Aliens vs. Predator: Prey is a 1994 novelization of the first Aliens vs. Predator comic book series, written by Steve Perry and Stephani Perry and published by Bantam Spectra. In the story, human colonists on the planet Ryushi are caught in the crossfire between a band of wayward young Yautja and the Xenomorphs they are hunting. In order to save the survivors, the colony's leader Machiko Noguchi is forced to team up with a Predator she christens Broken Tusk in order to put an end to the carnage.
ON A WORLD OF HUNTERS — WHO BECOMES THE HUNTED?
First the carcass of a spider-like alien is discovered. Then a rancher's family is massacred. Finally a creature unlike any ever seen is found, itself near death. It soon becomes clear that two strains of alien life have landed near the settlement of Prosperity Wells. One kind — beetle black with shells as hard as steel — have been spawned as the prey in a deadly hunt. The other — upright and smart like humans, but infinitely stronger — are the Predators.
The colonists are unarmed and vulnerable. And their prospects are suddenly very bleak. For the entire human settlement lies smack between the two varieties of monster — who will simply never stop...
The Lector, a transport ship headed for the planet Ryushi, is passed by a Yautja vessel in deep space, but the crew pass the object off as a comet. The Yautja ship, the Ne'dtessi, is also headed for Ryushi, where its commander Dachande intends to lead several inexperienced un-Blooded hunters in their first Hunt. Arriving in orbit around Ryushi, the crew use Eggs from a captive Xenomorph Queen held prisoner in the ship's hold to "seed" the planet with Xenomorph prey.
Unknown to the band of Yautja, the human rhynth-farming colony Prosperity Wells has been established on Rysuhi since they last visited. The settlement's new administrator, Machiko Noguchi, is preparing for the much-anticipated harvest, when the rhynth reared by the ranchers over the last few years will be collected by The Lector and taken off-world for slaughter. However, one of the ranchers, named Ackland, finds several of his rhynth are apparently suffering from a mystery illness, while his employee Roth discovers several dead crab-like creatures near where the animals were pastured. Not wanting to risk the harvest, Ackland keeps the incident quiet, while he has Roth lie to the colony veterinarian Dr. Kesar Revna about where she found the dead creatures.
Intrigued by the biologically unique specimens, Renva heads out to where Roth claims to have found the dead creatures to investigate. Instead of more examples, he instead discovers the Ne'dtessi and its Yaujta crew, who have set down for their Hunt. When he is discovered, Revna panics, and in attempting to flee on his speeder he accidentally crashes into the ship, destroying it and killing himself. With Dachande incapacitated by the explosion and his lieutenants killed, the young Yautja find themselves leaderless. One of their member, Tichinde, assumes command of the group, killing his peer 'Aseigan when he protests, and elects that the inexperienced Yautja will attack the humans they now realize are on Ryushi, relishing the challenge. To this end, the group assaults one of the outlying ranch houses and slaughters its occupants, the Sheldons, although their young son Bobby escapes.
At the main colony complex, The Lector arrives and loading of the rhynth begins. A large party is organized in celebration of the harvest, and even the usually uptight Machiko joins in the festivities. However, when she learns of Revna's disappearance from his wife, Dr. Miriam Revna, the colony's human doctor, she becomes concerned. These feelings are compounded when she discovers a report Kesar has written about the dead creatures Roth found, and realizes that the doctor must have gone looking for them. Her thoughts are interrupted by Scott, one of The Lector's pilots, who drunkenly propositions her. After fighting him off, the beaten Scott is helped back to the ship by Tom, the vessel's second pilot, whereupon the two are attacked by Xenomorphs born from the impregnated rhynth.
The following morning, Machiko has the colony's pilot fly her out in search of the missing Revna in the colony's copter — they discover the destroyed Yautja ship as well as the still-unconscious Dachande, whom they return to the colony. Meanwhile, the traumatized Bobby Sheldon arrives at the colony with a story of monsters slaughtering his family. When he recognizes Dachande's body and panics, Machiko realizes there must be more of the hunters on Ryushi. She leaves Miriam to tend to Dachande while she herself organizes defensive preparations for the colony. She goes to contact the crew of The Lector, but finds that the ship is infested with Xenomorphs. The emerging creatures are briefly held at bay by Gkyaun, one of the young Yautja, but the creatures soon overcome the inexperienced hunter and swarm into the colony. At the same time, the remaining Yautja attack the town, killing any colonists they find.
The surviving humans retreat inside the operations building and barricade the doors, and Machiko comes up with a plan for them to escape. She first goes to collect Miriam, who is still in her lab, only for the two to be attacked there by Tichinde. They are saved by the resuscitated Dachande, and make their escape while the two creatures fight. Dachande easily kills the traitorous Tichinde. Meanwhile, Machiko and Miriam take the copter and use the aircraft to scare the corralled rhynth out of their enclosure — the stampeding animals crush the warring Xenomorphs and Yautja as they charge through the colony. Amidst the chaos, the surviving colonists board vehicles and flee the town.
Dachande barely escapes the stampeding animals by climbing a tower; Miriam recognizes him as the one who saved them and makes Machiko try to save him. However, the copter collides with the tower and crashes. Miriam is killed in the impact, while Machiko is found by Scott and Tom, who have escaped the Hive aboard The Lector. The three encounter Dachande, who spares them out of respect for Machiko's attempt to save him, before the group is again attacked by Xenomorphs. They are forced back into the operations building, where Tom is killed by the birth of the Chestburster that had been growing inside him. Realizing he is to share his crewmate's fate, Scott has Machiko shoot him dead, but not before helping her formulate a plan to destroy the remaining Xenomorphs.
Machiko and Dachande head into The Lector, fighting their way through the Hive. While Dachande holds an escape pod, Machiko heads to the ship's bridge and programs the vessel's cargo barge, still in orbit around the planet, to plummet onto Prosperity Wells, hoping the impact and explosion will obliterate the Xenomorph scourge. As they attempt to flee they are attacked by the Hive's Queen; Dachande is mortally wounded fighting the creature, but Machiko manages to kill it by decapitating it with the escape pod's airlock door.
The pod carries Machiko and Dachande safely away from the colony before it is destroyed, the surviving Xenomorphs along with it. With his dying breath, Dachande marks Machiko with Xenomorph blood, Blooding her in recognition of her prowess in combat, before passing away. The colonists are eventually rescued from Ryushi by the United States Colonial Marine Corps, although Machiko elects to stay behind. Two years later, the Yautja return to Ryushi, and Machiko goes to meet them. Seeing the mark on he forehead, the group's leader, Vk'leita, invites Machiko to join his clan.
- Rather notably, Aliens vs. Predator: Prey was followed by two different sequels — the first, Aliens vs. Predator: Hunter's Planet, is a mostly original novel, while the second, Aliens vs. Predator: War, is an adaptation of the comic book series of the same name. Uniquely in the Alien, Predator and Alien vs. Predator franchises, these two follow-up novels are incongruous, presenting alternate, conflicting continuities for Machiko after the events of Prey.
- Prey was the first media to apply the name Yautja to the Predator race. It was also the first time the society and biology of the creatures was explored in any great detail, with author Steve Perry going so far as to develop a partial language for them that is used liberally throughout the book. Perry's take on the species would go on the feature in both sequel novels, before John Shirley would come up with his own, differing interpretation of the Predators, the Hish-qu-Ten, in Predator: Forever Midnight.
- ISBN 0-553-56555-9; First printing: [May] , Bantam Books, paperback, 259 pages