NEOMORPH (Alien Covenant)
The Neomorph was an endoparasitoid extraterrestrial species encountered by the crew of the USCSS Covenant. While they share some characteristics with the Xenomorph XX121, most notably their process of gestating inside a living host organism and their elongated heads, they are otherwise quite different .
Two of the creatures were encountered by the crew of the Covenant after landing on the planet where David conducted his biological experiments.
The Neomorphs were the result of the local ecosystem on the planet to which Davidtraveled after leaving LV-223 becoming altered by the black liquid. Specifically, the liquid caused small, black, spherical, fungus-like egg sacks to form on the ground. When disturbed, these egg sacks would release a cloud of microscopic insect-like spores (motes) into the air that would then enter a host organism through any open orifice — such as the nostrils or ear canal. Once a host is infected with the airborne contagion, the spores would enter the bloodstream and proceed to cause a Bloodburster to grow inside of them until they violently puncture the skin and claws their way out of the host’s body. This process is notably similar to the Xenomorph Chestburster, although the exact point of emergence varies depending on how the host was infected. As with Xenomorphs, the appearance and characteristics of the Neomorph depend on what sort of animal it was spawned from.
When spawned from a human host, the creature is born with arms and legs and initially moves in a quadrupedal manner, reminiscent of a Runner, but as they grow, the Neomorph adopts a bipedal stance. Notably, the creature is born with a bulbous head but as it grows its head grows more elongated and pointy. The creature has pale, white-grey skin with a somewhat translucent appearance, attributes that resemble those of a Hammerpede. The Neomorph features a fleshy tail tipped with spikes, which can be used as a devastating slashing and battering weapon, and a large number of silvery fangs in their mouth, which appears circular when closed. Notably, individual Neomorphs appear to display physical variance. For instance, one of the creatures featured a pair of sharp, bony dorsal spikes on their back that assisted them in breaking out of their host, whereas the other individual encountered lacked these features. Their blood is thick and yellow in colour, but notably not acidic.
In terms of behaviour, the Neomorph is far more feral and animal-like than a typical Xenomorph, to the point that even their newborn form is highly aggressive and will attack anyone on sight. Their animalistic nature may suggest a lack of intelligence in comparison to their counterpart, however, they are capable of being deliberate and stealthy, as the Neomorph that killed Rosie snuck up on her and did nothing until she turned around, which it then regarded her for a moment before suddenly killing her. Unlike the Xenomorphs, Neomorphs are more organic in appearance and lack biomechanical aspects. Neomorphs are notably seen consuming the flesh of humans they have killed, though Xenomorphs have not been depicted doing this.
Unlike a typical Xenomorph, Neomorphs do not possess an extendable inner jaw which can be used to attack, instead their “gums” extend out in a manner similar to Goblin Sharks and even the Deacon. Also, while the teeth of a Xenomorph’s outer jaws are usually visible, a Neomorph’s jawline is nearly invisible when closed.
According to David, the Engineer’s black liquid mutagen was intended to create hybrid creatures like the Neomorph that would instinctively hunt down and kill all non-botanical, animal life in an ecosystem – “the meat”. Notably, when one Neomorph encountered David, it apparently recognized that he was a synthetic android – and thus instead of attacking him, simply stood still and regarded him — although a Neomorph had previously bitten off Walter’s arm when he attacked it. Xenomorphs, in contrast, have been observed attacking synthetics – possibly another example of their greater intelligence compared to Neomorphs, whose behaviour seems to be based more on animal instinct.
Unlike the Xenomorph, the Neomorph is born already greatly capable of self-defence, as even as an infant that was only just born, it was capable of overpowering an adult human and smashing through solid glass with ease. Another Neomorph which was also just recently born was able to tear a man’s lower jaw off simply by hitting him with its tail and was able to throw Walter some distance into the air.