It has been roughly 10 years since Albrecht Abernathy managed to verify the simulation hypothesis, and since then the world has changed drastically. In his seminal paper on Reality Theory, he investigated the crossover from the quantum to classical regime and showed the only possible way to transition between the two was with an additional metric of information to describe the scale at which computation must take place.
By manipulating this scale object, it became possible to access quantum information in the classical world and classical information in the quantum world. Almost immediately, researchers began implementing various known quantum schemes in a macroscopic environment, starting with entanglement and then quantum teleportation.
Because teleportation allowed for individuals to transmit information, but not physical objects, it was first used to rapidly encode data from large distances. The internet was completely displaced and internet service providers all quickly became bankrupt. More importantly, people realized that any form of information could be sent, including electromagnetic stimulation within the brain. This lead to the first realization of telepathy, and soon thereafter complete body swapping. In 2025, no one knew who anyone was. It was a mess.
The next year, schools became antiquated as teachers learned how to spread an entire year's worth of information to their class in minutes. By 2027, all governments instituted an entanglement verification metric that held all elements of an individual's quantum state. This was necessary to ensure no person was cheating the system by using quantum shenanigans, and if anyone was found in violation, their thoughts and ideas would be closely monitored and likely stolen from them in jail.
At the start of this year, the world changed again. Though it was always obvious how to apply quantum techniques at the classical scale, it was less obvious how to apply classical techniques at the quantum scale without uprooting the core logic of reality. Even so, researchers couldn't help themselves from trying, which lead to a phenomenon known as glitching.
Glitching is weird. Sometimes, when people blink, the world can change completely. Gravity could fail, light could suddenly exert pressure, or fridges could become ovens. When they blink again, everything would be back to normal. Most the time, glitching was based off of an observational event. The moment someone ceases observing the glitch, it ceases to exist for that person.
Like the Amish when the world began embracing electricity, there was a segment of the population that refused to accept their new reality. Somehow or another, these people became known as NPCs. In fact, these people seemed to be so swept up in their old lives that they completely ignored glitching, altogether. Because NPCs never observed glitches, they always remembered what the world was supposed to be like.
This meant that NPCs were vital for keeping the world order the same as it once was. Sometimes glitches were so inconsequential in nature that only NPCs could recognize the truth, so glitched people often resorted to asking NPCs about simple things like if grass was always a certain shade of green, or if the president was always orange.
I was fortunate enough to have an NPC neighbor, Bob, who I became close friends with over the course of the last few months, and there wasn't a single glitch he didn't help me catch.
One day, I came home and noticed my house was a subtle green. I was sure it was a glitch, so I asked Bob. He confirmed my house was always green. I thought it was odd, but Bob had never lead me astray before.
The next day, my house was blue again. Bob confirmed that my house had always been blue.
At that point, I remember feeling cold sweat accumulate on my neck. If NPCs could no longer catch the glitches, there was nothing preventing an inconsequential glitch from becoming the new norm, and several inconsequential glitches could add up to a huge problem.
As this was the first glitch Bob didn't catch, I assumed I was ultimately worrying about nothing. After all, how many glitches could we possibly missed?
I thanked Bob for his time and promised to make him a pie that afternoon before bouncing across my lawn and back into my house. As I slid my tentacle into my pocket for my key, I remember looking off into the green sky, where a pink moon was just beginning to rise for the evening. There couldn't be that much changed, right?