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Archive-name: movies/alien-faq/part4
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Basically, if you know of any rituals that you or your friends perform when
any one of the ALIEN movies is shown (ie: screaming things at the movie, 
acting out different parts, etc...) then they belong in this section.

- When repeatedly watching this film with friends, we've only really evolved
  one tradition when watching the film. When Burke has abandoned them, and
  opens the door, just to see the alien there, hissing at him, it has become
  somewhat traditional to shout "Let's eat Burke" repeatedly. Oh yeah, and
  when Newt falls into the water, it's fairly obvious that you have to shout
  "Behind you" fairly loudly, just like the scene in which Dallas 'gets it'
  from the alien.

- ALIEN: deep, impressed silence.
  ALIEN^3: loud, carthatic weeping.

- ALIENS: imitating Hudson's "Game over MAN, game over!" as he says it in 
  the movie.  (and even when we're not watching the movie)

- leaping at the screen to get a four-inch-away view of the various types of
  military hardware to get more details about function and what props are
  made from (ie: the Flame units are slightly modified M-16 rifles)

- In Aliens, during Ripley's first nightmare at Gateway Station.  When she
  pulls back her shirt and sees the alien trying to poke through and then
  wakes up in horror, one of us HAS to say, "Damn Tacos!"

- Counting the number of times "Hudson" is said over the course of _ALIENS_.

- Yelling "Save Jones!" in ALIEN.

- Jumping out of the seat screaming "They're coming!!" during ALIEN^3 as 
  the Company ship approaches.

- 'Parotting' the word 'Right...' like Brett.




Music by Jerry Goldsmith
At this time the original soundtrack album to "Alien" is available on both
This release was produced by the Composer, Jerry Goldsmith and contains
his original score from the film, portions of which were not used in the
final of the film. Anyone with information about which tracks were, and
which were not used, is encouraged to mail me about this!
These tracks include the following
(1.)  Main Title
(2.) "Breakaway"
(3.) The Shaft
(4.) End title
Portions of his score for the l962 film "Freud" were tracked into the film
for two scenes
(1.)  Dallas Shaft search for the alien
(2.) The Acid dripping through the deck
On the "Freud" album these tracks are called
(1.) Main Title
(2.) Charcolt's Case
(3.) Desperate Case
This disc was released by CITADEL RECORDS (CT 7011), it is now out of
print and was only avaiable on LP only.
The End Credits of the film are taken from a Charles Gerdhart conducted
recording of Howard Hanson's symphony #2 "The Romantic" (The last 2 1/2
minutes of the first movement.
Music by James Horner
The Original soundtrack album to the film is available from VARESE  
It is worth noting that a portion of Jerry Goldsmith's score turns up in
the film for the scene in which Newt and Ripley are chased by the Queen
Mother to the Elevator shaft. This piece ends as Ripley and Newt see that
the 2nd dropship isn't waiting for them.
This piece is called "The FaceHugger" on the "Alien" Soundtrack.

The _ALIENS_ soundtrack contains music from a scene that was not in the
theatrical release.  "Dark Discovery" (played when the Jorden family
discover the derelict spacecraft) could therefore be heared years before
the public could see the scene. 
"Alien 3"
Music by Elliot Goldenthal
The original soundtrack album was released on MCA RECORDS (MCAD l0629) It
is available on both CD and Cassette.
BE WARNED: MCA has a nasty habit deleting titles and not telling the
public about it. so if you see a copy of this GRAB IT AT ONCE.
The two biggest items that you won't hear  on the disc are the End Title
(Mr. Goldenthal didn't write one, the music editor cut together the End
Titles from other sections of the score).
The other item is the twisted version of the 20th Century Fox logo. This
is supposed to appear on an upcoming FOX RECORDS release of Music from
"Predator" (Alan Silvestri) and "Die Hard" (Release date TBA).
The best way to obtain any of these discs is to contact
1488 Vallejo St.
San Francisco, CA  94109
Voice: 415-776-1333
Fax 415-776-2666



The following is  a highly speculative theory regarding the evolutionary 
history of the alien creatures and their natural hosts, as well as the nature 
and conditions of the alien homeworld. These speculations are based on 
the following assumptions; that the alien evolved on a planet and was not 
created de novo by another species in its current form, that the alien and its 
homeworld have been shaped by physical and evolutionary forces which 
are similar to those in effect on our own world, that the alien is not the 
dominant life form on its homeworld, existing instead as part of a complex 
ecosystem, and that the homeworld is as diverse with life forms and 
potential habitats as is our own. The information used as a basis for this 
speculation comes solely from the Alien, Aliens and Alien^3 films.

Important common features of aliens taken from the 3 films:

	Host dependent reproduction
	Dual stage metamorphic life cycle
	Metallo-silicate exoskeleton
	Endoskeleton in juvenile form
	Growth-stage mediated shedding of skin
	Low pH blood
	Increased speed & strength (relative to human standards)
	Large curving crania of varying morphology
	Internal mouthed tongue
	Carnivorous external teeth
	Air sac bellows in the juvenile form
	Articulated limbs and tail in all life stages
	Varying number of limbs and digits in different life stages
	Predatory or greater intelligence
	Copious production of "slime'

Presumed common features observed in some subset of the films:

	Presumed sociality and communication
		(i.e., the hive was not a fluke)
	Internal pressure greater than 14 psi
	Body temperature equals ambient temperature 
	Can "breathe" underwater
	Nest built in hot area

Some or all of these features may be due to the adaptation/modification of 
the organism to its current lifestyle as a space faring parasitic species. In 
the case of modification, it would be most parsimonious to assume that the 
aliens were intended for use as biological weapons. This theory assumes 
that the creatures found in space are adapted or modified to living in this 
habitat, and focuses on estimating their possible ancestral forms and the 
state of the ancestral homeworld. It assumes that any modifications and 
adaptations have been made using pre-existing characteristics, so that the 
ancestral creatures posses similar characteristics. The creatures found in 
space are referred to as "modern" in the following discussion.

To avoid confusion between discussions of various theorized species and 
their respective life cycles, the life stages have been given specific 
designations as follows:

Life cycle stages:					Life stage designation
[1]	Egg is released from queen.				EGG
		*maturation phase*	[this period might occur in "utero"]
[2]	Egg matures.
		*dormant phase*	[length of this phase is indefinite]
	Host signals are detected.	= motion + sounds
[3]	Egg opens releasing crawler.			.	LARVA
	Larva follows host signals.
	Host's breathing orifice is secured by larva.
		*implantation phase*		~24 hours
[4]	Larva implants embryo in host breathing system.		EMBRYO
		Larva dies.
		*gestation phase*		~1-10 days
[5]	Chestbuster emerges from host.				NYMPH
[6]	Chestbuster stage undergoes a series of instar-like	INSTAR
		transformations until the imago is achieved.	IMAGO
[7]	Queen-imago creates egg.				QUEEN

The life stages encompassing the egg and larva are referred to as 
JUVENILE, and those encompassing the embryo, nymph, instars and 
imagoes are referred to as ADULT.

Discussion of observed characteristics:

	The alien life cycle is divided into two distinct stages which are 
reminiscent of the alternating sporophyte and gametophyte generational 
stages of plants and fungi. Plants produce distinct types of reproductive 
cells (spores or gametes) which give rise to genetically distinct types of 
organisms. Spores grow into gametophytes, which produce gametes, while 
gametes fuse to form sporophytes which produce spores. In the alien 
species, the sporophyte stage could be represented by the juvenile stages. 
These would create the embryo. The gametophyte stage could be 
represented by the adult stages. These would create eggs after gamete 
fusion. Such a strategy in might be indicative of an chaotic and dangerous 
natural environment (see discussion of hypothetical ancestors). We have 
zero knowledge of the genetics of these creatures, and further speculation 
on the existence or nature of alien reproductive cells would be unfounded.

	The alien morphology seems to be a melange of arthropod and 
vertebrate characteristics. The segmented exoskeletal carapace and 
variable numbers of limbs are reminiscent of terrestrial arthropods (as well 
as armored fishes and reptiles to a lesser extent), while the adult body plan 
seems more vertebrate in nature; the presence of a jaw, spine terminating 
in a tail and limbs ending in grasping hands and feet as opposed to the 
mouthparts, legs and body plan of an arthropod suggest a vertebrate 
morphology. The larval legs are articulated via an endoskeleton, which 
appears to be covered in a sheath of muscle and a pliable external layer of 
protein and silicon. This seems to indicate that the oldest ancestors of 
these creatures possessed endoskeletons, and that exoskeletons evolved 
later. As is the case with vertebrate evolution in the Silurian and Devonian 
periods, the endoskeleton may have evolved first as a means to protect the 
CNS, and the exoskeleton could have evolved secondarily; in response to 
environmental challenges.

The eggs are complex organisms in and of themselves. They are 
responsible for maintaining life support for the larva for an indefinite 
amount of time, and must recognize a potential host and distinguish it 
from valid members of the nest. The eggs contain rudimentary moving 
parts. Once the egg has determined that a host is proximal, it releases the 
larva. In the modern species, the egg is flammable, translucent and 
unarmored. Their gracile nature in comparison to the adults may be in 
response to the security afforded by the nest strategy. Because of these 
unusual qualities in an egg, it might be that the egg and larva constitute a 
single organism up until the point where the larva is released. The size of 
an egg in comparison to the size of the contained larva indicates 
substantial internal morphology, consistent with requirements for life 
support and sensory systems.

Despite the obvious immediate differences, the organism's basic body plan 
may be conserved between the juvenile and adult forms. The larval form 
has 8 legs, and while imago forms only appear to have 4 limbs, queens 
appear to have 8. All forms have a single articulated tail, implying the 
presence of a spine and CNS. As the juveniles posses an endoskeleton it 
could be assumed that the adults do as well. The adult head morphology is 
quite distinctive. In the post-nymph forms, the mouth contains a secondary 
set of jaws on the end of the tongue, and the head is long and curved. In 
the modern species, it is probable that the larval form is derived to the 
point where a majority of the sensory portions of the larval body remain in 
the egg when the larva is released. Anatomy corresponding to the adult 
head may be contained within the egg. Accordingly, if the juvenile "air-
sacs" are used for respiration, any adult breathing apparatus would be 
located posterior to the hindmost pair of adult legs. Four "vanes" are 
visible on the backs of most adults, and six are visible along the backs of 
queens. These may function in breathing. Additionally, the head 
configuration of the adult may be adaptive in that it would prevent 
accidental implantation of an embryo into an adult by a larva, or prevent 
intentional implantation by a larva of another species. The legs of the larva 
will not easily grasp the adult head, and the ventral "embryopositor" tube 
will be subject to attack by the mouthed tongue. This may suggest that 
there are competing species of these creatures on the homeworld.

While in the egg, the larva remains suspended in a fluid, suggesting 
aquatic origins for this species. The emerging larva retains a thin coating 
of the internal fluid, and this layer appears to be caustic, although the 
caustic properties are not as dramatic as those displayed by the organism's 
blood. The combination of the egg fluid and blood pH indicates drastically 
different aquatic environment on the homeworld than on earth. It is 
possible that the pH of the egg fluid is closer to the true pH of the oceans 
on the homeworld and that the caustic properties of the organism's blood 
are due to a combination of modification and adaptation to the parasitic 
lifestyle, or the egg maturation process may deplete the egg fluid of its 
caustic properties. 

It is likely that the caustic properties of the blood are not due to simple pH, 
but that other chemical and enzymatic factors are in effect. In addition to 
functioning as the medium for an internal transport system, the organism's 
"blood" might be its digestive system, which would suggest an extremely 
different internal structure than terrestrial standards. The caustic properties 
of the blood appear to be more effective on synthetic and organic materials 
than on metals, supporting the idea that other chemical and enzymatic 
factors are at work, which in turn supports the digestive theory.

Interior carapace pressure might indicate a higher average planetary 
pressure than 14 psi. This could be a defense mechanism, or it could 
simply be circulatory pressure. The internal physiology of the organism 
has yet to be revealed to any great extent, but pulsing "artery-like" 
structures have been observed in emergent nymphs, implying some sort of 
pumping "heart" organ. Possibly the homeworld is larger or the 
atmosphere is heavier than on earth. The larval air sacs/bellows might be a 
historical adaptation to living beyond the aqueous environment, but it is 
possible that these are a parasitic adaptation, and are not required by the 
organism. The degree to which they function is probably dictated by the 
atmospheric requirements of the host, but we have no knowledge of the 
organism's atmospheric requirements. If such sacs are required, the larva 
will not survive in vacuum. The adults appear to function as well 
underwater as out of it, implying that the do not use air sacs. It is possible 
that inert gasses irritate the adults. Possibly, they breathe using modified 
gill structures located in the dorsal vanes.

Body temperature is ambient, perhaps indicating a generally warm 
planetary surface temperature, or geothermal habitat requirement. It 
remains to be seen how long the imago can survive in a vacuum or sub-
freezing temperatures. The low pH of the blood would seem to indicate a 
drastically reduced freezing point. Queens  survive extended periods of 
transit through both of these environments, and it is possible that other 
instar and imago forms may as well. The various adult forms demonstrate 
aversion to open flames, but unlike the eggs and nymphs, are not 
flammable. This suggests temperature boundaries within the upper limits 
of terrestrial environments.

The lack of obvious eyes in any observed stages indicates that the aliens 
either live entirely in enclosed or subterranean areas, or that there is no 
visible light incident on the surface of the homeworld. If the organisms 
lived entirely underground, their size and potential for well populated 
nests implies  a well developed and robust subterranean ecosystem. If they 
lived the entirety of their lives in their nests, they would be dependent 
upon the movement of prey and hosts into the nest for survival. It is 
possible that they lure these into the nest, but the aliens seem quite capable 
and adept at retrieving them as well. If they dwelled on an illuminated 
surface for any amount of time, eyes would be a distinct advantage. 

The aliens display significant ability to cling to and move on vertical and 
inverted surfaces, supporting the idea that a significant portion of time is 
spent underground or in enclosed spaces. Nests fit this description, and it 
may be that castes which venture outside of the nest posses eyes. In this 
case, these castes have not yet been observed. The nests might be 
constructed above or below ground or water, but seem to be designed so 
that the resinous construction material covers all surfaces near their cores. 
Partially submerged nests would require air chambers for hosts and larvae.

Copious amounts of a viscous substance are constantly being secreted 
from the mouthparts and neighboring regions. This substance appears to 
be used in constructing nests, hardening to form a resin. Thick strands may 
also be produced, although the mechanism for this is unclear. Prior to 
hardening, the resin does not display caustic properties, and may act to 
neutralize acids. This would be useful, both in offering protection from an 
acidic environment, and in protecting the nest from being accidentally 

Homeworld speculation:
(assuming that the aliens are not entirely subterranean)

The homeworld has a higher atmospheric pressure and possibly a greater 
gravity than terrestrial standards. It has oceans which are of a very low pH 
and most likely an atmosphere of similar low pH. The EM spectrum 
incident upon the homeworld is significantly different from terrestrial 
standards, lacking "visible" wavelengths. This might  indicate that the 
planet's orbit is very large, that it is extremely overcast or that it orbits a 
weak sun. In this case, the ecosystem might be based on geochemical and 
geothermal systems. Geothermal activity might also provide a relatively 
high ambient temperature. The acidic nature of the aquatic and 
atmospheric environments might also be due to extensive production of 
hydrogen sulfide and other "high energy" compounds via geochemical 
activity. A high level of volcanic and tectonic activity might be maintained 
by tidal forces stemming from planetary and stellar bodies in the system.
	An ecosystem not based on photosynthesis would require radically 
different energy production schemes. Such an ecosystem might be 
founded on thermo- and acidophilic microorganisms. Larger autotrophs 
might incorporate endosymbiotic versions of these microorganisms. 
Vegetative "plants" would be found around areas of geothermal and 
geochemical activity, both on the surface and on the floor of the oceans. 
Other organisms might exploit the difference in pH and temperature at the 
boundary between aquatic and terrestrial environments. If volcanic activity 
were responsible for the overcast nature of the atmosphere, incident light 
might be used by photosynthetic organisms high in the atmosphere. 
Thermophilic photosynthesizing organisms might also be found near lava 
flows. Areas free of volcanic activity would be dead zones, possibly 
inhabited by hibernating organisms awaiting an increase in ocean level or 
the occasional lost creature.
	Extensive tectonic and volcanic activity might result in habitats 
subject to frequent change. A geothermal habitat might be replaced by a 
geochemical or volcanic habitat, or might be flooded. If this were the case, 
organisms would have to be either extremely adaptive or mobile in order 
to survive.

Hypothetical ancestors:

	The presence of an endoskeleton and an exoskeleton implies that 
conditions changed during the evolution of the organism, requiring 
armored protection of the entire body. Drastically increased predation is 
one such possible change, while a dramatic lowering of the pH of the 
environment is a second. These options are not mutually exclusive; hostile 
changes in the environment may cause increases in levels of predation. 
	A low pH ocean could literally dissolve its inhabitants, forcing 
them to lower their pH to meet that of the environment, present a barrier 
against the caustic properties of their surroundings, leave the oceans or try 
these strategies in various combinations. Thick layers of continuously 
renewed armor would be constantly ablated by the acid, but could protect 
underlying tissues, and secretion of neutralizing substances could serve as 
similar a shield. A lowering of the blood pH might offer some protection, 
but might also begin to damage one's own tissues, and would probably be 
energetically expensive. Raising the pH of one's tissues would not be a 
successful strategy in an aquatic environment. 
	The aliens posses all of these characteristics to various degrees, 
suggesting that the aquatic environment is either extremely caustic, or 
became progressively more caustic in discrete degrees. The modern 
species appears only to produce secretions in and around the mouth 
region; possibly the protective substance has to be applied to exposed 
regions of the anatomy, or whole body coverage is not necessary beyond 
an aquatic environment. In the former case, hardening of the resin might 
serve to bolster the exoskeleton, or the exoskeleton might be formed of the 
same substance, secreted from the surface of the body. The endo- and 
exoskeletons would be made from different substances in this case. In 
either case, the secretions around the mouth are used for building the nest. 
Ancestral types might have been covered in an additional layer of 
	The larvae are known to have an external layer composed of some 
combination of protein-polysaccharides and polarized silicon. Larvae do 
not seem to produce secretions, and the external layer is not as hard in 
appearance as the adult carapace. In non-nymph adults, this carapace has a 
metallic appearance, and is probably composed of additional materials. 
The teeth of nymphs often have a metallic appearance. If the hardening of 
resinous secretions were the source of the exoskeleton, these secretions 
might contain different substances depending on their intended use. 
Secretions destined to become armor, structural material or strands and 
cables might have very different compositions.
	Living in a variety of challenging and dangerous environments 
might favor the observed division of reproductive strategies. The organism 
might be able to adapt rapidly to changing environments by using varying 
morphologies and reproductive strategies as a means of "shifting gears". 
An organism that was unconcerned with finding a mate could focus on 
finding a carrier or host capable of moving its offspring to a potentially 
more hospitable area. Organisms in a hospitable area could focus on 
reproducing themselves as efficiently as possible. Primitive juveniles 
could create embryos to be carried away by mobile hosts, while successful 
adults could create multiple eggs which were suited to their environment. 
Thus selection operates one way on the juveniles, selecting for those able 
to find suitable hosts (including mobility when the environment is 
shifting), and another way on the adults, selecting for those best suited to 
their environment. This implies that primitive juvenile stages were capable 
of predicting environmental shifts and altering their host selection 
accordingly. That the modern species has an "atrophied" juvenile stage 
implies that a stable environment was located, or that a novel strategy for 
relocating was developed. The stable environment may have been space, 
or perhaps there are yet unobserved castes capable of carrying eggs long 

	The ancestral organism's life cycle might have been similar to that 
of a caterpillar/butterfly. The organism searches for a host off of which an 
embryo may feed after being produced by a larva, much like a caterpillar 
on a leaf. Possibly older pre-parasitic forms of this organism were like 
caterpillars; the implanted "embryos" may have been mobile, representing 
an intermediate life-stage (PRO-EMBRYO). It is possible that the nymph 
stage may have occupied this position, having been produced from the 
larva in a more advanced form. It certainly seems to be the case that the 
juvenile and nymph stages of the modern species are developmentally 
simplified. The modern larva is not capable of ingesting nutrients, being 
solely devoted to implanting one embryo, and some modern nymphs 
emerge sans limbs or with "limbs buds".

This primitive life cycle might have proceeded as follows:

[1] Egg is created - matures - hatches
[2] Larva proceeds in search of food and an appropriately mobile host.
[3] Larva releases a pro-embryo on a host and returns to stage [2].
[4] Pro-embryo "grazes" on host organism or organisms 
[5] Pro-embryo develops into first instar, becoming independent of host.
[6] Instars develop into imago forms.
[7] Imago searches for food and mates, creates eggs.

This life cycle is only "mildly" parasitic; the pro-embryo does not 
necessarily harm the host during its grazing/feeding activity, but remains 
in jeopardy of discovery and extermination in this vulnerable state. If the 
pro-embryo were implanted internally to the host and absorbed nutrients 
directly from the host, it could be less vulnerable. The first parasitic 
ancestors may have placed their pro-embryos internal to the host, where 
nutrients could be obtained partially digested food in the host's "stomach" 
or digestive system. If the host digestive system bore similarity to 
vertebrate systems, there may have been compartments of extreme pH, 
which may have contributed to the acidophilic nature of the modern 
species. More advanced parasites might have done away with their pro-
embryo forms, simply implanting embryos within their hosts and which 
would grow to nymph form by stealing nutrients directly from the host. 
These parasites would not have been social organisms.

Hypothetical ancestors and habitats:
	unarmored aquatic vertebrate in a mildly acidic ocean
	slime-resin coated aquatic vertebrate in an acidic ocean
	resin-armored and slime coated aquatic creature in a very acidic ocean
	armored terrestrial creature coping with a variety of hostile surface 
		above described creature with a grazing pro-embryo form
		above described creature with a parasitic embryo form

The development of sociality:

In descending order, the "weak" points in the life cycle of the pre-social 
organisms appear to be the dormant phase, the gestation phase and the 
travel time of the larva from egg to host. These risks could be minimized 
by securing the eggs "underground" (away from host/egg predation), and 
by immobilizing hosts near to the eggs. The eggs might remain susceptible 
to predation by small egg eating creatures or larger creatures capable of 
entering an active nest, requiring cooperative measures on the part of 
adults in protecting them. Sociality might develop naturally from such a 
system. Initially, a division of labor between hunter-foragers to locate and 
retrieve fresh hosts and warrior-scavenger-nurses to protect the eggs and 
gestating hosts from predators might suffice. The subsequent evolution of 
the queen dominated caste system may have been a way to diminish 
competition for hosts between partially related organisms, by establishing 
genetically homogenous nests. The large numbers of eggs produced by 
modern queens seem to indicate a strategy involving overproduction of 
eggs. The persistence of this strategy in the modern species might be due 
to co-evolution of egg predators, or to environmental conditions where the 
risk of destruction of significant portions of the nest was high.

Host Mediated Adaptation:

	A further means to adapt to an environment is by adopting 
strategies developed earlier by another species. The embryo is in a prime 
position to learn about the metabolic and environmental conditions of its 
host. Knowledge of local environmental conditions such as the pH, 
atmospheric content and energy generation schemes would be important 
for post emergence survival. Varying energy generation schemes may 
result in differing metabolisms. Knowledge of the metabolic level and 
requirements of the host gives an advantage to be used in hunting such 
hosts. The development of the nymph might mimic other physical 
attributes of the host as well. For example, if the host spent much time 
hanging upside down, the nymph could develop that way as well, making 
it a competent predator in an "upside down" environment. 
	Adult organisms are presumably adapted to their environment via 
some combination of this host mediated process in concert with post-
emergence selection. In the primitive species, larval offspring of these 
adapted adults will have to evaluate the state of the environment to 
determine if they should seek a mobile host to find a more hospitable 
environment, or if the should seek one to which they are adapted. 
	If a larva chooses a mobile host, its embryo may posses different 
metabolic requirements or a generally different metabolism, which may 
result in the death of the embryo after prolonged exposure. The nymph 
must remain capable of aborting its development at the minimum possible 
stage and emerging from the host, developing a new adaptive strategy 
from the information gathered from the host, and surviving to reproduce 
and create eggs adapted to the new environment. This minimum stage is 
limbless, displaying only the buds of limbs, and uses the segmented tail 
for propulsion.
	If the larva chooses a host to which it is adapted, there will be 
much less danger to the embryo from the host's metabolism, and the 
nymph will be able to develop to its full form prior to emergence. This full 
form possesses two sets of limbs in addition to the tail. It is possible 
that a host chosen by a larva that detects no impending environmental shift 
might be immobile or vegetative in nature.
	Once a relatively stable environment has been located (in which 
several rounds of reproduction were possible), a varying progression of 
emergent nymph and adult forms might be observed, as pressures of 
selection and host mediated adaptation refine the organism's strategy for 
survival in the environment.

Since the creatures do not posses any eyes by terrestrial standards, they 
must have some other means of sensing their environment. If the body 
plan is conserved between juvenile and adult stages, it is reasonable to 
assume that the same types of sensors are used in each case. The eggs 
appear to be able to detect motion and proximity, and to be able to 
distinguish between hosts and nestmates. The sensation of heat may not be 
important to this process, as the natural host may have had a similar 
ambient body temperature. The larvae are capable of locating and 
determining the distance to the host implantation orifice, and of leaping 
through space to that orifice. The adults are capable of distinguishing 
between nestmates  and potential hosts, and are capable of detecting 
movement. They are probably also possessed of pattern recognition 
systems, and spatial arrangement recognition systems. Adults have been 
observed to fixate on objects using their heads, suggesting that their 
primary sensory organs are located in the anterior portions of their heads.
	All adult stages are capable of producing a variety of sounds, and 
it is probably the case that they can hear and communicate via sound. 
Communication with "stripped down" eggs is probably better facilitated 
via chemical means than sound. It is likely that recognition of nestmates is 
achieved via a combination of chemical and sonic communication. Eggs 
might communicate with each other via chemical signals. Some degree of 
communication between eggs is likely, as only one egg ever responds 
when presented with a viable host, even if there are numerous eggs in 
proximity to the host. 
	The detection of motion and proximity may be facilitated via sonic 
systems. In terrestrial nocturnal, subterranean and aquatic environments, 
these have proven quite successful, and accordingly, the shape of the head 
is reminiscent of cetacean crania. However, the large curving structure of 
the head might serve as some other sort of sensor as well. It could be used 
to detect EM wavelengths other than visible light, although it is not 
obvious how useful such a structure would be in detecting longer or 
shorter wavelengths. Possibly, the creatures posses a sensory system 
similar to the "motion tracking" technology developed by humans.

	Variation in the surface morphology of the head seems to indicate 
a sensory function. Lone adults have uniform smooth reflective heads, 
while adults functioning in a nest have distinct anterior and posterior head 
sections; the posterior region being covered in a ribbed pattern with a 
sagittal crest, and the anterior region being characteristically smooth with 
a pair of pits on either side of the head. This morphology in social 
organisms may be used in sonic and chemical communication. That this 
ribbed pattern is visible in the neck regions of the lone adult may indicate 
that the smooth reflective surface of the heads serves as a canopy covering 
more complex structures.
	This smooth canopy is reminiscent of the smooth surfaces of the 
queen's headpiece sheath. This sheath is comprised of at least three 
independent pieces, the largest of which possesses several overlapping 
flanges. Various sized holes are visible between these flanges, and the 
entire sheath may serve as a production organ for chemical signals. In the 
transformation from imago to queen-imago (see the discussion of ancestral 
types below), the adult canopy may develop into the sheath. Once this 
transformation has been accomplished, the new queen would issue 
chemical signals destroying the canopies of any nearby adults.
	If the ribbed structures beneath the canopy corresponded to modest 
versions of the signal production organs beneath the queen's sheath, and 
were used for communication between nestmates, the canopy might serve 
to isolate a lone adult from foreign signals. Canopied adults would in 
effect be "deaf" to most nest signals. If all nestmates are progeny of the 
same queen, then the canopy destroying signal produced by a particular 
queen might be genetically specified. A canopied adult which found itself 
near a foreign nest or a foreign queen would not be susceptible to that 
queen's signals, and would develop into a queen. An adult which found 
itself near a related nest or queen would lose its canopy and join the nest. 
A dead queen would be replaced by a young canopied adult. It could be 
assumed that an uncanopied adult would be utterly subservient to the 
commands of a queen, in which case it might be possible for one queen to 
kill another and steal the uncanopied members of the nest. The canopy 
must allow limited communication, as a valid queen must be able to order 
its destruction. Possibly, canopied adults would be capable of identifying 
hosts harboring embryos as well, and could act to protect related embryos 
and possibly destroy unrelated ones.

The modern and ancestral natural hosts:

	The modern species' reproductive cycle is problematic because it 
displays a dependence upon the death of a host for the reproduction of a 
each organism. A host which survived nymph emergence might favor the 
development of this lifestyle. Such a host would have to withstand the 
damage incurred in emergence, and be able to survive further rounds of 
implantation, gestation and emergence. Alternatively, ancestral forms of 
the organism might have used a less injurious host-emergence strategy. If 
instead of creating new exits, the nymphs emerged via the orifice through 
which they were implanted, the chance of the host surviving would 
increase dramatically. Possibly, ancestral organisms used such a strategy. 
Also, a host with thick exterior armor would make creation of new exits 
difficult. In any case, a large organism would be better suited to surviving 
the embryo development process. The parasite might be little more than a 
pest for a host of sufficient size, and might even serve some symbiotic 
function by feeding on exoskeletal parasites of the host after emergence.

The implantation period indicates a requirement for about 24 hours of 
close contact. This is facilitated by the articulated limbs and the tail. In 
modern creatures, the larval "embryopositor" appears to be composed of 
soft tissue, indicating that implantation is probably directly onto the 
desired internal substrate as opposed to being gained by destruction of 
external tissue. In addition to other possible functions, the mouthed tongue 
of the imago might function to permit sampling of the tissue contained 
within a hard carapace, or might have facilitated in creating an opening in 
a hard carapace specifically for use in implantation. These data suggest 
that the natural host possessed a hard shell.

During the implantation phase, the host is provided with atmosphere via 
specialized bellows structures on the larva, implying that the host would 
be in danger of asphyxiation during the implantation process. Thus the 
natural host probably has only one breathing orifice, and is at least 
partially terrestrial. The parameters of the area surrounding the natural 
host's breathing orifice may be estimated via observing the length of tail 
available and the available span of the articulated limbs (2-3 feet for the 
limbs and 4-5 feet of tail). This orifice is most likely at the end of a stalk 
of indeterminate length, which might be up to a foot in diameter. The 
terminus of this stalk is most likely a spheroid 1-2 feet in diameter. 
	The amount of oxygen provided to the host is limited by the size of 
the larval bellows apparatus, and this would limit the size of a potential 
host and that host's activity during implantation. Possibly the bellows size 
has evolved to parallel changes in host size. The constrictive nature of the 
tail would seem to suggest that the host's breathing is accomplished by 
changing the volume of the stalk. Bi-directional air flow in the host might 
be accomplished via the use of peristaltic waves. Since the host is likely 
armored, the tail would probably not be capable of constricting the host 
unless this strategy were used to inhale and exhale.

Assuming that the host would resent an attack on its sole breathing orifice 
and the subsequent implantation event, temporary incapacitation of the 
host would be desirable on the part of the organism. An extremely large 
host might be able to detach the larva at negligible expense to its own 
structure. Possibly the constrictive nature of the tail is used to immobilize 
the host initially. However, an incapacitated host would be easy prey to 
various other predatory creatures. It is possible that the implantation 
period would not be *extremely* uncomfortable for the host, and that the 
host would be capable of enduring the implantation period without 
sufficient cause to successfully dislodge the parasite. In this case, the 
implantation process might only diminish the host's natural breathing 
capacity, requiring the supplemental air supply provided by the larva. In 
such a scenario, it might be possible for multiple larvae to simultaneously 
implant embryos in one host.

Emergence of the nymph seems to be triggered by moderate levels of host 
activity. This might be a valid strategy if the host was preyed upon. 
Moderate levels of activity would indicate that there were no predators 
around and that the locale was safe for nymph emergence. Sufficiently 
high level of activity might indicate flight from a predator, and a period of 
inactivity might be indicative of a host's attempt to hide from a predator.

The general conclusions regarding the natural host are as follows; it is a 
large terrestrial or semi-aquatic organism which breathes through an 
orifice at the end of a stalk. This could be the host's head, or it could be a 
specialized structure. The host is most likely armored and is possibly prey 
to other predators.

Most of the above speculation regards the natural host of the pre-social 
organism. The natural host of the social organism is most likely a smaller 
version of the described host. Smaller hosts would occur in more abundant 
numbers, and their populations might tolerate the parasitic lifestyle of 
increasing numbers of organisms. In addition, it is more efficient to 
capture, immobilize and maintain smaller hosts than large. It is possible 
that the modern organism's penchant for creating a new emergence orifice 
is a modification subsequent to the dispersal into space; on the 
homeworld, the social organisms might remain capable of multiple rounds 
of implantation, gestation and emergence on a single host. Some species 
might retain the ability to switch from a social mode to a more primitive 
non-social mode.

Proposed ancestral types:
 Presumably, organisms which use these strategies still live on the

	Early ancestor: a non-social creature with a multi-stage life cycle. 
Most stages of this life cycle are omnivorous. This is a very primitive 
version of the organism.
	Natural host: The natural host might be any large mobile creature, 
or it might be some sort of immobile vegetative organism.
	Life cycle: Eggs are created in large clutches, perhaps buried in the 
ground or perhaps attached to vegetative organisms via resin. This resin 
might also serve to protect the eggs from predation. After a long 
maturation phase, these eggs hatch and larvae emerge. These are free 
living organisms in their own right, devoted to finding food and potential 
hosts. Possessed of advanced sensory capabilities, these creatures are 
capable of producing many pro-embryos. The eggs of this species would 
be little more than containers, possessing no sensory apparatus and 
probably opening upon the signal of the larva. These larvae locate and 
produce pro-embryos on putative hosts. These pro-embryos digest 
whatever available food there is to be found on their substrate; the food 
might be other surface parasites or vegetative matter or secreted 
substances. These pro-embryos would be capable of moving between 
hosts, and some in some "vegetative" species might serve in a "cross-
pollinating" capacity. In more advanced forms, the pro-embryos might live 
in the host digestive system, feeding off of partially digested nutrients. 
Once a sufficient level of nutrition has been achieved, the embryo 
metamorphoses into a nymph and becomes a free living organism. 
Progression through of a series of predatory instars yields the imago, 
which serves the sole purpose of creating more eggs. 
	Comments: There are a variety of lifecycle and lifestyle strategies 
which may be derived from this organism. There are probably a variety of 
different species descended from this general form. The imago is the fully 
adult form of the organism, having spent all of its instars searching for 
food. As with the pro-embryo, this food might be both vegetative or 
"animal" in nature. 

	Medial ancestor: a non-social predatory creature with a dual stage 
life cycle. This type of creature is perhaps on the verge of developing into 
the modern organism.
	Natural host: The natural host is a large creature that breathes 
atmosphere through a single orifice on the end of an armored stalk. 
Airflow through this stalk is maintained by expanding and contracting the 
walls of the stalk, possibly via peristaltic waves. 
	Life cycle: Thick-hided and perhaps armored eggs are buried in the 
ground and are mortared in place with resin. The eggs mature and enter the 
dormant phase. The motion and sound of a proximal potential host signals 
the egg to hatch and disgorge the larva which pursues, catches and 
"boards" the host. In this organism, the larva's sole purpose is to locate and 
implant an embryo into a host as quickly as is possible. Its sensory 
apparatus are devoted to this task alone, and because it does not take 
nutrition, it can only afford to implant a few embryos; in many cases it can 
only manage one. The egg retains a modest ability for detection and 
controls the release of the larva. The larva then locates the breathing 
orifice, affixes itself to it via means of the legs and tail and supplements 
the air flow to the host during the implantation phase. The embryo is 
implanted in the internal substance of the breathing canal. Once 
implantation is complete, the larva dies. The host proceeds, until the 
nymph emerges from its "breathing trunk" via the natural orifice. The host 
most likely survives this ordeal, although it might experience labored 
breathing for a few days. The nymph goes through a series of instars , 
which hunt for food, until an imago is realized, which hunts for food, 
mates and prospective host ranges. The mouthed tongue might be integral 
to all three pursuits, as well as protecting the adults form implantation by 
larvae of other species. Putative hosts might be weakened by use of the 
mouthed tongue, making them more susceptible to being boarded by the 
larva. A series of eggs might be created in a large area, waiting for a 
weakened host to stumble through. Possibly, the adults are capable of 
cucooning themselves and or severely weakened hosts with resin in order 
to protect against predation.
	Comments: The eggs and larvae of this species appear intermediate 
in that they share the responsibilities of host detection and selection. This 
suggests that the larva and egg are a single continuous organism in this 
species and that sensory organs are shared or duplicated between the two 

	Immediate ancestor: a predatory social creature, possibly smaller 
than the medial ancestral type. This is the organism which immediately 
predated the modern organism.
	Natural host: a smaller version of the ancestor's host, or a similar 
smaller creature.
	Life cycle: A fertile queen creates thick hided eggs in a protected 
creche. These are guarded and tended by various castes of adult relatives. 
The nest is created and maintained by the adults and is constructed from 
secreted resin. The adults procure hosts from outside the nest and 
immobilize them near mature eggs. The eggs open and the larva 
immediately attach to the host. Larval energy usage is almost totally 
devoted to adhering to the host and implanting a single embryo. The large 
eggs contain most of the important sensory and decision making 
apparatus, leaving the larvae as "stripped down" as is possible. 
Implantation and gestation occur as in the medial ancestor, but the nymph 
tears its way out of the host body. Unless it is sufficiently large, the host 
likely expires in the emergence. The nymph develops into an imago via a 
series of instars, which might perform particular duties required by the 
nest according to their age or caste.
	Comments: Queens display at least six limbs, and an additional 
pair of hind limbs are required to support the ovarian organ systems. 
Queens have a greater number of limbs, digits and dorsal vanes than are 
observed in various adult forms, and thus may represent a most advanced 
instar form. If this is the case, the various observed forms may represent 
different instar stages of adult development, and each of these might 
correspond to a different caste. A nymph which found it self isolated from 
a nest, or in a nest sans a functional queen, might develop rapidly through 
a series of instars (which would only be of use in a functional nest) and 
into a queen-imago which could then begin the egg creating process and 
re-establish control of a leaderless nest. A queen in a functioning nest 
would suppress this development in all other individuals, halting their 
development at the penultimate imago stage. This could be accomplished 
via a special queen-produced chemical signal which causes the destruction 
of adult canopies. A lone imago metamorphosing into a queen-imago 
might require a period of hibernation as it develops the morphological 
characteristics of a queen: the auxiliary ventral arms, large headpiece 
sheath and externalized ovarian systems with associated legs. In this case, 
the adult canopy might be the source of the developmental signals which 
trigger the transformation, and would develop into the sheath.
	The queen-imago is a form devoted to producing large numbers of 
eggs in a short amount of time. Presumably, this form is a novel 
development which is specific to the social species. It might be that imago 
form retains the ability to create eggs at a much lower rate and at much 
greater expense to itself (See Appendix A). This would require an override 
of the natural inclination for canopied imago forms to develop into queen-
imagoes, and would probably only occur under periods of extreme stress 
when the nutritional requirements of metamorphosis into a queen could 
not be met.

Appendix A: Spore theory of Reproduction
	The hypothesis in this section was formulated after extensive 
discussions with Gregory S. Turenchalk and Eelko de Vos, however that 
which follows is only intended to represent the ideas of the author.
	An unused scene in the film _Alien_ demonstrates the ability of an 
imago to infect a host in a manner which converts it into an egg. The exact 
nature and contents of this egg are unknown, but it is presumed to contain 
a larva. The process by which this occurs may be functionally similar to 
the embryo implantation process as carried out by a larva. As the larva-
implanted embryo converts a portion of the host into a nymph, so does the 
imago-implanted factor convert a much larger portion of the host into an 
egg, further supporting the idea of functional and morphological identity 
being conserved between the juvenile and adult life stages. This factor will 
hereafter be referred to as the "spore".
	The development of the queen-imago as sole reproducing member 
of a nest may be explained via the existence of the postulated spore. A 
maturation phase has been suggested for eggs during which they are not 
capable of identifying a valid host or of producing a viable larva. This 
maturation phase would correspond to the period of time after the spore is 
introduced to the host body during which the tissue of the host is 
converted into egg tissue. In addition to her large size, the queen is 
impressive in her continuous production of eggs. It remains unclear as to 
whether or not these eggs are mature immediately after they have been 
released from the ovipositor, however the rapid creation of eggs in this 
fashion would be greatly facilitated if the bulk of the egg matter as seen 
within the translucent egg creating organs was merely specially aggregated 
"yolk" material which had been implanted with a spore by the queen. The 
infected yolk would then be converted into an egg by the spore, just as 
would an infected host. 
	In this case, the development of the queen-imago and her complex 
egg production organs reflect the creation of a system whereby the queen 
converts nutrients into a yolk or "pseudo-host", specially designed to be 
implanted with a spore. The queen, in addition to being the organizational 
hub of the nest, can then be seen as a special processor designed to convert 
raw materials into pseudo-hosts, while the spore is seen as the remains of 
the ancestral system of reproduction wherein hosts were aquired by adults 
for implantation. Possibly, queens retain the ancestral ability to infect real 
hosts with spores, and may rely on this capacity in the event that the egg 
production organs sustain irreparable damage.
	This implies that there were two periods of host-mediated 
adaptation during the lifecycle of ancestral organisms. The first occurred 
during the maturation phase of the egg, and the second occurred during the 
gestation phase of the nymph. It further implies that the queen may direct 
the adaptation of her offspring by creating special pseudo-hosts based on 
the information obtained during her own gestation phase. This may permit 
a faster or more efficient means of achieving adaptation to a new 
environment, and may allow the queen to control the makeup of the nest 
by changing the character of the pseudo-hosts.

The proposed lifecycle stages and designations are revised as follows

Life cycle stages:					Life stage designation
[1]	Queen implants spore in pseudo-host.		
		*maturation phase* 	[Egg is released during this phase]
[2]	Pseudo-host is converted into mature egg.		EGG
		*dormant phase*
	Host signals are detected.
[3]	Egg opens and mobile crawler emerges.			LARVA
		Egg dies.
	Larva follows signals to host.
	Host's breathing orifice is secured by larva.
		*implantation phase*
[4]	Larva implants embryo in host breathing system.		EMBRYO
		Larva dies.
		*gestation phase*
[5]	Chestbuster emerges from host.				NYMPH
[6]	Chestbuster stage undergoes a series of instar-like	INSTAR
		transformations until the adult is achieved.	IMAGO
[7]	Queen-imago begins producing spores.			QUEEN

The life stages encompassing the spore, egg and larva are referred to as 
JUVENILE, and those encompassing the embryo, nymph, instars and 
imagoes are referred to as ADULT.

	Finally, it might be that prior to metamorphosis into a queen, each 
imago implants a host with a spore in this manner. It is likely that the 
queen becomes immobile once her egg production organs mature, and it 
would be difficult for her to obtain sufficient nutrients and hosts to 
establish a nest were she alone. If the imago prepared a second host in 
addition to the one it had implanted with a spore, the new queen would be 
assured of having at least one adult who could function in obtaining 
nutrients for the generation of her eggs and hosts for larval implantation. 

The characteristics discussed above are not the sole characteristics 
available for discussion, nor are the conclusions drawn the only 
conclusions possible. This is simply one possible picture based on the set 
of assumptions and the data.



(Daryll Hobson initiated this FAQ)

v1.0 - March 22, 1993 - Initial draft.  Most information supplied by me alone.

v1.1 - March 31, 1993 - Added countless bits of information supplied by
       interested users of the net.

v1.2 - April 14, 1993 - Revision control.  Chestburster scene added, more info
       on the dog/cow scene of _ALIEN^3_, more _ALIENS_ cut scenes, added to
       the alien physiology discussion.  Small changes to the merchandise
       list.  Added more "memorable quotes" and more "trivia".  Added
       "rituals" section and switched around the order of the sections to
       make the FAQ more readable.

v1.3 - May 5, 1993 - Small changes to the "Who is?" section.  Removed the
       Chestburster scene.  Organized the discussion section.  Added some
       more frequently asked questions.  More complete descriptions of the 
       cut scenes from _ALIEN_ and _ALIENS_ were added as well.  More trivia.

v1.4 - June 23, 1993 - Added Gibson's ALIEN^3 script synopsis, James Cameron's
       answers to a few questions about ALIENS and vastly improved the 
       merchandise and FAQ sections.

v1.5 - Sept 14, 1993 - Added more frequently asked questions.  Added running
       times to some of the _ALIEN_ cut scenes.  More rituals.  Added 
       extensive info about _ALIEN^3_ script rewrites.

v1.6 - Sept 21, 1993 - In an effort to reduce (eliminate?) the all-too-common
       flaming of _ALIEN^3_, I added a section to Frequently Discussed 
       Topics that addresses both sides of the argument.  Broke the FAQ up
       into 3 parts so I could (once again) post it to the Internet.

v1.7 - Dec 25, 1993 - FINALLY got an FTP site for the FAQ.  Added to the 
       technical errors, frequently asked questions, trivia.  Increased 
       emphasis on NOT asking me "Where can I get Gibson's ALIEN 3 script?"

v1.8 - Mar 8, 1994 - More information on soundtracks.  Added to frequently
       asked questions, trivia and memorable quotes.  Memorable quotes  
       ordered according to when they occur in the movies.  Didn't get
       around to adding ALL that new merchandise yet.  What a nightmare!

v1.9 - April 10,1994 - Changed information on how to get Gibson's ALIEN 3
       script.  Added to frequently asked questions, merchandise and 
       memorable quotes.

v2.0 - June 14, 1994 - Added more memorable quotes, questions and
       merchandise.  Prepared the document to be HANDED OFF (ie: no longer
       maintained by me).

(Eelko de Vos took over the maintenace of the FAQ)

v2.1 - August 12, 1994 - Added some more info on various subjects. Also added
       part four to the faq: Steve's document about what he derived from the
       alien movies. It are the insights of a molecular biologist. I
       rearranged some bits, but most this document is mostly in its original
       I made the Alien WWW pages grow considerably. They are (were!) at:

v2.2 - December 10, 1994 - Added new stuff to several parts of the FAQ. I also
       updated the Alien pages considerably, which are now very eagerly
       visited. This caused quite some problems with my sysop. Therefore
       another computer was located and almost entirely dedicated to the Alien
       WWW pages. The old address still works, but also redirects to the new
       This site might have some problems in the beginning, but will probably
       be faster than the one before.

v2.3 - Added a new part, 'MUSIC' and did some minor updates. Contacted Alien
       War and a friend of H.R. Giger, both adding to the Lore of the Aliens.
       Alien War suggested a reduction to the attraction when the Alien WWW
       pages. We are discussing this option. Alien War will give more info as
       to what they 'invented'.

v2.4 - Added quite some new parts in multiple chapters. Corrected some 
       Changed the chapter of Hivequeen (speculations) into a new version he
       send me.

v2.5 - Added new parts to the 'Frequently Discussed Topics' and 'Frequently
       Asked Questions'. Added an ALIEN4 part too, to keep ahead.
       Also changed some parts minorely.

v2.6 - Added some Alien4 rumours to part 4, chapter 16. Removed all the links
       to the Alien Homepage Pages at that machine
       crashed and will not be up again. Changed it temporarily to

       for as long as it is 'allowed'.

v2.7 - Alien-Resurrection has just come out, and the Alien Faq is altered
       accordingly. Any new info on the stuff is very welcome. My Alien
       Website is unfortunately still offline, but it will soon be added to
       the (dutch) SF-Report website at

&                                                                            &
&                                 The END                                    &
&                                                                            &

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