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rip my heart out

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Lambert’s been with every member of the crew, save for Ash. None of it has ever meant anything, of course – sex on the Nostromo is just a way to relieve tension every fortnight or so. But it’s different with Kane.

He takes the time to ask her what she likes, what she doesn’t like, how her body might be different from the other women he’s been with. She’s normally very strict about the Nostromo rules of no kissing, no cuddling, but the way Kane looks at her makes her want to break every rule in the book.

They’re lying next to each other afterwards, breathing heavily. She lets herself smile and he smiles back, and he reaches out a tentative hand. She goes one step further and moves closer to him, so he can play with her hair.

“You know we aren’t allowed to do this,” Kane says, and kisses her forehead.

“We aren’t allowed a cat, either, and there’s no getting rid of Jonesy.”

He chuckles quietly. “That’s fair.”

They lie like that for nearly half an hour, whispering about Ash’s staring and Captain Dallas and their stasis dreams. But they can’t fall asleep together. They could never talk their way out of it. So Kane starts putting his flight suit back on, and Lambert’s heart sinks a little bit.

“Thank you,” she says while he’s putting his shoes back on.

“You’re welcome. Although I should be thanking you.”

They both laugh gently, and Kane stands to leave. She wraps her arms around his neck and he hugs her tightly. She decides to be brave and whispers in his ear: “You make me feel alive.”

-

At breakfast the next morning, Lambert makes sure to sit a few seats away from Kane, making sure no one gets the wrong idea. She pours herself a bowl of granola and stares at the drinking bird toy moving up and down in the centre of the table.

“What are you smiling about?” asks Parker through a mouthful of baked beans.

She looks up at him. “The granola’s good.”

“No, it isn’t,” Ripley interjects. She hasn’t eaten the ship granola since the day they set off – ‘it tastes like wet cardboard’.

Lambert looks down at the bowl. “Well, I like it. It’s nice.”

When she looks up, Kane is looking right at her. The conversation seems to have moved on to the topic of watered-down coffee, but Kane’s eyes are louder. He smiles at her and she smiles back. She lifts her spoon and takes another bite.

-

He’s standing next to Dallas, listening to Ash’s report about this strange distress call. She takes a drag from her cigarette and looks at him. He looks like if she blew the smoke out in his direction, he’d fall over. She hears about a mission to investigate the call. She’s certain it’s a bad idea.

She’s assigned to explore the site. Dallas is her superior officer, and she’s a professional, so she goes. As she’s trying to clamber into her spacesuit, Kane’s gloved hands gently take her wrists. He helps guide her arm into the sleeve, and clicks her helmet into place. His own helmet rests against hers.

His voice is barely audible through the layers of glass. “You’ll be alright. Trust me.”

-

Ripley doesn’t let them back in the ship, insisting they should quarantine like they’d agreed. She understands, but the anger and panic rising up into her chest makes her want to break the door down.

She looks down at Kane. He seems to be breathing steadily, but the thing on his face seems to be doing something to him. She tries not to think about it.

When Ash breaks protocol and lets them inside, she’s grateful and furious. She watches Kane through the med-bay window, waiting for anything to happen. When Ripley walks in, Lambert yells and cries and slaps her in the face.

-

Kane’s dead body lies face-up on the dinner table, a cavity where his chest used to be. She realises his fingers are still twitching. He’s alive. It’s so much worse that he’s alive.

There’s blood all over her face. His blood. A few moments later, his fingers still and his eyes glaze over.

-

Dallas asks if anyone wants to say anything. No one does, and they propel him into space. Some funeral.

She did want to say something, but “thank you, and I’m sorry” isn’t much of a Bible verse.

It‘s no use talking to anyone about it. She just feels like her heart has been ripped out. At least she and Kane have that in common.

-

It only takes hours for the Alien to rip through the rest of the crew. It’s just her, Ripley, and Parker left, preparing to get on the escape pod. Ripley asks her and Parker to go and get coolant.

Her hands won’t stop shaking. Her brain is refusing to function. All there is, whirling around, is the Alien, coffee, the drinking bird, her mother, Kane’s hands, the vastness of space. The coolant falls from her hands.

-

She feels a tail creeping up her leg. Then she’s looking at the inside of an air duct. She can hear Parker’s flesh being ripped apart. She’s got seconds left, and she’s determined to not be afraid in her last moments. So she thinks about Kane.

You make me feel alive.

Then she dies.