Star Trek Hunter
Episode 22: Sacrifice
Scene 8: The Shadowhounds of Avradega
The Shadowhounds of Avradega
Like many species native to Andoria, the shadowhounds of Avradega had antennae that served a variety of purposes from fine perception of temperature variances to chemical sampling beyond the olfactory senses, an exceptional sense of balance, registry of atmospheric vibrations too subtle to be heard and a keen sense of light and shadow that affected the fine muscles along their backs, sides and tails which in turn raised fur of different colors that gave these animals superb, flowing camouflage. Unlike andorians, the shadowhounds’ antennae were long and whiplike, laying back across their bodies. Shadowhounds looked somewhat like a cross between a hyena and a cheetah with a 1970’s era muscle car. As fast as andorians could run (considerably faster than humans), the shadowhounds were much, much faster and nearly invisible, even when running in the open.
In the great forest of Avradega, the shadowhounds ran silently and unseen across a light dusting of snow beneath snow-covered trees. What natural selection had gifted them with, centuries of breeding had refined. The ragtag group of andorians running from the shadowpack – although running much faster than humanly possible – had no chance against such pursuers. When they came to a ravine, the four youngest hesitated and were quickly pinned down by pursuing shadowhounds. The others – about 20 andorians – leapt into the ravine without hesitation.
Had this been a terrestrial ravine, none of the runners would have survived. But Avradega was a moon that was only ¾ the mass of Earth. Even so, few humans could have made such a leap and continued running. But these were andorians – lighter, tougher, and gifted with superhuman balance due to their antennae. All but two who made the leap landed on their feet and, taking the enormous leap in stride, kept running. The two who stumbled did not get a chance to get back up – shadowhounds landed on them and kept them pinned. The remainder of the shadowpack followed seamlessly after the runners with even less interruption in their stride – as if they had simply hopped over a fallen log.
Had these been wild shadowhounds, the runners (mostly children) who were pinned would have been ripped apart. But this shadowpack was a highly trained SAR (Search and Retrieval) pack. Utterly silent in pursuit, once an SAR shadowhound had its prey firmly pinned, it would utter a low-pitched, powerful vibration, not unlike the purr of a large, terrestrial cat. This powerful vibration activated a beacon embedded in the animal’s chest which alerted its handlers to beam the shadowhound into a handling area and its quarry into a holding cell. The handler calmed the animal, reset its beacon, then sent it immediately back to the location from which it had been beamed out, there to rejoin the hunt.
From the beginning of this SAR operation, it took less than 20 minutes to round up the last known members of Andoria First in the Andor star system and the captives were quickly transported to a prison in Laibok (the capital of the forest moon of Avradega) to await trial.