After narrowly escaping LV-426, Ripley and the remaining crew of the U.S.S. SULACO enter hypersleep for the long journey back to EARTH. But a crash landing leaves Ripley alone and stranded on a maximum security penal planet FIORINA "FURY" 161. She's surrounded by inmates whose "DOUBLE-Y" chromosome makes them the most violent men in the galaxy, but there's something far more dangerous lurking in the shadows. Something that may have been in her escape pod all along.
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The Runner, also known as the Dog Alien or Ox Alien, is an adult form of the species Xenomorph XX121 spawned from a quadrupedal host animal (such as a dog). Runners, as their name implies, are fast and agile, and can spit acid from their mouths. Runners have variously been portrayed as being slightly larger and slightly smaller than typical human-spawned Aliens, differences that no doubt derive from the animal that hosted the creature. However, the Runner in Alien3 is around 7 feet 5 inches tall when standing on its hind legs.
The Runner was first introduced in Alien3 as the main antagonist of the film. It has subsequently appeared in many video games and other expanded universe media.
Runners are physically quite different to human-spawned Xenomorphs due to the species' tendency to "inherit" aspects of its host's physiology through the DNA Reflex. In the case of the Runner, the adult has most notably taken on its host's quadruped posture, with digitigrade hind legs. Like Drones, Runners have smooth domed carapaces, and they are also one of the few Xenomorphs not to have the distinctive dorsal tubes typical of many other castes. Their skin is tinted brownish-red as opposed to the more usual grey-black.
While capable of standing and walking on their hind legs, Runners typically remain in their quadrupedal stance when moving and this makes them among the fastest Xenomorphs. They are equally capable of traversing floors, walls and ceilings at speed on all fours. However, physically Runners are not as tough as Warriors or Drones, relying on their speed and agility to outmaneuver threats rather than strength to overcome them. A Runner also tends to use its tail attack (which stuns the victim) more often than the Drone. They can also run into prey with crushing speed and weight.
Unlike other Chestbursters, in Alien3 the Runner is shown to be born fully formed and only needs to grow larger. Why this is so is never explicitly stated. However, in the Assembly Cut, where the Alien is spawned from an ox, it is hinted that this could be a result of the Chestburster being unable to escape its host's chest cavity at the typical interval (likely due to its higher structural rigidity), as the ox dies some time before the Chestburster hatches. Furthermore, the Assembly Cut Chestburster is considerably larger than a typical specimen when it finally emerges from the corpse, indicating it had already begun maturing within.