The Kir’bret’rasach is the Kel’Regar answer to the question of the main battle tank. More than one foe has been caught unaware by its massive strength and tearing claws.

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.


? Responses (8)-8

Goto Author

Two notes: the bad lizard grammar doesn't fit, methinks.

Also, I think it would be much cooler if the rider guided the beast emotionally and with subtle nudging, rather than full control.

What about amking it originally a telepathic pack predator? One with whom the rider will bond, become its pack mate, its alpha female, to direct its rage? "They killed my cub, Angor, and harmed me, with *that* thing over there. Make them suffer, Angor, for me..."

It would be the rider who has to wear a telepathic implant, while the beast would be altered so as to react to Kel'Raegar pheromones; due to the empathic gift would its rage be felt over the battlefield, with crews shaking with terror in their (yet) untouched tanks at the onslaught of such a furious mind. The madder the bear gets, the stronger the emanation. (Originally, the 'bear' used this gift to disperse herds of prey, to single out weak individuals)

What about times of peace? "We have hunted enough, Angor; let's now enjoy ourselves and eat our fill. We are safe. Safe." The rider would be a full-time caretaker, petting and soothing her brutal battle bear.

And situations of stealth? "Wait a while, till they show us their belly, careless and fat. The shall not see us coming. Sneak up on the prey..."

Goto Author

What a cool monster - and what a cool remake Echo suggests! Please consider his suggestions. Alternatively, it could be a different monster, just for a change of pace. Will see if there are any changes and vote later. (Oh, and I cringed on the lizard-speak as well.)

The base idea of using animals against tanks is odd, but makes a certain sense... animals will have greater mobility (not speed, but more in control of their movements - take that, mecha freaks!) and will definitely have a knack for surprise and psychological warfare.

Oh, and, during the times of peace, if there are any, the beasts could be kept in hibernation, like so many other nasty creations.

Goto Author

Updated: Edit: Okay, removed the bad grammar in the block quotes. While the telepathic bears idea is cool, I don't think it's appropriate to the rest of the mesh that I'm weaving slowly here.

Goto Author

I thought the lizard grammar was cheesy, but not bad.

What about the bear's immunity to toxins or depleted uranium armor piercing rounds?

Nice, though, I have a weak spot for inter-galactic warfare.

Goto Author

I'm not really into futuristic campaigns, but I got into this. I'm probably not the bets judge for this, but I thought it was well-written, descriptive, and quite usable. Leaves openings for more to come. Aside from one or two minor run-on sentences, I thought it was really well done! 4.5/5

Goto Author

Frak, if I ever write a science fiction book, I think I might make the Kel'Regar one of the main enemy races (with Siren's permission, of course). The main reason being this:

I like the idea of writing stories about futuristic military formations and their battles, and almost all of the stories I think up have the main characters using projectile weapons. Machineguns, assault rifles, missile launchers, etc.- those're the weapons that my dudes use, albeit really, REALLY advanced.

So, I like the idea of making an enemy who's practically immune to their guns and heavy weaponry. Just imagine the horror of a platoon of elite Crash Troopers as the massive chain-guns and missile launchers their heavy-weapons crews carry simply bounce right off the target!

Besides, the Kel'regar just make for some interesting characters, I'd think. From the whole thing about the split between genders, to the world-ships... It's a great idea.

Goto Author

I do like the Kel-Regar and other aspects of your universe - wish you were still churning these out :)