The winds howled in fury. We will find you. Shred the skin from your bones. Freeze the smile on your face and turn it to screaming. Find the breath of life and snuff it out.
The air crackled with electricity. Bolts of deadly energy split the earth, lighting the heavens in flashes of fiery rage. Ear-splitting sounds of a world under siege: groaning, creaking, crashing, and screaming. Nature was a ravenous beast, unleashed and on the prowl.
Tingash. The birthplace of the mutoids.
Twenty black-clad figures fought against the merciless wind, their leather-looking suits, like a tough second skin, and hard black helmets hiding stony, expressionless faces. Worn military boots, shiny when they started were now scuffed and caked with grey dust and clinging brown sludge. Not that they cared. They were only human in the most generous sense of the word.
"Lieutenant, the ionosphere is interfering with the scanners," one faceless soldier without personality said to another. The only difference between them was the programming of rank and command details in their machine-like minds.
Someone with a sense of humour or had opinions might have remarked that only an idiot would have sent them out in this punishing storm.
The Lieutenant said, "We will proceed without scanners. Those are our orders."
No groans met this declaration. They only knew one thing and they felt nothing. Mutoids were 'born' to serve until death claimed them. The ultimate loyalty from those who did not know what loyalty was.
Seek, locate, capture.
Sensitive, furry grey ears flicked alertly, catching sounds far and near. The groaning of the earth as it was assaulted by the angry winds. The rustling, whishing of leaves torn from branches. Tiny cries of silly creatures desperately seeking shelter too late, their death throes a whispering lament.
Its nose sniffed, renewing the constantly changing landscape of odours. There was life and death beyond the mouth of the cave. More death than life while the winds raged.
The click-click of nails on the rough cave surface approached from behind. He recognized the smell of his mate instantly and his muzzle dropped open in a smile.
Have the winds died down, dearest?
Brave-Heart rolled on his back and rubbed an itch on the rough surface. The winds still howl.
The beautiful amber eyes of his mate regarded him appraisingly. Would you like help?
Brave-Heart's eyes reminded her of the pups pleading for one more rub of her nose on their furry bellies. Would you?
You are incorrigible.
The Alpha wolf sneezed a laugh. That is not what you said last night.
His beautiful Alpha mate licked the soft fur of his grey-white muzzle.
Brave-Heart rolled over abruptly, his nose facing the mouth of the cave, ears flat and a low menacing growl in his throat.
Sharp-Eyes pointed her nose outwards as well. The two legs are on the hunt.
They hunt us.
The Alpha female looked back into the cave where the month old pups and the others of the pack lay resting. Are we safe?
For now. I will track them. He rose to his full height, almost shoulder high to a man, his nose high and proud, continuing to sniff the air.
Sharp-Eyes nuzzled his neck in concern. It's too dangerous, dearest.
I will be careful. Tell one of the Betas to keep watch. They touched noses affectionately and the Alpha padded off, a silent deadly predator intent on protecting his pack.