Small Victories

Here is a old story that might give those interested, a view of my writing style from back in the day. Enjoy SmallVictories!

I woke up with a pounding headache. It was my graduation ceremony last night, and I had too much to drink of course. Not that it was my choice, all my fathers friends bought me congratulation drinks. While I might be bigger than most of my classmates at a bulky  9.5 meters, I couldn’t hold my alcohol.

I remember being asked by a friend of my fathers, Mr Zavin, head of some government department, what careers I had in mind.

“You should work for me, it isn’t the highest paying government department, but you needn’t worry about any hazardous assignments. Leave that for the meat heads in Galactic Deployment.”

I was shaken by his offer, every point in my education talked of the opportunities in the G.D. How serving the Empire was all there was. I had managed to slur some kind of response, “What exactly do you want me to do?”

“Show up in a couple of cycles at my office,” he smiled and put a business chip in my pocket. “We can get you started.”

I decided I would take the job since I really didn’t like the idea of serving for the Empire. So after breaking the news to my father, I showed up a couple of days later for my first day of work.

It was a small government office squeezed between two much larger Galactic Deployment offices.

I met Zavin’s assistant in my new office, “Welcome Mr. Hilt! I hope it wasn’t too hard finding the place. Most applicants never show up, they ask Galactic Deployment for directions to us, and end up being sent to another sector.”

“It wasn’t too bad. What do we do here exactly… Mr?”

“Gils. We here at the Department of Growth work to keep our development of this planet in check. Taking care of humans can be time consuming if not done right.”

“Humans? As in deer meat?”

Gils smiled, “Yes, you take it for granted when you eat it. But most still exist in the wild. When we need to expand facilities on this rock, we sweep in, collecting some meat in the process, but for the most part just herding them so we can build.”

“Humans. Never liked the stuff.”

“Me neither. I prefer the bigger stuff.”

When I saw my first clan of humans, they were not what I thought they would look like. It was their eyes that caught my attention. They all stared at me and held the glare before they began running.

As Gils put it, running might seem like it solves our problem of clearing them out but for us when they run they usually come back to cause problems. This has been true since the day the Empire set foot on the planet. The humans always come back for more.

I was set to simple work. To just shovel all the huts and tents and throw them into the trash collector. The department planned to build some kind of resort on this mountain range. The visiting representatives of the Empire liked visiting areas with snow, somehow its considered exotic.

I was sweeping up the buildings when I heard a crackling sound from behind me. It was then that my feet gave out under me and I began to fall from what I thought was solid ground.

I didn’t know where the edge of this pit was, but I attempted to grab something that would stop me from falling in. Gils hand was there to grab my back and pull me up before I fell into what looked like a pit of trees sharpened into spears. This would have been a death trap for me.

“Woh! Those vermin built their settlement over a trap.” Gils voice came across more interested in this human tactic than making me feel better about my near death moment. “I have seen traps built before, but usually they are more obvious in their location. They must have lived atop it just in case of this day.”

Human tactics? I always thought wild humans were simple deer with simple thoughts. “Do we encounter traps often?”

“Often enough, yes. But don’t worry, they rarely do any real harm”

Rarely.

My first month went well, we cleared out many human settlements and I started to see what he meant about the traps. The humans almost seemed obsessed with taking any of us down.

They lost their world to us almost a millennia ago, so I am certain they know they can never defeat the Empire. So why are they still fighting just to kill what they can? I guess maybe they care to eat us too?

I have eaten human meat before, but its a cheap meat. When the Empire came, they brought proper cattle. I guess we must seem like a good meal.

I was tracking a group of humans on my own this time. We dealt with their initial settlement and I was charged with running up front to herd them into our traps. There was a strange building up ahead.

A very old human one by the looks of it. It was made of stone and the architecture was more advanced than what I had dealt with before. Decrepit as it was, I was interested.

I got closer and realized inside were the humans. Gils’ research showed most humans just keep running until dark. But this group had stopped here. Why?

I was hit across the face by a rock I think. It hit me hard enough to cause a bruise for sure. I looked to the rock building and saw the humans arming small slingshot like machines. Well, to them they must be great catapults.

More hit me. At first it was annoyance, but as the attack intensified I realized some were on fire. I decided to fall back and let the others know that these humans were better prepared.

My foot caught on something as I turned around, and, as I tried to catch my balance a larger boulder struck my temple. I began to tumble down a hillside out of control.

‘Oof!’ my stomach lurched as it collided with a tree, knocking the air out of me. I fell off a cliff into a lake. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t get my ahead above the water. I blacked out.

The lake could not have been too deep, as I awoke along its shore.

I heard a noise as I tried to correct my vision. It was a human youth who stood with a spear in hand but not in a fighting stance. I think he had been trying to figure out if I was alive before I awoke.

“Hello giant” he said.

He speaks our language? I sat up and stared at him in confusion. “Umm, hello there human. Why do you not flee like the others?”

“I do not think you want to eat me today. Also, you are a horrible swimmer so I could just out swim you to the other side to the castle.”

The other side, where I was attacked by the humans. He must be with them.

I got up quickly in case I was in another ambush, but as I looked around we really were alone here.

“I am not here to do battle with you. I was only watching you out of curiosity when I saw you fall. My name is Farad, what is your name giant?” He had moved away from me after I had got to my feet. He seemed to know how to find a ‘safe’ distance from my kind.

“Hilt. Ago Hilt. I think you and your people need to leave this area. We plan to develop this land. I do not think your people would want to get caught.”

“No, we would not want to be caught by others of your kind. But we will not leave here.”

I always thought humans daft, maybe with these traps I had given them more credit. “You know you cannot win against us. Even with the best weapons at your disposal you cannot win.”

“Perhaps.” The human nodded goodbye to me and ran into the forest.

Having used all my energy to come to my feet, I finally sat down to rest after my ordeal. I lost my communicator in the lake, so I would have to walk back on my own.

Gils looked at me perplexed as I walked up to the office. He seemed annoyed.

“Where have you been and why are you soaking wet?”

I didn’t know if I should tell him about my meeting with Farad and his people. I could show them the castle later. “I fell into a lake.”

“Well, why you were taking a swim, we were working. I gave you a big chance here to prove your worth. We expected you to push the humans forward into our traps hours ago.” He seemed more annoyed than I would have expected with this setback.

“I encountered some problems with the humans. They had set up an ambush for me.”

He scoffed. “Don’t be silly. I’ve taught you that these traps are nothing to worry about if you have a head on your shoulders. Tomorrow I will go with you to take care of these traps. Get some rest we leave early.”

I went back to my room and dried off. I thought about my day and wondered, why did Farad leave me to come back and report. They must have planned that attack a while ago. Why did they not kill me as I had expected?

Gils lead the way in the direction I told him the humans had set up. I told him about their weapons. He laughed and corrected me saying what humans have could barely be considered weapons.

I saw the castle up ahead and pointed it out to Gils. He grabbed a tree out of the ground as he walked towards the castle. He walked right up to the castle. It was abandoned.

“They must have fled after you came across it.”

“I don’t know why they would have. I didn’t do any harm to them, and they had their chance to run before.” I replied.

A whistling sound to my right caught my attention. I turned my head just in time to  see a boulder fly into Gils shoulder. The humans seemed to have taken higher ground to assault us. They knew I would be back and they had adapted, again.

“We don’t have time for this!” Gils yelled as he stormed up the hill into the assault.

“What do you mean, Gils?” I said as I grabbed some dead trunks as a shield.

As he swatted volleys of arrows out of the way he yelled to me “Budget cuts, just found out yesterday that our budget is cut by almost 70%.”

That must be why he was so annoyed before. He always complained about G.D. getting all the funding, this was another nail in the coffin for us at the D.o.G.

I got my shield up just in time to stop a ball of fire hit me. This is more intense than when I came before. Were they really trying to kill me last time?

I saw something rope like go taught behind Gils legs, but before I could figure out what it was a dozen large rocks struck Gils in the chest. He stumbled back slightly but that was part of their plan.

He started falling back head over heels down the hill. Straight towards a row of trees sharpened to spikes.

I charged down to try and help him. His momentum was too much and he slammed into the sharpened tree line. The trees pierced their way through his chest.

I stared in shock at his dead body. I never thought we could ever be taken down by these humans. They were too simple minded. Weren’t they?

I realized that the assault from the humans had stopped. I stared and looked up at them. I could see the group just standing, looking at me.

“He had caused so many deaths for us,” came a voice behind me.

Farad was there, standing up the hill out in the open. He must not fear me anymore.

“I know, but so have I. Why did you not kill me before? Why not now?” I looked into his small unblinking eyes.

“We know who you are Ago Hilt. You are the son of a wealthy man who would have liked you to have gone off and served your Empire. We also know that you have not killed any of our kind. Not directly anyways.”

“How would you know that? Who are you to know this much about me and my kind?”

“The advantage of being so much smaller than you giants is that you think of us as just vermin. To be ignored or exterminated. But we learned your language and taught it through our generations. We sneak into your camps at night and learn about you.”

Humans. They exist as minor snacks for us in our cities, but what do they learn from us being in our homes?

“Am I free to go?” I asked.

“In a way yes. As you know your Department is loosing money to Galactic Deployment. This development area has become no longer,” he paused a moment, “cost effective for you. We had to kill this man Gils to make the point. You want to build elsewhere.”

I didn’t think much more after that. The human Farad was right. We could not afford to uproot such a bad bunch of humans.

I picked up Gils’ body and brought it back to our work camp. Gils’ assistant looked confused as I explained the cost of doing business here and how we should just go somewhere else to build The Great Empire Museum.

Very much my to blend a dash of science fiction into a fantasy story. Thoughts?

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