Standing on a balcony, Marlee Martinson looked up at the clouds racing across the dark sky, thinking of her place of birth. She had always liked Acheron. Not so much for its bareness as for its surreal surface, shaped in volcanic stone and ashes. She had been born there, had never known any other place. Sure, she had heard about Earth and how wonderful it was from her parents. Thinking of them, she clenched her fists, snarling at the sky. Her parents were dead because of Burke. If she should ever come across him again, she would kill him.

Angry and unable to control it, she hammered a fist into the balcony wall, grinding her teeth when her knuckles came away bloody. She always managed to hurt herself one way or another, not able to take her anger and frustration out on somebody else. Running her tongue over her hurt knuckles, she went back inside, looking around the room she had been assigned to. The home was only temporary until the government could find a new home for her, but she didn't intend to stay that long. Hudson had been to see her and she had told him about the program, which was going to reassign her. But, she didn't want to. She was, after all, nineteen years old and quite able to take care of herself. But, as she had pointed out to him, if she had somebody to stay with, they would leave her alone. He had promised to give it some thought and, yesterday, he had called her and told her to pack her bags, he would pick her up the next day. So, now she was waiting for him to turn up, anxious to be gone.


Hudson had picked up his car, which had been stored at a local car-park, and was driving through L.A., looking out at the buildings surrounding him. The streets were full of people and they knew nothing. From time to time, he wanted to just stop the car and tell them what was out there. He still thought that people had a right to know that space was not just a fascinating place to be conquered. That there were not just stupid natives on the different planets, who would bow down to what the Company seemed to believe was a kind of supremacy represented by man. He wanted them to know that there was real horror to be found out there. Things that saw humans as pray. Something which had no feelings of moral or remorse.

Shaking his head, he pushed those thoughts aside. If he let them continue, they would ruin his sleep for another night. That was one of the reasons that he had chosen to accept Marlee's plea. That he was willing to let her move in with him. Because she would take a lot of the loneliness and fear away. At least he hoped she would. He stopped the car at the youth-shelter and got out, looking up at the building. It looked bright and cheerful from the outside and was very inviting on the inside too, but he could not blame Marlee for wanting to get away. If not for anything else, she was older than her age because of the aliens. She did not belong in a youth-shelter.

He ran up the steps, pushed the door open and stepped inside. Marlee was waiting in the hall for him, one small bag over her shoulder.

She smiled when she saw him. "Hi. Let's get out of here,” she said.

He nodded, glancing around. "Yeah, lets,” he replied, taking her bag.



Miller was sitting in his office, getting some paperwork done, when his secretary suddenly turned up in the door.

She looked slightly annoyed. "Mr. Miller. There is a man outside who wants to talk to you,” she said, her voice subdued.

He frowned at her, not really sure what to think of that. It wasn't like her to barge in on him like that. "Mrs. Jenkins. Why don't you use the intercom?" he asked, putting his pen down.

Mrs. Jenkins made a face. "He told me not to. He said it was important that nobody else had a chance of hearing that he was here,” she replied.

Miller's frown deepened. "Who is this man?" he asked, having a bad feeling about it.

Mrs. Jenkins glanced over her shoulder at the door. "A Mr. Holden, sir,” she said.

Miller rolled his eyes and sighed deeply. Then, he nodded. "Let him in,” he said and Mrs. Jenkins nodded and returned to the front office.

Shortly after, Holden stepped into the office, looking around. He admired the expensively decorated office for a moment. There were different kinds of art hanging on the walls and one display-case in the right front-corner containing late 18th century African art.

Then, he turned his gaze on his benefactor. "'Morning, Mr. Miller,” he said, dropping down on one of the high-backed, leather-covered chairs in front of the massive, mahogany desk.

Miller gave him a scrutinizing look for a moment, slowly getting the feeling that Holden might be about to suggest something he wouldn't like. "Mr. Holden. What an unexpected surprise,” he replied, leaning back in his chair. He looked at Holden in a way that made the man slightly nervous.

Holden reminded himself of the reason for his visit and regained his self-assurance. "Sir, I think that since I have been the one who has lead you to this -- find of yours, I would like to be let in on it,” he started.

Miller raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean?" he asked, honestly surprised.

Holden cleared his throat, sure that Miller was just pretending not to know what he was talking about. "The alien, sir,” he replied.

Miller kept his expression in place, trying not to disclose that he was more than just a little annoyed that Holden actually knew about the alien's presence on Gateway. He decided to try and find out how much the man knew. "The alien?" he asked back.

Holden nodded serenely. "Yes, sir. The alien. I know that you keep it here on Gateway. And, well, I know a few people who would be very interested in finding out about that. The Company, for instance."

Miller realized fully, where this was heading. He folded his fingers, looking down at them for a moment. "Are you trying to blackmail me, Holden?" he asked, looking up again. Holden smiled a little and Miller instantly knew that he could not scare Holden off just by threatening him.

"Oh, I wouldn't call it blackmail, sir. Blackmail is such a nasty word. I see it as a small beneficial amount to ensure my continued co-operation. I don't have much, you see. And, a little money would really warm my heart,” he replied.

Miller watched him for a moment, not really certain how to react. If it was a question of a one-and-for-all amount within reasonable limits, he would be willing to discuss it. But, he knew from hear-say that blackmailers had a tendency to become greedy and demand more and more until they actually ruined their benefactors. Considering the pros and cons, he leaned forward. "What kind of -- amount are you thinking of?" he wanted to know.

Holden looking down for a moment. "The moderate amount of 100.000 would be in place,” he replied, looking up again.

Miller looked at him for a long moment, not allowing himself to get upset. "100.000 dollars, I presume. As a one-and-for-all amount?" he inquired.

Holden had a look about him that told Miller that this was not a fact. "I don't like to sound greedy, but I did not have a one-and-for-all amount in mind. You see, I have some very heavy wishes and with your help I could make them come true. So, I will contact you now and again about further payments."

Miller had expected as much. Frowning a little, he thought it over. Then, to buy a little more time, he smiled a little. "Give me some time to think about it. I have to find a constructive way of getting the money. I'll call you tomorrow,” he replied, getting up.

Holden was a little surprised at how easily he had gotten through, but rose too, smiling. "I'm glad to see that you take it so easy, Mr. Miller. I always knew I could count on you."

Miller shrugged, still smiling. "Well, it won't be my money, of course. The money will come out of the budget from Bio's, so why should I care? Just as long as you promise me to keep a lid on it, you will receive your fair share. Without you, we would know nothing about the alien. I'll call you tomorrow,” he replied, shaking Holden's outstretched hand.

Holden nodded and left. Somehow, he felt as if it had all gone a little too smoothly, but the thought of 100.000 dollars soon turned his worries away.

Miller looked at the closed door, pondering what he should do. He had no intention of paying the money, not an amount of that size. If he were to take that kind of money out of the budget, he would be nailed to the closest wall by the stockholders. He turned to his computer-terminal and pulled out the file for Holden. The man had no relatives, which was good, and, according to his work-record, he had quit his job. In pure irritation, Miller started to tap his pen down on the desk in rapid succession, staring at the computer-screen. Holden was obviously very sure that he was going to get the money.

Frustration starting to show it's ugly face, Miller got up and left his office after switching the terminal off again. He headed toward the alien's chamber. Once inside, he stood there for half an hour, watching the alien. It approached the window when he came in and pressed one of its long-fingered hands up against the armored glass. Miller smiled at it and its outer jaws parted, maybe in an attempt to mimic his smile. He liked to think so.

"Can't you help me?" he asked it, frowning a little. The alien moved away from the window again, taking a round through the room. It stopped at the opposite wall, its head turning back toward him. He reached out to caress the window for a second. Then he turned around and left again.



Ripley was sitting on the sofa in the living room, going over her budget. Earlier, she had just spent the money she had and that was that, but not anymore. Now, they were two and Hicks was reasonably careful about his money. For the past month, Ripley had tried to relax and take things one day at a time. Hicks hadn't gone back out there and that made her feel better than she had in a long time.

The door to the living-room opened and Hicks came in, dressed in a pair of jeans and nothing else. She looked up at him, smiling a little. Their relationship was still the strangest that either of them had ever come across, but it didn't matter.

He looked into her eyes and smiled back. "Hi, how's it going?" he asked, dropping down beside her.

She returned her attention to the sheets of paper in front of her. "Well, it's going fine. But, I don't understand this one. What is that?" she asked, pointing at one of the expenses.

Hicks looked at it for a moment, then he made a face. "I don't know. Does it matter? It's only twenty bugs,” he replied.

Ripley sighed, leaning back. "Well, not right now, but if it keeps up it will matter. This expense has been there for two months now. In the end, it mounts up,” she told him. That somehow caused him to laugh. Ripley looked at him, slightly confused. "What?" she wanted to know.

"Nothing. It's just you. Listen to yourself. You sound like the perfect housewife."

Ripley lashed out at him and missed him by an inch. "Don't mock me,” she said with a smile, blushing a little.

Hicks put an arm around her shoulders, smiling. "Don't take it so hard. I didn't mean anything by it,” he said and she nudged him.

"I know you didn't. But, you'd better tell me where those twenty bugs went. Otherwise, this is never going to make any sense to me,” she replied.

Hicks looked at the calculations. "Well, I guess I must have spend them somewhere. But, I don't remember where,” he said, grabbing the pack of cigarettes on the table.

Ripley snatched them out of his hand. "I thought you were supposed to stop smoking,” she said, her tone of voice mocking.

Hicks grabbed at the pack, but she held it out of his reach. "I thought you were supposed to mind your own business,” he replied. "Give me those cigarettes,” he added, grinning. Ripley handed him the pack and he dropped it on the table. "It's the force of habit that made me pick it up in the first place,” he tried to justify himself.

"Yeah, right,” she replied cynically and got up. For a moment she looked down at him, then turned and walked over to the landscape window. "Dwayne, I need a job."

Hicks sighed. "Yeah, me too. I hate sitting around, doing nothing." Before he could say any more, there was a knock on the door. It reminded Hicks of something he didn't voice. "I'll get it," he said. Nobody knocked these days. Nobody except Hudson. And Hudson was dead. Shaking the bad feeling in the pit of his stomach, he opened the door ... and froze.

"Hi there. Thought I'd just drop by and let you know I'm back. How're you doing?" Hudson blurted out, grinning like a goon. He stepped into the apartment, completely ignoring the stunned silence of his friend.

Ripley turned up in the doorway to the living room, having heard a voice from the past. She, too, stood frozen to the spot, staring at Hudson.

"Hey, Ripley. Good to see you," Hudson went on, still grinning. "What's this, Dwayne? You two an item now?"

If Hicks had found it possible in any way he would have fainted. He merely stared at his friend, adverse feelings ripping through him at the speed of light. The relief over seeing Hudson again, the disbelief since this could not be, the guilt because he had left him out there, the sheer and utter lunacy of it all. "Hudson?" His voice was barely a whisper.

"Yeah, man. I'm back. Happy to be alive, man," Hudson said, still grinning. Then he looked from Hicks to Ripley and back again and finally stopped acting like this was just a courtesy visit. "I didn't want to call. I figured turning up in person might be easier for you guys to handle. I realize you think I'm dead, but I'm not. I got rescued."

Hicks’ hand felt for the door control and the door slid shut. "How?" he asked, still staring.

"Oh, man, that's a long story. I'd be glad to tell you, though," Hudson countered, glancing over at Ripley who had yet to say anything. Her stare made him uncomfortable. He compared it to the time she'd found out that Bishop was an android. It wasn't pleasant.

"Yes, how?" she finally said, her tone of voice betraying what she was feeling. She wasn't at all sure that it was him.

Hicks focused on her, noted the strange expression and frowned. "What's wrong?"

Ripley looked over at him, then looked back at Hudson. "How did you get out, Hudson?"

"There were other colonists living in the next processor. They'd found a way to deal with the aliens. They saved me just in time," Hudson explained, a little disappointed that they didn't receive him with open arms.

"Other colonists?" Hicks asked. "I thought you said all of them were in the processor."

Hudson looked from one to the other, realizing that their reactions weren't mainly based on the surprise they felt over his return. They weren't sure he was who he said he was. "Man, what the hell happened to you guys? You don't believe it's me?" he asked.

Hicks frowned a little. "It's kind of hard to believe, considering that I saw you being dragged down through the floor in the colony, Hudson. We wrote you off as dead for sure. And when the processor blew ..."

" ... I was miles away. I just told you. I was rescued. They killed the facehugger and helped me out of there." Slapping his right leg, he tried to convince them. "They more or less had to carry me out because I shot myself in the leg when that sucker carried me off."

Hicks looked at his leg, then at Ripley. She finally stepped aside. "Come in and tell us all about it," she offered.

Hudson nodded. "Okay, sure. I'll do that. Just stop staring at me like that," he countered and pushed past her into the living room.


After having told them the whole story, they were a lot more at ease. It sounded plausible and a lot of people had been saved. Ripley sat there, staring ahead of herself, and couldn't quite believe it anyway. "I'm glad you made it back, Hudson. Don't get me wrong, but ..." She shook her head. "I don't know. I get the feeling that you're not telling us everything."

Hudson cleared his throat, briefly wondering if she was psychic or something. "Uh ..." he began, glanced at Hicks for a second and sighed heavily. "We found somebody else alive, too."

"Who?" Hicks asked, his tone of voice almost menacing.

"Burke," Hudson said, causing them both to stare at him again.

"That little weasel," Hicks muttered. "I went through hell because of him and now you're telling me he's back?" The latter he almost yelled.

Hudson pulled back a little, staring at his friend as he more or less jumped off the couch and started pacing the living room. Hudson glanced at Ripley.

"Hicks was accused of having killed everybody. It was only due to Bishop's testimony that he got off the hook." Watching Hicks pacing for a moment, she shook her head sadly. "He was in prison for a year because of it."

"What?" Hudson asked, staring at Ripley. "Prison? Jesus, man. And I thought I was having it tough," he stated.

"Tough?" Hicks asked, stopping dead in his tracks. "Yeah, you had it tough. If I had known I would never have left you there, Will." This he said with regret.

"I know that, man. Don't worry about it. You didn't know. How could you? And you would have been fried if you had stayed any longer." Hudson got up, too, and stepped up to Hicks. "I thought everybody else had bought it. I ran around thinking that you were a goner, that me and the Sarg was the only survivors. I'm glad we're not, man. I'm glad you made it."

Hicks stared at him for a moment, then a slow smile spread over his lips. "Hey, I feel the same way, buddy," he said and they embraced each other.

Ripley merely smiled.



Hicks and Ripley had gotten used to the idea that Hudson was back. They'd met Marlee and they all hit it off well. Neither was interested in working for the Company any more, but Ripley's desire to find something to do became more and more prominent. She needed something to distract her thoughts with.

Standing on the balcony, one of her favorite places in the apartment, she thought it over for the umpteenth time. She was leaning on the railing, watching the clouds drift across a perfectly blue sky and had a strange feeling that she had just imagined things. That everything was fine. Smiling, she shook her head.

"What's so funny?" Hicks stepped out on the balcony and leaned his back against the railing.

"Oh, nothing. I just had this odd feeling that everything was all right. That I had just imagined the whole thing. Stupid, huh?" she countered, still smiling.

"Nah. That's not stupid. I wish it were true. And who says we can't pretend, huh?" Hicks put an arm around her shoulders and gave her a squeeze.

"Yeah," she said a little reluctantly. "Dwayne, I need a job. I really need to do more than just stand here all day and look out at the city."

"Yeah? Well, so do I. I'm starting to get really bored. I need something to do. As a matter of fact, Will had an idea that I kinda like."

Ripley turned back to face him, feeling a little curious about this idea that Hudson apparently had. "Like what?" she asked.

Hicks smiled a little at her tone of voice. He had noticed, that if he started talking about Hudson, she became cautious. "A bar. He wants to open a bar,” he said.

Ripley frowned. "Here in L.A.?" she asked and Hicks nodded.

"Yeah, here in L.A. As a matter of fact, both Marlee and Will are coming over later today to talk about it. Marlee is in,” he told her.

For a moment, Ripley just looked at him. "And because Marlee is in, you think I should be in too?" she wanted to know.

Instantly, Hicks raised his hands in a deprecating gesture. "No, that's not what I'm saying. Relax, Ellen. Nobody is going to force you to do anything you don't want to. It's just a suggestion,” he said, his tone of voice soothing.

Ripley closed her eyes for a moment. "Sorry. I see traps in everything these days,” she apologized. "So, how are you going to go about it?" she added.

Hicks shrugged. "Don't know yet. We have to talk about it first,” he replied, smiling again.

Ripley returned his smile a little reluctantly. A bar? she thought to herself. She had never even considered a bar before. For a moment, she looked ahead of herself, thinking about it. Then, she shrugged. "Sure. Let's talk about it. It could be fun,” she said and Hicks only nodded, still smiling.


Marlee and Hudson turned up two hours later and they were both full of enthusiasm for the idea. Ripley sat quietly, listening to them both talk, glancing at Hicks once in a while. Hudson had it all planned and, somehow, Ripley got the idea that it wasn't the first time, that this issue had come up.

Hudson spread out a floor-plan on the coffee-table, tapping one finger eagerly on it. "This is a place we went to see today and, man, it looks great. With a few minor adjustments, it could be the hottest little spot in L.A. What do you say, man?" His voice revealed his excitement and Ripley was actually surprised when Marlee took his arm, smiling sweetly.

"Take it easy, Will. Give Dwayne some time to think about it,” she advised Hudson, who in turn closed his mouth and gave Hicks some peace.

For a long while, Hicks looked at the floor-plan, the costs for the premises and how much Hudson had planned on investing in this. The main reason, that Hudson had suggested that they should go into business together, was that he didn't have the full amount for the bar. "Well, it looks -- reasonable. I would like to see the premises, though,” he finally said, glancing at Ripley. She just looked at him, smiling a little. "I've got to find my financial papers,” he added, getting up. Hudson followed him out of the living room, talking without end again.

Ripley looked at Marlee, somewhat taken aback that she didn't go with them. She, too, sounded as if she was excited about the idea. "So, what do you think?" Marlee asked, looking at her with a relaxed expression on her pretty face.

For a moment, Ripley studied her face. She was pretty, by all means. But, there was something lurking under the surface. Something Ripley had seen in full outbreak with Hudson. Marlee was very similar to Hudson in many ways. Ripley believed that the girl could become just as cranky and just as hysterical as Hudson could. The question, however, was, how fast it would manifest itself. "I don't really know. I'm not getting financially involved, at least,” she replied after a moment.

Marlee was very much aware that Ripley was eying her, but she didn't mind. With every other female in her life gone, Ripley was the closest Marlee could get to finding somebody to talk to about her troubled mind. "Ripley -- can I talk to you?" Marlee asked.

Ripley nodded once, not showing any surprise to that request."Sure. What's up?" she asked back.

Marlee looked at her for a long moment, certain that at one time or another, Ripley had been a mother. She sounded like one sometimes. Thinking about how she should say what she had to say, she looked away. "I'm feeling kinda lonely. I mean, I've always been able to go to my mother with everything and -- well -- now, that she's not here anymore ...,” she trailed off, searching for words and simultaneously trying to suppress her feelings. Ripley waited patiently for her to continue, not breaking the silence. After a moment, Marlee looked at her again. "Well, what I'm trying to say is, I don't know how to deal with the death of my parents. Somehow, when we were still on Acheron, there was always something else to think about. Such as whether those creeps would find us again. Stuff like that. And now, all of a sudden, I find myself with a lot of time on my hands and -- well -- I can't help thinking that there was something I could have done to save them." She closed by biting her lower lip, looking down at her hands lying folded in her lap.

Ripley looked at her for a moment. "Marlee, there was nothing you could have done except perhaps get yourself killed, too. I understand how you feel. I lost a lot of good friends because of those -- creeps. I understand you perfectly well,” she told her, leaning forward as she spoke. "The first thing you have to do is kill the feelings of guilt. It was not your fault. I won't say that it was nobody's fault, because we both know that it's not true. Burke is to blame and, by God, I hope he gets what he deserves. But, he is not the main reason, Marlee. It all started for me over 58 years ago and, at that time, nobody had even thought about Burke yet. Whatever those aliens are and where ever they come from will probably be something we will never know. One thing I do know is that they did not originate from Acheron. They crashed there because they killed the pilot or whatever it was in that derelict spacecraft that my crew came across all those years ago. And, when we found it, the spacecraft was a fossil. It must have been lying there for decades, maybe even centuries. There is no way to tell where they came from and, for that matter, where they were headed. The fact is, they're gone."

Marlee had been staring at her while she talked. The expression on the girls face had grown steadily more surprised and Ripley knew why. Marlee knew nothing about Ripley's past, because Hudson didn't know. Well, maybe he did, but he had obviously not told Marlee. "58 years? You were out there for 58 years?" she asked after a moment, her voice full of disbelief.

"57 years. I spend 57 years in deepsleep. I lost everything. My family, my home,” Ripley replied and, with a cynical undertone, added, "my job." She hesitated for a moment. "You see, I understand you because I've gone through the same shit as you. My mother was alive when I left home. And, so was my ..." She trailed off, drawing a deep breath. "My daughter. I had a daughter, who would have turned eleven at the time of my return. Instead I return to find that she had died two years earlier, sixty-six years old. An old woman. My little girl."

Marlee's expression of disbelief turned to compassion. "My God, that must have been awful,” she muttered, not knowing what else to say.

Ripley nodded serenely. "Yes, it was. -- Marlee, I'm telling you this to show you that you are not alone. You are not the only one. I know how little comfort that gives. I feel the same way. But, still, we're not the only ones who have suffered under the attack of those -- bastards. And, mainly, I guess, we can blame the Company for being so god-damned money-grubbing. They thought that these aliens would give them new weapons, new medication, maybe. I don't know. But, they mainly did it for the money. That's the way it has always been and that's the way it always will be. Money is the greatest addiction known to mankind. When it comes down to the bugs, lives don't count any more. I'm not saying I like it and I'm never going to accept it, but that is the way of the world."

Marlee nodded. That much she knew, too. Money, the all-powerful ruler of them all. She smiled a little at that thought. "You're right, Ripley. You're right. I guess I just have to lay them to rest and get on with my life, huh?" she asked and Ripley nodded, smiling.

"You're smart, Marlee. You'll go far,” she replied.

They dropped the subject when Hicks and Hudson came back in, talking about money. They discussed it back and forth, more or less arguing about it and, suddenly, both Marlee and Ripley started to laugh. Both men stopped, staring at them.

"What?" Hicks wanted to know, looking down himself for a second. Ripley shook her head, still smiling. Marlee had more trouble containing herself and burst out laughing again. Hudson looked slightly offended by that. Hicks only rolled his eyes and dropped down beside Ripley, showing her what they had arrived at.

Ripley studied the budget for a moment, then shrugged. "It'll work if there is any demand for a bar in that area,” she implied and Hicks nodded.

"Yeah, it might,” he replied.



The chamber of the alien was dark. The light was switched off during the night more as a convenience to the people who watched the alien twenty-four hours a day than for the benefit of the alien. Everybody had the idea that the alien didn't care anyway. The darkness in the front chamber was briefly interrupted when the door opened and the shadow of a man crossed into the room. The door slid shut behind him as he approached the protective glass-wall. He stood still for a long moment, not moving, his eyes seeing close to nothing. Just darker shadows in the darkness of the chamber. Then, as if on second thought he reached out to the light switch on the wall beside the glass and switched the light on. The alien reacted instantly. It attacked the glass, hammering into it with the force of a steam roller. The glass shuddered in its frame, but did not give in. The man, however, did not move. He watched with professional and calm interest as the alien approached with inhuman speed and slammed into the glass. Obviously, the fact that the man was not afraid of the alien annoyed the creature and it attacked again, this time with even more force. Again, the glass just shuddered, showing no signs of breaking. The door behind him opened again and Miller stepped in, curious about this unannounced visitor.

"Well, well, well. What are you doing here?" he asked, stepping up behind the man. The man made no move to reply, just stood still, staring in at the alien. It drooled a lot as it stood in the middle of the room, staring out at the two men. "Bishop, I asked you a question,” Miller repeated.

Bishop the android turned to eye his creator. Miller was responsible for most of the synthetics in production, even though he had not had any influence on their outer design. "I'm sorry, Mr. Miller. I came here to see the alien,” he replied, turning back toward the window.

Miller smiled cynically. "Oh, you like her, do you? -- Of course you do. She's in your field. You would like to dissect her, wouldn't you? To see what makes her tick?" he asked.

Bishop appeared to sigh, not turning. "No, Mr. Miller. I wanted to see for myself. After all, I have had some previous knowledge of those beings,” he replied. "This alien is dangerous,” he added after a moment.

Miller raised an eyebrow, not really used to the synthetics. Despite the fact that he was the brain behind the mechanism, he had never really bothered to get to know any of his productions. "Why's that? She's safely contained,” he replied, looking in at the alien. It had withdrawn to the rear of the room, its head turned indifferently away.

Bishop actually seemed to smile at that. "You can't contain these creatures safely. Especially not the queen,” he replied after a moment.

Miller frowned at that. "Queen? What are you talking about?" he demanded.

Bishop turned to face him, the usual look of calmness about him. "These creatures appear to have a social structure that resembles that of ants and bees. They have a hive, workers, soldiers and, most importantly, a queen,” he explained, nodding toward the alien behind the glass-wall. Miller looked into the chamber, his expression full of surprise. "This is a queen, Mr. Miller. And, given the opportunity, I am almost certain that she will be able to reproduce,” Bishop added in a serene tone of voice, thereby telling Miller that she was not safe to contain. Not alive, at least.

But Miller, being who he was, misunderstood. "You mean, if -- subjects would be delivered to her, she would be able to create more of her kind?" he asked, looking back at Bishop.

Instantly, the internal alarm-bell went off in Bishop's mind. The man misunderstood the situation. He didn't believe the alien to be dangerous. No more dangerous than most other animals. But, being a synthetic, he was unable to deny Miller an answer. He could warn and advice, but never deny to answer. "That is correct, Mr. Miller. But, it would be highly irresponsible to do that. First of all, because the aliens obviously need living hosts to reproduce and secondly, because two or three of them would be a whole lot more difficult to contain."

Miller nodded, waving a hand at him. He had no interest in warnings. He had no interest in anything else but the possibility of creating more of the aliens.

Bishop looked back into the chamber, looking at the alien. He still found them fascinating, but he also knew what they were capable of and would rather see this one dead.