The Castaway

- July 2023 Popular Vote Pick


We’ve never encountered anything like this xenomorph before.

The xenomorph was discovered aboard a damaged vessel of unknown design, found derelict at approximately 67.43299, 32.67142 (SG). Though damaged, the vessel was maintaining emergency power when discovered, which is how the xenomorph was found alive.

The xenomorph was sealed in some sort of stasis-chamber within anescape pod. A mechanical failure had prevented the pod from launching, resulting in the xenomorph being sustained by the main ship’s emergency power until we found it.

We do not know how long this was the case prior to our stumbling upon this find.

We transported the xenomorph to our own ship, RS-143, long-range research vessel. We are two years into our 10-year research mission into uncharted space. Dr. Campbell, from the first, objected to transporting the xenomorph aboard our own ship, citing the myriad dangers. 

I overruled him.


The xenomorph is phenomenal, and I mean that literally.
We have complete information on over a hundred sapient, space-faring species, most of them allied with ourselves, and this xenomorph exceeds them all. If one wanted to design the absolute perfect physical specimen, one could do little better than the xenomorph.
Vivisection is impossible given our current facilities; the restricted-labs are rated for Level-3, yet the research staff feels that is inadequate. We have to limit ourselves to constrained sample recovery, physical observation, non-invasive scans and algorithmic extrapolations. 

I must admit, I share their reticence.

The xenomorph itself is deadly to life as we know it. It evolved, if it evolved, in an environment that current science says no life could have possibly evolved in.  For point of fact, the xenomorph sheds dander that would cause anaphylaxis in any species known.

I must maintain my scientific distance.

In size the xenomorph is roughly galactic-standard (abbreviated as GS for the rest of this log) for sapient-life, -5% in length but, surprisingly, 50% over for mass.  This disparity is due to unusual hypertrophy of its muscular tissue and the extreme density of its skeletal structure, with a full-body average of 4.1g/m2. These data-points and observed structural physiognomy indicate that the planet this xenomorph evolved on was a planet possessing gravity far above GS, perhaps as much as much as 30-50% higher. 

The xenomorph is bilaterally symmetrical, with a nervous system centered upon a singular node in its singular bilateral extremity. Unless one were to destroy said node, algorithms say the xenomorph could continue to function for minutes, perhaps even hours, after what would otherwise be a debilitating blow to another sentient species.

At this point, I must remind myself that I must maintain scientific distance.

The xenomorph’s reproductive system, from what we can identify, is particularly robust. The xenomorph has what we have identified as external genitalia, and to say such was over-developed would be an understatement. Its external genitalia are twelve standard deviations beyond GS. I’d say it was grotesque, but I fear that would be a value judgment unbecoming of a scientist..

Scientific distance.

The xenomorph shows clear signs of predatory descent, possessing two eyes capable of binocular focus, distinct canines and incisors, opposable digits on its upper-limbs, and a brain-body mass ratio over 1.4.  The latter suggest at least the possibility of tool-use and higher cognizance. 

The xenomorph’s ability to maintain homeostasis is five standard deviations from GS.  From what we can ascertain from computer simulations, it should be able to operate in temperatures from -10C to 50C for moderate periods of time with no protective equipment.  It must be stated that the xenomorph’s tolerance for heat is higher than its tolerance for cold.  Given adequate water intake, the xenomorph could likely operate in temperatures up to 37C for extended periods, or even indefinitely.  This is owed to the xenomorph’s extremely efficient heat-dissipation system, as it dissipates heat across the entirety of its surface area through a system of liquid excretion, a system unique in galactic biology.  This heat-dissipation system also allows the xenomorph to exert itself to lengths that no other known species, sapient or not, can match.

And that only scratches the surface of the xenomorph’s resilience. 

Cells harvested from the xenomorph’s dermis can withstand radiation in excess of 200 rads with only superficial damage, the LD50 for practically every known species.  Thicker sections composed of the dermis and subcutaneous tissue can absorb almost 300 rads before deterioration; extrapolating from this information we can conclude that the xenomorph’s LD50 is approximately 400 rads, with the LD100 measuring at least 1 krad.

From what we can see the xenomorph is superbly adapted to survive extreme environmental conditions, radiation,and circulatory shock far beyond anything else we’ve ever encountered.

The xenomorph is, without exaggeration, the perfect physical specimen.

It is the opinion of the research staff that, given everything we’ve been able to ascertain about the xenomorph’s biology, this specimen is part of a species genetically-engineered or biologically-enhanced for either combat or extreme environmental work.  It must have been uplifted by some yet unknown civilization as a servitor species.  In galactic history no planet with such an extreme environmental profile has ever given rise to sapient life.  Dr. Campbell is the lone dissenting voice, arguing that there is no evidence of extrinsic genetic manipulation or biological enhancement, and that this xenomorph is entirely the result of natural selection for the singularly harsh environment of its homeworld.

I shudder to think of an entire planet of these monsters. 


We can no longer keep the xenomorph restrained by chemical means.

We’ve used the entirety of our stores of sedatives, but the xenomorph has multiple organs specifically designed to filter toxins out of the bloodstream, plus its very cells demonstrate a remarkable propensity to narcotic resistance.Our stores were planned for for the entirety of our 10-year mission, but they were only capable of sedating the xenomorph for a total of 12 days.  We’ve been reduced to forcing the xenomorph to ingest, via feeding tube, massive quantities of ethanol, as that is the only chemical we can synthesize faster than the xenomorph’s body can metabolize and excrete.


Disaster has struck. 

At 1543 today, the xenomorph escaped containment. The details of the incident are as follows:

At 1530, Drs. Smith and Gold suited up and entered the restricted-lab through the airlock to perform approved tests on the xenomorph. Observing from the attached outer-lab were Drs. Miller, Tailor, Campbell, and Gold.

That proved to be a fatal mistake.

At 1534 testing commenced. The first two tests were completed successfully, and results were transmitted back to the outer-lab for recording and further review.

The third test began at 1539.

The third test was to be a recovery of a small amount of the xenomorph’s dermis and subcutaneous tissue for further experimentation. We had not performed such a specimen recovery since we had switched from narcotic to ethanol restraint of the xenomorph. This required one of the Drs. performing these tests to make physical contact with the xenomorph, and it was decided that Dr. Smith, being the older and more experienced, was to do so. As Chief Researcher, I will admit the fact that he was also the physically larger and stronger of the two played a part in the decision. 

 The proper decision would have been to not perform the test.

First incision was attempted, as previously stated, at 1539. The xenomorph responded violently. Either the xenomorph had only been feigning unconsciousness, or the pain of the incision roused it to consciousness. I cannot be sure from reviewing recordings of the incident.

There is, however, no doubt as to the results.

The xenomorph seized Dr. Smith with a single appendage, lifted him off the floor, and hurled him backwards with such force that, likely, Dr. Smith’s spinal-cord was crushed when he struck the wall. 

Regardless of the cause, Dr. Smith was dead before he hit the ground. 

The xenomorph then took several seconds removing the feeding tube we had inserted and all the monitoring leads. During all of this Dr. Gold stood paralyzed with fear. Had she immediately ran for the airlock and removed herself from the restricted-lab, the situation could have yet been salvaged.

She did not.

Meanwhile, in the outer-lab, chaos also reigned. Dr. Campbell immediately tried to enact sterilization procedures as soon as the xenomorph had seized Dr. Smith, as per protocol: the restricted-lab would be sealed and external shutters would be opened, exposing it to the vacuum of space. After the designated period of vacuum had been achieved the lab would be re-sealed, re-atmosphered, and the temperature raised to 121*C for a period of one hour. Until the sterilization procedure had been completed, there would be no way to access the restricted lab from the outer lab. 

It was the proper thing to do, but also the wrong thing.

As soon as Dr. Campbell made his intentions clear Dr. Gold attacked him, preventing him from doing so. It took Drs. Miller and Tailor several moments to restrain Dr. Gold. As a husband myself, I cannot in good faith blame Dr. Gold.

His wife was still inside. 

And that was all the time the xenomorph needed.

In the time it took Drs. Miller and Tailor to restrain Dr. Gold, the xenomorph had moved from the restricted-lab to the air-lock, impossibly fast for what we had thought was a largely incapacitated subject. After several moments of confusion the xenomorph attacked the clean-side door, succeeding in finding purchase and ripping it off its runners, exposing the outer lab to contamination. Dr. Campbell ran for the door separating the outer lab from the ship proper, Drs. Miller and Tailor released Dr. Gold, and Dr. Gold attacked the xenomorph.

All three died.

Dr. Gold attempted to wrestle the xenomorph, but such was folly; it halted him by his neck with a single appendage and crushed his windpipe with seeming disinterest. Drs. Miller and Tailor tried to flee for the door, but they were not properly suited against contamination. 

Dr. Miller died far from the door, Dr. Tailor almost made it before he succumbed to anaphylaxis. Meanwhile, Dr. Campbell had not properly sealed the outer-lab. He had run for his own life and no one else’s

In doing so he had doomed the ship.

What was most surprising was the xenomorph’s interaction with the surviving Dr. Gold, which I must, for posterity, record. Our first conjecture had been that the xenomorph must have been a servitor species, a warrior species, bereft of intelligence (Dr. Campbell excepted, of course), but for several minutes it seemed to attempt to communicate with Dr. Gold within the restricted-lab. After a time the xenomorph forced Dr. Gold into the outer-lab.

It was then that she saw her husband.

Dr. Gold screamed and immediately tried to remove her helmet. The xenomorph attempted to stop her, for the record, but the very act sealed her fate. She died, same as Dr. Miller and Dr. Tailor.

The xenomorph was loose on the ship.


There was a discussion as to what was to be done.

Those in discussion were myself, Dr. Campbell, Dr.Walker, Captain Burgess, Chief Officer Grey, and Chief Engineer Light. Dr. Campbell advocated for the immediate destruction of the ship, either through intentionally overloading the engines or through scuttling. His argument was that the xenomorph’s interaction with Dr. Gold had proven it to be a sapient species, an exceedingly deadly one, and the only way to ensure the xenomorph did not gain control of the ship was its destruction. The deaths of all those aboard, including himself, was, in Dr. Campbell’s opinion, a necessary sacrifice.

Others disagreed.

Chief Officer Grey and Chief Engineer Light proposed using teams of armed crewmembers to sweep and clear the ship from navigation aft to engineering, welding all bulkheads shut. The hope was that the xenomorph could be constrained and finally contained by these efforts.

Captain Burgess and myself sided with Chief Officer Grey and Chief Engineer Light.


The xenomorph is far smarter than we gave it credit for.

It is not some dumb brute, barely sapient, as we had hoped. The xenomorph possesses an actual mind and cunning. After escaping the lab the xenomorph, perhaps realizing that Navigation would be stern and a far harder target, made its way aft towards Engineering. It must be noted that the derelict ship was laid out in the same way as our own.

The xenomorph made it to engineering within the one minute contamination alarm.

It was a slaughter.

Most died from exposure, but those that tried to fight fared little better. Few had military training, but the xenomorph tore through them. All told, the death toll stands at thirty-eight..

The xenomorph is a monster.


The xenomorph has somehow disabled the engines. 

We are adrift in uncharted space.  The only man who can perhaps fix this is Chief Engineer Light.

I do not relish Chief Engineer Light the decision before him.


Chief Engineer Light is dead.

He attempted to access engineering through the air-ducts, aided by Chief Officer Grey and eight crew with military experience armed with SP-5s from the armory.

I saw it on the video, and I will record it for posterity.

The xenomorph was a monster. It shrugged off shots that would have killed any being in Galactic knowledge. It killed Chief Engineer Light with its bare-hands, crushing his skull.

The other nine fared little better.

They may have been panicked, but they were trained. They fell back, they covered each other, they fought the xenomorph to their last breaths.

It mattered not.

Nothing they did could stop it, and the last chance for the ship died with Chief Engineer Light.

Dr. Campbell, who’s mental state has become unstable since the events in the outer-laborator, clawed at the walls in navigation, saying one thing over-and-over-again.

“It is our death.”


For the last two days the xenomorph has tried to gain entry to Navigation. The door has been welded shut but the xenomorph is employing what means it has at its disposal. At this point it seems the xenomorph has repurposed a core drill in attempts to drill through the door. Captain Burgess has overseen the destruction of all navigation equipment on the bridge, in hopes that if (when) the xenomorph gains entry it will find itself with an unsteerable ship. 

I fear that we should have heeded Dr. Campbell at the very start.