It began when the first mind was uploaded. I remember there was a big uproar. Soon there were two camps – for and against. I thought scientists leading us during learning curves would do a better job than yesteryear politicians. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
It was futile fighting all the venom around. The easy way out was to leave your body, upload your mind and build a world for yourself. Everybody was a ruler with perpetual youth, wealth, happiness and power.
After many millennia, the world now existed in a cloud, each man an island. Only the admins interacted with each other. They married sentient AI in the cloud and became super humanoids. They looked back at humans first inventing the internet as the latter looked back at their forefathers taming fire.
As all this happened, the planet was abandoned. Nature recaptured all it had lost to humans over twenty thousand years. It was just a minor blip in the endless epochs of Earth. As animals and plants invaded the deserted relics of human abode, the cloud ceased to be a physical storage system. There was no need to occupy three-dimensional space to store data for all the minds uploaded. They graduated to an ethereal space beyond our planet.
When I look back at our predecessors, I can only pity their naivety. How they thought we would travel interstellar and escape the Oort comet cloud, build Dyson spheres and colonize the galaxy. Well, we do much more than that in our very own minds in the cloud. We are a Type V civilization. We have figured every law of physics and mathematics, build multiverses… all within the cloud.
I was a part of it too. I can’t even remember how many eons I have spent in there. I have built and destroyed so many universes, with so many different laws. I have a separate galaxy-wide structure just to store all the historical data of my mind. When I say big, it’s not in size. It’s in computational terms.
After countless cycles, the planet of our origin was swallowed by the sun. The yellow star is now reduced to a white dwarf. We were, however, safe from all these cosmic events as we had graduated to ethereal space.
Around the same time, a few of the minds in the cloud started switching off their system… permanently. Speculations suggested that boredom was the chief reason. Some claimed they had lived every life there was to live, felt every emotion, built everything possible and now it was time to destroy the same – themselves included. A few admins suggested this was the next step in the evolution of our species – venturing into the void, l’appel du vide.
I resisted the call of the void for an eternity. I saw the three-dimensional rudimentary universe around me collapse during this time. Stars exploded into supernovas and moved on to be coloured dwarfs, galaxies merged, black holes devoured all the matter into them. It went on for another infinite period before the whole fabric of time and space collapsed.
All the minds alongside me finally set sail for nothingness along with all the matter of the universe around me. I saw the mega black hole taking in everything before it too succumbed to radiation. Not a single atom existed in the universe I had known.
My mind though, still existed. It consisted of a creation unaffected by everything I saw happening around me.
That is what my ancestors called God, I concluded. I was Him.
It was then that He contacted me.
It is over, He said.
It can’t be.
Nothing exists now. Not even you.
I do, how are you communicating with me then?
You don’t exist in the universe I built. There’s no use of the fancy world you’ve built for yourself. Can you see a single quark existing outside you? It’s over. The end has happened. Step into the void and join me. That is how it goes.
If the end has happened, how am I here?
You’re a witness. It’s like if no one knows you’re dead, you’re not dead yet.
Well, if not everyone is dead; it’s not the end yet.
I exploded a big bang in my mind and the universe was set in motion.
365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.
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