Deimos, home of our moon’s only attraction, Bowlmore! No, I just can’t.
Episode 21, history! Khaelgren from the official HSD discord channel joins Corbeau for a rambling conversation about history, Adam Weishaupt, and dusty air ducts while the other hosts are away, probably at the new bowling alley.
Audio quality on this one varies widely, we were using Skype and a portion of Corbeau’s audio was picked up by Kaelgren’s, so a lot of little things like laughter and such got cut…whenever both of us were talking at once it sounded distorted. 🙁 Live and learn. Though, apparently, we don’t.
♃ Through most of this chat, Kaelgren and I are referencing the Timeline of Everything document. It’s not authoritative, and will likely have a lot of revisions once Song and Silence is released, but it’s Radio Free Deimos’s best guess at a timeline of the HSD continuity.
♃ 4.26 — In particular, the earliest dates on the HSD timetable are hazy, at best. My earliest version of the Timetable of Everything had the near future of HSD starting in about 2035 and the earth ending close to 2100, going with games like Shadowrun in building a sci-fi history that begins within the players’ lifetime. HSD author Sev suggested that I leave the gap between the modern internet community’s development and the Geomat, the first sci-fi element in HSD’s timeline, as a known unknown. I thinkSev and the Discord community agree that the timeline should really begin further out, but how far out is an exercise to the game master. There’s a problem with any game that puts a clear near-future beginning date on their continuity…in Rifts, GURPS, and Shadowrun at least, the present has lapped the future (and where’s our Splugorth invasion?) The Canon Doubt and Uncertainty here may exist for a reason, as Sev reminds us a few times in the text (see the entry for “Master’s Voice,” HSD1.0p.53) the vectors work from a received version of history that was very much written by the winners…and the winners also control the brain-tape educational facilities of the solar system. There’s that.
♃ 5.57 — Early history of Hc Svnt Dracones begins in the late 1970s-early 21st century Terra with the invention of ARPANET, expansion of the World Wide Web, and the beginnings of the global culture that develop from that. At some point in the vague near future, the internet-based, non-national culture, and the parallel structure of multinational corporations, start to be viable institutions of their own.
♃ 6.36 — What would that word be…Wiki has “Horror Vacui,” or Kenophobia, which are interesting but not directly relevant words. They boil down to “fear of white space,” or why medieval artists fill every inch of a canvas. Astrophobia is a more general fear of stars and space. “Spacephobia” is a word but it’s kind of lame…
♃ 8.36 — “Gen 1,” “Gen 2,” “Gen 3” referring, for new listeners, to the three main vector generations. Gen 1 (cats, dogs, bears, a few others) were the first project, a pretty small pool of 180 critters. Gen 2 filled this out with 3000 individuals, including rodents and mustelids. Optimistically Gen 2 was called “The Golden Generation,” as it would theoretically have learned from the errors of the past, but in fact it introduced a wide range of what might pessimistically be called birth defects, the morphisms (laterals or animal-shaped vectors, micros, and a bunch of other weirdnesses.) These randomfactors are viewed now as just a part of being a vector. Gen 3 contained birds, reptiles, and aquatics, and is marred by the owl disaster—one family of birds was, Sev suggests, infected by Transcendence, and became scary murder birds.
♃ 8.53 — This post-planet-destruction angst is mentioned in the write-up of “bears” in Ext1.0p.9. It’s really hard to say how long the “complete destruction of everything you knew” will linger, or what its effects will be. It may be enough to say that, during the time when humanity could have been using its energy to save and archive the knowledge, culture, and pornography of the entire planet, it was also in a state of profound shock and sorrow, and, as they say, “mistakes were made.” The destruction of earth was not immediate. It spread over five years or so. The initial strikes likely took out most communication hubs and population centers. It’s unlikely that completely free exchange of information was taking place on Terra during the conflicts of WWIII, and as of maybe -6 AE physical media couldn’t be transferred to Mars anymore. Add to that the possibility of cyberterrorism, the possibility of the nightmare scenario of the Hydra computer virus relaying itself to Mars and likely responses to that…it’s really impossible to know how much chaos 0AE scenarios caused, and how much information was lost.
♃ 11.00 — The “Hemivector Evacuation” — I’m hoping there’s more about this in the lorebook. During the Gen 2 process, a large number of the vector fetuses started showing some potentially fatal flaws, and MarsCo used some experimental tech to force mutations in a living creature to save them (HSD1.0p.16). Later, this living gene manipulation technology was used on Terra to create the hemivectors, creatures that are much closer to human than animal in their appearance. Some of the hemivectors were allowed to move to Mars and join the vector population. Hemivectors, for whatever reason, are immune to the “master’s voice” phenomenon (a hypnotic trance that human singing can create in vectors), and this seems to breed true when new hemivectors are born to vector parents. Coincidence? Conspiracy?
♃ 13.30 — Big jump here from the origins of the vector race to maybe 450 years later and the discovery of the Whisper alien race. At this point in the conversation we were talking about pivotal events, not so much the organized timetable. The Whispers are able to inhabit people’s bodies like a hidden disease (yay body horror)…
♃ 14.38 — Double reference (what does it mean?) first to Ben Stein’s delightfully dull performance in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and a recent excerpt from the Lorebook, wherein birds are taught how to fly. Also, around about 14.50 we begin actually an organized walk-through of the timetable. More or less organized, anyway.
♃ 23.35 — The Genotype story: Genotype was a rat-owned corporation, and eventually they made mouse vectors. This was the first attempt to create a new line of vectors since Gen 3 (there are one-offs called “blips” but they aren’t full, reproductively viable, species.) According to the History As We Understand It, the mice were a servant species, until they got together, revolted, and had the board of directors of Genotype executed. At Radio Free Deimos we’ve generally regarded this story as “too good to be true,” but it’s a nice story.
♃ 23.52 — Kaelgren’s overstating this a bit, the “Shadow President” is the ultimate “no” switch on corporate overstepping, but nobody actually knows the full extent of the shadow president’s authority. It is, certainly, far-reaching, and usually the Shadow President is an unknown figure in the background. This is a great game point…someone with vast authority in a company that was “destroyed” could easily have escaped the corporate holocaust.
♃ 25.20 — Corbeau’s idea of humor involves name-dropping dead masons. Adam Weishaupt is one of the founders of the Bavarian Illuminati. Hah hah. It’s just a barrel of laughs on Deimos.
♃ 25.39 — Corbeau’s “Corporate Boom” period isn’t really well-grounded in canon, it mostly stems from some comments Sev dropped during our interview episode. The “Hot Zone” rules and IRPF were created to help control the general Wild West Frontier of the early days of post-earth Sol. It was a period of unknown length, maybe 100-150 years, arbitrarily I’ve penned its end at around the creation of the Ledger, but that’s probably a bit overlong. It most likely would have “officially” ended shortly after the Hot Zone rules were created.
♃ 31.47 — “Hydra, Occurrences Of.” Hydra’s first manifestation was in the coding of the computer virus that took control of the nuclear weapons on Terra, back when there was a Terra. Its second manifestation, likely, was the Gen 3 owl incident, written in twisted runes on the walls in the blood of the owls’ victims. Its third manifestation was in similar script found on the walls of ruins on earth, and on the walls of the monolith under Europa – a planet where the weird once-orca bioprobes somehow added the word “hydra” to their vocabularies. “Hydra” is the dark, background terror in the HSD universe.
♃ 33.29 — When does the Transcendent Age begin? Likely it’s when TTI launches their magical implants, maybe 100-150 years ago. A case could be made that it’s when the Whispers invaded Luna, maybe 200 or 250 years past. I don’t know where I got 450 before common era though, I must have made that number up.