Hello, my name is…
1 – Hello, my name is Dorothy. After twenty years of War, we returned home to find our worlds changed while we were away. A deep ice age gripped New Washington. Earth was recovering from a mini-ice age itself, and the western half of America was well on its way to rebuilding. Beyond the physical differences though, everything was different on a mental level. War left its scars, not all of them visible. We are still recovering from some of them.
2 – Hello, my name is Betty. The shores of Xin Shi have the most expensive real estate on the planet. On the sunny side, you can swim in tropical warmth under a never-ending sun, twenty-four hours a day. Or if you prefer, you can relax before a bonfire with a cool breeze fluttering through the nighttime sky. Those who can afford access play every sport imaginable in, under, or over the water. The really rich even build houses under the water, the ultimate way of getting away from it all.
3 – Hello, my name is Jack. The Chinese do an interesting version of population control now. It’s nothing like the forced abortions of older centuries, but seems just as effective. In the Core Worlds, only the rich get the Chinese version of the treatments. Anyone else lives and dies in a matter of decades. If you’re poor, the only way to get the treatments is to join a colony looking for more warm bodies. That’s created some rather interesting effects on Chinese culture.
4 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Normans almost won the Hundred Years War. We did well in the early years. We raised the first standing armies since the fall of Rome. We researched new ways to fight, new weapons and new strategies. We advanced. But so did the French. They united as a people and drove us out of the Normandy coast that had been our home for centuries. And so England became our home in every way that mattered.
5 – Hello, my name is Betty. Since Xin Shi has no day-night cycle, there is a single planetary time. None of the vast cities and amusement parks ever sleep. They’re open twenty-four hours a day or night, in perfect sync with Chinese Mean Time, with people working and returning home according to their schedules. Tourists come and go at all hours, and the market districts are always open. It’s an exciting place to visit.
6 – Hello, my name is Jack. Because of the Chinese policy of giving their version of the treatments only to the rich or to colonists, their Outer Colonies can be pretty fun to visit. Lots of smart and motivated people that would have been trapped in the lower castes back in the Core Worlds go out there, get themselves a few centuries of health and vitality to use it all, and go to town. It’s the wild west out there, Chinese style. And they’ve got some real funky styles.
7 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Hundred Years War brought us together as a people. Saxon and Norman. My family as well, both those that came to England and who stayed in Normandy. It forged us all into a single people. The English. We even stopped speaking French in the end. And though we lost Normandy, we became stronger. We became England, and forged ourselves an identity that few Continental peoples could ever understand. And that made all the difference in the world.
8 – Hello, my name is Dorothy. Our return to civilization was an interesting time. Like the Chinese proverb. The War was over. Peace reigned. Or so everybody knew. The affair was too far under the radar to make news. Everybody saw the fire of course. That was on every channel. But the reasons for it never did make the air. And so the whole affair was brushed under the rug, forgotten by all but those who lived it. But that fire was history in the making.
9 – Hello, my name is Betty. Many of those who live on tide-locked Xin Shi never see natural darkness. Others never see natural light. They live in the slums, on the edges of the habitable zone, where perpetual freezing night or the blast furnace winds of the sunny side wash over their homes. It takes a rich person to travel into the prosperous inner zones where day and night meet. Or a tourist from another world, who is by definition extremely rich on Xin Shi.
10 – Hello, my name is Jack. I’ve seen a lot of worlds in my life. Core Worlds. Colony Worlds. Inner and Outer. National or international colonization missions. Small group settlements. Even survey outposts. Russian. Chinese. Alliance. Other. I’ve seen a bit of everything since The War. I generally stick to Alliance space of course, but sometimes I need to go outside it for sometimes very important reasons. I’m careful out there. We’re not always welcome after all.
11 – Hello, my name is Charles. After the Hundred Years War, we consolidated our rule over the entire island of Britain. And we expanded into other regions of the world, colonizing the Americas, Africa, Asia, and even Australia. We circumnavigated the globe, with ships of war unmatched in technical sophistication. The sun never set on our empire. Of course, the offshoot of my family that remained in France was busy too. That led to some difficulties in later centuries.
12 – Hello, my name is Betty. The richest citizens of Xin Shi can do anything they want, whenever they want to. At any time of day, they can sunbathe on the sunny side, and then cross the line to see a fireworks display in nighttime. They can ski on bright warm waters, or down dark frozen mountains. It’s amazing the choices they have on that world. All because it is tide-locked to Alpha Centauri B, one face always to the sun and one always away. It is the jewel of the Chinese Empire.
13 – Hello, my name is Jack. One thing I don’t like about the Chinese worlds is that they’re all the same. The single, overriding Chinese culture does not accept challengers to its might. It dominates everywhere it goes, creating a whole lot of worlds that just feel alike. I suppose the Chinese on top like that all their Core Worlds feel like home. But I like a bit of chaos. Stubborn frontier folk and the like. Maybe that’s why I don’t spend a lot of time in the Core Worlds.
14 – Hello, my name is Charles. The English side of my family saw the New World as the future. A way to expand our power and riches. And so we helped fund several colonies. Probably the biggest was this little one that became known as Pennsylvania. According to our histories, we held enough influence in the court that we influenced the king’s approval of the charter. I grew up in the house we built there. I may have had my difficulties there, but it was a good place to grow up.
15 – Hello, my name is Dorothy. Most people only had one plan during The War. Survive. But Charles and I had many plans. Some failed. Others succeeded. Some…went sideways. The Wolfenheim Project turned out to be one of those. It started out simple. Acquire Family funding to create Wolfenheim. The Family was not feeling particularly generous when they discovered they were “donating” to the project. In fact, they went to great efforts to recover their investment. Very great efforts.
16 – Hello, my name is Betty. Sometimes I’m surprised that humans live on Novaya Rodina at all. Historically, it all makes sense of course. It is the fourth of five habitable worlds, assuming flexible definitions of the term, in the Alpha Centauri Trinary star system, so of course we went there. And the Russians do have a rather flexible definition of the term habitable compared to the rest of us. They actually claim to like the world. Of course, they also claim to like Siberia.
17 – Hello, my name is Jack. I enjoy visiting the Russian worlds. Oh sure, we fought during The War, but there’s a big difference between the government and the people. And honestly, we have a lot more in common with the Russians than many other nations. And they have minimal centralized control. Basically, you can do whatever you want on a Russian world, as long as you don’t break the law. Just remember not to break the law there. You do not want to spend a night in a Russian jail.
18 – Hello, my name is Charles. Governor Penn wanted his new colony to be a haven to anyone, a place where the persecuted could live in peace. My family was not one of them, but we thought it could be a good place to do business. We invested heavily in the infrastructure of Philadelphia, and worked with many others to build a grand series of docks. The merchants came by the thousands, second only to London herself. And so Philadelphia became the greatest city in the New World.
19 – Hello, my name is Betty. Novaya Rodina really isn’t a world that most of us would colonize now. She’s larger than Earth, has a larger mass shadow than Earth, and heavier surface gravity than Earth. Most of her surface is frozen solid, and her air is far thicker than Earth. It takes massive equalization chambers in the spaceports to even allow visitors to walk onto the planet without instantly injuring themselves. The original colonists did not have it easy.
20 – Hello, my name is Jack. I’ve been to a lot of South American worlds. They’ve worked real hard to stay non-aligned to any of the big powers out there. Even in the middle of The War, they declared neutrality and kept their ships out of the way. After The War ended, they welcomed anybody into their systems again. Bring money, and they’ve got whole star systems where you can do what you want. They don’t care where you’re from, or where you’re going. True neutral as they say. Kinda fun.
21 – Hello, my name is Charles. We British ruled the waves for centuries with our merchant fleets. The sun never set on our fleets, from one side of the world to the other. We bought and sold anywhere there were people, and the riches of the world flowed through our ports. London. Philadelphia. Boston. Our ships called the greatest seaports in the entire world their homes. It was an amazing time for us. Our merchant fleets made us kings of the world in every way that mattered.
22 – Hello, my name is Dawn. I was born to help plan and build a new colony, farther away from Earth than any previous colony. It took years to bring all the resources we needed together. The starships. The colonists. The funding of course came from Charles. His family has a long history of money, and even they didn’t know where all of it was. It was impressively easy to divert the funds it took to make the Wolfenheim Project a reality.
23 – Hello, my name is Betty. Novaya Rodina was so inhospitable to human life, though still technically capable of supporting it, the Russians could only send their most physically fit, hardiest citizens on the colony mission. They didn’t pick simply healthy people like other nations. They sent paragons of physical hardiness that could survive in even the harshest environments imaginable. Of course imagination fell short of reality on Novaya Rodina.
24 – Hello, my name is Jack. I love the Indian colonies. American Indian, not Indian Indian. Not that I don’t like the Indian Indians, but I’m rambling now. Point is, I like visiting the Indian worlds. They were involved in a lot of the early colonies, but didn’t start doing their own worlds until after Contact. That made them younger, less industrial, and the Shang rarely targeted them. They survived all but unscathed, and I love just taking time to watch the suns rise in the wilderness.
25 – Hello, my name is Charles. Before we arrived, the Five Nations of the Iroquois fought a massive war from the modern New York State to the Illinois Federation, against other Indians and the French. The Iroquois won. When we colonized Pennsylvania, the Iroquois were the preeminent power in North America. We were eager to secure another ally against the French, and so we traded with them. The alliance we forged changed the future of the world.
26 – Hello, my name is Betty. Despite rigorous controls, pregnancies happened. And though they were healthy and fit, the colonists lost five mothers and their children to Novaya Rodina. So their leaders initiated draconian policies to save the colony, including forced abortions. Those deaths haunt Novaya Rodina to this day, and they have more hospitals and doctors per capita now than any other planet. Children are precious to them, no matter the nationality, and all who need it will find help.
27 – Hello, my name is Jack. Every planet has some wilderness out there. Even Earth has her fair share of them. It’s where I grew up, and I still own a plot of land there. No house, but one day I’ll rest there in my family’s field of stones. In the meantime, I really love going to new wildernesses on new worlds and seeing new views. There’s so much beauty out there in the worlds, so much we’ve never imagined could be. It’s amazing.
28 – Hello, my name is Charles. In the 1700s, France and England slipped into the Second Hundred Years War. In America, we call them the French and Indian Wars. In the last of those wars, the Seven Years War, the first true World War, we fought for control of all Europe’s Colonies throughout the world. The Iroquois stood with us in America, and we won. England reigned supreme, her Colonies grew rich, and my family became merchant kings of the world. It was our greatest hour. Or so we thought.
29 – Hello, my name is Dawn. We cybers lead good lives. We can travel the datanets of entire worlds, star systems even, with a freedom that no flesh and blood human can understand short of a virtual reality. And even those are pale imitations of what we see in the code that makes our worlds glow around us. But for all that, we love being ships. As a ship, we can leave even star systems behind and truly go anywhere. Explore everything. That is true freedom.
30 – Hello, my name is Betty. For over a decade, the colonists of Novaya Rodina fought the world itself in their bid to settle it. Then international humanitarian organizations worked with the Russians to build a hospital in orbit. Rotating to replicate Earth gravity, the new Mayo Station soon went to work, from performing advanced gene therapies, to merely allowing pregnancies and children to mature in normal gravity. To this day, most children are born and grow up in orbit.