The Dutch Tapes are a series of eight recordings that can be collected in the 2020 video game Predator: Hunting Grounds. Arnold Schwarzenegger reprised his role as Dutch and the recordings cover Dutch’s life after the events in 1987 in Central America. You can listen to them below or read on for a full transcription.
It’s September 12th 1987. My name is Major Alan Schafer also known as “Dutch”. U.S. Army veteran special ops commander, and the only survivor of the Val Verde incident. These tapes are my personal testimony. Insurance. Should anything happen to me, what I found won’t be lost. My team was brought in to rescue a Guatemalan cabinet minister and his aide who’d been captured by guerrilla forces in Val Verde. We located the downed helicopter and the skinned bodies of those aboard hung in nearby trees, seemingly at the hands of guerrilla fighters.
After assaulting their camp, it became clear that the mission was a setup. American intelligence had sent us to retrieve the captured agents who’d been on recon for a future military action. But none of that matters because while we were clearing out the guerrillas, something was hunting us. An invisible kill attracted us as we made our way to the extraction point. In 24 hours, it wiped out my entire team. Rick Hawkins. Blain Cooper. Mac Eliot. Billy Sole. Jorge Ramirez … and Al Dilon. The best soldiers have ever known, men I’d trusted with my life, were butchered like animals.
It was a nightmare. We walked in with guns, but it had perfect camouflage, advanced weaponry, and could see heat. It was strong and smart. A pitiless hunter. I waited. I watched. And when I understood it, when I saw how it hunted, I killed it. As it laid dying, in a final fuck you, it activated an explosive device. I barely escaped the blast. My radiation sickness and the crater of the explosion are the only evidence it ever was here. I’ve given my official statement to Agent Peter Keyes of the OWLF, but it’s become clear I need to investigate Val Verde myself.
Keyes was thorough, but he asked all the wrong questions. We have proof of alien life, but that life sees us as game. It’s an alien who’s first contact with humanity was to hunt us for sport. All Keyes cared about was the technology lost in that explosion. He can’t see the jungle for the trees. I see the threat, he sees the opportunity. Spies are all the same. I mean, we aren’t people to them, we’re assets. How many soldiers will he feed to those monsters just for a chance to steal from them or to learn from them? The government can’t be trusted, so I have to do this on my own. I’m cutting my treatment short and going off the grid. I will make my way back to South America, to Val Verde. I was told that there were stories about “demons who make trophies of men”. I’d like to hear those stories.
April 8th, 1991. I’m not dead yet. I’ll admit… I regret not curing my radiation sickness before I left. It made leaving the country difficult. I cashed in a few favors, took one too many off-the-books flights in rusted-out buckets, but I made it back to Val Verde. The area was in lockdown, sealed by American intelligence for study. The complex centred on the crater from the alien self-destruction. I found a scientist slumming in a local bar. A few drinks, and a couple threats later, he was ready to talk. It wasn’t much, barely anything I didn’t already know.
The blast emitted a form of radiation they’d never seen before. Some believed it was extra-terrestrial, some didn’t. Either they’re not that bright or there’s nothing to find. I decided to let them keep searching in vain. It kept them busy and off my trail. I’ve been touring villages in small towns using the cover of an author writing about south American folklore. I don’t know if any of them bought in, but they took my money and told their stories. The closer they were the jungle, the more stories of devils in the trees.
Some were bullshit, made up on the spot, but some carried consistencies that I couldn’t ignore. Whatever it was, the “Demons Who Makes Trophies of Men”, the “Devil of the Trees”, or the “Skull-Taker”. The stories always began on the hottest summer that they could remember. In the summer of 1987, Val Verde nearly broke it’s all-time high in temperatures. They love the heat. It must remind them of home. Everything else confirmed the truth of the stories. Proud warriors skinned and hanged, skulls and spines ripped from their bodies.
Maybe it was obvious from the beginning, but it wasn’t until I heard the stories that I truly accepted the purpose of these mutilations. I mean, they’re taking trophies. They travel impossible distances to hunt us, skin us, and mount us over some alien fireplace on another world. It would be disgusting if it weren’t so familiar. Where do I go now? It’s been on my mind all year. The takeaway from all this intel is that they’ve been doing this for decades – centuries maybe. They’re coming back, and I need to be there when they do.
June 27th, 1992. It’s hard to remember that the most important part of an operation is patience. You can plan the perfect op but you can’t account for everything. If shit goes south, there’s nothing to do but to adapt and finish the mission. Sometimes, you just get lucky. I was on the dock ten klicks down-river from the Val Verde border, figuring out my next move. I was ready to pack it in. I mean, I thought I’d learned everything I could, that there was nothing left for me to find. The OWLF had abandoned the detonation site a year ago, and I’d thought they’d already shipped back to America.
That’s when I saw Agent Peter Keyes tie his skiff to the dock. I mean, I haven’t seen Keyes since I gave my official statement to him. It was impossible, but there he was with three of his buddies. All agents. I mean the clean, tidy outfits give them away all the time. I mean, they won’t get down in the dirt. You see, that’s what they pay soldiers to do. Keyes walked up, looked right at me, and shook my hand. With the radiation sickness, I’d lost a lot of weight. I thought maybe he hadn’t recognized me, but then he greeted me like we were old pals.
Keyes is a good spy. Saying nothing, implying everything. We spent the next few hours trading war stories at the bar. If you’d heard us, you’d never suspect that we were trading intel on an alien manhunter. His cover was that they’d been looking for a serial killer. A sadist who’d been operating in the area for years. Hunting people like animals and then skinning them alive. Keyes wanted to talk about the monster, so it all came out in the cover story. In many ways, they were just a few steps behind, surveying villages for information, locating witnesses. He did confirm one thing I’d only considered. He told me about how the “killer” chose his victims.
They were always armed: a rifle, a pistol, a knife in the boot. He wasn’t taking kids or random villagers. He wanted a challenge. Whatever it was, it was a hunter. When it killed for sport. I wish they were here for a military action. Recon for an invasion. But the truth was so much worse. We’re prey. Animals. Fit only to be hunted. Keyes and his buddies paid their tab, and mine, but before he left, he winked at me and he said… “Stay out of the Jungle. That’s where he gets you.” I tracked Keyes and his team for weeks, but they didn’t learn anything new. Maybe they knew I was there, maybe they didn’t. I don’t know. I’ve risked enough for now. I think it’s time to disappear. Keep my ear to the ground. Be patient
March 3rd, 1996. I thought I could wait. I thought that I could hold back and make my move at the right time. I couldn’t. Fuck! I had to find them! I needed to hunt it… or let it hunt me. I joined up with any private military company that was headed into the hot zone. I pulled every string, cashed out every favour just to follow the sweat and the death that attracted the demon. I eventually put together a team myself. Lost soldiers and haunted men, willing to fight and die wherever I led them. They thought that I was a legend, and I let them believe that.
I’m quiet and good at what I do. I needed them to see me as a legend so I could take them to die in the sweltering jungle. We went on more missions than I can remember. We didn’t fire until we were fired at. They thought that it was my code. It wasn’t. I was waiting and watching. Our last mission was an evac op in the Congo. A private munitions base had gone dark. When we arrived, they’d been dead for days. Bodies strung up on flood lights around the base. All of them skinned. Some missing skulls and spines.
We secured the site and waited for backup to arrive. In the heat of the day. I stared into the waves of heat coming off the concrete, thinking that any minute they may come alive as the invisible killer. And then they did. I didn’t wait. I unloaded every round I had. Trusting me, my team fired in the same direction. It wasn’t the first time I’d done it, but this time I knew what I was looking for. It was so fast. We couldn’t hit it. We panicked and stray round struck the crate of RPGs, and that explosion hit other munitions that exploded. By the time the smoke cleared, the demon was dead… but so were all my men. I took samples of its blood, pieces of its anatomy, and what tech that I could salvage, then I burned everything. Then I disappeared. I never checked in with HQ. As far as I know, I was counted among the dead
October 12th, 1997, Los Angeles. I needed to come back to the States. It wasn’t impossible to sneak contraband through customs, but I wasn’t willing to risk what I’d found in the Congo falling into the wrong hands. Instead, I travelled to Mexico aboard a cargo ship bound for the Port of Altamira, from there I made my way to Tijuana and I bunkered down. I had tangible proof of extra-terrestrial life in my possession, but no idea what to do with it. I’m not a scientist. I did the soldier’s duty and secured valuable intel. This was out of my pay grade.
I kept an eye on the news. Los Angeles was having a record-breaking heatwave and a gang war on the streets. It was perfect. I could feel it in my bones. I’d been tracking them for so long. I could think like them. I could smell the prey. I could see the hunting ground. I had to get L.A. Crossing back into the States from Tijuana wasn’t that difficult, but by the time I’d reached the city, it was already over. Like Val Verde, the OWLF only found crumbs. What I’d hoped might be an alien ship turned out to be only a launching site.
I wanted it too much and I got sloppy. I breached the OWLF quarantine and was captured. I’d hope to be bailed out by Agent Keyes, but he died. With Keyes gone, the OWLF was leaderless and disorganized. I was interrogated, but then negotiated my release by bartering the alien materials I’d had recovered from the Congo. During the negotiations, it was clear how little they knew. They needed someone who understood the threat, so I offered to work with the OWLF as a consulting advisor. They had the funding, the technology, I needed to continue my hunt. I wouldn’t work for them, but I would work with them. They’ll be a weapon I can use to hunt down these predators as they move to fresh ground. It’s only a matter of time until they see us as a real threat. When the prey can fight back, it’s no longer a hunt. It is war.
March 3rd, 2008. We’ve gotten good at killing Predators. Every time we find one, we come back with more tech, more research, and the OWLF’s funding goes up. Together, we’ve gotten stronger and more efficient. For a time, the aliens were surprisingly predictable. They had no idea that we knew so much about them. But that began to change. They sent better hunters every time. They’re beginning to see us as a threat or we’ve become a more worthy prize. Maybe both. We know this because our last encounter was special.
We weren’t certain if they had any gender to speak of, but that changed when we came into contact with the female. She was smarter and deadlier. She didn’t fuck around like the males did. She was direct, ruthless and skilled. I was in Laos when we first came into contact with her. It was Val Verde all over again. Her ambush wiped out my entire team, only this time… she got me. In a small village I lost track of her just long enough for her to pin me with a razor net. Pinned against the wall, razors cutting into my face. I’d been fighting for so long. I was ready to die. I should be dead. Instead of making the kill, she cloaked and vanished into the jungle.
The net relaxed and I escaped with my life… and a scar to remember her by. She spared me. Only me. Like she knew who I was. I returned to the exfil, my first failed mission in a long time. Are we going about this wrong? I mean we’ve, learned so much, but in doing so, have we made ourselves a bigger target? I can’t stop thinking about something Napoleon said. “You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war” I started this believing that we were learning how to hunt them, or maybe she let me live to just be hunted another day. We could be teaching them how to hunt us.
January 13th, 2019. I knew the Predator’s deployments to Earth would make it impossible to keep all of this a secret. Sooner or later there would be another player on the board. I’d hoped that it would be another agency, one that understood and respected the threat. Project Stargazer. Our initial intelligence on Stargazer was that they were capable, funded, but inexperienced. But they were smart. They took the OWLF’s funding and got it shut down. Everyone we could identify in their group was a disavowed member of another agency, including the OWLF.
Lacking strong leadership and a clear directive, they were sloppy and arrogant. They were aware of the Predator threat and, while they had many of the pieces, they struggled to see the bigger picture. Stargazer was so far behind that we didn’t see them as a threat until the event in Mexico. The recovered Predator escape pod was an extraordinary find for Stargazer, but the death toll was a heavy price to pay for taking a Predator captive. My taskforce has many directives, but one of the most primary is that we do not take captives!
Retrieve technology, corpses, and other intelligence, but there is no value in a live Predator, only liability. The enemy does not want peace. The enemy does not negotiate. Its only drive on Earth is to hunt. What we might learn from a captive predator would never be worth the risk to our people! Stargazer didn’t learn from their mistakes and the technology they’ve recovered has only made them cocky. When the government cut ties to the agency, it should have shuttered their project permanently, but they only shifted their goals.
Guerrilla factions and private military companies are being contracted by Stargazer to set up bases and equipment in locations we’ve identified as ideal hunting grounds. We believe that the former intelligence project is setting itself up to be a fully independent dealer of otherworldly arms. This is the worst-case scenario. Hostile forces will use those weapons on their enemies, and they will use them on us. All the while the true enemy stalks is unseen. It’s a distraction mankind can’t afford. Stargazer will have to be dealt with.
April 2025. It’s hard to believe that I’m still here recording this. I probably shouldn’t be smoking in the med-bay, but fuck it, it’s my birthday for Christ’s sakes. I turned 78 today, but I’m out there hunting. I should be retired. I should be doing anything but this. My life shouldn’t be possible, but the very thing that I hunt, that hunts me, is what’s keeping me alive. As we began to understand the Predator’s technology, we started to use it. A fight with a Predator female went bad and I was critically wounded. Dying. I agreed to experimentation.
Using their medical technology was painful at first, but it worked. It worked so well that the cells in my body stopped aging. Pushing eighty now. I’m fighting like a man in his 40’s. It’s not the only experiment that I’ve been a part of. I’m deadlier now than I was in Val Verde. The OWLF has been fully reinstated. It’s grown larger than ever before. We saved Sean Keyes from Stargazer. His father was Peter Keyes… I suppose you could say that he was a very dear acquaintance. His son is a gifted scientist. I worry about the future.
The Earth is seeing an unprecedented rise in heat and war. As the climate changes and the temperatures go up, more and more countries are becoming hunting grounds. We’ve killed so many of their kind, but they only send more. The number of events that we’ve witnessed has increased three fold in ten years. We’ve made an impression on them, but not like we’d hoped. We wanted to show them that we weren’t prey, to deter them from ever sending another hunter to our world. We sent a warning, but they took it as a challenge. I fear we’ve made things worse. If the Predators ever decide we’ve grown too bold. I have no doubt that they could burn the earth and all of humanity with it. My only hope is that while they waste time on sport, we can rise up together and stand against them as a species. Until then, we keep moving, we keep hunting, and we keep our eyes open.