XENOMORPH WARRIOR (ALIENS)
The Warrior, also known as the Soldier, is the primary assault caste of the Xenomorph XX121 species and as such is almost certainly the most numerous caste of Xenomorph in existence. They are fast, reasonably tough, and savage combatants. Even in death the Warrior is dangerous, as its pressurized bloodstream will cause it to burst apart, drenching nearby enemies in acid blood. Warriors are identified by their ridged heads, and stand around 7–8 feet tall on their hind legs. They are about 14–16 feet long, including their tail.
Warriors first appeared in Aliens, but were actually the result of a last-minute design change made by director James Cameron; the original smooth Drone headpiece was considered too fragile to stand up to the rigors of filming and so it was removed, revealing the ridged structure beneath.
The most recognizable form of warriors are spawned from human hosts, and are basically bipedal as a result, although they have been known to frequently move on all fours, particularly when climbing walls or ceilings, a task at which they are adept. They are extremely agile, capable of navigating through vents, up walls or across large areas swiftly and nimbly. They also have an astonishing leaping ability. Warriors stand at around 8 feet in height, taller even than a typical Yautja. They are dark in skin color, typically black but sometimes incorporating dark brown or blue tones.
Warriors are seemingly even stronger than Drones, capable of lifting humans clean into the air with little effort, and breaking down metal pressure doors when in groups. During combat, some Warriors have been known to continue fighting, or at least trying to fight, even after losing limbs. Their heads are covered in ridges for increased structural strength, allowing them to use their skulls as ramming weapons, often to force their way through doors, vent covers or other physical obstructions. Their segmented tails end in a blade-like tip that can be used to propel the creature swiftly through water. They also feature the dorsal tubes typical of many Xenomorph castes, and some Warriors have been seen to possess blade-like protrusions at the elbows.
When a Warrior is killed by weapons that cause massive physical trauma, its highly pressurized bloodstream causes the creature to explode, showering the surrounding area with molecular acid. This has been seen to cause severe injury and even death to humans caught in such a blast. A similar effect has been seen when a Warrior is set aflame, typically through the use of military-issue flamethrowers; the intense heat from prolonged burning can cause the creature to violently explode, which is most likely due to its already high-pressure circulatory system boiling within its body.
Warriors have been known to employ stealth tactics, and are able to blend into their surrounding environment, particularly within the Hive, before ambushing targets. However, they more often employ direct assaults and swarm attacks, using sheer weight of numbers to overwhelm defenses and subdue their prey. While this behavior often leads to high casualty rates against prepared opponents, it brings with it distinct psychological advantages with regards to enemy morale. It is not clear whether such reckless attacks represent a diminished intelligence and/or survival instinct on the part of the Warrior when compared to the more stealthy Drones, or whether it is a result of influence from the Queen.
Despite this, Warriors clearly possess some ability to plan and adapt; for example, in Aliens they were shown to be capable of cutting power to certain areas of the colony, finding openings in their opponents’ defenses, and successfully sneaking up on victims even when they were apparently on guard and at full alert. Warriors display high degrees of aggression and will attack any non-Xenomorph life forms they encounter. In some cases, individual Warriors appear to possess greater intelligence than their brethren and may even act as a “leader” amongst a group of Warriors. Notable examples include Specimen 6.
Warriors are often said to evolve from Drones, although it is unknown at which point this change may occur, or whether there are external factors that can influence it. In the expanded universe, Warriors are shown as being able to further evolve into various other Xenomorph forms, most notably Praetorians and even Queens. The factors influencing these changes are not well understood; it is possible the evolution takes place at the individual’s own volition, or it may be instigated by either external factors or direct influence from the Queen. As with most Xenomorphs, Warriors can evolve from exposure to Royal Jelly.