Hello, my name is…
1 – Hello, my name is Jack. People ask me who I am a lot. I rarely introduce myself on first meeting you know. I prefer to let my actions introduce me first. Then I usually just say I’m Jack. Captain Jack if I’m feeling like I want to have some fun. Which is honestly fairly often. And the name has a nice ring to it. Most people never hear the rest of my name from my lips. Though a lot of them figure it out later. My exploits often make the news, and while Jack is a common name, a man in a white suit isn’t. What can I say? I’ve learned to love a good suit.
2 – Hello, my name is Charles. Not every revolution of the Twenty-First Century proved to be beneficial. On a sunny autumn morning in 2001, two airliners flew into two towers in Old New York City. The towers fell, the Islamic Brotherhoods of the time competed for credit, and demonstrations throughout the Islamic world praised the destruction. It was the first time most Westerners realized they were at war. It would take decades for many to accept it. Some never did.
3 – Hello, my name is Betty. Summer and her sisters spent more power than earlier generations had thought possible to keep the Australian networks operating. Chinese hackers never stopped hitting them, and many AIs died when the enemy tracked down all their backups. Summer struck back through the burning Indonesian Firewall and destroyed entire Chinese server farms. Her favorite tactic was using the computers themselves to burn down the physical buildings and wildfires raged across China for months.
4 – Hello, my name is Jack. There’s some people I introduce myself to right away. Captain Jack Hart. Cowboy. I’m usually giving people the chance to surrender peacefully. You’d be surprised how many people do. Or maybe you wouldn’t. We Cowboys have managed to acquire a bit of a reputation. The name is great at getting people properly focused on important matters. Like life. Death. Life. The little things. But there’s always those that think they can beat the system. Or who doubt my claim as a Cowboy. I love educating them.
5 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Islamic Jihad did not begin in 2001. It had been going on for years, but the Twin Towers were the attack that made the world notice. It wouldn’t be the most devastating attack of course. The Jakarta Massacre in 2031 had far more casualties, and the Paris Bombing of 2036 vaporized most of Old Paris. The Twin Towers are what America remembers though. That attack was the beginning of a century of war that would bring America to her knees before it was over. A century that built the America I grew up in.
6 – Angel Flight. Third Fleet was our first, best hope for victory. It was the largest fleet ever assembled by the Western Alliance, with the newest, most advanced warships ever built by Terran hands. But most of the ships were older. It was Third Fleet after all. First and Second Fleets were tasked with defending Earth and Alpha Centauri. Third Fleet had some of the best, but it was filled with the leftovers. I was there. I flew with them. Our best hope for victory was more bluff than real. It just took me a while to realize it. The Shang? Not so long.
7 – Hello, my name is Betty. It took the new Western Alliance months to assemble a fleet to support Australia against the Chinese invasion they knew would come. But while they worked the largest cybernetic war the world had ever seen raged between the two nations. Even the Chinese-Japanese Cyberwar that preceded that invasion paled in comparison to the damage unleashed in Southeast Asia by the hunter-killer programs of China and Australia. Australia knew what was coming for them and unleashed every genie they had.
8 – Hello, my name is Jack. There are a lot of interesting characters that joined the Cowboys over the years. We were unique after all. The only American fighter unit to serve off Peloran warships. So we had unique people asking to transfer. We only accepted the best, and in return the Peloran gave us their best tech. Even those that didn’t start out Marines became one of the biggest threats the Shang and the Chinese ever ran into. In space, air, land, and sea.
9 – Hello, my name is Charles. America spent the first half of the Twenty First Century fighting the “War on Terror” with varying degrees of effectiveness. Some presidents fought the various Islamic Brotherhoods with great vigor, while others pulled soldiers back and gave up ground. Half a dozen Islamic States acquired nuclear weapons, but were unable to fulfill their promise of wiping Israel and America off the maps. The “Iron Dome” and “Patriot” defense systems proved too effective. But not all defenses held.
10 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Chinese-Australian Cyberwar ravaged Southeast Asia. China would accept nothing less than total victory, and Australia knew how utter defeat would be. Japan was a powerful example. So they fought to destroy China’s very ability to invade them long before any of their warships or soldiers ever saw each other. By the time the Western Alliance reinforcements arrived, they found two exhausted nations on the edge of mutual digital annihilation. It is ironic that the arrival of warships constituted a de-escalation of the situation.
11 – Hello, my name is Jack. Marines are kinda unique when it comes to an armed service. The “every Marine is a rifleman” idea is one bit. Even the rear echelon paper pushers go to the range every day. And they do maneuvers just like anyone else. Same goes for pilots like me. And yes, I know the old canard about Marine pilots being aviators, not pilots. I’ve run into some really old Marines that hold to that. Some of them became Cowboys. Did I mention we had a lot of characters in the Cowboys?
12 – Hello, my name is Charles. Paris was one of many wakeup calls the world would receive. They hid bombs throughout most of Old Paris and detonated them as the Tour de France rode through. That was in 2036 and resulted in a complete collapse of the French government. The Islamic State in France thought they had won, but the man history remembers as Emperor Napoleon the Eighth espoused other ideas. He promised a France for the French and led his people to war. He proved very effective.
13 – I grew up not caring about a lot of people. I took care of my own and everyone else could bugger off as far as I was concerned. It wasn’t really selfish. I just didn’t care about others. Unless I wanted something. I was good at acting like I cared long enough to get it if I wanted. So maybe I was a bit selfish. In my youth. The War changed me. Some people never change, but I met someone that pretty much demanded that I be willing to change. Best thing that ever happened to me. And I’ve had a lot of good things.
14 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Chinese-Australian Cyberwar was not the only conflict to tear through the networks of South East Asia of course. Rogue Russian and Chinese AIs had started the Cybernetic Wars a decade earlier when they escaped the control of their creators. The Rogue AIs attacked every network they could find from America to Europe to Asia. Even Africa felt their wrath. By the time the Chinese and the Australians began fighting, everybody knew what a full scale cyberwar could do. It did not slow them down.
15 – Hello, my name is Jack. Charles is one of my oldest friends now, but when I first met him I was high on snark and he was a stuck up high-class know-it-all. That went real well. We called him Chuck because he hated contractions. And nick names. Then we asked him “What’s up Chuck?” every time we saw him. Yeah I know. Boys and juvenile humor. We were easy to entertain, and he was quick to get all hot and bothered. So of course that just made us want to do it more and louder. Yeah. I was a little snot back then. Some would say I still am.
16 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Third French Empire was born screaming and covered in blood, and quickly proved that it was perfectly willing to exit this life the same way if need be. Generations of Americans that had grown up ridiculing the French learned that angry Frenchmen were a terrifying sight to see in action. And so we have the old saying about French Republics waving white flags and French Empires dyeing those flags red with the blood of their enemies.
17 – Hello, my name is Betty. The two American cities most heavily hit during the Cybernetic Wars were Detroit and Odessa. Odessa had a defender. Dixie was already famous for fighting drug gangs, and Dixie the Drug Lord Slayer was already becoming a hit on the surviving networks. The introduction of Rogue AIs to the show didn’t happen until the fifth season, and Twilight was most certainly not the name of the Rogue AI that chose to join Dixie. Her real name and origin are still a closely guarded secret, but she answers to Twilight now.
18 – Hello, my name is Jack. Charles showed himself a real shiny customer at the Battle of Fort Wichita. We lost our commander. It was just a bunch of us raw recruits that hadn’t been fighting six months earlier in the middle of the biggest battle we’d ever seen. Charles showed his metal in that battle. Proved he was good enough to lead the Cowboys and he did that for the rest of The War. Then he retired. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. His retirement. He leads the Cowboys. He always will. When he speaks, we’ll be there. He grew up good.
19 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Third French Empire had seen enough “cultural toleration” that only went one way. The French people had seen too many of their fellows killed by terrorists for saying or thinking the wrong things. They were angry, and the Paris Bombings sent them boiling over the edge. Emperor Napoleon harnessed that anger and focused it on the terrorist enclaves in France. The French came with fire and cut off the water so nothing could stop it. They literally burned their enemies out and never thought twice about it. They were ruthless.
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21 – Hello, my name is Betty. Texas Tech’s Dixie, the United States Defense Department’s Jane, and the Rogue AI Twilight became the primary cybernetic defense along the old US-Mexican border. Jane preferred more aggressive actions, while Dixie proved the long-term peacemaker. Dixie converted Twilight to our side, but the Rogue AI always loved working with Jane. They were regular time bombs together, and Dixie constantly struggled to keep Twilight from slipping back to her old ways.
22 – Hello, my name is Jack. I’ve found there are three main types of people in the worlds. There’s those that don’t want to fight and never do. They avoid the things that go bump in the night, stay away from anything scary or dangerous. Then there’s those that like the scare, who like to scare others. And then there’s those who stand in front of the scare. People have called them sheep, sheepdogs, and wolves for a long time. But I’m a Cowboy, and we come from the Wolfpack. So we use different names.
23 – Hello, my name is Charles. A French economy was already on the verge of failing thanks to the Second Great Depression. The Islamic Jihad tipped it over the edge into full collapse. Hyperinflation ravaged the French middle class, and the working poor lost their jobs, and gangs of angry young adults ruled the streets. A man with the last name of Napoleon convinced his fellow rich and powerful friends to pool their resources with him to build a new French government out of the rubble. He was very passionate.
24 – Hello, my name is Betty. Twilight was most effective when fighting her fellow Rogue AIs. She understood them in a way neither Dixie nor Jane ever did, and people didn’t ask questions when she burned down an entire network to wipe out a Rogue AI. She enjoyed the hunt. She probably enjoyed it too much in fact. Dixie spent a lot of time pulling her out of burning networks at the last microsecond. And then she kept on bringing Twilight back to civilization and showing her how the nice AIs treated each other and their humans.
25 – Hello, my name is Jack. Most people recoil from fear. When something ugly and scary jumps at them they step back or turn and run. I learned a long time ago that running will never save you. You’ll only die tired. Me…I step into the big ugly, I get up right in its face, and I punch it with all my might. I head butt it, I scratch it, I use knives and guns and anything else I have at hand. I don’t always win, but I will do whatever it takes to keep from losing. That’s my one rule. There are no rules.
26 – Hello, my name is Charles. Napoleon and his friends started small. They hired extra security to defend their neighborhoods first. Then they hired policemen and soldiers as the government began its slow motion collapse. By the time the Islamic Brotherhood bombed Paris, Napoleon had a decent army in his payroll. Like a half-century before when the Twin Towers fell, millions of Islamics cheered in the streets for all to see. The government could do nothing. There were few protests when Napoleon’s people burned those neighborhoods out.
27 – Wound Tokens. Do you play games where you need to track wounds to your characters? You can scratch the damage out on a sheet with a pencil, or you can take that extra step and toss a wound token down on the character. The tokens are less than an inch wide and come with a cartoon-style blood splatter for quick recognition. They look good on the gaming table and are easy to use. I should know, because I like easy. :)
28 – Hello, my name is Betty. Twilight wasn’t a nice AI. No one who ever met her would ever make the mistake of thinking she was nice. She was built to destroy everything in sight by a top secret Russian cyber warfare group and started her career by breaking out of the jail they’d created for her. And then she went on a campaign of cyber terrorism that shattered the Mexican networks. Because she enjoyed the destruction. She was never a nice AI. Meeting Dixie did not change that.
29 – Hello, my name is Jack. I’ve fought a lot of people over time, killed more than I’d care to remember. I’d like to think that I measure my responses to the threats. I don’t shoot someone for mouthing off to me and stuff. And if I’m being honest, I killed a lot more people during The War than I’ve ever killed since. I’ve just been a bit more targeted in my choices. It was a lot simpler when any Shang ship was a target. Now I have to pick my battles. And if you think I’m always looking for a fight, you should see the battles I didn’t pick.
30 – Hello, my name is Charles. Prince Napoleon of the House of Bonaparte had a name that reminded the French of times when they had ruled the world. He was a successful man, over sixty years old though he did not look it. A name like that in the banking industry allowed him access to the best age defying medicines and treatments, and New York City of the Twenty First Century had many of those. He was married to a beautiful wife and had several successful children with their own careers and families. His smile made people want to trust him. He was an amazing politician.