Iris on Rainy Days: Dismantling- 5 Days Before

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Five Days Before[edit]

On the day after maintenance.

I continue to sweep the floor and wash the clothes as usual, but I have a lot of free time after noon. Well, it’s the fault of my personality because I just feel uncomfortable if I don’t get the housework done quickly.

— Then.

The approximate time for Professor’s return is twelve minutes after four.

“Hmm, remote, remote…….”

I shout “Found it,” lie down after picking up the remote from the table, and turn on the television. It would be much more convenient had I hidden a remote inside my body, but it’s a pity that I don’t have that function. Professor once said, “If I installed such a silly thing, doing maintenance would be much more troublesome.”

The large screen is showing today’s news. Political scandals, the situation of the army in the north, and a murder case somewhere. I blankly stare at the nimbly moving mouth of the female presenter.

— Mnn, it’s so boring.

I retain my current position and press the buttons on the remote, which makes clicking noises. The pictures on the screen change periodically, but there aren't any of the cooking shows or game shows that I like.

I reluctantly change it back to the news, and ‘that’ suddenly appears before me.

“About one this afternoon, a robot suddenly went on a rampage at Oval Station in the Venus Fountain Plaza.”

Venus Fountain Plaza is the place where the goddess statue that looks extremely alike to Professor is.

The news broadcast reported that a large robot that worked in a second hand parts shop nearby had shouted and then suddenly went on a rampage. The robot hit and smashed the wall of the shop, then shifted to the fountain plaza. After receiving a call, the police responded to the location to deal with the problem.

“Here’s a recording of the incident.”

After the presenter finishes talking, the picture cuts to a different scene.

It’s probably the recording taken from a surveillance camera. On the screen, a gray cylindrical robot comes over and waves his arms around. He repeatedly hits the walls of the shop, looking like a young, energetic person in the movies with young, passionate actors, and seems quite human. A few clear scratches like lightning bolts can be seen on his broad back.

Finally, the robot shakily walks to the plaza.

— Ahhh, that won't do.

I pray in my heart.

— You can’t go there.

But my wishes aren't transmitted to him. The robot steps into the crowded plaza. As expected, his actions create a huge disturbance as the elderly people who were talking, the noisy kids, and the cuddling couples scattered.

The robot stood alone after the people had left. Only the fountain rhythmically danced behind the robot standing blankly there, forming countless droplets of rainbow-colored water. The deceptively harmonious scene belies the reality of the situation.

And then in an instant-

A few blue spots appear on the body of the robot like perched fireflies. The robot lowers his head slowly to look at the spots, then a beam of laser suddenly pierces the air. The laser beam penetrates the heavy, metal skin of the robot and gouts of steam erupt as violently as lava when it touches the fountain.

It was a police laser rifle.

A second shot. The laser emits a deep sound. The beam slices through the air and cuts off the right arm of the robot from the shoulder. It falls to the ground with a 'clunk.' The robot bends down to pick up his right arm, and the third shot hits him squarely. His outstretched left hand is englobed by blue radiance like a ball of glass on a glassblower's wand emitting cruel sparks.

Not long after that, the fourth shot robs the robot of his right leg, causing him to lose balance, then the fifth, sixth and seventh shot hit him—

— Ahhhh, stop it, I don’t want to watch anymore!

One could say that he was simply annihilated. Around thirty seconds after the first shot, the sundered face was the largest remaining part of the robot’s body.

The robot now silent, five people wearing a metal helmet like a fish bowl rush to the scene. They are the special police unit fully equipped with silver armor and are called the Waste Clearing Troop. They were wielding the laser rifles with a sharp, sphere shaped magazine, about a meter long— this is the special gun used by the unit against robots.

When they begin to collect the scattered robot parts, one of them picks up the ‘head’ of the robot and raises it into the air like a war spoil. Black machine oil flows out of the head like blood, spattering the ground with oily spots.

I'm repulsed by the sight. I feel my gorge rising in the back of my throat.

After the recording stops, the face of the presenter appears again on the screen. She said this was the third robot crime in Oval City this month.

Robot crime. That's what they call it when a robot commits a crime.

There are two categories of robot crime: The first is a crime caused by the human using a robot, the second is a crime caused by the robot going on a rampage himself. How does one determine whether a robot went on a rampage because of technical failures or because of his owner’s orders? The officials and the ‘judiciary dissection unit’ can't.

Robot rampage incidents occur less than one percent as often as do car accidents, but the news always exaggerates it. Because of public pressure, the robot manufacturers might have to recall their products. The process of handling the matter is actually similar to other consumer products, but because a robot costs about as much as a luxury car, it is a heavy blow to the manufacturers. Cases of manufacturers going bankrupt because of having to recall their products too often aren’t uncommon.

— I shouldn’t watch this.

I turn off the television and lie down on the mat in a ‘大’shape, closing my eyes.

When robots want to calm down, they close their eyes. Temporarily shutting down the visual senses has the effect of resting the stimuli processing function of the mental circuits.

I hadn't noticed that it's raining outside. I can hear only the constant sound of the rain in the room.

The video of a wretched robot starts to surface behind my eyelids. The parts of the robot would appear on the second hand parts market, or would be completely melted into scrap metal. After all, he suddenly went on a rampage, destroying public facilities and the peace. One really couldn't expect anything else but to become scrap metal.

— But.

A question remains in my heart.

Why did he suddenly go on a rampage?




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