Alien:Rebirth

Ivy Kearney and Ellen Ripley aboard the USS Auriga. Takes place in Resurrection.

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2. Narrator POV 2

A small vessel, every bit as dirty and jerry-rigged as the Auriga is clean floats toward the military vessel. The roar of the engines is accompanied by heavy rock music.

     Piloting the ship is Hillard, a roughskinned woman in her forties as well as Rane, a slight and quiet guy. Behind them stands Elgyn, the leader of the group. He carries a kind of authority that doesn’t flaunt. He’s maybe fifty, with silver hair. He speaks into the vidcom, “My authorization code is ‘fuck you’, son. Now open the goddamn bay or General Perez is gonna do a Wichita stomp on your ass.” He switches it off.

     “Wichita stomp?”

     “I guarantee that boy’s never seen the inside of a woman. Bring us in on three-oh descent, ride the parallel.

     “Darlin’...it’s done.”

     “Don’t cut thrust ‘til six hundred meters. Give ‘em a little fright.” he walks out, running a hand over Hillard’s cheek. “Christie! Saint Just! Rise and shine. We’re docking.”

 

In the cargo bay, the largest space on the ship at two stories high, taking up the most space are two harvesters, big rusty hovering thresher roughly the size of Winnebagos.

     Elgyn walks in, looking over at Call. “Call! Call!” He switches off the music in the corner. “Call!”

     “What?”

     “We’re docking! Are the cargo trucks secured?”

     “I checked ‘em an hour ago.”

     “I don’t want ‘em so much as rattled. Any leakage, I take it out of your hide.”

     “Trust me, boss.”

     He laughs, “Not my style.” He leans under the thresher. Lying on a steel dolly, working under the machine, is Vriess, chief mechanic. He’s in his late forties, and in pretty good shape, considering  his being a paraplegic. “How’s it looking?”

     “It’s never gonna be pretty, but she’ll fly. The other one’s a total fucking write-off.”

     “You’ll make it good.”

     “Don’t be so sure. Call! Adjust the generator plugs!”

     “They just gotta run, Vriess. They don’t gotta run far.”

     Christie is up and mostly dressed. He is black, large, and has a military bearing. He speaks with a quiet, don’t-fuck-with-me authority. “What’s our status?”

     “We’re coming in,” Elgyn replies. “Time to enjoy a little of the general’s hospitality.”

     “Oh, great,” St Just complains, “Army food.” This one is slim, Asian, and the epitome of cool. He moves quickly and silently, a sly grin on his face. He is strapping a contraption to his arm. It resembles a derringer holder, but a very complex one.

     “We could use a rest, ‘til the heat’s off and Vriess can get those harvesters on their feet. This’ll keep us for a few days, assuming the natives are friendly.”

     “We expecting any trouble?”

     “From Perez? I doubt it. Still, be vigilant.”

     Vriess is working intently, extremely nasty blades of the thresher inches above his head. “I’m patched in. Check the sequence timer.” Silence answers. “Call?” A hand reaches toward the ON switch. “Call?” The thresher grinds to life, a hundred blades and claws spinning at his head. He wheels out from under quickly. “Goddamnit!” The second he’s out, he hits a lever and the back of the dolly flies up, forming a wheelchair. “Johner! You son of a whore!”

     Johner jumps down from the machine, laughing. He’s huge, mean, and ugly, with scars crisscrossing his bald head. “I thought I’d give you a haircut.”

     “You fuck!” Call jumps on top of the thresher and switches it off.

     “You should have seen your face. Vriess, you must have soiled yourself.”

     “One of these days I’m gonna kill you. Hand to God.”

     “Well, you already gave him your feet.”

     Call jumps down, “You’re a limp fucking scrotum, you know that?”

     “Either of you want a piece of me, I’m less than busy.”

     “Any time.”

     “Vriess. Forget it. He’s been sucking down too much homebrew.”

     “Don’t push me, little Annalee. You hang with us a while, you’ll learn I’m not the man with whom to fuck.” And with that, he leaves, swaggering through the door.

     “That inbred cocksucker.” He feels his forehead, pulling away blood.

Call looks up at the thresher. “I hate machines.”

“Well, now we know it works.”

As the docking bay opens to admit the proportionally tiny ship, the ship rises into the airlock. The doors close under the ship and pressurized air shoots into the airlock for a few seconds, before the inner door opens. The ship moves slowly along the huge dock to land gently at the far end. The top of the ship is nearly level with a grated platform that runs the length of the bay.

Three soldiers in full armor stand rigid on the platform. The hatch atop the ship slowly opens. One by one the crew files out. Seeing them together, you can see what separates them from the Auriga. They’re not wearing uniforms, spots of bright color shining through their gear. Johner’s bright turquoise bowling shirt. Elgy’s and St Just’s floor length leather dusters. Even Vriess’ chair stands out. What they do have in common is the toughness. The wary eyes, leathery skin. The cool readiness to kill. These guys are smugglers, pirates.

All eight of them emerge, filing past the silent, uniformed soldiers. The last one suddenly puts a hand on Johner, spotting a bulge in his jacket. A green sensor light on the back of the soldier’s glove turns red when he touches it.

“No projectile weaponry is allowed onboard the vessel, sir.”

Johner opens his jacket, showing the bulge to be a thermos. “Moonshine. My own. Much more dangerous.”

“Sorry, sir.”

Elgyn approaches Perez. “What, do you think we’re going to hijack the vessel? All eight of us?”

“No. I think one of your asshole crew is going to get drunk and put a bullet through the hull. We are in space, Elgyn.”

He enters the antechamber, motioning for the crew to follow him. Vriess comes abreast of a soldier. “Wanna check the chair?” He ignores him and they all file past.

“This place is really clean,” St Just notices.

“Hey,” Johner calls to a guard. “You got any whores on this vessel? Any loose women with bad eyesight?”

“I think you’ll find our accommodations somewhat Spartan. Although the cook sets a good table,” Perez interrupts.

“That ain’t what I’m hungry for.”

“What’s the matter,” Vriess mutters to Call, who is looking around her, somewhat tensely.

“I don’t like army.”

“Yeah,” Hillard agrees, “Join the fucking club.”

A stack of thousand dollar bills is dropped on a desk, then another. Perez and Elgyn are in a good sized room, decorated sparsely. “This wasn’t easy to come by,” Perez grumbles.

     “Neither was our cargo. You’re not pleading poverty, are you?”

We’re well funded. I meant the bills. There’s not many that still deal in coin.”

“Just the ones who don’t like their every transaction recorded. The fringe element. I guess that would include you, though, wouldn’t it?”

“Drink?”

“Constantly. I’m guessing whatever you’ve got going on here wasn’t exactly approved by Congress.” Perez pours two whiskeys before changing the subject. “So where do you go from here?”

“Out by the Handle. We’ve got a couple of harvesters, we can unload ‘em on one of the collectives if Vriess and Call get ‘em working.”

“Call. Where’d you find her?”

“She’s severely fuckable, isn’t she? And the very devil with a socket wrench. I think Vriess somewhat pines.” He smells the bills. “She is curious about this little transaction. You can hardly blame her. Awfully cloak and dagger.” Perez hands Elgyn his drink.

“This is an army operation.”

“Most army research labs don’t have to operate outside regulated space. And they don’t call for the kind of cargo we brought.”

“Do you want something, Elgyn?”

“Just bed and board, couple of days’ worth. If we’re not imposing.”

“Not at all. Keep out of the restricted areas, don’t start any fights and mi casa es su casa.”

“I trust, of course, that you can mind your own business.”

“I’m famous for it,” Elgyn grins.

The cargo is rolled down the corridor, armed guards flanking it. It’s wheeled into a chamber where Wren and a few others are waiting. Gediman looks on nervously. The cargo is locked into place on the floor and a guard works on the electric lock. It springs open and the guard slides off a side panel.

People are stacked on one another, five in all, in cryotubes. One by one, the tubes are hauled to one side of the room as the second unit is wheeled in. By the end, there are ten people sleeping side-by-side in the dark chamber. The last of the guards leaves the chamber and we see the door lock behind them.

Wren starts pushing buttons and the glass cryotubes slide open. Temperature and life gauges begin to change. There is a thick whirring as a part of the ceiling above the tubes lowers and rotates slowly. Stuck to the other side is ten alien eggs. The ceiling rotates so they are aimed at the cryotubes. For a moment, nothing happens. Then one man’s eyes flutter before opening. Suddenly, all ten eggs open simultaneously.


 

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