Threats to the world are not always easy to see.
—The Great Sage, Stoicheia.
Midnight, Central Brandt Gate, report from the undersea watch tower.
Anomalous vibrations detected on the sea floor. Checking for possibility of tectonic and volcanic activity.
Midnight, Satellite in orbit around Planet Cray, report from the Meteorological Satellite Remote Sensing Group.
Anomalous gravity wave activity detected in the sea near the central Brandt Gate area.
Epicenter confirmed to be moving slightly.
Note: this area of the sea was once known as Gate 17.
Midnight, Central Brandt Gate coast, report from an unmanned patrol aircraft.
Object moving underwater, heading for the coast of the mainland. Non-Planet Cray Biological Reaction Positive. Confirmation in progress.
Object’s silhouette, very large. No match to any biological entity or ship design in the database.
Warning Level 3. Requesting immediate dispatch of patrol boats.
Midnight, Central Brandt Gate Coast, report from the coast guard.
“It’s surfacing! It’s huge! (Explosion)… Our equipment (noise) useless. Retreat! Reinforcements (noise) now… (Communication cuts out)”
Early morning, Brandt Gate, emergency response meeting of the West Dome Defense Agency.
The West Dome Defense Minister’s face was pale.
“From Gate 17. It is thought to have emerged from an ancient space gate that was sealed off long ago.”
The West Dome Admiral’s answer was clear.
“A mutant? I’ve never heard of one this big. How long has it been since we saw one?”
The General’s surprise and resulting question were well justified.
“We’re checking the records now, but it can’t have been for at least a few centuries. Perhaps even millennia…”
“Don’t be stupid! We’re not talking about archeology here, this is a real threat, happening right now!”
The Air Marshall seemed incensed by the report from the Scientific Directorate.
It was at this point that the Chief of the Brandt Gate Space Force, who had been rushed down from his posting on the orbital station as an expert on anti-invasion operations once news of the mutant’s appearance had spread, spoke in a haughty tone.
“The Space Force is no stranger to situations such as these. Attempted alien invasions are practically a daily occurrence. All we need to know is if you want us to handle it, or whether we will be sending in the Cosmo Security.”
“First, we must calm down.”
The man who bowed to the Chief seemed ancient. He completed his deep bow then slowly made his way back up.
Who was he? The Chief answered the whispered question that was making its way around the room.
“The elder of a clan who have lived near the pole for longer than we’ve had the written word. I have kept in contact with him ever since he aided in a previous close encounter with an alien race.”
“This is an emergency. I shall explain more later, but for now you can think of me as a ‘mutant master.'”
The old man once again bowed his already lowered head.
“A mutant master?”
The defense minister glared at the old man.
“Yes. Just leave it to me and I shall determine which of the mutants it is and do what is necessary to send him on his way…”
“What is this nonsense!? Even our biggest cannons are useless against something that big! It’s already wiped out a whole battalion and is making its way to the nearest city dome!”
“We could try hitting it with a barrage of cannon fire…”
“No, no, we’re not ready for carpet bombing just yet. Not when we have more powerful weapons at our disposal…”
“You don’t mean…! There’s no way we can use that kind of armament so close to a residential district!”
Just as the chiefs of the army, navy, and air force dismissed the old man, the defense minister finally intervened. The discussion went back and forth, but little progress was made.
“Let’s go. I’ll take you back up to your base.”
“Hmm. Everyone is afraid. It reminds me of another time…”
The head of the Space Force took the old man out of the meeting room, where the tragic reports and angry shouting continued long after they had gone.
Early morning, Brandt Gate, near West Dome.
Boom! Boom Boom!
A huge shadow enveloped the ice fields of Brandt Gate.
The artillery, shaken by the complete ineffectiveness of their weapons, retreated along with the wounded. There were no survivors in the snow they left behind them. The charred wreckage of tanks and aircraft cast dark shadows over the white expanse.
When this mutant detected danger, it would disperse tubules from its skin.
It was unknown what the tubules were made of, but when exposed to the atmosphere of Planet Cray they would burn up and burst upon impact, almost like explosive missiles.
The mutant stopped just in front of Brandt Gate’s City Dome.
It lifted what must have been its head and looked around.
A tune was hidden beneath the gale that blew up a snowstorm.
“Hey! Over here!”
The mutant turned to look in the direction the voice had come from. It seemed to be intelligent enough to know it was spoken to, and to even know what was said. A VTOL aircraft approached at a low altitude.
“Put us down over there.”
“It’s too dangerous.”
“It’s okay. The mutant is just scared after suddenly appearing in this strange new world. The sound of this aircraft would be enough to make it run.”
The old “mutant master” lowered his flute, and then without waiting for a response from the chief jumped out of the aircraft and made his way to the enormous creature.
“Well, quite a mess you’ve made of things, hmm?”
The man approached the mutant he had never seen before and spoke calmly, almost as if chatting to an old friend.
“Let’s give you a name, shall we? How about the Detonation Mutant, Bobalmine?”
The mutant tilted its “head” in confusion.
“The fight is over. Off you go now. Off to somewhere where you won’t hurt anyone else. Off to a land where there isn’t anyone around to harm you.”
One last tubule dropped off Bobalmine, but fell to the snowy ground without exploding.
After confirming that the mutant had changed course away from the city and toward the south pole, the chief of the Space Force issued a command through the West Dome Defense Agency for all forces to stand down.
“Another inhabitant of this planet?”
The chief fought back a yawn as he answered the question.
“Well, it wouldn’t be the first time a visitor from another world has tried to make its way into this world through Brandt Gate.”
“Who was that old man?”
“What is he, really? And how did he manage to draw the mutant away from the city, when all our weapons and technology had no effect? I suppose we shouldn’t look this gift horse in the mouth. He’s done his job, after all.”
The chief pulled back his collar and sat back in his seat of the VTOL aircraft. He allowed himself a barely perceptible smile.
“I’ll let you sleep for now. I’m sure there’ll be more questions when we get back.”
The footprints of the monstrous creature led all the way over the snowy plain into the pole.
<<Notes about Terminology>>
Creatures from outer space and from other planets that harm humankind. They come in all shapes and sizes, from humanoid to animal to completely alien. For the inhabitants of Planet Cray, they are little more than a force of destruction and sap their energy, and so are marginalized.
There are records from ancient times of great creatures known as Galactic Beasts that took all the inhabited worlds working together to defeat.
Supervising Editor: 中村聡