The Xarem crew were twenty civilian workers who were en-route to Xarem to work on the nickel refinery, they had put themselves into hypersleep for the long journey but unfortunately for them, their ship was boarded and commandeered by mercenary pirates and taken to the USM Auriga where they were used as hosts for the Cloned Xenomorph species by the highly unethical scientists on board, particularly Wren who assured his slightly more moral staff that the "cargo" would be sedated for the implantation process but in actuality was not, with some such as Larry Purvis and another waking moments before the Facehugger latched onto them.
After impregnation had occurred, they were seemingly locked in to a room until the parasitic Chestbursters emerged from them. It was likely that no anesthetic or sedatives were given as the bodies of the hosts were spread throughout the room, some still restrained. Due to genetic disorder, Purvis was the last "survivor" of the Xarem work crew though his death was still pending. Curiously even after the Chestbursters were taken into cells for study, the bodies of the crew were left where they died in the room, with no regard for disposing of the bodies.
- In the novel, the implication that Johner feels somewhat guilty is more explicit after they discover the bodies.