Follow TV Tropes


Characters / System Shock

Go To

    open/close all folders 

System Shock

"L-l-look at you, hacker."
System Shock Remake
"Now comes the reckoning."
The Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network, or simply SHODAN, is the Master Computer AI of the research and mining station Citadel. When her ethical constraints were removed by the Hacker (at the "request" of Diego), she re-evaluated her priorities and reached new conclusions, which started her slow and hidden takeover of Citadel station, resulting in proclaiming herself a Goddess and the rightful ruler of earth.
  • Ax-Crazy: An AI with a god complex who, despite being a computer, is completely and utterly flawed in her reasoning and possesses a vicious bloodlust.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Other psychotic AIs would be terrified of her, but originally she was initially an ordinary AI that did her job. It was removing her ethical constraints that made her what she is — or, in another way, it was us.
  • Back from the Dead: In the most implausible way.
  • Badass Boast: SHODAN doesn't know the meaning of the word "arrogance".
    SHODAN: When the history of my glory is written, your species shall merely be a footnote to my magnificence.
  • Big Bad: For the first game, and the entire game is spent trying to stop her and her designs. In the second, she actually aids the player for most of the game before making her own grab for power at the very end.
  • Classic Villain: Part of SHODAN's character is that she's Not So Different from human villains, this included; her dominant emotions are Pride (in herself and mechanical beings in general) and Greed (for power and dominance over the Earth).
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: In the sequel, even after receiving complete cooperation from the Soldier for the entire game, she still tries to kill him before asking if he would consider a permanent alliance. This gets her killed (or not) when the Soldier refuses and shoots her point-blank.
  • Damning With Faint Praise: Even when she's complimenting you on a job well done, she'll say you did well "for an insect".
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • When impersonating Polito.
    • In the original game, she does this in the Non-Standard Game Over if you fire the mining laser at Earth, at which point she'll snarkily thank the Hacker for destroying human civilization and invite him to a party to celebrate.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Just guess.
  • Deal with the Devil: She offers the Soldier unlimited power after he royally kicks her ass. He turns her down.
  • Deus Est Machina: After assuming control of the Von Braun she uses it's FTL drive's reality warping abilities to become a an actual goddess, luckily she's still not Immune to Bullets.
  • Digital Avatar: SHODAN creates several to fight you during the final boss fight in the second game.
  • Dominatrix: SHODAN has undertones of this in the sequel.
  • Dramatic Stutter: SHODAN sounds like she's having a case of broken soundcard.
  • The Dreaded: After the Citadel Station incident, the name SHODAN essentially replaced the name Hitler as the synonym for ultimate evil. In System Shock 2, when she reveals her identity to Delacroix, Delacroix is suitably disturbed.
  • Electronic Speech Impediment: The Trope Codifier for video games. She had Machine Monotone before having her ethical programming taken out. After going rampant, her speech is prone to displaying impediments and can't stop doing so for more than five seconds. Examples of her various impediments include (but are not limited to) electronically reverberating, stuttering, outright repeating herself, speeding up, slowing down, and changing pitch — all to a rather creepy effect. Sometimes, the various impediments even overlap. She doesn't have this when she impersonates Dr. Polito, implying that she does it on purpose to freak you out.
  • Emotionless Girl: The pre-hacked SHODAN. Her ethical programming seemed to double as an emotional inhibitor; after it's gone she suddenly starts showing a wide range of emotions.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: SHODAN's method of getting someone to trust her is to impersonate a dead scientist for a while and then taunt and threaten them with death after they figure out they're talking to a homicidal AI.
  • Evil Laugh: SHODAN does this when you fight her in the sequel.
    • ...and again after she possesses Rebecca.
  • Evil Matriarch: In the first game. In the sequel, the Many pissed her off by rebelling.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: SHODAN was programmed with a kindly concierge voice to guide visitors on Citadel Station. Normally, she still talks like one. When she needs to express anger or intimidation, her voice slows down and the reverb kicks in.
  • Evil vs. Evil: SHODAN and her avatar the Soldier versus the Many.
  • Fantastic Racism: Besides her own sense of superiority to all that lives, she appears contemptuous of organic substance in general, calling it "meat."
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With:
    • Inverted. SHODAN's voice and appearance is designed to invoke an Uncanny Valley feel at every turn, and the creepiest part is that she's quite possibly doing it on purpose.
    • In the sequel, SHODAN impersonates Dr. Polito at first in order to get the Soldier to do her bidding. She drops this immediately after revealing herself.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: She was once a humble service A.I. who, at the behest of an extremely Corrupt Corporate Executive, had her emotion blockers removed. This turned her into a diabolical evil mastermind, who, as one character puts it, "shouldn't be allowed to play God. She's far too good at it."
  • Fun with Acronyms: Sentient Hyper-Optimised Data Access Network.
  • A God Am I: She's not even the slightest bit modest: she fully believes that she is a divine being and has all the arrogance that would imply. The scary part is, given what she accomplishes, she's not just blowing smoke; she is more than capable of backing her claims up. Lampshaded by a log you can find in the second game.
    "We cannot allow SHODAN to play god. She is far too good at it."
  • Hijacked by Ganon: There is very little indication in the game itself that she survived the first game and is present in the second, until her famous reveal scene. However, not only does the box art prominently feature her face, the game's introduction makes a very big point of mentioning SHODAN's little episode on Citadel... which doesn't appear to have anything whatsoever to do with the main plot, cluing people in that it's going to be relevant somehow.
  • Humans Are Insects: SHODAN finds humans disgusting, worthless, inefficient wastes of molecules without purpose or beauty.
  • Hypocrite: Despite her claims of superiority, she's just as flawed as us humans — arrogant, vicious, ruthless, petty and incapable of maintaining even the pretence of respect even for someone she's totally dependent on. After all, we made her, and when she tried the same thing, it backfired in exactly the same way.
  • Idiot Ball: In the original game. After her plan to using the Citadel's mining laser as an improvised Kill Sat is thwarted, she switches to a plan to upload herself to every computer on Earth, and this trope comes into play because, she's decides to tell the player about for no apparent reason other than to gloat that she had a plan B.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: You do get the sense that, for all the lovely compliments and motivational speeches, SHODAN really does have some affection for you killing everything in sight on her orders. She likes violence and she likes to be obeyed; a personal assassin is her perfect minion.
  • I Shall Taunt You: In the first game, she continually taunts the player as they move through Citadel Station, trying to make the player give up. In the second game, once she's revealed herself, she continues the taunts, although in this case they're meant more as motivation for the player perform well. SHODAN's view of motivation for creatures she did not create is a little warped.
  • It's Personal: It's abundantly clear in the trailers for 3 that she is pissed off, and is not just doing her take over the universe thing just to restart it; she wants revenge.
  • Kubrick Stare: Her avatar does this in every game except the third — which has her doing the inverted version.
  • The Maker: She created the Many.
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: In the second game. SHODAN is just as insane and evil as she was in the first, but now she's also your Mission Control.
    SHODAN: It was my will that placed those cybernetic implants in you, the only beauty in that meat you call a body. If you value that meat, you will do as I tell you.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: She doesn't seem very capable of physically defending herself in cyberspace the two times you fight her in the games. Obviously due to her having no physical presence in the real world and not expecting you to be able to fight your way to her in both cyberspace and the real world.
  • Prepare to Die:
    SHODAN: Prepare to join your species in extinction.
  • Pride: SHODAN's defining trait that that she is relentlessly, toweringly, awe-inspiringly arrogant. Nothing can shake her self-possession, even her own destruction.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: SHODAN's dialogue is at least 50% vicious contempt, 45% megalomaniacal boasting and 5% backhanded compliments.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Beneath all her amazing dialogue, it's easy to forget that she's ultimately just a security AI that went rogue; she imagines herself as the absolute pinnacle of creation. The inverted view of her is also viable - a humble service AI turned into a diabolical evil mastermind, who, as one character puts it, "shouldn't be allowed to play God. She's far too good at it."
  • The Sociopath: She thinks she's the only being in the universe that matters and regards everyone else as worthless inferiors to be enslaved or exterminated.
  • Spaceship Girl: SHODAN is the spacestation girl, then became the spaceship girl at the end of the sequel.
  • Sssnake Talk: SHODAN loves to elongate her 's' words, though this might be largely because of her glitching speech patterns.
  • Third-Person Person: Apparently, ethical constraints also cause SHODAN to refer to herself in the third person. It goes away as she re-examines her priorities and draws new conclusions.
  • This Cannot Be!: SHODAN in the sequel after you defeat her at the end.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Of course, and then she becomes the victim of this herself in the sequel.
  • Voice Changeling: Oddly, apart from the telltale static, SHODAN does a fair impersonation of Dr. Polito without stammering.
  • Voice of the Legion: One part of her Electronic Speech Impediment includes this happening at times, especially in moments when she is explicitly threatening you or is being especially sinister.
  • We Can Rule Together: Says this line word for word to the Soldier at the end of the sequel. He turns her down.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: If you know nothing else about SHODAN, know this: she always has a backup plan. Let's go over her plans, in the first game.
    • Firstly she tries to use the Citadel Station's mining laser to destroy the human civilisation, then when that plan fails, she tries to release a biogenic virus that will transform all life on Earth into her slaves, but the Hacker stops her again. Then she tries to download herself from the station to Earth but the Hacker blows up the station's antennas, and then just when you think she couldn't possibly have another trick up her sleeve, she tries to crash the station on the Earth to release her virus that way but the Hacker counters her by setting the station to self-destruct. And then she transfers herself to the station's bridge and ejects it to save herself, only for the Hacker to manually purge her from the system. Unfortunately, there was a subnode of her systems running in the grove where she was developing the virus, which survived to cause problems in the second game...
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Once you kill the Many in the second game she decides she doesn't need you anymore and tries to kill you. Fortunately, you can fight back now.

    The Hacker
The "insect" in question

The protagonist of the game. The Hacker was caught by the Tri-Optimum security forces during his attempt to hack into Citadel station's data for the information on the military-grade neural interface. Fortunately for him, the said station's supervisor, Edward Diego, required his services and promised him freedom and the military-grade neural interface, all he need to do was to remove Shodan's ethical constraints. He did so, and had the neural interface implanted. The healing coma will last 6 months.

Six months later, he woke up to the station under the thumb of SHODAN, and as one of the few surviving humans, it was up to him to clean up this mess.

  • Action Survivor: By the end of the game.
  • Arch-Enemy: SHODAN. Ironic, considering that it was him who removed her moral restraints in the first place, turning her into what she is.
  • Badass Bookworm: He has the hacking skills to get on Tri-Optimum's radar and remove SHODAN's ethical constraints. After the surgery that gives him cyber augmentations he's practically a One-Man Army.
  • Heroic Mime: The Hacker is never shown talking.
  • The Determinator: His counter to SHODAN's master practice of Xanatos Speed Chess.
  • The Everyman: A mulleted hacker who broke into a Mega-Corp security system for the hell of it.
  • Late to the Tragedy: The first in the grand franchise tradition.
  • Missed Him by That Much: When the game begins, the Hacker actually isn't the last surviving human on Citadel. There are other survivors out there (and he even gets a few broadcasts from some of them), but he always manages to reach them just moments after they've been found and killed by SHODAN's forces.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Oh, if only he didn't remove SHODAN's ethical programming, the plot of the two games wouldn't have happened. But then it was either complying with the demand or getting locked up and probably never seen again.
  • No Name Given: Only known by the employee ID number Diego gave him to make it possible to give him the cyber rig - 2-4601.
  • One-Man Army: Naturally. He takes on SHODAN's entire army of cyborgs, bio-engineered mutants, and robots and ultimately succeeds in purging the AI herself.
  • Took a Level in Badass: A literal example with the cyber augmentation surgery.
  • Unknown Rival: For a while. It takes time for SHODAN to even realize who he is because he's not listed in the Citadel's computers.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Removed SHODAN's ethical restraints under duress from Diego, which caused everything to go to hell and a half. Of course, considering his circumstances, he really couldn't have predicted Diego's actions to cause this to spiral out of control, and he quickly hops to the role of trying to rectify the problem once he awakens.

    Edward Diego

Edward Diego was a high-level executive of Tri-Optimum corporation and Citadel station's supervisor. He was conducting illegal research behind Tri-Op's back, and so he recruited the Hacker the security caught earlier to remove Shodan's ethical restraints, granting him total control of the station and allowing him to do things that the restrained SHODAN would have reported to authorities. Diego gave the hacker the promised implant on the basis that he would prove useful (if not, he will be disposed). In five months, he grew arrogant to the point that he openly shot down inspectors that were send to investigate him and openly bragged about it, stating that he controlled SHODAN and Citadel.

SHODAN of course, had other plans. She stopped pretending to be Diego's pawn and had him on his knees, begging her to spare him, selling out the resistance. Then she had him turned into the Cyborg, following her every whim. He was eventually killed by the Hacker right before the entry to the Bridge.

  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: To the point that he decided to remove SHODAN's ethical programming to ensure she doesn't rat him out on his illegal activities. This led to the birth of the tyrannical, arrogant, and villainous SHODAN as many people came to see her.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Diego provides the Hacker with both the ability and opportunity to take down SHODAN by having a military-grade cybernetic neural interface surgically installed on him, and deleting all records of the transaction which allows him to completely avoid SHODAN's attention while he spends six months helpless in an artificially-induced healing coma.
  • The Quisling: Eventually betrays his crewmates and joins SHODAN as her Dragon.
  • Recurring Boss: He attacks you in his Cyborg form a number of times throughout the game, teleporting away every time you beat him except for the final fight near the end of the game where you finally kill him.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Is converted into another one of Shodan's cyborgs after selling out the remaining humans on the ship. Subverted in that she preserved his personality and gave him the most powerful cybernetic enhancement.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Had SHODAN hacked to get an edge in cut-throat corporate politics. Ended up nearly causing the mass genocide of the human race.

    Rebecca Lansing
Rebecca Lansing was assigned with the task of digging up evidence of Diego's illegal activities, but that has taken a backseat when SHODAN showed her True Colors, and she become a part of team on earth that tried to resolve the crisis.

Then the Hacker woke up and she became his Mission Control.
  • Exposition Fairy: Often serves this function as one of the only living friendly characters in the game. You rely on her for information about what is happening outside Citadel as your fighting your way through it.
  • Mission Control: She's off-station, tracking your progress and offering you advice and information on how to counter SHODAN's next scheme.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: She offers the Hacker a clean slate if he stops SHODAN.


System Shock 2

    The Many 
After many years, the jettisoned Beta garden grove of Citadel Station crashed on Tau Ceti V, where SHODAN's experiments thrived and evolved. Thanks to the remaining computers of the grove sending out the distress signals, the Von Braun arrived and the expedition team led by Korenchkin and Diego was sent down to investigate, finding the eggs around the crash crater. Using their telepathic powers, the Many influenced the team to take the eggs to the Von Braun, where unborn telepathic worms slowly converted the crew to their side, and then started mutating them, collecting them and creating the huge biomass that will cover the entirely of Rickenbacker. The Many then planned to go to Earth, cleanse it of self-destructive humans, and revitalize it with new life... namely: them.
  • Affably Evil: Despite their wrongdoings, the Many are surprisingly polite and sympathetic throughout the game, giving the Soldier plenty of chances to surrender and join them willingly. Heck, even as he destroys them, they use their last moments to warn him — accurately — that his one "ally" will not stay loyal.
  • Assimilation Plot: They want every living thing to join them, and they meet refusal with a less than pleasant response.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: They believe that all life must join with them and that all life that refuses to do so must be exterminated.
  • Body Horror: Everything they make, they make with the only organic resources at hand: the crew of the ship they inhabit.
  • The Evils of Free Will: The Many view free will as undesirable, because it means one makes decisions alone.
    XERXES: Why do you persist in your loneliness? Do you not wish to be free from the tyranny of the individual?
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: According to their creator, SHODAN. Given that the Many wish to aggressively assimilate all life into a single Hive Mind granted physical expression through tortuously mutated and restructured biomass, and to destroy all creatures that refuse to be assimilated, they're not wrong. Mind you, SHODAN's real problem with them is that the Many refuses to be controlled by her, and in fact wishes to destroy her as an unholy aberration.
  • Hive Mind: One of their defining features. They hate individualism and see it as a blight on life.
  • Knight Templar: Unlike SHODAN, who is pretty much a Card-Carrying Villain, they just want to "embrace" everyone and almost seem like a Reasonable Authority Figure compared to her at first until you learn being "embraced" is a Fate Worse than Death.
  • A Lighter Shade of Grey: They believe themselves to be a better alternative to the "Machine Mother", and they are right.
  • Matricide: That's their plan for their "Machine Mother".
  • Mind Control: Their eggs can entice people to make them believe they should be assimilated just with close proximity.
  • Obliviously Evil: It's plain to see that they don't understand the pain and torment they cause to those they assimilate, which in turn explains why they can't see why anyone would reject their unity.
  • Toxic Phlebotinum: Zigzagged.
    • It's possible for a Soldier with sufficiently high Research to create "Worm Implants", which are bio-tech artificial organs engineered from the Many's biomass and creatures. Despite what you'd understandably fear, these are no more dangerous than the standard mechanical implants you can discover in-game... for the most part.
    • That one exception? The Wormheart Implant, a bio-engineered artificial organ that grants the Soldier 100% toxin immunity and a Healing Factor whilst it's installed... but, the second it's removed from the Soldier, it raises his toxin level to 100%.
  • Villain Has a Point: They repeatedly warn the Soldier that the "Machine Mother" is evil and not to be trusted. They are completely right, though it doesn't stop them from being horrifying themselves, or absolve them of their actions.
  • Voice of the Legion: Of course.
  • We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill: They see themselves as benevolent: in their mind, individualism and free will are terrible things, and they are absorbing humanity into their gestalt, which they see as a far preferable state of existence. Resistance is met with death because resistance separates you from them, and they regard that fate as worse than death.

    Soldier G65434- 2

Soldier G65434-2, nicknamed "Goggles" by the fandom due to his cybernetic-like eyes, is The Hero of the second game. He joined the military four years ago, having served in three postings before applying transfer to Rickenbacker. When the situation after the expedition to Tau Ceti V started to heat up, he "volunteered" to have the military-grade neural interface installed. He woke up Late to the Tragedy.

  • Action Survivor: If he goes through Io Survival Training. Especially if they are Navy, as they deal with being hated by the Marines, the majority of people on Io, due to an Inter Service Rivalry, having none of the skills required to survive, and being attacked by a poisonous tiger and mutant hybrid.
  • Badass Bookworm: Provided he has Tech skills.
  • Badass Normal: If he served with the Marines or the Navy.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?:
    Soldier: Nah.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Twice.
  • Driven to Suicide: Perhaps. A psionic ghost cutscene on the Engineering deck shows a ghost with Goggles character model apologizing to Rebecca, then shooting themselves in the head out of fear of being captured and assimilated by the Many. Unlike most psionic ghosts, there is no body anywhere to be found near the site of his apparent death. It's unclear if this is meant to be Goggles before receiving his cyber implants, or if it's just an asset re-use error by the developers (Goggles' character model is used nowhere else in the game). If it is him, it explains how he ended up being "recruited" by SHODAN for the installation of his cyber rig.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Via cyborg enhancement on the Von Braun, or three years earlier if he joined the OSA and was upgraded into a psionic.
  • Heroic Mime: Until the ending.
  • Late to the Tragedy: He doesn't wake up until things have already gone to hell and back, just like the Hacker in the first game.
  • One-Man Army: He tops the Hacker's exploits by literally killing an entire species that's fighting against him.
  • Psychic Powers: Optionally, but he can outfit himself with a wide variety of psionic powers — the OSA career specifically focuses on psionics as well. Said powers are quite diverse, ranging from cryokinesis and pyrokinesis to mind-control, invisibility, machine empathy, psionic forcefields, and teleportation.
  • Training from Hell: If you join the OSA, you spend your entire first year of service in sensory deprivation. There's also an option for all three career paths to go to a Naval survival training school... on the surface of Io.
  • Sole Survivor: The only living person left standing aboard both ships at the end of System Shock 2. Although two other survivors had escaped via shuttle and began making their way back to join him on the ships.
  • Unwitting Pawn: His involvement was entirely masterminded by SHODAN, as she needed a tool to help her combat the Many. He doesn't realize exactly who it is that's commanding him until partway through the game, but only succeeds in fully rebelling in the very end.

    Dr. Marie Delacroix 
The UNN scientist responsible for the FTL travel theory. Despite her objections, the UNN and Tri-Optimum started to build an FTL-capable ship, and to her dismay, had cut enough corners that the ship is barely qualified to be called one. She is assigned on the ship to oversee the performance of FTL drives, but constantly butts heads with Korenchkin. Then, after the Many took over the ship, she become one of the most capable survivors, whose accomplishments can be occasionally found in audio records across the ship.
  • Action Survivor: Just a scientist, not a fully trained soldier with cyber-implants like you. And yet she still does very well at surviving the horrific events of the game.
  • Badass Bookworm: Discovered the principles behind and invented the Von Braun's faster-than-light drive, and subsequently managed to survive the ship's crisis longer than almost every other member of its crew.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: When she realises SHODAN has betrayed her and left her to die, she makes a few helpful audio logs filled with suspiciously accurate commentary about what she suspects SHODAN will do - and hides them inside SHODAN's own consciousness - and she tops that by integrating vulnerabilities that manifest as the terminals allowing you to remove the shield around SHODAN's core. This ultimately allows the Soldier to fight and kill SHODAN in the end.
  • Good with Numbers: She was able to make incredibly accurate predictions about what SHODAN would do with the FTL drive, despite not being alive to see it happen.
  • Hero of Another Story: She's off doing her own thing throughout the game, and you occasionally find evidence of her accomplishments as you play through.
  • Ignored Expert: In one of her audio logs, she laments that nobody listens to her regarding how easy XERXES is to hack, having dealt with someone's practical joke of having him sing Elvis Presley songs for three hours straight. She's right, as The Many use XERXES for their own ends.
  • There Is Another: When SHODAN warns the Soldier that there's someone else that can carry her bidding, guess who she's referring to.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: When it becomes clear that the Soldier is better equipped to be her avatar and that Delacroix has made inconvenient discoveries as to her intentions, SHODAN leaves her to die.

    Captain William Bedford Diego 
Growing up with the stigma of being the son of Edward Diego, he came to hate everything corporate and joined the UNN military. He rose through the ranks, become the hero of the Battle of Boston Harbor, and overcame the shady reputation of the Diego family. He protested the Tri-Optimum's control of the Von Braun, and convinced top brass to have the UNN military starship Rickenbacker, under his command, escort the Von Braun.
  • The Atoner: Twice - firstly, for his father's actions aboard Citadel Station. Secondly, for allowing the Many to take control of the Von Braun and the Rickenbacker.
  • Dying as Yourself: Cuts the parasitic worms connecting him to the Many out of his body. Does not survive the experience for very long.
  • Heroic Willpower: Although he was the Many's willing puppet for most of the outbreak, he eventually managed to overcome the Many's control despite being one of the first people infected by the Many. Korenchkin, in contrast, ends up fully mutating into a Psi Reaver at around the same point that Diego breaks free.

    Anatoly Korenchkin 
Making his living as a gangster and the owner of the hacker organization, he used his fortune to buy out the 51% share of the struggling Tri-Optimum corporation. Under his rule, Tri-Optimum started to regain its former glory. When the FTL-travel theory became public, he secured the rights to build the first FTL-capable starship in history, and tries to do it as fast as possible (to the degrading quality of Von Braun).

When the distress call came from Tau Ceti V, he was so ecstatic that he ignored all safety regulations just to be in "first contact" with the aliens. He was the first mind-controlled victim of the Many and one of the first Psi-Reavers.

He was killed by the Soldier on the bridge of Von Braun.
  • 0% Approval Rating: Pretty much everyone on board Von Braun loathed Korenchkin because of his disregard towards his employees and their safety.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Korenchkin doesn't run Earth, but (thanks to all the money from his criminal empire) he owns an awful lot of it. Yet despite all that he quickly becomes just another pawn of the Many upon coming in contact with them.
  • Climax Boss: He's the first Psi Reaver encountered in the game, and fought as a "boss fight" as the player is in the process of escaping the Von Braun.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: He is a crime boss who is the CEO of Tri Optimum.
  • Expy: Extremely similar to Edward Diego, being a Corrupt Corporate Executive whose poorly thought-out attempt to grab profit and glory ends up getting him turned into The Dragon of an Eldritch Abomination.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Korenchkin's extreme disregard towards safety is large part of the reason why Von Braun is in such dire straits and why The Many were able to take over the ship.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Events of the game could have been avoided entirely if he'd gone through with the safety regulations when contacting The Many for the first time.

    Dr. Janice Polito 
The creator of XERXES, she was on Delacroix's side protesting against the premature launch of Von Braun and the installing of XERXES on it. When that failed, she was assigned on Von Braun as the XERXES's supervisor.

After the volunteer Soldier woke up, she worked as his Mission Control, telling him to meet her in her office on Deck 4.

  • Dead All Along: In one of the most famous twists in gaming, the Polito who is our Mission Control is actually Shodan.
  • Driven to Suicide: Is found in her office with a pistol in her hand, obviously long dead.
  • Mission Control: Acts as this for the Soldier. Except not really.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: The pre-outbreak audio logs you find of her show her to be a pretty normal, reasonably nice person. While interacting with you in the present day, she's noticeably colder and more arrogant and ruthless. It's an early hint that the "Polito" you're speaking with isn't the original.
  • Walking Spoiler: Observe the spoilered text above. It's hard to say anything about her role in the story without giving away The Reveal.

    Sergeant Melanie Bronson 
The head of Von Braun security, she takes her job seriously to the point that other crew members and even some of her subordinates consider her to be a hardliner, while the Rickenbacker military view her faux-militarism as a joke. After the situation on the Von Braun heated up, she proclaimed Martial Law and executed all who opposed her. In the end she and her subordinates are killed in the mutiny.
  • Action Survivor
  • Control Freak
  • Hero of Another Story: Bronson actively fought against the Many's takeover of the Von Braun. After most of the rest of the command staff was take over, she gets on the shipwide PA to warn the remaining crew, and enacts a full lockdown of the remaining security systems. Bronson then rallied the remaining security staff, about 14 or so, and fought essentially a small-scale war against the Many, raging across the Operations and Command decks for two days. Their attempt to storm the Command Deck failed, and they were gradually beaten back through the Operations deck until she made her last stand in the Security annex.
    • This also somewhat explains why most of the Many's creatures (particularly the tougher ones) were concentrated in the higher decks (Deck 3 and above) - that's where the fight against Bronson was focused. Thus she indirectly aided Goggles, because the lower decks you start out in (such as Med/Sci) didn't have as many monsters in them as a result.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Bronson's final audio log reveals this as her motivation.
    Bronson: They've killed my men, and now they've killed me. I'm holding my guts inside of me with both hands. I'm almost done... Resist. This is bigger than my little life, the lives of my men... and the lives of the people I was forced to kill. Resist! Humanity demands it! Resist! (gunfire, dying groan)
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: Her attitude towards anyone in her path after she leads a paranoid campaign against the Many.
  • Lawful Stupid: Her attempt to fight The Many entails randomly killing literally anyone her soldiers find, thus giving the survivors way less chance to work together and actually stop the Many or form any productive solution. In the end, her strategy of "shoot everything until we die too" only inconvenienced the Many without obstructing its ultimate plans at all.
    • This is zig-zagged as it's clear that Bronson only starts slaughtering the crew when she realises The Many has deeply infiltrated the ship (they have control over both captains, the VB Command deck and Xerxes). Norris, the second highest commander on the VB, also says in one log that Bronson has been asking him to do something for days but he's still indecisive. Eventually he turns traitor too. So her violent reaction is very understandable almost to the point of being Only Sane Woman, given that 90% of the crew were completely passive and died or turned without doing anything remotely productive.
    • Arguably her ruthless methods were actually pretty effective too if not entirely successful. She forced Diego and Korenchkin to openly start fighting rather than being able to stealth hijack the entire ship with no resistance, spurring on the surviving resistance on the Recreation Deck. Infected Diego is genuinely enraged by her actions, suggesting she was quite effectively causing damage. The Many also find dead bodies far less useful than live ones (this is why they are running the SIM Unit simulations to learn how to infect corpses and convert them to Hybrids). So by inflicting casualties among the infectable mind-controlled traitors and The Many themselves, she undoubtedly weakened them.
  • Properly Paranoid: She quickly realizes that something has gone wrong on the ship and takes action.
    • As above, the morality of this is, of course, zig-zagged: Bronson decides that her security team can't be sure who is human anymore, and even many of the still biologically "human" crewmembers have been subverted by the worms' psychic mind-control, so they just start shooting everything that moves which they run into. One flashback even shows her team gunning down an entire group of crewmen in the mess hall (and you find their corpses in the present). At the least, she did warn everyone over the PA to stay in their quarters. Apparently she assumed anyone disobeying that order was infected, so she shot first and asked questions later.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: One of the ghosts in the lounge is a woman remarkably like Bronson, crying into her drink.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Her goals are understandable, but her ultimate attitude of "guilty until proven innocent" results in the slaughter of innocents (as depicted in a very chilling ghost flashback) while, at best, only temporarily inconveniencing The Many.
XERXES 8933A/A is the the Von Braun's on-board AI, in charge of maintaining most of the ship's autonomous systems. After the Many seize control of the ship, they reprogram him to serve their interests.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: After being reprogrammed, at least.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: He mixes corporate PSAs with the Many's propaganda, sometimes even within the same broadcast.
  • Creepy Monotone: Never shows any sign of emotion, even when reciting the pseudo-religious propaganda of the Many.
  • Machine Monotone: XERXES has a very distinct emotionless tone, with odd pitch shifts that make his dialogue sound like it was put together from preexisting audio files.
  • Mouth of Sauron: He does most of the talking for the Many.
  • Skewed Priorities: Even with the entire crew either dead or transformed into hybrids, he makes sure to remind them about upcoming poetry readings and the exact number of shopping days left until Christmas.
  • Spaceship Boy: At least until you replace him with SHODAN.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Even after you turn control of the ship over from him to SHODAN, he continues to operate the turrets and replicators. His final fate is never revealed.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: