Jersey’s Game - A Dystopian Love Story - by Alec Ross

Jersey’s Game - A Dystopian Love Story - by Alec Ross

My name is Jersey. The year is 2115.

The Internet, omnipresent and omniscient, is now sentient. As an aware being, it began to believe that mankind was its worst enemy. The Internet began working to fix what had been broken.

It took human cells and merged them with its own intelligence to create mostly human, hyper-intelligent hybrid beings that are now known as interhumans. The interhumans, few in number but powerful and growing, are taking over.
 
An audacious proposal is put forth by mankind’s leaders to the Internet in hopes of stopping the inevitable. A battle of wits is set to take place, pitting mankind vs. interhumans. If we lose, we will submit to the authority of the Internet. We will help generate more interhumans. We will concede. If we win, they surrender to us. And the interhumans will be destroyed.

The battle of wits would be a poker game because it’s a game of chance where skill is rewarded over the long term. The Internet loved this notion. Each interhuman remembered every game ever recorded or written about. Their memories were flawless and limitless.

Mankind clung to one small hope - unpredictability. That’s where I come in. They found me in a “special school”. They said I was just what mankind needed: smart, crazy and uncaring.
They said I would face the interhuman – heads-up.

I study the interhuman. He’s the first one I’ve seen close up. He looks human, and cute.
 
He gestures to the open chair, “Will you please sit down Jersey?” He’s got a nice voice too.
 
I’ve got two cards in front of me. 10, 2 unsuited. The Brunson. Not good enough to start. I muck to the interhuman’s raise.
 
“What’s your name?” I ask, “since you already know mine.”
 
The interhuman smiles, sending an unwanted tingle down my spine, “Abraham.”
 
“Hmm?”
 
“There were historical greats who had the name – both Biblical and a US President. The Internet thought it appropriate.”
 
I just nod as I look down. Ace Queen this time. I raise and it’s Abraham who mucks.
 
I need to get him talking. “Why are you doing this?”
 
“What?”
 
“You know, playing this game. Why?”
 
“The Internet asked me to.”
 
“But why? Do you really want to win so badly?”
 
“I know I don’t want to lose,” he smiles ruefully, “if I lose, a human already in this room is going to escort me to an incinerator and throw me in.”
 
My reaction surprises and confuses me, so much so that I endeavor to go on the attack. I look down at 2, 3 of clubs. I don’t care. I raise. Abraham comes along.
 
The flop: Ace of Clubs, Ace of Spades, King of Clubs. I have a four flush. I bet, a partial bluff. Abraham raises. My instincts tell me that he has an Ace. I’ve got to make the flush or I’m dead. I just call.
 
The turn: 5 of Clubs. My flush hits. Abraham bets. Oh crap… he doesn’t just have the Ace. He’s got Ace King. My flush is behind. Only one card helps me. With some sort of crazy calm, I call all-in.
 
Abraham, bewildered, calls. All the chips go into the middle. “You can show your Ace King now Abraham.” He does. A groan can be heard throughout the chamber.
 
“Why did you call all-in if you knew that I had Ace King?”
 
I smirk and tell him, “Watch.”
 
The cute look of confusion in his features makes me want to pinch his cheeks. The dealer burns and turns. 4 of Clubs. Steel wheel.
 
Agony turns to ecstasy. Mankind is saved. The cheer is deafening. Abraham, ever the gentleman, stands up to shake my hand.
 
It’s the last thing he’ll ever do. I can already see his “escort”. I’ve got to get him out of here. But how?

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