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Conspiracy Theories: Between A Rock And A Hard Place…

You're never going to believe the message I got passed to me the other day to investigate. It was an encrypted transmission using an older code, but it checked out. The message was short and the signal quality was weak, but after running it through a special program that uses state of the art algorithms (like all good conspiracy theorists have) I managed to clean it up a little. The message appears to have originated from the administrative office of the USG Kellion and was delivered to the Office of Manpower, Concordance Extraction Corporation Headquarters. It simply asked, "Who is Isaac Clarke?"

That's a bit odd don't you think...the admin office asking about the identity of one of their crewmembers? Don't they have personnel files when new members are assigned to a ship? Don't they do background investigations before granting individuals access? I kind of thought they would.

SPOILER ALERT FOR DEAD SPACE

What do you really remember about the events portrayed in Dead Space? Probably only what the Concordance Extraction Corporation (CEC) wants you to remember. If you do remember anything, it's most likely the majority of what everybody else vaguely recalls. You're an engineer stationed aboard a ship sent along as part of a team to investigate a distress signal transmitted by a sister ship of the CEC fleet that discovered a rare artifact. This artifact reanimates human corpses into these vicious alien like creatures that destroy the crew for the purpose of converting them. If your memory is better than most, the fuzzy details might be a little clearer. Your ship was the USG Kellion and it was responding to a distress call from the USG Ishimura. The artifact they found was the Red Marker, the most valuable relic of Unitology, an influential and powerful religion. And the transformed mutated human corpses brought back to life...well, they were called necromorphs. The detail most don't remember, and the detail Concordance Extraction Corporation (CEC) is trying to cover up by exaggerating the story is that the USG Ishimura was a mining ship - a "planet cracker" that was engaged in illegal mining operations on Aegis VII.

Yes, illegal mining operations.

Why does any of that matter?

Motive.

If you have brothers or sisters, or heck maybe even just friends or co-workers, maybe you have memories of getting in trouble for something and your immediate response was to devise an ill conceived escape plan developed on the fly which often resorted to the tactic of pointing out something far more sinister and noteworthy committed by someone other than you that diminishes the significance of your small transgression. It didn't always work but sometimes it would. The focus was shifted off of you and onto...somebody other than you. Brothers, sisters, friends, co-workers...heck even your loyal and devoted pet - they're all fair game if it means protecting you. Survival of the fittest.

Mom: "Johnny, did you break my cookie jar?"

Johnny: "No. Well, er maybe...Jane broke it last week but was afraid to tell you so she just glued it."


Consider the following if you will...

After sustaining heavy losses associated with the collision of the Kellion and Ishimura, Concordance Extraction Corporation (CEC) feared the authorities would discover their illicit mining activities and the insurance agencies wouldn't cover the large loss of life and extensive property damage. Even worse, if the company was charged with criminal negligence and wrongful death for each crewmember, the company would surely be bankrupt in no time. But if they could convince the authorities this was literally an out of this world scenario beyond their control, they might be able to not only escape prosecution, but they just might be able to claim a hefty insurance settlement to boot. An Act of God clause if you will.

Act of God is a legal term for events outside of human control, such as sudden floods or other natural disasters, for which the government can be held responsible.

Wheels were set in motion to clean up this mess. The executives at CEC contracted the assistance of a man with a very particular set of skills. Skills acquired over a very long career. And I'm not talking about electrical or mechanical skills. Some might call it wet work.

Think about that message, "Who is Isaac Clarke?"

Ah...the name Isaac Clarke; a combination of two famous science fiction authors - Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. Almost too perfect and coincidental, don't you think. Considering the year is 2414 somebody either really liked their science fiction authors from a couple centuries prior (and at this point in time, I suppose they couldn't really call it science fiction any longer either then, could they) or they used a pair of names to create an alias that most people probably wouldn't understand the correlation. As good of an alias as any, I suppose. CEC could alter the ship's manifest and sailing list after the fact to reflect the addition of a crewmember and none would be the wiser.

Also consider the occupation of Isaac Clarke - a ship's systems engineer...trained to operate and maintain the various systems and equipment. Sure, a ship's engineer would work long hours, be exposed to adverse working conditions, and be intimately familiar with the ship's layout and capabilities...but engineering folks aren't normally trained in combat and weapon familiarization. I'm not a huge fan of Star Trek, but I seem to vaguely recall their Scottish engineer (Scotty, I think his name was) who was always stuck in the engine room making sure the Enterprise was running in tip top shape. I don't seem to have any recollection of him going planet side with Spock, Bones or any of the other red shirt expendables. Perhaps he did and I just missed those episodes, but it always seemed to me the ship's engineer wasn't setting phasers to stun, he was setting the reactor to full power.

(Don't try and use that whole "Chewbacca is the ship engineer for the Millennium Falcon" either - it's different when you are a pirate and have to be a jack-of-all-trades.)

Assuming this nonsense about necropmorphs is true, it seems questionable that we are to believe...one Isaac Clarke...a member of the engineering department, staved off swarm after swarm of these reanimated corpses with little to no combat training, weapons familiarization...but even more than that proven combat experience - real world, boots on the ground combat experience. I believe that if you put any individual in a survival scenario, there will be some who rise up and survive, but most will not. Panic and fear will consume them and likely result in their demise. One could argue that Isaac Clarke was one of those survivalists - one who could answer the call in the darkest hour while fighting for our right to live, to exist.

If you've ever watched the TV show Lost, perhaps you recall the first episode where the plane crash lands on the island. While most just sit in total bewildered silence, one or two took charge of the scene and started responding accordingly. I suppose this could be feasible with Isaac Clarke, but not likely. We're comparing a natural or manmade disaster to the discovery of reanimated corpses, not something that has ever occurred before...so we don't know how anyone would respond. If you believe in the fantasy world of dragons, even the most hardened knights succumbed to dragon fear when gazing upon the sheer awesomeness of a dragon, and I suspect that your average crew member would experience a similar paralyzing numbness when encountering a necromorph for the first time (and many times after that).

At this point I'm sure some of you are dying to remind me of Alien, or any number of other examples that are likely out there. Yes, Ripley never succumbed to the fear (but all we really know about her is that she was a Warrant Officer; we don't know her field of expertise), and yes...she was the sole survivor of that little crisis. But there were plenty of others who didn't. All I'm saying is, statistically speaking...it seems highly unlikely that a ship's engineer would be able to mount up any form of resistance against such a brutal and vicious adversary, especially a non-human one at that. And not just one, but dozens and dozens of them. Unless there weren't any non-human species present. If Isaac Clarke was truly sent there to clean up the mess, all he really had to do is ensure anybody who survived the collision was dealt with. Oh and as far as Ripley (Sigourney Weaver)...she's is in a league of her own, but more on Alien in a bit.

If that wasn't statistically challenging enough to believe, let's consider the weapons and how this unassuming engineer from the machinery deck was able to re-engineer shipboard tools into advanced (and very deadly) weapons. It would be like me making a trip to Home Depot, procuring a pneumatic nail gun and crafting it into a Barrett sniper rifle. Don't get me wrong, the weapons and armor upgrades were amazing - very powerful and effective at disposing of these supposed necromorphs. Which is my point exactly.

"And these blastpoints, too accurate for Sand People. Only Imperial Storm Troopers are this precise."

If you ask me, it's far more believable that Isaac Clarke was a special operator proficient in the use of various high tech weaponry that he brought along with him for the purpose of dispatching any remaining survivors of the collision between Kellion and Ishimura then it is to believe he was an engineer who was able to modify existing tools and make them into powerful weapons to eliminate hordes of reanimated corpses called necromorphs.

Aren't there any industry and government regulations to ensure tools are limited enough in their design that they can't be modified by some shade tree mechanic and made into a powerful weapon? That sort of government regulation exists today. Are we to believe they haven't considered this in the future...that you can buy a 711-MarkCL Rivet Gun and somehow convert it into a fully automatic assault rifle with little to no effort.

They say, "a dead man tells no tales" which is a convenient way of saying - no witnesses. It seems odd that a ship full of crewmembers (and a colony for that matter) were completely annihilated, and one...yes, count them...one person survives. Some would say that is coincidental, while others might say it is convenient. If you played the events of Dead Space, all you saw was Isaac Clarke's personal account. And if he is indeed a paid employee of Concordance Extraction Corporation (CEC) tasked with cleaning up a mess, then what you saw was his cover story...a rather convincing and sensational cover story at that.

If you recall from previous conspiracy theory blogs...

A good conspiracy theory - It must be difficult, better still, impossible, to understand at first glance; it must contain a spaghetti-heap of leads, all of which cannot be followed up; there must always be one more lead left to chase; the story should speak to a 'wider' truth about our society, through a series of disconnected or unconnected or unfalsifiable propositions; and there should be no easy way of verifying it.

To summarize where we're at... I'd like to point out the glaring similarities between the plot found in Alien and this make believe story found in Dead Space. It's almost as if the CEC executives were sitting around the board room table brainstorming exit strategies and...and decided to use the premise behind Alien as their cover story. It seemed plausible...aliens, infestations, reanimations, death. There was already talk of probes picking up pings of life forms out in the galaxy, was mankind close to encountering their first contact with an extraterrestrial? Alien was a hugely successful story from the 80s, so armed with a plausible scenario, they called up one of their special operators, briefed him on the cover story and sent him on his clean up mission. He was one man against many, so this operator working under the pseudonym of Isaac Clarke showed up with some heavy weapons packing a lot of fire power and eliminated all the survivors. He "escaped" in a shuttle all by himself...flew back to civilization and relayed his horrifying account of reanimated corpses to the authorities. For good measure, he brought some physical evidence...some doctored photos, videos and altered audio recordings...

Yes, the events described in Dead Space were nothing more than an elaborate hoax to cover up an unfortunate industrial accident. And Mr. Clarke, or whatever his real name is...well, I'm sure he was handsomely compensated and is drinking Darjeeling with Marie Antoinette while enjoying the blue sky of Mars as we speak.

What's that? You think he's locked up in Sprawl now? Psh ...if you believe that then you can't handle the truth and I have a corrugated metal shed in the middle of a wheat field for sale.

NOTE:  In case it isn't obvious, the following blog is a work of fiction. While I appreciate those who have in previous editions debunked the theories, I think a few have taken it a bit more serious than I am intending. These are nothing more than lighthearted alternative story narratives to some of our more cherished games. Of course I don't actually believe in any other possibility than what the developers present us with in the finished version of the game...or do I?

(Read the real Dead Space story here)

Also, please note this blog contains quite a few references to other movies and characters - some are obvious and others are more discreet. There are at least 10 (more like 14 to 18 depending on how you count) - how many can you find?

 

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