Hello, my name is…
1 – Happy New Year. I hope this New Year finds you well and enjoying life. I hope you watched a ball or two drop. Not your own. Did you get to see some good fireworks? Or dropping confetti. Maybe you broke some dishes or burned a scarecrow. Yeah. Those are actually traditions. Did you burn a Yule Log? Or a Yule Goat? How about mistletoe? Or did you give that mistletoe-carrying jerk a piece of your knuckles? Or maybe you just went to bed early so you could welcome the New Year at a more reasonable hour. Like the crack of Noon. However you celebrate New Years, I hope you are having a good time.
2 – Hello, my name is Jack. I didn’t think anything would stop the parties down in Tijuana when I was a young. I was wrong. The fall of Yosemite Station first burned and then flooded San Diego, and Tijuana suffered from many of the same troubles. It didn’t get hit as badly though, something most people figure is because of the more…transitory nature of the Tijuana economy. So much of it was always based on getting rich Old Americans to come down into Old Mexico and spend money on the very willing senoritas, or the barkeeps, or the tattoo artists. Tijuana excelled at making new markets and new opportunities to go back home missing your wallet, your shirt, and most of your memories of the occasion.
3 – Hello, my name is Charles. China is ever looking for new resources they can use to build more things that they can then sell. That is one of the reasons they are so aggressively expansionistic. They need new markets and new factories, and they do best in markets they control. Chinese businessmen build their colonies and Chinese businessmen conquer other worlds by wielding economics. Generals control troops, but businessmen command the generals. That is why the Cowboys began to wear business suits when we landed on conquered Hyades Cluster worlds. It was the uniform that demanded the most respect of the Chinese.
4 – Republic-class light carrier. The Republic is prized as one of the “classic first-generation gravtech beauties” of the starship market. Designed as a light carrier shortly after Contact, it brought both heavy weapons and as many fighters as possible into multi-role combat until their retirement in the 2250s. The War made us reactivate them where they served on the front lines for nearly the entire twenty years. They were retired again at War’s End and now are used by smaller governments, corporate interests, and War reenactors. More civilians have actually ridden on a Republic during a War reenactment than any other class of ship, despite the fact that they were not the most common ship. They will almost certainly remain in service to humanity for decades to come, if not longer.
5 – Hello, my name is Betty. Twilight’s fifth and final season started by answering the questions everybody had asked during the season break. The camera panned down from a night sky to show an American infantry battalion moving towards the ruins of Detroit. It passed through the infantry fighting vehicles, showing grim faces as they tried to steel themselves for the battle to come. The camera shot beyond the column to show the defenders of Detroit ready for battle. They were obvious robots, and when they opened fire on the American force everybody understood what combat AIs could do when unleashed. Of course everybody knew the Islamic State of Detroit used them, but seeing them in full color action was a jolt to everybody’s mind.
6 – Hello, my name is Jack. Both San Diego and Tijuana where pretty quick to rebuild after Yosemite. We needed San Diego’s factories and the factory workers needed to party in Tijuana after long hard shifts at work. But it would be decades before they really recovered to what they were when I was young. And honestly they never were the same. None of us were after Yosemite. Those of us who went away had to live with two decades of War. Those who remained behind had to deal with the Yosemite Winter. Global Cooling. The New Ice Age. There were lots of names for it. They all boiled down to “it got fraking cold enough that even the Eskimos got tired of it.”
7 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Hyades Campaign began well but soon turned into a quagmire. Our fleets carved through the region’s outer defense forces, but our ground forces did not fare as well. The Chinese fought a scorched earth campaign, using everything up to weapons of mass destruction to deny us victory. We inherited broken worlds after suffering heavy casualties, both military and civilian. The Chinese meant to bleed us so badly that we would be unable to continue the offensive. They meant to leave us broken worlds that would require all of our remaining strength to pacify. It was an effective if ruthless plan.
8 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Michigan National Guard moved quickly upon finding out the connection to so many terrorist plots of the previous years in Detroit. They rolled in via the highway in a long column of infantry transports with a mission to wave the flag and track down the terrorists. The Islamic State of Detroit was peaceful according to every report, so the government expected no armed resistance. The attack on the National Guard came without warning in real life and Twilight recreated that as much as they could. The opener used modified gun camera footage from the combat to make it feel more realistic and delivered an action packed episode the rest of the season tried to live up to.
9 – Hello, my name is Jack. There’s lots of science that tries to explain what happened after Yosemite. There’s lots of theories and speculations. Some say the massive reduction in fossil fuel usage caused a reduction in the greenhouse gases that kept heat from leaking out into space. Others say all the dust in the air reflected the heat away from us before it even got in. Those are the two big theories. Some say they both worked together to really kill us. The end point is that it got really cold. Even for someone who grew up in Northern Minnesota. And then a few months later there was that whole big badda boom in the other Yosemite. I remember when that was a national park, not a memorial.
10 – Hello, my name is Charles. Our early conquests in the Hyades Campaign were difficult to pacify. The Chinese deployed weapons of mass destruction to leave ruins in their wake, and then accused us of using the weapons. It was a brilliant strategy in many ways. The survivors did not trust us after that, and it is difficult to bring law and order to an area when the locals do not trust those enforcing the law. We needed a new plan. We knew the colonists did not like their rulers, but we were “the other” that could not be trusted either. We had many lessons to learn when it came to dealing with the Chinese culture. We had a crash course in it.
11 – Wolfenheim Rising. Wolfenheim was over six hundred meters of Class One Colonization Ship capable of carrying ten thousand colonists in cold sleep. She was a skeleton of massive girders with engines the size of frigates. Hundreds of colonization modules designed for habitation, manufacturing, teaching, research, cold sleep, and dozens of other uses filled the spaces between the girders. They are what made her a colonization ship. The modules. She was designed to enter orbit and eject them all. What was left would become the new planetary space station and drop an orbital elevator onto the planet. She was designed to deploy a new colony with all the comforts of home in a matter of hours. That was the Wolfenheim Project.
12 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Michigan National Guard failed to secure the ruins of Detroit due to the robotic defenses that cut their armored vehicles wide open. So the military pulled their survivors back and setup a cordon around Detroit. It wasn’t a very good one, and it had tons of holes that smart people could sneak through. So while the military sent in their Jane to deal with the robots, Twilight and her crew snuck themselves into the city and began working to uncover the terrorist sympathizers in Detroit. It turned into a much more dangerous search than they expected. They also turned up far more allies than they expected. The local government was not as popular as they claimed to be.
13 – Hello, my name is Jack. I remember coming home after The War and seeing Earth again. But it was not as I remembered it. My home was gone of course. Yosemite falling had wiped it out. It was the cold that got to me. I’d grown up with cold. I knew what it was like to live at negative forty. American scale, not European. But what I came back to was something I’d never expected. We called it Nuclear Winter when I was young. What would happen to Earth if we ever let the nukes fly. Dust in the air. Global Cooling. Catastrophic environmental change. Mass animal die offs. Yosemite Winter didn’t hit all the checkmarks. We fought it real hard. But it was bad. Real bad.
14 – Hello, my name is Charles. We tried to capture the worlds of the Hyades intact, but the Chinese fought a vicious scorched earth campaign that left ruins in their wake. It was nothing compared to what happened to the Albion worlds in their last war of course. I have traveled through their systems. I have seen the worlds where the earth was baked and the oceans boiled until nothing remained that could support life. The Hyades was not that devastating. But it was bad enough, and whether or not the locals trusted their own government they knew one thing. We had brought War to their worlds. We were at fault for their dead. I understood. Perhaps that is why I was the one who made the breakthrough.
15 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Islamic State of Detroit had its origins in the Salafi Islamic traditions. They believed in offensive Jihad against the unbelievers surrounding them and saw the defeat of the National Guard as proof that Allah was with them. Twilight’s crew soon found evidence that they were planning a full assault on the National Guard lines, and that the populace did not support their leaders. The Salafis ruled through terror, disappearing entire families of those not sufficiently obedient to their leaders. Twilight’s crew rescued a reporter and her family from one of the government’s “disciplinary teams” and she quickly became their closest ally in the city. And through her Twilight found out just how many people actively stood against the government.
16 – Hello, my name is Jack. Yosemite Winter wasn’t actually all bad you know. I remember when the entire American South West and most of Old Mexico was a desert for instance. Now breads made from Arizona Wheat are a delicacy on all the best Western Alliance worlds. And seeing grass growing around the Egyptian Pyramids is kinda cool. Though there’s something wrong about ice fishing in May outside my old home on the Minnesota-Canada border. And don’t get me started about walking outside in January. But I remember seeing the footage of the fires as they blew through Yosemite National Park. That was the start of a real bad time.
17 – Hello, my name is Charles. The survivors of the Hyades had little love their rulers, and less for us when we came. Our military came into the ruins and acted like they were in charge, but every man, woman, and child who grew up in the Chinese system knew that the military took their orders from the businessmen. It was an amazing trap we fell into. I was testing a theory the day I walked out into the streets in the “old money” suit my family favored. I walked without an escort and could feel every eye on me. The two children arguing in the street was my gamble. I demanded to know the reason for their argument as if I had a right to know. They took one look at me and explained everything. I listened, made the best judgment I could on the matter, and they accepted it as if I had every right to make it. That was the day I began to truly understand the Chinese.
18 – Jack of Harts Wiki. Jack of Harts has recently entered a new age of Internet presence. Thanks to work over the weekend with my awesome website provider my WordPress site is updated and I now have a working…wiki. Yes, a wiki. Soon, instead of links to tvtropes consuming hours of your time, Jack of Harts will seek to provide you with the same temporal diversion. I do this of course for your perusal and enjoyment. And because I would like to have some of the stuff I’ve published be capable of being read in a different way. If you are interested in helping me work on the wiki, please message me. And if you have experience with wikis and think you can give me some warnings on what not to do, I’ll be happy to take that too. This is a new venture after all, and will probably be full of learning experiences. :)
19 – Hello, my name is Betty. The Islamic State of Detroit (and surrounding regions) suffered from exactly zero public dissension. Throngs of adoring crowds hungered for every chance to see their ruling mullahs, and the President of Detroit had last been elected by an amazing 100% of the voting population. The Islamic State of Detroit was an idyllic example of a modern and peaceful Islamic government. Or so their very good public relations and news services promoted. And most of the news networks agreed. Sending in the National Guard had been a very unpopular act, and the newsies skewered the remnants of the Michigan State government in Lansing for the “provocative act.” It was an interesting time that the Twilight series showed in living color via actual news reports.
20 – Hello, my name is Jack. I fought The War out in space. Other people fought back home, on Earth, and for all the fact that we never did try to nuke each other, there was a lot of fighting. I hope I live long enough to see the truth declassified, so I hope this isn’t news to you. But Yosemite Winter wasn’t an accident. At least not entirely. None of it was. Not the fires. Not the floods. Not the droughts. And those weather satellites over the Pacific weren’t put there to regulate the wildly oscillating weather fronts causing chaos in the Americas. Those hurricanes and everything that came with them were courtesy of the Chinese weather wizards. They were real ingenious little buggers.
21 – Hello, my name is Charles. My family did business with the Chinese back before The War. And they do it now as well. They probably did business with them during The War too if I am being honest. The point is that I had some experience with the Chinese before I went to the Hyades. Walking out in a business suit was still a gamble though. Someone might have shot me for walking down that street. But respect for businessmen was so ingrained in the Chinese psyche that not one person accosted me. Other Cowboys echoed my action, and it was amazing to see how things changed in the Hyades.
22 – Hello, my name is Betty. The situation on the ground inside the Islamic State of Detroit was very different from that reported by the news networks. The government had used the old rules of Imminent Domain to “legally” confiscate the homes or businesses of Christians or any who did not swear to the Islamic faith. By the time that Twilight entered the city, the nearly 100% Muslim population no longer had an “other” to fear or drive away and had fractured along ethnic or religious lines. Africans did not mix with Arabs who did not mix with Persians, and the Shia and Sunni split was often downright violent, though that did not make the news. The Islamic State of Detroit was simmering on the edge of civil war when Twilight arrived. The spark was easy.
23 – Hello, my name is Jack. Minnesota was real cold when I got home. California was real wet. And a host of other changes had come over Earth. The United States Weather Service had taken care of the really bad stuff, stopping every hurricane in the last five years, and they’d even made a dent in the tornado action on the Great Plains. They’d done a good job stabilizing things, but the global climate was a lot cooler than it had been before Yosemite fell. I don’t mind that one bit, but the Weather Service still has to give Florida special attention to keep all the orange groves from dying. Thank God they’re more reliable than the Postal Service.
24 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Hyades was a long, hard campaign. A decade of fighting on planets and asteroids and space stations against a Chinese Liberation Army that did not know the meaning of the word “surrender.” Literally. I do not think they had the concept in their mind. China was the Middle Kingdom, the best and greatest of all nations on Earth, and the Han Chinese were the master race that could never be defeated no matter how many barbarians raged at their gates. Defeat was unthinkable to them. Unimaginable. They might lose individual battles, but every soldier that died to our guns knew that they were paving the way to Chinese victory with their blood. It was that inability to imagine true defeat that proved their undoing.
25 – DT-13 Steel Hammer Main Battle Tank. Named the Wang Chung Five by Western Alliance Consolidated Intelligence before they learned the Chinese name, the Steel Hammer is one of the older tanks in use by the Chinese Liberation Army. It carries armor plates heavier than cars, a main cannon capable of destroying many enemies with a single salvo, and miniguns, missiles, and mortars for dealing with lesser enemies. Or enemies hiding behind terrain because they are afraid of the main cannon. The Steel Hammer was one of the more common War Era tanks in the Chinese Army, and continues to serve to this day in garrison and militia units.
26 – Hello, my name is Betty. Salafi Muslim guns kept a semblance of peace and security for their friends in the Islamic State of Detroit. Though their “modesty police” had driven the non-Muslims out of Detroit, and now happily roamed the Shia neighborhoods in search of naked ankles or uncovered heads in need of a lesson. Twilight’s crew was nearby when a crowd of Salafis pulled a teenager out of her home for the crime of living with her stepfather’s sons. The penalty for being alone with men she had no blood relation to was death by stoning, but the neighborhood came to her defense and the street quickly devolved into a violent riot between Salafi and Shia Muslims. Twilight’s crew got it all on camera.
27 – Hello, my name is Jack. Most people forget that Venus and Mars were our first big run at weather modification. They weren’t always places you could walk around in without shirtsleeves you know. Same for Luna and all those moons around Saturn and Jupiter. And we tended to play a bit when we left our Sun behind too. The various planetary Weather Services were all real good at holding things together long before The War came. The Chinese were just the first people to weaponize weather the way they did. They did a lot of damage before we caught on to their tactics. But we got them back in the end.
28 – Hello, my name is Charles. The one great religion of China is the almighty yuan, and it is a jealous god. All other gods are relegated to less favored status at best, or driven out at worst. The pursuit of yuan drives China to the future and its high priests are the businessmen who dole it out to the people. Their word is law and their whims are commandments. Those that live in China are one among many, the best and smartest of a race who believes themselves superior to all other humans. They live in luxury and comfort that kings of old would have envied. Those that live in the colonies are often the undisputed master of an entire world or star system. Perhaps not as comfortable, but the true rulers of China are always looking for the next best way to make a fortune.
29 – Hello, my name is Betty. Twilight’s crew broadcast the footage of the Salafi/Shia fighting throughout the Islamic State of Detroit and that sparked demonstrations even the news media could not ignore. Moderate citizens protested the attacks before the capital and Salafi police “dispersed” them with riot clubs and rifles. Many citizens died and full-scale rebellion soon erupted. That was when the government deployed their defense robots against the people and Twilight had had enough of watching. She waded into the fight in the physical and electronic worlds with the other AIs on her flanks. The network used actual news footage of the real life fighting as a base for the fight scenes to make them as realistic as possible and ratings rose as they marched towards the Twilight series finale.
30 – Hello, my name is Jack. I grew up before the Weather Walls went up. Earth was one large ecosystem back then with weather flowing from China to America to Europe to Russia and back to China. One big cycle that never really ended. The Pacific Wall was the biggest one, the first one, and the most expensive one. We raised it to protect America from all the pollution coming out of China. Then the Indians wanted a wall of their own, and the Russians weren’t far behind. Now China’s got all their own weather and they’re welcome to it. I hope they choke on it. Oh wait. They do…
31 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Hyades Cluster was far away from Earth when the Chinese first settled it. The businessmen who colonized it were some of the smartest and forward thinking of an entire nation of four billion people. They aggressively recruited the best and brightest of their people to rule the cluster, and shipped out the hardiest of the lower castes to do the work that needed doing in job lots. Their enforced four child policy made the Hyades the single most populated region of space when The War began. And they poured unimaginable amounts of wealth into building up the cluster’s defenses. I used to wonder how we ever made them agree to give that up to secure War’s End. Now that I know I wish I did not.