Walking Thin Lines

By, Sonsasu

Episode One

"The Injection"

Worrying on my lower lip, I held out an arm, "I'm not sure if this is a good idea, uncle Tarus…"

A middle-aged man with short oiled back salt and pepper hair glanced up, low-rimmed glasses sliding down his aquiline nose. He offered a wide smile, revealing teeth.

"Come now, Robin, this is for the good of science and trade with the Yautja, so keep a stiff upper lip now."

Looking away so I wouldn't have to witness the syringe inching closer, I barely felt the pierce of cold metal.

"See? That wasn't so bad, dear."

A sharp glare cut off any other sentences.

Dingy blue liquid slowly disappeared, creeping down the thin needle, and invading the lone vain it was buried inside. The substance in question was an experimental modifier to simulate the sensitivity of olfaction in an outside party, provoking a stronger response to the natural secretion of odors.

Unknown to the- questionably- all-powerful human government, Tarus, in his secret labs, had worked on this for over six long years, personally enduring the numerous tests for fear of discovery. The man already knew what possible outcomes this drug might lead toward, and wanted it for a pure purpose, its intended role not to stray and become twisted for schemes incubated in political grabs for power.

Made to influence a sense of tranquillity in the otherwise highly aggressive humanoid species, Yautja, its designated function was to assist in easing the untrusting race to loosen their obstinate negotiation style with our ambassadors. A ploy like that might appear less-than-noble with such an advantage, but this could apply a needed staunch on their customs for slavery on other races.

To not stir instant notice and bring about a cataclysmic result, the changes were to shift from one, to several subtle phases before assuming full potency, and then intermix with the individual's natural smell with a constant, steady output.

As you might have guessed, I asked questions after Tarus presented his request, a good many, and being a talkative egghead, he happily shared.

The first degree, being an almost innocent fragrance to humans, was the bridge so to speak, mandatory for soothing a Yautja, before ultimately succeeding onto the second cycle of change. Unusual consequences, unfortunately, went hand-in-hand with the secondary point. It might include a gender-based use, and that was a problem.

Female Predators dwelt, and governed over their home world, and Tarus didn't possess a social station there to request contact with even a lower status female. There was a possibility, since they did venture out for hunts, but it does not suggest to common sense to toss one's self into their path for a chat. Done to maintain alpha dominance over their clans and not for mating rights, the males were the ones who resided on the interracial Space Stations, and they did the brunt of the business with humans.

My uncle, when further pressed, said he felt content, and that this was presently a good thing. A nine-foot tall female, aroused, or if emotions bent her toward aggression, was far too risky for his good health. I'd agreed with him on that matter, and he, as if never straying from our topic, continued then with the undulation of his life, mapping out the many paths his drug had taken him.

After the first year of his elating revelation, he'd believed it safe enough to test.

Twenty minutes passed after the injection, which was an adequate amount of time for him to depart his home. Upon exit from the transporter, every male Yautja in a one-mile radius had flocked to him, severely…stimulated. You never can quite conceive how swift a man takes flight when given the right prompt, the incentive being tireless hunters in pursuit. Dogged all the way through the Blue Hall Space Station, it was sheer luck that one hour later, gasping for breath, jelly-limbed, and huddled in the fetal position, that his body's resistance forced it to fade.

He didn't say on what happened with the Predators, though.

Uncle Tarus packed up his delicates and moved with the help of an underworld association after his too-public error.

Another year in hiding would pass where he discovered hormones held a steeper link into his scent experiment than he'd originally believed, thus he gambled one more test.

Let's just say it didn't go as planed. Although it had the correct effect in soothing the explosive tempers, it made them a bit too, uh, emotional. Meaning they lost control of their softer feelings. This sent them into an abyss-like depression, turning the galaxy's most deadly being into the equivalence of crying toddlers.

It was worse when the victims of the drug's influence cuddled random people…

In addition to this misery of mounting failures, he had to keep the nosy government from suspicion. He constantly relocated to different space stations, taking every precaution to avoid detection. Two more unsuccessful years of quiet devotion to his goal, and three more dwellings abandoned, came and went, dragging Tarus closer to surrendering to his immense stress load. Yet like every great idea, desperate mistakes, sometimes leads to greater success.

During the fifth year, he found a minor, near unnoticeable flaw in the build required for changing the natural scents excreted from the human body. Repairing this, he encountered one final complication. It still activated the raging libidos of Yautja…while soothing their tempers when he used it. In turn, it contributed to a new query, injecting the opposite sex.

Distinct hormones found solely in females, as he explained to me, might provoke dissimilar, side-effect free results.

At first, he could not convince me, not after the regaling of past accounts, and foolishly revealing how many times he had encountered unforeseen circumstances when using the experiment. Nevertheless, considering his desperation, and the fact he was the only living family I had left, he managed to peak my interest at the mention of paying credits. I agreed partly because of needing the money, and yet any sense of greed was nowhere near ready to overcome self-preservation.

No, I accepted out of affection for my uncle, strained as it was. His relief, though concealed, still allowed the notice of a slight shift in his once tense posture and the relieved downfall of his eyelids to rest over jade green eyes, three weeks ago.

"You're absolutely certain this will work, I mean make the Predators more…err, relaxed?"

Using a small wad of cotton he handed me to press against the bleeding pinprick, I sighed. The pale, almost bleached white skinned man moved away, setting various equipment pieces back in their proper places, his hands working silent and efficiently.

"Rest assured; have I ever failed you? On second thought, don't answer that."

Even though his back was turned, he always happened to know when I was going to say something smart-assed. I shut my mouth, an audible click filling the relatively soundless room. Rising from the chair set against a cheerless gray wall, I cast the used material into a mini wastebin located beneath his expensive looking reddish wood desk.

I flexed icy fingers in vain hope to ignore the trivial ache forming in my left arm. Observing Tarus scribble something in his handheld computer taken from a pocket, I absentmindedly listened to him mumble something about groceries…

"Exactly what does this do?"

He glanced over his narrow shoulder, a curious scowl of thought marring his mildly aged features.

"From the many times I tested it; the shifting of your scent creates…reactions in Yautja."

Turning away, he walked over to a towering bookshelf standing several feet to the right of my previous, heat-stealing seat. His slender fingers drifted over multiple spines of black skinned volumes, some thicker than the next. Each appeared painfully similar to me. None bore titles, not even a number to distinguish the hundreds of personal references put together over sleepless and difficult years of toil.

It was rare to find paper bound books; pretty much everyone had ceased using them in favor for the simpler data-folios; the death of Earth having injured the human foundation of using natural resources.

At mid shelf, he paused. My uncle withdrew a thin silver hued notebook that I hadn't noticed until now. He flipped it open, perusing through its white pages and making occasional sounds acquainted with thinking.

"This should explain the general of what you need to know…and more or less avoid."

He held the eight-inch volume out to me.


I accepted the surprisingly weighted piece, and looked down to the page he'd parted it to, before reading his complexly scrabbled writing aloud.

"…such as fear and or anxiety invoke the reaction to verbally console via particular throat utterances and or comfort-" I halted, struggling to interpret and make certain my eyes weren't deceiving me, "…physically?"

I lifted blue eyes, a black brow arched.

A tightly lipped smile was my answer. "They are a curious species, Robin."

Snapping the foreboding item shut, before I relented to a quiet sigh of distorted patience, I forced the nagging worms of doubt to bury their wiggly selves at my back of my mind for later examination.

"When does this take effect again?"

Tarus glanced at his mini computer, "twenty minutes from now, ample time to head home and change."

That gained my attention. "Change? Change for what exactly?"

His fingers laced behind his back, followed by a near-innocent blink. Ah crap, he suddenly reminded me of young boy preparing to execute a deviant plan.

"You've heard of the Roaring Gecko, yes?" His wide smile increased around the edges when I visibly stiffened.

"Of course." Why did I feel like I was walking into a trap? "Practically no one can get in, the Predator bouncers-" a solid lump of dread twisted my stomach into a knot.

"Indeed, my dear."


Sonsasu the Winter Dragon owns nothing of Predators


©2007 Sonsasu the Winter Dragon owns Robin, Tarus, the plot and the world settings