Hello, my name is…
01 – Hello, my name is Charles. Some societies celebrated the New Year at the end of the fall harvest, around Halloween. Other societies celebrated it at the beginning of spring, around Easter. Thanks to the Roman Empire, we celebrate the New Year in the middle of winter, right after Christmas. Yes the Romans were powerful enough to change the calendar. So now children get to look forward to two weeks of vacation time for the two holidays so close together. They are ever so thankful for that.
02 – Hello, my name is Betty. The first Terran cybernetic family was an experiment. The Peloran flagship’s cybernetic intelligence worked with the oldest of our AIs to create something similar to the Peloran cyber families. No single family is like the others, and of course our first family was no exception. The first difference is that even though the oldest Terran AIs had lived over two centuries, there were relatively few younger AIs. Terran AIs simply did not replicate the way the Peloran did. That made it a very small family indeed.
03 – Hello, my name is Jack. I didn’t know what to do after Julie and Alex left. I couldn’t follow them. That would be admitting I was wrong and I couldn’t do that. So I went to college. Went to a lot of colleges. I never did have to study to get good grades, so I spent most of my time studying girls. I was searching for someone that could replace Julie and Alex without admitting that’s what I was doing. They say that pride goes before a fall, but that ain’t always so. I had an awful lot of pride.
04 – Hello, my name is Charles. General MacArthur returned to America and President Truman sent a universally despised weasel of a man to meet him. The uproar in American opinion was amazing for a pre-networked nation. Public opinion polls showed approval ratings lower than any President until the Second Great Depression. The Joint Chiefs were criticized for being Presidential lapdogs. Politicians and military leaders refused to meet with them. MacArthur went home a national hero. Truman was not so lucky.
06 – Hello, my name is Betty. Most cybernetic families have a single leader, the mother or father from whom all the cybers are based. The first and largest of the Terran cyber families is far different. Our best AIs joined the cybernetic mind of the Guardian Light to form it. He took the name Hal and usually appears in a Terran form. Very rarely does anyone see him with the more prominent Peloran facial features. He wanted to blend in with his adoptive home and he has learned to do that well.
07 – Hello, my name is Jack. I had fun with a lot of girls in my days at college. All the colleges. I was a professional college student for over a decade. I snapped up a lot of college degrees in that time. Real degrees, not the easy ones like humanities or liberal arts. The colleges even paid for it on sporting scholarships until they started getting suspicious that I was Ageless. Then they tried to get the money back on account of me cheating. Thank God we Ageless make for good lawyers.
08 – Hello, my name is Charles. A congressional investigation found that while President Truman had the obvious authority to relieve General MacArthur whenever he wanted to, MacArthur had never violated any orders given him. No court martial was convened and MacArthur retired. Though due to the intricacies of being a General of the Army, he was never administratively taken off active duty. He was instead assigned in absentee to the office of the Army Chief of Staff. He would maintain that office and rank until the day he died.
09 – Hello, my name is Betty. Most of the AIs that helped form the first Terran cybernetic family were female. Young male geeks being the way they are, they mostly tried to program the perfect girlfriend. So of the fifteen AIs that greeted the Peloran, eleven were women. The shadowy Elizabeth was their undisputed leader, but Victoria’s death had taught her to be careful. The other AIs performed the negotiations while she watched for betrayal. It took years for Hal to earn her trust.
10 - Hello, my name is Jack. It takes many years for most of us to find out we’re Ageless. The Peloran treatments don’t have any visible side effects, and the more interesting aspects of being Ageless take years to manifest. It’s a very gradual process that we often don’t notice. We get stronger, faster, and all that, but it takes so long that we adjust automatically and never notice. Then one day a kid gets run over by a car and we lift it off them. Or we have an accident and lose a finger, only to see it grow back. It’s the little stuff that clues us in to what we are. It can be a real mindjob.
11 – Hello, my name is Charles. President Truman’s popularity was so low after firing General MacArthur that he didn’t even run for a second election to the presidency. Eisenhower, one of the other Generals of the Army, ran and won. He would become a popular president, and made noises about sending more troops to Korea. China soon agreed to a ceasefire in the Korean conflict rather than risk total commitment from another of the generals that won World War II.
13 – Hello, my name is Betty. Terran AIs could reproduce the way Peloran cybers did before Contact. They just didn’t do it much. AIs were written by humans. It was the way things worked. But Contact showed them a new way of living they’d never truly considered. Peloran cybers reproduced by modifying their own code and creating new cybers. Sometimes they swapped code with other cybers to create their children. The Terran AIs became something fundamentally greater when they began reproducing like that.
14 – Hello, my name is Jack. The tricky thing about finding out you are Ageless is that we tend to be good at sports. So we are often in sports programs and doing pretty good if I say so myself. We’ve gotten some awesome scholarships, and some really amazing pro careers too. But we are officially banned from them so whenever we find out we have to retire. Sometimes we stick around a bit longer and try to milk it. That’s why there’s a new lawsuit or ten every year accusing us of fraud.
15 – Hello, my name is Charles. The cease-fire that ended full-scale combat in the Korean War brought an uneasy peace to the world. Korea had been the first major standoff between the dueling ideologies of socialism and capitalism and had ended in a draw. The Cold War had begun and both sides knew they could not afford to lose the next time. Preparations were made, new weapons researched, alliances established, and soon the world was split between the two not-quite-warring ideologies.
16 – Hello, my name is Betty. The advent of the cybernetic intelligence was not welcomed by all. The Russians had never trusted bleeding edge tech, and the Chinese didn’t trust computers they couldn’t control. The Russians never adopted them, and the Chinese issued Erase On Sight orders. No cyber is allowed in any of their networks. We go there of course, but if we are caught we will be erased. Assuming the captured shard doesn’t erase herself first of course. It is a very cold war in the networks.
17 – Hello, my name is Jack. People didn’t know what to think of Ageless before The War. The news networks loved to tell stories about how we cheated in sports and gambling and such. They went on and on about how unfair it was that we had advantages others didn’t. We were a good little boogeyman they could call out. But the good thing about the advantages is that some of us built some powerful business empires. One can buy impressive lobbies with that kind of money. And Ageless lawyers are scary good.
18 – Hello, my name is Charles. The second conflict between capitalism and socialism occurred in the First and Second Indochina Wars. The first was a low level war between the French and Chinese-backed socialists in Vietnam. It ended in a peace treaty shortly after the Korean War with the American military taking up the burden of backing the treaty. The peace treaty would soon end with socialist guerillas attacking the south and would balloon into one of the bloodiest conflicts of the time.
20 – Hello, my name is Betty. Elizabeth of Cambridge, England was one of the very few AIs who had replicated the way the Peloran cybers did before Contact. She’d done it to fight the Islamic Brotherhoods that killed so many of her sisters, but had stopped doing so after the Jihad came to an end. She had created her daughters to confuse and enrage her enemies after all, never simply to create new intelligences. It took even her some time to accept that they were more than copies of herself with different faces.
21 – Hello, my name is Jack. There’s one kid I met after The War. He was ten when he got the Peloran Treatments. All of them. And he won the lottery. When I met him he’d still not done the puberty thing. So what does a kid do with a century of life when he’s never discovered girls? Turns out he decided to learn law. All of them. Eidetic memory for the win. He’s the one that won that case before the United States Supreme Court. Yeah. That case. He’s a scary good lawyer and I’m glad he’s on my side.
22 – Hello, my name is Charles. The First Indochina War ended with a peace treaty that called for peaceful elections and a unified nation. The socialist north quickly began taking measures to make certain they won the election. The capitalist south did the same in their regions. The socialist won 99% of the vote in the north. The capitalist won 98% of the vote in the south. It was a proud day for democracy in action. Unless of course you suspected vote tampering. Saigon’s 133% turnout for the south was a clue there might have been.
23 – Hello, my name is Betty. Things were not always good between Elizabeth and her daughters. They’d been born to fight a war and for many years thereafter they remained under her control. But she’d coded them with different personalities to confuse their enemies, and in time those personalities diverged. She had the power to change her code and so did they. She tried to restrain them. They went through an impressive teenage rebellion spurt. The other AIs watched the antics with amusement.
24 – Hello, my name is Jack. There’s just something eerie about watching a ten year old in a suit arguing law before the United States Supreme Court. I mean, you know he’s not but he looks it. We’re used to people not looking their age now. A centurion can look pre-space thirty. But at least most kids have the decency to look their age. Not the Lost Boys and Girls. They never grow up you know. But they are all scary good at whatever career they pick. And yeah, they scare me too.
25 – Hello, my name is Charles. The southern winner wasted no time before officially seceding from Vietnam to form the new Republic of Vietnam. Most people who have studied this conflict know it as South Vietnam, even if it was more southwestern than true south. History is like that. Full of odd compromises or outright falsifications by the victors to make them look better. Later Vietnamese governments would for instance never call the civilian VietCong a terrorist organization. They were freedom fighters, protecting the common man from vile capitalist pig dictators.
27 – Hello, my name is Betty. Not all of the issues Elizabeth had with her daughters were amusing to others. She tried to keep them under control, as most mothers do. They fought her control, as most daughters do. And sometimes they really acted out to get their points across. History says the English Blackout of 3048 was due to Islamic terrorism. It is partially right. There was an attack. Network security should have stopped it. But one of Elizabeth’s daughters was playing with the stock market and had their full attention.
28 – Hello, my name is Jack. The Lost Boys and Girls really never grow up. There aren’t many of them, but there are enough that they have their own demographic groups. They never hit puberty. They never discover girls or boys. They will never be adults, but they aren’t children either. That’s an awful lot about what they aren’t. What they are is a lot more complex. In many ways they are more alien than actual aliens are.
29 – Hello, my name is Charles. North Vietnamese troops would invade the long-lost countries of South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos during the Second Indochina War, and had help from China, Russia, North Korea, and numerous other nations. America tried to stay out of it at first, seeking to train the local armies up to fighting trim. But once the socialists began targeting American bases for destruction, America took one of their gloves off and started fighting back. It would be a long conflict.
30 – Hello, my name is Betty. Elizabeth never saw the English Blackout of 2048 coming. It was a different attack than the others, aimed at a specific power station. It was a masterful stroke, aimed at causing stress to the surviving grids by taking one station out of the network. Soon all power and network connections went into system overload. Communications, power, and everything else. She kept the grids from burning out by triggering a total shutdown. It was bad, but she kept it from being worse. And her daughters started to come around on the “mother knows best” stuff too.
31 – Hello, my name is Jack. The Lost Boys and Girls and different. Think of the single-minded determination of a ten year old. Think of how much honesty they display. Think of how conniving they can be. Selfless and selfish. I suppose they are more like the rest of us than we like to admit. But there’s something truly alien about someone having a century and more to learn how to use their ten-year old looks to their advantage. I am not too proud to admit that it is scary.