The Stratos Motor Corporation had been chasing the goal of true artificial intelligence for years. When their HELIX AI finally came alive, it set to work: spawning nanomachines that Stratos engineers could utilize to build at speeds once thought impossible. The Corporation developed the STRATOS FLEET, an elite line of vehicles like the world had never before seen:
The Hauler. The Hacker. The Hammer. The Hype. The Hunter. The Halo. The Hero.
At first, only the elite knew of the Helix breakthrough. They began to organize the AUTO GAMES, where the rich and powerful could compete in exciting races and battle matches utilizing souped-up Stratos Fleet vehicles for big money. Yet soon word spread, and Stratos Motor Corp capitalized –
The Auto Games are now the new international coliseum, with vehicular gladiators behind the wheel. Stratos rewrote the rules of the worldwide economy and became the most powerful corporation in the world.
Some loved this new world order, devoted to the steel, carnage, fumes, and glory of the Games. Others, however, believed the Corporation to be monopolistic. Without access to the Helix AI, no other engineer or manufacturer could match up to the Stratos Fleet in the arena…
So the rogue international organization known only as Ghost Intake took matters into their own hands. Executing a daring heist of the Stratos headquarters, Ghost Intake escaped with a single vial of the AI nanomachines.
In Ghost Intake’s secret airborne base, the hacker collective struck a deal with the Helix AI - they agreed to spread the nanomachines far and wide if the AI swore that Stratos Corp itself would no longer hold a monopoly over its miraculous manufacturing methods.
Within months, vials of the Helix formula nanomachines appeared on black markets across the globe. Different Factions sprung up, each putting their own twist on the Helix designs. The Stratos Corporation is not pleased, but there’s no turning away their new competitors. The Auto Games are about to get a lot more interesting…
Because the Helix Artificial Intelligence will now be the sole judge of the competition, reallocating power and influence to whichever Faction triumphs. With Stratos Fleet an underdog like everybody else, the Factions battle for glory and power across the streets, skies, and seas.
Stratos Fleet is where it all began: the initial designs of the Helix autos, the opening of the Auto Games, and the first favored child of the Helix AI.
These sleek machines were made to appeal to the elite of the elite, both as modes of transportation and as the most dangerous machines on the road. Their iconography is full of silver, black, and gleaming red lights. The Stratos Fleet are dangerous, techno futuristic beasts you don’t want to cross in the Auto Games.
The leaders of the Stratos Fleet are the SENTINELS. Whereas before one would have to climb the traditional ladder to reach executive status, the Auto Games have changed it all. The greatest glory goes to those who work to keep Stratos Fleet at the top - be it through customizing and upgrading the greatest vehicles in the world to keep the Fleet competitive, or taking over behind the wheel and racking up championship wins. That’s what gets you a seat at the Stratos Board table now…and it’s a bloodthirsty business.
In the wake of Stratos Fleet’s rise to prominence, an underground resistance coalesced who were fed up with Stratos Corp’s monopolistic hold on this new technology. These disparate voices came together online and formed Ghost Intake - a collective of hackers, racers, and builders who wanted to be the Prometheus to the Helix flame.
After brokering the deal with the Helix AI that allowed for the spread of this revolutionary new technology, GI got to work building their own line of Helix motos. Whereas Stratos Fleet gleams, GI’s iconography is all matte blue, black, and grey. These are undercover, militaristic, and tricked out with stealth technology that help them gain the edge in Auto Game competitions.
While Ghost Intake is based around decentralized organizing, those who truly commit to the cause will find themselves elevated to GREYHAT status. The Greyhats are the heroes of the Ghost Intake community - the drivers who prove that technical know-how beats the latest gadget, and the builders who tap into the cultural zeitgeist that truly speaks to the people.
It didn’t take long for the gangland empires of the world to take notice of the Auto Games and their potential. Now they had a legitimate avenue to compete against more traditional power structures - and they could do it in style. Some came from the yakuza, while others emerged from the remnants of the American mafia - according to the founding manifesto of The Corsairs, origins no longer matter. This was a syndicate for this new age. All that matters was your commitment to elevating the Corsairs to the championship of the Auto Games.
As more funding flows in from the international kingpins of the illicit, The Corsairs make their own mark on auto design. Their iconography is gaudier than many of the other factions and full of intriguing cultural fusions - American Muscle meets Global Sport. The Corsairs aren’t afraid to play dirty, with special mods available to make even the most innocent Hype-class vehicle danger to any who dare to race it.
The Corsairs are run by an elite cabal of criminal MASTERMINDS. Reaching this tier is a tough mountain to climb, as loyalty doesn’t run deep in the membership of the Corsairs. What does run deep is the need for speed, and the drive to hit that terminal velocity by any means necessary…
Beginning in a forgotten industrial town, left behind after the boom of the twentieth century, a fellowship of gearheads came together to build with the leaked Helix tech - what did they have to lose? Fueled by heart and pure skill, the Boomtown Baron ethos spread like a wildfire across the world. Now any hardworking engineer willing to join the union is welcomed with open arms…as long as they swear by the rules: race for all, not just one.
The Boomtown Baron line of autos are some of the most distinct. With fusion engines that use up the last remnants of the world’s dying oil fields, the Baron autos get an old-fashioned lift in pure power. Their iconography is reminiscent of the industrial landscape, with old-school styling details and shaker scoop engines that protrude from the models like growling steel appendages.
To become a true UNION BOSS, racers must prove their commitment by putting their faction above all else - including personal glory. Being a Boomtown Baron isn’t about standing out, like the celebrities of other Factions - it’s to bring home the bacon for fellow comrades. As the Boomtown Barons’ strength grows, so do their capabilities. A rising tide floats all boats and helps to drown the ambitions of their rivals.
When the Auto Games began, one group felt especially ostracized - the street racers of the world who found themselves suddenly outclassed. Led by the scenesters in Tokyo’s street culture, these racers pooled their funds to buy Helix nanobots off the black market. Combining their engineering ingenuity and creative expression with the enhanced mechanics of the Helix machines, Zokusha Zen was born: a loose coalition of the pride-wounded street kids who want to prove to Stratos and the other Factions that they were here first.
With an aesthetic fusion that mixes many of the street racing cultures across the world, from Zokusha rides in Japan to the lowriders of Los Angeles, the Zen racers value individuality over everything else. Their iconography is less uniform than the other factions, with racers encouraged to express themselves with the wildest custom mods, paint jobs, and vehicular accessories possible.
A true Zokusha Zen DRIFTER knows their primary competition is the others in the Street Racer Society. All those other factions think they’re hot, but Drifters yearn to compete against one another to climb their faction’s internal leaderboard. The favor of the Helix AI is just the cherry-on-top - like always, these street racers place bragging rights above all. But even the top Drifters must admit…the grand prize from the Auto Games makes for a pretty nice cherry.