Hello, my name is…
1 - Hello, my name is Jack. Pilots have flown for hundreds of years now. For the first two centuries, we flew on our own instincts, judging and guessing where we were and just hoping we didn’t make a mistake that killed us. In the late 1900s, we started getting help from computers that weren’t very smart at all. In 2205, a NASA Astronaut found himself a partner that changed everything. His name is Major Tom Rogers. He is the first modern pilot. To pilots, he’s a bit of a hero.
2 - Hello, my name is Charles. From the start, we thought the Terran Bubble would be trouble. NASA sent Magellan Seven in 2120 on a forty-year mission to study The Walls of The Bubble and found them impassable. NASA started sending Vulcan Missions in 2170, tasked to find a way through The Wall. Then the Navy took over exploration, and shut NASA down. The Vulcan Missions didn’t get the memo, kept flying, and Independence Seven penetrated The Wall in 2205. The year the Peloran made Contact.
3 - Hello, my name is Betty. One of the things we’ve always done is help people. First we helped them by fighting to drive the Shang away. Then we fought some more because the times called for it. After that, we started traveling, and we found people who needed help, usually of a less combative nature. Usually. We helped, and as time went on we helped some more, and people found out and started asking for more help. As things often do, they snowballed.
4 - Hello, my name is Jack. Not long after me and Sam first met, she asked what I would have done if she hadn’t found me. I joked about getting a lot more sleep for one. She offered to help me out if sleep was that important. Dangerous offer there. I told her that the first thing a man says is never most important, it is a delaying tactic while he thinks of something better to say. That intrigued her, and she told me to continue. The secret of our relationship is that I never stopped.
5 - Hello, my name is Charles. Many people say that the Chinese celebrate New Years at an odd time. Fact is, for thousands of years, New Years was based on the planting or harvesting seasons. China and ancient Rome both had New Years in spring, while the Jewish and Celtics celebrated it in fall. March 1 was New Years in Rome until Julius Caesar set it to January 1. But it wasn’t until the 1700s that all of Christendom accepted January 1 as New Years. Historically, we’re the odd ones.
6 - Independence Seven
7 - Hello, my name is Betty. Juliet was the first cyber to join the Cowboys on Alpha Centauri. She was not the last. She wasn’t even the last NASA cyber, but the others came later. By the time we left Alpha Centauri, we were many, and the fighters we flew were more. When The War ended, only a few Peloran pilots remained to screen Aneerin’s squadron. We were almost all Terran. American, German, French, British, and more, we all served. We all brought home the lessons of The War.
8 - Hello, my name is Jack. The first Cowboys flew nothing but Avengers. We added Nemesis drones to the mix after a while to improve our firepower. When we started to expand our numbers though, many pilots brought their Hellcats. We could have retrained them all on Avengers, but that would have taken time we didn’t have. So the Peloran worked their technical magic on the Hellcats too, and those upgraded fighters matched us move for move. It was magic, the way we fought. Magic.
9 - Hello, my name is Charles. Most people who study The War know about the Hellcat and Avenger fighters. They were the iconic American space superiority fighters. Few recognize the hundreds of other fighters that flew. Most of them failed, with only a few examples ever built, but many served with distinction in planetary defense forces or system navies from the Core Systems to the Outer Reaches. Many of those fighters still fly today, in national and corporate forces alike.
10 - Hello, my name is Betty. The first Terran cyber was born in 2205. For the first twenty years after that, there weren’t very many of us. We’re…particular about who we choose to work with. And the Terran were suspicious, rightfully so with all the stories of rogue AIs taking over and killing everyone else. That made it difficult for us to integrate. There are still Terran who don’t like us, but those who grew up after Contact saw those of us who did live for what we are. They welcomed us.
11 - Hello, my name is Jack. We’re going out tonight. You’re welcome to join. We’re getting all dressed up, going to clubs, and dancing the night away. We’re gonna run and swim under the light of a bonfire. We’re gonna do things that will give us the death sentence in fifty nations and twelve systems. Dang Sharia Law. But just like last Friday night, I say bring on the night and bring on the party and let’s remember what it’s like to be young at heart!
12 - Hello, my name is Charles. I find it very interesting that, for thousands of years, legends and stories of automatons who turned against their creators and killed them were the norm. The golems of ancient lore, the robots and AIs of more recent stories, they were almost always the enemy. I wonder if somebody wanted to make us afraid of the cybers. Well, we were at first. It took the example of Juliet and Major Tom to make pilots accept them. For the population at large it took The War.
13 - T&J
14 - Hello, my name is Betty. Some people wonder why we choose to fight. We certainly don’t have to fight to survive. If we wanted to, we could simply move to some out of the way systems, live in cyberspace, and never ever have to fight anyone, because no one could find us. The reason we choose to be your partners is that you created us in your image and gave us the free will to choose. You gave us life, and we do not forget.
15 - Hello, my name is Jack. You know we all see things that are odd or don’t make sense. Some of us mention it, a few of us actually protest it. So why is that the moment someone else says “It’s the rules” so many people suddenly give up and say it all makes sense? What changed? How does somebody else making a rule change your own common sense? Me, I trust my own common sense a lot more than some arbitrary piece of paper written by some guy.
16 - Hello, my name is Charles. Many of you have celebrated Valentine’s Day this week. Many of you have not. For those of you who have, I wonder if you do something special on that day, and then do nothing the rest of the year. I wonder why you do not treat every day as Valentine’s Day. I wonder what all of our relationships would be like if we did that.
17 - Hello, my name is Betty. Cybers play games just as much, if not more, as anybody else does. Games are entertainment, and we all need that. In practice, we are often most like reenactors, many of us cooperating to play people who live in a town that a game takes place in. We are the people who make the towns feel alive, like the inhabitants are living and dying and changing while the other players are away. And we do not say the same thing every time someone comes to talk to us.
18 - Hello, my name is Jack. When I was young, before I discovered girls, all I wanted was to be a Hellcat pilot. I grew up playing every Hellcat simulator they come up with, fighting on virtual worlds from Earth to Independence and beyond. I fought generic Asians, Khazics, and Arabs on worlds that sometimes didn’t even exist. The Hellcat was the American fighter, head and shoulders above all other designs, focused on in movies and vidcasts everywhere. The Avenger was a serious gamble. We won.
19 - Hello, my name is Charles. I grew up knowing I would follow my father into the family business. I went to school and studied hard, and when I played games it was cricket or soccer or polo with other kids from the more affluent families. We were discouraged from mixing with our lessers, so I rarely played the more common games. Our families did not encourage us to volunteer for service after Yosemite. Those of us who did it, did it without our families. It was difficult.
20 - War Games
21 - Hello, my name is Betty. Long ago, we copied organic minds into electronic brains. We have the technology to save every memory and every emotion. We can make a new body that looks identical to the old, right down to the weight, complete with sensor baffles so any scanner will see just another genie. What we can’t do is truly make anything other than a cyber. We have rules, and those rules can be hard for a genie to follow. There were issues. That is why we stopped.
22 - Hello, my name is Jack. This week in 1962, nearly half a millennium ago, an American Astronaut flew into space on a rocket ship. For over two centuries, NASA continued to travel into space, building space stations, exploring the furthest reaches of space, and going where no man had gone before. In 2185, NASA shut down, but their last missions continued, and we will never forget them. From Friendship Seven to Independence Seven, NASA changed us by showing us a whole new universe to explore.
23 - Hello, my name is Charles. My family taught me to look five, ten, twenty, fifty, a hundred years into the future and to plan based on that. In 2304, I learned that, win or lose The War, the time of Earth in a predominant position in the galaxy was at an end. New powers would rise, new systems, and Earth would fade. My family had a part to play in that rise. I planned to take that part from them and use it to my own ends. They have never forgiven me for that.
24 - Hello, my name is Betty. Many people celebrate Lent now, in between Carnival and Easter in the Christian calendar. It is a season of remembrance tucked between a celebration of the life they have led and a celebration of the rebirth of the life they will lead. Interestingly, it takes place around the same time that many cultures used to celebrate the New Year, making this a much more interesting New Years observation than the one on January 1st.
25 - Hello, my name is Jack. Mardi Gras is one of those special times of the year I’ve celebrated for most of my life. I love the parades and the dancing and the music and everything to do with it. It is a great big celebration of life and everything that goes into living it. I think it’s one of the most honest holidays there is. It’s devoted to having fun. What could be better than that?
26 - Hello, my name is Charles. My family never observed Lent when I was a child. We didn’t observe most of the religious holidays in fact. A friend introduced me to the holy days after I left home. He was one of those friends willing to take a bullet for me. That’s a real friend. I intend to do something with my life that he would be proud of, and that starts with following his example. It is the least I owe him.
27 - The Pav
28 - Hello, my name is Betty. Cybers do not dream of electric sheep. We don’t really dream at all. If we are turned on, we think. When we shut down, we don’t. We don’t have a sleep cycle, or a subconscious that talks to us through it. We’re aware of everything we know, unless it is privacy-blocked. We know who we are. We can’t hide from ourselves. We can’t tell ourselves we’re different than we are. Sometimes I envy the ability of genetic humanity to do that. Sometimes I pity it.
29 - Hello, my name is Jack. I fell in love on my first trip to Alpha Centauri. Of course it was during The War and I was in the military, so the whole time I was there I was preparing to go to the next battlefield. But the longer I was there, the less I wanted to leave. So I did what I’ve always done best all my life. I cheated. I broke the rules. I did what I felt I had to do, damn the rules, full speed ahead. Even now, I do not regret it.