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“Jesus!” Hicks exclaimed as the sprinklers continued dousing everyone in MedLab with water. His adrenaline was pumping, his heart beating a mile a minute as he cradled the still gasping Ripley and Newt protectively in his arms. Before he realized what he was doing he leaned forward and kissed Ripley on the temple, allowing his lips to linger on her skin. It was impulsive...reckless even, but he had to admit that it felt good to finally kiss her. Ripley turned and looked at him questioningly.

“Are you all right? Hicks asked, hoping that he hadn't crossed the line with his impetuous action.

Ripley nodded weakly. “Yes." she said hoarsely.  "Are you?”

Hicks furrowed his brow in confusion at her question until he realized that his right arm was bleeding profusely. He must have cut it when he jumped through the shattered window.

“We need to take care of that.” Ripley said matter of factly. She took off her jacket and placed it over the shivering little girl's shoulders and gave her a quick hug. “Hudson, watch Newt. Don't let her out of your sight! I'm going to grab the first aid kit.”

Hudson nodded and he took the young girl’s hand and escorted her out of MedLab. Ripley rose and went in search of the first aid kit that they'd salvaged from the APC. She returned quickly and she found Hicks pacing impatiently. Someone had turned off the sprinklers and the water was disappearing down the grates in the floor. Ripley approached him and took his hand and led him to the overturned bed. She flipped it back over and they both sat down. Ripley opened the kit, obtaining some cotton and alcohol and began to clean and sterilize the wound.

“Shit!” Hicks exclaimed, hissing as the liquid stung his open wound.

“Sorry.” Ripley said apologetically. Hicks looked up and their eyes met. Ripley chuckled. “You know, for such a tough Marine you sure don't have a high threshold for pain.”

Hicks grimaced but said nothing. Once she was finished cleaning the wound, Ripley blew cool air over the wound on his tricep. The feel of her breath on his skin affected him in a very visceral way, and he squirmed uncomfortably in his seat. Jesus, Hicks thought, get yourself together.

Hicks cleared his throat. “So, why were the doors to MedLab locked?” he asked, attempting to take his mind off of how Ripley’s ministrations were affecting him physically. “Are the circuits fried?”

Ripley shook her head in disgust as she wrapped his arm in what he was sure was expertly done field dressing. “No. It was Burke. He wanted to smuggle those creatures past quarantine, and the only way he could do so without my interference was by having us and Newt.”

Hicks frowned in disbelief. “But wait a minute, we’d all know…”

Ripley sighed. “I would bet that he planned to sabotage your freezers on the way back, then he would jettison your bodies and then make up any story he liked.”

“Jesus!” Hicks shot to his feet in an instant. “That son of a bitch...he’s dog meat...I’ll kill him myself!” Hicks snarled angrily. He turned quickly towards the door, but Ripley’s hand on his arm forestalled him.

“No! He has to come back with us...I’m going to make sure that he pays for this.”

Hicks’ body was as tense as a coiled spring. He felt Ripley’s gentle hand slide down his arm and squeeze his hand reassuringly.

“Sit down.” Ripley ordered calmly. “We’ll deal with him later. First, I need to finish your dressing.”

Hicks exhaled angrily and reluctantly sat back down on the bed. Ripley sat next to him and continued wrapping the bandage around his upper arm.

They sat in silence: Hicks was clearly still fuming about Burke, and Ripley was trying to focus on the task at hand and not on the close proximity of the handsome young Marine whose well-muscled arm she was currently bandaging.

“Hicks?” Ripley said suddenly, clearing her throat. “About what happened before.”

Hicks looked up in surprise. “What?” His expression quickly switched to one of deep embarrassment. “Oh, right! Sorry about that. I got carried away.”

Ripley shook her head, her eyes focused on his arm. “Don't be.” She finished the field dressing and looked up and saw that Hicks was studying her face with an inscrutable expression.

“Listen, Hicks…” Ripley began.

“Dwayne.” Hicks interrupted. “It’s Dwayne.”

Ripley raised her eyebrows in surprise at his admission. “Ellen.” She hadn't told anyone her first name in a long one ever asked.

“Ellen.” Hicks said softly. She watched in fascination as his perfect mouth pronounced her name.

“What happened before...I know that there is this thing between you and I...”

Hicks nodded slowly in agreement. “Right.”

“...but I don't think that it would be good for us to act on it”

Hicks furrowed his brow in confusion. “Why not?”

“Well for starters I'm old enough to be your grandmother.” Ripley said, chuckling nervously.

Hicks smirked. “Chronologically maybe. But biologically you're what, thirty?”


Hicks smiled. “See. That ain't so bad.”

“And you are what, twenty-five, twenty-six?”


Ripley’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “Really? Why are you only a corporal?”

Hicks sighed. “That’s a long story.”

This intrigued her, but she knew enough not to push for answers.

“Listen Ripley...Ellen. I like you. And unless I’ve misread things, you like me too.”

Ripley regarded him in silence but a tell-tale blush appeared on her cheeks.

Hicks continued, “Now Bishop is going to try but let's face it...we may not get off of this rock alive. We’ve done everything we can to keep those bastards out of here but they could very well get us.”

Ripley looked down and studied her hands. Hicks reached over and took one of her hands in his and squeezed it, rubbing his thumb gently over the back of her hand. Ripley looked up and met his intense gaze.

“We may not have much time left, Ellen.”

Ripley stared into his eyes and found herself being drawn to him. Without thinking she took a hold of his face by his jaw and pulled it towards her, kissing him full on the lips...his perfectly formed lips. He responded instantly, wrapping his arms around her and crushing her body to his chest. Ripley grunted uncomfortably, Hicks’ battle armor digging into her ribs.

“Take it off.” Hicks said huskily while still kissing her urgently.

“Are you sure?” Ripley asked, reluctantly pulling back so that she could see his face. Hicks nodded and their eyes met. Ripley felt something stir inside of her...something primal. She immediately began unfastening Hicks’ armor and he pulled it over his head and laid it down nearby. Their eyes met again and this time Hicks initiated the kiss, placing his hands on her face and kissing her hungrily. He parted her lips with his tongue and thrust his tongue deep inside her mouth. Ripley moaned and threw her arms around him, digging her fingers into his hair.

Hicks withdrew first and gazed at her, sizing her up to see how she wanted to proceed. Ripley nodded encouragingly, her warm smile inviting him to continue.

They both knew that they were on borrowed time and that removing their clothing was not an option. Hicks leaned forward, urging Ripley to lie on her back on the small bed. Hicks untucked Ripley’s shirt and then ran his hand all the way up underneath her undershirt to cup her breasts one at a time. At the same time he nuzzled her neck, kissing every available inch of her smooth skin. The feeling of his hot breath and lips on her skin tickled and made her arch her back. Ripley took the opportunity to slide her fingers beneath Hicks’ fatigues, feeling his well-muscled chest and back. She next slid her hands down over his ass, giving it a good squeeze and then moving them around to the front of his pants. She unzipped his pants and reached inside to grab his dick, running her hand up and down its length. Hicks in turn unfastened Ripley’s pants, sliding them, as well as her tiny bikini briefs off of her hips. He quickly positioned himself and entered her, penetrating her swiftly and deeply, causing her to cry out as the sensations overwhelmed her.

“Are you all right?” Hicks asked, looking into her eyes, his brow furrowed in concern.

Ripley nodded emphatically. “Yes, it’s just been a long time.”

Hicks nodded in understanding and he began thrusting into her, gently at first, but then he slowly increased in speed and intensity. Ripley wrapped her long legs around his waist, bringing him even closer and allowing him easier access. Ripley grabbed his hair as Hicks kissed her on the mouth again passionately. Hicks continued thrusting hard and fast into her and it wasn't long before they had both reached their climax. Hicks shuddered and collapsed on top of her.

Sooner than she would have liked, Hicks rolled off of her and began righting his uniform. Ripley sat up and tucked in her shirt. She watched in fascination as Hicks’ arm muscles flexed while furiously buttoning his shirt and then putting his hefty battle armor back on.

“Dwayne, can I ask you a question?” Ripley said suddenly.

Hicks looked up in surprise. “Sure. What is it?”

“That heart and padlock on your armor...what is that supposed to mean? I know you Marines all like to personalize your armor, and Hudson has what I presume is his girlfriend’s name on his. Is that…” Ripley said, pointing at the red heart painted on his breastplate, “supposed to warn all of the girls you meet that your heart can't be touched?”

Hicks’ face turned red and he looked away, embarrassed. “Something like that. You've gotta understand, Ellen…”

Ripley smirked. “No no no, I get it. You must get quite a few 'Arturians and colonists’ daughters' throwing themselves at you.”

Hicks groaned and covered his face with his hands. “You heard that?”

Ripley laughed. “I couldn't help it. You all were so loud, and my attention was drawn to the hot young Marine sitting at the end of the table.”

Hicks smiled, pleased with her compliment. “Well now Ellen, may I ask you something?”

Ripley nodded. “Of course. What is it?”

“Where is that locator I gave you?” Hicks teased, pointing at Ripley’s noticeably naked wrist.

“Oh!” Ripley exclaimed, embarrassed. “I gave it to Newt. I figured she needed it more than me. I hope you don't mind.”

Hicks chuckled. “It’s fine. I’m just going to have to make sure not to let you out of my sight ever again.”

Ripley frowned. “I don't want you to compromise your safety or the safety of the others because of me. I can take care of myself.”

Hicks grinned. “I know that. I just mean that if we get off of this rock, that I should find something more substantial to give you. Something that you won't be willing to give away so easily...a ring maybe?” Hicks said with uncharacteristic shyness.

Ripley’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “A ring? You know I’m almost three times your age.”

Hicks shook his head and laughed. “Ellen, we've been over this! And as far as I can tell, everything worked just fine between us...great in fact.”

Ripley blushed. “That’s true.” She looked into Hicks’ intense green eyes. “You would want to be with me...and Newt? She has no one else and I’m going to try to adopt her.”

Hicks nodded earnestly. “Absolutely.”

Ripley chuckled. “Well I guess that the lock is going to have to come off of your armor.”

Hicks shrugged and then grinned. “I guess so.” He stood up and held out his hand. “Come on. We need to get back to Operations.”

Ripley took Hicks’ proffered hand and stood. To her surprise Hicks didn't relinquish her hand and they walked wordlessly together back towards Operations hand in hand. He stopped just outside the door and surprised her by kissing her on her forehead. He then turned and strode into Operations with Ripley following closely behind, her hand still discreetly clutching his behind his back. When they entered the room, Hudson immediately bounded over to them and clapped Hicks on the back. Ripley instinctively dropped Hicks’ hand.

“Fuckin’ a man!” Hudson said grinning ear to ear, looking at the two of them.

Ripley and Hicks exchanged confused glances. “What is it Hudson?” Hicks asked.

Hudson leaned close to them and whispered. “I figured out why we didn't see Ripley on the monitor in MedLab earlier. Someone must've turned it off! Well anyway, I turned it back on and...fuckin’ a man, fuckin’ a!

Ripley snickered and turned beet red. Hicks cleared his throat, clearly mortified to have been seen in flagrante by a subordinate. “Did anyone else see?” Hicks whispered conspiratorially.

“Nah, I distracted them with some stupid shit. You two should be more careful!” Hudson said waggling his eyebrows with a wicked grin.

Ripley chuckled and she immediately sought Hicks’ hand, squeezing it reassuringly. Hicks looked over his shoulder at her and smiled warmly.

It was at that moment that the lights went out in the complex.

Ripley gasped. “They cut the power!” 

“What do you mean THEY cut the power?" Hudson cried. "How can they cut the power, they're animals?” 

Hicks snapped to attention immediately. “Hudson, you and Vasquez check the corridors. MOVE!”

“Gorman, watch Burke.” Ripley commanded, following Hicks who was scurrying about the room in search of weapons. At the lieutenant's confused look, she stopped to clarify. “I’ll explain later. Newt, stay close!"

The little girl jumped down from the table she was sitting on and came running over to join Ripley and Hicks, holding the torch she'd been given. Hudson and Vasquez went out into the corridors with their motion trackers, the signals blinking wildly, indicating that the xenomorphs were closing in fast. Hicks called them back into the room and he and Vasquez sealed the door shut.

Hicks looked at Ripley with a look of resignation and sighed.

“It's game time.”