2420 AD

Terraformed planet B-999

Mikki dragged her hands along the glass of the humans housed in the blue cylinders. The last of the human hosts had been used two years prior. Originally, fifty-seven humans survived when the compound was overrun by the hive. Now, only five of the original fifty-seven humans were alive. Sapphire was generous. She was always generous. She was a lenient Queen and Mikki often spoke with her before passing judgments.

The compound was clear of humans despite the ones in the hive. The planet was completely evacuated three years prior. A few ships had escaped the city, but a planet wide evacuation had been ordered. Most of the population outside of the main city had been saved; not fully understanding what had occurred to order the immediate departure other than the atmosphere was failing and poisonous. The humans planet side were not soldiers, they were farmers, scientists and all too eager to give the planet away to an alien culture if it meant their survival. Planets took a decade to prepare to host human life, and there was always a planet ready to for habitation in the galaxy. The galaxy was vast and ever expanding. This planet had failed, but the Weyland-Yutani Corporation had resources beyond expectations. They would come back, to try and take back what they had started. The hive was counting on it.

A young xenomorph entered the room. He was one of the males, young and bold, still trying to earn his place as a fighter and protector of the hive, but he gravitated to her, never straying far from her side. The Queen thought it was amusing, Mikki was not sure if she found it irritating or endearing.

He scented the air and peered at her, hopeful and waiting for her attention. She outranked him; technically she outranked everyone in the hive, except for the Queen. Mikki was the designated Mother of the hive and Mother to the Queen.

She stretched out her hand towards him and he perked up at the gesture. She turned her palm up and he eagerly approached. He nuzzled into her hand and Mikki could not help the smile that pulled at her lips. He sensed her pleasure and instead of attempting to over power her, as many of the male protectors of the hive tended to do in their plays for dominance, he ducked under her arm and cuddled her with a purr.

The males were the protectors of the hive and while sterile, they had the ability to form mating bonds and came equipped with the desire to mate. He was young, not yet an adolescent and she was still a child. They were both too young. Yet, that did not stop Sapphire from hinting that Mikki was allowed to take a mate when she came of age. In fact, Sapphire urged her to. It was safer to have a guard in the form of a mate, someone who would put her needs and life above all others, even the Queen. Sapphire wanted her safe at all costs.

Above all else he was loyal and brave, a true protector of the hive. It was fitting of his name, which translated loosely to Brave Protector.

"Stop it." She voiced aloud trying to sound serious. The amusement in her voice was obvious. She was ten years old and too mature for his games.

"Play. Come."

He circled around her butting his head against her body, making her take steps to keep her balance but not hard enough to push her over. He circled her in a game of prey and predator.

"No."

She pushed him back and he jumped in place in excitement. It was odd to see him this giddy. He was only ever like this with her. Most of the time he was serious and the epitome of a hive guard. It was oddly pleasant to see him so relaxed and playful.

Perhaps, it would not be so bad to let loose and act her age every once in a while. She snarled at him and shoved him hard and ran to the other end of the room. He paused in surprise, not actually believing she would take part in the game. Mikki grinned and Brave Protector purred in pleasure and sank down readying himself to spring. Mikki's eyes widened and she turned tail and ran with a laugh on her lips.

Maybe, having him as a companion would be a good thing. And maybe one day she would want a mate of her own.

The doors shut automatically behind them and the room darkened. The distress signal on the console blinked in the dark room. The distress signal was sending out into the void calling for aid.

It was only a matter of time before help arrived and unknowingly offered themselves as prey.


2431

Terraformed planet B-999

The ships hangar opened slowly. Ten humans crowded onto the ramp. The air was thick, and heavy. It smelt wild, and less artificial than the ship they had been asleep on for the last decade while travelling across the galaxy.

"The air checks out," Danielle informed after checking her instrument.

"Thank god," Claudia exclaimed taking off her helmet with relief.

Darren knocked into her shoulder as he passed. "What, don't want it messing up your hair?" He smirked at her with a wink.

Claudia raised a perfectly blond eyebrow up and threw him a saucy smile. Her sleek blond hair was pulled up elegantly in a twist, but no doubt would have flown over her shoulder in perfect waves with the way she tossed her head at him. "You didn't seem to have a problem messing it up last night."

Darren paused and choked for a moment before Jose clapped him on the shoulder with a laugh. "She's got you there."

Darren shrugged him off with a growl and glared daggers at Claudia. It was no secret that he had eyes for her and despite her many refusals he still persisted. What relationship they did have was in secret and they were waiting for the end of this mission to make things official.

"Alright, let's focus." Michael ordered as his feet crunched on the soil.

"Yea, let's get this done. I want to get off this shit hole. It looks deserted to me. I say we leave and say we checked it out." Steven grumbled while popping his gum loudly.

A few of the others groaned in agreement. None of them were exactly happy to be on this abandoned planet; however, they had an obligation to answer a distress signal, despite the fact that it would put their current mission off course by a month if they were lucky. It was a good thing they were transferring cargo of little consequence. Cargo of little consequence, meaning mostly high end materials to a newly established planet with limited resources that was on the rise with a significant amount of wealthy investors. It was a long transport, but worth it because of the money. They were also highly over qualified to transport goods as trained soldiers all with impressive military credentials.

They were off course. Way off course. Hell, none of them really had much of a life which was why they preferred long missions spent with the majority of their time in stasis.

"I thought this planet was supposed to be defective," Stiles asked looking at Danielle as she inspected the atmosphere further. He rubbed his short brown hair noting the large complex in the near distance and the high way leading to what appeared to be a suburban district.

"That's what the records say as well," Danielle replied typing away on a portable hand held screen. "But everything is good, better than good." She glanced up at the sky with a confused look. "For all purposes, this planet should be thriving."

"Then why leave?" he asked with a raised eyebrow. He was smarter than he looked. He had a baby face with freckles and large brown eyes, which usually meant he was treated like a child. It was one of the reasons he joined the military. That and after his dad died when he was a teenager there was nothing to keep him planet side.

"I don't know." She shrugged her shoulders in the thick armor.

"What was the planet designed for again? Science and agriculture?" Michael asked lifting up his blaster, as his eyes took in the surrounding area. His dark brown eyes wrinkled in focus, scrutinizing every little thing. Most of them considered him extremely paranoid, but it was one of the things which had gotten him selected as Commander for their ten-man team.

Danielle's lips pursed as Michael waited and he turned around at the frustrated noise she made. "It's classified."

"What do you mean it's classified?" Michael barked in anger. "I thought you said this was a planet designed for agriculture and a scientific preserve before we even landed."

If Danielle were a less confidant technician she would have shrunk under his scrutiny. Instead, she calmly faced their commander and respectfully responded. "That is correct. However, when I attempted to investigate further which means hacking into their security logs, most of which have claimed to have been destroyed or lost, it says that the scientific preserve was housing a preserve for an endangered alien species, but all other information has been classified. This includes the alien species."

They were collectively silent for a minute before Chad input his two cents. "Well, we're here aren't we? Might as well, right Commander?"

Michael sighed with a nod and raised his arm to gesture them forward. "I want everyone to stay alert."

"What if they were setting up a preserve for genetically engineered alien mosquitos?" Everyone stopped to look at Chad. His curly red hair ruffled in the breeze and he held up his hands in defense when he noticed them all looking at him. "What? Its totally plausible."

Lauren shoved him roughly muttering under her breath.

It took them nearly fifteen minutes to walk to the main compound and another thirty for Ako and Danielle to rig the security system and unlock the front doors allowing them entry.

The building looked like it had once been a steel grey with manufactured windows to simulate a pleasant glow. It was a geometrical structure covered in vines and other foliage that had taken over the building in the years of human neglect. The large room they walked into was intact and even the furniture looked untouched. Of course, some of the chairs were knocked over, but it was tidy for the most part.

"How long ago was the evacuation?" Stiles asked curiously walking around a table and trailing his fingers on the welcome desk.

"About sixteen years," Danielle replied watching as he picked up a chipped coffee mug.

He whistled. That was a long time. Surely others were wondering if there was anyone here left to rescue or if it was a faulty signal that the planet was emitting because of an old glitch. He set the coffee mug down with a smile at the cat cartoon on the side. Danielle rolled her eyes. He turned and adjusted his weapon and nearly had a heart attack.

"Welcome, today is Monday the sixteenth of April. Please adjust your calendars and remember to invest in your local neighborhood farmers market to support the planet agriculture."

"Holy fuck," Stiles gasped with a hand to his chest.

"Great, you set off a hologram advertisement you idiot." Darren groused rounding the corner with hurried footsteps.

"Hurry up, shut it off," Claudia called.

"I'm working on it," Darren yelled and in the next moment the image flicked and then disappeared. He pumped his fist in triumph.

"Well, if anyone is here, they sure know we're here now." Ako commented while scanning the area. He was one of the more serious members among them, more disciplined, as he would say. Stiles like him well enough. Hell, he liked most of the team members. They were the only family he had left.

A rush of gooseflesh prickled his skin. He felt like someone was watching him and the sensation followed along his spine. A sudden movement by one of the hallways made him pivot and raise his weapon defensively. No one was there, and the hallway was eerily quiet.

The other's followed his movement and Michael walked up on his left. "Stiles, what's wrong?"

"I don't know," he admitted clenching his teeth. "I just have a feeling that someone was there." He paused and admitted, "I think we should go this way."

"That's where the signals coming from," Danielle said glancing at him in curiosity. He shrugged at her silent question unsure how to convey his feelings.

"Let's go," Michael ordered walking forwards and Stiles was left with this terrible feeling of impending doom.


Mikki watched from the shadows as the ten humans in their odd metallic wear and weapons took the bait. Happy rushed up to her side and climbed on top of her shoulder rubbing along her neck with a purr.

She smiled and dragged a single finger along the miniature xenomorph's spine. He trilled contentedly as she praised him on a job well done at directing the humans. Now they just had to continue herding them.

"Mother."

Mikki turned noticing Zippy watching her anxiously after noticing the humans walking out of their line of site.

"What is it?" She asked noticing Zippy's anxious behavior. The drone was usually full of energy but this time it was filled with nervousness. Mikki sighed recognizing the signs of Zippy wanting to question her without over stepping. Fortunately for the drone they had a special bond and Mikki was very tolerant.

"Are you sure this is wise?" Mikki blinked waiting for the xenomorph to explain before lecturing them on the audacity of questioning the Mother of the hive. "I mean, is this safe? Leading the humans here by yourself? Shouldn't the team do this? The Queen and Brave Protector will be worried."

The mention of her mate, rather than the Queen irked her. She growled deep in her throat and followed it with a threatening hiss. Zippy cowed under the display and submitted with a significant amount of posturing. Satisfied, Mikki sighed and held out her hand palm facing up and waited. It was difficult to be mad, irritated yes, but they were only looking out for her, which was understandable. Her flesh was much easier damaged than theirs. She possessed some qualities that assisted with healing and made her somewhat impermeable to certain chemicals, such as the xenomorph acidic blood, but she was still mostly human and easily killed with bullets, which the humans had plenty off. Humans always had bullets and other weapons of destruction. That was the other reason she had been fitted with other means to protect herself. She fingered the shield at her back made from the skull of a xenomorph drone and sphere on the floor formed from the tail of a xenomorph.

Zippy hesitantly approached and then more confidently when Mikki smiled in encouragement. Zippy's head butted against her hand and Mikki scratched at her head with a grin when the drone began to purr deeply.

"We'll be fine. No one has ever hurt me before. I'm too cute." She pursed her lips and opened her eyes in an exaggerated innocent expression. The statement was mostly true. Humans tended to fire at her out of fear in the beginning, and well usually at the end as well.

Zippy sighed and Mikki pushed her along. "We're going to be in trouble for this." Mikki laughed at their sulking.

"It won't be your fault." She assured while picking up her sphere to stand. "Besides, I can take care of myself." Her grin bared her teeth dangerously and Happy growled on her shoulder. "Now come help me send these humans on a chase."

The chase was always the best part. Mikki loved the thrill of the hunt. It was easy to enjoy humans that believed they were predators when they were the prey. They lead the humans along, getting them turned around. Mikki studied them closely, observing their mannerisms in order to catalogue how best to pick them apart. Mikki had already decided on the brown haired man with nearly shaved hair. His face was childlike and kind. His name was Stiles and he was loquacious as well as amusing.

The humans reached the room in better time than expected. Mikki was almost impressed. They spent much of their time hesitating and arguing over directions. Humans were an overly curious species. She watched as they unlocked the door and entered.

Zippy and her exchanged an amused look from above them. The distress signal blinked, glowing in the dark room. She watched nervously as the humans trailed around the empty ominously glowing tubes. These tubes had been empty for years but they were reminders of the past.

"Holy fuck!" Stiles yelled and backed up crashing into a desk. "It's a dead body!"

Well, there were a few decayed human hosts that she had neglected to dispose of, but really it was not a priority.

"Commander," Lauren signaled. "Here's the distress beacon."

She tapped a few controls after dusting a few keys clear. Someone sneezed. The signal beeped and then stopped transmitting altogether.

"There," she said biting her lip. "This signal has been on for three years."

"Three years?" Stiles paced around the tubes with the decayed human host tapping it every so often.

Steven knocked his hand away from the glowing tube. "But I thought this place has been abandoned for over a decade? Why would the signal turn on now?"

"Could it be a defect?" Michael asked searching for an explanation. They spoke amongst themselves for a while longer.

"I can't hear them." She huffed and strained her neck to get a better look. Happy bobbed up and down on her shoulder. Their appendages dug into her skin and she winced. They released her immediately and scampered in the rafters.

"What are you doing?" She watched as they began to climb down the walls and Zippy made an attempt to grab them. "Stop!"

Mikki groaned watching as the miniature drone scampered down to the floor. She held her breath, worried for Happy's safety. She saw the exact moment the humans noticed something was in the room with them.

"What the fuck is that!" The yell only furthered to startle Happy and the drone squealed and nearly ran into the Commander.

"Holy shit, it's an alien!"

"No it's a xenomorph!"

"No wonder this place was restricted."

"Quick kill it, there might be more!"

"We need to capture it and bring it with us!"

The panicked humans argued and poor Happy grew scared. Mikki turned from fear to anger when the first human holstered a blaster and took aim. The first shot missed, but only narrowly. Her lips pulled back in a dangerous snarl displaying her teeth. Mikki pulled her face mask made of strong hide down and gripped her sphere in one hand. Her other hand clutched the dagger at her waist and she flipped it twice before taking aim, in warning, to the human that took its aim at Happy.

The dagger flew true and clipped Jose in the arm sending his aim off. The blast hit a nearby wall and reverberated in the room. Mikki jumped down in front of the small drone protectively. She crouched in front of them in defense and a warning snarl escaped her throat. Happy shuddered and hid at her side. She pressed into the drone knowing her presence and touch would serve as a form of comfort.

When the smoke and commotion cleared, the humans were armed. Mikki gripped her weapon anxiously, but Zippy's new location behind the unsuspecting humans made her feel more secure. She was not completely alone. In fact, Happy was now on her shoulder snarling in clear warning.

She must have looked a sight, an obvious human under armor made from xenomorph hide and holding a sphere formed from their body.

"Don't," she warned Zippy whom was poised to attack.

"No one move," Michael ordered.

"What the fuck is it?"

Mikki watched under her mask as the one named Stiles regarded her with fascination.

"Who are you?" Michael asked stonily. Mikki gripped her spear as Zippy continued to watch, waiting for the moment when Mikki was truly in need.

"Don't hurt." The human words came out in a harsh growl from lack of use.

"Don't hurt?" Darren repeated in clear astonishment. "That thing attacked us and you have a weapon pointed directly at us. And you want us to back down?" He snorted and Mikki decided that he was one of her least favorite amongst this group of humans. "Not likely. Now who the hell are you?"

"Who are you?" She countered only to anger the man further.

His body tensed and he looked like he wanted to spring and attack her. Mikki's legs prepared for an attack until the Commander ordered them to be quiet.

"Let's all just calm down, shall we?"

Mikki watched as he slowly lowered his weapon and held up one of his hands. She raised an eyebrow beneath her mask.

Deciding it best to play their game for now, she slowly raised her spear and stood out of her crouch.

"Now, who are you?" he began to ask as the other's lowered their weapons a fraction. "Are you the one that sent the distress signal?"

Mikki nodded slowly and some of their muscles seemed to relax.

"Can you tell us your name? How long have you been here for?"

"A long time," she responded shortly.

"You've got a rodent problem," Darren said through clenched teeth and raised his weapon again. It was trained at her shoulder, at Happy.

Just then, Happy decided to get protective and the sound coming from his throat was not a warning, it was a threat preluding to a violent attack. Happy was about to jump from her shoulder but Zippy chose that moment to intervene and jump down from their hiding spot in a fierce roar of their own.

As a unit, the humans turned their weapons on the newest threat. It was fascinating seeing Zippy in full out terror mode, fiercely protecting Mikki. She felt honored for a brief moment before the reality set in as she saw a bullet imbed itself into Zippy with a sickening thud. Mikki ignored the human's curses and attacked at their unprotected flanks. She disarmed them violently.

She was knocked down hard. The blow jarred her mask and she clenched her teeth in anger. These humans were too impulsive and would not listen. She tried to yell, or catch their attention, but they were shooting their weapons. In desperation, she reached to the one known as Stiles and caught him off guard. Mikki swept his feet from under him, grabbed his collar and flipped him. She pressed the pointed end of her spear into his neck in clear warning not to move.

"STOP! I WILL KILL HIM!" She yelled savagely. A few more shots fired before they noticed her and Zippy moved to her side. Happy hissed from somewhere until they scuttled along and climbed up her leg to place themselves back on her shoulder, a much more intimidating perch to show aggression from.

The others began to point their weapons, realizing that she was holding Stiles hostage and Zippy was hissing angrily at her side instead of full out attacking them. They obviously knew very little about xenomorphs or else they would have continued shooting and killed them all regardless of her being human.

She removed her foot from Stiles' chest. He gasped as she took hold of his collar and hoisted him up to her side with a grunt. He hung uselessly before he tensed once more when her spear drew a small trickle of blood at his throat. The other humans continued as they were-staring at her like a threat that needed to be eliminated. The cold glares reminded her of how long it had been since she had last seen a human.

Not since Katie had left her. She struggled to keep her gaze ahead and not inch closer to Zippy.

"Let's all just calm down eh?" Michael's words were without inflection as he stared at her over the barrel of is blaster.

"I am calm," she responded while her grip tightened around Stiles. "You shot first."

"That thing attacked us!" Darren exclaimed.

Mikki turned her gaze to the human soldier noting the scratches marring his face. He was bruised and bloody, and looked like he had been in a fight, but for all purposes he was relatively unharmed. Mikki smiled under her mask, pleased by Zippy's restraint. Brave Protector would be proud. She winced, recalling how angry he would be with her taking such unnecessary risks.

"You threatened a xenomorph," the snort and stupidity was clear in her tone. "Very bad idea. You are lucky to be alive."

They stilled and looked at Zippy with new eyes. So they had heard of xenomorph's.

"Why are we still alive?" Ako's question was more of a curious statement. His eyes were intelligent, and assessing.

"I sent the signal. It would be rather stupid of me to kill the people that responded, wouldn't it?"

"What are you?" The question from the blonde technician, Claudia, surprised her.

Mikki shifted until Stiles was facing her. Humans were very skittish, no wonder they were so easily killed.

"Take off my mask." Mikki ordered the man with a small emphasis with her spear at his throat.

Stiles swallowed heavily and nodded as his eyes glanced to his comrades and back to her. There was a moment where he saw the hesitation and fear before over coming it and he pushed it up so that it moved over her dark hair and further until he held it in his hands.

His hazel brown eyes took in her features. No doubt, seeing the small scars adjoining her face and throat, the pale skin from her life in the hive, and her braided hair. Their eyes met and she felt him still under her gaze. He had a nice face, for a human. It was soft and young looking, but she suspected he was older than he appeared.

He licked his lips and Mikki was drawn to the motion. The moisture glistened and she found herself leaning towards him out of curiosity. Stiles was just as captivated. His hand trailed the soft tendrils of her hair before she realized what he was doing. Zippy, growled and snapped at him, and Stiles came out of his haze and would have jumped back and toppled onto his ass if not for Mikki's secure hold.

Mikki smirked and raised her chin.

"I'm human, like you." She responded to the earlier question and turning to look at them.

They seemed confused as they regarded each other.

"That," Jose gestured with his firearm to Zippy and Happy, "is clearly not human."

"No," Mikki began slowly as if she were speaking to a small child. She could feel Stiles' reluctant amusement from her side. "But, they are very protective of me, and I of them," she added to make the point clear. "You shed their blood, you shed mine."

"Well, they clearly aren't your typical pets."

She sneered at the term. "They are not pets."

"Are there more?" Michael re-directed the conversation.

"Yes," she revealed without hesitation. They were bound to find out.

"You want to tell us how you've survived for so long by yourself?"

The questions kept coming, and she knew they were not going to get any further until more things were answered, but this was getting tiresome.

"I was not always on my own, but I am now the last human. The xenomorph's as you call them, tolerate me. I was young when this place," she gestured with her free arm "was lost to them. I was too young to breed at the time." Their facial expression were mixed with her last statement.

"You've had sixteen years to call for help." Danielle logically stated.

"That's a good point," Michael backed her up with a shrug waiting on Mikki's answer.

"I have been with them for a long time, since I was four in human years. You learn to trust what you know when you are young. If there was any hope for others to come I wanted to take it. It was time for me to be with my own kind," she paused and shuffled her feet a little unsure of her next words. "I don't want them to tire of me like they did the others."

They jumped at her words and most of their demeanor changed.

"You must have been lonely," Stiles whispered at her side. He was no longer tense and her grip on his person was loose. He could have easily escaped at this point. She nodded solemnly at him. He was soft, this human, and looking for companionship.

"Doesn't make sense," Darren refused to lower his weapon still. "Those don't make sense," he nodded to the xenomorph's at her side.

Mikki attempted a disarming smile and apologized to both of her companions telepathically.

"Not all xenomorph's are treated well within the hive." She whistled shrilly and both Happy and Zippy submitted under her command. "All drones must obey the Queen," she patted Zippy when they pushed their head into her hand. "However, some drones, like humans, are made, wrong, and do not have a secure place in the hive."

"And they have that place with you?" Michael's eyes were calculating and he was obviously a protective and honorable man. Many of the other's that had died had been honorable, by their pathetic human standards.

"Yes, we needed each other." Mikki sighed and released Stiles. It was a risky play, but it needed to be done. To her surprise he stayed close by, not fully moving back to his compatriots. She was unsure what that meant other than he must have been trying to protect her in some way by keeping himself still within reach and in the line of fire.

"They will not hurt you, unless you pose a threat. Are you here to hurt me? To hurt them?"

"This was a rescue mission on the way to a job, nothing more. We have to report what we find, but we have no authority otherwise." Mikki read between the lines. They also had no clue what to do and what they were up against. "But, we are here to rescue humans only."

Mikki nodded understanding his words. "Of course."

"We don't have a lot of time, and if you're the only one-"

"I am," she assured.

He nodded. "Good. Get these things out of my site and we'll talk."

Mikki held back the grin and sardonic reply forming on her lips before dismissing both of the xenomorph's. She felt more secure that these humans would not do her irreparable harm.

"Tell Brave Protector what has happened. Tell the Queen. Do not allow them to make any hasty judgments. We need time. I will give it to us."

Both xenomorph's obeyed and left the room but not before they had snapped warningly at the humans. Mikki's lips twitched in good humor.

As soon as the xenomorph's left Darren and Steven jumped her. Mikki snarled and fought back until her wrists were secured. She kicked out with her legs and sent a betrayed look to them, especially at Stiles who was hanging back with a pale ill looking expression. Her face was shoved down on the smooth cold metal floor. Her nostrils flared angrily. She had expected his, but it still hurt and irritated her.

Michael's boots came into her view and she turned her head doing her best to look up and glare at him with everything she had.

"Now don't get mad, we have to be careful you understand." She was lifted onto her feet and dragged back to their ship.