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- "Big things have small beginnings."
- ―David (from Prometheus)
David 8 is first seen wandering the halls of the ship Prometheus, where he rides a bicycle, bounces a basketball, learns ancient languages, and watches films (with a particular favorite being Lawrence of Arabia). During Elizabeth Shaw's hypersleep, David views one of her dreams (via a visual visor) about her childhood relationship with her father and their beliefs of faith, which David finds inspiring. Like Shaw, David has a curious interest in the Engineers and their advanced technology. He serves Vickers without question but he is also taking orders from Peter Weyland, who presumably asks David to collect samples of what they find within the structures.
Able to comprehend the languages surrounding the structures, David activates one of the doorways, and he is fascinated by the large altar of urns inside. Particularly intrigued by the black substance found on the alien structure, David secretly brings back an ampoule of it, when Shaw warns of an approaching windstorm. During their return, David saves Shaw and Holloway from the storm when she endangered herself trying to retrieve a dropped Engineer head. When discovering that the head is really covered by a skeletal-like helmet, David was the only one strong enough to be able to unlock it, and was awed by its cellular preservation, only to be disappointed by its explosive bacterial infection, realizing it was "mortal after all." Driven by curiosity and Weyland's command to him to "try harder," he spikes Holloway's drink with the bacteria from the Urns. When ordered to go back to the structure to find their colleagues, David chooses to repair a pup sensor, which, he knew, was really hindered by a door. Upon discovery, he becomes amazed when it reveals the main deck of a starship, and its activated virtual map of the galaxy excites him even more when finding that it was intended to travel to Earth, only to be suddenly switched off, but not until he finds one Engineer alive in a hypersleep chamber.
After the remaining crew returned, believing some kind of alien airborne infection caused the deaths of their members and Holloway's illness, Shaw -- who was coping with Holloway's recent death -- was being prepped by David for an examination. Even when David tries to relate to her situation by bringing up the similarities between the death of her lover and that of her father, which he learned from watching her dreams, this only proves to profoundly disturb Shaw rather than comfort her. When he learns that she is pregnant with an alien creature, he suggests that she must be frozen until the alien is able to be properly removed, which Shaw emphatically wants removed immediately, and he injects her with a sedative to calm her down. She would later escape and take it upon herself to remove it via surgery in the Pauling MedPod. After the surgery and while wandering the halls in a sedated state, she finds David nursing Peter Weyland, who had secretly been on board the ship all along. Even when Shaw tries to convince them to abandon the mission and return to Earth, David mentions the discovered Engineer, at which time Weyland suggests that the crew must revive it.
When going to see the Engineer, David is asked by Shaw about the Engineers carrying bioweapons, at which point David explains his patricidal outlook, reasoning that destruction is a form of creation and that all creations want to see their creators dead. After waking the creature and attempting to speak to it in its own language, David is at first in awe because he thinks the Engineer is humbled to meet him. But as it lays its hand on top of his head, he proceeds to decapitate David and kill the others, with the exception of Shaw who manages to run away and escape during the massacre. Despite being decapitated, David is still able to function, saying goodbye to his dying "father," and warns Shaw that the Engineer is coming after her in the escape pod.
After Shaw survives her battle with the Engineer, David assures her that it is possible for her to escape the moon, but only if she brings him with her, since only he can navigate the alien craft. Although Shaw agrees to accept his help, she insists that instead of Earth, they must go to find the homeworld of the Engineers. After retrieving David's body, to be later reattached, Shaw stuffs David's head in a duffel bag and the two depart in one of the Engineers' ships to find the Engineer homeworld.
David is almost childlike in his curiosity with understanding humans. His interest in Lawrence Of Arabia inspires him into modeling himself after the lead protagonist, T.E. Lawrence, from quoting his lines, to styling his hair. He senses that the crew still views him as just an android, even taunted by Holloway's biased remarks towards him as being such. Despite this, David is able to tolerate his treatment with the crew, and will still be willing to assist them. He also tries to comprehend his emotions in an appropriate manner of social interaction, especially when he found a curious interest in Elizabeth Shaw. Like Shaw, David hopes to discover the Engineers and their advanced technology, in order to understand if man's existence is similar or different from his own.
On the negative side, despite being able to understand human emotions, he is unable to project them himself. David himself admits that he is capable of carrying out unethical deeds without obligation, albeit he admits to disliking unnecessary violence. David's curiosity and lack of compunction led to Holloway's death in which he spiked his drink with Chemical A0-3959X.91 – 15 to observe the resulting effects.
David appears to be torn by his ingrained allegiance to Peter Weyland. His behavior becomes cold and detached while executing Weyland's directives, and more compassionate when left to his own devices. He expresses to Shaw his desire for Weyland to die, possibly to free himself or because he disagrees with Weyland's desire for an extended life.
- Technological: David 8 is a perfect confluence of technologies. His advanced cybernetic vision has been further improved to include focus-adjust in low light conditions. And a new global location mapping algorithm identifies David 8’s coordinates and returns him to a pre-programmed rendezvous point. David 8’s Pursuance Protocol ensures quality performance: given a project to complete, David 8 will see it done.
- Intellectual: With a fluid intelligence on the order of 1012 neurons or 200 petaflops, David 8 exhibits twice the neural net capacity of humans. The new sensory-data processor in David 8 combines perfect human reasoning with the most advanced cybernetic computing power. Owing to such technology, David 8 can function autonomously in any human environment, displaying complex human intellectual traits such as curiosity and self-motivation towards a final objective.
- Physical: An advanced polyurethane coating replicates the biological properties of human skin to exact texture, pliability and tensile strength. With a cadmium alloy endoskeleton, David 8’s frame can withstand over 1,000 pounds of compression force. Micro-distributed accelerometers provide ultra-keen kinesthetic awareness. And as a new design feature, David 8 has been programmed in several common sports modes; he now enjoys basketball, cycling, golf and more.
- Emotional: For David 8, Weyland’s emotional encoding software has been redesigned to include recognition of thousands more facial expressions than previous models. Proprietary expression mapping sensors allow David 8 to interpret critical human emotional states. The evaluation process happens at synaptic speed, instantly sending thousands of micro-facial movements into effect, giving David 8 a remarkably natural, human response.
David 8 is fluent in all known languages through a dialectic implant and can infer the linguistic components of entirely new languages if encountered. Communication between humans and David 8 should feel entirely fluid and natural. He instantly recognizes the tone and timbre of a new voice and will register it with his database.
Unlike previous models, David 8 can conduct all of his own maintenance procedures. He constantly monitors the degradation of his high-turbidity hydraulic fluid and will replenish at regular intervals (bi-monthly approximate for most mixed-use applications). His zero-loss lithium ion cells are guaranteed for the life of the product. Major repairs or physical damage must be addressed through an authorized Weyland Cybernetics facility.
Mind and MemoryEdit
- Fluid intelligence equivalent of 1012 neurons (200 petaflops)
- 3D kinematics guidance center
- Fear center safety program (can be disabled)
- Advanced emotional encoding
- Facial recognition via proprietary expression mapping
- Unlimited memory
David 8 introduction videoEdit
"He has been re-imagined, re-engineered and brought to life with better technological, intellectual, physical and emotional performance than ever before. Welcome to the eighth generation of cybernetic advancement. Brought to you by Weyland Industries. With his new 99% emotional sensitivity level, David 8 can enter seamlessly into any environment and carry out an authentic human interaction. David 8 can understand and respond appropriately to even the most intricate emotional cues or subtly stated verbal commands. David 8 has valuable skills in manufacturing, finance, earth sciences, and medicine, and he can become instantly competent in almost any other field.
He is polished, practiced, and efficient, by far the most advanced and human-like cybernetic individual on the market today. David 8 is guaranteed to surprise you. He is extremely versatile, endlessly useful and his database of unique functionality is limitless. Unlike human counterparts, David 8 is willing to perform any task that he is assigned, without question or resistance. He will not flinch at even the most disturbing or seemingly irregular assignment, and he will dutifully persevere until reaching his final objective.
Discover, explore and Build Better Worlds with the new David 8."
- David continues the tradition in the Alien franchise of giving Synthetic characters names that begin with subsequent letters in the alphabet — Ash in Alien, Bishop in Aliens, Call in Alien Resurrection and David in Prometheus, A-B-C-D.
- The scene from Lawrence of Arabia that David is shown watching at the start of the movie, in which Corporal Potter asks Lawrence about his habit of extinguishing matches with his bare fingers, is also mentioned by Peter Weyland in the short film TED 2023.
- If one looks closely when David examines a drop of the Black Liquid on his fingertip, it can be seen that a few of his fingerprint's friction ridges form the Weyland Corp logo. This can also been seen in David's introduction video.
- David bears some similarity to the android character David in A.I: Artificial Intelligence. They both have blond hair and blue eyes, and both characters are taunted by people around them regarding their wish to be a "real boy". The only difference is that David from Prometheus has the appearance of a man of around thirty years of age, whereas David from A.I: Artificial Intelligence resembles a boy. It is not known whether these similarities are intentional or not.
- The original script, Alien: Engineers by Jon Spaihts had David as a much darker character who gains true self-awareness later into the plot.