“It was an absolute god-damn miracle,” Hicks said through Bishop’s translation, “that your ship was in place to pick up our distress call. “Although I cannot say that recognize your ships or uniforms—are you with the Federal European Union?” He couldn’t say that their reception had been anything but friendly, even though the medical equipment for the scans that Ripley had insisted each of them received was rather . . . obsolete. And his hand itched since they had confiscated all weapons and had armed guards present—but this didn’t feel like a hostage situation to the Colonial Marine.
Samantha Caldwell frowned at the translation. “We are from the Twelve Colonies of Kobol, Corporal Hicks—where are you from?”
The survivors from Acheron looked at each other and then Ellen Ripley leaned forward. “There are roughly seventy established colonies—the great majority of them mining outposts . . . I have never heard of an alliance of Colonies nor of Kobol.”
“Where are you from?” asked Samantha again—and this time, everyone heard the building excitement in her voice. And they could her senior officers frown at the non-answers.
Gorman began to speak, but then Carter J. Burke smiled and placed both his hands on the table. “These Marines are members of the United America Alliance; they were dispatched to Acheron to assist Weyland-Yutani Corporation in reestablishing contact. We had heard—rumors,” he said glancing at Ripley, “that the settlement on Acheron was in grave danger and then we lost contact. Now, as an executive of Weyland-Yutani, I am hap-. . .,”
“I want an answer—where are you from?” Samantha repeated herself.
“Earth,” said Ripley. “We left Gateway Station in Earth orbit fifty-seven days ago.”
Major Caldwell sat back in her chair, and the Terran
Marines—along with Bishop, Burke, and Ripley—could see the sudden exhilaration in her eyes.
“The Thirteenth Tribe—we’ve found the Thirteenth Tribe,” Caldwell said and Bishop dutifully translated her words. And joy broke out on the faces of those sitting on her side of the table.
“Maybe I’m missing something here,” Burke said. “What are you talking about?”
“Let me tell you a long story,” Samantha said with a smile. “In the beginning . . .”