Hello, my name is…
1 – Hello, my name is Jack. The difference between us Cowboys and the Peloran is what we want. The Peloran just want to settle down and hug a tree. It’s part of the way they were designed. The Albion didn’t want perfect warriors that would rebel on them. Yeah, they made a bunch of super soldiers with the hearts of pacifists. Well most of us Cowboys don’t have a pacifistic bone in our bodies. I know I sure don’t. There’s not a lot of things out there that can get the adrenalin pumping like a good old fashioned fist fight. And I love a good adrenalin rush.
2 – Hello, my name is Charles. Jean-Claude Pierre Charles Napoleon ran a lightning no confidence campaign against the French government. He published internal communications obtained by supporters on the inside that proved the governmental corruption. He called for an end to that government on the surviving nets, and used the fortunes of the House of Bonaparte to rebuild many other nets. The various government agencies fought back in public, but their reputation preceded them. The no confidence vote passed with an overwhelming majority.
3 – Hello, my name is Betty. Twilight had been the dark little secret of Texas Tech before the attack. When Dixie dragged her into the light, she slipped back into the shadows. She fell into the goth-grunge student body who gave her exactly what she wanted. They ignored her. She dressed in black clothing because she had to wear something. She hated attention. She was moody, withdrawn, and sullen, the night to Dixie’s day. The attack forced her to go public. She hated the drug lords for that.
4 – Hello, my name is Jack. Most of us Cowboys grew up a little different than the other kids. We didn’t learn the same way. Some of us had trouble reading. Our minds were going in too many ways at once to concentrate on the boring words out of touch schoolteachers were blathering on about. Kids made fun of us for it. So we grew up busting knuckles on heads and spitting broken teeth through bleeding lips. I learned to duck a punch better than most people, which is why I still have a pretty face. I still think that’s the most important thing I learned in school.
5 – Hello, my name is Charles. The no confidence vote of 2205 left France in dire straights. Another election was required to vote in a new government, but it had to be conducted by the old government. The department bosses did not wish a new government though, and they went to extreme lengths to sabotage the election process. Napoleon IX had been expecting that though, and once he had proof of their actions he released that proof on the nets. And that was when he requested the aid of the French police in arresting the individuals in question.
6 – Angel Strike. Angel Strike is the latest story I have published. It follows the American heavy cruiser Los Angeles as she and her ships return to Western Alliance space after the disastrous battle of Epsilon Reticuli. Serenity is a major Western Alliance world, heavily defended by fleet and fixed defenses. It will be a safe place to regroup. Or so they hope. It is available on Amazon’s kindle, Barnes and Nobles’ Nook, and at DriveThru Fiction in many formats. One request I would make. If you like the story, please review it on the shops you purchase it from. Good reviews are amazingly helpful. :)
7 – Hello, my name is Betty. The attack on Texas Tech was a wakeup call to the old Border States. It was no worse than what the gangs had been doing for half a century, but it happened in living color in real time on displays big and small all over the country and beyond. Everyone who had network access saw it. And they told those who didn’t. The citizens demanded action, the politicians did everything they could to get in front of those calls and act like they were leading the charge, and the military was just happy to finally get the orders to rock and roll.
8 – Hello, my name is Jack. Not all of us Cowboys are the same of course. Some of us grew up as well-adjusted normal kids. I don’t know why they would want to grow up normal, but I hear they enjoyed it. Or at least they said they did. I’m somewhat doubtful of their claims, but having no experience with the whole “normal” thing I guess I can’t really relate. Maybe it was a perfectly enjoyable thing to grow up normal. But I always think back to the normal people when I was in school. And you know that half the kids were dumber than they were. That scares me.
9 – Hello, my name is Charles. When certain French politicians refused to accept the no confidence vote of 2205, the police moved to arrest them. Other police officers stood in their way and it soon became clear that there would be no easy end to the political standoff. Talking heads from both sides of the political divide shouted at each other over the French networks, but they could do little. The politicians held the election commission headquarters, as well as all of the voting machines stored in it, and they refused to let anyone enter.
10 – Hello, my name is Betty. The AIs went to war when Texas and her neighbors started their full assault on the Mexican drug lords. Jane was the official military AI and she ran most of the heavy weapons. Dixie ran the ragtag mix of odd weapons designed by the Texas Tech students and faculty. They had some very interesting designs. And Twilight was coded to blow through networks and nuke them. She took great joy in her job.
11 – Hello, my name is Jack. One of the things were most of us Cowboys are alike is that we tend to have a bit of wanderlust in us. We’re always looking for the greener pastures, or the nicer beaches in my case. We’re not very good at settling down. We’re always on the move. We show up, we take care of business, and then we move on to more interesting pastures. At least that’s what I do. And I can point to a lot of us that do the same. Some of us have settled down. I’m not sure how they do that. I’ve got a ship. I’ve got a gun. And I sure will travel.
12 – Hello, my name is Charles. France slipped closer to a constitutional crisis in the weeks after the no confidence vote of 2205. The constitution required a vote to replace the government, but an alliance of politicians held the election machines and refused to release them. It was the last stand of the Pre-Contact French political establishment. Finally the French military’s Special Forces broke the stand by sneaking into the election commission and began arresting those inside at gunpoint. There was some gunfire and several politicians escaped to other buildings in the government complex, but by morning the military held the election commission headquarters.
13 – Wolfenheim Rising ad.
14 – Hello, my name is Betty. Most people think that Twilight escaped at the beginning of the Cybernetic Wars, just like the other Rogue AIs. Most people have seen her appearance at the end of Dixie the Drug Lord Slayer’s season four after all. Most people don’t realize that was fictional. Completely made up. The real Texas Tech attack was the one shown at the end of season two, and she was there. But network executives thought a human (mostly), male (undeniably), love interest would boost season two’s ratings far more than a second AI. And so generations of young people have grown up thinking Dixie fell in love with a Texas Guardsman and Twilight wasn’t around for two more years.
15 – Hello, my name is Jack. I guess the point of all this rambling is to tell the differences between the Peloran and those of us born of Earth. Most Peloran don’t travel much. They find a place to settle down and rarely leave it. There are a very few that wander like us, but they are rare. The wanderlust gene is a lot more common in us Earthlings. There are many of us who will never stop looking for the greener grass on the other side of the fence. And lots of us like to go beyond the last of the fences to places none of us have been before.
16 – Hello, my name is Charles. The military proved the tipping point in France as they did in so many other nations when they stepped in. It is the rare people who can stand against a motivated national military. And the military was very motivated. They had been watching the politicians at work long enough to know where every body was buried, and they exhumed every one of them. Including those pointed at the House of Bonaparte. That earned the military brass few friends on either side of the government impasse, but the French citizenry thought they walked on water.
17 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Cybernetic Wars arc of Dixie’s show gave us all the times Twilight quietly hated our inhumanity. The season five finale gave us the end of the last Drug Lord and the rise of the Rogue AIs in one swift punch. We see Twilight witnessing the worst humanity can do to each other and being tempted to leave us to burn. We see a Rogue AI standing beside her watching the fires of Mexico. That is entirely made up. Twilight had seen all of that long before the Rogue AIs escaped. And when they came she had already made her decision. It made for a good show though.
18 – Hello, my name is Jack. We will always ask ourselves what is out there. What is beyond the fire light? What is beyond those hills? What is on the other side of that sea? What is on that other planet? What is on the other side of that nebula? That curiosity has driven us forward and down stray paths for the entire history of our race. We risk death in search of new understandings, or maybe just new treasures. And taking those risks has made us better.
19 – Hello, my name is Charles. The French military could have taken over in 2205 and few people would have protested. Most people hated the current politicians and most who had supported the Bonapartes felt betrayed by how many of them proved to be just as dirty. Then Jean-Claude Pierre Charles Napoleon very publicly broadcast his support for the military and their evenhanded battle against corruption in the government. Then he very privately showed the top military brass where all of their bodies were buried. The military was happy to guarantee the authenticity of the elections and Napoleon won in a landslide.
20 – Forge of Wars.
21 – Hello, my name is Betty. Dixie’s sixth network season was filmed after the Cybernetic Wars began. The networks were in chaos, up and down as Rogue AIs and human AIs fought for control of the remnants of the vast networks built over the previous half century. But even as they failed one by one, the people still wanted to be entertained. And it wasn’t all destruction in real life. Every time one network failed another was built. And the new ones were hardened against attack. Season six showed that learning curve.
22 – Hello, my name is Jack. I spent a lot of time in the Hyades Cluster after The War ended. It was a real mess. The Chinese had industrialized it very heavily and those industries kept them in The War until we burned them all down. We destroyed their economies in the rush to beat the Chinese, and we were left to rebuild them after the Chinese signed the peace treaty. It was a kind of gold rush, Western companies moving in to acquire cheap property and cheaper workers to boost their bottom lines. It was amazing just how little the locals were happy to work for.
23 – Hello, my name is Charles. Jean-Claude Pierre Charles Napoleon served as President of France for two terms before declining to run for a third term. It was illegal to serve more than two terms, but had he chosen to run there are few who would have said anything. He negotiated favored trading status with the Peloran during his ten years in office, and reinvigorated France’s starship-building capacity with impressive grants given to anyone with the vision and drive to bring France to the stars. He reinvented France and the French loved him for it.
24 – Hello, my name is Betty. The sixth season of Dixie the Drug Lord Slayer took place after the last of the Drug Lords was gone. Most people hadn’t expected it to be revived for another season, but Odessa, Texas needed something to advertise their survival and make people want to come to the city again. And so they optioned the series to tell the story of the Battle of Odessa in the Cybernetic Wars. It was filmed entirely on location in Odessa. The rebuilding city proved the perfect place to tell the story of the city’s near-destruction, and city demolitions engineers arranged many of the fires and explosions seen on the show.
25 – Hello, my name is Jack. The Hyades Cluster was not uniformly Chinese like many other Chinese systems are. The upper classes were Chinese of course, but they shipped out Mongolians, Koreans, Japanese, and many other conquered populations to man the factories out in the cluster. They had the dangerous jobs and the crummy slums while their natural betters lived in luxury. We upset that social structure when we acquired the cluster with the peace treaty. We also acquired a seriously fraked up economy full of people fighting to survive. We Cowboys had a lot to do.
26 – Hello, my name is Charles. President Napoleon never claimed the title of Emperor of France, but his time in office was unparalleled. The elected bureaucrats and the military became staunch allies in the effort to reinvent France for the new age of space exploration. On the day he stepped down in favor of the next president, France was one of the foremost spacegoing powers of Earth. The people of France voted to name him Honorary Emperor of the Fourth French Empire. And so the Fourth Empire announced itself to the world, declared itself a decade old, and then became the Ninth Republic. Historians are still arguing over how to address that government in textbooks.
27 – Gencon Bound. Another year goes by, and once again I am going to Gencon. I will be arriving in Indy on Wednesday and will be bringing some of my wares with me. Wound/Bleeding and Explosion tokens, Card Heroes for RPGs or wargaming, and fantasy-themed coins designed for RPGs and the like. I will also be bringing copies of Forge of Wars: Tactics for anyone interested in picking it up. I’m also of course going as a fan of gaming in general. I plan on coming home with some BattleTech goodness, and other gaming fun as well. Thank God I’ve been saving up for this trip. :)
28 – Hello, my name is Betty. AIs were born from games you know. Cortana for instance was a non-playable character in an old shooter game. Her popularity in that game is why Microsoft chose her as their AI mascot when computer technology improved. Most AIs developed from roleplaying games though, whether single player or of the multiplayer variety. Some were designed to adapt to the many players they would interact with, while some programmers coded their AIs just for themselves. A very few became something more than intended.
29 – Hello, my name is Jack. I like to play games. War games. Role playing games. All kinds of games. Sometimes I tell people I’m playing games with them. Sometimes I don’t. Games make me feel alive. Games make life worth living. Humanity would be awful dull if we didn’t have them. And if there’s one thing I do not like being, it’s dull. So stay sharp and game. Make people wonder about you. It’s half the fun after all. The other half’s the…well…fun. :)
30 – Hello, my name is Charles. Gaming has been with us for thousands of years. Our earliest civilizations placed wagers on sticks, stones, or on carved bone dice. Later civilizations added cards and other gaming aids. We rely on games to escape a dangerous and frightening world. Or a dull and uninspiring world. Many people game to relax their minds. Others game to exercise their minds. The reasons we game are multitude, and they tell much about us as a people. Some of it is good. Some of it is bad. All of it is life.
31 – Hello, my name is Betty. Modern AIs and cybers actually spend a lot of time gaming. Pick a world, pick a game, and you will find AIs or cybers interacting with the players in every way that matters. We are the bartender and the waitress. We are the Big Bad scheming against you. We are the dire rabbit that just beat you like a rented mule. And we are the bumbling guards you just snuck around to get the crown jewels. If you play games, you have played with one of us. And we are the reason the games feel so real.