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"What is Space Fleet? I'll tell you what it is. It is a belief system founded on the very best of human nature. It is a goal for us to strive towards for the betterment of the universe, for the betterment of life itself. And you assholes are fucking it up!"
— Robert Daly.

Robert Daly is the main antagonist of USS Callister. He is portrayed by Jesse Plemons.



Robert Daly's background is largely unknown. However, what is known is that he is a massive fan of the vintage sci-fi TV show Space Fleet, owning every episode on VHS, DVD, and Blu-Ray, along with several merchandising tie-ins; fascinated by the adventures of the USS Callister, his love of science fiction eventually became a part of his career when he asked his business partner James Walton to name their new gaming company after the fictional spaceship. Despite not getting the reference, Walton agreed and christened their new business venture "Callister Inc.".

A brilliant but socially awkward coder, Daly naturally took the role of Chief Technical Officer, while Walton - the more exuberant and outgoing of the two - proved a perfect fit for the Chief Executive Officer. With his partner keeping the business stable, Daly was able to funnel his technical genius and love of sci-fi into the virtual reality online multiplayer game Infinity: granting players the experience of exploring a procedurally-generated universe from their own starship, the game proved immensely popular, its revolutionary design winning Callister fame and fortune worldwide.

Despite successes such as these, the relationship between Daly and Walton did not remain harmonious for long. Over time, their wildly differing personalities began to grate on one another: in particular, Daly's unwillingness to take charge of his own department regularly frustrated the aggressive CEO, leading to several disagreements which descended to the level of outright bullying on Walton's part. As the company continued channelling its resources into expanding the Infinity franchise, Daly's former partner had no problems with exploiting his CTO's gifts while hogging most of the profits for himself, with little appreciation shown for the source of the company's accolades.

Unable or unwilling to confront Walton in person, Daly dealt with his troubles at the workplace in a novel way: some years prior to the events of the episode, he was able to either invent or obtain the machine that would allow him to create digital clones from human DNA samples and incorporate the device into his home computer. As CTO, Daly also had access to a developer build of Infinity, which he also kept at home: having extensively modified it to resemble Space Fleet, he kept it offline in order to prevent it from being deleted by online servers. With these creations at his disposal, he had everything he needed in order to make his fantasies a reality. Taking advantage of Walton's predilection for smoothies, Daly stole the lid off one such drink and brought it home, where he converted the DNA obtained from it into a brand-new virtual clone of his boss - who he then incorporated into his copy of Infinity.

By all accounts, Daly made his expectations of the duplicate known immediately: in keeping with the Space Fleet-themed reskin, the CTO was to play the captain of a starship, and the CEO was to play his first officer. Naturally, Walton refused to play along, but with developer privileges at his command, Daly was able to torture him in any way he pleased if it would make his plaything cooperate. However, even in the face of continuous pain, the clone proved every bit as stubborn as his real self, and for some time, the two of them were at an impasse. Then, out in the real world, Walton's son Tommy paid a visit to Callister's offices, and while he was being shown around by the CEO's real self, Daly saw an opportunity for greater torture: stealing a lollipop that Tommy had left on a desk, he cloned the child and brought him into the game, where he gave virtual Walton just enough time to rejoice at seeing his son again before throwing him out an airlock - ensuring that Walton got to see every detail of virtual Tommy's gruesome death. For good measure, Daly threatened to re-clone Tommy into the game and kill him again if his plaything continued to resist.

The experience broke Walton's spirit: left with no hope of escaping or seeing his son again except under the worst possible circumstances, he complied with every demand made of him, remaking himself into a fawning lackey for the self-styled Captain Daly. Worse still, Daly's pet project soon demanded further participants, and he began cloning other colleagues from work to play other supporting roles in his fantasy, usually taking revenge for petty slights against him in the process. These duplicates were regularly tortured for every embarrassment Daly suffered at work, and those who persisted in disobeying his orders were permanently transformed into monsters. It's still not known how many people he cloned and incorporated, but by the beginning of the episode, he had acquired a bridge crew consisting of Walton, Shania Lowry, Kabir Dudani, Nate Packer and Elena Tulaska, with Valdack and assorted transformed individuals serving as the villains of the game.

In order to guarantee his continued enjoyment, Daly kept his collection of DNA samples (including Tommy's lollipop) in a mini-fridge by his desk, ensuring that even if the clones were somehow able to kill themselves, he could simply clone them back into the game all over again.

Events of the Episode[]

Shortly after winning another in-game victory over Valdack, the episode begins with Daly arriving at work, where he is introduced to new employee Nanette Cole, a fellow coder with great admiration for the CTO's abilities. However, when the real Lowry cheekily teases her over her apparent infatuation, Daly happens to hear Nanette denying that she has a crush on him, immediately drawing his ire. After hours, he steals Cole's DNA off of a coffee cup and uploads it into Infinity: once he is finished forcing her into line by temporarily erasing her face, he begins a new game against Valdack with Nanette playing the science officer.

Having lost all admiration for Daly by the end of this particular game, Nanette uses the game's invite system to contact her real self in an attempt to call for help; unfortunately, the real Nanette is merely confused by the message and happens to ask the company CTO for advice on the subject. Enraged by clear evidence of a mutiny among his crew, Daly returns to the game in a bad mood, and though Lowry is able to convince him not to take out his frustrations on digital Nanette, he decides to shake up the clones by transforming Lowry herself into a monster - to be dumped on a deserted planet and left to rot.

Though it seems as though Nanette's spirit has been broken by this incident, the sight of a wormhole opening in the game spurs her into action: the virtual sign of an update patch within the game, the wormhole would theoretically allow the clones access to the system firewall, where their illegal code would immediately result in their deletion - their best chance for freedom.

However, they also have to ensure that Daly can't make any more clones from their DNA, so Nanette keeps him distracted down on a planetside adventure while the rest of the crew uses their temporary internet connection to access the real Nanette's photo-sharing account; using a number of explicit photos she forgot to delete, Walton is able to blackmail real Nanette into stealing the DNA samples, then ordering Daly a pizza - forcing him to exit the game just long enough to answer the door, allowing the clones to make a break for the wormhole before it closes.

Unfortunately, Daly soon returns to the game: despite being stranded back on the planet, he is able to salvage an abandoned ship and chase after them; with the clones being forced to fly through an asteroid belt to reach the wormhole in time, their own ship is effectively disabled in a collision, and Daly is almost able to catch up - fully intent on exacting an act of brutal revenge on the mutineers as soon as he boards. Fortunately, Walton sacrifices his virtual existence to restart the engines, allowing them to finally escape through the wormhole - though instead of deleting them, this leads to them being incorporated into the default version of Infinity, granting the clones a new life in a procedurally-generated universe.

Back in his own copy, the update's firewall detects the modded game's code and disables Daly's controls, leaving him trapped inside the game, unable to log out before he ends up being deleted along with his developer build. As a result, Robert Daly's consciousness likely ceases to exist, rendering him comatose in the real world. For good measure, the Do Not Disturb notice on his door results in his body being left to slowly die of thirst, guaranteeing his death in both the virtual world and reality.



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