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The Glitch

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Written by   262
1 month ago

"Uh, Tealoc, what's that?"

"It's just a bit of aliasing. We can process that out before it reads into the simulation."

"But doesn't that happen at the graphic stage? This one is already in the Audio Simulator."

"Wait, what?... Oh no."

"What's going on?"

"That's not aliasing, that's a whole aberration in the actual program. Something's gone so wrong, the whole system is ripping itself apart."

"I think that's bad."

"Really? That's bad? Never woulda thunk it!"

"Okay, calm down, there's gotta be a way to fix it. Maybe run the troubleshooter?"

"Good idea, where's the command panel for the system-wide troubleshooter?"

"I don't know, I've only been here a Griblex minute."

"Lotta help you are. Okay, there's the Emotion Processor, the Disaster Systems, the Gravitational Physics Simulator... Ah! Here's MoLIE."

"Molly? Why is it named Molly?"

"It's an acronym: the Meaning of Life Internal Engine. We named it cause we thought it'd be funny to give all the simulated Sentients a feeling of utter hopelessness that the universe had no purpose."

"Wow, that must be a lot of fun to watch."

"You would think so. Alright, here's the troubleshooter. Find our problem."

"So what exactly is it looking for?"

"Well, it's going to go through each individual process and look for the issue in the earliest module. Theoretically, since it's a one-way photon relay, there shouldn't be any backwards transmissions, therefore, the earliest issue is most likely the root of the whole crash."

"Okay, well hurry it up. The glitch is teleporting people halfway across the planet."

"Holy Flux. There's over 8 quintillion issues being reported here."

"What the hell could've possibly happened?"

"Here it is. It's in the... Name Generator?"

"Where's that?"

"It's way in the back, but how could that cause a problem this big?"

"How does the name generator work?"

"It's basically a set of tags. It randomly assigns names to things so we can look at the metrics for those things. When something has a certain tag, it applies certain functions to that tag later in the process."

"In short, it's basically a search engine."

"Pretty much. Alright, so let's run our local troubleshooter... A single issue found... This one?"

"Human Male, 70 years of age, from Portland, Oregon, but... That's it. Everything else is returning null. Maybe check an old backup file?"

"Good idea. Let's see... His name is Mart... Oh no."

"I don't like 'oh no'."

"Flux me in the Yusser, this is bad... bad bad bad..."

"Calm down! Explain."

"Dammit. Alright, that name system applies tags to things based on the name. Well, some tags also have unique properties. To save on storage space down the line, we applied special sub-tags to the existing tags so future systems only have to process and apply the sub-tags rather than render them entirely. Like, for example, Yogurt is tagged exclusively as a food, therefore it has sub-tags attached to it, like Edible and such."

"So if a simulated parent names their kid something wild, like a unique tag like Gravity, it'll break the whole simulation?"

"No, the Name Generator applies stop-gaps for things, especially creature names. It applies Exception tags so this doesn't happen from within. Which means..."

"It happened on our end."

"Is our simulation really falling apart over a Fluxing typo?"

"Then what triggered the collapse? If he's been named Mart his whole simulation, why is it causing problems now?"

"Uh... Oh, look. His name is Mart, but when he was named that it attached all the sub-tags of a Mart, as in a store. Since his name was a typo on our end, and not a naming within the simulation, it didn't apply the Exception tag to codify him as a person with that name."

"Okay, so the system thinks he's both a person and a building?"

"Pretty much. Errors have been building up for all 70 years of this dude's life, sending warnings everytime he moves, talks, and breathes. But..."

"Oh no. I don't like 'but' either."

"But those errors are being held by the system for review. It's finding the contradiction and eliminating it by making exceptions for the tags. Let's watch him for a bit."

"He's waking up, going through his basic morning routine."

"Alright, he's packing bags, so he's traveling. Where?"

"It seems he's taking a road trip with a friend or lover to the Midwest."

"We can skip this part... Alright, hotel somewhere in Illinois. His... his phone is dead. And he lost his charger."

"Oh no."

"So in an unfamiliar town, without some kind of digital map to guide him, he goes..."

"... To the Walmart in walking distance of the hotel."

"He's never been inside of a Walmart in his whole life. When he enters, the simulation gets confused because his location is now his name, because Walmart contains Mart in the name... Holy Flux, the simulation couldn't parse the name configuration and simply wiped the whole of 'Mart' from the database to protect the rest of the system, but that released all the glitches caused by Mart's existence."

"Uh, Tealoc?"


"Are the computer's supposed to be on fire?"

"No, why- OH SHIT!"

"This is bad! What do we do!"

"We have to restore the simulation before we put out the fire, otherwise the photon drivers will just overheat again!"

"But we can't fix all of these issues while he's actively in the database!"

"Remember that big red button with the sticky note that says 'Do Not Press! Ever!'? Press it! NOW!"


"The fire's out. Good job."

"Tealoc, what did that button do?"

"It restored an emergency save. We make one every hundred years in case stuff like this happens. If I remember correctly, the one we just loaded is 2 years before Mart's birth."

"So... We can fix the issue before it ever happened?"

"Pretty much. I'll go fix the tag issue."

"Are there any side effects of an emergency reload like that?"

"A few. Nothing we can't handle with a bit of finagling. But we fixed the issue. the former 'Mart,' now 'Matt,' will no longer have a devastating impact on our hardware."

"Quick question. He was mostly nulled from the simulation we destroyed, right?"


"But not entirely nulled, right?"

"... Riiiiight..."

"Which means that he was still exterior to the simulation when it was reset."

"Which means he may have reloaded with the restored save."

"Which means he may have memories of the future and know what will happen."

"Sure, but that's a long shot. I mean, this guy, what's his name... 'Matt Groening,' what impact can one man knowing the future really have?"



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Written by   262
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