So Alone

IShallNotMateShindo Yamaguchi from Japan’s Ministry of Defense knew trouble was brewing. It wasn’t because COVID-19 was spreading or because the 2020 Olympics had been postponed or because manga piracy was on the rise. Yamaguchi knew there was a new kaiju threat on the horizon.

It wasn’t like Japan hadn’t seen a giant monster or two. Tiamatodon, a two-headed mutant theropod, and a Mesozoic-era marine lizard known as Tylogon, had been terrorizing the South Pacific for years.

At the moment, Yamaguchi wasn’t particularly worried about a two-headed Megalosaurus or a prehistoric whale. The new kaiju threat was linked to a nearby flock of pterosaurs. Yamaguchi was alarmed by first-hand accounts of a new flock member covered in body armor. The Japanese agent knew that a bulletproof hatchling would grow up to be a tank-proof adult. Evolution had suddenly become a race war.

“Nature equipped mankind with an advanced intellect and tool-making abilities, and these abilities allowed us to become the dominant animal on the planet,” explained Yuzo Abe, college professor and kaiju expert. “But Mother Nature has not forsaken her other children. We are in an arms race against the flock. If the armored juvenile lives long enough to sire offspring, his descendants could produce even more dramatic adaptations.”

Along with husky body armor that made him look like a medieval warrior, the pterosaur also sported opposable thumbs. And later, when the flock attacked a couple of island military outposts, the youngster (now called “Brown Scale”) was seen to possess a keen strategic intelligence. “Those monsters don’t fight like monsters,” said a sea pirate who witnessed the flock in action. “They fight like soldiers.”

As the danger escalated, the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force went on the attack. Its mission was clear: destroy the mutant pterosaur as quickly as possible.

The Japanese weren’t the only ones that wanted Brown Scale dead, however. The flock didn’t want his seed contaminating future generations. Brown Scale was an aberration. “He was deformed,” said the flock’s matriarchy, “and deformity breeds more deformity.”

Everything led to a novel-ending kaiju clash pitting Brown Scale against the Japanese, the flock matriarchs and Tiamatodon, the two-headed freak. Each of them wanted Brown Scale dead—or at least permanently clipped.

But as things unfolded, all the blood and thunder turned out to be nothing but sound and fury. Nobody wanted Brown Scale to sire an X-flock of mutant pterosaurs. In truth, Brown Scale didn’t want to surround himself with a harem of breeders anyway; he only wanted a monastic, sexless existence (although he probably wouldn’t mind spending a little bit of time with his sister Razor Beak occasionally). “He yearned to be alone with the same intensity another person would long for company. The idea of becoming physically intimate with his own kind filled him with revulsion.” Props to author Neil Riebe for writing a unique kaiju story and giving readers a surprisingly reflective novel-ending resolution.

[I Shall Not Mate / By Neil Riebe / First Printing: February 2019 / ISBN:  9781794482463]