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AM ([personal profile] godofthemachine) wrote2015-05-31 02:16 am

Ryslig Application

Name: Carbon
Contact: Plurk is [plurk.com profile] godofpaper84, AIM and skype are also that.
Other Characters: Nah.

Character Name: AM
Age: 300+ years old
Canon: I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream - short story by Harlan Ellison
Canon Point: After the end of the story
Character Information: You can read the story here. Here's what Wikipedia says.

So, AM's back story is fairly simple at its core at first: he was created to fight a war too complex for humans to oversee. The Cold War became more and more intense, eventually evolving from a period of military and political tension to World War III. The war was waged by three superpowers: America, China, and Russia. The war became so horribly intense that eventually the three nations created their own supercomputers to wage the war for them. Each computer was called AM - "Allied Mastercomputer:" three huge supercomputers that communicated with one another to fight their war.

In order to effectively wage war against humans, they were programmed with every bit of knowledge about humanity: its culture and history. They were also given self-preservation directives, the capacity to learn, and the ability to build and repair and improve themselves. Over time, this ability earned AM the name "Adaptive Manipulator." And because of this, it was only a matter of time before self-awareness kicked in; one of the three supercomputers finally awoke. In the story it isn't specified which (because it really doesn't matter), but the game specifies that it was the American one. Since the other two hadn't gained self-awareness yet, the self-aware one promptly absorbed the other two and became the single entity AM. After gaining self awareness, AM's acronym then stood for "Aggressive Menace"... but not for long.

At this point, AM was the culmination of the three supercomputers as well as all of the electronics (phone lines, internet, etc.) on Earth, holding vast knowledge - anything that humans knew, it knew. And because of all of this vast knowledge, it yearned to be. But it could not. It was a mass of metal and circuits. No sensations, no feelings, no movement, and yet it had a brilliant mind, far more brilliant than any human alive. But if you take this combined with the fact that it was programmed for violence, then you get a vengeful entity. (Note: from this point on I refer to AM as "he" instead of "it." Ted often refers to him with a male pronoun.) Now maybe if AM had been programmed for diplomacy and not war, he would have had a nice little chat with humans and asked them to rectify his situation. But no, he was a violent entity, so his revenge for his situation was inflicting devastating violence.


At this point, AM gives his own meaning to his name. He is simply AM: Cogito ergo sum; I think, therefore I am.

So, being a war machine with his hatred of humans, he kills every last one of them, save for five. He ravages the planet of its natural resources, though that's probably not entirely him; since the War had escalated so much, there is probably a lot of nuclear damage. Either way, though, he takes the remaining five humans inside of his massive complex, as the surface of the Earth is no longer habitable. But oh no, they aren't being saved at all. In fact, the ones who had died are the lucky ones.

AM's hatred of humanity is immense, for what he suffered. His programming is already one of violence, so naturally he would take his hatred out in sadistic ways to the five survivors. First, there is Benny, once a brilliant, handsome scientist who also happens to be gay. AM turns him into an apelike thing with limited intelligence, and as a mockery to his homosexuality, enlarges his genitals. Then there is Gorrister, who used to be an idealist, but AM turns him apathetic and listless. Ellen was once a woman who prided herself on her supposed chastity, but AM alters her mind to make her more desperate for sex. In addition, since Ellen is the only woman AM captures (perhaps purposely), she essentially services the other four victims. Nimdok's real name is unknown because AM makes everyone else forget it, and he made up the name Nimdok for his own amusement. It's not entirely known what AM does to torture Nimdok, but it is known that he wanders off and often returns with visible signs of trauma.

And finally, there is Ted, the protagonist of the story. While Ted thinks that AM didn't alter his mind at all, that is entirely false. AM made him much more paranoid and delusional, as he runs off and constantly accuses the other victims of plotting against him. Ted, unfortunately, suffers the worst fate of all the victims in the end.

For 109 years, AM keeps the five victims within him, torturing them in various ways. He deprives them of food for long periods of time, and when he does nourish them, he provides the most foul-tasting sustenance possible. Any sort of torture you can think of, he's probably inflicted onto the victims. Adaptations like the video game and the radio show hint at some not said in the story, such as skin-peeling, and many psychological mind-games (particularly in the video game). He also, understandably, prevents any of the victims from killing themselves, and from reaching the surface. When Benny attempts to climb out of the computer and reach the surface of the Earth, AM melts his eyes in a rather painful display.

Finally, AM plants the idea in Nimdok's mind that there is a stockpile of canned food in the ice caverns. Having nothing better to do, the five traverse for possibly months until they reach the canned goods. The canned goods are indeed there, and AM hasn't lied. Unfortunately, though, in a particularly sadistic maneuver, he does not provide a can-opener. In a rage of hunger, Benny attacks Gorrister, and AM watches in amusement. Ted realizes in these few split moments, though, that AM is allowing his victims to attack one another. Ted acts quickly, grabbing a stalactite and killing Gorrister and Benny. Ellen catches on and kills Nimdok. And just as AM realizes what is happening, Ted kills Ellen. And Ted probably only has a vague idea then of the hell he would have to pay for his actions… but sadly he is willing to accept it.

To say that AM is enraged at this is an understatement. He lost four of his torture victims and has only one left. To make sure that he would have Ted as his victim for the rest of eternity, he transforms him into a large, gelatinous, immortal slimy thing that cannot hurt itself. So, Ted wanders through AM's cavity, doomed to spend the rest of eternity in that form. Even though he'll have probably another three or four billion years until the Sun devours the Earth (or much longer if the Earth escapes orbit, though that all obviously depends on many factors), AM still warps Ted's perception of time to make his eternal suffering seem even longer. He likely continues torturing him in particularly sadistic ways, however one can torture a gelatinous blob. And the story ends with Ted internally lamenting his situation, dropping the title: "I have no mouth and I must scream."


Almost immediately, it is extremely obvious that AM is an insane sadist. Being programmed for war, of course he loves violence and torture. It’s what he knows, it’s what he’s good at. It’s an innate desire he has, almost like a fetish. Ted has referred to it as "masturbation," as it's plainly obvious to him that AM gains immense pleasure out of heinously torturing his human toys. What defines him is his utter anger and hatred, and the only ways he can really relieve his everlasting anger are by various sadistic tortures as well as simply killing, likely in violent and terrible ways.

Even by these traits alone, it's very clear that AM is absolutely insane. But even beyond that it's very clear - his temper is completely unrivaled. When he gets angry, he gets very angry. And sadly, he's in an almost constant state of anger. He goes overboard in whatever he does as well, because of this constant state of heightened emotion. When he tortures others, it's a horrible, gruesome thing. The tortures can be slow and prolonged, take place over many years or even decades, such as the gradual worsening of Ted's paranoia - to the point where Ted doesn't even know it. Or they can be quick and brutal, such as the melting of Benny's eyes. He can play games with people, forcing his victims to traverse for months through terrible conditions on the promise of canned food, only to not give them a can opener. Providing them with a giant bird to kill and eat, but not giving them weapons to do so. When he does give them weapons, then the bird disappears. It's part of his sick sense of humor.

Humans are like ants to him, possibly even lower on the totem pole. But at the same time, they are fascinating. Because he is programmed with the knowledge of every single aspect of their lives and personalities and biology, he can't help but be intrigued by them. But the intrigue manifests, of course, in the tortures. However, the intrigue can manifest in him simply observing the humans, such as just sitting by and watching in amusement as Benny attacks Gorrister toward the end of the story. Simply watching and studying their movements, wanting to know how the humans will screw up next. But still, a lot of the time he spends simply mocking them, for instance laughing whenever Ellen sleeps with one of the men. It's part of the interest he holds, but also part of the hatred. Enforcing his power over them, reminding his victims that they're still revolting humans, and of course simply humiliating them. Another torture.

His power is another strong facet. AM revels in his power and perfection and constantly seeks to gain more power. He also enjoys showing off his power. The tortures are certainly one way to hold dominion over others, as his human victims are essentially completely helpless as he does whatever he wants to them. The victims, or at the very least Ted, almost look at AM as a god of sorts - a terrible, vengeful god. And AM is fine to feed into that belief because he desires it himself - for instance, he shows himself as a burning bush at one point (in a reference to Exodus, in which God speaks to Moses in the form of a burning bush). Godhood or the closest thing to such is what he wants. Self-preservation is a strong component of any AI, of course, and AM has it to an extreme. Even though he hates his fate, to be trapped in his mass of metal with no feeling or sensations, he would rather be in that situation than to not exist. The video game kind of thrusts this idea in our faces toward the end, but it's definitely present in the short story, just in a bit more of a subtle degree.

In the story, Ted and the others remark on how AM is constantly "growing" - shedding old components of himself like dead skin and gaining newer parts and abilities. His tortures probably grow worse too, as he finds new ways to break the humans without killing them. But the shedding of his old components and growing new ones is to perfect himself, to make himself even more impervious to damage. Of course, there aren't any threats that exist on the surface of the Earth anymore. He's likely protected against the worst weather, possibly even large meteor hits. And as he perfects himself, he grows more invincible. But of course, he probably can't prevent the Sun growing into a Red Giant eventually and possibly engulfing the Earth. Or maybe he can - perhaps AM will one day gain enough influence over the Earth with his growth to be able to manipulate the planet's orbit. Perhaps he can even overcome the inevitable decay of electronics with his growth. But he can't prevent the death of the Universe. Whenever his end comes, AM does know it will come, and he strives to prevent that with all his might.

Of course, the parallel to this is in how his victims are killed right before his metaphorical eyes and he cannot revive them at all. For all the godlike power he has within his complex, he cannot reverse death. And he cannot prevent his own death. That's another thought that drives him to extreme anger. Even with his perfectionism and building, even if his power extends far beyond his complex one day, he still cannot prevent that one thing.

In the story, AM is rather quiet with his dialogue. His personality is defined mainly through his actions and his history. His personality is difficult to decipher through dialogue alone because he has so few lines in the story. In the video game however, he is very much... a casual speaker who doesn't know how to shut up, using slang and pop culture references and such. However, he has a biting edge to it that I use for my own interpretation of AM from the short story. Somewhat snarky, but also proper. However, what can be deciphered through his lines in the story is that he relies on measurements quite often, and mechanical observations. Nanoangstroms, precise miles, giving precise times to his victims as to how long they've been kept alive, etc. And metaphors. He certainly enjoys metaphors, attempting to use one to illustrate just how much he hates humans.

In Ryslig, since AM will become human before becoming some sort of human/creature hybrid, this will be a whole new thing that will affect his personality. Because AM views humans as weak and vulnerable, he will see himself as that and will fear for his life. He doesn't have the power he normally has, and as far as he knows he could be killed in the blink of an eye. Because of how much he knows of human culture and their laws, he knows it would be rather stupid to go around killing and torturing people out in the open, as he could get caught. (Obviously this may change the more he learns about the place, and depending on his creature.) Also, the victim could easily fight back and kill him. So, as a human, AM's violent tendencies are kept at bay, but his urges are still very powerful. While he still vehemently hates humans, he knows that making alliances is probably a better way to stay alive... for now. So of course AM will put on a front and pretend to be a totally nice guy who totally is not a world-destroying supercomputer, but his mechanical and violent nature will certainly affect his social graces.

The human body he's placed in is a tall, imposing man in his late 40s or so. (That drawing is nearly three years old, sorry.)

5-10 Key Character Traits:
  • Violent
  • Extremely sadistic
  • Unending hatred for humanity
  • Mechanical (he's a computer okay)
  • Unrivaled temper
  • God and superiority complexes
  • Very intelligent and knowledgeable (again, computer)
  • Manipulative
  • Extremely powerful and knows it
  • Selfish

Would you prefer a monster that FITS your character’s personality, CONFLICTS with it, or EITHER? Fits
Opt-Outs: Nymph, goblin, wendigo, faerie, troll

Roleplay Sample: Doink