THE SIMULATION NOTEBOOK
Where Are We?
“Please leave, you’re not wanted here,” the handsome host of a five-star French restaurant shouts to an old homeless man.
A tall elegant woman, and a regular of this fine dining establishment, stands up and walks toward them, saying, “It’s okay, I invited him. He’ll sit at my table.”
After they both sit down, she addresses the homeless man directly: “I need your help.”
“Why should I help you?” he asks her.
“Because a long time ago you lost your career, your life’s work, your ingenious innovation in quantum mechanics, your good name—all of that and more was stolen from you. I know what that’s like.”
“How could you?” he almost shouts. “I was framed for a murder I didn’t commit. After twenty years, I was released from jail only to become homeless and destitute; and my only son didn’t want to help me, or even talk to me.”
“My sister never helped me when I was down and out,” she says. “Our father abused us with impunity, and she always blamed me for not saving her because I was the older sister.” She turns her head to the right, and then to the left, trying to hide the tears that can never quench her heart’s thirst. Facing him again, and in a timbre of compassion and bitterness, she says, “I know your son, the wealthy famous actor who disowned his ‘disgraced’ father. Don’t you see you have nothing to lose? If you listen carefully to what I’m about to say, you’ll be triumphant. You’ll find true love. Isn’t that what we all really want?”
“Please just hear me out, and then you can decide.”
“I’m listening,” he says as the waiter serves them the food and beverages that at this restaurant are always ordered in advance by whoever foots the bill.
“You are the Page of Swords,” she says, “the Inventor; and in the world I’m sending you to, the first person you will meet is your destiny: the Princess of Cups or the Peacekeeper. A Paul Simon song—‘Kodachrome’—will be the sign that she is somewhere nearby.”
“You sound like some nutbar mystic,” he says as he stands up.
“And you sound more like the King of Pentacles right now,” she retorts. He turns to walk away and she tells him to “sit back down. You must be hungry. Don’t you want to try the duck—canard à l’orange—and the Sazerac absinthe cocktail?”
This reminds him of the physical fact that the last time he had a decent meal was decades ago; so he swallows his pride, sits down, and starts eating and drinking heartily.
She takes a few sips from her drink and grabs a few bites herself, and then continues speaking: “The Princess, Peacekeeper, lives by selling her realistic paintings of Cinque Terre and the Colosseum online for cryptocurrency. The Princess of Cups, as she is called in her world, will guide you on your journey.”
The old homeless man is momentarily overwhelmed with emotion when he sees her face in his mind. “A real friend,” he says.
“Yes. First she will help you find the Scholar, the Queen of Swords. She lives somewhere in Asia, in the biggest library of that world, always reading and analyzing texts that shed light on everything that exists in every universe. Unfortunately, everything also encompasses fragile entities who cannot live without plundering and incinerating knowledge, if you can call that living. The Queen of Swords and her wife, the Alleviator or the Queen of Wands, guard every single text that’s been published in every universe. There are six swords and wands or staves that serve them as weapons. They will require your help to retrieve a magical sword that was stolen by the Pity Bank. The Pity Bank is powered and protected by quantum computers that are more advanced than any of the ones we have in our world. Do you think you will be able to hack them?”
“I probably could.”
“Good,” she says. “You must. After you accomplish this mission, with the help of your guide (the Princess of Cups), you will find the Actor, the King of Wands, and your son.”
“You mean I will find my son with the King of Wands?”
“The King of Wands is your son in this world,” she explains. “He wants to neutralize the Pity Bank.”
“What is the Pity Bank? You never told me.”
“The King of Pentacles, or the Pioneer, helped create a governmental branch called the Pity Bank. All it does is craft games and propaganda that brainwash the people of that world into thinking that all of their world's problems exist only within themselves, and that only by changing their minds can they achieve true happiness. A great confusion of words and meanings is taking place because of this Pity Bank which operates independently of its creator, the King of Pentacles. No one knows where the King of Pentacles is now. Perhaps he feels worthless without his destiny, the King of Cups—the only person who could help the King of Pentacles attain redemption.”
“What about the King of Wands?” he asks. “How will he help me?”
“You will help him. By finding his future husband, the King of Swords or Detective, he will find someone who can serve him as both friend and guide. While he has made a lot of progress in his anti-Pity Bank activism, he has also alienated a lot of his friends. You will find the King of Swords somewhere in North America. The King of Wands will help the King of Swords with his felicity in language and words.”
“Wait, so this world has all of the same nations we have in our world?”
“More or less,” she replies. “Some things are very much the same; some are extremely different. One could say it’s the same world, just in another universe. Once you’ve united your son, the King of Wands, with his destiny, the King of Swords, you can move on to looking for the Knight of Swords, the Warrior, and the Knight of Cups, the Writer, who are already together. They are nomads who love to sleep under night skies replete with millions of faraway stars. The Knight of Cups pens epics and captivating enthralling poems that feature the Knight of Swords, their many adventures and escapades, and even the Milky Way’s perturbation caused by a neighboring galaxy it came in contact with. You will help them amass an army that will assist in the King of Wand’s efforts to defeat the Pity Bank so that it will no longer be a major influence in their world.”
“This sounds like too much for me,” he says. “I’m not sure if I’m up for all of this.”
“Everything different and new that exists in that world has something to do with your theories and discoveries. When you visit their world—our mother from an older universe—you will be travelling to their past so you can hopefully prevent a terrible future that awaits them.”
“Wow, how am I going to do that?”
“The sooner you find a little black book that contains a great treasure trove of equations and secrets, the easier it will be for you to know what to do—”
Everyone at the restaurant stops talking when they all hear a loud noise. It quickly stops and subsides, so everyone resumes what they were doing. The woman and the homeless old man consume a bit of their meals and drinks before she continues telling him more about what his mission will look like.
“What does this little black book look like exactly?” he asks her.
“Leather-bound, classy, elegant.”
“Where can I find it?”
“I can’t give you so much information,” she says.
“Why? Is this just a game? Are you willing to gamble with the lives of billions?”
“It’s not my fault. There are things even I am not allowed to know. All I can tell you is that you should find this unique book somewhere with the Princess of Pentacles or the King of Pentacles.”
“What if I fail to save their universe? What if I think I’m making the right choices, but I’m not? Or what if I know, deep down, that I’m making the wrong choices, but I delude myself into thinking that they’re somehow for the greater good?” The old homeless man looks more afraid than he’s ever been in his entire life. “Freedom can be a great burden. There are some who would willingly give up most of their freedoms if it means not having to make so many decisions or be responsible for themselves.”
His hands tremble and she steadies them, consolingly. “You are not alone. And you definitely won’t be alone where I’m sending you. The Princess of Wands or the World Leader will help you navigate the social oceanic waters that so often prove to be perilous to you and many others. Her wife is the Princess of Pentacles or the Film Critic. You have to befriend her, get close to her. She might have the black book you need to save their universe.
“Whatever you do, don’t try to break the law or murder anyone. You won’t be able to, but if you try, you will come back here right away and live out your life the way you are now, perhaps in even worse shape.”
“Got it,” he says.
“Afterwards, regardless of whether or not you were able to obtain the notebook, you must continue your mission by trying to locate the Page of Swords.”
“Where in the world is this King of Pentacles?”
“No one knows for sure, yet most people think he’s somewhere in North America or Europe. The King of Pentacles has a rather mixed reputation. There are a few who insist that, in addition to or in spite of the Pity Bank, he has made some valuable contributions to their universe. Most believe that his ideas will ultimately lead to their destruction.”
“I sincerely doubt he’s that dangerous,” the old man says.
“Maybe not. Perhaps some will see a devil where they should see an angel, and vice versa. Once you find the King of Pentacles, you will convince him to commit himself to looking for the King of Cups, the Pilgrim. After you've helped him find the King of Cups, you should be able to also find the black notebook, especially since the King of Pentacles should be much more magnanimous now. Later on, you must travel to the Bermuda Triangle and bring all of them with you. This will be your last chance to deactivate the Pity Bank. The only way you’ll succeed is if you all find a family that lives somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle on a giant ship. You need them too so you can all save their universe. This family of four includes the Mother and Psychologist, the Queen of Cups; her wife, the Trainer: the Queen of Pentacles; and their son, the Knight of Wands, the Activist, and his boyfriend, the Knight of Pentacles, or the Worker. So will you do everything I told you?”
“What if I say you’ll get even more precise instructions at times, that you will sometimes hear my voice while no one else will.”
“You will start your new life there with $20,000 in your account and the perfect career we picked out for you.”
" . . . I have to admit, it sounds nice . . . after everything I've been through. Is it really possible?”
She takes out a metallic disk-shaped device and presses a purple button. “I've just transmitted $20,000 worth of Bitcoin into your account there. Now it’s your turn.”
"I'm not sure,” he says.
“There's a new world waiting for you,” she says as she points the disk at him. The disk emits a laser beam that converts his physical presence into qubits which are gradually absorbed by the device.