From the Files of Frank Womack, Kaiju Expert*Kaiju File # 007
Takraw (Taa-crahw)First Seen: Southwest National Park, TasmaniaLast Seen: Papua New Guinea (Currently Located)
Primary Range: Equatorial regions, preferably ones with easy access to water sourcesDietary Preference: Thermal Energy
Description: The kaiju known as Takraw is a lumbering, easygoing creature that resembles an odd experimental fusion of a black lobster and a baleen whale, with scarred chitinous armor covering most of its upper body and dense, surprisingly sharp hairs covering its underside. Numerous appendages resembling barnacles and various skin parasites have been observed on its skin, but unlike their natural counterparts, these are actually as much a part of the kaiju itself as its beady red eyes and unusual legs, an ancient, prime example of the CHI-DNA effect. The largest of these takes up the near entirety of its left arm, and most of them are capable of extending outwards several meters, grasping would-be threats in their 'jaws' and immobilizing them until the main body can get close enough to inflict punishment for their trespasses with its bulk and blunt-edged right pincer. Several vents line seemingly random parts of its body, and it is believed that these are used exclusively for self-defense. When sufficiently roused, the kaiju's internal temperature begins to spike, and superheated water vapor can come shooting out of said vents at incredible speeds, severely burning anything within range.
Yet despite these fearsome traits, Takraw is very passive in most circumstances, preferring laying back and soaking up the sun's rays to action. Perhaps due to the extreme durability of its armor, it is even surprisingly tolerant of other kaiju sharing its territory, a behavior only shared by a select few. The only unusual hiccup in this behavior is that on occasion the kaiju will move to the nearest water source, usually the ocean, and ingest enormous quantities of water as a reservoir for its steam attack. The baleen plates in its mouth filter out living organisms, who often can escape before it closes its jaws.
Yet despite this passive personality, Takraw is still a danger to civilian populations. It is very slow even by the standards of kaiju, often taking days to reach a destination most kaiju could reach in hours. It takes a lot of energy for it to change direction due to the awkward, chimeric nature of its limbs, and in the event that a human settlement lies in its path, little can be done to prevent the creature from bulldozing through it, often leaving a deep ravine where homes and places of business once were. It doesn't exactly catch people by surprise, so every case has had a 100% successful evacuation. Fortunately, it will only move when forced, and doesn't seem like the type to change its ways.Defense Protocols: In the event that Takraw develops an aggression towards humanity, there are a few solutions to take advantage of to prevent loss of life. Yes, its armor is almost impenetrable, taking direct strikes from most major ordinance in use today and shrugging it off, and even though the extended, hair-trigger reactions of the barnacle arms can knock jets out of the sky and the steam is capable of making short work of ground forces, the creature is not without weak spots. The exposed joints on its limbs and the interior of its steam vents can be targeted by smaller munitions, especially remote-controlled drone strikes done quickly enough to avoid the steam messing with their controls. The pain, possibly even loss of limb, can deter the creature significantly, as its own regeneration abilities are far slower than most known kaiju. It is unknown at this point how an attack from a mecha would do against its armor, but I wouldn't advise trying it at the risk of losing a pilot for nothing. All in all, one must be surgical when dealing with this one, using fine, precise strokes as opposed to broad ones.
Cited by experts as one of the prime examples of this mysterious phenomenon, Takraw is in truth a perfect chimera of several distinct DNA sources, with pieces of crustacean and cetacean DNA grafted together by the almost miraculous properties of the kaiju cell. The barnacles and other such parasitic attachments are part of its own body, and respond to neural impulses from the brain with no competing stimuli at all.
Takraw's go-to defensive tactic. Should physical force and intimidation not work in driving away an opponent, It will begin to raise its body temperature, boiling the vast reserves of water it stores in its body and shooting out blasts of superheated steam in all directions from its many vents. Kaiju cells heal quickly from flesh wounds, but burns take a great deal most time to get past, especially to softer bits like the eyes, so this tactic is surprisingly effective at dealing with dangers.
An ability rarely used, Takraw's chimeric internal anatomy allows it to generate an extremely powerful burst of sound from its mouth, which is capable of liquefying most organic matter in its path. Kaiju that suffer this blow take a very long time to recover, but it is rarely lethal to them. Despite its usefulness, Takraw seems almost reluctant to use it. Perhaps its a sense of pity for the victims, or maybe it just forgets it has the ability at all.
While not an impressive 'ability' per se, Takraw heals from wounds to its vulnerable parts much more slowly than the average kaiju. Perhaps its due to the already capable of regenerating crustacean DNA, or perhaps its armor makes it a lower priority. Either way, its noteworthy.
emerged and changed the face of life on earth as we knew it, humanity found itself at an odd crossroads. Gone were the days of our sole dominion, we had an arbitrary, conscious force physically capable of retaliating against us should we overstep our bounds. The world economy had already been in a steady nosedive since the Umbara
attacks, but now it looked like we were on the verge of losing a capacity to do anything at all the way we used to.
That's the thing about a lot of the cheap sci-fi I grew up with, it focuses just on the thrills and not enough on the chills and spills. We don't like those two as much, because they remind us there's always a cost to heroism, even if the heroism is worth doing. These attacks had virtually killed several major cities and regional economic centers. Coastal real estate was becoming a death sentence of a career, and oceanic trade was now considered a high risk occupation despite the fact that no kaiju had attacked a cargo freighter at that point. Detroit, after suffering two attacks, was partially flooded with sewage and considered a lawless, FEMA run gangster's paradise. A third of Dubai was a glassy crater. The Seychelles were quarantined for several years until UNDER could confirm there were no more Amminot
Needless to say, people were already angry. Grorn just tipped the cauldron over. The UN convened a major council that almost every single nation watched and attended. The first of the kaiju talks, where self-proclaimed 'experts' talked about the kaiju problem and what we could and should do about it. It started civil enough, but as you can imagine, it was for the most part chimpanzees with typewriters in there. A lot of spitballed half-baked ideas and disagreements over the slightest things. People needed something to blame, even if they have to completely put aside their differences and unite under a common banner to do it. Many blamed UNDER, who had only gone public in the last 5 years, and considered them a socialistic, new world order army with no borders. Others blamed corporate america for its flagrant abuse of resources, others blamed science in general for going too far. Even scarier was the talk of reviving the nuclear weapons program.
Doctor Gaither, who was there in secret, told me many were even considering calling for her arrest and execution. She knew more about kaiju than anyone alive at that point, but she knew better than to try and set the record straight. This was one thrown fruit away from being a mob. But finally, it got set straight by someone no one saw coming.
He was an Australian delegate, with a winning smile and a capacity for untold evil in his eyes. Ross Mclean. He emerged from the quagmire with a very empowering speech about unity and a call to action against a common enemy. He used all the right buzzwords, got the crowd united under a new initiative. Gone were the passive days of waiting to respond when a kaiju got too close to human population centers, the new way, and new people, were much more proactive. They called themselves, in a fit of hubris, OVER. The Oversight Verification and Extermination Response board. Killer, right?
New weapons were tested in many different countries, some far more dangerous than others. Experiments were done with chemical weapons, railguns, mobile weapons platforms, swarm drones. It was a good time to be an arms contractor, to say the least. UNDER's monopoly on advanced weaponry was now publicly released, and the crown jewel of their effort was the SOL. The Strategic Orbital laser. A weapon capable of striking a precise point like a magnifying glass that orbited the earth, only to be deployed when at least seven major world leaders agree it is the best response. Its a horrifying weapon to see in action, but you wouldn't think so if you judged from its first performance.
About two years after Grorn woke up, peculiar seismic activity in Southwest Tasmania caught UNDER's attention. Sure enough, another kaiju was waking up, this one the famously passive Takraw. It presented itself as the perfect target for the new OVER people to test their diadem. The area was almost completely unpopulated, and it was slow and unassuming, which provoked ire from many, especially the newly founded religion, the children of Grorn. It took several hours for the satellite to get into position, it helped that the kaiju wasn't moving at all. Which was extremely unusual. The world watched as the satellite prepped to fire. This was a test in everyone's eyes, they just couldn't agree on what.
As you can put together for yourselves... it didn't work. The laser fired, sure, it was a very... religious experience for many. But the monster was completely unscathed. Its carapace was glowing from the heat, but it didn't seem particularly torn up about it. It gave no indication of being in pain at all. As we would later learn, all they had done was give the creature an energy boost, as it primarily subsisted on thermal energy. It probably would have stayed in place for several years to gather the amount of energy they just gave it. So it didn't get hurt, but it did start moving north, and unfortunately its high surface temperature started a very large wildfire that took weeks to contain.
It was a colossal failure on OVER's part, and several changes were made to their fledgling infrastructure. You couldn't be careless with kaiju, each one was able to react to the world in a unique way. As for Takraw, it just still just kinda does its own thing. Its in New Guinea now, where it shares ample territory with Meeraj
and Kabu Khan. It briefly did battle and held its own against Stormback before the Syyd incursion, which is a feat unto itself, but outside of that all its really done is soak up the tropical sun. It's kind of a 'meh' blip on the world's radar now, but it will be remembered forever as a really powerful statement against blind hostility and paranoia, a mindset that almost wormed itself back into the world. Good riddance.---------------------------------*These files are in no representative of nor indicating the opinions and/or facts concerning various government bureaus, including but not limited to: The United Nations, UNDER, etc. These are unofficial productions by a private citizen determined to aid the concerned public in the event of a kaiju or extraterrestrial incursion and are in no way to be considered authoritative reports on the aforementioned dangers.---------------------------------
And here we are with this bi-weekly installment of the Fathom files! And what a fun one this turned out to be, let me tell you. Takraw may be a minor player in this series, but he's one of my favorite designs. I've drawn him before, but I ultimately scrapped that version as it was for a previous version of this story. You can see him on the upper left here
below Grorn, and as you can see he's gone through a few cosmetic changes. Originally he was going to be old Uthegar's first opponent, a more chaotic fusion of the same cell bloom that gave birth to them both, but as time passed and I realized that wasn't the route I wanted, I found new, much better places for the two. Uthegar became the Rodan, and Takraw is something akin to Ebirah, only in a more Destroy All Monsters sort of mindset. He's not aggressive, but not without dangers. I really love all things crustacean, so it was hard to find the right influences to keep the whale bits recognizable. Originally I wanted something sharp and vicious, like a robber crab, but eventually I decided to settle on the lobster/crayfish body type simply due to their shared streamlined body. Despite it being somewhat vanilla, it works. And I came to really like the design a lot. Like, a whole lot.
Now, as for the story, I feel the need to expound a little. I deeply enjoy realistic, hypothetical first contact scenarios, and I enjoy writing them, but I know they can be very dull and boring if done poorly. It runs risk of becoming a Nolanized logic boner about how smart the writer is for knowing how people would react instead of making people we can root for, which is far more important. I knew going in that I don't want this series to be all doom and gloom about monsters killing people, I also wanted to remind people of the fun and abandon they can bring, and passive monsters like Takraw that can live in harmony with others help sell that purpose. It can't be all sunshine and rainbows either, these are unkillable, living natural disasters that kill hundreds of people, if not thousands, every year. To not write them as dangerous is to lose all focus. Its a tightrope act, and writing people dealing with that exact same discourse in the story helps me put my opinion where I feel it best sits. My heroes are a bit more lax towards kaiju, some are too dangerous to be kept alive but others simply want a food source and they'll leave us well enough alone. At the same time, not everyone feels that way, there are paranoid types too, so Takraw's little chapter serves a my sort of commentary about that whole tonal discourse. Both have their place and both can tell excellent stories, but coexisting together takes work and I don't want to sugarcoat that, narratively and logistically speaking. I want to make a monster series with complicated, relevant people and complicated relevant monsters, each of which learns to share the world with the other. And while I'm still working on nailing everything down, its a blast to do either way.
Anyway, hope you all enjoy. I will likely update this one with some better steam effects in the future, as it didn't turn out as well as I would have liked. But I give myself a deadline with these for a reason, so post it I shall. Until next time.