The Artifact was an ancient device constructed by the Engineers and present on a facility at LV-1201. This large chest sized machine floated by its own power and was stationed in the Artifact Chamber on the planet. It pulsed under its own power and when activated it generated a field around itself that was capable of repelling Xenomorphs. Those creatures that stayed too close to it whilst operational seemingly died as a result.
This relic remained on the planet undiscovered for an unknown number of years until around 500 years ago when a Yautja hunting crew arrived. One hunter discovered the empty Pilot installation whereupon the Artifact was activated. This created a safe area for the Yautja hunters to set up camp and allowed them to continue to hunt Xenomorph prey. However, a power surge shut down the machine and allowed the Xenomorphs to overrun the hunters camp until the stasis generators could be reactivated.
The Weyland-Yutani Corporation later established a base of operations on the planet, Dr. Eisenberg sent a group of Synthetics to acquire the relic at Zeta Site only for them to fail. On 21 September 2230, the Iron Bears had managed to find a buyer for the Pilot technology and General Rykov dispatched Major Dunya on a mission to retrieve the Artifact. She encountered the hive of Xenomorphs but managed to successfully reach the Artifact Chamber where the relics power kept the creatures at bay. The Major used a Worm device to interface with the Pilot-tech systems in order to shut them down allowing her to retrieve the Artifact which she took back to Forward Observation Pod 5.
The Artifact did not stay in company possession for long. Not long after Dunya returned, Xenomorphs flooded into Pod 5. To prevent a major crisis, Rykov ordered the destruction of Pod 5, blowing up its supports and causing the construct to fall and crash into the canyon it was suspended over. The Artifact was still inside the Pod when it fell, and was lost in the wreckage. All attempts at recovering it ceased after that, Weyland-Yutani opting to instead focus their efforts on harnessing the Xenomorphs themselves.
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