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Johan Ross

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Johan Ross
You did good, Simon. But you can't leave. The only way to make sure the WAU stays dead is to destroy the only one who's immune to the new pattern. Don't worry, I'll make it quick.
~ Ross about to kill Simon

Johan Ross is an antagonist in the Frictional Games video game SOMA. Originally an A.I. psychologist on the underwater research facility Pathos-II, he has since been killed and resurrected via structure gel by the Warden Unit (WAU); however, unlike many characters infected or altered by the WAU, Ross maintains his sanity and his intelligence for the most part. Having become aware of the malfunctioning A.I.'s intended plans for the few surviving members of humanity, he is intent on destroying the WAU at all costs.

History

Past

Involved in the development of the Warden Unit alongside Mark Sarang and Julia Dahl, Ross was tasked with studying and directing the A.I. from his vantage point at Site Alpha, a top-secret facility hidden deep within the abyssopelagic regions of Pathos-II. Eventually, Ross was able to convince SSE Wolchek to switch off the external control systems and allow the WAU total independence in its role as station caretaker. For a time, the machine's oversight served Pathos-II well; however, events soon took a turn for the worst following the Telos Impact.

On January 12, 2103, the comet Telos collided with Earth, wiping out all life on the surface. Though the inhabitants of Pathos-II survived as well as all other forms of oceanic life, the few researchers, engineers and technicians in residence were not enough to repopulate the planet, effectively condemning the human race to extinction. Several days later, Ross noticed that the Warden Unit was beginning to change: while it continued maintaining life-support throughout Pathos-II, it began pumping structure gel through the pipes and walls of the various facilities, forming strange growths throughout the area. Eventually, the psychologist realized that the WAU was attempting to save its creators from the ongoing extinction of the human race, either by mentally copying their minds into on-site machinery, fusing them with biomechanical components to create roaming servitors, or simply incorporating them into its growths as comatose dreamers; worse still, the WAU did not truly understand the hell it would be condemning the surviving humans to, having been programmed to preserve human life - regardless of what condition it could be preserved in.

With all this in mind, Ross came to the conclusion that the A.I. would have to be eliminated before it posed a threat to the entire base. However, circumstances quickly turned against him: having been forced to move into Site Tau, his attempts to warn Sarang and Dahl of the danger failed due to the ongoing collapse of the communication relays; later, during the evacuation of Tau, Ross was foiled again when the escaping base personnel were forced to turn back by highly-aggressive WAU-infected marine life, leaving him stranded at the bottom of the Abyss with the others. Finally, Ross and Steve Glasser made a desperate attempt to reach the climber on foot, hoping to ascend to Omicron and warn Sarang in person. Along the way, Glasser was ripped apart by the Leviathan, and though Ross made it to the climber, he didn't survive the journey intact: Omicron personnel found his body in the climber, clinically brain-dead.

Kept in a glass observation chamber, the brain-dead researcher began to exhibit anomalous quantities almost immediately: still determined to continue its mission of preserving humanity, the WAU used electromagnetic fields to direct structure gel around Ross's body, repairing it; though many Omicron employees suffered interference in their blackboxes as a result, Ross was effectively reanimated. During this time, Ross was able to contact Omicron employee Raleigh Herber in an attempt to further his plan to eliminate the WAU: under his guidance, Herber created a new strain of structure gel capable of fatally poisoning the A.I.; however, before she could descend to Alpha and deploy the gel, WAU responded by killing everyone at Omicron, overcharging their blackboxes until their heads exploded.

SOMA

Simon Jarret first encounters Ross at Omicron; indeed, the only reason why he is allowed into the sealed facility at all is because Ross is able to hack the computers and provide him with a password. Unable to carry the toxic structure gel himself, Ross has to act through an intermediary (namely Simon) and resorts to communicating with the visitor through distorted messages, encouraging him to destroy the WAU. Though Simon is more occupied with finding the ARK and sending it into space, he needs to descend into the Abyss to do so, and requires a new body to do so safely: obtaining Raleigh Herber's corpse (still in it's power suit), he infuses it with the toxic structure gel - unwittingly turning himself into a living weapon against the WAU.

As Simon descends into the Abyss, Ross continues guiding him, ushering him from the climber to the Abyssopelagic plane in flickering visions, even attempting to hurry him through Tau. Eventually, Simon reaches Site Alpha, now the heart of the WAU's network: here, Ross advises him to insert his arm into the Warden Unit's core and infect it with the toxic structure gel, allowing the WAU to inadvertently spread it to the rest of Pathos-II in its death throes. Should Simon comply, the core will be successfully poisoned, though it does end up chewing his left arm off in the process.

Once he is finished, Ross reveals that he now plans to kill Simon, as this is the only way to ensure that the WAU stays dead. However, before he can do so, the Leviathan bursts into the room and swallows Ross whole, killing him.

Alternatively, Simon can also chose not to destroy the WAU - in which case, Johan furiously tries to force him but is also eaten and killed by the Leviathan.

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