Virtual Haven

Virtual Haven
Image from Bernd Helfert

The members of the Virtual Haven are a large Clade of sapients, consisting primarily of nearbaselines, tweaks, and su who live a purely virtual existence while their bodies rest inside highly advanced virtual interface and life support pods (virt-pods or VPs). The Virtual Haven is formally part of Cyberia, but has extremely close ties to the NoCoZo. Today there are more than 25 billion members of the Virtual Haven, on more than 200 worlds, including more than 40 planets where all of the inhabitants are Havenites.

A typical Havenite world is a resource rich but uninhabitable planet with large enclaves of VPs and their associated support machinery, all tended by large numbers of advanced subsapient robots and Havenite controlled tele-operated drones. However, the inhabitant's virtual world is a glorious high tech wonderland. One trademark of Havenite virtualities is the fact that the virtual avatars of the residents possess inhumanly powerful physical capacities, but otherwise live in what appear to be highly advanced but relatively normal real-world cities. Other than the fact that most virtual inhabitants are nearly invulnerable to harm and are able to lift a ton or more, the only real difference between a Havenite virtual city and a high tech city in the NoCoZo is the existence of numerous devices like teleportation booths, and similar marvels. Havenite virtualities allow the inhabitants to benefit from the advantages of virtual existence, while still appearing to live in the physical world.

History

In 1739, the recently terraformed all-biont colony of Blue Haven was attacked by an antimatter starship controlled by a minor perversity. The rogue power was destroyed, but at great cost to the worlds newly terraformed ecosystem. Lacking the resources to terraform a cloud-wrapped glacial world with little life and a mildly toxic atmosphere, the survivors of this attack sought another option. To help solve this problem, a group of super-bright residents designed a complete virtual version of what Blue Haven was to have become and adapted standard medical recovery pods used for physical and mental therapy for long-term occupancy. By 3809, all 25 million of Blue Haven's residents have taken up permanent residents in these VPs. While all bionts on this world lay wrapped in their life-support cocoons, enjoying the virtual world, legions of tireless sub-sapient aioids worked to maintain the system and produce the nutrients that the inhabitants required.

Approximately 2% of the biont population took regular breaks from their virtual existence to monitor and assist with the maintenance operations by means of tele-operating drones. With children produced artificially, and all of the inhabitants' needs taken care of, entire generations of Havenites grew up without ever having set foot in the physical world. While the initial decision not to simply upload the populace was based largely upon carbon chauvinism, the existing system worked well enough that most inhabitants felt no need to change it. The only modifications were gradual improvements in the technology linking the inhabitants to their virtual world. One of the virtues of their new existence was that the advanced medical facilities in the VPs gave even unmodified baselines a life span of more than 500. Today, the average Havenite has a life span of more than 1,000.

From 1900 to 2100 the world of New Haven was contacted by an increasing number of starships, as the Age of Expansion began. At first, those Havenites who interacted with the outside world merely traded with the visitors. A number of traders stayed in the Haven system, moving into their own VPs and living in the wonderful world of New Haven. By 2200 a number of Outsider Havenites decided that the Haven experiment had proved so successful that it should be taken to the rest of the galaxy. Constructing their own starships, groups of Havenites traveled to various nearby star systems, where they introduced locals to the virtues of Virtual Haven. Gradually, Havenite enclaves sprang up all over the settled galaxy. In 2400 the Havenites formally joined Cyberia, and by 4600 they also had strong informal ties with the NoCoZo that have remained to the present day. Although the original inhabitants of New Haven were a mixture of near baseline, superior, and bioborg bionts who distrusted aioids, the Havenites eventually overcame this prejudice. While they still prefer to model their virtualities on an improved version of the physical world, few Havenites have any prejudice against non-carbon-based sapients, and in some Havenite virtualities as many as 10% of the inhabitants are now aioids.

Havenite Outsiders

While the vast majority of Havenites are content to live in their wondrous virtual world, some are dissatisfied with this existence, and desire to interact with the outside world. Although they are typically regarded as eccentrics, their existence is also recognized as essential to maintaining the Havenite way of life and to helping to introduce others to Havenism. Most Outsiders are contents to help maintain the VPs and to interact with sapients in the physical world. However, some take up more isolated occupations like crewing relativist starships. Most belong to all Havenite crews, but a few forsake their own society and join other crews or move to non-Havenite worlds. However, like all other Havenite, even the Outsiders perform all of these activities from the safety and security of their VPs. Their only interactions with the physical world are through tele-operated robots. No sane Havenite would consider actually leaving their VP except in the direst emergency.

 
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Development Notes
Text by John Snead

Initially published on 29 October 2001.

Page uploaded 30 October 2001, last modified 16 August 2003