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Fifield tensed when she plopped down next to him, her open disposition clattering sharply against his own. But she seemed too busy prattling on about scientific integrity to notice. Funny how a near death experience and seventy percent alcohol content can erase poor first impressions. As she spoke, he found himself marveling at this crew’s propensity for negating personal space. He also tried to think back to the last time two people willingly introduced themselves to him in the span of a day.
He stared at the floor in front of them, head tilted toward her as her voice grew flustered.
“What I don’t understand, Miss Shaw,” he said slowly, pausing to press the bottle to his lips again, “is what could be down there worth risking y’ life over.”
Fifield placed the bottle back down between them and inspected the haphazard bandage on his finger, “Y’can’t do much once you’re dead. You or your Engineers.”
His eyes darted to hers, skirted over her frame before coming back to meet her stare, “Might as well take one of you home still breathin’.”
Shaw held his gaze calmly, not challenging but not backing down. “It’s true. I hadn’t-” She inhaled and spoke carefully. Despite their newfound camraderie, she was reluctant to acknowledge she was wrong. “I admit I was a bit idealistic in my thoughts. I acknowledged the possibility that this could be dangerous, yes, but I never really believed..”
She relaxed slightly, leaning back on her hands. “That’s the thing, though. I’m not particularly interested in going home. There’s- well, there’s not much for me there. I want to be out here, exploring and learning.” Her voice had calmed now, speaking personally rather than preaching. “Always been partial to fieldwork.”
Her speech done, she reached for the bottle again and took a small sip. It certainly wouldn’t help her dignity to be getting drunk, but it was the Christmas season, and given the events of the day, they deserved some relaxation and celebration.
After passing the bottle back, she caught his eye again. “Why do you care so much? I don’t mean to be rude but- well, earlier, you made it fairly clear what you thought of this mission and my work. So why exactly are you here?”
“Yes, they did,” Ripley responded, dryly. The elevator shuddered to a stop, crying out a loud ding when they reached the hangar level. Doors opened, and the two women headed out to the eerily silent ship hangar. “All I’ve ever known behind their stories is that the Weyland dynasty died out save a few relatives; those family members had no choice but to merge with Yutani company in order save themselves.”
She heard Shaw request her choice of beverage. “Coffee it is then,” she said, as they approached her light-weight fighter ship, Ubik, climbing the steps to the entry ladder. “I have plenty of it,” she joked with a smile, fishing out the keys from her leather jacket pocket, sifting through for the right one to unlock the main hatch.
“Of course, without any descendants…jesus. The old man would be furious.” Her laugh was detached, humorless. The events of her expedition had truly shaped the world- but not as she had expected.
She trailed her hand along the entry ladder. “Is this your ship? Ripley, it’s lovely..” The battered fighter was simple metal, not pulsating or making noise at her touch. It felt like home compared to her alien juggernaut. Eyes lighting up, she followed the other woman quickly through the hatch, eager to see the inside.
What a surprise, the creature, his ‘prey’ stopped on its tracks, suddenly changing idea about the fleeing. The Protoalien couldn’t tell what was exactly going on, but knew that he had to take advantage of such a situation: who knew when it’d be the next time something like this happened.
Pushing himself forward, the alien managed to take a pair of shaky, unsteady and pathetic steps forward, his claws desperately gripping the metal floor beneath his ‘feet’. His movements reflected his struggle and his weakness- A bigger predator would’ve reduced him to shreds, had he the possibility.
But that was the point: there was no stronger predator. If the Proto managed to survive and grow, no creature would be stronger than him. He’d be a living nightmare.
Shaw stepped backwards quickly at the creature’s advance. Weak as it seemed, she still couldn’t compete with those claws and rows of teeth.
She’d seen animals starving and weak like that before. Granted, not terrifying predatory aliens, but nonetheless, she didn’t want to leave the thing helpless and alone. But there was no reasoning with it. As soon as it was able, there was a very real danger of it killing her.
It let out another whine. God, she really couldn’t leave it to die. It posed no threat to her, as long as she could leave before it regained its strength.
She stood up at her full height again, admittedly not that much taller than the crouching alien. “Let’s see about finding you some food, alright?” she spoke softly, trying not to alarm the thing.