It’s taken me almost a year to continue writing this. I should wrap this up as soon as I have some idea of how it’s supposed to end. 😀
Oh, in case you haven’t read part 1, you can find it here.
The distance between the Uninet and real life slowly started increasing as time went by. Some people left the Uninet, scared how else it might mess with their brains. Most sought refuge there to escape from the changing world. It took almost three decades for the world to reach some sort of stability. The hysteria died down, and slowly the populace recovered. Mankind had always had an irrepressible urge to survive, and this was no different. Society learned to scoff at people who spoke about the old times as a knee jerk reaction to what they had lost and could never get back. The younger generations who had grown up dreamless were first fascinated and then frustrated at the old world – and soon they archived away everything they could and tried their best to start afresh.
The changes happened slowly. Old music started disappearing off the Uninet, books from that era or before were taken off shelves and slowly stored away in parts of the Uninet which were either not easily accessible or discouraged people from being too curious. Public opinion changed from scoffing to ostracising people who clung to the olden times. Activist groups emerged with the sole intention of trying to discredit or dispose of anything to do with the olden times in an effort to convince themselves and the world that they were better off now than than they were before; that it’s best if we forget the past and just moved on.
The world survived, but at a steep price – self delusion on an unprecedented global scale.
Within 60 years, human society had changed completely. Breakthroughs in nanotechnology led to improvements in fields like medicine and communications and its effects were visible in every sphere of human life. Nanites injected into the brain could finally do for humans what hallucinogenics had been doing all this while – provide the closest approximation of sleep. By switching off optical circuits and spontaneously creating the illusion of dreams based on extant memories in people, tripdreaming became new the rage and the new release. The definition of what it meant to dream changed as mankind started the era of tripsharing – a real-time interchange of nanites between two people who were faux-sleeping, thus resulting in tripdreams which both could experience at the same time. These sessions could even be recorded if so desired and released either to be seen visually or experienced by someone else when they were tripdreaming. Of course, the black market was soon rife with people selling hacked tripdreams and people willingly selling off their private moments for money.
A hundred years down the line, children were born with nanites which were injected during embryonic stages. They became the new generation of humans – faster, stronger, tireless, but also more disconnected from their pasts. The boom in space exploration finally happened, but Shakespeare was performed no more. Everyone had forgotten who the Beatles were. The disconnect with the 21st century had finally grown irreversible.
One might go as far to say that the definition of of humanity had started changing by then.