Translating roughly as the ‘Ravenous War-Bear’, the Kir’bret’rasach is a creature created in relatively recent days, a feat of raw genetic engineering. Having no natural prey or predators, or even reproductive cycle, the Rasach is an evolutionary dead end specifically designed to do one thing: Rip and tear its way through heavy armor.

First deployed against the Sathiss lizardmen in 2652, a surprising counter to the cold-blooded alien’s tank warfare on the ground, it allowed the Kel’Regar to throw the enemy back on several fronts, settling the ground wars into a slowly grinding stalemate.

We were expecting them to be simple hunters. They fight with claws and teeth and pets, like back in the stone age. We fight with guns and tanks and ships. We think it’s an easy fight, yes? Easy to take their warm planets and make them go away, yes? We didn’t know. We didn’t know about the monsters. About the bugs with stingers made of starfire. About the shambling scalies that rip tanks in half. Broodmothers, we didn’t knows they would eat us!

Foreclaw Tharl, 14th Armor Group

Standing roughly seventeen feet tall at the shoulders, the Rasac was designed from an ursine-like template creature, found on a particularly savage colony world. From this template, not entirely unlike an overgrown Terran bear, a number of changes were made. The creature’s frame was enlarged even further, while a number of musculature enhancements were made, most notably massive improvements to the creature’s gripping and arm strength, the almost spring-like muscles capable of feats of brawn easily comparable to the myomer fibers that provide movement for the mechs of more mechanically inclined races. Its claws, teeth, and skeleton are similarly enhanced, each well endowed with the diamond bone technique. Hair was regressed to a narrow scale analogue, laced with fullerine fibers, granting a near immunity to small arms fire, while organo-crystallic organs are implanted after decantation from the Womb of Creation to provide an arc of gravitic shielding against heavier weaponry. Finally, the Rasach is designed to accept communications from the Communication Implant, the alterations going far enough that its brain is only barely able to process anything other than the automatic, unconscious body systems such as breathing and regulating the massive heart.

Guided in combat, however, it is nothing short of a monster. While relatively slow, with a top burst speed of approximately 50 kph, holdable for only a few minutes at best, its dexterous paws and massive strength allow it to rend and tear almost anything it can reach to bits, while the heavy shielding is often sufficient to allow it to close to its proper fighting range with a tank, while its rider is typically armed to defeat infantry at range. Many tank and mech commanders have been surprised and dismayed to see their heavy guns deflected, only to have their cannons or legs seized and torn from their chassis with disturbing ease. Still, Stealth tactics and ambushes are often preferred - While an animal weighing several tons taking a step perforce makes a certain amount of noise, it is often smaller and more easily missed than a tank.

We thought its was easy, when they ran into the forests and cities. We chased them, running over the little trees with our tanks, driving around the huge ones. No quarter, we thought. We was right about that, anyway.

We would find them, and chase them, and kill them. In their strange cities, and in their little bands. And then we chased them into the jungles one more time, a couple months after we landed. And the monsters were there. They were just there, like shadow in the night. One of them tore the top off my tank, reached in, and pulled out the foreclaw. It ripped him in two pieces, then swallowed them, one, two, just like that. Then it reached for me, and bit my arm off. It went crunch, crunch, then it threw me. As I laid there, I saw its rip the treads off another tank, and just flip it over, like a little rock, then I passed out. Maybe from bleeding, maybe just from fright. The medics got me, I was lucky.

Claw Retsts, 14th Armor Group

Because of its inability to act on its own, the Rasach must be carefully sheparded by its attendant, who often forms a strong emotional bond to the beast in her care, due to its total, even infantile reliance on her. The obvious weak link in the creature, more are defeated by precision attacks against the ‘pilot’, who must ride and be in contact with the Rasach as it carries out its attack. Should the rider be killed, the Rasach will generally go mad with pain and rage, lashing out at everything near it. However, in this state, it is generally unable to focus its defenses, rendering it vulnerable to heavy weaponry.

Yeah, I had the misfortune of fighting those bears out there. Shooting them with cannons and gravy doesn’t do a thing. Pointless. What you do, you see, is you get the biggest laser you’ve got, and you snipe at that biao zi sitting on its back, with a gravy reader on your scope. If you’re lucky, you’ll kill her, and that thing will go crazy, and then you’ll have a shot at it. If you’re not lucky, you’ll just make her mad, and then she’ll eat you herself.

Sargent Wu Ce, Sun Mercenary Company

While largely proof against projectile type weapons, the creature tends to be vulnerable to focused energy weapons, such as lasers, and to massive heat sources in general, having little ability to disperse it. However, to stop them, they generally must be killed - the rider is often well trained to damp down pain that comes over the neural interfaces between them, and the Rasach itself is too dumb to understand that the pain means something is wrong, instead being infuriated by it. If dismounted or disconnected from when it is not in pain, it will simply sleep.

In times of peace, few of these are maintained. Rather, once they are no longer needed, they are slaughtered, and rendered down into nutrition for the Wombs of Creation, their gene profiles stored away for later use.

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