Maybe I should get you up to speed if you are not familiar with my circumstances. I currently live in Spiral City, have lived here since 2001, give or take. Spiral City is on a peninsula fronting a bay on the western edge of the biggest continent of the planet Alterra. Alterra, and its moons Algemina and Sessus, circle a G2 star about midway inside a spiral galaxy two hundred and fifty million light years from Earth. Back on Earth, if you look up at the nighttime sky, we would be in the constellation of Hercules, if that helps.
I rent space in one of the downtown frontier strip malls. I have a corner shop there. It's not very big, but doesn't need to be for my line of work. I'm a peranoscopist. 'Soothsayer' in the common use, 'Magic Eightball' to skeptics and snobs.
The rest of the strip mall is owned and occupied by my landlord Aaron Willis. Yes, that Aaron Willis. Trillionaire owner of the entire freaking planet Aaron Willis. This is his world and the rest of us just live on it.
I'm up at the chalkboard when the door opens, and the Jussinniemis walk in, followed by the Bundy boys.
"Um" I look up at the visitors, none looking particularly friendly, turn to Camilla and say "You know what? We'll continue the lesson later. I gotta take this call".
If you get the impression I might be in trouble, you are right.
The Bundy boys I'm not too worried about. But the Jussinniemis? Brothers Aabel and Heikki, freelance muscle, are big hulking bruisers. Worst of all is little sister Johanna. Johanna is not little, but not hulking thank goodness. Actually pretty much of a stunner, blonde, tall, slim, muscular. Johanna leans forward, elbows on my counter.
"Hi Hanna" I start, "are we finally going to go out on a date?" I, as casually as possible, start to reach for the shotgun under the counter.
"Don't" grins Hanna.
I talk past Hanna towards the Bundys. "Hi Aamon. I think I know why you are here".
"Eightball gets something right for a change", snorts Aamon. "Too bad you didn't do ba etter job warning us about that avalanche".
"I told you not to take your expedition over that mountain pass. Wait one extra week, I said, or take the long way to the further pass, I said". I receive a glower in response.
I sigh. "No refunds, Aamon", trying to keep my voice level, "It's in the contract".
"Oh, we don't expect a refund, "Aamon actually looks a little sad. "But we got to do right by those that didn't come back, so..." he nods.
I try to reach the shotgun, but Hanna puts a thumb in my eye and a finger in my ear. Blinded by tears, I hear a commotion of big bodies in a rush towards me. Someone is thumping on a drum.
My neighbor Aaron sits next to me leafing through a National Geographic. Seeing I'm awake, he starts in.
“You’re fucking up way too much Johnny! Getting stoned too often, man. You’re fucking up. I'm telling you!”
“Okay okay”. I stretch and shift and, realizing I am just sore, sit up. "They must gone easy on me".
“Hey, yeah" Aaron eyes me coldly. "Hey, here’s a question for you. How do you feel?"
He doesn't wait for an answer. "Sore?" he sneers, "A little sore. You know you should be mangled, you dumb fucker. Every one of your bones broken! What those goons did? That was gruesome.”
“You saw it?"
“The tail end. Who all do you think kept you alive? Camilla got me, but we would have heard anyway. Your place is trashed."
I rubbed my face. No bumps. No swelling.
"Hey, here’s another question. The doc did a full body scan on you. Guess what?"
"What?" I got out of bed, moved my limbs experimentally.
"The x-ray of your skull? That titanium nail driven into your skull? It’s gone”.
(About a decade ago, I'd had a titanium nail driven into my head by alien monsters).
“What do you mean gone? Like it got knocked out? They knocked it out?”
“No, stupid. Like it ain't there in your head anymore. That nail dissolved into you”. Aaron looked at me expectantly.
“Dissolved? Oh. Full body scan you said?" I frown in thought. "Is that why I have no broken bones?"
"Why those aliens picked you to enhance is a mystery. You got it, ace. Some kind of fascial enhancements. Skeletal and muscular enhancements, too".
"I got superpowers?"
“No, not superman. More like industrial strength human. Elephant skin and bones of, well, titanium. You don't appear to be any stronger, but I'll let someone else find that out. Yeah, Fucking Octopussies, man! You're even more creepy now!"
"Well this is stupid! It fucking hurt! When they beat me? It fucking hurt a lot! Enough to make me pass out. What kind of a stupid superpower is that?"
"I don't know man, but if you weren't classified suspect alien technology before, you sure as hell are now".
"What do mean?"
"I mean the Furries are here for you. And NATO".
Apparently, while my place was getting trashed and I was having the living shit beat out of me, a giant neon fantasy cosmic circus which is a Furry Octopoid space station appeared in orbit above Spiral City.
NATO has had an outpost on Alterra since the colony was first seeded, but they've never seen fit to trick it out any better. The base on Sessus, the other end of this base's wormhole, is much nicer, and more up-to-date. I suppose if you want a moon base on a desolate airless moon, you want it to be comfortable.
"See me? What do they want?"
The sarge looks at me sideways. "How the fuck would I know? All I know is, they performed some of their magic and rerouted our wormhole throat to their ship, and you go through as soon as possible."
We get to the wormhole station, which is a big geodesic dome, once painted white. This was a bad color choice, because it has accumulated grime and detritus in the joints and on faces, and looks cheesy. We pass through a series of airlocks to get to the staging area. And there it is, my coffin. It's not a coffin. It's an airtight cylinder just large enough for one person. I fucking hate these coffins, but that's how individuals travel through wormholes. A guy in green fatigues helps me in, and then, after a few bumps and what feels like a ride though a vacuum tube, the lid of the coffin is opened by a set of taloned tentacles.
I'm greeted by thin sheets and sprays of expelled furry octopus snot. It's how they smile.
The krake steers me away from the coffin with it's tentacles, little pin sharp talons digging into my skin, but not, I note, drawing blood like the last time I met one.
It snorts a little wad of mucus, right in my ear. "Oh, this is very good! We can begin the training immediately!"
"Training? Training for what?" I ask.
Another spray of snot. "Oh, so cute, even though you are hideously ugly with two legs! Hatchlings are always so cute! Otherwise we'd eat you! Training to rescue a lost colony, silly! You are going to be a hero!"
By this point, other krakes have arrived and are copiously coating me with snot as well.
"Do you guys have any wet wipes? Or towels?"
"Delightful! Yes! Terry cloth towels for the ugly two legs please! What do want us to call you?"
"John is fine".
"Johnny! Johnny! Hey Johnny! We have found one of your lost colonies! They are from Asia! Japan! Um, a 1976 colony? yes. One of the earliest. We are surprised by this. We did not think the Japanese would be so adventurous. So, still, we have found them! They are in big trouble!"
"What kind of trouble?"
"A space creature! It's a very bad one! Very big! Very mean! But you will rescue them while there is time! There's not much time! We can entangle them for maybe a week. No more! But you will be ready! You will see! Can you swallow air? Into your stomach? How loud can you belch?"
I had asked exactly what kind of very big very bad space creature it was, how belching and wretching was going to be of use, and how I was going to be of help. They ignored all my questions. We poofed into existence over a single solitary planet next to an immense nebula almost as colorful and flamboyant as the teuthid station.
A swirling tentacular tip indicated the nebula. "That's where the creature is! It will come soon come It's here to lay eggs! You must go down to the planet and protect them. We will help! Behold!"
I am disoriented for a bit, dizzy, a little vertigo, things not quite in focus. I hear... air raid sirens. Strange. Yeah, blaring sirens. I look around and, hmm, rooftops. Rooftops of buildings. I must be way up someplace in a building. And everything is... black and white. No color. I'm a bit unsteady on my feet. I look down, and -
What the fuck?
"Johnny! Can you hear me? The monster is coming!"
"What? What the hell? Hey! What's going on? Did you slip me some LSD or something?'
“You are no hallucination. You are a daikaiju! A giant monster. The space creature that is plaguing these people is coming! You must destroy it!”
I looked behind me. There was a path of destruction leading back to a harbor.
“I didn’t do that!”
“No that was you. You were groggy, but that was you”.
“Why is everything in black and white?”
“You are a giant lizard!. They don't need color! Listen! The space creature is here to lay eggs. If the eggs hatch this planet will be eaten alive. You have to stop it!”
I start hearing a high pitched electric whine in the air. I know that sound.
“Dude, am I fucking Godzilla?”
"It's coming! Get ready!"
If this is what I think it is, the space creature, the monster, I know it. It's called Mothra.
"Where? Where is the fucker?” I ask, just as it sails in and smacks me in the back of my head. I see stars.
Mothra turns in mid-air, and slams up against me, knocking to the ground. It’s hard carapace untouched, and now it starts digging at my belly with these nasty little razor sharp pincers, while beating me with its wings. Hyper hurricane winds are knocking buildings down around me.
The pincers are digging in to my belly hide. I instinctively grab a wing by the root and twist. Mothra emits a loud screeching electronic tone which deafens me. It breaks free and wheels up into the air.
"Use your atomic vomit!"
Mothra turns again and 15,000 metric tons of space moth hits me square in the belly. I get slammed into a skyscraper, and then another behind, rubble and steel landing everywhere.
“Goddamn it! This fucking thing is beating the shit out of me!”
"Use your atomic vomit! Swallow air and belch and puke!"
“I - okay".
Just as I swallow air and start to belch, Mothra hits me in the belly again. I gag and cough. I almost choke on atomic vomit.
"Dude, I got the hic- I got the hic- I got the hiccups!"
"Hold your breath, Johnny! HEY! BOO! Did that scare you, Johnny?"
"I - " just then, I start hearing music, little tinny women's voices. "I hear singing. I hear singing in my head."
“Oh... SHIT! The Shobijin! They are pure fucking evil! Don't listen to them! They will try to hypnotize you. Get a song in your head! Green Acres! I Dream of Jeanie! Girl From Ipanema!”
"They're in my head! There’s two little Japanese fairy women singing at me in my head. Get out of my head! Jesus Christ they’re like twisted little kernels of evil energy!”
“That’s what I’m telling you! That's what they are! Twisted little kernel of evil energies. Mothra is their slave! Keep ‘em out of your head!”
I glance down, and somehow I spot. Two tiny little fairies. "I see them! Should I stomp them?"
"No, they indestructible. Get Mothra!”
The pain in my head is excruciating. I wrack my brain for a song and finally pick a John Phillip Souza march.
Holding my breath seems to have cured the hiccups, but Mothra bowls me over again. I recover, get on my feet, and, swallowing a big gulp of air, belch a huge atomic blast as it recedes. It singes its carapace a little, the wings smoking some, which I hope is good. I've got to crank the volume on the Souza march to cancel out the evil songs of the Shobijin.
Mothra turns again, and slams into me, but this time, I grab it, and twist a wing, and use my tail to deflect it in almost a judo move. My tail. Holy shit. My tail. I forgot I had a tail. I use my tail to whip around fast before Mothra can get up, blast it good. Again, a little smoldering, but really Mothra is unfazed. It takes off again for another pass.
“It's just bouncing off it like a garden hose!”
“Well yeah, it’s a giant space moth attracted to stars. It can fly next to stars and not get burned!"
Oh, Great! Mothra flits around the surface of stars, and thus invulnerable to my atomic vomit. This thing is going to win if I don't think of something. It has to have a weakness. Weak spots in the carapace. “-here to lay eggs”, I remember.
“Hey what about the ovipositor? Is that protected?”
“Oh! Yes. Disgusting! Clever! That could work!”
I flail my tail. Judging from the surge of strength I feel, I bet I can lift myself with this tail. I crouch down, wait for the big giant moth to come at me. It swerves to pass by me, keeping its wings away out of my reach. I launch myself onto Mothra using my tail. I grab hard and hold on to. Mothra continues flying through the air carrying me. I shift my hold and manage to clamber on Mothra into a very undignified 69 position.
Hanging on with my back claws digging in to tits abdomen, I scrabble at Mothra's ovipositor like a bear digging into a beehive.
Mothra gets distressed, trying to shake me off, and the melodies of black pain from the Shobijin are knifing me into my forebrain.
I pry open the lips of her egg chamber and shoot down a giant projectile puke of atomic plasma vomit.
The atomic blast into Mothra’s egg chamber goes all the way throughout her innards straight to her eyes. I drop off her charred form as her now jiffy-popped carapace makes a tremendous gash in the crust of the earth.
Wow, we’re done. The city erupts in celebration. Ships horns, car horns, trolly horns, bells, even the an faint tinny roar cheering humans.
“Well played. And just in time. The knot of entanglement is loosening. This region of the cosmos is lost to us once again. We have to go!"
"Oh, that was some fucking dream".
"What?'" he puts the magazine down.
"They must have really knocked me around. I had a dream I was Godzilla, in a fight with Mothra!"
"That wasn't a dream. We watched you on TV. It was on all the channels. Hey, there's someone been waiting for you".
The door opened, and a gorgeous blonde stuck her head in the room. Johanna Jussinniemi.
"Hey hero!" She grinned, "You still want to go on a date with me?"