In this first, extra-long session, Ali Acampora, Keith Carberry, Jack de Quidt, and Art Tebbel create their MechNoir characters.
“Counterweight hangs in the center of the Golden Branch star sector, a forked path where the Perseus and Sagittarius Arms of the Milky Way come together. Because of its location, life on this planet of billions brims with energy, and an exchange of cultures has led to an exchange of technologies. Automated robots valet vehicles; Starships launch in the distance at regular intervals; holographic pop idols perform to holographic crowds; giant humanoid mechs aid in tasks civil, commercial, and military. And sometimes you look up to them and think "We could have made them look like anything, but we made them look like us."
All of this technology exists under a sky dashed with bronze, as flickering energy domes filter the cold, thick air into something more breathable. The sky was scarred at the climax of the Golden War, which brought the Autonomous Diaspora and the People’s Conglomerate of Orion—long rivals—together against the Empire of Apostolos. Now, society on Counterweight largely exists in these domed cities. Life is a struggle, but it is dense and vibrant, too. Personal, family, and industrial sized Maglev trainpods connect city to city, flying across the war ruined landscapes at incredibly fast speeds. But the Maglevs aren't the only thing out there in the wilderness. There are others. Those who bear the cold so they may live in free exile, outside of the domes they hate.
Things inside the domes are not free of tension either. In the nine years since the war ended, OriCon and The Diaspora have held steady in their ceasefire, but this is a world of subterfuge, politics, and espionage.
OriCon was once a worker’s paradise, where walking robots called Riggers helped to build a diverse and prosperous civilization. But in the last few centuries, it has become an oligarchy: Massive corporations hold all the power and resources, but still use the old language of radicalism and freedom. The Diaspora is, itself, filled with talk of freedom.
Like OriCon, the founder of the Diaspora once lived on Earth, but left in search of a more perfect Democracy: One managed by algorithms and interfaces and nanomachines and the constant, tidal ritual of voting. Defending the Diaspora are the Divines, giant robots with strange sentience, each embodying a different virtue of humankind, and each piloted by a Candidate, separate from society so that they may better serve. Both of these galactic powers has its own set of domed habitats on Counterweight, with a handful of cities existing under a third, local power that struggles to keep the peace. To keep this cold war from turning hot.'
At the end of the last war — the Golden War, it was a Rigger pilot — Jace Rethal— and a Candidate—Addax, who controlled the Divine Peace—who (it is said) sacrificed themselves to stop a terrible plot by the Apostolosian Empire that would’ve doomed not only Counterweight, but many other cities, planets, and stars. Yet instead of destruction, there was life: When the light from the explosion cleared, a new celestial body hung in the sky. They called it Weight. A perfect planet, now cautiously inhabited by a small group from both OriCon and the Diaspora. It taunts those left behind on Counterweight: Its green continents. Its unfrozen seas. It is so far away, but there it is, every night, so, so close.”
—Austin Walker (Episode 00: If Han Solo Used to Be Beyoncé, or: Hashtag Otechku)