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Deep Background is a 2017 short story written by Keith R. A. DeCandido, published by Titan Books as part of the anthology novel Aliens: Bug Hunt. In it, a talented journalist is assigned to a unit of Colonial Marines to run a profile piece on life in the Corps, but when the company is dispatched to a remote science installation, they find themselves fighting for their lives against an outbreak of Xenomorphs.

Plot

Journalist Nickole Kejela is called to the office of her boss, the intimidating Hiromi Hasegawa, fearing her career may be about to come to a premature end. However, far from firing her, Hasegawa praises her work, before telling her she has a new assignment — she is to accompany a unit of Colonial Marines for a whole year, writing a flattering profile piece on them. The operation is ostensibly a favor for her friend and the USCM Chief of Staff Emilio Cruz, but Hasegawa also points out that the assignment may provide Kejela with the means to resurrect a piece she previously abandoned due to lack of credible sources — a critical exposé on the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, revealing the illegal and immoral practices they routinely employ. Kejela agrees.

Kejela integrates herself with the unit to which she is seconded, J Company, currently based out of Camp Obama and under the command of Lieutenant Emily Berenato. She follows the J Company Marines through their daily training and exercises, and ingratiates herself to them when she joins in with some gambling over an informal sharpshooting contest they hold amongst themselves. Steered by her background checks, Kejela places her money on the unit's new rookie, betting against the established best shot, and ends up winning big. Kejela then discovers J Company are being deployed to LV-418 on an operation, and she is to go with them.

Arriving at LV-418, the Marines learn that their mission is to evacuate a group of Weyland-Yutani scientists as their science station at risk of being destroyed by sink holes. Soon after arriving, several Marines have to rescue a group of scientists who have fallen into one such sinkhole. As they pull the trapped men out, they notice a cavern has opened beneath the hole, revealing several Eggs in the space below.

Later that night, Kejela is approached by the head researcher, obviously drunk and anxious, who provides her with a copy of the survey report the science team was given, originally documented by Weyland Corp around a hundred years ago. Finding nothing amiss, Kejela compares it to the survey report she drew from her own news agencies' archives, and discovers to her shock that it is totally different; whereas the original Weyland Corp report mentions geological instability and possible biological readings beneath the surface, the copy issued to the science team is completely missing these points. Weyland-Yutani covered up these facts and withheld them from the team on the ground.

At that moment a biological contaminant alarm sounds, and Kejela rushes to the med bay to check it out, discovering Lieutenant Berenato lying on the operating table with a Facehugger attached to her. The doctor quickly establishes that he cannot remove the parasite without killing Berenato. Some twelve hours later, the group discover the Facehugger has died, and almost immediately a Chestburster erupts from Lieutenant's body.

Less than a day later, Kejela and the three surviving Marines have barricaded themselves in a room. As they detect the Xenomorphs advancing with their remaining motion tracker, Kejela takes a pistol from one of the Marines and the group prepares to make their final stand.

Back in her office, Hasegawa receives Kejela's final report from LV-418, which reveals Weyland-Yutani lied to its staff and knew about the Xenomorph presence all along. After reading it, she deletes the file. She contacts Cruz, the USCM Chief of Staff, and informs him that her reporter has confirmed the presence of Xenomorphs on LV-418. Cruz in turn informs her he will pass the information on to Weyland-Yutani, promising that they will once again pay her well for this information.