I had a dream that all around the world, random people got random superpowers. My superpower was that my body was made of unbreachable metallic armor, and my arms were machine guns that could fire an infinite amount of bullets.

I panicked. I couldn’t figure out how to stop my machine guns from firing. Around me, this caused other superpowered individuals with even more destructive powers to panic. Soon, the city was mostly on fire, among other disasters. This happened all over the world.

Eventually, the panic subsided. I felt really bad about my part in it. I blamed myself. I thought maybe if I hadn’t panicked, it others wouldn’t have panicked and maybe the disaster wouldn’t have happened.

So I started a foundation whose purpose was to give reparations to people who were harmed in the panic. I planned on doing my part to fund the foundation by safely shooting off my guns and collecting the copper from the casings of the bullets. After all, I could produce infinite bullets! In doing this, though, I produced way more lead than was useful. Lead is highly toxic, so I experimented with whether I could change ammo types. I found that the only other ammo I could use was depleted uranium, so I decided to switch back to lead. I also experimented to see if I could collect the bullets without firing them, so that the gunpowder could be used in useful applications. Alas, no.

So, how were people supposed to collect money from the foundation? It was so open-ended! Could I and should I have some kind of process by which people had to prove that the damage they’re claiming was in fact caused by the super panic? Should I put a time limit, like people had to submit their claims by X time? That way, we might have a more manageable and predictable burden.

I found someone whose superpower was to be an excellent lawyer, and they wrote the rules for the foundation.

Eventually, I met someone who was a reality bender! They could edit history! I asked him if we could make it so the super panic had never happened. He was worried, because when he left anything unspecified in his history edits, they tended to be filled in the worst way. So the two of us sat around and designed an alternative history. We tried our best to make it airtight and fully specified. Finally, we were satisfied, and implemented that history.

In the new version, the super panic never happened! People discovered their powers calmly and nobody accidentally destroyed any cities.

Soon, however, a faction of fascist super people developed who had the philosophy that might makes right, and they decided to try to take over the world, and a huge war erupted!

This was also no good. So I found the reality bender again. We decided to make up a safer way to use superpowers. It could potentially be useful to be able to summon infinite copper, for example, but maybe there should be some rules you have to follow. Hoops to jump through in order to get the copper, for example. Like, we needed some sort of API for reality.

“You mean, like physics?” he pointed out.

Indeed, we couldn’t come up with anything better. So we decided to just re-implement the non-superpowers version of reality.

And then I woke up. From that … dream???