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USS Callister Characters

Robert Daly

Captain

Portrayed By: Jesse Plemons

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/screen_shot_2017_12_16_at_213012_a738efd.png
Robert Daly 

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  • The Ace: Captain Daly's character, very deliberately. He's handsome, witty, powerful, cunning, and always right. All the women in his crew melt in his arms, and the men constantly praise his worth and intelligence while chastising themselves for doubting him. His buffoon of an antagonist exists only to be humiliatingly foiled and outsmarted by the captain's ingenuity and resourcefulness. Sounds familiar, no?
  • Ambiguous Disorder: He has trouble interfacing with even his own subordinates and seems to have no social life whatsoever, as he spends most of his time in Infinity.
  • Asexuality: It's never made explicit, but despite having access to sexually-enabled simulacra of his various real-world crushes, he has removed their virtual genitals and, while he is re-enacting romantic relations with his virtual crushes, he goes out of his way to avoid involving any sexual elements in these interactions. Lowry even comforts Nanette that the Once an Episode saviour kiss Captain Daly gets from his female crew is strictly closed-mouth. When Nanette tries to distract him with sexy swimming, he's actually very hesitant to join in and looks like he's very confused, unfamiliar, and uncomfortable with the female body. Furthermore, if his feelings were sexual, and not based more in a desire for the Star Fleet archetype for love, he could be pursuing these women further in the real life workplace, like Walton does — his almost childishness could excuse this if he weren't later acting like kind of a jerkass 20-something (presumably what he actually is) with the pizza guy, showing him to be the kind of guy who would pursue sex if he wanted it (even if it was creepy).
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  • Asshole Victim: Somewhat inverted. While both his deletion in his game mod and his vegetative state in the real world are well deserved, it's hard not to pity the fact that his entire mind was deleted that it rendered him brain dead from doing so. What's worse is that this happens around Christmas.
  • Bad Boss: In his version of Infinity. He forces digital clones of people (who are as self-aware as real people) to play along with his Space Fleet adventures, inflicting horrible punishments (like turning them into monsters) if they don't.
  • Bastard Boyfriend: Robert Daly's character "Captain Daly", as scripted by Robert Daly himself, engages in abusive behavior that only adds to his great charisma and gives this wholesome captain a much-needed badboy streak. (The rest of the staff tends to see the Captain Daly character in the quite opposite light.)
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  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: At first, it seems that he is just using his mod of Infinity for escapism because he's treated like shit at work despite his genius being the backbone of the company. However, it's revealed he is an utter despot to the self-aware digital clones of people in his program.
  • Contemplative Boss: He assumes this pose when crushing the crews's Hope Spot midway through the episode.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Averted; while being very morally bankrupt privately, it doesn't seem to seep into his business practices or everyday behavior at the office.
  • Cruel Player-Character God: A deconstruction; he's an example of what kind of person would behave like this to sapient characters. Walton at one point outright calls him "an asshole god".
  • Decoy Protagonist: The episode begins with a TOS-like series, and the crew's adventures before transitioning to the real-life Daly at work. It turns out the whole thing is an early build MMO with Daly as the admin, and the characters are sapient copies of his coworkers, whom he tortures and abuses into submission. Later on, digital Nanette starts rebelling against him, and the position of protagonist shifts to her.
  • Dirty Coward: Rather than stand up to the people whom he feels have slighted him — like his fellow founder and coworkers — Daly creates digital copies of the people he knows and tortures them, always staying in control.
  • Drink Order: On three separate occasions, he requests a vanilla latte with skim milk.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Part of Daly's Freudian Excuse, though it doesn't make him any more sympathetic — he's completely ignored and disliked within the company he created. Lampshaded within the simulation.
  • Entitled Bastard: Up to Eleven in Infinity, but in real life he shows shades of this.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He does not abuse the digital clones sexually although he had the power to. Even tongue kissing is taboo. Though see Asexuality, above.
  • Evil Is Petty: His co-workers can be kind of mean and exclusory, and are certainly laughing at him behind his back, but they're not vicious, outright bullies. They're all friendly to Nanette (who herself is very sweet and friendly to him), and Daly doesn't seem like the easiest person to get along with due to his sullen silences and tendency to get "starey". Yet, he traps digital versions of them in his own playroom to abuse and torture at will. One was imprisoned for not smiling enough — when she doesn't smile at anyone.
  • Evil Nerd: Finds it easier to use his technical skills to force clones of his coworkers to act out his adolescent sci-fi fantasies than to actually learn how to get along with them in real life.
  • Extreme Doormat: He is so passive in his everyday life, it's easy to forget he's supposed to be running the company. He shows no reaction whenever his partner bosses him around or his employees act like they're just humoring him, if they happen to follow his requests at all. In his Star Fleet game, on the other hand, he becomes quite the tyrant.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Walton says this to him more or less word-by-word. He apologizes to Daly and admits that he may have exploited his "genius", and mistreated him... then drops the Wham Line that it ultimately doesn't matter, because Daly still threw his son out of an airlock without any remorse. He then declares "fuck you to death" to him instead.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: He gets jealous when he sees Walton casually flirting with Nanette. At first it may seem somewhat protective given Walton's reputation, but given that we later learn that Walton is popular among the employees even considering his player status while Daly seems to make female employees uncomfortable by staring at them, this could also be his envy of Walton's natural charisma, which he himself lacks.
    • It's also implied he feels this way towards the real world Valdack, who is attractive and genial, as he modded him in the game to be unattractive and evil.
  • Her Codename Was Mary Sue: Robert Daly's character "Captain Daly" is perfect in every way and is adored by everyone in the setting — which really gets on the nerves of the unwilling audience.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Averted with Daly. His appearance is deliberately unremarkable, not exactly unflattering but matching the stereotype of a nerdy guy in his late twenties/early thirties (glasses, a bit of a pudge, a receding hairline, etc.). According to his coworkers, it's his social awkwardness that causes people to give him a "wide berth"; and despite having a high position in the company, he comes off as meek, tractable, and submissive, willing to accept inferior workmanship to avoid confrontation.
  • Idiot Savant: Evil example. His technical skills are incredible, but he is struggling with carrying out normal social interactions and takes out his frustrations in a truly sadistic fashion.
  • Jerkass God: Walton calls him Asshole God in the simulation.
  • Loners Are Freaks: He is a loner and a sociopath in private.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-universe — During the escape attempt, Walton seemingly starts to give a heartfelt apology for his attitude toward Daly in the real world that led to all this, which seems to get through to Daly somewhat, but angrily takes it back as it doesn't make up for his actions in the game and yells Fuck you to death! before performing his Heroic Sacrifice to save the crew.
  • Nerd Glasses: In his regular, very nerdy life, Daly wears glasses, but takes them off to join Infinity and never wears them in-game, when he's playing a cool, alpha male starship captain. Also qualifies as Four Eyes, Zero Soul: his cruel, tyrannical side is hidden from people he interacts with in his work life, and then unleashed when he goes into the privacy of his home and the Infinity game.
  • Nerdy Bully: In real life, he's a nerdy, asocial programmer. He disproportionately takes out his frustrations with his co-workers by creating virtual copies of their minds, placing them in a video game mod, and abusively forcing them to reenact his power fantasies.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Averted, Daly is dismissive and needlessly rude to the pizza delivery guy who gets on his case.
  • Parody Sue: Played for horror; Captain Daly is an archetypal overpowered Self-Insert venting his frustrations at his co-workers, which would be morbidly funny-except how his stand-ins are mental clones of his same co-workers.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Daly is clearly in some kind of arrested development. He's a sullen loner with entitlement issues, and his only joy comes from reliving his favorite childhood TV show with him as the hero as well as tormenting representations of the people he thinks have wronged him in some way or another, and forcing them to take part in his play acting. Otherwise, he's very immature, at one point resolving a showdown with an "enemy" by yelling that there was a naked lady behind him. It's also telling that he forces his female virtual prisoners to kiss him as a reward for whenever he "saves the day", but insist that said kiss is close-mouthed, removes their genitals entirely, and is seemingly scared or at least hesitant towards anything involving actual sexual over- and/or undertones. When Digital Nanette pulls a Show Some Leg, he's very reluctant despite being intrigued, and quickly becomes visibly uncomfortable with the situation.
  • Reality Warper: He can do anything within his game, with some limits. He can't transform anyone not in his presence, and he can't change the designed-in speed of space vessels. He probably could mod the game to let him from the outside, but likely wants the game to play as much like the Star Fleet TV show as possible, and doesn't know that he could possibly be needed these abilities.
  • Sadist: It's heavily implied that Daly is this. For all his genius programming skills, he apparently felt the need to break the spirit of Walton's digital clone rather than, say, just scrapping him and making a compliant AI with Walton's likeness. It's not enough for him to take out his frustration on digital clones, he has to make them sapient so they truly suffer. This all at the very least strongly indicates that he actually rather enjoys the act of breaking his victims' spirits.
  • The Sociopath: It doesn't leak through in his interactions in the real world, but once Robert Daly gets home and logs into his personal game mod, the full depth of his cruelty and lack of empathy for the sapient clones easily marks him as one of these.
  • Straw Fan: He's a biting satire of entitled fans who have god complexes over their favorite properties and see them only as power fantasies.
  • Tranquil Fury: When Nanette tells him that she refuses to play along with his "Space Force Bullshit", Daly corrects her with "Space Fleet". Although he does so quietly, the underlying nerd rage in his voice is palpable. The other bridge crew members even have a subtle Oh, Crap! reaction to this.
  • Unsexy Sadist: Robert Daly and his character "Captain Daly" are portrayed as pathetic (although very dangerous) creeps. While the incompetent in-universe author Robert Daly keeps trying to portray his character Captain Daly as a gloriously wholesome Bastard Boyfriend, the in-universe audience does not buy it at all — and the narrative does not encourage the real life audience to buy it either.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Interesting case. The Space Fleet James Walton, at first, doesn't play along with Daly. Daly breaks him by getting his son Tommy's DNA from a lollipop, scanning the child into the game, and throwing him out of an airlock as Walton watches. The child and Walton are only digital copies, but it's still a monstrous act.

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