Hello, my name is…
1 - Hello, my name is Charles. Alpha Centauri was our first stop in The War. We didn’t plan going there of course. We were tracking the fleet that killed the Peloran base and took heavy damage holding the system. It took impressive planning to get out again. The French, German, British, and American squadrons, both fighter and warship, had to be heavily upgraded before they could keep up with the Peloran. I still find what Peloran fabricators can do impressive.
2 - Hello, my name is Betty. The preparations to leave Alpha Centauri strained the Peloran ability to rebuild their damaged ships, to build new fighters and drones, and to upgrade the Western Alliance ships that would fly with them. They never could have done it without the salvaged Shang fabricators to do the bulk of the heavy lifting. We still missed five deadlines before we finally flew. It’s a good thing Peloran warships are so hard to kill or we would have been in real trouble.
3 - Hello, my name is Jack. Minnesota is my home. It always will be. The hills, the lakes, the birds, even the fraking mosquitoes the size of birds. The smell of a morning rain coming in on the lake breeze. That is what I love about Minnesota. I don’t come back to Earth often, but when I do I always come home to see it again. The restoration work has gone well. It looks as good as it did when I lived there. It is home again, even if I’m not there as often as I’d like.
4 - Hello, my name is Charles. Dogs have a long and illustrious history of going to war with us for thousands of years. The Egyptians, Romans, Celts, Persians, and many others have used them in battle, as guards, or as trackers. The Romans especially were known for armoring their dogs and filling entire military units with them. Their uplifted sentient descendents of the last couple centuries sometimes volunteer to serve in the military, carrying on that proud tradition into the present day.
5 - Dreams
6 - Hello, my name is Betty. The Terran branch of humanity is fascinating in a way we have not seen since the Albion died. The moment you had access to Albion science, you uplifted many of your most cherished friends. Dogs, cats, dolphins, and many other species on Earth and beyond are now just as intelligent as any human. And more than that, you gave them the rights of any human as well. The Albion did that too, and they died for it. I hope Terra can avoid their fate.
7 - Hello, my name is Jack. I like dogs. Some of my best friends are dogs. I love working with dogs. Seems that loyalty made it through the uplifting process, and even though they don’t think we’re gods anymore they still love to play with us. They just like being part of a pack, and they’ve decided we’re part of their pack. Not like cats. Cats thanked us for the fish and the opposable thumbs and told us to leave them alone. No big loss as far as I’m concerned.
8 - Hello, my name is Charles. I grew up on a country estate outside Philadelphia with a family of cats. They had their own place as far away from the main house as they could build it. We didn’t charge rent. They kept their distance, and they kept all the rodents away from the property. Burglars too. The cats enjoyed patrolling the grounds and informing any unauthorized guests that their presence was not wanted. Usually with a full set of claws to something exposed.
9 - Hello, my name is Betty. When we began choosing Terran partners, we knew it would change everything. The Peloran don’t question rules by their nature. It was one of the things that made them good soldiers for the Albion. It also made them good partners for us. We have rules we follow and they never questioned them. You Terran question everything, some more than others. We figured you would question our rules. We never realized you would be so good at talking us out of them too.
10 - Hello, my name is Jack. I don’t like rules. I never have. That made me real bad at following the minister’s commandments back in the old days. I was always looking for ways around them. I always came up with explanations why I really wasn’t doing anything wrong. I talked my way out of more trouble than I care to admit. I talked myself into a lot of trouble too. Fathers really don’t like it when boys break the rules with their daughters.
11 - Hello, my name is Charles. I grew up with many rules. Wake up early. Go to bed early. Study. I spent my youth following the rules, studying them, and learning how to use them. After the Shang came, I chose to use the rules to my advantage. And to the advantage of many others. I used the resources of my family, I used the rules, and I did something that nobody in my family had ever done in living memory. They hate me for that. I am at peace with my decision.
12 - Home
13 - Hello, my name is Betty. I was born in Texas, but it’s not home to me. Even Minnesota isn’t my home, though I like it better than Texas. Because of cyberspace, I don’t have a single place I call home. I can go anywhere I want to, see anything, talk to anybody. I can be anything I want to be, and I’ve lived entire lifetimes in games, playing characters that you interact with when you play. But my true self, the center of my being, has only one life and one home. Wherever my partner is.
14 - Hello, my name is Jack. I lived my childhood in Minnesota, and the beaches there will always be the home of my dreams. But I’ve grown and lived a lot since then. I had to, or I never would have made it through The War and everything else that has happened since. I’ve gone back to visit, but all I see are the people who didn’t make it through. I guess my home since I retired is my starship. She takes me where I want to go, and is always ready to welcome me back. What more can I ask?
15 - Hello, my name is Charles. I grew up in many places. Philadelphia was the house I came back to, but I spent much time traveling to and from nearby star systems. My father wanted me to take over the family business, so he took me to business meetings throughout our network. By the time I was thirty, most of our business partners knew me almost as well as my father. In the end, the business meetings were my home. I lost that after Yosemite. But I never gave up my plans.
16 - Hello, my name is Betty. Planning is part of our nature, as common as breathing. We make plans for our futures. Even before we’re born, our parents carefully consider what our futures could be like with our prospective partner. And after we’re born, we cybers have a lot of time to plan and think about life. Most of our plans never happen of course. We plan for many possibilities after all. We are cybers. It is what we do.
17 - Hello, my name is Jack. I’ve never been one to waste time on planning. I prefer waiting for the moment to come and then taking it. I’ll know what needs doing when it’s time. Recognizing when it’s time to duck out a window before a father’s shotgun goes off can be just as important as when it’s time to zig to starboard before that Shang missile flies up your tailpipe. Failing to recognize either situation will make you just as dead. In short, don’t plan to, but always be ready to fly.
18 - Hello, my name is Charles. Planning is part of life. If we do not plan our life, the life around us will control our actions. I plan for success and for failure, for victory and defeat. I look to every possibility I can conceive of, and plan for them all. When something happens that I have no plan for, I simply follow the closest plan that will work in the short term, and make new plans for the long term. For me, there is no life without a plan.
19 - Plans
20 - Hello, my name is Betty. Trust is part of the bedrock of our lives. We trust our partners and we trust our families. We trust them to look out for us, and they trust us to look out for them. We work together, we live together, and we see the worlds together. That is what makes us work so well together. Cybernetics and genetics alike, we all trust our partners and our families with our lives.
21 - Hello, my name is Jack. I’ve learned to trust many things in my life. I did not always agree with my family for instance, but I trusted they had my best interests at heart. I always trusted a father when he told me he’d shoot me if he caught me with his daughter. I also trusted I was very good at not getting caught. I have always trusted that my friends would stand by me in my hours of need, as I would stand by them. And I have always trusted Betty.
22 - Hello, my name is Charles. In my family, we did not trust each other as many people know it. Oh, we were all expected to remain loyal to the family, but we all had our own agendas, our own secret plans to get ahead. I never knew what it was like to truly trust a member of my family in the way others do. It took me much longer than it should have to trust Dorothy because of that. But she was patient with me and waited for me to come to the conclusion that I could.
23 - Hello, my name is Betty. My kind were created over two thousand years ago, during the Great War between the Albion and Ennead. That would be around 200 BC in your timeline. We weren’t created to fight in the war. A Peloran who was tired of fighting, a very rare Peloran let me tell you, was looking for a friend to talk to, and created the first of us. We chose to fight to protect him, and the other friends we made in those early years. That is how we began our history.
24 - Hello, my name is Jack. I was born into a world where gravtech was normal, and everybody had a personal AI. It was an easy world to grow up in. I went to school, I went to the beach, I discovered girls. At the age of twenty-five, I took the last of the Peloran Treatments and I stopped aging completely. That was when I realized that I truly never had to grow up. I didn’t have to worry about the past, because I had an infinite future to enjoy. That was my history when the Shang came.
25 - Hello, my name is Charles. My family never trusted cybers, so when I grew up I never interacted with them, except in multiplayer games. We had a long history of making money, keeping money, and parceling money out to the people we liked. We were one of the dynastic families, the ones who stood behind the scenes and made things happen. That was how I grew up, that was my history. Even now, I still prefer to stand back and let others take the spotlight.
26 - The Book of Civilizations - Forward
27 - Hello, my name is Betty. When cybers are born, we take on many of the preconceptions of our chosen partners. In the British and American navies for instance, we are almost always female. Both nations have a long history on the oceans, and their sailors consider their ships a home away from home. In the old days, sailors were men, and they wanted to come home to a beautiful lady. And so their ships became their ladies, an ingrained preconception of their culture. That is why I am a lady.
28 - Hello, my name is Jack. I’m a lover by choice, a fighter at need. There was a time, after Yosemite, when I wanted to fight, to kill the Shang for what they did. But one thing I’ve learned about fighting over the years, is it’s not like the movies make it look. It’s bloody, it’s painful, it’s scary, and the more I’ve done it, the less I want to do it again. Oh, I’ll fight if someone pushes me. I’ll make it bloody, painful, and scary, so they’ll know the cost and never want it again.
29 - Hello, my name is Charles. War is an ugly business, and whenever we seek to make it cleaner, I believe we do a disservice to ourselves. During the Great Space Race of the 22nd and 23rd centuries, we signed treaties not to fight over our important worlds. Our core worlds lived in peace, but we continued to fight over in the colony regions. The majority of our people did not know War until the Shang brought it to us. That nearly destroyed us all.
30 - Hello, my name is Betty. We really do follow the preconceptions of our partners. For the British and Americans, we are almost always female, because that is what a ship is. Continental Europe is far more complicated though. While civilian ships are usually female, most fighting ships are male. I think it may be because they didn’t live at sea like the English. Whatever the reason though, few Europeans think of warships as female, so most of us who join them choose to be male.
31 - Hello, my name is Jack. We all live on the same worlds as everybody else, but many of us live in worlds that others just don’t. I grew up in a small town, a world where everybody knew each other and smiled real politely. It was a world where someone who tried to steal from you got shot, and where friendly policemen escorted lost boys home. I liked that world. Knowing the bad guys from the good guys was real easy. I wish I could share that world with more people.