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Alexei is not an ordinary ape. Trained and used by the Soviet Space Agency, Alexei's orbital capsule was bombarded with strange particles during a particularly violent solar storm. On returning to Earth, Alexei had changed, both physically and mentally. His intelligence had increased dramatically - enough that he learned not only to sign, but to actually talk using his newly enhanced vocal cords. Alexai was then moved from the space program and indoctrinated into the Red Winter program as a potential recruit.