Xenomorph’s and Synthetics

I was reading Aliens today on the plane and interestingly enough I came across this.

“An irregular hole appeared in the right-hand wall, admitting a feeble shaft of light. Among the emotions that had been programmed into him was curiosity. He paused to peer through the acid-etched crack. It would be nice to be able to take a bearing in person instead of having to rely exclusively on the computer printout of the service-shaft plans. Drooling jaws flashed towards his face to slam against the enclosing steel with a vicious scraping sound. Bishop flattened himself against the far side of the conduit as the echo of the attack rang along the metal. The curve of the wall where the jaws had struck bent slightly inward. Hurriedly he resumed his forward crawl. To his considerable surprise the attack was not repeated, nor could he sense any apparent pursuit. Maybe the creature had simply sensed motion and had struck blindly. When no reaction had been forthcoming from inside the duct, there was no reason for it to strike again. How did it detect potential hosts? Bishop went through the motions of breathing without actually performing respiration. Nor did he smell of warmth or blood. To a marauding alien an android might seem just like another piece of machinery. So long as one didn’t attack or offer resistance, you might be able to walk freely among them. Not that such an excursion appealed to Bishop, since the reactions and motives of the aliens remained unpredictable, but it was a useful bit of information to have acquired. If the hypothesis could be verified, it might offer a means of studying the aliens. Let someone else study the monsters, he thought. Let someone else seek verification. A bolder model than himself was required. He wanted off Acheron as much for his own sake as for that of the humans he was working with.” – Bishop, Aliens 1986 Movie Novelisation

What I love about this excerpt is that curiosity is established as a programmed emotion just as David’s programming in Prometheus.

As well as the Xenomorph not taking any notice of him until his face had appeared in front of it, just like David looking at the monitor in Alien: Covenant.

We only get a glimpse of what the Xenomorph sees in Alien 3 and in Alien: Covenant, and both times were different. Perhaps the Xenomorph may take on characteristic traits from its host as @gothic-fiction-in-space has theorised. Then the Runner in 3 had either Bull/Bovine 🐂 or Dog/Canine 🐶 DNA and that accounts for the variation in image/sight perception in both Alien 3 and Alien: Covenant.

Since the Xenomorph’s in Alien: Covenant were both from Oram and Lopé they could visualise the enemy, just like the ones at Hadley’s Hope.

5 thoughts on “Xenomorph’s and Synthetics

  1. I enjoy these little side-ventures in Alan Dean Foster’s Alien novelizations. I remember this one in particular for much the same reason you have pointed it out.

  2. That’s a fascinating excerpt and analysis! I haven’t read the Aliens novelisation. Now I want to, if just to get these insights into Bishop.
    The Xenomorph’s having traits from its host is canon, is it not? I hadn’t thought of how it might affect the vision of the Runner in 3. Interesting speculation. I have a couple of thoughts about it.
    (1) The Xenomorph being what it is, I am unsure if the host’s way of seeing (structure of vision-related organs and associated parts of the nervous system and brain) would be relevant, or included in the traits adopted. Whatever its host species might be, a Xenomorph needs perfect predatory vision. And its optical mechanism isn’t understood yet, as far as I know. (Which admittedly is not very far.) Seems like its visual system would be virtually unalterable, no matter what kind of host the facehugger latched onto. In other words, the Xenomorph picks up certain traits from its host, such as basic shape, but there’s a hard-wired limit on which parts of its genetic code are mutable. (Otherwise it would be a lot more like The Thing!)
    (2) I’m no expert on animal vision, but I believe dogs and cattle have very different visual capabilities — dogs having eyes at the front of the head like most predatory species, and oxen having eyes at the sides of the head, like typical prey species, with the accompanying differences in depth perception and so on. Does the Runner’s vision as we see it in 3 suggest the influence of either type of host? (It couldn’t be both without some hand-waving.) I always thought of it as a loose representation of what the Xenomorph senses, not necessarily literal sight as we understand it.
    Crikey, now I’m envisioning Xenomorphs whose personalities and other traits could be selectively bred for, like dogs or cats, to create perfect endearing pets! David wouldn’t be happy about that — a domesticated teacup poodle Xenomorph! It would certainly take a ruthless breeder to take on the hobby, too. David fills that bill, but I hope human breeders wouldn’t go that far. 🙂

    1. As far as I can tell it may go down to specific traits as survival instincts, David hints to the fact Elizabeth had great survival instincts he admired and in the original script of Alien: Covenant he admits that he had impregnated her using the facehugger as he did Oram.

      As for selective breeding with Xenomorph and Xenomorph, probably isn’t possible. At least not in the way we think, it would have to be genetic engineering. Something Weyland Yutani would be capable of, given Black Ooze and a specimen.

      1. The selective breeding I was thinking of would involve using host animals with the traits the breeder wanted. If you wanted to breed a teacup poodle Xenomorph, you’d have to use generations of poodles as hosts for facehuggers. Obviously, each poodle would die when the new xeno emerged — smaller, more docile, possibly with sprouts of curly fur. D: Then you could — handwavey somehow — get a new facehugger from that smaller xeno and let it have a new poodle host to reinforce the desired traits. I don’t know how you’d get the smaller facehugger; I forgot about that part of the reproductive cycle. I guess you’d have to generate a teacup queen to lay teacup facehugger eggs! However it was done, however, it wouldn’t be good for the poodles. 🙂 (This is the crack fiction equivalent of speculation.)

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