We Are The Hunters

A dark sci-fi exploring the arms race of military technology, lightly touching on ethics and dangers within that.

If you like short storieshorror, cyberpunk, fantasy or fantasypunk, I have plenty of stories you might be interested in checking out.

Hope you enjoy it,
– Zairron

A low thrumming electrical buzzing fills the darkened hallway, the air in here is thick and humid with a strange, sickening taste to it. The atmospheric readout in my visors H.U.D. informs me as it identifies and filters out numerous elements through the breathing apparatus in my helmet, supplementing the air I carried with me with the remaining eighty or so percent breathable air.
The map my suits sensors constructed of the areas layout show only dull, faded out lines that represent the structural layout, nothing indicates the presence of activity anywhere in five-hundred meters. The 360 degree view of my surroundings, and heightened senses of smell and hearing, I’m granted by the neural interface with my suit support my computers readings. I’m intimately aware of the presence and location of every member of my team, but I can’t shake this implacable feeling of unease.
The carapace of my armour rubs against itself, noise dampening cloth between the armoured plates keep us as silent as possible. The suit’s reassuring weight contrasted by the vague anxiety the restrictions it puts on my freedom of movement make me feel both invulnerable as well as trapped in different measures.
Simon’s voice speaks in my ear, “Found a body at my location, it’s fresh.”

“Roger that,” Sergeants reply, “All units continue to secure the vicinity, Simon switch positions with Ryan. Ryan find where it went.”

Five of us and two entrances to this room, I move to cover the entrance nearest my vicinity. Leading deeper into the complex, air flow is stagnant at the entrance.
Training my rifle at the entrance, I wait for Lisa to arrive and cover me before I check beyond the doorway. The hall is partially collapsed, my sensors return a muddled report of the area ahead. I don’t like it, moving ahead will be unfavourable terrain.
Finding the immediate proximity of the hallway secure, I plant a sentry over the door frame before sealing the entrance and falling back to Lisa’s position. Task complete we separate and return to searching the room for clues.
The room is significant in size, four-hundred meters across at it’s widest point. Originally a living area for the occupants of the complex, based on the state of the place the computer estimates the area to have been unused for at least four months. Subtle signs of activity indicate our quarry had passed through here within the past twenty-four hours. However reports and evidence until now had suggested it was alone, the body Simon found was a concerning advancement.
No further useful information is recovered until Ryan’s report, “I don’t know how to say this Sergeant, but this is him.”

“What are you talking about, Ryan?” her response sounding like she was right beside me.

“I mean, the DNA matches. The body and our quarry are the same guy.”

There’s a moment of pause as Alice considers what to make of Ryan’s statement. Most of the details pertaining to the quarry were classified to us, we did know that it was an extremely dangerous artificial human who had evaded and taken out the first team that was sent to retrieve it.
I looked over the biological readings for the team members, slightly heightened heart rates and hormone levels, particularly in Ryan. Within acceptable parameters, I decide, Ryan’s readings warrant continued observation. Alice remained the most collected, her experience in the field proving itself.

“Cause of death?” she requests.

“Spontaneous shut down,” Ryan answers, “Sorry Sergeant, it’s unclear. It was a technical, rather than biological failure. Could have been a failure due to strenuous use, an EMP event, or something else.”

“What’s your best guess?”

There’s a long pause before Ryan replies, there is a spike in his anxiety levels, leaving healthy parameters for a single tic, “Purely from these readings… I’d attribute it to a remote shut down.”

“Impossible, if they could shut it down remotely they wouldn’t have needed to send us after him.”

“Yeah,” Ryan answers, acknowledging the logic though seeming unconvinced.

“Doesn’t matter,” Alice states firmly. She’s noticed Ryan’s emotional state just as I have and moved to intercept it, “We’ve got what we came here for, Marcus, get the body. We’re heading back.”

I move quickly, aided by Simon and Lisa we attach the body to a harness and lift it onto my back. I hardly notice the added weight, the mechanised strength of my suit automatically compensating for the change.
Everyone is on edge as we return through the way we came. The journey back to the surface is tense and silent, my team members are paranoid, in their experience when our quarry dies it is because we killed it. The change in this dynamic is uncomfortable to them, we are Jaeger Team, We are The Hunters. We’re used to operating without all of the information, our quarry is usually the kind of prey that the ordinary forces either can’t handle, or are not allowed to. Prey that requires us cannot be taken out by a kill switch, or the gangs that hide in the abandoned tunnels.
What happened, doesn’t happen. With one exception were all recruited from experienced and decorated careers prior. It is clear they expect a trap.

I must commend their instincts, they are truly the best soldiers humanity has to offer. Their upgrades have made them even more formidable, stronger, faster, smarter and more perceptive, but it is those instincts that made them the only ones worthy of being the final subjects for testing.
If they had been slightly more human, slightly less machine, perhaps Ryan’s instincts could have recognised that the body they found and their quarry’s shared DNA was a deception. Without their reliance on easily fooled machines to keep track of one another, they may have noticed as I took Marcus’ place in their team.
The results for the test are conclusive, the Jaeger team were no longer the pinnacle. Their over specialisation has weaknesses, the hunters have been made obsolete. My superiors will be pleased.

Author: Zairron

I'm writing to build a habit, practice, and be creative.

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