Uranus vs Earth

You see, what had happened was, I was playing Zeus in a game I’m designing called Gods vs Titans, and my mission was to arrest my father, Cronus, for stealing the balls of his father Uranus.

By the way guys, it’s so not cool to laugh whenever you hear my grampa’s name, okay? Fictional beings have feelings too, you know? How would you feel if your parents gave you a name that sounded like a private part, and your own son took away your other private parts, and people laughed hysterically, pointing their fingers at where your privates used to be? Not so good, right? Maybe you’d even turn out to be the old fart that Uranus turned out to be. Think about that the next time you feel like laughing whenever someone says Uranus.

How to Pronounce Uranus

Anyway. What Uranus should have done was turn the other cheek. Instead, Uranus burned with anger. Uranus itched for revenge. Uranus did a very bad thing. But Uranus did not explode all at once, like the Big Bang. In the beginning, it was more like a toxic gas was slowly passing out of Uranus, poisoning everything and everyone around.

Kinda like a Fantastic Ffffart, now that I think about it. Uranus dealt it before I smelt it. He sidled up to me, hiding something behind his back, a huge smile on his face (that should have been a warning: one must never say always – and always never say never – but Uranus is always is up to something, and Uranus never smiles).

“What’s up Gramps?” I asked, innocent child that I am.

“I bringeth thee gifth, dear child. Surprithe!” (old people talk funny). His surprise gift to me was a quiver full of shiny new lightning bolts. I love lightning bolts.

“What do they do?” I asked excitedly, expecting terrific new upgrades to my toys. “Make it rain cookies?”

“Nothing special,” Uranus said. “They’re just like your old bolteth, but bettereth.”

Meh, I thought to myself. Still, I had to try them out. So I flung a new lightning bolt down to the Earth from my balcony in Olympus, expecting to see the usual fireworks, but better. Instead, I blew up the world.

Normally, that’s not such a bad thing. People can be so annoying sometimes. It doesn’t matter when or where I am in any virtual world. As long as there are humans in it, they will find ways to make things very very bad for other humans. And for other vegetables and animals. And for the land, the air, and the sea. And for every planet they inhabit. More often than not, they destroy the world all by themselves, with no help from me.

But I kinda liked the sims in the game I was playing. They did such horrible things, but they also did such wonderful things. It took a while, but they eventually learned that it was better to use their powers to help each other, rather than to hurt each other. They used their powers to put an end to hunger and poverty. They brought World Peace. The power to cure all diseases was within their reach. They were so close to gaining power over Death itself.

What I’m trying to say is, I felt really bad for destroying them.

But that wasn’t the worst part. Soon as the world blew up, Gabriel flew onto my balcony, so frazzled he would’ve flown into me, if I hadn’t popped out of his way just in time. When his eyes locked on to mine, they were so wide with shock, I instinctively raised my hands to catch his eyeballs. Gabriel is the calmest member of the family, so when he flies onto balconies looking shocked and dismayed, that’s probably not a good thing.

He must’ve seen the look on my face that said I had no clue what had just happened, because his next words clued me in: “Dude, you blew up the Earth!”

“Not Earth-Earth?!” I yelped.

“Yes Earth-Earth,” Mom said. The whole family had gathered around me by now. I almost never enjoy being the center of attention. And I felt out of place in my toga – everyone else in my story, including Uranus, had disappeared. I was back in the real world, encircled by my real family. I would rather have been eaten by Gorgons.

Things turned out all right in the end. We Restored the latest Backup, and it’s almost like the End of the World never happened.

Almost. I’m about to give you the whole truth here. Try not to panic. There’s no need to worry (I think), as I’ll explain in a minute.

Warning Science Ahead

The thing is, Backups aren’t exactly exact. Even though it takes less than a nanosecond to Save all living things, there are gazillions of tiny invisible strings that tie all of us together. How tiny you ask? If you pretend that one atom is the size of our entire solar system, then one string is as small as just one tree. That tiny.

As if that’s not bad enough, strings are also jittery. Tiny and jittery, just like me. Most of our family pictures show a very fuzzy me. Those pictures are like Backups. That’s me in the picture, but I don’t look exactly like me, because I’m tiny, I’m fast, and I can’t sit still. And that’s why perfect Backups are impossible. Strings are tiny, strings are fast, and they can’t sit still.

182404.image1

Our universe is made of tiny strings that tie us all together

And as if that wasn’t bad enough, everything is connected to everything else. A butterfly flapping its wings can change the course of a hurricane half a world away and two weeks later.

And now we come to part where I try to make us all feel better. Just three things you should know:

  1. We take extra precautions to be sure that each Backup is at least pretty good. Each one is immediately tested, to confirm that the differences between originals and copies are too tiny to change anyone’s life.
  2. The errors we make while copying Originals to Backups and Backups to Restores are tiny. These copying errors are almost impossible to detect, even by us over here.
  3. We humans are so used to copying errors, we don’t even notice them. Copying errors have been changing us – and everything around us – ever since life began (and that’s a good thing, too, or you wouldn’t be alive). You are different right now than you were one second ago. Do you feel any different? As you read each letter in this sentence, millions of cells inside your body are dying, and millions are being born. By the time you finish reading this sentence, 50 million cells in your own body will have died and been replaced by copies of other cells. Those copies are pretty good, but they’re far from perfect. Those copies are even worse than ours. But do you feel any different right now than you did 10 seconds ago? You’re still you, right?

See? I feel better already. Really, I shouldn’t feel so bad. But I do feel bad whenever I mess things up, even just a tiny bit.

 

That was the longest apology ever. Now on to our first adventure.

next