Kyle held Catherine's wrist tight as she squeezed. He winced as he felt her cutting off not only his air, but his circulation.
"Where is the Xenomorph?" she asked, voice calm and steady. Kyle had to fight to breathe.
"I don't know. It got scared and ran away . . .," he gasped as he tried to alert Sophie.
"Really? After all this time, it just left you? I find that hard to believe." Catherine tightened her grip and he saw spots dance across his vision. Kyle's ears were ringing so bad, he couldn't hear what Catherine asked next. He winced as her thumb pressed, hard on a nerve. He would have screamed in pain if he could have.
Get away from him, you bitch! Kyle gasped as Catherine released him and leaped back as Sophie's tail flew past. He gasped as he collapsed on the floor. He coughed roughly as he looked up at the battle unfolding in front of him. Sophie screeched as she swung her tail at Catherine, who ducked and wove, seemingly without effort, the smile never leaving her face. Kyle sucked in deep, gulping breaths as he watched. As Catherine ducked and lunged away, Kyle saw where Sophie's tail had grazed her neck and his blood ran cold when he saw the white blood oozing from the wound. His worst fears had been confirmed.
Sophie, be careful! She's an android! She's not a real human! She's very dangerous! As if to prove this point, Catherine grabbed Sophie's tail and pulled, pulling Sophie with it as she swung her around and flung her across the room like she was nothing. Kyle felt some pain as Sophie landed, smashing a desk. Sophie was on her feet in a second, hissing and snarling at Catherine, who wore the same serene expression she always did. Sophie lunged, thoughts red with pure hate as she tried to catch Catherine any way she could. She slashed with her claws, swept her tail and even lunged with her tongue. Catherine dodged everything with speed no human could hope to match.
At one point, Sophie leaped up onto the ceiling, and attacked Catherine from there, lashing with her tail and occasionally throwing lighting fixtures or anything else she could. Catherine managed to grab Sophie's tail again, but this time Sophie was ready as she let Catherine pull her, using the momentum to her advantage as she flew. Her claws never connected, as Catherine ducked and punched Sophie in the chest, sending her upwards and over her. Sophie hissed as she tumbled into a roll as she landed, coming up and charging again.
Kyle watched from where he was knelt, feeling helpless. He looked around. There had to be something he could use as a weapon. He was almost frantic as Sophie screeched and he felt more pain from her. Her exoskeleton was protecting her, but he didn't know how much more punishment it could take. Kyle ducked as something smashed into the wall. As he looked around, he saw a red power conduit. He smiled as he grabbed it and pulled as hard as he could.
Sophie, I have an idea! Try to get her over here! He felt her acknowledge as she screeched and pressed her attack. Kyle finally pulled the conduit free from the wall with a hiss and crackle. He pulled as much of it free as he could as he crawled under a table. He watched as Sophie pressed her attack, pushing Catherine back. He almost held his breath. No sooner was Catherine's foot within range, then he lashed out, thrusting the conduit into her leg. He threw himself backwards as sparks flew. He heard Sophie screech. Keep away from her, Sophie!
He watched as Catherine twitched and jerked, her fingers opening and closing, her arms flailing and her eyes rapidly blinking as she babbled in the way only a machine could. The lights in the room flickered for several moments as Catherine smoked. The sparks and the popping stopped and Catherine staggered, her head hung at an odd angle, her arms drooped. She pulled her leg forward, dragging the leg that had been shocked as her head jerked, tilting sideways in a disturbing way no human could mimic. Kyle noticed the conduit was gone. "Now!" he yelled.
Sophie's tail lashed out like a bolt of black lightning, and Catherine's head sailed through the air and landed on the floor. Kyle stared at the head, then looked up as Catherine's body continued to lurch forward with a jerky motion. It looked like something out of an old, corny zombie movie, but it still chilled him. Sophie hissed at the headless body.
I've been waiting to do this for a long time . . . Without further preamble, Sophie thrust her tail through Catherine's chest and hurled the body upwards into the ceiling. It banged loudly, spraying white Synth-Blood everywhere as it came down and Sophie pounced on it. When Sophie was finished, it looked like someone had smashed several gallon jugs of milk there. Wires, tubes, gears and hydraulics were strewn everywhere. Kyle sighed as Sophie stood and looked at him. A large, hand-shaped bruise was forming around his neck. He was barely able to stand, and his head ached, but he managed to smile at her. Sophie walked over and softly touched his face. Kyle didn't pay any mind to the white blood that Sophie was covered in. Sophie looked over at Catherine and hissed.
Kyle swayed for a moment before he slowly made his way over to where Catherine's head lay. He sighed as he knelt and picked it up. Catherine's final expression was twisted and distorted. Sophie hissed as he stood. What're you doing? Sophie asked as Kyle slowly made his way over to a desk and brought out the screwdriver. He sighed as he sat, his throat burning.
She's a machine, Sophie. If I can just get this open, I can get the hard drive and we'll know everything she knows. Sophie hissed lightly as she picked up Catherine's head and dug her thumbs in as she pulled. Catherine's head cracked open like a walnut. Kyle tried not to be sick as he reached in and pulled out the hard drive. The small, square drive was smaller than the palm of his hand. He smiled as he took it over to the lab computer and plugged it into the Universal Memory Port. Sophie watched from where she stood behind Kyle, her hand on his shoulder as he typed. Kyle touched Sophie's mind so she could see everything. He sighed with relief as he brought up the command prompt.
HARD DRIVE ACCESS COMPLETE. READY FOR INQUIRY. Kyle took a deep breath as he typed.
WHAT IS THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THIS STATION?
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT OF BIO-WEAPONS FOR WEYLAND-YUTANI CORP. Kyle sighed and rolled his eyes. He always had suspected, but now, to actually know, without a doubt . . . He typed again.
WHERE WERE XENOMOPRH EGGS FOUND? Kyle rubbed his neck as he waited.
RESTRICTED. Kyle snorted as he began to type.
" 'Restricted', huh? Well, we'll see about that . . .," he chuckled as he typed.
SECURITY OVERRIDE COMMAND. WHERE WERE XENOMORPH EGGS FOUND?
RUINS, HS-90, TELARA SYSTEM, OUTER RIM. Kyle coughed lightly as he typed a new query.
SHOW ALL TRANSPORTS FROM THIS STATION AVAILABLE IMMEDIATELY. The screen displayed a full map of the facility, highlighting the docking bay and displayed all the ships there. Kyle noticed one was different from the rest. The specs were not for a mere lifeboat. He looked at the name and typed.
WHAT IS "EAGLE"?
PERSONAL CRAFT OF DR. ALAN L. REINHARDT. Kyle's face broke into a grin at reading this. Sophie shared his thoughts and amusement.
Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Kyle asked as he looked at her. Sophie hissed softly.
I am. Kyle typed again.
WHAT IS CODE FOR EMERGENCY DESTRUCT?
EMERGENCY-PURGE ORDER-5251979. Kyle smiled as he got up and went over to Catherine's body. Sophie followed as he rummaged around until he found her PDA and her access card. He smiled as he returned to the computer. He smiled at Sophie as he sat back down.
Well, shall we light the fuse? Sophie replied with a hiss.
Dr. Reinhardt huffed as he walked through the hall. He had been calling Catherine for almost fifteen minutes for a situation report. It wasn't like her not to answer for such a long period. He brought up his PDA and looked at the display. Catherine was close. He frowned as he fingered the large magnum handgun he kept with him. As he walked, the alarms began to sound and red warning lights popped out of the ceiling and began to flash.
"Danger! The Emergency-Purge contingency has been activated. This station will detonate in t-minus ten minutes. All personnel proceed to lifeboats at docking bay." Reinhardt felt his blood chill. He dashed to find Catherine. There was no way this was possible. He and Catherine were the only ones with the codes. He knew she'd never do such a thing without his approval. He opened the door to the lab and lunged in. He stared at the mess of wires, tubes and plastic that had once been Catherine laying on the floor. He looked up and saw Catherine's head, broken open on the desk and a terminal still active. He dashed for the terminal, noticing the large footprints in Catherine's white blood as he frantically typed the abort code for the Purge. He was surprised when the screen turned black, and displayed, in large red letters, a message:
YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW! Reinhardt noticed a large hand print in Catherine's Synth-Blood on the desk. His eyes grew wide as he recognized the two paired fingers and the second thumb on the back of the hand. He shot to his feet as he looked around.
"That's impossible!" he gasped as he dashed out of the room.
Alarms were blaring and lights were flashing as Kyle and Sophie ran as fast as they could.
Kyle rode on Sophie's back as he looked at the PDA, checking the map and watching as the timer counted down towards detonation.
You're so smart, Kyle! That should have Reinhardt chasing his tail! Kyle nodded as they turned a corner.
The more we can confuse them, the better. We're not out of the woods, yet! As Sophie bounded down the hall, she suddenly felt odd. Kyle did too. Sophie hissed as she began to float upwards. Kyle looked around in alarm. He sighed. Oh, wonderful. It would figure the gravity would give out about now . . ., Kyle grumbled as he looked around. Sophie hissed softly as she reassured him.
Don't worry. It's no different than swimming. Hold on! With that, she used her tail to shove off down the hall. Kyle held two of the tubes on her back as she sailed down the hallway.
Left up here! he directed. Sophie caught hold of the wall and flung them around the corner. All manner of debris was floating in the halls as they sailed past. Pieces of metal, plastic and wires floated along with dead animals and humans. Kyle and Sophie ignored all of it as they rushed for the docking bay. As they flew, Kyle saw something trying to weave through the air. He focused on the shape and gasped.
It was the Tree-Stalker. It was trying to pull itself onto the ceiling with the back half of its many legs. Go! Sophie didn't need to be told twice.
As they flew down another corridor, they saw a few animals, still alive, floating in the air. A pair of Olinids were screeching from where they floated. Sophie charged past, knocking them aside and into the walls as she shot past. As they moved, Kyle saw a lot of water in the air. He frowned as they navigated past the blobs of water, floating in air. He looked back as Sophie ducked under a very large blob of water. Hmm, looks like the Aqua Tank ruptured . . ., Kyle mused as they flew down the hallways. Kyle had only felt zero-gravity once before, and it wasn't very pleasant. His insides were floating around, too. He felt a little nauseous. Sophie felt his discomfort, and wrapped her mind around his. He felt better and smiled at her. Thank you, Sophie. She looked back at him and curled the edges of her lips up.
We care for our mates. He let his warm feelings flow through their link as they flew. Sophie bounded off walls, hurtling down the corridors quickly. Kyle looked at the map and was relieved to see they were making good time. That is, until they hit a roadblock. Sophie grabbed the grating as she stopped. Just ahead, a large door blocked the way. Kyle blinked.
That wasn't there before . . . He floated off and looked at the panel next to the door.
WARNING: BULKHEAD SEALED DUE TO LOSS OF PRESSURE. Kyle looked at the red-and-white-striped edges of the door. He looked back at Sophie. This area was depressurized. We'll have to find a way around. Kyle brought out the PDA as Sophie pulled him onto her back with her tail. He checked the map and drew in a breath. The way around was a long one.
Let's hope there aren't any more compromised areas along the way . . . Kyle agreed. That was when they heard a familiar, chittering hiss. They turned, and Kyle felt his whole body chill as if the hand of Death itself had touched him. The Tree-Stalker was on the ceiling, crawling towards them. Sophie growled as she wound her tail tighter around Kyle, pulling him down on her back tightly. Hold on . . . With that, Sophie leaped forward and leaped off a wall, just under the hissing Tree-Stalker. It gave a warbling, chittering growl as it missed as it lunged at her and turned towards the junction where Sophie was just turning the corner.
Sophie moved as fast as she could as they heard the chittering hiss behind them. Kyle spared a glance back and just barely caught the sight of the Tree-Stalker crawling on the wall. As they rounded another corner, Kyle heard growling. He blinked and looked up. Two Bactan Starwolves were clinging to the walls, growling and snarling. Sophie growled back. They didn't have the time to stand around. Sophie leaped at a wall and bounded past as the Starwolves flew past them. Kyle looked back at the rusty-red, scaled creatures as they tried to right themselves. Sophie gave a satisfied hiss as they glided down the hall, trying to keep as straight a course as they could for the docking bay.
It wasn't always easy. There were a few times they had no choice but to take another route. Kyle tried to keep calm, but every detour and diversion he counted as another nail in their coffin. Every now and then, they heard the low, chittering hiss of the Tree-Stalker, and they quickened their pace. As if they didn't have enough to worry about, now the Tree-Stalker was after them, too. He tried not to look at the red timer in the upper left of the PDA screen, counting down the minutes and seconds until their doom. Alarms were blaring everywhere and red warning lights flashed wildly as they flew past scenes of all sorts of carnage in the halls.
Kyle gripped Sophie tighter and closed his eyes a few times, trying not to think about it. She comforted his mind with hers as they rushed through the station. It's okay, Kyle. I'm right here. Don't be scared. He was grateful for her comfort. As they floated through the corridors, there was almost a surreal feel to the station as the warning lights almost turned the whole place red. Without gravity, Sophie was able to glide very gracefully over obstacles that normally would have been a bigger nuisance. It amazed Kyle all the more just how graceful she was. He smiled as he stroked her head gently. Sophie let her warm feelings flow across their link as she grabbed a corner and swung them around. Kyle frowned as he heard something skittering around in the vents up ahead.
Sophie used her tail to push them faster down the hall. It was a good move. Not even a half-second after they were past, the vent burst open and several Saldars poured out, screeching as they just missed Kyle and Sophie. Kyle was about to look at the PDA when the PA sounded out.
"Danger! All personnel evacuate. The station will detonate in t-minus four minutes." Kyle groaned as he looked at the map. They still had a ways to go.
We're going to be cutting it close . . . Sophie acknowledged as she rounded a corner.
Then, let's pick up the pace. Sophie grabbed a vent and pulled as hard as she could, rocketing them down the hallways. Sophie expertly landed on walls and bounded off them at high speed, flying through the corridors like a great, black bullet. Kyle held tight as doors and halls sped past. She had to slow down when they encountered a door that was halfway closed in the hallways. Kyle got off and wiggled under, followed by Sophie. They quickly headed further down the halls. They slowed when Kyle heard something screech. As they turned the corner, Kyle tried not to laugh as he watched a group of Tormian Baboons flailing as they floated. Kyle couldn't help a snicker, they looked like they were flapping their arms.
The baboons screeched and hollered as they flailed and spun. Sophie clung to a wall as they approached. The baboons screeched and tried to get away. Suddenly, Sophie hissed as she looked back. Kyle felt his body go cold when the Tree-Stalker came around the corner. It was then that the gravity came back on. Kyle clung tighter to Sophie and watched as the baboons fell to the floor with a thud. He winced with sympathy.
That had to hurt . . . Kyle looked back as the huge Tree-Stalker came crashing down from where it had been clinging to the wall. It hissed and growled, but more out of anger than pain. Sophie hissed as she bounded forward, still clinging to the wall.
"Danger! All personnel proceed to emergency lifeboats immediately. The station will detonate in t-minus two minutes." Sophie ran as fast as she could go, on the ceiling, the walls or the floors. All the while, the Tree-Stalker was hot on their heels, hissing and snapping as it angrily chased after them. Kyle was surprised how fast something so big was. Kyle saw the glass doors at last. The white hallways ahead were like a blessing to him as Sophie bounded through. He noticed bloodstains and signs of struggles everywhere. He looked back when he heard the glass doors smash and shatter behind him as the Tree-Stalker thundered after them. Kyle brought up the PDA and glanced at the map. They were close. Sophie followed his directions as they dashed through the halls as alarms blared everywhere.
Kyle felt his lungs tighten as they finally came to the docking bay. The doors slid open agonizingly slowly. Kyle was almost breathless, hoping the Tree-Stalker didn't catch up with them. As soon as the doors were open enough, Sophie leaped through, just as the Tree-Stalker came charging up. Kyle saw the entry port for Reinhardt's ship and directed Sophie towards it. Kyle could feel his heart pounding as they stopped in front of the boarding lock. Kyle hastily fished out Catherine's access card with trembling hands and slid it through the reader. The light turned green just as the PA sounded another warning. "Emergency! Emergency! All personnel evacuate immediately! Station will detonate in t-minus one minute!"
Kyle looked up and saw the Tree-Stalker hissing as it charged at them with frightening speed. Sophie lunged inside and yanked Kyle in with her tail as the door slammed down. The Tree-Stalker slammed into the door barely a half-second later, hissing and chittering as it clawed at the door, denting it. Kyle was almost frantic as they dashed in and towards the control deck. Kyle almost leaped into the pilot seat and glanced around, trying not to panic as he activated the engines and disengaged the ship from the dock. His heart was pounding in his ears as he felt the engines fire to life and he hit the thrusters as hard as he could. He and Sophie looked up and out the window as they rushed past the station as the voice of the PA counted down over the speakers of the console. Kyle typed and brought up an image of the space station. At least, he thought he did.
He frowned when all he saw was empty space. As he looked closer, he thought he could see specks of light where there weren't supposed to be. He recognized they were the reflections of the engines of the ship. The whole station was mirrored, so it was invisible to the eye in space. Very clever. Sophie hissed as she looked at the screen. "Detonation in ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one . . ." Kyle watched as a whole side of the station silently exploded with light. Another did. In a set sequence, the station exploded into short-lived fireballs as each section was destroyed before the whole station exploded into a great purple ball of light. That was when the shockwave hit the ship. Sophie held Kyle tightly as the ship was rocked, violently by the force of the blast.
Although violent, the shockwave was as short-lived as the explosion itself, and was over in seconds as the light of the explosion died away into nothingness. Through it all, there was no sound at all, only the beeping of the consoles. Kyle blinked, almost unable to believe they were alive. He sighed heavily as he almost melted into the seat. Sophie nuzzled him softly as she purred.
We did it, Kyle. He leaned his head against hers as he gave a tired smile.
Yeah, we did. He looked at Sophie as she stroked his face. Suddenly, her head snapped up. Kyle blinked. Sophie? What is it? She walked past him towards the back of the ship.
Stay here, she said as she walked over to a hatch in the floor. She reached down and opened it before she slid through, closing it behind her. Sophie dropped down a short ladder into what looked like a cargo hold. Large containers were strapped to the walls with large straps. Kyle looked through the small window at Sophie from above. She looked left and right, hissing softly.
Sophie, what's wrong? Sophie hissed as she faced a dark corner.
We're not alone . . ., she said as Reinhardt stepped out from where he had been hiding, a large pistol aimed at her.
"Clever creature. Very clever. I never imagined how smart you actually are . . .," said Reinhardt as he smiled. Sophie hissed, remaining where she was. Kyle was almost panicked
Sophie! Kyle was about to open the hatch when she stopped him.
Stay where you are! Kyle was shocked. He hurried over to the controls and typed in a command. The screen displayed the cargo hold. He tensed when he saw that it was a stun pistol Reinhardt was holding. This wasn't good. Kyle frantically tried to think of something when he felt Sophie's mind touch his. Kyle, is this room sealed off? Kyle blinked in confusion.
Why? What're you going to do? Kyle felt like he'd swallowed a bunch of ice when Sophie showed him her plan. She felt his trepidation and reassured him.
Don't worry, my mate. I'll be fine. Kyle frowned as he watched Sophie and Reinhardt through the screen. Reinhardt smiled as he looked at Sophie, who stood in front of the ladder, her gaze never leaving him as she hissed.
"I'm amazed. Absolutely stunned! I never would have imagined the level of intelligence you have. I'm glad you survived. I wonder, can you understand me?" At this, Sophie raised her hand and curled her fingers downward and back up. She repeated the gesture. Dr. Reinhardt frowned as he watched. Reinhardt was so occupied watching Sophie, he never noticed a panel next to the ladder slide up, nor did he see Sophie's tail winding around the rungs of the ladder.
Reinhardt was surprised when a disembodied voice rang out from the PA system.
"By the way, Doctor . . . her name is Sophie," said Kyle's voice. Reinhardt's eyes grew wide at this. As he looked up at the hatch for a brief instant.
"Her?!" Reinhardt looked down and saw Sophie curl the edges of her lips upward as her hand shot out, pressing the red hatch-release button. In an instant, everything that wasn't strapped down was gone into the vacuum of space. Sophie remained where she was, her tail wound through the rungs of the ladder.
The last expression on the sunken, frozen face of Dr. Alan Reinhardt was one of pure and utter disbelief.
Kyle was relieved when the cargo hold was finally re-pressurized. As soon as Sophie was back in the control room, he ran forward and hugged her. She purred as she stroked his hair. Kyle buried his face against her as her tail wound around him.
We're free, Sophie. We're finally free. Kyle couldn't help the tears. Sophie kissed him softly on the cheek.
Yes. We are. He looked at her, stroking her face. She brushed a strand of sandy blonde hair from his eyes. Sophie remembered something and looked down at the cargo hatch. Kyle, there was something down there. Kyle blinked as he looked at her. Sophie led him down to one of the containers that had opened. Kyle frowned as he approached, Sophie following. He carefully opened the door and stared, awestruck at what he saw.
"No way . . .," he said as his mouth hung open for a few seconds. The large container, as tall as Sophie, was filled with gold. Kyle blinked as he touched a bar of the yellow metal.
Kyle, what is this? Kyle smiled broadly as he showed Sophie.
There's enough here to buy a small planet! Kyle opened another container and found it was filled, not only with gold, but cash as well. Kyle had only seen paper money once in his whole life. Very few people used it anymore. It was worth almost as much as the gold. Kyle started to laugh. It seemed that the good Doctor had been planning for the future. He turned to Sophie and hugged her. Sophie, there's enough money here for us to be safe and happy for the rest of our lives! Sophie purred as she embraced him back.
I'm glad. Satisfied that everything was as it should be, they headed back to the control room. Kyle sat in the pilot seat, with Sophie standing behind him as he checked the star-charts to find out where they were. He wasn't too surprised to find they were well away from shipping lanes or anywhere close to regulated space. Kyle was thankful for the idiot-proof navigation system on the ship. Sophie purred softly, her tail twitching as she watched Kyle looking over the charts.
What are you looking for? she asked. Kyle smiled as he looked at her.
A place for us to live . . . He smiled as he felt Sophie's excitement. Kyle raised an eyebrow as he looked at one world and brought it up. His smile broadened as he read. Sophie tilted her head curiously.
Planet Zerichs II? Why there? Kyle smiled as he stroked her head.
Because it's mostly ocean, Sophie. There's only a few islands across the whole planet, and none of them are heavily populated. Sophie hissed softly, liking the idea. But the best part: Weyland-Yutani has no presence there. We wouldn't need to worry. He felt the joy from Sophie as he set the coordinates. We should be there in about eight months . . . She purred happily as she kissed him on the cheek. Kyle chuckled as he stood. Sophie wrapped herself around him as she purred, wrapping her tail around them both as she cuddled him.
Kyle. My wonderful Kyle. My mate. Kyle stroked her chin as she purred.
My lovely Sophie. My friend. My mate. She gently kissed him as she held him. They held the kiss for a few minutes before Kyle pulled back. He looked at the cryotube that sat against a wall. He looked at Sophie and felt a little worry. Sophie was amused as she looked at him.
I've been able to fit in tighter spaces before. Kyle still was a little worried as he set the settings of the cryotube. Sophie stroked his cheek as it opened. He sighed as he removed his shoes and socks. His jeans were the last thing to go. Sophie purred as she climbed into the cryotube, wrapping her arms, legs and tail around Kyle as the cryotube whirred and the lights dimmed. Sophie pulled him close as the cryotube closed and sealed, his face resting against her neck as her chin rested on his back. Sophie stroked his hair as the warm folds of her mind wrapped around his, embracing him lovingly. Kyle smiled as he began to feel sleepy.
I love you, Sophie. She purred softly as she, too, became drowsy.
I love you, too, Kyle. Goodnight.
Author's note: Well, here we are at last. I want to thank all my wonderful fans for your support and help! Don't worry; this isn't the end of Kyle and Sophie's adventures. Not by a lightyear. As always, ideas and suggestions are more than welcome!
Thanks for reading!