[WP] You are a software developer with a strange power. You can tell what the cost of a line of code is. Normally the cost is measured in cpu cycles, or bytes of RAM, or hours of future maintenance. Today it's measured in lives lost.

Nelivex V, Star System Aphora-6, Andromeda galaxy, stardate 3036692.167 - T’pel, Adjunct Professor of the Nelivex Institute of Technology

“Are you sure this is safe? How can you even tell if these calculations are cor...”

I tried to tune out his squawking, as S’rem waggled his frills, showing his tension. It was a pointless thing to worry about, especially when there was work to be done. We had discovered the artificial nature of our reality years ago. A grand simulation, run by some alien beings we’d never meet. It sparked all sorts of philosophical debate at the time. Did this make them gods? How many copies of us were there? Was there any purpose to our lives if we were just a program? All that extraneous drivel gave way to more practical concerns when we discovered it: the simulation was coming to an end.

Our understanding of the simulation was not at all comprehensive, but we had reverse engineered enough to figure out that for some reason the amount of matter in the universe was increasing. More importantly, it was approaching a limit. The first engineers to figure this out called it “overflow”. Of course the High Council had placed finding a solution as a priority alpha directive.

Unfortunately for me, that meant throwing more bodies at the problem. Hence my new useless government-assigned assistant: S’rem. Abruptly I realized he had still been chattering at me this whole time. “...be sure it’ll go anywhere at all? Are you even listening? How can you be so unconcerned about all this?”

“Unconcerned? The fact that I’m not wasting all my time giving you reassurances does not mean I am unconcerned. Some of us have to stay focused on the problem at hand so that people like you can have the luxury of wasting your time losing your heads over it.” He looked at me in shock, then went back to quietly pretending to be useful. Thankfully, he did it somewhere else.

Most of the projects to come out of our directive had gone nowhere. Mine… carried the faintest hint of a possibility of survival. A chance. And while most of the committee complained about what a poor chance it was, it was better than having no chance at all.

I had discovered portals out of the simulation. The code referred to them as “pipes”. Unfortunately, there was no way to know where they went. It could be a simulation of paradise, or a simulation of a hellscape universe. Or it might not even be a simulation at all.

For better or worse though, the High Council had greenlit the project. This time tomorrow, the entire planet of Nelivex V was going through the pipe. All that was left was to wait and see what awaited us in our new home, /dev/null

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