Dealing with the everyday difficulty of living in a post war world is easier since the Event seven years ago when Terra and an army of friends and warriors traveled across the war-torn ruins of Earth where she stormed the gates of heaven to dethrone the imposter and recover the child. The thankful deity closed the portals used by the aliens and destroyed the giant ships responsible for releasing a plague of genetically altered dinosaurs to replace humans.
She is deeply in love with Wolf, who rode at her side. Together they have helped build Phoenix, a compound offering security to her extended family and any seeking shelter. The removal of genetic barriers between humans, ‘saurians and angel has produced a race bearing both telekinetic and other talents.
Since the Event the attacks by the ‘saurs and alien Hunter ships are few but a resurgence of genetically mutated saurians has everyone on guard. The evidence leads them to one of the giant mother ships and the emergence of one of mankind’s ancient godheads and a self-proclaimed priest and sorcerer that is causing widespread panic.
Terra’s mission is to stop this sorcerer but this is a difficult time for her. Unable to conceive a child by Wolf, the only man she has ever loved, she is left behind in the compound when he storms off after a big fight. Feeling alone and desperate, she becomes prey to the stranger that has arrived in Wolf’s absence. Heartbroken, she fears that her and Wolf’s high percentage of Angel blood is the source of their discord. Her despondent mood has drawn this stranger’s attention.
The early dawn sky was painted in shades of pink, blue, and lavender while crisp and sharp springtime air filled his senses. The herd Jason had been guarding quietly grazed on a lush green plain that stretched beneath the low cliff he’d spent the night on. The cliff almost seemed to touch the skirts of the low-hanging clouds on the horizon. The whole landscape had been so calm and peaceful that it was hard to stay awake but his watch was nearly done and his replacement would be along to take over soon. He sighed and yawned as his eyelids fluttered sleepily.
He was on his feet, every nerve in his body vibrating, his skin shivering from the assault of the high-frequency shrieks of fear ripping across his consciousness. Frantically, he tracked the sounds to the far side of the plain and the terrified pack ‘saurs trudging towards his cliff. It took only seconds for his eyes to lock onto the shifting camouflage of the predator stalking through the neck high grass and underbrush.
With long tail curved and swinging above its back in excitement, it sped through the flanks of the herd, its head snaking out to snatch the fat, slower-moving pack 'saur he was focused on. And yes, the thought flashed through Jason’s mind, the bright orange and red pattern of spots and stripes along its back declared the hunter as a male of this species. The Herrasaurs frequently ran in packs but this one appeared to be a lone male.
Clearing his head of these details, Jason shrieked another warning and telepathic call for help to the compound. Powerless to take down a 'saur of this size and viciousness by himself, he could only watch the animals churning in terror to escape the lean predator. Hefting his spear, he moved to the edge of the shelf and took aim, prepared to take a shot if it presented itself when he became aware of a second sound, nearly musical in its high-pitched intensity—and sooo much more deadly.
“Hunters!” he shrieked both aloud and telepathically. He ducked into cover to keep from being spotted by an enemy much more lethal than anything bearing teeth as a pair of fast gray aircraft burst from the cloud-cover and darted after the Herrasaur. The green fluorescent bursts of their weapons streaked across the sky as the small ships banked sharply, closing in on the small dinosaur.
Ignoring the stampeding herd, the ships turned in tandem and returned for their prey. It took barely seconds before their long grappling hooks were firmly embedded in the unfortunate 'saur. As confused as the terrified herd, Jason could only watch in shock as the two gray hunters disappeared into the clouds with their prey.
In what was only minutes but felt like hours, a small squadron of blue-tinted ships were crisscrossing the air space over the open range.
"Are you all right?" Jason immediately recognized the voice as that of his commander.
"Y-yes, Sir," he stuttered as the man’s heavy hand came down on his shoulder. "I'm sorry, Commander Jud, I swear I was wide awake and paying attention, but they just dropped out of the clouds and started hunting," he said as he hung his head in embarrassment.
"Don't let it bother you, son," Jud reassured. "No one else could have seen them any sooner. There's not much we can do about the Travelers but if we have a pack of Herrasaurs lurking about the neighborhood then we need to bring all the livestock within the barrier at night from now on. We really can't waste them feeding the local predators. Or the aliens."
"Yes, Sir," he agreed. "It's been such a long time since they dared strike so close to the settlement that I guess we've all gotten a little lax on our security."
Most of the larger predators steered clear of the human settlements but the alien race commonly referred to as Travelers were unpredictable. They were rarely seen this close to one of the scattered settlements since the Event that had brought the wrath of the new God down on them. As reward to the those who had aided her warriors, both human and mutant, she had sealed the Gateways the aliens had been using to transport their cargos of 'saurian and human flesh to their home world and destroyed the biggest and most obvious ships but she had left the fate of the smaller and less aggressive ships to the survivors.
Jud’s face was etched with deep lines of concern when he mounted the horse he had at his side. "Why don't you join the team and see if there's enough of a trail to track the ‘saur back to his lair?" he instructed.
Jason was still staring out at the churning herd.
"They'll probably need a hand in collecting those animals as well."
"Y-yes, Sir, I'll do that," he stammered as he turned to the horse hobbled in the nearby brush. Only last night he’d complained to his buddies about the boredom of guard duty. Guess he didn't have anything to complain about now.