The MacArthur and the Jackson drop out of hypershift in the vicinity of the Solar System. Once again that mass/parsec thing looks to be a salty old space story, as the Mac's not parsecs out but a klick or two away from the Jack. (Also, Wilks expressed surprise that the Jockey ship could follow them through hypershift in Earth Hive, although there's never a question of anything different happening here.)
Why do people need to hypersleep through hypershift? It's not due to conservation of resources, as we're told military ships carry years' worth of rations. Just as well, as everybody seems to come out of hypersleep at the earliest opportunity, eager to spend weeks in a tin can as the ships saunter to their destinations. The real reason for hypersleep is that hypershift is a real mindfuck, 'makes your worst nightmares seem tame.' That seems to offer an Event Horizon possibility for a future story...
Just how likely is it that Wilks greets Billie with 'another glorious day in the corps' as his old platoon sergeant, now eaten by Aliens, used to say to him? Bet sarge smoked a cigar as well. Maybe the line's in the training manual.
Wilks and Billie have a shower together, and with Mitch safely out of the picture, both of them start to notice they might have feelings for each other, bringing to mind Billie's Wilks-rape dream at the start. And it's here that Billie starts to develop some maturity and possible notion that other people might also have emotions. She brings up the subject in a light-hearted flirty sort of way, which clears the air. Finally, Billie, finally!
The MacArthur doesn't boast any weapons, so they can't simply blast the Jackson away. The Jackson does have weapons, but Spears can't use them without killing his Alien troops aboard the Mac. Wilks comes up with a plan to EVA over to the Jackson, enter it, and kill Spears. It's a plan fraught with danger, not least giving Spears the high ground once they enter his own ship.
Spears spends his time catching up on military history, fawning over his uniform, and most importantly deciding where on Earth he should land. It's got to be somewhere special, somewhere significant for the future history books. Waterloo or the Alamo, perhaps. Finally - and get this, Alien: Def fans - he settles on Africa. South Africa to be precise, in order to stage his own version of Zulu.
Don't shoot 'til you see the whites of their eyes, men! You'd be a bit fucked if you were fighting eyeless Aliens though...
But Spears has been monitoring the internal systems of the MacArthur and has realised that two stowaways are onboard. He has no means of flushing them out by remote, so bides his time. When the ships land, he can simply throw concussion grenades through the hatches and then kill whatever's left of the stowaways.
Wilks and Billie EVA over to the Jackson, triggering a proximity alert that wakes Spears out of a dream where he's fighting the glorious fight with Arthur Wellesley in India (some form of dream logic has bestowed a knighthood to Wellesley earlier than in real life). Spears is relieved - he'll get to kill the two stowaways without the prospect of damaging his Aliens. Setting the recorders to capture his superior tactics for future military historians, he readies himself for battle. And flashes a salute at his enemies, with the line 'better luck next incarnation, son.' Is Spears himself a reincarnation of General Patton? He certainly seems to be based on him.
Sneaking on to the ship is pretty easy for Wilks and Billie, but aboard they face considerable problems as Spears kills the lights and artificial gravity systems. Confused and trapped in the cargo bay, they're almost easy prey for Spears as he throws a grenade in. But it fails to harm them, and Wilks manages to fire off a couple of shots that cause Spears to rethink his strategy. So he simply closes the door to the cargo bay and traps them.
Wilks comes up with another plan, and radios spears to tell him that he's rigged the MacArthur to blow up. He'll let Spears know where the bombs are if they're allowed to use an escape pod. Spears agrees, Wilks and Billie escape in the pod, managing to get between the Jack and the Mac so Spears can't blast them. Oh look, Spears, it was all a dirty ruse and there are no bombs. Clever Wilks!
But not clever enough to kill Spears...
Spears has a certain amount of respect for Wilks, so he's not exactly miffed that they got away. To be honest, Spears is really only fixated on his Alien troops. Landing in a rainy South Africa, he ensures that his cameras will cover the most dramatic angles for his entry into the history books, and rallies his troops.
But they're not having any of it, seemingly bored with the proceedings. Never one for disobedience, Spears summarily executes Friendly Alien No. 15 with a sword, and tries to do the same to No. 9 with his revolvers. Should've brought a pulse rifle along with you, General Spears, as this has no effect whatever.
The Queen then emerges, distinctly unimpressed by Spears' threats about burning Eggs and the like. She picks him up and decapitates him, then heads off into the African horizon with her children, Born Free playing in the background. It's all so beautiful.
So what happened there, Orona? Those Aliens were behaving just like Wilks at the dinner table, smiling at Spears, doing his bidding, all the while planning and plotting behind his back. Then they chose their time to strike to perfection, doing the one thing Wilks failed at, killing Spears. How like dogs are they now, Orona? They own Planet Blow Job, they're waiting for another ecosystem to flourish on Planet Alien, and they're free to roam on Earth. Pretty darn smart if you ask me.
Spears death is watched by Wilks and Billie from Gateway Station, where they docked after escaping from Spears' ship. Gateway Station has moved from its original point in Aliens, and is now no longer in high orbit but at L5. Maybe it was always there in the Wilks-&-Billie-verse, or maybe they decided to move it to a more stable orbit in the last decade. Points to Perry if it's the latter.
Wilks, while glad Spears is dead, is pretty pissed off that he didn't get to kill him himself. No surprise there. Billie's a bit disappointed, as she was hoping Spears could pull it off. Nobody takes Billie aside to tell her that there are probably a billion or more Aliens on Earth by now. Even if Spears' friendly Aliens had a hundred-to-one advantage against the wild strain, they'd still need to find ten million incubators - people or livestock - to birth the friendly Aliens and some pretty massive training regimes. It was always going to be a really bad plan.
And just then, Ripley walks in to the narrative through a crack between universes. Ripley!
Ok, in retrospect it seemed likely that it was going to happen just by the namechecking earlier on and the law of threes, but it's still a surprise. And it's weird, that scene at the end with the three of them, where we know that it should be Hicks and Newt and Ripley and the big reunion, and it isn't. But somehow it still is, just superimposed weirdly onto the Wilks-&-Billie-verse with weird consequences.
'You're supposed to be dead' says Billie, but she has no way to know this. Everything up to this point has been incredibly vague regarding Ripley's survival - she just disappeared into legend, no-one knows what happened to her. It's Billie who's supposed to be dead, in a crashed EEV on a beach in the arse end of space...
...And Ripley acknowledges this. 'From what I hear, so are you two' she says, and it's scary. It's like the end of a tv series of M Night Shyamalan film where everybody suddenly realises that they're phantoms, they've left the land of the living a long time ago. Everything seems charged with a high level of significance, some hidden drama playing in the background, Lost-style. 'I think we have a few things in common,' Ripley says, dead faces smile in silent agreement. Cold winds blow across Fiorina-161. 'The universe is full of surprises...'
Down on Earth, standing in the growing grass as the wind blows and the tide roars in the distance, a Queen and her children turn their heads to fully absorb the electromagnetic spectrum of the night sky. They watch a point of reflected sunlight trailing the moon's slow passage, and perhaps they know that it's an artefact, Gateway Station, or maybe they see it as another star shining serenely against the infinite blackness out there. A universe of possibilities out there, and a whole new world to explore around them. No more walls, no more reasons to hide.
If we were able to grasp the medium of their communication, if we were able to decode it and translate the songs they sing to each other, what would we hear?
Live free, and beauty surrounds you,
The world still astounds you,
Each time you look at a star.