Sleeping Giants Page 39

One of the colonies was ruled by a warrior race. What they lacked in sophistication and intelligence, they made up for with strength and grit. Their king, a legendary warrior, ruled over millions. Having mined most of the ore in his own land, he tried to conquer a neighboring people to exploit their natural resources. The empire sent several ships to intervene. The warrior king was captured, tried, and sentenced to a life of imprisonment.

Over time he was allowed to leave his gaol, and eventually he was permitted to live freely in the empire’s metropolis, but he could never return home to his people. In the capital, he worked as a…there is no word for it—personal trainer is the closest thing I can think of, but that sounds silly. Anyway, this is how he met—Can you guess? Can you guess? A princess! The daughter of the Emperor himself.

He trained the princess for a few hours every day. Of course, it didn’t take them long to fall for each other. They kept their relationship a secret for a while, but when the princess reached the age of marriage, she introduced the warrior king to her father. Let’s just say that he did not approve. The fallen king was sent back to prison.

The princess was forbidden to see him but—you know, teenagers—she did. She did a lot more than that, actually. One night, she set a fire to lure the guards away and helped her lover escape. The warrior king wanted to run away, but the princess was stubborn as a mule and didn’t want to leave her whole life and family behind. So instead of doing the sensible thing, she brought her lover to the palace to confront her father. Seems hard to imagine that he went along with that, but, like I said, his people were not known for their intelligence. And let’s face it: We all do stupid things when it comes to women.

So, confront him she did. What started as a discussion soon turned into an argument. Words were exchanged, tempers were flaring. The Emperor’s people are known for their calm demeanor, but family has a way of bringing out the worst in people. Every people.

The Emperor raised his hand to strike his daughter and the warrior king quickly got between them. The Emperor had never fought anyone, never yielded a sword, had never done any manual labor, so to say that he was overmatched would be an understatement. Within seconds, the Emperor was on his back with a sword to his throat. It was only the princess screaming for him to show mercy that stopped the warrior king from plunging his blade into the Emperor’s heart. The royal guard eventually came in and the two lovers were arrested.

The Emperor was deeply wounded by his daughter’s betrayal. He would never really be the same after that. But no matter how deep his sorrow, he could never bring himself to kill his own flesh and blood. Instead, his daughter would spend the rest of her life in the very cell her lover was jailed in.

He had a different fate in mind for the warrior king. Since he had spared his life in the palace, the Emperor would return the favor. Banishment would be his sentence, but not just for him—for his people as well. Massive ships were built in industrial colonies and the warrior king’s entire people—tens of millions—were sent away, never to return.

—I am assuming there will be a point to this fable sometime in the near future.

—There will indeed, but the best part is the story. You should try to enjoy it.

The Emperor was no fool. He knew that he had just made a powerful enemy. It might be years, decades, centuries even, but someday these people would seek vengeance for their exile. This was not something one would forget. They would pass on the hatred from generation to generation until the day their honor was restored.

Preparing for an inevitable war, the Emperor had giant machines built in his people’s image. Indestructible weapons so powerful they could level a village or kill ten thousand men in a matter of seconds. Thousands of these giants were built and sent to every corner of the empire.

There was one small colony at the far end of the realm. It was still in the early stages of its evolution and had received little attention from the empire in the past, but the Emperor insisted that they be protected as well. Twelve weapons were sent to the colony, along with a small detachment of soldiers to operate them. Six of them were built to resemble males, six were female. Technology was nearly nonexistent on the colony, and these giant machines that walked amongst men were instantly seen as gods and goddesses. They called them tittah.

Years passed, centuries went by, but the war never came. After more than two thousand years, the machines were removed from the colony. One was left behind, a female-looking giant the people called dhehméys. She was dismantled, and her parts were scattered across the colony. It was hoped that when the people had reached a certain stage in their evolution, they would rediscover the machine and use it to defend themselves should the war ever come.

—What of the soldiers that were sent with it?

—Excellent question. I see you’re paying attention. They had a life expectancy about three times that of the colony’s inhabitants, but this was still a multigenerational mission. When the machines were called back, the direct descendants of the soldiers, those whose blood was pure, were sent home as well. But over the centuries, some of the male soldiers had chosen women from the colony as spouses and eventually began to have children.

These “half-breeds,” as they called them, were anatomically similar to the indigenous population but had the superior intellectual and physical abilities of their alien parent. They were left behind when the soldiers left. They assimilated with the colony’s inhabitants. Because of their abilities and more advanced knowledge of science, many of them, and many of their descendants, rose to positions of power or fame.

—There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

—So you know this story already?

—This is from the Bible. Genesis 6:4.

—Like I said, it’s a good story. Many people have told it.

—How much of it is true?

—Maybe all of it. Maybe none of it is true. You have to decide for yourself. Stories are there to entertain, preserve history, or serve a societal purpose of some kind. I think this one does a bit of everything.

—You are one of them, are you not? You are one of their descendants.

—I’m just an old man who likes to tell stories.

—Can you help us? Can you help us control her?

—I can do no such thing. Even if I knew what you were talking about.

—Then why tell us? Why come to me?

—How about another story? I’m afraid this one does not have such a happy ending.

—By all means.

—Here we go. There was a man who lived in a small cabin in the woods with his two teenage boys. It was the middle of winter and there was a humongous storm coming. Soon, all the roads would be closed and they would be completely cut off from civilization…

—I am listening.

—I’m sorry. This sounds a little macabre already, and I haven’t even mentioned the shotgun. Let’s lighten things up a bit, shall we? I know you liked the other story, so let’s make the man a king in this one as well. He was a powerful king in medieval times, a formidable warrior who inspired fear and respect. He was believed to have a magic sword that made him immortal and impossible to defeat. None of it was true, of course, he was just really good with a sword.

Prev Next