Hello, my name is…
1 - Medron - Going to Manticon
2 - Betty - A Primer on the Races of Humanity - Arnam Like the Peloran they were based on, the Arnam can survive on far less oxygen than most other Races of Humanity, granting them far greater endurance. The Arnam have half-sized lungs compared to most humans though, which pulls back much of that endurance. They can run or exercise far less than a Peloran when in air, and they are at a decided disadvantage to their cousins when in full combat. The half-sized lungs allowed the Albion to place a set of fully functional gills into the Arnam that allow them to breathe under water. They work in both fresh and salt water, making them capable of operating in the waters of most human-occupied worlds without needing breathing systems. That is where their true advantages come in, and most Arnam spend most of their lives underwater.
3 - Jack - Aeryn Aeryn wasn’t born to fight The War. She didn’t pick a pilot to be her partner. She was alive long before the Shang changed us all. How do I know? Because I remember her. The Arnam have always loved Northern Minnesota because of all our lakes and rivers and such. You can see their towns at the bottom of many of them, and beach parties have a tendency to attract the Arnam since the sound travels underwater. So I knew a lot of Arnam before The War began. Aeryn was one of them. She was the mind of Rainy Lake City, just outside my own International Falls, and she used to come up to the surface for our parties on a weekly basis. She wore a younger avatar back then, to fit in with us kids, and the kids who followed us. Then the Shang attacked and changed everything.
4 - Charles - Dylan Dylan Davies’ parents, siblings, and other related family members moved to Earth after Contact in search of a new life. They settled in Rainy Lake on the Northern Minnesotan-Canadian border and began to do what most new colonist do. They became fruitful and multiplied. They expanded into nearby lakes and rivers, and soon became a major trading partner with their surface dwelling neighbors. Dylan was born several decades later and grew up in the years before The War with both the children of his own Rainy Lake City and the neighboring International Falls. He spent much of his youth in a rotating series of lifeguard positions, fishing drunk vacationers out of the water with an impressive regularity. And like many who grew up in that area of the world, he never wanted to leave. It was paradise. Then the Shang changed everything for all of us.
5 - Betty - A Primer on the Races of Humanity - Arnam The Arnam appear to have pure black eyes, which can be very uncomfortable for people to look at. But Arnam eyes are far more sensitive to light than normal human eyes. They can see at light levels we would consider pitch black, whether deep underground or underwater. They have multiple eyelids that they close over those sensitive eyes as they enter brighter environments. At standard light levels for most of humanity, they have closed so many eyelids to filter out the bright light that their eyes appear pure black. Because of the physiological impact those eyes make on most humans, most Arnam wear sunglasses when dealing with other humans. At least that is the excuse they use. I think they just like to wear shades because they look fancy. There certainly is a lot of business when it comes to Arnam-targeted shades, at least, and many of them are…exotic.
6 - Jack - Aeryn The same piece of Yosemite that hit Rainy Lake and wiped out my home on the shore killed Aeryn’s city at the bottom of the lake. Underwater shockwaves are serious business, and not many of her people survived. So she volunteered to serve. I met her again a few years later on Sunnydale when we were assembling the fleets to invade the Hyades Cluster. She and her pilot, who I also already knew from the good old days by the way, had decided to join the Cowboys. That made them the first Arnam in our ranks. They would not be the last. I managed to get them under my command, and we proceeded to kick the Shang’s collective asses out of this sector of the galaxy together. Those were good times, shared with good friends. I would fight anywhere and anytime at Aeryn’s side and be happy.
7 - Charles - Dylan Dylan volunteered to serve after The War began, and was quickly sent to the Marine Force Recon branch. He spent the early years of The War performing “deep reconnaissance, unconventional special operations, and direct action missions” against the Shang and their Chinese allies. That ended the day he infiltrated and destroyed a Shang spacebase alone, hijacked one of their fighters, and then proceeded to assault a small Chinese task force in the system. He inflicted heavy casualties on the Chinese before withdrawing to a nearby American carrier, and the Marine Corps decided they needed to give that man a starfighter. They sent him to the fleet base at Sunnydale where we were preparing to invade the Hyades Cluster. And that is when he walked up and informed me that he wanted to join my Cowboys. The rest, as they say, is history.
8 - Medron - Health Care
9 - Medron - Star Trek: Horizon
10 - Jack - Carol Carol is one of the oldest fighter cybers I know. Of course, she’s not really a proper fighter cyber by today’s standards. She was born in Old Japan before the Second Great Depression. They were a leader in robotics and artificial intelligences back then, and Carol was one of their most advanced automated fighter drones. She fought next to the American Black Sheep attack squadron when the Chinese attacked Japan. Her headquarters was overrun, and the Black Sheep absorbed her and her sisters as they sought to slow the Chinese advance. In the end, Carol and the Black Sheep escorted the last evacuation fleet out of Fallen Japan. The one taking the new Empress Aiko to freedom in Los Angeles. Yeah. She’s one of them. The last defenders of Old Japan.
11 - Charles - Edwin Case Edwin Case grew up in Yuma, Arizona, where his natural size and years of weight lifting made him a proficient football star. He would go to college at Arizona State on a football scholarship, and became a first round pick in the National Football League after he graduated. He excelled and earned the League MPV award in his first year. But standard medical tests in the off-season detected signs that he was becoming Ageless. He was released from his contract, of course, and all of his NFL records were expunged from the books. He returned home to Yuma, a broken and bitter man, and began to spend far too much time in the local bars. After one particularly long night of drinking, he got into a disagreement with a squad of local Marines. He put all but one of them in the hospital, destroyed an impressive amount of property, and the judge gave him two choices. Jail time, or military service. He walked into Yuma Spacebase the next day.
13 - Jack - Carol Carol and her sisters flew with the Black Sheep during the Fall of Japan and decided to stick with them after. Free Japanese resources were limited at the time, and they’d known each other long enough that they were family. So they adopted American names and the rest is history. Technology and military rules changed over the centuries, and she accepted numerous pilots over the years so she could continue to fly the very best fighters. She and her sisters still fly the modern Black Sheep fighters, but Carol sent one of her shards to join us Cowboys after the first Battles of Earth and Alpha Centauri. Others came in the years to follow, but she was the first of her particular branch of the cybernetic families I had the pleasure to work with. And yes. She was always a pleasure to work with.
14 - Charles - Edwin Case Edwin Case was a football star when the Peloran Treatments’ final stages kicked in and made him Ageless. They augmented his already impressive strength to make him a true superhuman hulk, and cost him his sports career and all of his records and awards. He volunteered to serve after that, and everyone expected him to go the infantry path, but he passed the pilot aptitude tests with flying colors. He became one of the largest pilots to ever fly a Hellcat, which is not a large starfighter. I understand that he was very happy when VMFA-214, the Black Sheep, acquired the much larger Avenger-class starfighters. That was in the early months of The War, shortly after we showed everyone what we could do at the Battle of Fort Wichita. When I put out the call for reinforcements to make up our battle losses, Edwin was one of the first to volunteer. It was due to the work he and others like him performed with stalwart courage that we drove the Shang out of our corner of the galaxy and secured peace.
15 - Medron - Star Trek: Renegades
16 - Betty - Primer on the Races of Humanity - Arnam One interesting aspect of the Arnam’s underwater lifestyle is that they don’t wear clothing on a regular basis. They are designed to slip through the water far better in the skins they are born with than in most diving skinsuits, and any looser clothing gets hopeless caught in the ever-present currents of water. All of that changes the moment they go above water. Whether simply to protect themselves from the effects of the hot sun, or because they want to blend in with humanity, the Arnam love to wear clothing of all kinds in the air. Hats of all kinds, fancy sunglasses, scarves, gloves, trenchcoats, dresses, and anything else that can cover the skin, the Arnam love it all. They are the finest decorations they can think of, and the Arnam have a positive passion for coming up with new combinations of colors and fashions.
17 - Jack - Madison The Fall of Yosemite rained fire and destruction down on the Apache Nation, destroying their capital city and leaving much of the rest of their territory in flames. They spent months sifting through the rubble in search of survivors, and then remains. Madison ran many of the vehicles involved in the effort, working with numerous operators across the Apache Nation. And when those young men and women decided it was time to volunteer to fight back against the Shang, she went with them. With all of them. Much like the United States Army’s Jane, she simply made numerous copies of herself and became the standard companion of Apache warriors wherever they went. Not that there is anything truly simple about the process. Each of her shards are heavily customized to work with each companion like other cybers, but she is all the same cyber. It can be confusing to deal with her if you don’t understand just what she is. I know it took me a while to figure her out, though she may have been playing hard to get on purpose. One never can tell with her, you know.
18 - Charles - James James Rousseau grew up in the Apache Nation, son of an Apache mother and a French father. It is unsurprising that the Apache named him a half-breed, and he was a perennial outcast for it his entire life. He worked many odd jobs after graduation, but never settled down into any single career. It was construction jobs that paid his bills when the Shang dropped Yosemite Station and part of it generated a direct hit on the Apache Nation. James spent months digging survivors and then remains out of the shattered city until he had enough and decided to join the new Apache war bands going out to face the Shang. He passed all of the tests to become a fighter pilot, but was still treated as an outsider by his full-blooded brethren. They soon arrived at Alpha Centauri to reinforce Second Fleet, and that was when he learned the Cowboys were recruiting new pilots. The rest, as they say, is history.
19 - Betty - Primer on the Races of Humanity - Arnam Picture a man or woman walking down the sidewalk in broad daylight. Picture a bright pink trenchoat flapping in the wind, a bright yellow hat pulled down low over the face, a candy apple red scarf thrown carelessly over one shoulder, and bejeweled wraparound sunglasses glinting in the sun. Maybe add some bright green tennis shoes for good measure. This brightly, some might say offensively, colored Arnam stereotype is a stereotype for a reason. The Arnam have a love affair with colors, the brighter the better. Whether it be the glow of a neon moon or an infrared tapestry that normal humans can’t even see, the Arnam play with colors the way we place music. And a true maestro of color can be as popular in Arnam circles as a rock band or other musician is on Earth. Color is their highest art form, and they pursue it with a passion that can be nauseating to other humans.
20 - Jack - Madison Most cybers are designed for a certain purpose, optimized for it in the written code of their most basic matrixes, and then compiled into a single great mass of machine code that can run without any outside interference. Then they are launched into awareness by a single command. Live. Madison is no longer like that. She has created untold numbers of permanent copies of herself and sent them all over Earth and beyond. Walls of security do not separate them. Madison is one massive hive mind where all of her selves are in constant contact with each other, depending on the lightspeed delay. She is the common link that brings all Apache together into a union that our American cultures cannot fathom. She unites the Apache Nation across the stars with a singular purpose, and the Apache have latched onto that purpose with a burning passion. They are the Apache Nation, and everywhere they go, the collected memories and traditions of their entire people go with them.
21 - Charles - James James Rousseau was an outsider in his homeland, his very name pronouncing his half-breed status in the Apache Nation. But at Alpha Centauri he found the chance to change his destiny. The Cowboys needed reinforcements to make up our casualties, and he jumped at the opportunity to make a change. I have always found it interesting how he likes to play as if he is just a dumb blue-collar worker, without any real education. But the truth is that he has numerous college degrees in multiple specialties. He simply could not find anyone in his homeland willing to hire a half-breed like him for jobs that “real” Apache could do better. So he competed for jobs from less picky businesses. He created his persona as a blue-collar worker to mask his innate intelligence so they would hire him, and he has held that persona to this day. He maintains that it keeps his enemies underestimating him until it is too late. I find it interesting that many of my Cowboys follow similar methods of camouflaging their true natures. Very interesting, and highly useful.
22 - Medron - Angel Flight
23 - Medron - Manticon
24 - Medron - Manticon
25 - Medron - Forge of War Dead Tree Format and Anthology
26 - Medron - Manticon Day One
27 - Medron - Manticon Day Two
28 - Medron - Manticon Day Three
29 - Medron - In Flanders Field
30 - Betty - A Primer on the Races of Humanity The Arnam are of course optimized for cool and wet environments. The corollary to that is that they are supremely unsuited for desert environments. Their skin may be dark, but the pigment is for camouflage, not protecting from the sun. A fierce, desert noonday sun can kill an Arnam if it does not find shade. And the dry environment will quickly sap needed moisture out of their body. Arnam visiting such environments must cover themselves from head to toe, and use misters constantly to keep them from dehydrating. It is unsurprising that they consider such environments to be hostile, and they avoid such places whenever possible.
31 - Jack - Abbi Abigail Adams was the closest advisor and wife of John Adams, second president of the United States. When the Adams Family began working on artificial intelligence, they named the result after her. Generations of Adams children grew up with Abigail, or Abbi as many called her, as one of their earliest friends, confidants, and confessors. She even registered as a pastor with the Congregationalist Church so she could claim the counselor’s right to refuse to divulge anything her children told her. She also picks a different, unique avatar for each child that grows up with them over time. This particular version of Abbi grew up with Virginia Adams, and stayed with her when she fulfilled her family tradition of public service in the Marine Corps Reserve.