In the beginning, my Virtual Villagers were few. I watched them closely and took part in all their affairs. It was I who guided them to food and fire, and it was my hand that led them to open the waters once, twice, three times. When they begat, I chose the pairings and placed them together. They daily saw the architect of their lives.
Later, I allowed them more freedom. Once I was certain that they would not starve in my absence, I left them unattended to live their lives as they would. I would check in a few times a day, a few times a decade in their time, and lo the hand from the sky would again steer them. The lazy were sent to work, others’ careers changed in a moment, and many flew through the air to land where I wanted them to carry out my tasks. None could say where these tasks would lead, not even I, but the villagers were compelled to obey.
I stand outside their time and world. I can double their speed or freeze their time. With merely an adjustment to my computer’s clock, I can send their lives forward centuries, without their noticing any change in the flow of time. I cannot be in many places at once, but if I freeze their world and change many things, it looks to them as though the invisible hand is everywhere.
I mostly leave them to themselves now. In the early days I knew every name, every job. I celebrated the first Master Scientist and mourned the first death. Now I know them not. They breed in great numbers, and I do not gaze upon them for decades of their time. I do not recognize the names on the new graves being filled today. Now when I appear, I check a few metrics, I heal the sick, and I smile upon the frolicking children. They live in a tropical paradise with endless food and no enemies. I mostly ignore their world, but I do not delete it, and they do not notice that all the years of their lives pass in the instant of calculation when I restart their world from its stasis.