Title: Let Them Try
Author: Keira Marcos
Prompt: Character – Ellen Ripley
Word Count: 1096
Warning: No beta
Summary: She has a family now.
– – – –
“Wait.” Hicks reached out for her just as she was about to close his stasis pod. His hand wrapped around her wrist.
Ripley focused on his face and found his eyes dark with worry and no small amount of pain. They couldn’t mix pain relief with the stasis process which she regretted. “Let me put you in stasis, so you’ll stop hurting, Hicks.”
“Dwayne,” Ripley repeated. “I know. I read your file. I read everyone’s file.” She covered his hand with hers, and his grip on her wrist lessened.
“I figured,” Hicks murmured and licked his lips. “Check the drop ship. Check everything, Ellen. We’ll be vulnerable in these things, and we can’t trust the Company or the computer running this thing to take care of us.”
Hicks shifted and closed his eyes briefly. “Put our kid in the pod between us and activate the full security panel then link it to us both. If anything happens to her pod, we’ll both wake up.”
“Ours?” Ellen asked with a small smile.
“Yeah, ours,” Dwayne said firmly. “We got her off the planet—she’s ours and let someone tell me otherwise.” He shifted slightly. “It’ll take me three months to heal up in this pod so set us both to wake up at that point but let Newt sleep until we can make sure it’s safe.”
“What happens then?”
“We get the fuck off the ship and disappear,” Hicks said. “The Company isn’t going to use you to find those fucking things again. The trip back is six months long, they won’t know we’re gone until it’s way too late.”
“Since I got you off the planet does that make you mine, too?” Ellen asked.
“Yeah.” Hicks nodded. “Sounds reasonable.”
“What about Bishop? Should I reset his pod for the same?”
“No,” Hicks murmured. “He belongs to the Company, and I don’t know that he could override his programming as much as we’ll need. It’s best if we leave him on the ship. His pod is designed to repair damage to his structure, so he’ll be fully operational by the time the ship reaches Earth. We’ll leave him a message and perhaps he’ll have enough freedom to tell them that he was the only survivor.”
“Okay.” Ellen took a deep breath. “I’ve been alone for a long time.”
“Now you’re not,” Hick’s said.
Newt appeared at her side at that point, fresh from the showers and dressed in a t-shirt that hung to her knees. “Time to sleep?”
“Time to sleep,” Dwayne agreed. He focused on Ripley. “Remember what I said.”
“Every word,” Ellen murmured. She released his hand, and he gave her a nod before letting go of her wrist.
Ripley closed the pod and activated it, setting it for three months. The time that would pass in a blink of an eye really and turned to Newt. “You’re next.”
“Will I dream?”
“I didn’t when we traveled out here,” Ripley admitted. She helped the girl into the pod next to Hicks and brushed clean blond hair from her forehead as Newt got settled. “Did you have family on Earth?”
She shook her head. “No, I don’t think so. Besides, you’re my Mommy, now.”
“I am,” Ellen murmured and leaned down. She pressed a kiss against Newt’s forehead. “Sweet dreams, if you dream.”
Newt smiled and closed her eyes.
She closed the pod and set it for a year just to be sure and took a deep breath as she activated the security protocols as ordered. Hicks’ concern over the Company and the drop ship had put a knot in her stomach. Had the alien queen left something behind on that ship? Were there eggs waiting to be awoken? The thought was so unnerving that she went to the bridge and activated the security cameras in the docking bay. The place was a mess from the fight. There were only a few options, and she couldn’t risk going down there herself. She was the only line of defense for Newt and Hicks.
There was an escape vessel—secure and undisturbed since they’d left Earth underneath the ship, much like the one she’d used to escape the first time. The drop ship wasn’t viable for long term space travel anyway so getting rid of it entirely wouldn’t be a hardship. She wasn’t on board with leaving Bishop behind, but she’d have that argument with Hicks when the time came. They’d also need Bishop to wipe the ship’s computer so that there was no record of them ever returning to the ship at all.
All of that decided, Ellen reached out and opened the docking bay doors. Then she lowered the shield that protected all of it from the vacuum of space and watched curiously as everything but the drop ship tumbled out into space. Realizing the drop ship was moored, she found the controls necessary to deactivate the magnetic landing feet, and the drop ship was flung from the ship without fanfare. If the queen had laid eggs, it had to have been on the ship—there had no been no time to do it anywhere else.
Still, feeling a little more secure, Ellen closed the doors and reactivate the atmosphere in the docking bay. It wouldn’t hurt to check it out before she took her three-month nap. She had a family now, and absolutely nothing was going to take them from her. Not the Company and most certainly not that fucking soulless alien that had already taken so much from her.
She picked up a big gun from the armory and checked the docking bay thoroughly before going to engineering and pulling out all the relays for the communication system. The Company couldn’t control a ship they couldn’t communicate with, and that mess with Burke had proven that she’d never be able to trust them.
Ellen returned to the stasis bay, manually disabled the door from the inside and set up proximity alarms around all three pods and the door which she hooked into the security system for her pod and Hicks. Then she rolled a gurney to the side of his pod. She put an array of weapons on it for him and did the same for herself. If something woke them up—she wanted to be prepared for it.
Finally, she crawled into her pod and tucked Hicks’ spare shotgun from his locker in beside her and let stasis claim her.
The Big Short is a short-form writing challenge hosted on Rough Trade’s forum, The Workshop. The prompts come in two forms — a word challenge (the theme) and a single character challenge. I post my responses to the prompts on the forum first and eventually they’ll make it to my website. Each is a stand alone piece with no potential for expansion.
These short works are NOT prompts! These are my responses to the forum prompts. No, you cannot use them as prompts. No you cannot continue my short work with a longer work or write a sequel. For fuck’s sake.