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PANNING ACROSS THE CARGO BAY: we see a Drop-Ship sitting, waiting for action.

PANNING ACROSS THE MESS HALL / OVER THE LOCKER ROOM: with its few long tables awaiting the warmth and sound of people to sit on them and to enjoy their meals. Food dispensing machines along the back wall are silent. The lockers are closed and neat looking. Each one full with a crew members belongs. Every room silent and still. Only the rumble of the ship as it moves through space can heard quietly in the background.

INT. HYPERSLEEP VAULT: Very little light is available in the long room. What light there is casts its rays on a long row of capsules. A near-by computer terminal lights up, typing out each individual in hypersleep, one-by-one. Then, lights come to life in all the capsules.

Hydraulics lift the canopies off the row of horizontal Hypersleep Cylinders. They almost reach the ceiling and then lock open. Lit up, white and sterile.

The prone figures in the cylinders come to life. Ripley stirs. Apone sits up and immediately places his trademark cigar in his mouth. Next to Ripley, Gorman and Burke are stirring and beyond them, the troopers, wearing shorts and dog tags. They are: Master Sergeant Apone, Corporal Hicks, Corporal Dietrich (female), PFC Hudson, PFC Vasquez (female), Privates Drake, Frost, Wierzbowski and Crowe, plus the Drop-Ship crew: Corporal Ferro (female, pilot) and crew-chief PFC Spunkmeyer. In addition, there is Executive Officer Bishop, who supervises planetary maneuvering. Groans echo across the chamber. Everyone is looking around and at each other.

DRAKE: They ain't payin' us enough for this, man.

DIETRICH: Not enough to have to wake up to your face, Drake.

DRAKE: What! Is that a joke?

DIETRICH: I wish it were.

DRAKE: Hey, Hicks... you look just like I feel.

Hicks gives him a small smile. Sergeant Apone moves down the row of freezers.

APONE Awright, whattya' waitin' for, breakfast in bed? Let's go. Let's go. Another glorious day in the Corp. A day in the Marine Corp is like a day on the farm. Every meal's a banquet, every paycheck a fortune, every formation a parade. I love the Corp!

HUDSON: Man, this floor's freezing.

APONE: Whattya' want me to do, fetch you your slippers for ya'?

HUDSON: Gee, would you, sir? I'd like that.

APONE (putting his finger to his eye): Look into my eye. Fall in people! Let's go!

CROWE: I hate this job.

APONE: Crowe!

CROWE: Give me some slack, man.

APONE: Come on, Spelunk. On your feet.

The group of men and women move to their lockers near the freezers. Vasquez begins doing some chin-ups.

APONE: Alright, first ensemble is in fifteen people. Shag it!

Vasquez stops her chin-ups. Looks over at Ripley.

VASQUEZ: Hey, Mira... who's Snow White?

FERRO: She's supposed to be some kinda’ consultant. Apparently, she saw an alien once.

HUDSON: Whoopy-fucking-do! Hey, I'm impressed.

Vasquez goes back to her chin-ups. Drake joins her. Hudson stands and watches.

HUDSON Hey, Vasquez... have you ever been mistaken for a man?

VASQUEZ: No. Have you?

Vasquez and Drake stop their exercises and look at each other.

DRAKE Oh, Vasquez... you're just too bad.

She slaps Drake's open palm and it clenches into a greeting which is part contest. Playful, but rough. We sense the bond between them. She gives Drake a hard, but playful slap on the face.

INT. MESS HALL: An unconscious segregation takes place as the troopers assemble at one long table while Gorman, Burke and Ripley sit at another. Everybody is nursing a coffee, waiting for eggs from the Autochef, served by Bishop. Some get their meals by themselves. Hudson is one of them. He comes from the machine and sits down at the table with the others.

HUDSON: Hey, 'Top.' What the op?

APONE: It's a rescue mission. You'll love it. There's some juicy colonists' daughters we gotta' rescue from their virginity.

SPUNKMEYER: Shee-it. Dumbass colonists. (picking up something from his plate) What's this crap supposed to be?

FROST: Cornbread, I think.

HICKS: It's good for you boy, eat it.

FROST: Hey, I sure wouldn't mind getting me some more of that Arcturan poontang. Remember that time?

All the soldiers laugh. Frost and Hudson slap hands across the table.

SPUNKMEYER: Yeah, Frost! But, the one that you had was a male.

FROST: Hey, it doesn't matter when it's Arcturan.

HUDSON: Hey Bishop, man. Do the thing with the knife.

BISHOP: Oh please. Not again.

FROST: Yeah, do it, Bishop. Go on, man. This is great.

Bishop takes the K-Bar combat knife and puts his palm on the table next to Hudson. Before Bishop can start, Drake comes up and pushes Hudson's hand forward on the table. Bishop places his hand precisely on top Hudson's hand.

HUDSON: Hey, man. Whattya' doing. Come one. Quit messin'

DRAKE: Hudson, shut up!

HUDSON: Bishop! Hey, man.

DRAKE: Do it, Bishop.

HUDSON: Hey, not me man.

DRAKE: Yeah, you.

HUDSON: Hey, come on. Quit messin' around. Come on!

DRAKE: Don't move.

BISHOP: Trust me.

Bishop proceeds to stab the point down rapidly between his and Hudson's spread fingers, speeding up until the knife is a blur, as the other's cheer. Inhumanly fast and precise.

HUDSON: Wooooooooooooow!

APONE: Alright, knock it off! Knock it off.

BISHOP: (to Hudson) Thank you.

Drake moves Hudson's food tray back in front of him, then slaps him on the arm.

DRAKE: Enjoy your meal.

Drake walks back to his spot at the table. Hudson is white, his mouth hangs open in disbelief.

HUDSON: That wasn't funny, man!

Across the room, at the other table, Gorman sits with his creases perfect. Bishop comes up and takes a seat beside Ripley. He hands around a tray with cornbread on it.

BISHOP: Mr. Gorman?


BISHOP: Mr. Burke?

BURKE: Yeah, thanks.

At the soldiers' table, everyone watches the small group of high-ranks eat.

HICKS: Looks like the new lieutenants too good to eat with the rest of us grunts.

FROST: Boy's definitely got a corncob up his ass.

Back at the groups' table, Bishop holds up his hand and examines a tiny cut closely.

BURKE: I thought you never missed, Bishop?

To Ripley's horror, a trickle of white synthetic blood runs down his finger. Ripley spins on Burke, her tone accusing.

RIPLEY You never said anything about an android being on board! Why not?!

BURKE: It never occurred to me. It's common practice. We always have a synthetic on board.

BISHOP: I prefer the term 'artificial person' myself.

BURKE: Right.

BISHOP: Is there a problem?

BURKE: I'm sorry. I don't know why I didn't even... Ripley's last trip out, the syne...'artificial person' malfunctioned...

RIPLEY: Malfunctioned?!

BURKE: A few problems and a few deaths were involved.

BISHOP: I'm shocked. Was it an older model?

BURKE: Hyperdyne Systems 120-A/2.

Bishop turns to Ripley, very conciliatory.

BISHOP: Well, that explains it. The A/2's were always a bit twitchy. That couldn't happen now with our behavioral inhibitors. It is impossible for me to harm or, by omission of action, allow to be harmed, a human being. (smiling) Sure you don't want some.

WHAM! Ripley knocks the plate of cornbread out of his hand, halfway across the room.

RIPLEY: Just stay away from me, Bishop! You got that straight?!

Burke and Gorman exchange glances.

Frost, at the next table, shrugs and turns back to the other troopers.

FROST: I guess she don't like the cornbread either.

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