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Author's Chapter Notes:




Several hours had passed since the fight and neither he nor Nephila had said a word to each other since the incident. Due to the extent of her injuries and the fact that her shirt was in tatters, they had to return to Nephila’s room. After a quick fix up using the enlarged medical kit provided to her by Athena, and a wardrobe change the two continued their walk in silence.

               Michael was becoming increasingly concerned for her mental state, and considering she was supposed to accompany him to the planet’s surface he also began to feel concern for his own life.

               “So... you never explained to me why you feel the way you do about my kind.” He said casually from his lofty position on her shoulder.

               “I gave you an answer didn’t I?” she said laconically.  

               “Yes, but you never gave me a reason, just the answer. I want to know what happened to you and why you became this way.” He demanded calling upon what little authority he had over the multi-ton women.

               He could sense that this was an unusual question for her; it was clear from the half of her face he could see while riding her shoulder that no one had ever truly taken an interest in her. Then again most people considered her an oversized savage animal so why would they.

               “Do you really want to know why?” she said softly with a small hint of happiness leaking out from her powerful voice.

               “Considering the life threatening mission I am supposed to entrust partially to you, yes I not only want to know, but I need to know as well.” He explained making sure to seem as honest as possible.

               Nephila stopped suddenly, as if to process what he had said. Then about a minute later she went to the window and stared out for a bit all the while not saying a

               “Michael…” she said gently and placing her hand on her shoulder.

               Her enormous hand reached up towards where he was sitting. At first he thought she intended to grab him, but instead allowed her hand to rest mere inches from his body. At this distance he could almost hear the blood rushing through her veins.

               “Do you really want to know? It’s not a happy story.” She said inquisitively still somewhat hesitant to tell him anything at all.

               “Yes of course.” He said.

               “Ok. I’ll tell you, but I pick where we walk, and I want to go to the inner ring. I have something to show you there.” Said Nephila in a stern tone.

                 “Also I want to hold you.” she added quickly.

                  Now Michael was the hesitant one. He had a good amount of trust for her, but as he stared at the enormous mass of muscle known as her hand he couldn’t overlook the possibility of death. After all she could very easily squeeze her hand into a fist and crush him within the confines of her warm palm before he could react.

                    Then again she put enough trust in Michael to him near her jugular, thus the only logical response from his perspective would be to return her trust. Nonetheless he was afraid of the possibility of dying, not for selfish reasons of self-preservation, but because if he were to die the Axiom would likely enter the hands of the rebellion.

                     He had to take this risk, for the mission of course. “I agree to your terms Nephila.”

                     “Is it ok if I grab you then?” she asked awkwardly.

                     “You have my permission to do so.” He said while fighting to maintain his composure.

                       Nephila moved her hand slowly towards her tiny companion; she knew that he was just as afraid of her as she was of him. With very light pressure she pinched his body in between her thumb and pointer finger while using her middle finger as support. From there she cupped her hands together just below her chest and deposited him in the center; it would be awkward for her to walk long distance like this, but in her mind it was worth it.

                        “So, tell me how this all began.” He asked immediately.

                        “It all started when I was a little girl. At the time I was what your people call a ‘hunter-gatherer’. Our group was small, about maybe 18 of us. It consisted of my parents, my brother and sister, me of course, and a few others.” She began.

                          “Were your people nomadic?” he asked intrigued.

                          “Nomadic?” she repeated confused.

                          He had to remember that her vocabulary was fairly limited. “It means to move from one place to another.” He explained.

                          “Not really. Unlike some of the planets Athena told me about their… I mean, my planet doesn’t change much throughout the year. We don’t have what you would call ‘winter’, so everything grows year round. Well at least that’s how I remember it.” She continued while staring out of the colonies windows into space.

                          “Sounds like paradise. However that still doesn’t answer my question?” He said.

                           Nephila’s lower lip became stiff, and her hands began to shake ever so slightly. Michael was afraid she intended to kill him for a second but realized that it was simply her body’s way of reacting to a traumatic memory.

                            “One day… and I don’t know why they did this, but one day, the adults or whoever was in charge decided to take a shortcut through a field. I guess they figured there’d be more food in the forest on the other side. Anyways I remember… sort of.” She said unsure of herself.

                            “It’s ok if you don’t remember everything, just tell me what happened.” He said gently and stroking the area where her thumb and her palm met.

                             “Well, I was with my brother and sister at the time, when I saw… a light up in the sky.”

                           “A light?” Michael repeated already halfway sure of how this story was going to end.

                            “Y-Yeah, I pointed it out and I’m guessing some of the others noticed it to, because they were also looking at it. But, rather than go away like the other lights this one came straight for us.”

                            “It was a ship wasn’t it?” He said stoically now 100% sure of how her story ends.

                           “It was larger than the entire field, and the light was… blinding us. Some of the others were screaming at it, throwing spears, anything to get it away from us. I was so afraid; I thought it was a monster that was going to kill me.

                          “Of course now I realize that it was a Type-M Interatmospheric freighter, but back then I just… didn’t know.” She continued somewhat unsure of the details.

                          “I remember a hatch opening up, and from the hatch came several people…your people. My mother and father ran at them, spears raised. I saw how small they were, no offense Michael, and I thought there was no way we could lose.”

                           “But, that clearly wasn’t the case.” He said sympathizing with her situation.

                            “No it clearly wasn’t. One man in the front raised his arm, and from his hand appeared a red light. A beam of light shot out from his hand and straight through my mother’s upper body, I remember it made the sound of lighting, only a thousand times louder. When the light disappeared only her legs remained.” She said.

                             “A self-channeled high energy disintegration ray. I’m surprised they would resort to using such a powerful technique against your mother, especially since we have many non-lethal methods that would have worked.” He added.

                            “By the way, do you need a break? I imagine this would be a painful thing for you to remember.” He said calmly.

                            “No. I’m fine. This all happened when I was very young, so to be honest I don’t really feel anything at all.” She said almost happily.

                             Michael shook his head at her reaction; he had seen this a thousand times over from various aliens and humans. She was so young and primitive that when she was inducted into Atlantian society, humanity erased almost everything about her culture and family from her memory, including any feelings she may have had for her parents.

                             “Alright continue.” He suggested.

                             “Well after what happened to my mother, I can only assume that the others charged them. I was grabbed by my brother who started to run for the trees with my sister. When I turned around I saw none of them, so I assume they were all…”

                              “Disintegrated.” He finished for her.

                              “Yes. And as for my siblings and I, we were blinded by a green light and then somehow we were pulled into the ship.”

                             “Gravitational attractor.” he said as he brooded over what possible purpose the crew of that ship had to slaughter Nephila’s family.

                             “My siblings and I were stuck in a glass box aboard the ship along with several other clear boxes. All of them had giants in them, some old some young. It wasn’t long before we arrived at the station, most of us didn’t even fight back we were too scared.”

                             “So? Where are your siblings now.” He asked intrigued.

                             “I have no idea.” She answered. “Unlike the older giants who were being sold, my siblings and I as well as the other children were kept aside in our clear containers. Then Athena arrived.”

                             “And what did they do to you?” said Michael.

                            “Well… the people in charge pumped gas into my box, and I fell unconscious. When I woke up me and my siblings were strapped to metal tables, they injected us… with so many things; there were… thousands of needles.” Said Nephila whose colossal body broke out into a cold sweat which unfortunately for Michael began to drip onto him.

                            “Are you alright.” He said concerned seeing as her palms were practically soaking him in her perspiration.

                            “I-I’m fine, I just… give me a minute.” She stuttered.

                           Michael looked on with concern as muscles fibers the size of his arm began to shake, it was obvious she needed a break for a bit.

                          “Where are we going anyways?” he thought to himself and pulled up the hologram to determine his location.

                          He rotated and magnified the holographic projection on their location, as it turned out they were somewhere around the economic section of the colony. He briefly wondered what she could possibly need to show him here, it was probably something she wanted him to buy.

                        “May I continue.” She asked through gritted teeth large enough to snap a man in half.

                        “You seem like you’re in a lot of pain, are you sure that this is something you want to tell Me.” he questioned

                        “I’m fine I just need to get this off my chest” said Nephila who’s normally imposing voice was beginning to waver.

                        “Anyways. When I woke up, my brother and sister were gone. I was the only one left in the room. I felt strange at the time, but… I didn’t think about it much. Then Athena approached me, I was so angry and hurt that every time I saw her I tried to crush her.  eventually I realized I couldn’t hurt her and she wasn’t going to hurt me, so I just stopped.” She continued and ignored his question entirely.

                        “Years passed, I think. And as me and Athena interacted more and more I actually started to care for her despite what she put me through. She was the only person I interacted with after all. Over time I started to learn your language, and one day she asked me if I wanted to stay with her, and I said yes.” she finished.

                        “Oh and were here by the way.” She said nodding towards the area in front of them.

                       Realizing they were there Michael looked out from behind an enormous wall of re-enforced glass at what was possibly the largest zoo in the history of mankind. To his left were hundreds of clear containers stacked neatly against the colonies hull, each one filled with up to 3 giants. Upon seeing Nephila many of them howled and shouted at her, some out of sadness, some begging for help, and others out of pure mindless hostility; either way it was a disturbing sight.

                      “Disgusting aren’t they.” Said Nephila apathetically to him and clearly expecting him to agree.

                       Michael simply shrugged his shoulders. “If you say so” he said objectively.

                      “Just look at them, crawling up those boxes. I pity them.” She said bitterly and shaking her head.

                      “Hey just because you live with humans doesn’t mean you have to be arrogant like us.” He joked in an attempt to lighten the mood.

                       Nephila paid him no mind; she just continued to glare at the other barely clothed giants with utter hatred, perhaps hoping he’d see in them what she did.

                      “Nephila, I hope you realize that they’re your species. They are your family.” Said Michael.

                       Finally he got her attention, but he wished he hadn’t. The second the word family left his mouth a face full of hatred the size of a house locked onto his relatively puny body. The way she looked at him combined with her size difference made him feel truly helpless; like an insect.

                      Nephila brought the less than doll sized man up to her face “Don’t remind me” she growled

                     “I can’t stand the fact that I’m related to them. You know, it’s because of them that your kind treat me so badly. ” She said turning around back the way they came.

                      “It is not because of them specifically Nephila. Its very common for species that have been made protectorates of our Union face discrimination, and even out right enslavement. Personally I find it disgraceful and so does the Senate. Of course the rebellion is a different story.” Said Michael confidently.

                      “But I’m civilized. I can speak! I can read and write. I’m not like them.” She said irritated.

                      “You’re an exception, but believe me you have much more in common with them than you think. Remember your little performance with that male?” He criticized

                     “That was just… Ok fine I guess I am like them, a little bit.” She admitted and turned her head away from Michael.

                     “Don’t be so hard on yourself. You may be a savage giant, but you’re also a civilized Atlantian. And after we win this war I’ll make sure everyone in the universe understands that.” He reassured her.

                     “Th-Thank you.” Said Nephila whose face had turned an adorable shade of red.

                    “Now let’s go back to your room, I need to change clothing” he said awkwardly.

                     “Why?” she asked

                    “Because you sweat when you get emotional?” he said before sending a message to Athena to inform her of their location.

Chapter End Notes:



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