(Hope it's not too rough) Chapter 1 ----------------------------------- Franklin County, Texas 1959 Major General Jack Evans didn't know what to expect as his personal jeep trudged up the rock-strewn road. Reports stated that it was yet another 'giant creature' anomaly. A term Evans was getting more than familiar with lately, it's a phrase that gets brought up more and more ever since one such monster thawed out of the Arctic in 1953. Though some would say that it all started with the "Big Ape" back in '33, but for Jack (and many others who now work for the same agency) his introduction to a world of improbable beasts and mutant nightmares began with the Rhedosaurus. Course, for most that incident was just a terrifying news story. Either on the television or relayed to them through the radio by excited newscasters. The Major General, on the other hand, had been there at the forefront in person. He knew far more details about what had transpired, and what had been hidden from the public knowledge. There was alot that the average citizen didn't know about this increasingly crazy world of theirs, it certainly wouldn't brighten their day if they did. That's where the National Research and Containment Agency, or just simply NARCA, comes in. Enacted following shortly after the Rhedosaurus incident, it's job is to handle the monsters, the mutants, and general 'over-sized animals' that have cropped up in recent years. While it is still a very recently created government branch, it's initial groundwork was apparently laid out in and around the time Kong was laid out on Fifth Avenue. Of course, as Evans has discovered and since learned, things are never what they seem when it comes to these creatures and their... handling. That's another thing generally kept from the public. And the Major General secretly wondered how today's incident would be handled. And boy... did this one seem to be quite the 'doozy'. Early reports over the radio spoke of a giant 'lizard' of some sort, a phrase that never failed to send some sort of chill down Evans's spine... for obvious reasons. Said lizard had been terrorizing the surrounding area for the last two to three days or so. Granted, that's just the incidents that got reported. Always hard to tell how long such things have been active, Evans hoped it hadn't been for very long. But deep in his gut knew it was undoubtedly going to be proven otherwise as gravel smacked against his vehicle's undercarriage as they drove on. Of course that's where he (and the agency) came into this, having been called in to personally oversee the assigned investigation after the creature managed to take out a train. As he had grown used to, after making contact with the local Sheriff... Jack was ordered to verify, assess and then (if possible) contain the 'anomaly'. Course if that proved impossible, Evans had been given free reign to kill it. Men like Dr. Edward Wainright might complain, but Evans was definitely considering just going for the latter option... and simply stating in the report that there was no alternative. Lord knows the 'Zoo' was crowded enough as is with these monstrosities. As he rounded the bend... passing by a large barn, the Major General was passed by the local fire department going the same direction. The further his jeep went down the road, the more Evans's nostrils were met by the faint smell of smoke amidst the open fields. And the smell of cooked meat. The flashing lights of police barricades could be seen in the distance, meant to keep an area free of civilians. "What the hell happened now?" Jack asked himself as his ride drew closer. All he could see was fire and smoke, as local officers tried to keep pedestrians away as the firemen worked to put out the blaze. Taking into consideration what he had been called down there for, Evans knew it was undoubtedly related to the creature as his jeep turned towards the commotion. It was then that he saw what was drawing all the attention. A massive, but motionless, scale-covered body surrounded by burning foliage and destroyed automobile parts. It looked as though someone already did Jack's job for him. As the crowd of onlookers seemed to only grow, the plucky (though under-staffed) firemen tried their hardest to ensure that this blaze didn't get out of control and threaten the town. An ambulance was nearby, as was the sheriff's car. Which was convenient as all hell for the Major General, as that was the man he had been on his way to see. "Beats having to find the station." muttered Jack as he motioned for the driver to cut the engine. Needless to say, the sudden presence of a military man in uniform didn't go unnoticed by the crowd. The Major tried to ignore this attention as he maneuvered his way through the commotion. As he got closer, Evans spotted a dark-haired young man sitting in the back of the ambulance. He appeared as though he had run a marathon, and was partially singed in some spots. The sheriff, a grizzled-looking mustached 'good old boy' type, was discussing things with this young lad as a doctor looked the would-be patient over. "That was a darn foolish thing you did Chase! Reckless to boot." lectured the Sheriff, the name on the files given Evans beforehand identified this man as one Jeffrey Parker. He was about to lay into this kid again when he noticed the Major General approaching. "That sure was quick!" as Evans walked towards him. The military official chuckled. "While I'd like to say it's just good ol' American know-how, Mayor Wheeler called earlier so I was already on my way. Major General Jack Evans. You must be Sheriff Parker." he replied, extending his hand towards the Sheriff as he looked towards the charred body of the giant creature nearby. The firefighters were finally getting the blaze under control. "So that was it?" "A Giant Gila Monster! Can you believe it?" asked the Sheriff, rubbing the back of his head in disbelief as he took the Major's hand and shook it, seemingly unaware of the man's grin on his face. Yes... Yes I can believe it. "Well I WAS involved with that Rhedosaur business back in New York." replied Jack, bemused as all hell. At times he forgets how strange and amazing this type of thing can be for the average joe. "REALLY?! Wow... I'm... I'm sorry. Then this is probably 'old hat' for you." replied Parker, blushing a bit. "You... you were?" added the young man in the back of the ambulance looking at the older man in amazement. Sighing, the Major General just wanted to get through this. Hell, the reason he was there for was now lying in a large smoking heap behind him. He just needed something to report to the Brass and Eggheads back home now. He certainly wasn't on a lecture circuit. "As much as I like to tell stories about the Rhedosaurus again, I need to get an idea as to what the Sam Hill happened here." he said rather sternly. Relative silence overtook the two locals as the glow of the fire died down. "Well, since you're here about it, no sense in getting into too many details." spoke the Sheriff finally after a few minutes. "After the train atta-" "It's been terrorizing the surrounding territory for the last few days or so. Picking off people on the outskirts of the town as the lizard headed further in. But it wasn't until after the train attack that people took me-... er it seriously." spoke up the teenager, his name was Chase if the Major remembered right. "Then it attacked the sock hop and well..." "WELL Mr. Chase Winstead here took it upon himself to load up his hot rod with some nitroglycerin and use his car as some sort of improvised MISSILE!" interrupted Sheriff Parker, glaring sternly at the younger man. .... "So... wait...", started a now bewildered Evans, "where'd he get all that nitroglycerin?"