Survival of the Fittest

HUNT

Earlier...

The console blared loudly at him as the ship was thrown every which way. He tried to regain control of the craft but found it difficult as he tried to keep the facehugger in the shuttle craft at bay. It was supposed to be a swift and easy drop; he had done many in the past before and never with complications.

It all began when he received a communication from the ship that while they were at the right coordinates, the planet was the one not intended for their hunting grounds. Then as he began to turn back, his engine sputtered and died as he began to turn back to the ship. While he was distracted with trying to gain control of the vessel the egg had hatched in the commotion and the facehugger had been looking for a way out. He had underestimated their ingenuity; he thought of the serpents as the clever ones, but the facehugger had managed to cut itself and burn a hole in the secure crate.

He was forced to let go of the controls when it attacked him; he did not have his face mask on, and it was determined to make him a host. He had his clawed hand over the orifice of the creature as it fought around his hand trying to get to his mouth. His other hand was tugging on the tail that had managed to wrap around his neck. He clicked angrily as the strength of the facehugger was unrelenting, and his neck screamed for release. He vaguely heard the computer in the cockpit noisily shouting an altitude warning, but there was no way to reach the controls.

The ship bounced against the surface like a pebble on a lake, and the aliens inside were stunned and knocked around. He vaguely noticed the tail come loose and the alien thrown around the cockpit; he was attached to the seat, but the strap was loose and felt his head swinging each way wildly. The ship stopped violently, and he felt his face hit the dash hard, his world a sea of blackness he tried to focus in on.

He clicked his mandibles in pain while he slowly lifted his sore head up and laid it against the back of the seat. He adjusted his eyes and tried to register where he is. He noticed the facehugger from the side, his finger like legs twitching slightly looking as if it was dying. He slammed his hand on the dash, the broken cockpit hissed to life and opened for him.

He felt pain over his body like a thousand razors, but the most of it centered in his left shoulder and his knee. His arm hung limply, and he used his other hand to release himself from the seat. He tried to stand but found himself roaring in pain and grasped his knee. Morea gony than he had felt in his years soared through his knee, and he cursed in his native Yaujta tongue. He reached for his spear and turned it, the spear shot out swiftly, and he used it as a crutch to stand. He looked down at the facehugger and noticed it had stopped moving. At least there was one less thing he would have to worry about.

He looked around the cockpit for his face mask and equipment. After picking them, he looked for his shoulder cannon and cursed when he remembered he had left it behind. He placed the utility belt on his uninjured shoulder and leaned down to pick up his face mask. The Predator looked at his face mask with disappointment when he noticed that there was a small crack that crossed over diagonally over the mask in a jagged crack. It would have to do, but he knew his screen would be cracked as a result.

As he exited the craft with his utility belt, his arm gantlets, his spear and his mask he dropped them on the jungle ground, balanced on his uninjured leg and looked at his shoulder. He could tell he had dislocated it and placed a hesitant hand over his arm and pushed it back into place. The Predator clicked loudly in pain as the bones snapped back to where they once were. He moved his arm experimentally and winced at the blunt pain and small movement it gave him.

The Predator looked at his surroundings with resentment. Although the jungle and the heat reminded him a little of his home planet, he did not want to be injured in a place that could very well turn against him. He knew his procedure was to remain with the craft, and he did so for several hours before his wrist computer beeped loudly. He flicked it upon and read the transmission that had been received.

/Proceed to the rendezvous point. You have been detected./

The Yautja sent his reply and looked at the coordinates he had been given. It would be a small walk, and he was thankful. Using his spear as a walking stick, he began to make his way to where he was instructed to, hobbling slowly. He stopped for a moment to clasp his utility belt around his hips and placed his face mask on and as suspected the screen was cracked, but it was a hairline.

He heard what sounded like scurrying and he looked back at the craft just in time to see the facehugger run across the surface of the broken craft and stop on top of the ship as if it was staring at him. He balanced on one leg and threw the spear at the facehugger as accurately as he could in his state of pain. The facehugger jumped and took off into the jungle as the spear embedded itself in the hull of the ship.

He looked venomously in the direction the facehugger took off and made his way to retrieve his spear. Leaning against the ship he yanked it out, his shoulder and knee protesting. He flicked open his wrist computer and hailed his fellow Yautja.

/The parasite is in the jungle/

There was silence and then.

/Make your way to the ship. I will resolve it/

/Affirmative/

With a guilty feeling residing deep into his stomach that he was not able to kill the facehugger, the injured Predator made his way to the location of his fellow Yautja's craft. He walked for what seemed an eternity and managed to make good time until he reached an incline that bordered a small ravine. He looked ahead to see that the more the earth tilted, the deeper the ravine got. He heard the sound of rushing water and noticed the small river below; he also saw the forest become denser with trees as he continued to hike along the ridge.

A small patch of loose soil was all that it took to send the injured Predator into the ravine with a roar as he rolled down out of control. His body thundered down like a boulder as he hit trees and rocks on his way down; none of them aiding him as he tumbled down the steep hill. He reached the bottom and felt his knee scream in agonizing pain as he lay on his side. The pain engulfed him, and his vision turned white as he moved into a sitting position before the shock took over and rendered him unconscious.


Present…

Rain absently looked at the river in boredom as Tanya and Mileena were discussing the ravine as a possible place for their army to camp nearby. Rain wasn't particularly interested in anything that the ex-Kahnum was discussing with his fellow Edenian and instead wanted to return to his own tent to rest. He thought that trekking in the jungle was beneath an Edenian Prince's status, something more befitting of servants; however, Mileena had requested he come for his opinion, and he had to humor her for now.

Using his powers he changed the flow of the current in the opposite direction for a section of the water, after a few seconds he sighed in boredom and went to catch up with the women. He thought he had seen movement in the trees but turned too slowly to catch what it was. The corner of his mouth tugged in disappointment from behind his purple face mask, but he dismissed whatever it had been.

"We should start making our way back, Empress," Tanya informed her.

"Yes, dearest Tanya, we shall soon," Mileena answered, her clawed hands on her hips as she surveyed the ravine with a nod. "I want to see what else is here."

Rain rolled his eyes and suppressed a groan of annoyance from behind. He continued to follow them like an impatient child though he did well not to convey it physically. They continued to walk over the stones by the water's edge until it started to taper and flow lightly. Tanya who had been looking about the jungle caught the sun gleaming off of something metallic, and she looked to see that they were not alone.

"Mistress," Tanya said, catching Mileena and Rain's attention. Tanya pointed to the large muscled humanoid figure leaning against the rocks of the river; his legs were submerged, but Tanya could notice that his knee was swollen and bruised. Mileena smiled wickedly and lowered the cloth face mask to reveal her Tarkatan teeth.

"Well... what have we here?" she said out loud, her voice dripping in a dangerous but flirtatious tone. Rain narrowed his eyes at the beast and looked at Tanya for clarification however she looked as confused as he did. They walked towards the unconscious humanoid and Rain noticed that Mileena seemed more interested than she should be.

"I do not trust this... thing," Rain announced to Tanya.

Tanya looked at him and shrugged. "Let her toy with her food, Rain— she always does." Rain refrained from saying anything else and decided to let things take their course.

The Predator had been awake for some time now and had heard them approach. He heard their footsteps in the water and like a crocodile with its mouth open for prey he had his arm blades ready and off to his side; waiting patiently for them to come to him.

Mileena looked at the injured, bulky creature with the anticipation of a cat with a cornered mouse; she took out her Sais and swung her hips seductively as she approached him. The Predator looked at her with revulsion behind his facemask but remained still.

"So handsome... so alone... and so helpless," Mileena chided in a provocative manner. Rain and Tanya looked from afar as Mileena had her fun. Rain had learned to accept her games and just allow her to play them long ago. Tanya on the other hand was a bit apprehensive as she watched Mileena approach the muscled man closer. Perhaps Rain was right; something did not seem right.

Mileena looked at the seemingly unconscious creature with a pleased smirk, twirling her Sais in her hand she crouched down until she was straddling the creature's hips. It took every ounce of patience for the Predator not to kill her right then and there for her audacity; his fist tightened in anger.

He shifted slightly as pain throbbed through his knee once again, aggravated by her sitting on him. She placed a sai across his throat and looked at his face mask with curiosity, and he continued to wait until she dropped her guard. He felt her run a clawed hand down his chest; her fingers hooking into the netting material he wore before he felt her tap the tip of her other sai against the forehead of his mask. His eye twitched in indignation. He saw her grin evilly, her yellow eyes lit with amusement.

"Let's see you," Mileena said, her hands reaching for the wires that attached the mask.

"Empress..."

"Silence Tanya!" Mileena spat. "I wish to see its face."

Tanya shifted uncomfortably in her spot and Rain had an eyebrow raised at the situation, a look of disgust behind his mask. Another flash caught his peripheral and once again he missed what it was. He heard the sound of air escaping. He looked as Mileena tugged the last wire free and removed the cracked facemask from its face.

The way her face immediately dropped in disappointment and disgust was almost comical when she saw he was hideous than her—which was debatable for the Predator. The Predator couldn't help but laugh triumphantly and maliciously when she realized her error: that she had walked into a trap.

She screamed in agonizing pain the Predator pummeled her with his blades over and over into her chest while his other hand held on to her shoulders. A look of complete surprise instantly formed on her pained face that the Predator took in with complete satisfaction.

Tanya gasped in horror while Rain took a defensive stance. He gave her one last stab to the side of her head, blood pouring out of her mangled mouth and chest while it coated his legs, twisted the blades and pulled them out. He tossed her off him and rose to stand painfully, gripping his spear in his hand to face the other two.

Seeing that the potential hosts were in danger of being exterminated, the Xenomorph decided now was a better chance than any to collect what it could to bring back to the hive. He screeched and leaped from the tree and landed with a hard splash in the river. All turned in the direction of the noise and the Xenomorph approached them snarling from the river, water glossing over his form as he climbed to the bank and revealing more and more of himself.

"I will handle this one," Rain said, making his way towards the black serpent.

Tanya turned towards the Predator with a seething expression, her teeth gritted. She withdrew her scythes and charged him. He swung his spear at her head, but she lunged low and sliced at his damaged knee, she cut deep into his thigh, and he buckled involuntarily.

Even on his knees he still was about the same height as her but pain flared on the damaged knee he was balanced on. He brought his spear up to block her scythes as she tried to bring them down on him.

He twisted the spear to the side and managed to knock the weapons from her hands. They clattered away uselessly while he delivered a bone crushing punch to her exposed stomach. She howled in pain and clutched her stomach protectively, bending over just enough for him to deliver a vicious backhand against her face. She went sailing face first into the water and felt her jaw unhinge when she hit a rock that had been hiding underneath.

Tanya slowly rose to get up and felt a claw hand flip her over on her back and the Predator, who balanced on his one good leg, reached down and grabbed her by the throat. She gasped for air as her legs dangled over the water, her jaw exploding in pain and causing her vision to grow fuzzy.

Tanya wrapped her leg around the outside of his arm and brought her other foot up to his chin, sending pain through his jaw as his head snapped back. The Predator's mandibles clicked together, and he shook his head in pain, but he didn't release his hold on her. She continued to kick him, and she persisted until he noticed the blunt rock she had landed on earlier. He raised his arm as high it could go with her dangling on it and brought her head down on the rock as hard as he could.

He lifted her up, water falling off her and saw her eyes roll in the back of her head; blood is dripping from her broken scalp. He did it once more, and the water turned red from blood, the back of her head completely smashed in. He let her go unceremoniously and felt his hand coated in her blood. He looked to find the male fighting the serpent that he had in some suspended water bubble, the black serpent screaming silently trying to claw his way out.

Rain noticed that Tanya was no longer with him and turned to see the Predator limping towards him while he had the serpent encased in his trap. Summoning the powers bestowed to him by his father Argus, Rain blasted the creature with lightning while he continued to suspend the other. The Predator vibrated violently as the volts ran through him, and Rain smirked. He ceased his lightning attack as an idea came to his mind and grinned as the Predator stumbled back in pain, electricity running over his body.

Rain brought his outstretched hand around and swung the bubble at the Predator. Water exploded around him, and the Predator felt something slam into him knocking them both on the ground. Rain smiled behind his face mask seized his opportunity and ran off into the jungle.

The Predator rolled until he was on top of the Xenomorph and brought his arm blades down, stabbing the Xenomorph in the chest, it shrieked at him in pain. His mandibles flared out as he roared in pain when he felt the spear tip tail impale him through the shoulder he had dislocated earlier. The tail tore the Predator, and the Xenomorph used it to fling the heavy Predator off him. The Predator hit the rocks hard, feeling his back scream in agony but felt himself smile when he noticed that his spear sat within reach.

He grabbed it as the Xenomorph lunged through the air at him and stabbed itself on the tip of the spear. It shrilled angrily in pain and his tail whipped behind it. The Xenomorph's inner mouth detracted and retracted in poor efforts to reach him. The Predator watched as the serpent slowly slide down the spear from its weight, and he used his arm blades to pierce the creature's brain. It shuttered and died, and he twisted his arms blades out and pushed it off the side and the spear.

He looked down to see his arm blades melting from the acid and pressed a button on the side of the gantlet to release them. The spear was made and constructed from the bones of the Xenomorph, so the acid had no effect on it. He looked at the trophies around him but didn't want to take the time to flay and clean the—his priority was to reach the ship. He stood in more pain than he had previously been in and continued walk to the location of his brother's ship.


Far away from the encounter, Rain had taken rest by a tree with his hands on his knees. He finally caught his breath and straightened up with his back leaning against the vine covered tree for support. The Hydromancer allowed himself a small laugh at his fortune and dusted his hands.

A large trail of slime came down next to where he was standing and he looked up to see himself face to face with a set of teeth that had quietly made its way down the tree when he wasn't paying attention. He felt a spiny tail wrap itself around his neck and pulled him up the tree while he screamed every Edenian curse he knew.


Jacqui had thought that being paired with Ferra/Torr would be annoying, but she was surprised that the deadly little girl upon Torr's shoulders remained quiet for most of the duration. Perhaps Ferra too was also a little uneasy about of the current situation they were in.

It had been Takeda's brilliant idea that one Earthrealmer should go with one Outworlder in search of the nest; the only exception was the team that consisted of D'Vorah, Kotal Kahn, Cassie and the Osh-Tekk warriors. Takeda was with Ermac and Kung Jin with Erron Black, who didn't seem too fond to be paired Jin from what she noticed. Everyone had given Takeda a look that let him know he would be beaten with a pillow case full of bars of soap when they got back to Earhrealm when Kotal Kahn agreed to the arrangement.

Ferra and Torr walked ahead of her, Ferra clinging tightly to Torr's shoulder as her head scanned around for any threats Torr could smash. Jacqui looked at her gloved arms with in boredom and sighed as she struggled to keep up with Torr's giant strides.

"You and Pretty Boy make kissy?"

Jacqui looked up at Ferra, who was looking in her direction over her shoulder. Jacqui's eyebrows furrowed at the question but then she smiled when she understood. "Yeah; we're together." Ferra nodded and looked around at the jungle as silence fell between them again. It was dusk, and Jacqui was beginning to notice the critters start to come out.

"Well, this is awkward." Jacqui thought to herself as the silence between them dragged.

She looked at Ferra and decided to make an effort at small talk. "And you?" Jacqui asked, looking at Torr a little uncomfortably, "You... make kissy with anyone?"

Ferra shook her head, "No one want Ferra," Her head dipped a little, and a sad look etched its way on her face. Jacqui gave her a warm and understanding smile.

"Don't worry, you're pretty Ferra. Someone will come along," Jacqui assured. Ferra's face a lit up at the comment. Abruptly, Ferra jumped off Torr and ran up to Jacqui. Ferra was a foot shorter than Jacqui so she leaned forward so Ferra could whisper something to her with her bladed hand cupped to the side of her face.

"Ferra like a boy but he big meanie when I try make nice!" Ferra said an angry look on her face at the memory before she gave Jacqui a look like a kid finding out she had the most brilliant idea in the world. "If he do again— Torr stomp guts out!" Torr grunted in approval.

Jacqui nodded with a queasy look on her face. Ferra smiled before jumping back on Torr's shoulders and Jacqui shook her head with the small but dubious smile on her face. They marched a little more ahead before Jacqui's head snapped up from tinkering with her arm cannons when she heard Torr roar. Jacqui shook her head and blinked her eyes at what she was seeing.

Whatever it was it was wounded; its blood was florescent green and dripped from the stab wound on his shoulder while his left leg was blue and black from the swelling on his knee. It's face was hideous. It had four mandibles that overlay one another that guarded a small, fanged mouth. Its yellow eyes were buried deep in its massive skull that had dreadlocked hair that hung as limply as his head did as if he was having difficulty staying awake.

Despite the animosity in its eyes, Jacqui could see the amount of pain and sadness in them, as if he knew he was dying. He had his weight braced on his other leg and resting half of his bodyweight on the spear that he was using as a walking stick that he was leaning on as a life raft in a storm. Disregarding his haggard appearance, he was built strong and imposing with a height that towered over her. He had beige skin coated in his blood as well as crimson from another and dark reptilian scales.

Ferra/Torr scowled at the beast before them, ready to fight and wondered who would make the first move. Jacqui's arm cannons whirred on, preparing for a fight that she hoped wouldn't happen. It seemed poor sport to her.

The Predator was incredibly weak, and he knew it was his last stand despite his stubbornness to survive; he had hope until he had run into the three. The symbiotic pair looked at him eager to finish him, but he would not make it easy for them. If there was one thing he had learned that was true for all the species he had encountered, was never corner an animal that had nothing left to lose. They would learn this lesson today.

He opened his wrist computer and communicated to the other Predator in the jungle one final transmission.

/For the glory of the hunt/

Static erupted from the other end before he saw the words come on the screen. /...Brother?.../

He closed his wrist computer and whirled his spear expertly before he slammed the end to the ground in a show of aggression. He crouched as best as he could into a fighting position, picked up the end of the spear from the ground and pointed at them all as he released a roar, his mandibles flaring.

"He wants play, Torr!" Ferra cheered; a sadistic and excited smile on her face.

Torr roared back in approval and charged the Predator. Jacqui watched with concern from the sidelines; there was nothing she could do to stop this— it was what they both wanted.

The Predator rolled to the side as Torr charged him, Torr destroying trees in his way and turned to face the Predator again. The Predator stood and threw his spear as hard as he could at the beast and clicked in satisfaction when it landed on its shoulder. Torr roared in pain, nearly bucking Ferra off who held on, grabbed the spear in his hand and pulled it free, blood coating the tip.

With anger, he threw the spear down and rushed the Predator once more. The Predator braced himself; putting his arms up in a barrier that was broken the second Torr slammed his fists down on him. The Predator landed on his chest, both of the bones in his forearms broken before he felt the beast lift him and throw him like a doll. The Predator coughed green blood out his mouth when he rolled onto his back, the jungle floor vibrating as the beast came near to him.

"Slicey up Torr!" Ferra yelled.

As if they had rehearsed this before, Torr grabbed both the Predator's arms and stretched them to the sides, lifting him high, so the Predator was dangling at their mercy. The Predator could feel his wrists gantlets breaking in its grip as it held him high above the ground, he also felt the wound of his shoulder tear apart, and he roared in pain. After a moment he looked at them with a stubborn expression, he would accept his fate with a warrior's pride. Jacqui thought she saw something where the spear had been discarded but didn't catch it in time and frankly a little distracted by Ferr/ Torr.

The smaller human placed herself on the beast's shoulders and unsheathed her arms blades; he waited for the inevitable…

She stabbed the Predator through the skull and swung herself over his head. Using her body weight she sliced the Predator until he was split in half, blood spewed everywhere, and guts fell out of the holes in the Predator's body. Jacqui thought she had seen everything and stood in disgusted awe at what she saw. Torr tossed the pieces away, and Ferra jumped on his shoulders covered in green fluorescent blood telling Torr what a 'good boy' he was.

Jacqui frowned and found the entire thing in poor taste. She sighed a bit for the wounded alien that they had easily killed; it had been no contest for Ferra and Torr.

Jacqui noticed something flash behind Ferra and Torr but couldn't call out in time when another of the humanoids— this one not injured— dropped from the trees and with the discarded spear from the other alien stabbed Ferra through the back, out the chest and the tip of the staff exited out Torr's head.

Ferra cried out in pain as she grabbed where the spear had exited her and went slack after a couple of painful seconds. Torr fell forward to the ground, and the humanoid retracted the spear from their bodies with a hard jerk and looked in her direction.

Despite that this one had a face mask, she could tell by his hunched shoulders and the way he was breathing heavily, he was pissed.

She powered her arms cannons and prepared for a showdown. The Predator shrunk his spear and charged her and he saw her take a step back as he roared at her, his rage inconsolable as he witnessed his brother's death in the most dishonorable fashion he had ever witnessed.

He withdrew his arm blades and swung them at her, but she ducked. Jacqui's face was stern as she laid blow after blow on the exposed skin of his stomach. She might as well of been hitting a stone slab because her hands hurt even with the gantlets taking most of the brunt. He doubled over but regained himself and landed a brutal punch to her face that sent her spiraling into the tree behind her.

She cried out in pain as she slumped to the ground against the tree, her jaw screaming in agony. She felt him grab her ankle and pull her towards him, with a determined look she bent her arms and brought her boot up and struck him across the face. She rolled over until she was crouching as he stumbled back a little. She drove forward, flew through the air with her hand back and delivered a blow to the side of his head. She tucked and rolled just in time to see his foot connect with her face. Her head snapped back, and she fell to the ground with a cry of pain, she tasted blood in her mouth and knew her nose was broken.

She opened her eyes to see his foot come down across her throat and pin her to the ground. She wiggled underneath him to get free, even punching him in the calves, but he held her down easily.

He re-opened his spear and looked at a spot on her stomach. Fear flooded her, and she looked up at him with pleading eyes that the Predator was a little disgusted by. She should accept her death with integrity. He raised his arm, ready to end her when his scanners picked up the reason for her begging.

He saw life growing within her; small, but it was enough to make him hesitate.

He was furious, but he knew it was disgraceful to kill a mother with young growing in it. He clicked angrily, wanting to ignore his morals and take revenge on the ones that killed his brother but he couldn't. He would be banished if the elders had heard such a dishonorable thing especially since he had been the aggressor. He looked at her again; she was breathing heavily under his foot and persisted with giving him that look. She must have known as well, and he hung his head in exasperation at the thought.

The Predator released his foot and retracted his spear, leaving her very confused on the ground. He stormed off angrily, passing by the dismembered corpse of his brother and walked off into the jungle.

Jacqui watched him go and felt relief course through every vein in her body as she sat up. Her eyes looked around the jungle, wondering where she should go from there.





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