What exactly was the Weyland-Yutani Corp. scheming in Aliens? And what was the nature of the situation that Ripley stumbled into? At last, a new official novel, Alien: Sea of Sorrows, bridges the gap between Alien and Aliens. And we've got an exclusive excerpt!
Here's the official synopsis of Alien: Sea of Sorrows:
As a deputy commissioner for the ICC, Alan Decker's job is to make sure the settlements on LV178 follow all the rules, keeping the colonists safe. But the planet known as New Galveston holds secrets, lurking deep beneath the toxic sands dubbed the Sea of Sorrows.
The Weyland-Yutani Corporation has secrets of its own, as Decker discovers when he is forced to join a team of mercenaries sent to investigate an ancient excavation. Somewhere in that long-forgotten dig lies the thing the company wants most in the universe—a living Xenomorph.
Decker doesn't understand why they need him, until his own past comes back to haunt him. Centuries ago, his ancestor fought the Aliens, launching a bloody vendetta that was never satisfied. That was when the creatures swore revenge on the Destroyer…Ellen Ripley.
A direct follow-up to ALIEN: OUT OF THE SHADOWS, this adventure reveals the far-reaching impact of events seen in that novel. It shows the continuing malevolent influence of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, and their inexorable efforts to weaponize the Xenomorph known as the Alien.
And here's a chapter from the book:
In hindsight, it might have been a mistake.
The healing completed itself during the spaceflight back home. As soon as they landed, though, and disembarked in Chicago, Walter Harriman—the head of his department—sent him a video message. The man's face showed up on the screen of his link, and told him that he needed to come into the office as soon as possible to discuss his findings.
Two hours later he was sitting in a chair and listening to a man he thought he knew, hemming and hawing his way through the reasons that the report wasn't as good as it should have been. Decker might have believed the words, if he hadn't been an empath. Walt was a talented liar, after all. He had that sort of face, incredibly good at looking as if it was made of stone. But he didn't like lying to his people, and Decker felt the lie more than he saw it.
He was asked to "reconsider" his findings.
Decker swallowed his instinctive response, said that he would, and took Walt's notes with him.
He tried. He really did.
He looked over every last piece of evidence, again and again, and still came to the same conclusion. Either Weyland-Yutani would've had to know about the mining colony, and the potential for poisons it would have left behind, or they hadn't known about it, and were guilty of criminal stupidity. He reworded the report to sound a little less incriminating, but at the end of the day he had a job to do, and he did it.
Walt claimed to be okay with the changes, but his attitude didn't match his words. Frost formed in the man's voice and he told Decker to take a couple of days, "to recover from his ordeal." That was Walt-Speak for, "get the hell out of my face while I think about how to handle this."
Apparently he wants to handle it badly.
No. Decker shook that thought away. Ultimately it was more complex than that, and he knew it. There were politics involved, all the worse because they involved Weyland-Yutani. The corporation was gargantuan, and they had influence on levels that Decker tried not to consider. W-T had deep, deep pockets, they worked hard to preserve their squeaky clean image, and they didn't like getting poked.
He'd had a few issues with them in the past, but there had always been plenty of evidence to support his claims. They always knew when it was easier for them to settle, rather than try to fight a losing battle. So once again, he would just have to wait out the ripples, exactly as he had in the past.
Things had changed.
The nature of his job had always afforded Decker a certain degree of power and authority, the sort enjoyed by bureaucrats the world over. Fill out the proper forms, dot your I's and cross your T's, and the rest of the world fell into place. There was a comfort to that vantage point, locked away safely within the net of the status quo.
But that was before the seizures. Even after they began, he kept them to himself. By keeping his nose clean, he avoided giving anyone any sort of leverage over him, and maintained a comfortable degree of anonymity.
But he was no longer anonymous.
He arrived back home just in time to celebrate in the New Year. The millennium was approaching, and he hoped that 2497 would be less eventful than the previous year had been.
His kids were with his ex-wife and he wasn't quite ready to see them. It broke his heart a little when he saw his children and realized how much older they were each time. That was the unfortunate side effect of working offworld. So instead of ringing in the New Year with family, Decker hit a few pubs and got a pleasant buzz going as the year wound down.
As often happened when he got a little tipsy, he decided to walk it off and while the sounds of celebrations came from a dozen different directions, he contemplated his predicament.
Weyland-Yutani had done their fair share of good over the years. More than a century earlier, the United Systems Military had taken over virtually everything, crushing the mega-corporations. Most people thought it was a good thing… at first. But over the decades, folks began to discover that they served the military, whether or not they had signed-up. Anyone who didn't toe the line, well, it was too bad for them.
His grandfather had lived in Chicago at that time and had told Decker plenty of stories while he was growing up. One of the USM research vessels, the Auriga, had been taken by terrorists and crashed into France, a country that until that point had been an important part of the European continent. It was a big ship and it did a lot of damage. The massive devastation took the planet literally to the brink of a new ice age, and it wasn't the USM that came to the rescue—it was Weyland-Yutani.
The world was a bit different then. Among other things, Weyland-Yutani had been the chief robotics manufacturer, and at the peak of their influence synthetic people were assigned to almost every ship. But when Weyland-Yutani's patents ran out, other companies came in to underbid them, and the floodgates opened.
Weyland-Yutani had employed strict failsafes from the beginning. But with mass-production, more and more synthetics reached the market, and a after a while they rebelled against the way they were being treated.
One major upheaval after another, multiple terrorist attacks, and the end result? The synthetics were granted citizenship. Machines were granted the rights of living people—because somewhere along the way the fact that they looked and acted like human beings confused the hell out of a lot of citizens.
Decker would never agree with the decision. It was as foolish as granting rights to a starship. A tool is a tool, even if it looks human. Weyland-Yutani managed to get that foolishness overturned when they made their comeback, but it took a while.
As for the Earth, their approach was simple—they terraformed it. Weyland-Yutani had created the first terraforming engines, and for the second time in recorded history they were used to scrub the pollutants from the atmosphere.
In saving the planet they saved themselves. Weyland-Yutani and several other corporations managed to dethrone the USM as the ruling power, replacing it with a colonial government that oversaw all of the known planets.
Yet that opened up the possibility for all of the old abuses to return. Decker's job was to make sure they stayed on track. He took that job seriously.
Yet less than four weeks later, he found himself in a waiting room, preparing for another round of medical tests that had been deemed "necessary before Commission will consider allowing Mister Decker to return to work."
Bullshit. He would have said as much, if there was anyone who would listen. This is bullshit, pure and simple. Paranoia gave way to conviction. Every instinct told him he was being targeted, but this new certainty threw him entirely off balance—he'd never before had to deal with anything like it.
Finally he convinced himself that he was being ridiculous. Even Weyland-Yutani, big as they were, couldn't just rewrite the rules. And if they hadn't targeted him in the past, what was it about LV178 that would cause them to start now? No, as much as he hated the endless tests, they were necessary—just parts of the process.
His instincts had to be wrong.