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January 2nd, 2005, 12:27 PM
I once made a software purchase and received, as a bonus gift, a game whose name I have forgotten.

It was one of those science-fiction "future history" kinds of role playing games, where the player pretended to be the viewpoint character in the story. It was first person: the player saw the NPCs through the viewpoint character's eyes.

The graphics were pretty realistic, maybe the best that could be done at the time this game was released.

The plot of the game's story was that Earth was running out of resources and had to acquire more land and minerals from another planet. The United Nations was to be in charge of a secret project to gain access to this other world.

The viewpoint character (I've forgotten his name) was a young soldier selected to be assigned to the secret UN project. He was given a briefing along with some other project selectees, in which a middle aged female professor showed a documentary film about how the UN World5 program, created to model the socio-economic destiny of Earth's people, showed that a complete collapse of civilization had become unavoidable, with worldwide famine and wars, and the possible extinction of mankind, unless this secret UN project to exploit the resources of another planet were a success.

The viewpoint character was very impressed with this demonstration, and he left the briefing convinced that he should do as much as he can to save the "human race."

A short time later, the viewpoint character departs Earth for the other planet by means of some kind of long-range teleportation machine.

Another character - also a young man, though bald and given to cynicism - was not convinced that the briefing was telling the whole truth. He said that drugs were being given (in the food and drink) to the project's military inductees in order to make them obedient and gullible. He said that he was taking other drugs to counter the effects of the UN's drugs.

The young bald fellow came under official suspicion at some point, and he disappeared suddenly from the story - presumably murdered by the UN brass. But before he disappeared, he revealed to the viewpoint character that the "spacesuits" which the project's marines had to wear on the surface of the other planet were programmed to kill the soldiers who wore them, in the event of a "suit breech." When they could not deny the truth of the matter, the UN authorities explained that the lethal mechanism was a mercy device intended to spare the soldier a much more painful and prolonged death from exposure to the planet's atmosphere.

The spacesuit also prevents direct visual contact with the outside; the soldier wearing the suit is shown closed-circuit TV images of his surroundings in real time. This is explained, too, somehow or other, though I forget the details.

The planet was inhabited by "bugs," or creatures who appeared to be bugs, nearly all of which were deadly slashers and biters. The job of the UN marines was to kill the bugs, so that "miners" and other workers could do their jobs safely.

One day, while in the UN's extraterrestrial command post, the viewpoint character meets, in the canteen, the middle aged female professor who gave the briefing. She seemed despondent, disillusioned, and unwilling to talk. Not long afterward, she simply disappears, and there is evidence that she'd simply taken off her suit and walked away.

Walked away? On the unlivable surface of another planet?

Okay, the mystery (and the political situation) starts to come unraveled fast at this point. The UN secret project is a sham. The soldiers are told lies. There are indeed drugs in the food and drink, intended to overcome any suspicion of inconsistency in those lies. The interplanetary teleporter is a stage-prop; the soldiers never leave Earth. The spacesuits do, indeed, have lethal mechanisms built into them, but the reason isn't mercy - it is to preserve the conspiracy of the power-hungry UN leaders. The "bugs" are in reality human beings, against whom the UN soldiers have unwittingly been sent to fight.

In one of the possible endings of the game, the viewpoint character lies dying on the ground following what he believed was a "bug attack." His suit informs him that he will be given, per UN regulations, 15 seconds to make peace with the god or goddess of his choice. During that 15 seconds, as the viewpoint character is panicking, his helmet is removed by a pretty young woman, and the last thing he ever sees is her smile as he says, "They are human..."

Does anyone know more about this game, such as its title and publisher?

Jerry Abbott