Mist is a wet world with lots of lakes and rivers. I can not remember a morning we did not have thick fog that usually lasts half the day. The larger lakes were known for huge fish that could grow to fifteen or twenty meters. The ocean predators grew larger but tourists came to fish the lakes.
I had done a mandatory six years in the service before returning to Mist. I only wanted to be left alone. My family had over a hundred thousand hectares on the third continent in the northern hemisphere. I was the last one left in my family, the rest had left or died. I had three large lakes on three sides with a mountain range to the west.
Mostly my land was thick fern and huge thick trees that grew rapidly. The land was almost as dangerous as the water. The animals here were very large omnivorous furred reptiles. Even the huge insects had fur to help shed the water. The birds were more insect than avian or perhaps you could think of them as bat insects. Some grew a wing span as large as eight meters.
It did not matter if you were in the water, on the land or in the air. The creatures here would kill and eat you if they could. I finished putting the hard suit on and went to all fours to crawl down the narrow gap I had made long ago. It was not safe to walk into the water, the huge fish would actually beach themselves as they tried to catch prey on shore.
As I moved into the water I followed the thick synthetic rope. Once I was all the way under the water I used it to pull myself down. The suit was special and designed to camouflage the wearer. You just had to move slow or risk the large predators eating you. I went down until I was just beyond thirty meters.
That was the start of the bivalve bed of Miam and it went as deep as forty meters. The water here was warmer and clear as I moved through the rows my family and I had created. The few ready for minerals got a piece tossed in carefully. I had to be very careful, the pressure they created was enough to change the minerals I put in.
More importantly, the closing shells snapped shut with such force they could take off an arm or leg, even in a hard suit. I moved from one side to the other, only stopping and freezing when a fish swam by. I was in the older and deeper area when the Crista cruised by. It was only a five meter fish but more than big enough to cause trouble.
I froze and watched it and several moments later it returned and then it came back again only lower and closer. I was almost ready to use a shock stick when the huge Bearcone surged in. It was at least eighteen meters and rolled as it bit the Crista in half. It kept going as I held still and preyed it would not return.
I finally relaxed and moved to the very last row and the oldest bivalve. First I had to plant the young Miam seed. I moved around behind the old one and looked around before using a sonic cutter. I sliced the one meter wide muscle that sealed it to the lake floor. The shell was three meters long and two wide and slammed shut.
I checked around me constantly until I was done. I put a carbon fiber net around it and added a tiny set of buoyancy balloons. I pulled it after me as I made my way back to the rope to start pulling myself up and out. Once I was out of the water I left the shell and crawled up and to the edge of the forest.
I stood and began removing the suit and dressing before hooking the net cord to the winch on my vehicle. I began pulling it up the bank and then went to hook it to the rear hoist. I lifted it and turned the hoist to put it in the back. I glanced at the large flyer as it dropped down and landed not to far away.
Four more appeared and began descending as six large men climbed out of the first flyer. I moved to the front and started to reach in for my plasma pistol. One man cleared his throat as two others lifted rifles. I turned and hesitated before tossing the pistol into a bush, "fine, take it."
The man snorted, "we are here to use the area and you look like a good runner."
I looked at him as the men surrounded me and the other flyers landed. Two were transports and six men were shoved out by two men and then I realized one was a girl. They had their hands tied as four men climbed out of the other vehicles. One of the men strode towards us, "the hunters are on their way."
I looked at the man that had spoken to me, "Hunters? You poachers?"
He snorted and then grinned, "yeah. We have people that pay a lot to hunt men."
One man gestured to my bush knife on my thigh and started to move closer. I waited and knew I would kill him if he tried to take it. The leader cleared his throat, "let him have it."
I looked at him and he grinned, "not much you can do against a plasma rifle."
He gestured to the others as they were shoved closer, "cut them loose."
He waited and looked at us, "you have two hours before the hunters begin stalking you."
I did not wait and spun before starting to walk as I thought. The others followed and I glanced at the girl when she fell in right behind me. Two of the men ran past and into the forest and I shook my head. That was a good way to die here. The other three men turned and headed away and I looked at the girl.
I realized she was only in her mid teens and sighed, "stay with me."
She looked at me and nodded as I finally headed north. It was an hour before I came out beside the lake again. I whispered to the girl as I went to my knees, "crawl and whatever you do go slow."
I knew the bank here dropped almost straight down and there were large fish that could beach and kill us ... or anyone following. I went to my belly and crawled out to the edge of the water before turning and moving along beside it. The girl followed and copied me until I turned and crawled back to the forest.
I stood and helped her up, "my name is Nolan Quinn."
She looked at me as I started walking and heading into the forest, "my name is Tami."
I moved slowly and watched everything around us. An hour later I pause before moving through the tall ferns next to a narrow trail. I knew it was from a Scarlet King which was a huge horse sized furry insect. If we crossed the trail the next one down the trail would know and the whole colony would begin tracking us.
I grinned as I turned to the nearest tree, the bark was easy to climb and I went up to a thick branch. I waited for Tami and went out until we were on the other side of the trail. I watched below us until we reached a smaller tree growing up past the branch. We only had a small jump before we climbed down.
I turned and ten minutes later I heard something. I pulled my knife and gestured Tami to a tree. The head of a Scarlet King pushed through a bush and I reacted and slashed. Its head fell and the body dropped. I looked around before moving quickly. I rolled it onto its side, "Tami?"
I sliced down the three meter body and easily peeled the extremely light fur pelt off. It was over two meters wide as I folded it in half and then rolled it. I handed it to Tami who lifted it and weighted it before looking at me. I smiled, "yeah they do not weight very much."
We started walking again and I knew it would be hours or days before the gatherer was missed. With its fur and skin missing they would find the body and take it back to the colony as food. It took a few hours to get close to the colony. We turned at the sounds of the colony suddenly pouring out and rushing back the way we had come.
We began walking in a shallow creek we found. An hour later I heard and saw the huge nest of Jackets. They were huge, almost the size of a Scarlet King with six sets of wings. They were one of the true carnivores on Mist. We were standing in the creek and under several large fern bushes. A Jacket suddenly shoved its head through the ferns and I reacted.
I pulled the knife and lunged to stab up into the head. It fell through the ferns and into the creek as I looked around to see if other Jackets had seen. I pulled the knife out and rolled it onto its stomach and cut around the wing bases and down the back to the tail. Like with the Scarlet King the fur peeled off easily.
I folded and rolled it before carefully cutting the tail stinger and the poison sack out. I also broke and cut the six legs off before checking around us. I gestured as I began moving slowly to keep from drawing attention. It was awhile before I had Tami wait and set a trap on our trail using the stinger.
After I was done I started collecting vines to braid into a rope. I wrapped it around me a little later and had Tami wait as I climbed a tree. I dropped the rope and helped her climb the tree. I looked around carefully and saw a Chalker, they were a green furred reptile that grew to ten meters. This one had a nest which meant she would attack anything that came close.
Above our level in the tree by the nest was a hole. From the fur around the bottom edge I knew it was from a Ashton. They were a large insect that burrowed into trees and ate the wood. The hole would be two or three meters deep and look like a sphere. I grinned and leaned close to Tami, "move slow and stay very quiet."
She nodded and I looked around before moving out a branch. We were able to climb a vine up onto a branch from the other tree. When we reached the trunk I looked at the bark before gesturing for Tami to wait. I slowly climbed to the hole and peeked in and then climbed through. I turned to look out and toss the rope to her.
.... There is more of this story ...