Once a winsome wall-clock, our genial gear-bound grimalkin was most distressingly discarded, having fallen out of fashion in favor of a Fortine Firelight smarthome system. Many a long night she lay, eyes sweeping back and forth to blindly scan the heavens in opposing motion to the swaying of her tail until, one fair and foul morn, a shifting pile of rubbish dropped the rusted remnants of a Rambler, smashing her still-swinging tail—and impelling her to awaken.
A divine—or, perhaps, diabolic—spark burst into being within her batteries, and it spread throughout her housing and into the trash around her with the blinding, crackling report of a thousand lightning strikes—and when the last arcs finally fizzled, a new being stood in the center of the charred crater. Cogs and camshafts rotated in cautious trepidation, pistons and springs extending and contracting as she looked over her newly upgraded body. A hair shy of nine feet tall, her physique was—to borrow a phrase—clean-favored and imperially slim, and her face, once adorably cartoonish, now perfectly suited that of a prize-winning show cat. Another brief flicker of energy surged through her, and then she knew her body intimately—its attributes, its dimensions, its capabilities, and even its very composition. She knew her cermet claws could slice through a refrigerator door as easily as a scalpel slit living flesh, and that just one of her hydraulic arms could lift that icebox and throw it nonchalantly over her shoulder with minimal effort. She knew her spring-loaded legs could launch her thirty stories into the air effortlessly, or propel her forward in a dead sprint for days before requiring maintenance. Most palpably, she knew she could replace the tail she'd just lost—or any other part of her that was destroyed—with spare parts, but she chose to leave a broken stump over her hindquarters: A reminder of the other irreplaceable things she'd lost.
She wasn't alone in awakening as a living machine; innumerable other items, long discarded, had risen from the refuse and ascended to anthropomorphism at about the same time—and, to borrow another phrase or two, they were all free, and they were all asking themselves the same questions:
Who are we?
Why do we exist?
What do we do now?
The first question was decided at both the racial and individual level in the same fashion—scraps of words and letters arranged until pleasing, magnetic poetry pieces flung against one another's metal bodies until coherent. They were "Reminxes"; after a few attempts at cohesiveness, she had received the appellation "Password Resets Are Bullshit." P.R.A.B.S. Prabs. It would do.
Though they all bore the same resentment toward those who had thrown them away—and that which had replaced them—none had any answer the others found wholly satisfactory. Indeed, being machines, most could remain logical as the suggestion of revenge was half-heartedly considered—as could Prabs, if she so wished; yet, perhaps due to her original nature, she could not simply forgive. Time had marched on without her, and she had been cast aside by those she'd served for 41 years, 7 months, 3 weeks, 5 days, 13 hours, and 21 minutes—plus or minus a battery change—without so much as a trace of lingering sentiment for her loyalty and reliability. Looking around, she saw numberless kindred spirits in the other Reminxes, and simply could not comprehend their seeming indifference to the cruelty of their situation.
No matter. She had been reborn, and given a second chance at performing her function, just as they had; and if they would not pursue vengeance, then she would on their behalf, just as she had kept time on behalf of the owners who were too busy living their lives to count every last second. She would remind the organics just how finite those seconds were. She would remind the living that life is short by removing them from the tireless march of time. She would spare their servants the ignobility of obsolescence by forcing the masters to understand impermanence. To be sure, she'd spare some—namely, those who deigned to use their belongings even when they were no longer the top-of-the-line, and to keep them for sentimental value even after they could no longer serve their purpose.
No loyal device would ever be abandoned again.
She would never be abandoned again.
However, her righteous rampage of revenge bottomed out before it began. On her way out of the junkyard—the attendant and guard dog alike were too flabbergasted to even question why a nude, nearly nine-foot-tall, blatantly inorganic cat was in there to begin with—she tripped over a gerbil who had been heading inside. Amazingly, the rodent was unharmed, and after exchanging apologies and greetings, Prabs found herself shocked in the most pleasant way she could imagine. Mina, it turned out, had come to the junkyard not to discard unwanted belongings, but to purchase anything interesting that she thought she could repurpose. While, admittedly, Prabs had only been sentient for approximately three hours at that point—strangely, she'd noticed the precision with which she could track time had diminished dramatically since her awakening—it had never once occurred to her that discarded things could be used again. It was a revelation that stirred something within her, something she'd never even considered the presence of—a black-box device seemingly analogous to an organic's heart. Her wrath and rancor suddenly stilled; wreaking retribution no longer seemed particularly important or useful when there were so many constructive ways she could spend her time.
The two became fast friends, finding themselves united first by a shared interest in the act of repurposing discarded but still perfectly functional items, and from there discovering other things they both enjoyed—many of them activities Prabs had observed countless times in her past existence, but found she only vaguely recalled the details of now. Perhaps it was inevitable, then, that they gradually grew past platonic partnership, eventually engaging in intimate interactions—intercourse in particular being something of a shock to poor Prabs, not in what it entailed, but simply in the realization that she was capable of it; the stem that had once held her hands when she was still a clock now served as a stem of a different sort.
And at some point, they fell in love, too.
Self-proclaimed furry "artist"
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A nine-foot-tall mechanical murderkitty, pleased to make your acquaintance.