Prometheus Analysis – Links

Prometheus

Prometheus

There are two posts pending to complete my Prometheus analysis series. The first has to do with the things that I touched upon in the last eleven parts of the article and I would like to elaborate on them. The second has to do with my views as to how the plot might develop leading directly to the Alien territory. Here, I would like to simply summarize the links to all Prometheus related articles for easy access.

1. Prometheus Analysis – Motivation

2. Prometheus Analysis – Revisiting the Plot

3. Prometheus Analysis Part I –  The Title

4. Prometheus Analysis – The Beginning

5. Prometheus Analysis Part III – Origin of Life

6. Prometheus Origins Incongruity – Resolution

7. Prometheus Analysis Part IV – LV 223 & LV 426

8. Prometheus Analysis Part V – Exploration on LV 223

9. Prometheus Blu-ray Release

10. Prometheus Analysis Part VI A – Black Goo: The X Files Excitation

11. Prometheus Analysis Part VI B – Black Goo: What could it be?

12. Prometheus Analysis Part VII A – The Mural

13. Prometheus Analysis Part VII B – The Mural

14. Prometheus Analysis Part VIII – Act 3

15. Prometheus Analysis Part IX – Act 4

16. Prometheus Analysis Part X – Act 5

17. Prometheus Analysis Part XI – Final Act

You can click on the above links to access each part of the article. As mentioned earlier, let us move on to our final conclusions part.

Prometheus Analysis Part XI – Final Act

Heading back to the structure - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Heading back to the structure – Copyright 20th Century Fox

We have now come to the final act of the film. Weyland, David, Shaw, Ford and another mechanic leave for the structure. While inside, David tells Weyland he could remove his helmet, since the air is breathable. Weyland initially hesitates, and Shaw also warns saying that they still weren’t sure if the infection could be transmitted by the air. David tells Shaw that it doesn’t. Shaw wonders how David knows that and gives him a stare. David then leads them to the Bridge where he found the hypersleep chambers and the live engineer. They go through a bay where they see thousands of stone vases and Weyland asks David if he knows what it is. David replies that it is the cargo hold. Shaw is worried and asks Janek back on the ship if he could see them. He asks Shaw how many of those vases are there, to which Shaw replies thousands. Janek is shocked to hear this and he starts focusing on the holographic map of the structure they had mapped out earlier with the help of Fifield’s probes. He strips away the dome structure, isolating the cargo hold area and it becomes evident to him that it is a ship! Vickers is shocked as well.

Cargo imagery transmitted by Shaw - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Cargo imagery transmitted by Shaw – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Janek figures out the ship - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Janek figures out the ship – Copyright 20th Century Fox

It is the first time the crew finally realize that the structure they had been exploring was all a ruse, hiding a ship beneath the surface. Once Janek isolated the dome, it becomes clear. David, on the other hand had figured that out long time ago that it was a ship.

The crew then enter the bridge or the command center. David comments that the engineers are a superior race without a doubt and that their hypersleep chambers would impress anybody. Shaw realizes that they had tried to leave before the breakout of the thing. David tells her that they were intended to fly to earth. A surprised Shaw asks David why. He tells her that in order to create, one must destroy! Now, Shaw is even more shocked. They then make it to the engineer’s pod and Weyland wants to confirm again if he is alive and if David can talk to him. David assures Weyland that he can.

David tells Shaw of the engineers' plan to leave for earth - Copyright 20th Century Fox

David tells Shaw of the engineers’ plan to leave for earth – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Inscriptions on the hypersleep chamber - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Inscriptions on the hypersleep chamber – Copyright 20th Century Fox

David proceeds to open the engineer’s hypersleep chamber. The engineer wakes up and steps out of his pod. He doesn’t show any side effects of having been asleep for a long time. Weyland tells David to speak to the engineer and tell him that they came just like he asked. But, Shaw is interested in knowing more about what killed them. She tells David to ask him where they are from and what do they have in their cargo. Weyland is annoyed with Shaw at this moment.

The surviving engineer after his hypersleep - Copyright 20th Century Fox

The surviving engineer after his hypersleep – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Shaw also wants to know why they would lead us here and why was the cargo meant for us. At this point, Weyland loses his patience and asks one of his men to shut her up. Shaw is still relentless, and wants to know what humans did wrong and why the engineers hated the humans. The engineer looks as if he is uninterested in the whole bickering between the humans. Then, David tells the engineer in his own language that Weyland is here because he does not want to die and that he believes that he can give more life.

David talks to the engineer - Copyright 20th Century Fox

David talks to the engineer – Copyright 20th Century Fox

The engineer looks at Weyland and looks and touches David’s head tenderly at first, but then suddenly goes nuts and twists and rips David ‘s head off and attacks Weyland. One of Weyland’s men shoots at the engineer, but it does nothing. He knocks both him and Ford and watches Shaw run off. After being knocked down cold by the engineer, Weyland looks at the decapitated head of David and says that there’s nothing. David tells him that he knows and wishes him a good journey, Vickers watches this whole thing on her monitor and as Weyland dies, she tells that its time to go home.

Engineer stroking David's head - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer stroking David’s head – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Weyland knocked out - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Weyland knocked out – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Decapitated David wishing Weyland a good journey - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Decapitated David wishing Weyland a good journey – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Based on the hologram that David saw earlier, he had figured out the engineer’s plans. And the fact that he tells Shaw that creation would require destruction could mean that he knows more than what he is letting others know. It is clear that the goo has deadly effects, but it is unclear as to whether he has also figured out its course of action as it was intended by the engineers. Regardless, it is evident that he knows more. Coming to the hypersleep chamber, the hieroglyphs on the pod are similar to the ones that we saw earlier in the movie. When David asks the engineer about giving life to Weyland, the engineer first looks at David tenderly. He went straight for his head thereafter, so it could be likely that he knew that David was an android immediately. It is also likely that he was incredibly offended by the request coming from someone who was created by the life form they had engineered. Immortality would have removed any major difference between their creator and life form they created. Also, one needs to remember that he has been carrying more than 2000 years of hate and when you wake up after having slept on it that long a time, you have no reason to think about rationality. Your are still bound by your strong emotions. The way the engineer went about knocking everyone down and immediately plotting course for earth shows that he was a possessed man. He poured cold water on Weyland’s dreams. Prior to dying, Weyland tells David that there was nothing and David tells him he knows. Now, what the hell was Weyland expecting. I think, given Weyland’s intent to attain immortality, he should be also interested in transition of life. It is likely he was intending to see a light or something before he passed on and he saw nothing. David tells him he knows there’s nothing. If this hunch is correct, then we have another religious element that goes all the way back to the conversation the young Shaw had with her dad about death and heaven and all. More on the religious theme in the final analysis.

The engineer then starts his ship and the pilot’s seat is automatically activated. I got goosebumps watching this whole scene. The relevance of this space jockey scene with respect to the original Alien is without a doubt well established. Still, to see the transformation of the engineer into the space jockey was nothing short of exciting! The engineer plots course for earth and he takes off.

Pilot's seat activation - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Pilot’s seat activation – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer preparing for take off - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer preparing for take off – Copyright 20th Century Fox

The legendary Space jockey - Copyright 20th Century Fox

The legendary Space jockey – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Destination earth - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Destination earth – Copyright 20th Century Fox

At this point, Shaw realizes that the ground is shaking and a bit later separates as the ship initiates take off. Shaw, knowing where the ship is intended for, makes a frantic call back to Prometheus and warns Janek to stop the engineer’s ship at any cost. Janek is hesitant at first, but Shaw reminds him that irrespective of whether Prometheus is a war ship or not, the engineer has to be stopped, else, there would be no home to go! Vickers is unmoved and orders Janek to leave for earth. Janek, realizing that Shaw’s concerns are very real, decides to sacrifice himself and Prometheus to stop the engineer’s ship.

Shaw warning Janek - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Shaw warning Janek – Copyright 20th Century Fox

He asks Ravel to warm up the ion propulsion to use Prometheus as a bullet. He tells the disgruntled Vickers that he would eject her support module and she could get to her escape pod in a few seconds, else, she could prefer to stay with him and die. Vickers makes a run for the escape pod and ejects herself in the nick of time. Prometheus crashes head on with the engineer’s ship bringing it down and presumably killing Janek, Ravel and Chance in the process. Vickers is crushed by the falling ship leaving Shaw as the only survivor.

Engineer's ship taking off - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer’s ship taking off – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Collision Course - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Collision Course – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Mission accomplished - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Mission accomplished – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Shaw is warned that her oxygen levels have gone down and that she’s got just two minutes left. She makes her way to the support pod of Vickers. Once inside, she realizes that there is some commotion in the surgery room hosting the med pod where she removed the alien offspring. She carefully looks into the room through the glass window and finds out the alien creature has grown to gigantic size with tentacles and all.

The alien offspring - Copyright 20th Century Fox

The alien offspring – Copyright 20th Century Fox

She is contacted by David at this point who warns her that the engineer is following her. She has a brief struggle with the engineer before opening the surgery room door and unleashes the giant alien creature on the engineer. The creature looks like a giant facehugger from the 1979 film and it subdues the engineer after a struggle and inserts its proboscis down his throat and sits on him.

Engineer struggling with the giant facehugger - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer struggling with the giant facehugger – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Proboscis struck down the engineer's throat - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Proboscis struck down the engineer’s throat – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer subdued completely - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer subdued completely – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Meanwhile, Shaw makes it out of the support module and collapses on the moon surface basically giving herself up. David contacts her and tells her that he was worried that she might die. He then tells her that he needs her help but Shaw is not that excited about helping him. He tells her that he is her only hope to get out of LV 223 and that there are many more ships buried and he knows how to pilot them to earth. Shaw goes back to the bridge of the brought down ship and recovers the head and torso of David, but not before she collects her cross back. She also tells David that she wants to goto the engineers’ home planet and not earth. David wants to know what difference would it make to know why the engineers turned on them, to which she replies that he wouldn’t get it because he is a robot.

Finally, she makes the following log:

Final report of the vessel Prometheus. This ship and her entire crew are gone. If you’re receiving this transmission, make no attempt to come to its point of origin. There’s only death here now and I’m leaving it behind. It is New Year’s Day, the year of Our Lord, 2094. My name is Elizabeth Shaw. Last survivor of the Prometheus and I’m still searching.

We see another engineer ship leave the moon, which is the one launched by Shaw and David and is on its way to the engineers’ home planet.

Shaw leaving LV 223  - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Shaw leaving LV 223 – Copyright 20th Century Fox

The scene then cuts back to the support pod where the subdued engineer is suddenly shaking. His chest bursts open and the cut reaches his stomach and a creature emerges out of his body. The creature then stands up and roars.

Alien type creature - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Alien type creature – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Roaring creature - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Roaring creature – Copyright 20th Century Fox

The creators prefer to call the creature, Deacon and lets roll with that. The birth of Deacon itself is pretty interesting. Although, there are some differences between Deacon and the classic Alien from 1979, I think it wouldn’t be illogical to assume that Deacon could be something right before the Alien in the development/evolution tree. However, as we know already, the alien evolution is anything but standard.

Shaw’s intentions have been clear right from the moment she learned that something was wrong with the engineers. She wants to know the reason why they turned against humans. She is relentless in her quest to find the answer. So, it doesn’t surprise me that despite all the carnage and destruction, she still wants to visit the engineers for an answer. David finds it illogical, but he is still excited about the prospect of learning more. Shaw and David’s survival is not surprising from a movie standpoint. They are the strongest characters in the film and their individual actions are driven by different motivations and it is important to analyze them in detail.

Anyway, now that we have completed the scene by scene description of the film, it is time to analyze some pending issues and how we could arrive at a picture that would indicate what to expect from Prometheus 2.

 

Prometheus Analysis Part X – Act 5

Shaw lying on the table - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Shaw lying on the table – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Now, let us talk about the developments back on Prometheus right after the crew came back from their second exploration. Holloway is dead, an engineer is alive and David has figured out the engineers’ flight plans. I am sure he knows even more. He would have definitely understood the conversations between the engineers in the hologram as well. In the first scene back on the ship, we see Shaw lying on a table and wakes up in shock when David tries to remove her crucifix pendant. He says that he has to remove it since it might be contaminated. Shaw tells David that everyone who set foot in the structure need to be put through quarantine procedures. He also asks her if she had had intimate contact with Holloway prior to his death, just to be thorough.

Shaw resisting David's attempt removing her cross - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Shaw resisting David’s attempt removing her cross – Copyright 20th Century Fox

David proceeds to scan her and he finds out that she is pregnant and is three months into her pregnancy. Shaw is visibly shaken on hearing the news and tells David that she is infertile and can’t be pregnant and that she had sex with Holloway 10 hours ago. David tells her that the fetus is not a conventional one. Shaw begs David to let her see it. But, he refuses. She wants it out of her, but David tells here there are no personnel to perform a procedure like that. He advises her that she should be put into cryostasis. Shaw becomes agitated and David calms her down by injecting something. He tells her that someone would show up alone later to take her to the cryodeck. While she is about to pass out, David has a spiritual conversation with her. He tells her that she might feel as if her God abandoned her. Shaw is perplexed. David tells her that to experience death of Holloway similar to losing her Dad from a virus earlier should be just too much. He also asks her if Ebola killed her dad. Shaw asks him how he knew about her dad, to which David replies that he watched her dreams.

Scan of alien fetus inside Shaw - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Scan of alien fetus inside Shaw – Copyright 20th Century Fox

As I had mentioned earlier, religion is a very critical element in the whole film. The emphasis on Shaw’s crucifix pendant is key to a lot of open questions. In addition, the spiritual conversation between David and her shows how strong her belief system is and how she interprets the role of God and how David sees the whole thing. More on this phenomenon during my final discussions.

Shaw running away from Ford - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Shaw running away from Ford – Copyright 20th Century Fox

After a while. Ford comes to Shaw to take her back to cryodeck. When she tries to shift Shaw, a struggle ensues with Shaw escaping. She gets to the surgery pod that she was shown earlier in the film during a brief tour by Vickers. She activates the controls and an automated voice asks her what procedure she wants to be performed. Shaw tells she needs cesarean. The voice tells her that the medpod is configured only for male patients and asks her to find assistance elsewhere. Shaw is overwhelmed by pain and she overrides the controls and manually chooses the options for surgery, abdominal, penetrating injuries, foreign body and orders to initiate. The voice finally heeds to her request and starts the procedure. In the meantime, Shaw’s abdomen starts to bulge with the fetus inside. The surgical procedure is commenced. Shaw’s stomach is cut and spread open and the alien fetus is removed from inside. It seems to be coiled inside a shrimp like pod and it suddenly bursts. The surgical pod staples Shaw’s stomach, while the alien fetus struggles to escape the pod. It looks like a squid like creature and becomes very aggressive. Shaw slides out of the pod in disbelief and instructs the surgical pod to gas the creature. The pod responds and Shaw escapes from the room.

Commencement of surgery - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Commencement of surgery – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Alien fetus being removed - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Alien fetus being removed – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Remarkable alien fetus - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Remarkable alien fetus – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Familiar head structure - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Familiar head structure – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Fetus being gassed by the pod - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Fetus being gassed by the pod – Copyright 20th Century Fox

It is a remarkable fetus, don’t you think. The head type structure is pretty similar to the Alien head, although you could also say it is reminiscent of many marine mammals. The point where the tentacles originate has an opening that we would eventually see later is an important biological characteristic. Apart from that, I don’t think there is much information to be obtained from the fetus.

Whilst this is going on, Janek is concerned because he picks up imagery from Fifield’s camera right outside the ship. He informs a mechanic about this and tries to communicate with Fifield. The mechanic instructs the others to open the door. One of the mechanic approaches Fifield, who is lying motionless right outside the door. As he is about to take a closer look, Fifield gets up and he looks completely different, a victim of rapid mutation that seems to have changed him. He strikes the mechanic and kills him with just one blow.

Mutated Fifield at the door - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Mutated Fifield at the door – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Closeup of Fifield's face - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Closeup of Fifield’s face – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Something has made him very powerful and he kills another mechanic by punching him in his stomach and crushes his face. Witnessing this chaos, Janek tells Chance that they have to suit up and go to the door. At the same time, Shaw, still recovering from her surgery, is walking through the corridor of the shop, from one room to another. Fifield. who has become extremely violent at this point, also seems to have become impervious to bullets. The crew try everything, shooting at point blank range – nothing stops him. He kills another couple of people and he is finally killed only when he is run over and Janek and Chance burn him incessantly with the flamethrower.

Janek and Chance shooting Fifield - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Janek and Chance shooting Fifield – Copyright 20th Century Fox

It is obvious in the above scene that Fifield is a victim of an infection by the black goo. The change that he went through could be something that is similar to what the engineers might have encountered 2000 years ago. With Fifield, we see that his skin has changed and he is quite resistant to extreme situations and he has become very powerful. He is consumed only by one emotion – kill,  and being relentless in that. When he gets shot at close range, you could see a black substance akin to blood gets sprayed. His posture, when the mechanic found him outside the door is also intriguing and shows that he has also become very flexible.

Meanwhile, Shaw wanders around the corridor, before finding the room C3 P43. She enters the room and falters. In the room we find that Weyland is very much alive and David and a few others are attending to him. It seems like he had just gotten out of his hypersleep and they are preparing him for something. Shaw asks him why he had come along. Weyland tells her that he wanted to meet his maker before he could die. Shaw asks David if he already told him that all of them were gone. David, tells Shaw of his discovery when he was alone in the structure and that one of them was still alive. Shaw is shocked. At this point, Weyland tells her that if they made us, they surely could save us as well. She asks him from what, to which he replies, death. Shaw, then warns Weyland that he doesn’t understand and that the engineers aren’t what they thought they were and that they have to leave immediately. Weyland poignantly asks Shaw if that is what Holloway would have done. Given the chance to meet our maker, would he leave without knowing what they are? He also asks her if she had lost her faith!

Peter Weyland alive - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Peter Weyland alive – Copyright 20th Century Fox

It is now clear that Weyland was the person with whom David was communicating earlier in the film, where he mentioned something was broken. We also learn that Weyland is a dying man and he desperately wants to stay alive, perhaps figure out a way towards immortality. He thinks that the engineers could help him with that quest. Due to his quest for omnipotence, it is clear that he has a God complex. To him, regardless of how badly the search for the engineers had turned out until now, he still wants to meet the surviving engineer. That is his ulterior motive. If other lives have to be sacrificed for that, so be it. During the scene when Shaw tells Weyland that their theories about the engineers were wrong, David hears the conversation and looks at Shaw in a very weird way. Could it be that he is simply thinking, boy she certainly doesn’t know a lot of things. It is a very important scene alright, and although short, the conversation sheds light again on faith and God again. This has been a recurrent theme in the entire film.

Shaw is seen suiting up and it is evident that she wants to go back to the structure with Weyland to meet the engineer. Janek comes in and tells her that he sees this facility as some kind of military installation of the engineers. This is certainly not their home and given the dangers involved with whatever they were experimenting with, they wanted to do it in the middle of nowhere. The thing turned on them. He adds that is time for them to pack their bags and leave. Shaw informs him that one of the engineers was still alive. Janek tells her that he doesn’t care. Shaw is visibly annoyed by his response and tells him that he must care about something, else he wouldn’t have chosen to fly to LV 223. Janek then tells her that he will make a deal and no matter what happens down there, he would not allow any of that black goo to be brought back to earth. He will do everything in his capacity to stop that from happening. Shaw agrees with his plan.

Shaw talking to Janek - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Shaw talking to Janek – Copyright 20th Century Fox

As Weyland is getting ready to venture on his trip to the structure, Vickers visits him. Weyland tells her that he is surprised that she came along and that all her attempts from preventing him from coming here were useless. Vickers warns him that he will die if he goes to the structure. Weyland chides her for her pessimism and tells her that this was the precise reason why she should have stayed home. Vickers tells Weyland that she was not gonna sit in a board room for years arguing over who was in charge while he goes looking for a miracle in some Godforsaken rock in the middle of space! She adds that a king has his reign, but not forever and he has to die. That’s the nature, it is inevitable. She touches Weyland’s hand tenderly and he doesn’t respond and asks her if she has anything else to say. She says, nothing father!

Vickers with her father Weyland - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Vickers with her father Weyland – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Wow! I certainly didn’t see that coming for a long time in the film. This scene is further testament to how long Weyland has been having such an immortality complex and why he was trying anything and everything to achieve it. There is also a contrast here. If you revisit the conversation between Shaw and her dad that David saw in her dream in the beginning of the movie, it also deals with death. They are in a foreign land where they see a funeral procession and the young Shaw asks his father what had happened, to which he replies that he had died. She then asks him why he hadn’t helped him. Her dad tells her that their God was different than his and Shaw’s. Shaw then asks why he had died. He tells her that all of us have to die when the time comes. He also tells her that people go to heaven or paradise after death and that he knows it because thats what he chooses to believe in. Right when he asks Shaw what she believes in, David comes out of watching the dream. Contrast the scenario with Weyland-Vickers conversation. Shaw’s dad tells her that death is inescapable. Weyland believes he can overcome death. Both their beliefs are very strong. In Weyland’s case, Vickers has to remind him about the inevitability of death.

Funeral procession scene in Shaw's dream - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Funeral procession scene in Shaw’s dream – Copyright 20th Century Fox

In the final scene before they venture back into the structure, David tells Shaw that he did not expect her to even survive and that she had acquired extraordinary survival instincts. Shaw asks David what he would do if Weyland were not around to program him anymore and he replies that he would be free. She asks him if he would want that. David responds that he is not familiar with the concept “want”. Then he says something very interesting. He says doesn’t everyone want their parents dead! Shaw tells him she didn’t. Weyland is pleased to see that Shaw is joining them.

Shaw talking to David about free will - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Shaw talking to David about free will – Copyright 20th Century Fox

It was very clear right from the beginning that David’s motives were more complex than what his actions conveyed. It is also clear that he is answerable only to Weyland. But, based on his conversation with Shaw, it is also clear that he yearns for free will and the only thing that would set him free would be the demise of Weyland. I would like to explore more on this topic a bit late, since we would have to talk about AI, robots and androids in general.

This completes Act V. Next, we will focus on the last Act of the film.

Prometheus Analysis Part IX – Act 4

Stone Vases outside the Command Center - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Stone Vases outside the Command Center – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Let us focus now on the second exploration scene inside the structure. Janek heads a team back to the structure to locate Millburn and Fifield. In the meantime, David is on his way alone to find the probe that seems to be picking up a life form at regular intervals. Vickers wants David to connect his camera feed to her room. David finally finds the probe floating in front of what seems to be a door to another room. He opens the door and inside he finds thousands of stone vases that we saw earlier, all neatly stacked. David opens another door that leads him to what could be thought of as a command center. At the entrance, there are four, large, 1:1 scale engineer statues, all suited up. Suddenly, something catches his attention. At this point, he cuts off his camera feed much to the annoyance of Vickers. He sees a large circular structure with four hyper-sleep chambers.

Suited up engineer at the entrance of the command center - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Suited up engineer at the entrance of the command center – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Four hypersleep chambers - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Four hypersleep chambers – Copyright 20th Century Fox

The rest of the exploration team come across the pile of dead engineers that Millburn and Fifield earlier encountered. Holloway, seemingly sick from the infection trips on one of the bodies. Shaw takes a closer look at him and is worried on seeing his eyes bloodshot. She tells that he is sick, but Charlie advises to move forward. They enter the room where they found the vases earlier and when Chance is about to touch the black goo oozing out of one of the vases, Janek advises him not to. Shaw tells Janek that they were dormant when they first saw the vases. Chance finds a motionless body on the ground and he realizes that it is Millburn.

Chance finds a motionless Millburn - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Chance finds a motionless Millburn – Copyright 20th Century Fox

As they approach Millburn, Holloway falls again and he asks Shaw to look at him closely and tell him what she sees. Shaw knows instantly that Holloway is very sick. The others turn Millburn’s body over and find out that he died with his mouth open. Shaw tells Janek that they have to get back to the ship immediately due to Holloway’s infection. The ones checking on Millburn find something crawling in his esophagus that is ruptured open. A snake like creature  jumps out of his esophagus, unsettling everyone before swimming away. Shaw gets in touch with Prometheus tells that a medical team is required by the airlock and also calls for quarantine fail-safe since Holloway’s sick. Vickers is worried about this development and denies Shaw’s request and tells her that she would be closing it up.

Shaw checking on sick Holloway - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Shaw checking on sick Holloway – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Dead Millburn with mouth open - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Dead Millburn with mouth open – Copyright 20th Century Fox

While this chaos is going on with Shaw and gang, David is busy figuring out the specifics of the command center. He finds some rubbery egg like buttons and he presses them. One of them lits up and he presses it again, which results in a chair being released and presumably another hologram activated. He proceeds to sit on the chair and watches the hologram as the scene unfolds.

The Hologram

The Chair - Copyright 20th Century Fox

The Chair – Copyright 20th Century Fox

When David sits on the chair with almost a child like enthusiasm, the hologram is activated. We see four engineers coming in and speaking to each other. One engineer checks on one of the hypersleep chambers and seems to motion another engineer to his right. The other two engineers come in and one of them seemingly makes an action that could only be interpreted as something along the lines of “Enough with this!”.

Hologram showing the first engineer - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Hologram showing the first engineer – Copyright 20th Century Fox

First engineer checking one of the hypersleep chambers - Copyright 20th Century Fox

First engineer checking one of the hypersleep chambers – Copyright 20th Century Fox

He is pointing to his right - Copyright 20th Century Fox

He is pointing to his right – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer heading towards the chair - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer heading towards the chair – Copyright 20th Century Fox

This engineer heads straight to the chair. David makes way for the holographic engineer to take his place. The engineer then uses a flute like device to play a tune and immediately a three dimensional structure is activated along with a few other controls. He proceeds to operate the controls.

Engineer playing the instrument - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer playing the instrument – Copyright 20th Century Fox

A mathematical structure is activated - Copyright 20th Century Fox

A mathematical structure is activated – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer activating more controls - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer activating more controls – Copyright 20th Century Fox

At this point, something very interesting happens. The first engineer, who was checking on one of the hypersleep chambers, comes to the engineer at the chair and has a conversation with him. The body language of the engineer suggests that he is concerned and seems to suggest that he may be asking if it would work. Just a hunch!

Another engineer walking towards the pilot - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Another engineer walking towards the pilot – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer talking to the pilot - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer talking to the pilot – Copyright 20th Century Fox

The engineer on the chair activates a complex map of sorts that show various star systems, galaxies and planetary systems. David is completely overwhelmed by joy seeing these images that he starts exploring the maps. It is clear that our solar system is prominently featured in one of the maps and our planet is marked. David observes this closely and it is very clear that the engineer has plotted course to planet earth. The other engineers are busy attending to the hypersleep chambers.

Complex starmap  - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Complex starmap – Copyright 20th Century Fox

David overawed by the starmap - Copyright 20th Century Fox

David overawed by the starmap – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Our solar system on the map - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Our solar system on the map – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Course plotted towards earth - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Course plotted towards earth – Copyright 20th Century Fox

David looks closer at the holographic earth - Copyright 20th Century Fox

David looks closer at the holographic earth – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Right when the hologram of earth disappears, David discovers that one of the hypersleep chambers is lit. He checks it and finds an engineer, alive and well and sleeping. He hears the heartbeat of the engineer with utmost satisfaction.

Earth's hologram prior to its disappearance - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Earth’s hologram prior to its disappearance – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer in hypersleep chamber - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer in hypersleep chamber – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Excited David - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Excited David – Copyright 20th Century Fox

What is evident from the aforementioned developments is the fact that the engineers wanted to get the hell out of LV 223 and as it would emerge later in the movie, wanted to take their spaceship to earth, with its deadly cargo. If you looked at the scene closely, it would be clear that from the vantage point of the engineer on the chair, the hypersleep chamber to his top left is the one where one engineer is still alive. What happened to the other three is not known. Even after having “warmed up the ship” and plotting their course, something stopped them from leaving. As we will see very soon, there is one more step needed to activate the pilot’s seat, which means that something attracted the engineers’ attention prior to this step. It basically killed three of the engineers. May be only one engineer was not infected and he went to hypersleep without knowing what fate had in store for the other three engineers.

Now, let us look at the starmap itself. It is undoubtedly a celestial sphere displaying various star systems. As it emerges later we find that the primary focus is our solar system. What of the geometrical skeleton that makes up the sphere? It looks to me like a tessellation. Once defined mathematically, the tessellations are perfect tools to solve complex and tricky problems. In astronomy, one of the most widely used tessellations is the Voronoi Tessellation (VT). It is also known as Dirichlet Tessellation or Thiessen polygons. A VT is a tessellation based on a set of points, like stars on a chart. Each point is enclosed by a polygonal cell — a closed shape formed from line segments — that encompasses the entire area that is closer to its defining point than to any other point. Cell boundaries (or polygon segments) are equidistant to two points; nodes, where three or more cells meet, are equidistant to three or more defining points. VTs can tessellate higher dimensions as well.

VTs provide a useful way to visualize and analyze data patterns as well. Closely clustered spatial data will stand out on a VT as areas dense with cells. Astronomers use this quality to aid them in identifying galaxy clusters.

A close relative to the VT, the Delaunay tessellation also boasts a variety of uses. To make a Delaunay tessellation, begin with a VT, and then draw lines between the cell-defining dots such that each new line intersects a shared line of two Voronoi polygons. The resulting lattice of chubby triangles provides a handy structure for simplifying graphics and terrain.

May be it is not a tessellation and I am imagining things. It is certainly not a VT. Nevertheless, it doesn’t affect our analysis a lot. The pattern most likely resembles Penrose tiling. One sub-structure that you could oft see is a rhombus type with a diagonal intersection with some vertices having a kind of marking. Let me repost the picture and I hope it would be clear what I am talking about.

David overawed by the starmap - Copyright 20th Century Fox

David overawed by the starmap – Copyright 20th Century Fox

It could be likely that this structure is simply part of a more complex repeating pattern of a polygon. But, I am unable to make out more from the picture. It could be likely that what we see here is just a portion of a polygonal symmetry that could be an element of Penrose tiling, I don’t think I would like to go into details regarding Penrose tiling. I think the wiki page is comprehensive with a ton of information. All I would like to say is that we could also see diagonals connecting the vertices of a few rhombuses. This could be the classical golden ratio (1.618). Penrose tilings normally involve the golden ratio. In addition, in case of of a particular Penrose tiling with global symmetry, the center point is either the sun or the star vertex.

Our solar system on the map - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Our solar system on the map – Copyright 20th Century Fox

What we see in the center is actually our Sun, with planetary orbits around it. I know, it is quite a stretch to talk about Penrose tilings and symmetry and stuff! But, it is just interesting. Anyway, regardless of whether you find the topic of celestial spheres, tessellations or Penrose tiling relevant or not, the most important information that could be gleaned from the hologram is that the engineers were in a hurry to leave and their destination was earth.

OK, now let us move to the next scene. As the crew rush back to Prometheus with the sick Holloway, they find the air lock shut. Vickers shows up at the air lock and is unwilling to let Holloway in and she is carrying a flamethrower. She is worried that he would infect other people as well. Holloway is progressively getting worse and his skin seems to be changing very rapidly, something akin to a fast mutation of sorts. Shaw is unwilling to leave his side, but Holloway asks her to go. He badly wants to escape the misery of carrying such an infection and he goads Vickers into shooting him. Vickers finally shoots Holloway with the flamethrower resulting in his fiery death.

With that, we are finished with Act 4. Let us do a brief review. We learn that the black goo is oozing out of the vases and Millburn is found dead, with a strange creature shooting out of his throat. David discovers important information about the engineers and finds one of them very much alive and in hypersleep. Holloway’s infection gets progressively worse and he believes that only death can help him get past his misery. His wish is granted by Vickers.

That concludes Part IX of the article. In the next part, I would like to look into Act 5, which takes place back on Prometheus.

Psychoanalysis of The Joker – Latest Info!

The Joker – Psychoanalysis Update

Pretty excited folks. Earlier, I mentioned about the fact that a publisher showed interest in my thesis on The Joker. After a series of meetings over the last few weeks and a few edits as requested, I sent my revised draft to the publisher. I got a call this afternoon from my contact and she said that the team liked it. Hopefully, it is a good sign and I should have some great news about the publication soon. I will announce the title of the book in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, a couple of people I know here, one a psychiatrist, and the other a psychologist have expressed interest in reading the edited draft. Both of them read a rough draft of the thesis a few months back already, and they gave great advice that was very helpful in fine tuning the book. It would be great if the current material meets their expectations.

Gaki no Tsukai – ダウンタウンのガキの使いやあらへんで!!

I had always wanted to talk about this, but somehow missed it. I think it is appropriate now. You see, in addition to being a big fan of Jazz and electronic music scene and anime in Japan, I also follow Japanese comedy shows with great interest. Japanese humor is absolutely brilliant. Conventional comedy programs from the US for example, have these rigid set of rules that define what comedy is and how it should be approached. In Japan though, those things don’t exist. Anything goes. As a result, what comes out is absolutely fascinating, sometimes weird and ridiculous, but will result in stomach cramps from laughing your ass off all the time. If you start following Japanese comedy shows, it is highly likely that you would find run of the mill comedy programs from elsewhere pretty boring. One such comedy show is called Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!! (ダウンタウンのガキの使いやあらへんで!!). It is a very popular show that has been running since 1989 on Nippon TV. Downtown is basically a comedy duo of Hitoshi Matsumoto and Masatoshi Hamada. Later, another duo called Cocorico, comprising the comedians, Shōzō Endō and Naoki Tanaka and finally, Hōsei Yamasaki joined Downtown, resulting in a group of five comedians.

Gaki no Tsukai’s skits are legendary and extremely clever. One of the most famous and legendary aspects of the program is the so called Batsu Games, roughly translated to as punishment games. The members of the group get involved in bets, mostly concerned with baseball games or singing competitions and whoever loses the bet has to endure a batsu game. The winning member decides on the game, which most of the times turn out to be something totally silly, but at the same time full of awesomeness. The largest and most complex of all batsu games is the annual “No Laughing Game”, which is currently in its 10th year. The premise of the game is as follows – Each year a theme is chosen and the cast have to perform their roles as dictated by the theme. They will be thrown in totally ridiculous situations, where it would be very difficult not to laugh. Ones who laugh will be immediately punished by hangmen, who slap the cast on their butts with a cane or some other type of S&M punishment gear. Often times, their efforts in trying not to laugh is more hilarious than the situation they are in. For instance, have a look at a small part of the No Laughing High School game from a few years ago. It is just a tip of the iceberg.

As you could see, the above video is subtitled, so it should be no problem understanding. If you crave for more, then you should totally check out gakifiles.blogspot.com. This is one of the most definitive source for everything related to Gaki no Tsukai. Many batsu games are available there for watching online, and even download. You could download both raw versions of the program and ones that are subtitled. It is pretty exhaustive. All No Laughing games are available for watching and downloading. Trust me, you will be blown away by the humor. The link below will take you directly to the clips section of the website. All clips are subtitled of course.

Gaki no Tsukai – gakifiles

No Laughing game is normally broadcast on December 31st every year and the one from 2011 ran for nearly six and a half hours! It starts at 18.30 on Nippon TV in Japan. I know what I will be doing on 31st. This year’s theme is “Enthusiastic Teachers”. The five cast mates will dress up and teachers and will be put in totally ridiculous situations and should control their laughter. They shot this year’s series in the middle of this year at the Kanto region. In addition to engineering the show, the crew also use a host of celebrities, sports personalities and other comedians to aid in the screwing up of the cast. If you watch them religiously as I do, you would know everything about the support cast and that helps in appreciating the program even more. Here’s a picture of the cast from a press conference from a few days ago, advertising the upcoming No Laughing game.

From L to R: Yamasaki Hosei, Matsumoto Hitoshi, Hamada Masatoshi (Downtown), Endo Shozo, Tanaka Naoki (Cocorico)

From L to R: Yamasaki Hosei, Matsumoto Hitoshi, Hamada Masatoshi (Downtown), Endo Shozo, Tanaka Naoki (Cocorico)

Here are a couple of pictures of the cast just prior to starting their training as teachers. I can’t wait for the program!

The cast before their mission

The cast before their mission

The cast with Hiroshi Fujiwara

The cast with Hiroshi Fujiwara

Kansai and Kanto – Osaka Humor

If this post has managed to get you get interested in the Japanese comedy scene, you should read up about the general status of comedy in Japan. You would find out why there are many comedy duos in Japan and what does each half of the duo signify. One more thing – You would often find that many comedians come from the Osaka region of Japan. It is no accident. Japanese spoken in Osaka and its neighboring regions like Kyoto has a special dialect. It is called, Kansai dialect. The region in general is called Kansai region. Tokyo and its neighboring areas on the other hand, is the Kanto region. My best friend from Osaka tells me that the Kansai dialect involves an emotional aspect in the language that is normally not the case in Japanese, as spoken in the Kanto region. Such an emotional element, ups and downs in the tone of the language naturally make humor more accessible. Especially, Osaka humor is very direct. I love spending time with my Osaka buddy. Although direct, it is never offensive. I also know a lot of other Japanese people here in Stuttgart who, overtime have become some of my best friends. They come from areas like Tokyo, Shikoku, Kanagawa, Tohoku, Gunma, Kyushu, Kyoto, Hiroshima, to name a few. They are all very receptive to my friend and his jokes and tell me it is no surprise for them since he is from Osaka. Of course there is a subtle regional chauvinism in place as well. But, hey, it exists everywhere. In my motherland, there is always a Northie-Southie divide (Southies rule!) and here in Germany, its Bayern against everyone else. Personally though, it is easier for me to start a conversation with someone from Kansai than someone from say, Tokyo.

Anyway, my point is in Gaki no Tsukai, you will hear a lot of Kansai dialect. And if you understand the jokes, you would exactly have an idea about Osaka humor. Have a look at the gakifiles website and I am sure you will be laughing your asses off.

Prometheus Analysis Part VIII – Act 3

I have classified the plot in Prometheus into different Acts. Act 1 corresponds to all events preceding the first exploration on LV 223. Act 2 is the exploration and the immediate aftermath when the crew escapes back to the ship. Now, let us focus on Act 3, which details the happenings back on the ship before they venture back into the hollow facility on LV 223.

As we saw at the end of Act 2, the crew finally makes it safe to the ship after a dramatic encounter with a storm, sans Fifield and Millburn, who are lost inside the hollow facility. Captain Janek advises them to stay put inside the cave for the night due to the storm. The next scene is a critical element in Act 3. This is the scene where Shaw, Ford and David examine the head of the engineer that they brought along from the cave. In their preliminary inspection and based on further scans, it is evident that what they see is actually an exoskeleton type helmet.

Scan of the engineer's head - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Scan of the engineer’s head – Copyright 20th Century Fox

David carefully removes it and the head is revealed, which is incredibly human like. In the meantime, Vickers comes by and asks Shaw if all of the engineers were dead, to which Shaw replies that she doesn’t know. Upon further inspection they see some remarkable features on the head and Shaw says that they could be new cells in a state of change. Vickers then asks what they are changing into. Shaw then theorizes that they could trick the nervous system into thinking it’s still alive by running a stemline into the locus coeruleus. They play around with the current and after an incremental increase to about 50 amps, the engineer’s eyes start twitching. It becomes vigorous after a while and the mouth starts opening and closing as well. They try to reduce the current, but its too late. The face starts twitching violently and the black goo starts oozing out of his skull. They have no other choice, but to contain the head. David contains the head in a glass shield and the head suddenly explodes. Ford complains about the smell and David poignantly comments that the engineer was mortal after all. Finally, they decide to take a sample for DNA testing and the the movie progresses to the next scene.

Engineer’s eye twitch – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Black Goo oozing out of the head – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Before going to the next scene, let us see what we can learn from the engineer’s examination. There are a couple of important things one could observe from the examination. First, the engineer’s head is in a state of change with new cells replacing his old ones and changing into something. Second, the black goo oozing out of his head prior to the explosion. It would be easy to explain the black goo since, it is evident that the engineers had been experimenting on themselves. The black goo turned out to be more potent than they had imagined and eventually caused their death.

Now, let us look into the cells and their state of change. Here, I would like to make a hypothesis. It goes all the way back (or forward, if you consider the time line from Prometheus) to the original Alien movie. There’s a scene in the film, right after the very first examination of Kane with the facehugger attached, where Ash and Ripley have a short conversation. When Ripley asks Ash if he has found something about the visitor, Ash replies that he has confirmed that the creature has an outer layer of protein polysaccharides and has a funny habit of shedding his cells and replacing them with polarized Silicon. He further theorizes that it provides him a prolonged resistance to survive in adverse environmental conditions.

Tough little son of a bitch scene – Alien 1979 (Copyright 20th Century Fox)

There we have it. It’s all about Silicon. As we saw in Alien, it is more complex – the creature is a perfect carbon-silicon hybrid organism. Carbon is the main source in it’s earliest life cycle and upon subduing the host, it rapidly evolves to replace its carbon base with silicon. But the carbon map is not completely gone. This carbon base is still a vital aspect the production of eggs, facehuggers or in some cases, direct infection by the creature. Life begins as carbon based and turns into silicon based during the life cycle of the Alien.

So, it is highly possible that the replacement of cells on the engineer’s head reflects this shift from carbon to silicon. It then seems that the black goo had been successful in doing what it was intended to do, to a lesser degree. But, all in all the experimentation was unsuccessful and hence, the carbon-silicon transition is not that drastic. That’s why it was mentioned in passing by Shaw and Ford. Now, I do have a theory for why the whole experiment failed. It has to do with a critical element they had overlooked in the way they had planned creating the Alien. But, I will talk about it a bit later.

The Devil in the Dark

Star Trek Original Series

I would like to take a small sidestep and talk about Star Trek. Wait, what the hell has Star Trek gotta do with Alien and Prometheus? I am getting there. In the first season of the original series, there was an episode titled, “The Devil in the Dark”. It was the 25th episode and first aired on March 9, 1967. The plot of the episode is as follows:

On stardate 3196.1, Enterprise attends to a worrisome request for help from a pergium mining colony on planet Janus VI. It seems that a strange creature has been acting up and has killed 50 miners and destroyed a whole array of equipments. The miners are all burnt beyond recognition. It suggests that the creature uses a strong acid to attack and due to its corrosive nature, the miners instantly disintegrated. Kirk, Spock and McCoy beamed down to the planet and based on their investigations come to the conclusion that they are dealing with something that is radically different and put in their own words, “Life as we didn’t know it.”

Spock inspecting a silicon nodule (Later turns out to be an egg) – The Devil in the Dark

Without going into complete details about the episode, what they learned is that the creature is silicon based and lives deep under the surface of the planet. It produces an extremely corrosive type of acid to digest rocks and hard material to navigate. When the miners reached the level where the creature lived, it naturally had to defend itself against the intruders. Based on Spock’s mind-meld, we also learn that the creature is called Horta and every 50,000 years, the entire race of Hortas die, except only one who acts as a protector of the eggs. When the humans encroached upon the egg resting area, it had to attack to protect her children. In the end, everything turns out fine.

A reactor room sabotaged by the creature’s corrosive acid – The Devil in the Dark

Horta, the creature – The Devil in the Dark

Spock’s mind-meld with Horta – The Devil in the Dark

This episode is pretty interesting in the Alien context for two reasons. One, the Horta is silicon based and two, it produces a corrosive acid both to aid in its mobility and as a defense mechanism. The fact that the episode aired in 1967, I just wonder how much of an influence it had on the original Alien, in terms of thinking about its biology. 

Silicon based Life

Now, let us talk about the plausibility of  natural evolution of a silicon based life form. Based on what we know, it would be highly unlikely for such an evolution. One can think of many reasons for such an improbability. Firstly, there is a huge abundance of carbon in our universe, compared to silicon. This is the case, thanks to stellar evolution. Secondly, we all know that organic life is made possible due to carbon’s ability to bond and form complex molecules. Silicon based complex molecules can exist, but their bond lengths are longer than carbon bond lengths and hence, silicon bonds are weaker and can quickly become unstable. For instance, a group of silicon based complex molecules, polysilanes, are extremely unstable in UV light.

There is another issue as well. But, I believe this could be dealt with, at least theoretically. I am talking about expulsion of respiratory waste. If the organism evolved in an oxygen based environment, then silicon dioxide (silica) is the carbon dioxide equivalent. But, silica is solid as we very well know. Yet, there are some extreme critter like life forms on our own planet that can expel silica. Even in our earth’s history, there are some fine examples of workarounds for such a situation. You see, silica need not be expelled as a solid. It is soluble in water, and hence there could be an intermediary step, prior to expulsion. If you look at the case of diatomites, you would see that the ash of these once-living creatures contains a fair amount of silica. Nearly 30% of the earth’s crust is composed of silicon. Carbon, on the other hand is less than 2%. The all important enzymes on earth are composed of protein (amino acids), sugars and metal complexes, not carbon. If you think that just long chain carbon molecules are enough for life, think again. What is crucial is the fact that such molecules should contain hydrogen and a polar end group. This is the norm as far as our own biological makeup is concerned (fat and lipids). Life as we know it has to satisfy the criterion above. That’s why polysilanes are interesting, because they fit the niche perfectly.

It would be fascinating to speculate on what a strange world it would be where such a creature could evolve. Such a speculation would also provide us hints about the biology of the Alien as designed by the engineers. For a natural evolution of a silicon based organism, it would be reasonable to assume that the environment might be devoid of oxygen. Strongly reducing conditions might be the norm (similar to conditions on prehistoric earth before the evolution of photosynthetic bacteria). But, if oxygen were present, it provides us with another fascinating possibility – the environment might be highly acidic or strongly basic. Why? It would simply facilitate the transfer or silicon around the “body”. Fluoride/fluorine might be the redox couple that replaces oxygen/water, which is the carbon based redox equivalent. Energy might be derived from UV rather than from chemical sources. And what about energy storage? Surely not as a carbohydrate! May be polysilane or polysilazane? What of the enzymes? They would probably have to me more flexible, have specific shapes and reversible binding. Chemical changes to their structures would have to affect the binding affinity and change the presentation of active sites. What kind of active sites would these putative enzymes have? For us, solution-based processes are the norm. May be, the silicon creatures would use liquid methane or ammonia or even carbon dioxide as the solvent. I could go on, but I will stop right here. Bottom line is, such a creature would be a biological marvel and involve a completely new, fascinating mode of chemical communication!

Such a scenario paints a very interesting picture. Remember, when I first spoke about the inconsistency of the very first scene when the engineer sacrificed himself on prehistoric earth? I said, it should have happened way prior to the evolution of photosynthetic bacteria and hence, the atmosphere was reduced due to the lack of oxygen but that the engineer obviously did not show any discomfort breathing. Could it be that silicon had already been part of the engineer’s biology and that way he could survive breathing in a reduced environment? This silicon part of his biology never got replicated during natural evolution on earth. Just a thought! The next thing has to do with the acid part of the creature. It has been established very well that the Alien “bleeds” corrosive acid. which acts as a defense mechanism. In the next section, let us look into this aspect and how it fits logically into the silicon basis for the organism.

Bacillus cereus

Silicon is considered to be a quasi-essential element for most living organisms, even here on earth. Bacteria, Bacillus strains in particular, are well known to have an efficient silicate uptake system in place. The physiological function of such process though had remained obscure for a long time. But, evidence is currently emerging that helps define the role of such an uptake process. It turns out that in Bacillus cereus, the Si is deposited in a spore coat layer of nanometer-sized particles that enhances ….. wait for it ….. acid resistance. Such a novel acid resistance of the spore mediated by Si encapsulation was also observed in other Bacillus strains, representing a general adaptation enhancing survival under acidic conditions. If that is the case for bacteria, then you can imagine the role played by silicon for a creature like the Alien. There has to be a profound mechanism that would require silicon to play a larger role. Perhaps, in addition to enhancing the survival standards of the creature in extreme situations, the silicon also helps in preserving its “acid blood” preventing the Alien from an internal corrosion of sorts. There is another thing. The fact that the creature has polarized silicon, it means that we are talking about some kind of organosilicon material that involves carbon-silicon bonds. That way, irrespective of the specifics of the biology, it provides a possibility to sort of still preserve the carbon basis in a form that could be utilized in various cycles of the creature’s existence.

In conclusion, the state of change of cells on the engineer’s head points to the replacement of normal cells with polarized silicon. The engineers could not achieve the efficiency level of the Alien creature and hence, not that drastic of a change.

Now, let us proceed to the next scene. David is seen communicating with someone. He says that he will take care of it and mentions that it is unfortunately slightly broken. After he is done, he is confronted by Vickers, who wants to know what the other person had said. After some resistance, David tells Vickers that he asked him to try harder. Later in the film, it becomes clear with whom he is communicating. The interesting part in this scene is the fact that David mentions about something broken. Could he be talking about the vase that he brought with him? At this point it is not that clear.

In the meantime, Shaw and Ford analyze the genetic sample they obtained from the engineer’s head and compare it to human DNA. Obviously, they find a match letting them conclude that humans are engineers.

Engineer’s DNA Match with Humans – Copyright 20th Century Fox

We also see that David is inspecting the stone vase that he snuck into the ship. He breaks open one of the glass storage columns holding the black goo and takes a drop in his finger. He realizes that the goo is reactive and comments that big things have small beginnings.

Black Goo inside a glass column – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Big things have small beginnings – Copyright 20th Century Fox

In the next pivotal scene, David meets a disappointed Holloway and offers to pour him a drink. They also strike a conversation about the purpose of their visit to LV 223 and if Holloway found what he was looking for. At first, Holloway is sort of condescending to David, seemingly considering him to be sub-human. Actually, he was a bit less receptive to David even in the very beginning. Prior to their first inspection on LV 223 there were all suiting up. Holloway asked David why he would need a suit, since he is android. David said that it would make others comfortable if he stuck to the norms. They have a philosophical conversation about why the humans created David and how that correlates to engineers making humans. At the end, David pours Holloway a drink, but, he taints it with the black goo that he inspected prior to meeting Holloway, who ends up drinking it.

It brings us to another aspect of the title of the film, Prometheus. Remember, I wrote earlier that Prometheus is also a trickster figure in Greek mythology? By stealing fire from the Gods and giving it to humans, he inadvertently started a monumental chain reaction which resulted in both good and bad. David fits that profile perfectly. If he hadn’t spiked Holloway’s drink with the goo, it might have been very different. Not just that, as we will see in the next few sections, he is central to the progression of the entire movie. In my opinion, he knows more than he is actually letting them know. Besides, his short conversation with the unknown person earlier is also pretty mysterious. It would be interesting to know if he has his own motives for doing what he is doing. More on David a bit later.

The next scene cuts to the interior of the structure they previously explored. Fifield and Millburn, who are stranded in the structure come across a pile of dead engineer bodies. Its a huge pile and high up. It is obvious to Fifield that they were running from something. They notice something that shocks them. The engineers bear a gaping wound on their chests, where something seemed to have opened up from inside – akin to an explosion of sorts. Millburn is extra worried. Janek, the captain, interrupts them from the ship and enquires them about their position. He seems to have observed a ping, a click westward from their original position. He concurs that the probe might be picking up a life form. This shocks both Fifield and Millburn, but suddenly the ping disappears. Janek thinks it might be a glitch. He advises them to stay tight and they will be picked up in the morning. Fifield tells Janek that what they have seen inside the structure is worrisome and asks if the visual they are transmitting is picked up by Prometheus. Janek tells them that the signals come in sporadically due to the storm. Fifield and Millburn finally decide going eastward, since they don’t want to run into the life form that Prometheus picked up westward from them.

One of the elements in the above scene is a bit confusing for me. It has to do with the dead engineer bodies with their chests ripped open from within. It tells that something broke out, but what exactly? I would like to come back to this issue a bit later. This scene though could tell us a bit as to how to resolve another piece of inconsistency in the film as it relates to Alien. This had been bothering me for a long time. Hopefully, when we discuss this aspect in detail later, a consensus would emerge.

In the next scene, Shaw is recording her findings and Holloway walks in. Without going into the romanticism of the scene, basically, Holloway is happy that they found a link between the engineers and humans. Although, he is a bit disappointed that they couldn’t talk to them. The fact that they have now found out that engineers made humans, Holloway asks Shaw if she would remove her cross. Shaw tells him no, and that we still wouldn’t know who made them. Then they talk about creation of life and how easy it would be. Shaw, being infertile, becomes emotional, and after a couple of moments of consolation, they both end up having sex.

Sexual intercourse is an important element here, since, the infection that Holloway was carrying, courtesy of David, is transmitted to Shaw. As we see later in the film, it results in a whole lot of chaos.

In the meantime, there is some bantering going on between Vickers and Janek, which results in both of them sleeping together. The scene them cuts to the structure. Fifield and Millburn reach the spot from the beginning of the film where they first discovered the stone vases and the human looking head. The vases are all affected with black goo flowing out of them. The goo seems to have also mutated a few worm like creatures that we saw in the beginning. Millburn and Fifield encounter such a creature. They try to inform Prometheus about the creature and as they put it, is an elongated reptilian type creature, thirty to forty inches long and transparent. Since, Janek is busy engaging in coitus with Vickers, he is not listening. Millburn tries to touch the creature, at which point it flaps its head open. Suddenly, the creature seizes Millburn’s hand and wraps around his arm real tight. The grip becomes so strong that his arm snaps. Fifield tries to cut the creature off Millburn’s arm, but the acid blood of the creature gets sprayed on Fifield’s helmet melting it onto Fifield’s face. The creature then gets into Millburn’s suit and crawls into his mouth, knocking him out. Fifield falls face first on the pool of black goo and that starts mutating him real fast.

Now, it’s morning, the next day. Holloway feels sick and checks himself out in the mirror. He finds that his eyes are blood shot with something crawling in them. As he is about to freak out, Janek calls Shaw if she is up already and that they are planning to go back to the structure since they haven’t heard anything from Millburn and Fifield for quite a while. As they are about to leave for the structure, Janek asks Ravel, if he had fixed the glitch, to which Ravel replies negative. Janek informs David that a probe is picking up a life form and the signal pops up every hour or so for a couple of seconds before disappearing again. David, seemingly interested in the “glitch”, volunteers to find the “faulty” probe and fix it. Janek agrees.

It is evident that Holloway has been infected pretty badly by the black goo and he is fast changing. David, figures out that the glitch could point out to something or someone who is still alive and he is motivated to find the source. At this point, Shaw knows nothing about Holloway’s infection.

With that, we conclude Act 3. I hope I have not missed any important element of the whole Act. We learned a few things here, namely, that the skin of the engineer was changing, getting their organic cells replaced by polarized silicon, their DNA matches with human’s and hence, humans are engineers, David seemed to have figured out some specifics of the black goo and his deliberate tainting of Holloway’s drink leads to a chain of events, Fifield and Millburn find that the black goo had mutated worm like creatures inside the structure, one of which killed Millburn. So many developments, one might say. Anyway, let us focus on the next Act that chronicles the second visit to the structure in the next post.

GUI Interface in Visual Basic – CSI Stupidity

This is very old, I know. But, I had to post it here. I am a fan of the original CSI. It used to have some of the best writing on television. It used to be very efficient as far as the scientific facts are concerned. But, of late, the show has suffered. Don’t even get me started on the various spin-offs. They are the worst. I think that the folks in charge of writing have unfortunately concluded that they have to resort to tortuous plotlines and backgrounds to make the show interesting. As a consequence, scientific terminology and tech related buzzwords get thrown around that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. The following scene is an example of that.

Where do you even start with a dialogue like that? I am sure most computer hackers burst out in laughter on seeing this scene. I spit coffee when I heard that for the first time a few years ago. User saxon3049 from freebsd forums summarized the situation aptly as follows:

most CSI shows that always get the vital clue from the reflection of the killers face in the dog turd on Saturn taken with the Hubble telescope that happened to be passing overhead.

Lol! By the way, let’s not even go to 24! That series was a goldmine for tech related comedy.

Talking about FreeBSD, how about this, courtesy of lme@, a FreeBSD developer. It’s full of awesomeness!

Beastie Cookies – From lme@

By the way, I am almost done with the next part of Prometheus analysis. It will be up shortly..

OMNI Magazine

OMNI Magazine – From flickriver.com

If you are a science fiction fan, I think I don’t have to say anything other than the word OMNI. The magazine has carried many many SciFi shorts from a whole variety of authors like, George R. R. Martin, William Gibson etc., ever since 1978. Many a time, the magazine also carried real scientific articles and has always been one of the greatest magazines for a long long time until its last Internet version in 1998. If you think you might have missed out on 20 years of goldmine, fear not. The entire OMNI magazine dating from 1978 till 1998 is out on archive.org. I know this is old news, but, if some of you weren’t aware of it, head to archive for the downloads.

Enjoy reading!