Mastermind Lectures

Giant Monster Defense

Speaker: Staff Sgt. Roger Stone

Listen up, soldier. You've signed up for a tour with ARCANE, so it's my job to whip your ass into shape for what you're going to face. First up, do you even know what ARCANE stands for? It's short for Advanced Research, Containment, Neutralization, and Extermination. You got that, maggot?

We're Earth's premier military unit for handling hostile megafauna. In simpler terms, we fight giant monsters. The eggheads run the show, but don't let that put you off. Even you grunts need to know your science. I hope you passed biology, son, because I don't want to hammer you over the head like I did to those creationist nitwits.

Knowing biology can mean the difference between walking away and ending up as something's dinner. Some conventional armies battled the first round of monsters without taking the appropriate steps, and they ended up infested by some alien snot monsters. So, I hope you're in a habit of washing your hands, and never touch anything the scientists haven't verified. There's a reason we send you guys out in full hazmat suits and gasmasks.

Our funding comes from several sources, ranging from the UN to USA to various private donors. We're open to all nationalities, genders, and orientations. The only thing we discriminate on is if you're involved in one of those Elder God cults. Those damn cultists try infiltrating everything, and think everyone should be their god's main course. Our job is to prevent this, and kill their god if possible. Or at least send 'em back to sleep, hopefully giving Elder Gods nightmares.

Now, our job ain't always just blowing up monsters. Most of those kaiju bastards are virtually immune to conventional weapons, so we need other ways to deal with them. We do more than just exterminate. Sometimes, we can contain or neutralize 'em in other ways. Elder Gods, archdemons, and the like can be sent back to sleep with the right incantations, according to those boys over in Occult Research. Sometimes, monsters have a particular goal, and we have to find that out. If we've got great luck, it becomes a win-win for us and the creature.

Remember the corrupt head of that mining company, the one who massacred native villagers for their land? The natives woke up their tribal god, sending him towards the CEO in his urban penthouse. The problem was, there was a whole lot of innocent people in the city between the monster and target. Thanks to Intelligence, we used anthropology to find out what motivated the mad god, and arranged an 'escort' for the CEO right into the creature's mouth.

You know why we fed the bastard to the monster, contravening rule of law regarding summary executions? A few reasons, actually. ARCANE isn't about fighting armies, it's more about managing disasters. For instance, we take more of our playbook from the US Coast Guard's disaster relief and US Navy's medical logistics than from the other branches of the US military.

You probably joined up thinking you'd be a hero. Guess what? Heroes die first. Our goal is to save the most people we can, and to make the call on who we can't. We'd sacrifice one to save millions. We'd sacrifice millions to save billions. That's why we decided we could handle lawsuits from the CEO's corporate lawyers rather than let millions die just because they got in the way of an incarnate force of nature. It's a hard job, with hard responsibilities. That's why we spend so much on therapists and counsellors for PTSD. It's not just for the people we save, but for our own staff as well. Don't play macho, kid, and think you'll never need them. You will, just wait.

Some monsters are just that, behaving like giant animals. They're just hungry, curious, or driven by instinct. Others operate by some insane, alien logic, like Elder Gods. Others seem to behave fairly rationally, at least once we understand what they seek. The eggheads have theories why there have been more kaiju attacks over the last century or so. One is that more people live in cities now than in the past, so it's probable more of the bastards would wander into cities. So far, we believe the attacks are random, since there's so many types of kaiju. Anyway, talking about conspiracy theories is above my pay grade.

So, what does an actual ARCANE operation look like? Well, most of the time, it's completely boring. You'll be sitting at a desk in front of a computer workstation observing data coming in from different parts of the world. We watch everything we can: abnormal sonar and radar activity, satellite scans, abnormally rapid changes in temperature and air pressure, radiation, and other things I'd not allowed to talk about.

Say it's your lucky day and we find something interesting. You'd alert your superior, and if there was enough concern about it, send out an investigation team. The size and composition of the team changes based on the environment and location they're heading towards. A team heading for the Sahara is going to have different gear than one heading for the Arctic Ocean. Sometimes, we get permission from nearby governments, and other times, we go in "unofficially." Even if we go in officially, we still bring our own security. Native security teams could already be compromised by corruption, infiltrators, or plain old incompetence, so we always bring our own guys. Besides, most national militaries are better equipped for fighting each other, not kaiju. On the other hand, government militaries are more effective at disaster relief. They typically help provide shelters and supplies to refugees displaced after an incident.

Just because conventional weapons won't bring down most kaiju doesn't that mean guns are totally worthless. Why do you think we drilled you so hard on marksmanship in basic? Even our scientists and support staff carry weapons and undergo the same training you did. Sometimes more. There's a reason we hire so many physicists and engineers for the Experimental Weapons Department.

Generally, though, we stick with larger caliber battle-rifles and carbine versions of 'em. You grunts still carry the HK G3 carbine variant, since it's not too shabby at long range. Our sidearms are also larger caliber than most of what you'd find in law enforcement or military arsenals. When 'stopping power' is your main consideration, many of those otherwise impractical hand-cannons become your best friends. Big-ass revolvers like the Taurus Raging Judge are a pretty common sight among some of our staff, since they're reliable in most environments and easy to maintain. The Raging Judge, in particular, also can take shot-shells in a pinch, useful for swarms of smaller creatures. I escaped from the Brood Hive because of one of those suckers. Shotguns are also common issue weapon. We like the Benelli M3, since a pure semi-auto shotgun could fail to cycle properly due to the exotic shell loads we use. The Benelli M3 lets us switch between both semi and pump. Likewise, that's another reason I like revolvers, since they don't need to worry about blowing back a slide to make a follow up shot. The heaviest rifle we use is typically an anti-materiel rifle, one of the .50 BMG ones. If that doesn't kill something, it at least will make it back off. They allow us to engage a target at over a mile away, so even better.

Our investigation teams are generally lightly armed for speed's sake. If we have reason to suspect they'll be in danger, they'll go in with heavier artillery. Regardless of the security situation, our teams go in with a few neat toys. They've got the standard computers, mini-labs, radios, batteries, solar chargers, survival gear, and first aid kits. One thing we've really be excited about is the new field-fabricator, which lets us manufacture gear in the field. It's based on a combination of regular 3D printers and nanotech the EWD reverse engineered from the Silicon Knights of the Singularity. You remember those maniacs, right? They were the crazy transhumanists trying to turn the planet into gray goo. At least their tech allows us to simplify logistics.

If that team finds something interesting, say a giant monster heading for a major city, our job becomes similar to preparing for a natural disaster. We evacuate everyone we can, distribute supplies to rescuers, and station our own forces around to observe and help. Generally, we instruct the host nation's own military to assist with evacuation and providing support. Too many generals want to reach for artillery, nukes, or other things against a creature that might absorb heat and radiation for all we know. If the monster continues on its course towards the city, then we engage it.

We start off with low level strikes, designed to minimize property damage and collateral. This means fast units using hit and run tactics, designed to draw the monster's attention. While we don't intend to destroy it, we can draw it away from populated areas. We use armored cars, drones, fast gunboats, chopper gunships, and fast, agile units like that. We also have rapid onsite deployment (ROD) teams, who collect scientific readings up close and rescue any stragglers. We always assume bystanders are contaminated, which means holding 'em in quarantine until we confirm they're clear. Sometimes, monsters have "smaller" friends, like cultists or spawn, which ROD teams aim to neutralize or contain.

If we can divert the monster, we try to set up a perimeter for it, or hold it in position long enough to study it. This can become a battle of attrition, us trying to wear the kaiju down or drive it away. Sometimes, a kaiju suffers "a death of a thousand cuts," from protracted low-level strikes, and other times, it gets bored and goes home. If it manages to get away, we at least try to track it, so we can have an idea if it stirs again. If that fails (and it often does), we move onto other options. For supernatural entities, that's why we have Occult Research.

More often, though, we let the Experimental Weapons nerds get to try out their stuff. Lasers, rail guns, energy weapons, and stranger top secret stuff all gets deployed. Our goal then is to subdue the monster or contain it, but if that fails, they go full power trying to vaporize it. If that fails, we try to call in as much conventional artillery and firepower as possible, if we noticed we had been doing damage the whole time. If we're really screwed, like something that contaminates most life it encounters, we'll break out the nukes or even those new antimatter bombs EWD was talking about. If that fails, well, we're screwed.

So, kid, pray it never comes to that. There's been some new ideas lately, like our Japanese branch discussing building giant robots. Even if that gains traction, we'll still have our work cut out for us. So, welcome to ARCANE, kid, and good luck. You're going to need it.