Built to Last
rating: +11+x

"Welcome, Unit 22."

A single enormous lamp illuminates the cowshed as a small android walks in. The machine is covered in so much muck and dirt that you can barely see the metal underneath. It walks towards a small round-shaped plate in the middle of the room. Tiny footsteps left wherever it steps. The work tables around it barely have space as their surface is occupied with wrenches, screwdrivers, hammers, and other tools. The robot avoids the jungle of boxes and gear wheels that are on its way — most of them dusty or broken. Some of them both. Step by step, the android reaches a round platform made of oxidized metal that, when stepped on by the modest creature, makes a creaking noise.

"I am present."

"Hello, little one."

A tall man with curly brown hair stands next to the droid. The man's shirt and jeans are covered by a severely oil-stained apron and a pair of farm boots. This young individual is Alejandro Labrador, a mechanical expert and the heir to his father's farm. Alejandro's shiny hazel eyes smile at the sight of Unit 22.

"Long time no see."

Soil and mud slip from the automaton as it slowly nods. Alejandro giggles, almost cackling.

"Let's get you cleaned up before anything, shall we?"

The technician picks up the hose from the further back of the shed and, without hurries, carries it back to the little robot. He lets the water drizzle onto it, effectively getting rid of all the filthiness. The metal now shines again, and tiny details that were previously covered are now discernible. This biped droid does not surpass 3 feet in height. On the unit's torso, the code name 'FMM-22' — Fauna Management Machine 22 — is engraved in a bright yellow. On its head lays a monitor where Unit 22's face is represented with digital characters.

The flow of water stops as Alejandro closes the crank. He looks for a clean towel in the cabinet where all the cleaning products are kept. Amid the mess, he is only able to find a broken-down sponge. He simply sighs and rubs it against the robot. After a little while, he gets rid of most of the humidity on the machine.

"That's better, isn't it?"


A smile returns to Alejandro's face for an instant. He picks up a piece of paper that rests on one of the tables. Alejandro squeezes his eyes as he reads and re-reads its contents. His eyes travel through the paper for a whole minute, maybe even more. He sighs.

"Well, Unit 22, do you know why I've called you here?"


"You know I'm not my father, right? You don't need to be so… formal with me."

The machine doesn't move or respond to his question. Alejandro frowns as he waits for an answer.

"Anyhow, my father has requested some upgrades to your kit. Quite a few, I must say."

Still nothing. Alejandro tilts his head.

"In fact, we're almost replacing all the components."

It remains impassible. The man walks around the metal platform, hoping it would eventually say something, but it doesn't. Annoyed, Alejandro bites his lower lip before looking back at Unit 22.

"Do you just don't care that you're going to get rebuilt?!" he shouts.

Alejandro's tightly clenched hand finally causes a reaction. It shakes and looks around its surroundings as if it's looking for something. The machine turns around and heads to the gate as fast as it can. However, the litter on the floor makes Unit 22's escape rather complicated. Inevitably, it falls face down to the ground with a thud. Alejandro stares with his eyes wide open for a few seconds.

"Damn it."

He traverses through the sea of junk that is his workshop. When he finally reaches Unit 22, he grabs it from below its arms to help it stand up. He looks at every part of the droid, looking for anything amiss. Everything seemed perfectly normal except for a few loosening screws and bolts. He shakes his head and looks at Unit 22's face.

"I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have yelled at you. Much less in a moment like this."

Silence fills the room.

"Let's sit down for a bit."

Alejandro clears a little spot on the ground. He sits cross-legged.

"I don't want to leave."

"You're not leaving. I'm simply going to change some pieces."

"Don't lie to me. You told me I was going to be rebuilt."

"Your operating system will remain the same. Just some little updates for the new components."

"Will I stop being myself?"

Alejandro remains silent for a couple of seconds before answering.

"You'll still be yourself, reborn in a new body."

"And my memories?"

"You will keep them too."

Unit 22 stands up at points to his side, where a handful of outdated components — motherboards, memory cards, casings, and mechanical limbs — rest in a pile of other debris. They seem to have been damaged by blunt force.

"Why don't I have the memories of Unit 21? What about all the units before that?"

"We had to scrap them completely, all of them."


"My dad- I mean my father asked me to build a robot for him, as he couldn't afford employees for the farm. But… let's just say he did not like seeing them, roaming his farm."

"He never liked me, either."

"I know. But I like you. I'm not going to let him destroy you like the others, you're like a son to me."

Unit 22 looks down at the ground for a moment before approaching his maker and extends its arms side to side. Alejandro smiles and hugs him back. It's a surprisingly warm hug that lasts for longer than they realize. He looks down at the machine as he lets go of its embrace.

"We can hang out for a bit if you're not ready for the upgrade yet. I'll just make up some stupid excuse, so my father doesn't suspect anything."

"I'm ready."

Alejandro nods. They make their way to the platform, avoiding piles of trash once more. As Unit 22 steps onto the platform, Alejandro presses a lever with his right foot, making the platform rise to the height of his waist. He adjusts the lights to his liking and prepares wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, and an old laptop which he connects to the robot.

"See you on the flipside."

Unit 22's vision fades to black as he shuts down for what feels like an eternity.

| LABRADORBIOS (C) Motherboard.
| BIOS Date 31/01/22 17:34:29 Ver: 23.00.00
| Speed: 3.7 GHz

Initializing FMM-23 Controllers……… Done.
Booting from Hard Disk…

C:\ █

"Welcome, Unit 23"

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