We spent weeks readying everything. My black boxes were strewn throughout the city, powered on, and prepared. It wasn’t difficult-nobody ever questions men in orange vests.
One crisp autumn 3 AM, I set the last one outside our headquarters, walked inside, and pressed a little silver button. Radio waves went humming to the boxes, which hummed in return.
That was all, for a few seconds. Then my boxes flashed, once. Pure, blinding white light burst against walls and doors and sleeping peoples’ minds. When it faded, things felt *changed*.
I cleared my throat. The sound, before, would have been nothing. Now it was the voice of a god. Carefully rehearsed words resonated through the startled populace.
“Attention, citizens! This city has been selected for a test. You are all currently within a digital simulation. Your environment has been recreated by my company’s new virtual reality machine.
Feel free to do as you will for the rest of the day. At sunset, you will be returned to the real world. Enjoy.” So began the greatest social experiment ever attempted.
At first, no one did anything unusual. But as the day went on, they began to enjoy their new freedom. Soon, mobs thronged the streets as long-stifled hatred unleashed itself. Man versus man.
Now their blood, blackened by twilight, drips through fresh-made ruins as twisted as their souls. The living wait for sunset and nightmare’s end. The test has succeeded beyond my wildest dreams.
My hypothesis is proved. “Human” is but a euphemism for “animal”. Hope is dead. They can’t even blame my machine. It doesn’t alter human nature.
After all, it’s just a bunch of loudspeakers.