Alien: The Return of Ripley Part 4

Ripley passed the days in relative seclusion aboard the ship as she opted not to take advantage of Cryosleep. With the new drive technology, the Sulaco was expected to be at their destination in less than two weeks and with more than adequate supplies on board, it seemed a far better option to stay awake and prepare for what might lay ahead months deal with the nightmares that could possibly be waiting for her.

As they grew closer and closer to their destination, what little sleep Ripley could get was marred by horrific images and nightmares that seem to grow more intense and frequent with each passing day. Hicks have also opted not to use Cryosleep and visited her daily in order to go about their plan. Ripley was surprised to see that Bishop had accompanied them on that mission.

Hicks had stated that he wanted someone familiar along when he took command of the vessel and made sure to have Bishop repaired and upgraded as aside from Ripley, he believed in drugs the only person to which he could trust fully. It seemed odd at first think of the mechanical being as a person but Bishop had shown a range of loyalty and dedication that surpassed any flesh and blood being he had ever served with and in light of what may lay ahead he wanted every available option at his disposal.

Bishop informed them that inside the sector that they were quickly approaching lay a vast complex that through various covert means he was able to ascertain that it was a high level prison facility. Hicks found this to be very odd as did Ripley who thought it seemed like a lot of expense to ship and house criminals in such a remote location when there were maximum-security prisons much closer.

Bishop also informed them of a massive structure that lay just beyond the detainment facilities which would likely be the point of origin for the transmission that Ripley received.

Since they weren’t exactly coming in with an open invitation, Hicks plans to tell the crew that they were on a top-secret surveillance mission where their objective was to gather any and all data related to their surroundings and to return without detection at all costs. They’ve told not to initiate hostilities but protect themselves at all costs and at all possible to eliminate the use of deadly force against any civilians that they might encounter.

Hicks opted to send one drop ship down with Ripley and himself as well as small band troopers with the remainder the battalion and Bishop on board the ship.

They were instructed to check in every two hours and that should contact be lost for any reason their attempt to survey the situation and take whatever actions are deemed appropriate but first and foremost set themselves in the ship at all costs.

As she secured herself into her seat, Ripley recalled her last descent and a Marine transport and as she looked around the assembled group she thought back with a touch of sadness to Vasquez, Dietrich, Frost, Crowe, and even Hudson and the others who accompanied her and how full of confidence they had been despite her warnings of what lay in wait.
As the ship descended, a massive facility came into view. Had it not been for the advanced optics aboard the ship it could easily have been missed by the blind eye as the dark construction seem to fit perfectly to the background making it for all intents invisible unless you are standing within a block of instruction.

The team sent down the other side of a ridge and began donning their EVA suits for the journey to and from the facility. Should anyone on the ground question their arrival Hicks was prepared to call it a routine check of a possible distress signal. It seemed to be the easiest explanation for an appearance of their Marine unit and one that could give them a bit of deniability at least until someone attempted to verify their orders with a higher up in the chain of command.

Hicks was a risk that since Ripley had risked her life to save Hicks and his fellow Marines in the past he felt jeopardizing his career was a small price to pay.

Upon entering an access port, Hicks had his comtech Anderson attempt to open the door and bypass any alarms. The youthful tech was extremely good with electronics so much so that he quickly rose to the top of the class and it was considered a bit of a coup when he was assigned to help test and maintain the new systems on ship.

Anderson commented on the extremely high level of encryption that was well above even the most secure facilities yet he was as good as his reputation and in a few moments he had door opened.

Cautiously the team entered unsure of what to expect. Anderson and his fellow Marines flanked Ripley and as was this fashion, Hicks took point.

They made their way into a larger facility which appeared to be little more than a storage chamber. The dimly lit area gave the impression of the warehouse and didn’t seem anything out of the ordinary.

As teamwork toward the back room they passed racks of supplies ranging from foodstuffs to power cells, certainly nothing out of the way for a facility much less prison. An extremely thick steel door blocked their way and once again Anderson with his technical expertise was able to open the door which led to a much larger chamber. Although dark, but Ripley and Hicks saw immediately set them on edge. Hicks made a mental note to write commendations for the assembled members of his team is not one of them broke ranks or lost it in the face of what they saw.

Racks and racks of horrific looking creatures lined the walls in secure confinement.
A closer examination showed what appeared to be a horrific hybrid between humans and the Xenomorphs. If Anderson was able to patch into a terminal after several minutes of deep research discovered a file deeply encoded named “The Darwin Project”.

Further examination of the file indicated the company directive to infuse maximum-security prisoners with augmented DNA in an attempt to create a new breed of soldiers capable of combat missions in the most hostile environments.

Has Ripley and Hicks began to process information, their thoughts were disturbed by a blaster rifle fire which quickly took down three of the members of their team and force the three remaining Marines to return fire blindly amongst the dark and racks. Laying down suppressing fire they quickly made their way to another sealed door to which Anderson deftly did his magic. The intensity of the gunfire was getting closer and thankfully gigantic doors opened just in time. Upon entering the room, Hicks had Anderson sealed doors with the complex encryption that should allow them to buy some time.

Just when they thought they were safe for a moment, a bloodcurdling hiss originated from the far side of the room. Quickly on guard the team raised their weapons, Ripley included, and prepared to face what lay ahead. Hicks toggled the light switch to see secured before him gigantic creature, one that raised its swept head toward the team and upon seeing Ripley let out a long and fierce scream of pure anger and hatred as this was not the first time that the Queen had encountered Ripley and she had a score to settle.

….To be continued.