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Earth may have a twin orbiting one of our nearest stellar neighbors... Guedes' model showed planets forming around the star Alpha Centauri B (its sister star, Proxima Centauri, is actually our nearest neighbor) in what is called the "habitable zone," or the region around a star where liquid water can exist on a planet's surface.
The model also showed that if such planets do in fact exist, we should be able to see them with a dedicated telescope.
"If they exist, we can observe them..."
According to the storyline of the game, Earth is destroying itself through war, famine and poverty, but before it destroys itself completely, the U.N. launches a colonization starship called "Unity". The Unity is destined for a planet in the Alpha Centauri system. This planet, named "Chiron" (but often just called "Planet") is very similar to Earth.
However, before the starship fully reaches Planet, forty years into the journey, the Unity suffers a core malfunction and awakens many of the crew, who then proceed to fix the malfunction. Before they are done, however, the captain of Unity, Captain Garland, is assassinated by an unknown assailant. The rest of the crew are soon awakened.
When the assassination occurs, the crew panics. Seven leaders take up the challenge of leading a faction onto Planet by use of one of seven colony pods. Unity crashes onto Planet and the supplies spread everywhere. That is where the player comes in.
Adding to the trouble of the human factions is an indigenous semi-sentient fungus (xenofungus) that spans the planet. Concentrations of it can spawn more aggressive native life forms, the most basic of which are known as mind worms. Mind worms and other native life act as the planet's immune system, reacting to heavy industrial pollution by attacking offending cities and installations. Moreover, mind worms can be captured by factions with a deep understanding of Planet's fragile ecology and used as instruments of war and police.
In the course of the storyline, it is discovered that all xenofungus collectively forms a massive neural network, making the entire ecosystem a colossal group mind. It grows increasingly intelligent as the game progresses, even beginning communications with faction leaders in cut-scenes from time to time. However, contrary to the concept of a benevolent Mother Earth, the "Planetmind" is suspicious of humans and will defend itself if necessary. Faction leader quotes scattered throughout the game reveal that all of them, with the notable exception of Lady Deirdre, consider the emerging mind to be highly dangerous. This is due to the fact that the final growth stage is self-destructive, and will take humanity with it. However, the Transcendence victory condition allows the player to unite human consciousness with the Planetmind, helping it avoid self-destruction and propelling humanity to a new plane of existence.