Caleb saw people coming towards him but knew by their inner light that they were his kind. There were many of them. Their aura was complex. It sang of hunger, but also of disgust. He went to stand within it and soak up its message. He touched and smelled it.
In the midst of those fuelled by the Essence were prey, not yet recruited. His first instinct was to attack them and inject them with Epsilon Rex. But he could tell by the aura that it was these humans who were the source of the disgust. They had power, power to damage his host. Because there were many of them. And they had weapons. Fire, clubs and spikes. The Essence knew what these things represented, especially when weighed against it. It was the risk of damage that repelled him. It pushed him back, prevented him from launching himself at the whole tribe of them.
But it only pushed him back so far. As far as it took for him to feel safe. In that zone, he was captivated by their potential. He was driven by opposing urges. But he was philosophical about it. The Essence here had made a decision on how he and all his kin should act. That goal was now his goal, and he had neither reasons nor the inclination to question it.
He walked with his brethren. The Wrecks surrounded the potential recruits. The aura told Caleb that they should maintain the circle around them. The living walked, and the Wrecks walked with them.
This went on for some time. Time meant nothing to Caleb. He had no memory any more, in the sense that he once had. He was only aware of the task in front of him, that recruiting these people was a step on the road to victory. He did not care how long it had been.
The potentials did not have the same enlightened attitude. Over time their agitation grew. Their hushed orders turned into alarmed screeches and babbling.
The stalemate was an advantage to Caleb and his brethren. Many Wrecks were being called to the Cause in this area. They blundered upon the scene and after taking it in the same way Caleb had, they joined in. The number of Wrecks increased. Without looking he could feel the energy increase. It was the feeling of comfort, strength, community.
The aura was oscillating. Questions were being asked. Is the prey dangerous? Yes. Is it powerful enough to destroy us? No. Is it powerful enough to stop us fulfilling our goals? We do not know. Will we attack? No. We have lost this battle before.
The prey changed direction. They were heading towards a church. They managed to manoeuver through a gate and a car park, though this brought them into close contact with a few Wrecks. Fire was used and the Wrecks fell back. Their auras flashed sickness, escape. When the prey got to the door of the church, it was closed. They pounded on it. There were voices inside. The prey screamed. The Wrecks smelled the air. The balance was shifting. They asked again. Is the prey dangerous? Caleb could feel the question rebounding between each Wreck as it picked out a victim. He did not know where the answer would come from. But it came.
Two of us for each one of them. That keeps us safe.
Hunger and potential outweighed danger and repulsion at that exact moment. They all moved together. About a dozen Wrecks took hard, sharp impacts or got burned but it was not sustained. Caleb sensed nothing but victory.
It was all movement and noise for a while. Caleb pitched himself forward with clawed hands and bared teeth. Others Wrecks had made it through the short defensive barrage before him. They were already hanging on to the arms, legs and throats of some prey. They writhed. Their inarticulate noises rose and fell. Caleb could see exposed flesh where a shirt had been torn. He bit into it. For good measure he impaled the wound with his fingernails. It seemed to feed his hunger.
He had never been more single-minded. The Essence on his hands and teeth was flowing into the prey. He saw the glow gathering under the skin. It started to move into the body. He had claimed one. He bit another. There were others on it already.
Some of the young ones had managed to scramble out over the carnage. They were running. Caleb spotted one and started to follow it but could quickly see that it was too fast. He turned back to the feast. There was still potential there. Be bit and tore at screaming things, though they had already been bitten. They stayed at it until they were satisfied that the job was done. Everything moving was either a Wreck, or infected.