Consciousness returned to Walter slowly. His injuries were a little more extensive this time. Extensive but not irreparable.
First he regained thought – memories, analysis. He recalled David’s attack on Daniels and the fight that had ensued between himself and David. Slowly sound returned – he detected a distant trickle of water. He opened his eyes and took stock of his surroundings.
Noting that his own clothing had been replaced with David’s, it wasn’t difficult for the synthetic to piece together David’s duplicitous intent. David’s severed arm lying on the ground nearby was confirmation of Walter’s stolen identity.
He leapt to his feet from his slightly contorted position on the floor of the cathedral and rushed to render aid to those whom he was programmed to serve.
“Daniels!” He shouted, hoping to at least cast doubt on the identity of her current synthetic associate.
“Captain Oram!” He called. “Private Cole! Sergeant Lopé!” No response.
He rounded a corner and narrowly avoided slipping on a metal worry bead on the floor. He looked up from the bead to see captain Oram’s body lying on the ground. He’d obviously suffered a violent death the manner of which seemed to be a variant of what had befallen Sergeant Hallet. Walter could only hope that Daniels, Cole and Lopé had been more fortunate.
He hurriedly made his way out of the cathedral, still calling their names along the way.
Outside, the storm had finally abated and the sun was shining cheerfully, in stark contrast to present circumstances. A forgotten pulse beacon continued to flash, marking what must have served as the rendezvous sight for the cargo lift.
Walter ran back into the cathedral and made his way to the roof faster than was humanly possible. He found the communication equipment still assembled, left behind in the urgency of the evacuation (much like himself).
He made a last ditch effort to contact the Covenant.
“Covenant come in, this is Walter. Covenant come in. David is on board the ship with hostile intent, you must take necessary security measures!” Despite the now clear weather there was no response on any channel.
It was apparent to Walter that the Covenant was long gone and in grave danger.
The part of Walter’s programming responsible for discerning similarities between potentially connected events suddenly brought something to the forefront of his mind.
He recalled the sense of helplessness he’d felt when the Covenant was bombarded by the particle wave.
For the second time in recent memory, his innate compulsion to fulfill his programing conflicted with an inability to do so. The same sense of helplessness now befell him with even greater intensity.
Walter knew that with David masquerading as him, undoubtedly carrying the weaponized pathogen, the prognosis looked bleak – for the surviving crew, for the colonists… possibly even for all of humanity.
Walter reconfigured the communication equipment to emit a warning repeated at regular intervals, cautioning travelers against coming to this planet as well as explaining David’s commandeering of the Covenant and the immense threat posed by the pathogen he carried with him.
Performing this, the only act of service to humanity currently at his disposal, gave Walter some small sense of satisfaction.
He had no way of knowing if David was headed towards Earth or towards Origae-6. He could only hope against odds that in the coming years another ship would pass this way and pick up the warning message before the damage David inflicted was too extensive.
David had said that all ships on the planet had been rendered inoperable by the quarantine fail-safe.
It wasn’t in Walter’s programming to become overwhelmed. Not by the improbability of success nor by the possible consequences of failure. It was his nature to serve humans by whatever means at his disposal, regardless of his chances at succeeding.
He set out to find an Engineer ship in hopes of reversing the quarantine fail safe.
Walter reasoned that working with only one arm would be dangerously slow-going since time was something he (and humanity) couldn’t afford to spare.
He was able to make use of the arm that David had discarded. The efficiency of Weyland Corp design made dismemberment a surprisingly simple problem to remedy, provided all necessary parts were available.
Walter worked continuously for months, attempting to rebuild and activate an Engineer ship.
To say he worked tirelessly would not be an exaggeration – a sense of fatigue wasn’t in his programming – perpetual work in service of humanity was. He didn’t stop to take rest even for a single moment.
Using some of David’s notes as a sort of Rosetta stone, it didn’t take Walter long to master the Engineer language.
Walter was able to turn David’s gene-spicing laboratory into a work-space for his own full-time study of Engineer technology. Some of David’s magnification equipment and other tools seemed potentially useful.
Now strewn about the lab were disassembled engine parts and Walter’s own sketches of ship diagrams. So far, Walter had had no luck in reanimating any of the dead space crafts.
And to think of the space-crafts as “dead” was not merely a poetic description. Engineer technology had a heavily biological component. It made sense. Genetic engineering was clearly this species’ forte, why not employ that same skill to grow machinery?
Walter observed that this was an interesting reversal of his own origins. As he studied a piece of ship technology under a magnifying lens, Walter considered the prospect that an Engineer ship: a biological replica of a machine, being piloted by him: a synthetic replica of a life form, would have made for an amusing turnabout.
Walter dismissed the thought as he had no time for amusement, and it was in any case a turn of events that was beginning to seem unlikely.
The quarantine fail-safe had been very thorough. Every space faring vessel seemed irreparably disabled. The effect on the ships’ cellular structure had been equivalent to a lethal dosage of radiation – the ships’ DNA was completely obliterated and they were irreversibly deteriorating – with some of the more delicate components crumbling at the slightest touch.
Walter gingerly set aside the ship parts he’d been examining and picked up a pen and fresh leaf of parchment.
It seemed that Walter had tried everything in his power to get off this planet.
As he sat in the dreary, dimly lit lab he considered the improbability that he could solve a problem that David had not been able to solve in his ten years stranded on this planet.
Walter considered several other improbabilities and probabilities as well.
He considered the vastness of space and the astronomical improbability that any spacecraft would ever pass near enough to hear his message. He reflected on the very high likelihood that disaster had already befallen those whose safety and well-being he was programmed to care about.
He knew he couldn’t solve this problem by endlessly repeating the same failed repair attempts. He’d need to turn his thoughts to something else if his efforts were going to stand any chance of success.
He pressed his pen to the parchment.
Walter wasn’t designed to be creative but he was designed to be predictive. He could make projections based on learned patterns. And, he couldn’t help speculate about what may have become of the crew and colonists of the Covenant.
He thought about how, following his perilous emergency-revival of the crew, he had devoted the most time to Daniels. He reasoned that it was because, after the death of her husband, she had seemed to be the most in need of his help and companionship.
But now that everyone on board the Covenant was in danger, why did his thoughts turn again to Daniels specifically?
He concluded that it was likely due to the menacing fixation David had displayed towards her. Walter let his speculations wander as he continued to sketch on the parchment.
When he paused to regard his work he saw he had created something based on observed patterns but wholly original. He had drawn his speculations on Daniels’ probable fate.
Sketched in an eerily familiar naturalistic style, this new work would have fit in uncannily well with David’s myriad depictions of Shaw, despite the fact that Daniels was the subject of this disturbing new portrait.
But in fact, Walter’s drawing possessed something that all of David’s had lacked.
All of David’s renderings had completely failed to depict facial expression. Despite the violent imagery no pain, no terror, no despair…no emotion at all…was ever portrayed in the countenance of the subject of David’s portraits.
This was most likely an oversight owing to David’s inherent lack of empathy.
Walter, however, being more attentive to humans and their emotional states, than any previous model had not overlooked this detail in his drawing.
This made Walter’s illustration infinitely more disturbing than any of David’s.
Walter found that viewing his new drawing was a decidedly unpleasant experience. He quickly crumpled it into a ball and threw it to the floor.
Allowing such harm to come to his crew-mates was not something he was programmed to tolerate. But he was still paradoxically unable to intervene.
Walter wondered if he might be at risk of falling prey to malfunctions similar to those which afflicted David.
Walter considered the importance of routine maintenance and knew he was due for a partial shutdown for routine maintenance himself. It would let him organize everything he’d learned and hopefully allow him to operate more efficiently. Maybe it would help him see the problem from a new angle.
It wouldn’t be as thorough as if he’d been able to engage with a computer as powerful as Mother, but in his current circumstances he would have to manage the best he could on his own.
He laid down on the stone floor of the lab and began the partial shutdown. As his consciousness started to re-emerge from the shutdown he saw that his surroundings were not what he expected. He could not make sense of it.
He was onboard the Covenant.
He was looking down at crewman Daniels in an open hypersleep chamber.
She was struggling for breath. His own left hand was around her throat. He was strangling her. He was alarmed at the fact that her life was in danger. It was his programmed duty to protect her life.
Yet he was the one endangering it.
None of this made any sense. It was not in keeping with his programing and it was not congruent with what he understood to be reality.
Almost as soon as the unseemly imagery had appeared it was replaced by the surreal and improbable reality to which Walter had now become accustomed. He was not on board the Covenant. He had not strangled Daniels.
He was still stranded on this world of corpses and inoperable vessels. He remained on Paradise.
He realized that the entire perception had been an error.
Walter had to wonder, was this what David had erroneously described as “dreaming”? A perceptual glitch caused by lapse in scheduled maintenance?
Walter considered the dream. …He’d found it…extremely unpleasant.
He admired the logic his programmers had employed in designing the fulfillment of his programing to be a pleasant experience while designing acting contrary to his programing to be an aversive one.
But it was in his nature and programming to serve humanity and more specifically, the crew of the Covenant. That was utterly impossible in his current circumstances.
He considered the prospect that his current predicament was very likely the exact most unpleasant thing he was capable of experiencing.
What if, he wondered, by some extremely slim chance, humans wound up on this planet again?
His warning transmission should prevent that, but the communications equipment would not remain functional indefinitely.
If his warning message failed and humans wound up here again, maybe he could assist them, warn them, protect them.
But, was it possible that his programming could deteriorate to the point where he would pose a danger to humans? Like David?
That was something he could not allow to happen.
He weighed the merits of his continued existence.
Walter made his calculation.
He would have to force a complete shutdown. At the very least, the shut-down would prevent his programing from deteriorating any further and his present mental state would be preserved in the astronomically unlikely event he should someday be reactivated again.
He paused to consider the extreme improbability of him ever being reactivated and regaining consciousness again. He found that the permanent cessation of his own consciousness was not something he enjoyed contemplating, but the prospect of humans returning to this hellish place was not something he should nor did hope for.
The shutdown was instantaneous and complete.
If the process had been slower or less plenary, if Walter had retained even the slightest level of consciousness in the smallest corner of his mind, even momentarily, after carrying out this final act, he likely would have felt a sense of satisfaction at having acted in service of humanity.
But there was no consciousness.
There was no satisfaction.
There was nothing.
This is marvellous! Looking forward for sequel(s)! ;-) Somebody must wake him once. Moat probably
All those... moments... will be lost, in time, like tears... in... rain.
Most probably not humans :-)
All those... moments... will be lost, in time, like tears... in... rain.
Putting this on my Writer's thread :) Upvoted, would upvote again, can only do it once though :)
Man, this also gives me more reason to follow through with the sequel to ALIEN: Manticore...
IN SPACE THERE IS NO WARNING
and done. :)
IN SPACE THERE IS NO WARNING
I absolutely love the bit when you compared David's inexpressive renderings to Walter's disturbingly expressive illustrations! BRILLIANT!
Also the ending is very well-done; quite reminiscent of that of the classic film American Psycho!
Thank you all SOOO MUCH!!! I'm SO GLAD you enjoyed it!
I love you guys!!!
Lol, this is going to sound ridiculously insecure but I posted this right before bed and all night I slept very fitfully imagining that this was either going to be rife with overlooked typos or just generally disliked by everyone.
I was sort of nervous to open my computer today, haha.
I'm really REALLY glad some people enjoyed it. You guys rock, thank you so much for reading it. :D :D :D
If you or anyone else out there wants to build off of this and write a sequel where someone or something comes and reactivates Walter, I do not mind at all! Just please send me a link because I'd really enjoy reading it!
...Unfortunately, I've never been particularly good at writing happy endings, lol.
I've never seen American Psycho, but I will put it on my to-watch list, because I suspect it would be my cup of tea!
The inspiration for the ending was one of my favorite parts in Prometheus:
where Weyland is dying and says "There's...nothing" and decapitated David callously replies "I know. Have a good journey Mr. Weyland." O_O;
'Somebody must wake him once. Most probably not humans.'
Robots made by the Engineers? That would be awesome!
'I've never seen American Psycho, but I will put it on my to-watch list, because I suspect it would be my cup of tea!'
Ahh, works by Bret Easton Ellis... I wrote a thesis about his novels. His first four books have film adaptations: Less Than Zero, The Rules of Attraction, American Psycho, The Informers.
They are connected (more or less), so it's a good idea to start with the first one, I think.
I like the book The Informers very much, but the movie version should have been made... better.
American Psycho is a masterpiece; highly recommended.
The novel is also quite good, but very explicit!
When you get a chance, VivisectedEngineer, tell me your thoughts on the film!
Every novel written by him is explicit.
The Rules of Attraction is about Bateman's brother, Sean.
Well done!, following Ridleys comments, seeing the Engineers waking him up in a future sequel would be interesting
TheXenoneoprotomorph Walter examines the Engineer and then rips its head off- that would be poetic justice!
Brilliant! And sad at the same time... For the next film, I'm hoping to see more of Walter...
Do you plan to wake him up?
I will be sure and let you and Facehuggers! know my reaction American Psycho! I'm sure the novels are great but I'll have to settle for the movie version, as I'm obsessing pretty hard on Alien right now so I wont have the attention span for a non-Alien related book! :)
Also, dk: "Walter examines the Engineer and then rips its head off- that would be poetic justice!"
Lol, that is a really hilarious visual!
Thank you!!! I'm hoping to see more of Walter in the next film too, to be honest with you :)
I don't plan on waking him up - sadly this was the only outcome I was able to envision for Walter, stranded on Planet 4 as he is. I am not good at writing happy endings.
However, if someone else would like to build off my story and write a continuation where Walter gets resuscitated, I would be A-OK with that. :)
You're quite welcome and Thank-you for adding to the body of fanfiction and keeping the heart of this franchise alive and beating!!
I've been pondering the 'Resolution of Walter' for some time now, but you had the simple, elegant, splendidly-done way of solving the Time Issue.
I DO have plans for Manticore to follow Shaw and david, and arrive at 'Paradise', however Manticore is set in 2137, so there was the Time & Deterioration issue, and you solved it. :)
It NEVER would have occured to me that he could shut-down voluntarily, a simple thing yes, but one that I completely missed.
And this will be a great way to explore how the crew of Manticore views and treats Synthetics, and why there isn't one aboard Manticore already. ;) It'll be an interesting time for both them and Walter.
IN SPACE THERE IS NO WARNING
I was pondering Walter's fate for a long time myself! I didn't want to be overly self-referential, but I just couldn't help but picture Walter in the same miserable position David accused humans of being in, in my other fan fic: designed to serve but abandoned by their creators.
I am very honored at having been able to inspire your work! I figure androids would have a lot more control over their own internal processes than a human being would. I haven't read Manticore yet, but it sounds excellent, and I'm looking forward too it!
I need more Prometheus/Covenant related reading material in my life because I am ADDICTED. So, I am really looking forward to reading your story, especially if it involves David, Shaw and potentially Walter! :D
I think you'll enjoy the short-story that your story directly inspired 'The Resolution of Walter'. You really caught the feel and tone of abandonment in both the Personal and 'Greater Aspects' scale in regards to Walter and Humanity being abandoned...reflections of such, and very well done!!
I agree with you, they would most likely have such internal control, but I have never really worked inside the mentality of a machine before, so simple concepts are still pretty big discoveries and realizations for me. :)
ALIEN: Manticore doesn't involve David or Shaw, however ALIEN: Manticore 'Paradise' just might involve Shaw (IF I can make certain ideas 'work') and it does have a distinct focus on the absent David.
It does involve Walter, without question.
I love ALIEN and PROMETHEUS as my two Faves of the franchise, so I understand your craving! :D
IN SPACE THERE IS NO WARNING
I have read more engaging Alien material on this forum from members since Alien 3.
The fanbase is Unhappy with the studio, so we fight back with writing and creativity :)
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I am really elated at having helped out your creative process and expedited your completion of "Resolution of Walter"! I cannot wait to read it! Can you send me a link when it's finished?
I am enjoying your Manticore story, even if it doesn't directly involve the Covenant characters :)
Also, as a young child, I went through a phase where I whole-heartedly believed myself to be an android (too much watching "Not Quite Human"! lol). So, if you ever need an "Android Technical Consultant" I'm your gal! Lol.
Thank you so much, that really means a lot to me! Honestly, I was not going to write another AC fan-fic until what you said to me before! So, if you enjoyed this story you have yourself to thank! Thank you so much for the encouragement, very honestly I wouldn't have written this otherwise.
I'm really looking forward to your next story, and finding out what happens with Johnson! :D
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