Operation: Aliens is a trading card-format comic that was published by Dark Horse Comics as part of the Aliens/Predator Universe trading card set from Topps in January 1994. It was written by Jerry Prosser, and illustrated and colored by Den Beauvais.
In the Aliens comics line, Operation: Aliens was preceded by Aliens: Cargo, published concurrently with Aliens: Colonial Marines, Aliens: Earth Angel, Aliens: Crusade, Aliens: Labyrinth, Aliens: Alien and Aliens: Music of the Spears, and was followed by Aliens: Stronghold.
The comic consists of 15 trading cards (A1-A15), each with original artwork by Den Beauvais on the front side and text by Jerry Prosser on the rear. Together they form a short story set within the Alien universe. Certain elements in the comic are derived from the Aliens toy line from Kenner.
Scientists studying the Xenomorphs at Grant Corporation Station 13 send out a distress call when their specimens get loose and begin rampaging through the base. The signal is passed on to Lieutenant Roberta Benitez of the United States Colonial Marine Corps, who is ordered to mount a rescue and "sterilization" mission. Benitez and her Marines land on the moon base and begin the search for survivors. They are soon attacked by Xenomorphs and forced deeper into the complex, taking casualties along the way. Several of the Aliens they encounter are strange new forms resembling Bulls, Gorillas, and Snakes, created by the scientists through gene splicing.
Benitez and her remaining men find a surviving scientist and make their escape, passing through the Hive and killing the Xenomorph Queen along the way. They make it to the dropship and take off, but are attacked by a Flying Queen. The pilot successfully kills the creature with missiles, before returning to their starship in orbit and destroying Station 13 with a nuclear strike. Benitez sends off her mission report, lamenting the loss of two good men, solemnly concluding, "When will we learn?"
- "Video uplink.. Emergency channel. Priority Blue. Code OP PROMETHEUS. Transmission contents as follows: My God they're loose! This is Grant Corporation Station 13. There aren't many of us left...survivors going into radiation shelters deep under station. You've got to help us! What have we... End Transmission."
- ―Transmission A1.
- "Lieutenant Benitez cleared her throat, still dry and chalky from an extended hypersleep. "There you have it, folks, last message we've received from Station 13. Control hasn't monitored any transmissions since this one. But, Control wants inspection and possible sterilization. Any questions?" Corporal Simmons asked, "What are the chances we'll find any survivors?" "
- ―Transmission A2.
- "With a practiced but tenuous calm, Lieutenant Benitez said, "Slim. A while back I was on a survey mission with a group of corporate techs. People started disappearing. One or two a night. Silently. After a week, only four of us were left. Then they came. I was the only survivor.""
- ―Transmission A3.
- "Grant Corporation Station 13 was on a moon in a mostly unsurveyed sector. The atmosphere was breathable, but tasted of copper and lemons. "Everybody maintain personal locator and radio contact. I don't want anybody getting separated." Benitez said. "Anderson, dust off as soon as we're clear. Be here ready for pickup.""
- ―Transmission A4.
- ""Looks like a real war zone." Simmons said. Benitez felt an old fear prick at the dead nerves of her scared face. "Some kind of molecular acid. The creature use it for blood. Don't get any on you. Believe me." Laswell spoke up, "Can the chatter, Marines, I'm picking up movement on my tracker.""
- ―Transmission A5.
- "Benitez only saw a hint of shadow out of the corner of her eye, blacker than black, before the creatures fell on the squad with a silent, primal ferocity. The Marines' pulse rifle broke the the silence and the dark, but the creatures kept coming."
- ―Transmission A6.
- ""Go! I'll follow." Simmons yelled as he opened fire. The way out was blocked. Simmons knew the squad's only chance was to head deeper into the complex. Simmons knew he wouldn't be joining them, but felt a cold anticipation, as he prepared to sacrifice himself for his friends. He wouldn't go without a fight."
- ―Transmission A7.
- "Benitez saw Laswell and Simmons fall, but they bought the squad time to escape. As Benitez ran deeper into Station 13, some of the creatures followed but they looked different than what she had encountered on Arcturus IV. Something familiar about them: a bull, a gorilla, a snake... What happened on Station 13?"
- ―Transmission A8.
- "Percy was at the computer. "I've managed to seal the lab Lieutenant." he said. Benitez checked one of the scientists. "This one's alive. Barely. Percy, can you find us a way out of here?" "There's an access tunnel on the other side of the lab. I've also found files on gene-splicing and these creatures.""
- ―Transmission A9.
- "Benitez understood. Had Grant Corporation attempted to alter the genetic structure of the xenomorphs? Domesticate them? These scientists would never understand that pure hunger could never be controlled or imprisoned. It would always find a way to escape. As if to prove her correct, Benitez spun as she heard the sound of shattering glass..."
- ―Transmission A10.
- "Benitez and her men moved through the access corridor Percy had found on the lab's computer, only to realize they were passing through the egg chamber of an Alien hive. Percy used his flame-thrower on the Queen. Her scream were terrible. Benitez signaled to Anderson in the dropship"
- ―Transmission A11.
- "Percy was the last to reach the dropship. "I set fire to the whole works." he said. "How do you like your eggs cooked Commander?" Benitez doubted that she'd ever eat an egg again. "Anderson, get on the horn to Control. I want permission to nuke the site from orbit.""
- ―Transmission A12.
- "Benitez didn't have long to wonder about the military's connection to Station 13. Control quickly granted permission for "sterilization". It wouldn't look good to the folks back home if word got out about genetic experiments with Aliens. As Anderson armed the missiles, a shadow fell over the ship. A flying Queen!"
- ―Transmission A13.
- "The Queen attacked the flying object. Retribution for the terrible, burning deaths of her beloved offsprings. Retribution for the obscene manipulation of her brood by the soft ones. Anderson banked the ship, bringing the forward missiles into firing position...and fired. The screams of the burning Queen were lost in the moon's coppery air."
- ―Transmission A14.
- "Mission Log. Lieutenant Roberta Benitez. Two good men dead. Sterilization complete. When will we learn? End Report. End transmission."
- ―Transmission A15.
Operation: Aliens has never been collected or reissued.
Behind the Scenes
Among the elements taken from the Aliens toy line from Kenner are the special equipment used by some of the Marines, and Xenomorphs adopting traits from a variety of different hosts.
Operation: Aliens is notable as one of the few Aliens stories to depict the scientific procedure of gene-splicing to create Spliced Xenomorphs. Gene-splicing is also a plot device in Aliens: Rogue, and two Aliens crossover series: Batman/Aliens II and Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens: Splice and Dice.
- Trading card A1 of Operation: Aliens starts off with Lieutenant Benitez receiving a video transmission from Grant Corporation Station 13. The transcription of this video transmission opens with "Video uplink. Emergency channel. Priority blue. Code: OP PROMETHEUS."
- Trading card A8 makes mention of a previous encounter the Colonial Marines had with Xenomorphs on the planet "Arcturus IV", an obvious nod to Frost's line about Arcturians in the film Aliens. In reality, Arcturus is the fourth brightest star in the night sky.
- Trading card A8 depicts an unknown Xenomorph that looks like a ridge-headed Drone but lacks dorsal spines, instead having two long and slender spines at the shoulders.