Hello, my name is…
1 - Hello, my name is Jack. They want me to be more positive, so here goes. For a century now we've had peace, I'm hoping a few more millennia of that have passed by the time you read this. We did good back then. We smashed them up so badly they've still not come back. The Peloran still stand with us. The Arnam…well…I hope they've rebuilt by the time you read this.
2 - Hello, my name is Jack. They want me to say what it's like to be immortal. Fact is, it's pretty normal. We've had the treatments for three centuries. Barring violence, it'll be another five before people start dying. To scientists, we're awful interesting. Maybe in a thousand years I'll agree, but for now at least I'm just another child of the Second Age of Methuselah.
3 - Hello, my name is Betty. Jack spends so much time talking about himself, politics, war, and peace that I feel like I'm in some Russian tragedy. But when does he talk about his ship? That's me by the way. I chose him to be my captain, my pilot, my closest friend and ally in the universe. It was, I think, the best choice I have made in my life.
4 - Hello, my name is Jack. A long dead man said we had to water the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots. Well, that happened in the 18th Century when we stood up against the Kings, and the 21st against the Socialists, and the 24th against the Shang. I watered a fair bit in that last one. I really hope I don't have to again. Difference is, I'm prepared to. If you're reading this, I hope I watered well.
5 - Hello, my name is Jack. I think I need to clarify something. We aren't united. The Terran race. It started during the Second American Revolution. We stopped buying. They stopping making. Global Depression happened. The United Nations turned into a bi…bicker fest. It didn't last. We almost didn't make it back to space. We didn't go out together. And the Shang didn't unite us.
6 - Hello, my name is Jack. I was an American soldier. Yes, I signed my name on the check that says 'payable up to and including my life.' A lot of my friends paid in full. During the war I met Betty and we've been flying throughout all civilized space ever since it ended. I've seen things…talked to people…far beyond the knowledge of most Terrans. I hope by the time you read this that has changed.
7 - Hello, my name is Jack. They want me to tell you about fighting for truth, justice, and the American way. It was dirty, hot, and dangerous, dodging bullets, watching friends…But you don't want to know that. It's the confetti streamers, the bands, and all those thankful California girls waiting to welcome us victorious uniforms home they want me to talk about. It's not those dreams that wake me up at night though.
8 - Hello, my name is Jack. I haven't seen a Terran world in twenty years. The last time I did, a lot of people died, some of them my friends. I'm sure you've read their stories. We can be hard to kill cause of our training, but a bullet to the heart will still kill us dead. We all die sometime. Even me. You are after all reading this. I hope it's an awful long time from now.
9 - Hello, my name is Jack. I'm 5,000 Lights from Terra now, haven't seen a Terran in 1,000 Lights, a Peloran in 500. I think I'm finally outside their zone of influence. So now I can start digging for history. There's something the Peloran haven't told us. Our governments haven't told us. I can feel it. And out here I think I can uncover it.
10 - Hello, my name is Jack. I'm back now, and I think I'm better. I finally have a taste of…everything. It's not enough, not yet, but at least now I know which questions need to be asked. At least now I know a fraction of what I don't know, and that really is the most important thing. Is this the first time we've been to space? Was First Contact…really First Contact? They are interesting questions if you think about it.
11 - Hello, my name is Jack. If there is one thing I've learned over the years it's that Mice know things we just don't. They go places we can't and they make excellent spies. They are sly little devils. If they warn you about something, you best be heeding that warning. They know things we just don't.
12 - Hello, my name is Jack. Sometimes I hear people say that the Peloran are old and wise. Fact is, I've met one of their First Born. She was my age when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon. Of course, she is still alive, so I can understand the old bit. Just don't let her hear you say that. And don't let on that I said that either…
13 - Hello, my name is Jack. By the time you read this, I hope you've heard the Indians, the ones from India mind you, have old legends about flying cars. They also tell tales of ancient wars that destroyed cities with single strikes. If this is the first you've heard, look closely. I've found all legends have a kernel of truth to them.
14 - Hello, my name is Jack. They told me to talk about the aging thing. You see, the treatments boost the body's immune systems so we don't get sick and we quickly replace bad old cells with good young ones. It's the sick that makes us old. For those of us who don't age at all, its like our systems took a snapshot of our one perfect body and then went on overdrive to keep us there, in that exact state, without change.
15 - Hello, my name is Jack. There's a funny thing about us. You cut us, we heal faster. It's like our bodies have decided that this is how we should look for the rest our lives, and anything that works to change that situation has to be fought. Of course it takes a lot of fuel to run our systems. Trust me, all you can eat buffets really hate those of us who don't age, and we still have the bodies of Greek gods.
16 - Hello, my name is Jack. Sometimes I wonder if that's all the Greek gods were. Ageless. Like us. No, I'm not saying we're gods or anything. Maybe back when people fought with swords and spears we would have been, but not now when a laser or bullet can kill us from a klick away easy.
17 - Hello, my name is Jack. You know, I have some spare time on my hands so I go to school. I've gotten ten degrees from Harvard, and two from Pelora since my thirty-fifth birthday. I've been slacking what with all the parties and pretty women. Interesting thing is, their science has no concept of a world without a Creator. Western science fights the mere idea of a Creator. It's an interesting paradox.
18 - Hello, my name is Jack. They say I should tell you what I do. I bring pleasure to people when the laws say they can't have it. I bring justice to victims that the laws do not protect. Yes. I'm a smuggler. A bounty hunter. And more. It all depends on my mood for the day. I don't work because I have to. My ship is all I need. I work because if I didn't have something to do I couldn't live with myself.
19 - Hello, my name is Jack. It comes to mind I been talking about me, myself, and I a whole lot. I suppose that's what these journals are for, so our stories aren't forgotten. The real ones. My story would have been over a long time ago if I hadn't met my partner though. She's a cyber. She's the air I breathe, the bulkheads around me, the best partner and closest friend I've ever had. Just like they planned it.
20 - Hello, my name is Jack. You know we go through a lot of testing before we get a cyber. Comprehensive personality screening they call it. They need to know what makes us tick. What we follow on instinct, our brightest aspirations, or darkest fantasies, what will keep us fighting when outnumbered twenty to one with no relief in sight. Only one in ten of us who get tested end up getting chosen by a cyber.
21 - Hello, my name is Jack. The cybers choose us you know. After the screening, they examine us, decide if they want to be what we need. If they want to be that, they make the change. They become our one perfect partner, the brother or sister who will stand beside us in war and peace, who will fly the ships around us, who will never betray us. They complete us.
22 - Hello, my name is Jack. The cybers won the war for us. Our partnerships, we have the reaction times of a cybernetic intelligence with the pure randomness of a biological intelligence. No computer can predict us, and no flesh can react to us. Combat is an eye-blink's dance between a laser and a missile head with a partner who knows when to lead and when to follow. It's a real rush.
23 - Hello, my name is Jack. Betty's my cyber. I'm her bio. We're a team. We retired after the war, and now we do this. A little trading, a little smuggling, a little hunting, a little running. A little studying. The universe was so simple then. They wanted us dead or slaves. We disagreed. Now we find a universe far more wonderful than we ever imagined. And far more terrifying to some if they knew. We like it.
24 - Hello, my name is Jack. Our war was was pretty easy compared to the last truly great war in these parts. In our war, we really only fought across three sectors, Terran, Peloran, and Arnam. During the war the Peloran remember? Try nine sectors. I've been out there, in the sectors the great fleets swept through. There's just about no one to trade with out there now.
25 - Hello, my name is Jack. Have you ever been to Arkadia? They were real powerful back in the old days, then the Ennead blew them away. Now they have the most unique world I've ever been to. Imagine a cloud of gas wrapped around a star. The real estate's cheap. Drop an asteroid in solar orbit, plant a flag, and take a deep breath of fresh air. Smells like freedom. And a bit of solar wind.
26 - Hello, my name is Jack. I've heard it said that you can measure a man's character by the quantity and quality of his enemies. Well, if that's true, I've got an awful lot of character. And that's the jump alarm. Looks like it's time for me to build some more character…
27 - Hello, my name is Jack. Sometimes I really dislike choices. Walk away or stand and fight. I really don't like to stand and fight. Did enough of that during the war. But some people just need to be stopped. Some just need to be killed. And if I can get paid for it, that makes everybody happy. Well, almost everybody…
28 - Hello, my name is Jack. I've flown off Alliance ships. I've flown off Peloran ships. I've flown off Arnam ships. I've even flown off Aesiran ships. They made the difference you know. After the Arnam got pounded into dust bunnies it looked like we were going to lose. The Aesiran just didn't want to get involved. In the end they did, grumbling all the way. In the end, we all survived. I'm awful happy about that.
29 - Hello, my name is Jack. I had a family until the Shang killed them. I found a new family during the war. The Peloran gave us new names. Hawk. Snake. Bull. They have a thing for animals and a lot of the names are awful descriptive. Me they called Hart. I bled for the name, so I kept it. My name is Jack Hart. Some have taken to calling me Jack of Harts.
30 - Hello, my name is Jack. They're asking again what it's like not to age. Like I live in some crazy world where everything is wondrous. Fact is, my life ain't much different from anyone's. I live out here in the real world, every day. I see all kinds of people, and we're more the same than we are different. We're all human. We all fall down, we all get hurt, and we all bleed red.
31 - Hello, my name is Jack. I wear a suit for my day jobs. All of them. Pays to look respectable when you deliver…well…whatever you're delivering. But when I'm off the jobs, I like to relax in a broken in pair of jeans and a tank top. With a cold beer. Life always looks better with a cold beer in the hand.