© Ivan Sheedy. All rights reserved.
This very small thought-piece is the beginning of a short story about two teenagers who play a new video game called Universe Exploration. The game shows how things on Earth might have been different if the big bang had really created multiple variants of life in the universes. What it comes down to is that our current predicament might have been avoided if humans had been less resource-grabbing and shown more forethought and wisdom.
Brody and Kevin woke up earlier than usual, dawn just blinking through the slits of the basement blinds. Still in sweats, they descended Kevin’s parents’ steps to their stations for the next however many hours they could stay awake. They jiggled their mice, awakening their respective computers from universes of mysterious patterns, and mumbled things that didn’t matter. Brody got the guest PC on a cardboard table with a worn swivel chair. Kevin had a slightly better advantage with a real gaming mouse, more RAM, and a comfortable chair. His desk was wooden but scratched everywhere with several coffee rings.
“Dude, half an hour,” said Kevin. He was tall and wiry with auburn hair and a nervous face.
“No shit, Sherlock,” Brody said, tiredly. He plopped his larger frame in the second-hand chair, and his butt slightly hung over it. This would not be comfortable, he thought. He maneuvered his thick-rimmed glasses up to his nose. They were always falling off.
Computers on, they still had 28 minutes before the game went live. In that 28 minutes, they decided to do other things rather than staring at their monitors. They took inventory of their food and drink. Water, chips, cookies. Check. Not the meals their parents would advise, but the boys were teenagers now. Almost men. Brody made sure that the path to the basement bath was free of debris, and Kevin decided to stash a few beers in the basement fridge. Ready. Set. Wait.
When the magical hour of game launch began, the boys both got excited. Universe Exploration was full of procedurally generated life on various planets that a player would explore in a futuristic spaceship. It might take time, but once you explored the first galaxy, which was real and based upon planet Earth, the player then could fly out to the rest of the solar system and beyond to discover further universes and their galaxies and planets. Each area of life or non-life was random, based upon real elements.
The feature image is in the public domain. By NASA / WMAP Science Team – http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/media/121238/ilc_9yr_moll4096.png, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23285693