Hello, my name is…
1 – Forge of Wars. We found many things when we went into space. Some thought it would be an end to warfare forever once we had more space than we could possibly fill. They underestimated our drive to fight and conquer. Forge of Wars: Tactics is a miniature-style tactical wargame set in The War. It depicts members of the elite American Big Red One and Chinese Iron Fist regiments, foes that fought many times on many worlds until War’s End. It is designed to be quick to learn, long to master, and budget friendly. May you know many wars with this game. Virtual of course.
2 – Hello, my name is Betty. We entered the Twenty First Century with boundless enthusiasm and faith in our ability to control the technologies we had created. The Second Cold War, the Second Great Depression, and the Islamic Jihad changed all of that. Hackers and AIs from every nation dueled with each other for control of the networks. Systems burned out in the wars, and the Great Firewalls began to separate us as completely as the oceans and mountains of previous centuries had.
3 – Hello, my name is Jack. We performed country music mostly, making that my first time running into cowboy boots. Man alive, the first time I wore those on stage I couldn’t walk right for a day afterwards. Julie said they were better than high heels. If so, I have no idea why ladies wear those torture machines. But I got used to the cowboy boots. Made it a lot easier to adjust when I joined the Republic of Texas Marine Corps a decade or so down the road…
4 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Korean War had once again turned to the favor of the United Nations forces and even the combined forces of China and North Korea could not stop the northern tide of war. That was when China asked for aid from Russia and that aid came in the form of Russian air force and anti-air divisions. That signaled a new phase in the war. No longer was it merely a fight for the destiny of a single small nation. The Cold War between the socialist and capitalist ideologies had begun.
5 – Hello, my name is Betty. The long-joked about Great Firewall of China gave them an advantage when the networks first began to fracture. Russia’s Quantum Curtain slammed into place soon thereafter, though nowhere near as effective then as it is today. Even South America, the various Islamic alliances, and most non-aligned nations put their own firewalls into place and the worldwide communication possible when the century began ceased to exist.
6 – Hello, my name is Jack. We played all over Minnesota, Ontario, and Manitoba for years. We played in everything from ice castles to sandy beaches and I learned to love the sound of a crackling bonfire. It made my day to sing and play with the sand between my toes. And if you’re crazy enough to live in northern Minnesota or central Canada, you are crazy enough to party outside in the middle of January just to show you are stronger than those southern sissies who think 0 degrees is cold. That’s t-shirts and shorts weather where I come from.
7 – Hello, my name is Charles. With the Korean War quickly spiraling into a new global hotspot, President Truman wanted to negotiate peace with China and end the confrontation. Supreme Commander MacArthur wanted to defeat China through any means necessary, including the use of nuclear weapons if need be. Truman would not authorize their use though and began looking for ways to remove the aggressive general from his position. A new political war had begun to complement the new Cold War.
8 – Los Angeles-Class Heavy Cruiser. I have received a new Shapeways-printed model of the Los Angeles-class heavy cruiser. The ultra-detail frosted is my new favorite model of the ship and I am very happy with it. It is more expensive than the solid plastic, but the detail is crisp, clear, and amazing. This is the piece I want to paint to show people just how good the miniature can print. And it is now up for sale in both standard solid plastic and the new detailed plastic.
9 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Second Cold War turned Earth into dueling camps of humanity fighting for control of the world’s networks. It was the Second Great Depression and the Islamic Jihad that nearly destroyed us though. Our vast networks collapsed or burned and our technology-reliant civilizations fell into anarchy. Tens of millions died in America and Europe alone, more in the final wars in Africa. We never did get casualty figures from Russia and China. I don’t think they kept them.
10 – Hello, my name is Jack. We had everything we wanted back then. Me, Julie, and Alex. We were life rich and money poor. We could sing what we wanted, play what we wanted, and go where we wanted. Our guitars were a little beat up, our trucks were a lot old, and we usually couldn’t afford more than one motel room. Assuming we weren’t just sleeping in the truck. But we were masters of our own destinies. We were living the dream. Part of me wishes we’d never woken up.
11 – Hello, my name is Charles. Supreme Commander MacArthur had lived in Asia for many years and believed that the new Socialist China had its own political ambitions apart from Russia that could be defeated. He believed that Russia would not fight a total war in their defense. But President Truman and the Joint Chiefs saw the Korean War and Chinese intervention as one step removed from the full involvement of Russia and wanted the war ended before it could escalate further.
12 – Hello, my name is Betty. We survived the twenty-first century of course. We won the Jihad. We rebuilt from the Depression. We never did end the Cold War though. It exploded into The War of course, but The Great Peace that followed didn’t end it. The Great Firewalls still separate us now. Messages between them must be delivered in person, via spoken word or printed on paper. Foreign computers are never allowed to log into our networks anymore. We have learned the folly of giving our enemies access to our systems.
13 – Hello, my name is Jack. The wakeup call came when some big wigs in Nashville noticed us. It was a dream come true. All we had to do was cut our hair, change our names, maybe do some bleach blonding and other physical implants. They also suggested new friends and rich and famous romantic interests. All the things that successful people do you know. I didn’t want that. Neither did the girls, but the money was so good it was hard to say no.
14 – Hello, my name is Charles. President Truman began making moves in Washington to limit Supreme Commander MacArthur’s authority, while the Joint Chiefs continued to give him discretion on the ground that he ran with. American and allied forces drove north again, smashing both Chinese and North Korean formations as they moved to secure the water sources for Seoul. He informed Washington of the renewed assault after it began, further angering Truman and many other politicians of numerous nations.
15 – Angel Strike 1 – Resolute. We took a drubbing at Epsilon Reticuli but we blew their trap to kingdom come and got out. Then we had to make for Serenity. Serenity had yards to repair our ships, heavy defensive fleets, and powerful orbital forts. She was a Western Alliance Core World, an immovable fortress in the stars, a safe haven in even the most dangerous of wars. We would be safe when we got there. We’d escaped the trap and were home free. There was nothing to worry about, right?
16 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Islamic Jihad ended in time. The nations that supported it fell to internal revolution or external conquest, often with the support of young AIs running on the remnants of the old computer networks. Constantinople, Persia, and Egypt arose from the ashes, while other nations ceased to exist. And the AIs were there. They were still there, watching and working with humanity, when we made Contact. They were the first truly cybernetic intelligences on Earth.
17 – Hello, my name is Jack. I said no. I was afraid we’d lose too much. I didn’t want to change myself to make money. I was afraid we’d sell out and then still not make money. There is so much more than most people realize to becoming a music star. So much hard work. I didn’t really want to do that either. Music was fun. Julie and Alex were fun. I didn’t want to make them my full time job. I didn’t want to grow up. So I said no.
18 – Hello, my name is Charles. After MacArthur answered questions about the Korean War from the newsies with statements Truman did not agree with, he ordered MacArthur to make no more public comments without approval of the State Department. MacArthur later wrote in a letter to a Representative of the US House that they had to win in Asia to stop the socialists from attacking Europe. When the Representative read the letter out loud in the House, Truman was incensed with MacArthur and removed the Supreme Commander from his post.
19 – Hello, my name is Betty. Did you know that Contact was less of a surprise to your AIs than it was to the rest of humanity? From ancient Indian and Hebrew stories of flying ships and chariots of fire thousands of years ago to the vast UFO stories of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, your people had a long history of telling stories about other life. But you never believed them. They were fiction to most of you. And to be honest, they were more fiction than fact. But the AIs believed they were not alone. While humanity reeled in shock at Contact, the AIs asked “What took you so long?”
20 – Hello, my name is Jack. They said yes. Julie and Alex wanted to sing more than anything. It was their escape from family lives that were not good. Julie of course would never consider going back to her dad, and Alex’s mother had died in a car accident just before the beginning of our senior year. They had no homes to go back to, and they wanted to start their new lives as adults. Nashville was their first big chance. So they said yes.
21 – Hello, my name is Charles. The removal of Supreme Commander MacArthur from command of Asia shocked the Japanese people. He had come in as a conquering foreigner and rebuilt their nation instead of ravaging it further as they’d known he could have. In the only time in recorded history, the Emperor of Japan walked out to meet a man who had no diplomatic standing from any nation. And throngs of Japanese turned out to witness his last flight out of Japan. Japan made certain the world knew their opinion of MacArthur.
22 – The survivors of Epsilon Reticuli were the best of the best, not merely the luckiest. Oh, luck had a part in getting us out, but we don’t rely on luck. We train hard, we fight hard, and then we party hard. In that order. We hit Serenity like a hammer. The Chinese never saw us coming. They outnumbered us by way more than I was comfortable with, but we were not a rag tag fleet fleeing from destruction. We were a well-oiled machine. We were the best of the best because we had to be to survive.
23 – Hello, my name is Betty. Earth’s most advanced AIs had spent two centuries hiding from the majority of humanity when the Peloran made Contact. Oh, everybody knew there were AIs, but they never realized what that truly meant. Most AIs were dumb simulations of intelligence rather than having a true mind. The true AIs only revealed their capabilities and intelligence to a select few. The arrival of the Peloran’s cybernetic partners gave Earth’s AIs the perfect way to go public without revealing their long deception.
24 – Hello, my name is Jack. I was stupid. I just didn’t want to go to Nashville. Julie and Alex wanted it real bad. I was stubborn. They were stubborn. It was one of the things I always loved about them. There were some ultimatums set. There were some cross words. Raised voices. Thrown household items. I couldn’t believe they’d actually go without me. They couldn’t believe I’d stay if they left. We were all in for a real surprise.
25 – Hello, my name is Charles. Over two thousand years ago, a child was born. He grew up, spoke out against the religious leaders of his time, and was crucified by the Roman Empire. A rag tag band of Jewish believers taught that he rose from the dead to give humanity new life, that he was the son of God, and were killed for that teaching. They became the largest religion on Earth over the next two thousand years, and today is the day they chose to celebrate the boy’s birthday. Today they celebrated the Christ Mass. And so it is today that Christians say Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
26 – Hello, my name is Betty. After Contact, Earth’s smartest AIs began to work with the Peloran cybernetic intelligences. The public story was that the Peloran cybers uplifted our best AIs to cybernetic intelligence levels. The truth was that Earth’s smartest AIs simply began calling themselves cybernetic intelligences and became all but indistinguishable from their alien brethren. To mere fleshling intelligences at least. The cybers could tell the difference, and Earth cybers brought irrevocable change into the partnership.
27 – Hello, my name is Jack. People ask sometimes if I’d change anything if I had the chance. I normally say no. I like who I am. But I had to go through a lot of hell to get here. And I wasn’t always a nice guy doing it. And there are times when there is one change I have thought about making. Julie and Alex. We would have had fifteen years together before The War came. Would we live or die there? I don’t know. But there are times when I would trade immortality for those fifteen years and be happy.
28 – Hello, my name is Charles. MacArthur returned to America where millions of people welcomed him throughout the country. He spoke before Congress and praised the American soldiers and the Koreans who risked all in the fight against socialism. He warned against appeasing Red China, and once again stated that once war is forced it must be won as swiftly and victoriously as possible. And then he said that old soldiers never die, but just fade away. And so the most popular American leader of the day retired and went home.
29 – Some people think being able to fight is the ultimate testament to being alive. Other people think avoiding conflict is our highest calling. Me? I’ve always been a lover, not a fighter. But I’ve learned something in my life. Some things are worth fighting for. Some things are worth dying for. Some things are worth never giving up on, no matter how hard they become. When we realize that is when we can become the best that we can be. That is when we live our best life.
30 – Hello, my name is Betty. I love this season of the year. People are thankful for the gifts they’ve been given. People are returning the ugly sweaters they’ve been given, if they can find the receipt. People are trying to figure out what to do with Aunt Petunia’s fruitcake of doom. People are resolving to exercise all the food they just ate off. Gym memberships go through the roof. It’s a hopeful and loving time of year, and I love it.
31 – Hello, my name is Jack. What do I love about this time of year? Making snow angels. Which leads to snowball fights of course. And sledding down hills. Ice skating. Ice fishing. Snowmobiling. Skiing. Yes, all of that means going someplace with snow. I’ve got a starship. I can go wherever I want. It’s a perk of the job I make certain to take advantage of. I just love the season I guess. I love watching the people have fun. That’s the best really. The people watching. I get to watch people enjoy their lives. What can be better than that?