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No Good Deed is a 2017 short story written by Ray Garton, published by Titan Books as part of the anthology novel Aliens: Bug Hunt. In it, a cold-hearted bounty hunter and her synthetic companion track two dangerous escaped convicts to Hadley's Hope, arriving just as disaster befalls the remote colony.

Plot

A bounty hunter named Madison "Mad" Voss and her synthetic sidekick Jex set down on a small moon in pursuit of two deadly escaped convicts, the sociopathic mass-murderer Enzo Jaeger and the mentally impared, psychotically violent Jack Bates. Mad and Jex correctly assume Jaeger and Bates are making for the small nearby colony, named Hadley's Hope, in the hope of acquiring a ship capable of interstellar travel. In fact, Jaeger has an acquaintance at the colony, a man named Lupo, and hopes to convince him to let them take a vessel. However, when Jaeger and Bates reach the colony they find it eerily quiet, with signs of violence in the vehicle garage that they access. Someone inside contacts them via the colony's announcement system, having spotted them on the surveillance cameras and warms them of a terrible danger at the settlement, refusing to let them inside and suggesting they flee while they can.

Mad and Jex arrive and a shootout ensues. However, during the confrontation, a pair of Xenomorphs emerge from the shadows in the garage and also attack the group. Suddenly, Bates — who has long insisted he was subjected to terrible experimentation while incarcerated by pharmaceutical giant MetCon — undergoes a mutation as a result of his terror and rage, transforming int a brutish, red giant with impossible strength. The transformed Bates attacks one of the Xenomorphs, saving Jaeger's life and beating the creature to death. The other Xenomorph badly damages Jex, tearing off one of his legs, before turning towards Mad. Bates tackles the creature and the two tumble away.

Mad shoots Jaeger in the leg to incapacitate him and holds him at gunpoint. Bates reappears, having killed the second Xenomorph and returned to his human form, bloodied but alive. However, when Mad insults his mother and Bates' cannibalistic murder of her, he again flies into a rage and transforms. Before he can launch himself at Mad, Jaeger shoots him dead. He goes on to emotionally point out that he has just killed his only friend in order to save Mad's life and implores her to at least give him a chance to escape in return. Mad, unflinching, shoots him dead.

As Mad prepares to carry the damaged Jex back to her ship, the occupants of Hadley's Hope begin screaming in terror and begging for assistance over the announcement system as they are attacked from within, but she coldly tells Jex it's "not our problem". The pair return to their ship, taking a finger from both Jaeger and Bates as proof of their bounty.

Trivia

  • Bates' name and his heinous crime involving his mother may be a reference to the character Norman Bates from the classic film Psycho.
  • When naming the moon, Jex lists it as, "LV-426... Also known as Acheron. The mythological River of Pain." Although Acheron is more commonly known as the Stream of Woe, Jex's translation is accurate, while the exact wording is almost certainly a reference to the novel Alien: River of Pain, which, like No Good Deed, is set at Hadley's Hope on LV-426.