The very slight possibility that Ace really Was Once a Man and was once sentient is made much worse when the very likely possibility of the demonic Dummy actually having a psychic influence/control over him is taken into consideration. This would explain his recent malevolent behavior in the facility and the theory why he has stopped listening to the staff and the "new master" he has supposedly found (and maybe also be reason to why his face is the way it is if not always been). In addition, if he has retained his (relative) intelligence and memory for however long then he has so forth suffered through the appalling transformation of the facility and its inhabitants (and himself) into the eldritch domain it is now.
Something I noticed on my recent readthrough of Ruby Quest was that the Barbed Wheel symbol shows up a few times; most notably when Ruby uses her third eye in the room where the dummy is, and it suddenly appears as a faint but intense pain, something that 'hurts so bad, but deep down Ruby wants to feel forever'. It also shows up on the machinery above the lockers. Finally, and most glaringly, after seeing Ace all throughout the story, we finally get to see him through Ruby's third eye when they go into the Cold Storage room; lo and behold, there on his chest, Ruby can see the Barbed Wheel, implying THAT is whose orders he is taking now. Would explain his particular skin condition on his 'face'. This ALSO raises questions, given the blatant and visible appearance of the Barbed Wheel WITHOUT Ruby's third eye above the lockers, as to whether some of the staff weren't already servants of it by the time shit started going down.
just found this site which also shows several locations of the Barbed Wheel iconography in Ruby Quest, and presents some wonderful extra details on Cjopaze. http://villains.wikia.com/wiki/Cjopaze . WARNING; kind of spoilery.
The group portrait which Ruby finds shows the patients of the facility before its collapse; with everyone around the other, happy and smiling, harmoniously (Stitches is whole and #6 even has his eyes!). What makes this worse is when this is put contrast to the now chaotic outlook of the facility, the hideously mutated, deformed patients and staff—a majority of whom are now barely sentient—plus the fact almost none of them can remember anything from before.
I had finished Ruby Quest for the first time, and had my mind blown. I immediately started reading it again, only to have my mind blown again. Halfway through the second time, I had that moment of Fridge Brilliance. On official documents, she was always always referred to as "Ruby" - in quotes. Her real name could have been anything... such as Lucy. Of course, more research revealed the existence of Word of God that Lucy, Tom #5's girlfriend, was indeed a completely different character. She was, in fact, a pig, following the story's Animal Crossing theme. However, since there is nothing in the canon explicitely stating it is not so, especially her conspicuous absence from the group picture, I originally thought the author had specifically put it in there to Mind Screw the highly observant reader. — Bluenight
Ruby gets a third eye veeery soon after Tom lost one of his... regardless of actual backstory, the mere symbolism is this AND Fridge Horror.
Ace's face being made out of worms makes sense if you consider the fact that he's basically working as Cjopaze's proxy, because he'd be in so much contact with it that he'd have mutated more than anyone else - instead of having fleshy tentacles growing out of him, he's entirely made of fleshy tentacles.