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Old February 2 2013, 02:26 AM   #141
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

“Okay,” Hicks said an hour later after they had been left alone. “This translation stuff is not working—Bishop, have we still got those flash-memory units on the Sulaco?”

Gorman and Burke smiled—while Hudson and Vasquez winced. Ripley just looked confused.

“Oh. They were developed while you were . . . indisposed,” Burke said. “It is a learning tool that allows you to implant knowledge in a person’s mind. “It was going to revolutionize instruction . . . until we found out the side-effects,” he shrugged.

“Side-effects?” asked Ripley.

“Yeah,” answered Hicks. “If you use the damn thing too much, it causes irreversible brain damage. But in moderation, it allows a Marine to implant something he needs to know—like a language. They quit making them, but the Corps never recalled them—they just quit using them routinely.”

He paused. “Do we have any?”

“Twenty should be in storage—and we do have a Greek language upload available; however, the dialects differ, but it will make communication simpler.” And Bishop looked, uncomfortable. “They appear very . . . phobic about artificial life. I am having . . . difficulties understanding how these ‘Cylons’ could have done what they are claiming.”

“I’m not,” said Ripley, remembering Ash from the Nostromo. “I think it is best that we not mention you are a syn- . . . an artificial person, Bishop.”

“Well, they are already wondering why Bishop didn’t get a full scan like the rest of us,” said Hudson. “I don’t think that they bought the ‘he was never alone’ story.”

“You are all missing the point,” said Burke. “We’ve got an incredible opportunity here. We are the ones who have discovered these people, after all.”

“Actually they found us,” said Bishop.

Burke frowned. “Beside the point. Look, their technology is backward in a lot of ways, sure. But this instantaneous FTL tech, what they call jumping? This is the motherlode—if we play this right, we can come out of this richer than any of you ever dreamed.”

“We are Colonial Marines of the United Americas Alliance, Mister Burke,” said Lieutenant Gorman. “Not employees of Weyland-Yutani. We are not allowed to profit on anything we discover on a deployment—never mind that these people own the rights.”

“That’s a technicality,” said Burke as he smiled and raised his hands. “I can promise you that Weyland-Yutani will not forget the people who brought this to them?”

“Like you didn’t forget the colonists you sent out to that ship, Burke?” Ripley said. “Like you were willing to risk every one of our lives by trying to bring those alien specimens aboard the ship? What were you going to do—smuggle them past ICC Quarantine?”

“Not possible,” said Hicks. “No unknown living organism goes through quarantine—none.”

“Keep on thinking that, Corporal Hicks,” Burke grinned. “And like I said, Ripley, I made a bad call—it was a bad call. But with this? This will wash the slate clean for all of us. With exclusive rights—of which each of you will get a few percent, I’ll even include the little girl to make up for what she’s been through—we can write our own tickets.”

“You know,” Hicks said. “They don’t strike me as the type to let themselves get taken by a snake-oil salesman, Burke. Not at all—and I think if we are going to go with them and meet their President, you need to tone down your greed. It shows.”

President,” Burke laughed. “It isn’t governments that make things work—it is the corporations. They’ll understand that—it’s how things are done.”

Ripley shook her head. “Only for us, and only today, Burke. Didn’t they teach you history?”

“History is written by the victors, Ripley.”

“Yes it is, Mister Burke,” said Gorman. “And frankly, we aren’t the right people to be making this contact with the Colonials. When we get back aboard Sulaco, I am going to inform the Commandant as regulations stipulate, and the Alliance can send out trained diplomats. Hopefully they will get here before the vultures from the Three Worlds Empire, the China-Asian Congress, the Soviet Pact, the Pan-African Assembly, the Caliphate, or the Federated European Union arrives on scene.”

“You do that and we all get cut out. No one will get rights, the government will step in and sell it off piece by piece to the highest bidder!” sputtered Burke. “You are throwing away a fortune.”

“But I’m keeping my soul, Mister Burke,” Lieutenant Gorman said quietly. “It isn’t all about money. Bishop, let’s see if Major Caldwell will let us go back to Sulaco and place a call—or if we are actually prisoners here.” And he looked directly at Burke and glared at him. “And while we are there, I will authorize a nuclear strike on the alien ship that Ripley and Nostromo found. It’s the only way to be sure.”

Burke sputtered, but the other Marines smiled at Gorman and nodded, even Ripley. But then Vasquez grinned and she leaned in close. “You’re still an asshole, you know that? But you’re an okay asshole, Gorman. A Marine asshole.”

Last edited by MasterArminas; February 2 2013 at 02:46 AM.
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