A Fish Out of Water - #2
Shortly after the start of the discussion about what people would do if they suddenly found themselves in the OA future, another question was raised:

What would a nearbaseline from the OA world do if they suddenly found themselves in ours?


Through unknown means, an OA nearbaseline wakes up and finds emself on 2014 Earth. Your job is to come up with answers to these questions:

What does this neb look like? where was/will be the neb from in the OA setting? Who is this person?

Where on Earth do they find them self upon waking?

What is their first day like?

What are they doing after a month? A year? Five Years?

What would trouble this person the most about our world?

Once again, the answers were numerous and interesting. Here are more of the responses received. Additional responses will appear in upcoming issues of V:FT.

chris0033547 - OA Forum

What does this neb look like? Where was/will be the neb from in the OA setting? Who is this person?

current gender: male
age: 80 Earth standard years but his current biological age is approximately 25 Earth standard years
appearance: olive skin and eye color, short dark hair, looks like a physically attractive baseline human due to standard neb-cosmetic mods
height & weight: 180 centimeters at 70kg in Old Earth's standard gravity

He lived in the Phytotopian Biopolity in an Earth-standard habitat, which would also be habitable by average baseline humans. As one of countless botanic specialists in his home habitat he was working under the spiritual and professional guidance of the 'Wise Trees' on the creation of novel organobiota for his habitat and also administered a few botanical databases. His small home village (one of the countless other small villages in the habitat) consisted of tree houses deep within one of the habitat's local sentient forests. The tree houses itself (and thus the whole village infrastructure) have been grown directly out of the sentient trees. They haven't been "constructed in the classical sense".

The closeness to nature, that constant ever-present sense of being nurtured by a "greater whole" - (in a sense the habitat emself) defines and pervades the psyches of the habitat's nebs and turns them into very kind, caring, openminded and cheery individuals.

Where on Earth do they find them self upon waking?

North Sentinel Island


What is their first day like?

Well, one moment the neb was administering a botanical database in his tree house, while chatting with a rianth from a neighboring tree village through his DNI and the other moment everything disappeared around him and his vision was suddenly filled with a blue sky. He could hear constant splashing sounds not far away from him. Completely dumbfounded about his current situation he tried to move his body and realized that he was lying on something soft and fine-grained even though he was just sitting in his tree house a moment ago. Still completely dazed from the sudden change of scenery he finally sat up and looked around himself. He noticed that he was lying on a sandy beach near a large body of water. His complete disorientation finally led to outright fear as he stood up and realized that his DNI connection was completely gone. At first he tried to call the rianth, he has been talking to all this time. When that failed, he tried to call his village elder and finally his habitat's wise tree, who is a hyperturing entity. But no matter what he tried, there was simply no Known Net connection and he began to panic. However he quickly used his DNI to calm himself down. He went to the body of water, put a finger in the water and tasted it. It tasted salty. Turning around he once again looked at the lush green forest not far away from him. Although he realized that it is probably futile he desperately tried to communicate with the forests' trees using his DNI but the lack of a response quickly confirmed, what he has suspected anyway: That the local plants and trees of this habitat or wherever he is are likely not sentient. This realisation shattered something within his psyche. Never before has he felt so lonely. Standing there he began to ask himself the obvious question: Why? What did he do wrong to deserve this kind of harsh treatment from the High Council? Try as he might using his DNI, he could not remember anything, he might have done wrong in the whole 80 years of his existence inside his habitat. And even if he did something wrong, this kind of punishment seemed to be far too brutal to be considered a punishment. The neb reasoned that like any sentient being he has sentient rights after all and besides the Utopia Sphere is known for protecting all forms of sentient life. Thus the neb would conclude that something sinister must've happened within his habitat. Perhaps a form of perversity or even worse a blight that messed up everyone's memories and/or constructed this virch? Or maybe his original habitat has been vastly modified, while he and everyone else have been unconscious? In any case the neb decided to be really cautious from now on, trust noone and proceed carefully.

While standing there near the body of water, thinking about his current situation and reviewing any possible misdeeds from his life using his DNI the neb suddenly heard shouts from the distance. Apparently he was not alone in this habitat and maybe someone already noticed his presence here, he thought. Although if this whole "habitat" has been constructed by a transap-perversity his presence here has never been "hidden" in the first place. Where probably was no place to "hide" but that didn't mean, he shouldn't at least try. The neb decided that running towards the trees, where the rapidly growing shouts were coming from was not a good idea. If he ran along the shore, he would stand out as well. The only place was to retreat inside the body of saltwater, swim away from the shore and then submerge himself under water and continue to swim along the shore underwater. Hopefully he would be able to confuse his followers that way, assuming that the perversity let him do all this in the first place but what else could he do? If e wanted to "play" with him, he had no choice anyway and besides there was also the possibility that all of this was not the work of a perversity but perhaps some kind of spiritual test by the Sapient Trees that maybe he has been chosen to do something in this habitat.

As he was rapidly thinking over all these scenarios the neb quickly sprinted towards the body of water, sprang into the water and began to swim away from the shore and the perceived source of the shouts. He realized that that source was rapidly closing in on his position and consisted of several baseline human-like voices. The now highly agitated neb had no time to think about this or even turn his head to look at the source of the shouts as several sharp objects impacted all around him into the water. On object grazed his left arm and his DNI registered the damage while simultaneously and instantly dulling his pain receptors so that he could continue to swim away from the shore at full force. He finally recognized the objects as arrows. Not wanting to wait for another volley of those he quickly dove underwater and continued to swim further away from the shore. He briefly turned around and so several humanoid figures standing in the water but unable to follow him because he was already too far away and the water was already too deep. As he had hoped noone tried to follow him.

The neb slowly swam several metres below the surface for several minutes but finally decided to take a breath of fresh air. Watching the vibrations of the water surface above him for anything suspicious he quickly but stealthily swam up and took a quick deep breath. Then he dove down again. At this point he was grateful that he had visited a few other Phytotopian habitats in his life with similar large bodies of water and downloaded the necessary skill modules into his DNI, which showed him how to swim and dive. The only problem was that unlike a superior, who could remain underwater for up to 15 minutes, he could do so for no more than 7 minutes and had to replenish his air supply afterwards. [Note: Actually I have no idea for how long a typical Y11K-neb can hold his breath but it's certainly for a longer period than a baseline is capable of, so I just took the figure from the 'Superior Genemods'-page and halved it.]

while swimming underwater the neb's DNI would direct the neb's nanoimmune system to repair the injury on his left arm. Furthermore the DNI would detect that the tip of the arrow has been poisoned. However the poison that would paralyse and kill a baseline within minutes is no match for the neb's vastly superior Y11K-medibots and is quickly neutralized and cleaned from the neb's system without causing any harmful effects whatsoever.

So not only did the inhabitants shot at him but they did so using poisoned arrows. So their intention was not just to chase him away from the shore and presumably their settlements somewhere within the forest but to outright murder him, the neb thought while swimming deep underwater and now a good distance away from the shore. He realized that it was probably a good idea now to return to the shore and then hide somewhere within the forest. Even though the wound on his left arm has almost healed the little blood, he had lost, could attract water predators assuming that such predators have been grown and set out within this habitat's body of water.

After returning to the shore and then swimming for several hours along the shore the neb would notice that it's getting darker and that the illumination of the habitat is beginning to fade. Completely exhausted the neb crawled out of the water and began to crawl towards the forest, hoping that nobody would see him due to the fading illumination. He managed to crawl into the forest and hide there.

What are they doing after a month?

The neb almost died on his first day and his first night in the "habitat", he found himself in. But somehow with the help of the restorative powers of his nanoimmune system and his above baseline human average genetic abilities as a nearbaseline, he managed to hide himself well enough within the forest, make a fire there and then establish a basic shelter in the following few days. Using his botanic knowledge and his DNI's survival skill module he managed to discover, what plants and small animals were edible in the habitat. During his first nights he managed to read the constellation of stars or rather the simulation of "stars" on the habitat's "ceiling" and understood that judging from these constellations the habitat appears to be a rather detailed simulation of 21st century Old Earth. But even so, what was the purpose of him being here? In any case he wasn't sure about the validity of his perversity-theory anymore.

Luckily as a botanic specialist his DNI had detailed maps about all the Garden Worlds in the Terragen Sphere and especially about Old Earth, one of the major Garden Worlds in the Terragen Sphere. After studying these maps during his third night in the Old Earth-simulation he quickly understood that he has been "transported" to Old Earth's North Sentinel Island. He queried his DNI for the island's history using one of the standard Old Earth history modules and discovered the reason, why the inhabitants were so hostile to outsiders. He decided that the best way to proceed was to leave them alone and build a boat and try to reach Tarmugli Island. From where he would have to travel to Red Skin Island in order to reach some sort of civilisation.

The neb spends more than a month with building a boat and swimming to Tarmugli Island. Due to his nearbaseline mods he is able to drink sea water. (That's correct, right?) He also catches and eats fish.

A year?

The neb travels from the South Andaman Islands to the North Andaman Islands and from there to Myanmar. He manages to come up with a suitable cover-up story to get the country's citizenship.

Five years?

I think that in such a long timeframe the neb would certainly use his amazing Y11K-botanic skills (amazing by 21st century standards) in order to start several local agriculture projects in Myanmar that would improve the country's manufacture of food. Beyond those five years he might get noticed by the country's officials and thus his agricultural ideas would turn the country into a major manufacturer of agricultural food.

In any case I believe the impact this neb would make on Myanmar and finally the whole world would be comparable to Ryan's Forum for Prosperity. The only difference is that the philosophy of this neb's "Forum for Prosperity" would be more in the direction of natural religions like Wicca or something like that. Another impact this neb's version of "FfP" would've on the world would be advanced Y11K-techniques regarding the protection of the environment. He would certainly provide the world with techniques, which would increase the world's food supply while lowering the negative impact on the environment. Well, I guess the neb would accomplish something in that direction...

Matterplay - OA Forum

What does this neb look like?

Medium height, with a slender build, extremely fair skin, pale blonde hair, and grey somewhat almond-shaped eyes. She looks like she might be in her late teens or early twenties, though she is much older than that. She might pass for a Finn on Old Earth, to someone who has never been to Finland, but there is something about her, particularly about her eyes and about the shape of her very slightly pointed ears that doesn’t match. She is quite beautiful by baseline human standards, in an elfin sort of way. She is extraordinarily strong for someone of her size and build, and very quick and light on her feet. She has some basic low-level cyborg implants, mostly sensors and a neural connection to facilitate localnet connections, but those are not apparent other than with scanning equipment like an x-ray or MRI.

Where was/will be the neb from in the OA setting?

She is from a settlement along the Periphery that consists of a mixed set of modosophonts: human nearbaselines of various sorts plus quite a few other generalist first-in clades. There were only a handful of transapients in the system, none above S1, and the nearest wormhole link was light years away. Like millions of other such places it was, by Terragen Standards, a relatively raw and recent settlement and while it was pleasant enough for its inhabitants there was nothing exceptional about it; even in a more developed state it would probably have grown into yet another comfortable backwater in the context of the Civilized Galaxy. It had a goodly number of of spaceborne habs and bubblehabs and computronium nodes supporting cybercosms, and had some domed settlements on some some of its moons and rocky planets plus some communities of vecs and extreme tweaks in some of the available natural environments: typical early-stage settlement. However a few of the colonists had settled one of the earth-like planets and it was in the late stages of a terraforming project: habitable but still being shaped to suit in terms of local geography and biota. She was born on that planet and lived there most of her life and aside from a few trips to elsewhere in the system. She was completing an apprenticeship as a composer/designer of habitable local environments for biont and vec clades (something known as Patterning).

Who is this person?

A youth, by the standards of her culture, and not yet at the age of majority (which is equivalent to 50 Old Earth years). Hers is an ancient subclade, though. The Valinorean morphotype that she belongs to and even some key parts of the particular culture she inherits date back to the Nanoswarms, on Saturn in Solsys. Valinoreans were an important element in the revival of civilization among the Saturnian bubblehabs, and some were prominent in the First Federation since by the standards of the time they were highly enhanced humans, but that was long ago. Most who haven’t assimilated or developed in new ways in the thousands of years since live now in protected regions of the Inner or Middle Sphere, or have become Hiders, or have sought out the less-developed parts of the Terragen Sphere where they can still find challenges appropriate to their skills. Her own clan had taken on Sempterist beliefs, with a touch of Negentropism, and sought out the Periphery.

If you were to translate this particular person into someone from the Old Earth of the early 21st century she would be the half-grown child of eccentric back-to-the land types who have been living a very limited lifestyle somewhere in the outback or wilderness, far from civilization. To look at it another way, though, she is the heir to a civilization ten thousand years old, has grown up speaking with and learning from a dozen nonhuman species, has been tutored by superhuman intelligences (some of the local S1s in her home system were missionaries for the Sephirotics and others less closely aligned with the major meta-empires have also meddled/assisted with the local modosophont culture), has travelled the worlds of an entire burgeoning solar system of new cultures and has experienced by virch many other places besides. She has in the process earned the equivalent of several PhDs of theoretical knowledge, plus high skill in dozens of practical fields. Also, for someone so young she is a talented Patterner even by the standards of her own culture: she is generally good with biological materials, ecosystem and mechosystem design, care of and interaction with subsophont bionts of all kinds and with what might be called environmental maintenance and city planning and its interaction with behaviour and culture.

Where on Earth do they find them self upon waking?

In the hills on a south facing slope in the valley of Easter Creek, just northeast of Alsea, Benton County, Oregon State, in early June.

What is their first day like?

She is extremely disoriented and worried. She has just lost her entire connection to the local Net. Her implants, which are fairly robust, versatile, and minimal, like those of most people in her frontier polity, can pick up traces of the local radio signals but she can’t understand what is being said even after she finds a way to interpret the signal as audio. She does figure out quite quickly from looking at the scenery and the flora and fauna that she is on a planet, and that it is an extraordinary rich gardenworld. Within an hour she has deduced from the biota, the tech level of the signals, and the visible mix of forests and clearcuts that she is living in a region of human Prims, and specifically that she is experiencing Old Earth, sometime in the beginning decades of the Great Dying (her background is more in the life sciences than in history, so that is how she thinks of it). She believes at first that she is experiencing it as a virch, at an extraordinary level of resolution. She wracks her memory but can find no reason why this might have happened. She guesses it must be some sort of test, and that amnesia about the context is part of that test.

Eventually she gives up trying to figure out how and why she is there and starts dealing with the apparent reality. She follows the creek downstream, to where it joins the North Fork Alsea River, and before the day is out she is scouting the edges of fields and houses, observing the natives and their technology and habits, wondering whether it is safe to make contact. She follows roadways all the way down to the junction with Highway 34, and spends an uncomfortable night in an abandoned shed, still wondering what is the best course.

What are they doing after a month? A year? Five Years?

Within a few days, before she begins to starve, she reveals herself to the locals. She chooses a family that she has been observing and that believes will be relatively kindly. Even so she is cautious about revealing her origin. She caches her clothes in the woods nearby, and knocks on their door wearing clothes that they had left out on the line to dry. She has only a few words of English at first, and they take her to be a tourist from somewhere in Europe who got robbed and lost in the woods. The police interview her as best she can, but she feigns amnesia about her background and refrains from speaking any language but English. Because she is attractive, likeable, a quick learner, a hard worker, and good with their horses and dogs and other animals, and entertains them with some delightful tunes she knows, the family lets her stay with them on the assumption that either her memory will return or the police will figure out where she came from. In less than a month she speaks nearly flawless English, and has ceased to be amazed by and clumsy with local technology. Very fortunately for her she doesn’t look so extraordinarily different from the local type to excite suspicion and an immediate report to the INS, but it is not long before she begins to feel she will attract too much attention of the wrong kind if she stays in place in a small settlement. She packs her few belongings, including the clothes she retrieved from her cache in the woods and as much of the local currency as she has been given, and leaves a note to the family, saying she has remembered something of her former life and must leave immediately to investigate. It has been one month.

She hitchhikes to Portland, where she begins by making a living with street performances (she is an accomplished singer and musician) and waitressing. She is unused to the hazards of baseline human society, but her quick wits keep her out of the worst scrapes and a knack for making friends and allies keeps her from starving. Via volunteer work at an animal shelter she manages to get part-time work as a veterinary assistant (she is exceptionally good), and later she juggles that with part-time work in a landscaping business. She manages to be paid in cash, and dodge questions about her background. She leaks parts of her original story about amnesia, to cover for any of her lapses of background knowledge. It has been just one year since she arrived.

Eventually, she manages to create an official identity based on the first police reports of her. She is fluent in English in the regional accent and idiom, her grasp of the local culture is complete and to all appearances ‘native’ and overall she is persuasive and personable enough that the early notes that she did not speak the language are overlooked and her story sticks with the authorities. With that out of the way she rapidly begins to acquire credentials in to match her pre-existing skills. For her own reasons she keeps a low profile and moves frequently, but once she enters the research labs potential patent applications and Nobel Prize winners spring up wherever she goes. She has somehow contrived that much of the credit goes to others, and has retained only one or two minor patents herself (mostly in materials sciences, and derived from some reverse-engineering she has done based on the clothes she was wearing when she arrived). Much of what she does or encourages turns out to have practical applications in the medical and environmental fields. Within a decade or two she will have single-handedly revolutionized several fields and the life sciences in particular will have been changed beyond recognition. Even the lab equipment she invents on the fly is extraordinarily good, and often turns out to be a profitable invention, to the benefit of whatever foundation or company she is working for at the time. Wherever possible she gives local politics a nudge in whatever she believes to be the right direction. She usually does this by floating what are, to her, elementary concepts with the right people. These are most often in the area of zoning and environmental laws or technologies. Sometimes this is effective, and sometimes not. She is fluent in English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Japanese and competent in German, French and Hindi. She avoids air travel because she knows she could not pass through a scanner without raising awkward questions; her colleagues think she is just afraid of flying.

She has friends and goes out on dates or to parties and other social events where she mixes well, but has not found any baseline humans who would be acceptable as a mate or even as a close friend and confidante. People find her pleasant and entertaining socially, but she is not close to anyone and is very elusive and evasive. Very perceptive people can see loneliness and sadness underneath her vivacious exterior. She seems at first to be ambitious, but it is not conventional social ambition; she has the air of someone who is on a mission.

It has been just five years since she arrived.

What would trouble this person the most about our world?

An ongoing suspicion that she is in a virch, and has somehow failed some critical test and cannot yet exit. The prevalence of poverty, the shortness of life, the extraordinarily large percentage of the population that is disabled, the noise and pollution, the rapid and ongoing destruction of one of the richest biospheres in what will be the Terragen Sphere. These things horrify her, though she has learned to conceal her reactions. Even the most prosperous and peaceful Old Earth settlement in the most advanced nations looks to her like a filthy and chaotic slum filled with short sad and repressed lives. She feels she cannot change these realities fast enough. She is doing all she can, but she cannot be everywhere and do everything. She wishes that she remembered better how to create something like a fusion reactor, or some critical aspects of social engineering, or other key inventions of her distant past, but while she understands and remembers the principles she does not know all the steps in how to build the tools to build the tools. At least, not yet.

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