|This article, 46 & 2, was written by monsterjealousy. Do not edit this fiction without the writer's consent.|
Samsara operative #07 was sitting in an old-fashioned looking study. An equally old-fashioned opera song was playing on a phonograph nearby. Sitting across from her was a xenomorph dressed in a suit and tie. Everything was sepia-colored, as if it was in an ancient photograph. To her side stood another xenomorph, but this one wasn’t wearing a suit. The sound of static emanated from its body, which seemed to absorb all light around it, preventing 07 from seeing the strange, biomechanical details of the carapace. It was like a shadow cloaked in mist.
“step through.” Said the xenomorph in the suit, gesturing towards the xenomorph shadow. “don’t you want to be something greater?”
07 got up. She cautiously stepped towards the xenomorph shadow, ready to bolt at the first sign of trouble. The xenomorph shadow did not move. She reached out to touch it.
The xenomorph shadow moved.
With one swipe of its claws, the xenomorph shadow cut 07’s entire skull in half diagonally. She fell to the ground, dead.
“damn shame.” Said the xenomorph in the suit. “she was so close, too.” It bent down and whispered in 07’s remaining ear.
“3 more steps, and you’ll be a new woman.”
07 woke up.
She was in a sterile, white room onboard the samsara-46 starship. A panel of transparent polymer separated her from the rest of the ship. Samsara operative #02 sat right outside the room.
“bad dreams again?” asked 02.
“yeah.” Said 07.
“look, you’ll only have to be in the test chamber for 2 more days. I’m sure that once WY lets you out, those dreams will stop.” Said 02.
“ok.” Said 07.
“you sure?” asked 02.
“yeeeeeeeees.” Groaned 07, laying down and putting a pillow over her head. “now leave me alone or get me some coffee.” Her voice was muffled by the pillow.
“yes ma’m!” said 02, saluting her mockingly.
07 snickered. “don’t be a douche, man.”
But 02 was already gone. 07 sighed.
It had been about 3 days since 07 and the other members of task force samsara-46 had raided the Brotherhood of Obsidian facility in Bejing. One minute, 07 was searching a hallway for cultists, the next she woke up on a stretcher. Some WY officials told her that she had been exposed to an “unknown contaminant” and she had to be kept in quarantine while some WY doctors did remote scans of her.
“unknown contaminant.” 07 said to herself. She scoffed. “unknown contaminant my ass.” Between the dreams, the wriggling sensation in her chest, and the ever-increasing lethargy, 07 knew exactly what this “unknown contaminant” was.
07 was host to a xenomorph chestburster. In 2 days, she would be dead, and WY would have a new lab animal to dissect. She just didn’t have the heart to tell the others.
“step through” said the xenomorph in the suit.
07 was in the sepia room again. She must have dozed off. This time, she found she had a pistol on her hip.
“step through.” Insisted the xenomorph in the suit.
07 once again cautiously approached the xenomorph shadow. Once again, it did not move until she reached out to touch it.
In a single, graceful, lightning-fast motion, 07 drew her pistol and shot the xenomorph shadow in the head.
“no no NO!” shouted the xenomorph in the suit. “you’re doing it all wrong! Why aren’t you LISTENING!?” the xenomorph in the suit stabbed 07 in the stomach with its tail-spear. As 07 took her dying breaths, the xenomorph in the suit, despite lacking eyes, seemed to stare directly into hers as it delivered a familiar but ominous statement.
“2 more steps, and you’ll be a new woman.”
Just as 07’s eyes closed in the dream, her real eyes opened.
She saw nothing but blackness.
“w-what the… umm… hello? 02? Someone? I need a medic! I can’t… I can’t see anything!”
she said these things loudly, and as she did so, she got brief glimpses of the world around her. In those glimpses, she could see things in a way she never could before. Every object had new sounds, colors, smells, and other, indescribable senses associated with it. She gained more information about her environment than any human ever could, but when she stopped making noise, she was blind again.
“ummm… ahem.” Said 07. The sensory input returned for a brief moment. Then it stopped.
07 stomped her foot. The sensory input returned for a brief moment. Then it stopped.
“So I guess it’s a combination of echolocation and some kind of advanced synesthesia.” 07 said to herself. She tried walking around, and found that even gentle footsteps were enough to trigger her new primary form of sensory input. She soon found no trouble navigating her environment.
Then she looked in the mirror.
07 had turned into a xenomorph.
Or, at least, she was LIKE a xenomorph. The elongated skull, the segmented tail, the hard, black carapace that seemed to blur the lines between the mechanical and the organic, it was all there… but something was different.
Most xenomorphs don’t have gender. Except for a few altered species, the queen was usually the only xenomorph in a hive capable of reproducing, so the drones, warriors, and all the other castes were totally androgynous. But the way 07’s carapace was shaped, it was… um… well, it was feminine. But somehow that made it look even more grotesque. Applying human physical traits to such a horrific creature was… it was wrong.
But that wasn’t the only difference. For one thing, 07 was MUCH taller. Taller than a normal xenomorph, even. She could barely stand up in the quarantine room anymore. Her skull… cylinder… coming-out-the-back-of-her-head-thingy was also a lot longer than most xenomorphs. She didn’t have a set of secondary jaws, either.
07 dropped to her knees and began sobbing, wishing she could still produce tears.
Suddenly, 02 walked past the quarantine chamber.
‘hey 07, how’s it—JESUS CHRIST!!”
07 rushed over to the glass. Even when her echolocation wasn’t active, 07 could detect 02’s body heat. She could also somehow see 02’s brainwaves. They told her what was already obvious: he was frightened. When she got close to the glass, she could also regain a semblance of normal sight, just enough to provide depth perception.
“WHAT HAPPENED TO ME?!” shouted 07.
“w-well how the hell should I know?!” replied 02. “I just got here!”
“i—I woke up and… and I couldn’t see anything…” blubbered 07. “…I sh-shouted for help, and then I could see for a few seconds, a-and I went to the mirror and then…” her words gave way to crying and gibbering.
“look, I’ll talk to some of the WY docs. If anyone can figure this out, they can.” Said 02.
“…ok.” 07 nodded. She would’ve sniffled if she could.
“I’ll come back, don’t worry.” Said 02.
07 was in the sepia room again. There was no pistol this time, but her dream self stayed human.
“WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME?!” 07 ran at the xenomorph in the suit and grabbed it by the neck. She found that she could actually lift it over her head.
“me? Nothing.” Said the xenomorph in the suit. “I’m just a construct. Designed to facilitate communication.”
“communication with what?!” shouted 07.
“your shadow, of course.” Said the xenomorph in the suit, gesturing to the xenomorph shadow. “everything of which you are not conscious. The seat of creativity. Your… condition has brought it life, and has given you an opportunity for assimilation.”
“what do you mean ‘assimilation’?” asked 07 through clenched teeth.
“Enantiodromia.” Said the xenomorph in the suit. “every descent is followed by an ascent. Allow your shadow to become you, and it can no longer possess you.”
“what? No.” said 07. “if this… thing is my dark side, it needs to be suppressed. If I become my dark side, I’ll turn evil.”
The xenomorph in the suit chuckled. “a common misconception. But a misconception nonetheless. To be truly free, one must acknowledge and accept their shadow. Not embrace it, but accept it. This allows you to reincorporate the shadow into your personality, producing a stronger, wider consciousness than before.”
“that’s bullshit!” said 07. She turned to face away from both xenomorphs. “you’re not real, you’re just part of my imagination. If I deny your existence, then you’ll leave me alone.”
07 blinked, and the xenomorph shadow was in front of her, standing completely still. Only now, it was a praetorian, not a drone. The room seemed to magically expand to accommodate the creature.
“FUCK!” 07, startled, fell to the ground. She scooted backwards away from the shadow until she was at the feet of the xeno in the suit.
“when you suppress your dark side, it resurfaces in other ways.” Said the xeno in the suit. “the more you deny your shadow, the more power it has over you.”
“that doesn’t make any sense!” said 07.
“since when did the mind make sense?” asked the xeno in the suit.
The praetorian shadow stepped forward, the crackling hiss of television static and the droning hum of swarming flies increasing in volume as it did so. Soon, the sound drowned out everything in the room. The sepia room began to melt away, revealing an empty whiteness. A disembodied voice spoke to 07. It sounded… distant. Like a recording on a VHS tape.
“one more step, and you’ll be a new woman.”
07 woke up. 02 was sitting on the bench outside the quarantine room. He looked sad.
“well? Where are the doctors? What did they say?”
02 sighed. “I told them what was happening, and they almost immediately told me what was wrong. The unknown contaminant you encountered was a variant on the common xenomorph facehugger.”
“oh, really? I NEVER WOULD’VE GUESSED!!” shouted 07.
“the variant that was at the BoO facility was called a sapiomorph. But the species difference is not why you’re like this. There’s a certain mutation that occasionally happens to xenomorph hosts. Instead of bursting out of the chest, the embryo… melts into the host, fusing their DNA together. You are a victim of this mutation. The technical term is ‘exomorph.’” Said 02. “50% of the time, the host loses their intelligence and starts acting like a normal xeno. But the other 50% retain their intelligence. Some even live normal lives. But either way, Weyland-Yutani has deemed you unfit for service. They need their nanosuit back.”
“but the only way to take off a nanosuit is…” started 07. Then she realized something horrible.
“no.” said 07. “no no no no no, you can’t let them skin the suit. You KNOW that most people would rather be BURNT ALIVE than go through that!”
“I’m sorry.” Said 02.
“no… NO!” with a single punch, 07 broke through the transparent polymer wall and knocked 02 across the room. 07 could still see body heat and brainwaves, but he was out cold.
“samsara operative #07!” shouted a WY commando. “allow yourself to be escorted to the medbay for the skinning process or we will shoot!”
07 tried to respond, but it came out as a terrible, monstrous scream. She gasped and put her hand over her mouth.
“FIRE! FIRE!” shouted another commando. A volley of plasma bolts and 4mm caseless rounds came flying at 07. She put her hands in front of her face and braced for the end…
…and found herself standing directly behind another commando, faint purple sparks issuing from various parts of her body.
Without thinking, she stabbed the WY commando in the heart with her tail spear. It was a swift, in-out motion, faster than the blink of an eye. The other soldiers turned to face her.
07 moved through them like they were made of tissue paper, tearing them to shreds with her bare hands and shattering their skulls with a single kick. She didn’t just fight, she flowed. Like a liquid. Like an unstoppable flood.
Soon, there was only one soldier left. She dispatched him by taking a bite out of him with her new jaws, filled with rows upon rows of perfectly-aligned, razor-sharp metallic spikes. She suddenly realized that the soldier’s flesh tasted surprisingly good. After that fight, 07 felt almost completely drained of energy. She was so hungry…
“NO!” 07 shouted to herself. “that’s… that’s not right!” the soldier’s corpse did not look any less delicious.
“why is this even happening?” she wondered aloud. “xenomorphs don’t eat. They have biological batteries. I shouldn’t feel hungry at all anymore, let alone hungry for human flesh!”
“unless…” 07 paced around the room, trying to keep herself distracted from her cravings. “I’m not really a normal xenomorph, am i? when I teleported behind that commando, purple sparks came off of me. That means only one thing: psionics. Psionic powers would presumably drain a lot of energy from a xenomorph’s battery, right? So the only way to get that energy back is…” she looked at the soldier’s corpse. She was quickly overtaken by conflicting sensations of hunger and nausea. Rather than give into her primal instincts, 07 ran into the ship’s kitchen and began stuffing herself with raw beef. Her hunger was sated… for now.
07 went to the control room and had the autopilot set the ship down on the nearest inhabitable planet.
07 was distraught.
She had turned into a horrible xenomorph/human hybrid, she killed just about all her fellow samsara operatives (except 02), she could never return to united systems space without expecting to be hunted down and experimented on, she was plagued by a relentless craving for raw meat, and she was lost.
“well, not lost. Not really.” She said to herself. “you can’t be lost if you don’t intend on returning somewhere.” This planet was her home now. That is, if she could find food.
07 took another step, and her enhanced xeno-senses told her that there were 5 humanoids hiding in the shrubbery around her. However, she couldn’t sense their brain waves or their body heat.
“synthetics.” 07 thought to herself. “they’ve gotta be.”
In a flash, the 5 humanoids jumped out of the bushes. They were not synthetics.
They were like her. Exomorphs. 4 of them were males, but a female took point. She walked towards 07, slowly, but confidently.
“w-who are you?” asked 07. “what do you want?”
suddenly, the female exomorph’s face seemed to melt away. Underneath was the face of a normal, human woman. She was Hispanic, and couldn’t have been older than 25. But the expression on her face made her look older than anyone 07 had ever seen. Her eyes were green, but not shiny emerald green. More like… deep, murky, unexplored lake green. 07 had seen those eyes before.
“you… you’re Yvone Flores!” said 07. “from the original task force smasara-46!”
“that’s right.” Said Yvone. “and what I want is to help you.”
“y-you’re dead!” shouted 07. “you’ve been dead for centuries!”
“nope.” Said Yvone. “the symbiomorph’s kept me alive.”
“symbiomorph?” said 07. “I guess that’s why I can’t sense your brainwaves or body heat. so you’re not an exomorph… you’re a Brotherhood of Obsidian member?”
“you just earned 500 points.” joked Yvone. “I’ve been here since it first began.”
“but why would you want to help me?” asked 07. “I’ve spent almost my entire adult life hunting you.”
“a xenomorph queen does not care if its children are spawned from USM soldiers or civilians.” Said Yvone. “the creature that comes out of that person’s chest is different than the one that got facehugged. If you join us, you will no longer be a samsara operative. You will be whoever you want to be.”
“I just… I don’t know if I can go on living like this.” Said 07. “living in the body of a monster.”
“you are NOT a monster.” Said Yvone. She went over to 07 and looked her straight in the space where her eyes would be. “you are beautiful. You are a work of art. You are the perfect organism. …if you join us, you will not be persecuted. We can help you learn to accept your new form, and teach you to harness its abilities. You’ve probably figured out how to teleport by now. You should know; that’s only scratching the SURFACE of what you’ll be able to do. “
“i…” said 07. “o-okay. I’ll join you.”
“follow me.” Said Yvone. A psionic portal opened nearby. In a daze, 07 stepped through.
(3 weeks later)
Samsara operative #07—now called Ke-ya Deridjeth—and Yvone Flores were standing in the training area of a BoO facility, whose location was known only to Yvone; everyone else just used portals to get around. Ke-ya was holding the Arashi, an ancient but powerful relic from the human/ethereal wars, and steadfastly refusing to shoot yvone with it.
“why? Why do you want me to shoot you?” asked ke-ya.
“I’m going to show you a heliconian twisting technique. Trust me, I won’t get hurt.” Said Yvone.
Reluctantly, ke-ya fired the shotgun. Somehow, yvone managed to duck out of the way of the magnetically-accelerated buckshot, which was moving at 2.4 kilometres per second.
“w—how? How did you…?” stuttered ke-ya.
Without warning, Yvone charged forward and knocked the arashi out of ke-ya’s hands.
“hey! That’s an ancient alien artifact! You should be more careful with it.” Joked ke-ya.
“that gun will outlive us all.” Said yvone. She pulled out the arashi’s melee counterpart, the katana, and slashed at ke-ya, who formed a pair of blades out of psionic energy and used them to block yvone’s attacks.
“so this is like, what, our 6th sparring session?” asked ke-ya, still blocking yvone’s attacks.
“yep.” Said yvone. “you know, in Qoeron-Kre, repeated sparring sessions are seen as a form of courtship.”
“so does that make this a date?” asked ke-ya, attempting to swipe at yvone with her tail-spear.
“only if you want it to be.” Said yvone, blocking the tail-spear with just her foot. Ke-ya responded with a thuggish but effective right hook. Yvone reeled backward, clutching her now-bleeding ear.
“oh fuck!” ke-ya rushed to help yvone.
“MOTHERFUCKER! …right in the ear, ke-ya! You hit me right in the ear!” said yvone.
“shit, I’m sorry yvone!” said ke-ya.
“I mean, why the EAR, dude? The EAR? Seriously?”
“jeez, I said I’m sorry!” said ke-ya.
Yvone laughed. “no, it was perfect! Fuckin’ awesome. That should be your Qahtuan.” They both chuckled.
“well, I’m gonna go order some steak tartare from the commissary and head to bed.” Said ke-ya.
“think you’ll have the dream tonight?’ asked yvone.
“I dunno. But if I do, I’ll be ready.” Said ke-ya.
Ke-ya was sitting in an old-fashioned looking study. An equally old-fashioned opera song was playing on a phonograph nearby. Sitting across from her was a xenomorph dressed in a suit and tie. Everything was sepia-colored, as if it was in an ancient photograph. To her side stood another xenomorph, but this one wasn’t wearing a suit. The sound of static emanated from its body, which seemed to absorb all light around it, preventing ke-ya from seeing the strange, biomechanical details of the carapace. It was like a shadow cloaked in mist. She was in her human form.
“step through.” Insisted the xeno in the suit, gesturing to the xeno-shadow. “you’re almost there.”
Ke-ya got up and walked toward the xeno-shadow. She was not afraid, but she recognized the danger the shadow posed to her. It lifted its claw to slash at her, but she grabbed it by the wrist and forced its arm back down. She walked into it, allowing the shadows to envelop her. They seeped into her skin, and she felt invigorated. Her skin began to dry up and itch, and she scratched at it. Soon, she was ripping chucks of skin off herself, revealing the shining black carapace underneath.
Ke-ya awoke a new woman.