Authors Note: tiring of fan fiction sites, I decided to post my written art here for your enjoyment and hopefully, feedback. Your opinions and ideas are most appreciated. I write this for my personal enjoyment, but like to share. Please consider this as owned material and do not use it in your own stories, ‘cuz if you do, my Hunters and Huntresses will rat you out! Disclaimer: I own nothing except my own verbal constructs. Predator is owned by the Fox Predator Franchise. This work is not for profit. Hunter’s View by GrayHuntress Chapter 1 “I live…good landing,” T’ck clicked softly to no one. He stood still as the automatic system’s check revealed his mask was still in working order. Slowly, he loosed his hands from the wall grips and prepared to egress while automatically talon tapping his body to locate all his weapons, ensuring they were still strapped to his body. The exhilaration of near free-fall followed by the punishing slam nose-first into a planet had him feeling a tad rattled. He had felt it before and knew it would pass as he focused on locating prey. This land mass had been a favorite hunting ground for T’ck and his clan for many spans. Still, they came here more sparingly then in days past. Long ago the prey, although brave and worthy, was armed with only primitive weapons. But as the species developed, they harnessed more and more technology. As their weapons became potentially lethal, they had even begun to explore their own moon and nearby planets. T’ck did not fear their weaponry, but he did fear disgracing himself if he were discovered. He had considered what could happen - the prey animals were curious and might even capture and study him. If his race’s tech were to fall into their hands…his name would be erased from the clan record and written alongside those of the dishonorable. A shudder had raced down his spine at the idea and he vowed to the gods that he would sacrifice himself along with his tech in order to protect it. T’ck shimmered into invisibility as his cloaking activated and he reflected the green of a thousand plants. Turning his head slowly from side to side, he ran through all visual filters to assess his surroundings. No signs of prey. Back on the ship he had detected construction about 20 noks toward the sunrise from this position. Only his chosen prey constructed edifices on this planet. Leaping into the nearest tree, he scaled to limb height and began leaping from tree to tree. This was much easier going than hacking through all the plants below. There was no roadway in this remote setting. Dwelling clusters of prey were scattered and few. When found, they were usually near the waterways. The remoteness pleased T’ck. First there would be the challenge of locating the prey, selecting the best specimens, killing them and securing trophies. The only thing that could make this a more stellar hunt would be if the prey had the gumption to fight back. He clicked in satisfaction, imagining such a scenario as he traversed the canopy, still careful to observe everything he was passing. The crack of a branch echoed from the jungle floor and T’ck stopped on the branch in mid-crouch, nearly ready to spring to the next tree. Silent as the humid air around him, T’ck gracefully stood upright and replayed the sound from the recording inside his mask. He sent out several echo location pitches and compared them, knowing that the sounds were too high for the hearing of his prey. There! The mask pinpointed the cracking sound’s location. He upped the magnification and scrutinized the undergrowth. Just there, he saw the freshly broken stems and the broken dead branch lying on the ground. Something had just walked nearly beneath him. He strained to hear even as he switched to enhanced heat vision. T’ck had to suppress a happy trill. Faint prey prints stood out on the crushed vegetation. The prey was shod which left little trace, but there was definitely a track to follow. There were three of them, he reasoned. They were not natives. Natives to this jungle would have been barefoot. Since they were shod, they probably were more advanced than the natives and perhaps carried weapons. There was no room to grin inside the mask, but T’ck’s heart warmed to the prospect of a challenge. With the silent grace of an experienced predator, T’ck eased himself to the ground and began to follow. He could tell from the indentations that their footwear was very sturdy, not the sort worn by other prey he sometimes hunted. And then he was upon them. Still cloaked, he watched for awhile, summing up what he was seeing. They were clothed alike in material marked to blend in with the jungle. He was certain it worked well and that if he were not for their heat signatures, he would be unable to see them at all. They were also well armed with large and small projectile firing tubes that could take down a hunter if he were unlucky enough to be hit by enough of them. They also carried blades strapped to their waists and one had some kind of com device that he spoke into and received commands back from. They were skilled and they were hunting something, T’ck surmised as he suppressed a shiver of excitement. To hunt other worthy hunters was a dream come to life. Having become more particular about which trophies were worth collecting, T’ck evaluated the group, looking for prized features. One of the animals had an oversized symmetrical skull which sported and especially handsome definitive jaw. T’ck judged it would make a nice addition to his collection. He memorized the movement, size and appearance of the specimen so he could easily distinguish it from the others. Now, what should he do about the others? He judged they were carrying good muscle and his ship larder was nearly empty. Any excess meat could be sold planet-side. Besides, killing them all would ensure there was no one left to tell any suspicious tale. His trophy led the group, while T’ck picked off the last creature in the line as they walked in front of him. Clapping one of his large hands over the thing’s mouth, he plunged double wrist-blades through it with ease, and then waited until the others were far up the trail before pulling his serrated knives from the body and guiding its sag onto the ground. He let it lay and sprinted to regain the march. Sudden noises of communication alerted him that the missing one had been noticed by those left. Springing into the trees, he watched as the remaining two doubled back to find their comrade. He needed to dispatch them quickly. Pulling the collapsed throwing blade he deftly snapped it into action, hoping that the noise would be covered by the scrambling of the prey below. His hope was in vain as two faces looked directly up at him. Figuring he had nothing to lose, he flung the blade. Both of the upturned faces now sported opened jaws as they witnessed a man-shaped slice of jungle move as if to hurl something. Before they could react, one of their faces slid down and fell to the ground by its owner’s feet. The last one left, the trophy skull, sent a barrage of bullets into the air. But T’ck was already leaping to confront his kill. Now directly in front of this most worthy trophy, T’ck grabbed the firing barrel and held it away. Yelling out, the prey tried to wrestle it back from the shimmering form it still did not understand. Wrenching the weapon away, T’ck threw it into the undergrowth and flipped off his cloak. This was the part he relished. The amazement, the fear that came into the eyes of his intended as he appeared before them. He would challenge the prey as an equal and earn the trophy fairly if the creature would fight him. T’ck made a show of dropping his short blade while the animal watched him with wide eyes. Then, he slowly pulled his breathing hoses and unseated his mask before dropping it on the ground. He hoped it realized the honor he was doing it. Strange sounds came from the prey. “Jesus, Mary and Joseph! What in hell are you?” Perhaps it was a battle challenge. T’ck recited the strange sounds back, “Geez-usss, Mar’eee and Joooe’siff. Whaaat in ell are eeeyou?” Then stood there, spreading his mandibles in threat. T’ck’s shoulders fell in disappointment as the prey dropped its weapon and fled, running through the thick growth as if blind. Replacing his blade and mask, T’ck bolted up a trunk, easily tracking its loud thrashing through the tangle of growth. He swooped down on it from above. Catching it by the neck, he held it up for one last inspection. Although not quite as perfect as his first assessment promised, it would be a respectable trophy. He plunged his blades upward into the soft abdomen, driving into the lungs and heart. He clicked in pleasure at the efficiency that would leave the precious parts unmarred. Remembering he had meat strung along the trail, he hauled the carcass over one shoulder and set out to collect it. Tapping a happy rhythm, T’ck cut the clothing from each one and wrapped thick cord around their ankles before hoisting them into the air. Now he gutted them, bled them out and began to skin them. Any extra meat he could sell back at home and the skins would also fetch a reasonable sum. He was always self-satisfied when he could finance his hunts with what he gleaned from his kills. T’ck prided himself on skinning one of these animals in one piece which was difficult to do because of the narrow fingers. He worked quickly and quietly, lifting the skin and severing the connective tissue beneath it, sometimes bunching and pulling the skin over the joints and down the long limbs. Small annoying flying things were attracted to the scene and buzzed around his head, landing on the carcasses. Finally, he was done. Three sets of skins with attached faces and scalps were tightly rolled and packed into his net bag. Pulling on the slip knots, he dropped the skinned forms from their hanging branch and then threw the end of each rope up much higher into the tree. A small weight attached to the end of each rope made the throw easy. Then T’ck scaled the tree to where the ropes were draped together over a large branch. Gathering them all in his hands, he began to pull. Sometimes, if the prey group were large and or heavy, he would use another branch as a pulley, but this load was just a nice muscle warmer. With everything secured from ground scavengers, he would let the meat hang a bit to improve the flavor and tenderness while he gathered and cleaned his trophies. He would take the traditional skull and spine combination and the weapon the prey had dared fire at him. On his trophy wall, it would make a silent testament about the worthiness of the prey, even though it had finally run in fear. Scrambling down to a larger branch nearer the ground, he intended to haul up the trophy carcass and begin to remove his prizes, but his plans were interrupted by a strange, but familiar, whapping sound. Whap, whap, whap. He knew the sound. It was the same type of air ship that had brought the first three to him. There were two ships this time, perhaps they brought more prey. T’ck’s senses were on high alert. The now skinned creatures had all been strong and clothed similarly – the signs of a professional force. Perhaps there were more of them. Perhaps there were excellent trophies to be obtained. Flicking on his cloaking, he began to traverse the treetops as though born in them.