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Gilbert Alexander

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I'm very disappointed in you, Delta: destruction of a Fontaine asset is punishable by summary dismissal! Shall I simplify that for you? Fired! Fired! FIRED!
~ "Alex the Great" loses his temper
One of Sofia Lamb's top lieutenants, Gilbert Alexander is a secondary antagonist in the 2010 game Bioshock 2, dominating a single level of the game in much the same fashion as Stanley Poole and Simon Wales. An ambitious scientist, Alexander was one of Rapture's leading researchers prior to the city's collapse into lawless anarchy; following this, he became a dedicated member of the Rapture Family, faithfully serving the Family's goals of creating a true Utopian Being.

Though he proved instrumental in the development of Lamb's experimental techniques to this end, Alexander has been in self-imposed exile beneath the long-abandoned Fontaine Futuristics building for several years as a result; as such, he becomes a direct threat to Subject Delta during his journey through the apparently deserted corporate headquarters.

History

From Prosperity To War

Unlike the more colorful members of the city's scientific elite, Gilbert Alexander's life prior to Rapture remains a mystery and Alexander himself shows no overwhelming desire to talk about it - even in his audio diaries. However, once he came to live in Rapture, he quickly distinguished himself in robotic engineering and mechanical innovation, ultimately finding employment at Fontaine Futuristics alongside Yi Suchong and Brigid Tenembaum.

Over the course of his time with the company, Alexander helped to design the automated security systems that eventually replaced human police around Rapture, including the infamous security bots and the cameras that summon them; as the company began focusing more exclusively on ADAM, he also developed a procedure for mechanically implanting the Little Sisters with sea slugs, replacing time-consuming surgical implantation and enhancing profits tenfold. At the height of his career, he teamed up with entrepreneur Augustus Sinclair to produce the Vita Chamber - later ensuring the effective immortality of protagonists like Jack and Subject Delta. Eventually, his successes earned him a place on "Rapture's Best And Brightest" alongside Suchong, Tenembaum, and his future employer, Sofia Lamb.

Following the "death" of Frank Fontaine and the nationalization of Fontaine Futuristics, Alexander and the rest of the company scientists were left in the employ of Andrew Ryan and instructed to continue the development of the Little Sisters. As tensions within Rapture's populace gave way to violence, the Big Daddies were developed as a means for protecting the Little Sisters during their newly-assigned gathering routes; under the command of project leader Suchong, Alexander once against distinguished himself in the design and armament of the protectors, usually sculpting them from human test subjects "donated" from Persephone penal colony.

Unsatisfied with the comparatively limited results of the protective bond between gatherer and protector, he eventually created a means of permanently bonding a Little Sister to single Alpha series Big Daddy. Known as the Pairbond, this psychological mechanism was designed to cement a permanent emotional link between the two and induce a fatal coma in the event that the Alpha's bonded gatherer expired, ensuring constant vigilance - in contrast to the on-and-off attentions of older variants like the Bouncers and the Rosies. Among the many pairs bonded via this methods were Eleanor Lamb and Subject Delta, among the first of the new variant to be deployed on the streets of Rapture. Unfortunately, this also resulted in Delta eventually being murdered in Sofia Lamb's move to reclaim her daughter from captivity.

Doubly unfortunately, the Alpha series was a practical failure: though the Pairbond worked well in aiding motivation, the rise in splicer attacks following the start of the Civil War resulted in the Little Sisters being overwhelmed and killed, rendering their Big Daddies either comatose or mad with grief. No less pertinent was the fact that, though their grasp of plasmid powers and mechanical versatility made them highly effective in combat, these traits made the line too expensive to continue production. By then, Suchong was dead and Alexander had been left to take his place: as such, it fell to him to cease production of the Alpha series and remove the line from protection duties - though the deranged survivors of the series were still pliable enough to be redeployed as shock troops around Rapture.

Largely insulated from the chaos of the civil war, Alexander continued working over the course of the next few years, apparently oblivious to the world outside his laboratory unless it became the subject of his experiments. In one notable case, the increasingly stronger forms of Splicer and the unacceptable casualty rates among the Little Sisters eventually inspired him to create the Rumbler, a new form of Big Daddy specifically designed to cope with the newer, stronger varieties of Splicer.

However, when the war finally come to an end, the victor was not Andrew Ryan - or even Atlas; instead, it was Sofia Lamb and the Rapture Family that had emerged victorious, having taken advantage of the power vacuum left in the wake of the two great assassinations and seized control of the city. No less surprising was the fact that, with Suchong still dead, Tenembaum escaped, Milton Porter arrested and Reed Wahl secluded in the bowels of the Thinker, Gilbert Alexander was now Rapture's leading scientist - and now working under the banner of Sofia Lamb.

Devotion and Madness

Alexander was an unlikely cultist, given that he'd shown no interest in religion or philosophy up until then - or anything else outside his work, for that matter. However, the scientist found himself slowly won over by Sofia Lamb's belief in the greater good, and eventually by Lamb herself: Alexander worshiped her, proclaiming the cult leader "a secular saint," and perhaps even falling in love with her - though he lamented that love itself was beneath her, acknowledging the fact that his feelings would remain unrequited. Under Lamb's guidance, Alexander came to regret the experiments he'd conducted over the course of the career, at one point being almost overwhelmed by remorse over what he'd done to Eleanor; deleted audio diaries suggest that he would have been happy to kill himself if it meant atoning for what he'd done, though Sofia was content with enlisting his help in undoing Eleanor's mental conditioning.

Over the course of his time with the Rapture Family, he also went about ensuring a regular supply of ADAM for the Splicers of the cult by continuing the creation and armament of the Big Daddies; unfortunately, he also had to deal with the problem of what to do with the protectors' charges. As they entered puberty, the Little Sisters lost their ability to store and cultivate ADAM in their bodies, making them effectively useless for the Family's purposes; worse still, their behavior became increasingly aggressive as their conditioning slowly broke down, ensuring that the combat plasmids they'd acquired over years of ingesting ADAM were immediately put to the worst possible use. Alexander eventually made these ex-Little Sisters part of a new line of protectors: putting them through a new regime of conditioning to control their violent tendencies, he outfitted the candidates with modified diving suits of his own design, before sending them into the field as the Big Sisters.

These agile killers were immediate put to use in enforcing Sofia Lamb's rule over Rapture, hunting down rogue Splicers and retrieving stolen ADAM. However, he knew this was only a temporary solution: the Little Sister population had already been seriously impacted by the events of the previous game, either being rescued or harvested by Jack; the survivors were now rapidly decreasing in number as maturation and Splicer attacks took their toll, and since Rapture's birth rate was virtually non-existent, the only viable source of new gatherers would be the surface. Eventually, Lamb took notice of this fact, and charged several Big Sisters with the unprecedented task of venturing out of Rapture in bathyspheres and kidnapping children from coastal areas bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Brought back to the city over the course of the next few years, these children became the next generation of Little Sisters.

However, Alexander soon found himself embroiled in an experimental program that made his previous work seem unambitious by comparison: Lamb, inspired by Jack's WYK-induced assassination of Andrew Ryan and the genetic memories often contained within recycled ADAM, believed that she could create the perfect messiah for her collectivist beliefs, a "Utopian" being that would act only for the common good without any thought for its own well-being. Through infusions of ADAM laced with the memories of almost everyone in Rapture, the first true Utopian would have no personality of its own, instead exhibiting whatever personality fitted the situation at hand; meanwhile, WYK conditioning would ensure that the Utopian would act only in the service of the people, guaranteeing that even if it did maintain some sense of individuality, it could never be free of its duty to the collective.

Eager to show his devotion to his leader, Alexander volunteered himself as a test subject in Lamb's messianic designs. Over the course of the program, he was infused with the harvested genetic material and subjected to the mental conditioning exactly as planned; however, the vast quantities of ADAM swiftly began to warp his mind and body beyond recognition. Eventually, the mutations were so severe that Alexander's physiology took a turn for the aquatic, requiring him to be housed in a massive tank in the laboratories under the Fontaine Futuristics building. Seeing her planned messiah reduced to a deranged, fetus-like monstrosity, Lamb discarded him as a failure.

Left to his own devices, Alexander knew that it wouldn't be long before his mind went the same way as his body; incapable of comitting suicide in his current condition, he made use of what little technical influence he had over the world outside the tank to effectively rig the building in his favor, and arranged a series of automated procedures to aid anyone sane enough to kill him - including a number of countermeasures to the defenses his insane self would almost certainly enact.

However, this was of only marginal comfort to him: with his failed apotheosis little more than a trial run, Sofia's next candidate for her Utopian messiah would be Eleanor, the only member of Rapture's populace capable of remaining sane and undistorted in the face of massive ADAM exposure. Knowing of the suffering Eleanor would be forced to endure as a result of her mother's fanaticism, Alexander's final message featured him beseeching his killer to save Eleanor from the madness he helped enact.

BioShock 2

When the resurrected Subject Delta arrives in Fontaine Futuristics, he immediately encounters Gilbert Alexander's pre-recorded transmission luring him deeper into the building. Soon after, he is confronted by Alexander's new self: communicating with the outside world through a modified Security Bot, he now styles himself as the new CEO of Fontaine Futuristics, "Alex the Great."

Spending most of his time terrorizing the Splicers trapped in his "employ," the deranged Splicer takes a dim view of Delta's intrusion: once he's finished electrocuting an "employee" supposedly found guilty of stealing company ADAM, he immediately sends out his Splicers to remove the Big Daddy from the area. For good measure, upon recognizing Delta as a former "employee" of Fontaine Futuristics, he also dispatches a number of Alpha series Big Daddies to "welcome" him back to the office.

For a time, Alex the Great is able to sabotage his former self's countermeasures, ensuring that Delta's attempts to use a pre-recorded password are foiled - namely by Alex singing the Fontaine Futuristics jingle as loudly as possible. However, Delta is able to disable the relays commanding the modified Security Bot, effectively cutting off Alex's most direct means of intervention. Venturing across the ocean floor into Fontaine Futuristics' basement labs, Delta continues following Alexander's advice in gathering ADAM-infused plants from around the dilapidated complex: as Alex is essentially a highly-advanced splicer, these plants are irresistible to him. With the aid of this specialized bait, the Big Daddy is able to lure the target into his former self's trap, leaving Alex the Great unable to escape for the time being. Under instructions from Augustus Sinclair, a DNA sample is forcibly extracted from the massive Splicer and infused into a genetic key that will allow Delta to access Sofia Lamb's lair in Persephone.

Finally, the player is faced with the choice of what to do with Alex the Great: in his final automated broadcast, Alexander's former self pleads for Delta to electrify the tank through its sample disposal mechanism, putting him out of his misery; incapable of fighting back due to his dependence on the tank, Alex the Great begs for mercy, promising to leave the building and "live outside" from then on. As with the last two major NPCs, the decision is up to the player and ultimately forms the basis of Eleanor's behavior in the ending.

This is reflected later when Delta is allowed to see the world through the eyes of a Little Sister: here, alongside the statues depicting the fates of the other major NPCs, Delta is depicted either battling a hideous sea creature (if he killed Alex) or helping a man out of the monster's jaws (if he spared him).

If spared, Gilbert Alexander's ultimate fate remains uncertain. In the climax of the game, Sofia uses demolition charges to send Persephone and the connected labs plummeting into the abyssal trench, possibly killing Alex in the process. However, if he indeed left the tank and ventured into the open ocean, it's possible that Alex survived.

Personality

Hello. My name is Gilbert Alexander, and by the time you hear this, I will be clinically insane. I-I am recording these diaries in advance, as a... last-ditch effort to assist anyone I might... threaten... in in dealing with me.
~ Before...
(singing) When you're down in the mouth and life's a pain / weatherman says heavy rain/a little boost is all you need / average Joe to Hercules / stronger arm and sharper brain / that's why the future is FONTAAAAAAAAAIIIIINNNNE HAHAHAHAHA!!!
~ ...and after
From the audio diaries recorded prior to his mutation, Gilbert Alexander was unobtrusive, self-effacing, and remarkably soft-spoken. A subtle presence despite his impressive achievements, he was probably the least-outgoing of all Rapture's success stories, likely second only to Brigid Tenembaum in this regard: even in the photograph of "Rapture's best and brightest," he seems determined to fade into the background while the nervous-looking Tenembaum wilts in the limelight. Despite this apparent shyness, Alexander nonetheless exhibited the same lack of scientific ethics that so defined the city's intellectual elite, conducting monstrous experiments on unwilling test subjects and readily taking part in the brainwashing of Little Sisters with no visible signs of guilt.

However, like Tenembaum before him, he experienced a great epiphany that allowed him to feel remorse for what he'd done, and resolved to make amends as best as he could; he even helped restore a Little Sister to some semblance of normality, just as Tenembaum and Jack did in the previous game. Unfortunately, this personal revelation was deliberately manipulated by Sofia Lamb in order to encourage his loyalty to the cult, and likely helped along by Alexander's unrequited love for the cult-leader; under her command, he gladly continued his experiments - this time believing that he was in service to the greater good. Despite this indoctrination, he nonetheless held no illusions over his abandonment by Sofia Lamb in the wake of his hideous mutations: though audibly depressed by his ongoing loss of sanity, he refused to lose composure even during the last of his pre-recorded broadcasts, ultimately setting out to arrange his assisted suicide in as quiet and unobtrusive manner as possible - even hoping that his killer would be able to save Eleanor where he'd failed.

In sharp contrast, "Alex the Great" is a cackling, shrieking madman. Having been consumed by the delusion that he is now the CEO of Fontaine Futuristics, he gleefully electrocutes dissenting Splicers under the guise of a corporate disciplinarian, burning the words "YOU'RE FIRED" onto any available surfaces for emphasis. Perceiving Splicers as clerks and Alpha series Big Daddies as Delta's old friends, he regards execution as legal dismissal and a mass ambush on Delta as simply escorting him from the building, regards Delta's attempt to use a bot shutdown panel as an attempt to steal his job, and egotistically proclaims his own voice copyrighted company property; hilariously he also resorts to loudly caterwauling the Fontaine Futuristics jingle when Delta tries using a recording of his pre-splicing self to get past a voice lock. He even conducts battle royale-style "demonstrations" of Fontaine Futuristics plasmids with the air of a dedicated advertising showman, electrocuting corpses among the audience in an attempt to get them to participate.

Trivia

  • Deleted audio diaries from Minerva's Den suggest that Alexander is actually Eleanor Lamb's father, though given that Sofia remarked that her "physical participation" in Eleanor's conception and birth was deliberately limited, it's likely that he was merely a sperm donor for IVF.
  • Alexanders' self-documented collapse into insanity was reportedly inspired by the Stephen King short story The End Of The Whole Mess, a post-apocalyptic work in which the narrator struggles to explain how the world ended while slowly succumbing to the same case of early-age dementia that is destroying the rest of human civilization. Ironically, both Alexander and Howard Fornoy's afflictions were caused by programs intended to eventually create a utopia.
  • Prior to being given a proper name, Gilbert Alexander was jokingly referred to as the "Guilt Navigator," a reference to the hideously-mutated navigators of the Spacing Guild in Frank Herbert's Dune saga. With this in mind, Alexander draws clear inspiration from the navigators: both are addicted to a super power-inducing mutagen; both have been transformed into monstrous semi-aquatic lifeforms that spend most of their time contained in massive tanks; and both are high-ranking employees of a major corporation. Ironically, Alexander is a devotee of a messianic cult, while the navigators of Dune are directly opposed to the cult surrounding protagonist Paul Atreides.

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