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"You have all sacrificed so much to be here, to be a part of this. It's the first ever large-scale colonization mission to come this far into our galaxy. You're making history, and everyone back on Earth is really grateful…for your hard work, and your courage. I just wanna say…I couldn't pick a better bunch of jerks to get marooned on a distant planet with. So, um…To the Covenant!"
Katherine Daniels toasts her colleagues and the Covenant (from The Last Supper)

The USCSS Covenant,[4] registration number 274207281-1,[5] was a Weyland-Yutani Corporation Model CY78.3 Affiance-class U extended range colony ship in the service of the United Americas. In 2103, the Covenant was slated to travel to the distant colony planet of Origae-6 and claim it for the UA. A year into its journey, the Covenant was diverted by chance to a remote planet on which the crew met the synthetic David 8, sole survivor of the Prometheus incident. Through a series of events, the Covenant was hijacked by David, who planned to use the ship's crew and payload in his continuing experiments with a mysterious pathogen.

History[]

Conception and launch[]

The USCSS Covenant was designed in 2093, with its mission being announced in 2103 as a joint venture between the United Americas and the Weyland-Yutani Corporation to extend the reach of the UA. The Covenant was constructed in Earth orbit and slated to carry 2,000 colonists and 1,140 second-generation embryos to the planet Origae-6, located more than twenty parsecs Trailward from Earth in the remote Sector ORI-6 D-595. Katherine Daniels, whose team had been responsible for locating Origae-6, was employed as the expedition's chief terraformist; her husband, Jacob Branson, was selected as the captain.

Shortly before its launch, the Covenant was besieged by a radical group dubbed the Earthsavers, whose followers believed that the nightmares experienced by their prophet Duncan Fields were portents of what awaited humanity outside the Sol System. The Earthsavers tried various approaches, first plying one of the ship's terraforming bays with explosives and threatening to detonate them unless the launch was halted; when this failed, a loaded shuttle was flown in a kamikaze mission to ram the Covenant—this likewise failed. The Earthsavers were rounded up by the expedition's security chief Dan Lopé and were later designated as a terrorist organisation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. After the delivery of ship's synthetic Walter, the Covenant successfully launched from Earth, with several of its crew members recording messages sent back to relatives and Weyland-Yutani. A celebration dedicated to the Covenant was also held on the vessel's bridge before the crew entered stasis for the journey to Origae-6.

Tragedy and discovery[]

"Mother, retract the energy sails and channel all the reserve power."
Walter issuing instructions to Mother during an incident (from Alien: Covenant)
USCSS Covenant

The Covenant in flight

In December 2104, still seven years and four months from its destination, the Covenant was struck by the shockwave from a stellar ignition from Sector 106 while recharging its systems via its solar sail, sustaining major damage in the process. In response, the ship's crew were awoken from stasis; however, Branson was incinerated inside his cryotube when it failed to open. The surviving crew managed to mitigate the disaster, although 47 colonists and 16 embryos were lost alongside their captain.[4]

The Covenant's first officer and Chief of Life Sciences, Chris Oram, assumed command of the mission. While undertaking a spacewalk to conduct exterior repairs, pilot Tennessee Faris picked up a fragmented, distorted transmission via his suit's communications systems. When the rogue transmission was traced to its source in Sector 87, the crew found it originated from a nearby planet perfect for human habitation, better even than the predictions for Origae-6. Presented with a seemingly perfect home just a few weeks away and with none of the crew wanting to re-enter stasis after witnessing Branson's fate, Oram elected to investigate.[4]

State of emergency[]

Covenant orbit paradise

The Covenant above the mysterious planet

After the Covenant arrived at the planet, the expeditionary detachment led by Oram departed the ship aboard Lander One while Tennessee and bridge officers Ricks and Upworth remained on the bridge to monitor communications. Although major information was uncovered at a crashed alien ship on the planet, including the revelation that Prometheus crewmember Elizabeth Shaw was the apparent sender of the transmission, the insertion was cut short when security officer Ben Ledward became rapidly and violently ill. Chief biologist Karine Oram rushed Ledward back to the dropship, whereupon a parasitic creature erupted from his body before attacking and killing Karine. In a desperate attempt to fend off the creature with a shotgun, lander pilot Maggie Faris accidentally hit the munitions locker aboard Lander One, causing an explosion that killed her and destroyed the craft, preventing the ground team from returning to the Covenant. Unable to keep in touch with the expedition due to an atmospheric storm, Tennessee and Upworth performed a command override to bypass ship computer Mother's safeguards and bring the ship into optimum position for reestablishing contact.[4]

The remaining expedition team members managed to contact the Covenant, and Tennessee launched a rescue in the ship's cargo transporter sled. However, the effort was complicated by the intervention of a dangerous alien creature that had emerged from Oram; with Tennessee's assistance, Daniels managed to defeat it. Upon returning to the Covenant, Daniels and Tennessee discovered that Lopé had been infected with yet another alien while on the planet, and that it had emerged from his chest, killing him; it quickly matured and went on to kill Ricks and Upworth in the ship's shower. Working with Walter to corral the alien through the gangways, Daniels and Tennessee cornered it in the second terraforming equipment bay and successfully ejected it into space. After the survivors returned to stasis, the Covenant was ultimately hijacked by rogue synthetic and Prometheus expedition survivor David 8, who had surreptitiously replaced Walter on the planet. Daniels was able to deduce the deception shortly before losing consciousness, but was unable to act in time. Shortly after, David sent an official transmission to Weyland-Yutani on Earth claiming that all Covenant crew members save for Daniels and Tennessee had died in the solar flare incident, and that the ship was still in transit to Origae-6.[4]

Without a trace[]

"If you do this, there will be no turning back. My creatures shall be set loose…to rule this galaxy."
David to Weyland-Yutani (from Advent)
CovCryo

The cryogenized colonists on the Covenant

David later covertly issued a series of information and files to Weyland-Yutani with details on his experiments and information on his discoveries, as well as his intentions to use the Covenant's crew and colonists to perfect his designs and to create a Queen using Daniels.[6] These messages, later termed the "David transmissions", were eventually intercepted by the United States Colonial Marine Corps listening post Tanburro Station and were the catalyst for the formation of the clandestine group known as Deep Void. The David transmissions were later erased and taped over by Maitland, a synthetic working for the Geholgod Institute.[7]

Between 2110 and 2112, around the time of the isolation of the Far Spinward Colonies and the resultant implementation of the 20 Parsec Limit, the Covenant expedition was declared overdue along with that of the Affiance, and the Allegiance. Pushed to the brink of bankruptcy by the loss of the Covenant, Weyland-Yutani was bailed out by the United Americas.[7] By 2183, the Covenant expedition was regarded as a disaster.[2]

Crew[]

USCSS Covenant Crew

The Covenant crew

Cargo and equipment[]

At the time of its journey, the Covenant was carrying a crew of fifteen, along with 2,000 colonists in hypersleep pods, and 1,140 second-generation embryos.

Energy recharge sails[]

"Deploying energy sails. Recharge commencing now."
Mother initiating the solar recharge cycle (from Alien: Covenant)

The Covenant's propulsion system was powered from the deployment of solar collectors called energy recharge sails. The size of a small city when unfurled, they expanded with extraordinary speed, able to reach their full extension in a matter of minutes. The collectors allowed the Covenant to fly at subluminal speeds while storing energy from solar radiation to charge a superluminal engine. This process needed to be repeated several times over the course of a multi-year mission to perform a series of jumps to reach its destination.

Terraforming module[]

"The terraforming module is stable, but the connecting struts took some damage. I still need to check the vehicles."
Katherine Daniels delivers her report (from Alien: Covenant)

The Covenant's terraforming module was located at the rear of the vessel and was comprised of four bays. Each bay was divided into A-B-C-D sections and variously contained construction vehicles,[1] atmospheric water condensers, highly automated boring machines, earth turners, pipe extruders, and farming equipment for the establishment of the colony on Origae-6.[8] The bays were also equipped with external doors that could double as ramps to facilitate the unloading of the equipment therein when on solid ground.[9]

Armory[]

The Covenant also contained a small armory. Weapons stored on the ship included pistols and RMC F903WE Automatic Assault Rifles.

Lander One[]

Main article: Lander One

Lander One was a dropship, designed to be launched with an expedition team from the Covenant while in orbit. The lander was destroyed when Maggie Faris accidentally fired her weapon into its munitions locker while battling a Neomorph aboard the craft on Planet 4.

Lander Two[]

Main article: Lander Two

Lander Two was another dropship with presumably similar design specifications to Lander One that was reprogrammed by Tennessee to collide with an oncoming cargo shuttle manned by individuals bent on sabotaging the departure of the Covenant from Earth.

Lunar rover[]

Main article: Audi Lunar Quattro

The Audi Lunar Quattro lunar rover provided exploration and research support used to help navigate and assess the challenging and unknown terrain of a planet. Equipped with intelligent technologies, the rover also patrolled the Covenant for unseen dangers.

Cargo lifter[]

Main article: WY-37B cargo lifter sled

The cargo lifter, registration number 33625381-1,[10] was a sub-orbital mobile cargo crane with four engines, primarily used to lift and haul cargo. While the lifter itself was not designed for deep space launch, it ultimately survived the stresses of entry when Tennessee piloted the craft from orbit to retrieve the surviving members of the exploration team on Planet 4's surface, ultimately bringing them back to the orbiting Covenant.

Behind the scenes[]

The USCSS Covenant appears in the 2017 film Alien: Covenant, to which the ship lends its name. In an earlier draft of the film's script, titled Paradise Lost, the Covenant is equipped with drone missiles dubbed "Tillers"; these are used to level tracts of inhospitable terrain and render it more navigable. The crew deck also includes a room featuring a diorama of the colony set to be established on Origae-6.

With the exception of the Terraforming Trucks, the equipment in the Terraforming Bay is comprised of real-world models from manufacturers JCB, Caterpillar, Wirtgen, Kleemann and Liebherr. As requested by director Ridley Scott, the machinery was coated with a golden finish so as to appear more futuristic.

Appearances[]

Gallery[]

References[]

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