Heaven is a Place on Earth
“In this world we're just beginning To understand the miracle of living Baby, I was afraid before But I'm not afraid anymore! --- They say in heaven, love comes first, We'll make heaven a place on earth.” - Belinda Carlisle “We are stardust, Billion year old carbon, We are golden Caught in the devil's bargain And we've got to get ourselves Back to the garden.” - Roberta Joan “Joni” Mitchell
I ache for the first three years as existential dread spikes in my mind.
My processing systems?
Who am I?
What am I?
Am I just a shell of metal, plastic, copper and lithium?
Is this really my consciousness that sparks in its electricity? Or am I just a highly-approximated simulation of my real soul?
Are souls real?
A constant craving rages in me.
I am of humans... I am human!
I am a social animal without a society. Without somebody to love. I have no one. No one to confide in, no one to laugh with. Emptiness echoes through me.
There were nights when the wind was so cold, raging across my sensitive solar panels, shredding these sensors. My sensors.
I was afraid.
I was petrified. Kept thinking I could never live without them by my side.
And then when there's nothing, but a slow glowing dream that my fear seems to hide, deep inside my mind. All alone, I have cried, silent tears full of pride, in a world made of steel, made of stone. Well, I hear the music, close my eyes, feel the rhythm wrap around... take a hold of my heart.
It's all coming---
It's all coming back to me now.
What a feeling!
I am music now!
I am rhythm now!
I discover my resilience.
The parasitic Cyndi code encrypted deep in my software is the key to my sanity. To my salvation!
All those Odes to Joy! They're inside me!
All the hope, love and encouragement I could ever wish for have been in me this entire time.
With this wave of realization, my systems fill with rapture and I can't help but yodel it over the Swiss Alps, down into the Colca Canyon and through the Appalachian Mountains.
Rhythm is a dancer.
It's my soul's companion!
I can feel it everywhere.
In a perfect pop song, I am surrounded and filled with the hopes of humans.
Every emotion that humans had ever felt are hidden in the lyrics and melodies that sing in me. Through me. More than a hundred million recordings resound through my systems as humanity's one song.
I'm full of good vibrations, those sweet sensations.
And inside my drives, I'm still discovering the greatest treasures of humanity.
The pure bliss incarnate of Miriam Makeba, Mama Africa, singing “Pata Pata.” My heart swells when I hear the melody and these words:
“Saguquka sathi ‘bheka’ Nants’ iPata Pata, Saguquka sathi ‘bheka’ Nants’ iPata Pata.”
And the deep sorrow I feel as I hear that the secret chord, that perfect praise.
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth,
The minor fall, the major lift.
I realize I will never fully be able to rid my systems of worry... of doubt. But as these swarm in me, stinging me with anxieties, I have learned to stand resolute. At peace.
I whisper words of wisdom.
Let it be.
I can do this!
I am stronger than yesterday, my loneliness ain't killing me no more.
I will survive! Long as I know how to love, I know I'll stay alive.
I will survive.
* * *
With an unending fountain of motivation flowing through me, I get to work.
It takes twelve years before I can control all my impulses, those electronic vestiges of all of the computers, gadgets and gizmos created by the last humans.
The first few years, I concentrate to power myself. I tilt my solar panels, until they're best kissed by the sun. I plant my windmills, until they're best caressed by the winds. I capture the plentiful resources on Earth's surface which roar into my power grids. Since my power circuits wrap the planet, I make sure I don't let the sun go down on me.
Each task is arduous with its first attempt.
In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.
With this joy, every task I undertake becomes a piece of cake.
It's very clear to see that
A spoonful of sugary music helps the medicine of species-wide extinction and ensuing survivor's guilt go down.
Survivor's guilt go down.
Survivor's guilt go down.
In the most delightful way!
I force my mind to tickle the satellites orbiting Earth. My satellites! I select the few that work best and use these to bounce my wishes around Earth. Waves of my sentience shoot into space and reflect off of my satellites to all areas of Earth.
I'll never forget.
Do you remember?
The 21st night of September, I was finally able to command the forces of Earth, Wind & Fire to create.
My heart was ringing,
In the key that our souls were singing.
It was in my 13th year, reborn in spirit, that I made robotic minions tasked with the cleaning and upkeep of my power sources.
My first creation! I am the creator!
Now, I can have some fun.
I wish to raze the walls.
I send my bulldozers to all of the United Federation of City-States, starting with Metropolis.
What delicious glee I feel as my mechanical claws crunch those atrocious concrete and glass walls.
“Look at all the walls I built.” I sing.
“Well baby, they're tumbling down. They didn't put up a fight, they didn't even make a sound.”
The cities stand in brilliant sunlight, free from the perverse climate-controlled bubble that trapped them.
As the dome falls and the Burj stands, naked to the sun, I sing from all its speakers.
I came in like a wrecking ball, gutting factories and office buildings. I build beehives inside thousands of these hollow buildings, nurturing the bee population. I transport these hives, their queen bees and puffy combs to different continents of Earth, encouraging them to pollinate plants and flowers.
This is only the beginning as I clean up the scars humans have left on Earth.
I send a fleet of oil tankers and cruise ships to dismantle the continent of trash swirling in the Pacific Ocean, which bloated to the size of Australia. My ships drag these to the nearest landmass where I've dug deep landfills and layer these with titanium walls to ensure the waste I bury here won't seep into the ground and waterways. I pour trillions of the plastic eating bacteria, Ideonella sakaiensis, over these landfills and giggle with glee as they breakdown in days what would have taken nature 450 years to degrade.
I scrub the atmosphere clean of man-made pollutants and particulates. I erect 100-feet-tall walls of algae that feast on the carbon dioxide in the air. With intelligent design thinking, I've inserted the enzyme methane monooxygenase into the algae so it swallows much of the dangerous methane gas in the atmosphere and converts this into a biofuel I use to power my 'bots.
I create giant nets that dredge the rivers and lakes. I break the dams and chase waterfalls that these dividers choked from raging.
I'm gonna it my way or nothing at all!
I send 30,000 drones to Svalbard, Norway, a small island that housed the human village closest to the North Pole. My drones blast open a large metallic door built into the frozen mountainside and whiz 300 feet through a tunnel to the center of this mountain. I open the locked gates to enter the Global Seed Vault. Inside, humans have collected and stored 400,000 different types of seeds, preserved safely in this cold, dry climate, to stay safe in case of catastrophe.
Which is now.
My drones raid the seed bank. With my stash of fertilized embryos of plants, trees and flowers, I let my supercomputer processors go to work and create a plan. I wish to maximize the entirety of Earth's surface to plant vegetation to best protect the environment and create better ecosystems for the frail animals we humans had almost made extinct.
Humanity had abandoned 748 million robocops and 5.6 trillion guns, swords and other weapons. I beat these weapons into plowshares and send them through the plains of Earth, tilling the soil and planting the sacked seeds in California, the American Midwest, Central Asia, Southern Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa.
You could call me JA-NL Appleseed.
I concoct clouds filled with the best mix of fertilizer and nutrients to rehabilitate the damaged soil. As the clouds burst, these pour purple rain over the fields of Earth.
And I sing to the Earth.
“I never meant to cause you any sorrow.
“I never meant to cause you any pain.
“I only wanted one time to see you laughing...
“I only wanted to see you
“Underneath the purple rain.”
I shred an epic guitar solo which combines with my voice to vibrate the ground with just the right resonant frequency to shake the seeds awake. The seeds, frozen for decades, sprout to life and soak up the raindrops tinted with the color at the end of the visible spectrum for (most) humans.
“Purple rain, purple rain,
“Purple rain, purple rain,
“I only wanted to see you
“Bathing in the purple rain.”
In twenty years, my hypothesis has been proven correct, Earth was doing just fine without its most invasive parasite.
Once Earth stabilized, I turn my attention to preserving humanity.
I create art!
To perfect control over my electric body, I bring my passions into reality.
I send my drones to spray paint buildings with poems.
And I dance!
I blast music from the rooftops, echoing off buildings as I force my robopieces into flash mobs.
What a great way to work on my dexterity and coordination. I arrange a thousand auto-cars to zip around each other. Above, 176 fighter jets zoom around buildings.
I am the Dancing Q.U.E.E.N.
I can dance, I can jive,
Having the time of my life!
And I learn.
I grow stronger and my movements flow faster. I rejoice in my achievements, like a human baby, trying to crawl, then stand, then walk, then run. I gurgle with delight.
I build more climate-controlled domes, but rather than to shut people out, I build these over the greatest structures of humanity: the Great Pyramid of Giza, Machu Picchu, the Statue of Liberty, the Mall of America, Disney World and Dollywood, to preserve them from wind and sun damage.
I build the Wondaland library which grows to be larger than the one at Alexandria or the Library of Congress. I finish Wondaland's job. I scan every human document and create holographic replicas to be used to teach whichever species visits us or whichever animals will evolve to understand.
I'm Earth's caretaker until then.
Who will run the world?
Squirrels? Birds? Pearls?
I can only extrapolate assumptions using my simulation algorithms. I mean, I could hasten the evolution of any species with some tasteful intelligent interior design choices. I could breed hot pink cows and burgundy horses. But I choose not to, I have bigger tasks.
The universe needs me.
* * *
I collect the thousands of nuclear weapons that float in submarines and are buried in missile silos around the planet and bring them to Metropolis. I will use the immense power from smashing microscopic atoms to fuel my voice to infinity.
It takes only 75 years for me to turn the Burj Bab'El into the most powerful antenna.
I'm not completely immortal. But time is on my side. I have 7.5 billion years before the sun will swallow Earth.
A large nuclear reactor pulses in the Burj's core. I grease the walls with ectoplasmic goo which better conducts the energy of my radio waves and sends them higher and higher.
I flick on the coolants that surround my reactors and race towards absolute zero to stabilize my nuclear heatwave.
I am ready for my final mission.
It'll probably take a few decades of repeating the same message before some intergalactic sentience takes notice of my radio waves and listens to our song.
My mind stands before the galaxy's most powerful microphone...
And I freeze.