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Chapter 2

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Three years later, in the city of Tokyo, a meeting has begun between two great corporate powers.

Far above the city streets, high enough to breath clear air, the skyline laid out behind with a refreshing ocean view. One of the new, taller buildings shines with polished excellence. At its peak are more detailed features and a bold Y emblazoned as a symbol.

These windows have dark panes, with vertical blinds pulled closed. Inside the executive suite, the board-room hosts a wide display screen on the wall at one end of a very long, black table. The room has plants in the corners but is otherwise minimalist in contents or decoration.

There are chairs for twenty members but only four are in use. Two Japanese gentlemen sit on one side opposite the facing window, where an American businessman is seated with his female personal assistant. They watch the view screen with interest as an interview is played.

Alexa Woods (Lex), an experienced mountain climber and expedition leader is shown giving an account of a past ordeal. She appears to be a police captive, wearing dirty clothes, her face is marked with a scar on her cheek.

"Miss Woods", speaks the voice of an interrogator, "Why are you the only survivor of the group you lead to Antarctica?"

"Because everyone else died," she replies bluntly.

"Did you sabotage their mission? Did you lead them into a trap?" the man's voice asks.

Lex grimaces at the suggestion. "I told them it was too dangerous, that they needed more time to train. But Mr Weyland was in a rush, he wouldn't risk being beaten to the pyramid."

"Miss Woods," the voice interupts. "We have found no trace of the pyramid you speak of, or of the creatures you claim killed your team."

Lex shouts back at him, "That's because we destroyed it, to prevent the monsters escaping."

"We?" the voice asks. "You and your team mates?"

"No, me and the hunter," Lex tries to compose herself and speaks slowly and calmly. "We escaped alone, he was killed outside, his clan took his body with them, back to the stars."

"Who are you talking about Miss Woods? This is a very serious matter!" the voice warns.

Lex sits back and smiles at the screen. "Our ancient Gods. He was one one of them and they came back for him."

The screen pauses, turns black, and changes to display the Y logo of the Yutani Corporation.

The older Japanese gentleman speaks to his guests opposite. "As you can see Mr Weyland, Miss Woods was less than cooperative in explaining the events that lead to your father's death."

Adam Weyland (A man in his thirties, son of Charles Weyland and heir to his father's industry) nods in agreement. "Where was she finally found?"

"She is a wordly woman with many contacts. She was in Columbia when the authorities detained her, before that she had travelled to Malaysia and Cambodia, making it difficult for us to track her down."

"Columbia?" asks the young woman with Adam. "What was she doing there?"

The two suited men look at her and then back to Adam. "Mr Yutani," Adam speaks to the older man. "Just as you trust you trust your son to witness this meeting, so do I trust Miss Richards. Annalise was trained under Max Stafford who was similarly trusted by my father. Please, answer her question."

The gentleman bows his head and removes a white hankerchief from his jacket pocket. "Let me make this clear Mr Weyland. Your father and I were rivals, but I respected him. You have been kind enough to take my invitation to this meeting and I hope that it is a step forward. I suggest first name terms be used to dispel formalities and awkwardness. Call me Asao, and my son is Haruki."

"Very well," Adam continues. "What do you know of my father's death, and is Alexa Woods responsible?"

Asao is clutching a silver topped, black cane which he polishes with the cloth. He gestures with it for his son to explain.

Haruki stands. "Miss Woods is looking for Gods. The creatures she spoke of have been here many times, and she wants to know more."

Adam looks confused. "And these monsters killed my father? Where do they come from?"

"They come from the stars, just as she claims, in massive spacecraft. To hunt," Explains Haruki.

Adam rises abruptly and stands by the window with his back to the table. "These things are real? And you knew they would be at the pyramid but you didn't warn my father. He told me that other would have seen the heat signature, you never intended to get there before him."

"His team were armed Adam. He suspected it was a trap just as I did," Asao defends his actions, still seated calmly. "But he was already dying, and only too eager for one last discovery."

Adam turns to look at his rival. "Asao, you invited me here. I know that you have built an outpost at the Antarctic site. You promised me answers!"

Asao rises slowly, resting on his stick as he straightens his suit. "If you are sure you are ready, I have all the answers you want. These Gods come every ten years to hunt human prey." He summons his son to continue.

Haruki moves to the far end of the table and points a remote at the screen. A series of still images is displayed. "In 1977 and entire African tribe lost its warriors to a single masked attacker. Latin America 1987, two elite special forces teams were lost in the jungle and the site was destroyed by an atomic explosion. 1997, the police force and drug barons were targeted in Los Angeles."

The last picture shows a massive crater in the ice of Antarctica, with an arrangement of new buildings constructed around it.

"We brought something back from the ice. It is 2007, they will return and we will be ready for them!"

As Adam considers this information, Asao speaks quietly to his son. Haruki leaves the room as his father walks around the end of the table by the screen. "Your father was a worthy business opponent Adam. I truly respected him and I hope he realised that. You may not know this, but we met on a number of occasions in past discussions. Once, I even proposed a merger."

Adam whispers to Annalise to gather their things. "I don't like to guess your real reasons for bringing me here, Mr Yutani. My loyalty lies with my father's legacy and I'm not about to risk that for anything. Unless you can show me proof of what you claim, I am ready to leave."

Very well, Mr Weyland," Asao replies. "My helicopter is being prepped as we speak. I'll give you all the proof you need, but when you are satisfied, I expect your loyalties to lie with me. Your assistant is welcome to join us."

Asao leads the way back through the building, past two frosted doors to the corridor and lifts. They stand quietly and wait as staff prepare for their departure. Adam shares a look with Annalise, both are unsure what is happening, but they are aware that the Yutani Corporation is offering important information.

Asao couldn't be more relaxed, calmly polishing the silver embellishment on the handle head of his cane. He moves to the doors as if he predicts the lift arriving and they part for him to enter. His two guests follow inside, the lift continues upward taking them to the roof.

It stops with a refined ease, opening to a late afternoon sky. Ahead waits an unfamiliar style of transport craft. A dark silver helicopter with a tilted fan of blades and dipped front nose. Standing on three large footed legs, and a shielded rotor blade far up high at the far end.

The passenger hold is a boxed cabin section, held in the centre portion by rows of gripping clamps. It is flanked either side by two bulbous thruster pods and another behind, under the tail.

They step up inside to a choice of two rows of four seats. Asao waits as his son arrives on the roof holding the leashes of two grey Siamese cats. Adam and Annalise are seated in the front row by the far window, they do not ask questions as the twin animals are guided inside. Asao and Haruki are on board and the doorway seals shut.

Two pilots ahead can be seen through a horizontal glass panel at the front of the cabin. First the three thrusters charge to lift away from the helipad. The blades start to turn, faster and faster to a rhythmic pulse.

The thrusters switch off and the craft moves from the platform, skyward from the city. The two cats lie on the middle back seats between Haruki and his father.

Asao leans forward, "How do you like the ride?" he asks Annalise.

She faces him to answer, "Is this a military vehicle?"

"Military? Not yet my dear. We Manufacture these, this is a prototype -fully tested though!"

Adam stares out of his right side window, "Impressive design, I'd only seen pictures and schematics until now."

"Good," congratulates Asao, "You have been doing your research, perhaps you'll be interested in one!"

"Perhaps," answers Adam, peering out in an attempt to track their position and to guess their destination.

The journey continues for nearly an hour, far away from any populated areas, out into rural Japanese farmland. Hardly a word spoken the entire trip, the cats are sleeping, curled up in comfort while the other passengers are aware of a restless tension between their two parties.

The landscape is lush, rolling hills blanketed with vegetation and woodland. An occasional farmer looks up, disturbed from picking duties by the silver carriage flying overhead.

The helicopter approaches a range of valleys. Steep land banked with colourful trees and wildlife. With the sun beginning to set, an area of tall peaks lies on the horizon. As they get close, a building blocks out the light at the top of the highest land. Annalise watches across Adam's shoulder as the temple becomes easier to see. The craft makes a pass, to bank round tight for a landing.

The red, wooden construction below has the classic style of ancient Japanese culture. A single balcony running around the edge of the second level, held up by rows of vertical pillars. Leading away from the entrance and across a steep drop is a matching red, wooden bridge which leads to a helicopter pad on a stepped concrete base.

The thrusters fire again to ease the landing as the propeller hums slower. The landing legs unfold and reach out, the rectangular feet pivot back and forth, adjusting to match the level of the ground.

The animals stir as the door hatch parts, the top half retracts into the roof and the lower provides a ramp to exit.

Adam turns in his seat. "I know we're looking for Gods, but a temple is a little more spiritual than I'd expected."

Asao smiles. "Haruki, take Masaki and Masami, I'll follow with our visitors."

Haruki disturbs the twin animals and leads them outside.

"Mr Weyland, Miss Richards," Asao addresses. "You are both here at my discretion. I choose which people I trust, and I would like you to remember that when you learn what I have to share. While you are on my land and in my company, you are in the hands of the highest security, for everyone's protection. If you choose to follow my son outside, you submit yourselves to my rules."

Adam doesn't like to be lectured, he is his own boss, but he agrees. "Very well, and I trust that you aren't wasting my time."

The passengers step out and walk down to a paved path. The atmosphere is humid in the evening air, all around are trees and thick undergrowth. As they head for the temple, the ground clearly drops away either side down to the valley floor. And crossing the wide bridge, there are movements in the plant-life beneath it.

From a distant spot, where the group are just visible moving toward the building, a machine pivots round; tracking their movement. It saw the transport craft arrive and land, just as it sees everything that might be a threat. The sensitive cannon moves with deadly precision, along with three other cannons at opposite corners of the site.

These security sentries are mounted under the tree canopies, bolted hard to the ground. Unaware, Adam and Annalise take a last look at the setting sun. Asao waits by the entrance doors. "Are you ready?" he asks.

Adam wipes his brow. "Is it usually this hot?"


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