In the Beginning
My name is Ted and for thirteen of my fifteen years I have been living on the planet Bethera. Thirteen years ago an unmanned survey probe from Bethera crashed into my home town of Bale, Vermont, subjecting the town and people to a deadly form of radiation. What was left of the town and people were transported back to the planet where the only cure could be found. Due to the radiation we were exposed to, return to Earth was not an option.
For us the saviors of Bale, Bethera was our new home.
Slowly, our population grew and we rebuilt the town with the help of our gentle alien hosts. None of us, I mean the children, never saw the Betherans. Though we had heard rumors. Rumors about giants.
It wasn’t until I was ten when I realized the full extent in what had happened and those that took care of us where indeed giants. Colossal giants. When I reached the age of fourteen and with many others from my town, we were brought before the Counsel of Bethera. For many generations they had been under attack by an aggressively alien race. So far the Betheran military had been successful in warding off the attacks with their advance bio-robotic fighters. However, increasingly the attacks by the aliens had becoming more savage.
The Betherans cannot travel in space or at least not for long periods of time. It has something to do with their brains. It was decided to fight the invading race, trained and living Betherans were needed. This is were we Earthies as we are called and with deep affection---came in.
The plan was we would be teamed up with Betheran teens. We would be their pilot Companions. When I heard the method at first, I was deeply shocked, as we all were. We were to be implanted with special neo-electro synapses which would enable us to interface with the brain of our giant counter part, yeah pretty strange sounding huh? You see, we would then be placed in a capsule that would be placed in our giant’s brain. Working as one, we would become fighter pilots.
The Betheran Counsel, left the decision up to us teens whether we wanted to join or not. If we didn’t they respected or decision. I and many others decided to help.
In the beginning we went through all sorts of medical tests, probing psychological profiling as did our giant counterparts who we hadn’t met yet.
I became curious six months into our training. We were told that time for meeting our counterparts was nearing. Strange, they were in the same complex as we were. And all this time we never once saw each other.
One day, a good friend of mine named Ed, he and I decided that we would sneaked our way out into a Betheran hallway. When out in that vast canyon of a hall we decided against it. Coming down the hallway was a Betheran attendant. We Earthie teens, as part of our training to acclimate ourselves to our giant counterpart, took classes that involved virtual reality simulators for us to grow accustomed to the size difference. Still, seeing one live was still an amazing experience. Keeping ourselves pressed up against the wall, Ed and I stowed away on the cart by running up to and grabbing hold to a material that was hanging over the cart.
As the cart rumbled its way down the corridor, I looked at Ed, “What the heck have we gotten ourselves into.?”
“Yeah, if they find out we could be dispelled.”
I told Ed, “It was my idea. I will take the blame.”
“No Ted. We’re into this together.”
When the cart stopped, we were surrounded by the explosive sounds of greatly amplified voices and deep collection of pounding sounds. Covering our ears, both Ed and I screamed as we jumped off the cart.
Our Giant Counterparts. And My First Introduction To Kelp
“Ed, I screamed as I pulled him away from a descending huge black object. All around us were these black objects that crashed and pounded their way around. Running to a silver tower we sought refuge. Looking up past the dark objects we saw thick columns. Columns that resembled legs. Legs on a planetary level. We had entered the recreation room to our giant counterparts!
Leaning out a bit, both Ed and I said in unison, “Incredible.” And incredible it was. As our eyes traveled the well formed thick living pillars, we saw they stopped at a pair of green shorts lined with white around the leg openings. And above that something that resembled a long green vest also lined with white.
Ed and I hid back and up against the metal tower. Two sets of black objects which we knew now were shoes came pounding toward us. We heard a settling sound of great weight coming from above us. Two well formed limbs moved around in back of us. One huge shoe came crashing down upon a gold rail running in front of a wall. “This must be a bar or place to sit and get food like at a diner back home,” said Ed.
“And this tower we are under must be a stool.” I remarked. I could see Ed was getting anxious.
“What is it?”
“Everything There so huge. I feel like a bug.” The noise and quaking vibrations took a toll on Ed who suddenly ran out from under the stool.
I ran after Ed, who could inadvertently get crushed to death underneath a passing giant shoe. Running after him and not thinking, I jumped over a moving colossal shoe. “Ed, Ed!” I shouted. He turned. I could see normality coming back to his face. A shadow came over him. I looked up, a giant holding a tray was just about on him. I ran and pushed him out of the way of the sole of death.
“Thanks Ted.” Ed added, “What is it about me that attracts giant shoes?” I smiled.
My smile left me. Our troubled wasn’t over yet. Another pair was bearing down on us.. Pulling Ted up on to his feet, I found we were lost in the shadow of a another shoe. I thought we had it.
The shadow glided off from us and the giant shoe came, rather softly I thought, down next to us. Huddled together we wondered what was up. The giant voices slowly began to disperse. Both my and Ted’s hair was blown back as air current began to blow over us. Descending down, was a gigantic knee “BOOM” It sounded as it hit the highly polished floor. Looking up, past the knee, I could see the shorts and the bottom part of the vest of this giant who had knelt down.. Ed and I shook and vibrated violently from side to side as other giant knees came down around us.
“Look how small they are?” said one giant voice
Another remarked, “I think their scared.” Looking at each other Ed and I let go of the other and straightened out or vests which by the way, is identical to the ones our giant counterparts wear.
Two huge fingers reached for Ed. I tried to push the my width fingers away as Ed kept backing up. When the fingers kept moving, I tried a few of those fighting techniques we have been learning. I heard a deep chuckle. “Lively aren’t you?”
Another giant said, “Just like you kelp.”
The two fingers turned and picking me up by my collar hoisted me high up into the air. I was placed in a small landmass. A landmass I know is really a hand. I looked up at the face that had a big smirk. As best I could judge being this close, the giant who was called Kelp, had a round face. Big cheeks that seemed wider that his forehead. His eyes were dark, round pools. Way above and covering his forehead in part, was a very, very thick forest of dark brown wavy hair. “What are you doing in here?” asked the giant.
Feeling embarrassed, “I said we-ah I was curious to see what you section was like.”
“Isn’t it against the rules to make social contact till command authorizes it?”
“Yes, I broke the rules.“
A even bigger smile appeared on his face. The giant I had heard before commented, “He does sound like you.”
“What about your friend?” asked this Kelp.
“Oh-ah, he was trying to stop me.”
“No that’s not true,” I heard Ed shouting. Turning around, I saw Ed standing in the hand of a sandy colored haired teen.
“Your very loyal to your pal,” commented Kelp. “Or are you trying to impress me?”
I crossed my arms and thought, “Boy this guy is arrogant.” I saw his thumb that was folded down near me. This gave me an idea. Maybe not a good one, but this Kelp’s arrogance was getting on my nerves, so I slammed down my foot on the edge of his thumb nail.
“Ouch,” he said as his thumb jerked up flicking me off his hand……….
Falling, I past the expanse to Kelp’s green shorts and began to pass his huge upper leg muscle when I was swept up into something and landed face down on the warm surface. I felt dazed for a couple of minutes. Sitting up I saw the quizzical face of Kelp looking down at me as I sat in his hand.. His eyes were half covered by his thick black locks. “You ok?”
I nodded. From across I heard Ed shouting, “Ted!”
“Its ok Ted,” I hollered back
“I can’t believe these tiny things are going to help us?” Kelp picked me up by the back of my vest and placed me across from his enormous face. “I have had pets bigger than these. I can see having one as a pet. But as a pilot companion?”
His friend replied, “Kelp, they maybe small but they are intelligent. Don’t talk that way about them.”
“I attended all the glasses on Earthies physiology. And I still don’t know. Anyway, so you don’t get into anymore trouble in you go.” Kelp dropped me into the pocket of his vest. I tried to crawl up and hang onto the lip of the pocket but Kelp jiggled it causing me to fall back down. I was really starting to hate this giant.
In the semi-darkness and warmth of the pocket, I thought, “I hope I hadn’t given the wrong impression about Earthies. And while Kelp was wrong about us, I really couldn’t blame him from his perspective, wondering if we could be of any help.”
I sat in the pocket for a short while as it quivered slightly to Kelps movements. I wondered how I could explain all this.
When the movements ended, two fingers and it was so very weird to think they were fingers pulling me out of a pocket---a pocket, placed me back down into Kelp’s hand. “My friend Balax and I have brought you to a service vent. Just follow it straight and it will lead to a storage room in your Earthies residence. We hope you won’t be found out. I’m sure our pals will keep quiet“ .
“Fine. But I still think your just a glorified pet.”
I looked up at what I could see of Kelp’s face. I was trying to determine if he was kidding or not. “Whatever you think, thanks for looking out for us,” I said. Kelp nodded.
The two giant teens placed us down before the vent they opened. Balax extended a finger to Ed. “Nice meeting you Ed. I had never met an Earthie before.”
Ed and I entered the vent. After we were in, Balax placed back the covering. Slowly we made our way. “Ed that was different wasn’t it?”
“Yeah. And so those are our counterparts. Seem like really nice people.”
“What’s wrong Ted? They are helping us.”
“Yeah, but you heard Kelp. He sees us as glorified pets.”
Balax doesn’t seem to think that,” responded Ed.
For a couple of hours we walked. Coming to the end, we pushed out the cover. Luckily no one was around. After placing the cover back we left the storage room. We left the storage room right out to our drill instructor and his assistant who were waiting. Ed and I looked at each other. I don’t know about Ted, my stomach felt like it wanted to hurl.
With crossed arms, Instructor Sorenson said “You boys are in a lot of trouble.
We were brought to the chief of cadet training, a Betheran named Florx. On his desk along with Instructor Sorenson, Ted and I standing in attention. waited for the verdict. “I see you both have fine records. Explain yourself..”
“Sir, I take full…”
Instructor Sorenson cut me off. “It doesn’t matter who suggested it first. The fact is you both disobeyed.” “To put it simply curiosity got the best of me sir.”
“Curiosity can be a very good thing. It also can be a very unintelligent act depending how you apply it,” said Florx. “And who helped you to the vent?”
“We don’t know sir.”
“I see. Cadet Ted and Cadet Ed. Should you be dismissed?”
“We broke the rules. I do respectfully request a second chance,” I said.
Ed replied, “I’ll take whatever punishment that is due. Only, I too request a second chance.”
“Instructor Sorenson speaks highly of you two. And he suggested a second and final chance.”
“I agree to a second chance.” We both thanked Florx and Instructor Sorenson.
For the next six weeks our training continued. News did get around about our meeting the Betheran teens. And our fellow cadets and buddies wanted to know all about them. We decided to let them find out for themselves when Instructor Sorenson announced that we would be meeting our giant counterpart that we have been matched up with.
We were brought to a special room where we would be meeting our pilots. This room was broken into smaller cubicles. I walked nervously around on top of a giant table. A young giant officer walked in, “Cadet Ted. I would like you to meet your pilot.”
Coming through the enormous doorway was none other than Kelp. “I looked off to the side for a moment extremely disappointed.” As he walked over, it did give a chance, before he came to close, to observe what he fully looked like. My first reaction was bit of a surprise. From my experience of Kelp, I thought he would be walking with a self-assured swagger. Instead, Kelp walked with an even relax gate.
Kelp’s appearance was slightly stocky. His upper chest muscles bulged slightly beneath the top portion of his vest. As I had observed before, Kelp had a huge round face with big, wide cheeks. And there was his two dark eyes that peered out from beneath his thick wavy hair. His lips were full and serious. As he came closer, Kelp’s serious lips pulled back and grew into a huge grin. Kelp kept extending higher into the air and kept expanding before me.
When he stopped, I in the interest of getting along, extended a hand. Kelp with both fingers carefully, placed them at the end of my arm where it connects to my shoulder and picked me up. I felt so scrawny before the towering teen. His first word and this surprised me, “Sorry you were caught. Nether Balax and I knew there were cameras in the vent and in our hallway.” Before I could reply Kelp added, “I hope my pet didn’t get into any trouble.”
“I think this friendship is going to take some work,” I thought wearily.
Holding me up before his enormous face, Kelp told me, “I ‘m surprised as you little one.” “Great, could you put down now,” I asked feeling ridicules hanging by his two fingers.
Bringing me closer to his mouth, “Sure, anything for my pet.” I was blasted with hot, moist air. I wiped with my other hand the few particles of water from my face. He moved me away from his face and lowered me into his vest pocket. I really somehow hoped I could get through to Kelp, that I was more than what my size suggested to him.
There was a special dinner thrown by the academy for us and our pilots. Next to the plate of our giants was a table chair and utensils for us to use. I had to wait for a spell in Kelp’s pocket before he took me out to have dinner. When he did, I told him, “Look, I don’t want to spend so much time in your pocket.”
“Where else am I suppose to carry you? Up my nose?”
“How about your hand.“
Once seated down, the chief of cadet training Florx said a few words. “Cadets we embark on a historic and monumental task. The preservation of our world. You are the first of Bethera and Earthies to combine together to fight a common enemy. I know many of you may feel it rather strange, if not abnormal trusting your life to one so small or large. I ask you to understand and go beyond the limitations of outward appearance. I know this is not easy.
In the past six months you all have been going through medical examinations, fitness tests. All matter of trying to test and prepare you for combat duty. The strength of any force is the commitment we have toward our comrades in arms. The next stage of training will be, the thought-personality-memory mind-merging. This will give both the pilot and pilot companion glimpses into the other. Now enjoy your supper.
A group of women from my town served at the dinner. Parents of both the pilots and pilots companion were present. I had a chance to meet Kelp’s parents. When Kelp had gone to the bathroom his mother said, “Please look after our boy.“
“His life will be my life.”
When Kelp came back, “Ted, when are your parents arriving?”
“I don’t have any parents. My family was killed in that accident on earth.”
Kelp was silent for a moment. “It doesn’t matter. We are the ones working together. Like a family.” That was the closet he has ever come so far, speaking to me like a real person.
The super was very delicious. There was a lot of fun talking and laughter. I mostly spoke with my fellow Earthies. I had a chance to speak with several of the giant pilots including a beautiful girl named Lauthra. And I also met with her pilot companion, a lively, stocky girl named Sally.
After dinner, I with the other Earthies moved into the giant cadet dorms. Each pilot had a roommate. Kelp’s roommate I found was Balax. And his pilot companion was a very studious looking boy named Mike.
My bed was in a recess in the headboard of the bed. It was equipped with a bed, dresser, lights and a private bathroom. Though, during the course of the day, we ate, showered and did everything else together. It was only during the evening we had a space to ourselves.
Just before lights out kelp changed into his light blue night clothes. “Oh, before I forget,” said Kelp who climbed out of bed. He took something out of the pocket to his shorts. Coming back over, he placed on my bed a blanket. “My mother made this for you.” On the top of the blanket woven in words: was: Pilot Companion. I was very touched and intrigued how someone her size could have woven such tiny letters.
A Time For Reflection.
The next week was spent in classes studying the Betheran theorem on extraterrestrial engagement.
We next spent several days on the theory behind the, Thought-personality-memory-mind-merging. The medical staff involved explained what to expect. In terms of physical reactions. And post emotional aberrations.
The night before it, I kidded Kelp, “If its me to go first, will I find anything there.“
If I go first, will I be able to squeeze in?“
That morning for Kelp and I to have the thought-personality-memory-mind-merging. Kelp on this first session would enter my mind. We were told no one experience was the same. And what one person experienced wouldn’t be the same as the other.
Kelp and I were taken to the medical section as with ten other cadets and their pilot companions. Several metal probes were implanted into my temples as with Kelp.
Once all bio-indicators read secure, the process began. At first I felt dizzy. My mind began to be rushing with thoughts. Thoughts from just a few minutes ago to many years past. I too, felt an up surging of feelings. After that I went blank.
When I woke up, I was sleeping on a bed next to Kelp’s small hill of a pillow. An Earthie nurse came up, took my vitals and asked how I was doing. I replied, Tired but ok. How’s Kelp?”
“He’s doing well.”
After several hours Kelp woke up. He seemed a bit spaced. Turning he said in Earthie vernacular, “Hey.”
“Hey,” I replied.
That evening we were pretty quiet.
It would be five days before I entered Kelps mind. Two days before the next session, sitting in the medical units virtual calming center, Kelp began to tell me what he experienced.
Picking me off the holographic grass, Kelp placed me on his knee. “I saw things that I wished I never have.”
“Gee you make it sound so perverted.”
“Ha, ha. No, I mean what happened.” Kelp looked down and said softly, “In your town. I saw it all through your eyes. All the fire, death of that day.”
I asked almost afraid too, “Kelp there are no photos of my parents what did they look like?”
Kelp looked at with those intent dark eyes of his. ” I really didn’t see much.”
“Kelp I must know what they looked like.”
“I know they loved you. They carried you out of your burning home.”
“Yes, but did they look like me?”
“Ted, I just saw fire. People screaming and on fire. I didn’t know. I’m sorry a kid had to go through that. I want to tell you that…”
I couldn’t hear anymore. Everything seemed to spin. The idea of my parents dying like that. I started getting sick all over Kelps knee. After a few minutes, I was able to control myself. Kelp placed me in his hand. Looking down at me he said with resolute in his voice, “You and I will be the best pilot and pilot companion there is. And I hope friends.”
“Thanks Kelp. And sorry about the mess on your knee.”
“Not a problem. But for a tiny person you sure can make the mess.”
On the day I would enter Kelps mind, both our temples had metal probes as before inserted in. As the process began, I felt as if I was falling down a tunnel of light. I found myself in a grand park. Maybe one Kelp had visited or would like to visit? Running through the park, I saw a younger boy with dark wavy hair. A younger Kelp? The boy seemed disorientated The image flickered and the younger Kelp vanished.
I was entering a crowded area, from the perspective it was through Kelp’s eyes. I suddenly dropped. I was falling down a deep, dark hole. Through his eyes, I was scanning my surroundings. Strange shapes began to emerge from the muddy walls of the pit. Half human. Half aquatic. Others took on the shape of wild and far-fetched insects. I could feel the panic in Kelp. Anxious hands dug trying to escape the pit. I heard Kelp shout, “Why doesn’t anyone help me?” Digging his fingers deeper into the clay, Kelp began to pull himself up. Nearing the top, I saw distorted horrible manifestations of horror. The faintly semblance of human faces gawked at Kelp. A few with poles and blunt instruments jammed them towards him. I woke up.
I would as with Kelp, would be talking with a trained mind-merging expert who would try and explain what we saw. I did feel, that in this dream Kelp felt alone, sacred. It was interesting for me, because Kelp comes off so assured of himself and in control. I think it did what its purpose was---to let us understand the other.
As Kelp slept, I whispered in his ear, “I would never leave you alone.”
“That’s good to know,” he said.
“What! You’re a wake?” He chuckled. I took a swipe at his ear. I jumped off the pillow onto his chest. “You giant jerk! What am I going to do with you?” I sat down. Then the enormity of what Kelp and I were working towards hit. “Together Kelp.”
With a groggy hand, he wrapped his little finger around me and in an equally groggy voice, “Together Ted.”
Out and About
It took us a several days to get back on our feet after the memory-mind-melding process. During that time, in civilian clothing, though he did wear the badge of the academy, Kelp went into the Betheran city. From his shirt pocket or hand I tried to observe best as I could this giant of giant cities. The swirling shaped structures rose to far into the sky for me to really appreciate them. Citizens on hover seats speeded by and on all the other type of fantastic flying crafts.
Standing on a bridge looking over a sea of a river and the majestic buildings in the background, Kelp commented, “This is what’s all for.“
“Yeah,” I squeaked in reply.
Later, we joined up with several of Kelp’s pals and cadets. They had their pilot companions with them too. We all ate at an out door café. The people who walked by, many would stop and say, “You are the pilots we have been hearing about?”
“Yes,” replied the pilots proudly.
Others came and marveled at us Earthies. And especially the children who found us interesting. I guess they never had seen toy size living people before.
As our giant pilots talked amongst themselves, we talked about what we thought about our giant pilots. Everyone seemed to be getting along. And we understood, even if all seemed well around us, all was not well. Out in the darkness of space a grave threat loomed maliciously over our heads and we maybe what stands before life and death.
The next day Kelp and I went hand gliding with others from the academy . Kelp placed me in his shirt pocket to the red flight suite he had on and made around the pocket a special netting so I wouldn’t fall out.
When Kelp ran off hotpot the mountain size building, I yelled, “Free as an eagle!”
“What does that mean?” asked Kelp.
“It means we are free as the creatures the fly in the sky. We are soaring spirits.”
“Cool,” he replied.
“Cool? Where did you lean that Earthie phrase.?”
“From me buddy Balax’s pilot companion.”
Man, it was beautiful as we fly over parts of the magnificent city and the large green and lush looking parks. Twenty minutes into our flight, Kelp said, “I think we have a problem.”
“There’s a small cord that is suppose to drop when I steer. Its not dropping.”
“How bad is that?” I shouted.
“If I can’t get it to drop, we can’t steer and we’ll plummet to our deaths.”
For the next several minutes, Kelp tried several things. None solving the problem. “Ted, I hate to place you in this predicament, but I think you are our only chance.”
“What do you want me to do?”
“I need you to get out of the pocket make your way along my right arm and try to reach for the stabilizing ring. If you can bring it down I then will be able to reach it.”
“I’ll try.” The first thing I needed to do was to cut myself through the netting Kelp had set up for my protection. I had a pocket knife with me. It was a present given to me from a friend back home. After I had cut through the netting, I tried not to look down. Grabbing firmly to Kelp’s flight suite I climbed up to his shoulder. I found a new dilemma. Kelp was wearing a short sleeved flight suite. His arm and muscles were to large for me to hang onto. I would be blown off. An idea struck me. A radical one. Shouting I told Kelp, If I try to crawl along your arm I will be blown off.”
“So what is our alternatives?” snapped back Kelp.
“I can use my small knife and use it to secure myself from falling off. Sorry, I can’t think of another way. At my size and the knife’s size you shouldn’t feel it. Not really.”
“Just do it!”
Taking my knife, I dug in with the blade and grabbed hold to the slit with one hand, as I created another hand hold.. I had to do this the whole length of Kelp’s arm. Meanwhile, Kelp’s flight path was becoming erratic. At one point, we flew over a building that had a roof top restaurant. The current of air created by the wingspan of the glider knocked the patrons out of their seats.
A hover craft from the academy was sent and flew near us. They called over to us a few times.
When I reached the top of his hand, Kelp told me, “If you can’t get it in one or two tries--- when we are over something you think you could survive the fall on, jump off.”
“You heard me.”
“No, I’m not leaving you alone. If we die it will be together. I’m your pilot companion.”
“Ted, I appreciate that but you have suffered enough cause of my p…”
“Ok, and good luck,” said Kelp.
I took a quick breath and stood up. I knew I had only one shot. If I miss, I would be blown away. I jumped! To my very real surprise, I took hold of the ring! Moving my body around, I was able to bring the ring down low enough for Kelp to grab.
After a few maneuvers, Kelp brought down the glider inside of a park. Kelp gave out a few loud hoots and shouts of joy. I jumped up and down on his hand.
Un-strapping himself, Kelp told me, “I need to relieve myself. What about you?”
My face went red, “I already have.”
“Poor little Earthie.” END
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