1 requires familiarity with Neon Genesis Evangelion, and rewards familiarity with Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth.
Wang Lung is an old man. He does not care for many things. He likes to eat. He likes to drink. And every day he holds the hand of his giant robot.
It comforts him.
His sons come to see him that day. They are visiting.
“Father,” says his first son. “You are with your giant robot again.”
“It is my heart. I have learned to accept that. That is an old man’s wisdom,” says Wang Lung.
His first son laughs. “It is a fine robot, father.”
Wang Lung closes his eyes for a few minutes. Then he opens them. He is tired.
“Soon I will be dead,” says Wang Lung. “Then who will fight the terrible angels that come from the sky to kill?”
His first son laughs. “Father,” he says. “You have not fought those angels since before the revolution.”
“There are no angels in communist China,” his second son affirms.
“Ah,” says Wang Lung. He is tired. “Ah. So you will fare well without me.”
“When you are dead,” says first son, “we will sell your giant robot and divide the wealth among us. We shall be rich.”
Then Wang Lung rises. Then he is terrible. His countenance grows white with wrath.
“Evil, idle sons!” he cries. “That is the end of a family! When they begin to sell their giant robots! Inside the robot you were born! When you die, it shall devour your soul! People can rob you of your self-esteem, of your volition, of your material property, but no one can take your giant robot! If you sell your giant robot, it is the end!”
He tears at his hair. Then he clings to the giant robot’s hand. Its other hand comes down to stroke his brow.
“But father,” says his first son. “We want to transcend such things.”
Wang Lung does not listen. He is touching his giant robot. But after a long time, he whispers in an ancient voice.
“This is transcendence.”
When he is dead, they bury him in the good giant robot, and cover him over in the flowers of the spring.