Some Random Disjointed Thoughts Regarding “Prometheus” – Part 2

Yep – Still a lot of spoilers.  Stay away until you’ve seen the film.

So yeah, in Part 1, I mentioned that watching “Prometheus” had gotten me to see James Cameron’s “Aliens” in a new light.  Honestly, I should have seen this point of view for “Aliens” for a long time, and I’m kind of ashamed I didn’t.  Again, I’m going to stick to what we see on screen and extrapolate stuff from there.  I’m leaving out additional source material such as behind-the-scenes interviews etc.  I’m sticking to what we actually know from the Story.  So,  next stop…

Special Order 937

PROMETHEUS

I think there’s a possibility that other people, other than Weyland, knew what they were going to find on the planet (LV-223).  I think David had a secret mission, so secret even Weyland didn’t know about it.   Weyland was after immortality.  Could it be that other shareholders in Weyland Corp. greenlit the trillion dollar Prometheus mission, because they suspected or had knowledge of what the crew might find on LV-223?   If so, who would you tell?  The android.  He is the only one you can really trust to keep a secret.  So what was David’s secret mission?   “Land on the planet.  Investigate lifeform.  Retrieve specimen.  All other conditions secondary.  Crew Expendable.”

If that sounds familiar, it is Special Order 937 from “Alien”.  Science Officer’s eyes only.  The secret mission Ash receives that  lands the Nostromo on LV-426.  The exact verbiage is this, “Nostromo rerouted to new co-ordinates. Investigate life form. Gather specimen. Priority One. Insure return of organism for analysis. All other considerations secondary. Crew expendable.”  Why do I suspect this is David’s secret mission?  Because he tries to do this 3 times in “Prometheus”.

1.  He infects Holloway.  This is direct violation of the 1st law of Robotics.  (The Laws of Robotics as laid out by Isaac Asimov are: 1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.)  So what has that got to do with the androids in the Alien franchise.  Well we know that at least one of them, Bishop, follows the 1st law.  Why?  He tells us.

Remember Bishop says he cannot harm, nor by inaction, allow to be harmed, a human being.  So at some point the androids are made to follow the laws of robotics.  But not David, and not Ash (remember the A2’s always were a bit twitchy).   We now know David doesn’t follow the laws of robotics like Bishop does.  David intentionally infects Holloway.  When Halloway dies without David able to get a sample.  His first attempt to complete his secret mission fails.

2. He finds out that that Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) is “pregnant” and carrying a sample.  He now goes for his second attempt.  The first thing he wants to do is to put her in cryo-sleep and take her back to Earth.  That is exactly what Burke was planning to do to Ripley and Newt in “Aliens” if the facehuggers in Medlab had done their dirty work.  Shaw foils his plans through the auto-surgery scene.  David is even impressed enough that he compliments her on her survival instinct.  But he knows attempt number 2 has been foiled.

3. So he sets the course of the Alien ship to Earth.

 I don’t think the Engineers had a master plan to go cleanse the Earth.  Shaw got that into her head (which I felt was kind of leap in logic, but then Shaw was having all kinds of issues of faith at the time too) because David said they were heading for Earth.  The way I saw it, the nav-computer on the Alien ship was showing a ‘galaxy map’ of known destinations.  It wasn’t until David selected the Earth that it locked in and reappeared as the destination.  David himself set the course in the machinery.  By the end, he claims to know how to fly the ships.  I surmise that once he figured out how to set the course, it would have been easy for him just to change the autopilot…but he didn’t.  

Also keep in mind, David did not learn the Engineer controls through trial and error.  Or deduce them.  Or at least we don’t see him trying them out in the film.  What we see is that he knows how to use them as soon as he gets on board.  How?  David explains that he researched all the proto-languages while the crew was in hypersleep.  But I think he is spinning a tale.  When he gets on the ship,  he knows how to use the door controls and everything.  Now let’s look at it in light of the other Alien movies.

 ALIEN

In Alien, the company sends the Nostromo to LV-426 supposedly to answer a distress call.  But the android on board receives a secret mission (Special Order 937) to recover a specimen.  So the company already knew there was a ship on LV-426 AND they knew what the cargo was AND sent Ash to get it.  That raises some pretty big questions of WHO knew and HOW did they know?  Additionally, why only tell the android? Why not tell the whole crew?  The crew in Aliens were basically all blue-collar folks, space truck drivers if you will, if they thought they could get rich bringing back a specimen they would.  Then you’d have a much different movie on your hands, with some of the crew wanting to get rich and some of them maybe having second thoughts about trying to sneak a dangerous organism past ICC quarantine.  It’s interesting to contemplate and that concept would become much more of a morality play.  But alas, the element within the Company only tell the android, because he is the only one who can’t be infected and he’s the only one they can trust.  The attempt ends in failure.

So the company figures instead of trying to bring a dangerous organism back, they will go to the organism. And…

 ALIENS

Now, knowing that the company knows that there is a bioweapon ship on LV-426, why would they establish a colony (WITHIN DRIVING DISTANCE!) of the crashed bio-weapon ship? The answer is they wouldn’t.  The company figures instead of trying to bring a dangerous organism back, they will go to the organism.  So that means the “colony” on LV-426 isn’t a colony at all! (Also keep in mind that Burke mentions that the atmosphere processors are fully automated.  So why have 70 families there before LV-426 is fully terraformed?) I posit the theory that the “colony” on LV-426 is a research facility for bioweapons.  (Burke: “This would be worth billions to the Bio-weapons Division.”  So we know that Weyland-Yutani has a whole company division devoted to developing bioweapons.)  Keep in mind, why would a colony have stasis tubes that would be able to keep a creature with acid for blood inside it?  We know from “Alien” that a facehugger can dissolve its way right through an exo-suit faceplate, so just the glass won’t hold it.  Yet the stasis-tubes can.  Presumably, by having some kind of base fluid to neutralize the acid.  There were multiple identical tubes in MedLab, so the tubes weren’t something the colonists jury-rigged. They had them.

Think of how strong the windows were in Med-lab.  The marines had to shoot them out with armor piercing rounds to break them.  Why would you need windows that strong on a terra-formed planet without a hostile atmosphere or pressure differential, in the middle of the building?  The windows are built to keep something IN.  Also, someone possibly had been out to the ship after the events in “Alien” because the warning beacon on the ship was no longer transmitting.  You’d think if the colonists had been there for 20 years, someone would have gone out to investigate a weird signal within driving distance of the colony.

Now the big clincher.   If you have a trillion dollar colony facility that you lose contact with, who would you send?  After all, it could just be a downed transmitter.   You send engineers, medics, first responders.  You don’t know what happened out there.  But they don’t send any of those people.  Not a single doctor, not one Engineer, not even a cable repairman.   No, they send a platoon of Marines.

And not good marines.  Disciplinary cases and screw-ups and a brand new LT.  who is doing his second combat drop.  Does that make any sense?  NOPE…. unless…

What Ripley says later is exactly what the real mission is.   Get a specimen and bring it back.   Which is exactly what Burke was sent to do.  Why Burke?  Because he screwed up the Company’s plans and you can’t have Bishop do it, because by now the androids are following the Laws of Robotics.   Weyland-Yutani was building a research facility on LV-426 but it wasn’t ready yet.   Burke hears Ripley’s story and sends Newt’s parents out to the ship that he wasn’t even sure would be there.  Other folks in the Company are sure it is there.  How do we know?  They sent the Nostromo there in “Alien”.  But Burke doesn’t know that because he isn’t cleared to know about the full program.  Burke sends folks out there to investigate on his own and out of his own ambition.  (I’m assuming he gets the coordinates from the Nostromo’s lifepod’s flight recorder).  Turns out Ripley wasn’t lying, the research facility gets screwed and we have the situation in the movie.  The Company sends Burke because he royally screwed up and this is his chance to get back in the company’s good graces.  Plus he’s expendable.   Ripley gets sent because she is a problem, she knows about the company’s super-classified bio-weapon…so they need to get rid of her.  All the marines are expendable.     Kind of puts things in a different light huh?

 Think about it, if we had a trillion dollar oil refinery in the heart of North Dakota, and you lose contact with it, your first instinct isn’t to send in the Marines.  You’re sending repair people and first responders.  But if you know that instead of being in North Dakota, it is in North Afghanistan, then the possibility that is might be overrun by non-friendlies is very real.  You might want to send in Seal Team 6 first.   But you know what you would never do and makes no sense whatsoever?  Sending in a 2nd LT with no experience and a bunch of misfits.  Unless you needed them to fail.

 

Also, keep in mind Hudson’s cryptic line, “Is this going to be a straight-up fight, Sir, or another bug-hunt?”   Note he says, “another” not “a”.    What about this?

That is the “noseart” that is painted on the side of the dropship.  You can see it very clearly several times in the movie.  At Ripley’s inquest, they focus that it wasn’t an indigenous lifeform, but not that such a lifeform couldn’t exist. (Question: “Are there any species like this organism on LV-426?” Answer: “No. It’s a rock. No indigenous life.”)  When Ripley objects, the lady insists that the organism Ripley described had “never been recorded once in over 300 surveyed worlds.”  So do they know of some hostile organisms that don’t gestate inside a living human host or have acid for blood?  It sounds like the company knows about alien life forms, they’re just skeptical about this particular alien life form.

The marines know about it. Or something like it.  Note the lack of surprise when Gorman says, “A xenomorph may be involved.”  You’d think that if no one had encountered alien life before, there would be some considerable excitement.   Instead, everyone is pretty blasé about the whole thing.  Hicks’s response is a bored, “It’s a bug hunt.”  Only then do they get the specifics from Ripley.

So the conclusions we can draw are that elements within Weyland-Yutani Corp.  know about the xenomorph aliens we know and love (definitely).  They might know about the ‘Space Jockeys / Engineers’ before the Prometheus (inconclusive).  The colony on LV-426 may or may not incorporate components of a bio-weapons research facility (inconclusive).  But that the marine expedition to LV-426 was pretty much doomed from the get-go and was really there to provide security for Burke until someone got infected so that he could bring a sample back.

Crazy huh?

Continued in Part 3.

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