In Alien, to escape the alien, Ripley sets the Nostromo to self destruct, meaning to leave via the escape in the shuttle. After killing the alien, Ripley and Jones enter cryo-sleep and are eventually found after 57 years.

During this time she was presumably still on the company payroll.

Did she receive any back pay, or was it all swallowed up paying for the Nostromo, including payload of course?

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    Of related interest en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoichi_Yokoi, the Japanese soldier who hadn't realised the 2nd world war had ended "he eventually received the equivalent of US$300 in back pay, and a small pension."
    – jim
    Commented Jun 29, 2022 at 18:54
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    $300 back pay for 27 years. I sure won't enroll in the Japanese army. I don't have any actual inflation rates, but I highly doubt that even at the 1945 value $300 was 27 years worth of wages, even for a conscripted soldier.
    – user150380
    Commented Jun 29, 2022 at 23:03
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    @InTheAbsenceOfFear Well, he had been fired in 1945. The hobbies that he did pursue on his own free time were not his previous employer's worries. I would have discounted him some money for the misuse of the military gear that he failed to return in time.
    – SJuan76
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 11:25

2 Answers 2


According to the film's official novelisation, Ripley didn't receive any back-pay, presumably because of her act of gross misconduct in destroying the Nostromo.

None of that for her. No smell of salt, no cool mountain breezes. Inner-city Company dole, and lucky she was to have that much.

She also mentions that it was made clear that if she kept her head down and her nose clean, she'd be able to claim her Company pension at retirement.


"There is a clause in the contract which specifically states any systematized transmission indicating a possible intelligent origin must be investigated" ... "under penalty of total forfeiture of shares. (No money)."

"They ain't paying us by the hour."

"Thank you, officer Ripley, that will be all." ... "No criminal charges will be filed at this time... These proceedings are closed."

Presumably she received the number of shares stipulated in her contract (or nothing for failing to fulfill that contract). We've no indication that the term unforeseen circumstances can be found in the contract (no back pay, no extra nothing). However, there's no reason to believe that even in the future employees can be held liable for the "questionable" 'destruction of a M-class starfreighter' (company property).

"Generally, an employee can't be responsible for employer losses. In fact, if they fire you because you refuse to make up the difference, you may have a claim against them for wrongful termination of your employment."https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1995-08-14-fi-34938-story.html

It wouldn't surprise me in the least if I was still on a certain company's payroll after the +10y I haven't been there. Except I was paid by the hour (so it doesn't matter, if I'm not clocked in). These are blue collar workers under contract. It's very unlikely they're on salary.

Salary? And there's hyper-sleep pods? You said illegal aliens? Sign me up!

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    If the Nostromo was run as a co-operative between the crew and "The Company" then by destroying the ship she - may have - destroyed ALL the shares, including her own. Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 15:01

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