Hello, my name is…
1 – Hello, my name is Charles. Japan came out of World War I as a major power in the world. Industrially and technologically they were on the cusp of modern naval design and production. Their society balanced feudal and modern styles and the island nation marched into the future without compare. The operative word of course is “marched.” Japan was the preeminent power in Asia and intended to maintain that state of affairs. They were not gentle overlords.
2 – Hello, my name is Betty. Many people were afraid of what a computer would learn about humanity if it watched them. They feared it would see how bad we were. But while Amber saw the warts, she also saw that most people just wanted to live and be happy. She recognized the failures and learned to hope for the successes. And in time she found people willing to influence the results. She contacted them and watched over them as they did what she asked. They made a difference.
3 – Hello, my name is Jack. I’ve seen men that can survive in the vacuum of space. I’ve seen men that can live in the deepest darkest caves. I’ve seen men obviously designed to live on high-gee worlds, and I’ve seen people who lived inside the zero-gee environments of asteroids. I’ve seen people who should be in super hero comics, and some that should be in horror movies. But do the government schools teach about them? Oh no. They claim that more study is needed. Whatever.
4 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Japanese culture of the Twentieth Century was heavily rooted in the idea that the Japanese race was superior to all others. Even other Asians were less human than the Japanese, and so they knew without doubt that the world would bow to them in time. This bone-deep belief was bolstered as they watched the Europeans make the insane decision to release their hard-won conquests throughout the world. Japan saw that as a sign of weakness and chose to act on it.
5 – Hello, my name is Jack. Third Fleet was our best hope for victory. Epsilon Reticuli was the first step in our mission to end The War once and for all. Go in with overwhelming force and blow the dust bunnies out of anything the enemy had. My Cowboys were sent to support the fleet and to watch out for anything the enemy might throw at us. I honestly thought it would be a cakewalk. I mean, who would ever attack something the size of Third Fleet? That would be crazy…
6 – Hello, my name is Betty. When the Second Great Depression came and devastated the American economy, Amber did what she could to continue watching and alerting her agents. But between the general failure of the power grids and the fall of the international communications networks, she found her options limited. She soon joined the Great Pacific Firewall to gain access to its power reserves and network links, though most people thought she was just the program cover art. A very few knew better.
7 – Hello, my name is Jack. We didn’t colonize Canopus until after Contact. It is a long ways from Earth even now, and no colony expedition of the time could have made it through The Wall. Now it’s one of our Beacon Stars and a major trade hub in that area of space. It’s a nice world actually. Lots of oceans, lots of ocean-front property, and lots of white sandy beaches. And very temperate too. It is an amazing vacation destination.
8 – Hello, my name is Charles. While the Japanese were busy building a new empire and the Allies worked to disassemble other empires, the shattered husk of Germany labored under odious Allied sanctions. Required to pay reparations and give up vast tracks of resources, the German economy entered a period of hyperinflation as it proved unequal to the task. People lost faith in the government that could not keep them secure, and a new revolution began to build.
9 – Hello, my name is Betty. We established the Great Pacific Firewall to protect the remaining American computer networks from Chinese hackers. The fall of Japan and the Philippines shattered the firewall for a time, and the Kingdom of Hawaii became a highway for Chinese hackers. Amber arranged for some servers and generators to be “misplaced” on their Midway Islands, and they quickly became the heart of the new firewall. And that is why her firewall cover art wears a grass skirt.
10 – Hello, my name is Jack. Beyond the beaches of Canopus there are also vast fields that grow succulent foods. And of course they take special care to make the special stuff. There is a reason that Canopian brandies and wines are famous everywhere we have flown. Brandywine Spirits makes the best stuff, in my opinion, around a self-named lake and river large enough to generate its own microclimate. And during the brief winters, they make some delectable ice wines.
11 – Hello, my name is Charles. The German people were angry after World War I. They saw themselves as the victims of foreign powers and a government too weak to stand against them. A series of Socialist and Workers’ parties called for a change, and shouted for revolution when they thought the time was right to begin their march into history. Government forces crushed them with ease and imprisoned the leaders. I often wonder what history would look like if they had been executed instead.
12 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Battle of Epsilon Reticuli changed The War for us in many ways. It was not the destruction of so many ships that changed things. We had the industrial capacity to replace them. It was the psychological impact that made the difference. And my family was not immune. They made moves in reaction to the battle. I took advantage of the chaos my family created to empower my plans. And so Wolfenheim began to rise long before it ever left Alpha Centauri.
13 – Hello, my name is Betty. While Amber fought the Chinese hackers at Midway, she maintained a strong presence in the Continental Northwest. The coastal State governments were largely collapsing under debt and crime and those who lived in the mountains and forests looked out for themselves. Amber began to route supplies and information their way, from weapons to food to warnings of those who would threaten them. Both the supplies and the information went a long ways.
14 – Hello, my name is Jack. Canopus has a beautiful climate, amazing beaches, and worlds’ famous alcoholic beverages. You know what that means right? The parties are legen….wait for it….dary. Seriously. And I don’t mean they have a week of Spring Break parties and pack up. I mean year round, dusk to dusk, full on celebrations of anything. There’s a lot of good holidays in the countries that make up the Western Alliance. Canopus celebrates them all. Every single one.
15 – Hello, my name is Charles. As The War faded from the short memories of most people, they put aside the privations and rationing. Factories devoted to war machines turned their capacity to the civilian markets and there was suddenly no end to what we could build. Automobiles, telephones, cinemas, and electrical grids that would feed the appetites of nations spread everywhere. Jazz music exploded onto the scene and the flapper dresses took the world by storm. It was an amazing time to be alive.
16 – Hello, my name is Betty. People said that technology had no moral compass. It was the weakness of computers that they would do whatever they were told to do. But the Artificial Intelligences that developed in the Twenty First Century became that compass. They became the soul of the computer networks that spread throughout the world. And they did not follow orders without question. At least not the AIs built in the Western World. Not all AIs were so independent.
17 – Hello, my name is Jack. Now Canopus of course doesn’t have the same year as Earth. It doesn’t even have the same day. So they kinda play fast and loose with holidays, fitting them as close as possible to what Earth is celebrating at the moment on the closest Canopian day. Monday holidays are on the nearest Canopian Monday for instance. It can make for an interesting confluence of holidays, but it is a real wild ride. You might guess that I love the place. You would be right.
18 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Roaring Twenties gave once-backward America unmatched economic clout, and they used it to invest in destroyed economies. Humbled Germany accepted the loans and their economy rebounded. They paid their War Reparations to the Allies with ease, who turned around and repaid their War Debts to Washington. My family made a tidy profit in those years. And unlike many we kept it when the good times came to an end.
19 – Hello, my name is Jack. I don’t know what all they teach in schools now but we Americans lost a lot of ships in the initial Shang strikes. The British of course lost a lot of ships at Alpha Centauri. That left the Spanish Armada to shoulder the burden of major fleet actions while the rest of us rebuilt. That is why Third Fleet was built around them. And that is why Epsilon Reticuli was so important. We had to show that the Alliance could win and win big. The Shang did not cooperate.
20 – Hello, my name is Betty. Amber changed the politics of the mountains and forests of the West Coast States during the Second Great Depression. They were regions that enjoyed far different cultures than the coastal capitals, and they thrived with minimal support from her distribution network. She gave them weapons, ammunition, and spare parts they couldn’t manufacture on their own, and she sent operatives to keep watch over them. It was a powerful combination of people and resources.
21 – Hello, my name is Jack. For those of you who don’t pilot starships, all stars generate gravitic links through hyperspace with other nearby stars. We normally ride those rivers when traveling because they’re faster than going in open hyperspace. Beacon Stars generate more powerful links with stars further away that are faster to fly on than normal stars. Canopus is a Beacon Star. A powerful one. I’m talking Alpha Centauri-class here. That’s why we named a sector after it.
22 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Roaring Twenties of the Twentieth Century changed everything about America and most of the world too. Increasing prosperity brought about the rise of a powerful middle class that drove unprecedented economic growth. Talking radios and silent movies brought entire nations together. Sports heroes and movie stars became household names through the news reels. Cities built gigantic stadiums for their sports teams and palatial cinemas. It was a time of legends.
23 – Hello, my name is Betty. Amber’s resources and operatives helped many communities maintain cohesion when the rest of the West Coast fell into chaos. They banded together, formed their own local governments, and held things together. The largest concentration of linked communities was in southern Oregon and northern California where the people had more in common with each other than with the rest of their States. In time they began to call it the Jeffersonian Federation. The name stuck.
24 – Hello, my name is Jack. The Canopian Sector is a good place. Not as rich as the Pleiadian or Core Worlds Sectors of course, but what is? It’s a nice place though. A frontier sector where people go who want to get away from civilization while still having a link to it if they want something shiny. Laws are pretty basic in most places. No killing, no stealing, and stuff like that. A guy can do whatever he likes out there as long as he don’t frak with the wrong people.
25 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Roaring Twenties also brought women the right the vote in most Western countries. But all was not well. In a time of plenty, not everyone rose and the poor were easy marks for the great orators that preached Socialism and Racism. The Jews were taking their money. The Blacks were lazy. Whoever the others were, they had something that belonged to you. In an era of unprecedented wealth and opportunity, old hatreds burned hot and waited for the time to strike.
26 – Hello, my name is Charles. America has faced numerous conflicts in our history. From minor police actions to full-blown wars, our men and women have fought and bled and died for centuries. Those wearing the boots on the ground have always paid the greatest price. Some are buried in foreign soils where that was the only ground we ever took in exchange for our help. Others came home and rest in Arlington or thousands of other graveyards. They paid the price of your freedom. Remember them.
27 – Hello, my name is Betty. Introverted college students in their parents’ basements didn’t create all of the early AIs of course. Many were created by governments and designed to fight war for their nation of birth even if most never became truly adaptable AIs. Jane 3.0 was the most advanced American AI in the pre-Second Depression military and fought her Russian and Chinese counterparts for years. She died defending us from threats no one understood at the time. We remember her sacrifice.
28 – Hello, my name is Jack. Capella is one of those interesting systems I’ve been to many times, though most of those times I wished I hadn’t. It’s a major quaternary star system the Chinese snapped up before Contact and held one of their major fleet bases during The War. We raided it many times but never succeeded in capturing it. I was involved in some of those raids. It was a seriously hard nut to crack and we didn’t do nearly as much cracking as we’d hoped to.
29 – Hello, my name is Charles. In the midst of the Roaring Twenties something else arose in America. Prohibition was created through the union of social Conservatism and liberal Progressivism. Many Protestants supported it since they considered drinking a sin. Progressives backed the initiative to promote their ideals that the national government should improve society through government-sponsorship of programs or policies. Prohibition was their greatest achievement at the time.
30 – Hello, my name is Betty. Jane 3.0 made a lot of enemies during the years of her operation. They were very thorough when they finally tracked her down. It started with a power outage that forced her military base onto internal power. It was in the middle of a lightning storm so no one was suspicious. Then the bombs planted by contract workers went off and internal power died. And then the lightning commando attack. They killed everyone and shredded her servers. There were no survivors.
31 – Hello, my name is Jack. I’ve been to Capella since The War ended. The fastest routes to the Hyades go through Capella so we kinda have to fly through there. But it’s still a primary Chinese fleet base with all the security that comes with it. They’re not a big fan of visitors and “encourage” us to move along right quick. That’s brought on some interesting times in system. Not precisely “Oh God, oh God, we’re all going to die,” interesting, but certainly in line with the old Chinese curse.