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In February 2225, 5 years before the Incident, the Forward Observation Pods were attacked by the horde of Aliens, massacring many of the Colonial Marines and many scientists. Only one, Dr. Eisenberg, managed to survive in hiding in one of the locked storages, going so far with eating one of his scientists to survive the event, and was then rescued by the rescue team.
5 years later, 2 days before the attack at the POC, Dr. Eisenberg is discussing some of the facility's problems with a Company auditor. Those problems include the loss of Pod 5, missing artefacts and unauthorized research, and the oversight committee is getting worried about the illegal activities and the loss of the facility staff on Pod 5. Eisenberg will have none of it and continues research.
Meanwhile, Major Dunya delivers a large container to Captain Richter, operator of the cargo vessel Aurora. He has apparently been smuggling artefacts stolen by the Iron Bears, but this crate is larger than normal. He attempts to scan it, but the container is shielded against scanning. Richter is called away to a meeting with Rykov by a security guard, Lloyd, shortly before liftoff. The crate is knocked over and opened when the ship is bumped during the refueling process, revealing the Egg within. The Egg opens and the player-controlled Facehugger emerges. The Facehugger leaves the ship through umbilical ductwork and begins to track an irritable guard, Cisco, through the POC. When Cisco retires to his quarters for a nap, the Facehugger springs on him and infects him.
In due time, a player-controlled Chestburster hatches, killing Cisco, while the Facehugger hides under Cisco's desk, and soon after dies hidden. It flees through an open window and proceeds through the POC until it finds nourishment - cats apparently kept for research purposes by the corporation. It molts, and when it is next seen, it is a full-grown Warrior Alien drone.
The Warrior fights its way through the POC, releasing other Xenomorphs being kept as test subjects along the way. It reaches the lower levels, finally encountering a Predator that has been stalking it, probably believing it would make a suitable challenge. It fatally wounds the Predator, which activates its Self-Destruct Device, thus blasting a hole into the POC's drainage system and allowing the Warrior to escape. Incidentally, the hole also allows thousands of Xenomorphs into the POC, thus causing the incident to which the Colonial Marines respond.
Six weeks later, the Warrior infiltrates the Pods during a brief security failure caused by Corporal Harrison. As the Xenomorphs attack the Pods, they kill Dimitri, Dunya's fiancee and a senior Iron Bear soldier. The Warrior takes the opportunity to wreak havoc, killing dozens of guards and scientists, releasing a Predalien, and finally liberating an entire artificial Hive within the Pod. Along the way, it kills scientists who are about to impregnate another Predator with a Chestburster.
Eisenberg has taken advantage of the Marines' arrival to initiate the Large Mass Specimen Extraction, a project to capture the Xenomorph Empress. As part of the plan, combat synthetics have wired explosive charges throughout the tunnels of the Hive. After leaving the Pods and armed with this information, the Warrior must disable these explosives as it tracks the Empress.
The Empress is successfully captured, but the Warrior pursues her captors, including Eisenberg himself. It tracks them through an archaeological site, killing guards, civilians and Iron Bears mercenaries, to a dropship landing pad. It kills two Predators and sabotages the pad's support machinery, causing the dropship to crash. Furious, Eisenberg attacks the Warrior directly. When the alien incapacitates him, the game ends.
A cutscene reveals that Eisenberg (in his current incarnation) is an android, and he has been cocooned within the Empress' chamber. His limbs have been removed and his screams echo through the Hive, as a Queen and the Warrior gloat.