Alan T. Bradley is a computer programmer and occasional father figure fill-in from the TRON franchise. Arrived in-game on 05-12 and currently lives in Gibson.
origins: TRON Legacy, canon
played by: Odd
IN THE BEGINNING there was a man with a garage- this man’s name was Walter Gibbs, and his garage was full of dreams. Dr. Walter Gibbs dabbled in programming and flannel shirts from said garage and the result was the inception of one of America’s leading multinational computer technology corporations. ENCOM. Which he built. In his garage. With a box of scraps. Oh, and he also wrote a chess program that would later become the first film’s main antagonist. You owe this man the entire franchise, goddammit.
Jump forward a decade to the year 1982. A young upstart programmer with jheri curls is sitting in his arcade-apartment with a bad case of justified butthurt and a computer old enough to be your dad these days. His name is Kevin Flynn- and he’s kind of important. Young Jeff Bridges here is our leading man, here to introduce us to the world of TRON. Kevin Flynn is a jilted game designer whose brainchild has been stolen by the current Senior Executive Vice President and social climber of ENCOM- Edward Dillinger Sr, who’s also the man responsible for Flynn being booted from ENCOM, repurposing Gibbs’ chess program into the tyrannical Master Control Program and generally being a paranoid tool about lower-level employees writing programs to monitor said hell-beast. (In case you hadn’t guessed, he’s the bad guy.)
This sets off a series of events where Flynn and the gang* all hop in a van and go break into ENCOM to find evidence of Dillinger’s cartoonish corporate villainy. All did not go as planned. Cue a fantastic voyage wherein Flynn is sucked into the ENCOM system by way of a magic laser and the aforementioned MCP, who didn’t really appreciate Flynn’s prodding.
- the ‘gang’ being his ex-girlfriend Lora Baines, as well as her new boyfriend (who makes the bitchiest faces sometimes) and fellow programmer, Alan Bradley. They’re kind of important, too.
Welcome to the Grid, a trippy circuited city of information and technology, where programs are sentient beings in the image of their creators, existing in functional civilizations not too far from what we understand as society... only everything glows, time is almost irrelevant and oh my god did you see that giant upside down staple just fly by- and holy crap, that motorcycle has a wall of solid light coming out of the end. Video game physics, man. And like any good civilization, religious schisms are formed among these living programs over belief, or lack thereof, in Users- the beings that created them in their image (aka, us). MCP got his police state on over that. This is all kind of like what happens when you ask a precocious kid to explain the inner workings of a computer system. “I don’t know, tiny magic light people?
On the Grid, Kevin finds himself in a world more beautiful than he ever dreamed and more dangerous than he could have ever imagined, but he wasn’t alone. Enter Tron, a self-monitoring security program designed by Alan Bradley who has a passionate belief in the Users that borders on worship. Tron exemplifies how closely tied a Program is to their respective User. Tron was such a distilled version of Alan’s loyal and honorbound integrity that the program mirrored the man down to appearance, an echo of Walter Gibbs’s belief that every program written held part of the soul of the programmer that created it. Together, Kevin Flynn and Tron took on the MCP and brought it down. Flynn returned to the real world shortly after, but it didn’t end there.
Flynn became enamored with this digital frontier Tron had showed him so much that it infected his everyday life. He couldn’t forget it. So, one day, Kevin Flynn created a new Grid. Using Lora’s laser technology, Flynn set up shop in a secret room in his arcade without anyone’s knowledge (LIKE ALAN, FOR EXAMPLE…) and began work on this new, isolated Grid, and just like before, he wasn’t alone. Tron was transferred over from Encom’s system over to the Grid to carry on being Flynn’s protector of the system and greatest friend on the inside. But not before one other program was created from the new Grid. Enter Codified Likeness Utility 2.0, Flynn’s digital clone born into the Grid with the directive- “You will create the perfect system.”
Young and short-sighted, Flynn had no way of knowing how hard those words would come back to bite him, and it all started with the appearance of the miracle- the sudden manifestation of Isomorphic Algorithms- ISOs. These ISOs that came into being amidst the Grid’s wastelands, appearing like no Program before or after them. They were their own creation. Flynn was drawn to them like a moth to flame, or God if God had ADD. Flynn saw them as a vehicle for his dreams of changing the outside world. They were to be his gift to the Users, a bridge between the two worlds.
While not completely abandoning his dreams for the perfect system, the introduction of the ISOs absorbed enough of Flynn’s attention that it bred discontent, specifically, in Clu. Feeling betrayed out of frustration over this unexpected wrench thrown into the machine, Clu rebelled. Falling from Flynn’s grace, his digital doppelganger became convinced that he was still to create the perfect system and to achieve this; he had to eradicate what he deemed imperfect- the ISOs. It was a genocide known as the Purge and it ended all kinds of bad for Flynn, man. Clu’s first act of betrayal was to attack Flynn directly and personally, and he would have been successful if Tron hadn’t intervened, at great cost. Flynn lost more than just the ISOs and Clu.
The initial attack ended with Flynn barely escaping, Tron seemingly killed and the portal connecting the Grid and the real world closed. So began Flynn’s ostracism on the desolate fringes of the Grid, but again, he was not alone. In the disaster of the Purge, Flynn managed to save one ISO, a young woman by the name of Quorra. Together they went into hiding for many, many cycles. To put into perspective just how long Flynn was left to think about what he had inadvertently done, what was twenty years in the real world was a thousand on the digital frontier. A lot happened in both worlds since then. While Clu was tightening his thousand-year grip on the Grid, Flynn’s real world legacy was left alone. Enter the Son of Flynn.
Sam Flynn was seven when his father vanished off the face of the Earth in 1989 and his only son placed on the pedestal as Encom’s biggest, albeit disinterested and embittered, shareholder. Until one day- like father, like son- he got in. Except this time it was a ploy orchestrated by Clu to break out of the Grid and expand the system into the User world. Sam, like a good protagonist, did not take being dragged onto the Grid to be used as a playing piece lying down.
One Daft Punk music-accompanied event led to another and after a twenty-year estrangement, Flynn was reunited with Sam. There were hugs, and plot development. The plot does not work in Clu’s favor and the events of Legacy reach their climax with Rinzler revealed as a repurposed Tron, Sam and Quorra escaping to the User world through the closing portal, Clu’s plans IN SHAMBLES…on account of him being reintegrated with Flynn- apparently destroying them both and wiping out Clu’s invasion fleet. Fade to black, yadda yadda yadda
Oh, and, 98.9% of what I just wrote? ALAN HAS NO INKLING OF ANY OF THIS. Rule number three of Tron is Don’t Tell Alan Anything.
MEANWHILE, IN THE REAL WORLD
Alan is involving himself in the events of Legacy as best he can, operating solely on the knowledge that Flynn was (and still is) missing and that he still has ENCOM dumped in lap. Since his instatement as “interim CEO” back in 1989, Alan has been riding on the notion that there was no way Flynn dropped everything, especially on the eve of what was apparently going to be a major breakthrough that would reshape the fucking everything, willingly. Alan would publically acknowledge Flynn’s disappearance while contesting that it was in no way Flynn’s choice to evaporate into thin air. While steeling himself for the worst outcome and seeing to the interests of ENCOM’s biggest shareholder, Sam Flynn, Alan was also dealing with the fallout of ENCOM trying to write Flynn off. Dissatisfied with ENCOM sacrificing its better values (Flynn’s values) for the sake of profit, Alan rebelled. In his own, quiet way.
Enter the dragon. I mean, Roy “Ram” Kleinberg, yeah, enter that guy. Roy was another ENCOM programmer who grew disillusioned with the direction ENCOM was going, and also someone who saw Flynn’s disappearance as anything but ordinary. Cue the inception of Flynn Lives, an underground viral initiative to not only keep the legend of Kevin Flynn alive, but hoping to uncover the mystery of his disappearance. Alan stayed with the movement until late 2010 when he convinced Roy to shut it down. After the events of Legacy and The Next Day, Alan began seeing Sam as someone ready to step in and become involved in ENCOM directly. He felt that by shutting down the Flynn Lives movement, he wasn’t forgetting Flynn, but just recognizing him in the form of his son.
Alan is a gigantic nerd, with legs that go for miles, and he’s probably the only responsible adult here. The first two aspects of his character are fairly self-evident in both movies; this is the guy that had “Gort, Klaatu Barada Nikto” hanging up on his cubicle- and I really needn’t go into detail about the legs. Basically it goes without saying that in his heyday, Alan was almost certainly involved in as much classic science fiction as he was track and field. Along with Flynn and Lora, they were the original poster trio for the hot nerd trope.
In terms of character, Alan has set himself as the franchise’s “straight man,” especially where Kevin Flynn is concerned. Serving as a foil to Flynn’s fractal, explosively creative and albeit short-sighted way of thinking, Alan is a paradigm of a different, more straightlaced kind of creativity. Straightlaced in that Alan would wear a suit and tie to buy milk around the corner and not act on an idea or assumption without first sitting down and making a flow chart. When the Kevin Flynn he knew got an idea, he ran for it, wanting to make as much noise as he could getting from point a to b. While a innovative programmer in his own right, Alan took a different direction, and when he gets an idea he will always consider the consequences first and approach situations with a cool head and sights set on every variable and factor. Really, just about any trait Flynn exhibits, Alan is either his total opposite or just more “bigger picture” about it. As a character he existed to complement Flynn’s eccentricities with a more down to earth, stickler attitude without sacrificing the creative, almost artistic passion the two of the shared about their work.
Alan has never really shown to have overtly negative qualities that aren’t already present in everyone. Even when he would fall into bouts of frustration and be almost painfully blunt at times, Alan has been nothing less than the most grounded and honest individual shown. If faced with negativity or even thinly veild hostility, Alan’s always been the one to keep his mood in check and steady under all sorts of pressure. It’s these qualities that crafted him into a man that was made for business, despite a lack of the cold-blooded and uncaring attitude that colored the majority of ENCOM’s rank and file. It’s also these aspects of his personality that have always put Alan at odds with ENCOM, moreso after Flynn’s disappearance. That Alan always tried to consider the people, the consumers that relied on ENCOM over just a fiscal figure at the end of every year has often been criticized as a weakness among his peers, but is really one of his greatest strengths.
At his worst, Alan is very short tempered, but not explosive. Alan channels his angry or any other equally unpleasant with razor sharp directness or conversation stopping “bitch face”. While he is very cautious and rule abiding, your typical office worker shyness, he is a far cry from anything one would call spineless. Alan’s made a reputation for himself as someone who can be very polite without beating around the bush.
Alan is a man with more integrity than the sharks he worked with, and this is most prevalent in his other, and probably most important trait and one that carried over to his progam, Tron—-his undying sense of loyalty. This is something that’s held true through the events of both films.
In the first film, he didn’t let his own uncertainties about Flynn get in the way of ultimately helping him, even when that meant doing something that wasn’t exactly “legal.” While he doesn’t kid himself, Alan is an excellent judge of character and considered trusting Flynn worth the risks, something that’s held true for the next thirty-something years.
Loyalty played a major role in Alan’s character again in 1989 when, without any warning, Flynn went missing. Alan maintained that there was no way in any circle of hell that Flynn would just pick up leave willingly, and from day one to now that opinion hasn’t changed. While publically acknowledging Flynn’s disappearance, Alan never once agreed with or supported any attempt by either ENCOM or the media to sully his friend’s name. In private, his loyalty extended over to peripheral (read: financial) support of the underground viral initiative “Flynn Lives” set up by friend and fellow programmer, Roy “Ram” Kleinberg to not only keep the legend of Kevin Flynn alive, but to hope to uncover the mystery of his disappearance. Alan stayed with the movement until late 2010 when he convinced Roy to shut it down, not to forget Flynn, but to focus on retaking Encom in his name- and Sam’s.
Sam Flynn, Kevin Flynn’s son, is also very important to Alan, so much so that it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say Sam takes priority over ENCOM. When Kevin Flynn went missing, not two days into the aftermath was Alan taking the reins of ENCOM, not for personal gain or a callous need to maintain the company, but simply because he wanted what was best for Sam. In Flynn’s absence, Alan immediately stepped in to protect and love Sam as his own, not just to honor his friend, but to shield the man’s only son from the media and ENCOM that would shadow the boy for the rest of his life. Alan took this very seriously and has been nothing short of incredibly protective and dedicated to Sam, even now; overlooking his reckless attitude while still offering bluntly kind and well-meaning advice when Sam is willing to listen. Which these days isn’t all that often, but Alan remains unchanged in his devotion to the Flynn family, no matter how many times that trust has been tested.
Abilities & WeaknessesEdit
Alan Bradley is a Caltech graduate with a PhD in computer science and enough business sense to take the reins of a major corporation in a crisis. He’s an incredibly bright individual with no notable personality flaws that prevent him from being effective as “The Brain” of any ragtag bunch of misfits. He’s a little on the cautious and good-natured side, but by no means a pushover.
Now, let’s be honest. If it’s anything physical- Alan is not the pony you should be placing any bets on. He’s fifty-nine, uses a pager in 2010 and wears glasses that take up half his face. The fact that he probably takes a Centrum Silver with his morning coffee isn’t doing his fighting prowess many favors, either. While his digital doppelganger is the canon’s fighting spirit, smart money says Alan himself hasn’t thrown a punch since the early eighties. Need help with your taxes and/or homework? Alan. How does I computer? Alan. Need to be gently and subtly bitched out? Alan. Armed military conflict on a floating space station with an eighteen-foot xeno going off on the rag? Not Alan.
Also there are a few digital clones of himself or others running around the station that will in no uncertain terms kill you if Alan ever comes to harm. Overprotective computer programs are an ability, right?