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Tin Warrior is a 2017 short story written by John Shirley, published by Titan Books as part of the anthology Predator: If It Bleeds. It centers on Sergeant Nialls, who is part of a top secret research program developing a combat exosuit for American troops, derived from Yautja technology. While testing the suit, his Yautja opponent stages a dramatic escape, and Nialls is tasked with hunting down and stopping the rampaging creature.

Plot

At the top secret Area 57 research facility, Sergeant Nialls prepares to test the Mark III exosuit, a lightweight, powerful combat suit developed from captured Yautja technology. The test is to pit him against an unarmed Yautja prisoner in single combat; while apparently routine, Nialls is concerned that the exercise may in fact be a means for his superior officer, General Ervin Dault, to exact some form of retribution after Nialls testified against one of Dault's personnel over a sexual assault incident at the base.

Nialls enters the test area, a large field enclosed by a high concrete wall, and faces his opponent. Hampered by his orders not to seriously harm the creature, Nialls is soon overpowered by the Yautja; within seconds, it has him pinned to the floor and begins smashing at the faceplate of his armored helmet with its Wristblades. When the snipers overseeing the test — Dault's men allegedly there to keep Nialls safe — fail to intervene, Nialls ignores his orders and attempts to blast the Yautja off of him using his hand-held Plasmacaster. However, the creature grabs the weapon and deflects it, the blast instead blowing a hole in the perimeter wall. Before Nialls can react, the Yautja is gone, gunfire and screams ringing out from beyond the breach.

In the aftermath, Dault confronts Nialls, blaming him for the incident, and immediately tasks him with hunting the escaped creature down. With the Mark III's plasmacaster destroyed during the test, Nialls arms himself with a rifle and heads out in a Humvee driven by his friend and fellow soldier Ramirez. After they leave, Dault secretly meets with Javitz, one of the snipers who failed to protect Nialls during the test, and gives him orders to pursue and eliminate Nialls once the Yautja is dead, thereby tying up any loose ends.

Nialls and Ramirez track the Yautja across the desert and discover that it has slaughtered a rancher living adjacent to a nearby military hanger before breaking inside. They follow, but are attacked by a Stryker driven by Javitz; Ramirez is killed, the Humvee is destroyed and Nialls loses his weapon. Nialls' situation seems hopeless until the Yautja suddenly reappears, boarding the Stryker and killing Javitz. It deduces how to operate the vehicle and hijacks it for itself, turning away from Nialls and heading for the nearby hangar. Meanwhile, Nialls is picked up by Lieutenant Curson, his immediate superior in the testing program, who has realized Dault's duplicity.

Nialls arrives at the hanger and breaks in just in time to see the Yautja lift off in the captive Yautja vessel being held inside. Unable to pursue, Nialls and Curson help with the immediate clean-up. As they head back to Area 57 afterwards, the Yautja ship suddenly swoops overhead, and they watch as it strafes Area 57, destroying most of the compound before departing for good. Realizing Dault is dead, Nialls and Curson head away from the flaming facility, hoping to share a drink.

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