- “The WAU is reaching out to every machine, every life form, to manipulate, to control. It's trying to help, save its creators from all this, just like the protocol demands. But really, what is good enough?
Where is the line drawn for what is human and what is not? Would walking corpses do? Would a group of machines thinking they're human be acceptable? We can't trust a machine to know, to understand what it means to be.”
- ―Dr. Johan Ross[src]
|Dr. Johan Ross|
| May 11, 2104|
|Actor|| Anthony Howell|
Dr. Jonathan Ross, more commonly known as Dr. Johan Ross, is an Englander neuroscientist employed by Carthage Industries. He served as the A.I. Psychologist on PATHOS-II, stationed at Tau. In SOMA, he was the sole worker at the covert Alpha as the overseer and operator of the WAU.
The only time Dr. Ross is seen as a human is a photo found on the terminal in the Tau infirmary room showing an English man in a Haimatsu Power Suit, who matches no other character at Tau. According to the photo, Dr. Ross has short light brown hair along with facial hair and dark blue eyes.
In his mutated form, Dr. Ross is a gaunt, top-heavy creature with a jaunting gait and thin tentacles pouring from his mouth. His behavior is unusual for a WAU-affected being; he is not hostile to Simon, and appears to retain his character and a semblance of human sanity.
Dr. Ross is seen as being completely obsessed with destroying the WAU to the point of violence, as seen when he attempts to kill Simon Jarrett so that the WAU couldn't take advantage of Simon's immunity to the structure gel used to poison it.
Dr. Ross' full name is Dr. Jonathan Ross, as seen on his signature which can be found on most of his research papers. Dr. Ross appears to be a very intelligent man, who is exceptionally well-spoken and prefers to keep to himself, as shown throughout Tau. He worked for Carthage Industries for a presumably extended period of time before he was stationed on PATHOS-II, likely with the goal of operating and overseeing the WAU.
His personal quarters were Cabin A at Tau. In his room, a copy of the works of René Descartes called The Evil Genius, named after the Cartesian philosophical concept of the same name, can be found alongside Volume 9 of The Collected Works of C.G. Jung and Volume 3 of The Work of Wittgenstein. He also has a bobblehead of Friedrich Nietzsche sitting on his desk next to his computer.
Work at Alpha and Tau
Having been involved in the development of the WAU, Dr. Ross witnessed its mutations and came to the conclusion that the WAU needed to be terminated. In addition to the fact that it was causing pipes to burst structure gel all throughout PATHOS-II, he stated that the WAU was incapable of discerning the difference between something that is human and something that isn't, making it a bigger threat in actuality than anticipated.
During the evacuation, the Tau staff were attacked by structure gel-mutated marine life, resulting in loss of radio contact with Omicron. After failing to reach the Climber and losing a number of colleagues, the remaining members of Tau - Dr. Ross, Steve Glasser, Neil Tsiolkovsky, Antjie Coetzee, and Vic Auclair - returned to the facility and were left stranded there.
"Death" and Mutation
On December 27th, 2103, Dr. Ross and Glasser decided to take the Climber to Omicron to warn them of the critical situation with the WAU at Alpha. Later, Dr. Ross was found brain-dead in the Climber by Omicron staff.
His comatose body was kept in a glass observation room in the midsection of the Omicron facility in full view of the laboratory. The staff soon began to notice anomalous phenomena around the containment room, such as system failures and CCRV-7 Blackbox interference. Although it was not known to the Omicron employees, this interference was caused by the WAU's manipulation of electromagnetic fields in order to communicate with the structure gel within Dr. Ross's body to instruct it to "repair" his critically injured body.
While this was happening, Dr. Ross attempted to make contact with the personnel at Omicron, with the only one who listened being Raleigh Herber, Omicron's Dispatcher, apparently with the intent of fulfilling his plan to destroy the heart of the WAU at Alpha. The WAU either reacted to this threat by overcharging each Blackbox of the Omicron personnel or merely manipulating electromagnetic fields to such extent, to revive Dr. Ross, that they exploded their heads.
Attempts to communicate
While Simon is attempting to fix Herber's Haimatsu Power Suit, Dr. Ross sometimes appears and tries to contact him throughout the entirety of Omicron. Dr. Ross will often appear briefly in front of Simon, standing motionless and staring at him. In addition, while Simon is reading various computer monitors, the sentences "We have to stop it-- Stop the WAU," "Take the gel," "Get the virus," "An eternal nightmare," "We suffer," can appear on the monitor briefly, accompanying the same distortion of the screen when in Dr. Ross' physical presence.
During Simon's descent into the Omega Sector, the Climber begins to malfunction and Dr. Ross appears in front of Simon. He expresses joy at Simon's progress towards Tau, and states that he will make preparations for his arrival. Dr. Ross will then jump off and disappear into the Omega Sector as the Climber will continue to descend into the abyss. When Simon questions Dr. Catherine Chun about the event, she states that Dr. Ross merely stared at Simon for a few moments and did not speak at all. This indicates that he communicates with Simon telepathically, most likely possible due to them both being creatures infused with structure gel.
Trek to Alpha
During Simon's journey through the Omega Sector to reach Tau to retrieve the ARK, Dr. Ross can be seen in the distance at various points, watching Simon's progress. While Dr. Ross will usually appear on the trail ahead of Simon, he can also be seen watching Simon from the darkness of the abyss, unreachable.
When Simon enters Tau properly, the airlock will close and open once again, which is revealed to have been done by Dr. Ross to allow him to follow Simon. When Simon enters the main room of Tau, Dr. Ross will occasionally appear in the middle of the room on the table, telling Simon that there's nothing left at Tau and no reason for him to remain there. If the computer in dispatch or the infirmary is used to try to unlock Cabin A, Dr. Ross' personal quarters, he will interfere with the computer to input the right code himself, likely wanting Simon to see his reasoning for wanting to destroy the WAU, which can be found on Dr. Ross' datapad left on his desk.
When Simon leaves Tau through the Phi Access Tunnel, a structural collapse in the midsection of the tunnel blocks any further progress that could be made. At this point, Dr. Ross will reveal a passageway in one of the damaged sections of the tunnel that allows Simon to go back into the abyss. The trench Simon finds himself in leads straight to Alpha, with Dr. Ross' waiting outside of the breached entrance of the site to meet Simon. He will explain that it is the source of the downfall of PATHOS-II, and grief over how the WAU needs to be stopped to end any further suffering for humanity. He will then disappear further into Alpha, awaiting for Simon outside the Core Isolation Laboratory.
As Simon enters the atrium of Alpha through the breached server room, Dr. Ross will further explain to Simon the events that transpired, revealing that the structure gel used by Simon to fix the suit was actually a modified variant of the substance made by the personnel at Omicron, how nobody listened to his instructions but Herber, who died along with the rest of the personnel at Omicron. This means that Simon is capable of carrying out Dr. Ross' initial plan to destroy the WAU once and for all.
Once the Core Isolation Laboratory is reached, Dr. Ross pleads for the structure gel to be used to kill the WAU, to which Simon can either refuse or accept by sacrificing most of his left forearm to the heart, a rudimentary solution to inject the modified structure gel straight to the WAU. Should Simon succeed in destroying the WAU's heart, Dr. Ross will attempt to kill him in order to prevent the WAU from adapting to the new pattern through Simon's immunity. Should Simon opt not to destroy the WAU, Dr. Ross will attempt to force him to do it.
In both scenarios, the Leviathan will spontaneously emerge from the floor and consume Dr. Ross before he can do anything more. While it is likely that Dr. Ross is dead, it is possible because of his mutation he survived the Leviathan consuming him and managed to escape, with the Leviathan possibly spitting him out later.
- Main article: Johan Ross/Dialogue
Behind the Scenes
- Dr. Ross is played by English actor Anthony Howell, who has done notable roles in other sci-fi video games, such as Christopher Samuels in Alien: Isolation and S.A.M. in Observation. Funny enough, he also played the role of a Jonathan Reid in Vampyr, whose name is remarkably similar to Dr. Ross' full name.
- During the very early versions of SOMA, when there was a faction of characters that wanted to remain completely organic called the Fleshers, the model used for Dr. Ross' mutated form was meant to be used for a Flesher dubbed "Devil," as signified by the model's internal name. This nickname in comparison to the other Fleshers which are only numbered signifies that the model was originally to be used for a sort of leader character of the Fleshers.
- Before his death, he was the last surviving Carthage Industries employee on PATHOS-II, if not out of the entire company; Intelligence Analyst Mark Sarang committed suicide via cyanide-laced gum, while Medical Professional Julia Dahl and Carthage Project Manager Paula Lansky died when the Blackbox of each of the Omicron personnel were overcharged.
- A cut piece of dialogue was meant to play in the Omega Sector, while Dr. Ross is watching Simon in the distance at some point when Simon gets close to Tau.