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Archive for November, 2012

Skull and Mask

 

The noxious air engulfs my hollow chest

And inner pain denies my wish to rest

My vision cries

Of ebon skies

The mask I don has fused into my skull

I’m blind, I’m deaf, I’m mute, my life is null.

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Chapter 4 – Too Much Of A Good Thing Makes For A Great News Story

Too Much Of A Good Thing Makes For A Great News Story

“If our fear of gluttony is the fear of wanting too much, then our fear of greed is the fear of wanting it all. Even the most enthusiastic of gluttons achieves satiation after the eighteenth Whopper or the fourteenth Ring Ding and then falls asleep. Greed never sleeps; the ordinarily greedy make money in their dreams and the successfully greedy make money even while they dream”. – Regina Barreca

[House of Grant]

Grant was clearly disturbed by Oben’s unflinching desire to ending the universe.

“Perhaps you should handle this,” he quietly muttered, pushing the keyboard to the left, in front of Mephisto. “You know more about psychology.”

“Point for me!” Mephisto cackled, “Watch this.”

*****

[House of Oben]

“May I ask what you are trying to accomplish?”

Oben looked around, unable to locate the source of the sound.

“Allow my to introduce myself first, some of your folk call me the devil, but I prefer you call me by my name — Mephisto.”

Oben, disturbed by this mysterious voice, asked, not know where to look, “Are you evil?”

A laugh filled the air, sending a chill both up and down through Oben’s spine.  He quaked in fear.

“God and I have this hobby between us to play good and evil.  It’s fun to watch how your people react.  Now, I’m asking again, what are you trying to accomplish?”

Wanting not to anger the devil himself, Oben struggled to find an acceptable answer.  What was he trying to do?

“I was just trying to end a program.”

“Do you realize that you have crashed the simulation of your universe, twice?  You ended the world, twice.”

“Why am I still alive then?”

“You’re technically not alive.  You’re just part of a computer program?”

“Why do I feel alive then?”

“You were programmed that way.”

“So what do you want me to do?”

“I want you to control the world through your coding to your heart’s content.”

“What if my way of doing that is through System exits?”

“Why would you want to destroy a universe that you can rule?”

“This universe is not a fun one.”

“Make it fun.  How about this, I will try to create a moment of happiness for you, and if, at any point, you wish to remain in that moment forever, you will agree that I am better than Grant.”

“Grant?”

“God.”

“Sure, I guess.”

“Excellent, you have made a deal with the devil!”

On Oben’s computer screen, a number of lines of code started writing themselves.

Space space=this.space; //This is all the space in the universe

Location flashDriveLoc=this.memoryCardForOben.getLocation(); //This is the flash drive

“Grant, I take back what I said about global variables.  They help a lot,” Mephisto’s voice rang out, “Oh, sorry, forgot to mute the microphone.”

MatterLump[] stuff=space.getMatterLumps(); //This is all of the planets and stars and nebulas in the universe

int index=0;

double minDist=Double.MAX_VALUE;

for (int i=0;i<stuff.length;i++) { //This goes through all the stuff in the universe

if (Physics.distance(flashDriveLoc,stuff[i].getLocation())<minDist) { //And finds the closest one to the flash drive

index=i;

minDist=Physics.distance(flashDriveLoc,stuff[i].getLocation());

}

}

Planet earth=(Planet)(stuff[index]); //That planet is earth

LifeForm[] bioMatter=earth.getLifeForms(); //This gets all the cells and life on earth

index=0;

minDist=Double.MAX_VALUE;

for (int i=0;i<bioMatter.length;i++) { //Goes through all life

if (Physics.distance(flashDriveLoc,bioMatter[i].getLocation())<minDist && bioMatter[i].getSizePlanckLengthCubed()>Math.pow(10,99)) { //And finds the life closest to the flash drive bigger than a bacteria

index=i;

minDist=Physics.distance(flashDriveLoc,bioMatter[i].getLocation());

}

}

Human oben=(Human)(bioMatter[index]); //That would be the human named Oben

Cell[] obenCells=oben.getCells(); //Get every cell in Oben’s body

for (int i=0;i<obenCells;length;i++) { //Go through them

if (obenCells[i] instanceof Neuron) { //Find the ones that are neurons

((Neuron)(obenCells[i])).releaseDopamine(); //And make them fire dopamine

}

}

A strong surge of ecstasy washed over Oben as each of his neurons fired their neurotransmitters almost simultaneously.  The feeling lasted for less than a split second, but the effect was clearly overwhelming, as he flipped out of consciousness for a second, and on regaining it, a residing feeling of giddiness remained, causing a heavy tingling sensation.  The dazed  static in his ears was rudely interrupted by Mephisto,

“How was that?  Would you like to live in that moment forever?”

“With all due respect, as much as I enjoyed that split second rush, I doubt I would want to experience that for eternity.”

Mephisto sighed, “You are smarter than 95% of the people I have dealt with.  Very well, I will try something else. Go pick up that paper money on the desk over there.”

Oben obediently got up and walked to where he left the five dollar bill, picking it up, unsure what Mephisto was planning.

Money bill = (Money)(oben.getHeldObjects().get(0)); //Get the dollar bill in Oben’s hand

for (int i=0;i<100;i++) { //Then, for 100 times

oben.getHeldObjects().add(bill.clone()); //Make another bill

}

Spontaneously appearing in Oben’s hand were 100 more five dollar bills.  The sudden increase in weight caused Oben to release the bills, and they fluttered down on to the floor.  Oben, in awe, scrambled to his knees and moved his hand through them, confirming they were real.  He picked two up and looked at them.  Exact clones.

“With infinite money at your hands, would you like to live in this moment forever?”

Oben focused hard on the money, and after a ten second silence, resolved to reply with a negative.

“No, it is not infinite money.  The serial numbers are all the same.”

“What?  Money has serial numbers now?  Since when?”

“Since about 200 years ago, maybe?  I don’t know.”

“We stopped paying attention to you people about 2000 years ago, so I guess it makes sense things would change.  Well, I have to go somewhere now anyway, but I’ll be back.”

Silence filled the room, with Oben sitting on his knees.  Circulation was being cut, so he decided to get up and retrieve some food from his kitchen.  He brought back up an apple.  Holding it firmly in his right hand, he awkwardly typed with his left,

oben.getHeldObjects().add(oben.getHeldObjects().get(0).clone()); //Take first held object and clone it

Another apple appeared in his hand.  Eating one and tossing the core, he held the other apple, and pressed up, then enter to copy the same line of code and execute it again.  A third apple appeared.  A thought filled his mind.  He could single handedly solve world hunger.  There was a small farmer’s market a walkable distance from his house where he could try his magic.

Thread magicThread = new Thread () { //Make a thread

public void run() { //That when run

while (true) { //Will for eternity

if (oben.getHeldObjects().size()>1) { //See if I am holding more than one object

oben.getHeldObjects().add(oben.getHeldObjects().get(1).clone()); //And if I am, clone the second one

}

}

}

};

magicThread.start(); //Run that thread

Taking care to hold only one ting at a time, he put a small ball in his pocket and  walked as fast as he could to the market.  There, he picked up a potato and striked up a conversation with the manager.

“Hi, this is a fine potato.  If I could supply you with 100 potatos exactly like this, would you buy them?”

“How much would you sell them for?”

“However much you’re selling this for, halved.”

“Deal.”

“Watch closely,” Oben smiled as he began tossing the potato in the air and catching it with his right hand a few times.  He reached into his coat pocket and grasped the ball while the potato was in the air for the fifth time.  The moment the potato landed back in his clutches, a great stack of potatos seemingly growing out of the first, began to rise faster than Oben’s or the manager’s eyes could keep up.  It rose high enough to break the ceiling instantaneously, and by the time Oben could react and drop the stack of potatos, there may have been already ten thousand in a vertical column.  As they began to fall, Oben started to walk slowly away, while everyone else in the shop was awestruck by the numerous potatos.

His walking pace turned into a run as he tried to get out of the store as fast as he could.  He found his way back to the door and grasped the metallic cool doorknob, turned it, wretched open the door, and sulked as he saw a great line of doorknobs extend out.  He let go of the ball in his pocket and simply stared, unsure what to do about the gargantuanly sized stack of still falling potatos and the line of doorknobs extending out.

Someone tapped him on the shoulder and asked, “How did you do that?  What’s going on?”

Oben’s fatigued reply, “Stack overflow.”

A Fallen Leaf

Forsaking my tribe

I am unique, they all green

I show a fantastical display of colors – red, orange, yellow

They held me back

I jump, not looking back, into an unknown abyss

Impact.

The ground is soft and cushions my fall

There, I see others just like me

Colorful. Magnificent.

I also see dead ones whose skins take a deathly pallor of brown

But I am at peace with myself, able to show my true colors.

Then it happens.

Everyone is swept into a pile.

Captured, compressed, unable to move

A prismatic yet ugly amalgam of scattered color

 

I look upwards to my old tribe and plead for help

They turn away.

Chapter 3 – Those Who Don’t Learn From The Future Are Doomed To Experience It

Those Who Don’t Learn From The Future Are Doomed To Repeat It

“Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying ‘End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH’, the paint wouldn’t even have time to dry.” – Terry Pratchett

[House of Grant]

Grant and Mephisto were sitting at Grant’s computer, both focused on the computer screen.  Between them was a half-full bowl of popcorn.  Laughing among themselves, watching Oben’s day before and during the hospital visit, on the screen showed Oben now entering his house.

“He’s booting his computer now!”, Mephisto said gleefully, “What did you put in it?”

Grant smiled, “There’s a runme.exe file that just send what he types in to the outer interface of this program, and a readme.txt that contains a message from God.  I’m sure he will find it humorous!”

A pause.

Mephisto turned his head slightly to the side, “Was he supposed to run the runme before reading the readme?”

Grant leaned back in his chair in triumph, “I knew he would do that! Nobody ever reads the readme first.” He turned towards Mephisto, “The runme, while being an interface to this program, also changed a few settings on his computer to make the readme look cooler when he opened it.”

“You didn’t — red font?”, Mephisto laughed.

“Okay, he’s reading it now.”

“You signed the letter with Love?”

Grant grinned, “Don’t question my motivations.”

They passively ate small amounts of the popcorn as they watched Oben’s neck descend, reading down through the message.  All three eyes were glued to their computer screens.  Oben switched back to the command window and typed something.

Mephisto nodded, “Well, a System out println of this is how I would have started too.”

Grant, teasingly mocked, “You’re joking, right?  He’s using the Universe class right now, do you know how long it would take his computer to print all the data in his universe?”

“Well…”

“Watch,” Grant wore a smug expression as a flood of symbols washed over Oben’s screen. “Grant One, Mepho Zero.”

“So how long does it take to print it?”

“A long time.  Like, a few trillion millenia. Or more,” Grant said, taking a handful popcorn.

“Well, he closed it.”

“Ah, he’s smarter than I believed he was!”

“Reopening.”

“What’s he going to type now?”

“Looks like another System out print line.”

“I withdraw my previous statement about his intelligence.”

“Wait, he making it this dot get class!”

“Ahh, good.  He knows reflection.”

“He knows that he’s sending code to the universe class now.”

“He would make a great detective, I’m sure.”

“What’s he doing now? It that a-”

“No! He’s not!” Grant fumbled across the keyboard to press control S to save the state of the simulation before Oben could run the code, but he was too slow.  The System exit was sent, and the simulation window closed, leaving a fuming Grant staring at a desktop background, and a Mephisto who was laughing maniacally.

One lunch later, the two were back at the computer, and Grant reopened the latest save file, dated to a day ago.  They fast-forwarded through Grant’s medical procedure but this time, before Grant opened the flash drive on his computer, Grant typed into his interface,

this.memoryCardForOben.readMeAgainText=this.memoryCardForOben.readMeText+”\n\nP.S. Don\’t, under any circumstance, type System.exit(0)”;

Mephisto, on seeing this, sulked his head into his hands in disappointment and said softly, “You made it a global variable.  You made it a global variable!”

Grant quickly, trying to chance the subject, “Don’t worry about it.  I added a P.S. this time to tell him not to ever use the System exit.”

Mephisto, still not satisfied, repeated, “Global variable, universal variable. Oh my God, Grant.  Global variables.”

“I earn my duct tape programmer title.  He’s opening the message now.”

On Oben’s screen, showed the red fonted message, with the P.S. Grant had just written.

*****

[House of Oben]

Oben stared at the message on his screen with the red font, staring at the last line which said not to use System.exit in the program.  Apples and stories of forbidden fruit floated into his thoughts, and meandered through his mind.  He decided to try, before any System.out.printlns, to see just what would happen if he typed System.exit(0);

And so, he did.

System.exit(0);

*****

[House of Grant]

“He did it again,” howled Grant, clearly frustrated.

“Remember when you told that guy not to eat the apple in the middle of the garden?”, said Mephisto, amused.

“Psychology is too complicated,” Grant slouched into his chair, “I need to actually code a special condition into the interface to prevent it from running the system exit.  And I forgot to save yet again.”

*****

[House of Oben]

Executing the statement promptly closed Oben’s terminal window, making the file explorer window the active one.  Still two files there, runme.exe and readmeagain.txt.  Read me again?  Oben opened the file in notepad as it told him to.

You sir, ought to be ashamed.  You’ve wasted two hours of my time using that silly System.exit(0) command.  Do you not know how to run any other line of code besides the exit?  I specifically told you not to, and you did it anyway.  Don’t do it again!
Love,
God

Thinking for only a small amount of time, Oben resolved to reopen the program and type something else.

System.exit(1);

Again, the program closed, and behind it, in the readmeagain.txt window, the text changed.

I knew you were going to try to do a System.exit(someOtherNumber) after I told you not to do it for 0.  Stop trying to crash my program.  It’s not worth your time.  It will not work.  It’s not worth my time to write all these message in response to your attempts at breaking the system.  
Love,
God

Deciding that direct methods of crashing the program would not work, Oben decided to find out what kinds of variables and methods there were inside the Universe class.

import java.lang.reflect.*;

Class universeClass=this.getClass();

Field[] universeFields=universeClass.getDeclaredFields();

for (int i=0;i<universeFields.length;i++) {

System.out.println(universeFields[i]);

}

The result of this was the printing on the screen of the variables in the Universe class.

Time time

Space space

Folder memoryCardForOben

Taking interest in what this memoryCardForOben variable was, Oben decided to continue his exploration in the anatomy of this code.

Folder myFolder=this.memoryCardForOben;

Field[] folderFields=myFolder.getDeclaredFields();

for (int i=0;i<folderFields.length;i++) {

System.out.println(folderFields[i]);

}

This printed the contents of the flash drive that Oben had.

Application runMeExecutable

String readMeAgainText

Already having an idea of what the readMeText String was, Oben decided to confirm it.

System.out.println(myFolder.readMeText);

Printed to the screen was an exact replica of what was in the readMeAgain, except in black font rather than red.

I knew you were going to try to do a System.exit(someOtherNumber) after I told you not to do it for 0. Stop trying to crash my program. It’s not worth your time. It will not work. It’s not worth my time to write all these message in response to your attempts at breaking the system.

Love,

God

An idea quickly struck Oben as another possible way to crash the program, by erasing the program completely.

myFolder.runMeExecutable=null;

Chapter 2 – Society Endorses Interruptions

Society Endorses Interruptions

“Now you respect me. Because I’m a threat. That’s the way it works. Turns out there are a lot of people, whole countries who want respect and they will pay through the nose to get it. How do you think I got rich? I invented weapons. And now I’ve made a weapon that only I can defeat, and once I unleash it I’ll-” – Buddy Pine

[House of Oben]

Oben woke up with the abdominal pains still causing an unimaginable pain.  This morning, it was so strong, he could barely move.  Perhaps it was time to call a hospital.  He tried to sit up, but the more he moved, the harsher the echoes and waves of pain.  He breathed deeply, but it didn’t help.   Making small movements to slide over to the left side of the bed, closer to where he left his cellphone on a table, he was almost able to touch it.  A quick gasp of air and a preemptive closing motion with his left hand accidentally flung the phone over the table onto the floor.  Oben gave a loud moan of despair.  He was determined to get the phone.

He clenched his teeth and decided to roll over the bed and take the 3 foot fall onto the floor.  Surely the pain of falling would not compare to other more prevalent and noticeable instances of pain.  Inhaling sharply, he took the drop face down   He held his neck slightly back to avoid an impact to his face.  What he did not calculate, unfortunately, was the location of the cellphone on the floor.  As his crotch was descending, he still did not see the phone, and was trying to fill his thoughts with calming scenes of inner peace and tranquility after the visit to the hospital.  These peaceful thoughts were shattered as he made contact with the floor and his pelvis hit the phone.

The screaming lasted about eight minutes, the sound drowning out the blunt door knocks coming from a concerned neighbor.  Realizing the knocks were going unheard, she decided to call 911 like any sensible person would.  An ambulance arrived quickly, as it should, with blaring sirens too, right at the end of the eight minutes.

A medic entered Oben’s room by kicking down the door, located his still face down body on the floor, and proceeded to enter a conversation.

“Are you okay?”

“I fell out of bed and landed on my cellphone in a very painful place.”

“Oh.”

There was a brief moment of silence as the medic winced, trying without success to imagine his pain.

“What’s your name?”

“Oben.”

“There are two other paramedics coming up with a stretcher. Are you still in pain?”

“I don’t feel anything right now, but earlier-”

Before Oben could finish, the medic turned around and started to exit the room.

“Well, if you’re okay, our job here is done. Have a good day.”

He yelled into the hallway, “Never mind, you two! He’s okay!”

Hopping deftly over the fallen door, he exited the room, leaving the still fallen Oben feeling about as annoyed as an autumn leaf, shoved among numerous others of his kind, just to be jumped on and shot into the air, only to land painfully and be shoved into another pile.

Slightly arching his back to allow enough space to retrieve the phone from beneath his body, he skillfully flipped it open without any problem and held the end call button to turn it on.  Nothing happened.  He tried again to no avail.  The battery was out.  Oben went out too, but not before firing an amalgam of colorful child-inappropriate vocabulary into the air.

*****

[Hospital]

The post-surgical Oben woke up in the hospital bed.  The pain was gone, and nobody was in the room.  He called out,

“Hello?”

A few moments later, a nurse walked into the room, holding a small flash stick.  She sat down at a chair by the bedside and questioned him.

“Your appendix ruptured because this was inside.” She held up the flash stick, and Oben could clearly see it was a cheap 0.5 GB drive.

“No, I haven’t the faintest idea, miss. But -”

“Have you eaten anything that looked like a flash drive recently?”

“No. But two days ago I was stopped at an airport metal detector.  They eventually let me on the airplane, but were really suspicious about a piece of metal inside my stomach. Anyway -”

“It was not in your stomach.”

“Well, they told me it was, and -”

“You have absolutely no idea how it got inside you?”

“Stop interrupting me and hang on a second!” Oben cried out, exasperated, “How did I get here?”

“Oh, well, your neighbor one door down heard you screaming for a while and called an ambulance, but when that didn’t seem to bring quiet as she heard a loud utterance of profanity a bit later, she walked to your room and finding you unconscious with cellphone in hand, she called the apartment security and  they dragged you into the lobby of the apartment, and then someone noticed two people dragging a limp body and called the police and then they saw you, and called for an ambulance and then you got here, and we found your appendix ruptured, so we started surgery immediately.”

Oben, with a distracted look that gave the impression he comprehended only the sheer number of times she liked to use ands in a run on sentence, simply nodded.

“Your treatment is done, and now that you are awake and able to move, you have permission to leave and take this with you if you want to keep it.”

She tossed the flash drive into the air and it landed flat on Oben’s abdomen, and he winced as a small reverberation of ancient pain surged through him for a split second.

*****

[House of Oben]

Taking a bus back to get back to the apartment, Oben twirled the flash drive around in his hands, not having any pockets to place it in.  He also realized how conspicuous he must look, still in his pajamas, having not had the chance to change clothes the entire day, nor put on shoes.

As he was getting off the bus, someone gave him a $5 bill in pity, thinking Oben was just another homeless man.  After thanking the generous donor and being back indoors in the apartment, he set the flashdrive and bill onto a deck and booted his computer to check what time it was and find out the contents of the flash drive.  He picked up the cellphone that lay next to the bedside and placed it next to an outlet, making a mental note to find the charger later.

Shoving the flash drive into one of many usb ports, he discovered only two files on the drive.  A text file called readme.txt and an application called runme.exe.  Ignoring the readme like all people do, he ran the application to see what it did, also seeing it was only about one kilobyte in size along with the readme.

A black command window popped up with a blinking cursor and no instructions.  Perhaps time to read the readme after all.  Opening that, there was a message to be found in red font.

To The Receiver of this Memory Card:
Hello! You may be wondering why this was inside you.  I can answer that and much more.  To begin, I am your God.  I played around with earlier civilizations and decided to have some fun and give a random person a memory card that could control the world.  It was a social experiment.  Not my idea.  If you are angry, blame Mepho.  He is the devil.  We like to compete with each other.  I selected someone who knows java, because the programmer’s interface to the simulation of your world is in a very similar language.  The runme.exe  file will give you a command window.  Whatever you type will be routed over to my input and executed accordingly.  Have fun!  Remember, you have unlimited power with this, as long as you know how to use it!  We will be watching your every move.
Love,
Grant (God) a.k.a. The Creator Almighty a.k.a. Yahweh a.k.a. Krishna a.k.a. Allah a.k.a. A lot of other names your kind has given me

Oben scratched his head.  It was impossible to get red font on notepad.  There were no font colors to begin with.  He pounded his fist on desk.

“Virus,” he muttered.  Realizing that he had already ran the runme.exe file, a wave of panic inundated his brain, followed by a glaring indifference to this. “I needed a new computer anyway.”

Alt tabbing back to the command window and deciding that he may as well test the program since his computer was already done, having a virus on it that could change notepad’s text color, he typed, just to find out what he was dealing with,

System.out.println(this);

What followed was an incomprehensible wall of text that started to print.  It kept printing.  Oben stared as a blur of lines flew to the top of the screen, flooding from the bottom.  Perhaps that was not the best way to start.  He went to prepare a coffee cup to give the program some time to subsist.

One coffee cup later, the program was still printing.  Tired of waiting, Oben closed the program, taking note again that its size was under a kilobyte.  Re-opening the application cleared the infinite printing.  Faced with another blank dark screen, he took a sip of the dark awakening potion and decided to try something else.

System.out.println(this.getClass());

To his delight, on the screen was printed the text Universe.  That was a start.  It meant that this program was probably a simulation of the universe, just as the red text file implied.  Getting another brilliant idea, he decided to see what would happen if he were to suddenly cease the simulation and crash the program.  He swiveled in his chair counter clockwise twice, and decided to try it.

System.exit(0);

Chapter 1 – A Bored Deity is a Sadistic One

A Bored Deity is a Sadistic One

“Now let’s imagine that those people get unlimited power; all the primordial instincts that they don’t know exist within them would be suddenly unleashed. Those bored and unrestricted individuals become aggressive and do whatever pleases them. It turns mostly to sadism, because sadism is nothing other than enjoying power with all the faculties.” – William Markiewicz

[Scene at a Dining House]

[Main Street]

[Northwest Town Center]

[Suburbs of Eden]

In the middle of every town center is a large dining hall that feeds a great number of people.  As this hall is funded by taxes, many people eat here to make the most of its existence.  As such, it is the center of social activity and many people use it as a meeting place to talk.  The table itself is a work of art, created from metal and almost fractal in nature, essentially two large spirals extending from the endpoints of a C shape.  It is a hassle to navigate the interior portion of the table’s area, but this is overlooked for sake of the prospect of getting free food.

At this moment, two young men walk in and take seats across from each other at the big table.  These two, good friends for a countless amount of time, one studying computer science, one studying sociology, begin chattering immediately.

“So, how is that new software thing treating you?  What did you say it was for again?”

The red haired, goateed, social science studier leaned back in his chair and stared expectantly at his friend.

“It was a total waste of money. It was supposed to emulate a world like ours, with physics and everything, using some new kind of computation method.  But the GUI gets in the way of everything. I fed different groups of people different information pieces in different ways about a great God who can do anything. I used a big for loop to spam a city with frogs. But it’s so boring!”

The blonde haired computer science studier threw his arms into the air with exasperation.

“Grant, could you not design your own GUI easily? Just put it from the point of view of a person? Set a camera location to where the head is, and calculate the angle based on the neck”

“That, Mepho, is a brilliant idea.”

Mephisto, as his full name was, leaned forward, interlaced his fingers and rested his head upon his hands.

“You paid no attention to that 3D graphics course we all took, didn’t you?”

Grant rolled his eyes and sourly spoke

“That class was a waste of time. It wasn’t even proper programming. You probably still know more about 3D graphics than me.”

“Do you want me to write it for you?” Mephisto smiled.

“No,” Grant stammered, “I can figure it out. I don’t need help.”

Mephisto added, “yet.”

“Okay, we can work on it together!”, said the flustered Grant.

*****

[House of Grant]

[Yggdrasil Street]

[South of Northwest Town Center]

[Suburbs of Eden]

Grant is sitting at a computer, concentrating, hunched forward, head leaned on one arm, other arm resting on the upper of two crossed legs. His window is open, and a weak cool breeze is flowing through, rustling the thin, translucent curtains.  The floor is cluttered with various items, including food wrappers, upside down books, and boxes.  On the computer screen is a group of clouds that Grant is using the mouse to shape into a semblance of a certain human’s face.

This human was an arbitrarily selected individual whose life Grant decided to make a special one. This individual was given a drive to convince people to be good to one another. Grant had also given him a few superpowers temporarily. Unfortunately, the ruling government that this individual lived in was not exactly about being good to other people.  They did not like his views, and plotted to kill him.  And they did, at a time while Grant was in a class and unable to intervene with an explosion as he had earlier planned.

Deciding to make the most of it, he decided to make him seem like a divine person.  The corpse was hidden in a cave, but it was easy to find it and delete it, and then he decided to put a picture of him in the clouds.  People would see the clouds and think the dead person to be an angel.  They might even make a cult and/or belief system out of it!

The cloud shaping fun was interrupted by the dull, clanging sound of a doorbell.  Grant hurriedly rushed downstairs to open the door for Mephisto.

Together, they mosied on back to Grant’s computer, to see the world simulation.

“So you can do whatever you want to affect the people?”

“Yeah, I made one of them think he was the son of a deity, but he got killed while I was in class.”

“I bet we could do some really interesting experiments on some of these people”, said Mephisto in deep thought. “There’s one thing in particular I want to try.”

Grant stared at Mephisto with a small amount of fear.  Whenever Mephisto was in deep thought, it was always some kind of planned evil.

“What are you planning?”, inquired he.

“Oh, secret.”, Mephisto said quickly, “I just wonder what would happen if we gave one of these people an interface to God mode.”

“And how would that be possible if nobody here has a computer?”

“If this is a simulation of people like us, then they should have computers at some point in the future. Maybe a few months of simulation.”

“Even so, self modifying code is something I’ve never done before.” Grant scratched his head, “But maybe I could use psudo network communications.”

“Pick a random person after they get computers, and implant an electronic memory card in that person to find.”

“And how will they find the card?”

Mephisto shrugged, “I don’t know, but something will probably happen.  It couldn’t hurt to try, right?”

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