A Quandary

Co-written with Omni

January 1, 2184 EC // 7.3.6 SW
9:30/21 SW-CP-Local Time
Crowning Point > Residential Hex

The room was quiet, dark and a little cold. Shusett lay on his bed with his arms behind his head - then he began to think about the encounter and the woman Bangtail. He flipped to his feet and brought out his radio. He tuned it to the frequency that she had given him. "Bangtail come in, Bangtail this is Ladon. Over." After a few minutes of radio silence there was a response.

"Bangtail here, what is it, Ladon? Have you got those access cards for us?"

"Not yet - I need help with something. It's important!"

She cursed. "Yeah? What's up?"

"The Montero is here."

"Shit...figures." There was a pause. "That means they survived and they have our synth. He's a liability. We need to either recover it or destroy it." A pause. "If they manage to hack into his memory, all of our info is out there and our cover is blown."

"I can do that but I need to know what I am working with here. Colony security won't make an operation like this easy! Tell me what you know about the Montero." Shusett complained.

"Well it was easy to board from space when the crew was distracted but with security on it, we are gonna have a hell of a time getting in and out. I can give you a schematic that we used to get around the ship. Maybe you can get on the repair crew? If not we might have to just blow the whole damn thing."

"Yes schematics, data, anything. I don't want any more problems."

"First, can you hack the ship's data or colony files and see what they know? We may already be compromised. In that case, we will all need to get the hell off this rock or go into hiding for a while." Bangtail explained. "I'll prepare my crew in case we need to ambush the security team."

"I can try - they are uploading all the new data that comes into the place into an APOLLO I installed. I know my way around but it might be encrypted."

"Good luck, Ladon. Bangtail out."

Shusett froze for a moment, he had to warn her off the creature. He didn't want to have to deal with any of the guilt of Bangtail losing her crew. "Bangtail, there is one more thing..."

"Go on."

"The refrigeration crates. You were lucky not to open them while you were out there..."

"Why is that?"

"Something got out, a creature. Like no creature I've seen before. It tried to attack me!"

"...You're takin' the piss..."

"Why would I be joking at a time like this!" Shusett sighed "Cowboy, it's all his fucking fault. How he gets everyone into shit while he sips whiskey on other planets I don't know!"

"Well, fuck me."

"If you or any of your crew see that thing kill it! I don't give a shit if Cowboy wants a living specimen, we're lucky the colony isn't in quarantine yet."

"Look, I don't know how dangerous those things are but if the crew of the Montero survived, maybe it's nothing to worry about."

"Just be careful: you, your friend Cham and even the other girl."

"Don't worry about us, Ladon. Take care of yourself. If we get out of this, maybe we can all take care of Cowboy."

"I'd enjoy that. Stay safe friend, Ladon out."

"...tzzt..." The radio quietly blurted white noise. Shusett looked around his room, he'd need to act fast on getting what information the colony already had on the Montero. He got up and threw his raincoat over himself.

Shusett had made his way to Administration. There was a server terminal that Shusett knew his way around; it was running off his APOLLO replacement to the colony's MOTHER AI. He didn't know what it was but when he was hacking the terminal it was like he was possessed, running at double his usual speed. A vast collection of files he'd never before had access to appeared on screen. He had access to countless emails never intended for his eyes. He learned of a Colonial Marshall who had Admin worried; worried that he won't play ball. Then there were names he'd never seen or heard before: a Michael Bishop of Anchorpoint Station, the crew of the Montero. He discovered that this Bishop character had ordered the ship to reroute to the derelict to acquire the biological specimens. They were looking for something over a century old.

Then he found more things he was never meant to see, he took a quick glance at a book titled Space Beast*1 by a convict Robert Morse. Then he found a way to access the Weyland Yutani report, a vast archive of secret knowledge. He started looking for data on the strange creature he had faced, the origins of such a thing, the name. He slowly typed in the physical details of the thing that had etched itself forever in Shusett's nightmares. Then after the computer slowly rolled through tons of tape's worth of data there was a result:

Facehugger (Manumala noxhydria) is a parasitic form relating to Xenomorph XX121 that hatches from an Ovomorph designed for one task only—the implantation of a chestburster within a living host. Sickly yellowish brown in its flesh tone, a Facehugger has a small body, eight spider or crab-like fingers, two large breathing sacks, and a long and powerful tail which it uses to spring itself onto a startled host’s face.

//DATA BEGIN//
The Facehugger clutches its fingers around the victim's head, wraps its tail around their throat, and emits an anesthetic that renders the host unconscious, before inserting its proboscis down the creature’s throat. It is confirmed to have an outer layer of protein polysaccharides and a funny habit of shedding its cells and replacing them with polarized silicon, which gives him a prolonged resistance to adverse environmental conditions. It has no real offensive capabilities (beyond an ability to spit acid, which is generally only used to gain access to hosts and not for attack) and must rely on stealth, surprise or their victims being previously immobilized by an attacker to achieve implantation. Its blood is highly acidic, able to eat through two decks of a starship. Notably, a Facehugger dies shortly after its task has been completed.

Listed Sources: David 8, Ash - Science Officer of the USCSS Nostromo, confiscated medical reports from Sevastopol Station, three doctors on Hadley's Hope colony on LV-426, etc...
//DATA END//

Shusett quickly closed the file and went on his way, he felt a bit better now that he knew what that thing was. A Facehugger, an appropriate name he thought after what it had tried to do to him just a few nights before. Now he had to deal with the Working Joe on the Weyland Yutani ship and with what he knew now that wouldn't be easy.
To Be Continued...

1* SPACE BEAST

The book is a publicly made exposition written by a convict named Robert Morse, dealing with of an event that led to the closing of the prison and lead works on the planet Fiorina 161.

The man alleges an account of an alien “dragon” that overran the facility and brutally slew two dozen double-Y chromo inmates and their custodial staff.

The book gives credence both to talk of monsters and to rumors of Weyland-Yutani experimentation with bioweapons—indicating they were more concerned about securing the creature for further study than saving lives. According to Morse, the hunt to capture the beast had spilled over from an incident on LV-426, and anyone who got in the Company’s way was expendable—be they prisoners, soldiers, employees, or even colonists.

The book was instantly banned but illegally distributed throughout the colonies.

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