Explosions quaked the ship as the outer loading bay was breached. Five marines entered in a practised formation, aiming pulse rifles to counter any threat that appeared. They adorned full combat suits and rebreather masks, to survive any environment. They were commandos of the Wayland Yutani corporation. A superpower in the human sphere that thrived on new technology and interstellar discovery. As such, the commando’s were the best-equipped soldiers in the universe. That, of course, meant little to the creature that would hunt them.
“This is extraction team alpha, clearance code 5512. Does anyone copy?” The leader of the commando’s transmitted over the emergency frequency.
“Yes! Um.. this is Ariel.” A startled voice crackled through the comm link.
“What is your location?”
“We’re in the safe room… there’s five of us in here. Please help…”
“Sit tight. We’re on our way.”
“Be careful out there. The Yautja are here.”
The commando team heard the conversation through their headsets and looked at each other in concern. They were more than prepared for the Xenomorph, but the Yautja were a different enemy altogether. As one, they synchronised headsets, set masks to infra-red vision and adjusted their pulse rifles to micro-explosive rounds. They were ready for their mission. Focused on their objective, no matter the overwhelming odds that had been put before them. Their mission, however, was not rescue. It was execution.
The lifeless mounds that were once Xenomorph lay strewn around the Reaper, the fully grown among them defeated at his feet. Grasping its head in a tight grip and flicking the blades from his wrist gauntlet, the reaper removed its head in a series of rending cuts. The trophy would be returned to Zarack’s ship, where it would be flayed down to the bone and displayed among his collection. The Reaper stowed the large head on a crudely fashioned hook that hung from bindings on his back. Zarack activated the relayed layout of the ship. All signs of the Xenomorph had been eradicated, but that did not mean that there were none that slumbered. He looked around to see Tor still lying motionless on the cold floor. Flicking to his bio scan vision, he checked the vitals of the young Yautja. His heart pounded steadily in his chest, and his wounds had already begun to heal. It would be some time before he awoke, but wake he would. A warning flashed in Zarack’s helm, relayed from his ship. A human vessel had just docked. An explosion that echoed through the silence confirmed their arrival. The Reaper would go in search of the humans, to seek the worthy among them.
Ariel and Triston guided the others in preparation for departure. They gathered water and food in rucksacks and armed themselves with miscellaneous makeshift weapons. Triston pulled rank for the only actual weapon they had. A pistol with a full clip of ammunition that was stowed in the safe room in case of emergency. Ariel wielded her maintenance jack, its considerable weight comfortable in her grasp. She knew that what they had would do nothing to slow a Yautja on the hunt, but it brought comfort to the group in knowing that they could try. They were all ready to leave. The days of horror that they had endured was about to end, but they knew of the horrors that still awaited. On the ship’s surveillance, they had witnessed the might of the Yautja that hunted outside their safe room. Yes, it had removed the threat of the Xenomorph, but what it was, was far more terrifying.
Three knocks on the heavy, electronically sealed door signalled that their rescuers had arrived. Switching the monitor to the camera that kept watch on the door, showed the team of soldiers, Weapons drawn and ready to enter. Ariel felt a tingle in her spine and a tightening in her chest. There was something amiss about their formation and the way their weapons were pointed toward the door.
“Well… what the fuck are we waiting for? Let them in.” Triston said, making his way to the control panel to release the lock on the door.
“Wait! Something’s not ri…” Ariel began but was too late. Triston hit the release button.
“Get down. Get down. Hands where we can see them!” The commando’s burst through, shouting commands and aiming weapons at the survivors. They all complied except one.
“What is th…” Her question was cut short as a bullet passed through her cranium. The commandos weren’t there to rescue anybody, they were sent by the company to tie up any loose ends. Tears ran down Ariel’s face, all hope that was had now gone. She dared not look up but could feel the sights of one of the weapons aimed at her. It would not be long now before the darkness would take over.
A roar from the open door echoed throughout the room. Ariel looked up to see that the soldiers had turned to open fire at an object, obscured in a haze that reflected its surroundings. They opened fire, their weapons deafening in the enclosed space. Small explosions rained in sparks as the ammunition missed their moving target.
“Hold fire, hold fire!” The commandos complied to the command without hesitation, but at the moment they did, the haze appeared once more. Three blue flashes of light reduced three of the soldiers to a shower of gore and scalded flesh. The unit’s commander and his surviving comrade opened fire, but the Predator was swift in its retreat, leaving unscathed from the hail of fire. The commando’s knelt, their sights focused on the doorway, ready to take down Yautja should it enter again.
Ariel calmed the flood of tears from her eyes, adrenaline taking over in the opportunity to act. She gripped her weapon tightly beneath her and looked toward Tristan. He had exactly the same idea, revealing the pistol hidden beneath him. Ariel nodded to him, a sign that now was the time to strike. Triston placed the pistols muzzle almost point black to the commando’s helmet to ensure that his shot would not fail. The weapon jerked back in his untrained hands, the bullet from its chamber entering the soldier’s skull in a display of blood and splintered bone. Before the unit’s commander could react, Ariel brought her maintenance jack down in a crushing arc. The commandos head caved beneath his helmet as his body twitched for the last time. Ariel looked up, only to see the haze had returned. The click and growl of the Yautja language confirmed his presence. How long he was there for, they did not know.
“Drop your weapons,” Ariel whispered to the others. She knew that the Predators mercy would be their only chance of survival. The Yautja disengaged its cloaking technology, revealing its monstrous form to all. It bore scars of many battles and stood towering before them. Unexpected to all, it showed no signs of hostility.
Zarack had defeated the worthy on his hunt, and now, four humans stood before him. He had witnessed them kill their own kind and disarm in his presence. For this, the Reaper would let them live. The female among them was a warrior, one that may yet grow to be a challenge. Zarack strode over to her kill. All eyes watched him cautiously. Grasping the fallen humans head with both clawed hands, he twisted twice in a sharp practised motion. With his titanic strength, he pulled the head free with spinal cord still attached. The female deserved a trophy for her kill, and the Reaper would grant her this. The humans stood motionless, Zarack’s bio scanner revealed their hearts thudding hard in their chests. They were rightfully afraid of him, but at this time, they would live. The Reaper bestowed the gore covered skull in the female’s cupped hands. She nodded her appreciation as the Yautja ran a bloodied claw down her forehead, anointing her with her kill.
Zarack left the humans where they were. They would leave the ship and tell other humans of the Reaper. Of his ferocity. Of his prowess. Of his honour. He had made enemies on the ship, but Zarack looked toward the challenge that they would one day impose. It wasn’t long before the Yautja was once again on his ship, the Xenomorph skull among his vast collection. The hunt was over, for now, but a new hunt was never too far away for the Reaper.
And that was the last part of The Reaper… for now. I hope that you all have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. No promises, but The Reaper may return in the near future. Thank you all for reading!