One of the biggest features of the Dread in Aliens & Asteroids is their ability to drain the life from a world one life-form at a time. We’re not talking plant-life here either. Any higher-order creature with a sizable life force that can be used to fill a battery for the Monarch, whose hunger has no bounds as a living planet leaving a wake of death in its path.
How do they do this? Well, suffice it to say that the Monarch’s ground forces, led by the Queen and her retinue, have a secret weapon. The secret is the Harvester.
This creature can drain any creature with a brain and leech its very life essence into batteries that await the Monarch’s arrival. The Hive will drain an entire world one creature at a time until one of two things happens… One, they run out of creatures to drain. Two, the Monarch swings by, consumes their store of batteries, and instructs them to stop.
What happens to the creatures who fall victim to the Dread? Well, they fall into one of two categories — Husks or Hollows.
Husks are the creatures eaten by the Dread to fuel their crusade. When they consume a victim in this manner, they take in every ounce of energy, leaving very little behind. It’s a bit like a spider draining its prey. All Dread are able to consume food in this way, essentially injecting a small amount of acid into the body and then sucks the liquefied remains back out again. All that is left is an envelope of skin and bones.
Hollows are different, trapped between life and death. When a Harvester drains a victim of their life essence, that creature becomes a Hollow. As a Hollow, the victim becomes part of the Hivemind like the rest of the Dread, and another tool in their quest to eliminate all life from a world to feed their Monarch.
Hollows retain the ability to move and attack in primitive ways, as directed by their Dread masters. Some might call them zombies, losing the ability to think for themselves and becoming mindless beasts for the Dread to control. Is it possible to return them to their pre-Hollow selves? That’s a point of contention among the few researchers who know of the Dread threat.
Don’t tell them I told you, by the way…