MilkyWay.exe

By SirEmanName

“Thing is, if the universe is simulated space and time are also simulated. As a result the increased processing causing the lag also causes a lag in the simulation of time. Therefore there is no perceived lag for those simulated, only for an outside observer.” said Hedelberger to Musk with a thick German accent. “That is unless ofcourse, …” “unless the simulator has a bug.” Musk interrupted. “Precisely. But that seems highly unlikely. You see the standard model doesn’t have any bugs. It works. We are able to predict phenomena before they even happen. You of all people must…” Musk phased out for a moment. He wasn’t about to argue with Hedelberg. He had seen a glitch, he was certain. His plan was simple. Launch the experiment under the guise of an advanced deep space propulsion test and have it go unexpectedly wrong. Hedelberger was in on it despite his complaints. His scientific curiosity got the better of him.

T+467days

The payload had been on route for 467 days to the emptiest spot in the solarsystem, around the height of the orbit of Jupiter but on a tangent plane. In fact a spot and time had been chosen so all the planets were at the farthest they could be. The official reason was that this experimental technology could cause local space-time anomalies. This positioning was thus a safety precaution. Musk however had different reasoning. He was so convinced that everything around him was simulated that he had drawn up his own ideas on how he would build such a simulator. Most of space is just that: empty space, requiring little to no processing power. Earth is a busy place. If we’re all simulated you better believe that the simulation loadbalancers dedicate more resources to complex regions like earth he thought. Big explosions happened on earth all the time without a hitch. No, to cause a hitch he’d need to cause immense complexity where the loadbalancers least expect it.

The time came. The explosion happened, the news did the rounds, the hype around the project faded and life continued like nothing ever happened. A failed experiment so it seemed, until Hedelberger announced new steps towards a grand unified theory. Hedelberger was however puzzled, a previously failed experiment suddenly seemed to work. He could reproduce it. It was watertight. It was like the laws of physics were changing overnight. Further analysis revealed that the speed of light was changing, speeding up.

What Hedelberger and Musk would never know is that their experiment had caused a universe simulation machine to crash due to bad loadbalancing. A simulation engineer had spotted this and fixed a few bugs he found on the old machine. One of the bugs was a wrong parameter: the speed of light. The wrong units had been used… It was orders of magnitude off. Turns out this bug was found on all machines. Instantly updating the speed of light would cause huge electromagnetic pulses destroying the universe. Around the coffee machine the simulation engineers figured out that the speed of light should be slowly increased, very slowly, to avoid causing an electromagnetic shockwave.

Mankind looked in awe as intergalactic history played out in fast-motion. Billions of years of supernovae, star-births and deaths played like a silent film in only a couple of years as the universe fast forwarded to the correct speed of light. The stars were actually twinkling. Soon enough the first odd signals arrived, non-organic signals. Mankind responded. So did they. Then more transmissions… There were alien worlds everywhere. The increased speed of light had made them within reach, not only for telecommunications but also for spaceships. Proxima Centauri was now only 12 lightseconds away. It was like the universe had switched internet provider. A new era of exploration and colonialism started. They called it the ‘new universe’ after the ‘new world’ of old. Yes there were wars but humans, the only race to manage to crash the simulation, reigned supreme. Terra universalis.