The brothers soon returned to concealment and reviewed the information gotten from the Son of Ken, using it now as a holographic playback device.
“It seems that the Sons had the same idea that we did.” Red said as he watched the playback of the Son’s infiltration of the Hive’s perimeter.
“They’re not fools, so they think of this place as a possible hunting ground.” Blue said, as the group watched the Son stalk, slay and consume a worker Bug form, “I think, however, that they are not capable of dealing with the heavy airborne presence.”
They watched as the Son alerted the Hive inadvertently, having noticed the digs and could not comprehend any reason to dig up Old World ruins. He attempted to flee, got cornered and then fought his way out only to be hounded and cornered repeatedly over a series of days before fatigue and wounds finally weakened him enough for a Bug to put him down. Most of this occurred by the Flyers, as he could not long evade them or easily dispatch them.
“Impressive.” Red said admiringly, “He made them pay.”
“He did not get a good price.” Blue said, unmoved. “Bug life is cheap, and these forms are no different from any we already encountered.”
“Halt playback.” Nala said, and the image froze. “Repeat the direct encounters between the Son and the Bugs, slowly.”
Yellow did as asked, and during the first encounter between the Son and the Fliers Nala again called a halt. Again, the image froze, and Nala called out a distant image behind the Fliers about to get into close quarters with the Son. Without being asked, Yellow isolated it and brought it out for easy of inspection.
“Watch closely.” Nala said, pointing out a connection between the image and the Bug about to attack the Son, “I think we have our lead.”
The playback resumed, and there seemed to be a brief flash of light between the two. The Bug then appeared to be far more skilled in close combat than Fliers usually are in their experience, yet still got cut down. Before another engaged the Son, there was another flash and the phenomenon repeated itself. Noting the pattern, the group saw this persist throughout the playback. Finally, as the final Bug struck that fatal blow, the Son locked eyes—as it were—with its slayer and its eyes glowered with some sentience heretofore lacking in the Bugs.
“Nala, you’re right- something intelligent is behind these Bugs.” Green said, his voice quivering in disgust. “That’s malevolence of a very personal sort. This Son wasn’t merely on the wrong side of an impersonal part of life, but actively hated and willfully murdered.”
The rest of the playback consisted of other Bug forms, heretofore unknown to the brothers, of a sort that mocked the human form in grotesque and obscene ways attempted to communicate with the Son- and torturing him. One, larger than the rest, observed and managed the Bugs doing the work; this also glowered at the Son, hate in its eyes.
“That Bug, Special Team, is our primary objective.” Nala said as he pointed back to the Hive, “That Bug Hive is where we need to go to get to him.”
“Five against a Hive?” Yellow shook his head in disbelief. “Nala, you can’t be serious.”
“I am serious, and I have a plan.”