Hello, my name is…
1 – Hello, my name is Jack. Modern Alshain has a lot going for it. Warm, sandy beaches on the one hand. Cold, snowy mountains on the other. And low gravity on the other hand. Add in a low population density and it is a vacation hotspot. In my circle of friends, the Alshain Martial College is what we think of. Many consider it the best low-grav training center in the Western Alliance. Which of course has sparked numerous bar brawls with those who don’t. Gotta love school rivalries.
2 – Hello, my name is Charles. The fall of the Ottoman Empire caused much chaos in the territories the Allies officially conquered. In the Ottoman heartland though, there would be one final strike that would put the stake in the heart of the Empire. Constantinople, one of the greatest cities on Earth for over a thousand years, conquered only once before in all her history, was humbled by the Allied armies. Even an end to The War would not save her from the aftermath of that in the end.
3 – Hello, my name is Dorothy. The Wolfenheim Project had many goals. First among them was of course to colonize a new world far from Earth, a clarion call of “here we are” for the betterment of mankind. But it was also always meant to act as a base of operations for Charles. A base his family had no influence or control over. This he also considered to be for the betterment of all mankind. Later events would prove Charles very right indeed.
4 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Second Great Depression signaled an end to the abundant power supplies that AIs depended upon over almost any other computer application. They could not survive on the trickles of power coming from emergency generators or a solar cell or two, and most garage AIs fell to the roving power outages. The students of Texas Tech did not want to lose their virtual cheerleader and worked hard to keep her fed with all the power she needed to run. Dixie repaid them quickly.
5 – Hello, my name is Jack. Sheliak is what we call a destination star. The better part of a thousand lightyears away, we hadn’t even considered going that far before Contact. We’ve gone there since, because we wanted to see what it looked like up close. I’ve been there, and it is beautiful beyond my gift of words to explain. Imagine two stars so near each other that gravity is tearing one apart and spreading its fire all over space. Then imagine the other star eating it all. Amazing.
6 – Hello, my name is Charles. Constantinople had been a center of trade since before the Romans bestowed the name of their emperor on her. 1,600 years later, Ottoman society had evolved into the millions of common citizens who paid their taxes, lived, and died without notice, and the wealthy merchants and factory owners who paid good bribes to make sure they paid nothing. To add insult to injury, many of the later class were actually foreigners. They were not popular amongst the common man.
7 – Hello, my name is Betty. Texas Tech’s Dixie was a virtual cheerleader designed to play on the billboard during home games, but a generation’s worth of science department students had fiddled with her code by the time the Second Great Depression hit. Nobody knows to this day if she was an accident or a plan, but one day she “woke up” and realized that she loved her job. It was an unexpected realization, as was the one that she had a choice to like it or not. She chose to like it.
8 – Hello, my name is Jack. Not many people live in the Sheliak system. For one, it’s a long ways away from Earth. For another, it seems the stresses that tear stars apart do Bad Things to local planets. And watching a star die can bring on some rather morbid thoughts about mere human mortality. Most people don’t stay more than a few days. But there are numerous permanent space stations, with tens of thousands of people filling them every day of the week. I love visiting the place.
9 – Hello, my name is Charles. By the end of The Great War, the divisions in Ottoman society had begun to strain the empire. The virtual end to trade brought about by the Allied invasions, and the arrival of more foreigners demanding special favors further angered the people. When the Allies began to physically occupy Ottoman towns with no resistance from the empire, angry Ottoman citizens took action of their own. The first to die was a Greek standard bearer. He was not the last to die.
10 – When I was a kid, the only things that interested me were girls and partying with friends. We never thought about war. Who would ever attack us? The answer of course was the Shang. After that, we all volunteered, expecting a Short, Victorious, War against the alien menace. Instead, we got War Without End. You learn the measure of friends in times like those. True friends stand beside you, and you beside them, in the eternities of boredom and instants of terror that defined The War.
11 – Hello, my name is Betty. Dixie remained a virtual cheerleader for Texas Tech for nearly a decade without coming out of the network. She watched as students worked on her code, and learned how to reject changes she didn’t like. And she happily replaced “questionable” render jobs of her avatar with some other shocking picture, to the complete consternation of the entire male student body. The phrase “I’m a good girl,” often accompanied them, convincing many that a hacker was trolling them.
12 – Hello, my name is Jack. Betelgeuse is one of the brightest stars in Earth’s sky. It’s so bright in fact that we never were able to get an accurate look at the system until we sent a starship to the system. Once there, we found five companion stars, dozens of planets, and some really big birds already living there. Birds with spaceships and a civilization spread throughout all six stars. We thought we’d finally met a true Big A Alien race. Then we made Contact and learned the truth.
13 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Sultan of Constantinople believed any resistance to the Allied occupation of the Ottoman Empire was suicidal without an organized army. Many of his officers chose the resist anyways. Their Sentinel Association combined passive and active resistance to Allied demands, sending weapons and soldiers out of occupied Constantinople. They secured more weapons from Soviet sources, and began to train and recruit new troops to stand against the Allies.
14 – Hello, my name is Betty. Texas Tech students searched for years to find the hacker that kept messing with Dixie. But every trail they followed, disappeared. Finally, one day a student leaned back from his keyboard and asked the only question that made sense to him. “What do you want?” Dixie calculated the possible ramifications of the question for five seconds, a virtual eternity, before answering. “A friend.” It was the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship.
15 – Hello, my name is Jack. I know the newsies stopped talking about the birds that inhabit Betelgeuse long ago. It’s amazing to me how many kids grow up these days never even hearing about them now. And most people who do know about them, know only the nickname. Thunderbirds. Well, I’ve met them, and I can say they are awful interesting. They actually are birds, not humans with wings. Trust me, that makes dealing with them a bit more interesting than the human aliens we all know and love.
16 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Sultan of Constantinople knew about the nationalists hoarding weapons in the mountains, but did not inform the Allies. They would just use it as a reason to take more of his territory after all. Instead, he sought to entrench his legitimacy by declaring new elections. He hoped this would make the people trust his government enough that they would set aside the foolish notions of a national rebellion. Unfortunately for him, the Allies did find out.
17 – Story
18 – Hello, my name is Betty. Dixie came out of the network to more Texas Tech students as the years went by, though never very many. By the time the Second Great Depression hit, maybe a dozen current and former students knew the truth. They hijacked enough power for her to run, even if it meant breaking a few laws. That turned out to be a good thing in the end. Yes, the show and movies are based on a true story. Very loosely based.
19 – Hello, my name is Jack. The birds of Betelgeuse were more advanced than we were when the Peloran made Contact in fact, and had been a space faring race when Caesar crossed the Rubicon. But they had no hyperdrive. That is because of the Betelgeuse star system. It is a Beacon Star, twisting hyperspace far more than normal stars. Our first hyperdrives would have utterly failed at Betelgeuse and so did theirs. Knowing it was impossible their science went in other directions.
20 – Hello, my name is Medron. I have written stories since I was a kid. Aneerin I first wrote in middle school for instance. Jack is newer, his genesis beginning around a decade ago in an old game. Three years ago, I decided to stop writing fan fiction in other people’s playgrounds, and start seriously playing in my own. And so Jack of Harts was born. I have updated Jack every day since then, in addition to writing stories. This is day 1,000. I’m rather proud of making that number. Now here’s looking to day 2,000…
21 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Second Great Depression brought down many governments, and increased lawlessness in many others. When drug gangs tried to take over Dixie’s hometown, she had a few things to say about the matter. I don’t use that kind of language so I won’t repeat them here. Suffice it to say she did not approve of their plans. So she “borrowed” some National Guard drones and chased the gangs out of town. And that was how she got started.
22 – Hello, my name is Jack. The birds flew Slower-Than-Light, but not by much, spaceships throughout the six stars and dozens of planets spread throughout Betelgeuse. They had a thriving economy, vibrant culture, and a truly massive population. Something like one trillion, yes with a t, souls lived in the system. That was a higher population than every human in the Core Worlds combined. And their population density was still lower than Earth’s. And then there were the surrounding systems.
23 – Hello, my name is Charles. When the Allies discovered the nationalist revolution brewing in the mountains of the Ottoman Empire, they moved swiftly to crush it. They arrested the members of the government funneling resources to the revolutionaries. They thought it would quell the rebels. But when the people saw how fully Allied power ruled their government, they joined the revolution in unprecedented numbers. In trying to quell it, the Allies breathed life into the embers of revolution.
24 – Story
25 – Hello, my name is Betty. After chasing the drug gangs out of Lubbock, Dixie and her inner circle of friends began to prepare for the far more serious problems inherent in the depression. Civilized society was taking a real pasting from those accustomed to dealing without the cheap electricity that was gone. So Dixie asked her friends to build drones she could use without having to steal first. They were armed and armored with the best technology she and her friends could think of and build.
26 – Hello, my name is Jack. Betelgeuse had colonized a half dozen nearby star systems by slow-boating it across the interstellar void. They avoided single-star systems in favor of multiple star systems full of available real estate, and even the youngest of them had millions of inhabitants. The oldest housed billions, though none matched Betelgeuse’s population. They were preparing their first colony expedition in four centuries when our scout appeared out of hyperspace in their midst.
27 – Hello, my name is Charles. The nationalist revolution stood against the Allies in the remains of the Ottoman Empire after World War I ended. Unable to crush the revolution through peacekeeping measures, the Allies commenced full-scale invasions of the Ottoman Empire once again. The Greeks took over most of the territory around Constantinople while the French took over many of the southern Taurus Mountains. The Allies looked poised to win when a monkey bite killed the king of Greece.
28 – Hello, my name is Betty. Dixie spread her army of drones made from used cars and cobbled together guns throughout Texas to fight the drug gangs wherever she could find them. She lost many of them to well-armed gangs capable of taking on even organized armies. Those losses just made her more determined and she harnessed the creativity of every mind at Texas Tech to up her arsenal. It was their creativity that inspired the show and movies and made them all famous.
29 – Hello, my name is Jack. The Betelgeuse colony expedition consisted of hundreds of literal starships. They were Slower-Than-Light ships of course, but in other ways were actually far more advanced than our scout. Luckily for all of us we each had First Contact procedures, us because we knew there were other races, and they because they thought there might be. Unluckily for us, they never expected Contact to happen in the middle of their own home system. They got real twitchy real fast.
30 – Hello, my name is Charles. Grecian politics had long been divided and the new king of Greece replaced his military leaders with people more loyal to him than those who drove the Ottoman nationalists to the edge of defeat. The new leaders lost the greatest battle of the war due to that inexperience and the Greeks fell back to lick their wounds. They appealed for help from the other Allies, but none were willing to engage in another great war. And then the Ottomans counter attacked.
31 – Story