There is still some time until I am away so I wrote this one-shot for fun. I do not own any of the characters or plot devices in this crossover fanfic.
WARNING: Implied sexual interaction. ( which means you will read on anyway … . )
On to the story …
Dumutz sat motionless before his desk, hands folded beneath his chin, and stared out through the large oval window before him.
Nothing but the blackness of space.
Then, a shaft of dim light shone up through the window into the dark room, and a thin, dim blue haze appeared at the bottom of the window, which slowly rose, giving way to the curved, horizontal golden horizon of a large planet.
"It's beautiful." Came a mild female voice.
"Yes it is." Dumutz slowly looked to his right towards the figure standing beside him.
Asht was taller and plumper than Dumutz. Most of the time she looked placid, but when she was in the mood for combat, even Dumutz had to keep away from her.
She grabbed a nearby chair and sat beside her partner. "Still, I don't get what it is that you came to find." She leaned forward with a lazy, disinterested smile, and propped up her face with her left hand.
"Oomans, what else ?" Dumutz replied in a jovial tone.
"I thought you are done hunting those weaklings ?"
" They are not weak !"Dumutz immediately blurted out. "OK, they are ! But I have been observing them for some time, and if you have seen what I have seen, you would never look at the Pyodhe Amedha in the same way again."
"Oh I remember … you still haven't given up on your pet theory huh." Asht's sardonic tone was tempered by her gentle voice.
"Just wait and see." Dumutz smiled, and leaned back as the huge black silhouette of the Earth filled up the entire view through the whole window.
The monster finally broke its own invisibility and materialized just a feet or two right in front of her.
Eyes wide and face pale, she screamed loudly, until there was squelch, and a splash of blood from below. Then she collapsed to the floor.
"Haha, now that was corny." Rave muttered and shook his head as he pointed the remote at his T.V and switched channel. There was a tired grin on his face, which was blushed from all the laughing. "Horror classic huh. Horror my ass !"
Well, it would be quite scary to a normal person, Rave reminded himself. And he would be frightened too, if he watched that movie a few years ago. Now, nothing seemed to disturb him, not after what he had seen, what he had become, after that incident in Antartica.
The damned Thing. He had made sure that it was killed. Barried it, blew it up, set the whole compound on fire. And yet, throughout all the action, he somehow got infected, not enough to override his own consciousness and turn him completely, but enough to plant some of the creature's own memories into him, which came back to him in recurring nightmares.
And then the Colonel found out, and wanted Rave exterminated. Of course it was easier said than done. They wouldn't be able to kill him unless they burned him up completely, and they did not know that, but all the chases and fights were taking a toll on him, and he was forced to feed on some people and assume their forms. He had no choice. Was it a crime to want to live ? Besides, he had made sure that they were dead before he assimilated them. He didn't want more copies of himself running around.
Rave shrugged off the thought, relaxed, and turned his attention back to the TV screen. It was showing a documentary on amoeba, and other "shape-shifting creatures". Rave chuckled at the irony.
Lil crept silently along the black roof of the two-story condominium apartment. The black outfit she wore made her almost invisible in the dark of the night, but still she looked around to her sides occasionally to make sure that noone saw her. Actually, it wouldn't matter if a neighbour or a passerby on the street spotted her. It was only when they started asking questions that things would start to get ugly.
The existence of her kind was kept a secret from the public. Supposedly, one or two decades ago, a group of researchers at SETI received a radio signal from outer space. It contained the genetic code of an extraterrestrial species, as well as what seemed like instructions to combine it with that of humans. The excited researchers complied, and the result was an innocent looking girl who grew up in a few weeks into a murderous but seductive predator that went around man-hunting and giving birth to more hybrids. Now, some generations later, her descendents were allowed to live amongst humans, provided that they obeyed the law, did not transform in public, and also … in the case of ones like Lil … carried out certain "errands" that would be impossible for normal humans.
Swiftly but noiselessly, Lil lowered herself into the balcony, and looked through the glass sliding doors that separated the balcony from the interior of the house.
The floor of the balcony extended past the glass doors for three metres, beyond which was a corridor leading to the rooms on the second floor. At the edges of this inner platform was a set of hand-rails, and a flight of simple stairs which led down into what looked like a large living room, dimly lit by a flickering blue light. A TV set.
Slouching in the long red sofa three metres in front of the TV was the figure of a brown-haired man in his late 20s wearing nothing but a pair of blue jeans.
Lil felt her heart rate increasing, and a mild warmth flushed up her face, followed by a stuffiness in her gut.
"Control, Lil, control !" She told herself. She took a deep breath … and was overwhelmed by the sensation.
"Oh, what the hell. They just told me to kill him by any means necessary. They didn't say I couldn't have some fun with him …"
She climbed over the balcony and leapt onto the ground below.
Rave jumped with a start as he heard someone knocking at the door. He glanced at his watch and sighed. "This late. Those military guys never give up." He stood up and walked over to the door at a corner of the living room, somewhere below the inner platform of the balcony. "Alright, buddy, close your eyes and endure the pain. It'll be over in seconds."
He turned the knob, pulled the door open, and gaped in surprise.
Standing outside, staring back at him, was a woman which looked around 20 years old. Rave looked her over from top to bottom. She was wearing black boots, tight black trousers, and a small black jacket which opened slightly along the middle of the chest. Black tops as well.
She was of medium height and she looked absolutely stunning, with long black hair, brilliant blue eyes, shapely features and almost flawless skin.
"Hey, um, my name is Lil and I live nearby. I couldn't sleep and I didn't know what to do at home, so I … uh … decided to come check on my favourite neighbour." The woman tilted her head and grinned.
Still enthralled by the woman's looks, Rave fumbled with his reply. "Really ? … I mean … I was rather bored too."
To his surprise, the woman raised a hand and pressed it gently on his chest. "You want to do something exciting then ?"
Rave felt his heart race, and for a moment he stood staring silently at the woman's face. Then he snapped out of his daze and recalled what he was, what he had been trying to avoid all this time.
"No, I am kind of tired, but you can come in, if you want."
Then he felt a violent push on his chest, and he fell backwards in shock.
Hidden among the branches of a tree, his camouflage enhanced by the cloaking device he carried with him, Dumutz watched the human female, or what looked like a human female, pounce through the doorway at someone inside the house. He had observed her for quite some time now. The other humans seemed quite at ease with her, but he knew that she was no ordinary human. He had seen her in her other form, and had previously come across others like her.
He whisked out his com-link, and spoke softly into it. "Asht, I think I have found our specimen. Get the shuttle to my location. Make sure it is completely cloaked."
He heard some faint bumps and thuds, and coarse screams coming from within house he was spying on. He slowly climbed down from the tree, and approached the open doorway of the house to get a better view of what was going on inside.
Rave kicked forward at the figure crashing on top of him in the waist, and sent it over his head. There was a thud, followed by the sound of someone tumbling over a large cushion, and then a bump which reverberated throughout the surface of the floor.
Rave slowly stood up. "Military guys …" He cursed. I was with the military too ! He finished in his mind. He heard a groan, followed by the noise of leather being stretched, torn and burnt. He immediately spun round and looked in the direction of the sofa.
He saw some steam arising from the other side of the seat, and froze as he heard a coarse, inhuman scream.
Then he leapt back in surprise as the dark figure stood up from behind the sofa.
It was Lil, still wearing her black outfit. There were some gaping holes in her trousers.
Her skin had turned silvery grey all over, with patches of black and dark blue in symmetrical patterns. There were leathery plates, scutes and ridges, and thin columns of ribs covering her arms, legs and waist. Her slender fingers ended in long sharp talons. In place of hair, she had several long, flowing, segmented tentacles which waved about gently behind her head. Her long eyes, which slanted upwards towards the sides of her face, glowed bright white.
Bathed in the eerie flickering light emitted from the TV screen, she appeared like she came straight out of a sci-fi thriller.
A smirk appeared on Rave's face. "So the Colonel's men have resorted to this huh."
Lil stared at the man standing a few metres in front of her, wondering why he appeared so calm at the sight of her. She hissed and growled, then leapt over the sofa towards him, knocking him over onto his back again, holding down his arms and legs with her hands and feet.
Then she jerked her head back and gaped, her eyes widening in horror as what looked like a four centimetre long vertical slit opened up in the middle of the man's forehead. His expression settled into one of deep concentration. What looked like a dark red eye emerged within the slit.
Then Lil's vision blurred, and she felt her consciousness fading away. Her grip on the man's limbs loosened as she collapsed face down onto him.
Rave heaved a sigh of relief, then pushed the limp body to his side, staggered up to his feet, and let out a yawn. Late, he thought, but I won't be able to get any sleep until I get this were-creature, or whatever it is, out of my living room.
As he looked down at the figure lying at his feet, he suddenly heard some faint footsteps behind him.
"Shit, I forgot that there was such a thing as reinforcements."
Then he felt something pressed up against his back, followed by a nerve-shattering electric shock, and he fainted as well.
When Rave next opened his eyes he saw nothing but a bright white light in front of him. Then he realized he was lying down on a hard surface. He turned to his left, propped himself up with an elbow and slowly sat up, crossing his legs. Then the glare of the white light faded and he looked around.
He was sitting at the corner of a small, empty room with dull metallic walls, floor and ceiling. It was lit up by two long phosphorescent light tubes installed into the ceiling.
At the corner diagonally opposite to his, there sat a female humanoid figure with silvery and dark blue skin, wearing a black jacket and pants. She held her knees close to her chest and stared across the room at Rave with half-closed eyes.
Rave waved and forced a smile on his lips. "Hey Lil !"
Lil blinked and did not reply.
Rave looked around. "So I guess you are going to take me back to one of your freak labs and cut me up huh."
Lil tilted her head and raised a brow-ridge.
Rave saw the puzzled expression on her silvery face, raised both hands and sighed. "No. I guess that means you are going to incinerate me right away."
At this, Lil leaned back against the corner of the walls, and smiled.
"Alright, that's it, I have the right to know what is going on." Rave shouted, then gave Lil a stern glare, and leaned back against his corner of the walls, waiting for Lil to pounce on him again, transform into a more horrifying monster … anything.
"I have no idea." Lil replied in a coarse, metallic voice.
Rave shrugged. "Ha. That means we are both going to get cut up in a freak lab."
The both of them laughed.
Then Lil kneeled, leaned forward, and crawled towards Rave. For a moment Rave froze in panic.
"Wait, believe me, I don't taste good …"Rave stuttered. Then he realized that Lil was staring at his forehead.
Lil noticed that the slit covering Rave's third eye had disappeared. "What are you ? What did you do to me, back at the apartment ?"
"It's a long story."Rave sighed and smiled. "Ladies first."
Lil sat down beside Rave, sending a wave of uneasiness up the latter's spine, then closed her eyes. The silvery and dark blue colour of her skin began to fade. The ridges and scutes receded. The tentacles on her head became darker and darker in colour, and split into finer and finer strands. In ten seconds, she was back in her human form again, and Rave felt more relaxed.
"Around twenty years ago," She began in a smooth, soft voice. "A group of scientists received a radio signal from outer space …"
Dumutz stared at the screen intently. It showed two humans, one male and the other female, talking to each other inside a small empty room with metallic walls.
"I can understand why you brought the female, but I don't see how the male has anything to do with this." Came the voice of Asht from behind him.
"I observed the female attacking that male. Somehow, the latter managed to subdue her. I have no idea how. There may be some things about the physiology of the Pyodhe Amedha that we have not known about yet …" Dumutz kept his gaze on the two specimens.
" Or which the Oomans have somehow acquired genetically, in a manner we are not familiar with." Asht finished his sentence for him.
Then Asht recalled something, and clicked her mandibles in anticipation. "So, when are you going to let them out ?"
"Just a moment." Dumutz replied.
"… and yeah, I assumed his identity and have been living in his apartment ever since." Rave finished his part of the story.
"Wow, that was quite an experience." Lil ran the tips of her fingers along Rave's forehead, still trying to look for that dreadful third eye.
This gave Rave a mild fever.
Just then there was a loud humming noise from the far end of the room.
Both of them looked over to the wall on the opposite side of the room, and saw a metre and a half tall rectangular section in its middle slide to one side.
Then both of their hearts skipped two beats.
In the middle of the open doorway, illuminated by the white light from the ceiling of the room, was what appeared to be the smooth, black, elongated head of some animal that happened to be standing right outside the doorway as the latter opened. It was roughly a metre long, thirty centimeters thick, and shaped like a sausage. Its upper end curved slightly backwards over the creature's back, and at the bottom of its lower end was a set of wolf-like jaws with sharp, grey teeth. It had no eyes, as far as Lil could tell.
Both Lil and Rave slowly and silently stood up, leaning close to the walls.
The Xenomorph sniffed the air, and moved further into the room. As it did so, more of its body came into view. It resembled some kind of carnivorous dinosaur, black all over. Its ribs and vertebrae stuck out, giving it an emaciated appearance. Its long, slender forelimbs ended in menacing raptorial hands. Its shoulder and elbow joints were like those of an arthropod, as if the creature had an exoskeleton.
It hissed as it approached the corner far inside the room.
"Knock it out ! Knock it out !" Lil whispered urgently with a soft squeaky voice.
"I am trying !" Rave squeaked back. His third eye was wide open now, and he was frowning heavily. He managed to make the creature feel dizzy, judging from its hesitant and unsteady footsteps. Yet he was finding it hard to completely hypnotize it. It felt to him as if the creature was in contact with some greater external consciousness which directed its actions and partially shielded it from Rave's psychic tricks.
Its face was now a metre from theirs. It raised its head and grimaced at the two wide-eyed humans standing in front of it. Growling, it opened its long, powerful-looking jaws, revealing another set of smaller jaws within.
Then suddenly, on instinct, Lil opened her own mouth wide, and what looked like a sharp tongue shot forward from within. In a split second it extended a full straight metre and impaled the Xenomorph in its exposed throat, all the way through its head.
Rows of spikes resembling shark's teeth protruded from the surface of Lil's tongue, which she quickly pulled back, jerking her head backwards as the spikes tore through the Xenomorph's insides.
Rave gave the creature a hard kick in the chest, and it fell backwards, screeching and shuddering, and spewing a small fountain of pale green droplets from its mouth.
Then it collapsed onto the floor with a reverberating thud, and remained motionless.
Rave closed his third eye and heaved a sigh of relief. He turned around to see Lil breathing heavily with a pained expression on her face, as if she just drank a jug of boiling water. Half of her tongue still hung outside her open mouth. It looked tattered and was bleeding profusely. There was steam coming from its sores.
"Ip burnth … Ip burnth …! " Lil screamed.
Rave bent down and put a finger onto the pool of pale green liquid spilling out of the dead Xenomorph's mouth. He immediately felt a painful stinging sensation at his finger tip, and a tiny puff of steam arose from where he touched the liquid. Acidic blood, he thought.
"That was … impressive. Not as flashy as I hoped, but still quite interesting." Asht tried not to sound too astonished from what she just saw on the screen.
"See I told you." Dumutz chirped.
"So, are we going down there now ?"Asht asked.
"No, not yet. I want to see what they are going to do with the rest of the Kainde Amedha."Dumutz grinned wickedly.
"What if you lose track of them ?" cautions Asht, as always.
And as always, Dumutz was confident of his plan. "No I will not. I have tagged them already. I have a fix on their location all the time. If they wander too far from the testing grounds, we will go pick them up. The tags also inform me of their stats. Once their pulses vanish, we can assume that they have been killed. Then we will go search for their bodies and return them to their homeworld. They deserve to be be barried in the soil where they were born."
"Yes, they do." Asht smiled.
"Do you think this was the guy … or whatever it is … who brought us here ?"Lil asked, after stuffing the last bit of her tongue back into her mouth.
Rave walked along the length of the Xenomorph's corpse, and marveled at its features. It had long hind-limbs which ended in digitigrade feet and resembled those of a giant bird or a dinosaur, only these were covered in black leathery skin, like the rest of the creature's body. It had a long, flexible whip-like tail which ended in a half-metre long spike resembling a slender, curved spearhead. Its tail vertebrae stuck out, giving the tail a segmented appearance. On the creature's back were four long blunt spikes.
"I have no idea." He knelt and pressed his right hand into the side of the creature for a few seconds, then stood up and turned towards the doorway. "Let's get going. Staying in this room won't give us the answers."
Then just as Rave was two metres away from the door, he let out an "oomf", as what appeared to be a large black spearhead pierced right through his neck.
"RAVE !" Lil froze and stared at the horrifying scene.
The spearhead quickly rotated itself, producing a sickening crack, and a splatter of blood, then it slid out of Rave's neck, leaving the latter to collapse lifelessly onto the floor.
Now Lil saw clearly what it was that had ambushed Rave. The tip of a Xenomorph's tail which had been thrust into the room from somewhere outside and above the door.
"He was going to be my mate, you bastard !"Lil screamed angrily as she saw the upside-down head of a Xenomorph peer into the room from outside.
A stream of heat flowed through Lil's body and she felt her skin burn. Then she jumped forward.
The group of three Xenomorphs standing outside the shuttle leapt back in shock as what appeared to be a female humanoid figure with silvery skin and braid-like tentacles dashed out of the shuttle entrance, swinging another Xenomorph above her by its head.
Lil slammed the Xenomorph onto the ground in front of her with a loud thud, cracking the spines on its back and smashing all the air out of its lungs. She sank her talons into the sides of its head, stamped her right foot onto its shoulder, then turned to her left and tried to twist its head off.
She saw the creature swing its tail over towards her and leapt three metres backwards, narrowly dodging its tail-spike.
Then she felt two large raptorial hands grab her from behind, and screamed in pain as a pair of wolf-like jaws bit into her shoulder.
Instinctively, she extended the row of spines along her back.
The Xenomorph screeched loudly and released its hold on its prey as the latter's spines stabbed into its throat, chest and belly like a row of long knives.
Lil felt some liquid splash onto her back, followed by an unbearable burning sensation there. She quickly bent over, throwing the Xenomorph forward, and sending it crashing onto its comrade which she had previously slammed onto the ground. Then she quickly ripped off her smouldering jacket and threw it away.
She coughed and staggered to her feet, waiting for the scald and bite wounds to heal. Then something hard and heavy struck her neck from behind, and she fainted.
The two remaining Xenomorphs bent down and sniffed at the unconscious female humanoid figure lying between them. She was still alive. One of them had merely knocked her out with its tail spike. Now all they had to do was to take her back to their Hive for impregnation.
Then at that moment they heard a gurgling noise, and both spun around to face the entrance of the shuttle.
Standing at the doorway, his back against the glaring white light from the interior of the shuttle, was the figure of a human male wearing nothing but a pair of worn-out blue jeans. His head was tilted at a weird angle, and there was a blank expression on his face, each of his eyes staring out in seperate directions as if looking at two different objects. There was a gaping puncture wound at each side of his neck.
Then his body started to shudder, and his face contorted fiercely, like a tin can getting crushed and stretched out again. There were some spine chilling cracks and squelches.
Then his skin turned dark blue. Blue worm-like tubercles wriggled their way out onto the surface of his head. His eyes turned deep red, and a slit appeared in the middle of his forehead, opening up into a third red eye.
His mouth stopped contorting as well, and settled into a circular shape lined with concentric rows of tiny sharp fangs, like that of a shark or lamprey.
His arms were now elongated tentacles each ending in seven long tendrils. An additional pair of similar arms burst out of his back and curled forward.
The Thing looked around. It was all dark and slightly foggy outside. The moon cast a dim blue glow on the rocky landscape below.
Four metres in front of it, there stood two lean black creatures, which the Thing immediately recognized to be of the same kind of animal which threatened its host back inside the room and also attacked him as he was walking towards the door. It gave out an angry, ear piercing screech and waved its tentacle-like arms in front of it in a threatening pose.
The two Xenomorphs slowly approached the blue skinned monster, undeterred by its weird antics.
The Thing bent its right arm forward and twisted it as if spinning a cord of rope. The arm thinned and increased in length. Its colour darkened as it slowly molded itself into an exact replica of a Xenomorph's tail.
The tip of this transformed appendage shot forward just as one Xenomorph reared up and leapt forward with a roar. The latter shook and hissed in shock as the spear-head like spike, followed by the rest of the black whip-like weapon, tore right through its chest, spraying out a mist of pale green droplets where the tip burst out of its back.
The other Xenomorph thrust its head forward and closed its jaws around the Thing's altered right arm, severing the long limb in its middle.
To its surprise, the tattered end of the portion of the arm still connected to the Thing bulged and split into what appeared like a metre-wide bluish-grey starfish, the underside of whose tentacles were lined with huge teeth-like spikes.
The starfish wrapped its tentacles around the front of the Xenomorph's head, and immediately crushed it, sending spurts of acidic blood in various directions.
"Aaaarghhh !!!" Rave screamed as he felt something burn away at his right hand. He quickly withdrew it and looked around him, then gurgled in shock.
Just two metres away from him lay the corpses of two Xenomorphs, both with their heads facing diagonally towards him. The one to his left was impaled in the chest by what looked like a Xenomorph tail. The one to his right had the front of its long head smashed to a blue green pulp, with bits of black leathery hard parts here and there, like a water melon crushed under the jaws of a very large mammal.
Six metres away there was another dead Xenomorph. Pale green blood oozed out through a row of gaping holes that ran from its belly all the way up its throat.
Then Rave became aware of a scratching sound, like someone dragging a heavy sac across the sand.
Through the fog, he could make out the faint silhouette of another Xenomorph further out. The spikes on its back were broken and it appeared to be dragging a female humanoid figure into the distance. Then it disappeared behind some rocks.
Where was it taking her ?
Rave bent forward. His body began to shudder and contort again. All the follicles and eyes on his head were reabsorbed, and his head elongated itself. His skin turned from dark blue to black. Then he immediately took off his jeans as his body seemed to dissolve and mold itself into the form of a Xenomorph.
Rave let out a screech, then ran after that last Xenomorph he spotted.
"Did you see that ?" Dumutz exclaimed excitedly as he pointed his shaking finger at the upper right corner of the screen.
Asht was completely speechless. Her mandibles hung wide open as she stared at the screen for a few seconds.
Then Asht muttered the only sentence that she managed to force through her mouth after recovering from that shock. "What was that … thing … ?"
Lil slowly lifted her eyelids and groaned. She saw nothing but black blurry shapes.
Then her vision became sharper, and she found herself staring at the face of a Xenomorph just half a metre from her own.
Instinctively, she gave the creature a violent kick, and in a split second, she was up on her feet again, striking a tense, sprawling, threatening pose, her hair-tentacles thrashing wildly over and behind her.
The creature reared up into an unusually humanoid standing posture and staggered a few steps backwareds. Then Lil froze as she heard a reverberating, metallic voice. "Calm down, it's me ! Rave ! Gosh, you tried to knock me down three times today !"
Lil stood up and stared hard at the creature standing in front of her. Then she relaxed, sighed and waved. "Hello, Rave !"
Rave leaned forward again and walked towards her, until his black eyeless face was now at the same level as and a mere centimetres away from her chest.
Realising that she was no longer wearing her jacket, Lil looked down and smiled. "See something you like ?"
"No." Rave kept "staring" at the middle of her chest.
"Huh ?" Lil jerked her head back slightly, both confused and slightly insulted.
"I think you are pregnant." Rave reared up again and bared his teeth, in what would be called the Xenomorph equivalent of a grim smile.
"What ?" Lil's eyes widened in shock.
"There's some critter inside your chest. Strange place for a womb … Anyways, I can't tell if it's a boy or girl yet, though it does look like one of those … aliens, without the limbs." There was a jovial tone in Rave's voice. Then what appeared to be the Xenomorph equivalent of a sadistic grin appeared on his face. "And I have no idea what's going to happen to you when it comes out. I mean, I saw some skeletons with their sterna and ribcages violently cracked outwards, as if something burst out from inside, you know what I mean …"
"Rip it out, rip it out !" Lil screamed softly.
Rave just stood there, not doing anything.
"Fine ! I'll do it myself !" Lil breathed deep and arched her back, then dug the talons of her right hand into her stomach, just below her ribcage. Then she ground her teeth as she pushed her fingers right through her abdominal wall and shoved her hand upwards beneath her sternum.
Then quickly, she pulled it out with a yelp, dragging what appeared to be a soft white, fish-like object from inside, and leaving a wide, bleeding, larcerated wound in her belly.
"I don't see what's the point of that." Rave's voice stuttered.
Lil glanced at the lifeless half-metre long Xenomorph feotus in her right hand, then threw it onto the ground. "Girls dread unwanted pregnancies, you know."
Rave stabbed the embryo with his tail-spike, just to make sure.
Lil looked around her. They seemed to be in some kind of gigantic rounded cavern with large folds and wrinkles on the dark blue walls.
Shafts of dim blue light shone down from wide holes in the ceiling, some several metres wide, onto the cavern floor below, like moonlight shining into the hall of a massive basilica.
And all over the floor there were countless half-metre tall, barrel shaped structures. Each was covered in a grey leathery skin and had a hole on top that looked like two intersecting gashes. Rough, brown lips lined the sides of this cross-shaped opening. Pulsating root-like structures sprouted from the bottom of the barrel and dug into the ground.
Scattered here and there, besides these living barrels, were several humanoid skeletons of various statures, all with gaping, cracked holes in their chests, as well as the overturned bodies of brownish crab-like creatures, each roughly thirty centimetres wide with eight long spindly legs and a long, thin, segmented tail.
Some of the dead crabs were sitting on the faces of the humanoid corpses, wrapping their legs around the skull in fatal embrace.
"The breeding chamber of parasitoid aliens." Rave concluded.
"The what ?"Lil asked under her breath.
"Never mind. We should think of a way to get you out of here. I sneaked in by mimicking those aliens. I don't suppose you can do that too." Then Rave noticed that the wound below Lil's chest had shrunken. "Well, we could always confront those aliens again."
"No, thanks." Lil looked up at the ceiling. "Hey, since you can take any form you have assimilated, I suppose you could fly us through those holes ?"
"I'll try."With that, Rave hunched over and the spikes on his back began to extend upwards and fan out. He concentrated hard and tried to recall any flying animals that he had fed on since he became infected by the Thing.
"They are heading back towards the shuttle. Let's go fetch them up here." Dumutz stood up and turned towards the door of the dark room.
"I thought you were going to carry out a hunt using them ?"Asht asked rhetorically.
Dumutz fell silent for a moment. "No, they are probably heavily injured by now. It is dishonorable to torment them any longer."
"Oh, admit it, partner, you are frightened of them."Asht said sarcastically and giggled.
"Whatever." Dumutz shrugged headed out of the room. Asht followed behind, shaking her head.
"I think you can get down and walk now, lady."Rave panted.
"No, I won't. That's for kicking me away back in your apartment." Lil clung on to Rave's shoulder from his side. "And you haven't thanked me for deciding not to kill you."
Rave sighed and stepped down the last rock at the foot of the hill.
He could see a hazy trapezoidal area of light in the distance, but was unsure if he should head back there.
Both of them were in their human forms now, and the nest of nasty aliens was far behind them.
Lil had figured that those vicious creatures were not the same as whoever it was who brought them to this weird place, since the former did not seem to use technology at all. If they were to find out what was going on, then they would have to go back and confront the person who put them in that room with metallic walls.
Then suddenly Rave stopped walking and looked around him.
"What is it ?" Lil looked up.
"Shhh, did you hear that ?" Rave whispered.
For a moment there was dead silence. Then slowly, Lil became aware of faint footsteps. It sounded like boots stepping on sand, and it seemed to be getting closer and closer.
Then the both of them gasped and shuddered as a strong electric current coursed through their bodies, and they collapsed onto the ground.
Rave opened his eyes, and stared straight up at the ceiling of his living room. Bright sunlight shone in through the open glass doors at the balcony from the blue sky outside, bounced off the white walls, and illuminated the whole room.
Rave yawned and stretched, then felt something heavy press down on him.
He looked down over his chest. "Wow, so it wasn't a dream." He felt a mild warmth flush up his face.
Lil was lying face down on top of him, resting her head on his chest. She glanced up at him with a naughty grin.
Then Rave felt a slight throbbing in his groin, and winced. "Oww…"
Lil let out a playful chuckle.
Dumutz took a deep breath, stretched both arms, then placed his hands on the keyboard, and started typing.
"This is a follow up on my previous report about the extraordinary abilities exhibited by some Pyodhe Amedha individuals that I have observed.
I have captured two specimens and released them on a planet infested with Kainde Amedha. They have managed to survive the ordeal, even without the aid of advanced external weaponry, a feat that overturns all our previous notions about the Soft Flesh species. I have subsequently sedated them, and returned them to their homeworld. I have removed the tags on their bodies, as it has come to my knowledge that the Pyodhe Amedha have developed technology capable of detecting such tags.
I have sent some footage showing their skirmishes with the creatures. As the videos show, they can take on certain aspects that one would not normally associate with the Pyodhe Amedha. They confirm, to an extent, my theory, which I shall elaborate in the following sections.
I will also send some cell samples for further analysis. Those samples belonging to the female are marked S -. Those samples belonging to the male are marked T -. The latter should be handled with caution, as the few sizeable tissue fragments extracted from the male's body seemed able to move and metabolize of their own accord. They must be kept frozen and isolated at all times.
I have done some sequencing of the specimens' DNA, and compared them with previous sequencing results for Pyodhe Amedha.
Basically, they all share some identical sequences, as listed in appendix A.
However, beyond that, there is an unusually large amount of variation between them, especially for the two afore-mentioned specimens …
The characters in this story were based on :
Movies: Species ( 1995 ), Species III ( 2004 ) and The Thing ( 1982 )
Novelette: Who Goes There ? ( 1938 )
The AvP series.
Once again, I must thank the late H.P Lovecraft for being a continuous source of inspiration to me.
And thank you for reading this. Have a nice day !