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The forest was quiet and still. Too quiet. The booming, throaty calls of the walfrin were all gone now. The chattering and squawking of the myriad native bird species were suddenly silent. Even the high chirping sounds of the insectoids had vanished. It was as if the rapidly cooling afternoon air had suddenly frozen and everything stood poised and waiting. But it wasn’t the coming of a spring thaw that they were all anticipating.
Something was out there. Something the rest of the forest wasn’t used to being around. Something that didn’t have the first clue about how to stay hidden and unobtrusive as it moved through the thick vegetation of Gerilan.
Logan crouched in the undergrowth and waited patiently. It wouldn’t be long now, he thought as he concentrated on the small break in the trees ahead of him. Soon his hunt would be over.
It was a pity really—the hunt was his favourite part. Well, except for the getting paid part of course. But unfortunately, his prey was woefully unprepared and totally inept in the thick, jungle environment. It had been a short, completely unfulfilling pursuit. Like so many he had taken on recently.
Gods, he hated the Mebian system. There was just something wrong about the place. But a job was a job, and he prided himself on being a complete professional. That and the fact the pay was just too damn good to refuse.
Pushing the stray thoughts aside, he ran through what he knew of his target. Admittedly, it wasn’t much, but the owners had told him the runaway was training as an agricultural scientist. He was probably used to flat, arable land, fields of carefully tamed golden strogrom and laboratories.
Logan stifled a derisive snort. This place would have come as a very rude shock. He wondered if the little cat regretted running yet. It might make recapturing him a hell of a lot easier if he did.
What makes them think they can make it out here anyway? he mused absently, as he ignored the foot long growellin slug crawling over his boot. The small proximity alert curled around his ear feeding him detailed information about his surroundings had already let him know it was there. It was a harmless, completely vegetarian species and just passing through. Not worth giving his position away for, in other words. Now if it had been a ferrallin slug…that would have been a completely different story.
Still, it did make him wonder. This forest was absolutely teaming with critters—some harmless, some definitely far from it. Why would anyone voluntarily run into it? He literally had years of experience and training in survival and combat to fall back on, and he never came here lightly.
Logan shook his head at the sheer idiocy and ignorance it would take to run away here without extensive, thorough preparation. Even with all his high tech equipment, tracking scans and an arsenal worthy of a small army, it had still taken him almost a full day to reach a viable intercept location. The terrain was just that unpredictable and inhospitable. He’d been forced to park his Hyperlight space cruiser nearly twenty-four clicks away because he hadn’t been willing to risk trying to get closer.
He frowned slightly at the reminder that they would be forced to spend the night out here. It was getting too late to try to get back now. But, while staying out in the forest was something he didn’t relish, he could handle it if he needed to. The runaway, on the other hand, was damn lucky to have survived last night out here on his own.
Logan really hadn’t expected to be able to track him with the bio-scanner. It seemed far more likely that the man would have already been inside one of the other life forms around here! But Logan had managed to find him—the proverbial needle in the strogrom mound. All in all, the little runaway really was a pretty lucky cat actually.