|Release date(s)||November 1, 1995|
|Cover by||John Bolton|
|Preceded by||Aliens: Alien Harvest|
|Followed by||Aliens: Labyrinth|
Aliens: Rogue is a 1995 novelization of the comic book series of the same name, written by Sandy Schofield and published by Bantam Spectra. At the remote Charon Base research station, Professor Ernst Kleist is experimenting with Xenomorphs, seeking to genetically engineer a hybrid creature that he believes will serve as a controllable super-soldier. Caught up in the mad scientist's increasingly homicidal machinations are a squad of Colonial Marines, the station's civilian inhabitants, and commercial starship captain Joyce Palmer, at the installation on a layover between trips, all of whom will have to join forces if they hope to escape the moon alive.
Escape from Charon or die in the grip of the ultimate weapon.
Welcome to the former penal colony of Charon, where a labyrinth of underground tunnels offer shelter to an Alien hive. Professor Ernst Kleist rules — a paranoid tyrant who sees and hears all. His specialty is making humans disappear...
Captain Joyce Palmer — instantly recognizable in her yellow Harley-Davidson cap — is bound for Charon. Only she and a few hand-picked Marines can stop Kleist in his tracks. Only they can stop the professor's most insane creation — the ROGUE.
Commercial captain Joyce Palmer and her co-pilot Deegan have been hired to transport a mysterious Mr. Cray to the Charon Base research facility, a scientific outpost built within a remote asteroid that used to house a convict work camp. Palmer hopes to use the bountiful payment from the job to take a lengthy break and spend more time with her children on Earth. Upon setting down in Palmer's ship, the Caliban, the trio are met by the scientist in charge of the facility, Professor Kleist, who is experimenting with Xenomorphs that have been allowed to establish a large Hive in the miles of abandoned tunnels beneath the surface of the asteroid.
With several days to kill before returning to Earth, Joyce reacquaints herself with Hank, an old lover working at the base. Through him, she quickly learns that the local populace is living in fear — Kleist rules over the facility with an iron fist, his control enforced by his own private legion of security guards under the command of his right-hand man Larson, and civilians at the colony have begun mysteriously disappearing. Among the disappeared individuals is a close personal friend of Palmer's. In reality, unbeknownst to the populace, they missing people are being used as Xenomorph hosts and victims in Kleist's experiments.
Also stationed at Charon Base is Sergeant Green and his contingent of Colonial Marines, whom Kleist has been using to recover live Xenomorphs from the Hive whenever he requires new specimens. Months of performing these dangerous duties has reduced Green's platoon to almost half its original number, and the death of another Marine on the latest excursion into the Hive causes one of his men, Choi, to snap and aggressively threaten Kleist. Shortly afterwards, Choi is captured by Bergren, a sadistic member of Larson's security forces, shot in the leg and left in the Hive to be a host for the Xenomorphs. When Green learns his man has disappeared, he goes to confront Kleist himself, only to run into the Professor's android secretary Grace, who subdues Green before telling him that he and his men have been revealed of their duties and are free to return home. A stunned Green and his remaining men gratefully load onto a shuttle for the return trip.
However, Kleist double-crosses the Marines and remotely pilots their shuttle into the Hive, intending for the Xenomorphs to wipe them out. Green and his men discover their ammunition has been switched for useless blanks, but have no alternative but to try and press through the Hive to reach the safety of the inhabited sections of the base. Sneaking down to the lowest level of the Hive, Green and his men use explosives improvised from their blank ammunition to blast a hole through to the abandoned, uninhabited tunnels below, and then to seal the hole behind them. They escape the Hive before the Xenomorphs can catch up to them, but one of Green's men is killed in the blast.
Back in the civilian colony, Palmer and Cray are captured by Larson's men while conspiring against the Professor. During interrogation, Kleist reveals that he knows the truth about Cray's identity and why he has come to Charon Base — he is a Grant Corporation spy, intent on stealing Kleist's fruitful Xenomorph research data for his superiors. Kleist has in fact known of Cray's mission all along and has been stringing him along for years, gladly allowing Cray to leak secret Grant Corporation technologies to him as he sought to gain the Professor's trust. Now Kleist intends to brutally interrogate him for anything else of value he may know, before using him as yet another host for his Xenomorphs.
Deciding the time for talk is over and the time for action is here, several of Palmer's friends at the base launch a covert mutiny, starting by breaking Palmer out of custody. As the group splits up to recruit other willing mutineers, the final product of Kleist's research is finally revealed — a ferociously powerful male human/Xenomorph hybrid, the Rogue, created through genetic splicing using Cray's DNA and intended to produce a controllable Xenomorph super-soldier. When the creature makes contact with the Queen in the nearby Hive, it becomes enraged, smashing its way out of its cell and rampaging through Charon Base, determined to destroy her. In pursuit of the Queen, the Rogue demolishes the main airlock leading into the Xenomorph-infested sections of the base, allowing the Queen's Warriors to swarm into the civilian colony. Larson's security forces attempt to hold them off, but are rapidly overwhelmed.
As Palmer and the other civilians formulate a plan of action, they are joined by Green and his remaining men, who eagerly agree to assist in their escape from Charon. They raid the armory before splitting up, with Palmer heading for the hangar bay to secure her ship, half of the Marines heading for the living quarters to try and evacuate the innocent civilians, and Green and the remaining Marines making for Kleist's office to kill the Professor and use his extensive security system to oversee the operation. Green finds Kleist and Grace have already fled, but discovers Larson in a side room and locks him inside with a Facehugger as revenge for his dead men.
Kleist and Grace have made for the Hive via a secret tunnel, the Professor determined to witness the battle between his creation and the Queen. However, the Queen defeats and kills the Rogue, causing Kleist to attack her with a Sound Cannon device designed to paralyze her. The device fails, Grace is torn apart and Kleist is grievously wounded, with the Sound Cannon left overloading, its impending detonation set to destroy the base. Back at the colony, Cray is killed by a Xenomorph trying to reach the Caliban, but Palmer, Deegan, Green, Hank and the other survivors — of whom there are few — make it to Palmer's ship and flee the asteroid moments before the overloading Sound Cannon explodes and destroys the facility.
After thoroughly checking the ship for any stowaway Xenomorphs, the survivors enter hypersleep for the journey home. Palmer promises herself she will be a more attentive parent to her children in the future and decides to enter a relationship with Hank once she has settled in back on Earth, while at the same time she and Green lament the loss of so many innocent lives at Charon Base.
Differences from the Comic
As would be expected, the novel is greatly expanded from the four-issue comic book on which it is based. Primarily, the cast is significantly larger — whereas the comic focuses on just a few key individuals, the novel includes a host of supporting Marines, civilians and scientists of various importance that all play a role in the story.
The most significant additions come in the second half of the book, immediately before and during the Xenomorph outbreak. Added to the story is an entire sub-plot that involves numerous civilians and scientists at Charon Base launching an armed insurrection designed to overthrow Kleist, a mutiny that is joined by the main characters. Perhaps most significant among the group's members is Hank, a spaceflight traffic controller at Charon who is a major supporting character in the novel, eventually surviving the Xenomorph infestation and subsequently entering a romantic relationship with Palmer. In the comic, almost none of these characters are mentioned, and Hank is never seen again after speaking to the Caliban over the radio when the ship first arrives. Instead, Palmer, Green, Cray and Deegan act alone throughout the Xenomorph outbreak, and are simply concerned with escaping Charon.
Other notable differences include Cray's fate — while he survives and escapes in the comic, fleeing Charon Base aboard the Caliban, in the novel he is killed by a Xenomorph in the lab where Palmer and the others are attacked before reaching the ship. Green's fellow Colonial Marines also play a much larger role in the novel. Whereas they are all but wiped out in the Xenomorph Hive following Kleist's betrayal in the comic, with only Green escaping alive back to the colony, in the novel they successfully make it out of the Hive with only one casualty. The surviving Marines then join with the civilian mutiny and help to fight off the Xenomorphs and evacuate people as the facility is swarmed. Several of them ultimately live to escape with the others aboard the Caliban.