The big bad Company. 

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From a recent posting on The Network:

Strange that I never really thought about this much at all before, but why do you think that Ripley and the Narcissus were floating around in space aimlessly for 57 years at the beginning of Aliens? Was it just “blind luck” that she was found, like Burke said, or do you think the Company sabotaged the Narcissus while she was in hypersleep, in the hopes she’d never be found? Maybe the deep-space salvage team that found her thwarted the Company’s plan.

IMHO: I don’t think the Company’s reach is that extensive. From onscreen references, we can reason that the Company doesn’t want to invest too much in a blind alley, hence sending a pre-existent element like Nostromo to check out the distress signal. If an opportunity presented itself to monkey around with the shuttle, I’m sure they’d have done so, but we aren’t given any indication in the film (but that doesn’t stop us from imaginative “what-ifs?” like this! smile emoticon ). On the subject of “drifting,” I think we can also infer from the films that space travel is routine, at least on a commercial level; hence, “space truckers,” implying that for a regular working joe (no pun intended), the wonder of the universe has been reduced to ennui. But well-traveled does not equal well-populated, and for this reason, I believe Burke’s story is true. Even in today’s well-traveled and (well-populated) world of transportation, it is entirely possible to be lost at sea…and never found. Oh, and by the way: here’s a cool interactive that sort of touches on the topic. Thought you folks might like it.

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