Study Guide

Mark Bragg in Alas, Babylon

By Pat Frank

Mark Bragg

Marky Mark might get less page-time than his funky bunch, but he's one of Alas, Babylon's most important characters. Without him, everybody else would've either been incinerated by nuclear explosions, or quickly taken down in their aftermath.

Unlike his brother Randy, who enjoys an aimless existence, Mark has always stayed on the straight and narrow. He has a wife and two smart, capable children. Oh yeah, and he's also a member of the Strategic Air Command, or SAC, the branch of the Air Force largely responsible for managing the nation's nuclear arsenal. Mark must be a brainiac to snag that gig.

He's also a pretty noble guy, if his actions are any indication. He exhausts himself preparing his loved ones for the impending disaster, knowing full well that he'll probably never see them again.

Here are some of his last words to Helen before sending her to Florida:

"Your job is to survive because if you don't the children won't survive. That is your job. There is no other. You understand that, Helen?" (4.6)

Heavy stuff. We're sure Helen and Mark had expected to enjoy a nice, long retirement after Mark finished his time in the SAC. Now? He just wants her to live.

Sadly, Mark is killed during the initial nuclear attack. The Russians hate the SAC most of all, it's explained, and would spare no expense in its destruction, which in truth should be a testament to Mark and his team. Regardless, we think he'd be content knowing that he gave his family a fighting chance to survive the post-apocalypse, even if he had to give his own life in the process.

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