Gorthan watched as his father approached him with weeping eyes. The V'oshonian royal guardsman held a beam saber's hilt in his hands. "My son," he said, his voice hoarse and his wrinkled face damp, "you have been chosen to lead the latest party out to meet the Man." He choked down a tear in his voice and inhaled, holding his breath just a moment, and letting it out to calm his nerves. "It was the folly of our ancestor's generation to have declared war on him, a war we did not win. It was only through our greatest will that we agreed to leave him alone and him us. The truth is, we need him now or we will not survive past three more generations."

Gorthan's hands trembled. "Father," he uttered, swallowing fear. "If it is possible to gain the assistance of the Man, I will do so!" He placed two of his right hands over his chest. "Our people will not fail! I will not fail you!"

"Vactrel!" a female voice shouted. "You can't let him go out to see the Man! He'll never return!"

Vactrel comforted his wife. "We're far past the point of concern about an individual's survival," he said.

His wife stared at him, eyes agape. "You can't mean that!"

"Some of my friends' children are dying," Gorthan told his mother. "If I die, I die, but if I succeed, we live!"

"Gorthan!" His mother addressed him directly. "The Man is evil! During the Great War of The Eastern Territory, all the tribes of the Eastern Territory were destroyed! The Man summoned a firestorm that engulfed entire nations!"

The young one coughed and took a ragged breath. "I've seen the memory records," he told her. "This Man can reshape the planet around him in ways we never could. If he intervenes on our behalf our survival is assured."

His mother turned to him and held her top two hands against his face. "I want you to know, no matter what happens, I'll always love you," she said.

"I love you too, mother," Gorthan said.

Brushing a tear out of his eye, he affixed the beam's hilt to his torso harness and exited the living quarters. His team, equipment in hand, had already gathered on the launching pad outside the living space. "Gorthan," one of his former superiors at military training academy said, "as you know, you've surpassed all our expectations and graduated highest rank. As sure as my name is Valexri, I shall obey your command. May you succeed and thus, we succeed."

"May we succeed," Gorthan replied, "and thus, I succeed."

The team nodded to him and he nodded back. He regarded this bunch, a mixture of young and old, no wounded, no with abnormal development, and the equipment they carried. "We have determined how we can interact with The Man's equipment," a younger classmate said. "Decoding his language has proven difficult, but we have a functional knowledge of his primary language."

Gorthan consulted his training. "Alright," he said, taking charge. "Here is how we do this. We send a signal the instant we are in transmitting range. To do this, we begin casting the signal as we're on our way. We want him to know of our intent before he can spot us. Our appearance is apparently horrifying to him, and he won't hesitate to kill us all before we get within thousand-units of him if he spots us. He has technology our ancestors described as seemingly magical in nature. What we know to be true his equipment laughs at. Be prepared to kill yourself rather than die at his hand, if that is the turn of events. Understand?"

"Sir!" The team shouted in unison. One young soldier held up a right hand.

"What more can you tell us about him?"

Gorthan regarded the young man's question. "I've been on spying missions," he informed them. "The images you see on far-screens can't possibly capture how massive this being is. At full height, he is the size of multiple nations stacked on top of each other. He resides in a vessel so big every nation in the Southern Territory could fit within it."

"By Vorthox's Blade," one soldier gasped. They exchanged glances of disbelief. At least one doubted the sincerity of the statement, but didn't say it out loud.

"Our attacks are painful to him," Gorthan reminded, "but I warn you not to use them. He can inject himself with a liquid that undoes our damage to him and aggression against him results in death on a enormously disproportionate scale. The Great War resulted in The Man burning the entire Eastern Territory to the ground." The gasps got bigger. "I promise I'm not exaggerating. That is why we MUST remain peaceful and impress our intent upon him."

They nodded. Unfurling their suit's wings, they took to the sky, rigging equipment to each one and some multi-chained between them.

The wind over the grey stony plain blew hard. Once they passed the violet plant life of their nation, the weather became more violent over the Stone Plains. They shared food and drink between them as they flew, consuming just enough to guarantee they had enough for a return trip. After less than a few thousand-units of distance, a black and grey structure began to loom out in the distance, perched against two mountain ranges.

Gorthan clicked the suit's radio. "Begin transmission of the recording now!" he ordered. "Drop altitude!"

They lowered themselves to the ground level, flying just above the stone. Dodging uneven projections poking up from the jagged terrain, the main transmitter attached to the V'oshonian at the center of the formation extended an antenna.

"Greetings Human," the message said, in the primary human's language. "It is with the greatest regret that we ask for your assistance. Our ancestors waged an unholy war against you, one that our side started, and we wish to ask for your forgiveness. We are facing a foe unlike anything we've faced before. A parasitic organism encroaches on our territory. It drains the life out of every crop we require for sustenance. Only a being as mighty an omnipotent as yourself could hope to save us. Our scientists are bewildered by this organism's ability to adapt to our every conceivable method of destroying it. Please assist us and we will be eternally grateful. Give us our demands and we will go to every length to fulfill them in the name of reciprocation. A team is flying out to meet you."

They flew on, the vast size of the ship becoming more and more obvious. Several of them could not help but stare at it, even though it was still hundreds of thousand-units away. "Gorthan, sir!" The communications officer said. "We have a response!"

"Send me all the data you have," The Man's reply stated. "I mean ALL of it. Then I'll help you. If you f[NO EQUIVALENT WORD] decide to attack me, none of you will survive. Understand?"

They sent a reply in the affirmative, and approached. Within five thousand-units away, the man seemed to take up most of their vision. At a distance of a five-hundred-unit, they could barely see the sky behind him. "He's..." Valexri failed to find words adequate to describe this gargantuan figure. His eyes looked at theirs. Each eye was an orb the size of a building. They had never seen so terrifying a visage as the man's face.

The communications officer activated a projector, and a three dimensional map much bigger than a nation appeared. "Gorthan, sir," the officer cried, "we won't have but a few minutes of transmission power for something this big at most!"

Gorthan understood, and pressed the keypad on his suit. The parasite was highlighted in red.

The Man spoke. The enormous boom of his voice shook them down to their core. Then he began walking. The computer translated his pronouncement as an affirmative.

"Vorthox bless us," Gorthan said. "We did it! The Man has pledged to help us!"


"Sergeant Michaelson!" A voice came over Albert Michaelson's radio as he walked towards the indicated target. "Where the hell are you going?"

Albert pressed a button on his protective suit. "You know those mosquito things that attacked us about five years ago?" He waited for his subordinate to respond. "Well, they're gonna give us their full scientific knowledge if I go kill some weeds for them."