Author : Gray Blix

“The universe is holographic? Surely you’re joking.”

“I am not joking, Dr. Feynstein. But I did not say THE universe. I said YOUR universe. Your universe is a simulation. Pay attention. There is not much time.”

The young man appeared jittery in the flickering light. Feynstein glanced at the overhead fluorescent fixture.

“OK. You’ve obviously wandered into the wrong building. This is Physics. Science fiction would be in English, across the quad.” Offering a campus map, “Or maybe you’re looking for Psychology? Student Counseling?”

“Shake my hand, professor,” the man said, extending it across the desk.

“I’m not touching you.” Pointing the map toward the open doorway, “Please leave. Now.”

“Just shake it. Then if you want me to leave I will do so immediately.”

The man went out of focus momentarily. An intriguing thought crossed Feynstein’s mind. He attempted to touch the man’s hand with the map, but it went right through. He swiped through the hand several more times.

“What the– You’re a hologram.” Slumping into his chair, “And not a very good one.”

“A crude avatar, so we could talk. For the record, Dr. Feynstein, would you agree that whatever flaws there are in the simulation of your universe, they have not interfered with the development of human civilization?”

“Huh?” Looking around his office, “Look, I don’t know how you’re projecting a hologram, but that doesn’t prove we’re in a holographic universe.”

Pointing to a laptop, “One of your colleagues is remote observing through the Gran Telescopio in the Canary Islands. Bring up the VPN.”

Feynstein logged in.

“What do you see?”

“WR 104. Could go supernova at any time. Dr. Gambel is trying to determine if the gamma ray burst is likely to hit Earth.”

“If Earth took a direct hit, what effect would it have on life?”

“It would cause a mass extinction.”

“Well then, fortunately for you, I am erasing WR 104 from the simulation.”

The star disappeared, leaving its larger binary companion strangely unaffected. Feynstein could neither speak nor breathe.

Finally, he gasped, “The other star, make it disappear.”

It disappeared.

“You’re just messing with the video feed.”

“In a few hours it will be dark enough here for me to take you outside and make more stars disappear, or entire galaxies and constellations, but I think you already know I am telling the truth.”

The phone rang and seconds later people ran past the door in the direction of Dr. Gambel’s office.

A graduate student poked his head in, said, “Dr. Gambel says he needs you right away,” and joined the others.

“So, I am a hologram?” Looking at a picture on his desk, “My wife and daughter? Everyone on Earth? Why?”

“You and they are what passes for ordinary matter according to the laws of your physics. But you are in a simulated universe.”

“But why did you do this? And why tell me?”

“You have always been skeptical that dark matter and dark energy make up 96 percent of the universe. You’re right, of course. I botched some of the physics.”


“And you wrote a paper on the possibility that your universe is holographic, although I know you were not serious, Dr. Feynstein. You were just poking holes in quantum theory.”


“And now you’re about to begin that Holometer study. It could ruin everything.”


“You stood out from the others, Dr. Feynstein. You deserve to know the truth before I wrap up the experiment.”

Another intriguing thought crossed Feynstein’s mind. And again he was correct.

“My graduate thesis in anthropology depends on this simulation not being discovered by its subjects.”

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