The Tau Fire warrior shook like a leaf despite biting back at his fear as hard as he could. He had four of his comrades at his back, yet his body reacted with such fear at the human before him that he would just as soon run away screaming.
The man wore no armor and was apparently unarmed, but his eyes appeared to glow slightly under the moonlight and he seemed completely unfazed by the five Tau aiming plasma weapons at him.
The Tau had landed almost a week prior and any scouting party the main force tried to send out was wiped out within a single night, no distress calls, no signs of them anywhere, they just vanished in the jungle, maybe this was part of the reason why the Warrior was so nervous, deadly creatures obviously roamed through this jungle world, but the man simply walked around in khaki shorts and t-shirt.
he was well fed. Since orbital observers reported no signs of any artificial structures anywhere on the planet, one had to wonder where that man had crawled out of.
"Stay where you are, friend, we will not hurt you..."
The man's face brightened with a tiny smile and every Tau in the cramped clearing held back an urge to squeeze the trigger right away.
"That'd be the day!" The man scoffed.
There was five meters between the squad and the human, far enough for anyone with average reflexes to take down the target, should the need arise, so it came as a bit of a surprise when the harmless loner broke right through their formation, dragging a Fire warrior into the jungle as if he weighted nothing. No screams were heard, no gunshots, just a loud crack and the whole jungle went silent.
The warriors called their friends name in confusion, washing the whole clearing with their flashlights. They had served together for months, he could not have just died, not like this! Then, they spotted two yellow dots amongst the bushes, shining in their helmet lights like cats' eyes in headlights.
It might have been anything, but every Tau present could swear they heard a low, feral growl.
A Tau broke away and ran in the opposite direction, despite the pleas of his friends. Fear made stupid, stupid made dead. And it came fast again, a blur of white and Khaki, falling right in front of the deserter. From where they stood, the other Tau saw only the warrior's helmet and backpack stop, as if reconsidering his decision. Then, the helmet took off, vertically, soaring past the canopy and out of sight while the backpack remained motionless.
His companions called the scared warriors, inciting him to come back before it was too late. The team leader actually about to go get the kid, when the helmet fell back in the jungle with a dull thud, ten steps to the left of the group.
While the officer advanced carefully, one of the remaining two warriors went over to pick up the discarded piece of armor, moved by some morbid conviction that he would find a severed head inside. There were none, but as he looked up, he did spot two yellow orbs burning in past the ferns, two step ahead.
The voice was young, strong and charismatic, nothing like the assembly had expected.
"You know, there are many odd things amongst the Imperium that would make the Emperor go "Dude…" Psykers are behind many of these mysteries, secret societies are even more commonly involved, but secrets such as the Ferals, spanning a whole planet, involving billions of human being and effectively kept a secret by a group of men dead since two decades after the first human colony… Well, they're rare.
We know about the Imperium from what the occasional trader and refugee will tell us, but they know nothing about us. That's why you are here.
Who are the Ferals? Isn't that the question you're all burning to ask? Well, we are the most primitive human beings in the world, as opposed to mutants, we are underneath the Homo Sapiens Sapiens in the evolutionary process, but that's not actually a weakness. We are an evolutionary dead end, granted, but so is the great white shark.
See, normal humans are weak, a chimp has the same muscle structure as we do and identical mass, but is five times stronger than the average man. That's as strong as an unarmoured Adeptus Astarte. Why? More power to the muscles, less to the brain. The Sapiens evolved that way and it's a sound solution, saves power and allows greater survival rates, Ferals found another solution; full predation.
We evolved to be purely predatory and must eat twice as much as the average man, but we gained full access to our body's potential, we can track by smell, see in the dark, lift five times our own weight -and that's as strong as an armored Astarte- and heal from any non-fatal injury within hours, if not minutes. This makes us fiercely territorial and pack based, thank to our massive nutritional needs, but we are still intelligent beings, we can control ourselves, although it has caused our species to become virtually extinct, until a scientist developed a gene therapy to recover Feral traits in average Homo sapiens. We are the descendants of these newly created Ferals, banned on an jungle world and kept away from the regular humans to one day serve as the protectors of humanity. Things didn't go as planned, we multiplied, as intended and now, we are out of food, which is why, ladies and gentlemen inquisitors, we made our presence known to you. Our warriors will beat anything you pit them against, so long as you keep us supplied..."
"Stop recording." An aging man ordered, turning to a slightly younger woman, sitting on the opposite side of the table. "Basically, what they are saying is 'We will fight for food.' Am I right?"
She nodded, a grin tugging at her mouth.
"Then why are we even viewing this transmission? We read the reports, saw the files they sent us, this… Man is telling us the truth, is he not?"
Everyone in the room agreed.
"Then there is no use debating this any longer, send an order to the administorum, tell them we need to outfit a new guard regiment and find me a suitable testing ground. Dismissed!"