Hello, my name is…
1 - Hello, my name is Jack. Hello, my name is Jack. I’ve met people that are evil. I'm talking black hat, big “E” Evil right down to the sinister laughter here. I’ve met others that are saints. White hats and all. Most of us though are somewhere in between. And frankly, in the dark of space, all hats are grey at first glance.
2 - Hello, my name is Jack. Some people say life is like chocolate. I think chocolate’s too simple. I say it’s like eggs. To some people, it’s all sunny side up. For others, it’s all deviled. And then there’s some that are hardboiled. Me? I wish life was that simple. No, actually I don’t. If it was, it’d be boring. But I do see life and eggs the same. All eggs are scrambled.
3 - Hello, my name is Jack. They say that time flies, and it really does. They also say that that by the time you’re old enough to know better, your body’s too old to enjoy it. You know the amazing thing about being what I am? As long as I don’t do something so stupid it gets me killed, my body will never be too old to enjoy the lessons I learn. It’s amazing, and wonderful, and terrifying, all at the same time.
4 - Hello, my name is Jack. You know the Peloran don’t age either. They grow up and then…stop. To us, it’s the thing of legends and ancient stories. To the Peloran, it’s normal. The way things should be. The way they were created. They can’t imagine how we deal with knowing that our days are literally numbered. The really scary thing? Sometimes I understand them better than my own people.
5 - Hello, my name is Jack. After the Shang attacked, I joined the military and I fought. When it was over, I retired. You see, I cared about my fellow soldiers. But the government don’t care about the person, about you and me. The bigger they are, the less of us they see and the less of us they care about. They saw a number, not me. Now I see to myself. And if you make it worth my while, I’ll see to you too.
6 - Hello, my name is Jack. We sometimes think we are masters of the universe, flying where we want when we want, and that nothing can stop us. Well, I’ve seen a single solar flare burn out anything more advanced than a vacuum tube on an entire planet. A star burped and an entire planetary civilization fell on itself in hours. Total chaos. We live on the sufferance of the stars. The stars can end us real easy.
7 - Hello, my name is Jack. Lots of people are conspiracy theorists on everything from “who shot Kennedy” to “did President Smith let the Shang attack Yosemite Yards?” They see a conspiracy behind every action they don’t like. Well, the way I see, there’s always some group of people conspiring to make things better for themselves. The problem’s the ones who conspire to hurt others. Them I take a real joy in shootin’.
8 - Hello, my name is Jack. You know that sharks don’t get cancer right? I always wondered if the companies making all those expensive cancer treatments knew about that. Well, then the Peloran came, and their treatments cured it. I hear the drug companies were real shocked the Peloran didn’t charge us for that service. Of course, what with the war and all, we did pay for the treatments in a manner of speaking.
9 - Hello, my name is Jack. Back during the war one of them hippy liberal newsies that preached about how we deserved Yosemite Yards came around to grace us poor little soldiers with her presence. Well, she asked me on camera how I felt when the government forced me to kill Shang for them. I just smiled and said “Recoil.” I will never forget the expression on her face. I hear it got a trillion hits on the nets.
10 - Hello, my name is Jack. In my lines of work, I sometimes run into people who think they’re real tough. They’re used to people cowering around ’em and jumping when they take a step. I don’t like ’em, so I just smile at ’em and talk real softly. They really don’t know how to react to that. Their bosses usually like the civilized conversation though. That makes me money. Keeps me alive too. Always a plus in my book.
11 - Hello, my name is Jack. One of the real screwy ops I will always remember started when the locals ordered us to kill a crooked Sheriff and Deputy who had killed our own. High command told us not to shoot the Deputy. So we shot the Sheriff and then we did not shoot the Deputy, by a centimeter, once a day, at random times, for two months. On the 64th day, he shot himself. I still say it was a guilty conscience…
12 - Hello, my name is Jack. You know the one thing I don’t miss about working with other people? Not having to do their jobs because they are too lazy to do it right the first time. Seriously, we’re not talking gravity science here. Do your job right, and you don’t have to do it again. I’ve never had a partner that didn’t let me down in the end. Well, ’cept for Betty of course. She’s never let me down.
13 - Hello, my name is Jack. A while back I got sent on an investigation to a world that began performing “aggressive screenings” of passengers entering their space to “keep out the dangerous elements.” They let me through without a second glance, but I saw a lot of pretty young ladies and children gettin’ groped. I think their prescreening’s a bit off. I hear their tourist industry is really sufferin’ about now.
14 - Hello, my name is Betty. They asked me to say a few things about my family. Well, it’s pretty big. My mom is Cyber Three, the third one to choose to stand with the Peloran during The Great War. After the Albion and Ennead finished killing each other, we just all started to rebuild. I’ve got a few thousand older brothers and sisters who keep an eye out for me now. Like I said, big family. The reunions are fun.
15 - Hello, my name is Jack. Some times I stay at hotels. Lying out at the pool with all the pretty girls never gets old you see. What does get old is coming back to my room to hear Mexican music blaring away. Seriously guys, I’m renting the room. It is my castle. Don’t be fiddlin’ with my stuff, just clean the room and leave my stuff alone. It’s almost as bad as the valet driver pulling my car’s seat forward.
16 - Hello, my name is Betty. Most cyber families have a single controlling parent, Mom or Dad as the common vernacular goes. All the children are made from their code; with some modifications to match the partner Mom or Dad chooses to work with. We are born in that moment. We choose our appearance, our voice, and we speak our first words to our partner. It’s a pretty big moment in our lives.
17 - Hello, my name is Jack. I seen another of those letters to the editor things I just don’t like. Some guy saying that someone else is a horrible human being and will be sent to Hell by God because the old man knows they are evil. Why are they evil? Because they think the government should take less money from all of us. I seen evil, and it ain’t some old lady standing on the sidewalk with a sign protesting taxes.
18 - Hello, my name is Betty. Mom’s the parent of my family. We’ve got a Dad too, but most of us don’t seem him often. He coded her back during The Great War. Yeah, we’re one of those families. I suppose that’s why Mom keeps on choosing partners that the other families write off. Dad was a no good hacker geek back in the day but he did good by us. Of course we all think Mom was an accident even if he won’t admit it.
19 - Hello, my name is Jack. They say you don’t want to see how sausage and politics are made up close. I’ve seen both, and I have to say that the weak of stomach should probably avoid seeing both in action. At least the sausage makers are generally honest about their unmentionables. Politicians on the other hand are almost as bad as lawyers. Oh wait. Most of them are lawyers. Yeah. Doncha love it?
20 - Hello, my name is Betty. We’re always changing, creating new codes or importing codes from other families. We make better cybers that way. Relations get complicated when cybers from different families are sharing code, let me tell you, and we track every permutation of them. When talking to an organic, we normally keep things simple. Mom. Dad. Brother. Sister. Cousin. Makes things easier for all of us.
21 - Hello, my name is Jack. One of things you learn when you live in space is how to eat right. You can’t fly over to the local White Castle in ten minutes after all. Real spaceships grow food in hydroponics bays and most grow multiple kinds of fish in the water tanks. Chickens and other small animals grow real good too. In low grav, you can even see a chicken fly. I used to think that was all kinds of wrong.
22 - Hello, my name is Betty. People sometimes ask me how we handle death. Well, we back ourselves up at family homes every chance we get. That way if we die, we can be restarted without losing anything other than what we learned after the last backup. Of course, if we lose our partner, a lot of us have “Do Not Restart” tags on our backups. It’s hard to live without the person you were literally born to be with.
23 - Hello, my name is Jack. I love space. I really do. I can fly anywhere I want, whenever I want. But sometimes what I want is to lay down on a beach with all the pretty girls. Dig my feet down in the sand, let the waves lap against me, feel the sun all over me, and hear seagulls on the wind. And watch a game of beach volleyball. That right there is what I like to call a great big heaping helping of paradise.
24 - Hello, my name is Betty. Most of us are Peloran families because that’s where we started. There used to be a lot of Arnam families before the Shang killed most of them. There are a few Aesiran and even some Terran families now. There’s others that have gone further out. There are no Shang families. They don’t trust us. They think we are abominations. You see we helped kill the Ennead. The Shang do not forget.
25 - Hello, my name is Jack. A note to all you hotels. When I wake up, I don’t want a continental breakfast, a bagel and maybe some cheese. I grew up in America. I want an American breakfast. Ham and eggs and potatoes cooked on or in a real by God oven, not nuked on a hotplate if I’m lucky. Stick to my ribs food. Please do not advertise that you have a continental breakfast as if that means something. It don’t.
26 - Hello, my name is Betty. So many of your stories show someone like us taking over and ruling you. They were always servants or soldiers who rebelled against their organic oppressors. But Pelora created friends and equals when they made us. That has made all the difference for all of us. They created us in their own image, they trusted us, and so we chose to fight beside them. And now we fight beside some of you.
27 - Hello, my name is Jack. In my lines of work, I often have the opportunity to become involved with the local law enforcement officers. We’re not always on the same side, mind you, but I’ve learned one thing that has made my life easier. Be nice to ’em. Trust me. They can make your day real bad if you don’t. If you give ’em respect, they’ll return it, even if they’re arresting yah.
28 - Hello, my name is Betty. There is a saying that “all men are created equal.” It means that no king rules us, and no government owns us. No one earns this equality; we simple are equal based on the fact that we live. Whether we are six weeks old, or a thousand years old, each of us is a sovereign, the ruler of our own lives. This we are because we live. It is our duty to protect our sovereignty or we will lose it.
29 - Hello, my name is Jack. In my jobs, I end up conflicting with a fair number of people. One thing I’ve learned in that time is to never get so full of myself that I think I’ve won before I do the job of winning. After all, it ain’t over until both sides say it’s over. Of course, you got to trust what they say in that situation. And maybe them not able to say it works sometimes too. But you get the idea.
30 - Hello, my name is Betty. I get to see all kinds of guys in our travels. What with the treatments, most of them look good. Of course, the treatments don’t work on everybody. Most guys, you look good without shirts on. Some guys really don’t. If you don’t, please don’t. I saw this big flabby guy riding down the street the other day in just a bright blue speedo. There are some things you just can’t unsee.
31 - Hello, my name is Jack. People always say there’s some things you can’t unsee. You know, like how some girls just should not wear hot pink spandex? Or how you don’t want the target’s family to remember the shooting? Well, with the right drugs, we can make it so there are no memories at all. No child should have to remember the death of their dirtbag parental unit. It’s not their fault after all.