Yes. This is the long awaited sequel to X-13. Be happy. I have a minor block on Return to Earth so I decided to post this so you will not be too deprived. Please tell moi what you think of this chapter so far in a handy little review; I can see all those lurkers, so be warned. I know where you liiiive… Not really, but please review anyway. I found out that Jhonen Vasquez is a fan of Aliens! Therefore, all Aliens stuff is now a million times cooler.
Disclaimer of Doom: I own nothing but X-13 and the personalities of various Xenomorph characters. They are all products of my deranged mind, so beware my characters for they shall kill thieves of my work. Umm, except for the creators of Aliens. They can steal all they want because they own Xenomorphs. That is all.
"Gentlemen, I have gathered you here to discuss an urgent issue." General Nigel Bowie said, addressing an assembled group of high ranking military and government officials. He pressed a button on the remote held loosely in his right hand. A large television screen behind him switched on. It displayed a graph. Numerous blue bars marched across the screen. At the end they spiked upwards sharply, turning red and remaining at that level. The red bars were also fairly uniform. "This is the missing persons graph for the town of Boil. Notice how it remains fairly constant for about a decade, then spikes in the last few six months or so?" One of the men raised his eyebrow and sighed in boredom. Bowie glared over his grey beard and pressed the button again. Another graph came up. This one was much the same. "And this is the missing persons graph for the village of Redlake. The same spike is also present." He started walking around the room, slowly making his way around the table. "And now the anomaly. Most missing people are children and women, sometimes young adults. Besides the fact that the number is abnormally high, all the missing people are men, usually between the ages of twenty-five and fifty-five. They are often single or without children. These two towns are approximately twenty-six miles apart. Rather strange coincidence isn't it?" General Bowie said with a smug smirk. He pressed another button. This time the screen was filled with the image of a glistening black, insect-like creature.
"This is a Xenomorph, often known as a Bug to less educated individuals." He gave some of the members of the military a smirk. "This variation is known as a Drone. It is the most common type." Bowie pulled a small metal rod from his pocket, extending it to several feet long and jabbing it at the Xenomorph's head. "Xenomorphs are blind. However, they possess fine hearing and a powerful sense of smell, comparable to that of a dog's. They have heat-sensing organs here, here and here." He indicated the forepaws, hindpaws and end of the tail. "They also have them on the head, especially near the mouth. Experiments have shown that they can sense a human by heat alone from a distance of over fifteen feet. Xenomorphs also have the most sensitive pressure detecting organs known to any creature, Terran or extraterrestrial. The only creature that has a system as complex as theirs is the shark. Even so, theirs are designed for water and they are not nearly as acute. The organs are set on the front, back and sides of the head as well as on the back spikes and along the sides like the lateral line on a fish. All these senses unite to give the Xenomorph a perfect picture of their environment. They are not fooled by camouflage, heat suits or by remaining immobile. Xenomorphs communicate by telepathy. This has been proven." he growled sternly, cutting off the protesting remark from the bored officer. "At least one Xenomorph is always near the entrance to the Hive. If something enters, all other Xenomorphs know instantly. Drones, while intelligent enough to solve simple problems, are not the brainiest beings. They are hampered by the fact that they share a mind with all other Drones and have no way to separate themselves from the collective. They do not think of themselves as individuals and never put themselves before the rest of the Hive. They are single minded and do not think creatively to solve problems. Drones born away from the Hive are more intelligent and even when placed back into a Hive, still have a sense of self. The other types of Xenomorph known as Runners or Warriors are only variations of Drones, caused when they breed in a different life form. Now, the next is called a Praetorian, also known as a Royal Guard, also known as one big motherfucker." This earned a few laughs, albeit nervous ones. The men gaped as a new picture filled the screen. It was much larger and more muscular, the head was heavily ridged, the tail bore larger spikes and a larger barb. While all the men had seen preserved facehuggers, eggs, chestbursters in various stages of development and parts of Drones, few had ever seen even a skull of a Praetorian. The closest they had come to a whole Xenomorph was a whole preserved Drone.
"Praetorians are much smarter than the Drone. They are much more aggressive and larger and much rarer. They share a mind with the other Praetorians and can block themselves from the minds of the Drones. They can solve much more complex problems, showing that they have near-human intelligence. They can even direct Drones in attacks. Praetorians have two sexes, unlike the wholly female and sterile Drones. Praetorians are sterile until the Queen dies, at which point the most dominant female Praetorian cocoons and metamorphs into a Queen. This only occurs when there are no Queen eggs or facehuggers. Praetorian Queens are slightly smaller and less intelligent, though only marginally. The reproductive rate is slower." A new image appeared. It was again slightly larger than the previous one, a small crest on its head.
"This is a King. This is what the male Praetorian will morph into when the previous King dies. Again, only the most dominant Praetorian will change-at least in the wild, though we have discovered it is more linked to which male mates with the Queen first. They have a definite sense of self and possess human-level intelligence. They can solve complex problems, though their thought process is sometimes hampered by their extreme levels of aggression and protectiveness." He pressed the button a final time. This time, several men actually gasped.
"This is a Queen. Her intelligence is human-level or higher. She solves complex problems with ease, when she feels like it. Queens are not the easiest to study. Her size also hampers her ability to solve problems." Indeed, the Queen was about the size of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. "She can guide Drones or Praetorians to aid her when she cannot do something herself. Queens are endlessly fertile-it is not known the limit of her egg-laying abilities. We do not know how long she can go between matings and still lay. Usually, when one is unfortunate enough to see a Queen she is suspended from the ceiling of the inner chamber with a large egg-sack attached behind her." He pointed to the egg-sack. "Queens can pull themselves free of this when the need arises. They only do it when they have no other choice as it is expensive energy wise, is painful to do and ensures that she must mate again before resuming her egg laying duties. Few have ever seen this happen and survive. Queens are linked mentally with all other Xenomorphs in her Hive. She even feels their pain. They can feel hers too if she is too distraught to block it from them." General Bowie shut off the television and stood back, looking knowing. A lesser ranked officer leant forwards and cleared his throat, looking irritated.
"Sir, we know all this. What is the point of telling us again? You call us down here to tell us about vanished rednecks and extraterrestrials that are a hazard only to planetary colonies? Some of us have important places to be, not in a refresher course for what we learned years ago. Sir." There were a few muttered agreements and nods. "Why do we have to know this?"
"Because," Bowie said, placing his hands on the table top and grinning horribly. "There is a Hive of these on Earth right now."