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Spite is a 2017 short story written by Tim Lebbon, published by Titan Books as part of the anthology novel Aliens: Bug Hunt. A prequel to the Rage War trilogy, the story features Major Halley and several members of the DevilDogs encountering hostile, fire-breathing aliens at a ravaged research colony.

Plot

When all contact is lost with the research colony on Weller's World, Major Akoko "Snow Dog" Halley leads a small contingent of Colonial Marines from the 39th Spaceborne, the DevilDogs, to investigate. The Marines find the colony eerily quiet, and soon discover that the entire research team has been slaughtered, immolated in droves by an incredibly focused heat source that has done relatively little damage to their surroundings.

As the Marines continue their sweep, they are attacked by the culprits — small, fist-sized flying insects that are capable of spraying bursts of lava-like flame from their mouths. In the ensuing firefight, Eddols is set ablaze by several of the creatures and euthanizes herself with a grenade as she burns. Fighting off the immediate threat, the Marines elect to pull out and destroy the facility from orbit, ignoring their orders to recover Weyland-Yutani research materials from the research base.

However, one of their number, Misra, turns his weapon on his fellow Marines, refusing to allow them to leave. He reveals he has been bought by ArmoTech, who have paid him handsomely to recover a Xenomorph specimen Weyland-Yutani were studying in a secret lab below the colony. Halley manages to distract Misra long enough for the other Marines to shoot him dead.

As they try to evacuate the complex, the Marines are attacked again by the fire spites and when the floor is melted by the heat of their attack, Durand falls through into a flooded sub-level. By the time she regains consciousness, she discovers the water has shorted out her environment suit — and her vital sign readings with it — and the rest of the team has left her, believing her to be dead. As she climbs out of the flooded basement she hears her squad's dropship taking off, but with her radio inoperative she is unable to contact them. She decides to head to the colony's operations center so that she can send a message from there, but before she can move she finds herself surrounded by fire spites. Hefting her weapon, she faces the swarm.

Trivia

  • Spite is one of eight stories in Aliens: Bug Hunt that does not actually feature the Xenomorph, although they are mentioned in passing and the story does feature several characters from the Rage War trilogy.