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You cannot fathom how much we have invested in you, hmm? We saved you, gave you a home, an identity... NO! YOU ARE WHAT I MADE YOU!
John Mercer arguing with Aha'ri

John Mercer is the main antagonist of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, along with his assistant Colonel Angela Harding.

Mercer is a leader of the Resources Development Administration, being the Executive Vice President of Frontier Operations in the Western Frontier, with orders to gather materials and resources for RDA projects across Pandora for the Colonization of the Western Frontier. He was also the administrator of The Ambassador Program (TAP) over a decade ago.

Background[]

Presumably born sometime in the early 2100s, Mercer is a shrewd and ambitious businessman who saw the potential of Pandora. With his co-worker Alma Cortez, he created TAP in order to get easier access to Pandora's resources from the Na'vi without the financial expense of a prolonged conflict. He hoped to impress the RDA with Na'vi diplomats who were loyal to humanity.

In 2138, Mercer along with Angela Harding and Alma Cortez kidnapped a group of Na'vi children from the Sarentu clan with the aim to train them to become cultural ambassadors. The kidnapping resulted in the decimation of the Sarentu, a deed which Mercer and Harding hid from the RDA by fabricating reports and destroying the bodies with toxic chemicals.[1]

Although Alma was on the fence about what had been done and had great guilt, Mercer manipulated and convinced her that the Na'vi were primitive and that abducting their children was a necessary evil for the greater good. He claimed to Alma that the Na'vi were primitive savages, although it is unclear if he genuinely believed this, or if he knew they were more peaceful and complex than his claims were and used it to manipulate Alma.

Mercer kills Aha'ri

Mercer shoots and kills Aha'ri when she tries to leave

During TAP, he was known to have strict and rather cruel personality. For example, he physically beat Teylan for his bed wetting so badly to the degree he had bruises for weeks. He viewed Aha'ri's songcord as a useless piece of string, and when she touched him and broke the rule of no physical contact, he punished the entire group instead of only her. He also murdered Aha'ri when she tried to leave with her friends. When it was time to update Aha'ri's student profile, he merely vaguely wrote that she died to an unfortunate incident.[2]

When human-Na'vi relations soured throughout the 2140s, he changed the program to teach the Na'vi human combat methods and turn them against their own kind, making do with military assets instead.

Mercer worked on Pandora until 2154. The attack of the Na'vi clans during the battle in the Hallelujah Mountains interrupted the program, and Mercer gave the order to execute the children, from which Alma saved the children and put them in cryogenic sleep, hiding them.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora[]

John Mercer

Angela and Mercer approach the protagonist when they escape from the facility

Mercer was among the RDA forces return to Pandora in 2168. It is said that he is seeking revenge. He directed Sec-Ops forces against the Na'vi.[3]

After contacting Teylan by chance while both of them were on their communicators, he tries to manipulate Teylan to turn against The Resistance. Mercer gave Teylan a tablet and told him to take notes, and also told Teylan that one day, Teylan would understand Mercer's actions against the Resistance.

Mercer final moments

Mercer in his likely final moments

He is believed to have been killed in the explosion in the facility when his student and Teylan rebel against him.

Quests[]

Personality[]

Mercer is described as a dangerous visionary who is intelligent, manipulative, and vindictive, hungry for power and the admiration of other people. He has little to no respect for the Na'vi, calling them primitive and savages, and wanting them dead for opposing the RDA.

In the start, Mercer aimed to win the admiration of the organization, though was willing to do whatever he thought necessary to achieve these desired ends and was inclined to hide truths from the RDA. Despite the fact that they attempted peaceful approaches with the Na'vi at first, Mercer was quick to resort to violence and force which culminated in the decimation of the Sarentu and the abduction of several of their children for TAP, something which he worked to cover up so that neither the RDA nor other Na'vi clans would ever know.

Aha'ri holding Mercer

Mercer gets into an argument with Aha'ri about how her mother's songcord is not a useless trinket

When it came to the TAP students, he treated them like property and was disappointed when Alma tried to show them more creative works, like poetry, which could inspire their imagination. Instead, he felt they should learn economics which he believed was real science, saying they should read books such as The Triumph of Hegemony Politics in the Second Space Age and Untangling Entanglement: an Introduction to Quantum Business Analysis.[4] He further committed ruthless and abusive acts towards the students, hurting them several times both physically and emotionally. Mercer expected absolute compliance from them and would inflict severe punishments on all the students if only one of them defied him and was willing to murder one, Aha'ri for doing so.

Upon his return to Pandora and spearheading the colonization of the Western Frontier, Mercer had become even more determined and aggressive than ever before. He went to extreme lengths to extract resources from the area and combat anyone who opposed him. He started to show signs of mental instability which disturbed his subordinates whom he cared little for, seeing them all as expendable, and this created resentment towards him amongst them. However, Mercer could also show some measure of respect towards those who seemingly obeyed him without question and would actually let his guard down around them such as with Teylan.

Mercer was noted by Harding to be into extreme neatness; his office has objects at right angles. Harding once picked up a stapler and he not only ordered her to put it back, but it had to be at the right angle as his pens were. He is also said to have the belief that first impressions are very important.

A peculiar behavior of Mercer was that he held onto the songcord belonging to Aha'ri after he had killed her, keeping it on his person. The reason as to why he did this was unclear.

Relationships[]

The Sarentu[]

Mercer kidnapped them and their young friends and sister, and killed most of their family. They are seeking revenge from him.

Angela Harding[]

Mercer commands Colonel Harding, his subordinate, for killing all Na'vi that are in their way. Her opinion of him greatly soured during their return to Pandora and she would record an audio log for Ardmore in which she called Mercer a psycho.

Alma Cortez[]

Mercer manipulated Cortez, who subsequently massacred the clan and kidnapped all of the Sarentu Clan's children so he could train them as soldiers loyal to the RDA through TAP. She was complicit in the massacre due to desperation to make TAP a success, but came to regret it and betrayed him for Jake Sully as a member of the Resistance.

Aha'ri[]

Mercer and Aha'ri had a very conflicted relationship, and he did not care about her attachment to her mother's songcord. He would eventually take her life when she defied his orders, and cover her death up by claiming she vaguely died in an unforeseen incident.

Teylan[]

Teylan was one of several Na'vi who Mercer imprisoned and abused at TAP, aiming to turn him into a loyal soldier for the RDA. When he was younger, Mercer inflicted terrible acts and punishments onto the boy such as when he had him beaten for wetting his bed.

Despite all this, Teylan was the only Na'vi who did not wish to see Mercer for the monster he was and believed that he had actually saved him. He tried to show as much loyalty as he could towards Mercer which made him calmer than he was with other students, though Mercer would still punish Teylan for something someone else did.

This confused sense of compliance and loyalty was something that Teylan carried with him even after Mercer ordered his execution along with the rest of the TAP students and he was put into cryogenic stasis, waking up several years later and joining the Resistance's efforts against Mercer. When Teylan betrayed the Resistance and briefly sided with Mercer, he showed some measure of respect and appreciation though likely still only saw him as a mere tool. However, because of his apparent loyalty, Mercer mistakenly let his guard down around Teylan which resulted in his defeat when the latter came back to his senses and rejoined the Resistance.

Jake Sully[]

Mercer hates Jake Sully who foiled his plans and forced him to flee Pandora, before returning again 15 years later to exact revenge.

Parker Selfridge[]

Mercer was obsessed with Selfridge, who was the head administrator of Hell's Gate before Assault on the Tree of Souls. Mercer views him as an obstacle and a cowardly leader, but still expected admiration from him. 15 years later, he returns and seems satisfied that Parker has been punished by the RDA and left his position, because Parker was indifferent to him.

Audio logs[]

Brainstorm[]

Transcript

No recording as of yet, audio log has not been found, text retrieved from game files. It is unclear if this log actually appears in the game.
JOHN MERCER: Okay, let's see. Gentlemen, ladies, sons of
bitches, yada yada yada yada. Yeah, we broke the pretty Na'vi
arches! (chuckles) Maybe not the best way to introduce the topic
to the top brass. I'm confident everyone is aware of the sudden
change in the literal landscape of the Western Frontier, and I
know there has been some consternation, as this wasn't a part of
the agreed-upon action plan. (Now, throw in a little dispersal
of guilt.) The fact is that Colonel Harding's reckless handling
of the native situation, as well as the unauthorized operations
she has engaged in for personal gain, have created a state of
open hostilities. This has forced me to break protocol and employ
these radical methods on an accelerated schedule. (In other words,
more money, faster! It's gonna be hard for them to argue with
that!) Before we move onto the consequences, I would like to direct
your attention to the exceptional gains that we are witnessing already.
Add graphs here, numbers go up, people start smiling, nodding to
each other… yeah. They're gonna love it. Maybe some handwringing
about the natives, a bit of bootlicking, but nobody's really
listening anyway since they're just watching the graphs go through
the roof, and pow! Applause, exceptional initiative, saved the
operation from disaster. Shortlist for promotion. Time for
John Mercer to get a new title.

Defoliant report[]

Transcript

JOHN MERCER: On the topic of our current ground clearing
methods. While I appreciate the Settlement Director's
concerns over the use of defoliants prior to the mechanical
removal of the heavier vegetation, I can assure you this poses
no risk to our future human settlers. Yes, operators have
reported experiencing "a metallic taste" when in the
processed zones, but our masks are perfectly adequate for
filtering out any major contaminants from the air. While this of
course leaves the potential issue of dermal absorption, I would
like to point out that by the time any actual settlers arrive in
the processed zones, all aboveground defoliants will have
been washed away by the rains. As for our preference on the
defoliants as opposed to fire, we are able to deploy them
without inciting an immediate response from the Na'vi, thus
preserving SecOps resources, which I keep being told are a
highly limited commodity all of a sudden. I trust this addresses
all of your concerns on the matter.

On Wildlife Management[]

Transcript

JOHN MERCER: On the topic of wildlife management. First of all,
I feel that the board's time has been wasted in escalating this
matter to them. The Settlement Director is well aware that we
do not currently have the resources to even catalogue the
populations around the proposed settlement zones. We can
only progress on this matter once the Na'vi have been
adequately pacified and the lingering fringe elements from the
rebellion have been expunged from the area. This is not
something Colonel Harding has been able to achieve at this
time. Once we have the manpower for secondary tasks, I can
assure everyone that wildlife management is at the top of the
list. Future settlers will experience Pandora without having to
worry about some of its more dangerous elements. This will
mean culling and chasing away any serious predators, leaving
enough breeding pairs to support leisure hunting further out
from the settlements. I am aware of the effect this will have
on the prey populations, but I am sure our less ambitious
hunting enthusiasts will help us in achieving a balance there. I
will be happy to discuss this plan in more detail once it is
actually timely to do so.

Thoughts on defectors[]

Transcript

JOHN MERCER: Nothing like starting the day with two fresh
defector files on my desk. Hmm, married couple. Wonder which
one came up with the idea? Guessing him. Looks like a chump.
Good luck raising a family out in the damn jungle. And for
what? To "protect" a moon that wants to kill every human on it,
with a population to match? I kind of get it when this happens
with the labcoats. Especially the ones with the humanities
minors. Pfft! Should have screened those out before letting
them on the ships. But soldiers? And what's this? A
construction engineer? Should have a better head on himself
than that. Jin-young MacKay ... Solid resume. Hobbies ...
Carpentry? This guy. Makes things out of trees, but tears up a
solid contract, to, what, save some alien trees? (sighs)
Numbskulls and hippies, the lot of them. At least they've
raised the average IQ around here by leaving. Not that they
shouldn't be shot on sight. Save everyone the court martial.

Notes[]

Desertion Clampdown[]

Transcript

Note has not been found, text retrieved from game files. It is unclear if this note actually appears in the game.
Memo: To all lieutenants
Status: Urgent
It has come to our attention that lieutenants may need more of
an incentive to ensure we don’t watch as RDA personnel simply
walk off base and into the arms of the Resistance. We recruit only
the best and expect our leaders to act as such. Desertion is not a
fact of life in the RDA. It is not “natural attrition” it is a
failure of squad leaders to account for their assets.
The following measures will be implemented with immediate effect
to deal with the defector problem.
- All desertion will result in the strictest disciplinary measures.
- A new reprogramming initiative will be implemented for returned
personnel.
- Lieutenants will be held responsible for desertion numbers among
their platoons.
- Increased resources have already been funneled to focus on monitoring
all communications.
It is time to get your house in order. Discipline is at the very core
of the RDA and everything we do here on Pandora. We must tighten the leash.
Play your part.
John Mercer

RE: TAP Syllabus Proposal (partial author)[]

Transcript

Note to self: He was always difficult. But I used to think at
least we shared a goal. To share the wonders of human
culture. To better the lives of both Na'vi and humans. But was I
fooling myself? Was he always this callous?
From: J. Mercer
To: You
Old books. Poetry !! Comparative art studies (you can't be
serious ?! ). Cortez, come on. Where are the economics, the real
science? This is an 'institution of high learning'. Your words,
not mine. We must teach what actually matters! Bring
civilization to those savages. Let's reconvene tomorrow. Spit-
balling some literature:
History of Economics
Corporate Governments: An efficient solution to a historical
problem, chapters 2, 3, 25
Conquering the Global Village, chapters 7-9
The Triumph of Hegemony Politics in the Second Space Age
Covert Diplomacy: Clandestine operations and other forces for
global peace
Trade Theory
Pandoran Commodities and Disruptive Markets, chapter 7
Untangling Entanglement: an Introduction to Quantum
Business Analysis, chapters 1-5

TAP School Records (partial author)[]

Transcript

Subject: Teylan
Temperament: Eager to please. Ideal candidate to promote
human aims. Gets distracted by tech. We should keep an eye
on this aspect.
Skills: A malleable mouthpiece for TAP
Additional note: Perhaps we can nurture Teylan's love of
human technology. AC
Subject: Ri'nela
Temperament: Subject appears to be adapting to the program
well. Some of the other subjects have a strong attachment to
this one. Could be used to our advantage.
Skills: Articulate for a Na'vi.
Additional note: Agree that Ri'nela is a great candidate for TAP
and has the trust of her Na'vi peers. She could go far with the
right support. AC
Subject: Nor
Temperament: Can be surly. Needs discipline. Suggest
stronger punishments to bring him in line.
Skills: Shows potential in weapons. Need to breakdown his
resistance to human tech and channel his anger.
Additional Note: Nor needs care, not discipline, in my opinion.
Let's discuss next steps. AC
Subject: Okni
Temperament: Sickly. Subject is weak. Not a good candidate
for TAP. Suggest downgrade to service aspects of the initiative
if they survive.
Skills: Compliant.
Additional Note: Okni had another fever this week. Need to
check in with medical to see what we can do for her. AC
Subject: Yuayt
Temperament: Responds well to discipline and authority. Has
proven useful as eyes and ears for us in exchange for
favorable conditions. Helped us monitor rule-breakers to
maintain discipline.
Skills: Firearms. Recommend for combat missions, once
loyalty to TAP is rock solid.
Additional Note: Yuayt is far too young for combat. He is strong
for his age, but we should proceed with caution. I will take this
up with John myself. AC
Subject: Aha'ri
Temperament: Displays disruptive and insubordinate
behaviors. Strong discipline recommended. Too much
influence over sibling and others. Suggest separation.
Status: Deceased
Notes: Disciplinary issues. Subject was not suited to TAP. An
unfortunate incident led to termination. JM
Additional Note:
I was too much of a coward to write this when it happened. But
I'll write it now. For all the kids.
That was no 'unfortunate incident', John. You killed Aha'ri. A
child. Because you can't stand dissent and you will crush it at
any cost. That spirited girl was snuffed out.
I tried my best to protect the others. But I fear it was not
enough. What started as a dream will haunt me forever. I will
make this right.
Let the record state: John Mercer murdered Aha'ri. In cold
blood!!
AC

Notable Quotes[]

  • This is our last chance. They're too primitive to understand what we can do for their children!
  • Hell's Gate is under attack, evacuate now! Kill all the Na'vi children!
  • If you had showed half as much initiative at school, we'd have gotten somewhere. You're such a waste of breath. Do you see this, Teylan? This is what failure looks like.
  • Are you serious? This is how you choose to go out? With a children's song?

Trivia[]

  • According to the dossier behind Alma during the briefing in the quest Welcome to the Resistance, Mercer is 1.86m tall and weighs 77kg. The dossier also has his age, and according to the document he is "50+" — an exact age is not given.[5]

Gallery[]

References[]

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