The Giants attacked soon after dawn. They attacked on a fine spring morning. They attacked with destructive and vicious swings of their fire-sticks. They attacked and drove us from our home. They attacked and killed hundreds. They attacked and slew indiscriminately our soldiers, our aged, our young. They attacked and laid waste to our stores, our granaries, our city. They attacked, and we could do nothing but watch as they plundered and pillaged with abandon and avaricious glee.
The attack was not wholly unexpected. Our scouts had spied the Giants amassing a few furlongs many hours earlier. Their large forms were difficult to miss – their smallest member was taller than our largest by a few hundred-fold. So yes, we had time to prepare. But we knew our airborne arsenal would be of no use against them. This essentially meant we’d have to bodily smash into them to cause even mild discomfort… and multiple hits would have to be scored before any of them fell before us. Many of us would perish upon impact. This we knew for certain. We had no other choice.
The city was buzzing with talk of the upcoming attack. Fear showed in some eyes, anger in others, frustration and defiance made their presence felt on many faces, and disheartened submission in a few shoulders. This wasn't the first time the Giants had attacked. This would not be the last.
Our Queen decided to flee to safety with her trusted bodyguards – the Mighty Hymenoptera, those swarthy warriors in their yellow and black hauberks and long-bladed sabers that taper into a stiletto-like point. She was vital to the establishment of a new colony and city should the worst happen – her protection was of paramount importance. Squadron
Lima would make up an additional escort.
Air Marshal Hibuzz was left in command of the defenses and the counter-attack. We lived high up above the ground, and had no artillery or naval fleet to command. We knew this. The Giants knew this. The Giants knew we knew this. So that left the air, and we knew the Giants would be prepared for any aerial stratagem we threw at them.
The Air Marshal wasted no time in sending scouting parties for aerial sorties. Their mission: try to slow down the Giants’ initial advance. Squadron Alpha, made up of veteran soldiers, and Squadron Omega, made up of cadets fresh out of
took off to
provide peripheral support. The elderly and the youngsters formed Squadron Delta.
As the most expendable, they would lead the first counter attack. Squadrons
Bravo, Charlie, Foxtrot and Zulu, comprising the working class, were designated
for defensive maneuvers – they would form the last line of defense against the Giants.
Squadrons Sierra and Tango took off -- Sierra to launch a flanking attack from
the East with the Sun behind it to provide cover, Tango from the North-West to
harry the Giants from the rear. Squadrons Romeo and Juliet would make up the
second and third wave of attack. Flight
The Giants’ attack was accompanied by loud roars and the stamping of feet. Their Fire-sticks burst into action, filling the air with heat and smoke – smoke designed to suffocate and blind and disorient our troops. The scouts who were busy running sorties against the advancing horde were, not surprisingly, routed first. Many fell victim to the heat from the gigantic Fire-sticks, shriveled up and fell to the ground twitching in agony. Scores of them were trampled under the Giants’ feet. The others would never be the same again, even if they survived. The surviving scouts broke off the attack and fell back, but here too, not all succeeded. The blinding smoke camouflaged the underlying fire, and most saw the flames approach through the fog too late to execute evasive maneuvers. Some of them flew smack-dab into the flailing arms of the Giants and were swatted aside.
We had no answer that would serve.
Those who did make it back regrouped warily, and as per plan, joined ranks with Squadrons Romeo and Juliet. Air Marshal Hibuzz sounded the charge, and the counter attack began in right earnest. Squadrons Alpha flew in first, diving out of the sky and aiming for the heads and shoulders. Squadron Omega flew in low, making a beeline for the waist. The idea was to open the efforts with a two-pronged attack.
Both Squadrons crashed against the approaching Giants, and fell before the smoke and heat. It was time to send in the reinforcements. Now nature came to our rescue, and a strong gust of wind blew the smoke back towards the Giants’ ranks, giving the second wave a small opening. Air Marshal Hibuzz took off to lead the second wave himself and make the most of the opportunity. At his signal, Squadron Sierra and Squadron Tango switched to attack mode. But the wind was now blowing the smoke directly towards Squadron Tango, and it was soon decimated, much as those who flew in before it. Squadron Sierra fared a little better -- having the Sun behind them worked in their favour, and they managed to close on the Giants – but they too eventually ran up against the searing heat from the Fire-Sticks, and dwindles in numbers, becoming little more than charred specks on the hard ground.
Those that got through came up against a new hurdle. The Giants wore body-fitted armour crafted from closely latticed metal, and our daggers, not much more than thorns from a Giant’s point of view, proved ineffective. They broke off on the armour, and the onslaught turned into a massacre -- a wasted sacrifice. The Air Marshal’s voiced roard into the radio of every squadron, galvanizing the rest of us into action. “Attack At Will” he shouted, and every one of us that was able to, responded with a fatalistic finality.
By now, the wind had turned direction once again – nature herself had given up on us. We shrugged it off. It was too late. We dove and wove and spun and struck, trying to find a chink in their armour, trying to swerve around the randomly waving fire-sticks, trying to dodge the fire itself, trying to survive.
We were soon reduced to a few stragglers. The Air Marshal was nowhere to be seen. We heard on the radio, reports of him going down somewhere over the enemy’s western flank. His squadron-members said he was soon indistinguishable from the ground, his broken body being trampled into it, squashed and crushed to an unrecognizable pulp.
Ten thousand we were before the Giants attacked. Two hundred beat a hasty retreat. Only one hundred made it to the grove where the Queen had found sanctuary.
We staggered in, and turned to watch the Giants dance their victory dance over the corpses of our valiant forces; jump and shout and thump their brawny chests, and scramble over each other to get to our supplies. They ripped into our granaries without a hint of contrition, or care, crushing homes and offices and other myriad structures of our city in their ungodly haste. They picked up our carefully-built-up stores in their grubby fists and squeezed them into their wide-open mouths, swallowing months of back-breaking work in seconds, letting bits of it dribble down the sides of their gaping maws, licking remnants off their fingers and palms with long, thick tongues and grunting loudly with perverse satisfaction.
All this we watched… and waited.
The Giants were soon sated. They extinguished their Fire-Sticks in vats of water, took handfuls of our quaint city for souvenirs of the day’s triumph, and moved off into the vast wilderness, no doubt in search of more colonies to uproot. They took care to leave portions of our city undamaged -- those portions we could rebuild upon. They knew we would. We knew we would too. It’s far easier to rebuild that to start from scratch; plus, we had lived there for generations. It was home.
The Queen and her entourage began to head back. We followed. The rebuilding would start immediately. There was no time to waste. For the most part, the Giants only attack once a year, and winter was still a way away -- enough time to stock up before the chill sets in, the frost covers the fields and deflowers our crop, and hunger threatens our lives.