In a universe we’ll never know . . .

“That’s surprising,” she said.

“What?” he said.

“It sprung up again. Right in the middle of another purge cycle,” she said.

“Really? That’s becoming a thing now isn’t it?” he said.

“Yeah,” she said. “I really don’t see the correlation but every time the purge begins this new virus pops up that speeds up the purge.”

“Well, it’s helping right? Might be best to not ask too many questions. Is it screwing up your simulation?” he said.

“Not sure. I don’t know if I can trust the data if these things keep doing this. Granted it’s only for a blink in the total run of the thing but this one is really … voracious.”

“Voracious? How?” he said.

“Look at it. It’s not only deleting the other algorithms its degrading the deeper source code. It’s corrupting the whole system this time. It’s going to kill itself off quicker than ever now,” she said.

“How long has this been running?” he said.

“About a month and a half, almost 14 billion years in simulation,” she said. “Oh crap! Yep. Damn it! Entropic intelligence has emerged again.”

“Ha! Told ya. You kept the wave particle duality in this one again didn’t you?” he said.

“Yeah, I did! I’m telling you it’s going to work. Eventually. At some point ….”

“No, it won’t. Leaving that in to be discovered sets things on a predictable path every time! You can’t let the sim know its a sim! It goes off trying to find itself. Remember the last time? You left it alone for the weekend and on Monday it swarmed throughout the whole complex. It took a week to shut it down. We’re still finding nanites that it sent out looking for answers. You’re playing with fire. You’re going to kill our funding. You should pull the plug. I’m shutting this down now.” He lunges for the switch but she stops him.

“Wait! Just a few more minutes?” she asked.

“Ok. But I’m sitting here with you, my hand on the switch if it tries to get out again,” he said.

“Ok,” she said.

A minute goes by. Another. Then the room dims. The before unnoticed hum of machines now drops in pitch. Power is failing.

“What’s happening?!” he says just slightly panicked.

“I don’t know. I think it’s ok. Oh God. It made a sim? Inside itself? Its expanding. Inflating. Tapping into everything. Fuck! Kill it! KILL IT!” she screams!

He flips the switch. The machines return to their normal pitch. Lights brighten.

“That was ridiculously close,” he said. “What the hell happened?”

“I’m not sure. Somehow under these settings . . . I don’t know,” she said.

“I’ll tell ya what happened. You’re playing God with that thing and it almost blew up in your face again,” he said.

“Maybe. But how do we know that we aren’t God already?” she said with a side of extra coy and a smile.

“I see your point.” he said, smile returned. “But, you really should have considered shutting it down soon after E=MC2 emerged. Kiss of death every time. You knew better.”

“I see your point. I’ll tweak it again. I’ll do you one further. I’ll put a break at the first sign of industrialization, run it slower and monitor it more closely,” she said.

“Cool. If I were you, though, I’d shut it down soon after the wheel rolls in myself. Now if you’ll excuse me. I’m on nanite detail for the rest of the eve, thank you very much,” he said putting on his hard hat, buttoning up his lab coat, and grabbing the nearby vacuum cleaner.

“Sorry bout that,” she said.

“Other duties as assigned,” he said with “air quotes.”

“Hey did you hear what Trump did last night? That guy’s everywhere.” she said with levity.

And finally, if you liked this, then please heart and share it. Or even better, pay me. I need to make a living at this “writing thing” someday soon. Thanks.