Review - The Annotated AvP: The Story, part 7

Man, that was a long month. I was actually starting to miss this. Yes, it’s time for the seventh installment of the Annotated Aliens versus Predator: The Story. When we last left off, the xenomorphs had proven their capacity for advanced language, had broken into Weyland-Yutani’s Forward Observation Pods and driven Dr. Eisenberg into a mild, temporary state of insanity—all thanks to the Marines overriding a pretty poorly designed security system. And that’s going to give you a good idea of how awkward every character interaction in this chapter is going to be.

The APC finally arrived at the base, and the Marines inside swore at what they saw. Turrets were offline, fences were sliced up, and the two halves of Dimitri were lying by a damaged pulse rifle, his corpse starting to decay.
If that’s the case, 1.) Jesus Christ how much time actually passed, and 2.) seriously, no one could have put him in a body bag? I understand WY is a callous, mostly faceless corporation but c’mon, that’s just asking for a PR disaster.

“I’m seeing survivors at the base,” Shugi said. “There’s definitely some still alive.
“Pull up and stop. Harrison and Blackwell, you’re coming with me,” McCain ordered.
“Sure thing, amigo,” Blackwell said.

Because he’s Latino, you see.

The survivors at the base were Eisenberg, Rykov, Ivan and a few technicians.
“Thank you for arriving, Major McCain. It’s been more than Hell at this facility since the Aliens invaded it,” Eisenberg said. “Luckily we’re not as bad as the POC and the tunnels.”
“No doubt,” McCain said. “Both are infested but salvageable.”
“Good. I’ll try to get some more men down there,” Eisenberg said. 
“So, how did this Pod situation start?” Harrison asked.
“Well,” Rykov grumbled, “it all started when you shut down our defense grid - “
“It isn’t our fault your tunnel lock controls were hardwired to your security system,” Harrison objected.
“Seriously, beta test that shit. Or at least run debug, y’know?”

“I’m afraid there’s not much fighting to do for you. The chaos has dramatically died down.”
“Then what’s our job?” McCain asked.
“To enter Pods 2 and 4 and search for survivors. We’ve lost contact with both of them,” said Rykov.
“OK,” McCain replied. “Though, there is something else we need to do.”
“Yes?” Eisenberg asked.
“I need Harrison here to access one of your terminals. Since you’ve lost contact with the POC. We set up a booster transmitter in the tunnels. With his help, Harrison can activate it,” McCain said.
“Technician Stiles,” Eisenberg started without turning, “please escort Corporal Harrison to Pod 3, so he can use a computer.”
Stiles nodded without turning, and started toward the Pod 3 lift. Harrison quickly followed. Both got on the room-sized elevator and activated it.
“So,” Harrison started. “Been really bad here?’
Corporal Andrew Harrison: dick.

On the ground, there were two other conversations going on. One was between Rykov and Ivan. 
“Have you made the rosters of the dead?” Rykov asked. 
“Without bodies and access to the two Pods, we can’t tell who died. We’re going to definitely need those Marines,” Ivan answered.
“Do you know any who did get killed?” Rykov questioned.
“Just one: Dimitri Henson. He was Dunya’s fiancée.”
“She isn’t going to be happy about that.”
“I’ve known Dunya for a long time. She can handle anything.”
“But she’s going to be PMSing like crazy, gnomesayin’?”

Across the lift pad, McCain and Eisenberg were engaged in a long conversation.
“So,” McCain started, “you were part of Expedition 1, right?”
“Why, yes,” replied Eisenberg. “How’d you know?”
“Project report from WY.”
“Damn executives. They just love giving out everyone’s personal information.”
“Tell me about it.
By the mid-22nd century, Facebook has become its own country.

What was it like?”
“I can’t remember. It was almost too horrible, being the lone survivor and all.”
“Wow, that’s bad. And you escaped without a scratch?”
“None whatsoever,” Eisenberg replied calmly. Well, almost calmly. It was either his mind playing tricks on him, or McCain could notice that the doctor was tightly gripping his right hand, twisting it anxiously. “OK, so maybe a couple cuts and bruises, but nothing really bad.” That was it. Eisenberg’s right hand was acting strange. Its fingers were twitching about, almost nervously. Every other part of his body, including his face, was steady and relaxed.
Oh man, there’s some foreshadowing up in this bitch. Not that I won’t be reminding you throughout the rest of the novel, but pay attention to this.

Harrison followed Stiles down the winding Pod corridors. Without the technician’s direction, the Marine would have surely gotten lost.
“So how’s it like working for Eisenberg?” asked Harrison.
“Not bad at all. Why?” replied Stiles.
“Just thinking about something,” answered Harrison. “He was in the first expedition to 1201, right?”
“Interesting. It just so happens that my fiancée was a researcher there.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
“About what?”
“Well, it’s known fact that Dr. Eisenberg was the only one to arrive alive from that incident.”
“Yeah. Damn lizards. I told her she shouldn’t have gone out there.”
“Don’t worry. She must have thought she made the best decision.”
“I guess so,” said Harrison, very solemnly. 
Good thing there wasn’t a bird of prey in the room or it might have gotten

As the two approached an intersection, Stiles stopped.
“Damn, now which way to the terminals?” he wondered aloud. Just then, a beautiful Oriental woman, in her twenties walked past them.

“Hey, Tomiko,” Stiles started. “Which way to the terminals?”
“To your left,” she replied. She eyed Harrison for a second. “Who are you?”
“Corporal Harrison, USCM,” Harrison answered. “Pleasure to meet you.”
“Same here, “ Tomiko said, smiling. “Hope you find something here.”
“Sure do,” Harrison said. He watched as she walked away, and then he turned to Stiles.
…winked, and fired off two finger guns. The technician was not impressed.

As soon as the technician was out of sight, Harrison switched on his radio. “This is Frosty, come in.”
“Here you loud and clear, Harrison,” McCain replied over the radio.
“Something in my mind tells me I’m not activating the booster transmitter,” Harrison presumed as he opened the door to a terminal room.
“Your mind is right,” McCain chuckled. “I need you to access the records for the project.”
“All of them?”
“Just to six weeks ago. I need to find out what started this incident.”
“It was accidental. An egg being transported hatched, it infected a civilian, the thing grew up, set loose some others, and everything went to Hell. Eisenberg said so himself in the report.”
“That’s exactly it. Eisenberg said it. Don’t believe what that report said.”
“What? Do you have something against the guy?”
“Let’s say I can’t trust him.”
“Jesus Christ, man, he dresses like yuppie Professor Snape. He has a semi-English accent! If he isn’t evil, I’m drunk.”

“Sir, you drank an entire hip flask of Wild Turkey on the drive here.”

“Well, yes, but that’s beside the point.”

After a couple minutes, he reported back to McCain. 
“Sir, I can’t find records up to six weeks ago.”
“It’s exactly what I said. The files have been erased. Every single one of them.”
“When were they deleted?”
“About ten minutes ago. What the Hell?”
Suddenly, a voice arose from behind a console. “Is something wrong?” a female Russian voice asked.


Startled, Harrison quickly closed the window he was in, and looked up.
“It wasn’t Victorian erotica, I swear!”

Dunya appeared from behind another terminal.
“Uh, nothing really. Just missing some files,” Harrison replied.
“Really?” she replied coldly. Her menacing eyes stared down at the Marine.
“Yes,” he said.
“I can help you. Follow me and I can lead you to the file recovery systems.”
“Thanks,” Harrison replied anxiously. He got up and followed Dunya out of the room. She couldn’t help but notice that she was gripping her pulse rifle almost too firmly.
Dunya had been the monkey-in-the-middle for far too many games of Keepaway for her to relax her grip even in the slightest.

As they crossed a gantry, Harrison said to Dunya, “So, you look pretty good for an army officer.”
Hey Harrison, remember that time your fiancée died horribly at the hands of carnivorous extraterrestrials? I know there’s something to be said for moving on, but man, he makes Quagmire look subtle.

“I have a fiancée - “ she started.
“Oh, well then. . . “ Harrison apologized.
“ - but he is dead. A casualty,” she continued sadly.

“Anyway, the recovery systems. . . “
“Of course,” she replied. Harrison turned toward their next set of doors. As he walked forward, he noticed that he could hear none of Dunya’s footsteps.
“Well, are you coming or not. . . oh, crap,” he groaned as he turned around. The last thing he saw was Dunya swinging the butt of her pulse rifle at his forehead. Crack. Harrison was out cold, lying by Dunya’s feet.
Satisfied, Dunya turned on her radio. “Dr. Eisenberg,” she started, “I have managed to subdue Harrison.”
“Excellent,” Eisenberg chuckled over the radio. “Take him into custody. I’ll make up the story.”
“Good. He was close to finding out,” Dunya said. 
“That is as close as he’ll get,” the doctor chuckled. Over the headset, he turned to Major McCain. “I’m very sorry, major, but we have had a casualty.”
Dunya smiled, even more satisfied than before.
Oh fuck, son, this chapter was called “Betrayal” and everything, too! I should have seen that coming a mile off! I mean, I did, but still that’s some Chekhov’s Gun shit right there.

Harrison groggily awoke, cursing and wincing at a new pain in his body. He got up, banging his head on something above him. It was a bunk. He was sleeping in a bed somewhere. He touched his head, and felt a bandage. He wondered how it had got there. Then he remembered: Dunya swinging her pulse rifle at his head. Damn Company soldiers. None of them could be trusted.
He crawled out of his cot, and looked around. He was in a prison cell, with an observation window overlooking the room.
“I’d never thought you would wake up,” somebody said. Harrison turned and saw a convict in the room with him.
The man was, thankfully, still wearing pants. That would have been just a little too awkward, even for this veritable Michael Cera of chapters.

“Why the Hell am I in here?” Harrison groaned.
“Well, you should know what you’re in for,” the convict replied.
“In for?”
“The crime you committed,” the convict explained further.
“I’m not a convict, I’m a Marine.”
“Really? Than why are you wearing that?” the convict asked. Harrison looked down. Instead of his USCM armour, the Marine was dressed in a blue convicts uniform. His weapons, his radio, his armour, everything was gone.
“What the Hell? I have got to get out of here,” Harrison complained.
“What? They’ve got guards in here. You’ll never get out.”
“But I didn’t do anything. Somebody just knocked me out, and I’m here.”
“Alright, you want me to get you out?” the convict asked. “Next time a guard comes down here to inspect us, I’ll use this.” The convict produced a dagger from his pant leg.
“You seriously wouldn’t kill somebody,” Harrison said.
“No, just cut them. Enough to get both of us out of here.”
I honestly can’t tell if I was having this guy be sarcastic or not.

Just then, a guard entered the room, armed with a pistol. 
“So, Mick, like your new cellmate?” the guard asked the convict. As the man inspected Harrison, Mick started toward the guard with the knife. The man heard Mick, and he whipped around. Before the convict could do anything, the guard shot him dead.
Though horrified at what the Company man had done, Harrison didn’t hesitate to attack the guard. He quickly pinched a nerve in the man’s neck. The guard dropped to the ground, unconscious.
God forbid a guard might want to protect himself from being stabbed. Also, for a regular marine Harrison has some real Vulcan trickery going down here.

Harrison grabbed the guard’s gun and exited through the man’s entranced. He entered a hallway, with cell doors lining the walls.
“Come on, come on,” Harrison panicked, looking for an exit. He found a door labeled Maintenance Access, which Harrison opened. Behind the door was a ladder, which lead up into the maintenance shafts.
“Thank you,” Harrison muttered to himself. He climbed in and closed the hatch.
Frosty had left the building.

*drops the mic* I got nothing’. See you next month.

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