Monsterpocalypse Monday #4

Living With the Monsterpocalypse


John Pressman, Big World News Network

Living With the Monsterpocalypse is an ongoing segment that shines a light on events leading up to and following the arrival of the Planet Eaters and subsequent invaders of Earth. Each installment sheds new light on the early days of this unfolding war against the monsters, with exclusive information obtained from the men and women who were there in the first days of the Monsterpocalypse.

As a number of Planet Eaters moved on the population center of Paris, a battle-damaged Sky Sentinel and an as-yet untested Defender X moved to respond, piloted by a young hotshot captain named Pierce Valera. French G.U.A.R.D. troops had already secured much of the downtown area, and the civilian population waited for an all-clear signal while waiting in security shelters constructed in the Paris underground.

Long before reaching the city, the G.U.A.R.D. pilots saw the paths of destruction leading to the city. A deforested swathe of the countryside stretched from the Rhine in the east, while the second Planet Eaters group approached from its most recent attack on Madrid.

Upon touchdown, Defender X took point to protect the city, allowing the damaged Sky Sentinel to hold back as a reinforcement. What followed was a prolonged conflict between the human forces and the destructive invaders. While Defender X surpassed expectations in both maneuverability and combat, the ferocity of the Planet Eaters’ attack was unexpected. In time, both Defender X and Sky Sentinel would be encircled by smaller creatures, pummeled by explodohawk detonations, and unable to coordinate their attacks.

Meanwhile, the two Planet Eater groups combined their assault, focusing attention on the wounded Sky Sentinel. Despite pilot Manson’s experience fighting against these creatures, the joint assault simply overwhelmed his ability to respond. He described the attack: “It was clear the PEs were learning. I tried to pull the same rope-a-dope on Gorghadra that had gotten me clear of fighting back in Istanbul, but the big bastard ducked under my swing at the last second. I was off-balance, and that’s when the other one body-slammed me through the Louvre.”

Fearing the same outcome that destroyed Laser Knight, Defender X insisted Sky Sentinel fall back from the city. While no doubt a difficult call, it is one that makes sense upon reflection. After all, no pilot in G.U.A.R.D. had experience as broad as Manson’s in fighting the Planet Eaters, and the AI core of Sky Sentinel had amassed a database of offensive and defensive strategies for combating them. Knowing that his own fate was uncertain, Captain Pierce Valera plunged Defender X headlong into battle while Sky Sentinel fell back to safety.

The world held its breath that day. Defender X looked certain to be destroyed in its first official deployment, as machine and pilot bravely fought against overwhelming alien strength. All the newly developed weapons systems were put through the wringer against the Planet Eater defenses.

Captain Valera later described the battle as “an hour-long wrestling match where the ring was filled with priceless historical buildings.” Defender X was able to fight the monsters solo but was making no progress in driving either group back. “I was locking horns with them, trying to buy Sky Sentinel enough time to get to a repair bay. I figured if he could get back in the fight, we’d knock the Planet Eaters all the way back to the Teutoburg Forest. That’s not what went down, though.”

Valera reported a sensor anomaly four hours after first contact with the Planet Eaters in Paris. A significant group of high-technology vehicles and giant figures appeared over the Champs Elysees following a powerful EM burst, knocking out communication between G.U.A.R.D. forces and press agents on the scene. The Defender X captain described the arrival of these strange figures as “The damndest thing. One moment I have a Planet Eater in a headlock, punching where its kidneys ought to be, and the next I’m suplexed through an apartment building by the other one. Then a 60-meter giant splashes up out of the Seine. Didn’t know what I was facing and thought my ticket was about to get punched for sure. I had Big D scorch the new guy with a triple-power burst from the head-mounted lasers. New guy responded by punting me down the Parisian Main Street about a hundred meters.”

Despite this initial hostility, the giant figure joined battle against the Planet Eaters. Along with the support of swift hover vehicles and smaller—but still enormous—humanoid figures, the attention of the invaders became split between G.U.A.R.D. forces and these new arrivals. Within an hour of their appearance, these strange newcomers helped Defender X force back the Planet Eaters. Then the newcomers vanished with the same lack of ceremony or warning with which they had arrived.

Strangely, they seemed unconcerned about protecting the heritage sites of Paris. Instead, they focused their attention on defending multiple corporate French holdings of an overseas company based out of Tokyo.

Discovering the reasons behind this would take many months and diving deep into the quasi-legal dealings of an advanced arms manufacturer and corporate powerhouse. Controlling hundreds of shell companies, employing millions, and commanding trillions of dollars of value, this group has passed without notice for generations. It claims many names, but only one of these accurately describes a group so committed to keeping its secrets.

The Shadow Sun Syndicate.

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