Berna and Thorrg had restored the timeline to normal, by tricking Steve and Dan into reliving their flight to the Land of the Giants. Steve and Dan, suffering from chemically induced amnesia, had forgotten that they were displaced in time, and had relived the entire two years, unaware of the existence of Berna and Thorrg.
This left Berna and Thorrg free to explore and observe the Land of the Giants without the Spindrift crew having any knowledge of their presence. After a while, they came to a fence that was only a few feet taller than themselves. Using their Space Time Manipulators, they teleported to the other side of the fence and saw a young woman sitting on a porch in front of a house their own size.
"Hello," she said, "I'm Marna. How did you get in here?"
"We can manipulate space and time," said Thorrg.
"Oh I wish I had my time over again," said Marna.
"What do you mean?" asked Berna.
Marna Whalan told them how she had been raised by the giants who had built her house, met Mark Wilson and tried to lure all of his friends into the compulsory care and scientific analysis of the giants. Mark had had no choice but to leave her to protect the group that she had endangered. In the time that had passed, she had been stirred by her experience with a man her own size to wish that she could have enjoyed the same freedoms that they had.
"How many bedrooms are there in this house?" asked Berna.
"Three, I believe. The giants wanted a whole family of us, but my parents did not survive."
"And you say these giants don't harm you, but are only interested in analysing you?" asked Berna.
"That's right," said Marna, "They give me a lot of freedom within the house, and turn on a video link by remote to monitor me sometimes."
"We're in a similar business ourselves," said Thorrg, "We observe and analyse, but do nothing to interfere with the flow of history. We can use our STMs as tools and weapons in a particular time, but not to displace people from their time period."
"That's how it goes," said Berna, "We couldn't take you back in time to alter your experience with Mark, but we could teleport you out of here and make this house our own. It would be a fair exchange between us and the giants. They could study us, and we could study them. Yet with our STMs, we would be free to come and go from this house as we pleased. We're boyfriend and girlfriend. So the use of two separate bedrooms would be most appropriate for us. Would you like us to set you free?"
"Oh yes," said Marna.
"Then go to your friend Mark, but do not tell him of us. Just say that you escaped," said Thorrg, not wishing for Steve and Dan to learn of the STMs and attempt another unauthorized journey into the past to prevent the original flight to the Land of the Giants in 1983.
Thorrg used his STM to teleport all three of them outside, then sent himself and Berna back in. They soon explained the situation to the giants, who were never in the habit of coming into the house now that it was functioning well enough anyway. With Thorrg's technical expertise, he could repair anything himself, should it break down. The giants agreed to the exchange of observation opportunities, and knew that they could not prevent Berna and Thorrg from leaving and returning at will anyway.
Marna set out in search of the Spindrift crew, and took longer than she had expected to find them, as a hearing impaired boy had repositioned the space ship since their first encounter. She had never been allowed to go near the ship back then anyway. Steve the captain had not trusted her, and rightly so.
Eventually she came upon the Spindrift and apologised to all of them, and gradually convinced them all to trust her. There was only one disappointment for her. It seemed that Mark Wilson was paying her no more than a polite courtesy of attention, and it soon became obvious that he had formed a romantic relationship with Valerie. Alexander Fitzhugh seemed more than willing to take Mark's place in her thoughts, but she felt nothing for him. Nor was she interested in Steve, whom she found to be too sceptical and regimental for her tastes. Steve had given her a chance to join his team, but the history between Marna and Steve and Mark would not allow either of them to develop any feelings for each other.
However, there was one other man whom she had not really met properly during their first encounter, and he seemed to have a natural willingness to trust people and see the best in everyone. Though close friends with Steve, he was the polar opposite in lacking Steve's caution. Setting her sights on the co-pilot, Marna gradually won his attention and the two started dating.
One day, they were all in the ship, when they heard Chipper barking hysterically. Steve ran to the door and looked out in horror. A giant rat had Chipper in its jaws. Steve raced back and grabbed the bow and arrows he had inherited from Major Kagan.
"Mark! Get the flame thrower! I'll explain in a second!" called Steve, and managed to fire a fatal shot at the rat.
The huge beast collapsed a little, but was not dead from a wound in its torso. Steve fired again, taking careful aim at the rat's head, so as not to hit Chipper, and slew the monster. It released its grip on Chipper, but to no avail. The poor little dog was dead.
The others came running out.
Barry was quietly upset, and insisted on taking Chipper to the stream, cleaning him up and burying him. Fitzhugh and Betty went with him, as they had become his closest friends, while the others wondered what to do about the rat.
"I had thought the flame thrower might be a more effective weapon than the bow and arrows," said Steve, "But it didn't work out that way. We could still use it though, to dispose of the carcass. A giant rat would leave an awful smell otherwise. Barry would be more settled if he didn't have to look at it when they get back too.
Mark went to work with the flame thrower until there was nothing but ashes, which the wind would soon blow away.
"How much longer can we live like this?" asked Valerie, "Fugitives out in the open forest don't stand much of a chance."
Betty actually tucked Barry into bed that night and kissed his cheek as an act of comfort. The boy had been developing quite a crush on her, but had also sensed that she had yearnings for Steve.
The next day the eight Spindrift members were all at the ship again, as they tended to sleep in the daytimes and go out at night. Nobody trusted the lean to as a place to sleep, after the incident with the rat. Whatever bedding arrangements were needed were all laid out each time in the corridors and passenger room of the ship. There was nothing else that they could do.
Suddenly a jolting of the ship awoke them, and they felt themselves being lifted up, lowered into something and then carried on a long walk. Steve looked out of the ship's cockpit windows and saw that they seemed to be inside a giant picnic basket beside a salad bowl which was as large as the Spindrift. Looking up he saw the back of a giantess, who had long pale red hair.
The giantess eventually stopped and put down the basket. She lifted the ship out and set it down by a stream on some grass, and then put out her picnic rug and placed the salad bowl onto it. Barry joined Steve in the cockpit and both of them looked up at the giantess in abject surprise. Apart from her giant size and lengthy red hair, she was an exact facial double of Betty Ann Hamilton, their stewardess.
"How can it be Betty?" asked Barry.
"I don't know," said Steve, "Didn't Fitzhugh say that he'd seen a giant image of himself when we had that adventure with the cervo-actuator?"
"How can what be Betty?" asked the familiar Betty Hamilton, entering the cockpit, "… Why, she's …. Me!"
"I don't think she knows we're here. She hasn't made any effort to get at us, just put down the ship and started eating," said Steve.
Barry watched her eating and thought how amazing it looked. He had never thought of Betty as a giantess before. The sight of her giant sparkling pink tongue receiving food gave the boy an engaging desire to go through almost all of the motions of being eaten by her himself. He thought of the Betty beside him and felt a momentary twinge of private embarrassment. His crush on her had been too difficult to mention. How would she feel about him wanting her giant double to eat him?
"Maybe we should go out and say hello," said Barry.
"We're exposed here anyway. We might as well," said Steve.
"You're usually one to err on the hesitant side, when it comes to revealing ourselves to giants," said Betty.
"But what else can we do? If she knows we're here, she might take us back to camp. Anyway, if she's as sweet as you, she's unlikely to harm us," said Steve, and went to the others to suggest putting it to a vote.
"As sweet as me!" whispered Betty to herself, forgetting that Barry could overhear her.
It could not have been mere coincidence that Steve had used that phrase for the first time in the four years she had known him: two on earth and two in the Land of the Giants.