Xenomorph Life Cycle
There are several different phases to a Xenomorph's life-cycle, and what kind of adult Xenomorph will come into existence depends entirely on the being that it hatches from.
Eggs are lain by an Alien Queen, and exiting her body through an overgrown egg sack. The egg is a leathery sack approximately 2.5 feet tall. They are the very simple first step in the Xenomorph life cycle.
The Facehugger is what lays inside the egg. After a certain amount of time or if a host were to come too close to an egg, the Facehugger inside senses it through pheromones, and the egg opens up like a blossoming flower with the Facehugger launching itself out and planting itself onto the host's face.
Its long tail will wrap around the host's neck, and it will grip the head with its long eight legs - the Facehugger resembles a flat spider, in a sense. It has acidic blood and will bleed the acid on its victim if cut, and if attempts are made for it to be pried off, its tail tightens around the host's neck and a chemical will cause them to go into a cardiac arrest. The Facehugger also makes its host unconscious with oxygen deprivation. Once the Alien embryo is planted into the host's body, the Facehugger will detach, and die shortly afterwords. The host will wake up with no recollection to the event.
As time passes, the egg that was planted inside of the host will begin to stir. Then, it will begin to claw its way out of the host's chest, through the center of his ribcage. This obviously causes extreme pain, and as soon as the Chestburster breaks through, the host dies. It will then flee at top speeds to grow into its adult form and become even more dangerous. Its appearance changes in its variations, but it is small, with an elongated cranium, pale or dark skin, and a long tail - almost like a snake. Basically, Chestbursters are infant versions of Xenomorphs.
There are many different kinds of Adult Xenomorphs - however, they share the same general appearance. After the Chestburster has fled, it will wait and mature, shedding its old skin to reveal the darker kind, and its head will expand backwards into a crescent shape. It will grow arms and legs, its tail will lengthen and become much stronger (even to the point of being able to impale fully grown humans), and its blood will be much more acidic. Xenomorphs have many distinguishing features, namely:
- They do not show up on infra-red scanners, as they take on the temperature of their environment (this contributes to their adaptability).
- Inside of their mouth is a second "mouth" - in appearance - however, this is its tongue, which has shown the strength to be able to punch through skulls, steel, and even the highly durable metal of the Predator species.
- They (apparently) do not have visible eyes, but can see pheromones and inverted light which would explains how they can detect cloaked Predators and see in the dark.
Xenomorphs are the stuff of nightmares - they are vicious, cannot be reasoned with, and will never, ever give up. They operate entirely on the instinct to survive and propagate their race, but are surprisingly intelligent, able to remember through genetic memory their host's life and past. They communicate with a Queen and each other through changing pheromones and/or sub-supersonic sounds.
There are several variations of adult Xenomorphs, as they take on the characteristics of the host from which they hatch in order to better adapt to their environment. Countless varieties have been proposed throughout the various forms of media in which Xenomorphs have been depicted. Video games have added a considerable amount of these in order to create unique enemies of differing strengths and capabilities for players to fight. These variations are typically the result of Xenomorphs hatching from different kinds of hosts, but they also sometimes result from genetic tampering with the Xenomorphs by organizations seeking to exploit the race's unique abilities.
There are a select few that are most often depicted however, namely:
- The most well-known are the "Warrior" brood. These are the ones that appeared in both the Alien and Aliens films - they have the long crescent head, dark skin, sharp claws, and deadly tongues; and they are the result of Xenomorphs hatching from humans, or at least beings with characteristics similar to humans..
- The next type was the "Runner" - this is the Xenomorph that appeared primarily in Alien 3. This brood is especially fast and agile, and is also known as the Dog Alien for having hatched from a dog. It appears to only hatch from quadrupedal hosts.
- An especially unique brood appears in Alien Resurrection - an Alien that is half human/half-Xenomorph. It looked more human than other Xenomorphs, as it had no tail, normally walked on two legs, and its skin wasn't black. It looked somewhat like a human newborn baby. It was created through the unintentional gene-splicing that occurred when Ellen Ripley was cloned in order to retrieve the adolescent Alien Queen that had been inside her when she died. The Alien Queen wound up getting Ripley's reproductive genes, receiving a degree of human DNA, with some Xenomorph genes used to fill in the gaps. This was a genetic aberration however, and was undoubtedly the only one of its kind to ever come into existence.
There are two types of Predaliens. One looks like an Alien with a spike-covered turtle shell. Not much is known of of this type except that it's resistant to low-caliber ammunition.
The other type was created when a Facehugger latched onto a Predator's face, causing the offspring to be a hybrid between Alien and Predator. The Predalien looks much the same as an ordinary Alien, except it has Predator mandibles on its mouth and has the enlarged forehead of a Predator with black dreadlocks coming out. The Queen breed of Predaliens also doesn't require a Facehugger to harvest new Aliens, as it's capable of projecting Xenomorph embryos directly into hosts - in one case, up to twenty embryos were planted by a Predalien Queen into a pregnant human female host. Predaliens also appear to be stronger than both standard Xenomorphs and Predators, as one was shown to be capable of pinning a Predator up against a wall with only one hand.
The Queen is the center of all Xenomorphs in the colony - it is what births them, and it is the strongest, largest, and fastest of them all. When it's mounted in a structure constructed by either her or her servants, it is stuck in place, and births the eggs from which the Facehuggers launch. However, it can detach itself in a painful manner from its confines , and stand fully tall if necessary. Its appearance is like that of an adult Xenomorph, except that it has a large and wide head crest, it has 4-6 arms - with two extremely small while two or four others are long and powerful - as with its legs, and it is the size of over three humans standing on top of one another.
The Queen's only job is to propagate the Xenomorph race by laying as many eggs as possible. The Queen comes with a huge "sack" in which Xenomorph eggs are made and stored until they are laid. When the queen is in danger, angered, or needs to move her hive, she will separate from the egg-producing sack.
All other Xenomorphs serve the Queen by protecting her, building her hive, and bringing her hosts for her eggs to use to make more Xenomorphs. When separated from a Queen however, Xenomorphs tend to become entirely feral and will do nothing but slaughter anything that is not their own species. A lone Xenomorph can therefore be at times even more dangerous than a group of them.
Connection To Predators
Xenomorphs and the Yautja (Predators) have a long history with one another. The Yautja hunt Xenomorphs for sport, as well as for rights of passage. They will, when in need of a new Queen, raid a Xenomorph colony and steal one. They will then forcibly use that Queen to make eggs, and then they will plant the eggs on a planet. Inevitably, a Xenomorph outbreak will occur, in which the Yautja will send their rookie Hunters to the planet to claim their first kills. After the Yautja return from their first hunt, another group of experienced hunters will come and exterminate all trace of the Xenomorphs, returning the planet to its natural balance.
However, occasionally a few Xenomorphs escape the slaughter. If that were to occur, the planet can become overrun and is lost to the creatures.
Aliens: Cauldron - Space: the most hostile environment in the universe. In the cargo hold of the spaceship Virginia, a hive of hibernating aliens begins to awake. Meanwhile, on the Umiak, an elite troupe of cadets is forced into servitude by an unscrupulous captain taking the ship to a smuggler's rendezvous with the eerily silent Virginia. When the cadets unsuspectingly transport the aliens onboard, they start a battle for their lives, fighting the smugglers, the captain, and the monsters who among them. The war is about to begin . . .
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- Publication Date: June 13, 2007
Aliens: Criminal Enterprise - Thomas Chase wakes up from cryosleep to his first day at a new job--as a pilot for a contraband drug company dropping a shipment on Fantasia, a rock-planet terraformed to hide an elaborate drug manufacturing operation. Everything from synthetic heroin to MX7 is cooked here, in protected caves guard-dogged by the savage Aliens.
When Chase's craft touches down on Fantasia, a chain of events begins that cannot be stopped. As criminals and competitors try to take over the drug empire from the dangerous kingpin, Chase and his brother Pete are caught in the crossfire . . . with the Aliens adding blood to the mix.
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- Publication Date: May 17, 2006
Aliens: No Exit - After thirty years of cryogenic sleep, Detective Anders Kramm wakes to a changed world. The alien threat has been subdued. Company interests dominate universal trade. Terraforming is big money now, with powerful men willing to do anything to assure dominance over other worlds.
But Kramm has a secret. He knows why The Company killed twelve of its top scientists. He knows why the aliens have been let loose on the surface of a contested planet. He knows that the information he has is valuable, and that The Company will do everything it can to stop him from telling his secret to the world.
Haunted by memories of the brutal murder of his family, Kramm is set adrift amid billion dollar stakes . . . with aliens around every corner, waiting for him to make a mistake.
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- Publication Date: October 03, 2007