A Fish Out of Water - #1
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 is a selection of some of the responses received. Additional responses will appear in upcoming issues of V:FT.

rom65536 - OA Forum

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

Just a random guy from a Negentropist hab. He's an artist - a sculptor of the "post-random zen cubist" school and a musician. He composes musical pieces on several platforms, everything from digital music on a computer to analog music on a flute. He has an interest in amateur singleship design and astral navigation. He's always wanted to pilot his own singleship out into the black....but just couldn't find the time.

He's tall and thin, with jet black skin and thin white hair.

Where on Earth do they find them self upon waking?

Let's make it hard on him - New York City.

What is their first day like?

Shock and bewilderment. The concept of money comes quickly, even if it is silly. The people speak gibberish, with a few random words thrown in that make sense. By dinner time he's very hungry, but has learned enough of the language to be able to convey his desire for food and drink to others, and they have sent him to a homeless shelter.

What are they doing after a month?

Still living on the street, but now the proud owner of a used piccolo. Playing for change in Central park. His music sounds strange, but people chalk it up to international weirdness in central park.

A year?

What do you mean you people don't have fusion reactors? Really? You got a pencil? Who would I talk to about building one of these things?

Five Years?

Cutting the ribbon on the world's first multi-bigawatt fusion reactor. Surviving an assassination attempt (he got shot, but his internal nanomedical system repaired the damage). Now in talks with Elon Musk about putting something in orbit and pointing it at Mars.

Donates most of his fortune to set up homeless shelters that offer psychiatric care.

What would trouble this person the most about our world?

The way we treat other humans, other living things, and our environment.

terrafamilia - OA Forum

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

She is a 50ish nearbaseline from the Orion Federation. She is something of a cyborg and her body is not the one of her birth. She has a syntech and/or drytech skeletal, vascular and lymphatic systems. Her eyes and ears are also syntech and/or drytech, though they appear indistinguishable to biological ones. Most of the rest is biological though she does have a DNI system. Her main avocations are gardening and the use of the products of her gardening, music, and contemporary art.

She is capable of fairly easily changing her skin color. She can also change her hair color and texture but that will take a little time to grow out. She can change her facial features but that will take up to a few weeks depending on the extent of the change. She can also change her sex but that will take longer still.

She is of average nearbaseline intelligence and has the slearner modification.

Where on Earth do they find themselves upon waking?

I don’t want to make it too easy. Though the situation that one person finds easy might present difficulties to another and vice versa. Let’s make it somewhere in the vicinity of Xining, China but outside of any settlement. Not that I know a lot about that region.

What is their first day like?

She would be rather shocked and perhaps worried that she has been bodyjacked and stuffed into some sort of virch. She would likely hope that the authorities intervene sooner rather than later. She might also entertain the notion that perhaps this virch is some sort of test to which she has consented and the lack of memory as to how she got here is just part of the test. She will soon be aware that her network connection is down though she may notice the presence of unfamiliar EM signals on various regions of the spectrum depending on the nature and sensitivity of her internal antenna.

She has never been on a planet before so she might be taken aback when she realizes that this, possibly virtual, environment is on a planetary surface. It would also whet her curiosity. She originally appeared in the country and a town is spotted in the distance. She has exceptional eyesight even compared to non-cyborged nearbaselines so she can gather intel about the town, its architecture, general technology level and general type of clade to which the inhabitants belong before she gets all that close. She will discover that this town seems to be part of an at least superficially low-tech, to her, society.

The clothing she is wearing is self-cleaning, moderately self-repairing, can change its level of insulation, and can alter its color and texture. It is also able to change its style within certain limits. She is not wearing shoes, just glorified socks/stockings. Given her uncertainty as to the circumstances or purpose of her arrival here, whether RL or virch, she decides to blend in as much as she can on such short notice so she adjusts her skin tone, eye color, and her clothing to such an extent as she can. She has also begun to make small easy adjustments to her features.

As she begins to walk through town she begins to get the impression that she’s been dumped into the middle of some Ludd cult, a baseline reserve, or a historical recreation. She pays special attention to overheard speech and examples of what appear to be written language to see if her internal translator system recognizes them. Her translator has an extensive language base but it is far from exhaustive so she also searches through all the other files she has stored in her DNI and deep within her bones. She begins to get results from scraps of info regarding ancient history.

She doesn’t want to interact with the people too much at first as she is wary about how they will react. She decides to camp outside of town at night and live off the land for a little while at least till she develops a better understanding of the inhabitants. Her clothes keep her fairly comfortable and provide camouflage. Her digestive system is very capable so nutrition is not too much of an issue at least in the near term.

What are they doing after a month?

After seeing the planet’s moon at night she realizes it matches that of Earth. Furthermore, it seems completely untouched. She must be in a historical virch since such time travel is impossible. Isn’t it?

After consulting her files regarding Earth study of the passage of the sun, moon, and stars she can determine the latitude and the season. She unpacks all the info she has about ancient Earth and its cultures. She has some examples of ancient languages in print and audio formats from literature, drama, music, historically important speeches, both in the original and in modern translations so she sets out building a translation matrix from them. She narrows the searches in her database of flora and fauna. She realizes she’d best come up with a cover story for when she does get involved with the locals.

One thing she is certain of is that she doesn’t want to be found out as some sort of alien. Not that she thinks she’s sure to be vivisected as some of the more lurid entertainments she’s seen would have it but the uncertainty and risk involved is something she’d really like to minimize. This means she cannot be examined by a doctor. Given the nature of her artificial vascular system she has no pulse or heartbeat. That also means ancient methods of determining blood pressure will not be effective (when having her body designed and built a pulse/heartbeat addition had been offered as an option but she didn’t see the point). She cannot be expected to provide a blood sample as she has no blood (at least nothing like bio-blood). Even a urine sample is liable to produce interesting results. An x-ray may uncover bones whose structure and composition is decidedly outside the norm. [I’m a bit unclear as to what would happen if she had to walk through a scanner at the airport or get wanded at a security checkpoint.]

She has some social interaction and psychological response modeling modules for her DNI but they had been designed for modern Sephirotic peoples and societies, not aboriginal baselines living in a backward, archaic, and likely dysfunctional society. Those will have to be updated on the fly. She is female, which cannot be overlooked given the nature of ancient societies.

The first month will deal mainly with matters of survival and learning the local language(s) and culture. She manages to locate some booksellers and libraries and concentrates at first on what appear to be children’s books and reference material.

One existential matter that will concern her is that if this is a test virch, what is it testing? Is it just a test of survival skills and surviving is all that matters, or is it testing what she is willing to do to survive, and just as important, what she is not willing to do to survive?

A year?

She’s managed to get a good handle on the language and so has been able to place herself near mid-first century A.T. in the People’s Republic of China. She’s managed to sell a couple pieces of inert jewelry she happened to be wearing. She still has a couple more in reserve. She was already an accomplished cook back home so she has adapted easily to the local and regional cuisine. She’s gotten a job at a restaurant in Xining and lives a rather Spartan existence at this point. She’s learned mahjong, poker, and a few other games and so has, illegally, picked up a little extra cash on the side. She’s also become well acquainted with playing several of the musical instruments available and has picked up some extra cash that way as well.

She’s come up with the story that she is an orphan from an impoverished village who ran off to the big city to try and build a better life. She has settled on an appearance that is ‘cute’ but that can be converted to something more plain with a few small, easy changes. She is working on getting identity papers, whether through legal avenues or something less so. On studying the operation of cell-phones and wi-fi equipment she has managed to get her DNI to understand more about the telecommunications protocols currently in use. This does not give her carte blanche, however. Her DNI’s transceiver and antenna are geared to the segment of the spectrum most commonly in use for such purposes in “present day” OA. Her body can repair damage to those systems but it was never designed to make alterations to them. She’s never been interested in ‘hacking’ and so has no such skill/expertise modules on hand. She’s not a member of the Cyberian Network after all. Not that they would necessarily be of much help with computers that are practically from the Stone Age. She'll have to learn about the old-fashioned information technology the old-fashioned way.

She is also busy cultivating relationships and connections that could serve her well in the future.

Five Years?

She’s married to an intelligent (by baseline standards), young go-getter she met when he was right out of college (though she was aware of him sooner). This development is only partially mercenary. She spent considerable time and study in narrowing down the target candidates but she is genuinely fond of him. That played into her choice. She has become an invaluable source of advice in guiding his career. He/they are currently posted in Singapore (she had a little hand in him pursuing that) and she is making the most of it. [Physically getting there could take some more effort on her part if going through security is much of a problem.]

She will make cosmetic adjustments as needed to simulate the effects of aging and begin working on building the foundation for a new identity with a firmer paper trail when one is needed some several decades in the future.

There is still the existential question of is this real life or a virch. If a virch when will it end and under what circumstances? If this is the real past of the real world is this past immutable? Or is it an alternate past whose future is open?

The following is an alteration to the scenario to make it a little easier

She has a nanonail and has been arduously working to build a spore or seed or something self-replicating from scratch. She only has the nail as the result of a last minute impulse and has never actually used it before. Like one of those kitchen appliances that looks so cool on the infomercial but ends up taking up space in a cabinet somewhere. To complicate matters further, spore/seed tech was regulated back home so she has no ready-made templates upon which to draw. After years of study and effort she manages to build something that can then build better stuff, etc., etc. till she gets something that can produce a decent autodoc among other useful things. Now she can undergo the necessary surgery to have the pulse and heartbeat simulators incorporated into her vascular system (she has the complete specifications for her body and the modifications/options that had been available at the time). She can also create and install a couple fake veins to act as reservoirs for “real” blood if a sample is ever needed (that’s straight out the tv show The Event). Going through security is still chancy so she’ll need a cover story and supporting documentation but this will open up more opportunities for her.

What would trouble this person the most about our world?

Pervasive short-sightedness and the lack of opportunities for most everybody.

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