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Old 01-29-2015, 01:36 PM
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Aliens - so what were the Colonial Marines actually prepared for (tactically)?


I was watching Aliens the other day on HBO or Starz or whatever. The film still holds up very well. But my big question.

What were the Colonial Marines actually prepared to face on LV-426?

What I mean is this. They clearly had been on "bug hunts" before (implying they had met other extraterrestrial life on other missions). They had Ripey's intel from her experiences on the Nostromo so they could reasonably suspect it probably wasn't separatist terrorists or some other human enemy. They had armor and air support and firepower out the ass. They even had access to orbital nukes on the Sulaco so I have to assume their unit wasn't a complete bunch of fuckups. So why were they basically routed by 158 unarmed giant space cockroaches?

Yes, the alien xenomorphs are scary looking, but as Hudson put it, "they're just dumb animals, aren't they"? Would the outcome have been the same if they sent these marines to relieve a colony that was occupied by 158 man eating tigers or angry chimpanzees?

Now maybe I'm looking at this from the perspective of someone who has had the opportunity to study tactics and strategies of Aliens, Starship Troopers and StarCraft. But if the Colonial Space Marines from Aliens weren't expecting the shit storm they walked into, what exactly were they expecting on LV-426?
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Old 01-29-2015, 01:47 PM
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My guess is that they were just a standard light infantry squad, and were armed accordingly. They're probably capable of handling relatively small numbers of aliens or rambunctious humans.

The thing is, I had the distinct impression that nobody, with the exception of Ripley and Burke, were expecting anything at all out of the ordinary. All the commentary about colonists' daughters and what-not bear that out. Even Ripley's briefing aboard the Sulaco didn't really hit home.

Later, after most of them were killed in the initial sweep through the terraforming facility, they realized that they were woefully underarmed and outnumbered. But going in, they had no idea that they were going to face dozens of the aliens, nor just how tough or resourceful they'd be.
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Old 01-29-2015, 01:51 PM
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A - From the other things the marines said, I got the impression they had experienced a lot of false alarms and easy deployments, so they were thinking they'd drop into "Bob is missing, he MUST have been eaten by aliens" which turned out to be "Bob is a dumbass and fell off a cliff"

2 - The aliens are smart; if the marines were actually used to angry chimps, the kind that aren't stealthy and you can hear coming and whose only means of attack is "frontal assault", they would have plowed through the other deployments without a problem. The Xenomorphs were probably their first enemy that was dangerous.

III - The fight was mismanaged to hell. Lt. Gorman was greener than Ripley, and did shit for recon and prepping for battle. He basically sent his whole squad right into the lion's den, then took away their guns, then was surprised when they all got eaten. A better commander might have acted differently.

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Old 01-29-2015, 01:52 PM
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Hudson was wrong; they weren't just dumb animals. And they're not merely giant cockroaches. Chimps and tigers wouldn't have shown the same level of stealth and ingenuity.

The decision to partly disarm them because of the reactor really hampered the marines.

That unit might be the sci-fi equivalent of a search & destroy/LRRP unit: if it's small, the squad takes care of it with its own arms. If it's big, they pull back and call in an airstrike/nukestrike. They APC might also be useful for outdoors mid-level stuff.

Last edited by MichaelEmouse; 01-29-2015 at 01:53 PM.
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Old 01-29-2015, 01:58 PM
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As I mentioned in the other thread, I think they were hampered by poor leadership. Both Lt. Gorman (who was a complete novice) and Burke (whose only interest was himself and the Company). They were stripped of most of their firepower before the first fight when the intelligent thing would have been to back out and come up with another plan that would let them get to the missing colonists AND keep their weapons along the way.

We don't have any information on what life forms any of them encountered on previous "bug hunts" but their reaction to the aliens indicated that they were something new. The acidic blood, their transformation of the complex into a camouflage nightmare, their cunning and likely their sheer numbers. There was also something of a comedy of errors -- for instance, if the dropship hadn't crashed and damaged the reactor, the survivors could have likely holed up and awaited rescue. They only died because they were forced to leave safety and try to make it to the second dropship. I think the number sent was fairly low as well since the Company didn't know what was actually wrong (only Burke knew about order to check out the alien ship). If the Company legitimately thought it was likely a downed transmitter, they weren't going to send fifty guys. If they knew there was a couple hundred colonists impregnated with alien monster babies and a 15' alien queen hanging out, they likely would have sent more men. After all, W-Y had a real interest in wanting the colony intact.

In a stand-up fight, I think the Colonial Marines would have done much better. The aliens weren't bulletproof, the marines just didn't get to use their bullets.
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:07 PM
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I did like the fact that Lt. Gorman did, at the end, have quite a backbone, when he and Vasquez suicided together.
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by yellowjacketcoder View Post
Lt. Gorman was greener than Ripley, and did shit for recon and prepping for battle. He basically sent his whole squad right into the lion's den, then took away their guns, then was surprised when they all got eaten. A better commander might have acted differently.
He also completely froze when the bloodbath started. The only reason ANY of the Marines survived was because Ripley commandeered the APC and drove in for the rescue.

Back to the nukes: Again, if the alien hadn't gotten into the dropship and crashed it, the surviving marines would have hopped on board, gone back to the Sulaco and nuked the place. End of story. If the place wasn't going to explode anyway, they likely would have waited out a rescue and then nuked the place.
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:17 PM
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Guesses follow:

Hudson mentions two mission types in his question to Gorman during the briefing: "Bug Hunts", and "stand up fight".

I imagine a "bug hunt" is where the Marines were called out to kill off a few dangerous predators (sic) on colony worlds. In this case, the enemies (non-sentient animal) numbers are going to be small, and I imagine usually uncoordinated. Only basic small unit tactics and weapons are needed in this kind of action.

A "stand up fight", the enemy may be separatists, terrorists, prison breaks, or other actions against a better armed and possibly better coordinated (sentient) foe. Heavier weapons, better recon and intel, and different approaches are needed to be employed.

My impression is that Burke probably understated the danger to the colony and the Marines, and that Gorman was too inexperienced to properly assess the situation. I think the Marines were expecting a bug hunt, but they walked in to a stand up fight.

The Alien Queen (if there was anything to her ability to control the drones in the egg chamber) may have been able to coordinate the attacks of her drones, making them much more dangerous than just animals. Also, remember Hudson asking "Cut the power?? What do you mean they cut the power? They're just animals!"? To me, that implied that there was more coordination (if not sentience) in the xenomorph actions than the Marines expected. (Still. Even after the fight in the reactor room.)

The Marines never really played to their own strengths. They might have been able to hold the command center in the face of uncoordinated animal attacks. But the close quarters of the colony habitat severely restricts the Marines ability to showcase their fire power (restricted line of sights/field of fire). Fighting in an urban environment against a coordinated enemy that outnumbers you is a pretty tough nut to crack.
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:23 PM
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Plus the aliens displayed two dangerous traits you don't usually see combined. They were cunning/smart but they were also hive creatures without much sense of self-preservation. You wouldn't expect a swarm of bees or ants to cut the power or seek alternate routes when you block the main one. But you'd also expect semi-intelligent creatures (your "angry chimpanzees") to scatter when you're blasting into them with pulse rifles. The aliens were willing to throw great numbers of themselves at killing you AND cunning enough to find new ways to reach you when that didn't work.
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:27 PM
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Plus the aliens displayed two dangerous traits you don't usually see combined. They were cunning/smart but they were also hive creatures without much sense of self-preservation. You wouldn't expect a swarm of bees or ants to cut the power or seek alternate routes when you block the main one. But you'd also expect semi-intelligent creatures (your "angry chimpanzees") to scatter when you're blasting into them with pulse rifles. The aliens were willing to throw great numbers of themselves at killing you AND cunning enough to find new ways to reach you when that didn't work.
Like Bishop, in that way. Smart and selfless.
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:41 PM
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The thing is, I had the distinct impression that nobody, with the exception of Ripley and Burke, were expecting anything at all out of the ordinary. All the commentary about colonists' daughters and what-not bear that out. Even Ripley's briefing aboard the Sulaco didn't really hit home.
I think the marine's main take-away from Ripley's briefing was, "An unarmed and untrained civilian can kill one of these things, so us heavily armed veteran marines should have no trouble at all."
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Old 01-29-2015, 03:04 PM
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I think the marine's main take-away from Ripley's briefing was, "An unarmed and untrained civilian can kill one of these things, so us heavily armed veteran marines should have no trouble at all."
This

Burke pretty much shows me that the main mission wasn't really rescue and relief, but retrieval of bio-something for The Company. So, I wouldn't be surprised (in the Aliens universe) that W/Y actually held back critical intel.

IMHO, YMMV
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Old 01-29-2015, 03:17 PM
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He also completely froze when the bloodbath started. The only reason ANY of the Marines survived was because Ripley commandeered the APC and drove in for the rescue.
I was just rewatching Robocop 2 (yeah, yeah) and got to the scene where the female cop - what the hell's her name - drives the tank into the new Robocop. She smashes him against the wall and stops. Once. My immediate thought was, "She's no Ripley". Ripley would have backed up, run him over and again and again until she was sure he was dead.

Other than that, people make excellent points here. The Marines made some mistakes:

1. They didn't even have a Chief, you know, someone who would stay back on the ship and monitor the cargo hold and such.
2. They were extremely cocky, thinking that civvies were by uniform dumb and panicky, and they'd seen it before.
3. Gorman!
4. I guess they never expected to have to watch the ductwork. Even Ripley didn't think of that one.
5. They didn't have a secure place to fall back.

They were also severely misinformed:

1. No one told them the details of the attack on the Sulaco. They should have been made to listen.
2. No one told them about the acid blood.
3. No one told them how smart the Aliens can really be.

The Company hid and flat out lied to them so they could get their samples back. Weyland-Yutani is the stupid company that ever lived.
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Old 01-29-2015, 03:19 PM
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I think Aliens makes it clear that no one even believes Ripley in the first place.

She's only along because Burke knows the truth, but Burke has intentionally made sure no one else has his corroborating evidence. (Because that corroborating evidence implicates Burke.)

Thus, the marines have every reason to believe it's just a downed transmitter except for Ripley's word. And let's face it, the official inquiry into Ripley's actions did not go in her favor. She lost her pilot's license. And her psych review says she's not entirely sane. Even if she is telling the truth, "bug hunts" are easy missions because nothing out there is as dangerous as xenomorphs.

In the absence of real information, an inexperienced Gorman does everything he can wrong. When they confirm a real problem at the base, for example, he doesn't pull them out to regroup and re-plan. He just finds the locators and heads on in. Then he freezes. He doesn't keep anyone available as backup. And so on.

Had Gorman been playing it safe/smart, the first thing he'd have done upon losing the dropship would be to have Bishop remote pilot the backup dropship down to the planet, as he does later in the movie under Ripley's instructions. As long as they have a dropship, they're "safe" and can spend as long as needed to assess their options.

As an additional note: I hate to cite the Aliens Role-Playing Game when discussing the movie, but the background information, rules, equipment, stats, etc. really does help put the movie in context. If you try to play out the movie using the rules in the game, you realize that the only reliable way for the Marines to survive is to have foreknowledge of what they're facing. Ripley could have provided that information, but they did have plenty of legitimate reasons to ignore her.
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Old 01-29-2015, 03:33 PM
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So, I wouldn't be surprised (in the Aliens universe) that W/Y actually held back critical intel.
We've debated this in other threads (not you and I, of course) but I don't think W-Y knew really what was going on. Burke sent the order for the colonist scavenger to check out the coordinates of the alien ship (so someone would get infected) and Ripley threatens Burke with exposure later on. I think Burke was acting largely on his own, thinking he could smuggle the aliens in and then sell them to W-Y. If W-Y had planned the whole fiasco on a corporate level, there would have been much easier and better ways to smuggle the aliens in than infecting one of their expensive colonies, involving the government with a military operation and then trying to cover it all up. I'm sure W-Y could have afforded an independent scientific/mercenary team to collect the eggs or aliens rather than getting the Colonial Marines involved.

Burke was the only one to know what happened and that there would be aliens there. W-Y was probably legitimately handling it as a "downed transmitter" and the Colonial Marine detachment was just a standard precaution in case it was a crazed axe-murdering colonist or the colony had mutinied or something 'normal' like that.
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Old 01-29-2015, 04:28 PM
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Or, Burke was the point man and possible fall guy by corporate design. Either W/Y profits greatly, and Burke gets rewarded, or it all goes to hell and Burke gets thrown under the bus.

I can see either train of thought being valid. Or some variation of our theories.
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Old 01-29-2015, 04:31 PM
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Maybe even just a department of the corporation.
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Old 01-29-2015, 04:32 PM
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Something else that I don't think anybody has mentioned--there were colonists alive so the marines thought they were heading into a (likely) friendly area.
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We've debated this in other threads (not you and I, of course) but I don't think W-Y knew really what was going on. Burke sent the order for the colonist scavenger to check out the coordinates of the alien ship (so someone would get infected) and Ripley threatens Burke with exposure later on. I think Burke was acting largely on his own, thinking he could smuggle the aliens in and then sell them to W-Y.
Burke's motivation is hard to explain. Given that he was (apparently) OK with an atrocious commander (Gorman) he either didn't know how bad the xeno's were or he was a retard in risk assessment. If he knows the xeno's were bad-ass why risk it all with such a poor commander? That certainly doesn't help him bring one back.

Gorman's inclusion in the mission can only be attributed to rotten bureaucracy that has some bean counter assigning commanders.
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Old 01-29-2015, 04:42 PM
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Gorman's inclusion in the mission can only be attributed to rotten bureaucracy that has some bean counter assigning commanders.
Gorman admits that this is only his second combat drop.

My guess is that the Marines weren't told much by W-Y or Burke, and thought they were assigning him to a milk run. "It's probably just a down transmitter."
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Old 01-29-2015, 06:22 PM
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Burke's motivation is hard to explain. Given that he was (apparently) OK with an atrocious commander (Gorman) he either didn't know how bad the xeno's were or he was a retard in risk assessment. If he knows the xeno's were bad-ass why risk it all with such a poor commander? That certainly doesn't help him bring one back.
That's a point; Burke, on the one hand, is apparently aware that the aliens are so lethal that they'd make a highly valuable bio-weapon, yet it doesn't seem to occur to him that the same characteristics might make it a bit difficult to arrange capture of a specimen.

I'm going with the notion that Burke assumed all along that that the ease with which the Nostromo's crew was dispatched was due mainly to their being (his view) yokels without military training, that Gorman's lack of experience would be a plus as he might be more easily handled than a battle-tested veteran, and that said lack of experience wouldn't matter that much because the Marines would at best only encounter one or two potential specimens. Of course, Burke was wrong. It was a bad call, Deeg, a bad call.

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Old 01-29-2015, 07:14 PM
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Burke's motivation is hard to explain. Given that he was (apparently) OK with an atrocious commander (Gorman) he either didn't know how bad the xeno's were or he was a retard in risk assessment. If he knows the xeno's were bad-ass why risk it all with such a poor commander? That certainly doesn't help him bring one back.
Burke explains his motivation to Ripley.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carter Burke
Okay, look. What if that ship didn't even exist, huh? Did you ever think about that? I didn't know! So now, if I went in and made a major security issue out of it, everybody steps in. Administration steps in, and there are no exclusive rights for anybody; nobody wins. So I made a decision and it was... wrong. It was a bad call, Ripley, it was a bad call.
He contacted someone on the colony and told them to go check out the site where the eggs were. He did this surreptitiously so that Admin wouldn't know anything about in order to make a profit.

Quote:
Gorman's inclusion in the mission can only be attributed to rotten bureaucracy that has some bean counter assigning commanders.
I imagine they sent the wet-behind-the-ears Goren because they didn't anticipate any serious threat and the dude needed the experience.
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Old 01-29-2015, 07:17 PM
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Burke's exact job is a little hard to pin down. He's the liaison for Ripley and is the closest thing she gets to legal representation in the big meeting. He's assigned to the LV-426 mission. He's able to put in a request for a colonist scavenger to hit a particular coordinate. Best I can guess, he's some sort of legal/human resources guy who was on the W-Y division/team responsible for the LV-426 colony. When Ripley was recovered and her files pulled, he was assigned to her and got an early look at the files and thought he could get his hands on this lucrative bioweapon. First send someone out there to see if they report back -- "signed: Burke, Carter J.".

Burke says pretty much straight out that W-Y had no idea about it:
Quote:
Okay, look. What if that ship didn't even exist. Did you ever think about that. I didn't know. So now, if I went and made a major security situation out of it, everybody steps in. Administration steps in and there's no exclusive rights for anybody. Nobody wins. So, I made a decision and it was... wrong. It was a bad call, Ripley. It was a bad call.
The 'wildcat' who was sent to the ship wanted to know if his claim would be honored so I guess W-Y didn't have exclusive rights over the entire moon. I guess Burke was waiting to find out if the ship and "cargo" was there and then claim it for himself? Then when it went bad, talked Ripley into being an adviser knowing he'd get sent along as her minder so he could try to retrieve the aliens himself as a Plan B? Frankly, it feels like he never had a good plan beyond "get my hands on the aliens" and was getting pushed along by events he put into motion but couldn't control.

(I don't mean that as a criticism. The same sort of character trait was the basis for Fargo, for instance)
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Old 01-29-2015, 08:14 PM
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One thing I've seen that is a common trope with the Big Evil Corporation is that they are CHEAP. They sent one ship, and in it one Colonial Marine Platoon to see what was up. I think Burke even describes the settlement as a 'Shake-and-bake' colony which implies that W-Y have a way of cost-effectively terraforming a planet and setting up a colony there.

Sending a small force would imply a Small Problem. Of course the easiest solution to dealing with the Aliens is "Nuke them from orbit". But from a W-Y Corporate standpoint, this is probably not the best idea.

I think they did know. They figured if a Space Trucker like Ripley was able to deal with them, a platoon would wipe the floor with whatever they came across. They could complete their mission quietly and be on their way. Sending more troops, or using tactical weapons would have drawn a lot of attention to the place. We don't know who W-Y's enemies are (other colonies? rival corporations?) but I'm sure they'd be mightily interested why W-Y conveniently just nuked their own colony, one that was giving off some mysterious alien distress signal....

Or maybe Space Jesus (Engineers) orchestrated the whole thing?
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:27 PM
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Burke explains his motivation to Ripley.



He contacted someone on the colony and told them to go check out the site where the eggs were. He did this surreptitiously so that Admin wouldn't know anything about in order to make a profit.
Ah, right, I had forgotten about that.
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:57 PM
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One thing I've seen that is a common trope with the Big Evil Corporation is that they are CHEAP. They sent one ship, and in it one Colonial Marine Platoon to see what was up. I think Burke even describes the settlement as a 'Shake-and-bake' colony which implies that W-Y have a way of cost-effectively terraforming a planet and setting up a colony there.
On the other hand, W-Y was rather upset about their expensive Nostromo freighter being blown up and the LV-426 colony might not have been fancy but it wasn't inexpensive either. W-Y might be cheap, but that's all the more reason to guard their valuable assets.

The Colonial Marines were a government outfit, not a branch of W-Y. Which (in my opinion) is evidence that W-Y either didn't seriously suspect Ripley's story was true or, at least, didn't orchestrate Hadley's Hope getting infested or think to collect them. If your plan was to murder a bunch of civilians and raise up an army of alien monsters, attracting the attention of the government/military would probably be the dumbest way to go about it. Rather, W-Y lost contact with LV-426 (because of Burke) and they contacted the government for assistance. The government sent a small number of Colonial Marines because they figured it was a routine waste-of-time job fixing some colonist's transmitter.
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Old 01-29-2015, 10:15 PM
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I agree that Weyland-Yutani doesn't directly control the Colonial Marines, or know about (or at least, believe in) the aliens on LV-426. Burke had no hand in picking Gorman to lead the mission - most likely, it wasn't his call to bring in the marines in the first place. Burke strikes me as a mid-management flunky. He's not someone important, he's the bureaucratic schmuck who gets stuffed in an ice box and shipped halfway across the galaxy when some shit-ass colony's transmitter craps out.

I'm guessing Weyland-Yutani's corporate culture is especially backstabby. If Burke had gone to his boss and said, "Hey, I think there's something on this planet that might be valuable," odds are his boss gets all the credit and corporate bonuses. Burke was sneaking around his manager by cutting a deal with the settlers - they go find it, he takes it back to headquarters personally, cutting out layers of management that would each try to claim a cut of the profits if he went through legitimate channels.
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Old 01-29-2015, 10:18 PM
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Don't read too much into the fact that the Sulaco had nukes. Even if it was a ship full of newbies and screw-ups, there's no reason for them not to have nukes. There's no such thing as a starship without WMDs, since any ship capable of interstellar travel is itself a WMD. So you might as well let the screw-ups have the real thing, in case they ever actually have need of them.
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Old 01-29-2015, 10:28 PM
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They might also use nukes as their standard ship-to-ship weapon.
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Old 01-29-2015, 11:32 PM
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All this got me re-watching the movie. Burke's title (per his business card/phone key) is "Special Projects Director". The special project in this case presumably being the LV-426 terraforming operation which would explain why he was sent along with the Colonial Marines and why he'd have authority to send colonists out to investigate a grid reference.
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Old 01-30-2015, 02:22 PM
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Even if it was a ship full of newbies and screw-ups,
I never had the impression that the Marine squad was composed of newbies or screw-ups; far from it. I always had the impression that with the exception of Gorman, we had a tough, experienced squad of Colonial Marines. IIRC Hudson even mentions that he was short in one scene, which implies that he's finishing his enlistment.

That's likely why they put Gorman in charge; green Lieutenant + really solid NCO (SGT Apone) and veteran troops is usually a fairly good choice; you wouldn't want to put Gorman in charge of more green troops because then NOBODY knows what they're doing.

Unfortunately, in this case, SGT Apone bought his farm early, and the squad really needed veteran leadership and didn't have it.

I am surprised though, that Apone didn't have his own private channel back to Gorman, so that he could suggest better ways of going about things without doing it in front of the rank and file.
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Old 01-30-2015, 02:39 PM
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I never had the impression that the Marine squad was composed of newbies or screw-ups; far from it.
Neither does the person you quoted. It was a hypothetical to explain the nukes.
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Old 01-30-2015, 02:42 PM
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Seems likely that no one had much idea of the nature of the xenos, outside of Ripley's report. They're dumbfounded to find the colonists' transmitters all in the same room, at the processing station ("Looks like a goddamned town meeting.") They didn't realize the trap they were blundering into.

But they're Colonial Marines. They blunder into shit, and they fight their way out. They've got two squads, each with a heavy weapon (Drake and Vazquez), automatic rifles with grenades, auto turret guns, pocket torches to weld shut barricades, portable motion sensors, an android, an APC with a heavy main gun, and orbiting air support. I'd say they were equipped to handle just about anything.
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Old 01-30-2015, 02:52 PM
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Don't read too much into the fact that the Sulaco had nukes. Even if it was a ship full of newbies and screw-ups, there's no reason for them not to have nukes. There's no such thing as a starship without WMDs, since any ship capable of interstellar travel is itself a WMD. So you might as well let the screw-ups have the real thing, in case they ever actually have need of them.

I agree, but it's interesting to note how much other weaponry is shown or mentioned but never used. All we see in the movie is small arms fire (pulse rifles, smart guns, shotgun, pistols, flamethrowers) and grenades. Yet, the APC has a turret on the front with two multi-barrel guns of some sort and a larger turret on top with two more guns. The dropship has what looks like a rotary canon on the nose, and a bunch of missles/rockets, and possible more weapons systems that we don't see. The Sulaco itself apparently has not only nukes but multiple railgun turrets (seen on screen and identified in other books and drawings). They mention nerve gas at one point, and Hudson lists off a bunch of stuff in the dropship while messing with Ripley:

Pvt. Hudson: "Independently targeting particle beam phalanx. Vwap! Fry half a city with this puppy. We got tactical smart missiles, phase-plasma pulse rifles, RPGs, we got sonic electronic ball breakers! We got nukes, we got knives, sharp sticks..."

Ok, some of that is obviously just pulling her leg. . .

But anyway, they seem to have a ton of serious weaponry at their disposal, even discounting the sharp sticks. Even the small arms are pretty potent. Everything fell apart because of the lack of good intel, ineffective leadership, and restrictions on the use of their weapons. They wouldn't want to use heavy weapons for fear of killing the colonists at first, then they were prohibited from firing their rifles while under the heat exchangers, and finally they couldn't access heavy weapons after the dropship crash.

The whole thing could have gone down totally differently if the marines had really listened and understood Ripley's statement and if Gorman had pulled them back to reassess after learning about the risk of damaging the heat exchangers. Even after that fiasco, the rest might have survived if the dropship crew had only closed that ramp. . .

Does anyone else think that William Hope did a great acting job with the Gorman character though?
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Old 01-30-2015, 05:39 PM
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They might also use nukes as their standard ship-to-ship weapon.
Yep, a friend of mine had the 'Colonial Marines Technical Manual' which i read a few times as a teenager many years ago.

From memory the ship-to-ship stuff was totally hard sci-fi. Stealthed nukes launched at the target, the one who detects the other first wins, that sort of thing.
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Old 01-30-2015, 06:12 PM
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Mrs. Yutani knew something of the xenomorphs based on the Alien vs. Predator prequel. It's possible that at some point, this info was lost and thus not know to W-Y.
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Old 01-30-2015, 06:50 PM
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In the original script (which the novelization is based off of) Gorman wasn't such a screw up, he was much more competent and braver. Quite a few things were different, like the scene when he is knocked unconscious by the falling gear while cowering in the back of the ACP, in the book/original script he was stung by the tail of an Alien while fighting it. I liked the movie version a little more, it just goes along with the mission being fubar a little better.

Last edited by project2501; 01-30-2015 at 06:50 PM.
  #37  
Old 01-30-2015, 08:28 PM
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I would imagine one thing caused the big issue: they had no idea just how many of the aliens there would be. One alien they could deal with. Maybe even a hundred. However, in practice is seems like there were several hundred, partly because the aliens seem to be able to grow magically off-camera.
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Old 01-30-2015, 08:44 PM
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2. No one told them about the acid blood.
I disagree. They seemed fairly unsurprised when they found the multiple decks melted through early on ("Someone must have bagged one of Ripley's bad guys.") but they weren't taking it as seriously as they should have.

Also, while I'm okay with the idea that Weland-Yutani is evil made corporate, I get the impression Burke arranged this mission largely on his own, while keeping WY and the marines in the dark. He'd sent the order to the colonists to check out the derelict alien ship Ripley reported (and which nobody else in the company seemed to believe in, having decided Ripley was nuts) and when the colony lost contact, he arranged a minimalist corporate-overseen but military-run rescue/reconnaissance mission. I'm guessing he had to call in a lot of favours to do so while keeping his agenda secret ("Okay, look. What if that ship didn't even exist, huh? Did you ever think about that? I didn't know! So now, if I went in and made a major security issue out of it, everybody steps in. Administration steps in, and there are no exclusive rights for anybody; nobody wins. So I made a decision and it was... wrong. It was a bad call, Ripley, it was a bad call.").

I gather Burke was willing to gamble that Ripley wasn't nuts, that the colony didn't lose contact for some mundane technical reason, and that he could secure something for the bioweapons division that could net him millions, let him come out as a hero and be set up for life.

I'm not eager to blame Weyland-Yutani for the whole thing, just the corporate culture they support which encouraged somebody like Burke to see and play a homicidal angle.
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Old 01-30-2015, 09:28 PM
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In a previous thread someone posted that the "bug hunts" were NOT aliens, but instead genetically engineered animals released by breakaway colonial terrorists.

I don't know where this info came from, also that the Arcturians are not aliens, but a colony famous for transsexual prostitutes. Like someone might speak of going to see lady-boys in Thailand.
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Old 01-30-2015, 09:32 PM
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I would imagine one thing caused the big issue: they had no idea just how many of the aliens there would be. One alien they could deal with. Maybe even a hundred. However, in practice is seems like there were several hundred, partly because the aliens seem to be able to grow magically off-camera.
There were ~155 actively hostile aliens overall, since the colony population pre-disaster was 158. Newt didn't get implanted, there was a report of a patient who died while getting his facehugger removed before getting implanted, and the last survivor other than Newt was that woman (I presume she hid nearly as successfully as Newt and was the aliens' last capture just two or three days before the marines arrived) who begged "kill me" and whose implanted chestburster was killed immediately post-chestburst.

The robosentry scene (cut from the film, restored in the extended version) depicts the aliens being cut down to relatively manageable numbers, then cut even further during the marines' run through the air ducts with I assume the last "hunter" drones killed by Gorman's grenade. Possibly by the final confrontation, there was only the queen and two or three drones she kept to tend the nest (one of which had found and grabbed Newt). Ripley kills the drones in that crazy-ass but awesome scene when she torches the nest, and then it's just bitch v. bitch.
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Old 01-30-2015, 09:51 PM
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I'm trying to make all this jibe with the message that Ripley finds in MOTHER's memory banks in the first movie:
Quote:
"Priority one
Insure return of organism for analysis.
All other considerations secondary.
Crew expendable."
So somehow W-Y knew there was an alien organism on the planet that could be valuable *way before* the colony was established. And the "crew expendable" clause suggests they knew the alien might be dangerous. How they could have known any of that isn't clear to me, but at any rate, W-Y certainly was aware that the problem the marines were walking into was more than just a down transmitter.
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Old 01-30-2015, 10:10 PM
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I'm trying to make all this jibe with the message that Ripley finds in MOTHER's memory banks in the first movie:

So somehow W-Y knew there was an alien organism on the planet that could be valuable *way before* the colony was established. And the "crew expendable" clause suggests they knew the alien might be dangerous. How they could have known any of that isn't clear to me, but at any rate, W-Y certainly was aware that the problem the marines were walking into was more than just a down transmitter.
This has always bugged me, remember too that Ash was a last second replacement for their usual science officer. It really does seem that in the first Alien movie the WY company knows all about the xenomorphs, and even sends the crew to investigate the signal, hell it seems like that was the whole point since Ash was snuck into the crew at the last moment by WY.

Apparently the terrible Alien vs. Predator movies tried to explain this.

I wonder if Ripley held back some of what she knew, afraid the company would have her killed if she revealed their whole mining operation was just a cover so Ash could recover an alien.

Last edited by grude; 01-30-2015 at 10:12 PM.
  #43  
Old 01-30-2015, 10:45 PM
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I always assumed that the instructions in Mother's memory were standing orders in case they stumbled across any alien tech or life forms, and weren't specific to the thing they found on LV-426.
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Old 01-30-2015, 11:07 PM
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I'm trying to make all this jibe with the message that Ripley finds in MOTHER's memory banks in the first movie:

So somehow W-Y knew there was an alien organism on the planet that could be valuable *way before* the colony was established. And the "crew expendable" clause suggests they knew the alien might be dangerous. How they could have known any of that isn't clear to me, but at any rate, W-Y certainly was aware that the problem the marines were walking into was more than just a down transmitter.
But 56 years has passed between the two films, long enough for any corporate officer who thought there might be aliens on the planet to have retired, especially if it came out that he diverted the Nostromo to check out a signal of tenuous clarity and the Nostromo subsequently disappeared.

Heck, that person could have been fired and/or died and been forgotten by the time the planet was initially colonized. Much later on, when Ripley is found, the corporation considers the entire matter as something of an embarrassment, to be quietly buried. Burke, though, saw an opportunity....
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Old 01-31-2015, 12:45 AM
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I always assumed that the instructions in Mother's memory were standing orders in case they stumbled across any alien tech or life forms, and weren't specific to the thing they found on LV-426.
Then why was Ash put in as a replacement science officer at the last minute? And why was his synthetic status hidden from the rest of the crew?

That is awfully coincidental that he just happens to be the one that breaks quarantine procedures, if he wasn't on a secret mission from the beginning.

Also makes me wonder how much free will the synthetics have, for all we know Ash was like a Terminator on a mission.
  #46  
Old 01-31-2015, 01:49 AM
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I also had, and still do have the technical manual from the movie, it is a awesome read, very well written and informative.

In it there are paragraphs of "scuttlebutt" traded among various soldiers some in relation directly to Aliens or slightly skewed versions of the same but with details confused or entirely false, a very nice touch adding depth to the book. Some of the other stories in it talk of fighting against human enemies and the tactics used against them, so the colonial marines were fully capable and tactically able to take on humans!, not so good at killing machines.

TL;DR i love Aliens! its my fav Vietnam movie!



Regarding the colonial marines being sent, It would make sense that the government would have a substantial presence in patrolling any trouble spots and a company as large as W/Y would likely have military contracts etc that could help get something prioritized if they so wanted. However from the film it appears that quite some time has passed between Ripley losing her license and Burke resuming contact with her. So it is safe to assume that W/Y did not pull strings and Burke is either acting alone when he decided to follow up and get the derelict checked out.

There were 158 colonists at Hadleys Hope and a unknown number of cattle, in which to breed xenos.

The marines that were sent to LV426 was only half the number of a standard compliment, hence two dropships and APC's.

It is fair to assume that Burke was not in charge of 426 as the base commander would not have referred to him as some suit in a office back home, but by name. Also if Burke had contacted the military he would have likely downplayed any risk and Ripley and himself coming along was just in case as voiced by Gorman on there initial meeting. Gorman looks like he just came out of the academy during this meeting and is obviously not in command of the marines he is later. Hicks commenting on Gorman not eating with them indicates they do not know each other, additionally he does not know them by name. Compered to Apone who clearly has spent considerable time building relationships with the team. As none of the marines act surprised someone has been replaced it is fair to assume commanders are often switched around and the fact there are only half a section would cause them to suspect its a easy mission and to not expect any major trouble.

It is clear from the mission briefing with Ripley that only Hicks and Apone are focused and treating the mission with respect. It is also clear from the breakfast discussion they have no idea why they are there but believe they can take on anything. Hudson's cockiness is surely down to how capable they are and what they have dealt with previously.

When they locate all the transmitters together they have no reason to suspect anything other than they have holed up there. Also i do not think there is any mention or reference to the aliens nesting in Aliens or the initial release of Alien, So the marines As they logically suspect they will be escorting large numbers of civvies out of the danger zone it is bad tactically but logical to send in the entire team.

No excuse for dumping ammo whatsoever!

Almost all of the marines extra ammo and weapons would have be taken out in the dropship crash, and the following APC explosion. So all of the fancy toys Hudson mentions went up in smoke. If the APC had survived it was still capable of movement despite breaking the transaxle so i imagine they would have driven it as far as they could from the facility and used it to transmit a distress call to the Sulaco and awaited the second dropship.
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Old 01-31-2015, 08:48 AM
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The Corporation is an entity (tax laws), so one or more people retiring only changes details.

Burke was likely rogue and messed things up.

How far back does The Objective go? W-Y is as powerful as a government. Reminds me of Heinlein's stories.


But, either way is satisfying to me. Absolute proof may have to wait for another movie.
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Old 01-31-2015, 09:39 AM
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Gorman looks like he just came out of the academy during this meeting and is obviously not in command of the marines he is later.
Hey, give him some respect. He'd been on 39 drops 38 of them simulated.
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Old 01-31-2015, 09:46 AM
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I figure that not only has 56 years gone by but W-Y is such a huge entity that the people in the "Make LV-426 a livable place" department only have passing knowledge from the "Investigate alien life forms" department. Heck, I've worked in companies of fifty people where departments didn't communicate, much less a half century of time and a bureaucratic corporation of likely hundreds of thousands (if not millions) people. If W-Y still had that information active in their operations, they would have sent research teams out over LV-426 sixteen years ago when they started terraforming it.
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Old 01-31-2015, 09:50 AM
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Either way, we are all only working on assumptions. Mine is as good as yours, sci-fi storywise.

Regardless, this was a better Starship Troopers movie than Starship Troopers was!
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