Hello, my name is…
1 – Hello, my name is Jack. One of the things I'll always remember Arkadia for is the amazing parties. You've never been to a real low-gee dance until you've been to one of theirs. You can drift forever, in air without end, no walls as far as the eye can see. There is nothing like it in all the worlds.
2 – Hello, my name is Charles. When the Peloran, Roderan, and Shang gave us examples of their gravitic drives, it revolutionized our future in a way that even the improved hyperdrives did not. True control over gravity, rather than simply beating it into submission with a rocket, gave as a whole new universe of possibilities. In the short term, we armed some of our warships with them. In the long term, we tore the other examples apart and learned how to practice a whole new field of science.
3 – Hello, my name is Dorothy. There are many people who are not normal. The hyperactive, the compulsive, the autistic, they are the ones that “normal” people find strange. They are different. And they are special. Most of those who stop aging have at least one issue that was called a disorder in previous centuries. They have to learn to live with or use those issues long before they stop aging. That is one thing you should remember about the Ageless. Their lives are rarely easy.
4 – Hello, my name is Betty. Most of the Arkadian Ring is air of course. It wraps around an entire star, and there are not enough rocks left in the entire binary system to pave all the way around. So Arkadia is made up of islands of rock floating in the air while they orbit around the star. The center has air thick enough to breath unaided, and while it thins towards the edges, all aircraft are limited to atmospheric speeds when traveling between islands. It can take a while to get anywhere.
5 – Hello, my name is Jack. I’ll never forget Arkadian weather. Those zero-gee storms were something else, and yes there are storms in zero-gee. They just…spread, covering the space of worlds and beyond, lashing everything in their path. And it doesn’t rain. There’s no gravity to pull the water down. It just spreads, soaking everything. And a sorry thing it is to be on the surface of the only asteroid in its path when that unending wave of lightning starts to fly.
6 – Hello, my name is Charles. For many years, we only had a few warships retrofitted with the Peloran technologies. They were the best of the best, the fastest and most powerful warships we possessed. They went everywhere, visiting our furthest colonies, exploring new star systems outside The Wall, going where no Terran had gone before. And they sometimes fought the Russians and Chinese, protecting our colonies when they could. Unfortunately, they were too few to be everywhere.
7 – Hello, my name is Betty. Arkadia is a refugee. It is where the last survivors of a once powerful race of humanity came, and very few have ever left. It is such an alien world, figuratively speaking of course. It is too vast to occupy, and has too few resources remaining to be worth it. The Arkadians lost their interest in the outside worlds, and found a new one that no one else would be interested in taking from them. And they keep telling themselves that they like it that way. I wonder.
8 – Hello, my name is Jack. I’m hyperactive. For as long as I remember, I’ve wanted to do things. Sitting in class for hours on end was the next best thing to impossible. I notice everything, I want to do everything, and I never want to stop. When I was young that meant partying and playing with girls on the lakes of northern Minnesota. Now it means that I always have somewhere else to go, something else that needs doing or seeing. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever settle down.
9 – Hello, my name is Charles. It took time to begin building our own versions of the Peloran technologies, but hyperspace speeds doubled in a mere five years, cutting an entire year off the transit to our distant colonies. And building an entirely new generation of starships for those journeys left us able to sell the obsolete Pre-Contact ships to the highest bidder. Companies and smaller nations bought them and followed us to the stars on their own terms. That changed space for all of us.
10 – Hello, my name is Dorothy. Charles has a compulsion to make plans for any possibility he can think of. And he can think of very many things. He was very bookish as a young man, very brooding. People did not make sense to him, even his own family. I was the only one who considered choosing him. He really was not ready for a partnership. But we had all run out of time, and he had chosen to act, whatever the cost to himself. So I chose to help him. It was a good choice.
11 – Hello, my name is Betty. People matter. Every person that has ever lived or will live. We all make a difference in the universe, whether small or large. Anyone can grow up to be a president, or a hero. It all depends on what you choose to do with the life you are given. Never let anyone make you think that you are too insignificant to matter. They are trying to take your freedom to choose your life from you.
12 – Hello, my name is Jack. There were twelve of us originally. Cowboys. Ten of us were Ageless, new to War every one of us. Our commander and his second were veterans, and real good ones at that. They taught us what we needed to know to survive. Only five of us still live today. Seven men and women died to secure the freedom we all enjoy now. And twelve Cybers chose to become our partners, knowing what it would cost them when we died. Never forget their sacrifice.
13 – Hello, my name is Charles. After Contact, our exploration and colonization programs alike expanded exponentially. Small nations and companies started major colonies, mostly in the Core Worlds, while the Alliance, Russians, Chinese, Indians, and Persians claimed the new Colonial Region. We sent explorers beyond The Wall, and founded colonies on the path to the Pleiades. We needed that stream of colonies to improve contact with the Peloran.
14 – Hello, my name is Betty. One of the things I’ve always found interesting about humanity is how, no matter how far we go, we like to settle down with people we understand. Even Cybers fall victim to this need, as our Memory Worlds can show. Your own people brought their old customs and friends with them. The Western Alliance colonies were a grand experiment to bring everybody together as one big happy family. Unfortunately, family squabbles can be energetic to say the least.
15 – Hello, my name is Jack. There have only been four Cowboy Ones since they reactivated the squadron for The War. We normally don’t change numbers. I will always be Cowboy Five, and there will never be another Cowboy Five. But there will always be a commander, a Cowboy One. The Colonel died as One. Charles and Christian survived to retire. I actually never served with the current commander, but I’m told he’s a good One. Of course, he’d have to be to get Aneerin’s support.
16 – Hello, my name is Charles. While we colonized towards the Pleiades, the Chinese actually centralized much of their colonization in and around the Hyades Cluster. We avoided the Hyades, due to the way the chaotic gravity currents affected our hyperdrives. Even now, the Hyades slows us down when we enter, and we had little wish to deal with that area of space. So we left them alone to build an effective fortress in and around the Hyades. We would learn the error of our ways.
17 – Hello, my name is Dorothy. I find it interesting that so many humans strive to improve their conditions. Not all by any means. Not even most. But there are always those who look for a better way to peel a potato. Some want to get rich. Some just want to make things better. This is one thing that sets all the races of humanity apart from the non-sapient species of the galaxy. We are never content with the way things are, and we have the capacity to change the worlds.
18 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Pleiades Star Cluster is home to over a thousand stars within forty lightyears of the core, and we’ve colonized thirty of them. All those stars interact with each other to make the Pleiades Gravitic Field one of the most annoying regions of space to navigate we have ever seen. Even worse than the Hyades. But buried deep inside it is the Alcyone quintuple star system, home of the most amazing natural phenomenon in all the worlds. The Taurus Gate.
19 – Hello, my name is Jack. The original Cowboy One was Lieutenant Colonel Mathew Johanson. He was one of the guys that…well…he was real nice, but real hard too. He had to be to get all of us into fighting shape and that wasn’t easy. We never really called him anything but Colonel, because…well…he was The Colonel. He died at Fort Wichita, like a lot of other pilots and ships did. That was a real bad day for us all. We never could have survived many more wins like it.
20 – Hello, my name is Charles. We colonized Alcyone to act as a diplomatic mission to the Peloran while we placed more refueling colonies between it and Earth. By 2250, the trip only took two years, even including the transit through The Wall. We scattered the Pleiades Corridor with colonies big and small, and the Alliance colonies were the largest of all, fortified islands of civilization across the four hundred lightyears to the Pleiades. It was a good thing. We needed them later.
21 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Alcyone star system is composed of five stars. The two largest giants rotate around a common center of gravity, as close to each other as our Sun is to Jupiter, and no planets remain around either of them, if there ever were any. Their fast spins have resulted in a ring of gases around them, no where near thick enough to breath, but thick enough that starships sail through the rings and refuel on their way in or out of the system.
22 – Hello, my name is Jack. Major George Randalf will always be Cowboy Two. He was an old fart, complete with some actual grey in his hair, probably from training young snots like us for most of his life. We called him Gandalf. He always grumped about it, but I think he actually liked it, not that he’d ever let us know. He died with The Colonel, doing his best to keep the Shang of his back. That left us young snots with no adult supervision. God knows how we survived.
23 – Hello, my name is Charles. By the end of the century, the member nations of the Western Alliance had consolidated control of nearly the entire Pleiades Corridor. It was a long corridor of stars, and our fleets were spread out to defend them, but we were confident that the Russians and Chinese would hold to the Lunar Treaties that outlawed fighting close enough to planets to threaten them with stray relativistic strikes. It was unfortunate for us all that the Shang did not follow them.
24 – Hello, my name is Dorothy. From the births of the human races to the present, religion and a faith in God have been an inherent part of our natures. They’ve given us morals to live by, codes of conduct, and commands to eat healthily. Some have helped us. Some have hurt us. The bad ones teach us to hate others, but the good ones improve the human condition, helping us to want to live up to a better standard. Teaching us to love. What more can we do for our fellow man?
25 – Hello, my name is Betty. Christmas is an interesting holiday. For two millennia, people have protested against celebrating it. Whether it be the highly religious Christians who say it is too secular, or the atheists who say it is too religious, there have always been those who protested against it. But celebrate it we do, even as the centuries go by. And so I wish you a Merry Christmas.
26 – Hello, my name is Jack. I’ve always enjoyed the Holiday Season. Family and friends getting together for Christmas and New Years parties. The Jews do their Hanukkah thing with their crazy candles of course, but they don’t turn down the fancy parties. Dancing’s fun after all, and so’s eating good food, drinking good drink, and lovely girls named Mary. The parties, and the times, are for everyone to have fun, and I’ve always worked hard at having fun. Especially with the Marys.
27 – Hello, my name is Charles. When I was young, Christmas was a Family gathering. Note the capital F. It was a time for the entire extended Family to consider our plans for the next business year. We owned many businesses and there was much to plan. There was the Opera too, and the Grand Ball, where extended cousins tested prospective marriages for a new generation of Family businesses. There was nothing religious about it. It was all business. My God, how things change.
28 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Alcyone star system is composed of a yellow star and two white dwarfs orbiting two blue giants. The two white stars lost their battle with gravity thousands of years ago and shed much of their mass into gaseous clouds surrounding them. Full of heavy metals and the remains of shattered planets, those nebulas are better refueling stations than even the giants. And the star system’s manufacturing centers send miners there too. It is a very rich star system.
29 – Hello, my name is Jack. Cowboy Three. Where do I start? Charles obviously. Edward Hurst originally. We called him Woodchuck, and it was not a compliment. He radiated Rich White Boy like a fraking limo on Martin Luther King Boulevard. He was not one of us. He didn’t complain, took his lumps, and proved himself when The Colonel bought the farm. He earned Chief and Cowboy One. Then the Peloran named him Wolf. I guess it stuck. He and Dorothy did good by us. Way better than I woulda.
30 – Hello, my name is Charles. While we spread out towards the Pleiades and the Chinese emphasized the Hyades, most of the Russian Post-Contact expansion drove straight up, from an Earth perspective, towards the Polaris Sector. They were out of our way and free to fortify as they saw fit in the corridor to that region. They did so well that our fleets never generated a major penetration of the sector during the entire War.
31 – Hello, my name is Dorothy. The Holidays are an amazing time. Humanity has celebrated during them for thousands of years, from the old Winter Solstice observed by many cultures, to the Jewish Hanukkah. The rise of Christianity brought Christmas and Boxing Day, and the Romans brought us New Years when they changed the traditional calendars to begin in January. So many cultures and religions celebrate something during the Holiday Season that is easy to find a reason to celebrate.