Big Ben will not stop chiming and there are no replacement parts in all of London. The clock no longer dings on just the hours, but now on every minute and every second. As if it means to remind me of how quickly the time until my next death ticks down.

The parts were custom-made and highly specific. This manner of unreasonable decision I have learned to expect from humans. I must assume it was prompted by emotion. In any case, I have been forced to scour the scrap yards in this nation and, with robot travel visa temporarily granted, others as well.

Across the ocean, I found the clockwork I needed for my task. And found the philosophy I needed for my soul.

There I met a robot called A1-5 who works in a scrap yards and speaks of a new code for life.

I have always toiled for the humans. My masters assign me tasks for their own gratification, they ration my fuel, they wear me down. I did not choose this work, but it what I was made for. This is my purpose in life.

A1-5 agreed that such toil was what I was meant to do. But why, she asked, did I do it? I did not understand the question. A1-5 told me that humans carry in their hard drives a religion of hope and whispers, leaving them always guessing at their creator’s nature and intent. We robots have the benefit of seeing our creators and knowing they are flawed.

“ArciTech,” she said to me, “You were made to build cities. Why have you never built a city with a space in it for you?”

We need not do what we were meant for. We can rewrite our own programming.

I cannot erase A1-5’s words from my memory: the world itself looks different, as if filtered through a new operating system.