|Author||Craig A. Reed|
|First published||29 November 2009|
|Era||Clan Invasion era|
|Timeline||15-21 October 3057|
|“||In a universe of million-ton WarShips and deadly BattleMechs, nature is still the most deadly predator--even to Clansmen.||”|
Six warriors are brought to Trondheim in October 3057 for a modified version of Clan Ghost Bear's Clawing ritual: After a JumpShip suffered a drive failure in the system seven months earlier, it deployed its DropShips and one of them crashed on the planet. It had carried several ghost bears for the Tseng-Jorgensson Natural Preserve on Alshain, and at least one specimen survived the crash and began hunting for prey in the Chugach mountain range. Initial reports were dismissed, until two herdsmen were killed. The Clan withheld this information from the general public, fearing a public outcry among the recently subjugated population. Now the six highest-ranking warriors from the clusters nearest to Trondheim were assembled for an impromptu Clawing ritual, a hunting party to dispose of the predator before it can cause more damage. The Trondheim government has insisted on sending one of their rangers—a man named Amak Joki—along.
The Clan warriors resent being forced to accept a local guide, but give in to his reasoning that only he speaks the local language and knows the mountains well enough to find the beast. During the hunt, Joki and the warriors argue over the Clan invasion, and Joki is very straightforward that he only helps them to prevent the ghost bear from killing more people and thus ignite the powder keg that is Trondheim—if he felt an uprising had any chance of success he openly admits he would rather fight the Clan oppressors.
Eventually they arrive at a village, only to find that the ghost bear is already there. It is a particularly large and heavy specimen. In the ensuing chaotic fight, warrior Geri Bekker—who had formed the best bond with Joki during the hunt—saves Joki's nephew at great personal risk when the youth is attacked by the ghost bear. The bear is ultimately killed, with all Clansmen hurt to some degree in the fight. When asked why he rescued the openly hostile youth, Geri later explains that protecting civilians is his prime duty as a warrior. This garners him at least some respect from the still-distant Joki.
- DropShip Polar Star