Metaverse travel is the process by which the consciousness, memories, and abilities of a person--the pilot--are inserted into the body of another person in another reality--the avatar. Avatars retain their existing personalities and consciousnesses, but the pilot identities retain ultimate control, allowing them to select their degrees of immersion on a moment to moment basis.
The process of metaverse travel is accomplished through the use of the metapod, a single occupancy chamber that maintains a pilot's body in stasis and manages all bodily functions while connecting the pilot to the target reality. Jebediah Lexington has noted, however, that he is not sure how or why the pods work, despite having served as a technician on them.
Prior to the pilot episode, the Program's team have only ever been able to connect a given pilot with a given reality once; however, they have been able to fix this problem.
The base world containing the bodies of the pilots and the metapods is a version of Earth very like our own. All other [worlds] appear to be alternate histories of our own, with varying degrees of difference.
To date, no name for the metapod project has been given, nor have its authorities specified its purpose beyond learning about how other realities function.
Normally, the Program controls when a pilot enters and leaves an alternate reality, but there are some things a pilot can do to resist retrieval, whether accidentally or deliberately. The program is also normally able to speak directly to the pilots throughout each trip; some instances of stymied communication have been recorded, but as yet the Program's scientists and technicians have found no explanation for that blockage when it occurs.
Facilities at the Program are entirely adequate, if rather bland. Food in the cafeteria has been described as not actively bad, the sleeping quarters as fine but nothing you'd seek out for a vacation. Apparently the interior designers of at least one of their conference rooms disagreed on whether the walls should be painted taupe or eggshell.
Personnel Of The Project
Currently, the project appears to be headed up by Col. Steven Richardson, Project Director, and Dr. Samantha Simkins, Chief Engineer.
Regular technicians and engineers are sometimes chosen to be pilots, though this appears to be somewhat rare. Pilots are also sometimes drawn from the general populace, be it by discreet invitation or blackmail and coercion. All appear to be either kept under containment or subject to potentially deadly Non-Disclosure Agreements.
The team has dealt with another scientist on the project, Dr. Linnea Johnson; she worked closely to monitor their first trip to Sentinel City, and brought a presentation on the recorded results of that trip.
Traditionally, a single pilot like Thomas is sent into a world ahead of the team to scout and report back on the relative value in its further exploration. Following that, a team will be sent into that world together. The program heads have said that some pilots seem to find the process of metaverse travel, at least in the way that the Program would like it done, significantly easier than others.
Little is known about The Founders, aside from the fact that they are opposed to The Project. They possess metapods of their own and have the ability to make them self automating. They are seemingly more accommodating than The Project, allowing the pilots plush living conditions, and have even offered to let them leave if they so desire. However, their true goals remain a mystery. The Founders are currently seeking their lost children. One of their number, a Spartan named Xerates, guards the metapod/metacolumns that lead to the world of The Arena also known as Sequelibrium.
A possible meeting point or way station in the metaverse, Joe's Diner is frequented by many metapilots of varying types. It also has branches in almost every world the team as encountered, with new ones opening all the time. Hollywood, the server, and Cook, the cook, run the diner and seem to have a great deal of knowledge about the metaverse and the metapilots. They do prefer to remain enigmatic in their answers and both seem to have a unique relationship to time, Hollywood especially.
Pilot Class Level
First mentioned by Ronald Zenda, each MetaPilot is ranked at a certain class level. Ranging from one to five, the various levels seem to denote differing levels of power and ability. Some, such as level two, are able to only use metaverse travel recreationally while others, such as level five, are more military grade pilots. However, the exact details of each pilot level are not known and Ronald Zenda, a self proclaimed class four, was not asked for more information...yet.