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Nikolao speaks into a communicator - in his watch, wow, how James Bond of him - and says, sharply, “Venka.

There’s some static over the line and then Venka voice cuts in going, “Nikolao, what the hell, where did you go?”

“That’s not important,” Nikolao says, which also seems like a very James Bond reply - Chiela’s just waiting for him to say Moneypenny, which would be awesome. “I need for you to take the ship into orbit. We’re being followed by two - no,” he darts a look to his left, “make that three Xenomorphs. I expect they’ll be at the ship any minute.”

More static over the line and then Venka cuts in with a, “Are you out of your fucking mind. Leave you out there?” and in the back round Chiela can hear Pipra strongly disagreeing with that plan.

Yes, Venka,” Nikolao says, sounding more annoyed by the second - and hey, who elected him to speak for both of them? Chiela doesn’t like the sound of this. “We’ll manage, and we’ll hail you when we’ve shaken them off. You can land, then.”

“I’m not under your command, Captain,” Venka says, “And I don’t like the sound of any of this.”

“Just do it, Venka,” Nikolao says, sounding like he’s at the absolute end of his rope. “Nikolao out,” and cuts the line, whether Venka’s finished calling him and idiot or not.

“So, uh,” Chiela says, “Small question. What are we going to do?”

Nikolao shoots her a look like he thinks she’s the real idiot here, which totally isn’t fair. It’s a valid question, and it’s her life on the line, too. She so deserves to know.

“You,” he said, “are going to transform and get the hell out of here. There’s a good chance they don’t even know who you are. Me, there’s money on. They shouldn’t go after you when there’s the chance of my capture. You can rendezvous with the ship."

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