Private First Class Jenette Vasquez was part of the United States Colonial Marines and operated the Smartgun. She was a member of a combat team who, in 2179, was dispatched to LV-426 to investigate the loss of contact on the Hadley’s Hope colony. She was among the last to be killed when she and Lieutenant Gorman committed suicide in an air shaft when faced with numerous Xenomorphs. She was played by Jenette Goldstein and appeared in 1986’s Aliens.
Mission to LV-426
Vasquez thought the whole mission would be a waste of time and questioned Ripley’s story about encountering a Xenomorph on the Nostromo. After the mission briefing, Vasquez and Drake prepared their Smartguns for use and boarded the APC. The dropship transported the APC from the USS Sulaco to the Hadley’s Hope colony. The Marines entered the colony and found it abandoned. Vasquez and Hudson cleared the ground floor of the building and found many acid-burnt holes in the floor grating, indicating that Xenomorphs had entered the colony.
The group find a young colonist called Newt who had been hiding since the Xenomorph attack and the other colonists were located in the Atmosphere Processing Plant. Vasquez and the rest of the group investigate the Plant and find the Xenomorph hive.
Realising that their ammunition could cause damage to the Atmosphere Processor’s coolant systems, Vasquez and the other Marines had their ammunition confiscated by Apone. Vasquez and Drake handed over their batteries for their Smartguns. Despite this, they both secretly reactivated their guns by using a backup battery.
The team discovered the dead colonists and was soon ambushed by numerous Xenomorphs. Vasquez and Drake used their Smartguns to fend off the Xenomorphs while other Marines were killed or kidnapped. As the remaining survivors retreated to the APC, Vasquez noticed one Xenomorph about to attack Drake. She killed it with her Smartgun but it sprayed acid onto Drake which killed him.
Vasquez didn’t want to leave him but Corporal Hicks told her there was nothing she could do for him. The survivors escaped in the APC and later Vasquez blamed Gorman for Drake’s death and would have hit him had the other not stopped her.
After regrouping and considering their options, Vasquez suggested using nerve gas on the aliens. Ripley then suggested that they nuke them from orbit instead. Despite Burke’s protests, Hicks was now in command and reiterated that they will nuke the site. After a dropship crashed, the remaining group go back to the Operations Center and spent some time fortifying their position.
Vasquez and Hudson set up Sentry Guns in the tunnels under the colony to fend off the Xenomorphs. When Ripley and Newt are attacked by two Facehuggers in the Med Lab, Vasquez and the others helped save them by killing the Facehuggers.
The Xenomorphs cut power to the Operations Center and Vasquez and Hudson were sent to the corridors to investigate the motion trackers. They soon detect numerous Xenomorphs approaching their position so they fall back and help Hicks to seal the Operations room door. The Xenomorphs entered the room via the ceiling and attack the group. Vasquez helped fight the creatures off using her Pulse Rifle and grenade launcher while the others found an escape route. She covered the group from the rear while they escaped through the ventilation ducts. Her Pulse Rifle ran out of ammunition and was attacked by a Xenomorph that emerged from an overhead vent. She managed to kill it using her sidearm but its acidic blood spilled onto her legs.
Gorman returned to rescue Vasquez. In the vents, they ran out of ammunition and were surrounded. Gorman then pulled out an M4 grenade, intending to kill themselves rather than be taken as hosts by the Xenomorphs. Vasquez and Gorman activated the grenade together, killing themselves and killing numerous Xenomorphs around them.
Personality and Traits
Vasquez was a bit of a loose cannon and was quite confident in her abilities to deal with threats. During Ripley‘s briefing on the Sulaco, Vasquez thought the Xenomorphs would be a weak enemy and would cause no problems to the team.
Vasquez was seen to frequently disobey direct orders from her superiors. When she was in the hive, she was told to deactivate her weapon and surrender her ammunition. She ignored the orders and still used her Smartgun to kill Xenomorphs, which also caused critical damage to the Atmosphere Processing Plant.
Vasquez was very close to teammate Drake. The two trained together and encouraged each other to disobey orders. Vasquez was devastated by Drake’s death and was willing to sacrifice her own life to save him in the hive. Vasquez also shared a friendly rivalry with teammate Hudson who was seen to be frequently bickering and trading insults.
Vasquez was equipped with the M56 Smartgun with the word ‘Adios’ painted on the side along with the combat harness and head-mounted sight. Her chestplate had the phrase ‘El riesgo siempre vive’ which means ‘The risk always lives’. On the back of her tunic, she had written ‘LOCO’ on there.
When Vasquez lost her Smartgun in the hive, she began using the M41A Pulse Rifle as her primary weapon. She also carried a sidearm – a non-standard Smith & Wesson Model 39. She knew how to use the M314 Motion Tracker and possessed a ME3 Hand Welder for sealing doors or cutting through them.
- Actress Jenette Goldstein also appeared as Janelle Voight in Terminator 2: Judgement Day, also directed by James Cameron.
- Goldstein’s first two movies, 1986’s Aliens and 1987’s Near Dark both starred Bill Paxton and Lance Henriksen.
- In real-life, Goldstein has brown hair, freckled white skin and light brown eyes. To portray Vasquez who is an Hispanic, she dyed her hair and wore makeup and contact lenses.
- During the briefing on the Sulaco, Hudson’s “illegal aliens” jibe at Vasquez is an inside joke. When Goldstein went to her first audition for Aliens, she thought the movie was about illegal immigrants moving to the United States.
- An action figure based on Vasquez was released by Kenner in the early 90s. NECA released their first figure of her in 2016 as part of Aliens Series 9. They later released a different version of her in 2017 as part of Aliens Series 12.
Comic & Novel Appearances
- In the 1988 comic Aliens: Book One, Vasquez and Drake appear in Hick’s nightmare. She’s seen to be dead in the generator room after a Chestburster emerged from her.
- The 1992 two-part comic book Aliens: Newt’s Tale is an adaptation of the events in Aliens and features Vasquez.
- Vasquez appears in the comic short story Aliens: Field Report, released in 2013 in the series Dark Horse Presents. This takes place during the events on Hadley’s Hope and follows Corporal Hicks as he battles aliens in the hive and the complex.
- Vasquez and her teammates appear in the 2017 short story Blowback which was featured in the anthology book Aliens: Bug Hunt. It’s a prequel to the events in Aliens that sees the Colonial Marines dispatched to a planet to kill indigenous lifeforms that have been killing scientists.
- A novel was released in 2022 called Aliens: Vasquez which is an origins story for the character. It covers her background, her mission to Hadley’s Hope and the subsequent investigation.