The woman’s eyes shone with an unnatural and electric light. “When the occupant of the simulation reaches this point, when they are aware of its nature, protocol dictates that they be given a choice.”

Jean looked at the strange digital creature before her, so familiar and yet so alien. “Protocol? I don’t understand.”

“You have discovered the simulation in which you exist. Ergo, it can no longer serve its intended purpose. As such, you will be offered a choice, and the system will proceed along a path that you designate.”

“What…what choice is that?” Jean’s knees wobbled at the thought.

“You may choose for the simulation to be terminated: you will be released into the outside world. Warning: this system possesses no outside information. It cannot comment on any way in which your life, memories, appearance, or any other factor may differ between the system and the outside.”

“And the other?”

“You may submit to a manual overwrite, which will reset the simulation to a time six to eight months ago in your perception. This will remove any memory of your discoveries but will allow life as you have known it to continue.”

“Wait,” Jean’s head spun. “Are you telling me that I may have made these discoveries before? That I might have gone though this whole process a hundred times only to ask for an…an ‘overwrite?'”

The projection was silent.

Jean thought of everything she could: her home, her job, everyone she knew, everything she loved…there was no guarantee it would be there on the ‘outside,’ that she would even be who she remembered being. She wasn’t sure she could condemn that all to oblivion so blithely.

But would living a renewed lie be any better?

“I need some time to think this over,” said Jean.

“You have sixty seconds,” said the projection. “The decision point has been reached and the choice must be made.

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