"I Wager…"

By Fire Redhead

Earth, some city on the US East Coast…

The full moon glowed brightly over the cityscape, bathing the buildings in a pale blanket of luminescence. Cars rolled calmly down the street as scant numbers pedestrians traversed the sidewalks in the late night. At every bar and late night establishment neon lights beckoned the nocturnal peoples inside with their alluring glow. In some clubs the pulsing throb of heavy bass vibrated through the walls adding to the noise of the bustling nightscape. Above it all on the roof of a brick building, two shadowed figures watched and listened to everything.

Fire Blood stared at Garv incredulously, "WHAT? You can't be serious!"

Garv chattered lightly, "You afraid you can't pull it off?"

The huge spotted Predator snorted in an irritated tone, "I fear nothing."

"Then you can't do it?"

Behind his fearsome mask Fire Blood glared at his friend, "Garv, we haven't done that kind of shit since our Young Blood hunts and back then we were actually stupid enough to try it!"

Shoving the big Predator, Garv hissed. "So you're getting old is that it?"

"Oh shove it up your ass Garv! I'm just saying that kind of shit should be beyond us. Besides, it's forbidden."

The red striped warrior clicked, grinning behind his mask, "It's not forbidden to us. We're grown warriors now, not Young Bloods. Where's your sense of daring?"

Fire Blood thought a moment, "You realize if the High Eldress finds out she'll hang our balls from her belt."

"You'd like that." Garv retorted.

"Well, she'd have trouble finding a belt strong enough to hold mine…"

Chattering with sarcastic laughter, Garv hit his Second in Command's shoulder armor again, trying to egg him on further, "So, you won't do it?"

"Alright you deceitful Hac'nikt, what do you want to wager?"

Unclasping the holster at his ankle Garv withdrew a beautifully crafted kainde amedha bone dagger. The entire curved blade, save for the leather bound handle, was fashioned from the boney skull of a kainde amedha Drone. It was a highly prized weapon considering its sturdiness in battle as well as its immunity to acid blood.

Fire Blood rattled, "O-ho, a hefty wager Garv. But what do want from me?"

The clan leader seemed to think a moment and finally pointed to Fire Blood's six bladed shuriken, studded with kainde amedha fangs on the body of the weapon. "That will do…and witnessing you lose a bet will be sufficient."

"Name the terms of your bet Garv." Fire Blood growled, fingering his weapon.

"The terms are that you must enter that Ooman structure without the aide of your camouflage, and sit inside for fifteen minutes without starting a panic."

Snorting, Fire Blood waved a disdainful hand at his friend, "That's NO bet! I'm nearly twice the size of any Ooman! They'll bolt the moment I show myself!"

"I figured you wouldn't have the balls…" Garv started.

With great challenge Fire Blood shoved Garv at the shoulder, snarling, "Insult my male honor will you? Fine! I accept your wager and I'll raise the stakes even higher! Not only will I sit in there with those Oomans but I'll talk to at least two of them! How does that grab you?"

Garv's spiked brow ridge lifted, "Ah, vocal mimicry to enhance the challenge. You'd better hand over your shuriken right now! Your vocal mimicry couldn't fool a blind Ooman!"

Holding up an interrupting claw Fire Blood continued, "BUT if I pull it off, I get your bone dagger AND Little Fighter will give me a bath."

"WHAT?" Garv almost roared.

"Too rich for that thin blood of yours? Who's light in the loincloth now?" the bigger alien taunted.

Garv hissed low, "My mate is NOT for wager."

"Too bad, that's the wager. Take it or relinquish your dagger now."

The leader should have known better than to make bets with Fire Blood because his stakes were always so high. He didn't know what made him even consider the notion, but he couldn't take it back now. To take back a wager that a warrior first initiated was a sign of weakness and withdrawal meant an automatic loss of the prize wagered. There was no way in Hell Garv wanted to appear weak in front of Fire Blood.

"Fine…I accept the terms." he snarled at last.

Ritualistically the two warriors butted heads to seal the wager. At once Fire Blood began to unclasp his shoulder cannon and relinquish a few of his unneeded accessories. He didn't want to appear completely out to kill.

Fire Blood adjusted his skull adorned belt pointedly and rattled smugly, "I'm going to get nice and dirty for Little Fighter when she gives me that bath."

Garv snarled, "Shut your face! You might as well hand over that shuriken and drag your loser ass back to the ship! There's NO way you're going to pull this off!"

The big Predator clicked with laughter and leaped down in the alleyway just across from the designated building he was to enter. For a moment he waited, watching and listening to the Oomans wandering in and out of the facility. Three middle aged males approached the doorway and immediately were stopped by a large, burly Ooman with hair across the top of his lip. Fire Blood squinted at the Ooman male standing on the inside of the door. The man appeared to be some kind of guard or something since he was blocking the other male's admittance into the building. He listened intently.

"You gentlemen got reservations?" the big Ooman guard grumbled crossing his arms.

The shortest of the males sidled up to the guard, smoothly produced a wad of what looked like paper and placed it in his beefy hand. "Yeah, we got reservations."

Seeming satisfied, the guard allowed the men inside and tucked the bribe away in his coat pocket.

Fire Blood rattled in thought. So, that paper Oomans bartered with was a means of getting inside the building; these "reservations". He didn't have "reservations", but the Predator knew even Oomans spoke the universal language of "brute force". However, he couldn't get too violent with the Ooman guard or the others would panic. That was his entire goal: not to panic them.

Though he was about to show himself, Fire Blood had no intention of allowing the Ooman surveillance equipment to record him once he went inside. He flipped open the lid of his wrist computer and punched in a code. The device beeped indicating his jamming and scrambling signal would immediately deactivate any surveillance device within the structure.

After he was finished Fire Blood calmly adjusted his shoulder armor and walked across the street. A couple cars halted abruptly, unwilling to even tap the massive warrior. The look the drivers had was utter shock and bewilderment, but the Predator ignored them and approached the door.

Already his mask could detect heat and pulsing sounds. Those pulsing sounds apparently were a form of Ooman culture; the Oomans listened to it incessantly every time he hunted in a large city. Fire Blood found it to be nothing but annoying noise.

Though he never would let Garv know it, Fire Blood didn't think he could pull this bet off. For one thing, he stood at LEAST a foot taller than the tallest Oomans and his unusual skin patterns were a dead give away. He just knew the second he was inside the whole place would fall dead quiet and then the blind panic Oomans were so accomplished at achieving would ensue. But, Garv was watching him. If he backed out then he would be the weakling. No chance in HELL that was going to happen!

Gently, Fire Blood pushed the door open and ducked under the door frame. Much to his relief the ceiling was taller than he'd first anticipated and once he cleared the short door he stood comfortably. Heat signatures from deeper in the building filled his vision and the pulsing noises grew louder than before.

"HO-LY shit," a voice next to him uttered in a hushed tone.

Slowly Fire Blood turned his head and looked down at the Ooman guard. He didn't seem so big up close.

"That's…that's some costume but you…do you have a reservation buddy?" the guard asked, nervous tension lacing his normally gruff voice.

The Predator could definitely sense nervousness in the man's demeanor but for some reason he wasn't afraid. Didn't he realize he wasn't Ooman? Maybe the fool thought he was an Ooman in disguise. His nervousness must've been because of his size.

Fire Blood decided now was the best time to try his first voice mimic of the bet. Constricting his throat, Fire Blood elevated his voice to a medium bass quality and rasped, "Reservations…"

"Yeah…yeah reservations? You got reservations?" the guard repeated.

Squeezing his fist Fire Blood cracked his knuckles loudly.

The man swallowed hard and took out a small booklet, "Oh yeah…you've got reservations. Go on inside."

Fire Blood interpreted his demeanor as submissive so he naturally entered without further confrontation. Despite the obvious differences of their two species, there seemed to be a universal language between them of dominance, subordinance, force, and violence. Very slowly the towering hunter strode down the dimly lit hall that led to the main room of the facility. He passed a few clusters of males but they promptly got out of his way and stared. For his part, Fire Blood remained passive in his every action. If he so much as snarled these Oomans would bolt and he'd lose. So far they seemed nervous, but not panicked.

When he finally reached the main room of the building his senses were bombarded with dozens and dozens of heat signatures, flashing lights, smoke, and the ever-present throbbing pulsing sounds. The room was spacious but filled with tables, chairs, and Oomans. On the far side of the room stood a long table with several bottles of liquid lining the wall behind it. Fire Blood gave it a quick scan and determined the bottles were filled with an Ooman drink called "alcohol". It was similar to a drink Predators favored called zexnet-chi , but far less potent. He looked around some more and saw at the head of the room were several long, upraised platforms studded with metal poles. The Predator noted the Ooman males seemed inexplicably congregated around those platforms.

He turned the other way and noticed an empty table booth up against the wall which he slowly approached, making sure none of his movements were too abrupt. Thus far, none of the Oomans had paid him any mind which was fine with him. It made the bet easier to win! Upon reaching the booth he looked at it; it looked rather small. He tipped his head at the seat with doubt. Could that thing even support his weight? If he broke it and fell that would be rather…undignified. Not to mention it would draw unneeded attention. Tentatively he placed a hand on the metal bar near the wall and carefully slid into the booth. The leather and metal seemed to groan in protest but surprisingly it held his bulk and didn't break. Though, he did look a tad ridiculous in such a seat. Sighing he cursed Oomans for being so small and tried to stretch his massive legs out under the table to appear less silly.

Finally, when he was able to relax, he switched the sights in his mask and filtered out the lights to just focus on the Oomans. The crowd seemed to be predominantly male and the stench of Ooman testosterone and sweat filled the air. Fire Blood began to wonder what this facility's purpose was. No one seemed to be paying any attention to him which struck him as odd. But he wouldn't complain about good fortune. Quickly he checked the timer in his mask. He had at least ten minutes to go.

Then his mask detected a change in the beat of the pulsing sounds; they seemed to grow more rapid and loud. The lights in the place directed to a silky curtain at the end of the platform and a loud male voice boomed over the sound system:

"…Please welcome our Cherry Tree!"

Suddenly, shouts and whistles from the males almost overpowered the pulsing noise in the background and Fire Blood was trying to determine what they were so excited about. Then…he found out. With great bravado the curtain flung open and five Ooman females slinked out. Fire Blood's eye went wide behind his mask. Scantily clad in tiny seductive garments, the quintet of smooth legged females began an intricate erotic display of movement on the platform. The heat signatures of every male spiked, as did their heart rates and hormone levels. Fire Blood could see why. Though they were Ooman, the females' bodies were lean, muscular, and curved; quite similar to his mates! Intent, he watched them gyrate on the platform. One of them had even begun to slide up and around one of the metal poles, throwing her body as if she were in the throws of mating passion. Fire Blood felt the beginnings of a pleased purr roll through his chest.

What the Hell? Was he actually aroused by these Ooman females' mating display? Well…maybe a little. He was starting to imagine them with bound hair, claws, and speckled flesh. After all, it was the same basic form, just in a different package!

As he sat, he tried to direct his eyes at something else but found the task to be challenging. He tapped his claws against the table and felt something. His vision adjusted quickly and discovered a "reservation". Some Ooman must've left it thereby mistake. Staring at the piece of rectangular printed paper Fire Blood wondered why the Hell Oomans valued it so highly. It was paper! Oomans valued such worthless things! He held it up to view it better.

Suddenly, without warning, a small soft hand touched his arm. He tensed and turned his head, a snarl threatening to well up from his barreled chest. But he stopped it instantly when he looked upon a long legged Ooman female with long silky hair standing next to him. She was wearing what looked like feathers and just three tiny triangles of cloth covering her full breasts and crotch. His eye ridge arched.

She stroked one finger over the front of his mask and said in a low sensuous voice, "Halloween come early this year Big Fellah?"

Fire Blood couldn't exactly understand what she'd said but the tone was unmistakable.

Running well manicured nails over his shoulder armor she crooned, "Mmm…I'll bet you're the kind of guy who likes it rough." Slowly her hand traced down this massive arm, across his abs, and lightly brushed over his loincloth.


"My, my! Is THAT part of the costume too?" she arched a provocative eyebrow at him. "Well, Trick or Treat."

Suddenly, before Fire Blood realized what was happening, she began arching her body in snake-like waves before him and abruptly her tiny breast garment flew off into his face! Stunned, the Predator snagged the tiny garment from his mask and almost rattled out loud. Trying to keep his breathing in check, the huge Predator didn't want to seem too excited. Bare breasted, the Ooman female leaned over the table and suddenly she swung a well-toned leg over his head, leaving little to his imagination, and plopped down in his expansive lab. Shocked beyond all reason, Fire Blood pulled his head back and gripped the metal rail on the back of the booth as the Ooman female rubbed the front of her crotch garment against his abs and put her arms around his neck to rub her breasts against his faceplate. For the first time in his life, the giant Predator didn't know what to do with this female! Should he swat her off? Well…he couldn't deny that he was enjoying the female's advances. But why? Why was she performing this blatant display of mating desire on him? Didn't she realize he wasn't an Ooman? Did she care?

But then he thought, "Well why SHOULDN'T she be all over him?" His jaw slackened from its nervous clench. He smirked thinking what a fine male specimen he must be to attract females of a different species! Then for a brief instant he wondered if she expected him to reciprocate her affections.

Then, the female all at once went rigid. Fire Blood could see her heat signature fluctuate and her heart rate increased rapidly. He too froze. The Ooman female stared at him with wide eyes and very slowly unwrapped her arms from his neck.

"Oh…shit. " Fire Blood thought to himself. He knew that Ooman reaction well. She was scared. When she actually touched her body against his, the muscle tension and natural body heat must've given him away! Promptly she got up out of his lap and trotted away with haste.

Quickly, Fire Blood checked the timer on his mask. He had only four minutes to go and he still had to use vocal mimicry on one more Ooman if he was to win the wager. But he wasn't sure if that was going to happen. Over across the room Fire Blood tracked the female's heat signature and tucked the breast garment she'd left in his belt for safe keeping. The female appeared to be conversing with a trim male who was smoking on a thick carcinogen stick. She pointed back in his direction. Focusing, his mask zeroed in on their voices.

"…What? Slow down doll! Tell me slowly," the man said in a lower tenor voice.

"You see that big masked guy in the corner?" she motioned with her hand.

The Ooman's eyes seemed to meet his and then widened, "JEEZ…what the Hell is up with that get up? He a nut job or somethin'?"

"Ricky…I don't think that IS a costume!" she hissed with great intensity.

He took the smoking stick out of his mouth, "What? What are you talkin' about? It's just a really expensive rubber and metal suit some whack-job decided to wear to the club!"

She snatched the stick out of his hand aggressively, "It ISN'T a SUIT Ricky! I just danced for him and I KNOW what rubber feels like…THAT isn't rubber!"

The male seemed annoyed but finally relented, "Alright, alright Carla. If you'll get back to work RIGHT this second me and some of the boys will check him out."

Fire Blood cursed. Their body language and tone told him the Oomans were becoming suspicious. Just three more minutes dammit!

Very gradually the man approached him, accompanied by six other large Ooman males he'd summoned. Each one had a small handgun tucked into a holster under their jackets. Even across species lines Fire Blood could sense a challenge and these males reeked of it. He hated that. The Predator sat up slightly as if to get up but decided not to; his indomitable will to win the bet kept him from standing. Clenching his jaw he glared at them from behind his mask.

"Sir, we're going to have to see some I.D. on you," the apparent leader demanded.

The big Predator had no idea what he'd just asked for so he just stayed quiet, trying to think of an acceptable response to make the Oomans leave.

Shifting with agitation the man repeated, "Sir, will you please show us your I.D.?"

"I.D." Fire Blood mimicked in a higher tone than was normal for his voice but acceptable for Oomans.

"Yeah, smart ass; driver's license, check card or that kind of thing. If you ain't got I.D, I'm going to have to have the boys escort you outside." He warned though the "boys" seemed nervous about the prospect.

Fire Blood slit his red and yellow eyes at the Ooman's insolent tone. That sounded like a threat to him. NO Ooman, least of ALL a puny, inferior male threatened him without some kind of response! Then again if he reacted in the way he wanted he would most definitely lose the bet. Two minutes left. He wasn't so concerned about losing his shuriken as he was losing the opportunity of receiving a lewd bath from Garv's mate. He smirked. Yeah. That's what he wanted.

While he was thinking the Ooman male was getting angry at his silence. "Boys, escort this guy outside."

For a moment the six men hesitated, not wanting to make the first move on the massive being. Finally the leader reached out and grabbed the front clasp of Fire Blood's armor as he would another man's shirt front.

The giant Predator's temper suddenly broke through his desire to win like a tsunami. He snatched the man's upper arm and snarled as he felt every feeble bone snap in his grasp.

Well…he lost.


Outside at the same time…

Garv stared at the timer. Less than a minute remained. Shit! Fire Blood was going to win this bet and that meant he'd have to sit back as his mate bathed his Second in Command in the only fashion he could imagine. Damn that Fire Blood! Damn him to the bleeding bowels of…

Suddenly, his mask detected gunfire and muffled screams below. Garv peered over the building ledge just as the door of the building flew open. Three men burst out, practically falling all over themselves in their mad scramble to get behind a parked car out front. Quickly, they leaned over the hood of the car all pointing a handgun toward the door. The people who happened to be passing by on the street screamed and ducked to avoid getting hit.

Then, as if a bomb went off inside, the front door flew off its hinges and fell across the sidewalk. Through the rubble and dust strode Fire Blood's camouflaged silhouette. Garv could see him easily but the only thing the Oomans could see was the crimson blood covering his hands. The armed men fired frantically at him, hitting the huge alien in the chest. But bullets only made Fire Blood mad. Like a charging bull he slammed into the car the men were hiding behind. The car frame caved in against the powerful hit and using his immense strength the massive Predator rolled the vehicle over on its top! The attack was so fast two of the men couldn't move out of the way in time and the car rolled on top of them. Only one man remained, scrambling across the street as fast as he could with Fire Blood in close pursuit. In a phenomenal leap belying his size the Second in Command pounced on the hapless man, seizing him by the back of the head. Like a shadow the Predator disappeared into the shadowed alley before any Ooman could react.

Knowing what to do Garv stealthily activated his own camouflage and leaped over onto the next building where he knew Fire Blood would be. Sure enough the Second in Command was hauling himself over the ledge with his struggling victim still in tow. Fire Blood snarled and abruptly seized the man's legs, folding him in half like a piece of paper. The death was quick. Without a word Fire blood dropped the body, annoyed.

Garv crossed his arms, smirking behind his mask. The bigger Predator glared at him for a silent moment. Finally he snarled, unclasped the tooth studded shuriken from his belt and slapped it into Garv's hand.

"One minute…only one…pauk de" Fire Blood cursed under his breath as he shouldered past Garv.

"You never like to lose do you?" Garv commented almost smugly.

Fire Blood snarled but then he felt a string from tiny garment he'd gotten in the building brushing against his leg. Deftly he pulled it out, holding it up.

Garv's head pulled back, "Where the pauk did you get THAT?"

The Second in Command clicked, "I suppose I didn't lose completely."

"Where'd you get it?" Garv asked incredulously.

"Haven't I told you before Garv? NO female can resist a male like me!"

The End