A collaboration between @KaiserElectric
, and @Ubermensch
“I don’t like this, Gates. I don’t like this one bit…”
Commander Jarvin Gates gave a curt little nod in response to Captain Farraday, sitting at the helm of the heavy cruiser Galloway
, speeding ahead of the rest of the American Carrier group, with orders to pin down the unidentified creature until the bulk of the fleet and air support can be deployed.
“We ain’t never faced anything like this before,” Farraday pointed out. “Hell I don’t even know if we can face it…”
“You don’t share the high command’s confidence, sir?”
“Son, I didn’t get to this chair by being blindly obedient to my superiors,” the Captain admonished his second-in-command. “We’re good, but I ain’t gonna count my chickens til they’re hatched. Would really love to hear from these fancy pants organizations like TERRA who’ve been looking at these things.”
Commander Gates bristled slightly, the wire pressing against his arm itching at the skin under his sleeve. He’d gotten used to wearing it after all this time, but whenever someone got close to mentioning an organization that studied these monsters, it couldn’t help but give him a nervous itch. It made him wonder how many other officers in this fleet were wearing wires on behalf of the VKBT, and how close they might have come to exposing the whole operation. A lot of nations tied to the VKBT weren’t exactly friends of the United States, after all.
“Sir, we’re coming in visual range of the target. Weapons range in a few minutes.”
Captain Farraday nearly jumped to his feet and strode to the window to get a look, with Commander Gates following right behind, subtly adjusting the pinpoint camera on his lapel.
From the bridge of the Galloway, the hulking silhouette of their target could be seen. As the ship moved closer, more details could be made out. The titan's skin was a dark gray, with all sorts of scratches, marks and dents spread throughout its exterior. Many of the crew would soon realize that this creature was not biological in nature as it was composed of what appeared to be rocks and bits of metal. The humanoid figure continued to slowly lumber forward, its colossal arms swaying along, matching its movement. Despite the American cruisers closing in on it, it didn't seem to acknowledge their presence at all. What appeared to be its head did not move, and it simply continued moving forward.
“Doesn’t seem to think we’re here,” Gates commented. “Or it doesn’t care.”
“I’m fine with that,” Farraday said grimly. “Bring us around, take firing positions and wait for my signal…”
Elsewhere, after Elena and her passenger successfully evacuated the area, she proceeded to give a report to HQ. Settling in, she was able to get a hold on communication equipment for intelligence analysis. Detecting and confirming a rumor of a guardian golem, Sentinel, she saw further data of how benevolent the giant was. “Don’t hurt him, he’s friendly!” Ms. Henderson was exactly talking about the bluish giant golem. The guardian of mankind. She was willing to give it all to vouch for one of humanity’s only hopes.
Farrady frowned as the voice echoed from the radio. “Who is this? Are you supposed to be on this frequency?”
“Yes, this is Elena Henderson of TERRA. I have intel reports confirming the behavior of the giant.”
Farraday didn’t look convinced, which worried Gates. He had been briefed on several American TERRA operatives, and Henderson had definitely come up on the list, so he knew that she could be trusted.
“Sir, I think she may have a point,” Gates said diplomatically. “The creature has behaved neutrally towards us, despite maneuvering to attack it. At the very least, we shouldn’t try to provoke it.” Gates internally breathed a sigh of relief as the Captain seemed to relent.
“I hope you’re right about this, Henderson,” Farraday said over the comm system. “Helmsman, abort that last order. Bring us back and tail this thing to the mainland. Someone get the carrier on the horn!”
“I have evidence of the creature’s behavior too. Let me send it.” Elena was ready to send reports and proof electronically. Using satellite imagery and connection, she was ready to upload it directly. With the click of a mouse, she did.
“Well it’ll convince the higher ups at least,” Farraday admitted, looking over the maps and evidence popping up on his viewscreen. “The Admiral will want eyes on this, anyone have him on call yet?”
“No sir, but the carrier looks like it’s headed here.”
The adjunct pointed out his radar screen. “Have a carrier signature, closing in fast.”
“I don’t see anything out there, what’s the signature telling you?”
Commander Gates winced as something buzzed painfully in his ear. The emergency communicator? The VKBT never needed to use that before. Stepping backwards and out of sight, he pressed against his ear and heard an electronic voice read out a warning.
“Entity approaching. Hostile. Andrew Jackson.”
“Captain, it has the same radar signature as the Andrew Jackson…”
Gates’ face went pale as he approached Farraday. “Sir, we need to get out of here, quickly. I suspect…”
A slow rumble echoed through the ship. At first Gates thought the engine had stopped, but then the whole vessel lurched to the side.
“Shit, starboard, starboard! Something’s out there!”
Gates and the rest of the bridge crew turned to look at a titanic figure, rising from the water like a great sea serpent. But it wasn’t a sea serpent; it looked human, but it had branches around its head like antlers, and as it rose, similar spikes appeared on its shoulders. It looked to be made of metal and stone, fused together into the elegant shape before them, and the whole time, the eyes...its eyes burned through Gates like a white-hot blade of iron. It filled him with a fear that he’d never felt before, a terror that scratched at the back of his mind and refused to go away.
And he knew it was out for blood.
As the figure stood there menacingly, facing the rest of the fleet, Sentinel stopped dead in its tracks. Its head then rotated to face the newcomer, followed by the rest of its body as the yellow light emanating from its body turned into a shade of orange. Sentinel had detected a new challenger, a potential threat to itself and the humans around it, and it was time for Sentinel to fulfill its purpose.
Before Farraday could give the order, an escort destroyer opened fire, slamming missiles into the side of the metal beast’s head. It recoiled from the blast, only to raise an arm out of the water and bring it down on top of the vessel, smashing it to pieces and scattering it into the wind. As it turned, Gates saw something truly unbelievable; runway stripes down its side.
“Where the fuck is the Carrier?” someone yelled in a panic.
“It is the carrier…” Gates realized. “It’s built itself from the metal of an aircraft carrier…”
The exact moment that the beast's arm hit the vessel, Sentinel charged forward with newfound speed. It unleashed a mechanical bellow as it plowed through the water, making its way past the cruisers and towards the newcomer. Sentinel's eyes then started glowing brighter and brighter as it slowed down before stopping a good distance away from the beast. Two gleaming orange rays then shot out from Sentinel's eyes, aimed at the beast. Green light flashed against orange as the rays blasted the newcomer back, creating waves that threatened to sink the ships in the fleet. When it turned to look at its opponent, the beast already looked battle-scarred, its face marred and its crown broken in two places.
The sailors on the deck of the Galloway cheered, but then the metal creature reached back and grabbed onto the deck of one of the escort destroyers with its hand. As the crew evacuated the deck, the vessel seemed to shrivel up in its grip, while at the same time the titan’s face healed, the damage repairing itself and the metal of the crown growing up out of the creature’s head. Releasing the ship, which slowly began sinking into the ocean, a long, deadly looking blade suddenly erupted from the wrist of the creature, and it lurched forward with surprising speed, crashing into Sentinel with righteous fury.
“Did...did that thing just heal itself?” Farraday said in amazement. “Henderson, what’s this one supposed to be?”
“It’s called Zeruel, sir.”
“How….how do you know that, Gates?”
“Long story, Captain, but if we want to survive this battle we need to pull the fleet away from here.”
The golem stumbled backwards a few steps, as pieces of rock started to fall and crumble from where Zeurel hit it, forming another gash on its chest. After recovering from the attack, panels on its back opened up, with 5 of its mechanical constructs flying out onto the battlefield. They then swiftly sped towards the beast, firing blasts of energy as they did so. Sentinel itself also charged at Zeurel along with his constructs, preparing to land a massive hit on its chest. Zeurel retreated, colliding with another ship as it threw an arm up to defend itself. A stray energy blast struck the blade on its arm, which snapped and fell into the ocean with a tremendous splash. The ship it collided with listed as it too began to buckle and warp, and it got both repaired arms raised in time to catch Sentinel mid-attack, turning the massive hit into a desperate grapple.
“Looks like the situation is handled,” Captain Farraday announced. “All ships, full retreat! I want Trafalgar
rescuing the survivors of the damaged ships, everyone else get out of here.” Galloway
’s engines roared to life as the ship began to turn, but one vessel undamaged thus far broke formation.
“Sir, Bull Run
isn’t responding to our messages.”
“Then get the Captain on the horn and tell him I gave him an order!” Before any action could be taken, however, the rebelling vessel launched a missile at Zeurel. The blast created a massive fireball, prompting a few cheers from the deck crew, but when the smoke cleared, Zeurel was looking directly at the offending vessel, its eyes beginning to burn brighter. Shoving its opponent backwards, it spun around and…
Gates had never heard a noise like that before. It sounded so inhuman, but he could still tell, somehow, that it was the sound of someone...something...screaming. It was the sound of a beam, fired from the eyes of Zeurel, that tore through the Bull Run
before the rebel ship was torn into pieces by an unearthly blast of energy.
“FUCK!” Farraday swore, gripping his seat as the shockwave rocked his own ship violently. “GET US THE HELL OUT OF HERE!”
As Sentinel recomposed itself from the shove, it rotated its head to face the remains of the Bull Run
. Seemingly further angered by this action, it let out another bellow as it attempted to tackle Zeurel with all of its gargantuan mass. Caught off guard, Zeurel buckled underneath the tackle, and the sound of straining metal from the titan could be heard as it renewed the grapple. It fired off its eye-beams again, but Sentinel’s grip on its neck managed to direct it harmlessly into the ocean, which boiled where the energy struck it. Sentinel's eyes then started glowing bright orange once again as it attempted to blast the beast's chest with its energy beams. Something stirred within Zeurel’s eyes, however, and seconds before Sentinel’s energy beams shot out, it released its grip again and it dropped low enough for the beam to pierce through its shoulder. The joint melted in a shower of slag metal as the titan, freed from its opponents grip, dropped away and splashed into the ocean. Sentinel however, merely held its position, choosing not to chase down its retreating opponent. It then turned to face the fleet once again, before walking towards nearby downed ships and rescuing any of the crewmen it could find by scooping them up in its hand. Sentinel's drone constructs also helped out, as they flew in and grabbed other crew members before dropping them on the remaining ships.
“Son of a bitch! I think it killed it!”
“Sir, the Andrew Jackson
’s signal just came on briefly. It was rapidly moving away from this position before it petered out,” a radioman mentioned.
“So it’s falling fast, all the better,” Farraday concluded.”Two giants battle and the winner is the one who likes us. I’m fine with that outcome. Move in to help it gather survivors, have Ardennes
salvage that thing’s arm if we can.
Gates quietly relayed a morse code broadcast to his other employers as the fleet sprung back into action. That thing was not human, he realized, but it was no dumb animal. It sacrificed an arm to escape, an arm that it could most likely get back again.
Something told him that Zeurel wasn’t out of the game just yet.
After rescuing the human survivors, the golem reverted to its original course as its drones retreated into the panels that they came from. Sentinel's journey was far from over, and its next stop? Hakata-ku, Fukuoka, Japan.