Alien (franchise)/Headscratchers

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  • Why it didn't occur to Ripley to fire directly at the Alien Queen? Would have saved them a lot of grief.
    • The queen was the only one who could understand Ripley's threat: Attack me and I fry all your eggs. The warriors would only stop attacking if the queen ordered them to. So Ripley needed the queen. Later on, she didn't have time to shoot the queen because she was fighting off the warriors, and then ran out of ammo.
    • Yeah, but Ripley has time to fire at least three grenades into the Queen's eggsac. One would have done the job of destroying it; if Ripley had just fired one of those grenades at the Queen's body, she would have at least crippled it to the point it couldn't follow her and fight her on the ship.
    • I think Ripley wanted for the Queen to see her children being rippedt to pieces and her eggs burning. Also, she DID throw a grenade belt into the room while retreating with Newt, most likely with the intention of killing or at least maiming the Queen. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, as otherwise we would have missed the Power Loaader fight), that wasn't the case.
    • Maybe Ripley is just to stressed mentally to think rationally.
    • It's stated fairly implicitly in the movies that Ripley has no idea what she's doing. She is, after all, merely a commercial pilot. Whatever access she may have had to guns at home, it's unlikely to have been anything more than a handgun (which explicitly still exist in that universe), let alone a plasma rifle/grenade launcher/flamethrower. Plus, she's also spent 60 years in deep sleep. Imagine handing a civilian from the WWII era a modern, military grade weapon and telling them to have at it. Odds are, their aim would probably suck after only two hours too.
      • It's also strongly hinted, especially in the super extra bonus cut of the movie, that she's suffering from severe PTSD and still struggling with the knowledge that she's a mid-30's woman whose daughter died of old age 2 years prior. Thus her irrational connection to Newt, and sheer, all consuming hatred of Xenomorphs and "Synthetics". That scene is framed as as a cathartic freakout than a deliberate attempt to methodically "neitralise the enemy".
  • Why are the Power Loaders, well, just loaders? Put some armor around the pilot, add a smart gun and one or two greande launchers, and you've got the perfect infatry support vehicle.
    • I'd like to introduce you to Alice from the PC game Aliens vs. Predator 2.
    • Yeah, if I recall correctly that thing was armed with a laser cannon, flamethrower, rocket launchers, and TWIN miniguns. Plus, it ran pretty damn fast.
    • They did make them armored walkers in the comics, but it has the normal mecha problem - the ground pressure of all that armor, smart gun, grenade launchers, etc. on two feet not much bigger than a human footprint.
      • How is that different from the Power Loader carrying heavy equipment?
        • Because it's not in combat.
          • I don't think the ground cares if the pressure on it is enacted during combat or not. If a Power Loader can move around carrying heavy stuff, it can also carry a machinegun attached to it.
            • The combat loader would be expected to operate everywhere a Marine does: swamps, mountains, forests, jungles and tundra. If the combat loader suffers severe issues with difficult terrain, it's close to useless in combat. The power loader on the other hand would only operate in areas with a specific infrastructure to support it; like space ships.
              • Another major issue with a combat loader is speed. From what we saw, the power loader walked at a fraction of the speed that a normal marine could and there's no reason to believe a combat loader would be any faster. In the time it took the marines in the movie to disembark the ship, move two-by-two up to the entrance of the colony, and hack their way through the door, the power loader probably would've moved 20 feet, max. It would only be useful if you replaced the legs with wheels or treads. But once you do that it's not a mecha anymore, just a small tank.
                • The aformentioned combat power armor in the AVP 2 game was lighting fast, though. And so were all the instances of similar machines in the comics. I think the easiest explanation is that combat power armor most likely does exist in the Alien universe, but the Sulaco simply wasn't issued one.
                  • Or an even easier explanation: Combat power loaders were not originally a part of the movie canon and were added to the comics/games because they were cool.
  • In Alien Resurrection, why did it take 200 years and cloning Ripley in order to once again gain access to a cache of Xenomorphs? Why not return to LV-426 and take some eggs? The Derelict couldn't have been destroyed by the nuclear explosion, it's pretty obvious that the crash site was quite far from Hadley's Hope (it's literally said that it's "in the middle of nowhere").
    • The (first seen) Alien Queen had the first few warriors bring the eggs to the colony so that she would have immediate access to more warriors rather than waiting to produce them herself (just a guess).
    • The detonation of Hadley's Hope was supposed to be "the size of Nebraska". The derelict must have been close enough to the colony that Newt's family could get back to the colony from the derelict in a big truck cross-country within the time it takes for a chestburster to emerge (otherwise there wouldn't have been any aliens loose in the colony - they would have been outside), which according to Alien is less than a day. The Derelict was probably close enough to be destroyed by the detonation after all.
      • Calling it "the size of Nebraska" is hyperbole. IIRC Bishop accurately calculates the radius when he sees the station's overloading: "...a blast radius of about 30 kilometres, equal to about forty megatons."
        • Keeping in mind the terrain and weather on Acheron, 30 kilometres could be well within the theoretical travel time.
  • Why did it seemingly not occur to anyone in Alien to try killing the creature by just gathering everybody into one room and taking all the air out of the rest of the ship, or otherwise adjusting the life support to make conditions in the rest of the ship lethal? Even if we assume the creature doesn't need air it's clearly wet inside, so unless it has some sort of biological heat pump turning up the heat past 100 C should kill it eventually. Yes, the alien in Alien 3 survived immersion in molten metal, but it was only in there for a few seconds and judging by the way it jumped out it didn't exactly seem to like it (plus the chestbuster in Aliens shrieked in pain when it got hit with a flamethrower). The easiest explanation is that the exoskeleton is a good insulator, so there's every reason to think sustained excess heat will kill it eventually. Even if it wouldn't have worked it would have been nice to see "we control the life support system, why don't we use that against it" brought up and shot down so we wouldn't get the impression the movie might have been dependent on an Idiot Plot.
    • Because this isn't Star Trek. Maybe they could have blown out all the air of the ship but that would leave them with one room full of breathable air to last them the long trip home. The ship itself is shielded to protect it from temperature changes so anything that would effect the Alien would affect them too. That was the whole point of the situation, they had almost no viable options to fight it. They could have shot it but they would have melted a hole through the ship, which is why they created the shorkers.
      • You may also want to consider that in a deleted scene, the crew were thinking about decompressing certain areas of the ship, however they couldn't know exactly where the damn thing was because the landing procedure on the planet disabled all of their camera systems. And that's the same scene when Brett thought up the cattle prod idea, but also called Ash out in the process for letting it on board.
      • They go into in more the novel, but even in the movie they mention that the planet had a very thin atmosphere, so they thought that it might need very little to breathe. Turns out it doesn't need to breathe at all.
        • Also in the novel it's suggested by brett that they go into hypersleep and decompress the entire ship (as the ship doesn't have enough air for them to decompress the ship and stay awake) but this is met with distaste as the rest of the crew are unsure if this will work and feel that being in hypersleep would leave them trapped and at the mercy of the alien so wanted it off the ship before they went into hypersleep.
        • Besides, who's to say that they even have the ability to empty whatever ship sections they want? Also, original poster... why would anyone create a life support system for humans that reaches 100 C? That would be pointless, useless, and dangerously stupid.
      • In O'Bannon's original script, THE STAR BEAST, alien acid eats a tiny hole in the hull and one of the crew members is sucked out into space (in little bits, like they did with the baby alien in the last movie), leaving very little atmosphere in that section of the ship. Evidently they Did the Research and decided it was impossible to suck a human body through a little hole.
  • What was the purpose of the shuttle-like craft in Alien? If it was a lifeboat why didn't it have enough cryotubes for the entire crew, and if it was a shuttle why did it have cryotubes at all?
    • The Narcissus was most likely Dallas's personal shuttle. The two cryotubes are there because there's no light speed system in the series, and it was most likely a design feature for any craft going into deep space.
    • Actually there would HAVE to be light speed capable ships to make interstellar HUMAN space travel a realistic proposition. It would be simpler (and cheaper from a legal standpoint) to use robotic ships, especially for cargo runs like the Nostromo was doing. In fact, until light speed or FTL ships are invented, it would take unnecessarily large and expensive generational ships to make any extra-solar excursions. Ships sailing on the oceans today are required by law to carry enough lifeboats for the entire crew and passenger complement. It's doubtful that those regulations would be eased in the future.
      • In the Alien universe there //is// no FTL. It's an unwarranted assumption that FTL will be "invented" sometime. The society is a corporate dystopia where the biggest, most rapacious monster is the company itself, and laws are framed for the company's benefit, not the individual. The Nostromo essentially is a robotic ship, with the crew along for contingencies outside Mother's parameters. Why humans rather than mech robots under Mother's control? Humans are more adaptable. Why humans rather than Artificial Persons? Humans are probably cheaper.
        • There is FTL travel, it's just slow. Lambert quotes a travel time of 10 months from Zeta Reticuli to Earth. That's impossible without FTL.
          • Personally, I wouldn't call covering 39 lightyears in 10 months "slow".
    • The Nostromo carried two shuttles (in fact there are two on the model). It's just that only one was working at the time of the movie (see the DVD extras). The two shuttles together carry enough hypersleep chambers for the whole crew.
    • This trooper believes (from memory of reading the novel) that the shuttle was used only as an in system transport and only as a life boat in a dire emergency. as for FTL ect. it's stated in the novel that the nostromo can reach near light speeds and is mostly automated with limited life support for the crew who's only job it is to wake up in order to park the ship, respond to emergencies that mother can not handle and other such tasks.
  • The Space Jockeys send a transmission to warn people away from their ship, and make the transmission powerful enough that it can apparently be picked up over interstellar distances. But this would make their ship highly conspicuous and more likely to be found. The ship might have avoided discovery for a lot longer if they just relied on the sheer vastness of the galaxy to keep hapless explorers from stumbling into it. Why don't they make the transmission just strong enough to be picked up in the immediate vicinity of the planet, so that the only people who pick it up would have been exploring the system anyway? And then there are the problems of trying to come up with a warning that could be transmitted by radio that would be interpretable to alien beings they know nothing about. It might also have been a good idea to surround the crashed ship with rock carvings of xenomorphs and their life cycle and habits. That would probably be pretty universally understandable since almost any imaginable intelligence would need to be able to percieve basic shapes in order to navigate its surroundings, and it would have the bonus of not relying on having a transmitter continuing to work for thousands of years.
    • The previous point assumes that the Space Jockeys had time to think it through, but maybe things got to shit really fast on their ship, just like on the Nostromo - no time to carve warnings or stuff. Yeah, the powerful signal wasn't necessarily a good idea, but still. Maybe the last survivor had prepared it as he felt a xenomorph was digging its way through his chest. Considering the situation, they did a decent effort of trying to save the asses of other space travellers.
    • For all we know, the Jockey's warning could've simply been meant to warn other Jockeys. It might not've given a damn if pitiful hoo-mans stumbled across it's cargo full of alien eggs.
    • Based on all the associated fiction in the expanded universe, the jockeys were massive tools. They might have intended for their ship to be conspicuous. Either to lure their enemies to their deaths, or to alert their allies that a ship full of extremely valuable weaponry was sitting there unused.
    • The novel states that the signal was picked up as the nostromo flew close to the system and given the length of time the signal had been broadcasting it could probably be picked up many thousands of light years away. also it's stated in the novel (and I believe in the original script) that the jockeys left simple hyroglyphs around the ship (H.R Giger drew the design) displaying a jockey being attacked by a facehugger, then collapsing and a face hugger bursting forth before the images are repeated, it's taken by the crew to indicate a virus which they believe has died out given the time that has passed.
    • What's got this troper stumped is why the Space Jockey pilot didn't simply aim its ship at the nearest sun when it woke up and realized it'd been infested. Destroy the ship, and there's no need for a warning signal, comprehensible or not.
    • Perhaps the recurrent inability to commit suicide shown in hosts throughout the franchise is a biological defense mechanism built into the Chestbursters. Once they get inside you, you can't do anything to engineer the destruction of your parasite. Beyond begging for a mercy kill, of course.
    • Sorry, but do you know when that comes up? I don't remember anything like that. Unless it's in Ressurection.
    • The space jockey's ship was filled with xenomorph eggs. More than likely he was transporting them somewhere and landed the ship hoping another space jockey would come along and use the eggs for their intended purpose.
  • In the special edition of Aliens, the remaining marines set up 4 automated sentry turrets around their barricade. Each one carries 500 rounds, for a total of 2000. Every single shot is fired at the aliens, with likely very few misses due to the tight corridors + horde of aliens. However, there are only a maximum of 160 (157 from the colonists plus the 2 marines who we know got taken away as hosts and the copolit who could have been) aliens on LV-426 (unless a full-sized alien warrior can come from a hamster) so how was there still enough left over to zerg rush the marines little base of operations? Hmm, maybe thats why they cut the scenes with the sentry turrets from the theatrical release.
    • I always had the impression that between the first ambush, that sentry guns scene, and the scene where they drop from the ceiling, most of the Xenos WERE killed. Notice that the Queen only had a couple of them as guards, and Ripley didn't run into any more while escaping.
    • This would only be an issue if we assume that each shot kills one Alien. This is apparently not the case: The turrets seem to be set to fire at anything that moves. When Vasquez and Hudson test them, they fire a short salvo, rather than a single shot. Since even an alien that has been shot already may continue to move, it's a fair guess that the turrets fire multiple shots at each.
      • This is the typical behavior of fully automatic fire. Several hits per target, scattered all across the body. Watch a few Deadliest Warrior episodes that feature modern rifles (Yakuza vs Mafia, for instance) for a demonstration. Modern computer-guided weapons also fire in multiple-round salvos: observe the behavior of the modern equivalent, the CIWS.
    • After giving this one some thought it can work out barely. The guns seem to fire at least 5 round bursts could easilry be higher, so 200 rounds -10 for the testing -10 left in gun is 1980 rounds. Assume an average of 20 rounds per alien and thats 99 dead aliens. Actual number may be more or less. Add in the on screen kills by the marines and Riply you're close to 150. Remember at least one colonist died have his face sucker taken off before injestion. Those two aliens with the queen near the end may actually be the only ones left. The only problem is the ones the colonists hit with small arms fire and explosives before the marines arrived. I think that fight would make a good movie in and of itself.
    • The Aliens are shown to be smarter than they first appear. They wait until the Marines move into the nest before attacking, they cut the power, they bypass the Marines' barricade, etc. It's possible that after the first group went down, the Aliens figured out a way to bait it into wasting ammo (darting across its field of fire or something).
      • They wouldn't even have to expose their main bodies to the turrets. Just swish their very long, tough and spindly tails across the detection zone.
      • As far as the nest I always interpreted them as going into hibernation since they had harvested all the colonists except for Newt. Then cue some hostiles inside their home burning stuff and they wake up angry as well as hungry.
    • Plus, who says the colonists didn't have pets? A hamster won't do for a host, but an average-sized dog might. And if the colonists were raising cattle/pigs/sheep, that would vastly increase the number of potential Aliens.
      • In the comic book adapatation Newt's Tale, there is specific mention given to "missing livestock". Nowhere in the actual movie, granted, but it was noted. Of course, this gives rise to an entirely different issue as to why the drones were all humanoid...
      • The ones we see, anyway. Maybe all the xeno-livestock were sent to drain the guns.
    • They're not ray guns. They don't disintegrate the Xenos. They're clearing a hive-mind like species where the survival of the individual is relatively meaningless, all you need is enough motion to keep the guns firing until they're empty, then the survivors in the back push through the corpses of the ones at the front.
    • There's a few ideas that this troper holds after much thought on this subject over the years. first the camera mounts on the guns seam to show rounds striking the wall (as evident by the white flashes) indicating not every round struck, the guns are set to fire at anything that moves, and in 5 round bursts meaning that they could be striking severed limbs, debris such as wall and ceiling pannels falling ect. also given that there is no life found in the colony suggesting that any livestock on the colony was also changed. meaning there are probably more than 157 aliens. which would account for the aliens killed by the colonists.
      • On that note, who says the sentry guns' targeting systems are all that robust? It's quite possible they are missing far more than they're hitting.
  • How was Mother even able to (even partially) translate the message? You'd need some Rosetta Stone or something, but since this alien ship has been there for quite some time (as evidenced by the Space Jockey being fossilized), I don't think that this exists.
    • Weyland-Yutani (somehow) knew the ship was there. I assume that they knew some details about the ship beforehand.
    • Depending on which non-movies source you adhere to, the Jockey's were "good guys" and really wanted to warn people. It wouldn't be hard to convey danger through simple math. (Transmit, in a regular sequence several times, NOTHING, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 then transmit 6 / 3 = 2 (division), 6 / 2 = 3, 4 / 2 = 2 (to reinforce / is division, = is equals), then repeat 6 / NOTHING, 5 / NOTHING, 4 / NOTHING, and repeat the whole series several times to emphasize. In simple arithmetic dividing by zero is very bad, so the idea would get across.) Once you emphasize the danger, you can get around to the more abstract discussion of the danger.
      • I'm sorry, what?
      • In mathematics, there are certain equations that are either inelegant, unwieldy, or impossible. The mathematical troper above was suggesting using one of these equations as a metaphor for an unsavory (or in this case, dangerous) situation. One of the most basic unwieldy equations is dividing by zero, because dividing by zero yields no meaningful expression. The sequence above is a basic primer to establish universally translatable numerals and symbols, and then to communicate the dangerous situation by repeating division by zero equations to indicate bad conditions. It would be a very vague warning, but a conspicuous one as long as you have a mathematician or a semi-intelligent supercomputer on board.
      • Mathematics is universal. In particular, any race which knows enough physics to build a starship must also be pretty good at math. The above troper is suggesting that information be transmitted that can be identified as numbers, then use the numbers to identify another specific bit of information as the operation of division, and then sending a bunch of divisions by zero to convey the idea that something very, very wrong is going on. I'm not sure it would work, though... I can easily imagine an intended recipient interpreting the message as implying that something impossible is happening rather than something horrible and becoming curious to investigate it rather than scared away. Still, it's a decent effort at cross species communication.
      • Until you realize that none of the Nostromo's human crew would've interpreted that. They're the future equivalent of truck drivers or sailors. Sure, there must be a lot of truck drivers or sailors who get your idea, but I'm guessing the average blue-collar worker doesn't. I know I don't get the idea that dividing by 0 is a way to communicate something is bad, and I presume we're both the same species... I don't see the average alien understanding you either, much less an alien without an above average education in mathematics.
        • Space truckers need math to do their job, and Ripley had the help of a sophisticated computer.
          • This. Your average Earth-bound blue-collar worker doesn't need much more than high school math, but remember that at least one of these blue-collar workers IN SPACE is a navigator dealing with orbital mechanics, a very difficult, very precise branch of physics and mathematics. If you want to get to where you're going in space, you need to know about Kepler, Newton and Einstein or you're toast. Just look at what they had to do around that ship; they act more like a commercial or military aircraft crew than truckers. They'd have to be better educated, especially if you're going to trust seven people with an expensive, gigantic spaceship. Then there's the supercomputer, one that apparently programmed to deal with possible encounters with alien signals, since they have to investigate any they encounter. Plus, the Company is trying to keep the crew in the dark about the true nature of the mission-Ripley may have had to do some prodding to get Mother to admit that the signal looked like a warning, since she had to prod it into admitting that the Company didn't care whether they lived or died.
    • Also at least one of the crew could and probably did interpret that accurately- the Robotic Psychopath who was after the creature in the first place.
  • If the Nostromo only found the Space Jockey ship due to picking up the interstellar warning signal, why didn't the colonists ever find it?
    • They did, but didn't have the manpower/resources to investigate (or have directives not to investigate anomalies, wait for backup). So they pass along the signal, some brain at WY sorts it out, tell Paul Reiser, who promptly shaves off his Snidely Whiplash mustache so he can convincingly mount a "rescue."
      • They did go and investigate, but that wasn't until Ripley had reported what was found. Burke also brought up the fact that the colonists had been living there for years and hadn't found anything to explain everybody's hesitance to believe her story.
    • Could be a possibility that the ship's power source ran out by the time of colonizing LV-426. The jockey in the pilot's seat had been fossilized, not to mention how long it had been left there after the fact. If it had a nuclear power source, after enough time there would not be enough material for fission or fusion to sustain itself. If it were still transmitting, the colony would have found it sooner and the outbreak probably occur long before anyone would have found Ripley floating in space.
    • According to the script (or so I heard) the unfilmed scene where the colonists visit the ship called for it to have broken in two as a result of an earthquake. Presumably, the ship stopped tranmitting as a result of the damage.
      • Something similar was filmed, and appears in the Special Edition. The derelict is found by Newt's family, who were prospectors sent to investigate following Burke's message. The environment is now volcanic and the derelict is badly damaged, with one arm collapsed leaving a big hole through which Newt's parents gain access. Presumably the damage also knocked out the transmitter. Newt's father ends up with a facehugger attached, and hilarity ensues...
      • It wasn't collapsed but was split open, and it's stated in the novel (to the best of this troper's memory) that the ship was behind a ridge of rock thus the signal was blocked from the colony, and without any orbital assets to assist in mapping and exploring the world (a job that would have been left for later colonists) it's basically a needle in a haystack job, unlike the nostromo which was in space with an unblocked line of sight between the ship and the deralict (also given the time for radio signals to travel through space they could have intercepted an earlier signal and followed them in
      • A message beamed into space is, somewhat obviously, not designed to be read from the ground. Think about it, it's much easier to hear someone talking to your face than it is when they're standing with their back turned to you. The ship in Alien landed within 2 miles of the crash site and knew what it was looking for. In Aliens, they just landed on a random part of the planet (it's suggested it's quite a great deal further than the original landing) and possibly weren't looking for a signal in the first place. If there was a company conspiracy to infect everyone, it's not entirely unikely they had an Ash like infiltrator to cover up the signal until it was too late.
  • According to Ridley Scott, the aliens were designed by the "Space Jockey" race to be the ultimate bioweapons. The derelict spaceship in the first film is a bomber used to carpet a planet with alien eggs, which would then wipe out all life on the planet. We can speculate this was a form of area denial, given the only way to clear a planet of aliens afterwards would be to glass the surface ... or some sort of hidden kill switch for the buggers.
    • No need for either. The Aliens have a limited life span, likely what drives them to be so aggresive. Once they've used up the finite resources all they'd have to do is wait until the aliens died off, which shouldn't take more than a few years.
      • Unlikely. This troper doesn't believe it's ever been demonstrated that the xenos have a short lifespan. In fact, other parts of the Alien franchise have demonstrated the opposite; that the xenos are capable of surviving quite a long time and can survive even longer by going into a hibernative state.
      • The alien in the first movie was supposed to be near death when Ripley blew it out the airlock (apparently it's colouring changed and was moving much slower than it had before). It's also backed up in Aliens by the Hive going into hiberntion, conserving themselves as there was no immediate threat or resources to be found. Perhaps the aliens can last indefinitely in hibernation but when active their lifespan seems limited. Also, the movies have never cared about information added by games, comics or novels.
    • If the Jockeys designed them, then they already know everything about them they could ever need to know to design a virus, repellent, super weapon or whatever else you could devise to counter the things. Part of the horror presented in the films is that we have no idea how to fight them because they're so... Alien.
  • My thing about The Sulaco is why (other than for dramatic effect) would it take so long and so much effort to get it send down a drop ship? Given the damage to the APC is almost a certainty in combat and satellite phones are common in the present, why wouldn't the command officer, his immediate subordinate and anybody else they chose have a portable unit to signal the ship? For that matter,why didn't they leave anyone ON The Sulaco in case something happened and they were cut off or pinned down?
      • This troper's best guess for this would be, that the only transmitter was on the APC because 1) the size of the unit (which was basically a laptop and satalite uplink to fly the dropship by remote (if you look at the shots of bishop's console while he's flying down the dropship you can see what looks like a flight simulator) which would be a bulky load for a marine to carry into a crampt built up area (given the weight of armour, combat load and weapon, flashlights, trackers, and other gear they had it would have seamed like superfulos especially since gorman stayed on the APC for the most part and ferro remained with the dropship while spunkmyer only left it long enough to run some supplies to bishop so he could study the facehugger. and given the nature of their enemy they were not expecting anti armour or anti aircraft weapons so couldn't forsee the events that led to the dropship crash, yet alone the fact it struck the APC, and given that the seccond in command apone was one of the first mariens to die in the nest, even if he had the back up transmitter it wouldn't have been much used to them.
      • They explained this in the movie. Bishop himself said that he is "the only one qualified to remotely fly the dropship anyway". I assume Ferro was also qualified, but she was killed before this point in the movie, causing the said need for the second dropship. As to why they didn't leave anyone on the Sulaco: Who would they have left? They got the Pilot (Ferro), Ripley, The CO, the 2nd in command (Apone), Bishop, Hudson (electronics specialist?), and several grunts. They all had their key roles to play in the mission and it could be that there wasn't enough room to bring anyone else. They were all needed down on the surface, in the mission. So, if Bishop was the only guy who could pilot the thing other than Ferro, why would they want/need more than one, maybe two, transmitters when only two people in the whole mission knew how to even use it?
      • There is also that the console Bishop was carrying was merely the control unit. The actual transmitter was a large-scale installation. This is why Bishop had to go out on the roof of the colony building and wire his console into the satellite dish in order to contact the mothership -- with the loss of the APC, the only other radio around powerful enough to reach orbit was the colony's main comm facility.
  • Never mind why Ripley put herself into cold sleep. How in the world could there be an egg on the Sulaco at the end of Aliens anyway? And even if there was some way that could possibly have happened, we're supposed to believe that Ripley didn't give the ship a thorough going over before bedding down? The entire premise of the third movie is stupid given the ending of the second movie.
    • I suppose you'd have to assume the queen grabbed an undamaged egg and lugged it along with her when she stowed away on the dropship. When they reached the Sulaco the queen jumped off, hid the egg somewhere, then ran back and jumped back onto the dropship again for some reason. All of this in between the time when the dropship arrived on the mothership but before Ripley and the others disembarked.
    • Or she stuck the eggs to the dropship itself. Apparently the dropship had enough room to hide an entire alien queen stowaway! Room more for two eggs isn't unbelievable.
      • Except IIRC the opening scene just before the Sulaco dumps Ripley onto the prison planet clearly shows a hatched alien egg hidden somewhere on the mothership, not on the dropship.
      • It could have been attached somewhere on the dropship out of view of ripley, also what's to say the queen didn't lay it when she was stowed away, this could explain why it wasn't seen and if layed on the outside of the dropship it would explain the scene from the third movie where the word sulaco is visible (unless sulaco is written inside the dropship to indicate what ship it was attached to). at least in this tropers oppinion
        • The fact that she ripped off her egg sack says that she didn't lay it on the dropship. Bring it with her? Maybe. Lay it there? Not really possible.
    • The problem with the egg scenario is twofold. One, we know that the egg wasn't laid on the dropship, as the establishing shot shows that the egg has been stuck upside-down under (what looks like) a row of seats with the word "Sulaco" in the background. Two, from the time that the Queen exits the dropship, at least one person is looking at her at all times. When she exits, it's Ripley and Newt, then (when she's snooping around trying to pull up the floorgrates) Newt and Bishop, then it's Ripley and Bishop during the fight, and then the Queen goes into the airlock. There's no conceivable way that the Queen deposited an egg (even in the landing bay) when someone was watching her at all times.
      • My interpretation is that Bishop grabbed the eggs. Remember that he was under company orders to return a live alien specimen, or at least the company via Burke. He also had plenty of time to go egg-hunting between the time when he dropped Ripley off to find Newt and the time when he returned to pick her up; maybe the platform wasn't unstable, he was just lying to cover himself. He could have made the trip from the colony to the derelict in time, especially since he was travelling by air. Even taking the three laws into account, it still works if we assume that Bishop didn't see any danger to the survivors; maybe he didn't think the eggs would hatch while they were in hypersleep. In fact, given that he was under Burke's orders, then if this scenario is true, he was simply obeying the second law like a good android. (And that's assuming that the whole three-laws thing is even true; we only have Bishop's word on it, after all, and it's not like Burke would have corrected him.) Of course, this turns Bishop from a good guy into a total rat bastard, but it's not like it's without precedent; remember that Ashe had basically the same orders, he just went haywire before he could carry them out.
      • Bishop is bound not to harm a human, or to allow one to come to harm through inaction. That's hardcoded into him. Bringing live eggs onto a ship would violate both of those clauses. When Bishop first mentions it and Burke confirms it, nobody else at the table (including people not in on "the plan") questions it, so it's likely common knowledge. The rest of the marines know Bishop personally; remember the thing about Ash was that he was a new guy, who the rest of the crew didn't know. And if he had brought them on without intending harm, he would have frozen them or sealed them up to eliminate even the possibility of them hatching and infecting the crew.
        So basically this theory requires disregarding everything we know about Bishop to work.
        • Not necessarily. The whole three-laws thing could be a massive lie by the company; maybe synthetics ("I prefer the term 'artificial human,' myself") aren't Three Laws Compliant, the company just says they are to help their "product" gain people's trust. In other words, maybe Burke doesn't know the truth either. Or he does, but the marines don't. Also, as I said, maybe Bishop assumed (wrongly) that the eggs wouldn't hatch while the crew were in hypersleep, or he simply didn't have time to seal them away before he had to return to pick up Ripley (and subsequently got ripped in two by the queen).
      • Bishop is a robot, and the science officer. He wouldn't make an "assumption" like that, because he's literally made to analyze data and make decisions based off that. If he had time to go flying all over the place, pick them up, and hide them on the ship so that Ripley wouldn't notice, he had time to seal them away. As I said, the whole theory depends on disregarding everything Bishop said and his characterization in the whole movie.
        • We're gonna have to agree to disagree on this one, methinks.
      • "Remember that he was under company orders to return a live alien specimen". No I don't. Last I checked Bishop belonged to the USCM, not the company.
        • He says that Burke ordered the two face-huggers they found in the medlab returned alive. He may be USCM property, but he doesn't seem to have any qualms with following company orders, especially since IIRC the military is essentially a tool of Weyland-Yutani anyway.
        • The problem is that the script as written leaves it open to implication. Discussions about the two facehuggers after Bishop had analysed them amounted to the following.

Ripley: Bishop, I want these two samples destroyed when you're finished with them, you got that straight?
Bishop: Mr Burke gave instructions they were to be returned alive to the company labs. (beat) He was very specific about it.

        • After that scene, it cuts straight to Ripley confronting Burke over it, and no other mention of the facehuggers is made. Bishop also isn't present during the discussion about whose jurisdiction the mission is under, and he might not be programmed to make a decision about jurisdiction (thus his uncertainty and reasserting that Burke was very specific about it - that's a machine's way of reading out an error result and going back to a command prompt). On the other hand, I don't think it's clear exactly whether he's Weyland-Y property or USCM property: when Ripley confronts Burke about Bishop's presence on the Sulaco, Burke responds "Well, it's common practice. We always have a synthetic on board." Alan Dean Foster's novelisation goes one step further in that Ripley asks Bishop to come with her to confront Burke, then cancels that instruction, which she takes as reassurance that Bishop is not fully under Burke's sway.
      • In regards to Bishop taking the eggs theory, you are trying to explain the actions in the film based on a premise of its sequel, from a different director no less. A sequel has to follow the logic and structure of the preceding film, not the other way around. The simple answer is that Alien 3 disregards the original continuity in order to exist, they couldn't come up with a better way to create another plot hook.
        • True enough. I guess it's because, despite all its faults, I don't think Alien 3 is that bad a movie; it's at least more compelling than Alien Resurrection was.
        • Bishop taking the eggs on the orders or Burke and the company doesn't make any sense. If he was following secret objectives than after he'd obtained the alien eggs (eggs which had only been found near the Queen which was only discovered by Ripley trying to save Newt) than he'd have just left Ripley and Newt behind aftre obtaining him. Company orders state all employees are expendable if it obtains a specimen and Ripley was the biggest threat to that objective so leaving her behind would have been the wisest course of action. Not to mention the fact that it would completely destroy Bishop's character, and make his saving Newt from being blown out the airlock make no sense.
          • To lay all this to rest: whether Bishop had the impetus or directives to grab an egg and stow it is irrelevant: it was physically impossible for him to do it anyway. When he explains his plan to retrieve the second dropship, he estimates a timeline for each step, up to "fifty-minute flight time" from the Sulaco to the colony. Fifty minutes. He couldn't have grabbed an egg during Ripley's rescue mission because she wasn't gone for an hour and forty minutes. He couldn't have grabbed one en route to the transmitter dish or while operating said transmitter because he already had his hands full with repairs and remote-controlling the Sulaco and the dropship. And there were no eggs outside the nest (to speculate otherwise would violate Occam's Razor and smash suspension of disbelief to bits) and "[he] may be synthetic, but [he's] not stupid." He's not going to risk his own existence going into an alien nest unarmed, much less in the extremely tight schedule he has before the colony blows sky high.
    • This Troper thinks there must have been a few adult aliens following the Queen as she chased Ripley and they were carrying eggs. We never seen behind the Queen as she was too big and they could have taken off to hide the eggs while the Queen attacked Ripley, Bishop and Newt. This would explain both how the eggs got onboard, how they were hidden so well and even how they were opened when there was nobody around to trigger them. It would also give them a chance to do another movie as the remainign aliens would still be on the ship when it gets reclaimed.
    • This Troper believes the impossibility of an intact egg being on the Sulacco at the end of Aliens is the best evidence that Alien 3 and Resurrection are simply Ripley's hyperspace nightmares.
  • Parker and Brett can repair SPACE SHIPS and they are the lowest paid members of the crew? Really?
    • Repairing "SPACE SHIPS" is made out to be a blue-collar job in this version of the future. They're analogous to automechanics, not rocket scientists.
    • I can see where they might be considered that way. But if you own ship worth millions (as they state in Aliens) wouldn't you put the best people you can on it to keep it running. And pay them well. Space isn't like the ocean. Being adrift would not be a "good thing."
      ** And what's wrong w/ being an "auto mechanic?"
      • Nothing wrong with it; they just don't get paid as much as the scientists and such on board.
    • How highly paid are maintenance personnel in modern day freighters?
  • In Alien, how did the company know that the Xenomorphs were on the planet? I read the novelization right after the film came out, but it's been 30 years...
    • The ship was sending out a signal; possibly, another company ship heard it, but for whatever reason couldn't investigate on its own, so they sent the next available ship full of expendables to check it out.
    • Ok. But that doesn't explain the orders that Mother had nor does it explain Ash and his actions. Was the company just waiting for an opportunity to kill a crew and potentially lose a ship? If they had shown that other humans had been to the planet or that company had sent a robotic probe earlier,then I could believe it.
        • There's a standing order about reporting scientific discoveries, that's not so odd. Ash was posted on the Nostromo not long ago, so presumably the company had some suspicions about what could be found out there. He just took his orders to the extreme.
    • Ash was specifically placed on the ship for this trip - Dallas mentions that he had a different science officer on his last run. The Company apparently placed him to make sure they got a sample of whatever was on LV-426.
  • If A** is an android,wouldn't the fact that he isn't human be apparent by the fact he's not breathing? And why would he have needed to consume food? Or liquids?
    • He must have been a deep-cover operative. Ash was only recently transferred to the Nostromo, so presumably the company expected trouble.
    • It appears that, according to Mother and Ash's later actions, the company knew about the Xenomorphs in advance somehow and maneuvered the Nostromo into position to receive the distress signal. But that still doesn't explain how they didn't notice him not breathing.
      • He faked it? For whatever reason he's supposed to appear human, so that's what he did.
    • How much time do you spend watching other people breathe? That's not exactly on top of most "pay close attention to" lists. Plus they spent most of their trip sleeping, and he's the science guy who spends his time off in his lab...As for eating, he wouldn't need to survival-wise, but if he's meant to be human, he could just flush his system after "eating". Ironic, consider what the food is made of...
    • Perhaps him being an android designed specifically to pass for a human his creators would have thought of something as obvious as "humans breathe" and "humans eat" and made sure he could at least simulate those rather obvious and crucial behaviors? Just a thought.
    • Maybe he does breathe. His components look at least partially organic. He might have to eat too, though we don't see him eating very much in the dinner scene.
  • Why didn't somebody from Weiland-Yutani disable the self-destruct mechanism(s) on the ship? Didn't they think that the crew might utilize it and thus costing them both the Xenomorph AND the Nostromo?
    • The self-destruct mechanism is simply turning off the reactor coolant. There probably isn't an easy way to disable that. Also, I think the W-Y guys didn't anticipate how dangerous the alien would really be, and that someone might therefore blow up the ship trying to stop it.
  • Why would there be a self-destruct mechanism on a civilian cargo ship,anyway? Other than the plot?
    • Weren't they just overloading the engines or something instead?
    • The mechanism is turning off the reactor coolant. Destroying the ship will deny it to pirates or other hostile companies, or it might prevent it from hitting an inhabited planet, so it isn't much of a stretch to have a regular procedure for doing it.
      • Plus, this is Science Fiction. All starships have a Self-Destruct Mechanism.
        • All current ships have a Self-Destruct Mechanism, just open all the hatches and sea valves. Cutting off the reactor safeties and letting it go critical is probably just the Used Future version of that: a normally bad idea that can be used to make a ship not exist anymore.
        • I suspect that any current ship with a reactor would be substantially destroyed by bypassing the safety systems and turning off the coolant.
  • A more prosaic question: The self-destruct mechanism makes a certain amount of sense. And it also makes sense that triggering it would be a very complex procedure. But why make the crew reverse the *ENTIRE* procedure to override the self-destruct, under a tight countdown? That's almost like no override at all. A single button push, or at least a simple code entered on that control pad, should have been sufficient. Really dumb planning there.
    • This troper always assumed it to be a relatively involuntary mechanism, designed as a last resort. If you remove the power cable from your computer (generally considered bad) you need to do more than just hit restart, you have to physically plug it back in. Mother gave a 5 minute warning on a 10 minute count down. Presumably whatever you'd done to set the self destruct protocol in motion took time to undo itself. Given the plot points, the ractor took more than 5 minutes to cool itself down to normal levels, and so after 5 minutes it had reached the point of no return.
  • In Aliens (watching it now) Hudson & Burke are showing in the colony's control room scanning for the colonist's PDT's (personal data transmitters) on the planet. The range is is stated as being 20km. Wouldn't the Marines landing ship have had the equipment for that? Or for that matter, The Sulaco?
    • Maybe they didn't know the frequencies the PD Ts use until they accessed the colony mainframe. Or, alternately, the PD Ts might have had to be activated before they transmit - with the code stored in the colony mainframe.
  • Aliens again: Nobody seems to be worrying too much about weapons sweep as everybody has their fingers on their triggers at all times and they routinely pass the muzzles across their fellow soldiers bodies.
    • The movie goes to great pains to show that these Marines are cocky, overconfident, and unprofessional. Recklessness with their weapons is perfectly in character. I mean, after Ripley points out the heat exchange thing, two of them openly violate a direct order from their Sergeant and reload.
    • There are hints in the movie that this particular platoon of marines is not the cream of the corps. Apone specifically says he wants a nice clean sweep this time (one wonders what happened last time). Gormon is an obviously untried commander. Vasquez and Drake's backstories are that they are serving in the Marines as an alternative to prison.
    • Apart from the actors playing hicks, ripley, gorman and burke all the crew actually underwent military training prior to filming, micheal behin only missed it because he replaced the previous actor part the way into filming (some of the reactor scenes in the finished film had another guy in hicks' place. as for vasquez and drake, their weapons (according to the USCM: technical manual) have computer targeting systems preventing them firing at friendly IFF transponders (which each soldier has based again on infomation in the tech manual and the fact the APC screens displayed the marines locations on the map. finally given the infomation they had from ripley they were probably expecting trouble so were ready to shoot at anything that moved. as for gorman, it's hinted in the film and novel that he was hand picked by burke to lead the mission (frost and hicks' conversation in the mess hall mention's "looks like the new lieutenant is too good to eat with the rest of us grunts")
  • Alien Resurrection: What idiot decided that it was a good idea to store three Xenomorphs, You know, those intelligent deadly creatures that bleed acid, IN THE SAME CELL!? If you don't want them to get out, why make it so easy for them to do just that?
    • Keep in mind that Alien Resurection is the only time in the entire franchise than an alien has ever killed another of it's kind. We've only seen them hurt each other twice and it was to pull this same stunt, so the humans had no way of knowing they'd do that as this was the first time they'g ever been in captivity.
      • Still, kind of a stupid idea. The Xenomorphs may be deceptively intelligent but they're still essentially animals. And in the real world, animals sometimes fight and even kill each other. Not an insignificant issue when you're talking about an animal that bleeds incredibly strong acid. The only explanation I can think of is maybe they were studying how the Xenos interact with each other. But if that was the case then they should have done more to prevent the Xenos from escaping exactly the way they did. Like, I don't know, hanging all the cells over a vat of sodium hydroxide.
  • Also from Resurrection: Why, exactly, is the hybrid's birth treated as such an ominous development? It's smaller and less armored than its parents. It might conceivably have gained a few more IQ points than the normal xenomorphs, but we already know they can think well enough to cut power lines, escape from cells, communicate with their own kind, and comprehend a Mexican stand-off, so that's not going to greatly increase the threat they pose. Worst of all, eliminating the facehugger stage of the life cycle also means getting rid of the scariest thing about the species. So why's it merit so much creepy build-up, if all it does is nerf a critter that used to be bigger, meaner, and breed via Nightmare Fuel?
    • It's ominous because it's unkown. We don't know what will be born or what it will be capable of. We still don't know what it might have become given time since it died so quickly. Granted, it's a major letdown when revealed but it's really more of 'this is how badly they screwed up with the cloning, behold the unnatural abomination' moment.

  • Are the 'synthetics' robots, cyborgs or artificial humans? They behave like humans, whatever their allegiance, and seem to be composed of squishy, organic materials. Surely, with her enhanced predator senses, the Ripley clone in Alien Resurrection would have noticed if Call was completely mechanical. However, they talk about being 'programmed', are described as 'robots' by other characters and can directly interface with computers. Of the three options, cyborgs leaning towards artificial humans seem the most likely, but then other characters mention them being made of 'plastic' and you are back to scratching your head ...
    • They are androids, essentially robots but based on human anatomy with electroactive polymer musculature, composite bones, electronic brains and wet power cells. Robotos don't have to be made of metal or be mechanical. In Alien/s they have no live biological tissues so they are not cyborgs, and they are humanoid so they are not robots in most common sense. Artificial humans, androids, or synthetic persons, take your pick.
    • Some of the explanded universe infomation (and I believe the novel)that synthetics are basically grown (at least call's generation of synthetics) also there is very little evidence of mechanical parts (looks more like artificial muscle and such) making basically a synthetic human with a programable brain. also given the large amount of machinerary around, the other people and other such things to distract ripley or otherwise cover any odd sounds/smells ect it's possible that ripley never noticed as the only time she was alone with call prior to them finding out the truth was when call tried to kill her at which point she was still confused so probably didn't know what this strange smelling creature was before her and just assumed it was another human at least that's the only way this troper can work it out
  • After Alien, they all heard Ripley's testimony about eggs, face-huggers, throat breeding, and aliens ripping out of people's chests, wouldn't it have made some sense that while these things could be a touch unbelievable, that they would have prepared for these types of things, especially in Resurrection? To prevent the whole face-hugger bit, all you'd need is some sort of armored helmet, with a shirt or top that had a stiff metal collar (to prevent strangulation from their long tails). It is true they could try and use acid to burn through that stuff, so you could also have SCUBA-esque breathing equipment that takes in air from the environment. It is true the first person to get a face-hugger in Alien had a helmet, but it was a pure glass astronaut helmet which was easily punctured. Such would not be the case with a metal helmet, especially one that had a breathing apparatus in it, that only had glass for the eyes.
    • Any helmet would have been useless. Every metal we've seen come in contact with alien acid has been dissolved easily, including the cages in the fourth movie that were designed to hold them.
      • Plus the strangulation is only a small part of the problem. By the time a facehugger's attached itself to your face you're already screwed, since so far we've been proven that it's virtually impossible to remove a facehugger from someone's face without killing them.
      • A helmet wouldn't be any good to fight full xenos but a specially designed one to keep a facehugger from choking you and getting it's thing down your throat could work. It wouldn't hold up against acid, but the aliens don't shoot acid on command (the facehuggers certainly don't, because OH MY GOD YOUR FACE). As long as it couldn't choke you or clamp to your head, the victim should still be able to pull it off.
        • The facehuggers apparently can release acid as that's how it got through Kane's helmet in the first movie and into Ripley's chryopod in the third, we even see acid splashing onto it in the third.
  • Was the Alien smart enough to know hiding in the escape ship would save it?
    • It was asleep when Ripley found it and accidentally woke it up. The entire Nostromo save the escape ship was full of blaring klaxons, flashing strobe lights, and billowing smoke. It's up to interpretation, but when you think about it, if you're a creature looking for a place to sleep, the escape ship was the only quiet place left.
      • I think the Xenomoprh definitely was aware something bad was about to happen, and that following Ripley and being quiet for a while was the way to survive. I mean, why would he just leave the cat untouched?
      • The cat is probably too small to serve as a host, so after giving it a once over the alien decided it had no interest in the cat.
  • In Alien, if Mother's singular order is to return the Alien species, why wouldn't it stop its own self-destruct sequence? In fact, it does the opposite -- it doesn't allow Ripley to reverse it. Why?
    • Ripley is actually just manually shutting off the engines' access to coolant, essentially overloading them. Ripley can't undo it because by then the damage was irreparable.
  • Why doesn't The Company just work up some way of killing the Xenomorphs and just sell that for more profit. They've got the galactic equivalent of giant cockroaches all over the galaxy. Anyone whose planet is infested with them would be willing to pay any price The Company deems fit for help. The Military could just as easily use the threat of Aliens as an excuse for more funds as well.
    • Are the aliens really that far-spread? In the expanded universe they seem to be every six feet, but the General in Resurrection implies that the only known aliens in the galaxy were destroyed with Hadley's Hope. And even they are everywhere to the point of being profitable, the Company still needs live ones to tinker with and figure out how to efficiently kill them.
    • The Company is shown repeatedly in both the movies and EU to by myopic to the point of suicide. They want the Xenos to use as a bioweapon and repeatedly ignore the danger that poses. In the EU they partially explain it with the Queen having some degree of telepathy and mind control. That said, the Xenos are some of the heartiest motherfuckers in fiction. They are strong, fast, breed like crazy, can survive total vacuum, and have acid for blood. Aside from nuking them and calling it a day, there doesn't seem to be much that could actually reclaim a planet from them.
  • The Xenomorphs have no visible eyes (except for the hybrid in Resurrection). How do they find their prey? Listening? Feeling for vibrations? Some sort of weird psychic radar?
    • Alien 3 shows that the Xenomorphs do have eyes, or at the very least something functionally similar to eyes (A close look at the 1979 Alien suit from the first film also shows eye sockets in the front of the head, so there's that to), that allows them to see.
    • They could hunt via smell or sound, or maybe those smooth foreheads they've got are actually giant eyes.
    • According the EU, specifically Alien: Rogue it's explained that the xeno's some how see the emotional state of their prey. They basically see fear as delicious and munch on this. The protaganist literally survives one scene because she's so pissed off the xeno's simply walk away. It was supposed to tie in with the idea that xenos are some level of telepathic and that they truly are a hive mind. The concept of control the queen, control the hive is very common theme in the novels and comics.
  • Teeny tiny headscratcher for Alien: Were the little drinking birds in the Nostromo's mess hall supposed to be antiques, or is it a given that someone would still be making them decades from now?
    • Maybe it's the same company that makes the '80s-vintage kinetic sculptures seen in Aliens on the empty Sulacco?
  • In the extended cut of Aliens, the motion trackers pick up what turn out to be hamsters in a cage. Who's been feeding them to keep them alive all this time? Newt, presumably?
  • In Aliens, what the hell was Spunkmeyer doing outside the dropship, admiring the lightning-blasted scenery? The unit was in the middle of a recon mission with high probability of deadly combat, the area was not secure, and the mobile command center was the APC, not the dropship. And, to top it off, they already knew there was something seriously wrong just from visual inspection in the first recon, AND they had an eyewitness to all that horror, to boot. So why step out of the ship, unarmed, and then keep the loading bay open when in the middle of an unbelievable hostile situation?
    • Overconfidence. Up until the Marines go to the atmosphere processor, nothing's happening and Gorman et. al. still don't quite believe Ripley's story about how lethal and silent the Aliens are. Also, the dropship's out on a landing pad where you'd normally presume it's hard for a seven-foot-tall alien to sneak up and secrete itself on the ship - and to top it all off, the landing field's at the Colony, not at the atmosphere processor which is a good hike away from the station. Ferro and Spunkmeyer also look to be pretty "couldn't care less" types.

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