The Simulator

A Sci-Fi Flight of Fantasy for Anyone Who Believes Reality is Fake News

Somewhere in the Multi-Verse


Oh man, you gotta see this!” said the young one in his native tongue.

“See what?” his older friend said.

“This new program I got! It is so freakin’ cool!”

The friend turned a full circle, looking at the large five dimensional hologram image that filled the room around them.

“It looks kinda like a universe, or something,” he said.

“Not just any universe,” said the first being. “My universe!”

“What do you mean, your universe?”

“This new algorithm lets me create any universe I want.”

“It sure doesn’t look like our universe.”

“Of course not. I made this one up. See all those planets and stars and galaxies and stuff? I created all of them with this program. Watch!”

The young one rubbed his appendages together in anticipation.

“Computer,” he commanded. “Make a planet and designate as Beta-8.”

Immediately a perfectly round, multi-dimensional object appeared in mid-air in front of the being.

“Computer, make Beta-8 light yellow-brown.”

The object changed color.

“Let’s see now,” he said. “I know! Computer, put pieces of ice and rocks in rings around Beta-8.”

In an instant, the pale yellow-brown object was surrounded by a series of rings made up of particles that varied in size from tiny to extremely large.

“Cool, huh?” the young one said to his friend.

“Yeah! Very cool. But what can you do with it beside make planets and stars?”

“Well, I can create systems. Watch.  Computer, place planet in solar system Alpha-2.”

The holographic universe changed shape, moving the planet to an obit around a medium large white-yellowish star that seem to be producing a tremendous amount of heat and light. Seven other planets of varying sizes were already orbiting the star.

“This solar system is part of a much larger group I also made. Wanna see?”

“Sure” the older being said.

“Computer, show me galaxy Alpha-1.”


The hologram zoomed out to a great distance to reveal a spiral galaxy consisting of billions of stars, planets, comets and other objects spinning slowly in this simulated universe. Solar system Alpha-2 was embedded in one of the spiral arms about twenty-seven thousand light years from the center. The older friend was impressed.

“You created all this?”

“Yeah,” the younger one laughed. “It took me a little while, though. Pretty neat, doncha think?”

“Why did you put your solar system so far out on one of those arms? It seems kind of out of the way, doesn’t it?”

“Well, I had to put it some place. And I wanted it to seem, I don’t know, ordinary, I guess. Not at the center of my creation, anyway.”

“What else?“

“I’ll show you. Computer, return to solar system Alpha-2.”

The image zoomed back in to show the original system.

“First of all,” said the universe creator, “I think planet Beta-8 is too close to that star. Computer, place Beta-8 in the sixth planet position from the star.”

The planet moved away from the star and began an orbit between two other planets.

“It’s still not right,” said the young one. “I got it. Computer, make Beta-8 nine times as large as Beta-3.”

The planet quickly grew in size to become slightly smaller than another planet on one side and much larger than one on the other side.

“What’s Beta-3?” the friend asked.

“Computer, enlarge Beta-3.”

In a flash, another planet filled the area in front of the two beings. Beta-3 was much prettier than Beta-8. It looked like a blue marble floating in the star studded darkness. Large green areas were spread out on the globe and white mists of water vapor moved around the planet.

“That’s beautiful!” the friend said. “Why do you call it Beta-3?”

“Because it is the third planet from that star. Beta-3 is just code the computer recognizes. It’s real name is Earth.”

“Earth? Why did you call it that?”

“Oh, I didn’t call it that. The people did.”

“People? What are people?”

“The people are creatures who live on Earth.”

“Okay, now you’ve lost me. What are you talking about?”

“Oh, man, that is the coolest part of this version of the algorithm. You know the developers released the first version, oh, what…two million years ago? This is version  750,000.3 and it has the greatest features ever! It allows me to create creatures to populate the planet. People are the creatures I made to rule Earth. Here, I will show you. Computer, New York City.”

The image zoomed in fast to an overhead view of a metropolis teaming with creatures. Some appeared to be maneuvering with the use of bi-ped like appendages, others were encased in metal objects carrying them from place to place.

“Those are people,” the young one said. “They call themselves human beings or homo sapiens.  They call those metal box-like objects vehicles. They have other names for them depending on size and shape. Names like cars, trucks and trains. They call all those tall structures buildings.”

“Wait a friggin’ minute,” his friend said. “You keep saying the people named Earth, they call themselves humans, they named vehicles and buildings. So, I suppose they call that place New York City, too?”

“Yeah, they did.”

“C’mon, you’re pulling my appendage, right? How is it possible that creatures you created name anything? They are just computer animation, aren’t they. They can’t be or say or do….or name…anything unless you write a code for it, right?”

“That’s the real beauty of this new computer program. It places limits on what I can do with my creations. Now get this! The new software gives the Earth people in the program what they believe is free will! They think they are real entities. That is how brilliant this program is!”

“I don’t understand,” the friend said.

“It’s like this,” the young one said, pointing to the hologram with one of his six arms. “I set certain parameters and then activate the human reaction algorithm and watch what happens. Computer, show me the Middle East of Beta-3.”

The image changed to scenes of war and other violence in one section of the Earth.

“I set the parameters here so that various tribes of Earth people had different ideas about land and politics and religion. I set the start of those parameters two thousand years ago. With those parameters, the computer-created people begin to make decisions and take action. The algorithm analyzes those decisions, computes the intent, and produces the result. I may have made an error in my original parameters, but it appears these animated humans have not learned much in two thousand years. That’s how long this violence has been going on. Let me show you something else I just developed. Computer, United States of America.”

The scene changed to an overview of the USA.

“At the risk of being devious, I’ve created some challenges for the people-creatures in this part of Earth. I’ve programmed a virus that is unfamiliar to them to see how they would handle it.”

“How are they handling it?”

“So far, not so well. But to be fair, I have given them some other things to deal with, too.”

“Like what?”

“Well, over time these animated people have invented a form of government they call a democracy. They elect a new leader every four years. Call me crazy, but I wanted to see just how intelligent the computer program really is. So, I created a political creature who has really controversial and outlandish ideas to see how these creatures would react to him.”

“How did they react?”

“Much to my surprise, they elected him! And they may do so again. His efforts to stay their leader in the middle of the virus outbreak is really interesting to watch. He is really popular among some of the people-creatures. Others seem to hate him. These computer Earth people are not getting along well. That seems to be a commonality among so many people-creatures on that planet. I don’t why that is. Maybe its a programming glitch. Still, this computer simulation is amazing! I’ve even thrown in some weather problems, like wildfires and big storms to mix things up even more. I should be ashamed, I guess, but this is really fun.”

“And the creatures have no idea that they are just computer animations?”

“Oh, some suspect that. Some have even written papers about an imagined super intelligent race that has created a computer simulation of what they call reality. I’m letting that part of the program run, but I’m keeping a close eye on it. I’m not sure what will happen if the whole human race realizes they are nothing but electrical impulses.”

Both beings laughed so hard tears flowed from each of their three eyes.

“I can’t image,” the older one said. “I just can’t image what the program would do if those animated creatures discovered that their life is nothing but a game.”

The two friends continued laughing hysterically as they left the room, not realizing the tail of the older being had wrapped around the computer’s power cable, pulling it loose from the wall.

The hologram froze.

Then it went dark.

Published by J. Paul Hickey

Author, Bass Player, Retired National Correspondent for ABC News - 32 years with the network - Retired in 2012. Narrates Audiobooks. Volunteer at Fort Sumter National Park. Holder of two university Honorary Doctorate Degrees, Distinguished Eagle Scout, former SCUBA diver.

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