The cloister bell rang.
All TARDISes had one, including the ones Aznavorian designed himself: his Type-X model and Neas’s Type-Z – the latter of which his sixth incarnation (“Rania”) traveled the multiverse in with Neas’s tenth regeneration and their friend, Al-Lee Kirsch.
Neas was in the console room when Rania and Al-Lee heard the cloister bell, drawn away from their individual activities elsewhere in the ship. When they got there, they found Neas working excitedly at the controls, his back facing them while his hoodie was up.
But Rania noticed something off about him…
His figure was much different – slimmer and more feminine.
And his jeans looked a little skinnier than usual. I can actually see an outline of a booty beneath all that fabric, Rania mentally examined.
“What’s the emergency?” she heard Al-Lee ask their pilot.
“Dimensional turbulence – I got it under control.” The voice was definitely not the semi-baritone that Rania and Al-Lee were used to hearing. It was that of a middle-aged woman with a slight southern drawl. Her slim body went rigid in reaction to the familiar voice she heard. Turning around, she allowed Al-Lee and Rania to get a good look at her face. She was a fortysomething blonde with long hair and bright blue eyes framed behind a pair of eyeglasses. Rania recalled Neas wearing a similar pair once during their Pacific Rim adventure – video specs. This blond woman also wore his signature black hoodie, though her shirt – while still purple – was more of a sweater.
“Pop? Al-Lee?!” she smiled, overjoyed to see the pair. “Oh, man! Is it so good to see ya’ll again! It’s been quite a few centuries!”
“Who’re you?” Al-Lee asked her.
“It’s me – Neas…but I go by ‘Kara’ in this body,” the blonde said.
“But where’s our Neas?” Rania inquired.
It was a mystery to even Kara herself. “Not so sure.” She was quick to wave it off afterwards. “Oh, well…just another one of the infinite DC’s greatest mysteries.”
“Well, can we solve the mystery of the still-ringing cloister bell?” Al-Lee indicated the sound that continued to reverberate throughout the TARDIS during their exchange.
“Working on it,” Kara acknowledged, returning her attention to the controls.
She performed an emergency dematerialization, which subsequently stopped the ringing of the cloister bell. The three women then ventured out of the bright, refreshing interior of the Type-Z and into a dark, damp atmosphere. “Uh, sweetheart?” Rania uncomfortably addressed Kara. “I don’t mean any disrespect but…what hellhole have you brought us to? It looks like something from a World War II submarine.”
“Pretty far from it, Pop,” Kara uttered, looking out through a porthole window and seeing a cluster of stars. “We’re in space…which can only mean what we’re standing in is a star freighter of some kind.”
Upon the nearest wall, Rania spotted a bronzed plaque that registered the name of the freighter: “USCSS Nostromo.”
Kara pondered on the name. “Doesn’t ring any bells.”
They heard rapid footsteps approaching their location. It was too late to hide by the moment they reached them. They saw it to be a group of humans – two men and two women – dressed like roughnecks and led by a young bearded gentleman with shaggy black hair. He was the one who asked as soon as he saw them, “Who the hell are you people?”
Kara noticed they were armed with an assortment of weapons, including electric prods, a net, and some sort of tracking device. Undoubtedly, they were the crew of the Nostromo. “We’re…stowaways,” she figured it wouldn’t hurt to be honest for once in their journeys.
“Stowaways?” uttered one of the two women – the shorter of the two with short cropped hair. “From where?”
“They could’ve snuck aboard while we landed on LV-426,” presumed the other woman, who spoke with a more commanding tone, standing much taller and with long, dark curly hair.
The bearded leader shook his head in denial of her claim. “Impossible, Ripley. The moon’s terrain didn’t look habitable when we were there.”
“Why we standin’ here worryin’ ’bout these two when that thing is runnin’ around loose on our ship?!” roared the other man – a big, intimidating African-American wearing a blue headband.
“Parker’s right,” the bearded leader said. “Let’s shelve this stowaway issue for a later time. Our priority right now is finding the creature that killed Kane.”
“You guys have some sort of pest problem?” Rania jested.
None of the Nostromo crew was all too amused with her joke. The one named Parker advanced on her, making her feel even smaller from his substantial height and husky build. “You picked a helluva time bringin’ your ass aboard our ship. Yeah, we gotta pest problem – an alien that busted out of one of our crewmen…busted right out of his chest, killing him right in front of all of us.”
Rania got a clear visual of the incident in her frame of mind, and it sickened her.
Suddenly, a bloodcurdling scream echoed throughout the ship.
“That sounded like Brett!” Ripley cried. “He went to look for that damn cat!”
In this moment, Kara and Rania looked among them and realized that they were missing one tall, muscular member of their party. “Where’s Al-Lee?!”
Al-Lee broke from the group as soon as they stepped out of the Type-Z. She knew it wasn’t ideal, but she always was so curious whenever she, Rania, and Neas (when he was there) arrived in a new realm. Whatever facility this was that Kara brought them to was spacious. She felt like she had wandered endlessly for hours.
Only the spine-chilling scream that resonated through the corridors stopped Al-Lee dead in her tracks. She didn’t know where it came from and couldn’t imagine it to come from Kara or Rania, as it was a man’s scream.
The only thing that mattered to her was returning to her friends and the TARDIS.
That was a lot easier said than done. After all the endless wandering, Al-Lee realized that she had lost her sense of direction within the boundless facility. Panicked, she resorted to shouting out for her cohorts: “Kara! Rania!” There was no response, except for her own voice echoing over the empty damp corridors…and a series of clicks and growls that emitted behind her.
Turning ever so slowly and cautiously, she stiffened in terror.
Standing there in front of her was something bigger and broader than her – a bipedal humanoid with dreadlock-like appendages, reptilian skin, and a mask that obscured its face.
From that mask projected a red targeting laser aimed straight at Al-Lee’s head.
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