Challenge #02249-F059: Hunter Hunted
Some Havenworlders and some Humans are playing Cops and Robbers as a training exercise and the Havenworlders quickly learn that Humans can control their predictory aura, by either increasing it to a degree that it would make even a Vorax run in fear or decrease it to the point of nonexistence. And the worst part is that the humans aren't even aware of it. -- Chara Dremmurr
Humans have so many games that hinge around the core mechanic of 'chase and symbolically kill the other guy'. There's sub-variants, including 'track down and..." as well as "evade detection in order to...", but the most common version is 'chase', and appears in almost all Human sports with more than two players.
This variant is called 'Cops and Robbers', and involves pseudo-hunter 'Cops' attempting to capture the clever-prey 'Robbers' who also have to infiltrate a base and covertly acquire a goal object. The hunters hunt, of course, and the prey have to avoid the notice of the hunters. Some are naturally better at this than others.
It took Frin some time to notice what the Humans were doing. Certainly, her species was improving at stealth and stealth games thanks to their exposure to Humans, but... This was something else. A Human in 'hunter mode' had something... else... about them. Call it an aura. Call it a sub-telepathic field. Call it a vibe. Whatever the true word for it was... these Humans were controlling it.
Humans could deceive, and deceive very, very well. They could lie so well with their bodies and voices that they developed it into a literal art called 'acting'. There were other, more subtle ways to tell if a Human were 'acting', but this was something new. These mock-hunters were disguising their own hunter-mode.
They did not walk silently, as moving patches of silence were something that prey evolved to pick up on. Rather, they moved in such a way as to become background noise. All whilst casually watching their surroundings for any hint of movement, any trace of their prey. Not looking directly at anything at all, but... scanning.
Searching in general for what might be amiss rather than a predatorial seeking out of the outlier. The latter would have definitely set off something in Frin's senses.
They were right underneath her. Well. One of them was.
Don't look directly at them... Carefully, Frin readied herself. The one she had targeted (looking at the floor by their feet) had paused whilst the others walked cautiously ahead. Some variant of their thin-slicing 'sixth sense' told this one that quarry was near.
NOW! Frin dropped onto them, making them jump and shout, but it was already too late. This Human was symbolically 'killed' and therefore out. What was that phrase of theirs? Ah, yes. "Bang, bang; you're dead."
"You sneaky little dinosaur," laughed the Human Zane approvingly. "I didn't even know you were there."
"I, too, did not know you were there," said Frin. "You even conceal your predatory presence. I find that very interesting."
Human Zane blinked at her. "We're doing what now?"
It would take hours to explain.
[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / Kobyakov]
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