Mr. Anderson asked, “My dear, where is Jimmy?”
”On the ringing hill outside,” Mrs. Anderson replied, “He’s okay, Robert is with him—has it arrived ?” ” Here
. Passing by the rocket station. Those annoying checks. In fact, I can’t wait to see it myself. Since I left the earth fifteen years ago, I haven’t seen one if I didn’t count movies or TV.
” Jimmy has never seen it.” Mrs. Anderson seemed a little regretful.
”Because he was born on the moon and couldn’t go to the earth to see, so I brought one. I think this may be the first one on the moon.”
”It’s expensive.” Mrs. Anderson said. , With a smile on his face.
”It’s not cheap to repair Robert.”
As his mother said, Jimmy was on the ring mountain outside. From the point of view of the earth, he is a little weak, but for a ten-year-old child, he is rather tall. He has long and flexible arms and legs. He looks heavy and squat in a space suit, but he can still adapt to the lunar gravity better than any other human being. When Jimmy stretched his legs and moved forward like a kangaroo, his father couldn’t keep up with him. The slope outside the ring mountain slopes to the south, and the earth hanging low in the sky in the south (it is always in that position from the moon city) has almost become a complete circle, so the slope of the ring mountain is reflected. The face is bright.
The slope is very gentle, and even the weight of the space suit cannot prevent Jimmy from jumping forward, floating in the air as if the moon’s gravity does not exist.
”Come here, Robert!” he shouted.
Robert heard his shout over the radio, screamed and jumped over. Experts like Jimmy can’t run Robert. This guy doesn’t need a space suit, he has four legs, and he’s covered in steel. Robert leaped over Jimmy’s head, turned a somersault, and landed just at his feet.
”Don’t show up, Robert,” Jimmy said, “follow me.”
Robert made a scream again, this special scream means “yes”!
”I don’t believe you, you liar!” Jimmy yelled, and then he jumped one last time, drawing a curve over the top of the ring and falling on the slope inside. The earth sank outside the top of the circular mountain, and his surroundings were immediately surrounded by heavy darkness. A warm and friendly darkness erased the difference between the ground and the sky, except for the twinkling stars.
In fact, Jimmy shouldn’t have played alone in the dark interior of the Ring Mountain. The adults said it was dangerous, but it was only because they had never been there. The ground was flat and it creaked when stepped on it, and Jimmy knew the exact location of each of the few rocks.
In addition, when Robert is bouncing around him, screaming and flashing, what danger might he have in running in the dark? Even without its flash, Robert can know where it is and where Jimmy is through radar. How could Jimmy go the wrong way when Robert is around? When he gets too close to a rock, Robert will gently touch his leg; Robert will jump into his arms to show how much he likes him; when Jimmy hides behind the rock, Robert turns in a circle, Shouted in horror; and in fact at the same time, Robert always knew exactly where he was. Once he was lying down and pretending to be injured, Robert issued a radio alert, and people in Lunar City hurried over. Afterwards, his father broke through his little trick, and he never tried it again.
While Jimmy was thinking about these things, his father’s voice came from his personal band: “Jimmy, come back, I have something to tell you.” Jimmy now took off the space suit and took a shower. You always have to take a shower when you come in from outside, even Robert has to take a shower, he likes it very much. It stood there on all fours, its small one-foot-long body vibrated slightly and shimmered. Its small head had no mouth, only two large glass eyes, and a small protrusion— There is its brain. It kept screaming until Mr. Anderson said: “Be quiet, Robert.”
Mr. Anderson smiled: “Jimmy, we brought you a gift. It is now at Rocket Station, after all inspections are completed tomorrow. We can see it. I think I should tell you now.”
”On earth? Dad.”
”Child, it’s a dog on earth, a real dog, a little Scottish dog, the first dog on the moon. You never need Robert again. You know , We can’t keep them all, the other kids will take Robert away.” He seemed to want to wait for Jimmy to say something, but then went on, “Jimmy, you know what a dog is, it’s alive, and Robert is just a mechanical imitation, a robotic dog, which is why it is named.”
Jimmy frowned, “Robert is not an imitation, it is my dog.”
”Not a real dog, Jimmy. Robert is just A pile of steel and coils plus a simple positron brain. It’s not alive.”
”It can do everything I make it do, Dad. It can understand me, and it must be alive.
” No, son. Robert is just a machine, programmed to do it, and a dog is alive. When you have a dog, you will never want Robert again.”
”Dog needs space Service, isn’t it?”
”Yes, of course. But it’s worth it, it will be used. It is not needed when it is in the city, and you will see the difference when it comes.”
Jimmy looked at Robert, and it screamed again, in a very low and slow voice, as if panicked. Jimmy stretched out his arm and Robert jumped into his arm. Jimmy said, “What is the difference between Robert and that dog?”
”It’s hard to explain,” Mr. Anderson said, “but it’s easy to see. Dogs will really love you, and Robert is pretended to be him. I like the way you look.”
”But, Dad, we don’t know what the dog’s heart is like, or how it feels, maybe it’s pretended to be.”
Mr. Anderson frowned: “Jimmy, when you experience When it comes to the love of living things, you will know the difference.”
Jimmy hugged Robert tightly, and he frowned. His desperate expression showed that he would not change his mind. He said: “But what’s the difference in what they pretend? Have you ever thought about how I feel? I like Robert, that’s true.”
And that has never been so tightly held in his life. The little robot dog yelled hurriedly and sharply—he yelled happily.
Excerpt from “Asimov: The Complete Works of Robot Short Stories”
Mr. Anderson asked, “My dear, where is Jimmy?”