chapter seven. joining the fight
"I do take my responsibilities as seriously as you, you know. You do your job and let me do mine, yes?"
-Alien, 1979, Ash
In Kendall and Ripley's apartment there was silence. Kendall was seated on a counter in the kitchen, in a creamy-white tank top, and a pair of pink polka-dotted, satin pyjama shorts, that reached to three-fourths from her hip. Ripley, who was dressed in a white, cotton t-shirt, along with a pair of blue-greyish cotton pants, was seated at a table. Both of their cigarettes were half ash, and almost in scary synchronization, both sets of ash from their cigarettes fell simultaneously. Kendall looked over at her mother, who looked haggard, as she sat at the table in the dining alcove, as she contemplated the smoke that rose from her cigarette. The place was minimal, both of the beds were unmade, and there were dishes in the sink. Jones prowled across the counter, across Kendall's lap, and dropped to the floor.
In the corridor, Carter Burke and Lieutenant Gorman, Colonial Marine Corps. walked the narrow, corridor until they stopped in front of the Ripley's door. Burke pushed the buzzer on the door. Gorman looked young and severe in his officer's parade uniform.
Hearing the door, Kendall and Ripley both glanced at each other. Kendall sighed, as she grabbed a thin, white robe, and she pulled it over her tank top, and shorts, before she draped her bed-head hair over both shoulders, as she tried to neaten it. Ripley sighed, as she stood up, and she answered the door.
Back in the corridor, Burke and Gorman watched as the door opened halfway.
"Hi ya', Ripley. This is Lieutenant Gorman of the Colonial Marine Corp..."
Before Burke could finish, Ripley slammed the door in his face.
Clearly not giving up, Burke talked to the door.
"Ripley, Rae. We have to talk. We've lost contact with the colony on LV-426."
Inside of the apartment, Kendall snapped her head up, and she glanced at Ripley, her eyes wide. What had they done? There was a pause, then the door opened. Burke and Gorman stared at Ripley, before they looked past her, to Kendall, who looked furious at the both of them. Ripley considered the ramifications of that as she stared at them.
A short while later, inside of Ripley's, and Kendall's apartment, Ripley, and Kendall was poured coffee for the four off them. Kendall handed Gorman his cup, while Ripley handed Burke his own.
"I don't believe this. You guys throw us to the wolves...and now you want the both of us to go back out there? Forget it! It's not our problem."
Ripley questioned, disbelief in her voice.
"Can I finish?"
"No. There's no way."
Ripley cut him off, sharply.
"Ripley. Kendall. You wouldn't be going in with the troops. I can guarantee your safety."
Gorman said, as he tried to reason with the two of them.
"These Colonial Marines are very tough hombres, and they're packing state-of-the-art firepower. There's nothing they can't handle. Lieutenant, am I right?"
Burke added, as he tried to get the two of them to listen.
"That's true. We've been trained to deal with situations like this."
Gorman said, as he nodded in compliance to what Burke had stated.
"Bullshit. That's absolute bullshit. There is no way that you now how to deal with situations like this. You have no fucking idea about what you're dealing with. You may have state-of-the-art firepower, or whatever the hell you have, but you have no chance against these things. They feel nothing. They do not show emotions. They do not pity a damn soul. They will kill you the moment that you let your guard down. No matter what you bring, or how good their fighting skills may be, they will kill you."
Kendall said, as she slipped down from the counter, and she walked over to Gorman, her grey eyes narrowed into thin slits.
"Well, you don't need us...We're not soldiers."
Ripley said, as she took a small sip of her coffee.
"Yeah, but we don't know what's going on out there. It may be a down transmitter, okay. But, if it's not, I would like the two of you there...as a couple of advisers and that's all."
He seemed to be very keen on getting the two of them to go back to LV-426 with them.
"What's your interest in all this? Why are you going?"
Kendall asked, as she turned her attention away from Gorman, to Burke.
"Corporation co-financed that colony. Colonial Administration. We're getting into a lot of terraforming now. Building Better Worlds..."
Burke answered, almost too smoothly, and coolly.
"Yeah, yeah. We saw the commercial. Look, we don't have time for this. We've gotta go to work."
Ripley said, and Kendall nodded.
"Oh, right. I heard you guys were working the cargo docks."
Burke said, a slight amount of interest peaked in his voice.
Ripley said, as she nodded her head, slowly.
"Running loaders, forklifts, that sort of thing?"
"Yeah, so? Is that a problem for you?"
Kendall snapped, defensively.
"Nothing. I think it's great you guys are keeping busy, and I know it's all you guys could get. There's nothing wrong with it." Burke said, before he paused, before he started up again.
"What would you say if I said I could get you reinstated as flight officers. The companies already agreed to pick up your contract. To the both of you."
"If we go."
Both Ripley and Kendall asked together, this seemed to peak their interest slightly.
"Yeah, if you two go. Come on, that's a second chance, kiddos. I think, personally for you two, it would be the best thing in the world for you guys. To face this thing. Get back on the horse..."
"Spare us, Burke. We've had our psych evaluations this month."
Kendall snapped, as she stood beside her mother.
Burke stood up, and he leaned close. A let's-cut-the-crap intimacy.
"Yeah, I know. I've read it. You two wake up every night, your sheets soaking with sweat. Kendall crying, mumbling a name..."
Hearing that, Kendall felt her bottom lip tremble, slightly.
Had she been mumbling Dallas' name under her breath?
Ripley lost it completely.
"We said NO, and we mean it! Now, please leave. You are upsetting my daughter, so it would be easier if you left. We are not going back and we're...we wouldn't be any good to you if we did."
Ripley snapped, as she placed a protective hand on Kendall's shoulder.
Burke put his hands up to calm the two of them.
"Okay, shhhh. Would you do me a favor and just think about it?"
He asked, quietly, as he slipped a translucent card onto the table, before he nodded to Gorman, as they headed for the door.
"Thanks for the coffee."
Gorman said, and Kendall and Ripley stared at them as they left, before Ripley turned, and she went over to feed Jones.
Later on that night, in Ripley and Kendall's apartment, Ripley lunged up, with an animal outcry. She clutched her chest, breathing hard, and bathed in sweat. She swung her legs over the side of the bed and sat there, as she massaged her head with her hands.
Ripley entered the bathroom and went over to the sink, and she splashed water on her face. She glanced at the sink, and her eyes widened seeing a small trickle of blood trail down the side of the bowl of the sink. She was frightened, but when she followed the trace of the blood, she saw a dogtag. It had been Dallas'. It was one of the objects that Kendall seldom parted with. Hearing the faint sound of the shower, Ripley knew that her daughter was awake. Probably from nightmares. Sighing, Ripley stared at herself in the mirror. Still breathing hard, but gaining control.
After Kendall had gotten out of the shower, and changed, both survivors of the Nostromo sat in front of the phone console. Ripley's slightly shaking hand inserted Burke's card into a slot, and within a matter of seconds, Burke's face, bleary with sleep, appeared.
He asked, sleepily, before he realized who had called him.
He glanced over his shoulder, before back at the phone console.
"You two okay?"
"Just tell us one thing. You're going out there to destroy them, right? Not to study. Not to bring back. Just to wipe them out."
Ripley asked, quietly.
"That's the plan. You two have my word on it."
Both of them took a deep, slow breath. It was time to look the demon in the eye, and wipe them out.
"All right. We're in."
Kendall said, quietly, as she pulled the card out, before Burke had the opportunity to reply.
Before either of them could change their mind. Ripley turned to Jones who was curled up on Kendall's bed, where he had slept, before her nightmare had awoken the cat. A faint smile graced Ripley's lips, as her tone became admonished.
"And you, you little shithead, you're staying here."
Jones blinked, with cynical cat-eyes, as if to say, 'count me right out.'