Deus Ex: Invisible War
Deus Ex: Invisible War, a PC and XBox videogame released in 2003 and the sequel to the award-winning Deus Ex. The game's plot is set in a dystopian world dominated by various organizations, notably "The Order", "The WTO", "The Knights Templar" and the cyborg "Omar". The story revolves around Alex D, a trainee at an elite school, "Tarsus" and slowly unravels a conspiracy while fighting for the organization the player chooses.
- Templar Knight: Human society is now so destructive that organic life itself is an endangered species. Remember the Templar message. The more you look at the world, the more truthful my words will seem.
- Templar Knight: The individual worker -- careerist, let's say -- seldom understands how his small labor contributes to human history. Seemingly innocuous innovations in cell biology, nanotechnology, and computer science add up to a teeming substrate of new life. But it isn't life. It's death. It seeks to devour its clumsy, organic creators.
- Alex D: Yeah? I must be dead, then. I'm up to my eyeballs in biomods.
- Templar Knight: Let me warn you, friend -- we consider the modified to be less than human. Observe what your Second Soul of nanites has done to you -- and consider going to a clinic to be Purified.
- Alex D: My biomods don't change who I am. They're tools -- I use them to complete certain tasks.
- Templar Knight: But the tasks grow in strangeness and complexity. The demands of others corrupt you. All because you allow yourself to be something other than humans
- Paul Denton: If you want to even out the social order, you have to change the nature of power itself. Right? And what creates power? Wealth, physical strength, legislation -- maybe -- but none of those is the root principle of power.
- Alex D: I’m listening.
- Paul Denton: Ability is the ideal that drives the modern state. It's a synonym for one's worth, one's social reach, one's "election," in the Biblical sense, and it's the ideal that needs to be changed if people are to begin living as equals.
- Alex D: And you think you can equalize humanity with biomodification?
- Paul Denton: The commodification of ability -- tuition, of course, but, increasingly, genetic treatments, cybernetic protocols, now biomods -- has had the side effect of creating a self-perpetuating aristocracy in all advanced societies. When ability becomes a public resource, what will distinguish people will be what they do with it. Intention. Dedication. Integrity. The qualities we would choose as the bedrock of the social order.
- Nicolette: We'll always lead the people, though they'll never know our names. Our sacred goal, the elevation of humankind, can only be accomplished in secrecy. We will provide civilization with only the best leadership. Perhaps, someday, they'll be ready, and we'll finally be able to reveal our efforts. For now, we must work quietly and thanklessly.
- Alex D: Any last-minute advice?
- Nicolette: Yes -- I worry that you still perceive the Illuminati as a conspiracy. The organization does have some image problems, I suppose. As you know, the Illuminati has imperceptibly guided civilization for centuries. How? Leadership. We elevate the capable into positions of authority, where they can do the most good for everyone. JC and Saman both want to level the social order, either by giving biomods to everyone or no one. It's the same either way -- the end of true leadership and a descent into chaos.
- Alex D: What do you propose instead?
- Nicolette: Without extraordinary individuals, civilization will founder. Total homogeneity -- now THAT'S unnatural. That's what we have to resist at all cost.
- Alex D: So the Illuminati wants to maintain disparity?
- Nicolette: Not disparity, but difference, and the well-managed specialization it makes possible. Some people just aren't leaders and shouldn't be granted great powers. The Illuminati want to ensure that humankind will always have a select few -- like you, Alex -- to inspire the rest.