This story was inspired by the Starting Point: "HOW TO KILL A CYBORG DINOSAUR" And takes place in my story universe "Galactic Chronicles" (http://galnet.wikia.com/wiki/Galnet_Data_Base)
The man who stepped before the small crowd gathered in the luxurious lounge looked every inch like an exotic game hunter supposed to look, like a Virtu show character come to life.
He wore a wide brimmed hat over his sun tanned face graced with a thin black pencil beard.
Over his khaki colored Bioseal suit, he wore a leather jacket of scaled leather.
A necklace with long sharp fangs of some predator animal around his neck.
His Terran All terrain boots were black, polished and reached to his knees. The handle of a knife sticking out of the left boot shaft. Thee broad utility belt held the holster of a Remington Thermo Stream and a vibro machete.
His name was Philip Pembroke and would challenge anyone who called him by his very much hated nickname ‘Pi-Pi ‘. Fortunately none of the present knew of that name.
Each of them was incredibly rich.
They all looked at him, some with eager anticipation but others with an expression of arrogant boredom, that was the hall mark of what society called the Neo Nobles.
“Can I ask you to put your drinks down for a moment?”
They did but not in a great hurry.
“Welcome Brutos planet. In the name of Exotic Thrills Inc. would also like to welcome you to the ET- hunting lodge.”
A pale and tall young man wearing some sort of red uniform jacket with a stiff mandarin collar and white pants.”Be so good and spare us with the sales pitch. We are here aren’t we?”
“Yes Mr. Carrington, then let me ask you have you been on a big game hunt before?”
“Of course, I hunted and killed the most dangerous game in the galaxy. This is why we came your company promised a worthy prey that offers a challenge.”
“That I can promise you, the local dinosaurs are big, nasty and dangerous predators, but we didn’t leave it at that. We added cybernetics, so these beasts can see better, hear better and we have raised their intelligence and their aggressiveness. In other words you won’t find a more dangerous monster.”
A blonde woman wearing a Gucci leather suit in with some kind of animal fur pattern, cradled a real Kruger 200 Plasma Sniper gun, said. “Even more dangerous than the beasts of Green Hell?”
“Lady Gloria, I have been on Green Hell and bagged a Water Snake and a Stomper. Our Cyber dinos are a class onto itself.” Philip flat out lied, he never had been on Green Hell.
However that seemed to impress the woman who was the grand daughter of Henry Forster, founder of Forster Industries.Jan Van Anders, looking like a Vac Ball star and a poster child for perfect fitness sitting on the armrest of a leather upholstered arm chair said. “Genetic raised intelligence, how did you get the permission to do that, isn’t genetic tinkering more or less outlawed ever since the Gene Clone revolt?”
“Restricted, Mr. Anders. Not outlawed completely besides the Science Council is far and we stayed away from the sentience threshold of course.”
That made the blue skinned Thauran sitting by the bar smile. “In other words, your company did not really bother with getting a Cloning permit. That suits me fine, I am tired of blasting mindless beasts and look forward to hunt something that gives me a real challenge. I personally find it a shame that the Togar quit hunting Jooltar and humans ever since they joined, I would have paid much to hunt something intelligent.”
He was one of two Thaurans of this group. The other Thauran said. “Lord Sybor, your taste for cruelty and lust for blood is well known across the Azure Empire., but then I share your sentiment and hope to gain such a reputation myself.”
The sixth and last hunter was somewhat of an odd ball. She was, in Philip’s opinion the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She had truly black hair and wore her long hair in thick braids. She was dressed in dark red leather that caressed her body in a most delectable way and of all things wore a sword across her back. Her eyes were yellow and her eyebrows had an almost devilish shape. She must have checked out and had the money to pay for this extravaganza otherwise the company would not have let her come.
She was standing somewhat separate from the others, with her arms crossed.
Philip noticed that neither Carrington nor Van Anders could take their eyes of her.
He said. “I tried to familiarize myself with all of you before hand, but I haven’t seen your name on the list.”
“I am Freya Olafson, it was a last moment decision more the spur of the moment thing, but I paid the 1,000,000 credits.”
Lady Gloria said. “She is here because of me. She laughed when I said I am a Big Game hunter and I challenged her. It is sort of a bet. Don’t worry Mr. Pembroke, she is the heir to the Silver-Hawk empire and perhaps the wealthiest of us all.”
“Well Ms. Olafson, glad to have you, but I must warn you this is for professional hunters and not a luxury resort activity. The prey we are hunting is dangerous. Have you ever hunted dangerous beasts before; have you ever killed?”
“Well then, enjoy the luxuries of the lodge and go to bed early. We are leaving at the break of dawn.”
Philip had left the super rich hunters and walked out on the platform that surrounded the lodge building built into the top branches of a giant Mammoth tree. He was used to the sweltering heat and the dampness of the jungle air that made him sweat despite the climatized suit. He trotted over the swinging rope bridge and entered the operations office.
Bart, the company manager greeted him with a lazy nod. “Ready to take the Richies on their adventure trip. Pi-Pi?”
“Being my boss doesn’t give you license to insult me. You know how much I hate that nick name.”
Without responding to Philip’s complaint, Bart pointed to a set of control screens. “They get a nice thrill before they kill their prey. The latest batch of Cyber Dinos is particular nasty and vicious. We released them near the Verde River delta and they already tearing local life forms to bits.”
“Why the Verde Delta? It’s a particular dense region with lots of Buzz biters, not to mention the Ravagers in the river.”
“We wanted to give them a bang for their money, make it look and feel like a real challenge. You know Carrington is well known in the Big Game hunter circles and if he spreads the word among his super rich friends, we won’t have to worry about bookings for the next ten years. Besides nothing adds realism as a few itching insect bites. Besides as long as you don’t plan to have them take a bath, they won’t be bothered by the Ravagers. Not even our Dino nasties are brave enough and now smart enough not to enter the river.”
“You increased their intelligence again?”
“Not on purpose but our Bionetic engineers reported that the latest bunch turned out a little smarter than the last batch. Not to worry, they are still big, and thanks to our trackers can’t really hide. Besides what does it matter? You can send the kill impulse, just don’t do it unless absolutely necessary. We want our guests do the killing, each Cyber Dino sets us back 80,000 credits.”
“I am not worried about the Dinos, but Union authorities. If we keep making them smarter, they might make the jump to sentience. You do know the penalty for cloning sentient beings, right?”
“We pay you to provide those richies an adventure of a life time, don’t concern yourself with things that are not your business, Besides the next batch is going to be stupid again, the Bios are certain.”
The taste and smell of blood was intoxicating and satisfied its urges on a level that included all it was. Bits and pieces of whatever it just killed still dangled from its terrifying fangs. It was amazing how clear and in what detail he perceived the surroundings. It could sense the frightened heart beats of a pelted being several paces to the right behind dense bushes. He could see everyone of those little flying things that seemed to appear whenever it killed and buzzed and hummed around the gory remains of its prey. It should be content and yet there was a gnawing sensation deep inside, almost like a pain. The feeling could be summoned up with one word, Why?”
“It had no recollection of anything. It just was.”
In its mind, a new concept grew and as it starred into the reflecting surface of a stagnate puddle of water and saw the thing inside, it realized it was an image of itself. The new thought started with I...
A crashing tearing sound made it whirl around, its massive tail whipping bushes with a violent snap.
There was another I.
No it was just like itself but it was not I.”
The other was identical to the image he had just seen in the water’s reflecting surface. At first a tremendous urge to attack and fight came over it, but it stopped.
They both stopped in their advance and stared at each other, hissing grunts of primeval intensity made everything around them flee in sheer panic.
Yet it somehow understood that the sounds the other it, made were not just senseless grunts and prelude to violence, but something else.
It grunted too, warning the other it, not to attack.
Everything in it urged to lunge forward, to attack and kill. Kill that was its purpose, or was it? Why?
The other It, appeared to have the same hesitations. It was unlike all the other Its. It would not be easy to kill it. It was the same as It.”
The urge to convey its uncertainty to the other It, was almost painful in its urgency.
More grunts left his maw, and were answered by the same grunts.
Yet another new concept dawned in its troubled mind: Us.
Rise and shine blared throughout the lodge, accomplished by the rousing theme music of the union wide known opera “Stahl’s Attack”
While Lady Gloria seriously considered to forgo the hunt and sleep in, questioning the reason why hunts had to be this early, the wake up call found the two Thaurans and Jan the Colonial Terran from Maastricht Planet already at the breakfast table.
Archie Carrington entered the breakfast room only moments later, he too was obviously not caught sleeping by the wake up call.
The leather clad raven haired beauty joined them moments later coming from in from the outside. Her faint fresh perfume was mixed with the scent of the jungle.
Archie Carrington got up and pulled a chair for the woman. “What a sight you are, indeed Ms. Olafson. We have not yet officially been introduced. I am Archie Carrington of Pleasant Glen Colony.”
“Good for you.” The gorgeous woman said giving the man a gaze down her nose of utter arrogance that made the man sigh with deepest admiration.
Jan helped himself to a slice of Andorian spice bread and passed it through the toaster field. “Don’t be impressed by this upstart family of his, only 500 years of un-noteworthy family history and just barely scratching the five billion level. Now I am sure you heard about Van Anders freight lines and we are in business for a good 1500 years.”
“It is quite dangerous to insult a Carrington, my dear Van Anders.”
Just then Lady Gloria entered the room, she had decided to get up after all... “Boys behave, you both didn’t impress me very much and I if you knew who my new friend really is, you’d realize you have even less of a chance doing that.”
Philip came in and said. “Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Please wrap up your breakfast, we are going to leave in ten minutes.”
It and the other it had just killed a large thing together. It was surprisingly easy. The large thing first tried to run, but the the other it coming from the other side blocked its way.
It had killed one of this big things before, it was not an easy kill but the big thing stood no chance as they both attacked.
They had met yet another it and this time the acceptance of cooperation happened much faster and together they had discovered yet another new way of killing. Something one It alone could not do.
Because one it would hide while the other two drove prey towards the hiding one, uprising the fleeing prey. It was an exciting feeling of accomplishment, even more than the kill itself. The concept of Us, was now easy understood. Us was better as I.
They also discovered that there were things very dangerous to them. In the big wet, there were little things, but very many and they were fast. A fourth of It was killed as it entered the big wet, and all its strength was useless against the many little ones. But they could do that too, together they were better as one.”
“Shit, we just lost number five-teen. So much for them supposedly being smarter. That dumb thing went into the water and got ripped to the bone by these vicious Ravagers” Steve one of the Mission observers said to Bart who yawned as he came in.
“Those Ravagers are quite similar to Terras Piranha.”
“A carnivore fish on old Earth, these Ravagers are about four times their size, though.”
“Pff, Earth. I have no idea why everything is always compared to Earth.”