Forrest Cameranesi Geek of all Trades

(4x08) The Birth of Another World: Part 3, Episode 2

With that final milestone of mind-uploading met, and test cases like Xiuying proving successful, Virtuality soon goes ends its beta period and goes public. It is quickly a resounding success, and the population of Virtuality explodes far beyond the beta population, but the system of tiered realms sorts the people into appropriate groups and everything works out fine between them. An unsurprising plurality of early adopters are the sick and elderly and dying like Xiuying. Almost all of those nearing the end of their livable years, most of them about to enter cryonic suspension, upload their minds to Virtuality so that they can continue living their lives while waiting for the technology to heal their bodies. Swathes more simply spend most of their time in the virtual world with its virtual health, stretching out their enjoyable years and reducing wear on their physical bodies even while still technically inhabiting them. And besides those people for whom the virtual world is clearly superior to their physical lives, even the young and healthy population begin to make heavy use of it for recreational and educational purposes, while continuing to live their physically embodied lives meanwhile.

A small, snobbish segment of the population eschew Virtuality entirely, and it becomes a minor cultural divide about how much Virtuality usage is too much. But much like the internet, video games, and television before it, it is generally adopted into a healthy, moderate aspect of most mainstream people's lives. At the opposite end of the spectrum to those actuality-snobs, some users, who are far more interested in spending their times in virtual realms than in the real world anyway, even choose to have their mostly-unused physical bodies preemptively put into suspended animation after uploading their minds to Virtuality, so as to become effectively immortal while also retaining their physical youth. Tom, of course, is among those interested in that; but because of his reluctance to do anything difficult to reverse, he is also hesitant. That turns out to be a not-uncommon complaint, and soon enough, a combined system of cryonics and Virtuality uplink is developed by the Pacifica team themselves, which allows a user to enter a cryopod and automatically mind-upload into Virtuality, and then to will themselves out of Virtuality causing an automatic restoration of their body and re-downloading of their mind.

Unbeknownst to the public at large, that technology was a part of the development goal all along, as it is instrumental to a mission being chartered by the secret organization Joe commands that backs Pacifica and the entire Virtuality development team: an interstellar starship called the Valhalla, whose crew will remain in stasis and uploaded to Virtuality while on the long journey to another world.

Next: The Birth of Another World: Part 3, Episode 3