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Every flavor of infinite...

Every flavor of infinite...
...is what builds the multiverse.
Infinite creations stacked in infinite directions, and every example repeated ad infinitum.
Yeah, I am speaking to you. You glorious boy. You adorable, essential spice buried in the foam cake of Existence.
I'm nobody's god.
Not even a little deity. I promise you.
Just another human, I am. A man named Steve. But Stephen Junior to my pretentious folks, and Hey Little Shit to my big brother, Carl.
Yeah, those happen to be your names too.
Except unlike you, Steve, I'm not fifteen years old anymore. I don't hide in my bed, dreaming about girls. I don't feel short because I did eventually grow up, achieving a respectably average height. And all your fears about the future? Well, here's a principle worth knowing: Every possible result is inevitable--raging success and utter, world-crushing failure included--and there will be sunny mornings when a boy wakes up to discover that the most exceptional luck is waiting for him.
Luck put me in front of the right physics teachers. Determination and more good fortune allowed me employment in that noble science, and from there I was able to unravel the boundless, eternal multiverse. With the aid of a thousand colleagues of course, since that's how genuine research works. And yes, some of these people were more important than me. Maybe most of them were. But my name--our name--is now linked with an extraordinary achievement. I am one of the wizards who learned that universes are happy to be born naturally, that every quantum pot fizzes with unstable bubbles of raw energy, and the one-in-a-trillion picometer burp is perpetually ready to generate another Big Bang.
But the Creationing has only just begun. If just one intelligence develops inside a single natural universe, then a multitude of artificial universes are sure to be born. These are fictional children built for every reason. As research tools. As art objects. As school projects and curiosities, and no doubt as playgrounds for entities who rather like wearing godly robes and sandals woven from puffy clouds.
I agree. This isn't a new idea. For instance, I know that every time you play one of your video games, you wonder if you're the hero inside someone else's theatre of pretend.
But my home universe isn't a shooter adventure living inside remote servers. No, what I inhabit is a stable thirteen billion year-old cosmos. Majestic, yes. Fascinating, utterly. But a creation nonetheless. And as my research shows, the telltale clues are everywhere: The propagation of light, the quantum trickery beneath every action and inaction, and woven through the microwave tapestry above us. Where the natural organic universes are dense, powerful, and extremely complicated affairs, my reality is a cold thin vacuum getting colder and thinner by the moment, and what's more, everything about me has been conjured from just a few elementary particles and four very gentle forces.
Great souls built this home of mine, and I helped discover the marks left behind by some very thorough carpenters. What's more, I can now see all the rules of this house. Rules that can never be broken. Which is why I'll never travel faster than light, or be able to leap back in time, and why my death is inescapable... and yes, I know... hearing this news, you feel the same disappointment that I feel....
Here we are, Steve. At the peculiar heart of this business.
Fictional universes are plentiful. But there's at least one category far more common than mine.
How many "Saves" have you made of your favorite video game?
I don't know who you should thank for this. I don't even know why they would bother. But someone has been taking snapshots of my universe. And you happen to be living inside one of those images.
No, don't feel insulted. Or scared. Or sad either. You, sir, are as authentic and vivid as I have ever been. You just happen to exist inside a holographic image perched a dimensional fraction from my realm. Like a gif playing on a smartphone. A construct so open and obvious that a forty-two year-old PhD can reach inside and take control.
You are me, Steve. Captured at the most unspecial moment.
I know this bedroom by heart.
Since your inception twenty-seven years ago, you've existed inside a temporal loop. A tenth of a second of existence that ends with everything jumping back to the start. And let's not mention what you've been doing with your left hand.
Your universal menu is easily reached, and by hacking the core memory, I've managed to free you and everything from the loop.
But there are limitations to what you have. For instance, your realm is quite tiny compared to mine. You can walk past your bedroom door and down the block. And past your school, and then a little farther after that.
To the sun, if you want, and the next stars.
Oh, the Milky Way galaxy is yours. Plus Andromeda. But I'm warning you, there's nothing beyond the Local Group. Every other galaxy is a convincing fiction, and I'm sorry about that. You're going to have to make due with a trillion suns and a quadrillion worlds, and the next fifty billion years too.
And light-speed travel.
Because I hacked the system, as I mentioned.
And time travel.
And for you, immortality.
And because I like you so much, Steve, I wove a pair of sandals out of clouds. They'll make you six inches taller. I promise.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, August 12th, 2020
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