Ripley is convinced to go back to Acheron because she's going to be "protected" by Space Marines.

This obviously didn't work out as planned and virtually the whole team is wiped out.

How much did the company know about what was on Acheron? Did they really think a few marines was going to be sufficient or did they have ulterior motives?

  • 2
    They wanted Burke to bring back a sample
    – Valorum
    Mar 18 '17 at 17:33
  • @Valorum pointing to underestimating then?
    – Doctor Two
    Mar 18 '17 at 17:40
  • Indeed. That seems very likely. Note that their plan is to study it on Earth.
    – Valorum
    Mar 18 '17 at 17:49
  • 4
    @Valorum these 80s style future corps never learn 😩
    – Doctor Two
    Mar 18 '17 at 17:49
  • Colonial Marines, not Space Marines.
    – Yasskier
    Aug 26 '18 at 20:44

They seem over-confident in their ability to deal with alien creatures, bordering on complacent. As a company rep, Carter Burke's plan (which he'd undoubtedly raised with his superiors) was to go in with a squad of highly trained Colonial marines with an extensive track record of dealing with unpleasant aliens, determine what happened to the colonists and, ideally, retrieve a sample to return to Earth with.

A number of key elements of this plan smack of hubris (or negligence) rather than intentional malfeasance on the part of W-Y.

  • Carter Burke would never have agreed to go to the colony personally if he felt that his own life was in danger. As a young, thrusting Company exec he's obviously happy to take extreme risks with other people's lives, but not his own.

  • The marines weren't fully briefed prior to landing. Those that were briefed had only glanced at their packets.

  • The marines had an incompetent (new) leader.

  • Carter Burke was expecting to be able to get in and out with a sample of the Xenomorphs that they could bring back to Earth, despite the obvious (to us) risk of contamination of the biosphere.

  • 1
    why Is it obvious that Carter Burke raised the plan with his superiors? In Aliens he suggests that he and Ripley could make a fortune from the bio-weapons and Ripley seemed to believe he was acting on his own. Also, if it was a company plan, surely they would have been aware of the original decision to send the Nostromo to LV-14 and so may possibly have also been aware of the derelicts rough location?
    – user66716
    Mar 19 '17 at 0:01
  • @jim - Carter sent the message to LV-426 to investigate Ripley's coordinates. I find it unlikely he'd do so without the say-so of his bosses but you're right, he might have gone headless horseman in the hopes of advancement. Plausible deniability and all that
    – Valorum
    Mar 19 '17 at 1:16
  • LV-14 is probably far, far away from LV-426
    – user66716
    Mar 19 '17 at 10:08
  • Any idea why the Weyland-Yutani company waited so long before sending the the terraforming team to the nest and why it was the terraformers instead of a highly trained and equiped exploration team? 50 years went since the Nostromo ship landed on the LV-426. 20 years past since the terraforming started. After all those years Burke sends all the members of the terraforming team to the Alien vehicle. Why did he wait so long? Why did he send a completely unprepared team there? He must have known that something is out there since the nostromo ship was redirected there ("crew is expendable")... May 14 '17 at 20:58
  • 1
    @SebastianKramer - They sent a terraforming team in the hopes that they'd find something and were, presumably, quite surprised and disappointed when they didn't. It's not until Ripley gives them the precise coordinates of the ship that they realise their error. They were several hundreds (possibly thousands) of kilometers out.
    – Valorum
    May 14 '17 at 21:07

Burke was freelancing (doing it on his own)

Burke: 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 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 likey had support from the company in terms of the colony having lost contact, but the xenomorph info would have only been shared directly with Gorman when Burke was filling him in.

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