The Hive, also known as the Nest, is the nesting ground of a Xenomorph Queen, constructed from resin secreted by Drones. It is where the Queen will reside while she is laying Eggs, a state that renders her immobile, and is where those Eggs are subsequently stored. Potential hosts captured by other Xenomorphs are brought to the Hive and cocooned to the walls — a process sometimes referred to, particularly by Colonial Marines, as being "hived" — to be implanted with Chestburster embryos.
Hives are built from a clear, gelatinous liquid that is secreted from the maws of Xenomorph Drones and eventually hardens to form a dark, strong, resinous substance, known as Hive webbing. This webbing is used to construct a warren-like maze of tunnels spreading outwards from a central Egg chamber, where the Queen will reside. It should be noted that while a Queen is typically found overseeing a Hive, one is not necessarily required for a Hive to form. Indeed, construction of a Hive may be a precursor to Queen development in many cases. In this respect, a Xenomorph Hive shares similarities in its architecture with both spider webs and wasp nests, while being directly comparable to neither.
The primary purpose of the webbing is twofold — while it provides a surface to which potential hosts can be cocooned for implantation and birth, its non-uniform, bio-organic appearance also allows adult Xenomorphs to camouflage themselves when at rest, to the extent that humans have stood directly beside hiding Warriors and had no idea of the imminent threat. In the case of Hives set up inside existing non-Xenomorph structures, webbing also helps to disguise existing visual cues in the environment, turning the area into a disorientating maze and making escape from and/or assaults on the Hive all the more difficult. However, whether this is considered by the Xenomorphs during construction is unclear.
The atmosphere within a Hive is typically very warm. A Queen will often locate her Hive in an area where these properties are already apparent, such as large industrial facilities where there is an abundance of ambient heat. It is also possible the Hive structure, or perhaps the resident Xenomorphs themselves, somehow raise atmospheric temperatures within the Hive to meet this requirement.
Hives can vary in size from extensive nests with hundreds of members headed by an Egg-laying Queen to small chambers occupied by only a few Drones or Warriors. Occasionally, in larger infestations, smaller "satellite" Hives will be set up in the areas surrounding the main nest. While these subsidiary Hives are occasionally used for the cocooning and impregnating of hosts, more often they are simply an outlying base of operations for Xenomorph Warriors. Even individual Xenomorphs operating in isolation have been known to establish small nests, although this is thought to be rare as a solitary creature has little need for a Hive of its own. The largest known Hive ever discovered is that on Xenomorph Prime, which covers half a continent.
Hive nodes create the Alien life web. Drones carry dormant hive nodes in their stomach and using a gag reflex, release hive nodes on walls and on the ground. Once deposited the node uses up available organic materials from plants, carcasses, and even microorganisms to produce the hive's structure. This demonstrates the species' complete hostility toward all life forms. The life web slowly destroys the natural ecosystem of entire planets. If not in a fight an Alien can stand near a hive node and heal itself, making hive nodes a very valuable asset when infesting a planet. (Aliens versus Predator: Extinction)
A Hive was originally seen in Alien, when the Alien on board the Nostromo set up a nest in the ship's hold where it was converting its victims into new Eggs. However, this scene was ultimately cut from the theatrical release of the film, and consequently the first appearance of a Hive on film was in Aliens. The scene from Alien was reinstated in the 2003 Director's Cut.
Below is a list of notable Hives seen in various media from the Alien franchise.
- Aliens: A large Hive is set up within the Atmosphere Processor at the Hadley's Hope colony on LV-426. It is ultimately destroyed when the Processor explodes.
- Alien Resurrection: The Cloned Queen sets up a Hive in a waste tank aboard the USM Auriga. It is destroyed when the Auriga explodes above Earth.
- Alien vs. Predator: Xenomorphs within the Yautja Pyramid on Bouvet Island set up a small Hive. It is destroyed by Scar's Self-Destruct Device.
- Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem: The Gunnison Predalien establishes a small Hive inside the city's sewers, as well as a much larger one in the County Hospital. They were vaporised, along with the rest of the town, in a tactical nuclear strike.
- Predator: Concrete Jungle: A sizeable Hive existed inside the Borgia Industries headquarters in Neonopolis, under the control of MOTHER, the supercomputer that ran the city. It was infiltrated by the Yautja known as Scarface and largely decimated, although many Xenomorphs survived the incident.
- Aliens vs. Predator: The Matriarch on BG-386 sets up a Hive in the Freya's Prospect Refinery, as well as numerous smaller Hives throughout the colony and it's surroundings. The Matriarch was killed and the remaining structures on the planet apparently destroyed by a Yautja Self-Destruct Device.
- Aliens: Colonial Marines: Xenomorphs bred on LV-426 by Weyland-Yutani, led by a second Queen, set up a new Hive in the caves beneath the Derelict Ship. Separate Hives were also established in the sublevels of the Hadley's Hope colony and aboard the USS Sulaco orbiting the moon. The Sulaco was later completely destroyed and the Queen on the surface was killed, but the Hives and many Xenomorphs remain on the moon.
- Alien (Director's Cut only)
- Aliens (First Appearance)
- Aliens: Theory of Alien Propagation
- Aliens: Book One
- Aliens: Book Two
- Aliens: Earth War
- Aliens: Genocide
- Alien Resurrection
- Aliens: Berserker
- Aliens versus Predator (video game)
- Aliens versus Predator: Extinction (video game)
- Alien vs. Predator
- Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem
- Aliens vs. Predator (video game)
- Aliens: Colonial Marines (video game)