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Sins of the Father

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They’re in the coolant locker again, doing unnecessary “check-ups” in secret, because the Company doesn’t approve of relationships between employees. She’s fairly certain the tension in the air is clear to some of the others though - perhaps Ripley or Dallas? Brett and Parker are too busy working below decks to pay any real attention to what’s happening underneath their noses. Ash seems detached from the rest of the crew in his own disillusioned way; he probably considers himself too good to be travelling with the space-truckers and wasting months of his life on this milk run.

He kisses her in the dark, inhaling her warmth and that lovely scent of rust that’s always in the air in this ship. She’s nothing like perfumed women back home in their high heels: she’s practical and level-headed and just as horny as he is during these deep-runs. So they help each other bare the long journey ahead by giving intimacy and comfort in secret.

Lambert enjoys the vast space around them and the cold black – she doesn’t like the colorful lights of civilization and happy hour only lasts so long. She enjoys the closed spaces they hide in from the others, the thrill of evading and the dance that leads to each encounter. Kane is kinder personality, curious of anything new and complacent with the familiar world at the same time. Lambert prefers control, Kane believes in chaos. Together they tolerate each others’ ideologies for the duration of those stolen moments and glances.

They don’t quite believe they’ll have a future back on Earth though. Lambert will revert back to one of her on-off boyfriends, and Kane will book himself for an Earth-based gig until he feels the yearning to leave again. But for now they’re satisfied with the excitement of this game. It sustains them; it’s fully theirs in a ship where privacy can sometimes be considered a luxury.

The game is nothing new to her, but his presence certainly makes it interesting. And when he passes her the first cup of coffee upon their morning routine, she pretends to give him the cold shoulder, and he smiles when no one sees. Neither would quite call their relationship intimate – they haven’t even seen each other fully naked yet – but it is very sexual in nature. Being this far out of the protective ring of civilization certainly brings out the more feral side of each, and this cold labyrinth of a ship does feel quite like the wilderness. Too much bottled emotion can drive you insane in space, so letting off the steam for these two very sexual people is necessary.

She tastes the coffee on his lips, yearning for something warm and familiar when all she’s been looking at all morning are foreign star figures that she needs to decipher in order for them to keep going further into half-explored territory. He comes in when she’s navigating to ask trite questions and demand for information he has no purpose for just so that he can see her. He likes to brush against her by accident, and then later when they are alone he’ll touch her deeper. When they gather together to talk and spend time with the others, she’ll move her hand on his thigh until he almost comes undone. As long as no one realizes what’s going on, everything goes in their game – Anything to make the pleasure all the more shifter.

Kane presses her against one of the lockers gently. Even if it’s just sex between them, she is special in his eyes and he does try to make it special for them both – his gestures are almost romantic. And even if she likes it rough, and he likes to give her exactly what she needs, they never just fuck and leave, they always stay close for awhile, waiting for their breathing and heartbeat to calm down, for the pleasure to sink in. They do so in each other’s arms every time.

After this they will be sleeping for a long time again. Kane asks her if she’ll be dreaming of him. She thinks about it, surrendering to a smile. Yes, she’ll be dreaming of him the whole time.

-

Kane jumps at the idea to explore the source of the emergency beacon, whereas everyone else seems somewhat concerned about this strange turn of events. Brett and Parker nag to Ripley about bonuses, and Ash seems deeper in thought than he’s been lately, where Dallas finds himself persuaded to investigate by Kane. Lambert looks into Kane’s excited eyes and sees an unspoken plead in them. She volunteers to go with them on the search. It’s better than staying with the rest anyway.

They haven’t found the time to sneak to the coolant locker since they woke up early, and Lambert can already feel the itch to embrace him on her very tight skin. She watches as he pulls the space suit on, on a seemingly good mood. He has a nice physique for a man stuck in space for long periods at a time: Handsome, well-muscled, and skillful where it counts. But it is his kindness she likes most. Unlike all the other men in her life, he treats her well. She thinks this has become more to him than just a game. There are feelings involved, and she isn’t that convinced about her emotional abstinence either anymore. Maybe Kane would stay with her after all is said and done?

Dallas shakes her back to reality with his stern voice and offers her the third space suit. Lambert begins to gear up, feeling less vulnerable and bare once the thick suit covers her petite physique. It doesn’t betray her doubts or hopes, but masks her as just the navigational officer instead of a flesh and blood woman. She never saw herself worth much - just another worker bee in this Company hellhole – but is her opinion changing? Maybe underneath the dirt and desire there’s a decent woman after all? One that can love another person wholly and not become anything less because of it?

They descent into the darkness below from the Nostromo. The pressure is terrible, and this hostile world seems to reject them at every level, yet they continue exploring it, Kane first and foremost. He reports every detail he sees and hears right back to Ash, who’s watching their every move back on the ship. Kane’s voice is very calm, and he appears to be nothing short of an expert, but Lambert can tell he’s like a young school-boy in the midst of an exciting discovery. Underneath his suit, he’s shaking with excitement and struggling to keep it from showing.

He always dreamed of space and going to the far beyond to explore new and exciting worlds – instead he became a glorified truck driver, who’d read about new discoveries in his daily subscriptions and imagine what it could’ve been like. This is his chance. He can discover something extraordinary, be the first one to enter this strange world. And so he strides forward in the hostile territory, hoping and praying for something, anything. Soon he will be too old to travel in space, and he has come to realize this is not how he wished he had lived his life.

Kane glances at Lambert, who is last in line, and smiles behind his helmet. He is glad she came along. Just having her here soothes him. Perhaps with a discovery he can finally show her a side of him even she will appreciate. No he knows she’s coming around slowly, opening up to him. But he can’t help thinking of his old fantasies where he’s the hero who impresses the girl and saves the day. If she sees everything, she’ll appreciate him more, won’t she? Then they have a chance to be more than just two lonely people huddled together at a coolant room. They can be so much more…

-

Lambert stares at him with a dull expression. Shock and rage have passed by some time ago; now all that’s left is despair. Kane is lying on the operating table with that thing on his head. They can’t even remove it from him, can’t keep it from violating him. Just looking at it makes her feel sick, and at the same time she remembers the person plagued by this disease and wants to tear that thing away from him.

The others are downstairs examining the damage done by the creature’s blood. She can see it ate through the floor and a couple of decks. How are you supposed to exterminate such a pest: It has goddamn acid for blood! What will this thing do to Kane?

Lambert doesn’t allow herself to cry though. She’s already crossed the line when she’d tried to hit Ripley, even if the bitch deserved it. One can’t be too emotional here, but her senses were for screaming for her lover, and she just couldn’t keep it inside anymore. Her mask of indifference is crackling, although so far everyone else has been very unnerved as well. They’ll never have to know what has been going on, and at the same time she wants to scream it aloud at all their faces. What point would this information serve? – None whatsoever.

Ash is looking at her curiously. He is such a tiny ugly man. His entire being disgusts her. And yet he is Kane’s only hope for survival. Lambert knows he has a heart underneath his cool exterior. He let Kane inside when Ripley objected, didn’t he? He’s an unlikely ally, but she’s glad they have his expertise here. It’s a lot more helpful than the dumb comments of the rest of the crew. Only Dallas and Ash seem to have any grasp on the situation.

Ash mumbles something back to her about test results, but she barely hears it. Everything but Kane is a haze to her. She hasn’t eaten or slept since they brought him back aboard. Deep inside she was hoping the danger would already be over and Kane would be alright. Fear has consumed her heart for the first time in years. Damnit Kane, why did he have to be so curious? Why did he have to go alone? Why did they have to land on this cursed planet?

Lambert moves closer to Kane, shaking with fear as his chest moves up and down. That creature is feeding him oxygen and keeping him alone. Is he awake or trapped in a nightmare? Can he feel the thing choking him? Lambert glances at Ash, but he appears otherwise occupied and actually leaves the room carrying some papers – perhaps he’s off to consult Mother?

Now that they’re alone Lambert finally gets close enough to Kane to touch his hand. His skin feels cold and lifeless, but it doesn’t stop her from caressing him. Her eyes are glued to the foreign organism and fear has frozen her still. But she can only think how alone Kane is right now. Maybe she can give him this, even when she can’t do anything to save him.

She stands there beside him, until the voices of the others start echoing from the hallway. Knowing they’ll be here at any minute now, she lets go of his hand and retreats to the entrance, leaning against the wall and observing Kane from afar. Lambert crosses her arms on her chest and finally tears her eyes away from Kane.

-

Ash won’t let Kane out of his sight when he finally wakes up and they find the creature dead in the infirmary. Lambert doesn’t try to lure him away though. She cries alone in her bunk, relieved to see him alive again. Finally the nightmare that went on for countless hours of terror is over. Lambert hasn’t allowed herself to break down no matter what, and now that the tension and uncertainty is gone, she finally allows herself to let go.

The tears she’s held back for so long finally allow her to admit how important Kane has become to her. And underneath all she feels is relief. Relief that he’s still alive, that she can see him and touch him again, encompasses her with its warmth. Slowly her sobbing comes to an end, and she can smile again.

Ripley knocks on the door calling out to her name. It is dinnertime and now this messy episode is all over, they’ll be going back to hypersleep and then home. Ripley walks away after her announcement and leaves Lambert to dry her tears. Lambert looks at her messy profile from the mirror and fixes her hair until her throat is no longer sore from the tears.

Everyone else is already at the dining room when she arrives, and they’re talking like nothing has happened. Lambert passes Kane on her way to her place and brushes against him softly before moving back to her spot. His eyes follow her to her seat, and their eyes meet when she sits down. Their gaze is open and full of warmth, neither bothers to hide it anymore, but no one seems to notice either way. For a moment there they are in their own paradise.

An unspoken promise is carried in their silent conversation. Later they will have all the time in the world.

Then Parker starts another dirty joke, and Kane’s attention falters. He gives his attention to everyone else, and Lambert hides her smile behind her cup. Everything is finally back to normal: Ripley is a bitch, Dallas hates his crew, Parker and Brett argue about pay and talk about pussy, Ash listens whilst being visibly uncomfortable with their topic, and Lambert observes everyone, finally appreciating their dysfunctional little family some more.

Then Kane starts coughing. Parker taps him on the back, but the coughing continues almost violently. Kane stands up, and Lambert gets curious. Worry sweeps through her as Kane starts convulsing and falls on the table. The others gather around him, trying to hold him still as his body quakes. Whatever evil has suddenly possessed him it is stronger than the hands of Kane’s friends. They cannot hold him down even when they team up.

Lambert is shaking again, her breathing is difficult. She wants to get closer to Kane, to hold him, but her fear is tearing her apart. Everyone is yelling at one another, Parker and Dallas taking the lead in this unwanted situation. It’s when something tears at Kane’s insides, splattering fresh blood on them all that they suddenly freeze in horror. Kane’s face is frozen in terror, and Lambert heart is pounding harder than ever before.

Kane is convulsing again, and she hears the sickening sound of bones breaking and flesh tearing as the parasite that’s hidden itself in the man she loved breaks free from its womb. They all back down from Kane, or rather his empty shell, as the parasite takes its first breath and cries like a newborn.

Ash forbids Dallas from hurting it, probably fearing its blood would tear the hull. His warning sinks in as everyone stares at the small beast in deadly silence. It’s still partly inside Kane when it scans its surroundings before leaping out of its father and escaping through the room. They all just stand there, looking after the thing, their eyes wandering through the room and back to Kane’s corpse on the table.

After a few minutes Lambert throws up.

-

She’s holding a small tin in her hands, tilting it from one side to the other. Brett is gone and so is Dallas. They’re dropping off like flies, and if she is to believe Ripley and Parker’s story about the parasite having grown into a terrible monster, none will soon be left. Even if they had been able to chase this thing out of the airlock, Lambert doesn’t think she would hold any better. Kane is gone. The vast space around them is suffocating her and the fear of dying here alone is enough to immobilize her completely.

The pills inside the tin shift from left to right, from top to bottom. There’s still a few left – just enough for the desired effect to take place. She rubs her thumb against the cork almost longingly while Ripley paces across the room. With the others gone Ripley is now in charge, and this somewhat worries Lambert. Ripley isn’t exactly high on empathy, so her choice of a plan might be hazardous. Still Lambert is finding it hard to care how she spends her final moments or whose fault her death will be. She feels numb.

She relieves happier times in her life, while crushing the tin in her hand. Her voice is hoarse from the crying and cursing she’s done. Nothing quite matters anymore, so maybe she might as well choose her way out? She finds small comfort in the thought, but comfort never the less. She admires the tin whilst lost in thought and despair, when Ripley finally stops pacing and notices her melancholy.

Ripley knows immediately what Lambert is holding in her hands, and she walks up to her, stealing the tin from her weak hands. Lambert yelps and stands up to protest, but Ripley simply throws the pills from their reach and slaps Lambert across her face.

“This is not the answer!”

When Ripley raises her voice she really raises her voice, stirring Lambert to the bone. She is so strong; Lambert can’t quite comprehend how Ripley is so strong. Lambert herself is breaking and all it would take is a push to shatter her.

“We’re dead anyway,” Lambert confesses her fear wearily as she looks up at Ripley and her determined eyes. Suicide pills would be a far more merciful way to die than being torn apart and probably brutalized by that creature that had already killed half their crew. She isn’t a fighter like Parker and Ripley, for her fear is paralyzing, and it keeps her from moving when she is supposed to act.

Ripley exhales her anxiety and frustration towards the smaller woman and puts her hand over Lambert. “We’ll get through this. There’s always the life-boat. Parker and I will protect you.” She makes eye-contact with Lambert to enhance her message. Sure they haven’t been the best friends before, but amid all this panic and death Ripley has slowly taken Lambert under her wing as she’s noticed Lambert’s ability to act diminish hour after hour. No one else has to die.

“Then we should take our chances now!” Lambert’s voice breaks down in the middle of her sentence as she tries to sound as convincing and calm as Ripley does, but fails when Kane’s dead face haunts her thoughts. All she can see anymore is his corpse, not the lovely man he was while still alive - Not even his excited smile when they made love.

“Lambert. Pull it together. Go stay with Parker while I talk to Mother. We will find a solution,” Ripley is trying to beat sense into Lambert and calm her paranoia, but it seems futile. There is no trace of hope in Lambert anymore.

Her posture falls as she sighs, defeated. Lambert pulls away from Ripley, casting her eyes on the floor. “I’ll find Parker,” she says, sounding uninterested and laconic. Then she walks away, forgetting her fear for a moment and finding the courage to walk away from the tin can on the floor before she loses her courage again.

-

Lambert feels safer with Parker by her side. He is towering and strong and more than willing to act when the moment comes. With Ash’s secret being revealed, there is only three of them left anymore. The creature has won, and the shuttle is their only choice. The coolant bottles are heavy and cold, but she keeps moving the bottles even though her arms are burning with pain. She tries to harden herself, convince her own mind that they’ll be safe after this one last challenge – that they can escape in time and leave the beast behind.

Her goal drives her like a woman possessed. She wants to survive, wants to wipe the self-righteous smirk off Ash’s face, prove to Ripley that she can fight just like the others. Her anger has been slumbering, but now it is aflame and harnessed as a weapon. The anger of losing Kane – the pain of watching him die the way he had right when she was ready to think ahead and believe that she had a future – is indeed strong.

Parker is mumbling something about staying alert, moving faster. He is extremely nervous and completely on the edge, but this is the first time she can see it as a good thing. He is alert and ready for anything. Even if he isn’t consciously making an effort to scan their surroundings, she knows he will react the moment something seems out of place.

The room is dark and uninviting, and the only sound is made from the coolant bottles as they cling against the floor when Lambert throws them. Manual labor has never been her thing, but now it helps her keep her focus, to feed her anger and newfound determination. She will go crazy if she has to just sit and wait.

And then without a word it is just there, waiting and biding its time. Her eyes widen as she stares at it, unable to comprehend this twist of events. Yet it sits there calmly, like it is observing something curiously. Its tail bounces in a playful and hypnotic manner between them. And it stares right at her.

Parker is moving in the edge of her field of vision. He is saying something, but she doesn’t hear it. All she hears is an all-covering hum. The creature doesn’t appear one bit unfamiliar. It looks like it felt like home too, like the situation is familiar and this is a safe place for it to be.

She turns slowly to face the creature completely and finally see it in its full glory. Too much of its horrible and disfigured yet humane figure is still hidden by the inadequate light, but she can clearly see it resembles the species it has parasitized in. It has slender hands and the form of an androgynous being. But while it just sits there, it doesn’t seem threatening, just curious. Lambert almost allows herself to see it as something other than a hostile parasite.

Then it begins to rise and approach her. The approach is silent and slow, but once it is in its full height, it casts a terrible shadow on her. Its shadow washes away her courage and anger, and only brings forth despair. She makes a noise – perhaps it is intended as a word, but comes out incomplete, only a muffled sound to plead for help. Parker speaks again, sounding anxious and scared for once.

Parker is shouting at her to get out of the way so he could shoot the creature with his flamethrower, but she is standing so close she can see the creature has no eyes. How can it not have eyes? How can it be so slick and wet? It stands before her like just like its father, just like Kane, has for so many times before, as if preparing to embrace her. She begins to cry; she can’t keep the disgust and sorrow away any longer. But her crying is distorted and ugly. Ripley is calling her name through the intercom, and the creature is secreting this sugary white drool while its hands dance in the air in front of her.

Parker lunges at it, but the creature turns and grabs him, throwing him away and hitting him with its tail. It goes after Parker, releasing her from the mental prison its eyeless glare had bewitched her with. Yet she can’t move, she just stares as the creature and Parker wrestle for life and death. Parker yells and screams viscerally. It then opens its mouth, and something plunges into Parker’s face from its mouth. All she sees is blood.

Upon completing its ugly deed it glides back to her, once again locking her still in fear. Parker is dead and so is Dallas and Kane, and all that is left is her and Kane’s son. Lambert shakes as it reaches her. It is pure evil, and yet underneath everything she recognizes this. The countless times she has snuck here with Kane and how they have held one another in silence. The creature looks at her like it knows – Like it wants the same thing. It could’ve killed her already, but instead it has waited until she came here.

Lambert closes her eyes and bites her lip until it bled. She thinks about Kane as the creature reaches for her in its curiosity. Her screams speak of a suffering that is beyond human comprehension.

-fin