Thrill of the Hunt
Maso Dubar was lounging in the back seat of an open-air rover, with an expensive, custom-ordered hunting rifle propped up against the vehicle’s door. As the gray-skinned Nazdole relaxed, a comfort bot hovered overhead, blasting him with cool air to provide some relief against the planet’s twin suns.
Dubar wished he had thought to equip the machine with bug repellent as another three-inch long, winged insect buzzed past his face. “Damned bugs!” he cursed, swatting at the creature with his hat. “I can’t stand the bloody things.” Dubar noticed the other being, seated in the front of the rover, glance over at him. “Present company excluded, of course,” he added with a smirk.
“As you say, Pon Dubar,” replied the Amothie, a tall, thin insectoid being with a brown exoskeleton, yellow, bulging eyes, and large, serrated mandibles. Seyroon returned to his binoculars, peering through the curtain of tall reeds which hid their vehicle from sight. The pair had spent the last few hours watching the parade of animals quench their thirst at a watering hole some thirty yards away.
“Any sign of our critter?” Dubar inquired.
“Nothing yet, but this is a good spot to watch–lots of ba’tuu prey. Chances very good we find one today.”
“You’ve been saying that for the last three days.”
“Must be patient, Pon Dubar, not so many ba’tuu as used to be. Not since ba’tuu become big trophy for off-worlders.”
“Well, on the plus side,” Dubar smiled, “scarcity will increase the value once I bag it, that’s the basic rule of supply and demand.”
“My life mate say you can’t put value on ba’tuu. It very important in Amothie religion.”
“Uh-huh,” Dubar mumbled, pulling his hat down over his eyes, losing interest.
“She give me much grief, that I track Ba’tuu for off-worlders. She think it very bad maak’wa, or you say, luck.”
“Don’t worry, everyone has a price. She’ll forget old superstitions once she sees the paycheck you bring home. Presuming you deliver a ba’tuu, of course.”
As Seyroon continued to make small talk, Dubar used his neural connection to check on the probes he sent toremotely scout the area from above. The machines were intended for surveillance, but he had their sensors customized for Bat’uu bio-algorithms. So far, the probes came up negative, but with some refinement, he hoped to eventually do away with native guides like Seyroon. (more…)