When the humans challenged the galactic confederacy, the first
response was to laugh. There were a dozen species in It, most
with hundreds of systems under their control. The humans had a
mere dozen or so, penned in on all sides by the other races.
Because galactic law prohibited orbital bombardment as a war
crime, we fought mostly on the ground. We did not believe the
humans would offer much resistance. After all, a Stranger has
the strength to casually crush a human being in the palm of its
hand. The are weak, but their armies number in the
billions. The are the finest pilots and mechanics in
the galaxy. Each of the other races, including my own, had
advantages over humanity. Strength, speed, intelligence - on
paper, the humans should have been doomed. They were
outnumbered, outgunned, and outmatched.
We underestimated them. That was why they survived.
The humans have advantages of their own. Three major ones we
didn' t consider relevant at the time, but which are all too well
remembered now. The first is their skill with ranged combat.
Each human has the ability to fight at a distance innately. or all
the species that do have this ability, humans are the Best. Their
natural abilities cinematically augmented, human aim is almost
perfect. The strength of the Stranger and the numbers of the
are Irrelevant when the humans could fire more bullets
than we could send soldiers. Everything they have Is designed
to nght at a distance. Their ships, their tanks, everything. Many
of our species fight in melee because ranged combat can only
be accomplished through cybernetic augmentation. A human
can fight better than the ranged combat experts of most species
WITHOUT augmentation. We put those augments into a lot of our
soldiers very fast. It didn' t do us much good. The humans have
been fighting ranged warfare since their species first crawled
out of the mud. If we got close enough to fight in melee, we tore
them to shreds. We did not get that chance often. My race alone
could match them at range using our scatterguns - our inferior
aim compensated for by our speed and the lack of need for
Were It merely that, we still would have won. But it was not.
Their greatest strength made them impossible to pin down. or
all the creatures in the galaxy, I have not seen a creature that
endures like a human. They' re not tough, they' re not fast. Many
species beat them in those ways. But humans NEVER stop
moving. Most creatures need to sleep for a full cycle after a
burst of activity, but humans naturally sleep less than half that -
and their augmentations took that time down to almost nothing.
Compared to most of us of comparable size, they require little
sleep or rest. Their armies never stopped moving, and because
we had to stop to rest so much more often than they, they chose
the battledress. Battlefields suited to their strengths at range.
Their assaults never stopped. Their movement never stopped.
They shifted and moved and changed. Their vehicles lasted so
much longer than ours did. Because they were so enduring, their
machines were designed to go on forever, never stopping. The
designed vehicles that were much better than theirs
in terms of toughness, maneuverability, speed, and almost every
other category. But their vehicles still needed to stop every few
hours for maintenance. The humans would never have tolerated
that, as we do. Their vehicles can go weeks without
maintenance or repair, even after battle. The humans would
simply raid. And raid, over and over again, avoiding engagement,
until our vehicles needed maintenance. And then they would
assault with everything they had.
I could run down a human and blast the occupants
inside. once. But after that, I would be too exhausted to move. I
would need to feed, need to sleep. The humans are slow as
glaciers on a frozen Ice world, but they don' t need that. They let
us attack them, then simply kept pressing and pressing and
pressing until we fell. We died. So many of us...
And the third thing. Perhaps the most important. My people are
hunters. We wiped out most prey species on our world long ago.
We have the instinct to kill. But we are hunters. We do not fight
when pressed - we nee, to strike from stealth and with speed.
The and Stranger are descended from plant eaters. They
are prey species, and fight like a herd. They move as one, in
vast numbers, but led by a few individuals. Take out the leader
of a herd of Stranger, and they crumble. The are too
stupid and do not value their own lives enough to crumble - but
due to the humans guns, they were practically irrelevant in the
fight except as cannon fodder. Perhaps only the had
that same spirit as the humans - but they were no match in
close combat, nor their endurance.
The humans are pack creatures. Predators that came from prey.
I can smell " on them. They are prey that banded together,
fought like mad, and learned to eat hunters. We have a creature
on our world that fights like that. They will be struck lethally by
venom of a beast and fight until they die, unhanding of wounds,
simply to strike at those that struck at them. They will fight
suicidally simply for revenge. But they are simple animals, and
loners. Humans have that spirit, but they are no animals - and
they are pack creatures. Kill a member of their pack, and they
remember your face. They hunt you down, in that slow, never
stopping movement of theirs, with their horribly accurate guns. I
remember a human we had rarety on. Thirty seven Masts of the
scattergun to his torso. He killed three of us Before he died,
screaming in rage about the death of his pack. My instincts
screamed at me to run even as we held every advantage. That
battle madness is rare among species - and the humans are born
with it. True, some died cowering. But so many died with that
insane, suicidal madness in their eyes...
on each world we fought, I killed many humans. Among my
people I' m a hero for doing so well in a hopeless war. I do not
tell them about the times I hid, crawling on my belly under logs
or hiding in corpses to avoid the humans latest unending attack.
I do not tell them about the many bullets from the humans guns
still embedded in my torso. I do not tell them about the human I
shot in the face who managed to stab me in the gut with a knife
even as he died. They are NOT prey. We cannot rule them as we
have the others.
The humans survived their little war, and gained a few dozen
more battle scarred planets in the process. our species alone
lost over three billion soldiers. We tell ourselves it was a minor
skirmish with a minor race, no big loss. I say that if we have
many more minor skirmishes like that, we won' t have much left
to fight real wars with. And should we fight them again, ratt
another hunter. I will not battle with them another time. I will
end my days hunting the prey species, hoping a battletoad
human assassin doesn' t ignore the treaties and kill me.
Warlord chul' rush of the sholdnt.