Aaaaaannnnd….Done! A tired sigh escaped past Layne's lips as she plopped back against the headrest of her bed, her laptop resting on her thighs. Although going for majors in Music and Acting, she had decided ahead of time to seek a degree in Creative Writing as well, as a back-up plan in the event she didn't make it in the Preforming Arts business. It was a small field after all and she was already doing well as a freelance writer. She felt great a sense of success and relief in seeing her finished final draft of her article on the city's local humane society.
It was three o'clock in the morning, and, although born a night owl, Layne was exhausted from the long day. Two cans of energy drinks rested on the nightstand, one of them drained of their contents. Still, she had wanted to finish the article ahead of time in order to be done with it now rather than later and also that it still needed to be examined by her current boss before it could be published.
Other than her bed and the nightstand, the sparsely decorated room contained little other furniture besides a bookshelf and a second bed for her roommate, Marcy. The two girls shared a small, apartment-sized cottage on their college campus. They split the bill on housing and other necessities. Currently, however, Marcy was off visiting her family and wouldn't be back for about a week, so Layne had the house to herself.
She made a soft yawn as her tired eyes fell on the two cans. Groggily, she set her laptop aside, picked the cans up and headed to the kitchen. A hint of paranoia crept up her spine as she looked out of the window, the blinds currently open. There had been reports of a few students going missing on the other side of the campus and it admittedly had her worried. That was one of the reasons why Marcy had left for a while. Layne, on the other hand, was too stubborn to be convinced in fleeing north to her own family a few states away. Most, including her parents, said that Layne thought herself as "ten-foot-tall and bulletproof." In reality, she just wanted people to see her as purely independent. This flaw was what had kept her back; she refused to admit fear if she didn't find it rational. For all she knew, those students were just drunk and spending a few days partying who knows where.
Layne still worried though. In fact, after Marcy had left, she had borrowed a Louisville Slugger from a friend and kept it by her bedside. It wasn't as useful as a gun, of course, but she figured she would be going a little too far if she purchased one. Besides, other than the times she had used hunting rifle in high school, she had no experience with them.
She closed the blinds.
Meanwhile, stalking through the campus on a silent tread, Arbitrator Kruk'jedhin- his name translating to 'Unyielding One' in the human language of English- stood atop of one of the dorm buildings. He found that this would be a proper enough vantage point of the odd human village; at least, he assumed it was a village. However, there weren't any Pyode Amedha pups around or very many elders, just fully-matured adults. Neither did they seem to live in the closely bonded families they were known for, but rather in around groups of two of the same gender. There was also the oddity of that it seemed to be a village within another village. These creatures were peculiar indeed.
He looked about for any other Yautja in the area. For the past few days he had been tracking a young and foolish Bad-Blood on the backwater planet known as Urth. He had found and lost the trail here, managing to find the skinned and headless corpses of a small group of humans, but not the Bad-Blood. He had disposed of the bodies quickly and efficiently, lest the Pyode Amedha find them and involve themselves in this affair more than they should. There were already rumors and suspicions that the monkey-like creatures knew about the Yautja; maybe even had captured a few of his brethren to satisfy their horrid curiosity and experiments. Although any attempts for them to track him down would be amusing as it was futile, Kruk'jedhin didn't want to risk the soft meats gaining more knowledge of his kind. And also any interference that they might cause had a chance of disrupting his mission.
A cold wind picked up and made his muscles tighten in response. Yes; this was a mission he wished to be finished with sooner instead of later so that he may return to the comforts of his own ship and back to the hunt on some far off, and exceedingly warmer, world. This planet's atmosphere was too cold for his liking, even during its hottest season.
There; he believed he caught movement. Two humans, a male and female, walked close to one another on a narrow rock path, passing many small structures. He huffed at their ignorance. Even the most dim-witted of animals could sense the danger and death in this area, especially at this time of the planet's rotation. Understanding human nature, he questioned why they would put themselves at risk…and without any form of weaponry none the less?
He was not the only one who spotted the pair; Kruk'jedhin saw his target as well, crouching atop of one of the human dwellings in preparation to pounce. Kruk'jedhin's temper went up several notches as he glared daggers at his target. The humans were unarmed, weak, and unworthy of the hunt. There was no honor in taking their skulls and yet the Bad-Blood still intended for them to die at his hands anyway.
Quickly, Kruk'jedhin climbed down from the dorm building and then charged across the rows of rooftops toward the Bad-Blood, issuing a roar in challenge. The two humans, startled and looking around in confusion, screamed and ran off as the Bad-Blood uncloaked turned to face the Arbitrator, roaring back in response. Once in range, Kruk'jedhin lunged at the Bad-Blood, his Combistick in hand.
Layne heard the sounds of screams and of some lion-like roars coming from just outside. What; did a pack of the giant, killer furballs escape from the city zoo? Her toothbrush still sticking out of her mouth, she froze at the noise, and then raced to her bedroom at the sounds of thumping and clashing metal, grabbing her bat. The noises seemed too close for comfort.
Suddenly, there was a loud crashing sound…coming from the living room! Quietly, Layne raised the bat and moved down the short hallway on silent, bare feet. If there was a lion, she wouldn't stand much of a chance; her in her soft green and chocolate brown pajama pants, with cartoon milk cartons and chocolate-chip cookies with smiley faces all over them. And her white tank top with the same style cartoon, melting ice-cream with the words "Hot Mess" written in chocolate sauce. Add this to her messy, pulled back in a low ponytail, brown hair, and the tooth brush still sticking out of her mouth- which she had forgotten about and was currently biting down hard on- and there was nothing in this world that could make her even appear slightly threatening.
The only thing she had going for her physically was her decent looks- not like she ever tried to make herself look good though- and her well suited body and lungs for a swimmer. That's how she was able to afford going to an out-of-state college on her budget anyway; by earning a swimming scholarship. Being on the swim team kept her nimble and lean, with healthy muscles and a diet running on a ton of carbohydrates, but it didn't give her too much in the overall strength department.
The very first thing she noticed when she entered the living room was a pair of male Predators wrestling in the middle of the floor, red-hot fury radiating form both of them as they battled it out. Layne nearly choked on toothpaste, some of which dripped out of her mouth and onto the carpet, as she stared unbelievably at the seen in front of her. These were the things from horror movies. She felt as if she had landed herself into one of those Netflix commercials.
The two Predators didn't seem to notice her existence and kept at it. Both were heavily armed and armored, with strange gun-like devices strapped to their shoulders and utility belts that would've made Batman turn green with envy. She couldn't see their faces due to the metal masks they wore, leaving their facial features to her imagination. They were also huge, at least seven feet tall each. One of them was a deep, dirt brown on the majority of his body, with mottled specks of jet black all over. Its skin tone lightened around his chest and abdomen. The other seemed a bit larger than his adversary and for the most part was a dark forest green with light brown specks. Those colors blended with some sort of cream color around his pecks, all the way from neck to groin. The latter seemed in better condition as well, its armor better kept with a sheen shine to it. There were more ornate rings around the dreadlocks of this one than the former also.
Still wide-eyed in shock, Layne dragged her feet past the pair and to the kitchen, where she picked up the half-full can of energy drink from the dining table. She had set it out for breakfast tomorrow, but now she walked to the trash bin and mechanically dropped it in. No more energy drinks before bed, she thought to herself, ever!
When she reentered the living room, she gazed up for the first time to find that there was a large hole in the roof. That would explain the wood and shingle splinters the surrounded the Predators on the floor. Speaking of which, she glanced back over to the two beings that she half-heartedly had convinced herself by now had come from something out of her exhausted, delirious mind. By morning, they'd be gone, the roof would be fixed, and she'd be happily eating a bowl of Honey Comb cereal in front of the TV. She came in just in time to see the forest green skinned one stab the other in the chest with some sort of spear, killing it. The winner's mask had been knocked off somehow, so she could tell that its face was also cream colored and that it had four mandibles instead of lips. Its hazel eyes were bright with intelligence…and rage. Neon green ooze coming out of both Predators stained the carpet.
Once again, Layne marched right past them, only this time heading for the bathroom to pee and then to her cozy bed for a good, long rest, with the bat beating rhythmically against her ankle as she walked.
Kruk'jedhin roared again, this time in triumph, as he ripped the head off of the perished Bad-Blood with his bare hands. Breathing heavily, he stared down at his handiwork and mentally congratulated himself for winning the fight. The scent of his musk in his aggressive state was everywhere in the chamber in the tiny human dwelling he had fallen into.
As he took out a vial of corrosive, dissolving liquid, he wondered why he felt that that something was missing from the scene. Then he remembered…then human female! He had barely caught her approach the fight in the middle of his battle rage and lust. The least witnesses there were, the better, and he had already allowed the two Pyode Amedha from earlier to run off. Besides that, it might be contacting more of its kind to come to its aid in fear that it would be next to die. Kruk'jedhin was confident he could face a few humans, but injured as he was, he was uncertain of his fate should a large group of them arrive, more than likely all of them with burners.
Not bothering to be stealthy, he began squeezing through the hall that was a smaller fit than he'd have liked. The door was open, but the light turned off to the human's sleeping quarters. Although a little short for a Yautja- only six foot ten- he still needed to duck down a bit in order to fit through the doorway without hitting his head in its frame.
Kruk'jedhin was taken aback to see the human female curled underneath a couple blankets on a cot, its body limp and breathing shallow; not yet asleep, but well on its way to unconsciousness. From what he'd learned in studies and from personal experience, the creature should be cowering in fear or of not that, attacking him; not napping and unnaturally calm. He knew that the Pyode Amedhas were unpredictable, but this was ridiculous.
It also irritated him that the thing showed no fear toward him.
With a gruff bark, ordering the female to stand and face him, to act defiant or at least dignify his presence, he rapped it against the head with a fist. It made a moaning sound and, without opening its eyes, shooed his hand away with one flailing arm.
"Go away, Marcy. It's too early and I'm tired," it whined groggily in its native tongue, rolling over on its stomach and pulling a pillow over its head.
Without his mask- he had forgotten it in the main chamber of the dwelling- and the translator built into it, Kruk'jedhin had only understood two of the words the human had said. Go…tired. This caused his jaw to drop in shock. No one, no one, had addressed and dismissed him this way ever since he had been a Youngblood, working hard to train for his Chiva and eventually rise in the ranks…
His eyes narrowed at the human female and a low growl erupted from his throat. It said something again, this time something he understood, "Stupid dog…" and he was just about to yank it from the cot by its long hair and pound it for its blatant disrespect when he picked up a silent snore coming from the creature.
He huffed and sat down on the cot opposite from the human and its own. The cot made a groaning/creaking noise, not used to his weight, but able to take it. He would wait to challenge the human- the thing needed to be taught a lesson- but not patiently. Kruk'jedhin would teach the female a lesson in both pain and what happened when you didn't respect those above you.
He could hear his training masters now, asking him why he refused to just walk away since humans were typically meek and idiotic and, for a fact, by far weaker than a Yautja. However, he would not stand for being insulted by mere prey. He couldn't, he wouldn't, kill it unless it was necessary; it was still an unarmed female- as far as he was concerned it was unarmed anyway, for he could easily snap the tiny club by its cot like a twig if it attempted to use it against him. But the human would remember to act wiser in a Yautja's presence. Kruk'jedhin even began to consider taking this one as a living trophy, a slave, should it put up a fair enough fight or its disrespect become too great.
As he waited for the Pyode Amedha to awaken so that he may challenge it properly and began the fight, his own eyelids began to droop. Within half an hour, he was sprawled on top of Marcy's bed and in a deep slumber of his own.