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ALIEN: Manticore

ALIEN: Manticore

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Blackwinter-witch

Apr-04-2017 11:17 PM

UPDATE: September 05 2017***************

ALIEN: Manticore is now past the 110,000 word mark. :D
That's why I've been so scarce around here, busy-busy-busy with writing and housekeeping, Life's usual hurdles, etc..
There's also short-stories coming soon-ish. They're being worked on, but have to be adjusted as the Main story progresses to eliminate continuity errors and such other annoyances.

One short-story ties-in to a work found here having to do with Walter's fate on 'Paradise'.

The other gives my views on the origin of The Alien, which I am titling ALIEN: Origins and it's far more deserving of that title than Alan Dean Foster's Covenant prequel.

A third short-story is loosely-related to the ALIENverse, but will be available for reading also.

END UPDATE*******************

I'll be posting little excerpts and teasers here, entertaining questions (though some I may not be able to answer) and I hope you guys enjoy this little window into my perspective on the ALIENverse. :) This is all partially-edited  material, so it's going to be rough and have flaws.

This little bit calls-back to something Ridley Scott wanted for ALIEN, the 'flying mouse drones'. I love the idea, and as a nod of Respect and Appreciation to R. Scott, here they are in their scene.

" The ship tended itself, and it’s hibernating crew conscientiously. It constantly monitored everything aboard and outside, surveilling the cosmos via it’s sensor arrays and their sophisticated instruments. It watched, listened, and in some ways it ‘smelled’ ‘touched’ and ‘tasted’ the universe around it.
In the engine section and elsewhere throughout the vessel, the hundreds of tiny drones that swarmed and flitted about only in the absence of the crew had once again emerged, performing their tasks tirelessly. They were semi-autonomous mouse-sized extensions of the mainframe intelligence, it’s roving eyes, ears and hands, ever-vigilant over their country of darkened, cold, minimal-gravity, nitrogen-filled corridors, rooms and chambers.
As the ship came into range of comm relays, it established contact, checked for messages and other items of information the crew had stated preferences for. It collected what there was to be had, flagged items for each member of the crew and continued it’s vigil and voyage.

Sometime later, a signal impinged on antennae sensitive enough to pick up the extremely weak radio-frequency emission, one in the sub-milliwatt range, and conforming to no known comms protocol. It ran, there was a break of precisely twelve seconds, then the signal repeated again.
The computer recorded it, worked out a fix on the emission-point, and flagged it for the Captain’s attention.
Weeks later, it detected a new signal, from the same emission-point as the earlier one. This one was stronger and clearer: A standard-format distress beacon and Emergency Location Beacon.
The artificial intelligence double-checked the emission-point, re-analyzed the earlier, now silent, beacon and compared it to the Interstellar Trade and Commerce Commission standard beacon it had detected. It examined the distances involved to the nearest comm relay, worked out how many years the EM signal would take to reach it at the light-speed limits of radio transmissions.

Manticore did not possess the ITCC-mandated overrides that would force it to go to the distress beacon. The laws on Shadowfall dictated that responding to a distress beacon was strictly ‘Captain’s Discretion’.
In accordance with that, the computer began restoring the ship to Human Habitation standards, altering course to the star system that the emissions were coming from and bringing the Captain out of hypersleep.
"

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

202 Responses to ALIEN: Manticore

Blackwinter-witch

May-21-2017 1:32 AM

I am officially 'Hiding' from ALIEN: Covenant for the time being. There's so much being said about it, good and bad that it's taking a toll on my perspective.
I won't be seeing it for a while, as movie ticket prices are insane, it's at minimum an hour's drive to the nearest theatre, etc, etc..

SO, for the time being, I'm hiding out in my stories that you all know I'm working on.

Splicing-in a whole block of stuff and also working on the tie-in short-story (which ain't gonna be that short)...that's where I am these days, eyeball-deep in Lore and the tones of Lovecraftian mystery.

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Blackwinter-witch

May-22-2017 7:14 PM

ALIEN - The Silent Dark 'The Lander' will be done tonight, wih a bit of luck and I will be posting links to it. If not, it will be done in a day or so, worst-case.

It will be available via Google Docs and Scribd, and for Free $0.00 as it is fan-fiction.

It is a stand-alone short story that ties in to the main story of ALIEN: Manticore, introducing two new female characters who will be joining the 'Cast'.

ALIEN: Manticore is on-track to be completed on-time, so far...the real world has it's demands and we are in the process of buying a business, so delays might come about.

ALIEN - The Silent Dark 'The Lander' would not exist without the talents found here.

Alien: Covenant The Unofficial Animated Series!

They deserve a significant share of the credit for my story as without their works, it just simply would not exist.

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Blackwinter-witch

May-22-2017 9:05 PM

ALIEN - The Silent Dark 'The Lander'

Here's the Tie-In short-story for ALIEN: Manticore. :)

Available in PDF on Scribd and Google Drive.

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Blackwinter-witch

Jun-08-2017 4:23 AM

ALIEN: Manticore - Excerpt

NOTE:
"point-six byond light speed" is a nod to Star Wars but doesn't use the Star Wars Hyperdrive.
In this instance it refers to the percentage of a Light Year travelled per Sidereal Day.
In Manticore's case, at Top Speed (unladen) she can attain a Superluminal Velocity State of .68 of a Light Year/Sidereal Day, which is approximately 240X the speed of light.

NOTE 2:
NO I don't care what Covenant uses regarding 'Jump' drive, OR 'recharging'. That's an example of the badly-done Canon of the franchise and I won't touch it.

************EXCERPT BEGINS**************

" Sharie had dug deeply into the databases recovered from the main building and the number of ships that had been abandoned. Then, she’d run a correlative analysis of the Engineer’s ship-based navigational databases compared against star charts and navigational information from the building’s database. In a few minutes, she was staring right at it: The home world of the Engineers. She was as sure as she could be that she’d found it in the records and databases, and it was quite far away in terms of travel-time at least by the standards of Human hyperdrive technology.
The information recorded by the lifeboat’s sensors and some detective-work with extrapolation and correlation had shown where Dr. Shaw and the android went off to…and Sharie was looking right at it again on the small holodisplay she was using. Shaw had gone to the home world of the Engineers, which struck Sharie as being laudable, but also potentially suicidal.
One bit that troubled her was the indications that showed the Engineer’s home world to be not that far from a flight path to a potential colony world that a ship named Covenant had been sent to. She brought up the information on Origae-6, the destination of Covenant, and ran a course projection from Earth to Origae that compensated and backtracked the forty-odd years of stellar drift.
Sharie looked up historical information, glad that their Captain didn’t consider such to be a waste of computer archive memory. She was interested in all things pertaining to Covenant now starting with how the distant world of Origae-6 was first found as she placed no belief in ‘convenient’ coincidences with interstellar navigation.
More and more, the ‘Engineers’ and things relating to them kept rising up like spectres from an old grave in kids stories.
Prometheus travels to this moon to find the Engineers, thinking it was their home, and in fact it was some kind of weapons research-development complex, or close enough to qualify. Then, only a few years later, a colonizer is sent out along a path that comes close to the genuine home world of the Engineers.
Sharie chewed the end of a pen she’d been using to scribble notes with, and considered the statistical odds involved, she didn’t like the mental ‘taste’ of the answer she gave herself.
Someone knew something, and knew a lot more than they should be able to know if this moon they were currently parked on had been a genuinely ‘new’ discovery of Dr.’s Shaw and Holloway. The deep-range probes even back in the era of Prometheus would have easily been able to make a pretty quick trip out to this moon, poke around some, and then return to hypercomms range to report their findings. She looked up the specifications of all known deep-range drone probes from that era, and found likely candidates. In that light, she began to suspect the Prometheus mission had in actuality been a follow-up to a drone reconnaissance disguised as a first-run exploration mission. Those same models would have also been able to trek out to the world Covenant travelled close by to with reasonable speed, or much better than such if the outbound drone pushed it’s hyperdrive to the point of it being a one-way trip, and carried a drone for the return trip that was equipped with extremely long-range hypercomms.
Covenant had been lost, and no one had ever gone looking for it considering the distances involved and how slow the first-gen of hyperdrive ships were. But that was over three decades previous, and Manticore was as fast as she was big, capable of better than point-six beyond light speed, which made her one of the top-five fastest ships currently flying.
Sharie did some crude course projections, refined them with software, bundled up her discoveries in point-form and sent it all off to Sin’s phone, then went to deal with the hollow ache in her stomach from ignoring meals for almost twelve hours. "

******END OF EXCERPT*******

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Blackwinter-witch

Jun-26-2017 7:06 AM

ALIEN: Manticore

Been busy and haven't done an excerpt in a while, so I figured this made a good teaser. :)

NOTE: This is still pretty 'raw' and has some clean-up editing and polishing needed, so read with that in mind.

***BEGIN EXCERPT****

“Okay people, final prep and checks. Selina and I will take lead. Declan, Katherine, you two stay with Smythe no matter what happens. He’s going to be busy with his equipment, that makes him vulnerable.” Sin said over the comms, getting assorted inarticulate sounds of general acknowledgement as his people did the final check over of their weapons and gear.
It took five minutes and he didn’t push, it was better to spend a few minutes at the present than find something that was overlooked later. When they were all ready, they all disembarked at once, eyes and weapons sweeping the area for anything potentially threatening, finding nothing. The barren landscape inside the building’s storm walls offered no hiding places for anything larger than a small mouse. Selina moved quickly to the rectangular entryways, scouting ahead to check for any problems in getting to the iris-like door that led into the building itself. A small detachment of drones waited by the door, evidence of someone on Manticore thinking to keep things covered for them.
“All’s clear, but grab some demo charges for the door.” She said over the comms.
“The drones never did find a way to open the exterior doors did they?” Smythe commented, sounding speculative.
“It’s weird, they must only have controls inside.” Katherine commented.
“Hmm, not so weird. It would be a pragmatic security measure, simple and quite effective.” Smythe opined as Declan opened a storage compartment inside the back of the SDRT van, took out a couple of blocks of yellow-and-black striped explosive along with a couple of stopwatch-sized detonation units and started to where Selina and the drones waited by the door.
“Here’s the keys.” He joked as he handed the explosive charges to Selina, working with prepping the det-units as she peeled the priming strips off the molecular adhesive backings, placed one charge on the wall on either side of the door.
Declan handed her one det-unit and he attached the other to the explosive charge she wasn’t working on, pressing the prongs of the det-unit through the outer wrapper and deep into the plastigel explosive beneath.
The charges and det-units set, they walked away from them with the drones following, up the slope towards the rectangular entryways and back to the SDRT where they waited with the others until the simultaneous blasts occurred, shaking the ground they stood on with an almost stingingly-sharp concussion even through the soles of their boots and the distance involved.
“You two sure you used enough?” Sin commented sarcastically over the comms.
“Well, we wanted the door open, and just in case there was something lurking on the other side, it’s either dead, injured so badly it’s a non-issue, or ran for it’s life.” Declan replied.
“Okay, let’s go see what there is to see. Get the trackers running, the sooner we find these people and get back to the ship, the better.” Sin commented to everyone in general, activated his own multimode tracker fixed to the accessory rail of his rifle, the small screen positioned beside the combat scope-sight.
“Manticore, this is the Captain, over.” Sin said on bother general and command frequencies.
“We hear you, Captain, over.” Elizabeth replied quickly.
“We’re just about to head in towards the access door. Keep our telemetry locked-in and tell us if there’s any interference. We brought relays, but there’s a lot of solid stone and passageways that could mess things up, over.” Sin said to her, leading the way beside his wife, eyes sweeping like scanners, missing nothing, experience kicking in as if it’d only been yesterday when he’d last needed it.
“King and I are keeping eyes on you all, Captain. Affirmative on alerting about signal problems. Sharie’s ready to jump in to address signal problems as much as can be done from our end, over.” Elizabeth assured him.
“That’s all I can ask for. Good to have you there with King and Sharie, over and out.” Sin said, the compliment sincere and he felt a good way to end the convo so he could focus completely on the situation the five of them were walking into.

The iris-door had lost most of it’s blades on the right side due to the explosives employed, allowing easier access for the five crewmembers of Manticore than could be had through the door found by the Prometheus crew where only one blade was missing.
As the first one inside the building, Sin looked up immediately upon clearing the threshold, weapon tracking upward as well. Seeing no possibly lethal surprises of any kind, he scanned the floor-level area with weapon-light, eyes and tracker. Behind him, Selina did likewise, but a more prolonged check as her husband was thoroughly inspecting the floor-level area and keeping the corridor extending deeper into the building from the entry vestibule they were in firmly in his mind, frequently shining his tac-light beam at a narrow setting down it’s length as he continued looking the place over.
Like Sin, she was looking for anything structural that might come down on them, or possible lifeforms that might attack for any of a dozen possible reasons. She found nothing, not even a crack in the massive and solid stonework, then switched her attention to seconding her husband’s inspection of the area.
Next through was Smythe, followed by Katherine and finally Declan. Declan noted approvingly how Katherine stood slightly ahead and beside Smythe on his left side as he was right-handed, covering him yet staying as much out of his way as possible. He didn’t doubt that Katherine would make it a very risky proposition for anything that attempted to attack the older man.
Smythe looked around, no weapon at the ready, instead he busied himself with a device the size of a large fishing-tackle box. It’s weight was managed by the strap from it’s top connected to his equipment harness as it took both hands to operate properly. It was a compact and highly sophisticated sensor-analysis suite in a portable package. It’s size relative to the technology of the era was a testament to the complexity of the device and it’s extremely wide array of functions and capabilities. He scanned the vestibule area with it, the results showing only bio-traces brought along with himself and his crewmates from the ship. As yet, nothing of note had found it’s way to where they presently stood.
Some partial traces were millenia-old, and so faint as to be inconsequential. It did note that the atmosphere was perfectly acceptable fro breathing, and the rate of decay in the small percentage of ozone that was present told him that somewhere in the building there was an operational air-processing system, still functional after millenia. Taking a moment, he rook out a relay module from the small satchel he carried, twisted the casing to deploy the antennae, peeled off the adhesive’s primer strip and attached it to a nearby wall. A flashing blue LED indicated it was functioning and he turned his attention back to the sensor system he carried.
Sin and Selina had moved ahead, to the mouth of the corridor that led deeper into the building, waiting there for the others to join them.
“Y’know, this kinda reminds me of our honeymoon.” Selina commented jokingly over the comms to Sin.
“I apologized for that, but it did pay for the wedding, honeymoon and a seriously indulgent shopping trip if I remember rightly.” Sin replied, a chuckle at the memories sounding in the comms.
Selina abruptly brought her rifle up and aimed down the corridor ahead of them, her weapon-light narrowing down to tight-beam focus as she sighted through the scope at the same time everyone’s trackers emitted an alert tone, showing a small, mobile signature ahead, just beyond the gentle inward curve of the left wall of the corridor.
“Contact. Saw a glimpse of something, not enough to tell what it was. Smaller than human-sized though.” She said tersely over the comms.
Sin sighted through his scope, scanning the area ahead, looked at the tracker’s monitor beside the rifle scope-sight, the signature was still there.
“Let’s have a look. You three stay a couple paces behind us, just in case.” He instructed Smythe Declan and Katherine as he selected a flechette round in his rifle’s grenade launcher magazine as a precaution against anything small, fast and potentially dangerous.
Sin and Selina moved together, staying close along the left side of the corridor, eyes checking the tracker screens as they made their way towards the signature-point. When they were close enough, they exchanged a look, a couple of hand signals, and Sin stepped out to the right side of the corridor simultaneously as Selina rounded the remainder of the left wall’s curve obscuring the signature-point and whatever was responsible for it.
The small humanoid creature was one of the same kind as the drones had discovered previously. It looked up from where it had been hiding to peek around the curve of the wall at them earlier in shocked terror as Selina stepped inhumanly quickly into view, while Sin also stepped into open sight of it, rifles aimed at it’s torso. It backed up a pace, turned and ran away in obvious panic at a semi-quadrapedal gait that reminded her and her husband of how gorillas and other terrestrial primates ran.
“That was anticlimactic.” Selina commented and started looking ahead down the corridor again, using eyes, light and tracker. There was a small cluster of contacts just at the edge of the tracker’s range.
“They’re definitely not very high on the ‘threat’ list. I’ve got a group of contacts up ahead, you have the same?” Sin replied, moving to stand beside her as they compared tracker displays. Smythe, Declan and Katherine joined them, Smythe’s larger and more capable piece of equipment gave them all a precise count of the contacts, and displayed what biosignature information it could detect at that range, consisting of pulse and respiration rates. Within it’s range, there were other signatures, too far away to determine anything beyond their presence.

******END OF EXCERPT********

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

IndyFront

Jun-26-2017 8:25 PM

I love the Lovecraft themes. I also like the ideas this has given me as far as availability strategy goes. Putting things on those sites, even if they're independent non-canon fictions, (not to mention Blomkamp's Oats Studios experiments) could really redefine fan-franchise relations that are so poorly developed.

Blackwinter-witch

Jun-26-2017 10:47 PM

IndyFront

Agreed!!

It also seems the ALIEN fanbase is determined to keep what we love about this universe alive. And while fan-fiction isn't 'canon', I've encountered a fair number of works here and around the web that show the fanbase's works are often more Canon-worthy than the studio-generated material. ;)

Blomkamp's Oats works, well, saw Rakka and it just blew me away!!

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

VivisectedEngineer

Jun-29-2017 8:35 PM

Really loving these excerpts! Love the descriptive imagery here. It all feels very "Alien-verse" and I am really looking forward reading more, finding out more about that distress signal, why the crew might have gone into hypersleep so urgently (if they're alive), and how the Captain is going to respond.

 

Also, regarding the beginning with the maintenance mice:

 

When you were a kid, did you ever sneak out of bed and go into the living room or kitchen while the whole household was asleep? Do you remember how spooky it felt? Seeing a version of the house that wasn't meant to be seen by human eyes? The still, empty, night-time version of your house, that only exists while you and your family sleep? You kind of get this chill up your spine that makes you think you should bolt back to bed at top speed and leave the house to its own devices until it's your rightful time to inhabit it again...?

 

Now imagine that but with flying, faceless maintenance mice, moving coldly and unnaturally about the living space.

 

Lol, that's the feeling I got while reading this the first bit. So, very well done! Can't wait to read more! :D

VivisectedEngineer

Jun-29-2017 8:43 PM

"I wanted to get away from the Company-owned theme. Inspiration-wise I researched private-registry Captain-owned ocean-going vessels in today's world and they are by far vastly more numerous than most people think."

 

That is really fascinating, and I really love your take. It's like, when Firefly came out. It was cool to see rough-and-tumble space folk, instead of just cerebral, straight-laced Starfleet and Babylon five types all the time.

 

It stands to reason that in the Alien-verse there'd be entrepreneurs, privateers, pirates, mercenaries, bounty-hunters and all manner of independent types flying around out there alongside the corporate wage-slaves. Very cool new perspective while still masterfully preserving the "Alien" feel! Love it!

Blackwinter-witch

Jun-29-2017 9:34 PM

VivisectedEngineer

 Very glad you're finding the 'feel' as while I did enjoy working things to preserve and project the Fell of this universe, it's always nice to know from outside perspectives if one has indeed managed to do what one wished to accomplish. :)

You won't have to wait too much longer, things are in the home-stretch about laying out/writing the story. :D
Then, a final edit-pass to ensure details and continuity are aligned properly as well as adding in some extra details where there might be too little.
Then, one final-check pass and then it'll be available. :)

YES, I love how you phrased that regarding the Maintenance 'Mice' and the quiet, dark ship!!! :D I really wanted to try to capture what I felt when I first heard how R. Scott envisioned them and the opening scenes!!
You phrased the feeling and tone BEAUTIFULLY!!! TY for posting those thoughts!!

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Blackwinter-witch

Jun-29-2017 10:01 PM

VivisectedEngineer

As you said, to paraphrase, there's more people out there doing things than just the Corporate and Government types. And as we've seen in Star Trek (too many times) there's no real angst when you can lose your ship and there's no real problems.

I just couldn't work with that, as it really dulls the flavour of Risk and Peril which are key elements of the ALIEN 'Feel'.

Manticore, they need to make a living and ship's burn money. They have lives, they work for a living, and while they are intelligent, skilled, experienced and very capable people...at the end of the day, they are Ordinary Folks like you, me and most people and who are trying to cope with something way outside their realm of experience, and the Captain has the added pressure of trying to keep his crew safe vs. wholly unknown risks and juggling time spent pursuing Great Mysteries vs Operational Expenses. Life without Company backing, means having much more freedom and MUCH more Responsibility.

I will cheerfully admit that Firefly did lend itself to inspiring thing regarding Manticore, as did the opening cutscenes of ALIEN: Isolation where Captain Verlain is discussing the Torrens. :D

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Blackwinter-witch

Sep-05-2017 8:58 PM

Bump...as there is an update on things. :)

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

dk

Sep-05-2017 9:58 PM

Where is it posted- in the sticky?

Blackwinter-witch

Sep-05-2017 10:04 PM

dk

Right at the 'landing area' when you first come to a Thread, I figured I'd do it that way, save folks some scrolling.
I'm about to post another Excerpt, and that'll be posted normally. :)

 

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Blackwinter-witch

Sep-05-2017 10:51 PM

ALIEN: Manticore (Excerpt) SEPT 05 2017

EXCERPT START***********

Meers was in agony, the explosion of the flamethrower’s fuel tank had scorched his legs badly, but that was irrelevant in the face of deeper, more visceral agonies wracking his body.
He prayed for death, to any and all deities that might choose to listen, be they good, evil or inscrutably indefinable. No answers to his pleas came, and he wept for himself, for his fate, uncaring about anything beyond his own hell of suffering which grew steadily worse with glacial progress.
He didn’t truly understand what was happening to him on anything but the most basic level. He’d watched it happen to some others from the last expedition he’d led from the lander, horror-struck and silently begging to go insane, or die, so long as it was an escape from the vile reality he was being made to accept.
He’d seen the people he knew brought in by the creature, screaming, struggling and having no effect on them whatsoever as they were handled with an effortlessness that spoke of terrible strength. He’d seen limbs broken with accidental ease that made Humans seem as fragile in comparison to the creature as a daddy longlegs spider was to a Human.
One by one, they’d been brought here, pushed into thick nests of some kind of strange resinous material that adhered instantly, and the victim’s struggling merely ensnared them more while the creature would mold the strange, acridly plastic-smelling material around the person’s forcibly fetal-folded legs as well as their shoulders, as had been done to him. Then it would harden, slowly, seemingly in response to the person’s struggles until you couldn’t move at all except to squirm helplessly in the grip of it.
Then, the creature would return, so close that the reek of something like a cross between freshly-made polymers in a factory and ammonia-laced shrimp that was turning bad. It’s tail would come up, the sharp hooklike tip would rise, then stab forward lightning-fast, into the unfortunate person’s abdomen, not too deeply, but deep enough to hurt terribly.
He remembered it, the sudden stabbing pain, then the sensation of it pulsing in the wound, and something coldly-liquid moving inside him from it. As bad as the act of penetration was, when the hooked tip was removed as quickly as it had entered was worse, and it left behind a clot of a dull green substance that rapidly gelled to a rubbery consistency in seconds, plugging and covering the wound.
Then, some time later, he’d felt a crawling sensation within him moving through his abdomen. He’d developed a fever with a skull-splitting headache, severe aches in his bones, torturous muscle spasms and a sensation like itching that spread throughout the inside of his abdominal region and up along the insides of his chest cavity. The pain and other unwanted sensations grew steadily worse as time passed. He’d listened to the others alternately swearing, screaming, shrieking, sobbing, begging for mercy, relief and death.
Time, hours or days he didn’t know as he lapsed in and out of consciousness, it grew quieter and quieter. Now, there was only the sound of his own desolated weeping and devastated moans in the almost-perfect darkness. He didn’t know where he was, only able to suspect it was some lower part of the alien building, and he could hear dripping, which told him there was a large body of water somewhere near in the darkness.
His eyes had grown accustomed as much as they could to the thick darkness, and he could turn his head enough to see where the others had been, now held nothing he could make out or recognize as human, save for the top of a head and corresponding face of someone he couldn’t recall the name of. Below the still, discloroed face was an ovoid, like the egg-pods he’d found along with others under the blue, glowing mist. The four flap were like two sets of lips, they were reaching up and he could see that in time they’d cover the top of the person’s head and then the ovoid pod would look exactly like the ones he’d seen before.
The sight prompted a thought, dread and he looked down at himself, seeing the same kind of pod, it’s still-growing flaps at the top of his chest, and then he knew in what manner was his fate to be. He mustered a weak, gaspy scream of rage and helpless frustration that ended in a horrid bout of mucous coughing, spitting and drooling slime from mouth and nostrils, realizing that he could no longer even feel his limbs, except from the pain that came from them.
He thought he saw something bright through the bleariness of his eyes, blinked rapidly to clear them, and realized it was a light, small and powerful, as well as a rotating orb covered in glowing red LEDs. The figure that walked below him seemed somehow familiar, recognizably female, with red hair long and tousled. She held something besides the light in her hands, but he couldn’t remember what it was called.
He tried to speak, succeeded in only making a wretched, mucous-bubbling sound, tried again, then again until finally he managed two words, whispered and desperate but not begging, it was a command he expected obedience to.
“Help. Me.”

Katherine stared in horrified wonder at the egg pods, some still incompletely formed. She could tell just by seeing what was happening, even if the science and specifics were beyond her current education. However she’d read through Smythe’s notes about the creature and his suspicions about it’s reproductive cycle.
The creature that they’d awakened had been busy. It’d been capturing survivors who’d remained in the building and brought them here, where it was semi-cocooning them, and did something to them that was converting their living body’s biomass into the same kind of egg-shaped pods they’d found above.
No mating, no hassles. It was just simple, straightforward, no-frills reproduction. She could see the advantage it would give a species as the number of offspring to replace and expand the population would be much lower. With every creature able to reproduce on it’s own, needing only a living host, the potential population growth characteristics would be enough to contest the mortality rate of even the most vicious environment imaginable.
As she scanned around with her light it appeared that the nest, or lair was seemingly unguarded, she guessed that it meant whichever of the creatures had made this one didn’t feel that others of it’s kind were a threat to it’s offspring, nor anything else being so either.
“Help. Me.” She heard in a weak but familiar voice as she brought her light back to the least-transmorphosed of the luckless people, then moved closer, eyes searching for details under the lank, sweat-soaked hair obscuring the badly discoloured face.
“Meers?” She inquired, not so transfixed by the discovery of him that she failed to continue minding her surroundings.
Two wretched-sounding attempts yielded an answer to her query.
“Yeah.” Meers bubbled, strangling on mucous again.
“You want me to help you, get you some medical?” She asked.
“Yeah, y’fuckin’ deaf, or…” He started to sound angry, then a bout of dreadful, thick-sounding coughing stopped his reply as he sounded as if he was trying to retch up his lungs.
She was certain now that it was without a doubt the man she hated the most in the universe, and a cruel smirk twitched at the corner of her mouth.
“Meers, it’s Katherine. You remember, don’t you? You liked to call me ‘Red’.” She said to him, managing to see his eyes and make eye contact through the fall of his hair over his face.
“Get me outta here, bitch.” Meers said, actually managing to sound threatening even with such a weak and slime-throated voice.
Katherine smirked fully, enjoying the sight of Meers finally achieving a state of usefulness in life.
“No.” She said, managing to compress an entire tirade about how he’d essentially killed everyone she ever cared about before being taken in by Captain Du’Maur and his crew. She would do anything to keep Meers from ever setting foor aboard Manticore and likely repeating his single-mindedly self-obsessed plans to achieve stellar wealth and fame in salvaging all he could from this world and the left-behind workings of the Engineers.
She eyed the other pods and the entire surroundings as far as her light could reveal as Meers strangled and choked in his rage, trying to speak past a clogged throat as he raged helplessly. She saw a blood vessel in the rotten-looking discoloured skin at his temple burst slightly, a heavy drip-run of blood happening down the side of his face. She could smell it, blood, but it had a foul, plastic smell to it as well, and also something like bile. It was thick in air that had formerly smelled only of water, age and stone.
She took one last look at Meers, the rage on his face, bared teeth and tears in his eyes then turned and walked toward the doorway leading back the way she’d come, the coughing and choke-strangling noises receding behind her as she left ‘captain’ Meers to his richly-deserved destiny as he tried and failed to curse her as she left him in the darkness.
In seeing Meers, she now realized that she had a mission to the people that comprised her future. Her job was to locate and find her people, then do all she could to get them and herself back to the ship safe and sound.
The past would die with Meers, down here in the darkest, loneliest place there was in the universe, and she was content to leave it there as she went forward to rendezvous with her future, scouter in tow.

EXCERPT END********

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

I Raptus

Sep-05-2017 11:42 PM

Brilliant. You continue to raise and surpass even your own lofty standards each time you post a new excerpt :-)

As always, a deep and insightful snippet into your rich Alienverse world(s). Love the egg-morphing

 

Blackwinter-witch

Sep-05-2017 11:55 PM

IRaptus

Thank-you for reading!! :) Thank-you also for your kind words and praise, I'm glad you enjoyed it!!

The egg-morphing, to me it is a Signature element of the franchise, as it's so ALIEN, and breaks from the 'comfortably terrestrial' models and ideas of reproduction.

I know I've been away of late, so I wanted to show folks that I've not been idle. :D

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Blackwinter-witch

Sep-13-2017 6:05 PM

PROGRESS UPDATE: 122098 word count at present. It's coming closer and closer to being finished. It's approximately 90% complete, maybe more, but 90% at Minimum.
Then, just a quick editing pass to check for spelling errors and related other flaws, after which it'll be published. :D

EXCERPT*********

After an hour, Sin had reached the side of the cistern opposite to where he’d entered it. He’d spotted some unusual deformations on a wall section close to a doorway and had gone with his gut instinct, moving in with total caution, rifle up, finger on trigger. As he’d gotten closer, the deformations had resolved into abstract shapes, then his eyes had found order within the abstract, seeing the profile of egg-shaped pods.
Not all were fully-so, some were a disturbing tableau where it looked like one of the large ovoids was in the process of swallowing a human being, and in some cases one of the small hominid creatures. Even at a distance he could hear a low, woeful and desolate moaning through his helmet’s open-air auditory pickups.
Moving closer, he studied what he saw, but still kept watch around himself for threats. They’d all figured the nightmarish creature sheathed in obsidian-colored chitin was merely a predatory lifeform, none of them had ever given any real consideration to how it reproduced.
“Manticore, I’ve found something. Stand by.” He said into the comms and considered how to proceed. He didn’t want to try juggling his phone and rifle to snap some still pics and video. He decided to try his helmet camera system, not expecting much after the damage his suit had sustained in the grenade explosion.
There was no useful response, and after another sweeping scan around himself he took out his phone, selected the functions one-handed and began snapping still images and video, cradling his rifle’s forestock across his left elbow so he could still use it effectively while operating his phone, the rifle‘s taclight supplying enough light for good image-quality.
It was the longest five minutes of his life before he stopped recording, quickly putting the phone away, then checking around again. One of the persons trapped in one of the bizarrely-molded resinous pod-nests seemed aware of him, as he saw the head raise and could see the person looking at him. Moving closer, he could make out that it was a man, who bore a close resemblance to Meers as seen in some of Katherine’s suit-camera still-images.
The man tried to speak, his lips moved, then he coughed and weakly and vomited a small gout of green-brown mucous. His face, covered in darkly-discoloured patches that looked to be decomposing, squeezed it’s features together in evident agony, and Sin heard the moan the man gave. The lips of the egg-pod were up around the man’s neck, and Sin glanced over at the other pods that weren’t complete yet, seeing one where the the still unclosed lips left the top of a person’s head still visible.
“Sin, what’s going on?” Came Selina’s voice over his comms.
“I’ve found a nest, larger than what you and Declan found on the wildcatter. Took some pics and video for Smythe, heading out to find Katherine. I’ve had enough of this fucking horrorshow.” He replied, doing a quick check around, and freezing as his taclight revealed the substance of nightmares not six feet from him, caught in the act of reaching for him with it’s large, dual-thumbed hand.

END OF EXCERPT*********


*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Blackwinter-witch

Sep-20-2017 4:21 PM

ALIEN: Manticore is DONE, complete!! :D

The story and epilogue are complete.
All that's needed is a Final Edit/Proofreading, then I publish it on Scribd as I have my other works.

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Blackwinter-witch

Oct-05-2017 9:36 PM

YES, it's finally done.

ALIEN: Manticore

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

hox

Oct-07-2017 2:35 AM

Nice. Just be careful with use of it’s. And watch out for commas that interfere with the flow.

The ship tended itself, and it’s hibernating crew conscientiously. It constantly monitored everything aboard and outside, surveilling the cosmos via it’s sensor arrays and their sophisticated instruments.

Should be

The ship tended itself and its hibernating crew conscientiously. It constantly monitored everything aboard and outside, surveilling the cosmos via its sensor arrays and their sophisticated instruments.

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