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Aliens vs. Predator: Hunter's Planet is a 1994 novel written by David Bischoff and published by Bantam Spectra. A sequel to Aliens vs. Predator: Prey, the book finds Machiko Noguchi bored with her life as a low-level corporate employee on a quiet colony world, having left the Yautja pack she joined following events on Ryushi. Her fortunes change when wealthy businessman Livermore Evanston offers her employment dealing with the Xenomorphs that have begun mysteriously appearing at the private hunting colony he owns, but after accepting the job Machiko discovers Evanston is harboring an even more terrible secret of his own.

Publisher's Summary

THE WOMAN WHO COUNTED THE PREDATOR A FRIEND...

The best time of Machiko Noguchi's life came in the wake of the fight for the ranching colony on Ryushi. It was then that she ran with the Predators as a hunter among Hunters... Now she works a dead-end job with Chigusa Corporation: she's a misfit, and considered a loose canon. Restless, unhappy, she's ready to hop when the rich Livermore Evanston offers her a job.

On the amusement world Hunter's Planet, populated by genetically engineered creatures of all kinds, it seems that Predators have begun to seed Aliens — bad, real bad, for business... Machiko has unique experience of both species. What she does not know is that the planet is a cover for military development of the worst kind. Added to this is the complication of confronting Predators she once knew, and counted as friends.

Confrontation after confrontation is what's in store for Machiko until, forced into ever-narrower options, the only way for her to win, it seems, is to take control of the most deadly planet in known space...

Plot

While hunting the Xenomorphs they have seeded on a lush world, several Yautja encounter one Xenomorph that kills the pack's experienced leader, Nat'ka'pu, with a firearm. The remaining Yautja destroy the aberrant creature, after which one of their number, an individual of diminutive stature named Lar'nix'va, assumes command.

Machiko Noguchi, who for a time ran with a pack of Yautja following the inadvertent destruction of her colony on Ryushi during a Xenomorph Hunt, now finds herself stuck in a dull job on the quiet colony world of Alistair 3. She spends her days performing mindless duties behind a desk, sparring with her android assistant Attila and forlornly reminiscing about her time with the Yautja, whom she was forced to betray and abandon when they threatened more innocent human lives by staging a Xenomorph Hunt on the colony world of Gordiman.

Machiko's restless existence is interrupted when multi-billionaire Livermore Evanston arrives on Alistair 3 and invites her to return with him to the planet Blior, which he owns and on which he has established an exclusive hunting colony. While the purpose of this outpost is to provide the super rich with an exclusive hunting resort in which they can stalk and kill dangerous game from across the galaxy, it has recently become contaminated with game far too dangerous for even Evanston's purposes — Xenomorphs. Knowing of Machiko's experience with the creatures, he requests that she lead a team of mercenaries he has hired to clean up the problem. Despite feeling there is more to the situation than Evanston is letting on, the bored Machiko eagerly agrees, on the condition that Attila be allowed to accompany her.

Arriving on Blior, Machiko is offered a tour of the impressive colony, which includes a high-tech genetic engineering facility that produces many of the game animals, before meeting several members of her mercenary team, among them the loud, brash Dick Daniels and the quiet, brooding Ned Sanchez. However, Machiko's requests for a more detailed tour inside the genetics factory are repeatedly turned down, further raising her suspicions. The next day, Machiko takes a copter and reconnoiters the surrounding area, eventually coming across a group of Yautja attacking — much to her shock — a Tyrannosaurus rex. While surveying the scene she is spotted by the Yautja and forced to flee, one of the creature's pursuing her into the jungle. She is saved when Attila kills it with the copter's weapons systems, revealing hitherto unknown combat programming.

Returning to base, Machiko confronts Evanston over the T-rex's existence and again demands a tour of the genetic facility that produced it, but is instead introduced to one of the guests, lawyer Abner Brookings, who tells her that his hunting party was recently attacked by the Yautja, leaving him as the only survivor. Machicko and her mercenaries later discover another of Abner's party still alive in the jungle and bring her back to the colony. However, she is almost immediately killed when a Chestburster erupts from her, which Machiko kills before it can escape. That night, Machiko and Attila take matters into their own hands and sneak into the colony's biolab, discovering to their horror that Evanston is creating cybernetic Xenomorphs. They are detected and fired upon by the colony's security forces, and during their escape Attila is blown apart by a rocket, although Machiko is able to recover his still-functioning head.

Hiding out in the jungle, Machiko and Attila realize Evanston has to be stopped. Thus she contacts the Yautja on the planet, knowing they will respect the Blooding mark she still carries on her forehead from her time with them and hoping to recruit them to her cause. However, she is dismayed to find the Yautja are led by Lar'nix'va, whom she knows as Shorty and with whom she Hunted during her time with the Yautja, and who in turn is aware of her betrayal on Gordiman. She is forced to take Shorty on in single combat, and despite his smaller-than-average frame, the Yautja almost overcomes Machiko until Attila surreptitiously intervenes and allows her to kill the arrogant Predator and gain the respect of the others.

With the Yautja now on-side, Machiko plans their assault on Evanston's colony, contacting Sanchez and Daniels, the only mercenaries on her team that she truly trusts, and arranging for them to assist in the attack. The assault initially proceeds well, with Machiko and her Yautja allies quickly gaining access to the biolab. However, once they are inside, Evanston unleashes his synthetic Xenomorphs. Although the lumbering cyborgs initially prove little match for the highly-trained and battle-hardened Yautja, the synthetics' untested control systems are overloaded in the heat of battle and fail. Now released from Evanston's command, the cyborgs revert to more animalistic tendencies and begin rampaging through the colony, turning on the security forces and Yautja alike and killing indiscriminately. In his panic, Evanston sets the entire biolab to self destruct before fleeing his hardened bunker for his ship.

Machiko and most of the Yautja escape the explosion but are now confronted with the rampaging cyborgs. While the Yautja deal with the Xenomorphs, Machiko and Sanchez manage to secure the colony's operations center, and from there contact Evanston as he prepares to take off in his ship. They convince him to hand over the abort codes for the cyborgs, allowing them to remotely destroy the abominations and bring a halt to the slaughter. Meanwhile, Evanston is killed and beheaded by the Yautja before he can escape. With the colony now secure and most of Evanston's security team dead, Machiko and Sanchez wonder what to do with the planet they have inherited.

Trivia

  • Aliens vs. Predator: Hunter's Planet would be the last Aliens vs. Predator novel to be published in the United Kingdom by Millennium; the final Aliens vs. Predator book from Bantam, Aliens vs. Predator: War, was never published in the UK.
  • Although ostensibly an original story, Hunter's Planet includes a single chapter that adapts the comic book short story Aliens vs. Predator 2, which served as a sequel to the original Aliens vs. Predator comic series. In the novel, the events of Aliens vs. Predator 2 are presented as a flashback experienced by Machiko. Notably, Aliens vs. Predator 2 was later adapted again as part of the novel Aliens vs. Predator: War, which is otherwise an adaptation of the comic series of the same name and serves as an alternate sequel to the first Aliens vs. Predator novel, Prey.
  • The corporation behind Evanston's activities is never specifically identified in the novel — it is only ever referred to as "the Company". While Chigusa Corporation is mentioned on the back cover, this is merely said to be Machiko's original employer on Alistair 3 (as it was on Ryushi in the previous novel, Prey). Moreover, Chigusa has previously been portrayed as a fairly benign corporate entity, whereas the villainous overtones of Evanston's orgnaization are more in line with the typical methods of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation. "The company" as a nickname has also traditionally been applied to Weyland-Yutani specifically.
  • Discounting the above chapter based on Aliens vs. Predator 2, Hunter's Planet is the only Aliens/Predator/Aliens vs. Predator novel published by Bantam Books that is an original story rather than an adaptation of a pre-existing Dark Horse Comics series. In fact, it is one of only two Alien vs. Predator novels to date to be an original story, the other being Alien vs. Predator: Armageddon.

Goofs

  • When the mercenary Marino is first introduced, his first name is said to be Mishka. However, later in the story his first name is give as Jim.

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