These are excerpts that sh0dan posted over at the Colonial Marines forum but I thought I'd C&P 'em over here:
WEYLAND YUTANI, GATEWAY
PLAYBACK A//2884879/w-yut.Gwy/Res/Com9 Aug 12 09:32:18 2179
"Michael, we have a redball on Zeta 2 and according to CONRAD it's all your fault. Your Tokyo boys are wetting their collective pants over ICC intervention and hinting we should keep well upwind of you; I guess they're preparing to hang you out to dry."
"What for? They have nothing."
"That's just it. US Space Command just lost a starship and they want to know why. They're going to ask questions, and unless you get some help they're gonna track it straight back to your company office."
"Okay Colonel, so what help do you think I need?"
"That depends on what you can offer, doesn't it?"
SPACE COMMAND, O'NIELL STATION
"Waco, Waco. This is T-Bone. We have a recovery."
"Roger, T-Bone, what have you got for us?"
"We have a CARTWHEEL trace pickup on Network, ingressing at a hundred-forty cee. Approximate coordinates: positive three, one-seven, four-three, negative six-two, three-nine, four-eight, by thirty-five point two."
"According to my chart, that's out by Zeta 2 Reticuli. Does DEPCOM have a beacon signal?"
"That's a negative, Waco. We have no ident. Just a mass trace."
"T-Bone, check the A-22 log. What do we have in that bit of sky?"
"I have a confirm on that A-22, Waco. I think we've tagged the Sulaco."
WEYLAND YUTANI, GATEWAY
PLAYBACK B//8037093/w-yut.Gwy/Res/Com9 Sep 05 14:20:02 2179
"What in hell happened out there?"
"You want an honest answer? I can't tell you yet. There's a rights situation that has to be resolved first."
"But what did Carter Burke do?"
"Whoa. Was this confirmed?"
"Yes, a few days ago. "
"So you've recovered some data?"
"I can't say."
"Has this anything to do with Epsilon Eridani?"
"Listen, CONRAD and Tokyo have given me a wide degree of latitude on this, but I'm under orders. All I can say is that Bioweapons and D15 have got the situation locked down tight. I can't tell you anything else."
PLAYBACK C//0985609/w-yut.Lon/Res/Coml4 Sep 06 10:50:12 2179
"The purpose of this briefing is to reconstruct the known encounters with the alien lifeforms with the information we have to date. As yet, no actual specimen of the creature has been captured — everything we have is based on first and second-hand accounts, a handful of pictures taken by the extraction team, and the data from the Sulaco flight recorder. Mission objectives are to collate all intelligence on the aliens and formulate strategies for locating, extracting and handling a specimen — preferably alive. As you are aware, the potential team bonuses for a successful capture are substantial. Tokyo's posted nothing yet, but we're currently in negotiation on the share issue."
"Of course, all this is dependent on a positive result. May I also remind you we are working against the clock on this one. Mister Cueller, if you please —"
"Okay — the initial encounter took place over 57 years ago; reference 6/3/2122. Most of the information we have here comes from the record of the woman Ripley's testimony to the ICC inquiry earlier this year — the full transcripts are in the first appendix to your briefing notes. The veracity of Ripley's account may be the subject of some discussion; though we can assume her story to be generally true, some of the specifics are almost certainly inaccurate or at least exaggerated. Unfortunately, corroborating data is not available, for reasons which will become apparent later."
"Ripley was second officer aboard the USCS Nostromo, an M class commercial towing vehicle hauling an ore refinery from Thetis to Earth. Uh, specifics on the Nostromo are also in the appendix to the briefing notes—"
PLAYBACK C/ cont// ref 10:59:53
"—In addition to the seven-man crew, you may wish to note that ICC dispensation had been given to the Nostromo's master to carry a ship's cat, ostensibly to cope with a rodent infestation—" (Laughs)
"Okay, approximately ten months into the flight, the Nostromo's CPU picked up a radio beacon emanating from the vicinity of Zeta 2 Reticuli. According to Ripley, the beacon was an analog acoustic signal, repeating every twelve seconds or so in an unused waveband just above the hydrogen line. When it picked up the beacon, the CPU dropped the Nostromo to sublight and defrosted the crew. When later interrogated by the ship's master — uh. Captain Dallas — the CPU claimed that the beacon was a distress signal and it was responding automatically under the usual ICC directives regarding mayday calls. The signal was being broadcast from LV426, a moon of the fourth planet —"
PLAYBACK C/ cont// ref 11:04:30
"According to the appendix, the world was unsurveyed at the time of the Nostromo's encounter. Given that the world is only 11 parsecs away, how do you account for that?"
"When it was first cataloged by a, -uh, French fly-by probe, the presence of TV's well-developed ring system seemed to indicate that none of its moons were particularly massive — it was assumed they were all low-density Galilean-type ice balls with an ice crust over a silicate core. It wasn't until the first comprehensive system survey back in the '30's that the actual composition of LV426 was ascertained. It's been hypothesized that Acheron is a recent captured body — acquired in the past 40 million years, maybe — and that the rings orbiting the brown dwarf may be the debris from a smaller body fractured by the tidal stresses inflicted by LV426's appearance. In time, the rings should break up again. This could explain many things: the presence of cometary material in the system; debris at the L- points; and the shattered nature of Acheron's geography — despite the relative lack of tectonic or seismic activity."
PLAYBACK C/ cont// ref 11:42:03
"The Rubis survey also discovered that Zeta 2 IV was pumping out a massive amount of radiation in the infrared. This supplementary energy, with the radiation from the primary, is enough to create a habitable zone of its own. LV426 sits slap bang in the middle of that zone. All the terraformers had to do was scrub the atmosphere and—"
PLAYBACK C/ cont// ref 11:07:49
"Upon the recommendation of the Nostromo's CPU, Captain Dallas set down on the surface at -uh, coordinates +0Â°6'20", +39Â°0'2" within 2,000 meters of the beacon. Three of the crew: Captain Dallas, Navigator Lambert and Executive Officer Kane went to investigate. They encountered some kind of derelict alien craft of unknown configuration and origin at the beacon coordinates. According to Ripley and the account she received later from the Captain, the vessel was large — possibly several hundred meters in length — and was crashed, embedded in the surface. The ship — and the description isn't clear here — was asymmetric and shaped like a 'hook' or part of an arch. It was ribbed and striated and described by the Captain as-."
PLAYBACK C/ cont// ref 11:09:23
"In your briefing notes you have the second-hand description of Dallas, Lambert and Kane's exploration of the vehicle. Of particular note is the account given of the alien 'crewmember'. We have no exact description, but the creature was obviously inhuman and the Captain was of the opinion it had been dead for some great period of time — the corpse had completely calcified, and appeared to have died from a large exit wound in its thorax. Note also the brief description of the egg chamber below the crewmember's podium and the results of Kane's approach. After being attacked, Kane was rushed back to the Nostromo. Ripley tried to refuse them entry to the ship for quarantine reasons, but was overruled by the ship's Science Officer, Ash. Kane's body was then taken to the infirmary and cut out of his suit—"
PLAYBACK C/ cont// ref 11:14:07
"Section three in your notes contains a description of the parasite phase of the creature, based on Ripley's account and the flight recorder data downloaded to Network. It is large enough to completely cover the face, which it grips on to with eight three-knuckle digits. Pulsing * flaps' at the sides completely seal the face off. A segmented tail wraps around the neck and the creature runs a breathing tube into the subject's lungs to keep them alive. There were no signs of a breathing intake or any other orifice such as an anus. According to Ripley, Ash claimed that the parasite had an outer layer of protein polysaccharides and was replacing its teguement with polarized silicon to give it greater resistance to the elements. How this was done was not explained."
"Excuse me, was the parasite shedding and replacing its own skin, or was it also doing this for its host as well?"
"That's not clear from the transcript — Ripley's account is not specific enough, though that would certainly fit the modus operand!. This creature works actively keep its host alive."
"Anyway, as we now know, the breathing tube or some other apparatus was used by the parasite to implant an alien embryo into Kane's body. The creature is sightless and there are no obvious sensory organs — I'll ask for speculation on that in a moment."
"An attempt to remove the parasite was made by Ash and Captain Dallas. A laser scalpel was used to cut into one of the parasite's digits; immediately a 'yellow, pus-like fluid' — assumed to be blood — spurted out onto the operating table and floor. The stuff immediately ate through the flooring and the next floor as well."
PLAYBACK C/ cont// ref 11:56:58
"Excuse me — how do we know this to be blood? As far as we know, the creature could carry this stuff in its skin capillaries or an acid sac purely as a defensive measure. There's no implication from the account here that it is actually a blood medium."
"You're right, it is an assumption and we can't leave out the possibility that it may use another fluid for blood."
"Michael, we have a working theory at the moment that the alien creatures' physiology may be based around fluorocarbons and hydrofluorocarbons. The blood itself may be a compound based on fluorines; maybe a working medium based around hydrofluoric acid —"
"—Shoot! That's evil stuff! Splash some of that stuff on your hand and your best cure is to cut off your arm at the shoulder before it works its way up through the capillaries and the nervous system to the brain!"
"What stops that — nothing, right? It dissolves glass, steel, any hydrocarbon polymer—"
"—You can't stop it. The only things it won't touch are fluorine compounds—"
"—Polytetrafluoroethanes, teflon, whatever."
"Well, that would explain why it ate through the hull. If it was a fluorine-based lifeform it wouldn't need any oxygen at all to convert energy — when the adult form eats, its digestive system would snip-up all the long-chain molecules, throw out the oxygen as waste and manufacture fluorocarbons and chlorofluoroearbons—"
"—Assuming this hypothesis is correct, the adult form would operate like those breeds of insect which use their blood to digest their food—"
"—Jesus H.Hubbard! That's damned efficient!"
"Hold it, but what about the polysaccharide tegument? That would indicates a structure around carbohydrates — some kind of chitin or glycosaminoglycan. Assuming Ash's analysis was correct, this is a hydrocarbon based life form. Any fluorine-based medium would dissolve it-"
PLAYBACK C/ cont// ref 12:16:48
"So, if we hypothesize that the alien blood is fluorine-based, when it eats a human, it would extract mainly carbon compounds, along with the fluorine components it needs to manufacture the saturated fluorine compounds—"
"—Rumiko, I'm still having problems working out all the enzyme kinetics needed for these theoretical fluorine-based enzymes to convert a hydrocarbon based mass into usable energy. I'm sorry, I'm not convinced this hypothesis stands up. We know the teguement of the parasite has a hydrocarbon base. What other molecular acid options are there for the blood medium?"
PLAYBACK C/ cont// ref 12:19:35
"It would work as a hydrofluoric/hydrochloric mix. The preferred concentration in the blood is HF. However, an embryo implanted in a human body would have access to a ready supply of HC1 from the host's stomach. It starts life with an HCl imbalance which could alter as it grows. Of course, it could take on additional chlorine and fluorine from its prey, or it could 'salt' it with sodium chloride or sodium fluoride."
"Sorry, this model is just too elaborate for my tastes. I still don't buy it. Even with PTFE coated cell membranes, wouldn't the body chemistry of a fluorine-based embryo be so hostile that it would just eat through the linings of the host's body?"
PLAYBACK C/ cont// ref 12:45:01
"I wouldn't like to torch one of these suckers!"
"If Rumiko's theory is right, the alien blood could be highly reactive to fire. But think — if one goes up in flames, releasing all those hydrofluorocarbons, then BOOM! Your ozone layer goes to hell! Heh!—"
PLAYBACK C/ cont// ref 13:22:51
"Sorry Rumiko, I still can't get the chemistry to work. What other options are there that fit the data. Assuming, that is, Ripley's account is accurate. Do we know for sure this stuff ate through the hull? Was it really a blood spurt or could the parasite have spat it from a sac or gland?"
PLAYBACK C/ cont// ref 13:29:20
"We have another working possibility based around a hydrocarbon structure. This assumes that the acid compound works slower than described. The blood consists of sulphate and nitrate groups and would probably — as in the earlier model — aid directly in food digestion. This would allow it to extract proteins from its prey easier than in the fluorine-based model — though the creature would require an atmosphere with at least some free oxygen. This doesn't quite square with the observed conditions on the pre-terraformed LV426. One wacked-out idea completely out of left-field has the acids acting as a bio-electric battery. This way, the creature would need no oxygen at all; unfortunately, we've not yet hypothesized a mechanism for replenishing or 'recharging' the battery."
PLAYBACK D//0985746/w-yut.Lon/Res/Com9 Sep 07 15:14:56 2179
"So, the alien 'calf bursts from the chest cavity—"
"—Ripley told the ICC that the alien that aced Brett had grown from a tiny thing the size of her forearm to a six-foot tall monst—"
"—An exaggeration. Nothing could grow that big that fast. She was seeing shadows. The one that killed Brett couldn't have been much larger than a small dog. My guess is that it would have needed to feast on all the crew and metabolize their body mass before it grew to even half the size of a man, and even then—"
"What about other nutrient sources: food supplies, vermin."
"Get real. There's no vermin on the Nostromo. They turn off the life support while the crew are in hypersleep; any vermin would freeze or suffocate. The ship's cat was there for decoration."
"—So the thing Ripley blew out of the airlock was..."
"Probably not much larger than a Rottweiler—"
PLAYBACK F//8562850/w-yut.Lon/Res/Com9 Sep 08 21:06:18 2179
"What has the taskforce come up with?"
"Oh, they're working on a bunch of theories at the moment. Some of the team have some working ideas on containing a specimen. They're trying to decide which materials are most acid resistant for protective clothing and restraints. Problem is, we're still in the dark; without the data held by D15-"
"—I'll have to ask you for more time on that. CONRAD'S gone deep, deep underground and I can't get access. I'm trying to get in via ATRP and T-LAR, but Network's not the ideal access node. It's not easy, and my budget doesn't run to—"
"—Yeah, okay. What do you need?"
"Nothing yet, but I may require some funds soon. I have a transfer point in the Phillipines— Uh, what success have you had with the ERDOM files?"
"What about them. They're virtually useless. Whoever ordered the Nostromo to stop off at LV426 took a lot of pains to cover their tracks."
"Who knows. Some bunch of bright sparks who didn't want to split their bonus share too many ways ordered a starship and a valuable cargo off on a harebrained mission, chasing some weird signal that may — or may not — have been an alien warning beacon rather than a distress beacon. From what Ripley says, they punched in a 'crew expendable' directive to the ship's Mother to protect against contamination or contagion and put a 'minder' on board. Then the ship never came back. My guess is that they got scared and covered up rather than followed up. Of course, I could be wrong but—"
"—Put yourself in their shoes, eh?"
"Christ, yeah. Oh, the one thing that did check out was Ripley's claim about Ash. Someone did order a synthetic aboard the Nostromo as a replacement Science Officer shortly before it left Thetis. I don't know who it was made the order, but it would imply that Science Division was running the show—"
"—As they are now. What goes around—"
PLAYBACK K//2983411/w-yut.Lon/Res/Com9 Sep 10 09:19:03 2179
"So, Ripley sets the Nostromo's reactor to explode and runs for the Narcissus with her goddamn cat for Chrissake! She says she sees the Nostromo go kablooey, and then — get this — then finds the thing has gone to sleep in her ship!"
"Do you buy that?"
"My wife keeps a shrine at home to the holy trinity of Jesus, Hubbard and Elvis — I'll buy anything."
“So Ripley then calmly suits up and blows the damn xeno- uh, where are those specs on the shuttle?”
PLAYBACK K/cont//ref 09:34:15
“So the shuttle keeps trucking ‘til it runs out of fuel, straight though the core systems where by an amazing stoke of luck - man, this just gets better and better - it’s picked up by a deep salvage team, some 57 years after the Nostromo disappears.”
“With one bound, Jill was free!”
“Yeah, yeah. So, lets cut to the chase - they thaw Ripley out and she gives this wild story to the Commerce Commission about alien monsters eating her crew alive - we’ve read that. Her story is fantastic, but very detailed, completely self-consistent and she believes it; sounds to everyone like textbook false memory syndrome triggered by god-knows what - maybe she was abused by her daddy, whatever. The ICC tell her she’s at best deluded, at worst nuts, and strip her of her licence. They also tell her that Acheron has been a happy colony now for twenty years.”
“Now, see this file here. Carter J.Burke sends an order dated 6/12/79 to Hadley’s Hope colony complex, blah blah... look here - he’s requesting that someone check out a bunch of coordinates, here, just beyond the Ilyuim mountain range. Bingo! So what happens next?”
“Presumably, someone checks out the coordinates. Three weeks later the colony transmitters go off the air. The company then places a formal request to the UA and United States Space Command for a Marine taskforce to scope out the colony-”
“-Who fall over themselves to respond with a starship and a section of Colonial Marines. Question is, why were they so quick off the mark?”
“Take a look at this section of Burke’s company file-”
PLAYBACK N//3248734/w-yut.Tkyo/Res/C18 Sep 11 16:52:41 1279
“So what if Burke was a little fast-track toady; tell me something I don’t already know.”
“What we weren’t aware of was how much leverage Burke and the Weyland office on Gateway had with Space Command. Seems there are a few Marine and USASF Generals with large Weyland share portfolios. They sent in a Colonial Marine section with Burke riding shotgun. Note how carefully they sized the force; as far as anyone at O'Neill's concerned, they sent in a recon detachment to scope things out. But from the Gateway office's point of view a section's big enough to handle a bug threat; small "nuff not to be a nuisance to the company man, and cheap to pay off if need be—"
PLAYBACK N/ cont// ref 17:43:22
"As soon as you get me the Sulaco data I'll be ready to move. We have an extraction team already en route to Zeta 2 Reticuli. unless we get any leads on another specimen source, my taskforce is already assuming that we go to the original source coordinates and start looking there."
"Who's in charge on the ground."
"Seiji Tanaka - R-DIV tecdec - a sound man."
"Yeah, plenty. Enough to cope with any trouble they find."
"I take it you don't mean the aliens-"
PLAYBACK T//9725456/w-yut.Lon/Res/C39 Sep 12 20:14:13 2179
"Rumiko, have you read this?"
"Yes, I had the testimony downloaded to my terminal." "Where in hell did they get this from?"
"I do not know. Science Division are saying they have a new data source. They are holding back until the bonus situation is cleared." "Is this anything to do with Epsilon Eridani?"
PLAYBACK T/ cont// ref 20:50:00
"—Question is, how much is growth rate and morphology determined by the size and shape of the host? Since the alien wasn't specifically engineered to use a human host, I'm assuming you could farm embryos in almost any mammal. Assuming the alien is that adaptable — how small could it go?"
"Given what we know, I'd make an educated guess — probably it couldn't go any smaller than a small child, or a large dog maybe. But don't hold me to that-"
"In which case that begs the other question; is it adaptive? Could it alter its structure in the embryo stage, mess about with the host DNA at some molecular level, taking on the gross structural features of its host?"
"I don't get you."
"Well, look at the description of the beast. A bipedal creature around two meters tall. Is that an evolved configuration, or is it based on the structure of the host creature?"
PLAYBACK X//23578/w-yut.Tkyo/Res/C18 Sep 12 10:11:34 2179
"What's the status on the android?"
"Well, as far as I know the hardware is so much scrap. The Science boys would admit to that much at least. But apparently the software survived. Science Division want a forty share, but I hope to beat them down. I hope to have the database for you within the next twenty-four to forty-eight hours."
"I need it sooner. If I'm going to get a briefing to the Shinyo Maru by the time they arrive, I need to send the message to Network within eighteen to twenty-four hours."
"Okay, I'll see what I can do to expedite retrieval, but I make no promises."
"What about the Epsilon Eridani material? There's been rumors that R&D have a specimen."
"R&D are locked tighter'n a clam. Delhi and Osaka are completely embargoed. If they found anything out there they're not telling nobody. However, I wouldn't get too worried if I were you; A little bird told me that Eridani was a complete bust—"
PLAYBACK CC//83112/w-yut.Lon/Res/C39 Sep 13 13:10:44 2179
"I'm still trying to work out what happened at Gateway. It looks like the Gateway office levered the Colonial Marines into the Acheron operation. Burke gets Ripley reinstated, promoted to lieutenant for Chrissake, and has some wet-behind-the-ears weak-chinned academy wonder put in charge-"
PLAYBACK EE//87212/w-yut.Lon/Res/C01 Sep 13 18:53:53 2179
"—The words 'kids' and 'candy shop' come to mind — they went berserk!"
"Glad to be of service. How long will it take them to collate the android data?"
"Oh, weeks at least; point is, we can get a preliminary briefing out to the extraction team within the next six ours. I'm only hoping Cuellar can reign them in enough to get some kind of coherent report written."
PLAYBACK DD// 84962/w-yut.Lon/Res/C39 Sep 13 15:01:43 2179
"Jesus, this is good; look at that exoskeletal structure. Do we have any good images of the drone workers? I want to run a comparison."
"Only what the android saw in the lab records — the images aren't that great. What in hell is that stuff?"
"Well, it's not bulletproof, if that's what you mean. The sentry gun rounds tore them apart."
"Some kind of crystal lattice, according to this — with a fluorine content because of the F compounds in the blood, but with hydrocarbon chains and some weird kind of levo amino acids I've never seen—"
"Rumiko's gonna hate this. By rights, that thing shouldn't exist. The chemistry is impossible. Organic PTFEs and hydrocarbon crystal lattices coexisting in harmony; how can it support the fluorine elements in its structure and bloodstream without falling apart?"
"Christ on a bike! Look — run that back two seconds, do you see what she just did?"
"Ripley tried to drop the queen into the airlock! Look, run that back three frames and enhance—"
PLAYBACK DD/ cont/X ref 17:04:08
"He did what?"
"Gorman ordered the section to unload their pulse rifles in order to prevent an accident. The hive was beneath the atmosphere processor primary heat exchanger. A round penetrating the roof of the hive could have ruptured in the cooling system, sending the reactor supercritical."
"So the workers or drones, or whatever they were, attacked and tore the section apart. Sounds like command failure."
"Unh. Check the transcript here. The Bishop android was listening in on audio. The Marines unloaded and proceeded into the hive. When the crap started going down, the Marines switched to infrared tracking — they have these heads-up scopes in their helmets. Let me playback:"
"The tracker's off the scale man, they're all around us, man! Jesus!"
"Maybe they don't show up on infrared at all"
"That's when the first one, I think it was Dietrich, gets wasted. But get those comments, and these other ones earlier. Seems that the aliens were dormant in the hive around them and they didn't show up on infrared. No signature at all. Then all hell breaks loose."
"We don't know what this hive looked like or was made of — uh, two of the Marines comment it was made of 'some kind of secreted resin; but secreted from what?'. There could have been tunnels or holes the aliens were hiding in to mask their signature. Another possibility was the atmosphere — apparently it was humid — so there was plenty of water vapor and a lot of condensation runoff. Any of those things could have messed up an IR reading."
"True. But get this — I did a comparison analysis later. On the audio, someone must've disobeyed orders, 'cause they start firing their guns. According to the analysis it's the report of an M56 smart gun." "So?"
"The smart gun tracks by infrared. What I'd like to know is were they tracking their targets on IR, or were they just spraying blindly at anything that moved?"
"Anybody's guess, though I reckon once the aliens showed themselves they would have appeared on IR."
"But we can't discount the possibility that they're naturally shielded. That exoskeleton might show up as a blackbody on a 'scope."
"So, how did they get out?"
"They had the flamethrower units. God knows what the flames did to the bugs. If Rumiko's right they should have gone up like a fireworks display — but there's little audio evidence of explosions except for the one near the beginning of the engagement-"
"-The ammo cooking off, right?"
"Guess so. So, Ripley drives the damn APC down to the hive entrance to picks up Hicks, Vazquez and Hudson. On audio we hear the smart guns and some buckshot reports — either from canister rounds from the pulse rifle launchers or from Hick's pump-action. Evidence suggests that these bugs can't stop lead but—"
"-But I've just thought of a big problem."
"Imagine you're trying to stop one of these things. Those guns use explosive bullets—"
"—True. The M56 has a facility for different fuse settings — one for impact and another for letting the shell bury itself inside the target before it goes off."
"So if one of those shells hits an alien, it'll crack it open, letting all the blood spray out under pressure."
"Jesus! I'd better ask the tactical guys; see if they've got anything that'll drop one of these things with the minimum of backspray."
"We may have to think in terms of non-penetrating weapons to deal with live adults — riot guns firing plastic gloop or other restraints. Did anyone get sprayed?"
"Uh, yeah. Hudson apparently, and later Hicks. Apparently they survived, though it may have been a very minor spray—"
PLAYBACK DD/ cont// ref 18:15:29
"This changes our whole conception of the species. We took the facehugger parasite to be the first stage of the creature. In fact, the egg/facehugger symbiote is the first stage. This ovomorph contains the facehugger which contains the embryo—"
"—Big bugs have little bugs-"
"—Yup. And from Ripley's description to Bishop — sorry, the android — the egg probably arrives fully formed. Now, this ovomorph root system described in the lab notes and from Ripley's account to the synthetic could indicate a sensor matrix, triggered by thermal, bioelectric, you name it. Its skin could also contain some kind of sensing mechanism to ensure the facehugger and the hugger's ovipositor are pointed in the right direction."
"So how does it know a potential host is suitable? For instance, could it impregnate an invertebrate, however big?"
"Don't know; at least not without a dissection or experimentation. My guess there are some kind of body-mass range and configuration requirements before the ovomorph is triggered. Maybe it can taste the victim at a distance — some kind of sense like a snake's tongue. Another possibility is that the facehugger is indiscriminate and will attempt to impregnate anything over a certain mass."
"In which case you could configure an android to act as bait, and capture an embryo that way."
"Good one. File that thought for later. Look, these veins beneath the ovomorph skin could indicate a thermo/pressure sensitive network linked to some rudimentary central nervous system. What I'd like to find out is how long it takes to prime the facehugger. From what we know the ovomorph can presumably lie dormant for phenomenal periods of time — maybe decades or centuries before it dies, and the parasite with it. However, the facehugger probably has a limited lifespan before it, or maybe the embryo it carries, stops being viable. So, if a potential host appears, it has to go from hibernation mode to a running start very quickly to ensure the implantation before the facehugger dies. What is that mechanism? Furthermore, how long can a parasite continue to hunt for a host if it fails to catch the first?"
PLAYBACK DD/ cont// ref 17:10:28
"This is very strange, Leigh."
"Hmm? What have you come up with?"
"Look at the android data we captured here. All we received, more or less, were the android logs - all it saw or heard or downloaded; but this comes with a lot of contextual and semantic baggage - code from the operating system. It looks really odd - I've tried running it through ERAP, but my computers just can't make head nor tail of it."
"A custom mod?"
"More than that. This was one very special android. Just look at these responses — this thing was a lot smarter than your usual synthetic; it was making up some of its own emotional responses to events."
"Well, it's a company-built machine. I would have been surprised if it didn't have something buried deep in the system."
"Yeah, but this is more than that — there are these weird reactions to Ripley-"
PLAYBACK DD/ cont// ref 18:39:29
"So Bishop was sure the parasite used a EMSO-delivered cyanose-based toxin to immobilise its host."
"Presumably the dose was measured on the basis of the host's body mass and composition. It reduces vital signs to the absolute minimum."
"But if the dose was off even slightly, the victim could suffer toxic shock or take a lethal dose."
"Well, toxic shock would be a natural hazard anyway, unless the facehugger has a natural method of suppressing the body's immune function."
"Which it would seem to, if it is able to emplace an embryo."
"Uh-huh. By the way, I wouldn't talk to Rumiko right now if I were you. She's just bought a hundred hours of running time on a Singapore AI, trying to work out how the blood in the parasite oxidizes after death. I don't know who's got the bigger headache — her or the AI. If she ever figures it out, she'll get a Nobel prize."
"Okay, back to the parasite. I'm trying to figure out how it lets the subject breathe while they are immobilized. Remember, Kane from the Nostromo was zapped in a reducing atmosphere. How did it keep him alive?"
"Well, if you see the tube here, which goes back to this ventral pipe; it has the option of feeding the ambient atmosphere back to the subject, or it could sample the subject's respiratory system to ascertain the composition of preferred breathing atmosphere. It looks like these membranes in the side flaps can alter the balance of reactive compounds within the parasite's metabolism to form byproducts similar to the atmosphere, like a breathing mask."
"So, it'll do anything to keep the host alive."
PLAYBACK DD/ cont// ref 18:50:47
"Is that true? The story about the attempt to impregnate Ripley and the kid?"
"Yeah, he locked them in and turned over the facehugger stasis tubes. Almost got away with it as well."
"Jeez, that takes some balls!"
"Obviously executive material, I'd say. Anyway, so when Burke sent the directive to Hadley's Hope, the gang-boss sent some prospecting family, the Jordens, to check out the coordinates."
"Yeah, I guess they were closest. They also had an all-terrain tractor to get them there."
PLAYBACK DD/ cont// ref 19:21:36
"I'm interested in the whole hive structure concept. We know there are at least two types of alien — queen and worker drone. Could there be any more?"
"Possibly. We don't have enough visual evidence to make a guess. It would seem consistent that there was some kind of caste polymorphism in the species based on function, though it's also credible that the worker drone is a multi-function type, acting as a soldier, hunter-gatherer and nursemaid to the queen."
"So how do queens get created? You would think that in the Nostromo encounter, the first creature out of the egg would have been a queen so that it could lay new eggs."
"Not necessarily — the first several could be workers in order to ascertain the environment and the presence of viable rival queens. If there are none, they could broadcast that information back to an ovomorph, probably via enzymes, and prime the egg so that the next host they find and capture would be impregnated by a queen embryo—"
PLAYBACK DD/ cont// ref 18:53:24
"Jeez, look at the damage. They tore the complex apart."
"Their mechanical lifting and punching strength has been established, as has their growth rate. One mystery I can't deal with is how fast they grow."
"Jan's Rottweiler theory goes out the window — Ripley was telling the truth about the one she blew out the Narcissus."
"So that leaves us with the problem of determining how the hell they get so big so fast!"
PLAYBACK DD/ cont// ref 20:02:44
"So what do we have on the alien sensory apparatus?"
"Very little in truth. Optical is possible, though it's likely to be monocular, in which case it either isn't reliant on sight, or uses some other sense for measuring distance. That could be ultrasound, or simply good hearing. Having a long head case would suggest it might have audio sensors at the front and back ends. If those are duplicated left and right, it would have quadraphonic hearing and hyper-accurate ranging capability."
"If that's the case, would sonic weapons work against it?"
"No idea. Ask me when we've got a specimen. I'd guess it has good hearing, can sense floor and surface vibrations, some secondary visual capability. Whether that stretches into the infrared is another matter entirely."
PLAYBACK DD/ cont// ref 21:30:18
"Their nest in the atmosphere processor — why there?"
"Warmth and humidity I suppose. They were, —uh, here beneath the primary heat exchanger. There would have been a lot of condensation runoff into the area below."
"What's the structure of the hive?"
"Not known really, though I would guess there'd be tunnels running to a central chamber. That's where the queen lives and drops her eggs. It seems from Ripley's story to the android that the eggs remain there until a host is found. The host is captured by workers, cocooned in resin in a 'nursery' area, and has an ovomorph taken to it for impregnation. That seems to be what happened to most of the colonists."
"And almost happened to the Jorden kid."
"So what about the first hive' in the derelict alien ship."
"Possibly the same kind of deal. The queen establishes a hive in the warm, wet bowels of the ship. My guess is that the ship's crew crashed the ship — by design or accident, you decide — on a lifeless ball of rock. When the aliens run out of hosts, the queen lays as many eggs as she can before she and her workers die, knowing the ovomorphs can look after themselves should someone else turn up. This is all speculative, of course, but would fit the pattern."
"I'm interested in the selection of a warm, humid environment for the hive. Darkness too seems to be a factor. What did the Jorden girl say about them coming out only at night?"
"Yeah, but remember the way the day/night cycle runs on Acheron: 24 hours of day, 24 hours of night and 72 hours of perpetual twilight."
"So, don't they like daylight, or do they simply have an affinity for hunting in the dark while their prey is at a disadvantage?"
"Whatever. It would at least seem to imply that sight is not their primary sense, though."
"Yeah, yeah. That may give us some clues to the aliens' origins. What's the specs on that atmosphere processor?"
PLAYBACK DD/ cont// ref 21:38:52
"So if one of these things exploded, how big a crater would you get?"
"But how big?"
"Uh— forty megatons? According to the android that's a thirty kilometer blast radius."
"Ground burst explosion — lots, I'd say. How far it would carry depends on local weather patterns."
"But here, behind the Ilyium range, everything would be sheltered, right?"
"So if the derelict is still there, there's probably eggs still there. Bingo - and we get a bona-fide alien artefact as well.”
"Yoishida! Get me Wells, and try to arrange a direct uplink to the Shinyo Maru, immediately"
"Yes Mister Cuellar."
TO: MANDEC RDIV
SUBJ: REDDOG ONE. EXTRACTION TEAM ON STATION EFFECTIVE SEP 132130. OBJECTIVE 2,000 METERS NE. WILL EXPEDITE. CAMLAC 2 OUTFIRE REPORTS FRIENDS PRESENT IN FORCE. REPEAT, IN FORCE. REQUEST WEAPONS FREE. STANDBY.
PLAYBACK FF//3945698/w-yut.Gwy/Res/C39 Sep 14 23:59:00 2179
"The Shinyo Maru confirms, sir. Science Division are on-site at the derelict. Tanaka wants orders. Should he arrange an accident?"
"Not yet. Tell him to keep his powder dry. First I need to negotiate with Trudeau on a secure line. If he's smart, he won't try and muscle us out of the bonus share."
TO: MANDEC RDIV
SUBJ: REDDOG ONE. ALL ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY HERE. HAVE RECOVERED TWO LOST BABIES. SHARE PROSPECTS EXCELLENT. MSG ENDS.
You can find even more here.