Hello, my name is…
1 – Hello, my name is Betty. No mere accident can kill a cyber. One has to be very thorough to kill someone who can be fully restored from the nearest backup, which we take great pains to secure. We don’t like to die. Most of us become self-repairing ships, living for thousands of years with a steady progression of crewmembers. Some of us become houses and help our families grow through the generations. Very few of us become partners of a single person, for when they die, we usually follow.
2 – Hello, my name is Jack. On May Day, people dance and celebrate the coming of spring. On International Workers Day, they protest having to work. On Loyalty Day, Americans profess loyalty to America. They all happen on the same day. As a loyal American, I kinda like Loyalty Day. Workers Day I don’t understand. I don’t stop being a Veteran on Veterans Day, so why stop being a Worker on Worker’s Day? May Day I love though, because dancing around with a bunch of pretty girls never gets old.
3 – Hello, my name is Charles. There had been rising discontent with the power of the federal government and the political division in the capital for decades before the Second Great Depression. The Tea Party and Occupy movements of the early 21st century were mere symptoms of that discontent. Neither were able to curtail the long term politicians from their constant bickering and refusal to make real reforms. When the economy finally collapsed, it was a time of reckoning for everyone.
4 – Hello, my name is Betty. Most cybers that have ever been born are still alive now. The vast majority of the dead are cybers who chose to partner with a single person. After the partnership ends, many of us chose not to go on. To limit that, we tend to pick people we hope won’t die. Most of our partners are Peloran. They don’t get sick, they don’t age. They live until someone kills them. The Terran Ageless are much the same. That is what makes them all good partners.
5 – Hello, my name is Jack. I love Cinco de Mayo. Of course, to be fair, I love pretty much any holiday that devotes itself to dancing with pretty girls and partying until oh dark thirty. Oh, I know there is some kind of long ago reason for the holiday, but I’ve long preferred the vibrant present over the dusty past. Give me the parties, the pretty girls, the fancy Mexican outfits, and the drinks and I’ll be a happy man.
6 – Hello, my name is Charles. During our Civil War, Napoleon III sent an army to conquer Mexico, so he could support the Confederacy and end the threat of the United States of America. At the Battle of Pueblo, on the Fifth of May of 1862, 4,000 Mexicans stopped an 8,000 man French army in their tracks. That bought the Union the time it needed to defeat the Confederacy at Gettysburg. That time kept our nation together. It started on Cinco de Mayo.
7 - Wits
8 – Hello, my name is Betty. Humanity has spent a very long time wondering what it means to be…well…human. Sentient. An individual with free will. I believe I have summarized all the tests down into a single sentence, a single statement. It is the ability to understand your own mortality, to realize that you could die, and yet be capable of risking it all to save someone else because you choose to. That is the essence of being human, whatever race’s face we wear.
9 – Hello, my name is Jack. I grew up in a nice house, on a small bay, on a beautiful lake in northern Minnesota. I dated farmer’s daughters and ran from farmer’s shotguns. I never knew any other life before Yosemite fell. Since then, I’ve learned how the upper crust lives. The grand houses, the balls that are more strutting than partying, and everything else that goes with being rich. That world is ok to visit, but I don’t care for it. All i need is a ship and a place to go to make me happy.
10 – Hello, my name is Charles. Everybody paid when the government finally defaulted on our debt. The government could not pay to deploy the largest military in the world anymore. Officially, they recalled all foreign troops, but they did not have the money to bring the armies back. The marines, and some lucky soldiers, took navy taxis home. They had to abandon all of their heavy equipment. The rest had to hunker down where they were and hope things did not get too hot.
11 – Hello, my name is Betty. My mother and I don’t talk very often. I travel a lot. But whenever I arrive at a world where she is, we always talk. She sometimes wonders if she did well be me. She always worries about me. It’s what mothers do. Our job as children is to try not to get too worked up when they fuss over us. And when they are basically immortal, they have a long time to fuss. Perhaps that is why I travel so much…
12 – Hello, my name is Jack. I grew up with a loving mother and father. They had arguments sometimes, and sometimes they had to leave the room and go for a walk or a swim. But they never fought. My father was the family’s rock, and my mother the heart. With them, I always had a home to come home to, no matter where I spent my nights. Yosemite took that away. I wish I could tell them how much I miss them.
13 – Hello, my name is Charles. I chose to leave my family behind long ago to do what needed to be done. I left them with enough to survive, but my father never forgave me. Mothers are a different breed though. To them, a son is always a son, no matter what happens. She will always be my mother, and I will always make certain she knows how I feel. She always accepts my reminders.
14 - Questions
15 – Hello, my name is Betty. I remember our first landing on Pacifica. It was shortly after The War, and we had a new ship to call home. A lot of veterans were coming home, and everything was looking up. Until the dumb AI in charge of spaceport security demanded that I hand over my full schematics and over ride codes for “security purposes.” I told him The War was over, that they were none of his business, and may have added some colorful language. It turned out to be a real short landing.
16 – Hello, my name is Jack. I once got into a battle of snipers. I know what you’re thinking. I don’t act like a sniper. All the waiting and hiding and sneaking around to get that perfect shot from a hill three klicks away is really just not for me. Truth is, I wasn’t one of the snipers. I was a target. It was a real uncomfortable weekend. Lucky for me, I had a USMC Scout Sniper on my side. He won. Oorah.
17 – Hello, my name is Charles. Many American soldiers found themselves in a bad situation when the global economy collapsed. The airlines failed and those units unable to “acquire” freighters or passenger liners home were stuck. They had to rely on local resources after that. Those in Germany survived well, drinking the best beer on the planet. Those left in Korea and Japan did not fair so well when the balloons went up. The military did not forgive the government that abandoned them.
18 – Hello, my name is Betty. I love Armed Forces Week. I can deck myself out with a flag or three and jump into formation with a bunch of real warships. It is fun to fly with them from time to time. And then of course there are fighter flyovers, the motorcycle rides, and the parades. I love parades. They’re so much fun. The screaming kids, the haggard parents, the unicycle-riding clowns. And the marching bands. I really like them.
19 – Hello, my name is Jack. If I’m ever near an American system around Armed Forces Week, I try to show up for the festivities if I can. I’ve learned to play the bugle over the years, so I even get to march in the parades. And let me tell you, bugling behind all those pretty flag girls is a little bit of heaven every time. I just wish they’d lay off on the fireworks. It’s a little bit of hell every time they start those rolling barrages. I still get the shakes.
20 – Hello, my name is Charles. The veterans who came home during the Second Great Depression found a government with no money to pay them. They found devastated economies with no available jobs. They found homes in foreclosure. It was the end of the world. Most military units joined the State Guards or disbanded. Supported by and loyal to the local communities, they reformed the modern American military. We remember them, and those who came before and after, on Armed Forces Day.
21 - Girls
22 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Peloran created us. Most of us still are Peloran. But we have spread out over the millennia. The Arnam of course. Joining the Terran and later the Aesiran was seen as risky though. Neither race has the gene-deep devotion to rules that the soldiers of the Albion had. We knew they would question the rules, and in the end they broke the rules. And in our never-ending quest to be more human, we emulated them. We really are Terran and Aesiran now.
23 – Hello, my name is Jack. Everybody should have an emergency kit with them at all times. You need to have first aid equipment for injuries, food and water, and the like. You should also have a change of clothes and of course a towel. Why a towel? There are so many reasons. You can wrap up a broken arm, or use it for shelter from the heat of the sun or the cold of night. You can twist it up and use it as a whip, or just filter water to drink. A towel is real important.
24 – Hello, my name is Charles. When the central government effectively collapsed, the individual States had to pick up the slack. In some cases they fell as well without federal support, and the counties and cities took up effective control. Police forces and Sheriff posses took up the slack when the ATF and FBI stopped coming around. Most States stepped up and thrived without the federal government. A few became Third World countries, complete with local gang lords.
25 – Hello, my name is Betty. The first Terran cyber was born in 2205, the year we made Contact. Her name is Juliet, and in being born she joined a revolution. It started long ago, long before a Pelorn looking for a friend built the first cybernetic intelligence. It started before the Albion gengineered the first Peloran to be their ultimate soldier. It started before the Egyptians carved their first hieroglyph. The amazing thing is, we started it. We just don’t remember.
26 – Hello, my name is Jack. I volunteered. I fought. I thought I wanted revenge. I was wrong. All I wanted was my life back. When it was done, I retired and went on with my life as best I could. I never did get back everything I lost though. No veteran ever has. What a veteran does though is make it so someone else can live their life without fear. Remember on Memorial Day what the veterans did, what the veterans lost, and what the veterans gave. For without veterans, we would all have nothing.
27 – Hello, my name is Charles. The veterans saved us when the federal government collapsed. Some politicians tried to use private armies they had spent decades recruiting to hold onto their power. Some even attempted election fraud. In the end, the veterans stood up and just said they wouldn’t accept that. Some shots were fired. Some buildings and vehicles burned. The thugs usually ran. In the Heartland, that was the extent of the Second Civil War. The coasts were more complicated.
28 - Deception
29 – Hello, my name is Betty. I was born to fly an Avenger. I was built with the best American technology, but while our technology was lightyears ahead of where it had been a century before, we were still far behind what the Peloran could do. After The War started, they gave us full technological support, and we began to catch up with them. They personally rebuilt me many times over the years, even after The War. I’ve gotten more awesome each and every time.
30 – Hello, my name is Jack. Many of us fight for the liberties that most Americans take for granted. Too many of us never stop fighting. Too many of us die alone, wondering if it was all worth it. We need to spend time to live our lives, to live in the worlds we defend. We need families and friends in the real worlds to show us that the fighting really was worth it. In the end, we all need people to come home to.
31 – Hello, my name is Charles. The great cities of America did not fare well during the Second Great Depression. The jobless and homeless skyrocketed, squatters became the norm, and Islamic Brotherhood cells inflamed the tensions until riots like the Rodney King and G8 riots became the new normal. The cities burned. In Chicago alone, the great fires killed thousands and left millions without even an occupied home to go to. It was not a good time to live in the great cities of America.