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- "But ask anyone. Mason was born and bred for the Division, a man who could think on his feet, improvise, and turn an ugly situation into a win."
- — Ryan Jackson.
Captain Alex Mason is a CIA operative and retired Marine Force Recon Captain. He is the main protagonist and the main playable character in Call of Duty: Black Ops. He returns as a deuteragonist in Call of Duty: Black Ops II as the main playable character for the 1980s missions. He also appears as an NPC in Black Ops DS and as a playable character in Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified.
Early life Edit
Alex was born on June 3, 1933 in Fairbanks, Alaska; the geographical proximity of his home state to Communist Russia brought the threat of the Cold War much closer to his doorstep than most Americans. This was a key contributor to his fervent anti-Communist ideals and eventually led to his enlistment in the USMC. He spent his youth hunting elk and grizzlies in the Alaskan wilderness with his father (A WWII veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart for wounds received during action at the Makin Atoll); as such, he is adept in cold weather environments and is an excellent sniper; at the age of 20 he became the youngest Wimbledon Cup winner in the history of the marksmanship competition.
In the early 1950s, Mason served as an infantryman and later Force Recon Marine in South Korea.
In 1958, he was recruited to SAD/SOG after an exemplary term of service with the Marines. Having served with distinction since joining the Agency, Mason has a long standing friendship with many of his fellow Agency colleagues and shows a particular kinship with operative Frank Woods. Always itching for action, Mason's tendency towards impulsiveness is the one trait that may not have been completely "trained out of him." However, his close friend Woods is well aware of this, and knows exactly when and how to rein him in.
Bay of Pigs InvasionEdit
- "You ready to make history?"
- — Woods to Mason before killing Castro's double.
In 1961, Mason was a member of a CIA assassination squad known as Operation 40. Mason and fellow Operation 40 members Joseph Bowman, and Frank Woods, infiltrated Cuba prior to the Bay of Pigs invasion to carry out Operation Zapata, the assassination of Fidel Castro. Using the distraction caused by the Bay of Pigs invasion, Mason, Bowman, and Woods raided a compound where Castro is reportedly living. Mason and Woods encountered Castro with a mistress in his bedroom; Mason then killed Castro.
During their escape, Cuban military forces rapidly turned the tables on the U.S. supported Cuban rebels and swarmed the airfield where Op 40's escape plane is located. While Mason, Bowman, and Woods made it to the plane, Mason bailed out just before takeoff to clear the runway of Cuban military vehicles. Mason was subdued and captured by Cuban troops. Regaining consciousness, he watched as Fidel Castro, alive and well (the "Castro" Mason shot was a double), turned Mason over to Soviet General Nikita Dragovich as a "gift of their new alliance".
Imprisonment at Vorkuta and Russian programming attemptEdit
- "It was their attempt at MK-Ultra. Dragovich programmed you to kill Kennedy, but Reznov sabotaged you."
- — Jason Hudson describing the Russian's programming to Alex Mason
Mason was transported to a Soviet labor camp at Vorkuta, Russia. There, Dragovich had Friedrich Steiner and Lev Kravchenko brainwash Mason; Mason was implanted with the knowledge to interpret the outgoing broadcasts from Dragovich's numbers station, and was also programmed to become a Soviet sleeper agent with the primary purpose of assassinating then-U.S. President John F. Kennedy. While Mason's willpower resisted the programming, they eventually succeeded. However, Viktor Reznov, a former hero of the Red Army who was betrayed by Dragovich and his underling Colonel Lev Kravchenko, successfully sabotaged Mason's brainwash, programming him to instead kill Steiner, Kravchenko, and Dragovich in order to avenge the death of Dimitri Petrenko.
Meeting Reznov and the Vorkuta uprising Edit
- "I'd given up hope of ever gettin' out. But Viktor Reznov found a way."
- — Mason to his interrogators.
By Mason's account, it was six to seven weeks after his arrival at Vorkuta that he was then thrown into the labor force. There it did not take long for him to clash with prisoners loyal to Reznov. The fights got both Mason and Reznov each one month of solitary confinement, in which they both became fast friends. Sometime later, Mason and Reznov began plotting their escape from Vorkuta. On October 6, 1963, the Vorkuta prisoners initiated a riot and charged out of the mines and the breakout began. Mason escaped back to the U.S. while Reznov died helping him escape; Mason at that moment was unaware he was ever brainwashed.
- "You should have stayed in Vorkuta."
- — Mr. Mason to Alex
A few years after Alex came back from Vorkuta to join the SOG, his mother fell ill and his father called him and his siblings to her death bed. Mason failed to arrive, leaving a bad impression on his father and his sisters, Marion and Dot. The two sent a few more letters to Alex but he failed to reply to any of those. From then, his father considered that his son should have died in Vorkuta, but Marion had informed Mason that he could stay with her at Renier if he needed to, and that her children still loved their "hero," uncle Alex.
- "It's Weaver. He's burnt."
- — Mason informing Woods of Weaver's compromise.
On November 17, 1963, Mason and the CIA infiltrated a Soviet Cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan per Operation Flashpoint. The Soviets were already aware of this attack by the capturing of Grigori Weaver, a CIA double agent who was compromised by Kravchenko. Mason and his team were able to rescue Weaver (though his left eye was gouged out by Kravchenko) and fought their way to the control bunker for the Soyuz 2 rocket, but were unable to abort the launch.
Mason used a prototype Valkyrie Rocket to destroy Soyuz 2 in mid-air, after which the Operation 40 squad began a sweep of the facility to eliminate the surviving members of the Ascension group, a group of former Nazi scientists who had been collaborating with the Soviets, and to hunt down Dragovich. They cornered Dragovich in his limousine and destroyed it, but rather than verify Dragovich's death, Mason decided to move on after being told by Woods that the explosion would not have left anything recognizable. Dragovich was assumed to be dead, but this was later proven to be far from the truth.
|Perhaps our intel was off!|
The following paragraph(s) contain(s) information that ONLY appears in
Call of Duty: Black Ops (Nintendo DS)
therefore, its level of canonicity is unknown.
On November 21, 1963, Mason took part in an unknown mission in Afghanistan where Afghan soldiers misunderstood him for an assassin and attacked him. He later met with Soviet defector Yuri Raslov and escaped.
|Call of Duty: Black Ops (Nintendo DS) information ends here.|
Kennedy Assassination Edit
- "There are gaps in your memory. Periods where you went MIA and we couldn’t account for you."
- — Jason Hudson to Mason after his interrogation.
Five days after Operation Flashpoint, on November 22, 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated. After Mason escapes his interrogation in 1968 he has flashbacks suggesting he was the one who shot the president or that simply he was involved in the assassination. At one point, he says "Proceed...to...target! Oswald...compromised!" This is probably referring to the man who was believed to have shot President Kennedy: Lee Harvey Oswald, who was an alleged Soviet defector. When Mason has Dragovich pinned down on board the numbers station, Mason yells at Dragovich "You tried to make me kill my own President!" to which Dragovich smiles and replies in a mocking tone, "TRIED?!" suggesting that the Russian programming worked. Also, footage of Kennedy's arrival in Dallas, Texas prior to the assassination shows Mason was in the crowd of onlookers who watched Kennedy disembark from Air Force One in Lovefield. Mason narrates over this footage saying things related to the assassination, such as "11-22" (November 22, the date of the shooting), "Texas", the state the assassination took place in, and "6.5 millimeter"(referring to the caliber of the bullets allegedly fired by Lee Harvey Oswald to kill Kennedy).
However in 1989, when Mason is talking to Mark McKnight, McKnight asks about his brainwashing and Mason mentions that the Soviets "gave it their best shot", so it is possible that he was not involved in the Kennedy assassination and that his programming failed. Or it suggests that he doesn't remember what happened due to his programming so that Dragovich could have Mason carry out more missions.
Vietnam, Laos and KravchenkoEdit
- "Woods! You look like hammered shit!"
- — Mason to Woods, joking about his appearance.
Almost five years after the events of Baikonur, in 1968, Mason joined the SOG unit led by Frank Woods and was sent to Vietnam for the purpose of searching for covert Soviet operations in Vietnam and Laos. After landing at Khe Sanh to meet up with Woods and the rest of his old unit, the hill of Khe Sanh came under attack by NVA forces. Mason, Woods, and Special Agent Hudson repelled the beginning of the attack before the SOG unit left for its mission.
In Huế City, they attempted to pick up a Soviet defector with vital information of Soviet involvement in the war. Inside a safe room, Mason believed he is reunited with Reznov, "the defector", although "Reznov" was a figment of his imagination and the real one died after Mason got on the train from Vorkuta. After collecting the intel, the team left Huế City.
While heading north into Communist territory, Mason's helicopter was shot down but, spurred on by a hallucinated image of Reznov, he escaped the wreckage. Mason and the rest of the team silently entered a village where they sabotaged Viet Cong equipment. Afterward, Mason cleared out a "rat tunnel" and retrieved a Soviet operations book from Kravchenko's office. The tunnel later collapsed as a result of booby traps set by Kravchenko, and Mason barely escaped with his life.
The intel led them to a Soviet cargo plane downed in Laos which was believed to be carrying some sort of chemical weapon. Mason remembered stories Reznov had told him about a nerve gas called Nova 6, originally developed by Nazi scientist Friedrich Steiner, but commandeered by General Dragovich and reproduced by Daniel Clarke. After combating their way up the river to the crash site, the SOG team was set upon by both VC and Spetsnaz before making their way into the plane. There, they found the Soviets have already retrieved the cargo and were waiting for them to arrive in the valley below. After an explosive fight, the plane wreckage tumbled down a cliff and the team was taken prisoner by the Spetsnaz for the second time.At a VC compound, Mason, Woods, and Bowman were forced to play Russian Roulette. Bowman defiantly insulted his captors, prompting their Soviet contact to club him to death with a pipe. Woods played, choosing an empty chamber, whispering to Mason that the next one was loaded. Mason shot the VC leader in the chest and took his pistol, fighting out of the compound and killing the Soviet. Woods and Mason commandeered a Hind and flew it to Kravchenko's compound, where they battled to his office along with "Reznov" and attacked him. Mason was overpowered and Kravchenko began to repeatedly kick him, before being stabbed by Woods. Kravchenko pulled the pins on his grenades, prompting Woods to throw both of them out of the office window. Mason watched the ensuing explosion and believes himself and "Reznov" to be the only survivors. In reality, the two survived, but Kravchenko brought Woods to a Viet Cong prison camp, which he escaped from in 1972.
- "How many times?! Steiner was at Rebirth Island! We had to kill Steiner!"
- — Mason to his interrogators.
A letter in Kravchenko's office showed that Steiner was overseeing Nova 6 operations on Rebirth Island in the Aral Sea. Mason infiltrated the island with imaginary Reznov at his side, flying into a port in Mo'ynoq using a requisitioned light aircraft and stowing away in an empty crate being handled into the island. When the crane carrying the crate set it down, they exited the crate and proceeded with making their way to the labs. They attempted to access the labs through the rooftops, when suddenly an explosion in the distance occurred, with the base going to full-alert. Mason told Reznov that it was the CIA assaulting the island to take Steiner alive. The two then picked up their pace to get to Steiner first, going down an elevator shaft, and breach the laboratories from there, carving through troops and scientists alike to get to Steiner. They eventually cleared the facility out, and entered Steiner's lab.
Steiner was contacting Hudson, desperately asking them to hurry up and extract him from the island, as Dragovich's men were executing personnel on the island. Mason then confronted Steiner, who was shocked that Mason had managed to reach him. Reznov began beating Steiner, who claimed killing him would not stop the Nova 6 attacks. Reznov paid no mind, and instead reclaimed revenge in his name. Hudson and Weaver managed to make it to the lab, and tried entering the lab from a window by shooting it, but it was bulletproof, forcing the pair to break it with a crate. But by the time they managed to break the window, they were too late, as Mason witnessed Reznov shoot Steiner.
However, as the same story was told through Hudson's perspective, it was finally revealed that Reznov was a figment of Mason's imagination, and Mason was the one actually executing Steiner. As stated above, they broke the bulletproof glass and entered the room too late, as Mason shot Steiner in the head. He then shot Weaver in the arm when Weaver tried to apprehend him. Hudson then tackled and disarmed Mason, knocking him out with a pistol-whip. With Steiner dead, they left the island with Mason as their only link to the numbers, leading to his interrogation.
Interrogation and RedemptionEdit
- "I remember...Ahhhh! Vorkuta..."
- — Alex Mason
Following his apprehension by Hudson and Weaver at Rebirth Island, Mason was interrogated ruthlessly. With Steiner's death, Mason was their only link to the numbers station and the impending Nova 6 attack by Soviet sleeper agents in the state capitals of every state in the U.S. In addition, the President was prepared to launch an all-out nuclear strike against the Soviet Union in retaliation. If the numbers station could not be located and neutralized before Dragovich sent the signal to attack, World War III would break out.
After forcing Mason to relive his experiences leading up to the present date, Hudson had yet to learn anything from Mason. With DEFCON 2 declared, Hudson revealed himself to Mason out of desperation and removed his restraints. Mason knocked Hudson out and made his way through the interrogation facility, remembering his brainwashing at Vorkuta, realizing that all of his encounters with Reznov after Vorkuta were imagined, as Reznov had actually died during the breakout. Mason also remembered how to translate the numbers broadcasts. After being subdued by Hudson, Mason translated the number sequences and explained that the numbers station is on the Soviet cargo ship Rusalka, which Mason had originally seen during his first meeting with Dragovich in 1961.
Mason, Hudson, and Weaver raided the Rusalka, located in waters southwest of Cuba. In the cargo ship's hold, they discovered an antenna with a tether leading into the depths of the ocean. While a U.S. Navy fleet is en route to destroy the Rusalka, Mason insisted on entering the submerged numbers station to kill Dragovich once and for all. After fighting through the numbers station as it comes under fire, Mason found the console controlling the numbers broadcasts and attempts to deactivate it, but was knocked away by Dragovich. Hudson came to Mason's aid, distracting Dragovich and allowing Mason to pull him down. Mason strangled Dragovich, choking him to death in the waters. He then escaped the imploding numbers station with Hudson. With the station destroyed and Dragovich dead, the crisis was averted.
CIA Duty Edit
Mason never fully recovered from his brainwashing, as he still heard Reznov's voice after killing Dragovich, making the CIA suspicious of Mason's actions (and presumably his connection to the JFK assassination). Weaver and Hudson became targets of suspicion as well for their association with Mason and their supposed complicity in gathering top secret information for Mason. However, Mason still continued to carry out several CIA missions, with Hudson still acting as his handler.
- "Operation Active Measures - a simple asset recovery gone sideways...."
- — Ryan Jackson
In 1976, Mason was sent to East Berlin to acquire intel. Mason successfully recovered the intel, which was a microfiche detailing information on a KGB spy ring running out of a front company right in West Berlin. A KGB Colonel named Mikhail Belov was charged with coordinating it and Mason was sent to capture Belov alive for interrogation. However, when Mason went in to capture Belov he escaped through a window, Mason recovered any intel he could and gave chase. He eventually found Belov in a room full of Spetsnaz but is attacked and forced to kill Belov. Mason told Hudson that Belov was not needed as he had got "the damn NOC list".
Operation Charybdis Edit
|Perhaps our intel was off!|
The following paragraph(s) contain(s) information that ONLY appears in
Intel from Call of Duty: Black Ops
therefore, its level of canonicity is unknown.
Sometime in 1978, Mason's decision to chase an as of yet unknown lead led the CIA to deem him "burnt" and a threat to national security, along with Hudson and Weaver, who had escaped to South Africa with him. As of October 28, 1978, the CIA was making plans to form a joint task force with MI-6 in order to find and eliminate Mason, Hudson, and Weaver in what they dubbed Operation Charybdis. The operation, however, was seemingly unsuccessful, as both Mason and Hudson continued to work with the CIA. Weaver's fate however is unknown.
|Intel from Call of Duty: Black Ops information ends here.|
Family Life Edit
At some point, he got married to an unknown woman and later (from 1978 to 1979) had a child, whom he named David.
Mason's wife later died of unknown reasons, which young David blamed on him going "back to the army", suggesting that Alex retired from his duty at one point and then went back.
Returning to the CIA Edit
By 1986, Alex had once again retired and lived in Alaska with his son, David. He was approached by Jason Hudson and Lieutenant Colonel Oliver L. North, who informed him of Woods' disappearance in Angola. While hesitant at first, Mason decided to go in and save his old friend. David tried to talk him out of it but Alex reminded him it was "Uncle Woods" and he would do the same for him.
On July 2, 1986, Mason and Hudson participated in the Angolan Civil War, joining forces with the UNITA. Mason then received intel on Woods' location from Jonas Savimbi, who warned him of the dangers he could face. Later, they arrived on a transport barge on the Cubango River, and after fighting off the MPLA forces, found Woods barely alive in a container full of dead decaying bodies. A Hind then attacked the barge, and was destroyed by Mason using a Valkyrie Rocket launcher. The barge sank, but Mason and Hudson managed to get into shore along with Woods. After sneaking through a base full of Cuban soldiers, Mason attempted to reach the radio station in order to call Savimbi for extraction. Instead, he encountered Raul Menendez, who smashed the radio before Mason could give his orders. Mason tried to take Menendez hostage against the Cubans but Menendez then pulled the pin on a grenade and almost stabbed Mason in a struggle. Mason managed to shoot Menendez in his face and escape, but was then chased by Cuban soldiers. After holding off the enemy forces, Mason and Hudson managed to carry Woods to the beach, where they were rescued by Savimbi.
Afghanistan/Return of the Numbers and ReznovEdit
Two months later, in September 5, Mason re-enlisted with the CIA and went on a mission in Afghanistan to retrieve intel on Menendez' location. He, along with Woods, Hudson, and the Chinese soldiers led by Tian Zhao, helped the Mujahideen and their leader, Mullah Rahmaan, fend off the Soviet forces. After several Soviet tanks and helos were destroyed, Mason was called back to the base. He then witnessed the final Soviet attack, led by a colossal tank. As they charged head-on to meet the Soviets, Mason's horse was hit, and he barely avoided being crushed by the giant tank. Woods pulled him up and helped him jump on the tank. As Mason was about to throw a mortar in the tank, none other than his old nemesis Lev Kravchenko jumped out and punched him. The numbers inside his head were re-triggered, and Mason heard the voice of Reznov inside his head telling him: "Kravchenko must die". After a brief struggle, Mason quickly defeated him, and Kravchenko was brought back to the Mujahideen base for further interrogation though Mason continued to hear Reznov's voice despite his own mental resistance.
As Woods continued to interrogate him, the numbers continued to appear, forcing Mason to kill Kravchenko. Due to this, the interrogation is invalid.
Mason manages to resist Reznov's programming and learns that Menendez had people working as CIA moles. Woods then executes Kravchenko with a bullet to the head.
The Mujahideen would betray them, and Mason, Woods, Hudson, and Zhao would be left to die in the desert. After a period of time passed, Mason saw what appeared to be Reznov riding on a horse approaching him. "Reznov" dismounted and gave him a drink. After the events of that day, Mason was convinced that it was the real Reznov who saved him and his teammates, but Woods expressed disbelief, thinking that if it were Reznov he would have stayed and explained his presence if he wasn't another one of Mason's hallucinations.
Having received intel from Kravchenko, the CIA agents headed off to Nicaragua to find Menendez. They cut a deal with the then-dictator of Panama, Manuel Noriega, and enlisted his help in capturing Menendez. However, Noriega secretly betrayed them, and freed Menendez after he was captured. Menendez, however, gave Noriega a beating and went after his sister, Josefina Menendez. At the same time, Mason, Woods, and Hudson fought through the Menendez Cartel's base. While taking out Raul's men in the basement, Mason may or may not find a CIA memo, proof that Menendez indeed has a mole inside CIA. Mason and Woods arrived at Josefina's room at the same time as Raul. An enraged Woods attempted to kill Raul, but Mason tried to stop him. In the end, Woods threw a grenade which bounced into the room and killed Josefina. Raul was reported to have been killed also, but in reality he escaped with Noriega's help.
Operation Just CauseEdit
On December 19, 1989, Mason and Woods met up at Mark McKnight's house to discuss the plans for the invasion of Panama (Operation Just Cause) on the day after. The plan was to capture Noriega, aka Objective False Profit, and destroy his reputation. The day after, the three of them participated in the invasion, with McKnight providing sniper support for Mason and Woods. Throughout the fight, Mason tried to contact Hudson through comms, though he failed. After having destroyed Noriega's jet, Mason finally received intel from Hudson, who revealed Noriega's location. He and Woods reached the hotel where Noriega was located and captured him, however Hudson then told them Noriega was to be escorted to a US Army checkpoint, where he would provide intel on a Nexus target. They succeeded, but they did not know that it was all part of Menendez' plan. After splitting up with Woods, Mason was captured by Noriega's men, who then put a bag over his head. Woods, having received intel from Hudson that Nexus target was Raul Menendez, proceeded to shoot the bagged target. Only after that did he realize that the man he shot was none other than Mason. Woods was then shot in both legs by the real Menendez, who proceeded to knock him out. Both Mason and Woods were taken to Hudson, who was tied up along with David and was revealed to have given up Alex so David wouldn't be killed. Hudson was then violently killed in front of Woods, who was allowed to live along with David. After telling David that he would suffer with him, Menendez left, at which point David woke up out of his trance and noticed his father's body lying next to him.
After Alex's death/disappearance, David was raised by a now crippled Woods; who lied about the circumstances of Alex's death and told David that it was some "drifter" who did it to spare him more pain than he had to endure. About 36 years later, Woods told the stories of his adventures with Alex in Angola, Afghanistan and Nicaragua to David and Mike Harper while asking about Menendez whereabouts. Later in a private session with David, Woods finally revealed the true circumstances of Alex's death to David. Though horrified to learn that it was Woods who killed his dad and not Menendez, David knew it wasn't his's fault and didn't hold it against him, knowing it was Menendez' manipulations that caused Alex's death. This also made him more determined to stop Menendez.
After Menendez' plan was averted, Woods and Section visited Mason's grave. Section decided to retire from his duty, which prompted Woods to say that his father would approve of the decision.
Mason visits Woods at The Vault. Soon David comes to visit Woods and is re-introduced to Alex, who tells him that the day that David fell from the tree was the one that made Alex proud as he got back up.
Decades later, Coalescence Corporation's CEO Sebastian Krueger would unearth top secret intel of Mason from the CIA, learning of his involvement in hunting down the masterminds of Project Nova, as well as those associated with him. This was used by Krueger as foundation for the early testing of the Direct Neural Interface experiment.
- "Where am I? Where's Reznov?"
- — Mason in the interrogation room.
- "My name is Viktor Reznov, and I will have my revenge!"
- — Mason as he's about to kill Friedrich Steiner.
- "Your evil has claimed the lives of many good men! No longer!"
- — Mason to Friedrich Steiner, moments before his death.
- "That young kid didn't make it....I swear to God that Woods was crying but he never let us see no tears."
- — Mason talking about Woods.
- "I keep hearing the fucking numbers!"
- — Mason during Revelations.
- "You will move without boundries. You will act above the law. You will use any means necessary to stop the wars that are hidden from the world. And if you succeed, you will do so, without any recognition. Because you do not exist."
- — Mason discussing his involvment with the CIA.
- "It's Uncle Woods, son. He'd do it for me."
- — Mason to David Mason.
- "Hey Woods, you look like hammered shit."
- — Mason to Woods at the Vault.
- "Turns out you're a lousy shot."
- — Mason to Woods about Woods shooting him.
- "Woods! You look like hammered shit."
- — Mason to Woods during S.O.G.
- "I made the mistake of not confirming the kill five years ago at Baikonur."
- — Mason to Hudson about not killing Dragovich since Executive Order.
- Main article: Alex Mason/Trivia
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Call of Duty: Black Ops (Nintendo DS)
- ↑ http://www.joystiq.com/2010/10/11/new-call-of-duty-black-ops-single-player-trailer-declassified/#continued
- ↑ Files found in Alex Mason's CIA account.
- ↑ Intro cutscene to Rebirth.