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David Archer

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David Archer
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~ David Archer

David Archer is the brother of Cerberus chief scientist Dr. Gavin Archer. David was born an autistic mathematical savant with unusually strong abilities including rapid calculation and eidetic memory. He is the tragic main antagonist of the Overlord DLC in Mass Effect 2.


Mass Effect 2: Overlord

Present on Aite during Cerberus' Project Overlord, it was discovered that David was able to communicate with the geth on a fundamental level by reproducing their patterns of speech. As part of attempts to exploit the geth's religious tendencies, Cerberus had created a VI to serve as an "overlord" and give the organization complete control over all geth. Desperate to avoid the project's failure, Gavin Archer forcibly incorporated David into the VI program, exploiting his savant ability. After this point, David's mind couldn't handle the merger, causing the hybrid VI to go berserk and begin rampaging across Aite in an attempt to escape the planet and leaving David himself in extreme overload.

When Shepard arrives on the planet, Dr. Archer doesn't tell the Commander that he forced David to merge with the VI program in order to not reveal his cruel actions that placed him at fault for the disaster. As Shepard makes it past all the geth and the Overlord's other defenses, David imprints memories and visual data directly onto Commander Shepard in order to show the Commander the events leading up to his forced merging with the VI platform. When the Commander reaches David's chamber, David attempts to upload his program to the Normandy ship. Commander Shepard's deactivation of the rogue VI program frees David from its effects; revealing the emaciated body of David cruelly strung up in the machinery. Dr. Archer then appears and attempts to explain himself to a shocked and disgusted Shepard.

If Shepard stops the experiments, David is subsequently removed from the care of Cerberus and his brother and taken to Grissom Academy, an Alliance educational institution for gifted children.

If the Commander is willing to sacrifice David for science, David is given medical treatment, stays in his brother's care, and Project Overlord continues.

Mass Effect 3

If Shepard delivered David to the care of Grissom Academy, he can be encountered there in 2186 during the Cerberus attack on the school. He assists his fellow students, Octavia and Isaac, in maintaining a kinetic barrier generator keeping Cerberus troops from getting at them. He vouches for the Commander's trustworthiness to his fellow students, and also gives the Commander access to a room containing a M-96 Mattock or M-22 Eviscerator in it. After escaping Grissom Academy, David goes with Kahlee Sanders to assist in building the Crucible.

If EDI is present, David recognizes her as the "Normandy Computer", and apologizes for attempting to hack into the Normandy's systems. If Garrus is present, he identifies him as "Normandy Crew" and also apologizes.

If David was left in the care of Cerberus, his brother explains that they were able to calm David down and were able to get some useful data on controlling the geth, but eventually David stopped responding to stimuli. Dr. Archer euthanized his brother as an act of mercy.

If Shepard never dealt with Project Overlord, then Gavin Archer informs Shepard that David died when Cerberus used nuclear weapons to destroy Atlas Station.


  • David Archer is voiced by actor Jesse Gervais.
  • The apparatus used on David while hooked up to the VI may be a reference to Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, in which the Ludovico technique used uses similar apparatus, most notably the 'eye opening' wires.
  • In Grissom Academy, David gives Shepard access to a room which he says contains "guns... lots of guns". This may be a reference to the film The Matrix, which contains the same quote and also concerns being trapped in a virtual reality.

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