Alien Movie Universe

When did Dr. Shaw send out her distress beacon?

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OvomorphMember20 XPSep-24-2017 10:52 AM

I've been wondering when exactly Dr. Shaw sent out her distress beacon. This is also dependent on when exactly she died/was killed by David. It seems she put David back together soon after leaving LV-223, proceeding to enter hyper-sleep until they arrived at their destination (as seen in The Crossing). Prior to the movie's release, press reports said Dr. Shaw had holed up in the ****pit, which we didn't see much evidence of in the movie or The Crossing. This is all further dependent on if/when David woke her up. She did not die in the crash after David's bombing, as David had said, so she could've sent out the beacon after the crash or sometime before David got to her, if she had, in fact, prolonged his acquisition of her via holing up in the Juggernaut ****pit.

What does everyone think?

21 Responses to When did Dr. Shaw send out her distress beacon?


FacehuggerMember109 XPSep-24-2017 11:17 AM

It's likely that Shaw survived for a number of months after the crash. If the pictures Daniels found were post-crash, that would confirm this to be the case. The implication is that Shaw found pictures of herself, became frightened and then was attacked by David. This would mean that Shaw lived with David for a while in the city, which in itself is weird to think about; it's actually reminiscent of 1997's Batman & Robin, because in that film Barbara Wilson never talks to Bruce Wayne. The lack of communication between Barbara and Bruce seems to be symbolic, and represents a type of social intelligence that Alien Covenant illustrates with its treatment of Shaw's history with David 


FacehuggerMember357 XPSep-24-2017 12:13 PM

I think David sent out the distress beacon. He states in the movie that he would do to Daniels what he did to Shaw. I think this leaves the door open for the next movie to explore, and I think would explain why the transition from Prometheus to AC has this gap in events as to what exactly happened to Shaw.



OvomorphMember20 XPSep-24-2017 1:16 PM

I don't think David sent it, as 1) the distress beacon was Shaw singing a John Denver song, and 2) when Oram and co. found the source and the "holograms" were emanating from where Shaw was sitting, there were no holographic figures that resembled David.

I Moon Girl

ChestbursterMember611 XPSep-24-2017 2:30 PM

I think David sent it.  I think David was recording Shaw without her knowing.  The reason why could be because he's attracted to her.  After all, she did put him back together.

Another reason it could've been recorded was that Shaw was hitting a lot of buttons in the hologram we saw of her.  I wouldn't be surprised if she hit a few buttons by accident and turned on the recording by accident as well.

Or maybe the ship records things automatically, like a black box, but with visuals.  We can assume this in Prometheus when the Engineers are running down the corridor.  The evidence is, "Why would anybody record that and even if they wanted to, how could they when they are apparently trying to escape something?"  

If we take any of these as the truth, I would say David just edited some footage to replay so he could send it out to attract the Covenant crew.  So, the footage could easily have been very much longer, but David just edited it so that it would be attractive to human curiosity, yet mysterious enough not really show much in answers.

I theorize that David sent the clip we see in A:C to attract the Covenant ship to Planet 4 as it passes nearby, just like how David knew it would.  David is very smart.  I wouldn't trust him either.  I honestly think David altered the Covenant ship's travel path to pass by Planet 4.  All he needed was some bait.  I think the holograms were "black box" recordings and all David had to do was sift through them and edit a clip he thought was fit for the situation, or maybe just one that he liked.  He does like things too.


DeaconMember10416 XPSep-24-2017 5:02 PM

I can pretty much agree with most of I Moon Girl's post.

First i will add it appears to be bad writing, not a lot of thought went into how things happened in the events of post Prometheus to just prior to the Covenant Ship detecting the Signal.

Either bad writing, or a massive oversight where they thought such details are not important as people wont ask... or indeed there was a back story/plan which they just choose to keep ambiguous...

Maybe something we hoped could be covered in the Prequel Book... but then the book ended up being about events not related to nothing else but the Covenant Ships mission.

So a lot is all up in the Air and open to debate as its totally ambiguous.. so i have to agree for the most part with I Moon Girl

Next.... I will give my two cents..

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017


DeaconMember10416 XPSep-24-2017 5:28 PM

So ok what we need to look at is the Agenda/Thought Process of Dr Shaw and David... forget other stuff we need to look at the Personalities of these Characters and Agenda.

1) Dr Shaw wanted to go to the Engineers World, so she can get her answers, this is all that matters for her.  Even if the risk is high they may just want her Dead, to Shaw there is NOTHING left...  and if she had the Choice... go back HOME and not KNOW.. or go to Paradise, and have a Slim Chance of Getting her Answers.. even if Ultimately the Price would be her Death... She would choose the Latter.

2) David is a Robot, who thinks he should be more than just a Machine, and more than to Share, he has Survival Instincts, he wants to Live, to Grow, to Learn... having followed his Master Peter Weyland and the Agenda his Creator had.. David is now Free, he has a lot of discontent/dislike towards Mankind, he appeared to be very interested in the Engineers.... until One Tore his Head Off...    David is in TWO Pieces, and he no doubt has Big Plans.... and so he Needs Dr Shaw for his own Agenda and he therefore plays a Game of Patience in order to gain her trust.

This Brings us to the Arrival..... Dr Shaw would be in Cryo-sleep, David was to awaken her prior to Arrival, so she can meet our Makers and get her Answers...   David knows that confronting these beings is a Risk... the Chances of them accepting David and Shaw, or even just David are maybe Remote.. David just cant Bank on the outcome being in his Favor... or Dr Shaws.

But Unleashing the Bio-Weapon on the Engineers World, would Eradicate the Engineers, Provide David with more clues to what this Bio-Weapon can do... and allows David Freedom to explore the Aftermath and Study all the Engineers Works and Technology.

He could maybe get Shaw answers from the Ruins of their Society, but David knows that DR SHAW would likely Prevent David or not give him permission to Destroy the Engineers.  She would rather risk meeting them, unless David can provide 100% Proof they would kill her without even providing a single answer.

David is also fond of Dr Shaw, and so he may not want to risk her meeting the Engineers if their is chance they would Kill Her.... and so he chose to Bombard the Engineers and keep Dr Shaw in Cryo-sleep to protect her from the Bombardment.

The Big Question now is WHEN/WHY did the Juggernaught Crash, it is more likely Dr Shaw was in Cryo-sleep during this... Wayne Haagg mentioned the Scorpion Docking Ship was some kind of Border Control, Mother Ship and it and the Juggernaught had a Dust Up (Fight) and both ships ended up crashed.

It therefore is likely Davids Juggernaught Crashed, and he had then waited, and ventured out to inspect the Aftermath... i would say it would have been a PERIOD of Time,  Days? Weeks?

Before David Awoke Dr Shaw and informed her that the Engineers tried to take Action to Destroy their Ship and so he unloaded the Cargo, thats what i assume... David would find this as a better excuse than just saying he found out they was Wicked and Cruel and decided they had to Die.. or that it was a Accidental Bombardment.

If David could inform Dr Shaw, he made himself known to the Engineers and then noticed they intended to intercept and destroy them, then dropping the Cargo would be seen as the only option David had.

David would then be able to inform Dr Shaw, that outside is not Safe, it would take Weeks/Months before she could venture out and the Engineers are all Dead and the Atmosphere is contaminated.

Dr Shaw would know what happened on LV-223 and so would know the Black Goo Outbreak is Deadly and so David would persuade her to Set up a Living Space on the Juggernaught while David can go TO/FROM the Ship and City with the FREEDOM to do what he likes.

And so eventually... as time passes and he gains Dr Shaws Trust again, David would eventually when the Surface is more Safe, Escort Dr Shaw maybe to some part of the City, where who knows if he tries to keep some places hidden from her... but she FINDS OUT... or One Day she Leaves the Ship of her own Accord and FINDS OUT..  or if David actually Tells her what he is up to and thinks Shaw would actually be ok and go along with and accept what David had been doing in his Laboratory

Things would have gone wrong... and Dr Shaw would have tried to escape and barricade herself... and eventually David would have got to her, and knowing she Wont Love him Back.. Things went to POT and he used her for his Experiments.

With his Experiments seemingly becoming more closer to what he wants from Human DNA/Host Rather than Engineers and with no Human/Engineer Bodies left.

David would have then picked out a Transmission from the Hologram Auto-Recording and found one of Dr Shaw, and transmitted a part of this on Repeat to LURE IN any Potential Human Ships down the Line.

knowing that  if he transmitted a signal himself the Company may be less likely to come to get a Robot, unless he mentions what he is doing there and then they would likely send a Prepared Military Force and so no Easy Targets for David to continue his Experiments on.

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017


DeaconMember10416 XPSep-24-2017 5:38 PM

The Song, is merely a Plot Device....

They (RS/FOX/Writing Staff) Needed a way to get a Signal of Human Origin that would not be any kind of Signal off Dr Shaw, because well what kind of Signal would she send... she would inform people of the Engineers... or if it was a Please Rescue me.. any Humans would be cautious...

so they needed a Signal that could be detected as only having a Human Source and so a Famous Earth Song... "John Denver Take me Home" which was scrambled but could be barely made out, that just by Chance  "Cowboy, Tennessee"  recognized

So it was a Story Telling Plot Device, that i doubt FOX/RS expected us to try and figure out WHEN/HOW and WHY Dr Shaw would sing such a song?

So the Choice of Song is a Odd one, but not as far as the necessary Plot Device for a scrambled barely audible song that only by Chance Tennessee recognized.

It still remains a Odd One for Dr Shaw to Sing....

1) She was never going Home.... they was off to Paradise or Engineer Worlds and not Home... so its a bit of a odd Choice, but maybe it was a Song she liked and she was nervous or excited about setting off and so she Sang it for this reason.

2) Its unlikely she would be Singing it after arriving at Paradise/Planet 4 and then deciding to leave the Planet to go back home.. because well it just seems odd to sing this after she discovers what has happened.  Its also more likely the Ship Crashed not long after the Bombardment.

So i say it was option 1...

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

Lawrence of Arabia

ChestbursterMember936 XPSep-24-2017 5:46 PM

BigDave The Dreadnought (the ship Shaw and David were on) crashed because when they released the pathogen payload it sent off an EMP blast that fried all the ships and such to prevent the bioweapon from leaving the planet. David bombed the Engineers because he could, saw them as inferior, and wanted to protect Shaw and make a new Eden with her as his Eve to his Adam. She refused and David incubated Shaw to prevent her from leaving him. Sometime in between these two events he probably lied to her until he felt she was ready for the truth and in the mean time she sent out an S.O.S. to get off the now dead Paradise because she never loses faith.

"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."


DeaconMember10416 XPSep-24-2017 6:11 PM

Yeah my response was a more in detail of what must of happened but the OT is ambiguous....

Totally agree some EMP Device may have caused the ships to crash, i had pondered a Safety Device being used a long time ago, even before the Trailers when i wondered if the Burnt Engineers was some kind of Safety Device to prevent a Spread of the Black Goo.

Alas we got more clear answers since the movie..

I was trying to suggest its highly likely Dr Shaw had NO Knowledge of the Bombardment Plans, so i went into detail why not... and while i think David wanted to Protect Dr Shaw... i think he had his own Agenda.. which indeed he saw the Engineers as a threat and if he could Destroy them... 

Then there would be no Threat to Dr Shaw, and David could give a explanation and even give Dr Shaw some of her answers via what ever way David chooses to...  Then he would have the idea that they could have started a New World Together.

I touched upon this a while ago... even after the movie just came out and especially prior i was even wondering could David had offered Dr Shaw a chance to be able to Give Birth...

Could he inform Dr Shaw, he could find a way so she could have Children... and i wondered if this is where David got his subjects and those Baby Skulls etc.

But as Concept got released and details around them, we found out David had used Engineer Babies.


R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017


DeaconMember10416 XPSep-24-2017 6:17 PM

Looking at Dr Shaw sending the SOS after finding out what David was up to, i think we cant rule that out... but  i would think she would be making a real SOS, a Come and Rescue me ... and not singing the Song.

I also think singing the Song as she attempts to leave the Planet and David would be a bit odd... but then if Dr Shaw suffers some Mental Break down then who knows...   i think we can assume Dr Shaw would not attempt to leave in the Ship knowing it had crashed as it did up the Mountain?

And i think we can safely assume after the Bombardment and Crashing of the Engineer Docking Ship, Davids Juggernaught would not have made it away without a scratch...?

Its possible it may have and then Dr Shaw tried to take it HOME and crashed it, but i think the clues and comments from Wayne Haagg would point to both Ships crashing after the so called Dust Up.

Again its a subject that has no real 100% Answers because non are given and so its interesting to take on board each persons view to what could have happened.

Indeed we cant rule out Dr Shaw, escaping to the Control Room and rushing to send that Signal... but my opinion which may not be right, is David used some footage as a BATE/TRAP and Dr Shaw had sang the Song at some point during the events of THE CROSSING Prologue

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017


FacehuggerMember198 XPSep-25-2017 9:32 AM

I never understood why it was classed as a distress call in the first place, I mean it was someone singing.

And if you're going to send a distress call, do you record yourself singing a song while pressing a bunch of buttons? or do you record a message saying I need help, evil android killed millions, planet is a bio hazard, please come with biosuits and get me!


PraetorianMember3422 XPSep-25-2017 11:02 AM

According to the Weyland-Yutani Report, Dr. Shaw's classified transmission was in 2094.

David 8 propping up the Dr. Shaw hologram to repeat may have been how he goes fishing for thousands of souls with the hologram/song used as bait.


OvomorphMember20 XPSep-25-2017 12:17 PM

@Ingeniero Is that report canon? If so, that would be the best explanation, in my opinion. 


PraetorianMember3422 XPSep-25-2017 1:18 PM

There are so many good details in the report PerfectOrganismPerfectCast, some of which is clearly canon but some details do not reconcile as canon because of proofreading errors. Very frustrating. Those critical of it have items to support their judgement.

Dr. Shaw left LV-223 in 2094 which was less than 40 light years from Earth. Any signal sent in 2094 from that area would be picked up by the frontier network within a few years.


PraetorianMember3422 XPSep-25-2017 1:22 PM

Most of the Prometheus sequence in the Weyland-Yutani Report looks like the intelligence was recovered from helmet feeds.

I can only assume in the 2090's, after developing the technology to travel many light years, that a helmet can send out a signal. And along with that signal goes everything that the helmet (or network of helmets) feed picks up and records for mission data. This may explain how Dr. Shaw was able to send out the classified message to corporate.


DeaconMember10416 XPSep-25-2017 3:09 PM

"According to the Weyland-Yutani Report, Dr. Shaw's classified transmission was in 2094."

This Signal may be the SOS Dr Shaw left at the  end of Prometheus, Questions were always raised how she could do this, as the moment she sent this was during her journey to the other Temple/Hanger with Davids body... but this was a Voice over... and so its no exact way to say for sure that Dr Shaws SOS was sent from the Buggy/ATV while she was heading to find another Engineer Ship, or it happened prior where she may have used something in the wreckage or the Life Boat.

The Date was Jan 1st 2094, and so the SOS was sent 4-5 Days after Dr Shaw had recovered Davids Body.

As far as the signal in Alien Covenant, again i would assume it was a recording when David and Dr Shaw was preparing to leave.

Or a similar event just prior to David putting Dr Shaw into Cryo-sleep.

Again we cant rule out it being later on, as some pointed out Dr Shaws movements looked like she was in a rush or Panic, which then the singing of the Song must have been to Calm her Nerves.

But then we have to Logically think  at what point could Dr Shaw had attempted to Pilot the Ship in a Panic?   The only time i could think of is.

1) After the Crash, either soon after or days/weeks, but Dr Shaw attempted to get the crashed Juggernaught Airborne... this could be possible.

2) The Juggernaught did not Crash, and Shaw found out at some latter point what David was up to, or something else that lead her to try and escape in the IN-TACT Juggernaught and she ended up crashing it instead.  This is less Plausible but only if we take on board that the Docking Mother Ship and Juggernaught had a Altercation which indeed Wayne Haagg had mentioned it had.. and we can see in one scene the Docking Scorpion Ship Crashed.

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017


PraetorianMember3422 XPSep-25-2017 3:35 PM

Great point BigDave.

"she may have used something in the wreckage or the Life Boat."

Dr. Shaw was in a rush to gather supplies the moment she opened the door to the lifeboat and easily could have grabbed a means to communicate.

This of course was before the tall fellow with a very poor attitude showed up.


DeaconMember10416 XPSep-25-2017 4:07 PM

I think the Crossing gives us a lot of clues... thats provided they are not just a massive lazy oversight by FOX/RS.

Its been discussed quiet a bit prior to the movies release.

Leads me to a Logical Explanation that Dr Shaw took Davids Body to another Hanger, and boarded a Engineers Juggernaught where one of TWO things happened.

1) David informed Dr Shaw that she would need to completely re-attach David before he could operate the Ships. This is something Dr Shaw was not prepared to do, she had to think hard as once David is back together she would be a little at his Mercy... so she went to recover supplies to last her a few Months while She and David built up a Trust to the Point She Re-attached him and they then left LV-223.

2) David informs Dr Shaw the journey is long, he can get the ship into Space with her Help, but  she would not survive the journey and would need to go into Cryo-sleep which would need David to modify the the device, which would require him to be put back together...  Dr Shaw had a conundrum, and she bargained to help David get into Orbit, but then she was cautious about putting David back together and so she decided prior to leaving and agreeing to Davids Offer, she would collect Supplies so she could survive for as long as she could in Space without being in Cryo-sleep.

Then again as per Option 1, it was a matter of Months before David had gained her Trust, and also maybe Shaws Provisions were running low and so she then re-attached David.

One of these TWO Scenarios are what i think must have happened... and it was really what i hoped the Prequel Novel would cover.. Until we found it it was actually a Covenant Mission Prequel.

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017


PraetorianMember3378 XPSep-25-2017 4:20 PM

Ingeniero and BigDave

I have the feeling that Scott wants the answer to this beacon question to stay in darkness forever.

Lawrence of Arabia

ChestbursterMember936 XPSep-25-2017 4:25 PM

The beacon and Shaw's journey on Paradise I feel Scott wants to be ambiguous for the time being, to leave as much mystery as the original Alien did. I'm sure we'll get either a novel or comic in the future to detail what exactly happened.

"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."


NeomorphMember1823 XPSep-26-2017 10:13 PM

was it a distress beacon? I don't remember her asking for help in the movie, just singing country roads

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