Review - The Annotated AvP: The Story, part 12.5

Sorry for leaving all y’all on a cliffhanger last week. Chapter 14 was just too long to snark all in one go. So without yanking the rug out beneath you any more, here’s the conclusion of “The Third Species War” from my Aliens versus Predator 2 fanfic.

The first of the Species Wars had taken place four million years before, on the same rocky ground of Lv-1201, when Aliens and Predators battled over ownership of the planet. The second Species war was fought between the Aliens and humans in 2179, on 1201’s sister planet of Lv-426, where the humans emerged the victor, but with many lives lost. But now, the ultimate war was taking place between all three species.
I only have two questions: is it on pay-per-view, and will Paul Bearer make an appearance?

It was horrible; Aliens versus Predators, Marines versus Corporate. Body upon body fell to the ground. In one place, a mercenary Predator lopped the head off a Warrior Alien. In another place, a Marine gunned down a Company soldier.
“Man’s inhumanity to man” really doesn’t cover it here.

And that’s horrible.

Suddenly, two dropships appeared out of the sky, shooting Corporate soldiers. After completing a successful gunning run, the two ships landed, dropping off their APCs. Backup Marines rushed out, shooting Predators and searching for McCain’s team. When they found the lieutenant, they were amazed to hear that the Marines were fighting with the Aliens. Reluctantly, the newly arrived Marines turned their pulse rifles on the Corporates and Predators.
I like to think the reinforcements just shrugged and went with the flow.

In the midst of the battle, Jones, Ivan, Duke and Tomiko fought back-to-back-to-back-to-back.
That sounds sexier than it should.

Duke only just avoided being killed by a Predator, which Ivan shot the Hell out of.
“Thanks, kid!” the Marine shouted over the gunfire.
“No problem,” Ivan replied. “But if you call me kid again, I’ll do the same to you!” Just then, the wave of Corporates around them was killed by friendly Marine gunfire.
“There are still to many Corporates!” Jones yelled. “We need more firepower!” Indeed, Jones was right. Aliens were being blasted away by Dark-Hunter, Assault and the other renegade Predators.
“A miracle would be good about now,” Tomiko groaned.
Almost immediately, as if God had answered Tomiko’s wish, a cloaked Predator ship suddenly appeared out of the sky. It landed near the POC, and a group of Predator warriors emerged from its boarding ramp.
God’s on the side of interstellar extraterrestrial hunters? That’s honestly pretty unexpected.

At the head of the group was Swift-Death’s father, Wise-One. He strode toward McCain and handed him a pulse rifle clip from a dead Corporate.
“Our service is in your hands,” Wise-One declared.
“What the Hell?!” Shugi exclaimed. “You’re kidding me, right?”
“Drastic situations call for drastic measures,” McCain replied. “Just kill these Corporates.”
“I have bigger game to attend to,” Wise-One growled, eyeing the group of mercenary Predators. He headed off to the renegades, ripping out the skulls of Corporates as he ran.
That last sentence is just too priceless. If my sole contribution to literature at large was those fifteen words, I could live with that.

Wise-One and his Predator hunters plagued the battlefield. Mercenary Predators and Corporates fell by the feet of Wise-One’s hunting clan. A few of the noble hunters even let out tremendous war cries.
Now, the Marines and Aliens were gaining advantage over their enemies. Duke had even managed to save Ivan’s butt a few times. In a few minutes, the number of Corporates and mercenaries was narrowed down dramatically.
12-year-old me: “Tension? What’s that?”

As Wise-One finished taking the skull from a WY corporal, he looked up to see Dark-Hunter kill a pack of fourteen Aliens.
That’s… pretty impressive, actually.

As if Dark-Hunter had a sixth sense, he snarled and turned to see Wise-One staring at him. They approached each other, and glared from beneath their masks.
Hopefully this sixth sense can pick up on facial expressions as well, because otherwise I have no idea how they could visually communicate their mutual contempt.

They were two enemies with a past unknown to most other Predators; a clan leader and his follower, torn apart in a horrible incident.
Holy shit, some actual character development!

While the honoured faced the dishonoured, these thoughts and memories flooded into their minds. Finally, they both took out their Combisticks, and in a ceremonial gesture, lowered the weapons to the ground. It was time to battle. Immediately, Wise-One brought his spear upward, and held it in a fighting position. Dark-Hunter retracted both ends of his spear back into the handgrip, and placed it into its holster. He quickly pulled out his sawed-off plasma rifle out and pointed it at his former leader.
Letting out a shrill roar, Wise-One charged toward Dark-Hunter. He swung his spear down at the bounty hunter, but Dark-Hunter activated a button on his wrist computer. The device on his back-mounted spear launcher lit up, and sent out a huge magnetic shockwave, knocking Wise-One to the ground. The magnetic field lifted the mercenary off the ground, allowing to hover five metres above everyone else. He took advantage of Wise-One’s hesitation to activate an ancient weapon on his right forearm gauntlet. It was an Energy Flechette, a rapid-firing plasma blaster located in the gauntlet, in succession with the plasma rifle, he used the weapons to shoot at Wise-One. The old Predator got to his feet and reflected the blasts with his spear.
…but since I was 12 when I wrote this, pathos is supplanted by BADASS FIGHT SCENE OH YEAH*

Dark-Hunter circled the old Predator firing his energy weapons. Even though he had the advantage in firepower, Dark-Hunter couldn’t seem to hit Wise-One.
After what seemed like hours, Dark-Hunter got tired of this monotonous fight and opened a radio channel in his helmet.
* Well, a strangely tedious fight scene.

“Assault!” he said in his language. “Kill the old one while he is distracted.”
“Yes, Dark-Hunter,” Assault replied. He located Dark-Hunter fighting with Wise-One, and took out his Spear-Gun. He pointed the sniping weapon at the old Predator and prepared to pull the trigger. It seemed that all was to be lost for the clan leader.
Not likely. Morachai the Alien, who had hurried from the Master Hive to the POC before the war had started, noticed Assault aiming his weapon. He growled and sprinted toward the mercenary, claws and inner-jaw ready.
“Dishonour this,” Assault growled in his language, as he was just about to fire.
I can’t remember at what exact age this incident occurred, but I swear that one night a younger version of me awoke with a jolt, feeling as though someone had just whacked me in the head with a metal mixing bowl. I’m not kidding; I could actually hear the ring of resonating aluminum for the briefest of moments. Since I hadn’t really thought about this phenomenon since it actually happened I’m starting to think it was current, 23-year-old me astral projecting back in time simply to smack my more youthful self for writing the previous quote.

Then something growled back.

The Predator whipped around 90 degrees and came face to face with Morachai, who was charging at full speed towards him.
Turns out Predator masks have really shitty peripheral vision.

“Holy shit!” Assault screamed in his tongue. He tried to switch to the Electromagnetic vision mode, but he was too slow. Morachai’s barbed tail lashed out spearing the Predator’s skull. Green blood squirted everywhere, and Assault’s Spear-Gun fell to the ground. His lifeless body followed a second later.
Dark-Hunter tore his eyes away from his useless second-in-command, now dead.
“I don’t care if you’re headless, you’re going to fight like a warrior, jagoff!”

He focused on Wise-One. Somehow, he was going to kill this old Predator. He fired three blasts from his plasma rifle, once again knocking Wise-One to the ground.
“I always was the better fighter,” the mercenary chuckled.
“Yes,” Wise-One growled, “but a hunter never lets his guard down.”
It took two seconds for the mercenary to realize what was about to happen. He pulled out his netgun to stop the old Predator, but his hesitation was too great. Wise-One brought up his spear and swung it, knocking Dark-Hunter out of the air and beneath a dark crowd of Aliens.
Wise-One, now sure this struggle was over, left the area to fight with the Marines.
So the elder Predator won by… swinging his spear upward? Like any sentient being would in that situation?

…right on.

Back near the POC walls, McCain, Duke and the others held their ground as Corporate soldiers swarmed them.
Dunya, who had been lying unconscious near McCain’s feet, woke up groggily.
“What the Hell is going on?” she sleepily asked.
Tomiko shoved a pulse rifle into the Corporate’s arms. “Just shoot anything wearing green and blue,” she said.
“Yes, General,” Dunya dizzily replied.
Did… did Tomiko just hand the shifty Russian black ops soldier with a concussion an assault rifle without a second thought? I had these characters make some pretty questionable decisions in the previous chapters we’ve documented but you would think that Tomiko’s judgement call might make even these characters raise an eyebrow.

Quite surprisingly, this doesn’t come back to bite them in the ass in any way shape or form. Or, quite unsurprisingly. If we’ve learned anything from my younger self’s writing, it’s that Chekhov’s gun is too heavy to pick up most of the time.

Dark-Hunter got up, dazed. His armour had saved him from being trampled beneath the feet of the Aliens. He looked around as he applied pressure to a cut on his arm. He was the only mercenary left in his team. Hurt, but nowhere near death, Dark-Hunter limped around the battlefield. He needed someway to get away from this madness. He saw it: a dead Predator from Wise-One’s clan, armour undamaged.
He sprinted toward the corpse and opened the wrist computer on the dead Predator’s left forearm. Remembering how the device worked, he pushed a few buttons, setting the timer to seven human minutes. Perfect, he thought. He got to his feet and ran to his ship.

Just as Dark-Hunter finished arming the computer, a loud beeping sounded. The fighting Aliens turned and screamed. They had, in younger days, been told about creatures like the green-blooded hunters, who made the same noise before exploding, killing everything near it.
Wait, so if the self-destruct bomb obliterated everyone near it, how was this story passed along? Race memory? There’s an interesting discussion to be had about collective Xenomorph neurology here but preteen me was all like FUCK THAT SHIT EXPLOSIONS

The Aliens turned and fled from the battlefield.
McCain asked, “What the Hell is happening?”
“You must run,” Wise-One said. “You must leave this battlefield, now!” Wise-One roared to his clan, who ran for their ship. The beeping was getting louder and louder by the second. Finally, Ivan yelled, “Go!” The Marines, plus Ivan, Tomiko and the confused Dunya headed for the dropships. They didn’t even care about retrieving the APC. The throttles were activated and the dropships flew off.
Dark-Hunter, flying away from the battlefield, viewed the idiotic Corporates examining the dead Predator emitting the beeping.
Suddenly, one of the Corporates looking at the corpse saw some strange red digits that appeared to be - ticking down. As the Corporate, saw the dropships, Predator ship and Dark-Hunter’s cruiser leave the battlefield. He turned around and looked at the mini-computer once more. The last digit had disappeared.
“Oh, no,” he said.
“D’awwww, sandwiches,” were the last words of Corporal Bill.

Up in the dropships, an explosion rocked the Marines.
When the troop transports are rockin’, for the love of God and all that is holy please don’t come a-knockin’.

“What was that?” Shugi shouted.
“We’ve been hit by a shockwave,” the dropship’s pilot said over a radio.
“Shockwave?” Ivan asked. “What the - “ He stood silent as his eye caught something outside the small rear view port.
“Holy crap,” Tomiko whispered as she looked out, too.
The battlefield, plateau and POC had been wiped off the face of Lv-1201 by a small, nuclear blast. Everything was light up by the huge mushroom cloud. The only thing that contrasted from the light was the huge swarm of Aliens running away from the blast.
“What in the Hell could cause that?” Duke wheezed.
A Yautja Sacrificial Annihilator had caused unknown to them, the blast. It was used in the most desperate of situations, when a Predator was soon to be captured. According to Predator customs, it would be dishonourable to be captured. Therefore a Predator would kill himself and anyone near him by means of this weapon.
The device on the dead Predator had been activated, killing everything in its path. In other words, all the WY soldiers except Ivan, Tomiko and Dunya. The Marines stared at the flaming chaos on the ground.
An interesting physical paradox: were an object to somehow surpass the speed of light, it would theoretically travel back in time; in this vein, if you were to build a faster-than-light gun, like the Death Star on PCP, and fire it at another planet, would the planet blow up before the shot was actually fired? and furthermore, if the gun operator saw the explosion a second before he planned to fire and decided to abort, would his disruption of continuity unravel the spacetime continuum?

What I’m getting at is, if there was ever a Chekhov’s Gun version of whatever bullshit I just described, it certainly happened with my post-hoc explanation for the Predator’s self-destruct device in the previous quote.

“Should we head back to the Verloc, sir?” the pilot asked McCain.
“No,” the major replied. “We still have a soldier down there.”
Good God, that was more fun than it had any right to be. Just three more chapters to go, people! Tune in next month for, well, the next one.

No comments: