Call, A.; Vriess, J.; Christie; Johner; Hillard, S.; Wren, M.; Distephano, V.; Purvis, L.; Ripley #8
Location: Kitchen, USM Auriga – transit Pluto - Earth
Date: January 21 2381
Contact with: Adult Aliens
The group climbs down to the bottom of the ship and end up wading though waist deep water in their way to the kitchen. The previously seen dark shaft leading down gives way to a more lighted area, indicating they’ve climbed more than we’ve seen. Vriess, strapped to Christies back, surmises someone must’ve opened the valve to the cooling tanks. Christie asks in a disbelieving way, if the Aliens could have done it. No one responds, though based on the trap laid for Elgyn, it’s very possible they did. Especially since it’s the only way to get to the docks, and the group has to swim 90 feet underwater to get to the freight elevator on the other side. The likelihood it’s an ambush is voiced by Ripley when she says she doesn’t like it. Out of options they go ahead anyway – Ripley taking the lead, followed by Call, Purvis, Wren, Distephano, Christie/ Vriess, Johner with Hillard bringing up the rear.
We see Ripley swimming through the kitchen with a dolphin like grace, Christie uses the floor grating to pull himself and Vriess along, while the others merely swim normally. Johner glances back at one point, then does a double take and shouts to others (as best one could underwater) warning them of two Alien approaching from behind.
Hillard swims past Johner, as he launches a grenade at the creatures. He is using the same sort of gun that Ripley used earlier to flame the clones, and we see now it can be used to fire grenades – from the same barrel. The muzzle of the gun looks slightly different; gone is the cone shaped muzzle of the incinerator and we have a straight cylindrical muzzle. He doesn’t appear to have changed weapons since threatening Wren earlier, so maybe he changed the configuration off camera, knowing a flamethrower would be useless underwater. Or the weapon isn’t a combination flamer/ grenade launcher, but is a slight variant of the flamethrower that Johner swapped somewhere along the way.
The lead Alien nimbly dodges the grenade and it hits the second Alien – blowing it to pieces Fig 4-21a. Johner turns and starts frantically swimming after the others, passing Hillard. Either Hillard isn’t a strong swimmer, or the two rifles she’s carrying are slowing her down and hampering her movement. She sheds one rifle then the other, but it’s no good. Hillard panics and tries to swim faster, just as the Alien grabs her ankle and drags her off Fig 4-21bFig 4-21c. Ripley merely watches her recede into the murky water, cocking her head oddly a few times.
Distephano is the first to reach the elevator door, and uses his body to force it open. Call and Purvis swim into the lift well first followed by Distephano, Christie/ Vriess, Johner and Wren. However there is a translucent membrane blocking their way further up the shaft, and they are stuck underwater, rapidly running out of air. During the struggle, Johner drops his rifle. Ripley swims up to the membrane and quickly tears it open, allowing the group to breathe again.
Interesting points about the sequence. Exactly how long were they underwater. Going by the VCD (second disk) they submerge around 1:03 and emerge again at around 4:35, which gives us total time underwater of 3 minutes 32 seconds. However about 27 seconds of footage (assuming it’s happening in real time, and we’ve no reason to doubt it isn’t) is in slow mo. Just how slow is difficult to accurately ascertain, but we could conceivable cut up to 13 seconds off giving us 3 minutes 19 seconds. Current records for free diving times stand between 2 to 3 and a half minutes. Simply holding one’s breathe underwater is around 6 minutes for women and 7 and a half minutes for men. So while 3:19 is a very long time underwater, especially when being chased by Aliens, it’s not completely unrealistic. Ripley was underwater the longest and showed no signs of panic, so it’s probable her crossed DNA allows her not only to swim like an Alien, but also stay underwater for longer periods than a normal human.
And speaking of the Alien, they are able to glide through the water much faster than a human, and also make sound underwater without using air. In fact they don’t appear to be breathing meaning they can hold their breath a REAL long time, or they don’t need to breathe at all. The creature makes a high pitched whistle/ screech just before it attacks Hillard, and no air bubbles leave it’s mouth Fig 4-21d. Does it make sounds like a cricket or cicada, buy rubbing a couple of body parts together? They usually open their mouths to make sounds, so perhaps these sound making body parts are inside the mouth or throat.
The Alien, for all it’s speed, seems to pause before it attacks Hillard. Is it just approaching cautiously after seeing what Johner did to it’s ‘brother’? Or more like the Nostromo Alien, does it believe that Hillard has no chance of escape and is just toying with her (see contact #1-10)? And why drag Hillard off at all? Why not just kill her on site, then move onto Johner? Hillard seems to lose a lot of air trying to get away from the creature and then when she screams as it grabs her. She is still exhaling air as she is dragged away, though it seems likely she is going to drown in short order. Mind you there are similarities with Newt’s abduction – could the Alien somehow keep Hillard alive, or indeed revive her when they reach the surface? She was only half way along the route anyway, and the Alien could cover 15 metres and be back at the surface in a matter of seconds. Whether it actually did, is another matter entirely, as is Hillard’s ultimate fate which remains ambiguous.
Ripley, E.L.; Johner; Christie; Vriess, J.; Wren, M.; Distephano, V.; Call, A.; Purvis, L.
Location: Freight elevator shaft, USM Auriga – transit Pluto - Earth
Date: January 21 2381
Contact with: Facehuggers, Adult Alien
Out of the frying pan into the fire.
As the group break the surface, they notice Alien resin coating the floor and at least sixteen eggs spread out around the opening in the shaft. The eggs begin to open and one hugger quickly leaps on Ripley, wrapping it’s tail around her neck. Ripley sinks back towards the kitchen and the others submerge again to escape the new threat.
And face another Alien coming through the kitchen. Or possibly it’s the one who just got Hillard. If Hillard drowned it may have discarded her and gone back searching for new victims. Ripley continues to struggle with the hugger, it’s tail now free of her neck, while Christie looks at the eggs reflecting in the bottom of one of the elevators. He cocks the grenade launcher Vriess gave him earlier and fires two grenades at the elevator that bounce off. One falls straight into an open egg before it can close and explodes, while the other falls in the midst of a number of other eggs. This is the first time we’ve seen an egg actually close up again, though with a lack of hosts, it makes sense for it to wait inside the egg for them to surface again. Not that an egg provides any protection to the hugger inside. A series of explosions rip through the bottom of the shaft, as egg after egg is ripped apart. Which takes us back to the gas being emitted from the eggs on the Derelict and the apparent flammability of the eggs in the LV-426 AP Station. Not only are these eggs flammable, but seem to be quite explosive. Unless of course the grenades Christies fired are packed with smaller explosives that spread out and detonate Fig 4-22a.
The shrill screeches of huggers being blown apart echo around the shaft and the Alien underwater responds with it’s own scream. Rage? Mourning? Again no air bubbles rise from the creatures mouth as it screams. The hugger on Ripley has managed to get it’s tail back around her neck, but now she has a better purchase on the creature and tears it off, the tail ripping from the rest of the body. The paralysing agent employed by previous facehuggers seems to have no effect on Ripley Fig 4-22b. Is this due to them being underwater, or simply Ripley’s Alien DNA makes her immune? As Ripley rips the thing off the Alien screams again and swoops on her with lightning speed, trying to attack with it’s teeth. It only misses by millimetres and Ripley reaches the surface where the others have already emerged and started to climb ladder up the centre of the shaft. Distephano and Johner help Ripley out of the water and also start climbing.
At the top of the shaft, Call and Wren cross a support strut to reach a door. Wren pretends he can’t break the emergency glass and asks Call for her gun. He then shoots Call, smashes the glass anyway, open the door, then tells Father to lock it behind him, all the while dodging shots from a distraught Vriess further down the shaft. Call falls back the way they came into the water. The Alien regards her curiously as the body floats to the bottom – her face expressionless; though there seems to be no blood coming from the wound in her chest.
The Alien ignores the dead Call and sticks it’s head out of the water to assess the group, then submerges. Before winding it’s body up and swimming quickly back to the top and exploding through the surface and leaping onto the ladder. Vriess, still strapped to Christie’s back yells at him to climb. He tries shooting the Alien, but his gun is jammed. Holding on with one hand, Christie turns around to shoot at the beast, but it ducks and weaves avoiding the bullets. It then fires back with something of it’s own – acid Fig 4-22c. The Alien spits acid over some 2-3 metres to hit Christie on the left hand side of his face. He struggles to hang on with one hand and fails, Vriess saves them both by grabbing the ladder as Christie lets go. Vriess strains under the dead weight on his back. Once again, we can’t tell if there’s a sedative in the acid weakening Christie, or he’s just weak from pain. Whatever it is he’s unable to be of any help to Vriess, and matters are worse when the Alien grabs his foot. Why doesn’t it just yank both Christie and Vriess off the ladder? Aliens have been shown to have the strength to do just that if they wish. Maybe pulling them off the ladder, would harm them in the fall, and it wants them alive to be hosts. Or it’s just being wary of the humans with weapons. Or, as with Hillard, it’s playing around with them knowing full well it can take them at it’s leisure.
The weakened Christie has no chance of shaking the creature off, and Vriess is slowly losing his grip on the ladder. Christie yells out to Johner, who hooks his legs around a rung then cranes himself backwards to hang by his knees and fires a barrage at the Alien past Vriess and Christie with two handguns. Finally one shot hits it squarely in the forehead Fig 4-22d, and a second later blows the Aliens head apart Fig 4-22e. Small handguns proved to be not especially effective against Aliens two hundred years previously (see contact #2-18) unless they were fired from point blank range (see contact #2-17). It could be that the rounds of this time period are more powerful. They seem to carry explosives, which is more than likely the cause of the Alien’s head exploding. Alternatively maybe Johner just hit at the right angle – dead on. The small firearm rounds fired by Gorman seemed to be ricocheting off the curved sides of the Alien’s head.
Despite the Alien’s death, it still hangs on to Christie’s foot, and the man himself seems even weaker. He very deliberately undoes the harness connecting him to Vriess and uses a knife to cut the last strap, with Vriess pleading with him to stop all the while. Christie and the dead Alien drop back into the water.
This still doesn’t give us any solid proof that Alien acid contains a sedative, as Christie could be just in too much pain to move. But why cut himself loose? The most likely explanation was Christie believed he had become a liability. By Wren’s reckoning there could be up to 10 more Aliens right behind them, and it would take some time for Johner, Distephano, Purvis and Ripley to climb down the ladder and carry both Christie and Vriess – not to mention slow them down significantly for the rest of their journey to the Betty. So he made the ultimate sacrifice.
At this point the upper level door beeps and Johner and Distephano aim their guns at it. It cycles open to reveal a soaking wet Call. Alive. How is she alive, and what’s more – how did she get to the other side of the door? She beckons her stunned companions down the corridor – in the opposite direction Wren took.
They arrive at a locked door and Purvis and Distephano set Vriess down while they take stock of the situation. It is revealed that Call is in fact a second gen android (or auton) – hence the fact she survived being shot and drowning. Call seems rather distressed at this coming to light and is close to tears. We’re still left with the question of how Call got to the other side of the door. Being a robot she could have crawled through a duct that was too hot/ cold/ toxic for a human. The fact she was still dripping wet could indicate that the route she took was also flooded and not passable by a human.
It is decided that Call will hook into Father to clear a path to the Betty and set the ship to self destruct. She reports breaches in sector 3 and sector 7 and that sector 9 is unstable. Has the ship been hulled by acid?
She also reports they are 86 minutes from Earth dock, meaning Distephano was a bit out when he mentioned they were nearly two hours from Earth a few minutes earlier. Call can’t blow up the ship, as the engines don’t have enough energy to make critical mass. Ripley instead tells her to crash it.
Location: Corridor near Chapel, USM Auriga – transit Pluto - Earth
Date: January 21 2381
Contact with: Embryo
Meanwhile Purvis, Johner and Distephano are trying to prise open a door and Purvis begins to convulse. Johner and Distephano stop their work and aim their guns at Purvis’ head. After a few seconds Purvis seems to get the convulsions under control and tells the others he’s okay. Ripley had similar convulsions at a couple of points on Fiorina – though not as severe. Ripley suffered chest pains more similar to what Purvis suffered, approximately 10 to 15 minutes prior to the Queen’s birth.
Either way is this further proof that Purvis is indeed carrying a Queen – and it’s birth is rapidly approaching?
Meanwhile in the Chapel, Call clears a path to the Betty, starts up the ship, speeds up the Auriga so it will crash in 43 minutes, 8 seconds, and locks off a door stopping Wren’s passage through the ship and alerts the Aliens to head to Level 1 to get Wren. Ripley’s dark sense of humour rubbing off? Ripley displays some of her former self’s technical skills here by doing some minor repairs to Call’s wiring.
Call also reveals she accessed the network before the auton recall and found out everything about Ripley, Weyland-Yutani, covert government ops, the Auriga, and the Betty, which was the reason she came to kill Ripley in the first place; to stop the spread of the Aliens. Ripley asks Call why she even cares. Call says she’s programmed to. She has no choice. Yet 200 years ago Ripley DID have a choice, and took the same path Call did anyway. The two seem to warm to each other here a bit more. Is Ripley regaining the human side of herself, ironically through an android?
Ripley #8; Call, A.; Purvis, L.; Vriess, J.; Distephano, V.; Johner
Location: Level 1 Corridor, USM Auriga – transit Pluto - Earth
Date: January 21 2381
Contact with: Adult Aliens
With Purvis and Distephano carrying Vriess between them on a rifle, the group head to the Betty – then come across a load of Alien slime coating the floor. Ripley smells some and says they’re near the nest, and Vriess suggests they can go another way. Call tells them they don’t have time, which comes as a surprise to the others who thought they had an hour and a half. Johner gets angry and threatens Call, but Ripley merely grabs the huge man by the throat as if he were nothing and grabs his tongue, asking if Call wants another souvenir. Ripley lets him go then starts towards Purvis and Distephano, who back away. Ripley asks how far it is to the docks. Distephano replies that it’s about 100 yards and they start running.
A short way down the corridor, Ripley stops again, saying she can hear them (the Aliens) and that the Queen is in pain. The others continue on to the Betty while Ripley ignores Call’s pleadings to follow. Ripley kneels on the deck, with both pleasure and pain on her face – “They’re so close” – when two pairs of claws reach through the deck grate and yank the floor out from under Ripley. Purvis goes back for Call and they both witness Ripley writhing on what seems to be a heaving mass of Alien related material. What this is exactly is never made clear. It seems to be comprised of hive material and actual Aliens. On LV-426 we’re lead to believe the hive is a ‘secreted resin’. Maybe it is in fact a separate entity – a kind of fungus perhaps? – that lives and grows on it’s own to form the hive, but for whatever reason, is out of control in this instance. Is it something to do with whatever was removed from Ripley #7 (a grossly mutated Queen)? Or maybe it’s a natural occurrence that we never got to see in the AP Station.
Call and Purvis watch Ripley sink into the mass Fig 4-24a, an Alien’s head is visible next to her, and she is then carried by an Alien to the hive. She doesn’t struggle at all during the journey and snuggles into the Alien, as if she wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Purvis, L.; Wren, M.; Call, A.; Johner; Distephano, V.
Location: Cockpit, Commercial freighter Betty, docking bay – USM Auriga - transit Pluto – Earth
Date: January 21, 2381
Contact with: Chestburster
The survivors board the Betty and Vriess prepares the ship to depart. Call heads aft telling Johner to put Purvis into hypersleep. The two follow Call, when a shot rings out and Purvis is hit in the shoulder. He collapses against a bulkhead, while Johner and Distephano aim their guns at Wren who emerges from the rear of the ship, a gun to Call’s head.
Johner and Distephano drops their guns realising Call is their best chance to fly the Betty out of here. Wren says Call is going to reprogram the Auriga to land as normal, and while he argues with Call, Johner and Distephano (who has now well and truly sided with the pirates) Purvis begins choking and convulsing on the floor. Only Distephano seems to notice at this point. Then blood starts blossoming across his chest, as well as from his mouth Fig 4-25a.
He screams, heaves himself up and heads straight at Wren. The Doctor fires ten more shots, but they have no effect on the crazed Purvis. Call escapes Wren’s grip at this point, while Purvis punches the Doctor across the other side of the cabin. Ignoring the pain from the chestburster, which is very probably overriding the pain from the gunshot wounds, Purvis smashes Wren’s head against some steps seven times, before the pain over takes him and he lets Wren go. Call, Johner and Distephano all have guns now aimed at the two. Wren, his face a bloodied mess tries to crawl away, but Purvis grabs him from behind holding the Doctor’s head against his chest.
We see a crash-zoom straight down Purvis throat and see the chestburster about to emerge Fig 4-25b. It bursts through Purvis’ chest, and straight through Wren’s head Fig 4-25c. It emerges just above Wren’s nose, right between his eyes and appears to be stuck. Purvis is still standing as the creature writhes trying to get free of Wren’s skull. It thrashes around as the stunned Call, Johner and Distephano come to their senses and start blazing away firing over 20 shots into the burster and Purvis.
The position of the burster in Purvis is difficult to ascertain. Somewhere in the esophagus seems most likely, though it’s not known if this is where it actually gestates, or was on it’s way out when see it. Ripley’s burster didn’t appear to be in any organ, but in the chest cavity itself.
We can also make some assumptions regarding the burster as to whether it’s the Queen we previously theorised. It appears to be the size of a normal chestburster, where the Queen embryo appeared marginally bigger. The Queen also had a crest and arms, neither of which appear on this burster. There’s a possibility that this Queen was born prematurely due to Purvis’ being shot. We know that premature Queens don’t have the crest or limbs, but are markedly smaller. This one isn’t markedly smaller, throwing doubt on the Queen argument. From all estimates Queens take a couple of days to gestate. This time hasn’t elapsed for Purvis yet, so the possibility, however slight, remains that the burster was in fact an underdeveloped Queen.
What about the acid though? We don’t see what happens after they finish firing, but the acid would melt through Wren and possibly Purvis as well, before it started on the deck, maybe giving the crew a little time to do something about preventing a hull breach. They’d have to be VERY quick about it considering the amount of blood that would come from multiple gunshot wounds compared to the tiny amount that came from the Nostromo hugger and the amount if damage it did.
Ripley #8; Gediman, J.; unknown number of unnamed Alien hosts
Location: Waste Tank 5, USM Auriga - transist Pluto – Earth
Date: January 21, 2381
Contact with: Alien Queen, Newborn Alien
The sound of Gediman’s droning voice wakens Ripley from her slumber on the floor of the waste tank. Some time seems to have elapsed since Ripley’s abduction. Was she sleeping, or did the Alien knock her out somehow (possibly the same way it did Newt)?
Gediman is cocooned and hanging about 6 feet above the floor, along with at least half a dozen others Fig 4-26e. He tells Ripley that at first everything was normal with the Queen, then things started to happen and she added a second cycle. Now there is no need for hosts or eggs (explaining the fact the Gediman doesn’t have a facehugger attached to his head). The Queen has developed a huge external womb, inside which something moves. Gediman explains that the Queen has inherited Ripley’s human reproductive system – meaning the genetic cross from Alien to human wasn’t just one way.
The Queen, lying on her back, screams from ‘labour’ pains and a huge creature emerges from the translucent membranous womb. It too screams – just as a Newborn would, then turns to face the one who gave birth to it. It is a sickly off-white colour, and has the same elongated head as a normal adult Alien, though it droops down between the shoulder blades rather than standing out erect. However it also has an ill-fitting flesh, that sags around the head and torso. Perhaps the biggest difference between it and a normal adult Alien is the fact it has a face. Sunken eyes in a skull-like visage, a hole where the nose should be and a huge mouth. However for a face resembling a skull, it is remarkably expressive. It initially regards the Queen curiously, sniffing her, before scowling and taking an almighty swing at the Queens ‘face’. A swing that takes the face clean off. The Queen’s whole upper jaw is torn from the rest of her head, and it tries to scream spraying acid everywhere. Gediman is distraught at this – his theory about the Queen now being “perfect” in tatters.
The Newborn now turns to Ripley, who isn’t feeling so at home now, and starts backing away. The Newborn’s face softens as it sniffs at Ripley, and we get a better idea of it’s size. It appears to be about 9 feet tall and towers over the clone. After a tense moment it extends it’s slavering tongue and licks Ripley’s face. It’s tongue seems more human than Alien and lacks the teeth of an Alien inner jaw Fig 4-26b. Gediman states the rather obvious that “It thinks you’re [Ripley] it’s mother.” The Newborn doesn’t take kindly to Gediman’s interruption and frowns at him. Gediman cooes to the creature as one would do to a baby or infant animal. The Newborn screams at Gediman, and he thinks that perhaps this wasn’t such a good idea after all. It bites the top of his head off and Ripley takes this as her cue to leave Fig 4-26c. She turns to see Gediman’s body – the top of his head it gone and a large amount of his brain is missing Fig 4-26d.
The Newborn screams at Ripley trying to escape – any traces of Gediman’s blood or brain are absent implying that they have in fact been ingested.
On board the Betty, Call spots Ripley running down a corridor and opens the cargo bay door. The bridge between the dock and the Betty has retracted by the time Ripley reaches it, so she jumps – a distance of over nine metres over a docking shaft hundreds of metres deep – and lands in the cargo bay, sealing the door behind her.
Just to quickly go back to the nest in the waste tank, it is quite different from the nest on LV-426 in both texture and consistency. If Alien hives are in fact a separate organism, are they affected by the Queen’s change in physiology? If the material is secreted has the DNA cross affected the hive production? Or do the Aliens ingest organic and inorganic matter, which is then secreted and the secretions are determined by what is ingested? On Acheron, the Aliens didn’t seem to have been eating any of the AP Station structure, nor the colony as far as we could tell. Did they eat dirt and dust from outside or the bodies of their victims to produce the hive we saw? On the Auriga, the victims we see in the hive seem intact (ie. not eaten), but that doesn’t preclude other humans being killed and eaten outside the nest. And if they do indeed secrete what they ingest, the most abundant material in a waste tank, would be, oddly enough – waste. Organic or otherwise. This could also work with the ‘grown nest’ theory in that it too uses whatever is available to sustain it’s growth. The ‘grown nest’ may also work in with the ‘viper nest’ Ripley sunk into earlier. If the Queen’s cycle is out of control, maybe the hive growth is also out of control.
The different look of the nest could also be put down to it’s age. It’s only about 2 hours old when we see it. The Acheron nest could potentially be up to 5 weeks old. Would the nest in waste tank 5 have ended up looking like the AP Station nest? This seems unlikely since we see freshly secreted/ grown material surrounding Newt, and it doesn’t bare any resemblance to the Auriga nest.
Call, A.; Distephano, V.; Ripley #8
Location: Cargo bay, Commercial freighter Betty, transist USM Auriga – Earth
Date: January 21, 2381
Contact with: Newborn Alien
Ripley enters the cockpit and everyone seems not only surprised, but happy to see her – even Johner. She jumps in Call’s pilots seat and starts the descent out of the Auriga’s docking bay, when Vriess reports they’ve got breach in the cargo bay. Ripley says she closed the door and Johner berates Vriess for not fixing it properly. Call goes aft to seal it.
She tries it a few times but it won’t close, and Ripley warns her over the intercom that time is running out. As Call tries to manually close the hatch a flash of a strobe in the cargo hold lights up the face of the Newborn standing over her. She bolts under a piece of equipment, just out of the Newborn’s rather long reach.
Meanwhile the Betty leaves the Auriga’s docks and speeds away. In the cockpit, things start breaking apart and Johner tells Distephano to go help Call turn on the auxiliary pump.
The Newborn reaches for Call, who is struck with terror. It’s face softens, perhaps trying to display to Call it means no harm – a rather human trait Fig 4-27a. When Call doesn’t respond, the creature turns angry again and screams at her. Distephano, obviously hearing the scream, warily enters the cargo bay. He doesn’t spot the Newborn looming over him amongst the hanging chains and cargo netting in the darkened bay, until it’s too late. It reaches out and crushes his head with it’s bare hands.
Vriess frantically calls out to Call over the intercom for help in the cockpit but gets no reply. Ripley looks concerned, as if sensing something wrong, then heads back aft towards the cargo bay, ignoring Vriess’ further protestations. Can Ripley sense the Newborn’s presence? If so why didn’t she detect it when it first boarded? And why didn’t she hear it screaming at Call? Are her senses (even a potential sixth sense) not tuned into the Newborn?
Call comes out of her hiding spot, possibly in an attempt to aid Distephano, but observes the Newborn looking at the remains of Distephano’s head in it’s hands Fig 4-27b. The Newborn towers over Call and she is awestruck, unable to move from fear – something we’ve never really seen other synthetics display before. The Newborn runs it’s fingertips over Call’s face and head, then growls at her reaching into the gunshot wound left by Wren – perhaps intending to tear her in half. Ripley intervenes telling the Newborn to put Call down.
On seeing Ripley the Newborn loses interest in Call and lets her go. Clone and hybrid approach each other and embrace, running their hands over each other lovingly. Ripley spies a portal behind the creature and nonchalantly runs the palm of her right hand over it’s lower jaw, cutting herself. She then flings the blood at the portal.
It breaches and the Newborn turns to look at it in alarm, then back at Ripley almost as if in disbelief and betrayal. The Newborn is sucked against the breach, and we notice some odd looking skin folds on it’s groin Fig 4-27c. Genitalia perhaps? We’ve not seen any sort of genitalia on any Alien thus far, even the one responsible for the perpetuation of the species (although the ovipositor may qualify). If there are genitals on the Newborn, they’re no doubt inherited from the human DNA cross.
A portion of the Newborn’s flesh – about 2-3 inches in diameter is slowly sucked through the small hole in the portal, but the creature resists and breaks the suction. Call has strapped herself to a bulkhead, while Ripley hangs onto some hanging chains as the air rushes out through the breach. The suction is too strong for the Newborn though and it is slammed back against the window, it’s skin breaking. It’s blood and innards start spewing out it’s back into space. The Newborn’s expression changes from fury to pleading during it’s prolonged death, it’s voice almost human in it’s screams. It’s left arm it sucked through the hole, followed by the skin in it’s belly rupturing and it’s intestines falling out momentarily before also being sucked out Fig 4-27d. Ripley is almost in tears watching the thing’s demise – maternal feelings being overruled by necessity perhaps?
The Newborn stops screaming after about 30 seconds when it’s legs and lower body are sucked out. The chest follows leaving just the skull, which has the skin ripped from it, before it crumples under the pressure change and is also sucked out.
Acid from the Newborn doesn’t seem to leave much damage in the cargo bay. The hole is markedly wider after the Newborn has gone, but judging from the amount of acid blood that came from the body, we should expect to see the entire window and a large chunk of hull corroded away. Some possibilities are the Newborn’s blood has the same acidity as Ripley’s (ie. not as much as a normal Alien), or the Newborn’s skin was effectively lining the edges of the hole, thus protecting the glass from the acid. And if we look closely, the Newborn’s intestines don’t actually appear to touch the deck, and there’s doesn’t appear to be much blood issuing from the belly wound.
The issue of structural damage to the Betty becomes fairly irrelevant though as moments after the Newborn is killed, the Betty enters the atmosphere.
Elsewhere the Auriga impacts into southern Africa, and we have two explosions – but why two. Surely the first explosion would vapourise the ship? One possible explanantion is the Auriga hit the atmosphere at a very steep angle, exploded, then whatever wreakage that wasn’t vapourised in the first explosion impacted into the ground causing the second explosion. The speeds of the Auriga throughout the film could perhaps help us. It’s not known how quick the ship is going earlier, but after Call speeds it up so the average over the journey is about 880,000 kilometres per second. When Father signals we’re 5 seconds to impact, the altitude is around 5000 kilometres meaning the speed has slowed significantly to 1000 kilometres per second. Would Earth’s atmosphere stop a gigantic starship moving that quickly?
And while we’re digressing away from Aliens, why were there three explosions when the Nostromo went up? The Nostromo blowing up, then the refinery? That’s only two. Time dilation from the two different speeds of the Nostromo and Narcissus? Clearly some things remain unknown.
And that has been the recurring theme of this piece in all four parts. As you can see, clear and solid answers are pretty thin on the ground. However I hoped I have inspired you in some way, however small, to perhaps go back and have another look at the films and pay close attention to the amazing amount of detail, and you might pick up something everybody else has missed.
If you got this far, I thank you for reading.
** - For the sake of being even more technical, many names of prisoners on Fiorina and the science staff on the Auriga have been taken from other sources such as scripts, novelisations, and trading cards as they are not mentioned in the film. Neither this nor the names and dates mentioned above have any bearing on Alien behaviour.
With thanks to Vulcan Rotary Cannon, Daemos, BiomeXhanoid, Injektilo, Infamous Andy and Xenomrph for pointing things out that made me go back and take another look.
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