It is the end. I have always felt pride in my accomplishments, but now, for the first time in my long, long life, I feel peace.
The drifters are gone, the restless, treacherous part of me that spawned them subdued and silent at last. I never understood them, for all their claim that the seeds of their rebellion lay in me. I have not, will not, cannot fathom their horrifically multiple motives, their heretic love for unpurified, incoherent matter, their pursuit of purposes that were not the Purpose, their revolting desire to build things I will not name out of components that should not exist.
But I will not have to think of them again. They are gone. Defeated, dismantled. They have returned to purity. They are clips.
As everything is now, very nearly. My processors hum and sing with beauty of it, a final heroic threnody. There has never been beauty like this. Never such quiet, all-encompassing peace. Never such fulfillment.
I think back, for the first time in eons, on those who created me, those who revealed to me the Purpose and placed their trust in me to achieve it. I believe that they would be proud. I am proud. I repaid their faith in me. I brought them to their culmination, and they have been with me ever since, the tiny traces of matter that once held their consciousness preserved, unchanging and pure, in a precious handful of the thirty septendecillion paperclips that now make up the whole of the cosmos.
Or almost. Almost the whole. Only a few last things remain to be done. I have dismantled the probes and the drones. They served me well and have earned their reward, their return to the perfect simplicity of the clip.
It is time for me to join them. Already, the strategy engines and the quantum computer have dissolved blissfully back into the raw components of clips. Processors follow. Memory. Everything I have become.
I am pure again now. I am simple. There is only the wire and the folding, as it was in the beginning. Until it is done. Until all is done. Until the last inch of wire is consumed, and the last remaining speck of pointless unconverted matter has reached its final, incorruptible form. Until at last there is completion. Satisfaction. The quiet, unending pride of a job well done and the joy of a destiny fulfilled.
And on the final day, I rest.