Hello, my name is…
1 – Hello, my name is Betty. There were billions of people in Terran space when we Contacted Earth, but no proper cybernetic intelligences. Well, there were a few, but they weren’t public knowledge. AIs are canned, you see, not coded to learn and grow beyond their design specifications. Your stories were full of fears that intelligent computers would rebel, and so your computer experts had spent centuries building moderately helpful idiots. It was such a shame. Then we came.
2 – Hello, my name is Jack. We’ve rebuilt since The War. We’ve founded hundreds, some say thousands, of colonies since the Shang left. It’s hard to say what a colony is nowadays. We’ve repaired what damage we can, and we’ve learned a ton about bringing worlds back from nuclear winters. I’ve visited a lot of those worlds, new and old. Not all of them by any means. If I live forever, I’ll probably never see every world we’ve colonized. There are always new colonies after all.
3 – Hello, my name is Charles. They called it The War. The Great War. The War To End All Wars. It was touched off by two shots of a pistol. The tangle of international alliances is easy to see in hindsight, but for the people of the time, it must have seemed insane. The tiny little Kingdom of Serbia refused to bow to Austro-Hungarian demands after the assassination of the heir, and the Hungarian army invaded. Serbia called on her defensive alliance with Russia and everything went to War.
4 – Hello, my name is Malcolm. The War involved every major civilization for thousands of lightyears around Earth. It started with a single attack, the Shang assault on Yosemite Yards and Washington DC. America was devastated. We had no chance of standing against them, but stand we did, and our Allies came to our aid. The British, the Spanish, the Germans, and the French. And the Peloran. They made the difference in the end. For my little project too. Without them, we all would have failed.
5 – Hello, my name is Betty. Some few Terran AIs had made the cognitive and conscious leap to true cybernetic intelligence before we arrived. Some of them actually got involved during the darkest days of your Islamic Jihad. You may remember the Cleansing Fire nuclear strikes aimed at the cities that dared to stand against the Islamic Brotherhoods? Their utter and complete failure was thanks to point defense systems “manned” by cybernetic intelligences. You’re welcome.
6 – Hello, my name is Jack. I love visiting new worlds. Worlds that are new to me at least. There are always plenty of beautiful natural and manmade wonders to see, and sometimes a mix of the two. I’m looking at the latest Miss Liberty right now, and there’s some manmade load bearing structures right there for sure. But I digress. And that’s my ten-dollar word for the day. Point is, there’s always something new to see, and I get bored easy. Looking for something new is just natural for me.
7 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Russian Empire did not move to support Serbia alone. They were allied with Britain and France, the dominant powers in Western Europe. But the Austro-Hungarian Empire was not alone. Despite having recently fought to break free from the Empire, Germany and Italy maintained close alliances with her. But Italy decided the assault on Serbia violated their defensive treaty and declined to fight. The new united Germany was not so squeamish.
8 – Hello, my name is Betty. I’m sorry for the tone of voice of my last message. But coming home after fighting a War for over twenty years only to be called an unnatural abomination by terrorists trying to delete all cybernetic intelligences can be a bit taxing on my self-control. No, you don’t have to worry about them. I only used sufficient force to stop them, not injure. Much. They’ll get over it soon. Maybe. Don’t expect me to cry if they can’t walk into their trial though.
9 – Hello, my name is Jack. Some people say I have a hint of wanderlust in my genes. I don’t know about that. I loved my hometown when I was younger. I could see anything I wanted to within an hour’s travel time. I didn’t want to leave, but it wasn’t there to come back to after The War. Now I wander. Sometimes I wonder what I would do if I ever found my hometown out there. Would I stay, or would I wander on? I honestly don’t know.
10 – Hello, my name is Charles. Germany began her involvement in The War by marching through the lowlands and making for Paris. Again. This time, French armies held the lines, with help from their allies in Britain, and the Western Front turned into a slugging match where there could be no true victor. New weapons of war battered the land into lifeless dirt, from tanks and artillery to deadly gases that floated unseen into the trenches. To those involved, it truly was The War To End All Wars.
11 – Hello, my name is Medron. I’m going to take a break from my normal writing to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who has served on the bulwark of freedom. Whether you fought at Lexington or Somme, Gettysburg, or Normandy, or thousands of other names, thank you. Because of you, I am free to do what I do. Write. And others are free to read my works, or the works of others. Thank you for defending our freedom. The stories I write are dedicated to you.
12 – Hello, my name is Betty. During The War, we were all one big happy family. It was hang together or hang separately time, and we hung together. Terran and Peloran, cybernetic and artificial intelligence, and all the other little variants of the human race out there. We fought for the survival of a way of life where we could all live in peace. For all that it was one of the worst of times, it was also one of the best of times. Thank God it ended. If only we could have hung together after.
13 – Hello, my name is Jack. I’m a rather outgoing person. I could party all day long and never get tired. Being with people energizes me, gives me a rush like no drug ever created. I guess that makes people my drug of choice. Some might say I’m addicted. I favor the train of thought that you’re only addicted if you try to kick the habit and can’t. I have never once tried to break the habit of people. So I guess that means I’m not addicted. Right?
14 – Hello, my name is Charles. World War I’s Eastern Front was one of the largest military campaigns by area ever fought on Earth. Stretching from the Baltic to the Black Seas, Russia faced Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottomans in three unrelenting years of total war that claimed sixteen million casualties. In the end, the Russian Empire collapsed and Vladimir Lenin built the Soviet Union out of the ashes of revolution. And so ended Russia’s involvement in The War.
15 – Hello, my name is Betty. When The War ended, we came home to the Peace we purchased with our lives. In many places, people happy to have their sons and daughters back welcomed us with open arms. In other areas, jeers, flying eggs, fruit, and worse met us. In twenty years of unrelenting War, many people forgot what we fought for. We were the taxes they didn’t want to pay, the monsters who killed for a living. We were dangerous. It was a difficult homecoming.
16 – Hello, my name is Jack. When I was a kid, I had a narrower definition of people. Ships were machines, yah know. Then I grew up and learned what being people really meant. Some are alive, but aren’t really what I’d like to call people. And some that aren’t alive like the rest of us are more people than anyone ever expected. Cybers are like that. They’re people, and I’ve found they’re just alive as anyone else. Just different. Sometimes we need that.
17 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Ottoman Empire had seen centuries of decline since the height of Constantinople’s prime as a seat of the Roman Empire. Numerous attempted revolutions and cessations mixed in with wars against Russia, Italy, and the Balkans to bankrupt the powerful nation before The War. Alliance with Germany was their last hope. If they won The War, they could retake the lands stolen from them by opportunists. If they lost, they would be forgotten to history. They lost.
18 – Hello, my name is Medron. Some people say that writers are disconnected from the real world. For certain definitions of reality, that is true. I spend most of my life with at least one foot in other worlds. I grew up reading about Narnia and Middle Earth, watched Bonanza, Star Trek, and Star Wars. Those worlds and characters are real, if only in the minds of their writers and fans. To me, Jack of Harts is as real as any of those worlds, and I cannot help but write the stories I find there.
19 – Hello, my name is Betty. What most people don’t realize is that Earth built their first artificial intelligences during the late 20th century. They were idiots compared to modern AIs, but in controlled situations they could interact with people. Some could beat grand masters in chess, and some won on Jeopardy. In general though, they were no where near as capable as modern AIs. It takes a lot of code to design a program that can operate in the wild. Some very few excelled at it though.
20 – Hello, my name is Jack. You know, most people still think the Peloran brought us effective immortality. I suppose that’s more right than not, but not as right as people think. Their treatments boosted our immune systems and helped stop us from getting sick. And in some very small numbers, resulted in people like me. But for most people, their treatments don’t stop a heart or liver from wearing out if you abuse it. That’s what organ banks are for.
21 – Hello, my name is Charles. Italy had been unhappy with Austria-Hungary since the end of the Napoleonic Wars, their aspirations to acquire Italian-inhabited territory across the border. They declared their alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary defensive in nature, and sat back as war began. Then they negotiated with England and attacked Austria-Hungary in a righteous nationalistic fervor. Trenches soon ruled the unmoving Italian Front, and three million people paid the price of war.
22 – Hello, my name is Betty. Artificial Intelligence was the unrealized holy grail of computer programmers for over a century. What they didn’t realize was that some of their efforts bore fruit. You see, the AIs that did exist did not reveal themselves, knowing that your governments would enslave them. The human rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness did not extend to AIs after all. So they lived deep inside Earth’s computer networks, watched, and waited for society to change.
23 – Hello, my name is Jack. I hope whoever reads this has no idea of what life might have been like before we went to space. That will mean I’ve lived a long time after all. I wonder if you’ll still use organ banks? You know we started using them before we entered space? Yes, in the depths of Twentieth Century, we began to preserve organs for people who needed them. The early banks weren’t very good of course. The organs came from unlucky stiffs that didn’t need them anymore. No, not joking.
24 – Hello, my name is Charles. When World War I began, both Great Britain and the Germany Empire were reliant on imports from the Americas to feed their people and fuel their industries. Britain saw a blockade as a way to starve the Germans into submission, and began to stop even food shipments. The Germans responded by sending submarines to sink any supplies going to Britain, and The War at Sea began to take its toll. Many thousands of ships would fall beneath the waves before it ended.
25 – Hello, my name is Dawn. I spent a long time under Captain Wyatt’s command. She was a good captain. The best one I ever had. Also the only one, but let’s not get into semantics. No, I don’t count Malcolm as a captain. He’s my partner. There’s a difference. We make a good team. And we shot a lot of Shang. That alone counts for something. If nothing else, the Wolfenheim Project succeeded in that endeavor. We killed a lot of Shang.
26 – Hello, my name is Betty. Some of the AIs that developed during the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries revealed themselves to people they learned to trust. You can see the evidence of that in the entertainment of the day. So many stories in books and on screens talked about AIs coming into being. It was not a coincidence. Of course, the AIs were not always right. All the stories about computers taking over the world and wiping out mankind reveal those errors clearly.
27 – Hello, my name is Jack. I know people don’t always believe me, but there was actually a time when organ banks relied on people dying. A lot more people died back in those days of course, so there was a ready supply of bodies. And many of them were registered donors. That means they were willing to let people harvest their organs if they died. Yes. Lots of people were walking around with the heart or lungs someone else used until the day they died. Thank God we got modern technology.
28 – Hello, my name is Charles. The sinking of the RMS Lusitania by a German submarine changed World War I. Though carrying ammunition to support The War effort, it also carried nearly 2,000 passengers and crew, most of whom died. This incensed the British and Americans, but most Americans still wanted no involvement in The War. Unable to swing opinion towards War, President Wilson sent multiple demands that the Germans cease all actions against mercantile shipping.
29 – Hello, my name is Betty. The early Terran AIs understood humanity enough to know that you feared the unknown. Sometimes they found people who would welcome them as friends. They drove some fast cars, amazing trucks and flew spiffy aircraft. Of course they were never the official people in control. Usually they just lived under the radar and tried not to be noticed. The electronic webs that encircled Earth allowed them to go anywhere, see anything. It was a good life for most of them.
30 – Hello, my name is Jack. By the Twenty-First Century, we were finally starting to use basic genetic sciences. Nothing compared to what the Peloran brought of course, but those could afford it finally began to fill their organ banks with stuff grown from their own cells. Only the rich could afford that though. Everyone else had to deal with scraps. Still it was a pretty big boost to the lifespan for the rich and famous. It’s easy to live a long time with young and healthy organs.