The city is a shining metropolis of steel and glass. What started as a small mining town has grown into a utopia of innovation and machines. In the center is a giant tower that serves duel purposes. One is to inform the people of The City using the giant screen on its face, viewable from almost anywhere in the city's original limits. Its second purpose is to act as a transmitter for the robotic work force of the city. Radiating outward from this tower are other smaller ones with screens of their own to better reach the people. The city boasts many impressive statistics; no homeless, no crime, and no need for money. The entire city's physical labor is done by the great Doctor Wily's robot workforce, allowing the people of his city to live in comfort. All is provided for the people and they couldn't be happier, none have ever been known to complain about the conditions in The City. Yes, it was once a poor mining town with noisy and inefficient vehicles, shabby little houses, and the general blight of any community. Thankfully this all changed when Doctor Wily first unveiled his work force to the people. What began with replacing the rusted commuter train with an electromagnetic bullet train soon spread to a reformation of the entire city and its society. Now the people live happily and safely with the watchful eye of Wily and the force of his metal men protecting and guiding them.
However this is all a lie.
The history of The City is one of betrayal. The City started as a small mining town in the American Southwest. For years people worked in the mines and factories to provide for their families. One such man died in the mines. He was the father of a boy named Thomas Light, who would one day cause that little company town to become a beacon of technology. That boy grew up, determined not to let more families endure that pain. He spent his young life learning how to make machines that could endure the trials that the miners and others had to go through. He couldn't do it on his own though, taking a man by the name of Albert Wily as a partner in his dream.
However as the two neared the completion of their dream to make a better world, Wily pointed out what a gift they were giving humanity and how they could take back everything they'd earned. On the very day they brought their steel workers to life a murder took place, and Light was accused of the crime. He was proven innocent, but Wily had long since convinced the people of his guilt and Light was forced to leave the city. Under Wily's supervision the city quickly changed from a small company town to a shining metropolis of glass and steel. A giant tower stood in the center of the city. It was the transmitter to control the machines and had a large screen through which the people of the city learned their news. A generation grew in this city of silent desperation. The people no longer having to work, no longer needing to struggle, and giving Wily control. Any dissenters were never heard from again as they disappeared in the night and the legend of a monster with a single glowing eye spread among the people.
One member of the generation to grow in this city without want was a man named Joe. He knew this was no way for people to live and grew to hate the city like many others. One night at a bar he finally hit his limit and could take no more. He rushed out and toward his home, where he lived alone since his father had gone missing ten years before and his mother seven after that. He went to the garage and found his father's old motorcycle, crude compared to the quiet and efficient vehicles of the city. With the roar of an engine and the shock of the fearful people, Joe rode at full speed down the road to the outskirts of town. The whole time he felt watched, feeling that unless he did something that he would join those lost to "Light's Monster." When he finally stopped, knife in hand, he saw a figure walk out of the shadows, but it was a grayed man and not the monster he expected. However the man pointed behind Joe and there stood Joe’s observer. It was a man of green metal with a blast shield for a face, a gun at its hip, and a knife in its hand. If he was to die, then Joe intended to die fighting. He launched himself at the automaton and knocked them both to the ground, the machine quickly getting on top and trying to strangle Joe. Joe was lucky, though. His hand found the machine's gun and shot into its chest. For a moment he was blinded by the resulting light and once his eyes once more opened, he could see the robot several feet away with a large hole blown through its chest.
The old man introduced himself as Thomas Light as he walked past Joe to remove the Sniper robot's helmet and offered it to Joe. From there, Joe's remaining time was measured in hours. Light revealed his plan to destroy the transmitter and free the people from Wily's machines. Within moments Joe rode toward the tower, the machine's helmet on his head and explosives at his side. With a crash he drove his bike through the front door of the tower and quickly took the stairs to the roof. Joe laid down the explosives at the base of the transmitter and set the timer before rushing to the stairs. Unfortunatly, he had barely taken a step before they went off, and he was launched off the roof. He was lucky that he passed out from the shockwave.
Joe is either a very brave man or very reckless young man. When faced with the monster that had been keeping the people of his city in check for years, he didn't back down or worry. He told it that there were things worse than fear and death in that city and charged it with a lead pipe. He is also very independant; declaring that he will not be told what to do by any man, machine, or otherwise. Most of all he is tired. He is tired of the desperation he and everyone lives with, of living in a gilded cage, and of letting themselves live under the thumb of a man and his machines in a sort of complacent slavery.
Oddly enough, Joe shows a want to free the people of the city, not just himself. Despite his anger toward everyone for letting themselves live under Wily's thumb, Joe shows concern for those who live in the city and wants them all to rise up and take their home for their own. It may be this want that made him join Doctor Light, despite only having just met him and the fact that he's remembered as a murderer in that city—if remembered at all besides the Sniper being nicknamed Light's Monster.
Most of all though, his attitude and world view were caused by what happened to his parents; he may have been just another one of the sheep in that city if not for their fate. Ten years before canon, when Joe was a preteen, his father was taken in the night and never heard from again. Then seven years later his mother was taken as well. The loss of his father must have been devastating and perhaps causing his street punk style with only his mother holding him in check. Her loss was the last nail in the coffin and he began to truly act out, these acts being what brought the Sniper's eye upon him and motivating him toward his wild ride in hopes to escape The City.
However this isn't to say he's some hero of the streets. His first instinct when he realized he was being watched by the Sniper was to run away and leave the City and to tease the girl in the bar he wouldn't take her with him during the song 'Breaking Out'. Joe also quickly joins the Light after destroying the Sniper bot, despite having no idea who he was at first. While it can be assumed Light did explain a little of it, Joe still readily agreed to help build explosives and set them on the largest building in the City. Despite any good intentions he is still a street punk, comparable to the boys from the Outsiders.
Still, Joe does have a good heart. As he rides to escape the City, still knowing that he is being watched, his mind turns toward the people. He says a prayer for the children, for the adults that still remember how life used to be, and for the few like him that refuse to surrender to the soul crushing city. It is also suggested that during his fight against the Sniper robot that Joe was partly fighting for the people, wanting to have their fear dragged into the light and beaten.
Since arriving Joe has undergone a few significant changes. The most apparent is due to his interactions with one of the trolls, Eridan. Joe has become a bit more parental when it comes to the trolls, looking out for them and worrying about them. The station has also forced him to work, something he would have never imagined having to do back in The City which has hadded to his new, more responsible, mindset.
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