Burns Flipper is a smart mouthed computer hacker, spare-parts dealer and purveyor of information who lives secretly in a warehouse on the Newport Docks. April is pointed his way by Warren Hughes and gains admittance by knocking on the warehouse door three times - though she has to endure about ten minutes of verbal abuse first. We never know how he got his name, though it seems to be a feature of the circles he operates in (he has another friend called Freaky Sales, and mentions someone called the Oracle).
Burns - as he asks April to call him later on - is a manic fast talker who spends most of his time in the 'pit' at the back of the warehouse, hooked up to the computers through some sort of neural interface. He also rides in a grav chair because he's missing most of his lower body. If asked about this, he'll demand to know if April is a virgin or not: if she tells him she isn't, Burns tells her his story.
At the age of eighteen Burns was hacking into the MTI servers when he hit a security protocol that caused a massive amount of feedback and "fried my brain like breakfast sausages". He spent a week comatose and woke up to find MTI goons standing over his hospital bed, telling him that if he tried that again, he'd die. Burns then realised his legs had been cut off as proof they were serious. Not surprisingly, this has left him not only paranoid - he encrypts all his transmissions with a scrambler - but with a deep hatred of MTI - and therefore the Vanguard. Once April has earned his trust, he's happy to help her crusade against them.
Burns gives April a great deal of vital information. She swaps a salvaged anti-gravity unit with him to pay for a fake ID Card to get onto Grendel Avenue. It is Burns Flipper who decodes the data cube she gets from the police station that contains the greater part of useful information on the Vanguard, including Jacob McAllen's identity as their leader and, more importantly, data about Gordon Halloway. Finally, Burns also deciphers the Dark People's Star Map that gives April the location of the singularity that leads to the Guardian's Realm.
However, when April returns to get the location, she finds Burns shot and dying of his injuries. It turns out the Vanguard had approached him and offered to help him to walk again, in exchange for information about April, but they double-crossed him once they had what they needed and stole the Star Map. Burns hangs on just long enough to tell April what he discovered, but after apologising - and being forgiven by April - he finally dies.
- Burns Flipper was voiced by Andrew Donnelly.
- Creator Ragnar Tornquist has cited the Flipper's death as his least favourite part of the game: "When April comes to find him dead and she says, 'You never got to walk again, did you?' [laughter] Horrible! Horrible!"
- Rather than any relation to pectoral fins or dolphins, the Flipper probably takes his name from the Norwegian word for pinball (flipper), whom he resembles in his frenetic behaviour.
- The Flipper may not be dead and could be returning in Dreamfall Chapters. The character bio given for one of the characters, Mira, refers to the Flipper as an agent of her criminal. It is possible that this simply refers him previously being part of her empire but, as he died in 2209 and Mira is 'in her mid-20's' in 2220, it seems unlikely she would be in command of an international criminal network at the age of 15 (if she is the upper limit of mid-20's: 26).
The original TLJ website had this introduction to the Flipper:
"Hey, man, what the hell d'ya want? You're stealing from me, man. Stealing my precious time! Come on, come on, let's boogie; whaddaya want?
"I'm the Flipper, man. Burns Flipper. A businessman, that's what I am. It's all here, man, every freakin' thing you'll ever need. I got screens and I got satellites. I got hovers from every freakin' manufacturer on this and any other planet. I even got me some class African hardware, man. Top of the line. Top of the freakin' line, man! Fell off the back of a gravtruck. You don't see raw processing power like this every day.
"You want something more contraband, is that it? I got it, man, as long as you ain't carrying a badge. If you're a pig, I'm telling you now; I'm clean, man. I'm dead clean. Hey, I don't even do Raptures. I quit the day I lost my legs. I'm telling you this with a straight face, you dig? Clean as a freakin' whistle.
"You want fake ids? It's gonna cost you, but I can get it. You wanna go up in the world, leave the stinkin' lower levels? You pay me, I get you access. You want a new name, a new life? That crap don't come cheap, man. But if you've got the cash, I've got the trash.
"Well, then, you lookin' for some thrills es imaginato? Some leisure time with a hot bot? I have cubes from Lebanon, China, even Norway, man. The hottest guys and gals, time of your life, yeah? Time of your freakin' life! If you don't like sex, how about death? You into death? I got death, man. I got fifteen-thousand cubes. If there's something that gets you hot, it's here.
"No? Then what the hell are you lookin' for? If Burns Flipper don't have it, you don't want it. You dig? So make up your mind -- come back when you're ready to spend some dollars, yeah?"