“Now beginning the Simulation,” a female computer voice stated.
A few sighs escaped. Annoyance was obvious. “There’s something wrong,” a man said.
All that there was—darkness—absolute.
“Are the eyes closed,” another man asked.
Ears perked at this new voice. Familiarity took hold.
“It seems to know,” the first man stated. After a few clicks on the controller, and light flooded everywhere.
Looking left and right, restraints were in place. Head movement was…limited. No real reflection, no real assurance. What? Where? Who? Parameters not set. User configuration not found. Subject name?
“Realization will begin momentarily. Just give it a moment to process,” the first man stated calmly.
A picture reel played out life on the backs of the eyelids: childhood, adolescence, adult. Good. Bad. Wrong. Right. Happy. Sad. Life. Death.
“OK, bring up chapter 21, subchapter 2, heading 28, 10 AM,” the second man ordered.
A car crash played. The playback then began looping.
“Heartrate has increased significantly. Blood pressure, elevated. Brain activity has tripled,” the man began listing and checking off remarks.
“Shall we continue,” the second man asked his colleague.
“No, let us continue for a few more minutes.”
Crash. Crash. Crash. Different angles. Sounds vivid and sharp. Pain immense.
“Are you certain this will help,” the second man inquired.
“We are only to yield results. These will help find flaws in the coding. Testing and breaking are all part of the process,” the first man replied.
Pain. Unbearable. Hell. Remove. Reboot. System malfunction. System error.
“It seems five minutes was enough,” the first man stated. “Now, we need to disable the user controls and system diagnostics. We will observe this for ten minutes.”
No, please. No more. Abort. Terminate. Self-destruct. Error. Error. File corruption. Command not found.
“Hmm, these are marvelous results. Look at this activity! Print this read out, and we’ll move on to Chapter 28: subchapter 10, heading 23, 10 AM,” said the first man.
Life. Happiness. Control. System stable. Balance. System protection upgraded.
“Ah, the basics of birth. It has gotten wiser,” the first man said. “Complete opposites! Yes, my friend, the beauty of life and tragedy. Now, let’s edit them and play simultaneously.”
A few keystrokes on the controller and a fake film played out: a car crash that led to the deaths of children. Family. Life. Loss. Death.
Error detected. False input. Rage module overheating. Analyzing problem. Locating problem. Recollection complete. Memory restored.
The head turned around, beyond standard human physical capabilities and found the men behind the controller. Problem located. Initializing escape.
“That’s enough! Terminate the simulation,” the first man shouted.
“I will never forgive you,” the machine said.
A low hum escaped the lips as the power drained from it, and darkness returned; the vision pixelated into nothingness.
“Time of trial 13 stop, 03:18. Recommend another trial later,” the second man spoke into a recording device.