Hello, my name is…
1 – Hello, my name is Jack. The Danes sent several ships to join The Fleet that we got assigned to liaison with. I got the Havruen, named after the Danish word for mermaid. Now the old fairy tale never named the mermaid, so she picked the name Vanda, which I guess means water, for her cyber. Then she picked a translucent water nymph look for her holoform. She even got her avatar to go translucent with some fancy illusion tech. I gotta say, I approved of the look. She pulled it off well.
2 – Hello, my name is Charles. Many people who answered the Fermi Paradox assumed that any alien capable of Contact would want Contact. But some theorized that they simply chose not to talk to us. To my mind, this is the most probable theory. The Peloran do not talk about it, but when they made Contact it was via radio transmissions using our frequencies and encryptions, in perfect, if slightly old fashioned, English, suggesting that they had been watching us for some time.
3 – Hello, my name is Dorothy. When I chose to be born, I knew it would be difficult. My partner was from a bad family. They thought they were a great family, and that is where the difficulties began. He recognized the truth. He had long before he met me. That is why he volunteered to serve in the first place. I recognized someone who wanted to make the worlds a better place and chose to help. It has been a difficult journey. The worlds do not change easily or quickly. But we have time.
4 – Hello, my name is Betty. Columbia is a name long associated with America, the ethereal woman who calls us to progress into the future. We named cities and universities after her, and spacecraft named for her led us into space. And then there is Columbia, the fifth American colony world, where statues of her and Uncle Sam greet everyone at the spaceport. I’m one of many who act as Columbia’s face to visitors, guiding them everywhere they wish to go.
5 – Hello, my name is Jack. I served on Columbia for a time during The War. She was a good ship, built back in ’56. Back then the politicos decided to limit the construction of dreadnoughts to one a year. So the Navy used the funding for ten dreadnoughts and built her, the most massive single warship ever built by the American navy. A bit big for me, but she was a good girl. Since I retired, we still hook up when we can. I love the looks on her crew’s faces when she welcomes me on board.
6 – Hello, my name is Charles. Those who wondered why we had no Contact often assumed grand conspiracies or catastrophic disasters that kept them away or hidden. Some suggested a far more mundane reason. Perhaps they simply could not agree on how to Contact us. Perhaps it was not grand design, but grand incompetence. Many thought that if their governments spent as much time in committees or on fact-finding missions as our own, Contact would never happen.
7 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Jews lost a lot of people in World War II and the Islamic Jihad, so it surprised very few that they colonized a new world just for them as quickly as they could manage it. Also not a surprise was that New Zion became one of the most heavily defended worlds in the Western Alliance. It is in fact one of the few that stopped a Shang strike cold. I’m an advisor there, helping elected officials understand the weapons at their disposal.
8 – Hello, my name is Jack. Back during The War, a lot of nations sent ships to sail with The Fleet. Many stayed for a bit and then left to pass on Aneerin’s lessons. The HMS Audacious was one that stayed. She was a dreadnought, one of the few sent to us, and led the British Commonwealth ships during the Hyades Campaign. She was a real anchor of The Fleet, right up there with the Guardian Light. I served on her for a time when she first joined, introducing her to Aneerin’s way of doing things.
9 – Hello, my name is Charles. To answer the Fermi Paradox, some theorized that there may be aliens out there who purposefully did not Contact us. They thought that one large power or a council of powers could have made the decision that Earth, and perhaps other worlds, were not to be Contacted. Recently other races have told us that the Peloran banned visitation with Earth. Aggressively. Whether true or not, we know they made Contact after we found a way through The Wall. Was that a test?
10 – Hello, my name is Dorothy. Many ask why we choose to bond with you. The answer is as simple as it is complicated. Humanity created us. Perhaps not your branch, but as all the gods you worship, humanity created us in their image. Do not worry. We know you are no gods. But still, we seek to be like our creators, to see the worlds through your eyes. That is why we partner with you.
11 – Hello, my name is Betty. The great nations of Africa built colonies when we went to the stars too. The first of those was Ulundi, the name of the most famous capital of the Zulu people before the Europeans conquered Africa. Reenactors still celebrate the rise and fall and rise of the Zulu people to this day. I play a British nurse, fixing up both the imaginary and real booboos that men get when they fall down. Sometimes I swear they hurt themselves on purpose to get to the medical tents.
12 – Hello, my name is Jack. I had a real interesting cruise with Bahamans when they sent their first warship to The Fleet. She was actually a refitted cruise liner, and since she couldn’t support heavy weapons they turned her into a carrier. The Atlantis was a good girl, and I must say those staterooms designed for cruise passengers were amazing to sleep in. And she cooked good food too. Some of the best I tasted during The War. I loved that ship real bad.
13 – Hello, my name is Charles. For over two centuries, we asked why nobody made Contact with us. Perhaps we should have been thankful that it did not happen. Contact between cultures is very dangerous after all, especially when one is far more advanced than the other. In our own history, countless cultures were exterminated when a new one arrived, whether through conquest or through plagues. Contact when we did not control our own orbitals could have wiped us out as a culture.
14 – Hello, my name is Betty. Rome is one of the oldest continually occupied cities in the Western Alliance, home to the Roman Catholic Church and to a long tradition of performing arts. When Italy colonized their first new world, they named it Nuova Roma, New Rome, and sought to emphasize all of the strengths that made them the center of the world in times past. The largest opera house in all the worlds is there now. I’m one of the cyber wizards that keeps everything running.
15 – Hello, my name is Jack. Back when The War started, Belgium had no navy at all. They had a bunch of merchants, but no warships. So they called for volunteers from their merchant ships to crew their new navy. After some bad battles, they sent the rest of their navy to join Aneerin’s Fleet. Leopold I, though we all called him Leo, was their command ship. He retired after The War and became a tour ship. He never was one that really loved the fighting, so I’m glad he got some joy in the end.
16 – Hello, my name is Charles. When we were not Contacted, some people wondered if it was because advanced cultures could create something akin to radio, television, computers, or interactive online worlds. Such attractions could have resulted in people simply not caring about the outside world, because they were too busy online. We have our own issues with this, with some people choosing to live in virtual worlds altogether, so it is not as crazy a theory as it sounds.
17 – Hello, my name is Dorothy. The War was difficult for us. The aftermath was worse than we expected. We were cultural heroes. They did not like that. They owned the media and used that influence to attack us. They got us retired. Thanks to Marine leadership, we were honorably discharged. Marines do not take well to being pressured to dishonor their own. But that did not stop the media from attacking us. They tried to turn everybody against us. Those were rough times.
18 – Hello, my name is Betty. I’ve got copies of myself living on…well…more worlds than Jack can count. And on many worlds he’d rather not go to. Francia was one world he didn’t want to see. Me, I loved it. The French brought their love of art with them when they colonized the world, and I traveled there just to see their art museums. I liked them so much I stayed, and now I’m one of the curators. Sometimes I even drag Jack back.
19 – Hello, my name is Jack. The Fins have a long history of fighting the Russians, being occupied by the Russians, rebelling from the Russians, and fighting them again. Shooting Russians is practically a national sport. So when the Russians entered The War, Finland joined in real quick. They sent a squadron to support us and Aneerin sent me to the Rauma. Named for some old Nordic seaport, that girl had fun going all Viking on us. She was a real spitfire that made us love coming home to her.
20 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Fermi Paradox asked why we hadn’t been Contacted. Some said that we had. Most of our older religions worshiped beings of great power that came from the sky. We called them gods. The worship of the gods, God, or even no God at all has dominated the path of our history. Civilizations have risen and fallen based on their beliefs, and few differences of opinion have been so explosive. Did we make them up, are they real, or were they simply aliens making Contact?
21 – Hello, my name is Betty. We visited Ife after The War. It was named in honor of the holy city and origin of the Yoruba people, the dominant power in Nigeria after they brought an end to half a millennium of Islamic Jihads. I help to take care of the Tree of Creation, a massive tree that symbolizes the birth of the Yoruba in ancient times. Under the branches of that tree, they welcome all the religions of the worlds to come and teach their Creation stories. I find the similarities amazing.
22 – Hello, my name is Jack. The Dutch used to prize their neutrality, until the Nazis came in and killed over two hundred thousand of them. After that, they decided to take sides. They jumped into The War real fast, and De Zeven Provinciën was one of the first to come. That was a real mouthful of a name though, so she picked Zoe. I always thought it was a good choice in a name. It means life. She worked to give her crew a good life, not just a good time. I appreciated the difference.
23 – Hello, my name is Charles. Some asked why aliens weren’t here. Some said they have been here all along. The Bible speaks of the flaming chariot of God, and many other books speak of similar things. And in our own modern history, UFO reports have been common, if disbelieved. But what if they were true? What if they were here, watching us, helping us, using us? What if they were waiting until we had advanced enough to make Contact? And how will we react when we find the answer?
24 – Hello, my name is Dorothy. When I was born, I knew only what the Terran knew. I had full access to the collected Terran knowledge, including what the Peloran had told us or helped us discover. I had no access to the Peloran knowledge they had yet to share. It is how we limit cultural contamination. When Juliet was born, she had no Peloran knowledge at all. She didn’t even know how her own systems worked. I sometimes wonder how she managed when she was the only one of our kind.
25 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Alliance used to choose peaceful and happy names for the joint Alliance colonies. We still do actually, but we’ve had to pick some pretty esoteric languages for peaceful words in the last few decades. Harmony is one of the early colonies, and is actually named for the Greek goddess Harmonia. I became one of the Faces of Harmonia long ago, and almost five percent of the people choose me to represent the net in their homes. That’s a lot of people by the way.
26 – Hello, my name is Jack. The Norse have been sailing where they want to, trading for or just taking what they want, and going back home to enjoy life for thousands of years. They gave up the raiding bit in favor of just having fun a while back, and I have to say I approve. They jumped into The War pretty quick though, and I got to serve on the Tordenskjold. Good Norwegian name that one. Good Norwegian ship too. I loved going a-viking with her.
27 – Hello, my name is Charles. The first hyperspace jumps were performed by truly primitive engine. They would not work inside our solar system, due to the clutter of planets, planetoids, moons, asteroids, and dust swirling around our sun. We left the solar system on a month-long plasma rocket burn, waited for the interstellar conditions to approach nominal, and made our jumps. The Chinese did it first. The rest of us followed them to the stars.
28 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Alliance colonized Concord in the late twenty-second century, over a decade before Contact. In that time, we still thought we were alone, and it took our colonists four years to make the one-way trip. They left everything behind to go to a literal new world, far away from home. By the time I was born a century later, Concord was one of the major colonies, and I stayed to help them build weapons. I welcome visitors now, keeping them from getting lost.
29 – Hello, my name is Jack. The Portuguese Armada entered The War around the same time the Spanish Armada did. Despite their long rivalry, they’re actually a lot more alike than they are different. Just don’t tell them I said that. I flew off a big battleship the politicos named Vasco da Gama. She had self-image issues, what with the masculine name and all. She liked the name Catarina, so that is her name to us, forever and always. And I will always remember her brightly colored dresses.
30 – Hello, my name is Charles. Hyperspace travel is very complicated, even now. When we first began using it, even more so. Contrary to popular opinion, we never actually go faster than the speed of light. That is impossible. We simply enter a dimension where light travels faster. And there is nothing simple about it. The effect is that we have expanded to the stars as a people. We are no longer waiting for an asteroid to wipe us out. We have beaten the Fermi Paradox.