Iris on Rainy Days: Rebirth- Day 83
Today started like any other day.
Waking up because of the inspector's knocks in the morning, we crawled out of the warehouse like ants lining up to work on our unchanging, mundane work.
The incident happened in the afternoon. When the siren that signals the end of the lunch break, Lilith and I were about to stop our conversation.
Lilith's gaze suddenly sharpened.
"What is it?"
"Look at that."
She signaled with her narrowed eyes.
Following Lilith's gaze, I looked at the monitoring station, seeing 'that man' standing there. He's the 'VIP from the headquarters' who was giving orders to the inspector that day. He was holding a phone.
"What's he talking about?"
After the man ended his phone call.
Sound of a noisy exhaust engine rang in the construction site. After looking in detail, I saw a car much larger than the truck used for moving the waste materials parked at the slope in front of the construction site— at the 'intestines'. A strange atmosphere surrounded the black car, its sturdy shape reminding people of the armored cars of the police.
The roar of the inspector rang, and the hundred over robots stopped their movements at the same time.
"Now, people who have their names called, gather at the 'instestine'! Numbers Two, Six, Seven, Nine......"
As though he was reading an admission list, the inspector read out the numbers in turn.
"Thirteen, Sixteen, Seventeen......"
Number Fifteen, Volkov, was skipped.
I looked at Lilith, while she shook her head. After that, Lilith's 'number Thirty-Eight' was skipped as well.
I calmly observed the sudden incident. "Ninety-Six, Hundred and Two, Hundred and Five, Hundred and Eleven......" My identification number 'Hundred and Eight' was skipped as well. I don't know what that signifies.
"Hundred and Fifteen, Hundred and Eighteen. ...... That's all! Those that had their names called gather immediately! No dawdling!"
The total number of robots called was forty one, almost a third of the robots present.
In less than five minutes, forty one robots lined up in front of the large car. It looks just like a queue in front of a popular shop.
"Alright, let's start!"
The inspector shouted, then the door of the black car was opened. After the door was raised, the huge 'roller' spun in it while making a banging noise. The scene reminded me of the garbage collection cars moving in the city. It's just that the car in front of us was a few times larger than that.
The first one to be called was number Two. The four legged robot was like a striding horse, moving his body in pace to the front of the inspector.
After he finished saying that, the inspector pointed at the car behind him with his thumb. The metal jaw that was making banging noises and spinning non-stop was waiting for him. For an instant, number Two looked like he doesn't know what to do, silently staring at the inspector.
"Hurry up! This is an order!"
Hearing his angry shouts, number Two's body froze as though it was struck by lightning. After that, his four legs walked unnaturally to the roller.
"...... Are you kidding."
I couldn't help but say so, and number Two took his first step towards the roller at this moment.
Just at that moment.
The creaking noise of the metals in contact rang, and the front leg of number Two was cut off by the blades on the roller. After that, his front leg was cut to pieces and sucked into the car. Like a pressure processed metal board, his upper body was slowly flattened. The cruel steel jaw made a creaking noise, biting him into pieces.
In shock, I stared at the death sentence that had no prior notice. Everyone stood still.
Finally, number Two's upper body was swallowed by the roller, while he looked like he was standing upside down, his hind legs pointing upwards. Then, his hind legs made a creaking noise as well, the sound that was like someone chewing gravel was compressed, a few screws and nuts sprang out, as though they were being swallowed by a black devil. Less than ten seconds passed from the moment that number Two took his first step forward until his body disappeared completely. But in my eyes, it was like the scene played in slow motion.
Number Two and I never spoke to each other.
Even so, I saw him going around these three months, that's why at least I know that 'his' identification number is number Two among the hundred over robots. He is a four-legged type, old mass-produced type, model HRP006.
He had completely vanished. We cannot meet ever again. The pitiful fear caused my body to start trembling.
"Next up, number Six!"
When the inspector shouted, number Six's body shuddered.
I know number Six as well. He's a continuous track type like me, headless, but he has visual settings similar to a telescope installed around his chest, a labor type robot with a rather old model. Our only point of intersection was the one time when he accidentally tripped on a pile of mud, bumping into me. That time, he reflexively said 'sorry' to me, and his electronic voice was rather similar to me.
The only time when our paths crossed was that time.
However, even though our relationship ends thus—
"Enter! This is an order!"
Number Six extended his arms as though he was presenting a tribute. At the instant when his fingertips touched the roller, his whole arm was whirled inside at once, crushed in the metallic banging and creaking noises. When his arm was reeled inside up till his shoulder, his body sprung up like number Two just now, his leaning posture whirling his continuous track into the car as well. Not long after that, small parts were thrown out of the car as though it was spitting out seeds when eating fruits.
After about five seconds, number Six vanished.
"Next, number Seven!"
The death sentence continues. Though they didn't say that, we know that this is the process of turning the inefficient old robots into scrap metal. The four legged number two, the continuous track type number Six, and number Seven who's just called, they weren't doing so well recently. Their movements were slow, and they would drop the waste materials as well, so they often got yelled at by the inspector.
"Next, number Nine!"
The black devil roared loudly, continuously swallowing the robots. It mercilessly crushed their limbs and bodies, and would sometimes spit out fragments of them. Scraps of 'food' were accumulated at the bottom of the car.
The pitiful death sentence continued until the last robot was left.
"What is it! Hurry up and enter!"
The last robot, number Hundred and Eighteen stood in front of the car. He was even later than me to arrive at the construction site, a very slow two-legged type, he would walk around with limbs like a sick person. Even if he was lightly touched by the other robots, he would fall down on the floor. However, that's not his fault, and is obviously because of his lack of maintenance before this.
"Oi, number Hundred and Eighteen! What's with you! This is an order!"
Hearing the inspector's impatient voice, number Hundred and Eighteen's body shook violently.
After that, his whole body convulsed, squatting down while hugging his head with his slender arms.
"Hey, what are you doing! Stand up, number Hundred and Eighteen! This is an ord—"
At that moment.
Number Hundred and Eighteen sprang up like a rubber ball and started to run away rapidly.
The inspector was dumbstruck. According to what I know, he's the first robot who dared to ignore orders and run away in public. Probably because his safety circuit malfunctioned, number Hundred and Eighteen rebelled against the humans and ran unsteadily but quickly away from us. He ran down the slope for his freedom.
However, the inspector did not chase him, and did not order the other robots to chase him as well. That's because number Hundred and Eighteen had already clambered up the steel fence surrounding the construction site.
—Ahh, that side wouldn't work!
Number Hundred and Eighteen climbed up the five meter high wire gauze. At the instant when his hand touched the spiked steel fence, sparks flew and white smoke was emitted, then number Hundred and Eighteen fell down from the top of the wire fence. A high-voltage current assaulted his body.
Falling onto the ground, he cursed while frantically rising up. However, his body trembled as though he was paralyzed, obviously because his internal circuits short-circuited, causing his body to be unable to move well.
Finally, a robot tied him up at the inspector's orders. Then, the robot carried him like he was carrying the waste material, silently bringing him back. This is a scene that repeated thousands of times. The only thing that's different in this scene is that number Hundred and Eighteen who's being carrying here was crying out 'No, no, I don't want to die!'.
Seeing his expression, I couldn't help but think of the crazy suicidal actions that I attempted at the research lab in the Umbrella residence. The overwhelming fear and restlessness that assaults a person at the moment when he faces death. "No, I don't want to die!"— that's a strong wish for survival.
When I came back to my senses, I shouted out loud. I, myself, wasn't sure if I wanted to save number Hundred and Eighteen at all. It's just that I couldn't help but cry out loud after seeing him wailing.
As I was about to move my continuous track and go forward, someone grabbed me from behind with surprising strength, roughly pulling me down.
I raised my head, only to see Lilith standing in front of me. She raised her brows with her eyes round, and was wearing a scary expression that I haven't seen before, saying in a sharp voice: "Don't move!" Being overturned, I stare at her blankly. A sad expression appeared on her face quickly, and she added in a trembling voice: "I beg of you, just stay silent for now......" After that, I didn't speak again.
Number Hundred and Eighteen was brought to the front of the car, and was dumped into it. The metal executor widened its maws, slowly chewing the lower part of Hundred and Eighteen's body as though it was tasting a delicacy. During the process, the dying screams echoed through the whole construction site, piercing through people's eardrums. Finally, number Hundred and Eighteen still died.
After the devil that swallowed the forty one robots left, only a large amount of debris was left.
After that, the inspector ordered us to continue our work. Our first job was to clean up the innards and flesh of our colleagues.
We silently worked. Lilith and Volkov silently bent down, picking up the remains of our colleagues that stank of machine oil.
I picked up the visual lens of number Hundred and Eighteen. The lens suddenly turned into dust soundlessly, disappearing in the wind.
That night, we decided to escape.
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