There’s a new ALIENverse book making the rounds, ‘an official true to ALIEN canon,’ and the folks over at Titan sent over a sample of what’s in store. This started hitting shelves last week and should now be available in bookstores or HERE.
ALIEN: SEA OF SORROWS is described thusly:
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.
Here's a sense of the novel. The italicized words evidently denote the Xenomorph perspective - a daring conceit to be sure, although not one I’m terribly fond of…
Decker screamed as the platform pressed down on him, the weight driving him lower into the soft sands.
Fear was part of it, because the possibility of being crushed under the machinery was terrifying, but the real problem was the unexpected pain. Something below the ground—it had to be one of the damned tubes—punched into his leg, and when the weight dropped he felt an agonizing stab.
Immediately he felt a hot stream of wetness running down into his boot. But he hadn’t pissed himself.
I’m bleeding. As the rest of the crew shouted his name, he forced himself to stay calm. Panic wouldn’t help at all. It might even make a bad situation fatal. “Badejo, I need you to get to the other side of the platform,” he said, “and find a way to anchor this thing. It’s going to crush me otherwise.”
Badejo didn’t waste time. He nodded and ran, calling to a couple of others at the same time. They all knew what was at stake. Fully loaded, the platform weighed close to a thousand pounds. If it shifted any more, he’d be lucky if all it did was sever his leg. More likely, it was going to crush him.
He needed the damn thing stabilized.
Bronson sprinted toward the main camp and the medics, his anger forgotten. Rand settled next to Decker.
“Talk to me,” he said. “What’s going on down there?”
“I’m bleeding,” he said. “It’s bad.” Decker winced. He forced a few more deep breaths. “You want to tell me to mind my own business again?”
“Not this time.” The man shook his head and looked down at him. “Should I try to pull?”
“No!” The thought sent shivers through him. “No. I’m caught good. I think if I shift too much, it’s gonna tear something.”
“Right.” Luke blanched a bit at that. “No moving for you.” He looked around, and shouted. “Come on! Get the damn thing anchored!”
Badejo and someone else called out, but Decker couldn’t hear the words over the rushing in his ears. He couldn’t feel the ground under his boot, either. He couldn’t feel any pressure at all where his foot should be resting, which either meant he was treading air, or his leg had gone numb. He didn’t like either idea very much. Without a foundation to support his weight, he was in a worse situation than he’d imagined. If the silicon tubing broke any further, the entire platform might fall in his direction and crush him.
On the other hand, if his foot had gone numb, it could either mean permanent nerve damage or—worse—that his leg already had been severed.
No, he didn’t think so. While he couldn’t feel anything under it, his leg hurt too damned much to be gone. It was the first time he’d ever appreciated pain.
The platform groaned and shook above him, and the core sampler shuddered, wagging more than industrial equipment was supposed to.
“Shit,” he said, his voice rasping. “This is a damn stupid way to die, Luke.”
“You’re not dying. You owe me too much money.” Rand stood up and looked at the far end of the platform. “They’re working on getting this thing secured.”
You lose a few bets at poker, and a man never lets you forget.
The platform above him wobbled again, but this time it actually moved away from him. Decker let out his breath in a long whoosh, hoping for the best. There was still a rushing in his ears, but it had lessened. Then he saw movement off to his left.
Markowitz and Herschel were coming his way. Markowitz was carrying a med-pac, and had a worried look on her face. She almost always did. Herschel was as calm as ever. The man was decidedly cold, but in Decker’s experience that seemed to come with being a medic.
Herschel pointed to Rand.
“You think you can lift him when I ask?”
Rand nodded and dropped to his knees. Herschel called out to Badejo,
“You secure over there?”
“Yah!” came the reply. “You know it!”
Badejo sounds like he’s lying. Probably that was Decker’s stress talking, but maybe not. They all seemed pretty damned nervous, and he figured it was because he was looking a little like death. He could see his hands, and they were paler than they had been—sort of a gray-white. Just how much blood have I lost? He couldn’t tell, but his head felt fuzzy in all the wrong ways.
More than just his leg, he felt as if his entire body was floating.
“Think I might be going into shock here, guys.” His voice sounded tinny.
Markowitz nodded her head and started fishing around in the med-pac. Herschel dropped next to Rand and loomed, his face inches from Decker’s. It would have been a lot more enjoyable to look at Markowitz that close up, but beggars couldn’t afford to get all choosy when they were dying.
Nervous energy came off Herschel in waves, but his face was calm as he lied.
“You’re just fine, Decker,” he said. “Quit whining. We’ve got you.”
Decker nodded his head. He couldn’t speak any more.
The air was stale, dead. Not that they cared in the darkness. For they had been sleeping, though from time to time one or two would awaken long enough to investigate their surroundings before descending back into slumber.
Sleep required less fuel. It left them weak, but alive. That was what mattered. Life. Life for the colony.
Frequently there were vibrations above them. The scouts ventured forth, and saw the storms that ripped at the environment on the surface, constantly hammered the world into new shapes. That violence was one of the reasons they slept.
What the scouts knew, they all knew.
They had created the nest to let them know when the time was right. When new sources of food and life had appeared.
Suddenly the stale air gave way to fresh. Just a hint, and it still was not enough to wake them. It was what followed that made the difference.
The odor of blood arrived, redolent with promise. Still, that trace of bloodscent might not have been enough to rouse them from their hibernation. No, there was something more. The streamer of silicon that brought them air and the scent of blood also brought with it something they could not have resisted under any circumstances—the spoor of the enemy.
In the hidden chambers and passages they had created over decades of slow activity, the stench rippled through their consciousness, drove home the need to awaken, and to defend themselves.
They moved, and in moving they became aware.
And as they became aware they felt the presence.
Their hatred bloomed.
Had the fire of their rage possessed heat, they would have burned away the entire world.
Decker watched Herschel’s deft hands cutting away his pants to reveal the bloody, gaping wound in his upper thigh. There was a flash of irrational dread as he thought of Markowitz seeing him this way. There was nothing less attractive than a man made completely vulnerable, and at the moment Decker was exposed in more ways than one.
But there was nothing he could do about it. Markowitz moved her hands over the wound, quickly numbing his flesh with a topical and then with three fast injections. His skin felt cold, and then it felt nothing. That was for the best. He could feel their worry as they looked at his ruined leg. However bad he imagined it, the medics seemed to agree.
Still, the two of them worked fast and with the sort of efficiency that came from long association. They called to each other with words and gestures, and each time their hands came into view the blood that covered their gloves seemed more plentiful.
Rand was there, too, whispering bullshit, telling Decker he was going to be just fine and that everything was going “good as gravy”—whatever the hell that meant—but Decker could feel the lie of it.
Gradually, however, he felt the shift in their emotions. Whatever they were doing as he stared at the sky, they were relaxing. That has to be a good thing, right? Maybe it was a sign that they were somehow managing to repair the damage. He hoped so. There was no pain, but the sensation that he was floating hadn’t gone away. He licked his lips. His tongue felt as if it was glued to his teeth and the roof of his mouth.
His head slipped to the left and his field of vision changed. Instead of the sky he was looking directly at Markowitz. Her hands reached for him, her body leaned half over him affording a lovely view of her cleavage. But her sleeves were red halfway to her elbows, and there was a disconcerting mountain of bloodied gauze next to her. The expression on her face was more serious than he’d ever seen before.
“Got it. Finally!” Herschel’s voice sounded excited—and incredibly distant. The man was right there. Decker knew it for a fact, but he could have been talking from the Rutledge Township limits, a hundred miles away.
“Thank God,” an equally distant Rand intoned.
Markowitz said nothing, but she exhaled to a very dramatic effect. He sort of wanted to make a salacious comment—they had that sort of relationship—but he couldn’t make his mouth work, and couldn’t think of anything even halfway clever.
She leaned back then, and looked down at him, her dark brown eyes softening. Her relief was immense and he felt a rush of affection coming from her. Not love for him, and definitely not lust, just affection. Too bad, really. She smiled and said something he couldn’t quite make out.
He liked the way her lips moved.
He relaxed and felt himself fading into darkness. Sometimes, just now and then, it was good to relax and drift.
The hatred hit him like a tidal wave.
The vile thing that burned and killed and took. It was all that was wrong in their world, distilled and personified. It was death.
The face was soft, as pale and weak as the faces of the new hosts, the new living things that had been sacrificed in order to give life to the hive.
Still, this one was different. This one was marked.
What the hell? Decker’s head jerked, and he shuddered. Something was happening and whatever it was sounded like an explosion somewhere deep in his mind. He felt it, saw it, tasted it, but not with his senses.
He felt the roaring coming his way, a wave of sensations that simply did not connect, did not fit within his ability to understand. Except for one message that came to him very clearly.
This one has to die.
There was an overwhelming sense of malevolence. It was worse than drowning, because he couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move, couldn’t let anyone know what was going on. He could only feel that nest of serpents writhing into his brain, a swarm of loathing mixed with fear and… something else.
It felt oily in his mind and left an aftertaste in his soul. The hatred pulled at him, sought to crush him. He shuddered and tried to scream but nothing happened. His body remained frozen. His eyes moved beneath eyelids that he couldn’t open. There was a ringing in his ears, as clear as a finger running along the rim of a crystal wineglass, that drowned out everything but the garbled sound of Markowitz crying out in alarm.
And still that hatred pushed at him, struck him like lightning carving its way through his mind, his body.
Decker tried to speak, but his teeth clenched.
He tried again to breathe, to get a decent gulp of air, but nothing happened. He could neither inhale nor exhale, and instead his chest shuddered and hitched.
His feet pushed and the pain in his leg—distant now as a rumble of thunder coming from the far end of a valley—roared back into life. There were noises again, sounds of alarm, and he felt hands grabbing his leg in a world so far removed that he could only feel the pressure, and not the source of it.
His hands gripped at the sand, clawed for purchase in a desperate attempt to find a way to drag himself from the vast, growing pit of rage that tore everything else away and swallowed it whole. Had there ever been a hatred as strong? Not that he knew of. Not that he could imagine.
Decker tried again to scream and instead his body heaved, thrown into a seizure that arched his back and rolled his eyes into his head. His jaw loosened, then locked down again, teeth biting into his tongue, bleeding hot red into his mouth to gag him with his wretched fear.
Words were not possible, but he let out a low moan through bloodied lips. Muscles tensed to the point of tearing, and he flopped and writhed as the emotion boiled through his soul.
At last the darkness he’d been drifting toward crashed into him, eclipsed him and knocked him into a silence filled with nothing but more hatred—and a deep knowledge that something out there wanted him dead.