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- "Fucking bastards are all over the place! Gun them down!"
- ―Shouted Sergeant Stacker after being ambushed by a Covenant Insertion in Old Mombassa.
Seraan (Latin: Internecivus raptus, meaning "murderous abduction"), known to Humans as Stalker, are an indigenous species found in Sye-Lyon, the neighbouring planet of Sanghelios, serving as a hunting pair to the Covenant Sangheili. The Seraan has relatively short body and long legs, with four sharp claws. The species' success in the wild rather than in lances owes in part to its opportunistic hunting behaviour, its adaptability to a variety of habitats and its ability to move at up to approximately 80 kilometres an hour. The Seraan consumes virtually any flesh it can hunt down and catch.
Known by most Humans as Stalkers, presumably due to their agile and ruthlessness in hunting and flanking its prey from behind, the Seraan serve as the hunting pair for the Sangheili. They are never seen in lances of Unggoys or Kig-Yars due to an assumption that the Seraan would sometime devour them while their Sangheili pair is away. Seraan are tamable and were used for centuries in Sanghelios for hunting game.
The Seraans are officially not part of the Covenant Empire; they are only faithful to and would only serve the Sangheili, possibly due to close history or serving as hunting pairs before both species joined the Covenant. Lacking intelligence and the ability to act rational, Seraans are seen to act upon an order given by the Sangheili. During the Great Schism, most of the Seraans escaped the Separatists onslaught carried by the Jiralhanae and assisted the Sangheili later in the Separatist-Loyalist War.
Anatomy and Physiology
An average Seraan is about 128 cm (4.1 ft) tall, 175 cm (5.7 ft) long and weighs about 88.5 (195 lb). It has long hind-legs and a tawny coat with closely spaced round black spots. It is unique among cats in having nonretractile claws. Compared to a Sangheili, the Seraan is generally shorter-bodied, but is longer and so it appears more streamlined. The Seraan have four sharp claws protruding from arms, acting as its hunting tool which allows it to give quick slashes and thrusts in its high-speed hunts.
Like the Sangheili, the Seraan legs are digitigrade; this structural arrangement allows them to run very quickly and jump large distances. Other adaptations that enable the Seraan to run as fast as it does include aerodynamically elongated skull that decreases amount of air resistance and focuses on increased air intake, deep and narrow chest with a flexible spine that increases stride length, and two enlarged heart (binary vascular system) and lungs that work together to circulate oxygen efficiently. While running, in addition to having good traction due to its long legs, the Stalker uses its tail as a method of steering, allowing it to make sharp turns, necessary to outflank prey who often make such turns to escape.
Seraans are a polygamous species, breeding year round with mating at peak after aurora. The females advertise estrous by scent marking.
After birth, the young ones are kept hidden until eight days old, then accompany the mother and start on solid food. They are weaned after 3–4 weeks, but dependent on mother until 14–18 weeks. The young's mortality is very high; two thirds do not reach independence, more where other large predators, the main cause of infant mortality, are numerous. After independence young ones stay together for six weeks, then females leave to live a solitary life, while brothers stay together for life.
Seraans are rapacious pack predators. Their favoured method of accosting prey is to conceal themselves from everyone, even their Sangheili counterpart, sense for prey around them using their sharp vision and sense of smell, then emerge and ambush the enemy. They usually form packs so large that even a well-armed SPARTAN can be quickly overwhelmed and eliminated.
Seraans attack with their sharp claws. Those fleeing on foot or seeking higher ground will find no sanctuary from them; they will leap onto opponents above or a distance away from them. They will fearlessly attack and pursue their target regardless of hazards they are faced with, and will continue charging even as fellow Seraan die in front of them. This includes charging into moving vehicles and into water, despite the fact they cannot swim.
Seraans are not well suited to urban combat environments as most of their hunting tactics (which rely on speed, range, and manoeuvrability) are strongly impaired in close quarters.
- Main article: Sye-Lyon
Sye-Lyon is the homeworld of the Seraan species and is the fifth planet in a Triple Star System of stars Urs, Fied, and Joori.
- Because the Stalkers are deleted species from the Covenant, the author used the predatory species Cheetah as a reference to recreate the Stalkers.