The illegal sublet Wendy shares with another young, photogenic artist.
The not-too-distant future.
Last Friday, AD.
Wendy paused in pushing the palette lifter to eye her boss. "Not the famed Plaza Hotel?"
"The very same. Come along, Dubbie, there's no time for dawdling."
"What kind of consultant lives in a landmark twenty-story New York luxury hotel and needs to be paid in crates from the depths of the archives?"
"The unique kind." Wendy could have sworn the Middleman looked vaguely uncomfortable as they continued making their way towards Ops. "In addition to being uniquely skilled and talented in the realm of the supernatural, an area that as you well know I'm less than comfortable with, the Doyles are also somewhat eccentric and exceedingly wealthy, there is no amount of money that could tempt them to work for us if they didn't care to, requiring an alternate form of payment. Hence the crates."
"If we need a supernatural consultant, can't we just ask Roxy Wasserman? Sure, she's a soul-sucking demon from the abyss whose given up the soul-sucking part of the deal, but she doesn't need to be bribed with crates full of potentially dangerous artefacts, capable of who knows what kind of dangers, from the depths of the archives." Not to mention that they were heavy crates full of potentially dangerous artefacts, capable of who knows what kind of dangers, from the depths of the archives. But they were finally back at Ops and the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel was the HEYDAR, not a train, so she could at least give her arms a rest from all the pushing.
The Middleman's voice was muffled as he went searching behind Ida's desk for for the crowbar. "Actually, Roxy's the one who recommended them, there are some things even a reformed succubus doesn't want to deal with. No need to worry about the crates though, Dubbie, there's nothing dangerous in them. Technically."
"Define 'technically'." It was almost like worrying things tended to happen when her boss got cagey like that.
"Well, you could misuse the contents of these crates, which are not full potentially dangerous artefacts, capable of who knows what kind of dangers, despite coming from the depths of the archives, but Mr and Mrs Doyle are hardly the sort to do."
"You still haven't told me what's in the crates. Also I think Ida put the crowbar in with the hats."
"So she did. Thank you, Dubbie. Now, as I was saying, since the Doyles have no need of money, we have an alternate arrangement." Crowbar in hand, he made short work of the lid, revealing a number of dark glass bottles nestled in packing straw. "Whenever we need to consult with them, we provide refreshments for the duration."
"So, wait, all these crates are full of booze?"
"Indeed they are. Rare and exotic liquors not just from all corners of the globe, but also all corners of the cosmos. You'd be surprised how many young aliens raid their progenitors drinks cabinet and come to Earth to harass the local bovines, only to be caught by one Middleman or the other."
Considering the number of stray issues of the Weekly World News circulating her apartment building at any particular time, not really, but teenagers from space going cow-tipping was so not the point right now. "Which are going to be drunk while you visit your consultants?"
The Middleman nodded in confirmation. "That is the nature of our agreement. I can have Ida fetch the contract for you once she's done out front."
"But you're going for a weekend! One weekend. Two days."
"Kitten with a whip, Dubbie! You're right." The Middleman's face took on a serious expression. "We need to fetch some more crates."
Joe Don Baker Memorial Park.
This Saturday Morning, AD.
"Well look again, hophead, the police report the HEYDAR hijacked said-"
"-that there were a bunch of freaky Japanese movie monsters running around Joe Don Baker Memorial Park," Wendy said along with Ida. "But you see, Mechastreisand, the thing about freaky Japanese movie monsters? They tend to be big. Real big."
"Exactly, even you couldn't miss something like that. No matter how high you were."
"That's my point." Sometimes you just had to roll with the accusations of drug use. "If there was even just the one single, solitary kaiju running about, I shouldn't even have to look for it."
Wendy heard an almost mechanical roar. All of a sudden she could smell burning rubber. She turned towards her car. "Oh, [BLEEP] me. Ida? I'm going to have to get back to you."
Joe Don Baker Memorial Park.
Fifteen minutes later.
"Great." Wendy could hear the glee in the android's voice. "Carve me off a couple of steaks before I organise clean-up, I hear kaiju tastes like chicken."
"Yeah, you see Threepio, by taken care of I don't mean so much killed as contained."
"Contained? Why? Wait, forget why, who knows how your little dope addled mind works, how?"
"You know when I said little kaiju problem? It's not the problem that's small, it's the kaiju. They're tiny. Like teacup kaiju."
"Still not seeing why you couldn't fricassee me a little snack."
"Firstly, they're kind of adorable." Which Wendy was willing to acknowledge was not the most rational of arguments, but hey, there was a reason Lacey's 'save the bunnies' campaigns worked better than her 'save the bigfin squid' ones. "Secondly, they're small enough we can't rule out the possibility they might be baby kaiju."
"So, youth just means they're more tender. Like veal."
"Have you never seen a Japanese monster movie? If these are babies rather than mysteriously fun-sized adult kaiju, the quickest way to a [BLEEP]ed off momma kaiju destroying the city is hurting these little guys, and making them into hors d'oeuvres for an android certainly counts as harming them."
"Oh, I see, only you're allowed to have the munchies."
"Ida," Wendy said through gritted teeth. "Not. Helping."
"Fine, fine. Stash 'em in the trunk and bring 'em back to HQ, we they can relax, safe and sound, and uneaten, until you either figure this out or the boss gets home. Guess which one I'm banking on happening first?"
"Speaking of, GLaDOS, have you been able to get in touch with him about our not-so-little little kaiju problem?"
"I tried, he keep talking about how I was the best combat android turned secretary a superhero employed by the world's most absurdly secretive organisation could ever hope for," Ida replied, even more dryly than usual. "If it was anyone else, I'd say he was stone stinking drunk."
On opposite ends of the line, both Wendy and Ida paused to let that mental image sink in before dismissing it with a 'nah' in unison.
"Anyway, what are you still standing around gabbing. Put the pedal to the medal."
Wendy didn't reply, looking across at the sorry melted remains of her car's tires. The Middlecar might have been stocked with an extendible carbon-steel mesh butterfly net and collapsible cat crate made of same, but not four spares.
"Oh no, let's hear it." Not that Ida sounded like she particularly wanted to. It was the little things, Wendy picked up on, like the complete and utter disdain in her voice.
"Much as I can't wait to be back in your charming company, Bitzilla here took a major dislike to my wheels, looks like I'm hoofing it."
"In that case, according to the HEYDAR it'll take seven times as long for you to walk back to base as it would your djamba joint. So, Sweetcheeks, looks like you're gonna have to take your work home with you tonight, and I'll come by to pick 'em up in the morning. Make sure your stash doesn't go up in thermonuclear smoke like your wheels did."
The illegal sublet Wendy shares with another young, photogenic artist, and a cat crate full of teacup kaiju.
A slightly more distant future than the one referenced in the first timestamp.
"Yo, Wendy's co-worker."
"Oh, go huff and puff some of your funk stuff."
Without looking up from the cartoon she was painting, Wendy called out. "In here, Ida. Open door with the gorilla next to it."
"I know what your flophouse looks like," Wendy could hear Ida muttering "We have enough survel-...what is that?"
"Pretty cool, isn't it?" Wendy placed the cartoon, transformed into as close a replica of the Fatboy Industries tower as poster paint could make it, into the midst of the collection of similarly painted boxes where it was instantly swarmed with curious teacup kaiju. "They were pretty miserable in their crate, so Lacey came up with this."
"Of course she did. A city they can practice destroying. I wonder how she came up with that brilliant idea?"
"Not a city they can practice destroying." And there was Lacey, it was almost like she was waiting for her cue. "A city they can practice coexisting in."
Wendy might have caught Ida's 'oh, brother', but Lacey didn't seem to have, undeterred she continued on. "It's not the kaiju's fault that most of them are on a scale incompatible with human civilisation? And can we really fault them for the ensuing if no one takes the time to try to help them to integrate with us?"
"Yes, sure I can. We're the ones who have to "
"It is exactly that kind of thinking which leads to bombed out cities and dead kaiju, when with just the slightest of effort they can learn how to channel their destructive urges into constructive ones. Just look at Little Gamera." Lacey gestured at the tiny chelonic kaiju, who was carefully manoeuvring though the cardboard city. "Gamera is really neat."
"Gamera is full of meat."
"We're not eating Gamera," Wendy hissed in response to Ida's aside, before raising her voice. "Lace, I ran out of industrial gray, think you could see if there's any upstairs?"
As soon as Lacey was back up the staircase, Wendy turned to Ida. "What gives? Are you trying to upset Lacey? She's really bonded with these little guys, they keep growling 'mama' at her. It's both adorable and kind of disturbing."
"Oh, shush, it's not like she has a enough long-term memory left that she'll even remember to be upset in five minutes. Now hurry up and put the critters back in their cage, then in the Middlevan," Ida ordered. "I don't like leaving the office unattended. Who knows what might happen if I'm not there to keep an eye on things?"
Since Wendy lived in a work filled with both comic-book evil and dramatic irony, it was then that the stun grenade went off.
The illegal sublet Wendy currently shares with another young, photogenic artist, a cat crate full of teacup kaiju, and a combat android.
Exactly eleven minutes and 47 seconds later.
Rubbing the back of her head, she sat up and looked around the apartment, and the now trashed box city. "Ida? Why is there a hole in the wall?" She suspected she didn't really want to know the answer, though. "Where are the kaiju? Where's Lacey?"
"I don't know, I just rebooted." Rather than wait to let Wendy get her bearings, Ida hauled her to her feet by her shirt collar. "My guess whoever it set off the stun grenade and grabbed the kaiju suddenly decided they needed a hippie beatnik as well. Now get going, I'll feed you co-ordinates from the tracker on the way."
"I...wait, when did yu have time to put a tracker on the kaiju?"
"Who says the tracker's on the kaiju?"
"You put a [BLEEP]ing tracker on Lacey?"
"You want to argue who put a tracker on who, or you want to save your hot-boxing partner? Get the lead on."
The Abandoned Warehouse District.
"Lots of cities have abandoned warehouse districts. The economy, don't you know. Cross-referencing the data from the tracker against city records, you're looking for an Inshiro Industries Incorporated. On the corner of Deep and 13. Most recent records indicate it was leased by a Doctor Carla Soga. Double degree in genetics and physics."
"Gee, you think? I'll organise the tickets to Greenland."
Inshiro Industries Incorporated.
The corner of Deep & 13.
"Wendy! Boy, am I glad to see you!" Which Lacey was handcuffed to. "Get me out of these so I can forget I'm a pacifist long enough to kick that [BLEEP]ing [BLEEP] of a [BLEEP]'s ass for what's she's done to these kaiju."
"And not for handcuffing you to a tacky giant laser?" Because Wendy tended to be pretty [BLEEP]ed off when that happened to her.
"The Sogatron-5000 is not tacky!"
"Doctor Soga, I presume?" Never failed. Insulting a mad scientist's pet project brought them running, or at least striding out of the convenient shadows. Especially if they were the kind to name it after themselves.
"I don't know how you found me." Soga produced another, equally low budget looking laser from her lab-coat, which was noticeably charred and torn. Looked like the kaiju hadn't been all that pleased about going back in their cages. "But don't move or you'll have a taste of the Sogatron-2000."
"It looks like it's made of plastic and polyester. They both do." Wendy knew she shouldn't antagonise the mad scientist with the laser guns, but they seriously offended her sense of aethsetics.
"It's a protective coating," Soga ground out. As came further into the light, Wendy could see that her lab-coat "And soon every military in the world will have a Sogatron-5000."
Oh, yay, it looked like it was monologue time. "And why is that?"
"My plan is sheer elegance in its simplicity." Yep, definitely monologue time. "After finishing development of the Sogatron-5000, I started breeding these kaiju, which I will soon unleash upon the city. Upon finding that ordinary ordinance has no effect upon the kaiju plague, the authorities will have no choice but to turn to me and my Sogatron-5000, which I assure you will be more than effective on them. Then the military contracts will start pouring in. It's a perfect plan, only temporarily set back by sub-standard cage materials"
"Monster! Let me at her, Dub Dub! I'll [BLEEP] her [BLEEP] [BLEEP]-5000 for her." Wendy was impressed, Lacey had a mouth on her when innocent kaiju were at risk, but there was still something bothering her.
"Wait, you're going to unleash these kaiju on the city, the ones in the cages."
"Yes, those kaiju, plague of destruction on the city."
"A plague of adorability maybe. No one's going to want to hurt teacup kaiju." Ida didn't count. "Now maybe if you'd gone with full-size kaiju."
"I don't have the room to breed full-size kaiju! Do you know how high the premiums on lab space got after some vapid temp blew up A.N.D. Labs?"
Oh, yeah, she was going down for that alone. "Doesn't change the fact no one's going to buy a giant laser to kill tiny kaiju."
"That's why I have the Sogatron-6000!" Soga used her free hand to whip a drop cloth off covered lab equipment to reveal a device that looked like a staff with a lens-less giant magnifying glass. In a small step up from the laser guns, it looked like a prop from a low budget nineties children's show instead.
Someone needed a some variety in their naming schemes. "And what does the Sogatron-6000 do?"
"What does the Sogatron-6000 do?" Soga repeated, cackling to herself as she flipped the switch. Rumbling filled the air as it powered on. "Why? Sogatron-6000 makes my kaiju grow!"
She kept laughing maniacally as a beam of light shot out from the Sogatron-6000 towards the kaiju, who began to grow, and grow. First smashing their cages, then the roof.
Inshiro Industries Incorporated.
We have Kaiju Sign!
Indeed, there was a serious lack of rampaging going on. If anything the kaiju looked faintly embarrassed as they stooped down to start picking up fallen masonry. Soga made a sound that could best be described as a disbelieving screech. "Are they trying to fix the roof?"
"I think they are."
"See! I said that just needed a little understanding and effort on our parts to become productive citizens of the world."
"That you did, Lace, that you did."
"You!" Soga whirled on Lacey. Wendy wondered if she was going to do some serious damage to her throat if she kept on like that. "You did this. You, hippie! You've ruined years of work! Years of-"
Soga's focusing all her attention on ranting at Lacey had given Wendy more than enough time to creep up beside her and whack her upside the head with the Sogatron-6000. "You're going to love Greenland. Really you are."
Toho Daiei Kaiju Preserve.
"So Doctor Soga is on her way to Greenland, while the teacup kaiju can run free and never have to worry about mad scientists or trigger happy military types ever again."
"I still think she could have saved one for me," Ida cut in.
"Not a chance, Threepio. By the way, Boss, am I getting overtime for this? Because there's still a hole in the side of my apartment."