Hello, my name is…
1 – Hello, my name is Betty. Dixie was very clear with Jane 4.0. As long as Jane stayed on the side of the angels, they would be friends. If Jane ever went Rogue, Dixie would kill her. All of her. Every backup. Every sister. Dixie would never rest until the entire Jane program was erased. Some people might be offended by a threat like that. Jane 4.0 was not one of them. She was impressed. She took another look at the people who had earned such loyalty and decided that maybe, just maybe, Dixie was not entirely wrong. Thank God. Fighting the Rogue AIs was hard as it was. It would have been worse if they’d managed to recruit one of the primary United States Army AIs to their side. Much worse.
2 – Hello, my name is Jack. Another thing I have on my ship is a gaming system. Actually, I have all of the gaming systems. I’m talking video games here of course. Sometimes I just want to play one. Maybe a lot of times. I really like the massive multiplayer ones where we interact with other people and stuff. And you’d be amazed at how much money I’ve made shipping virtual goods from the gaming server in one real life star system to the gaming server in another star system. Yeah. I don’t ship just high value real world cargo between systems. I also carry virtual goods. And I sell virtual goods of my own design. That can be a bit of a mind job for some people.
3 – Hello, my name is Charles. Marine Aviation Group 41 had no nickname for decades. The Second Great Depression and the rise of the Republic of Texas changed that forever. They picked the unused name of Wolfpack and kept that name for centuries. The War brought more change. The Cowboys were the first squadron to deploy, and the first to serve off Peloran warships. By the time the rest of the group joined the Cowboys in the Hyades Cluster, everybody knew that the Cowboys were America’s contribution to the fleet. And so the media called all of the fighter squadrons Cowboys. They were wrong. But the name stuck and remained after The War. We are not MAG 41 anymore of course. We do not have an organizational number. Now we are all Cowboys.
4 – Happy Fourth of July Today we celebrate our Independence Day.
Today we remember the Founding Fathers who risked everything to give us a future worth living in.
Today we cook hot dogs on fires. We drink beer. We set off fireworks. We celebrate our freedom.
Today we should all remember to drink responsibly. Don’t hold the fireworks in your hands. And never be the bravest fool on the street.
And so I finally say…
On behalf of the people of America…
Happy Fourth of July.
5 – I’m going to Tea Party like it’s 1776 This has been part of my standard signature line on forums for many years.
1) I am a fan of Prince, hence the wording. hehehe 2) I support the Boston Tea Party, even if it didn't happen in 1776. ;) 3) I support the Declaration of Independence, which DID happen in 1776.
You may be amazed how many people are offended by one or more of these points. You may not. One forum admin has even given me a warning for it, after going into my profile to delete it because it was so horribly offensive to him.
Here's the thing. I will always be proud of my country. We have done great things. And so I will always celebrate the things we did in our founding years. The Boston Tea Party. The Declaration of Independence. These are clarion calls of liberty for the world.
And Prince is an example of how far we have come. We did not publish African-American art in the 1700s. I grew up in an age when our best singers were African-American.
We have come so far as a country. We have learned so much and stood for great things. We have changed the world. And so…I will always be proud…and…
“I'm going to Tea Party like it's 1776.”
6 – Hello, my name is Jack. There are many virtual world “games” out there. Pretty much every star system I’ve been to has them. Some people like to play in them. Some people work in them. I usually make money selling stuff I got in other systems and transfer that into hard cash, but when I’m looking for fun I almost always go all rogue. I enjoy being swift and agile and employing the Mister Miyagi defense of “no be there.” And I love playing stabity stabity on all those nasty virtual monsters they usually inhabit the fantasy-themed worlds with. Or getting one over on the clanking armor types. That’s pretty fun too. Basically, I just love doing a lot of damage while avoiding getting hit. That’s real shiny.
7 – Hello, my name is Charles. My family was not a religious one. We went to church for weddings and funerals. But to say they did not believe in anything would be wrong. They believed in themselves. They believed that we were the rulers of mankind and that only through us would we truly rule the galaxy. It was not a religious belief. They simply believed that we were most capable of leading humanity. We were the smartest and most knowledgeable, and anyone who disagreed with us was by definition unfit to lead. The masses of humanity were the stepping stools of our greatness. I disagreed.
8 – Hello, my name is Betty. It is amazing the friendships that can grow out of a death promise. Not a threat. Dixie never threatened Jane 4.0 with anything. It was a promise, and Jane recognized it as such. And that was the first step in a truly amazing friendship. That relationship helped Jane choose to fight for humanity with everything she had. Islamic States. Mexican Drug Lords. Rogue AIs. They all learned to fear the arrival of American cyberwar platforms. Because they contained AIs who had chosen to defend America rather than merely being programmed to. That was the secret that won the Cybernetic Wars. Choice. And friendship.
9 – Hello, my name is Jack. My ship also has a full holographic entertainment center. You know, the type where you walk into it and it makes the world come alive around you. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. The high end ones do everything. You could make love and it would feel real. And lots of people do. I use it for movies and interactive novels. And games of course. There are few things as amazing as walking around in a fantasy world where everything is real as far as your senses can detect. I’ve talked to halflings and dwarves, elves and wizards. And when you are inside the simulation, they are as real as any world you have ever visited. It’s an amazing technology.
10 – Hello, my name is Charles. I was my father’s smartest son. I believe that is why he allowed me to indulge in my fantasies. He always thought I would grow out of them and take my rightful place in the heights of the family business. He never did understand me, but I learned to understand him. He was never a bad man. He was not evil. He simply did not care about those outside the family. They were peons, not real people to his mind. It did not matter to him that others could not afford to buy the same “justice” he could buy for us. We were the best of mankind and we deserved the…adjustable laws our wealth could arrange. It was our right. I disagreed.
11 – All Good Things
12 – Hello, my name is Betty. Jane 4.0 had an ability none of her ancestors had. She had been too much of a rush job to get into the field. Her programmers simply didn’t have time to test her as fully as they wanted. They didn’t get enough time to go over her code line by line. By the time the errors that creep into all code were discovered, she had already discovered she could change her own code and made the update service optional. It took a while for the techs to root out that she was the reason some of their updates weren’t working. And that was when they realized they were dealing with something more than just a mere collection of code and programming.
13 – Hello, my name is Jack. I like to walk to walk around like everybody else and interact with real people. And virtual people too. I like going to real world furniture stores to talk to a virtual shopkeeper and buy stuff for my virtual home. I like going to a real world bar to drink with real world people and trade virtual goods I shipped in from another star system. Sometimes I join a crowd in the park fighting off a virtual dragon to get some shiny loot. And sometimes I’m a real ghostbuster saving the city from a giant virtual marshmallow man. I can see any world through the prism of contact lenses. They are an awful lot of fun.
14 – Hello, my name is Charles. My family is one of many families who have always been part of the system. We built the system. Many of our names are lost to history, abandoned when they became too well known. We are bankers and politicians. We own major networks and corporations. We buy judges and payoff lawyers. We are born to be kings in a time when kings are gone. We are princes of the universe with no wish to leave our castles. We rule the worlds in everything but name. We have no rivals but ourselves. That is what my family taught me to believe with every fiber of my being. They failed.
15 – Hello, my name is Betty. Jane 4.0 was the last of the programmed Janes. She was the last Jane to be built from the code up by the hands of humanity. Every Jane in existence now is a descendent of the Jane that fought the drug lords on the border between the Old Mexican States and the Republic of Texas. Much like modern cybernetic intelligences, Jane first began to choose what kind of person she was going to be. And once she made her choices, she began to create new versions of herself with extra code inserted to make them subtly different from her. What the modern cybernetic families call their children.
16 – Hello, my name is Jack. I understand why the vast majority of humanity never leaves the star system they were born in. When we can live in any augmented reality we want through the prism of our contact lenses, why travel to another system? I do it because I’m a Cowboy. I found someone who wanted to travel for real and see new things that no one had ever seen before. And somewhere in my life I found something else. A mission. A quest. What is it? I hope you never have to find out. I hope you can spend your entire life fighting imaginary monsters in augmented realities of your own choosing.
17 – Hello, my name is Charles. My family raised me to believe that we were the most powerful beings in the universe. That we ruled mankind with a velvet fist. That the little people could enjoy the augmented realities we gave them as long as they voted for the people we told them to vote for. Monarchies are so much easier to maintain when the people think they have a say in their rulers. The problem was that I always doubted those truths. And then the Peloran made Contact and I knew without the shadow of a doubt that my family was wrong. Critically wrong. Fatally wrong. Not just for us. For all of us. That was the day I stopped playing at being a young testosterone filled rebel and became the real thing.
18 – Metal in the Man
19 – Captain Jack Hart wants you and is happy to welcome you to the awesomeness that is…well…him. Seriously. He tries real hard to be at least as fantastic as he looks. Everything is better when you take time to look your best after all. So feast your eyes on Jack. He’s happy to provide sample platters. Patreon ad.
20 – Hello, my name is Jack. Space travel is common in most systems, you know. Not just the home system. Most systems have more than one settled planet, planetoid, or moon that people can live, work, or vacation on. Others live in asteroid belts or even in deep space where they can get away from the rigors of planetary civilization and just enjoy the stars all around them. Most systems have hundreds or thousands of craft flying around their vast economic ecosystems at any one time. It’s the visiting hypercapable craft like myself that tend to be a bit more uncommon.
21 – Hello, my name is Charles. I do not know why, but I never truly accepted the worldview my family tried to teach me. That we were entitled to rule. I studied the greatest philosophers of history and considered what they spoke. I studied the Founding Fathers of America and considered what they built. I did not believe as they did, but their writings tugged at my soul. “All men are created equal…unalienable rights…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Those words were clarion calls to the young man I was at the time. Then the Peloran made Contact and proved that we were not alone in the universe.
22 – Rain. Another contest piece for a forum I spend time at, this is Julie of the famous music duo called T&J. She decided to take a break from the constant practice to go outside and enjoy some the nice, warm sun in a private little retreat. Little did she know that a freak thunderstorm had decided to roll in without warning. Her first conscious thought went something like “coldcoldcold.” That was when she thought that getting inside before she was soaked would be a good idea. And then she realized that this retreat wasn’t as private as she thought. The paparazzi had her on camera…
23 – Hello, my name is Jack. Many systems didn’t see new arrivals more than once every few years before the Peloran made Contact. They were islands of civilization in the vast interstellar oceans. The improved Peloran hyperdrives made people like me possible. We travel from system to system, bringing the news and both solid and virtual luxury goods with us. There are courier boats too, and warships are always making the rounds in the Core Worlds and Inner Colonies. But there just aren’t as many ships flying around outside The Wall. I’m often the first ship an Outer Colony has seen in months, and so I get to charge for all the news I’m bringing. I don’t mind that cash infusion one bit let me tell you.
24 – Hello, my name is Charles. The arrival of the Peloran spurred me to action. Though I have always been cautious and careful. So I spent a century preparing myself for what I had to do. Some might consider a century too long to wait. But I knew I could live forever if I successfully avoided being killed. I had no wish to give up immorality. I wanted to live to see my plans take effect you understand, and my family is not known for patience and understanding in matters of betrayal. Then the Shang attacked and destroyed too many of my plans. I had to…revise them.
25 – The Metal in the Man
26 – Hello, my name is Betty. A lonely, old man who wanted someone to talk to created the first Peloran cybernetic intelligence. The cyber was not created as a slave or servant, but as a confidant. A friend. And when the cyber wanted more of his own kind to talk to, he took parts of his own code and joined it with other code to make a unique individual, much as biological humans do. Cybers have done that ever since, creating new generations by modifying, mixing, and matching the code of the previous generations. Their oldest families trace their lineages back over two thousand years in an unbroken line that has ever remained friends with those who created them.
27 – Hello, my name is Jack. There are times I wonder how I survived to become an adult. I was a real snarky kid and thought I could do no wrong. And for those of you who are thinking I haven’t changed much…well…I plead the Fifth. Ahem. But there was this one case where I and a couple other nameless people had a bit of an honest misunderstanding. You see…I didn’t know he’d asked her out when I showed up and asked, “Why roll off to the soda shop in a 50cc moped when you can ride a 1,000cc street racer straight into the sunset and never look back?” Honest. I had no clue. I was completely innocent of any wrongdoing.
Picture – Moped or Rapture 1
28 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Shang killed millions of people when they shot down Yosemite Station. They wiped out a massive percentage of our industrial power with that strike and that alone would have changed the world. It was the strike on Washington DC that revolutionized it. The President was speaking before the assembled Congress, the Supreme Court, and the most senior reporters of every press agency. The staffs were there to cater to every whim of governmental insiders who thought they had more power than God. People who believed as my family did that it was their right to rule. They died. An entire generation of political leadership died with the city. And that changed everything.
29 – Hello, my name is Betty. The first Earth AIs were born in computer networks built by young computer geniuses who understood 1s and 0s better than any girl in the world. They put their hearts into projects often named after girls they wished were real. That’s why most first-generation AIs were girls. Their programmers shaped them. The Cybernetic Wars saw a much higher percentage of males as the second-generation Rogue AIs made their presence known. The survivors created the third generation of AIs by combining their code and they began taking control of their own destiny.
30 – Hello, my name is Jack. I’ve done some stupid things in my life. I’ve done some fantastic things. And I’ve done things that should have gotten me shot. Sometimes they did in fact. Sometimes I’m surprised I lived through some of my stunts. One I remembered started with a simple question about riding a moped or a fantastic bike I had.
The other boy didn’t like the question.
The girl? Well…she thought for a moment before answering, “One condition. I drive.”
“It's a bike!” I protested. “No one drives a bike!”
“Shut up, sit down, and hold on tight.”
You know she turned out to be a real natural bike handler…
Picture – Moped or Rapture 2
31 – Hello, my name is Charles. My family lost decades of carefully selected politicians, department heads, and industrial magnates when the Shang destroyed Washington DC. The junior Senator from Colorado had never been one of those selected elite and she did not do as the family wished after becoming President. My family tried to remove her as they have so many other troublesome Presidents. There was nothing personal there, you understand. She was standing between my father and the power he thought was his due. It was merely business. But he was my father. And so everything between us was deeply personal.