The 23rd century is finally upon us. Humankind has mastered interstellar travel and has spread out to colonize 12 brave new worlds, forming a Union of planets with a vibrant trade network. Taking advantage of these breakthroughs in technology, someone went through the trouble of shipping empty cans of fish to me, courtesy of the fine folks at Koatoa Marine in Kariyo, on the planet Oceanus.
Along with a handful of others, I received this highly curious package in the mail from Yimmu Logistics. Buried beneath a sea of packing peanuts was a small crate bearing the Koatoa Marine logo, with a copy of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species firmly tied down with twine, covering up eight empty cans of Razorkan Fish, priced at 3 credits per can. The graphic sensibilities of the 23rd century are apparently equal parts Dharma Initiative and IKEA, with the heavily branded products evoking a utilitarian disposition.
An invoice from Koatoa Marine CEO Akamu Hale informed me that, after adding on the highly reasonable 11 credit shipping fee, I owe Koatoa Marine 59 credits for the 16 cans I should have received. The copy of Darwin’s Origin of Species seems to have been slipped in instead of half my order of fish. Luckily, the presence of the book would prove useful, as a secret message on the bottom of six of the cans spells out UNITED. Going to KoatoaMarine.com/united led to a cipher using Darwin’s book as a key, spelling out the message, “to those born from the Earth: we will be there in due time.”
During this first week of gameplay, activity has been focused almost entirely on email communications with Richard Kai, a Koatoa Marine representative dealing with the fallout from these mysterious packages. Soon after the deliveries came through, all production at the factory has come to a halt, and hints of some larger political conflict has been simmering.
It’s too early to tell what the curious tale of Koatoa Marine is about or even what form gameplay will take, but this early peek into the inner workings of a future interstellar fish cannery have left me curious for more.
Update 9/19: For players looking to get involved, the game’s wiki at We Are Earthborne is an essential resource.
Update 11/27: The We Are Earthborne alternate reality game has a companion serial audio drama that can be found at the Atlas Listening Station.