Story time! This is the first chapter of the story Being Human, which showcases the HOTD characters in the world of Alien, with predators thrown in of course.
A few notes so no one gets confused. This takes place in the future, along the time lines of the Alien movies, where humanity has colonized many planets. I have only seen two of the three alien movies, so I took some liberties with technology along they way.
A lot of my source material for the preds comes from wiki's and the rts game AVP: Extermination, so I expect there will be some mistakes or points that contradict 'canon' but we'll burn that bridge when we come to it. So, without further ado-
Chapter 1: Scion of the Blade
Beta Syndarious System: Echarsus- 5 years ago
Smoke rose from the colony of Metion.
Once the city had been a proud settlement. Now, all that remained of it was a smoking ruin.
The hulking walls of durasteel surrounding the colony were breached at a single point, a gaping hole blown through the city's defenses. But one gap was all it took. Within days after the first breach, hours even, the marines' defenses had crumbled, and the humans had succumbed to the Xenomorphs. Now the city was little more than a ruin, a gravestone atop a newly born hive.
The last semblance of human resistance came in the form of marine strike teams, elite forces landing on the planet via drop ship, sent to kill as many aliens as possible, rescue what survivors they could find, and retreat before the deadly claws of the hive could close around them. In the later years of humanity's war against these monstrosities called Xenomorphs, the military had fallen back on the ancient wisdom of Sun Tzu: Come like wind, go like lightning.
Beyond the marines, deadly Predators who sought honor and trophies also prowled the streets. They hunted through the dying colony clad glistening armor and bearing weapons stronger than any steel. They killed the Xenomorphs in droves, coming and going as they pleased. Only the vast number of drones cultivated from the staggering human population of Metinon kept the hunters away from the hive.
Last, lost in the ruins and struggling everyday for survival, were the few human survivors that once lived normal lives on the planet's surface.
They snuck through the streets and kept to the shadows as monster stronger and more numerous then they ran rampant through the city. Unable or unwilling to reach the evacuation zones or the marine drop ships, these humans were stranded there, in the place they once called 'home'.
They numbered less than a hundred, and more of them died every day.
The lucky ones lived barricade in isolated high-rises with contraband military equipment, as much food as they could gather, and the hope that they would remain undiscovered. But those were only the ones with the foresight and the credits to stock up on supplies and weaponry when the first reports of aliens on planet reached their ears. When all hell broke loose, they gathered a few close friends and neighbors, barred their doors, and waited out the storm.
The unlucky one were stuck on the streets below, surviving from day to day by the skin of their teeth and the grace of God above. Some were ex-marines, living life by the rifle at their side, making it through by street smarts and a quick trigger. Some were athletes, always checking over their shoulders and using all their skills to escape the xenomorphs one encounter at a time. Some were nothing special, lucky as luck could be, or living locked inside durasteel warehouses and venturing out only when food ran scarce.
Saeko Busujima was none of these things.
She was a high school student caught in the middle of the conflict by some combination of fate and bad luck. She was only fifteen, a girl by most standards, trapped in a hellish nightmare. But Saeko was something no other human on the planet could claim to be. She was a warrior, and her path was already died red from the blood of defeated enemies.
Living day by day like the other rats trapped in the streets of Metinon, she moved silently throughout the city, clad in a tattered and filthy uniform, worn backpack over her shoulder, and her most prized possession, her katana, sheathed at her hip. Her father had been a sword smith, along with a kendo master and a premier weapons developer at Weyland-Yutani. The traditional Japanese blade she bore was his gift to her for her fourteenth birthday, only a few months past, and the first time she had bested her sword instructor in a duel. Made with the some of the strongest alloys known to man, and forged with the traditional techniques of the ancient Samurai, the katana possessed strength and sharpness rivaling predtech.
To date, the katana was the only reason she still lived.
Currently, Saeko crept silently down a shadowy alley, coming to the back entrance of a supermarket. A steel door barred her way, the handle still intact. She tried it once, muttering in unsurprised frustration as the lock refused to budge.
Saeko didn't know how to pick locks, a mistake of shortsightedness that she swore to rectify if given the chance. Being able to pick locks was always a useful skill to have, whatever the circumstance. Of course, with the ever growing number of digital locks these days it might have been better to learn how to hack, not that she could do that either.
She would have to try around the front, the food in her pack would hardly last another two days, and she was on her last bottle of water. The pipe pressure had failed a week ago, meaning that she could no longer rely on tap water and she needed to find a supply. Too bad the front entrance of the store was right off a main road, utterly devoid of the shadows and hiding spots she employed to travel through the city.
Saeko sighed, life at the end of the world was never easy.
Suddenly she froze, all thoughts of supplies and entrances leaving her mind as she pressed herself into the darkness of the recessed doorway. She had felt a change in the air, some sound or movement that her subconscious had interpreted as danger. Saeko had long since learned to trust such instincts.
The scratching of claws echoed down the alley, Aliens she noted, throat dry as she eased her katana part way out of its sheath. They were moving quickly, and not a second later three hulking black forms darted past her, jumping from wall to wall. Saeko stood stock still, refusing even to breath until the monsters were past.
Then one of them stopped, its black limbs slowing as its brethren, intent on their purpose, left it behind. The remaining alien turned back towards the doorway recessed into the wall of the supermarket. Slowly, silently it inched towards the door, its claws making no sound against the concrete of the alley way. Yes, it was sure now. It could feel the body heat of prey hidden there, in the crevasse of the flatwall. Closer, closer. The queen would be pleased to have another host. Slowly its claws reached outward, readying to spring around the corner and snatch its prey.
A flash of steel blurred out from the doorway, bifurcating the alien in a single sweep, the next strike splitting the monsters head length wise. The Xenomorph was dead before it hit the ground.
Saeko flicked her sword, sending the acidic blood splattering against the concrete where hissed and bubbled. She wiped the rest on the remains of the aliens body before returning her blade to its sheath. The katana itself was specially made to resist acid, as was the sheath, but a warrior always cleaned her blade after a fight, regardless of the circumstances.
Hiking her backpack up on her shoulders she continued around to the front of the store, her footsteps silent as the wind. She slipped quickly around the side of the supermarket, coming to the entrance, a long storefront with shattered windows and a dark neon sign.
Glancing around one last time, Saeko stepped lithely over a broken window into the store. Inside, the power was out and the back recesses of the store were cloaked in darkness. Pulling a flashlight out of her pack, she scanned through the nearer aisles, looking for food, water, or anything that might be useful.
She found a packet of crackers and two bottles of cheap bear, taking time to shove all of it into her backpack. She didn't especially relish the idea of drinking alcohol, especially not low end stuff like this, but it could be used to sanitize her wounds, should she ever be hurt and somehow still manage to survive. Unfortunately, she found nothing else of value.
Stealing herself, Saeko flipped on her flashlight and drew her sword in a practiced motion as she moved towards the shadowed back sections of the supermarket.
Darkness was no friend to the surviving humans. Aliens and Predators each had ways to see regardless of the shadows and night, but humans had no such advantage. During the day at least, humans could see their enemies coming from a distance away and react, be it to hid or to run. But at night, all you could do was lock yourself into whatever hidey-hole you might find, and pray you were as invisible to them as they were to you.
And the darkness of the supermarket was no kinder than the darkness of the night.
Saeko's light was barely strong enough to reveal the contents of the shelves, so she was forced to rely on her other sense to warn her of danger. A little further into the story she managed to scrounge up a bottle of water and a multi tool (her old one had broken when she tried to force a door open with it a few days ago). But other than that the supermarket barely seemed worth the effort of picking though. Scavengers must have looted the abandoned building at least a dozen times even before the power went out.
Saeko's inner musings were silenced however, when the sound of scratching reached her ears. With a swift flick of her wrist Saeko deactivated the flashlight and slipped it into her pocket. Its minuscule light would only serve as a beacon. Gripping her sword loosely, Saeko slowly edged towards the nearest wall. Her steps were louder against the tiles of the supermarket than she would have liked, but Saeko hoped the wind blowing through the shattered windows was enough to mask the noise. Slowly, ever so slowly, Saeko slide through the darkness until she pressed her back up to concrete wall.
Then she waited, hoping that the silence and stillness of her body would keep her safe from a hunters eyes.
The silence around her was thick, broken only by the occasional scuffling of something moving through the dark isles. It stayed towards the back of the supermarket, so Saeko could neither see it, nor pinpoint its location by sound alone. There was a chance she was being paranoid, that the noise was just the wind moving a plastic bag or some other nonsense. But it was a small chance. The wind had been blowing constantly since she entered the store, yet the noise was neither constant nor did it very with the breeze. A small animal was also out, the surrounding wildlife had long since been picked clean by the aliens, nothing with half a brain ventured into the colony anymore.
Another human was as bad as an alien, just easier to kill.
The worst case scenario would be, of course, a group of predators. Damn near impossible to cut through their armor, and with cloaking and their versatile weaponry Saeko knew fighting even one predator was akin to a death sentence. She'd managed it once, albeit with the help of half a dozen aliens she'd baited into the fight. Saeko hadn't been the winner of that conflict, only the survivor.
Slowly, the young woman began to edge her way towards the windows. She moved only when she heard shuffling, using the noise to cover her own retreat. Saeko eyes were constantly in motion, peering into the darkness around her for the slightest hint of motion.
Which might explain why her foot hit a grocery basket lying on the tiled floor. As it fell over, several cans rolled out of the basket and landed with a loud clatter.
The shuffling sound froze, but Saeko was already sprinting towards the exit. Behind her, Saeko heard a shelf crash to the ground as the thing took off in pursuit. Muscles coiling like a spring, Saeko threw herself through the broken window and rolled when she hit the street outside. Turning, she re-drew her katana and settled into a ready stance as a alien leapt out of the supermarket after her...
... and was promptly incinerated by a burst of blue plasma.
Only instinct saved Saeko from the same fate as she threw herself sideways even as a second missile hit the ground where she had been standing, the volatile plasma hissing and rippling as it came in contact with the pavement.
Spinning in mid air Saeko caught her first glimpse of the attacker. A predator, standing less than a dozen meters away, with a spear in hand and the plasma cannon on its shoulder already charging up another shot.
Just another day in the life of Saeko Busujima.
She didn't allow herself to think about the impossibility of her survival. She didn't hesitate for an instant with the thought that she might lose. Such trivialities had no place in the mind of a warrior. She only rolled back to her feet, and charged.
Saeko kicked off towards the predator, katana singing as it cut through the air. Her strike was impossibly fast, so fast that her blade seemed to merge with the wind as she closed the gap between her and the predator. Of course, simple speed was not enough to overcome a this foe. The predator leaned to the side, her blade harmless missing its armored torso. But the predator itself was not her target, and her blade struck true, slicing the plasma cannon apart even as Saeko leapt out of the predators range.
She dodged its spear thrust and parried the next attack with similar grace. Then Saeko ducked, letting the predator over extend itself with a sweep of its spear, then she slid forward and let her katana slip almost softly between the gaps in the predator's chest plate with a quiet hiss. She drew her blade out of its body and, in a movement so eloquent that it looked practiced, brought her katana off to cut off the predator's head.
It blocked her sword with its spear and buried its fist deep inside of her gut, sending the modern day samurai flying back across the street.
And that was why Saeko hated fighting Predators, they never went down.
Even as she hit the pavement Saeko was rolling backwards. She regained her feet as the predator landed in front of her and knocked its spear aside with a flick of her katana. Yet she couldn't dodge entirely, and the spears edge caught her shoulder, adding another cut to her already tattered uniform.
Saeko ducked back again as the predator resumed its barrage of punishing strikes. It was serious now, no more underestimating the human, and the speed and power of its blows increased accordingly. Saeko crouched low and cut at its feet, but the predator only jumped out of range. It descended upon her and Saeko was forced to block its strike. The force behind the blow sent Saeko stumbling sideways and she was put back on the defensive. She dodge and redirected the strikes as best she could, but even still, small cuts began appearing across her body. A gash on the hip, a slash just below the shoulder, a cut barely touching her collar bone.
There is little hope in besting a predator in a straight fight. Not impossible, not beyond the realm of human ability, but a suicidal endeavor all the same. But defeating a predator and surviving as well? It would take Saeko more than simple skill of the sword to emerge from this encounter alive.
When she dodged the next spear strike, Saeko's hand lashed out, her fist catching the predator in the throat. It stumbled back a half step and Saeko retook the offensive. Her katana danced through the air like a silver cyclone, strikes raining down too fast for the eye to follow. Yet her slashes were all blocked or deflected even as she pushed the predator back. Its defense was flawless, but all Saeko needed was one misstep, one little error...
Saeko slid in close, her shoulder practically touching the predators arm. In one movement she'd gotten too close for the predator to use its spear. It leapt away from her swiftly, just like Saeko expected. Her Katana sang, and the predators left arm, the one not clutching its spear, fell to the ground. She'd severed it at the elbow.
Its howl of pain was cut short as she buried her katana in its throat.
Saeko drew out her sword, cleaned it, sheathed it, and collapsed to the ground a moment later. She grimaced as the pain hit her. The wound on her hip was bleeding profusely, and her entire body was sore from blocking the predator's blows, but she couldn't rest in the middle of the street. She had to move now before the body attracted scavengers.
It was another battle, one perhaps even more painful than her fight with the predator, to get back to her feet. She grabbed her pack from where it had fallen and limped off into the alleyways. She'd need a place to hide before she could bandage her hip, but she'd need to take care of the wound quickly as well. Already she was beginning to feel light headed. The city wasn't kind to weak. Of course, it wasn't especially kind to the strong either, as shown by the dead predator she left lying in the street. Hopefully the aliens would devour its corpse.
She slunk into the foyer of an abandoned apartment complex half a block away before slumping onto a wooden bench. Saeko quickly fished out some gauze and bandages from her bag and wrapped her hip to the best of her abilities after rubbing some antiseptic cream over the gash. She winced as the wound began to sting but patched up her other wounds just as efficiently. She would have to move quickly now. Unfortunately she didn't really get the chance.
Saeko stiffened as she heard something else enter the foyer before her shoulders slumped in defeat. But all the same she turned to face the new threat. Aliens, three of them that had no doubt tracked her down because of the scent of her blood. Saeko let out a weary sigh.
When it rains it pours.
The first alien was impatient, and leapt at her well ahead of its brethren. She easily ducked its outstretched and cut it apart at its waist. Her katana was a weapon of unparallel sharpness after all, her father had designed it with the specific intent of cutting through an alien's thick exoskeleton. She slipped past the spray of its acidic blood as the alien landed on ground behind her with a dull thump.
The other two aliens would not be as easy. They flanked her, and even if she had been unwounded Saeko would be hard pressed to deal with two aliens at once. Alone, they were creatures of instinct, predict their first strike and kill them before they could overwhelm you with their vast array of natural weaponry. But a group of two aliens was a force to be reckoned with. They were fast, they were versatile, and each supported the other's movements so well that it was difficult in the extreme to land a killing blow.
Today was not a good day in the life of Saeko Busujima.
She charged the first alien, but it merely leapt up to the ceiling. Its spiked tail lashed at her face and the other alien lunged from behind. Caught between a rock and a hard place Saeko did the only thing she could. She spun and stabbed the second alien through its head with her katana, lunging forward to avoid its claws. But she couldn't dodge the third aliens tail, and it struck deep into her back.
Saeko gasped as the alien wretched her sideways and threw her across the foyer. She collided heavily with the wall and collapsed to the ground an instant later, slumping sideways as the alien advanced on her.
Her vision began to grow blurry and dark, and if she just lied back and let herself slip away, it would all be over in a heartbeat.
But Saeko refused to beaten in such a way. She forced herself upright, bringing her sword to bear. With the last of her strength she knocked the monster's clawed arm aside and dealt it a fierce slash across its chest. Weak as she was, the blow still made the alien leap backwards, even though the she lacked the power to make the creature bleed.
Saeko slumped down once more, the weight of her katana growing too difficult to hold upright. But even still she did not let her eyes waver, and she stared at her killer with determination as it advanced upon her once more. This time, she wouldn't be able to drive it back, but she would gaze upon her death with honor and fortitude. Her father would have been proud.
And, because she refused to look away, she saw a flash of silver lance across the foyer and cut the alien's head from its shoulders. Her blue eyes glancing sideways, Saeko saw another predator stalk into the room. She smirked slightly, as it advanced upon her. It was better to die at the hands of a warrior in any case.
Imagine Saeko's surprise when the predator picked her up slowly, gently even, and carried her from the abandoned apartment complex. She gazed up at the masked face uncomprehendingly even as her mind slowly slipped away.
Today was an interesting day in the life of Saeko Busujima
The predators, or the Yautja as they called themselves, were a warrior race. Every male was a hunter capable of defeating half a dozen kiande amedha with nothing more than a spear and the blades upon his wrists. Their martial skill was paramount, and they excelled at all forms of combat, be it fighting a single enemy or a large group.
And so Guan-thwei, the leader of the Echarsus hunting pack, examined his fallen brother with surprise and no small amount of disdain.
To Guan-thwei's experienced eyes, it was clear that the younger Yautja had fallen in single combat. And though a small group of kiande amedha were tearing apart his pack mate's body when Guan-thwei arrived at the scene of the conflict, it was equally clear that they were only scavengers feasting upon another hunter's triumph.
He dispatched them with practiced ease before setting out to find his pack mate's killer. Perhaps it would finally be a foe worth of his attention. He was growing tired of the weak prey that flourished on this planet.
The trail of blood upon the human-path was easy to track and proved that his prey hadn't triumphed over Guan-thwei's brother completely unscathed. But that alone did little to remove the shame of being defeated by a single foe.
He arrived at the apartment complex just in time to see Saeko bifurcate the first xenomorph.
Guan-thwei could tell, observing silently from a distance, that the pyode amedha (the ooman if he recalled the species's strange name for themselves) was tired from its battle with his pack mate. But still it moved with grace befitting of a Yautja as it charged at the second kiande.
Guan-thwei saw easily the trap the ooman had fallen into. Either the first foe would stab the ooman through the skull, or the second would rend it in two from behind. He snorted at its foolishness. His pack mate had fallen to this creature? Yes it was more skilled than the average ooman, and it wielded its weapon with surprising ease. But all the same, to be defeated by it? Guan-thwei almost laughed at the preposterous notion. And he would have too, if not for what happened next.
In an instant the ooman spun and killed the enemy behind it even as it moved to avoid the attack from the prey handing from the ceiling. Guan-thwei watched intensely as the ooman was thrown across the room but kept a hold on its weapon all the same. When it drove the kiande amedha back once, despite its obvious exhaustion, and then regarded its enemy with calm eyes even as it slumped tiredly against the wall, Guan-thwei made a decision.
This ooman was too interesting to let die so quickly.
With a flick of his wrist the kiande amedha died. Guan-thwei let his cloaking deactivate as he walked towards the ooman. It gazed at him tiredly, and a small smirk spread across the ooman's minuscule lips. If Guan-thwei remembered correctly, that expression was a sign of amusement. Truely this was an interesting creature.
Guan-thwei picked of the human easily and carried it out of the abandoned building. He was quickly on his way, it wouldn't do if the ooman died before he could properly examine it.
The Yautja were a warrior race, yes. They are warriors first, and warriors last, and warriors many times in between. Yet that is not all the Yautja are. Indeed, if the Yautja were mindless berserkers would they have developed ships capable of transversing the galaxy in search of worthy prey? Would they have created weaponry and technology that outstripped all humanity had ever built? No, of course not. For the Yautja are more than simple warriors.
Guan-thwei, for his part, once had an interest in human society. He once wondered how a race so weak and feeble could accomplish so much. Now, seeing Saeko's inherent grace and strength, that interest had been kindled anew.
Guan-thwei carried ooman to his lander and placed its battered body in one of the medical pods. After configuring the settings to heal it, Guan-thwei lifted off the planet's surface. He would return to the mother ship and hand off control of hunting upon Echarsus to one of his subordinates. There was no prey worthy of his notice on the planet; he would continue his search for a foe that was his equal at another time. For now, he had something far more intriguing to hold his attention.
Saeko woke to a soft glow the suffused the air around her. Odd sounds bounced around her ears as her eyelids fluttered and it almost felt as if she was engulfed in a cloud. Is this... heaven?
Her musings were cut short by a beep and hiss. Around her, the gentle glow dimmed, and the air dropped a few degrees in temperature as the... ceiling? ...above her receded upwards. Past it she could see a smooth surface of gray steel and, as Saeko glanced left and right, she saw that her body was supported by an odd gel. She was in a capsule? How odd. Especially when the last thing she could remember was the predator picking her up.
Saeko could almost believe that she was dreaming, so unbelievable was her situation, but she'd never been one to delude herself just because it was easier than facing the truth. Then the predator stepped into her field of vision, and offered her its hand.
And suddenly Saeko was quite certain that she was dreaming.
The predator grunted once and gestured impatiently. Saeko reached up and grasped the predator's hand firmly; something flashed in its dark eyes, satisfaction? Then it pulled Saeko out of the pod. She stumbled once, but the predators rough hand steadied her.
Without pause, the predator started down an adjacent hallway and Saeko fell in step behind it quietly. She was curious now, once she got past her initial shock and exhaustion, and she wondered why a hunter would go to such lengths to save its prey.
They ended the large room, a holo-consol dominating the its center. Saeko's eyes ran along the alien glyphs dancing through the air above the consol with muted interest. And though understanding eluded her, she found the symbols intriguing, almost enrapturing.
Saeko watched silently as the predator began manipulating the display, groups of glyphs sliding back and forth through the air as it selected first this, then that, its surprisingly nimble fingers seemingly making the symbols dance.
It paused for a second, and spoke, though Saeko could not understand the predators speech in the slightest. The consol beeped, and rows of symbols arrayed themselves across its display in neat columns, cross referencing, connecting, and fading in and out until only a single line of predator script remained.
The consol beeped and 'spoke' in a rough imitation of human speech. "I am called Guan-thwei,"
Saeko cocked an elegant indigo eyebrow at the machine. What an interesting development. "And I am called Saeko Busujima." The machine went through the 'translation' process again, leaving a new line of text on the display which the predator read with visible satisfaction. It spoke again.
"You killed pack mate mine."
Saeko wondered vaguely if the predator was asking a question or making a statement. The translator was apparently far from perfect.
"I killed another Yautja before you found me." She responded.
The predator nodded as it read the translation "In fight alone."
In single combat? "Yes,"
A single glowing character this time, Saeko memorized it and filed it away for future reference. The predator was silent after that, regarding her with its pitch black eyes.
Saeko wondered what the point of the questions was. Was the predator gauging her ability? Measuring her strength to see if she was worthy prey? It would make sense, in a rather twisted sort of way, to heal something simply so the predator could hunt the beast in prime condition. More honor the way, she supposed. Or maybe this predator would simply execute her for killing its 'pack mate'.
Saeko found the first option far more preferable. Better to die with her katana in hand, better to draw the enemies blood before she fell. She would rather die a warrior than an animal.
The predator nodded, and for a second Saeko almost thought it looked pleased. But that was impossible, right?
Then the predator chuckled. And spoke into the translator again. "You defeated apprentice mine in battle.
"And so I will take you as my new disciple."
The purplette gapped.
This was most certainly not a normal day in the life of Saeko Busujima.