Hello, my name is…
1 - Hello, my name is Charles. New Years is a time when people make resolutions to make themselves better. The common ones are to make an end to smoking, doing some exercises, or stuff like that. It’s important to evaluate ourselves, to take an accounting of ourselves. How would you live if you had a year to live it? What would you do if this year is all anyone would ever remember of you? I ask myself that question every year, and I act on my answer. If you’re reading this, I hope you do to.
2 - Hello, my name is Jack. I learned long ago that it is the chance encounters, the unplanned meetings, that will forever dominate our lives. We can plan all we want what we will do when the ground is perfectly laid out for us. But what do we do when we can’t plan? What do we do when life hits us upside the head and we don’t have time to think it through? We react. Our life is made of those reactions, those reflexes. Reflex
3 - Hello, my name is Betty. I spent the first twenty-one years of my life fighting. I lost a lot of friends during The War. I gained a lot of friends too. I remember them all and I message those who still live every day. We all treasure the Peace we fought for, as only those who have fought can do.
4 - Hello, my name is Jack. I see a lot of things happen to people, bad things that hurt, and I’m sorry to see it. I’m not responsible of course, but when you say how horrible your day is, I’m not going to remain silent. I’ll say, “I’m sorry.” Don’t just blithely say, “It’s not your fault.” I never said it was, so don’t act like I did. When you do, you make me unwilling to listen to you complain in the future. And that hurts you a lot more than it hurts me.
5 - Hello, my name is Charles. I have seen stonemasons at work, repairing or constructing buildings. It is very interesting to watch them chiseling away at their stones, perhaps a hundred times on each one. After the hundred-and-first strike, the stone may be the right size and shape to fit where it needs to be. Now, I know it was not the last strike that made the stone fit. It was all the preparation and planning that went into that strike.
6 - Hello, my name is Betty. I was born to be a fighter. It’s one of the little tradeoffs we make when we are born into war. I always wanted to be a starship though, to fly anywhere I wanted without a warship to take me there. Don’t get me wrong; I love warships; some of my best friends are warships. But sometimes a lady wants to have her own ride to the ball. It makes that late night extraction a lot less stressful when I don’t have to worry about becoming a pumpkin at the stroke of twelve.
7 - Hello, my name is Jack. I met a girl. I’ve been here for an hour, looking for words, and that’s all I’ve got. I met a girl. She’s a good kisser. I don’t even know her name. I’m supposed to be screening candidates for a position. I keep seeing her face. I can’t forget her scent. It’s like I’m back in high school. I never could concentrate on my homework back then. So many girls, so little time to dream about them all. Now I got time, and just one girl. I really have to see her again.
8 - Hello, my name is Charles. Most people don’t like people who tell them to do one thing and then do another. People don’t trust them, don’t want to be around them. The interesting thing I’ve found is that most people don’t like to be the person who isn’t don’t what they say. Most people want to walk their talk. Most people just don’t want to lie to themselves and everybody else, just like they don’t like being lied to.
9 - Hello, my name is Jack. One good thing about being part of the military of one of the world’s greatest superpowers is that your handiwork gets plastered all over the net and people think it’s great. They think you’re a Big Damn Hero. When things start to get shaky is when they think they want to be a Big Damn Hero. Fact is, only the people who think they aren’t, want to be. The rest of us are just dodging bullets. Given a choice, I’ll take the bullet dodger any day of the week. Big Damn Heroes
10 - Hello, my name is Betty. I’ve been to more worlds than most people can count. Every world has a different culture, a different way of dealing with internal problems. Every city has a police force different from every other. Some police departments believe in defending the public, and some enforcement the law. Some people are happy to see them walk down the street, and some get nervous, wondering what they are going to do today. I don’t like visiting the latter types.
11 - Hello, my name is Jack. Many people see heroes as the Big Blue Boy Scout, the Big Red Cheese, or the Men in Blue, people who stop Bad Guys or Bad Things because they are stronger and better than everybody else. I don’t buy into that. We do the working and paying and living and dying in this galaxy. We are the ones who stood up and volunteered to stop the Shang. There were no heroes fighting out there in our places. We fought. We The People. Never forget that.
12 - Hello, my name is Charles. The War was hard to forget. For longer than I like to remember, I woke up screaming every night. I found help from a friend who wouldn’t give up on me, though. I learned from him that there is a lot more to this life than just what our eyes can see. I learned those eyes can read words written in red if we come with the right mind. I believe that all there is to life does not end with a slow ride in a hearse. I believe I will see him again and thank him for that.
13 - Hello, my name is Betty. We all have times when something happens and we lose whatever makes us go on. We all have moments when we feel like giving up. Our inner fire is quenched. A good friend or sometimes a total stranger can step in at that time and give us the spark we need to rekindle that fire. Those are the people we should forever keep in our lives, and the people we should aspire to be like.
14 - Hello, my name is Jack. I had a rough time after I left the military. It wasn’t all wine and roses. The Peloran were off chasing the Shang across the galaxy and I…retired to enjoy the fruits of my long labors. I’d forgotten what it was like to live without a finger on the trigger of a gun. I couldn’t watch the Fourth of July fireworks without getting the shakes. I woke up screaming more times than I can count. A friend pulled me through. Whenever he calls, I’ll be there. I owe him.
15 - Hello, my name is Charles. I have learned to live by many rules, some of them simple, and some not simple at all. One is that I concentrate my thoughts on matters I would be proud to put my voice to. Another is to consider my words as carefully as if they are my actions. And I guard my actions, as if they are my character, for to those watching they most assuredly are. And the repercussions of those actions, both good and bad, do dominate my life.
16 - Boardwalk
17 - Hello, my name is Betty. There is a holiday in America that celebrates the legacy of a Christian minister who taught everyone that there was a better way to live. He used the media of the time to show everyone that all races should have the same freedoms of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. He led peaceful marches and protests and changed America. I ask everyone to celebrate the legacy of Rev Martin Luther King, not just today, but every day of your lives.
18 - Hello, my name is Jack. The government works for you. Never allow it to take your freedom of speech, or your ability to defend it. And always use your freedom of speech to let everyone know that you won’t allow it.
19 - Hello, my name is Charles. Many people talk about freedom. The freedom to live where they want to, to say what they want to, to do what they want to do. Very few people speak out though. Of those, very few are willing to stand in public. Of those, even fewer will stand and fight for freedom. Those very, very few are the ones who built America six centuries ago. Sometimes when their legacy is threatened we have faltered. Sometimes we have risen. I am proud every time I see the latter.
20 - Hello, my name is Betty. I was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, United States of America, Earth. Yes, that makes me a not-so-puny Earthling, if you count place of birth, not race. I spent the first three months of my life in Earthspace. That is a very long time for a cyber. I got to know the people. When I flew to Alpha Centauri, I found that on the one hand, people are people wherever they go. On the other, it was full of strange new people. Every world is like that if you think about it.
21 - Hello, my name is Jack. I grew up in International Falls, on the edge of the Boundary Waters. People up there actually have a fair bit of contact with aliens. The Arnam live and breath underwater, but salt water is just as deadly to them as it is to us. So they settled in the Great Lakes and Boundary Waters after Contact, and all of us locals got real used to seeing them swimming around under the surface. I’ve even visited some of their lakebed cities. That was real fun.
22 - Hello, my name is Charles. I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I grew up…everywhere, on the fastest hyperspace-capable ships in Terran hands. By the time I was twenty, I’d been to every major colony within 100 lightyears of Earth, attending high end business negotiations with everybody, Terran or alien. I’d even been to the Hyades Cluster, talking to the Chinese companies that owned it. I thought I’d seen everything. During The War, I traveled much farther and saw much more.
23 - Devilcats
24 - Hello, my name is Betty. There is a world in Terran space that the cyber families colonized shortly after Contact. It was an inhospitable world, one where humanity did not live, orbiting a star that humanity does not travel to. We built a repository of knowledge there, deep underground. Every cyber that has ever lived, every cyber still alive, is there. Everything we know is there. This world is a total and complete backup of our entire race. It is one of many.
25 - Hello, my name is Jack. I’ve been to a lot of worlds in my lifetime. During The War, I fought over or on them. After that, I just flew around. There are a number of them I don’t like, but most planets have something I like on them, some reason to return. There’s one I’ve come back to more than once over the years. Its name is Minneterte, the world of many lakes. The Dakota and the Arnam colonized it together, and it has some of the best beaches I’ve ever seen. I love that place.
26 - Hello, my name is Charles. Our first hyperdrive was so slow it took a year to fly to Alpha Centauri. We spent decades exploring just the systems within fifty lightyears of Earth on those drives. They were so expensive that only the rich or the governments could afford to build them. After Contact, the Peloran taught us how to build cheap drives. The oppressed and huddled masses traveled to new worlds in search of fresh starts, and that has changed everything for the better.
27 - Hello, my name is Betty. We do investigations sometimes. I remember one day we were at a school at the request of the principal, but nobody else knew. I was walking around the halls and one of the administrators thought I was a substitute teacher who was late. We were there to investigate, so I didn’t correct her. I actually enjoyed the class. So did all the boys I was teaching. The school said they were the best-behaved class all year and hired me on the spot. I still love that job.
28 - Hello, my name is Jack. There’s this bar at Gateway called Cowboy Joe’s. There’s a room in the back reserved for anyone who flew with the Peloran, regardless of nationality. There’s cheap honeyed ale, cheaper beer, free conversations, and a place to step away from the world there in that room. And there’s a shot glass on the wall with the name of each one of us that is no longer here stenciled into it. I go there every chance I get, and tell a story about one of them I knew. We all do.
29 - Hello, my name is Charles. We literally ran into a serious problem in our first century of hyperspace exploration. Our hyperdrives were so sensitive to interference, we had to fly “up” or “down” from the sun to escape the solar wind and all the junk in orbit to find clean, interstellar space. But the bubble of clean space Terra resides in is only 300 lightyears across. Outside that bubble, where space gets dirty, our drives died. We were trapped in that bubble. Then the Peloran came.
30 - Father Knows Best
31 - Hello, my name is Betty. The Terran race remembers the Peloran meeting with the British in the Terran System as the moment of Contact. We cybers track our moment of Contact to the world called Independence. Just barely outside The Wall that kept so many Terran ships contained in the Terran Bubble, we met one of the last NASA scout ships there. And there, in 2205, the first Terran cyber was born. Her name is Juliet. A century later, she became a Cowboy.