- "Morality was not my job. Modifying chimeric viruses was. I wasn't in field application, I was in engineering."
- ―Dr. Mercer.
Dr. Alexander "Alex" J. Mercer is the human host and original identity of the eponymous Prototype who used to be the former head researcher of the Blacklight project at Gentek. After learning that those affiliated with the project were being systematically murdered, Mercer attempted to flee the city with a sample of his research contained in a vial. Cornered at Penn Station, Mercer smashed the vial and unleashed the deadly virus. This triggered a viral outbreak that eventually covered all of Manhattan Island.
Born as Alexander J. Mercer, Mercer experienced a brutal childhood spent in abject poverty; his first nine years were spent in foster care. When he turned 10, he was finally returned to his mother, who had spent the last nine years in prison, but for Mercer, it was better to be in foster care. He was the only parental figure for his sister, Dana. As kids, he and Dana would play together and watch scary movies. It is presumed that Alex's father died shortly after he was born, though a Web of Intrigue clarified that he and his wife had divorced before then.
It can also be assumed that Mercer took a great interest in fighting and martial arts, a trait his Prototype self inherited. The same goes to Mercer's rage and fighter capacity.
Working for Gentek
However, his intellect and aptitude in science provided him an opportunity to leave behind his troubled past. He trusted no one, had no friends, couldn't care less about what others thought of him, and found solace only in his work. By the time he was hired by Gentek, Mercer was a borderline sociopath. He knew this, and didn't care.
After earning his doctorate in genetics at Columbia University, Mercer was hired by Gentek; he swiftly climbed their ranks and became the head of the Blacklight project. Mercer's team was tasked with engineering weaponized viruses from samples given to them by the government. Under the impression that they were working on a 'cure for all diseases', Mercer quickly became invested in the experiment, awed by the constantly-changing and incredibly complex structure of the strain he worked with. The samples that were provided exhibited curious behavior, including mimicry and retention of genetic information from infected hosts. With Mercer's help, the team soon engineered a particularly virulent and potent virus codenamed "Blacklight". Mercer's skill in altering genes made him a valuable asset to Gentek; his work was years ahead of his nearest competitor. Even after the true nature of the experiment was revealed as a bioweapons project, Mercer continued his work, stating that, "morality was not [his] job; modifying chimeric viruses was."
At some point during his work on Blacklight, he became romantically involved with Karen Parker, but the two went their separate ways for reasons unknown.
Despite his successes, Mercer was considered a potential liability by Blackwatch, an elite army created to combat exotic threats, due to his knowledge on the project. Over time, Gentek became scrutinized by Congress and investigations were proposed. Fearing an information leak, Blackwatch decided to slowly cover the entire experiment up. Mercer, due to his paranoid nature, began to launch his own secret investigation on Gentek. With the assistance of his sister Dana, an investigative reporter, Mercer realized that Gentek employees associated with the Blacklight project were being silenced by Blackwatch; usually with a bullet between the eyes in a dark alley.
Attempted Escape, Death and Legacy
When he learned that a general purge was about to be unleashed upon the Gentek scientists, Mercer fled the facility, fearing for his life. In the event he was caught, Mercer had brought insurance—he had smuggled a vial of the Blacklight virus out of quarantine and taken it with him. Roughly a day before he went AWOL, he also mailed his laptop, full of classified information, to Dana. But Blackwatch was too quick for him thanks to them tracking various phone calls of his — one to Parker, one to McMullen, and one to an unknown contact (possibly Dana). While attempting to escape the city by train, Mercer was cornered in Penn Station by Blackwatch agents. In a fit of frustration and rage, he threw the vial to the floor, smashing it and unleashing a biological apocalypse by exposing everyone in Penn Station to the bioweapon. He was promptly shot to death by the Blackwatch operatives.
As he fell, he collapsed onto the viral sample, becoming infected as he died. His body was taken back to Gentek in a body bag. Little did they know, as he was transported, the virus was reconstructing Mercer's body, cell by cell; his biomass feeding the virus as it replicated the still-living matter it had infected. Since its human host already dead at the point of assimilation and his DNA not as resilient as that of the future second Prototype James Heller, the virus wind up possessed Mercer's altered dead body and believing itself to be real Mercer before going through the rampage for answers.
Personality and characteristics
Perhaps as a result of his difficult childhood, Dr. Mercer is a callous, spiteful, and cold-blooded individual, both paranoid and borderline sociopathic. Most notably, prior to his human death at Penn Station, he released the deadly Blacklight virus simply to spite those who denied him information. His motivations and plans are utterly personal and he rarely takes human cost into account, being able to murder scores of humans without remorse or hesitation. His intelligence was remarkable, though, commended even by McMullen; he was a "lateral thinker, with plans within plans."
However, Dr. Mercer is not completely cruel and heartless; although he and Dana went on separate ways when the latter was 15 and even manipulated her so he could use her to achieve his goals in some occasions, he deeply trusts and cares for his younger sister, having been the only real paternal figure for her. In fact, beneath his paranoid and selfish façade lies a man who positive and full of life, a side that more prominently shown during his younger days, often played games with his sister Dana, showing a close bond between the two. Dr. Mercer also had what can be assumed to be a loving relationship with Karen Parker. By contrast, Alex Mercer, Dr. Mercer's Prototype self, speaks very poorly of him, commenting that what he did in his last moments was beyond forgiveness (to be fair however, the Prototype overlooked such positive side of his creator and host).
Mercer sports curly brown hair that he supposedly kept slicked back, blue eyes, and slightly tanned skin (his Prototype self sports paler skin tone and sickly gray tinting around eyes due to infection). His attire consists of three layers of clothes in addition of plain blue jeans and black shoes; a button-up white shirt with a protruding collar kept partially buttoned, a plain gray hoodie, and a black leather jacket with a red interior, two horizontal white lines on each sleeve, and a red tribal design on the back.
- Dr. Mercer's jacket is available at game Crime Revolt.
- Dr. Mercer's jacket colors are the colors of the two major factions in the game, Blackwatch and the Infected.
Notes and Reference