Aliens: The Female War, also known as Aliens Book 3: The Female War, is a 1993 novelization of the comic book series Aliens: Female War, written by Steve Perry and Stephani Perry and published by Bantam Spectra in the United States and Millennium in the United Kingdom. A sequel to Aliens: Nightmare Asylum, the book continues the adventures of Sergeant Wilks and Billie as they join a mysteriously resurrected Ellen Ripley on a desperate, unofficial mission to the Xenomorphs' home world. There they hope to capture a Queen Mother and use her to quash the outbreak that has all but destroyed Earth.
The Female War is the final novel in the original Aliens novel trilogy — much like the comic on which it is based, it is the third part of a three-part story arc, which began in Aliens: Earth Hive and continued in Aliens: Nightmare Asylum.
The greatest space heroine of all time — and her incredible will to live...
Lieutenant Ellen Ripley awoke from her long journey in space with a hole in her memory and an overwhelming drive to survive. When she meets Wilks and Billie, the two battered veterans in the war against the Aliens, she realizes she's found two comrades in arms — and she's ready to take up the fight.
Only then does she discover the devastating secret that lurks behind her long sleep. When she, Wilks, and Billie prepare to meet the Aliens and their terrible queen head-on in a battle for Earth, that secret becomes her greatest weapon — and her greatest liability. Ripley must come to terms with what it means to be human — and what it means to be Alien...
Several months after escaping from General Spears, Sergeant Wilks and Billie grow restless aboard Gateway Station, which has become desperately overcrowded with refugees from the ravaged Earth below. Billie also finds herself haunted once again by vivid nightmares of the Xenomorphs, particularly their Queen Mother, who calls to her. She is likewise troubled by the fate of a young survivor named Amy who is clinging to life on Earth, and who broadcasts her struggles in the form of a video diary.
Ellen Ripley approaches Wilks and Billie seeking help with a plan she has devised to reclaim Earth for mankind — by kidnapping the Queen Mother from the Xenomorph home world and delivering her to Earth, she hopes to draw all the Aliens on the planet to one location, where they can then be destroyed. In order to find the home world, Ripley proposes gathering "dreamers", people who share visions similar to Billie, and questioning them to deduce a probable location.
The trio begin tracking down dreamers on Gateway. After determining the location of the Xenomorph home world with the assistance of a particularly astute dreamer named Charlene "Char" Adcox, Ripley and the others then begin to recruit those with appropriate skills and experience to take part in the dangerous expedition, including a pilot, Captain McQuade, a medic named Jones and several Colonial Marines. After some reluctance, Char also joins the group. However, the team is denied military backing by General Peters, forcing them to steal a ship, the Kurtz, and take off on their own.
The team realizes their chances of survival are slim, but prepare as best they can. While the crew assembles makeshift exosuits from dismantled Power Loaders, Ripley also lays out the final stage of the plan once — if — they return to Earth with the Queen Mother. Before his death, Dr. Orona conceived the use of coordinated networks of linked nuclear bombs to clear heavily infested areas of the planet. At least one such network was set up in Oregon, but Orona was killed before it could be triggered and the bombs remain unused beneath the surface. Ripley proposes the group deposit the Queen Mother there, wait for the other Xenomorphs on Earth to gather around her, then detonate the bombs.
After setting down on the Xenomorph home planet, they are attacked by large royal guard Aliens. Despite this, the team manages to lure the Queen Mother aboard the Kurtz and trap her in the hold, although several crew members are killed, including Char, while Ripley is knocked unconscious. As the survivors set out for home, Jones tends to Ripley and discovers that she is in fact an incredibly advanced android, a duplicate of the original Ellen Ripley. This revelation shocks Ripley, and she becomes morose, introverted and relinquishes command of the operation to Wilks, a decision that does not sit well with the Sergeant. Meanwhile, Billie secretly becomes increasingly obsessed with saving Amy, the little girl from Earth.
Upon returning to Earth, the team enters a stand-off with the military aboard Gateway, who seek their arrest for the theft of the Kurtz. They evade a Colonial Marine ship sent to intercept them and descend into Earth's atmosphere, heading for Oregon. On the way, Billie convinces Ripley her android nature is unimportant, and she re-assumes command. The Kurtz deposits the Queen Mother on the surface before continuing to the control facility for the nuclear warheads. There the team has to fend off attacks from religious fanatics as they repair the hardware necessary to detonate the bombs, while Billie unexpectedly takes off in a second ship to search for Amy, despite the others attempting to stop her. With control of the bombs restored and the Xenomorphs closing in, Ripley and the others are forced to leave without Billie.
Billie travels to coordinates given by Amy in her last broadcast, only to find she has been taken by religious fanatics to sacrifice to the Xenomorphs. After regrouping with the others in the air, Billie and Ripley track the fanatics' ship and head back to the surface in one last desperate attempt to rescue Amy. They find the vessel has been attacked, its occupants slaughtered, but they locate Amy miraculously alive amidst the dismembered bodies. They somehow survive the thousands of Xenomorphs swarming around them and escape back to the Kurtz, fleeing back into space. As millions of Xenomorphs gather beneath them, Ripley sends the command to arm the bombs.
Behind the Scenes
In the original comic on which the novel is based, released before Alien3 was made, Wilks, Billie and the Ripley synthetic were originally Hicks, Newt and Ellen Ripley, respectively. Their identities were changed in the novel to keep the story consistent with events portrayed in the film series.
- The novel recreates several scenes from Aliens as flashbacks experienced by the synthetic Ripley.