Sign In


User Group
Join date
Last activity

Post History

The Clone Menace

The Custodians are animated by an unseen presence. Mounting a counter-offensive against the Mandalorians, they emerge from their cover spots and fire a concentrated volley of shots against the invading clones. Blaster bolts crash against the ornate armor plating covering the attackers’ bodies. The clones fall like sheaves of wheat against the reaper’s scythe. Hollers of anguish are the last cries of the suicidal warrior zealots, their armor suits clanking knee-first against the hard tiled ground.

After a few tense moments of silence it is clear that the enemy’s reserves in this sector have been exhausted. Obi-Wan severs his battle meditation by re-opening his eyes. The other men look around in momentary bewilderment, as if awakening from a vivid dream. Kenobi asks to use one of the Custodians’ commlinks. He communicates with Raffe, still performing his duties in the war room. The lieutenant tells Obi-Wan that Bail Organa refuses to leave the Palace, even though a Mandalorian gunship has landed on the balcony outside the throne room.

Kenobi scowls at this news. The warlord can now do anything he wants to the King. “Mereel will not stay”, Obi-Wan declares. “We will continue our fight from the shadows. We will strike at the occupiers from below, as did the Killiks of old.” Kenobi informs Raffe to initiate the backup protocol. The tunnel leading to the Redoubt will be caved in by detonation packs when the General and his party of Custodians makes it to the fallback position.

In the throne room, Bail Organa stands in front of his guards with his arms spread out to his sides. The Custodians have their hands on their heads in a gesture of surrender. Bail implores the aggressor to destroy him alone and let his people go. A bead of sweat travels from his tussled hair to his prominent brow.

Facing the King stands Jaster Mereel, the great conqueror from Mandalore. Cape flowing in the breeze from the open balcony doors, Mereel lifts up his heavy repeater rifle. The weapon is carried aloft on a harness chained to hooks on the outer shell of Mereel’s armor. Its heft enforces the gravity of the steps Mereel takes towards the captive King. His Mandalorian honor guards stand at the ready behind him, deadly sharp vibroblades unsheathed and ready for slaughter. Mereel tells Bail, “You may yet prove useful in my designs.”

Bail tells the conqueror through a harsh whisper, “Might does not make right.”

Jaster Mereel smiles. “When I dine from the skull of the Chancellor, perhaps you will change your mind.”

To be continued.

X-COM Chronicles: Citadel of the Dragon

I just got done with another playthrough of Enemy Unknown and decided to try my hand at X-COM-based fan fiction. The overall idea is a slightly more nuanced and realistic portrayal of how an organization X-COM would operate if it actually existed in real life, how it would be created, how world governments would react to the news of an alien invasion, etc. What I have written below is an outline for how the first part of the story will go. I am not sure which medium would be best suited for this...I've vacillated between a series of YouTube shorts and a series of novellas. The reason for these choices in media is my belief that the story possibilities of the X-COM universe lend themselves really well to some kind of episodic format. 


Here's the beginning of the first installment.


Our story begins on a rainy night in the city of Shanghai.


Shaojie Zhang, a low-level Triad gangster, drives his flatbed truck through the wet, crowded streets. Zhang wishes the windshield wipers could wipe away the people, cars, and bikes in front of him, not just the raindrops on the glass. In the truck’s back compartment, several of his “associates” sit huddled around a sealed crate of American-made weapons. It is his job to smuggle this cargo into war-torn Russia by any means possible. All he has to do is reach the bribed government agent and exchange the guns for a few kilos of confiscated opium. Such a trivial job that it seems like an insult for a man of his bloodline.


The truck passes through a busy intersection when Zhang hears a thunderous slam to his left, accompanied by the bright orange flash of a gas explosion. People on fire run through the streets, dispersing the crowd in some places and clogging it up in others, in a futile attempt to put themselves out in the rain...but the rains have stopped.


Zhang peers up through the driver’s side window. The sky is obscured by a massive object hovering just above the city block. Columns of light spill out from the anomalous object’s underside.


The panicking and screaming in the streets builds to a violent crescendo. Zhang floors the gas pedal and repeatedly honks the horn. In the truck’s back compartment, he hears his comrades arming up. 


Zhang veers the vehicle sharply to the right to avoid the impact of a strange object dropped out of the massive craft above. It is a rounded cube-like feature made of a shiny metal, about the height of a man. The thing opens up from all sides, unfolding rigid flaps outward like the wings of an insect, revealing writhing white masses inside. 


Something climbs indistinct blur in the truck’s shaky rear view mirror...looking like a a hairless orangutan...with an eerie quality that Zhang cannot articulate in the heat of the moment...something unsettling about the way it crawls. What Zhang assumes to be its face carries a pair of bulbous black orbs...the eyes of pestilence...and no nose or ears.


The un-man extends a limb...a limb wrapped around something that reminds Zhang of a pistol...which lets out a blast of green light towards an incoming crowd of panicked pedestrians...causing several people in the impact area to be evaporated by temperatures as hot as a star…stirring the mass of people to turn and flee in the opposite more white forms leave the pod, spreading fire and ruin with their strange green projectiles. 


Zhang’s heart beats like a jackhammer. After getting some distance away from the strange creatures, he slides open the viewport separating his seat from the cargo compartment. In the rearview mirror, Zhang sees his comrades braced in firing positions, weapons pointed towards the cargo compartment’s bay door. He slides the viewport shut.


A bridge approaches overhead as Zhang rushes the truck through the rain-soaked streets. Trails of green light fly off of the bridge’s surface, signalling the creatures’ battle with the police. Another pod crashes down near the truck’s path, piercing the bridge and destroying several cop cars in the process. Two more creatures rush out of the shell and climb onto the hull of Zhang’s vehicle.


Zhang hears the sounds of screaming and gunfire in the compartment...only a few feet behind him. There are sick sounds of disembowelment...the smell of molten metal...and a cacophony of animalistic cries. His comrades are silent. Zhang feels the vibration of one of the creatures dropping down into the compartment. 


A metro bus covered in flames careens out of control, tipping over and sliding right in front of Zhang’s truck. The creature in the cargo compartment is smacked against the wall by the impact. Zhang slides a pistol out of his coat, turns around in his seat, and slides open the viewport. 


Inside the cargo compartment, Zhang sees the ivory creature recovering its footing amidst the bodies of the other Triad soldiers. The thing turns its head in a birdlike manner to face Zhang. He sticks his armed hand through the hole and empties out an entire clip. The monster dies gurgling in a pool of its own blue blood mixing with the red blood of those it had just killed.


Zhang turns back around and guns the accelerator once more.


The vehicle clears the chaos in the city and makes way for the outskirts. The strange presence, like a massive island in the sky, looms over the city miles behind. Intermittent blue flashes punctuate the orange tones of Shanghai in flames. 


To be continued.

The Second Clone War

"Hey, kid! Watch where you're swinging that!" Ben says as he ducks out of the way of Anakin's second strike with the fusion cutter.

The young man turns around regards the two figures with steely eyes. Recognizing no impulse to counter-attack, he stops brandishing the fusion cutter. Nellith disengages her lightsaber and says, "You're safe. We took care of the others. You can relax now."

Anakin's breathing still runs a little ragged, his hair unkempt from all the action. He sighs and asks after a long pause, "Where are we?"

"The D'Anjon Nebula of the Arkanis sector, heading for the Outer Rim. What is your name?"

Ben interjects, "Why, you're Anakin Redblade! I never thought I'd lay my own two eyes on you. I once gambled away a fortune betting against you, kid."

"Skywalker," the young one finally says.


"My name is Anakin Skywalker. And you are Captain...?"

"Clever little guy we have here. Captain Cortel, but you can call me Ben," the old smuggler replies.

Anakin turns to the Jedi Sentinel. The two lock eyes for a second before commencing conversation. She senses a tempest of mystical energies whirling behind his eyes. The Force is strong with this one.

"My name is Nellith Lars. I am a Jedi."

Anakin wears a look of faint recognition mixed with incredulity. "Jedi? Those are real?"

Nellith smiles and says, "Very much so. Let's get you patched up. You've had a busy day."


Cut back to the bridge. Everyone is under more stress than ever. Rodan is itching to battle the creature toe-to-toe. Calvin has to wipe his forehead with a towel so the fear-sweat on his brow does not drip on CISTR's console. Mack supports herself with both hands on a command table, fervently studying the layout of the Alien's last known location. In the back of her thoughts, she is bitten by the realization that their options for defeating the creature are quickly evaporating. Time is not on their side.


Hicks is the only one who can control his nerves. He is the first to speak up. "Calvin. Any luck with that mainframe?"


Calvin wheels around to face the group. "God, I kill for a smoke right now," he mutters while brushing a hand through his frizzed hair. "The armory's cleared. You guys said you have this thing cornered?"


Mack says, "Yes, we do. Now all that's left is to blow this fucker out into space. Some weapons from the armory would help."


Hicks asks Mack, "The old man was with you the whole time. Why did you let him go?"


"He was delusional! He wanted to see this thing for himself, or something. That fucker always was a little crazy," Mack says.


"Well, at least the thing's cornered now. Did you see it?"


"No, but whatever it was, it must have been big. I saw the hall where he went through a viewport, and he was just...gone. A little blood on the deck, but no body, nothing."


Rodan eagerly brandishes his weapon and says, "Well, what the hell are we waiting for? The armory's open, we can take this bastard down! What have you guys got in there, anyway? Rifles? Smartguns? Grenades?"


Hicks says, "Yeah, all that and more. But this ship wasn't made for on-board action. No ship is, really. We can't use the rifles or anything bigger, or we risk punching a hole in the ship's hull. That'd be bad news for all of us."


Rodan is flustered. "So what's the fucking point of opening the armory if we can't use the good stuff?"


"There's a bunch of sub-machine guns in there. Fully-automatic, forty-round clips, hollow-point rounds. They're not pulse rifles, but they put out a lot of lead and there's no risk of them blowing open the ship's hull," Hicks says.



Mack turns to the team's engineer, "Calvin?"


"Well, CISTR's mainframe's packing some serious encryption. You sure there wasn't another code-key lying around?" Calvin says.


"Yeah, I'm sure. They don't issue those to enlisted folk," Hicks says.


Calvin clasps his hands together. "Well, then. I've got some bypassing to do. This could take a while."


Mack asks, "How long?"


"Difficult to say, but I think it might-,"


"How long?"


Calvin sighs. "It'll be done before we get to Gateway. The system's multi-tiered. A damn fine piece of programming, that CISTR. But once I'm in, we'll have a lot more options."


Mack says, "Ok. You do that. Still got that laser torch?"


Calvin dutifully hands the tool to Mack. "Here's the plan. We've got to push this thing onto our cruiser. For that we should seal off as many pathways as possible."


The group goes over the plan using a schematic map of the various decks of the ship. Calvin says that he can break through the first few layers of CISTR's mainframe by the time they get back, possibly allowing them to send a distress signal to the USS Aimayer, another Marine vessel stationed over Earth.


"What about Portnoy?" Hicks asks.


"I'm coming," the old man says. He knows that this journey will be his last.


Cut to deck 4C. Hicks and Portnoy are carrying motion trackers, jury-rigged by Calvin from two of the stationary ones posted around the bridge. Calvin remains on the bridge while the other four people have gone out. 


Hicks and Rodan are on one end of deck 4C, the latter busy shutting a duct opening with his laser torch. 


Portnoy and Mack are at a door on the other side of 4C. Mack is focused on sealing the door shut. Portnoy waves the tracker around for any sign of motion.


Both pairs of people are in contact with each other as well Calvin over their headsets.


Mack switches the battery on her laser torch. Portnoy's motion tracker beeps with the haunting sound of movement. He asks over his headset, "Hicks, are you boys in the starboard maintenance alcove? Over."


"That's a negative. We're sealing off the provisions storage room. Over."


Mack's heart tenses up when she hears the transmission. She tries to calm herself so she does not accidentally burn her own finger off with the laser torch. She was always better at close-quarters combat operations than welding duty; it was part of the reason she went to W-Y private security.


Her tangent thoughts go away when she notices a curious silence behind her. She turns around after having finished the welding job. 


Portnoy is gone. 


"Doc? Doc? Hello?"


Nothing. Just the steady hum of the ship's reactor.


"Shit," she quietly mutters. Her teeth start grinding in panic, causing her jawbones to jut out slightly. "Calvin? Got a reading on Portnoy? Over."


"Negative, sir. His reading's just...gone."


Mack's breathing becomes more and more like gasping. She had never actually seen a creature like this before, but based on Ripley's should be the size of a man by now.


"Mack, I've got something," Calvin says, almost causing Mack to erupt in a spasm of tension-fueled surprise.


"Fucking Christ, Calvin. What is it?"


"Portnoy's back. What in the hell is he doing?"


Portnoy's channel switches on with activity. "I can't take it anymore," he says.


Calvin stops typing for a minute. "Doc! What's your status?"


"I'm finishing what I've started, son. This thing isn't getting off the ship. Good-bye," Portnoy cryptically replies. On the bridge, Calvin witnesses the channel shut off for good. 


In the dark depths of 4C, Portnoy ambles through carrying the motion tracker at his hip. He tosses aside the headset and continues in the direction of the Company ship. Small yellow emergency lights illuminate points along the edges of the corridor, but still leave vast swaths of impenetrable darkness. The doctor remembers the bodies that lay here only a few hours ago. He realizes that since he chose to condemn the little girl to death, he has to answer for what he has done.


"Newt!" the old man calls out repeatedly. The motion tracker is silent except for its regular pinging sound.


"Come out, come out, wherever you are!" Portnoy's taunts are interrupted when he steps on something squishy. He tries to free his foot from the floor, but he must pull hard. He kneels down with the caution for his leg joints. He manually pulls aside sticky strands of the filmy material. "My god," he whispers. Sheddings. These must be the sheddings he was briefed about.


He pulls his foot away from the material strand by strand. But then the motion tracker rings with a signal a dozen or so meters behind him. Then it is gone. Portnoy did not get a good look at the signal, but there was something about that irked him. Almost as if the creature knew it was being tracked. 


Finally it dawned on the old doctor. He was being hunted.


He knew it was already too late to run. Even if he wanted to run, he was too injured and frail to do so.


Portnoy starts stepping backwards holding the motion tracker out in front, eagerly awaiting the slightest signal. Nothing.


"Little girl! Come, Newt!" he calls out again.


The tracker emits a beeping sound and Portnoy gets a clear look. The signal is not well-defined, but it looks like a blob that changes shape. Erratically.


Now this did not fit with the description in the briefing. Portnoy could not make sense of the tracker reading on the assumption that the creature hunting him was humanoid. It must have a different body shape. But what?


Ten meters.


The old man picks up the pace as the signal edges closer and closer. He peers around in the dimly-lit spaces and wonder just where it could be hiding.


Nine meters.


Portnoy has to feel his way around the hallway with one hand while holding the tracker with the other. His steps are hampered by leftover strands of skin shedding stuck to his shoe.


Eight meters.


A gas pipe lets out a burst of white fumes. The old man nearly has a heart attack from the surprise.


Seven meters.


The signal is getting more focused. Where once it was a blob, the reading on the motion tracker has now morphed itself into a narrow shape. 


Five meters.


Portnoy suddenly regrets sacrificing himself. He wants to go back to the safety of the bridge. He wants out. He doesn't want to die like this.


Three meters.


He sees it. Some kind of creature. A dark looming mass covered in what looks like saliva.


The dark shape unfurls itself onto the floor. It was hiding in the mess of conduit piping and feed lines somewhere above Portnoy's head.


Portnoy's breathing becomes constricted. All the air has left his lungs.


A hissing sound fills the old man's ears. But it is not like any hissing sound he ever heard on Earth. It is at once too mechanical- and too organic-sounding.


The shape rises from a bundled position on the floor, rearing what Portnoy can only assume is its head. Sharp, lethal-looking black projections emanate from the beast's back and sides. Its head seems unnaturally elongated, lacking any discernible features except for a terrible mouth filled glistening, needle-sharp teeth.


Portnoy is frozen on the spot. He cannot even turn his gaze away from where it had settled, somewhere to the creature's side. Out of the corner of his vision, he sees that the Xenomorph is a giant serpent. One vestigial arm hangs limply off to the side. The torso is thick and muscular. The beast undulates like an angry cobra.


The old man starts tearing up. His mouth-breathing becomes loud and ragged.


The creature opens its maw above Portnoy's shaking head. The old man relieves himself and starts muttering panicked apologies and prayers. "Why? Why? Why?" he asks himself crying.


The small mouth inside another mouth springs out and breaks open the man's skull, eagerly biting into chewy, salty human brain matter. Portnoy screams. Blood flies out and splatters the creature, then runs down the old man's face. He is dead before he hits the floor. 


Hicks lets out a rueful chuckle. “Well, son of a bitch...when were you going to tell us about that?”

Rodan says, “You were a prisoner, Corporal. Just let it go.”

“‘Let it go?’ I don’t think that’s gonna cut it. Now we’ve got one of those bastards crawling around on a ship that’s headed towards Earth. And you just torched our best chance at wasting it.”

Rodan jabs Hicks’ eyes with his own. “Soldier, if you and the lady were so tough, we wouldn’t be having this conversation in the first place.”

Hicks raises his voice and steps towards Rodan, “Well I’ve got a half a mind to-”

“HEY. GUYS,” yells Mack over the two bickering men. The two turn to her.

“Now’s not the time. You can settle your dick-measuring contest later. We need to start sealing doorways and blocking off air ducts. Whatever it takes to corner this fucker,” Mack says.

Hicks regards Rodan for another tense moment, then settles himself down. “Ok. What exactly is the plan here?”


Hicks becomes visibly angered and perturbed at the arrival of Portnoy. He holds himself back from physically striking the old doctor, instead shooting the man with an intense death-glare.

“What were you thinking? A child?!” Hicks exclaims.

Portnoy leans his head up and cringes his eyes shut. He seems on the verge of tears. “It was on O’Neill’s orders, son. He was the Company man. You don’t ask questions of the Company!”

Mack eyes the two inquisitively, then settles on a question. “How was that thing supposed to be contained anyway?”

Portnoy sets his head back down and sighs. “Before Lieutenant Ripley rudely interrupted my procedure, I was about to administer an injection to paralyze the girl and slow down her metabolism.”

Hicks asks, “And what was that supposed to do?”

Portnoy exhales sharply through the nose. “Were you out sick for that day in biology class, son? If the girl’s metabolism could be slowed down, then that thing inside her would stay dormant. We’d have plenty of time to lay her in a pod, ship her to our doc team planetside and pull the little sucker out of her safely.”



Hours have passed since the birth of the creature. The bodies of the three dead are tumbling through space in sealed burial capsules. 


Hicks, Mack and Calvin have holed up on the bridge, the most secure area of the ship. Perimeter-mounted motion trackers, feeding off of the ship's fusion reactor, keenly listen for activity. Rodan and Portnoy are still in the infirmary, treating the old man’s injury.


Hicks determines that CISTR has sealed the armory door shut due to the lockdown, rendering the weapons inside completely inaccessible. He does not have the code-key needed to retrieve the weapons. Lieutenant Gorman carried them at the time of his death. As of now the survivors’ only defenses are Rodan's flamethrower and Mack's pistol. 


Because she is the highest-ranking official on the ship, command falls on Mack's shoulders. She decides that the original mission has gone FUBAR*. Their priority now is to eliminate the creature and make it off the ship alive so they can expose what the Company has tried to do.


Calvin tells the others that in order to defeat the Alien, he has to hack into the locked portions of CISTR’s mainframe. In the absence of Lt. Gorman’s code-key, that is the only way to access the weapons in the armory, as well as directly control the ship’s sub-systems such as communications and navigation.

The bridge door slides open. Rodan helps Portnoy walk into the room, the old man’s arm draped around one of Rodan’s massive shoulders. Portnoy sets himself down on a console chair. He carries a look of remorse for what happened to the little girl.


*FUBAR stands for "Fucked Up Beyond All Repair"


Yellow lights flashing. Sirens blaring. Thick clouds of white smoke obscuring the air of the cramped hexagonal corridor. CISTR repeatedly announces over the ship's intercom, "Attention, all Marines. Security breach on deck 4C. All personnel must enter lockdown positions. This is not a drill."

Ripley finally arrives at the opening where the Company ship attached itself to the Sulaco. She leans Newt's head away from her shoulder and she starts violently coughing and convulsing. 

Ripley's eyes widen until they are they are the size of saucers. She is breathless and speechless at the realization of what she is witnessing. Her knees turn to jelly and she drops down to the floor. Newt's head violently jerks back and forth. Ripley sobs.

The little girl's movements threaten to wriggle her body away from her second mother's cradling arms. She squeals in continuous, wrenching pain for close to a minute.

Ripley becomes manic, completely unhinged from reality. "NOOOOO! GOD NOOOOOO!" she screams at the Xenomorph gnawing its way out of the little child. Her protests devolve into wordless howls. Intelligible language ceases to be of any use.

Newt gasps a horrible sucking sound, like the sound of a malfunctioning respirator. One final thrust of her chest leads to an explosion of blood above her solar plexus. Ripley's face is smeared in the visceral bits of her own adopted daughter from LV-426. She cannot bear to hold the body of the little girl anymore, collapsing down in a heaving, sobbing, screaming mess.

The Chestburster squawks in newborn agitation, tiny limbs hanging at its sides like remoras, caked in a bloodied, transparent membrane of human tissue matter. It slithers out of the girl's body, dislodging a few tendons, rib bones, and other parts with a sickening, sludgy sound. The foul thing disappears into the congested, smoke-filled surroundings of the corridor, towards parts unknown.

Ripley sits sobbing on the floor when a nearby door slides open. O'Neill appears followed by Rodan. Ripley's sorrow turns to animalistic rage as she leaps at the portly Company executive and wraps her bloodied hands around his neck. The pair rests against the wall, locked in a mortal struggle.

"Get her- get her off!" O'Neill pleads to Rodan. 

Rodan slings his flamethrower over his shoulder and tries to pull Ripley back away from O'Neil, but her position holds more leverage. She shrugs off his attempt to seize her.

And with one last death-grip of anger-propelled strength, Ripley snaps O'Neill's neck like a twig. The man slumps over dead. She turns around to face her other attacker.

But Rodan has already deployed his weapon at the hip. He lets loose a torrent of fire at the crazed Ripley. She falls back on top of O'Neill's body and manically convulses and screams while fully aflame. Now both she and the executive are burning. Rodan lets out another flame burst and silences her for good. The bodies remain on fire.

Mack strides in with her pistol at the ready. She brings her weapon down o seeing the threat having been burned to death.

Her first reaction is "...fuck."


Cradling Newt in one arm, Ripley rushes to the other door leading out of the infirmary. Portnoy barely recovers his voice as Rodan strides in with his flamethrower. Thinking on her feet, Ripley grabs a beaker full of disinfectant liquid with her free hand.


"She's got the girl, over there!" the doctor croaks, aimlessly waving an arm in the general direction of the two escapees, trying not to lose his fragile balance.


Rodan clicks his weapon's sparker, causing a small flame to simmer at the end of the muzzle. "Stop right there. You can't escape!" he yells with the roar of a lion.


After the door closes behind her, Ripley pries open the insulation on an adjacent control panel and douses the complex innards with the beaker of disinfectant liquid. Sparks fly out of the circuit board and wire bundles. A llight on the door frame changes from green to red, signifying a critical electric failure. 


On the other side of the door's viewing glass, Rodan can be seen trying to slide the door open manually. He grunts and brings all of his strength to bear, but the door will not budge. Rodan lets out a curse and exits the infirmary through the other door, determined to find another way to get to Ripley.



Ripley slides open the door to the infirmary. She sees Portnoy standing over a dazed Newt, her limbs no longer tied to the rails of her stretcher. The doctor is readying a syringe of an unidentified chemical when he spots the panicked Ripley.


"You're not authorized to be here. Security!" he yells and points with a wiry finger.


Ripley tosses the old man onto his side with a single powerful flail. He topples an entire cart of medical equipment and knocks his aged hip bone against the cold steel of the Sulaco's deck.


"Ripley!" cries out Newt when she comes to in the midst of the noise and commotion. She gets up out of the stretcher and rushes to hug her protector.


"Newt! You're going to be fine," Ripley says with a bead of sweat trickling down her throbbing temple.


The little girl turns to her second mother. "Ripley...I don't-," she coughs dryly several times, "-feel so good."


Ripley brushes aside Newt's hair and tries to protect her from the the panicked, fast-paced mood of the moment. "You're going to be OK. We've got to get off this ship. Just follow me, Newt."


Hicks and Ripley are running through a corridor towards the infirmary. Emergency lights are flashing, alerting the other crew members that their prisoners have escaped.

Behind the pair, a door slides open. In strides Mack, pistol at the ready. She takes aim, but the two targets rush into alcoves on opposite sides of the hallway. Mack lets loose a torrent of lead that creates sparks on impacting the ship's inner walls. A couple of bullets penetrate vapor lines and let loose rapid jets of pressurized gas.

Hicks urges Ripley, "Go! Get Newt! I'll hold her off!"

"We can't go without you, Dwayne!" Ripley yells over gunfire.

"Just go, Ellen!"

Ripley chokes back a tear as Hicks charges into the open hallway.

There is a lull in the gunfire as Mack reloads her weapon, but Hicks tackles the mercenary before she can complete the task. As the two exchange furious punches, kicks, and throws, Ripley hurries forth towards the infirmary.


Hicks reaches into his left boot and pulls out a small dental probe, swiped from the infirmary while Portnoy was not looking.

"What are you doing?" Ripley asks.

"Getting us out of here," Hicks says as he carefully reaches past the bars of his cell with the odd-shaped instrument. After a few seconds of twisting and turning, the lock disengages with a clicking sound. Hicks pushes open the door and gets to work liberating Ripley.

"Now listen, Rip. I just tripped the silent alarm by breaking out. If these Company guys have access to the bridge, then CISTR's gonna alert them that we've escaped." Hicks says.

"CISTR?" Ripley asks.

"Command Interface and Synthetic Tactical Rendering. Follow my lead and we'll get to Newt."

Hicks breaks through the lock on Ripley's cell. She rushes out and the two share a brief hug.

"Come on, we haven't got much time, Rip."

Hand-in-hand, the two run out of the brig.


The old man leaves the brig.

"Dwayne!" exclaims Ripley.

"I'm here, Ellen."

They both rush to opposite sides of the wall separating their cells. They clasp the ends of their fingers together, reveling in the brief respite from their continuing ordeal.

"What's the goddamned Company doing here?" the Marine asks.

"They want one of those things on Earth. They're working for Bio-Weapons, just like that bastard Burke. Are you OK, Dwayne?"

"Don't worry about me, I'm fine. I need to tell you something about Newt." Hicks says.

Ripley fears the worst. "Is she awake?"

"Yeah, and they're planting one of those things inside her."

Ripley gasps and lets out a painful tear. With her unoccupied hand, she covers her mouth to contain a sob.

"It's OK, Rip. There's still time. I know where she is. We can still get her out of here."

"What about that thing inside her?" Ripley says.

"I overheard them talking about how they got here. They've got enough cryopods on their shuttle to get all three of us back to Earth safe and sound." Hicks explains.

Ripley regains her composure, but her voice is still quivering. She sees the reason behind Hicks' plan. "Ok. And then we can keep her frozen in the pod so the Gateway docs can get that thing out of her."

"Exactly. We made it off that rock, we can get through this, OK?" Hicks says.

Ripley lets out an anguished sigh, trying to keep her thoughts away from the horrifying things the Company has done to Newt.


In the infirmary, Hicks wakes up and feels noticeably better. His acid wounds have healed at a remarkable pace. 

Portnoy wheels Hicks' stretcher towards the brig. Hicks turns his head to get one last view of infirmary, seeing Newt on another stretcher...with a Facehugger busy planting its egg inside her chest. 


In her cell, Ripley sits on the edge of her bunk with her head down. She is alerted by the noise of the brig entrance opening, revealing an old man (a Company science officer, by her reckoning) wheeling Dwayne Hicks on a stretcher. Ripley's heart skips a beat. Something like a smile briefly dances across her lips.

Per the old man's instruction, Hicks leaves the stretcher and gets locked into a cell adjacent to Ripley's. The two cannot see each other, but they can still hear each other.



Aliens: Hive War - an idea for an Aliens-themed FPS/RPG

I like to brainstorm ideas for RPGs and other kinds of games to keep my mind in motion during periods of relative inactivity (i.e. lack of work or studies).

There is one such idea I've been mulling over for the past few days. What if you could take the gameplay and skill-building mechanics of Alpha Protocol (and sort of by extension, the first Deus Ex) and use them to create an FPS/RPG set in the Aliens universe?

Right now I'm thinking that the player character is a female Colonial Marine named Corporal Bethany Munroe. You develop Munroe's skills throughout the game by completing objectives and killing Aliens. I'm thinking that the following should form the game's skill set...


Circuits - your ability to hack into computers, which enables actions such as unlocking sealed doors, opening containers holding valuable items (special ammo and medkits and other items), and even activate or change the targeting settings of automated sentry turrets. This skill also enables you to get more use out of electricity-consuming items like motion trackers before they need a change of batteries.

Mechanics - your ability to use a beam torch to weld plating onto doors (to create barricades against Alien incursions) and cut through steel grating (allowing passage to otherwise inaccessible areas, which can aid in completing mission objectives or finding useful goodies). Also, increasing Munroe's Mechanics skill decreases the chances of weapon jams.

Navigation - your effectiveness at using items that aid movement through the game’s levels and detecting Aliens; increases in your Navigation skill result in a clearer feed from Image Intensifier Goggles, the ability for Munroe to tune Motion Trackers so they can discern elevation and the exact source of movement signals (whether they are part of the environment or stemming from Alien activity), and finally brighter and longer-lasting flares. Flares have a variety of uses in addition to illuminating a small area. These include burning flammable substances from a safe(ish) distance (which can be useful for killing Aliens) to distracting the motion sensors of Turrets and Smartgun-equipped enemy Synthetics.

Dexterity - Your movement speed and reload speed. I need to expand this a bit more.

Toughness - Your maximum health and susceptibility to panic, a game mechanic that takes into account the frequency and intensity of Alien encounters and accordingly calculates reductions in the accuracy of your attacks. I need to expand this a bit more.

Science - Advancing Munroe’s knowledge of the Aliens’ biology allows her to create useful items from their remains. Example: a special pheromone that temporarily renders her “invisible” to the Aliens...or a leg harness made from the tendons of an Alien warrior (allowing Munroe to fall from great heights without incurring any injury).

First-Aid - Determines the kinds of actions you can perform with Medical Kits.

Rifles - Your proficiency with the Pulse Rifle and Smart Gun. 

Heavy Weapons - Your proficiency with the Skeeter Launcher and Phased Plasma Gun. 

Close-Quarters - Your proficiency with the Shotgun and Flamethrower.

Sidearms - Your proficiency in close-range engagements using a Pistol and Combat Knife (which are always equipped as a single item, are always available, and have unlimited ammo...but require a great deal of practice and skill to use effectively). These weapons offer no impediment to Munroe’s agility and are most effective against enemies that rely on ranged attacks (such as the Spitter [an Alien that attacks by expelling acid from its mouth], the Sentry Turret, and the Synthetic) and Facehuggers.


I know the system's not perfect. There are probably exploits and loopholes in what I've just described that I don't even realize right now, but it's the best I can come up with at the moment! More to come if you guys are interested, such as the plot, other characters, what kinds of enemies you encounter, etc...