May. 28th, 2012

neverknocks: (Default)
Setting: In the middle of the 26th century, human civilization has developed faster-than-light travel and spread out across space, having colonized several planets for human habitation. However, their civilization is being threatened by an alien race known as the Covenant, with whom they are currently at war. They are outmatched by the Covenant in almost every way -- the human race is no match for their advanced weaponry, and they have been on the losing side of the war for decades; as a result, the United Nations Space Command has been giving more and more leeway to various research programs, all trying to come up with the solution to win the war. Additionally, the UNSC is also focused on fighting off the Insurrectionists, a group of political rebels who are waging a civil war with the original Earth government and the UNSC in the name of a better government that would treat the outer colonies more fairly. This is the basis for the Halo series, which focuses on the Spartan program, originally developed to fight off the Insurrection.

Red vs Blue, however, is a machinima series set in the Halo universe, and although it utilizes many aspects of Halo canon, it mainly focuses on its own plot, namely, another one of these programs: Project Freelancer, headed by Dr. Leonard Church. Church has organized a small group of specially trained soldiers in order to test various enhanced armor equipment, and later, artificial intelligence programs implanted in the agents to help in combat; Freelancers are seen fighting a specific group of Insurrectionists in Season 9, but it isn’t touched on very clearly, and details are pending new canon, although CT is likely involved.

However, as the UNSC granted Church the use of only one “smart” AI -- an AI patterned after a human mind -- which was not sufficient for his experiences, he had to work creatively. As far as the agents are concerned, all of their AI were copied from Alpha, the AI that was created, based on Church’s mind, but such a thing is not actually possible. Church instead split Alpha -- he proceeded to torture the AI, putting him through vicious scenario simulations until Alpha began to fragment pieces of itself away to stay sane. As is noted by Wash in canon, it was like “reverse-engineering a multiple personality disorder”, and every fragment that broke away from Alpha was harvested by Church for use in the program. Many of these fragments were later implanted in agents; York received Delta, Alpha’s logic, and Wash received Epsilon, who contained all of Alpha’s memories. However, as a result of the trauma Alpha suffered, Epsilon was highly unstable and eventually self-terminated in Wash’s head, leaving all his memories behind.

Project Freelancer’s agents are all given codenames corresponding to US states, and they are ranked according to their performance in both training and missions. Although the agents are expected to cooperate on joint missions, the ranking system is publicly displayed, and it fosters competition as well as animosity between agents, and although a few Freelancers seem less concerned with their rank on the board, it can make for a hostile work environment, and some agents distinctly do not play well with others.

Another large piece of the Freelancer program is the simulation bases. There are a number of bases spread out across the war, populated by soldiers known as simulation troops. These soldiers aren’t fighting the Covenant; rather, they are sorted into Red and Blue armies, locked in stalemate conflicts against one another. These armies exist only for the purposes of training, of giving the Freelancers realistic combat situations in which to test their equipment and abilities, although they seem largely unaware of the fact that they aren’t even fighting a real war. Additionally, Blue outpost in Blood Gulch Canyon has served as a hiding place for the original Alpha, where the Director had him secretly moved after the fragment harvesting was complete.

Technology in the Halo/RvB universe is sufficiently advanced, with powerful armor, weapons, and extraordinary advances in computing technology. However, civilian culture seems to be pretty close to its 21st century counterpart, only with more technological advances. In fact, 21st century Earth culture in particular seems to have had a lasting effect on human civilization, as many references to its pop culture are preserved.

If AU, how is your version different from canon, and how will that come across? The major point of AU is that this York is (biologically and identifying) female; everyone else in her universe, however, is the same as their canon counterpart. She and Wash have been involved in a romantic relationship for several months prior to her entry to Sacrosanct. There’s also a deviation from canon during Project Freelancer’s active period; not too long after Epsilon’s self-termination, every agent has their AI removed and they are stored securely, so nothing involving the Meta or Epsilon after the end of Project Freelancer occurs. Additionally, CT’s implied betrayal of Project Freelancer is not addressed in this AU, but may fit in later as more canon information is provided. Since the project is quickly deteriorating after the removal of the AI, York decides to bail and breaks Wash out of holding, getting them both to safety on a nearby colony and under the radar. York is taken from after Delta has been removed from her, but before she was able to escape with Wash; as a result, none of post-Freelancer canon applies to her, particularly the events involving helping Tex track down Wyoming and Omega.

York as a woman is essentially the same as her canon counterpart -- she is still given to jokes and witty remarks, still fairly laid back and relaxed, and although she casually flirts with just about everyone, it’s mostly with men. Since by this point in the future gender equality is fairly widespread, the differences stemming from her being socialized as a girl growing up are pretty minimal; she’s still fundamentally the same character. There are some people who might treat and react to York differently as a woman than they would as a man, such as how men react differently to women flirting with them than women do with men, but it’s on a smaller scale than might be expected of gender roles today -- it doesn’t affect her rank or her ability to assume authority, and is not a major issue in her life. Although she’s not really any more or less bothered by her scar and her bad eye than canon York is, she’s still getting used to it, and she’s aware that some people might react to it differently than if it was on a man.

The other significant point of AU is that York has been involved in a romantic relationship with Wash for some months by the time of her entry into Sacrosanct. Although there is an emotional connection between them, strong enough for York to feel the desire to help Wash after Epsilon’s self-termination and his subsequent breakdown, their relationship has been carefully kept a secret up until this point and hasn’t been the sole focus of their lives; rather, it has been something that they maintained on the side where they could find time, while still doing missions and training in Freelancer. It started out as a casual sexual relationship with brief, intermittent hookups, getting together only when they could manage to do so without being detected, mainly just to relieve the tension and stress from the difficult nature of their jobs. However, after a short while, Wash wanted something more from her, which York initially rejected, because she thought that it’d be an unwise risk to take and an overall bad idea. Wash was not to be deterred, though, and after the incident in which York’s eye was damaged, he managed to convince her to at least give him a second chance, and she reluctantly agreed. Over time, though, that second chance developed into a closer relationship, and although they’ve developed an emotional connection, their relationship has been strained under the stress of their work and the efforts they’ve gone to to keep it a secret; they have rarely let themselves be seen together in any kind of non-professional capacity so as to keep their relationship from both their superiors and their fellow agents. Only adding to that stress was the introduction of the AI program, and although York had relatively few problems with Delta, much like in canon, Wash had considerable difficulties with Epsilon. Although in this AU, he used his relationship with York to try and better cope with Epsilon, in the end, the results were the same: Epsilon self-terminated while still in Wash’s head and Wash suffered a severe breakdown that led to his confinement.

Her relationships with other Freelancers are mostly the same as in canon; she’s pretty close to Carolina in this AU, in that they’re pretty solid partners on the field and have always got each other’s backs, and they can depend on each other. However, as Carolina began deteriorating after she received her AI, she became less dependable and more and more withdrawn, and it was pretty difficult for York to watch her partner go through that when there was little she could do to help. She’s also friendly with North, much the same as with the other agents, enough that when North worked out that she and Wash were in a relationship toward the end, he kept it to himself, although part of the reason was because at that point Wash was already having pretty severe problems with Epsilon, and since their relationship didn’t appear to be influencing their actions on the field but seemed to help Wash when they were off duty. As far as the other agents go, though, she mostly only has a working relationship with them, although she’s more or less friendly with all of them.

It was originally Delta’s idea that she break Wash out of confinement and flee Project Freelancer, citing his need for some kind of treatment to recover from the trauma inflicted by Epsilon and the fact that those in charge of Project Freelancer were likely less concerned with getting him help than they were with extracting data. York was also inclined to help Wash; even though their relationship had been under a lot of strain and was at times tenuous due to the nature of their work, she has grown to genuinely care about him, and the news of his breakdown was something of a blow to her, as was the realization that he was most likely not getting the help he needed. As of this canon point, she is planning on using her infiltration skills to break him out of confinement and flee, and find someone who can help him recover from the trauma induced by Epsilon. However, she has also taken the loss of Delta particularly hard; over time, he became her closest friend in the program, someone she could confide in and lean on even more than she could with Wash -- especially as both Wash and Carolina both began to deteriorate quickly -- and the fact that she was unable to find a way to prevent his removal is still sticking with her pretty hard. The thought of going out with Delta, her partner and closest friend, is a tough one to endure, and since it’s been less than a day since his removal at this point, she’s still trying to adjust to his absence.

Since she’s interacted with Epsilon a little more closely as a result of her relationship with Wash, she has particular reservations about Epsilon; she resents him on a more personal level for what he’s done to Wash, although at this point Wash has told her nothing about Epsilon’s origins or any of the memories he has, and she doesn’t really understand the relationship between Wash and Epsilon, as Wash was unwilling to explain it to her.

Here is an excerpt from the AU, right before the canon point she’s being taken from, which covers the reason why she no longer has Delta.
neverknocks: (on the day we were supposed to leave)

Have any questions or comments about how I play York? Leave 'em here! Comments are screened for your privacy, and I also have a general HMD at my musebox here.


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Agent York / Natalie van der Haast

January 2017


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