Fun Fact: the first explorers to arrive on Procyon IX joked that the giant "carnivore reserves" which the fadelik had created were reminiscent of a famous ancient science fiction series. At some point years later one such reserve was dedicated to the author of said stories, and the famous reserve now known as the Harrison Wildlife Reserve is open to exploration by off-worlders willing to sign a release and pay a handsome fee to experience what is widely regarded as the most dangerous maintained "natural" habitat in the Federation.
Recently the Academy vessel ISS Linnaeus (research class ship) has been given permission to document in detail a scan of the Harrison Wilderness Refuge. They have documented over seven thousand new species, including 800 mega-predators and what is believed to be a precursor herbivorous species that is related to the same family tree as the fadelik of Procyon IX.
Captain Aris Talton is a human who has been working for the Stellar Academy of Research in its Exobiology division for years, something she find very rewarding. On board the ISS Linnaeus this time around are a dozen prominent exobiologists, as well as the fadelik scientist Taten Huricord, an expert on the herbivorous life of Procyon IX, there to document the emerging sapient sister species in the region.
The ISS Linnaeus suffers a catastrophic systems failure and crashes somewhere in the Harrison Reserve. The local authorities look to offworld mercenaries first, to resolve what they see as an "offworld" problem; alternatively the Academy hires a crew to go in and enact a rescue mission.
Complications: the ship crashes in a region rife with what the fadelik call "Schuuzen," but which are more commonly known as decapitators (SF Companion page 79),a brutal ape-like beast. On top of this, they have drawn the attention of the emerging sapients, who call themselves "heeirza," which means people in their simple language.
Unknown to the researchers, the heeirza are actually a bioengineered race, left in the wild, by the mad scientist fadelik called Amorsa Scahn, a rogue researcher who has violated many limitations on the use of transgenics in uplifted species. She has been watching their "evolution" over the last several decades, using the wilderness reserve as a way to force her rapid evolutionary treatments.
Amorsa Scahn will send in her own mercenary crew of hired privateers to try and remove any evidence....but what no one can account for is just how rapidly the heeirza have evolved; exposed to a crew of scientists and a starship, they may very well grab the ship and make a run for it....!
Taten Huricord and Amorsa Scahn dated in college, and he left her after he caught her lifting a gene sample from him (a big faux paus in fadelik society; always ask first).
Captain Aris Talton has recurring nightmares of being eaten by cannibal ape men. This started when she visited Delta Leonis in the Regulus system, and the research team was attacked by primitive six armed pseudo-hominids dwelling in the ruins of what was clearly a dead civilization. She lost her former fiancee Devon Kain (or so she believes) in that incident a decade earlier.
The schuuzen are popular among illegal export of indigenous alien species; one live schuuzen in the right market can net 100,000 credits or more. However, fadelik penalties for smuggling protected species offworld is life imprisonment on the Hydraki asteroid mining penal colony.