The USS Sulaco was a Conestoga-class troop transport ship in service with the United States Colonial Marine Corps. It was most notably used in the investigation of the Hadley's Hope colony on LV-426 in 2179, when it was manned by Lieutenant William Gorman's combat unit of Colonial Marines.
The Sulaco was one of the most well-known Conestoga-class vessels, mainly because of its constant bad luck. It was ultimately commandeered by Weyland-Yutani private military contractors and destroyed in orbit above LV-426 in a confrontation with another Conestoga-class vessel, the USS Sephora.
Mission to LV-426EditThe USS Sulaco was used to deploy the dropship Bug Stomper and an APC full of battle hardened Marines on LV-426 to investigate a potential Xenomorph outbreak there. While they engaged in the mission it remained in orbit on autopilot, until a second dropship was called in remotely by Bishop for evac.
Battle aboard the SulacoEdit
Upon finding out that an Alien Queen had stowed away aboard the dropship and was now after Newt, Ripley grabbed the Power Loader and proceeded to fight the Queen hand to hand before throwing her into an air lock and blasting her out into space, exactly how the first Alien was killed.
Journey to Fiorina 161Edit
On it's return journey to Earth, the Sulaco was boarded by Weyland-Yutani mercenaries led by Michael Weyland with the intention of discovering more about the Xenomorphs and what exactly had happened during the ill-fated mission. Weyland's commandos captured Corporal Hicks and replaced him with an unidentified male.
Soon afterwards, as the ship passed Fiorina 161, an electrical fire started in the ship's hypersleep chamber, started by a Facehugger that had stowed away on board. Ripley, Newt, Bishop and the body replacing Hicks were jettisoned in an EEV and subsequently crash-landed on the planet.
Return to LV-426Edit
Some time later, the Sulaco was returned to LV-426 by Michael Weyland and his team, where it was subsequently discovered by the crew of the USS Sephora, who had been sent to investigate the events on LV-426. As Sephora Marines boarded the Sulaco it became apparent the ship had succumbed to a massive Xenomorph infestation. As the Marines fought their way through the Sulaco, the Weyland-Yutani personnel still on board used the ship's weapon systems to open fire on the Sephora, instigating a pitched battle. The Sephora was ultimately destroyed, with the resultant explosion heavily damaging the Sulaco as well, leading to its ultimate break-up in orbit.
- Lieutenant William Gorman - A09/TQ4.0.56124E3 [K.I.A.]
- Bishop (341-B) (Synthetic) - A17/TQ2.0.35117E5 — Executive Officer [Deactivated]
- Gunnery Sergeant Al Apone - A19/TQ4.0.32751E8 [K.I.A.]
- Corporal Dwayne Hicks - A27/TQ4.0.48215E9
- Corporal Colette Ferro - A71/TQ9.0.09428E1 [K.I.A.]
- Corporal Cynthia Dietrich - A41/TQ8.0.81120E2 [K.I.A.]
- Private First Class William Hudson - A08/TQ1.0.41776E3 [K.I.A.]
- Private First Class Jenette Vasquez - A03/TQ7.0.15618E4 [K.I.A.]
- Private First Class Daniel Spunkmeyer - A23/TQ6.0.92810E7 [K.I.A.]
- Private Mark Drake - A23/TQ2.0.47619E7 [K.I.A.]
- Private Rico Frost - A17/TQ4.0.61247E5 [K.I.A.]
- Private Tim Crowe - A46/TQ1.0.98712E6 [K.I.A.]
- Private Trevor Wierzbowski - A14/TQ8.0.20034E7 [K.I.A.]
Behind the scenesEdit
The Sulaco is named after a fictional town in Joseph Conrad's novel Nostromo (the name of which was used for the USCSS Nostromo in the original Alien). A number of other names in the franchise are based on Conrad's work as well.
Some social sciences research into the Alien franchise's symbology has considered it significant that Sulaco in Conrad's Nostromo is the home of the white owners of the silver mine figuring in the book, while the Sulaco in Aliens transports soldiers to investigate unknown troubles at a corporate outpost of Weyland-Yutani and to protect the investment - drawing parallels between the corporate owners in Conrad's work and the shadowy business entity forming a central part of the Aliens franchise.
Syd Mead, a principal conceptual designer on Aliens, first designed the Sulaco as a massive sphere, a "heavily armed cargo ship, outfitted to transport material". James Cameron was not satisfied, as having a spherical model move past the lens would have required variable focus; he produced a quick sketch of the style of ship he imagined and noted that he was imagining something like a "a forest of antennae enter[ing] the frame, followed by the enormous bulk of the SULACO".
While some claim that the basic shape was based on a submarine, the design has most often been described as a 'gun in space' due to the elongated form resembling the Pulse Rifles used in the movie - with Syd Mead agreeing that (in addition to Cameron's preferences) this was one of the reasons for the switch from the spherical form. Other film analysts have remarked on how the opening shot of the ship as something sinister and weapon-like presages Ripley's transformation during the movie into a warrior figure, akin to the hardened Marines the Sulaco already carries. The opening shot of the ship travelling through space has also been called 'fetishistic' and 'shark-like', "an image of brutal strength and ingenious efficiency" - while the rigid, mechanic, militarized interior of the Sulaco (designed by Ron Cobb) is contrasted to the somewhat more organic and friendly interior of the Nostromo in the first movie (also designed by Ron Cobb). Other sources have also noted the homage the initial scenes pay to the opening tour through the Nostromo in Alien, particularly in the extended Special Edition cut.
Mead has denied rumors in the fan community that actual scientific research had been done into how a futuristic spaceship might work. As an example, he noted that the idea for the early spherical design had nothing to do with creating centrifugal gravity, as such problems were for storyline purposes assumed to have already been solved by science.
- Originally, the Sulaco was going to be seen partially exploding at the start of Alien3 after the EEV jettisoned, signalling its destruction. While the models for this scene were built, it was apparently scrapped before filming, although the sequence appeared in the novelization of the film.
- In the video game Aliens: Colonial Marines, players have the ability to explore the armory and hypersleep chamber aboard the Sulaco. However, there are numerous errors with the name tags on the lockers found there, several of which are attributed to Marines that did not exist in the film (these names likely reference members of the development team on the game, a common practice, as well as a humorous locker belonging to Private "S. Villarreal"). Furthermore, some of the Marines from Aliens have a locker in the hypersleep chamber but not the armory. Private Tim Crowe's locker also has a nameplate that incorrectly reads "S. Crow".
- Aliens (First Appearance)
- Aliens: Colonial Marines (video game)
- Alien vs. Predator: Redemption
- ↑ "Weyland-Yutani Archives - Alien 3: Why did the EEV Crash Land? & Other Questions". Retrieved on 2013-04-18.