The Steve Martin Report: Part 1

 

The GNP Presents:

Godzilla, King of the Monsters! – The Steve Martin Report

 

From the Screenplay by Al C. Ward, Takeo Murata, and Ishiro Honda

Novelization by Daniel DiManna

 

 

 

[THE FOLOWING DOCUMENT IS INTENDED FOR THEY EYES OF MR. GEORGE LAWRENCE OF UNITED WORLD NEWS, CHICAGO, USA, ONLY]

 

Tokyo… once a city of six million people.

What has happened there was caused by a force which, up until a few weeks ago, was entirely beyond the scope of man’s imagination. Tokyo now stands as a smoldering memorial to the unknown… an unknown which lashed out with its terrible destruction to render the city a burned and blackened wasteland. There were once many people there who could have told of what they saw. Now there are only a few.

My name is Steve Martin. I’m a foreign correspondent for United World News. I was headed for an assignment in Cairo when I stopped off in Tokyo for a social call. But it turned out to be a visit to the living hell of another world.

That visit is the subject of this report. The following words will recount the horrors which I lived through, and my encounter with the cause of that horror. It is a tale of death and despair, of sacrifice and redemption. It is a tale to stun the mind. Fantastic beyond comprehension, and astounding beyond belief.

Even now, it is hard for me to believe that I could be here, back home in America, and alive…. when I think of the thousands of others dead and still dying in the country I left behind only a few short weeks ago. When I think back, it becomes hard to ignore the feeling that destiny may have had a hand in my involvement with this strange and tragic story.   I had been en route to Cairo with a few days’ layover in Tokyo, and was looking forward to a visit with an old college friend, Dr. Serizawa, a theoretical scientist who was gaining great recognition in the Far East for his unusual experiments. While I was unaware of it at the time – as I spent much of my time on the long flight either writing, eating, or sleeping – 10,000 feet below, an incident was about to take place that would shake the foundations of the civilized world.

As it would later be described to me by my dear friend Tomo Iwanaga (a Chief Security Officer whom became my trusted companion during much of my stay in Japan), at around 3:30 on the morning of my arrival, a fishing ship from the Tokyo-based Nankai Steamship Company was, in his words, “literally wiped from the surface of the ocean in a matter of seconds” when a blinding flash of light occurred, followed by the ocean bursting into flames.

Of course, I was still ignorant of these events when my plane finally arrived over Tokyo and made preparations for landing. I was struck by the incredible sight of such a modern, almost Western-style city below me, especially considering the mess we made of the place only a decade ago. On that morning, it would have been impossible for anyone to convince me that I would never see Tokyo in this way again. Thinking about it now, I wonder if anyone ever will.

My plane landed smoothly and I made my way into the terminal to retrieve my luggage. I had expected to meet Dr. Serizawa there, and had hoped that an afternoon of good food and relaxation was in order after my lengthy flight. However, after arriving at customs, I was greeted by a gentlemen who introduced himself as Shigeo Ioto, assistant to the great scientist.   He said that Serizawa was preoccupied by “field experiments” that he had deemed “much too important” to delay, and that he hoped I would understand his absence. I did, of course, and looking back on the conversation now, it seems very possible that these experiments might have had something to do with the strange and terrifying device that the Doctor would eventually be persuaded to use in the defense of his ravaged country. Unfortunately, it’s possible that we may never know for sure.

Mr. Ioto made sure to let me know that I was to call him if I needed anything before Serizawa returned, which he – and I – hoped would be before my layover ended and I had to continue on to Cairo. Before I could retrieve my luggage, however, another man appeared and inquired to Mr. Ioto, in Japanese, if I was Steve Martin. When he replied in the affirmative, the uniformed man, obviously an officer of some sort, turned towards me and informed me, in English, that I was needed for questioning in the airport’s security office. For a moment, the thought crossed my mind that this was the officer’s polite way of telling me I was under arrest, and I asked him as much, to which he replied, “No, no arrest. Just questioning. But it is imperative that you come.” Mr. Ioto offered to take my luggage to my awaiting room at the Imperial, and after accepting his kind offer I followed the officer down a series of long halls until we arrived in a small office.

It was here that I was introduced to my soon-to-be partner Tomo Iwanaga, who inquired about my flight and if I had noticed any unusual occurrences. I replied that I had not, and – having learned that every passenger on my flight had likewise been questioned from the officer who brought me to Tomo – asked the obviously stressed man what he hoped to find out. So as not to seem as though I was unnecessarily prying, I informed him of my status as a reporter for United World News, and he proceeded to tell me about the mysterious shipping disaster that had wiped a fishing trawler, and its crew of hard working men, from the face of the Earth. He admitted to being hesitant about printing the story before more was known, and quickly debunked my theory that the incident may have been caused by a mine or a collision. At this point, my curiosity was beginning to bring out my reporter instincts, and I immediately offered my help with the case, hoping to find out whatever I could about this strange affair.

I was fortunate enough to have Tomo immediately accept my request to learn more, and soon we found ourselves traveling across Tokyo to the headquarters of the Nankai Steamship Company, the owners of the sunken ship. The hallway outside the chart room was filled to bursting with concerned family and curious reporters, and it took a concerted effort on my and Tomo’s parts to navigate through the crowd and squeeze through the door to the chart room. I had precious little time to feel thankful for being one of the few reporters allowed to enter, as another group of people had just forced their way in behind us, including an elderly gentleman (who I was later informed was the President of the company) and several other employees, who began to talk in earnest around a table at the center of the room. As my Japanese was, and remains, a little rusty, Tomo was kind enough to translate their conversation for me, telling me that the men were at a loss to explain how their ship could disappear so suddenly. He also revealed that no survivors had been found yet, but that a rescue ship was set to arrive at the scene of the sinking in a few hours.

When those “few hours” had passed, however, I and the handful of reporters that had been granted access to the chart room were informed that the unthinkable had occurred. The rescue ship had met with the same fate as the first ship, and now two crews of hard-working Japanese men had simply vanished, consumed by a blinding flash of light and fire from the sea. I could hardly believe that such a tragedy could happen more than once in such a short time, but I was soon to find out that these two ships were only to be the first sacrifices to a mysterious force then unknown to the modern world.

By the next day, a further six Japanese ships had disappeared, and the news could no longer be kept from the people. I was granted permission to send a message to my boss regarding both the story I was now dedicated to following and my absence from my assignment in Cairo. In a room packed with a dozen other reporters sending similar messages in a dozen different languages, I sent the following message:

“To Mr. George Lawrence, United World News Chicago, U.S.A: Japanese ship disasters puzzle world. Eight ships obliterated by mysterious blinding flash of fire. No survivors found. Radio reports from stricken ships gave same message. Terrible sea of fire engulfs all. Staggering death toll forces all shipping schedules be canceled. Will remain Tokyo unless word from you.” – Steve Martin

Like a creeping illness, panic began to spread all over Japan. The Nankai Shipping Company swarmed with distraught families pleading for news of lost crews. For these throngs of heartbroken men, women, and children, no good news would come. The few survivors who had eventually been found died in a matter of minutes from shock and strange burns. With disaster following disaster, the terror-stricken people demanded action be taken.

Security officials and scientists from across Japan were called together. Dr. Yamane, Japan’s leading paleontologist, was among the top scientists invited to the meeting. I had met Dr. Yamane through my friend Serizawa several years ago, as well as his charming daughter Emiko. Discovering his involvement in the meeting filled me, for the first time since hearing of the initial tragedy, with a sense of hope. If there was to be an answer to these mysterious ship disasters, it would come from these men. As they discussed the issue around a large table, Tomo continued to serve as my indispensable narrator as he explained that Dr. Yamane was suggesting to the officials that they question the natives of a small island close to the area where the disasters took place.

Odo Island: a bleak spot of land in the Pacific populated with several hundred natives who were now half paralyzed with fear. These people were the only ones who had seen some of the fires at sea. They were also the only ones who saw a survivor of the sinkings… and, as we later leaned, his visit was a short one. Their proximity to these tragic events made it imperative that they be questioned. The next morning after the conclusion of the meeting, a helicopter was dispatched from Tokyo. The security officer in charge of the visit happened to be Tomo Iwanaga, who arranged for me to join the group of officials who were to question the natives. Upon our landing, Tomo and I went out among the natives who weren’t being interrogated one-on-one.

The first man we encountered seemed, at first, to be angered by our questions, and after he had fled from our company I asked Tomo if we had made him mad somehow. Tomo responded that we had not, that the man was instead “Frightened. Terribly frightened.” I was sure this meant that he had seen something strange, perhaps one of the fires that consumed the fishing ships off the coast of the island. However, what Tomo said next was something else entirely… that the man “claimed he saw a monster, a horrible monster.” To say I was skeptical of this claim would be an understatement, and I quickly attributed this supposed vision of a monster to being the result of “too much sake.” Little did I know at the time, of course, that I would soon come to witness the very horror that had so frightened the native we had talked to, and that the events to follow would come to make me ashamed of my initial disbelief.

After a long day of questioning, it was decided that we’d spend the night on the island. This gave me an opportunity to witness a rare ceremony performed by the natives… one that was all but forgotten in the civilized world. Under a canopy, a group of natives dressed in ornate costumes and wearing bizarre masks danced about in a symbolic ritual whose significance was lost on me until Tomo began to explain what was happening. He had informed me earlier of the superstitious nature of the Odo Islanders, and as he continued to describe the meaning of the ritual happening before me, I began to understand why the natives had been so completely terrified during our questioning. “The island people are beset by many dangers, Steve. Some real, some imagined,” Tomo told me as we watched the dancing continue. “This ceremony is dedicated to one such danger.” He then went on to describe a legend among the island people… a legend that says that somewhere off their shores there exists a monster too terrible for a mortal to conceive. So convinced of this creature’s existence were the islanders that, many centuries earlier, they thought it necessary to send a young girl out on a raft each year as a sacrifice to this beast. I then inquired as to the name of this supposed monster, and, in a chilling moment that I will never forget, I heard it carried on the wind from across the stage where the dancers continued their performance. To my extreme left sat an elderly man and a Japanese reporter, who appeared to be having the same conversation as Tomo and I. From the lips of the old man I heard the name of the beast that so terrified the people of Odo Island…

“Godzilla… Godzilla…”

Tomo had heard it too, and confirmed that this strange word was, indeed, the monster’s name. Turning to Tomo, I asked if the natives believed that this Godzilla was responsible for all these ship disasters. His response was, “They’re certain of it.” I was soon to be, too.

After the ceremony concluded, we made our way to the small camp we had established outside the village. Tomo and I shared a small tent that overlooked the sea, and as we made ready to get some rest after our busy day, we had no idea that, just beyond the coast of Odo Island, a legend was about to rear its ugly head and prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it was no legend, but a horrifying fact. As we lay in our bunks, both Tomo and I began to notice the increased wind outside, the howling and gusting that seemed to grow more intense with each passing second. A storm was coming, a storm that soon began to pound us with rain and hurl bolts of lightning across the sky in an almost supernatural manner. Tomo and I escaped our doomed tent and sought the nearest tree to hold onto. As the storm raged around us, I could hear strange sounds all around me: a deep, heavy pounding that shook the very Earth beneath my feet, the distant sound of wooden beams snapping and masonry collapsing into the muddy ground, the gut-wrenching screams of a young man who, I would later found out, had watched his family die as their house fell down upon them. And then, another sound… a sound unlike anything I had ever heard in my life. A sound that was as unnatural as it was seemingly alive and angry. It was a sound that sent a shiver down my spine and, for the first time since beginning my investigation into this strange story, made me fear for my very life.

It was more than wind, rain, and lightning. Much more. I wasn’t just sure what it was, no one was sure. No one except the natives, and they were positive.

They said it was… Godzilla.

Against all odds, Tomo and I survived the night, but others hadn’t been so lucky. In addition to the human lives lost, the surviving natives reported missing cattle and strangely crushed buildings, and our group suffered the loss of our helicopter. That very morning, after arranging for a second helicopter to pick us up, the officials on the mainland brought our group, along with some of the islanders, back to Tokyo to make a direct report. Before a council at Tokyo’s Diet Parliament Building, each of the natives told his own story of the sudden turbulence, and had his own ideas of its cause. However, they were all of the opinion that the destruction was brought about by a living creature.

At this point, I was still skeptical of the existence of such a creature. However, while I was surely not alone in this opinion, there was one man in the room that day who believed that such a fantastic story was indeed possible: Dr. Yamane. Taking the stand, the noted paleontologist confessed that he had not been to the island himself, but that, in that a world “filled with many mysteries”, could the testimony of the islanders be accurate after all? The doctor then went on to cite the recent discovery of the so-called “Snowman” footprints in the Himalayas, and stressed that, if such an unexplainable phenomenon could exist at the top of the world, then why not at the bottom of the ocean? Yamane concluded his argument by calling for a research party to be sent to make a scientific survey of Odo Island, a proposition that was met with applause by the attendees.

Still invested in finding the truth behind these strange events, I decided to speak with Yamane directly about joining this research party, and I was able to briefly catch up with the Doctor and ask for permission to come along. With my request accepted, I was surprised to hear that the team would be leaving that afternoon, giving me little time to prepare. I left Yamane (who, undoubtedly tired of the incessant questioning, had responded rather tersely to my enquiry about “taking this monster talk seriously”), and quickly grabbed what little I needed from my room at the Imperial before heading to the docks to make the research ship’s 2:00 departure time.

Pier J swarmed with well-wishers for Dr. Yamane and his party. A brass band played a catchy march and streamers flew through the air as the boat pulled away. The research team was no doubt thankful for the moment of levity, and the deck was full of scientists, reporters, and officials waving goodbye to loved ones and strangers alike. But there was still a feeling of anxiety among us all… for every ship that had taken this course had vanished from the face of the earth. Yes, there was a feeling of palpable anxiety, even in myself. But perhaps the two exceptions were Dr. Yamane’s daughter Emiko and a young marine officer named Ogata, whom had both offered to join the party to assist the elder Yamane with his scientific survey. As I watched them together on the deck of the boat, however, they seemed to me to be more interested in each other. When I’d last seen Emiko, she had just become engaged to Dr. Serizawa. It was, as they say, the usual triangle, only this time (as I would later find out) it was to play an important part in the lives of millions of people.

The trip to Odo Island was not a long one, and upon our arrival we immediately set to work. With Tomo again by my side, I observed a Japanese scientist take a Geiger Counter reading from a well inside the decimated village, and, even at some distance away, could hear the clicking the machine produced. The scientist announced that the well was contaminated, and that the ground in the area was dangerous, resulting in disappointed murmuring from the nearby islanders. This bizarre discovery was not the only revelation that would soon come to light, nor would it be the strangest. A few minutes later, Dr. Yamane made his own announcement: the immense pit he was standing in was no doubt created from the “footsteps of a living creature”. The scientist with the Geiger Counter quickly moved in to take readings, and, within moments, had determined that this supposed “footprint” was also highly radioactive. From my vantage point I suddenly saw Yamane dip down into the pit and, moments later, emerge with something in his hand that I couldn’t make out. Turning my ear towards the footprint I could hear Yamane describing the object he was holding as a “trilobite” to his daughter. The scientist seemed quite taken with the small object, but before I could ask Tomo for clarification as to what a “trilobite” was, the entire village was suddenly distracted by the sound of a ringing bell and the panicked voice of an islander yelling one word over and over… “Godzilla! Godzilla!”

Within seconds the crowd surrounding the footprint was dispersing, with the majority of the islanders appearing to head for higher ground. An unnatural panic was starting to manifest inside me, and I worriedly asked Tomo what was going on, to which he replied, gesturing towards the villagers, that we would be safer up on the hills. We quickly joined the procession of men and women that were heading up the largest hill on the island, and as we went I began to notice something that unsettled me even further: many of the islanders around me were seemingly armed, carrying pitchforks, rakes, oars from fishing boats, or other implements with them as they marched up the hill. These men weren’t running away. They were running to fight, to defend their homes and their families. But from what? Before I could fully process this revelation, I suddenly became aware of something else: a rhythmic pounding, identical to the one Tomo and I had heard on the island the night the storm had hit. And it was getting louder.

Tomo and I finally stopped running near a grove of trees on the side of the hill, from which we had a good vantage point of the hill’s summit. The islanders ahead of us had almost reached the peek when suddenly, they all came to a halt. The pounding continued, seeming to come from all around us. Despite the intensity of the sound, it was an unnaturally quiet moment. A calm before a revelatory storm. And moments later, that revelation appeared before us.

Rising from behind the top of the hill, the hideous visage of a creature larger than life slowly came into view. The reaction from the islanders, reporters and scientists was immediate, as terrified screams began to fill the air and the crowd on the side of the hill began to race back down at full speed. Tomo and I joined them, but as we ran I couldn’t help but glance back at the incredible sight behind me. As I turned and again beheld the terrifying face of the creature, my ears were assaulted with the sound that erupted from its opened mouth. It was the same unnatural, angry sound that I had heard during the storm, the sound which made me fear for my very life as much then as it did now. I turned away from the monster and continued back down the hill, stopping only once to help Tomo to his feet after a panicked stumble, and as I ran I heard the beast’s ghastly roar three times more. I tried to fight the urge to turn again, to look upon the face of the thing one more time. When I finally did turn a few moments later, my eyes beheld nothing but the blue skies of the South pacific. The monster had disappeared.

However, the thundering sounds of its footfalls continued to echo across the island, and I soon joined a group of villagers and researchers as they rushed towards a steep cliff overlooking a sandy beach. Looking over the edge, I was shocked by what I saw. There beneath me, compressed into nearly a mile of sand, was a trail of immense footprints and a strange, snake-like path that I would later learn was caused by the monster’s dragging tail. I remarked on the size of the footprints to Tomo, who had somehow remained by my side for the entire ordeal. The remark was an obvious observation, but no doubt one that was on the minds of every onlooker on the cliff. I could think of little else to say, as my mind was still reeling at the remarkable nature of what I had just seen. Dr. Yamane had been right all along.

And now the world had no choice but to start taking what I had so callously referred to as “monster talk” seriously.

 

CONTINUE TO PART 2

 

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