Forty thousand years ago,
the most advanced species on Earth
was wiped out by a powerful new life form.

Us.




In January of 1998 ABC aired a series it called science-"fact". Based on the premise that a new species of human had evolved and that they were preparing to take over as the dominant life form, this series was properly titled Prey. This new species had advantages, they had stronger visual, auditory and olfactory senses; they were physically stronger and faster; they were more intelligent; and, their females matured younger and equipped with the ability to carry four fetuses to term. They were the ultimate predators.

The show opens with Dr. Ann Coulter doing research with the DNA of criminals. In her work she makes a discovery but before she can tell anyone what that discovery is she is murdered. The evidence points toward serial killer Randall Lynch but the problem is that he is sitting on Death Row. Upset about her coworker's death and curious about the discovery, all trace of which have gone missing, bio-anthropologist Dr. Sloan Parker begins her own investigation into Coulter's murder and Lynch's involvement. Sloan’s efforts are spurred onward when she suspects that the FBI agent who is supposed to be investigating Coulter’s murder has in fact deleted important files from the victim's computer.

It turns out that FBI agent Tom Daniels is a member of the new species, as is Randall Lynch. They are everywhere and they are watching Sloan Parker, prepared to kill her if she gets too close to the truth. The twist is that Daniels is able to feel emotions, something the others in the new species don't appear to have or encourage. His compassion for Sloan causes him to aid her and save her life. Sloan decides to trust him, what choice does she have when he is the only link to the truth, but her friend and would-be boyfriend, Dr. Ed Tate, doesn't.

From here on the show involves trust between these three characters and the uncovering and attempted thwarting of the new species' plans. They are hindered by Daniel's involvement as much as they are helped because his species is also able to sense when another is near, and they don't like that he is helping her.

The main characters of this series are Dr. Sloan Parker, played by Debra Messing and perhaps best known for her role as Grace on the tv show Will and Grace; Tom Daniels, played by Adam Storke; and, Dr. Ed Tate played by Vincent Ventresca, most notably known for his role as Darien Fawkes in the SciFi channel’s series, The Invisible Man. Interestingly William Schmidt, the show's creator, only wrote one episode, the first one.

This show ran for 13 episodes on ABC but got very little attention and was therefore cancelled. I suspect it obtained more attention when it was in reruns on the SciFi channel and would have been more successful if it had been picked up by them. Unfortunately it wasn't and the show remains locked in the SciFi vault, with no DVD release and no downloadable episodes that I can locate, awaiting its next round of airtime.


References
My memory primarily.
SciFi Reviews, http://www.scifi.com/sfw/issue61/screen.html

The woods are dark. The moon is bathing the landscape in silver light, but that only makes it seem darker. White and black, light and shadow. Everything looks flat and two dimensional, and I am having trouble with my depth perception. If I were to fire a gun or just throw a rock I'd probably miss. I would miss anyway. I have never been good at hitting things or catching balls or...

I stand very still now with my trembling back pressed against the trunk of a big tree. I have lost both my shoes and my dress is torn. There are sounds all around me. Small sounds. The wind rustling the leaves, making the branches squeak. Birds chirping in their sleep. Far away a fox cries. It sounds almost like a child crying. Steps. Heavy steps on the ground. Running. The sound of heavy, running feet, coming closer.

For what had seemed like a very long time after I tore out of the brightly lit, warm house I could not see, running like mad for the woods. Eyes wide open, taking in the darkness, blindly, not looking back; legs pumping, arms stretched out before me... Only luck had prevented me from running straight into a tree. The shouts behind me had been insistent, but I had outrun the voices. Or rather: they had decided that they had no need to rush. My shoes were lying on the lawn, and they must have seen them. They knew I wouldn't get far fast.

And they were right. As I stand, back pressing against the coarse bark of the tree, I hear them closing in rapidly. My feet are sore and bleeding. It doesn't hurt as such - not yet, at any rate. I have more pressing matters to attend to... I hear one to my left, but not very close. One is almost right behind me. In a few seconds he will pass me, and I know he will see me. In my panicky flight I have left an easy to follow trail of disturbed leaves and broken twigs. And these men are hunters. They will find me. Soon.

I breathe through my mouth. Big, silent gulps of air. My heart is still racing after my mad dash from the house into the night; my throat is dry. My mouth is dry. I can only wait now.

He passes me. He has slowed to a walk, and I can tell from the way he scans the shadows that he knows that I am close. At first he doesn't see me. I am standing in the moonlight, fully visible, and he is concentrating on the shadows. For a couple of seconds he is staring straight at me without seeing me. Then, with a start, he seems to realize what he is actually looking at, and a slow grin spreads across his face.

He is the one who was driving the car when I was hitching the fateful ride, just this morning. The other two men, somewhere to my right and left, were at the house when we got there.

"Just need to pick up a few things..." he had said. "And then I'll take you to the next town. You can catch a bus from there."

He had offered me a bite to eat, and it had deteriorated from there. Only because they felt so superior and so sure of themselves had I been able to run away, out of the house and into the forest. The men obviously knew the woods, though, and I didn't. They had let me run, following at an almost leisurely pace, certain they would catch me soon enough.

And they have.

"Aahh...", he says, almost licking his lips. "Where are you going, girl? Tired of our attention so soon?"

He doesn't call out to the others. He wants a little action on his own first. Walking towards me he loosens his belt. He is either getting ready to drop his filthy pants, or he wants to use the belt for tying me up. I press my hands against the gnarly bark behind me, and stare at him, following his every move. He is smiling, teeth looking like the charred remains of a forest fire. Leaning down his breath on my face almost makes me gag. I turn my face away and wait...

Now his hands are on me. Now he concentrates on my body. Now... I dive deep inside myself and flip the switch.

Oh, how I revel in the rush of raw power coursing through me. The surge of heat, of hunger, of pain as old as time itself... The explosion of primal rage that would have made me scream with delight, had I not chosen to close my jaws around his face at that exact moment. The spasms are rocking my body violently back and forth, but the taste of his blood as I crush his face and silence his muffled screams makes the change go smooth and fast. Soon I drop down on all fours, spitting out splinters of skull and teeth. The disgust I felt seconds ago has turned to pleasure. His blood is warm and sweet, and I am so hungry.

I press my muzzle against his throat, and let out a long, low growl of anticipation. There is life in him yet. He is breathing with a faint bubbling sound, and even though his blood is leaving his body fairly quickly there is still enough inside. The jugular is best severed while the prey is still alive.

But I am distracted by sounds nearby. I remember the other two men who are still out here. Their scent crawls along the forest floor like greasy smoke on the slight wind. I flare my nostrils and turn my head. And then, with some effort, I change back. My dress is completely in shreds now, but I think this fact will make my hunt go even smoother. I wipe the blood off my face and smile...



For The Fear Quest

Prey (?), n. [OF. preie, F. proie, L. praeda, probably for praeheda. See Prehensile, and cf. Depredate, Predatory.]

Anything, as goods, etc., taken or got by violence; anything taken by force from an enemy in war; spoil; booty; plunder.

And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil, unto Moses, and Eleazar the priest.
Num. xxxi. 12.

2.

That which is or may be seized by animals or birds to be devoured; hence, a person given up as a victim.

The old lion perisheth for lack of prey.
Job iv. ii.

Already sees herself the monster's prey.
Dryden.

3.

The act of devouring other creatures; ravage.

Hog in sloth, fox in stealth, . . . lion in prey.
Shak.

Beast of prey, a carnivorous animal; one that feeds on the flesh of other animals.

 

© Webster 1913.


Prey (?), v. i. [imp. & p. p. Preyed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Preying.] [OF. preier, preer, L. praedari, fr. praeda. See Prey, n.]

To take booty; to gather spoil; to ravage; to take food by violence.

More pity that the eagle should be mewed, While kites and buzzards prey at liberty.
Shak.

To prey onupon. (a) To take prey from; to despoil; to pillage; to rob. Shak. (b) To seize as prey; to take for food by violence; to seize and devour. Shak. (c) To wear away gradually; to cause to waste or pine away; as, the trouble preyed upon his mind.

Addison.

 

© Webster 1913.

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