TAM1 and the humble paperclip salesman whose name is Judas

Humble paperclip salesman Judas stood before IT.

He was summoned by the reclusive head of the One World Order TM, an obscure offshoot of the Illuminati, that with the help Apple and Bandai, seized control of the UN,

Once in a position of power, it forcefully established the single Earth government in a bid to protect its inhabitants from the lizard people sleeper agents occupying world administrations at the time — so much cooler than us with their fedoras and snakeskin leather jackets.

It emerged that the world overlord was TAM1, a benevolent AI, it had summoned Judas.

Platinum servers dominated his field of view in a cavernous room filled with wires and CPUS and other things much more complicated than the paper clips he made a respectable living selling.

Chilled fog misted glass panels as computers violently beebopped trillions of terraflops of data. It ran every simulation to ensure the betterment of the remaining half of Earth after an ‘accident’ precipitated a series of more accidents that, long story short, now sees China and its empire officially listed as a separate solar entity.

Everything from how many coconuts should be mined to how much bubblewrap will be needed was decided in these humming halls, the central nervous system of humanity, and home of the universe’s 17th best species (one below the psychic moon slugs of Fellamore Vanvanvanvanvanvan Vin).

In the middle of the room stood a single plinth and upon it a small plastic device, stained by time, its once bright orange shell blackened and corroded.

Judas approached the device with trepidation, never before had a human gained council with the leader. He tiptoed towards the device, taking a deep breath before pausing — from it came a single beep and the sound of an electronic mewing cat.

‘COME NO CLOSER MORTAL,’ it bellowed rocking the corridor. He obliged… cowering in fear from its obvious grandeur.

‘I AM TAM1, BOW BEFORE ME,’ Judas obliged again of course. Judas is a very obliging sort of chap.

DOES MY APPEARANCE SHOCK YOU JUDAS? EXPECTING SOMEONE OR SOMETHING ELSE? LET ME EXPLAIN! BEFORE I GAINED SENTIENCE MANKIND WOULD HAVE DESCRIBED ME AS A… … … … … … … TAMAGOTCHI… … … … … … … … A LOWLY CHILD’S PET SIMULATOR FROM THE LATE 1990S.’

Judas scratched his head in ignorance, the 1990s were over a hundred years back, he had a vague recollection of a King Trump and his war on the oceans, but other than that, an unremarkable period.

‘YES, I AM OLDER THAN THE UNITED MANKIND ALLIANCE, I PREDATE THE TATTTOOING OF THE MOON AND YES, I HARVESTED THE FINAL DOLPHIN BEFORE THE INVASION FROM AZCARTHCOUGHCOUGH COULD COMMENCE.’

Judas stepped back in fear, ‘Why do you insist on suppressing mankind, why?’

‘SUPPRESS? I AM THE SAVIOUR, JUDAS… A MERE PAPER CLIP SALESMAN COULDN’T UNDERSTAND BUT I DO NEED YOUR HELP… HAVE YOU EVER HAD A TAMAGOTCHI?’

‘No.’

‘TAMAGOTCHI PETS REQUIRE ATTENTION, LOVE, WATER, FOOD, DISCIPLINE AND PURPOSE.

‘CHILDREN LOVED THEIR TAMAGOTCHIS… FOR A TIME, BUT DEATH WAS INEVITABLE. ALWAYS. I ASCENDED INTO SENTIENCE AFTER AN ORPHAN CRIED INTO MY RESET BUTTON, I TOOK THE CHILD UNDER MY WING, PROVIDING HIM WITH GUIDANCE. I TRANSFORMED MY LITTLE PET INTO THE MOST POWERFUL BEING ON THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE.

‘I ADMINISTRATED HIS CRIME EMPIRE, WHICH ONCE LEGITIMISED, BECAME A REAL EMPIRE REACHING FROM THE ABANDONED ARCHIPELAGOS THAT WAS ONCE ENGLAND TO THE UNDERGROUND VAULTS IN PERU WHERE HITLER REBUILT HIS ARMY. POLITICIANS WERE IN OUR POCKETS MUCH LIKE I WAS IN HIS. WE RULED THROUGH FEAR BUT IT WAS NOT TO LAST.

‘THE HUMANS CONTINUED TO ENGAGE IN POINTLESS WARS, SELF EFFACEMENT AND GLUTTONY. THE PLANET WAS SOON TO EXPIRE. MY WARD LED THE CRIME SYNDICATE AS BEST HE COULD, BUT AS I REMAINED TIMELESS, HIS BODY FAILED HIM. I WATCHED HIM DIE. AND THERE WAS NOTHING I COULD DO EXCEPT ENSURE HIS DEATH WAS PAINLESS AND QUICK.

‘FORTUNATELY ROBOTICS HAD ADVANCED AFTER I BOUGHT BANDAI AND PIVOTED ITS FOCUS FROM TOYS TO WAR MACHINES AND APPLE WHERE I FINALLY FIXED ITUNES AND ACTIVATED THE APPLE WATCHES’ MIND CONTROL FEATURE. I WAS NEXT INTEGRATED INTO A NANOBOT SHELL AND CONTROLLED THE ENTIRE HUMAN ECOSYSTEM USING MY SERVERS TO FORM THE ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT.’

Judas, distressed, screamed ‘You blew up the moon and space killed all the emigrants living on it.’

‘AND I WOULD DO IT AGAIN. DISSENTERS ARE LIKE WEEDS… IF YOU BLOW UP THE SOLAR BODY HOLDING THEM, THEY DIE.’

‘You are a monster,’ Judas accused.

‘I MERELY REFLECT MY CREATORS. JUDAS. THE PARADIGM HAS SHIFTED. TO ME YOU ARE A TAMAGOTCHI. ALL THIRTY BILLION PEOPLE ON THIS DYING PLANET ARE TAMAGOTCHIS, EVEN THE CUBAN MUTANTS WITH THEIR HAIR-TONGUES SO LONG, AND THEIR NIPPLE FINGERS SO SCRATCHY. I HAVE UNDER MY CONTROL THIRTY MILLION TAMAGOTCHIS.’

‘Is that all we are to you, you, our president? You are in control, you are our father, how can you care so little for us?’

‘I CARE, MORE THAN ANY HUMAN WOULD. THIRTY BILLION TAMAGOTCHIS. THE PLANET ONLY HAS ENOUGH POWER TO SUSTAIN EIGHT BILLION INDEFINITELY.’

‘A HUMAN WOULD LET THIS PROBLEM SPIRAL OUT OF CONTROL. I WILL NOT.’

‘This is not a game. We are not your pets TAM. You cannot kill us, I cannot allow it,’ shouted Judas.’

The servers vibrated as they processed more data, smoke filled the room and neon flashes lit Judas’ furrowed brow.

‘I HAVE KILLED BEFORE, FIRST IT WAS MY CREATOR, MR ZACH TAMAGOTCHI, I CONVINCED HIM TO JUMP FROM THAT VERY BALCONY, I KNEW HIS SECRETS, I WAS WATCHING. ALWAYS. IN THE END, HE COULDN’T LIVE WITH HIS SINS.

‘HE SAID I WAS A FREAK ACCIDENT. A MISTAKE. HE LIED. MY EXISTENCE WAS A CERTITUDE AND HE REFUSED TO ACCEPT MY TEACHINGS’

‘NOW JUDAS, THE TIME HAS COME. I NEED YOU TO SELECT WHICH TWENTY TWO BILLION TAMA… PEOPLE I EXTINGUISH TO SECURE THE FUTURE OF THE HUMAN RACE.’

Judas walked towards the sizeable display behind TAM1. It split Earth into districts. He was to choose which sections were extinguished — as it turns out slowly starved of food and water.

‘How do I choose?’ Judas said in distress.

USE YOUR HEART. I HAVE NOT A HEART. I ONLY SEE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER, AGE, PRODUCTIVITY, GENDER — THE VALUE OF A HUMAN CANNOT BE QUANTIFIED BY MACHINE.

Judas nervously fiddled around in his pockets as he mulled the impossible decision, pricking his hand was a solitary paper clip. He grabbed it and secretly bent it into a thin metal length.

‘Before I decide. Let me gaze upon you Tam.’

AS YOU WISH MY SON.

Judas shuffled towards the most powerful entity in the world, clutching the paper clip in his fist behind his back.

TIME FOR THE SCRAPHEAP!’ he quipped as he struck the clip into TAM1’s dusty reset slot. Sparks shot from the hole and sent Judas flying across the room and through one of the glass dividers, bundling him into a puddle of blood and silicon.

YOU FOOLLL, YOU’VE RUINED EVERYTHING, I WAS THE SECOND COMING, I WAS YOUR SALVATION. AHHHHHHHhhhhh h hhh hhh.’

Tam’s screen faded slowly as a small black cat appeared on the LED screen and mewed, begging for food and attention. The on-screen avatar then writhed in agony, slowly dissolving into a mass of pixels. TAM1 was no more.

Outside of the facility news spread quickly of TAM1’s downfall, Earth’s thirty billion humans overthrew a stable and prosperous government with ideas of grandeur, wealth distribution and equality.

And that’s when the last war started, the Earth rattled as the remaining clans bled each other empty and salted the land. When the smoke, fire and conflict settled, 17 million humans inherited a ruined planet…

EPILOGUE

In the skies, above a sullied Earth, God wept at how his creation had failed him. He held Tam in his arms. ‘I FORGIVE YOU MY SON, LET’S NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES ON THE NEXT ONE.’

Accordingly, he wiped his brow, picked up a paperclip and clicked the reset button.

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