|This article, Reaper, was written by StoneGhost. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
|This article is part of Swarmverse, an inactive expanded universe made defunct by newly created canon material.|
- "Imagine, the last thing you see on God's green earth is one of these sprinting at you, maw wide open, teeth bared. Not a nice way to go."
- ―Anonymous UNSC Soldier
The Reaper (Latin: Umbra lupus meaning 'Shadow Wolf') was one of the many subspecies that made up The Swarm. Fast, deadly and above all terrifying, Reapers were the bane of infantry, as their rapid and unrelenting melee attacks made them formidable foes. Reapers were quadrupedal wolf-like organisms, which the Swarm utilised in a rapid attack and melee role akin to shock troops. They were extremely fast, resilient and terror-inflicting, and featured large razor sharp spines on their backs and deadly jaws. They could commonly be seen charging directly at infantry or light vehicles at ferocious speeds, a powerful psychological weapon against enemies. They were sometimes used as stealth units, as their speed and hunter-like skills, not to mention their silence, meant they could easily infiltrate enemy territory and wreak havoc. While their use against infantry was famed and successful, they were rarely effective against armoured vehicles.
The Swarm utilised Reapers in a manner similar to fast attack units. They were able to rapidly infiltrate an area, inflict grievous casualties and then escape before any kind of organised defence could be formed. In standard infantry combat they were often used as melee assault units who would flank the enemy and attack them while they were distracted by other enemies. They could commonly be seen charging directly at infantry or light vehicles at ferocious speeds, a powerful psychological weapon against enemies. They were sometimes used as stealth units, as their speed and hunter-like skills, not to mention their silence, meant they could easily infiltrate enemy territory and wreak havoc. While their use against infantry was famed and successful, they were rarely effective against armoured vehicles.
Reapers stood approximately 190cm tall, enough to stare directly into an infantryman's face. They were on average 260cm in length and somewhat similar to mammalian predators in their basic anatomy. They had four legs, the hind ones being more powerful, jaws that could crush a soldier in battle armour, teeth made for tearing through flesh and long serrated claws that could grip pounced-on enemies. They featured short tails for balance and broad shoulders, and their backs were lined with dozens of razor-sharp spines. Reapers had no bones as such, but featured a tough outer exoskeleton of naturally forming carbon nanofibre.
Reapers were the adult form of Clackers, a small but vicious Swarm type. When Clackers reached two years in age they were encased in semi-organic cocoon-like pods for conversion, which took around six months. After this time a Reaper would emerge, fully transformed, for a lifespan of on average 25 years.
While not as intelligent as some other Swarm subspecies, Reapers were particularly violent even by Swarm standards. Considered semi-sentient, they knew simple emotions such as rage and anger but were incapable of properly developed thought. What was known about them is that they delighted in savagely killing their enemies, though not before terrifying them and tormenting them to their limits. While they normally preferred operating in packs of four or five they were often seen splitting off from the main group and prowling on their own for targets to devour. Reapers had the mentality of a hunter, though were far more aggressive, brutal, vicious and unrelenting, the equivalent of playing with their prey.
There were three main roles given to Reapers on the battlefield, though it was unknown how this was distinguished between individuals as they bore no markings to that effect.
The Charger was the most numerous and most visible of the Reaper types. They had a relatively standard role of deploying with more conventional infantry such as Drones and supporting them in battle. They often did this by flanking the distracted enemy and pouncing viciously on them but, as their name suggests, they were most well known by Allegiance soldiers for charging directly at infantry units, head-first, and inflicting heavy casualties in even small numbers. A Charger amongst Drones was therefore almost always the Theran troop's primary target, in the knowledge of what grievous damage it could cause.
Hunters were found in small packs of four or five, and focused on dominating the battlefield and eliminating unsupported infantry. They would use stealth to near the enemy, then all attack simultaneously and overwhelm the defending forces. Hunter packs were highly feared within Allegiance ranks as just a single pack could destroy several squads of infantry.
Similar to Hunters, Stalkers were used to surreptitiously attack infantry, however they differed in that they were used as lone units on their own. This substantially reduced the chance of premature detection by the enemy and meant that they were more likely to engage them, having slipped through other units. Operating on their own meant that they could remain in enemy territory for long periods without detection, literally right under the enemy's nose.