In the far away future of 20 18 Earth has become inhospitable. The surface is covered in endless dust storms that block the sun and have killed most plant and animal life. Endless conflict, big and small, have created intractable divides that separate humans into warring factions. After pushing the planet and themselves into desperation, with nowhere else to go, giant underground living quarters are quickly built and a radical solution is adopted. Each 8x8x8 cell is equipped with all encompassing virtual reality equipment designed for long term use. Individuals remain in their own separate virtual universe, simultaneously designing and living their lives apart. Contact with other humans, and the Earth, deemed too dangerous and unhealthy, is made obsolete.
The allure was too great, everything you could ever want, no consequences.
In your universe you can fly, and die, and then do it all over again. Your world is not empty, your earth can be as big and beautiful as it once was and all of your friends and pets will always be there with you. Decide to challenge yourself, or not, experience randomness and luck, or not. Remember, at any time, you have control, change the outcome, replay, or start fresh with something entirely different. No one will stop you.
Most went willingly, happily. The few that resisted were left with option of living in the grey concrete halls that housed so many universes. The system was automatic. Everything was done. Certain theorists, in the last days of the one universe exclaimed that this was the ultimate work, the apex development, where humans expand mastery over their surroundings to the point of becoming their own god. Separate and individual. We don’t get along because we don’t need to, we only needed to survive together long enough to achieve the perfect life. No more war, no murder, no annoying co-workers, no yapping dogs, no lines, no bumps. Unless you want those, God.
Still the power cuts sometimes. And every 50 hours dreamers are required to register their choice to log on. A small interruption, most can re-accept without even noticing. It was thought important, by those still of the real world, that those inside should be aware; so that they would understand the value of their dreams. Those that still had roots, or memories of roots in the one universe. The ones that oversaw the great transition. Complete and total endless immersion until physical expiration, was just a step too far. The door between worlds remained.
(this is a work in progress, watch it progress)