Among Us doesn't have a story, but I'm wondering: What are those rainbow astronauts up to, anyway? Are they explorers, scientists, or something else? Apart from all the getting killed and card-swiping, what are they trying to accomplish with all the tasks they keep doing?
Some tasks have an obvious purpose: maintenance. People need oxygen to live, so of course the Among Us crewmates have to clean out their spaceship's O2 filters now and then. Why are the O2 filters full of leaves? That's a slightly harder question to answer, but it doesn't take a great leap of logic to say: space trees. You can see one on Polus.
The other Among Us tasks make a certain kind of sense, too. Add in the map trailers, official Among Us website, and Steam DLC pages, and there are enough crumbs of information to put together a basic picture of Among Us's lore. Since nothing else important is happening today, that's what I did.
First, let's establish some basic facts:
What do we know about the imposters?
- The imposters are shapeshifting, parasitic aliens. (The developers say so.)
- The imposters can see in the dark (after sabotaging the lights).
- The imposters either don't need oxygen or are willing to sacrifice themselves to kill the crewmates. (They win if they cut off oxygen.)
- The imposters infiltrated the Skeld ship sometime before the crewmates went to MIRA HQ or the Polus research base. (According to the DLC costume descriptions, we're visiting Mira HQ and Polus with the hope that they are free of imposters.)
What do we know about the crewmates?
- All crewmates are 3'6" and 92 lbs. (According to the Submit Scan task.)
- The crewmates work for an organization called MIRA. (Explored in the MIRA HQ map.)
- The crewmates are studying alien geology and lifeforms, as well as mining. (The Upload Data and Process Data tasks include files such as specimen_data.tiff, minerals_data.dat, and mining_finances.png. Artifacts and samples seen in other tasks include bones, plant and animal fossils, and gems.)
- The crewmates want to escape the imposters and "return back to civilization." (From the official site.)
What else do we know?
- The Skeld is a spaceship used to travel between MIRA HQ and the Polus research base, and maybe elsewhere.
- Space is pretty populated. The Align Telescope task on Polus reveals a spaceship and a Dyson sphere.
- The crew probably has a healthy social life together. Aside from geology, biology, and mining, the crewmate files include several references to birthdays, cakes, and pineapples.
- The computer interface seen during the Process Data task on MIRA HQ displays a crewmate running along a tree, flower, and mountain-lined road, suggesting a nostalgia for planetside civilization.
- Ghosts exist.
The crewmates: researchers, looters, or both?
Putting this all together, the situation appears to be that the crew aboard the Skeld was attacked by alien shapeshifters on the way to MIRA HQ or the Polus research base. It's not clear if the Skeld then spread the alien imposters to MIRA HQ and Polus, or if all three locations were infested separately.
The crewmates, who are identically short, light, and bean-shaped—siblings? genetically engineered?—are unusually dedicated to their work. They refuse to stop sorting samples and aligning telescopes despite being hunted by parasitic alien shapeshifters, and even continue their work in the afterlife. One or more crew members seem to be working on developing a pineapple upside-down birthday cake, but otherwise they are geologists, biologists, and archeologists, and their work involves collecting and analyzing alien artifacts and fossils. Part of their goal—the goal of MIRA, that is—seems to be mining, but the artifacts and experiments suggest that they're looking for more than just valuable minerals...
Did the imposters attack the crewmates after they broke into an ancient alien relic, where they snatched a powerful artifact? It's a slight stretch, but it seems like the best explanation given the evidence we have, with the artifact being the broken crystal you have to put back together in the Assemble Artifact task.
Will we ever know for sure?
I'm not the only one to wonder about Among Us lore, so you don't have to settle for my theory if you don't want to. Before writing this I typed "Among Us fanfiction" into Google, and only a fool would've expected fewer than 24,400,000 results. My personal favorite: "Undertale but they're playing Among Us."
And maybe we'll learn more canon facts about the Among Us universe as developer Innersloth releases new updates and maps. The next map is going to be Henry Stickmin themed, and I admit I don't know much about Mr Stickmin's life and times, but perhaps it contains clues to the crewmate and imposters' true story. Or maybe it's just a way to promote one of the developer's earlier games.