Professors Wu, Bernstein, Gibson and Klaassen sat back in their chairs. Excited, bewildered, horrified, joyous, giddy, paranoid, small, insignificant. The flood of emotions washing over them was enough to take their breaths away. The answer was right in front of them. The experiment had succeeded. All variables had been accounted for, the data had been checked seven times.
They had found the answer to the universe and why there were so many inconsistencies and why there seemed to be a distant barrier around it.
The universe was a simulation.
Galaxies were simulations.
Stars and planets were simulations.
Life itself was a simulation.
Every human was a simulation.
The calculations they fed into the computing clusters for decades and the tweaks and the addition of quantum clusters with the idea to avoid precise answers on purpose had opened the door to previous mathematical barriers.
Wu, a middle aged man with more Asian genes in his name than his body looked at Klaassen, the woman who had recently celebrated her sixtieth birthday by going on a road trip with her motorcycle club. ‘Am I looking at you, or is it really just calculations of our respective location in the grid and the feed of corresponding data within the visual spectrum as defined by the parameters?’
‘I’m afraid I won’t have to answer that now..’ she said, exhausted from the ordeal of digesting the answer to their question.
‘Can it be we’ve overlooked something?’ Gibson, the youngest of them but still father of three teenagers asked.
Bernstein and Wu shook their heads. Bernstein, who was a little older than Klaassen rubbed his bald head. ‘You’ve seen the exact same outcome each time, no matter how we changed the parameters.’
‘This has got me thoroughly spooked.’ Gibson said, wiping sweat from his forehead. ‘To think everything we know, we see, can be switched off in an instant like any cheap device.
‘There might be a fail-safe.’ Klaassen said, glancing at the result on the screen before her. Looking at it for more than a few seconds made her dizzy now.
‘Only if they’re not done with this universe though.’ Wu said. ‘If they don’t need it anymore they’ll shut it down.’
‘And if we’re lucky they restore a backup later.’ Bernstein responded with sarcasm.
‘What will the world do if they find out?’ Gibson asked.
‘Probably go nuts. Rape and pillage what they can because there is no meaning to life anyway.’ Wu said.
Klaassen nodded her head. ‘So we have to lie.’
‘I don’t know if I can keep it to myself long enough.’ Bernstein said. ‘It’s too big for me to keep silent.’
The four sat silent in their own thoughts, each thinking about the effect on the world and how they viewed it in their own little part of it. Klaassen wondered how she would look at her grandchild the next time she visited her daughter. Would she stop loving him, knowing he was actually nothing more than numbers. Bernstein pondered about the brief affair his wife had and if he could detach the feeling of both guilt and betrayal. Wu told himself to go home early and make love to his wife, which he hadn’t done in a few months and vowed to let her know he loved her more than anything. That feeling just couldn’t be simulated. Gibson thought he’d start by drinking himself into a stupor first, then deal with whatever would happen afterwards.
‘Ignorance is bliss.’ Bernstein said.
‘Yeah..’ Wu agreed.
A flicker on his screen attracted Gibson’s attention and he looked closer. When he saw words forming he shot back startled. ‘Look!’ he said, pointing at his screen. ‘Someone’s talking to us!’
The others noticed the writing on their screens and read it.
“Our simulation has succeeded, thank you for your work.” it said and they looked briefly at each other with terror in their eyes before the universe went black.
Mirror, mirror on the wall..
What have you done for me lately?
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