Alien Day 2021 is here with its titular date of 4-26 and its nod towards the notorious planetoid of LV-426 where the derelict alien spaceship was first discovered in 1979's "Alien" film. It's a day for fans of all persuasions to show their love for the sci-fi franchise that enjoys reminding us that in space, no one can hear you scream.
As part of the upcoming revelries, Titan Books released a new original "Alien" novel on April 20 titled "Aliens: Infiltrator," and Space.com has an exclusive excerpt to scare you straight out of your pressurized spacesuit.
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Written by award-winning author Weston Ochse ("SEAL Team 666"), "Aliens: Infiltrator" acts as the official prequel to Cold Iron Studio's new "Aliens: Fireteam" video game which lands in stores this summer.
Here’s the detailed synopsis from Titan:
"Dr. Timothy Hoenikker arrives on Pala Station, a Weyland-Yutani facility. Lured there by the promise of alien artifacts, instead he finds a warped bureaucracy and staff of misfits testing the effects of Xenomorph bio-materials on living creatures. Unbeknownst to the personnel, however, there is an infiltrator among them whose actions could spell disaster.
“Also on staff is Victor Rawlings, a former marine who gathers together other veterans to prepare for the worst. As Pala Station receives a delivery of alien eggs, the experiments spin out of control, and only the former Colonial Marines stand between the humans and certain death."
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This 352-page, in-universe novel promises to be a worthy new addition to the “Alien” universe, one that brings back a rag-tag band of mighty tough hombres from the ranks of the Colonial Marines to battle the eyeless monstrosities that populate the xenomorph's violent saga.
Dim the lights and check out our exclusive chapter excerpt below!
Taken from "Aliens: Infiltrator" by Weston Ochse, published by Titan Books © 2021 20th Century Studios
Night. Everyone who should have been was in bed, except Cruz. He couldn’t sleep. He’d been having more and more flashbacks recently, and rather than lie there staring at the ceiling, he decided to work a little.
No one could ever accuse him of not working. He’d grown up in a ghetto of storage containers on a Weyland-Yutani distribution planet that doubled as an intergalactic trash dump. Most of the residents of LV-223 were destined to search the dump for rare metals or, if they were lucky enough, get a job hauling product into awaiting containers bound for out-system LVs.
Cruz wanted none of that. At the time he’d been proud. Too proud. He’d laughed at his father and mother as they struggled to feed him. He’d told them they were lazy and should have found a way to get off planet, so he’d have a better future. When he became old enough, he managed to stow away, only to be discovered and jailed at his destination. He’d been given a choice then to either remain in prison or join the Colonial Marines.
Not really a choice.
At marine training he’d discovered what it was like to finally work hard, sweating and bleeding in equal amounts. He’d relished turning his body into a killing machine and learning how to use a weapon—a pulse rifle. He’d enjoyed his first and second deployments, each one bringing down an insurrection from a planet just like his own, and people just like his own. He’d seen from the other side the squalor in which they were forced to live, realizing for the first time that they couldn’t leave. They had no means of changing their destinies.
They’d been given their lot and had to make the best they could.
He tried to reach out and speak with his family, to apologize to his father and mother, but all efforts at contact failed.
Then, on his third deployment, he encountered xenos.
He shook the memory away and donned his lab coat. As he entered the lab, the lights came on automatically, attuned to movement. He went immediately to Containment Room One. Cruz wanted to increase the amount of black goo he’d been injecting into his current specimen—what he’d come to call Rat-X. It scowled at him, the front two of its six legs held in the air. He needed to immobilize it, so he turned the temp all the way down.
The others thought he was crazy. Probably even the new guy, Hoenikker. Perhaps Cruz was a little crazy. Anyone who’d seen combat was changed by it, something his fellow doctors had no way of understanding. They’d grown up entitled.
Through a hardscrabble life and being the agent of his own actions, Cruz managed to parlay military service into a collegiate opportunity and finished with a graduate degree in xenobiology.
Crazy? No, what he was doing with Rat-X was as
important as anyone else’s experimentation, including Prior’s specimen-of-the-moment Leon-895. Pala team still had a lot of questions, including how to freeze Xenos so their blood was no longer acidic. Would the nature of the acid change with thawing? Could they create a freeze weapon that would make Xenos easier to kill with conventional weapons, while preventing the blood from dripping through a ship’s hull? They were fresh out of big-X Xenos, but they had the rats and they had the goo and they had the time.
Once Rat-X was frozen, he turned off the temperature controls. Before it thawed and awoke, he’d have more than enough time to do what he had planned. Grabbing a biopsy needle from a nearby drawer, and a clamp, he toggled open the containment room door. There was a click, then he stepped inside. A residue of cold made him shiver for a moment. He attached the clamp to a spot along the back wall, then lifted the frozen creature and put it into the clamp, which actuated. Four padded arms enveloped the creature, holding it fast.
Cruz held onto one of the long chitinous legs and shoved the biopsy needle into the abdomen. What he sought was more of a core sample than a blood sample. If he’d wanted the latter, he would have put the Rat-X to sleep using gas. But this was easier and, frankly, made him feel better.
Suddenly, he’s back in the wretched darkness—a darkness to which he’s returned, over and over. A darkness that won’t leave him. One that lives inside of him and somehow forever avoids the light.
Pulse rifles light up the night, turning the events into an old-time movie. Reality flickering from light to dark to light again over and over as the pulses from the rifles strive to save
them. They’d been assigned settlement protection on LV-832. Carnivorous moose-sized creatures with tentacles charge their position. Their hooves the sound of thunder. Their howls like musical horns. Pulses from the rifles illuminate the creatures in nightmarish flashes. The forward observer dies first.
Back in the lab, he snaps off a chitinous leg.
The lieutenant tries to be a hero. No one wants a fucking hero. They fire and fire until their rifles choke. Still the creatures come. Trampling.
Snyder hurls into the air, propelled by the tentacles wrapped around his torso.
Schnexnader screams as his right arm is bitten off. Blood spurts on all of them as he spins madly.
Correia is grabbed and slammed repeatedly against a tree until blood and organs explode from his body.
Cruz screams, then cries.
Back in the lab, he realized he was holding a leg in each hand, ripped from the creature’s body. He was making a
low sound like a continuous groan, felt incredibly drowsy, and wanted to lie down.
The rat began to move, then cried out in pain, the sound of a cat caught in a vice. Rat-X writhed and squirmed. Twisting, it freed itself from the clamp and, with its remaining three legs, latched itself onto the front of Cruz’s lab coat.
Cruz madly knocked it off.
It careened to the floor, righted itself, then scrabbled toward him.
Cruz backed away, but the Rat-X grabbed his pants leg. In a spastic one-legged dance as he tried to shake the creature free, Cruz made it back toward the containment room door. Rat-X lost its grip and flew against a wall. Then Cruz spied the biopsy needle. He’d dropped it during his blackout. Realizing he still held two of the creature’s legs in each hand, he threw first one, then the other at the creature, which backed away.
Diving for the needle, Cruz managed to grab it, but Rat-X surged between his legs toward the open door. From his knees Cruz reached out and grabbed the monstrosity from behind. The creature gnashed its teeth at him, but Cruz managed to narrowly avoid being bitten. He jerked the creature over his head, slamming it into the back wall. The motions threw Cruz to his knees, and he crawled frantically through the door. Twisting onto his back, he kicked the door closed just as Rat-X faceplanted on the glass.
The creature stared daggers at him as it slid to the floor.
Cruz climbed wearily to his feet, and placed the biopsy needle in a drawer. He’d take care of it later. Pulling aside a button cover, he revealed a big red ABORT button. He pressed it, and the containment room filled with flames from top to bottom. Rat-X squealed for a second, then folded in on itself as it first turned to cinders, then ash. When the flames died, Cruz searched the room for any other debris that might represent the legs.
He thought he’d got them all.
Wearily, he headed back toward his sleeping quarters. The night had almost been a disaster.
Titan Books’ "Aliens: Infiltrator" dropped into our orbit on April 20 and is available now.
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