Bionational Internal Memorandum 385769.1/A, rev. II
OPERATION OUTREACH Progress Report:
Government vessel Benedict lifted as scheduled. Standard ship crew, plus Squads 1-4, Fox Platoon,
Company Able, 1st. Extee Division, Second Colonial Marines. Colonel H. S. Stephens,
Commanding. (See attached, personnel appendix, A.)
Bionational ship K-014 launched in pursuit, echo-lock, , full robotics & expendable EXP-series
android crew under the command of Executive Assistant, Security, P. Massey.
(Joel—You know the general layout of this, but I’ll recap some of the particulars you
might have missed while you were on vacation. The alien life form the guv guys want is the
big nasty, and naturally they’d like to score it for their own weapons program. Needless
to say this would compromise our own profit structure were it to happen. With the recent
Supreme Court decision on patentable life forms, vis-à-vis created versus discovered,
we might spend ten years in the fucking legal system trying to unsnarl this mess. So up-levels
decided that we should tail the feds to the home-world [the location of which is so damned
secret we couldn’t pry it out of anybody for blackmail or money] and get as much info
as we could. And, of course, we don’t want the feds to
get their own specimen. This guy Massey has his orders and he’s the best there is—he
will do whatever it takes to stop them. You probably have heard that Research got
its hands on a guy salvaged from a cargo express, one of ours, fortunately, with one of the
big nasty embryos wrapped around his face. The ship was cold, systems dead, but somehow
this thing had kept him in stasis, almost as if he’d been in a sleep tank. Hell, that
alone is worth a fortune if we can figure out how the hell it did it.
Anyway, both the crewman and the bug on his face were still alive, so they’ve been brought
to the Houston labs for analysis. We’re still way ahead of the feds on this, and already
geared up for full-scale testing. Start figuring out ways to spend your bonus, Joel, we’re
all going to get rich off this one. That’s it on the main deal. There’s some other
stuff in this memo the psycho boys are concerned about, so I’ll let you get to it. See you
for lunch Tuesday—Ben.)
The crew of The Benedict had awoken from hypersleep, soon approaching their destination. There
was, of course, a passenger on board not originally accounted for. The surprise took a while to
filter through to Stephens. Hicks wondered if the man would have noticed at all had not
the head count come out one too many. The squads picked it up right away—they
all knew each other—so Billie stood out for them. But Stephens was a chair jockey;
he had a list of his troops somewhere and couldn’t yet identify them by names or faces.
Stephens inquired about the plus-one on his roster, Hicks explained he was responsible
for bringing the extra person, claiming her to be a civilian expert on the aliens. Hardly
a satisfying answer for Stephens.
“I am going to throw you in the brig and scramble the code,” Stephens said, still
looking for who didn’t belong. “Sir, you could do that. But perhaps GENstaff
might be interested in knowing why the CO didn’t discover the stowaway before lift-off,
given that a final inspection is part of the CO’s duties. Sir.”
Hicks knew this was Stephens’s first field command and that he did not want anything
to mar it, make him look bad. Now was the time for his pitch. Stephens was pissed, no
doubt about it, but he had to be working the angles, trying to see how this was going to
look once he got home. Since Hicks wouldn’t bet a bent demicred that he was going to get
home, that didn’t much matter to him, but Stephens wouldn’t be thinking like that.
“Sir, if you could show that you were responsible for taking on a civilian expert, then there
wouldn’t be any problem. You buried a CMA code in your log, didn’t you?”
Hicks hadn’t been able to check Stephens’s CO log, the access commands for that were
beyond his abilities as a computer break-in artist, but he was fairly certain that the
colonel had installed a CMA—cover my ass—code so that it was dated near the start of the
mission. This was SOP among nervous officers, a simple piece of insurance that could sit
there unused, unless something wonky came up. It was easy enough. Log entries were all
automatically timed and dated; a CMA code was some innocuous piece of input, usually
a phrase that was related to whatever data were going in, but stilted in such a way that
it didn’t quite fit. If a situation arose that was unforeseen, the officer could use
the code to cover himself by entering new data and then referring back to the phrase,
as if it had been put there in anticipation of such happenings. Any lengthy phrase could
be made to say almost anything a bright computer wanted later, and the officer could swear
he or she had known about it in advance and covered it, but in code, so as to keep it
secret from prying eyes.
“Why should I help you?” Stephens asked. “Because, sir, you’d be helping yourself.
I’ll put the rumor out that our… discussion here is part of a clever subterfuge you worked
up, for reasons of your own having to do with some kind of secret military business about
which they don’t want to know. When we get back to Earth, you’re covered and I’ll
go quietly wherever you want me to go.” Stephens considered it. He didn’t like it,
Hicks could see that, but he was thinking about his future and that was the most important
thing on his agenda. “All right,” he said. “Trot him out and let me see him.”
“See her,” Hicks said. “Where did you get her?”
“I broke her out of a mental hospital. Sir.”
The matter was more or less settled. Newt was part of the team, despite Stephens' reservations,
and the hinderences that may have been presented regarding plans of his own, but arrival to
the alien homeworld coordinates was soon approaching, and there was little use in losing focus on
the mission at hand at this juncture.
Newt fit in about as well as could be expected. There were suspicions, and rumours, and confusion
about her presence. Hicks kept a close eye on her, even as it became apparent that Newt
slowly began developing a relationship with one of Hicks' grunts, Pvt Bueller. As the
mission continued, Newt reflected on the events so far.
I was standing at one of the viewports, staring into space. The light from the stars stretched
around the ship like glowing white neon. I was trying to remember my parents. All I could
remember was the blood. In the midst of this, what did Bueller see
in me? No one had ever shown interest in me before.
At first it didn't make any sense. Then I realized, he was like me. He knew how it felt
to be alone. Hicks gave me a schedule of token administrative
duties to keep me occupied during the voyage. Hatred of the aliens burned inside him like
an open flame. It was all that sustained him. He'd lost all sense of compassion. I shared
his hatred of the aliens, but suddenly our bitter quest seemed empty, almost ugly.
Bueller and I found an unused storage unit behind the engine compartment and met as often
as we could. It was all so new to me. Maybe Hicks had been hating so long - he'd forgotten
what it was like to care about someone.Maybe I had been locked away so long I'd never had
the chance to try. We stood at the viewport, staring into space.The light from the stars
stretched around the ship like bands of glowing white neon. The aliens destroyed my life once,
I couldn't stop them then- but I could stop stop it from happening again.
As the ship approached the alien's homeworld, I was overwhelmed by a hideous premonition
of death. Bueller and I spent every spare moment together. I knew he shared my apprehensions.
There was an air of desperation to our encounters, as if we didn't dare waste an instant. We
made love, that final day, surrounded by the bleak grey metal of the ship's hull. I remember
thinking how frail we were next to our machines. And for the first time since Acheron, I cried.
In his quarters on the chase ship, Massey sat seiza and concentrated on his breathing.
He had never learned to meditate as the masters did, but he could use it to calm his system.
Sure, he exercised his body, practiced fighting techniques, drilled over and over again with
weaponry, but these things brought him no joy. They were to keep him crisp, to maintain
his cutting edge, nothing more. Being in top shape was part of the business, necessary,
and he trained himself as if he were a prized show animal, proper diet, enough rest, technical
mastery as required, no more, no less. He was the equal of any serious athlete, and
against the few who might be in better physical shape or with faster reflexes, he augmented
himself with drugs or figured ways to cheat. If you wanted a man dead, it was better to
shoot him in the back from long range than to stand facing him like some holovid hero.
That was a fool’s game, and since the last man standing was the victor, it was always
better to slant things your way when possible. Soon another test would come. He must be ready
for it. So he sat, but it was not mindless meditation but mindful scheming that filled
him. In a contest like this, there could be no second-place winner, to be second was to
be last and to be last here was to be dead.
Pvt. Jones was taking her turn at the proximity sensor board. Ten minutes into her tour, a
bogie began blipping. She wasn’t deep in this kind of work but since the computer did
most of it, all she had to do was ask. She alerted Colonel Stephens. Jones said. “Sir,
the PS says there’s a vessel out there only a hundred klicks back and closing. The thing
musta blown a circuit or something, right?” “Could be an echo, that happens,” Stephens
said. “Run a diagnostic.” “Affirmative, sir.” Jones touched a button.
The image gridded, words sprayed across it, and the result came up almost immediately:
DIAGNOSTIC CHECK COMPLETE, ALL SYSTEMS FUNCTIONAL. “Damn,” Jones said. “Excuse me, sir.
There is a ship out there. I’ll sound General Alert.” Se reached for the red button cover,
started to flip it up so she could reach the alarm control.
“No,” Stephens said. “Sir, if that’s a ship we have to assume
it’s hostile to our mission, that’s SOP—” By now, Jones had turned enough to see that
Stephens had drawn his side arm. An issue softslug pistol. He shot her. Through the
left eye. Gore spattered on his coverall as Jones’s head snapped back and smashed into
the sensor board. “Sorry,” Stephens said, reholstering his
weapon. The colonel waved his hands over the com unit. “Stephens here,” he said. “Everything
is set. Prepare for docking.” “Copy that,” came Massey’s voice from
the com. “We are on the way.”
While General Alert hadn't been alarmed, the squad certainly felt the K-019's docking.
They went to arm themselves, only to find the loading mechanisms of their rifles had
been pulled, rendered useless. They were sensing a set-up. Colonel Stephens spoke on the intercom,
ordering all marines to report to the loading bay immediately. They were met with Massey's
ambush. The hatch slid up and assault-suited men sprinted
through the opening, splitting into two groups, one heading fore, the other aft. Two of them
brought their hardware to bear on Hicks: these were automatic shotguns that fired frangible
epoxy-boron-lead pellets. They didn’t have much penetration, but against an unarmored
human target, they were deadly enough. They didn’t call them splatter-guns for nothing.
Hicks raised his hands. The last man sauntered into the ship proper,
an antique 10mm recoilless Smith DA-only pistol in one hand. He waved the gun at Hicks. “Hello,
marine. New in town?” “Right on schedule, Massey,” Stephens
said. “Of course. I’ve got him. You can put
your piece away.” Hicks felt his guts twist. Stephens was a
traitor. He didn’t know who this Massey was or who he represented—one of the war
cartels, maybe, some corporation—but Stephens had sold them out.
Newt had been left behind by Bueller, and, not being officially part of the crew, her
absence was not noticed or accounted for by the team of Operation Outreach.
Once again, she was alone. And scared. Her thoughts raced.
For one brief moment I'd found love. One of Hicks' grunts - a Marine named Bueller...What
is it about life that as soon as you find something good - then it's taken away from
you? I could feel the panic rising in my chest,
choking, claustrophobic. My first instince was to hide - just like Acheron - just like
like Earth. That's what the enemy depends on. Human...Alien...they rely on that fear
to endure. It explained the resilience of creatures like
the alien. They don't understand fear. They don't understand anything beyond their existence.
I knew I would have to become like them to survive. It had been four hours since we'd
been boarded. Who the hell were they? Soldiers? Merceneries? It didn't matter. It wouldn't
have mattered to THEM.
She could see Hicks held at gunpoint, and Stephens executed. Massey's logic was that
if a man like Stephens would sell out his own crew, how much could he really trust him?
But there was still Hicks, yet again finding himself in command of a mission after everyone
who outranked him was dead. He tried to get information from Massey. Anything he could
"I still can't figure where the corporation found the balls to intercept a government
ship on a classified mission." "I think you'll find the corporation capable
of almost anything. We still believe in free enterprise -- capitalism. Your government
wants the alien lifeform for itself." "My government? You make it sound like the
corporation is an independant state. Jesus, those things destroyed Acheron. Think what
they could do on Earth--" "I have. We're breeding them. You'll stay
with me aboard the benedict. Your men seem to respect you. I might be able to use that."
"You've already got those things on earth, why not just kill us and be done with it?"
Oh, you're going to die. Rest assured of that. But I'm sure you understand the call of science.
We're charged with investigating the homeworld before returning to earth. Never know what
you might find. If their homeworld follows traditional patterns, there's probably some
sort of ecological balance. Predator, prey. Like Earth - Like you and me. The alien is
a remarkable lifeform, but it may not be the dominant species on its homeworld. A corporation
like Bionational succeeds by staying one step in front of the competition. In five years,
the alien will be obsolete -- passe'. We'll need to find newer, superior biological weapons.
We're fishing. Your marines are bait. "
Hicks' crew approached the Xenomorph homeworld. They were the bait, and were soon to see if
Massey's theory of Ecological balance held true. Surviving the mission was more of an
uncertainty than ever before. Whatever inhabited this world was a mystery, though back on Earth,
at Bionational's lab, there had been interesting developments. Dreyner remained invested in
their studies. He even kept a close eye on Reyne, who under was under constant survellence
in his new enviornment.
"Hello, again. It's Ostrow. Just checking in. The others have forgotten your sacrifice.
But I remember. I'll always remember. We captured it, while it fed on you. It seemed to need
that primitive animal kinship. While it acclimated to the artificial envornment, you were its
home. You gave it your body -- your life. At least you didn't die in vain. You would
have been thrilled with our progress. Originally, of course, we'd merely planned to study the
specimen while awaiting the return of the K-014. For once, we'd had a bit of luck. You
see, the creature we captured, was a queen. And that changed things."
In this series, I'm recounting the Earth War, as depicted in the Aliens comics series, and
the events leading up to it, as well as its aftermath. The accounts are explored as originally
published, despite certain names, locations, and other events having been altered over
time. If you missed it, the previous video in this series is Bionational Executive Assistant
Patrick Massey: A Profile. Stay tuned for the next video, about the Alien Homeworld.
As always, I'd like to Thank you very much for watching. I really appreciate it, and
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