So this was going to be the first Skyrim LP post, but then I got the following message from RipOffProductionsLLC:
Cut Beta Quote about the 7 hour war:
“There was an illusion of safety, for a time. And then the Citadels appeared. It happened in a split second, all over the world. A chunk would disappear from the center of a city, to be replaced an instant later by one of these… headquarters for the Combine. Invasion Central.”
-Eli Maxwell (later renamed Eli Vance, after General Vance[whose role in he plot was taken by Barny] was cut)
This also talks about the Citadel’s arrival on Earth, whether or not it’s still cannon is unknown but it makes sense.
Another peace of cut content said that the UN asked Breen to negotiate the surrender of earth, but that is on vary shaky ground.
But now let me ask you something, wouldn’t you do the same? To save the humanity from extinction at the hands(or whatever) of an alien empire? ‘The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.’
Well. For all my blustering about hating Breen and wanting to shove my (sadly non-existent in this game) M-4 up his rear end, I was NOT expecting to be confronted with the moral quandary he faced. I mean, Breen wasn’t a bad guy, or he wasn’t at Black Mesa. He’s not a bad or evil man, although I think he’s thoroughly misguided by this point. Whether he’s taking advantage of the situation or simply being misled by the Combine, I don’t know.
But as for what *I* would do in his shoes? Well, I’m not sure. Having to negotiate the surrender of my entire planet/species is a little beyond my ken. However, I have had to entertain this kind of moral dilemma on a much smaller scale in the military. As an officer, it’s my job to lead my soldiers, and let them know when and where we need to fight. I should qualify that by pointing out that I’m not in the Infantry, obviously–combat arms branches are still closed to women. But given the nature of the current conflict we’re facing, it doesn’t matter all that much. The bad guys attack anyone and everyone–there are no ‘front lines’ and no ‘safe’ places to be.
I’m in the Signal Corps–my job is to set up computer and radio communications to make sure that people can talk to each other. Let’s say I have a communications relay set up on some hill top that my Platoon and I are in charge of setting up and running. And let’s say that suddenly, and without warning, we’re absolutely overwhelmed by the enemy. So overwhelmed that it’s clear we’re going to be overrun, with no way out, and no reinforcements that can get here in time. What do I do?
Obviously there are a ton of variables involved–just how overwhelmed are we, how tactically sensitive is this communications relay, etc. But this is a hypothetical morality exercise, not the real world. Let’s assume that we’re just as overwhelmed as Earth was during the Seven Hour War. And let’s assume–charitably–that the enemy has offered us the option of fighting to the death, in a very clearly losing cause, or surrendering. Well under those circumstances, I’d make the same decision the UN made in Half Life 2–you’re damn right I surrender. Throwing away lives at that point won’t do anyone any good at all. So from where I sit, surrender was the right–really the only–option. No fault of Breen’s that it came to that.
But here, it gets tricky. Breen didn’t just negotiate the surrender to the Combine. He became Earth’s liaison with them. That makes sense to me too. And NOW he’s their mouthpiece, feeding the masses the information–and ONLY the information–that the Combine want them to hear. He’s gone from negotiator to active oppressor. The equivalent (very roughly) of keeping my soldiers alive in my hypothetical military scenario by allowing them to fight for the bad guys. Or more accurately, by keeping them alive by fighting for the bad guys myself.
Could I do that? Maybe. If you held a gun to my head, probably not (I hope), but if you held a gun to an 18 year old Private’s head? I bet I could. The question is, IS that the actual dilemma that Breen is facing? Are the Combine telling him, “say and do these things, or we’ll annihilate your world”? Or has he been given more freedom than that? I honestly don’t know–nor am I intended to at this point in the game, I think.
What little I can tell comes from his voice actor (who is very, VERY good.) I don’t think Breen is making up–or even being told to say–anything on those Breencasts. He genuinely sounds like he believes what he’s saying–the last one, where he started talking about the One Free Man started getting near-religious in fervor. I think that whatever Breen’s motives were in the beginning, he is SOLIDLY in the Combine camp now. I don’t think he just wants to SAVE humanity anymore; I think he honestly believes that the Combine are genuinely GOOD for humanity, and that what they’re offering represents a step forward.
If that’s true, then the question becomes this: is it worth fighting the Combine and dying–possibly wiping out our entire species–to stop the kind of oppression they’ve saddled us with? Now think about that–pretend this isn’t just a video game where you know Freeman will prevail thanks to Hawk’s quick thinking (and reload spamming). Could you genuinely take up arms against the Combine knowing that not only will YOU die, for sure, but that the rebellion you’re a part of might lead to the extinction of all humans?
Rough call. I don’t know that I’ve seen enough yet to be able to make that choice, honestly. The only REAL kind of oppression I’ve seen so far is fairly basic; it’s really no worse than what humans have been doing to each other for thousands of years. The Dampening Field is disturbing, and that, coupled with everything else, might be worth giving up my OWN life–but I don’t know if what I’ve seen so far is worth risking the species.
I dunno. Without spoiling any big revelations yet to come, what would you do?