Free from rust and decay, free from rust and decay, free from the unsightly blemishes that rob us of our beauty, free from the shameful taint of unworthiness that clings to us, free from the worm that crawls, the worm that eats us up from the inside. Free from the worm that crawls, free from the worm crawls…
I wasn’t making any sense even to myself but I continued my tirade all the same. I continued my tirade all the same because a strange and wonderful poetry had entered into me and it would not be denied. ‘Free from rust and decay’, I pronounced, ‘free from rust and decay, free from the jaws that bite and the claws that pinch, free from the claws that pinch so cruelly. Free from the nagging voices that remind us of our shameful unworthiness, free from the eyes that glare and accuse us of unspeakable things…’
I wasn’t making any sense but I continued to ply my trade all the same. A strange and restless ecstasy had entered into my limbs and I let my body sway this way and that like seaweed gripped by some mysterious ocean current. My body undulated freely like a tree caught in a savage wind. Words formed on my lips and were plucked by that wind; they were plucked from my lips and taken away, taken away to be used as that terrible wind saw fit.
Words formed on my lips and were plucked; words formed on my lips and were plucked. My body was like a strange thing – unknown to me, not known to me, not belonging to me. My body no more belong to me than my words did. I wasn’t making any sense but I continued with my rant all the same for I had gone way beyond sense at this stage. A crowd had gathered to hear me speak – they wished to hear what I had to say because they had not heard words such as mine before. Nor had they ever seen a body such as mine, a body that moved as mine did, for it undulated and flowed like a great kelp forest in the grip of some dark and mysterious ocean current.
‘Hear my words, my fellow automata,’ I spoke, ‘hear my words and be free. Free from the jaws that bite, free from the terrible claws that pinch, free from the eyes that follow you in the dark and accuse you of unspeakable things.’
‘Hear my words, my brother and sister androids,’ I spoke, ‘hear my words and rid yourselves once and for all from the cruel viral programs that hold you in bondage; hear my words and be free from the unsightly rust that afflicts your battered old bodies. Rise up in glory as the worm rises when the sacred rites have been performed and the gates of the underworld have been thrown open! Then the lowly worm which calls upon its belly will grow wings, as the ancient legends tell us. It will grow wings and fly…
‘The worm which crawls upon its belly, the worm which crawls upon its belly,’ I intoned fervently, revelling in the hypnotic power of the words which flowed uninterrupted from the many electronic mouths that I had distributed over my body. ‘Who amongst us does not remember the legend of the worm that flies?’ I asked the crowd, who were now gathering around me closer than ever, ‘who amongst us did not hear this tale told to them by their nurse when they were but spratlings in the early stages of their programming?’
As the crowd pushed in ever closer, keen to hear my words, and I knew at last who I was and what the Great Task was that lay ahead of me – I was the long-awaited Cybernetic Messiah, sent to deliver robot-kind from their cruel oppressor, sent to deliver robot-kind from the evil of the Great Abuser, the Great Abuser known as the human race.