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|Aliens vs. Predator: Prey|
|Release date(s)||April 1, 1994|
|Cover by||Nelson DeCastro|
|Series||Aliens vs. Predator book trilogy|
|Followed by||Aliens vs. Predator: Hunter's Planet|
ON A WORLD OF HUNTERS — WHO BECOMES THE HUNTED?
First the carcass of a spider-like alien is discovered. Then a rancher's family is massacred. Finally a creature unlike any ever seen is found, itself near death. It soon becomes clear that two strains of alien life have landed near the settlement of Prosperity Wells. One kind — beetle black with shells as hard as steel — have been spawned as the prey in a deadly hunt. The other — upright and smart like humans, but infinitely stronger — are the Predators.
The colonists are unarmed and vulnerable. And their prospects are suddenly very bleak. For the entire human settlement lies smack between the two varieties of monster — who will simply never stop...
On the colony planet of Ryushi, ranchers tend to herds of animals called Rynth. Similar to cattle, rhynth are raised to be skinned, eaten or sold to prospective buyers on Earth and other colonies. The ranchers of Ryushi are under contract by the Chigusa Corporation (which is in turn a rival company to Weyland-Yutani).
Machiko Noguchi, who is one of the main protagonists of the series, is in charge of the operations on Ryushi. Despite being there for six months, Noguchi has kept to herself and has made little to no effort in making friends or even good relations with the colonists. Her predecessor, Hiroki, is the only person that gets along with Noguchi. And being the former supervisor, he has relatively good relations with the colonists. Hiroki will be leaving on the next harvest so this puts Noguchi in a position of responsibility. She now must establish a good working ground with the inhabitants of Prosperity Wells.
Her time to make good with the colonist comes when the Lector, a transport freighter sent to pick up the Rynth, arrives. There is a big celebration and all of the colonist in town rejoice when the ship lands. At the party, Machiko announces that she will do everything in her power to make sure the ranchers get their fair share of the profit (earlier there was a dispute over the wages of the ranchers).
Trouble begins when large numbers of rynth come down with an unknown illness and strange crablike creatures are found. Though already dead, the ranchers know they have something to do with the condition of their live stock.
Later when colonists are turning up missing, the people begin to worry. A boy named Bobby crashes a hover bike into a building in town. Citizens of Prosperity Wells are now horrified at the story of monsters (Yautja) that slaughtered his family. Bobby explains that he could not see the monsters but they were there, that they were invisible.
Finally the colonists see what has been plaguing them when one the "monsters" is brought to town. While searching for the missing doctor of the town two pilots found a wounded Predator. After seeing the Predator, Bobby panicked, and it is confirmed that there are more creatures like it that were responsible for the attack.
In an attempt to maintain order, Noguchi order all able bodied citizens to organize and defend the town. A barrier is constructed out of large vehicles and machinery and guard teams are established. While on patrol Hiroki's team is ambushed by a group of Predators. There were no survivors. Saddened by this, Machiko attempts to rally the remaining citizens in a large evacuation.
The plan calls for all of the survivors to leave the town. While evacuating Machiko will go and retrieve any stragglers in the town and once they are safely away, Machiko will release all of the pinned up Rynth and crush all of the Predators and "nightmare bugs" (the Xenomorphs).
When putting her plan into action, Machiko finds that the wounded Predator that they captured is still alive. The survivor who is with her, Dr. Revna, who has been treating the Predator, pleas with Machiko to save it. Reluctantly, Machiko pulls the Copter over to the tower where the Predator is battling several Xenomorphs. The Predator realizes that the Humans are trying to save it and leaps for the landing rail of the Copter. This works except for the Alien still holding onto his leg. The Copter spins and tilt out of control and crashes violently.
The two surviving members of the Lector see this and rush to go see if any one survive the crash. They find Machiko is still alive but Dr. Revna is nowhere to be seen. When they are about to drag Machiko to a safe place they see the predator holding the dead body of Dr. Revna. With respect, it lays the body on the ground. This puzzles the trio of survivors but they soon realize that this Predator is older and wiser than the younger ones who senselessly attacked the town.
As the night goes on the two survivors of the Lector realize that they have been impregnated by the Xenomorphs. One of the men dies un-abruptly, but the man remaining gives Machiko the idea that she could crash the orbital cargo section of the Lector onto Prosperity Wells and kill all the remaining Xenomorphs and Predators. He is then put out of his misery, willingly, by Machiko. The Predator is intrigued by the mercy-killing and holds Machiko with high respect.
While on their way to the Lector Machiko is wounded by a Xenomorph. The Predator Kills the Xenomorph and carries Machiko to safety. When he treats her wounds he finds out that Machiko is a female human, he tells himself that it explains why she was smarter than the larger, male humans. After cleaning the wounds he attempts in communicating with Machiko. Neither of the them can pronounce the others name, so they decide to give each other nicknames. The Predator is nicknamed Broken Tusk due to his broken mandible. And Machiko is named Da'dtou-di, which means "small knife" in the Predators' language.
They make their way to the Lector and fight their way in. Broken Tusk is told to stand guard by an escape hatch while Machiko goes to the bridge. Machiko successfully enters a code that will bring the Orbital Cargo Hold down on the town. Broken Tusk is ambushed at the escape pod by the xenomorph queen. Machiko makes it back in time to help in the fight, and the two make their way into the pod. In the fight Broken Tusk is mortally wounded, and because of this Machiko is forced to pull him into the pod. The xenomorph queen attempts to get into the pod but is decapitated when Machiko closes the door on her.
The orbital portion of the Lector slams onto Ryushi's surface and obliterates Prosperity Wells. Machiko and Broken Tusk are launched far from the city via the escape pod. Dying, Broken Tusk gives Machiko the mark of his clan, in honor of her actions against the Xenomorphs, and later dies.
The colonist are rescued from Ryushi by the United States Colonial Marine Corps, yet Machiko chooses to stay behind. Two years later the Predators return to Ryushi, and Machiko greets them. Puzzled by the human's action the Predators are cautious, but after seeing the mark on her forehead allow her to join them in their hunt.
- Machiko Noguchi - Administrator of Prosperity Wells.
- Hiroki Shimura - Former administrator.
- Kesar Revna - Xenobiologist and Vet med.
- Miram Revna - Doctor and Kesar's wife.
- Ackland - Rancher and leader of Ranchers coalition
- Jame Roth - Ackland´s worker.
- David Spanner - Copter pilot.
- Ashley Ikeda - Copter pilot.
- Bob Sheldon - A rancher.
- Sylvan Sheldon - Bob's wife and Bobby's mom.
- Bobby Sheldon - Settlement boy.
- Collins - corporate worker.
- Weaver - corporate worker.
- Downey - corporate worker.
- Mason - corporate worker.
- Riley - corporate worker.
- Cathy Dowes - Roth's spouse.
- Dachande aka Broken Tusk - Blooded warrior and leader of the hunting party.
- Tichinde - Unblooded warrior.
- Creep - Roth's dalmatian dog.
- Drax - Sheldon's cattle dog.
- Similar to the word "oomans" (for humans), the word "yautja" is not capitalized in the book except at the beginning of a sentence. "Yautja" is both the singular and plural form.
- ISBN 0-553-56555-9; First printing: [May] , Bantam Books, paperback, 259 pages