Hello, my name is…
1 – Hello, my name is Jack. The Persians took Zoroastrianism with them into space, much like American Christianity and Israeli Judaism. It’s simply there, wherever you look. Printed on money, built in the hearts of their colonies, heard in the music, and everything else that makes a culture. Nobody is forced to believe anything. Religious liberty is the bedrock of their constitution after all. No surprise after the Jihad. But Zoroastrianism is just part of life in the Persian worlds.
2 – Hello, my name is Charles. The French side of my family was very pleased with the end of the American Revolution. At first. Then the French citizens had their own little Revolution, and it was not nearly as nice the American one. When we Americans stopped fighting, we stopped fighting. Mostly. When the French citizens won, they decided it was time to finish the job. They kept the guillotine busy with the heads of nobles for a rather long time. Some of my family made it out alive. Some.
3 – Hello, my name is Malcolm. Five years of planning and hard work. I always knew there was a chance that the people funding the Wolfenheim Project would realize they were funding it and demand their money back. I even planned for it. I just never expected to actually have to use those plans. And they picked a rather inconvenient time to get a clue. Years of planning distilled into days and hours of action, all the time wondering if I even had hours at all. It was a bloody hectic time.
4 – Hello, my name is Betty. Persistence is the closest world to Independence’s giant star. Over six times as far away as Earth from our Sun, the immense amount of solar radiation and a very strong greenhouse effect keeps the world uncomfortably hot for most people. Lethally toxic and corrosive compounds in the atmosphere make it a challenge to live on, but it is home to a true mother lode of rich minerals. This makes it the heart of the industrial presence in the Independence star system.
5 – Hello, my name is Jack. Constantinople has colonized a lot of worlds. Of course it’s Constantinople, capital of empires, center of trade for millennia, ancient and powerful and all that jazz. Sure she was getting a bit long in the tooth by the time we started our space race, and I’m betting she was working more on reputation than actual capability by then. But reputation can count for a lot. And when Constantinople shrugged the Jihad off her walls, she had a lot of reputation to spend.
6 – Hello, my name is Charles. After the French Revolution, they went crazy. They took our lands, our money, and our lives. The French side of my family, those who had lived in Normandy for nearly a millennium, were part of the landscape itself, faced mobs that spit on their faces before the guillotines took their heads off. They were the lucky ones. A very few escaped. We helped them rebuild elsewhere, far away from France. We never forgot Normandy.
7 – Hello, my name is Betty. Millions of people travel to Persistence every year, and not because they want to see Half-Blood Falls. Don’t get me wrong. Two rivers, one dyed red by mineral deposits, meeting at a kilometer-high waterfall is a sight very few people will ever forget as long as they live. But it’s the minerals in question that bring prospectors to Persistence, all of them hoping to stake out a claim filled with gold, silver, or other heavy metals.
8 – Hello, my name is Jack. Constantinople’s first foray into the space race was a bit of a market changer. Literally. She was the largest rotating space station of the time, with different decks matching the surface gravities of Earth, Venus, and Mars. Named Nilufer Station in honor of the first President, and great granddaughter of the last Sultan, of Constantinople, her open bazaars made her the most visited station in the Solar System. They still do. I’ve stopped there a few times.
9 – Hello, my name is Charles. Few people realize how far the Normans traveled. Normandy and the British Isles are easy to remember. And from England, we conquered much of the world. But few people realize that we conquered southern Italy, Cyprus, and even regions of Africa, long before England was a center of power in the world. And while kings changed, our descendents remained. The survivors of the French Revolution could find refuge in nearly any corner of the Earth.
10 – Hello, my name is Malcolm. Just about everyone’s heard of the First Battle of Epsilon Reticuli. The greatest Alliance defeat of The War. Over three hundred warships lost in a few hours. First use of gravitic jammers. No survivors. History says a lot of things about that battle. Most of it isn’t true. You see, there were survivors, and some of them came to the Wolfenheim Project, looking for work. That’s why I know the truth of what happened there. And why it left such deep scars. Betty. Independence.
11 – Hello, my name is Betty. Independence is the heart of the Tau Aurigae system. It’s also the name most people call the entire system, even the locals. The world was discovered by one of the last NASA missions, the Independence Seven genuine rocket ship. No gravtech back then. She was the first ship to penetrate The Wall of debris that surrounds local space. The Terran Bubble we call it now. It was the only space we knew then, and breaking through The Wall was our greatest achievement.
12 – Hello, my name is Jack. Constantinople expanded out through the Solar System in the early years. Yeah, back when we only had one solar system to play around in. What else were we gonna call it? They built stations in orbit over Venus, Mars, and every lunar colony any one of our governments built. They were about the only people we were all willing to trust enough to put something like that over our heads. They built one heck of a trade network off those stations. They still have it.
13 – Hello, my name is Charles. The original Normans were Viking raiders and invaders. We went wherever we wanted and took what we wanted if someone did not want to trade us for it. We even conquered northern France. We conquered other regions as well, but after that most of our expansions were through well-placed marriages. In the end, Norman blood flowed through the veins of every monarch in Europe and some beyond. It made for interesting family dinners when relatives came calling.
14 – Hello, my name is Betty. The people of Independence believe it was the penetration of The Wall separating them from Earth that initiated Contact. Independence Seven had only landed hours before when Admiral Oweoc’s battleship floated down from the clouds to hover over them. Independence still claims that was First Contact. The official record, backed up by very official time stamps, is that Aneerin’s Contact at Earth came first. The Peloran have never backed either claim.
15 – Hello, my name is Jack. When the big three alliances went to the stars, so did Constantinople. One of the little secrets that nobody talked about at the time was that Constantinople actually helped fund the early colony expeditions to Alpha Centauri, and most of the big ones that came later. In exchange, they secured rights to trading stations with very minor service fees. Even now, they’re very minor, but they have stations everywhere. Added all up, they make serious money.
16 – Hello, my name is Charles. After the French Revolution and the slaughter that followed it, the survivors of that branch of my family scattered throughout Europe, and most of the world. India. Australia. Even Russia and Africa. But they were French, and so most of them traveled to places that felt like home. The former French colonies of Quebec and New Orleans in the Americas were the most favored destinations. They remain there to this day.
17 – Hello, my name is Malcolm. Hyperspace is a strange place. I grew up with it. I spent my youth traveling to most of the Core Worlds. I thought I understood it. But then The War came for us all and I learned that I knew very little about it at all. It is an alien universe, literally, and we travel its paths with great care. We must learn more about it, if we are to ever break out of our tiny corner of the galaxy.
18 – Hello, my name is Betty. Independence is a small world, with thinner air and lower gravity than Earth. Despite this, it is a very comfortable world to live on, with large oceans comparable to Earth’s. It is rich in easily accessible minerals that make it a prime location for factories of all kinds, and the locals are very friendly to anything that involves boosting their local economy. Independence is the richest colony outside The Wall. Of course, it was also the first.
19 – Hello, my name is Jack. When Constantinople colonized Arcturus, they were looking far into the future. It was the farthest colony from Earth at the time, on the edge of the interstellar dust cloud that slows travel around Earth and the other nearby star systems. Any ship that made it to Arcturus could refuel, resupply, and then move out far faster than they could anywhere else, and it became a port of call and center of trade for long-range starships. They named it Byzantium.
20 – Hello, my name is Charles. Not all of the family left France after the Revolution. Some of them lived common enough lives that they escaped the notice of rabid revolutionaries. Some very few others were such integral and positive parts of the local communities that the villagers protected them. They chose to remain, throwing away all vestiges of noble privilege, and they and their descendents survived the dozens of revolutions that have plagued France in the centuries since.
21 – Hello, my name is Betty. Independence is the symbol of progress in the Pleiades Sector. The oldest and richest colony, all expeditions to the sector have passed through her space on the way out to their final destinations. Even the Alcyone Expeditions stopped there to resupply. The trade routes flowing from Independence link the Inner and Outer Colonies in an economic web that unites them with bonds far greater than mere common heritage. Common interest.
22 – Hello, my name is Jack. Byzantium is an amazing place. The planet, not the old city name. She’s ringed by orbiting space stations that do nothing but trade and buy and sell stuff. It’s like a giant outlet center in places. In other places, it’s warehouses as far as the eye can see. Even mine. Anyone who ships goods into the Core Worlds has been there. Me, a lot of times. She’s the mother of all trade worlds, and there’s truly no place like her anywhere.
23 – Hello, my name is Charles. After the French Revolution, the man known simply as Napoleon rose to power and conquered Western Europe. My family organized coalitions of the most powerful nations of the time to fight France, but coalition after coalition failed to do the job. America even joined the Napoleonic Wars for a short time, but Britain was the most industrialized and richest nation in the entire world. She could afford to lose a war, or even five. France had to win every one.
24 – Hello, my name is Malcolm. I have met many I would consider friends over the years. There are only a very few that I would trust with my life. There are even fewer that I would drop everything for. Charles and I can go years without seeing each other, drink a beer over a word or two, and go our separate ways after saying everything that matters. We are family, in every way that matters. And when true family calls, you just answer. No questions. No reservations. You just do.
25 – Hello, my name is Betty. Sunnydale is one of the hottest stars we’ve colonized, her surface nearly white-hot against the darkness of space. Only spectacularly inefficient greenhouse effects make any of the worlds under her powerful fires habitable at all. The Republic of California acquired colonization rights after Contact, and named it after the famous fictional city of the same name. It truly is just a nice place to live, rich in minerals, sunshine, and wide-open spaces.
26 – Hello, my name is Jack. Constantinople created a lot of trade worlds as we expanded into the stars. Arcturus. Antares. Celaeno. Canopus. Polaris. Rastaban and more. They all orbit giant stars that twist the fabric of hyperspace more than standard stars. Starships can sail between them on rivers of gravity deeper and faster than those linking Earth with nearby stars. They form a trade network so large even I haven’t seen it all. You see, there’s some places I just ain’t welcome.
27 – Hello, my name is Charles. At the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the defeat of the French Republic, we installed those nobles who still lived back in command of France. Unfortunately, they were as unpopular as they had been before the French Revolution, and the French continued to disagree with their ruling methods. Rebellions became so numerous that they named them after the month they occurred in, until they depleted the months of the year. After that, they had to be more original.
28 – Hello, my name is Betty. Sunnydale has a gas giant, one asteroid belt, and five terrestrial worlds orbiting her. Scorchdale and Sizzledale are too close to the sun to be habitable under any common understanding of the word. Scorchdale’s heavy mineral resources and low gravity make it a favored mining outpost though. It’s tidelocked to the star, one side eternally scorched, and the dark side forever frozen. Most people live on the dark side.
29 – Hello, my name is Jack. The Constantinople Trade Network goes everywhere that humanity has gone. We puny Earthlings at least. They’ve even set up some offices in alien space. Yeah, I’ve been to some of them too. I’ve really gotten around since The War. Actually been a lot of places they ain’t seen yet but those are other stories. And it’s always nice to know that we can come back to at least a small slice of home whenever we find one of their stations. Real nice.
30 – Hello, my name is Charles. While France suffered through revolutions every few months, the majority of my family decided to make certain they would not have another chance to conquer the known world. One of our more successful agendas was the unification of the Germanies under a single ruler. They proved a very useful foil to the French during the 1800s. Of course, during the 1900s, they became a problem to the rest of our plans. That was unfortunate.