The Administrator, also known as the Announcer or Helen, handles the affairs of both the RED and BLU teams, as well as TF Industries. She is the source of the mysterious, disembodied voice that issues commands and announces vital events during rounds. An aged and thoroughly evil mastermind of a woman, the Administrator possesses both a piercing gaze and the sort of voice that commands total and unwavering obedience... or else. Her general demeanor tends towards either slight anger or various stages of bitter disappointment.
Role and duties
The Administrator wields considerable influence and power. Once thought by whom? to be the owner of both the RED and BLU corporations, it has since been revealed that Blutarch and Redmond Mann were both still alive thanks to Radigan Conagher's Life Extender Machine until they were murdered by Gray Mann. Despite their continued existence, neither of the Mann brothers seemed capable of handling the affairs of their respective companies, so for all intents and purposes the Administrator could have been said to control them. However, the events of the Mann vs. Machine storyline resulted in her fleeing her post and sending Miss Pauling to bring together the mercenaries in the storyline of TF Comics. Her whereabouts are unknown, but she still probably wields considerable power due to her previous control over every major government on the planet. She tends to keep her operations top secret, manipulating events from behind the scenes. Any development that may chance unwanted attention is swiftly terminated with extreme prejudice.
When the two teams are fighting, she regularly communicates with each team individually from a single microphone connected to a central control panel. By skilled manipulation of a huge array of plugs and sockets, she can tap into a number of communication channels, including ones that address the entirety of the RED and BLU teams. Her messages are relayed to the teams through an Alarm-O-Tron 5000 speaker system, itself connected to a board with a myriad of signs that illuminate in situations of varying urgency, such as "Intruder Alert - RED Spy - In Base". A massive monitor bank in front of her control panel allows her to keep a watchful eye on events at all times. Her exact motives in ordering the mercenary teams employed by both her companies into mortal combat on a regular basis remain mysterious.
The Administrator considers inter-company friendships a profound breach of trust, forbidden by contract. After her assistant Miss Pauling brought it to her attention that the RED Demoman and BLU Soldier had become friends, she had communication channels opened up specifically to them both. Through these, she personally encouraged each to kill their new friend in order to earn a mysterious and valuable new weapon developed under Mann Co. Just as intended, this quickly destroyed their blossoming friendship and thus beginning the seven day war.
Death of Poopy Joe and Loss of Australium
Helen, Miss Pauling, and owner of Mann Co., Saxton Hale, were all questioned by several senators about the death of Poopy Joe (who they launched into space for one dollar), and the disappearance of all the Australium in the world. She gave them the undisclosed info, which included talk of her stockpiling Australium for years, and eighteen idiots to help her with it. The senators all were shocked by the story, and decided to end their questioning quickly afterwards. The document that contained the information had the word 'INCINERATE' stamped on it.
The Administrator hired a director to record some background information about what the RED team members might say when asked questions from the files the Administrator gave the Director. Not intent on keeping him for long as she considers him to be a dupe and as sub-normal as the mercenaries, she gives the order to Miss Pauling to kill the director afterwards in a mine shaft. She also sends photos of the Sniper's parents, the Heavy's home and Minigun, and one of the Soldier's heads back to the RED team. After the mercenaries kill the messenger, she chastises them since the mini-television sets they carry are apparently extremely expensive, and warns them of the dangers of discussing the terms of their contracts with anyone. She does let them know that in this case, it was a rather absurd example and all gathered evidence – except the Soldier's heads – was destroyed.
Team Fortress Comics
As a result of Gray Mann's hostile takeover of Mann Co., the Administrator was forced to lie low. She was later revealed to be giving orders to Miss Pauling, namely to gather all the fired mercenaries to search for the last Australium cache. The Engineer is also revealed to be most likely working for her, upgrading her machine to be more efficient, giving her enough time to "settle an old debt" (if Helen is Emily and Elizabeth, that is).
Because of the resemblances in appearance, habits, demeanor, and connections with the Mann family, Administrator Helen is presumed to be related to a woman named Elizabeth, portrayed in 1850 in Loose Canon with another woman portrayed in 1890, also in the same issue. The three women played Redmond and Blutarch against each other for 150 years while amassing the largest supply of Australium in the world.
- The Administrator Helen kept the Mann family portrait on her control panel.
- Zepheniah Mann left his remaining fortune to Elizabeth with the hope that she would find the gravel he was unable to find. Emily disclosed her search for Australium to Dell Conagher, perhaps the source of the map of Australium caches buried with Radigan Conagher.
- Zepheniah's final bequest to Elizabeth was the entirety of his cache of Australian "miracle" gravel with the instruction that she keep it secret, particularly from Gray Mann. In a move that seems in keeping with a generational trust given to Elizabeth, Helen hid the Mann Co. horde of Australium from Gray Mann.
As the Engineer was seen upgrading a Life Extender Machine on a woman in Blood in the Water, the third Life Extender Machine built by Radigan Conagher may have been built for this woman, then upgraded by the Conaghers over the years.
The Administrator's appearance has a storied past. It started with a fan rendition by the artist Makani, which spread around the Internet, proving to be rather popular. Shortly thereafter, the artist was invited to Valve headquarters for a visit where the design was then purchased. Many months later, during the promo for the Haunted Hallowe'en Special, a woman with a near-identical face could be seen standing next to Zepheniah Mann on his deathbed. Finally, on December 9, 2009, the Administrator's face was officially revealed using Makani's design with some slight clothing modifications. Most notably, the half-red-half-blue attire replaced by a full purple blazer and skirt, (purple being a color only obtained by mixing red and blue); but with red accents (earrings, nails, and hose). With the release of Meet the Director, the Administrator's appearance has undergone more changes.
Elements of her appearance, notably dark hair with white Mallen Streak and a heavy smoking habit, were employed in the comic Loose Canon to suggest at least a familial relationship between the Administrator character and two female characters introduced in that comic.
- Ellen McLain, the voice actor for the Administrator, is also the voice of GLaDOS and several other characters in the Portal series and the Overwatch Dispatcher in Half-Life 2, making her appear in all of The Orange Box games.
- The Administrator is implied to have been in a relationship with Saxton Hale some time ago, who refers to her as a "chain-smoking seductress".
- In response to inquiries about her alleged relationship with Saxton Hale: "A lady never tells, and a gentleman never asks. More pertinently, an Administrator never forgets. Or forgives. Or relents. The Nosy Parkers among you would do well to remember that the next time you decide to paw through my confidential affairs like junkyard dogs."
- In Poker Night at the Inventory, an image of the Administrator makes a cameo as the Queen of Diamonds in the "Poker Night" and "Poker Night Alternative" decks.
- According to a blog-post by herself, The Administrator gets one hour of vacation time per year, which she usually spends feeding pigeons in a park, and causing them to make war against each other.
- In the Team Fortress Comic Issue #4 Blood in the Water, a woman with the Mallen Streak and wearing a purple slimline skirt, but with a white blouse similar to the one seen in Loose Canon, and missing the red accents, appears closing in on the end of her life, as she was running out of Australium for her Life Extender Machine.
The Administrator as she appeared in the WAR! Update.
The Administrator speaking to Miss Pauling in the Meet the Director TF2 Comic.
A very elderly woman with features of the Administrator appearing in Blood in the Water.
A latent image of the Administrator on the map Mann Manor.
Young Administrator appearing in The Naked and the Dead.
The Administrator's card in Poker Night at the Inventory.
The Administrator as shown in the Gift Abuse: The Gift That Keeps on Abusing blog post.
- War!, page 9.
- Saxton Hale's Jungle Brawl #44.
- Bidwell's Big Plan, page 1. "Her" is exclaimed multiple times in the comics, generally presumed in reference to Helen.
- War!, page 9.
- The Administrator, Cheaters, Winners and Busybodies, Team Fortress 2 Blog, January 28, 2010
- The Administrator, Gift Abuse: The Gift That Keeps on Abusing, Team Fortress 2 Blog, November 2, 2011
- Comic – Before the WAR!
- TF2 Official Website - You Have Failed Me
- TF2 Official Website - I Can't Take My Eyes Off You for Five Minutes
- TF2 Official Website - Theft is a Dish Best Served Cold
- TF2 Official Website - Attention Employees...
- TF2 Official Website - Cheaters, Winners and Busybodies
- TF2 Official Website - Additional time has been awarded
- Comic – The Showdown!