Tasked with providing medical care to the Jakobs Co. employees in Jakobs Cove, Dr. Ned did his job a little too well. He ended up inadvertently creating zombies and other abominations that now run rampant in this region.
Sometime after being hired by the Jakobs Corporation, Dr. Ned decided to experiment with reanimating dead workers with his assistant, Bill. In some part of this experiment, Bill was killed and eaten by one of the zombies. A new assistant, Frank, came as a temporary replacement, but then was also killed, presumably by Ned.
At some point during his experiments, the zombies became more ravenous for flesh, compared to their ordinary taste in bran muffins and raisins. Ned saw the opportunity to turn the entire workforce of Jakobs Cove into an undead army. He distributed poison in the form of pills at the workers' annual checkups, infecting 97% of the employees. The sick workers then went to Dr. Ned, who then reanimated them as zombies.
Possibly seeing a money-making opportunity, Ned decided to create an antidote for the zombie epidemic based on Skag DNA. Unfortunately, the antidote was a failure, and only turned the users into Wereskags, which Ned then added to his army.
With Jakobs Cove abandoned and all its inhabitants killed and reanimated, Ned sat back and watched as warrior after warrior tried and failed to defeat the undead horde. It seemed that his plan was foolproof.
It is insinuated throughout the DLC that Dr. Ned is really Dr. Zed, who tries to cover it up with frivolous disguises (The mustache seemingly growing from his surgeon's mask.) and unnecessary disclaimers. However, the Game of the Year Edition Guide from Brady Games states that he is indeed "the evil twin brother of Fyrestone practitioner Dr. Zed".
It is also revealed in a "behind the scenes" GOTY Launch Trailer of Borderlands that he is Dr. Zed's brother when they can be seen talking and walking next to each other.
Dr. Ned wasn't called Dr. Zed, even though Zed can be a synonym of Zombie
Zombie Island Medical Vending Machine
- "If this crap ain't enough for your ailments, visit my infirmary on the water in Jakob's Cove."
- "Buy a shield, and when you do, buy a first aid kit."
- "Shields and healing, that's what I'm dealing."
- "Who needs Dr. Zed when you have Dr. Ned?"
- "Zombies trying to tear your face off? Buy a shield! And then buy an Insta-Health, for when the shield inevitably goes down and you really need it."
- "Choose Dr. Ned before you're undead."
- "Do me a favor. Buy first aid so that I don't have to fix you up later."
During House of the Ned, in sequence:
- "Sweet, you made it all the way here alive! I'll get the lift down but it'll probably take a bit to hand crank the bastard all the way to 'ya. Probably wanna shoot any of those skull munchers that traddle in."
- "Hang on then. Going as fast as these hands want to go."
- "Oh come on, don't act like you've never had to wait on a hand cranked elevator during a zombie outbreak before."
- "Almost... I'm getting there keep yer shirt on"
- "Oh, son of a bitch, I just dropped the dumbwaiter. My hands just let go. I'll get ya up, hang on."
- "If I can get this thing down there to 'ya, there's a good chance you'll make it out alive."
- "Don't act all fancy and waste my time, get on the damn thing!"
Cutscene, in sequence
- "I probably went about this all the wrong way. I'm a doctor; I make people better. I just wanted everyone to be okay."
- "I made the zombies. I was never as good as my totally-not-made-up brother, Zed, and we're totally different people. Ah, I need a drink."
- "Well, if you want to help a decrepit old man who created an end-of-the-world epidemic, you'll have to head to the old hospital past the graveyard near Jakobs Cove. You need to find a sample of an antidote I was working on. I based it on Skag DNA since they don't seem to have undead tendencies. Get the sample and bring it to my Claptrap in town. Oh, almost forgot, the gate key to the hospital grounds was lost a long time ago but there is a more spooky way in. Just look for the old gravestone on the beach that doesn't belong." - After accepting There May Be Some Side Effects...
From his tree house in Hallow's End
- "Damn, I need a drink. My liver is crying out in perfect health over here!"
- "Hey, bring me back a couple of bottles of whiskey."
- "I am Dr. Ned who is totally not Dr. Zed in disguise."
- "I trust you come bearing good news and/or brains?"
- "My perfectly healthy liver cries out in anguish!"
- "Thanks for gettin' back out there and risking your life while I sit back in safety up here and issue asinine directives. Nah, I'm just kidding, obviously you're expendable."
- "Well, get to it. Zombies aren't gonna cave in their own heads."
- Well, hop back to it. Don't let me stop ya."
- "Well, look what the skag dragged in."
- "Well, well. Looks like you're worth your weight not getting killed, after all."
- "Wipe your feet. Just 'cause it's the apocalypse doesn't mean you ain't need your manners."
- "You kill me some zombie bastards?"
- "Oooof. Okay, this is gonna be hard to say. So... one of my reanimated corpses sorta ate Bill today, and by 'sorta', I mean 'is now crapping his bones in the yard.' The good news is he has already paid me rent, and now I don't have to listen to him bitch about toenail clippings that totally weren't even mine. Not to mention the popcorn shenanigans. Consider this my solemn promise to begin attempting evil for the sake of profit from this point on. My brother, who isn't the same person as me in disguise, would never support me in this. I hope no one ever finds these logs and incriminates me to my employer, Jakobs, because that would probably set off a whole chain of events where I have to try and kill them with my horrific creations. Oh well." - ECHO recording after accepting Jakobs Fodder.
- "This is the first official entry of my, Dr. Ned's, scientific discovery journal. My ongoing mission to extend the lives of those that have already passed. We must remain vigilant in our– Bill. Bill! Are you making popcorn? What did we talk about? Dude, we just talked about this! ... Where was I? Saving the human race from the stale clenches of death? Sounds like a kickin' party? Is that how the kids are saying it? Kickin'? Here ends my first official journal entry." - 1st ECHO recording of Jakobs Fodder.
- "Greetings loyal Nedcast viewership. Now in the third week of my clinical trials with corpse reanimation. The skin cells have reacted well to the treatment but the bodies themselves seem to have uncontrollable hunger. Right now, it seems all they crave is raisins and bran muffins, but I fear with strength applied to the cell reanimation their hunger will grow much stronger and possibly dangerous. Fear not, I will trudge forward unhindered by the possible destruction of mankind. Am I mad? Probably, but at least I DON'T MAKE POPCORN WHEN PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO WORK!" - 2nd ECHO recording of Jakobs Fodder.
- "I've found that despite his infernal popcorn habit, I kind of miss Bill. Frank, the temp that replaced him, just wasn't the same, and definitely had too small a hunchback to suit my taste in assistants. Yeah, he was no Bill. Yep, he was no Bill. Man, I really wish Bill hadn't been all masticated by that zombie. Actually, I got an idea. I still have some body parts around here from Frank... maybe there's something I can do..." - 1st ECHO recording of It's Alive.
- "Ha! Who's the best evil mad scientist? That's right. It's me, Dr. Ned. That's with an 'N', not a 'Z'. I have created a new Bill. I didn't have time to put him together in a smart and safe way, I just had to try and cram some new pieces, fixes, and patches on to the old Bill. So, it turned out that he's not really Bill or Frank. He's more of a... Frank'n'bill. It's a bit of a hack, but it seems to work, so I say, 'ship it'!" - 2nd ECHO recording of It's Alive.
Lumber Yard and Lumber Mill ECHO Communications
- "Try not to hurt your girl parts on the multitudes of minions I've set upon you." - When entering the area.
- "Do you need a band-aid? Zombies can cut awful deep, you know. I am a doctor after all. Though, if you get all hurt and bothered I'll prolly just let you up and die on account of you discoverin' my evil plans and all." - After passing the house with the weapons vendor.
- "I'm baking brownies, you want one? Oh shit, wait. I forgot about me trying to shove you off this mortal coil. Can't be givin' brownies to just any vengeance driven d-wad now can I? Hey, you know if zombies like brownies?" - When passing the 1st bridge.
- "Alright. What's Jakobs payin' you? I'd offer to double it, but I'm poor as dirt after spending every cent I had into the recreational use of the undead as money makers. So far, not diggin' my plan in hindsight." - After the docks where you find Jethro Shedd's 1st ECHO recording.
- "Alright, alright. You're makin' a nice little dent in my undead army. That's the beauty of the undead – if you kill them they're just dead again, and I just fire up the mojo, and make them re-undead and they're back to gnawin' at your hind fat." - 1st message as you approach the 3rd bridge.
- "Okay, now you're just getting my dress all a-twitter. If I have to get out of bed and kill you I sure as hell will. Yeah, I'm Echo communicating from bed. So, what?" - 2nd message as you approach the 3rd bridge.
- "Keep coming. I don't care. I actually designed this shit in stages so it would be more entertaining for me." - When passing the 3rd bridge.
- "Well, you got me out of bed. Now I'm just pissed off. I love slippers. I live to wear them. Now I'm just gonna have to kill you." - When entering the Lumber Mill.
- "You smell like popcorn. Now I'm pissed!" - Cutscene before you fight him and during the fight.
- "Shield's down!"
- After killing Dr. Ned (the first time), he will drop a version of the Bruiser called the RF440 Relentless Bruiser. It is an SMG with the twisted barrel, giving it bullets that travel in a spiral trajectory and ricochet off of solid surfaces. It comes with a 55 round magazine, and a distinct green and red color scheme.
- Due to an unknown glitch, this weapon has a chance to either reset to level 1, or disappear completely upon loading a character that has it.
- Although all of the Medical Vending Machines scattered throughout Jakob's Cove have Dr. Ned's label on it, however upon closer inspection it becomes clear that the 'N' was placed over the 'Z' in "Zed". There is one machine in Dead Haven that has Dr. Zed's label on it. As to why Dr. Ned never touched that machine is unknown.
- Dr. Ned has the same blood stains on his apron as Dr. Zed and the "N" on Dr. Ned's name tag is clearly the "Z" on Zed's name tag turned sideways (one "leg" of the "N" is shorter like how the bottom line of the "Z" is shorter)
- After he is killed, his name tag will say "Zed" not "Ned" and his mustache will be missing.
- On the Dr. "Ned" vending machines it is clear that the "Z" in Zed has been simply turned sideways and re-attached with sticky-tape to make it say "Ned".
- When Dr. Ned says, "Oh come on, don't act like you've never had to wait on a hand cranked elevator during a zombie outbreak before.", this could possibly be a reference to Half-Life 2 when the player is waiting for Father Grigori to deliver a hand cranked elevator to save the player's skin in Ravenholm or the cranks from Resident Evil games.
- In the Dr. Zed Roadside Jumpstart Infirmary in the DLC The Secret Armory of General Knoxx, Dr. Zed has a zombie hand on the shelf behind him.
- It can clearly be seen that his mustache is fake, as it is on the OUTSIDE of the mask.
- In Claptrap Web Series Ep. 4, Dr. Ned and Dr. Zed are seen together. Seemingly giving clear proof that they are two different people. In Borderlands 2, Ned is referred to as Zed's brother. This solidifies that they were indeed written as two different people. (Note - Web Series is under no more obligation to conform to logic than is the video game.)
- In Bloody Harvest, Zombie T.K. mentions that Dr. Zed and Dr. Ned have a third brother named Ted, but they are not allowed to talk about him.