Well, last month was kind of crappy, productivity-wise, what with one damn thing after another going wrong in non-writing-friendly ways, even without the coronavirus.

Let’s hope this coming month works out better. In the meantime, I hope the lack of posting here has been in some way compensated for by my second venture into self-fanfic.

Proposition: A consequence of the theory of information physics (“it is bit”) is that it renders the simulation argument moot with regards to reality-as-it-is, inasmuch as ontogeny has no bearing on current status.

Defend or refute this proposition. If defending the proposition, explain how the presence or absence of a supervising entity or entities can be considered metaphysically irrelevant. If attacking the proposition, suggest an experiment capable of distinguishing a simulated universe from a self-computed universe.


– Hexad Examination in Pure and Applied Metaphysics,
Imperial University of Calmiríë


A duel begins and ends with one stroke. So it is said.

With tactical prolepsis, this is even more true than it once was.

I stared at my opponent without seeing him; in the view of proleptics, there are no objects, only clouds of probability and possibility. The quantum computer in my head purred to itself, whispering tactical analysis engrams into my undermind and running massively-parallel anticipatory simulations.

The target was a blob of probable solidity, fuzzy with microcausal jitter. Bifurcating arcs of destiny writhed in secondary visual fields, ignored to concentrate on the glittering blurs of near-term possibility, threatening to actualize at any moment.

One second passed. Two.

A third, and then a probability spike, one possible future hardening towards actualization. I took one step to the left, my cannon rising in my hand. Distantly, I felt the tremor as the flechette left the barrel; something whipped past my ear, ruffling my hair with the wind of its passage; and then he was falling, helmet shattered and venting rapidly-condensing gas into the void.

One stroke.


As its end slipped clear of the ribosome, the protein folded once more, pivoting around now free-to-move bonds… snapping back against the already closely-folded main body.

Brelyn Calaris muttered an imprecation upon the heads of all uncooperative fabzymes, paused the simulation, and grabbed the protein with both hands, peering muttering into the region of the faulty fold.  “Where are you, you little ictoch?”  Her fingers slipped along the stem of the protein, feeling the orbitals.  “Too far, too far… could rotate freely, that’s just a hydrogen bond… Hm.  What is that doing there?”

The object of her ire was an innocuous-looking sulfur-sulfur connection.  “Too close, those cysteines.  Can’t be having that.”  A flick of her wrist spun the simulation back in time, and she took hold of the end of the protein chain and snapped the peptide bond before the outermost offending cysteine.  “Let’s give it a chaperone.”  Tap, tap.  “Something polar-friendly, for preference.”  She pulled an arginine molecule out of the palette and twisted it into place on the chain’s new end, then reattached the cysteine after it.  (In the secondary transcription display, a new codon quietly inserted itself in the matching place.)  “And rerun.”

Once more, the protein slipped out of the ribosome and folded itself, its terminal end this time remaining in position protruding from the main body.  “Fab test.”  She watched the playback as other foreground molecules were introduced into the simulation; some slipping neatly into the new protein’s active site, meeting their counterparts, and being transformed, while a counter raced upwards with each successfully simulated catalyzation the parallel-processors executed.

When the counter reached one million, Brelyn dismissed the protein-simulator display with a clap, leaving behind just the transcription display, then reached into her working area to pluck out the main model for her project, a simulation of the ECH-20 commercial fabrication bacterium.  Opening it up, she spun the main customization plasmid around until the remaining space was visible – this was the twelfth fabzyme gene her production process required – plucked the new gene out of the transcription display, and slipped it into place.

“Right, System.  Bactry simulation, ten hours and 10,000 runs each, all the usual variations – what’ll that take, wall-clock time?”

“Six hours, Brelyn.”

“Good.  If it passes, no anomalies, send it straight for sequence printing and fab, and get cultures under way.  If not, page me.  Oh, and if all goes well tell Chelan that, he can have his drug sample for vivo testing by tomorrow afternoon.  Explicit.”

She blinked opened eyes against the room’s half-light, flicked damp red hair back over her virtuality laser-port, and stretched.  But right now, time for a late dinner.