Project Description

HUNTING PARTY

Steven Koutz

WARNING: This short story was crafted to display the savagery of a Derth hunt and feeding frenzy and establish the true danger of the Derths as a race. It may be considered too graphic in violence for some readers. Shadowed Stars is a mature read science fiction series.

The planet is called Ris. It is a wild planet in Derth and Ubide claimed space. A Derth shuttle had followed a small independent starship yacht through the atmosphere. The small starship yacht crashed over a hill layered terrain. The Derth shuttle had damaged the yacht in orbit. It now took a heading to the rising smoke that gave the crash site away. The Derth shuttle landed just a few meters away from the crash site. Three Derths exited the shuttle with an immediate sniffing of the air around it. The typical Derth hunting party consisted usually of three or four Derths, and sometimes five or six. The Derths are an intelligent, yet carnivorous race that will feed on any source of meat, sentient species or not. They had a humanoid form except for their orange scaled skin. They also had a heavy tail that dragged behind their stride and hosted a spiked tip at its end. Their feet had two toes with claws that were just as razor sharp as the ones on each of their hands with four fingers and a thumb. They were muscular in physique and had hard, dark red fin-like appendages that joined each of their shoulders to the sides of their heads. Another hard red fin-like appendage ran from the top of their head, down along their spine and tail. They had flat faces with crimson red eyes and teeth even longer and sharper than their claws.

The middle Derth let out growls and roars that translated into orders for the three of them to fan outward on their search. Their strong power of scent had already detected that they were hunting three humans that had left the crash site. They moved over the hills into a swampy area.

The humans from the yacht had been granted by fate, a head start. They knew of the Derths and knew just as well that their head start did not guarantee survival. The man of the yacht crew was Jeffern Gazellett. He was a young adult with a wiry build. He donned black padded armor and had a long barrel blaster rifle. The butt of the rifle was an actual steel blade that curved backward around his waist. It required a two-handed grip to support and could be used as a blaster rifle from one end and much like a large sickle from the other. Jeffern instructed his girlfriend to take her mother and head in an opposite direction, while he planned to lure the Derths after him. His girlfriend was a little bit older than him and had long blonde hair with a curvaceous, but athletic body. Her mother was older yet, but age had not claimed beauty or the firm and curvaceous body of her own. The girlfriend was Jess Darbor and she armed herself with two heavy blaster pistols. She ushered her mother, Hannahlice ahead of her as they took to a lower terrain.

The three Derths were on the trail of their prey almost instantly. Jeffern had drawn only two of them to pursue him with a few badly fired shots. The other Derth had picked up the scent of the two human females and headed off for their direction.

The humans had circled around the unfamiliar terrain and ended up at opposite edges of a woodland area. It was obvious by the lack of their skill and their complaints of the land, that they were from a much richer or diplomatic class.

Jeffern had taken a position behind a fallen tree and waited for the two Derths that tracked him. As they came into view from opposite angles, Jeffern was forced to spread his blaster fire in two different directions. The blaster shots were heavy but even wilder than before. The two Derths continued to flank him and gave him the false sense that he was in control. The Derths being natural hunters, added to their savagery and Jeffern’s inexperience had given them the edge. They had flanked him as he peered outward between their positions. He had not even seen them close in on him. One of the Derths dived in and bit through his padded armor from his rear arc. The other leaped in with just as much quickness and fury. Jeffern did manage to swing the curved blade of his weapon upward and nicked the scaly skin of the Derth leaping downward at him. The overswing had also caused him to cut into his tattered armor and slash his own arm. The first Derth had pounced on him again with another bite, this time at his opened abdomen stance. The Derth bit deeply into Jeffern’s mid-section. Jeffern screamed in pain as the Derth continued to bite through his stomach. The other Derth had jumped back in as well and severed the wounded arm from Jeffern’s body with one snap of his jaws. He then bit deeply into his shoulder and tore away more flesh from bone.

At the other end of the wooded area, Jess, and her mother, Hannahlice heard Jeffern’s screams and then his sudden silence. Jess cried and her mother embraced her as an effort to console her loss. The wooded area on a hunting planet was no place for such actions. Jess screamed out even louder as her mother was pulled away from her and speared with the Derth tail. The Derth than dug his claws and teeth into her from the rear and seemed to easily rend her as he literally chewed and tore through her and lunged onto Jess. Jess had drawn her two blaster pistols but never managed a shot as they fell to her sides and the Derth’s savage teeth and claws tore into her. The Derths dragged the carcasses of their fallen prey together and continued to feed.

A few rotations later, a heavily armed assault group landed and searched the area. It was a rescue team that could now only assume from the yacht wreckage and chewed up remains that the people they had come to rescue could only be confirmed as dead. They reported back to another young man working out in a weight room, that the Darbor family fortune was now solely his own. Condor Darbor was given all the facts of his mother’s and sister’s, as well as her boyfriend’s demise. He immediately started organizing funds for bounties on all Derths. As the cycles went by those bounties became trophies of Derth heads that decorated the Darbor mansion…………………..The End