2060 C.E, Earth is decaying, and humanity's survival rests aboard the U.N starship "Unity". Its mission, planet "Chiron" in the Alpha Centauri system. With it, a chance at a new beginning, and hope the same mistakes on Earth would not be repeated...
40 years to "Planetfall"
The premise of 1999 Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri as it continues from where players left off in Civ II, 40 years after their game ends in 2020 C.E. An unique installment that ties the civilization series, and the core story it has been telling over the course of each release.
The story of us.
That is what history essentially is. But of course player have always been given free reign on how that played out. With favorite nations, scenarios, technology, wars to play out, and different means to reach peace. All of which, at the start of Alpha Centauri, have lead to our downfall. And so, in a collaborative desperate effort that unifies humanity, we set out to the stars. Which leaves us with an interesting take on our own history that is yet to be written.
So as we wait for the spiritual re-make Civilization: Beyond Earth to come our way this fall. Lets take a look back or rather forwards to a yet to be future with no nationalities, races, ethnicity, fundamentalist, old hatreds, and no past. A clean slate to all the mistakes made on Earth...
2100 C.E "Planetfall"
At the core of Alpha Centarui lies the engrossing tale of the last moments aboard the starship Unity. How seven factions came to be in the series of hours leading to Planetfall. As the crew comes to face with our weakness; our human nature. What could never be left behind.
By Mike Ely (multimedia producer of Alpha Centarui)
Journey to Centauri : Episode 1 "Captain."
Shapes. Shadows, hovering over him. A sense of threat, darkness eclipsing his vision, and the distant sound of warning klaxons. He tried to lift his hands and could not, tried to speak and felt his throat turn to fire. A deep cold pressed down on him, crushing his bones to ice."...this one...hurry" The voice again. More movement, seen through layers of frost and glass. I am the Captain came his next thought, sharp and coherent. I should be first....First out of the sleep. Visions returned to him: the long rough cylinder of the ship, floating above the chaos of Earth. The massive cryobays with their rows of sleeping crew, the white-suited cryotechs moving ghost like among them. His last memory of laying down in glass and feeling the blue tide rise to swallow him, forty years and a moment of darkness ago. Thinking, hoping, that when he woke again, it would be to the sight of Alpha Centauri's primary cresting the rim of a new planet, a new world. But now...something was wrong. Someone, unauthorized, moving around the ship. A wave of dizziness washed over him and his vision blurred into a sea of blue, red lights flashing in the distance. He could feel the ship shaking beneath him.
A shadow passed over him, and then another. Footsteps retreated. He stared up through the curved top of the cryocell, willing himself into the open spaces of the ship, trying to force his fingers to move. His brain signaled alarm but his heart and muscles, held in near stasis, would not respond. He waited, helpless, while the ship hurled on and the warning klaxons sounded their three beat sequence.
After interminable moments he heard a click and a hiss, and then a storm exploded beneath him.'
Transmission Received, U.N.S. Unity Central Processor.
Meteor Impact Detected.
Fusion drive shut down.
Severe Damage Hydroponics Mods 2, 3; cryobay 7.
Triggering automatic wake up of core staff per coded instructions.
An intro to the overall short story that is spread across 35 chapters(unfortunately all on gamefaq) but the amount of effort given makes it truly worth the read. As it one of the few games (that I can think of) that asks the players to dwell on the human question.
"Is it worth saving?"
As the events unravel, it seems like a definitive no. As if given a second chance, we would end up squandering it. With the same mistakes we have always made in our long history. As though we where doomed from the very beginning in a never ending cycle.
But the story of Alpha Centauri and its crew is not bleak, and neither it has to be. As always, it has been about us player having control on how it will play out. As our human nature has also gives us strength to overcome the challenges of our times, and will in future ones. A very specific aspect of being human it sets out to tell as well. But it is a fictional tale of a possible future. It isn't our story. We are here, in our blue dot.
And the answer to the question if not a simple yes or no. We don't exit outside history in a bubble. That is what the game drives at. To ask if we are truly worth it for all our human shortcomings, if we will ever stop making the same mistakes, and if we will ever travel the starts to Alpha Centauri. We can't see the future nor is there a simple answer, but there is one the story of the Unity crew provides.
"It is up to you."