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Alien: Prototype is a 2019 novel written by Tim Waggoner and published by Titan Books. Set between the events of Keith R. A. DeCandido's novel Alien: Isolation and the comic series Aliens: Resistance,[1] the book follows Zula Hendricks as she takes up a job training security recruits at the colony on Jericho 3. However, scientists at the outpost are secretly experimenting with a Xenomorph Egg, and before long the creature they have bred, bearing a mutation that enables it to spread a deadly pathogen, escapes into the facility, forcing Zula and her raw trainees to confront it before it can kill everyone on the planet. It was released on October 29, 2019.[2]

As well as standard print editions, the novel was released simultaneously in audiobook format, read by Sarah Mollo-Christensen and published by Blackstone Audio.

Publisher's Summary

DEADLY CARGO!

Venture, a direct rival to the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, will accept any risk to crush the competition. Thus, when a corporate spy "acquires" a bizarre, leathery egg from a hijacked vessel, she takes it directly to the Venture testing facility on Jericho 3.

Though unaware of the danger it poses, the scientists there recognize their prize's immeasurable value. Early tests reveal little, however, and they come to an inevitable conclusion. They need a human test subject...

ENTER ZULA HENDRICKS

A member of the Jericho 3 security staff, Colonial Marines veteran Zula Hendricks has been tasked with training personnel to deal with anything the treacherous planet can throw their way. Yet nothing can prepare them for the horror that appears — a creature more hideous than any Zula has encountered before.

Unless stopped, it will kill every human being on the planet.

Plot

A group of pirates board a commercial transport they have disabled, subdue its crew and begin ransacking the ship. During the search, one of the pirates, Tamar Prather, discovers a hidden stasis pod containing a viable Ovomorph sample. Recognizing its value, Tamar — in fact a corporate spy working for the Venture Corporation — takes the pod and attempts to escape with it. However, she is discovered by several of her crew, forcing her to kill them so that she can make off with her prize.

She takes the Ovomorph to a Venture facility known as the Lodge, located on the planet Jericho 3, where it is handed over to company scientist Dr. Gagnon for study. He quickly deduces that it is likely a specimen of the Xenomorph XX121 species so coveted by Weyland-Yutani. Realizing he will need a host for the creature in order to "further" his studies of it, he arranges for one of the colonists, a man named Hassan who has previously taken part in several of the doctor's experimental medical trials, to come to his lab under the illusion of more medical research. After consenting to take part in the unspecified test, Hassan is let into the test chamber with the Egg and is quickly attacked and subdued by the Facehugger within.

Also on Jericho 3 is Zula Hendricks, who has taken a temporary assignment training several candidates for Venture's Colony Protection Force. However, her relationship with the recruits is fraught, and during one exercise she is attacked by one of the robots used to train them in combat against extraterrestrial species they might encounter on colony worlds. She is just barely able to destroy the rampaging droid before it kills her. Upon returning to the colony, she discovers one of her own trainees was responsible for reprogramming the droid, but he insists it was intended merely as a prank and was never supposed to harm her. She confides her doubts in Davis, whose AI she secretly carries with her on a portable device, following the destruction of his physical body.

Gagnon's Xenomorph is born, but immediately exhibits signs of a deadly disease known as cellular necrosis that Hassan had previously been infected with as part of an earlier trial. Gagnon fears the fatal infection will kill the creature, but instead it escapes containment and quickly begins attacking staff at the facility. As well as killing its victims, the creature also displays an ability to infect them with the deadly cellular necrosis pathogen it carries, leading Gagnon to christen it a "Necromorph". Not wanting to cause a panic, the Lodge's administrator attempts to cover up the incident whilst imploring Gagnon to recover the creature as quickly as possible. He is joined in his mission by his android assistant Brigette, as well as Tamar, still on Jericho 3 awaiting payment for delivering the Egg. They finally catch up to the Necromorph in the colony's medical center, but their attempts to recapture it end in failure; Gagnon is killed and Brigette is seriously damaged, although Tamar is saved when Zula, who has been quietly investigating events, arrives with her CPF trainees and drives the Necromorph off.

The creature escapes into the ventilation system and unleashes its cellular necrosis into the air supply, causing many people in the surrounding parts of the facility to become fatally infected. In order to expel the pathogen, Davis' AI enters the Lodge's systems, where he is forced to battle the Lodge's own AI. With the help of Brigette's AI, they are able to subdue the Lodge's computer and ventilate the virus into the atmosphere, but Brigette is destroyed in the process. Zula and her trainees continue their pursuit of the Necromorph, but find its tougher than usual mesoskeleton is virtually impervious to gunfire. A plan to trap the creature in an airlock also fails when Tamar is caught inside with it; attempting to flee outside, she allows the Necromorph to escape onto the surface before she is herself killed by it.

The Necromorph next attacks a prototype colony testbed Venture has established on Jericho 3, but is lured away when Zula uses herself as bait to draw the creature off, hanging by a wire from the underside of a surface transport shuttle containing her surviving trainees. They lead the Necromorph to their training ground, where Davis takes control of the remaining training bots and uses them to attack the creature. However, this plan also fails when the bots are destroyed by friendly fire. A desperate Zula uses herself as bait once more and succeeds in luring the Necromorph aboard the now empty shuttle, which Davis takes control of and launches. Zula is barely able to escape through an emergency hatch before Davis takes the craft into the upper atmosphere and overloads its engines, destroying both the shuttle and the Necromorph.

Following the incident, Zula expresses her determination to continue ridding the galaxy of the Xenomorph threat, while her surviving CPF trainees state their intention to stick with the program. Venture has the Lodge closed down and its staff reassigned. However, several months later the company dispatches a survey crew to the abandoned facility with a plan to renovate it as a fuelling station. During their investigation, two members of the team discover an Egg created by the Necromorph during its rampage.

Audiobook

Simultaneous with the physical release, Blackstone Audio produced an unabridged audiobook of Alien: Prototype, read by Sarah Mollo-Christensen. The audiobook runs for 8 hours and 54 minutes.

Trivia

  • Alien: Prototype is notable for its inclusion of Eggmorphing, arguably the only time the process has appeared in official canon. (The canonicity of the Director's Cut of Alien is debatable, while Eggmorphing's only other appearances have been in non-canon video games or unproduced film scripts.)
    • However, considering the fact that the Necromorph is a mutant with traits and abilities uncommon to the species, it is unclear if Eggmorphing is an ability shared by all Xenomorphs or merely exclusive to the Necromorph.
  • The novel is also one of the few Alien franchise stories in which events are depicted from the perspective of the Xenomorphs. Other examples include the comic Do Aliens Dream?, the novelization of Alien Resurrection, the novel Alien: Sea of Sorrows and, perhaps most notably, the short story Dangerous Prey. Of these, Do Aliens Dream? and Dangerous Prey are the only ones in which the entire story is told from the Xenomorphs' point of view.

Goofs

  • Throughout the novel, human colonization is repeatedly said to be in its infancy. However, the book is specifically stated as occurring after Alien: Isolation, in which Sevastopol Station is already destitute and being decommissioned because human colonization has become the widely established form of extrasolar habitation.
  • Miriam arms herself with a metal pole when she confronts the Necromorph, but drops it when she is killed. However, when she is later found dead, she is once again clutching the makeshift weapon in her hand.
  • In order for Zula and her trainees to move on from the Administration block after Davis has cleared the cellular necrosis, Davis has to open one of the security containment doors. If these doors seal access, how then did the Necromorph previously escape into the rest of the facility?

References

  1. "SyFy Wire - EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT FROM TIM WAGGONER'S GRIPPING NEW ALIEN: PROTOTYPE NOVEL". Retrieved on 2019-10-24.
  2. "AVPGalaxy - Alien: Prototype – New Alien Novel Starring Zula Hendricks!". Retrieved on 2019-03-25.

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