The derelict ship on LV-426 in 2367
The derelict on LV-426, codenamed Origin and also known as the alien derelict, was a crashed Juggernaut-type Engineer spacecraft. In 2367, an unknown warning signal broadcast from the derelict summoned the Federation freighter Nostromo to the Acheron moon. The derelict is believed to have crashed on Acheron several millennia prior to the arrival of the Nostromo. The port prong on the derelict measure 161.6 meters in length and the starboard prong 174.3 meters. The craft is 116.6 meters wide and 61.0 meters wide between the starboard and port prongs. According to official historical records the derelict was thought to be destroyed in 2367 when the atmospheric processor on the Acheron moon entered meltdown, but it somehow survived and was later explored by a Starfleet Marine Corps squad.
The cargo hold explored by Kane was found to contain thousands of Xenomorph XX121 Eggs, covered in a thin, flat layer of blue mist that reacted when broken. It has been theorized that this mist is generated by the Eggs themselves as a means to detect the presence of a suitable host lifeform, although it has also been suggested that it may be some form of security mechanism created by the Engineers to keep the Eggs subdued and inert. The eggs are the cargo of the Space Jockey's ship with the ship being a sort-of war ship designed to carry these biological weapons, or perhaps a science vessel carrying the eggs as cargo for scientific study.
It is unclear how many crew members were originally aboard the derelict. When it was discovered by the Nostromo crew, only a single body, assumed to be that of Engineer, the pilot, remained on board. By this time, the body was fossilized inside the chair suit, indicating it had been dead for thousands if not millions of years, and was fused to the command chair in which it sat. Damage to the Pilot's chest indicated it had been killed by a Chestburster.
Russell and Anne Jorden explore previously undescribed areas of the ship finding the remains of several Engineers and Xenomorphs. There is evidence of weapons fire as well as acid burns throughout the ship, the two groups apparently having killed each other during a battle of some kind. They also find the remains of a Queen and an Engineer who fought to the death and killed each other in unarmed combat.
Rediscovery by the NostromoEdit
- "Ash, can you see this?"
"Yes, I can. I've never seen anything like it."
- — Dallas and Ash, regarding the derelict
The origins of the derelict and the Engineer who piloted it remain unknown. Likewise, the circumstances behind how the ship came to be on the moon — whether it was deliberately set down or crashed unintentionally — are not known. However, it is known that the vessel had been to LV-1201, a planet where the Engineers were apparently breeding Xenomorphs, some time before it crashed. Judging by the fossilized condition of the Pilot's corpse, the ship had been on LV-426 for potentially millions of years. Before the last of the derelict's crew were killed, they managed to set up a warning beacon in an attempt to keep others from stumbling upon the Xenomorphs stored aboard the vessel. In a twist of irony, this message was later detected and decoded by the Federation, and the Nostromo was deliberately rerouted there in 2367 to (unbeknownst to its crew) recover one of the creatures. Captain Arthur Dallas, Gilbert Kane and Joan Lambert boarded the derelict, and Kane was impregnated by a Facehugger in its cargo hold. The Nostromo subsequently left LV-426, but was later destroyed as a result of the Alien it had picked up.
Rediscovery by the AnesidoraEdit
In 2367, nine months after the Nostromo set down on LV-426, the Anesidora picked up the same beacon and landed on the moon to investigate and salvage anything of value. The crew discovered the derelict ship and equipment left behind by the Nostromo crew. While exploring the derelict, Henry Marlow, the captain of the Anesidora, disabled the beacon to prevent any other salvage vessels discovering the ship. As the crew explored the ship's cargo hold, Marlow's wife, Catherine Foster, was attacked by a Facehugger in the cargo hold of the ship. The Anesidora quickly left LV-426 and travelled to Sevastopol Station, seeking help, triggering the Xenomorph incident there.
Loss and second rediscoveryEdit
With its beacon deactivated, the derelict went undisturbed, during which time the colony of Hadley's Hope was established on LV-426. Despite this human habitation, the colonists remained unaware of the derelict as it was shielded from the colony's ground scanners by the Ilium mountain range, while the moon's thick, debris-laden atmosphere shrouded the ship both from the naked eye and scanning with sensors. At some point during this intervening period, the derelict was damaged by volcanic activity, causing its port side to fall from its peaking position.
Following the rescue of Ellen Ripley from deep space in 2367, information taken from her testimony of the Nostromo's landing on the moon allowed Hadley's Hope prospectors Russ and Anne Jorden to relocate the ship. The discovery of the derelict's cargo initiated a large-scale Xenomorph infestation at the colony that ultimately led to the meltdown and detonation of the Hadley's Hope atmosphere processing Plant. However, the derelict was largely undamaged by the explosion.
The derelict is a large, asymmetrical, wishbone-shaped craft, with a thickened central section between two horns. The port prong measures 161.6 meters in length and the starboard prong 174.3 meters. The craft is 116.6 meters wide and 61.0 meters wide between the starboard and port prongs, according to official historical records. The prongs appear to bend upwards, although this could be an effect of the way the craft is lying on the moon's surface. On one side, near ground level, the ship has three large openings. It is through one of these openings that the Nostromo crew members Dallas Arthur, Joan Lambert and Gilbert Kane entered the ship as part of their investigation. The exact nature of the openings is unclear, although Kane theorized that they were in fact airlocks, possibly left open following some kind of emergency evacuation from the ship.
The interior of the derelict resembles more a living organism than a spacegoing vessel, with walls and vaulted ceilings seemingly made of bone, and many organic shapes and structures in its passageways. Indeed, Kane additionally suggested that the ship may have been a biological construct, "grown" rather than built by the race that created it. During their exploration, the Nostromo crew surveyed only one small part of the vessel, including the cockpit, as well as a cavernous cargo hold beneath. However, later studies found the ship contained numerous very large internal compartments and numerous cargo bays.