the boy and girl party too hard at s/f*fancon1 and pass out on the roof, where they have a vision: they fly to the garden of eden, which is located under the ice of antarctica, and are sent on a quest by a fiery angel. they play a vividly real civilization-building game set in antarctica without ice. it’s the best game they’ve ever played, and they are dismayed to reach the end. they fulfill the angel’s quest, and then wake up in the stairwell of their s/f*fancon hotel, where the girl gets a text message from the angel: a new quest.
at s/f*fancon1, the boy and girl demonstrate the quantum superpowers they learned in their game/vision. they reveal their new quest: to make a quantum videogame and change the world. lots of people are interested, and they brainstorm elements of the game in ad-hoc panel discussions. the couple’s use of unusual abilities is noticed and reported by the goodguys(tm).
the boy and girl tell their programmer friend kurt about their game idea. kurt points out how easily a quantum universe could be simulated. they discuss quantum computing and quantum mind, the angel’s quest, and relevant disciplines and teachings that could be incorporated into such a game.
the boy and girl and their friend fairy design the game in detail but run into problems with the details. their friend snake animates an early version. the result is klugy.
kurt invents a quantum programming kernel, causing a power drain which nobody connects to the game. kurt hacks an interface for the quantum kernel.
kurt introduces the quantum tablet, and the team abandons their work to date in favor of its elegant gamebuilding features. their efforts result in a flash thaw and refreeze of realworld antarctic ice sheets. snake delivers a quantum tablet to the goodguys(tm), who are perplexed.
kurt introduces special quantum gamegear and the boy and girl test the game, but don’t play well together. the quantum kernel is so efficient that it makes instant bug fixes; improving the gameworld before their eyes. several universal constants change slightly in the realworld. the goodguys(tm) receive the bug database and correlate anomalies, but officials dismiss the evidence.
demonstrating the game at s/f*fancon2, there are lots of glitches and the presentation is poor. but the gamegear is a big hit, and quantum exercises and philosophy really take off after another show of quantum superpower. the goodguys(tm) acquire the gamegear for analysis; officials are suspicious of quantum philosophy. the media makes fun of the quantum game and criticizes videogame culture.
kurt is embarrassed by the game’s lack of sophistication and works in the kernel to update it. he falls asleep while programming, and sets himself on fire with a fallen cigarette. meanwhile, the boy and girl are testing the game, traveling thru the wormhole that connects two levels. kurt’s death throes are reflected in the game, and are shared by the boy and girl. they are saved by exkurt, a ghost, who appears, rescues them, and returns them to the realworld, where the sun is blinking. kurt’s body is found at the bottom of a sealed-off pool, with smoke in his lungs. fans assume foul play. critics charge drug use. officials are puzzled by the evidence; experts are alarmed by the sun’s behavior. the media condemns s/f*fancon for promoting dangerous activities; attributes the sun’s activity to a solar storm, and ignore it once the effect fades.
the team is devastated, and work stops on the game for several months, but they finally feel compelled to finish it. they discover kurt’s regenerated antarctica, covered by 2 miles of ice. they rebuild the game without the antarctica level, and try to incorporate quantum practices into a classical frame, but the girl has trouble dumbing down the lessons. the goodguys(tm) increase surveillance, and prepare a backup plan. teh media links the videogame industry to badguyism. fans promote quantum thought as progressive.
alpha testers distort teh gema to make violence and cheating easier; testers are damaged. bug reports are shallow and disregard the quantum lessons. testers appear in the realworld. the goodguys(tm) infiltrate and report on testing. the media ridicules quantum practices and minimizes quantumists. fans claim quantum thought as a right.
beta testers cause further alterations in the game, with more lawlessness and violence. the quantum lessons are ignored. alpha testers take advantage of beta testers. teh gema becomes a dark shootemup with stolen car races and group shootouts. players do learn to cooperate, but with a mob mentality and wartime morals. the goodguys(tm) notice quantum effects in large-scale systems, and prepare for an outburst of quantum activity. the media suggests quantum thought is a mental illness, and is indignant about the dangers of quantum practices.
at s/f*fancon3, the gaming community is enthusiastic about the game, which spawns a new quantum culture. the boy and girl are stars. the boy is approached by investors, the girl wants to remain independent. final testing of teh gema is chaotic: alpha and beta testers capture and enslave final testers as they land, throw bolts of lightning at lower levels and rob players as they come thru the wormholes. exkurt materializes in the game and scares them into behaving. his face appears in the clouds all over the realworld. the goodguys(tm) announce that the anomalies are being caused by the game. the media accuses gamers of being quantum badguys(tm) seeking chaos and lawlessness, and calls for action to stop it.
in the game, exkurt melts the ice and exposes the antarctica level, then transports the boy and girl into it. players begin to enter antarctica and immediately get into trouble. at s/f*fancon3, fans create the kernel/exkurt legend. statistical impossibilities occur in the realworld – homeless people find winning lottery tickets, aspirin is responsible for widespread spontaneous remissions. goodguys(tm) debate whether a mere videogame could be responsible, and become spooked about the possibilities. the media reports on the quantum threat to an unchanging classical universe, debates whether quantumism is a disease or a choice.
at s/f*fancon3, the game is magnificent because of the quantum kernel’s effects, and grows more realistic as the kernel becomes interconnected with the world. chastened by exkurt, the players practice quantum skills. a plucky band form and go thru the levels helping each other and outwitting traps. in the realworld, the game is suddenly worth more money than many countries. there are spontaneous demonstrations of quantum superpowers. the goodguys(tm) note the activity, and discover the kernel’s entanglement with realworld networks. they execute project antiQ. the media discusses the threat of quantum annihilation, focuses on damaged testers, calls for immediate action. fans try to explain quantum reality, call for a new enlightenment. critics insist that there is only one universe and that quantumists endanger it.
in the game, exkurt counsels dead players on their gameplay before respawning. players become stuck in the wormholes; the boy and girl intervene. sabotage by snake affects the game. exkurt notices certain inefficiencies in realworld networks and begins to tinker, making them less rational but more quantum-efficient. the goodguys(tm) notice the changes in overall system performance, step up monitoring and infiltration, consider quantum weapons. the media calls for emergency powers, impugns the motives and reports disinfo about quantumists. fans spring up everywhere, show off quantum superpowers, spontaneously organize.
in the game, players arrive in the barren western islands of antarctica, and freeze and starve until the boy and girl step in and show them (again) how to use quantum skills to warm the environment and make things grow. players continue to take advantage of others, and make demands of the boy and girl, who run from the attention. snake sabotages the game’s non-playing characters. fairy has her dark night. the plucky band build a settlement together.
in the realworld, there are suddenly millions of players, and the quantum exercises and philosophy become popular. the boy is ambitious, while the girl is dogmatic about teh gema’s purpose. the southern circumpolar winds shift, alarming scientists. teh goodguys(tm) criminalize quantumism. religious goodguys(tm) condemn quantumism as the apple that led to expulsion from the garden of eden. the media condemns quantumists and calls for punishment, dismisses evidence of benefit, goads quantumists and emotionalizes classicists. fans hold demonstrations, form encampments.
in the game, players become ocean raiders or live in small mountain or fishing villages. the boy becomes a pirate king. the girl forms a quantum school. snake creates a classical religion. the girl has her dark night. the plucky band are separated and experience different gameplay, but keep in touch.
in the realworld, the boy and girl are approached by the goodguys(tm). the boy decides he can use them for his own ends, and makes a deal. the girl refuses and is sidelined, doublebound. the ocean currents change. the goodguys(tm) announce emergency powers to fight quantum badguyism. the media announces a report your local quantum badguy(tm) program. fans offer to share quantum secrets, hold quantum demonstrations to spread superpowers. critics demand submission to authority.
in the game, players build a life in a medieval society of serfs and lords. the boy becomes governor of an entire region. snake’s religion teaches that using quantum skills is heresy, and makes many converts. the girl and fairy spread quantum teachings. more of snake’s sabotage impacts the game, requiring ingame vigilantes. diseases and invasions occur to move the population forward. the plucky band crosses paths but pursue separate quests.
at s/f*fancon4, teh gema is a cultural phenomenon. the girl stresses out and fairy takes over the teachings. the boy and girl have a big public fight over following the original quantum goals versus getting rich. the players split between adolescent classical gamers and hardline quantum zealots. the boy discovers snake’s sabotage and confronts him; they join forces, blame kurt for the sabotage and criticize the kernel. the boy and snake work for the goodguys(tm) to alter rules and missions, twist lessons, identify and neutralize certain players. the goodguys(tm) establish control with quantum suppression laws, prohibit quantum information/propaganda, disempower quantumists. the media presents false evidence, and exposes quantumism using backwards logic. fans flaunt their quantum superpowers, mirror goodguy(tm) behavior, openly train quantum activists. the plucky band finally meet in person, and perform random acts of kindness.
in the realworld, the boy decides to take control because of threats to teh gema. the girl is focused on seeing the world to a quantum critical mass. anomalies in worldwide ocean circulation destabilize the gulf stream. the goodguys(tm) permit indefinite detention for quantumist suspects. children are arrested for quantum tricks. fans demonstrate; there are arrests and beatings. the cultural identity goes underground; fans develop resistance tactics. religious goodguys(tm) identify the boy as satan. the media calls for quantum detectors in the schools, urges roundup of all gameplayers. the plucky band plays quantum tricks to mock the goodguys(tm).
in the game, players journey thru a vast wilderness on various internal and external quests. the boy originally goes on a crusade, and ends up pitting desert tribes against each other and taking over. the girl organizes the quantum heterodoxy working for the original purpose of teh gema. the girl and snake discuss the game’s purpose. fairy loses it with snake. the boy and snake have their dark nights: the boy reforms, snake hardens. the plucky band’s gameplay converges and they regroup.
in the realworld, the game is banned, the goodguys(tm) enact classical regularization laws and arrest demonstrators. fans use action at a distance to point out the vulnerability of the classical world, and begin to organize a quantum infrastructure. antarctica’s icecaps turn slushy, endangering antarctic bases. the goodguys(tm) demand more powers to neutralize the quantum threat. the media blames quantumists, stirs up intolerance and hostility. the plucky band are defiant but hide evidence of gameplay.
in the game, the environment is squalid and harsh, set in industrial cities and joyless suburbs that resemble players’ realworld neighborhoods. the boy, his faith in the quantum teachings restored, helps the downtrodden and hopeless masses. the girl confronts snake for his pollution of the quantum purpose of teh gema, but grows dispirited at her lack of general support. snake’s religion claims quantum miracles of its own, and becomes official. snake starts an inquisition. fairy raises an army against him. the plucky band harasses him.
in the realworld, the boy and girl go into hiding. the world’s sea levels rise. the goodguys(tm) round up known quantum badguy(tm) suspects, sympathizers, and possible sympathizers, appointing special prosecutors. the media demands a return to the status quo. fans stage a general strike, perform miracles in public, teach quantum gameskills, work to fill in the new quantum infrastructure. the plucky band are almost caught in a quantum action.
s/f*fancon5 is subdued; with spies and cameras everywhere, and a lot of grumbling and harassment. the boy and girl make an appearance and are mobbed. the boy issues an open challenge. the girl flees. fans secretly practice quantum exercises, engage in private gameplay, use signs and codes based on game principles. snake does something despicable, fairy overreacts and is detained. the goodguys(tm) notice that the realworld and the gameworld are becoming more entangled. there are orders to shoot quantum badguys(tm) on sight even tho quantum abilities are invisible. the media report on the latest quantum badguy(tm) sting. fans cooperate to raise public buildings off their foundations. the plucky band openly plays teh gema.
in the game, snake becomes the emperor/pope and makes quantum skills an official church mystery. fairy is burned as a witch. snake blackmails the boy to subdue quantum opposition thruout antarctica. there is civil war. the girl leads the opposition, insisting on nonviolence. the plucky band fights a similar plucky band from the classical side in their realworld neighborhoods. the game begins to merge with the realworld.
in the realworld, the boy calls for the kernel’s confiscation because of its vast power, intending to steal it himself. snake dampens the girl’s dream; she starts second-guessing herself. fairy’s supporters are voluble about snake’s many transgressions. coastal evacuations begin because of rising waters. there is an outcry over the shoot-to-kill policy, the goodguys(tm) introduce dequantumizing chips to lobotomize quantumists, and begin forced sterilizations (chip-and-chops). the media grows hysterical about global warming, silences critics and threatens doom. fans erect quantum seawalls. the plucky band decorates the walls with quantum messages.
in the game, the boy and girl open the previously locked gamburtsev mountains, face off and fight each other. they realize they were both wrong, and make up. a great deal of pent-up energy is released, which opens an exit to the heaven level of teh gema. this can be seen on all levels of the game and also in the realworld. the game experience becomes an order of magnitude more real. snake spins the event; exkurt corrects him. fairy and snake fight. players exit thru the new wormhole, but many stay in the gamburtsevs, and it becomes a very popular game location with mob rules and high stakes. the plucky band establishes a hideout and stage raids on the realworld.
s/f*fancon6 happens on the heels of the quantum spectacle. fans gather with quiet expectation; ignoring the goodguys(tm) with the power of their numbers. fans begin to think in tandem. the goodguys(tm) move in and arrest them all. the boy is captured and beaten, the girl is disguised, but is swept up with the others. the goodguys(tm) consider cutting off the internet to stop the game’s quantum effects. there are tanks in the streets, armed resistance, and brutal attacks on quantum protestors. fans are taken to fema camps. the media shows no empathy, uses catastrophe rhetoric, promises extermination. fans mock their superiority by making the sun not rise. the plucky band empowers emergency heat and light where needed.
in the realworld, the boy is forced to cooperate with the goodguys(tm). the girl is forced to play teh gema with exkurt, trying to open a back door into the quantum kernel. snake taunts the boy, the girl, and fairy. the goodguys(tm) introduce the quantumvac(r), and are working on a nanoweapon to target anyone who is quantum-positive. the media announces greater rewards for informing, and is overwhelmed with calls. fans make an exasperated and overwhelming quantum response, but are interrupted. the plucky band is apprehended.
the kernel is destroyed by a decoherence device that the goodguys(tm) insist on using. the game breaks. the girl collapses and is trapped inside the game. the world defocuses for a timeless moment and resembles the game’s cloud/limbo level. the planet shudders and the sun dims, and antarctica instantly begins to refreeze. the boy’s disconnectedness buffers him from the worst effects, and he is able to escape with the comatose girl. he sleeps for a week while she lingers close to death. snake is now the only quantum expert available to the goodguys(tm) and uses it to his advantage, but they decide to use fairy against him and retrieve her from the camps. the goodguys(tm) begin chip-and-chops in schools and at traffic stops. the media panics about the effects of the kernel’s destruction. fans are damaged by the shock and lay low to recover. the plucky band uses the confusion to escape custody.
the girl freezes into a coma when the kernel blows up. exkurt revives her, fixes the damage and rebuilds her connections, making quantum improvements. exkurt has his dark night and the girl talks him out of it. then the girl has her dark morning, and exkurt tells her she’s been right all along. they get their mojo back.
the boy is consumed with guilt, and turns to fight, even tho he can’t win. his team inflicts damage on the classicists, who are disorganized by the kernel’s destruction. the game still exists in the internet cloud, where fingers from the quantum kernel have taken root but have no accessible nodes. snake and fairy fight from a distance. the goodguys(tm) declare martial law and shut down the internet, and the game only runs on individual computers. the goodguys(tm) use quantum weapons; death squads with quantum detectors roam the streets, prisoners are exterminated in the camps. the media demands a scorched earth policy. fans are disconnected from each other because the game is broken, and grow depressed and fearful. their quantum superpowers fail, and they become passive victims awaiting the final blow. the plucky band turns quantum weapons on the goodguys(tm), encourage quantimists not to accept defeat.
in the game, players resume playing in their dreams. the girl welcomes them as they cross over into the heaven level from the antarctica level. exkurt conducts life reviews. non-playing characters teach advanced quantum magic, world design, and universe management skills. the heaven level fills with fanciful worlds made of solidified clouds. the parallel worlds begin to coalesce. players wake up feeling stronger, with a single purpose. snake and fairy continue to fight. the plucky band calls every player with a landline to announce the remort of the game; and hack unscathed tv and radio stations to deliver their message.
s/f*fancon7 is canceled. martial law is declared. goodguys(tm) detain the organizers, and anybody googling or writing about it. there is open warfare against quantumists, marches and massacres. quantum everything is punishable by death. the classicists celebrate, drop all pretenses and show their asses. fans quietly remember s/f*fancon from their cells and their parents’ basements and their minimum wage slavery jobs. they individually make small thoughtform minions (‘i want my game back’). billions of minions entangle and simulate a world where the game is not only played, but rules. the parallel worlds join and emerge into the realworld, which sends a shock thru the world before fading out again. snake versus fairy showdown. the plucky band helps the kernel to form new connections.
in the game, people continue to begin playing teh gema in their imaginations and dreams, creating more thoughtform minions. as players return to the game, the gameworld grows sharper and more substantial, until it’s more real and more dreamlike than before – more skills are available, and they’re easier to learn. players create parallel earths that they would like to inhabit. snake and fairy annihilate each other. the plucky band restores the internet themselves, and exposes the classicists.
in the realworld, critical mass is reached, and billions of parallel worlds come into being, all of them featuring teh gema. bottom-up organizations manifest in the realworld, overlaying and augmenting reality, while the old fear-based systems break and fade. the world rebuilds on principles of empathy and compassion, and institutions protect the weak and powerless. zero-sum, fear-based actions and rationales are seen to be wrong. the media debates banishing versus prosecuting classicists. the goodguys(tm) isolate themselves into separate classical universes and continue resisting the quantum universe, splitting into smaller and smaller parallel universes with each disagreement, until each classicist is in their own individual world. fans berate the goodguys(tm), and continue dreaming a quantum reality, waking each day in a slightly different universe. snake and fairy are stuck in their own parallel universe together. the plucky band find themselves changed in many ways.
a new quantum disorder manifests all around as the dream-rebuilding continues for a full lunar cycle as people create the world they want to live in. the boy wakens the girl with a kiss, they live happily ever after, and their kids grow up to be mighty quantum superheros in a new magical age of fairy tales. snake and fairy learn how to live with each other for ever after in their own personal universe. future s/f*fancons are held in quantum space, where the hotels are never booked up. the plucky band remain friends and become family.
eventually people forget about the struggle for quantum freedom, and grow lazy about quantum living, and seek to pass off the responsibility to others. others are more than happy to package and sell convenient realities in exchange for personal power. the classical/quantum struggle goes on as humans learn how to live without fear. but it continues also because good versus evil is a dynamic, and there can never be a final victory. but there’s hope, because the quantum universe oscillates in every direction at once, and can’t be made to follow any one way.