Ripley – Accounts of the Earth War


It was on Gateway Station, L-5 Earth Orbit, that
Newt came face to face with Ripley for the first time since the Acheron mission. The universe was, indeed, full of surprises. Had she not seen Hicks in person, right before
the alien outbreak that overtook earth, she may have not have known he was real, and from
her past — not just the soldier who saved her in her dreams. There were no dreams of Ripley, rather, memories,
locked away and hidden – lost in the haze of the nightmare that had become her life. But upon seeing her once-savior again, all
these years later, the memories came flooding back…and Newt realized the truth about Ripley. There were always the rumors. Ever since her return, 57 years after the
disappearance of the Nostromo, Ripley had become something of a legend in certain circles. After the Acheron mission, her fate became
less clear. Rumors that she escaped off-world, that she
was in a coma, there were even whipsers that some had witnessed her evacuating amongst
other refugees on Earth during the outbreak. Newt had heard some of this, back on General
Spears’ base, but, as it was with most everyone else, to Newt, it was legend. Perhaps the best for Newt to understand Ripley’s
story, and how the two found themselves reunited after 13 years, was to tell her own. When I was young, I new a little girl named
Rebecca. Her friends called her Newt. She had a doll named Casey. The two would stare for hours as manmade storms
battered their tiny settlement. The adult colonists found their new environment
cruel and inrelenting, but the little girl had known nothing else. To her, the planet was home. She only wanted what all children want: the
warmth and security of family – the human connectedness that comes from belonging. What she got was a nightmare without end. As the demons raged, Rebecca sought shelter
in the col steel maze benath the planet’s surface. She listened for the screams, and when they
died…she listened…for THEM.. She wasn’t mature enough to enderstand the
true horror of her situation. Perhaps that was all that saved her. Then one day, there was a new sound: rescue. To the child’s eye, the soldiers were as frightening
as the monsters– with the exception of a corporal named Hicks, and a civilian observer
they called Ripley. She wasn’t like the others. She understood. Out of the marines, only Hicks survived–
if you could call what happened to him survival. The alien blood could burn through steel. Imagine what it could do to a man’s face… Through it all, Ripley was THERE. For the little girl. And in the end, she prevailed. The last thing rebecca could remember was
Ripley’s face, comforting her as they prepared for the long trip home. She trusted her. When the little girl awoke… she learned
the meaning of Betrayal. Rebecca died. A frightened, lonely survivor named Newt took
her place. She grew up alone, a prisoner of her nightmares. If it weren’t for hicks, she would have died
in that hospital. Years of pain – of being alone. The little girl grew older —
and came to hate Ripley. Ripley was gazing into the abyss of space-
planning, listening…when Newt approached her now that the revelation had jolted her
to core. “You rescued me from the aliens and then you
abandoned me — christ Ripley, after all these years – why did you have to come back?” “I don’t owe you anything, Newt. I did my job. Whatever happened after wasn’t my-”
Newt slapped her before she could continue. “I want an answer. I have to know why.” “You think I wanted to leave you? I didn’t have any choice.” Ripley explained the events that took place
on the Sulaco in the wake of Acheron’s destruction, I watched you as you fell to sleep – then
I went to find my own peace. It was over. We were going home. For the first time since it had started, I
could dream of life — of beginnings. That was all they were. Dreams. “She’s coming out of it,” a voice said. Ripley arose from her cryo chamber, stretching,
confused. She groaned and murmed, finally collecting
herself enough to realize something wasn’t adding up. Still half in cryosleep, Ripley managed to
ask, “How long?” The man, Captain Hankerson, had lit a cigarette,
patiently waiting for Ripley to provide him with her full, woken attention. He answered. “About three days. You’ll start feeling better once-”
Ripley interuppted. “What do you mean THREE DAYS? Travel time to Earth is weeks. ”
Hankerson confirmed. “Still is. Your mission’s not over yet.” It had become clear what was going on. It, unfortunately, was not a surprise. “You bastards. You miserable Bastards.” Ripley followed Hankerson through the umbilical
connecting the Sulaco to the government’s command ship. “The government decided one ship just wasn’t
enough…Sent you to make sure the job got done. Why the hell are you here, Captain Hankerson?” “We’ve been analyzing the Sulaco’s transmissions
from the time you entered planetary orbit.” He paused to muse, “You’re getting to be an
expert on LV-426.” “Yeah. Through Attrition.” Ripley agreed. “Not that it matters. The terraforming reactor went critical and
dusted the place just after –” He stopped her. Shook his head. “Hardly. The facility’s history, but that’s a corporate
insurance problem. We’re interested in something else.” Ripley could see where this was going. They were returning to LV-426, surely to collect
specimens. She would not hear it. “Did you wake me up for my advice? It’s real simple. If Acheron’s still intact- if any of those
things are sill alive…drop a nuke and waste them.” “I’m going to make it easy for you. This is a scientific expedition – that’s all. And I need a guide.” “Sure. And what’s the bribe this time, Captain? Reinstatement? Back pay? I’m never going back. Discussion over.” She turned her back on the Captain, who stood
at the command ship’s entrance, arms crossed. Not following her. Only raising his voice, as Ripley made her
way back to the Sulaco. “You’re acting like you have a choice…Lietenant.” “Jesus…you think you can threaten me? After everything I’ve been through?” “Threaten? No. But i’m going to have reliable, first-hand
information on this mission…and if you’re unwilling, I can always wake up the corporal….or
the little girl.” Ripley recalled her reluctant departure from
the Sulaco, and her farewell to the sleeping child. I’d seen Hankerson’s kind before — full of
the mindless bravado that comes from ignorance. The marines set the sulaco’s automatic guidance
systems for Earth, and have me an hour to prepare for their damned mission. I spent those last minutes with you. Don’t you see, Newt? I would have done anything to protect you:
play along with Hankersons’ expedition, return to face those things… even… leave you.”

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