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Happy Hour Report #2

Laura Genender Posted:
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Laura Geneder reports on the second of several weekly teleconferences

EDITOR'S NOTE: Every week for the next little while Laura will attend a teleconference with representatives of NetDevil's Auto Assault. Each Monday, she will file her report.

Last Monday I once again attended the AutoAssault Roadhouse: Happy Hour. This time, the topic of the teleconference was the races and the classes, and we were joined by NetDevil’s three lead game designers: Chris “Ombwah” Holtorf (Human Lead), Adam “Snipehunter” Maxwell (Mutant Lead), and Hal "maRaider" Hamlin (Biomek Lead) as well as Ryan Seabury (Design Director) and NCSoft’s Valerie “Pann” Massey.

We started the hour off with back stories. Each of the developers shared their race’s point of view on the events that led up to present day AutoAssault. It was an extremely enjoyable and extremely entertaining hour; the three lead designers certainly know how to get into character, and there was plenty of name calling (all in good spirits, of course) between the three races.

The Human Story
As told by Chris “Ombwah” Holtorf

We (the humans) were living as humans will on planet earth when there was a meteor shower. Most of humanity thought it was a regular meteor shower, and no big deal, but it turned out that it was actually pieces of an alien spacecraft that was coming apart around the earth.

These objects, as they impacted the earth, were studied and stared at by scientists and tourists, but even with all this scrutiny, no one noticed that they started to change on a very small level for many years. They were ‘leaking’ into the world’s atmosphere in, we discovered much later, an effort to change the area around where they hit the ground. Humanity still is not 100% sure what the purpose of these things was — whether they were an attack of some sort or something else entirely — but we do know that sometime after these impacts there started to be some changes around the planet.

Some people started showing up at hospitals with symptoms that we immediately thought was some disease being spread by a biological agent, so we went down that route and discovered quite a few organic vectors for this ‘disease’. It ended up manifesting in very different ways; some people were suffering from visual, physical effects like their skin tone would change, their eyes would go clear, or in very advanced stages their eyes might start to glow from within.

This was all very disconcerting to those who were having this happen to them, and in some cases these metamorphoses caused people to die. What was very frustrating was that there was no way to stop it; we’d discover it and be able to do nothing as people would just degenerate until they died, or if lucky, were mutated and changed forever.

Some of them became very violent and hard to control, and so, for purely medical and sociological reasons, these people were herded into quarantine areas to keep them from spreading the disease to others. We didn’t realize that the vector for these changes was in the water and the air and the soil…we thought it was really just a disease. That’s where things started to go downhill. Inside of these camps many riots broke out and there was a lot of social upheaval. So humanity banded together and developed a police system, this idea for augmented humanity to combat the strange powers that were erupting in these camps. The people who were grossly mutated but didn’t die often possessed strange powers that made them very hard to keep down once they’d start a riot. The more powerful ones would go and sweep up all the less powerful and take them in their wake.

There was so much destruction and it was very hard for normal human police to keep the rioters down. Thus we developed a protocol that later came to be known as the Biomechanized Raider. We attempted to use our most advanced science to augment these human beings so that they could combat the source. For a few years it worked with some success, but eventually was decided that it really wasn’t keeping the mutants down in the way that we would like… so we instituted the Genesis solution.

The Genesis solution was, very simply, that the brightest and healthiest of humanity would be put in sort of a time capsule… put away in a place that couldn’t be harmed by the forces that we would bring to bear on the planet surface itself. From there we used every possible weapon we could use to try to scourge this cancer from the planet. For approximately 125 years all of the humans known to be living were ensconced in “Arks” that were built deep below the surface of the planet.

One hundred and twenty five years later, we’ve studied all the alien technology we could get our hands on, we perfected all of our sciences and discovered quite a few new things. We’ve come to a place where the science that we need to be healthy and to stay clean on the surface is within our reach. The Hestia company decided that a good way to get a lot of people out on the surface pushing the human agenda and getting our land back would be to institute a Freelancer Policy. The Freelancer Policy is to give a car and training to any “Ark” born citizen that would like to sign up and allow them to go out on the surface.

The Mutant Story
As told by Adam “Snipehunter” Maxwell

We’ve heard what the ‘man’ had to say, so now let’s talk about what’s really going on. I’ll start with all this talk about aliens…the humans can tell you everything they want to tell you, but really, you only have to look around at the world right now to know that this change didn’t come from space. Look at humanity. Look at the corruption around you, look at the greed. The world changed because it couldn’t deal with us anymore, and the people it thought were worthy of the change it picked and it changed them with it so that they could survive in this new world. And that’s us, that’s the Mutants.

The world was changing and people need to change with it. As we tried to cope with our changes, we discovered that the rest of the world is afraid. They didn’t know what was going to happen, they didn’t understand.

This is why the humans rounded us up, took away our freedoms, and made it so that our children couldn’t go to school anymore. They put us into camps and robbed us of every right that was ours to begin with. We had to fight back; what other choice does an oppressed people have? We did riot and we did fight, but only to defend ourselves and only to remain free.

Things were out of control for a while, but then came The Voice, greatest leader in our entire history. The Voice rose out of the chaos to unite us all. He said that we couldn’t keep tearing ourselves apart like this, we had to stop fighting. He led us all south and said that we must build a great city there for us all and we were going to live in peace away from all of the people who want us dead. But that wasn’t good enough for the humans and the Hestia company; they hunted us down and had their troops attack us. The new Biomechanized Raiders were highly effective until we learned how to use the gifts that the change had given us, and that was mostly thanks to The Voice’s teaching.

He taught us the path that is the way, and taught us a method of living together and helping each other to understand what it was that was happening to us and the world. He taught us how to further it and make it happen faster so that the peace could come quicker.

Unfortunately, he did not get to finish teaching us; he was assassinated one day. Unfortunately, like all good movements that lose their leader, we nearly fell apart. We formed the four tribes to help us cope with it. There was the bear tribe, the insect tribe, the earth tribe and the spirit tribe. Each of them fills a different role in our society that is trying to help us all. The Bear tribe is our defenders, for example… the insect tribe is our spies. The earth tribe is our engineers and our medics and the spirit tribe is our priests and our leaders.

But unfortunately, these tribes were founded on vows of vengeance. I’d like to be really proud of what happened but I can’t be. We wanted revenge for the death of our leader; we wanted revenge for everything they had done to us. We turned what was a civil dispute into a full blown war. But we honestly didn’t really have a choice, their troops were already at our gate and their vehicles were already trampling our fields. We had everything going against us at the time so what could we do? And so we fought, and fought, and even after the night of fire when the night turned into day because nukes were raining down everywhere we kept fighting and we still are almost 200 years later. All we wanted was to be left alone and live in peace but the other peoples would not let us.

Snipe Hunter also later mentioned that the Mutants do not refer to themselves as Mutants. “That’s a slur and I’d really thank you not to say that phrase. We actually call ourselves the Tribes of the Changed. We don’t call ourselves Mutants; only the other races do.”

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Laura Genender