chapter three. news about amy
"Here kitty, kitty, kitty. Meaow. Here Jonesy."
-Alien, 1979, Brett
The next day, sunlight streamed in shafts through a stand of popular, beyond which a verdant meadow was visible. Both Kendall and Ripley were seated on a bench, as they stared at the high-resolution environmental wall screen. It was some sort of Cinerama video loop. The 'park' was really an atrium off the medical center. Just as Ripley turned off the video, Burke entered in his casual mood, and casual haste.
"Hi. I'm sorry I'm late. I've been running behind all morning."
He said, apologetically.
Kendall could not help but to feel unsettled about his presence. There was just...something off about him. She did not know why, but she had not been wrong about someone before. She knew that Ash was a bit off, especially when he disobeyed a direct order from Ripley, but the last thing that she had expected was for him to try and shove a porn magazine down her mother's throat, or try to strangle her. She also did not expect him to be an android, or for him to try and save the organism that had killed slaughtered most of their crew.
"Is there any word about my daughter?"
Ripley asked, almost immediately.
"I really think we should worry about the hearing now. Because we don't have a lot of time. I read both of your depositions and it's great. If you two just stick to that, I think we'll be fine. The thing to remember is that there are going to be a lot of heavyweights in there. You've got Feds and Interstellar Commerce Commission, Colonial Administration, insurance company guys...."
Burke said, as he obviously avoided Ripley's question about Amanda.
"Do you have any news about my daughter? Please?"
Ripley asked, once more.
"Well, we did come up with some information. Why don't we sit down. I was hoping to wait until after the inquest."
Burke said, as he finally relented.
The trio sat down on the bench, and he opened his briefcase, and he removed a printed hard copy, which also included a telestat photo.
"Amanda Ripley-McClaren. Married name, I guess. Age: sixty-six...and that was at time of her death. Which was two years ago."
Burke said, slowly, before he turned to look at Ripley and Kendall, who both seemed absolutely crushed at the news.
"I'm real sorry."
Even though Kendall did not trust him, she knew that he really was sorry.
She heard her mother say, as they both studied the photograph, stunned.
At the face of a woman in her mid-sixties. It could be anybody. They tried to reconcile the face with the little girl they once knew.
"She was cremated and interred at Westlake Repository, Little Chute, Wisconsin. No children."
Kendall repeated, before there was a pause.
"We promised her we'd be home for her birthday. Her eleventh birthday."
She murmured, as she glanced at her mother.
Let's get one thing straight...Ellen and Kendall can be tough women. But the terror, the loss, the emptiness were, in this moment, overwhelming. Ellen, cried silently, as she hugged the photograph to her.