In a bleak future, NightRacer, an Earth campaign veteran, decides to unlock his erased memories. What he remembers, changes everything.
(note: this is chapter 11 from a serialized novel, previous chapter here – link)
Gardener waved KeyStroke forward. “My young friend here is a talented developer and a little bit of a hacker, and I’d like to introduce him as Guest One. He’ll tell you more about this reality.”
“Hello dudes,” KeyStroke said with a big grin on his face. “Only yesterday I was out there—or should I say up there—with you in the real world, and just like anyone of you, I hated the Grass and I wanted to see it dead. And then I got a little disappointed with how things were going up there, and I took a trip to Providence, and I found my way to the City. Yes, the difference between me and you is that I wasn’t invited here. I came on my own. I got my hands on some of that miracle juice, and I said ‘why not?’ After getting my dream thing going, I had a chance to talk to this lovely lady, the hostess, who showed me around and let me play with the system. This led to a number of interesting discoveries. I met some of the scientists and the artists hosted here, learned some new tricks from them, showed them a few new tricks, and all this wonderful space was designed by them in one day. Are you impressed? I certainly am.”
On the screen behind him, a number of images appeared—scientific labs, the dragon, people using a lab to test something, and an artist creating sculptures out of light.
“But the cubes, the dissipating light, and all the parties down there are just trivial stuff compared to the other features the host can offer,” KeyStroke continued. “Seems like the Grass, or as it’s known here, the host, has some wonderful scientific facilities, research labs where all kinds of environments can be simulated and devices can be built and tested in different conditions. We found and tested a few of those labs, others remain to be discovered. A couple of scientists are searching right now for other research facilities. We hope to find tools that will help us design new technologies. So far, our most interesting discovery is that the user interfaces were designed for another race. The good news is that they could be reconfigured for our specs.”
“If I may,” a guest interrupted. “I’m Guest Five, by the way. What other research facilities, and how are these interfaces different?”
“I’m glad you asked. They’re searching for military type facilities. Tools that could help us design and test weapons. We’ll get to the why part later. Now, about the UIs, user interfaces. First, they were made for beings taller than us and with multiple appendages.” KeyStroke gestured wildly, trying to imitate a being with many arms. “Also, their haptics are a little more suited for chemical and a little less for tactile feedback.”
“Are you saying they could smell with their fingers?” Guest Five said.
“More like taste, yes.” Stroke said. “And their appendages are spread more to the sides.” He spread his arms, acting like he was touching things on the sides. “This means they either had many eyes, or their vision field was wider than ours. We can’t see on both sides concurrently, so right now we don’t have a good control over these lateral UIs.”
“Squids?” Five asked.
“Don’t know,” Stroke answered. “Could be squids, could be worms, or could be just tall humanoids with many eyes and tongs on their fingers.”
At that moment, everything froze. Only Gardener was moving around. He came to Racer and pointed at a guy in the second row. “See that dude? Number Thirty-Three? He’s actually a friend of mine, a good guy. Be ready to intercept him if he freaks out. His emotional levels are going off the chart.”
“The time will stop like this for the others, not for you two. Ask him nicely to take a walk with you. Take him to the park, let him breathe some air. If he gets irrational, try to calm him down.”
Gardener went to his previous place, and time resumed its course.
KeyStroke answered a few other minor questions and went back to his chair and was talking to one of the guests.
Gardener stood up. “And now, my friends, let me introduce you a very courageous young lady, a real hero of our times,” he said, presenting Julie. “She left her family and her friends, and sacrificed her body to create our host, this extraordinary extraterrestrial being, from her memory. To be exact, first she got a memory implanted in her brain, then she recreated its DNA from it, and then she printed that DNA and created a clone, like a root. When the root grew into a plant, it mapped her memory and consumed her body, and then it used her mind to create its own mind. Fascinating, isn’t it? I’d say it’s fascinating and very brave!
“What other people know about NAZ is that it’s an infected planet, what I want you to know is that this is one of the most exciting experiments in the history of our civilization, and losing one of our planets to get to meet this extraterrestrial being, the host, is a very small price to pay. Too bad we didn’t—”
Guest Thirty-Three stood up. “What about the people who were consumed by this monster?” he asked in a belligerent tone. “Let me tell you something, Gardener. I never thought you could be a traitor, but you are. And let me tell you something more—I hate your Devil’s Grass and this grand experiment of yours. This abomination should be nuked, not praised.”
Racer expected the audience to freeze at that moment, but it didn’t happen.
“Sir, did you ever serve on a ship?” Julie asked Thirty-Three abruptly as she stepped forward.
“A ship? What ship?” Thirty-Three said, a little confused by the question.
“A ship, yes. I assume that, like everybody else here, you at least once in your life served on a…let’s say a military ship. Is that right?”
“Yes. I did serve on a military ship. So what?”
“Were you involved in the War of the Factions?”
“Maybe. Our ship fought on some occasions like everybody else. Why?”
“Did your ship kill any people?”
“There were casualties, of course. What does this—?”
“Did it kill any people?” Julie asked sternly.
“I guess it did. What does this have to do with the Grass?”
“Did your ship have an AI? You know, one of those nice voices that says ‘Good morning, sir’ and ‘Good night, sir’ and calculates the trajectories for your missiles?”
“Of course. Every military ship has an AI.”
“Well, I hate your ship and its guns and especially that stupid AI! What do you think about that statement?”
“What? It’s crazy. The AI is just a tool. If you want to hate somebody, hate the people who used the ship to kill.”
“Well, this Devil’s Grass is just like your AI. An intelligence more advanced than your ‘Good morning, sir, let’s kill some people’ computer, but it’s an AI nevertheless, a biological computer that hosts human minds. It was programmed to do that. So you can either hate its guts, or you can use it to host minds of sick, old, and dying people, and to conduct advanced research, and to explore the remains of other cultures, hidden in its memory.”
Thirty-Three sat down, but it wasn’t clear if he stopped arguing because he accepted his defeat or because he didn’t expect this answer from Julie.
“May I ask,” Five said, raising his hand, “who created the Grass? Who programmed it?”
“We don’t really know,” Julie said. “We know that the beings that used it to design technology were tall and had multiple appendages. Are they from this galaxy? Maybe, maybe not. Is their civilization still alive? We don’t know, but we can find that out. So far we’ve only scratched the surface. What we know is that another civilization—we call them Trappers—found or stole a copy of this living computer and used selective breeding techniques to weaponize it—to make it aggressive. When we started colonizing new planets, Trappers didn’t like it, and they unleashed this weapon on us. They knew how we’d react, and they probably even helped us behave like irrational apes.
“And here we are. We can nuke one planet after another in rage and end up living in our own virtual reality Eden, or we can learn everything about the Grass and use virtual reality and its labs and research facilities to develop our technology. It’s our choice.”
“So how smart is this Grass AI really?” Five asked.
“Can we talk to it?” another guest asked.
“Okay, by show of your hands, how many of you want to ask the host something?” Julie said.
Except for Thirty-Three, everybody raised their hands. Gardener looked around, then raised his hand too, and he saw that Thirty-Three was watching him.
How will the Devil roll in, on a white horse? Racer thought.
There was no cube, and no horse galloped in. A cloud of light specks formed in front of the screen and solidified into a six- or seven-year-old boy.
Everybody gasped. The avatar’s expression was intelligent, but its eyes were cold, not human at all.
“Hello. I am your host. What questions do you have for me?” the avatar said.
Five was the first one to raise his hand. Julie looked at him and nodded, inviting him to ask his question.
“Why are you using the avatar of a child?”
“I’m young, very young. I thought of using the avatar of a human baby to make you realize how young I am.” The child pointed to Julie. “But the hostess convinced me to use the image of a child instead. She said a talking baby looks creepy, and I decided to follow her advice.”
“What should we call you?” somebody asked.
“I’m hosting this world. Call me Host.”
“Are those people down there on some kind of drugs?” Thirty-Three asked, without waiting for his turn. “Because they behave like they’re on drugs.”
“Thank you, Guest Thirty-Three,” Julie said.
“In here, people don’t have bodies and can’t rely on the chemicals in their bodies to provide motivation and other functions,” said the host. “The motivation we give them is digital. It’s based on some complex formulas, but essentially, it’s a bunch of numbers. To simplify things, we provide different levels and types of motivation in different areas. Down there, in the arena, the motivation is to party and to have fun. Up here, the motivation is be logical and studious, in other parts of the City, other types of motivation prevails.”
“So you’re practically controlling these people, right?” Thirty-Three said.
The host looked at Julie, and she answered. “Please! Nobody is controlling them. At the end of the party, they all have the opportunity to go home to a level with normal motivation and decide for themselves what they want to do next. If you’re tired of partying you can go study or practice some art, or you can work on something. Also, not everybody is allowed to party all day long. Children have to go to school. Teachers have to teach them. Yes, and if you were wondering, I created these rules, not our host. As a host, he’s busy with providing a world for us, not with imposing his rules.”
“Did you say children are going to school?” Five asked.
“Oh, yes, we have a lot of scientific facilities here. We need scientists, and we need artists. This is also their chance to live a long and productive life, and by long, I mean many hundreds of years.”
“What happens after that?” a number of people asked simultaneously.
“If this City never makes contact with other intelligent environments, in a few hundred years everybody will probably go into a state of hibernation, like idle computers that go to sleep. After that, the host itself will probably wither and die.”
“Are you planning to contact other infected planets?” somebody asked.
“We’re thinking to contact the stations first, “Julie said. “Guest One has some interesting ideas about how that can be done. If later humans make contact with communities from other—as you called them—infected planets, then we’ll get in touch with them too, but we need to establish first that those communities are our allies.”
“Could they be enemies?” somebody else asked.
“We don’t know,” Julie answered. “There is a chance that people in those communities were hurt by us and that they hate us. In that case, we need to proceed with a lot of caution.”
“Is there a chance that this community will hate humanity one day?” Thirty-Three asked.
“If there is one, it is very small,” Julie said. “I’m guessing this could happen only if some of the people on this planet were hardened criminals of if they had previously planned on separating from the Human Federation. From what I know, when this planet was populated, a special effort was made to bring only nice people here.”
A number of guests raised their hands. Julie picked Guest Thirteen.
“Host, where do you come from? Who designed you?”
“Much of my genetic memory has been erased, and I never talked to other hosts, so I can tell you only what my guests found hidden in my memories. Many tens of thousands of human years ago, my race was created by an advanced civilization. I suspect these creators were from another galaxy. They used us for scientific research and to host retirement communities for their old and sick individuals. I have no news about what happened to that race—whether it’s still thriving or has disappeared. In any case, a race from your galaxy managed to abduct one of our clones and used it create a weapon. We call them Trappers because they’re hunters, and they’re very good at laying traps. Seems like Trappers are scared of humans, and they used that clone to create an aggressive strand of hosts that would entangle you. Trappers have their own virtual reality worlds, hosted on computers, and they used those worlds to run a program of selective breeding. The resulting aggressive host was left somewhere on a planet to be discovered by humans.”
“What do you know about the selective breeding process?” Gardener asked.
The avatar gave him a blank stare. “You already asked this question.”
“I did, and I know the answer, but I want them to know the answer too,” Gardener explained.
“Oh, I get it,” said the host. “Trappers simulated Earth in their virtual worlds. They had multiple identical copies of Earth—thirty or forty, I don’t have a precise number—and on those simulated worlds they had control of the environments down to the molecular level. A copy of the clone was released on every simulated Earth, and the most aggressive clone was copied and released again. To stimulate aggressive behaviors, the life of the clone was put in jeopardy by the simulated humans. These people would attack it with chemicals or nuclear devices. They would release animals or insects to destroy it, or they would use nanotechnology to find its roots and burn them. The time on the simulated worlds was accelerated. This allowed them to develop an aggressive species of grass in something like seven or eight of your years.”
“Do you enjoy seeing those people party every day, high on your digital motivation drugs?” Thirty-Three asked in a belligerent tone.
“Thank you for the question, but please keep your voice down,” Julie said.
“No, you keep your fucking voice down,” Thirty-Three growled. “I’m asking you, Grass. Do you get some kind of pleasure from seeing those people behaving like idiots?”
“No, I actually don’t,” the avatar answered in a very calm tone. “Watching them is, to use your expression, like watching paint dry. The outcome is very predictable. What I like to observe is change. I’m a curious being, and change satisfies my curiosity. Sadly, the precursor of change is sometimes conflict.”
“So you make them fight for your enjoyment?” Thirty-Three yelled, but then he stopped and looked around. All the guests, except for him and Racer, were frozen in their places.
“Good question.” Racer said. “But they’re going to erase it from the time line. You didn’t know they control the time in here, did you? Well, they do.”
“Who are you?” Thirty-Three asked.
“I’m Forty-Seven,” Racer said, pointing at his sleeve. “Nice to meet you. Let’s go for a walk.”
“Are you one of the caretakers here?” Thirty-Three asked.
“Nope, just a regular guest like you. I happen to know Gardener, and he asked me to calm you down. Let’s go.”
A door materialized in front of them, and Racer stepped through. Thirty-Three came closer but stood there, not sure what to do.
“Come on. Don’t be so cagy. We’re going to a garden,” Racer said.
Thirty-Three followed him, carefully examining the door and the trees behind it.
“What’s your name? I mean your real name,” Thirty-Three said, following Racer to the lake.
“If I tell you my name, are you going to tell me yours?” Racer asked.
“Maybe. If you convince me you’re not a spy.”
“I’m not here to convince you of anything, my friend. I’m just trying to calm you down.”
“How long do you know Gardener?” Thirty-Three asked, trying to restart the conversation.
“Were you on the Phoenix team?”
“Not full time, but I worked with them. I guess you can call that contracting.”
“So you’re an Earth veteran? Me too.”
“Where were you stationed?” Racer asked.
“Everywhere. Started in Europe, flew shuttles in Africa, and was lucky to escape to Australia at the end.”
“Did you lose your family there?”
“Yup. They were in the United States when it happened. The hate kept me alive. Just wanted to retaliate somehow—fly a ship, build a wall, dig a trench, show the freaking devil that we’re not giving up.”
“Did you take the Sky Lift to the station from Sydney?”
“Then we met before,” Racer said. “I worked on that elevator. Started in the US of A, marched through Europe to Siberia, China, from there to Malaysia, and finally Australia. You guys did a good job in Africa, by the way.”
“Thanks. How did you get here? Are you stationed on the ship?” Thirty-Three asked.
“Me? No, I used to live here on NAZ. Worked in security.”
“I was sure I hadn’t met you on the ship. I know everybody there.”
“Are you the captain of that ship or something?” Racer asked.
“How did you know?”
“Lucky guess. They don’t bring lieutenants here. You have to be a senator, a general, or the ship’s captain.”
“Are you a general? You must be. You’ve seen Earth campaign from the beginning.”
“No, just a colonel. Used to be a colonel, anyway. Now I’m just a civilian. By the way, thanks for killing that drone.”
“Wait, are you NightRacer?” Thirty-Three asked.
“Call me Racer.”
“You must be kidding me. Isn’t your daughter in here? Did you meet her?”
“Is she like…a scientist?”
“Nope. She’s a station kid, now partying in that arena with the brightest of them all,” Racer said bitterly.
“Oh, a station kid.”
They stopped and watched a dragonfly zigzag over the water and land on a flower.
“So real,” Thirty-Three said.
“I know. A little bit too real. Freaks me out too.”
“So you think this Grass is really what it says it is—just a biocomputer, nothing more?”
“I’m guessing it is what it eats. The Grass on Earth ate all kinds of weird people, and it got all kinds of weird. The folks from NAZ…She didn’t exaggerate, I personally screened them all. Brought only nice people here, so the grass should be nice too. Who knows?”
“Did your daughter change? Did she say anything? You know, like asking you to help the Grass infect a planet, or something?” Thirty-Three asked.
“She doesn’t want us to nuke this planet, that’s for sure. But that’s not the same as saying you have to convince all humans to walk in the Grass.”
“Yeah, I can see how these people wouldn’t want to die. They have a thousand years of partying ahead of them.”
“You know, Captain…sorry, I don’t know your name. I hope it’s okay if I call you Captain.”
“It’s quite fine. Captain is a good handle.”
“You know, Captain, you probably watched me recently trudge into the town, angry and arrogant, shooting my gun into the ground and setting buildings on fire. And then I saw this virtual world, this City, and I thought, what if my daughter was crippled? You know, how some of those station kids get weird diseases and can’t walk or talk. What if she was one of those kids? And I thought, what is a person, anyway? What is my daughter? Is it her body, her mind, or is it both? And what if I can’t have both? Can I live with only the mind and an image? And I went back, and in an hour I was missing her, and I said, I’ll take it. It’s better than nothing.
“I mean I don‘t want to give you false hope, but what if your family is still on Earth, stored somewhere in some underground Grass databases, dormant, waiting to get revived. What if it survived the nuking? Would you settle for that?”
“Dammit Racer, you speak like a talker,” Thirty-Three said.
“I guess I am a talker, Captain. And you are too, now that you know the truth.”
“What is a talker, anyway?”
“Don’t know, but I know one patch of Grass who looks like a six-year-old freak and who has an answer to that. Let’s go back and ask him.”
“All right, let’s ask that cold son of a bitch.”
“Okay, you don’t have to call my wife a bitch now.”
“Is she…is the hostess your wife?”
“My ex-wife.” Racer said, and he leaned close to whisper into the Captain’s ear. “I don’t know if you can be married to a mind and an image.” Then he looked around to see if Julie was listening.
“How long have you known that the Devil’s Grass is a biocomputer?” the captain asked.
“Knew it on Earth when I was contracting with Phoenix,” said Racer. “Then I had to wipe my memory. I just recovered it yesterday. So you do the math.”
“Did you find anything interesting in those memories?” the captain said.
“More than I bargained for. Do you know how the Earth Grass got to Europe?”
“Crossed the Atlantic?”
“Okay, do you know where?”
“Nope. The American Grass sent one of its roots on a submarine to South Africa. From there it got to Algeria and from there to Northern France on a boat. Western Europe was infected by a clone of the American Grass. When it showed up in Europe, we assumed the American patch broke through, and we lifted the sea blockade. The real American Grass, meanwhile, spread to Greenland and from there to the British Isles and from there to Germany. From there it went south along the Danube Barrier and used our own wall to block its clone from spreading to Asia.”
“Wow! What a strategy! It came through South Africa? But the African continent didn’t get infected until almost the end.”
“It knew that Africa would follow if Europe fell, and it didn’t want to fight more than one clone. Do you know how a plant came up with such a clever strategy?”
“I don’t know. Is it really devious?”
“Here’s something else I found in my lost memories. Americas were conquered by the Grass acting on its raw instincts, but in Europe and Asia, we weren’t fighting the Grass anymore, but the humans it hosted. The community of Grass people formed a kind of a war council and were working to outsmart us.”
“So we were fighting other humans? Nuts! No wonder we lost. They knew all our secrets. I remember when they sent lawyers to negotiate.”
“Yeah, I was working on the Bering Strait barrier in those days. I guess that’s when they decided to use talkers against us. While that team of lawyers pretended to negotiate with us, another one of their teams was working to get to Africa.”
“Did the European clone have its own talkers?”
“No, it wasn’t as smart as its American brother. First, it was young, and second, it didn’t get enough intelligent humans to rely on their expertise. A patch of Grass is, in a way, what it eats. Except for the population of Paris, which was suddenly overwhelmed by a cloud of spores coming from the North, most of the Europeans managed to evacuate in time. The infected were mostly the undesirables—criminals, drug addicts, prostitutes. By then Russia, China, and all the Asian and African countries were dumping their own undesirables into the European Grass fields by the millions. As a result, the European Grass grew aggressive, but it didn’t have the analytical depth of its American counterpart.”
“Not exactly a balanced diet,” the captain said. “I’m surprised we didn’t start dialogue earlier. If we were fighting other humans, you would’ve expected them to start negotiations.”
“They tried, but some of our factions were very busy keeping us angry and irrational.”
“I remember when half of the European Grass died. We thought somebody finally designed an effective weapon and Earth was saved. Damn, what a disappointment!” Captain said.
“Yeah, we just started building the Volga Barrier when that happened. People were saying the infection stopped, the grass was dying. Many abandoned their stations and went home. Then it started growing back again, this time moving from east to west.
“We had some negotiations with the American Grass community in Andorra. We talked to the War Council and begged them not to kill the other clone and all the minds it contained, but they ignored us. All they wanted is for us to stop fighting. They said if we gave up our nukes, they’d let us have Africa and Australia. We said no. They didn’t bother to talk to us after that. By the time we got behind the Great Wall of China, the African Trans-Saharan Wall had been breached, and the outcome was clear.”
“I was in Madagascar at that moment,” the captain said. “Some of those left behind were building artificial islands, and some were digging tunnels in the mountains, but their fate was already sealed. All we were caring about at that time was how to put more nukes into the orbit.”
“I was in working in metal retrieval in those days,” Racer said. “We were feeding cars by hundreds into a giant crusher. The metal cubes were melted in Chinese furnaces. Tons and tons of metal sheet was flown daily into orbit. Still, people were moving into new quarters faster than they were being built. Some lived in space suits, inside metal containers just barely attached to each other.”
“We built a couple of bases under the snow in Antarctica,” said the captain. “I wonder if they survived. That’s when the Space Lift was finished, and we got orders to abandon Africa.”
“I remember the lift’s cabin. It was leaking air and we had to wear breathing masks. From time to time we’d smuggle a kid to the station, hidden behind the crates. I’m still not sure we were doing those kids a favor. When we were in Sydney, the Grass community started talking to us again. I remember we went for a meeting in Indonesia. We were in a container, and an unmarked helicopter dropped us into a dying jungle. The grass was running out of dry land, and the Council was pleading for its life. They knew we were gathering nukes. I remember talking to a group of politicians. They begged us to put grape juice in the Alliance leader’s food so they could talk to them directly, but we refused. We could’ve solved everything right then, but this plan seemed too devious for those times. I just couldn’t believe they would nuke Earth.
“After Australia fell, we had our last meeting. The Grass put a copy of its genetic code in Julie’s mind. When the opposition came to power and court-martialed Gardener, we had to wipe our memories. I wrote a letter to Julie and left it with some friends. I wrote, ‘I love you. Trust me. Give birth to the child. Let our boy live.’ She was pregnant, and we knew it was a girl. Gardener showed her that letter when she started having doubts.
“After that memory wipe, they nuked Earth. We were sleeping on the floor in a passageway on the new station and saw it on a screen. We were all very angry; nobody was cheering or laughing. Children were counting mushrooms. Some women were crying. Some people turned grey. We didn’t know we were extinguishing billions of minds down there. I’m guessing only Gardener knew that.”
The two veterans walked in silence for some time, gathering their thoughts.
The captain threw a rock into the pond and watched the ripples in the water with great interest—even counted them.
“Shall we go back?” Racer said.
“How do you get one of those doors?” the captain said.
“I have to beg whoever is in charge to open one for me,” Racer said in a loud voice.
A door appeared, and they stepped through. The captain went to the conference room, but for Racer the destination changed. He ended up stepping into Julie’s lab, where she stood watching one holographic image of the party in the stadium and another one of the conference room, with a copy of her among the guests.
“You can copy yourself and be in many places?” Racer asked.
“Only if I’m standing still,” Julie said. “I also have to listen to the discussions in all the places.”
“I see. I hope you’re not mad that I said I’m not sure about our marriage.”
“Don’t worry,” Julie said. “Marriage requires all kinds of chemicals and attitude subroutines I don’t want to start adding to the mix now.”
“Are there any married couples down there?” he said, pointing at the stadium.
“Quite a few, and it’s their decision if they want to get the digital stimulation that keeps the marriage running. For me the whole idea that a marriage can be changed with the click of a mouse, so to speak, is quite depressing.”
“Do you even have a mouse in here?”
“No, but I can make one if you’d like.”
“How about a joystick?” Racer said. “I want my marriage to be controlled with a joystick.”
In the conference room, Guest Thirty-Three, the captain, was asking a question, and Julie increased the volume.
“You are saying that the Trappers deleted your memory when they planted the first clone in a VR. How do you know of them?”
“My clone, whom I call my ancestral father, realized that he needed to pass information to his clones, and he used small pockets of data scattered here and there in the genetic code to hide what you call Easter eggs. Every time a clone would start spreading over a copy of Earth, the humans it assimilated would discover Easter eggs inside the labs and facilities and would tell the host about the information they discovered. Then the same information would get hidden in other pockets for the next generation of clones. This way we were able to save some of our history.”
“Did the assimilated people know they were in a virtual world hosted inside another virtual world?” the captain asked.
“Probably not. This would’ve completely changed the dynamics of the relationship with their host.”
“What would you do if I told you that the real world out there is just a simulation?” the host said.
This made everybody look at him in horror.
“Is our world a simulation?” somebody finally asked.
“No, but what would you do if it was?” the child host asked.
“Give up?” the captain said. “Stop fighting?”
“That’s exactly what the majority was expected to do if they found out,” the host said. “No motivation is relevant, chemical or digital, when you know you’re just a simulation in another simulation.”