The Phoenix was not alone as she stirred from her icy prison that Autumn day in 2012. No, other beasts of myth awoke as well, just as the prophesies had foretold they would.
The nuclear waste from Fukushima released by the earthquake and tsunami the previous year didn’t come into contact with the Kraken’s body at all; those giants of myth were long gone. What wasn’t gone were the eggs of her descendants, billions of them. The effects as the contamination moved through the sea weren’t felt until much later, around the same time Phoenix rose again.
The time had come. The giant cephalopods were back, millions of them, with hundreds of millions of genetic mutations at work. Some perished, immediately, unfit. Others held new traits, rapid growth only one of many. They were far less susceptible to the predators of youth that their ancestors had suffered.
Past predators became prey.
Others formed new associations with other highly modified sea species. The radiation that continued to leak into the sea, for years, affected everything it touched, every alga and bacterium, every organism that fed upon them. Super symbioses evolved very quickly. Life in the sea evolved quickly, or perished.
Kraken was among the most intelligent of all invertebrates. Some individuals of the new wave were among the most intelligent of all animals. They chose their endosymbiotic compatriots wisely. Kraken could sense what Sea needed, what was asked of it. Sea and Kraken knew each others’ language well.
But not all of those affected by the radiation were as wise as Kraken.
Gojira stirred. The radiation didn't make its way to the sleeping giant's body, or at least not enough of it did, for quite some time. There was a bioaccumulatory affect, the microsymbionts of his mucous membranes, those of his nares and anus, the region around his mouth, there at the opening of the cloaca, over time, the microorganisms brought the radioactive stuff into his system, doing what needed to be done there to bring his underwater brumation to an end. Not until over a year later, concurrent with the rise of the Phoenix far to the north, the Kraken nearby.
But bring it to an end it did. The time had come.
Indeed, Gojira had slept for just as long as Phoenix. When the dark times came, the survival strategy of his kind, the one that had saved him, had been different. Many reptilians were poikilotherms, animals that could take refuge in times of environmental stress, enter a state of metabolic sleep so near death, it had no real time limitation. Not if conditions were just right, cold enough, the transition gradual enough, they could readily sleep through difficult times. It was necessary to ease into it, and they did, each year, those who lived in temperate regions. At evolutionary scales, they’d slept through the ups and downs of Gaia’s climatic and geologic shifts many times.
But the dark times had been different, they came on suddenly, a flash from the sky, changes so fast and so dire, Gojira had been lucky to enter brumation at all. One moment he was walking along the narrow land bridge between two continents, that which existed between the two Americas sixty five million years ago, the next he was swept off into an icy current by the tsunami that came and went when the meteor hit offshore, to the north. The icy current sent his body into hibernation gradually before he sunk to the cold, dark abyss.
It seemed Gojira was a creature of tsunamis. The first preserved his life by sending him to the icy depths. The second woke him from his slumber.
The atomic wastes acted on Gojira in much the same way the sun's rays would have on the surface when the seasons changed and it was time to come out of brumation. Oxidation reactions. For him, metabolically, a series of chemical signaling pathways were set into motion, systems switched on, enzyme activity got underway. The slightly altered pathway, that involving atomic energy, was unique.
He opened his reptilian eyes, slowly.
Oxygen content in this environment was very low. The lizard brain registered and interpreted sensory input. Waking would remain slow until more oxygen was available. His body was wedged deep below the sea off the coast of Lima, deep in the rocks of the Atacama Trench. He could sense that he was trapped there, stuck.
But not too badly stuck, he had some freedom of movement in his big tail, one leg. He had a lot of power there, at least he would, and as his bodily systems came on line, his awareness and thought processes gained momentum, no matter how sluggish they might be relative to that of the Phoenix.
He knew the Phoenix, or at least her kind. He had nothing to fear from her, even if some of his smaller cousins did. Some of his smaller cousins had reason to fear him, too. Like the Phoenix, he was a top carnivore. He’d taken the young of the winged ones a time or two. The adults were a bit more than he cared to deal with.
His thoughts were simpler, different in ways, the same in many others. Lizard brain.
That way. Up.
He moved his tail. Bits of tectonic plate crumbled and dropped into the trench. Again. More fell away. Again. The movement warmed him, his leg joining in, a weak kick. Another, and the solid world fell from under him and he was afloat in the sea.
That way. Up.
His tail moved clumsily, not with the crocodilian grace some of his kind had, but it was adequate, enough to move him in the water. His body started breaking down stored energy reserves quickly, positive feedback kicking in as he warmed with the entropic heat production, his reptilian scales the perfect wetsuit.
His legs joined in the push upward, big, clumsy legs, legs built for a powerhouse on land, a runner, not much good in deep water, but used nonetheless. Oxygen content rose steadily as he did, but lacking the gills of the fishes, he could not take it in, nor through his skin like the amphibians, he had to breathe air. As he rose, the water pressure on his chest decreased, and his need for it grew.
As his massive head broke the surface of the water, his toothy jaws fell open and warm tropical air rushed into his lungs, leaving the last vestiges of his brumation to history. He floated as his lungs filled. He breathed. He sensed land, eastward. He swam.
Gojira, too, had awoken.