Katsura’s Story

The GNP Presents:

Katsura’s Story

Based on the 1975 film Terror of Mechagodzilla

Original Story by Yukiko Takayama

Adaptation by Daniel DiManna

To all the “cyborgs” out there who dream of love.


These were the first words that flooded my mind. The first feelings I experienced. The first ideas I understood.

These were the only things that mattered.

To be angry. To be afraid. To crave death and destruction. To be controlled. To be in pain. To be alone.

This is what it means to be Katsura Mafune.

These were the only things I understood when I was born.

At least, when I was born the second time.

Most humans are only born once.

But I ceased being human a long time ago.

I remember my life before my rebirth, but only in broad strokes and brief flashes. A walk through a park as a child. Unnamed faces flashing past my vision. The approving smiles of father and mother looking over my shoulder as I…

It was so long ago. Perhaps not so long at all in the grand scheme of things. There are moments where it almost does feel like yesterday, a memory so close that a glance over my shoulder might reveal it in all its glorious recency.

But no.

Those flashes belong to another lifetime.

To another life altogether.

And yet, they lingered.

My clearest memories are of my father, and of the gentle beast he discovered beneath the waves of the Pacific. I remembered his excitement, the exuberance with which he spoke of his find. A “prehistoric titan,” he’d called it. A relic from a bygone era. The discovery of the century.

I remember my young mind racing at the possibilities, my imagination ignited by thoughts of great underwater monsters and secrets of eons past. I was only six years old at the time, and dinosaurs seemed every bit as fantastical – even mythical – as the dragons and ghosts of fairy tales. The idea that one such dragon still lived in our modern world was thrilling, a bit frightening, and utterly fascinating.

But it was also something else.

When thoughts of my father’s dinosaur – Titanosaurus, as he would come to be named – entered my mind, a sense of melancholy seeped through the excitement. According to my father, only one such beast was known to exist. I wondered how long he had lived, and if his existence – solitary and bereft of kinship with his own kind – had stretched through centuries, perhaps millennia.

How lonely he must’ve been. How completely and thoroughly singular his existence was…

I kept these thoughts from my father, secreting them into the back of my mind. He surely wouldn’t have understood. And although I was only partially aware of it, his days were spent both studying his discovery and defending his reputation in the wake of that discovery.

Instead of embracing father as the genius he was, the world reciprocated with disbelief. With ridicule. With emasculating ostracism.

He tried his best to keep it from me. But his eyes never lied. His eyes burned with bitterness, with resentment. They would until his final days.

So much must have happened in the following years. Despite my efforts – my longing – to remember, only fragments and flashes greet my shattered memories of the time after father’s banishment. It was during this time, so I was later told, that my mother left us. She would die in poverty soon after.

On occasion, my mind will attempt to shape the fog of my past into crude shapes, hoping they reflect a truth long stolen from me. I see flashing lights, images of father’s dinosaur, and most vividly, the shadowy presence of black-clad men visiting my home, exchanging vague pleasantries and much-needed cash before slinking away.

Echoes lacking shape. Shapes lacking form. Forms lacking a human mind to interpret them.

Perhaps those memories weren’t worth remembering. Perhaps memory – true memory, naturally formed and fostered by natural life – is the exclusive realm of humanity. Of the soul.

But there’s one thing I do know: I will never forget the day that my humanity – and my soul – were taken from me.

That day exists vividly in my mind, as clear and real and horrible as it was on the day itself. How could it not? With as many times as I’ve been forced to remember, how could I forget even a single detail?

But how I wish I could.

The day plays out like life itself in front of me. I stood in front of father’s control panel, the interface for a device that would allow him to control his mighty beast. Through his groundbreaking creation, I’d been able to direct the movements of Titanosaurus. Control his mind. Compel him to rise, to sink, to think the way I wanted him to.

But there would be no control that day.

I can still feel the power coursing through my body, the electric jolt passing through every cell on its way to my heart. I felt it paralyze me, arc my back with involuntary violence, cook and blacken my insides. It was over in seconds, and the last sound I heard before fading to darkness was a scream erupting from the deepest core of my being.

It should’ve been the end. I should’ve been dead.

I should’ve stayed dead.

But instead, I awoke. My eyes opened to see the faces of strange men staring down at me, their features concealed behind surgical masks. But their eyes…

That was when, on some deep level, I knew. Theirs weren’t the eyes of benevolent saviors. They weren’t looking at a survivor of an accident.

Instead, they looked upon me as a tinkerer looks at his newest invention. As a master looks upon a slave.

As a man looks upon a machine.

They had saved me, yes, but only in the physical sense. They had rebuilt me, bit by bit. Piece by piece. Replacing flesh with rubber, veins with wires, bone with metal.

My heart no longer beat. It ticked. Clicking like a clock, the sound rushing through my ears and driving home the sickening truth that I was, in that moment, no longer entirely human.

But I did not weep, for sadness was a human emotion. I did not panic, for fear was a human reaction.

I could do nothing. And so, I simply was.

Until I was compelled by impulses not my own to think, and to comprehend the words I would come to live by:


This was now what it meant to be Katsura Mafune.

And so it was for many years. How many, I couldn’t hope to recall. I existed in limbo, my existence – such as it was – a mindless blur of serving tea and listening to my father descend into madness. A quiet madness, at first, but eventually, it consumed him. And revenge became his only reason for living.

For years, his research into controlling Titanosaurus was funded by the men from my memories. Shadowy men who always seemed to arrive when money was tight, or when father hit a dead end with his research. Time and time again, they would appear with cash and drinks in hand, plotting with father to achieve the revenge he craved.

So deranged was father’s mind, that he hoped to use Titanosaurus – my gentle, lonely dinosaur – as a tool for destruction. Like so many monsters had done over my lifetime, Titanosaurus would rise from the sea to level cities and end countless lives. He would be counted among the horrible ranks of beasts the likes of Ghidorah, Rodan, Hedorah, Manda… 

All for the sake of revenge. All because, in father’s estimation, mankind deserved to die.

To him, they were nothing but a judgmental, destructive species. The species that had called him a liar and stripped him of his power. The race that had driven him mad, compelled his wife – my mother – to leave him, and refused to even seek him out and acknowledge that now – in a world where the existence of prehistoric monsters was a fact of everyday life – he was owed an apology.

He had every right to be bitter. Perhaps he even had a right to be mad. But using his genius for such corrupt ends… it was too terrible and cruel a fate to contemplate.

How fortunate, then, that contemplating such things was not within my capabilities as a cyborg.

And when emotions like pity, empathy, and anything else that didn’t conform to the plan began to creep into my mind, they were removed. Shocked, stripped, even beaten out of me.

The men with the money – the men who were making father’s mad dream possible, and who had saved my life after my accident – didn’t just stop by our isolated home to drink and plot. They were also watching me. Listening to every word I said, when I was allowed to speak. They were studying me, ready to perform maintenance at the first sign of a fault. Like a mechanic tuning a problematic car to reliable perfection.

They would use strange devices that rendered me incapable of moving, and would whisper reminders into my ear of what I truly was. And when they’d finished, I’d be as obedient and placid as ever. Forever a cyborg. Forever a slave.

I was, of course, also something else: a tool for manipulation. It was surely no coincidence that they’d been the ones to save me from my accident, if it had been an accident at all. They knew father owed them. They knew he was in their debt.

For the longest time, I never knew why. What reason did these men have to want a hold on my father? What did they want from him? Access to his technology, perhaps? Or a slice of whatever cruel request he’d make of the world once he’d subjugated it with his dinosaur lab rat?

I would eventually find the answer to the mystery, and it was both unexpected and yet, somehow, perfectly logical to my cold, inhuman mind.

It was a cold spring night when the men, leading us through the countryside to an unknown location, finally revealed their hand to us. They had never been men at all. They weren’t even from Earth. Their home lay far beyond the stars, on a planet poised on the brink of destruction at the hands of an all-encompassing black hole. They intended to make Earth their new home, and to eradicate humanity before building a new society upon the crumbling ruins of once-grand cities.

They had tried to enact their plan once before. The year prior, they had been responsible for the titanic mechanical monster – the Mechagodzilla – that had laid waste to several cities on mainland Japan and nearly destroyed Okinawa. It had fallen in battle against two prophesied protectors: an ancient guardian roused from its slumber, and humanity’s greatest defender, Godzilla himself.

But the silver-clad creatures from a dying world had not been deterred. They had regrouped, built a new base, and resurrected their metal destructor from the shards of its first incarnation. An unnatural monster reborn of unnatural ashes. A most unholy of second comings.

But they couldn’t do it alone. Perhaps their hubris and prior failure had compelled them seek help, but seek it they did. And my father – a madman who owed them everything – was all too willing to accept their offer.

Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus. One cold and un-living, the other flesh and blood. One calculating and soulless, the other gentle, unique, and lonely.

Even through my clouded mind and compulsion to assist father in his plan, I couldn’t help but see myself in both of them.

My role was, at long last, made clear. I was a tool. The computer that would drive Titanosaurus to wanton murder the same way the aliens’ machines would compel their war machine to do the same. A union of two great beasts, the flagships in a great war that humanity – and Godzilla – couldn’t hope to win.

They, the weapons. And I, their soulless Empress. An empty shell with no heart or mind of her own. A clockwork puppet. A tool. A slave.

What could I ever hope to inspire beyond hatred, death, and destruction? How could something – no longer a someone – as loathsome as I ever dare to want anything more?

And yet, I did.

No matter how often they shocked me, no matter how cold I was, no matter how compelled I was to hate… hope lingered. I lacked the capacity to define it as such, but nevertheless, it existed. It never went away, at least not entirely. But it still provided no comfort. Instead of a bright light in my mind, it instead felt like a dying flame. A speck in a sea of darkness that threatened to crush it out of existence.

A fading hope. Perhaps a lie that my desperate heart clung to as a last-ditch effort to maintain… what? Humanity? A human heart? A soul?

I told myself it was pathetic. A waste of energy better used on being a tool. On pleasing my father. On serving the purpose I’d been given in my second life. It was best, perhaps, to let the darkness snuff out the light. To fully succumb. To slip away…

And that’s when everything changed.

After the memory of my accident, my life’s clearest recollection is of the day my home was visited by two unexpected callers. After hearing them at the door, I made my way to let them in as I’d done countless times for father’s vile investors. But upon opening the door, two unfamiliar faces greeted me. One, a stern man with a face that meant business.

But the other… a man with a kind, round face and a genuine smile. He, too, was there on business, but there was something different about the way he regarded me.

The two men – the stern Murakoshi-san, and the more sincere man, Ichinose-san – began to inquire about my father’s research into dinosaurs. My response was one I’d rehearsed countless times; I told them that father was dead, and that all his research had been destroyed. A necessary ruse, father had told me, to throw off any potential investigations that might reveal his plan.

The men seemed disappointed, and I closed the door on them before they could pry further into our affairs. I relayed their calling to father, who merely chuckled at the idea that someone had finally deemed him worthy to seek out.

But as the day continued, the interaction with the two men continued to float about in my foggy mechanical mind, taking root as no other human interaction had in the past few years of my miserable existence. It was the humanness of it that affected me the most. It had been so very, very long since I’d been spoken to as a human. After all, they had no reason not to do so. How could they know the truth? They had no choice – he had no choice – but to look at me as human.

He. Ichinose-san.

Why him? Why was his the face that lingered in my mind?

Perhaps it was the kindness he seemed to radiate. His eyes seemed genuine. His smile real, not forced. He had been polite, and patient as he’d listened to me speak. He’d also seemed very interested in father’s work, which had caught me off guard.

Humans had shunned father. They had decried his work, cast him out and judged him unfairly. Father had spent years telling me that all of humanity was like this. They were all cruel and judgmental. They would all turn on him, and me, if they could. They deserved what was coming to them.

They deserved to die.

But something about Ichinose-san compelled me, for the first time, to consider otherwise.

Could a genuine, kind human really exist? Was this man really so interested in my father’s work?

Maybe he was. Maybe his interest could give father the validation he needed. Validation without bloodshed. No need for revenge.

Maybe, just maybe, there was a better way.

The thought rooted itself firmly in my head. It plagued me for days. But eventually, I was able to suppress it. Best not to hope. Best to forget…

But fate had other plans.

Some time later, I was informed by father that a young man had called our telephone, seeking to speak with me. A scientist, he’d said. One of the men who’d called at the house. He’d wanted to see me again, to ask something important.

And he’d left a name: Ichinose Akira.

I remember an odd sensation prodding at my chest upon hearing the news. Under normal circumstances, I’d have described it as a heart flutter. But my circumstances were far from normal, and my heart far from capable of fluttering.

Father and his allies had taken an interest in Ichinose-san. It seemed he was connected to an INTERPOL investigation into a recent accident, an accident that saw a submarine destroyed off the coast of Okinawa under mysterious circumstances.

Mysterious, that is, to everyone in the world but us.

It had been our Titanosaurus who’d sunk the sub. It had ventured too close to the former resting site of Mechagodzilla’s remains. The crew would no doubt have seen the site cleared of all wreckage. They would’ve been suspicious, perhaps caught on to our benefactors’ scheme. And so, I’d called forth Titanosaurus to silence the crew forever. The survivors were now the slaves of Mechagodzilla’s overlords. The plan had been perfect.

Or so we’d thought. If Ichinose-san had somehow suspected that my father’s dinosaur was involved in the accident, it could have unraveled the entire plot. This, of course, my father would not allow.

And so, I was sent into the nearby town to meet with Ichinose-san. I was to find out what he knew, and how close he might be to learning the truth.

We met by the shoreline on a brisk day. If circumstances had been different, it would’ve been a perfectly pleasant day for a stroll on the beach, or a walk through town, or…

Foolish. I knew it was foolish. And certainly not my mission.

When Ichinose-san greeted me, it was with the same warmth and genuine humanity with which he’d addressed me before. It was an odd sensation, being treated like a person. To be spoken to with respect. It felt… good. Pleasant, even.

I let it cloud my judgement. As Ichinose-san began to speak highly – even reverently – of my father and his work, I could feel his warmth affecting me. It became almost too much to bear. Surely there was a catch. He couldn’t mean what he said. He couldn’t believe my father…

But he did. And when he revealed that a second submarine was being dispatched to search for the dinosaur, and that he would be aboard, something snapped in my head.

I’d found out what I’d come to learn. A second sub was inbound. Mission accomplished. But I knew what that meant. The sub would be our next target. It would have to be destroyed, just as the last one had.

And Ichinose-san would be…

I broke down. I begged him not to go. To forget about the dinosaur he sought. It must’ve seemed illogical to him, even unhinged. He might’ve even begun to suspect that I knew more than I was letting on.

But in the moment, I didn’t care.

I was compelled to warn him, possessed by emotions I didn’t even know I was still capable of feeling. It was illogical. It was irrational.

And it would cost me dearly.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was being watched. Father’s elderly manservant had tailed me, and he’d heard everything I’d said.

That night, I was punished for forgetting my place. For letting human emotions bubble to the surface and pop into the front of my mind. I was reminded of my cursed existence, of my mission, of my purpose.

To be angry. To be afraid. To want death and destruction. To be controlled. To be in pain. To be alone.

Of course.

I remember feeling shame. How could I have forgotten? How could I have hesitated? I had no allegiance to humanity. It was my destiny to make them pay.

And so, I told father about the second submarine. I called forth Titanosaurus to destroy it. I did not hesitate. I blocked all thoughts of remorse, of guilt, of knowledge that a man who had shown me kindness was, at that very moment, within the sub my dinosaur was set to crush into oblivion.

But the destruction never came.

Instead, the first true chink in the armor of our plot revealed itself.

I watched in horror as my Titanosaurus writhed, reacting to a stimuli beyond my ability to perceive. The control panel short-circuited. The flickering screen showed the sub escaping. And beneath my panic over the situation, my worry for Titanosaurus, and my confusion over what I’d just seen… relief.

Vague. Barely definable. But extant, nonetheless.

I forced it down.

In the coming days, my mind often drifted to Ichinose-san. I found myself wondering – hoping – if he was alright. If he’d sustained any injuries from the attack I’d led against the sub. Against him.

Would he ever forgive me?

A foolish thought. He didn’t even know I was responsible. He couldn’t know. He’d never know.

But if he had known…

No. Surely he would’ve cursed my name. Condemned me alongside the malevolent creatures I served. To him, I’d be nothing more than one of them. I was one of them.

Why did I care what he might think? What was he to me? A man who’d shown me kindness? A believer in my father’s work? Someone who might be…


He was a means to an end. A way to learn about the enemy’s plans. A pawn in our game of world domination.

These were the things I told myself. And I repeated them over and over again in my head as I sought Ichinose-san out again. This time, I would be strong. He would tell me what I needed to know, and I would not show weakness. I was better than that. Weakness, I told myself, was for humans.

We met at a nearby restaurant. I’d lured him there with the promise of something important for his dinosaur research, and while my motives might’ve been self-serving, my promise was far from untrue. I’d brought with me a collection of father’s notes and research papers, and presented them to Ichinose-san as a gift. I felt my face contort into an involuntary smile as I saw his eyes light up at the gesture. He accepted the material graciously, and offered up a smile that left my knees slightly weak.

I couldn’t help but smile at his joy, nor could I refuse his offer to buy me lunch. I told myself that it was all just an act, a ploy to gain his trust and throw off any suspicion he might have about my involvement with the Mechagodzilla affair. And while all this was true, there was something else happening.

There was no denying it: a connection was forming between the two of us. Trust, yes, but there was more to it than that. I found myself excited at the thought – the chance – that he might be similarly excited to see me. Perhaps he’d been looking forward to our meeting. Not because of the research I’d presented to him, but maybe – just maybe – because he’d wanted to spend time with me.

Was that even possible? Was I capable of inspiring that kind of feeling in anyone? In a man, especially? On most days, I’d have said that it wasn’t possible. Not for me.

And yet…

We spoke for what felt like hours. A genuine conversation with a person who treated me in kind. I found myself clinging to that feeling of being respected, of being seen. As we spoke, I realized how one-sided I feared our time together might be. Was he feeling anything comparable to what I was feeling? How could I know? How could he ever fully understand just how much he was beginning to mean to me? Was it possible that he…

The mission.

I once again found myself ashamed. I had let my guard down again. How could I be thinking of connections and kindness? Of opening my heart to the enemy?

Especially when I had no human heart to open.

I shifted gears. Instead of pleasantries, I focused on the business at hand. I had to know what he knew about Titanosaurus’ weakness. He trusted me completely, and I felt reasonably confident that his feelings toward me extended beyond trust alone. My place was not to reciprocate, but to take advantage.

And so, I did. And he gave me the answer I needed.

Supersonic waves. That was the weakness. And worse still, Ichinose’s allies at INTERPOL had constructed a generator to produce such waves. The perfect weapon against my poor Titanosaurus.

We had struck gold. I wasted precious little time in returning home and relaying what I’d learned to father. There would be no punishment for faltering this time. I’d done my job, and we were now poised to take advantage of the situation. But the strike would come much sooner that I expected.

I’ll never know exactly what compelled my father to summon Titanosaurus from his underwater lair that very night. Something drove him to strike early, to show his hand and lash out against humanity without the benefit of his benefactors’ knowledge or participation. It was a rash decision, devoid of strategy and largely based on pettiness.

However, it did serve one purpose. It gave me the cover I needed to take full advantage of the intel I’d gathered from Ichinose-san.

With a small contingent of Third Planet allies by my side, I sought out INTERPOL’s new supersonic wave generator, which was readying for deployment near Titanosaurus’ landing site. I tore the machine apart with my own two hands, rending wire from metal and thrashing its mechanics like a predator swinging its helpless pray around by a snapped neck.

Our work done, we snuck away. But luck was not on our side. A group of INTERPOL agents spotted us and gave pursuit. We headed for the mountains and dodged them for as long as we could, weaving between trees and cloaking our movements as much as possible. But it was no use, and the last thing I remember of that night was the pain of a bullet shooting through my back, and the crashing sound of waves on rocks growing louder and louder as my body fell from the nearby cliff and tumbled toward the cruel ocean.

Darkness. Pain. Vague and horrific sounds of wires being soldered and metal plates being bolted.

And the incessant, maddening ticking of my artificially pumped heart ringing in my ears…

When I awoke, I was whole again. My damages had been repaired. Our allies had worked their unnatural magic once more. It was as if the previous night had never happened.

But there was something else. A weight in my chest I’d never felt before. I could feel it pressing down on the wireworks beneath my skin, and worming its way into my pitiful excuse for a psyche. A new presence. A new power.

I could see it when I closed my eyes. My arms, stripped of their flesh, became constructions of metal before me. My hands shriveled and expanded, replaced by deadly rockets with deadly accuracy. I felt energy behind my eyes, the power to destroy worlds. To make humanity cower under my crushing titanium feet…

I was Mechagodzilla. And Mechagodzilla was I.

The machine was a part of me now. The Third Planet creatures had made sure of that during my latest operation. The controls for the juggernaut rested inside my stomach, fully wired to my cybernetic brain. The mammoth machine would go where I wanted it to, attack whatever I pleased, kill at my whim.

What power it was. What unbelievable strength. What horrifying potential.

I lost myself to it. Gave myself fully to the duty I’d been deemed worthy of. I’d been used, yes, and cruelly so. But I’d resigned myself to my fate. I was reborn to be cruel. I was reborn to kill.

I allowed myself, at last, to slip away. As far as I cared, Katsura Mafune was dead. She would not be missed. She would never be loved. No one would remember her, nor should they.

She wasn’t worth remembering.

Who’d love a cyborg? I’d been told these words more times that I could count. And now, at long last, I fully believed them.

When the day arrived, I did not hesitate. Machines do not hesitate. They calculate. They do what they were made to do. They kill.

And that day, I killed thousands.

I was only vaguely aware of anything beyond the mission. The control center in my home was a hive of activity. My father stood by, watching proudly, as I and our alien allies took charge of initiating the attack. I remember voices yelling orders, the sounds of switches being thrown and buttons being pushed. And…

A voice. A familiar voice.


He was dragged into the room, beaten and dirty from a fight above ground. It seems he’d been snooping around the house, no doubt hoping he’d find me.

I remember him calling my name, pleading with me, telling me this wasn’t who I truly was. Even as the truth of my complicity with his enemy dawned on him, he refused to see me as evil.

Fool. I pitied his weak mind as I ignored his calls. There was much to be done. I had a world to conquer.

Maybe, when Tokyo stood in ruins, he would fully comprehend what I was capable of.

The order came. Both beasts rose at my command and began their attack. Life and artificial life, working in perfect, destructive harmony. A nightmare for the humans who fell to the monsters’ might.

And I delighted in their suffering.

I watched as my monsters razed civilization, as buildings and streets were blown from the ground and reduced to rubble. Smoke filled the sky. The air twisted and whirled at the swish of Titanosaurus’ mighty tail.

Godzilla came, of course. We’d been counting on it. The King would have no backup for this fight. No buried deities or prehistoric brutes would rise to support him. He was alone. And he would die.

For a while, our enemy’s fate seemed sealed. I punched him. I kicked him. I buried him. I set him ablaze. We were poised to win. Earth’s greatest defender, brought to his knees to be slaughtered. And I, both of flesh and metal, would be the one to deliver the killing blow.

But it was not to be.

Thank goodness, it was not to be.

The mission began to unravel when INTERPOL succeeded in attaching a supersonic wave transmitter to Titanosaurus’ neck. The resulting frequency drove the monster to madness, transforming him into a writhing, mewling mess as he desperately clawed at the air in a vain attempt to defend himself from the sound.

In our base, the control panels began to spark and short out. Our veneer of calm and calculated precision began to falter. And as Godzilla rose to fight his titanium twin once again, it became clear that this battle would not end the way we wanted.

The next domino to fall was Ichinose-san, who had escaped his bindings and taken out one of the alien operators. I leveled my gun at him, staring him directly in the eye. He simply stared back, his kind eyes nervous but confident that I would not shoot.

I nearly did it. I felt my finger tremble over the trigger. The man before me had no idea who I was. Of what I was. He was a blind fool. His trust in me would be his death. The last thing he saw in this life would be me, standing over him as he died. And I would delight in it.

I poised to fire.


I recoiled and shrieked as the bullet passed through my arm. I hit the ground, vision blurred from the shock of the gunshot.

Murakoshi-san – Ichinose-san’s friend – had arrived to save him. He’d shot me, and just in time. Had he not…

I felt Ichinose-san’s arms around me, heard him speaking to me as I gradually regained my senses. And then, the sound of more gunshots. The thud of a body hitting the ground.

I heard my father call my name.

My eyes shot open, just in time to see the old man – the father who’d loved me, who’d used me, who’d lost his way – reaching out toward me, blood covering his torso.

He fell, and did not move again.

I called to him. A cry of anguish. A human cry.

I felt Ichinose-san’s arms tighten around me. A warmth passed through my body as I turned to meet his gaze. But his eyes were turned downwards, toward the hole in my arm.

Beneath the tattered fabric of my silver jumpsuit, a matrix of wires could be seen. Clear as day. Exposed to the world. Exposed to Ichinose-san.

My secret. My shame…

My hand moved involuntarily to cover the wound. As if hiding it would change anything. I wished he hadn’t seen. I wished he never knew.

Now, I wouldn’t just be a murderer to him. I would be inhuman. A clockwork wretch who dreamed of being a woman. I would be…

“It’s alright…”

His words froze me. He was staring into my eyes now. And he was smiling.

“You may be a cyborg… but I still love you.”

He pulled me close to him, cradling my limp body as if his life depended on it. There was no fear in his movements, nor in his voice.

“It’s not your fault,” he said softly, resting his head on mine. “It’s not your fault…”

No words.

Nothing I could’ve said – nothing I could relate now – would ever do service to what I felt – how I felt – in that moment. It was a release. A sweet, almost overwhelming surrendering of pain. It crashed into me like an ocean wave. All the horror I’d been through, the manipulation, the lies, the guilt… it all melted away.

All the evil I’d done, everything that had been foisted upon me, all the years of being told, of knowing, that I meant nothing…

It disappeared. And all that was left was a scared, empty, broken girl, laying in the arms of someone who understood, who accepted.

Someone who loved me.

I felt a warm line of liquid stream down my face. Tears. I was weeping. And Ichinose-san saw it.

“See?” he said gently. “You have the warm heart of a human being.”

I broke in his arms.

He could never fully know what those words meant to me. How they touched me. And I knew they were true. Not just spoken truthfully, but actual, real truth.

For the first time since waking up on the operating table after my rebirth, I felt human. I knew I was human. And I felt a fool for ever believing otherwise.

My body was mechanical. My mind a crisscrossed network of flesh and wire. My heart encased in gears and plates. But in that moment, I understood something that my resurrectors would never be able to comprehend: I was not just a body. I was a soul. I was a conscience. Those things can’t be rebuilt. And they can’t be taken away.

But they can be seen. They can be felt. And they can be loved.

And as I cried in Ichinose-san’s arms, my mind clearer than it had ever been before, I knew in my conscience – in my soul – what needed to be done.

I gently pulled away from his embrace, my eyes still locked to his. I leaned in close.

I asked him to destroy me.

The world was bigger than the two of us once again. There was still a battle to fight. An enemy to defeat. And I knew that Mechagodzilla would never stop. Godzilla would fall to its power, and the world soon after.

And the key to its defeat lay within me, surgically implanted in my torso. Unable to be removed, or shut down without ending my life.

But end it must. I knew, in my newly rediscovered soul, that this was the way it must be.

But Ichinose-san would hear none of it. He refused, pulling me closer again. “I can’t do that,” he repeated in my ear. And I understood. To lose what we’d only just begun together, to end it so horribly… no, I knew he wouldn’t do it. I knew he couldn’t.

But I could.

And so, hand trembling, I reached for my nearby gun. I grasped it firmly, careful to make my movements subtle so as not to alert Ichinose-san to my actions. I deftly shifted the weapon in my hand, positioning the barrel at my torso, directly over the Mechagodzilla control box.

I took one last moment to listen to Ichinose-san’s heartbeat against my ear.

And then I fired.

Pain again. Real, human pain. But not just of the body. I felt the soul I’d tried for so long to awaken. I felt it catch fire, and then begin to burn out, as all fires must.

I felt Mechagodzilla’s limbs go limp in my mind. I felt its power freeze. It was as though the machine were dying alongside me. It was the last death I’d relish.

I turned my fading eyes back to Ichinose-san’s. His face was one of panic, of shock, and of disbelief. But the love he’d confessed to me shone through it all.

It gave me a peace that couldn’t be defined.

I smiled one last smile for him. I hoped it would say what words could not: that I was grateful. That I was at peace.

No longer angry. No longer afraid. No longer controlled or compelled to crave death or destruction. No longer in pain. No longer alone.

This is how it feels to be Katsura Mafune.

This is how it feels to be human.

This is now it feels – as I fade away – to be loved.

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