Disclaimer: I do not own Aliens or Predators.
Warning: Contains humour and violence. No pairings whatsoever.
Rating: M, cause if it's not there now…it will be soon.
Summary: With your Hunters captured and their technology in Human hands, who do you send in?
Thanks go out to my Beta, Indignant Lemur. For a great job and at a speed that I personally find startling.
They came from the stars, a long, long time ago. Already they were old; an ancient race of beings that had traversed galaxies and mapped countless worlds while our people still wore nothing but sun-baked mud and sheltering in clay huts. A crack of thunder heralded their arrival to our planet and in the midst of a frightful storm three great ships emerged from the night sky and descended on our planet. From smoke and darkness these Hunters strode confidently into the midst of a fledgling Humanity. They held themselves as Gods. In our eyes, they were Gods. Bold, fearless, ageless in comparison to our primitive ancestors, who skittered away from them, terrified.
So foreign. So powerful. Honourable in their codes… and terrible in their wrath.
It was the birth of a new religion. The dawn of science, and of architecture. These Gods brought with them great wonders, immense knowledge, guidance from the stars. They taught the lowly, primitive Humans how to build. The shared with them their knowledge and, as a result, Humanity prospered, spreading across our planet.
But all great things come at a price.
This was ours: the Kainde Amedhe. By the measures of modern greed, the price Humanity paid for a thousand years of advancement was meagre. The business tycoons of today would gladly –eagerly– pay it tenfold if given the choice. The world should pray they're never given it. The Kainde Amedhe were the ultimate prey for these Gods. The only thing these great beings found a worthy enough challenge. So in exchange for our advancement and our undying worship, the Gods would claim their debt every century. They'd use us to breed these monsters. Then they'd hunt them. A handful of Human lives in exchange for such wonders was not just acceptable –to be chosen was considered an honour; a chance to die in the name of your God. There are worse things to die for, believe me.
Sometimes the Hunters failed. Great and powerful as they were, the hunt was always a risk, always a gamble, and we were the ones who paid in the end.
The consequences of failure were devastating. Entire cultures were wiped from the face of the earth. They were then but dust in the wind; forgotten in the aftermath of an alien weapon, terrible in its reckoning. The Hunters, in their defeat, would leave nothing alive.
Yes, the price of advancement was steep, but there was a greater destroyer at play; slowly working in the background, completely uncaring, oblivious to these Gods or their wishes. Time claims everything and a century is a long time for a fickle race such as ours to be left to our own devices.
In the absence of the Gods the surface of the planet began to change and the peoples scattered before the snow and ice. Some feared that they'd angered these Hunters and had been punished; many turned their backs on them and over time history forgot these warriors, replacing them with new deities. The Hunters came back to a world changed. Their temples and pyramids, buried, lost, abandoned. The people using the knowledge they'd gained to advance themselves and build monuments to their new Gods.
The very first Human revolution.
These Hunters, the Yautja –as much as they were forgotten, they did not by any means forget us. We were cunning and while we lacked the dangers they faced in the Kainde Amedhe, we grew to present new challenges. To fight against us was to now fight against tools of war, against soldiers trained for combat, against minds twisted by greed and power.
We too, became the hunted. In war-torn districts, in the heat, they'd come to claim their prey. Had Humans the mind to look, they'd find old stories dating far back to the roots of our civilizations, tales of men skinned by monsters and invisible demons that stalked Human prey. Yet, Man's indecency towards his fellow Man masked these events. I've learned just how infinite Humans' capacity for cruelty is and there was nothing these Hunters could have done that the rest of the world wouldn't blame on their own kind.
Of course, we could be as clever as we could be cruel and it was only a matter of time before these predators were discovered. Time, it would seem, changes all things in the end.
The hunt had suddenly become even more perilous. And like the Kainde Amedhe, the price of the Hunters' failure would be great. For their technology to fall into the hands of Humans, now, would mean their ruin. Desperate to protect their secrets, the highest ranking members of their kind cast aside a rule older than our very world; a code of the hunt. It was unbreakable, or so it had once seemed. The Yautja now found themselves free to utilize resources already present on Earth; buried within the cultures and civilizations of its many peoples.
You see, not all of us forgot them. We remember… and we wait.
Sometimes ignorance is a blessing. Not exactly something you'd hear from many Yautja, but in situations completely out of your control, perhaps it's best not to know. After all, death won't stop to introduce itself and clarify the details before it claims you, so exactly what purpose is there in such knowledge when the outcome is the same?
The absence of such things as hope, opportunity, mercy, companions and strength can cripple even the most diehard survivalist. After all, they are the fundamental things you need in order to climb yourself out of any hole, escape any situation…and they just happened to be all of the things the warrior had woken up to find he no longer possessed.
Yes, sometimes ignorance is a blessing. Unfortunately, the Gods saw fit to curse this particular sentient being with the harsh facts of his present reality; a cold, angry truth that left him with the bitter taste of failure in his mouth and a splitting headache. After a hundred seasons of hunting and double that of trophies, on a dumb, backwater little world a hell of a distance from his home, he and his cohort had been caught –taken by prey no less, totally off guard and without a fight!
Without a fight. To spend half your life training in the Kehrite and then to be taken by a band of primitives with not a drop of blood spilt... It was shameful. Absolutely, and utterly shameful. Such a failure would never be forgotten. If he did make it back to his own people, the repercussions of such a mess might very well cost him his rank.
There had been three of them. Himself and two fellow hunters. They'd barely been in the city a day when it happened. A roof, somewhere to the south where they could get their bearings and suddenly their cloaks failed. All three of them, simultaneously. There were plenty of hazards when using the cloaks on worlds with so much water, but not that night. He watched the largest of his group fall, first. A great lumbering beast of a Yautja who could rip an enemy in two if he'd wanted, and he fell without a sound. He felt something pierce his back between his shoulder blades. Nothing more painful than an insect bite but within a moment he found himself straining to remain upright and conscious. He held onto awareness long enough to watch the last of his group stand to defend himself only to be struck in the chest by two small darts. The Yautja looked down in horror at the two projectiles lodged in his sternum before roaring and toppling sideways, unconscious.
Darkness finally claimed the last of the Hunters and when he woke, he was stripped, he was alone, he was restrained and he was as weak as he'd ever felt in his entire life. He doubted he could even stand. The loss of his protection and weaponry was almost painful considering he'd never so much as left a chip of armour behind on a hunt. It was such a foreign feeling, to be exposed and displayed in such a manner; it was the ultimate humiliation. He couldn't actually recall a period of time in his long life where he didn't at least possess his dignity. Yes, very strange and wholly unwelcome. He twisted his body as much as he could to test his restraints, but he found them sturdy. Of all the times for this particular prey species to start building things of quality, he thought. If he were stronger he might stand a chance.
He roared. He had originally planned on remaining quiet long enough to see his captors and spring an escape while they were unprepared and unawares, but the more he pulled at his restraints, the more frustrated he became. It was inevitable, really. He winced as the sound reverberated around the room and drove itself into his brain like a hot spike.
Obviously unwise for a plethora of reasons, but again, it seemed to be the only way to release his frustrations.
They'd removed his mask on top of everything else. Not only did it limit his vision but the atmosphere of this planet, while not completely unlike that of his home world, wasn't within very tolerable limits. Without his mask or his breather back, he'd only last a few days before his lungs collapsed and he drowned in his own bodily fluids. He kept his breathing shallow and slow but he found panic to be a more than worthy adversary; suffocation wasn't exactly on a Hunter's 'acceptable ways to die' list.
He couldn't see much beyond the ceiling from his position, but if he strained his hearing he could just about make out sounds in the distance.
Dulled cognizant faculties came to life instantly and the Hunter roared out as loud as he could once he realized what he was hearing. After he'd let loose a barrage of sound and winced as it attacked his already battered senses, he waited in the quiet. Again, there was a distant, faint answering roar.
Judging from the pitch and the sheer indignation, he gathered it was the largest of his comrades. It seemed the most logical. They'd obviously drugged them and generally speaking the largest would recover the quickest, depending on the dose. His childhood friend had had the misfortune of taking two darts, though. As wise and dignified as his friend was, he was going to be less than pleased with the after effects. It was like recovering from the drunkenness of a great celebration, only without the celebration part, or the fun of drinking. Neither of which that particular oddity of a Yautja actually enjoyed. His recovery wasn't going to be the least bit pleasant.
The Hunter quickly found roaring less than appealing as the native air began to irritate his lungs and his throat started burning. He flexed his muscles once more and pulled against what he could now identify as solid metal cuffs, which linked him to the flat surface beneath him, but they remained firm and completely unyielding.
There was a noise close at hand. An audible click followed by a pressurized hiss a few feet away and followed by a blast of cold air that felt amazingly unpleasant in his exposed condition.
Several pairs of soft footsteps approached.
"Good morning. My name is Doctor, Samuel Geiger and I'm the head of this department." There was a rustling of crisp paper. "No doubt you're most curious about your present location and that of your personal effects." There was an arrogant chuckle. "Don't worry, they're in good hands." The voice assured him.
A figure appeared within sight. Even without the aid of his mask he could tell this Human was male and a rather unimpressive one at that. The male waved a hand across his vision before motioning another Human forward, a female, and writing something on the pad she offered him. He shooed her back with a blunt gesture and a brisk reprimand regarding footwear.
As utterly pointless as the Hunter felt it, the Human in charge turned back to him.
"I'm interested…do you understand me? Do you have a name? Are you the leader of your group?" The voice slowly questioned. While definitely not the leader of his group, he did indeed have a name, could very well understand every word he was hearing and could translate almost a dozen Human languages besides the one known as English -but that information was something he most certainly wasn't going to share. Besides, who knew what you might glean if the fool thought you couldn't understand him, or, even better, thought you were stupid.
Several moments passed and the Yautja kept silent, trying his best to appear dumb in just about every sense of the word.
The Hunter heard the Human sigh.
"Very well. It seems you don't wish to talk. No matter. I'll be back tomorrow and the day after that and the day after. Perhaps your friends will be more vocal." He muttered, feigning disappointment.
And then the foot steps retreated and the male and his entourage were gone…and the Hunter was alone again. As brief and unenlightening as that had been, it had been something. Were they intending to just let him rot in this room till he told them everything? If that was their intention, then they could interrogate his corpse! He wasn't worried about the others. His friend regularly refused to converse with fellow hunters because he thought them below him –this Human didn't have a chance at getting more than a glare! And the largest of their hunting party? Prying more than roars and growls from him on a good day was difficult. No, he wasn't worried about the others.
If he could regret anything at all, it would be that when Cetanu came for him, the dark one wouldn't be pulling his spirit out from amidst the rubble of this place. It's every warrior's right to die fighting; naked, unarmed, and gasping for breath like a fish out of water wasn't exactly ideal.
The Hunter growled under his breath and subsequently coughed as the foreign air hit his already protesting lungs. If one thing was now certain, time would make the last few days of his life the longest.