THE HUNTERS OF NINETEEN

DownTown Sector 19, 47th day of 901, four bodies were encountered in the level three suburbs of the housing project set aside for the recently displaced colony to the south of mort. The bodies displayed evidence of mutilation and other injuries that are conducive to carnivorous pig attack, and nothing more was thought of it.

Shortly after this incident, day 49 of 901, two apartments were torn apart and their occupants slaughtered and partially consumed. Shiver forensics units indicated that the injuries were not so much those of carnivorous pig attacks, there was comparatively little scratch damage, each one of the victims had been finished with a single strike to either the head or heart, the eating had taken place later.

Families in the area were put on alert, and shiver patrols were increased twofold, it was a token gesture at best, but certainly it was appreciated. The matter came to a head when one shiver patrol encountered a group of what they considered to be carrien, the pack was unusually organised, and the patrol was quickly overcome. There were no survivors, but none of the bodies were even slightly consumed, and a single mark was etched into the helmet of each member of the squad.

At this point, station analysis was informed, and a team of operatives was sent out. They found that the mark on the armour corresponded to a holy symbol from the cult of the hunter, something that the Deji tribe of wraith follow as a religion. It was not known at the time why such markings had been etched, and the operatives went to the elders of the area to discuss why such a mark could be left on the bodies.

They found that the mark indicates a killing done in revenge, although it would only ever have been used in the righteous and sanctioned killing of someone who had been known as a killer of wraith.

The investigation continued, and other bodies were found, most of them partially consumed, and the level of intervention was stepped up, it was decided for the operatives to go undercover as shivers and patrol the streets in the event of something coming up.

They did not have long to wait. The squad was attacked less than a day after they went out into the slums, the attackers were ferocious and organised, but no match for trained operatives. One of the attackers was killed almost instantly and the others broke and ran. The body turned out to be a wraith child, no more than three years of age, and the council of wraith was once again called in. Given the mortality rate of wraith children, no record is kept of them until they leave the household of their parents. However it was theorised that they could be the offspring of one of the several wraith families that were displaced from the southern colony and recently rehoused in the projects.

A full check of all the parents still in the projects was made, and all of them were accounted for except one. Lena and Arven Tras, who had only recently been moved to the colony, were found in their apartment, their bodies shot to little pieces by what was identified as browbeater rounds. An immediate investigation into which shiver patrols were regularly assigned to this area was launched, and the names of six shivers were found, five of which were in the first shiver team to be taken down.

It was presumed that the children of the Tras family were out at the time of the killing, which was no doubt due to them not paying up their protection money from one thing or another, most likely the shivers. They must have returned or been hiding at some point, observed the killers, and set out to avenge the deaths of their parents according to the code of the hunters. It was surmised that the other killings had been because the children had been short of food and did not want to give themselves up.

A bulletin was posted on the hourly news, in the hope that the children would see it, nothing was forthcoming, and the killings continued. Other teams of operatives were called in to deal with the matter, and a reward was posted for the proven deaths of the children. This sparked an outcry in amongst the wraith community, however this was swiftly quashed by the human population in the area who demanded that something be done.

Unfortunately, the wraith children seem to have adapted remarkably well to their surroundings, and the teams who are taking the jobs are not good enough to hunt them down. No Wraith have risen to the task, and it is suspected that some of the other wraith in the sector are still helping the children, although no one would come forwards to admit this. It is theorised that one day the children will be old enough to come forwards themselves, but it is not certain whether or not they will do this when the time comes. Should the number of killings ever reach a level that is unacceptable to SLA, or is someone of more importance than the average downtowner is taken, then a higher level of intervention may be assigned, but at this time, it is little more than a nuisance which can be taken care of with a few good media soundbites.

The remaining member of the shivers who was not killed was re-assigned to another post, and it is also theorised that the children are only still in the area because they believe that he is also in the area. If they were to find out that he has been re-assigned, they may well move to another sector, and the spreading of false information is being considered to see if a trap can be sprung while the children are moving location. Given the speed of SLA and their paperwork divisions, this plan may well be put into operation in the next seven years, until then, downtown 19 remains on increased alert.