twitched.
So far, none of them have & it began to worry them.
As they got closer, they could easily see as to why they didn't acknowledge their presence.
Their shells were empty, leaving only hollow husks of their former selves.
It also meant that whatever hatched from these lifeless shells is still out there, but in a more adaptable form as they recall what the Shobijin said.
"These Meganuron…they've upgraded to stage two, didn't they?", asked Merida as Elsa, Gus, Phillipe & Ronald all nodded as Phillipe got on his radio to the soldiers topside.
"Place Francois 1er squadron, come in!", he said in his tongue.
"This is Place Francois 1er, come in, over", came the response.
"We've destroyed the Meganuron nest but happened to miss a few! Several of them have shed their skins for the second stage of their metamorphosis! Have any of you seen anything flying out of the crater Megaguirus created?"
"No, monsieur. We've not seen a single one of the insects emerge from out of this hole the whole time we've been here…wait a minute! What's that?"
"What's what? Give me a sit-rep!"
The only thing Phillipe got in response was that of gunfire & men shouting orders.
"Oh no", he said softly, fearing the worst has come true.
"Let's get ourselves topside, people!", Ronald said.
Going back the way they came, the group retraced their steps & went at a dead run when they saw several objects stepping out of hiding & created a blockade both in front & behind.
It was a new batch of Meganuron insects – ones Elsa & company didn't freeze/blow up.
"How in tarnation did we miss these maggots?!", General Ernie wondered.
"They must've stayed in a secluded area we didn't see, just waiting for the right moment to ambush us!", Phillipe said.
"Well, if it's a fight they want…they've more than got one!", Merida says, pulling an arrow back on her bow.
Elsa, Gus & the rest raised their own weapons, just as eager to bring the insects down as they are of them.
"Come & get it, you filthy buggers!", Gus snapped as the Meganuron charged.
Gus & company opened fire.
Topside, what remained of Place Francois 1er:
The winged versions of the Meganuron – the Meganula – shot forth out of the crater Megaguirus created & flew into the air as French soldiers began shooting at the winged insects with their rifles on sight. Because of their speed, only a handful were hit as their bodies fell from the sky & slumped to the ground with wet plops, their wings buzzing in dying spasms before expiring.
Many more were flying around in the skies above Paris, with soldiers & police officers firing up to try & hit the insects but having no success: they were too far up & moving too fast to be hit from their positions.
Seeing the futility of it, the men & women of the French army & police lowered their weapons.
The Meganula swarm immediately spot something in the distance that was quickly approaching the city – it was their queen Megaguirus carrying Godzilla underneath by her legs, the latter of which is still out as he got an airlift. The dragonfly queen saw her brethren & screeched that this creature she has possesses great energy to fill their queen, also explaining that her tail stinger is gone because of it & needs their help in absorbing it all.
Understanding their queen, the Meganula fly towards Megaguirus to perform their task.
As they enter over Paris, Godzilla suddenly regains consciousness & sees himself being carried through the air by Megaguirus, recalling the dragonfly queen knocked him out earlier. Getting his bearings, the Monster King slapped Megaguirus with his tail, using it like a whip & striking her across the back which includes her head. The blow caused Megaguirus to lose control temporarily, giving Godzilla time to get loose from her legs & falling down to earth, creating a crater many meters deep when he landed with earth-shattering force between the Porte De Clichy & 17th Arr. Districts.
Losing control of her flight, Megaguirus crashed into the Epinettes District, leveling several buildings & spraying rubble/debris everywhere. Recovering her bearings, Megaguirus gets herself upright before becoming airborne again as her Meganula swoop in at Godzilla, who was now getting to his feet before becoming surrounded by giant winged insects that attack him like a swarm of angry bees that has assaulted their hive. Godzilla roared in annoyance as he was besieged by the little pests, many of which were now digging their front claws into his flesh in an attempt to drain the Monster King of his vast energy.
No matter how many Godzilla plucked from himself & crushed in his hands, many more took their place to pick up where they left off.
In desperation, Godzilla lit up his rear dorsal spines as his body gave off a massive dose of energy that he soon emitted in a powerful pulse of energy which not only got the Meganula off of him, it fried each one to a crisp as their charred bodies dropped to the ground.
Megaguirus screeched in anger, seeing her children burned alive by the massive radiation Godzilla emitted. The Monster King retaliated by firing his heat ray at the dragonfly queen, missing her as she sped away in a blur. Firing off several shots of red energy balls from her mouth, Megaguirus struck Godzilla all over before going over him & emitting a powerful stream of electricity from underneath her wings that buffet Godzilla with such force that caused his skin to sizzle & smoke.
It was yet another gift from the mutagen she consumes only hours before, granting her new abilities.
Godzilla tried slapping his winged foe with his tail again but Megaguirus stayed clear of it, not wanting to repeat her mistake. The dragonfly queen continued bombarding Godzilla with her electric voltage while blasting away fighter jets & choppers with her energy balls, blowing them in fiery holocausts & leaving no survivors. She even did the same to various ground forces vehicles, sending them & their operators to oblivion.
Anything that did hit Megaguirus didn't affect her even in the slightest.
Godzilla fired his heat ray at Megaguirus, but the effect was the same as before: she simply moved out of the way before she could be even grazed by the blast, further infuriating the Monster King.
From out of nowhere came something that struck Megaguirus and affected her: a volley of sharp stingers which penetrated her exoskeleton & sent a surge of pain through her body, causing her to cry out in anguish & rage. Turning to see what attacked, Megaguirus gets body-slammed in mid-air by a large object that came at her from the south before doing a 180 turn in the air & slamming her to the ground over at the open fields of the Muette District.
Regaining her bearings, Megaguirus looked to see a gigantic butterfly with a 70-meter long body & a 170-meter wide wingspread with bright beautiful color patterns, blue eyes, twin antennae & three pairs of legs underneath.
Those watching in the military base were happy & relieved to see the creature that came to vanquish the dragonfly queen.
"Mothra!", the Benice & Sugimoto families, Shobijin, Elinor, Dennis & Stephanie say.
Pascal smiled in appreciation as Angus nodded with a neigh.
Megaguirus screeched in annoyance at the new arrival and the sneak attack it made as she got herself airborne in almost no time at all. Staring down Mothra in pure hatred, Megaguirus launched a volley of red energy balls at Mothra, who dodged them easily as Megaguirus would with projectile weapons thrown her way. The lepidopteran retaliated by firing her antennae beams which scored a direct hit on the dragonfly queen, causing her to cry out as it scorched her exoskeleton.
Flying off for a better advantage, Megaguirus flew at Mothra to get in a hit with her wings before the butterfly gave chase.
The battle for air supremacy was on!
Beneath the city:
Elsa & Merida's group were as fierce in fighting as the Meganuron were: Gus, General Ernie, Phillipe & his men blasted away at the insects with their firearms as Elsa put them in cold storage with her ice, while Merida shot a quiver of arrows at each new target. Arrows of a fiery incineration, electric shock & even explosive detonation took care of a score of ravenous insects that thought of making meals of their group.
They were proving them wrong.
Maximus & Sven also put up a decent fight, kicking at the insects with their hooves that caved in their skulls, just as zebras & the like would do to a lion that thought of having them for dinner. Sven even used his antlers to scoop up & throw Meganuron into the paths of his friends to blaze away, or simply drive the points deep into & kill them.
Of course, that would get bloody insect ichor on them, but Sven was cool with that.
When his ammo was spent, Gus decided to get up close & personal: taking out both his bowie knives, he uses his fighting prowess to slice/stab Meganuron left & right, just as he would with human adversaries. Gus even pummeled to death a pair of Meganuron that Elsa was about to put on ice, splattering their blood all over the floor as they fell to it in lifeless husks.
"Hey love…can't let you do everything, can we?", Gus says with a wink.
Elsa grinned pleasantly, as did Merida.
Sven, Maximus, General Ernie, Phillipe & what remained of his men put down the last few Meganuron, ending them for good.
One insect with little life tried getting itself back up, but Merida put it down permanently by driving a regular arrow through its skull as it twitched once before slumping dead.
"I hate these disgusting things!", the redhead says, getting a grin from Elsa & the rest.
"With any luck, Merida, we've just skewered the last of them", Gus says.
"We will first get topside", Phillipe said. "Then I'll put in a call to send in more men to make sure their population is at zero."
The French agent stared at Elsa & Merida with admiration.
"You ladies & your animals have fought well this day", he says. "Have you ever considered giving the French Foreign Legion a shot?"
The girls look as if to consider his offer.
"Thanks, but no", they said, smiling.
"Sorry, monsieur, but they're already taken", Ronald says with a chuckle. "One of them by me."
Phillipe gave a laugh in amusement.
"Fair enough, General", he said. "But just so you know, my door is always open to them. Let's get out of this pit, wee?"
"Let's!", Ronald, Gus, Elsa & Merida said.
On & above the streets of Paris:
Mothra & Megaguirus clashed along the skies numerous times, throwing whatever weapons they had in their own personal arsenals: Megaguirus' crimson energy balls & electrical voltage from her wings were used with deadly ferocity & accuracy, scoring multiple hits on Mothra as she retaliated with her own electrical wing attack, antennae beams, & another volley of her stingers which got dodged by Megaguirus, not wishing to receive a second dose of them & what contained in them that made her feel a bit woozy. They even went for a more physical assault against each other with their wings, sending powerful blows that battered with amazing strength. Each strike was actually felt via shockwave from below, causing nearby windows to shatter. Megaguirus grabbed Mothra's left wing in one swing with her right claw & tried to pull it off, but the lepidopteran had other plans: the butterfly took a hard dive to earth & crashed her foe into the Pont d'Austerlitz bridge that crosses the Seine, demolishing it & placing Megaguirus into water & causing her to release Mothra's wing.
From 10 meters out, a pair of gigantic insect larva 120 meters in length popped up in the Seine as the closer one opened its mandibles & began spraying a sticky silk directly at Megaguirus as Mothra backed away for it to get her foe cocooned. The larva from behind went ashore on Quai de la Rapee & raced up to join its sibling in adding its own silk thread to encase Megaguirus, who thrashed to escape both her literally sticky situation and the Seine before she gets all but dragged under & drowned.
Aiming her mouth at the larva, Megaguirus fired a pair of crimson energy balls at her would-be entrappers, hitting each near them with enough explosive force to knock them a distance away & giving her time to get herself upright. As Mothra tried to intervene, the dragonfly queen shot forth a blast of electricity from her wings that struck the butterfly, causing her to cry out before being forced to retreat. Using her wings in reverse, Megaguirus lifted herself up from the Seine & corrected her position. Mothra's larva did the same after receiving a powerful hit & lifted the front part of their bodies before firing a green energy beam from their undersides just below their heads. These projectiles struck the large dragonfly with power Megaguirus didn't expect, making her cry out not only in pain but in fury.
Taking off into the air, Megaguirus slammed into Mothra, sending her straight into the buildings on the island where the Pont de Sully bridge connected & giving her a blast of her electric voltage before flying off to deal with her twin larva as both of which resume firing their emerald energy beams once she came in close. Megaguirus flew up to avoid these before firing a ball of crimson energy from her mouth.
Unlike the larva, she didn't miss: each blast struck their targets that sent both insects airborne & into a cluster of buildings, crushing them underneath their weight. Megaguirus kept the pressure & pain up by striking the larva with her electrical attack, causing each larva to cry out in anguish as they feel their inside being cooked.
Megaguirus smiled wickedly at seeing her twin enemies in great pain.
So fixated on the larva that Megaguirus never saw the beam of blue-white energy which struck across her on the side, knocking her away from the twin larva & sparing them from further agony. Megaguirus escaped any further pain from the projectile to see who dared to attack her when she wasn't looking or ready.
The dragonfly's blood boiled when she saw it was Godzilla that did so, standing at the park in the 7th Arr. District, where the Army Museum resides at.
Godzilla bellowed a roar that challenged the dragonfly & taunted her to 'pick on somebody your own size'.
It was a challenge Megaguirus happily accepted.
Screeching in fury, Megaguirus flew straight for Godzilla, claws extended.
Anguirus & Baragon vs. Slashfang:
The areas of Javel & 15th Arr. Lay in ruins as Anguirus & Baragon engage in a savage fight with Slashfang, each one scoring several hits on the Smilodon beast which, in return, did the same using his deadly claws. Locked in a fierce conflict at the park next to Rue Leon Lhermitte, Slashfang lashed out at Baragon when he grazed his side with his nasal horn, missing him by mere inches. Anguirus took this as his chance to charge in like a rhino & plow their feline foe into the high school building, crumbling it underneath their weight as debris filled the streets.
Even still, Slashfang remained on his feet as they brawled like savages into the row of buildings behind it, leveling each one they come into contact with as Baragon joined in the melee, biting down on the Smilodon beasts' right leg & drawing blood with his teeth. Slashfang let out a primal scream of pain as he tried to shake off Baragon's bite, but the more he tried, the deeper his teeth sank into his flesh. Anguirus did the same with Slashfang's left arm, biting down on the forearm & keeping it in a vice-like grip.
Despite his attempts, Anguirus would not let go any more than Baragon.
In desperation, Slashfang lifted Anguirus as he still held firm with his teeth, exposing his unprotected underside that the Smilodon beast attacked with the claws on his right hand. Anguirus bellowed in pain as claws penetrated flesh & causing them to bleed, thus forcing him to release his hold on him. Slashfang them used his claws to rake at Baragon's face, causing the subterranean dinosaur to release his bite as he cried out from the hit which left his face with even more scratch marks.
Freed from both his adversaries, Slashfang grabbed Baragon by the throat & slashed his side & chest before he hurled the reptile westward. Baragon landed onto his back as he slid across Rue de Entrepreneurs, bringing down the buildings in his path & spraying the remains in all directions before stopping at Rue Linois where it intersected at Rue Saint-Charles. Getting his bearings, Baragon cleared his head in time to see Slashfang coming at him with his claws raised with intent to maim & gut like a trout.
But Baragon wasn't going down without a fight: when his feline foe gets in range, the subterranean dinosaur lets loose with a belch of flames from his mouth that seared a portion of Slashfang's fur on his chest, causing him to back away from the monster's intense fire. This gave Baragon time to get himself on his feet before burrowing underground – someplace Slashfang couldn't go.
Unable to pursue his enemy, Slashfang stood & watched as the ground beneath his feet rumbled as Baragon went beneath the earth, keeping his enemy guessing as Slashfang couldn't predict where the creature would pop up.
Not wanting to be underfoot & caught by surprise when he resurfaces, the Smilodon beast moved to a different area to keep Baragon guessing: when he does come up, Slashfang will be ready for him.
It was a good plan, if only that was what Baragon himself wished to do: because his attention was focused mainly on the subterranean dinosaur, Slashfang didn't bother to check on Anguirus, who rolled himself into a spiked ball & literally threw himself at the Smilodon beast. The spiked creature sent Slashfang over & plowing directly into the Davari Shalamzari Ahmadreza Building, which collapsed onto him like a house of cards. Adding insult to injury, Baragon had weakened the structure beneath the Bowling de Paris Front de Seine Building, causing it to tip over where Slashfang was buried at & adding to the destruction.
Having buried their enemy underneath two buildings, Baragon resurfaced as Anguirus unfurled himself & joined his fighting partner.
They watched & waited for any signs of Slashfang, seeing if he was finished or simply playing possum.
For three minutes, there was no movement.
Both were convinced their foe was dead when Slashfang erupted from his bed of debris, shattering concrete, steel & glass everywhere. The Smilodon beast had extended his clawed hands out to pierce his enemy's flesh & tear out their innards & feast on them, wanting to make them suffer for his humiliation at their hands.
Anguirus & Baragon have no intention of rolling over, let alone dying for him.
Baragon belched a gout of his flames at the oncoming Smilodon beast, who simply leaped over them like a prize athlete & landed on the roof of a building, caving it in from above as debris spilled the streets before taking off as if he was in a decathlon race. Anguirus went after him, curling into a ball & chased the cat creature as Baragon made a leap like a giant bullfrog, covering the distance & closing the gap between them. The subterranean dinosaur latched onto the Smilodon beast's back & dug his claws into his flesh, causing Slashfang to stop in his tracks & shake his enemy off as Anguirus rolled out in front of him, blocking his path should he try to make another run for it.
Try as he might, Slashfang could not get Baragon off his back, even as he swung his body back & forth violently. It was a futile effort as Baragon's claws dug deep, causing bleeding wounds. Even when Slashfang swung his claws in the rear, it didn't dissuade Baragon from releasing him. The subterranean dinosaur made his grip on Slashfang tighter when he bit down on his enemy's left shoulder, making the cat creature cry out. Anguirus ups the ante when he charged in & collided with Slashfang, puncturing his chest with his nasal horn.
Slashfang cried out as thick bone pierced his flesh, making the Smilodon beast more enraged: with a swipe of his claws, he jabbed them into Anguirus' neck on both sides, causing the spiked creature to bellow out in great pain before backing away to get some breathing space. The cat creature then turned around & made a leap backwards, colliding with Anguirus as Baragon was pummeled on top of his ally's spikes, forcing him to release his hold on Slashfang.
Getting pierced on the sides from Anguirus' spikes, Baragon bellowed in rage before falling on the ground next to his partner, who was briefly too stunned to get up.
They were easy prey for Slashfang, who intended to literally rip their heads off with one swipe.
A pair of emerald beams struck Slashfang in the chest, causing scorch marks on his flesh. The cat creature looked to see Mothra's larva screeching at him to back away from Anguirus & Baragon or suffer more of the same.
Slashfang had only one answer to give them: plowing through multiple buildings to rubble, the Smilodon beast extended his clawed hands as he ran straight towards the twin larva, ready to skewer them in half like the insects they are. The larva dodged to one side in speeds that belie their size, avoiding Slashfang's claws before firing their emerald beams at his face which temporarily blinded him. A pair of silk strands were immediately sprayed onto him, creating a straightjacket for the cat creature that immobilized Slashfang even in its early stages.
Both larva kept their silk flow going.
Godzilla & Mothra vs. Megaguirus:
The battle reaches a fever pitch as Megaguirus both dished out at & took several hits from his enemies, leaving marks as proof. Mothra launched another antennae beam attack as Godzilla also shot forth his heat ray at the dragonfly queen, who dodged them easily as the projectiles destroy several buildings Megaguirus guides them to, blasting each one into flaming debris.
While Mothra let up on her attack, Godzilla resumed as he hadn't any concern for urban properties. The butterfly flew in at Megaguirus, intercepting the dragonfly before she can cause Godzilla to needlessly destroy France's capital with his primary weapon. Crashing into her, Mothra drove Megaguirus into the ground as buildings get pulverized down to their foundations. The lepidopteran then sprinkled Megaguirus with glittering dust from her wings that covered the dragonfly queen all over from head to toe & wing tip to wing tip.
Megaguirus wasn't impressed by this display & rose above her enemy to emit her electrical attack from her wings in order to fry the butterfly once & for all before doing the same to her larva & Godzilla afterwards.
But upon her first attempt, the electricity unexpectedly backfired & struck Megaguirus instead, surprising her.
She attempted it again, only to have the same results as before, the energy she unleashed was redirected back to her, causing more pain. Changing tactics, Megaguirus shot forth a crimson energy ball from her mouth, only to have it thrown back into her face & causing tremendous pain as she screeched her displeasure. Megaguirus discovered that the glitter from Mothra's wings has the ability to redirect an enemy's power back to its source, like a boomerang effect.
Now she was caught in its web, having each projectile attack coming right back no matter what she did.
It still wouldn't stop her from inflicting pain on the butterfly, as she could still do so physically with her claws.
Funny thing was, Godzilla had the same idea: from where he stood, he shot forth his heat ray & shredding the dragonfly queen's right wing as pieces of flesh were burned off. Megaguirus screeched in pain, having lost her stable flight ability due to the damage done. Mothra adds to it by shooting her antennae beams at the damaged wing, tearing off further chunks of flesh & making Megaguirus tilt to one side like a scale as she fought to regain her balance. Getting on top of her, Mothra grabbed Megaguirus with her legs in a firm grip before flying her over to & literally dropping the dragonfly queen at Godzilla's feet.
Having Megaguirus' tail pointed directly at him when Mothra delivered her to him, Godzilla grabbed it & lifted up Megaguirus to the level of his head before slamming her down full force, shaking the earth. Godzilla does this ten more times to the dragonfly queen, roaring in satisfaction in giving Megaguirus what was coming to her. The dragonfly queen screeched in pain with each body slam Godzilla gave her, her insides feeling like they're rattling around.
Mothra adds fuel to this particular fire by attacking with her antennae beams, causing scorch marks on her body.
After the tenth body slam, Godzilla grabbed her damaged wing & tore off more with his bare hands, rendering it completely useless before doing so to the other one. Megaguirus tried fighting back with her large claws & had actually pierced Godzilla's shoulder as he cried out in pain, but the Monster King ignored it & shredded her remaining wing before grabbing Megaguirus' right claw with his left hand. With incredible strength, Godzilla tore it off from where it was attached as ichor squirted from the severed wound. Megaguirus hollered in excruciating pain, having her appendage ripped off like it was a Thanksgiving turkey leg or wing.
The dragonfly queen felt like she was going to pass out from the pain but fought on, despite the hopelessness of surviving.
Mothra's larva vs. Slashfang:
The Smilodon beast was barely visible as he was being cocooned by Mothra's twin larva, each one spraying its silk that entrapped their feline foe in a white coating. Slashfang fought to get himself free, but the silk was stronger than it looked as the cat creature found out.
But his claws were more formidable than even Mothra's larva believed: with every effort made, Slashfang sliced his way free of his silk straightjacket, tearing through with his razor-like claws in a move that surprised the twin larva before they were grabbed & lifted like snakes in the Smilodon beast's paws. Slashfang held them firmly as both larva tried squirming to get loose but were caught in the monster's iron grip.
It still didn't mean they were helpless: from their undersides, the twin larva fired their emerald beams straight at Slashfang, hitting him between the chest & head. The unexpected blast caused him to release his captives as he staggered back from the pain he was experiencing.
By the time his vision cleared, he found the two larva were gone from sight.
He didn't have time to ponder on their whereabouts: Slashfang turned to hear his partner Megaguirus getting her limbs ripped off by Godzilla before getting thrown by the Monster King over at the Eiffel Tower, landing on her back. Both Godzilla & Mothra fired their beams near the tower's top, blasting away the supports & sending it tipping/falling down to earth with the antennae aiming directly for Megaguirus.
The dragonfly queen's eyes widen in fright, being unable to avoid what was to come next.
Like a javelin, the tower's antennae struck & penetrated Megaguirus' midsection, going all the way through as she screeched her loudest in a noise that was heard everywhere. Spasming for several seconds, Megaguirus went limp & her red eyes dimmed before expiring. Godzilla & Mothra fired their beams at the downed dragonfly beast, scorching her body before it erupted into flames that roasted every inch of Megaguirus' body.
The dragonfly queen was dead, ending her reign of terror for good.
Neither Godzilla nor Mothra had time to savor their victory: from behind, Slashfang swiped his claws on Mothra's back, doing so twice & causing deep wounds that bled & made her cry out in pain & surprise. Godzilla turned to face the Smilodon beast as Mothra flew away before letting loose with his heat ray to even the score. Slashfang dodged this projectile before rushing up to the Monster King & doing the same on Godzilla's chest, penetrating deep that made him bellow in pain & rage.
Another swipe of his razor claws gave Godzilla gashes in his throat as the Monster King staggered from the blow & having slight trouble getting air into his lungs. Slashfang was about to cause another deadly swipe on his throat when he was slammed in the side by Anguirus, who recovered enough from the wounds in his own neck. His spikes pierced Slashfang deeper than they ever had, drawing blood that spew from various locations & staining his fur with it. A roar echoed throughout the city as Slashfang felt the piercing of every single spike that made contact with his body, feeling like he'd been pricked at by thousands of needles.
Weak from both the punctures & blood loss, Slashfang staggered on his feet to get his bearings. He was knocked senseless further when Godzilla swung his massive tail at the Smilodon beast, bashing him in the solar plexus & sending him directly at Baragon, who also recovered enough from his wounds to continue the fight. Slashfang crashed close to the subterranean dinosaur, destroying many buildings as he slid across the landscape before Baragon cut loose with his flames that engulf his feline foe. Godzilla & Mothra literally added to the fire with their own beams, causing Slashfang's body to combust into flames that covered nearly his entire body.
Like a living fireball, Slashfang rose from the ground howling like a banshee & ran for the nearest body of water to douse the flames that are searing/cooking him alive. Spotting the Seine, the Smilodon beast jumped in & disappeared underneath the waves for several seconds before reemerging, showing scorched flesh on 90-95% of his body. Mothra launched a volley of her stingers from her abdomen as a parting gift to Slashfang, which went deep into him & caused him to bellow in agony.
Having gotten out of the Seine, Slashfang started making his way northwest of the city, wanting/needing to get away from his enemies before they completely surround & destroy him.
Even when wounded, Slashfang moved fast & was gone from Paris within a few minutes.
Anguirus, Baragon & Godzilla celebrated their victory with a chorus of roars that were boisterous even beyond city limits.
Mothra was another story: because of the wounds Slashfang inflicted upon her back, Mothra's strength was all but drained & was losing altitude quickly before collapsing to the ground with earth-shattering force. Godzilla, Anguirus & Baragon turned to the fallen butterfly as their twin larva race up to their parent & began chirping in succession.
The twin larva then turn to Godzilla, repeating what they've discussed with the adult Mothra as the Monster King replied with grunts & slight growls. Anguirus & Baragon join in shortly hereafter.
Having viewed the battle from the safety of the French military base, it didn't get unnoticed by Patricia, Nathan & the rest.
"Are they actually…having a conversation with each other?", Stephanie asks.
"Yes, Stephanie Beatrice", the Shobijin said, getting the group's attention. "Mothra has explained that the wounds she received from the creature known as Slashfang caused are most severe, deeply hampering her ability to fly. Due to this, she will not have the strength to make it back to her home of Infant Island. Her only hope is that the twin larva can carry her back, but they're asking Godzilla, Anguirus & Baragon to accompany them to serve as their bodyguards just in case they get attacked by any hostile forces."
"Is Godzilla cooperating with the idea?", Nathan asked.
"He's in the process of pondering about it. Mothra & Godzilla have had several scuffles in the past, fighting each other because of opposing differences. He's having something of a hard time accepting to assist Mothra or her larva."
That part was hitting the group hard, believing the conversation will go south.
"And what are Anguirus & Baragon saying? Are they trying to convince Godzilla to accept?", asked Dennis.
"Yes, they are", the Shobijin reply. "They're explaining that they also had conceivable differences with Mothra in the past but have always set them aside to do battle with a common foe when it is needed. They add in that helping Mothra and her twins is the same as doing so with his younger sibling Godzilla Junior, adding that to be a good older sibling is to assist another family group when they need dire assistance."
"Which is why they're asking Godzilla", said Patricia.
The Shobijin nodded.
"Godzilla should know the value of family as much as Mothra", Elinor adds. "It's no different from how we treat each other, because we're all like family despite living in three different lands."
"If any animal ought to know the value of family, it should be Godzilla", Anna said. "He'd do anything to protect Junior – and we saw hm go to great lengths doing that in Nagoya just last year when he shielded him from that plant creature's acidic sap."
And what Elsa did for me against Godzilla when he approached us in Tokyo, thought Anna.
"Same as with Angus, Maximus & Sven", Kristoff adds. "We treat them like they're family because they are: we feed, train & groom them every day, & they risk their own lives to help us whenever they can, & vice versa."
"Not to mention Pascal", Rapunzel says. "I can't see why Godzilla's taking so long to understand that, let alone in making a decision to help Mothra & her twins get home safely."
Neither can I, Rapunzel, Eugene thought. Back when I was still known as Flynn Rider, Maximus & I were always at each other's throats, never realizing once we would end up becoming the best of friends. But not a day goes by that I don't regret we did, & if we could do it all over again, we wouldn't change a thing.
A silence ensued for several moments, putting the group & French soldiers on edge, not knowing whether or not Godzilla will accept Mothra's pleas.
Come on, Godzilla…I know there's a noble animal in you somewhere, Stephanie thought with hope.
For a silence that seemed to stretch on forever, Godzilla let out a half-roar that was also half its volume but still loud enough to be heard great distances before he walks off in a northwestern direction. Mothra's twin larva quickly get underneath their parents' wings – one under each one – before they follow Godzilla, staying 15-20 meters from his swishing tail so as not to get clobbered by it. Anguirus & Baragon also follow the Monster King, with the subterranean dinosaur on Mothra's right side & the spiked creature on her left.
This show of cooperation was seen not just by those in the French military base but also where Maximus, Sven, Elsa, Merida, Gus, General Ernie, Phillipe & what remained of his men stood at: on Avenue Montaigne, on the corner of the auction house as they viewed the spectacle battle on their devices (i.e., cell phones), from when they exited the house after laying waste to the Meganuron beneath the city streets to now.
Seeing Godzilla leaving Paris with Mothra & her twin larva with Anguirus & Baragon gave them all a huge sign of relief, not to mention pride in watching the Monster King allowing the giant butterfly in accompanying him out of the city, with Anguirus & Baragon acting as bodyguards.
It was a clear gesture.
"Well, I'll be", Gus says. "There's a nobility in Godzilla nobody ever thought he was capable of displaying."
"I'll say, son", Ronald says. "Probably even Tajima never saw such honor in an animal like Godzilla – and he's all but an expert on the beast."
"Creatures like Godzilla will always throw you a surprise every now & then, General Ernie", Phillipe said. "That's what makes them quite fascinating."
Having no answer in response to that, the two men simply nodded.
Merida & Elsa also view the fight & aftermath from the redhead's cell phone.
"They aren't wrong, Merida", Elsa said. "Just when you thought you got Godzilla all figured out…"
"He's still going to give you a surprise you would never expect", Merida finished. "I certainly agree on that, Elsa. But at least this story's got a happy ending attached to it."
"Not exactly", said a voice from behind.
Before Elsa or Merida could turn around, the Scottish agent gets kicked hard from behind, landing on her stomach & dropping her phone. Ronald, Gus, Phillipe & his men turn to the sound & see Merida get kicked & fell down, losing her cell as they see a familiar & unwelcome face arrive on the scene.
Major Derek Synapse.
He was holding an automatic rifle in his left hand, while aiming a Glock pistol at Elsa's head in his right hand.
The Snow Queen felt the hard metal against her head & stood still.
General Ernie & the rest aimed their weapons but Derek issued a warning.
"Don't even think about it, people!", he stated. "Even if you do get a clear shot, I guarantee you that Elsa will die along with me, so lower your guns now! Unless of course you want her brains splattered everywhere! That also goes for your two animals: they take even one stepforward, they know what will happen!"
Slowly but surely, they did; Merida turned around & slowly got off the ground, with Derek training her rifle at her, warning her not to try anything stupid that will cost Elsa's life. Maximus & Sven also complied, even though their instincts wanted nothing more than to charge in & trample the rogue major to death.
The Major also issued a warning to Elsa.
"Even though I've been instructed to bring you in alive, I will blow your brains out if you happen to try anything funny with me, little girl! Understand?!", he said with venom in his voice. "Answer me!"
Scowling, Elsa nodded once.
"Good! Now…very slowly, remove your guns, drop them on the ground & kick them far away!", he ordered.
As he instructed, Elsa did as she was told. While she did so, something just occurred to her that put a piece of the puzzle together.
"You're in league with Pyotr…aren't you?!", she says with contempt.
The realization hit the group, collecting the data for themselves.
"You're the one who told that Russian maggot where Godzilla was in the Sea of Japan!", General Ernie says. "It was you that gave him the coordinates in order to obtain his blood & tissue samples – just so that they could kill him!"
"We're willing to bet it was also you that gave the information on all our files to that Russian bear Pyotr!", Merida adds. "No wonder he knew that we were all heading for Russia once Tajima & his family witnessed the theft! That was supposed to be confidential!"
"I always knew you were a filthy louse, mate, but this is insanity even for you!", Gus spat. "You sell out your very own country, endanger the lives of our families & friends in the whole matter, & for what?! What could you in the bloody underworld hope to accomplish?!"
"Only to do what nobody else, including this little miss, has the utmost courage to go out & do – kill Godzilla!", Derek snapped. "We've tried for years to get that prehistoric throwback driven into the ground, & when we finally go & create a weapon which could do exactly that, what does Elsa here do?! She lets him go, for God's sakes! Therefore, if there's anyone in this whole world who'll actually succeed in ridding the Earth of its greatest menace, it's Russia!"
"So you sell your own soul to the devil just to get rid of a creature from the Mesozoic that's survived into today's society!", Phillipe said. "It seems to me, monsieur, that Godzilla is not a monster at all! That honor goes to both you & Pyotr Lipovsky, not to mention those other mobsters itching to get their hands on that mutagen!"
"Save it, Frenchie: little miss Elsa here already gave me that tiresome & most insignificant speech! This here is our planet, & we are its dominant species, not oversized rejects from the Age of Reptiles! And since all you people know too much of my dealings with Pyotr Lipovsky, then you must also know that I can't allow any of you to live! So, little miss Elsa here is going to stand here & watch as each of her friends gets a bullet in the head before she & I head off to meet my collaborator & partner in crime!"
"No, she's not!", Elsa said defiantly.
Derek pressed the gun to her head harder, causing her to wince.
"Excuse me, but…I'm the one with the gun & the leverage, little miss!", Derek barked. "You're the hostage who shall do what she's told…unless you wish to be taking a permanent dirt nap! Therefore, you will keep quiet & accept your fate!"
"I don't think so…mister!"
As Derek spoke, Elsa secretly formed a double-pointed icicle in her right hand, hidden from friend & foe alike. Once she finished talking, she fired her icicle which took off like a shot without a sound before penetrating into Derek's right leg, going halfway through. This caused the Major to cry out in pain, giving Elsa the time to land a solid kick to his solar plexus that knocked him down on his rear as Elsa ran for cover.
But being a military man, Derek recovered almost immediately: seeing Elsa run off, he aimed his pistol at the Snow Queen but gets his gun arm grabbed by Merida, who ran in once Elsa was free from his clutches. Kicking his rifle away, Merida wretched his arm in a position that caused him to cry out in pain as cartilage began to snap. Using her finger, she pressed down on his wrist to force him to release his gun, which he does after ten seconds as it clacked on the street. Merida kicked it away & threw Derek onto the street.
Gus, General Ernie, Sven, Maximus, Phillipe, his men & Elsa – retrieving her specially-made guns – all rush up & aim their weapons at Derek, each one all too eager to pull the trigger & blow him away.
Even with guns aimed directly at him, Derek still showed defiance.
"What – you all are going to fill me full of holes where I lay, unarmed & defenseless?", he says, rising up slowly with his arms up.
"We've got no reason not to, monsieur!", Phillipe said sharply. "You're a traitor to both the human race and your own country! If we do decide to turn you into Swiss cheese, we are all in our legal rights to do so!"
"Luckily for you, Major, we're bringing you in for extradition back to the States for a court martial!", Ronald says. "But should you give us any reason to put you in the ground, we're going to take it, so you watch your step and your Ps & Qs, mister! Gus, care to do the honors of cuffing this traitorous maggot?"
"Thought you'd never ask, General!", Gus said, taking the handcuffs Ronald offered him.
"Before you do that, Gus…", Merida says, walking up to Derek before landing a rock-hard right fist into his face.
Major Derek Synapse fell to the floor, his vision going dark as he slipped into unconsciousness.
Somewhere in the distance, Godzilla roared.
Petites-Dalles, Friday, July 29th, 12:30 p.m.:
Once Gus got the handcuffs on rogue Major Derek Synapse, there was the debate of whether he should be taken over to the French military base where the others are waiting for them during the monster melee in Paris, or over to the nearest police station. Merida immediately suggested & favored for the police station, with good reason: once Tajima, Patricia, Nathan & the rest see Major Derek Synapse & knows what he'd done, the majority of them would plow through any number of French troops to get to the man & tear him apart with their bare hands, including – and most especially – Kristoff, who longs for a chance to do exactly that, considering how coldly Derek was to Emiko twice: in December at the hearing in Washington, D.C., the other earlier in the day at the Hotel ibis Paris Montmartre 18eme.
Nobody would blame him if he had, & the feeling would be most mutual for everyone else.
However, Major Synapse does need to be court-martialed for his actions & has to be alive to appear, so sending him over to the police station turned out to be the right choice.
It was discovered that Merida was all but correct in her assumption: word of what Derek Synapse did reach the others even before they arrived back to the base, with Elinor stating their mini cams that were active during their siege underneath the city in the Meganuron raid captured everything for them to see and hear, up to & including Derek's own confession of his ordeals with Russian Bratva boss Pyotr Lipovsky.
Everything was recorded for prosperity & saved on a miniature computer file to be used for a court martial once General Ernie gets back to the United States.
But first things first: after the monster melee in Paris ended & Godzilla fled with Mothra, her twin larva, Anguirus & Baragon, a pair of Eurocopter Caracal transport helicopters were dispatched to keep track of the monsters' present course & report if they decide to turn around & head back to Paris or any other heavily populated areas.
Thankfully, the areas in their current path were nowhere near as populated as Paris, & these received an advanced warning from authorities of their approach, giving people more than enough time to evacuate before they came close.
While the damage was great & houses/structures flattened, the loss of life was practically zero.
All indications of Godzilla's trajectory is that he & his monster caravan were all heading directly for the English Channel, where the Monster King & Anguirus came ashore from.
The Eurocopters stayed on their trail for six hours, getting halfway to the English Channel before they were both relieved by a pair of larger Aerospatiale SA321 Super Frelon transport helicopters that picked up where they left off. On board one of them is Tajima, Hidemi, Akemi, Emiko, Patricia, Nathan, Kristoff, Eugene, Anna, Rapunzel, Pascal, Angus & the Shobijin. In the other was General Ernie, Phillipe Roache, Gus, Elinor, Dennis, Stephanie, Elsa, Merida, Maximus & Sven. For the final set of six hours, they watched as Godzilla, Mothra & her twin larva, Anguirus & Baragon traveled along the French landscape before heading for the open waters of the Channel as a nuclear power plant was only a short distance away.
As fate would have it, Godzilla ignored it completely: perhaps it was due to the radiation he'd absorbed from the nuclear weapon the foolish North Koreans & Syrians fired upon him the other day, or because Godzilla simply didn't have any interest in it to begin with.
Whatever the reason may be, the power plant was spared any devastation from the Monster King, as the shoreline was now only several meters away. The monsters roar/chirp as they all demolish the houses along the shoreline before entering, their sounds audible even over the sound of the chopper blades & from a safe altitude. Godzilla of course had entered first, followed by Mothra's larva as they carry their parent to keep her afloat, with Anguirus & Baragon going in last as both backed up a couple of meters to get better positions to defend Mothra in case any hostiles come their way from the sides or the rear.
Like all other areas in their direct path, the domiciles were all evacuated & devoid of life hours before.
Godzilla turned left once he was waist-deep in the water at several hundred meters out, with his caravan following suit. As he does, Godzilla turned his head partly in the direction of the two helicopters tailing him & his group.
Or, to be more precise, to the chopper that Elsa Sugimoto was in.
Elsa, Merida & the rest inside her chopper jumped slightly when Godzilla turned his head their way, with most knowing the reason why as the Snow Queen & former DunBroch princess faced each other with a pinch of worry, with both of them knowing that the Monster King knew of her presence behind him.
Curling his lip up slightly, Godzilla turned away & faced forward as he continued wading out into the English Channel, leading Mothra, her larva, Anguirus & Baragon further away from France.
Merida, Elsa & everyone else in their helicopter felt a huge pang of relief.
This same atmosphere was reflected & shared in the other helicopter.
"Did you see that?", Emiko said in her mother tongue. "He knew: Godzilla knew that Elsa was in the vicinity all along."
"Yes", Akemi said. "Even as we've kept our distance & retained a high enough altitude, Godzilla was aware of Elsa's presence the entire time."
"You're right, girls", Tajima said. "Godzilla could've turned his attention to us at any time upon our arrival, but didn't. He had more pressing matters to attend – one he stands by even now."
"He's made a promise to Mothra & her larva twins that he'd lead them all safely back home, just as Anguirus & Baragon themselves are", Hidemi said, holding the Shobijin in their mini box. "He may not display it much, but…there is a noble animal in Godzilla after all."
Despite not knowing the Japanese language well at all, the rest accompanying the Sugimoto family easily saw on what they were discussing: watching Godzilla escort Mothra & her young out of France to keep them guarded while he gets them home was nobility in animals as they've ever seen. Anna could recall when the Monster King could've roasted her, Elsa & even Kristoff & Sven when he stared them down in Tokyo and/or Nagoya but decided to spare them each & every time.
Same as with the aftermath of the battle in Los Angeles against Mecha-King Ghidorah & Gigan: Godzilla easily could've resumed fighting with Mechagodzilla knowing Elsa was inside yet declined to do so & swam off for home.
His sense of honor is present within him, even if Godzilla doesn't show it too often.
But it is there regardless.
For all the destruction you cause, I can still see quite an honorable/magnificent animal in you, Godzilla, thought Stephanie.
"Merci, Mothra. Merci, Godzilla", Phillipe Roache said in his mother tongue.
"General, I do believe that Godzilla & his friends can take it from here, don't you?", Elinor stated.
"I can certainly concur on that, Elinor", Ronald says, sending a signal to Phillipe, who nodded & spoke in French to the pilots of their whirlybird.
Getting the French agent's message, the pilots turn their chopper around which gave the signal for the second one to do the same as they fly away from the English Channel & head back the way they came, leaving Godzilla & company for those out to sea to handle the situation from this point on.
Godzilla, Anguirus & Baragon let out roars that were heard even as they reached a sizeable distance away, with Mothra & her young chirping as they swam for home to Infant Island.
The danger to Paris & all of France was passed, but there was still work to be done.
Prefecture de Police Station, Paris, France, 3:00 p.m.:
Heading back to the French army base, Phillipe & General Ernie got caught up on events happening within the city shortly after Godzilla & company vacated the area: the charred body & severed limbs of Megaguirus were cordoned off, accessible only to proper authorities to assure that nobody can get near them or even collect samples of her bodily fluids to have the mutagen as their own, since the dragonfly queen had all but eaten Pyotr Lipovsky's sample of it once it broke out of its underground lair. That in itself was being thoroughly swept by military personnel to be certain that no surviving Meganuron/Menagula was still alive either as an egg or hatched; any that were got a round of bullets and/or an instant incineration by a multitude of high-powered flamethrowers.
As luck would have it, they found only dead bodies that were charred into ashes.
With help from both the British & United States Navies, the French searched the area of the English Channel for any signs of Slashfang after his retreat from Paris, his burns looking quite severe. They searched almost an entire day for the Smilodon beast but found no corpse anywhere on the ocean floor.
Speculations were running that the cat creature could still be alive somewhere, however remote it might be.
Each nation's submarines will keep on it until it's confirmed, no matter how long it may take.
Having the basics covered, the group paid a visit to the police station where Major Derek Synapse was currently sharing residence at.
Phillipe took them over on the corner where the station resided at as General Ernie asked the French agent if they could go in alone to speak to the rogue major, which includes having Dennis & Stephanie staying in the vehicle.
Understanding completely, they each agreed as Ronald thanked them kindly, saying it wouldn't take too long.
Addressing the officers over at the front desk, General Ernie & the rest were lead on down to a basement where some of the worst in Paris were being held, kept away from the other 'modest' lawbreakers who only received all but the most minor offenses that got them jail time but not for extended periods.
Most of the time, it would be flooded with the most serious offenders.
Today, however, it only held Major Derek Synapse as he woke up to the sound of the outer door opening up as a plethora of footsteps followed immediately after. Sitting up from his little bunker, he was greeted by the sight of General Ernie, Elsa, Merida & their families/friends, each one of them staring at the rogue major with disdain & abhorrence as they've never had for anyone else.
"So, enjoying your new residence yet, Major?", Gus says.
Derek said nothing as he stared hard back at them. His right leg was bandaged where Elsa stabbed him at.
"Not a lot to say, have you?", Elinor says. "That's not too surprising: if I were deemed as a traitor to my country, even I would find it tough to engage myself in casual conversation."
"Look, folks, if you've come here to make me feel guilty about my actions, then you're wasting your time", Derek says. "I did what I had to do since everyone else was too cowardly to try, & I'd do it all over again if I could."
The group looked to each other briefly before turning back to the major.
"I suppose we're not too surprised about that either", General Ernie says. "But don't worry, Major: we didn't pay you a visit to make you feel guilty or gloat about your current predicament. Our main reason for being here is to inform you that your court martial date is set for somewhere between mid-late August back home in the States. And before you ask, we have more than enough evidence to get you convicted: during our scuffle outside of the auction house, the mini cams on our uniforms recorded everything both sight and sound when you tried to take Elsa here hostage. You've just incriminated yourself, son, & I've already sent a copy of your confession over to our people back home. Not only that, I happen to have a spare copy of it stored on a mini console that resides right here in my pocket."
General Ernie tapped his breast pocket to confirm his claims.
"You're looking at one honey of a court martial, Major", he resumed. "And it won't be long before your associate Pyotr Lipovsky is found & placed where you are now: his name is now plastered all over both Paris and Moscow, with photos of his Russian mug on their most wanted lists to follow. Soon, there'll be no place on Earth he'll be able to hide, thanks to you. But who knows? Perhaps you two could share a cell together once he's caught."
The group smiled at the notion of Derek Synapse being cellmates to whatever prison they'll be sent & literally going at each other's throats.
But Derek wasn't going down easily, even as he faces probable life imprisonment.
"Even if what you're telling me is true, General, I won't be going down alone!", Derek warned, turning to Elsa & pointing an accusing finger at her. "I'll tell them, Elsa: I'll let the entire board & United States Armed Services know what a sly & manipulative fraud you really are! Once they discover I was telling the truth about you, they'll just as soon strip you of your rank & placed you in a cold, damp cell like all the other soldiers who've went & gone AWOL!"
Elsa turned to everyone, each of them with a slightly worried look on their faces.
She raised her hand in a gesture that meant it'll be all right as she smiled, surprising them.
"Elsa, are you…are you sure you want to do that?", Nathan asked. "That'd be quite a gamble!"
"He's right, Elsa: armed with that knowledge, he'll stop at nothing to take you down!", Patricia adds.
"It'll be all right, Nathan, Patricia – trust me", Elsa said calmly, still smiling. When she turned back to Derek, her smile vanished & her features became hard. "You know what, mister? Go ahead & tell them…blab your head off about me to your heart's desire! And while you're at it, I want you to do me a favor: don't forget to tell them how you were beaten by a fabled snow queen who's supposed to be dead for more than 200 years!"
Her last statement put an extremely confused look on Derek's face, wondering if she's lost her marbles as they highly claim he has.
Derek allowed himself a small smile & scoff in mild amusement.
"Now I know you're not fit to serve in the Armed Forces, little girl!", he says. "The story of the Snow Queen is no more than a fairy tale, told by Hans Christian Andersen!"
Now it was Elsa's turn to smile slightly.
"Really?", she says, twinkling her fingers.
Her ice came out in fragments of small particles as they flew into Derek's cell between the bars & landed several feet in front of him, forming ice sculptures of Derek & Pyotr as prison inmates, of General Ernie holding the American flag, of herself in her Mechagodzilla uniform, & that of Godzilla himself before she dissolved her works & retracted her ice back into her fingers.
"Does that look like a 'fairy tale' to you, mister?", Elsa asked.
Derek stared dumbfounded & unable to comprehend what he'd just bore witness to, but it was beginning to make sense to him, no matter how absurd he may find it all to be.
He looked at Elsa with the eyes of a maniac ready to tear apart his next victim.
"So that's why we never spent any money on the power source for Mechagodzilla's Absolute Zero Cannon!", he deduced. "It never came from any crystals – it came from you! You're the reason why it worked so well!"
"Guilty as charged", Elsa said calmly.
Despite the pain in his leg, Derek approached the bars & gripped them hard until his knuckles turned white.
"Glad youmade your own confession, little girl, because now I've got you right where I want you!", he said with venom in his voice, his face full of utmost rage. "If I get sent to that court martial, I'll tell the board everything I know of – including that of your ice power! They'll deem you as a witch & have you committed to an asylum, where they'll do experiments on you to see how it works! You'll be cut up into so many pieces, not even all the king's horses & all the king's men will be able to put you back together again! I may be going down, sweetie, but I'll do so knowing that you're joining me – with a fate that's a lot worse than death!"
This time it was Merida that spoke to the rogue major.
"Good luck with that, mister!", she says. "Considering the crimes/charges stacked against you, when the time comes for you to approach that bench, do you really believe they'll accept a single word that comes out of your mouth should you mention a woman who can create sculptures out of ice, or even the worst kinds of blizzards that could be all but conjured up on a simple whim? Do that, & they'll likely call for an insanity plea against you before sending you off to a lunatic asylum, with very little to no chance of parole! You'll most likely never set foot outside your cell walls for the remainder of your days!"
Gus, Elinor, Elsa & the rest smiled at Merida's statement, seeing how well she's learned the justice system in the 21st Century like everyone else from the distant past.
Now it was Rapunzel that puts in her two cents.
"But like Elsa said – go ahead & confess to your heart's desire, mister! See where it gets you!", she says. "But know this: you've committed treason to your homeland, & they won't take the word of a madman over that of a snow queen who's out of time here in the 21st Century! Don't worry, though: we'll all be there for your court martial when the time comes to see you take the plunge, & if the board decides to ask Elsa if what you're saying really is true & asks for a demonstration of her power, I doubt she'd have a problem showing it to them as she just did with you!"
It was Anna that closed the conversation.
"Even if they do find my sister's ability unusual in this day & age, I'm betting they'll still allow her to continue to function as a member of the Mechagodzilla crew, considering how extraordinary her performance was in December! As for you, once convicted, we won't be seeing you again – ever!"
"General, I do believe we're done here", Kristoff says.
"Yeah, any longer in his presence, you can forget about the court martial because we'll all but tear him apart if we have to stay down here a minute longer!", Eugene adds, getting nods from all.
"I agree, gentlemen", Ronald said, taking one last look at Derek. "You know, Major, I was vehemently against your accompanying me on this trip to Paris, but now I must confess that I'm glad you came. You've confessed to your crimes of treason and helped get Pyotr on the run, with the long arm of the law already hot on his heels. See you back at the States…traitor!"
The group started walking towards the door that lead them inside the basement corridor.
Derek still showed defiance as they left.
"You think you've all seen the last of me?!", he shouted. "I'll get even with all of you if it's the last thing I do! Especially you, Elsa Sugimoto: I'll kill everyone you care about in this day & age, you hear me?! Do you hear me, you conniving ice witch?!"
Everybody ignored Derek's threats as they reached the exit & stepped out, happy to be away from his presence.
The door slammed with a loud metal clang, making Derek Synapse a lone inmate in a French jail. Again.
Having nothing else to do, he slammed his palms on the bars before laying down & got some sleep.
The sound of the main door leading to the room woke Derek as he got up & listened to the sound of a lone set of footsteps approaching his cell. Before too long, a lone French police officer stood outside his cell with his cap obscuring his face from view. Taking the keys from his belt he unlocks the cell door & stepped inside.
Derek was confused by it all as he got up & walked over to him.
"What?", he asks. "Does this mean I've been granted a pardon or something? Because if it is, I need for you to…"
In a move that caught Derek off-guard, the officer's hand went to his face & pushed him back with great strength, nearly causing him to fall onto his bunk.
"Hey! What's the big idea?!", Derek fumed. "Have you lost your mind?! Who do you think you are, anyway?!"
"Somebody who needs to collect debt", the officer said in a foreign accent.
The Major's blood froze at the sound, believing it to be a familiar voice.
His suspicions & fears were confirmed when the French officer removed his cap to reveal the unmistakable face of Pyotr Lipovsky, making Derek so weak in the knees that he slunk down onto his bunk & couldn't get up.
"Pyotr!", the Major stammered.
"None other", the Russian man says. "We need to talk."
"Pyotr, listen to me, please, I can explain…"
The Russian man cut him off with a raise of his hand, silencing him before he continued.
"I remember when you called for me to ask for assistance in simple task of killing Godzilla. You were desperate for help on such manner, that not only would you contact me with information on monster's whereabouts once you were all but certain of them, but you also swore oath you would never mention even slightest trace of our partnership, for fear of committing treason among fellow Americans. For seven months, you've kept promise…until now."
Pyotr waited several moments for everything to sink in with his quarry.
"You swore OATH to me!", Pyotr barked, causing Derek to cringe in fear. When next he spoke, his volume had been lowered but no less threatening. "In Russian Bratva, honor & family is what we cherish most above all else! If a man has neither in his soul, then what kind of a man is he?! But the question that should really be asked here is…what kind of man are you?!"
Derek swallowed fearfully, unable to answer offered question.
Pyotr's face turned from hard to soft & sympathetic, as if he were on the verge of crying his heart out.
As he spoke, he even sounded like he could cry.
"I love my mother Russia. But what's more, I love my family. Do you know I am proud husband to my wife & father of two little girls – two little girls – that are no more than four years old? They are love of my life,whom I would do anything for. My existence in this world is because of them, not Bratva: Bratva is only means of support for family that is reason for my being on planet."
Pyotr paused to allow tears being shed over sadness, making Derek realize that he wasn't faking his emotions.
Wiping the tears away, he resumed.
"Every morning as I wake up, I see wife next to me, happy as can be. Same as with daughters: they make me feel like king of world every time I see their charming faces, hear giggling laughter, see them frolic in yard or playground, enjoying life best they can at such young age. I am full of pride & joy seeing wife & daughters happy."
His face them turned hard again, as did his voice.
"But now, that's all been taken away from me…thanks to you!", he growled. "Because of your incompetence, I no longer have family to go home to, much less a country! I am now outcast from my mother Russia, living in exile! Have you any idea what that does to a man, being not able to return to his own home & forced to keep distance?!"
Pyotr waited for Derek to give a plausible answer, of which he had none.
"I am not surprised to see you have no answer, but then…you would not understand loss as I have", Pyotr says. "You have nothing more to give, making you loose end and liability."
The Russian man advanced towards Derek, who backed away until he hit the wall.
Thinking fast in order to save his skin, Derek came up with something that might, however remote his chances.
"Pyotr, wait!", he pleads. "I do have something else for you, something very juicy! It's about Elsa Sugimoto! I discovered that she has the natural ability to project…"
Derek's sentence was cut short when Pyotr grabbed the rogue major by the throat, cutting off his vocal chords & his windpipe. The man struggled in his grip but it was like iron as his eyes went agape.
"Whatever secrets/information you may have for me, you shall take to your grave!", Pyotr said with cold eyes. "I lose everything precious to me in my life, so scales need be tipped in my favor as I rid you of yours! Dasvidanya to you, Major Derek Synapse!"
Pyotr's grip on Derek's throat tightened, further ceasing air flow into his lungs. Derek tried again to pry the man's hand loose, but it was futile: his strength was as solid as steel & he felt his own slipping away, along with his life.
Eight seconds later, the sound of bone snapping echoed throughout the basement level.
Only Pyotr had the privilege to hear it.
Four minutes later:
Using the sheets from his bunk, Pyotr fixed it so that Derek was killed by a suicidal hanging, wrapping one end around his neck in a noose & wrapping the other around the horizontal bar near the top of the cell. Once he got it all to look exactly as he wanted, Pyotr closed & locked Derek's cell door before making his way topside.
Passing the front desk, he turned in the keys to Derek's cell, along with an added bonus.
It was a thick stack of $100,000 francs in freshly piled bills.
"Merci", Pyotr said as he left the police station.
The French officer took the keys & money, putting the latter inside a bag underneath his desk.
In his French police uniform, Pyotr walked casually among the crowd.
The French military base:
With police & fire crews working to help those trapped in rubble from the destruction caused by Godzilla & the other monsters, one soldier found some blood & tissue samples that once belonged to the creature known as Slashfang, having some of it torn & burned off during its fight with Anguirus & Baragon. Checking for radiation & finding none, some of it was collected to be brought back to the base where Tajima took a thorough study of it, using equipment the base provided for him.
He studied the sample for over an hour as everyone waited for his answer.
Finally, after rubbing his eyes from looking into an advanced microscope, the Japanese scientist looked ready to relay his findings.
"Well, Tajima…what's the verdict?", asked Stephanie.
"In short, Stephanie, it's definitely a mutagen", he said. "But before you ask, it's different from the one Mugal & his people used to create Vertigo, Armadon & Bagorah last year."
"Different? How, exactly?", asked Anna.
"The cellular structure is unlike Mugal's, yet it still performs in the same manner. It's also more potent, of what I can tell: with this, all it takes is a mere spoonful to turn an ordinary animal into a rampaging monster, & I've no doubt it can do the same with people."
"Merida had mentioned that Mugal could've made Slashfang with this different breed of mutagen just before we defeated them", Rapunzel asked. "Judging from what she & Gus discovered of these people, they've been living on this Earth in secret for six years until they finally showed their hand. Who knows if we've got them all after their ship blew up."
"Rapunzel has a good point", Eugene adds. "For all we know, there could still be a gathering of Mugal's people living somewhere on the planet that we never knew about, who are still making monsters out there with a mutagen that is a vast upgrade from the original."
The room stayed quiet as everyone mulled over this possibility.
"You both could be right, Rapunzel, Eugene", Tajima says. "But there's too many variables, too many unknowns at this point. It may not even be survivors of Mugal's people that made this updated version: when that mutagen from Bagorah's tail sample was stolen in Russia, Kazimir Volkov or even Pyotr himself could've offered a sample of it to a local or foreign criminal organization long before he held last night's auction to sell it. Anyone with Kazimir Volkov's vast knowledge of bio-genetics could very easily modify & upgrade it to their own specifications."
"So, we could be dealing with, what…a mafia ring that has the power to create their own monsters with this new version of mutagen in their possession somewhere in the world?", Kristoff asked.
"If that's really the case, then we're all but too late to stop that mutagen from falling into criminal hands!", Merida said. "That auction was our best bet, & now we've just found out that it was all for naught!"
"Let's not jump to conclusions just yet, Merida", Elinor said. "Like Tajima said, this scenario could stretch out into all sorts of different directions that it would be impossible to decipher which road to take that would lead us to the truth in all this."
"Your Mum's right, Merida", Gus said. "We're basically in a boat with a number of streams we could go down but might lead us astray should we choose the wrong one. All there is for us to do is gather whatever information that we can which will help us pick the right path & deliver us straight to the answer we seek."
"In the meantime, our papa can take a portion of this new mutagen over to his self-named company in Tokyo as soon as we get back home", Akemi said. "If we're lucky, we'll find a lead on it sooner than we expect."
"I myself will hold onto the other half of the mutagen sample – to ensure that it never falls into the wrong hands", Phillipe said. "As Tajima will with his, I shall take it over to my agency & see if they can give us anything more that we need to know."
"What about the creature that's been christened Slashfang?", Emiko wondered. "With the wounds it received in battle, it couldn't have gotten far & might be dead somewhere on the ocean floor."
"The Navies of Britain, America, Germany & my own country have been searching for the creature since it took off & exited in the English Channel. We've not found it yet but will continue until we find it or something that might lead us to its whereabouts."
General Ernie's cell phone suddenly buzzed as Ronald took it out of his pocket & answered.
"Hello? Yes, this is General Ernie. What kind of problem?"
Ronald listened intently to the details before he exploded.
"What?! You've got to be joking, son! How did this even happen?!"
The General listened on as an explanation was given. When next he spoke, it was in a calmer voice.
"I see. I understand. Don't worry, son – it's not your fault. Of course. I'll be down there shortly. Merci."
"Whatever that phone call was about, General, it's sure got you in an uproar", Nathan said as Ronald pocketed his cell phone. "What happened?"
"I'm afraid it's about Major Synapse, people", Ronald says. "He's been found dead in his cell."
Everyone was in a state of shock – nobody expected this to be brought to the table.
"How?", asked Eugene & Kristoff.
"An officer went to check on him when he suddenly found the man hanging from his cell door with a noose that was wrapped around his neck", Ronald explained. "He stated that he'd been dead for nearly a half-hour when he found him in that position."
"This is horrible!", Patricia said. "Like the rest of us, I had no love for the man, but we needed him alive for his court martial and to see if he could lead us to Pyotr! And just like the coward he is, Derek took the easy way out! Why couldn't we have foreseen this?!"
"You might be wrong about something, Patricia", Elsa said. "I doubt that Derek was the suicidal type, even in his predicament. I suspect foul play was involved, & I'm pretty sure we all know which 'suspect' I'm referring to."
"Who else? Pyotr!", Hidemi said. "He obviously knew that Derek was an expendable asset to his organization, so he went to tie up the loose end the major was – and right under our very own noses!"
"So, where do we go from here?", Dennis asked. "Derek Synapse was our best lead & chance in getting Pyotr to face justice, & now he's out there somewhere, laughing at us!"
"I know it's a kick in the pants, Dennis, but it's not all that bad", General Ernie says. "Pyotr may have done away with the Major & got away scot-free, but he's still on every 'Most Wanted' list in France, Russia & most anywhere else in the world. Trust me: it won't be long before somebody spots & reports him, wherever he may be hiding. On an extra note, we've got Derek's confession all recorded for prosperity. I think that should be more than enough."
It didn't give Dennis much comfort, but it was the best they could go on at the moment, so he nodded.
"Folks, why don't we all head back to the hotel for a well-deserved meal & rest afterwards?", Stephanie suggests. "The last couple of hours have been extremely strenuous on us all, & I for one could use some fulfilling nourishment & a good night's sleep. What's more, dinner will be on me tonight, so please order to your heart's desire."
Everyone looked to the singer with such a generous offer, their feelings reflecting it.
"You know something, Stephanie? We would all love that…very much. Merci", Anna says with a smile.
Stephanie grinned at her answer, going to & wrapping her arms around Elsa's sister before giving Anna a heartfelt kiss on her cheek as everyone smiled at the display of love and the singer's offering of having a dinner that she would be taking the tab for.
Bleak as the news of Derek Synapse's death was, Stephanie Beatrice knew how to lighten things up, just as she did when they felt down in the dumps before the General arrived by going on stage & singing to their heart's desire.
That evening at the Hotel ibis Paris Montmartre 18eme, everybody ate their best including Maximus, Sven, Angus & Pascal.
As promised, Stephanie handled the bill & left a most generous tip for their waiter.
They slept most peacefully that night.
Downtown Manhattan, New York City, Sunday, September 11th, 6:00 p.m.:
In the morning, they ate a hearty breakfast before heading over to the Charles De Gaulle Airport to depart & head back home to their respected countries: the Fleming family back to England, the Benice family to America along with Stephanie Beatrice & Dennis, & the Sugimoto family to Japan with General Ernie, who was still on call for the assist of helping North Korea after the attack on Pyongyang. Maximus, Sven & Angus were all placed in crates with breathing holes for transport & food to munch on, with Pascal in his little travel cage for the flight home.
Olaf, of course, was in his own travel bag & shared crate space with Sven.
Before departure, Patricia & Nathan gave everyone a friendly reminder of their big meeting at a certain place in America which they've planned for almost a year.
The Fleming & Sugimoto families responded that they wouldn't miss or cancel it for the world.
General Ernie, Stephanie Beatrice & Dennis were informed by their friends of their 'special date' in just over a month, with the U.S. Army official & singer saying that they'd wish to join them on it & create a spectacle on that day.
All were delighted by their suggestion, welcoming it indefinitely.
With warm handshakes, hugs & kisses on cheeks, the three families departed for their own homes.
In the weeks that followed, events were quite plentiful for the three families & their friends: Gus & Merida were on several assignments from the British agent's agency, having succeeded in each one; the Benice family performed a handful of heartfelt concerts during August to raise funds for those affected in Russia, North Korea & Paris by monster attacks, raising quite a fortune like Patricia, Nathan, Rapunzel & Eugene always do, with Stephanie Beatrice lending her assistance; the Sugimoto family were enjoying being back home, spending August with Sven & Olaf.
Tajima got the blood sample from Slashfang analyzed over at his self-named science/tech facility, seeing if any further leads can be discovered.
Like he surmised, it was unmistakably a new breed of mutagen, similar yet different from what Mugal used with creating his monsters.
Aside from that, his people could find nothing else unusual about it, let alone trace it back to where it was made or who might have amplified its potency.
Despite the setback, Tajima & his people won't give up on finding out, no matter how long it takes.
General Ernie stayed in Tokyo to oversee the operation of North Korea's liberation with Commander Yoshi as troops from America, Japan & South Korea enter the DPRK to help bring aide to those with no homes & scarcely any food to eat. Relief came in by the truckloads as essentials poured in to get fresh food/water, clothing & the like to every person that was without a home when Godzilla, Rodan, Gaira & Sanda struck. Everybody in the ruins of Pyongyang & on its outskirts were cooperating with their suppliers, including the police & military personnel.
Seeing the assistance of American, Japanese & South Korean troops being granted to them on a whim & of their own free will, the North Koreans really have misjudged them, especially the American & Japanese people: for years it was depicted that they were enemies of the DPRK, always eager to fight & conquer just because they're a power-hungry nation & because they can.
They were proven wrong, with numerous North Koreans offering their sincerest apologies to them for thinking of these people as savages, when in fact, they were people who actually cared – even if they were foreigners.
The soldiers from America, Japan & South Korea said they had nothing to apologize for, having been brainwashed by a dictator who's just as deranged & psychotic as his father & grandfather were. Every North Korean was grateful at their immediate forgiveness & understanding, happy to get the relief they need from people they once thought to be no more than warmongers.
Even the police & military were more than convinced of this, & they lend their own assistance to the people in & near Pyongyang where they could. One such gesture was in freeing the prisoners they'd kept in concentration camps across the country – ones that Rodan didn't obliterate when he was hitting missile bases of the land.
In all that time, none of the soldiers from America, Japan or South Korea encountered any stragglers – if any – who were still blindly loyal to the Kim Dynasty: they surmised that either they've all accepted surrender & are within city limits helping the people in need or they've escaped deep into the country during or after Godzilla's rampage when they saw that trying to bring the beast & his allies down were all but hopeless.
Should there be these still lurking around somewhere, the soldiers will tend to them when & if they happen to run into them.
For right now, helping the citizens of Pyongyang back on their feet were their main priority.
On the evening of Friday, September 9th, the three families met once again over at John F. Kennedy International Airport, giving each other warm hellos as they always do, being their second gathering in America since Los Angeles last year. The Benice family, Stephanie Beatrice & Dennis were already on hand to meet their friends & having their animals all set with mobile stables to stay in for their visit to Manhattan, just like they've been blessed with in Moscow & Paris. The three families – along with General Ronald Len Ernie & Commander Yoshi Shimazaki, who accompanied them from Japan – were given rides in large limousines that took them over to the One57 apartment complex located at 157 West 57th Street, only two blocks away from Central Park & getting a spectacular view of the area from their 56th floor rooms they will be using for the weekend until Monday.
The mobile stables for Maximus, Sven & Angus were placed over on the side of Central Park's West Drive, right off of West 59th Street. Like in Moscow & Paris, they were fitted with name tags & licenses on their collars, & each of their stables were 10-12 feet apart to enable each animal to enter & exit with ease.
Settling in after a long flight, the three families, Ronald, Yoshi, Stephanie, Dennis & the animals all settle in for a good night's sleep in the Big Apple.
The next two days were most eventful: their first stop was at the American Museum of Natural History, located on the western side of 70th Street of Central Park. Inside they found all sorts of fascinating things, from the incredible display of the popular Barosaurus sauropod dinosaur defending itself & young against an attacking Allosaurus theropod dinosaur to the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda, the 94-foot-long, 21,000-pound blue whale model displayed/hanging from the ceiling in the Hall of Ocean Life, Hall of Human Origins, right up to the Hayden Planetarium on the 3rd floor of the building.
Everybody soaked it all in as Tajima, Gus, Patricia, Nathan & even Stephanie & Dennis became something of a group of tour guides, giving those from the distant past vast knowledge of historical moments/artifacts, from Indians to the evolution of humans from early Neanderthals to Cro-Magnon right up to modern-day man.
Kristoff & Eugene joked to the ladies that even after evolving from cavemen, there were still some people they'd each knew of who have never evolved at all, inciting low-volume chuckles in the group.
They knew exactly who they meant, agreeing to the fullest.
And what would a trip to Manhattan's American Museum of Natural History be without seeing the dinosaurs & all the other prehistoric animals?
From the earliest fish to the rampaging dinosaur right up to the extinct mammals the preceded them, there were no shortage of skeletons/model exhibits of the animals that once ruled the Earth, long before there'd been any humans roaming the planet. Bone structures of the early amphibian-like species such as Ichthyostega & Eryops, early reptiles like Edaphosaurus & Dimetrodon, to full-fledged dinosaurs ranging from sauropods like Brontosaurus & Diplodocus, ceratopsians like Triceratops & Styracosaurus, armored dinosaurs like Stegosaurus, Ankylosaurus, Polacanthus, & of course ferocious carnivores like Teratosaurus, Megalosaurus, Spinosaurus & Tyrannosaurus.
Amid the dinosaurs, they also looked at the remains of flying reptiles like the Dimorphodon, Rhamphorhynchus, Pteranodon & Quetzalcoatlus to the reptiles that once dominated the oceans/seas – the Ichthyosaurs, Plesiosaurs & the lizard-like Mosasaurs.
The skeletons of the prehistoric mammals were no less impressive either: Andrewsarchus, Glyptodon, Smilodon, Megacerops, Wooly Mammoth, Eohippus (the world's smallest horse) & others.
By taking a look at these long-extinct animals, the group can't help but to imagine seeing the present-day monsters some of them resemble: Anguirus, Rodan, Baragon, Gorosaurus, Titanosaurus, Varan, & of course Godzilla himself as each one flashed in their minds. They were still amazed how creatures whose sizes/speed that defies all scientific logic roam Earth today, while their smaller 'cousins' were put on display for people to see.
Many of them – if not all – found it ironic.
Viewing the Plesiosaurus & Rhamphorhynchus gave the Sugimoto family & Yoshi a bit of the jitters, recalling when they were asked by Professor Mizaki to travel to the Mount Fuji/Saiko Lake area of Japan to get confirmation of said extinct reptiles being reported in the area & almost becoming their dinner.
Were it not for Godzilla Junior & Elsa's quick thinking with her ice, they probably would have.
Their entire time spent in the museum was from 10:00 to about 12:30 in the afternoon, gaining all that knowledge in such a short period.
During their visit, Pascal was hidden from security eyes within Merida's hair, being able to blend in & see what they did.
Next, they paid a visit to the Jacob Javits Center, which holds various conventions including the annual & popular New York Comic-Con every October, where fans of all ages get to dress as their favorite characters from all sorts of media ranging from comics to Japanese anime.
For many, it was like an early Halloween.
From there, they made their way over to the Pennsylvania Station at the corner of 8th Avenue & 33rd Street before heading over to Madison Square Garden, just down the street on 7th Avenue. Once they took their photos of each with their cell phones, they went down 33rd Street further until they reached 350 5th Avenue – where the iconic Empire State Building proudly stood. It is a landmark featured in many forms of popular culture ranging from movies & television to video games, comics, novels, photographs, artwork & numerous songs. The most famous, however, is quite possibly the 1933 movie 'King Kong', whereas the films' giant ape climbed to the top before getting shot down by biplanes.
The group can probably see the gargantuan siblings Gaira & Sanda making that same climb, all wondering if the building's structure could support their weight without toppling it over.
Then again, the Russian buildings in MIBC did so when Chaos climbed the Eurasia Tower even when Sanda had done so in pursuit, with the OKO Tower supporting Gaira.
None of them wished to find out or think about the possibility – or not – of the famous NYC structure doing the same, so they went inside to get their tickets to get a bird's-eye view of the city from the building's observation deck. It took a little more than a couple of minutes to get access, but Stephanie, Patricia & Nathan pulled a few favors to get everyone to the top with but a small fee. Getting to the deck, they used viewfinders to get closer looks at their immediate surroundings, feeling like they could reach out & grab wherever they peered at.
They remained on the deck for an hour before heading back down to street level.
Like always, Maximus, Sven & Angus waited for them on the street.
A handful of NYPD officers were getting their photos taken with the animals as they've marveled at posing with New York's Finest.
Anna, Rapunzel, Merida & the rest thought it was a spectacular sight & grinned at the display.
With warm handshakes to the officers, the group were on their way over to Lexington Avenue, where the equally famous Chrysler Building stood, being not too far from their last destination. Because visitors weren't allowed to enter the inside past the lobby, the group opted to simply take photos from street level before moving further east until they reach 1st Avenue, running into the one & only United Nations Building. Once more, Tajima, Patricia, Nathan, Stephanie, Dennis & Gus gave the group a brief history of the world-famous headquarters that was first seeing light in the 1940s after World War II ended & is another structure further popularized in cinema culture & beyond.
Getting late, the group stopped over at a street vendor that was selling hot dogs & pretzels.
Unable to resist, they each purchased the food of their choice, with a drink to wash it all down. Maximus, Sven & Angus also got their first taste of hot dogs/pretzels from New York City, each one enjoying the flavor as they filled their mouths like parties were happening inside.
Maximus gets this treat a good amount of times, & Sven hopes to get the chance himself more often in the future.
Pascal gets pieces of a hot pretzel from Rapunzel, changing his color to brown when he consumes it.
Getting to 5th Avenue again, the group headed north back to Central Park for a relaxing evening through the area to close out their first day in the Big Apple. Along the way, they passed by Trump Tower, with none of them giving it even the slightest glance. In fact, their mood was so full of anger when they were in its presence they strolled by in all but complete silence, with even the animals not uttering a sound as they went by: having looked up the building's owner on the internet, they were so disgusted by his past & current actions – including several marriages which ended in utter failures – they want nothing to do with the man's name attached to it, their faces a hard scowl.
Elsa, Rapunzel & Merida's groups even resisted in giving the building the bird, which they do know how to give.
Filthy stupid wanker!, Gus thought with contempt.
Once they were a full block away from the despicable building with the Trump name attached to it, the group all lightened up as they commenced with their ride through Central Park, enjoying its glorious beauty before heading back to the apartment building on West 59th Street.
After a hearty meal, they retired for the night to save their energy for the big day tomorrow.
On Sunday morning, September 11th, as Olaf & Pascal were glued to the television because of the new season of the NFL, the group ate a good breakfast before heading out to Pier 97 at Hudson River Park. There, Stephanie ordered one of her personalized speedboats to take everyone over to Liberty Island, located on the New Jersey side of the bay. Docking on the southern part of the island, they took a walk over to Flagpole Plaza, where the American flag waved proudly in the breeze, especially on this day before going into the Statue of Liberty herself & going to the top inside the pedestal & the crown afterwards, getting great views of the city & even New Jersey from their vantage points.
A history lesson was offered, intriguing Elsa & Merida's parties to the fullest, having never visited the beautiful monument, let alone went inside it before until now.
This time it was Eugene & Rapunzel who did the lesson, having learned it from Patricia & Nathan during their very first year in the 21st Century.
Both husband & wife were very impressed at how much they remembered the history of the monument they've in turn gave to them, their memories like steel traps – recalling every little detail, no matter how small or trivial.
Spending more than an hour on the island, Stephanie takes her friends back to Manhattan & dock right over at North Cove Marina, going ashore & heading straight for Fulton & Greenwich Streets to their destination that's been a year in the making.
The 9/11 Memorial & Museum, where a pair of Memorial Fountains stand that replaces the original Twin Towers which were destroyed by hijacked planes 15 years ago on this day. Just north of these fountains several meters away is the One World Trade Center building – the one main building of the rebuilt site that had a mirrored surface with a spire shooting straight into the sky. Kristoff stood by with Anna & Elsa & checked out the WTC North Pool, caressing their hands over the names that were carved in the dark stone as the water rushed like a river within its boundaries.
Tajima, Hidemi, Akemi, Emiko, Elinor, Merida & Gus did the same.
Maximus, Sven & Angus looked at these names themselves, with Pascal walking across it & getting the closest view of them. Photos were taken to capture these beautifully-made fountains for eternal prosperity.
"So, each of the lives that have been unjustly taken on this day 15 years ago has his/her name carved upon both of these fountains?", Anna asked.
"All the nearly 3,000 of them, Anna, yes", Rapunzel said as Pascal got back onto her shoulder. "When Patricia & Nathan took us to see these for the first time only two years ago, I was so emotional that I nearly broke down crying & fell to the ground. And I would have, had Eugene not caught me in time."
"That's exactly how I felt the first time I saw those attacks, Rapunzel", Stephanie said. "I was still in high school when it all happened, & upon seeing those heartless terrorists rush in & destroy the original Twin Towers with the four planes they hijacked, I got so weak in the legs & body I felt as if I collapsed when those towers did."
"I can't say I blame you or Rapunzel, Stephanie", said Merida. "I know there's people overseas who don't like America's way of life, but I never thought – not in a million years – that they'd go this far just to display their immense hatred for this country & its freedom. What they did 15 years ago, that is evil in its purest form, plain & simple."
"Indeed, Merida", Elsa said. "What they did, it's like slaughtering women & children asleep in their beds, which is practically the kind of attack they have committed on this day. Only cowards commit such a heinous act."
"Which is exactly what these people are, Elsa", said Nathan. "They thought that by hijacking a quartet of planes & crashing them into some of our most treasured national monuments, they would incite fear into & cause us to succumb to it & their will. If that's what they believed when they planned this, then they don't know the American people very well like they first thought."
"They don't", Patricia adds. "To quote Elinor Roosevelt during World War II, 'we are the free & unconquerable people': whatever form of evil or terrorism rises to threaten us and/or our very way of life, we will equally rise to the occasion & defeat it. We don't roll over for nobody, be it the one-time Axis Powers, Saddam Hussein's tyranny or even Osama Bin Laden's malevolence."
"Not in this or any other lifetime, Patricia", Eugene said, getting nods from all. "America doesn't like to start fights, but if you pick one with us you can bet that we'll be finishing it. That's just what we've done with the mastermind of this horrible attack 15 years ago, & what we would have done with North Korea, had they continued causing problems for us and our allies."
"We may no longer have a problem with North Korea, Eugene, considering what Godzilla, Rodan, Gaira & Sanda did to it two months ago", Kristoff said. "And while things with giving the North Koreans assistance in the aftermath is going well, let's not celebrate just yet: there could always be those too loyal to Kim's regime to try something to help even the score. All we can do for the moment is wait & see what happens."
They nodded wordlessly.
Gus & Elinor Fleming were having a private conversation a few feet away.
"I take it there's never been anything like this attack 15 years ago back in your original time, love?", Gus asked in a low voice.
"Never, Gus", Elinor said. "There've been fierce conflicts such as when my original husband King Fergus lead his people against foreign invaders or when that vile sorcerer Asarlai murdered the inhabitants of Gaira & Sanda's old village that pit them against each other, but they still can't compare to this horrific, cowardly act. Like Merida said, this is pure evil as evil gets."
"No argument there, love: even those I've been sent to stop can't hold a bloody torch to what occurred here only a decade-&-a-half ago. To most people, it's always going to seem like only yesterday."
Gus & Elinor held each other in silence.
Tajima, Hidemi, Akemi & Emiko were having their own private conversation, speaking in their mother tongue.
"Mama, papa, every time this date comes around, I just can't help but to think of what we've done to this country on that Sunday, December 7th over at Hawaii's Pearl Harbor during the Second World War", Emiko says.
"Your feelings reflect our own, Emiko", Akemi said. "This is the worst attack of terrorism upon American soil since that aforementioned date. America wanted to stay out of that conflict until we forced them into it with that attack. We paid the price for it three-&-a-half years later when they destroyed Hiroshima & Nagasaki."
"Paid for it, we did", Hidemi said. "Like Germany & Italy in that time, we always believed that America was a weak nation that couldn't fight. They proved us wrong on more than one occasion, & it was that underestimation which caused our defeat in August of 1945."
"That's why we have a memorial service for Hiroshima & Nagasaki every year on those dates since then", Tajima says. "It's to remind us of our one-time warlike state & never to repeat what we've done to another nation again. This memorial site here in Lower Manhattan is to remind America that terror still exists, & that it must always be ready to counteract it wherever it rises to threaten it."
Tajima's wife & daughters nodded as something hit Emiko.
"Papa, isn't Yoshi & General Ernie supposed to join us for this?", she asked.
"I've gotten a text from Yoshi as we were on our way over here", Tajima says. "He & Ronald still got a little bit of business to take care of at the United Nations but will be here indefinitely for tonight. Trust me – they wouldn't miss it for anything."
"Yes", Hidemi, Akemi & Emiko said with a smile.
Dennis suggested to the group that they check out the 9/11 Memorial & Westfield World Trade Center buildings for the time they were down here, saying they were wonders to behold like the fountains are.
The group were excited to give them a look, so off they went.
Like Dennis surmised, they were extraordinary to lay eyes upon.
One57 Apartment Complex, West 57th Street, 5:30 p.m.:
As Stephanie & Dennis were showing the Benice, Fleming & Sugimoto families around Manhattan, both Olaf & Pascal were enjoying the new season of the NFL on television, viewing various games from between 1:00 to 4-4:30.
Now they were viewing the matchup between the Dallas Cowboys & New York Giants – a rivalry that's lasted for many years.
It was now the second quarter, with Dallas in the lead by a score of 9-0. On the next play, Giants quarterback Eli Manning throws a pass that gets caught as the runner makes for the End Zone.
"Yes! You've got this one!", Olaf cried out in triumph as Pascal did the same. "Now go, you stallion! Go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go…"
Just as the runner approached the End Zone, a Cowboy came in & crashed into the player, causing him to fumble the ball as it ended up in Dallas' hands.
Olaf & Pascal froze at the sudden turn of events that just occurred, leaving shocked faces that quickly turned red with rage as Pascal does so literally.
Pascal fell from the top of the seat they were in onto the cushion below, banging his fists & feet in disbelief.
"A fumble?! Are you kidding me?!", Olaf bellowed. "That was supposed to be a touchdown, jerks! Who taught you guys how to play, anyway – your dog?!"
Getting up from his little slump, Pascal shook a fist at the fumbling Giants as Olaf shook his head before doing the same with his own stick hand.
The 9/11 Memorial & Museum, a few minutes before 10:00 p.m.:
General Ernie & Commander Shimazaki did show up at Lower Manhattan at about 6:30 in the evening, just a half-hour before the concert Stephanie Beatrice organized to commence with on this day – a concert that holds very special meaning.
They were greeted warmly by Stephanie, Dennis, the Benice, Fleming & Sugimoto families & the three animals when they stopped by, dressed in uniform while Ronald held a large American flag he was proud to wave. Dennis says that his flag would be a great addition to the concert & asked if he could borrow it to use in the evening's performance.
The General was all too happy to give him permission.
The festivities began at 7:00, beginning with Stephanie Beatrice giving a most moving speech on the event which occurred 15 years ago this very day – a day that started out like any other until 8:46 in the morning when a plane which was hijacked by Afghanistan/Al-Qaeda terrorists crashed into the North Tower between the 93rd & 99th floors. In less than 17 minutes later, a second plane crashed into the South Tower between the 77th & 85th floors. Like most everyone else, Stephanie got emotional when she announced the collapse of the South Tower at 9:59, followed by the North Tower at 10:28 which also caused the Marriott Hotel's destruction, located at the base of both towers.
Stephanie took a few deep breaths before continuing, laying out the other attacks at the Pentagon at 9:37, with the fourth & final plane crashing near Shanksville, Pennsylvania at approximately 10:03 a.m., being the only plane that didn't hit its intended target – the U.S. Capital or the White House – because of bravery on the passengers' part.
The singer asked the audience for a couple moments of silence for all the victims that were unfairly taken on this day, which they were happy to oblige with.
When Stephanie thanked everyone, they clapped & cheered to their heart's content before the music started.
On this evening, a plethora of patriotic songs were performed: tunes such as John Denver's 'Take Me Home, Country Roads', James Taylor's 'Oh, Susannah', Elvis Presley's 'If I Can Dream', Johnny Cash's 'That Ragged Old Flag', & so many more being sung by Stephanie, Patricia, Rapunzel, Anna, Elsa, Merida, Kristoff & Eugene gave this concert a grand American feeling that was felt by all on the anniversary of such a horrible tragedy.
Even Olaf & Pascal were tuned in to this milestone of an event, having skipped NBC's 'Sunday Night Football' in order to see their friends do a concert to bring strength to a day that became just as infamous as Sunday, December 7th, 1941 – an event that shall also be celebrating a milestone later in the year.
Olaf himself even said that, for this, it is worth missing a night of football.
Pascal nodded happily as they watched Rapunzel, Elsa & the others do one of many things that they do best.
Right before the time would read 10:00 in the evening, Stephanie Beatrice announced that she had one more song for her & her friends to sing, one that had as much of a message on this day as it did when Judy Collins had first sung it back in 1970.
Stephanie started the song out, with Patricia & the others joining in later on that has also included several of the gospel singers from the nearby St. Paul's Chapel of Trinity Church, located at Vesey Street & Broadway.
Like Judy Collins did, this was sung with no background music:
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see
'Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear
And Grace my fears relieved
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed
Through many dangers, toils & snares
We have already come
'Twas Grace hath brought us safe thus far
And Grace will lead us home
When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We'll no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we first begun
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see
During the song, many people – including Tajima, Hidemi, Akemi, Emiko, Nathan, Dennis, Elinor, Gus, Sven & Maximus – shed tears of emotion, deeply moved by the song's message & the powerful way it's sung. Angus gave the show a neigh of approval, his own way of showing emotions. Even General Ernie & Commander Shimazaki had wiped away a tear or two from their eyes, remembering those lost on this day who were killed for no reason other than the immense hate the Afghanistan/Al-Qaeda terrorists had for the country he serves.
Just as with most others in the military, if Ronald or even Yoshi had a way to reverse the events that happened on this day so that they wouldn't, he'd do so without hesitation.
A thunderous round of applause erupted from the crowd as Stephanie, Patricia & everyone else on stage bowed with big smiles.
This was a 9/11 milestone to be remembered!
Kanagawa District, Tokyo, Japan, Monday, September 12th, 11:00 a.m.:
They watched the concert in real-time on the iPad she held in one hand while feeding herself of her curry with the other. The 9/11 concert was broadcast on all major networks in America, which was also shown overseas at certain countries, Japan being one of them. Both the young man & woman that viewed the concert weren't too interested in the show itself.
It was some of the performers they were really interested in.
Wearing dark shades, the young man & woman turned off the iPad before turning to each other.
"It is them…isn't it?", asked the male.
"There's no mistake about it", said the female. "Just like when we first found out over a year ago, & then we've also discovered they weren't alone."
"This is perfect: from what we've learned, Tajima Sugimoto & his family are due back home here in Tokyo any day now. And when they arrive…"
"We'll be ready for them. You with me?"
"To the end, just like always."
Both smile & give each other a firm handshake before the female takes out yen to pay for their meal.
"Domo arigato", they say to the owner of the place, who smiled & took the offered money as the duo step outside.
Everything was set for the time & place.
Now they simple had to wait, which shouldn't be too long.
In Slashfang's domain:
Because of his severe injuries inflicted upon him by Mothra, Anguirus, Baragon and Godzilla, Slashfang managed to get to the place that has been his home for as long as he could remember, if barely: his body ached all over, & every move he made felt like a raging fire was surging through him from head to toe.
Against all odds, he's cheated death & got back home – singed & aching everywhere, but alive.
The chamber his creators kept him in was filled with a special liquid that is meant to heal.
It did help Slashfang. It's been helping him for over a month now since his return.
The leader observed Slashfang in his chamber & the scientists that were working on keeping his vitals steady.
"What is Slashfang's status this week, doctors?", the second-in-command asked.
"He's doing much better since making it back to us, for starters", said one scientist.
"His muscles still ache in spots, but the medicine we're injecting him with is working, plus a good portion of his body fur has grown back. As long as we keep the dosage on an equitable level without giving him too much, he's going to pull through. As you can see, his vitals are at a more acceptable level than when he first arrived after his scuffle in Paris."
"Excellent", said the leader. "How long will it be until he's ready to come out again?"
"By working around the clock 24/7 like we've been doing, Slashfang should be ready to go in just over a month", said another scientist.
"Glad to hear it. I want Slashfang to be fully operational & back on his feet no later than the month of October. That's the deadline."
"Yes sir!", the scientists said without breaking stride in their work.
The leader & his second-in command walk away to allow the scientists to labor.
In his chamber, Slashfang rested comfortably from the mixture of medicine injections & conserving his energy for the next fight he was soon going to be promised. Much as he wished to escape his chamber & settle the score with his enemies, he will remain where he is as areas of his body get treated with special upgrades which will enable him to exact vengeance on his foes with ease.
With each one that gets grafted onto his body, Slashfang feels stronger.
Soon he'll be strong enough to wreak havoc once more.
But for now, he will sleep.
To be concluded in:
CREATURES & DAMSELS:
Peter Firmin, Co-Creator of Classic British Children's Shows 'Clangers' & 'Bagpuss', 89 (1928-2018)
Jim O'Connell, College Basketball Writer/Mentor for the Associated Press, 64
Gillian Lynne, Choreographer of 'Cats' & 'Phantom of the Opera', 92 (1926-2018)
Richard Swift, Musician who Worked with the Shins & the Black keys, 41 (1977-2018)
Alan Longmuir, Founding Member of the Bay City Rollers, 70 (1948-2018)
Craig Raymond Turner, Eldest Son of Singer Tina Turner, 59 (1958-2018)
Claude Lanzmann, French Director of Holocaust Documentary 'Shoah', 92 (1925-2018)
Ed Schultz, Former Host of 'The Ed Show' on MSNBC, 64 (1954-2018)
Alan Diaz, Photographer who Won Pulitzer for 2000 Photo of Elian Gonzalez, 71 (1947-2018)
John Ochsner, World-Renowned Cardiac Surgeon, 91
Peter Carington, Last Survivor of Prime Minister Winston Churchill's Government, 99 (1919-2018)
Tab Hunter, Singer/Actor Heartthrob Starred in 'Battle Cry' & 'Damn Yankees', 86 (1931-2018)
Robert Ray, Former Governor of Iowa who Helped Thousands of Vietnam Refugees, 89 (1928-2018)
Guenther Winkler, 5-Time Gold Medal-Winning Olympic Show Jumper, 91 (1926-2018)
Barbara Carlson, Radio Talk Show Host & politician, 80 (1938-2018)
Nathaniel Reed, Environmental Advocate who Helped Endangered Species, 84 (1933-2018)
Ray Emery, Goalie who Won the Stanley Cup with Chicago Blackhawks, 35 (1982-2018)
Nancy Barbato Sinatra, First Wife of Frank Sinatra, 101 (1917-2018)
Annabelle Neilson, Socialite & Reality Star of Bravo TV's 'Ladies of London', 49
Adrian Cronauer, DJ who Inspired Robin Williams' Character in 1988's 'Good Morning, Vietnam', 79 (1938-2018)
Denis Ten, Olympic Figure Skating Medalist, 25 (1993-2018)
Gary Beach, Tony Award-Winning Actor of Stage, Film & Television, 70 (1947-2018)
Tom Gallagher, Diplomat who Became an Iconic Gay Rights Activist, 77
Mark Hayes, Three-Time PGA Tour Champion, 69 (1949-2018)
Lincoln P. Brower, Scientist & Protector of the Monarch Butterfly, 86 (1931-2018)
Mike Ellis, Legend of Wisconsin Politics, 77 (1941-2018)
Rene Portland, Longtime Penn State Basketball Coach, 65 (1953-2018)
Jonathan Gold, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Iconic Food Critic, 57 (1960-2018)
Raymond G. Hunthausen, Longtime Archbishop of Seattle, 96 (1921-2018)
Ernie Palladino, Sportswriter who Covered New York Giants for Over 20 Years, 63
Elbert 'Big Man' Howard, Co-Founder of Black Panther Party, 80 (1938-2018)
Alan Whelan, Founded NYC Rugby Club, 79 (1939-2018)
Guy Molinari, Longtime New York/Staten Island Politician, 89 (1928-2018)
David Knickerbocker, Outdoor Writer for Newsday, 88
Adem Demaci, Kosovo Human Rights Activist, 82 (1936-2018)
Mary Ellis, World War II Spitfire Pilot, 101 (1917-2018)
Bob Petrino Sr., Hall of Fame Football Coach, 81
Tony Sparano, Head Football Coach for the NFL, 56 (1961-2018)
Josip Peruzovic, Former Pro Wrestler who Played Beloved Villain Nikolai Volkoff, 70 (1947-2018)
Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, Activist who Uncovered Truths Behind World War II Japanese Internments, 93 (1924-2018)
Ron Dellums, Former Congressman of California, 82 (1935-2018)
Brian Christopher, Professional Wrestler, 46 (1972-2018)
Alene Duerk, U.S. Navy's First Female Rear Admiral, 98 (1920-2018)
Ralph Boettger, U.S. Navy & Newsday Veteran, 95 (1922-2018)
Tom Higgins, NASCAR Journalist for 33 Years, 80
Sister Maureen Paul Turlish, Tenacious Advocate for Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse, 79 (1939-2018)
Michael Sheehan, Counterterror Expert, 63 (1955-2018)
Rick Genest, Canadian Model & Lady Gaga Collaborator Known as 'Zombie Boy', 32 (1985-2018)
James Henderson, Longtime Member of East Moriches Fire Department, 78 (1940-2018)
Herman Webb, Brother of Country Singers Loretta Lynn & Crystal Gayle, 83
H.F. 'Gerry' Lenfest, Philanthropist & Owner of Philadelphia's Newspapers, 88 (1930-2018)
Joel Robuchon, Innovative French 'Cook of the Century', 73 (1945-2018)
Robert Martin, Tuskegee Airman During World War II, 99 (1919-2018)
Barry Chuckle, One Half of British Comedy Duo Chuckle Brothers, 73 (1944-2018)
Charlotte Ray, Actress Best Known as Edna Garrett in 'Diff'rent Strokes' & 'Facts of Life' Sitcoms, 92 (1926-2018)
Paul Laxalt, Former Governor of Nevada, 96 (1922-2018)
Mary Carlisle, Perpetual Ingenue Actress who Starred in Many 1930s Depression-Era Films, 104 (1914-2018)
Vladimir Voinovich, Russian Dissident & Satirist, 85 (1932-2018)
Stan Mikita, NHL Blackhawks Legend, 78 (1940-2018)
Andrew Wittman, Firefighter, 84 (1933-2018)
Jarrod Lyle, Australian Golfer, 36 (1981-2018)
Nicholas Bett, World Champion Kenyan Runner/Hurdler, 28
Margaret Heckler, GOP Politician, 87 (1931-2018)
David Landsberg, Actor, Screenwriter & Producer, 73 (1944-2018)
Robert J. Danzig, Former Head of Hearst Newspapers, 85
Alan Rabinowitz, Zoologist & Powerful Voice for Jungle Wildcats, 64 (1953-2018)
Robert Harding, 2012 Congressional Gold Medal Recipient, 89 (1929-2018)
V.S. Naipaul, Nobel Prize-Winning Author, 85 (1932-2018)
A.R. Schwartz, Longtime Texas State Senator, 92 (1926-2018)
Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart, WWE Wrestling Legend, 63 (1955-2018)
William Galt, Founder of The Good Earth Restaurant Chain, 89
John Calder, British Publisher who Fought Censorship, 91 (1927-2018)
Morgana King, Jazz Singer & Played 'Godfather' Wife in First Two Movies, 87 (1930-2018)
Atal Bihari, Former Prime Minister of India, 93 (1924-2018)
David 'Dave Dave' Rothenberg, Artist whose Father Set Him on Fire in 1983, 42
Bui Tin, Vietnamese Colonel-Turned-Dissident, 90 (1927-2018)
Jill Janus, Lead Singer of Heavy Metal Band Huntress, 42 (1975-2018)
Leonard Boswell, Former Iowa Representative, 84 (1934-2018)
Fakir Musafar, Ad Man-Turned-Body Piercing Pioneer, 87 (1930-2018)
Aretha Franklin, Iconic/Legendary Singer who was Dubbed 'The Queen of Soul', 76 (1942-2018)
Unsho Ishizuka, Japanese Voice Actor Best Known for Professor Oak from 'Pokemon', 67 (1951-2018)
Robley Wilson, Award-Winning Novelist, Poet & Teacher, 88 (1930-2018)
Kofi Annan, Former UN Secretary-General, 80 (1938-2018)
Uri Avnery, Israel Journalist who Advocated for Palestinian State, 94 (1923-2018)
Ray Emory, Pearl Harbor Survivor who Pushed to ID Those Killed in Attack, 97
Barbara Harris, Tony Award-Winning Actress, 83 (1935-2018)
Michael McDonald, Firefighter for the FDNY, 64
Craig Zadan, Award-Winning Producer for Stage, Screen & Television, 69 (1949-2018)
Ed King, Former Guitarist for Lynyrd Skynyrd, 68 (1949-2018)
George Abdrie, Former Dallas Cowboy who Played in 1967 Ice Bowl, 78 (1940-2018)
Wakako Yamauchi, Pioneering Japanese-American Playwright, 93 (1924-2018)
Stefan Karl Stefansson, Actor Best Known as Robbie Rotten in Children's TV Show 'LazyTown', 43 (1975-2018)
Robin Leach, Iconic Host of Television's 'Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous', 76 (1941-2018)
Lindsay Kemp, Influential British Dancer, Choreographer & Mime Artist, 80 (1938-2018)
Princeton Lyman, U.S. Ambassador who Helped Guide South Africa out of Apartheid, 82 (1935-2018)
John Asher, Longtime Churchill Downs Spokesman, 62
George Walker, Pioneering Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer, 96 (1922-2018)
Matthew M. Aid, Independent Researcher who Wrote History of NSA, 60 (1958-2018)
Neil Simon, Award-Winning Playwright & Screenwriter, 91 (1927-2018)
John McCain, United States Senator & Vietnam War Veteran, 81 (1936-2018)
Claire Wineland, Inspiring Personality Speaker who Lived with Cystic Fibrosis, 21 (1997-2018)
Iosif Kobzon, Iconic Russian Crooner Dubbed 'The Soviet Sinatra', 80 (1937-2018)
Stan Brock, Adventurer & Advocate for Health Care, 82
James Mirrlees, Nobel Prize-Winning British Economist, 82 (1936-2018)
William Nealon, Longest-Serving U.S. District Judge, 95 (1923-2018)
James Coman, State Prosecutor who Helped Clear 3 Accused Duke Lacrosse Players, 75 (1942-2018)
Robert Barr, Longtime Associated Press Correspondent in London, 71
Robert Beck, Longtime Owner of New Mexico Newspaper 'Roswell Daily Record', 97
Randy Weston, Pianist & Composer who Celebrated Jazz's African Roots, 92 (1926-2018)
Christopher Lawford, Actor & Nephew of JFK, 63
Richard DeVos, Co-Founder of Amway & Owner of NBA's Orlando Magic Team, 92 (1926-2018)
Elliot Kazan, Designer of Warthog Military Jet, 90
Mac Miller, Platinum-Status Hip-Hop Star, 26 (1992-2018)
Samuel Bodman, Former Energy Secretary who Served Under George W. Bush, 79 (1938-2018)
Paul Koech, Former Half-Marathon World Champion, 49 (1969-2018)
Bill Daily, Comedic TV Sidekick in 'I Dream of Jeannie' & 'The Bob Newhart Show', 91 (1927-2018)
Burt Reynolds, Hollywood Icon Starred in 'The Longest Yard', 'Smokey & the Bandit' & Others, 82 (1936-2018)
Miyoko Aso, Japanese Actress & Voice Actress, 92 (1926-2018)
Yuki Aoyama, Former Member of Japanese Rock Band Nano RIPE, 29
Kulsoom Nawaz, Wife of Pakistan's Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, 68 (1950-2018)
Rachid Taha, Singer who Fused Arabic Music with Rock, 59 (1958-2018)
Fenella Fielding, Britist Actress Best Known for Two 'Carry On' Comedies, 90 (1927-2018)
Marin Mazzie, 3-Time Tony Award-Nominated Actress, 57 (1960-2018)
Ira Sabin, D.C. Jazz Aficionado who Founded JazzTimes Magazine, 90 (1928-2018)
Erik Hauri, Scientist who Helped Find Water on the Moon, 52 (1966-2018)
David Salamone, Rare Victim of Polio Disease, 28 (1990-2018)
Billy O'Dell, Former Major League Pitcher, 85 (1933-2018)
Peter Donat, Actor who Played Fox Mulder's Father on 'The X-Files' & Many Other Roles, 90 (1928-2018)
Freddie Nanda Oversteegen, Member of Dutch Resistance in World War II, 92 (1925-2018)
Clay Riddell, Co-Owner of NHL's Calgary Flames, 81
Walter Mischel, Psychologist who Created 'The Marshmallow Test', 88 (1930-2018)
Arthur Mitchell, Pioneering Black Ballet Dancer, 84 (1934-2018)
David DiChiera, Detroit Opera/Fine Arts Champion, 83 (1935-2018)
Peter Botte, Retired Detective for the NYPD, 82 (1936-2018)
Gamil Ratib, Award-Winning Franco-Egyptian Actor, 91 (1926-2018)
John Elges, FDNY Firefighter at Ground Zero, 60
Tran Dai Quang, Vietnamese President, 61 (1956-2018)
Benjamin Chrzanoski, World War II Veteran & Prisoner, 94
Felton Pruett, Musician who Played Steel Guitar with Hank Williams, 89 (1928-2018)
Tommy McDonald, Hall of Fame Receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles, 84 (1934-2018)
Laurie Mitchell, Actress Known as Villainess in 1958's 'Queen of Outer Space', 90 (1928-2018)
Chas Hodges, One Half of British Rock Duo Chas & Dave, 74 (1943-2018)
Gary Kurtz, Hollywood Producer of 'Star Wars: A New Hope' & 'The Empire Strikes Back', 78 (1940-2018)
Charles Kao, Nobel Prize-Winning Pioneer in Optical Fiber Tech, 84 (1933-2018)
Mel Elfin, Top Editor at Newsweek & U.S. News, 89 (1929-2018)
Julius Whittier, Texas' First African-American Football Letterman, 68 (1950-2018)
Marty Balin, Founder & Lead Singer of Jefferson Airplane, 76 (1942-2018)
Joe Masteroff, Tony Award-Winning Writer of Musicals 'Cabaret' & 'She Loves Me', 98 (1919-2018)
Robert Venturi, Godfather of Postmodern Architecture & Champion of Everyday Oddity, 93 (1925-2018)
Otis Rush, Guitarist who Added Jazzy Sound to Blues, 84 (1934-2018)
Leonard Pecora, Father & World War II Veteran, 97
Anthony Agoglia, School Principal, Athlete & World War II Veteran, 93 (1925-2018)
Alex Spanos, Self-Made Businessman who Owned the NFL's San Diego Chargers, 95 (1923-2018)
Thomas Karolyi, World War II Holocaust Survivor & Musician, 82 (1936-2018)
Sonia Orbuch, Part of Resistance Group that Fought off Nazis in World War II, 93