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I ruined my family’s lives in Papers, Please

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Papers, Please

I made a terrible mistake. I thought I was doing something good for my family, but it ultimately cost them everything. Had I just continued to enforce the policies of the Ministry of Admission, I would still have my freedom. Sure my house would be a little colder and my stomach a little emptier, but it would have been much better than a third-world jail cell.

Here’s my story. The first several weeks on the job as an immigration inspector was pretty standard fare. Some people had their documents in order, others attempted to pass off forgeries. Besides the occasional explosive terrorist attack, everything was going fine. Following the rules kept me on the right side of the law, but the pay stunk. At the end of every pay period, I had to decide whether it was economical to keep the heat on or feed my family. My family rarely had food, heat and medicine at the same time. When my son got sick, I had to reach into my savings to buy him medicine. By the time the rent and heating bill was paid, I was basically broke. Something had to give.

The next day at work, one of the guards approached me with a proposition. Much like myself, he was unhappy with his pay rate. We both worked important and risky jobs, but the state found it fit to pay us like peasants. The guard had a solution for both of us. He told me he got bonuses based on how many people I detained. He said he’d share part of his bonus with me if I detained more people. Officially, detainment is meant for suspicious people as opposed to people with just incorrect paperwork. Still, I had a family to care for. I agreed to detain more people in exchange for money. That’s when it all went downhill. This defining moment led to me cut one deal too many.

Shortly after making that side deal, a strange man with a pentagram-like shape on his face slid me a note. He was a part of some group called the Order. He wanted me to let a couple of his associates into the country regardless of whether or not they had the proper paperwork. He left immediately, but someone from his group visited my house later that day with $1000. I could have burned it and moved on, but I didn’t. I kept the money and used to get my family in good health. I also moved into a nicer apartment.

I’m not stupid. I knew the Order was likely up to no good. I figured I’d take their money, deny them at the border and go on about my life. Then it happened. My nosy neighbors started complaining about my new wealth. The state took all my savings while it looked into things. Soon afterwards, a member of the Order said they could make it all go away if I let one of their guys in. I knew who I was looking for, but he was too far back in the line to reach me before my shift ended.

The next day, I was taken from my post and placed in jail until the investigation ended. My family was also being held. Now I have no job, no family and possibly no future. I suppose this is what happens when I put my own glory ahead of Arstotzka.

This was my story from my first playthrough of Papers, Please. For $10, you too can make your own story. Hopefully yours is more honorable than mine.

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