For centuries Earth has been visited by warlike creatures that stalk mankind's finest warriors. Their goals unknown, these deadly hunters kill their prey and depart as invisibly as they arrived, leaving no trace other than a trail of bodies.
When Roger Elliott faced such a creature during the Vietnam War, he didn't expect to survive. Nor did he expect that, decades later, he would train the Reavers, a clandestine strike force attached to Project Stargazer. Their mission: to capture one of the creatures, thus proving its existence, disassembling its tech, and balancing the odds between the
HUNTERS AND HUNTED
An elite American military unit known as the Reapers assaults a remote drug lab hidden in a Central American jungle, killing its occupants and destroying the product and hardware present at the site. Having completed their mission for no losses, the eight-man team heads back to their base of operations in Georgia. Despite the efficiency with which they carry out the mission, such raids are not their intended purpose — the Reapers are actually attached to Project Stargazer, a top secret government program that seeks to capture a live Yautja specimen for study. However, as there has been no confirmed contact with the Yautja for many years, the Reapers frequently find themselves on loan to the CIA, completing operations for them — such as the raid on the cartel lab — in exchange for funding to keep Stargazer going.
Although their most recent mission is a resounding success, Project Stargazer's funding remains critical. The Yautja have seemingly not returned to Earth since an incident in Los Angeles almost two decades previously, and the politicians behind the program's budget are beginning to view it as a waste of resources; after years of increasingly severe cuts, General Woodhurst, the man in operational control of Stargazer, fears it will soon be cancelled altogether. Hoping to prevent this, he travels to Washington D.C. for another round of negotiations, accompanied by William Traeger, a CIA agent who is attached to the program. En route, Traeger raises the possibility of going outside the government and finding corporate partners to fund Stargazer, but Woodhurst is concerned by the potential security risks of involving the private sector.
While Woodhurst is away, control of Stargazer falls to Pappy Elliot, himself a former CIA agent who survived an encounter with a lone Yautja during the Vietnam War. The team receives reports of a potential Yaujta incident in Florida, where several hunters and a motorcycle chapter have been gruesomely slaughtered. Hyped at the chance to finally engage one of the creatures they have been training to face for so long, the Reapers move out, setting up in a motel in the area and planning their next move. Hearing that the local police are preparing to raid a meth lab, the Reapers decide the incident has a good probability of attracting the Yautja's attention, and they move to intercept it. Sure enough, they arrive at the scene to find the creature attacking both the meth dealers and the police assault force. The resultant battle is fierce and bloody — half of the Reapers are killed, along with many police officers, but the surviving team members succeed in capturing the Yautja.
The subdued creature is taken back to Georgia, where Project Stargazer's scientists begin conducting all manner of tests on both it and the technology it carries. News of the capture reaches Woodhurst in Washington — the General is devastated by the loss of his men, but takes solace in the fact Stargazer's funding issues will be a thing of the past now that they possess irrefutable proof the Yautja exist. However, later that night, the captured creature escapes, apparently assisted by one of Traeger's men. Pappy attempts to stop it fleeing the base, but is killed in the process. When word of the Yautja's escape and their mentor Pappy's death reaches the four surviving Reapers — Tomlin, Hill, Hyde and Pulver — they arm up and set off in pursuit, determined to catch and kill the creature before it can return to its ship and flee from Earth. Along the way, they notice a mysterious helicopter is also pursuing the escaped hunter.
In Washington, Woodhurst and Traeger meet with the committee behind Stargazer's funding, who are justifiably concerned that the very creature the program was established to capture has so quickly escaped. Woodhurst seeks to calm them and point out the potential technological benefits of their continuing to fund the project, but Traeger cuts in and informs the assembled politicians that he has already secured funding from private corporations that would allow Stargazer to operate at no cost to the taxpayer, under CIA supervision. Too late, Woodhurst realises Traeger is attempting to wrest control of the program from him. Afterwards, Woodhurst bitterly congratulates Traeger on his manoeuvring, while Traeger in turn promises Woodhurst he can keep his job if he so chooses, although the implication is clear — Woodhurst would be little more than a figurehead.
Back in northern Florida, the Reapers catch up to the Yautja at an abandoned carnival and discover the helicopter they spotted earlier has beaten them to the scene. Its occupants — a CIA team hoping to capture the creature themselves and thereby cement Traeger's reputation as the right man to lead Stargazer going forward — have already engaged their target. However, unknown to them, the Yautja has already recovered new weaponry from its ship, and it wipes out the Agency men in short order. The Reapers then engage the creature themselves; after a lengthy and brutal battle, Hyde, Pulver and the Yautja lay dead, while Tomlin and his second-in-command Hill are both grievously wounded. The two survivors are evacuated by the CIA pilot, shortly before the Yautja's self-destruct gauntlet detonates, destroying the fairground.
Several weeks later, the two surviving Reapers are still in medically-induced comas due to the severity of their injuries, being watched over by Woodhurst. Meanwhile, Traeger mourns the loss of the Yautja but congratulates himself on taking command of Project Stargazer. As he takes stock of the situation, he is approached by one of his men, who informs him that the Yautja may have sent some kind of transmission back to its home world before it was killed.
- The back cover calls the Project Stargazer team the Reavers, yet throughout the novel itself, they are named the Reapers.
- ↑ "CataList - The Predator: Hunters and Hunted Official Movie Prequel". Retrieved on 2017-12-21.