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Aliens: DNA War is a 2006 novel written by Diane Carey and published by DH Press. It follows police officer Rory Malvaux and the crew of the Vinza as they attempt to rescue a group of scientists — including Rory's mother Jocasta — who have unexpectedly encountered Xenomorphs on the planet Rosamond 6. However, upon arriving, the Vinza's crew discover the scientists are not only unwilling to leave, but may be engaging in foul play to preserve the very creatures that stalk them.

Publisher's Summary

SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST

In an inhospitable galaxy, the planet Rosamond 6 is a rare find. With a moon, an atmosphere, and a thriving biosystem the world has all the keys necessary for human habitation. But while Rosamond 6 may look like an oasis among the stars, it harbors a fatal secret...

...Rosamund 6 is infested with the murderous xenomorphic Aliens that have wiped out every life form in their path. Eager to prove her theory that the Aliens can be reasoned with, anthropologist Jocasta Malvaux has set up an observation post on Rosamond 6. But when the monsters become aware of Malvaux and her expedition, something unexpected happens: the Aliens don't attack.

When Jocasta's son Rory races to the planet to save her, she won't leave. What is the secret behind the Aliens' seeming lack of concern for the humans? Are the monsters evolving? Or is it simply a matter of time before every person on the planet is in a fight for their lives?

Plot

When Xenomorphs are discovered on the verdant world Rosamond 6, a small team of scientists, led by the enigmatic Jocasta Malvaux, is dispatched to investigate them. Their reports eventually lead authorities on Earth to declare the Xenomorphs a threat to all native life on the planet, and thus the Vinza is dispatched to extract the science team and deploy a large number of robotic drones that will scour the planet and exterminate all non-native fauna, sterilizing the Xenomorph threat and preserving the planet for future human habitation. Anticipating that Jocasta may be reluctant to abandon her research, her son Rory accompanies the mission to act as mediator.

Upon reaching Rosamond 6, several of the Vinza's crew, including Rory and the ship's captain Clark, set out on foot to investigate the scientists' camp, protected by a defensive energy field projected from their ship and a Colonial Marine escort. They find the camp abandoned and littered with the bodies of several of the science team, quickly deducing that they were victims of Chestbursters. Straying outside the range of the ship's protection field, they find several empty Eggs, and one of the Marines is killed when he slips and stumbles into them, burned to death by the still-potent acid they contain. Rushing back to the ship, the crew are attacked by a mass of Facehuggers, but are saved when they reach the safety of the protection field, which holds the creatures at bay. However, they discover that the two Marines left to guard the ship have vanished.

Realizing that the bodies at the camp represent only a fraction of the science team, Rory, Clark and the Marines head back out in search of the remaining personnel. They eventually discover that they have relocated to a new base of operations inside a cave system, hidden by advanced camouflage systems. When Rory informs the scientists of their plan to sterilize the Xenomorph threat on the planet, Jocasta baulks, insisting the planet's ecosystem is adapting to the creatures and will eventually reach a balance. To prove her point, she has Rory and Clark don special protective suits the team has developed to mask them from the Xenomorphs before taking them to a lush valley nearby that has not been touched by the creatures. As Rory had predicted, she refuses to leave, and because the poison-packers will recognize any humans left behind as being alien to the planet and therefore viable targets, Clark cannot authorize their release.

Despite his mother's insistence, Rory remains unconvinced that there can ever be any co-existence with the Xenomorphs. He is also concerned that many of the science team remain unaccounted for, despite Jocasta's claims that they are merely working at other observation posts. Rory's concerns are compounded by the furtive behavior of many of the scientists he talks to. Eventually, one of them, a man named Rusty, opens up and expresses a desire to leave. Jocasta agrees, but asks that he complete scheduled maintenance on a remote piece of equipment before he goes. Accompanying him, Rory's suspicions are confirmed when Rusty shows him evidence that the Xenomorphs are systematically slaughtering every living creature on the planet, and that the verdant valley Jocasta showed them earlier has only been spared because it is separated from them by a large crevasse. Rusty also confirms that the missing scientists have in fact perished during the course of the research, Jocasta seemingly valuing the lives of the Xenomorphs more than her own people. Shortly afterwards, Rusty's suit fails and he is attacked and seemingly killed by a Xenomorph, right in front of a horrified Rory.

Rushing back to the hide, Rory is cut off and surrounded by Xenomorphs, but is shocked when the creatures ignore him and instead turn on each other. Retreating to the hide with the others, Rory deduces that there are in fact two strains of Xenomorph on the planet, locked in a struggle for supremacy, and that the humans are being temporarily spared so that the victorious strain can later use them to reproduce. Disillusioned by the savagery on Rosamond 6, Rory finally orders the scientists removed, by force if necessary, and the poison-packers released. Jocasta continues to refuse to abandon her work, and she and her team disappear. With the Xenomorph war coming to an end and the creatures once again becoming hostile, the surviving Vinza crew cut their losses and make a break for their ship. Upon arriving, they encounter the surviving scientists, who have finally seen sense and abandoned Jocasta. They board the Vinza, but before it can lift off Jocasta confronts them one final time. Rory watches as she is surrounded by Xenomorphs and killed, before the Vinza lifts off and deploys its cargo of poison-packers.

Reprint History

Aliens: DNA War was collected along with Aliens: Original Sin in The Complete Aliens Omnibus: Volume 5, published by Titan Books, in December 2017.

Trivia

  • Aliens: DNA War is one of several Aliens/Predator/Alien vs. Predator novels that were never officially published in the United Kingdom.
  • DNA War is somewhat unique in that it is a first-person narrative, with the reader assuming the role of Rory Malvaux for the duration of the story. While the short stories Deep Black and The Pilot are also written in first person, DNA War remains the only full-length Alien/Predator/Alien vs. Predator novel to be written from a first person point of view.
  • The book opens with the Vinza out of control during a supposedly routine maneuver and its crew struggling to avert a crash, plunging the reader into the middle of the situation with no prior understanding of what is going on. Author Diane Carey would employ this exact same narrative device in her subsequent novel, Aliens: Cauldron, which likewise opens with the crew of the Virginia battling to control their ship.
  • The concept of a "civil war" between differing strains of Xenomorph was previously explored in the comic Aliens: Genocide, as well as its novelisation.
  • At one point, Gracie likens her mother to famed biologist Dian Fossey. Sigourney Weaver played Fossey in the film Gorillas in the Mist, her performance earning her a second Academy Award nomination for Best Actress (her first was for Aliens).

Goofs

  • In the publisher's summary on the back cover, Rosamond 6 is misspelled "Rosamund 6".
  • Early in the book, both Pocket and Theo are identified as first mate on the Vinza. It is later clarified that Pocket is in fact the ship's cargo handler.
  • Clark mentions a crewmember on the Vinza named Gary, but when the entire crew gathers for their mission briefing no one named Gary is present.
  • When introducing the poison-packers to Rory, Clark states there are 500 in each container aboard the Vinza. Later, when informing the Marines how many they may be facing, he says there are only 100 per container.
  • The number of Marines on the Vinza is repeatedly inconsistent in the first half of the book. When they are first introduced, there are said to be five Marines (four men and one woman), but later there are said to be eight Marines present (MacCormac plus seven others). Finally, once the mission on Rosamond 6 actually starts, there are six.
  • When gearing up before the second expedition onto the planet, Rory strips and gets into his borrowed Marine armor twice.
  • The scientist Paul is said to study weather and geology when first introduced, but later he is said to be a microbiologist.
  • When Rory is voicing his suspicions about Jocasta and her people to Clark, Clark questions whether the scientists would really be capable of overwhelming three trained Marines. However, only Brand and Donahue died under suspicious circumstances — Berooz was killed through his own misadventure, and Rory and Clark both know this as they were present when it happened.
  • The Marine Edney is killed during the huge Xenomorph melee in the field, but shortly afterwards is mentioned as still being with the group.

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