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Published on April 15th, 2012 | by gareth

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Alien: The Return of Ripley Part 3

While Ripley’s mind filled with numerous questions about what she’d seen and heard, her hands were ready deftly moving across the console in an attempt to get any piece of information she could about the mysterious and disturbing transmission. Since it was a relatively slow evening she was alone in the control center and thus was able to work undisturbed for several hours.

Despite multiple layers encryption Ripley was able to locate the source of the transmission. It had originated from a supposedly empty sector of space that was off the normal trade routes and military traffic lanes. Sensor shift was getting near Anand Ripley made a mental note of the location and by the time the morning shift came to relieve her she was more than ready to get back to her apartment and process all that she taken in during the eventful evening.

Unsure who she could turn to Ripley decided to wait until her next shift and send Hicks a secure transmission is the last thing she needed was the company becoming aware of what she had seen and heard.

Ripley was unable to sleep and was startled when her videocom chimes with an incoming message. Donald Burke was calling and although he appeared to be a polar opposite of his brother, she still couldn’t get used to seeing his face without the hairs on her arms standing on edge.

Burke was calling to check in and see how she was doing, and surprisingly offered to meet her for lunch as he had something he wanted share with her.

In a few hours Ripley and Donald were in an executive dining room enjoying gorgeous view of Earth. The food was first-rate as it was all real and not the synthetic re-creations that many in space have been forced to live with for decades.

The conversation and pleasant but Donald had seemed a little restless. As they were enjoying their desert, Donald abruptly excused himself citing an important meeting before leaving, he produced an ornately wrapped gift for Ripley stating that it was long overdue and she should open it in private. Before she could answer, Donald hurried from the room leaving Ripley for once in her life silent.

Ripley heard back to her apartment and helped the gift and noticed is extremely nice designer jacket. At first confused by the gift Ripley decides to try it on and found that it fit perfectly. As she went to inspect the tag, she noticed surprise bulging and stiffness to it on closer examination, located a data card hidden within the folds of the tag.

Intrigued Ripley placed the data card in her computer and saw that the information was text-only. It revealed a set of coordinates that did not correspond to any known system, but seem to be in the area where the mysterious transmission originated. The message then concluded with “you are being watched, be careful”. It was signed simply “A friend”.
Ripley was going to bet her next few paychecks that Burke was the person who sent the mysterious message but that could simply be setup by the company. While she was unsure their motivations she has learned over the years that the more darker and sinister theory, closer to the actual truth one gets when dealing with the company and secret agendas.
Ripley decided to tempt fate and sent Donald a thank you message and upon reaching his assistant, was informed that he had been sent away unexpectedly on urgent company business and that there was not a definite timetable for his return.

Upon signing off Ripley immediately put in a message for Hicks stating that she had urgent business and needed to speak with him immediately.

As the days passed, Ripley had heard from neither Burke or Hicks, and the radio traffic remained especially silent from the region where the mysterious signal had originated.
Unsure where to turn, Ripley dutifully went about her business and work responsibilities and was shocked when approximately 3 weeks later she was surprised, pleasantly surprised, when Hicks showed up unexpectedly to surprise her.

He looks good and seem to have suffered no lasting physical effects from his encounter with the aliens. Hicks had been on an officer training patrol getting used to his new unit and ship and is part of the maneuvers had been under a strict communications blackout with all but HQ. Upon his return, you taken the first shuttle to the station.

Ripley disclosed which she had seen and heard and played the hidden message that she had been given. Ripley could tell that Hicks was deeply disturbed by what he had seen and heard, and paced the room like a caged animal.

He specified that those coordinates were in an area that had been deemed off limits for all traffic commercial and military. Most interstellar vessels don’t even come anywhere near that sector of space and the few that do not want off by military satellites. Hicks had recently become aware of this during his officer cruise when his ship had received what appeared to be a distress signal from a ship a few light-years from the coordinates given to Ripley.

Hicks had been allowed to break radio silence to contact HQ about their planned rescue and was surprised when he was told to violate space-time law and not provide any assistance but that HQ would deal with the matter.

It became clear to both of them something very strange was going on in that mysterious sector of space and that they must find out at all costs.

Hicks noted that they were supposed to ship out for patrol in the next few days, and made arrangements to discreetly sequester Ripley aboard the ship. Hicks had thought about going without her but knowing her nature, he decided that it was better to move heaven and earth to bring her along then try to go it alone.

Ripley had arranged some time off, as her psychologist had been asking her to take an extended leave and even suggested that she visit one of the outer colonies in an effort to get her used to interstellar travel again.

Ripley was not surprised to see the Sulaco was the ship to which Hicks had been given command, was happy to see that it has been greatly upgraded since her last visit. She’d been informed that not only have the weapons and propulsion systems and greatly enhanced but the ship had also been equipped with a prototype stealth system which was the reason for their current mission. Ripley had been described as a consultant to the crewmembers who saw her, but aside from Hicks, Ripley kept her interactions to a minimum.
As the ship headed to the outer colonies, Ripley knew that they would soon divert toward the mysterious coordinates and whatever unknown horrors awaited them.

to be continued……


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