Reaper is a 2017 short story written by Dan Abnett, published by Titan Books as part of the anthology Aliens: Bug Hunt. It follows a contingent of Colonial Marines sent to investigate a giant harvesting machine on the planet LV-KR 115 that has fallen mysteriously silent.
Colonial Marines from the USS Montoro are sent to the agricultural planet LV-KR 115 to investigate the loss of contact with one of the two colossal harvesting machines operating there. While the unit's leader, Captain Broome, heads to the second harvester, Lieutenant Teller leads a second group towards the primary target, aware that the operation is a test of his potential leadership abilities. Their dropship encounters a severe storm on the way in, rendering pilot Canetti blind and forcing him to fly via instruments alone. Despite the hazardous conditions, Canetti manages to set his vehicle down on the now stationary harvester's landing pad.
Teller leads his squad into the harvester, saving a Private named O'Dowd who is almost blown over the side of the landing pad during the storm. Once inside, the Marines find the harvester powered down and seemingly deserted. As the squad travels further into the huge machine, the Marines make many bizarre discoveries — the exteriors doors have been welded shut from the inside, environmental suits are missing while the glass helmets have been left behind, wiring has been stripped out, and metal components from everyday items (such as a belt buckle and eye rings from a pair of work boots) are found lying on the floor.
The squad reaches the machine's bridge and discover that the exterior windows have been scoured to the point of becoming totally opaque. One of the Marines manages to power up the main computer and access a tracking record for the harvester. The information retrieved corroborates their mission briefing — prior to stopping altogether three weeks previously, the harvester had been moving off course for nine weeks. Investigating further, the log reveals that the machine hit something buried in the ground prior to going off-course, causing minor damage to the harvesting machinery. However, the entry does nothing to explain the harvester's subsequent movements or current condition.
Only when the squad finds an image in the log of the object the harvester hit does one of the Marines, Rogers, realize what has happened — the object was a nest, and when the harvester struck it it sliced off the top of the structure, opening it to the planet's atmosphere and unleashing the creatures within. The voracious locust-like organisms subsequently found a planet newly terraformed by Weyland-Yutani and now entirely covered in abundant crop life, leading to a population explosion. The monstrous swarm of creatures has subsequently scoured the area clean, stripping and devouring anything organic, including the harvester's crew and their clothes — minus metal parts such as belt buckles. As if to drive home the horror of the creatures' feeding frenzy, the Marines find four of the harvester's crew dead inside storage lockers on the bridge — the men sealed themselves inside and starved to death rather than emerge and become food for the aliens.
Teller immediately calls an abort to the mission, but it is too late. As the squad attempts to leave, the swarm arrives, devouring Canetti in an instant and pouring into the harvester through the doors the Marines opened. As Teller and his squad scatter in panic, one Marine named Bose makes a futile stand, firing into the onrushing swarm until it envelops and shreds him.
- Reaper shares its name with the comic book Aliens: Reapers. In fact, the term "reaper" has appeared several times in the Alien franchise, also being the name of the titular Reaper species from the comic, the name of the Reaper pistol featured in the novel Alien: Sea of Sorrows, and the name of the elite anti-Yautja team in the novel The Predator: Hunters and Hunted.
- Reaper is one of eight stories in Aliens: Bug Hunt that does not actually feature the Xenomorph.
- The story is also one of several in Bug Hunt that includes an alien species other than the Xenomorphs — specifically, the locust-like aliens that devour the inhabitants of LV-KR 115. Other examples in the book include the various flora and fauna discovered by the crew of the Typhoon in Chance Encounter, the flying aliens in Blowback, the parasitic insects in Exterminators, the Blue Moon Centipedes in Darkness Falls, the mechanical alien that attacks the Shiname Maru in Distressed and the fire spites in Spite. Prior to Bug Hunt, such species had been something of a rarity in the Alien franchise and were chiefly limited to Aliens comics from Dark Horse; the only other literary example were the Drukathi, which first appeared in the novel Alien: Out of the Shadows and went on to feature in the Rage War trilogy.