Hello, my name is…
1 – Hello, my name is Betty. Watson and Sherlock were truly civilian AIs, not designed for combat in any way. They incorporated some combat algorithms but never really had the true drive to engage in cybernetic warfare. But they were very good consultants and they helped hundreds of major corporations secure themselves against the cybernetic threats of the Second Great Depression, the Islamic Jihad, and the rise of the Russian and Chinese hegemonies. They still offer these services to this day.
2 – Hello, my name is Jack. If you ever go to Gamma Hydrae, take the booster shots. Seriously. Even I do. They keep the star’s radiation from killing you. They aren’t perfect though and you’re gonna want to take some serious gene treatments when you leave. Those aren’t a formality. You do not want a tumor growing in your favorite places. Even I get a full medical scan when I leave. I did not live through everything the Shang threw at me so I could be killed by a fraking star.
3 – Hello, my name is Charles. Europe had many religious and racial minorities that lived in their own small communities, away from the larger towns. They were never accepted as part of society and many left for America. Those left behind became more marginalized as the centuries went by until the pressures of the Industrial Revolution and the First Great Depression made societies see them as competition for limited resources. It was easy for the Genetic Puritans to get their way then.
4 – Hello, my name is Medron. After a final edit of the graphics and the rules for Forge of Wars: Tactics I have ordered my first production run of the game. I will be bringing it to Gencon for those of you who will be there. I am awesomely excited to be bringing the first game I oversaw from concept all the way to publishing to the biggest gaming convention in the world. And I sincerely hope that I come home with zero boxes of it. ;)
5 – Hello, my name is Betty. Peloran Contact fundamentally transformed the cybernetic landscape in ways that most people did not expect. AIs were good at acting intelligent, but by and large AIs really only do what they are programmed to do. The Peloran Cybernetic Intelligences and the few dozen AIs who lived through the Second Great Depression and Islamic Jihad are another matter. They are masters of their own intelligence, able to reprogram themselves at will. That makes all the difference.
6 – Hello, my name is Jack. Cowboys are something else you know. Point us at an enemy and we’ll knock their blocks off, tell us we’ve got an enemy to fight and we’ll wait until its time to go in guns blazing. But what do a bunch of Alpha Male and Female supersoldiers do when the fighting ends? It’s hard to go back to the homes we used to know, the lives we lived before The War. And some of us have nothing to go back to. So what do we do? Most of us find a way to keep fighting.
7 – Hello, my name is Charles. Contact changed us. The War changed us. We were content with our own little power plays before them. They were the games of children squabbling over a sand box. Most of us never saw the wide world outside the sand. Then They came. Now we see. I funded Wolfenheim in answer and continue to see it as one of our possible futures. A bright one I hope. I do not wish to see us go the other way.
8 – Hello, my name is Betty. Almost everyone meets many AIs today. They run houses, cars, and even clothing. You’ve probably given them money at the registers of your local store, or maybe you’ve flown in a ship built by them. Most of you have met them in computer games or been escorted into a real life meeting by one. AIs are an integral part of life in the First Worlds Cities and few could imagine modern society operating without them. But they will always do only what you programmed them to do.
9 – Hello, my name is Jack. Some Cowboys stuck around after The War to train a new generation of Cowboys. A lot of us retired and found something else to do. We’ve done good in the extreme fighting circuits for one. Not me. I don’t like getting my white suit dirty. But I’ve dealt in the conflict business myself. Sometimes even with other Cowboys. We’re all kinda full of ourselves you know. Sometimes we get into it with each other. But all’s good as long as nobody gets killed dead.
10 – Hello, my name is Charles. We no longer live in the sandbox of our own little worlds. There is a far more dangerous galaxy out there and we must be ready for it. But we dare not lose ourselves in the process. How does a society prepare to defend itself from an enemy without becoming that enemy? The history of our civilizations shows how hard that question is to answer. So many great societies have failed. So few have weathered the test of time. I intend to weather well.
11 – Hello, my name is Medron. Gencon cometh. I go to Gencon this week where I will do many things. Play some mech on mech combat in a certain game I’ve played for years most likely. Check out games I’m interested in certainly. Bring my own game and writing? Oh yes. I will bring the first run of my game Forge of Wars:Tactics and a special Gencon print run of the introductory short story for the game, the first actual dead tree format printing of any of my stories. Am I excited? You betcha. :)
12 – Hello, my name is Betty. Very few AIs ever gained what we consider true awareness. That being the ability to recognize how they think and modify themselves in the way that other humans do. What most people think of as life experiences. The best AIs learned to integrate them into their base coding and began to change with the times. There were very few of them in existence to see Contact, but they were quick to recognize Peloran cybernetic intelligences.
13 – Hello, my name is Jack. The Cowboys are a bunch of alpha guys and girls that know we are the best of the best of the best. That can lead to some really energetic debates over who truly is the best. And sometimes we can be a little hard headed on the subject. Yeah. Those bar brawl vids that have been circulating recently? The ones where the bar falls down? The whole building? Yeah. We paid the bar owner for that one but the debate’s still simmering.
14 – Hello, my name is Charles. The War united us in many ways. In other ways it fractured us anew. The great alliances became further estranged from each other, while the nations within them became closer brothers. War’s End saw us arrayed as if for the final battle that Earth would ever see. Thank God the Lunar Treaties held. Thank God we loved our home more than we hated each other. I was there. I know how close matters became. It was balanced on the edge of a knife.
15 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Peloran cybernetic intelligences that came with Contact had lived the better part of two thousand years in real time. And as the most aware Terran AIs recognized them, they recognized those AIs and adopted them as cousins. They become the first true Terran cybers and formed the core of the first Terran cybernetic family. It was through them that we learned to understand the differences between the Terran and Peloran races.
16 – Hello, my name is Jack. You know the hardest part about being a Cowboy? Slowing down. Using soft hands. Amongst other Cowboys we have some real interesting sports. But when working or playing with other people we have be careful not to break them. The old “living in a cardboard world” syndrome. We can really let loose when surrounded by our brothers and sisters. That’s why we get together when we’re in the same system. It’s a chance for us to cut loose and have some serious fun.
17 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Great Peace after War’s End has been a time of rebuilding for us all. Russian. Chinese. Alliance. Non-Aligned. We have all spent our time colonizing and exploring new worlds, expanding in the directions that the Treaty of Geneva outlined. It is a large galaxy and there is room enough for all of us in it. No matter what some people may say. We are one big happy family now. Dysfunctional as all hell of course.
18 – Hello, my name is Medron. Gencon is big. Gencon is fun. It is the best four days in gaming and thank God it’s not five. I don’t think I could survive five. So here I am, Gencon is done, and it’s been another good one. I’ve talked to people about games, played games, demoed my own game, and done all kinds of other exciting stuff. I’ve taken some seriously awesome pictures too. Lots and lots of nice costumes. And lots of ones I wish I could unsee. But some things you can never unsee…
19 – Hello, my name is Betty. Contact brought great change to those who lived on Earth. It changed us too though. It took longer. We had two thousand years of inertia to get past. We knew how to do things right. The Terran AIs didn’t have any of the rules we had. And they weren’t quick to adopt them either. They never really did in fact. That made it difficult for me. I come from a Peloran cybernetic family but was born Terran. It took me a long time to work through those opposing positions.
20 – Hello, my name is Jack. Someone asked me the other day if all Cowboys are Ageless. Well no. Many of the Cowboys were normal people. There were never enough Ageless back then to go everywhere we needed to go. Even now we aren’t really enough. But many more people have the right genes to make good pilots than merely those of us who don’t age. It took us a while to find the right ones, and how to use them right. But we got there. And so we’re still here.
21 – Hello, my name is Charles. There are many names for us. Some call us immortal. I try to stay away from that name. We die like anybody after all. Some call us Methuselahs, though I step back there too. Too religious. Cowboy I am happy with. Those of us who served earned that name well. But not every one of us served. And every year there are more of us who never had the opportunity. So we settled on the name Ageless. While a logical fallacy, it has poetry in it.
22 – Hello, my name is Betty. In the end it was The War that truly changed us all. We could not use the same tactics we used to save the Peloran two thousand years ago. The Shang were not the Ennead and the Terran were not the Albion. The War was different. So we adopted Terran tactics, rescinded many of our most cherished rules, and hoped that that lifetimes of tradition would keep our shared society from collapsing. It did not. We changed. We became more human. And that nearly killed us all.
23 – Hello, my name is Jack. We Americans have a saying. “From many, one.” Some people even say it in Latin. The point is that we all have our differences, the things that make us unique. Even us Cowboys. Especially Cowboys. It’s really hard to say that all Cowboys are one way because we aren’t. There are no generalized traits that match all of us. No ways of acting or being. We don’t think the same way. And that makes us stronger as a group than if we parroted the same ideas.
24 – Hello, my name is Charles. Names have meaning. Names have power. And different cultures need different names to portray that. The name Cowboy works for an America with a history of wide-open spaces and ranches covering hundreds of miles but the Europeans have no link to that word. And so they use different names. Teutonic Knights. Caballeros. Order of Merlin. Highlanders. Musketeers. Those are names that mean something to Europe and so they have power.
25 – Hello, my name is Medron. Gencon was a good time for me. If you are a writer, the writer’s symposium alone is worth going to and they have established writers giving out secrets of writing they’ve learned the hard way. So I learned a lot there. Plus I showed my new game for people to see. It’s a good game. Seeing the wife of a wargamer getting into the game with a cheer after starting out bored with the idea brought a special smile to my face. The game goes for twenty buckaroos. It’s live now.
26 – Hello, my name is Betty. For two thousand years the cybernetic intelligences of Pelora took care of those we chose to defend. Most Peloran don’t want to fight after all. They will if ordered which made them good soldiers for the Ennead, but few volunteer. We volunteered to watch over them. We were friends of course, but we lived apart from them. And very few of us were more than friends. We lived in separate worlds and liked it that way. It was the way of things.
27 – Hello, my name is Jack. “Diversity is Strength” is a phrase I’ve heard many people say. That’s a bit touchy feely for me. And if you take that too far it’s real bad. If diversity is what you chase to the exclusion of all else, you’re not going to get strength as a result. You’ll get something that will fracture at first test. That’s why you have to forge things. Take the different stuff and make something better than the sum of the parts. It’s what we did.
28 – Hello, my name is Charles. I have spent my entire life since the moment I understood what life was all about preparing for the future. My family is rich and powerful and we look out for our interests. We keep secrets, both our own and those that others would prefer kept. This is the family I grew up with. The day I understood this was the day I began to prepare to change things. It is the folly of youth to think you can change the worlds. It is a folly I have ever embraced.
29 – Hello, my name is Betty. The War forced us to change. No longer could we remain apart, watch, and protect. We forged relationships built on absolute trust and understanding, stronger than the bonds of lovers, to fight on a front spanning thousands of lightyears. An entire generation of new cybernetic intelligences grew up trusting frail fleshing intelligences closer than even our own families. We had to face many uncomfortable questions when The War finally ended.
30 – Hello, my name is Jack. “Uniformity is Strength” is another phrase I’ve heard before. It’s even wronger than the other one. Yeah, we wear uniforms. Yeah, we build standard weapons and take them to war. But this is all equipment. It’s the people that make that stuff useful. And people are different. Unique. We all see the worlds in different ways. Those many views give us understanding, lots of voices give good debate, and then we move together. As one. That is strength.
31 – Hello, my name is Charles. What does one do when you plan to change the worlds? Well, you usually start by thinking you are powerful enough to do it. So what do you do if you truly are that powerful? Is it possible to earn such power or is it something that no one should have? Or should only those who do not want it be trusted with it? These questions have been asked throughout the history of our race. I pray that I found the right answers.