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Skoda (real name: Jake) is the opening antagonist in the Alex Rider novel Point Blanc and the main antagonist of the short story Secret weapon.
Backstory, according to Secret Weapon
According to Secret Weapon, Skoda was born Brian Smith, and was abandoned by his mother at the age of three. He was fostered by a couple in Dagenham, but still ended up going bad, even at a young age. By the age of eleven, he was a bully and a smoker, getting himself excluded from two schools, refusing to pay attention when he was in education, as well as joining a gang at that time.
In the gang, he became a drug user and dealer, serving in many deals. When Skoda was sixteen, his gang leaders were wiped out in a turf war; he, however, survived, and went into business for himself, contracting supplies from across London to build his drug lab, before moving to Putney.
As a solo dealer, Skoda sold his drugs to anybody and everybody, including schoolkids and clubbers. He also altered the purity of the drugs, mixing glucose, dried milk, rat poison and all manner of chemicals into the illegal substances, allowing the drugs to go further, and increasing his profits. He didn't care if the drugs became poisonous.
Skoda is a drug dealer. He once went to Brookland School in Chelsea in South London but then he got into crime, which eventually led him to prison, where he met Mike Beckett and planned to go into business with him when they both got out. For a laugh, Skoda chose to have his base of crime right next to a police station because it amused him. He was much like Jack the Ripper, thinking that the police were fools.
One day, Alex Rider saw Skoda (named after his car make) zoom off after selling drugs to one of his previous friends and a few others. Knowing that drugs was the reason why the school was going downhill, Alex cycled down after Skoda, following the man home to his river boat. The houseboat and a construction yard in the distance gave Alex an idea, so he untied the boat from the jetty and used the construction yard's crane to lift the boat out of the water, scaring Skoda and accomplice Mike Beckett into thinking the boat was sinking. Skoda and Beckett tried to climb out but were trapped, and Alex was intending to lower the boat outside a police car park, but unfortunately, the builders knocked the power off to the crane, and the weight was too much for the crane, so the boat, with the men inside, eventually broke off of the crane's hook and hit Putney Riverside Conference Centre's roof, where the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, the Home Secretary and other officials were giving an anti-drug speech. Ironically, the boat with the two drug dealers smashed down into the middle of the conference and alarmed everyone, narrowly killing the Home Secretary in the process. The dealers were hospitalized for many months.
After being in hospital, Skoda and Beckett were then arrested for their villainous actions.
Skoda returns in the short story Secret Weapon, which takes place roughly two months after the events of Point Blanc, and roughly halfway between Eagle Strike and Scorpia. Somewhat retconning the events of Point Blanc, it is revealed that straightaway after his arrest at Putney, Skoda was sentenced to twenty years in prison, for possession of drugs with intent to supply, and drug dealing, no doubt exasperated by the fact that the drugs he was dealing were impure, therefore dangerous and potentially lethal. His home for the next twenty years is revealed to be the maximum-security HMP Doncaster.
Two months into his sentence, Skoda becomes obssessed with killing Alex Rider in revenge for him destroying his drug-dealing operation; his mental state is not helped by being confined to his cell for twenty hours of the day, the bad food and the four hours out of his cell being divided between the prison's en-suite workshop, education centre and exercise yard.
After being abused by his fellow inmates over him ending up inside because of a fourteen-year-old, Skoda learns from friends of his on the outside about Alex being connected to government, then formulates a plan to escape and kill him. He bribes another prisoner, who is working in the prison's hospital wing, about the state of terminally ill fellow inmate Harry Baker (serving a life sentence after murdering a policeman in a bank robbery), universally known as "Spider" because of his distinguishing feature, a hand-made spider tattoo on his face. Skoda then steals his toothbrush from his cell, three safety razors from the workshop and a black marker pen from the education centre. He melts the toothbrush's handle in the workshop, then fashions it and the razors to make a crude knife.
With this knife, during an evening session in the exercise yard, Skoda screams out loudly to attract the attention of the guards, then slashes himself across the chest. As the other prisoners are frog-marched back to their cells, Skoda says one of the other prisoners attacked him, and that he will need to go to the medical wing. He is taken to the infirmary, where he is examined by a doctor, given a shot, given some soup and bread, and then, due to his hysterical state, is allowed to stay in the infirmary that night, in the same ward as Spider.
With the guards and doctor out of sight during the night, Skoda kills Spider by suffocating him with Skoda's pillow, then summons the night guard and doctor with the call button next to his bed, then lies about how Spider died, saying he had a coughing fit. When the doctor confirms Spider's death, Skoda asks them to remove the corpse as soon as possible, faking a fear of corpses. The guard and doctor leave to make the arrangements, whilst Skoda switches beds with Skoda's corpse, drawing the sheets over the dead man's head and face, then using the marker pen to draw a crude copy of Spider's tattoo on his own face. When the paramedics, guard and doctor arrive to remove Spider, they take Skoda (who is by now pretending to be dead) to the morgue at Doncaster Royal Infirmary. Skoda then escapes, stealing a patient's clothes, some money and a car from one of the doctors, then driving south, to Chelsea, to exact his plan.
At Brooklands High School, Alex Rider and his best friend Tom Harris talk the arrival of a beautiful but mysterious and unusually strict supply science teacher, Miss Maxwell. They go outside and talk a later school trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is presently holding an exhibition on weapons, warfare and warriors. Alex feels that somebody is following him, seeing a man watching him from just outside the school grounds. He is right, as Skoda is stalking him, and has now obtained information on the trip.
Skoda goes to the Museum ahead of the school party, knocks out a guard and steals his uniform. When Alex, Tom and co are in the samurai/Japan area of the exhibition, Skoda (unknown to Alex at this time) tells him to wait behind, following a bogus incident somewhere in the museum. Dropping the act once the party has gone (and being compared to a Halloween mannequin), Skoda reveals Alex lost him his life, and tries to kill Alex with various weapons, including a katana, which results in Alex retaliating with shurikens. However, Miss Maxwell shows her true colours, as an undercover MI6 agent assigned to protect Alex from Skoda when he first escaped. She wounds Skoda with a gunshot to his arm; in retaliation, Skoda stabs her in the arm, though not fatally, and flees. Miss Maxwell talks to Alex, revealing her reasons for being there, and contacts the rest of her team, letting them know that Skoda has escaped but has been wounded.
Alex thinks it is all over, and goes to rejoin the rest of the group, but receives a phone call. It is Skoda, who was taken Tom hostage. He gives Alex an ultimatum: to appear at the construction site near Putney Riverside Conference Centre (Skoda's former lair site), alone, unarmed and in thirty minutes, or Tom will die. With no alternative to losing his best friend, Alex goes to the arranged site. Skoda, hiding with his captive on the crane's arm, signals him with a torch, and Alex climbs up to the top. Still armed with the katana, and with Tom crying at his feet, Skoda orders Alex to kill himself by hurling himself off the side of the crane, or he will kill Tom by chopping off his head. However, Tom reveals that his crying was fake (due to his excellent acting ability), and Alex reveals he still has shurikens on him, as well as his karate skills. After a struggle, Skoda loses the katana, and eventually topples off the crane, falling to his death.
Alex and Tom climb down, and Alex lies that he has no idea why Skoda did what he did.
Descriptions of Skoda, Beckett and their lair
In Point Blanc, Skoda is described as being "in his twenties, bald [due to his prolific drug use], and had two broken stumps where his front teeth should have been and five metal studs in his ear". His accomplice, Mike Beckett, is described as being "blond-haired and ugly, with twisted lips". Their incredibly rusty old barge (which was Beckett's idea), which serves as their den, is said to be "filthy - obviously neither of the men cared about hygiene", containing a small stove and two bunks, with the rest of the vessel being given over to drug preparation, containing two metal worktops, a sink, Bunsen burners, measuring spoon, glass pipes and beakers. By Secret Weapon, Skoda is revealed to have, in addition to his earr adornments, similar piercings in his tongue, nose and nipples, as he had become interested in body piercings in his teens, making it appear that his body was falling apart, and that the piercings were holding it together.