Equal Habitation

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Oldrac the Chitinous
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Equal Habitation

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Equal Habitation is the informal name used to refer to any of the OptDat117 series protocols for neuroactive datascape interfacing, which were the industry standard from 2068 until 2144. It is characterized by its simultaneous operation in the corporeal and datascape domains. It was preceded by the Disjoint Habitation protocol, and succeeded by the Dynamic Habitation protocol; these protocols differ in the technology used to create the link between corporeal and extracorporeal spaces.
The infrastructure on which the modern <<Thinkoptic Network>> (Think-Net) relies was originally developed for the Inter-Net, as a means to reduce data loss when sending wireless signals over long distances. Using newly developed neutroson-reactive polymers, it became possible to send neutroson-based signals that did not interact with regular matter. From there, it was only a short conceptual leap to creating persistent neutroson structures; these structures are what make up all objects on what we now know as the Datascape.

In the Disjoint Habitation and earlier protocols, users of the Think-Net accessed the datascape using monolithic neutroson controller grafts connected to the nervous system, usually at the base of the spine. These users still lived in meatspace, and their interactions with the datascape were severely limited. Groups such as the Decarnate Brotherhood simulated a dataspace-only existence immersion using long-term sensory deprivation in isolation cells, but such exceptions were very rare.
This remained the case until the advent of biointegrated nanoscale neutroson controllers, sometimes called NNCs, or simply nanites. These devices were released on 15 April, 2030, along with the protocol under which they operated, OptDat117.0.1.a. With this system, the nanites interacted with all components of the nervous system, giving the user a real presence in the datascape while still allowing them to function in corporeal space. Deprivation Parlors became more prevalent under the new protocol, allowing patrons to access some extracorporeal regions with no corporeal counterparts. The most common application, though, was to integrate datascape locations with existing meatspace ones, creating a single, unified environment. It's from this duality that the Equal Habitation protocol takes its tame.

There were significant dangers involved with the new technology; the total integration of the nanites into the user's body created a dependency on its datascape counterpart. Despite this risk, Equal Habitation was initially a tremendous success, with approximately 45 percent of Think-Net users migrating to the new system within six months of its release. This boom ended abruptly on 25 July 2031, when over 2.6 million nanite-enabled people died in the <<Flancer>> Tragedy. For the five years that followed, BNN use dropped to almost none in those areas in which it was not explicitly forbidden; it was during this time that the Dendrosophy movement, vocal opponents of neuroactive technology, was at its most influential. The technology was revived in 2036, but was only very slowly adopted.

Although the Forum was spared the worst of Flancer plague, it caused lasting rifts in the community. Cirtur Arboriter threatened that the Brachiatites would leave the forum. It is believed that the <<Zach Can't Draw>> party was founded during this period. Several of the servers responsible for maintaining the datascape cities were shut down, while the corporeal cities experienced desperate overcrowding. In an attempt to hold the forum together, <<Duke HawHaw MCCLXXI>> organized the first battlesketch games in 2031; although only sparsely attended for the first few years, it is believed that these games were an important factor in holding the forum together.

The Forum operated under Equal Habitation until 2144, when Dynamic Habitation became available. With this technology, users in meatspace converted into a neutrino representatio, and, with a sufficient supply of raw materials, converted back at a later time. The Forum was among the first adopters of this new system, eager to put the trials of the decades spent under Equal Habitation behind them.

Author's Commentary:
I have used the terms "datascape" and "extracorporeal space" interchangeably here; the same can be said for "meatspace" and "corporeal space." I have been told by experts on the subject that there are subtle distinctions between these terms, but for the purposes of this article, they shouldn't be significant. I hope.
Police said they spent some time working out if they could charge the man with being armed with a weapon, as technically he was armed with part of a fish.

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