The Nova Twins, Ryan and Victoria, lead me onwards through the jungle. The mech handled well in my hands, all that virtual training finally paying off. I was able to keep up with ease, but I had a feeling that the twins were a lot more comfortable in their mechs and could leave me in the dust if they had any inclination to do so.
I could only hope they didn’t, because I don’t think I could handle a threat from this surreal planet.
Pin for Later!
The vegetation, as I found upon landing, was the size fitting of giants. Massive and ominous in the mist, only the illusion of my monitors making it appear normal in my view made me comfortable. I felt at home looking at the screen, but every time I glanced at one of the other mechs, I realised that we were mice pretending to be giants.
Also, upon further investigation, I found that the gravity was similar to standard. It pulled at the mech in the same way gravity on earth pulled on a normal human. Another piece of evidence suggesting if we evolved on such a planet, we might be giants ourselves. It wasn’t a wild thought, considering it was a pretty standard theory among humans nowadays.
I had to remind myself that we weren’t so similar to the giants, as I urged my mech to follow the twins across a river.
The giants had eyes like the stars, their skin a greyish translucence. Their bones were strong and flexible, their minds far more intelligent than ours and their intentions with humans unknown, but sinister from their line of experimentation on us.
“How long have you two been in the field?” I asked, simply to make conversation for the last few minutes of the journey.
I didn’t receive a response straight away. I could tell that I had just broken their concentration for a moment and they were looking for an opportunity to reply. Once they found it, the response came in as a monotone drone through the communications link.
“Seven years, since we turned twenty,” Victoria replied.
“So, you saw the end of the war?”
“We were there for two battles. But, Oscar, the war hasn’t ended. It’s simply taking a breather.”
“Something I hear a lot on military stations,” I mumbled. “I’ve yet to hear an explanation why.”
“It’s tough for many soldiers to explain because there isn’t any concrete evidence. It’s simply a feeling. That feeling is enough to make sure every soldier is armed and within running distance of their mech.”
“There’s your temple, doc,” Ryan interrupted.
The fog was still heavy in the area but had subsided far enough to make out the temple. It was made from dark stone bricks, now covered in moss and foliage. Structurally, it wasn’t a pyramid shape, but it did have a short tower atop it, giving it that triangular impression from a distance.
“Not the biggest temple,” Ryan continued. “I’m guessing a watchtower.”
“An astute observation,” I replied. “Watchtowers look just the same, but our satellites tell us there isn’t any city or base on the planet for it to watch out for. No, this is a scouting station. A Fallen Giant was sent here, most likely to check the planet.”
“The planet seems ideal for their kind, why didn’t they colonize it?” Victoria asked as we stopped at the entrance.
“That’s one of the questions I hope to find the answer for.”
I was about to enter, but Ryan pushed past me, taking the lead. He didn’t say anything, but I realized my foolishness straight away. I was not to take lead on anything, I had to wait for his ‘all clear’. I nodded mentally and followed after him, keeping a distance between us.
The temple wasn’t a large one indeed. When I entered the first chamber, I realized the temple only had a handful of rooms adjacent. It was a simple structure on the outside, but on the inside, we could all see the advanced natures of the Fallen.
Computes, terminals, and other machinery I could identify as appliances like water purifiers. Everything lacked power, but something seemed off. Ryan must have realized it as well, as I hid the click and hiss as his arm-mounted gun was powered up. I realized that Victoria’s mech was now very close to mine, no doubt ready to take me out of the temple should anything happen.
“Something’s not right here,” I said aloud.
“The entrance was clear for one,” Victoria began. “Second, the machines are clean, not even a layer of dust. Finally, I’m picking up two sets of vitals in the next room.”
I swallowed. The giants were still here.
Ryan once more took the lead and it took real guts for me to urge my mech to follow. Victoria didn’t hold me back but certainly watched it, keeping an eye on the entrance in case other giants entered.
When we entered the next room, it was easy to spot the peculiar shapes beneath what was most likely a table for eating. The simple chairs did little to hide the giants. Still, Ryan moved fast, knocking the chairs aside and the table. His gun was ready, noticing the primitive spear one of them had carved.
But Ryan didn’t shoot.
Ryan’s gun hissed and clicked once more to my fearful surprise. He had deactivated the gun and now knelt beside the giant table.
“Hey, don’t worry, come out here,” Ryan’s voice boomed. My heart once more jumped as the speakers on his mech relayed his message.
Horrified by his approach to the giants, but having nothing to fight with, I could only watch as an older pair of giants came out from underneath the table. It was obvious the two were man and wife, no doubt sent to this planet a long time ago. I had another fright when Victoria’s speaker came to life beside me.
Victoria spoke their language well, but I couldn’t help but feel hostile about her actions. These two were trying to make peace with the monsters as if all the crimes and attacks they committed were forgiven. I could feel fear-induced anger inside me, but once more, I am not a fighter.
“We’re sorry to have entered your home,” Victoria said in their language. “We thought this temple was abandoned and came to investigate. Would you mind telling us what you are doing here?”
Victoria was being polite to the giants. The old woman giant stood behind the man, who held the spear. He held it in both his hands, his starry eyes no doubt scanning us and waiting. It was hard to tell where he was looking when his eyes were just an inky void speckled with white, yet I felt that they were looking right at me.
When Victoria had finished speaking, the husband placed the flat end of his spear on the ground and leaned on it like a cane, showing his age and frailty. A wave of calm washed over the room as the giants showed their relief.
I could not believe what I was seeing.