Hello, my name is…
01 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Outer Colonies are the true testament of our expansion into the stars. Outside The Wall that contained us, they stretch out hundreds of lightyears to Antares, Canopus, Polaris, and the Pleiades. Clusters of many colonies huddle together for mutual support, or lone stars host colonies that are rarely visited even by freighters. They left Earth far behind, and their links to our homeworld are tenuous at best. They are the future of the Terran race.
02 – Hello, my name is Jack. Over the years, the gengineers have uplifted most of the dog breeds. The process works best on the larger breeds. I guess there’s questions of brain size versus skull size and such. But they’ve refined the uplifting process pretty good until even the toy breeds can get the full treatments. And I’ve learned to never underestimate the vocabulary of a pissed off Chihuahua. Which, come to think of it, is most Chihuahuas I’ve met.
03 – Hello, my name is Charles. In America, my family’s strategy was to strengthen those they thought could break the Union. In Europe though, the French Revolution was a clarion call of just how dangerous a revolution of the disaffected masses could be. Many of my family died in it, and we vowed to never allow that again. Any reformer was seen as another potential murderer of noble bloodlines and was stamped out without mercy. This did not improve the mood of the disaffected masses.
04 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Outer Colonies are separate from Earth, with tenuous contact to the Core Worlds of humanity, and many were founded by small groups of people. Historical Reenactors colonized Camelot for instance, though many question the accuracy of their reenacting. In general though, people who went to the Outer Colonies did so because they wanted to leave everything and everyone behind them. They went in search of a new life and they built it. Their worlds reflect that.
05 – Hello, my name is Jack. We’ve uplifted so many different races since figuring out the gengineering required. Some like cats and dogs go everywhere we go. Others are rare, or stay away from the rest of us. You see, despite what a lot of people say we’re not all the same. You can give an eagle human level intelligence and an ability to speak our words, but he’ll still want to fly away from it all and live on top of a tree, mountain, or tower. We just want different lives.
06 – Hello, my name is Charles. Fearing that another Napoleon could rise and conquer all of Europe, the great powers enacted a series of defensive alliances to maintain the status quo. An attack by any realm would trigger two or three other realms to come to the defender’s aid, and any threat to the monarchies from internal threats would bring aid as well. It was the last, desperate gasp of the great noble families as they tried to maintain their power in a changing world.
07 – Hello, my name is Dawn. The uplifted cats we recruited for the Wolfenheim Project spent most of the trip prowling around, looking for stowaways. They caught a lot of rats that somehow penetrated all of our screening procedures. We rarely saw the cats, except when they wanted attention or food. It is truly amazing how they can disappear when they don’t want to be bothered, but then be larger than life and impossible to ignore when they decide they want something.
08 – Hello, my name is Betty. There was very little fighting in the Core Worlds before The War. Raids and even outright invasions were not uncommon in the Outer Colonies though. Other than a few high profile colonies, they were people who wanted to leave Earth far behind, so most citizens of Earth didn’t worry about them. So there was very little protest of any kind over news of small conflicts out there that took over a year to make it to Earth.
09 – Hello, my name is Jack. Uplifted animals can carry weapons into battle with us, but that is generally not their primary mission. Most animals at better at some things than we are. Both dogs and cats have spent thousands of years guarding our homes at night, whether by hunting small threats or driving larger threats away. They can see better at night, smell better than us, and generally sense things we never notice. They keep us aware of threats that could kill us.
10 – Hello, my name is Charles. After suffering under French occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, many peoples protested the return of old Kings or Emperors that ruled from far away, and nationalistic refrains echoed in the streets. The Kingdom of Sardinia is famous for fighting the Austrian Empire, and numerous smaller powers, reuniting one of Europe’s most powerful realms for the first time in centuries. Of course, most people do not know that name. You see, Sardinia is now called Italy.
11 – Hello, my name is Betty. Our militaries deployed many ships and soldiers to the fighting in the Outer Colonies. Tours of duty out there became a prerequisite to advancement, though large warships or formations rarely showed the flag. The Outer Colonies were the province of small warships and Special Forces. When The War finally started back home, and the Western Alliance lost so much of our Core Worlds fleets, it was the experience of the Outer Colonists that turned the tide.
12 – Hello, my name is Jack. Uplifted animals help us in many ways outside the military or guard duties. One that surprised many people was their exceptional capability in the health care industry. Dogs for instance can diagnose pregnancy and mineral deficiencies with a single sniff. And many animals can help improve our healing processes just by lying down with us. Of course, they’ve been doing that as long as we can remember. It just got a lot easier once they could talk to us about it.
13 – Hello, my name is Charles. After the fall of Napoleon, France reeled from being the preeminent power on Continental Europe to what could effectively be called a third rate power. The French monarchy collapsed into the Second Republic, and then Napoleon III reclaimed the throne. He allied with the still powerful Austrian Empire, but when the Germanies defeated it in open war, the writing was on the wall. Soon another French government fell, and France continued to stumble into the future.
14 – Hello, my name is Dawn. The warships that provided the Wolfenheim Project’s backbone were all old ships. Retired decades before The War started, they came from the first generation of gravtech construction. We found them in museums or drifting in boneyards, and gave them a new lease on life. The Peloran did the hard work, full refits from stem to stern, and replaced every major system and most of the minor ones. They gave us some surprising capabilities and we used them.
15 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Outer Colonial militaries have always had more experience than the soldiers back home. The men and women on the frontiers live and die by learning, and sometimes get rotated back to teach the homeguard a thing or two. Not that most parade-ready homeguard soldiers appreciate the rough around the edges, combat-ready frontier bumpkins much. And as always, the thoughts are usually mutual. I rather prefer the rough ones myself. I guess that makes me lucky.
16 – Hello, my name is Jack. An interesting thing about animals is that we can make them intelligent but we can’t make them human. An uplifted dog is a smart dog, not a human that walks on all fours. And they’ve become more a part of our world than any other. Then there’s Cats. They’re far more alien to us than the Alien races who made Contact with us. Sometimes I wonder if we’ve gone exploring in the right direction.
17 – Hello, my name is Charles. Surrounded by powerful forces that had tried to dominate them for thousands of years, the Germanies finally decided it was high time to come together. Hundreds of different states cooperated to win their independence from the Austrian Empire, only to be attacked by a French Empire that thought them easy pickings. But the new German Empire proved itself when it shattered the French armies and captured Paris herself. It was the beginning of a new era.
18 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Outer Colonial militaries have always had budgetary issues. They can rarely afford battleships and fleet carriers, so they make do with smaller ships. They work longer hours, do more with less, and often use obsolete equipment that “real” militaries have long since retired. That’s why the generals and admirals in Core World militaries generally look down on them. The War weeded out most of those idiots, though the universe has practice making better idiots.
19 – Hello, my name is Jack. Cats and dogs weren’t the only animals we uplifted you know. There’s the escaped rats, and horses, dolphins, and a whole mess of others. We were busy little gengineers back in the day. We’ve put a lot more controls in place after The War showed us what we could do if we really put our minds to it. Yeah, not all those projects were all fluffy bunnies and sunshine. Some got pretty scary in fact. Here There Be Dragons kinda scary.
20 – Hello, my name is Charles. The 1800s brought profound change to Continental Europe. Thousands of small independent states had ruled as part of larger grand empires in 1800. By 1900, nationalist tendencies had splintered the larger empires and united the independent states into the true nation states that we recognize today. It is ironic that despite numerous wars of conquest, and peaceful merger attempts, the accepted borders of European nations have changed very little since then.
21 – Hello, my name is Malcolm. I grew up a satellite of the Hurst family. Charles’ parents wanted him to understand the little people in life, you see, so they arranged for me to be his boyhood playmate. The little people in question being members of a family that had served them for generations. I’m afraid they never did understand how most people lived. Charles did. So did I. We had a good tutor. That’s why we did what we did. Someone had to, after all, and we understood why.
22 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Core Worlds militaries were the greatest weapons of war constructed by our branch of humanity when The War started. They had the largest warships, the most powerful weapons, the most advanced tanks and mechs, and the best-equipped infantry in all the worlds. What they lacked were two things. Combat experience and a solid officer corps to depend on. Oh, they were well trained, but training only goes so far when the balloon goes up. For us, it wasn’t far enough.
23 – Hello, my name is Jack. When I grew up, I never thought I’d have to really fight for much of anything. Oh, there were the schoolboy scuffles and such, but that’s normal. It was the big fighting I never thought of. War. Earth was so peaceful back then. Still is actually. I don’t spend much time back there. There’s just too much to do in all our colonies. And I’ve become a bit of a wanderer. Staying in one place just doesn’t work for me anymore.
24 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Industrial Revolution brought profound change to England in the 1800s. Skilled workers could demand higher pay, and a driving need for more production resulted in more jobs available. Household incomes increased, and luxuries once limited to the rich became commonplace. New discoveries in medicine increased the human lifespan, and the monumental differences between the blue-blooded rich and the poor began to shrink. It was the first step into a new world.
25 – Hello, my name is Betty. The first few months of The War were full of so many losses for us. We’d lost so many ships, and so many people, and then we came in and drove the Shang back from Fort Wichita. We didn’t do it alone of course. Other brave ships held the line, and then of course there were the Peloran. But we were a symbol, a flame in the darkness, an example that we could win. That’s the real reason we Cowboys became so powerful as The War continued. We had good marketing.
26 – Hello, my name is Jack. I never wanted to leave home as a kid. Northern Minnesota was the only place I wanted. It was beautiful. Now when I go back, all I see is the ghosts of friends that will never party on the beach again and a hometown they rebuilt bigger and better than I ever saw it before. It’s not home, and I don’t know the people that live there now. So I don’t go back often. Besides, there’s always lots of things for a Cowboy to do out here. I can keep busy for a lifetime.
27 – Hello, my name is Charles. As nationalist wars of independence raged through Continental Europe, England’s Industrial Revolution catapulted the small realm into superpower status. They called it “the empire on which the sun never sets” because there was always at least one British flag, in some colony somewhere in the world, where daylight fell. England was without peer, and only their small population kept them from truly ruling the world, rather than simply the seas.
28 – Hello, my name is Dawn. Like many of my brothers and sisters, I was born after The War started. We’re really a new generation of cybers. Whatever family we come from, we were all born during the largest war fought in the last two thousand years, and we share more in common with each other than our elders. We are, in effect, a new family. Some say we really are a new family. We’re certainly different. Maybe that was another message the Wolfenheim Project sent.
29 – Hello, my name is Betty. Over two thousand years ago, before Caesar crossed his Rubicon and Christ road into Jerusalem, a great war waged amongst the stars. Many races died. We were born. Many of us found life in that conflagration of destruction. Then it ended, and for two thousand years and more, we held the lines but little else. There was very little conflict, and beyond building new memory worlds, we had very little to do other than watch and wait. Then we made Contact with Earth.
30 – Hello, my name is Jack. You know there were a thousand major colonies when The War began? We lost a lot of them. Just…gone. Winter Contingency is such a clean word for the end of the world. But even that doesn’t really stop people. When all else dies someone makes a dome, a new Garden of Eden that they hope will bring life to a world become dark and cold. I suppose that’s one way to keep the Shang from winning.
31 – Hello, my name is Charles. Southeast Europe had long been a battleground between Christians of various nations and Muslims crossing from fallen Constantinople to spread their faith and subdue the unfaithful. In the mix of that centuries-long conflict, angry Serbian and Bosnian students plotted to kill the heir of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the latest nation to put its foot down in the region. That assassination touched off the greatest war ever waged and remade the entire world.