Hello, my name is…
01 – Welcome to the halfway point in the calendar year. I’ve had a busy year both in real life and with Jack of Harts. It’s been a good year, and for much of that I have those of you who purchase my stuff to thank for it. Now I have one question for all of you. What do you want? What things do you “make do” with a pencil scratching on a torn sheet of paper in your RPGs or wargames where a token or card or something else would make it all look better and more immersive to the gamers? What do you wish other companies would make for you to play with? What do you want?
02 – Hello, my name is Betty. Texas Tech’s principal had a plan during the Second Great Depression and the drug wars between America and Mexico. She had some understandings with the drug lords and had been doing her best to throw roadblocks up in the way of Dixie, the students, and the faculty as they fought the drug lords. Some of the roadblocks worked. But Dixie and her allies found their way around most of them. In the end, the drug lords demanded a permanent solution to the Dixie problem. They executed it on graduation day.
03 – Hello, my name is Jack. People sometimes ask me what kinds of other people I like the most. And I honestly answer that I love the kind of attractive young women that fall for my Jack of Harts routine. He’s fun and has gotten me a lot of first dates. I like playing him. And I like playing with those who like to play with him. But the girls that take him at face value and never look deeper? Those are the girls that never get a second date.
04 – Hello, my name is Charles. Many governments and people reacted badly when the Peloran made Contact. Some named them devils and refused to deal with them. Others thought they were angels or gods come to bring a new peace on Earth. And those who thought that aliens would have evolved completely different were mystified by the fact that the Peloran were just as human as we were. They have never answered that question either. They have only given us more questions in response. They can be most annoying.
05 – Hello, my name is Betty. Texas Tech’s principal wanted to retire to a private Caribbean island. The Mexican drug lords wanted to remove an annoying blockade to their operations on the old border between America and Mexico. So they came up with a plan to get everything they all wanted. The Mexican assassination squad slipped through the holes she created in the university’s security and made it to the graduation ceremony in time to kill every graduate and teacher in attendance. Dixie and Twilight had a few things to say about the whole matter of course, and they knew a lot of bad words in both American and Mexican. They also had a way with ruining the plans of others.
06 – Hello, my name is Jack. I meet a lot of people in my travels. I flirt with a lot of pretty girls. But its real rare I go any farther. I guess I got spoiled at an early age. They were smart, talented, amazing, and the brightest lights of my youth. And it’s real hard to find any joy in pale shadows when you’ve spent your life staring into sunslight. That’s a fancy way of saying that not many girls measure up to those two. People say when you’re in love that no one else can do that. Measure up to how you see your love. They’re right.
07 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Peloran have never told us why they look like us. They have only answered with more questions. Would we believe them if they told us that it was random chance, evolution following the same pathways? Or that they were the descendents of humans kidnapped by aliens? Or that we were one of their lost colony worlds? Or they created us? Or maybe someone else created all of us in His image? There are so many questions they give us. We have only ever received one answer from them. That it is not their place to tell us our place in the universe. It is up to us to find it.
08 – Starship minis on shapeways
09 – Hello, my name is Betty. Dixie and Twilight knew the face of every student and teacher at the Texas Tech graduation ceremony. They also knew every family member who also came. The visitors were the difficult part of the equation to secure, and the Mexican drug lords managed to slip several dozen armed men through the security holes created by the college principal. And that was when Texas Tech’s robotics department revealed their newest secret weapons against the drug lords.
10 – Hello, my name is Jack. I meet a lot of people in my line of business. Some of them are trustworthy. Some of them couldn’t tell the truth if you wrote it on the insides of their eyelids. But most people are mostly trustworthy. You can generally trust that they will tell the truth as they know it, as long as it doesn’t hurt them. The trick is in separating those who lie for fun from the rest. They are simply not good for business, and I’ve grown tired of their antics. And if there’s one thing I don’t need in my line of work, it is someone stirring up the pot for fun.
11 – Hello, my name is Charles. Some religions and governments collapsed when the Peloran made Contact. Others changed and adapted. The French did both. Some government officials pushed for their own private fiefdoms to have sole Contact, while others drafted regulations to outlaw the actions. Others walked a middle path, but the wild conflicting actions of the two extremes paralyzed the government and froze out even the private and public corporate interests. The French economy came to a grinding stop amidst the government corruption.
12 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Japanese had made giant strides in the realm of robotics during the half century before the Second Great Depression began. And they had shared their technology with their allies before the Chinese invaded. So when the Mexican drug lords sent men to shoot up Texas Tech, they ran into the same meat grinder that bled the Chinese army white. Autonomous robots under the command of advanced artificial intelligences. It was a fight for the history books.
13 – Hello, my name is Jack. I meet some good people in my travels. I meet some bad people. But most people are somewhere in between. Most people don’t want to hurt others, but are perfectly willing to lie or cheat if it will help them out of a tight spot. The little white lies don’t bother them since they aren’t meant to hurt anyone. They violate little laws every day, considering them annoying and pointless. But they are the first to call for new laws to protect or punish other people. I meet them but rarely do anything beyond the most mundane of business with them. My business is with others.
14 – Hello, my name is Charles. The government infighting following Peloran Contact froze the French economy. French corporations were losing billions of francs a day, and the economy was hemorrhaging people and businesses across every border. The House of Bonaparte had built up a consortium of the largest corporations by that time, and that entire fortune was at risk. They refused to hop the border in an attempt to save their fortune though. The House of Bonaparte was French after all. They would not sit still and watch their nation and fortune collapse because of a corrupt bureaucracy.
15 – Do you want Fantasy characters?
16 – Hello, my name is Betty. Texas Tech was not the first deployment of robots in combat. Many militaries had been sending them on support missions since the turn of the century, and steadily more autonomous robots swarmed over the ground and through the skies as the century went on. And then of course there was the doomed defense of the Japanese home islands from the Chinese invaders. Texas Tech was on a much smaller scale, but it had something the Japanese deployment lacked. Dixie and Twilight.
17 – Hello, my name is Jack. I love my job. I’m my own boss. I pick whatever jobs I want to do. Or whatever Betty picks. Usually what Betty picks if I’m being honest. She has a way of finding things that need doing. As it happens I usually enjoy doing it. There’s always bad people out there that need to be taught a lesson or two. Or three. Some of them are slow learners you know. And some of them end up being object lessons for others that don’t learn quite so slow.
18 – Hello, my name is Charles. The global chaos following Peloran Contact collapsed many economies and revitalized others. The arrival of the Shang and Roderan further complicated matters as they sought to make new trade and defense treaties. France became one failed government when corrupt politicians fought each other to profit from the new arrivals. Jean-Claude Pierre Charles Napoleon (the Ninth) of the House of Bonaparte had other ideas. He suspended the elected government and declared the Fourth French Empire open for business with any and all alien governments.
19 – Hello, my name is Betty. When the Mexican drug lords sent their people to attack Texas Tech, they may have penetrated campus security. And they may even have been able to find blind spots in the fixed defenses that made it difficult for automated systems to shoot them. But Dixie and Twilight had been working for months on robotic bodies that could move just as quick as their human friends and adversaries. The bodies were built to blend into the crowds, just two more college girls enjoying their graduation day. They were a complete surprise.
20 – Hello, my name is Jack. I’ve sorta been my own boss since Aneerin got all of us assigned to his task force. The Peloran are more warrior than soldier in the way they fight and think. When they aren’t snuggling up to the nearest tree of course. I remember Aneerin saying something about wanting people who could decide the best course of action and take it without him having to tell them. What can I say? I took to that like a duck to water. I love being my own boss.
21 – Hello, my name is Charles. When the new Napoleon suspended the French government, most people thought it was hilarious. No single man could take over just by saying he was going to, could he? But his claim was based on something his father said a century and a half before. The canny Napoleon VIII did not technically step down as Emperor as most people had thought. He had officially raised a new elected government to represent him and then retired to a nice home overlooking a pretty river. Napoleon IX merely stated that the elected government no longer represented the House of Bonaparte and dissolved it. It was not truly that simple of course.
22 – Roleplay. Everybody must take time for serious games. Some people play video games. Others play board games. Some play war games. Some don uniforms and use simulated ammunition to shoot each other. Some slip into far older leathers and metal armor to do battle with evil magicians or monsters out of legends. Here we have five Cowboys doing precisely that, and rest assured there are many more where they come from. And if you wish, I could make some specifically for you.
23 – Hello, my name is Betty. When the drug gangs opened fire on Texas Tech’s graduating class, they brought cameras with live net connections to make certain their message went viral all over the world. So when the two little blonde cheerleaders whipped guns out of nowhere and returned fire, everyone with a working connection saw it. Dixie and Twilight took hundreds of hits from automatic weapons fire. Bullets and explosions tore off their clothes and skin. They didn’t even look human after the fight was over. But they won, and that made all the difference.
24 – Hello, my name is Jack. There are some serious drawbacks to the Peloran warrior ethos. They are seriously capable at lone or small unit actions. Never underestimate what several Peloran brothers or sisters can do together. But they don’t do large unit actions much. And that goes to space ships too. I’ve almost never seen more than ten Peloran starships fighting together. Charles wrote a whole thesis on it. Apex Warrior Syndrome. The short version is when you’re the best, there’s no one that forces you to work together to win. The Peloran are the best.
25 – Hello, my name is Charles. There were many protests when Napoleon IX suspended the elected government. Parliament and the Councils continued to meet and stood in solidarity against Napoleon. The President and Prime Minister called Napoleon a figment of the past who had no right to the power he claimed. Napoleon responded by reminding the French that even the arrogant English had once been a backwater to the vaunted French nation. He said he had a dream of France reliving that figment of the past and his audiences roared in approval.
26 – Hello, my name is Betty. Many Texas Tech students died the day the drug gangs attacked. But Dixie and Twilight saved many more in brutal living color on the live net broadcast. When it was all over, they apologized for their damaged appearance and walked away, leaving holographic avatars of their chosen looks for all to see. They comforted the wounded, mourned over the dead, and did all the other things that real people do. And they were hot robot girls with guns. They became instant net celebrities.
27 – Hello, my name is Jack. The Cowboys have become more Peloran than Terran in many ways over the years. We learned how to fight as a team during military training. Then as individuals under Peloran command. Now we go all over the place on our own or in duos. We don’t team up much. Rarely get the bands back together. I miss that. But I’d be lying if I said I looked forward to seeing a threat that needed all of us to fight it. I’m happy to get together just for reunions.
28 – Hello, my name is Charles. When Napoleon VIII stepped down, he gave himself and his descendents the power to suspend the elected government at their wish. But he was canny enough to know that politicians may decide not to step down just because he said so. And he did not want to have to use armed force to back up his dictate if he was ignored. He therefore built an insurance policy into the new French Constitution. It allowed the reigning head of the House of Bonaparte to call for an immediate resolution of no confidence, voted on by the people of France on the second Sunday following the call. If a fifty percent plus one majority passed the resolution, it initiated new elections for all government positions. Including the Presidency.
29 – Roleplaying. Jack likes to roleplay as a Rogue when he games. Of course there’s some that might suggest he rarely hides the inner Rogue in real life. Such people are obviously jealous of Jack, because he has no idea what they are talking about. He is a perfectly respectable man of business after all…and if any of his business happens to result in some fat cat misplacing his well-stolen gains, that is entirely the result of Karma. Jack had nothing to do with it…Pinky swear.
30 – Hello, my name is Betty. Dixie had been the darling of Texas Tech before the attack. She was a virtual cheerleader that everybody saw at every game. She was the science project that decades of computer technicians in training had worked on. Her holographic form was designed to represent everything about the college. Brown hair, brown eyes, brown skin, she looked like any student at the school. She was bubbly, bouncy, and friendly, exactly what every school wanted in a star cheerleader. The entire world knew her after the attack.