Chapter 1: October 3, 2014- November 14, 2014
In which Newt and Hedda have mutual science lady-boners and become fast friends.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
October 3, 2014
Letter from Newt Geiszler to Hedda Gottlieb
My name is Dr. Nadja Geiszler. I am currently working with a team at CalTech researching extraterrestrial biology and environmental impact of the August 2013 Kaiju attack on San Francisco, Sacramento, Oakland, and surrounding areas. I have also done long distance work with Hundun, Kaiceph, and Scissure.
I recently read your paper, Characterization of the Pan Pacific Breach in Volume 537 of Annalen der Physik. Dr. Gottlieb, since the day I first read that paper I haven’t stopped thinking about it. As an ecologist, the theory that the Breach was a cosmic strings wormhole always seemed ridiculous to me. The environment surrounding the Breach is decimated by deposits of radium and dispersal of radon gas. Whole ecosystems have collapsed. The fishing industry is dead. At ground zero, we all know that there’s chemistry going on here. Your paper is the first one I’ve ever seen that acknowledged that.
In the manila envelope that accompanies this letter, I’ve sent you an annotated version of your paper. I’ve had it on my mind so much that I wanted to share all of my thoughts. I hope that my comments will be viewed as a welcome invitation for continued discourse and collaboration.
Dr. Nadja Geiszler
Excerpt from the manila folder: Volume 537- Annalen der Physik
Dr. Hedda Gottlieb
Abstract: Current chemical and geological data supports that the Pan Pacific Breach is atomic in nature. This is also supported by general relativity; post-analysis there is little doubt that it is some sort of wormhole of exotic matter [see we never would have completely connected these dots on the ground. brilliant. knew it was chemical, but exotic matter wormholes! general relativity is a gift.]. The mechanism of continued expansion and collapse of the wormhole will also be discussed.
Context: Physics has been at a crossroads since the Pan Pacific Breach opened. The prevailing theories at present have been, for the most part, centered on the underpinnings regarding cosmic strings wormholes1. [ridiculous] However, these approaches are ignoring the significance of interdisciplinary data and general relativity as could be applied on both a macro and micro level scale when examining the construction of the heretofore unheard of phenomenon interacting with the Earth’s magnetic fields and terrain features. [YES.]. While the theory of cosmic strings is more theoretically satisfying [because as we all know, this is top priority for people trying to triage large cities], high pressure exotic matter offers much more promise in the realm of application. [this is an understatement Dr. Gottlieb] Current prevailing thought surrounding the academic and professional realms is that the interaction between Earth and the transdimensional invaders is purely a magnetic phenomenon; this paper proposes that the Breach is composed of a marriage between the Earth’s magnetic fields and the Breach’s unique magnetic signatures, as well as a combination antimatter and time-space with terrene matter.
Physical Properties of the Breach: Before we move into the realm of physics, we must first look towards geology and chemistry. This hard data enriches and supports what was once thought to be something that was purely theoretical, namely the possibility of an extradimensional feature imposing itself through the use of antimatter and advanced quantum mechanics onto an established terrestrial feature.
The Pan Pacific Breach is a geographical feature composed of terrestrial and extradimensional features spanning 11,000 km. It is a physical fissure in the earth, not unlike (but distinct from) an oceanic trench2. It cannot be approached without specific gear: to date, chemical reactions surrounding the Breach have killed twenty scientists3. [at least thirty more have developed cancer- it’s a hard time to be a geologist] Submarines with protection from radioactivity have been created within the last three months, enabling safer study4. [my name is on that paper. I can tell this collaboration is meant to be]
It is unknown what specific chemical reactions are occurring, however what is known is that the Breach is poisoning the water around it with high concentrations of radium and radon5. This is not due Kaiju contamination, as the reactions are continual and exhibit cyclical features5. A cubic mile around the Breach shows no sign of life. [so many aquatic communities absolutely decimated. still have some algae blooms living on the surface though. . .killing everything else that might have wanted to live there] Additionally, rocks collected from the Breach become contaminated with radium deposits when left at normal laboratory conditions (under freezing and autoclave, this does not happen6). [geologists can’t catch a break.]
If the Breach were not atomic in nature, it is doubtful that these precipitations would happen. [spot on] There is reason to believe that this is also not the result of the Breach being continually open with chemicals coming from the other side (whatever “the other side” is). [the big question, right?] Rather, something trapped or otherwise contained inside of the Breach is interacting with our terrestrial features, causing contamination. A strong candidate for this reaction is some sort of radium compound that is under extremely high pressure7. [I think so too but that data is so coy]This is exotic matter that has been mathematically proven to be the stuff of general relativity wormholes. [see pg. 2] [send simplified explanation of these calculations]
Modeling: Another property of exotic matter wormholes is that, theoretically, they collapse after matter has passed through them. Previous events, such as the Tunguska event of 1908, with its rapid destruction, its regular path, and its relatively brief time elapse, are supportive of this model. The Breach is known to collapse post-attack, which gives this theory further credence. [brilliant]
Fig. 1: The Kaiju have the ability to move freely from one end of the portal to another. It is as yet unknown whether or not this freedom goes both ways at the time of Kaiju entrance [research done by a friend at Berkley suggests that it doesn’t. citation: word of mouth].
Fig. 2: Representation of physical closure of the portal. It has been proven8 that nothing can go inside of the Breach during peacetime. It is proposed that the Breach physically seals itself in the middle shortly after a Kaiju emerges. [makes sense] This idea is consistent with proposed theories of matter passing through wormholes made of exotic matter.
[Relativity calculations cont. on page 2]
October 7, 2014
~five tabs on Google Chrome~
1. NCBI (2013) - Tissue Regeneration in the Human Nervous System: Nadja Geiszler et. al.
2. Forbes (2012)- 30 under 30 (Medicine): Dr. Nadja Geiszler
3. Audobon (2014)- Caltech Paving the Road for Ecological Restoration After Kaiju Attack
4. The Boston Gobe (2007)- Profile: Nadja Geiszler-Youngest Doctoral Candidate at MIT
5. Discover (2014)- Unlocking the Secrets of Kaiju Anatomy at Caltech
October 15, 2014
Letter from Hedda Gottlieb to Newt Geiszler
Greetings, Dr. Geiszler,
After a thorough period of consideration, I have decided to respond to your letter with one of my own. I admit to feeling relief in the proposition of professional engagement with a peer regarding the nature of the Breach and its denizens. As of yet, my efforts have been singular, and while I believe this information is imperative, I still find myself lacking large portions of salient data. I anticipate a more thorough understanding of the interworkings of the chemical, terrene, and contraterrene matters, though we are all blindly groping in the dark.
I anticipate a more grounded approach in forthcoming articles regarding the Breach and possible explanations to be explored in physics. I have dabbled to some degree in astrophysics, and my treatment of general relativity wormholes and contraterrene matter interacting with terrene matter has been useful in my understanding of how such a relatively unprecedented and prolonged event can exist. As you have presented yourself as relatively learned regarding the chemical and biological interactions surrounding the Breach, please do let me know if you have any suggestions regarding its composition and construction. Like yourself, I profess to a certain amount of eagerness in regards to a more thorough overall understanding of this new phenomenon, and as I have stressed in the paper you have cited, I believe that an interdisciplinary approach is critical; the historical treatment of these matters has been one of a certain truculent and rather clannish hoarding of research and resources, which has ultimately created a fractured array of paths from which to embark, but rendered science an unwieldy and useless tool.
We must all work together if we are to survive this.
Dr. Hedda Gottlieb
November 1, 2014
Letter from Newt Geiszler to Hedda Gottlieb
You actually replied! I was beginning to think that you wouldn’t. That’s what I get for trying to send a real letter overseas- anxiety. I hope it arrived to you mostly dry. I don’t do fax machines (because it’s not 1998), and I felt your work deserved something a little bit better than an email from the same account that I use to order Pizza Hut.
In trying to sound formal enough to get you to pay attention to my letter, I feel like I might have overshot my title. You really don’t have to call me Dr. Geiszler.
I only use the full title and etc. etc. when I want people to think that I’m important. Only my mother calls me Nadja. It’s a frilly girl’s name, and it makes me sound like I don’t spend ten hours a day with my hands shoved inside monster guts. Newt, that’s the name of someone you want to skin a Kaiju. So that’s the name that I go by day to day.
I’m assuming your careful, passive aggressive language means that your paper ticked off a lot of your colleagues. I can certainly see why. Brilliant woman like yourself, trampling all over
men’s egos widely accepted theory. It’s ok. By isolating you they’ve pushed you right into the welcoming arms of someone across the pond with five and a half official PhD’s and an informal sixth in rebellion.
Speaking of which, now’s a good a time as any to more thoroughly explain my background. We should exchange specs- I’m sure you’ve stalked me via the internet (I’ll be up front and say that I’ve researched you some), but I’d rather you get the full picture from what I tell you than from what you’ve read on Google. I’m sure you feel the same way
This is me: Newt Geiszler, 24. I have five PhD’s from MIT: biology, microbiology, computational and systems biology, biophysics, and molecular neuroscience. Currently in the process of getting a sixth in astrobiology from Caltech. I also have three undergraduate degrees: biology, geology, and music. I’m the poster child for what happens when you’re curious about too many things.
Ratemyprofessor scores me at a 3.6 in terms of hotness. Blatant lies. I’m at least a 3.8; the kids at MIT gave me lower scores because I was a hard grader. Also, I called on girls more often than boys on principle. Caused a few male egos to burst.
Before I dedicated my life to monsters, I was working on human tissue regeneration at MIT. Brain tissue, specifically. That’s what my profile in Forbes was all about, which I expect you’ve seen.
For the record, I don’t usually dress like I did for that photo shoot. My biophysics doctoral advisor threatened to automatically give my orals a failing grade if I made MIT look bad by dressing like a “coke addled rock star” at the interview. I had to dye my hair brown and everything. It was awful. If only Billboard profiled biologists, am I right?
My current work primarily focuses on Kaiju anatomy and physiology. At the moment I’m spending my time sucking whatever information I can out of any samples I can get my hands on. Genetic data, chemical composition of secretions, cellular structure, tissue structure, you name it and I’ve poked at it or I dearly want to. My most recent project is measuring Kaiju scale toxicity.
Is there anything in particular you’ve been wanting to know about the Kaiju? What information would currently be most useful to you? The manila envelope I sent with this letter contains a list of journal articles you might find relevant as well as some of my research notes.
In terms of your work- I agree that the lack of data on the Breach is a real buzzkill. I feel like we’re so close to getting data that tells us more about what’s on the other side. Like it’s on the tips of our tongue, you know?
Personally, I’m leaning towards another universe, but I’m not the physicist here. What do you think? I sensed from your restraint in your paper that you have ideas, but you don’t have the all the data to back them up yet. Lay them on me; Crick described replication, translation, and transcription before they had enough information to prove it. “The Central Dogma of the Pan Pacific Breach”- has a nice ring to it. Although years later, Crick admitted that he didn’t really understand the definition of “dogma,” so maybe we’ll wait until after we’ve blown the socks off the scientific community with some data before we start making claims like that.
Is it as weird for you as it is for me that we’re working with stuff that up until last year only existed in sci fi? I grew up watching anime and Kaiju films (I tell you, the number of times I have seen Godzilla is ridiculous) and all of a sudden they’re actually here. There is a real portal on the bottom of the ocean floor that spits out aliens from. . .well, we don’t even know.
I am really excited for your reply. This could be the beginning of a great collaboration.
November 7, 2014
Letter to from Hedda Gottlieb to Newt Geiszler
Yes, indeed, I replied. I do apologize for my tardiness, but as you apparently well know, science waits for no man; or woman, for that matter. Having looked at some of your research, I am now even more assured of your intelligence and insight. The quantity and quality of your work is astonishing.
I hope that this will not cause too much trouble, but I feel disrespectful of my colleagues if I call them by their first names. It is a habit from a childhood of mandatory respect for authority. For now, I would like to continue calling you Dr. Geiszler. I have great faith in your ability to produce good research; I assure you that this is in no way meant to trivialize your talents.
At present, I have been declined further funding from Cambridge for any other research regarding the Pan Pacific Breach. Instead, they are having me use my mathematical background to create statistical models that have the ability to predict Kaiju attacks. While I feel that this is a worthwhile pursuit and an adequate use of my talents, my passion lies elsewhere. Perhaps I will feel differently when the numbers are being used on the front lines, so to speak, but for now it is good to know that someone has vested interest in a topic that holds great interest to me and has been, for the most part, trivialized by my peers and demoted to the status of an extracurricular activity. Hearing support from a person outside of my field is particularly heartening, because my theory rests so heavily upon interdisciplinary data.
Thank you for the compliments. Though I do not feel I am personally impressive, I value hard work enormously. I am glad that my personal ethic shines through in my scholarly pursuits.
As to my methods of dealing with conflict: I like to keep a professional distance from petty squabbling, a principle which, unfortunately, most of my colleagues do not hold.
I appreciate the information as to your person. I did indeed research you, but your description of yourself was much more illuminating. I will attempt to be equally succinct and thorough in my self-evaluation.
Dr. Hedda Gottlieb, 25. PhD in Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics from Cambridge. I hold a degree in Physics from the Humboldt University of Berlin. Prior to K-day, I was doing research at Cambridge on probability of wormhole creation. I also was a lecturer, although I never examined this “ratemyprofessor” website until you brought it to my attention. It appears that students found my course work to be very challenging. Also, several men did not appreciate my long skirts and lack of makeup. Why anyone would choose to assess their teacher’s looks instead of paying attention to a topology lecture is beyond my comprehension. Clearly the mind of the modern male undergraduate is a mysterious and loathsome terrain, one which I do not wish to spend very much time or energy exploring.
If you wouldn’t mind my asking- what do you normally dress like? In the aforementioned Forbes article, you did look quite professional, however it has been my experience with biologists that they do not necessarily always conform to a business casual style of dress. Most of the biologists I have known have dressed quite practically in jeans, trainers, and tee shirts. I’m not sure I understand why this style of dress would be seen as such a disappointment to your doctoral advisor.
As for myself, I try to not distract from my body of work by the clothes that I wear. I have never been profiled in a magazine, and I don’t often have photographs taken of me, so my clothing is rarely of interest to anyone anyway.
I stated previously that my current work involves statistical modeling of Kaiju attacks. This has been very challenging, as radioactive analysis is so crucial to my work, and gathering samples from the Breach has proven to be very dangerous. It has also made research progress very slowly. However, technology has been adapting to this roadblock, and I predict that the entire process will move quickly once it is safer and more streamlined. My goal is to someday have the ability to know when the next Kaiju will attack down to the hour. Hopefully that day will come before the next Kaiju does.
A brief outline of Kaiju anatomy would be of interest to me. Much of the data you sent is fascinating, but putting it all together to make one creature in my mind’s eye is a bit difficult.
I too have a burning curiosity to know what is on the other side of the Breach. I think it is another universe too, but there just isn’t data to prove it. The one piece of data that I am missing is information as to what exactly the exotic matter compound inside the Breach is. All that is known is that it degrades to radium; there has to be confirmation that the starting compound involves radium and does not exist within our known universe. Then and only then can we discuss multiverse theory as if it is dogma. Having read of his unprofessional treatment of his female colleagues, I would like to distance myself from Dr. Crick as much as possible.
I have never seen the works you have referenced, but I do agree that some days it feels like waking up to science fiction writ large around us. We certainly can no longer trust our previous convictions with the same strength we had espoused; and if we do, it would smack of the child putting its hands overs its eyes to block out an unsavory sight. Physics was trying so desperately to solve the last problem, unified theory, and suddenly a being from another universe arrived and changed everything, changed our very understanding of the fabric of reality. It is at once terrifying, exciting, and humbling to truly realize how little we have always understand about our multiverse.
I eagerly await your response.
Dr. Hedda Gottlieb
November 14, 2014
Letter from Newt Geiszler to Hedda Gottlieb
I appreciate the compliments. I’ve been doing science my whole life, so I hope some of that data is looking good by now. I started going to MIT when I was 14, and I couldn’t drink or drive or go to parties, so I did the next logical thing and wrote a lot of academic papers.
I promise that calling me Dr. Geiszler is not showing me disrespect. If anything, it’s the opposite- I only enforce my title when I assume I’m going to be dismissed without it. Really, call me Newt. I insist. I’d like to call you by your first name too, honestly, but that’s super awkward if you’re over their calling me Dr. Geiszler and I’m calling you Hedda. It makes me feel like a middle aged professor. I have too much ink on my body for that.
That is so awful! Cut funding is the worst, especially when it’s clearly an act of aggression. And then moving you to a new project entirely! Not only is that completely disrespecting your physics work, but it’s implying that the stuff you’re doing right now is beneath you. It absolutely is not, because you’re brilliant and your work is brilliant.
If you can’t tell by my indignation, squabbling is not something that I personally avoid. I like to say that I make up for being short by being very loud.
No way! Cambridge and Cambridge! We’re like Cambridge2. I mean, yours is in the UK and mine was in Massachusetts, but it’s still pretty cool. And only a year older than me. Next you’re going to say that you were born in Germany too.
I wish I could say I don’t understand guys who ogle women instead of listening to topology lectures, but I feel like I understand them way more than I ever wanted to. I dated some back in the day, and I can tell you that all the answers to their psyche are inside of their pants. If you don’t excite them, they don’t think you’re worth their time. They also feel like all women can be classified into someone they want to have sex with or someone they don’t. It’s pretty sad.
I forgive those who get distracted by pretty teachers though. When I was fourteen I had an organic chemistry teacher who was so beautiful that it was unfair. I had never questioned my sexuality before I laid eyes upon her. The first day that I met her, I discovered my inner queer.
About how I dress. . .I guess you could say it’s not exactly “typical lab attire.” I suppose if you were feeling cheeky it could be described as “like a raging queermo.” Lots of torn up jeans, crazy colored hair, leather jackets, skinny ties, thick eye makeup, weird earrings, and a few pairs of Doc Martins that I painted in various colors and patterns. Also, I’m currently working on a pretty rad Kaiju sleeve tattoo. I didn’t have any ink that could be seen during the time of the Forbes article, though.
For some reason, people find my appearance and demeanor to be a little shocking. I can’t imagine why.
I’ll send a picture of myself along with this letter. Maybe you could send one too? Instead of looking online for pictures other people took of us, we can show how we see ourselves.
Man, predicting Kaiju attacks like that would be so useful. I know the people who are working on picking up those radioactive isotopes. They are excellent scientists, and their research really is progressing very rapidly. I have high hopes for the future accuracy of your work.
I want to see those numbers. They sound awesome. The guys who reassigned you to shut you up are going to hate themselves when you show them up by saving a city. If that sounds like I’m implying that people will still care about petty disagreements during a national disaster, it’s because I am.
I put an overview of Kaiju anatomy and physiology inside the manila folder accompanying this letter.
Dr. Gottlieb, I’ve been studying those rocks and I have an idea that’s kind of out there. I think the reason that those rocks contain radium deposits is because some sort of microorganism is oxidizing a radium compound on the rocks. I think that it’s radium oxide, which doesn’t exist within our known universe. The particular microorganisms present on the rocks don’t have genomes found anywhere else on earth, and there doesn’t seem to be any other compound on these rocks that they could be using for metabolism. Something interesting, though- their genomes have a lot in common with the Kaiju genome. I’m currently working to culture them in a lab and determine their chemical composition. If they, like the Kaiju, contain silicate cell membranes and prove to oxidize inorganic compounds not found anywhere in our own universe, I think we’ve proven multiverse theory. Also, if we figure out how they work, then we can eradicate them and make life easier for Breach geologists everywhere. Score two for science.
You’ve never seen Godzilla? Ever? Dr. Gottlieb, you need to get on that as soon as possible. After all, the world is ending- soon, you might never get another chance.
Excerpt from the manila folder: Kaiju anatomy
Written by Newt Geiszler. Annotated for personal use by Hedda Gottlieb.
Overview: This is not a comprehensive look at Kaiju anatomy. Rather, this is an overview of classification, basic body structures, and body systems relevant to defense. Little is known about the Kaiju lymphatic, endocrine, and reproductive systems; they will not be covered here. Additionally, we have little knowledge of many other parts of their physiology because of destruction in battle and/or complications upon death. [I am ignoring the hint of disappointment here.] The data present is compiled from the corpses of four Kaiju in varying states of wholeness: Trespasser, Hundun , Kaiceph, and Scissure.
Classification: Much discourse has been had regarding the issue of Kaiju classification and nomenclature. It is universally acknowledged that they are part of their own unique kingdom- the kingdom Monstrae. [Biologists are not very concerned about hiding their level of excitement in the nomenclature.]Cellular data confirms that they are silicate creatures in nature. Thus, they do not share even a similar common ancestor to our own. However, it is important to note that though we don’t share homology with the Kaiju, we do share much analogy. [Not from the same origin, but similar traits. Seems logical] This is relevant in determining physiology from anatomical structure.
The Kaiju body plan is bilateral in nature i.e. they are symmetrical down the sagittal plane. They have differentiated tissues and a full digestive system, lending credence to their embryonic development being similar to that of chordate Earth animals. [I hope this does not imply that anyone is trying to create a Kaiju embryo. Ask Dr. Geiszler about this.]The Kaiju appear to be coelomates, evidenced most greatly by a very thick pericardium-like structure surrounding the heart and great vessels. Again, comparing alien anatomy with Earth biology helps to direct our study and defense. [Read as: barely contained enthusiasm about naming things.]
Cellular Structure: [Biochemistry- irrelevant but good to know that she’s thorough.]Kaiju cells are analogous to eukaryotic Earth animal cells. Their cells contain a membrane bound nucleus full of DNA. Though the Kaiju are not carbon-based, they have many structures that are. Also visible under the electron microscope are several organelles of unknown purpose. Presumably they are important for metabolic processing, transport, waste management, etc. [Even more names for things.]
Integumentary System: [skin/scales]The Kaiju integumentary system is multilayered and complex. They possess a very thick cellular epithelium [skin], on top of which they layer acellular scales. [Scales are secreted.] These scales are harder than steel and have toxic inner cores. [Useful for contamination concerns. Factor into chemical knowledge of ground zero sites.] Research is ongoing as to what exactly the chemical compositions of the inner toxin and the outer coating are. Current knowledge is that a large percentage of the outer scale is made of a complex metal alloy. [No wonder they’re a hot commodity on the black market.] Isolated toxins thus far found inside the scale have been ammonia, arsenic, and hypochlorous acid (bleach). [Chemically relevant.]
Musculoskeletal System: Kaiju have a skeletal system similar to that of chordates. [Organisms with a backbone.] Their skeleton, however, is silica analog of osseous tissue. [Bone tissue- names, names names] Prior to K-day, studies done at the University of New Mexico had shown that synthetic bone-like silica nanostructures were more effective at their jobs than their natural calcium analogs. However, until Trespasser was studied, none had ever been found in skeletons in nature. [Fascinating.] Defense implications need to take into account that the Kaiju skeletal system is much stronger and more resistant to damage than any skeleton found on Earth.
Additionally, Kaiju marrow houses hematopoietic stem cell analogs that differentiate into different components of the blood and immune systems. These stem cells house numerous toxic compounds and should be handled with care. [Is there any part of a Kaiju that does not need to be handled with care, or is this on a biologist’s scale of how dangerous these are?]
We do not have a full working model of the Kaiju muscular system at this time because it is often highly damaged in combat. [I am sure that it is as equally terrifying as everything else.]
Respiratory System: The Kaiju respiratory system is complex. They are known to have a set of both lungs and gills; their gills collapse when they emerge from the water. It is unknown how the Kaiju manage this switching out of respiratory organs while simultaneously adapting to extreme changes in water and air pressure as they emerge from the Breach. It remains to be seen how in-water gill destruction might harm the Kaiju. [Relevant for defense] Little is also known about how the two respiratory organs exchange gases with each other, if at all. Because of their large size, it is probable that the puncture of one lung would quickly destroy the entire Kaiju. However, because of the thick breastplates we have seen on all current Kaiju, puncturing a lung would be very challenging. [Interesting. Relevant: what about blood leakage as well as what might puncture without blood leakage]
Nervous System: The Kaiju nervous system is much more complex than any animal known on Earth. Their peripheral nervous system is very similar to Earth chordates [backbone/nerves], however, their central nervous system [brain(s)] is unique in a number of ways. Most notably, the Kaiju have two brains. This hypothesized to be for several reasons. One is that they are so massive that their central nervous system must be split to control their entire body. [Logical]There is also a hypothesis that a second brain is meant to give the Kaiju “staying power,” although it is unknown how long a Kaiju can function with only one brain. [Do both brains have to die for a Kaiju to be dead?] It is also unknown whether or not one of the brains can repair itself while the body copes with only having one. [I would not be surprised] Additionally, the Kaiju have curious structures on both brains- metallic pin-like nodes between the brain folds. Electromagnetic frequencies have been picked up from these metallic nodes, although it is unclear as to what they are transmitting. [Who put a radio next to a brain to see if it would transmit messages?] Studies done on the “main brain” have been complicated as it is usually chemically compromised by the time of extraction.
Urinary System: The urinary system is composed of kidney and bladder analogs. The kidneys are unique in their filtering of Kaiju blood, as its structure is fundamentally different than the blood of anything on Earth. [understatement] Likewise, the bladder’s uniqueness mainly is in countering the acidity of the waste product. This waste is of much interest to scientists, as it is a) very toxic [of course] and b) not nitrogenous. [Don’t burst bladder] All animal life on Earth secretes nitrogenous waste, so this is an anomaly to physiologists. [Relevant to chemists and ecologists.]
Cardiovascular System: The Kaiju cardiovascular system is the most studied part of their body. The reasons for this are very evident- Kaiju blood produces the deadly phenomenon known as Kaiju blue. However, just because it is the most studied does not mean it is the most understood. Kaiju blood does not contain heme, the molecule crucial for animal gas exchange. Discovery of how gas exchange does occur is difficult, because studying Kaiju blood in the laboratory comes with numerous health hazards. The blood reacts explosively with many common reagents, emits different (but equally toxic) vapors upon exposure to oxygen, carbon dioxide, or water, and is corrosive towards skin, plastic, wood, and most metals. [Thank God that I don’t have to work in a Kaiju biology lab] Special hazmat suits must be worn when in contact with blood materials, and currently non-reactive rooms are in development. It is understood that most of the toxicity of Kaiju blood comes from their plasma analog, however research is still underway in easily separating the blood components from one another. [Lesson: spill as little Kaiju blood as possible. And don’t share a lab with biologists.]
The Kaiju heart and vessels then have a truly standout quality- they are able to keep these compounds in the plasma from being toxic to themselves. This is largely in part due to a peculiar mucus secretion on both organs, the composition of which is still being determined.
The heart is four chambered and very large. Induced heartbeat can give off enough energy to shake a building. It is safe to assume that a destroyed heart would kill a Kaiju within seconds, due to the amount of blood it has the capacity to circulate.
Immune System: Unlocking the Kaiju immune system is, in my opinion, one of the most valuable tools we could have at our disposal. Discovering common microbial poisons that kill Kaiju effectively would be excellent methods of attack. Unfortunately, due to aforementioned issues with studying the blood, we lack information about this crucial system. Additionally, the Kaiju lymphatic system collapses upon death.
Digestive System: The last system discussed will be the digestive system. The Kaiju have a full digestive system, mouth to anus. They have an esophagus, stomach, intestinal tract, and anus. Digestion is similar to the digestion of most reptiles, with the exception being that the stomach is more acidic. It is unclear what the Kaiju eat (outside of people), however it seems that they ingest a number of both organic and inorganic substances in order to keep all of their systems running. Though this may be distasteful, our most fruitful research on Kaiju digestion has been studying the human contents of their digestive systems.
Kaiju feces is of great interest to ecologists and agriculturists, as it carries high nutritional value to both terrestrial and aquatic photosynthetic autotrophs.
[Kaiju toxicity report cont. on page 2]
-Annalen Der Physik is a famous physics journal. Originally it was only published in German, but now it is primarily in English. Albert Einstein published his work in it!
-Exotic matter is an interesting subject. For a crash course, I recommend the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exotic_matter . In this case, Newt and Hedda's exotic matter is radium oxide under extremely high pressure. I don't know if this would actually work, but I thought it was cool anyway. Exotic matter wormholes really are thought to collapse as things pass through them.
-The Tunguska event of 1908 is a hotly debated subject in physics. An impact from outer space happened but the remains from the impact are small and questionable. I am a layperson in all things physics, so my main knowledge of it is "this was a cool thing that happened one time." Inclusion of this was suggested by kronos-keeper; she knows more about it than I do.
-There really have been studies about silicon bones, or bone like structures. The University of New Mexico is working on that for some reason. I threw it in because I thought it was cool.
-Newt is the person who put a radio next to a Kaiju brain and found radio transmission. She was listening to a top 40 station and all of a sudden- static and alien noises.
-"it would smack of the child putting its hands overs its eyes to block out an unsavory sight." is paraphrasing Nietzsche. Because Hedda is a classy motherfucker.
-Organisms on Earth really do oxidize inorganic compounds, although not radium oxide as it does not exist.
Chapter 2: November 17, 2014 - November 30, 2014
In which the Jaeger program is initiated, and Newt and Hedda gossip about it.
Thanks to singingtomysoul for both encouraging me to continue writing this fic and enabling my Spring Awakening obsession. Also, thanks to everyone who read this chapter and responded with kind words, bookmarks, and kudos.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
November 17, 2014
Newspaper clipping sent from Newt Geiszler to Hedda Gottlieb
AP News in Brief
UN Conference Agrees Upon Defense Strategies Against Kaiju
SEOUL (AP) - After several days of heated discussion, the United Nations has come to an agreement regarding defense against the Kaiju. The strategy agreed upon was proposed by Dr. Schoenfield and Dr. Lightcap, two neuroscientists who previously worked for D.A.R.P.A. The project revolves around creating robots the size of the Kaiju to attack them more effectively. According to Dr. Lightcap, this is to ensure that nuclear weapons never have to be deployed in anti-Kaiju combat again. Collaborators on this project include Dr. Lars Gottlieb, a mechanical engineer, and Stacker Pentecost, a member of the United Kingdom air force.
Letter from Newt Geiszler to Hedda Gottlieb. Stapled to aforementioned newspaper clipping.
Have you seen this? The answer to fighting the Kaiju- giant robots. GIANT. MECHA. ROBOTS. My life has literally become Neon Genesis Evangelion.
What do you think about this? I saw another Gottlieb on there- any relation? Did he tell you about this beforehand, or was it a surprise? If it wasn’t a surprise, I’m going to be really disappointed that I had to find this out from the news instead of from you. I mean, I understand military secrecy and all, but bros before pros, you know? I think you do, but it doesn’t hurt to check.
Anyway, do you plan to sign up for the PPDC? Personally, I can hardly wait. There’s a lot at stake for science here! I’m so tired of working with shattered, bombed corpses. If they don’t consult me and instead use this as another opportunity to destroy half of my data when they bring the Kaiju down, heads will roll. Metaphorically with military personnel and literally in terms of Kaiju remains. Not a single one yet has been attached to its body after it was taken down. Completely restricts our knowledge of the peripheral nervous system. That has got to change.
I’m assuming they’re going to try to lure a lot of people away from tenured positions to nobly save the world. I bet working for the PPDC is going to be a well-paying career for a lot of people. Even at the end of the world, people want to be rich. Me, I’m simpler. All I want is glory, fame, and Kaiju remains.
I bet you’ll be recruited hardcore. That statistics project you’re working on sounds like something they would want to use. Maybe they’ll be interested in your physics too. Dream big; I have a feeling that this program is going to change everything.
November 23, 2014
Letter from Hedda Gottlieb to Newt Geiszler
Though I appreciate your enthusiasm about our positive working relationship, I really must insist that I cannot comfortably call a respected colleague “Newt”; in many ways I transgress my traditional upbringing, and so I am not keen to produce more cognitive dissonance inside of myself alongside that which I wrestle with daily. If you would like, I could try to call you Nadja instead of Dr. Geiszler. Perhaps you could frame this in your mind as an act of rebellion, since you do not believe people (particularly men) will take you seriously if you embrace your God-given name and all feminine implications thereof. To reclaim your femininity only in private and in the company of another woman could, in the right light, be interpreted as defiance.
Let me know if this works for you; if not, I am sure we shall figure what to do about names eventually.
As for myself, you may call me Hedda if you wish. However, should we meet, you must never use my first name in front of my other colleagues. Permission to use my first name is a privilege given out sparingly; please respect the weight of this decision.
How much ink do you have on your body exactly? In the photograph that you sent, I only saw the outline of a Kaiju on your left forearm.
Those are interesting coincidences. I shall add one more to the growing list. I was born in Germany. Ich bin aus Garmisch- Partenkirchen. Wo kommen sie her?
[I am from Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Where are you from?]
Thank you for your insight. As I have never dated a man and never wish to, I have little experience with analyzing the more carnal aspects of the male psyche. Much of my time is spent trying to pretend the pervasive sexism of my field does not exist, as pointing it out to the men I work with does essentially nothing to change it.
Your tale of abrupt sexual awakening brought a smile to my face. I too had a similar jarring experience at thirteen. One day, I became aware of my attraction to my longtime piano teacher. Attempting to learn Chopin in the presence of such a handsome woman was a considerable challenge; all I could think about was her long brown hair and the perfume she wore instead of proper technique.
Is that too much information? I don’t meet many other women who like women; I am unfamiliar with the disclosure protocol.
You are correct that I would not call that typical lab attire; however, I also have never used the word “queermo” either in jest or seriousness. According to urbandictionary, it means “a superf*g” so I don’t believe I’ll be using it any time in the future either. I have never been one for reclaiming slurs, even when they are used affectionately. Your confidence and lighthearted attitude in the face of oppression is admirable. Would you say that “alternative” is a good middle ground word for describing your attitude and style of dress? It implies variation from the mainstream without using a word that has unfortunate connotations.
Having looked at your photograph, I can say that while I would not personally adopt your fashion choices, your clothes are artfully chosen and suit you and your personality well. I also now understand why your advisor was displeased by your appearance; it is nontraditional and is not what one generally thinks of when picturing the MIT neuroscience department in their mind.
In the manila folder, I have attached an overview of my statistical work up to this point. I appreciate the reassurance that technology is progressing in a direction favorable to my project. Tell them for me that they are doing good work, if you have not done so already.
As to the suggestion that my coworkers might hold on to petty disagreements in the wake of a Kaiju attack- well, “hope is the thing with feathers” as it were, Nadja; “I’ve heard it in the chilliest land and on the strangest Sea.”
Thank you for the overview of Kaiju anatomy. I have annotated it for my personal use; it was very enlightening. However, one question has stuck with me since I read that article- you briefly mentioned Kaiju embryonic development during your discussion of classification. No one is actually trying to create a Kaiju in the laboratory, correct? Such an experiment would be unwise, and though I am not a biologist I feel compelled as a member of our species to advise against it.
Dr. Geiszler, I implore you to characterize that microorganism. I know little about microbiology or cell membranes, but any proof of radium oxide would be enough to solidify multiverse theory into fact. This news is extremely exciting; your production of said data would be a defining moment of my career and of my life.
You and I are both working tirelessly to ensure that I have many years of my life left to watch this film. I would thank you to not imply that our work will have been for naught.
I saw the article shortly after I assume you did, but I still appreciate your enthusiastic dissemination of information. I am unfamiliar with the genre that you speak of, however I understand your incredulity. Human beings possess a remarkable capacity for creative thinking, which is well represented by the Jaeger program.
I believe that this program shows a lot of promise as long as generous amounts of work, time, and money are invested in it. I am unfamiliar with the work of Drs. Lightcap and Schoenberg, however the UN seems to view them as capable of this undertaking. I am inclined to trust the judgment of our international ambassadors, who I feel have our best interests at heart.
Additionally, Pentecost is a beloved English national hero. He is a skilled and experienced leader; I expect that the PPDC shall be commandeered efficiently and that he will garner respect from all who work underneath him.
Dr. Lars Gottlieb is my father. He is a talented mechanical engineer. I was unaware that he was working on this project until I read about it in the paper. We do not often interact with each other.
My family has a long history of military service, and I have always possessed a desire to be likewise involved. Poor health restricted me from pursuing this career path. For some time, I believed that my opportunity for service was long past. However, as you and I are both heavily intertwined with interdisciplinary scholarly pursuits, I am optimistic that we will both be recruited when the time comes.
I too see change upon the horizon. Though I am cautious by nature, I cannot deny the glow of hope burgeoning inside my chest. Only time will tell us whether or not our expectations will line up with reality.
1. Newt is standing outside in a park. She is smiling brightly. Her cropped hair is a violent shade of purple, and her eye makeup is very thick. Her black pants are tight, and her combat boots are painted with intricate, cartoonish Kaiju. Her top is a white button up with the top three buttons undone, and her sleeves are rolled up to her elbows. Her arms are crossed, left over right, which makes the half-colored sleeve tattoo of Trespasser on her lower left arm visible. She is very short and curvy, and she holds herself in a way that can only be described as gleefully rebellious.
Caption: Yours truly ;)
2. Hedda is standing in front of a desk in an office. Her hair is pulled back tight into a bun. She is wearing no makeup. Her long skirt is colored khaki; her shoes are oxfords. Her short sleeved white blouse is buttoned up completely. She is thin, stands very straight, and does not smile, which, combined with her high cheekbones, makes her appear noble and austere.
Caption: My likeness.
Excerpt from the manila folder: Statistical Modeling
Abstract: The study of Kaiju statistical modeling dates back to the first discovery of radioactive isotopes on Breach associated rocks. Subsequent analysis revealed novel rates of radium isotope decay, different than those ever found in the known universe. The purpose of this analysis is to interpret those rates of decay and explain what data we can extrapolate from them. Our team used real-time measurements, statistics, and chaos theory to converge on several possible dates for Kaiju re-emergence.
[cont. on page 2]
November 30, 2014
Letter from Newt Geiszler to Hedda Gottlieb
I suppose I can settle for being called Nadja, if only because I enjoy being privileged enough to call you by your first name as well. As for framing it as an act of rebellion against men, well, that’s very second wave feminist and I’m third wave all the way, baby. Questioning gender constructs, promoting openness and equality, rebellious and queer as hell. Sure men can be annoying, but I don’t want to hide in private spaces to gossip about it. I’m of the belief that if anything, we should intrude on the spaces of the privileged over and over and be successful in our own ways in systems designed against us- whether we reclaim the traditional or pave new ground, it’s important that we’re loud and visible.
Look, you’ve got me all sentimental and fired up about intersectional feminism. Four for you, Glenn Coco.
The amount of ink I have on my body is small, but growing. I currently have Trespasser on my lower left arm (as seen in the photograph) and Hundun on my upper right arm. I also have a newt on my ankle. A lot of people don’t like them and think that they’re insensitive or obscene, but we all have our own ways of dealing with the existential questions raised by monsters appearing from another dimension. I’ve squeezed and chopped Kaiju viscera on the daily for a year- they’re on my person at all times whether or not I have tattoos.
Ich bin aus Berlin! Das ist ein Zufall! Ich bewegte mich, als ich zehn war, nach Amerika. Deutsch Wissenschaftler-Leute werden denken, wir sind böse.
[I am from Berlin! What a coincidence! When I was ten, I moved to America. German scientists- people are going to think we’re evil.]
Bisexuality will do that to a girl- gives insight into all sorts of fun gender-y things. To be honest though, it sounds like it sucks to be a physicist or mathematician if you’re a woman. I see sexism in my field, but with the people I knew in undergrad and grad school, the sexism women saw in math, physics, and engineering was just relentless. You guys are hardcore just for existing, man. Sorry that you have to deal with that all the time. We just have to keep being awesome, and eventually the men will have to respect us.
HA is that too much information. Oh Hedda. Hedda, Hedda, Hedda. I am fazed by so little anymore. Believe me, if something is too much information, I’ll tell you. If you’re ever feeling shy about saying something, feel comforted by the fact that I’ve probably said something worse in public, at an important conference, or to a superior that I really should have held my tongue around. Really, I think I should be the one who is concerned about telling you too much. Let me know when that moment comes. I assure you, it will come.
Anyway, your story was one of the most adorable things I’ve ever read. Reminded me of this kick-ass rock musical called Spring Awakening that came out back when I was a teenager-
“See each night it’s like fantastic, tossing, turning without rest cause my days at the piano with my teacher and her breasts. And the music’s like the one thing I can even get at all and those breasts, I mean, God please just let those apples fall-”
The musical took place in Germany and everything, it was great. I mean, two of the main characters died in it, but the guy who sang that part of the song didn’t! Score.
I want to hear all of your lesbian stories now, because damn that one was cute.
Admirable schmadmirable. I just don’t know how to shut up or take anything seriously. But thanks. I guess alternative is an ok word. Except for if you’re saying “alternative lifestyle” because that phrase needs to die all the time forever. And I’m going to take your careful choice of words about my fashion choices as compliments. I make people uncomfortable- I’m used to it, and I revel in it. I’ve made people uncomfortable my whole life, so there’s not much else to do about it.
I told the main guys who are doing your geology projects that they’re actually super useful, and the two of them gave each other high fives. A prime example of international cooperation and communication done right. They said they reached a breakthrough several days ago that sped up data processing tenfold.
Also, your statistical work is a beast. I had no idea that you’d made so much headway on that project already. I had no idea that the numbers and theories would be so complex and intricate. The next Kaiju attack narrowed down to five dates- that’s pretty awesome. I’m going to be honest, I don’t understand most of what’s going on in that paper (never have been one for applied mathematics), but I give it a big thumbs up for the things I did understand.
I don’t think Emily Dickinson intended for that poem to be used passive aggressively, but I support your efforts wholeheartedly. Audience interpretation is more important than author’s intent anyway.
No one is trying to create a Kaiju in the laboratory as far as I know. Theoretically it would be fascinating, but in reality that would be the best way to get funding sapped from your department. Also, you might go to prison for trying to destroy the world via science. I’m not too sure what the exact law on that one would be, but I feel like “don’t clone a Kaiju” is in the books somewhere. Biologists like to put things on a framework and give them names, and embryology is crucial to classification.
Hedda I’m so close to this data. I actually got the archaean to grow on media yesterday. My heart nearly stopped when I saw my samples, I swear. I’m putting them through rigorous testing now- I should know within the week whether or not they’re oxidizing radium oxide. From the dyes I used to look at them under the microscope, their cell membranes do seem to be silicate structures. I will send you official data as soon as I can. I don’t usually believe in prayer, but I’m praying for this one.
Hedda, I know that our work is important. But you have to be realistic- the world could end. It could end via Kaiju without you having ever watched Godzilla and I’m sorry, in my mind that’s just a travesty.
I’m familiar with Lightcap- we’ve corresponded about neuroscience together way back. She was working on this program where pilots could control planes using only their minds. Fascinating stuff. If I remember correctly though, she got really sick and had to stop working on that for a while. It was a sad time to be a neuroscientist for sure, because she was brilliant and headed for the top. It’s awesome that she climbed the ladder again- I’m rooting for her.
I don’t know who that other guy is; hope he’s as good at his work as Caitlin is. I would have faith in her leading the project by herself, so if she has a partner then he must have some sort of expertise that she doesn’t have. Or maybe she just likes having support- it’s hard to work alone.
I’ve heard about Pentecost! He had a sister that helped take down Trespasser. I have a coworker who knew her and said she was a wonderful young woman. If he’s anything like his late sister, the PPDC is in good hands.
Ooh, estranged family? That’s rough. I don’t have a great relationship with my dad either, if it’s any consolation. Neither of my parents were married to each other when they decided to do the horizontal tango and have a surprise baby. Two years after I was born, dad went back to his wife and started to conduct the Berliner Philharmoniker, saying that he didn’t have time for a kid, and that having one out of wedlock made him look bad.
I turned out to be a girl genius anyway, so who’s looking bad now, Jacob Geiszler?
Anyway, it’s good that he’s talented at his job, even if he’s a jerk.
I sure hope that poor health doesn’t restrict either of us from enlisting for the science division, because I have some crazy to go along with this brilliance that would normally restrict me from going into any other kind of military anything. I hadn’t considered that this might count as a military thing- hope I don’t have to falsify any records to get into the VIP poking at dead Kaiju club. I suppose we’ll see what happens when recruiting starts.
Keep a close eye on your mailbox. I am so close to getting our data. We’re gonna show em how it’s done very, very soon.
-I hope it's not too apparent that my knowledge of German is courtesy of Google Translate and Yahoo Answers. I tried to use it sparingly to save myself embarrassment.
-"hope is the thing with feathers. . ." is from an Emily Dickinson poem. I am pretty sure Dickinson never intended for her poetry to be used passive-aggressively, but Hedda is very special and is doing it anyway.
-Spring Awakening is a very. . .special musical about teenagers being ignorant about sex in Victorian Germany. The music is heavily rock influenced and extremely sexual. Newt saw it on Broadway in New York when she was 19 and she thought it was the bees knees. The song she is quoting is called "The Bitch of Living."
Chapter 3: February 2015 - May 2015
Hi everyone! Back from the dead. Just a couple things - for various reasons I don't think I will be continuing this story. It was more an exercise of form and style and character rather than anything that had a really solid plot, so it was very dense and a bit meandering. However, I have a crapload of stuff in my folders that I think is kind of neat and that I wanted to share with everyone regardless. Because it's mostly an exercise in style, I don't think anything will be too confusing to follow. I hope you all enjoy everything that is left of this story!
AP News: February 2015
Protests turned to riots on the steps of the California senate yesterday as officials passed a bill to rebuild low income government subsidized housing along the coast. The bill had been debated for three days, during which time thousands of protesters had surrounded the building. Many of these protesters were displaced by Trespasser’s attack in August 2013.
Said California native Darryl Williams, “I can’t afford to live in California, and I can’t afford to leave. I’ve been living inland with my aunt since my home was destroyed. I lost everything I owned in the attack, including my job. Putting the only housing that I can afford in a place that they know could kill me- it’s not right.”
Protests were peaceful until the bill was passed, at which point an unknown person threw a molotov cocktail through the window of the building. This quickly grew into riots and hysteria, which the short staffed police were unable to contain. Rioting continued for six hours before crowds began to settle.
Several suspects are currently in custody for inciting the riot.
April 20, 2015
Email to: email@example.com
Subject: Kaiju Attack
I normally wouldn’t email, but this is an emergency. I have alerted the World Health Organization, and now I’m telling you. A Kaiju is going to attack somewhere within the next four days. I am hoping that it does not hit California. There is so much that is uncertain. I wish that the numbers could tell me more. You need to leave Pasadena now, and stay out of harm’s way until the Kaiju is dead.
Brawler Yukon will be deployed. I have faith that it will be successful. They will be shuttling biologists to ground-K as soon as the Kaiju has been killed. There will be no nuclear assault this time, so there will be no waiting for radiation cleanup. You should pack as much as you can when you leave California. Knowing you, you’ll want to be first in line to poke at the most undisturbed, fresh Kaiju to date. There’s no telling what research on a newly dead Kaiju will entail. You might not go home for a long time.
Be safe. Try to not let your obsession get you killed and/or eaten. Write when you can.
April 24, 2015
New York Times
Vancouver Kaiju Destroyed by Jaeger
In a stunning turn of events, an enormous robot destroyed the Kaiju that attacked Vancouver yesterday. Said robot, called a Jaeger, was part of the defense program proposed to the UN several months ago. The project had been shrouded in secrecy until yesterday, when the Jaeger was deployed for the first time.
The pilots, Dr. Caitlin Lightcap and Dr. Jasper Schoenberg, also developed the technology that allowed them to control the Jaeger. Both are veteran neuroscientists who had previously worked on remote mechanical control of objects using the power of thought alone.
According to Lightcap, “Our pons system controls the robot via our nervous system, while our Drift technology allows us to share the neural load. Essentially, when controlling something as large as a Jaeger, two heads are better than one.”
Such technology sounds within the realm of science fiction. According to Schoenfield, the association isn’t far off.
“I got the idea for the Jaeger program by watching my son play with his toy robots. Sometimes thinking outside of the box turns stuff of the imagination into reality.”
According to the World Health Organization, the use of the Jaeger for defense has ensured the lowest mortality count of any Kaiju attack thus far. The use of a predicative model for discovering an approximate date for the attack also helped to evacuate much of the city several days previous. The woman who developed this model, Dr. Hedda Gottlieb, also wrote code for the Jaeger program.
However, not all the news in Vancouver is good. According to search and rescue teams, at least 2000 people are dead and many more are injured. The destruction has mainly impacted poor communities who were unable to get out of the city in time.
[cont on page A6]
April 23, 2015- April 30, 2015
The Kaiju attacked Vancouver. Look to the news for when it will be taken down. Don’t travel until it is dead. Please.
I’m watching Brawler Yukon fight on a television screen thousands of miles away. It’s almost surreal. Several months ago I thought this moment would never come.
Seeing it on a screen makes it all seem smaller than it really is. Is that how it feels for you too?
Karloff is dead. Still haven’t heard back from you. I hope you’re alright. I hope you only left for Vancouver today. From what I’ve seen on the news, it’s a terrible mess.
Reporters are banging on my door trying to get me to answer questions. I wish they would go away. This is what I get for trying to save the world: distraction from doing more to save it.
I saw you on the news today. I’ve been watching it obsessively while avoiding being a part of it like the plague. I was glad to know you were safe (relatively.)
You got new hairstyle since the last picture you sent of yourself. The reporter was in an expensive suit, pursing her lips as she talked to a scientist wearing a band tee shirt and jeans with blue asymmetrical hair. I won’t lie- it gave me my first laugh in a week. Was that really necessary, Nadja?
I can’t work. Every time I go outside people want something. I have thirty missed calls. You’d think people would have better things to do.
How is your work going? Is it everything you dreamed of? What are you learning? More than me at the moment, surely.
Now that the search and rescue teams are coming in, I’m finding it alarming as to how many people represent “little” collateral damage. 2000 people dead- it seems so many, and yet the news makes it sound like it’s so few. How does it feel from where you are on the ground?
Drs. Lightcap and Schoenfield are going on a press tour. My father is going with them. I am not going: they’ll want me to show up in a dress every day and talk about my work to world leaders as if it is a product. If I wanted to sell something, I would have studied business.
I long to get my hands on radioactivity data from the Kaiju but I know it will be a long while before the samples are decontaminated enough to be tested. My numbers are stuck. My machines are a commodity.
I’m not a wreck- I have never been a wreck a day in my life. The world around us is broken and it’s challenging to have to wait for it to become orderly again.
I have filled three books of Sudoku puzzles.
What is it like where you are? How does it feel to put the world back in order?
I saw your team in the newspaper today. Forty of you crowded in a dim little room. You were standing in the front because of your height. Everyone looked exhausted and very serious.
Have you been sleeping? Can you?
When I close my eyes, I see ash, I hear: “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”
May 1, 2015
Sorry for the gap in correspondence. I did receive your emails, though I haven’t read most of them. There’s been no time. It’s just been. . .crazy since we last talked. A complete understatement, I know.
Good work on predicting that Kaiju, by the way. When all the excitement dies down, you’ll be heading up that department for sure.
I am currently in Vancouver. I’ve been here since April 24, along with a handful of other scientists referred to by higher ups as Cryptozoologists. I kind of like it- makes me feel like I’m working with the Loch Ness Monster. There’s not too many laughs to be found right now, so I’ll take what I can get.
I waited until you gave the safety signal. Thanks for your concern. But I hope that you know that I am very aware of what I signed up for when I started studying the Kaiju. It’s my job to run towards danger and destruction. I will do that until either the Kaiju are gone forever or until studying them has killed me. Rock stars die young or fade into obscurity. You know,
“. . .way out in Seattle, young Kurt Cobain snuck out to the greenhouse, put a bullet in his brain . . . some things you’ll do for money and some you’ll do for fun but the things you do for love are going to come back to you one by one. . .”
There is a profound ambivalence among the scientists (myself included) about all of the work we are doing.
Up close, Karloff is beautiful and terrifying.
Vancouver is deserted, save for the scientists and cleanup crew. Cars left in the streets are crushed flat. Debris is everywhere. Buildings have the tops ripped off of them, surrounding the empty foundations with shards of glass and rubble.
There is a search and rescue team, and sometimes they find people who are dead and unrecognizable.
My research has been working on preservation of whatever body parts have not yet decayed. I spend my days clad in a hazmat suit and surrounded by ethereal blue gas- Kaiju blue. Some of the body parts still glow, bioluminescent for reasons we don’t yet understand. I had never seen still glowing samples before. I had never seen the way their blood shimmers when it’s fresh.
The first day I was here, I didn’t sleep for 36 hours. I feel lit up, like a cigarette. My brain is amped on acrid smoke, man. Not. . .literally. The only smoke I’ve been around lately is Kaiju blue and as I’ve said I’m (mostly) protected against that.
I got a tattoo yesterday of Karloff on my upper arm. Drove an hour up north to Abbortsford to get it. I think if I hadn’t promised her a good amount of money, the tattoo artist would have screwed it up on purpose. The UN is funding me now, though, and they’re paying me well to slowly kill myself with noxious gas. Might as well spend the money on something wild, in case none of us live long.
I know the tattoo might make people mad, and that people might think I’m getting it to, I don’t know, piss off authority or something. But I don’t know- when I saw it completed, I felt like I had won somehow. Like if I reduced Karloff to something I wore on my skin, I could show that the only marks he left were the ones that I chose to wear.
Or maybe I’d rather my fascination with the Kaiju seem trivial rather than the more morbid truth.
I hear the non-cryptozoologists talking about us sometimes. They call us “Kaiju groupies” behind our backs. The end of the world has made everyone aware of the inherent morbidity in being a biologist. Before K-day you never heard anything like that about, say, microbiologists who study Ebola. They’re just as bad as we are. We’re all the same, in our slightly horrifying glee.
Bad is relative, anyway. It shows bias, a thing that should inherently be absent from science. If interest in the monsters is useful, moral relativity shouldn’t matter.
That’s what I would tell myself to get some sleep at night, if I was still making an effort to sleep
I have to go. There’s very little time to write at the moment. My sample has finished incubating. Sorry that there’s no data in this letter. Nothing is complete yet. Next time.
May 10, 2015
1. Kaiju blood spatter on a dark brick wall. It’s dry, but still has an opalescent sheen.
Caption: 5/2/15 It’s slowly eating away at the wall and can’t be removed. I’ve named it Rebecca, because it’s ruining everyone’s day despite being dead.
2. A destroyed Vancouver apartment complex. All of the windows are blown out. Broken furniture is in the street. The top floor has been lopped off. Many walls are smashed in. The building is leaking rainwater.
Caption: 5/3/15 A block from our makeshift research facility.
3. An enormous, cleaned Kaiju skull under a bright light.
Caption: 5/4/15 Unbelievable. Only two weeks since the hunt and we’ve already eaten the entire Kaiju.
4. A blurry picture of Newt and another female scientist sitting at a booth inside a bar. Newt’s friend is staring into her colorful drink as if she is having an existential crisis. Newt’s short hair is disheveled and her makeup is smudged. There are two empty drinks in front of her. She is looking right into the camera and smiling manically.
Caption: 5/5/15 WE FOUND BOOZE
5. Newt’s arm with the sleeve rolled up. Karloff’s body, painted as if he is a Chinese dragon, takes up a large portion of her upper arm. The tattoo is raised, as though it is still fresh, but there is no inflammation or blood.
Caption: 5/6/15 Finally healed! Looking pretty rad if I do say so myself.
6. An orange hazmat suit hung up on a wall. CZO-37 is written on the chest.
Caption: 5/7/15 Stylish new work attire. They’ve given us ID numbers to take inventory in case one of us gets dissolved by acid and someone forgets to report it.
7. The inside of a dark studio apartment. There’s a computer on the coffee table, a blanket on the couch, and two full laundry baskets next to the bed. The bed looks like it has never been unmade, and the only dishes in the kitchenette sink are empty coffee cups.
Caption: 5/8/15 Home sweet home.
8. A torn scrap of notebook paper on a night stand. Written in pen: “I’ll call.”
Caption: 5/9/15 She won’t, but I didn’t expect her to.
9. A newspaper clipping of a picture of ten people in lab coats. They are standing outside in front of Karloff’s ribcage. Everyone in the picture looks solemn, including Newt herself.
Chapter 4: March 2016 - July 2016
March 3, 2016
1. Newt is wearing a blue military uniform. Her hair is a natural color, and has been cut symmetrically. All of her piercings have been removed. She is affecting a serious expression, but the excitement in her eyes betrays her.
April 23, 2016 (A year after the last Kaiju attack)
- Newt is topless in a dim room. She is facing away from the camera with her head tilted down. Her arms are folded over her chest. This gives open exposure to her back, which displays an enormous, colorful Kaiju tattoo. Scissure’s furious face sits between her exposed shoulder blades with its body extending halfway down her torso.
2. This time her arms are outstretched with her head tilted back. The monster’s face crinkles between her shoulders. This position exposes translucent green Kaiju wings that extend from her shoulder blades down to the tips of her elbows.
I have received some photographs by post in which a young, topless woman posed in front of a vintage camera in order to memorialize her tattoos. Though I am sure you have absolutely no relation to these entirely unprofessional images, I decided to inform you of them anyway so that we could have a dialogue regarding appropriate work behaviors.
However visually striking, emotional, or intricate such body art may be, I think we can both agree that sending nude photographs is unwise. Leakage or loss of said photographs could be very damaging towards a woman, particularly if they are beautiful as these most certainly are. This could possibly ruin her reputation for years, if not forever.
Dr. Hedda Gottlieb
Subject: Re: Tattoos
What an interesting thing to accidentally receive. She sounds like a fascinating young woman with excellent taste in body art. Speaking of-while I understand your concerns regarding the nudity, I must suggest that you look past it in favor of appreciating artistic merit. From your description I think it is clear that this woman views her body as a canvas, and thus these photographs must be evaluated outside of mere titillation.
As attractive as her nude form may possibly be, I believe you may be missing the forest for the trees. Perhaps use this as an opportunity to address what desire, both sexual and asexual, means to you. Really look at the pictures for a very, very long time.
Consider this, Dr. Gottlieb: one person’s pornography is another’s masterpiece.
Subject: Re: Tattoos
Are you suggesting that hypothetically were this young woman to belong to some sort of mail-screening organization, her semi-nude would have got through based on artistic merit?
If so, I would be very impressed by her skills of argumentation and slightly discouraged that she did not use that time and energy towards more useful ends.
Subject: Re: Tattoos
The esteemed Dr. Gottlieb,
I’m not saying that that speculation is very far off of something that could have actually happened. You would be right to be impressed, for the most part. However, consider that such organizations often skew male, and thus could positively influence the decision to allow the photographs through screening. This distasteful idea should be pondered while imagining this hypothetical mail screening.
Additionally, I believe that this energy hypothetically was put towards very useful ends. You yourself complimented the aesthetics of the photographs. You also got an opportunity to address deep-set notions of desire, nudity, and female self-expression. Plus you got a taste of male-female dynamics in a male saturated workforce. The idea that this effort was wasted could not be further from the truth.
Subject: Re: Tattoos
You are the most insufferable, implacable woman I have ever met.
I am, as ever, yours,
May 16, 2016
AP News in Brief
Kaiju “Onibaba” Attacks Tokyo
Tokyo (AP) The Kaiju “Onibaba” attacked Tokyo yesterday, leaving millions dead in its wake and thousands of others injured or without homes. The Jaeger, Coyote Tango, piloted by Tamsin Sevier and Stacker Pentecost, struggled to contain the Kaiju. Coyote Tango’s head was damaged in the battle, triggering a seizure and loss of consciousness in Sevier.
According to LOCCENT mission control, Pentecost continued fighting Onibaba on his own for three hours after Sevier was indisposed. Due to his subsequent critical health, Pentecost could not be reached for comment.
May 20, 2016
A FUCKING CRAB
Oh man, it’s chaotic here right now. K-science doesn’t even know what to do. The press is at our door for not predicting this thing, like we could have, like that’s even our job. Meanwhile the Kaiju corpse is fucking everyone over in Tokyo by looking exactly nothing like anything we’ve ever seen. The Cryptozoology department is just sitting on edge, waiting for the Kaiju to come to us. According to the PPDC, we are too valuable to be slumming it in the streets anymore with a Kaiju corpse. Bureaucracy, man. Ruining everyone’s day since FOREVER.
I need to get my hands on that Kaiju and I can’t. It’s literally rotting in the streets, killing our bio-harvesters and hazmat officers. Half of the bio-harvesters are just English majors with nowhere to go who got trained on protocol that is, apparently, no longer useful. We can’t take the Kaiju off of Tokyo’s hands because even we don’t know detoxifying protocol we can give them against this brand new thing. So the hazmat officers have all this extra blood and toxic junk lying around that they can’t get rid of. It’s a mess, it’s a fucking mess. I’ll be honest, I don’t know if I could figure out how to detoxify it and get it here either if I was there. But if I couldn’t, then no one could.
I’m just hoping that by the time we get it, it won’t be so rotted through that we can’t get any data from it. Apparently it’s leaking everywhere out of the cracks in its shell. Open circulatory system- a bitch on a Kaiju. I heard you can barely see many of the streets in Tokyo because they’re entirely shrouded in blue gas.
What I wouldn’t give to triage that corpse, man. What I wouldn’t give to not have my hands tied. Our whole lab is sitting next to a constant video and radio feed to the hazmat officers and bio-harvesters. Every few minutes: “What do you see? What do you know?”
Some of the scientists have broken down in tears. One of our scientists from Tokyo hasn’t left her room in five days. I wonder if she has a home anymore.
I’ve been spending my days interpreting rough data and advising the hazmat officers and bio-harvesters over the radio. Trying to adapt what we know. People have started calling me the graveyard shift Kaiju groupie, because I’m here latest at night and earliest in the morning. I would be lying if I said I didn’t sleep in the lab a few times.
Hedda, we know so little. We don’t even know how related these things are. I’m trying to watch what footage was taken of this battle over and over to determine morphology and battle tactics. The PPDC wants me to determine what went wrong and why. I’m writing a report full of gaps.
Your predictions are getting closer to the date and time. That’s awesome, and a high five to you, good work. But man I can’t handle working on predictions alone. It’s driving me insane. How do you do it? How are you ok with not knowing?
I don’t have any data for you this time (obviously). When I have some, you’ll know. Send me a simplified account of your progress when you can
One year since the last Kaiju. So much can change in a year. You think you know everything, that you’re invincible. And then you realize the arrogance of assumption.
May 30, 2016
Journal entry of Newt Geiszler
I dreamed last night that I was in Tokyo. Onibaba was standing several inches away from me. The destroyed city was empty save for the two of us. Everything was still; even the flashing lights on billboards had gone out. The only sounds were the reflexive clicks of Onibaba’s joints and claws.
He leaned down until we were face to face. Our eyes met- four on two. We breathed at the same pace; I could see the gas exchange in my mind, run the numbers of niche competition. I was going to lose.
Onibaba just stared, not blinking any of his four eyes. My lungs choked on the lack of oxygen. Plants grew happily around me, grateful for the excess of carbon dioxide. They snaked up my legs, rooting me to the spot as if I was one of them. I didn’t struggle against their tendrils.
This is how I chose to die.
I placed my hand on Onibaba’s face. I could feel the pulse, reverberating like an echo of an electric guitar. He started to secrete toxins. My skin blistered but I didn’t take my hand away. I just burned and burned until it faded to black.
I don’t have much time to write. I just needed to get this out. It’s been eating me all day.
June 1, 2016
1. Daybreak is occurring on the other side of a window. The snowy ground reflects the sun, glistening in the early light. Two barren trees are the only sign of life. A piece of newspaper has floated onto the grounds, and has become saturated with water; there is no other scenery.
Caption: “I thought it was a bird but it was just a paper bag.”- Fiona Apple
Comparative Anatomy and Physiology in Tokyo Kaiju
by Dr. Nadja Geiszler, PhD
Abstract: The recent Kaiju attack in Tokyo and subsequent morphological studies recommend a different approach in Kaiju defense moving forward. Comparative Kaiju anatomy will be addressed as well as suggestions towards arming Jaegers and their pilots differently to ensure readiness should Kaiju continue to be variable in their form and function.
Context: The 2016 Kaiju attack on Tokyo, Japan was one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history. More than 1 million people died1, at least 500,000 others were injured2, 2 million were displaced1, and many others are still suffering long term health conditions and other aftereffects of the attack2. Thought the mortality count was not as great as the attack that led to nuclear bomb deployment in Sydney in 20153, the attack was nevertheless devastating.
To analyze why Jaeger deployment worked well in Vancouver and only marginally better than a nuclear bomb in Tokyo, morphological differences in Onibaba, structural and functional aspects of the Jaegers, and training of the pilots need to be discussed.
Other papers have addressed current training protocol and engineering since the attack45678. The purpose of this analysis of Onibaba’s morphology is to enlighten and inform those more educated in engineering and military training than myself.
Overview: This look at comparative anatomy and physiology is not comprehensive. Based upon the data that we currently have, that is impossible. Rather, this is intended to be a big picture look at what had been seen prior to Tokyo, and what might be seen after.
Classification: Onibaba shares many base characteristic with other Kaiju. Both are silicate, multicellular, and ingestive. Both are, essentially, animal analogs. DNA data suggests homology, i.e. it is likely that Onibaba and the other Kaiju share some sort of common ancestor. However, this is where many of the similarities cease. Onibaba is clearly of a different phylum of Kaiju. A reasonable suggestion would be to put them in an arthropod-like category. This is supported by DNA analysis. Any common ancestor Onibaba has with other Kaiju is distant.
Prior to Onibaba, all known Kaiju were bilateral, chordate, and analogs of some mixture of amphibian and reptile. Onibaba is bilateral and able to survive on both land and water, but is not a reptilian-amphibious analog. Rather, Onibaba is an invertebrate Kaiju, the implications of which are enormous.
Integumentary/Skeletal System: The closest animal comparison we have to Onibaba is a crustacean. Onibaba has no internal skeleton, rather it has a tough exoskeleton. The exoskeleton is silicate, similar to the internal skeleton of other Kaiju. There is a layer of tissue that secretes this thick exoskeleton beneath it, which is highly toxic. Much of the preservation work in May 2016 was in combating explosive aerobic reactions with this labile tissue.
Circulatory System: Onibaba’s circulatory system is open, a fact that has major public heath significance. Tokyo cleanup efforts were complicated by the massive amount of blood that leaked out of the Kaiju. The Jaeger’s fatal blow not only punctured the heart, but also punctured the blood sinuses; essentially Onibaba rapidly bled to death. While this made the attack cease on one front, it was only the beginning of the attack on another. To this date, much of Tokyo is uninhabitable due to Kaiju blue and assorted other forms of toxic leakage specific to Onibaba.
Immune system: Though K- science had previously endorsed development of biological warfare, we now rescind our statement. Biological warfare against the Kaiju is no longer recommended as we are certain that there is no one disease or toxin that can cover such a broad spectrum of organisms.
[cont. on page 2]
July 6, 2016
1. Newt is standing against a grey wall. Her shirt has been removed, and her head is titled back. Her palms are pressed against her breasts with her elbows pointed away from her body. Onibaba’s eyes, two on each side of Newt’s belly button, glare back at the camera. The Kaiju’s claws open around her breasts.
Caption: What do you think about the artistic merit of this one? The mailroom boys really liked its aesthetics.
July 12, 2016
Subject: Really now
I really don’t understand why you insist on continuing to ask me questions about the artistic merit of a complete stranger’s tattoos. I have a degree in computer and electrical engineering, and I am not qualified to objectively criticize body art. Perhaps if you sent me fractals or tessellations instead, I might be of more use.
As it stands, I can only give the subjective opinion that the art is beautiful. The likeness to the Kaiju is uncanny.
I might also make a note that should this young woman get body art covering the rest of her breasts, it would be unwise for her to send photographs of them through the mail. I am a prestigious researcher for a government institution, and even I have a hard time looking at nudity and determining whether it its intended purpose is aesthetic or erotic. This is almost certain to happen with those of lesser prestige and education than me.
Dr. Hedda Gottlieb