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Aliens: Alien Harvest is a 1995 novelization of the comic book series Aliens: Harvest, written by Robert Sheckley and published by Bantam Spectra in the United States and Millennium in the United Kingdom. In the book, dying inventor Dr. Myakovsky and professional thief Julie Lish recruit a team of convicts to take part in a raid on an Alien Hive planet, seeking to make off with a large quantity of Royal Jelly that they can then sell at a huge profit. They are assisted in the assault by Mayakovsky's latest invention, a robotic Xenomorph christened "Norbert".

Publisher's Summary

ROYAL JELLY FROM AN ALIEN HIVE — MISSION IMPOSSIBLE!

Royal jelly, that most illicit of Alien by-products, is keeping Dr. Stan Myakovsky alive. A once-famous scientist fallen on hard times, Stan is fighting off the repo-men and trying hard to patent the cybernetic ant that will reinstate his reputation.

Julie Lish is beautiful, mysterious, and totally amoral. She has a plan so outrageous that there might be one chance in a million to pull it off.

Together they make an attempt to grab the ultimate pot of gold — royal jelly from an Alien hive. This time the humans are taking the offensive!

Plot

The once-wealthy and respected scientist Stan Myakovsky is now facing bankruptcy as a result of an ongoing legal dispute with the pharmaceutical giant Bio-Pharm, which has charged him with dubious patent infringements. His financial situation has become so dire that the cargo vessel he owns and operates as a source of income, the Dolomite, is seized by the courts to cover his arrears, leaving him with nothing more to his name than the house in which he lives. To add to his troubles, Stan is diagnosed with terminal cancer and told that he may have only months to live; his doctor suggests he try taking Xeno-Zip to dull the pain as he nears the end of his life, despite the substance being illegal.

Returning home to gloomily consider his options, Stan is visited by a mysterious woman named Julie Lish, who proposes a deal that could not only help him out of his financial black hole, but set the both of them up with a fortune for life — together they will travel to a classified planet infested with Xenomorphs where they can harvest a vast supply of Royal Jelly, the base ingredient of Xeno-Zip, worth millions on the black market. Julie goes on to suggest that the undiluted, pure Royal Jelly they will recover may even be able to cure Stan's otherwise incurable illness. For her scheme to stand any chance of success, she needs something Myakovsky alone possesses — his prototype synthetic Xenomorph, Norbert. Seeing little to lose and enthralled by the beautiful Julie, Stan agrees.

The pair immediately begin generating the necessary capital for their venture, Julie engaging in gambling and robbery to secure the funds they will need. They also look up an old friend of Stan's named Thomas Hoban, the former captain of the Dolomite, and recruit him to the operation. The three of them next visit the state prison to hire a crew of convicts for the risky mission. The last remaining step is to secure a ship — with the Dolomite taken from him, Stan and his team surreptitiously board the vessel as tourists while it is in orbit around Earth. Once aboard, they take control of the ship, aided by the Dolomite's new captain — and former first mate under Hoban's command — the synthetic Gill.

En route to their destination, the uninhabited planet AR-32, Julie trains against Norbert in the Dolomite's cargo hold, becoming increasingly wary of the synthetic Xenomorph's potentially lethal abilities. Her fears are later realised when two of the convict crew attempt to attack the android and are brutally killed as a result, although Stan is able to calm the situation before the rest of the crew revolt. Somewhat paradoxically, Norbert also becomes close to a dog named Mac that is found aboard the ship, frequently playing fetch with the animal.

Upon reaching their destination, Stan, Julie and Gill lead a team down to the surface while Hoban and the rest of the crew remain in orbit aboard the Dolomite. Once on the ground, Stan dispatches Norbert and a crew of convicts to begin searching the area for Xenomorph activity, equipping them with electronic inhibitors designed to render the wearer "invisible" to the creatures. However, due to the planet's severe weather patterns, the convicts are separated from the synthetic and later meet their deaths at the hands of several Xenomorphs when their inhibitors cease to be effective.

Meanwhile, the Dolomite detects a wreck in orbit close by, and Hoban dispatches two of the convict crew, Badger and Glint, to investigate. They recover the derelict ship's black box and surreptitiously listen to the final recording before delivering it to Hoban, learning that the ship was destroyed by the Bio-Pharm frigate Lancet, which has laid claim to the planet and the supply of Royal Jelly on it. They confront Hoban with this information and demand an abort to the mission, fearing the Lancet may still be in the vicinity. When Hoban refuses, Badger and his accomplices launch an attempted mutiny; they fail to take over the Dolomite, and Badger and his surviving cohorts are forced to steal the ship's second lander and flee to the surface of AR-32.

Elsewhere on the planet, Norbert and Mac discover another Bio-Pharm craft, its three-man crew harvesting Royal Jelly from Xenomorphs that they have subdued with some form of suppression projector that renders them inert and immobile. When the men spot Norbert approaching they open fire, and he attacks and kills them, in the process destroying the machinery keeping the real Xenomorphs comatose. Norbert and Mac take refuge from the woken creatures inside the harvester. The synthetic contacts Stan, whose behavior is becoming increasingly erratic as a result of his escalating Xeno-Zip consumption, and the doctor suggests Norbert allow the Xenomorphs to take Mac so that he can follow them into their Hive; in doing so, he will be led directly to the Queen's chamber, where the purest and most abundant Royal Jelly will be found. Despite his protests at the idea of sacrificing the dog, Norbert complies.

Within the Hive, Norbert locates samples of Royal Jelly as Mac is fed to the Queen. However, he is attacked and overpowered by Xenomorph Warriors as he attempts to leave. Outside, a seismic event causes the expedition's landing craft to collapse into a pit, destroying it; Stan, Julie and Gill manage to survive by fleeing in an escape pod. Now trapped on the surface, they begin an arduous trek through the Hive to the only other craft that might offer them a means of escape — the Bio-Pharm harvester. Having to fight their way through the Hive to reach it, they are on the verge of being overwhelmed by Xenomorphs when they are saved by the badly damaged Norbert, who passes the sample of Royal Jelly to Stan before sacrificing himself so that the others can escape. Outside, the survivors reach the Harvester, although Julie is seriously wounded by Xenomorph blood, while the ship itself is damaged and unable to take off.

As they plan their next move, the Lancet appears overhead, having picked up Badger, the last surviving mutineer. The vessel's captain, Potter, threatens to destroy them if they do not surrender the harvester and its cargo of Royal Jelly. Stan counters that he will send Gill aboard to negotiate. Potter agrees, but once aboard Gill activates a bomb wired into him by Stan, killing several of the crew and crippling the Lancet. Stan radios the Dolomite to arrange a pickup, but before Hoban can reach them the Xenomorphs finally break down the door of the harvester and swarm inside. Stan later awakes inside the Hive, impregnated with a Chestburster; the copious amounts of Xeno-Zip coursing through his veins spare him the pain as it births and kills him.

When the Dolomite finally reaches the harvester, Hoban finds the Royal Jelly gone, but Julie miraculously alive inside. He evacuates her and returns to Earth, where he is later cleared of any wrongdoing and reinstated as a commercial flight captain. He later theorizes that Julie's survival is down to the Xenomorphs prioritizing the recovery of their stolen Royal Jelly over taking her to be a host.

Trivia

  • Both Stan's first name and the spelling of his surname differ between the original comic (and Cyberantics: A Little Adventure) and the novel. In the former, his name is said to be Stanislaw Mayakovsky, whereas in the novel it is Stanley Myakovsky.

Goofs

  • When Myakovsky briefs the crew on their mission, he tells them that the Xenomorph-infested planet they are hoping to land on is called Vista, which is in orbit around a star designated AR-32. However, throughout the rest of the book, the planet itself is referred to as AR-32.
  • The lander that takes Myakovsky and his party down to the surface of AR-32 launches twice.

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