Eyes Without A Faceearliest post first | most recent post first
“Batten down that hatch engineer!!!!”
Floodspace exploded above my head, but before the Engineer General even started yelling I was already securing the portal. Why do we even have portals on this vessel if we can only open them in port?
“I guess that’s why they call ‘em PORTals, innit?” says Bunky, my roommate.
It’s all good, I figure. Any chance to get off my little island and navigating the Floodspace between the stars is right by me. That murky muck between the planets was put there for engineers and sailors like me to navigate the depths between, and if it doesn’t get in your hair now and then then you’re not really living the Floodspace sailor’s life then are you?
Orin was seated cross-legged in the rubble, beams of light radiating from his head. With his hands he made complicated finger gestures, mudrâs of unknown derivation, perhaps operating some complicated invisible dashboard. His former captors--the men from the black van--lay crumpled in different shapes of supplication all around him.
Our ragtag fleet of mismatched toys slowly maneuvered up to his perimeter.
"Orin! Over here!"
"Orin--hey boy! What's up?"
Orin looked at us and smiled.
Then he remade the universe.
Orin has a tremendous rage. We'd never seen that in him before. He was always such a good boy, never had tantrums at home. But here he gutted most of a building... with some kind of shockwave.
Equally alarming was discovering that all the tiny vehicles in this scientific toy museum were manned! As we were digging ourselves out of the rubble, we discovered the crew to the steamship we took shelter behind. They're a crew like any other, but have had long experience in this land of giants.
It turns out each of these specimens--the steamship, the jet, the limo, the biplane, the UFO, and we keep digging out more--were once Orin's toys. Each crewmember of every vehicle told us the same story, of being lost and finding themselves in the park and being taken home by Orin. Most had handled it the same way we had, by making allies with Orin and getting the lay of the land before they made their next move. But in every case, they were taken from Orin by this shadowy group and placed in this warehouse lab. Initially they enticed him with treats or toys of tremendous interest, but lately he'd been becoming more recalcitrant. Apparently he had had enough.
So, not only does Orin possess tremendous destructive ability, he also seems to have a knack for attracting artifacts in the form of real vehicles from other dimensions that have a natively smaller physical structure. Go figure.
We've lead the motley crew of surviving toys out of the building's wreckage and to an abandoned shed nearby. Now we're leading the biplane and the lear jet on a mission to find out what happened to Orin. We sure do hope that little tyke's OK.
After having to wind up the spring-powered engine a few times, we finally spotted the black van. It was parked in front of an abandoned-looking warehouse in the industrial district, and we were able to slip in through a window open just a crack. The building seemed dark, but as we explored deeper into the maze of hallways and rooms we found signs of habitation. It was a room lined with shelves of specimens in jars, each one gently lit with its own tiny spotlight. But these weren't butterflies or orchids on display. There was a tiny school bus, like a child's toy car. And a miniature RV, a very small biplane, a tiny 747, a little UFO... It was like someone's prize toys on display in a dark room with perfect lighting. But the detail on each one was far too complete to be mere toys. These specimens were just like us--real, full-size vehicles from worlds far smaller than this one. It was a collection.
"Noooooo! I wanna go home NOWWWWWWWW!"
It was Orin. We took shelter behind the mini steamship just before the walls exploded.
Orin is on his bike, pedaling down the sidewalk. We're pacing him at an altitude just over the roofs and the telephone lines. It's a little disorienting, given the fact that we're only about 3 1/2 inches long relative to this environment, so things are at once both closer and farther away than they appear. Still, we can keep him in sight with far less moving around than if we were buzzing right behind him.
Or so we thought. We'd gone slightly ahead, keeping an eye out for mad dogs and bullies, but when we pulled the ship around he was gone. Worse, we spotted his bike, laying by itself in someone's yard, front wheel still spinning, and a black van driving off in the opposite direction. Though we had no direct obligation, we couldn't but feel responsible for the little tyke, and this appeared to be some pretty serious stuff. The van wasn't exactly speeding away, and with the wind at our backs and the propellers on full we were able to just keep it in sight--till it made its way into the dark industrial side of town.
With the Eyes Without A Face as his personal wrist-mounted drone, Orin has become the envy of all his friends.
We were able to remove the motor from a broken bath toy and install it as the engine on the ship (though it takes three crew members to wind it up, it still beats those damn sails). We've convinced Orin to wear a terrycloth wristband (which we found at the bottom of his toy chest) and are able to connect to it securely using the ship's docking clamps. This arrangement keeps Orin's direct handling of us to a minimum, which is important due to his enormous size and our relatively delicate construction.
We've decided (as a crew) to remain with Orin for the time being. It's excellent cover, and running "missions" around his back yard or the park allows us to explore this Land of Giants without directly exposing ourselves as alien visitors. If we were apprehended by a grown up, we'd undoubtedly be shut up in some laboratory (or worse!). As it is, Orin doesn't let anyone touch us, and even got into a scrap over us at the park with some over-zealous chums. We circled the altercation, and even got to try out the new needle launchers the Captain had installed.
The nature of the Colossal Mega-Monuments should have been obvious. The moment that we saw the human figure coming over the horizon, we were immediately shocked into the reality the terribly inverted world we were in. A young boy, perhaps 9 or 10 years old, in a rugby shirt and shorts and tall socks, bounded across the landscape. In some ways, the most natural of scenes. But as he drew closer and his size became evident, it was terrifying.
Truly, THIS was the Colossus.
We barely caught the wind in time to make clear of what we now knew to be an enormous ball, just before the child kicked it over the eastern horizon.
His name is Orin. He spotted us quickly, buzzing at ground level over the grass, and thankfully he did not crush us in his giant hands. Instead, we raised enough ruckus on the ship that we caught his attention. He put his enormous eye up to the windows of the bridge and said "HELLO IN THERE!" We were able to communicate with him enough to let him know we were too special to be destroyed, and indeed that we could be wonderful friends. He agreed, and has taken us back to his room, where I am currently surveying his collection of broken toys for equipment we can use to upgrade the Eyes Without A Face.
THE VALLEY OF THE COLOSSAL MEGA-MONUMENTS is not a valley, but the captain thinks it sounds better than THE BIG FLAT GRASS PLAIN OF GIANT SHAPES. It is one of the more unusual things we've seen on any of our voyages, however, and deserves being recorded in our logs as such.
Traveling at a higher altitude (given the increasing height of the grass) soon became second nature. The breezes are different here, but the sails are operating even better than before. Or perhaps we're just getting the hang of them.
After many miles of the seemingly infinite sea of green, we spotted shapes on the horizon. After a full day's travels, it was hard to understand their size, or how far away we were. It was the scale of the behemoths that threw us off. A perfect sphere, resting nestled in the grass, many hundreds of feet high (and much taller than our current cruising altitude). Large columns, apparently made of a kind of steel, painted white and arching into the sky, meeting at some point just beyond our field of vision in the clouds. Massive chain links, each one larger than the ship herself, dangling down from the heavens and suspending a platform on which 15 ships of our size could safely land. Other objects of more abstract shape and made of alien materials dot the plain, each equally massive and forcing us to change our route as if around small mountains. The captain surmised one could have been made of leather, though it would take very large herds to create a single piece of material that large.
We've dropped the sails and are floating peacefully underneath the yaw of the massive sphere. Here we'll spend the night. Our popcorn stores continue to hold, and we've discovered more than adequate quantities of water held suspended in the massive blades of grass each morning. Still no sign of living civilization, though these monuments were undoubtedly created by highly intelligent beings, sophisticated enough to build such massive structures. Are they here even now? Perhaps dwelling far below the grassline? Being people of the air, we won't be exploring down there.
After we left the popcorn fields, the grasses grew to tremendous heights. We'd grown used to flying relatively low, on account of the great openness of the Infinite Prairie, and that we were still mastering the sails. But now the grasses have grown so tall that we're being forced to fly higher, and the winds are different up here.
The grasses are hundreds of feet tall. We've lost sight of the ground between its stalks so there's no telling how high we are now. We steer clear of the seed heads, ever since snagging a loose ley line on one. The canopy looks like a sea of green, waves rippling in the breezes, spreading out in all directions. The captain figures we could land right on it if we wanted, but I don't like to think about how big the aphids or caterpillars might be down there.
As we've passed over the endless miles of popcorn fields, the bloomed kernels have become larger and larger. Currently they are the size of basketballs. The novelty of it has done good for the crew's morale, having had little but popcorn to eat for weeks, but our supply of butter has begun to grow short. The greater danger, however, is the weevils, which have also been steadily increasing in size.
Early on the weevils were tiny and not so plentiful, and could easily be brushed out of the nets as we brought our bounty on board. Eventually clubs became necessary to subdue them, but today one was able to overcome a crewmember and make its way on board. All hands took up arms (axes, machetes, solar-powered tasers) and were able to coral it in the hold. Given our recent hard times, there's nothing in there for the creature to eat, so it's been decided to leave the door shut and wait until it starves rather than endanger the crew any further. The sailor who was initially attacked sustained deep lacerations, but the doctor says she'll be alright.