A modified Lockmart CM-88B Bison M-Class starfreighter captained by Arthur Dallas, registered to the Weyland-Yutani Corporation out of Panama. The Nostromo operated as a tug, connecting to and pulling loads like a tractor truck rather than carrying those loads on board like a traditional freighter.
The Nostromo Crew
The Nostromo is a commercial towing vessel owned by the enormous Weyland-Yutani Corporation. It hauls a massive ore refinery along with 20 million tons of raw ore. It also has a self-destruct sequence and an escape shuttle, the Narcissus. It's manned by seven crew members... and one cat.
- Captain Dallas
- Executive Officer Kane
- Warrant Officer Ripley
- Navigator Lambert
- Science Officer Ash
- Chief Engineer Parker
- Engineering Technician Brett
- Jones the Cat
Captain Arthur Koblenz Dallas
The laid-back captain of the Nostromo; he has sole access to Mother, the on-board computer. Despite his nonchalant and casual-seeming attitude, his leadership and decision-making skills become increasingly evident.
- Badass Beard: Dallas has a rather thick beard; his badassery is up for some debate, but he's certainly a brave man.
- Blunt "Yes": Does this in a deleted scene.Dallas: Alright. Ripley, when I give an order I expect to be obeyed.
Ripley: Even if it's against the law?
Dallas: You're goddamn right!
- The Captain: He's the captain of the Nostromo, and barring alien interference, he's a pretty good one.
- Character Death: Dallas is the third victim of the Alien.
- Death by Transceiver: He's killed while in communication with the rest of the crew over a transceiver.
- Decoy Protagonist: Tom Skerritt had the first name on the cast list (and was the biggest star at the time of the film's release) and comes across as the most heroic character; he's a rugged and courageous leader who cares about his crew. However, Ripley is the main protagonist.
- Fate Worse than Death: In a deleted scene, he is held hostage in an alien hive, where he (And Brett) are being transformed into additional alien eggs, and he's alive and conscious through the entire thing. When Ripley finds him, he begs her to incinerate them both.
- A Father to His Men: His absolute refusal to wait the necessary 24-hours before letting Kane in smacks of this. As well as his willingness to take the most dangerous job in the plan to defeat the Alien when Ripley initially volunteers.
- Idiot Ball: Dallas opts to go crawling about in dark, terrifying shafts to search for a creature he knows absolutely nothing about and which killed a man just by being born and killed another man mere hours afterwards. He does this by himself. He mainly does it because Ripley volunteered and he insisted to be the bait for the airlock trap. Dallas may also be trying to atone for his failure to stop the alien to this point, especially when he brought it into the ship rather than following proper quarantine procedures. Sure he knows it's dangerous to go after the creature, but he is The Captain.
- Just Following Orders: As he explains to Ripley, he doesn't question the company's orders regardless of how strange they might seem. All he wants is to do the job, get paid, and go home. He has no desire to make waves. Unfortunately for him, this time the company's orders and his own survival are mutually exclusive.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
- Dallas lets the alien onto the Nostromo, but it's hard to blame him: he was trying to save Kane and he couldn't have known what would happen. It was still irresponsible of him to endanger the rest of the crew, however.
- Later still, he gives Ripley the order to launch the Nostromo back to orbit before repairs are finished, despite Ripley's protests they still haven't even restored power to the lower decks and only giving the excuse that he wants to be off the planet as soon as possible.
- Nothing Is Scarier: As Parker notes, all they found in the ducts was his flamethrower; no body, no blood, nothing. As it turns out, a deleted scene reveals he's undergoing a Fate Worse than Death.
- Team Dad: Of the Nostromo.
- That's an Order!: He uses this phrase on Ripley in order to convince her to open the hatch. Ripley, however, still turns him down.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: In most other sci-fi films, Dallas' would likely be vindicated in most of his decisions: his desire to leave the planet, the way he ignores standard procedure (Ripley comes across as a cold-hearted Obstructive Bureaucrat initially), his heroic volunteering to go into the vents...but he inhabits a much more cynical universe where ruthlessness is often rewarded. Dallas' attempts at heroism ultimately help nobody and get nearly everyone including himself killed.
Warrant Officer Gilbert Ward Kane
The Executive Officer aboard the Nostromo. During the investigation of the derelict space ship, he incautiously moves to get a closer look at one of the unusual 'pod' forms encountered and from this an unknown life-form (later known as an Ovomorph, or face-hugger) attaches itself to his face and (unknown to him and to the crew) impregnates him with an alien creature.
- Burial in Space: The only victim in the movie who gets a proper burial, actually.
- Butt-Monkey: Though he did volunteer to go down into the egg chamber.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: He is the first to die from a chestburster in the alien series.
- Dramatic Space Drifting: During the Burial in Space.
- Mr. Seahorse: Though not literally his child, Kane is still the first man in motion picture history to "give birth" onscreen.
- Number Two: To Dallas, apparently. He would be in charge when Dallas is off the ship, if he hadn't gone along.
- Name of Cain: Yeah, you should have figured this the instant Ash calls the adult xenomorph "Kane's son" after it takes Brett.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Fiddling with the eggs was a very bad idea.
- The Smart Guy: He was indicated to be this on his record screen on Aliens (it indicated he had multiple flight and science majors, but had to drop from one school due to medical treatment abuse). However, he doesn't get to use it to full effect.
- Surprisingly Sudden Death: It may not be exactly surprising - first time viewers probably expect something will happen to him during the dinner scene - but they probably didn't expect that.
Navigator Joan Marie Lambert
The navigator of the Nostromo. Disinclined to taking risks beyond the confines of her console, she resents being chosen as one of the team to explore the derelict, and later angry with Ripley for her decision to leave Kane, Dallas, and herself outside of the ship when the facehugger was attached to Kane.
- Audience Surrogate: According to Ridley Scott, she's supposed to be this.
- The Chick: Yeah, Ripley's a woman too, but Lambert is definitely The Chick of the crew.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: The last time we see Lambert alive, she's screaming in horror as the Alien's tail slowly works its way between her legs; the scene then cuts to Ripley's point of view as she's listening to all of this transpire on her radio. Suddenly, Lambert's screams are cut short and everything goes silent. We probably dodged a bullet by not seeing what happened to her.
- The book, "Alien: Out of the Shadows" reveals what happened to her: the alien ripped a hole through her face and hung her from the ceiling.
- Damsel in Distress: Parker gets killed trying to save her.
- Deadpan Snarker: She keeps up with the rest of the crew in this regard until the dinner scene. After that she's doesn't snark much, and after Dallas is taken she becomes the Hysterical Woman.
- Deer in the Headlights: Freezes up when she sees the alien near the end of the movie. Unfortunate, as Parker has a flame thrower but if he uses it he'll get her too...
- Hysterical Woman: A classic example, but probably justified. How many co-workers do you know who would act exactly the same way if a deadly alien was crawling around the air ducts in your office and had just offed your boss?
- Let's Get Out of Here:
- Says the exact phrase upon seeing the derelict spacecraft for the first time.
- She screams at Dallas to get out of the air shafts over the radio as she sees the alien getting closer to him on the motion tracker. It doesn't help, since it causes Dallas to panic.
- After Dallas is taken she suggests the survivors abandon ship and run for it in the shuttle. Ripley has to remind her that the shuttle can't support four, and it's only after they learn the Awful Truth and Ash's betrayal that they decide they'll take their chances with three.
- The Load: As mentioned above, she's pretty useless after the dinner scene, save for the fight against Ash, where she finishes him off with the cattle prod.
- Neutral Female: During the fight between the alien and Parker.
- But, to be fair, she managed to kill Ash when he had Parker pinned and Ripley incapacitated, so she wasn't completely useless after all.
- Screaming Woman: Goes hand in hand with being a Hysterical Woman.
- Sound-Only Death: And possibly the most disturbing in the movie.
- Transgender: Played with. Her personnel file in one of the box sets lists her birth sex as male, though in an interesting sci-fi twist, it also says that her gender was reassigned at birth in something called the "Despin convert process. This suggests it was Lambert's parents who made this decision before Lambert had any gender identity of her own (perhaps having wanted a daughter instead of a son, or perhaps she was intersex in a way that skewed closer to a nonfunctioning penis), though the file also notes that she has no psychological problems from this forced reassignment.
The Nostromo's inscrutable science officer. He administers medical treatment, conducts biological research, and is responsible for investigating any alien life forms the crew may encounter. It is at Ash's insistence that the crew investigates the mysterious signal emanating from LV-426.
- Admiring the Abomination: A textbook case.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Unless the Company programmed him to be so utterly sadistic towards his human comrades, he's got some serious malfunctions. It's played with in the sense that he's not really going rogue, and is perfectly following his given orders. They just come from the Company, not the rest of the crew.Parker: The damn company. What about our lives, you son of a bitch?!
Ash the Android: I repeat, all other priorities are rescinded.
- Anti-Mutiny: A variation. He betrays the crew due to his orders but the others aren't aware of them.
- Artificial Human: Notably the rest of the crew is surprised that Ash in particular is a robot, but not surprised at the existence of human-appearing robots.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: Ridley Scott says in the DVD Commentary that his assault on Ripley was his attempt at emulating sex, as he lacked the equipment needed.
- Big Bad Ensemble: At first he may simply seem like an Unwitting Instigator of Doom with his actions on LV-426, but it later becomes clear he was manipulating from the beginning to ensure the alien would be born and the crew would be unable to fight it until it was too late. In this case, the Company serves as the Greater-Scope Villain, planning to use the alien for their own purposes. He shares the role of Big Bad with the Alien, though considering they're both trying to wipe out the crew, they may qualify as a Big Bad Duumvirate.
- Brain Uploading: Alien: Out of the Shadows reveals that he uploaded a copy of his AI to Ridley's escape pod, keeping her adrift for 37 years in hopes of encountering the Xenomorphs again.
- Disc-One Final Boss: From the very beginning, Ash has been setting up the crew to be killed by the Alien, to ensure its survival, making him the biggest obstacle to the crew's efforts to kill the creature. The crew can't even confront the Alien until Ash is out of the picture.
- Dying Smirk: Gives one last winning smile before Ripley yanks out his plug, freezing his expression in place. Then Parker burns the grin off with a flamethrower.
- Dying Vocal Change: After getting decapitated, battered into submission and hastily reactivated, Ash's voice has turned distinctly tinny and metallic from all the damage; it's clear he's almost beyond repair, but just to make sure of it, Parker incinerates him with a flamethrower.
- Evil All Along: He's revealed to be a robot, working for The Company to bring an alien back, at the expense of the other crew members if necessary.
- Expy: As Alien was always inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey, it stands to reason that Ash is this film's HAL 9000, being a seemingly benevolent machine secretly manipulating events to ensure the death of the crew. The difference between them is that HAL had just gone crazy, whereas Ash is more or less following orders.
- FaceHeel Turn: It sort of comes across this way, but he was never really on their side to begin with.
- Faux Affably Evil: Just look at him gleefully waving at his friends as they march to their doom.
- Hypocrite: He's quite quick to remind the crew of the clause in their contract requiring all transmissions of alien-origin to be investigated, failure results in total forfeiture of shares. Yet as a Science Officer, he conveniently violates Science Division's basic quarantine laws to suit his own agenda.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: By Lambert, no less!
- Logic Bomb: Once found out, Ash drops the facade of being human and starts behaving erratically. Some have theorized that the conflicting orders of "Do not kill" and "Bring back lifeform, all other priorities rescinded" proves too much for him.
- Losing Your Head: His crewmates knock his head off, but it's still capable of spouting exposition if you hotwire it.
- Mad Doctor: He seems more interested in his specimen than in general safety.Ripley: You're still collating?!
- Manipulative Bastard: From the get-go. It's Ash that insists that the Nostromo make a check on what the signal is on LV-426, particularly informing Parker that unless they do so, all shares are forfeit. Since Parker's main priority is money, he has to comply.
- Marionette Motion: After sustaining damage, he starts spinning like a top and making insane whirring noises.
- The Mole: Ash was placed on the ship specifically to ensure Special Order 937 was carried out.
- Mr. Exposition: As Science Officer, his tasks include informing the crew of the company's policies, checking the atmosphere of LV-426, and (via dialogue) what the Alien's attributes are.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: Justified as he's a robot, but if you didn't realize that it would likely come as a shock when he's able to fend off and make Parker cry out in pain just by using one arm while he's still trying to suffocate Ripley with the other despite not at all being physically-imposing.
- My Death Is Just the Beginning: Losing his head doesn't stop Ash from filling his role as Mr. Exposition, nor does his permanent deactivation do much to hamper his mission of bringing back the alien alive.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Had he taken Parker's suggestion to put Kane on ice with the facehugger still attached to him, he very likely could have succeeded in getting the alien (and the ship's cargo) into The Company's hands since it would have been secured and the crew, while suspicious, ultimately wouldn't have learned about the deeper plot and would have been satisfied getting paid or could have been buried in The Company's red tape and bureaucracy if they tried anything. Instead, likely as a combination of ensuring the alien's safety and deciding the rest of the crew should be Killed to Uphold the Masquerade, he lets things take its course.
- Not Quite Dead: Parker breathes easy once the android is decapitated...only for it to rear back up and come at him with karate-hands.
- Percussive Maintenance: "Ash, can you hear me?" (SMACK!!)
- Robotic Reveal: A milky substance from his forehead after Ripley throttles him. And if that didn't clue you in, the fact he spews the stuff everywhere as he gets injured and Parker ripping his head off should.
- The Smart Guy: Well duh, he is the scientist.
- The Social Darwinist: There's a definite element of this to his admiration of the Alien."I admire its purity. A survivor. Unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality."
- Straw Hypocrite. Subverted, given that he was actually ordered to deliver the alien by any means necessary. Ash disturbingly admires the Alien's hostility, unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality. As a self-aware android he hates the fact he's mostly held in check by programmed safeguards and adores how the alien is free to kill indiscriminately.
- Three Laws-Compliant: Subverted. The Hyperdyne Systems A/2 series understand they should not, rather than cannot, harm a human being through action or inaction. Ash pulls some erratic faces and involuntary movements as he tries to suffocate Ripley. Clearly struggling with obeying the company's orders, more than the crew themselves fighting back. Newer androids like Bishop noted the A/2 models were always "twitchy".
- You Have No Idea What You're Dealing With: Or so he says to the crew."You still don't understand what you're dealing with, do you? Perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility."
Engineer Dennis Monroe Parker
The chief engineer aboard the ship, with Brett as his assistant. Assertive and acerbic, he is a dauntless complainer and, abetted by his sidekick Brett, demands more money for investigating the alien transmission. Occasionally at odds with Ripley, his respect for her resourcefulness and plans to combat the growing crisis prevails.
- The Big Guy: Of the crew. He's technically the Genius Bruiser since he's the Chief Engineer; he makes flamethrowers for himself and Dallas, and he's always one of the first to throw himself physically into the fray. Notably, when the chestsburster rips its way out of Kane, while everyone else is staring in shock and horror it's Parker that grabs a knife off the table and looks ready to lunge at it when Ash yells at him to stop.
- Clothing Damage: His shirt is ripped apart during the struggle with Ash.
- Deadpan Snarker: He takes the lead in snark."We ain't outta here in ten minutes, we won't need no rocket to fly through space."
- Defiant to the End: When the Alien has him pinned down and is opening its jaws to blow a hole in his head, he lets out a snarling laugh while continuing to struggle.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Despite likely knowing that he couldn't physically match the Alien, he tries to save Lambert by attacking it. Unfortunately, it's a Senseless Sacrifice due to Lambert's fear.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Parker is loud-mouthed, greedy and sarcastic but he's a good man at heart. Notably he's devastated by Brett's death and tries his utmost to save Lambert.
- Not in My Contract: He doesn't want to investigate the distress signal, pointing out that it isn't his job to respond to distress calls. He tries to parlay this into getting more money before being abruptly told by Ash that his contract would be voided entirely if he refused.
- Only in It for the Money: Much like Brett. He doesn't even entertain the possibility of investigating the distress signal without a discussion of a possible reward."I hate to bring this up but, uh, this a commercial ship, not a rescue ship...and it's not in my contract to do this kind of duty. Now what about the money? If you wanna give me some money to do it, I'll be happy to, uh, t-to, you know, oblige."
- Only Sane Man: He frequently voices the rational approach to a situation. Parker and Ripley ought to get along better.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: He gets to do the honors by executing Ash with a flamethrower.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Following Brett's death, Parker quickly becomes the most passionate voice calling for the death of the Alien."I'm not drawing any straws. I'm for killing that goddamn thing right now!"
- Those Two Guys: With Brett, his employee and friend. They're always seen together until Brett's death.
- Token Minority: Parker is the only non-white crew member.
Engineer Samuel Elias Brett
An engineering technician on board the Nostromo and a good friend of his engineering chief, Parker. As a 'regular working Joe', he persistently angles for the increased pay and bonus awards he feels are due.
- Butt-Monkey: He's the lowest on the totem pole, as evidenced by the crew's dismissive treatment of him. He's also the one sent off all alone to chase the cat, though he was the one who let Jones get away in the first place.
- Catchphrase: "Right". Lampshaded by Parker and Ripley.Ripley: Whenever he says *anything* you say "right," Brett, you know that?Brett: Right.Ripley: Parker, what do you think? Your staff just follows you around and says "right". Just like a regular parrot.Parker: [laughs] Yeah, shape up. What are you some kind of parrot?Brett: Right.
- Character Death: Brett has the dubious honor of being the first victim of the full-grown Alien. While searching for Jones the cat, he stumbles upon the Alien and is subsequently taken by it.
- Deer In The Head Lights: When the Alien first reveals itself, Brett is frozen in place. He clearly has no idea just what the hell he's looking at, and is transfixed in fascination and horror.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The Alien kills him this way, with its inner mouth.
- Nice Hat: Brett's usually seen wearing a baseball cap. He only takes it off to get cool from some condensation.
- Oh, Crap!: His usual blank, bored expression drops into astonished terror when the alien rises before him.
- Only in It for the Money: Like Parker, he'll take any chance to chime in if he thinks there's an opportunity to inflate his paycheck.
- Shout-Out: Brett is named for George Brett, a longtime 3rd baseman for the MLB's Kansas City Royals.
- Static Stun Gun: Brett rigs together a shock stick not much different from a cattle prod.
- The Stoic: He doesn't register much emotion.
- Those Two Guys: With Parker, his co-worker and friend. They're always seen together, usually complaining about something or other. Coincidentally, when Brett does go to do something by himself he gets killed by the Alien.
Jones the Cat
The ship's pet, and the only non-human to survive the movie (and Aliens too). Ripley is particularly attached to him, even going back to retrieve him before leaving the Nostromo.
- Cat Scare: Just how did Jones get into that locker in the first place?
- Damsel in Distress: Former Trope Namer.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: Jones is the only member of the Nostromo crew who can naturally sense the Xenomorph. Sadly, Brett doesn't take warning to Jones' sudden bout of hissing.
- Only Sane Man: Jones is the only one who can naturally sense when the Xenomorph is present and basically tries to alert the crew of the Nostromo when the Xenomorph is nearby.
- Sole Survivor: The only creature on the Nostromo to not die an eventual xenomorph-related death.
- Team Pet: For the crew of the Nostromo. External materials say that Dallas had him officially exempted from the company's no-pet policy by registering him as needed for vermin control. However, since most vermin would be killed being outside of shielded cryopods during FTL translation, this was just an excuse to allow him.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Jones doesn't show up anymore after the first arc of the second movie. Ripley tells him he's staying there while she leaves for the colony with the marines, so presumably she left him with someone else while she was away (she had expected to come back, after all). If so, then Jones has the happiest ending of any of the characters in either of the first two movies, presumably living a cosy life on Earth until he dies of natural causes.
MU-TH-UR A.K.A. "Mother"
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Averted. Ripley actually misses the deadline to abort the self-destruct sequence by several seconds. Mother clearly announces "The option to override detonation procedure has now expired" while Ripley is still going through the ridiculously complicated abort procedure. She tries to convince Mother that the units are back on, but it's too late. The ship's reactors are overloading at that point and nothing can stop it. Subverted in that Mother was complicit with Ash in carrying out Special Order 937, even though she never actively tried to hurt the Nostromo's crew.
- Sapient Ship: Averted. The best it can do is answer questions and react. Much of its time is spent "collating".