Survival horror’s favourite offworld engineer prepares for his next outing in Dead Space 3, the resident intergalactic psychiatrist, Doctor AC Asimov, gives Isaac Clarke a once over. New screens inside.
“They put the frighteners on me a coupla times; which made me smile. The Company told me that they’ve toned it down, something about previous participants not enjoying the necromorphs bursting through walls and whatnot, but they still managed to make me jump.”
Doctor Asimov: Mr Clarke, please come in and take a seat.
Isaac Clarke, whose Class 1 Snow Suit makes him wider than the doorway outside of which he stands, struggles to squeeze through it sideways. Clarke chips the paintwork, gets wedged in and takes a chunk out of the doorframe in the process of entering the room. He looks at the doctor and grimaces apologetically.
DA: Never mind that, Mr Clarke. Please, sit down.
Clarke perches on a chair, his hulking, RIG-clad frame causes it to creak and groan in protest.
DA: Now, as you know, we’re here to discuss your recent, brief foray to Tau Volantis. The higher-ups have asked that I speak to you about how you got on and whether you’re comfortable with going back there on a longer term basis. So, how do you feel it went?
Isaac Clarke: …
DA: Mr Clarke? This will be a lot easier if you co-operate
DA: Mr Clar… Ah yes, of course, the selective mutism. That’s still plaguing you, it seems?
IC: Well, yes, doc; that is to say that someti…
DA: I’m sorry, Mr Clarke, could you speak up, please?
Clarke frowns, clears his throat and, with visible effort, starts again.
IC: Yes, doc. The mutism, it… well it comes and goes. Sometimes it will strike at the damndest of moments.
DA: I see. But it’s much improved since I first saw you back in 2008, yes? It was very serious back then, rendering you entirely speechless for no discernible reason, as I recall.
Clarke nods; then, seeming to think better of it, opens his mouth to reaffirm the progress he’s made.
IC: Yes, it’s much better than it was but it still affects me. Recently I was asked whether I’d mind the idea of having a partner accompany me on future missions and I just couldn’t find my voice. Knowing that I’ve always done my best work alone I shook my head, I shook my head pretty emphatically, doc, but it seemed like the people asking me the question weren’t really asking for my opinion; like they’d already made up their mind.
DA: I see. I understand that in your most recent training session you spent some time alone and then some time with your potential new partner. Tell me about that experience.
Clarke shifts in his seat, and hears the faint crackle of wood as it begins to splinter, he looks down at his hands, embarrassed.
DA: Mr Clarke?
IC: It was weird, doc.
DA: Define, “weird” for me, Mr Clarke.
IC: Well, initially, the company dropped me into a ship and it felt like I’d been there before, but they assured me that it was in fact “brand new” and represented an “exciting, dynamic experience”. I dunno, doc, stomping around the corridors of that old, decommissioned ship on my own, it felt a lot like when I went back to the Ishimura, after it had been taken out of service.
DA: I see, and how did that make you feel?
IC: Well, I felt comfortable, it felt good to be back, to be honest.
DA: You weren’t “back”, Mr Clarke, this represents a new experience, remember?
IC: Well, yeah sure, but it felt reassuring; everything worked as I remembered. Except the doors, they’ve done something odd to them so that I have to open a lot of them using kinesis, instead of just pressing the open button.
DA: I see. Anything else?
IC: Yeah, they put the frighteners on me a coupla times; which made me smile. The Company told me that they’ve toned it down, something about previous participants not enjoying the necromorphs bursting through walls and whatnot, but they still managed to make me jump. The new toys are pretty cool, too.
DA: Just a minute, Mr Clarke, are you saying that you enjoyed that feeling of being scared? I’d like to explore that a little more, rather than just brushing it aside.
IC: Well, yeah, doc. I mean, it keeps things fresh, stops things becoming too mundane. I was speaking to Chris the other day and he was saying that he missed all the drama and scares when they were removed by his company.
The doctor consults his notes.
DA: This would be Mr Redfield, that you’re referring to now, yes?
IC: Yep, Chris Redfield. After I’d been unable to make my voice heard when they suggested buddying me up, I gave Chris a call to find out how he’d dealt with it. We had a good chat and it helped me to put things into perspective, he had it much worse than me, for sure; that Sheva woman followed him around the whole damn time, Chris said it drove him nuts.
DA: Well, at least we don’t have to worry about that with you, Mr Clarke.
Clarke eyes the doctor, unsure of whether he’s making a joke at his expense.
DA: Tell me about the “new toys”, that you mentioned, Mr Clarke.
IC: Right, sure, well it seems the company has left a load of spare materials around – in some pretty odd places, frankly – and I can collect them up to create new kit and some new toys.
DA: I see. What kind of kit are we talking about, Mr Clarke?
IC: Well, I didn’t actually get the chance to try out the work benches for myself, but I had a couple of things given to me that had been “prepared earlier”: one was a Line Gun with a Ripper attachment, which was pretty sweet, and another was a Pulse Rifle with some kind of grenade launcher strapped to it, that was fairly standard. These had just been cobbled together from other parts. Being an engineer, I can really appreciate the skill that goes into creating things like that.
DA: I’m glad that you enjoyed yourself Mr Clarke, but, once again for the record, you’re not really an engineer, remember? We’ve discussed this particular delusion in previous sessions: pulling some colour-coded plugs out of one generator and placing them into some corresponding slots in another is not sufficient to get you listed in the intergalactic Yellow Pages as an advanced engineer.
Clarke seems to ignore the doctor and carries on, regardless.
IC: Also, it seems like I might have some form of automated assistance to help collect the materials, but the Company weren’t really up for telling me too much about that.
DA: I see. Speaking of assistance, Mr Clarke, tell me how you got on with your new partner; a Mr Carver, I believe?
IC: John? He seems like a real stand-up guy. I only really got to work with him for a few minutes on Tau Volantis. I tell ya, do, the place was blowing up a storm, I couldn’t see much of anything in front of me and those cheeky ‘morphs sure like to play hide-and-seek in the snow; no way that’s ever going to get old. Anyway, John and I had a good chat and he helped me take down this big ol’ bug type thing.
DA: Could you be more specific, Mr Clarke?
IC: Well, not really, doc. It was this big bug-thing that sprouted tentacles with glowing baubles on the end of them, you know the kind. The poor thing seemed a bit confused because it scuttled off toward John a coupla times and then back towards me and seemed undecided which of us it should approach. We took it apart pretty easily all told, but I guess with this being a training session, maybe the guys upstairs were just going a little easier on us.
DA: Perhaps things are just a tad easier when you have help, Mr Clarke.
IC: If you say so, doc.
DA: So, do you think that, despite your earlier misgivings, you and Mr Carver might get on?
IC: Sure. I mean, he seems like he can take care of himself. He’s got a big scar down his face and he lost his wife and kid to a ‘morph invasion, but he seems like a really down to earth, well-rounded guy. I’m sure we’ll have a long, trusting and fulfilling partnership. I can’t really see what would go wrong, doc.
DA: Yes, well, we’ll continue to observe you both and see how it progresses. Thank you for coming in, Mr Clarke, I think I’ve got everything that I need from you today.
IC: Sure thing, doc. So, I assume I’m fit for duty?
DA: It will all be in my report, Mr Clarke. You can show yourself out.
Clarke nods, rises from his chair and, on the way out, trips over his size 17 Snow Suit boots; quick as a flash he tucks himself into a roll that belies the heft of his suit and stands up no worse for wear.
DA: Well now, that’s new, Mr Clarke.
IC: Yeah, I picked it up recently. Watch this.
Clarke proceeds to roll in all directions around the doctor’s office, crushing boxes of medical supplies beneath his bulk, leaving shiny odds-and-ends all over the doctor’s office. When he’s finished, he stands up, beaming.
DA: Yes, very good, Mr Clarke. Very useful, I’m sure. Please have someone come in and clear up this mess.
IC: Sure thing, doc. See you next time.
Clarke leaves, dislodging more of the doorframe as he goes with the broad shoulder plates of his oversized suit. The doctor removes his glasses, rubs his eyes, sighs and scribbles down some notes:
After reviewing the brief training footage and conducting a debriefing interview, patient Isaac Clarke exhibits none of the trauma displayed in previous episodes. Further observation is necessary to see if the more “interesting” elements of his personality still exist, or whether he’s entirely cured and has become the all-action soldier the Company has been training him to be for the last four years. The issue of his mutism seems mostly resolved, though he does still maintain the delusion that he is an engineer, despite the total lack of proof to back up this claim.
Not as bad as we feared. However, I would certainly recommend keeping the patient in isolation for around 12-15 hours, before introducing him to Mr John Carver. Again, though, further observation is required to ascertain whether ignoring this advice and immediately acquainting Messrs Clarke and Carver will have a detrimental effect on their output.
Dead Space 3 arrives on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in February 2013.