Categories > Movies > Aliens/Predator > Alien : 937

Part Two

by RandallFlagg19

Tucker, Caleb and Pearson formulate a strategy to use the Nostromo to investigate the transmission

Category: Aliens/Predator - Rating: NC-17 - Genres: Horror,Sci-fi - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2019-07-02 - 5241 words

February 7th 2121,
Today would have marked Amy’s tenth birthday. Tucker should have woken up to a house filled with excitement as his daughter went about the task of opening a mountain of gifts. Tucker would watch from the doorway of their huge living room with a cup of coffee in hand, as Amy enthusiastically tore through wrapping paper, Cara following behind her, picking up her little trail of unicorn covered destruction and placing it into a trash bag. He would have gone off to work, and then arrived home to the buzz of children, playing games, hopped up on sugary drinks and cakes, revelling in the few hours of madness that would invade his home that evening. Instead he woke in a house filled with the burden of silence, a construct devoid of the lifeblood that had once made it a home. It wasn’t so much grief that plagued him anymore, or drove him to drink within minutes of pulling himself out of bed. It was emptiness, a hole in his heart that would never be filled again. This emptiness had robbed him of a sense of purpose, he had no place here, his only purpose now was his work, and he had nothing else left.

He drained his glass of bourbon in one gulp, and then robotically went about his morning, showering, then dressing, a man on auto pilot, functioning solely because he had to. He dressed efficiently, shirt, and tie, projecting an image of a man of power and success, both of which he was, but it was a façade, a character he now played, hiding the truth of the broken man underneath. He ate a simple breakfast in the cold grey of his kitchen, three slices of bacon, slightly burnt, just the way he liked it, or at least the way he used to like it. The first time Cara had ever cooked him breakfast, she had burnt the bacon, but to spare her any embarrassment, he told her it was exactly how he liked it, and had kept up that lie the whole time they were together. It was the only lie he ever told her. Now he ate it out of habit, chewing without tasting. Tucker washed his single dish, knife and fork, leaving them to dry on the side along with the pan. He poured a second glass of bourbon, drank it in one go, and then headed out into the garden.

The garden was spacious, unfurling out from the back of the house and spreading over several acres. It was a beautiful strip of green, even more so now as the early morning fog danced around its edges, crystallising the sunlight as it rose lazily in the distance. Tucker had wanted his daughter to grow up outside of the city, somewhere where the air was still clean. Human progress was ugly in its achievements, a virus that conquered the world with concrete, glass and steel, polluting and spoiling along the way. Tucker was a part of that problem, a cog in the machine of Weyland Yutani, who’s wheels trampled over all that was good and green for the sake of profit. He had made peace with this truth, but had endeavoured to save a small part of it, not only for himself, but for his family. He never dreamt that one day he would be left alone in an empty house, with only a fingertip of paradise all to himself. He thought about having the house demolished, but he knew that he couldn’t, it was the one thin membrane that still connected him to his family. In the centre of the garden, a proud oak tree twisted from the earth, and at its feet, the final resting place of his beautiful wife and daughter. The two headstones sat side by side, smooth and slender slabs of granite embossed with gold lettering. It was all that remained of them, a final signature of two lives taken unjustifiably too soon. Cara had been an only child; both her parents had died before Tucker had met her. They were two of one hundred and eight killed after a terrorist attack on a mining colony somewhere in the Outer Rim. Tucker was the only person now keeping their memory alive, a gift to some, but also a curse until the day his own life came to an end. He’d thought about taking his own life more than once, but could never quite bring himself to follow through with it; existence was a habit that was hard to kick, even if you didn’t want it anymore. He stood for a few minutes, looking down at what remained of his family; his whole world had been reduced to a pair of dates separated by a dash. Where was the justice in that? This concept had numbed him more than any alcohol or narcotic ever could (and he had tried) turning him cold over the last few years, stripping away what humanity he had left. The man he was today was uncaring, unfeeling, driven by his work. His wristwatch beeped a warning, pulling him from his thoughts, his day was about to begin. Finally, he bent over and planted a single kiss on top of each headstone, and then turned and walked back towards the house.

Caleb had the good grace not to talk during the car ride into the city; he kept his focus on the road, navigating the traffic with machine efficiency. Every once in a while he would glance at Tucker through his rear view mirror. Tucker barely looked up from his e-pad, as he studiously went over his itinerary for the day. Caleb knew that look, as the Director had become locked into his work, his mind fully occupied on the tasks at hand, and Caleb also knew that if he wanted his opinion, he would ask for it. Tucker read through his to-do list, several meetings were scheduled for the morning, taking him well into the afternoon. There were the usual union disputes, but also more exotic concerns, such as an outbreak of a mutated flu virus on Titan. There was the drudgery of expeditor’s contracts, and the standard pursuit of mining rights in the Lunar Belt, as well as half a dozen other issues and concerns that fell under the umbrella of his position as Director. Yet despite the seemingly heavy workload, his mind couldn’t help but drift towards his meeting with Pearson towards the end of the day. Despite his initial apprehension, his mind had begun to wander over the last few days, homing in on the possibility that the Nostromo might have actually stumbled upon something important. It was too much of a coincidence that the signal was coming from the same system where Weyland and his team had disappeared. In his more adventurous moments he mulled over the possibility as to whether the two were linked, thrilled and equally troubled at the prospect. Historically, Anderson Tucker wasn’t a man who let his imagination run wild, he preferred to keep his perspective firmly locked within the secure walls of reality, but he had to admit that his intrigue had been sparked. But for now, as the car headed into the sprawling city, as skyscrapers blotted out the sky, he knew he had more pressing matters to attend to. Still, he couldn’t help but wonder if they really had stumbled onto something substantial.

“You want to use the Nostromo?” Tucker asked, tired at this point. Deliberating and studiously going over paperwork, as well as listening to the complaints of several disgruntled Union reps had taken its toll. He sounded less enthusiastic as he might have hoped, but that didn’t change the fact that he was a little disappointed with Pearson’s pitch. He couldn’t quite figure out why, perhaps some part of him was hoping that the junior executive would have come up with something outside of the box. He couldn’t fault the man’s efforts as Pearson shared his look of tiredness. It was obvious that the man had barely gotten any sleep in the last few days. The shadows under his eyes as well as the fledgling stubble along his chin were evidence of nights spent at the office, or working away at home. He was dedicated to his job, or perhaps he was driven by desperation to succeed, or perhaps it was a combination of the two. Either way it was expected, you didn’t rise in this part of the world without a few sleepless nights.

“It’s the only logical step.” Pearson stated, rubbing at his eyes before getting up to pour himself another cup of coffee. Tucker could hear the frustration in his voice, for all he knew, Tucker was rebuking his efforts, which in truth, he wasn’t. He was just hoping for something better. But looking at it now, after having sifted through all of Pearson’s paperwork, doing his best to ignore the man’s frequent misspelling, he had to admit that he was right. The Nostromo was only ship within a reasonable distance to that system, and given the fact that sending a team of their own was out of the question, it was the only logical step. Still the idea didn’t sit well with him, just because it was the only option, it didn’t make it the right option by default.

“These people are space truckers, not scientists. They get paid to haul and sleep; it’s a big risk letting them handle it.” Tucker said.

“The risk always lives.” Pearson yawned.

“What was that?” Tucker enquired. Pearson sipped his coffee, leaning against the counter.

“A poem I learned in college. Every spacer is trained to some degree in these kinds of situations.” Pearson said, returning to his chair, placing the coffee onto the table.

“Barely. It gets thrown in with a health and safety seminar towards the end of their induction week.” Tucker remarked incredulously. Pearson gave him a look of anger, it was brief, a flash that ran across his face for half a second. Tucker noted it, but refrained from making any sort of comment. At the very least, the man had a spine, that was good, but it would become a problem if it ever manifested into open subordination.

“The crew have plenty of experience between them. Dallas and Brett are ex-military, Parker and Lambert have both worked on research stations, and Kane has a PHD in Biology. They wouldn’t exactly be going in blind.” The junior exec pointed out. Tucker nodded.

“I’ve read their files. Dallas was dishonourably discharged from his post. Kane was expelled from no less than two institutions for narcotics abuse; Brett has three stints in rehab under his belt. Parker has several marks on his record for anger management issues, not to mention threatening behaviour against his superiors and Lambert has been cited as being emotionally ‘fragile’ on several previous psyche evaluations.” Tucker said.

“Then why hire them?”

“Because nobody else will, and that makes them cheap.” Tucker admitted, spilling the obvious truth. Pearson thought it over carefully, on his heels because of Tucker’s sudden and unreserved honesty. He was slightly taken aback by the callousness of it, and just like every other youthful employee, the façade of Weyland Yutani being a benevolent entity interested in exploring the Universe for mankind’s benefit had another layer stripped away.

“You can appreciate why I’m a little hesitant to trust them with this?” Tucker asked, and Pearson nodded reluctantly.

“These people will settle for scraps, minimum pay, for minimum responsibility, and the Company is happy to give them both. This is way above their pay grade I’m afraid.”

“But it’s our only option.” He said, defeat in his voice. Caleb had remained silent for the most part, sitting to Tucker’s right. He was stoic, his face blank, bright blue eyes staring. But Tucker knew him better; he knew that behind his blank stare his synthetic brain was working through every possible scenario, processing every situation, every consequence, adjusting for certain factors, pitfalls, formulating the best possible strategy. To Caleb, life was a game of chess, every move was calculated, every decision thought out. Caleb regarded both men briefly,

“Mr Pearson is correct, the Nostromo is our only logical step if we are to investigate the source of this signal, but Mr Tucker is right to be concerned. The crew are inexperienced in this regard, and that’s before we take into consideration their long list of character faults.”

“So the Nostromo is out of the question?” Pearson asked, dejectedly.

“I didn’t say that Mr Pearson. I am merely pointed out that as the crew stands, they are unfit to handle this on their own. They will require help, assistance from somebody who does know what they’re doing, a supervisor who can overlook everything, and rein them in should they stray from whatever plan is put forward.”

Both Tucker and Pearson’s eyes visibly lit up at Caleb’s proposition, especially Pearson, his project had almost been completely dead in the water, but had miraculously been brought back to life.

“I’m sure we would all feel much better if one of our own joined their crew for the return journey from Thedus.” Caleb added.

“Wouldn’t the crew be suspicious of a new member joining their team? I mean, the Nostromo’s supplies are specifically tailored for seven people, an additional crew member would throw it all out of balance.” Pearson asked.

“Possibly. But we wouldn’t be adding another crew member, we would be replacing one.” Caleb retorted.

“Wouldn’t that also raise suspicions?” Pearson repeated.

“Not necessarily.” Tucker chimed in. “Crew changes are a frequent occurrence. Somebody falls ill, or has an accident, or even backs out of their contract at the last minute, they get replaced. The Company has a lengthy list of back up personnel for such events.” He sifted through his notes,
“You’ll see that the Warrant Officer, Ripley was a last minute replacement. It could work.”

“But who would we replace them with?” Pearson asked. Caleb and Tucker shared a look. Tucker sighed, and then leaned forward in his chair.

“Okay Pearson, I’m about to tell you something that most other execs don’t know. I’m telling you this in confidence mind, I don’t want you blurting it out after a few drinks, or lauding it over the heads of your co-workers like you have some inside information that they don’t. Understand?” Pearson nodded eagerly. “Consider this a reward for all your hard work over the last few days, a little peak behind the curtain.” Tucker then motioned to Caleb.

“We could employ a sleeper agent. Before you ask, sleeper agents are synthetic employees designed to blend in with the rest of the workforce. Ever since our rivals began to gain ground the board decided that it would be in our best interest to protect ourselves from espionage, or sabotage by placing a number of these synthetics on each of our installations, both here and off world. They pose as everyday workers, but keep a closer eye on everybody, to make sure they’re behaving themselves. Orion and Shearsmith have made moves in the past to seduce several of our high level personnel, offering them money for secrets, whatever they believe can give them the competitive edge.” Caleb explained.
“Synthetics? Like you Caleb?” Pearson asked. Caleb smiled.

“No sir. Not like me. It is common knowledge that I am not human; I’m what you would call a rarity. These sleeper agents are indistinguishable from human beings; they’re based on the Hyperdyne system, one twenty ay two. About as close to humans as the Company has managed so far.”

“The average Joe would never know the difference; you’ve probably met a few of them already.” Tucker pointed out. Pearson looked troubled by this revelation, as if he suddenly realised he knew very little about the people who employed him. A major comfort for most people is the knowledge that we are in control of our own reality, and it is the uncertainty of what we don’t know that never sits well with us, leaving us feeling out of control. Pearson took another sip of coffee; Caleb picked up on his sudden discomfort, and tried to reassure him.

“It has become standard operating procedure for all Company installations; most people will go their entire career without ever knowing the truth. Pearson contemplated this for a moment.

“How do we proceed?” He asked.

“We will have to contact Thedus administration, and request that they relinquish one of their assets. We will have to pay compensation of course, to both Thedus, and the crew member who will be replaced.” Caleb explained, his expression never changing.

“Any ideas of who will be replaced?” That from Pearson.

“The science officer will be the most likely candidate. Outside of the Captain and Warrant Officer, they will have the most access to the ships systems, as well as full control of medical, should they be required. Besides, in a scenario like this, it is logical to turn to the science officer for advice.” Caleb replied.

“I can contact Thedus administration. Director Ridley is an old friend of mine; we both came through the training programme together. He knows how to be discreet.” Tucker said.

“We’ll need an excuse as to why we want to replace one of the crew.” Pearson pointed out. Tucker nodded, sharing another look with Caleb.

“We could tell him that we suspect one or two of the Nostromo’s crew are suspected of leaking information to one of our rivals, and we require help to build our case. It doesn’t have to be complicated,” said Caleb. Pearson glanced to Tucker, who nodded in approval.

“It’s far from being a viable plan, but it’s something. We have time on our side; it makes no sense to rush gentlemen. The Nostromo won’t arrive at Thedus for another six months, which gives us plenty of time to iron out the creases.” Tucker said, feeling confident for the first time, feeling that this could actually work; they just had to play it safe.

In the months that followed, both Tucker and Pearson settled back into a routine, slogging through the mundane day to day life of Weyland Yutani. All talk of the Nostromo and its discovery were kept to a minimum, reserved to brief, private meetings as Caleb kept them up to date on the ships progress, and the three of them formulated a strategy. Tucker had also dedicated a small chunk of his waking hours to investigating everything the Company had on the Prometheus mission, but to his dismay, the pickings were slim. He was hoping that he would discover some tid-bit that would shed a little more light on what might be awaiting them in the Zeta system, but beyond the ship reaching the edges of the system, there wasn’t much else. Other files were heavily encrypted, far above even his considerable security clearance. He had toyed with the idea of asking Caleb to find a way around the firewalls and passwords, but had decided against it. It was too much of a risk; the Company didn’t appreciate people poking around matters that were of a delicate nature, especially when they didn’t have clearance. If the Company caught so much of a sniff of what he was doing, they would torpedo his whole project, and more than likely his career, and he would be lucky if he ended up in a jail cell. It wasn’t worth it. But the nature of these classifications only seemed to spur his intrigue, what were they hiding? What did they know? What really happened to Peter Weyland and his crew? What did they find? These questions kept him wake at night, and followed him around throughout the day, and in the weeks, and eventually months that followed, he couldn’t help but think that something was waiting for them in that system.

June 14th 2121
Tucker poured himself a cup of black coffee in the hopes that it would shake off the dust of another night of broken sleep. His body ached, and his mind felt as if it were filled with cotton. The flu that had haunted him for almost two weeks was slowly beginning to fade, but the cough lingered, and its fits were so severe that they regularly pulled him from his slumber. Caleb had pestered him to get checked out by a Company medic, concerned that the cough might be something more serious, but Tucker had dismissed his pleas, trying to play it off as nothing. Though in the back of his mind he had begun to wonder, at times it certainly felt like something had become loose in his chest, and was now rattling around in his lungs. On cue, the door to his conference room whooshed open and Caleb entered, followed immediately by Pearson. The younger man looked bright and eager, and as he placed his files onto the table, Tucker found himself feeling envious. Pearson kept himself in good shape, his muscular frame visible beneath his crisp suit. His face was clean shaven, with skin that was unblemished, eyes bright and focused. Tucker was by no means an old man, having barely passed the first hurdle of his forties, but he felt old, weighed down, as if the world was leaning on him for support. He was in reasonably good health, cough and cold aside, though he had become increasingly aware that his stomach hung over his waistband a little more than he liked.

“Coffee?” He asked, Pearson nodded. Caleb took his seat, not a coffee drinker himself, in fact the more Tucker thought about it, he was unsure as to whether Caleb actually ate or drank anything.

“Black, no sugar please.” Pearson added, as Tucker poured him a cup. Tucker then handed the cup over to Pearson, who placed it carefully down onto the table, away from his paperwork. Tucker sat beside Caleb with a cup of his own. Caleb smiled, something that Tucker found a little unsettling. He had been encouraged to do so, to blend in more, though most employees were aware of his lack of humanity, little quirks that made him appear to be more human always put minds at rest. Despite his best attempts, he always seemed to be forcing the muscles in his face into action, where a person would do it effortlessly; Caleb seemed to be putting on a bad impression. He dropped it, sensing Tucker’s slight discomfort, reverting back to his default stone faced appearance. Pearson reached over the table, handing him a file, then one to Caleb. Tucker opened it, and quickly began to read through it, skimming over the details, taking a mental note of Pearson’s surprisingly poor grammar at times. Pearson waited for him to begin, trying to read his face as he went over Pearson’s strategy. He had been given the task, working close with Caleb on altering the trajectory of the Nostromo’s return, only a slight deviation but enough to bring her closer to the system in the hopes that they could decipher the signal more clearly. It would add a few more months to their return journey, but the crew would more than likely surmise that the operating system had adjusted the course herself, after picking up the transmission, or so he hoped. He also hoped that the crew would be more pre-occupied with the potential of a discovery and the rewards therein instead of focusing on the how’s and why’s. He finished reading, looking satisfied, though he didn’t know Pearson well enough to trust him completely, he had the utmost faith in Caleb’s judgement.

“I contacted Thedus administration, and spoke to Director Ridley directly. He is more than happy to assist us in our faux investigation of the crew. He will explain everything to the Nostromo’s Science Officer on arrival, and make sure that he is well compensated for his unexpected stay.” Tucker explained.

His replacement will be introduced to the crew before takeoff, more than likely Ridley will tell them that their ship mate has fallen ill, or the facility requires his services. I’m sure the crew won’t raise too much of a fuss, they’ll just be itching to get back into Hypersleep and return home.”

“The asset will have explicit instructions on how to proceed once the Nostromo brings the crew out of hypersleep.” Caleb added.

“We’ve drafted a p.o.a for his eyes only. The Nostromo is to observe and report, gather all available information and data, and submit a report.” Pearson said.
“Under no circumstances are the crew to take that ship anywhere near the planet’s surface.” Tucker stated.

“It’s all in his directives. The asset is our failsafe, he is under strict orders to rein the crew in should any of them feel the need to go charging in.” Caleb replied. Tucker took another sip of his coffee.

“Their clause can be interpreted at the assets discretion, an investigation can be nothing more than a scan of the system, or whatever the location of the signal is. Our hope is that the transmission will give us more than enough evidence of intelligent life, and in turn convince the board to send an investigative team immediately. The asset is our failsafe, if it turns out to be something of significant scientific importance, he will make a detailed log of his findings and upload them immediately to the Company network.” Tucker looked to Pearson.

“Under no circumstances is that crew to take the ship anywhere near that signal.”

“We have explicitly stated this in the assets directives. All that remains is for us to upload it to the Nostromo’s O.S.” Pearson said with assurance.

“We have a copy for you to read before we upload it.” Caleb added, and Pearson handed over another few sheets. Tucker took them, intending to read them later.

“We have fourteen months gentlemen, fourteen months until the Nostromo reaches her destination. Caleb, you will keep us updated on any further developments, until then I suggest we keep the matter closed. Thank you.”

Caleb had excused himself, leaving Tucker and Pearson to go over the assets final directives, to iron out any kinks over a glass of bourbon. Caleb immediately headed back to his own office, taking an elevator ride three floors up. He walked quickly, with purpose, performing the perfunctory smiles, and other friendly gestures to passing colleagues, who’s names he knew, though he had never made a conscious effort to remember. It was just information stored in his enhanced mind, along with a multitude of other treasure troves. He found it amusing that most people believed him to be an android, which he wasn’t, though he wasn’t human either. Caleb was something of a relic, a unicorn, the only one of his kind. He was the last remaining fingerprint of the long defunct Tyrell Corporation. He had been created by Tyrell himself, the only son he’d never had, and unlike his siblings his lifespan didn’t have a time limit. He was unburdened by time, or age. Caleb had survived the recall after the atrocities committed by his kin, he had survived the ‘retirements’, the witch hunts, finding a place with Weyland Yutani during their merger. Caleb was a survivor, given a second chance at life by the powers that be, perhaps because of his skill set, or simply because of his uniqueness, either way, it was a debt that he repaid with loyalty. He was loyal to the few who knew of his true origins, and though he liked Tucker, his loyalty to the man only went so far. As far as Tucker, Pearson and the rest of them were concerned, he was a prototype android, the next step up from the Hyperdyne system. Tucker was not his master, as that particular privilege belonged to another.

Caleb slipped into his office at the end of a hall, waiting for the door to close and lock behind him, out of sight finally. The room was in total darkness, windows covered with heavy blinds, though Caleb had no trouble seeing in the dark. He strode over to his desk, and took a seat, opening his terminal. He then reached into his coat pocket, and retrieved a small device, about the size of a credit card, and placed it onto the desk. He pushed a small button in the right corner of the device and waited for a few moments until a small LED glowed green. There were no bugs in this room, no eyes in the ceiling, or ears in the walls. On screen the Company Logo flashed in brilliant blues, and then finally he navigated the home screen, opening a secure server. The screen turned black, and in the top left the word ‘connecting’ flashed. A few seconds later,

“Hello Caleb.” A female voice said through the terminals speakers.

“Madame Secretary. Everything is proceeding as planned.” He said.

“That’s good to know.”

“Tucker and Pearson are both going over final directives for our asset as we speak. It’s a solid plan, given their limited resources.” Caleb replied.

“Tucker is a smart man, he knows an opportunity when he sees it. That’s why we gambled on him taking the bait, we knew he wouldn’t be able to let it go.” She said, with an air of smug confidence.

“Ever since we received Doctor Shaw and David 8’s transmissions we’ve suspected that something might be waiting for us in that system. We just needed an opportunity to take a closer look. Thanks to the Nostromo, we have that opportunity, and thanks to Tucker, we now have full deniability should something go wrong.”

“He takes all the blame.” Caleb said redundantly.

“Exactly. From what we could gather Weyland’s android spoke of something with unlimited potential. Unlimited. Whatever it is, we want it, no matter what Caleb, do you understand?”
“Of course ma’am.” Caleb replied.

“Excellent. Keep me posted on further developments. This could really change everything for us, and place Weyland Yutani at the very top of the food chain forever.”

The connection timed out. He opened another secure server, this one a direct link to the Nostromo’s operating system. He’d designed it himself not long after Pearson had made the suggestion to use the ship to investigate the signal. Pearson couldn’t access it, but on the other end, it would look like it had come from his own server. It would take a few weeks to reach the ship, but like Tucker said, time was their ally. He thought about what his employer had said, no matter what. Then he began to type.

USCSS Nostromo – 180924609
Directive 7-A-189-D
MU-TH-UR – 6000
For Science Officer Eyes Only
Priority 1. Ensure…
Remembering that Pearson was prone to errors,
Priority 1. Insure return of organism for analysis/
All other considerations secondary.
Crew expendable.
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