Chapter 3

Wonderland by Emily

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Synopsis: Ryan, stuck in the similation must find a way to reach out to the real world to get out.


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“It’s gone.” I said, frantically swiping around my phone.

“What’s wrong babe?” Bill said, rolling over to look at me.

“The simulation app.” I said, forgetting rule number 1.

“What?” he said.

“Um, nevermind.” I said.

There must be a way to get in contact with the Wonderland operators.  There must be a way to tell them I didn’t wake up.

Bill got up out of bed and gave me a hug and kissed me.  “Good Morning to you too” he said, kissing my bare shoulder.  Did he not notice how panicked I was?  “Is something wrong?  Did you oversleep?”

“No, I'm fine.” I said.  “Just a bad dream.”

Bill walked naked over to my dresser and opened one of my drawers and pulled out men’s clothes.  I didn’t realize he had a drawer at my place.

I looked at my phone.  I can call Eric.  But I don’t have his number memorized.  Does he even exist in the simulation?  I know The Hub exists in the simulation.  I wonder if calling headquarters will result in a direct call to the real world.

I searched on the phone for the number for The Hub.  When Bill was in the bathroom and out of hearing range I called them.  I gave them my name and I was looking for Eric or Ms Davis.

The person who took my call put me on hold.

“Are you taking off today?” Bill asked me, coming out of the bathroom.

“I’m not sure,” I said.  

“Is there anything I can help you with?” he asked.

“I don't think so,” I replied.

“Ash, you’re being very cryptic and you’re starting to worry me.  As much as I love you standing there naked, I think something’s wrong.”

“Hello?” a different voice answered the phone.

“Yes, I am looking for the people in charge of the Wonderland division.”

“Miss, that division doesn’t exist here. I think you may have the wrong number.” they replied

“How about Anna Davis?  She’s in charge of quality control?”

“Listen, we are very busy here at The Hub.  If you’re having problems with your app, please contact technical support.”

“But that’s what I-”


“What’s going on?” Bill asked.

“They hung up on me.” I said.  

Maybe this is all just a simulation and I can't contact them through simulation.  

“Hello!” I said out loud to nobody. “I’m done.  It’s time to let me out.”

“Ash?” Bill said.  “You’re scaring me.”

“The simulation is broken!” I yelled to the walls.

“Simulation?” he said.

“Yeah, don’t worry about it.  You’re just part of the simulation. You should get to work.”

He stared at me. “You think I’m a simulation?”

I sighed.  “Dont’ worry about it.”

“Is that what the past 6 months have been to you?”

“I didn’t mean it that way. You.  This apartment. Me. Isn’t real.”

“I’m not a simulation.” Bill said in frustration.  “Neither is our relationship. I’m real.  I have a family and a job. I’ve lived 30 years.”

“An elaborate backstory created by computer algorithms.” I said.  “Well, likely generated by information you provided to The Hub. So yeah, there’s likely a real Bill, but you’re not him.” 

“There’s no way you can create a simulation using stuff I posted to social media.” he said.

“It’s possible,” I said.  “I wrote the algorithms. I know how much data The Hub collects.”  I pulled up my phone and looked for directions back to headquarters from here.

“I don’t have a Hub account.” he said.

I stopped what I was doing and looked at him.  “You don’t?”

“No.” he said.  “But you know that already.  You’ve joked with me about it when we first met.” He paused for a moment “What do you think is going on here?”

I realized I am making a huge mistake.  So many thoughts are running through my head.  If this isn’t a simulation, then this is real life.  If this is real life then someone across the country is in my body sitting in an immersion tank waiting for me to wake up.  And if that’s true, I’m going to need to get there.  And I’m going to need an ally. I can’t tell him I’m not Ashley.  He’d lose all trust in me.

“I was under the impression the last 24 hours were a simulation.”  I said.   “It was… an experiment… to see the different permutations that Valentine's Day could go…  given all the data The Hub knows about us.”

“That sounds like far fetched sci-fi crap.” he said.  “Honey, this has all been real.”

I nodded. “I think I may have been tricked. That’s why I need to get to The Hub headquarters.”

“Where is that?” he asked.

I held up my phone to show the directions to The Hub from here.

“That’s 8 hours away!” he said.

“I know.” I replied.  “Can you take me?”  It occurred to me that I didn't know if Bill had a car or not.

“Yeah” he said.  “I’m parked a few blocks from my apartment of course.”

“Of course.” I said. 

“And I’ll have to call out sick.” he said.

“Me too” I replied.

“And you’ll need clothes” he added.

I looked down and realized for the first time since waking up I was standing there completely naked.

* * *

After I found a casual outfit, hopped on the subway and went to Bill’s house to get his car, we started our journey. During the long 8 hour drive, Bill and I made casual small talk.   I tried to keep the conversation away from the truth.

It felt like I lost a little bit of his trust. He must think I’ve gone off the deep end.  I wanted to try to repair that.

“Bill,” I said.


“Last night was amazing.”

He nodded.  “You called it a simulation.  You thought it wasn’t real.”

“It was so awesome, so perfect.” I said.  “I should’ve known that it was real.”

I’m so stupid.  I didn’t realize it before.  This was never a simulation.  Everything felt real because everything was real.  

At first I considered that maybe I was a synthetic person who my consciousness has been uploaded into. Ms Davis did call it an avatar. But then I remembered the tablet.  Everyone there was real.  If this is a synthetic Ashley, then there was a real Ashley.  If that’s the case, where is the real Ashley?

“So how does this simulation work?” Bill asked

“Well, on Sunday night I went to The Hub headquarters.” I said.  “They told me I would live in a simulation for 24 hours.  They put me in an immersion tank. I woke up at… my apartment.”

“But you were with me Sunday night,” he said.  “We watched a movie and ordered wings.  Then you went straight home afterwards.”

“I don't know what’s real anymore” I said.

I grabbed my hand.  “We are real.” he said.  “And I’ll do anything to prove to you that my love is real.”

* * *

Eight hours later we arrived at The Hub.  The same place where I work.  I had Bill drive around the parking lot.  I needed to know if this was real or a simulation.

That’s when I saw it.  My car.  In the same place I left it Sunday night.

But could that be part of the simulation too?  It hurt my head trying to think of all of the possibilities.  How many systems would be needed to create a simulation this elaborate?

I asked Bill to park near my car.  I got out and tested the doors.  It was locked.  I remembered my passcode.  I punched it into the door’s number pad and the door unlocked.

Bill looked on, amazed.  “Breaking and entering?  Whose car is that?”

“I didn’t break anything,” I said.  I reached into the center console and pulled out my badge.  I didn’t have it with me Sunday night since I went straight to Wonderland’s building with Eric.

“Stay here.” I said.

He nodded and smiled.  Then he leaned in and kissed me.  I kissed him back.  Maybe under different circumstances, I’d be game to see where this relationship went.  If this was a simulation, I was willing to come back and revisit Ashley and Bill.  I had fun being Ashley.  Maybe I can be Bill next time.  Or maybe I’ll stay Ashley.  This is nice.  My body started getting hot.  But that reminded me I had important things I needed to be doing.

I broke off the kiss.  “I need to get going.”

It was evening now and most workers had gone home.  I walked into the lobby and badged in and entered my passcode.  My goal was to get to my desk and find the number for Eric.  He’d know what to do.

I didn’t get very far before I was stopped by security guards.

Play it cool Ryan, you work here.  “Can I help you?” I asked.

One of the guards ripped the badge from my neck.  “This is stolen.”


I ran.

They ran after me.  I knew the corridors pretty well after only working here for a year.  I burst through a fire exit and outside.  If I wasn’t going to make it to my desk, I suppose I should run to find Ms. Davis.  I ran towards the unmarked Wonderland building.  

I looked behind me and nobody was running after me.

I slowed down to catch my breath.  I opened the non-descript door to Wonderland and found the guards waiting for me inside.

Next to them was Ms. Davis. 

“Ryan.” Ms Davis said. “I’m glad you were able to communicate with us.”

“Oh, Thank God” I said.  “Nobody was believing me.”

“That makes sense,” she said.  “You don’t look like yourself.”

“You may be excused.” she told the guards.  They scattered away.

“I have so many questions,” I said.  “What is this really?  Why didn’t it end?”

“Like I said to you in person yesterday in the real world, this is a simulation.”

“But it’s so real,” I said.  “It couldn’t possibly simulate all of the things it’s simulationing.”

“Why not Ryan?” she asked.  “You’ve been a contributing coder to it.  You’ve seen the raw data The Hub brings in.”

“OK fine” I said.  “This was cool, I’m ready to end this.”

“Unfortunately because of the glitch, we can't recall you.  You’re going to need to manually terminate it.”

“Great,” I said.  “How do I do that?”

“You have to terminate your link to the avatar.” she said.

“OK.” I said, getting confused.  “I don't get it, Is there a disconnect switch around here somewhere?”

“You have to kill your avatar to terminate the connection.”

“Wait what?” I asked.  “What about not doing crazy shit in the simulation? Illegal stuff, messing up the continuity, etc?”

“We’ll have to do damage control anyway due to the glitch.” she said.  

“No.” I said.  “I can’t kill myself.”

“You’re in a simulation,” she said.  “You’re killing the avatar, not yourself. You are lying in an immersion tank in the real world.”

This felt wrong.  Despite her telling me I was still in the simulation, I no longer believed her.  She was trying to get me to kill myself.  My breathing increased.  I’m not safe here.

She must’ve noticed how frustrated I’ve become. “Ryan. We limit the simulation to 24 hours because after that the subject starts to lose their connection with reality.  Paranoia sets in.”

I started backing off.

“Ryan.” she said.

I ran out the door and back into the parking lot.

I saw Bill sitting in his car.  I opened the passenger door.  “Bill, we need to leave.”


“Bill?”  I looked at him.  He had blood trickling down his forehead.

“Shit” I said, jumping out of the car.

“Ryan,” Ms Davis called from behind me.  “If you don’t do it yourself, we’re going to have to do it for you.”

I saw security guards trailing behind her.

They killed Bill.  They were trying to kill me next.



Hi, I'm Emily and I'm writing Gender Transformation Fiction! This site is a place for me to keep all of my stories in one place. I'm also a software developer in the daytime, so this site will also be a proving ground of cool new features that pop into my head. Feel free to message me on Twitter or at my Discord Server! You can also find me on and

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Wow, things got really deep really quick. Trust the people in charge when they tell you to kill yourself? Um, no thanks. So now they are going to do it for you? I wonder how the 'glitch' has affected Eric, if at all? I think he is sitting at a control console pulling all the strings. Ryan is just a rat named Ashley caught in some twisted maze. I'm just bummed there is only one more chapter. This seems like the start of a really good longer story. I love the drama and the suspense. Great writing, as always.

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