Clovis Bray I

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"Vex encryption. Unbreakable? Ha, so they say."
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Clovis Bray I
Biographical information

Species:

Human

Gender:

Male

Political and military information

Affiliation:

Clovis Bray (corporation)

Notable info:

Founder of Clovis Bray

 
"Maps end. Maps insist on having borders and edges or the table falls away. Which isn’t the way the universe works."
— Clovis Bray I

Clovis Bray I was a Golden Age scientist, the patriarch of the Bray family, and the founder of the technology and research company Clovis Bray.

Biography

Founding Clovis Bray

At some point during the Golden Age or before, Clovis I founded the Clovis Bray exoscience corporation. His son, Clovis II, became a senior researcher at the company, as did his grandchildren Elisabeth, Alton, Wilhelmina and Anastasia.

Mission to Europa

Toward the end of his life, Bray embarked on a mission to Europa, both to catalogue the moon's native life-forms and to investigate a source of power alluded to in messages from the K1 anomaly. The paracausal force empowering the artifact, which Bray referred to as "Clarity", had promised Bray the secret to immortality - a secret which Bray was desperate to obtain.

Upon reaching Europa, Bray discovered both native life in the moon's subsurface ocean, and the source of "Clarity," which Bray named "Clarity Control". Bray requested that his granddaughter Elisabeth, who was suffering from inherited fatal insomnia caused by the elder Bray's genetic meddling, join him and assist with his work, which she agreed to do.

"Clarity Control" instructed Bray to build a Vex gate, which Bray accomplished by stealing a Vex from the Ishtar Collective. The completed gate led to a blue giant star system, in which the star had been surrounded by orbiting particle accelerators, statites and other Vex megastructures in order to both prolong its life and use it to generate heavy elements via fusion.

During his investigation of the Vex, Bray discovered that exposing Vex milk to "Clarity" resulted in a substance with paracausal "anti-structural" properties, but lacking the virulence of raw radiolarian fluid. He then administered some of this substance to the physical hardware of an exomind, and discovered that it seemed to solve the "loop/billboard/crash" problem of exomind deterioration. Comparing this miraculous substance to the mythological Alkahest produced by the legendary Sorcerer's Stone, Bray decided to name his workplace on Europa the Deep Stone Crypt. Ultimately, however, another problem presented itself, Dissociative Exomind Rejection (or DER), which not even Bray's "Alkahest" could solve.

Bray later hit upon two solutions to DER. The first was a protocol for periodic retrograde amnesia, or "memory wipes", which would effectively reset the exomind to an earlier state before DER had set in. The second was to build Exo bodies with humanlike traits, such as an ability to eat, that would reduce the dissociation exominds felt with their machine bodies.

However, as the Vex began to infiltrate Europa by subtly encoding their patterns within the minds of Exo work teams returning from the 2082 Volantis, Bray subsequently extended the Exo memory-wipe protocol to trigger whenever certain classes of informational hazard - such as Vex machine code - were encountered. He referred to this as a sort of "noetic immune system", and noted that it would also return the Exos to peak mission readiness during future combat missions.

By then, the Vex infection had spread to Bray himself, corrupting his body at the molecular level. In order to save himself, Bray subjected himself to automated surgery, with the goal of replacing most of his organs with cloned replicas grown from pigs. However, during the operation, a Vex-defecting copy of Maya Sundaresh subverted the surgical machinery, ordering it to gruesomely vivisect Bray and awaken him after completion. He was rescued by Elisabeth, who had uploaded herself into an Exo body and destroyed the corrupted medical frames and the Vex unit, and was reassembled.

During the remainder of his surgery, Bray experienced a vision from the Traveler in the form of Alpha Lupi, which chided him for being so easily seduced by the Darkness. She explained that the visions Clovis had experienced during his recent brushes with death were warnings she sent, as the Darkness had no interest in speaking to those who were on the verge of dying. They were meant to be warnings. Everything else was a product of Clovis I's ego. He subsequently berated the Traveler for not personally intervening sooner.

Rebirth

As his body continued to be corrupted by the Vex, Bray chose to upload himself into an exomind format, cleansing himself of the infection once and for all. The Vex copy of Maya continued to torment him even as he was in the process of uploading, controlling his motor functions to scrawl taunting messages in his journal as Bray recorded his last words.

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

After the download, it existed as an artificial intelligence, embedded in the Deep Stone Crypt. A second copy of his mind was loaded into the specially-prepared high-spec Exobody he developed for himself and imprinted with his basic identity. After his reset, he grew to resent his former self's cruelty and egomania, uniting with Elsie's Exo self to purge Europa of the Vex and undo the damage his human self had wrought over dozens of resets, more than double the recommended amount for an Exo. Before retiring to the Tower, he asked his granddaughter to change the name in his imprint to a nickname he acquired, hoping his forty-forth life would be better than the previous ones.

Personality and Traits

"Clovis may have been a bastard, but a brilliant one."
Exo Stranger.

According to his son Clovis Bray II, Bray hated maps due to the fact that they ended, which he felt was not the way the universe worked. He viewed the work of his corporation as expanding a map that could never be completed. Bray also viewed everyone he worked with, including his employees and family, as collaborators rather than subordinates.[1]

Toward the end of his life, Bray appeared to suffer from megalomania and delusions of grandeur, with his diary entries proclaiming his intent to become the "LUCA", or Last Universal Common Ancestor (a term borrowed from biology), of all future human interstellar civilization. He saw his family as only being relevant insofar as being extensions of his will, a trait seen in psychopaths.

According to his own notes, Bray apparently had an antipathy toward women. This, combined with his megalomania, may have prompted his decision to donate his own mitochondrial DNA to his children in lieu of their mother's during their embryonic development. He was also obsessed with micromanaging his family line, and seemed to resent his adopted granddaughter Ana over her genetics, though it's unclear whether this is outright racism or simply rejection of non-Bray DNA. Despite his desire to become an Exo himself, Clovis I would spin up several instances of the same person's exomind to further study the exact ways in which they inevitably died suffering, suggesting a lack of empathy or regard for ethics.

Upon being encountered by the Guardians as an ancient "confidential intelligence", Clovis remains as arrogant and condescending as he was in life. He regarded the Guardians as intruders who solely aimed to steal his research but was surprised to learn that centuries had passed since his original death, from the Collapse to the appearance of the Fallen. Regardless of becoming an uneasy ally to the Guardians, Clovis continued to be patronizing and smug, despite them actually saving and aiding him. Upon reuniting with his granddaughters, Ana Bray and Exo Stranger, Clovis revealed that he remained obsessed in ensuing the legacy of the Bray name, even if said measures endanger humanity, claiming that the powers of the Darkness was meant for his family, not for the good of humanity. Clovis even remained unapologetic on how his research on the Vex brought the machines into the Solar System. Though he defended himself on that the Vex appearance wasn't his intent and admitted he may have "facilitated" their appearance, he claimed it was all for his research.

Trivia

Upon the release of the Mysterious Logbook, initial speculation was that Clovis I's more bizarre characteristics were symptomatic of autism. Writer Seth Dickinson replied to this with, "For whatever it's worth I never once thought of him as autistic. I think that would be a terrible and irresponsible decision to make in writing this character...From my outsider POV I feel like it would be awful to hear "this guy is autistic so he does experiments on humans and has severe issues with women and doesn't care about right and wrong." That's not an effect of autism." [2]

List of appearances

References