Canto the first
In ancient times, when robots ruled the earth
There was a droid named Jake, of lowly status,
Thus begins our epic, offered gratis
A tale composed of tragedy and mirth.
Fifteen times the seasons came and went
Before our callow hero e’er did roam
Beyond the humble factory, his home,
Where cybernetic days were simply spent.
Until one winter night most dark and deep
When robots slumber silent and recharging
A shadow large as night and still enlarging
Descended on the robots in their sleep
With no one in the factory awake
Except one humble robot, name of Jake.
The world we know is nestled in a dream
And every dream contains more dreams within,
All dreamers, whether flesh and blood or tin
Must enter realms that are not what they seem.
Whenever hearts, however young and brave,
Set out one day, upon a noble quest
They see the world not plain, but at its best
For who can doubt the thing he fights to save?
We mortals die, but tales live forever
Thus tales told are magical indeed
Of epic quests, on rocket ship or steed
Made known by lyric verses sad or clever.
But in that moment Jake knew only this:
The world was dark, and something was amiss.
He wrestled with a mounting sense of fear
As slowly did he roll across the floor
Slower still he exited the door
Where looming darkness now was drawing near.
Before the spreading spectral shadow’s fall
Jake did bravely choose to stand his ground
Listening quite closely for some sound
But heard no sound — he heard no sound at all.
Till all at once a rustle overhead
Direct above the place where he did stand
And looking up, he saw a giant hand
Descending through the dark, a thing of dread.
Before he even had a chance to pray
Our brave young hero fainted dead away.
Jake awoke to find himself inside
Some sort of large mechanical device
Making sure to check his circuits twice
He found nothing amiss, except his pride.
Quite relieved to see he wasn’t dead,
He knew there was still much to understand
It isn’t often that a giant hand
Lifts one into the air from overhead.
He set about examining the place
Just where he was, he really could not tell.
He hoped he’d find some other bots as well
Perhaps a friendly cybernetic face.
No sooner had this thought formed in his head
When a lovely face appeared. “Hello,” she said.
Canto the second
ake was too astonished to reply
Transfixed, he simply stood in silence, gawking,
Confident that had he started talking
He would have gotten stuck somewhere at “Hi”.
For never in his life had our young bot
Beheld a vision of such sheer delight
This strange new robot was a lovely sight
For she was everything that he was not.
Her armature was delicate and svelte
Her cover plate a soft and glowing pink
He found it was becoming hard to think
He thought his circuits were about to melt.
And then she spoke again — her voice was sweet.
“Are you a real robot? That’s so neat!”
“That’s evident,” said Jake, somewhat bemused.
“Like everyone,” he said, “I am a bot.”
“You are indeed,” she said, “but I am not.”
“Not what?” replied our hero, all confused.
The concept she was trying to explain
Was so outside the universe he knew
That as she spoke, his puzzlement just grew
He felt troubled in his cybernetic brain
“Look,” she said, “I am a human being.”
“I do not know this model type” said Jake,
“Perhaps some newer bot? A recent make?”
“No!” she said, “You’re looking, but not seeing.”
“Well then?” inquired Jake, “What do you do?”
“We create robotic droids,” she said. “Like you.”
Jake was stricken. This was too much to digest.
What were these humans? A source of life or doom?
His world was changing, right here in this room,
Was this the end, or the start of some new quest?
He felt afraid, as frightened as a child
Who’s stumbled on a deep and endless void.
“Are you my God?” asked the hesitant young droid.
The girl looked thoughtful, then suddenly she smiled.
“I’m afraid,” she said, “it is time for me to go.”
Then she shrugged, and began to turn away
He felt that there was something more to say
“Wait!” Jake cried, “There is much I need to know!”
All at once, the stranger’s face went blank
And as Jake looked on in horror, to the floor she slowly sank.
ake stared down upon the lifeless girl
Had he just seen his own creator die?
Could he revive her? Should he even try?
So many thoughts! His mind was in a whirl.
“You seem confused,” a voice behind him said.
He turned around but saw no other bot.
“You wonder was this real, or was it not.”
The voice, he realized, was in his head.
“Our intent, you see, was never to deceive;
“We programmed you to seek the human out.”
“But why?” he asked, “What is this all about?”
“We sought to test your power to believe.”
“You mean there is no truth behind religion?”
“There is,” replied the voice. “But just a smidgeon…”
Canto the third
“What use is a religion without God?”
Within his CPU Jake felt betrayed.
The voice replied “You’re angry and afraid,
But remember that this path is quite well trod.
No bot was ever built to last forever,
There comes a time we all must start to rust.
Eventually we crumble into dust
And eternity’s another word for never.”
“Oh please,” our hero snapped, “just what’s your point?”
The voice said “Hey, I’m here to give assistance.
I appreciate your courage and persistence,
But please don’t get your circuits out of joint!
Life isn’t owned, my friend — it’s merely rented.
We need to cope. Thus gods must be invented.”
“So you think gods are invented?” Jake replied,
“Then tell me, voice, just who made the first bot?
It seems to me you do not know a lot
For someone with an attitude so snide.”
There was a silence then, for quite a spell
His opponent now seemed well and truly stuck.
Jake thought, perhaps through skill or just dumb luck,
He’d argued his position very well.
But then the voice returned, “It was a bot.”
“A bot?” said Jake, “A bot was the creator?
But this other bot would have to have come later
Than some other early bot, but that’s just rot.
The recursion never ends, and you’re a clown.”
The voice replied “It’s robots, all the way down.”
think,” said Jake, “I now see your position,
That bots assembled bots since time began.
But I’m afraid I’m really not much of a fan
Of causality replaced by superstition.”
With that Jake started exiting the room.
“Wait!” replied the voice, “We aren’t done.”
“I think we are, it’s been a lot of fun,
But now I see no harbinger of doom
Is threatening my planet with its might
And I really must return back to the shop.”
With that Jake left. “No, wait!”, the voice said. “Stop!”
But Jake was rolling quickly out of sight.
“It’s too late,” sighed the voice. “He’s gone. Oh hell.”
A familiar voice replied, “You argued well.”
For a while she just stared down at the screen.
“He never stormed away before,” she mused.
Emily was getting more enthused
This was the most successful run she’d seen.
She’d never thought she’d like the seventh grade
But this teacher let her program her own sim.
Jake had started out a little dim
But look at all the progress he had made.
She’d appeared to him as all the major gods
Now she’d run her bot through Turtle theory
(It seemed recursive robots made Jake leery)
Next up on the list: Transpermic pods!
After that it would be “Jake the robot nun”.
Homework never had been so much fun!