The world is a crazy place to be in. The Global Economy isn’t stable. The markets are inconsistent. Criminal organizations are more organized than the international governments and everything costs more than the average wage can pay.

Slowing the climbing domestic violence rates, drug use and criminal activities is attributed to the one invention that has had a greater impact on human life than the automobile, the microwave, person computers, the Internet, and mobile devices has had during the past 2 centuries. Next to interstellar space travel it was the Virtual to Human Interface Device (VHID) or “the V-chip” as it has been nicknamed. The brain-child of technology pioneer and CEO of New Worlds Corporation, John Baxter, is a device that once imbedded at the base of the skull and near the spinal cord, will turn the entire nerve network of the human body into something that once keyed into a virtual environment allows the recipient to experience sight, smell and touch–and pain, as if they really were in that world. It also allows carriers to access the NWC Global Network, the third generation of the Internet.

But let’s not forget space travel. That is important too. NWC had a part to play in that as well but its empire, was definitely built on the V-chip.

The V-chip implant process is simple and requires only a small medical device, the size of a standard immunization gun. A skin prick is all you feel and a little pressure at the back of your neck. NWC had made the process pretty simple. It also made possible through grants and special financing for just about anyone that wanted a V-chip, to get one.

The success of the NWC V-chip is monumental and propelled NWC into being the most powerful company in the world and John Baxter, at its helm, became the most influential person in the world. Although, he is now officially in retirement after resigning his position at NWC, every corporate head was still seeking him out from across the globe in the hopes of gaining access to the design info of the V-Chip. Equally so, gaining access to this technology is pretty popular with the criminal segment as well. Fortunately, both sectors have been unsuccessful with their attempts to steal the technology over the last 15 years.

The design plans are now buried in his brain and within the chip he carries, the prototype of the technology, a secret he and his wife Jessica have managed to keep from the NWC Board and International Defense Heads for all these years.

The reason for this secrecy was pretty obvious, at least to John. Corporate and governmental corruption is all too common. He knew how easy it would be to activate the V-chip as a 2-way transmitter for brain activity and thought. This was not something that he wanted to make available at the risk of it being abused. Personal privacy was already the subject of international debate. It has been compromised on multiple levels through other personal, home and workplace device technologies. He did not need the V-chip to be added to the world’s personal intrusion watch-list.

He was pretty happy with the V-chip being the “World’s Drug” and source of safe escape. Besides, its mere existence and accessibility had dramatically brought down crime, drug use and violence. Of course, this was a fact that did not make John Baxter and NWC too popular with the criminal sector. In fact, because of the organized attacks against them, John Baxter and NWC were rumored to have under secrecy, created a special task-force that used the V-Chip 2-way component to track down criminals. The legal system didn’t mind that too much since it made their job a lot easier. The police system was underfunded as it was so the Law just turned a blind eye to John Baxter’s suspected crime-busting activities.

The corporate world and all things ‘V-chip” were all behind him now but, he was still proud of what he had done. He was left with the greatest and most gratifying feeling that out of all of this, the invention and the success of the V-chip, was that it—his invention—helped to mold a new generation and the beginnings of potentially a new and brighter world. It was a world, he had to admit, he helped to create.

On the more realistic side though, no matter how wonderful the V-chip and the virtual worlds that NWC had designed have been to the masses, the harsh reality was that people still needed to return to the real world–the same world that was still in turmoil and a place worthy of escaping.

The younger generation really bought into this technology more than any other. Within the virtual worlds, they organized groups and clubs (clans even) and speant a lot of time in activities there. They even created their own worlds–ones ranging from dance and fight clubs to wide open spaces and even small cities. Not only did they play in these worlds for entertainment but they leveraged the technology and links to the Global Net to learn. They even invented things–amazing things–that eventually showed up in the real world and sold through the underground market. John Baxter still wasn’t sure how these kids did all of what they did but was amazed and impressed by their resourcefulness. Not all of what came about from these inventions was bad either. There was an unmarked package that showed up at his office one day. Inside was a very impressive anti-surveillance device and a thank you note signed, “Children of the V-chip.”

“The Children of the V-Chip,” that’s what this active younger component of the virtual world generation came to be known as. Friends or foes, John was not sure which they were yet. He was pretty sure though; they needed to be kept track of.

John Baxter sighed as he looked out the viewport of the Black Venture. Preparations for his new transport ship’s maiden voyage were just about done. He watched as the crew loaded the last of the blue and orange cargo containers into the ship’s bay. The whole hangar was busy with activity. There were mini-lifters and tugs at the other end of the hangar moving large crates and below his viewport was a taxi tug moving toward its ready position at the front of the ship. Shortly after, he felt a jerk as it latched onto the gear at the front of the ship. Soon it would tow the Black Venture out of the hangar and onto the launch pad.

He leaned back into his pilot’s chair. The lights of the control panels in front of him seem to dance about as he closed his eyes for a moment. He wanted to draw in one last image of his wife. Jessica, he thought, I love you and I will certainly miss you on this journey. He smiled widely. You bought me this ship! I can’t believe you did that!

He opened his eyes and looked out the forward viewport. The launch lights flickered in a line moving forward across the ground and into the open area of the Denver Spaceport as if beckoning him toward the skies above the Rocky Mountains and beyond.

This is going to be great!, thought John. No more NWC. No more CEO duties. It will just be some flying and space, of course. This is my R&R. My “me” time.

His thoughts then drifted back again to fix on the younger generation and “The Children of the V-Chip.” He knew that one day, one of these kids would crack the V-chip code. He just hoped that when that time came it would be for the best.

Well, thought John, at least the prototype is safe in my head.