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Koinange, better known as "Stripe", is the protagonist of Men Against Fire. He is portrayed by Malachi Kirby.

Physical Appearance Edit

Stripe is a young African American man in his mid twenties with short dark hair and brown eyes. His physique is athletic and muscular.

Overview Edit

Koinange and Raiman are, respectively, a male and female soldier in the same squad. Every soldier has a neural implant called MASS that enhances the processing of their senses (including sight, sound, and smell), provides instant data via augmented reality, and also creates comforting sex dreams at night.

Following a lead, the squad searches a farmhouse while the squad leader, Medina, interrogates the farm's devout Christian owner, whom she suspects is harbouring roaches in accord with his religion. Medina's suspicions are confirmed, as Stripe discovers a whole secret "nest" of roaches, who appear as pale, snarling, humanoid monsters with sharp teeth; when one of them points a mysterious LED device at Stripe, he and Hunter open fire on them. Afterwards, Stripe picks up the LED device and accidentally flashes himself in the eyes. Medina arrests the owner and orders the farmhouse torched. The device Stripe flashed in his eyes appears to have disrupted his MASS interface, which sporadically glitches during his training regimens the following day. Stripe undergoes a physical examination and sees a psychologist, Arquette, neither of which reveals any medical problems.

The next day, Medina, Stripe, and Hunter arrive at an abandoned housing complex to look for further roaches. Stripe experiences another glitch: his sense of smell, apparently dampened, suddenly returns. In the very next moment, a roach sniper kills Medina. Stripe and Hunter scour the sniper's building and Stripe encounters what he perceives to be a regular human woman. He urges the woman to flee but Hunter shoots her dead. In a subsequent firefight, it is clear that Stripe sees humans where Hunter sees roaches. Stripe attempts to stop Hunter from continuing the massacre and knocks her out, but gets injured and then escapes with a frightened Danish woman and her boy.

The fleeing woman, Catarina, explains that Stripe's MASS implant has altered his senses to disguise the fact that "roaches" are actually regular humans. In fact, roaches are the victims of a genocide against those believed to be genetically inferior, following a global war ten years before. Catarina remarks that soldiers have MASS but everyday civilians do not; they simply hate the roaches due to propaganda and prejudice. Hunter suddenly reappears, killing Catarina and her son and knocking Stripe unconscious.

Stripe awakes inside a military prison cell, where Arquette explains that the LED device had sent viral coding to Stripe's MASS, causing it to glitch so that he could see roaches as human beings. Arquette then reveals the true secret purpose of the MASS implants: to augment the visual appearance of the persecuted humans to make them look zombie-like and frightening, to alter their voices to sound like monstrous nonsensical growls, to diminish the smells of blood and gore, and to selectively erase certain memories. MASS is used by the military to dehumanize the appearance of the enemy, allowing soldiers to kill them more efficiently and without remorse. Stripe, it turns out, has been working for a global eugenics program to "protect the bloodline" of humanity, something Stripe passively agreed to. Though his memory of agreeing to this has been erased by MASS, Arquette confirms it with video footage, and he also plays the raw footage of Stripe's farmhouse mission, except the roaches' appearances have not been augmented to look like monsters and so it is indeed revealed that he has been killing terrified, ordinary humans. Stripe pleads with him to stop the footage and Arquette threatens to imprison Stripe, endlessly looping the raw footage, if Stripe does not consent to wipe his memory of the last few days and get his MASS system reset.

Stripe is later shown being discharged with full military honors, implying he consented to a second erasure of his memory. He approaches what his eyes show to be an immaculate house and a waiting dream girl, but in actuality he stands alone outside a graffiti-tagged, dilapidated shack.

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