Ripley 8 (also known as Number 8) was the eighth and almost fully successful clone of Lieutenant Ellen Ripley created by the USM. The USM's mission was to retrieve a Xenomorph Queen (in its chestburster cycle) from the clone's chest. However, subsequently the clone's human DNA was mixed with Alien DNA there by creating a hybrid that retained much of the memories and personality of the original Ripley as well as other features.
Ripley 8 was cloned from frozen samples of Ellen Ripley's blood, recovered after her death, from Fiorina 161. The United Systems Military knew of the Alien Queen inside Ellen Ripley at the time of her death, made several attempts to clone Ripley, and after seven failures, they finally got the process right, effectively creating Ripley 8. They surgically extracted the Queen from Number 8 and began to teach her how to use her powers onboard the Auriga. During therapy sessions, one of the scientists brought back repressed memories of Newt.
Number 8 was later confronted by Call, who attempts to kill her, believing that she may be used to create more Aliens, but Call is too late; the Aliens have already matured and quickly escape their confinement, damaging the ship and killing most of its crew. Dr. Wren, one of the ship's scientists, reveals that the Auriga's default command in an emergency situation is to return to Earth. Realizing that this will unleash the Aliens on Earth, Ripley, the mercenaries, Wren, a marine named Distephano, and a surviving Alien host, Purvis, attempt to escape on the Betty and destroy the Auriga. While escaping the Auriga, number 8 came across the laboratory containing her failed predecessors, including number 7. Struggling to speak, number 7 begged number 8 to euthanize her to end her life of agony, and number 8 complied by killing her with a flamethrower then torching the entire lab. As the group makes their way through the damaged ship, several of them are killed by the Aliens. Call is revealed to be an android after Wren betrays the group. Using her abilities to interface with the damaged ship's systems, they set it on a collision course with Earth, hoping that the Aliens will be destroyed in the crash. Ripley 8 then feels the pain endured by the Genetic Queen via telepathic connection, she was captured by the Xenomorphs and was brought to the Queen's chamber.
Encounter with the Newborn
The Queen gave birth to a new lifeform called the Newborn. Shortly after birth, the newborn decapitates the Queen, instead having imprinted Ripley as its true mother. The newborn follows Ripley onboard the Betty, closing the jammed door and saving the spacecraft from the vacuum of space. After another encounter with Ripley, she uses one of the being's sharp canine teeth to cut her hand. Splashing her own acidic blood onto the plexiglas viewing port of the Betty's cargo bay, she succeeded in her attempt to breach the window and caused everything to be sucked out (along with the newborn) which caught against the glass as it tried to return to Ripley. Subsequently, it is sucked out into space piece by piece, unable to properly free itself from the vacuum of space.
The Auriga was destroyed upon its impact to the Earth's atmosphere, taking the remaining Xenomorphs onboard along with it, destroying the last trace of the creature in existence. Number 8 later finds herself in Paris, though it is obvious that something catastrophic happened there as the city is in ruins. She then wonders what new world awaits her.
Personality & Traits
Number 8 was an exact copy of Ellen Ripley but that was only partly skin deep, as her personality was much different; she is apathetic, cold and seemingly enjoyed the havoc the Xenomorphs caused. She was also able to "feel" the Xenomorphs, but despite this she was on the side of the humans. This may not have been out of morality, but the fact that she was still a target of the Xenomorphs; as a facehugger latched on to her in the flooded section of the ship and Xenomorph Warriors tried to kill or capture her, despite the fact she was part xenomorph herself. Dr Gedimen said that she has something of a predatory behavior as she toys with the Betty crew in the basketball court. Some of the orginal Ripley's personalty and maternal behaviour does reside in her though, as when a female scientist shows Ripley a picture of a young girl, Ripley smiles but then quickly becomes saddened as she remembers both Newt and her daughter, Amanda, and realizes what the memories mean. She also becomes protective of Call, almost motherly-so.
Due to the crossing of Ellen Ripley and an Alien Queen, number 8 has traces of the Xenomorph genes that she continually exhibits throughout the movie. Below are a list of such characteristics:
- Physical Appearance: Being her clone, number 8 looks identical to Ellen Ripley; however because of her Xenomorph genes, there are some physical differences which includes glossy metallic teeth, naturally dark fingernails, and a slightly altered skin tone.
- Psyche: Number 8 displayed very violent and ferocious behavior. Her general outlook and mindset were notably vicious and obviously reminiscent of the Xenomorph behavior. Even her body language speaks of the Alien DNA she possesses, as her movements are feral and almost cat-like.
- Superior Strength: Numerous times number 8 demonstrates a superior strength that is not natural to humans. Such example is just after a few drones escape their cages and begin to take over the USM Auriga: number 8 is locked in a small, barren quarters and an Xenomorph is trying to break in to kill her. Quickly acting, number 8 uses her bare hands and fists to punch through a sealed metal panel so that she can trip wires to a back door. Another example was during the swim through the flooded area of the USM Auriga, when a Facehugger attached itself to her after the group had surfaced, and after a struggle she managed to pull it off.
- Rapid Cell Regeneration: Another ability given to number 8 due to the gene crossing is her ability to rapidly heal from injuries. From her confines, she is visited by Annalee Call, who brandishes a knife in an attempt to kill her. But number 8 runs the blade through her right palm without pain, then after removing the blade, the wound heals within moments.
- Jumping Skills: She is shown to be able to leap large distances.
- Endurance: Number 8 is able to have a higher endurance rate than any human. An example is during the unexpected swim through the USM Aurigas decks that number 8 shows the uncanny ability to stay underwater longer. Additionally, she is never shown as having shortness of breath or any weariness during the frantic escape from the ship like her human counterparts.
- Caustic Blood: Much like the Xenomorphs, Ripley 8 has acidic blood that can burn through metal, skin, clothing, aluminum silcate glass, and fused silica glass. However, number 8's blood does remain crimson red like that of humans and is much more mild than the pure Xenomorph's yellow-tinted blood.
- Alien Empathy: Due to her half-Xenomorph genetics, number 8 is able to sense the presence of other Xenomorphs as well as their motives and emotions and possesses an apparent mental connection with the Xenomorph hive.
- Genetic Memory: The Xenomorphs possesses the ability to pass on their memories genetically, and because of this Ripley 8 has "inherited" vague memories that belonged to the original Ellen Ripley as well as the Xenomorph. An example of this is when a scientist onboard the Auriga inadvertently triggers Ripley's memories of Newt and her daughter. These confiding memories results in Number 8 suffering a crisis of loyalty until the original Ripley’s hatred for the Xenomorphs break through and she sides with the humans.