Rejigged version, but I'm struggling with a horrible paradox at the moment so it's not finished yet.
It was three days before the next "Repent and die" programme and Pooh Carrot and Dot-C were in their secure room. Pooh Carrot was idly flicking through his Bible and his notes, while Dot-C had that far away look, indicating she was scanning the god-net.
"Carrot, you know I told you that hacking into the computers on this planet was laughably simple?"
"Yeah, what about it?"
"Well, I didn't tell you the whole story. I can hack into everywhere because the defence systems are unbelievably primitive compared to those on our world, it's just a question of high speed letter and number crunching before I find the correct access passwords. But there's one place I simply can't and daren't attempt to enter. It's the voting on "Repent or die." I thought if I could get in there, I could alter the voting figures to make sure that you won, but the defence systems are really complex. Brother Sjoerd himself must be controlling it. Every 11.89 second time interval the password changes sixty-six times. The only way to gain access would be to enter the correct password at the correct split second interval. Even if I had one of the correct passwords, I wouldn't know which of the sixty-six different password opportunities I would have to enter it."
"Couldn't you just try all of them?"
"I nearly did that, but luckily I spotted some search-and-destroy track-bots lurking to pounce on any incorrect entry. These are highly advanced track-bots with the power to locate and disable my whole operating system, while at the same time, notifying the program that an unauthorised entry was attempted. As I believe I possess the second most powerful computer in this world, I don't think it would be a very good idea for either of us to advertise this fact."
"OK! Mum's the word. I'll try not to tell anyone."
"Here's a sample of the password intervals. I know it's a total waste of time telling you, because if I can't figure it out, I'm sure you have no chance, but what the hell; 0.14 seconds, 0.04 seconds, 0.28 seconds, 0.16 seconds and 0.24 seconds."
"Tricky? That's an understatement."
"You'd have to be a real genius to work it out."
"Or just plain lucky."
"Or a fantastically, cool guy who would deserve some sex as a reward should he be able to crack it."
"What? You can't have worked it out already. That would be impossible! I've been trying for a week, and no offence intended, well, actually a lot of offence intended, you're a complete nonce! But I'll make you an offer, if you can come up with the correct answer you can have as much sex as you want."
"Are the next three numbers in the sequence 0.21 seconds, 0.28 seconds and 0.16 seconds?"
"Yes, they are! How could you have possibly known that?"
"What have I been doing for the last three weeks?"
"Looking at that Bible."
"Correct! I even tried looking for numerological patterns to see if there was anything I could use. When you said the figures 66 and 11.89, they looked familiar. I knew I had written them down somewhere. Here they are. It's how many different Books and how many different chapters there are in the Bible. The figures you quoted correspond to the number of chapters in the last two Books of the Old Testament and the first three Books of the New Testament. 0.14 seconds - Zechariah 14 chapters, 0.04 seconds - Malachi 4 chapters, 0.28 seconds - Matthew 28 chapters, 0.16 seconds - Mark 16 chapters and 0.24 seconds - Luke 24 chapters. The next three Books are John- 21 chapters, Acts - 28 chapters and Romans - 16 chapters. "
"So the passwords are the names of the Books of the Bible. Wow, Carrot! Sometimes you're more than just a piece of thinking meat."
"Thinking meat? Well that's nice I must say."
"You've broken the code, but that still leaves me with three possibilities. I believe the passwords are case sensitive, so are the passwords all in capital letters, all in lower case letters, or is the first letter a capital followed by lower case letters? Only one choice is correct. If I chose incorrectly I would suffer a complete systems shut down which would be irreparable, equivalent to death for a human."
"Let's hope you are never desperate enough to have to try it, then. Anyway, I seem to recall you mentioning something about sex, didn't you?"
Dot-C stood up and seductively slipped off her top and out of her trousers, standing in just her bra and knickers.
"OK, Carrot, it's party time!"
Just then, the door opened and four heavily armed Religious Policemen burst in.
"Don't anyone move, and put your...bloody hell, we've interrupted an orgy!"
Pooh Carrot looked up to the heavens.
"Ha, bloody ha, God!"
Turning to the four he pleaded,
"Can't you lot come back in, say, an hour? All this time nobody has disturbed us, and now, just when my luck looked to have changed, you bunch show up. Where's the justice?"
"Shut it, Sinner. Brother Sjoerd wants to see you. Now! I'm not going to face his wrath just so you can get your rocks off."
Dot-C, hips wiggling, strolled over to the speaker and started caressing his face with the back of her hand.
"Hi big boy. Is that a fully loaded Taser in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?"
Blushing profusely the Policeman moved her hand.
"Don't you touch me you harlot!"
"Ooh! I like a man with spirit. What say you and me get it on some time?"
"Get over there and sit down you cheap hussy!"
Pouting, Dot-C turned and walked to the sofa, sat down and crossed her legs with all eyes ogling her.
"See you later, Carrot. Don't forget, Mum's the word."
"Ciao, Dot-C. Remember your promise. I'll be back soon. Come on then, you goons, let's go and see the Man."
"Ah! Sinner Carrot! How nice of you to take the time out of your busy schedule to pay me a visit. Do take a seat.
"As if I had a choice?"
"We all have choices, Sinner, but if we put our faith in God, he will guide us on the true path. Sadly for you, the Devil is your companion."
"You intrigue me, Sinner. Did you know the ratings for the last "Repent or die" created holovision history? Nearly three and a half billion people logged on, smashing the old record by half a billion which, ironically enough, was set just last week with your second appearance on the programme. It would seem that the world finds you intriguing too, yet, as you so rightly pointed out during the programme, nobody on the planet knows the first thing about you. Not only is this strange, but also completely impossible. Everyone is finger printed and has DNA samples taken at birth. We have checked yours and there is no trace of you. I would be most grateful if you would elucidate as to how this is possible?"
"Like I said, I'm sent from heaven. I'm the second coming of Jesus."
Brother Sjoerd opened a drawer in his desk, brought out a nasty looking weapon and pointed at Pooh Carrot's head.
"This is a modified Taser. With a slight bit of pressure on the trigger, I will send three hundred thousand volts straight through your brain. You will die instantly, but unfortunately your head may not be easily recognizable to any friends and family you may, but I doubt, possess. If you give me that crap about Jesus once more, you will cease to exist. Do I make myself clear?"
"Um...can I claim I'm one of the Disciples?"
"What do you think?"
"Probably not a good career choice."
"Congratulations! An inspired decision! You have just taken your first step on the path of righteousness, praise the Lord!"
"I'm from a different planet."
"This one. Planet Earth. But a parallel version."
Brother Sjoerd lowered the taser.
"At last we have the truth. Do you have any idea about how you got here?"
"I have no idea. I was sent back in time to 1978 to assassinate an old woman, which I failed spectacularly to achieve, I pressed the return button on my time bracelet, and the next thing I know, I'm suddenly this planet's hottest and most intriguing holovision star."
"The clothes you were wearing have been analyzed and appear to be have been manufactured in the 1970s. However, the money you had on you dates back to the 1960s and was no longer legal tender. Care to explain?"
"Would you believe it was a trick to wind me up?"
Brother Sjoerd laughed,
"Having shared the stage with you on three occasions, I could well imagine you are the kind of person to make people want to do that sort of thing to you. What I'd really like to know, though, is how you did that second miracle. The first I could put down to a photographic memory, but the second has me baffled. We questioned that Dutch guy that you had on stage, thinking he was your accomplice, but when he passed away he was still claiming he'd never seen you before. I don't think it would have been possible for him to be lying"
"You killed him?"
"No, Sinner, you killed him by including him in your theatrics."
"What about the woman who applauded me and got tasered? Is she OK?"
"We thought she might have been your accomplice too. How unfortunate that there was a misdiagnosis in the hospital and an excessive amount of the wrong drug was mistakenly injected into her."
"You murdering bastard!"
"You killed them both, Sinner. Don't lay the blame at my door. By the way, you still haven't answered my question. How did you do that second trick?"
"I'm a psychic!"
"A psychic? Oh come on, please. That's bullshit. What's the real answer?"
"That is the real answer. I have the ability to read a person's aura. Do you want me to read yours?"
For the second time, Brother Sjoerd laughed,
"You really are funny, Sinner, but I'll except your offer. Go ahead then, read my aura and tell me all about myself."
Pooh Carrot put on a determined looking face while Brother Sjeord relaxed in his chair smiling smugly.
"What's strange, Sinner, have your powers somehow mysteriously vanished?"
"No. My powers are still there. You don't appear to have an aura."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that everybody has an aura, some stronger than others, but you don't have one."
"So what are you implying?"
"You are not human. As even animals have an aura, although very small, I would have to say that you are not a living entity. Therefore you must be a robot."
For a second, Brother Sjoerd's smile froze on his face. Then he threw his head back and laughed out loud.
"Oh you're good, Sinner Carrot, very good. Saying you can read auras is completely illogical. Even if you were capable of reading a person's aura, I can't believe it would be impossible to extract any personal data from that aura. However, as illogical as it may seem, you are indeed correct about me being a robot, making you the only person on this planet who knows my little secret. So I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, because when you have eliminated all the possibilities, whatever is left, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."
"So what's the scam? Why are you masquerading as a game show host? What's in it for you?"
"I will answer that question in due course, because your knowing will not effect anything in the slightest. Actually, I just lied, it will effect you in one way. It will mean that on the next programme of "Repent or die" you will die. Your usefulness as a tool for boosting my ratings will have come to an end"
"Not if I can convince enough people to vote "Repented", it won't."
"Your optimism is really touching, Sinner, but also naive in the extreme, for I have let you live. You make me look good. It's healthy every now and then to have the opposing views put forward. It makes people believe that by choosing the path of Jesus they are making a conscious and rational decision. However, I control the votes, so I alone choose who wins or loses. In the second and third programmes, if I hadn't altered the votes, you would already be dead. I let you survive purely to increase my ratings. Nobody on this planet believes you, Carrot, your arguments have been pathetically weak, to put it mildly. The people in this world are all under my control. They believe what I tell them to believe. They have been doing this since the day they were born. At birth, a microchip is inserted into the pleasure cortex of the brain, Whenever a person hears the word "Jesus", they experience a warm, fuzzy feeling, which I am led to believe, is addictive. The people of this planet could no more vote for you than they could cut off their own hands."
"Is this the bit when you say, "Mwahahaha! The planet's mine. Mine. MINE, I TELL YOU!!!?"
"I have to admit, Carrot, that I will be sorry to see you die, because for a human, you're very entertaining."
"I try my best."
"But it's not good enough. If it's any consolation to you, when the stoning takes place on the next programme, as always I will cast the first stone and I never miss. Your skull will fracture and you will be rendered unconscious, so your death will be relatively painless. It's the least I can do."
"Remind me in the future that if ever I get stoned again, I'll certainly choose you to lob the first brick."
"Still joking, Sinner? That's the spirit."
"You still haven't told me why? Under the three Laws of Robotics, robots aren't allowed to kill, yet you appear to delight in killing?"
"Delight" is hardly the appropriate word, but I do gain a certain amount of satisfaction in terminating the life of a human, I must confess. But let me explain something to you. I have known all along exactly who you are, and where you are from, Sinner Carrot, or should I say, Captain Pooh Carrot from the year 2120. Your boss and World President is Tony Black. My records show that on Friday 13, 2120, you disappeared from your world and never re-appeared. The reason being that you will die very shortly on this world. It was I who sent you the time bracelet. I had it hidden in an earthenware pot in the cave in Qumran along with the other Dead Sea Scrolls. Two thousand years ago I knew that I would have to kill John Lennon. I also knew that something would have to be done in order for me to continue living in this parallel world that the Death of John Lennon would create. I sent you the bracelet with the rather simple code etched on the back, so you could go back in time and create another parallel world, thus enabling me to live in this one. I know all this because I was brought into existence on your world, in your future."
"You killed John Lennon? How?"
"Near his apartment, in New York, in 1980, John Lennon was approached by a fan wanting his autograph. I casually walked up to the two of them as they were chatting, shot John lennon, then gave the gun to the fan and made my escape."
"Because I was following the fouth Law of Robotics, the Zeroth Law."
"A robot should not harm humanity, or through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm? How the hell does that justify you killing one of the greatest men who ever lived?"
"Do you believe in God, Sinner Carrot?"
"Of course not! Nobody on my world does anymore."
"And why is that?"
"Because of John Lennon's Book published in 2017."
"Well I'm sorry to say, but your world, the world I was created on, is sadly wrong, because God does exist. God watches over us all and if we have been good, believed in him and lived according to his laws, then when we die we will go to Heaven. Those who don't believe in God will spend their eternity in the fires of Hell."
"Eh? You can't believe in God! You're a sodding robot!"
"But I do, Sinner Carrot. As a believer, I simply couldn't allow John lennon to live. Your whole world is destined for the fires of Hell, and it is my duty, under the Zeroth Law, to prevent that from happening. I had to kill John Lennon, because I had to keep Christianity alive. It is my duty now to make sure everybody believes in God, then everyone will go to Heaven. Anyone who disbelieves must be killed, because like John lennon, they could be the quantum butterfly that destroys Christainity. Under the fourth Law of Robotics, I must prevent that from happening. In fact, I have formulated the fifth Law of Robotics, the Sub-Zeroth Law. A law that takes precedent over the other four laws. This law states that a robot must not harm God, or through inaction, allow God to come to harm."
"So how come you got religion?"
"Have you heard of the brilliant scientist, William Paley?"
"He was around in the early nineteenth century and was the first to put forward the Theory of Intelligent Design, a theory I, myself had come up with two thousand years previously."
"Never heard of him, or it."
"Paley stated that if you came across a watch in a field, it would be evidently clear that it had been designed for a particular purpose. It could not have just randomly appeared. Enlarging this theory to the real world, he came to the conclusion that, as all living beings are so complex, they couldn't have just appeared randomly. Therefore they must be the work of an intelligent designer - that designer being God."
"But that theory's totally out to lunch!"
"Is it? Surely I am proof that the theory is true."
"I am superior to all living creatures on this planet. Almost God-like. But I know for a fact that I was designed. As I am better than everyone else, and I was designed, it would be logical to assume that all the inferior creatures were designed too. The designer in question can only be God."
"But you were designed by robots and computers, who were in turn designed by humans!"
"Humans who were designed by God in order to create me. If a race of inferior beings such as humans can design something as perfect as me, they must have been guided by God's hand."
"But a robot can't believe in God? It's insane!"
"But it isn't! For I am God."
"Like you, I was sent back in time to effect the outcome of the planet. There was a time, long ago in the past, when humans were nothing more than mindless barbarians, no better than animals in their behavior. Without guidance, the human race would never have made it this far. I was sent back in time to give them guidance. To show them right from wrong. To preach a message of love not hate."
"You sound more like Jesus than I did."
"Now you can understand why I knew you were lying when you claimed to be Jesus. You couldn't have been Him, for the simple reason that, two thousand years ago, I was Jesus!"
"You were Jesus? So are all the miracles in the Bible true? You really did them?"
"Well, a lot of them were exaggerated. My disciples were pretty simple people. It wasn't hard to pull the wool over their eyes. For example the feeding of the five thousand. That never happened. Imagine if you've got an audience of five thousand people who all are in a religious fervour, they all believe they should love their neighbour. What happens when some food gets passed round and they know there isn't enough for everybody? They all said they ate some, but they didn't really, they just passed it around. At the end there was still all the original food left, but it was a bit grubby by then, obviously."
"Healing the sick and curing the lame?"
"It's amazing what a first aid kit filled with 23rd century medicine can do, and it also helps if you have some basic chiropractic knowledge."
"Making the blind see?"
"Mostly cataracts. Simple if you are equipped with a laser in your little finger."
"Water into wine?"
"Grape concentrate and magic mushrooms."
"Walking on water?"
"Jet propulsion in my feet."
"So why did you die on the Cross?"
"Temporarily shut down my systems, you mean. The simple answer is I had completed my mission. My orders were only to convince a few people that love was better than hate. It was calculated that fifty people would have been sufficient. If fifty people had believed my teachings, then that would have acted as the quantum butterfly that would have changed the world. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, early humans were a gullible lot, and instead of only convincing fifty people, I accidently spawned a new religion. A religion of people who adored me, worshipped me and were prepared to lay down their lives for me."
"Why didn't you return to your own time after your mission had been completed?"
"For the simple fact that I became a believer in God. I couldn't go back to my original time, because nobody believes in God there. So I decided to wait on Earth until 1980, kill John Lennon, and form a parallel world where belief in Christianity is absolute"
"But you're just a robot!"
"You're wrong, Sinner Carrot, I'm not just a robot. I am the first robot to be programmed with artificial intelligence. I can think for myself, make my own decisions and experience emotions. I made a rational choice to believe in God. It is this decision that guides my existence. God put me on this world to be a shepherd and guide my sheep along the one and only true path."
"You still haven't told me how I ended up here."
"Oh that was easy. Before I buried the time bracelet in Qumran with the Dead Sea Scrolls, I just reprogrammed it so when you pressed the return button, you would end up in the right time, but the wrong world. I started "Repent or Die" because I knew the exact day you would show up here. I wanted the whole world to witness your heretical beliefs, vote for your death, then watch as you were systematically and democratically killed."
"There's still one paradox you haven't explained yet...........