|“|| Damian Cray: There have to be sacrifices. But if a thousand people die to save a million, what's so wrong about that?
Alex Rider: Everything is wrong with it! What about the fallout? Have you thought what it'll do to the rest of the planet? I thought you cared about the environment but you're going to destroy it
Damian Cray: It's a price worth paying, and one day the whole world will agree. You've got to be cruel to be kind
Alex Rider: You only think that because you're insane
—Alex Rider pointing out the flaw in Cray's methods
Sir Damian Cray, born Harold Eric Lunt, is the main antagonist in Eagle Strike, the fourth novel.
Cray was born in North London on October 5, 1950, baptized Harold Eric Lunt. Having a remarkable singing voice, Cray wished to be a pop star, though his parents forced him to go to the Royal Academy of Music in London despite his unhappy protests. When he was thirteen his parents were killed in a bizarre accident, a car falling on top of them from the top floor of a car park. Lunt later left the Royal Academy of Music and travelled the world, changing his name and becoming a Buddhist and a vegetarian. Later, he was part of a band, then went into a solo career, becoming famous.
Role in Series
Despite his charitable work, campaigns and beliefs, Cray had a much darker side to him; in order to fulfill some of his charitable notions, such as his campaign against animal testing, he ordered the assassinations of many people for the practices he was campaigning against, willing to go to any length to succeed. This went unnoticed until he called for a hit on Edward Pleasure, a journalist who was threatening to expose Cray. He also arranges the killing of a journalist who puts him on the spot asking awkward questions regarding the video game violence in "Feathered Serpent", the first game developed for the Gameslayer, based on the Aztec civilization.
Alex Rider began looking into Cray's actions after a confrontation with Yassen Gregorovich, who Cray sent to kill Edward Pleasure. Cray was planning a nuclear attack to annihilate major drug-producing parts of the world. Using the Gameslayer as a cover, he devised a way of hi-jacking the presidential plane Air Force One using a flash drive to launch the USA's supply of nuclear missiles. However, Alex had trouble convincing Alan Blunt that the charitable Cray is planning to destroy half the world, forcing Alex to investigate himself.
Alex hears that Cray is holding a conference to celebrate the launch of his Gameslayer console, and he decides to go there with his housekeeper Jack Starbright to see if he can find out anything about Cray. While he is there, Cray asks for a volunteer to test out Feathered Serpent, and the audience encourages Alex to be the one because he is the only child attending the conference. Alex does well in the game and Cray becomes annoyed that he has made it look too easy; he congratulates Alex on his progress but surreptitiously causes Alex to lose. He also secretly plans to get back at him someday for ruining the launch of his Gameslayer.
Later on, Alex infiltrates Cray's software company, CST, and sees Cray with Yassen Gregorovich; also present is Charlie Roper, a corrupt operative of the American NSA. It eventually transpires that Roper made a flash drive capable of hacking into any computer in the world. He then requests payment from Cray. (However, he was careless and had inadvertently leaked information on Cray's plans) After taking the flash drive, Cray kills Roper by locking him in a glass case and showering two million dollars worth of nickels onto him, which serves to both pay him and kill him. Alex is then caught by a guard and brought to Cray, who promptly has him locked into his game to make it more realistic. However, having previously played the game itself, Alex gets past all of the traps and escapes from the complex, but not without stealing Cray's valuable flash drive first.
Cray soon realizes that his flash drive has been taken from his desk, and he goes into a villainous breakdown from the fact that all his work and expense would have been for naught. He blames Yassen for sparing Alex when he could so easily have killed the boy on the boat and Yassen contemplates killing Cray but relents.
Cray sends his men to search for Alex, but Yassen Gregorovich informs Cray that Alex is close friends with Sabina and catches her to hold her hostage. He then tells Alex that if he does not get the flash drive back, he will kill Sabina. Alex tries to find a way of outsmarting Cray: he puts a small pack of glue in it and threatens to squeeze, but Cray orders Yassen to torture Sabina if Alex does not hand the flash drive over. Left with no choice, the boy eventually admits defeat and returns the flash drive to the villain.
Cray later carries out his plan, code-named "Eagle Strike", and proceeds to launch the USA's arsenal of nuclear missiles using his flash drive. He then hijacks Air Force One after killing the crew and takes Alex and Sabina on board with him, so that they can witness the devastation about to take place. Eventually, Cray orders Yassen to kill Sabina and Alex after they annoy him with threats. Yassen refuses, however, claiming that he "doesn't kill children". (However, this is technically a lie as evidenced by his involvement in the Stormbreaker project)
Infuriated, Cray shoots Yassen and then Alex; unbeknownst to him, Alex had been wearing a bulletproof vest given by Smithers and is unharmed. He and Sabina then attack Cray. Cray attempts to kill Alex with a headshot. Sabina eventually pushes a drinks trolley into Cray and Alex hurls him out of the open doorway, whereupon Cray is sucked into one of the jet turbines, vaporising him. The damaged engine, having sucked in the drinks trolley, forces the plane to crash-land.
Cray is described as being very short, with dyed jet-black hair. He has a round babyish face with green eyes and a small nose positioned "almost unnaturally in the center of his face". It is mentioned that Cray has probably had plastic surgery.
|“||Damian Cray is just about the closet thing we have to a living Saint||”|
—Alan Blunt regarding Cray's [public] persona
|“||Damian Cray was both mad and evil. All his posturing - his many charities and his speeches against violence - was precisely that; a facade||”|
—Alex discovering Cray's true nature
On the outside, Damian Cray paints the picture of a charismatic, eccentric and approachable man with a deep desire to better the world around him. In actuality, he is a psychopath. Intensely narcissistic to a fault, he rarely allows blame to fall on him, and prefers to never get his hands dirty. He is also casually sadistic, and enjoys causing pain as much as the next man, even if it means harming children. However, he again would rather orchestrate acts of pain rather than cause it with his own hands. Cray, stereotypical of a spoilt child, is also capable of incredible mood swings: One moment, he is calm and malevolent, the next moment he is violent and angry. He believes himself to be inherently good, even though he commits various acts of absolute savagery - he has murdered, corrupted and traumatised people to achieve his own personal goals, and in these predicaments believes such people to be test suspects rather than actual people. The irony of this situation is that Damian claims to want to improve the lives of millions, but by disregarding the lives of just as many in the process, showing an almost insane hypocrisy on his part. He is shown to be a coward when he immediately blames Yassen Gregorovitch for the loss of the flash drive.
- Cray shares his personality and manner of death with that of Gustav Graves in the James Bond film Die Another Day. The method in which he is killed is also how Major Grant from Die Hard 2 met his demise.
- He is the first primary Alex Rider antagonist to be killed before the secondary antagonist. The second is Nikolei Drevin from Ark Angel.
- Photo: none
- General information: various sources, including but not limited to:
- Eagle Strike by Anthony Horowitz (primary)