Hello, my name is…
1 – Hello, my name is Charles. The question of Slavery became too polarizing in the election of 1860, with extremists on either side of the Slave issue leading the charge. The Republicans ran a Free State campaign, the Democrats split into two parties over degrees of supporting Slavery, and a forth party shunning both sides joined the chaos. Abraham Lincoln gained only 40% of the national vote, but won every Northern State. No one voted for him in most of the Southern States. It was the end.
2 – Hello, my name is Malcolm. I almost died in a fight when I was younger. Due to that, I spent the next century trying to avoid conflict. I became the man of value to everyone, the man who could find what you were looking for. Yes. You too. In time, I convinced myself I didn’t miss the thrill of fighting. Then The War came and I got to shoot a whole mess of Shang. That was all kinds of fun. Maybe one day I’ll get to thank them for that. I promise to enjoy it immensely.
3 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Peloran don’t actually give us much of anything. I know the common history is that they came and gave us a new generation of technology. Gravtech is the common name. I’m an example of that. The truth is that they provided us with examples of technology that were primitive by their standards, and then helped our best scientists reverse engineer them to our own tech base. We built the gravtech that made us a true interstellar power in the galaxy.
4 – Hello, my name is Jack. Despite the differences, uplifted cats are hard to separate from normal cats. On the one hand, they don’t herd well. On the other, they blend in real good. And on the other hand (you counting hands yet?) they do not live their lives around getting approval from the rest of us. They are perfectly happy to live with normal cats, who completely understand the rules of feline society already, and don’t try to make them act civilized or wear ridiculous clothing.
5 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Slave States saw the coming Republican majorities in the House and Senate as a threat to their way of life. They feared an outright abolition of Slavery, and the European branches of my family jumped on that fear. They promised that Europeans would support The South, since they could not live without King Cotton. My family is like that sometimes. Vicious backstabbers always angling for an advantage over the others. And so we finally slid into war.
6 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Peloran spent a century helping us learn to build better gravtech. We ran through what must have been thousands of years of technology in a mere century. We created new worlds with it, both physical and virtual, and many that blend the two. I love those worlds. Genetic humans can enjoy them too of course, with suitable interfaces. Thank God we got past haptic gloves and VR goggles. They were just too clumsy for real life. Or virtual life.
7 – Hello, my name is Jack. Ship cats are different from other cats. They are just as intelligent and just as self-centered as other uplifted cats, but they seem to have a deeper need to join our world. They enjoy being with us, enjoy working with us, and love to spend months or years in space with us. They are still indefinably cat, with alien thought processes that most of us don’t understand, but they are the original goal the gengineers sought. They are the primary link between our races.
8 – Hello, my name is Charles. Europe had been watching us slide into war for decades. They saw it as a good thing, an end to a future threat. They stockpiled years’ worth of cotton and when The South seceded, they could survive the loss of imports. Europe did not recognize the Confederacy. Europe did not send their navies and armies to protect her. The European branches of my family watched as America burned in the fires of Civil War. We never forgot their contributions.
9 – Hello, my name is Dorothy. There are many neutral powers on Earth and beyond. South America and her colonies are the largest of these. The province of strongman leadership, corruption, and civil wars for thousands of years, the continent was in some ways uniquely ready for the Second Great Depression and the Islamic Jihad. They have charted their own path since then, trading with all nations, and entering into entangling alliances with none. It is a delicate balancing act.
10 – Hello, my name is Betty. Of all people, children are some of the most amazing to work with. They have fresh minds, unconcerned with doing things the way they’ve always been done. They see only possibilities, and their imaginations are unbounded by life’s disappointments. They are honest in their feelings and actions, liking or disliking with no reservations. I love dealing with them, and with those adults who keep in touch with their inner child. It is so refreshing.
11 – Hello, my name is Jack. Uplifted dogs are a totally different animal from gengineered cats. Of course, they started different so I suppose that tracks. Dogs have been man’s best friend since we invited the first wolves to become part of our packs way back when. We gengineered some of just about every breed, from Poodles to Huskies. And they all have one thing in common with even their most ancient relation. They’re seriously dangerous to anyone that threatens their people.
12 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Civil War was horrible for my family. Philadelphia. Boston, and New York were the homes we built our power bases from. But we lived in Montgomery, Richmond, and Charleston too. We were respected leaders of the community on both sides of the war, and our children volunteered to fight. It truly became a war of brother against brother, and we lost so many members of the family. That is why we stopped volunteering to serve. The cost was too high.
13 – Hello, my name is Betty. Children have always led the way into the future. They are the ones who see possibilities and come up with the innovations that change our worlds. People start most new business ventures in their teens or twenties. Extended life spans have done nothing to change that trend. The boundless imagination of youth drives us forward, while old dogs truly do not learn new tricks. Metaphorically speaking of course. Old worlds stratify, while young worlds bloom.
14 – Hello, my name is Jack. Uplifted dogs are as fanatically loyal to their pack and their pack leader as normal dogs. The gengineers did not change that. All dogs crave the sense of community and order that the military is built around, but uplifted dogs are just a lot better at defending it. A growl and a bite work in some situations, but give a dog a sniper rifle and he’ll shoot the tic of a cat’s back at a hundred meters. Or whoever the threat is. He’ll just be happier if it’s a cat.
15 – Hello, my name is Charles. Over two percent of the population of America died in the Civil War. Yes, many of them were the young and helpless or the old and infirm, but the losses amongst the healthy young men were horrible. Fully ten percent of young Northern men died in the long war. But thirty percent of young Southern men never came home. An entire generation of our best and brightest was decimated or worse. They say that Lincoln wept when he saw the dead. I understand why.
16 – Hello, my name is Dorothy. Did you know that the vast majority of humanity lives on the same world they were born on? There are not enough starships in all the worlds to carry even a tithe of humanity. Yes, ten percent of Americans served during The War, but the majority never traveled outside their star system. Few people leave home. Those who do are very rare. The closest most people are to interstellar travel is watching it in movies. This is life in the 24th century.
17 – Hello, my name is Betty. I love the Core Worlds, the worlds colonized before Contact. People who lived without gravtech built them, and many are still alive today thanks to the Peloran Treatments. That gives many of them an amazing sense of community, but they are very much colonies of Old Earth. They are Earth In Space if you will, having far more in common with Earth than the Outer Colonies that came after them. They’re old. They’re comfortable. They’re powerful. And they’re stagnant.
18 – Hello, my name is Jack. You know most of the cultures that survived to make it to space considered dogs to be companion animals. Friends. There were some that thought them unclean, but those didn’t make it that far. And we had the Peloran example on cybers to go by. So our gengineers did not create intelligent slaves. They created friends. Another race of humanity, of a sort. Yeah, I grew up with dogs intelligent enough to know I wasn’t a god. They’re still man’s best friend.
19 – Hello, my name is Charles. The European branches of my family thought America would become a threat to the global balance of power if not addressed. They hurt us. The South did not recover from the legacy of the Civil War for generations. But in the North, four years of war production boomed into a hungry civilian sector. We exploded into the Western Territories, men and women seeking to leave the war behind them, with a drive that terrified Europe. They were right to be afraid of us.
20 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Inner Colonies are those worlds we traveled to soon after Contact. Most were still government colonies, but many of them incorporated at least some Alien technologies. More importantly, they were founded with the knowledge that we were not alone in the universe. They were our first steps into brave new worlds. Gone were the days of leaving Earth behind. We were moving out to meet our Alien friends. We did not understand the limit of our reach in those days.
21 – Hello, my name is Jack. Did you know dogs were beasts of burden for thousands of years? Horses weren’t used in America until the Europeans introduced them for instance. There and many other places, it was just dogs. I suppose it shouldn’t have surprised everyone when the first uplifted dogs quite literally started pulling their weight and more. By the time I grew up, it was common to see army dogs walking around with heavy weapons strapped to their backs. They can be real intimidating.
22 – Hello, my name is Charles. After the Civil War ended, hundreds of thousands of Americans streamed West. Defeated Confederate soldiers, weary Union cavalrymen, farmers, railroad tycoons, and more traveled Westward to make new lives for themselves. They created the Wild Wild West that many still identify with America. The lives of Jessie James, Doc Holiday, Wyatt Earp, and James West are still fodder for stories centuries later. It truly was an amazing time that revitalized a wounded nation.
23 – Hello, my name is Dorothy. The reason there are relatively few starships is the cost of hyperdrives. Spaceships are extremely common though. Most star systems are teaming with small ships moving between planets and moons carrying cargo or passengers. People take weekend trips to vacation moons, or perform a daily commute to a job in the asteroid mines. Humanity stretches across every system we have colonized, islands of civilization in the dark of space.
24 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Inner Colonies are linked to Earth almost as closely as the Core Worlds. Most colonists came from the many aspects of life their nation enshrined. And they are located inside The Wall of interstellar debris that separates us from the outside galaxy. Because of that, they are firmly part of Earthspace, and share much more in common with Earth and the early colonies than those outside The Wall. They are worlds full of blending cultural and racial lines.
25 – Hello, my name is Jack. I grew up in northern Minnesota, where we had a special kind of dog. Timberwolves were the gengineers’ first wild project you see, and some called them a failure. Yes, they’re intelligent, but they refused to follow our rules. They escaped and disappeared into the wild. Then one day, a pack of Timberwolves walked into a rural town suffering from burglaries, dragging the burglar behind them. Let me tell you, he confessed his crimes to the sheriff real quick.
26 – Hello, my name is Charles. Most people think of the Wild Wild West as the period from end of the Civil War till the 1880s, during the reign of the gunfighters. Historians generally consider it to take place from 1803, when the United States purchased Louisiana, to 1912 when Arizona became the 48th State of the Union. “Go West Young Man” was the mission statement of generations. To the Indians, it was a declaration of war, and they fought our march west with every trick of war they knew.
27 – Hello, my name is Betty. Not all of the Inner Colonies are racial or cultural blends. Smaller groups, like the Scottish on New Glasgow for instance, founded some Alliance colonies. And then there are the Russian and Chinese colonies. For each nation, colonists had to demonstrate absolute devotion to The State. And the vast majority of colonists came from only certain acceptable racial groups. The Chinese and Russian colonies achieved a uniformity that Western Alliance colonies never did.
28 – Hello, my name is Jack. The uplifted timberwolves were amazing to those of us who sought them out. I will always remember the first time one of them walked up beside me and rubbed his head against my hand. I scratched him behind his ear. I’m real happy he decided I was a friend. You see, there’s one thing I learned about them. They see only three types of people, friends, threats who are in the realm of the living, and threats that have been properly dealt with.
29 – Hello, my name is Charles. We beat the Indians. They died by the millions, most to diseases and some to guns. We gave the survivors food, medical care, and alcohol, put them in reservations, and erased the history of a once-proud people. My family called it the “Solution to the Indian Problem.” It was not the only time they organized such a solution. It is merely the only one most who read this will recognize. I did what I did to make certain it never happened again.
30 – Hello, my name is Dawn. We recruited some uplifted timberwolves for the Wolfenheim Project. After Malcolm picked the name, not before. One of Charles’ friends had a snarky sense of humor and suggested them. We also hired more cats than normal since we needed enough for long-term genetic viability. Thank God the wolves slept through the trip, or we might have had a civil war in the fleet. In the end though, they proved themselves a good recruitment.