Hello, my name is…
1 – Hello, my name is Charles. In 1950, Enrico Fermi asked a question. It became known as the Fermi paradox. He said that the size of the universe suggests that there should be many extraterrestrial civilizations. So why had we never met them? For over two centuries, we asked why. Was Earth the only living planet? Did other civilizations kill themselves off? Where they avoiding us? Had they been here and we didn’t recognize them? There were so many questions. We still ask many of them.
3 – Hello, my name is Betty. On New Melbourne, the shard of myself that I left behind is a teacher at A New Hope Secondary School. Yes, we all wear uniforms. And no, they are not inspired by those movies. I teach Advanced Religions of the Worlds, where I help the students understand many of the religions that once dominated Earth, and how they reflect on the cultures they come from. I love to see them realize how something thousands of years old relates to our modern culture.
4 – Hello, my name is Jack. In the tenth year of The War I served on the USS Independence, a newly built and fresh-crewed American Fleet Carrier. It was good to be home again, but seeing all those smartly dressed and drilled academy graduates thinking they were ready for war was real hard. I always think of them on Independence Day now. That and so many other days. We’re alive and free because men and women like them signed their lives on the doted line. Because they still do. Never Forget.
5 – Hello, my name is Charles. Robin Hanson answered the Fermi paradox by suggesting that there was a “Great Filter” that kept intelligent life from existing. He suggested a list of nine possibilities; from life-bearing worlds being rarer than we think, to advanced races inevitably suffering a deadly catastrophe. We found living worlds when we explored, all empty of intelligent life. We wondered if a catastrophe was ahead or behind us. Then the Peloran made Contact and we knew we were not alone.
6 – Hello, my name is Betty. Pacifica is a world dominated by a single huge ocean. I explore under water, usually with other scientists, sometimes alone. It’s nice not having to be worried about drowning. Sometimes I just visit the Arnam who live there now. Often they help us explore. With the Arnam, I have visited ancient underwater ruins that have never been noted by any publication. Humans used to live on Pacifica, long ago. One day, I want to know who they were.
7 – Hello, my name is Jack. I served on the Indian light cruiser Wind of Autumn for three months during The War. American Indian, not Indian Indian. She was beautiful, one of the last ships finished by Yosemite Yards before the Shang blew it all over the American West. And the Lakota Sioux idea of discipline is way different than the USMC’s. Not that I learned USMC discipline very well mind you. But that was a real relaxing tour, when we weren’t getting shot at. I’d do it again real fast.
8 – Hello, my name is Charles. Another answer given to the Fermi paradox was that perhaps it was the nature of all life to destroy itself in the end. When we went into space, we found worlds ready to be inhabited, far more than we ever expected. What our governments didn’t publish was that many showed signs of terraforming, and the ruins of dead civilizations were not rare. We saw on those planets our future, and that was why we signed the Lunar Treaty and all of its descendents.
10 – Hello, my name is Betty. I leave a shard of myself behind on every world I visit, to keep track of what we influence. I’ve been to every Core World as it happens, and after The War and its aftermath we spent several months on Paradisia. The world earns its name, and it is an amazing place to relax and recharge and watch life flow by. Of course, we’re not big on watching, so we moved on. I stayed there as a tour guide though, helping other people find the same peace we did.
11 – Hello, my name is Jack. I served on the HMCS Elizabeth for a few months back in 2315. She was the first Canadian heavy cruiser in Aneerin’s fleet and he wanted someone who knew Canadians to help ease them into the fold. Here’s the secret. Canadians are Americans too, especially in the west. I spent a lot of time partying with them as a kid. They are lovely people. Quebec is full of crazy people though. Lucky me, the Elizabeth was full of westerners. Easiest orientation cruise ever.
12 – Hello, my name is Charles. As we explored the star systems around us, our governments began to seriously consider another answer to the Fermi Paradox. We may not have had Contact because it is the nature of intelligent life to destroy. Stories of Berserkers or Von Neuman probes destroying all life were once common. And then there is the simple possibility of genocidal aliens who do not want competition. Peloran Contact was a pleasant surprise to the more pessimistic of us.
13 – Hello, my name is Betty. Before Contact, all colonies were major governmental or international endeavors, taking years or decades to plan and organize. In the century before The War, smaller private organizations began to expand into the vast reaches of the Outer Colony Region. One such organization from Kansas colonized New Salina. We passed through the system during The War, chasing a Russian fleet. I left a shard behind, and now I sell dress suits to enterprising young men.
14 – Hello, my name is Jack. The DRS Dresden was one of the first German heavy cruisers to join Aneerin’s fleet. He fought with us in all the Battles of Alpha Centauri, stayed through the hellish Hyades Cluster, and went on to sail with us throughout the Outer Colonies and beyond. He was a good ship. Betty liked him too, though for way different reasons than I did. They still flirt every time we end up in the same system, which happens often enough that I don’t think it’s coincidence.
15 – Hello, my name is Charles. The question of why aliens didn’t Contact us, the Fermi Paradox, has many interesting theories. One is that humanity was created alone in the universe with the ability to think and do something with it. The dolphins for instance, while very intelligent, had no hands and so couldn’t build anything. Interestingly, Contact has done far less to negate this theory than many thought it would. Aliens are just as human as we are, creating a number of other questions.
17 – Hello, my name is Betty. I love being able to tell people that I’m a Valkyrie on Asgard. Then I have to explain it’s the one the Scandinavian Alliance colonized back in 2174. Before we knew there were aliens out there. I’m actually a waitress. But since I work at Odin’s Bar and Grill, the oldest bar on Asgard, we’re all Valkyries. We dress up and everything. It’s a bit over the top, but that is part of the charm that keeps bringing the customers in.
18 – Hello, my name is Jack. One of the more interesting ships I served on was the HMIS Mumbai. Now India’s not part of the Western Alliance, but is still part of the British Commonwealth, putting it in a rather unique political position. The Mumbai was caught at Alpha Centauri when The War started and fought with the British Navy. I flew off her during some of the fighting in the Hyades. I have to say, the Indians are real scary intense fighters. Great friends. Dangerous enemies. I like ’em.
19 – Hello, my name is Charles. The creationist answer to the Fermi Paradox has received intense ridicule from the evolutionists over time. Then we met human aliens. But we actually have met many alien alien races as well. The interesting point is that they are between 2,000 and 5,000 years old, the result of uplifting very similar to what we did with dogs and cats. The most common “creator” was the Albion. There was some disagreement between them and the Ennead over that. Now they are dead.
20 – Hello, my name is Betty. We spent several weeks on British Albion after The War ended. It’s one of the Core Worlds, colonized back before the Peloran made Contact. It is a fun world to visit, with its entire capital built as an amazing 22nd Century reimagination of King Arthur’s Camelot. Gravtech has made it even more impressive, with true floating bridges and islands in the sky. I’m a cyberneer, maintaining the gravtech systems that keep the world looking magical.
21 – Hello, my name is Jack. I’ve flown a lot of places. I’ve been to most of the Terran worlds. I’ve shipped stuff into every major nation, even the edges of Shang space. I’ve seen a lot, learned a lot. A few years ago that prompted me to take a trip to the near side of the Perseus Arm. I found something there that the government asked me real seriously not to talk about. I haven’t, but it’s time to talk now. People deserve to know that not all aliens are human.
22 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Fermi Paradox asked why, if life was common, we had no Contact with aliens. As we expanded, we began to worry that the answer was that they were simply too far away. We could only travel a hundred lightyears away before hitting The Wall. On a galactic scale, we were walking around the block, and could not see across the street. There could have been someone on the other side of the street, let alone the other side of the city, and we never would have known.
24 – Hello, my name is Betty. When the Germans colonized their first world in 2147, they gave it a very German name. Deutschewelt. German World. While it may not be the most original of names, the great plains of that world grow some of the best grains in all the worlds. Which of course means it makes the best beer in all the worlds. The Germans do have their priorities after all. I’m a brewer there, making good dark German beer so thick that a mug is almost optional. Almost.
25 – Hello, my name is Jack. I never was much of a beer drinker as a kid. Of course, all I had access to was the crappy three-two beer sold in Minnesota convenience stores so I wasn’t really missing much. When I was assigned to Aneerin’s fleet, I discovered some kind of honeyed mead or something that was really worth drinking for the taste. Then I discovered German beer and German beer maids and realized that there really was good beer, and good reasons to go find it.
26 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Fermi Paradox asked why we had no contact with aliens. At the beginning of the 23rd century, we wondered if the time was right. We only began broadcasting radio in the late 1800s. We had only been traveling through the stars for a century. Compared to even our own written history, those are miniscule time frames. Did the aliens die before we found them? Were they not yet born? Had we just missed them in time?
27 – Hello, my name is Betty. Independence was the first colony outside The Wall, started by the NASA crew that discovered it. The Peloran Contacted them there, and Independence claims to this day that it was First Contact. According to Earth, the Peloran traveled to Earth to make Contact, with Independence’s claims based on clocks misaligned by the time dilation of decades of hyperspace travel. Independence disputes this. I teach history there. Contact is a truly fascinating subject.
28 – Hello, my name is Jack. Six years into The War, the French sent the first of a new class of battleships to sail with Aneerin’s fleet. He was named after the one of the most corrupt, Machiavellian, conniving, and ruthless leaders that France ever had. And I mean that as a compliment. As it happens, the crew of the Richelieu was actually real friendly to me. Of course, after what the Shang did to Nouveau Paris, we all had a lot more in common than we thought before.
29 – Hello, my name is Charles. We learned our own answer to the Fermi Paradox in our first starfaring century. Star travel was expensive. The fuel alone for a single journey could bankrupt small nations, and finding the fuel in the first place proved challenging. It stretched our resources to the breaking point to plant 80 colonies within 80 lightyears of Terra. Then the Peloran traveled thousands of lightyears to Contact us and showed us that were much cheaper ways to see the stars.
31 – Hello, my name is Betty. Byzantium is an interesting world. Founded by Constantinople in 2151, it was the first non-Global Three colony. Located in the Arcturus system, it was also the farthest colony of the time, on the edges of the stellar dust cloud our own Sun is flying through. Byzantium was built as a neutral port of call for any nation, and soon became a major trade center as we continued to expand. It still is now. I should know. I keep the orbital traffic lights on schedule.