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ANNE: (turning to face them) Knock if off! If I catch either of you playing in the air ducts again, I'll tan your hides.

SISTER: Mom. All the kids play it...

JORDEN (cutting over the conversation excitedly): Hey, wait! Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait a minute! Come on, Anne. Take a look at this, will ya'.

ANGLE THROUGH FRONT CANOPY: On a bizarre shape looming ahead. An enormous bone-like mass projecting upward from the bed of ash.

Canted on it's side and buckled against a rock outcropping by the lava flow, it is still recognizable as an extraterrestrial ship. Bio-mechanoid. Non-human design.

JORDEN (close on him): Folks, we have scored big this time!

The tractor moves around the base of the vast enigma, passing under part of it that is jutting up into the air, while heading toward a gash in the hull. Newt looks up through the clear roof at the ship.

NEWT: What is it, dad?

ANGLE LOOKING DOWN INTO THE TRACTOR: Everyone is looking up with Newt at the strange object.

JORDEN: I'm not sure.

ANGLE FROM BEHIND THE FRONT SEATS THROUGH THE FRONT CANOPY. The gash in the ship is right in front of them.

JORDEN: See if we can't get a closer look at this thing. Maybe through that crack down it's side.

ANNE: Shouldn't we call in?

JORDEN: Let's wait 'til we know what to call it in as. That's as close as we can get.

CLOSE-UP ON ANNE & JORDEN as they look out the window and then at each other.

JORDEN: (to Anne) Should we take a look inside?

Anne looks at him and then at the ship with a worried, but curious look on her face.

EXT. TRACTOR / PANNING ACROSS THE LANDSCAPE TO THE TRACTOR: Jorden and Anne step down, carrying lights, packs, cameras and test gear.

ANNE: You kids stay inside. I mean it! We'll be right back.

TIM: Okay.

Newt and Anne say goodbye. Jorden closes the door and they trudge toward the alien derelict.

INT. / EXT. TRACTOR: Newt has her face to the glass of the window, steaming it. Watching her parents head to the ship.

EXT. LANDSCAPE / SHIP: ANGLE LOOKING THROUGH THE GASH TOWARD THE TRACTOR: Jorden and Anne pause at the enormous gash in the hull.

Blackness inside. They enter. Their lights playing off the walls, showing strange formations. They move deeper into the ship.

EXT. LANDSCAPE -- NIGHT: The tractor and the derelict are dark and motionless. The wind howls around them.

INT. TRACTOR: Newt looks away from the window toward Tim o.s. Tim is asleep in the front passenger seat. Newt shakes him awake, trying hard not to be to worried.

NEWT: Timmy... they've been gone a long time.

Tim considers the night. The wind. The vast landscape. He bites his lip.

TIM: It'll be okay, Newt. Dad knows what he's doing.

CRASH! Newt jumps as the drive door beside her is ripped open. A dark shape lunges inside! Anne, panting and terrified, grabs the dash mike.

ANNE: Mayday! Mayday! This is Alpha Kilo Two Four Niner calling Hadley Control! Repeat! This is....

As Anne shouts the mayday, Newt looks past her, to the ground.

Russ Jorden lies there inert, dragged somehow by Anne from inside the ship. There is something on his face. An appalling multi-legged creature, pulsing with obscene life.

Newt begins to scream hysterically, competing with the shrieking wind, which rises to a crescendo.

CUT TO: INT. RIPLEY'S APARTMENT -- GATEWAY -- DAY: Silence. A cigarette comes into view. Half it's length is ash and ready to fall. Moving up an arm, we see a face.

Ripley, looking haggard, sits at a table in the dining alcove contemplating the smoke rising from her cigarette. The place is minimal, the bed is unmade, there are dishes in the sink. Jones prowls across the counter and drops to the floor.

INT. CORRIDOR: Carter Burke and Lieutenant Gorman, Colonial Marine Corps. own the narrow, corridor as they stop in front of Ripley's door. Burke pushes the buzzer on the door. Gorman looks young and severe in his officer's parade uniform. The door opens halfway.

BURKE: Hi ya', Ripley. This is Lieutenant Gorman of the Colonial Marine Corp...

SLAM. Burke talks to the door.

BURKE: Ripley, we have to talk. We've lost contact with the colony on LV-426.

A pause, then the door opens. Ripley considers the ramifications of that as she stares at them.

INT. RIPLEY'S APARTMENT -- A LITTLE LATER: Ripley is pouring coffee for the three off them. She gives Burke and Gorman their cups.

RIPLEY: I don't believe this. You guys throw me to the wolves... and now you want me to go back out there? Forget it! It's not my problem.

BURKE: Can I finish?

RIPLEY: No. There's no way.

GORMAN: Ripley, you wouldn't be going in with the troops. I can guarantee your safety.

BURKE: These Colonial Marines are very tough hombres, and they're packing state-of-the-art firepower. There's nothing they can't handle. Lieutenant, am I right?

GORMAN: That's true. We've been trained to deal with situations like this.

RIPLEY: Well, you don't need me... I'm not a soldier.

BURKE: Yeah, but we don't know what's going on out there. It may be a down transmitter, okay. But, if it's not, I would like you there... as an advisor and that's all.

RIPLEY: What's your interest in all this? Why are you going?

BURKE: Corporation co-financed that colony. Colonial Administration. We're getting into a lot of terraforming now. Building Better Worlds...

RIPLEY: Yeah, yeah. I saw the commercial. Look, I don't have time for this. I've gotta go to work.

BURKE: Oh, right. I heard you were working the cargo docks.

RIPLEY: That's right.

BURKE: Running loaders, forklifts, that sort of thing?

RIPLEY: Yeah, so?

BURKE: Nothing. I think it's great you're keeping busy, and I know it's all you could get. There's nothing wrong with it. . . . . What would you say if I said I could get you reinstated as a flight officer? The company's already agreed to pick up your contract.

RIPLEY: If I go.

BURKE: Yeah, if you go. Come on, that's a second chance, kiddo. I think, personally for you, it would be the best thing in the world for you to face this thing. Get back on the horse . . .

RIPLEY: Spare me, Burke. I've had my psych evaluation this month.

Burke stands up and leans close, a let's-cut-the-crap intimacy.

BURKE: Yeah, I know. I've read it. You wake up every night, your sheets soaking with sweat..

RIPLEY: I said NO, and I mean it! Now, please leave. I am not going back and I'm... I wouldn't be any good to you if I did.

Burke puts his hands up to calm her.

BURKE: Okay, shhhh. Would you do me a favor and just think about it.

He slips a translucent card onto the table. Burke nods to Gorman, and they head for the door.

GORMAN: Thanks for the coffee.

Ripley stares as they leave. Then turns and goes over to feed Jones.

CUT TO: INT. APARTMENT: Ripley lunges up into frame with an animal outcry. She clutches her chest, breathing hard. Bathed in sweat. She swings her legs over the side of the bed and sits there massaging her head with her hands.

INT. APARTMENT -- BATHROOM: Ripley enters and goes to the sink. She puts water on her face. Ripley stares at herself in the mirror. Still breathing hard, but gaining control.

INT. APARTMENT / TIGHT ON PHONE CONSOLE: as Ripley's hand inserts Burke's card into a slot. Burke's face, bleary with sleep, appears.

BURKE: Hello. Ripley. You okay?

RIPLEY: Just tell me one thing. You're going out there to destroy them, right? Not to study. Not to bring back. Just to wipe them out.

BURKE: That's the plan. You have my word on it.

CLOSE-UP ON RIPLEY: taking a deep slow breath. It's time to look the demon in the eye.

RIPLEY: All right. I'm in.

She pulls the card out before Burke replies, before she can change her mind. She turns to Jones sitting on the bed and her tone becomes admonishing...

RIPLEY: And you, you little shithead, your staying here.

Jones blinks, cynical cat-eyes... "count me right out."

EXT. DEEP SPACE -- THREE WEEKS LATER: An empty star field. Metal spears slice across frame, followed by a mountain of steel. A massive military transport ship, the Sulaco. Ugly, battered... functional.

INT. CARGO LOCK: We move across the bay to the Weapons Room. The walls hold all sorts of armament and two rows of pulse rifles await use in their storage shelves.

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