Our world is changing. The mass extinction we feared has already begun, and we are the cause. We are the infection. But like all living organisms, the Earth has unleashed a fever to fight this infection. Its original and rightful rulers, the Titans. For thousands of years, these creatures have remained in hiding around the world. And unless all the Titans are found, our planet will perish, and so will we. They are the only guarantee that life will carry on.
— Emma Russell (Godzilla: King of the Monsters)
In her younger days, Emma was always known for her scientific brilliance but was also characterized as rebellious, having been arrested multiple times due to her participation in protests related to environmental activism. While pursuing her post-graduate degree at MIT, Emma met Mark Russell, who shared her passion for interspecies communication. The two were married and began working together on Project ORCA, a device which enabled the ability for mankind to communicate with other creatures through the use of sonar. Monarch became aware of the device in 2005 after detecting its signal, and recruited both Emma and Mark into the organization. Emma became Monarch's Chief Paleobiologist and Director of Bioacoustic Studies, while at the same time mothering two children, Madison and Andrew. Emma and Mark disagreed on the implications of the technology they had developed with the ORCA, and following a family tragedy in 2014, they were divorced while Mark left Monarch. Emma however remains in her position with Monarch 5 years later, attempting to raise Madison while simultaneously researching the Titan designated Titanus Mosura at Monarch Outpost 61 in China.
In 2014, during Godzilla's battle against the MUTOs in San Francisco, Emma stood among the devastation cradling her young daughter Madison in her arms as her husband Mark searched desperately for their son Andrew. As they came to the realization that Andrew was gone forever, they witnessed Godzilla emerge from behind a nearby building and walk past.
Five years later, Emma was separated from Mark and working at Monarch Outpost 61 in China's Yunnan Rainforest, where she lived with Madison and attempted to complete her sonar device the ORCA. She entered the kitchen of her apartment one morning to find the smoke alarm going off after Madison accidentally burned the bacon she was trying to cook. After getting the alarm to stop, Emma asked Madison if she had replied to any of her father's emails. Madison said she hadn't and expressed her concern about her father, only for Emma to respond that he was in the safest place he could be right now. She then informed Madison that she had finally completed the ORCA, and was confident it would work. Suddenly, the apartment was shaken by a deafening screech coming from outside. Emma was contacted over a communicator and told to head to the containment area immediately. Emma left her apartment with Madison and the ORCA and entered the Temple of the Moth. There, she asked Monarch entomologist Dr. Tim Mancini about the situation. He responded that the Titan in containment was sleeping peacefully beforehand, but suddenly became active. They entered an observation room overlooking a huge central chamber of the temple, with a gigantic egg inside it. They witnessed as the egg split open and a colossal larva emerged. Mancini introduced the creature as Titanus Mosura, otherwise known as Mothra. The containment field in the chamber inexplicably went down, causing Mothra to become agitated and attack the guards surrounding her. Mancini prepared to give the order to terminate Mothra, but Emma protested, saying she would handle it. She ran into the chamber with the ORCA and approached Mothra. Emma attempted to calibrate the ORCA to Mothra's frequency, only to enrage her further and cause her to spit silk at Emma. Madison ran into the chamber to her mother's side as Mothra began to bear down on them both. Just before Mothra could strike, Emma successfully got the ORCA to calm Mothra. The giant larva began to emit a soft blue bioluminescent glow and backed off. Emma allowed Madison to approach Mothra and place her hand on the Titan's snout. Mothra emitted a burst of air through her nostrils which blew both Emma and Madison back. The peaceful moment was interrupted once a bomb struck the observation room, followed by a group of armed assailants who gunned down everyone inside including Dr. Mancini. The leader of the mercenaries, Alan Jonah, looked down at the ORCA in the chamber below as Madison and Emma stared up fearfully at him.
Jonah and his men commandeered a stolen Monarch Osprey and made their way to Outpost 32 in Antarctica with Emma, Madison, and the ORCA in tow. The Osprey landed outside the base, after which Jonah's men exited and gunned down the Monarch guards. Emma and Madison listened in horror to the sound of gunfire from inside, after which Jonah entered and told them to get moving. They made their way to the central chamber of the outpost; a wall of ice containing the frozen three-headed Titan known only as Monster Zero. Jonah asked Emma if she had everything she needed, and when she replied affirmatively he told her to get started. Emma began calibrating the ORCA to Monster Zero's bioacoustics as Jonah's men began boring into the ice with drills and planting explosives. Once Monarch learned of the ORCA's location and headed to Antarctica aboard the flying fortress known as the USS Argo, Jonah began to escort Emma and Madison out of the base. Jonah's men ambushed G-Team when they breached the facility, but Mark charged in after them after seeing Emma and Madison on a video feed. He finally came face-to-face with them on a catwalk in front of the wall of ice. G-Team's Colonel Diane Foster shot and killed Asher, a mercenary holding the detonator for the charges, while Mark held Jonah at gunpoint and told Emma and Madison to come to him. Shockingly, they both stayed behind as Emma picked up the detonator. She apologized to Mark before telling him to run and pressing the detonator. The charges in the ice exploded, causing the ice to crack and the outpost to crumble. Emma and Madison escaped with Jonah in an elevator while Mark stayed behind to help G-Team escape. Emma boarded Jonah's Osprey which began to take off as the ice below split open and Outpost 32 sank into the fissure. Once the ORCA was fully calibrated, Jonah ordered Emma to wake up Monster Zero. She activated the device, which emitted a series of sonar pulses which reached into the ice below. Monster Zero's three heads gradually emerged from the ice and saw the members of G-Team before them. After G-Team opened fire, Monster Zero broke through the ice and began to attack them. Madison grabbed the ORCA from her mother and tries to use it to stop Monster Zero before he could attack the Osprey that Mark was on. Emma and Jonah's mercenaries seize it back from her, but Emma uses it to halt Monster Zero for a split second before he destroyed the Monarch Osprey. Jonah's Osprey then escaped as Godzilla emerged from the ice to confront his ancient enemy.
Back on the Argo, Monarch detected that Emma's Osprey was apparently heading for Isla de Mara, Mexico, the site of Outpost 56. To their surprise, Emma contacted Monarch through the emergency channel and broadcast herself on a screen aboard the Argo. She said she could only imagine what everyone was thinking of her right now, but insisted she was only doing what was neccessary. Emma explained her actions by stating human activity had irreparably damaged the planet to the point that a mass extinction was inevitable. The Earth's natural defense mechanism against this threat was the Titans, but the government was intent on exterminating them before they awakened once more. This was why she had to take matters into her own hands and awaken the Titans herself before they could be killed. Mark and Dr. Ishiro Serizawa were horrified by Emma's actions, accusing her of having lost her mind and gambling with the lives of billions. Emma defended herself, claiming she was the most sane she'd ever been and was keeping her promise to ensure Andrew's death was not in vain. Mark retorted that this would not bring Andrew back to them, but Emma ended her message by suggesting the members of Monarch seek shelter before signing off. Monarch then learned that Emma was not broadcasting from Isla de Mara, but rather was bouncing her transmission off of Monarch satellites and could be broadcasting from anywhere. In reality, Emma was operating from a Monarch bunker in Boston with Jonah's men. From this bunker, they were able to disable the containment field at Outpost 56 surrounding the crater of the Isla de Mara volcano. Seeing the people fleeing the village in Isla de Mara, Madison urged her mother not to broadcast the ORCA and awaken the Titan within the volcano. Jonah became furious and asked what Madison thought was going to happen. He demanded that Emma ignore Madison and broadcast the ORCA. Emma apologized to her daughter and activated the ORCA, its signal being broadcast through loudspeakers at Outpost 56. The winged Titan known as Rodan promptly burst from the erupting volcano, and became engaged in a dogfight with the Argo and G-Team as they lured him into the path of Monster Zero. Monster Zero defeated Rodan before being attacked from underwater by Godzilla, only for the military to intervene with the experimental Oxygen Destroyer. Monster Zero, while wounded in his fight with Godzilla, was unharmed by the Oxygen Destroyer and perched atop the Isla de Mara volcano, where he regenerated his left head which Godzilla had torn off. Emma and Jonah then watched through a video feed as Monster Zero shrieked out to the heavens, causing virtually all of the dormant Titans across the globe to awaken and bend to his will. Jonah remarked that he thought they would be awakening the Titans one at a time, but Emma replied that she wasn't responsible for this. Jonah smugly remarked "Long live the king" before leaving Emma standing bewildered in front of the screen.
Madison furiously stormed off to her quarters, with Emma giving chase and trying to calm her down. Madison scolded her mother, saying that they were supposed to be doing this "for Andrew." She bitterly asked her mother if Andrew would want this. Emma pleaded with Madison, claiming she could get things back under control, but Madison ignored her and locked herself in her room. Emma later spoke to Jonah stating that they could use the ORCA to take control of the other Titans rather than allow the monster now dubbed "Ghidorah" to command them, but Jonah responded that maybe it was time for them to really give the planet back to the Titans. Overhearing this conversation, Madison managed to steal the ORCA while it was unguarded and escape the bunker. She brought the device to Fenway Park and activated it, causing the Titans rampaging under Ghidorah's command to suddenly cease. Jonah confronted Emma, saying that Madison had stolen the ORCA from them. Emma gathered gear and prepared to pursue her daughter in a jeep, but Jonah's men surrounded her and held her at gunpoint. Jonah accused Emma of losing sight of her mission and risking everything they worked for just because of her daughter. Emma raised a gun at Jonah, who told his men to stand down as they already had everything they needed. Emma drove out of the bunker and made her way to Fenway. When she arrived, the city was under seige by Ghidorah who had been drawn by the ORCA's call. In addition, the revitalized Godzilla had arrived in the city to confront Ghidorah, while Mothra and Rodan dueled in the sky. She came upon Mark and members of G-Team searching through the ruins of Fenway, where they only managed to find the damaged ORCA. Emma yelled at them to get in the vehicle, and drove off in search of Madison. Mark and Emma argued about whose fault it was that Madison was missing, prompting Chief Warrant Officer Jackson Barnes to remark that if he had the two of them for parents, he'd "run away from home too." This prompted Emma and Mark to realize that Madison must have gone to their old home in Boston to seek refuge. They arrived to find the house leveled, and Madison lying unconscious in the bathtub. They pulled her out and were relieved when she regained consciousness. The Russell family, reunited at last, shared an embrace before they turned their attention to escaping before Godzilla went thermonuclear and exploded. They witnessed Ghidorah drop Godzilla from above the clouds, rendering him limp on the ground. Mothra, wounded after overcoming Rodan, crawled atop the helpless Godzilla as Ghidorah closed in, and flew directly at him only to be disintegrated by his gravity beams. Mothra's energy rained down onto Godzilla, but Ghidorah bit down on his foe and began draining Godzilla's energy through his mouths. The Russells knew they had to stop Ghidorah from killing Godzilla, and worked together to repair the ORCA. Once they were successful, Mark and Madison boarded an Osprey with G-Team, but Emma had to stay behind to finish calibrating it. Once she activated the device, Ghidorah dropped Godzilla and began to approach her. Emma realized that the Osprey would not be able to escape at this rate, and got back into her jeep and drove away with the ORCA, allowing the Osprey to take off. Madison desperately called after her mother as the Osprey escaped to safety. Ghidorah took flight and pursued Emma, destroying her vehicle with her gravity beams and launching Emma into the concrete. As she lay mortally wounded on the ground with Ghidorah bearing down on her, Emma defiantly uttered "Long live the king" before Ghidorah turned to see Burning Godzilla behind him. Emma's sacrifice was not in vain, as Burning Godzilla easily annihilated Ghidorah, and when the smoke cleared, all of the other Titans once serving Ghidorah submitted to Godzilla, the new King of the Monsters.
In 2014, months after the battle in San Francisco, Emma was called in along with Drs. Ishiro Serizawa and Vivienne Graham to investigate a U.S. military base in Guam where a large MUTO had reportedly surfaced from underground and engaged in a short fight with Godzilla before escaping. Emma was greeted by Miles Atherton of the United Nations' San Francisco Commission, whose aim was to provide greater oversight of Monarch and avoid any more Titan-related incidents on the scale of San Francisco. Emma was informed that she was invited to investigate something relating to the new MUTO at a Shinto shrine in Kyushu, Japan, and that Atherton would be accompanying her. As she boarded a plane to leave for Japan, she and Atherton were cornered and held at gunpoint by the fugitive Alan Jonah who had escaped from custody in the base during the recent attack. Fortunately, Tarkan Cavusgolu of Monarch's Crisis Response Unit came aboard and raised his gun at Jonah. Jonah managed to escape onto the runway firing his gun wildly and ran off.
Emma, Atherton, and Tarkan arrived at their destination in Kyushu, where the shrine's priest led them to a massive borehole behind the shrine where the series of earthquakes which culminated with the MUTO emerging in Guam had started. Emma and Tarkan descended into the abyss, where they came face-to-face with the massive creature. Tarkan pulled Emma out before they could be attacked, but Emma was angered at his interference. The three were brought back into the shrine, where the priest informed them of an ancient god known as "Jinshin-Mushi" which awakened any time the thunder god Raijin tired of drumming. The priest believed the creature which Emma just witnessed to be none other than the Jinshin-Mushi of legend.
Emma, Tarkan, and Atherton next traveled to Siberia, and made their way to the location of an abandoned Monarch outpost. Nearby, they found a huge borehole virtually identical to the one in Kyushu, and descended into it. Inside they found a preserved MUTO nest, as well as Jonah who held them at gunpoint. However, several armed Monarch agents emerged from the shadows and apprehended Jonah. Tarkan had anticipated that Jonah would be waiting for them, and promised that Jonah would be handed over to Russian authorities. Jonah, unconcerned by all of this, simply told Emma he would be seeing her soon.
Emma returned to Monarch Outpost 14, the "Hollow Dark," in the southern Philippines to continue looking into the matter. Dr. Graham arrived with Emma's daughter Madison, believing it would be good for Emma to see her during this stressful time. Emma learned that Jinshin-Mushi and Godzilla had clashed at a nuclear plant in France, and Godzilla lost the battle. As she watched a video feed of the wounded Godzilla returning to the sea, Madison told her mother that Godzilla was hurt very badly. Emma next spoke before the members of Monarch within the chamber that harbored the two MUTO spores which were unearthed in 1999. She explained that this cavern was the same thing as the borehole she recently visited in Siberia: a death chamber dating back to a mass extinction event in the planet's past. Ancient Phoenician stone tablets given to her by the Shinto priest depicted the arrival of a group of Phoenicians in Japan, who witnessed a battle between a creature resembling Godzilla which they believed to be their god Dagon and another which was unmistakably Jinshin-Mushi. Emma came to the conclusion that Jinshin-Mushi was the parent superspecies to the MUTOs which Godzilla had fought earlier that year, dubbing it MUTO Prime. Dagon had been implanted with parasitic spores by MUTO Prime and died in this very chamber, which was accidentally unearthed in 1999 and unleashed the parasites within its carcass. Now, she believed MUTO Prime aimed to do the same thing to Godzilla, potentially triggering a new mass extinction event as a new brood of MUTOs overran the planet. Finally, Emma proposed a way to stop this from happening. When implanted within a host, MUTO eggs produced a sonic pulse dubbed the "Drums of Raijin" which alerted their mother that they were successfully incubating, pacifying it and causing it to return to hibernation. If they could replicate this sonic pulse, Emma continued, they might be able to stop the creature. Emma made preparations to intercept MUTO Prime in the Azores in Portugal and play the sonic pulse through a massive stereo system. Before Emma departed, she collapsed from exhaustion before being helped up by Dr. Houston Brooks. Brooks expressed his concern about Emma's condition and said he knew what it was like to lose a son, though Emma retorted that at least Brooks found his son. Brooks asked Emma to be careful about this and to think of Madison, which angered Emma greatly. Emma finally calmed down and assured Brooks that she knew what she was doing and that Madison would be fine. She asked Brooks simply to wish her luck before departing.
En route to Portugal, Tarkan informed Emma that Jonah had escaped Russian custody and was at large once more, and asked her why he seemed so interested in her. Emma said she had no idea and that Jonah was not their concern at the moment. Emma arrived in the Azores where her plan was put into motion. However, once the frequency was played, MUTO Prime erupted from underground in a rage, decimating the area and killing almost everyone involved in the operation. Emma was called before the UN's San Francisco commission in New York City, where she was criticized along with the rest of Monarch for costing so many lives with their secrecy. The commission elected to simply let Godzilla and MUTO Prime fight and hopefully kill each other, with Emma warning that MUTO Prime would simply kill Godzilla and unleash a global plague with its offspring. The commission adjourned despite Atherton's protests, and Emma prepared to leave with Serizawa and Graham. She mentioned that she had a potential plan to stop MUTO Prime that avoided the mistake of her last attempt. If they could broadcast the sonic pulse from underground perhaps, it would convince MUTO Prime that its offspring were actually inside a host and pacify it. She believed her prototype sonar device the ORCA could accomplish this, but unfortunately it was now under UN custody since it had been funded by a UN grant. Atherton took matters into his own hands and stole the ORCA prototype, handing it over to Emma before being caught and apprehended.
Emma and Tarkan traveled to MUTO Prime's next destination, a storage site for decommissioned nuclear submarine power cores in Montana. Before they could disembark with the ORCA prototype, both Godzilla and MUTO Prime arrived and began to battle once again. Once their Osprey landed, Emma and Tarkan exited with the prototype and raced into the storage facility while witnessing MUTO Prime shatter Godzilla's dorsal fins with a sonic roar. Once they were underground, Emma finally activated the ORCA prototype. Her efforts were a success, as the sonic pulse gave MUTO Prime pause long enough for Godzilla to lift it onto his back and emit a nuclear pulse from his shattered dorsal fins that launched MUTO Prime into the air. Once the wounded MUTO Prime crashed down to the ground on its back, Godzilla delivered a fatal stomp to its head. Emma and Tarkan watched as Godzilla weakly walked off into the distance.
Sometime later, Emma walked through Boston with her daughter. Madison noted that her mother was a hero for stopping MUTO Prime, but Emma responded that she had help from many others, including the ancients who left behind records of Jinshin-Mushi which she used in her plan to defeat the creature. Emma concluded by expressing her respect for all of history's great adventurers who dared to strike out into the unknown.
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