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Topic: AVP 3: Mankinds Best (Read 1450 times)
Chapter 1: The Xeno Slayers
The USS Marvel soared through space, its gun-shaped hull an indication to all that this was a battle ship of the United States Marine Corps. The name was painted in massive red letters on either side of the hull, displaying that this was the deadliest ship mankind had in its arsenal. On the outside, fifteen mounted guns and four-hundred rocket launchers were ready for use at any given moment, should the ship come under attack. Yet it was not just the armaments on the outside of the ship that made this vessel so lethal; it was the crew on the inside that completed the package.
Five years following the disastrous military expedition to discover the reason for lost communications with the human colony on LV-426, earth's armed forces began a special program with the sole purpose of dealing with any future xenomorph infestations. This was aptly dubbed “Xeno Eradication 101”, and was given any and all funding it required due to the discovery of many more infested planets. Soldiers were trained with new weaponry and technology, specially designed for xenomorph detection and neutralization. The program was a success, both in soldier participation and in the effectiveness of the techniques and technology.
The crew of the USS Marvel were the best xenomorph hunters the program had ever trained. They were so good, in fact, that they had been given their own ship, squad and ranks, specializing solely in xenomorph eradication. They were the first military force that people turned to when a hive sprouted up, and they were damn good at what they did. They were nominated for thousands of bravery awards, and yet refused each and every one of them; a one hundred percent mission success rate was the only trophy they required.
This group of xeno-slayers was led by General Malone, the best of the lot and the man who started the program in the first place, twenty-five years ago. Five thousand was the number of xenomorphs that he had killed, before he lost count. Acid burns cover nearly every inch of his body, save for his face; no acid had defiled that yet. He is the deadliest and most feared man in the universe, a fact which allowed him much success in climbing the ranks of the military. A massive cigar was almost always lit in his mouth, great clouds of smoke spewing from it whenever he spoke.
Four others round out this death squad; Mort, a massive Scottish man who loves to curse and annihilate xenomorphs with a double-barrel shotgun; George, a small, quick witted American who has an affection both for pain and pulse rifles; Andy, who loves swords and had discovered a coating which would resist xenomorph blood; and Sam, a man whose only passions are women and smartguns. These five are the xeno-slayers, and they have never failed.
The USS Marvel was returning from a successful mission on LV-643, a planet covered with trees higher than earth’s skyscrapers. The mission had gone smooth as silk, with no severe injuries or unneeded loss of civilian life. The crew lay peacefully in their cryo beds, asleep until they reached earth, an expected two weeks away travelling at their current speed. However, whilst the crew slept, the onboard machinery was restless. Constant scans were made of surrounding space for any possible threats. Life-signs and health-monitors were constantly checked for anomalies by the computers. The transmission receiver was on high-alert, for random transmissions for redeployment were not uncommon. The auto-pilot was constantly making alterations in headings, for asteroids and planets were extremely common in the vicinity. All was still, all was peaceful.
Yet peace is something that rarely lasts. Wars eventually happen, conflicts eventually arise; something always happens to disturb any peace that mankind achieves. Even small doses of peace, such as the one displayed on the USS Marvel, are always disturbed in one way or another. This is a lesson the xeno-slayers knew all too well, and a random transmission was never a surprise. However, the one they were about to receive would not only change their lives, but the lives of all of mankind. This transmission was a cornerstone in how humans live and fight wars, even if the senders didn’t know it yet.
Chapter 2: The Ultimate Objective
The Marvel’s transmission receivers flared to life, displaying the incoming message on the monitor as it came in;
Orders for redeployment. Re-route to following coordinates. Possible xenomorph contamination. Lost contact with mining vessel Nostradamus 8. Cargo extremely valuable mineral ore. Investigate and retrieve ore. Any surviving crew is to be retrieved alive. Out.
The medical equipment began bio-readouts on each of the five men, checking to make sure they were alive and healthy. Once each readout was confirmed as being in the green, one cryotube was slowly opened, air hissing as the seal was lifted clear. This was Malone’s cryotube; he insisted on being the first awake so that he could give the rest of the crew a “warm” welcome. As he came to, his eyes slowly fluttered open to adjust to the bright light of the Marvel. He quickly removed the wires attached to his chest and stomach before jumping out of the cryotube. Methodically, he went to his locker to change into his full military attire, complete with hunting knife and pistol. He then opened a case containing hundreds of cigars, selected one, placed it in his mouth and lit it.
“Oh, how I have missed you,” Malone said, taking the cigar out of his mouth and admiring it, before placing it back inside for a few more puffs. Then, once he had gotten a sufficient fix, he walked over to the cryotube controls and opened each one in turn. Once each hatch was open, Malone went into action.
“Okay sissies, rise and shine! Nap times over, so quit drooling, get off your blankies, and say hello to momma! I’m your momma now, boys, and I want to be said hello to! Hurry up, Hurry up, Hurry up!”
Groggily, each of the crew awoke, removing the wires and gingerly getting out of the cryotubes. Mort was the first one on his feet.
“And good morning to you too, sir,” he said in his thick Scottish accent.
“Seeing as you’re the first one out of bed,” said Malone, “you only have to do two hundred pushups.”
“Ho, thanks sir,” Mort replied sarcastically, before dropping on his hands and beginning.
“In your head goddammit!” Malone snapped, before turning to the remaining three. “Now, as for you three, seeing as you like to nap so much, you can do four hundred pushups. Now!”
“Have I ever told you how much I love waking up to your lovely voice, sir?” George said, dropping down to do his pushups.
“That’s Four Hundred and Fifty for you, George. Now, I’ll be in command checking on why the fuck we aren’t home yet. And, just in case you pussies were thinking of skipping the pushups, I have cameras in here, and I will be watching. I want you dressed and in command as soon as you’re finished. Got that?!”
“Yes Sir!” they replied in unison.
“Good,” said Malone, turning away to go to the control room, the others quickly counting off their pushups.
In the control room, every monitor was active, displaying all sorts of system information and position data. The one Malone was most interested in, however, was the one playing the transmission in an almost endless loop. He walked quickly over to it and read the orders.
“Shit,” he said quietly to himself after he had finished reading, all the while smoking his ever-shrinking cigar. “Why the hell are some people so dumb?”
At that moment the hissing of the door indicated that the others had finished and were on deck.
“What’s the mission this time, sir?” asked Andy, rubbing his hands through his sweaty hair as the others made their way into the room.
“Supposedly a couple of miners set down somewhere and the honchos back on earth lost contact with them,” said Malone, finishing his cigar and disposing of it.
“Have they confirmed a xenomorph presence?” asked Sam, reading the transmission over Malone’s shoulder.
“No. They want us to go down there, check it out, secure the load this ‘Nostradamus 8’ was carrying, and rescue any survivors.”
“With all due respect, sir,” said Mort, his tight shirt displaying his massive muscles in all their glory. “How do we know they didn’t just suffocate to death? Or fall off a cliff?”
“I mean, we’re fucking xenomorph hunters for Christ’s sake, not a rescue team. Why would they call us in when there might not even be any of the bastards around?”
“Listen,” said Malone, softly and calmly, “I am the highest ranking general in the United States Marine Corps. I take orders from two people and two people only; the president, and the minister of defense. Read the fucking transmission specs. It clearly states ‘from the office of the minister of defense’.”
“I just don’t understand why they…”
“It’s not your duty to understand,” interrupted Malone. “It is your duty to do. I think it’s due to the fact that we’re the closest ship to the location. There may NOT be any xenomorphs, but occasionally we’re going to be asked to do things outside the job description. Frankly, I don’t want to go down there and rescue a bunch of pricks because they’re too dumb to know how to use technology. But I do love money, and as long as you or I, or any of you for that matter, want to continue getting paid, you follow orders. Alright!?”
“Yes, sir,” they all said quietly, yet with a hint of anger on their voices.
“There is always the possibility,” continued Malone, “That we will get to kick some xenomorph ass. So, I want you all to get armed, just on the off chance this does occur. Andy, seeing as you only take two swords and a pistol, you can also handle drop ship prep. Put on the xenomorph detection goggles, acid proof gloves and armour; they’re a fucking godsend. Is that clear, Marines?!”
“Sir, yes sir!” said the squad, whose mode had brightened substantially in the possibility of xenomorph encounters. It was what they were trained to deal with, what they had dealt with nearly their entire military lives, and what they had grown accustomed to. It was in killing xenomorphs that these men were most comfortable. Malone, whilst rock solid on the outside, cared deeply for each of the men that he had fought through hell with.
“Then get ready,” he growled, popping another cigar into his mouth and lighting it, great puffs of smoke emanating from his mouth as the crew went off to prepare for the drop.
Chapter 3 is coming soon...from a predator perspective
comments and constructive criticism are more than welcome...I have been told that the names george, andy and sam are too generic....I am working on creating more lasting/memorable names
« Last Edit: April 20, 2010, 08:09:45 PM by AintGotTime2Bleed »
Chapter 3: The Hunt Is Triggered
The only indication of the Yautja ship’s presence is a subtle distortion of the space around it. The light-bending technology used by the Yautja had not only been perfected for individual use, but for use on massive structures such as buildings and warships. This, however, was not a warship; it was a transport vessel, heading for hunting grounds so the teenage Yautja could prove themselves men. And at their lead was Shi’Vai.
By human measurements, most Yautja are just over seven feet tall. Shi’Vai, however, was massive. Eight feet of muscle, with arms as large as a man’s torso and legs that rivalled tree trunks. His mask was shaped like a xenomorph face, for it is Shi’Vai who holds the Yautja record for most xenomorph kills, both in a single hunt and in total.
Shi’Vai’s size and strength made his ascent to chief far easier than most, for the Yautja social structure is based on dominance, aggression and violence. And it was not just his size and strength that lifted him so easily to the position of chieftain; it was also his superb combat skills. He had defeated all challengers, killing a third of them and brutally wounding the rest. It is because of this that the teenage Yautja now under his command treated him with reverence and the utmost respect, more out of fear than anything else.
“Chieftain!” said one of the three teenage Yautja, speaking in their language. “We have detected a human vessel.”
“Yes chieftain. Weapons detected on exterior.”
“Are they within firing range?”
“Chief, I would not advise…”
“ARE THEY WITHIN FIRING RANGE!?” roared Shi’Vai.
“Yes...yes, chieftain,” stuttered the teenage Yautja. Rarely did their species get scared or intimidated, and yet Shi’Vai was so imposing and formidable that it was nearly impossible not to be.
“Then ready to fire.”
“That is not tactically sound, chieftain,” said a second teenage Yautja, who had been listening in on the conversation since it began. He was the largest of the three teenagers, and yet looked diminutive when compared to Shi’Vai.
Faster than a fly flaps its wings, Shi’Vai had sprinted over to the defiant teenager, grabbed him by the neck and pinned him against the wall, his sharp claws digging ever so slightly into flesh. Small globules of fluorescent green blood welled up near where the sharp tips of the claws had penetrated, and yet the teenage Yautja did not flinch.
“You defy me?” asked Shi’Vai, his voice low and menacing.
“I want to live so I can go on many successful hunts, and build a trophy case rivalling yours, chieftain,” said the prisoner, his voice defiant, yet with nervous undertones. “All Yautja strive for this. If we fire on those humans, we shall die.”
“Are you insinuating that the humans have more formidable weaponry than us? You disgrace our species!!!”
“I MOST CERTAINLY DO NOT,” roared the pinned teenager in retaliation. Shi’Vai was momentarily taken aback; ever since his quick and brutal rise to the position of chieftain, he had not once encountered defiance. And yet here was this youngling, defying him. ‘He will be a most promising hunter,’ thought Shi’Vai, immediately regaining his composure, slightly tightening his grip on the teenager’s neck.
“Very well,” he said, dropping the youngling, who inhaled deeply, clutched his neck, and stood up. “Tell me what it is that you believe these humans can inflict upon us.”
“They can completely annihilate the ship, chieftain.”
“And what is your reasoning for this? They cannot see us, our weapons are far more powerful, and their engines are highly destructive when fired upon. Should we decide to fire on their engines, they would instantly be destroyed.”
“Therein lies the problem, chieftain.”
“Somehow they have masked their engine from our scanners. Thus, any shot would be an extremely consequential risk.”
“Once we fire, we become momentarily de-cloaked. If we were to shoot at the ship and miss the engine, they would know our exact location. They have extremely copious armaments on the exterior of their ship, enough to level half a planet. Detailed scans, whilst unable to pickup the location of the engine, were however able to see hundreds more armaments on the interior.”
“Ah,” said Shi’Vai. “You are becoming tactically clever. That is a great skill to have on the hunt. What, then, would you suggest we do?”
“Well,” said the Yautja youngling, “they seem to be headed for the same planet we are, chieftain.”
Shi’Vai’s eyes momentarily expanded, before looking at a hologram of the Marvel’s projected course. Sure enough, they had the exact same destination.
“Ah, youngling, you have brought honour upon us all!” roared Shi’Vai. “Now you three shall not only be hunting the xenomorphs which number in the thousands on this planet, but humans as well. And nothing, my young hunting mates, brings more honour to you than having a human spine in your trophy case. This shall not only be your initiation into manhood, but the greatest hunt you shall ever engage in. PREPARE FOR THE HUNT!!!!”
All three teenage Yautja roared at the top of their lungs in pleasure, the noise a cacophony of pleasure, testosterone and adrenaline. Then, after several seconds, Shi’Vai lent his own roar to the group, instantly drowning out the others. They were ready to hunt, and the humans were the diamonds in the rough.
Chapter 4 is coming soon...I have changed the names of Andy, George and Sam to Leonard, Dawkins and Julius, repsectively.
Chapter 4: Express Elevator to Hell
“Leonard! Are we ready for drop yet?” asked General Malone, sitting in his second row seat of the Marvel’s drop ship. All the men were armed to the teeth with grenades, acid proof knives and body armour, helmets with xenomorph detection goggles, ammunition backpacks and pistols. However, that was where the similarities ended. Mort carried three shotguns; the two strapped to his back were double barrel, pump-action shotguns, whilst the one resting on his lap which he primarily used was a semi-automatic. Leonard, as he had in all his missions, carried two acid-resistant swords, both strapped to his back in an ‘X’ pattern. Julius wielded a smartgun, whilst Dawkins went solely with a pulse rifle. Finally, Malone was armed with an automatic shotgun and pulse rifle, with secondary grenade fire, complete with cigar in mouth and about fifty others stored for later in his front pockets.
“Yes, sir,” replied Leonard. “Awaiting the go.”
“Then take us down.”
“WOOOOO!” roared Mort, smiling from ear to ear. “Roller Coaster time!” Before anyone could reply, the drop ship detached from the Marvel, accompanied by the G-Forces commonplace in all drops. However, each of these men had experienced this many times, and it had lost its nauseating effects after about twenty drops.
After about fifteen minutes of silence, the G-forces subsided.
“We’re entering the planet’s atmosphere now, sir,” yelled Leonard from the front.
“Good,” yelled Malone in reply. “Punch in the coordinates from the transmission.”
“Aye sir. Punching in now…we are heading there as we speak.”
More silence and rumbling of the ship happened before they finally arrived at the location of the mining vessel.
“Sir, we are currently hovering directly over the mining vessel.”
“Stay here,” ordered Malone. “I’m coming to have a look.” Malone unbuckled his safety straps and made his way to the cockpit so that he could have a look at the ship and the surrounding area himself. What he saw when he looked out the cockpit window, however, was not at all what he expected. Lush forests surrounded the clearing where the miners had set down, with trees almost as high as they were hovering. But it was not the vegetation that caught his eye; it was the ship.
“It’s fucking crawling with xenomorphs,” he said, pulling his cigar out of his mouth so he could puff smoke.
“What do you want to do, sir?” asked Leonard, looking up from the drop ship controls.
“How far away would you say is the edge of the clearing from the mining vessel?” asked Malone.
“About one kilometre.”
“Good. Land at the edge of the clearing. If there are any xenomorphs on the ground obstructing us from landing, use the rockets. Do I make myself clear?”
“Good,” said Malone, putting the cigar back inside his mouth, before heading back to where the others were waiting.
“Okay, Marines, listen up; we’ve got a major xenomorph infestation on our hands here. When we land I want Julius and Dawkins out first to fend off any oncoming xeno. Mort, you, Leonard and I are going to grab every machine turret we have on this drop ship and create a circular perimeter around this bad boy. This ship is our base of operations. I want…”
Malone’s orders were interrupted by the thump of several rockets leaving their launchers, followed closely by the sounds of explosions on the land below.
“I want all of you with motion trackers and I want your xeno-detection goggles on. Is that clear Marines!?” screamed Malone, the other xeno-slayers leaning in closely so that they could hear him over the thud of rockets.
“Sir, yes sir!” they yelled in reply.
“General, sir!” screamed Leonard from the front. “I’ve cleared a space. Want me to set her down?”
“Go for it,” yelled Malone. “When we’re secure on the ground, I want you back here grabbing turrets. Got that, Leonard!?”
Each and every one of them was pumped and rearing to go. Each of them had done this sort of thing many times, and so were all on the edge of their seats, ready to jump into action as soon as they touched down. All save Malone; he was a veteran, a badass motherfucker who had done this more times than all the others combined. He was cool, calm and collected, smoking his cigar and lounging in his chair as if he was having a family barbecue back on earth.
The ship shook violently as they hit the ground, before gaining stability on the landing gear. The roar of the engines died down to nothing as Leonard cut the power, and the xeno-slayers went into action. Julius and Dawkins threw open the door facing the mining vessel (and, subsequently, the waves of oncoming, curious xenomorphs) and jumped out, running to get into the most advantageous position from which to fend off the onslaught. Leonard ran from the cockpit to join Mort and Malone, who were in the back grabbing remote turrets and opening laptops. Soon, gunfire from outside flooded the area, coupled with the hellish screams of dying aliens, and the dangerous hiss of acid blood sinking into dirt.
The remote turrets were put up one by one in a complete circle around the drop ship, so that any attack, whether it be from the clearing ahead of them or the forest on the other three sides, would be repelled. Ammo trailed from each turret back to the ship, for in the rear there was a massive supply of ammunition. Julius and Dawkins systematically held off the oncoming waves, pumping a combination of grenades, armour piercing rounds and smartgun ammo into the xenomorphs. Soon, each and every turret was in place, and Malone, Mort and Leonard ran inside the drop ship to arm them on the laptops.
“Dawkins! Julius!” screamed Malone from the open door of the vessel. “Retreat! Sentries are in place!”
After several more bursts into the alien waves, they retreated.
“ACTIVATE NOW!” roared Malone to Mort and Leonard, as Dawkins and Julius jumped inside, Malone slamming the door shut behind them and locking it. Aliens ran full tilt at the ship over grassy terrain, now unhindered until the turrets were active.
“All active, sir,” said Mort, as he and Leonard hustled up to the General. As if to affirm what was said, the turrets kicked in, the wail of gunfire from the machines drowning out any and all other outside noise.
“There’s a fuckload of em’ out there, sir,” said Dawkins, panting and sweating. “At least 250 of em’ and more kept streaming out of that mining vessel.”
“Yeah, sir,” said Julius, who was also panting. “If those turrets fail, we’re in for one hell of a fight.”
“I know,” said Malone, calmly. “I saw them. The turrets WILL hold. We’ve got enough ammo for each turret to fire a day and a half continuously without running out of ammo.”
“I hope so,” said Julius quietly.
“Anyway, good work, Marines,” said Malone, popping a fresh cigar into his mouth and lighting it, great clouds of smoke nearly fully covering his face. “Now, we wait.”
/ | \
It was half an hour later when the sound of turret-fire finally died away to nothing. In that time the xeno-slayers had cleaned and polished every weapon and their boots.
“What’s you count, Julius?” asked Dawkins.
“I’d say around 90. You?”
“105,” said Dawkins, a victorious grin spreading his face.
“Bastard,” said Julius. “I’m the one with the fucking smartgun, and somehow you still manage to beat me.”
“It’s called grenades,” replied Dawkins.
“You two killed almost 200 xenos? I’d say the turrets have you both beat,” said Mort, his thick Scottish accent making the statement even funnier.
“Yeah, well, shove it up your ass, Mort,” replied Julius angrily.
“Knock it off,” said Malone quietly, finishing off his third cigar.
“Sir, have you ever encountered so many xenos at once?” asked Leonard, polishing his swords and re-applying the acid-proof polish, even though he hadn’t fought yet.
“Yeah,” said Malone. “When an infestation pops up in a really populated colony, such as that on LV-204…”
“I heard about that from the news,” whispered Mort to Dawkins.
“…you have no choice but to nuke every human settlement, just to be sure.”
“Shit,” said Julius softly.
“That’s exactly what I felt like,” said Malone. “Now, Dawkins, why don’t you grab a smartgun, open the hatch and see if we’re clear to head over to the ship.”
“Yes, sir,” replied Dawkins. He grabbed his smartgun and headed to the door.
“Mort, would you mind…”
“No problem,” said Mort, getting up and heading to the dropship door. He grabbed the handle and pulled, the shuddering open.
Sunlight from the outside world streamed in, a welcoming breeze ruffling the marine’s hair. Dawkins poked his head outside, scanning side to side with his smartgun. Hundreds, maybe thousands of dead xenomorphs lay in front of the turrets. Dawkins saw no movement, and so turned his head to look back at the others.
“I think the coast is clear, but we should pump a bunch of grenades into them to be sure.”
“Double check,” ordered Malone. Dawkins looked at the general with obvious confusion; he had never doubted him before. Yet an order was an order and must be obeyed. So he turned around...
HISS! A xenomorph stood in front of him, drool parading like rain into a puddle on the ground, its lip quivering. Before he could react, it grabbed his head in its hands and brought its face close to his. Its lip quivered upward, revealing sharp silver teeth. Its bottom jaw opened all the way, whilst its second jaw opened and closed in anticipation.
‘I’m fucking dead,’ thought Dawkins. ‘I’m one of the best and I’m still going to die.’ The xenomorph’s second jaw started forward.
‘Oh, god!’ thought Dawkins, shutting his eyes tightly. Suddenly he was jerked sideways by a tremendous force, falling on his elbow and bruising it badly. But he was alive.
When he opened his eyes, he saw in disbelief that General Malone had tackled the xenomorph. ‘What the fuck?’ thought Dawkins. ‘I knew the General was ballsy, but this goes beyond anything I’ve ever seen.’
“You don’t get to touch MY men!” roared Malone, punching the xenomorph in the face. His armor protected his body from any scratches the xenomorph tried to inflict upon him. Finally, after several more punches to the face, the General stood up, grabbed his shotgun, and systematically shot off its arms, legs and tail. Acid hissed on the floor and his clothes, melting the fabric until all he had was body armour on his upper body. All the while his cigar still puffed in his mouth. The xenomorph shrieked its hellish cry as it bled, unable to do anything to alter its predicament.
“Now, motherfucker, I’m gonna enjoy watching you writhe,” said Malone, who had knelt down to be at eye level with the alien. It hissed and tried to bite him with its second jaw. Yet, with the practiced hand of a man who had done it thousands of times, Malone grabbed it before it penetrated skin. He unbuckled his knife with his other hand, and quickly sliced it off. Acid blood spewed onto the dirt and created more smoke than Malone’s continually puffing cigar. He threw the jaw away angrily, and yet stayed crouching, listening with intense pleasure as the xenomorph screeched and writhed. Finally, he stood up, placed his foot on its head and pulled out his shotgun. He placed it on its head, beside where his foot was.
“Oh, wait,” he said, “I forgot to put out my cigar.” He slowly leaned down and, with the fiery side of the cigar, burned a hole into the front of the xenomorph’s skull. Before it could screech any further, he shot the front half of its head off with the shotgun, killing it instantly. Then, as if nothing had happened, he pulled out a cigar and lit it, placing it in his mouth and drawing several deep breaths.
The other slayers were silent until Mort spoke.
“Holy shit, sir,” he said, awe evident both in his facial features and in the tone of his voice. “Is that how you got…?”
“My burns? Why yes it is,” he said with a smile, before frowning and reaching up to his face. The skin on his cheek was peeling away slowly. “God Damn it,” he said. “I got some on my face.”
“Do you want some bandages?” asked Julius.
“No. Now saddle up, men. We’re going to that ship.”
As they left, none of them noticed the four pair of yellow eyes in the treetops behind them that disappeared, accompanied by the faintest rustling of leaves.
Chapter 5: “WE HAVE ARRIVED IN HELL, GENTLEMEN.”
The trudge through the thick grass would have been hard enough if they didn’t have so much equipment to carry. As it was, each and every one of them was sweating profusely, from both the exertion and the glaring sun. They had assumed the standard ‘V’ formation; Malone at the front, Julius and Dawkins making up the second row, charged with watching for anything coming from the surrounding forest, with Leonard and Mort making up the rear, checking behind them in case anything tried to play it sneaky. Each one had their xenomorph detection goggles pulled down over their eyes, for they made life so much easier, even in the bright, glaring sun. They scanned methodically back and forth, making it nearly impossible for them to be snuck up on. Several times Mort and Leonard thought they saw things moving in the trees, but they attributed it either to the wind or the intense heat. And throughout the entire ordeal Malone still puffed away at his cigars, the smoke blowing backwards into the others behind him, which only made the situation worse. Yet they were still astounded that the General had tackled a xenomorph, and were too respectful to say anything. Even if they did, he wouldn’t stop.
When they finally made it to the mining vessel, they all had to bend over and inhale deeply, taking long drinks of water from their flasks, with Mort going so far as to pour some all over his body. Yet Malone never seemed to tire; he stood staring at the massive vessel, inhaling and exhaling cigar smoke as if it was his life force.
“How much would you guys reckon this thing costs?” he asked, turning his head to look back at them.
“Who cares?” asked Julius, leaning on his smartgun. “You saw how many xenomorphs were crawling around on this thing: it probably got the shit torn out of it on the inside.”
“Yeah, well, we’re supposed to collect its cargo, which is somewhere in the millions of tonnes. That, coupled with the ship, is probably worth nearly two billion dollars…”
“I’ve been meaning to ask you, sir,” started Mort. “How in the hell do they expect us to get their cargo? A million tonnes of mineral!? We don’t have the towing capacity to bring all that back to the Marvel! We’d spend years just transporting the stuff.”
“They also said to check for survivors,” said Leonard.
“And that is what we’re doing first,” said Malone, the Nostradamus towering above him, obstructing their entire field of vision.
Mining vessels had not changed in basic design in over fifty years; only the technology had been slightly improved upon. Thus, most of them looked exactly the same. The Nostradamus 8 was no exception.
“How are we getting in, sir?” asked Dawkins.
“I don’t really feel like walking any more,” said Malone, “so, we’ll blow a hole in the side. Anyone bring adhesive explosives?”
“I did, sir,” said Leonard, unbuckling his swords before removing his backpack. He placed it on the ground, opened the top flap and pulled out the explosive devices.
“Are they powerful?” asked Malone.
“I guarantee you they’ll blow a hole in the side of this ship,” said Leonard.
“Then put them on,” said Malone, as Leonard walked past him to get to the massive ship’s exterior. “I don’t think I need to tell the rest of you to back up.” The group backed away quickly, until they were close to 100 meters from the ship. Several seconds later, Leonard came sprinting over to them as quickly as he could.
“They’re armed, sir,” he said, panting from the sprint. “Around ten seconds until detonation.”
“Okay, ladies, cover your ears,” said Malone. Everyone else covered their ears, save for him.
“Three seconds, sir,” said Leonard.
“Thank you,” replied Malone, before an explosion momentarily shook the ground. When they all looked at the ship, smoke billowed from the hull while pieces rained down in front of them. Wires and metal and pipes cascaded down, as if they were under a mortar attack.
Finally, it ended, and the men unblocked their ears. Malone started walking towards the hole, shotgun in hand.
“I guess you weren’t lying,” said Mort, looking at Leonard. They had a brief chuckle, before heading after the General. When they arrived, Malone stopped them just before the entrance.
“Okay, men, from what I’ve studied of the layout of mining vessels, the corridors are going to be very narrow, and probably very dark. I want shotguns and pistols only; Leonard, no swords. Julius, you can stay at the back and cover our rear with your smartgun. I want xeno-detection and helmet lights on, men. I don’t want to trip over something and die because I can’t see. Got that?”
“Sir, yes sir!” they all said in unison.
“Good,” muttered Malone. They all turned on their helmet lights, before stepping inside the ship.
It was nearly pitch black in the interior, the only light coming from their helmets. Malone was the first inside, peering left and right to make sure they were clear before allowing the others in. Once they were all inside, the light situation was a little better. To their left was a long, narrow corridor, big metal pipes running along the walls, the ceiling covered in grates. To their right was a dead end; the explosion had caused the roof to collapse.
“As you can see,” said Malone, popping a new cigar into his mouth, “we only have one way to go. Shall we, ladies?”
They set off in the corridor to the left. It was completely silent, save for the sound of their footsteps hitting the metal floor and the scanning noise of Julius’ motion sensor. Nothing moved except for them. The ship was dead, for now.
“Do you know where we’re going?” whispered Mort as quietly as he could, subconsciously agreeing that maintaining the silence was the best thing to do.
“No,” whispered Malone in response, obviously coming to the same conclusion. “We’ll follow this corridor and see where it leads.”
“Sounds good to me,” whispered Mort, his eyes scanning the ceiling, walls and floor for any signs of movement.
Suddenly, Dawkins heard a loud hiss to his right. He quickly turned around and, in a panic, fired several rounds from his pistol at where the sound came from. Yet the hissing continued.
“SHIT!” yelled Dawkins, backing up about a meter before hitting the other wall. The hissing got louder, until suddenly a wet hand grabbed him and covered his mouth.
“Shut the fuck up,” whispered Malone angrily. “It’s steam from a pipe, Marine. You didn’t see anything on your xeno-goggles, did you?” Dawkins silently shook his head. “They work, you know. Now stay frosty, but be smart, and don’t fuck around.” Dawkins nodded, and the General let go of him before heading to the front of the group again. Dawkins exhaled quietly in relief, silently replacing his pistol magazine before following the others, assuming the same order as before. And during the entire ordeal, no one noticed or heard the four bleeps on Julius’ motion tracker.
/ | \
They continued along the hallway, turning right several times. This led them to the conclusion that they were walking along a corridor that was just inside the outer wall of the vessel. No movement was seen on the motion detector. No lights were on. Nothing was heard save for their footsteps. The xeno-detection goggles spotted nothing. The ship was as dead as the aliens in front of the dropship.
Finally, after what felt like hours of claustrophobic walking, but in reality was only half an hour, they came to a circular area with a ladder in the middle, presumably leading to the floor above. However, when Mort climbed up and poked his head out into the opening of the second floor, he found it blocked by pipes and supports. This left two options; continue going straight, or head down the corridor to their right. Neither way was lit, neither way showed any signs of life at first glance.
“So, sir, what do you want to do?” whispered Leonard.
“Why don’t you chuck a flare into the right hand corridor, Leonard?” replied Malone.
“Aye, sir,” he said, quickly taking out a flare. He reached down and dragged it on the ground, the flare almost instantly catching and illuminating the surrounding area. When he threw it into the right hand hallway, the decision on where to go was instantly made for them.
“Holy shit,” said Julius from the back. “Is that what I think it is?”
“The secreted resin of a xenomorph hive,” said Malone, a small smirk on his face. “I guess we know where we’re going.”
“Guess so,” Mort chuckled.
“Now marines, listen up. I want you checking EVERYWHERE, got that? Not just in front, behind and to your left and right, but below and above, and on all the walls. These bastards are notorious for popping out of anywhere. Your xeno detection goggles WILL highlight them when you scan over them. Do I make myself one hundred and fifty fucking percent clear?”
“We’ve done this before, sir,” said Dawkins.
“Really? If you’ve done this before, then why the fuck did you freak out over STEAM back there, Dawkins? Seems to me like you’re a newbie to this type of work. A PROFESSIONAL wouldn’t have done that, would he, Marine?”
“No, sir,” replied Dawkins coolly.
“Good. Now are you all clear?”
“Sir, yes sir.”
“Good. Now follow me,” ordered Malone, turning from the soldiers and walking into the hallway, scanning everywhere as he went.
After they had made their way about fifteen meters into the corridor, Julius called to the General.
“Sir? Can you come have a look at this?”
“What is it, Marine?” asked Malone, gently pushing past the other Marines to get to Julius. When he got to the back of the squad, he found Julius kneeling over a puddle of glowing green fluid.
“I don’t know, sir. It kind of looks like the liquid inside a glow stick.” Malone knelt down and gathered a sample of the stuff on his fingers.
“Except it’s a lot more viscous,” said Malone, who proceeded to place it in his mouth for a taste.
“Sir, if that is some sort of engine fluid, or mechanical lubrication, you could die very shortly.”
“Except what mechanical fluid tastes EXACTLY like blood, Julius?” asked Malone, smacking his lips and scrunching his face in disgust. “Except with a hell of a lot more iron taste to it.”
“Are you telling me that shit’s blood?” asked Dawkins incredulously.
“Maybe,” replied Malone.
“Blood from what?”
“Your guess is as good as mine, Marine. But we can’t worry about that now. We’ve got to keep going.”
And so they proceeded, further and further down the long corridor, their constant scanning causing their progress to be much slower than usual. And still they heard no sound in the darkness, no light but that which emanated from their helmets. The temperature, however, was increasing substantially, the moisture from the resin that surrounded them making it a wet heat.
“Hot as balls in here,” said Mort quietly, yet loud enough to warrant a quick disciplinary smack in the head from Malone.
It was after many minutes of sweat and troubled breathing that Malone threw down his cigar and held up his hand, the signal to stop. Each of the xeno-slayers froze and began methodically scanning the area for any signs of danger. Finally, after seeing nothing, Dawkins spoke.
“What now, sir?” he asked quietly.
“Fuck,” exclaimed Mort.
“It’s okay,” said Malone, not moving an inch. “There are eight. Four are open, with all four facehuggers dead on the ground.”
“They got the Miners,” said Leonard. “No survivors.”
“Not necessarily,” said Malone quietly. There’s more of your green blood here, Julius.”
“Really?” asked Julius, a little too loudly.
“Shut up,” whispered Malone urgently. Yes. On the ground beside a facehugger. There’s some also some ON the facehugger as well.”
“So something else is in here and got…” started Mort
“Shit,” interrupted Malone.
“What?” asked Leonard.
“An egg just opened.”
“Oh, fuck me,” said Dawkins.
“Let’s just blow the fuck out of the eggs, sir,” suggested Mort.
“No,” replied Malone. “It’ll attract warriors, and in this darkness, even with our xeno detection goggles they WILL have the upper hand. Now stand back.” The marines took several steps backward, remembering the General’s orders and scanning the walls around them for full grown warrior xenomorphs. Nothing.
“I’m going to deal with the facehugger,” said Malone. “If I happen to get hugged, you know EXACTLY what to do. No hesitation. Got that, Marines?”
“Do you understand?” he repeated.
“Sir, yes sir,” they all replied reluctantly.
“Good,” said Malone, bringing another cigar out of his pocket and nervously placing it in his mouth, before lighting it. What he didn’t show his marines was how his hands shook from nervousness; what he as about to do would require all the speed he could muster. He carefully took his pistol out…
And before he could place it in a firing position in his hand, the facehugger jumped, tail extended backward, long fingers reaching forward anxiously, and insertion tube extended readily.
Someone has voted that they would like me to summarize my story thus far...fair enough.
Several years after the disastrous events on LV-426, the USMC funds a program specifically designed for xenomorph detection and neutralization. Five people shine as the best of the group; General Malone, the man who started the program, Mort, Julius, Dawkins and Leonard, each with a specialty weapon.
These men have been dealing with xenomorph infestations for many years, when, while in cryosleep returning from a mission, they received a transmission with orders to deal with a possible xenomorph infestation and rescue any survivors of a mining vessel that had set down on the planet, with which connections had been lost. They redirect to the planet.
Meanwhile, a predator ship, cloaked as usual, spots the vessel.Inside are several teenage predators, plus thir leader, who is the most prolific xenomorph hunter in the Yautja society. They discover that the humans are heading to the same planet which the teenage predators were going to us to hunt xenos and become men. They tail the humans and decide to hunt them too.
So far, the Marines have set down on the planet, secured a perimeter around their dropship with remote turrets, and made their way into the mining vessel, which has been turned into a xenomorph hive.
Chapter 6: My Men Are Not Expendable
Quote from the USMC 2202 Worlds English Dictionary:
Desperation: Recklessness brought on by great urgency or anxiety.
General Malone prided himself in staying calm, even in the most tense and dangerous situations. The only time he ever lost his cool was in dealing with facehuggers; they were fast, they were strong and they were small, a combination which made them extremely difficult to hit with any ranged weapon. They were the General’s Achilles heel.
The emotions General Malone felt as the facehugger jumped toward him were almost exactly the same as the textbook definition of desperation; he felt a great urgency to do something, a great fear of the pain and suffering he would experience if he didn’t, and an anxiety for him to make up his mind. The only thing left was the recklessness.
When mankind is presented with undesirable situations that threaten their lives, what made them the most dominant species on earth were their adaptation skills. They formulate near-perfect plans to deal with those situations. And that is exactly what General Malone did; he adapted. The gun was not in a firing position in his hand. It was, however, in his grip, making it a perfect melee weapon. This was the first and only thought that crossed Malone’s mind, as his nerves were overrun by a sudden rush of adrenaline. Nothing mattered anymore; the only things in existence at that moment were him, his gun, and the facehugger flying towards him, ready to place its embryo insertion tube down his throat.
It was all over in an instant; as the facehugger flew ever closer towards him, Malone quickly brought the gun fully out of its holster. In the time it took for him to accomplish that, the yellow, slimy creature had already travelled several meters from its egg so that it was only an arms length away. Then, faster than the eye could blink, Malone hammered the facehugger to the ground with the butt of his pistol, the creature making a wet squishing sound as it hit the ground. It was momentarily dazed, and in that moment of stunned stillness the General lifted his leg and stomped his heel into the underbelly of the facehugger. He kept his leg there so that the creature couldn’t move, no matter how much it writhed. And writhe it did, its tail and fingers flailing around desperately. But Malone held firm. Eventually the creature, as so many dominant species do, adapted to the situation; it wrapped its tail tightly around the General’s leg and squeezed firmly, reminding the crew of boa constrictors the crew had seen at home.
“Clever bastard,” said Malone, a smile on his face. He tried to be forever cool in front of his squad, and yet this was more a smile of relief than anything else; he had faced his fear and won. “If it squeezes long enough, I’ll lose circulation in my leg. I’m not going to let that happen,” he finished, taking the almost brand new cigar out of his mouth. “It’s a shame,” he continued, admiring the tobacco-filled product. “This was an especially tasty cigar.”
He leaned down and, as he had done previously, extinguished the cigar in the facehugger’s flesh, creating a large charred hole which smoked as the creature’s acid blood oxidized. Finally, he twirled the pistol in his hand into a firing position, pointed it at the facehugger beside his foot, and fired three rounds, the sound of gunshots echoing noisily through the hallway. Another cigar was lit and in his mouth shortly thereafter. He lifted his leg out of the dead alien’s grip and kicked the corpse away.
“Leonard,” Malone said, staring at the other four, “I want you to dispose of the remaining three unopened eggs with your swords. We don’t need any more noise; it’ll attract some bigger xenos.”
“Aye, sir,” replied Leonard, taking a sword out of its hilt on his back and moving towards the targets.
“So you tackled a warrior and pistol-whipped a facehugger,” said Mort quietly, a smile spread from ear to ear across his face. “What’s next, gang beating the queen?”
The group chuckled quietly, interrupted soon after by the squishy extermination of the contents of the unopened eggs, fluid and guts and dead facehuggers flowing out onto the floor.
“Ok marines, here’s the deal; what these eggs tell me clear as day is that there’s a queen in this ship. She’s guaranteed to be heavily guarded by warriors and drones alike, not to mention probably surrounded by hundreds of eggs. Problem is, I don’t know where in this fucking ship she is. If I didn’t have explicit orders to check for survivors and retrieve this ship’s cargo, I would bug out right now and blast the shit out of this place. But I have orders from higher ranking officials than me, and I follow the few orders I get. Now, we have two ways out of this pleasant little chamber here; left or straight. What I think is that, orders or not, I’m tired of this fucking ship already. Anyone else share my sentiments?”
“Aye sir,” the four others replied.
“Good. Now, I think we’d have more success if we split into two groups. I trust you people can handle most situations without me? I may say it a lot, but I’m not really your mothers, and I don’t want to be. Now, I’m going straight. Any volunteers to go left?”
“I will, sir,” said Julius, stepping forward. “I’ve got this here smartgun, so I’m probably one of the safest bets,” he finished, patting his weapon affectionately.
“Me too,” said Dawkins, also stepping forward. “Julius and I kicked some xeno ass back at the drop ship, and I think I speak for both of us when I say we’re ready to repeat offend.”
“Good,” replied Malone, nodding to the two brave volunteers. “But be careful. If you happen to find the nest, radio us; we’ll come find you. I don’t want any heroics, nor do I want any of my crew to die because they attempted to be a hero. Got that?”
“Sir, yes sir,” said both Dawkins and Julius quietly.
“Good. Mort, Leonard, come with me. Good luck you two, and stay frosty.”
And so they set off in their separate directions to search for xenomorph central, each and every one of them ready to fire at a moments notice. They were on edge, and rightfully so; the xenomorphs weren’t the only danger in the ship. They were just the only ones the marines knew about.
/ | \
The walls of the hallway were padded and white, typical of a corridor leading to a cryo chamber. Julius and Dawkins walked single file down the thin hallway, scanning in front and behind, their helmet lights moving methodically back and forth wherever they looked. The subtle beep of Julius’ motion tracker was the only sound in the pitch black, scanning constantly but detecting nothing.
Finally they came to a sealed door, the yellow and white Weyland-Yutani symbol covering most of it. Dawkins silently stepped forward whilst Julius checked the rear. The ceiling was solid metal, and thus they were safe from above. He stood in a ready position, legs spread wide, his pants stretching slightly, knees bent minimally and smartgun prepped for sudden firing.
“Control’s don’t work,” said Dawkins, his helmet light highlighting the control panel. “Didn’t expect it to, though.”
“Run a bypass, then,” said Julius. “I have a five meter range with this helmet light; for all I know, the xenos are waiting for me six meters away, hidden in the darkness, watching our every move.”
“Your xeno detection goggles detect as far as you can see, so you’re good.”
“I, uh, broke them in the drop ship battle,” said Julius, shifting uncomfortably.
“And you didn’t tell anyone?”
“Ah, fuck, Julius! Now they can walk right up and shake your fucking hand.”
“Whatever. We can still pick them up on the motion tracker,” said Dawkins, who had slung his pulse rifle over his shoulder and was removing the bypass equipment from his pack.
“I’m so fucking sick of this darkness,” said Julius. Dawkins stood up, equipment in hand, and began the procedure to start the door opening mechanism.
“What, you afraid of the dark or something?” asked Dawkins, not looking up from his work.
“I’m not afraid of anything,” said Julius, starting to get angry, more as a mask of embarrassment because Dawkins had discovered the truth than in genuine anger.
“Except the dark.”
“Shut the fuck up and open…”
“Done,” interrupted Dawkins, unhooking his equipment from the panel as the door hissed open. As he replaced his equipment in his sack, a small breeze blew against him. When he’d put replaced everything in his pack, he put it on his back and took his rifle off his shoulder.
“Shall we?” he asked, before walking into the cryo chamber. Seven pods sat open in a circle, acid burns covering the ground. Several of the glass coverings of the pods had been shattered, the glass strewn everywhere.
“Holy shit,” said Julius, taking in the scene. “They made a last stand in the cryo chamber? What if they had won? They wouldn’t be able to go into cryo sleep for the return trip!”
“Some people just aren’t tactically smart, I guess,” said Dawkins. “They mustn’t have…”
“Dawkins, Julius, anything yet?” asked Malone over their helmet communication devices.
“Nothing yet sir,” replied Dawkins, holding his hand up to press the “talk” button on his helmet. “You?”
“Nothing yet, marine. Remember Dawkins; no heroics.”
“Over and out,” finished Malone, ending communications.
“I must say,” said Julius, as Dawkins looked at him after the communications with the general ended. “Whilst I have the utmost respect for the General, he is a tad hypocritical.”
“He keeps saying we’re not supposed to try any heroics, and yet he tackles and pistol-whips the xenos.”
“I really don’t care,” said Dawkins. “The bypass should work for the next door too. Let’s…”
“I said I don’t care,” interrupted Dawkins firmly, frowning at Julius. “He’s the man who taught us, who has killed more xenos than we’ve even SEEN, let alone killed, so I don’t think we have the right to talk rudely about him behind his back. He deserves the UTMOST respect.”
“Fine,” said Julius, stepping forward to open the door out of the cryo chamber, finding his way by the miniscule helmet light alone. When he finally found the panel, he pushed the open button, the door immediately hissing open. The room beyond was a pitch black abyss, the only clue as to the rooms purpose was the loud whir of an engine. This was the engine room.
“Chuck a flare in there,” said Dawkins. “The engine room is a nice, cozy warm spot in which to start a hive.” Julius placed his smartgun on the ground, removed a flare from his front pocket, dragged it along the floor to light it, and threw it into the room. The light showed no secreted resin, only the massive engine towering above them. On either side of the machine were pathways to walk around the massive structure.
“Shall we?” asked Dawkins as he had before, looking at Julius before they both took a step inside, the flare dying seconds later.
/ | \
Malone, Mort and Leonard had had no luck either, but they were far more optimistic, for the walls were covered in the secreted resin that indicated a xenomorph hive. They had not come to another room yet; the hallway from the egg chamber, as they called it, was extremely long, the entire thing covered top to bottom in resin. Their detection goggles had picked up absolutely nothing. Malone had expected to find either Alien drones or Alien warriors hiding camouflaged in the resin, waiting to jump out at any sign of intruders. Yet he had been wrong.
“It’s unusually quiet and uneventful for a xenomorph infested ship,” said Malone quietly. “Not that I mind.”
“I’d rather it be uneventful than swarming with xenos,” said Mort, smiling to himself.
“Same,” said Leonard. “I mean, yeah, we kill xenos for a living and we’re pretty damn good at it, but I’d rather be fighting a few of them than hundreds at a time.”
“I think the turrets dealt them a major blow at the drop ship,” said Malone.
“Regarding your previous statement,” started Malone. “I really don’t care how many of them there are, I just like killing the fuckers. But, as the saying goes, ‘the more the merrier.’”
“And that’s why you’re the leader,” said Mort. “Wouldn’t want anyone else.”
“Thanks,” said Malone, smiling at the praise. “That means a lot to…” He was suddenly interrupted by screaming into the com. It was Dawkins.
“WE HAVE CONTACTS, SIR!! NOT XENOMORPH, SOMETHING…RUN, JULIUS!!!! DROP THE FUCKING GUN!!!!! GO, GO, GO!!!!! I DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE, SIR! THEY’RE FUCKING INVISIBLE!! SOME SORT OF CLOAKING SHIT!!! MANAGED TO KILL ONE; THAT GREEN SHIT JULIUS FOUND WAS THEIR BLOOD!!! ONE OF THEM IS EIGHT FEET…FUCK!!!! GET UP, JULIUS!!! SIR, HE WAS HIT BY SOME SORT OF PLASMA GUN, OR SOMETHING!!! HIS CHEST IS…SHIT!!!! THEY’RE COMING!! FUCK!!!! I’M HEADING BACK TO THE EGG CHAMBER, SIR!!!! THEY DON’T SHOW UP ON XENOMORPH DETECTION, BUT THEY DO ON MOTION…AAAAAAUUUGGGHHH!!!! THERE’S TWO MORE SIR! AAAAAAAAAAA!!!! DIE MOTHERFUCKER!!!! DIE, DIE, DIE…..AAAAAAAA!!!!!”
Gunshots sounded momentarily before the line went dead.
Chapter 7: Fighting With a Purpose[/u]
The group was silent for quite some time, each of the three solemnly looking at their feet, mouths slightly open in shock; they had been on so many missions, doing nearly identical work, and never before had they lost a comrade, let alone two. The transmission hit them right in the heart, like a wrecking ball demolishing a building. Finally Mort, as was his custom, broke the silence. Yet this time, there was no humour behind the giant’s words.
“We have to go back, at least to check if they’re both really dead,” he said, slowly lifting his head to look at the others. “I mean, what if…”
“What if what?” asked Leonard angrily. “What if they’re alive? They’re both dead! You heard it clear as I did. Julius and Dawkins are fucking gone, Mort, killed by whatever the fuck they were babbling about.”
“Then we should go back and find whatever killed them,” suggested Mort.
“I don’t even know why the fuck we’re here,” said Leonard, disgust evident on his face. “Why the hell did we get sent down to do some god damn rescue mission? If we had had it our way, we’d be back at the Marvel all comfortable in our cryo beds, a full meal in our stomachs and a giant mushroom cloud below us. But no, we’re here looking for some fucking miners getting ourselves killed. Wonder-fucking-full.”
“Our orders…” started Malone, his cigar smoking and hanging limply from his mouth.
“Fuck orders,” interrupted Leonard. “THIS ISN’T WHAT WE DO! THAT’S WHY JULIUS AND DAWKINS ARE DEAD!!!”
“ARE YOU THROUGH!?” roared Malone, all hope for stealth lost. “ORDERS ARE ORDERS! YOU ARE REAL FUCKING CLOSE TO INSUBORDINATION, PRIVATE, AND IF THERE IS ONE THING YOU KNOW I DISLIKE MORE THAN ANYTHING, IT WOULD HAVE TO BE DISOBEDIENCE!!!.”
“JULIUS AND DAWKINS ARE DEAD BECAUSE WE’RE SO FUCKING OBEDIENT!!! WE’RE LIKE GOD DAMN DOGS, SIR!!! SIT, STAY, FETCH…LOOK WHERE FOLLOWING ORDERS GOT US!!! TWO OF OUR CREWMEMBERS, OUR FRIENDS, ARE DEAD BECAUSE WE’RE SO OBEDIENT!!! I SAY FUCK IT; I WANT OUT!! ALL THOSE YEARS HAVE BEEN REAL NICE, SIR, BUT I CAN’T TAKE THIS SHIT ANYMORE!!!”
“Guy’s, there’s something on our motion…” started Mort.
“DISHONOURABLE DISCHARGE, LOSS OF ANY PAY, STRIPPING OF RANK, DELETION OF SERVICE RECORD…”
“AT LEAST I GET TO BE WITH MY WIFE AND KIDS, SIR!!!” screamed Julius, spit flying from his mouth in rage, his face reddening to add to the effect. “TAKE ALL THAT SHIT, BUT AT LEAST I CAN BE WITH MY FAMILY, UNLIKE DAWKINS AND JULIUS!!!! FUCK OUR ORDERS!!!”
“There’s a hell of a lot of signals…”started Mort again, a little panic in his voice.
“YOU FUCKING COWARD!!” screamed Malone in reply. “I OUGHTA…”
“THERE ARE A LOT OF SIGNALS, SIR!” screamed Mort, interrupting the heated argument between the General and Leonard. The two instantly snapped to attention, focusing solely on the task at hand.
“Directly ahead, sir, closing fast. Twenty meters.”
“They’ll be visible soon,” said Malone. “I want triangular formation. I’ll be at front, Mort, Leonard, take the rear and shoot past me. If they get close enough, Leonard,” he continued, staring at him as if to say ‘we’ll finish this later’, “use your swords. For now, use your pistol. Get to it, Marines!” They formed up, Malone at the front, the other two behind and slightly to either side of him so that all three could fire into the corridor beyond. Their weapons were pointed toward where the aliens would come from.
“Fifteen meters, sir,” said Mort, glancing down every few seconds to look at his motion sensor.
“They should be visible,” said Leonard. “Xeno detection goggles detect as far as the eye can see. I can see at least fifteen…”
“CONTACTS!” screamed Malone, firing into the corridor. When Mort and Leonard looked up, sure enough there were xenomorphs running at them, crawling on the walls, floor and ceiling. They began firing too and yet as each xenomorph fell with a screech and the hiss of acid burning into the floor, three more replaced it.
“There’s too many!” screamed Mort.
“Agreed!” hollered Malone in reply. “Slowly back up, but don’t stop firing! We’re slowing them down at the very least! Go, Go, Go!”
They began to edge backwards down the hallway, all the while firing into the waves of xenomorphs streaming towards them.
“Grenade out!” screamed Mort, a grenade thumping from his pulse rifle before crashing into the xenomorph ranks, exploding violently and sending fire into streaming into the waves. Acid hissed loudly as xenomorphs cried out in pain, and yet still they came. The group continued firing grenades into the xenos, killing dozens and dozens, and yet they couldn’t be stopped. They were like the tide; seemingly unstoppable, merciless, uncaring and single minded.
“How the fuck are there so many!?” screamed Mort, back pedalling and firing wildly.
“Must have been a massive pre-existing population!” screamed Malone in reply, the occasional word lost in the thump, boom and screeching of grenades killing xenomorphs.
“We’re getting nowhere!” screamed Leonard. “They just keep coming!”
“Don’t stop, Marine!” bellowed Malone in reply. “We’ll…”
Suddenly, two blue plasma shots blasted into the xenomorph ranks from behind the remaining xeno-slayers, both blasting several xenomorphs apart on impact. Then, above the normal screeching of the warriors streaming towards them, a louder, more hellish scream could be heard. When it had finished, the xenomorphs slowly retreated, leaving the three men standing quietly and alert in the hallway.
“The Queen!” said Mort excitedly. “Let’s follow them! They’ll lead us to the Queen!”
“We have more pressing issues,” said Malone, turning around and scanning behind them. They had made it back to the egg chamber, the long, narrow corridor widening into a large, circular room.
“What could be more important at this moment than finding the Queen?” asked Mort, exasperated that the General was hesitating at all.
“Namely, figuring out what the fuck fired those two plasma shots,” replied the General, scanning the room, his helmet light illuminating minimal areas in the large chamber. The General’s reply instantly quieted Mort down, before he himself began scanning the area.
“Dawkins said something about plasma, didn’t he?” asked Leonard, whispering quietly.
“He also said these things didn’t show up on xeno-detection,” said Malone, taking off his goggles. “So both of you remove yours.” They did so, and were greeted by darkness yet again. The only lights were the ones from their helmets, which were doing a horrendous job of illuminating the room. Fear began to settle in on them; they couldn’t see, their xeno-detection goggles were useless when dealing with anything other than xenomorphs, and something extremely lethal was in the room waiting invisibly, with far more advanced weaponry than they had ever seen.
“Mort,” said Malone, as quietly as possible. It was the only noise in the room, and in the petrifying silence it felt like the General was screaming. “Light some flares.” Mort acknowledged the order not in words, but in actions. He silently removed five flares, lit them, and placed them in a circle around the room for maximum light dispersion. For the first time since they entered the ship, they got a decent look at the walls, with lights far more adequate than the miniscule ones on their helmets.
The walls were at least fifty feet high, covered entirely in xeno-resin. The only besides their quiet breathing was an incessant dripping of some moist substance.
“Check your motion trackers,” said Malone, as quietly as he could. Suddenly, several seconds after he had given the order, there was a beep from Mort’s motion tracker. The three men looked at each other, Mort pointing to his right where the signal had come from. Slowly, with Malone and Mort pointing their pulse rifles and Leonard gripping his recently un-sheathed sword tightly, they made their way towards the origin of the signal. Each man breathed slowly in and out to try and calm their nerves. When they had gotten within one meter of the source, Mort pointed down, and they all breathed a quiet sigh of relief; it was a screw rattling in its hole, one of the few places not covered by the resin.
Suddenly, Leonard was flung violently sideways, hitting the wall extremely hard, the clatter of his sword hitting the ground mixing with his grunt of both pain and surprise. Mort’s motion tracker beeped as something made its way towards them.
Malone saw it first; a faint ripple in the air. Yet it was enough for him; he shot several warning rounds at the target area, each bullet colliding with something metallic. As he ceased fire, a figure slowly came into visibility. It was a seven foot tall teenage predator, its plasma caster pointed at the two men, wrist blades extended readily and lethally.
“What the fuck is that!?” said Malone, clearly surprised. He had seen a lot of things in his days, but nothing like this.
“No idea, sir, but fuck is it ever big,” said Leonard, rubbing his shoulder as he rejoined the group. The creature made a rumbling noise in its throat while scanning the three men. Finally, its gaze settled on Mort; the man was just as tall as the creature, with muscles as large or larger. The predator and Mort were massive by comparison to the General and Leonard, both in height and strength. Its gaze rested on the Scot for several long, tense seconds, before bending low and roaring. Malone and Leonard tensed up, ready for battle, pointing their weapons at the creature should it make any menacing moves. Yet Mort was calm.
“I know this behaviour,” stated Mort calmly, letting his pulse rifle fall to the floor. “It sees me as a worthy opponent. It wants an honourable fight, and I must say, for Dawkins and Julius’ sake, I must oblige.”
“Marine, you are not…” started the General.
“Yes, I am,” interrupted Mort seriously, not taking his gaze from the creature. “Now, go find the Queen.”
“Mort, we…” started Leonard.
“GO!” roared the massive Scottish man, so loudly and firmly that Malone and Leonard obeyed, heading back down the hallway from whence they had come. Mort was alone with his challenger. The plasma weapon that had been mounted on its shoulder lay on the ground. As Mort continued looking at the creature, it slowly lifted its hands up to its helmet, removing two tubes which hissed when unclamped. Finally, it took its mask off completely, revealing its shiny, spotted flesh and mandibles, which were tipped off by sharp, yellow-stained fangs. It clicked these together twice before spreading its arms wide, leaning low and roaring.
“This is not for my personal glory,” said Mort, cracking his neck and knuckles in preparation. “But for Dawkins and Julius.”
As he finished he roared a seemingly inhuman cry, before rushing full speed at the creature, which did the same thing. They met in a clash of muscle, Man vs. Alien, wrestling each other to the ground and grappling for an advantage, struggling for the dominant position. Massive punches were thrown until both were bloodied, and yet they did not stop. Red and fluorescent green blood mixed on the floor as the combatants continued their epic struggle.
Several times the predator attempted to slash or stab Mort with its wrist blades, yet the Scot had been trained in knife fighting, and knew how to redirect such attacks with ease. These were even opponents, and the winner of the battle would gain much honour and respect. And yet, often times when one fights for others and not for yourself, you gain almost inhuman abilities, for you are not focused on your own well-being, but on fighting for revenge. And avenging Dawkins and Julius was what drove Mort to go to such extremes of pain to best the creature.
As the predator made another attempt to stab Mort with its blades, he decided that he was no longer simply going to redirect these desperate attacks, but use them to his advantage. This assault was slower than the others, for fatigue had begun to set in. Mort grabbed the creature’s outstretched arm, quickly manoeuvred beside the predator, and brought his elbow down on its trapped arm. A bone snapped and popped through flesh, blood splashing onto Mort’s face. But he was not finished; in the moment of pain where the predator began to scream, Mort removed his hunting knife from his belt and stabbed straight into the top of the creatures head. Blood exploded from the wound as the creature abruptly stopped screaming, falling dead on the floor with a look of both intense pain and fright on its face.
Mort breathed heavily for several minutes, standing perfectly still over the fallen corpse, staring at the monster to make sure it was dead. After it hadn’t moved for a long time, Mort sagged to the ground, exhausted.
“That was for you, D. and J.” he muttered, smiling sadly, massive bruises all over his body. He looked around doggedly at the scene of the fight, at all the blood strewn about the place, at his ripped shirt lying in a heap on the ground, at his full pulse rifle, and at the dead creature which had caused him such pain. Finally, his eyes settled on the creatures discarded plasma caster.
“A useful trophy,” he slurred, his suddenly swollen lips making it awfully difficult to talk. He slowly got up, took several steps towards the weapon, picked it up and examined it. It was still slightly warm from when it had been fired.
“This’ll be extremely valuable to the Marine…” started Mort, before he gasped in sudden pain and exhaled, before dying several feet off the ground. Two wrist blades protruded through his chest, blood pouring onto the ground. Shi’Vai de-cloaked behind him, arm extended, wrist blades engulfed in human flesh. He made Mort look tiny, which was no small feat.
Finally he let the human fall to the ground, body limp and bloodied, massive holes in the back and chest where the wrist blades had been. Shi’Vai pushed his hand into Mort’s back, grabbed hold of his spine and ripped upwards, his bloodied spinal column and skull coming out. Shi’Vai roared triumphantly, a deep, thunderous roar that could be heard throughout the ship, a roar louder and more terrible than that of the xenomorph Queen.
When he finished, Shi’Vai stroked the bones affectionately, fondling the spine especially. This human was a worthy opponent, a member beyond the norms of his species. Shi’Vai knew that the creature was fighting to avenge its lost brothers, and knew that he went to the afterlife an honourable and proud warrior, one worthy of joining the Yautja race.
Chapter 8: Aliens Vs Predator
Malone and Leonard stopped running through the resin covered hallways, their chests rising and falling rapidly as they breathed hard from the sprint, made harder due to all the equipment they carried. They collapsed against the walls, more from grief and sorrow than of exhaustion. These men were trained to deal with intense physical exertion. Yet no man is immune to the emotional toll of losing loved ones. The saliva-like fluid on the walls soaked their backs and hair, but they didn’t care; they were too grieved.
Losing a comrade takes a great and terrible toll on you, for one remembers all the good times, all the camaraderie, all the brotherly love and friendship. To lose one squad mate is a terrible burden. But to have lost three, as Malone and Leonard had, was enough to drive a man mad. Past events, past missions, smiling faces…all of the good times rushed through their minds as the two surviving members of the xeno slayers recollected their most glorious moments. And in less than twenty-four hours three of the five men who had spent so long and gone through so much together were dead at the hands of an enemy they had neither heard of nor seen before. They felt helpless and inadequate due to their inability to act.
That was when the tears came. In human society it is not considered very manly for a man to cry. It is as if they have become soft and weak, far from the hardened, unfeeling thing that is society’s ‘ideal’ male. And yet, as Malone and Leonard sat against the xenomorph resin sobbing uncontrollably into their arms, with two of the deadliest creatures in the galaxy within hundreds of meters of their position, it was not a fall from grace, but more a touching look at the human condition. No other species mourns their dead in such a profound way, and it is in this moment of what society considers ‘weakness’ that human uniqueness is displayed. The xenomorphs do not mourn their dead; they step over, on, or around them to attack their prey. They do not care that their brethren have died. They only care about the survival of their race, of the queen. It is in this sense of loss that mankind is superior to the xenomorph scourge.
Malone was the first to gain composure. He did not remove his grief, nor did he turn rock hard and block himself from feeling. Rather, he dealt with his emotions and quickly taught himself to live with the nearly crippling losses. He did not do this for himself, but so that he could become a beacon of hope for Leonard, so that he too could deal with the grief. Malone raised his head, eyes red and watering, to stare at Leonard. He quickly brushed away the tears on the sleeve of his marine uniform, before picking up his pulse rifle, slapping a new clip violently into place, lighting a fresh cigar in his mouth and popping his xeno-detection goggles over his eyes. He stood patiently, staring at the sobbing Leonard, whose shoulders bobbed up and down each time he sobbed, waiting silently for the man to regain his composure.
Finally, Leonard looked up at the General, his eyes just as red and teary as Malone’s had been.
“Come on, Leonard,” said Malone softly, offering a hand to help the saddened marine up. “We have a job to finish.”
“You can’t seriously be considering taking the cargo and looking for survivors?” asked Leonard, accepting the General’s hand and standing up, wiping his tears away with the back of his hand.
“There are no survivors,” said Malone, as Leonard pulled out a sword and donned his equipment. “And I sure as fuck ain’t going to get any minerals. But I am going to kill the queen of this fucking hive and nuke the shit out of this place.”
“Now that,” said Leonard, a sad smile spreading over his face, “is a plan I like.” The nodded at each other before turning and running down the hallway. Black resin covered walls rushed past, their helmet lights bobbing up and down, their feet clanking on the floor.
It was after a few minutes of running that they came to the hive. It was the only place with light in the entire ship, allowing the two xeno-slayers to see everything.
The room was massive, resin covering every square inch, saliva dripping from nearly everywhere like rain. Eggs littered the floor, all unopened, blocking anything from entering without taking the risk of having one open. And at the far end of the vast room, attached to her long, winding ovipositor was the xenomorph queen in all her glory.
“How are we supposed to get to her?” asked Leonard quietly, tilting his head close to the General’s to minimize the noise he made.
“We’re going to have to…” started Malone, who was suddenly interrupted by a loud ‘whoosh’. A ball of plasma flew towards a patch of eggs, before impacting and blasting them to smithereens. The two men stood in shocked silence, wondering where the attack had originated from. It was then that Shi’Vai dropped from above, de-cloaked and ready for action. He began rapidly firing at the eggs with his plasma caster, fluid flying everywhere as the eggs were destroyed. It was at that moment that the queen screamed her terrible cry, joined shortly thereafter by those of her minions.
The xenomorphs seemed to unfold from the walls themselves, hundreds of Aliens slowly coming to the aid of their queen. They crawled on the walls, on the ceiling, and on the floors towards the eight-foot tall predator. Malone and Leonard stayed perfectly quiet and still in the hallway door, watching the events unfold, hoping they wouldn’t be spotted. However, even if they had been spotted, the xenomorph’s attention was not on them, but on the intruder who had destroyed their queen’s babies.
Shi’Vai scanned over the approaching creatures before roaring a loud, thunderous challenge. His wrist blades extended to their full length, glimmering from the overhead lights as he prepared for battle.
As the xenomorphs edged closer and closer, Shi’Vai grew impatient. His plasma caster roared into action, firing shot after shot at the slowly approaching xenomorphs. Acid hissed as one by one they fell, before they started rushing at him faster than he could fire.
The first Alien to reach him was the first to die. Shi’Vai had more experience fighting these creatures than almost anything in the universe. His eight feet of pure muscle and blinding speed aided immensely as the first xenomorph swung its sharp tail at his head. He grabbed it before impact, pulling the xenomorph closer and swinging it around in a circle. He then proceeded to slam the creature down onto the ground as hard as he could, smashing its head with the sheer force of the blow, acid flying in all directions. And yet Shi’Vai was not done with the body; as more and more xenomorphs came at him, he swung the dead Alien by its tail in circles, smashing it into other Aliens with such force that it sent them flying backwards, dead from the sheer power of the attack.
Finally, after the creature in Shi’Vai’s hands had been beaten beyond a useable level, he threw it away, using his wrist blades instead. He stabbed, broke, punched, threw and blasted his way through the xenomorphs with terrible efficiency and power, any and all who challenged him meeting quick and painful deaths. It was a display of physical prowess and xenomorph eradication the likes of which the two watching marines had never seen before, even General Malone. They were simultaneously awed, frightened and jealous by this killing machine. In all his substantial years of service, Malone had never seen a soldier, or any living thing, rip through xenomorphs so quickly and easily. The only thing he could compare such a slaughter to was that caused by a nuclear bomb.
Yet the display was no surprise to Shi’Vai; he was a veteran, a predator who had fought and killed xenomorphs for years on end, often teaching others the most efficient ways to do so. He was also far larger than any xenomorph drone or warrior, an advantage which he used any chance he could. He was an Alien killing machine, the best of his race at doing so.
It was a matter of minutes before every xenomorph that had dared attack Shi’Vai laid on the ground around him, dead or dying, acid fizzing and smoke rising. Shi’Vai looked around for more attackers and, upon finding none, looked up to the ceiling and roared a triumphant roar.
“Let’s slowly back out of here,” said Malone, a little too loudly. Shi’Vai abruptly stopped his roar and turned towards the source of the noise, three red targeting lasers emanating from his helmet at Malone’s chest, slowly working their way up to his head. Malone froze, staring defiantly at the beast, its mask almost an exact replica of a xenomorph face. Shi’Vai’s shoulder cannon began to glow, when his attention was caught by something much larger and challenging; the queen. It screamed as it began ripping itself free of its ovipositor, the sound of flesh ripping audible to all. Shi’Vai deactivated his plasma caster and answered the queen’s scream with one of his own, louder and more thunderous by far.
“RUN, BACK TO THE DROP SHIP!” screamed Malone, turning and fleeing the scene with Leonard, leaving Shi’Vai alone with the queen.
| | |
Shi’Vai slowly took off his mask and plasma caster, preparing for an honourable fight. To kill a queen of the scourge was a tremendous honour and privilege, for rarely does a lone Yautja get the chance to do so, and even rarer is it that one succeeds in killing it. But Shi’Vai was a professional, and he stood on the other side of the massive room from the queen, ready for when she broke free. He was confident in his abilities, and even if he should fail he had brought much honour to his name.
With one last scream, the fifteen foot tall Alien broke free of her ovipositor, immediately charging towards the predator once her feet touched the ground. Shi’Vai clicked his mandibles together in anticipation before running headlong at the greatest foe in the universe a Yautja could face.
When they were within four feet of each other, the queen swung her tail, the massive, pointed end aimed right at Shi’Vai’s neck. But the predator was ready; he ducked under the attack and lunged at the queen’s stomach, wrist blades fully extended and ready to penetrate into more xenomorph flesh. Before he could stab her, however, she grabbed him with both her pairs of arms. Shi’ Vai quickly sliced off one arm, but before he could do the same to another the queen threw him twenty feet away with ease, to land with a thud on the hard floor of the mining vessel. He quickly picked himself up and ran at the queen again, formulating a different plan of attack. Before she could swing her tail a second time, Shi’Vai somersaulted between the queen’s legs. As he finished the roll just under where her tail attached to her torso, he stood up and grabbed it, holding tightly. He then pulled as hard as he could, succeeding only in making the queen lose balance. This was no warrior, and the copious extra weight was too much, even for Shi’Vai. In the second of hesitation he took in formulating a new plan, the queen jerked her tail free and rammed it into Shi’Vai, sending him flying several feet away once again to land violently on the floor. He slowly picked himself up and roared; he was getting angry, and it was time to change tactics.
He quickly reached to his belt and pulled out his combi stick, extending it to its full length. As the queen saw this, she shrieked and ran at him, the floor shaking slightly as the massive xenomorph moved. Her tail was raised high above her head like a scorpion, sharp end pointed at Shi’Vai. As she ran, he pulled the spear back and threw it at the queen. Unable to dodge in time, the queen was impaled through the chest with the stick. Before she could reach up with her three remaining arms, Shi’Vai rushed at her full speed, jumped up and pulled the stick painfully out of her chest. She attempted to bite him with her secondary jaw but missed, the tiny mouth closing on nothing but air. Upon landing, Shi’Vai sprinted around behind her and, before she could turn to face him, jumped high into the air and stabbed the queen in the top of the head. However, before he could land on the ground, he reached out, grabbed the spear lodged in the queen’s skull, and hung momentarily in front of her face. Her silver, see-through teeth were mere inches away from him. In desperation to rid herself of this pest and the pain, she once again extended her second jaw to attack an enemy who was, this time, within range. However, before it could penetrate his skin, Shi’Vai sliced the little mouth off with his free wrist blade and, before she could scream, proceeded to ram them into the queen’s face.
The queen’s flailing arms and tail movement abruptly ceased and all was quiet, before the body keeled over and hit the ground with a loud ‘bang’. Shi’Vai landed on his feet and immediately roared a victory cry, mandibles fully open to reveal his small, pink mouth and sharp, pointed teeth.
When he finally finished screaming, he pulled out a knife and started towards the dead queen, ready to claim the highlight of his trophy case.
Chapter 9: “I Prefer The Term Artificial Person.”
They had made their way to the entrance that they had created when all five xeno slayers had arrived, sunlight relentlessly bombarding their eyes causing them to squint and clench them closed. When they finally adjusted to the brightness, they could see the entirety of the clearing, the trees all around it, and a sea of black on the horizon; xenomorphs, unmoving, dead. The faint outline of the large, grey drop ship was visible a kilometre away. They stood in the hole in the side of the massive ship, gazing around at the outside world, at the trees and grass and natural light. It was, even with all the dead xenomorphs and the possibility of many more, a beautiful sight, such a drastic change from the pitch black, claustrophobic hallways of the infested Nostradamus 8. They stood, Malone with his pulse rifle and Leonard with his swords, just basking in the warmth of the sun.
It was then that they heard the roar; Shi’Vai’s victory cry.
“It killed the fucking queen!?” asked Leonard incredulously.
“Well, I’m not going to find out,” said Malone, straightening his stance and gripping his weapon tightly. “Let’s go.”
They jumped from the ship and hit the ground running, helmets bobbing up and down, equipment thrashing around on their straps, and yet they didn’t stop. The long grass was flattened as they ran, the trees whirring by. They were exhausted, completely worn out both emotionally and physically, so much so that Malone didn’t even have a cigar in his mouth.
They made good speed, pushing themselves to the limit. In several minutes, even weighed down by all their equipment, they made it to he piles of dead xenomorphs. They immediately slowed down, gingerly stepping over the bodies, scanning for survivors. They were confident that, if any xenomorphs were faking and attempted to assault them, the special turrets would take care of the problem. Their only concern was getting in the crossfire. So, as quickly and as carefully as they could, they made their way through the dead and broken bodies and charred ground until they reached the turrets. They both walked between the space separating two turrets to get to the untouched grass beyond, where the drop ship was parked. The door was open and the inside intact with no sign of a xenomorph presence. They stepped confidently inside and secured the door tightly, locks clamping into place.
The drop ship was almost exactly as they had left it. Nothing in the main seating bay had been moved or changed.
“We fucking made it,” said Leonard, laughing with relief. “We actually fucking made it!” Malone smiled in response, taking out a celebratory cigar and lighting it in his mouth, an expression of utter ecstasy spreading over his face as he inhaled that first whiff of smoke.
“You know, I managed to steal some champagne from a refrigerator back at headquarters,” said Malone. “Been storing it for my own personal use. But now seems like the perfect time to get piss fucking drunk.”
“Aye, sir!” yelled Leonard enthusiastically, smiling from ear to ear.
“I’ll go…” started Malone, before pausing and looking inquisitively at the ground behind where Leonard was standing, the ground which lead to the cockpit.
“What is it?” asked Leonard, turning around to follow the General’s gaze. What he saw was a thin trail of white fluid, random drips spattered about, yet ultimately leading towards the cockpit.
“Is that xeno-spit?” asked Leonard quietly, on edge as he turned to the General.
“Taste it,” ordered Malone just as quietly. Reluctantly, Leonard obliged. He took two fingers and put a little of the fluid on each, the liquid slowly dripping into the gap between his two fingers. He then placed them in his mouth and tasted it.
“Well, isn’t that a welcome surprise,” said Leonard/
“What is it?”
“Milk?” asked Malone incredulously. “What the fuck brought milk onto…” he stopped suddenly, eyes widening in realization.
“What is it, sir?”
“There’s a mother fucking synthetic on board the ship,” said Malone.
“Holy shit,” replied Leonard. “Who do you think sent it? When do you think it got here? HOW do you think it got here?”
“Only one way to find out,” said Malone. “We follow the bread trail.” Leonard stood up and armed himself with one of his swords, before slowly walking towards the cockpit after the General. They made it to the door, and Malone silently motioned for Leonard to open it. As he moved forward to obey, the General took up an offensive position, gun pointed at the entrance.
The door hissed open as Leonard finished typing in the access code. They were greeted by a puddle of milk. But what really caught their attention was the pilot’s seat.
The android was sitting in the pilot’s seat, back turned to them, typing quickly and noisily into the onboard computer. Malone motioned for Leonard to enter with him. They walked carefully inside, making no noise whatsoever. The only sound came from the incessant typing of the android.
When they were within two feet of the pilot’s seat, Malone pointed his gun at the artificial person’s head, whilst Leonard brought his sword back, ready to swing a lethal blow.
“Who the fuck are you, what are you doing on this ship, and who sent you!?” asked Malone harshly. “Try ANYTHING, anything at all, and we’ll blow you synthetic brains out.”
“That wouldn’t be very nice,” said the android, not turning around, but stopping his typing. “After all these years I never thought it’d be YOU who killed me, General.”
“What the fuck do you mean, ‘all these years’?” asked Malone. The android slowly swivelled its chair until it was facing them. When they saw the face both men lowered their weapons but stayed on high alert, ready to attack should the robot try anything stupid.
“Julius?” asked Leonard incredulously. “You’re an android?”
“Combat synthetic version 1.0,” said Julius calmly. His chest was blown wide open, wires hanging down from his upper half, milk dripping constantly. “Weyland-Yutani saw great potential in the program you started, General, and wanted someone on the inside to study the Internecivus Raptus. They have learned copious amounts of information from me concerning their habits, lifecycle, hierarchy, biology and combat tactics. I even managed to bring them several dead bodies! It was far easier to send a combat synthetic in to study them in action than to risk lawsuits sending people in to capture one alive, what with deaths and all.”
“But you’ve killed more xenomorphs than me,” said Leonard. “If you’re here to study them, why kill so many?”
“Every mission we’ve been on has been recorded and sent back to Weyland-Yutani for study,” said Julius calmly.
“Fucking sneaky bastards,” said Malone, diligently smoking his cigar.
“However,” said Julius, “Their interests have recently changed to another species, as deadly or, dare I say it, deadlier than the xenomorphs.”
“Those monsters with the mandibles!” exclaimed Leonard.
“Ah, you saw them as well,” said Julius. “Weyland-Yutani came across records from hundreds of years ago of these creatures visiting earth. In 1987, a team of rescue specialists, perhaps the world’s best, were killed one by one. There were two survivors, each making claims of an alien life form.”
“It was them, wasn’t it?” asked Malone.
“It was the creatures that waylaid us and gave me this…unfortunate injury,” said Julius, motioning at the hole in his chest. “Then, in 1991, one of them came to Los Angeles, California, Earth. It killed numerous people, and yet still no one believed these aliens existed. In 2004, Mr. Charles Bishop Weyland, the founder of Weyland industries, found a pyramid buried far below some Antarctic ice. It housed xenomorphs, which turned out to be bred for these creatures’s hunting purposes. Suffice to say, all but one woman died on that voyage.”
“These things hunt xenomorphs for sport?” asked Leonard. “Holy Fuck!!!”
“Continuing on,” said Julius, eyeing Leonard cautiously. “Several weeks later, a small town in Colorado was invaded by xenomorphs. Once again, the four survivors made claims which almost exactly match those of the previously mentioned survivors. And, we have reason to believe these creatures have been hunting xenos on earth for thousands of years.”
“There was a massive one which killed a queen...” said Malone, letting the statement hang.
“Ah, yes, Dawkins and I encountered that charming fellow. Eight feet tall?” Malone nodded. “Yes, he seems to be their leader. Dawkins and I killed one of the three that attacked us, meaning there’s still two out there…”
“No,” interrupted Leonard. “There’s only one. Mort killed the other. We saw its body on the way out, Mort’s knife on the ground beside it, covered in green blood. Seems as though the eight foot guy killed Mort afterwards.”
“Mort was a good, tough soldier,” said Julius, his face expressionless and calculating. “Now, as you have probably already witness first hand, these creatures have weapons and technology far beyond human capabilities.”
“Evident in that hole in you chest,” said Malone.
“Precisely. Their shoulder weapons seem to be plasma based, easily cutting through my flesh and innards. I managed to take the weapon from the one Dawkins and I killed.”
“WHAT!?” asked Malone incredulously. “Where is it?”
“It is safe in this ship,” said Julius, still calm. “They don’t have tracking devices on it, so we’re safe…for now. Now, I have some information you might find helpful in your mission. The miners…”
“We’re not finishing out mission, we’ve lost two men already!” exclaimed Leonard.
“Yes, you are,” said Julius. “Colonial Marine code dictates all missions must be completed unless ordered otherwise, on penalty of death.”
“You’ve got to be fucking joking me,” said Leonard, throwing his arms up in the air and rolling his eyes. “Did you know anything about this, sir?”
“Yes,” replied Malone.
“You knew about this?” he asked again, incredulous.
“Oh, the General knows all about it,” said Julius. “In fact, he added that little snippet to the USCM code himself. Made the commitment more, shall we say, permanent.”
“Why, sir?” asked Leonard, turning to the General. “Why would you do that? Now we either risk our asses here, or get fucked back home! SHIT, SHIT, SHIT!!!!!”
“I added that to the code,” said Malone, “because cowards would do more harm than good when dealing with xenomorphs. I wanted only those willing to commit their lives to the cause. I didn’t want people joining just so they could brag to their buddies at home about fighting xenos, then pussying out when the going got tough. Surely you understand?”
“Yeah, I understand, but do you realize how fucked we are now? Now we have to get the cargo from the ship AND look back there for survivors!”
“We won’t be getting the cargo,” said Malone firmly.
“Actually, yes you will,” replied Julius calmly. “The orders were explicit; rescue survivors and get cargo. You will retrieve the valuable mineral ore, or you will be killed by a firing squad.”
“No, that is where you are wrong,” said Malone, just as calmly as Julius had. “I will incite the very first clause of our code, which states that one may abort any mission if the commanding officer deems the xenomorph infestation uncontrollable, which it undoubtedly is in this case. We’re going home.”
“Ah,” said Julius. “and that is where ‘you’ are wrong. If there is a human presence in a xenomorph infestation, investigation is mandatory. You may have wiggled you way out of retrieving the Nostradamus’s cargo, but there is no code to refute this.”
“How are we supposed to find any survivors, if there even are any, in this fucking planet? It’s huge!” asked Leonard.
“Weylnd-Yutani put their employee’s safety first and foremost,” said Julius, smiling. “After the tragic events on the mining vessel Nostromo, each employee was tagged with a tracker/vitals reader, with a range of one hundred kilometres. And, it just so happens that there is one miner with active signals, alive and ticking.”
“I just fucking love this mission,” said Leonard, putting his eyes in his palms.
“Hw far?” asked Malone resolutely.
“Seventy four point seven kilometres, approximately North twenty four degrees West,” said Julius.
“How the fuck did he get so far away from the ship?” asked Leonard.
“That doesn’t matter,” said Malone, sitting down in the co-pilot’s seat. “What does matter is getting this bastard of a mission over and done with. Now, we’re going back to the Marvel to arm ourselves to the fucking teeth, get some rest, and then some chow. I don’t know about you, Leonard, but I’m fucking ravenous. Julius, fly this thing.”
“Aye,” said the android. “What about the turrets?”
“Leave them, we’ll get more.”
The drop ship engines roared as they took off, the ammo detaching as they left the turrets behind. What none of them noticed, however, was the four smashed and broken turrets, acid marks all around them, and large footsteps leading towards where the drop ship used to be.
Chapter 10: “I Say We Grease This Rat-Bitch Motherfucker.”
They soared through the planet’s atmosphere, the drop ship shaking violently as the clouds rushed past the cockpit windows. Leonard was strapped securely in his seat in the back of the vessel, the only man sitting in the six capacity area. Before, four of the six seats were occupied. Now, only one was. It was a solemn reminder of those who had been lost in such a short period of time. At first, Leonard and Malone thought they had lost three of their brethren. They now knew it was only two that had been lost. Yet in actuality, Julius was gone as well; he was not the comrade they had experienced so much and developed a brotherly love with. Nay, he was a machine, built to infiltrate their squad and research the xenomorphs. He was nothing more than a complex toaster oven.
The ship finally broke free of the planet’s atmosphere, the darkness and infinite expanses of space lying before them. The shaking ceased abruptly, and for several moments all was at peace. Malone and Julius piloted the ship towards the USS Marvel, which had maintained an orbit around the planet during their stay. They slowed down as they approached it, using the drop ship’s onboard computer to remote open the docking bay. Malone and Julius slowly manoeuvred the ship through the opening, spinning it slowly to avoid any unwanted collisions. Finally they were inside, and while Malone brought the ship down to land, Julius remote closed the door. They landed with a jerk, and then all was still.
They all unbuckled their straps and got up, Julius still dripping milk from his massive wound. All three of them met up at the door, but before any of them could open it Malone began to speak.
“Julius, I want you to try and patch up that wound,” he ordered. “I don’t want you dripping Milk all over the place; it’ll get rotten and begin to stink. Got that?”
“Yes, sir,” said Julius.
“Leonard, I want you to freshen up.”
“After you have completed your designated tasks, I want you to meet me in the mess hall for some chow. You got that?”
“Yes sir,” Julius and Leonard replied simultaneously, Leonard saluting while Julius stood perfectly still.
“Julius,” said Malone quietly but dangerously. “Usually you salute a superior office. I am still your superior officer, even if you are a synthetic.”
“Sir…” started Julius.
“SALUTE ME!” roared Malone. Julius immediately snapped to attention and saluted the General. “Good,” said Malone, smiling. “Now get to work.” He grabbed the handle to the drop ship door and pulled, sliding it open easily. They all jumped out onto the familiar deck of the Marvel and rushed to complete their tasks, Malone popping a cigar into his mouth and heading straight for the mess hall.
It was twenty minutes later when Leonard arrived, finding the General seated at a table devouring some food.
“Where would you like me to sit, sir?” asked Leonard.
“Anywhere,” replied Malone, not looking up from his meal. Leonard grabbed a plate from a wall cabinet and sat down beside the General, serving himself healthy portions of food. They sat in silence for several minutes, quietly devouring their meals. They were so hungry that when they had finished, they piled a second serving onto their plates, regardless of the sub-par tastes.
Finally, Leonard broke the silence as he drank a glass of cold, refreshing water.
“Sir, do you really think that it was the minister of defence who sent those orders?” he asked between gulps.
“What do you mean?” asked Malone, putting his knife and fork down on his full plate and leaning back in his chair, exhaling as he did so.
“Well, now that we know Julius is a synthetic sent by the company, don’t you think that Weyland-Yutani could have something to do with this?”
“You saw the transmission; it was from the office of the minister of defence.”
“Yeah, but Weyland-Yutani is a company that encompasses a lot of things, not just mining and terraforming, am I correct?”
“Yes,” said Malone, leaning forward again. “They have several divisions set aside for technological advancement.”
“Exactly,” said Leonard, putting his drink down. “Do you think it’s possible that they sent us the transmission, and made it look like it was from the minister of defence’s office?”
“That’s a pretty big risk,” said Malone. “If they got caught they’d be in a hell of a lot of trouble.”
“Yeah, but look at it from their perspective. They have a combat synthetic on board doing their dirty work, and a multi-billion dollar mining ship which they have lost contact with in the immediate vicinity. It just so happens that the ‘minister of defence’ sends us a transmission right as we pass the planet. Coincidence…?”
“I think not,” finished Malone. “Holy fuck, Leonard. Do you know what this could mean? Weyland-Yutani could have been giving other marines orders right under Colonial Administration’s noses! Countless marines could have been killed because of them!”
“I know,” said Leonard. “What…” he stopped suddenly as Julius walked in. His chest was no longer leaking milk and was covered with square sheets of metal.
“It was a rush job,” said Julius, smiling awkwardly as the two men stared at him.
“Take a seat, Julius,” said Malone forcefully. Julius complied immediately, grabbing the seat across from Malone so that they could stare directly at each other. “I have a few questions for you.”
“Shoot,” said Julius.
“Oh, that will come later,” said Leonard. Julius immediately changed from cheerful to dead serious.
“What seems to be the problem, General?” he asked, his voice monotone.
“Where did our orders come from?” asked Malone.
“The office of the minister of defence,” replied Julius calmly. “You read the transmission just as clearly as I did.”
“No,” said Malone. “Where did our orders really come from?”
“The office of the minister of defence, as I said,” replied Julius. “I don’t know why…”
“Bullshit!” said Leonard, jumping from his chair and removing one of his swords. He made his way quickly over to Julius and placed it at the base of his neck. “WHO SENT US OUR ORDERS!?”
“The office of the minister…” started Julius.
“BULLSHIT!” roared Leonard, punching him in the face as hard as he could. Julius’ head was thrown sideways, and slowly straightened out. “WHO SENT US OUR ORDERS!?”
“The office of the minister of defence,” he repeated. Leonard took his sword back, and was about to permanently deactivate the synthetic when Malone interrupted.
“That will be enough, Leonard,” he said calmly. “We shall let cooler heads prevail on this one.” Leonard looked at the General, then back at Julius. He lowered his sword, and before he could make his way back to his seat he gave Julius another solid punch to the face. The skin around where the two blows had been delivered was slightly askew, giving the android an inhuman look.
“Julius,” said Malone calmly. “I order you to tell me who sent us that transmission.”
“The minister of defence,” he replied coolly.
“You are still part of the United States Colonial Marines,” said Malone. “I am your superior officer. You don’t really want to disobey a direct order, do you? You yourself told us the punishment for that sort of thing. So I will ask you again, Julius, who sent us our orders?”
Julius sat silent, looking at the table, his eyes moving back and forth quickly. They sat patiently, awaiting the answer. Finally, Julius looked up at the two men, his face expressionless.
“Weyland-Yutani,” he answered. Leonard cringed and put his head on the table, eyes closed. Malone stared at the android, his face also expressionless.
“Why?” asked Malone. “What was our real objective?”
“To die,” replied Julius. Malone smiled in reply.
“I’m so happy to be able to disobey such an order,” he said jovially. “They didn’t want us to actually retrieve the mineral ore and survivors, did they?”
“You are still obliged under Colonial Marine code to retrieve the survivor, whether or not Weyland-Yutani wished so,” said Julius. “However, that was not what they wanted. Weyland-Yutani has sensors hidden on each colonial vessel, far more advanced than the ones Colonial Administration provides. The transmission was sent to you because these sensors detected a cloaked vessel in the vicinity. It was a predator ship, as the species is referred to on earth. Their destination was the same planet that a mining vessel had recently visited and not returned from. The opportunity to gain technology from this species was too good to pass up. So yes, the orders are from them.”
‘YOU FUCKERS KILLED DAWKINS AND MORT!” roared Leonard.
“No, that was the predators,” said Julius. “I succeeded in the mission I was assigned; I have one of their weapons. The advancement in human warfare will be swift and unmatched. We will take their technology and improve upon it, and we will soon become the greatest species in the universe.”
“Unfortunately,” said Malone. “You aren’t human. So please, don’t refer to yourself as one.” Julius frowned at that statement, but continued nonetheless.
“Surely you, General, would like to see how humans wield such power? Surely you, of all people, would appreciate such effective xenomorph killing methods? No more bullets and grenades; this plasma technology is the way of the future!”
“The company is sick and twisted,” said Malone. “They are willing to have innocent people die for a small piece of technology because they aren’t smart enough to think of it themselves? Well, not anymore. When we return from rescuing the survivor…”
“We’re not still doing that, are we?” asked Leonard.
“We must, or we will die,” said Malone. “When we return, I will have you deactivated and every single person responsible for this gross breach of security imprisoned and killed,” he stated, pointing and staring at Julius. “Leonard, tie him up and put him in the prisoner’s chamber. Activate all security measures.”
“With pleasure,” said Leonard. Julius did not move as Leonard took a rope from a wall cabinet and expertly detained the synthetic, tying the rope around his legs, arms and head so that there was no way he alone could escape. When he was finished, he pulled the robot out of his chair and began to lead him away. Before they could exit the room, however, Julius began to speak.
“Human advancement always requires sacrifice,” said the android as he was led out the door. “And we are willing to sacrifice any amount of people to achieve it.”
With that, the door hissed closed, leaving the General alone with his thoughts.
Leonard led Julius through winding hallways to the prisoner’s chamber. It was specifically designed to be exactly like prison; the walls were made of bullet-proof, sound-proof, acid-proof plastic, there were cameras all around it, and the only things inside were a toilet and a bed which was always too small. This chamber was almost never used, for the Colonial Marines rarely took prisoners. Thus, to add to the prisoner’s misery, the chamber was full of dust. It was never cleaned, and the toilet had nowhere to flush. It was, quite literally, a torture room.
Julius went where Leonard guided him without question, for he had a secret. He knew of the stowaway xenomorph. He knew it was hiding somewhere on the Marvel after hitchhiking a ride on the drop ship. And he was excited at this prospect. If he could somehow get free, he would be able to pilot the Marvel back home, and bring the xenomorph alive to Weyland-Yutani while the two marines were looking for the survivor. It would be a glorious return for him, with both a live xenomorph and predator technology in hand. He would also save the company from unwanted legal trouble, for the marines would be left on the planet to die, along with their knowledge of Weyland-Yutani’s illegal actions. And the most astounding fact of all was the creature itself. It would provide insight into both xenomorph and predator biology, for this was no ordinary Alien; this was a hybrid, the xenomorph spawn of a predator host. Who knew what abilities this creature would display? It would be a fantastic prize, one which would bring Julius the respect, admiration and power he deserved.
And so he complied with Leonard’s demands, not really listening to him, but imagining the glory and honour he would gain. He would be the greatest and most successful synthetic ever built, the envy of all those to come. What would he name the creature? Could he possibly cross the names of the two species and call it a Predamorph? Or would he give it the title of Predalien? All these thoughts of victory raced through his synthetic mind, his favourite being the one about leaving the marines to die.
Chapter 11: “What the Fuck?!”
Malone sat in the mess hall; contemplating the ramifications of the news he had just been given. Weyland-Yutani had the ability to send official orders to members of the USCM. They had cracked the Colonial Administrations’ communication security and could carry out any research mission they so pleased with the unknowing help of the Marine Corps. It was a gross breach of security, one which Malone was determined to survive to put an end to. He would not allow any more of his brothers to be played like chess pieces, sent on fatal missions which they were nearly guaranteed to die on. The sick thing was, the Colonial Administration did not know about it. Therefore, any unauthorized detours would be viewed as breaches of orders, and the marines’ deaths would be considered dishonourable.
It was at that moment when Leonard returned from imprisoning Julius. He had a satisfied look on his face.
“That bastard won’t be causing us any more trouble,” he said, grabbing a chair and sitting opposite Malone. “If I were you, I’d just jettison him out into space and shoot a rocket at his floating body.”
“Yes, well, that would be a waste of ammunition, wouldn’t it?” asked Malone.
“It sure as hell would,” said Leonard, a smile on his face. “But man, would it ever be worth it.”
“Leonard, you’re gonna have to put thoughts of revenge out of your mind, at least for a couple of hours. As much as we both personally want to deactivate that fucker, we’ve got an innocent miner that requires rescuing. Then, when we return alive, we can inform Colonial Administration of Weyland-Yutani’s treasonous actions. Not only are we gaining revenge on Julius, but we’re getting his “masters” as well.”
“I thought you said to put thoughts of revenge out of my head,” said Leonard, smiling. “That sounded a lot like a revenge plot to me.” Malone smiled in response.
“Yeah, well, we still have a fuckload of work to do before we can actually gain revenge. Now, this miner is located about seventy five clicks from where we touched down. From the Marvel, that’ll take approximately twenty five minutes to reach, give or take several minutes for atmospheric conditions. I don’t know what to expect: is he going to be trapped inside a full fledged xenomorph hive, or is he going to be stuck in a cave, unable to escape for fear of dying? That’s why we’re first going to do a quick survey of the area. We’ll circle around the general facility to check for any visible hostiles, then set down a safe distance away and walk to the location. However, my gut tells me we’re going to have to kill a hell of a lot of xenomorphs before this mission is through.”
“But that’s what you love doing the most, isn’t it, sir?” asked Leonard.
“Yeah,” replied Malone, smiling. “But too much of a good thing can make you sick.”
“Now, I want to get this done as soon as possible. The sun is going down soon, and frankly, I don’t want to be fighting xenos at night. So, we’ll get some rest and wait for the sun to rise. That’ll be around ten hours from now, given the size of the planet by comparison to earth. Before you go to sleep, however, I want you to get your equipment ready. You can take your swords, but I also want you to bring a smartgun, a pistol, a knife, and several grenades.”
“Now let’s get some sleep. I’m tired as fuck.”
They awoke as the sun rose on the side of the earth that the miners’ signal originated from. They silently brought their bags to the drop ship and got inside. They closed the door with a slam, the lock dropping securely into place. Both Malone and Leonard stored their weapons and equipment in the back, save for the knives, pistols and grenades (and swords, in Leonards’ case) that they kept on their belts or back. They then made their way to the cockpit, Malone sitting in the pilots’ seat and Leonard in the co-pilots’. Before they could flip any switches or push any buttons, however, Malone popped another cigar out of his vest, popped it into his mouth and lit it. The smoke soon engulfed the room.
“How can you possibly smoke that right after you wake up?” asked Leonard, coughing as he swiped his hand in front of his face to clear the smoke away.
“When something tastes this good,” said Malone, taking the cigar out of his mouth and puffing a long stream of smoke. “It doesn’t matter what time of day it is.” Leonard shook his head, before starting up the drop ship. Soon, Malone joined him in the task, and before long the vessel was prepared for takeoff. The engine wailed noisily as Leonard flipped the switch to open the drop ship doors.
“Opening in three…two…one…open”. And they dropped, starting off horizontally and eventually diving headfirst, thrusters rocketing them towards the green and blue planet. The G’s did not affect them, for they had experienced them so often that their bodies had adapted to the effects.
After several minutes of thrusters-enhanced falling, they had entered the planets atmosphere. As had been the case previously, the ship shook violently for several seconds, before all rumbling ceased abruptly. Malone flipped a switch to lower their speed, and pulled the control levers up so that they levelled out and were no longer nose-diving.
“At this speed, should be ten minutes before we reach the signal origin,” said Leonard, checking their heading and cross-referencing it with the coordinates Julius had given them.
“Good,” said Malone, his cigar hanging limply in his mouth, the end smouldering and spewing smoke. They cruised the rest of the way, the jungle below them whirring by in a sea of green trees and valleys, the occasional fly exploding in a mess of guts on their window. The morning sun shone brightly in the sky above, the occasional cloud scattered about the heavens. It was a day very similar to the one that had come before, the day that two of their brethren had been lost. To the superstitious, this would have been a bad omen. But Malone and Leonard were not, and therefore the weather conditions were solely a reminder of those they had lost.
After seven minutes, they passed over a swamp, the water appearing black below them. Soon, however, the drop ship had entered into a thick fog, inside which the visibility was only several meters.
“That’s weird,” said Leonard. “The sun is high in the sky and there’s fog?”
“Probably just a cloud of water vapour from a geyser,” said Malone. “See, water droplets,” he finished, pointing at the numerous water droplets that had formed on their window, slowly washing away the guts left by the flies.
“Man, this place is weird,” said Leonard, shaking his head and checking their bearings again. “We should arrive within the next minute,” he finished, still looking at his computer screen.
“Good ,” said Malone, removing the cigar from his mouth, throwing it on the ground and extinguishing it with his boot. “I can’t see a damn thing in this fucking vapour.”
A minute later, they emerged from the cloud, a barrage of sun rays attacking their eyes. They were momentarily blinded by the reflection of the light off of the water on their windshield, but the droplets were soon rinsed off by the air created due to the high velocity at which they were travelling. Once they had fully recovered their vision, they surveyed their surroundings. What they saw made their jaws drop. Below them was a massive complex entirely made of metal, taking up an area of at least one and a half kilometres. It was at most two floors high, but what it lacked in height it more than made up for in ground space covered. The building was square in shape, with high metal fences covered in sharp spikes and tipped with electric fencing surrounding the complex. Turrets were placed around at random around the area, which Malone and Leonard could tell were inactive due to the lack of movement, for turrets, when active, usually scan back and forth for targets. The lights on the interior of the structure were off, yet smoke billowed from several chimneys scattered around the roof.
“Is this supposed to be here?” asked Leonard nervously.
“No,” replied Malone. “There are not supposed to be any humans on this planet. And this most certainly is not a Military complex.”
“How do you know that?” asked Leonard. “It’s guarded heavily enough.”
“Because,” said Malone calmly, pointing out the window. “There is a sign right there that says it isn’t.” Leonard looked where Malone was pointing, and sure enough saw a large sign with the Weyland-Yutani logo on it. However, if that wasn’t enough to put him on edge, what he read beneath it sent shivers up and down his spine.
“Weyland-Yutani Centre for Genetics and Xenomorph studies,” said Leonard, reading off the sign. “Holy fuck.”
“Yeah,” said Malone. “I was thinking the same thing.”
“If that miner is here, he most certainly is dead.”
“Well, his implant says he’s alive. So we have to check it out.”
“Leonard, look,” started Malone, turning the drop ship so he could circle around the complex. “I’ve had my reservations about this mission since the beginning. But, as I previously explained, orders are orders. And if you disobey this order, we’ll be dead. Got it?”
“Good. Now, there don’t appear to be any immediate threats. So I’m going to put ‘er down on that landing grid over there, ok?” he asked, pointing towards a large, circular landing platform with the yellow and black W-Y of Weyland-Yutani printed on it.
“Aye,” said Leonard, turning to the computer to aid in the landing. “But I’ve got a bad feeling about this place”
“So do I, Leonard, so do I.”