Friday, May 28, 2021

Microstory 1635: Isoverse

I already told you about Floaterverse, where just about everyone on Earth lives on artificial floating islands. Isoverse is similar to that, but taken to an extreme extreme. I didn’t repeat myself, the first extreme is an adjective, and the second a noun. The Floaters still maintain their communities, they’re just modular. They can shift them around, which serves to promote a global community. The Isoversals, on the other hand, stay almost completely separate from each other, and they do it in space. Civilization started out normal, but quickly diverged, both socially, and scientifically. Advancement became an obsession for these people, and contrary to popular belief, this is not normal. For centuries, most versions of Earth will develop technology quite slowly, necessity being the mother of invention, and all. Most will not form a drive to push forward regardless of true need until much later. Coupled with religious hangups, this can hold progress back rather well. These same obstacles happened to the Isoversals as well, but unlike others, it severely pissed them off. A resistance group of sorts rose to power, and banned all religion impressively early. I say impressive, but do not mistake that to mean I condone their violent behavior. It’s just such an unusual thing to happen in history, but all told, there was less violence here than in most other universes. The group also banned war, and were prepared to stoop to the level of irony in order to protect that mandate. This also had the effect of increasing the global population, which might sound like a good thing, but it came with some problems. It came with disease. It was worse than any pandemic on any other world, except for the sterility virus. The Isoversals were nearly wiped out by it, and it forced them to change their perspective.

The survivors continued to advance, and came up with ways to protect themselves against something like this happening again. Self-quarantining became the norm, and each passing generation was more and more used to the idea, until no one was left alive who felt that there was any better way to live. To maintain the species, they had to live separately. It was the only way, according to researchers. Innovation didn’t halt, though, of course, and soon they were reapplying their methods to space travel. This reached its inevitable state when every family was afforded its own fusion-powered spacecraft habitat that could orbit a planet, or a host star. If requested and approved, they could even be fitted with a propulsion system capable of delivering them to other star systems. When a child was old enough to go off on their own, they did so literally, by transferring to a unit only large enough to accommodate them. Obviously, the entire point of all this was to protect the species, but the price of not going extinct by some disease could not be going extinct by a lack of propagation. Instead of interacting in base reality, communities formed in virtual constructs. They kept their physical bodies, but spent most of their time connected to the network. When two people met, they would begin by dating each other remotely, and would even form a permanent union in VR. They would only come together outside of VR to start a family, and they were assigned a larger habitat in order to make that work. This was how they lived, and they never thought there could be a better way. They didn’t colonize space to protect the environment of their home planet. They did it because they believed it was the best way to insulate themselves from each other. But it protected them from the Ochivari just the same.

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