Jules spent all day working with Uaqilius’ friend, Irikan, making various objects. Though he was technically working, Jules found it very engaging. Instead of making toys, he felt like he was making something magical, light a lightsaber. After all, these were things that couldn’t be made without telekinesis. The parts securing the pieces of various things together were located inside, and couldn’t be connected until the final shape was formed. Thus, they would just fall apart on their own, since there would be no way to attach the parts. Jules actually thought it would be funny to make impossible puzzles. Certainly, it would be possible to do something similar by gluing something closed, but it wasn’t the same.
In the evening, Jules felt something strange. He was tired. Certainly, practicing telekinesis was mentally tiring. However, after resting for a while, he would recover. It was like exercise. No, he was sleepy. He hadn’t felt like he needed to sleep even once since playing Many Worlds. Jules wasn’t sure what was going on. However, he knew that he couldn’t do much more in Many Worlds anyway.
Jules logged out of Many Worlds to go to sleep. However, he suddenly didn’t feel tired. He tried logging back in, and he was tired again. So, inside the game, he was tired, and outside he was not. However, he didn’t have anywhere to sleep in Many Worlds. Plus, he didn’t know if it would really help. Thus, he tried to convince himself to sleep. Instead, he ended up laying in bed with his eyes closed. That said, his senses weren’t really cut off. He still knew where everything was. It was his Object Sense ability. He could choose to turn it off like closing his eyes. The fact that he had to choose to turn it off meant it had become natural. It wasn’t extremely well developed yet, but it was part of him. Even here, in the real world. If it was real.
He didn’t give up on the pretense of sleeping, but as he lay on the bed with his eyes closed, he started picking up random items from around the room and floating them in nice patterns. Occasionally the mental tiredness would come over him, and he would rest. However, he still never felt the need to sleep.
Then, he went to work. After a full day of work, he was suddenly sleepy again. Why was that? It hadn’t happened before. This time, though… he’d been awake for most of a day, about 18 hours. He’d also spent a similarly large amount of time in Many Worlds, because it had been his day off. So, it wasn’t that he didn’t need to sleep. Rather, it was more that while he was in one place, he was effectively sleeping in the other. Jules understood why this would be true of his “real” body, though he wasn’t sure if it was real anymore. After all, it should be staying where it was. However, in Many Worlds it was known that they disappeared when they logged off. Was there a body still there somehow, hidden like the bracelets?
Jules rejected that idea. Many Worlds seemed to be based on some kind of actual rules. While it might be possible to hide a relatively small bracelet from sight, touch, and even the idea of interacting with it (thus making it seem as if your hand passed through the area instead of moving around it), it would be much harder to do with a body. So, if it really was still a real body, then it probably went… somewhere else. Or, it just disappeared, and Jules was reading too much into it.
In two days, on Wednesday, Jules went shopping again. Mostly, because it was a break from thinking about whether the world was real or not, even though it actually made him go out into the world. He wasn’t technically tired, but he looked like he was. He wasn’t really paying attention, and almost bumped into Mary. She noticed him, and smiled. “Is this your regular shopping time, then?” She noticed his face. “Are you alright?”
If Jules were a normal person, or in a normal state of mind, he probably would have said “yes, I’m fine,” whether he was or not. Maybe if he was close friends, he would tell the truth, but he’d known Mary for slightly more than a week, and mostly casually. However, Jules wasn’t a particularly normal person, and he definitely wasn’t in a normal state of mind. So, he said looking up at the lights above, “How do you know if something is real?”
Mary tilted her head as if this was a silly question. “Well, if you can see it, touch it, smell it, taste it… then it has to be real. At least, as far as anyone can tell.”
“So… Many Worlds is real, then.”
“What? No, it’s a game. It’s not real.”
“Is it not? I can see it, touch it, smell it, taste it. All my senses tell me it’s real.”
“Yeah, but it’s a game. Those are false sensations.”
Jules shook his head. “Are they? They don’t feel any different from here.”
“Yeah, but… how could that be real?” Mary looked like she was doubting something.
“Do you really want to know if I’m alright, or was that just idle conversation?”
“I really do want to know. I feel like we could be good friends.”
“Well, I’m crazy. That’s all I can tell you right now.”
“What’s making you crazy? Doubting reality?”
She looked curious. “So, what is it that caused you to doubt reality?”
Jules shook his head. “If I tell you, you’ll go crazy.”
“I’m serious though. You probably don’t want to know.”
Mary turned serious again. “I… don’t think you’re crazy. Probably. Can’t you just tell me?”
Jules shook his head again. “Actually, I can’t. I could show you, but… it’s a tough choice. Like, the red pill or the blue pill.”
“Umm, what’s this about pills? Are you on drugs?”
Jules laughed. “Oh man, if only it were that easy to explain. No, I’m not on drugs. Also, you need to see The Matrix. 1999. Actually, I think this is a decision you shouldn’t make until you watch the movie.”
“Because it’s a good movie. That’s it, actually. Plus, you should take some time to think about whether you want my brand of crazy, because I’m pretty sure you’re underestimating what believing stuff can do to you.”
“If you want to ask, watch the movie, and think about what I’ve said. Or, just think about it anyway. The movie isn’t actually necessary. Then, in a few days, you can make your decision.”
“And I’m supposed contact you… how?”
Jules paused, then awkwardly said, “I guess you could… call me?” Thus it was that Jules exchanged phone numbers with a woman for the first time. He probably would have been a lot happier if he didn’t have to walk outside through the polluted air, looking up at the lack of sky, wondering if any of it were real.
Approximate time: 2184-12-08 17:00 Wednesday