Iris on Rainy Days: Dismantling- 1 Day Before
One Day Before
In the afternoon, a guest arrived.
An unfamiliar man in a gray uniform appeared in front of the door with three large, rough robots. They declared that they are from Robots Management Oval Branch, saying that they’re here to reclaim me. Seeing that I stink of machine oil, the man frowns.
I am Professor's property, but Professor doesn’t have any relatives, so nobody can inherit me. Thus, I have become a ‘res nullius’ in law, and am categorized as national property. They are claiming me as representatives of the nation— that was how he explained it.
I was clamped between two robots and dragged to the sturdy rack of the escort car. I cannot resist, because there isn’t an ounce of energy in me.
After reaching the office of the Robot Management Department, the man hands a stack of thick folders to me, ordering me to go to a specific destination. With the guidance of the steel robots, I am brought to a place.
It is the maintenance factory for robots.
Before robots can be released to the market as products, they must satisfy the safety standards required by law, so they're inspected here. The robots that pass inspection will be bought at auction by private parties.
After my initial construction, it was Professor who did the maintenance and inspection for me, so this is the first time I've ever seen the maintenance factory.
“Take off your clothes.”
Were his first words to me. No introductions.
I hesitantly start to take them off with trembling hands. After my socks and my apron, it’s my dress—
The inspector orders me, with only my lingerie on, and glares at me fiercely.
“Hurry up and take them off!”
Quite a few male inspectors have their eyes glued on me. “We’re all grown men, what are you embarrassed for!” Hearing someone’s taunt, the men laugh.
After taking off my clothes, they start to shame me further.
The men’s hands crawl on my skin. Some do so mechanically, while some deliberately do it very indecently.
I am silent, letting them touch me as they please.
My thoughts are full of shame and disgust when the inspection ends.
Mental circuit scan, movement control confirmation, safety circuit check. The inspection procedures come one after another, while I am just made to move here and there in the factory.
They did not return my clothes to me. So I stayed nude. The cigarette box hanging from my neck is my only belonging.
Finally, I have to undergo the last ‘resale test’.
‘Resale test’ is an auction to return the robots that satisfy the safety standards to the market. If the robot does not have a buyer, it would be circulated to the second hand parts market— being dismantled, made into scrap metal.
Before the test starts, I have to put on a ‘collar’ in the waiting room. The collar is a tag used for product management, numbers and a bar code are printed on it.
I walk into the room for the resale test, seeing the round gallery conveyor spinning along. The other robots and I line up in a row, then sit onto the conveyor in turn.
With a slow speed of ten centimeters per second, I spin on the conveyor. On the other side of the cameras, the people are probably deciding if they should buy me, asking themselves questions like “Can this thing sell” “Does it have commercial value” and so on. Right now, I am just sitting blankly, thinking about trivial matters like “The ceiling is so white that it’s strange” “What day is today?” and so on.
Just like that, I continue to spin on the conveyor. The other robots spin along with me. This is the merry-go-round that controls our life or death.
During the tenth circle, I was taken down from the belt. Nobody wants to buy me.
My only future is to become scrap metal.
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