"If something is to survive, it must adapt. War too, must adapt to the changes around it" (unknown)
Like everyone else, I thought the job offer was legit. I mean, a company wants to push out the latest & greatest in combat games, with an entirely new
type of plot, completely realistic gameplay, and a map that would put Skyrim, Fallout, or even WoW to shame. And the best part? Only a random handful,
a select few that filled out a boring questionnaire, would be invited to work at the facility for a full-time, paid, game tester.
In fairness, the questions on the quiz were supposedly about our gaming habits, and what we have played. I found it boring, as several were stuff like
"Do you like to play first-person shooters" (Nooo way, like non-computer games...not!
), or the infamous "How bloody can your games get?" (hmm,
several allow you to basically disintegrate someone, so I guess I'm quite alright with it). I was amazed that I would get to be one of the testers.
Me, fresh out of high school, with barely a credential to my name.
At the beginning, I was told to pack most of my things; room, board, food and travel were all covered - That should have been a clue, but hey, I was
too excited to be curious. That day, I hugged my parents goodbye, and got picked up by a black car with tinted windows. As we drove, I could see the
building that the gaming company was housed in; it looked like a standard office building, several floors of glass windows, the kind like a one-way
mirror. The inside was a vast array of corridors, nothing out of the ordinary. People walking around at leisure, waiting for their shift to begin,
joking around with one another, etc.
This being our first day, we were all instructed to a waiting room; the 20 of us sitting in comfy chairs, waiting for the projector and our mentor to
come in. When he finally did, my first thought was that we were accidentally (or tricked) into boot camp; you mean to tell me this 6ft crew-cut guy
was only our mentor? Almost as if on cue (or sensing our fear), he calmly assured us that no, we were not in the army, and that yes, he really was our
manager. And so, he began the projection, showing us our job.
As simple as it seems, our job was to play the game as beta testers - In the game, we would be randomly assigned to various "squadrons", made up of
5-10 people each. Each person was controlling what looked to be a similar robot on screen. You had a limited amount of ammo and guns, but these could
easily be picked up or bought throughout the game. What struck most of us as odd was that this wasn't a "robot vs robot" game, but rather robots vs
people; our missions would be posted randomly throughout the game, and most involved killing one of the members in the game list. With each kill, the
greater the skill level you gained. After our shift ended, we were free to roam about the place, play pool, swim, watch TV, etc.
My first couple weeks were easy - I managed to score several kills, and completed several missions. When I visited home, everyone would ask me how
awesome the job is, and I would only reply by showing off the latest item that I got to buy. Everyone had a reason to be happy, apart from me being
home: It was announced that the military, in the last recent weeks, was able to wipe out several of the terrorists that were plotting to bomb an
embassy. This news was treated especially well at the company for some reason, and all of our mentors seemed to be in better moods the longer we
The stuff hit the fan 6 months in - Some of us were starting to make connections where at first there was none. For example: Why were the mentors so
happy about the recent killings of terrorists and extremists? And, more importantly, why were these killings happening shortly after we completed one
of our missions? What caused me to leave, and never look back, was that I knew it wasn't a game, especially when my latest kill was displayed on the
news, the day after I completed that mission. This wasn't a game; we weren't beta testers at all (well, maybe not in a gaming sense). The reason we
were robots? Because we were controlling them. that's what the media didn't want the public to see - all of the soldiers on the battlefield had the
same face, eyes, and body.
They paid me off, of course, something about "national security" if I ever said anything (in that case, wonder why they didn't get in trouble when the
"game" was released as an online player game a few days ago). I guess there's one good thing about all this; no-one has to die, because robots &
drones are easy to replicate, and they don't have family.
This actually came about as a "brain fart" while I was trying to solve another problem at my work. Don't know how my problem pertained to war, but
this story is Dystopian enough for my liking. Hope you all enjoy.
And yes, this is a work of fiction; I never worked at such a company, nor does one exist to my knowledge.
edit on 14/6/2014 by fossilera because: