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"Kudos to Predator428 for developing this story, Good job!"
::When the newly founded Weyland-Yutani Corporation had announced the next advancement in space travel back in 2119, the world was ecstatic. The human race had finally come to a state where it could leave its solar system and explore the universe beyond. Untold numbers of new worlds and alien species were just waiting to be discovered, and it was humanityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s duty to explore each and every inch of the vast new ground laid before them. What they didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mention was how tedious the process would be.
Technician Laurence Wessinger opened his tech station and began to run through a system check. Just another glorious day in the WY Interstellar Military Mapping and Research Division. The computer quickly finished its start up sequence and awaited LaurenceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s command. He began to enter the preplanned coordinates, giving the device the directions as to where to launch their supply of probes this day. He didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even think as he ran through the process. Laurence had been working on Research Station KC-118, or the Arizona, for exactly seven months, twenty-six days and forty-two minutes, according to his watch.
The Arizona was just one of thousands of research stations; all scattered throughout space by the WY Corp. Each station held a supply of five autonomous exploration drones, and a crew of four to run the apartment sized Ã¢â‚¬Å“vesselÃ¢â‚¬Â. The purpose of these stations was to drift through space, running scans on new nebulas, stars, planets, spatial anomalies, anything. Each one of the crewman had been specially selected from the day they had left school. Every man and woman had excelled in computers, aeronautics, and mathematics. All just a waste of time, any idiot could do his job just as good as he did. His only purpose was to send the launch coordinates to the probes and log all the new data sent back to the station. Laurence opened the log and began to fill in the new reports being sent back to the drones.
\Incoming Data From Probes 1-5
\THREE STARS DETECTED. COORDINATES: LA3503LW908. LA3796LW648. LA5798LW576.
\MINERAL MASS: IRON, NICKEL, FROZEN LIQUID. COORDINATES: LA5783LW223
\PLANETOID. SIZE: 3224 KM IN DIAMETER. COORDINATES: LA0897LW243
It was all standard stuff; Laurence simply added the data without a second thought. He then turned his attention to the probe control station to begin their recall back to the station. The probes had a very limited fuel supply and needed to be recalled after each scanning, a feature that seemed to exist only to annoy Laurence. He was about to shut off the data receiver when a new message appeared on the console.
\Incoming Data From Probe 3
FOREIGN MASS DETECTED. ARTIFICIAL. UNKNOWN MATERIALS. COORDINATES: LA0921LW284.
Laurence stared in confusion at the data; he had never had a report of something the data files couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t identify. Laurence tapped the command board and ordered a more thorough scan of the object.
POWER SOURCE DETECTED: UNKNOWN TYPE. NON -NUCLEAR.
This thing was something with a power source? A marine ship perhaps? Laurence new that there were no civilian or commercial vessels in this sector of space. The only explanation he could think of was some sort of deep space USCM operation. Laurence brought the probeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s visual camera on and sent the video feed to his station console. What appeared on the screen amazed him.
It was a ship alright, but not like any he had ever seen. For one thing, it was massive. It had to be at least a third the size of the planetoid detected earlier, a ship of mind boggling construction. How could a vessel this big even be built by the military? As Laurence began to examine the design of the vessel, he began to doubt that it was even made by anything human. The ship had an oddly constructed hull, the basic shape could only be described as some sort of predatory animal. It was nothing like the Conestoga class ships commonly used by the USCM. The plating was constructed of some sort of dark, solid material. Not a single running light or viewport could be seen shinning from it. It was simply a sleek and dark construct, floating aimlessly through space. Something about the vessel unnerved Laurence. This ship gave off a kind of presence, like it was aware that Laurence was watching it. It was almost like starring a wolf right in the face. A wolf that new it could kill you any second it chose. Laurence physically shook his head to rid himself of the feeling and drew his attention back to the scanning data. He needed to see what else he could find about this thing.
As far as the computer could tell, the whole ship seemed to be powered down. The only thing active was the main power supply. The hull was fully pressurized, artificial gravity set slightly above 1 G. The ship was filled with the same atmosphere as Earth, with a few variances in methane and nitrogen. He couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see any holes, fires, or leaking fluids. What ever it was seemed to be in perfect condition. Laurence booted up the com system and sent a simple greeting to the ship. He waited a few minutes as the computer attempted to establish a connecting with vessel.
RECIEVER IS NOT RESPONDING. DATA SHOWS NO ACTIVITY FROM VESSEL SYSTEMS IN THE LAST EIGHTY-THREE DAYS.
Laurence was puzzled by the message. The ship had apparently been offline for almost three months. The only conclusion he could come to was that the crew had abandoned the ship at that time. Or had been killed. But how likely was that? The ship was shown to be fully functional, no indication of any foreign attack or damage. It was a ghost ship, Laurence realized; a vessel built like no other he had seen before. This was certainly something that WY would be interested in.
Laurence started a download of the visual footage and scanning data, packing all the material into a message to be sent straight to the Corp office. As the report was completed, Laurence established a connection with the head WY office and sent the report. As response was soon sent back to his console, addressed directly from WY Command.
EXECUTE PRECODE: BETA3-5982949
AUTHORIZATION CODE: 6557648JGI3G9D9
-PURGE ALL STATION DATA RECORED WITHING THE LAST ONE HUNDRED DAYS. UNDER PRECODE: ALPHA5-69472W, YOU ARE NOT TO REPORT THIS TO ANYONE ELSE. YOU ARE UNDER AN ORDER OF COMPLETE SILENCE IN THIS MATTER TECHNICIAN LAURNCE WESSINGER. SEND STATION KC-118 TO NEW COORDIANTES: LA99807LW576. FAILURE TO COMPLY WILL INITIATE TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT AND FULL LEGAL PUNISHMENT.
LaurenceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s blood turned cold as he read the message. He quickly punched in the precode and authorization number, activating the complete purge of the station data. Transmissions such as this were something that you followed no matter what. Laurence had stumbled onto something big here; something that the company was obviously very interested in. He knew that this was certainly not something he should get involved with.
As the last of the computer data was destroyed by its self-initiated virus, the image of the vessel finally disappeared from his computer screen. His fear didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t disappear with it though. One thought still sat in the back of his mind, keeping him unsettled. What could have turned a monster like that into a ghostship?
Two weeks later
A pair of objects cut through space at an incredible speed, soundless bullets cutting through the void. They were vessel, their design not unlike the one discovered by the Arizona research station. The ships had the same predatory shape, one that gave off a murderous presence to any creature that saw it approach. Dark, angular hull structures that were built for speed as well as intimidation. However, these ships were smaller. Their purpose was merely as ferries for the beings inside. They were not the kind of vessels designed for prolonged voyages, very much unlike their larger cousin. The larger ship had been made as a mobile city, a place where entire families of its creators could travel across all reaches of space. This ship was the two smaller craftÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s destination.
This ship was of a matter of great importance to the beings aboard the two vessels. It was a matter of honor. For these beings, honor was a life code for each and every individual. Honor through strength, honor through commitment, and honor through the hunt. They were a race of hunters, beings that had collected the heads of a thousand species, and were always looking for more game. A favorite prey of these creatures were the humans. Centuries of hunting on Earth had influenced the culture greatly; the beings were part of legend and myth to the humans. They had been called many things, demons, hunters, gods. But one word described their race perfectly, Predator.
The two vessels were commanded under different clans, but both united as brothers. One of the ships was under the control of the legendary clan HunterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Moon, the other lead by the fierce and deadly Balatu. Both groups of these hunters new what needed to be done, the deed was something the two could not ignore. One of the migratory clanships, a home for dozens of entire clans, had dropped out of existence. The Homeland had lost contact with the craft many months ago, for unknown reasons. This did not immediately call any attention; the clanships were expected to have freedom from the High Council. That is what the clanships enjoyed, freedom to go on their own hunts, without constant care from their home. The Council knew something was wrong when the ship failed to rendezvous with a ritual priest for the xenomorph blooding ritual. The ship had recently acquired an alien queen and was eager to test the unblooded against her children. When the clanship failed to pick up the priest, a search was started to discover its location.
It was months before any sign of the ship was found. The clanship had seemed to simply disappeared from existence. The ship was finally found by a small scout ship exactly five days ago. The mystery only continued to deepen from there. The scout sent a report back to the Council that they had found the ship, but it was not responding to any hailing signals. After a report of its coordinates, the scout informed them that they had docked with the vessel and had found no one to greet them. All communication had ceased after that. The Council feared the worst. There could be any explanation for the halt of communication, a downed transmitter, some sort of spatial interference, but the yautja were not a very optimistic race. The ship was assumed the victim of some sort of disaster, an ion storm, an attack by another species, a collision with a rogue asteroid, but the Council had to be sure.
And so the two ships were sent, to find out what had happened to the clanship and to bring it back to the Homeland. Each and every hunter onboard had volunteered to go after the ship. Each one aboard the clanship had been family to them; yautja from both clans had been on the ship when it went missing. The hunters were ready to aid their lost comrades, and destroy any who would threaten them.
As the pair of ships began to reach docking range with the behemoth, the sleeping hunters began to awaken from their stasisÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Unbeknownst to the approaching Predators, a different vessel was approaching the clanship from the other side. A ship designated the USCM Constantine. This medium sized vessel had been dispatched from Gateway exactly thirteen days and fourteen hours after the ArizonaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s accidental discovery of the seemingly abandoned clanship. The Weyland-Yutani Head Office new that this was an opportunity they could not ignore. A treasure trove of new technologies and data was just waiting for them to take, and the only obstacle was a few possible survivors of whatever had plagued the vessel. The WY office new that this needed to be handled effectively and discreetly. A military division was needed that could handle any of the Predators still aboard, and one that had undertaken private missions for them before. So the Alpha Draconis had been commissioned.
The elite AD division had faced the Predators before, they new how to handle them. But these soldiers were overkill anyway, if the ArizonaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s report proved to be accurate. However, the Weyland-Yutani company hadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t reached this level of influence by taking chances. For this case, overkill was a necessity. The soldiers aboard the Constantine had been given a brief overview of the mission. They were to board the vessel, eliminate any survivors onboard, and secure the ship for transport back to Earth for study. A relatively simple objective, but the Predators always managed to complicate things.
As the military vessel reached a medium distance from the clanship, her engines powered down as retro thrusters brought her to a complete stop. The Constantine was not equipped for a directly forced docking procedure. Instead, the marines would use much smaller ships, fitted with hostile boarding gear, to take the vessel. The humans inside were preparing for launch as the ship got to final range for the capture. Not a single one realizing what awaited both the Predators and soldiers inside the beastÃ¢â‚¬Â¦