The Little Girl on Earth – Accounts of the Earth War

Ripley, I’m scared. These People are soldiers. They’re here to protect you. It won’t make any difference. —-
The medic leaned over the patient, Rebecca Jorden. She was on a pressor bed, and the fields held
her firmly to the cushion like a giant hand. She struggled, but the harder she tried, the
stronger the field became. “No!” “Easy, Rebecca, easy! It’s only a dream! You’re fine, everything is okay!” Newt’s breath came in gasps. Her heart pounded, she could feel her pulse
in her temples as she stared up at Dr. Jerrin. The indirect light gleamed on the sterile
white walls and ceiling of the medical center room. Only a dream. Just like the others. “Do want to talk about your dreams?” “Why? It won’t make any difference.” He had a kindly face; he was old enough to
be Newt’s grandfather. He had treated her for years, ever since she’d
come to Earth. For the dreams. They weren’t all the same, usually she dreamed
about acheroh, the world on which she’d been born. It had been thirteen years since the nuclear
accident that had destroyed the colony on Rim, almost a decade since she left Ferro. And still the nightmares came, carrying her
on wild and uncontrollable gallops through her nights. The drugs didn’t help. Counseling, hypnosis, biofeedback, brainwave
synthesization, nothing helped. —-
She could hear voices in her dream, a distant overlay of ghostly sound wound among the shimmering
and frightful images. “—dreaming again. What’d you give her?” “—thirty of Trinomine—”
“—thirty? That’s twice the usual dosage. Aren’t you worried about brain damage?” “—well, that’s a risk, isn’t it? She’s already halfway insane and none of
the conventional therapies work. Besides, medical-grade androids have taken
up to forty milligrams without significant damage—”
“—she’s not an android, though—” “—might as well be—” Newt felt a coldness grip her legs, bands
of rough steel encircling her ankles, pulling her knees apart. She blinked, glanced down, saw she was naked. Something wet and slimy dripped onto her bare
belly. A clear, ropy jelly. She looked up, but couldn’t see the source,
there was a kind of fog hovering over her, only centimeters from her face, a featureless
gray. I need you, came a deep voice. No, not a voice, the words were unspoken,
they were in her mind. They were the thoughts of a lover, but not
a human lover. The fog swirled away, and teeth glittered
under a coat of clear slime, white needles set in a massive black jaw, on a long, impossibly
long head that flared into wide, flat, branched antlers. Newt gasped, fear filling her, every cell
in her body straining to contain it. Lean back. Unable to resist the command, Newt arched
her neck, saw just behind her a massive, fleshy egg, easily the size of a garbage can. Flaps at the top of the egg opened, spidery
webbing stretching and breaking. It was like the blossoming of some obscene
flower, petals spreading wide in a photographic time-lapse hurry. Crablike legs reached over the folded flaps,
long, fleshless finger bones with sharp tips, questing, exploring. Looking for something. Looking for Newt. She opened her mouth to scream, and a glob
of the slime from the monster above her fell onto her chin, oozed into her mouth, over
her cheeks, into her eyes. Newt tried to swallow, but it was too much. I need you. The monster’s thoughts tried to soothe. Do not be afraid. It will be good. “No!” Newt came up on the cot, yelling the word. “Easy, easy,” Hicks said. He was next to her, holding her shoulders. “Up and at ’em, people,” came a voice
from the entrance to the cell. A pair of armed marines stood there. “The General wants to see you,” one of
them said. —————————————–
General Spears had a change of plans regarding what to do with the prisoners, when Powell
brought some information about their backgrounds. Spears confirmed, as did the government before
the mission to the alien homeworld prior, that Hicks has a unique viewpoint in that
he’s had experience with the aliens in the past. This was something he could use. Spears invited his prisoners to break bread. The table was, nearly as Hicks could tell,
black glass. Expensive for an officers’ mess on some
back-rocket planetoid. Course, it could have been made from local
mineral and not brought in on-ship; even so, it was not something you expected to see. The chairs were some kind of basic fold-out
issue, but they’d been padded and spiffed up by somebody with skill and time. Newt sat to his left, occupying one end of
the table. Another dozen people could sit along the sides,
but those chairs were empty. Spears sat at the other end, alone. A platter of what looked to be roast meat
sat in front of him, aromatic vapors wafting from it. A long knife and double-tine fork were stuck
in the meat. “It’s not real beef, of course,” Spears
said. “Protein hard-jell and soy, but our mess
sergeant has a deft touch with seasonings. It’s not bad.” With his hat off, Spears was as bald as an
egg. Nothing but eyebrows and lashes, from what
Hicks could see. When the plates had been delivered to Hicks,
and Newt, along with glasses of red liquid—wine?—and eating implements, the general carved himself
a slice. The general raised his glass. “To the Corps,” he said. What the hell, Hicks thought. He lifted his own glass. The wine wasn’t bad. Hicks had surely drunk a lot worse. “Eat,” the general said. The cook was inspired, Hicks had to admit. The counterfeit beef was as good as any he’d
ever had. Right texture, right flavour—if Spears hadn’t
told him, he wouldn’t have known the difference. Whatever was going on inside Newt’s head,
Hicks could see she was enjoying her meal, too. “Food okay?” the general asked around
a mouthful of it. Hicks nodded. “Very good.” This was strange territory and wherever this
conversation was going, they’d decided to play along. For his part, Hicks was pretty sure this guy’s
wingnuts were dogged down too tight. It didn’t make sense to set him off until
they had some idea of what he was all about. “You’ll have to excuse my somewhat abrupt
manner when we met,” Spears said. “There’s a war on, one can’t be too
cautious.” He smiled. “It has been brought to my attention that
you have had considerable experience with wild-strain aliens, Sergeant Hicks.” Hicks chewed on the beef. Swallowed it. “Yessir.” Spears popped another chunk into his mouth
and chewed it thoughtfully. “Been in combat against them in several
theaters, correct?” “That’s right, General.” “These men are military, marines, I know
about them. What about you, little lady?” Hicks saw that Newt couldn’t bring herself
to speak. “Sir,” he put in, “Newt was on Acheron
during first contact with the aliens. The only survivor.” The general raised one of his thick eyebrows. “Is that so?” Dumbly, Newt managed a nod. “She survived on her own for more than a
month,” Hicks said. The general’s other eyebrow went up. “Really? Most resourceful. How old would you have been then?” “Ten,” Newt managed. Another of the face-threatening smiles. “Excellent.” He ate another bite of the meatless meat. “I envy you, you know. You’ve been in combat against the toughest
enemies, the most dedicated soldiers men have ever faced. Perfect troops, fearless, tough, almost unstoppable. Your survival is quite an achievement. A fluke, really, but no less heroic for that.” “The only way to beat an enemy as hard as
the one man now faces is to use troops of equal vigor! Ones who can match the ferocity of the opposition.” That got through to Newt. “You’re trying to raise tame aliens here?” “With the proper leader, my troops could
spearhead the retaking of Earth,” Spears said. “Think about it. What better way? The wild strain behave like ants. With troops of equal caliber plus proper strategy
and tactics, they wouldn’t stand a chance.” Newt started to say something. Hicks kicked her under the table. She closed her mouth. “Great idea, sir,” Hicks said. The general nodded, pleased. “I knew you would see it so,” he said. “You’ve been up against them, you know
how little chance humans or even specially bred androids have.” “How can we help, sir?” Hicks said. Newt looked at him as if he had lost his sanity. He kicked her under the table again without
changing his expression. If Spears noticed Newt’s look it didn’t
seem to register. “Your experience, Sergeant. I have computer-generated scenarios, recordings
of battles on Earth, theories. You have been there, you know the reality. I want your advice, your knowledge. My troops must be as well prepared as they
can be when I formulate my strategy.” “Certainly, sir,” Hicks said. Stretched his own scarred face into a smile. “Bueller and I are marines before anything
else. And Newt wants to help, too, isn’t that
right, Newt?” Newt nodded. “Right.” Spears was practically beaming now. He raised his wineglass. “A toast, then—”
But before the general could offer the toast, the major came in via the same door the orderlies
had used. Spears frowned. “What is it, Powell?” “Sorry to disturb your meal, sir. A security breach. The guard on the South Lock has been assaulted,
the outer door burned open. One of the land crawlers is missing.” The general waved one hand. “Oh, that.” Powell blinked. “Sir?” “This is my base, Major. I try to keep up.” He looked at Hicks. “You have to stay on top of things when
you’re the CO. Enjoy the rest of your meal. You are free to go anywhere on Third Base;
you have full clearance. If you have any questions, Major Powell will
be happy to answer them. I suppose I should go and see to the malcontents
who have destroyed military property.” With that, he stood, gave Newt a military
bow that was barely a nod, and left with Powell. Hicks stared at the general’s back as he
left. Wished he had a gun at that moment. Newt found she was shaking. She wasn’t sure if it was because she was
afraid or angry. She stood, but Hicks was right there. He hugged her, and before she could do more
than stiffen and start to pull away, he whispered, “Play along, Newt. They probably have a cam on us and a voice
recorder.” She relaxed a little. “What?” “If we don’t do what this guy says, he
is going to feed us to his monsters. Play along.” And so they did. Days passed; Hicks and Newt explored the base. It was like a dozen such places Hicks had
been on in his career, standard hardware from the lowest bidder, as cheap as it could be
and still work. The one thing he noticed that bothered him
wasn’t the gear, but the people. There didn’t seem to be enough of them for
a base this size. If anything, the military usually had too
many troops for the work needed, a larger command being what officers liked to wave
at each other. Warm bodies meant more than cold rock. Given the extent of the base, almost as big
as a very small town, there ought to be several hundred more people staffing it. Hicks went to shower, water being one of the
few things they had plenty of on the station. Piped up from some deep underground cave as
ice chunks and melted on the way up by heaters in the slurry conduits, SOP for this kind
of operation. One of the few perks even grunts got. Alone, Newt wandered down narrow hallways,
feeling as if she were being watched. God, this was all so insane. Having spent years in a mental hospital because
the authorities thought her memories were hallucinations, Newt had some experience with
madness. This was right up there. Spears ought to be in a silicone room somewhere,
doped to the hairline, scheduled for a full mental revision.He was bug-fuck crazy and
he should be put away. Instead, he commanded troops and had a personal
nest full of the deadliest things man had ever encountered. What kind of deity would allow that kind of
lunacy? Only one that was crazy itself. She came to a door marked Communications. It slid open as she approached. A tech sat, a comhelmet covering half her
head, staring at a series of flat screen monitors. The tech looked over, saw Newt. “I heard we got visitors. Come on in, I got a notice says you’re cleared
for this area.” Newt stared at the tech. Why the hell not? The door closed behind her. The old man was white-bearded, his left arm
bandaged crudely from wrist to elbow, his clothes dirty and torn. He had an antique rifle lying next to him,
something that appeared to be blued steel and worn wood, an old-style bolt-action piece,
probably a hunting weapon from a hundred years past. Back when people hunted for sport and not
for survival. He sat cross-legged, leaning against a pile
of rubble, mostly broken furniture and shattered building material; a small campfire burned
in front of him, the flickers from it painting the old man’s face yellow-orange. A girl of about six leaned against the old
man’s side, her face dirty, long hair matted. Overhead in the night, the running lights
of military attack jets appeared, red and green against the smog that was mostly smoke. The rumble of their engines increased. “Will they see us, Uncle?” the little
girl asked. “I hope so, honey. They should.” The fiery lance of a missile erupted from
one jet, then other rockets followed. Like meteorites, the missiles streaked and
died quickly, to be replaced by a brighter flash of light followed by artificial thunder
as the rockets exploded. The little girl covered her ears with her
hands as more explosions rocked them. The old man looked across the fire, and spoke
as if there were an unseen watcher sitting there. “That’s it for now, sports fans. Tune in again tomorrow, same time, same satellite,
for another exciting episode of Life in the Ruins of Earth. We’ll sign on at 1900, if the bugs haven’t
eaten us. Summer’s over and it’ll be getting dark
sooner. That’s a dislink and endit—” Newt gripped the arms of the plastic form-chair
tightly and found she had been holding her breath as the image on the viewscreen went
blank. She forced herself to relax. To breathe. “They’re regulars,” the tech said. “Amy, Mona, Uncle Burt. Sometimes Leroy—he’s Chinese, we think. The kid looks to be about six. Our guess is that her mother is in her late
twenties, some of the stuff she talks about. The old guy is maybe seventy, probably not
related, though the kid calls him Uncle.” “God,” Newt said. “I don’t know why they bother ’casting,”
the tech said. “It’s not like anybody is going to drop
down and help them.” Newt shook her head. “Maybe it’s all they have left. It matters that they try. People do that.” The tech shrugged, scanning for another image. “Or did it. This base location is classified information,”
she said, “but I can tell you that the ’cast we just saw is history. Even in cold sleep and with full race gee
drives going through the hypercut we are a long way from Earth. The little girl could be years older by now. That, or worm food. It’s a message in a bottle.” Newt’s insides clenched. She knew just how that little girl must feel. The images shifted on the various screens,
sometimes people, sometimes test patterns, sometimes information blurring past so fast
she couldn’t begin to read it. A montage of humanity calling out to itself
electronically, sending its voices and pictures out on invisible waves into the galaxy. Is anybody listening? Is anybody there? A woman appeared on the screen to Newt’s
left. She was attractive, dark hair chopped short
in a spacer’s cut, chiseled and even features, thin lips, good cheekbones. She spoke rapidly, her image without sound. Sweat beaded on her forehead, ran down her
face. “Who’s that?” The tech glanced over at the picture. He smiled. “That’s Ripley.” “Ripley?” He looked at her as if she were a not particularly
bright child. “Ellen Ripley. The Ripley. She was on the Nostromo and the Sulaco. She was there at the beginning, on LV-426,
first contact with the aliens. Holds the record for long sleep, as far as
we can tell. You been living in a cave the last few years?” “Yeah, you might say that. What happened to her?” The tech fiddled with the control. “Can’t get the sound, sorry. This is a real old ’cast. We catch a few of them now and then, light-speed
being as slow as it is. Never know what you’re gonna pick up. I can plug it into the computer lip-reader,
you want.” “What happened to Ripley?” The tech shrugged. “Dunno. She was the only survivor of the Nostromo. Basically a buncha truck drivers who sat down
in the wrong place at the wrong time, got infected. She later went back out to the colony as an
adviser with a crew of Colonial Marines. The colony was destroyed in a nuclear explosion. Probably they all died. There were some rumors…” Newt, exhausted, stared at the tech. Waited. “I had a buddy, used to work for a civilian
biotech division of a major Terran company. He said Ripley managed to get offworld before
the place blew. Wound up on an old prison world somewhere. They sent somebody out after her, but that’s
where the story ends. A lot of shit got lost after the invasion. Who can say?” “You seem to know a lot about it.” “Not really. General Spears studies everything available
on the aliens. Bunch of it gets routed through here. You pick up stuff.” Newt stared at the woman on the screen. She felt a kind of kinship with her. How had she behaved when she faced the things? Was she alive somewhere? Or blown to atomic dust, the same way Hicks
had blasted the aliens’ homeworld with nuclear flames? Or worse, webbed to a wall and used as a human
incubator for a baby monster? The image faded. Newt leaned back in the chair and allowed
the other vidpixs to wash over her. They were hypnotic, light strobing, low sounds
droning her into a kind of somnolence… Newt was dropping into a troubled sleep, when
the images shifted once more. It was the broadcast from eariler. The viewpoint changed, there was a quick disorienting
flash of the ground and a small girl’s leg, then the picture steadied on Uncle Burt. “It’s…It’s worst at night. Yo can’t see them. You can only hear the screams. We usually avoid the buildings…too many
places for those things to hide. Of course, nothing’s really safe anymore. It’s getting more difficult to maintain the
uplink. Once the creatures destroy the relay station
we’ll be cut off.” “People have been congretating near the first
insurance plaza. We’ve heard rumours of a military food dump,
fresh water…” the old man paused. “Hold it.” The sounds of screams, and of a struggle. “Don’t be afraid of her, join her,” came
a deep and unseen voice. A second later, tall men in camo gear stepped
into sight, the woman was being dragged, pleading with her captors. “The queen will be pleased with this one,”
the first soldier said. “She will smile upon us.” He looked around the clearing, what had once
been a busy street in a major city. At the plaza center, there were no military
food dumps. No water. No oasis that would harbor endurance of any
– human – life…The congregations had been in honor of the alien queen. The “Bugfeeders,” as they had been called,
were rumoured to hunt down survivors, and bring them to the queen as hosts for furthers
soldiers in her army. The rumours, were, indeed true. “You’re only making it harder,” the soldier
said to his offering. “Once she joins with you, there’s no more
pain – only the peace that comes from being with God”
The old man and little girl had been spotted, held at gunpoint by the bugeaters. The uplink began to detablish; static and
distortion veiled the struggle that followed. “Oh jesus, they’ve dropped down behind us.” the old man gasped. The image vanished. The scanners cycled, looking for another broadcast. Seated before the now-blank screen, Newt was
drenched in sweat, her heart pounding. “Lot of them went over like that,” the
tech said. “Not enough they have drones out hunting
people. Now they got traitors doing their work for
them, too. Hard to imagine why somebody would do that.” Newt sighed, and it was almost a sob. Yeah. It was hard to imagine, but there it was. Jesus. How could anybody sink that low? In this series, I’m recounting the Earth War,
as depicted in the Aliens comics series. The accounts are explored as originally published,
despite certain names, locations, and other events having been altered over time. For more on the Earth War, you can check out
the Accounts of the Earth War playlist on the endscreen, and stay tuned for the latest
videos. As always, I’d like to Thank you very much
for watching. I really appreciate it, and If you enjoyed
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