IN SPACE, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM
Xenomorph XX121, commonly referred to as simply the Xenomorph and known colloquially as the Alien, is a highly aggressive endoparasitoid extraterrestrial species. The Xenomorphs are vicious predatory creatures with no higher goals than the propagation of their species and the destruction of any life that could pose a threat to them. Like wasps or bees, Xenomorphs are eusocial, with a fertile Queen breeding a host of subordinate castes. The creatures are known for their potent acidic blood and their pharyngeal jaws, although their biological life cycle, in which their offspring are implanted inside living hosts before erupting violently from their chests, is in many ways their signature aspect.
Xenomorphs are primarily solitary ambush predators, although they have been known to adopt swarm tactics when acting in larger groups. Despite their voracious ability to kill, they often seek to take their victims alive to be hosts for more Xenomorphs; victims are taken to the Hive (or simply a secluded location if no Hive exists), cocooned and/or immobilized before being impregnated with a Xenomorph embryo. However, when their target becomes a threat or is deemed unsuitable for harvest, the Xenomorph will not hesitate to quickly dispatch the chosen host.
Notably, Xenomorphs will alter their physical appearance during development depending on the physiology of the host in which they gestate — in all likelihood, this incorporation of physical traits gleaned from the host is designed to ensure the adult creature is better suited to the environment in which it will find itself. This ability to alter its form based on the host's physical attributes occurs at a cellular level and has been referred to as the "DNA Reflex". Historically, most Xenomorphs encountered have typically gestated inside human hosts, and therefore adopt a basically bipedal, humanoid stance, but other variations born from a wide variety of different host organisms have been seen, and as a result feature varying physical appearances. Perhaps the most notable of these variations is the "Predalien", the result of a Xenomorph gestating inside a Yautja . However, regardless of any physical variation resulting from the host, Xenomorphs always possess certain distinctive, trademark characteristics.
Outwardly, they have a skeletal, biomechanical appearance and are usually colored in muted shades of black, blue or bronze. Whatever the host organism, they invariably possess distinctive, elongated, cylindrical skulls, but possess no visible facial features other than their mouth. The carapace atop the head has been seen to vary, from smooth and vaguely translucent to ridged and opaque. It has been proposed that this difference is part of a maturation process, and that younger creatures or Drones possess the smoother, domed carapace, while older specimens, such as Warriors, feature ridges. Notably, ridges are often visible beneath the smooth dome of Drones.
The Xenomorphs' primary weapon is their inner pharyngeal jaw, which is capable of shooting from their mouth like a piston with sufficient power to smash through bone and metal. In fact, a common tactic used by the creatures to eliminate prey is to restrain the victim with their hands, immobilizing them, before killing them with a precision jaw strike to the head, piercing through the skull and penetrating the brain; this form of attack is colloquially known as a "Headbite". On several occasions, Xenomorphs have been seen to suspend the corpses of those that they kill from ceilings.
Xenomorphs have segmented, blade-tipped tails. The sharp tip has been seen to vary from a small, scorpion-like barb to a larger, flat blade. Despite their seemingly flimsy physical construction, the creature's tail makes for an incredibly potent weapon, strong enough to impale and lift a Yautja from the floor with seemingly little effort. The tails have been used variously as stabbing, slashing and blunt force trauma weapons. Above the tails, the creature possesses several Dorsal Tubes on its back, typically consisting of two pairs — a larger upper pair and a smaller lower pair — often with a fifth, sharper spine in the centre below the base of the head. The exact purpose of these tubes is unclear.
As a result of the DNA Reflex, Xenomorphs have appeared as both plantigrade and digitigrade organisms, usually in accordance with their host. For example, human- and Yautja-spawned Xenomorphs typically possess humanoid hind limbs and walk upright, while Xenomorph's spawned from quadrupedal hosts (referred to as "Runners") sport double-jointed hind legs and move predominantly on all fours. The Cloned Xenomorphs created aboard the USM Auriga also possessed digitigrade legs despite spawning from human hosts, perhaps as a result of imperfections and cross-contamination in the cloning process.
When standing upright, Xenomorphs are vaguely bipedal in form, though they adopt a more hunched stance when walking or sprinting and are equally adept at moving on all four limbs, even in instances where the host was a bipedal lifeform, such as humans. They are quite capable of running and crawling along ceilings and walls and are expert jumpers. They possess great physical strength, having been known to break through metal vent covers and welded steel doors with little effort, and even of breaking down reinforced pressurized doors over time. Their large clawed talons are more than capable of tearing humans apart, while their primary jaws are capable of producing a bite strength estimated at 6,000 psi.
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